The progressed moon through the houses and shifts in life focus

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Moon-Girl by Stephanie Wild

I once had a friend named Roy. Roy was a business man with a keen interest in Astrology. He taught me about lunar progressions and what they mean in terms of life stages.

Roy was living in Amsterdam many years ago, and for the life of him he couldn’t make any business deals work. He had all the right contacts, he was networking in all the right places, meeting all the right people, but nothing went to plan. At this point Roy already had a good understanding of astrological natal charts and transits, but nothing here quite added up. He was living in his own personal dark ages – there must be some reason – he thought… It wasn’t for while that he learned about lunar progressions.

Little did he know it, but Roy’s progressed moon was in the 12th house. As soon as his progressed moon crossed over into the first house the business connections started happening, as if by magic. He went to meet a friend, who it turned out had left the country and Roy was able to pick up the business his friend had left behind and make a good amount of money very quickly.

Years later, Roy was living in Amsterdam with his partner, a vivacious woman Jules. Roy and Jules would go out to parties often, however she found that no one would really talk to her. She made no friends. She was lonely and isolated. Having experienced his own 12th house moon progression, Roy recognised the signs and sure enough – Jules’ progressed moon had also moved into the 12th house. He reflected that as soon as it crossed over again into the first house the phone wouldn’t stop ringing with friends calling for Jules, she made friends easily and was able to resume being a social butterfly again.

Roy told me other stories of the progressed moon in the 12th house. A friend of his was a jewellery maker in Amsterdam but could not sell any of his jewellery, no matter how hard he tried. Every week he would get a little bit of dole money and buy some silver and make a few rings. He managed to amass a large stock of rings over the few years of his progressed moon going through the 12th house. As soon as it crossed over into the first house he met a guy who owned a shop in the red light district who was keen to stock his jewellery in the front window. It all sold out in a month or two, and the 12th house transit paid off.

The progressed moon charts the emphasis of our lives – where your heart is – as Roy said. It takes around 2.5 years to go through a house, although sometimes it is shorter or longer, depending on the angles of the houses. As it goes through the house it carries the emphasis of the house meaning. You can find your progressed chart for free at astro.com, in the extended chart selection, just enter your birth details and select ‘progressed chart’ instead of ‘natal’.

In the first house, it is all about you – emerging into the world, new beginnings, new adventures. Self esteem, self love. It takes on the qualities of action, of Aries. This is a time to act, to be assertive, to be confident. Lessons of the first house may involve challenges to identity – identity crisis, losing a sense of self and finding oneself again.

In the second house the progressed moon focuses on security and material stability – on the physical and on comfort. This is time to hold your ground – or to find your ground. This is time to delight in simple pleasures and to ponder values. Lessons of the second house may involve losses or substantial gains to property. This is also a good time to focus on looking after your body by nourishing  yourself well.

In the third house it is all about communication. This is a time to write, to connect, to think and share, to go on short journeys and address issues with siblings. If you have been thinking about starting a blog or a journal or writing letters – this is the time. You may encounter challenges of communication or problems with siblings during this time you may feel childish or patronised.

In the fourth house the emphasis is on home – on roots – on ancestry – on the family. This is probably not a good time to travel or move overseas (unless you are moving home or to an ancestral home). During this time you may encounter problems with ‘home’ – you may be forced to move. This is all part of the learning of the fourth house. remember the deepest roots are not ones that can be taken from you. This is an important time for self care, you are more likely to feel sensitive and to try to protect yourself. Learn how to nurture yourself well. Revel in the comfort blanket.

In the fifth house there is a strong focus on what we can create. Do you have a hobby? Do you lack one? Do you want to make more meaningful creations? Do you want to have children? These are some of the questions of the fifth house. This is the natural home of Leo. The lessons here are about play, performance, creativity. This is also a good time to start a blog, take up painting, photography, or join a theater group… that kind of thing. The challenges you will face may arise around questioning your purpose in life and your self-worth, in setting out to do the kind of creating you feel compelled to do – or in struggling to find a worthwhile kind of creation that you feel confident in doing. Friendship is very important to this time, and you may encounter difficulties with close friends which teach you more about yourself.

