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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…"

Mars Retrograde: Keep it Simple

We are all motivated by different desires. No matter what they may be, Mars plays a  large role in how, when, and why we pursue those desires, whether it's fast and furious or slow and steady, whether we are pursuing happiness, security, or success.

Retrograde marsMars stationed retrograde at 23 degrees and 5 minute of Virgo on January 23rd.

A good way to begin to understand the meaning of any planet going retrograde is to run the gamut of re words. For instance, when Mercury retrogrades we're asked to reconsider. When Venus retrogrades, we are often given the opportunity to reacquaint ourselves with someone. During this Mars retrograde period, we're asked to regroup and while it's in Virgo, reorganize.

Virgo is a sign of discrimination and elimination. It shaves away that which is not needed to get to the essential and pares down that which has become bloated and overdone. As Mars retrogrades through this sign until April 14th, sift through your life with an eye on what's useful, necessary, and functional and discard what unnecessarily complicates. Keep it simple.

Angry-mars-glyphVirgo may like efficiency, but keeping it simple doesn't always work, especially if Virgo loses sight on what's essential. It is a sign that likes simplicity, but also control. Not only is Mars retrograde, which tends to channel energy inward (see redirect) but it's also in Virgo, which has a hard time letting the energy flow outward without trying to control the flow so much that it risks clenching too hard, stopping the energy flow altogether (see restrict). Over the next couple of months, watch for warning signs of impending implosion due to control issues, excessive anxiety/worry, or stuck energy building up the tension level, like water pressure behind a dam.

Because Mars represents our drive, will, and to a certain extent our power, by extension it also represents our energy, especially physical energy, so keep a watch over your health during this period as well. When we're emotionally clogged, it's easier to get physically backed up as well (Virgo rules the digestive system–guard against anxiety and tummy upset). While it also depends on the disposition of Mars and other energies in your own chart, steady exercise and mindful eating is favored over pushing yourself beyond your limits or an excess of anything during this retrograde period. Plan and direct your exercise and nutrition, but don't deprive: deprivation carries the energy of restriction and self-punishment, a shadow of Virgo. Take your vitamins and wash your hands and all that, too, of course.

Like organizing your closet, organizing your life in a literal and metaphorical way can help you use your resources wisely and be more efficient over this retrograde period. Part of a wise strategy may also be being honest with yourself about what is and isn't in your control, and letting go of the things you aren't really in charge of anyway.

Just like you can't stop communicating for three weeks during Mercury retrograde periods, likewise you can't stop moving forward on anything at all for the nearly three months that Mars is retrograde. However, slow and steady, with probably some periodic readjusting, may be the best pace for now.

A Page From an Astrologer’s Diary: Progressed Moon Enters the First House

Back to back women An astrologer is always experiencing life on a couple of dimensions (pun intended!) On one hand, they're engaged in whatever is going on in their life at the moment like everyone else, and at the same time, they're wondering what this current event has to do with Mars trining their Midheaven or Pluto squaring their Ascendant. The good and humble astrologer is always taking notes from their life and the lives around them to see astrology in real life action, outside of the key words and fixed descriptions of what a certain astrological event is supposed to produce. Sometimes it takes a pretty horrific event to grab an astrologer's attention away from the analyzing dimension, but still; somewhere in our mind, we are thinking "wow, this is horrible and I'll probably be scarred for life, but what fascinating material for my astrology blog!"

Which is exactly what I have been thinking as I've been experiencing the rare event of my secondary progressed moon entering my first house.

I've been feeling it for about a month, and it's about a week or two away now from the actual crossing over. It's not uncommon to feel these shifts even two months before they happen. In my book, Astrology of the Moon, I compare a progressed moon shift to passing through a tunnel: 

BookcoversmallestImagine going through  a tunnel. You see it approaching ahead of you, even before you enter it. The change in the light and in the air becomes apparent soon after you enter the tunnel and may take a bit of an adjustment if it’s dark. As you continue to move through the tunnel, your eyes adjust and you get used to the new rhythm, the new environment. As you reach the end of the tunnel, you see it coming. The light is changing again, ahead of you. There is a natural anticipation of the shifts that happen as we see them coming. When it comes to the progressed moon, we may see a period of our life approaching. We often feel a change in the air. 

