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The unexamined life

I’m at an interesting crossroads with my writing, as may be evident in my lack of output in recent months. At first I was burned out from having written the book. But I finished the manuscript about a year and a half ago, so I think that excuse is probably getting a little worn out. Then I thought, well, maybe it’s the forms that are stale; I’ve been writing about the New and Full Moons, and writing my blog, for many years now, and maybe I’ve just run out of things to say about the Moon and my cats.

But it’s not exactly that, either. Occasionally I looked back at some of the old pieces I’ve written – usually with an eye to rerunning them in my regular slot at MoonCircles when I can’t come up with anything new – and mostly I’m sort of immodestly dazzled by them. They seem so insightful, so well-crafted – like something that sprang fully-formed from someone else, and not painfully midwifed by me at all. But it’s getting harder and harder to relate to the woman who wrote them. She was so introspective… and, between the lines, so unhappy. It all made for good writing, but not a terribly enjoyable life.

I’m happier now, I think, than I’ve been for many, many years. I’m more sociable too – that progressed Moon in Aquarius, I suppose. And I find that I don’t really know how to write about happiness, about contentment. It’s something I’ve rarely allowed myself, going back to that terrible day in 1970 when my father died and the rug of my life was pulled out from underneath my happy little feet. The legacy of that event is that I’ve always had a hard time trusting and enjoying the good times in life; they feel transitory, a fleeting aberration from the self-absorbed gloominess that seems to have become my default setting. No one likes to feel like a fool – and when my father was killed, I felt like a fool for having believed life was a certain way, for harboring certain happy expectations about the way the world worked.

Always a shy but remarkably sunny child, I came, overnight, to identify with Saturn: “to do is to be.” By doing, and performing – and most importantly, by never letting myself get my hopes up – I could gain some measure of control over my circumstances.

It’s taken a very, very long time to get past that… but lately, I feel it’s beginning to happen. Call it transiting Jupiter getting ready to cross my natal Saturn. Call it the silver lining to the black cloud of middle age. Whatever it is, I’m content right now. And as a writer, I’m not exactly sure what to do with that. I have found neither the words to describe it, nor the faith that my general sense of well-being is an interesting topic of conversation.

I sort of long for the unexamined life – at least until my progressed Moon moves into Pisces.

Are you good at being happy? And are you just as creative when you’re happy as when you’re miserable?

15 comments to " The unexamined life "

  • I don’t know if I’m good at being happy, but I am good at being calm, (though my husband might disagree!).
    I have difficulty writing when I’m decidedly unhappy. But for me writing is process of the mind, not of my feelings, so when my feelings take over, I’m cooked as a writer.

    Feeling is what I do when I take apart a chart, riding the energy currents, as it were, to see how the energies manifest. Then I take that experience and translate it into prose, deconstructing the feelings.

    Maybe for you, the process is reversed, where writing is a process of your emotions. If this is the case, that progressed moon is separating you from your emotions and it comes across as a disconnect in your writing. As with anything Uranian, as you well know, the process is intended to discover your unique identity. If you’ve hit a lull in your sea change, its either a a little rest or a sign that you are snagged on some shoals. When it is time, you’ll shove off again and chart a unique expression of yourself in your writing.

  • God, know. I’m so used to waiting for the other shoe to drop (hello? 28 years of progressed sun in Scorpio!) that I’m not good at this contentment stuff – mostly because I don’t trust it. Yet. (Maybe later.)

  • I meant “God, no.” Too early in the morning to spell homonyms.

  • Beth, you’ve got it exactly right: with the Moon in Gemini, writing is exactly the way I process emotions. I suppose I should have seen this coming with p. Moon in Aquarius, and segued early on into more technical forms of writing for awhile. Maybe, for instance, it’s time to add more tutorials to my website.

    And wow, my process with doing readings is 180 from yours as well! If I’m in a bad place or emotional about something, it’s all but impossible for me to do readings. Not surprisingly, I’ve been a lot more open to doing writings lately!

    You’re gonna love that p. Sun in Sagittarius, Susie! I can’t tell you how I’m looking forward to p. Sun in Libra in a couple of years…

  • Skye

    I dont know if Im good at being happy…Not that Im a miserble person but having a cap moon and scorp sun well lets just say Im only happy when it rains *smirk* I tend to write more when Im not happy or when I idolising or obessesing some love from the distance unrequited. I write the pain and I am more creative & introspective when sad or obessed. I dont know why that is but Im learning

  • Eme

    I don’t know if I’m good at being happy but I do know that when I’m unhappy I can’t write. I need stability and routine in order to be productive and for many many years the source of my unhappiness was romantic chaos. So I couldn’t accomplish much, which is why I wondered why every astrologer kept telling me that my natal Moon/12HVenus/Pluto t-square would at the very least make me creative. No. It just made me chaotic and thus not very likely to do much of anything. And with a 11HSaturn/2HSun square my lack of productivity definitely affected my self-worth. And thus I was even MORE unhappy.

    On the other hand and on a related note, I know that when I was depressed I was also better at writing comedy. And I don’t know if that answers your question.

  • I was super happy in France and wrote ridiculous loads of stuff. The subject matter and genres, however, changed dramatically. I think as writers we sometimes use our emotional upheavals as a crutch. We have more truths, more things to say than we can possibly say in a lifetime. It’s precisely when we’re happy that we have clarity and can look beyond ourselves to talk about bigger things (yoohoo, progressed Aquarius Moon!). For me, it’s about the abuses of our theistic, Christian culture. For others, maybe it’s poverty or other political issues. That progressed Moon in Aquarius is probably looking around at its community. Is there anything that it can get activated about? You and I certainly have plenty of charged conversations about astrology. So I know first hand that you’ve got plenty of passion to write about! 😀

  • I’m glad you’re happy, April. I’d rather you be happy than to get my self-indulgent need to read bigsky on a frequent basis met.

