“Another tool that the alchemist used to a far greater degree than we understand today is astrology. In the present day, astrology only survives in tabloid newspapers for most people. … However, just as there is a difference between thaumaturgy and theurgy, so there is a distinct difference between the popular idea of astrology and that used by the alchemists. …
“In the interpretation of Bardesanes, A Syrian Christian scholar—who has often been identified as a Gnostic—the motions of the stars govern only the elemental world, leaving the soul free to choose between the good and the evil.” ~Bernard Simon
Just as a farmer looks to plant seeds at the best time, so the Alchemical Astrologers uses astrology to help them choose the best day and time for their experiments. Whether they were doing mundane experiments with chemistry, or spiritual ones involving the awakening of the soul, they tried to increase the chances of success as much as possible by considering astrology.
Considering astrology is more complicated than the farmer deciding when to plant. If the alchemist was trying to help a person with their spiritual awakening, he didn’t just need to know the current position of the stars, but also the stars under which that person was born.
Mystery Schools and Astrology
Many of the ancient mystery schools taught their students astrology. But it was not the tabloid astrology of today. Now was it considered something that could force you to behave in a certain way, a scapegoat for bad behavior.
That taught astronomy as something that could be used as an aid to accomplish what you wished. For the negative aspects, they taught that astrology only created a path one could follow. It didn’t force you to follow that path. If you strengthened your will and spiritual resolve, you could resist the pull of astrology. It cannot force you to behave in a certain way. It cannot force you to develop certain traits that you don’t wish to develop. But you do have to know your astrological chart so you can recognize when it is trying to steer you wrong.
A Personal Example
Many years ago, before I had even began my path of intentional spiritual development, I had a computerized astrology chart done. It told me that I would likely spend time in the military. That did happen. It also told me that I would probably die from drowning. It recommended that I avoid all travel by sea or river. I shouldn’t even go swimming alone.
At first, it worried me. Then I decided I wasn’t going to let that chart control me. I rode a ferry boat to a resort island in Germany. Later, I went on a seven-day Caribbean cruise. I thoroughly enjoyed the cruise. The total number of ocean cruises I have been on is eleven. I have not, as far as I know, drowned on any of them.
I didn’t let the negative side of astrology control me, and neither should you.
More Alchemical Astrology
One way that Alchemical Astrology can be used for spiritual growth is in the development of our energy centers (chakras). In order for us to be fully functional on a spiritual level, we need to develop all of those centers to be well-charged and balanced so energy flows through us like rapids in a river. Most people have week centers, and some are so week or clogged they completely block that energy flow. By studying your astrology chart, the spiritual teachers could tell were such blockages were likely to develop. They could then make sure that your spiritual exercises channeled extra energy to those weaker centers. The idea, with this as with most things, is to develop balance.