“You cannot prevent the birds of sorrow flying over your head but don't let them build a nest in your hair”
I first started learning about astrology at the age of 12. I remember feeling confused about my chart at the time. I didn’t feel anything like my chart. I didn’t feel it expressed who I was at my core. I now realize that we often grow into our charts and indeed chart interpretations go much deeper than the standard explanations found in many basic astrology books.
Indeed, the mysteries of a natal chart can take many years of understanding patterns and intuitive knowing to fully comprehend.
As a child our personalities merge with those around us. They are often defined in part by our family, community and home environment. In the early years we are still consolidating, or crystallizing into the form we are to become. We also live very much from our experiential, sensual, instinctive self, but as we grow, we become more multi dimensional.
Certain elements of the chart will be magnified at different times in our lives too often depending on progressions and transits, but also house placement. For example the tenth house situated at the zenith of our chart right around the heat of noon will really come into it's own as we enter the "noonday" "Summer" of our lives and begin to build the foundations of a career and a life of our own.
These extra facets add layers to our personality. As we grow we can more readily access certain parts of ourselves to fit the occasion by learning to work with the harder aspects in our charts such as the squares and oppositions and activating the easier aspects such as the trines and sextiles which allow energy to flow more freely.
We may also express different parts of our chart in different situations. This is a natural part of finding ourselves and our role in the world. Knowing out chart can help us harness the energies we need at different times and work through, or be compassionate toward those aspects of ourselves that are more difficult. In this way astrology need not be either prescriptive not deterministic but simply a tool for self knowledge and growth. I have found that astrology has helped me to be more compassionate to myself and others as I see how we all have our own particular issues to overcome and our own stories to live and learn from.
Over identifying with a particular part of ourselves at the expense of another can become a problem. This can often be due to hard aspects repeating destructive patterns in our lives until we learn, grow and finally free ourselves from their karmic lesson. These issues can be in areas of work, relationships or identity.
By over identifying with only one aspect of ourselves (it may be your work life, or if you are a SAHM it could be motherhood, it could be the “party girl” or the “comedian,” or the “strong one” who carries everyone’s burdens) we can get stuck in a part of our chart long term till it stops serving us or allowing our some of those vital, inner parts of our nature to shine through.
The sun strong in my chart as Leo (who rules the sun) is on my ascendant. I have my Sun and Mars conjunct in Capricorn in the 6th house. It is an aspect of my chart which I never identified with as a young child. I much preferred my jollier 5th house aspects; however this conjunction really came into its own after I had my children. During that time I needed to be able to focus on the everyday routine elements of life, deal with the nitty, gritty details and learn how to organize which are all 6th house specialties. This all became especially pertinent when I began homeschooling. I was outnumbered and outmaneuvered but I had my 6th house sun and I could keep the basics ticking over while my Sagittarian Venus and Neptune wide conjunction did their magical, dreamy, adventurous thing, my earth mother Taurus mid-heaven felt quite accomplished and my fifth house Mercury blogged it all down at the end of the day.
Over time I became used to this particular 6th house aspect and it became an integral part of my identity. I was finally identifying with and expressing this powerful aspect of my natal chart. As you can imagine the sun conjunct mars gave me an enormous amount of energy in this area.
Yet, over the years I began to over identify with this aspect of myself. I would find it hard to switch off or cut myself some slack, I got too caught up in the details and failed to see the bigger picture, all lower vibrations of this position. I had a health crisis in early 2015 (6th house can be linked to health issues) and had to re-evaluate my sense of identity, my self worth, my belief system and my daily routine.
I realized had invested too much of myself into this area of my chart and I had become unbalanced (I have Moon/Pluto conjunct in Libra – ruled by the scales of balance) and needed a crisis (6th house) to overhaul and transform (Pluto) my life.
This came in the form of an illness called Labrynthitis which is actually linked to balance and is caused by an inflammation of the inner ear. And whaddya know, transiting Pluto was conjuncting my natal Mercury the planet of communications at the same time! There was no getting away from it, my lifestyle just had to change. No more keeping ploughing on and pushing through.
I realized that to find balance I needed to access the wisdom of my opposite house, my 12th house. The 12th house is often associated with negative imagery but I have felt much positive power from this house. (My daughter has a stellium in Pisces in the 12th but more on that in another post.) The 12th house is like the undertow of an unfathomable ocean. It pulls you into the depths, like a siren. It is a house you can drown in if not mindful of its nature, yet, conversely it is also the house in which you can find, acknowledge and express your deepest self. One of the things connected with the twelfth house is seclusion; it is the house of hermits. During my recovery I had a deep, intuitive need to seclude myself. My focus shifted away from my daily work and towards the still point of my soul. I began to meditate throughout the day and developed some therapeutic breathing exercises. At this point I also had to accept that it was time for us to take an indefinite homeschooling break and by chance three places became available in our lovely local village school at just the right time, serendipity? Or was it written in the stars?
I have Jupiter retrograde in Leo in my 12th house. This part of my chart truly became a safe haven for me to complete some of the inner work I had been channeling for so long into external endeavors. I became balanced and a sense of renewed wholeness settled over me.
I began to wonder whether we can indeed choose to channel certain energies in our chart. The element of fatalism in some schools of astrology has always made me feel a little claustrophobic. Of course I believe transits, progressions and the natal chart all carry their own imprints but just as importantly, I believe we can empower and self identify with certain aspects in our chart, especially during difficult times and with vision and focus, positively manifest their healing essences into our reality. We are not passively at the mercy of our stars and their aspects; we can focus on and energize any part of our chart that inspires us, mindful of the fact that whatever we focus on expands. I hope to write more about therapeutic and self healing astrology in the future.
I have never worked as a professional astrologer and do not want to detract from the years of learning that goes into their practice by pretending that I am. I am however fascinated by astrology in all its forms and traditions and have always been intensely beguiled by the stars and their relationship to us.
I am also a believer in doing what works. Spiritual practices have to work to be of use.
“Man was not made for the Sabbath, the Sabbath was made for man.”
We are to use these practices only in so far as they help, heal and aid us in our startlingly brief but unfathomably beautiful journey on this wonderful, messy, magical rainbow swirling sphere we have chosen to call home.