THE SKY WITHIN
Using Your Birthchart as a Spiritual Guide
A woman has a baby and is blissful about it. Another one does the same, and spends the rest of her life dreaming about how she might have been a ballerina. The same choice: having a kid. But only one smiling woman.
Nobody has a generic formula for happiness, at least not one that does the trick for everyone. That's where astrology comes in.
The birthchart, stripped to bare bones, is simply a description of the happiest, most fulfilling life that's available to you... personally. It spells out a set of strategies you can use to avoid boring routines, bad choices, and dead ends. It lists your resources. And it talks about how your life looks when you're misusing the resources and distorting the strategies -- shooting yourself in the foot, in other words.
All from a map of the sky?
Hard to believe. But think for a minute...
"How can the planets possibly affect us? They're millions of miles away." Astrology's critics are fond of rolling out that argument. But it doesn't hold water. Go out and gaze at the moon. What's really happening? Incomprehensible energies are plunging across a quarter million miles of void, crashing through your eyeballs and creating electrochemical changes in your brain. We call the process "seeing the moon." Certainly the planets affect us. The question is where do we draw the boundaries around those effects?
Let's go a step further.
Open your eyes on a starry night. What do you see? A vast, luminous space, full of shadows and light. Now close your eyes so tight they ache. Where are you now? What do you see? Again, a vast, luminous space, full of shadows and light. Consciousness and cosmos are structured around the same laws, follow the same patterns, and even feel pretty much the same to our senses.
"As above, so below." Just as the starry night awes us with its vastness, there's something infinitely deep inside you, a place you go when you close your eyes, a place that's beyond being an Aries or a Gemini or even a specific gender. At the most profound level, a birthchart is a map back to that magical center. It describes a series of earthly experiences which, if you're brave and open enough, will trigger certain states of consciousness in you -- states that operate like powerful spiritual catalysts, vaulting you into higher levels of being.
In the pages that follow, you'll tour your personal birth chart. But don't expect the usual "Scorpios are sexy" stuff. You are a mysterious being in a mysterious cosmos. You're here for just a little while, a blink of God's eye. You face a monumental task: figuring out what's going on! In that spiritual work, astrology is your ally. How will it help?
Certainly not by pigeon-holing you as a certain "type."
Astrology works by reminding you who you are, by warning you about the comforting lies we all tell ourselves, and by illuminating the experiences that trigger your most explosive leaps in awareness.
After that, the rest is up to you.
YOUR TEN TEACHERS
Freud divided the human mind into three compartments: ego, id, and superego. Astrologers do the same thing, except that our model of the mind differs from Freud's in two fundamental ways. First, it's a lot more elaborate. Instead of three compartments, we have ten: Sun, Moon, and the eight planets we see from Earth. As we'll discover, each planet represents more than a "circuit" in your psyche. It also serves as a kind of "Teacher," guiding you into certain consciousness-triggering kinds of experience.
The second difference between astrology and psychology is that astrology's mind-map, unlike Freud's, is rooted in nature itself, just as we are.
The primary celestial teacher is the Sun. What does it teach? Selfhood. Vitality. How to keep the life-force strong in yourself. If the Sun grew dimmer, so would all the planets -- they shine by reflecting solar light. Similarly, if you fail to stoke the furnaces of your own inner Sun, then you'll simply be "out of gas." All your other planetary functions will suffer too.
How do we learn this teacher's lessons?
Start by realizing that when you were born the Sun was in Leo.
When we hear "Lion," we think "fierce." But that's misleading. Go to the zoo and have a look at the "King of the Beasts." He's lying there, one eye open, looking regal. He knows he's the king. He doesn't need to make a fuss about it. The lion, like Leo at its best, radiates quiet confidence. A happy, creative, comfortable participation in the human family -- that's what Leo the Lion is all about.
