My early 20s were a very difficult time for me as they are for many. I was out on my own for the first time and felt distanced from many of my social supports and had yet to develop healthy coping strategies. I was meeting a lot of new people, dating and things were in constant flux. I’m sure this sounds familiar to a lot of you out there. In an effort to make sense of the chaos that was my life, I turned to astrology. I began by examining my own natal chart and soon began referencing charts for all of the people who came into my life. To me, it was a study in human psychology. I began to see intriguing patterns and astrology became a new tool for understanding myself, my relationships and the motivations of others.
For those who are skeptical or uninitiated in the study of astrology, there is much more than the Sun Sign astrology you see in the horoscope section of the newspaper. At your time of birth, each planet is occupying a particular space in the sky which is home to a sign of the zodiac. So in addition to your Sun Sign – the sign that most people are familiar with – you also have a Moon Sign, Mercury Sign, Venus Sign, and so on. Each planet falls under a sign that is likely different from your Sun Sign, and each planet governs a different part of your psyche. I recommend that beginners start out by familiarizing themselves with their “big three” – the Sun, Moon and Rising Sign. For this, you’ll also need your birth time and location. Stay tuned for my future post on this topic!
All of these factors combined make up your natal chart, thus named because it is determined at the moment of your birth. The time and location of your birth dictates your rising sign and the corresponding set up of your houses. These govern the different areas of life. The deeper you go into astrology, the more complex and meaningful it becomes, but for now let’s keep things simple. If you don’t identify very strongly with your Sun Sign, chances are you have some contrasting influences in other parts of your chart.
One of the next things I noticed was that over the years, various signs kept repeatedly entering my life and there are a few signs with which I rarely cross paths. If you look at your own life – the circles you run in, the people you’ve dated, or even your family – it’s likely that you’ll see these patterns as well. I find that these signs can sometimes correspond to placements in our own charts (our Moon Sign for example) or they can represent lessons the universe is trying to teach us.
There was a period during my late 20s and early 30s where I stepped away from astrology. Coincidentally, this period corresponded with my Saturn return. For those of you who don’t know, Saturn returns take place approximately every 30 years with your first one occurring from approximately age 27.5-30. At this time, Saturn returns to the same place in the sky as it was when you were born. Initially it can be really difficult, you’re met with a lot of obstacles and setbacks and then you begin to get serious about life and mine was no exception. (More on this in a future post).
This past fall I began to see a lot of astrology references on Facebook which really stirred things up for me. Although I had developed a basic understanding, I still had so much to learn and so many unanswered questions. In my twenties I had shared my knowledge with friends here and there but I had yet to really meet others who shared my passion and curiosity. So the next logical step for my studies was to get out there and try to meet some professionals working in astrology. I figured because Toronto is such a large metropolitan centre, there must be some real live people working in this field. A quick Google search came up with Julie Simmons and Christina Becker. Both seemed quite experienced and they each offered something different.
Julie advertised a variety of in person classes and workshops on her site. The one that stood out to me was entitled, “10th House, for the Good of All?”. The 10th house governs the career, public standing and how we are seen in the world (it also corresponds to the sign of Capricorn). My 10th house is particularly prominent, housing a stellium (a cluster of 3 or more planets) including my Sun, Mercury and Venus. Given that I am extremely career-driven and have also been recently questioning my career, this course seemed particularly relevant.
The class was held at a sculpting studio in the East End. When I arrived, Julie was greeting people by name and handing out worksheets and reading materials. It quickly became clear to me that the members of this group were tight and had taken many classes with Julie. The woman seated next to me recognized I was new and offered to lend a hand if I was struggling with anything. She had brought along her knitting project and we got into a discussion about wool. I was the youngest in the group which seems to be the case wherever I go. All in all it seemed like a natural place for me to be. I learned about the significance of my 10th house placements and how the other planets and asteroids in my chart interact with and modify them. In the second part of the class, I presented the report I had compiled based on my chart analysis. Being that Mercury is the ruler of my 10th house and is fortunately placed in my 10th house, thus strengthening and placing emphasis on it, I concluded that I needed to do more blogging in order to fulfill my destiny. The self exploration and further learnings in astrology were great, but I think the best part was getting to meet others who were also passionate about astrology.
I later contacted Julie to see if she offered more courses as I was eager to start from the ground up. I told her about what I did and she eagerly agreed to accept some pieces from my clothing line in exchange for more classes. I can’t believe I waited so long to do this and that I have the benefit of a real live instructor and a supportive community.
When I signed up for Julie’s workshop, I also got in touch with Christina Becker. Christina is a Registered Psychotherapist, Jungian Analyst and Astrologer. For those who don’t know, Jung was a psychoanalyst who employed astrology in his practice. Christina uses a similar strategy that she calls “spiritual astrological coaching”. We started out by booking a reading of my natal chart. During my reading, she identified a grand trine in air located in my houses of substance. Air rules the mind and intellect. The houses of substance (also associated with the earth signs) rule work, income and the physical world. Because I have strong placements in all three, I should be working with my mind, not my body and through that, I should be able to create a stable and successful career that will support me.
Christina next pointed out a few other major transits that were causing a great deal of friction in my life. Having focused mainly on my natal chart thus far, it was so informative to learn about transits, how they are employed in a reading, and what that meant for me personally!
Transits represent the astrological weather so to speak. Your natal chart is a snapshot in time and the planets continue to orbit. When they form specific angles (called aspects) to your natal planets you will feel strengthened, weakened, challenged or activated. The same goes for the houses they may be occupying in your chart and the corresponding areas of life.
I was already aware that the transits were particularly intense for me at that time, with Saturn forming an opposition (180 degree angle) to my Sun, Venus and Mercury (the tenants of my 10th house as you’ll recall). Saturn represents obligations and responsibilities. It brings to light harsh realities, but also encourages us to get serious and plan for the future. In fact, many of the feelings I was going through in relation to my career during my Saturn Return had recently resurfaced.
She also gave me some dates to watch out for, one of them being the partial solar eclipse on February 15th at 27 degrees of Aquarius, conjuncting my moon. Eclipses ask us to re-examine our lives so that we can enact change and growth. Not every eclipse will be significant to every person, but if it contacts a natal planet in your chart, or especially a personal planet, you will feel it the most. Being that the eclipse was falling at the exact same place as my moon, it would surely be significant to me. Also, knowing that I was struggling in my career and being that my moon occupies my 6th house of work, she said something in that area might come clear to me at that time.
As it turns out, she couldn’t have been more right. Stay tuned for next month’s blog where I expand on my recent ‘aha’ moment and big career realizations.
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Illustrations by Jeesoo Kim