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No Easy Explanation for Why Astrology Works

April 25, 2017

By Edward Snow   

The seeds of future events are carried within ourselves

It’s not easy explaining why astrology works. In an article posted on the Kepler College website Canadian astrologer Erin Sullivan leads with a quote from the brilliant British ex-pat novelist and poet Lawrence Durrell:

“The seeds of future events are carried within ourselves. They are implicit in us and unfold according to the laws of their own nature.”

With, presumably, a little help from the heavens above! Like his literary mentor Henry Miller, Durrell embraced the astrological worldview and the idea that life on earth is mysteriously prompted by implicit cosmic forces. The quote is from Durrell’s novel Cleo, one of four inspired books the author packaged in his best-selling series, The Alexandria Quartet.

Durrell’s widely acclaimed novels chronicle the interconnected lives of four individuals living and interacting in Alexandria, Egypt in the last century. The protagonists in each of Durrell’s novels, all known to each other, are omnisciently observed responding to the same earthly events and intertwined subplots from their own unique and disparate vantage points and perspectives.

Sullivan acknowledges there is still no coherent answer to the ages-old inquiry into how astrology works.

“After a long, slow, deep evolution of my own work, this wonder has cooked in my mind but never caused me much alarm, since I know astrology works and that is what matters. On a purely intellectual level, there are some reasonable conjectures I have about how astrology works: it works like any integral system with a core focus and surrounding satellites,” she writes.

Awareness Grows

Sullivan has been a professional astrologer, author and teacher for more than 40 years. She writes that as she became more conscious and aware of nature and her systems – like fractals, mathematical sequences, deep cellular patterns and so forth – it slowly began to come to her that “astrology is in the unified theory search. That it is, in itself, a nuclear system predicated on interaction, relativity and integration of a whole-system.

“The solar system is obviously connected with earth and its harmony or discord, and being on earth, the system is ‘personalized’ by our consciousness. The use of astrology in any form, in any genre, is always predicated not on duality, but on integrity of all systems in the work.”

Sullivan says the solar system and its movements is an ideal metaphor for the ever-changing interactions among people, as well as the constant mediation of inner experiences and psyche/consciousness integration.

“If I can have a relationship with another person, why can’t a planet have a relationship with another planet? If Gaia is an organic entity, then why not Mars or Saturn? People form systems of small collectives, constellating around an idea, a family, a cause, a person — always in motion, always in flux.

“Similarly planets are also constellating around a focus — the Sun. (Focus in the Latin means “hearth fire”). So, our family of planets circles around and focuses on its hearth. All the planets, too, are in constant motion, changing their relationships relative to some fixed point — such as the backdrop of fixed stars (as seen from our Earth perspective) or the zodiac — and to each other,” she wrote, adding:.

“The word ‘horoscope’ comes from the Greek horoskopos, – ‘looking at the hour’. To divine or predict an outcome requires a beginning, an origin, a series of cycles within it, as well as a history. Ancient astrology had such an origin concept, which still prevails: the katarche.

An Auspicious Moment

“Katarche is a Greek word that, loosely translated, means an auspicious moment or a beginning. It is from the origin of anything that its behaviour and outcome can be predicted. Every second is a new beginning, and inherent in that beginning, that origin or birth, is its pattern of maturity and fruition.’’

“A horoscope is a fixed frame of spatial and temporal experience. It is a starting-point from which a systematic and predictable set of planetary movements can be plotted. For example, if a planet is at 1 degree Leo, we know it will be at 2 degrees Leo at a specific time in the future. If it is the moon’s motion we are considering, it would be at 2 degrees Leo in a couple of hours; if the Sun, in the next 24 hours; if Mars, then in a few days; if Jupiter, in about 10 days; and so on.

“We can also predict when the planet will return to the same point in the future. The moon will return to the same point every 27-1/2 days; Mars, every two years and two months; Jupiter, every 12 years and one month; and so on out to the furthest known planet, Pluto, which returns to the same zodiacal degree every 245 years! On the other hand, since each planet has its own unique return period, the odds of two or more planets repeating an exact pattern are not great. Moreover the vast number of variables in this intricate planetary system means that the entire pattern in the sky never repeats itself exactly.

“Our planetary system is embedded in the global and individual psyche, in the brain as receptors, in the world brain as an archetypal experience. Compartmentalizing the psyche, we can speak of the unconscious, the shadow, the imagination, the anger function, Eros, archetypes, and so on.

“Just as the solar system as a whole never, ever presents the same pattern twice, no individual returns to the same point exactly again in his or her own life. Things are familiar, but never the same. The components remain the same, but their arrangement is infinitely changing,” she said.


More information can be found at her website,

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