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Keanu Reeves: The Man of the Hour

If you have eyes and wi-fi access, you are probably aware that Keanu Reeves is the talk of the internet these days. Whether he’s walking to music, avenging his dog or striking a pose on a chopper, Keanu is more popular than ever. We are living through a “Keanuissance” and I’m hopping on the I-heart-Keanu bandwagon by taking a look at his chart.

Keanu’s wealth of Virgo planets, including his Sun and Ascendant, reveals itself with his humble and sincere vibe. He tends to deflect rapidly when interviewers praise him or call attention to what a famously nice guy he is. When asked in an interview how he keeps his private life out of the press, he said, with a slight chuckle: “I have no life and I don’t answer personal questions. That’s kind of my modus operandi because … I mean … ‘who cares?’” Virgo likes to get on with things and doesn’t have a lot of ego invested in its own specialness.

Keanu Reeves Natal Chart
Keanu Reeves’ Natal Chart

What Virgo does invest in is serving a useful purpose and doing it to the very best of its ability. Keanu probably asks a lot of himself—more so than anyone else. According to several of his co-stars, Keanu is committed and focused at work. Chris Evans calls Keanu very focused, giving, and thorough, and Jennifer Connelly says he is disciplined, hard-working, conscientious, and incredibly kind. Most comment on his sweetness and humility, even after the stratospheric success of the Matrix. His intensity most likely comes not just from Virgo’s razor-sharp commitment to excellence but also Pluto parked right on top of his Virgo Ascendant, having risen just minutes before Keanu was born. With Pluto at the helm of his ship, Keanu takes life and work seriously, giving it everything to the point where it can consume him just as much as he consumes it. But just try and take a peek into his inner workings and you’ll get a dose of secretive Plutonian stonewalling.

His progressed moon is traveling through his 11th house for the next 18+ months, and Keanu’s well aware of the love and attention coming his way, humbly acknowledging it by saying he’s just “happy to be here.” The progressed moon is where our attention is often drawn, so he sees us seeing him! However, despite being an actor and in the public eye, he’s not likely to be one to enjoy the spotlight for it’s own sake with his Sun and other Virgo planets tucked away in the private 12th house. With his moon, Mars, and Venus in Cancer, he’s more likely to focus his energy through this very public house by sending the love out rather than wanting the public’s eye on him. Cancer has the urge to shelter, nourish, and protect, but typically while remaining protected itself. With all those Cancer planets in the 11th, his tendency toward philanthropy is not likely to be a gimmick and his good deeds are reportedly piling up. When his progressed moon moves into the 12th in 2021, he might find that the intensity of the Keanuissance has run its course and be relieved that he can just concentrate on doing his thing.

80s Movie Heroines and Their Venus Signs

While watching Pretty in Pink, I wondered (like many others) for the umpteenth time WHY THE HELL DIDN’T SHE PICK DUCKY which got me to thinking about what Andie’s Venus sign might have been. Venus is not the only planet that reveals our own relationship style, but it reveals how we show our desire to connect with another. It also describes what we’re attracted to, the kinds of traits in another person that draw us in and charm us. Here’s some Valentine’s Day fun with Venus at the movies.

Andie (Molly Ringwald, Pretty in Pink) Venus in Libra

Although Andie’s pretty feisty and independent overall (Aries or Aquarius Sun methinks), I think in love she might be a Venus in Libra sort. She’s certainly got tons of style and creativity and I also think she’s a bit of a romantic but she also has the Libran urge to bridge the gap. She thinks about how the other half lives and is fair-minded (even if unsure) about her crush’s background.

 

Ariel (Lori Singer, Footloose) Venus in Aries

Ariel has her soft side but she’s generally energetic and always looking for a thrill from her crushes. She’s impulsive, spirited, and she likes a guy who can keep up with her. She is independent and doesn’t take kindly to anyone treating her like a possession or arm candy. She likes men of action and but she doesn’t wait around waiting for them to take it – she’s just as happy initiating and going after her crush when she knows what she wants (and she always does!)

 

Sloane (Mia Sara, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) Venus in Gemini

We don’t get to know Sloane too well but she seems to roll easily along with Ferris’ antics, engaging in a little creative storytelling of her own quite easily (poor fake dead grandma) and I imagine she loves that he never bores her!

 

Buttercup (Robin Wright, Princess Bride) Venus in Taurus

Buttercup was wooed oh so slowly by the “poor and perfect” farm boy Wesley, long before he was a dashing and swashbuckling pirate type. She wanted the down-to-earth guy, unfailingly loyal and not someone to try and impress her with grand titles.

 

Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher, Star Wars series) Venus in Leo

She may say she likes “nice men” but Leia is drawn to the confidence and even cockiness of Han Solo, maybe because she secretly sees the leader and hero he could be (if he would just get over himself!) She’s drawn to his courage, heart, and passion and could never be satisfied by just a nice guy, especially if he was weak-willed or played it too safe.

