Home, Sweet…. WTF?! Really???

Challenges and a salty dose of reality. Breakthroughs and a dollop of optimism.

Fucking Pluto. And fucking Saturn, too.

Pluto is an intense planet and often has a bad wrap as a malefic planet. Why? Because he is about obsession and compulsion, hidden depths and secrets, fears and desires, destruction, sex, death, power dynamics, and straight up power. He’s not all bad. This planet is about all that lies beneath the surface and using it to transform and regenerate, it is about facing your deepest fears and hidden longings. Birth and death are difficult, scary, and necessary processes. They are powerful processes and, like all power, it comes at a cost. Wherever Pluto is in a chart, this is where the intense powers of creation and destruction lie for you and where, through struggle, you can be empowered.

Saturn, too, is an intense and classically malefic planet. Saturn is about limitation, restriction, harsh realities, responsibilities… he represents the stern parent (usually the father), but also government and law. He is cold and logical, interested in the long term and the traditional, building solid foundations over time and in the right way. With Saturn, there is definitely a right way and a wrong way. He governs achievement, maturity, wisdom, and how you are perceived in the public eye, particularly your career. He is the planet of taking responsibility for yourself and others. He is the planet of hard work and karma. He is the planet of harsh lessons and delayed gratification and all the benefits or lack thereof, if you don’t do the work.

These are powerful, but not fun planets. Both are slow moving planets, so their processes take time, although Pluto also governs sudden and catastrophic changes that force you to rebuild or perish.

And then they are both in my 4th House, the bottom and root of the chart, the midnight of the soul, the place where you come from and will inevitably go to whether through joyful reunion, peaceful repose, or fall from grace. It is home, both physical and metaphorical and the deepest personal unconscious and instinctual reactions. It is cyclical like the Moon which rules it. It is opposite the House of Career, so when something upsets one, it often upsets the other.

My 4th House is ruled by Libra, seeking partnerships, but both planets are in Scorpio andBottom chart my Pluto is at 0° 1′24,″ which means it is very intensely Scorpio. Pluto also rules Scorpio. Almost all of my planets on the right side of my chart trace back to Pluto as does my South Node, which covers past lives, mastery, stagnation, and comfort zones. It makes close sextiles to my Jupiter and my Neptune and looser ones with my Sun and Mercury (meaning there are opportunities for major transformations in those areas of my life, if I work at it). It is literally at the very bottom of my chart near the middle of that House.

So, what does that all mean?

My role in the home has always been as the harmonizer and/or authority figure, which caused major issues for me when my parents divorced and again when my father remarried. I was probably maddeningly difficult to parent with authority, even though I generally followed the rules as long as they made sense. The few times that disciplining me was required, I argued. A lot. My primary home was strict and filled with tension between what I was told I should believe (so much church – 3 days a week and occasional weekends) and what I actually believed. There were points were I was isolated from friends or events, because they believed I was gay. And, even though my relationships with my parents have 100% improved since I have left home, there is still anger and resentment there.

Those major control issues that I mentioned back in my first couple posts all root back to this planet hanging out in the depths of my soul and it affects almost everything, especially my ability to connect with other people and form partnerships. It means I’m at my most comfortable when I’m in control of my environment, yet acutely aware that control of my environment is an illusion. When faced with uncomfortable issues, I will dig into them, but through intense and often dark introspection, which I will nearly always keep to myself, so that I can go on caring for others from a place of projected strength and apparent harmony, while also secretly being frustrated that there isn’t anyone I feel comfortable leaning on and allowing to care for me or to truly partner with. Which is because I don’t let anyone all the way in. And that is deep down enough that it took me a long time to recognize it.

And with all that going on, it’s not surprising that one of the places I feel the least comfortable is at home. Home is a place of responsibility, secrets, and power struggles. When I’m falling apart, I hide at work or at school because hard work sustains my home and learning sustains my mind; I have always been able to put aside whatever I am feeling, to “leave it at the door” so to speak, and get to work or dig into learning. There is comfort in the clinically clean lines of problem solving at work or in theories. Feeling could always wait until later.

Until last Spring when I was suddenly let go from a well paying job while I was in the middle of therapy. Feeling was the work I was supposed to be doing and it took time away from my job and then, as much a surprise to the company as it was to me, a contract we had been counting on wasn’t awarded and the work, already difficult for the region I was given (honestly, still not sure if that was a vote of confidence or sabotage by my team lead), dried up completely. After being told repeatedly that not getting the contract wasn’t going to affect anything, most of our group was let go without warning.

It was a rough couple of months. There was nothing to do, but put in applications and feel. I started on anti-depressants. I considered hospitalization. I had a few instances where it was physically difficult not to start cutting, something I had never thought of doing before. I started meditating and going to yoga when I could. I wrote some angsty shit. A huge secret that wasn’t mine to tell was outed and I took the brunt of fall out.

And that was the turn around point.

Being called some harsh and horrible things and given some unreasonable demands by someone whose anger I understood (misdirected as it was) but which definitely fell in the category of complete hypocrisy gave me the push back my Pluto needed to, with difficulty, remain kind but firm in my stance, and which also allowed me the chance to break out of the shit I had been blaming myself for in regards to the sexual assaults I had experienced in the past. Weird, right? Total upheaval, breakthrough, peace. But at no point did that transformation not suck and it didn’t mean the work was over.

So, fast forward to last week. I’ve been looking for a house and I found one I really like. I’ve been waivering on it because it is a big step and I would be looking at overlapping payments between a mortgage and rent for a little while, but, after some calculating and a little bit of faith, I decided that, between my two jobs, I could handle that with some strict budgeting. I signed the contract on Saturday, October 14th.

I lost my full time job on Tuesday, October 17th.

despair
Internal me in moments like these.

The catalyst was my fault – I pissed off the boss by venting about an issue that came up where she was actually in the wrong, but I definitely could have handled my frustration better and less publicly. In fact, I usually do, but frustrations had been piling up, it wasn’t the first time the same kind of issues had come up, and I needed to vent, so I could put it out of my head and continue working. So, I vented on Facebook. I didn’t use names, but with questions asked, if you worked there, you could probably figure it out. I assume either someone on my friend list is friends with them, too, or it’s possible they heard me talking to my supervisor about the issue in the office and saw it later. That being said, they didn’t fire me for that. Instead, they went looking through my Facebook and through my work for the 6 weeks until they could find something that could be bent to constitute a fire-able offense. I have several friends who know the industry I was working in who state that it was not a fire-able offense and I should talk to a lawyer. I’m looking into it.

