Archive for November 15th, 2009

Astrologer, Heal Thyself

“So I hear you want to write a funny post on your astrology blog.”

“Oh, yeah. I wrote this funny status message on Facebook that my friends liked, so I thought, why not?”

“What was your status?”

“Here you go: The Universe loves the Leos. I mean, what choice does it have if it wants some peace and quiet?

It’s a comical take on Leos, but it’s also an acknowledgment of my own Leonine needs and weaknesses. I’ve recently begun to understand and work with my Leo side because of some insights I got from reading Steven Forrest’s The Inner Sky. It’s a basic, introduction-to-astrology book. But it just blew my mind. It’s been years since I found anything new to learn in a beginner’s book, especially one that covers sun signs.

About the book and me, there’s a story I want to share. I’d been hearing a lot about this book. In fact, both Michael O’Rielly and Vinessa Nevala told me to read Mr. Forrest. And then one day, bam! Beth Turnage sent me two of his books.

I’m still not done with The Inner Sky, I’ve just read the section on sun signs (the book also covers planets and houses), but I got so much from even that. As a sun in Leo, I’ve never been very thrilled with anything I’ve read about the sign. But Mr. Forrest’s words about Leo were very healing for me.

I have a Scorpio moon, so there’s always a conflict with the Leo energy. On the one hand, I’m very Leo: very expressive, very extroverted. On the other, I guard my privacy fiercely. I’m uncomfortable with people invading my personal spaces and don’t always say what I think or feel. I’ve read that the square between the sun and moon causes people to be moody and have problems in their relationships. Well, yeah! They’re having problems with themselves and if you’re not at peace with yourself, you’re not going to be experience peace with others.

Leo (Picture courtesy San Diego Zoo)

Leo (Picture courtesy San Diego Zoo)

Mr. Forrest says this in his Leo chapter, ‘Leo refers to the development of the ego, not its transcendence. The Lion must accept the essential absurdity of the ego, then revel in it, let ego flow unselfconsciously into the world. He must wear a plaid shirt with purple pants and walk down the street whistling. And if people stare, he must whistle louder. To perform for the world is to trust it. The unquestioning trust of life is Leo’s holy grail. All the creativity, all the warmth, all the playfulness and drama of this sign are simply methods used to attain that goal. Anything inside should appear on the outside. And if the Lion has really arrived he is not concerned with the reviews.

I found this very healing. Liberating, if you will. Especially this part, ‘To perform for the world is to trust it.’ With my Scorpio moon, I’m not the most trusting of people. And although I have a Pisces ASC and faith comes easily in the greater forces of reality, trusting people is not easy. Oh, something funny about that. I was talking to the German astrologer Michael Ax and I asked him for his birth data, apologizing for being so intrusive. He was kind enough to give it and asked me if I would share mine. I told him, and I really mean this, that the only people I trust are astrologers.

And you know what? It’s true. I think it’s tied to my Mars-Moon opposition in the third and ninth. Who can you speak your truth to and not be attacked? Because I’ve been having problems in this area lately. So, I’ve been trying to understand and reach some kind of resolution here. Astrologer, heal thyself. That’s my new mantra. Astrology is such a great tool for self-understanding. Once you have self-understanding, you can begin to work towards self-acceptance; with acceptance comes inner peace and, hopefully, it shows up in your interactions with others.

Another thing I’ve been struggling with is my Uranus-Saturn-Jupiter T-Square. Oh, yeah, a lot of work to be done there. For me, it’s how to balance my innate Uranian side with my need to be accepted as a regular, or conventional person, by my friends. Donna Cunningham says that the person who suppresses his Uranian side then defies convention by indulging in small personal rebellions against conventionality and tradition. And, boy, is this true of me. I make plans to take care of stuff so that I can blend in with “normal” people. And that’s good because it will bring me relief, I won’t stick out like a sore thumb. But at the same time, there is a great feeling of rebellion that surges up in me and a desire to belittle and scorn conventional mores. A desire to destroy social constructs that have me chained. And I know if I don’t use this energy well, it will come out in vicious words and alienate my “friends.”