 

Jessica Rabbit (Kathleen Turner, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?) Venus in Sagittarius

Although her blatant sex appeal could get her any guy she wanted (or didn’t want), she’s happily married to one of the goofiest toon rabbits! When asked what she sees in him, she  says he ‘makes her laugh,’ which says it all.

 

Veronica (Wynona Ryder, Heathers) Venus in Aquarius

Yes, J.D. dressed in black and rode a motorcycle, but Veronica didn’t really want the bad boy, she wanted the one who didn’t buy into the system. He was unflappable in the face of the popular kids’ superior nonsense and he was not afraid to be different and shake people up. He was not just a rebel, but an anarchist, Veronica ended up getting a little more than she bargained for but I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt: that her next crush didn’t try to kill her!

 

Francis “Baby” (Jennifer Grey, Dirty Dancing) Venus in Pisces

Pisces needs a little fairy dust so it was bound to be love when the magic and romance of the dance with her summer love drew Baby in. In love she was innocent, overwhelmingly kind, and empathetic to those around her.  She always saw the best in others and never judged.

 

Agree? Disagree? Did I forget someone I shouldn’t have? Let’s hear it! Make your case!

I Think I Can: Jupiter in Virgo & Self-Efficacy

“I think I can, I think I can,” said The Little Engine That Could. This sweet sentiment about the power of believing in yourself gets a storybook train up a hill. A happy ending in a children’s book is one thing, but how does it measure up in real life? Can believing we will be successful actually assist in creating that success?

Self-efficacy is an idea researched and championed by psychologist Albert Bandura, and is defined as the extent to which a person believes in their own competence. A simplified version of this might be the saying “If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”

Jupiter and Self-Efficacy Beliefs
In astrology, Jupiter is the cosmic YES. Jupiter deals in the currencies of hope, faith, optimism, enthusiasm, potential, expansion, and confidence. When we take a risk in hopes that it will lead to good things that we can only visualize, we call on Jupiter. Jupiter is the planet of luck, but it’s not always passive. Lucky people simply say yes to the Universe’s nudges more often. They open the door when opportunity knocks.

Jupiter’s location in our own chart can reveal some natural talents and even the ways in which we underestimate what we’re really capable of; it reveals how and where we need to say yes to ourselves and the Universe more often. Yes doesn’t always sound like “yes!” Sometimes it sounds like “maybe I can do this” or “what if?”

The astrological symbolism of the Jupiter principle is reflected in the power of positive self-efficacy beliefs. It turns out, when we think we can succeed, we may actually increase our chances of achieving that success.

How self-efficacy beliefs affect our success
One of the deciding factors in deciding to undertake a task or set a goal is whether or not we think we will succeed. We visualize scenarios in our minds in an effort to try and determine how likely our success is. If we have no hope of success, we won’t commit to something. These visualizations don’t determine whether we will be successful, but they illustrate whether we think we’ll be successful.

Yet, this is a critical step. Our self-efficacy beliefs matter so much because the visualizations we create can stem from our belief in our competence and in turn, our actions or inactions stem from these visualizations. People with high self-efficacy beliefs are more likely to envision successful scenarios whereas people with low self-efficacy beliefs tend to focus on visualizations which emphasize what may go wrong. “What’s the worst that could happen?” we may ask ourselves, and how we answer this question is a measure of self-efficacy.

People with high self-efficacy beliefs also tend to be more willing to undertake a challenging goal and persist in their efforts to overcome obstacles when striving for their goal because they have a strong belief in their own competence. They are more likely to bounce back more quickly from setbacks and self-doubts that setbacks may generate. People with low self-efficacy beliefs are less likely to undertake difficult tasks and are more likely to rate difficult tasks with higher levels of impossibility. They also don’t recover from setbacks as easily and lose faith in their capabilities more quickly, giving up before the task is accomplished or more readily accepting a moderate success (a consolation prize) in place of what they truly want.

Belief = Success?
Most of us realize that our own attitudes about ourselves have a strong effect on how we experience life. It’s important to realize that one’s belief about oneself doesn’t determine skill or guarantee success or failure objectively. A high level of self-confidence doesn’t create skill in the absence of training, experience, or some degree of natural talent, but our belief in ourselves and our own abilities can serve as a springboard for our motivations, which can lead to actions, which can lead to accomplishments. Self-efficacy beliefs affect thought patterns that may be self-aiding or self-hindering.

It is widely believed that misjudgment produces dysfunction. Certainly, gross miscalculation can create problems. However, optimistic self-appraisals of capability that are not unduly disparate from what is possible can be advantageous, whereas veridical judgments can be self limiting. When people err in their self-appraisals, they tend to overestimate their capabilities.

This is a benefit rather than a cognitive failing to be eradicated. If self-efficacy beliefs always reflected only what people could do routinely, they would rarely fail but they would not mount the extra effort needed to surpass their ordinary performances. –  Human Agency in Social Cognitive Theory Bandura, Albert

If Indiana Jones didn’t think he could make it across the chasm in a leap of faith and take that risk, the holy grail might never have been found!

