We Are Made of Stars
Perhaps it started when I was 22. I had a roommate in college who studied Western Astrology and taught me all of the energies of the planets, and the signs, and those 12 houses. We would sit in front of our wood-burning fireplace, and open books and read-aloud to each other from her traditional Western Astrology texts. One of those books was about the wisdom of Jupiter, and how his placements in our chart show us where we are lucky. I was lucky, I thought. I knew enough to identify someone’s Jupiter, and then I could tell my friends about this juicy planet in the sky that brings us bounty and good fortune. That alone made me a bit of an astrologer; it gave me a kind of identity. I thought.
Perhaps it was that same year, and the night I wrote these words alone on a single page of my journal: “We are made of stars.” I was staring up at a clear night sky from the balcony of my Boulder Colorado apartment, watching the full moon very close to Jupiter, the pair like a slow dance. That vibrant light and exuberant energy could be felt. It tingled. I remember a little dance on my insides.
Perhaps, it was sitting, wrapped in a blanket, on that patio for hours just staring into that bright light face, and letting that energy wrap me tighter. I began to realize astrology was real. These planets lived above me, around me, and also inside of me.
Perhaps it started when I randomly met my Vedic Astrology teacher at a pool party, and I asked her the same question I asked everyone I met at that time, “What’s your sign?” It was like a party trick that always worked. It was Boulder. When you tell someone about herself, see someone in a way that they don’t see themselves, it’s usually a win. I was learning.
She immediately told me her ascendant, her moon and sun sign, and I knew I had a new friend. Little did I know that friendship would turn into a relationship of great importance to my spiritual development and unfolding for the rest of my life.
She was a Vedic Astrologer, and in the way I understood the “light” of Western Astrology, she understood more, something more true. She also knew more about me than I knew about my own chart, and she hadn’t yet looked at my chart. I told her I was a Virgo rising.
“Your hair has shades of red,” she pointed out with a kind of uncanny certainty, “maybe you're a Leo.”
I am a Leo ascendant in the Sidereal Zodiac. That wisdom became a source of light for me; I needed to know more.
No matter how many astrology readings I had, there was something I was not getting. A relationship was, yet again, not working out. My heart continued to break again and again. Each time, I scheduled another Vedic Astrology reading. Somehow I thought if I understood the planets and memorized everything happening in the transits, dosha periods, and varshphals, then I could somehow control the outcomes of my life. I could be ready for everything that would happen. I could make my heart okay.
One astrologer once said, “I’ve never met someone so obsessed with their chart.” I needed my chart to define me.
But the truth was, knowing more about astrology wasn’t saving me, but it was bringing me closer to a kind of inner knowing. Just like my yoga practice, I needed my chart to understand my body and my mind – I was unconsciously seeking balance. As I worked to breathe and perfect the alignment of poses, I needed my chart to see patterns of my life. Once in a while, while finding that alignment, grace would flood my heart, and I came to realize that through breath and in practice we come closer to God.
I needed my chart to show me how I experience life. It was all a thing on screen, and on a page, and I could observe how my life is unfolding and may unfold. We call our charts the play of our lives, and I become an actress on a stage performance orchestrated by the planets and their relationships. It is all a thing I was doing.
This inner drive made me a student of Vedic Astrology. I began feeling sparks of the light of the universe in yoga poses and meditation, like tiny hits of truth within. The light I was grasping for was apparent inside of me. It was not separated from me. I was not separated from it.
It was in giving myself a sense of “personality,” I was separating myself; by needing consistent definition and approval, I was less aligned. I wasn’t the definitions of those planets. I am the planets. All I wanted to do was find more of that light.
I started acquiring a new understanding of the universe as I studied Vedic Astrology texts, The Bible, The Bhagavad Gita, Ram Dass, Neem Karoli Baba, various forms of meditation, and deepening my yoga practices. I learned that nothing is better or worse, no chart is better or worse, no dosha period is better or worse. The source of all light is one single source.
My meditation practices deepened most of all, and a powerful flow of grace started to become my life – I felt it in my work, on my walks, in each step. There wasn’t anything separating me from God. All I had to do was surrender to the divine flow, the plan in front of me, this single moment, and the source of love would fall into me. Jyotisha is an invitation to a path that allows us to find our way to God.
The study of light.
God is light.
And it still is, sitting on a patio somewhere, staring at the face of the moon and feeling the completeness within; the infinite stillness of the perfection of the universe resides within me. Everything I’ve ever desired is within this very moment. Within this very breath. In fact, that moment, almost 20 years ago, isn't different from the ones I experience now. Only now, that light is more consistent, it’s more often, it’s assimilating.
Each of those heavenly lights in the pure night sky, a continuum and a perfection, dissolving in and out of one singular one. This connection, a web of hearts. We are made of stars. One giant beating pulse of light. God.
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Renay Oshop - teacher, searcher, researcher, immerser, rejoicer, enjoying the interstices between Twitter, Facebook, and journals.