The following is trasncript from the Astrology University Podcast with Mark Jones & Darby Costello on the topic of Astrology and Life Purpose. You can listen to the podcast here.
Tony Howard: Tony Howard here with Astrology University and we’re here with another episode of the Astrology University podcast. Thanks for joining us. And today we have Mark Jones and Darby Costello with us to talk about some really big topics. We’re going to talk about astrology, life purpose and destiny and the intersection of astrology with those big picture questions about life, and how we use astrology to approach those questions to find the answers to those questions, or not. And so that’s what we’re going to talk about today. So thanks for joining me, you two. Great to have you on the show. And so I thought we’d open up with a question about whether it’s really appropriate or possible to ask these big questions of astrology and whether it’s possible that astrology can provide answers to these questions. What are your thoughts about that?
Darby Costello: It reminds me of something that happened recently. Within two weeks of each other two weeks, two people, two men, both in their probably 50s or 60s came to me. They didn’t know each other, it was separate, because this is where I see my clients right here. And both of them said to me that they had felt as though they had not fulfilled their destiny. And they wanted information, they wanted a discussion about that in terms of their charts. Was there something that they should have done? They had the strong feeling that they had not fulfilled their destiny. And that’s what our conversation was about. And I’d never had that before. So then afterwards, it was before you decided on this topic, you know, and when you decided on this topic, I thought of them. And I thought aha – here’s destiny again. What is this thing? Destiny. You know, that people feel they either have fulfilled? Or haven’t. And is it in the chart?
Mark Jones: I have to say that when you picked this topic, it was one of those rare symposiums or conferences where I could have just presented on like about 20 or 30 topics. It’s just the kind of topic I’d want to get asked when I present something. It’s interesting, Darby, you were telling us about this just before we started the recording, and you use the phrase life purpose. This particular sense of this example with these two men, the word destiny, the word life purpose are kind of interchangeable, aren’t they? You could argue from some maybe ultimate point of view, maybe there’s a distinction between them. But what people are really saying is, when they’re asking you with a degree of passionate quality in their voice – have I fulfilled my life purpose? Or have I fulfilled my destiny? They’re talking about something about human meaning, aren’t they? They’re not saying we’re the Puritans when they believed in predestination, or we’re the Stoics in Greece when they talked about fate. Was Plato right in the myth of Er? They’re not talking about an intellectual argument about what is fate or what is destiny. Saying, what does my human life mean? And did I live up to the full potential of my human life in the particular cloth from which I’m cut, so to speak? And I think that’s the great question that comes up for people. It’s not fate or fortune or life purpose in an abstract sense, it’s very much the human value of that question. They’re not being philosophers. They’re being personal investigators of their own life energy and their own life’s journey. And why I think astrology can help with that human value question of was my life meaningful? Absolutely I do. In all sorts of ways, because with those two gentlemen, you were talking about of a certain age, I think you said they’re in their 60s. I mean, is it a case of what was missing from their lives? Or is it a case of accepting something that they did do and seeing the value in it rather than projecting that it wasn’t value and there was some other thing they ought to be chasing that’s all the more beautiful? These are complex questions, aren’t they? And the chart provides this wonderful mandala anchor for maybe the greatest discussion you could ever have with someone you know. What’s your life been about? You know, it’s like the world’s greatest excuse for an in-depth conversation.
Darby: And that’s exactly what happened. I can remember one more than the other, because I thought he had fulfilled his purpose. But it’s a feeling, isn’t it? Some people feel as though they are doing that which is right for them. So many people say younger people will say, but I have to, I have to do something, I have to fulfill something. And I’ll say, what is it? And they’ll say, I don’t know. But you know, there’s that feeling. And then as you say, you have a discussion with them the conversation using the chart, this chart between you sitting on the table between you, and all the conversation is around the chart and how they can get to the feeling that they’re in the right place. You know, is there a right place? Or do they get to the feeling they’re in the right place?
Mark: That raises a beautifully subtle question for me. Because there’s acceptance we’re talking about. The gentleman you felt that he had achieved this purpose. But he didn’t. Is he following some abstract injunction from outside himself? Is he following some idealism a parent held from him or an early teacher? Or is it actually a split inside in where he wants to be more perfectionistic or something? Sometimes to me it’s about validating, isn’t it?
Darby: Yes. It’s about validating.
Mark: Yeah, exactly. And what’s the meaning they’ve already lived? Dane Rudhyar said, sometimes, in a sense, astrologers are treating the chart as if the reading is for this newborn baby. And they’ve never lived a single step that just the chart is being read now. Rudhyar said no, the person has already spent X number of years living their chart. And what kind of job have they done? How have they handled that? What does it say about them? What does it say about the chart? And I find that a wonderful place to start with people. How have you already lived your chart so that we see feel what’s that like? And then make an adjustment to where you are now and what’s next.