The evolutionary method is deceptively simple: creative self-expression. As we offer evidence of our internal processes to the world, we feel more at home, more accepted, more spontaneous -- provided the world claps its hands for us! That's the catch. Leo needs an appreciative audience. That audience can be a thousand people cheering or one person saying "I love you." Either way, it's applause, and for the Lion, that's evolutionary rocket fuel.
Toughing it out, not letting oneself be affected by a lack of support or understanding, may well be an important spiritual lesson -- but not for Leo. Here the evolutionary problem comes down to lack of real, ultimate trust in other people. The cure isn't toughness; it's building a pattern of joyful give-and-take. So perform! And if no one claps, go somewhere else and perform again.
With your Sun in Leo, you are naturally creative. Your task is to express that side of your character vigorously and confidently -- and to make sure that what you offer is appreciated. What is the best truth you know? What's holy and pure in your life, worth living for? That's your gift. Dramatize it. Package it somehow. And perform! You may be drawn to the arts. But just as possibly, you might express your creativity in a business, or in some public service.
Beneath the colorful surface of your character, there is an insecurity. Hardly anyone sees it. It's the fundamental spiritual problem you've come into this life to work out. Your "yoga" lies in tricking the world into clapping its hands for you. Be wary, though: even if you win the Nobel prize, it won't mean a thing unless you win it for expressing your SELF. Otherwise, your deep-seated doubts and insecurities about your SELF go untouched and unhealed.
One more thing -- if you're doing your best and nobody's clapping, remember this: your act is fine; it's the audience that needs to be replaced.
We can take our analysis of your natal Sun a step further. When you were born, that solar light illuminated the Fourth house. What does that signify?
Start by realizing that Houses represent twelve basic arenas of life. There's a House of Marriage, for example, and a House of Career. Always, we find an element of "fate" in our House structures; the "Hand of God" continually presents us with existential and moral questions connected with our emphasized Houses. How we react and what we learn -- or fail to learn -- is our own business.
One brief technical note: Sometimes the Sun, the Moon, or a planet lies near the end of the House. We then say it's "conjunct the cusp" of the subsequent House, and interpret it as though it were a little further along... in the next House, in other words.
Peel away the layers of the psychological onion, get down to the core of your being, the realm of your heros and nightmares -- you've entered the Fourth House. This is psychic bedrock. Traditionally, it's the House of the Home. That's a valid notion in lots of ways. First, with any astrological factor in this part of the birthchart, you're at least "minoring in psychology" and that process requires a safe haven; hence, you feel an elevated need for the privacy and security of the "nest." Second, much of your psychic bedrock was profoundly influenced -- or scarred -- by your childhood experiences. Many of your most fundamental challenges spin off the effects of a powerful parent upon your present character. Third, "Home" is "where you're coming from" -- and this House answers that question in the deepest way: it's the core of your being.
With your Sun in the Fourth House, the roots of your being lie squarely in the realm of the heroic. That is to say, your innermost identity crystallizes around the image of an individual facing a challenge and a quest: finding the psychological Holy Grail, the Self. You're probing the depths of your psyche, exploring the labyrinths of the mind. On that journey, you bump into much that pertains to the effects upon you of your family, of your culture, perhaps of your karma. In the school of life, you're majoring in psychology.
You are in touch with a lot of material that's usually repressed. As a result, you've probably never had a truly simple feeling! Always, you sense the subtle undercurrents of need and fear, wisdom and bias, that flow beneath the seemingly confident veneer of ego that people wear for the world.
The next step in our journey through your birthchart carries us to the Moon.
As you might expect, Luna resonates with the magical, emotional sides of your psyche. It represents your mood, averaged over a lifetime. As the heart's teacher, it tells you how to feel comfortable, how to meet your deepest needs. While the Sun lets you know what kinds of experiences and relationships help you feel sane, the Moon is concerned with another piece of the puzzle: feeling happy.
When you were born, the Moon was in Aries.
