When will I just feel happy?

With any path its easy to focus heavily on the goal. But being too goal oriented can hold you back from enjoying your experiences. When you’re on a self-improvement path there is a goal we often give ourselves which can do more damage than good. This is the goal of pure happiness.

In astrology the moon passes through different signs, evoking different focuses. It also changes phase from new moon to full moon, showing its different faces. The changeability of the moon is what makes it the planet that represents our emotions.

Because we are human, our feelings are meant to change. Like the moon, they shift through different phases. They change not only to help us respond appropriately to life, but more importantly to help us truly experience it.

When one is just emerging from depression, a technique used to measure progress is counting your happy days. In that case the success comes from more happy days than sad ones. However for those who have moved on from that stage, it can be hard to allow your emotions to flow without judging yourself for your ups and downs.

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Its time to refocus: what is the aim of your self-improvement path?

Is your goal really to maintain a permanent state of bliss? Like the moon, your feelings will change. No matter how much you prepare, most people will still feel a level of nervousness before a big event. Things not going your way will still cause some disappointment. Just remember that all these feelings are natural. Permanent bliss is just unrealistic.

It’s not about removing all negative feelings, it’s about how you approach them. Real power doesn’t coming from painting a smile on your face. It comes from being able to feel different feelings and truly enjoy them for reminding you that you are alive. We are not robots, and when we feel we experience life. Like the changing moon, it’s not healthy to get stuck in one emotion forever. The full moon may be beautiful, but the tides of the ocean would suffer for its beauty. Stagnation isn’t healthy in any state.

So if emotions should change, what should be your focus? Well, the real test is maintaining your perspective. If you have self belief and optimism for the future, then you can be sad without wallowing and nervous without stressing. You understand that what is happening in that moment is only happening now. Bittersweet or pleasurable, it won’t last forever. See how different you feel when you enjoy your emotion rather than judge it.

So don’t measure your progress in smiling faces, measure it by the strength of your perspective. If you can keep your belief in yourself and the future when today is bad, you’ll discover a resilience that’ll support you through.

So when will you just be happy? When you’re enjoying your emotions what ever they are, you’ll always be happy because you’ll know you have the power to keep going.

Use your moon forecast to reflect on your feelings. You’ll learn to appreciate their variety and discover the depth of your inner world.

north node

North Node and South Node – The Lifelong Compass

What is the North Node and why is it so important?

The North Node is a point in your chart which shows the qualities you need to develop in order to balance out the ones you naturally have. In contrast the South Node shows the area we feel most comfortable and naturally put a lot of effort. Because the North Node is unfamiliar, it always feels much more difficult to achieve.

When we only live in the manner of our South Node, we may feel comfortable but we often feel dissatisfied. It’s as if life constantly challenges us there. This is partially because that area is so important to us that any slight disruption sends us flying. When one thing is your whole world, everything there becomes a big deal.

north node

Even when we do achieve in our South Node area, without any North Node experiences it can seem quite empty.

In order to move forward and bring yourself and your life into balance, you must try your hardest to face your North Node challenges. You won’t always succeed first time, but the results will be much more satisfying if you stick with it. We always want to be growing from the South to the North.

Your North Node basically expands your perspective so you can solve old issues from your South Node with more wisdom, and in a better manner. It is your lifelong compass.

 

For further thoughts on the North and South Node:

Changing Perspectives on the North Node

South Node: Our Starting Place

 

12th house

The 12th House: Finding Your Feet

Most of us just move around from A to B, and we don’t spend too long thinking how we have got there. Occasionally, in more tricky situations like a crowd or on slippery stairs, we look down and focus; paying attention to each step helps us navigate the challenge. 

Our feet are the unsung heroes, often working overtime to take us a couple steps or many miles; at difference paces and in different styles. At the very least they hold us up. Yet they’re often seen as a socially unacceptable part of our body: hidden away, complained about, over used, and easily damaged. Essential and yet rejected— just like the 12th house. Frequently forgotten at the bottom, your 12th house can trip you up.

Whilst I’m not inclined to say that the 12th house is completely subconscious: like many an overworked foot, the 12th is far enough from our mind to be easily ignored.

