Recently, I dressed in my fancy dress and fancy slippahs (local-speak for what you likely think of as flip-flops) to attend a fancy gala, the Komen Pink Ball, a benefit for Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer research.
As I listened to one of the honorary survivors tell her story, I felt my heart expand. I understand what it feels like to undergo a traumatic, life-changing, terrifying experience.
I thought then, at that moment of reflection, about astrology.
Why astrology?, I asked myself.
A part of me wanted to offer something to this woman; something hopeful, helpful. For a long time, astrology was this for me. I offered it to others in this capacity, as a way to make meaningful sense of life; a tried and true method for getting a person through the difficult life passages and cycles, it explained things when nothing else could.
More deeply, astrology was my personal rock – it held me when nothing else did. When life didn’t make sense, at least the astrology did. Oh, it’s eclipse season, I recalled, or I was having a Pluto, or Saturn, transit. Yes, that explains things! Until it didn’t.
I remember an astrology friend once saying “everything can be astrological…” This is not an unusual sentiment; on the whole we can be an evangelical, or obsessed, bunch. I knew what she meant; I could, and still can, perceive the astrology behind everything. Everything!
When I hear other people love on astrology that hard, who regard astrology as the only way of making sense of life and self, I still get it. As a cosmology, perhaps you can’t get closer to Spirit than this. “Astrology is the alphabet of God,” Steven Forrest has said.
What happened with me + astrology is probably what happens to anyone who is in a lifelong relationship where one of us is changing very rapidly. At a certain point, it began showing its limitations.
Things changed for me, and in ways I hadn’t ever anticipated or thought possible. Suddenly, I was thrust into a world of energy; I was feeling things I didn’t understand how to process or hold. Where did this come into play, in my natal chart? In my transits?, I asked the chart. I got nothing. Nothing made sense. When I looked at my chart for answers, everything blurred together in a God’s alphabet soup
After decades of practice, during this time of life when I looked at the chart I could no longer see anything personally or practically helpful. Of course I could see at least one signature of “what” was happening: I was revisiting ALL the traumas, wounds and injuries, since the beginning of time, I’d ever had to my sensitivity. Transiting Pluto was opposing Venus, my chart ruler. My lifelong relationship to my gentle, kind, and sensitive feeling-nature (Venus in Cancer) was being triggered by that Hell realm planet.
Did astrological knowledge help me get through a day without feeling like I was on the speedway of the Indy 500? Did it help me to intimately navigate my changing relationship to every person in my life, specifically, and on a case by case basis? Did the astrology help me come back into my own energy body when I was in someone else’s emotions, energies, versus my own? Did it point out where I was stuck in old conditioning, and tell me how to release that so I could be free again? Could the astrology help me identify when an external or conditioned energy hi-jacked my perception, causing me suffering? Did the astrology give me the practical tools I needed to find my power again? Could it answer where, exactly, all of this new learning was headed? No, no, no and no…
Often, when the chart doesn’t explain life correctly, astrologers say: It’s not astrology’s fault, it’s the interpretation, or the interpreter.
…But sometimes astrology is simply not the right tool for the job. As an astrologer, I, too, had a tendency to think of this particular tool as an amazing multi-purpose and miraculous one – one that could do, or be, anything.
Right now, astrology and I are old, good, friends. It would be really sad to be without it- as I learned when, during this past Mercury retrograde, I thought my charts from twenty+ years had disappeared. That felt like a death (I’ve since recovered them)! This past winter I went through a really difficult set of months, and knowing Saturn (limitation) was transiting my Jupiter (expansion), and that it would pass, helped so much. I also enjoy exploring the mythology, and using astrology psychologically- my favorite.
Divine timing, inner work, creatively, for psychological awareness… I imagine I will never not use astrology in some form or another.
Listening to this woman attempt to articulate her own personal hell with cancer, I felt all of my compassion, and my desire to help. If she came to me seeking an astrological consultation, I wondered, what could I offer? Would astrology be equipped to ably and helpfully answer the daily and often minute by minute practical and emotional rigors of a traumatic and life-altering event?
Yet, sometimes even a “this X event is happening through you, and for this period of time” is helpful information.
I still enjoy offering astrology to those who find it helpful; indeed, I notice my most “popular” writings are astrological ones.
Yet as any relationship with an old friend, I understand where it excels, and where it doesn’t. It has strengths, and weaknesses.
We’ve been through a few things, together, me + astrology, and our relationship had to change.
Astrology is now ONE of my tools; I no longer look to astrology to be my everything. In so doing, I’ve given myself more permission: To not have all the answers. To be in the unknown, with another. To be in my feelings, my compassionate heart… and to discover and be in my other gifts. When the astrology doesn’t “work”: when the astrology comes off as too pat and dry, heady, or overly-simplified; when the quest is too personal, and the experience defies understanding, logic or even words… these things always will.