I come from a family of astrologers. My late maternal grandfather was well-established in his city as an adept reader of horoscopes. People came from far and wide, seeking his services, which he offered for free. He had a day job as a government official, and even after he retired he continued to meet people and read their horoscopes for them.
My mother learnt a lot from him. Growing up I thought this was a rare talent. Eventually I came to realise that almost every Tam Brahm of my parents' generation and older dabbled in astrology, and many had more than a cursory knowledge of the subject matter, of how the various planets and their juxtaposition on the natal chart influenced people's destinies.
I was recently reading Karma: A Yogi's Guide to Crafting Your Destiny by the Indian mystic, Sadhguru. It is an incredibly interesting read. Below is an excerpt from the book and also entails Sadhguru's take on horoscopes that I found particularly enlightening, especially as someone who has grown up surrounded by an extensive use of horoscopes to guide important life decisions but is still completely clueless when it comes to the actual reading of a natal chart.
Under the subheading 'The Destiny Debate and the Astrology Argument', Sadhguru writes the following:
What you call fate is just a life situation you have created for yourself unconsciously. Your destiny is what you have crafted in unawareness. If you become a hundred percent conscious, your destiny becomes a conscious creation. If you remain unconscious, you fall back on words like fate and providence to describe your predicament.
For every action that we perform there is a consequence. Whether the consequence bears fruit today or tomorrow or ten years later is irrelevant. The point is that it always bears fruit one way or another. So, some deeds you performed unconsciously many years ago may have their consequences today. You may choose to call it fate. But you could just as well call it your karma, your responsibility.
The fact is people make their own lives and societies write their own self-destructive narratives, but we then try to pass the buck to God or destiny. That may be convenient, but it is a foolish and immature way to exist.
Since fate is your unconscious creation, it is extremely important that every aspect of your life happen consciously. Otherwise you could go about poisoning your life without a clue about the damage you are inflicting on yourself.
This brings us to a related question: If we determine the course of our own lives, what about astrology? What about all those people who have had amazingly accurate predictions made about their future? What is the significance of the natal charts, or "horror-scopes", as I call them, that so many live their lives by? If the business of fortune-telling has endured for so many centuries, surely there must be some truth to it?
Now, astrology is simply a way of plotting certain possibilities in a person's life. Astrology is simply a possible road map for your life that takes into account your tendencies and inherited traits.
... with the life process, if you are self-propelled, we say you are on a spiritual path. If you are being pushed around by your accumulated tendencies, your habits and your prejudices, then you are at the mercy of your horror-scope!
Traditionally, families in India turned to horoscopes because these would indicate a person's tendencies, karmic substance, the possible directions their life might take. Based on this astrological reading, a person would turn to a spiritual practice that enabled them to transcend these tendencies. But somewhere along the way, we dropped the technologies of transcendence and got stuck with just the horror-scope! This is an unfortunate state of affairs.
The horoscope was in any case meant only to be a way to navigate around possible obstacles. It was never meant to be a life script to be blindly followed. In fact, if you are on a spiritual path, authentic astrologers will never make predictions for you. Being spiritual means you are committed to charting your own destiny. When you are on such a path, what you are essentially saying to the world is "I am not wind-blown. I am self-propelled."
~ Sadhguru in Karma: A Yogi's Guide to Crafting Your Destiny
I found these lines incredibly profound and encouraging.
Still, because my mind is still tethered and always seeking an easy way out, instead of spending time on Facebook this afternoon, I spent time looking up my horoscope instead. Actually, I pulled up my natal chart by entering the details of my birth on an astrology site and this is what it told me.
Opposition between the Moon and Mercury
There is a conflict here between the head and the heart. Your emotions tell you one thing and your mind tells you something else. The result is a see-saw effect: you can be emotional to the point of irrationality at one moment, and logical the next. How to blend the head and the heart is a constant struggle for you, usually because you have a tendency to resist blending them! You love to chat, enjoy story-telling and writing/poetry, sometimes enjoy bending the truth, and you possess a sparkling wit! You are animated when you speak, and have a sense of humor that others appreciate simply because it's very imaginative.
You are always interesting, and usually funny. You have a tendency to misrepresent yourself with what you say from time to time, but you're a charming, if a little kooky, friend.
If she is happiest in her own little imaginary world, they can be happy nowhere because she can never find her ideal world on the outside, and this problem can create a lot of change, instability, and disquiet. Must aim to enjoy the moment, the real world more often. She should watch for fibbing, gossip, but sensitivity to criticism, thin-skinned leaves her feeling vulnerable. If the other aspects allow, she can be a very good novelist. Great imagination and observation.
Finally, some validation at last for my writing skills, even if it is from someone who has most certainly not read a single word I've ever written. This truly made my day!
Also, I liked being called kooky!