Astrological Autoethnography: My Saturn Return & Chiron Rx

There are over 7 billion people on this planet. Can global planetary transits really be correlated with the daily lives of each one of them? On any given day there are people experiencing horrific tragedies, and others who are riding waves of blissful happiness.

The skeptic would look at me incredulously, but I would argue… yes, global transits are globally correlated to daily (monthly and yearly) life on Earth. Mundane astrologers, who apply an astro lens to international world events, political and economic developments, would also agree.

Of course, it is complex. Global planetary transits interact with a person’s natal chart and their individual circumstances in widely diverse and unique ways. And yet I would argue that the archetypal energy of a transit, its inherent symbolism, will still show up for everyone. I would also argue that it depends on which transit is making “the most noise” in your life/chart. Some transits will activate many of your chart’s hot spots and will be correlated with major events and shifts in your life, whereas others will make a much more subtle appearance. Some transits breeze easily through your natal chart, leaving only a quickly vanishing whisper in their wake. Some transits will show up externally, while others will be expressed more internally.

At an individual level and case-by-case basis, an astrologer is able to weave together the various multiple transits to provide a more accurate depiction of what might be occurring in a person’s life.

I try to consider the broad range of transit manifestations when I write forecasts and I always hope that bits and pieces at least, will be applicable to readers. I would hope that by centering on certain keywords and descriptive phrases you would be able to pick up on the “vibe” of the day and notice where this is appearing in your life.

But the honest truth is every astrological forecast written for over 7 billion people will inevitably be generic and only partially relevant at best. This does not make general forecasts worthless whatsoever. General astro forecasts can still provide inspiration and guidance, but they always run the risk of becoming stale.

Astrologer April Elliot Kent wrote a wonderful article in 2005 called “Putting the Self Back in Astrology”. She calls for a revitalization of astrology through autoethnography; a qualitative research method that originated in the field of anthropology. It involves the researcher reflecting deeply on their own personal experiences with a sharply analytical eye, while connecting their autobiographical narrative to broader (e.g. cultural, social, political, symbolic, astrological) meanings and understandings. Subjectivity and researcher vulnerability are embraced in autoethnography.

It’s basically a fancy research-based term for sharing one’s story, but I love the idea of “astrological autoethnography“, probably because anthropology forms a significant part of my academic background and because it involves intentionally contextualizing personal individual experiences within broader systems of meaning (such as astrology).

Here are some excerpts from April’s article:

“How can we re-imagine astrology, keep it fresh, and ensure its ongoing relevance, without including our real-life observations? When we maintain an artificial separation between astrology and our daily lives, astrology suffers. And when we astrologers use astrological knowledge to maintain a separation between us and our readers, our writing suffers — and so, quite possibly, does our astrological research.”

“…At best, generic, cookbook-style interpretations provide a framework for stimulating creative interpretation of individual chart factors. But honest, astrologically sound, and well-written accounts of an astrologer’s unique experiences with astrology can provide the same kind of stimulus — and are fun to read as well.”

“…We can never present an interpretation of astrology that will be completely meaningful for all of the people all of the time… But by writing about our own experiences as honestly and richly as possible, we can at least attempt to present an accurate account of one person’s astrological experience.”

…As astrologers, we are in a unique position to observe life with unparalleled perspective. By engaging in an ethnographic approach to astrology, we are invited to participate in the astrological journey with our readers and clients instead of simply observing it, to embrace our own humanity instead of standing apart as omniscient interpreters of texts. Perhaps the greatest contribution we can make to astrology is simply to write about it — honestly, with enthusiasm, and from our individual experiences.” – Read the full article by April Elliot Kent here, first published in The Mountain Astrologer, April 2005. 

So on that note, here is an excerpt from my astro transit journal; a piece of astrological autoethnography about the transits and symbolism of Chiron and Saturn in my recent life history… [Click below for the rest of the post]


Astrological Autoethnography: The Lessons of my Saturn Return & Chiron Rx (2015-2017)

Preface: Reading astro autoethnography is a great way to learn astrology. I included some explanatory links when necessary for learning purposes. Also, fyi, I use the Koch system of houses in this story.

© Lilith Rebellion All Rights Reserved for original content. If you quote my writing please attribute it properly & link back to my website.

CHAPTER 1:
My Saturn Return in Sagittarius begins in my 4th House (December 23, 2014)

 

On December 21st, 2014, I had recently completed a health-related master’s degree in Toronto and was on a flight back to my city of origin on the East Coast of Canada. This trip was initially planned as a brief Christmas visit with family, but I ended up cancelling my return ticket to Toronto. I was determined to finish a long overdue thesis for another master’s degree I had started before moving to Toronto in 2012. I was also very low on funds, and I had just endured an intense exhausting year of chaos. My tank had run dry in many respects. It became evident that returning to live with my family for a period of time would be the wisest path to completing my thesis.

I anticipated completing my thesis in a few months time and returning to Toronto around April 2015. Although I did eventually successfully submit my thesis and graduate, as I write this on July 4th, 2017, two and a half years later, I am still on the East Coast living at my family home.

What I didn’t know at the time when I left Toronto in December 21st, 2014, was that Saturn was just two days away from entering Sagittarius. I was born with Saturn in Sagittarius. Saturn had made a full rotation of the zodiac and had returned to its origin point in my natal chart. This is referred to as the infamous Saturn Return, which happens for everyone about every 30 years, and lasts for about 2.5 years while Saturn moves through all 30 degrees of the sign.

It is no coincidence that Saturn’s ingress into Sagittarius very closely coincided with my flight to my family’s place on the East Coast. Saturn was moving through my 4th House, which is associated with one’s home, family, childhood experiences, personal and ancestral history. I have tried countless times to try and move back to Toronto, but for various reasons I have not been able to make this happen.

