“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves…”
- William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar
When you go outside on a clear night and look up, what do you see? If your night sky is dark enough and you can see the stars, are they twinkly lights disconnected in the sky, or are they connect-the-dot line drawings telling stories and myths as old as human time?
For better or worse we humans are always looking for what separates us from all other species. Our ability to look at things and see patterns, and from those patterns make stories, and then create symbols that stand in for those stories, are one of the things that we do that no other species can.
There is an adage in hermetic philosophy: “As above, so below.” referencing the correspondence of events in the heavens with those here on earth. Recently an admired teacher of mine said that the opposite is also true: “As below, so above”. In this statement she was underscoring the fact that we are symbol makers and story tellers, fitting the firmament into our lived experience on earth.
In my class this week on Astronomy for Astrologers I learned about the constellation Ursa Major, the great Bear, and I learned that the two brightest stars in the constellation line up and point to Polaris, which is currently our North Star. If you know how to find these and follow where they lead, you will always know where true north is, allowing you to navigate by the stars.
The Universe lines itself up to help us know our place in it, to hold the stories that we need to make in order to understand that place, to navigate, to explain.
When Cassius tells Brutus about the fault not in our stars, he is giving his version of fate versus free will, or the ability to effect a change of circumstance when we recognize that things are not fated by our birth.
Indeed. When I look at the stars I also see not fault, but grace - and a chance to see, through the symbols, how to find my way home.