When at the tender age of 18, I first picked up Jungian Analyst and astrologer Liz Greene’s books at The Ark bookstore in Santa Fe, a dream was ignited inside of me to someday somehow find a way to be her. I believe in having heroes and heroines, people to look up to on our own journey – as the people, ideas, books we surround our self with tend to rub off in a magically influential way, or in this case a psycho-magical way. So over the course of a long dark sojourn with multiple Pluto transits, that desire, combined with a persistent nighttime dream slash karmic memory slash nightmare of trying to get a higher education and somehow being blocked at every turn, rumbled inside my unconscious, and I started to seriously consider graduate school, to finally get that degree in Depth Psychology.

Helpers magically appeared along the way, as they often do in the Heroes Journey; during my Seventh House Research project I met a kind and beautiful woman whose chart mirrored my own in many ways (Cancer Sun, North Node in Capricorn, Neptune in Sagittarius in the 2nd) and who was attending the school I’d always wanted to attend and who consistently over the course of months sent me emails sharing her almost (almost- if it wasn’t actually true, it’s a great school) evangelical enthusiasm for my enrollment in said school. It was impossible to not think of her as a magical being mirroring my heart’s desire, a sort of angel of my wish, and as the months progressed, in my imagination I began crafting a life as a student. Like Hollywood starlets who went back to university and put their careers on a four-year hiatus, I figured I could put my practice on hold for a while and get a job (I’d have to, this school is the price of a small farmhouse and my astrological practice doesn’t provide a sustainable income yet). It would be a sacrifice, but it’d be worth it—I’d get to craft all my archetypal studies research around astrology and by the time I was done I’d have a body of work to give back to the community. After years of having my not so well-laid plans fall apart and feeling generally grumpy, half-alive and uninspired (yes, a Saturn transit to the Twelfth House will do that), it seemed as good a time as any to do my Cancer/9th House/South Node/Saturn self-care thing – go within, study, tend to my hermit soul. Mystical, with a beautiful, homey campus, it seemed like a natural fit. The school’s motto after all is “tending the soul of the world.”

But you all know the challenging times we are living in right now. Let’s put this in astrological terms: Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn are in a transiting square (here is a good article about that over at AstroTableTalk). No one really knows what will happen but the key feature of this square is unpredictability during crisis. The last time Uranus and Pluto were square was during the Great Depression, a time most of us  haven’t lived through…but my grandmother did. My grandmother’s father had a chicken and dairy farm and they lived well. She once told me about the day he came home from the Sunday fair that they always went to sell their goods, and he told the family all the money earned from the business was gone. One day they had big Sunday dinners after church, the next they didn’t. These were modest farm people and on that day when the wheel of fortune turned, a collective impersonal world event became a very personal one. That’s how outer transits often work; for those whom they touch in the natal chart become identified with the hardship (or the good times), the concerns and the challenges of that time period. Those families and marriages, women and men who survived the Depression were toughened by it. Others were broken. Those are just the cold hard facts about a cold hard period.

This square is transiting my Nodal axis, already having hit off my Sun T-Square, like an arcade ping- pong game with flaring angry red lights. As the world is showing us it will no longer will tolerate injustice of any kind; and our nation with its challenges of fiscal responsibility and integrity we are all called to deeply look at our values. My questions have been no doubt influenced by the world. Questions like, Is it financially responsible to take on a loan the size of a home mortgage? My grandmother, with her Depression values and work ethic, would’ve thought this precarious at best, at worst, dangerous. I know lawyers who have taken on debts double or more of what I’d need to take on; but their jobs would guarantee a return on their investment. Realistically a PhD in Depth Psych (not a counseling degree) may not. Which brings up Ninth House questions of destiny and life purpose. If one thinks one believes one even has a destiny as a doctor or lawyer we naturally encourage higher education; but to have a destiny as a philosopher and teacher- astrologer – frankly the math doesn’t add up. I’ve heard stories of people attending a wonderful culinary institute, then working for $7 an hour as a line cook. What is the true cost of following a Ninth House dream or destiny? Do we all have that luxury of finding out? Remember, that price isn’t just fiscal; there are other costs.

I remember once, the venerable Neeti Ray, posed a philosophically honest question to the astrological community: Do you sometimes wish you’d have never discovered astrology? Many honest, funny and ambiguous answers came out of that. It’s damn hard to make a living doing this. It’s hard to follow a dream toward something you love. There is no price greater than that of the freedom to choose to do what you love; and yet there are many people in developing nations, and many of our grandparents for whom this question of living a meaningful and purpose-filled life was, and is, ridiculous.  They aren’t even able to have the privilege and honor of making the choice that allows them to responsibly pay the price for their most cherished dreams. Let’s face it: the Ninth House Quest for Meaning and Purpose is a western/modern luxury. Many more people in the world just need those other Ninth House things — the faith, belief and optimism– to make it through another day.

This Sagittarius Full Moon Eclipse opposes my Ninth House Saturn in Gemini and you’re probably hearing the uncomfortable cold, hard truth of Saturn in my words. I love having my dream to get a PhD but this cost of this dream I’ve decided, at least for now, is too rich for my blood. Ultimately some destinies and dreams pull us forward no matter what the cost as my philosopher/teacher/astrologer self already knows -that ‘destiny’ has been permanently assigned. And in turning down one dream, almost instantly after I made that hard decision, that ‘destiny’ appeared. Instead of being the student, I was asked by the San Francisco Astrological Society to teach a nine month Intermediate Astrology class– starting in September — which I would not have been able to do had I been a student. Like the old saying goes, When the Student is ready, the Teacher appears…except I am the Teacher. Jupiter, Sagittarius’ ruler, has just entered Taurus. That trend is to invest in our self as materially viable beings who have skills with tangible value. Sagittarius is about the ultimate truths, and Gemini, the relative ones. This Full Moon Eclipse asks us to bring both together, to seek that tenuous balance of dream fulfillment, to keep our aim for a meaningful life high (but within reach), while remaining a questioning student of reality, not needing to hold to one ultimate Answer. In my experience, we’re the last ones to know where or who that Teacher called Life wants us to be. Ahhhhh, perspective.