I’d been running at full speed for eight months straight, so I took some time off. I made no plans; I’ve barely left the house. There has been a lot of napping, reading, and mindless Netflix bingeing, punctuated by an occasional burst of productivity.
After a week and a half, I began easing back into some easy, administrative tasks. But real work, something like writing this essay, is still only barely doable.
I hadn’t just been working hard—I’d let work take over my life. Without it, a lot of empty space has opened up in my days. It’s been instructive, observing what has rushed in to fill it. Crushing weariness. A certain low-level melancholy. Insecurity. Profound laziness. Snacking. Long sessions of vacant staring.
For awhile, my work has been feeling juiceless and labored. I knew why even as I worked long, grinding days, writing furiously against narrow deadlines. When you’re not living your life, you have nothing interesting to bring to your work. You’re a husk and a shell, dusty byproducts of grain that’s been harvested, soil that is depleted.
What used to fuel my creativity was time—hours of unstructured, unproductive time. I’d spend it lying on my stomach, filling notebooks with idle dreams and scribbled wishes for my future life. Some of those dreams and wishes eventually came startlingly and specifically true. All of this was long before I knew even the little I know now about magic and ritual. I thought it was all just daydreaming. I didn’t appreciate the gravitational pull of imagination. (more…)
image by YokoIshioka, Deviant Art
In the film “Up in the Air,” George Clooney plays Ryan Bingham, whose career takes him all over the country to fire employees for companies that are downsizing. Ryan moves through life quickly, precisely, and without hesitation. He wields the machete of professional job termination with efficiency and (at least superficial) kindness, and once he has finished a job, he doesn’t look back. As Ryan tells a rapt audience of colleagues in a distinctly Aries-tinged monologue,
The slower we move, the faster we die. Make no mistake, moving is living. Some animals were meant to carry each other, to live symbiotically over a lifetime. Star crossed lovers, monogamous swans. We are not swans. We are sharks.
But at the zenith of his career, Ryan’s lifestyle of perpetual travel and unfettered independence is threatened both by new technology that could mean an end to his solitary life on the road, and by the realization that relationships mean more to him than he’d suspected.
Clooney’s Aries-like character (a confirmed bachelor) encounters the Libran other in the form of a fetching woman he meets on the road, but also in the wedding that reunites him with his family. Ryan seems surprised at the tenderness he feels for the sisters he essentially abandoned when he left their prosaic home town. As he tries – tentatively – to reconnect with them, he finds that they, too, have moved on, and that there is no easy place for him in their lives. Not only is his bachelor apartment in far-away Omaha stark, utilitarian, and not really a home; but he finds he doesn’t belong among his family, either. When someone on an airplane asks where he’s from, he simply answers, “Here.” (more…)
When someone who doesn’t know anything about astrology wants to reference it in a “humorous” way, he might say something like, “My Moon is in Uranus.” (Astrological humor almost always includes Uranus.) That’s an objectionable sentence in many ways, but most importantly, it’s poor astrological grammar. Here’s why. (more…)
Locating your brother’s ex-wife’s neighbor in your chart
Astrology is a complete system; your birth chart symbolizes absolutely everything—and everyone—in your life. From your mother to your best friend in high school to the cabbie who cut you off on your way to work this morning, everyone who has or will cross your path can be found in your chart. You just have to know where to look.
Each house symbolizes places, situations, and types of relationships, but there are only twelve houses. How can they cover all the characters, both major and minor, in your life’s story? Derivative houses is a method of finding relationships through the inherent connection between the houses in your chart. The cusp of the house in your chart that symbolizes the essential nature of the relationship becomes the ascendant, and a new chart derived from this new ascendant will help you find the person or matter in questions.
Counting derivative houses
To use the convoluted but not unfamiliar example referenced in the title of this section, let’s say you’re trying to track down the neighbor of your brother’s ex-wife (you suspect he stole your teacup pig).
- First, find your brother. Siblings are found in your third house.
- Next, locate your sibling’s ex-wife. Spouses past, present, and future are represented by the seventh house. BEGINNING WITH THE THIRD HOUSE (your sibling), count seven houses – the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth. Your brother’s ex is represented by THE NINTH HOUSE.
- Now, to find that elusive neighbor. Neighbors are represented by the third house; so BEGINNING WITH THE NINTH HOUSE, which represents the ex-wife, count three houses: ninth, tenth, and eleventh.
- Voila! Your brother’s ex-wife’s neighbor is represented by the ELEVENTH HOUSE of your chart.
The pig is a different matter altogether. Livestock is associated with the sixth house. Should you find a connection between the sixth and eleventh houses (say, Taurus is on the sixth house cusp, ruled by Venus, which is in the eleventh house), it might be time to stand outside your brother’s ex-wife’s neighbor’s house and start hollering “Soo-eeeeeee!”
What rules what? Get the Rex Bills Rulership Book – most-used reference book in my library.
2011 by April Elliott Kent. Excerpted from The Essential Guide to Practical Astrology (Alpha/Penguin 2011).
We’re not in the market for a new home, but my husband and I enjoy visiting open houses for sale in our neighborhood. This morning we toured a tiny but charming bungalow a few blocks away. Beautifully presented, it had been updated in a way that respected the vintage of the house. It was inspiring—exactly the kind of home tour I normally adore.
But I couldn’t wait to leave this one… because a trio of scented candles burned in every single room of the house. They matched each room’s color scheme perfectly, and the effect of the flickering flames and soothing colors was lovely. But their fragrance was overpowering!
The owners were probably just trying to create a welcoming atmosphere. But I couldn’t help wondering what nasty smell might be lurking beneath that cloud of perfume.
