Reaching for the Stars
By Christian Koenig
Christian Koenig

The action artist Christo, who attracted worldwide attention with his wrappings, once said that the purpose of his art was to gain a different perspective on the familiar. A completely new, yet old perspective on astrology is provided by Visual Astrology.

Why is Visual Astrology important? Isn't regular chart-delineation enough to do? As astrologers we are working with charts, a pragmatic model of the sky. But: A model is not the three-dimensional reality. Just as a map of London is very useful, but is not London itself. We pretend that there are only planets in the firmament, which pull their car alone on the ecliptic. A sad model: a dark sky without twinkling stars. Although "astrology" means "giving meaning to the stars" ("astron" = star; "logos" = sense, meaning). So for about 2000 years, we have been giving "meaning to the stars" without stars. We have lost contact with the sky and all its rich, sometimes millennia-old myths and stories; the model (horoscope) replaced the reality (sky).

The common method of working with fixed stars is projecting them onto the ecliptic (celestial longitude). The celestial latitude, the distance of a star from the ecliptic, is completely ignored. This implies that all fixed stars are lying directly on the band of the ecliptic - like pearls on a string. Thus it comes to such absurd statements like "Sirius conjuncts my Sun." That makes as much sense as one would say that London (00E07) is located in the same place on the globe like Accra, the capital city of Ghana (00E10). In fact, Sirius is 400 away from the Sun. Once again: Model and reality ...

This is precisely where Visual Astrology comes in:it wants a three-dimensional delineation of the starry sky and of the planets. Visual Astrology is broadening horoscopic astrology to the following perspectives:

  • 1. The Stars
    • Starphasing: Fixed star is not equal to fixed star. In Visual Astrology, we distinguish four different phases in which one and the same star can be located, depending on the location of the observer.
    • Parans instead of projection on the ecliptic. So the proper motion of the planets (running on the ecliptic) and the fixed stars (circling around the Pole) is acknowledged: both celestial bodies are related with each other during their actual rising, setting and culmination. Because the whole birthday is calculated, a profound delineation is possible even with unknown birth time.
    • The Sky Map: In what constellation and in which part of the constellation is a planet, because every part of a constellation has its own meaning. For example, it makes a difference whether a planet is between the claws of the scorpion or in his "heart".
  • 2. The Planets
    • Their relationship to the Sun, their brightness and visibility.
    • Individual nuances of a planet, as they were mentioned in ancient Babylonian cuneiform texts so far. For example Mars expresses himself differently, when he claims the night sky on its own, or when he is "domesticated" by other planets.
  • 3. The Storied Sky:
    • The mythology of the constellations and the planets and the constantly changing narrative between them.

Therefore Visual Astrology is not about drawing in a bunch of fixed stars in the chart, but rather more about being aware of the big picture (the firmament) and combining it with the familiar (the chart).

For me personally, Visual Astrology has greatly enlarged and enriched my horoscopic astrology: I can now no longer imagine delineating charts without the sky map and the fixed-star-parans. All in all, since then I have felt much more connected with the starry sky and with my astrological ancestors - I was a planetologist, who became an astrologer in the truest sense of the word. We astrologers are the guardians of the relationship between Heaven and Earth. And by letting outgrow our awareness of the ecliptic, we can reach for the stars again.