Funnily enough, I do have Pluto transiting (meaning this is where Pluto currently is in the sky compared to my birth chart) my 6th House of daily habits and work. Here’s what the horoscope break down had to say:

PLUTO CAPRICORN IN THE SIXTH HOUSE:

(House of Virgo and Mercury or Chiron) An overhaul of work life. Getting to fundamental health issues. Taking responsibility for the whole self — mind, body, spirit. Exploring healing modalities that go deeper.

Turning away from toxins toward what’s natural. Finding power to be a clean machine, in a polluted world. Dedication and service, volunteering or becoming a healer.

Yeah… either way, upheaval, and it destroyed me for about 3 hours.

But then, I dried my tears, I talked to my part-time boss, the realtor, and the temp agency I used to work at, and I applied for two jobs. I got to have last week off, which was weird, but needed, and I’ll make more money from it due to vacation and sick pay having to be paid out. I have nearly full-time hours at my other job for this week and an interview for a better paying job today.

I can’t get out of the sales contract for the house unless the appraisal or the home inspection reveals something huge (I’ll have to pay for both of those) or I don’t get the loan, which is a possibility now.

But, you know what? I will be ok.

I’ll either get the house or I won’t. If I do, then this is the universe’s way of saying I was going to need more than I had to make it work and it’s time to take the scary steps to keep what I want. If I don’t, I already have a back up plan for May and I don’t have to pay for two different places to live. Saturn usually doesn’t grant things until about the age of 35, so perhaps I’m just two years too early – I’m kind of impatient like that. Or maybe home owning is not for me and I’ll be presented with an opportunity that would have required moving anyway. We’ll see.

Truthfully, I wasn’t happy doing the work I was doing, even though I had awesome co-workers. I had even planned on asking my supervisor last Tuesday to go over some of the rules and practices I was having trouble with, because I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to continue there unless I understood why those rules were in place. And, honestly, it’s their loss. I worked hard, I was diligent and observant in my work, and I caught some fairly important mistakes before they became larger issues. I had my criticisms, but I am loyal. I accidentally and unwisely wounded the boss’s pride and they have the right to feel how they feel about it. Whether I press litigation or not, if they continue in their current behavior and reactions, they’ll eventually capsize their own company. And, honestly, I usually know better than to vent publicly. It serves as a solid reminder that, if I feel the need to take on authority, either be bullet proof or do it covertly. If I feel like I can’t do that, it’s time apply elsewhere, even if it feels disloyal.

Even more than those realizations, though, is this: I would have stayed there until I burned out. However much I may hate a job, if it meets my needs and I can adjust my home life to fit around it, I’ll keep at it. Like a dirty, cheap security blanket, I’ll cling to it and I won’t look elsewhere until I have to. So, now I have to. Thanks, Pluto.

Earlier this year, I decided not to go to grad school just yet. Things just didn’t line up. I said I was going to give myself a year to find a job I wanted in higher ed, so that I would have the opportunity to do the program online while getting paid a living salary.  I logicked myself out of it, saying I had too many responsibilities right now.

coffeebook
My happy place…

And maybe that’s still true. But, I have the Wisconsin GI Bill and the university has an awesome book rental program, so it would mostly be registration fees and since the Wisconsin GI Bill works off credit hours as tuition forgiveness, I don’t need to be a full time student to take advantage of it. It’s a marvelous benefit that fear is holding me back from. I can take a class as a non-degree seeking student in foreign language or sociology or women’s and gender studies – anything that brings me joy and makes me a more well-rounded human being – anything that helps me decide if I want to work in International Education or Diversity Studies or advocacy in the field of law – anything that makes me more attractive addition to a university or legal setting. And I’m going to apply to the jobs I want even if I don’t feel qualified. I’m going to apply to jobs I want in places I’m not 100% sure about. And, maybe most importantly, I’m going to apply for jobs I actually want, not ones that are kinda, sorta, maybe related that I can maybe make work. It’s time to live without the safety net.

Alright, Pluto? Saturn? Fuck it, let’s do this!

Ai, me… Ack! L’Amour….

So, a friend asked me to do a chart for a friend of hers as an experiment. This is very appealing to me as a Virgo and someone with my Venus in Virgo, because I have a love of and find pleasure in deep and complicated critical analysis. But as my Venus is also in my 3rd House with that Gemini energy, my word, has this been distracting. Especially when I found out I was on the right track about something – just had to dig in. Right now I have him labeled Mystery Man, because I have no idea what his name is. Also, gotta say, it’s a little odd having intimate birth details for someone you don’t know the name of and have never met and then try to write to explain what you’re seeing. I’ll ask my friend to ask him if I can share some things and how accurate or inaccurate it is. It’s been an interesting exercise.

Venus in Virgo in the 3rd House. What can I say? It’s a mess.

Ok, Venus is the planet of happiness, romantic love, relationships with others, material pleasures… all that happy shit. Well, she’s stuck in the 3rd House, Gemini’s variety loving, let’s just all have fun, up and down moods place, ruled by Virgo, with all her devoted, earthy sensuality and highly critical side-eye. All the good and bad of Mercury. All of it. You’d think the Moon hanging out next to her in Libra, which she rules would be able to

uranus
*Please, tell me I wasn’t the only one who giggled. I wasn’t even trying to be funny – Uranus rules Aquarius, the unorthodox rebel. It’s against the norms.

help her out, but that girl is taking a square block from Jupiter (which can represent the husband in a woman’s chart – sorry, a lot of astrology is pretty heteronormative even when you throw Uranus* in there) and she’s not far behind on that block, then getting her own square block from Neptune (planet of merging oneness, but also illusions), a trine with Ceres (a dwarf planet) in Taurus, which gives her an independent bent, and a near opposition with Lilith in Pisces (the Black Moon, this is a computed point rather than a celestial body like North and South Nodes in a chart – I won’t go too far into it), which basically means I have issues with the concept of merging who I am with another. In addition, Aquarius, detached and freedom loving, is ruling my House of Partnership and Marriage, as well as my House of Sex, Death, and Joint Debts (those things you deal with after marriage). The more partnered, loving signs are saved for my Houses of Home and Family/Soul, Philosophy and Life Purpose, Social Welfare, and the Deep Unconscious and Spiritual Collective.

If all that made your head spin, I don’t blame you. There’s also a whole thing with certain planets being debilitated in certain degrees of certain signs, but that gets even more complicated. From what I can tell, my Venus is debilitated and is aspected by my Jupiter, which is also debilitated, giving my romance issues a nice, expanded quality. In Vedic astrology, it call comes down to bad love juju, probably karmic.