This Full Moon/Lunar Eclipse is at 14 degrees of Libra, a sign that is adept at making things lovely, nice, and fragrant. It’s the sign that symbolizes our ability to package ourselves in a pleasing way. People tend to like us better when they’re not forced to confront our coarse and strident humanity—our steely-eyed determination, pushy self-centeredness, and morning breath. Libra describes the social sensitivity and good manners that, like a scented candle (or a good toothpaste), mask some of our less pleasing qualities.
Go overboard with Libra, though, and people get suspicious. No one is that nice. Everyone has a bad day now and then. No one smiles all the time. Others might very well wonder, “Just what are you trying to hide?” (more…)
Certainly, eclipses falling in your 7th house (or in aspect to natal Venus or your 7th house ruler) are signals that your relationship world is likely to be rocked by change. But all lunar eclipses, regardless of which houses they fall in, represent critical moments in evaluating relationships. At a Lunar Eclipse, the Sun and Moon are in opposition (Full Moon), an aspect that reveals us to ourselves through our personal interactions. The February 10, 2017 Lunar Eclipse at 22.08 Leo, reflects the degree to which we’re able to offer our full, loving selves in relationship, joyfully and unguarded.
For those who aren’t in a romantic relationship, or are in one that isn’t going well, eclipses might well mark times of finding or ending a romance. But what if you’re in a romantic relationship or partnership and it’s going just fine? Your union may come through these eclipses intact and strong, with only a few long-delayed adjustments. If the rest of your birth chart bears this out, however – and especially if this year’s eclipses are impacting those sensitive relationship areas I mentioned above – you may well find that your happy relationship isn’t as secure as it seemed.
On the other hand, romantic partnerships are not the only relationships in our lives (just the ones we’re most likely to be obsessed about). What about the 99.999% of the relationships in our lives that don’t involve yearning looks across a crowded room or intimate physical contact? What might the upcoming lunar eclipse have to say about the ordinary human connections among family members, friends, colleagues, and casual acquaintances? Here are some thoughts: (more…)
I’ll tell you a secret. I’ve been reading charts for almost four decades, and every time I sit down with a new one—every time without fail—it looks absolutely incomprehensible to me. The symbols swim before my eyes and refuse to hang together into anything cohesive. It’s only by taking it slowly and methodically, by finding an interesting thread or two and pulling at them, that I’m eventually drawn into the chart.
And I’ll tell you another secret. When I finally speak to someone about his or her chart, the person who shows up is always completely different (at least initially) from what I had imagined. There’s an old saying: “the map is not the territory.” No matter how good the map, it can’t convey the reality of the landscape and what it really feels like to be there.
Keep an open mind. Remember that symbols can be interpreted in a number of ways, so use the astrology chart as your road map. It will help you get where you need to go, but remember, a real, live person has been doing heavy construction on these roads over the course of a lifetime. There may be potholes and roadblocks that don’t showup on the map at all; some roads may have been washed away. So always approach the chart, and the person, with respect, and let them be your guide to understanding the terrain.
© 2011 April Elliott Kent.
(1) In times of upheaval, the center does not hold. Avoid putting yourself at the center of things.
(2) Ignore the news.
(3) Don’t try to hold on to what is already gone.
(4) When life sends you an atomic bomb, strap on a saddle and say “Yee Haw!”
On Monday, March 16, 2015, Uranus in Aries made its final exact square to Pluto in Capricorn. Can I get an “amen”?
I have some thoughts to share about this Solar Eclipse in Pisces, I promise. But to get there, I have to begin with Chiron.
For those of you who are not familiar with it, Chiron is a planetoid that has become widely used in contemporary astrology. I don’t use it. In fact, I actively dislike it.
Chiron is inevitably described as symbolizing the “wounded healer.” But too many of Chiron’s most zealous fans embrace only one half of that phrase: wounded. It seems to be a way for some (not all – please hold your email fury) to set themselves apart as special and tragic – “I’m so wounded,” with the back of the hand pressed to the forehead, sinking to a fainting couch.
And that’s when something cold and hard in me rises up and bares its teeth.
Here’s where I have to come clean. In my birth chart, Chiron is alone in Pisces, in a close opposition to Pluto in Virgo. In a chart heavy with Leo and Virgo planets and many hard aspects to Neptune, Pisces is veiled, mysterious valley to me. Yet my life is filled with scads of jolly, Tigger-like, Sun in Pisces friends who wouldn’t give a fainting couch a second look (except perhaps, a little longingly, as a spot for a good afternoon nap). They tend to symbolize the very best Pisces qualities of empathy, kindness, and flexibility.
But the shadow side to the Pisces archetype is the victim. The martyr. It’s said the things that bother us most in others are the things we deny in ourselves. And while it makes me furious to entertain the notion, I suppose there must be some disowned little part of me that longs to sink to the fainting couch with my smelling salts and hear someone say, “There, there.” It is the part of me that overextends myself and then feels victimized when my contributions are overlooked or criticized. It is the cowering little kid cringing from my inner looming, shouty adult.
Now. Here is what it has to do with you, and all of us, and eclipses in Pisces, which we’ll see more of over the next couple of years. (more…)
For a long time, I’d fallen into the trap of thinking natal Saturn’s sign and its house placement meant more or less the same thing (namely, misery). But now, it seems to me that they’re entirely different.
Saturn’s natal house placement does seem to symbolize the life-long, Sisyphean task of rolling a boulder up a steep mountain, only to watch it repeatedly slip backward and nearly flatten you. If you can succeed in moving that boulder a few inches over the course of a lifetime, your life has been a stunning success.
But Saturn’s sign in your birth chart seems to indicate the qualities that make people take you seriously. They are the qualities from which you derive your authority. They are what make others a little nervous at the thought of falling short of your expectations. And they are the qualities for which you are judged most harshly if you don’t act with integrity. (more…)