How the study of the cosmos had changed my life as an autistic person.
As an autistic individual I have found myself strongly drawn to systemizing and patterns. Systemizing involves a need to understand and create systems and rules. Furthermore, what is one of the most well-known spiritual practices that heavily involves systemizing? The study of the stars, planets and how they relate to humanity; the study of astrology.
My passion for astrology developed progressively as I started to discover spirituality in my early twenties. I had been struggling for years as an undiagnosed autistic woman who couldn’t seem to fit in no matter how hard I tried masking as a neurotypical. Spirituality never entered my conscious thought until I had hit rock bottom. I was offered a chance to go to an outpatient program that supported individuals struggling with emotional regulation and addiction. I accepted this opportunity and I soon found myself sitting with other individuals who seemed to have found their rock bottom too. I wouldn’t say that all these individuals were on the autism spectrum (my own autism diagnosis came after this experience) but I would say we all shared a similar trait; hopelessness. Luckily there was a light in the darkness, and that light came in the form of a wise counsellor that pointed in the direction of Buddhist philosophy and mindfulness practice. After being introduced to this knowledge I managed to obtain books at the library on these topics. Since that visit to the library, I continue to thoroughly read a diverse variety of spiritual books which I credit to helping with my acceptance of being autistic.
For me, astrology has become a completely valid practice that holds truths about the connection between the cosmos and the soul. Thus, I developed a strong faith in this practice from the emerging patterns I would see in the individual and how it correlated to the placements of the planets at the individual’s birth. Since diving into studying astrology I have developed keen intuition in discerning the astrological makeup of an individual, often making predictions. Furthermore, these predictions are made due to observing patterns over time; as skill innate in many Aspies. The autism in me anxiously waits to ask a new acquaintance what their sign is, as if this was critical information when you first meet someone! Yet, knowing this information serves to ease anxiety. So, where do you get your personal astrology info? The natal chart, and everyone has one.
A natal chart is essentially a snap shot of where all the planets and constellations were situated in relation to you at your birth. Most people have an understanding of where the sun was located at their birth. That’s when you hear someone say “I’m an Aries!”. However, there is much more that impacts a person than just the sun sign. To obtain a complete birth chart you need to know the date, location and time of your birth. The chart can still be created without the location or time, but it would be a simplified chart, revealing less information. With the information the individual can gather, a 360-degree circular chart, also known as a zodiac wheel is created depicting where all the planets and constellations were when you were born. The Zodiac Wheel consists of 12 houses that are sections of the sky, which impact the individual in different ways. Within those 12 houses are the 12 signs of the zodiac wheel (such as Pisces), each with their unique characteristics too. Within those 12 zodiac signs are the planets. The planets energetically impact each other and us. For example, the moon can have energetic impact on the individual just as the moon impacts the rising and ebbing tides on earth. Furthermore, we can identify themes within the individual’s chart by analysis of how the houses, zodiac signs and planets interact with each other. Even from this brief description, you may understand why an autistic person is drawn to such a structured system the involves making predictions and understanding patterns.
Being on the autism spectrum has come with serious social challenges that have created issues in maintaining relationships and feeling a part of a community. This strong need to understand others due to feeling like an outsider may be what drives me to continuously pursue the study of astrology. Still, astrology has helped me understand and navigate the social world. Astrology would be considered a special interest that I dedicate much focus to. It has opened doors for me in social situations where I felt accepted and appreciated for sharing astrology with others.
It is important for me as an autistic individual to remember that not everything is black and white; to avoid extremes. Therefore, I try to obtain a certain level of skepticism so as not to become to dogmatic in my views on astrology or any other mode of spirituality. However, I can say I am forever grateful for discovering such a complex and intriguing practice that reminds me we are all connected and we all have different lessons we came here to learn. By gaining insight into my own astrological make up, I have been able to positively change my behaviour and outlook on life. I have seen these positive changes take place in my relationships with others and also in the relationship with myself. Similarly, I have made positive changes after I have been diagnosed with autism. I have developed more empathy through astrology. Furthermore, this is because astrology provides deeper understanding of where we are susceptible to facing challenges. It exposes the areas of struggle we may encounter in this life; it shows how we suffer, live and love.
From my experience, being autistic can be isolating, lonely and create feelings of separation. However, finding a spiritual practice that helps us understand are oneness with all life, a connection to something of higher purpose and insight into our inner worlds can help ease the emotional pain and loneliness that often accompanies autism. There are many spiritual modalities and systems out there other than astrology, such as numerology, tai chi, yoga, reiki, hypnotherapy, Ayurveda and many others that can be of positive interest. To conclude, I would recommend anyone interested in astrology to try it out and see where it takes you. Keep shining like the star you are, Aspie!