Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Magi and My Last Jupiter Return - Part 1 of 2

Coming Home to My True Beliefs

© 2011 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

 very twelve years, Jupiter returns to its natal position in our charts. My last Jupiter Return was so dramatic; I want to share it as a case study. In doing so, I hope that you’ll Comment and share some of your own stories about your Jupiter cycles and the personal impact of these homecomings. My latest Jupiter Return was very relevant to the ultimate creation of The Radical Virgo, even though I had no idea where I was headed at the time. You can almost think of this pair of posts as an extended “About” section that tells the background of this blog and how I got here. I’ve coined a word for this mixed genre of writing, “astro-memoir.” The only way I’ll ever know if it works for readers is to try it. These posts are also about as open as I’ll ever be on the public wall about who I am, because who I am is directly related to what I believe. Any form of memoir takes courage. Thanks for being gentle!

My Jupiter is at 24+ Scorpio on the Sabian symbol, An X-ray. There can be no Jupiter in my life without deep probing into life’s mysteries. With its placement in the 7th House, my “religion” is relationship.

But it is so much more. Before we launch on my Big Journey (everything with Jupiter is BIG), I want to talk a little about how beliefs are the most central factor that color our world. This may be the reason why Jupiter also rules travel and multicultural influences. Mixing it up with others different from us expands our minds to consider other ways of living and being. Travel widens our world, challenges our beliefs, and reminds us that our view isn’t the only one in town or on planet.

January 6, The Feast of the Epiphany: The Magi were Zoroastrian priest-astrologers said to practice magic in its highest expression …

Beliefs are central to who we are and affect how we organize our thinking, as well as how we feel. My mind operates in overdrive every waking and sleeping moment, judging by my dreams. What would I do with all that swirling raw input without some beliefs to organize it and put it to good use? Life would be utter chaos. Observing my double Gemini birth mom helped me see how much thoughts are related to feelings. (She was plagued with mind chatter and feelings out of control.) It’s what we believe about what happens that triggers our feelings. Perhaps you’ve experienced this at a family get-together when someone brings up an incident from the past. Your siblings may each have a different memory or take on it—and often a completely different set of emotional reactions. Sometimes I think we couldn’t possibly be talking about the same situation!

Finally, before I tell this tale, I have to make this disclaimer. No transit happens in a vacuum. When I sensed the beginning of my Jupiter Return Journey, transiting Jupiter wasn’t even close to the “official orb” of home plate. It was 15 degrees out—a whole half sign away. Pluto was squaring my Sun and I was zeroing in on my second Saturn Return. Chiron was conjunct my Part of Fortune and waxing into the lower square to itself for the second time in my life. T-Neptune was exactly trine my Mercury. All these transits were instrumental to the symphony of growth taking place. They all orbited around my Jupiter Return which felt very much like the center of the universe to me at the time. It's the Jupiter story I want to share. The reasons will be obvious.

Longing for Something More

In 2006, my first year of retirement from my 31-year government job, I was still on a long hiatus from any public work in astrology, doubtful I’d ever be back. That summer I began to feel an emptiness and need for something new or something more from a spiritual perspective. Maybe I finally had time to deal with the pain of my losses. There had been several long years of hard times with my husband’s health that also affected us economically and in every conceivable way. They were rough times for us both. During those dark days, for the first time ever, I felt totally out of touch with Spirit. My sense of connection to All That Is wasn’t. This was highly unusual for me—the first time ever. It scared me. My sense of faith, hope, and joy all tanked. I guess when the worst of the hard times lifted, I felt a need to plug back into something even more spiritual than ever in hopes this horrible sense of disconnection would never happen again.

Personal and Spiritual History

When going on a spiritual quest, an individual has to consider the context, namely his or her background—religious or spiritual—and personal history. Raised Catholic and adopted through Catholic Charities as an infant, my religion was both a lifeline to my new future and the mechanism that cut me off from my roots and heritage.

I went to parochial school through 8th grade. There I met my future husband when we were only 12 years old. His mom would force us to break up two years later, worried we were too serious for our tender age and concerned an early marriage would derail her  promise to her husband on his deathbed that Tim would go to college. After 36 years, following a dream I had in 1996, I looked Tim up via the White Pages on the Internet. He lived near Dallas and within a year, he moved to Sacramento. We married in 1998. It was my third major reunion with a lost love.

The other reunions were with my birth mother in 1986 and my other long, lost love, “Keane” in 1987. Keane was the love of all my awakenings, the one after Tim—the one  I never got over. To say I had a lot to work through regarding him is the understatement of the millennium, maybe of all time. My relationship with Keane was as Plutonian as his exact Pluto/Moon a degree from my natal Pluto in my 4th house. For better and worse—combined in a sticky gob of pain and pleasure—both being with him and losing him rocked my world for decades.

But Keane and I didn’t end up together; Tim and I did. It was the happier ending, even during its most challenging times. This story isn’t about Venus or Mars; it’s about Jupiter. Yet they are somehow related.

