No Answers, Just Work

One of the most challenging things about introducing someone to astrology is managing their expectations. They think astrology has answers, that it can point to a specific transit and say, “Ah! That’s why you’re experiencing XYZ; here’s what you can do about it…” But it’s not like that.

No transit exists in a vacuum.

We can look at our charts, identify transits, and read a variety of interpretations on them; but we can’t find ready-made interpretations that account for all the other transits we’re experiencing at the same time. Each chart is unique, and it’s impossible to fully comprehend the chart of anyone beyond ourselves, though we may try. With astrology, only the individual can harvest all the wisdom it has to offer, because only they know what they’re experiencing; the tough part is that they must be willing to put in the work to find it.

Each archetype of the zodiac has three levels of maturity, or evolutions. How we use the energy of those archetypes is up to us through the use of free will. Our job when studying our charts is to examine these archetypes from all sides, and consider how we might be utilizing them, intentionally or not.

Then come the added layers of planets and houses, a flux of information that can quickly make you dizzy — astrology is a lot of work. Go slow. Take your time. Meditate.

Astrology requires an honest assessment of ourselves that is both challenging and uncomfortable, and it doesn’t give us clear-cut answers. Approach each transit with an open mind, and keep an eye out for opportunities to grow. That is, essentially, the ultimate wisdom of astrology anyway:

“All things shall come to pass — now grow, grow, grow.”


There’s a lot I want to write about, but whenever I sit down to do it my mind goes blank.

It’s been an emotional few weeks. I’m working on ways to appropriately handle my anger and it’s ugly, but it’s progress. Not only is my natal Mars in chill-as-hell-borderline-lazy Taurus, but it’s in my 12th house, making it hard for me to see.

The 12th house is one of the most challenging houses to explain to newbies — it’s the house of Self-Undoing, which naturally sets off alarm bells to anyone unfamiliar with the term. Alternately, we can call House 12 “That Which is Hidden,” which captures the subconscious, and institutions like hospitals and prisons.

When we say “self-undoing,” we mean the loss of ego into a greater whole. The house preceding it, House 11, is about large communities, our crowd. Communities struggle when there’s too much ego from the individuals within them, and thrive when the individuals come together with a common goal. This common goal requires a loss of ego, requires each person to say, “This is not about me, this is about something bigger.” Ergo, Undoing the Self.

So what does that mean for a 12th house Mars? I’m still working on this myself, but my gut says I am motivated by either a) things that are farthest removed from my own ego and identity, or b) something in my subconscious that is hard for me to pinpoint. Or both! Either way, Mars is already somewhat muted by Taurus energy, so it’s an all-around challenging placement to understand.

The good news is I’m reading and learning about emotions, and better ways to control them. I’ve never been an angry person, but I’m learning now that’s because I’ve always repressed my anger (heyyyy, maybe that’s a 12th house tendency). This will likely be a running theme in my life that I will never fully overcome, but I’m excited to learn how to best manage this placement in an effective, useful way.

Silver lining: Taurus may be slow to start but once they do, they don’t stop. My Mars is not easily activated the way it might be in a Fire sign, but once it is, my willpower is tenacious and resilient. I embrace these qualities, and I am proud.

Scorpio & The 8th House

I find most horoscopes for Scorpio and/or the 8th house maddeningly shallow. The scorpion is often reduced to some combination of “the occult,” “death and sex,” and “the underworld,” with the 8th house getting “inheritances” and “change/transformation” thrown in there.

Without knowing what these interpretations are based on, how would a casual observer gain anything from these descriptors? It can be difficult to apply these themes to one’s personal life. My advice in this situation is always: “go back to basics: modality, element, orientation”. For Scorpio:

Fixed + Water + Interpersonal

The modality wheel moves Cardinal — Fixed — Mutable. Cardinal initiates, Fixed stabilizes, and Mutable adapts. Scorpio perpetuates. It pushes, driving forward the energy that came before it with a steadying hand.