Jupiter in Virgo
Jupiter is traveling through the sign of Virgo from August 11, 2015 until September 9th, 2016. Grandiose Jupiter traveling through the humble sign of Virgo may seem like an ill fit, but in fact, this is an opportunity to grow in ways that are measurable, an invitation to increase our competence through efficient and consistent progress. Virgo has a great deal of respect for process and hard work. Jupiter in Virgo is where the rubber meets the road, where confidence and faith gain traction to actually create real results.

We can think of Jupiter as our cosmic life coach, encouraging us to reach for the stars, to try what we haven’t before, and brave that risk to make a potential, a dream, come true. In Virgo, Jupiter isn’t just a cheerleader; it has real homework for you. Where Virgo lies in your chart represents the area(s) of life where small, persistent steps will make all the difference over the next year. As astrologer Molly Hall says, “Jupiter in Virgo is a path of being happy when productive.  Some trust comes with this transit, that if there’s a regular investment in your work, the lucky breaks will come.

genius-is-1-inspiration-and

Enough is Not Quite Enough
With all the good things that a high level of self-efficacy seems to bring, it sounds like we would all be best served by embracing a delusional self-confidence. True, the location of this ‘gas giant’ can also reveal where we might just be full of hot air, so to speak. There are obviously problems that arise on the opposite end of the spectrum when we hugely overestimate our abilities, such as constantly promising what we can’t deliver and perpetually failing in that which we were sure we would succeed.

Our self-assessment is subjective, and a higher level of self-efficacy belief can serve to motivate and inspire us, making us more willing to stretch ourselves, try new things, and reach for our potential–all experiences that are at the heart of what Jupiter represents. Low self-efficacy beliefs actually discourage growth because we are reluctant to risk; we believe we will fail before we’ve even begun. Research seems to show that a level of self-efficacy which is just above our actual ability is optimal, because it pushes us to strive for the possible but without a delusion that we are superhuman. If you believe you can fly, strive for it! But don’t leap blindly off a building and literally expect wings to grow from your back. That’s a metaphor, folks. Jupiter in Virgo is not about inflated self-confidence but about the real ways we can turn our belief in ourselves into real action.

Apply it!
How high is your self-efficacy? How can you increase it? Here’s an interesting (non-scientific) quiz you can take to get the conversation with yourself started.

Where is Jupiter lighting up your chart? Share in the comments!

Don’t know where Jupiter is pushing you to fly? Create your free chart at astro.com


References:

There’s a lot more nuance to this idea of self-efficacy, including more precise definitions, what kinds of things our self-efficacy rating may be based on, and the difference between self-efficacy and just general self-confidence. Check out these sources to find out more:

What is Self-Efficacy? by Kendra Cherry

Self-Efficacy by Albert Bandura

Human Agency in Social Cognitive Theory by Albert Bandura

Generalized Self-Efficacy (GSE) is differentiated from Bandura’s definition of Self-Efficacy. The former centers on the idea of general confidence in one’s abilities in a variety of situations, whereas Bandura’s definition is said to be situationally specific. See Measuring General Self-Efficacy.

Many beliefs are tied to our self-efficacy rating, such as our self-esteem, or how much control we believe we have over the events in our lives (locus of control). 

“I think I can” canvas art is created by and available from Red Bicycle Designs.

The resilience of our belief in our self-efficacy is what’s especially important. One can always get a shot of confidence in the arm, but those who tend toward high levels of belief in themselves over the long term tend to be able to persist where others give up.

It’s also important to realize that one’s self-efficacy beliefs can be influenced in a number of ways, not just by one’s own personal belief, but also by the positive reinforcement and encouragement we get from others. This is a reason why support groups can actually work.

Uranus Opposition – Start a Revolution

Rose McGowan
Rose McGowan

The headline reads Rose McGowan is Starting a Revolution.

Indeed. And right on time.

After tweeting a photo of casting notes which instructed her to wear form-fitting and revealing clothing for an audition, instructions she said were “par for the course,” she woke to find her tweet had gone viral. That and another tweet a week later admonishing her agency for dropping her had her drawing support and encouragement to “fight on” when it comes to misogyny and Hollywood.

This may only be one of many culminating points in an ongoing awakening for Rose, which began, according to her, in the late 2000s when a lot of “Lemony Snicket” events (referring to his ‘a series of unfortunate events’ books) had her “dismantling.” The illness and death of her father and a car accident were just two of the intense happenings that kicked off this growth period (right around the time Pluto squared her own Pluto–but that’s another story).

“In the last seven years, without being totally aware of what I was doing, I was completely disengaging and separating.”

Uranus

Uranus represents the rod to which we must hold if we want to navigate the tricky terrain of the ever-developing self when the external environment presses us to conform. Whether it’s a well-meaning parent’s advice, a cultural paradigm, or an authority figure’s judgment, we are always under subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) pressures to fit in.

