The Sky in Chart Interpretation December 2016

An astrology organization recently polled its members with the following questions. My responses follow…

Q: “Astro” means “pertaining to stars or celestial bodies”, and the magic of the stars has inspired us through the ages. As an astro-loger, how much of the actual sky do you work with? Do you actively refer to or study the sky, or are you content with your ephemeris? As the chart is a map, do you think we have lost something by replacing the map with the territory? Or ​h​ave we developed a worthy enough substitute? 

​A: This topic is near and dear to me. For 4 years, I’ve called it our Living Sky. I am the founder of Sky Astrology and the cofounder of the Sky Astrology Conferences with Gary Caton and Julene Louis. I rely on and refer to the sky in all my work – research, client readings, forecasting. I have multiple softwares to render the sky in different views. There is a piece of astrology software that I originated called Sky Engine, which was born of my commitment to a Living Sky in contemporary practice. 
To your questions…. in one sense, we have indeed lost something vital by using the astrological chart alone. There is currently an entire generation of practicing astrologers who have little to no experience with the origins of our tradition or how to incorporate sky considerations into their work. But whatever is lost is not really lost, only forgotten temporarily. The question is how long will it take for a majority of us to re-incorporate the sky into our work.   
To me, the chart is not a substitute for the sky. It’s a necessary, required dimension of what it means to practice astrology today. Chart astrology is to thank for the millions of our clients and readers who have been turned on to how they can live better, more fulfilling lives. 
But this chart-only astrology — with the certifying organizations fully behind it — are not the only dimension of what’s possible and being practiced today. Combining Chart + Sky opens the door to significantly improving our astrological work. This is literally true. In this light, the Living Sky is our shared missing link. When the Sky is included, in whatever manner the astrologer chooses, our clients are the real beneficiary of this bigger, more intelligent, more integrated intelligence. We astrologers sincerely do not know how good we can become if we do not incorporate some or a lot of the Sky reality into our work. Chart-only astrology is selling ourselves and our clients short. 
Interpretations that include the sky require a different knowledge set and greater facility with multiple movements  of both of space and time. This is because planets and stars, when interpreted from within a sky-centered context, possess multiple cyclic movements all of which are relevant in delineation. A useful way to understand the relationship between the two is to see the sky as the context and the chart as content. This places objects of knowledge on the chart (sign meanings, etc.) within the physical universe’s complex of rhythmic cycles and movements (approaching or distancing, descending or ascending, brightening or dimming, and many others).
​Obviously, I’m passionate about this topic. It’s because I believe it represents THE single, unifying factor among all traditions of extant astrology. ​I’ve been presenting on the “sky factors” of a planet’s position as powerfully teamed with its chart factors of sign, house, aspects, dignity​ and others at conferences, chapters and online.​ The joy of experiencing other astrologers’ eyes light up upon re-discovering the somatic intelligence of the sky in their own bodies ​continues to inspire me.
I​’d invite those sincerely interested in discovering the actual, living origins of our field to visit and (soon to come)  (“us” as in We). 
Clear Skies!