Courage! That's what Aries is all about. Traditionally this sign is represented as the Ram -- a fierce, frightening creature. That's a pretty good description of how this energy looks from the outside. Inside, it's different. Not the Ram, but the newborn robin, two days old, just hatched from its shell, living in a world full of creatures who think of it as breakfast. Does it cower? No -- the little bird flaps its stubby wings and squawks its head off, demanding its right to exist. That's Aries: the raw primal urge to survive. Existential courage.
Courage is a funny virtue -- it has to be scared into a person. In the evolutionary scheme of life, Aries energy has a disconcerting property: it draws stress to itself. You can choose a life of risk and adventure. Or you can choose a life of one damn thing after another. Refuse the first, you'll get the second.
With your Moon in Aries, your heart is learning some hard lessons in courage. Like everyone else, you have feelings, needs, desires. Satisfying them isn't so easy. Circumstances crystallize around you in which, unless you find the "Spiritual Warrior" inside yourself, you'll go hungry. Sometimes that means recognizing that hurting someone with the straight truth is far kinder than being "gentle" or "self-sacrificing."
To feel comfortable, you require drama in your life. You need to feel the "edge" sometimes. You may get it from sailing in a hard wind. You may get it from riding a bicycle a little too fast. You may discover it in a steamy, intense, confrontive interaction with someone you love.
If you don't feed your Arian Moon the fiery experiences it needs, you tend to get temperamental, bossy, and needlessly competitive. But that's not your true nature -- just an "occupational hazard" that goes along with this volatile lunar position.
Going farther, we see that your Moon lies in the Eleventh house of your chart.
What do you want out of life? What are your priorities? What kind of old person are you in the process of becoming? Those are core Eleventh House issues. The challenge here is to accomplish something many people talk about but few actually do--lead a life; that is, create your future according to your deepest interests and values.
The planetary forces focused in this segment of your birthchart are Teachers dedicated to helping you find the threads of your destiny. They describe what you were born to become -- and warn you of how you look when you're off course.
"House of Friends" is the old name for this part of the birthchart, although "House of Acquaintances" is perhaps more accurate. Intimacy isn't the issue here; teamwork and networking are. But clear priorities must come first, or all those talking faces serve no purpose. They just tie you up in pointless social interactions.
With the Moon in the Eleventh House, you have uncanny "political" instincts -- and whenever more than two or three people get together to try to accomplish something, we have "politics!" Your destiny lies with processes that spill over the boundaries of your own life and your own powers and interact with the destinies of other people; you are a team player by fate, if not by taste. As you mature, you will become more and more lunar -- that is, more emotionally expressive and probably more creative. In you, there is a softening that comes with time. If you get six out of every ten existential questions right, that's good news. Do worse, and you'll do a slow drift in the direction of moodiness, prickliness, and maudlin self-indulgence.
There's a third critical piece in your astrological puzzle -- the Ascendant, or rising sign. Along with the Sun and Moon, it completes the "primal triad." What is it? What does it mean? Simple -- the Ascendant is the sign that was coming up over the eastern horizon at the instant of your birth. It's where the sun is at dawn, in other words. In exactly the same way, the Ascendant represents how you "dawn" on people -- that is, how you present yourself. It's your "style," or your "mask."
The ascendant means more than that. It symbolizes a way you can help yourself feel centered, at ease, comfortable with who you are. If you get its message, then something wonderful happens: your style hooks you into the world of experience in a way that feeds your spirit exactly the kinds of events and relationships you need. Your soul is charged with more enthusiasm for the life you're living -- and you feel vibrant, confident, and full of animal grace.
When you took your first breath, Gemini was lifting over the eastern horizon of Vineland, NJ. Let's begin our analysis by considering the meaning and spiritual message of the sign of "The Storyteller".