This cannot be reduced to the simple desire to want others to like us; it is more primal and subconscious and the stakes are higher than they seem on the surface. To truly be an outcast can threaten our very survival and if we don’t play by the rules of the powers that be, we can perish by them and not just metaphorically. There may be good reasons why we ignore Uranus’ whispers, or translate them into safer, less threatening ways to display our individuality because of this.

Uranus represents the urge to live and express yourself authentically, whether the stakes are large or small. The struggle for authenticity and the stress we experience when sacrificing or embracing it is real, whether we mask our true nature to avoid bullying at school or become a whistle-blower afraid for our very life. Uranus in our natal chart represents where and in what ways we not only think outside the box, but we often refuse, sometimes vehemently, to be boxed in or defined.

Why do we dare to break the mold or risk being shunned as an outcast? Freedom. The burden of a secret, of a false life on any level, can build up like a toxin. The safe but false feeling of acceptance may be of too little comfort, having us living in constant vigilance of our secret being exposed or simply suffering the exhaustion of keeping up a façade. When we are accepted for that which we are not, we may still feel just as alone as we fear we might be for revealing who we truly are. Pluto is often involved whenever dismantling, as Rose put it, is required, but Uranus is Pluto’s bedfellow when an old skin needs to be shed; it is The Liberator.

The Uranus Opposition: the Celestial Monkey Wrench

Into everyone’s life, a little Uranus must fall but not always at the same times in our lives or with the same intensity or sequence of events. A natal chart is essentially a map of the sky at the time of a birth, revealing the location of the planets and a few other heavenly favorites at that moment. Although the planets in our natal map are frozen in time, the movement of the planets from then on are not. Uranus’ orbit may be predictable (a word which Uranus would scowl about being associated with) but depending on the orientation of the planets in your natal chart, you may experience Uranus crossing over the position of your Sun, for example, at age 2 while your neighbor may not experience it until age 62. It all depends on the starting line: your birth moment.

This variability applies to all the planets, except for one very predictable exception: a planet’s orientation to itself. Any planet will eventually return to its original location, for example. So while Uranus may cross your Sun’s position at age 2 but your neighbor’s Sun position at age 62, you and everyone who lives to be the ripe old age of 84 will experience Uranus’ return around that age. Halfway through that cycle, at about age 42, everyone experiences the Uranus opposition, the period of time when Uranus is opposite its original position in everyone’s own natal chart.*

Uranus represents things that happen suddenly and without warning, personal changes can take us by surprise just as much as they do to those around us. Uranus represents liberation via separation; the ability to see something or someone objectively is dependent on our distance from it. We may find that the idea, belief, relationship, job, or religion just does not have the same meaning or relevance in our life that it had just months before, maybe for no discernable reason.

It’s likely no accident that many of the obvious, disruptive events that take place during a classic mid-life crisis happen around this age. We may feel rebellious, angsty, or frustrated, often in response to a feeling of being trapped. These trappings may have been our own doing and even served us well once, but at the Uranus opposition, it’s time to re-authenticate and that may mean breaking up not just with a job or a partner, but our former self.

The Uranus opposition can bring about the awareness of a need to break away from something that you may have been previously in league with, even if only by default, in an effort to reveal and express something essential about your true self. “Be Yourself” is Uranus’ call to action but it’s not as easy as it sounds. Sometimes that which we were, thought we were, or thought we would always be turns out to be that which inhibits us from becoming who we are. Uranus’ opposition is the cosmic monkey wrench that stops the auto-pilot engine so we can really think about where we’re going and whether or not it’s a dead-end.

Rose’s Revolution Evolution

Rose’s own Uranus lies in a close conjunction with Venus in her natal chart, in the sign of Libra in her 5th house.

rose-mcgowan-triwheel

Rose’s Uranian individuality is expressed not only in her relationship needs and style, but also her creative and artistic inclinations, which can be especially revealing in a profession that revolves heavily around creativity, art, self-expression and/or performance, such as an actor and director like Rose. The expression of beauty and its manifestation through modeled gender roles is also a way Rose’s unique perspective will come through–bucking beauty standards and assumptions about women and relationships are just a few examples of something she’s born to do. To her, expression of one’s beauty may be simply about being who you are, not your gender identity. She has spoken several times about being raised in what she sees as a ‘gender-neutral’ environment. “I don’t remember ever seeing any mirrors,” she said in an interview. “I grew up without actually registering that I was a girl or a boy.”

Astrology is always understood and expressed through the lens of the current era. Traditionally, Venus has represented the feminine and this has been expressed in astrology literature and practice in the past; Venus in a woman’s chart represents the way she expresses her femininity and in a man’s chart, it represents what he wants in a woman, often with the assumption that not only does a man have any femininity to express and must project it onto an opposite gender, but that all men are heterosexual. In the current age, modern thought begins to offer us more complexity and nuance in how gender, sexuality, and femininity are expressed and understood. Indeed, this is a significant part of what has been incubating since the birth of the Uranus-in-Libra generation (those born roughly between late 1968 and late 1975) and blossoms as they hit the middle decades of life.