    After I have written a blog post, I feel happy! But it doesn’t matter so much how I’m feeling. I just make myself write. It’s a discipline, and in a way, it’s business. Sometimes my posts are a little more deep or thought-provoking, sometimes they’re fluff. But they’re nearly always therapeutic, in that I feel good having created something.

  • Thanks, Jeff. I never write anymore because I feel like it – it’s always out of a sense of obligation or an actual deadline. So I’m pretty good about making myself write; and I accept that I’m not always going to enjoy writing or write something profound. I just find myself wondering, more and more, why I’m making myself do it at all. I imagine if I just keep at it, though, I’ll remember why it’s the path I’ve chosen.

    I think you have a good point, Maria, about how feeling good can present an opportunity to write from a larger perspective. If past experience is any indication, as we get closer to the election I’ll start bloviating right and left about politics, for instance.

    I definitely become funnier when I’m unhappy, too, Eme! I’m with you in needing stability in order to be productive… but also seem to thrive creatively when I’m working out emotional issues. If only we could bottle the creative energy of the crazy times and uncork it when things settle down.

    Skye, I was a songwriter in my twenties and that was the perfect method of expression for what was probably a similar kind of unrequited romantic obsession as you describe. I listen now to the songs I wrote then and I feel such compassion for that girl! After I settled down and got happily married, my interest in music also fell by the wayside… Hmmm…

  • […] at Big Sky Astroblog, April Kent started a discussion about happiness and the creative process. Those of us that blog […]

  • HI APRIL–I am so grateful for your New and Full Moon stuff over at Moon Circles..whenever it was it was written!

    You may have noticed my astrology blog is sometimes cloyingly upbeat and cheerful. It may even appear simple-minded to the astrological superstars out there!

    I’ll have you know, As a Moon in Capricorn and Saturn square Moon and Moon opposite Sun my early childhood was somber enough I certainly have a history, and I do not want to live there (in that history) anymore!! I made that decision about age 17.It took me years– (decades!) to design a life of inner peace , charm, and love that my Piscean Ascendant needs.

    Now, I am a firm optimist, and I enjoy the hell outta life.I am happy. I meditate. I pray.I hang out with my husband and my cats ,and up north, in a small mountain cabin, with our javelina, the raccoons and the elk. I raised a wonderful kid whose now all grown up and still comes to dinner once a week.


    I also love to write and to create.

    Now I know that happy writing can be annoying and boring to many. (especially to those who are dedicated to angst .)

    So what.

    I feel I am here to be a Light and an inspiration to others, on a very small scale, mind you.

    I am thoroughly bored with political ramblings and rants, with young folks complaining they can’t afford their 2 SUV’s and their McMansion, and their credit card debt, and I don’t read ANY of the end of the world in 2012 crap that’s circulating out there.

    I simply put MY peaceful , “find- a solution” perspective out for i sharing, with the whisper of astrology and spirituality behind the whomever is open to it that day.

    I bet you are NOT living the unexamined life, April. I bet you spent decades EXAMINING everything and now, you just don’t have to work so hard at it!!

    ENJOY the fruits of your work and introspection.

    AND PLEASE KEEP WRITING!! I KNOW you have plenty inside your heart to share.. and I, for one, will always keep reading.

    Full and New Moons are my favorite way of simply, gently aligning myself with the energies of the moment..

    But the REST of life beckons, too, and I know you and I don’t want to spend all 24 hours of the day in planetary discussion! For instance, right this minute, I have a whole BOX of paper scraps, old photos and scrapbooking ephemera I bought at a yard sale, to go through, before I head out to a scrapbook party– to “play!”

    CREATE! WRITE! HANG IN THERE. I am happy you’re happy!!!!!


  • Eme

    “I’m with you in needing stability in order to be productive… but also seem to thrive creatively when I’m working out emotional issues. If only we could bottle the creative energy of the crazy times and uncork it when things settle down.”

    Hmm. Well, lately I’ve decided to use that hideous moon/12hvenus/pluto t-square in the service of my writing. I am experimenting with using chaos on the page. The 12h Venus helps in that regard because I need a lot of time alone in order to write. With a Gemini Venus, my problem was not infidelity but boredom. So now I fall in love with a project and immerse myself fully and obsessively in it (Pluto) and then when I’m done delving its themes, I let it go and go on to something new. I really don’t know whether or not this is a better option or whether it will work but I guess time will tell. In the meantime, it feels a lot less self-destructive, especially given that my guy (unlike my previous boyfriends) gives me a lot of space and doesn’t get jealous of my writing. (Yes, people can get jealous of reading and writing! I’ve had boyfriends hide my books/magazines and, of course, interrupt me while I’m writing or insist that I use my talent to help them edit theses, write their own stuff, etc.)

  • As someone born with Sun square Saturn, and that Saturn on my 5th house cusp, I know my idea of fun has not always been what other people find fun! Although my planets in Leo have helped – well, one of them being Uranus, I repeat, my idea of fun is not everyone else’s idea of fun. 🙂

    But, we are talking happiness, not fun, and that’s a different thing altogether. With a strong Saturn, I think it takes some time and effort to discover what makes one happy, but happiness later in life is Saturn’s gift, no?

    BTW, I would have responded sooner, but Saturn was sitting on my Venus/Pluto. Doing his job making sure I know what happiness is for my Venus!

    Glad to hear you’re happy, April. 🙂

  • Hi!

    I write a health and fitness column. I think I write much better when I’m happy! Being a Scorpio does add to it’s elusiveness, or perhaps it’s all in the technique of the chase?

    I’ve enjoyed reading your work!

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