Wonder, amazement, astonishment, a sense of the miraculous -- those states of consciousness are the best of what Gemini symbolizes. Although this is an Air sign and therefore rather mental in its orientation, the Twins represent something more primal than thinking. They represent perception itself: all the raw, undigested stuff that pours in through our senses. Thinking too much about that material removes us from its immediate, moment-to-moment reality. We start to inhabit theories instead of the actual world of perception. "Authority" creeps in. So does "rightness." And "mental clarity." And the Twins wither. Nourish your Geminian energies with an endless diet of newness and change. They're hungry for anything they've not seen or felt before. Feed them! Give them conversation, books, travel, education... anything but boredom.
With Gemini rising, your outward style is quick and alert, hungry for input. You have a sharp wit and a mind that's faster than Ma Bell's switchboard. For most of your life, people will tend to underestimate your age... the reason being that we tend to associate curiosity and energy with youth! You have plenty of both, and that'll be just as true on your ninety-seventh birthday. To feel centered, you need to flood your senses with torrents of new information. You can do that by traveling, or by reading, or by pursuing education. One of your favorite methods is to talk with interesting people... just make sure you listen too.
Cultivate patience; the world is full of folks who are full of fascinating insights and experiences, but most of them pace their lives -- and minds -- more slowly than yours. You'll need to slow down a bit to synchronize enough with them for the data exchange to take place.
What have we learned so far? Quite a lot. Astrologers use the primal triad of Sun, Moon, and Ascendant in much the same way people who know just a little astrology use Sun signs. The difference is that while there are only twelve Sun signs, there are 1728 different combinations of all three factors. So when we say that you are a Leo with the Moon in Aries and Gemini rising, that's a very specific statement.
Here's a way to make those words come even more alive. Traditionally, signs are connected with Bulls and Sea-Goats and Scorpions -- creatures we don't see every day. But we can translate those images into more modern archetypes.
We can say you are "The Performer", or "The Aristocrat", or "The Clown". Those are just different ways of saying you have the Sun in Leo.
We can say you have the soul of "The Warrior", or "The Survivor", or "The Daredevil"... your Moon lies in Aries, in other words.
We can add that you wear the mask of "The Storyteller", or "The Journalist", or "The Witness". Those images capture the spirit of your Ascendant, which is Gemini.
You can combine those archetypes any way you want. And you can go further: Once you have a feel for the three basic signs in your primal triad, you can make up your own images to go with them. Whatever words you choose, those simple statements are your fundamental astrological signature. It's your skeleton. Our next step is to begin adding flesh and hair to that skeleton by considering the planets.
Unsurprisingly, planets can gain prominence in a birthchart through association with the Sun, Moon, or Ascendant. These three are power brokers, and any linkage with them boosts a planet's influence.
Your own birthchart is complicated by the fact that, at your birth, Pluto was aligned with the Sun... or "conjunct" the Sun, to use the proper astrological term. Thus, the energy and spirit of that planet is fused with your solar identity. In a sense, you are an "incarnation" of Pluto."
What can that mean? Start by understanding the significance of the planet.
"Life's a bitch. Then you die." Go to any boutique from coast to coast; you'll find those words on a coffee mug. Meaninglessness. Like most truly frightening ideas, we make a joke of it. That's Plutonian territory: the realm of all that terrifies us so badly we need to hide from it. Death. Disease. Our personal shame. Sexuality, to some extent. Initially, Pluto asks us to face our own wounds, squarely and honestly. Then, if we succeed, it offers us a way to create an unshakable sense of meaning in our lives. How? Methods vary according to the Signs and Houses involved, but always they have one point in common: the high Plutonian path invariably involves accepting some trans-personal purpose in your life.
One more point: Pluto moves so slowly that it remains in a given Sign for many years. As result, its Sign position in your birthchart refers not only to you but also to your generation. The House position, however, is much more personal in its relevance.
Pluto was journeying slowly through the sign Leo. Thus the shadow material you are called upon to face has to do with the dark side of the Performer archetype: an obsession with being noticed. In what part of your life or personal history have you chosen style over substance, glitz over moral excellence? (If your answer is "Nowhere!" then congratulations... you're Enlightened... or not looking hard enough.)