Although just shy of exact, Uranus has been opposing Rose’s own Uranus (and Venus) since mid-late spring. Although Rose’s tweet was self-initiated, the unanticipated reactions that resulted are right up Uranus’ alley. It’s no surprise that within the context of her life and her chart, the wake-up call comes in the form of authenticity (Uranus) and equality (Libra) in feminine and creative expression (Venus, 5th house).

Many probably hope she’s not just having a momentary rebellion but that she’s really going to spearhead change, or at least, join the cause in an active, visible way. Uranus sounds the alarm but there’s no guarantee that we won’t push the snooze button. The stamina and commitment to walk the unbeaten path is not easy and while we may be nod absently at the platitude, the magnitude of that truth isn’t always fully realized when we’re still running hot on a dose of reactionary indignation. It feels good to push back at what you feel has been oppressing you, even if (and sometimes especially if) it’s been you, yourself, in the form of internalized beliefs, judgmental voices, and so on. But the consequences, sometimes surprising, long-reaching and painful, of breaking with that ‘norm’ can be a hard burden to bear. So we won’t judge Rose too harshly if she doesn’t single-handedly change the world, or even Hollywood, will we?

Uranus breaks stuff so we can have a breakthrough. It’s up to us what we do with it from there, but our viewpoint can be forever changed, providing that ‘before and after’ perspective that is hard to forget or ignore. Even after the temporary upheaval of a Uranus opposition is over, the ripples go out to the edges.

This is the first of four passes Uranus will make to the opposing point of Rose’s Uranus-Venus conjunction. In 2016 and early 2017, Uranus will oppose this conjunction again, sending the ripple out further each time. For now, it looks like she’s taking it and running with it.

“For me, in my life, I’m just done ‘being allowed’ to be anything. I’m just no longer interested in people that will allow me to be anything because who are you to allow me to be anything? How dare you.”

Have you experienced a Uranian revolution? Please comment and share your story!


Further, fascinating reading and viewing about Rose McGowan and her extraordinary life:

Rose McGowan: I Escaped a Cult

All quotes used here are directly from Rose McGowan in this interview: DP/30 2014 Interview with Rose McGowan

*There is a small variability in the length and age of exactness of a planet’s return to its natal position and its contacts to its natal position along the way. This is largely due to the apparent retrograde phenomenon, when a planet temporarily appears to travel backward across the backdrop of the sky. But the variability window caused by retrogradation is a matter of months, not years. No one experiences a Uranus opposing itself at age 34, for example. It will also be around age 42, sometimes slightly earlier, sometimes slightly later.

Image of Rose McGowan by gdcgraphics – licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
This piece was originally featured in The Mountain Astrologer’s blog, Sept 2015

Jupiter square Neptune: Elusive Greatness

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.

Resisting Resistance

Note: The death and rebirth process is something that can be applied to Scorpio, the 8th house, and/or Pluto in our chart. Where you have any of these symbols is the place in your life where the phoenix resides.

My best friend and I like to have fun together, and by fun, I mean sit across from each other and try to make each other cry. Not by insulting each other, or anything involving pinching, but with armchair therapy. She is the only person I've ever met that can actually match, and possibly exceed, my stamina for relentless self(and other)-examination. I have five planets in my 8th house, and two of those planets are my Sun and Moon in Virgo, so the core of me is recharged by Looking Deeply and Figuring It Out. With four planets in Libra, I like to have insightful feedback.

So there we are today, sitting across from each other, me on my second mocha, and she asks me if I want to talk about Fall. I had made a casual statement earlier about being surprised at how hard this year's approach of Fall has been for me, since my official stance is that I Love Fall and Always Have. I've been feeling so vulnerable with the approaching winter and the cold that it just makes me want to, metaphorically and physically, curl up into the fetal position. Since nothing is ever casual with her (it's one of the things I love about her), she had detected that there was much to discuss and prodded.

"Do you think that maybe this year you're feeling too tired to deal with the 8th house?" she said.

"Huh?" I was getting stuck on the word tired. And her bringing up the 8th house. "What do you mean, specifically?"

She speculated that while I've been going through some mid-life transitory stuffs that perhaps the invigoration I normally have during Fall is absent and making the transition of Fall into Winter too emotionally overwhelming.

"Why are you linking this to the 8th house?" I said.

"You are Fall," she said. "You live your life perched on that sharp, narrow edge of transition. That's why you love fall, because Fall is home. But that home is hard. Do you think you've had so much hard this year that you're too tired to live the 8th house this Fall?"

To me, living the 8th house means to continually dive deeply into yourself, to search for your own personal truth even if it scares you and threatens to undo you at times. I have been searching hard this year for meaning and its corresponding direction so I felt I hadn't stopped using the 8th house muscles.

"Well, it depends on what you mean by the 8th house, which, of course, means a number of things. I think maybe you are referring to the part of living the 8th house where I Fuck Shit Up."