When Keane and I first saw each other in 1988 after nearly 20 years (I found him on the same day he started looking for me—and he worked for the FBI), our differences in belief were stark. If you can imagine an FBI guy with a “metafoofoo,” you can begin to imagine the comedic possibilities.

I was at the enthusiastic beginning of my public career as an astrologer at the time. Never known for subtlety, Keane asked, “Doesn’t it bother you that most people think you’re crazy?”

“It doesn’t bother me an iota,” I responded and meant it. Ultimately, the gap between what we believed by then and who we were was just too wide. He had grown into a very conservative person who wasn’t exactly open-minded on issues of diversity of any kind. His religion was himself.

Tim and I, on the other had, were born in the same city only ten days apart and were reared in the same religion, parochial school and value system. Even though neither of us had been practicing Catholics for years, we looked in the same direction—and still do—on everything that matters. We value family, devotion, fidelity, and ritual. We are an odd pair, both freedom loving Uranus-square-Suns yet traditional in some of our most basic values because of his Saturn conjunct Moon and my Moon in Capricorn. Living with someone whose ethical upbringing is so similar to mine—plus coming from the same time and place in history—creates a shorthand between us that rarely requires explanations. At some level, we are each other. And we certainly are grateful for having what we would have quaintly called “our morals” in our baby boomer youth.


Now it’s time to talk about other belief systems I have explored in the past, so the Jupiter Return I want to tell you about has its own specific context. I grew up Catholic in a Jewish neighborhood. (Double your pleasure and guilt). I was spiritually bicultural. I attended seders and bar mitzvahs. My language was peppered with Yiddish expressions, and I was usually as up on the high holidays as the holy days of obligation.

During high school, after Tim, I rarely had a gentile friend or boyfriend. I would have married “Marshall Lefkowitz,” but his mother wouldn’t let me. Seriously. I was Charlotte on Sex and the City. Conversion wasn’t good enough for Marshall's mother. The only thing that would do in her eyes was being born Jewish, something I couldn't go back and fix. And unfortunately, Jews aren't into the concept of "born again." Marshall's mom would have made his life miserable had he married me. Not only was I not born Jewish, but who “knew from” who I was, really? I was adopted and my background was sketchy in her eyes at best.

I have often wondered why I didn’t just convert anyway, Marshall or not. I have always been attracted to Judaism in a big way. Jesus was a practicing Jew. To tell the truth, I finally figured out recently that I’m most like a Judeo-Christian, the Jews who practiced the new ideas Jesus introduced, before Christianity split off into a separate religion. Tim actually came to this conclusion about himself before me. He, too, had many Jewish friends and we share a deep appreciation for this faith. When I found my birth mom, I found out within minutes that she, too, deeply resonated to Jewish people and culture. My best Jewish girlfriend growing up reacted to this information by saying, “Oy! Another Jewish goy! It’s genetic!”  In fact, I was surprised to find out there weren’t Jews in my family tree.

Instead, there were Orthodox Christians. My birth father was Greek Orthodox. My birth mom was Byzantine or Greek Catholic. Byzantines practice the same rituals as Greek Orthodoxy while remaining part of the Catholic Church. Because they practice a different rite, they are not considered Roman Catholic but have their own modifier, Byzantine or Greek.

New Aged

By 1977, the same year Chiron was discovered (later to become my astro-specialty), I longed for something to fill the hole in my heart left by my inability to relate to my childhood religion. I met a woman—a true catalyst—who turned me onto my first spiritual teacher, Betty Bethards, and to Unity Church.  Betty was a down-to-earth modern mentor of meditation and generic spiritual principles. I was on my way to being metaphysical to the max. I had no idea that there was a metaphysical version of Christianity. The name of Betty’s non-profit organization also portended the new view of spirituality I would develop, The Inner Light Foundation.

I also did a five-year stint as a Unitarian. I sang in the choir of my local Unitarian Universalist Society, something that remains one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done. Our local UU Society was full of drop-outs from Judaism and Catholicism. I felt at home. I loved having all the positive aspects of a “church"—community, events, a built-in network of caring people. Ultimately, I missed spirituality. At the time, the Society was also heavily populated with intellectuals, agnostics and atheists. The services were more head than heart. I needed Neptune!

That brought me back to Unity. I guess I like churches that begin with the letter U because it's shaped like a smile. Eventually, even Unity did not quite fit for me—at least not as a steady fare. I kept finding myself in the painful place of having to be a freelancer when it came to spiritual pursuits. I found small clusters here and there of other astrologers and generically spiritual people that gave me glimmers of hope that some day, I might find a larger community where I could really belong. These feelings of finding a spiritual home were always short-lived. Their fleeting nature left me sad. During those times, spirituality didn’t feel very Jupiter, upbeat, and expansive at all.


Tomorrow, Part 2:  The Church Steps, the Church Ladies and the Stars at Church

Photo Credit: Nativity Scene, Adoration of the Magi © Zatletic | Dreamstime.com


Magi, Wikipedia

No comments: