Astrology for the Soul

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excerpted from the book Astrology Is Real

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As I compose horoscopes, I like to imagine how I might inspire you, my Beloved Champions, to know and fulfill your soul’s code. I would love you to get a steady gaze at your life's blueprint.

My aspiration is to see you ripen into the most interesting and colorful version of your deep self.

Maybe it will take a year. Maybe it will require five years, even longer. But in a sense, it’s irrelevant how long it will take. That’s not your concern, or at least it’s not under your control. What you can manage, and what is your concern, is to develop a vigorous, rigorous drive to live the life that best expresses your soul’s code.

How do you do that? The most important thing is to know the destiny that your soul yearns to live.

Please note that the destiny your soul yearns to live may be at least somewhat different from the destiny your ego wants to live. It probably is at least somewhat different.

For example, in the case of my story, my ego longed to be a famous rock star, whereas my soul mostly just wanted to create and play and perform music. And I got what my soul wanted, but only got a part of what my ego wanted.

To be candid, I have come to believe that if my ego had gotten what it wanted—if I had become a famous rock star—it would have been harder for my soul to get what it wanted, which was simply to exult in making music.

When we talk about ambition and the drive for success and the pursuit of excellence, it is crucial to discriminate between the soul’s ambitions and the ego’s ambitions, between the soul’s drive for success and the ego’s drive, between the soul’s pursuit of excellence and the ego’s pursuit.

How does all that play out in you? Maybe your ego wants to own 10 million dollars and have a stunningly attentive lover and win awards for the work you do.

Your soul, on the other hand, may be less interested in that stuff. Your soul might want to create elegant environments, or heal the wounds you suffered in childhood, or get into a dynamic relationship that teaches you how to love. Your soul might want to conquer your fears or travel widely or develop a close connection with nature.

So here’s the thing: If you want to develop an indomitable drive to create the destiny you want, make sure it’s the destiny your soul yearns for. As long as you are obsessed with your ego’s goals, you may never be able to access the core fuel of your ambition.

There may, of course, be an overlap between the destiny your ego wants and the destiny your soul wants. If your soul wants to heal the wounds you suffered in childhood, such a longing could be compatible with your ego’s desire to be rich and famous. Maybe you could write a bestselling book about how you healed the wounds you suffered in childhood.

But the soul’s vision must be primary: your highest priority.

To derive the best inspiration from my horoscopes, I encourage you to emphasize your soul’s ambition. Do everything you can to supercharge your soul’s desire to succeed and strengthen your soul’s drive for excellence.

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Here's a problem: Many ultra-rationalists and fundamentalist materialists imagine "soul" to be imaginary and delusional.

Even to believers, it may be hard to define. Some regard it as a ghostly blob of magic stuff within us that keeps us connected to the world of dreams and the divine realms.

So what is the soul?

Is it an amorphous metaphor for the secret source of our spiritual power? Is it a myth that people entertain because they desperately want to believe there is more to them than just their physical bodies?

Here's what I suspect: The soul is a perspective that pushes us to go deeper and see further and live wilder. It's what stokes our imagination to flesh out our raw experience, transforming that chaotic stuff into rich storylines that animate our love of life.

With the gently propulsive force of the soul, we probe beyond the surface level of things, working to find the hidden meaning and truer feeling.

Just as astrology is real and true, but not real and true like the Golden Gate Bridge or the binomial theorem, so is the soul.

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"If you need to visualize the soul," wrote novelist Tom Robbins, "think of it as a cross between a wolf howl, a photon, and a dribble of dark molasses. But what it really is, as near as I can tell, is a packet of information.

"It's a program, a piece of hyperspatial software designed explicitly to interface with the Mystery. Not a mystery, mind you, the Mystery. The one that can never be solved."

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As part of our ongoing crusade to wrestle the English language into a more formidable servant of the ecstatic impulse, I'm pleased to present alternate designations for "soul."