I only started tracking my astro transits intentionally in the recent past, so all this is my retrospect reflection. Once I became aware of the full meaning of this challenging Saturn Return transit through my 4th House, I was able to better accept that life had brought me back home for a reason. This was a time to dig deep into my past, do some serious excavating, and lay a new foundation for myself and my identity.

CHAPTER 2: 2016 Solar Return with Virgo Ascendant & a Total Solar Eclipse New Moon in Pisces (beginning of the Pisces-Virgo eclipse series)

 

On my birthday, March 16th, 2015, my Solar Return chart had a Virgo Ascendant. The Solar Return chart is a temporary chart that is activated each year at the moment that the Sun returns to the exact point it was at in the zodiac wheel when you were born – your birthday. Like a Natal Chart, a Solar Return chart is a snapshot of the sky, frozen in time. It highlights some of the key themes that will be present in your life over the next 12 months (with a three month overlap on either end). One of the first things to look for in a Solar Return chart is the sign the Solar Return Ascendant is in. This sets the most apparent theme for the year.

Virgodiligent, hardworking, routine-oriented, focused on details, organized, methodological, analyticalthis certainly was the vibe for my Solar year from March 2015 – March 2016 as I finished writing my thesis and then accepted three research-based jobs at the university.

The Pisces-Virgo series of eclipses also began shortly after my birthday with a potent and powerful Total Solar Eclipse New Moon at 29 degrees Pisces on March 20th, 2015 – the same day that the Spring Equinox occurred. Full moon and new moon eclipses occur in pairs about twice a year. A family of eclipses will occur in opposing zodiac signs (along the axis closest to the Moon’s nodes) over the course of 2+ years. A series of eclipses contain a story that will unfold throughout that period of time; each eclipse energetically echoing for the next six months until the next one. When an eclipse occurs close to your Sun (i.e. near your birthday) you can be assured that the next six months will be pivotal for you in particular, but also in the broader picture, the unfolding of the entire series of the eclipse set will be correlated with a transformative period of your life. Eclipses that activate personal planets will both suddenly, and often abruptly, close doors (“eclipsing something out of your life”) and rapidly usher in change and new opportunities.

This New Moon Total Solar eclipse at 29 degrees Pisces, close to the South Node (a point of release) – the first in a series of six eclipses on the Pisces-Virgo axis – took place only four days after my birthday and less than four degrees from my Sun and Mercury cazimi, both at 25°55 Pisces in the 8th House. So, that’s a pretty big deal! But at the time I was unaware of its significance.

CHAPTER 3: Progressed Moon @ 29 degrees Gemini & Saturn Rx in Scorpio

 

As I entered into July my Progressed Moon was passing through the last 29th degree of Gemini, also called the critical degree or anaretic degree. It typically indicates there is an urgent need to finish or resolve something in your life. It can even mark a period of crisis. Although again, I was unaware of this cosmic correlation.

[for a brief intro and explanation of what a Progressed Chart is, check out this article]

Gemini has to do with communication, learning, writing. Clearly the act of trying to finish writing my thesis by a strict deadline correlates quite well with having a Progressed Moon moving through the final degree of Gemini.

Saturn transits call for one to apply themselves to a task with self-discipline, to endure and persevere, to see responsibilities and commitments through to the end goal even when it is uncomfortable.

And thus there I was, at my desk day after day, struggling furiously with the grueling task of finishing a long overdue, massive thesis before the mid-August deadline – a task that was unnecessary for future employment in my chosen field. While my peers from the Toronto degree program successfully secured jobs, I continued to let University siphon me further into debt while I pelted away at my computer keyboard in my mom’s living room wondering if it was even worth it. Would I ever finish this tome?! At almost 30 years of age, was this really the best use of my time, energy and money?!

However, I had already invested so much in to this degree I just could not let it go. I had to see it through. Everything about this scenario is covered in Saturnian themes. Furthermore, my thesis was about social inclusion for people with cognitive disabilities.

Saturn delineates. Saturn is about boundaries, limits, restriction. Many astrologers have spoken to the predominant themes of Saturn’s journey through Sagittarius (diversity, different cultures and countries, expansion, travel, freedom of movement) as being correlated with the world’s refugee crisis and the corresponding reaction of other countries as they erect fear-based barriers to refugees fleeing violence. Saturn in Sagittarius at a global level speaks to the tension around who belongs and who doesn’t, who is included and who is excluded

Aside from my thesis topic, this inclusion/exclusion theme as it relates to human diversity, reached close to home for me (i.e. Saturn in my 4th House) in a very personal and emotional way. My father had acquired a severe post-surgical brain infection in 2011 (several years after I had begun my first master’s program and chosen my thesis topic). He had since been living at home with very serious brain damage; nonverbal, tube-fed, nearly immobile, and requiring 24/7 support to meet his basic daily needs.

Saturn turned retrograde in early 2015 and dipped back into Scorpio briefly from June 1st until Sept. 19th, 2015 when it re-entered Sagittarius, and yet it remained in my 4th House during this time (my IC is in Scorpio).

The 4th House is traditionally associated with the father (or the less visibly involved caregiver).

Saturn as well, is a patriarchal presence in the zodiac that is often associated with fathers and authority figures, rules and tradition.

Scorpio is associated with death, loss and trauma.

Within 6 months after the Total Solar Eclipse New Moon in Pisces, as I frantically raced against time to get my thesis done before the mid-August deadline (Progressed Moon at 29 degrees Gemini), during Saturn’s brief retrograde trip into Scorpio in my 4th House, my Dad died quite suddenly and unexpectedly via a violent seizure while I counted out his last breaths to the 911 operator.

