Dharma and astrology?! These are two powerful tools to help us better understand ourselves as individuals, the nature of being human, and the universe around us.
Buddhism packs 2500 years of profound consciousness studies and transpersonal astrology draws on Jungian principles. Together they help us to understand the map of our souls, our natal chart, and our unique Hero’s Journey depicted therein.
This unique and new combination gives us unprecedented leverage to draw on personal strengths to transform personal and situational challenges, to speed us up on our spiritual path and thereby benefit others.
Understand the Map of Your Soul’s Journey & Transform Challenges
Intro to AstroDharma is an online self-study program that supports you as you begin the journey of self-discovery and transformation through the uniquely combined lens of Buddhist teachings (Dharma) and transpersonal Western astrology.
Learn the Fundamentals of Astrology
This introductory course will help you get to know your own astrological birth chart and the corresponding characteristics that may manifest in your life and your personality as shown through the zodiacal signs, the planets and the houses.
If you don’t quite understand what this means, this course offers an exciting learning frontier … and you will understand by the course’s end.
Add the Dharmic Perspective for Self Realization
This is different than a typical astrology course in that it is takes a dharmic perspective.* In addition to learning about how to read your own astrological birth chart, we’ll focus on how to harness and develop its positive elements wisely, and how to recognize and overcome those that may be out-of-balance or manifesting in a way that’s slowing down your self-realization.
As part of this course, students will be encouraged to meditate on the basic themes of each lesson. This serves to allow you to recognize which elements are helping or challenging you. You can then use this knowledge to redirect your energy into more effective patterns of living. Isn’t that something to get excited about?
Questions? Check out our FAQ.
*For a definition of dharma see our YouTube video on What is Dharma?
Intro to AstroDharma Course Format:
- 12 self-guided modules with written and video instruction.
- Brief guided meditation and reflection exercises.
- Access to a forum for optional sharing and discussion.
Course Learning Outcomes:
As a result of completing this course, you will be able to:
- Read the fundamentals of your own astrological birth chart.
- Identify the 12 zodiacal signs and their most important characteristics.
- Identify the planets and other celestial bodies, and their major qualities.
- Understand the functions and main characteristics of the twelve astrological houses.
- Understand how these features indicate tendencies you may have in your personality, as both resources and challenges.
- Learn potential alternatives to these manifestations, opening yourself to a greater range of choices in your life.
Participants who complete the course will receive an Intro to AstroDharma Certificate of Completion.
- There is a US$25 course fee + dāna (you can learn more about dāna in the FAQ below)
- Obtain your astrological birth chart. (This will take around 30 minutes. It is essential to know your place, time, and date of birth.) We recommend AstroDienst, a free online service.*
- Read the module content and listen to the corresponding video for each module (less than 1 hour)
- Study your chart, corresponding planets, houses and aspects (about 15 minutes per module).
- Do guided meditations on each component of the lessons (about 15 minutes per module).
- Reflect on and journal around how these characteristics and key words manifest in your life, both as resources and challenges (15 minutes and up, based on how deeply you would like to explore this).
- Participate in forum discussion (optional).
- Total approximate time per module: Two hours.
* Please note that we have no affiliation with AstroDienst. We recommend them because their interface allows you to select inclusion of the asteroid Chiron and True Nodes, which we’ll reference in our materials.
Frequently Asked Questions
“AstroDharma” is what we call our unique combination of Buddhist teachings of spiritual awakening (called “dharma”) and transpersonal Western astrology, based in the teachings of Carl Jung.
We started using astrology with our dharma students and in our dharma classes as one of many effective systems that we draw on to assist spiritual unfoldment and benefitting all beings – we are happy to use whatever works!
We were surprised at the high interest sparked by the astrological system, and as a result, over time we’ve developed AstroDharma.
 “Dharma” translates literally from Sanskrit to “law” or “doctrine.” It could refer to the teachings of the historical Buddha, as well as to any natural universal laws.
Catherine Pawasarat has been studying and teaching astrology since the early 1990s, and has had an intensive Buddhist training and practice under the mentorship of Acariya Doug Duncan of PlanetDharma since the late 1990s.
She is the Chief Visionary Officer and co-founder with Doug Duncan of the Clear Sky Retreat Center in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia.
She lived in Kyoto, Japan for 20+ years. Before she began her intensive Buddhist practice, she was a student of metaphysics and an ayahuascera, and helped establish Santo Daime in Japan.
Her website GionFestival.org shares her ground-breaking work on the spiritual traditions and sustainability of Kyoto’s 1100-year-old Gion Festival.