In practice, it means I have a fairly idealistic view of romance and devotion, and I’m not going to settle for anything less than that (Venus in Virgo), especially if it means giving up on the things I want to do with my life. Putting her in the 3rd House also means lots of short term relationships and that I crave witty, friendly, flirty communication, but I will be extremely critical of how perspective partners approach me. I lose interest quickly. Both Gemini and Virgo are intellectual signs, so I am sapiosexual. Also, my Virgo Venus and Gemini flavored assholery really has no patience for poorly thought out passes – the Virgo side spots it right away and will critically pick apart what was said and the Gemini side just gets offended – if you are going to play the game at least be good at it (and the Virgo side HATES the game). They both enjoy verbal word play.

Things I have actually said to men who were flirting with me. I want to stress here, I wasn’t actually trying to be mean, it’s just the knee jerk reaction.

  1. At a club in Clarksville on a night I looked really good (that was a weird fuckin’ night, by the way):
    • I go to the bar to buy a drink and a stranger offered to buy – “Oh, that’s very sweet, but I’m not going to sleep with you, so feel free to take back the offer.” He processed that by way of a slow blink, “No, it’s ok.” “Well, thank you then.” Honestly, I would not have been at all offended if he had taken back the drink.
    • Someone in command over me and decently older decided to confess that he thought we had a connection in Iraq and, normally, he wouldn’t say anything, but I was getting out soon, sooooo…. “Oh, um… well, actually, I have a boyfriend and I’m only 21, so-” “So, fuck off?” “Well, nicer than that, but in essence.” I was flattered. He was notoriously shallow by his own admission, so my ego was stroked, but seeing as one of his top descriptors of me during deployment was “anal retentive” but in a “positive way,” kinda threw off that whole connection thing.
  2. At a bar near my house after I paid my rent and still in my work uniform: “Hey there, sweetie. I was just hanging with my friends over there and I just had to come over talk to you, you so cute.” (For real, this was said to me, I’m not embellishing). “Wow, and my appearance is the least of my selling points. You should probably run while you can.” In all fairness to him, he did end up walking away with my number, but mostly because he was studying for an advanced degree in child psychology, which I found fascinating.
  3. A drunken call from a friend late one night: Him – “I love you!” Me – “No, you don’t, you’re just drunk.” Him – “Oh. Damn, why you gotta call me out like that?” Me – “Cuz you’re drunk. Please, tell me you’ll get home safe.”
  4. Over OKCupid: We were having a more or less pleasant introductory conversation when I innocently asked what he was doing over the weekend having already established that I would be busy. He sent me something to the effect of ‘going down on you’ with some wet emojis. “Hmm, yeah. I wasn’t quite there yet. I’m sapiosexual (which was on my profile) so if you want to get in my pants, you have to get in my head first. If that’s not your thing, no big deal, but if you want to try again, then dazzle me with your wit.” He did not dazzle me.
  5. At a bar in Chicago: “You’ve got to be the prettiest thing on this side of town.” “Gosh, I didn’t even know they were conducting a poll.” Later on because he didn’t leave: “You know, beautiful women could just rule the world.” “Really? Cuz, you know, historically, that’s hasn’t really been true. They get all the blame and none of the actual power. Is there some kind of angle they missed?” (deer in headlight look) “Wow, you’re, um, smart… and you have gorgeous eyes.” “Yes, thank you again. I’ll pass the compliment onto my father – they’re from him.” He was determined. I’ll give him that.
  6. A cat caller (which doesn’t really count as flirting to me, but my face was probably priceless) as I was riding my bike to work: “Daaaamn! You ridin’ that bike!” As I almost die laughing, “Well, yeah. Observant, aren’t we?”

In my defense, I didn’t date much in high school, mostly out of lack of interest in most of the guys I knew who were similarly uninterested in me, but also because even in my head at 14 I was as cynical as a 35 year old divorcee. That being said, I just figured I was unattractive and that was more or less come to terms with in Basic Training. So when people actually do find me attractive, I still have this lingering doubt that they are either making fun of me or they have another agenda.

So, if there were any guys in high school or my early 20’s who were trying to get my attention in all earnestness, sorry about that. It probably wasn’t your fault and I wasn’t trying to be harsh.

That’s the bad. It’s not insignificant and, sadly, most of my past relationships have seen me devoted to the people who really didn’t know what to do with it at best and abused it at worst. But it has led me to some important realizations.

  1. Romance never has been high on my priority list and it probably never will be. It’s good to know, so that I can be clear about it when I do date.
  2. That being said, I don’t do casual well long term unless I have clear and defined boundaries of what casual means to both of us.
  3. Almost all relationships in my head are a ‘for now’ status, even and maybe especially when the other person is showing signs of longevity. It’s like a panic button.
  4. I need to be friends first and foremost. Friendships are generally less restricting and more fulfilling for me.
  5. I will want to be friends with my partner’s friends, but I don’t want to totally share friend/social circles. Too messy and too much time together.
  6. It’s really hard for me to take romantic relationships and romantic words seriously. I do not recover well from an early “I love you.” Even if I want to say it.
  7. There are two ways for a romantic partner to actually let me know they are serious and/or to keep my attention:
    • 3rd House: Bring me new and interesting information or fun stuff to do together that you would also do with your friends. I love good food, but I’ll take a date of samples at a Taste of (insert city name here) event or, hell, walking through a grocery store, choosing a couple of the samples to go back to the living room and watch a Marvel movie marathon over a romantic restaurant any day. I’ll take rock climbing over a romantic stroll. Be unpredictable and interesting.
    • Virgo: Acts of Service is my love language by a lot. And I reciprocate. I will critically analyze your words, but voluntarily doing the dishes, because the sink is full or just because? God, that’s hot. Bringing me a healthy dinner or running my errands on a busy night? I’m yours. Cleaning the toilet? Wash your hands first, but then get over here!

I don’t think all of this is exactly something that I can or necessarily want to change. At least, not as a whole. The thing that bothers me about romance and accounts for some of the reluctance, is that when I do commit to a person, I commit hard and it’s easy for me to sacrifice my needs to meet the other person’s. But, eventually, I’ll resent that. That’s the part I want to work on – the stating of my boundaries and my needs. I have been pretty good about it lately, but it is definitely a work in progress and it is easier for me when things are in a more casual spot.

It’s interesting. When I was reading up on debilitated planets, one of the key things it recommended for overcoming that blockage was to open up the heart chakra, which is usually blocked or closed in individuals with a debilitated Venus. I’ve been having reiki done on and off for about 8 years and every time I go, she has to open up my heart chakra. I do usually feel a little better afterward, happier, more relaxed, more open. Might have to try it a little more often. Until then, I’ll add the affirmations below to my daily meditation.

heart+chakra

Money Matters

Zen Over Yen…. I’m working on it.

Here at the end of the 2nd House, I thought I’d better talk about wealth and money – the more earthy part of what this house stands for. My relationship with money is kind of complicated in that I kind of hate it, but I’m practical enough to know I need it and that more of it would make other aspects of my life smoother.

