Discussing The Signs & Archetypes

Perhaps one of my biggest obstacles so far in discussing astrology with skeptical friends is, undoubtedly, in explaining the signs of the zodiac.

Immediately, they cut me off mid-sentence with a confident smirk and something like, “So just because you’re born in a certain month, you’re gonna act a certain way?” They don’t intend to be condescending (and to their credit, they’ve been pretty open-minded and understanding with me), but they act like they’re pointing out the obvious, fatal flaw in astrology’s logic, and they’re incredulous as to how I couldn’t see it.

A lot of working with astrology involves careful consideration of the archetypes represented by the signs of the zodiac. It’s not enough to say “Leo is creative and playful,” or “Capricorn is hard-working,” you must understand why the sign is perceived that way — what is the underlying archetype, and in what ways can that archetype be expressed?

Capricorn, for example, is The Father, The President / Prime Minister. The archetype comes from the sign’s element-modality combination. Capricorn, as Cardinal Earth, is about initiating material action. Responsibility, self-reliance, duty. Handled well, that Capricorn energy can be focused, diligent, responsible, and pragmatic; but handled poorly, it can become rigid, fearful, unemotional, and repressed.

Knowing this is only helpful if you know how you tend to express that archetype’s energy, and figuring that out is, well, the whole point.

What bothers me about this is that discussions of the myriad ways in which these energies can be expressed requires a lot of talk about one sign individually — and to the casual listener, it sounds like we’re talking about Sun Sign Astrology, reducing a person down to one archetype. It’s a small misunderstanding, but it can cause major problems.

After studying the zodiac for a while, you start to learn what behaviors are emblematic for each sign, and you start to find yourself saying things like, “Ha — that’s such a Taurus mindset.” On the surface, to those whose only knowledge of astrology is Sun Sign, they think us fools for making such absurd generalities, when that’s not actually what’s happening.

We’re exploring all the ways Taurus can express itself, but it’s up to you to understand how you express that Taurus energy. No one is just one sign of the zodiac — everyone has all of them, they’re just in different parts of your life and expressed in different ways, some more strongly than others. Knowing what, if any, planets or placements you have in a sign will help you understand how that sign pertains to you.

This is rambling and not-super-well-thought-out, but it’s been bothering me for some time. I imagine I’ll keep coming back to this point in the future, hopefully with better, wiser wording. 🙂

Saturn Placements

After the Triad (Sun / Moon / Ascendant), Saturn is one of my favorite places to look in a natal chart.

As Liz Greene wisely noted, if our Sun is what we want, and our Moon is what we need, and our Ascendant is the vehicle we use to get those things, then Saturn is what holds us back from getting those things. Importantly, what holds us back is internalSaturn tells us how we tend to defeat ourselves.

Saturn is not to be feared (though it represents our fears, in the natal chart), and I disagree with anyone’s take that includes Saturn as a malevolent, ominous entity. Saturn doesn’t take shit, that’s all. It makes us bow down, relentlessly hounding us until we learn the lesson we need to learn, but that lesson is crucial for our personal growth, maturity, and self-reliance.

In a natal chart, Saturn can put into words our deepest fears — not phobias, but psychological fears that are often hardest to understand, much less voice. No matter how content or fulfilled a person is, something looms within them that makes them feel somehow limited.

What’s more, once you understand this deep fear, you can accept that it will be a running theme throughout your life — you can’t quite overcome it, but you cannot outrun it. Instead, by examining the specifics of your Saturn placement (and thus, The Fear), you can begin to:

a) accept yourself as you are, including your limitations;

b) examine what circumstances tend to trigger this fear and where it tends to pop up in your life; and

c) learn how to work with this limitation, not as an enemy, but a begrudging partner

Because astrology is value-neutral, we can look at what sign our Saturn is in to better understand the ways that fear can be expressed. Add in the way Saturn is aspected (which is to say: its angular relationship to other planets in our chart), and we start to see a clearer picture of what contributes to this fear.

Astrology therefore provides, in my opinion, an unparalleled level of nuance and understanding of oneself. We are, after all, looking at objective data — the location of planets in the sky, as they appear to us on Earth.

(Important side note — I always clarify this point with astrology skeptics: astrology is about how things appear, not how they are. There is no way to fudge data with astrology. It’s unbiased. But the art of astrology comes from interpreting this data — as Stephen Forrest noted, astronomy is like the grammar of language, and astrology is poetry.)

Astrology can’t tell you what you want to hear (if you’re doing it right — that is, with practiced objectivity). But what astrology can tell you, requires that you put in some work before you can fully understand it.

And the work is so fucking worth it. As a well-educated, logical, level-headed person, the insight and wisdom to be gained from studying astrology is too valuable to ignore. I firmly believe it can be of benefit to anyone willing to try.

Moon-Mars Tension

A: Moon in Libra square Mars in Cancer

D: Moon in Leo square Mars in Taurus

E: Moon in Taurus oppose Mars in Scorpio

Of the natal charts I’m currently studying for people in my personal life, I’ve come across this grumpy Moon-Mars relationship in a few of them. Person A has a Cardinal square, Person D has a Fixed square, and E has an opposition (Fixed). Coincidentally, these three women are also good friends with each other.

If the Moon is your emotions and Mars is your will, these aspects must signal a tension between what drives us to action and what we feel inside. This could manifest in a number of ways depending on the signs involved, but it’s an interesting placement in women regardless, because we are already socially conditioned to limit our assertiveness. This conditioning can create a tension for anyone, regardless of whether they know their astrological placements or not, but a chart can shed light on the specific underlying causes of that tension for them, personally.

