My given name is ‘Barry’, which means ‘spear’ or ‘marksman’ or ‘straight to the mark’. That’ll do. I could add the rider: ‘and sometimes puts his foot in it as a result.’ But it’s a funny thing changing the name you’re known by, a lot of people find it difficult to get used to. I know I do. Names carry power it seems, even ordinary, regular ones, maybe especially so if it’s the name you were born with.
My Dad was determined that I would be ‘Barry’ even before I was born and it was not known if I would be a boy or a girl. I don’t know why he thought that, he’s not the sort who would have looked up the meaning. You have to be careful what you name people, because they often become it. My Buddhist name, given by the person who was my teacher (no longer) meant ‘the fascinating truth’, which is not dissimilar to Barry, and I ended up speaking truths about his set-up that he did not want to hear.
It’s also Moon in Sagittarius, a sign that loves the truth in a straightforward and refreshing but sometimes naïve way, naïve in the sense of being unaware of other people’s sensibilities.
Below is a piece that is maybe both of these!
As astrologers, we exist in a society where the establishment treats our craft as ridiculous, as patently nonsense. That affects us profoundly. We are social animals, we need to belong, we need to be recognised by our community. I don’t think this dismissal affects all of us, some people can get on quietly with being astrologers. But I still think it affects a lot of us.
If we are up to it, that ‘outsider’ status can force us to find a deeper confidence from within, one that is not dependent on recognition from without. But even then I think it can take its toll, can make us slightly cranky.
Back in the Middle Ages, astrology was proscribed by the Church because it was seen as summoning up demons. Now that gives it real power! But it also meant we were seen as evil. I don’t know which is worse, being demonised or being dismissed!
__________________________________________Ad Break: I offer skype astrology readings (£60 full reading, £40 for an update). Contact: BWGoddard1 (at)aol.co.uk.
And this is probably the main reason that astrology is seen as a Uranian, or Aquarian path: because for so long it has been the outsider. In my opinion, astrology in itself is more Neptunian than anything, at least in its modern form, because we are allowing live symbols to speak through us.
But as I say, living with establishment ridicule also takes its toll on astrologers individually and collectively, and I don’t think this gets explored enough.
Instead, I think it comes out as astrologers collectively taking themselves too seriously, as being too eager to display intellectual credentials, as if this will somehow result in us being taken more seriously. It won’t. Or, maybe, as if it will somehow enable us to take ourselves more seriously.
It is an unconscious compensation. The collective will not take us seriously, and as ordinary human beings we find it hard to do that for ourselves, so we compensate with a display of erudition and propriety. And humourlessness. How often do you see a joke in an astrology magazine?
You get this in any profession. People wanting to be taken seriously and given recognition and competing for it. It's a natural thing. But there seems a particular flavour to it in the astrology world that is all its own and, as I say, derives from establishment ridicule.
And I think this needs exploring. It needs to be a theme of conferences and magazines: how does this cultural dismissal affect us personally and collectively? Instead, it’s almost as though we pretend it’s not there, like we have gone way beyond that sort of insecurity. But I see it leaking out of the earholes of so many astrologers and their institutions.
It’s our big family secret, and I say this sympathetically. And the paradox is that this dismissal could free us. We are never going to be taken seriously in the current climate whatever we do, so there is nobody we need to impress. And there are no government bodies who are trying to regulate us.
I’ve never liked it when I see academic courses that involve astrology, MAs and stuff, in which one’s experience of astrology actually working is irrelevant. How can astrologers do this, subscribe to a course in which the very soul of astrology is not allowed to enter, in order to get an academic qualification? It says so much.
I say to hell with academia, they are never going to respect us. As astrologers a broad cultural education is very important, but it needs to be on our own terms. And the freedom that comes with that. We need a sort of Hogwarts for grown-ups!
We have a broader way of knowing and evaluating than does academia or science. We have all 4 elements, they only have Air and Earth. We have Water and Fire, Feeling and Intuition as well. Academia and Science have got above themselves. They need to be treated as scholarly adjuncts to our more all-encompassing tradition.
Remember, we are dealing with MUGGLES, people who do not believe in magic! It is so important NOT to take them seriously. We need to laugh at their pretensions, and then we won’t take ourselves seriously in the wrong sort of way.
There is of course a right way of taking oneself seriously. And it always leaves room for humour and messing up and changing your mind and saying I don’t know. The wrong sort we could call being earnest.
And back to my main point: Astrology suffers from the cultural dismissal it is subject to, and we need to own up to that and explore it, rather than unconsciously compensating for it by becoming earnest.