Darby: Yeah. And you know, you remind me that occasionally, and ever since I’ve been doing charts, occasionally, somebody comes to me, and they’re in their mid 80s. Somebody came to me at 89. And she came to me until she died at 95. And the first time I was very young, I was in my 20s. And each time I feel as though it’s like they have so much and yet the conversation we have always is so interesting because they may not be able to articulate who they are. But suddenly they can through the chart being there, or through me reflecting the chart at them. When they start articulating it, then I can articulate it back and they can and of course I’m recording it all and the conversation becomes so beautiful, because they have this whole experience.
Mark: Well, and it would be a dilemma for some, wouldn’t it? If someone comes in their 80s for a chart reading, because if you’re the kind of astrologer that has this series of progressive techniques about how the person is going to go forward in their life, this is a person has already lived most of it. If you’re capable of holding a soulful stance to astrology, that can be a remarkably interesting conversation. But clearly it has to transcend just telling the person about themselves in a psychological way. I mean, I did that once when I was very young, and I was using a set of specific techniques with a 78 year old, very mature lady. And she turned to me and she said, ‘That was a wonderful young man that was very accurate, you’re extremely accurate.’ And we were half an hour in and I felt nothing but disappointment. She was saying, you have told me what I already knew about myself and you did a really good job. And I said, Well, what about if we pause? And what if we use some more experimental techniques? The astrology that I practice now looks at things more deeply. It looks at the possible origins of why or what might be going on in soul about these dynamics we’ve spoken about. Would you like to have that conversation? And we did in a really shared way, me listening to her as much as her me. And there were tears of recognition and tears of grief, like 15 minutes into that conversation when I dropped the idea of describing her psychologically from her chart, which is a technique that you can learn to do that. And it suddenly became this multifaceted conversation about the why of her life, the particular essence of it, what she had been here for and what she felt she was still truly being.
Darby: You remind me of something. One of the first people I saw when I came to this country 25 years ago, she was 77. And she was an artist and she was fabulous. And she came to me and sent all of her friends, which I loved. It got me going, and we did the chart and everything. And a few days later, I met her in the street, coming down the street. And she looked at me and she said, thank you so much for helping me with my mother. And I said, still? And she said, forever, dear forever. And I knew her until she died in her mid 80s. And it was interesting because I was looking at Moon-Venus you know, mother.
Mark: Well, and you know, parents or family, you’re born with them aren’t you? You can’t choose them. It’s like life decides certain things are soulful, or lifelong, almost. I had this realization when I was a therapist, I was looking at these very intense childhood patterns with people and I had the chart and I was able to research or contemplate, because the question would arise, why these very challenging childhood circumstances? And in fact, some people have asked me that directly. So what I began to see was, for me, the chart is the ultimate symbol. That we’re not a blank piece of paper, because we’d all just create, you know, the chart symbolizes that which you come in with, that which I’ve called soul memory. You could literalize it as reincarnation and past lives, you could literalize it in a Jungian sense, the collective unconscious, but I prefer that the rich poetic phrase soul memory, that you are coming in with things that the soul is already feeling or thinking about or addressing. And it seems to me that certain childhood circumstances, even challenging ones, can be looked and the chart certainly helps the lens from that soul memory place. And you can find meaning in it. It’s not linear, meaning it’s not, ‘Oh, you did something to someone before. Therefore, this has happened to you…’ kind of nonsense meaning. It’s more an enriched sense of the weather patterns that are contained in people, the hurricanes, the deserts, and the oceans inside people when they’re born. And making a space for those landscapes and looking at the chart as a symbolic portal, to see through to those amazing inner landscapes and giving a space for them that became so enriching for me. And it began to take my therapeutic practice to this other kind of place. Becoming comfortable talking to people about why in a non-judgmental, non-hierarchical way, like why these things might be?
Darby: Yes, I was teaching synastry, a whole weekend. And yesterday, people brought their synastry. You know, we did the thing, and a couple of people did, they talked about their mother and them or their brothers and them, you know. And at some point, I said to one of them, why did you come into that particular mother? And she said, what do you mean? And I said the chart is an energy field into which you are born before your mother does anything. That struck me a couple of years ago, the mother before the mother does anything or the father does anything – there’s the chart. And so many of my friends, when they’ve had children, they’ve looked at their children’s chart and said, am I going to become that? And it’s so different to the one they know, before the child is born. So it’s so interesting that the child then almost through the chart, asks the mother to be a certain version by their energy in some way. And I find it fascinating to say, and why would you, especially when it’s, of course, when it’s difficult? Why do you think the soul that is you would have chosen this particular mother? And once they stopped saying, what do you mean? What do you mean? Then it starts getting interesting.
Mark: I love it. I love what you just said.
Darby: Can I say one more thing, because you reminded me of something? Sometimes my clients who come regularly will say, but I’m talking, I’m talking, I want you to talk because I want the recording, and I say but it’s important for you to talk, because you’re talking to me, who is looking at the chart, and because of that you speak in a certain way about yourself and I’ve learned that over time. They speak in a certain way about things because we’re doing it through the chart, through this mandala that you that you say. I’m looking at that chart all the time. So everything they say, there I am the picture of the I am representing the picture of the child, I never hear them except through the chart when I’m in that position, somehow.
