Just Me Being Me


There's nothing like a visit with family to trigger the old emotional reactions. 'Familiar' and 'familial' are close for a reason.

In my case, get-togethers with my parents inevitably raise professional insecurities in me. Let's be honest, 'astrologer' is not really the dream career most parents envision for their children. I may know, deep in my soul, that I'm on exactly the right path for me (destination, of course, unknown)—and I do get plenty of heartfelt kudos and supportive thank-yous from well-wishers worldwide (more are always welcome)—but leave it to my parents to root out those lingering residual morsels of self-doubt and lift them to my sensitive surface.

Bless them, they don't mean to do it. We love and support each other deeply and truly. They just don't really understand, or seem to understand, or seem to care to understand, what it is I do. Or maybe it's just me and my assumptions. (Where to find the objectivity in analyzing family dynamics?) I wasn't raised especially spiritual, nor to believe in any particular anything-at-all, and then in my early 20s, my life took a sharp turn into left field (or 'outer space', as my dad would surely joke) and I ended up here, practicing astrology for a reason. I wouldn't expect them to understand, and I'm not sure I could explain how it happened.

Still, when we see each other those few times a year for a few days, obviously we talk about my job. My dad makes cracks about my 'guru' status and what the stars say we should have for dinner. My mom tells me how great everything I tell her is and how she's happy as long as I'm happy (while, perhaps, secretly picturing me arguing a court case or performing open-heart surgery). I'm politely chuckle along and say little.

This most recent visit, my dad posed the first substantive question about astrology I recall him ever asking. I was both taken aback and on guard. He wanted to know, 'If astrology is really a science, and I asked 20 astrologers to do a chart [editor's note: not that he necessarily knows what a chart is], would they give me 20 different charts?'

A reasonable question, and one with the potential to rattle me, had I not, somewhere along the line and partly unbeknownst to me, developed some vocational confidence in myself.

I sort of sidestepped the 'science' question because, truth be told, that's a huge cans of worms I didn't intend to open there (nor here, at least for right now). In addressing the meat of the issue, I answered simply and self-assuredly, 'Yes, all 20 astrologers would produce the same chart, if they're doing their jobs correctly, because a chart is merely a map of where the planets were at the time and place of birth.

'However,' I continued, 'they would undoubtedly produce 20 different interpretations of the chart, for that (my dear father) is the art of astrology. It is like asking 20 different professors of literature to interpret a poem, or 20 different art historians to tell you about a painting. As experts in their field, they would probably share a few general observations about the overarching themes and styles in the work… and then they would diverge from each other, based upon the unique interpretative outlooks they each bring, the details they choose to focus upon, and their beliefs and preferences.'

And that was it. My response was clear and informative. My dad understood and accepted it. And my childish emotions went untriggered, in the wake of self-possession taking charge. It was just me being me, talking about what I do to someone who knows less about it. It was all so… adult.

Upon reflecting back on this unexpectedly mature exchange, it struck me as an apt illustration for Saturn's transition out of Cancer and into Leo, a major planetary sign shift that finally happens on Sat Jul 16. As I've mentioned before, Saturn in Cancer (where it's been since Jun 03) is all about developing emotional wisdom, which comes from a combination of (1) prioritizing the conscious experience of feelings (rather than shoving them down and pretending they're not important) as a primary responsibility to our own well-being and (2) setting emotional boundaries so that we don't overidentify with others' needs and nags and allow them to drain our faculties of caring energy.

As a counterpart to that, Saturn in Cancer can't help but push us to evolve in relation to our families… that is, as long as they continue to serve as the emotional triggers they can't help but be. The sign of Cancer rules both familial connection and emotional security, and we often develop (or fail to develop) a sense of the latter in response to the quality of the former. (Even as my father cannot fathom how an adult child might still crave his parents' approval of how he leads his life. Ahem.) A necessary part of resolving Saturn-in-Cancer's emotional challenges—which we've hopefully faced, or at least actively engaged with, over these past two years—is to recognize and respect the ties that bind, to permit the more restrictive ones some relieving slack, or to cut the strangulating ones altogether.

Then, what's left is ourselves, to do with as we wish. And there's such innate joy in this self-expressive freedom… as well as a whole set of new challenges we cannot hope to understand until we step into the light, let ourselves be heard and seen, and find the farthest borders of it all by forging across the frontier.

The other astrological news of the week is such a firestorm, we can't help but kick off the Saturn-in-Leo period with a bang—a grand fire trine, 3 planets in fire signs making positively flowing angles to one another. Mighty muscle-man Mars in Aries and hammy glamour-girl Venus in Leo join forces as the perfect power couple, coordinating their pushes and pulls and gives and takes, while both receive the injection of intensity from Pluto, longtime resident in Sagittarius. These three together are an unstoppable team, with the potential to mow down any interferences in their way and still keep moving, likely with a smile (whether friendly, mischievous or evil) on their faces.

With this combination, it's worth remembering that you can only know how much you're capable of until you start to do it. Thinking, feeling and waiting don't cut the mustard. Audacity rules. Some fast-and-sweet-talking, an emphatic push(-or-shove?), and movement in the moment promise sweet success—or at least dynamism and development.

Of course, there are others whose talking and pushing and moving will undoubtedly collide with yours. Don't forget to remember: Not everyone likes each other. Many of us are competitive mo-fos and play to dominate. Battles of wills are most certainly possible and often unavoidable.

It doesn't have to get ugly, though. Find your inner emotional security, the one you've developed over these past two years, and tell them to their faces, assuredly, 'It's just me being me… like it or not.'