Psychological Astrology

Link to the Episode

Anshu Bahanda: This is Anshu Bahanda on Wellness Curated. Thanks for joining me on this podcast. My mission is to empower you with health and wellness, so that you can then go and empower others. We are deep diving into psychological astrology, discovering what it is and how it can help us understand more about our life and ourselves. We probably all have heard of and know a bit about astrology. It’s very popular. Plus a significant number of us have had therapy. Here to explain more about this unique blending of two different, but perhaps complementary disciplines, astrology and psychology is my guest, Arya Punj Timblo. Arya is a professional adult and child psychotherapist and an experienced psychological astrologer, who’s been working in both these fields for the past 20 years. She also teaches psychological astrology online internationally. Now, Arya, this word psychological astrology, what is it? 

Arya Punj Timblo: Psychological astrology, the practice welds together two of the most exciting fields for me which are psychology and astrology. And specifically, it is a cross fertilisation of depth psychology. So when we’re looking at psychology, there’s so many fields of psychology. I’m looking at it from a therapeutic form of astrology, predominantly the psychodynamic model that Freud and Jung, as well as a spiritual psychotherapist named Assagioli (he’s an Italian psychotherapist), have borrowed from their theories and combining it with astrology. Now, more specifically, I’m also not looking at Indian Vedic astrology. I’m not even looking at Western predictive astrology. What I’m looking at is the psychology of the soul. I am particularly interested in the soul’s journey, the soul’s purpose. Why have we incarnated in this lifetime? Why do we have to go through certain experiences? And why do I have to meet certain people, go through certain circumstances in order to grow and flower? 

AB: We hear about the sun, the Moon, the ascendants. Can you explain that to people? What does that involve? How does their own Sun, Moon and ascendants affect them? 

APT: I think most people have been familiar with their sun sign from a popular culture point of view. Of course, the Moon sign is something that is particularly important in Indian astrology. When we talk about what’s your rashi, that is actually your Moon sign. Indian Vedic astrology puts a lot of emphasis on the Moon sign. So it is very much our emotional side and our emotional needs, and what helps us to feel safe, what helps us to feel connected and bonded. It also from the chart very faithfully reflects our image of the mother and how we experience her. So the energies that we pick up from her, as well as the bond or the relationship with her.

AB: That’s really interesting. 

APT: And as psychology also knows, our attachment theory basically looks at our initial relationship with our mother or our primary caregiver sets, the prototype or the model for subsequent relationships. So, for example, very beautifully in the chart, you can see which is the kind of mother who is very soft and nurturing. You can see the mother’s energy from the moon sign, if she’s fiery, if she’s motivated, if she’s a driven person. The moon sign also gives us an idea of our genetic inheritance from our mother’s side. 

AB: Amazing. 

APT: So it can also help tap into perhaps untapped potentials or talents or perhaps also issues and fears and insecurities, because as you know, having had children, our children very much pick up our greatest potential, they also pick up our fears and our insecurities and our issues, so to speak. So our moon sign also, in a nutshell, helps us to understand our comfort zone. 

AB: Oh, wow. 

APT: Now this sounds like it would be intuitive that everybody feels the same, but it’s actually very different. I have a son who is a very fiery moon sign, so he needs a lot of adventure, he needs to feel excited, he needs to feel challenged. My other son needs a lot of safety. He needs prediction, he needs to know what our routine is going to be for the next week, so to speak. So our moon sign is what we have actually accrued for many lifetimes that we’ve mastered, whereas our sun sign is what we have meant to actualise in this lifetime. So it involves taking a risk, it involves challenging ourselves in ways that we have not maybe done. So it also involves letting go of the cocoon, our womb, our roots, all the safety things, and actually putting ourselves out into the world.

AB: Amazing. 

APT: So it’s a bit like if you look at psychologically, the moon sign is like the maternal embrace and our sun is about spreading wings and flying and also giving what Joseph Campbell, the psychologist, talks about taking the call to adventure, the hero’s quest, so to speak. So there’s something about developing bravery to kind of go out into the world and making your mark, which is our sun sign. The ascendant is actually not a luminary or a planet like the sun or moon sign, but it is an entry point of the chart.