But ironically, it is actually what keeps the rest of your chart standing. Without its support at the bottom, we can only hold our head up so high. That is why planets there can make or break your chart—earning the 12th house a name as the House of Self-Undoing.

People often forget that the 12th house is ruled by Neptune, the planet of divine love. It is not the same kind of personal love that Venus offers; it is love on a grand universal scale. The relationship we first have to ourselves, then our family, our community, and so forth is expanded to include everything. Consequently 12th house planets and signs need to be appreciated as they are our gateway to something bigger—a universal connection that we know as ’spirituality’.

However we need to simultaneously understand that planets here are meant to be somewhat behind the scenes. Feet don’t disappear when you’re not looking at them, but it would be ridiculous to walk around staring down all the time. You would miss what is in front of you, putting you out of touch with reality. This is how 12th house planets can lead to delusion.

The 12th house needs a different kind of attention. It is more of an intuitive feeling—where the sign and planets need to be felt and listened to without a constant need for visual proof or recognition. Much like the knowledge of a pin beneath your foot when you step on something sharp. We don’t need to be watching the floor the entire time to believe that a pin could really be there. So like every house, the 12th requires balance. We look down occasionally, but we generally have to trust that our feet know where they’re going.

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People with a lot of planets in the 12th need to learn to rely heavily on spiritual trust. Their planets will develop through intuition, rather than through reality. This house is the most creative house because it rules imagination, and nothing is more creative than imagination, because in there, everything is possible. Though some people might be put off by the lack of direction or boundaries, this is the kind of creative freedom and adaptability the 12th house offers. The 12th house is meant to inspire and be open to inspiration. The chance to take a sign or planet and make it more—a unique part of something bigger.

It’s actually the freedom of the 12th house which scares people. It is about re-imagining how the planets could be expressed. As mentioned earlier, the 12th house describes a universal connection, something which we are only a small part of. While this talks about the bigger picture, it doesn’t give any guidelines on a personal level. Our daily life is not the bigger picture, it’s about dealing with us. While other houses offer more direction, this house allows you to develop in whichever way your imagination chooses. The only guideline is this sense of spirituality.

For example, many people with their sun in the 12th house reject the idea of having an ego—a sense of individuality. In fact, having your sun in the 12th house does not mean that you have no ego, you just have to learn to set your own boundaries. The sun is a personal planet, but to have it in the 12th house means that a part of it is not personal. Part of it is about the universal connection. This means that you cannot progress until you realise that you are more than just your ego. You cannot remain self-centred all of the time because that would mean standing still with your eyes to the ground. But dealing on a grand scale we get lost. You have to find a way to make it personal to you as well as part of the bigger picture.

In a world where we are constantly influenced by society, our upbringing, and our family: the 12th is our undoing because we have total freedom. It is not what we have been conditioned to deal with. There are infinite possibilities, and that is frightening. But the more we reject whatever is represented by our 12th house, the more we trip ourselves up. People get scared at the freedom and do nothing because they fear the unknown. We may feel lost, but the 12th house is about trusting that we will get there as we learn to create ourselves. That is why the 12th house contains your hidden talents and intuitive gifts—it’s an ocean of untapped ability.

The fear of actually exploring this house is what keeps it repressed. But when it comes to the 12th house, often the only one who rejects those traits is you—because you see them as undesirable, weak or too sensitive. Ironically everyone else can see your 12th house as clear as day. Whether the planets there are internalised or exaggerated, they become defining traits of your personality. Due to the 12th house’s limitless nature, anything in there is expanded infinitely. It is deeply personal to you, but also how you connect to everything. Consequently, at your deepest level you are more your 12th house sign or planet than anything else. It is you at every level. In some sense, the highest level of intimacy into another person’s psyche happens when you get to know their 12th house. You may see within them something they don’t even understand about themselves.

Ultimately the best way to deal with the 12th house is to understand that awareness, acceptance and trust are all the proof we need. It’s important to know that having a full 12th house doesn’t mean you’ll never be popular, or famous, or successful: because this house at its purest is not about any of those things. It is about a strong spiritual connection that keeps you standing on faith alone. When you are not recognised, vulnerable, silenced, or crushed, your connection keeps you powering on. It brings a great inner acceptance of life and inner strength. And the reward for finding your feet is knowing that you will always stand tall.