See if any of the following concoctions feel right coming out of your mouth:

• undulating superconductor;

• nectar plasma;

• golden lather;

• smoldering crucible;

• luminous caduceus.

PS: Here's Robbins's conclusion: "By waxing soulful you will have granted yourself the possibility of ecstatic participation in what the ancients considered a divinely animated universe."

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owned and operated by lazy thinkers and superstitious supernaturalists.

As evidence this isn't the case, below I offer references to "soul" by great thinkers and feelers and writers. I will start with Walt Whitman:

I am the poet of the body,
And I am the poet of the soul.
The pleasures of heaven are with me, and the pains of hell are with me,
The first I graft and increase upon myself—the latter I translate into a new tongue.


How prompt we are to satisfy the hunger and thirst of our bodies; how slow to satisfy the hunger and thirst of our souls!
—naturalist Henry David Thoreau


I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!
—Emily Bronte


The soul should always be ready for the possibility that the divine may come to call at any moment, wrote poet Emily Dickinson. It's not a good idea to risk ignoring sacred intervention.


This earth is honey for all beings, and all beings are honey for this earth. The intelligent, immortal being, the soul of the earth, and the intelligent, immortal being, the soul in the individual being—each is honey to the other.
—Brihadaranyaka Upanishad


Movement never lies. It is a barometer telling the state of the soul's weather to all who can read it.
—dancer Martha Graham


Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.
—author Oscar Wilde


"There is a saying that when the student is ready, the teacher appears," writes Clarissa Pinkola Estés. But the magic of that formula may not unfold with smooth simplicity, she says: "The teacher comes when the soul, not the ego, is ready. The teacher comes when the soul calls, and thank goodness—for the ego is never fully ready."


Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.
—artist Pablo Picasso.


The soul can split the sky in two and let the face of God shine through.
—poet Edna St. Vincent Millay


"The works must be conceived with fire in the soul but executed with clinical coolness," wrote painter Joan Miró in describing his artistic process.


The soul is a fire that darts its rays through all the senses; it is in this fire that existence consists; all the observations and all the efforts of philosophers ought to turn towards this ME, the center and moving power of our sentiments and our ideas.
—author Madame de Staël


Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.
—environmentalist Edward Abbey.


I feel the flame of eternity in my soul.
—Helen Keller


Man has no Body distinct from his Soul; for that called Body is a portion of Soul discerned by the five Senses, the chief inlets of Soul in this age.
—William Blake


The words "passive" and "passion" come from the same Latin root, pati, which means "to endure." Waiting is thus both passive and passionate. It's a vibrant, contemplative work. It involves listening to disinherited voices within, facing the wounded holes in the soul, the denied and undiscovered, the places one lives falsely.
— author Sue Monk Kidd


The soul moves in circles.
—philosopher Plotinus.


Sensual pleasure passes and vanishes, but the friendship between us, the mutual confidence, the delight of the heart, the enchantment of the soul, these things do not perish and can never be destroyed.
—philosopher Voltaire in a letter to his partner Marie Louise Denis


The soul on earth is an immortal guest.
—author Hannah More


You will never be able to experience everything. So, please, do poetical justice to your soul and simply experience yourself.
—author Albert Camus


I note the echo that each thing produces as it strikes my soul.
—novelist Stendhal


When I consort with crowds, when I dwell amidst normal people, I am influenced by them. I adopt their habits; I neglect to use my mind in my unique ways. They seem to want to separate me from who I really am, steal my soul. Then I get mad and fearful, and have to withdraw to solitude to become good again.
—paraphrase of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche


Rhythm is our universal mother tongue. It's the language of the soul.
—dancer Gabrielle Roth


Were it not for the leaping and twinkling of the soul, human beings would rot away in their greatest passion, idleness.
—psychologist Carl Jung


Soul is the place,
stretched like a surface of millstone grit between
body and mind,
where such necessity grinds itself out
—author Anne Carson

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