AB: Will you explain the luminary to us? 

APT: The luminaries are the sun and the moon because they’re not technically planets. So we either refer to the sun or the moon as the luminaries. 

AB: Someone who lights up your power. 

APT: Yes. So our ascendant is the entry point of the chart. So when we first meet someone, we actually take up their ascendant because it is the initial response or the initial energy we put out when we meet somebody. When you look at the ascendant, it’s kind of like the cover page of a book. The ascendant always serves the sun sign. So it’s a bit like having a hero on a journey and having a sidekick. 

AB: So do you find that ascendants can be the same very often in families? 

APT: That’s an interesting question because usually our ascendant is a very accurate reflection of a very strong energy of our parents chart. My ascendant is the exact degree of my father’s sun sign and my brother’s sun sign.

AB: So there could be a connection because you’re saying your ascendant is the exact degree of your father’s son. I want you to explain that to us. 

APT: Every sign has around 30 degrees, and according to each degree, it becomes more and more accurate. My father always wanted to be a teacher, so lo and behold, I became a teacher. So it is the unconscious conscious qualities that your parents develop within you, so to speak, because that confirms for them, and that encourages your potential to shine.

AB: As you’re talking about degrees, will you now explain the birth chart also to us? 

APT: Sure. So when we are looking at calculating a birth chart, we need some information, some rather technical information. We need your time of birth, we need your place of birth, and we need your date of birth. Day of birth is very important because it helps us to understand the planets and where they are when you are born and the relationship the planets make with each other. So, for example, your sun might be in Libra, for example, which is the sun Libra’s potential is to create an intellectual community and also Libra’s potential is art and beauty and the aesthetic dimension. So your sun sign could be making other relationships with other planets. So it gives you an idea of where the planets are on your date of birth. So it changes from day to day. Place of birth is important because it gives us the latitude and longitude of when you are born and how it’s different. So being born at 06:00 a.m. in India is very different from being born in London and the timing is important because, honestly, literally every second counts in astrology. Now, the ascendant we talked about is a very important part of our chart. So when we are trying to calculate the ascendant, we need to see which zodiac sign is at the eastern horizon the minute or the second we are born. I’ve actually done the chart for twins, and the three minutes difference gave them a very different ascendant. One was very bold, one was very confident, like “I know what I want. I know how to get it.” The other one was very introspective. She was very shy, person reticent, and very much soul related. She wasn’t really interested in going out into the world. So the few minutes in a birth chart can make a big difference. 

AB: Tell us, Arya, about the basic principles of psychological astrology. 

APT: Like I said, I very much look at the soul and the soul’s evolution. So when I’m looking at how it really manifests, I’m looking at one of the basic premises that the Greeks believed in, as well as Socrates. He says, “as above is so below”, which means to manifest. I had this one client coming to me and she said, “all these people are so creative. I work with all these creative people. Why am I not creative?” I said, “I see in your chart a lot of creativity. The thing is, you’re too scared to tap into it, but it’s your fears and inhibitions. Her Saturn, the planet Shani, which inhibited her from actually going into developing that side of herself”, so you can also see a lot of blocks that come into astrology. And this also applies to relationships. The person, our significant other, the person we work with, will have untapped potential within myself that I have not manifested yet. So it’s a bit like being a role model or an outlet for me to connect to that part within myself. And the more self aware we are, the more we are able to realise this and work creatively with it and develop the things that are the facets which are meant to flower within our lifetime. 

AB: This sounds fascinating, Arya. So you know the combination of psychology and astrology because a lot of people believe in Vedic astrology, including me, and I’ve seen people’s lives change based on that. Just as an example, people say to me, how can it help you? But if you’re warned about something in advance, you can prepare yourself to handle it, as long as it doesn’t deflate you too much, as long as you can gather the strength. Tell me, how can psychological astrology help people? I know you worked with people for a long time now, and you also teach it. Tell me how you’ve seen it helping. 