At the moment of your birth, Pluto gleamed in the Fourth House... the part of the birthchart where what we call "psychology" happens. Spirit has blessed you with sound instincts regarding the way people come to live with their old wounds, surviving, but also suffering. To create a sense of meaning in your life, you need to accept your role as a healer of spirits. To do that, you must first recognize the places where darkness touched you as a child.
While a fairly large number of people have Pluto in that sign and house, the fact that it lies conjunct your Sun gives it special emphasis. By pushing the strengths it suggests toward their limits, you charge your solar vitality, approach your destiny, and set the stage for fullfilling your spiritual purpose.
The plot thickens. Also conjunct your Sun is Mercury.
Mercury buzzes around the Sun in eighty-eight days, making it the fastest of the planets. It buzzes around your head in exactly the same way: frantically. It's the part of you that never rests -- the endless firing of your synapses as your intelligence struggles to organize a picture of the world. Mercury represents thinking and speaking, learning and wondering. It is the great observer, always curious. It represents your senses themselves and all the raw, undigested data that pours through them.
Mercury is roaring in Leo. That combination links your mental functions to the self-expressive, dramatic logic of the Lion. Your intelligence is hungry for an audience and knows how to attract attention. Spiritually you are learning about the importance of being heard -- and about the trap of sacrificing honest but threatening content for the sake of mere showmanship.
With the traditional "Messenger of the Gods" occupying your Fourth House, your intelligence works most effectively when unraveling the riddles of human psychology. You're good at keeping secrets... but be careful you don't rob the world of your insights by hiding them. Deep down inside, we find your self-image organized around the archetype of the Storyteller.
Your birthchart displays another area of heightened activity: the Sixth House. The reason for that is simple -- there's a lot of planetary activity. With Saturn and Neptune in that area of your life, it is charged with activity, soul lessons, and opportunities for personal development. Before we even consider the planets separately, our first step is to explore this piece of existential real estate in broad terms.
Craft, responsibility, the joy of competence -- that's Sixth House territory. Traditionally, it's the House of Servants. The label still works -- provided you recognize that it's not your butlers and chambermaids we're discussing here! You're the servant, and that's not nearly as bad as it sounds.
There's a myth in our culture that encourages us to believe everyone is automatically depressed on Monday morning, happy on Friday afternoon, ecstatic 'til Sunday around dinner time, then crashes down into the pits again come Monday. Don't believe it! With a Teacher in the Sixth House, you've got a good shot at shattering the myth, at least for yourself. A big part of you likes to work, enjoys being good at something, prefers to be useful.
The trick lies in finding the right crafts, skills, and responsibilities. Let's let the Teacher speak.
Look at a NASA photo of Saturn. The icy elegance of the planet's rings, the pale understatement of the cloud bands... both hint at the clarity and precision which characterize Saturn's astrological spirit. Part of the human psyche must be cold and calculating, cunning enough to survive in the physical world. Part of us thrives on self-discipline, seeks excellence, pays the price of devotion. Somewhere in our lives there's a region where nothing but the best of what we are is enough to satisfy us. That's the high realm of Saturn. In its low realm, we take one glance at those challenges and our hearts turn to ice. We freeze in fear, and despair claims us.
The psychologically-charged terrain of Scorpio offers a region of profound spiritual challenge for you, as Saturn was passing through that sign at your birth. You must learn to steel yourself in the face of the Scorpion's shadow side: obsessive self-analysis. Will yourself toward playfulness! If every now and then you act as though you were one of those bright-eyed idiots in a Toyota commercial, what harm is done? Support that effort in practical, Saturnian terms by fortifying yourself with concrete skills and strategies -- especially ones relevant to Saturn's House in your birthchart. Which House was that?
The Sixth! The arena of life where we learn lessons of responsibility and competence, where we are asked to be of concrete value to those around us. With Saturn here, you are challenged to acquire a set of skills which don't come easily for you or anyone. Perhaps they are highly technical. Perhaps absorbing them requires long education. Maybe the work seems nearly impossible. Grit your teeth and do it anyway -- or else a kind of pointless martyrdom or trivial workaholism will rush into the vacuum.
