sun, moon, rising

Astrology has me in its grips. Just like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, another personality typing tool that has interested me, astrology is a fun way to think about compatibility with other people, strengths, and flaws. But unlike personality tests, astrology is dynamic. As the heavens move, so do our personalities. My hormones come in monthly cycles, a pattern they share with the moon. Change can come in shocking and disruptive waves, like Mercury in retrograde, or it can creep, as Pluto does when it moves backwards across the sky.

Everyone has goodness inside of them, and everyone also has weakness and selfishness and cruelty. That is just the truth, but it is a hard pill to swallow when it’s about you. This truth, and other difficult truths, can be found in astrology. Sometimes they’re easier to hear when they’re from something that is, in theory, neutral about you. It’s easier to be generous with yourself and with others when you know that every sign has beauty and ugliness to it.

Likewise, every period of planetary movement has a negative framing and a positive one. Retrogrades, for example, get a bad rap, because Mercury famously fucks up all communication-related things when it moves retrograde (Mercury is the messenger of the gods in Greek and Roman mythology). But retrogrades are also periods of reflection, to sort out your internal compass, to take stock. Saturn is in retrograde right now. Saturn is about getting what we deserve; it’s about taking responsibility for ourselves. (Interestingly, Saturn is the titan who fathered Zeus, Hera, Hades, Poseidon, Demeter, and Hestia. Saturn overthrew his father, Uranus, to become lord of the universe, but was overthrown himself by his own son, Zeus. So Saturn knows something about karma.) In this retrograde, we should be asking ourselves what responsibilities (to ourselves and to others) have we been shirking? Where have we been falling short? Where can we be doing more?

Astrology helps me ask myself questions that can be scary to face alone. When I was reading about Saturn in retrograde and asking myself, how am I standing in my own way right now? How am I preventing myself from having what I want?, I came back to this little blog. I don’t feel certain about what I want to do for the rest of my life when it comes to a career, which is how I initially approached the question. But I do feel certain that writing is an art I want to do forever. I feel certain that I want to get better at it, that I want to explore different styles, that I would enjoy a larger platform if ever I had the opportunity. And I know that to get better, I have to actually write. I just have to do it. And that’s what I’m doing, after two episodes of WestWorld and some homemade rice pudding to gear me up.

I don’t believe that stars and planets control my life, but astrology enriches my life by pushing me towards truths I need to look in the eye and by holding myself accountable to my flaws while assuring me of my strengths (and often giving me something to strive for). It’s nice to be reminded that Leos love to give love and be loved. It’s necessary to be reminded that Leos can be judgmental and rigid. And it’s inspiring to be told that Leos are fearless. (Working on it…)

I’ve recently been enjoying learning more about my moon and ascendant signs. For anyone who has no interest in astrology, a quick summary: a sun sign is the sign associated with your date of birth (the one that’s easy to look up) and represents your personality, your ego. A moon sign represents your inner, emotional life, your subconscious. An ascendent sign (also known as a rising sign) represents how other people perceive you; the you that you present to the world. Anyway, my moon sign is Virgo. In contrast to my sun sign, Leo, which is often characterized as confident and authoritative, my moon sign is sensitive, shy, and anxious. I know I have all of that inside of me, even though those signs seem diametrically opposed. Astrology gives me room to be the entirety of myself without ever making me feel bad about it.

Sun, moon, and rising signs are just the beginning (although they are the beginning AND end of my understand of astrology for now). Astrology is all about complexity, which is so different from other personality typing tools. Part of the complexity is that astrology is also global, in addition to individual. It’s not just about one person’s personality and life; it’s about how planetary movements create moods that affect everyone.

I’m not sure how much deeper I’ll dive into astrology. I think there is a lot of value in it for myself, and as a queer, feminist site of knowledge production. For now, I read my horoscope to feel grounded and connected to myself. I am trying to change in the places I think I should, and make peace with where I can’t (for now), and feel the joy that my Leo-ness can bring me.

Astrological sources (I don’t know anything myself, I’m just enjoying other people’s understandings and readings):

Honestly Astrology

Cafe Astrology

Chani Nicholas

Astrology.com

Astro Poets

Queer Cosmos

And yes, I know I’m mixing up the Greek and Roman names for gods but WHATEVER!

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