APT: I come from a psychotherapeutic background, so I believe in helping a person to see within themselves and make connections, to kind of see the bigger picture within themselves, so to speak. So, for example, I had a client who came to me and very typically, it’s not uncommon for people to come in with relationship issues. When I looked at the configurations in her chart, I saw the planet of Venus, which we call the planet of love, the planet of what we value because we fall in love with what we value in another person. So I saw the planet of Venus was connected to the planet which we call Uranus. Because while Venus is looking for intimacy and connection, Uranus wants to be independent. 

AB: That’s amazing. 

APT: So I said, It’s interesting that you are identifying with a Venus within yourself, and you are projecting your Uranian urges onto the other person. And I said, “why don’t you reflect upon what it would be like, what changes would you need to make in your life if you actually married someone or lived in with them or whatever you want to do?” And she said, “oh, my goodness, I wouldn’t be able to do half the things I’m doing. I’m not sure I’m ready to let go of them.” So I said, “that’s fine, you don’t have to let go of them. But if you are conscious of your fear of suffocation, you can work with that in a creative way instead of living it out through someone else.”

AB: Did she ultimately find somebody? Because I know a lot of people in the world looking for love. 

APT: Yes, she did. But it ultimately ended up working for her. She acknowledged to herself that she had too much she wanted to do in this lifetime, so she was much more happy with the long distance relationship. 

AB: Fascinating. So you’re saying that a lot of issues that potentially crop up in our lives, if we fully understand ourselves, we can suit the path. 

APT: Socrates had an expression saying “the unexamined life is not worth living” and he also said, “know thyself” and really to know the bottom of myself, the depths of my soul, my deepest fears, my inhibitions, my anger, my pain, and actually bring that up into the light of day and work with it creatively really is what psychological astrology can help a person to do. For example, so many people say, “I want to be successful”, but they don’t realise how they unconsciously self sabotage themselves. 

AB: This is absolutely fascinating, Arya. Even though it’s not predictive astrology, I mean, it sounds like it could potentially make a huge difference to people’s lives. Explain to me the difference between psychological astrology and predictive astrology, whether Vedic, or Western.

APT: I have great respect for Vedic astrology and predictive astrology. My nanny actually was a predictive Vedic astrology, and a great one at that. But usually when a person is coming for a predictive astrology, western or Indian astrology, they are looking for answers, and they’re looking for an all-knowing omniscient stage. “Should I marry this person? Will I have children? Will I have money?” These are very typical questions. So in many ways, it’s like a patient and a doctor. Doctor says something, prescribes it. It’s coming from the premise that it is a deterministic universe that we live in. There are certain things in our cards, in our destiny. We do have choices, but we need to also know ourselves, to know when we’re coming from a compulsion and when we’re coming from a healthy need. I’m really actually not looking at telling people because as a therapist, people depend on me, I am not looking to have people come here and for me to tell them and then they feel that I know more than them. I try to empower them and help them to understand and reflect upon the patterns of the past and how it’s still coming into the future and in the present. Okay. If a person is coming from an astrological planetary position of Venus, Chiron. Venus, again is a planet of love and what we fall in love with and Chiron is the wounded healer. 

AB: Wow, that is fascinating. 

APT: When I also look at a chart, I look at the inner feminine and masculine in a chart. As a woman, we have an inner masculine and if we are not connected to the masculine, knowing what she wants, knowing how to get it in life, I will live it out vicariously through the man in my life. If I’m very masculine and I’m disconnected from my emotional needs, I will meet someone who’s at the same point. So if I do not know how to balance my emotional needs and nurture myself and also do what I need to do, be goal oriented and get what I want, if I’m not able to find that inner balance of the yin and yang, so to speak, I will find someone who’s an exact reflection of that. The more I’m able to work on myself and balance that, the more I will meet a person who is at that same balance. 