Mark: Beautifully put. I call that energy field you talk about, I call that the knowing field.
Darby: Oh, that’s lovely.
Mark: The field that has knowing in it, has knowledge in it. In a way, that’s the field that holds you in that space when you listen through the window of their chart. I do think that is a high art. I do think the capacity to hold someone’s chart in your mind and listen to them truly from the heart and mind through it while they see it. And really, I would encourage people that is a richer path than trying to prove something to a new person that’s coming to you for a reason to go off on something about the chart, or some fancy piece of knowledge you’ve learned, in a way. It’s to trust that yin aspect of it, that you can be receptive to their truth, because otherwise, how does their energy field and their creativity come into your space and this limited timeframe you have with them? If you’re not able to do that, if you’re not able to make room for them to come in on that kind of level.
Darby: And it is interesting how you must have this too. That once the person knocks on the door and they come in, it can be a friend they’ll say, ‘Hi, can we meet?’ And I’ll say which way? And they’ll say I want to talk to her. And I say okay, we make an appointment. And then you want to stay for dinner after? Yeah, let’s I’ll stay for dinner. And so they come in, and from the moment they sit down, I am in this other space. And then once it’s finished, if they’re friends, and they’re staying for dinner, then we kiss each other, we open the door, and then I’m not her anymore. And we can talk about other things. But you sit in this space with the chart in what I call sacred space, don’t you?
Mark: Exactly. It is that. And it’s a sacred space. Because when you sit in the role of healer, or teacher, or guide in any way, you bring out the best in yourself in that space for people. I’m going to endeavor to be the best of myself, no matter how tired, no matter how my mind may apparently be wandering, I’m going to keep bringing it back for them. And then suddenly one participates in a whole lineage of people, don’t you? You sit all the people that have ever sat together sincerely for soulful reasons. You know, I addressed this once in a keynote talk at NORWAC called When Two or More Are Gathered in My Name. When you gather together, you create a resonance throughout history. We’ve all sat together in the name, not least the great astrologers or great therapists of the past, but also just teachers and guides and all traditions. And I think it pays to recognize that lineage. And that’s the lineage, that’s energetic, and outside of it beyond even astrology. I think that particular lineage of people that are open to the soulful potential of others and have held it in a certain way. Astrology is a gift to people like that, isn’t it? It opens a symbolic portal and probably in this conference, Tony, people are going to hear a number of different versions of astrology.
Darby: Yeah, that’ll be fascinating.
Mark: Exactly. Because there’s a number of different ways into that soulful space, you know. It is a dilemma, I think, for the student. How do you take on board so many approaches to a theme that’s so complex? And the key for people is to find intuitively the ones that feel the strongest for them, and follow them until they get to a certain place with people. So that you can walk in a certain landscape with people with their chart, and actually get somewhere with it before you try and take on any new information. So you can learn to be in a certain space first. That’s an intuitive process in a way you know how to find…
Darby: Do you remember when you started and you did charts, and you looked at charts, and then CHA! Now, now you were doing the chart! I can’t remember the day, but I remember the difference between looking at charts and people would come to me and I wouldn’t charge them. But I would do the chart. And then one day, it had changed and it had become what I now call sacred space in this place. And the thing about destiny that we’re speaking about too, because perhaps the feeling is – this is a destiny. And yet if you think of somebody like Winston Churchill, his destiny was extraordinary. I’ve been working on his chart lately for many reasons. And I feel like when I’m not her, I’m an ordinary schmuck. You know, I say that. So when people meet you at a conference, they think you are her. And you are her when you’re her, but the rest of time you’re just a person. And so destiny is not the whole of you, no matter what. Even when you find your destiny, you still have to deal with all the little stuff that is you underneath it somehow the I say ‘the ordinary schmuck underneath’ so no matter how powerful your destiny and I think when people ask, you know, can you tell me my destiny? They’re almost wanting something that is beyond that which is destiny. They want to be not in pain anymore, just to have the destiny.
Mark: They’re asking for soul, aren’t they? And then some kind of feeling of wholeness or participation in life or even directly meaning a sense of meaning, including a sense of meaning and their struggles or suffering, then I think that’s vitally important. I do. Regardless of metaphysical distinctions, you could have a highbrow version of this conversation, couldn’t you? Where we discussed all the different views of fate and destiny throughout possibly through our culture. But the human version of the story is that people want a sense of life meaning.
Mark: And they want something tangible in their heart and mind that they can walk out into the world and be a little bit straighter and a little more courageous and feeling their own sense of integrity and possibility. And that really is something that the profession has to look yourself in the mirror and ask, at times are astrologers prepared to put down their highfalutin metaphysical ideas and actually work on what will touch people with that particular quality, which transcends intellect? Really, it’s not as simple as a philosophical approach.
Darby: Yes, absolutely.