 

Green warrior fairy elfwood - gerlinde

green fairy by d gerre

I occasionally fuck shit up intentionally. I take something that appears to be working just fine and break it. Not by causing needless drama or in order to hurt others around me, but to upend my life to bring about needed change that cannot happen if I try to do it in a contained way, gradually or safely. Destroying and going down in the flames so that I can rebuild it properly. Initiate a drastic and mostly irreversible change and then live through the consequences it provokes, knowing they are coming.

 

Whether I do it on purpose or in response to a crisis in my life, there eventually comes a moment when I accept that I cannot outrun what's chasing me. And it's that moment that I'm able to summon the power to turn and draw my knives. I want it to come. I want it to devour me. I lean into it. I may have a warrior stance but I don't defend. I stand in its way. It consumes me as I consume it. And when it burns through me, I am the next me, raw and clean.

That's living the glory part of the 8th house. But those moments are moments. The bitch is the build up. When you're starting to molt, and it itches, and you're pissy and your life looks like shit, or at least, one part of it. Although there have been mini upheavals, the last time I really fucked shit up was four and a half years ago, when I quit my day job. My life isn't perfect, but I haven't needed to upend things for a while because there's nothing in dire need of destruction. It's all Pretty Darn Good.

So how does an 8th house girl grow in an 8th house way without burning her house down? I more or less believe that when you ask a question and are truly open to the answer, it floats to the surface, even if you don't recognize it. When I asked the question tonight, the answer was compelled to present itself: resistance.

Resistance to leaving the house without your family because you might come home to find them all murdered. Resistance to letting your family drive somewhere without you just in case that was the one time that your magical presence would have stopped the car in the neighboring lane from side-swiping them. Resistance to creating that thing because it might not be good and if others see it, they'll know it. Resistance to saying what you think because someone might disagree with you. These are little opportunities for everyday rebirths. That's how to live the 8th house.

Resist the urge to give into resistance, to reluctance. I don't try to live without fear – I don't see how it's possible or authentic. I live with it. We all do. But it is not me. I don't have to hold it, caress it, and give it shelter. I can lean into it and let it rip right through me to the other side.

"So you can resist resistance. I like that," she said.

"Hey, I think that's the title of my next blog…"

Fall 2013 Forecast Highlights

Leaf on waterFall
seems inherently transitional, throwing our consciousness forward into a
preparational state. As summer ends, we know winter is on its way, and
to remain fully present in the moment is challenging. As soon as we're
done gazing longingly back at the bounty of summer (some of us longer
than others), winter's necessities loom in our mind and we're urged
toward making preparations. Mars enters productive, hard-working Virgo
on October 15th for about two months, emphasizing this mood and carrying
us almost to winter's door here in the northern hemisphere.

 

As
fall begins, so does another build up of the ongoing Uranus-Pluto
square, which will peak November 1st, with the new moon in
transformative Scorpio, the sign of the Phoenix, just two days later.
This energy has been present in varying intensities since the first one
in 2012, and the last one will peak next year. This three year period
has been one of not-so-gentle change, specifically pushing us toward new
beginnings and wrenching old attachments from us, sometimes before we
think we're ready. In whatever areas of your life Uranus (in Aries) and
Pluto (in Capricorn) touch, you are compelled, through internal need or
external necessity, to pioneer radical change.

 

I and numerous other astrologers have written and spoken
extensively about this Uranus-Pluto square period. Astrologer Jessica Shepherd has written a
stellar guide to work with this configuration on a personal level.
Check her out at moonkissed.com.

 

Man woman painting heartsWhile
these two are grating on each other, Venus and Mars will come along to
further electrify it, from November 12-16 and December 25-30,
respectively. With Venus, creativity abounds but the harmony of relationships may be (temporarily) disrupted to provide room for the spark; you may find yourself or your loved one a bundle of contradictions as you both struggle to determine just what it is you really need (and it's likely to surprise and/or frighten you if you can get brutally honest with yourself about it). When Venus turns retrograde on December 21st, you may find your relationship work needs to go deeper before it can move forward. Mars will be in Libra from December 7th and although Libra desires harmony, harmony cannot be achieved by continuity, so when it triggers the Uranus-Pluto square, feathers may be ruffled to say the least. Watch any unfocused or misplaced anger, either directed from or at you, as it can be a clue to what really is trying to force its way out.

 

The
bulk of November brings a small pocket full of planetary goodies, from
the 5th to the 25th, from Venus and Mars, perhaps stabilizing the growth
that the Uranus-Pluto square is pushing for. Four harmonious sextiles
form one after another: Venus sextiles Neptune from the 5th-8th, amping
up creativity and inspiration, and also just general good will. It’s a
good time for sweet things. A Virgo Mars sextiles Saturn at relatively
the same time, extending to the 11th, emphasizing a thread of
practicality and productivity throughout.

 

If
you need a little discipline, draw it in during the Mars-Saturn sextile
because as Mars moves on to sextile Jupiter from the 16th-21st, you may
not be in the mood for as much discipline. This can be a good time for a
mini-vacation in body or state of mind. Mars will still be in Virgo so
you may still find yourself inclined toward productivity, but aim it at
pleasure not just business, especially as the fourth sextile between
Venus and Neptune, takes hold from the 20th-25th.