In the sixth house the emphasis is on work. Hard work. Analysis. You may feel like a slave to your work or to your home. You may feel your efforts are not acknowledged or rewarded enough. This is a chance to develop your skills at meticulous work, at finer details, at critical analysis. The work you do now will pay off and you have the opportunity to work your way into a life of more freedom. This is the sign of Virgo, analysis and hard work. Facing the hard stuff will have lasting results.

In the seventh house the focus is on relating – on partnership. This may be a time when relationships become central. Romantic relationships and other kind of partnerships (eg: business) take on a greater significance. Relationships are largely based on projection and expectations – and that is the primary learning here. Become as aware as possible about your expectations of the other, and about what these say about you. You may take on a stronger interest in balance, harmony, peacefulness, beauty and aesthetics during this time.

In the eighth house these two or so years will be spent understanding depth, power dynamics and other Scorpio themes. The eighth house is INTENSE. It is the deep, dark, the esoteric. Your progressed moon in the eighth house will likely compel you to seek to understand power or get subconsciously caught up in power games. If your relationship focus from the 7th house continues it will change substantially. You will seek more from life – more experience, more depth, more challenge. You may become overly cynical. Watch out for your own dark side. Lean on empathy. Power without empathy is hollow and unfulfilling.

In the ninth house the focus shifts to a much broader lens. You will become interested in wider philosophy and theory, in exploration and travel – either in the mind or in the outer world. You may develop new spiritual understandings or join a different school of thought. Your thirst for depth from the eighth house will develop into a quest for knowledge, research and understanding. You may seek to develop a platform to share ideas, you may yearn to spend more time in nature.

In the tenth house your journey towards greater philosophical ideas will shift from the theoretical into the practical. How can you influence the world? If you previously have shown little interest in career development this is the time in which you may feel compelled to find a vocation, or it may be time for a career shift towards one that is more fulfilling. You may feel powerless, you may need to confront childhood issues with an authoritarian figure (eg: father/mother/teacher). This time is the right time to keep casting your rod into the ocean, you will eventually catch a fish or at least learn a lot in the process. Be practical. Take the opportunities that arise and shape them into ones that fit your values, don’t just sit around waiting to be discovered. Learn to fail, and to process rejection and find strength in vulnerability. These are very important lessons. You are finding your place in the world. Look to your midheaven sign and any strong aspects for the nature of your lessons.

In the eleventh house you take your new place in the world in a different direction. This is a time for networking, meeting new acquaintances and socialising. This is also a time when you may feel more detached from personal turmoil and more interested in humanitarian pursuits. How do you want to improve the world? What issues do you care most about? You may feel compelled to get involved in activism, charity or volunteer work. You may be interested in learning to use new technology for greater communication and to have a further reach. You may connect more with people over the internet.

In the twelfth house you may gather, as the first part of this post is all about the twelfth house, that this time is a time when things in the outer world do not tend to go to plan. This is an inner-focused time, a time for deep self-work. Roy told me: the work you do at this time won’t seem like it’s doing much but the results will show later. He also said: Go somewhere where they bring you food. Wouldn’t that be nice? Lock yourself away in a convent if you have the opportunity, go on silent meditation retreats, spend a lot of time doing flow activities, yoga, journalling, walking in nature – if you have such luxury. The biggest thing to remember is not to have too many expectations of yourself or of your life at this point. Inner processing is important. It may feel like your creative projects, your career, your social life or your goals can’t seem to gain any traction. It may feel like everything is going backwards. This is the inner part of a big spiral, where things seem to become very circular. Do the work. This time, as it relates to Pisces, reflects the lessons of ALL THE OTHER SIGNS COMBINED. Work through them as they arise. Your Saturn work will help you now. Your hard work will pay off, especially if you learn to question yourself. If you cannot face shame and the shadow now you may be prone to megalomania when the Sun progresses back to the first house. This is a very good time for therapy.