The three people in question here all have one planet in a sign that doesn’t want to make waves (Libra, Taurus). Both signs are ruled by Venus, planet of all the finer things in life. Libra and Taurus both just want to enjoy living life — Taurus wants peace and quiet by themselves, and Libra wants harmony with a group of friends and loved ones. Libra will not upset the balance on her own, but as soon as it is, she will act to restore it. Taurus is a slow starter, focused more on stabilizing whatever energy came before it than creating something new.

While women are often conditioned to keep the peace, over time feminism has encouraged them to break that conditioning and speak. the fuck. up. As freeing as that should feel, there is also self-doubt, the fear that we are Too Much. This back-and-forth tension, between control and release, restraint and freedom, encapsulates the energy of the square.

For these three women, the square is felt for slightly different reasons (signs):

Person D has tension between self-expression (Leo) and peace/quiet (Taurus). Person A feels tension between social harmony (Libra) and emotional security (Cancer). Person E feels a tug-of-war between change (Scorpio) and stability (Taurus). The Moon placement holds greater weight — Leo, Libra, and Taurus, respectively — with Mars tugging at the Moon’s arm, begging to head a different direction.

This is the benefit of astrology. It has only illuminated more of what we already knew (that some individuals feel torn between taking action and letting things be), and added more color and nuance by examining the underlying reasons why.

Person E may not have been able to articulate on her own that she feels disharmony because she wants things to transform and simultaneously stay the same, but astrology provided the words to describe it. That is valuable enough in and of itself.

Astrology is not the only tool for this kind of self-exploration, but it is my favorite tool.





Why Astrology?

I really dig astrology.

I am well-educated, value science and the scientific method, and I’m only kind of a hippie. I don’t believe in pseudo-science but I’m 100% serious when I say astrology has incredible potential to help individuals explore and understand themselves and the world we live in.

It’s been challenging trying to explain this to my non-hippie friends, who are mostly in tech and immediately skeptical of something so nebulous and “woo.” But I think they’re coming at it from the wrong angle. In fact, I think a lot of us are.

Turns out there are a lot of popular misconceptions about astrology. It’s not a religion, but it can serve that purpose, in that it explains how the universe works and it’s a lens through which to view the world. It’s also not an exact science, but more of a social science like economics or sociology.

Astrology hinges on synchronicity, meaning the belief that themes playing out between the planets are mirrored here on Earth. This does not mean looking at planetary movements and determining causality, it means interpreting how those themes might be mirrored in our lives. It’s an art, like poetry.

Furthermore, major religions and belief systems across time and culture tend to have the same building blocks:

  1. A basic polarity to the universe (light/dark, masculine/feminine, yin/yang);
  2. Elements of nature, or taking guidance from the “natural” world; and
  3. Using fables, symbolism, and archetypes to teach morality

Astrology has all these same pieces, but where other belief systems stumble is by claiming to have the answers, or claiming to be right and others are wrong. Astrology does not supersede other belief systems; rather, it is the foundation beneath them. Major principles have been reduced to the lowest common denominators, making it relevant to everyone. 

Unfortunately, in order to apply to billions of people, those “lowest common denominators” tend to be pretty vague. Skeptics jump on this and claim that the inherent vagueness prevents it from being relevant to any individual person. But in fact, the opposite is true: it is relevant to everyone, but only if you’re willing to put in the work to discover how, and determine what that means to you.

This is what I really dig about the practice: it asks us to go back to the basics. It makes us do the work. Cut out the fluff and nonsense, focus on the core essentials. Assess your strengths, weaknesses, responsibility, and consider how to successfully navigate similar situations in the future. Astrology requires honest self-assessment, emotional intelligence, and acceptance of personal responsibility, and in turn, shows us the wisdom that gain be gained from doing so.

A horoscope found online probably won’t be very relevant to you, personally. This is because the astrologers writing them are looking at the basic building blocks, making their own interpretations, and applying those interpretations to large swaths of people. They’re not wrong for doing so, but if an individual looked at those building blocks themselves, they could make their own interpretations that would be far more relevant to them, personally, than any astrologer could offer.

However, with all its nuance and detail, learning the building blocks yourself takes a lot of time and effort, which most are not willing or able to do. Or, just as prohibitive, the alternative is paying a lot of money for private sessions with a professional astrologer, which may or may not be of use to you. This is where my approach differs: I want to coach individuals on astrology, helping you navigate how it applies to you personally. You are in the driver’s seat, I’m just your guide.

I’m still figuring out how I want all this to work. For now, my goal is convincing my friends and acquaintances that I haven’t lost my mind and they should hear me out. Right now, that solution is writing here on this blog. I’ll figure out where to go from there.

In today’s world, with our conflicting ideologies and apparent inability to compromise, it is imperative that we examine our personal responsibility and our role in the system. Instead of focusing on our differences, let us focus on our commonalities, go back to basics, and learn to do better.



Hi, I don’t know what I’m doing here.

I’ve never run a blog before. I’ve never written consistently somewhere for people to discover and read, mostly because I don’t feel qualified enough to tell people what I think. I haven’t felt entitled to an opinion, I just defer to those who know better.

This is not good.

So in an attempt to correct this course, I’m starting this blog. I have no idea what I’m doing, but you’re welcome to follow along.