What comes before Scorpio? Libra, The Lover.

Libra, as an Air sign, is about social interactions; specifically, the mental part of them. Scorpio, being a water sign, is the emotional result of those social interactions. The result can last a minute or a lifetime, but Scorpio is a close-up of the moment of raw, emotional instinct that tells us who we really are: fight or flight. Aries may be The Warrior charging into battle, but only in the sense that he is an individual, initiating action. Scorpio represents the way the battle feels.

I’m paraphrasing here, but Liz Greene described Scorpio as “that which appears physical, but is really emotional in nature.” It is the kind of special intimacy that lies deep within us, and can change us forever as individuals.

Therefore, Scorpio represents:

  • Not death in the physical sense, but emotional: as loss, grief
  • Not sex/intimacy in the physical sense, but emotional: as vulnerability
  • Not finances in the physical sense, but emotional: as sharing

It is important to note that Scorpio is associated with the 8th house, but does not rule it. Signs do not rule houses, but they do represent similar themes.

When talking about the 8th house, most horoscopes I see from popular astrologers discuss the individual’s death, sex, and finances, but that’s far too simple and does nothing to help the novice understand themselves or their chart. It’s true, Scorpio and the 8th house include the darkest parts of life and ourselves, but they should be embraced, not feared.

If you can face your darkest fears openly, without aiming to overcome them but to work with them, you have found the key to your self. Avoiding your fears, tempting and sometimes necessary as it may be, ultimately exacerbates the problem. Face them, acknowledge and accept them, and work with them. Your growth will be immense and rewarding.

And ultimately, this sort of growth is transformative. That’s why change and transformation are common keywords for the 8th house. It is the emotional consequences of our social interactions, that ultimately change us in a deep, permanent way.

Loss, grief, and vulnerability can be difficult to discuss casually. Sure, for a simple horoscope’s sake, it’s easier to stick to the death/sex/money part of it all. Nonetheless, I wish more popular horoscopes included such nuance. Normalizing the discussion of our pain and grief would go a long way in healing us, collectively and individually, and we would do well to prioritize that. After all, that is the lesson of Scorpio.

The Work We’re Called To Do

We must do the work we are called to do.

This has been a nagging thought in my head for weeks now. I think I read it from Chani Nicholas recently, though I’m not sure.

I’ve been having career troubles for the last few years, building ambition but lacking direction. I stumbled into a couple corporate office gigs that were wholly unsatisfying, but for a first-generation college grad like myself, they were almost entirely lucky breaks and I couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to continue with them.

At the beginning of 2018, I took three months away from work to care for an ill loved one. Most of that time was spent at home on the couch, just waiting for the body to heal itself, so I filled a lot of that time by studying astrology. I’d already been studying intensely for over a year, and I’d always been interested in the practice, but could never understand how horoscopes could vary so widely in their messaging when they’re all working from the same source material. I wanted to learn for myself how they were doing it.

After a few weeks, I found myself continually coming back to astrology. I couldn’t look away. It was fascinating and made far too much sense to ignore. In a way, this was especially frustrating because I was trying to keep myself from quitting my day job — even though I was on leave, I was already miserable and at the end of my rope — and it was all too tempting to spend all my time researching and thinking.

I eventually realized that I’d found the thing that makes me tick. I’m equally grateful and exasperated.

My life is filled with a wide variety of interests, hobbies, and experiences — I’m often happy to help but lack enough of an ego to be much of a self-starter. I used to think I’d be happy doing just about anything, but I know better than that now. After almost 30 fucking years, I finally found my Thing, and turns out it’s talking about feelings and helping people understand themselves through astrology.

Eventually, I turned to my recovering loved one, threw my hands up and said, “Y’know what? Fuck it. This is what my brain is wired to do. I’m gonna stop fighting it.”

We must do the work we are called to do.

I’ve never felt a calling before, but I do now. Best to just go with it.



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. 🙂