And humor helps with this kind of inner work. Squares have you trapped. What can you do about it? Well, you joke and laugh and write about it and, hopefully, some of that emotional charge gets used up.”

“Ah, you’re talking about reconciling contradictory parts of ourselves. Not an easy thing.”

::sighs:: “No, it’s not. I was angst-ing about it recently and Canadian astrologer and researcher par excellence Nick Dagan Best gave me some good advice about my placements. He said, ‘It’s the Leo-Virgo internal battle. Like most adjacent signs, they are incongruent and difficult to mitigate. The trick is to think of Leo and Virgo as your two legs and always follow a step with one by a step with the other. You’ll never win by trying to “overcome” one by overemphasizing the other. You aren’t meant to settle on one option, you were literally born to bounce between the two.’ I liked what he said. You can apply this understanding to any placement or signs in your chart. In the end, it’s all about being true to yourself. But we’re complex creatures with conflicting inner needs. I don’t know if we’ll ever really be completely content with ourselves but I know we’ve got to try.


“Oh, my what a serious discussion this has turned out to be. We started with you wanting to write about humor and now we’re talking about healing.”

“Well, that’s astrology for you. Especially with me. My Jupiter conjuncts Chiron and I adore making people laugh. But there’s often pain and healing involved in it. I think I learn and teach this way. I have a long way to go still, and if you’re looking for some great teachers and thinkers on astrology then I heartily recommend Kelly Lee Phipps’s documentary Return of the Magi. Among others, it has a brilliant interview with Dr. Richard Tarnas, the author of Cosmos and Psyche.

If you want both humor and understanding, then head off and visit Michael Lutin and Matthew Currie.

These are wonderful people, doing important work. They all approach the subject in a different manner: some are serious researchers, like Dr. Tarnas and Nick Dagan Best and some are some like Michael and Matt, make us laugh when they teach us difficult truths.


“How’s your astrology study coming along?’

“I still have to work out a study schedule and approach it in a more methodical manner. I have some great books on predictive astrology. I’ve read them, but now I have to study them. I need to roll up my sleeves and get to work. I have high standards when it comes to learning and that’s half the problem. You set goals that require hard work, they start looking daunting and you run. So I’ve been skirting around the edge of getting down to it.

In the meantime, I’m still reading a lot and discovering new stuff on the Net all the time. One of the best new blogs for advanced and serious students is Dawn Bodrogi’s The Inner Wheel. If you look at my astrology blogroll you’ll find some great astrology writers, but what sets Dawn’s blog apart is that it’s a teaching blog. I call mine a learner’s blog: I share what I’m learning. But what Dawn’s doing is taking the learning and insights of a lifetime of experience as an astrologer and putting then down in a format that’s ideal for students. It’s a great gift for those of us who’re still learning.


“Thanks for sharing that. Any last words?’

“You’re welcome. And, yes, a few quotes that I love for all those Neptunians out there:

He drew a circle that shut me out
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout
But love and I had the wit to win;
We drew a circle that took him in.
-Edwin Markham


Say, it’s only a paper moon
Sailing over a cardboard sea
But it wouldn’t be make-believe
If you believed in me

Yes, it’s only a canvas sky
Hanging over a muslin tree
But it wouldn’t be make-believe
If you believed in me

Without your love
It’s a honky-tonk parade
Without your love
It’s a melody played in a penny arcade

It’s a Barnum and Bailey world
Just as phony as it can be
But it wouldn’t be make-believe
If you believed in me.

-E. Y. Harburg and Billy Rose


P.S. Leo, express yourself, eh? Not easy. Already got criticized for this post by someone in my family who said that nobody wants to know what I think or about my placements. Well, I’m keeping it online nonetheless. ::gulp::

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