When I was in my early twenties, I was a Sarah McLachlan – Lilith Fair fan. When the last tour in 1999 skipped over my town, I took some friends and went to a neighboring state to see one of their last tour stops. As the show on the main stage was coming to a close, almost every performer was up on stage with Sarah, singing in harmony together. It was certainly a magic moment. It was so high that maybe I hit the top of the metaphorical roller coaster and had to come down on the other side. So a thought occurred to me in the midst of this great moment: “I’ll never be great.”
The thought crushed me and brought tears to my eyes. Thoughts along similar lines have occurred since, but that was the first one that really struck like an arrow. I’d had the momentum of youth and the recent discovery of my calling as an astrologer really going for me, keeping me high on dreams of the future. At the time, the Sun, in all it’s magnificence, was squaring my Neptune in the 11th house, triggering it’s natal square to my Jupiter (2nd house).
In hindsight and on paper, it looks like that wasn’t true. When I was first set on fire by the discovery of astrology, I knew I was going to write a book about it. And 15 years later, I did. Win. Case closed. But having been post book for 3-4 years now, and entered into the dark and currently aimless forest of midlife, that seems a distant memory, almost another life. And I find myself singing a new version of the “I’ll never be great” tune, entitled “I’ll never be as great as I was.”
After these crushing blows, I’ve shaken them off, and readjusted my expectations of what Great looks like. I’m certainly not the Sarah McLachlan of astrology. Youthful expectations of grandeur have long since fallen away, but every step down from the impossible left a bruise. Although they’ve been challenging, they’ve helped me to find a level of greatness that is personalized to what I want, who I am, and what I can achieve. I’ve realized that I don’t want to prioritize my career above all else, all the time. I’ve realized that I don’t want to be a famous astrologer,* traveling to exotic locations every other week to lecture at conferences because I’m in such high demand. While I love to travel, leaving my family so often is more painful year after year, and performing for strangers nearly undoes my introverted soul every time. So I have readjusted to the reality of what I want and what I’m willing to do for what I want, and have found a happy medium for most of my career so far.
“Which brings me closer to my point,” says this little Gemini south node girl. One such adjustment actually occurred in an epiphany that was such a turning point for me, I dedicated my book to the source of it. I was at Disneyland with my husband (hello Jupiter-square-Neptune-land…the perfect setting) and to get out of the heat, we were stopping in all kinds of little booths and shows that we hadn’t ever considered before. One stop was a dark theater where they played a brief show about Walt Disney’s life and how things led up to Disneyland. As I watched, it struck me just how hungry, enthusiastic, and entrepreneurial Walt was, and how willing to risk, and how it was those things that drove him, not greatness. He didn’t want to be great, he wanted to do his thing. Suddenly, how to be great didn’t matter. Just doing my thing, in every way I can, was all I needed to worry about.
So now I’m going to admit something a lot less inspiring. I had a little-league epiphany recently while playing a video card game. I usually spend ‘coins’ to get advantages in the game, such as extra cards or hints throughout the game. I realized that I do really poorly when I used the advantages that tell me which cards to play and when, but I do really well when I just add the equivalent of rocket boosters to the natural technique I’ve already got going. I’ve noticed this in other games too. Help sometimes isn’t help, because it throws off my natural instincts. I’m looking to the advantage to tell me what to do and losing my connection to myself while I do that. I remember once I had a data entry intensive job, with lots of keyboard shortcuts I had memorized. I left it to do another job, but it didn’t work out, so I came back about a year later or so. When I stopped to remember those keyboard shortcuts or look at a cheat sheet, my fingers fumbled. But when I stayed in the path of intention, just willing my body to do what I knew it already knew how to do and just being in the moment of will, my fingers did their job perfectly.
So what’s the damn point? There might not be a singular tunnel to meaning here. But I’m thinking about Jupiter in Pisces in my 2nd house square Neptune in Sagittarius in the 11th house and how often that sets me up for “delusions of grandeur”. The fuzzy dream (Neptune) of greatness (Jupiter), measured in the public eye (11th house) and manifesting because of my sheer awesomeness of skill. of awesomness (2nd house). How I look to others to reflect that back to me (Venus opposes Jupiter and squares Neptune too) and it never quite works. How the humbling experiences of reality checks actually turn out to be my best moments (Saturn trines my Jupiter and is my chart ruler) because then I finally get some traction and feel like this dream is now with my reach to actually work on (Saturn’s in my 6th house of the daily process of actual work – the kind that’s messy, mediocre, and mundane, but really pays off in the end).
So, in conclusion, this means … stuff.
*My mentor, Steven Forrest, once said something like ‘saying you’re a famous astrologer is about as meaningful as saying you’re the president of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.’ Or something like that. It was funny. Maybe you had to be there.