Marty Cottler brings more than thirty years of counseling and teaching experience to his Vedic Astrology practice and is a certified tutor for the American College of Vedic Astrology.
During the dark winter season when there is a limited amount of light, it is especially important to reconnect with friends and loved ones and with our deeper self. Reconnecting gives us emotional nourishment, enlivens our mind, and expands our experience of the inner light of consciousness. While forming the intention to reconnect may feel easy, many of us find it difficult to follow through and get stuck in old stressful patterns.
Vedic astrology is a powerful tool for moving beyond these obstacles and fulfilling our deeper potential for connection, joy, and fulfillment. The term Vedic astrology is a convenient English translation of the Sanskrit word Jyotish which means “the knowledge of light.” Jyotish is one of six formal branches of the Veda, the universal wisdom tradition of ancient India. One central purpose of Vedic astrology is to shine a light on our lives, especially on our shadowy and dark stressful parts, and to help transform the darkness into light. Its symbol is the eyes, representing seeing more clearly and becoming more conscious of the meaningful patterns that comprise our lives.
Meaningful patterns are formed from a mixture of our practical activities and our personal experiences of these activities. As we broaden our understanding, we gain clarity into how we are affected by our patterns, as well as how we may constructively change our relationship with them. Examples in the form of questions are: How did I or do I connect with members of my family? What is my experience of education? How do I view my work and career? What are my experiences and expectations of a partnering or marriage relationship? How do I handle money? What is my relationship with my body? What is my understanding of spirituality? Do I have a sense of purpose? What is getting in the way of accomplishing my goals? How do I handle obstacles and adversity?
The Insights of Your Vedic Birth Chart
As a Jyotishi or Vedic astrologer, one of the tools I use to help people become more conscious of these meaningful patterns is an analysis and interpretation of their birth chart. A birth chart is generated by calculating the exact location of the planets and stars from the time and place of our birth. How can the location of the planets and stars help us understand our lives? From the perspective of the Vedic wisdom tradition, all of us are connected with the larger universe. We are not separate from the rest of creation, or from the essence of existence. As it says in the Vedic text known as the Chandogya Upanishad (6.8.7.), Tat Tvam Asi, which means “thou art that” and expresses the recognition that each of us is an individualized expression of the whole, infinite universe. The microcosmic and macrocosmic dimensions of life are intimately intertwined. The planets and stars “speak” to us about the meaning of our lives, if only we learn their language. Jyotish is that language.
Our birth charts reveal the trajectory and results of our experiences and actions over time. During a consultation, I describe the meaningful patterns I have identified, especially the strong ones, in any area of life, as noted in the questions listed above. I also discuss whether the patterns have generated and will generate positive effects like fulfillment, happiness, success, productivity, and creativity – or difficult experiences such as sorrow, struggle, and conflict. In addition, I share what your birth chart reveals about how you are managing both the positive and negative experiences and their consequences, and what you might do to enhance the positive and reduce the negative.
Finding Patterns that Illuminate the Whole
I recently provided a consultation for a man in his late twenties who asked me to focus on his career. His birth chart patterning indicated overall success in his profession: the foundation of a good education followed by a rise in recognition and financial gain. While focusing on his career, I circled back a number of times to another pattern in his birth chart that continually caught my attention. I saw a strong pattern of multi-generational family conflict: among grandparents and parents; between his parents; and among his parents, siblings, and himself.
I broached the topic, and wondered aloud about the presence and effects of this pattern. We discussed what the birth chart revealed about how he copes with old and current extended-family problems. As we delved deeper into this pattern, we gained more clarity into how he tries to segregate family tensions from the rest of his life without recognizing how he is negatively affected by his efforts.
Uncovering a pattern that is currently affecting us when we have a Vedic astrology consultation is a powerful moment pregnant with positive possibilities. Such was the case for this person, as he told me of his plans for an upcoming holiday family gathering: fly in for the day, spend a few hours with family, and then fly back home. We explored the purposes and effects of this “fly in and out” strategy, and also discussed other options, including visiting longer with family, the effects this might have, and how he could manage the anticipated negative outcome in new ways.
We also reflected on his lack of career satisfaction, in spite of obvious success and interest in his profession. I agreed when he said he assumed his success should “feel better” than it did. We explored possible connections between the effect of his family conflicts and lack of career satisfaction. I correlated these connections with the presence of a negative planetary pattern that would continue strongly affecting how he perceives relating with others for another year. He then expressed a flash of insight about how co-workers and clients admire his performance even though he doesn’t feel very connected with most of them, and how their praise doesn’t “stick” to him. He recognized that he walls off positive work relationships just as he has walled off negative family relationships. We talked about how the upcoming positive change in planetary phases and positions would make it easier for him to change this pattern. He said he would think about whether or not he would like to change as he voiced concern about how changing might affect him.
Shining a light on the difficult area of family life that affects his career experience and correlating it with planetary patterns was not what my client expected. Nonetheless, both of us agreed that we had uncovered an important part of his puzzling career frustration. This unexpected awareness is now his new foundation for evaluating how he relates to colleagues, clients, and work in general. As my client discovered, learning to align our actions with positive planetary influences can help us transition from fearing change to embracing it and enhancing its positive effects.
The Gifts of Exploring the Shadow
Focusing on difficult patterns in our lives is not always easy. We are illuminating areas of our lives that we instinctively keep in the dark. However, the benefits of this process are well worth the effort, including increasing confidence, resiliency, and hardiness that add to our positive momentum of forming and manifesting our intentions. As awareness of our true self expands, we also gain more skill in working with the shadowy and hidden parts of our lives.
The outer darkness of the winter season is an ideal background for turning within and shining a light on hidden, yet important experiences. During a Vedic astrology consultation, our task is to collaborate on safely exploring your life and the patterns reflected in your birth chart, allowing you to experience the clarity and enliven the motivation that will help you move beyond obstacles and tap into your deepest potential.
Wishing you and yours a healthy, prosperous new year and a light-filled winter.