That being said there were a lot of thoughts and heaviness swirling around my head because this house relates directly to my house of Career, which doesn’t have any planets but has a big ol’ Aries sign on the cusp and dominating the house. I need independence and creativity, but I also need a steady income and the ability to pay my bills or I get super stressed out. All that and this week I also got my rejection from WPR for their Chapter a Day series, which wouldn’t have been the be all end all job, but it would have been a step in the right direction (creativity, autonomy, and income). It’s a mess.

So, with all that mess, I made an audio post, because I just felt the need to talk it out more than type it out. It’s just over 15 minutes. Thanks, in advance, for listening, if you get the chance.

Part I: Valuing What I Have…

A two part post in reaction to Charlottesville, division, and values.

A song for the background while you read

I have been chewing on this post most of the last two weeks. Charlottesville and the state of division and anger, not just in the US, not just on social media, but also living within me has been a near constant companion to my thoughts. It’s something I think I need to address and I have decided to address it in two parts. Sorry, in advance, this is long.

Let’s start with how this relates to my astrological path: The 2nd House is commonly known as the House of Possessions, or sometimes Wealth. It’s one of the first Houses you look at to determine a person’s relationship with money and the material. But there’s a lot more to it than that. This House encompasses everything you come into the world with that is not you, your attitude towards it, and what you value and choose to develop. This includes your Values and your Talents, for sure, but also your Heritage.

This House is ruled by Taurus, the bull, and I think this is very fitting. This is where we take what we have learned about ourselves in the House of Self and we commit to it in what we do and how we live. We form our value systems early, but slowly and, often, they are just a part of the physical environment we grow up in, incorporated organically. Our thought processes around these things are earthy and self-driven and our adherence to them is loyal, stubborn, passionate, and, often, lazy and unwilling to change. The energy of this House is Fixed, so there is a tendency to think everyone feels the same way we do, that everyone does (or should) value the same things. Sometimes we take for granted that we are living our values and we take attacks on and assumptions about our value systems quite personally.

You see where I’m heading here, maybe?

It’s a heavy thought: Where am I heading? Where are we heading? Is it true that we can’t know where we are going if we don’t know where we come from? My answers on this are divided, deeply personal, and a little troubling. And, lately, I get the sense that I’m not alone in that feeling, but everyone’s solution comes from a different place and a different stage of analysis.

charlottesville-protests
University of Virginia on Friday night. Those quiet people protesting around the statue? The sign says “VA Students Act Against White Supremacy.” Five minutes with Google search.

It is really easy to blame others and defend ourselves, or at least, explain why we did something or why our version of something is nuanced. And, right after Charlottesville, there was an absolute crap-ton of that going on, something I cannot exempt myself from. At the same time, it’s been very difficult not to speak out harshly and, in some ways, the clarity of harsh words is needed. I think at least part of the problem is that this moment to speak up and stand up was long overdue. The division is so deep, the talk so polarized, that attempting a middle ground as a stance is seen on both sides as either an adoption of One or the Other, the direction dependent on where you started and who you are talking to.

I still feel like I’m on the right side of this whole thing – the Nazis and the KKK are wrong, Trump is supportive of many of their causes and has openly said racist and sexist things and advocated the use of violence as long as it is against those opposing him. I truly believe that his election has been an emboldening factor and that belief is easily confirmed in words of the neo-Nazis and the KKK themselves when they praise him. I find it ironic and hypocritical that a man who ran on a campaign of division, anger, and an Us v. Them mentality just wants everyone to fall in line and unify now. I do not find it surprising though. (If you are pissed off at this assessment, keep reading anyway, there’s a flip side.)

That being said, I have “liked” an awful lot of Punch a Nazi posts recently. Is that better? I feel it’s more justified because the only people I hate are bigots and I wouldn’t hate them if they stopped being bigots (whereas they will still hate me and/or people I care about regardless). The thing is that bigotry is a harsh brush with a tendency to coat the people standing next to it – and maybe it should – but…. and this is the tough question here…. am I really standing that far away from the brush?

What am I actually doing to combat racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, xenophobia, and intolerance in general? And what should that combat look like? How do I practice tolerance while taking a firm stand against intolerance? How can I ask anyone to listen to me if I can’t listen to them? Where do I start? Who do I listen to?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Because I don’t just want to preach my values, I want to live them. In fact, both my Sun and my Mercury are in this House, almost right on top of each other and themselves ruled by Virgo and the House ruled by Leo, so, in a way, I actually have to live them. It is a literal planetary representation of “put my money where my mouth is.” My values and my expression of them as well as my critical assessment and demonstration of them are very large and very important parts of who I am.

So, I’m going to lay it out.

I believe in equality and freedom. Each and every one of us has the right to pursue happiness and define who we are and what we believe. Everyone should be allowed to follow their dreams.

Except….

I want to be clear here. This is an individual thing. If dressing up in a bear suit and living in the woods is your thing, go live your dream! If dressing up in a white hood and lynching people is your thing, fuck your dreams. That affects a lot more people than you and your lifestyle choices. This is the basic Golden Rule, reiterated through time and cultures around the world and, generally speaking, we still don’t do this, because, basically, we believe other people won’t. Funnily enough, the Golden Rule never mentions other people’s behavior.

I believe violence is not the answer.

Here’s where it belongs: UFC, martial arts exhibitions, self-defense classes, boxing, fencing, other regulated fighting sports, the arts (but not art that calls for it in actual life), video games and RPGs, BDSM scenarios… sensing a trend here? Controlled and agreed upon. The only other scenario I agree with is literal defense to save your life or another’s.

I believe love is more powerful than hate.

I have a hippy name; I have a hippy outlook. I’m not going to lie, though, hate is easy. Look at how many people who claim to love resort to hate and judgment. It’s painfully easy and, when you feel the person has earned it, it’s even easier. Loving is really, really hard. We pretend it’s not because falling in love can happen so fast and loving your family is kind of expected (warranted or not). But really loving? Seeing the flaws and hurts, looking past being hurt, and still doing what is healthy and growth-oriented? Loving yourself and loving the other person at the same time and acting like it? That shit is hard. It’s painful.

But we need it. Desperately.

I believe knowledge and learning are important.

This is how we improve. We have many examples of this kind of environment and what it leads to. We have seen what doesn’t work. We have seen terrible outcomes. So the question is, what haven’t we tried?

I believe people are complicated.

There are about 1000 tiny little ways that we perceive and think and experience that end up causing internal conflicts and reinforce habits. We continually assign meaning to other people’s actions and frequently ignore the potential meanings of our own. It takes awareness and practice to bring these things in line and keep them there. And it’s okay not to be 100% with this. It’s a growth thing. The point is to try.