Developments in your chart, especially when it comes to the progressed planets, do not tend to happen overnight. While there are times when events in our lives are of such a magnitude that they can alter us forever in a moment, our general evolution is a slow progression. Awareness of new truths and changing attitudes tends to build in us over time, even if the realization of what’s been brewing in our subconscious happens suddenly. There will come a point, as each of these progression periods begin, where you start to notice the shift, notice that you’re feeling differently lately. For many people, this starts even a month or two before the actual progression period begins. Because we are always gradually developing, the shift from one progression to another is a slow build of the changing needs of the heart. But it may also take a month or so of sitting with the new energy to really notice that something has changed for you.

Here is a list (ah, my Virgo heart sings at the word), in no particular order, of the things I've noticed happening for me as I personally experience this shift.

  • I seem to be taking almost everything personally, which is not characteristic for me. While I have become more empathetic and sensitive over the years, I seem to regard every traffic slight and every external schedule delay or change personally. Heaven help you if it's my turn to merge and you speed ahead of me. I'll either curse you or cry about it! I've invited you over 3 times to my house for dinner and you can't get it on your schedule? How mean!
  • I seem to be focusing on drawing out my 'unlived lives', undeveloped parts of me that, due to focus on other things and other areas, haven't had much of an opportunity to surface, such as a sudden desire to purchase cookbooks and cook every night, or begin weight training at my local gym. I am curious to see if these desires continue and how linked they may be with the classic connection between the first house and the body.
  • My progressed moon has been in the sign of Capricorn for the last 2 years, and will remain there for another 5 months, so coupling that with the first house entry seems to have increased the hunger for The Next Big Thing. I'm not interested in little projects that may want to draw my attention. I'm looking for the next project that will really matter to me, that will define my life, that will light me up and Start My Life Anew. I'm wanting to launch. The trouble is, while I long for direction, I've got these first house butterfly wings that are still drying as I've only recently emerged (emerging) from the 12th house chrysalis and don't know what these wings can do or where I want them to take me yet.
  • Here's a fun one in that it seems so clearly correlated with its astrology: Uranus is square my Ascendant and Descendant, so naturally as my progressed moon crosses the Ascendant, it's squaring Uranus as well, and opposing my Descendant (did you catch all that, newbies? Sorry if you just choked on the jargon). Lately I have been recognizing how intense my frustration when anyone (including myself) attempts to identify or label me, even with 'good' labels. I am none of the things you think I am, or that I think I am, and as soon as you want to understand me, I cannot be understood, nor truly seen, and am resentful that I must define myself so that you (or I) can understand what I am as we have our casual conversation. Who are you talking to? I don't know, either. I feel keenly attuned to the idea that I am always in progress and process, therefore a slice of me in any moment will not tell you who I am in the whole. I think anyone could say that, but my awareness of it is intense these days.

Coming home from another fabulous NORWAC last night, I had this image relentless playing out in my head as all these thoughts was rising: I have just been thrust through the front door and onto the porch, rather abruptly, though not with rude intent. The door slams against my back. Palms and back against the door, heels still on the edge of the threshhold, I stand motionless as I face the world in front me.

Mercury Retrograde, Schmetrograde

All the astrological heavenly bodies periodically go retrograde except for the sun and the moon. If you were to observe a planet in its orbit across the night sky this week, you would see Mercury seeming to slow down, stop (station), and start going in a backward direction (retrograde). Of course, Mercury is not literally going backward in its orbit, but it appears to us to be doing so. Mercury appears to go backward a few times a year for about 3 weeks at a time, give or take.

The ‘shadow’ period of a retrograde planet encompasses the retrograde period and then some. The shadow period is the length of time it takes for a planet to get back to the original place in the sky it was before it started going backward.