AB: So tell me, any advice or astrology takeaways for these current times which are so unpredictable and we’ve never seen times like this before? 

APT: Sure. I mean, there’s a lot of astrological things that are going on at the moment. We have been going through difficult times with COVID I mean, there’s a lot going on with Saturn, which is the planet of our greatest challenges, but also our greatest growth. So we saw through the COVID times how Saturn was going through that time and is now inviting us to go back into the outer world. I also feel that right now it is a good time to look at a few things. Sagittarius is a very important time for everybody because we all have each zodiac sign in our chart. It’s a question of how much emphasis we have. But this is a great time because Sagittarius is a fire sign, so it is the sign of intuition, it is a sign of wisdom. It is the sign of goals and aspirations and trusting, having faith in yourself and having faith in providence that my dreams or my hopes or aspirations will come true.

AB: Fascinating. 

APT: So it’s a great time to actually light a candle in the darkness and set out intentions as to how you would like the month to be, deciding your hopes, your aspirations, your goals, as well as your inhibitions that are getting in the way of what you want to manifest in the world at the moment. I was just thinking about how the planet of Mars is retrograding. All of us have Mars in our chart. It is the planet of our drive. It is the planet of our masculine side, like knowing what I want, knowing how to get it, and it is also the libido so our life force now. What’s happening is the planet Mars is what we call retrograding. So it looks as though it’s been put on breaks. So this can be a little bit frustrating for other people because instead of going into the world, we are also being invited to reflect upon what it is that we desire the most. Now Vedic astrology looks at it as a bad time. I don’t look at it as a bad time. I think it’s a question of really taking energy and trying to work creatively within it. It’s a great time to reassess your goals. So trying to push other people, trying to be too aggressive is not a great idea at the moment. It’s a better time to be clear within yourself. 

AB: What else can you tell us about the different signs, like air signs, fire signs, water signs? 

APT: It’s a great time for, but particularly sagittarians, to speak their worth and also show their value and work to other people. I would also want to say something about Aquarians because aquariums have gone through a rather challenging time because of the transiting planet of Saturn, which is our greatest difficulties and challenges, but also which leads to our greatest potential. So it’s been a difficult time because aquariums by nature are an air sign. They like to move, they like to learn, they love to create a sense of community and Saturn has been holding them back with various issues, whether with it for their father or for male figures, or holding their potential back. They may not feel that I’m able to manifest my potential, but I would like to say that Saturn does everything for a reason. He’s like the wise old man who is inviting you to reflect and also to not do things to prove yourself, but to just be yourself and be more clear within yourself and also to integrate more creativity in what they’re doing. Aquarians are very much an intellectual sign, so Saturn has been holding them down to make them develop their creative dimension as well and integrate that with their intellect. 

AB: Absolutely. That’s very well said. I’ve been studying the Indian scriptures a little bit, and that’s the message that our whole lifetime is about, taking messages from the universe. 

APT: On a predictive level, we will just say that illness falls upon us. But on a psychological level, what I would look at when someone is going through a physical ailment and also as a therapist, I look at which part of themselves are they ignoring or they’re not honouring. All parts of our body, like all the gods and goddesses, when astrology, need to be honoured. If we pay attention to one dimension of my life and not another, somehow it’s going to create some unrest and turmoil, therefore, disharmony in our body and discomfort. 

AB: So psychological astrology seems like a great way of maximising your wellness and your health, because if there is an issue, then it’s obviously related to some part of your life that you’re, like you said very nicely, not honouring. 

APT: We have all twelve zodiac signs in our chart, and we all have all the twelve different energies and dimensions of our lives. If we don’t honour it, sometimes they come and they kind of knock on our door or push themselves to be seen and heard, acknowledged and respected. 

AB: Very, very beautifully put, Arya. Thank you so much for this absolutely incredible chat that we’ve had. Thanks for joining us. Hope you enjoyed the Wellness Curated podcast. Please subscribe and tell your friends and family about it. And here’s to you, leading your best life.