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Liz Greene: Astrology is an Art

Astrology is an art, rather than a science or a system of religious beliefs. But what, then, is art? The artist mediates between different dimensions of life. The images, sounds, words and forms which the artist utilises are languages which can communicate the meaningful patterns of levels of reality which would otherwise be incomprehensible or incommunicable to the rational mind. When we are affected by art, it is because the work speaks to us on many levels: intellectual, intuitive, emotional, visceral. The symbols of astrology touch chords in us on so many different levels that it is not possible to ever exhaust its mystery. This is the nature of symbols, and astrology is a symbolic language.

So the astrologer can, in viewing one person's horoscope, see Mars as a symbol of unexpressed and unconscious aggression and rage; in another person's horoscope, as a symbol of motivating power, courage and initiative; in another person's horoscope, as an expression of headaches, rashes and other somatised signals of internal tension, anger and stress which are not being dealt with; and in yet another person's horoscope, as a symbol of a particular kind of person or event that the individual is likely to meet in the outside world. All these are "true" interpretations, and the ability to discern how this symbol is most likely to be expressed in any individual at any particular time relies on faculties other than those involved in empiric testing.

The art of astrology does indeed require intellectual clarity; but equally, it requires empathy, intuition, imagination, perspective, and experience. Even then, an interpretation may not hit the mark, because art has never guaranteed precision. At best, it can guarantee meaning and insight.

Many people take up astrology in the hope that simple answers will be offered to complex questions about major life issues. But if the person looks more deeply, it becomes apparent that such simple answers are not what astrology is about. Ultimately, those who make a lifelong study of astrology do so not because it offers the reassurance of science, but because they love it. And a large part of that love is invoked because astrology never fails to offer yet another set of mysteries to explore, and yet another set of unanswered questions to stretch our minds and transform our views of reality. Perhaps that is a good definition of art.

Liz Greene

Dr. Liz Greene Liz Greene is a qualified analytical psychologist (Association of Jungian Analysts) and holds PhDs in Psychology (1971) and History (2010). She is the author of most of the horoscopes at Astrodienst.

Liz Greene has published a number of books on astrological, mythological and psychological themes. She is director of the Centre for Psychological Astrology in London, which she founded 1982, and a Tutor on the MA in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology at the Sophia Centre, University of Wales Trinity St. David.

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