You're lying in your bed, going to sleep. Suddenly a jolt runs through your body. You just "caught yourself falling asleep." Where were you two seconds before the jolt? What were you? Astrologically, the answer lies with Neptune. This is the planet of trance, of meditation, of dreams. It represents your doorway into the "Not-Self." Based on the sign the planet occupies, we identify a particularly critical spiritual catalyst for you... although we need to remember that Neptune remains in a Sign for an average of a little over thirteen years, so its Sign position actually describes not only you, but your whole generation. Its House position, however, is more uniquely your own.
Neptune was passing through Libra. Thus, to trigger higher states of consciousness in yourself and to stimulate your psychic development, you may choose to follow the Path of the Lover... that is consciously, intentionally to seek life partners who'll hold the mirror of the soul before you. Without the purifying, soul-bleaching effects of dialog with these soulmates, you tend to drift away from Spirit, losing yourself in the mazes of daily life. But remember: finding them usually isn't the challenge. The challenge lies in hanging in there with them, listening and learning, even when you don't like what's reflected in the "soul mirror."
Neptune, planet of transcendence, occupies the Sixth House of your birthchart, where mystical dimensions become linked to your natural skills and instincts for service. You grow spiritually through helping others -- and not because God hands out brownie points, but rather because service, more than any other spiritual discipline, teaches us humility and compassion. One more piece of the puzzle: You have a special instinct for working directly with other people's unconscious minds. This may mean you were born to help others unravel their dreams, or that you should work with guided imagery, or with hypnosis.
In the final analysis, all planets are important. Each one plays a unique role in your developmental pattern, and failure to feed any one of them results in a diminution of your life. Just because the following planets aren't "having breakfast with the President" through association with the Sun, Moon, or Ascendant doesn't mean we can ignore them.
Take all the planets, all the meteors, moons, asteroids, and comets. Roll them up in a big ball of cosmic mush. They still wouldn't equal the mass of the "King of the Gods" -- Jupiter. Exactly that same bigness pervades the planet's astrological spirit. Jupiter is the symbol of buoyancy and generosity, of opportunity and joy. At the deepest level, it represents faith... faith in life, that is, rather than faith in anybody's theological position papers.
Jupiter stands in Cancer. This is an important piece of information -- maybe a pivotal one. Being human is tough sometimes. When you need to boost your elemental faith in life, your answer lies in following the Way of the Healer or the Fantasy-Weaver. What that means is that when you're sad you have two solid options. One is to find another being who's wounded, and then bind the wounds -- visit a sick friend, adopt a cat, water the plants. The other is to curl up in a safe, hidden place, and either read some faraway tale or close your eyes and invent one of your own.
In your chart, the "King of the Gods" reigns in the Second House -- traditionally the "House of Money." In the old days, that meant you'd be rich. Even now, it generally correlates with at least a subjective experience of abundance. Spiritually, though, the meaning is far deeper. You have many lessons to learn about appropriate self-love: how to care for yourself, to celebrate yourself, to invest generously in yourself, and then how to reward yourself for your victories.
Pale red Mars suggested blood to our ancestors, and they named it the War God. That's an effective metaphor -- Mars does represent violence. But today we go further. The red planet symbolizes the power of the Will. Assertiveness. Courage. Without it, there'd be no fire in life. No spark. Where your Mars lies, you are challenged to find the Spiritual Warrior inside yourself, the part of you that's brave and clear enough to claim your own path and follow it.
Mars is stretching for the stars in Sagittarius. You have a passionate instinct for adventure, for anything novel, foreign, or unfamiliar. When confined or restrained, you're explosive. Some of your deepest and most unsettling spiritual lessons revolve around recognizing the way we humans -- you included -- tend to sell our freedom cheaply, trading it for security or status before we've recognized the horror of what we're doing. Avoid that! For you, it's a road to terrible hurt.
