Delving deep into your dark side and swimming around is never a fun or easy task. It isn’t pretty and it can, if viewed with all the negativity we’ve associated with that side of ourselves, destroy our sense of identity, the fragile ego that we work so hard to build. And just like all signs have a light side and a shadow side, the projection of the Self into the world via the Ascendant has a shadow side in what we project onto Others via the Descendant.
In my case, my Ascendant/Descendant axis is on the Leo/Aquarius axis. It’s an interesting axis as Aquarius is considered one of the most confusing and complex signs and Leo, really, isn’t. Not that people with a lot of Leo in their charts can’t be complex people, just that Leo, the Sign, is seen as pretty straight forward – mostly because Leo is conscious of controlling what other people see about them. Being straight forward is actually something that I tend to pride myself on – I am, for the most part and particularly in my expression of Self, very straight forward, so much so that those who know me well can tell when I’m hiding something simply by whether I’m skirting details or specific statements. Additionally, in my case, Leo and Aquarius occupy the cusps of 2 Houses each (at least according to the most general settings on chart generators), so 1/3rd of my total Houses are devoted to this polarity. With that in mind, I thought I better spend some time looking into the general commonalities and contrasts that exist between these signs.
To start, both Signs are Masculine in expression (projecting outward) and Fixed in Modality. In brief, the Cardinal Signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn) initiate action, which is why they rule the start of new seasons, and are known for drive and focus, the Fixed Signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius) build and fortify, and the Mutable Signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces) adapt and blend.
Some astrologers say that the Fixed Signs are known for being very dependable, but I think that’s really only true of Taurus and Scorpio – Taurus in the literal sense of being there in a very material and physical way and Scorpio in the more metaphoric sense being there emotionally and through your really dark times. One astrologer I have been watching lately, Canary Quill Astrology, says they are Fixed in their element, which I think makes more sense – they manifest things in the area their element is concerned with: Taurus is Earth (the practical and material; the body), Scorpio is Water (the emotions and the unconscious), Leo is Fire (life, Soul, and drive), and Aquarius is Air (the intellect and invention). In that way, you can definitely count on Leo to build up and put energy toward those things that make them feel alive, that are fun, and/or express the way they want you to see them, their creative pursuits. You can count on Aquarius to evaluate everything in front of them and to give you their unique and (at least to them) objective assessment, which is likely to account for things you probably missed. Both are dependable in the sense that they will cheer you on in your own self expression, whatever that may look like as long as (and this is very important) you aren’t telling them they need to be just like you.
Another thing about Fixed Signs is they know they are right. Not think. Know. It manifests in different ways and different areas for each Sign, but the bottom line is you aren’t going to change their minds. Only they will change their minds, if and when they feel like it. Such a decision takes a lot of reflection.
So I’ve been doing a lot of reflection. One thing that has rattled around in my head before but I have never really put succinctly is that, with a Leo Ascendant, I’m very good at knowing how to perform an emotion in a way that it can be both believable and palatable (watch me do mime sometime – my face is EXPRESSIVE). This doesn’t mean that I don’t feel things and feel them deeply. It just means that my feelings and thoughts automatically get filtered through acceptability and consequence lenses before they are expressed, if they are expressed at all (Libra on my 4th House – a lack of harmony can feel like an unacceptable consequence).
In some ways, this ability has been very helpful. I don’t panic in emergency situations. It allows me to remain calm in arguments or when others are experiencing high levels of stress. It very often keeps me from saying things I would regret later. It allows me to be eloquent and logical a lot of the time.
It also allows me to distance myself from my feelings so much so that sometimes I know I am feeling something…. but putting my finger on it is difficult. Now, part of that is probably from having Virgo on my 3rd House cusp – words have very specific meanings for me and nothing less than the precise word is acceptable. I have a big vocabulary because I need it to function. This quality led me to severely over analyze a self care questionnaire I was recently given by my therapist (I literally put 1.5 as one of my answers and spent 20 minutes with a friend going over the definition of “being tough on myself” – he came to the conclusion that my approach to my flaws and virtues is the same approach Crowley uses for gardening in Good Omens – terrify them into growing into luxuriantly healthy plants).
Additionally, in a roundabout way this ability has led me to negatively judge people who are capable of the same intellectual approach to emotion, but who will not use it to temper their words (an Aquarian trait). In reality, my frustration with people who do that is also a frustration with myself because I rarely temper the words I keep to myself, especially those I direct at myself. The few times I have felt comfortable sharing those words with another, the responses have invariably been, “Oh, ouch. Harsh… but accurate.”
This Self Love-Self Care thing is something I’ve tried to tackle a couple different times in a couple different ways. It’ll work for a little while, then I’ll get stressed about something like money or my son’s behavior or love life stuff, and all that care will go out the window with either overtime, if the stress is financial, or binge watching something, if the stress is people related. And sometimes both.
So that’s a work in progress.
In an effort to make this time a little different, I have subscribed to something called the Total Goddess Workout. I’m not sure about it yet, but it does focus on a combo of meditation, active self love, exercises for better sleep, yoga, and removing as much processed and inflammatory foods from your diet as possible. I figured it was $10 to get the courses and at least some of the principles mentioned are things I’ve already been trying to incorporate into my life.
Probably the biggest factor that has prompted me to buy this is fact that she makes Self Love the primary focus – she gives you a guide as to what she feels are the most important parts to incorporate and states that judging yourself for not committing to the entire program is pointless and counterproductive. Instead, take the baby steps, honor your body where it is today, and that any Self Care and Love is better than none and far better than beating yourself up about not doing everything the “best.” We’ll see how this goes.