Observe the example illustration below. Each sign is made up of 30 degrees. In this example, on September 4th, Mercury reaches 7 and 1/2 degrees of Libra. On September 24th, it reaches about 22 and 1/2 degrees of Libra. It then begins to move backwards through Libra. On October 15th, it will find itself all the way back at 7 and 1/2 degrees of Libra. By October 31st, it will make it out of its shadow period, when it reaches 22 and 1/2 degrees of Libra.
Why You Care
It’s nothing to fear, but it is a period when a little extra care goes a long way. When a planet goes retrograde, and when it is in its shadow period before it’s even begun moving backwards, the earthly things that planet symbolizes often start to behave in unusual ways more frequently than normal. Since Mercury rules communication, it rules all objects and methods that are used in communication, including fax machines, computers, email, and objects used in transit for short trips such as cars, buses, bikes, etc. So the stereotypical but not-so-funny-at-the-time snafus begin to happen: parking tickets, undelivered/misdelivered emails, computer programs not working correctly, any electronic equipment malfunctioning or breaking – you get the picture.

We seem more vulnerable to miscommunication during this period, especially if you assume the other person understands you or don’t think or see things through to their outcome without clarifying and double checking. Appointments missed or meeting places miscommunicated, arguments/hurt feelings created by lack of explanation or assumptions.

It is important at this time to communicate thoroughly and clearly, but the reason goes deeper than wanting to avoid troublesome circumstances. Any time a planet retrogrades, it is a time when reflection and review is needed. Frequently, during a Mercury retrograde period, we often find that some error or some miscommunication was set up a long time ago, and only now comes to light during the period of retrogradation. It’s the Universe giving us a chance to clean up messes that have gone unnoticed for too long, so things come back so we can do that.

But sometimes it seems like a non-stop comedy of errors. Good luck, people.

Rethinking Venus: Venus Retrograde in Scorpio

As with any craft, the longer you're in it, the deeper you want to go into its components to get better and better at it overall. Most people understand that after you've been doing something a long time and can do it in your sleep, you can get bored with your craft. I've been doing astrology long enough to fall prey to the boredom, I'm sure, but I never get bored.

Instead, I get confused.

I know all the puzzle pieces in astrology. Insert planet A into sign B and all that. Some people might say I've even gotten pretty good at twisting those pieces around into little pockets of meaning (I did write a book and all, I suppose). While many people spend time trying to figure out the next new puzzle on their horizon such as midpoints or sesquiquadrates or the elusive triple-yod-summersault-dismount trickybob, I like to dig as deeply as I can into the elegance of the core components of astrology: the planets, signs, and houses; to re-enchant myself with the foundations themselves. I know it's time for another excavacation when suddenly everything I seem to know about one of these components simply dissolves when I try to pick it up. File empty. These days, ask me about Venus and I'll search my brain's database, only to find that the files have been stolen and a sticky note left in its place: "I.O.U."

And then, like a good little Virgo with Capricorn Rising, I panic and fret while all the while trying to fake it so I can keep my reputation in good standing. Yes, yes, Venus, yes. Be right with you. Just, um, gathering my thoughts and opening up my programs. Wait, where's my laser pointer and my headset?!

Venus de milo It's not that I've forgotten the keywords. I can recite them just as well as the next good little astrological monkey. Venus: Relationships, Charm, Beauty, Creativity, Art, and so on. But it's not enough to parrot the words inherited from every beginning astrology book one's read. This 8th house girl has to know WHY? What are the roots that have birthed these branches? It's come time for me to dig into the very soil from which our modern understanding of the Venus archetype has grown. So I'm dutifully going about it in Gemini south node fashion: a stack of books and a list of mp3 workshop recordings, and back to the myths themselves to do my own distillation process. Hopefully when I stir them all in the 8th-house pot, the themes, truths, and patterns will rise to the Neptune-in-Sagittarius-conjunct-my-north-node frothy top.

Is it a coincidence that I've got the Venus Research bug as it retrogrades in Scorpio, the sign of research and mysteries, over my Midheaven? Goddess, I hope not!

I hope to have more to offer in the future, but my preliminary findings (one with Cap Rising must talk like that to sound official, you do understand) have drawn my attention to the trouble with the white-washed Venus that has been most celebrated. Venus wants to make everything 'pretty', just like herself, right? She wants us all to get along and play nice, or at least pretend to play nice. I'm not interested in standing on a feminism soapbox here as much as I'm interested in wholeness, as in, don't just show me the pretty parts, show me all of it (even you, Venus). It's not about finding the tabloid dirt on Venus to prove how ugly she really is. What really intrigues me is the definition of beauty itself, beyond the symmetry of faces or the argument of pastels over fluorescents. I found this paragraph from Anne Massey's book Venus: Her Cycles, Symbols & Myths to be particularly provocative:

Our view of Venus has become sanitized over the centuries, removing whatever we as a society are not comfortable accepting. This would naturally account for the fact that we still like to place women on pedestals where we can admire their beauty (and no doubt lament the lack of our own in some way by comparison, I'd like to add). Fashion magazines are a prime example. The faces of women who grace the pages have been airbrushed to the extent that there appear to be no lines, creases, or imperfections, let alone a wrinkle or a laugh line. With each brush stroke, a part of the woman's personality has been erased. (italics mine, bold added)

Venus is retrograding through Scorpio right now (I think I mentioned that!), creating a seemingly perfect time for us all to ask questions about the raw truth that lies beneath any image of beauty or any bonds of love. In marital love, for example, we recognize the lines from the age-old vow: "for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part." Well. We can certainly recognize Saturn's stamp on all of that. After all, until death do us part is pretty committed and serious. But we can recognize Venus in it too, I hope (especially in Scorpio). The depth of the passion in a commitment like that has to be profound.

We don't like to think about it, but Scorpio knows the frightening truth of love in the face of poorer, sickness, and death. As Venus retrogrades through this sign, perhaps we are being shown what is terribly beautiful in its power and horror, not just pretty or easy. Singer Lily Allen (May 2 1985) has just lost her baby at 6 months pregnant, while Venus in Scorpio retrograded right over her Pluto. Love meets horror and loss? You betcha.

So what is my point, that Venus, and especially Venus in Scorpio, is actually ugly, frightening, painful and ultimately ends in death? No, it's even worse. That the face of Venus that is love, human love, contains all those things, Scorpio or not. Retrograde or not. It also contains timelessness, ascension, safety through the howling winds that life blows at us sometimes, vulnerability in the best sense, and every love song you've ever heard. Let's honor its raw and provocative power that isn't always pretty, but supersedes prettiness with its elegance and flawed purity.

This is one of the best Venus in Scorpio photos I know, and surprise, surprise, it has nothing to do with leather, vampires, or heavy eye makeup:

Elderlylove
photo credit: unknown. Do you know? Please comment and let me in on it!

So how does the chart reveal the similarities but the differences alike? There are a few theories, such as the idea that twins 'split up' the chart's energies and express some traits stronger than their twin or that environmental factors make up the other half of the astrological picture, that external stimulus and life events dictate how each twin uses their chart to respond to life. Or is it the core of modern astrology and the belief in free will: that no one can predict what an individual soul's choices will be, only their lessons, struggles, and strengths?

What is Evolutionary Astrology?

Evolutionary Astrology is a term that has been coined by Steven Forrest and Jeff Green, to refer to a set of techniques as well as a philosophy in practicing astrology. Evolutionary astrology (often referred to in shorthand as simply "EA") is practiced in an individual way by each practitioner, but there are basic ideas1 that are central to the core of its philosophy and its techniques.

 

The Philosophy: EvoluButterfly with
chain handstion


 Evolution
ary Astrology. It's most basic principle is right in its name: that humans evolve, over the course of their life as well as from lifetime to lifetime. Reincarnation is at the core of evolutionary astrology philosophy, but it's not so much a doctrine as it is a natural observation in that babies and children don't seem to be entirely a product of their environment; there seems to be something inherent in their personality, their needs and desires (above merely the physical needs for food and emotional need for safety & love). There is 'someone home' even in a new being, so evolutionary astrology seeks to understand what came before.