I am aware that I am lucky in a lot of ways because my upbringing has made awareness, assessment, and adaptability much easier than it might have been otherwise. My parents both have a white, Midwestern heritage, but they’ve both traveled a lot and have curious minds, which they encouraged in me through discussion and reading. I know I am loved. I know all of my siblings are loved. I have a sibling with ADHD and a son with both ADHD and autism. Experiencing life with them has allowed me to grow in ways I would not have otherwise – they have provided me with perspective, patience, and a more open heart and mind. I am especially grateful for my little brother, who didn’t always get to experience the benefits of the gifts he planted in me.

My family has also never been particularly conventional. My mom was in the Army in the 80’s, when women didn’t learn hand-to-hand combat and did PT separately. She worked in Joint Forces Command as a general’s secretary because she was simultaneously respectful and courteous of but also didn’t give a shit about rank. My dad was a stay at home dad while we lived in Germany. They argued in German up until they figured out I was able to understand them. They practiced different religions and got divorced while I was young, which, at the time, was rare for our area, and we lived with my dad, which is rare for custody all around. I got to experience two very different parenting styles and two very different households.

Further back, my paternal grandmother went to school for her Masters in the 50’s even though she was already married and had a child. Generally, that wasn’t approved of and people talked, but she had support anyway. She was allowed to go and she had the resources to go. Both are huge things, amazing privileges, and she made the most of them.

My maternal grandfather came from northern Missouri hillbilly stock and tried to get away from it while my maternal grandmother’s family came from mid-Iowa and wanted to be hillbillies (they had a band that featured the word in their name). I never got to know my grandfathers; they both died before that was an option, but they left my family in the care of some independent, strong women. And I am grateful.

Another generation back, my maternal great-grandmother moved herself and all her children across the country in a covered wagon without the help of her husband, and, before that, my paternal great-great-grandmother packed all of her possessions into a sturdy wooden trunk and moved from Germany to the US – that trunk still sits in my grandmother’s living room, serving as a coffee table. She’s 92 and still lives on her own, by the way. Every Christmas, we search for the pickle on the tree for the chance to win an extra present, a uniquely German American tradition that was packaged as ancient German custom.

xmaspickle

This is my heritage and it has provided me many opportunities and the support to pursue them to the best of my ability. It has afforded me a position of security, strength, and unconventionality that not everyone gets to experience. I am proud of my heritage and grateful for it.

But that certainly doesn’t mean I think anyone else’s is less important or more or less American than mine. Which brings me to Part II: Living my Values.

 

 

 

Body of Work

So, back on my original track here at the end of the First House: The body and my connection to it. Astrologically, the First House is ruled by Aries, which has the planetary ruler of Mars. Mars is in charge of your Passion, Drive, Fight, Sex Drive, and, basically, what gets you out of bed in the morning, but it is also in charge of the experience of having a body. And it is a very interesting experience.

I’ve already talked a little today on my body in terms of identity with being overweight, but curvy and being fairly capable. I’ll probably repeat some of that here, but I want to go in a bit different direction.

When I first got the idea for this post, I was looking specifically at engaging in body positivity and addressing my own discomfort with my body. There was a relevant experience to go with this: one night, I went over to hang out with some friends, including the guy I am seeing and his other girlfriend (if you missed this info, sorry, feel free to listen for a more in depth explanation). The people there are fairly comfortable with their bodies and so I walked in on topless people. Feeling slightly embarrassed but curious, I took the opportunity to engage in some selective nudity.

I was surprised at how simultaneously comfortable and uncomfortable I was. I think of my body as less Body by Victoria and more Body by Victorian, and while I have some discomfort with my size, I knew I was among people who didn’t find it to be an issue, yet I couldn’t quite shake the urge to cover up. I had managed to relax a bit when one of the roommates I didn’t realize was home waltzed into the kitchen for a late night snack. He actually didn’t notice a thing, focused as he was. Of course, my discomfort still spiked, but I waited it out and put my shirt and bra back on as I was getting ready to leave, feeling flushed and a even a little liberated.

And yet, when I started getting into the range of messages in the body positive label, I was taken aback and some of that discomfort returned. There were parts I expected: love your body for all it does for you, love your body as it is, you are perfect the way you are, how to get a bikini body: put a bikini on your body….. and there was the other end, too: goals for fitness that were entirely appearance dependent and very rigid, motivational models for keeping to your workout, and the ever-present “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” Some of the stuff in the middle had a very able-bodied person approach to a positive frame of mind. There was even a woman who had stopped her obsessive work out routine in order to actually enjoy her life, and her post about how much happier and healthier she felt was met with both positive outpourings of support and negative jerks telling her to enjoy diabetes (she had a tiny bit of padding over her belly rather than being as cut as her before pics – hardly a poster child for being unhealthy). It was a mess.

The fact is being happy with your body is a hell of a lot more complicated than a daily appreciation, although that can help. We just see too many messages every day that tell us how our appearance should be, too many haters who will go out of their way to try to make you feel bad about some aspect of your appearance, and – Heaven forbid you actually are a very attractive person – how you should handle the affect your appearance has on others. I don’t think a positive mantra is really enough to fully counteract all the negative.

My original idea for activities this week was going to be body positive mantras and moving mediation. Both of these are fairly mental, though, and Aries and Mars are about physicality and action. So I’m going to up this a bit. My plan is to get up early over the next week and engage in my moving mediation, however, I am also going to spend a significant amount of time on my appearance and see how that affects my mood.

I, in general, am a fairly low maintenance gal. My hair is wash and go, I rarely wear make up, I like nice clothes but I prefer to be comfortable (yoga pants and leggings, y’all), I wear glasses rather than contacts. I’m hygienic, but I shower fast. All in all, while I appreciate my body and my appearance, I just generally have better things to do than fuss over it. This week I plan on taking my time, putting together outfits, crafting a look, trying out clothing items, hair styles, and make up looks that I would normally shy away from, experimenting with presentation. I also plan to spend some time being actively appreciative of my body by pampering it: lotions, face masks, body scrubs, scented candles – to really luxuriate in my senses and the sensations of my body.