I took a week off after the funeral to make an attempt at getting my brain somewhat functional again, and then got back to work trying to finish my thesis. Mid-August was really my last chance if I wanted to graduate. I had no choice. In order to cope, I always had two documents open on my desktop – my thesis document and a document for journaling and releasing everything I was experiencing in relation to my dad’s death. I repeatedly moved back and forth between the two documents throughout the day.

Finishing this thesis under these circumstances was undoubtedly one of the most difficult tasks I have ever embarked on in my 31 years of life. Miraculously I managed to submit it in time and I graduated in October.

Done.

And yet… Saturn was quickly approaching Sagittarius again. The work of my Saturn Return had only just begun.

CHAPTER 4: Progressed Moon in the early degrees of Cancer, Transiting Saturn CONJUNCT Natal Saturn, & Mars Retrograde in my 4th House

 

After submitting my thesis I let myself collapse, briefly. I was exhausted on all levels.

However, Saturn re-entered Sagittarius on September 19th 2015, and very soon after its ingress, I began having discussions with a friend about collaborating in order to sponsor a refugee family from Syria and bring them to Canada (remember what I wrote earlier about Saturn in Sagittarius themes?). This got off the ground very quickly. A group was put together, a non-profit was started, a website was created and multiple fundraisers were launched. Around the same time – as I invested significant energy with volunteering on this front during the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016 – I accepted three part-time research-based jobs in addition to many other commitments.

This was a very busy time for me, and yet throughout it all I continuously made many failed attempts to move back to Toronto. I constantly weighed pros and cons. Everything I committed to during this time, I committed with a warning that I might be leaving soon.

Again, the 4th House and its associated sign of Cancer is about home, a deep sense of rootedness, belonging, emotional stability and security, and the internal foundations of your psyche. When your Progressed Moon first shifts into a new zodiac sign there is often a period of disorientation and confusion. It is an adjustment phase. With my Progressed Moon entering Cancer and my 4th House simultaneously being activated by my Saturn Return, all those Cancer and 4th House themes were strongly emphasized, destabilized, and brought forward for questioning.

As my Saturn Return transit occurred through the 4th House and my Progressed Moon left Gemini and began moving through the early degrees of Cancer, I struggled to orientate myself to my new reality in the midst of a busy schedule that propelled me rather chaotically in many directions.

Where did I belong? What city should I live in now that I was finally free from school commitments? Where was “home”? Now that my Father had died, what did that mean for my identity? How could I regain a sense of stability and a secure foundation after so directly and viscerally experiencing the death of a parent? On a broader more existential level, where did I belong in this world? What was my role, my purpose? Could I fit into the web of life in a meaningful way? After 10 years of being a University student, who was I now that I no longer had the identity of “student” to rely on?

“It may be that when we no longer know what to do,
we have come to our real work
and when we no longer know which way to go,
we have begun our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.”

– Wendell Berry

Late December 2015, as Saturn made an exact conjunction with my natal Saturn in Sagittarius, I made the emotionally-fraught decision to stay where I was for a while, on the East Coast (Saturn transits are associated with committing to a direction and making big decisions). Before uprooting myself again and throwing myself into a big city rat-race type of environment as a broke new grad, I made the difficult choice to prioritize the haven of unpressured time and space that I currently had access to, in order to carefully and strategically figure out my next steps and the direction I wanted to embark on in life. Despite how difficult this was, I do not take for granted that I had access to this option.

My Solar Return chart for my birthday in 2016 had a Scorpio Ascendant. Although again, I did not know my solar return chart at the time, this ascendant indicated that my solar year (March 2016-March 2017) would be a deeply introspective and transformative year. It would be an intense year where I would withdraw from the world in order to undergo that death and rebirth process that Scorpio demands. A year where I would need to face the dark shadows lurking in my life, my psyche, my past – despite the tumultuous emotions that that kind of shadow work may evoke.

I am a very introverted person to begin with, but with a Solar Return Scorpio Ascendant, my Progressed Moon in the early degrees of Cancer (ruler of my 12th House), Chiron transiting my Sun/Moon in my 8th House, and my Saturn Return happening in the 4th House… I became downright reclusive!

I wrapped up my employment contracts in early April (Solar Return charts have a waning three-month thematic overlap with the previous chart as you shift into the new chart).

I was now jobless and still deeply mired in debt. I booked a flight to Toronto for mid-April 2016 to retrieve personal belongings from a storage unit where they had been waiting for my return.

I arrived in Toronto the evening of April 16th and on April 17th, Mars turned retrograde in my 4th House. As Mars – the planet of desire, action, energy, vitality – went backward in an area of my life associated with home and belonging, I too, literally made a retrograde journey back to a previous home to collect my stuff. I refer to this trip as the marker for when I. Hit. A. Wall. I felt like I had been hit by a truck. Some of those days I could barely get out of bed. I felt almost ill. It took every ounce of strength I had to clear out the storage unit and get them shipped to the East Coast.

Energy depletion is a dominant theme of a Mars retrograde, as is a re-assessment and review of your desires and the direction your actions in life are taking you.

I had many doubts, but I still, I packed up and left Toronto. It felt too permanent. It felt like a break up. And I felt like a failure. It wasn’t just about giving up on living in Toronto. Toronto had come to symbolize the progression of all my earlier ambitions and plans.

I felt incapable of looking for employment (or engaging with the outside world in any way), and I quickly descended into a very dark and cynical despairing place. Was it grief related to my Dad’s recent death? Disillusionment with my profession and academic credentials? An identity crisis? Existential crisis? A case of burn-out and exhaustion? Unresolved early trauma coming to the surface? Overwhelmed by all the suffering and pain in the world? All of the above???

