© 2017 by Joyce Mason
Astrologers have debated for centuries whether our art/science reflects a set destiny or if we humans have control over what happens to us. Most modern astrologers quote the catchy phrase, “The stars impel but they don’t compel.” This adage is often attributed to Dane Rudhyar, but Rudhyar actually said something different in his essay Must You Be the Victim of Your Stars?  Perhaps to oversimplify, Rudhyar says our real freedom is to embrace our destiny—to not try to be something we aren’t. It’s a fascinating and recommended read.
How do we tackle this impel/compel thing in our daily lives? Compel is the root word for compulsion. It is only during my current near hiatus from astrology that I’ve gotten a new angle on this old debate. For me compulsion is the problem.
Most astrologers and star students obsessively check their transits (and often progressions and other Tools for What’s Happening Now). That’s where we easily slip into comments about how Saturn is doing this or that to us or the latest communication fiascos were due to Mercury Retrograde. We stop taking any charge of our lives or even letting life simply unfold. We have a posse of planets who “make us do it,” relegating them to the role of the Devil. It’s not that they do it; it’s what we do with it, the energetic pattern.
Worse, we live in anxiety of what upcoming transits might mean. Sure, it’s good to be prepared but how much does worry about the future attract more negative manifestations of the energy potential of any transit? Thanks to an Astrodrama I participated in a few years ago, I became aware for the first time just how much anxiety I have always dealt with my whole life. A fairly high level of apprehension was my norm, and frankly, it was so natural for me, I didn’t see how unusual my heighted emotional state might be compared to others’. I simply coped with it and compensated for it. (For those who wonder, the astrological reflection is Moon square Mercury, Neptune and Venus.)
Since I became my disabled husband’s caregiver in 2015, I’ve had more on my plate than I’ve ever had—and I’m an overeater both in the literal and figurative senses. That state of overwhelm forced me to curtail many of my normal activities. It also demanded that I find tools other than astrology to cope with my new life. I started to realize that if I kept looking at my transits and got into the litany of what-ifs, I became more worried and anxious. Transit stalking did not help me when my energy was taxed to the max in my arduous labor of love. It just added to the anxiety load.
I decided to limit myself to peeking at my transits only once a month or so … abstaining for as long as I could stand it. (Being very curious by nature, I could only not know for so long.)
Instead, I started using the tools of Mindful Self-Compassion, meditating on average twice a day for at least 20 minutes total and learning to have supportive inner dialogue with myself. MSC is designed for living in the now. As Eckhart Tolle’s book title suggests, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, the present is where power lies. There is a place for looking back and looking ahead, but in the main, I’m finding I’m happiest in the gift of the present. There’s also a large element in MSC of what Rudhyar was saying. We’re taught to acknowledge our suffering as part of the human experience and to be there for ourselves. The practices encourage us not to fight what’s happening or to spend a lot of energy wishing it was otherwise but to do our best in supporting ourselves to deal with any situation that comes up in the most positive way. To build skills and confidence in our ability to handle come-what-may.
Truth to tell, I’ve been steeped in Pluto transits these past few years or other ones considered traditionally icky by most star watchers. I refuse to dwell on the possibilities because I want to save my energy for handling whatever is. (Oh, the life force I’ve wasted on worries that never materialized!) I want to set an energetic intention that the best interpretation of the stars aligning is equally as possible as all hell breaking loose. Next step: Let it go and let it unfold in its own organic way.
I won’t come back to frequent star tracking until I can do it from a more emotionally neutral place. Why not try a transit fast for at least a month? See what it does for you.
For me it has opened a whole new world of accepting the energies of the present moment, staying centered due to meditation and other soothing practices and realizing that “worry is a waste of creativity,” another saying I love.
Final saying: “As above, so below,” is attributed to Hermes. This means Heaven and Earth parallel the same general, energetic patterns but the specifics—and how we respond to them—contain the greatest creative potential and sometimes the biggest surprises. Some element of surprise is the hallmark of the mystery and wonder of life.
I don’t want to live without that mystique. How about you?
Photo Credit: © Giulio_Fornasar - Fotolia.com
 Kepler College, “Marvel Brilliant Tackles ‘Do the Stars Impel?”