Sample Chapter

Your Sun Sign as a Spiritual Guide

by Swami Kriyananda

Part 1, Chapter 1

Why still another book on the sun signs? Isn't the market fairly awash in them already?

My reason is that I'm not so much adding my own bucketful to the flood as trying to bail enough water out of this ship to locate the rudder.

Nowhere in any book have I read a clear way out of the depressing circumstances into which Fate drove me, like a peapod in a storm, when it made me a Taurean. I'm supposed, in my Taurean earthiness, to be quite unlike those airy Geminis, or those fiery Leos, but I find we do have one thing in common: We're all stuck, rudderless, wherever Fate left us. The books tell us what we are (or are supposed to be); they don't take the trouble to tell us what we can do about it.

Where do we go from here? If I'm drifting helplessly somewhere north of the equator, and you're becalmed somewhere south of it, then to find the equator we must go in opposite directions. If I'm a Taurean, and you're a Leo, we may need different advice on how to go about doing something constructive with our lives and how to find a sane, middle point of balance. Instead, all we ever get from popular astrology is suggestions for accepting it as our destiny to remain just where we are. Taureans are stubborn because—well, they're Taureans, and supposed to be stubborn. No one tells them how this stubbornness may be developed from sheer bull-headedness to that kind of firm loyalty to truth that can only come from being fair and open-minded. Leos are supposed to love the limelight; no one tells them how an egotistical desire to shine before others can be transformed into a purely generous wish to enlighten.

In other words, there are different levels in the manifestation of basically similar traits. But the astrological books to which I've been exposed show a tendency to throw all the strengths and weaknesses of a sign together as if into a blanket, and then let them fall out where they will. It is difficult to get a clear picture of who is really what, when, and why. All Leos, for instance, are supposed to love the limelight. Yet I know any number of them who don't, in fact who seem to shun it as a bomber would searchlights during an air raid. Really to understand the different influences at work in human nature, it is necessary to realize that there are higher and lower (or perhaps a better expression would be "more and less mature") ways of responding to those influences. It is easier to understand that a way is, clearly, more or less mature if it is also understood that the end of human development is spiritual wisdom. A trait must be considered higher or lower according to whether it takes one closer to, or farther from, this ultimate point of soul maturity.

In ancient times, astrology was praised by the wisest of men as a divine science. Why? if all it does is tell us our "hang-ups," and when would be the most favorable time for us to take a vacation? The fact is, astrology's main purpose is to help man to chart his way out of dependence on any external influences—to become a free soul, guided only by the light of truth in his own heart. As a good general must know the lay of the land, and the relative strengths and weaknesses of his enemies and allies, so a man is helped in his journey toward final freedom if he understands something of the subtle influences that are affecting him—some adversely, others beneficially. Lacking the desire to know all those influences specifically, he will find it greatly helpful even to be aware, generally, that there are such subtle influences at work.

The ultimate purpose of astrology is to help man to understand that he can develop himself inwardly, so as to filter out the harmful influences, and make the best use of the beneficial ones. From understanding how the external universe affects him, he can gain greater insight into the manner in which his own, internal, universe of subtle energies affects him also. By learning to develop this inner universe, he can gradually be freed of dependence on the outer.

To study the influence of the sun signs is, as any real student of astrology knows, but the merest beginning to an understanding of this divine science. Yet it is a good beginning. It provides a few real guideposts which can be helpful to a seeker in his long search for self-knowledge.

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