Sometimes labels are useful, and sometimes they are not. At any rate, regardless of the cause, my expressed “symptoms” met the criteria for depression.

I had lost trust in myself, in my capacity to simply “do life”. I’ve always been one of those “when the going gets tough, the tough get going” types. I prided myself on plowing determinedly through any hardship and challenge that life presented me with (thanks, Saturn-Moon opposition). Losing trust in myself at a very basic, fundamental level, was one of the most disconcerting, destabilizing and deeply terrifying experiences I have ever had.

Have you ever found yourself half-way through a novel when you stopped caring about the main character and gave up on the book? Have you ever found yourself turning off a movie part-way through when you realize you’re no longer invested in the story being told and you just couldn’t bring yourself to endure the painful boredom of finishing it?

That’s what I felt like with the story of my life. I had lost interest in the protagonist and her role, the story, the direction of the plot arch. I just didn’t care. I wasn’t invested anymore. My life’s story had lost its purpose and its meaning. It didn’t matter when people tried to reassure me that my story would progress past the current crisis point to a happy conclusion where I had a good full-time job in my field, a nice place of my own to live in, and no debt… That was not a future destination that I could invest hope into within the context of my current life story.

I didn’t need a happy ending.

I needed a new story.

“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”

~ Joseph Campbell

 

In a previous post I described the three phases of Saturnian lessons, using the archetype of Saturn as an architect and home inspector. The three phases of Saturnian life building projects are:

1) Assessment of the scope of the project (the blueprint), the building site, and the building materials;

2) Assessment of the commitment to the project and the strength of its foundation;

3) Assessment of one’s determination & endurance to complete the building project despite challenges and adverse conditions.

During a Saturn Return every 30 years, your previous building projects in the area of your life relevant to the transit, are often leveled. Flattened. If your building projects are out of alignment with your authentic self, Saturn brings you back to Step One – creating, assessing, and revising a new blueprint.

I had always been perceived as an over-achieving and ambitious workaholic type of person – an identity that I eagerly cultivated and took pride in. However, I realized that grounding (4th House) my identity in my external achievements and my reputation (Saturn in the 4th opposing my Moon in the 10th House) to compensate for my wounding in this area (Chiron conjunct my Moon in the 10th), was a pretty shaky foundation. My grand ambitions to “make a change in the world” came suddenly toppling down and my confidence in my abilities and capacity to contribute to society, were decimated.

Tearing down life building projects, excavating the remnants, rooting out the debris and decay… and then rebuilding… it is not an easy process.

 

CHAPTER 5: Chiron turning Retrograde conjunct my Sun/Mercury

 

 

By June 2016 I was still hoping that maybe all I needed was a bit of rest and recovery, and then I’d be back to my “old self”. I was doing terribly though. A journal entry from early June lists my “reasons for living”, written as a response to my desire to do otherwise.

I accepted an invitation to go to a friend’s cottage by the ocean for a few days to clear my head and see if I could speed up my “rejuvenation”.

Chiron, the wounded healer of the zodiac, was moving through 25°13 Pisces at this time, only astro-minutes away from my Sun and Mercury at 25°55 Pisces in the 8th House.

I do not often remember my dreams, and when I do they typically slide easily from my consciousness with little consideration. However, in the early morning of June 18th I had a dream that left a powerful imprint on my psyche.

I dreamt that I awoke to find a long, shiny black feather beside me in the bed –  the same bed at the cottage that I was sleeping in, overlooking the ocean. The feather was about three feet long.

I am not an expert in dream interpretation, but my understanding is that your emotional reactions and behavioral responses to the dream content is key to its interpretation. In this case, I remember being surprised, but in a pleasant way. I was curious, intrigued, and a little in awe at this beautiful feather that I immediately felt was a gift of some sort. The dream felt incredibly real, especially with the dream mirroring my exact location. I woke up, marveling at the experience and the imprint it had made on me.

When I looked into the symbolism of black feathers I read that they are associated with protection and that they may appear in meaningful ways when you are undergoing times of great transition. The color black signifies, as Scorpio does, the theme of death and rebirth. The closing of one chapter and the beginning of another. They may mark a spiritual initiation and time of significant inner growth.

I treasured this dream and held it close to me. Its sweet, magical, psychic aftertaste lingered for a long time. I returned to this memory often during difficult times.

I do not live in an area that is swathed in bird feathers, but following this dream I began finding feathers in the strangest synchronistic ways.

For example, one of my strangest feather stories began when I found a beautiful bright blue jay feather right in the centre of my path while running. This is a very unusual occurrence. Delighted, I picked it up and ran the rest of the way home. However, just before I arrived at the house I realized that I was no longer holding the feather. I retraced my steps, but to no avail. I did, however, find a blue elastic of the same color.

When I came back to the place I was when I lost the feather I noticed it at my feet. Somehow I had not realized that I had dropped it right where I had stopped. Unfortunately in the 5 minute time period that it took for me to retrace my steps, a car had obviously run over it, mangling it.

Blue feathers can symbolize spiritual gifts and (especially from a blue jay) are associated with communication. Was the day’s events a warning to listen carefully, to not be careless or neglectful with what was emerging in my life? Was finding the blue elastic a reminder to pay attention and hold on tight?

I told a family member this story. A few days later this family member was at an outdoor social gathering. An acquaintance randomly walked up to her, handed her a bright blue jay feather, and said: “Here, this is for you,” without any explanation. And then walked away! She was certain that this unusual moment of synchronicity had brought her this feather to give to me. And so I added a perfect, unmangled blue feather to my growing collection, which I hope to incorporate into a piece of art soon.

