By D.W. Sutton 2002

The ultimate goal of your life is to achieve your full potential - the expression and sustained development of your unique qualities and outstanding skills as detailed by your astrology. Hermetic astrology allows you to discover your inner nature and to make the most of everything you are capable of being and doing. Are you happy being who you are or do you want to be better? What is the potential inherent in your human nature? And how strong is your urge to achieve the upper limits of your potential?

The essential fundamental needs that you must satisfy before you can get on the road to high-level self fulfillment include your basic food, shelter, clothing, work, money and security needs (Saturn); your love and companionship needs (Venus); and your self-esteem needs (Sun). Once these basic needs are satisfied you can turn your attention to creating a better version of your current self.

On the down-side many things can diminish your potential for high-level self-fulfillment. These include domestic discord, poverty (real or imagined), unemployment, ill-health, traumatic life experiences, philosophical misunderstandings about life and of course limited physical and mental attributes. It is important to realize that everyone is disabled in some way. You can be disabled physically, mentally, emotionally - even financially; yet you do have a talent that nobody else has and this talent is the reason why you are here.

You are here to discover your unique personal talent and to develop this talent to the best of your ability. This is your primary objective. It guarantees high-level self-fulfillment. Marriage, children, money and possessions are secondary factors. The marriage experience provides the opportunity to care for another and to acquire a home and family. It is a very special experience. Children allow you to give other souls the opportunity to experience human life. It too is a very special experience. Money is the reward you receive for the work you do - it allows you to buy food, clothing and other possessions that can make your life more comfortable. Money when used wisely is much more than a personal success determinant, it can support high-level self-fulfillment. But your unique personal talent is something very, very special.

Unfortunately many people these days have their personal development retarded by getting stuck at a level where their goal is set at financial survival. Stuck at this level their personal progress is constrained by financial considerations. This observation does not underestimate the importance of your financial life, it just recognizes that economic survival is only one aspect of your lived experience - a rather important problem that you have to sort out for yourself.

A strong tendency to over emphasize the importance of the external environment, including your physical body, as the primary character-shaping influence can give the impression that you have no part to play in creating yourself. You do possess a unique set of desires that you must control, but these powerful inner drives often get bad publicity. They are often identified as wild, uncivilized 'animal' instincts that must be 'socialized' by social constraints - at any cost.

Of course, doing what you really want to do often means overcoming problems and disadvantages. Disadvantages and disabilities can be viewed as challenges, but the astrological cause usually indicates an obstacle to be overcome rather than a challenge. The obstacles (square aspects) may be viewed as challenges, but even a 'lucky' trine aspect and the environmental support it attracts can present a 'real' challenge. How you approach your various life-experiences is determined by your character, goals and expectations. The square aspects in your birthchart do indicate that you will attract frustration experiences where the desires ruled by the two planets forming the aspect can be frustrated by antagonistic circumstances or inept life-skills. The square aspects in your birthchart can be viewed as obstacle situations that act as personal development constraints.

Sustainable personal development must consider various factors including health, age, family life and friends but most importantly it is a psychological state. Sustainable personal development demands constant adaptation to a changing environment and this includes a changing health and age status, and changes to the family life and relations with friends.

High-level self-fulfillment demands that you regard yourself as an important and worthwhile person, but this opinion of yourself must be based on factual evidence. You must accept yourself for what you do and you must do something that really does benefit the other person and not just yourself. If you don't contribute to the welfare of others you are still at a childish level of development where you can only take care of yourself.

It is also important to place a spiritual value (and not a financial value) on who you are and what you do. Never underestimate your experiences with suffering and adversity to provide you with rich soil for personal growth. Characters that develop through ease and comfort rarely reach their highest potential. Such lives are often financially solvent but spiritually bankrupt.

Feelings of inferiority indicate that your life is being driven by a damaged desire for significance (discordant aspects to birthchart Sun); yet the resulting over achievement in response to the nagging feelings of inferiority won't necessarily generate high-level personal satisfaction. You can only judge your life by the levels of satisfaction you feel and experience.

While the potential to become bitter, discouraged and pessimistic due to unfortunate life circumstances and disadvantages can easily actualize it is a highly unfortunate and destructive psychological development. Such feelings destroy confidence, courage and self-reliance - the very feelings you must rely on when striving to create a better version of yourself.

High-level self-fulfillment requires the constant nurturing of your natural talents. Their neglect results in atrophy and failure. Special aptitudes, as assets, must be put to productive use. Your assets are your gifts, talents and advantages and your liabilities are your faults, weaknesses and disadvantages. Your self-awareness will reveal what your assets and liabilities are. Productive personal development often means overcoming an unprofitable behaviour. The offending behaviours is very often a misguide emotion and the misguided thinking it sets in motion. An unfortunate circumstance can often impede your efforts to reach a higher-level of self-fulfillment - yet every circumstance can be made a productive learning experience. It's all in your attitude towards the event.

High-level self-fulfillment requires time and your self-knowledge will reveal how to prioritize your time to maximize your development. Time constraints demand you make choices, but you should always do the thing that you most highly value - at the time. Life does involve compromise - but factual self-knowledge provides correct answers to dilemma situations.

The thinker in your consciousness must develop a thoughtful strategy. As the thinker you must control the unruly emotional impulses that constantly influence your thinking. This does not under-rate the usefulness of your feelings as a guide to future action, it just indicates that thought should be employed to clarify their intentions. Your self-awareness will allow you to be alert to self-deception; and your self-conscious awareness should be used to monitor the thoughts you are thinking and the feelings you are feeling.

If, for example, your astrology reveals that you are inclined to develop a feel-bad anger response (Mars) to a particular circumstance (the house where Mars is located) and your real-life experience validates the development of this 'anger' response then you have two solutions for your 'anger' problem. You can change or modify the intent of your 'anger' thought-cells, or you can avoid the 'anger' situation and divert your aggressive-anger energies into some other pursuit that suits your character. A high-discord house in your birthchart indicates the potential to have unfortunate experiences with the life-matters, activities and people ruled by that house and the higher the discord the higher the potential. The only way you can avoid the unpleasant anger feelings is to antidote the unconscious anger desire seeking the experience, or avoid the experience.

More than anything high-level self-fulfillment requires a spirit of determination and ceaseless effort. Self-awareness is the vital ingredient and your astrology provides authentic self-information that you can use to maximize your self-fulfillment. Your astrology reveals the potential inherent in your human nature and the strength of your urge to reach the upper limits of your potential (primarily birthchart Sun). It also reveals the character flaws that will impede and thwart your efforts. But on the other hand it will also reveal what you should do to overcome these personal impediments. The self-awareness information provided by your astrology does reveal your possibilities and limitations. Honest self-awareness is the key. It will allow you to set your own goals and to achieve them with your own energy and creative insight. But better still, it will allow you to reach the upper-levels of your personal potential and to attain self-fulfillment at your highest personal level.