Tony: Beautiful, that was so wonderful. So one of the things this dials it back a little bit from the place you guys went, which was really rich and beautiful. But one of the things one of the reasons why I wanted to have the summit is we have this history, we have a lineage, and our craft looks at some of these questions as if there’s something predetermined, as if there’s something deterministic that we can read in the chart, so that so that you could, for instance, tell someone their destiny specifically by looking at something in their chart, or tell someone their life purpose, or getting more granular telling someone what type of career they should have. Or what type of job they should have. Or should they marry or should they not marry? Does the chart tell you that? Should I have kids? Should I not have kids? Or more will I have kids? Or will I not have kids? Will I get married? Will I find my soulmate? These more specific and exact answers to questions like that. And so people, clients approach us with questions like that. And some astrologers approach astrology is if you can find something specific in the chart, like a concrete answer to that question. So how do you feel about that both in terms of our lineage? But it’s like for Mark – more about finding meaning in the chart. And it’s not about finding the specific answer or, what you were saying Darby about there being this everyday self. And then the destiny sits on top of that, or with it or interacts with it in some way. But you still have to come back to the everyday stuff and be that self. But what do you think about? You know, there’s such a hook for us. If we believe that some astrologer has the concrete answer to the question, will they have children? Will I meet my soulmate? We want the answer, right? And so it’s more of a discussion topic than a question, but what do you what do you think about all this?
Mark: It’s an extraordinarily complex question. Because if astrology didn’t have some power like this, we wouldn’t study it, perhaps so assiduously if there weren’t. In some of my recent preparation for master classes, I’m looking at early solar arc material. When early solar arc directions correspond with something like the Saturn square, and certain innate potentials that in a natal chart seem to coalesce in life events. You know, the parent’s divorce or the loss of the family home through unfortunate circumstances start to shape a person’s life. And it’s a collision of the internal progressions in the chart with the transit picture. And they do often correspond to formative life events. But too literalized, that kind of formulaic algebra, where I can just look at this particular lot of whatever or this particular midpoint or this particular asteroid or this particular planet, and find your destiny or find your soulful purpose. I think it’s extremely problematic. It’s a literalized simplistic way of thinking and it takes us out of the multivalence symbolism. It’s not as rich and it’s too primitive. And it’s also a huge hook, as you rightly pointed out for insecurities in people and fears, and it therefore creates an unconscious projection of a magical authority onto the astrologer that I don’t think in the profession we’re enlightened enough about. Because really, in some ways, it’s like when someone asks me, should I have children? It’s like, well, are you with someone? Do you want to have their children? Or if you’re not with someone, have you always wanted children? Do you have a support network? Are you healthy? Has anyone told you there’s a reason why you can’t? These are life questions. Why is the person turning to an astrologer to give them an abstract answer from on high? And even if the astrologer did, they may or may not respond to it or take it seriously. Because that’s what I find when people project their power. They ask you something, but they wouldn’t necessarily act on your answer. So can we bring them back to their own center of power? As well as accept that charts are very subtle, complex, symbolic windows to life potential. And they do reveal certain timings. They do reveal certain potentials, at least in potential. But I personally try to hold that in a way that I find the answers in the person’s life story, not by trying to impose on to their life story, this meaning I’ve discovered like some investigator in that chart.
Darby: Yes, yes. Sometimes I find myself. Oh, it’s so difficult, isn’t it? Will I have children? Will I marry? Will I stay with him? Should we stay together?
Mark: I always ask do you love them? And is the love enough to carry you beyond the issues that are coming up? And then you have to investigate that, don’t you? Indeed they become very quickly therapeutic questions. Even if, let’s say that person that asks you that has a series of planets in the fourth house, square the seventh house, and they have Saturn-Venus conjunction and you think there are unfinished childhood emotions dominating their relationships. Planets in the fourth square the seventh and there’s a responsibility narrative in the chart – Saturn with Venus – to kind of ensure about relationships. Even if you can see that in the chart, you’re still in a therapeutic dialogue, aren’t you? You still have to say to them, who is this person to you? How real with you are they? How much do they love you? How much do you love them? I changed someone’s life once when I just asked them. ‘Should I stay with my husband?’ was the question. I said, ‘Do you love him?’ There was a thirty second pause. And she went, no. And that was it. She left him. She left him after that conversation. I mean, it was just, do you love him? No, I don’t anymore. Never had the space to share, to be witnessed.
Darby: You know, probably because I’ve never been a therapist. I’ve been only an astrologer. And over time, one develops certain qualities that are probably like a therapist, but I probably don’t ask questions in the same way that you do. You know, I think I’d probably do it differently in the sense. And I’m thinking of being in Paris, I think this is about 20-25 years ago, when I was first here. And I was sitting with a young man in a cafe. I knew his chart, because I’ve known him since he was 16. And he said to me, Oh, do you think do you think I’ll ever find anyone and marry and have children? And his chart flew up in my head. And I said, absolutely, without question. Absolutely. And he said, oh whew – good! And I afterwards I went, uh-oh. And I mean, he’s got wonderful children. They’re fabulous now. This is many years later. They’re musicians like him and wonderful. So occasionally, because I, you know, almost come from a different…
Mark: That was her, though, wasn’t it? That was her. Pure intuition.
