Viewing astrology through Daoism


Peace: to accept what must be, to know what endures.

There’s a wonderful Dao parable I often reflect upon. It’s shared by the Zhuangzi and I summarize:

A farmer’s horse runs off and the neighbors say how unfortunate that the farmer lost his horse. Some time later, the horse returns with a pregnant mare. The neighbors tell the farmer how fortunate for the farmer that his horse ran off because now it returned and brought him more horses. Some time later, the foal matures and the farmer’s son gets thrown from it and breaks his leg. The neighbors say how unfortunate the farmer got this foal because it caused his son to go lame. Some time later, the army comes to town and conscripts all the young men except the farmer’s lame son. The neighbors comment how fortunate the farmer is that his son is lame so he won’t be killed in the war…

You probably see the point by now. There are two points, actually. One is about expectations. We never know whether or when an event might benefit us, so the expectation is its own enemy. That is, if we expect going lame is a terrible thing, it is only thinking of it that way — the thought not the actuality — that makes it painful both before it happens and while it happens. The other point is assigning value to an event in the first place.

This is why daoism is such a liberating way to experience the world.

Events are changes, nothing more. We give them meaning and value, and often we base those assignments on expectations that are faulty or don’t actually matter. This matters a lot if you are an astrologer. Even modern astrologers, who often try to remove judgmental “fate” based interpretations of natal aspects, transits, and progressions can’t seem to escape the language. Pluto, Uranus, or Saturn in aspect to an angle or natal planet is “bad” or “tough,” while Jupiter or Venus is “good” or “easy.” Really?

I can certainly track major events in my life with the transits of Uranus and progressions of the Moon. Divorce, difficult pregnancies, family deaths, career changes, and plenty of hard work and set backs. One might consider these “bad” or “tough” but I can easily see how the “lameness” benefited me later. For this reason, I try to see astrological events as simply foretelling changes.

Transiting Pluto will be opposite my Ascendant and transiting Chiron will be conjunct my MC in a year. I can be sure 2020 will be intense with change, but should I put expectations of “bad” or “hard” on it? All the cookbook astrology sites tell me to watch out for dying family, divorce, failing health. But what about the other side, which is about the evolution of strength and compassion?

Every planet suggests events that are good and bad — but more than that, every planet simply foretells change. We assign those values from an understanding of our own limited history and an even more limited knowledge of the future.

As Pluto leaves my 6th house, I’ve had a few health scares but also major life changes with regard to weight and fitness. Who’s to say whether getting fit (“good”) or getting cancer (“bad”) is better for my future? Who’s to say either one is simply “good” or “bad” to begin with?

In any case, I’ve stepped back to observe with more anticipation than anxiety what’s ahead. I love change. After all, it is all we truly have.

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1 Response

  1. Amanda says:

    Excellent article. About the lame son, I’m reminded of a comment someone actually made when my brother Jody died in an auto accident in 1956. “Now we don’t have to worry about him being killed in the war” (during the Korean conflict). Life as we know it consists of change itself; without change we die.

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