The other day I overheard the following conversation between a father and a neighbor friend. "I can't understand how my children Molly and Sarah came from the same family," Tim said. "Sarah is serious, reserved, a hard worker, and wants to be a success in the world. Molly, on the other hand, is capricious, talkative, lighthearted, and extroverted. These kids had the same parents and grew up in the identical environment. I don't get it."
To students of astrology, Jim's comments should come as no surprise, especially when they learn that serious Sarah was a Capricorn born on December 27, while versatile Molly was born on June 11 under the sign of the Gemini twins. Astrology confirms what parents such as Jim have long observed ? that children do not enter this world as a "tabla rasa"? a blank slate. Instead, they are born with a specific agenda, revealed in the birth chart, that begins to manifest itself almost immediately after birth.
If children have their own agenda, then our job as parents and educators is to allow them to fulfill the seed potential within them. Can you imagine exhorting an oak tree to become a maple; or a rose to grow into a tulip? Yet how many times are children pushed into careers in order to carry on the family tradition of one of the parent's professions? This "poisonous pedagogy", as psychoanalyst Alice Miller calls it, occurs when adults project their own wishes and biases onto the child. Astrology offers a solution by allowing the adult to see the child for who he or she is ? as an independent, autonomous being with his own needs, desires, proclivities, and destiny.
For example, my sister-in-law Jane recently spoke to me about a problem she was having with her six year old daughter Laura. Laura, an excellent dancer (Mars in Leo), wanted to sign up for a number of different classes ? tap dance, jazz, and ballet. The chagrined mother complained that "Laura is never going to learn focus and discipline herself. She must decide on what she wants now and stick to it." A quick look at my ephemeris revealed that the mother had Sun conjunct Saturn in Scorpio and Capricorn rising. Laura, however, was born with the moon in Gemini, the sign of variety and versatility. Thus, her desire to try out a number of different dance styles was in keeping with her Zodiacal signature.
When I explained to Jane the difference between Saturn's need for focus and Gemini's need for variety, she was able to accept and be more comfortable with her daughter's eclectic pursuits. Jane's understanding of astrology allowed her to trust her daughter's decision. Moreover, Jane also became more aware of her need to control, as indicated by her strong Saturn and Capricorn.
If parents and educators were to use astrology in a responsible way, a real revolution in child rearing would take place. We would function less as autocrats and more as guides, encouraging each child to unfold in accordance with the seed potential revealed within the birth chart.
Astrology also finds an important application in the field of childhood education. The great educator Maria Montessori wisely told her teachers, "Follow the interest of the child!" Yet, these interests may not always be apparent to the teacher or other adults working with the child. With the help of the birth chart, the child's inclinations, talents, and learning style, can be clearly discerned.
For example, a teacher friend recently expressed frustration about her fourth grade student named Daniel. "Daniel," she stated. "is always in a 'fog' and a 'dream world' of his own. I can't seem to get through to him," she complained. Suspecting the influence of the planet Neptune, I constructed the chart and discovered that his Sun was conjunct Mercury in Pisces, the sign ruled by Neptune.
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"Pisces," I explained , "is the sign of the dreamer. So it's natural that Dan would be off in his own world a bit. Pisces also rules artistic creativity. Has Daniel expressed an interest in music, poetry, or painting?"
The teacher replied, "As a matter of fact, Daniel loves to make up stories and tell them to the other children. That kid has quite an imagination."
"Ask him to start writing his stories down," I suggested. "Children with Mercury in Pisces often find an outlet for their imagination in creative writing."
Within weeks, Daniel began writing a number of stories that gained him much needed academic recognition. More importantly, he found a creative focus for a talent that was longing to be expressed.
In the above example the teacher's knowledge of astrology helped her to support the positive side of Daniel's Neptune (creativity, imagination) instead of focusing exclusively the negative side (his tendency to daydream). The astrological perspective enabled her to accept Daniel for who he was. Upon learning that dreaminess was a common Piscean tendency, she felt more comfortable with this trait and could treat it as an asset instead of a liability.
What the one person calls a pathology, another will label a gift. A planetary energy is neither good nor bad. It is the way that the energy is expressed that determines whether its application will be constructive or destructive.
Waldorf vs. Montessori
Finally, astrology sheds some unusual light on the differences between two well-known educational philosophies. The great educator Maria Montessori was born with the Sun in the earth sign of Virgo. The Montessori method which she developed reflects the Virgoan needs for structure, order, and self-discipline. The program emphasizes learning skills that are grounded in everyday reality. One of the learning modules, appropriately known as "practical life", teaches children how to accomplish the ordinary, mundane activities that allows them to function efficiently (Virgoan keywords) in their environment. This focus on practical self-care is a hallmark of the Virgoan archetype and Montessori education.
Rudolph Steiner, founder of the Waldorf school, was born with the Sun in Pisces, the sign opposite Montessori's Virgo. Unlike the down-to-earth Montessori, Steiner's Piscean approach nurtures the child's spirituality and emphasizes dance, creativity, and the arts. Children are taught a particular style of painting that evokes a dream-like, impressionistic quality. The Waldorf system supports the fantasy life of the child and waits until the seventh year before teaching more left-brained academic functions. The differences in focus between the Steiner and Montessori methods clearly reflect the Pisces/Virgo polarity of their sun signs.
In this brief article, I have attempted to demonstrate the important role that astrology can play in helping us to better understand and appreciate our children. By providing a soul's road-map, astrology offers unique glimpse into a child's psyche and inner life. It is my hope that astrologers will one day serve as consultants to parents, teachers, and school counselors, applying the astrological perspective to help children grow and mature into the people they were meant to be.
"Positive Self-Talk for Children?by
About The Author
Douglas Bloch is an author, teacher and astrologer who has been a student of metaphysical principles since 1971. He is the co-author of Astrology For Yourself ($24.95, Wingbow Press), Asteroid Goddesses ($18.95, ACS Publications), and the author of Positive Self-Talk For Children ($12.95, published by Bantam books), as well as the new ground-breaking book, When Going Through Hell Don?t Stop: A Survivor?s Guide to Overcoming Depression and Clinical Anxiety ($14.95). Check your local bookstore or write Pallas Communications 4226 NE 23rd Ave., Portland, OR. 97211. (503) 284-2848. Or visit our website at www.teleport.com/~dbloch