 Evolutionary astrology orients around the natal chart from the perspective that the chart reflects the past, the present, and the future. The chart reveals the past by showing the orientation of the soul as it entered this life, and what came before. It reveals the future by illustrating what the purpose of the incarnation is and why someone has the birth chart they have in the first place. The present unfolds in the entire dynamic of the natal chart 'toolbox' as we make choices in how to use those tools over the course of our life.

What is the natural orientation of this soul and what did this soul
bring forward with it as it begins this life? What is the purpose for
the incarnation at all? What has this soul come to learn or experience?
Evolutionary astrology looks at these questions by looking at the birth
chart as essentially the toolbox, the character traits that soul has
come to develop and the lessons its come to learn to fulfill it's reason
for the incarnation to begin with. The birth chart is not what you are,
it's what you're becoming.

 In a way, evolutionary astrology is very similar to psychological astrology or any kind of spiritual/karmic view of astrology. It is about digging deeper than prediction or character trait analysis, to reveal the chart as a more dynamic soul plan rather than just a snapshot of one's sealed fate. Evolutionary astrology also comes with a set of techniques that further differentiate it.



Glasses on star map The Techniques: Pluto and the Nodes


Aside from the fact that evolutionary astrology interprets every sign, planet, and house as a range of possibilities rather than the perspective of fate or only a possibility of one outcome, such as Saturn in the 7th house means you'll never marry or Jupiter in the 2nd house means you'll be rich, there are techniques above and beyond this perspective to coax forth the past and future elements of the chart.

The Lunar Nodes2

To put it simply, the South Node of the Moon, and everything connected with it, including the sign and house placement, its sign ruler, and any planets in aspect to it, tell the story of the past life or lives: what came before. The North Node of the Moon, its sign ruler, and any planets in aspect to it, tell the story of the way forward: the purpose of incarnation. The planets in aspect to either node as well as their planetary sign rulers have a dual meaning: how to develop and use what the planet represents as a tool in the present life and how it's been a factor in past life conditioning as well.

Pluto and Pluto's Polarity Point

There are several ways that the techniques of Jeff Green and Steven Forrest differ. However, one of the primary differences is in the use of Pluto. Students of Steven Forrest use the south node condition as described above to reveal the past life intent & desires and the north node condition as the future intent, the way forward. Students of Jeff Green use Pluto as representative of the soul's past intent & desires and the opposite 'empty space' of Pluto, it's "polarity point", to represent the future intent, the way forward. The north and south nodes of the moon are still used, but as a further illustration of how Pluto and its polarity point are actualized in the life.

This material, regardless of method, is rich and vast, and its nuances astounding, but those stories lie outside of this simple Introduction to Evolutionary Astrology.

 


1 For a more formal list of the core elements of Evolutionary Astrology's philosophy: http://www.forrestastrology.com/General-Astrology/what-is-evolutionary-astrology

 

2 The north and south lunar nodes are not planets, they are found by looking at where the Moon crosses the path of the Sun as it appears to circle the
earth, which it will do twice: once going north, once going south.

Want to learn Evolutionary Astrology? Contact Amy for formal study options. Here are some self-study options:

Recommended Reading

By Amy Herring:

By Steven Forrest:

  • The Inner Sky (natal)
  • The Book of Pluto (natal)
  • The Changing Sky (transits & progressions)
  • Skymates 1 (Synastry) and 2 (Composite)
  • Yesterday's Sky (past lives and the nodes)

By Jeff Green and Deva Green:

  • Pluto Vol 1: The Evolutionary Journey of the Soul (natal)
  • Pluto Vol 2: The Soul's Evolution Through Relationships (natal but in view of relationship needs)
  • Evolutionary Astrology: Pluto and Your Karmic Mission / Deva Green
  • Forthcoming: Insights into Evolutionary Astrology / Jeff Green and more, edited by Rose Marcus

