This article is also available as a video and talk at www.astrologyuniversity.com
“As soon as clients say something, they start revealing the meaning of their horoscope. When they tell a story, then they may be revealing a theme that has affected them for their whole life. Stories form themes, like pearls on a string, traceable to a key experience, which formed their character. Adrian will show how to identify aspect patterns that correspond with stories, leading to a new understanding of a transformative core experience.”
Really, anything we do or say, at any moment in time contains detailed information about who we are. Quite apart from the micro-expressions and body language, which reflect what we are really thinking, even the casual remarks we make, and the stories we tell, reflect deep experiences from the past that have formed us. As we go about our daily lives, walking down the street, meeting people, in the office, shopping or whatever, the universe is performing an exquisite interactive dance with us, and although we see ourselves as separate, we are as one. Everything and everyone that we attract into our sphere has a connection with our past, as we build up a life story, which we constantly reinforce in the telling. These are the stories the client tells the astrologer, and that the astrologer sees reflected in the horoscope – a spiral of related events which have their roots in our past.
Attunement – Unity in Duality
In any transformative interaction, it is when the separateness disappears and when we find that there is unity in what had seemed to be duality, that insight comes and change occurs. This is when subject and object meet, when matter and energy are as one, when body and mind are indistinguishable. This happens when two people fall for each other, where, in the magic space that arises, they discover love. It happens when a great film draws us in and we forget where we are. And in effective therapy it happens when the attunement between therapist and client is so pure, that there is a meeting of mind and soul. Some psychologists use the term intersubjectivity to describe this fertile meeting point where the therapist and client interact.
In many ways the horoscope lends itself mostly to a rational explanation of a client’s circumstances. It is not so difficult to identify the parallels between the client and the story, and to give advice about changes of behavior, but it is actually very difficult to change the trajectory of the client and the client’s preferred narrative. This has its parallel in cognitive psychology which tries to teach effective behaviors to clients, but often fails to change the story behind the problem, with the result that improvements are often short-term and clients tend to revert to old behavior.
What can be effective in the astrological consultation is to tune in and listen to a story – any story – that the client has to tell about the current situation. If you can find the planetary pattern that reflects the story, then you have a thread which must lead back to an early formative experience. The story in the present time is just one more iteration of the story back in the past. The universe is simply arranging itself to conform to the client’s preferred narrative – the core behavior is continuing, bringing the same results.
The Angry Farmer
Which reminds me of a client who lived in North Wales, who came with a complaint about a neighbor. She had recently moved from London to enjoy a peaceful and secluded existence in the countryside. For the first year, this worked fine, but then the farmer next door put some caravans up which spoiled the view over the valley from her window. She plucked up courage to go to the farm, but when she explained the problem to the farmer, he verbally assaulted her and told her to go back to London, where she came from. In this one altercation the pleasure she previously had found in the surroundings disappeared, and she found herself staying indoors and struggling with anxiety whenever she saw the farmer.
How rewarding then (for the astrologer) to see a Moon/Mars conjunction in Scorpio straddling the 3rd house of neighbors in the horoscope for the consultation. And a word about this. The consultation chart – made for the exact time of the meeting between astrologer and client – is an invaluable tool in consultations. Historically this was the primary chart in use, as birth times and even birth dates could be hard to come by. What you will often find is that the consultation chart pinpoints a current situation, and by following the movement of the planets involved, it is possible to see what led up to the situation, and how it will develop in the future. Even more important, in many instances the consultation chart will show similar and often even identical planetary patterns from the birth horoscope.
In this case the parallels with the birth chart were not identical, but they did show why the client experienced such a strong reaction that she stayed indoors and considered selling her home. In the birth chart, Mars was in Gemini and ruled the 3rd house and, as she was born in the early 1960’s, there was a Uranus/Pluto conjunction in Virgo opposing Saturn in Pisces. Her Moon conjoined Saturn in Pisces and was exactly square Mars in Gemini.
So whilst the consultation chart clearly showed a trauma connected with a neighbor, the birth chart also showed this problem from a different angle. The Gemini Mars in stressful contact with Uranus, Pluto, Saturn and the Moon, did not show friendly “neighbors”. Clearly there was an earlier trauma, and the current farmer-neighbor trauma was dredging it up, evoking a reaction out of proportion to the actual altercation. The moon in Pisces showed her as a victim of cruel forces from the outside.
If the earlier childhood episode could be recalled, perhaps my client could get more distance and perspective on the current episode. It is important to bear in mind that aspects which involve the personal planets (here Mars and the Moon) with Pluto are likely to indicate circumstances which can have a sexual element and which are likely to be suppressed and forgotten. Locating Pluto memories has to be done very sensitively indeed.