 

North Node

Changing Perspectives on the North Node

The way we astrologers talk about the North Node is part of the problem. When we imply that it’s a goal, it can often seem like a distant target: too far and hard to ever reach. You’ll have to forgive us for this error, because it comes so naturally. We live in a world where things are measured by goals and achievements – so much so that we disregard the process of getting there. Even spiritually, we are all searching to become ‘complete’ or ‘to find ourselves’, looking for the answer that will pull our lives into place.

That’s why one of the major difficulties people face with their North Node comes from their attitude towards it. We need to learn to see the North Node as a path, not a destination.

If you think of the North Node as a destination, it becomes like a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. It promises true love, success, money and endless happiness – for those that can catch it. In reality, it’s a lot grittier. It’s a belief, a philosophy that you have to cling to at all times. Committing to this path means constantly being pulled and stretched outside your comfort zone, making you a fuller person. Your North Node is not some distant future person to become, but it is every decision you are making in the present.

It’s not about becoming the perfect example of your North Node. When you focus on living your North Node, your South Node doesn’t just stop existing. So to some extent you will always be both, and each side will be relevant.  Your South Node so natural to you that it will always be a part of your life. You will just approach it with a new attitude and fresh eyes. We all have a South Node – a way of acting which feel natural and makes us feel safe. And yet at the same time, gives us a comfortable, yet unsatisfactory life. To some people, ‘safety’ might be not taking any risks. But to others ‘safety’ may be felt when risking everything – it’s the quiet times that they find challenging.

A wise friend once said to me, “if this is the only life I have to experience ups and downs, then I might as well enjoy it.” Doing things outside your comfort zone, and trying things in a different way– those things are really hard. And we all have our own definition of what is ‘natural’ to us. With the North Node, you won’t always get the results you want first time, but you’ll learn a lot from the experience. Often it can even seem to make things worse, when in actual fact you are making stronger decisions for your future. Sometimes it doesn’t appear to make a difference at all. However, a big part of following your North Node means enjoying these inevitable ups and downs. As you come to see that they make your life more colourful, you’ll appreciate the fact that you did things differently.

So as you can see, the hardest part of the North Node is really believing in your path: because the road less travelled always comes with more doubts. But it’s always the one that gives the best results. If you’re familiar with the North Node then this is something you know, so now it’s the time to have faith and really commit.

To live your North Node requires you to believe in it and to try. So as long as you are trying, you are always following your North Node. Because it’s not something you become, it’s the way you live your life. When we look back on our lives it’s not what we achieved that is interesting, but how we go there and the stories we have to tell as a result. In reality there is no destination – only the satisfaction you’ll get as you open yourself up to a new perspective and appreciate different parts of yourself.

 

(Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/redvers/532076662)

star sign

Star/Sun Signs: Your Higher Purpose

We all grow up knowing our ‘star sign’. It is always holds a spot in a newspaper, and it’s ingrained in the memory of even the most sceptical critic. Yet oddly enough, the first thing you realise when you first learn astrology is that you are more than just your star sign. This sign which dominated your understanding of astrology suddenly becomes one of many different and complex elements to understand. When you first have your chart read it is a like a torch has been shone into your life; your behaviour becomes meaningful and a full picture of your personality comes out. Suddenly astrology becomes an important and applicable psychological tool.

This is why many astrologers and astrology enthusiasts resent ‘star’ or Sun signs for the shallow picture they paint. As an astrologer myself, I have seen how Sun signs have often held back a positive conception of astrology, making it appear much more reductionist and arbitrary, as I discussed in my article ‘Why Astrology?’.When you know that astrology tells you so much more, it is frustrating to see everyone judge it on such a basic level.

That is why it may come as a surprise to many when I say that your ‘star’ or Sun sign, whilst one of many factors, is still the most important and influential part of your chart. No matter what your rising sign is or the house where you find your Sun, the actual sign sets the attitude which will dominate your life. While you are more than just your sun sign, it is the core of your identity– whether you accept it or not.

Think of your personality as a painting. If the houses are represented by a different colour, then a lot of blues or purples and a lack of pinks will tell you where your focus lies. If the planets and their aspects are represented by the objects in the image then again you will see which bits draw the most focus. The house of your Sun has a special role as the brush in which everything is painted. It taints every area of the painting with its own distinctive style. However, it is your Sun sign which represents the actual painter.