Jupiter in Astrology: Looking Beyond Luck

Jupiter isolatedMany think of Jupiter as the planet of luck. This is true, but the word 'luck' sells Jupiter short, telling only half of the story. Luck is defined as something desirable that just happens to a person by chance, out of their control, fated. It is true that where Jupiter lies in our chart might be an area of our life where we might find a sort of guardian angel at work, or where we may be able to narrowly slip out of scrapes more easily than some people. But the things we attribute to luck, good or bad, can often be more attributed to what we said yes or no to, the potential we allowed ourselves to see and hope for, in ourselves and in life's ability to bring good things our way.

Psychologist Richard Wiseman has been investigating luck for a decade: who thinks they've got it (or doesn't) and why? Over the years he interviewed 400 different people from both camps, lucky and unlucky, and asked them to try different experiments and report their results. He found themes among the lucky and the unlucky, and not only that; he was able to use what he discovered in the attitudes and behaviors of the lucky to help the unlucky camp become luckier. In his recent article posted on the GoodNewsNetwork, he outlined some of his cases and what we found, stating three similarities he found in the lucky vs. the unlucky. They were:

  1. Unlucky people often fail to follow their intuition
  2. Unlucky people tend to be creatures of routine
  3. Lucky people tend to see the positive side of their ill fortune

Let's look at these ideas. First, following one's intuition. While Neptune or the Moon tend to be thought of as the planets that have the market on intuition, Jupiter is the ancient ruler of Pisces, a sign which has very much to do with intuition and believing in things that can only be seen through the eyes of spirit. Jupiter plays a special role, too, because of the faith it takes to trust one's intuition and even to act on it. Faith in this context is believing in things unseen or unproven, and that's where the Jupiterian principle of hope can come in, or a word I like to use, potential. This is not just faith in a higher power, but faith in ourselves as in confidence, or faith in life as in hope.

Door with clouds How about the pitfalls of becoming too reliant on a routine? We may think of Uranus as the planet that likes to shake things up, but Jupiter is about looking for opportunity. Jupiter is the ancient and modern ruler of Sagittarius, embodying the Saggittarian desire to expand its horizons by experiencing the broad world around it. When we are so deeply invested in our routine and our own comfort zone, we are reluctant to upset it, and therefore unwilling to take the inherent risks always involved in saying yes to something new. In addition, routine has us focusing so intently on carrying out our expectations that we may only see what we expect to see, rather than opportunities that may have always been present but are not in our narrow line of sight.

Last, seeing the positive side of one's ill fortune was the third factor Dr. Wiseman listed as present in 'lucky' people. This speaks to Jupiter's alignment with optimism. It's the classic question: is the glass half full or half empty? Either answer is true, but much is revealed in which answer a person most resonates with. Luck and whether or not a person feels lucky is rather subjective, so this is point is less about the objective measurement of how lucky someone is, but almost a measure of happiness. It's human nature to look for evidence that confirms our existing beliefs and ignore evidence that does not. So if one holds a belief that they are (or can be) lucky, openness to opportunity and gratitude for what one already has seems to follow.

The Big Leap is a book that focuses on overcoming your limitations by addressing  the attitudes and beliefs you may hold that keep you from expanding into your potential. The author, Gay Hendricks, speaks about his mentor who said something that really impacted him (paraphrasing): when we are afraid, we hold our breath. The most important thing to do when you are afraid is breathe. When you hold your breath, it's like you're bracing for impact. When you breathe into your fear, it becomes excitement. Next time Jupiter comes your way, take a breath and take a leap!

How to Interpret a Natal Chart Using the Evolutionary Astrology Method

When a student begins studying astrology, the basic components can be easily learned from a book and memorized, to a certain extent. Putting puzzle piece A together with piece B can also be done rather efficiently. But when it comes to putting the puzzle of an entire chart (and therefore an entire person) together, it can be easily overwhelming. A natal chart isn't just the sum of its parts, and must be understood on a foundational level to see how all the parts really fit together. Once the foundation is understood, themes start to emerge and you can transcend the parts and understand the whole. This is the holy grail for any student!