Sometimes healing sucks: Chiron rising, the problem with progress, and Inanna in the underworld

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Collage by Stephanie Wild

The problem with the idea of healing is that the narrative of progress does not always fit well with reality. Life is both a process of growth and of entropy, and many many other things. I find myself, amidst this life, focusing always on getting better – on progress, healing, renewal.

Chiron, the asteroid symbolising the wounded healer, was rising at the time of my birth. It sits in my 12th house, in Gemini. Chiron conjuncts my North Node, linking it closely with my learning in this life. I still have a lot of unpacking to do around understanding these prominent aspects of my chart but I can tell you what it resonates with so far in my life.

Chiron rising conjunct my North Node for me coincides with a life focusses around healing and teaching. As a young child I felt a deep hopelessness at my atheist upbringing. I developed a paralysing phobia of death due to phychological abuse from about age six. Around that age I also had a kind of spiritual epiphany – a vision of connectivity – of people holding hands over the world – a sudden deep understanding of empathy. These are all very 12th house themes. My childhood trauma seems to coicide with early Pluto transits – adding to the death themes. Around the age of 12 I developed depression which I spent many years working through – with counselling, shamanic work and various kinds of paganism (in my teens), and then meditation, copious affirmations, hypnotherapy, energy healing, more counselling and writing (in my 20s). I have done so much healing: food/nutrition based healing, yoga, journalling… basically every kind of healing I came across that resonated in order to try to deal with chronic illness and chronic fatigue. A huge thread through my life story has been healing in one form of another.

By now, in my early 30s, I would expect to be really good at it. I have a couple of decades of actively seeking out, learning and participating in healing processes – and teaching them as well. But life is full of challenges – difficult transits like Chiron squaring my natal Neptune and also (simultaneously) Neptune squaring my natal Chiron. Going through journeys of losing faith and re-growing it, the pain of psychological dying giving way to the pain of psychological rebirth. So much healing.

Healing for me has taken on a very different process, in recent years. It is no longer about crystals and guided visualisations as it was in my teens, or about re-programming my mind with beneficial thoughts and tracing back my past life lessons as it often was in my 20s. Post Saturn return, my healing process is mostly about journalling and paying attention – cultivating my ability to listen to deep intuition, and also every form of self-care that makes sense to me. Astrology, a language I began to learn in my early 20s, has been very useful to me in understanding the learning that I am currently going through – every transit is surprisingly relevant to my life, and the knowledge of the transit’s lessons, challenges and opportunity helps me to get the most out of the difficulties.

Sometimes healing sucks. Probably, most of the time. It is hard. it is painful. It often requires trying multiple things that don’t work before, hopefully, we find something that does. I like to use metaphors for the psyche based on biology and ecological systems: some wounds require intervention in order to heal – we must clean out the pus and muck, untangle and separate ourselves from the things we are caught up in, remove psychic splinters. Other wounds need to be rested in order to heal – too often we think of ourselves as we think of doctors – as active agents of healing, however the real healing is not an active process, just as doctors themselves do not heal. In order to heal, we must remove all obstacles to the healing process which is a natural process.

When I am going through painful healing processes my main coping strategies for this kind of thing are going for walks and journaling. Also – doing all the things I know that help me to take care of myself – which are not always the things that are easy and comfortable. When I am going through a difficult time I want to stay in bed and eat junk food but that leads to feeling worse! The problem with knowing all about healing is that you have high expectations for yourself and want to feel like you are progressing. The processes of healing often don’t feel like that. It can feel hopeless and hard – a big struggle with no clear light at the end of the tunnel.

