According to a Harris Poll conducted last year, 31 percent of the public believes in astrology. If so many people believe astrology can predict personality, it’s worth asking whether homosexuality is a fate written in the stars.
Webster’s dictionary says that astrology is the divination of the supposed influences of the stars and planets on human affairs and terrestrial events by their positions and aspects. Today, many astrologers claim only that the movements of celestial bodies describe or symbolize the events of human life, and do not say that they "influence" us or make things happen to us.
Few astrologers believe that sex or sexual orientation can be predicted on the basis of a birth chart alone.
However, a generation ago many astrologers claimed that homosexuality was evidence of a poor response to a "hard aspect to Venus," a "prominent positioning of Uranus," or some other supposed "malefic influence."
There are many astrologers who believe that while there is no one "gay signature" in a birth chart, there are a variety of astrological signs that may indicate a predisposition towards homosexuality. There has never been a comprehensive study of homosexuality in birth charts, so there’s no hard evidence regarding exactly what the signature might be.
Even though sexual orientation may not be predictable in a birth chart, some schools of astrology assert that the birth chart can help us to understand the spiritual lessons we are here to learn through our homosexuality.
The evolutionary school of astrology asserts that souls reincarnate, and it looks at the birth chart as an indicator of a soul’s karma and dharma. In other words, astrology is a tool for looking at the leftover spiritual lessons from past lives and a soul’s ongoing work in this lifetime.
Evolutionary astrology doesn’t assert that people choose to be gay. Rather, it asserts that our souls have chosen homosexuality (along with our other personality traits and characteristics). Why would a soul choose to be a man or gay? Quite simply, say astrologers, because our souls have spiritual lessons that can’t be learned in any other way.
Dan Keusal is a professional evolutionary astrologer and counselor in private practice in Seattle. A while ago, I went to see Dan for an astrology reading, and I confessed to being a skeptic. I explained that most of what I knew about astrology came from occasionally reading newspaper horoscopes for amusement.
"I agree with you. That kind of astrology is pretty silly," Dan said. "You pick up the newspaper today and all 30 million Libras in the world are supposedly all going to have the same experience."
Dan explained the principles of evolutionary astrology and then said he had a story that could help me to understand my birth chart. But first, he wanted to be respectful of my spiritual beliefs, so he asked if I was comfortable imagining that my soul may have had past lives.
I said that I didn’t know what to think about reincarnation, but I was open to that possibility. Then he offered me a story.
"I want you to imagine that it’s Sept. 3, 1969. It’s about six in the evening, about two hours before you’ll be born. You’re up on the cosmic diving board with God. Moses Lake, Wash., is rolling beneath you, about to become part of your biography."
"God turns to you and says, ‘Joe, I want you to know that I love you ... And I’ve got some pretty clear ideas as you’re getting ready to go down and incarnate as Joe Perez. Ideas about the next steps your soul needs to take in its growth ...
" ‘That is to say, what kind of people, experiences, dilemmas, and events will keep you more engaged, more alive. And which choices you could make that will take you off track. What’s more, you have the freedom to choose which of these possibilities come to pass.’
"Then God says, ‘There’s something else. Once you’re born, you’ll forget everything I’m about to tell you. That’s not so bad ... This wisdom will show up in this life as your intuitions. For instance, if you were a nun in a past life maybe you learned about service, prayer, and denial, but this time you’re going down with a healthy libido that you can’t quite deny anymore.’ "
With that, the birth chart reading began.
A while later, I walked out of the astrologer’s office. Dan’s style of astrology is evolutionary, not traditional, so he ventured no predictions about my sexual orientation. And yet there were some interesting things in my chart that could be seen in a gay light. For example, Uranus, the planet of individuation and rebellion, appears in my House of Marriage.
I didn’t "believe in" astrology going in, and in a sense, I still don’t. The astrology reading required no blind leap of faith, because it simply worked. It accurately predicted the central questions that I’ve been wrestling with in my spiritual journey. Most of all, it inspired me to face life’s challenges with renewed vitality and hope.
I agree with something the late gay astrologer Ed Steinbrecher said: "I don’t believe in astrology. I use astrology and find it works. The same way I don’t believe in electricity, but if there’s juice in the wires and I flip a switch, something happens."
"Soulfully Gay" is a bi-weekly column that explores spirituality and religion from a gay man’s perspective. Joe Perez has studied comparative religion at Harvard University and currently works as a writer in Seattle. Send feedback to email@example.com. Visit Joe’s blog on spirituality at http://www.joe-perez.com/weblog.htm.