I’ve been thinking about astrology and ethics. First thoughts are how nice it would be to live in a society where there was no need for rules and regulations and codes of ethics. If we could have a world where people behaved according to common sense, it would be so pleasant. Unfortunately, we are far from such a utopia and seem to be getting further away. We have no tribal shamans or venerable elders to teach by example. We have no heroes to emulate. This forces us to create forms and structures of behavior.
The next thoughts I had were about Buddhism, which is a profound ethical system. Buddhism teaches compassion for all sentient beings. The Dalai Lama teaches that one must have a kind heart. Compassion and kindness are a beautiful basis for behavior and are concepts to which astrologers can resonate. Buddhism teaches that ones lives one’s life according to the Noble Eightfold Path: Right Views, Right Resolve, Right Speech, Right Conduct, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Recollection, Right Meditations. Perhaps we can use this system as a base for an astrologer’s code of ethics.
I think most of us innately understand and use these concepts. Astrology expands consciousness, astrology allows Right Views, and astrology teaches tolerance and acceptance. I believe, or want to believe, that most astrologers are motivated by Right Resolve, a desire to aid, help, and reduce suffering whenever possible. Right Speech is often a topic of discussion, how not to be negative or create self fulfilling prophecies; how to use safe, gentle, kind vocabulary; how not to use too much jargon and thus alienate the client. We want all astrologers to use Right Conduct, which I see as simply trying to do no harm. To mix metaphors, this is ” not my will but thine” behavior. Right Conduct implies managing an aggressive ego and recognizing where greed creeps in around the corners. Right Conduct recognizes another person’s autonomy and respects his/her boundaries. Astrology is definitely Right Livelihood when it is performed according to these precepts. If Right Conduct is the way of doing, then Right Effort is the labor, the sixth house. We can borrow Don Juan’s teachings that we emulate the ‘impeccable warrior’,(a most Saturnine concept), as a model for action. Right Recollection asks that every act be fully conscious. We have a responsibility for self-awareness and a need to monitor what we say and how we react to make sure that none of our personal stuff is leaking through and influencing our work. The eighth precept, Right Meditations, speaks to the need for constant self-development and consistent adherence to a discipline of spiritual practice that allows time for meditation, contemplation, and a connection with the greater source.
Buddhism is a system of ethics that has survived through the years and has much to teach us regardless of one’s personal religion or beliefs. I propose that we use this ancient teaching to guide us in our attempt to work as astrologers within this disintegrating society. It’s something to think about.