Darby: Oh, yes definitely. I mean, I became her. And that happens. Like I notice sometimes, I just notice sometimes, but it has to be absolutely clear. When that happens, you know, I probably never said no. It even if I felt no, this person will not end up with someone, I probably would never follow that in the same way. Because it seems like it would be not a good thing to do. But when it’s a yes, the couple of times these things have happened.
Mark: Well, you were following pure intuition, weren’t you? And then your caution about pure intuition of the chart, as it filters their reality through it. But it’s also like if someone asks you when they’re going to die. Are there some questions we shouldn’t go near?
Mark: That’s a very real thing. Put it this way. I could right now a small book on the number of clients and students that have approached me telling me what people have said to them in astrological readings.
Darby: Oh yes, me too.
Mark: Things that shaped their life in some way that were problematic, or you know like being told your parents would die and then your parents don’t die. And someone has left their job and moved to take care of them. So we have to be very careful, but I do think pure intuition of the chart exists like that. And I certainly am prone to those experiences myself. I don’t argue that the chart can’t show you information. I just don’t think any of us would be involved in astrology if it couldn’t show us information. My point is more how we hold it with people.
Darby: How we hold it.
Mark: How we hold it as some Old Testament prophet or ancient sage telling them from on high with their magic wand, yeah? How we hold it a different way. The potentials of it.
Darby: Yeah, I agree with you. We hold it. And each time we enter it, it’s really strange. No matter how you feel, you can go no, I’ve got a client. And you sit down, and suddenly it’s wonderful. You’re in that space with them, in that particular space. And then it’s finished. And that’s it. And I’ve gotten over time, like when it’s finished – that’s it. Because you know how, at the end, people will say, oh, I just have one more question. Sorry, because she has left the building.
Mark: And in that moment, they’re often insecure, aren’t they? If you’ve shared with them something profound and life changing, it’s like part of them wants to feel that they they’ve got a list of things to come away from the reading from. And it’s almost like two different reading styles, isn’t it? The kind of people that try to provide a list of things for people because I often ask people who’ve had a reading in the last year or six months, what can you remember from it, before they speak. And often people can’t remember the big lifelong list or the year this and this will happen to them. And it’s like the people that aim for a life overview or I try to aim for what is the single most transformative next step, this person can make in their life? I’m a pragmatist at heart. I realize that people feel overwhelmed by the entire life project. So I try and focus on what’s the single thing that would most transform your life from this point? If we’ve understood it in this way, listening to the chart, listening to you being together, what’s the single thing? Or what’s the one thing, or just the two things? What are the immediate steps that would alter something? It’s an interesting, it’s such a dynamic…
Darby: So when we share this, we can look at a chart and when I say we’re navigators, we help people navigate by the stars, you know, inner and outer world. So they’ll ask a question. And sometimes you can see so clearly where to aim them so that destination, let’s say can be closer to getting to you. You can’t say whether they will or won’t get there. But you can give them help on their way to the destination they offer you. So it’s quite useful when somebody has, okay, this is what I’m looking for, but will I get there? Now, I can help you steer the ship. But I can’t tell if you will get there for sure. But sometimes I’ll have an intuition about it. You can’t see that in the chart. You can help them navigate by the by the stars revealed in the chart.
Mark: I like that. I like that distinction. It’s an interesting word too – destination, isn’t it? It’s like a solidified outcome of destiny. We have to be careful when we think like that because destiny might be life purpose, might be to forgive or to love again, or to overcome catastrophic hurt.
Darby: Oh yes, absolutely.
Mark: That actually in the human life not everyone’s going to be like Winston Churchill, as you yourself pointed out, making transformative speeches with his Jupiter-Neptune across the nodes, leading a nation in idealism. It’s the heroism of the everyday, isn’t it? The heroism of ordinary, that to step up and love someone, to love your children, even though you were not loved as a child yourself. This is a usually reparative act in the whole world. It’s like an act of psychic and spiritual healing that radiates out, I would argue in the whole world, and makes the world a slightly better place that someone was able to do that. Human purpose rises out of seemingly the most domestic and ordinary details sometimes.
Darby: Yeah. And that’s that question, very much the question I’m fascinated with, by how much where is free will in this achievement of destiny? This seeking destiny, you know? How do you learn to develop what I keep saying is this muscle, this inner muscle of whatever free will is. And it’s a mystery, you can never say that moment I chose. Because later you look back and you see the aspects and you think oh, I felt that was choosing freely but Jupiter was actually that moment on my ascendant. How could I have said no? So to me free will is a real mystery and you never know for sure And yet you have to operate as if you are choosing all the time. And yet people so want to know that they’ll get, in a way, what they want, you know. Or no satisfaction. It’s about satisfaction. That I will have a life that will feel satisfied. I will feel the fullness of life, as you said earlier. And that it’s almost that destiny seems the most important thing. And so we try and help them with that. And we use our chart to help ourselves with that as well. We use our charts to navigate our own Saturn aspects and whatever.
