In Greek Mythology, the world of the Gods and that of the humans was believed to be inseparable. In fact, every emotion, every drive or desire, was interpreted as a God acting through a person. People were basically seen as empty shells that were a physical manifestation for the Gods to incarnate through. Sometimes, several of them would battle or co-operate within an individual. This worldview can be applied to astrology – the archetypal forces associated with the Gods can be translated to be astrological planets in the birth chart. Zeus is equivalent to Jupiter, Aphrodite to Venus, and so on.
When mythology says “Aphrodite is incarnating through you right now”, astrology says “Venus is being activated in your birth chart right now” – both expressions implicate that the individual is being very polite, fair, beautiful, or in another way portraying Venusian traits. Likewise, when mythology says “Aphrodite and Prometheus are battling within you”, astrology says “Venus and Uranus form a hard aspect in your birth chart or transits”, meaning that an individual’s drive for harmony in relationships and their need for freedom and rebellion are at odds with each other.
Aphrodite (Venus) is the Greek goddess of love and beauty. This is different from how we view "Gods" nowadays. In Christianity, there is one God and we associate traits with him such as God is good or God is merciful. In Greek mythology, it worked the other way around: Emotions, forces, and experiences, which are universal and immortal, which existed before us and will exist after us, energies which control everybody's lives, were called Gods. The Greeks didn't say "Aphrodite is a goddess and she is loving and beautiful". They said "love and beauty are universal energies and experiences and they are not subject to death, they are beyond the human and immortal. Therefore, they are divine. They are gods."
So, in reality, Aphrodite isn't beautiful and doesn't rule over love. Aphrodite is beauty. Aphrodite is love. She is the personification of that energy and experience. That archetype.
So when the Gods or their equivalent planets are influencing us, they aren't as much playing us like puppets as a force outside of us as the emotion or drive they represent is taking possession of us.
The astrological birth chart shows which of these drives (/gods/archetypes) are strongest in us and how they interact with each other. It's a chart of our needs and motivations and of how they are fulfilled or frustrated. Our transits show when certain archetypes will be activated in us and, thus, our lives.
Astrology is not really religion or mythology. Rather, it's simply a study of universal archetypes. It's a personal choice to personify them or put them into the context of metaphorical stories.
I have written about the relationship between the personality and the destiny in the astrological chart before. The forces within us, our needs and drives, are often unconscious - unless we have studied ourselves (or our charts) very well. That is how our charts, which are primarily indicators of our psychological makeup in modern astrology, become self-fulfilling prophecies. As long as we are unconscious of and don't transform who we are, our personalities match our personal realities. Our character entails our destiny.
The goal of depth psychology is to make the unconscious conscious. By becoming aware of childhood traumas, fears, defense mechanisms, our needs and motivations, projections, and other unconscious content of our psyche, we gain power to change ourselves and our life. We are no longer controlled by unconscious motivations, we can choose our reality. Depth psychology believes that becoming conscious of that which is unconscious is cathartic and healing.This is another way to approach astrology, and a very Plutonian one. To dig up that which is hidden to gain control and power and to heal.
This is also the approach to astrology that I take (because I have very strong Pluto/Scorpio/8th House influences in my chart). Getting to know myself and digging up all the (sometimes painful) truths about myself and my life in my chart has really helped me understand and thus love myself.
And I feel like this is what I want to focus on doing: teach others how to get to know themselves very deeply through astrology and heal through it.
What are your thoughts on the nature and use of astrology? How do you approach it?