Deep down it is all our little differences and details that make us who we are. It is what makes us individual. It is also true that you’ll feel your Sun’s house, and Moon’s sign/house on a much deeper level. But being one of 12 zodiac signs is what gives us a grander sense of connection. Often, thinking on a broader and more general scale allows us to connect with others. The more we get caught up in details, the easier it is to feel our differences from one another. It is like belonging to a culture—it grounds us and serves as the set up from which we can grow. It shapes our values, while allowing us to work out which ones we want to keep, and which ones need to go. However more so than this it sets a higher purpose—it brings order and meaning to the house of our Sun. Throughout your chart it is always the sign which first sets the scene. It sets the tone and attitude, while the planets bring different energies.

Though some people find it difficult to associate with their ‘star’ or Sun sign, this is really representative of a deeper issue in which they do not feel proud of themselves for who they naturally are. Family, early environments and society can often favour and value certain kinds of people and see them as more successful contributions to society. This is why Pisceans and Librans often find it harder to really know themselves. Initially a lot of their natural traits are regarded as too dreamy and sensitive, or other-oriented and co-dependent to be acceptable. They do not naturally fit in with a more dominant and work oriented larger social order. However, repressing your natural sun sign can have a much worse effect.

While Sun sign astrology has its downfalls as a simplified version of a complex art, it has remained relevant for so long for a reason. It shouldn’t be the only thing we know when we think of astrology, but we should all find a way to be proud of our own star sign. The more we can embrace it, the more we can find value in the way that we naturally are. Deferring to the Sun’s house alone robs us of the higher purpose we bring to those activities. Maybe sometimes it’s not so bad to generalise after all.

South Node

The South Node: Your Starting Place

In your chart, there’s a point that you should look for to find focus in your life. This point is called the North Node. It has achieved an almost mythic status in astrology as your ‘karmic destiny’ or soul’s true goal—the path which leads to ultimate personal development.

The South Node, on the other hand, gets a bad rap. It’s said to represent the ‘old you’—the kind of behaviour you’ve done to death that keeps you held back in life, unhappy and doomed. But its not all doom and gloom. The South Node is really your starting place. It’s the position on your track that gives you a direction in the first place. As in any race, it’s probably not a good idea to dawdle there for too long, but with no starting place there is no measure of your personal growth.

So how to think of the South Node?

Imagine you are really good at baking carrot cake. You love baking it and you make it every time people come round. After a while, even though you make an amazing carrot cake, people might start to get bored or they might go on a diet which means they avoid cake entirely.

Faced with a dip in your fans, you shouldn’t stop making it, but maybe you should use your carrot cakes skills to do more. Learn to make other cakes with carrot as a speciality, or develop allergy intolerance versions. You don’t need to make a business out of it, but you could keep baking as your wind down release after a long week at work.

The point is, it’s not about losing your South Node skills, it’s about using their opposite node to make them something more.

A lot of people see planets of their South Node as a sign of doom and gloom. Sun on the South Node might be seen as a sign that who you are will constantly hold you back in life! In reality it means you are born with an extremely strong sense of what you do best. On the other hand, sun on the North Node means it’ll take you longer to find what you do best, as you may constantly feel challenged there.

The nodes are also about balance, and any planet on your South Node tells you that erasing that behaviour completely will erase a part of who you are.  At some point you’ll recognise that the planet you have on your South Node is not all that you are, and you’ll find a way to be more. But it’s worthwhile being grateful for your natural skills in the process.

So ironically, the nodes are a lesson in having your cake, and eating it too. It’s using your fame to bring attention to the plight of others, or making a career of your ability to care. What ever your path, it all begins with the South Node, so it’s something you should appreciate as you move on to more.

Saturn

Saturn the Incredible: What Will You Become?

Many people talk about Saturn in terms of  limits and what you need to overcome. And it’s true, Saturn points to the area  in which you’ll receive the most challenges. But what is most important about Saturn is not the  depressive  tale of the challenges you overcame, but what you will become as a result.