Mark: Yes. Two things for me – at the best they come together within it, at the risk of being comical or absurd. If it was possible to read destiny purely literally just from the chart and being a gifted astrologer. Then astrologers would clearly have just fabulous lives and hardly any problems and have reached these pinnacles and I’m not knocking our wonderful profession. But that’s not the case, is it? Astrologers are as flawed and as damaged as any other set of people. So clearly, the chart doesn’t just shine this easy answer or this. And even if you see things doesn’t mean you can overcome them. And that’s the other thing to me about empowering guidance. That there’s one thing to show a path and it’s another thing to make a person feel like they could walk that path.
Tony: Thanks, guys. You know, I think that both of you have kind of pointed to something really rich, which is that approaching these questions leads us towards an experience of wholeness or fullness. And to me that’s a goal worth pursuing. And it’s bigger than if you even if you could be told what your destiny is. Like if somebody had been able to tell Winston Churchill oh, yeah, you’re going to go here on March 25th and you’re going to sign this paper that’s going to…
Mark: Change the world.
Tony: Yeah, change the world. So make sure you show up. But then that’s a moment that changed history maybe, right? But there are all the other days of his life. There’s coming to terms with that moment and how it felt afterwards. How it felt before, the stress before that moment. And it’s looking back. And we started out with Darby, with you talking about folks looking back on their lives. I think that as astrologers having a goal of trying to help our clients in that moment, reach for that experience, feeling state of wholeness or fullness, or integration. Those should really be our goal.
Darby: Yes. Mark I don’t know if you find this, but I work a lot with people whowant things, you know? They want me to tell them they’re going to get what they want. I don’t know if that’s all the time, maybe it’s because this year, Mars has been back and forth with squaring Uranus, and moving back and forth in Aquarius. But I’ve noticed so often that’s what people want, they want me to tell them that they’re going to get the thing they want. And so often, it’s trying to get them to step back from that, and live bigger, for life itself. Rather, how do I get them to? And I realized I without thinking, I’m trying to get them to get bigger. Rather than I want this, I want this, I want this.
Mark: And also that frequently when we don’t get what we want, that’s when the search deepens into ourselves… And that’s when we start to ask bigger questions of ourselves and those around us in a different way. I mean, even Churchill, say, for example, who did live on the grand stage and did ultimately get what he wanted. To lead England in a heroic act. It was tempered by years of failure, a childhood, never spoke to his father. Early journalistic adventures like some, like an escapade from a comic book, and of course, the failures of the First World War and his sense of responsibility for Gallipoli and the failures of Gallipoli. And he demobbed himself and he served in the trenches along with the ordinary soldiers putting himself at great personal risk, he was so disgusted with himself. Sometimes you got to go right down.
Darby: Down, absolutely.
Mark: You’ve just got to bottom out in the sense of, I’m never going to get there and still live still find the inner integrity to hold your head up and live. And then sometimes that capacity to feel like life purpose or your destined possibility can emerge in you because you’ve become whole enough, you’ve become grounded enough, not to just be in that single ‘this is what I want.’
Darby: Yeah. And that’s really good because I’m thinking of another client when and somehow she’s figured out how to use me really well. Don’t you love those clients? To really figure out how to use you, they know how to use you at the best and my has she grown as a person and a soul. And she says it’s me, but it’s not. It’s that she knew how to use the information that I was giving her in the best possible way to become the person that she was lost from, you know?
Mark: Well, you call it destiny don’t you sometimes? Because a person’s ready. Because life circumstances come around. And a person was ready to respond. We forget that condition of readiness, that life circumstances happened to a whole host of people, but only a certain person was ready. Internal readiness is a factor that equates with that mystery of free will, or what the Bhagavad Gita calls shraddha. Inner faith or your heart fire. Your inner faith. Heart fire.
Darby: Yes. Heart fire. Lovely. Fabulous.
Mark: Exactly. Some people are passionate and their heart fire is there. And let’s say they lose love, and they’re brokenhearted. And they often find a redemptive act, you know? A voluntary service or a new love in a way that someone else loses love and closes off for years and years and years, because there’s no support because they’re in a darkness because there’s insufficient of that illumination. That’s not to judge anything. Because that’s the mystery of destiny, isn’t it? If there is a universal destiny, it’s not as simplistic right or wrong. It’s not as simple like you got here, you became the CEO of corporation destiny, to just sit back and smoke cigars. Because destiny, by definition, would be an enormously mysterious quality to do with your ensoulment and your sense of participation in the cosmos. And it’s not as simple right or wrong, because even to wander in the darkness for years and years, not illuminated. It is also a part of people’s path, part of people’s destiny, and to realize then, you know, to come in from the cold. In that sense, and the few times in my life where I’ve participated with people who were working me, they’ve come in from the cold, so to speak of isolation, is so rewarding.
