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Lets Talk: How to Use Astrology in Therapy
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I recently did a series of posts on my socials about how to use astrology in therapy and thought that this would be a good blog topic to dive deeper into. I am not an astrologer, but I’ve learned a lot about astrology and can provide some guidance in how to navigate reading a birth chart.
According to the Oxford dictionary, Astrology is “the study of the movements and relative positions of celestial bodies interpreted as having an influence on human affairs and the natural world.” Most of us have has some experience of reading our horoscopes, which is based off of your sun sign. Your sun sign is where the sun was located in the sky on the date of your birth. For examples if you were born between March 21st and April 19th the sun was in the sign of Aries. Most people know this as their zodiac sign but this is only a small snapshot of you.
In astrology, something called a birth chart, or natal chart, is used to learn more about yourself. A birth chart is essentially a picture of how the planets, stars, asteroids, and comets were positioned in the sky at your specific date, time, and location of birth.
No two people have the exact same birth chart. A birth chart can give you information on yourself and help you gain insight into particular patterns or preferences you have. It can help you see your short-comings, areas in your life where you may struggle, and areas where you may do well and strive. It can help you see how you navigate both your internal and external world.
There are a lot of resources online now days to calculate your birth chart, all you need is your date of birth, time of birth, and location of birth. If you don’t have your time of birth, that is ok. You can still get a birth chart; it just won’t be as detailed. I like to use websites like Cafe Astrology and Astrodienst to do birth charts.
Every part of your birth chart holds important information, but there are specific places in your birth chart that you can look to for guidance when it comes to mental health or therapy. As a therapist who incorporates astrology into specific client’s treatments, I generally look at a clients Big Three (sun, moon, and rising sign), Saturn placement, Chiron placement, Black Moon Lilith placement, and 12th house.
For more nuanced conversations I may refer to other areas like if we are discussing relationships issues, we may look at Venus and Mercury placements because Venus is the planet of love and Mercury is the planet of communication. Now, let’s dive into each of these and why we may refer to these placements to help guide therapy or get a better understanding.
The Big Three are your sun, moon, and rising sign. Your sun sign describes how you approach goals and navigate the external world. It represents how you view yourself, your sense of self, and ego. It describes our overall attitude and spirit. It is our core and I believe often sets the stage for your values.
Looking at your Sun sign can help you get an understanding of what motivates you and how you generally approach the world. In therapy we may explore values and relate this back your sun sign and how you navigate the world around you.
Your moon sign represents your emotions and inner world. It can show your habits, reactions, and instincts. Our moon sign is usually the more private side of us and may only come out at home or places where we feel safe. Looking at your moon can help you get a better understanding of how your feel and express your emotions.
The moon sign is often associated with the archetype of “mother” and can indicate how we need to be “mothered.” In therapy we may look at your moon sign to get a better understanding of this but to also help us navigate how we may be better able to process emotions based off of your preferences (which are outlines in your moon sign). It can also give us guidance in how you can meet your own needs better.
Your rising (ascendant) sign is the beginning of your astrological birth chart. Technically it is the constellation that was rising over the eastern horizon at the specific time of your birth. It determines where your chart begins, which is defined by the first house. This means your rising sign is how you present yourself to the world. It can also determine physical characteristics. It is how you show up in the world and reflects the first impression someone gets of you when they meet you.
In therapy this can be helpful to get a better understanding of how other people may perceive you and can help us explore any discrepancies between what people perceive and what your actual intentions are. To look the Big Three in another way, energy reader, Amaris Morris, says “If the sun is the self or ego and the moon is the heart, the ascendant is the outfit and hairstyle or appearance.”
The next place I often look in someone’s birth chart is their Saturn placement. In astrology, Saturn represents limitations and restrictions but it also brings structure into our lives. It reminds us of our boundaries, responsibilities, and commitments. Saturn is often associated with our father or authority figures in our lives. Saturn’s position in our charts can help us see where we may experience energetic blocks and reveals our limitations, fears, and sense of responsibility.
Looking at Saturn in our own chart can also describe how we approach our responsibilities and can help us identify traits that we have difficultly expressing, or even accepting, as part of our personality. Looking at Saturn in therapy can help us explore how we can set boundaries and what boundaries we may need to set with ourselves and with others. It can also indicate where we feel stuck and help us identify, explore, and work through fears.
Chiron is another good place in the birth chart to look. Chiron is a comet that regularly, but also haphazardly, passes through our sky and is symbolized by the “wounded healer.” Chiron, in Greek Mythology, was a healer and teacher who was known for healing others but could not heal himself.
In astrology, Chiron represents our deepest wound and our efforts to heal this wound. Its sign and house placement show us this wound and how we go about expressing it and healing. This wound usually goes deep, and we have to work hard to overcome it. If we do work on healing this wound in therapy though, Chiron in our charts can become a place of great knowledge, experience, talent, and wisdom. This may become something that you become good at and can help others with.
Black Moon Lilith
Black Moon Lilith is not a planet or asteroid, but is a specific point in your birth chart that can indicate where you may have felt shamed, ridiculed, stifled, deeply misunderstood, or repressed. This point is calculated by identifying the furthest point in the moon’s orbit around the Earth in your birth chart and represents the shadow side of you.
Black Moon Lilith shows traits that you may be wary of expressing and can cause you to feel quite uncomfortable with other people who are expressing these traits. It indicates the traits we need to learn to accept in ourselves and how to express them in ways that fit into our lives without fear or guilt.
Taking time to explore this shadow side in therapy can be helpful but also difficult. It makes us confront the parts of ourselves that we usually try to hide or repress, but we cannot have light without dark. So, taking time to explore this part of you can be immensely helpful and healing.
The major place I look in someone’s birth chart it their 12th house. If you have your specific time of birth, your birthday chart will have 12 different houses. Each house represents a certain area of our life like career, friends, or romantic relationships for example.
The 12th house is referred to as the house of the subconscious and is often associated with psychology, which you can see why this may be a good area to look at for therapy. The subconscious works hard to help us navigate through life and make sense of our lives. A lot of the time fears, pain, and secrets lie in our subconscious and come through in ways we aren’t always aware of.
Looking at this in your chart can help us direct conversations in therapy and help us figure out ways this is showing up in your life. The 12th house also encompasses the karma that we must face in this life. It can point to where we feel stuck or bound in life. If we learn our lessons, both past and present, we are also better equipped to move forward.
I hope this gives you some guidance on where you can look in your own chart to help yourself out when working on your mental health or just trying to make change. Let me know what you think!