This is why Saturn is one of the most important planets to focus on in your chart, especially for self development. The sun tells us who we are, and the moon tells us how we feel and what touches us most deeply . But Saturn shows who you can become.

Why become anything at all?

Saturn rules Capricorn, a sign concerned with reputation. To some the idea of focusing on your reputation seems materialistic or superficial, but that is more a reputation built on others opinions. Your Saturn is really about your reputation of yourself. It is a standard you hold yourself to that keeps your head high. It keeps you respecting yourself when no one else does and truly functioning as  a mature and wise individual. That is the potential of your Saturn.

We all have our own Saturn sign, house and aspects—our own individual way of feeling mature. The self respect that maturity brings is invaluable. A lot of our downfalls in life come back to the times we have disrespected ourselves. When we let friends and family use us, when we stay in jobs that depress us, or missing out on opportunities because we simply couldn’t organise ourselves. In each case we have disrespected ourselves by lowering the quality of our life experiences. That’s why your Saturn return is such a big changing point. The first Saturn return (between the ages 28-30) can be a crisis for many people who suddenly stop and realise that they’ve wasted the first third of their life, disrespecting themselves by not being mature enough to make their life truly worth living.

Saturn can affect your public reputation because eventually the internal maturity you’ve been hiding from will become clear to people around you. People may see you as unreliable, or lack respect for the things you say. As Saturn also rules commitment, people may also sense your lack of commitment to yourself and be non-committal with you too. Like attracts like and so the first step is always one you take with yourself.

People often associate Saturn with fear, but that’s because it’s easier to disregard or hide from something we see as difficult than it is to face it. As much as may be achieved on a spiritual level, if you do not achieve all you can in your Saturn area you will be out of balance and incomplete.

To understand and work on your Saturn is to take responsibility for your life and who you become. That’s why it can seem boring, too mature, or overwhelming, because on some level it is the most serious commitment you will make in your life. But on the other hand, it leads to the most fulfilling life you can live, and the ability feel capable and hold yourself in the highest regard. Life is more fun when you are not limited by your fears or inabilities. Which is why when you follow on your Saturn, you become incredible.

 

square

Why are Sagittarius and Pisces incompatible?

I’ve written this post in honour of Saturn in Sagittarius square Neptune in Pisces, but I’ve taken a slightly different approach. With big events like these it can be easy to miss some basic questions which actually help us to understand what’s really going on. In this case the basic question is WHY exactly does Sagittarius square Pisces?

“Why are Sagittarius and Pisces incompatible?” My friend asked, “Is it because of some sort of Jupiter-as-ruler rivalry? Because I can see loads of similarities between them: I think they go well together.”

Normally when you think of sun sign astrology, the answer is simple: one is fire and one is water- and fire and water don’t go. But if you look at the natal chart, the answer is actually mathematical.

“Because they square one other,” I replied. “A square is like similar energies but a different expression. Not a complete contrast but more like the energies are operating on different levels so it’s hard to merge them. Actually in an equal house chart, Pisces always squares Sagittarius because they’re 90 degrees apart. It’s a mutable thing.”

I think this is something beautiful in the natal wheel that’s easy to forget. The circular nature of the chart reveals as many secrets as the planets and signs. In the circle 90 degrees is a square aspect, two energies intimately locked in a battle for expression. There’s no easy flow but they can work together. See Pisces squares Sagittarius, but it also squares Gemini. And it directly opposes Virgo. Looking at the circular chart, each mutable sign squares the previous and the next, and opposes the one 180 degrees away. This is the same for any modality group.

 

It’s a philosophical thing

In astrology the signs can be interpreted as philosophical concepts, the philosophy of the sky. The mutable signs all deal with mutable energy, but they express it in different ways. Similarly they deal with ‘mutable’ philosophical concepts. Believe it or not (it’s your Piscean choice), but all these things are in constant change- that’s why they’re mutable. Gemini is knowledge and facts, Sagittarius is truth and meaning, Pisces is belief and perception, and Virgo is reality and order. But let’s not forget their slightly difficult relationship to each other. What does it actually mean to square, or oppose, something? It doesn’t mean the existence of one thing cancels out the other; in fact when it comes to oppositions they can be almost mutually exclusive and just exist in their own right. Let’s have a look.