With the War-God occupying your "House of Marriage," emotional closeness for you depends upon an exchange of passion and fire. Rise to that challenge, or your personal life will degenerate into a pattern of bickering and petty vengeance. Your natural "soulmates" are strong people, often somewhat opinionated. Like it or not, they demand Mars qualities in you such as assertiveness, pluck, and a willingness to call a spade a spade.
Venus is the part of your mental circuitry that's concerned with releasing tension and maintaining harmony. Its focus is always peace, inwardly and outwardly. As such, it represents your aesthetic functions -- your taste in colors, sounds, and forms. Why? Because the perception of beauty soothes the human heart. Venus is also tied to your affiliative functions -- your romantic instincts, your sense of courtesy or diplomacy, your taste in friends. Invariably, this planet has one goal: sustaining your serenity in the face of life's onslaughts.
Venus was passing through Libra, where the planet is particularly strong. Thus, both your aesthetic sensitivity and your enthusiasm for people are not only shaped by the graceful, balanced spirit of the Scales, they're elevated too. In the realm of beauty, whether natural or wrought by human hands, you have an instinct for arrangement, for finding the perfect finishing touch. Among people, you have a knack for establishing rapport with practically anyone, but your deepest friendships and sexual bonds are with gentle, refined individuals, ones who can get a tear in their eyes watching a morning glory unfold.
With Venus in the Fifth House, there's an aura of convivial refinement that radiates from you in any social situation. You have the delightful capacity of helping people feel good about themselves, and therefore more spontaneous, natural, and forthcoming. It's deeply important that you find some kind of avenue for the expression of your considerable aesthetic sensibilities -- dancing, playing the flute, painting.
If Uranus were the only planet in the sky, we'd all be so independent we'd still be Neanderthals throwing rocks at each other. There would be no language, no culture, no law. On the other hand, if Uranus did not exist, we'd all still be hauling rocks for Pharaoh. All individuality would be suppressed. This is the planet of individuation... the process whereby we separate out who we are from what everybody else wants us to be. Always it indicates an area of our lives in which, to be true to ourselves, we must "break the rules" -- that is, overcome the forces of socialization and peer pressure. In that part of our experience, what feeds our souls tends to annoy mom and dad... and all the "moms" and "dads" who lay down the law of the tribe.
With Uranus in Cancer, the process of individuation for you is tied up with the Path of the Inner Eye. That is to say, you strengthen and clarify your own Uranian identity through two kinds of exploration. One is the stimulation and investigation of your own fertile creative imagination. The other revolves around a sensitive, probing consideration of the way the "myth" of your family has shaped -- and limited -- the development of your character.
House of Communication -- that's the old name for the Third House, where your Uranus lies. The issues are broader; not just language, but the whole web of undigested impressions which forms the matrix of your world view. Uranus is your Teacher here, and the lesson can be summarized this way: Trust your eyes! You have been given the ability to see what others miss, to sense the subtle "lies agreed upon" that underlie the version of the world they taught you in grammar school. Explore that data energetically or you'll dissipate this energy in argumentativeness and "foot-in-mouth" disease.
KARMIC CONNECTIONS: Your Lunar Nodes -The soul's journey
Here's a jolly baby. Here's a serious one. An alert one. A dull one. A wise one. Those are common nursery room observations, but they raise a fascinating question: How did that person get in there?
Most of our psychological theory, either technically or in folklore, is developmental theory... abuse a child and he'll grow up to be a child-abuser, for example. But in the eyes of the newborn infant, there is already character. How can that be? One might say it's heredity, and that's certainly at least part of the answer. A large part of the world's population would call it reincarnation -- that baby, for better or worse, represents the culmination of centuries of soul-development in many different bodies. A Fundamentalist might simply announce, "That's how God made the baby." Who's to say? But all three explanations hold one point in common: They all agree that we cannot account for what we observe in a baby's eyes without acknowledging the impact of events occurring before the child's birth.