There are many ways to start dissecting the puzzle of a natal chart. Many people start to dive into a chart by starting with the Sun, Moon, and Rising sign so as to understand a sort of basic vignette, and then add the rest of the planets in one by one to that foundational understanding. Many people assess the bigger picture by analyzing a sort of hierarchy of planetary 'weight', such as which planets are stronger or weaker because of their dignity or debilitation (fall, exaltation, rulership, or detriment). Still others will look at groupings of planets, to determine which elements or modalities are strongest, or the Jones' patterns such as the Bucket or the See Saw. All of these are fine ways to begin, and all are an attempt to get a sense of the foundation of a chart, an understanding of the primary cornerstones of a chart on top of which everything else in the chart can rest. I'm going to illustrate a different way of discovering the foundation of a chart using the nodes.

The Chart Behind the Chart

I look at the foundation of a chart as well, but because I am an evolutionary astrologer,* I use the nodes of the moon to understand a person and a chart's foundation. I ask two questions of the chart; first, rather than trying to understand or predict what this person will do, how they will behave or what good or bad luck will befall them based on their planetary placements, I ask the chart 'Why is this person here?' Before I try to understand what someone with a Sun in Aries IS, or how they'll behave, I try and understand why that soul needs their Sun in Aries to begin with. To do that, I first start with understanding the north and south nodes of the moon: why they're here, and where they came from – the orientation they entered this life with, respectively.

Second, rather than assuming someone will epitomize all expressions of their natal chart placements as if they were a walking astrological stereotype, I assume that the chart tells me not what that person IS, but what they are becoming. Therefore, I ask the chart, 'What is this person trying to learn?' Having a birth chart represents the tool box they were given when they were born, but they still need to learn to use each tool (planet in sign and house) effectively. Once I understand the nodes, I can look at the rest of the planets in their signs and houses in the chart and understand why this person has the toolbox they do.

Mystery ActressMystery-actress-natal-chart

It's with these two things in mind that I interpret any chart, and I'll demonstrate the resulting techniques here. This
is the chart of a mystery actress. I chose a famous person because
while a famous person's life is not revealed only through what the
public knows about them, it at least gives some ability to place
biography with astrology. I will reveal her name at the end of this
interpretation. Be good! Don't skip to the end.

First I take stock of the south node, including it's sign and house, and any planets in association with it, through rulership or aspect.  What I try and do is create a metaphor from the symbols that gives a sense of where this soul's orientation was as she entered this life, and so sometimes it can be helpful to think of the south node and it's condition as giving clues to the past life of the soul that show us the attitude they may have been used to as they entered this chart and this life.

The South Node

So in this chart I'm considering Aquarius, 11th house, Saturn conjunct and ruled by Uranus in the 6th house. While many metaphors could be created from this chart's south node situation, this speaks to me of someone who felt like she was under constant restraint, (Saturn) that things were difficult or her outlook always seemed limited. With the ruler of Aquarius in the 6th house in Virgo, that emphasizes a possibility of feeling crushed under a sense of duty or too much responsibility, like the older child having to take care of the younger children if the parents are unable or unwilling to. Because of the Aquarius element, and in the 11th house, there might have also been a feeling of feeling like an odd man out, like she either only fit in with the misfits or didn't fit in at all, probably because of limited resources and maybe even poor social standing.

So this soul enters this world and probably experiences circumstances in early childhood that reinforce this orientation, sort of reliving or recreating what one is used to which lays a foundation for the soul to realize what it wants to grow out of or away from, and into the north node. The qualities of Aquarius can lend a strong sense of individuality and also detachment from others, especially in the 11th house of 'the public' or one's peers, but with Saturn there, it further emphasizes a feeling of being restrained, always having to hold in what one really is perhaps, or feeling limited because of what she is, like how class, race, or education can set one apart from a community that has a majority in a different class, race, or education level, for example.

