Dabbling in the cosmos

Free your will, wake up, embrace astrology

John Ruskell, astrologer and executive director of the Aspire Foundation.

John Ruskell, astrologer and executive director of the Aspire Foundation.

For more information on John Ruskell’s workshop series May 16-18 in Lake Tahoe, visit www.aspirefoundation.org.

“Each of us comes with an owner’s manual, and astrology, or cosmo-biology if you wish a more scientific term, offers the most objective insight into one’s life process that I’ve yet found,” claims John Ruskell, local astrological consultant. My first introduction to Ruskell’s “transformational” style of astrology was a personal chart reading. I half-expected a Merlin-esque figure to tell me I was Siddhartha’s former paramour. Instead, it was one of the most illuminating experiences of my life.

Ruskell, executive director of the nonprofit Aspire Foundation, has studied and taught the astrological language for over 30 years. He says that events in our lives and our awareness thereof reveal a “universal symbolic language,” which can lead to greater understanding of both the individual and the human condition. “When you feel emotionally threatened, your first response is to get angry and react impulsively,” explains Ruskell. But impulses are reactive habit-patterns, and Ruskell subjects your behavior to analysis.

“You felt abandoned, or at least devalued, by your mom, and had to work for every scrap of connection,” he posits, looking at my chart. “Each succeeding relationship has likely contained a replay of that original push-and-pull dance.” I bite the inside of my cheek to keep from crying—an old habit.

“We are all creatures of habit,” he says, as if reading my mind. “Until we become conscious of our habits, we continue to live at the effect of them.”

He plumbs deeper: my taste for taboo and intensity; my temper, at times violent; the grand sense of purpose I’ve felt since childhood. He speaks of my need to nurture and incessant yearning for truth.

“Our dreams provide the means by which we can ‘hear’ the voice of the unconscious,” he explains. But he refers to a collective level of consciousness, where astrology helps us understand the times we live in. According to Ruskell, recurring planetary cycles provide a predictable framework to examine history and learn from the past.

So what’s in store for us according to these planetary cycles?

“Today’s influences are similar to those found in the late 1700s,” he begins. “The birth of the United States and democracy, the Industrial Revolution, individual rights, the separation of church and state all reacted against and challenged the status quo at that time. Now, the emerging reality of a global consciousness and the practical necessity of a global perspective are compelling humanity toward a comprehensive restructuring of our political, economic and environmental policies and institutions. It’s time, once again, for fundamental structural change.”

What does this mean in spiritual terms?

“I believe we’re at the leading edge of an evolutionary leap in consciousness,” he continues. “Fundamentalism has grown stronger in reaction. There’s fear … tension, yet change we must. And it’s no accident that films like What the Bleep [Do We Know]!?, The Secret and even An Inconvenient Truth have gained popularity. Oprah and Eckhart Tolle are using the Internet to call forth a ‘New Earth’ and a more conscious life. What has been dormant in our psyche is being awakened.”

Ruskell emphasizes that now is the perfect time to embark on a journey of self-discovery. He notes that “the next five months gives us a unique window of opportunity in which to heal old wounds, make peace with the past and prepare for the creative opportunities opening this fall.

“By September, it’s important to be as clear and unfettered as possible, allowing the insights and inspiration of a new era to guide us on our way,” he says. “You have to take full responsibility for your life. The truth is that all change happens within. If you want to change the world, change yourself. You have to wake yourself up first, or you’ll just become another case of the blind leading the blind.”