Aside from the course overview and welcome, this self-study course has 12 modules, one for each sign of the zodiac. Each new module is released the day that the sun enters into that sign, usually in the third week of each month.
Based on feedback from people about the challenge of balancing self-growth and busy schedules, we’ve aimed to hit the sweet spot of fun and legitimate learning that doesn’t take a lot of time. Thus each module is designed so that it can be completed within two hours.
We’ve officially opened the course at the beginning of Aries, 21 March, with ongoing intake so that people can join whenever it works best their own schedules. As a prototype, through March 20, 2017, participants can take as long as you’d like or need to finish the course.
However, since each module builds on the previous one, and human memory can be unreliable (we like the analogy of memory as an ever-changing compost heap), we strongly encourage you to design your own schedule before you begin the course.
One approach is to put appointments to do a module or part of a module – two hours a week, or an hour twice a week, or biweekly, whatever suits you – into your schedule. This helps you stay on track, tweaking the schedule as you figure out what works best for you and your learning style.
If this works well, we’ll continue in this style; if we find that people are struggling to complete the course, we may provide more scheduling structure to support the forward momentum of the learning.
 The Self Illusion, by Bruce Hood, p.82.
This online course operates with a combination of course fees and dāna, an ancient Buddhist practice of generosity that also appears in many modern forms such as the gift economy.
A basic course fee of US$25 goes towards operating costs (like the online learning platform software, website hosting, etc.).
Separate from the course fee is your generosity or dāna, which enables us to continue sharing these and other teachings of spiritual awakening with you and others. In Buddhist philosophy holds that generosity benefits the giver the most, by allowing them to generate merit. We offer some guidelines further below in the FAQ about how much dāna to offer.
The course learning is our act of generosity towards you, with the trust that you’ll use this learning to benefit all beings, including yourself, us, and everyone else.
We’d really like to benefit as many beings as possible – the whole planet! Your generosity supports and empowers us to do this, and we sincerely appreciate it.
The practice of generosity is central to all our spiritual unfoldment, and is also an important engine of positive transformative change. Imagine a culture where generosity is the norm, and you’ll understand what we’re working towards. Pretty wonderful, right? Our lineage of spiritual teachers has always taught on the basis of dāna, and we are committed to this practice and its development in the West.
Dāna is also a radical and – we believe – viable economic alternative to capitalism, which our planet would really benefit from. We all know there must be something better than capitalism, or its hungry cousin, consumerism; we maintain that, together, we can offer a financial model that is based in life-affirming mutual support. Please join us in co-creating this promising economic alternative.
In case you’re wondering, Planet Dharma operates almost entirely on the basis of dāna and its energy counterpart, karma yoga, the path of service. This is very rare and it’s something we’re very proud of – it’s a high achievement in trust in the strength of human virtues.
It’s worth noting that this is altogether different from the commitment to poverty that the Franciscans and other traditions embrace. While those practices also have many benefits (St. Francis at St. Claire – what remarkable human beings!), we believe dāna, karma yoga and abundance are mutually supportive.
Because generosity is so subjective and contextual, and it’s up to each person to determine what “generosity” means, in our ideal world we wouldn’t provide any guidelines.
However, we’ve learned that the uniqueness or newness of this practice can leave people feeling somewhat adrift or paralyzed, so we are experimenting with some guidelines.
We suggest offering dāna between 100 and 25 USD for the teaching material, on top of the base 25 USD course fee that covers the operating costs of hosting the course. The amount you choose is completely at your discretion.
You can pay the course fee and choose your dāna amount on the sign up page, after clicking the “Sign Up For This Course” button below.
To enrich your learning, we encourage participants to engage and share with each other on the forums. Please note that the forums are to serve your experience, and are not actively managed by the teacher or other staff.
This is a way to cultivate a mutually supportive and strengthening Community of Practice, and to learn from one another’s insights.
This current course is the result of requests for an introductory AstroDharma course, when we offered an advanced level in 2014. Currently this is the only level we are offering.
If you’re interested in intermediate and advanced courses, please let us know. We listen to your feedback! If you’d like to be notified about such courses when they’re released, or other upcoming courses, we encourage you to join our mailing list.
We look forward to learning together with you.
Sign up now to join us on this journey of self-discovery.
Course Fee of $25, plus Dāna
Welcome to AstroDharma
Finding Your Natal Chart Online3 of 3
Instructions on how to generate your birth chart on AstroDienst.
The Halfway Point: Checking in1 of 1
How’s the course going for you? We’d like to hear your input and insights.