Darby: So rewarding.
Mark: It is. The return to love in one simple sense is more rewarding than any huge, vast achievement in the world.
Mark: Even something as substantial as Churchill’s, even Churchill himself felt love in his life was just as important for his love of his wife. It’s very complex, isn’t it? The idea with a term like destiny is you’re always thinking big picture in terms of I’m going to be a pop star or a famous astrologer or change the world, it’s basically invented that destiny sometimes is to choose to love the people around you in a way that no one ever in your family did before. That’s not destiny, to break the pattern of abuse, and actually come forth and be a new person.
Darby: And to live with something like necessity, there’s something in the definition, about necessity. I looked it up in the dictionary. And, of course, that was the first thing I did look up destiny in the dictionary. And there’s something about necessity, to live with things almost as they are inside you. And that’s my client that I was just thinking, she now feels as though she’s living who she is. And she’ll say, I have just been sitting with it. Nothing is happening at all, and yet, it’s fine. I’m finally getting it. And it’s that living with the darkness, for some reason, and St. John of the Cross lived with, his destiny was to be a mystic, but he spent years saying I cannot feel it. Nothing. And yet he stayed with it and stayed with it and stayed with it. So I suppose that’s partly what we try and help people do at our best. We look at the chart, and we help them be with that chart, no matter how awkward, no matter how difficult with whatever conditions. Be with that energy, be with that chart and those who are able to do it. The clients that we feel that we’re really glad we’re doing this.
Mark: Because if you’re not able to acknowledge what is, you’re starting from a fictitious place, aren’t you? Isn’t that why so many healing projects fail and so many self projects fail? Because we’re working on the wrong self. We’re working on a fantasy aspect of our identity or we’re starting from a fictitious place. We have not become sufficiently illuminated about the reality of our condition, if you like. And then many a lopsided self-development project begins. And actually that kind of realignment with what is reminds me of a book by Bert Hellinger the Family Constellations therapist. Or Pema Chödrön. Start where you are, the Buddhist sense of you know. Because if you start from anywhere other than where you are, you’re trying to live someone else’s life or a fantasy version of your own life. That itself may have something to do with a conception you have of the destiny or life purpose. But it could be argued there could be a real big difference between a person’s conception of their own destiny and the actual destiny or life. Because if it’s based on a fictitious self, if it’s based on a kind of false idealism of yourself to compensate for all the past pain, then the ship gets steered in a strange direction. So this enormously subtle and complex subject, but I guess if anything comes out of this other than just such a pleasure to see you again.
Mark: Especially with your study, you’re very comfortable and attractive with the antiquarian kind of pictures and great looking books, study.
Tony: The books in that library and Mark, I got to sleep in Darby’s library last year when I was there.
Darby: He did. He slept here.
Tony: The books in that library, or it’s really wonderful to just hanging out in there every day.
Mark: It looks really cool.
Darby: You’ll have to come when you’re in London next. But it’s the only thing sometimes people say, oh, you know, people steal things and everything. And the only thing I think I have, I hope nobody would ever steal my books. I mean like go away with a truck with all my books. The only things that really matter. But go back to that you said something really interesting. It’s true that we’re helping people. It’s just that I think we’re trying to help people live, let us say their destiny, live their destiny, though we cannot tell them what it is. We can only we, our work is probably helping them live in it. Live that destiny, and then they discover it by living it in some way.
Mark: That’s a very giving approach Darby, I think. We can help imagine it. Can we can help bring this compassionate, enlightened as possible witnessing to help them amplify their vision for themselves and possibility? But really, the greatest gift is always that someone themselves lives their own life, not like various extension of someone else’s life or someone’s projection of their life. And that’s the danger, an astrologer tells you your destiny isn’t your destiny anymore. If they’ve written it down in a linear kind of form. We’ve got to trust people’s right in a way to be themselves and their creative force to individuate.
Darby: Sometimes I turn it on the recorder and I say things, then I turn it off because I need to say things sort of awkwardly and then I turn it on again. And I say things. And sometimes they say something and I say that’s exactly, you said it right about your chart. They don’t know they’re looking.
Mark: Sometimes I’ll say we should swap chairs. You’re so good. You should be the astrologer.
Darby: Yeah, exactly. When they’re really in the work of understanding the energy that we’re talking about somehow. Somehow, they then say it perfectly, they get it. And then I know this is this is working. This is useful to them. I have a thing that all I can do is give a few clues. And sometimes I can give a really good clue. And I hope at my worst, I give at least a small clue to go on with.
Mark: And then the thing I do is sometimes I’ll sort of lean forward slightly conspiratorially into Skype and I’ll say, ‘Look, you know, we’re aiming today, that this one single conversation in a short space of time will transform your life. We may fail. Because that’s a heroic aim. That’s an enormously courageous aim but I’d rather that we aimed for that we might heroically fail, but at least we’ll heroically fail together doing something noble.’
Darby: That’s my thinking too.