In astrology, the South Node of the Moon refers to events occurring before your birth, helping us to see what was in your eyes ten seconds after you were born... however we imagine it got in there! The Moon's North Node, always opposite the South Node, refers to your evolutionary future. It's a subtle point, but arguably the most important symbol in astrology. The North Node represents an alien state of consciousness and an unaccustomed set of circumstances. If you open your heart and mind to them, you put maximum tension on the deadening hold of the past.
As we consider the Nodes of the Moon in your birthchart, we'll be using the language of reincarnation. Whether that notion fits your own spiritual beliefs is of course your own business. If it doesn't work for you, please translate the ideas into ancestral hereditary terms. After all, it makes little practical difference whether we speak of a certain farmer weeding his beans a thousand years before the Caesars as your great, great, mega-great grandfather... or as you yourself in a previous incarnation. Either way, he's someone who lived way back there in history who sort of is you, sort of isn't, and lives on inside you--influencing but not ultimately defining you.
At your birth, the South Node of the Moon lay in Cancer, the sign of the Great Mother. Anyone looking into your eyes as you took your first breath would have observed the results of lifetimes spent learning the ways of the Healer: nurturing, caring, an ability to attune yourself instantly to a person's deepest wounds. You've grown compassionate, but now--like a lonely psychotherapist--you must learn a new lesson: how to see to it that your own needs are met.
That nascent ability to meet your own needs is symbolized by your North Node of the Moon, which lies in Capricorn -- the sign of the Hermit. As we saw earlier, the North Node can be seen as the most significant point in the entire birthchart. Why? Because it represents your evolutionary future... the ultimate reason you're alive, in other words. How can you accomplish this Capricornian spiritual work? The "yoga" is easy to say, harder to do: you must temper some of your nurturing instincts and consciously release your attachment to the idea that others depend upon you. That is, you need to intentionally place yourself in situations where you're watching out for yourself, pursuing your own projects, and letting others take care of themselves.
There's another piece to the puzzle: The Moon's South Node falls in the Second House of your chart. This implies that previous to this lifetime you sometimes held yourself back too much, questioning your readiness to act. In some ways, your cautious self-assessments were accurate, but their price was that life slipped by you. Missed opportunities have left a scar on your spirit, and you must learn to adopt a more spirited engagement with life this time around.
In this lifetime, with your North Node of the Moon in the Eighth House, you must act to counterbalance some of that old hesitancy... not so much because caution is "wrong," but because you've already learned everything you can from it. The time has come for you to concentrate on feeling your own power... and feeling the mysterious powers which seem to come to the assistance of those who are willing to "seize the moment." You're getting more in touch with a steamy, sexual, impassioned aspect of your character, one that's in deep harmony with the Life Force itself.
And that's your birth chart.
Trust it; the symbols are Spirit's message to you. In the course of a lifetime, you'll make a billion choices. Any one of them could potentially hurt you terribly, sending you down a barren road. How can you steer a true course? The answer is so profound that it circles around and sounds trivial: listen to your heart, be true to your soul. Noble words and accurate ones, but tough to follow.
The Universe, in its primal intelligence, seems to understand that difficulty. It supplies us with many external supports: Inspiring religions and philosophies. Dear friends who hold the mirror of truth before us. Omens of a thousand kinds. And, above all, the sky itself, which weaves its cryptic message above each newborn infant.
In these pages, you've experienced one reading of that celestial message as it pertains to you. There are others. You may want to consider sitting with a real astrologer ... micro-chips are fine, but a human heart can still express nuances of meaning that no computer can grasp. You may want to order other reports, ones that illuminate your current astrological "weather," or that analyze important relationships. Best of all, you may choose to learn this ancient language yourself, and begin unraveling your own message in your own words.
Whatever your course, we thank you for your time and attention, and wish you grace for your journey.
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