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March 10, 2024

Philosophical Roots of our Zodiac Signs, Houses and Planets

— Olivia Martinez
Astrology Blog
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LUNA members have access to astrological interpretations on the Zodiac Signs, Houses, and Planets. Written by Transpersonal Astrologer Jim Sher, these interpretations are abridged excerpts from his book, "Astrology as a Spiritual Path: Birth of the New Human". His underlying philosophy regards astrology as a potent tool for psychological and spiritual development. The following is written by Jim Sher to introduce his approach in his own words.

Image for An example of the interpretation of the Sun available in-app.

Relate to Astrology in a New Way

by Jim Sher

In my years as a therapist incorporating astrology into my practice, I found myself troubled by the prevalence of superficial and stereotypical keywords permeating all aspects of astrological interpretation. This had the effect of trivializing astrology, which didn’t allow people who might be truly interested in it to discover more.

While living in Portland, Oregon, I was fortunate to meet a few other astrologers who were feeling the same way. To deal with this, eight of us decided to get together and work on the problem. We committed ourselves to meeting once a week for ten weeks to go over all of the zodiac signs and see how we might deepen our understanding. We started by looking at the major keywords used in astrology and saw how binary it was, using dualistic language that showed the good and bad behaviors and characteristics of each sign.

While these qualities are not incorrect, they are rather fixed and even rigid. Our task was to go deeper. We chose to focus less on these behaviors and characteristics and more on motivations and needs. Rather than viewing each zodiac sign as a static symbol, we began uncovering their potential for growth and evolution.

Approaching Zodiac Signs as a Journey

Zodiac signs can be experienced as an archetypal path that describes the unique potential development of a person. Each sign contains its own special lessons the developing person must encounter on their journey of becoming an actualized individual. Much like children learn as they grow into adulthood, the nascent individual goes step by step, taking what they learned in one area and building on it in another until they reach full maturity and wisdom.

Binary Behaviors and Characteristics

Binary thinking reduces everything to the positive and negative which can easily be seen as a static label. Just as language is binary focused on likes and dislikes, successes and failures, we must begin to see that we are using this overly simplistic approach for astrology as well.

For example, Aries was positively described as a pioneer, active and initiating, independent, reacting immediately and instinctively, with a sense of urgency, etc. On the negative side, definitions such as quick-tempered, hasty, domineering, self-absorbed, lacking follow-through, and inconsiderate were commonly used. But there is a limit to the meaning that can be derived from this type of interpretation.

Motivations and Needs

Just as real life defies binary descriptions such as right or wrong, good or bad, individuals are similarly complex, transcending any static labels. Their deeper motivations and needs are often hidden, awaiting discovery. This shift in focus grants individuals greater freedom as they fulfill the promises of their astrological chart. The journey of personal evolution, seen from this perspective, becomes a vital need. Ignoring these needs may result in feelings of unfulfillment, unhappiness, or even depression.

Taking the example of an Aries individual, their evolving needs include participating consciously in activities that demand courage, assertiveness, direct confrontation of challenges, and independent action. This dynamic approach emphasizes that astrological charts are not fixed. Rather, they continually prompt us to embody our potential. Embracing this process leads to a more purposeful and joyful life.

Path to Highest Expression

Originally coined by astrologer Dane Rudhyar, the concept of the Path to Highest Expression suggests that there exists another level of understanding the signs, one that transcends our usual perception of them merely as indicators of personality or mundane acts. This is where true spiritual development blossoms. The highest expression of each sign is transformative, guiding individuals towards living in unity with the flow of life. It signifies the integration of soul and personality, enabling individuals to access and fully express the highest octave of each sign.

As vast as this concept may seem, its essence is simple. There's infinite room for these archetypal energies to unfold and flourish within us, perhaps even beyond what we can currently imagine. Over the years, my exploration of this philosophy has deepened, leading to the realization that the optimal approach to understanding not only the zodiac signs but also the planets and houses is to acknowledge their potential for multiple levels of expression.

Understanding the Planets' Role

The planets can be regarded as symbols representing the way each planetary archetype "functions." For instance, the Sun's function is to imbue life with focused purpose, vitality, warmth, and more. Similarly, the Moon's function is to provide a sense of safety, security, emotions, and instincts necessary for survival in physical reality. When the planets are combined with the signs, a new dynamic emerges.

The Astrological Houses: The Three Levels

Together, the planets and signs define our basic nature, but without the houses, there is no place to be. Imagine floating in space with a basic nature, you exist, but you're adrift, without context. It's the houses that provide a stage for life's drama. They ground us, offering a framework for existence, a place to belong.

Just as one can discover levels of depth within the signs, this concept can be applied to the houses as well. I've structured them into three levels:


This level pertains to our physical survival and self-preservation. It's about understanding ourselves and those who directly impact our existence.


This level represents a deeper understanding of self and others, a heightened awareness that fosters conscious relationships and connections. It's about recognizing our impact on the world and striving for meaningful interactions.


Here, we reach a level of transcendence, recognizing our fundamental spiritual nature and purpose. It's a realization of our interconnectedness with all beings, transcending physical reality to participate in the broader cosmic journey. Living at this level, we embrace total connectedness and understand our true nature beyond the confines of the physical realm.

In conclusion, this perspective highlights the boundless richness and significance that astrology offers. I extend an invitation for you to join LUNA and explore these interpretations, applying them to your own chart. Astrology holds the power to deepen your understanding of both yourself and your life, unlocking fresh possibilities for personal and collective growth.

Learn more about Jim Sher and his philosophies:

Olivia Martinez
Sunday, March 10th, 2024

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