Chiron moves slowly through your chart highlighting areas of wounding, but its transits also direct you to the resources you need to heal – particularly at its retrograde pivot points. Chiron turned retrograde nine days after my feather dream on June 27th, 2016 at 25°15.

Since retrieving my personal belongings from Toronto in April, I had been mentally and emotionally unable to bring myself to sort through my stuff and put it away. I had started… and then left a huge mess that remained untouched for weeks on the floor. On June 29th, I suddenly, spontaneously found the energy and motivation to start organizing and cleaning up the possessions I had brought back from Toronto.

The next day I happened to read an astrological article on social media about Mars turning Direct on June 29th, 2016 – restoring our ability to take action and move forward in certain areas of our life. That caught my attention. After some research I realized that Mars had turned retrograde in my 4th House of home on April 17th (the very weekend I arrived in my previous place of residence, Toronto, to collect my stuff). Mars had gone Direct on the day that I had finally found the strength to unpack and organize the mess of items I had brought back.

I was so amazed and intrigued by how well the dates and my actions correlated with the timing and symbolism of this Mars retrograde period! This Mars Retrograde period had very clearly been about following through on my commitment to stay on the East Coast for a while longer. It perfectly encapsulated this chapter of my life. This discovery was a catalyst for my renewed interest in astrology.

I had always loved astrology, but in hindsight I would say that my knowledge had been pretty limited previously and I had focused entirely on natal astrology up to that point. To be honest, I had never put much weight in astrological forecasting or predictions because they always seemed so general and vague.

I did not understand the symbolism of Chiron at the time, and nor did I realize Chiron had gone retrograde only four days earlier, before this pivotal discovery. However, in reflection, I associate this Chiron retrograde, which occurred essentially right on top of my Sun/Mercury (identity and mind), with both my feather dream and my renewed interest in astrology.

Astrology quickly became a powerful tool of healing for me. It is not an exaggeration to say that it changed my life and gave me a new sense of meaning and purpose.

The few weeks after (re)discovering astrology were blissful. I was giddy with excitement. I was on an astro high; buried in charts, and webinars, and podcasts, and books. Through learning the language of astrology, I felt like I had found a missing part of myself – or had found the key (Chiron symbolizes a key) to opening up parts of myself that had been stagnant and neglected.

I don’t think any healing modality could have given me the amount of insight that my chart immediately provided me. Astrology speeds up the process of self-discovery in a major way! It is like therapy with a road map, as one of Mark Jones’ clients exclaimed in response to an astrological consultation.

I had found a treasured blueprint for understanding my personality, a map for effectively journeying the terrain of my life, and a prescription for healing and freeing the wounded areas of my soul. Where I had come from and where I was going, my greatest strengths and my most troubling challenges, my purpose for living and the direction that would most fulfill me — they were all there, in my chart.

Furthermore, astrology connected me in a very concrete and tangible way with something that was bigger than me. How wild is it that  planets millions of miles away could be correlated with certain personality traits and life events for each individual living on the planet?! Unbelievable really, until you witness the repeated and astounding correlations. There are over 7 billion humans on this planet. To think that the lives of each one, is in some mysterious way, in a constant communion and interaction with planetary movement? It makes me feel less like a speck of worthless cells, that’s for sure. Astrology enables me to trust, to have faith, that somehow, in ways we do not understand, we are all woven into an interconnected tapestry of meaning.

Although I had always been a spiritual person since leaving organized religion in my early twenties, I had really missed not having a more tangible belief system and set of spiritual tools. Astrology became a type of spiritual discipline for me, as I began to track my transits and design little rituals for planetary activity and moon phases. Conveniently though, when stepping into the practice of astrology, I encountered no controversial code of ethics, no contradictory religious philosophy to wrestle with, no holy book with an absolute narrative – only a massive history of countless techniques for understanding the sky. As someone who had previously participated in a formal religion, astrology seemed so refreshingly neutral, while still connecting me to a spiritual dimension and practice.

I had always inclined toward a pagan, nature-based form of spiritual practice and astrology extended that affinity to the greater solar system. It felt like a natural development to me. I felt like I had found a place of solid and meaningful belonging (a 4th house theme) within this enormous universe; in a world, which on the surface, seems to be spewing constant meaningless chaos. Learning astrology enabled me to see a hidden universal order and coherence through synchronicity and correlation that defied explanation. Astrology re-enchanted my life world with a glimmer of mysterious magic.

Studying my chart and my transits was also incredibly validating. This is when I truly understood what a “Saturn Return” meant. I realized that I was currently in the midst of some very harsh transits. Rather than this being discouraging, it was a relief. It took some of the pressure off. It helped me to be at peace with my current phase of life. Astrology enabled me to make sense of my experiences by framing them within a series of symbolic and archetypal cosmic stories.

It did not mean that I resigned myself to wallowing in Saturnian depression, but it did mean that I was able to be more compassionate with myself and where I was at (though definitely still a struggle). One of my favourite astrologers, Dana Gerhardt, tells her clients: “Do your planets or they’ll do you”.

I believe that life is a mysterious, alchemical, tangled mixture of both fate and freewill. There’s a bit of both in the mix. Our natal charts are determined at the moment of our first breath, as is every planetary transit we will undergo in our lifetime since planets follow a predictable path. However, I still maintain a belief that we can work with our transits – we can intentionally collaborate with them, or we can struggle and fight against them. Choosing either approach, I believe, will lead to different outcomes. Astrology illuminates the options.