And I’ll be logging how I feel and the reactions I receive throughout the week. But, in the meantime, here is a long list of stuff about my body that I like and am thankful for:

  • My body is strong and healthy.
  • My skin is very soft and fairly smooth, especially on my belly.
  • I have fantastic tits.
  • I have curvy hips and a nice, firm booty.
  • My legs are shapely and powerful.
  • My feet are pretty nice – no weird toes or ingrown nail issues.
  • I have excellent posture.
  • I can be fairly graceful – one fellow cast member said I moved like a queen.
  • My body responds quickly improvements, ie. a jump in flexibility when I do yoga.
  • My body tends to retain improvements – I stayed more flexible for 3 months after my first yoga session without any additional sessions.
  • I have some impressive biceps, especially for paying almost no attention to them.
  • I love my tattoos. They each have special meaning for me. 
  • I love my tongue piercing. It brings me such joy.
  • Despite most of my fat appearing on my belly, I still have little ab indents for some inexplicable reason.
  • My hair is super soft. It also has natural waves that tend not to be too frizzy and are fine with me straightening them as long as I do it methodically. 
  • What little gray hair I find, usually tends to be a really cool silvery color. Hoping that stays.
  • I have really long, thick eyelashes and light, fairly well-behaved eye brows.
  • The hair on my head grows fast and thick, the hair on my body tends to grow fine and slow.
  • I have excellent hearing and acute sense of taste and smell.
  • I have really nice fingernails – they grow fast and strong.
  • I enjoy a wide range of flavor profiles that allows me to really appreciate a variety of foods.
  • I have a pretty singing voice and, damn, I can project.
  • I can swim pretty well.
  • I am also an excellent kisser. Among other oral abilities.
  • I have sensitive skin and a responsive body. 
  • I have a full range of movement in everything except my left ankle due to the plate.
  • I was able to breastfeed my child – I fed and provided antibodies to a human with my body! The research on this stuff is intense. Your tits are molecular chemists – respect!
  • I’m a decent wrestler, actually. Hand-to-hand was fun for me. 
  • My natural tastes favor pretty healthy foods.
  • I’m not ill very often.
  • Despite being near-sighted and having an astigmatism, I have excellent color differentiation. I proved it on a black and white photo for UW-L’s steamboat collection – I could read the name of the boat when no one else could see it – we had to adjust the contrast for anyone else to make it out – it was previously listed as unidentified.
  • I have a very expressive face. It has been used for mime. 
  • I have pretty good teeth, especially for never having had braces. 
  • I heal quickly – burns, in particular.
  • My hand-eye coordination is pretty decent.
  • I have steady hands that allow me to do amazing things, like draw pictures or blood.
  • I like my cheekbones.
  • The navy rims around my pale blue irises are intriguing.
  • People really enjoy my smile. 
  • I love the way my body feels right before a storm.

Ascending to the Light… Well, Ascending, Anyway.

A long winded Virgoan description of my Leonine beginning energy.

I was born in the dark. At nearly 4 o’clock in the morning in Southern Germany, the light wouldn’t reach me for another 2.75 hours and by then it would be in a different sign. It would still be another 47 minutes until astronomical twilight. And yet, I think my parents knew on some subconscious level, because, while my mother chose my middle name to mean “moon,” my father chose my first name to mean “Lion of God,” while the Sun blazed into life a few hours away in Leo, the Lion, shining optimistically over the Sign it rules.

The Ascendant, or Rising Sign, is the point of intersection between the Eastern Horizon and the ecliptic and it is one of most personal parts of any Birth Chart, because the exact degree marks the very beginning of your Chart. It signifies your approach to new situations, the mask you wear, and even parts of your personal appearance. A person born at the exact same time as me would have all the same planets in all the same positions, but their Ascendant would very likely be in a different Sign and, therefore, their similar energies would express themselves in different aspects of life and mix with different signs in those aspects. The Ascendant also places an added emphasis on whatever Planet rules the Rising Sign, called the Chart Ruler. Additionally, some astrologers believe that the closer the degree of the Ascendant is to the beginning of a Sign, the Rising Sign will present more strongly, and if the the Sun was actually overhead at the time, it may present more strongly.

So, the contradictions of me: The beginning of Leo is pretty near the beginning of my 1st House (5° in, which incidentally is the same degree my Sun is in Virgo) and actually covers two Houses, which means it also rules the House in which my Sun is found. But, being born at night, having my Sun in the Sign next door and in the House next door to the House of Self and also conjunct with my Mercury making my Sun a Super-Virgo….. well, I have some pretty strong aspects of both. And since Leo is ruling my 2nd House (house of Security, Values, Possessions), which is traditionally ruled by Taurus (which is an Earth Sign like Virgo, but a Fixed Sign like Leo), and Mercury adding it’s quick little energy to that mess, they both want to have their say.

This post, in particular, has it’s own argument:

Virgo: We should really get into all the ways the aspects reinforce different parts of your thinking and ego expression, because I mean, really, the fact that Leo traditionally rules the 5th House, which in this case is in Scorpio, another Fixed Sign and dual ruled by Mars and Pluto, which are in Sagittarius and Scorpio respectively, but that last one only just and how Mars is the traditional ruler of the 1st House, which is square your Sun and is in your 5th House, but Pluto is sextile your Sun but is in your 4th House, traditionally ruled by Cancer and the Moon, which brings in your 12th House and your 3rd House, which is traditionally ruled by Gemini, but

Natal Basket of Crazy Flowers
I want to say that’s an actual astrological thing, where all your Planets are at the bottom.

accidentally ruled by Virgo and that’s where your Venus is, which rules both Libra and Taurus…. I mean there’s so much to unpack here, so I’m not really sure where to start, especially because it’s all important to you and it’s amazing how many aspects are made just to your Sun (like, really, everything except the Ascendant and Venus) and with your Mercury right there, too, so your chart looks like a frickin’ basket of crazy contradictions and isn’t it amazing how it confirms that you’re exactly as conflicted and crazy as you always thought you were? God, I love systems that confirm I’m right. But, I digress… Let’s see, where to start?

Leo: ….. Dear God, woman, think of your audience! We’ll just start with me.

Virgo: You would say that. It’s lacking in nuance, but, go ahead, you’re in charge.

So, Leo’s in charge for the time being. Nichole Huntsman, the astrologer I mentioned in the first post, likens the Signs to adverbs – they describe how we go about doing something. The connections between the Planet, the Sign, and the House are all roots of the same idea. As the Ascendant isn’t actually a Planet placement and I don’t have any Planets hanging out in the 1st House at all, I’m going to content myself with the concept of Leo and beginnings (which is pleasing my inner Lion’s vanity and my inner Virgin’s sense of purity).

The adverbs describing a Leonine personality are dynamically, boldly, courageously, protectively, dominantly, and charismatically. It’s outgoing, generous, warm, affectionate,  optimistic, passionate, loyal, ego-driven, controlling, and vain. It is the King, the CEO, the Child, the Ego. Physically, there’s a tendency for a wide chest, a strong body with a good constitution, a grace or dignity to movement, and hair that is either big or has gold coloring. It’s fiery nature encompasses vitality, spontaneity, aggressiveness, force of will, and, above all, ACTION. It’s energy is Fixed and Masculine – immovable, dominant, and determined, its force directed outward. The keywords are “I WILL.”