There is a specific method for recovering the roots of a story, which I have found to be very effective. Clearly the farmer episode and the childhood episode have their roots in the heavily aspected Moon/Mars square. When the client tells the story about the farmer and her subsequent reaction, she feels strong emotions, which mirror the emotions from the earlier experience. These feelings are stored in the body, and are accessed every time the client feels anxiety. It’s the same emotional source. By asking the client to map the physical sensations associated with the feelings, a channel is opened to the past memory. Mapping the physical sensation is a question of identifying where precisely the feeling is located – throat, heart, head, solar plexus, stomach etc. – and what precise sensation is felt – heavy, empty, electric, spacey, pricking etc.
In this way the client recovered the memory of her mother taking her to buy a bicycle on her 10th birthday. With Mars in Gemini, bicycles seem appropriate. She felt extremely uncomfortable with bicycle dealer, who, after the mother had left, seriously molested her and threatened her if she said anything. She bicycled home on her new bike, and never said a word to her mother. This secrecy is typical of Pluto aspects, and it is often the fact that things are left unsaid, which causes problems later on. The client conflated the episode with the sense that her mother had deserted her. And anxiety in connection with men and their motives became ingrown. When the farmer shouted at her, all the stored emotions came to the surface, which is clearly shown in the consultation chart.
This client is not going to “solve” the intense and sometimes destructive energy in the mutable T-square she has involving Mars in Gemini, but she can regulate it. Understanding the roots of her current anxiety puts the situation in perspective – the farmer is just trying to make money renting out caravans, and he is rude. The rest is what she makes of it, and that she can work on.
The Lazy Academic
When the astrologer works with something that is profoundly affecting the current life situation of the client, and discovers the root issues connected with the past, then it seems that real change can take place, and clients can at least adjust a trajectory that has historically caused a lot of problems. One successful professional who came was the CEO of a medical company, and her story was that her academic husband had been out of work for several years, and spent his days “doing nothing” at home. It was driving her crazy.
She came at the solar eclipse opposing Neptune and square Mars, which conjoined the Ascendant and Saturn. This consultation chart had Sagittarius rising, which meant that she was symbolized by Jupiter in Virgo at the exact degree where Mercury was currently stationing. As 7th house ruler Mercury (the husband) was dignified in Virgo and Jupiter was in detriment, it did seem like the partner had something important to offer, and that the union was strong. But the solar eclipse in the 8th house aspecting Mars/Saturn and Neptune clearly showed she was suffering.
The parallels are clear in the birth horoscope. With Mercury in fall conjoining a Pisces Ascendant, and Moon on an exact conjunction of Pluto and the Node in the 7th house (the Virgo Moon’s conjunction to the Node mirroring the consultation) it is easy to see that this woman is liable to become emotionally involved, and exhausted by, partners who are weak and dependent (7th house ruler on the Ascendant).
So what’s the story behind this? As this is a nodal return (3 x 18.4 years) there is a direct line back to some extraordinary fate, which is formative to her whole life. It turned out that in the same month as she was born, her father had an accident which crippled him. She experienced her mother as remote, but of course, the husband’s accident traumatized her just when her daughter came into the world. She developed a warm bond to her father, who she helped a lot with basic functions when she was a child. She was simply very good with dependent men, even to the point of unconsciously encouraging dependency. With Mercury rising in Pisces opposing the Moon and trine Mars in Cancer, she was so extraordinary sensitive, that she was constantly attuned to the slightest signal the partner sent, and always trying to help.
The solar eclipse in Virgo in the consultation chart square Mars/Saturn showed just how much this unconscious behavior was irritating her, but the solution has more to do with her compulsive behavior that the behavior of her husband. After all, it is not always easy getting a position in academia.
Everyone has their stories, and they are unique. These stories seem real, but they are very subjective; in other words, people interpret what happens to them in a specific way, and derive their meaning in life from them. What is important is whether the story is empowering or not. When lessons are learned that are disempowering, like “men are not to be trusted” or “people rely on me to help them”, then the trajectory is altered, bringing a tendency to repeat the basic storyline, which leads to unhappiness. Of course the horoscope gives a predisposition to encounter certain kinds of problems (and successes), and there is little that can be done about that initially. Some people would say it is karma. But in the last analysis planets and their aspects are energy, and energy is neutral, even if it is coming from a Mars/Pluto square or a Moon/Saturn conjunction. The power to access this energy is with the client, and in the intersubjective space between client and astrologer, this energy can be transformative.
Adrian Duncan 18th October 2016.