The North Node

Moving toward the north node, we see that what this woman has come to do is get in touch with Leo, 5th house energy. Since Saturn is conjunct the south node, it is opposite the north node, and for he to be able to bring her Saturn energy forward into good use for this life, she'll need to let go of some of the old ways she may have responded to Saturn, like letting go of a habitual tendency to do things the hard way, or to hold back what she really is out of a misguided sense of individualism or out of a fear of feeling like an outcast. Leo and the 5th house experiences will help her reinforce a sense of it "being ok to be you and me," helping her be present in the moment instead of pulling away from the drama of a moment out of a fear of getting swept up, being exposed, or letting go. People and experiences that help her learn how to play, and how to let go of systematic or objective thought in situations where a more spontaneous and organic response would be better, will help her learn to trust herself and therefore enjoy herself and life more. This soul has come to feel the warmth of those who love her for who she is, and the more she is comfortable with herself, relaxes and trusts life, the more enriched she will feel.

The Toolbox

The ruler of her north node can assist her in living the soul's north node intention. The ruler of Leo, of course, is the Sun, and her Sun is in Scorpio in the 8th house. She needs to build a sense of identity which is based on a more whole and deep view of herself – not just the easy or good parts, but taking her to the depth of herself. The 8th house has been called the house of "Sex and Death," which sounds a bit strange but really, 8th house activities are anything that take us to our edges, have us braving the skeletons in our closet or our deepest fears, which is where we can also find our deepest strength and courage. In Scorpio, she does this by embracing intensity and a sort of 'all or nothing' attitude at times, as well as being willing to penetrate the pretty stories that we tell ourselves to escape from life's hard parts and really look what's beneath the surface – of life and herself.

At this point, we can start making our way around the rest of the chart to think about each placement in light of this soul's past and intent. Obviously the stellium of planets in Scorpio and the 8th house we've discussed above with the Sun, but how about the fact that Venus and Neptune and even Mercury are all in a conjunction? Venus conjunct that Sun reveals how relationships and connections with others will help her clarify her identity, and the fact that it's in Scorpio and the 8th house shows the kind of relationship she needs: one that is deep enough to say the true things and reveal the raw truths of ourselves. What an effective urge for this soul to use to break through old patterns of feeling distanced from others. With Neptune conjunct her Sun, also in Scorpio and the 8th, it is also a fundamental desire in her consciousness to open up to spiritual priorities, helping her develop a sense of strength that is based on the softness and opening effect of Neptune rather than the hardening of boundaries and closed habits of Saturn on her south node. Mercury in this house and close to Neptune has her more likely to think with fluidity and on a more intuitive level rather than strictly the objective and factual.

We can simply continue the rest of this way throughout the chart. Mars in Leo in the 5th but bridging into the 6th shows a passion for self-expression and to bring it into her work, to live her daily life with that passion and learn to surrender to the joy of a moment and the drama of a moment by letting creative ecstasy overtake her at times – in fact, much of this chart is in the fire or water element, including the ascendant, which helps to soften and open. Her Taurus Moon is like an anchor that roots her, giving her a steady heart which can help her stay solid in her own values through a basic building of her own self-esteem (2nd house), perhaps helping her let go of any shame she might have left over, perhaps even inexplicably, from the feeling of being an outsider and the more comfortable she gets with herself, the less she'll feel she has something to prove.

Everything I've discussed here can be taken deeper, but this has been an overview of how this technique works. If you're interested in learning more about the nodes in this light or seeing another example, visit my website to purchase a 4 hour video I did on the nodes: "The Chart Behind the Chart." In this video, I go into each step to analyze the nodes in detail and go through another couple of examples more thoroughly than I've done here.

This chart belongs to the actress Demi Moore.

*There are two common 'branches' of evolutionary astrology. While I am familiar with the techniques of both, and often use some of both, I am primarily trained by Steven Forrest and fall more along the lines of his interpretation of the nodes.

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