Sometimes healing sucks because it doesn’t feel like we are making progress at all – and we feel like we should already know how to deal with this shit by now! Sometime the fixation I have with progress – with always getting better – just makes me feel worse. Awareness of this allows me the opportunity to release my grasp on the fixation with progress. I do not need to be always getting better. Life is a process that will always lead to death – ageing and entropy are inevitable if we life long enough. There is still so much to accept here. These topics can be terrifying psychological terrain to tread. When we do stumble upon them the dread sets in, we have stepped towards the shadow, across the boundaries of light and into the underworld.

In Sumerian mythology, Inanna’s descent into the underworld provides a wonderful metaphor for the suffering and pain of such a journey. The goddess Inanna is often archetypal linked to Venus, the divine feminine aspect, the goddess self. Inanna journeys into the underworld to meet her sister Ereshkigal. To prepare for the journey she dresses elaborately, with lapiz lazuli, her garments represent her power, but along the journey, each of the seven gates she passes through force her to remove her garments and jewelery,  piece by piece stripping her of her power. These are the snags along the dark path we tread into our own shadows. When she reaches Ereshkigal, the dark feminine archetype, Inanna is naked. Ereskigal and the seven judges shout at Inanna and murder her. She is hung on a hook. Three days and three nights pass before the god Enki helps to resurrect Inanna. She is reborn, just as we may be when we emerge from deep painful healing, cutting away the deadwood of our lives, clearing space to make way for new life to grow.

We are good at celebrating the light and success – we also need to learn to honour death, to sit with pain, understand anguish, to embrace struggle, and to accept the inevitable, when it arrives.

 

 

 

 

“Good enough”: the power of modest affirmations

A few days ago I was having an episode of crazy – of not feeling good enough – of all kinds of ridiculous internal pressures. That happens… and often there is this pressure to be AMAZING – to be special and wonderful and outstanding and awesome and all of these over-used superlatives.  We overcompensate for not feeling good enough by reaching for the stars (which has often struck me as an ironically air-grasping metaphor). Affirmations usually favor big words, but perhaps there is a quiet power in small humble statements: I’m good enough. Everything’s okay. Relax.

“I’m good enough” is digestible. It’s believable. It’s no great commitment, no great pressure. It’s acceptable, and it’s honest. There’s nothing wrong with being a good-enough mother, a good-enough daughter, or granddaughter or student or academic or writer or any of the other labels people tend to accumulate in their short lives. It is a calm, contented centre in an otherwise chaotic storm of great vulnerability, expectations and obligations. It’s an in-between road that is not a dead-end or wild goose-chase shortcut. It’s just a simple breath of fresh air. I’m good… enough.  It’s an invitation to let go.

This is a time of letting go. It has been a frustrating and transformative couple of years.  Today is about endings, about letting go, mourning the death of the old paradigm and making space… and resting… and allowing the new to arise. Today is a good time for acceptance, for allowing, for letting things be. Today, “good enough” is enough… and probably, tomorrow it will be too.

Rescuing the princess, rebuilding the animus and growing healthy relationship archetypes

Recently I have been exploring the common archetype of the princess in the tower, in relation to my life. It is something that crops up from time to time, when I feel helpless or overwhelmed; I feel out of control, like a small child, powerless and desperate; I don’t think I can do things by myself. Whenever this pattern emerges I secretly wish for someone to rescue me, when really I know I always have to rescue myself.

Please excuse the gendered nature of the archetypes presented here – they actually don’t need to a particular gender, that is just the common representation… I do feel, however, that growing up without a healthy father figure/male role-model has stunted and warped the development of my animus, which I have been progressively healing/growing back over the last few years. The animus is commonly known as the ‘male’ or masculine part of the psyche, but is also associated with the warrior or rescuer archetype. If you didn’t have a present or adequate father/male role model, you may well be in the same boat.