 

Plant in handsJupiter in Cancer and Saturn in Scorpio form a cooperative trine through the first half of December which combines the best of both worlds: Jupiter's expansiveness, optimism, and attunement to the possibility and Saturn's discipline and realism. Grow what you love, let go of what keeps you small.

Astrologer’s Diary: Shaping the Self in the First House

Changes
are afoot.

 

2013-07-20 21.40.31

Embody the Self Amy Herring

When your job is to assist people in identifying
their soul potential and courageously moving toward it, you've got to be walking that talk. My lack of newsletters, facebook posts, and other offerings may have seemed like I've been absent, but in truth, I've been in my 'laboratory' where I hope to eventually be able to offer you many new creations. My progressed moon has been in the first house for two years now, urging me toward a new identity, but unlike I (unconsciously) expected, the outline has not simply waiting for me to step into it. I've had to craft it from the raw materials of self, and in Aquarius, there's been no template appropriate to follow.

 

2013-07-30 17.08.26

Nonself, Amy Herring

I expected that the 12th house period was the letting go and the 1st house
would be all about the new, and it is, but I underestimated the impact of the unfamiliar. In the 12th house, I sloughed an old skin. I had no
perspective on why it was happening, and had I not had the knowledge of
the purpose of the 12th house period, I would surely have gone mad–perhaps I did a little bit anyway. But
that was just the letting go part. In the first house, I find myself  having to clear away the
debris that dropped to the floor. One needs room to work, a clean slate, and in my case, it wasn't automatic. Instead of just one big sweep, it's been tempting to sift
through it and try to figure out what parts I can save, but that's all
been an attempt to cling to an old orientation and way of life, especially when the new one isn't just sitting there like a vessel waiting to be filled.

 

When last I posted about the 1st house, I was just entering it, and I shared some of my early observations. Having been moving through it for a while now, here's a few to add to the list:

It has been exceptionally challenging for me to produce anything concrete. Blog,
reading, video, class, lecture, book – these all feel like end
products, but I am still designing blueprints. I draw on the old model
whenever I can, whenever I must, but my libido is invested in this
self-making. Finishing anything takes an act of great will, one that I don't always muster. As a double Virgo with Capricorn rising, it's been challenging to my sense of self and self-esteem to not have anything "useful" to point to, to not have a stack of contributions that I've been offering. It has been very difficult to just embody the space, trust the process, and patiently reinforce to myself that it's enough.

The first house experience is about you taking up space, you crafting your own life, so I have to light my own flame. Continually. Often. Over and over. It often goes out. Momentum has been extraordinarily difficult to maintain, especially when the direction is unclear. It is not motivation, but meaning in order to drive motivation, that I've been needing to generate.

I've made what I feel like have been a number of false starts. I haven't signed up for the military or invested my life savings in any radical schemes, but I have been so hungry for direction that any inspiration, no matter how mild, sends me running off to catch it before it dissipates. It then becomes rapidly apparent that this is not the "start your new life kit" I'd been hoping for and I turn around and head back for the crossroads.

 

2013-08-22 20.44.50

Sunrise Mandala, Amy Herring

I signed up for a summer series of six classes offered by the Jung Society of Seattle on Creating Your Own Red Book (I have discussed the astrology of Carl Jung and his Red Book in previous posts). Carl Jung underwent a massive internal transformation which he documented in his black books and later compiled into the Red Book. During this series, we were introduced to methods and theories of Carl Jung that we could utilize to create our own 'red book', such as active imagination, mandala creation, dream analysis, and synchronicity. This series was profoundly helpful in giving me a 'container' in which to conduct this self-making. The drawings in this blog have all come from my own red book (although mine's blue).

 

 

The-Universe-Dusty-Path

 

A brief but rapid series of synchronicities prompted me to finally decide that the only thing missing was to apply a little perseverance to the path that I clearly wanted to walk down but kept second-guessing. I am on the Universe's mailing list (you can be too) and one day it said to me:


Usually, the best way to find the yellow brick road of your life, Amy, is
to start out on the dusty, dirt one.

And then let yourself become so
preoccupied in making the best of it, having fun, and challenging yourself that
you actually stop paying attention to the path.

Until, one day, not so
long from now, with a new best friend, wearing cool clothes, feeling awesome, a
teeny tiny bit taller, fresh from a WOW vacation, looking for the path you just
left, you'll notice that it's 24 carats… baby.

And you'll wonder for a
long, long time, sipping on some exotic fruit drink, when the transformation
actually took place…

Tripping, The Universe

 

Although I think it is always true, my awareness is constantly drawn up in the fact that I am perpetually unfinished. However, I think the fog is starting to clear. The outline is drawn, and now I am stepping into it, embodying it.

