Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Astrology: How Deep?


Webb Telescope's First Deep Field Photos, Wikipedia

Post © 2023 by Joyce Mason

We all know them: people so fluent in astrology, we can barely believe that they aren’t doing readings or aren’t on the programs of astrology conferences. I am here to defend their right to refuse to go there. I have become one of them.

Astrology is a tool and a language. How much we use or talk shop about that tool depends on our circumstances and how much we’re drawn to do so. For many people, being a perpetual astrology student is a lot more comfortable than becoming a pro. Receiving money for astrological services requires a certain self-confidence that many people just can't conjure. It’s a field of ever expanding knowledge. It’s easy to feel like you don’t know enough. Even among those who leap that hurdle, it’s a growth curve for many to become comfortable with monetizing their guidance, even with the considerable cost of astrological education. Most people who have done it know that building a practice to the level of full-time income takes time and is often never achieved. The amount of astrological consulting many good astrologers can do depends on back-up resources and whether or not they have to earn that money themselves. There’s only so much time and energy.

Speaking of energy, consultations demand an abundance of it, especially for those who do it in an intuitive way. It can become overwhelming. And there’s the challenge of keeping firm boundaries and intentions. I never want to become responsible for someone’s decisions and karma. I only want to present what the stars have to say about what a certain time and cycle is good for-- and how it asks a person to learn and grow. Often clients don’t see it that way, and when I did readings professionally, I was sure to make my literature and discussions included the fact that I don’t do predictions. Each individual has the freedom to make choices within realm of astrological influences. I never want to take away or impede the growth that comes from exercising free will and feeling the personal power that comes from grappling with decisions. Yet there are still many people who think that predicting the future is the only reason to see an astrologer. I have been asked how many of my predictions come true. None because I don’t make them. The feedback I get runs along the lines of being on target about what people have to consider, face and/or have an opening to go for. My favorite compliment was, “You’re the real deal.”  Did I ever get it wrong? I’m sure. Everyone has off days.

For a larger personal context, I am embarrassed to admit that I actually verbalized as a young college student my desire to save the world. How naïve. I was taught that if you have gifts, you share them. I never considered that I had any say as to what degree.

I started learning astrology to know myself and others. To understand my own dilemmas and tendencies, especially those which seemed to be repetitive cycles that left me going in circles, getting nowhere. Seeing clients broadened my experience. Ironically, my trademark was “going deep.” I see the heart of situations. People open up to me.

I never became a full-time astrologer because I had an excellent government job with benefits that people nowadays can only dream of. It was a no-brainer to stay the course until retirement. Many days I would have rather been writing or doing astrology. (I figured out a way to do as much as possible at my “regular” job. I always gravitated toward jobs that involved my writing skills, and once people know you’re an astrologer, the star talk is frequent.) I stuck it out. It was the best decision I ever made. I just had inklings back then but the medical benefits and pension would turn out to be lifesavers.

When my husband’s muscular dystrophy advanced to the stage where he lost his mobility and I became his caregiver, I willingly gave up many things I had held dear up to that point, including my astrology practice. The full stop was like using Mercury Retrograde for one of its high-yield activities—pausing to reconsider.

I am a very mental person often to my own detriment. I was about to be thrown into extremely physical work left little time to look at charts in my mind or on my devices, much less to do the mental gymnastics of interpreting their geometry. Full-time caregiving is taxing beyond belief, especially when help is expensive and resources are limited—and when a small woman is caring for a full-size man. Frankly, I was in survival mode for the next four years until my husband passed, wondering every day how I’d just get through it. At one time, astrology and analyzing my life, thoughts and feelings according to astrological cycles fed me. In this new situation, it did nothing for me. I sometimes wondered how I could go from living and breathing astrology to setting it aside.

As someone with a lot of Libra in my chart, I finally came to the conclusion that like anything else, many people’s relationship with astrology goes through periods of changing balance. It has seasons. I no longer like to analyze every little thing through a figurative telescope. I like to look at bigger cycles and to check in on my chart, or that of my loved ones, when it feels like it would be helpful. I started using other tools more, just because they felt timely. Many of my friends who know less astrology often know more about what’s going on in the sky than I do.

I never wanted to climb the ladder in my government career either. The thought of being a manager made me cringe. I was on a business trip with a male colleague and friend. We were having lunch at a restaurant one day about the time the manager test had been announced. He was encouraging me to apply. When I said I wasn’t interested, he balked. “But you’d be so good at it.” I told him, perhaps a little too loudly, “Just because I’m good at sex doesn’t mean I want to be a prostitute.” We laughed about that one-liner for years and how blurting it out turned some heads at the café. Obviously I gave myself permission to limit myself to what felt right in one of my careers. A big consideration was that I couldn’t write or do astrology if I had more responsibility on my day job. It took me years to understand that I did not owe all of my life’s blood to any of my work—and giving my all in my marriage so completely showed me the consequences. Finally I got to the place where I started saving myself first. What a concept!

Now I only feel like using astrology for myself and my close friends and family—or writing about it when the spirit moves. I just want to share what I have learned about life, which the stars often illustrate so eloquently. I don't want to predict or control my life, just to understand how to get the best out of what I've got. I relish the role of being an elder in my family. I learned much just living life and vicariously with my clients. Now I like to share those insights with those dear when the opportunity comes up. When it comes to astrological information, they usually seek it from me. I seldom offer.

The irony? My favorite class as an astrology student was Family Astrology. We compared charts of close relatives and the patterns were astonishing. This is one of the earliest classes I ever took circa 1982. Now I have come full circle.

“Family astrology” is still my favorite class. Maybe this was all deeper than I realized. Maybe part of my life’s purpose was simply to get to this point where astrology is not an active pursuit but a part of me that pops out to help heal my tribe as needed.



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