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Consider the universe as a vibrant, pulsating field of energy. Stars radiate light, planets rotate and revolve through their cycles, asteroids shuttle around in their orbits, comets streak along their paths. Now look into an electron microscope: Every molecule is a field of energy; the atoms are clusters of neutrons, protons and electrons swirling about. As above, so below.

Close your eyes, feel the warmth of your body, recognize the field of energy that animates your being. As within, so without. Our bodies, as collections of molecules, are no more solid than the universe, and no less solid either.

The Law of Correspondence is fundamental to astrology: As above, so below; as without, so within. We track the cycles of the planets and look for links between planetary alignments and our lives. No matter how we understand those links, we agree that a thread of meaning connects the energy of the planets with the dynamics of human life.

My body is a cluster of tissues and fluids assembled within a field of energy. My mind is a vibrating collection of thought and memory, perception and cognition, sensation and signal—all within this same field of energy. My spirit inhabits this field as long as I am alive.

Chakras are powerful energy centers in the mind/body continuum. We speak of seven major chakras aligned with the spine. Each is a vortex of energy that carries the life force to parts of the body. They can be likened to electrical transformers.

Just as astrology assigns each of the planets to particular organs and glands and bodily functions and then finds parallels to issues and areas in our lives, the study of chakras leads us to feel the flow of subtle energy that balances bodily functions along with life experience.

You recognize Mercury in the sky, you know its place in our solar system. You understand Mercury’s symbolism, you see how it fits into your chart. Can you find the energy of Mercury in your body? Yes, you can. Sitting right where you are in your chair, you can learn to feel Mercury’s pulse with your breath; you can sense Mercury’s vibration in the effect of a color, the sound of a mantram, the feel of a gemstone, the scent in a flower.

You are awakening an energy pathway and opening an intuitive channel that resonates with Mercury. Your body’s pathways give access to the energy field where the chakras function.

What if I’m told that transiting Saturn is coming to oppose my natal Mars? I can relate that condition to a need for discipline and responsibility in my actions. I’ll get that lesson in the environment where I’m expressing my Mars energy. I’ll feel that my will is being tested.

As without, so within. The third chakra, called Manipura, with its locus at the solar plexus, is associated with vitality, willpower, intention and outward action. It resonates with Mars. It affects the adrenal cortex and the pancreas. How will I feel that Saturn transit in the energy of my being?

As within, so without. When someone steps into my day and delivers a Saturn challenge to my Mars, how can I use a third-chakra awareness to center myself as I answer to that challenge? I can move the diaphragm very deliberately as I breathe; I can envision the color of gold; I can repeat an affirmation that boosts my Mars energy.

If in my natal chart Mars is in a trine with Venus, I might be able to pull in some support from the heart chakra. I can recruit a sense of compassion to temper my impulse to react when I find Saturn’s rules have set up a roadblock.

Overall, the condition of Mars in my natal chart—the sign it’s in, aspects it forms, its house placement—informs me of how my energy flows through the third chakra and how I can use that factor in expressing my will and carrying out my intentions. Think of the difference between Mars in Cancer and Mars in Taurus in the way the pancreas functions or how the body responds to stress.

We have within us the whole universe, all of its energy. The movement of planets in the sky gives us excellent clues about how the energy is moving within us. If, on the stage called life, astrology gives us a script, the chakras animate the voice and movement through which we play our part. Awareness of the chakras helps us direct the flow of vital energy as we work with the cycles of the planets.

Mark Wolz is a certified astrologer (CA-NCGR) and yoga teacher based in New York.