And I kind of have to agree with a lot of that. All that Virgoness above takes place before I enter the new situation and, if a new situation is thrust upon me, this Leonine side is the instinctual face I put on – a preservation and expression of Self, my loved ones, and my reputation. The order depends on the nature of the new. Even when I take into consideration all of the angles, practicality, and need to serve and assist from my Virgo side, I never fail to take into account whether whatever I am embarking upon will further my own interests in some way, usually my intellectual, financial, or creative interests. I may not have wanted to take my Statistics class, but I took it as Philosophy, did well, and actually ended up tutoring it for a bit.

Starting this blog, I have two major fears. The first that this fiery creative newness of starting a blog about my spiritual journey, especially combined with the initiatory fire of a traditionally Aries 1st House warrior Self, will peter out as time goes on and I get past all the Houses with planets in them. Two of my Houses may be Leo, but they are right at the beginning. Two more are in Aquarius and that’s only half way through. I’m worried that I’ll run out of interest and things to talk about, or that I’ll start flaking on posting or being honest in my posts. That the further I get from the concrete things I can definitely define as me and out into the world and the esoteric that I’ll become lost and unsure, fuzzier, less definitive, less comfortable commenting. And Fear Number Two, that this blog and the honesty and exploration contained herein will disappoint the people I love, should they read it (and, for some of them, it will, that’s inevitable), or in some cases, hurt their reputations as well.

To the first, I really can’t guarantee that’s not exactly what will happen. I don’t want it to, I’ve set up a schedule and a relatively exhaustive set of topics I can reference, and I’ve combined it with a passion of mine at a time when I really feel the need to explore these sets of issues. I’ve put in the markers to keep interest and accountability, but there is every chance that, like the multitudes of diaries and Books of Shadows and projects, Hell, even diets and relationships I’ve started, this may lay beautifully and enthusiastically started, sporadically, a tad less enthusiastically continued, and, ultimately, abandoned and, if not, doggedly and dutifully ground into a bitter end. Which doesn’t sound particularly uplifting. That being said, I’ve done what I can do about it, I’m still at the very beginning where I’m best and fresh, and (hopefully) I haven’t alienated everyone reading this yet. No point in getting down before I’ve given myself a chance to actually succeed and do the thing I’m starting this for: transformation.

And, perhaps more to my betterment, I’m planning on doing some kind of activity in real life to coincide with each post. I’m hoping that by linking the concept I’m working on to a real life activity, I’ll keep my interest in it, improve my habits, and have something to talk about beyond abstract concepts of heavenly bodies. It will also involve my Body more in the processes my Mind goes through (aside from the physically ailing bits). And actually, my next post will be specifically on how I relate to my Body since that is an Aries/Mars thing. I will be spending 4 weeks on each House, roughly the length of time it takes for the Sun to transverse it. By the time I get to my birthday, I’ll be just in time to talk about my Sun Sign since it’s placed in the 2nd House (*delighted Virgo squirm*).

Now to address the second. I don’t believe I can truly be self expressive or affect any sort of transformative change within myself (or anywhere else for that matter) without being open and honest about the realities of where I am, the things I do, and how they affect me and those around me. My tendency, especially with my loved ones, is to gild the lily, to present the best and most affirming part of what I think. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing (I like people to feel comfortable and happy around me – Libra Moon), it does leave a lot unsaid. And some of it is stuff that needs to be said sometime.

As I stated above, I will, inevitably, disappoint and/or hurt some of my loved ones. I’m going to be talking about deep wounds and nasty psychological pus. I’m going to be honest about the things and thoughts I engage in and believe in (both consistent and transitory), some of which go against my upbringing and societal norms. I know I am opening myself up to criticism and possible disdain. And that’s the point of all this. To be truer about myself and heal, air out those wounds, drain the pus (BTW, I am so sorry if you were eating), grow newer and thicker skin. Maybe people will even offer up constructive criticism and helpful tips, or just a similar feeling and acknowledgement that I am seen – for real, this time.

To my family, sorry, this will be posted on social media and I have decided to be open about who I am. Those connections are already in place on Facebook, people know you’re connected to me – it can’t be helped. I will try to keep anything that could be damaging to you out of all of this (as, rightly, I should – that’s not mine to share, see Vault from first post) and I hope that my honestly and openness doesn’t cost you anything. Also, know I love you all very much, even when we don’t agree.

To my work family, I don’t expect to be talking about work too much and, even then, mostly in regards to my relationship to it, but I’m sure specific instances will come to the fore. I’ll abstract wherever necessary while remaining true to the point. But my work connections are already up on Facebook, too, so I’m sure it’s not going to be too difficult to decode. I promise, it is the work that is frustrating, not my co-workers. You guys are lovely. Were the environment less positive, I wouldn’t still be there.

Those are the people I really can’t hide the identity of by much. For everyone else I may mention, I am going to be changing names (if they are needed at all for clarity) and abstracting certain situations so that only those involved should be able to discern who I’m talking about and what instance I’m referring to. That’s the plan. If at any point I reference something that makes you truly uncomfortable as far as it can be decoded by others, please, let me know and I’ll rewrite. If you’re just uncomfortable because you feel like I’m calling you out, please, do these two things: 1) realize that I may, in fact, not actually be talking about you (I get set in patterns, it may display similarities to something we’ve been through by complete accident – an issue of abstraction); and, if you are sure #1 is not in play, 2) talk to me about it personally.

And thus, I believe I have boldly, courageously, protectively, and dominantly begun.

Emerging from the Mist with Marbles

Preparation for the journey.

I have been traveling through a dark mist for a long time.

That’s what it feels like, being in therapy. For me, at least. But then, I am naturally drawn to analysis and drama – Virgo Sun, Leo Rising – a clear indication for those of you who follow astrology that this blog is going to be all about my critical analysis of me. Mostly. But it’s a spiritual journey I’m embarking on, so a) it should be about me and b) this world and my life aren’t barren wastelands – others will be along shortly.

But, back to the point, I’ve been in a therapy mist for the last 18 months (incidentally, shout out to my VA coverage and the lovely men and women there who have to deal with me on the regular). I’ve been in therapy for MST (Military Sexual Trauma for those of you without an advanced training in military acronyms) or, more generally, for PTSD, which is the actual diagnosis. This has not been my favorite year and a half ever.

Why tell you this? Heavens, so many reasons! Right now, though this is to set the stage, briefly describing where I’ve been and why I’ve decided to embark on this soulful transit. So, describing:

PTSD is a way of relating to the world in the absence of healing after trauma – a sort of whole life generalized and extended fight or flight response, if you will. It’s fairly rare, though not as rare as we might like and that number depends on the statistics you pull and whether you believe those numbers to be accurate (I don’t). It can happen after one event or it can accumulate over time. Mine was over time, at the ages of 8, 20, and 22. All three involved very different relationships and types of trust. All three affected my view of myself and my faith in my ability to make sound judgments in regards to other people in one way or another.