Studying astrology or getting your chart read won’t fix one’s life, of course. Astrology reveals helpful information. I still needed to lean into the lessons of Saturn and do the work. Knowing astrology did not eliminate suffering from my life. In fact, some of my darkest moments would come after this period of giddy excitement birthed from falling in love with the language of astrology. However, I gained a new sense of peace, patience, direction and hope. Just like the ever-moving solar system, I too, was in a constant state of movement and growth, whether it felt like it or not.

Western society often approaches time the way it was taught to you in elementary class – as a linear timeline from Point A to Point B with multiple points in between. Astrology invites us to align ourselves with the orbital patterns depicted in our natal charts; to approach time in terms of cycles and phases. Within this understanding, why would we compare our progress with the lives of others?

We are not competing with each other on a single linear timeline of existence, each trying to hit certain benchmarks and milestones first (e.g. degree, career, house, marriage, kids, retirement). This is a socially constructed illusion. Rather, we are each participating in a unique series of cycles and phases .

I received this awareness as a call to honour my life’s sacred rhythms.

As 2016 progressed it became very evident to me and those around me, that this “sad time” was not just a case of the blues or of recovering from burnout. I was really depressed and I was going to need outside assistance if I was going to dig myself out of that dark hole.

The week before Chiron turned Direct on November 28th, I finally had my first two therapeutic sessions, and I had many more to follow in the coming months, ultilizing various different types of healing services.

It wasn’t an “easy fix”. Healing is a life long process, but during the Chiron retrograde period I recommitted to healing. Astrology and therapy; these were the gifts of the Chiron retrograde period that was first heralded with a long black feather. 

“I know this transformation is painful, but you’re not falling apart; you’re just falling into something different, with a new capacity to be beautiful.”

~ William C. Hannan

CHAPTER 6: Solar Return Capricorn Ascendant, Chiron forms its 2nd conjunction to my Sun/Mercury, & The final and sixth eclipse on the Virgo-Pisces axis takes place with a Solar Eclipse New Moon in Pisces

 

My 31st birthday arrived. It was terrible. It occurred smack in the middle of some very challenging aspects which included a volatile transiting Mars opposition to my natal Pluto, and transiting Chiron, now moving Direct, nearing an exact conjunction with my Sun/Mercury, bringing my deepest wounds and insecurities to the surface. I requested that my birthday not be celebrated.

The early months of 2016 were all pretty rough. Rediscovering astrology mid-2016 and seeking out therapeutic services in late November 2016 were certainly highlights, but moving forward still felt like a continuous battle. Like moving through sludge. I had disengaged from nearly all commitments and aside from appointments and my well-worn walking path, I rarely ventured out. I lived an isolated hermit’s life.

One of the books I read throughout the year was “Transforming Depression: Healing the Soul through Creativity”, by David H. Rosen, a Jungian Analyst. His book suggests that the desire to kill oneself could be indicative that there is some part of the person that is decaying. Some false life-threatening ego-image that needs to die. To literally kill oneself is to interrupt that transformative, yet excruciating process too soon. He uses the term “egocide” to describe a symbolic killing of the false ego so that the true, authentic life-affirming Self, beneath the ego shield, may emerge. He presents egocide as an alternative to suicide.

The central question I drew from Rosen’s writing was this: What part of your life, your self, must die, so that you may truly live?

This is a very Scorpionesque question!

For a long time I kept referring to my “old self”. I wondered what had happened to it, and would I ever return to my old self? My existence felt foreign to me within my own skin. As time progressed I realized the “old self” was gone. My previous ego-image, which had derived so much value and worth from achievements and being a productive machine, had died. That left me in the liminal place in between that which no longer was, and that which was yet to be. It was a vulnerable place of fragmentation and confusion. What was my worth, what was my value, apart from the things I did? Who was I in the world if I was not accomplishing stuff and getting shit done?

Amid the emotional turmoil I was in during early 2017, I came up with the name Lilith Rebellion and decided to create a website where I could share my astro explorations publicly, and hopefully create art related to this theme as well. Astrology was one of the few things that could still make me light up with pleasure, so I chose to try and maximize this goodness in my life.

I write about the meaning behind Lilith Rebellion here, but briefly, Black Moon Lilith is a point in the sky, the moon’s apogee, which symbolically represents nonconforming, rebellious, liberated feminine power. Lilith represents the raw, instinctual feminine energy in the astrological charts of both men and women (or other gender identification), that struggles against the forces in our lives that try to dis-empower and oppress us.

Lilith is quite strong in my chart, with the moon exactly conjunct Black Moon Lilith in my 10th House of career and public reputation. However, in astrospeak, one would say my Black Moon Lilith is ‘afflicted’, due to the aspects she forms with other planetary bodies (e.g. an opposition to Saturn). Therefore, the launch of this website, Lilith Rebellion, in March 2016, several months after I discovered her in my chart, symbolizes her nonconformity and defiant uprising in my own life.

It seemed quite fitting that I should title my new online public presence (and potential business) in honour of her, since she holds court so strongly in my 10th House. Lilith’s symbolism is also correlated with my desire to veer off the traditional mainstream path (Saturn) that I had thus far been journeying in life.

February 26th, 2017 featured the 6th and final eclipse on the Pisces-Virgo axis that began playing out on my 29th birthday in 2015, two years ago. This final eclipse signified the final chapter of the eclipse story in my life. A couple days before this concluding eclipse in Pisces, the sign of my Sun/Mercury,  is when I purchased the Lilith Rebellion URL (an unintentional correlation).

My Solar Return chart for my 31st birthday revealed a Capricorn Ascendant. This indicated that I would be moving away from the tumultuous, introspective themes of my previous Solar Return Scorpio Ascendant, which had sent me running from the world, retreating deep into my psyche.

