Lately I’ve been writing a lot about astrology.
One reason for this is that I find astrology to be one of the most elegant systems for seeing and understanding patterns both in myself and in the world.
When we understand patterns — in behavior, thoughts, and beliefs — they lose their power over us.
As I’ve discussed astrology more with people, they have commented on how deep my knowledge appears.
To be clear, I’m still a novice. But I’ve attained a remarkable degree of fluency for someone who has taken only one formal workshop in the subject.
I love studying different topics to the point of fluency. My interest in and study of astrology doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going to become an astrologer.
The more languages we speak fluently, the more people we can communicate with, and the more versatile we become.
As I’ve looked at how I’ve improved my fluency in astrology, I’ve noticed that there are similarities in how I’ve become fluent in many other subject areas.
Find someone who talks about anything with enough depth and fluency — whether sports, astrology, finance, fitness, baking, or something else— and you will discover common patterns in how they developed that fluency.
Any subject area is a “language.” With the right approach to study we can become fluent in any language.
Here are 3 primary elements to becoming fluent in any language or subject matter.
If you want to learn any language or subject matter to the point of fluency, you must practice daily.
Repetition helps us see patterns. Seeing patterns helps us create insights. Insights lead to revelations. Then we can take the revelations and put them back into practice.
I have been working with astrology in my personal life daily for the past few years.
To be clear, this is not just about reading a horoscope. Reading a horoscope is like reading about exercises you can do in the gym, or looking at words on a page as a way to study a language.
Daily practice requires active engagement. You become fluent in your physical practice by doing a practice, such as actually performing exercises in the gym or getting on your yoga mat.
With more esoteric topics, like astrology, daily practice involves looking at my chart to see how currently planets line up with my natal chart, reading about the placements and angles, and observing what is happening both in my life and in the world around me.
All of life happens in patterns.
If you’re not noticing the patterns, you’re not gaining information and you won’t develop fluency.
Asking questions and seeking deeper understanding is both a sign of increased fluency and a path to getting there.
The questions I’m asking are mostly rhetorical. They are questions of curiosity.
The fact that you can ask questions is already a sign of some preliminary understanding.
When you first start learning something, you don’t know enough to ask questions.
Once you gain a foothold in understanding, you might ask simple questions that are more fact-based, or process-oriented.
With deeper understanding of the patterns, new questions arise that help you refine your understanding. The answers to these questions aren’t necessarily laid out in a book or an article. The more you refine your understanding of a topic the more you must go to the original sources for your answers.
For example, when I was looking ahead at Pluto’s transit through Aquarius, I realized that I wanted to know when Pluto will come into aspects with certain planets in my chart.
I could consult an astrologer for this, but I also had acquired enough information to find the answer I needed.
That led me to consult an ephemeris, which is a table that lists each planets transits through each sign, by degree.
The primary marker of my increased fluency was not in knowing where to look for the answer; it was in having the inquiry in the first place.
A year ago I would not have even thought of the question. I would have simply read articles online about the general impact of Pluto in Aquarius, or relied on horoscopes for my rising sign, which would tell me generally the part of life this transit will impact.
It’s only through working with my current transits on a daily basis — the repetition — that I had gained enough fluency to have the question.
This is one of the other reasons I’ve been writing about astrology so often: it helps me solidify what I’m learning.
There’s a common saying when it comes to writing or speaking about a topic:
If you can’t explain it succinctly, you don’t understand it well enough.
Once you get past school, the point of learning is not to repeat something back on a test to get good grades. That type if “learning” isn’t really learning.
True learning happens through integration. When you can take something you’ve learned and make it your own, embody it, then you’ve learned.
Creating opportunities to communicate what you learn to others forces you to articulate it in a way that they can understand it, and helps you integrate it for yourself.
One of my favorite tools for teaching and articulating esoteric concepts is to ground them in metaphor.
The metaphors I use to explain concepts tend to emerge from a dialogue, based on my audience.
A metaphor is a bridge that crosses a gap in understanding. Using metaphor takes an esoteric concept and grounds it in a frame that the recipient already understands.
Finding metaphors to explain concepts helps me cement what I learn and more effectively articulate it to others.