Mark: And then we set up at least the possibility that it’s a radical space, because isn’t it just a radical space to reach out to some unknown astrologer for a fee, many miles away, and just trust that they can hold your life in some meaningful way? It’s an act of courage from the client, the courage to reach out to someone, and can we appreciate that? Can we recognize our heart what it must take for people to do that?
Darby: To come.
Mark: To risk their hard-earned money and time and inner life?
Darby: Yeah, absolutely. And you know, when 1989 happened with that triple conjunction, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, a few years later, I thought, oh damn, I have to live long enough to do their charts. So now I’m here and I’m doing their charts because they’re coming up to their Saturn return. And lately, I’ve been doing charts of people in their early 20s, just by chance, because their mothers and aunts have been coming to me forever. Now they think they want to, and they’re a bit shy about it. And they come in when they’re very young, like early 20s. And they look nervous. And I say, I know you’re nervous. And I am too. But I promise you in a half an hour, neither of us will be nervous, and they say, okay. And then we start because when they’re older, it’s fine, I can make a mistake. But when they’re younger, I don’t want to, I don’t want to ever say anything that will be harmful, because, like you, I’ve heard of so many people that have gone to people that have said harmful things to them, things that may stuck in their heads, you know. So you have to be so delicate when you’re doing someone young, because they’re emerging now, somehow. And one has to take great respect, you know, always great respect, but in this case, particularly. And they say what is what is life about? And that tribute, especially the 1980s, that triple conjunction, it’s so powerful. And a young man was in my course, and he said, I feel as though and he just learned astrology a bit and had a good mind for it. And he said, I feel as though this conjunction is something about destiny. And I thought, aha, that’s interesting. I have to listen to him more because he he’s emerging something, that generation. There’s something about that generation. It’s very interesting lately to me. What is their destiny?
Mark: It’s also the year it strikes me under that alignment that Salman Rushdie received his fatwa and the Ayatollah Khomeini, and the first time that a Western literary figure was attacked. Blasphemy laws 1989 under that. Valentine’s Day 1989, he received the fatwa, and we had the early warning of the issue of religious blasphemy and he was protected by the British government, but his Italian translator was shot. His Japanese translator I think was killed you know, several people were got to from it. And it’s complex, isn’t it? These signatures have like a place in collective history and in individual charts. And that’s the beautiful subtlety of astrology.
Darby: Yeah, Nelson Mandela got out of jail.
Mark: Well, yeah, you can look at collective and individual all at the same time and that people have bought for that auspice. And I think this will be perceived as a conversation by some of our colleagues in our profession. That’s pretty darn soulful, and psychological and mellow on the predictive front. But it’s quite interesting because we’re not saying that there’s no purpose to these alignments. And there is a predictive element to astrology. I think it’s simplistic to deny it. There are factors that seem to come about statistically relevant often enough under certain signature. Very powerful and indicative. It’s just that to not literalize it to not make anything like a equals one, b equals two. It’s not literal like that. It has to be held more creatively and more in a more fertile context. That knowing field.
Darby: That knowing field. I like that. It’s I say an energy field. A knowing field. Yes. incarnate into the person, the mother, that the child breathes in life. There’s a field. A chart is born.
Tony: Thanks and I just want to kind of highlight a point that you guys were both making, which is that this this unfolding of destiny and purpose is a dynamic process. And that maybe it’s even that certain destinies or purposes are only open to us once we take certain actions or once we allow certain processes inside us, or once we use our free will to make certain choices, or as you were both pointing out once you kind of reach a bottom in some way, and that brings up something in you. And then a transit comes along, and there are different potentials activated but there’s not just one predetermined potential. And it’s like you better show up at on August 1, 1965 at 12pm or you’re going to miss your destiny.
Mark: Well, that’s the feeling people have. Because it’s a fear, isn’t it? On bad days, Tony. One feels like oh my god, did I miss the boat or did I miss a trip? You know, will my life come apart as a result?
Darby: What have I done wrong?
Tony: And maybe it’s that very feeling that calls up something in you that does take you into this next moment of the destiny or purpose.
Mark: Yeah, well, that that would be free will to me. Free will is you choose your response to the necessary, there is a certain amount that just occurs. But you can use your response you can choose over time. Although some of that choice is also still unconscious. It’s based on who the deep you actually is underneath some of your conceptions of yourself. But still, it’s a choice how you respond to life’s rich pageant. Or tapestry.
Darby: Yeah, tapestry. Absolutely.
Tony: Beautiful. Well, thank you both for taking time out to chat with me today. This is definitely an ongoing forever type of conversation. But we touched into it a little bit today. For the sake of talking about this, the summit is coming up and we’re going to be exploring there for the whole weekend. So if you want to hear more, you can join all of us this weekend, October 27-28th, 2018 at the Astrology Life Purpose and Destiny summit. So hope to see you there. And again, thanks to both of you for taking time out of your busy schedules to chat with me today.
Darby: Real pleasure, Tony. Always a pleasure.
Tony: For me too. And I look forward to seeing you both this weekend. So thanks so much.
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