A Capricorn Ascendant indicates that the coming year (2017-2018) will involve setting long-term goals and then investing the hardwork and self-discipline in order to accomplish these goals. Capricorn, similar to its ruler Saturn, is a sign that often encounters barriers, delays, and set-backs in order to develop strength and perseverance. To counter this, this archetype is blessed with patience, focus, and the determination to ensure it never waver in pursuit of its goals, no matter how long it takes to achieve success.

My Saturn Return ends on December 21st, 2017 when Saturn leaves Sagittarius. Since Saturn rules the sign of Capricorn, this seems like an appropriate Solar Return Ascendant for the coming year as I try to move forward, manifesting the internal changes that have occurred in me throughout the last couple of years, into the external, Capricornian world.

Capricorn-themed barriers and delays are guaranteed for this year. I believe recent research that suggests long-term depressive episodes change your brain, making it even more difficult to get up and out of that dark pit. I still feel like I’m wading through sludge. Progress seems to be at a snail’s pace most days. However, I’m actually excited about the future once again. I have some goals on the horizon that are pulling me forward – goals I believe in. Goals that feel authentically me.

After getting this website set up I started blogging my astro forecasts on a daily basis and posting them to Instagram, beginning on March 27th with the New Moon in Aries. Chiron reached a perfect conjunction with my Sun and Mercury on April 4th, just a few days later. Once again, Chiron’s healing work appeared to be directly correlated with my pursuit of astrology.

In addition to prompting continual reflection on a variety of astro transits, writing daily cosmic weather forecasts has helped me rediscover my creative writing voice, freeing it from the confines of the academic template. And, it has been so fun and rewarding to share my writing with others!

Since the New Moon in Aries I have published detailed daily astro forecasts for a solid three months, up until the beginning of July. This commitment has required a significant investment of my time and energy, but it has been so beneficial for my journey, and I hope for others as well.

Transiting Chiron conjunct my natal Mercury indicates the potential of healing through verbalizing one’s journey and sharing it with others – healing through communication.

I have these themes natally as well with Chiron (wounded healer) conjunct my moon (emotions, internal self) in Gemini (ruled by Mercury – thought and communication) in the 10th House (a very public house of career, reputation, long-term goals and achievements).

Therefore, over and over again, whenever I find myself in a rough spot in life, I find myself searching for a way to publicly express my internal journey. Since I am generally quite a private and guarded person (except for my moon, all my personal planets are in the hidden 4th or 8th houses), I usually find an outlet through anonymous blogging – a perfect compromise for my chart placements!

This 10th House Moon/Chiron conjunction squares Jupiter, the planet that expands everything it touches. One manifestation of this aspect is that I write WAY too much. It’s like… Gemini on steroids. This obscenely long post is a good example!

Few, if any, will reach the end of this blog I know, but selfishly I admit that with this particular post, by clicking “publish”, it has already served its purpose of therapeutic exposure for me. If someone learns some astrology or is reassured that difficult transits can have happy outcomes, that is a wonderful bonus!

And what better time to seek therapeutic exposure by sharing a Saturn Return experience, then just before an intense Full Moon in Saturn-ruled Capricorn, right on top of Pluto?! Pluto, the transformative planet that, when activated, compels hidden life material to come to the surface and prompts you to release all that is decaying and expired in your life to make room for rebirth.

I swear I didn’t plan that timing; it just worked out that way 🙂 However, now that I am nearing the Full Moon date as I continue writing, for better or worse I will intentionally collaborate and take advantage of the correlation!

CHAPTER 7: Mars conjunct Mercury opposite Pluto, Chiron retrograde & 12th House transits

 

On June 28th, 2017, Mercury formed an exact conjunction with Mars in Cancer in my 11th House of friends and networks (including social media networks). Emotions and intuition met thought and communication together with action and desire, opposite Pluto (the great transformer and revealer). Within half an hour since waking up, while still laying there in bed, I knew with acute clarity that I needed to move around energy in my life and really pull back on the blogging. I still find myself constantly fatigued and lethargic. My energy stores are limited and precious. It was time to redirect that energy elsewhere.

I feel a little silly to have drawn so much strength and confidence from a social media platform, but the lovely feedback and encouragement that I have received through comments on Instagram, direct messages, and even emails – has meant the world to me. If any of you end up reading to the end of this – thank you! At a time when I had completely isolated myself and my confidence lay in shattered pieces, the beautiful feedback I received from complete strangers (therefore less vulnerable to bias!) was so validating. It reassured me that maybe I did have something to offer the world that could be useful to someone else.

However, especially with Chiron turning retrograde a few days later on July 1st (heading back toward a conjunction with my Sun/Mercury again), a shift in focus is necessary to keep moving forward.

Many of the cosmic correlations I referenced in this autoethnography occurred without my knowledge, or at least without my intention. I think that is part of what I find so fascinating when reviewing my past in light of the transits at the time. However, I do think it is very possible to intentionally collaborate with cosmic cycles, as my blog image indicates.

Looking ahead I can see that I am about to undergo some 12th House transits. Mercury has entered my 12th House already this week, and the Sun and Mars will soon join it there. The 12th House is the last house in the astro cycle. The next house in the chart wheel is the 1st House. When personal planets transit through the 12th House (especially when it is the Sun), it is a time to pull your energy back in. It is a time to reduce output and increase input. It is a time to reflect on the past year, and prepare yourself for the next season of life which inevitably is always a very busy one, once the Sun crosses the Ascendant into the 1st House. If you don’t take advantage of the natural inclination of 12th House transit periods to seek rest and rejuvenation, you may find yourself particularly stressed and tired in the coming months.

