Who Tried It: Lauren Lieberman, Senior Photo Editor
What It Is: Using astrology and psychology to create a “cosmic blueprint” with Dr. Jennifer Freed (whose celeb following is strong enough that Goop keeps her on as a contributor)
Level of Difficulty (from 1 to 10): 3
Let me first start off by saying I can be a huge skeptic when it comes to horoscopes. I never identified with my Aries sign. I always read how Aries are these high energy, confident people with large personalities that bulldoze their way through life and make themselves known. I however, am more of a quiet introverted type who likes to sit back and observe.
But it turns out, the traditional horoscope is only your “sun sign” – the position of the sun at the time of your birth – which represents only one factor of your personality. What I learned from “psychological astrologer” Dr. Jennifer Freed, PhD, who just published Use Your Planets Wisely, taught me that your complete astrological birth chart incorporates the placement of the sun, all the planets, Pluto and the asteroid Chiron at the exact moment you were born. According to her book, a full birth chart can give you much more relevant information and a deeper understanding of yourself: what she calls a “cosmic blueprint”. And once you have that, you can bring psychology and astrology together to better understand your particular challenges and strengths to help you navigate life, and especially relationships, more skillfully.
After reading Use Your Planets Wisely I was thrilled at the opportunity to get my own reading from Dr. Freed herself. I got my whole birth chart online at astro.com -even calling my mother to double check the time on my birth certificate to make sure I had all the correct information. Then Dr. Freed called me up from California to discuss. She dove right in and explained my chart as she sees it, going over the planets and how they can be represented in my personality.
Much more than I had ever experienced in just following my Aries horoscopes, her interpretation of my full chart was pretty spot-on. She was never negative, even when illuminating unhelpful patterns I may have been unconsciously repeating and suggesting ways I may need more support in these areas. She helped me identify problem areas, which helped me to rethink ways I can express myself.
Dr. Freed told me understanding your own cosmic blueprint can be very useful in knowing why you react the ways you do and where your emotional tendencies lie (like stubborness, or the osscasional temper tantrum). For example, my Aries sun can be expressed as fierce and pushy – a need to get my own way – but that nature is also counteracted by my Pisces rising (which indicates sensitivity and seeking emotional safety) and my Taurus moon (that causes affinity for comfort and familiarity).
Understanding my whole chart also can be very helpful information when it comes to my relationships with others. By knowing your own psychological tendencies and why you are inclined to think and act a certain way, you can become more adept at being mindful of your reactions. It can also help you recognize others’ patterns, which creates more empathy and compassion in relationships (especially challenging ones).
For example, now I understand better my mother’s inherent need to be the communication hub of our family and her favorite pastime of chatting on the phone. Her Gemini sun is expressed through her “gift of gab.” (I will be sure to keep this in mind for our next round of what my brother and I love to call “family game of telephone.”) This is compounded by her Libra rising, which is expressed in her social collaborator nature. By better understanding her psychology and how she can’t help but to express herself this way, I can bring more a little more empathy to our relationship (or at least be mindful of my own reactions).
Even though I was a skeptic at first, I am so glad I got the opportunity for Dr Freed to read my chart. At the very least, it helped me to better understand and accept myself with a little more kindness and compassion. No matter how successful you are, everyone struggles with finding peace and happiness, and it can never hurt to have more tools to help along the journey.