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] Continue reading “Astrological Autoethnography: My Saturn Return & Chiron Rx”

Pluto Transits: Don’t confuse the mission with the side effects!

I will preface this post by stating that my life experiences and study of astrology have led me to believe in a purposeful Universe that is continuously working toward positive growth and ultimately good outcomes (granted, in a very mysterious big picture kinda way). That’s a simplistic sentence for which I can point to no hard proof, but I am stating my biases regardless 🙂 This belief shapes my worldview, my philosophy on life and astrology, and my writing. Someone with a different worldview would perceive the planetary archetypes/energies differently.

Yesterday as Venus squared Pluto, I saw a lot of online warnings about Pluto’s side effects, as I call them. This happens during any Pluto transit, or Scorpio / 8th House related transit – since Pluto is the landlord of the 8th House and the modern ruler of Scorpio, they all share similar energies.

I think it is important not to confuse Pluto’s mission with its (often uncomfortable) side effects! The side effects occur when our psyches, emotions, bodies, and soul react to Pluto’s movements across the sky (or Pluto/Scorpio/8th House in our natal charts) – especially when Pluto is making a more challenging aspect to another planet (such as a conjunction, square or opposition). But let’s not get stuck with the side effects and ignore Pluto’s intended medicinal action!

Stay with me while I personify our dear planet of Hades.

Pluto wants you to be fearless. To reach fearlessness, you must face your fears. Facing fears often involves experiencing them – you have to touch them to conquer them.

Pluto wants you to transform and change. But transformation and change is scary because it involves letting go of what is familiar to us. Thus some of the side effects kick in as we try to maintain control in our lives – a hunger for power, manipulating others, obsessions and possessiveness. The challenge is to see a Pluto transit as an invitation to transform and move beyond the resistance which produces the side effects.

Steven Forrest writes that “Pluto forces us to stare into the ultimate meaninglessness of our existence… and to face the elemental futility of life.”

I’ve been doing a lot of abyss-gazing into the gaping hole of absurdity these days, and it can be a painful and dark, soul-wrenching experience.

Humans need meaning in life like they need oxygen. When we are forced to face existential questions of meaning (questions which often emerge following loss in our lives), we have access to the potential gifts of insight, self-awareness, and a deeper sense of meaning and purpose than we have ever known before. There are few things more valuable than that. But the side effects? Despair and hopelessness are common risks on route to these gifts.

Pluto wants you to acquire an inner peace that will not be shaken – no matter how volatile, unpredictable and chaotic the world becomes.

Pluto wants you to confront the shame and secrets you carry and bring them to the light where they will wither, freeing you from their chains and ushering in a much deeper sense of self-compassion and self-worth.

But as always, there are no shortcuts. These precious gifts must be earned. On route to inner peace and self-acceptance we encounter Pluto’s uncomfortable side effects again. We may feel acutely vulnerable, ashamed and anxious; aware of our mortality, faults, and weaknesses.

I’m not denying the uncomfortable side effects, or their association with Pluto’s transits, but I believe it is beneficial to remember that the side effects are not the point. They are not the end-goal. Perhaps struggling with some of these side effects may be a necessary part of the journey toward the destination, but keeping your focus on Pluto’s ultimate mission will prevent you from being completely overtaken by the medicine’s side effects.

And once you come through Pluto’s underworld? You are like the Phoenix; the highest expression of the Scorpio archetype. No longer crawling on the ground like the Scorpion, you have walked through Pluto’s fires. You have died and been reborn with wings. Newly armed with spiritual and emotional resilience, you now have the fortitude to walk with others through their own dark journeys.

Sounds dramatic? I’m speaking in mythic terms and what we experienced yesterday was a fleeting Venus-Pluto transit that will dissipate quickly. However, Pluto remains in orbit, Scorpio still claims 30 degrees of the zodiac wheel, and the 8th House finds its niche in each one of our birth charts. Pluto’s invitation to transform is always a constant call. It’s just that some days this call is more piercingly sharp than other days.

As Pluto challenged Venus on Thursday – our planet of love, relationships, beauty,  pleasure, art, self-worth, and finances, currently moving through the sign of Aries, asking us to courageously pursue our heart’s desires – did you feel any side effects? I did. Fear, doubts and insecurities, vulnerability, withdrawal, discouragement, and intense emotional reactions were all present for me yesterday.

Transiting Saturn (opposite transiting Mars) is also forming an exact square to my natal Sun and Mercury cazimi today. Saturn too,  has its gifts and its trials; its mission and its side effects. I’m wading through the swamp, scanning the murky waters for submerged jewels as my toes sink into the slime and the warm glow of the opposite shoreline beckons in the distance.

Stay the course loves, the astro weather is pretty rough until after Monday. Moderate and bear with the side effects while plumbing the depths of these transits for their gold. Remember that all transits are temporary and we all get to share in the experience of global transits together 🙂

Taurus New Moon RETAKE :: A Personal Reflection

Have you ever wondered why sometimes a daily global horoscope (like my cosmic weather forecasts ) doesn’t make any sense at all for where you are at, while other times it seems right on point?

The cosmos is always in motion. There are so many different types of transits happening simultaneously. There are the present-day worldwide planetary transits and aspects, but the way that these global planetary configurations intersect and interact with your personal astrological birth chart will be unique to you. Furthermore, the cosmos may be creating completely different aspects with the planetary imprints in your birth chart, activating potentialities and tendencies that no one else is experiencing.

It all boils down to the question: which transit is making the most noise in your life today? Imagine you are trying to tune into a certain radio station, but you keep getting a bunch of frequencies coming in at the same time. Which frequency is coming through most clearly? Similarly, which transit is having the strongest impact on you today? You could be experiencing a personal transit that is impacting your chart so strongly that it is drowning out the energy frequency of a global transit. You would need to know how to read a natal chart or get the help of an astrologer to figure this out.

So yesterday there was a New Moon in Taurus and I had big plans to spend the day doing all sorts of relaxing, grounding, Taurus-themed activities. However, this New Moon in Taurus (a transiting Sun-Moon conjunction in my 9th house) was in opposition to my natal Pluto (in my 3rd house of the mind). This meant that yesterday, the day of the New Moon, felt a lot more intense and ungrounded than I had anticipated for me personally.

A Sun-Pluto opposition is a challenging tense aspect where the confident life-giving Sun (representing the ego) is having a confrontation with Pluto, the planet of death and rebirth, which is associated with humanity’s shadow side, our vulnerabilities and our fears. A Sun-Pluto opposition is a tug-of-war between light and darkness, hope and fear.

So within the 24-hour period of this personal Sun-Pluto aspect going exact, I felt unusually threatened, unsafe and vulnerable (Pluto) during a late night walk alone, during which two black cars kept recklessly racing each other up and down the street. I felt uncomfortably noticed by the cars’ occupants – so much so that I called someone and went to great lengths to change my route home. I also walked right passed a dead black bird (Pluto) which never happens, and then I spent most of Wednesday reading frightening predictions of an upcoming eclipse and the tough times the world is headed into. My mind was obsessed with these topics (Pluto in the 3rd house) and I had to really struggle (Sun opposite Pluto) against the temptation to fall into fearful thinking patterns in the face of a world that seems so chaotic, dangerous and out of control.

No transit or aspect is inherently “bad”. Facing our shadow, our fears, our vulnerabilities, and the inevitability of death, is not a bad thing. Working through Pluto themes can be a healthy life-giving process as we come through to the other side. However, this aspect did override that lovely Taurus energy that would have otherwise been accessible for me on Wednesday.  Continue reading “Taurus New Moon RETAKE :: A Personal Reflection”