Early on, we who need to rescue ourselves tend to fall into the trap of becoming the rescuer – of being attracted to wounded puppies who we think we can save with our love and guidance. This is a massive exercise in projection and gets quite circular. We are seeing our own damaged animus reflected back through damaged people and damaging relationships. Without a healthy animus, we are doomed to repeat this cycle. The good news is that, eventually, we can heal the major inner fractures in ourselves (if we need to). We can piece one together from the aspects of healthy ‘masculinity’ and strength we encounter in our lives. We can make a frankenstein animus and bring it to life – or re-grow an under-developed animus archetype until he reaches maturity – along with culling all the unhealthy/predator/shadow aspects we may have internalized from having painful or exploitative experiences with men.

Even when we have cobbled together a healthy representation of animus inside ourselves, we may find that we still feel tensions and anxieties arising from attachment and relationships – even with healthy significant others who are not wounded puppies. While being attracted to healthy (rather than damaged) people is a sign of significant healing progress, it doesn’t mean it’s all smooth sailing from here. Our new healthy animus still needs to be socialised. Invite him to sit down for a cup of tea. Build a good relationship with him. If you are projecting anxiety onto an external attachment, transfer this projection, along with your needs and desires to your inner animus and practice relating to this inner ‘other’ in a healthy and loving way. He can be there for you, love you, support you and rescue you in an insecure world. Through this inner transformation, the external world can mirror harmonious relationships back to you.

The state, the market and astrological politics of the 4th and 10th houses

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I have been reading anarchist democratic theory for my thesis and the parallels between the 4th and 10th houses and the state and market keep coming back to me. Neoliberals want the market (10th, father) to rule – conservatives want this too but it is the other side of the 10th that appeals to them (control, structure). Neoliberals want a society of competition and progress (there is a Mars/1st element here too), conservatives want a society of rules and order.  Together these two political ideologies create a tyranny of corporate control, social inequality and suffering for most of the population. 

Socialists, on the other hand, want the 4th (mother/home) to rule. They want a more caring, fair society, where things are more equally distributed. Unfortunately, when instituted in a paradoxically top-down way (10th house), this can be equally tyrannical and disempowering for most people.

I wonder if these political ideologies translate to personal childhood experience. I suspect so. If we could just make sure our political class were thoroughly psychologically analysed for mummy/daddy issues we might well avoid all these messes and grow up politically. After all, market/state is a false dichotomy; they are two sides of the same coin. Even if they are involved in power struggles, they co-create each other.

Personally, I have a distrust of daddy/market and a longing for a nurturing mother/state. I’m also aware that the state isn’t as I’d like it to be, it is quite disconnected and covertly violent. We are all probably better off without passive aggressive mother and psychopathic controlling fathers as rulers, don’t you think? It would be nice to see more of a focus on humanitarian/Uranian/11th house politics: a politics that is more aware of what it is actually creating in the long-term, that is inclusive of diversity and seeks to resolve problems through democratic process, not just use the political stage as a contest. This is where contemporary anarchist (no-ruler) democratic process sits.

Nursing the primal wound

Every now and then someone will treat you really badly, whether it’s accidentally, incidentally or intentionally, and trigger all this horrible emotional stuff, right? Maybe it’s your boss, your current or former lover/partner, your best friend, mother, father or child. Maybe the’re triggering anger, detrayal, anguish, fear. Maybe you react assertively or barely react at all but either way the feelings are there. The projections run wild: “That bitch!/bastard!/creep!/idiot!/scoundrel!” How dare they? We feel wounded, underneath all the other emotions. We feel hurt. We probably feel like the other someone else has hurt us and is doing us damage, but most probably, the damage has already been done – was done ages ago – and we are re-living it over and over, and over…

The primal wound is the center of all other turmoil.  It probably comes from the drastic post-natal separation from the womb or some other very early childhood trauma and every other painful experience has compounded it. It is what Eckhart Tolle calls the pain-body. He describes it as a tangled mess of wounded ego – of trauma, abandonment, betrayal, hurt, fear and general suffering. The pain-body is often dormant. We wander around living pretty sweet lives until something nasty happens and triggers all this shit.

