Finding a True Vocation
Liz Greene about "Career and Vocation"
When we are children, people say to us, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" At that age, we usually have dreams. We know that we want to reach the Moon, or learn to fly the fastest aircraft in the world, or save endangered animal species, or make some brilliant scientific discovery that will transform human lives. We are not yet old enough to worry about job markets and balancing budgets and supporting ourselves and our families. We have only our dreams and the secret certainty that we are unique and have a very special thing to do in life. Even if our parents have different dreams for us, we know the difference between their dreams and our own. When we are children, we are still capable of hearing the voice of the soul.
As we grow older, the questions change. People say to us, "You had better start thinking about what you want to do with your life. How will you make a living?" There is no longer time for dreaming; we must now "face reality" and think about how to survive in the big, bad old world. The inner sense of specialness fades before the numbing evidence of high unemployment figures, stiff competition for every job application, and economic swings and downturns which make us feel we are fortunate to get any kind of work at all. And if we find ourselves discontented in that work, or we lose our jobs, we feel demeaned, devalued, and unable to trust our deepest dreams and aspirations, because there might not be any other work. And even if there were, we have probably long since lost that inner connection which could tell us what makes our heart sing and restores the sense of having a very special thing to do in life.
"Career and Vocation" is about your vocation. It is meant to help you get a sense of what you might be good at and what might be good for you, so that your working life has a meaning as well as a pay cheque. If you are looking for a direction, astrology could help you to find it; if you already have one, astrology could help you confirm and perhaps enhance it. The English word "vocation" comes from a Latin root which means "to call". Having a calling implies something higher or deeper - an inner Self or soul which knows what we are really here for. Today we use the word "vocation" mainly in relation to those who feel a religious calling. The challenges and problems of the changing world, with its rapid and unsettling advances in technology and its shifting political and economic currents, have frightened us and turned our minds away from the inner importance of what we do in life. Yet so many people feel directionless or are unhappy in their work, even if they are well paid for it. Few of us possess the luxury of inherited wealth; most of us must make our own way in the world. Work, no less than relationship, lies at the core of our lives and occupies most of our waking hours. Yet we may be unable to think from the centre outward - to focus first on who we are and what inspires us, and then seek vehicles for this in the outer world. Instead, we think from the outside in, focusing on what others, or our own hidden insecurities, tell us is possible. We are not brought up to know and trust ourselves and our abilities, but rather, to know only the limits of external reality. And then we hammer ourselves into shape to fit them.
Because every birth horoscope is unique, astrology teaches us that each individual has a unique nature and a unique set of abilities. While a horoscope cannot tell us which company will offer us a job, or how much we can expect to be paid, it can help us to understand that, if we wish to feel our lives matter, we need to express in the outer world at least some of who we are in the inner one. No job is perfect; we must all compromise. What matters is that what we do connects us to something special inside, something that makes us feel worthwhile and impels us to offer our best to life. The insights of astrology are not literal and specific. They are symbolic and psychological, and tell us about spheres of life which inspire us, needs which nourish our souls, and personal limits which mark the boundaries of what we are capable of achieving in one lifetime. We cannot become other than what we are, and no human being contains all possibilities. We are all good at different things. The right mix of realism and faith in ourselves can ensure that we feel our passage through life has been worth the effort.
To make the best use of the astrological insights offered by "Career and Vocation", it is important to remember three things. First, a sound understanding of one's needs, potentials, and limits is far more important than the facts and figures presented to us by the outer world. It is not that facts and figures do not matter. But even if there is only one job available and four hundred applicants seeking it, we possess more power than we realise to create our own reality. If that job is truly right for us, and we are prepared to do the necessary preparation and training, we will achieve it - somewhere, some time, somehow. Second, we must not be afraid to try. Trying and failing and trying again are far better than not trying at all, for we can learn from our failures even more than we learn from our success. Understanding why we might unconsciously court failure or fail to seize opportunities may also be important. Many people are dogged not by lack of ability, but by a deep unconscious conviction that they do not deserve to be fulfilled. Understanding ourselves more deeply can help us to distinguish between real limits and unnecessary self-sabotage. Third, a birth chart cannot, of its own volition, create our opportunities for us, any more than a road map can make us take a journey. A birth horoscope can show us a direction and encourage us to make manifest our highest values and most cherished dreams. But each individual must make the decision to set off down the road. If we refuse through fear or cynicism, and remain sitting on the doorstep yearning for what might have been, we cannot blame either astrology or the world for our discontent.