And after several years of self-imposed isolation and more than a year of therapy, all three have taught me about myself, about thinking, about trust, about power, about observation, and about healing. It has been rough, it is still ongoing, but it has taken me to a place now where I finally feel capable of connecting with my deep inner truth and connecting with other people in a deeper, more compassionate way – all of which takes trust.

The wise and always candid Brené Brown went over the Anatomy of Trust on Super Soul Sessions with Oprah, which resonated so deeply with me. She equates trust with the concept of a marble jar, trusting those who have put in small acts of trust over time with the really hard stuff. After seeing how trust played out in her data, she looked in the research on trust and betrayal by John Gottman, and the first phrase she read was, “Trust is built in the smallest of moments.” And in these small moments is the opportunity to betray as well by choosing not to connect when the opportunity is there. So she set about studying what it is that makes up trust, what are the marbles we put in our jars. It’s amazing talk that I linked below, however, I have summarized for expediency and clarity:

Trust is a big word, right? …. I found a definition from Charles Feltman… “Trust is choosing to make something important to you vulnerable to the actions of someone else… distrust is what I have shared with you that is important to me is not safe with you.” … Do I know what trust is from the data? And I think I do know what trust is, and I put together an acronym: BRAVING… because when we trust we are braving connection with someone.

B – Boundaries: I trust you if you are clear about your boundaries and you hold them, and you are clear about my boundaries and you respect them. There is no trust without boundaries.

R – Reliability: Reliability is you do what you say you are going to do over and over  and over again. You cannot gain and earn my trust if you are reliable once, because that is not the definition of reliability.

A – Accountability: I can only trust you if, when you make a mistake, you are willing to own it, apologize for it, and make amends.  I can only trust you if, when I make a mistake, I am allowed to own it, apologize, and make amends.

V – Vault: What I share with you, you will hold in confidence. What you share with me, I will hold in confidence. … The Vault is not just about the fact that you hold my confidences. It’s that, in our relationship, I see that you value confidentiality… a lot of times we share things that are not ours to share as a way to hot wire connection with a friend.

I – Integrity: I cannot trust you… if you do not act from a place of integrity and encourage me to do the same… [Integrity is] choosing courage over comfort, choosing what’s right over what’s fun, fast or easy, and practicing your values, not just professing your values.

N – Non-judgment: I can fall apart, ask for help, and be in struggle without being judged by you and you can fall apart, ask for help, and be in struggle without being judged by me. Which is really hard because we are better at helping than we are at asking for help, … if you can’t ask for help and they cannot reciprocate that, that is not a trusting relationship. … You cannot judge yourself for needing help and not judge others for needing help.

G – Generosity: Our relationship is only a trusting relationship if you can assume the most generous thing about my words, intentions, and behaviors, and then check in with me.

One of the biggest casualties with heartbreak and disappointment and failure and our struggle is not just the loss of trust with other people, but the loss of self trust. … If braving relationships with other people is BRAVING connection, self trust is BRAVING self love, self respect, the wildest adventure we’ll ever take in our whole lives. … If your own marble jar is not full, if you can’t count on yourself, you can’t ask other people to give you what you don’t have, so we have to start with self trust.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewngFnXcqao

I know that there are some areas of self trust where I am doing well, but there are others where I have an abysmal track record. Specifically, honoring my own boundaries or, indeed, setting them at all, being reliable for myself, non-judgment, and generosity. I have to give myself opportunities to put marbles in my own jar.

So I have turned to my spirituality. I’ve always been the kind of person who is much more in my Mind than anywhere else, so it’s time to take that strength and use it to connect to my Body and my Soul, to temper my reliance on it with a more holistic approach to Self. To give myself chances to set goals and boundaries, so I can reliably work toward repairing the disconnect between Feeling and Thought and the Unknown.

In delving back into all of my more New Age-y interests, I have fallen into the deep well of astrology and I think it is a wonderful opportunity to share what I am learning (as I do believe we learn best through attempting to teach it) and to use it as a method of analyzing the multiple regions of my life and setting goals within them. Most people are aware of the Zodiac in the concept of “What’s your Sign?” Not everyone is aware that the question leaves out 95% of the process, focusing only on the Sun Sign, and that not always accurate if you are on a cusp. So a brief glimpse into the madness:

  • You have a Rising Sign, also known as the Ascendent, which is the exact degree of the sky the Eastern Horizon was at when you drew your first breath. To calculate this, you need your birth time and place of birth.
  • Each Planet, loosely named, has a Sign. They are the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.
  • Each Sign has a planetary ruler (some share), an Element (known as a Quadruplicity), a Modality (Fixed, Cardinal, or Mutable), and polarity (Masculine/Feminine).
  • A star chart is broken up into 12 Houses, which are correlated with the constellations in the sky, so set on a 360 degree grid, starting with Aries. Each House represents a different aspect of life, which has a natural Sign and Ruling Planet associated with it.
  • Your Rising Sign sets the beginning of your Birth Chart, or Natal Chart, which means that each House, in addition to having a natural Sign and Ruling Planet, also has what is known as an accidental Sign and the Planetary Ruler of that Sign.
  • Aspects are the angles between Planets on the chart. Certain angles show benefits or communication between Planets, others show blockages or conflicts.

There are other points that can be taken into account for in depth readings, like points where the orbit of the moon passes the ecliptic of the Sun, certain specific stars or comets, and, of course, how your own birth chart interacts with another chart for your birthday each year or how it interacts with another persons chart. Relationships can have their own charts.

Mind-boggling and far more specific that you thought?

Well, I’m certainly not going to go into all of that, though I will bring up what I learn from time to time. If your interest is peaked, check out the resources in the widgets. Instead, I am going to commit to blogging at least once a week, on a topic in relation to the Houses. There is an order to them that is like a metaphor for the journey of life, so it seemed appropriate to use for a spiritual journey. The 1st House is in Aries, represents the Self and Identity, and is ruled by Mars, which represents our Passions and our Body. Also, as I’m starting this we are coming up on the beginning of the sign of Leo, which is my Rising Sign, so it seems an appropriate time for me to be starting this journey, especially in a public, yet self-directed way.

As with the beginning of life, I am choosing a name to use for this journey: Starshadow. It may be corny, but appropriately witchy for me and reinforces the astrology theme with the light side and shadow side of each Sign. The “Saharan” from my blog name come from my middle name, Sahara, which is Arabic for moon, also appropriate for astrology and the name my mother gave me, so represents my roots.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and for joining me on this journey, however briefly you may stay.