The wound is primal because it predates narrative-memory, it is part of primary human experience.  It is the wrenching separation from the feeling of being connected, of being absolutely safe and warm, of floating in the center of the universe. It is so difficult for us to learn that we aren’t the center of the universe – at least not to everyone else – because everyone is struggling to learn the same thing. This traumatic separation triggers our base survival fear. We are terrified of our limitations, or our mortality, of our insignificance. There is only so much a young ego can take before it ruptures and becomes wounded.

Although it’s obvious that living life through this woundedness is not in one’s best interests, we can become awfully attached to our wounds and the traumas and dramas that inevitably surround them. We construct our identities around them: “I am so-and-so and I am ____” insert addiction/trauma/negative label here. We can even be proud of what we’ve suffered to the point that we refuse to stop suffering. Our woundedness gives us an excuse to opt-out of life-obligations, it gives us an excuse to be nasty because we were once treated that way. Really, you don’t need the excuse. If you want to opt-out, do it, if you want to be nasty, go ahead. Excuses are just more unnecessary justification. If you want drama, there is plenty to create and share. If you’re over it and want to move on then begin the disentangling process.

We feel justified in our suffering, in our anger, in our vengeful thoughts. Maybe we are justified, let’s assume we are, either way justification isn’t useful. If we just stay ‘justified’ we tangle the wound even more. We can hold onto all the crap. We easily get stuck. Let’s try something different. Let’s try disentangling from current projections and old trauma. Drop the other people from the equation for a minute. Good work. Now, what is left? That wound. Over the years it has been pushed down into the unconscious to fester, it has been covered over with all sorts of ugly and pretty things. It has become like a boil, an infection seething under the skin and this new trauma, this new trigger of pain/fear/anger has brought it to the surface. It’s not a pretty sight, but it is a chance to clear out the pus, clean the wound and let it heal.

Awareness is always helpful, like a flashlight in the dark. If we can focus on this wound – not in an unhelpful dwelling-on-it-going-around-in-circles kind of way because that will only get us more tangled up – but in way that is clear of projections, in a way that regularly cleans it out and wraps it in safe thoughts, in a way that occasionally squeezes out more of the pus until there is none left, then we can give it all the right things to heal. We don’t do the healing in our minds, we just remove the barriers. Healing is automatic in the right circumstances. To speed it up we can nurture ourselves. We can eat the foods our body really wants (not the kind our wound-wrapped-mind craves for comfort), we can move and stretch and exercise in the way our bodies prefer. We can create and be with friends and in nature and do all those things that feed us. We can listen inwards to what we really need instead of looking outwards into projections of happiness on the buffet-table of life that may be all empty-calories and no nutrient-density. A special kind of freedom is possible when we can separate ourselves from the drama and projections of the mundane world, and freedom can be terrifying too, but at least it’s not tedious repetitive cycles of pain.

Things that grow

Soul work is much like gardening. I use the analogy in my novel, The Seekers’ Garden, that emotional issues grow like weeds. Some are easily cleared away but grow back just as quickly, others have deep tap roots that must be dug out in their entirety and others still must be cut at the source to stem the flow of energy.

Gardening in itself can be incredibly therapeutic. And while much of the work requires direct action, just as much is in patience, in letting things grow, in not worrying too much. Watering. Sunshine. Time.

The same thing can be said for personal growth and manifesting projects in the external world. Our job is to plant the seeds in cleared, sunny, fertile soil, to water and provide nutrients – to nurture ourselves and our dreams – and to allow things to sprout, set down roots, grow, blossom and fruit in their own time.

I recently had a a conversation with a friend who is trying to set up a business and is anxious about everything going wrong. It is easy to get overwhelmed with anxiety, to worry the soil with fears that things might not grow, but any gardener will tell you that will only make things worse. My friend was visibly relieved at the reminder that it’s her job to plant the seed and steward the growth, rather than push and prod. It’s a reminder I could often benefit from too: let things grow.