My aim is to use my 12th House transits to dive even deeper into my astrology studies and prepare for offering readings and astrological consultations in the near future. I have never advertised chart interpretation services and yet I have had a number of people contact me through Instagram and email to request a chart reading. I turned down every request because at the time I did not feel quite ready or set up to offer professional readings beyond the casual readings I do for family and friends.

I have been so encouraged by this response however. I absolutely love using the tool of astrology to empower people through a greater understanding of who they are and where they are going. I hope to continue to make astrology more accessible to everyone, whether through consultations or through teaching/writing.

I also hope to invest more time into writing a book and making art! I’ll will not be posting lengthy forecasts each day, but I will continue to post the overview of the week’s transits each Monday, with additional sporadic posts throughout the week when I have time and feel inspired.

CHAPTER 8: The Total Solar Eclipse New Moon in Leo conjunct my ASCENDANT

 

Chapter 8 is yet to be written. The much anticipated Total Solar Eclipse on August 21st (also referred to as the Great American Eclipse) will occur at 28 degrees and 53 minutes of Leo. This is just two degrees ahead of my Leo rising degree at 26°. It will occur just after my Sun has left the 12 House, and entered my 1st – a transit that is usually marked by busyness and much activity. I do not know what the next season holds for me, but I will do my best to prepare for it!

I have an uneasy relationship with my Leo ascendant. It forms an inconjunct aspect to my 8th House Pisces Sun and Mercury, which makes these two key pillars of my personality, somewhat incompatible. Leo wants to be a leader. Leo wants to bring its unique form of creative self-expression into the spotlight. Leo wants to be noticed, right in the centre of all the activity – yet this is the last thing an 8th House Pisces Sun wants! The Sun rules the sign of Leo and the ruler of the sign on your Ascendant is also considered to be your chart ruler, therefore my Sun is also my chart ruler.  These two are intimately intertwined in my chart despite being incompatible!

This shy and private 8th House Pisces Sun and spotlight-seeking Leo Ascendant better learn to strike a truce in this coming year 🙂 As I mentioned, eclipses that occur on personal planets (or your Ascendant, which has just as much weight), indicate fast-moving change in the next 6 months.

Epilogue

 

Whew. I had no idea it would become this long when I started writing, but here we are, on the brink of the Capricorn Full Moon tonight.

Obviously many personal details have been omitted and there are numerous other significant cosmic correlations that I did not mention. For me though, it has still been beneficial to write all this out. I hope too, that for someone else who makes it to the end, there might be something that resonates.

There is no such thing as a “bad” transit. However, some transits are indeed more challenging than others to walk out. The sky is always in motion though. Impermanence is the name of the game. Change is the only constant, said Greek philosopher Heraclitus. Every transit is temporary. At the same time that you are undergoing a rough, slow-moving, outer planet transit, there are always other easier transits that are lighting up your chart simultaneously.

Even throughout my Saturn Return, as Chiron conjoins my Sun and Mercury, Pluto lends its transformative power to my Mid-heaven (cusp of the 10th House of career) through an easy trine, my Progressed Venus crossed my Mid-heaven last May, and Uranus is making all kinds of easy and inspiring aspects to personal planets in my chart.

My point is that good, light, easy stuff can happen simultaneously at the same time as darker, more challenging stuff. And even the more challenging stuff can produce good outcomes. It’s an astrological and life truth!

“Survival is Insufficient” 

– a line from Emily St. John Mandel’s novel, Station Eleven

I would love to get this line tattooed on me someday. Survival is insufficient. Humans desire more than survival. I believe a sense of meaning is as vital to human life as oxygen. Humans discover and create meaning in their lives in a variety of diverse ways. One key way that we can create meaning is through shaping our lives into stories. I write more about this in my section on Archetypes & Psychology.

I mentioned earlier that I lost interest in my life’s story in early 2016. I no longer cared what happened to the protagonist and how the story would end.

I didn’t need a happy ending. I needed a new story.

Astrology opened up me up to a multitude of story possibilities in my life. It highlighted numerous story ingredients in my chart – some flexible, some less so, but I realized that there were different ways that I could combine the pieces to construct a new story, or a new chapter of life if you will. Astrology also helped me make sense of previous life stories by providing me with a symbolic language and framework through which I could weave a cohesive, tangible narrative that my cognitive mind could then relax into.

I am constantly attacked by doubts and insecurities, but astrology has enabled me to ground my trust in something that transcends me. I have a foundation again. I’m not sure I’ve yet managed to erect the frame of this new life-building project, but I certainly have developed a blueprint, and I’ve definitely broken ground.

If you find yourself in a transitional liminal phase as I did, a period of egocide, a dark and challenging time, trust. Trust  in the process. Trust in the becoming. Even when you can’t see where you are going; cultivate trust.

This doesn’t mean being blindly optimistic that everything will always have a perfect happily ever after. Trust gives birth to hope, and hope is different than blind optimism. Hope is trusting, believing, that in a world of constant change and movement, even in the most dire of moments, there is always, always, always, the possibility and the potential for growth, for something bright and beautiful to come into being.

The constant orbiting motion in the cosmos continuously reminds us of the transformative possibilities and opportunities inherent in the cyclical nature of our universe; of the new beginnings birthed in every ending, of the hope that sustains every dark crisis.

 

 

© Lilith Rebellion All Rights Reserved for original content. If you quote my writing please attribute it properly & link back to my website.

5 Replies to “Astrological Autoethnography: My Saturn Return & Chiron Rx”

  1. What a wonderful post. Thanks so much for such honesty. It is such a breeze. I can relate to many of your waves and feel the same about astrology: a great tool for understanding and putting things in perspective when the flow of life gets too strong. This is my first reading of your blog and won’t be the last. Sincerely. K

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