Say you believe (Pisces) in the afterlife and its true (Sagittarius), it does exist. You can’t reliably collect facts (Gemini) to prove it because you have to die first, and the afterlife is technically not real (Virgo) because reality is something tangible. So here we see that mutable signs can work together, in this case Sagittarius and Pisces. But they can also contradict each other and be incompatible. But this incompatibility doesn’t actually undermine the validity of any other concept. This is how oppositions can be challenging.

You may have noticed that in Astro-philosophy, facts and reality are actually mutable concepts and not fixed as some people might believe. That’s because facts, though seemingly set in themselves, have to be collected to draw a conclusion. And the conclusion can alter depending on how many facts you collect. Ask anyone with strong Gemini in their charts – their opinion is so changeable because they are always learning new things every day!

Let me give you another example to explain what I mean- I’m not a scientist so let’s not take everything here too literally. Imagine a town where the population is 160,000. Say we take a random sample of 125,000 people and ask them whether they like chocolate. If 60,000 people say they like chocolate, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to conclude that about half the population of the town probably like chocolate, as the sample size is relatively large (I’m assuming they would make this kind of conclusion!). But say we then sample all 160,000 people, and still only 60,000 like chocolate. We’re now down to 38% of the population liking chocolate and so consequently our conclusion has changed! And people’s preferences could change over time too with different experiences.

We could keep trying to collect more and more facts to get the perfect conclusion, but ultimately we can’t keep this Gemini-like behaviour up forever as nothing would get done. Remember air is mental, but it is also passive- we need some fire action to move forward now! At some point we need to stop collecting and start concluding to get any real results.

So now we have to use our subjective perception (Pisces) of how many facts (Gemini) make something true (Sagittarius) before you can come to a conclusion about reality (Virgo). Consequently our truth is always dependant on experience. And remember, all those elements are equally important. If we only collected facts and never drew any conclusions, the facts have no real meaning; if we keep coming up with truths without ever checking to see if our truths match up with the world, our truths would be meaningless too. So in one sense, even though they can both exist in their own right, oppositions give meaning to the opposite sign by providing balance to the other’s pursuits by demanding an alternative action.

As I mentioned earlier, many secrets can be found in the natal wheel itself. To remove one corner of the wheel is to ruin its perfect circular shape – it no longer represents the flow of life. Similarly, if say Gemini is on the ascendant and starts the natal chart: to never progress beyond that to Virgoean, Sagittarian and Piscean experiences is to stay undeveloped and immature. The natal wheel works because it is a wheel (and not ever described merely as a circle). It is always spinning, always moving, like the astrological months we move through.

Though we live in a world where Gemini-type knowledge seems to be most respected, the other mutable concepts are equally valid to our experience of being human; which is what mutable energies really represent. They encompass the changeability of humans, our shadow sides and fundamentally unstable nature. No one stays the same forever; all experiences impact and change us.

So back to the original question: why are Pisces and Sagittarius incompatible if they both represent expressions of our humanity? Well the answer  is – they’re not. Well, not necessarily, but they can be because they have a tricky relationship – a square. If we cast our mind back to the beginning we’ll remember my description of a square between mutable signs. Both energies might be similar, but they operate on different levels which makes them hard to merge. They’re in conflict in a different way to Sagittarius and Gemini. They do not balance each other, but to get from Sagittarius to Gemini on our mutable journey we must pass through the midpoint of Pisces. So their relationship is important, as Pisces plays an important step. But what does this mean for Sagittarius and Pisces? Well we have to look at the concepts that these signs represent.

There is tension here because Sagittarius, though moving away from purely tangible ideas, still operates through the realm of the mind, with grand ideas learned through experience. Whilst the energy of Pisces, though also working on a grand scale, operates purely on the unseen, unconscious and collective levels: where personal experience is second to things known on an intuitive basis. The two can come to the same conclusion, but not without compromise to the purity of what the other represents. This is in essence the root of the square; learning compromise.

As we can see, by taking into account the action and creativity of fire, the emotion of water, the thought of air, and the logic of earth, astrology is an amazing philosophy of life. Not only providing planets, signs and aspects which can be used to represent in a simple form the vast complexities of human experience; it also reflects our existence back into the universe which created us, and we all know we are made of stars.

 

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