 

 

 

Related articles

A Page From an Astrologer's Diary: Progressed Moon Enters the First House
Carl Jung on Archetypes
Introverts, Extroverts, and Astrology
Happy Birthday Carl Jung! An Astrological Vignette

Introverts, Extroverts, and Astrology

Most of us ask ourselves at some point, "What makes me … me?" It's the number one question that draws people to astrology  and other typologies and has made it popular enough that most people know roughly what you mean when you ask them what their sign is, and they can usually tell you. Along with their sign, they may also be able to tell you whether they are right or left brained, their enneagram type, their Myers-Briggs designation, their life path digit, or any number of other classifications.

One designation that has become so ingrained in our language that we hardly think of twice about it is introversion versus extraversion. In popular use, it tends to be used to describe people who are more quiet or shy (introvert) as opposed to the people who are outgoing and sociable (extraverts*).

Carl-jungIn actuality, the definitions of these designations are still debated. Psychologist Carl Jung posited that people's psychic energy (as differentiated from physical energy) flowed in one of two directions, primarily: externally ('extra') and internally ('intro). Those who were predominantly introverted had their energy flow inward with a focus on the inner world, feelings, dreams, and thoughts. They don't tend to seek out others' company or opinions as often and tend not to collect many friends and acquaintances, but only one or two close friends with whom they establish trust. In contrast, an extravert's psychic energy flows outward. Extraverts turn their attention more often to the happenings in the outside world, and are more likely to become involved in things outside of their own mind. They are also more comfortable in situations of a highly social nature or situations with alot of activity than introverts.

Hans eysenck wikiPsychologist Hans Eysenck studied the concept of extraversion and introversion from a more biological approach. He theorized that extraverts and introverts differed in their baseline levels of cerebral cortex arousal, proposing that extraverts tend to have a lower baseline measurement than introverts. Therefore, extraverts seek out the stimulus that introverts might avoid,  because they 'need' more cortex arousal, whereas an introvert's baseline level is higher and can too easily become tipped into overdrive with too much external stimulus.

 

IntrovertWhile this specific theory could not be proven in the research, a number of experiments have shown that there is a difference in the ways certain parts of an introvert's brain responds versus the extrovert's brain. Various findings suggest that introverts seem to be more sensitive to stimulation than extraverts, being more quickly and strongly aroused in social or noisy situations. Some findings even suggest that introverts are more likely to have a higher level of response to caffeine and nicotine than extraverts. Brain scans have also shown differences between the two Because of findings like these, many researchers tend to describe extraverts and introverts in terms of their difference in sensitivity to stimulation, rather than simply how 'outgoing' or 'sociable' someone is.


Of course, being an extrovert or an introvert isn't a hard-defined yes or no 'check the correct box' scenario, but is more appropriately measured on a continuum, with some people landing close to the middle and others closer to the edges.


What does this have to do with astrology?

Although I'd adore the categorical simplicity of declaring all the 'yin' signs introverts and the 'yang' signs extroverts, observation shows it's not that simple. Like all things in astrology, the complexities of your specific chart are much richer and more significant than astrological generalities. It's the unique combination and repeated themes in a natal chart that would reveal things like introversion or extraversion. Still, here are some ideas to play with:

  • How concentrated are the planetary placements in your chart in the water houses: 4, 8, and 12? The activities these houses govern (from a psychospiritual, not necessarily traditional, viewpoint) tend to be more about inner life, such as one's private home environment, the inner terrain of the psyche, and the spiritual life. While one or two outer planets hanging out in one or more of these houses may not an introvert make, a stellium of personal planets in the 8th house certainly may!
  • Do you have a lot of planets placed in the 9th, 10th, or 11th houses? The southern (top) hemisphere of the chart is typically related to activities that take us away from a the more narrow life focus of self, family, or our own creative pursuits and in touch with bigger happenings such as participation in community, education, and travel. Big happenings in a big world.
  • Are your planetary placements in the signs weighted significantly more in water than in fire or vice versa? The water signs orient themselves to the world and their experience through feelings, whereas the fire signs orient on what inspires and provokes them to action.
  • What about the earth and air signs? Air can certainly have a social component which can lead to the desire to share ideas and stories with another, but that outlet can certainly be tapped through media rather than conversation. The earth signs tend to have a practical orientation to the world around them and like to accomplish things but a Virgo can analyze her own mind just as well as a company's financial report.

I hear you saying "but, but, but" and I agree; there are rebuttals to each argument and I'm making them all in my head as I go (is my Mercury in Libra showing)? Still, I think the chart as a whole, with many of the above possibilities combined and even more I haven't mentioned, can reveal an introverted or extraverted nature. Do you?

You, people: observe, test and report back.

 

*Extravert, extrovert. You say tomato, I say it's the same thing so don't bug me about it just to sound smart. If you really do want to know, though, Google it.

**Most tests I've come across seem to be biased toward introversion as an answer. Maybe because all those extroverts are out partying and not writing internet quizzes?


Related articlesAre you extroverted or introverted? Don't take your word for it. Take a quiz or two.** You're not busy.Wiki's take on it
Dissemination of a recent published study on brain processes
The brain scan idea

Introverts are Not Failed Extroverts
Misunderstood Introverts

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