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billy

 

Billy Graham

Thursday, November 7, 1918   3:30:00 PM
Charlotte, North Carolina
Time Zone: 05:00 (EST)
Longitude: 080º W 50' 36"
Latitude: 35º N 13' 37"

 
A spiritual adviser to twelve United States presidents going back to Harry S. Truman, William Franklin "Billy" Graham, Jr. is a Southern Baptist. Billy Graham gained world attention in 1949 with a tent revival in downtown Los Angeles that was scheduled for three weeks and lasted six. In the ensuing decades, "Billy Graham Crusades" consistently drew audiences of thousands to arenas and stadiums throughout the world.

 

 

THE SKY WITHIN

by Steven Forrest

 

Using Your Birthchart as a Spiritual Guide

A woman has a baby and is blissful about it. Another one does the same, and spends the rest of her life dreaming about how she might have been a ballerina. The same choice: having a kid. But only one smiling woman. Nobody has a generic formula for happiness, at least not one that does the trick for everyone. That's where astrology comes in.

The birthchart, stripped to bare bones, is simply a description of the happiest, most fulfilling life that's available to you... personally. It spells out a set of strategies you can use to avoid boring routines, bad choices, and dead ends. It lists your resources. And it talks about how your life looks when you're misusing the resources and distorting the strategies -- shooting yourself in the foot, in other words.

All from a map of the sky?

 Hard to believe. But think for a minute...

"How can the planets possibly affect us? They're millions of miles away." Astrology's critics are fond of rolling out that argument. But it doesn't hold water. Go out and gaze at the moon. What's really happening? Incomprehensible energies are plunging across a quarter million miles of void, crashing through your eyeballs and creating electrochemical changes in your brain. We call the process "seeing the moon." Certainly the planets affect us. The question is where do we draw the boundaries around those effects?

Let's go a step further.

Open your eyes on a starry night. What do you see? A vast, luminous space, full of shadows and light. Now close your eyes so tight they ache. Where are you now? What do you see? Again, a vast, luminous space, full of shadows and light. Consciousness and cosmos are structured around the same laws, follow the same patterns, and even feel pretty much the same to our senses.

"As above, so below." Just as the starry night awes us with its vastness, there's something infinitely deep inside you, a place you go when you close your eyes, a place that's beyond being an Aries or a Gemini or even a specific gender. At the most profound level, a birthchart is a map back to that magical center. It describes a series of earthly experiences which, if you're brave and open enough, will trigger certain states of consciousness in you -- states that operate like powerful spiritual catalysts, vaulting you into higher levels of being.

In the pages that follow, you'll tour your personal birthchart. But don't expect the usual "Scorpios are sexy" stuff. You are a mysterious being in a mysterious cosmos. You're here for just a little while, a blink of God's eye. You face a monumental task: figuring out what's going on! In that spiritual work, astrology is your ally. How will it help?

Certainly not by pigeon-holing you as a certain "type."

Astrology works by reminding you who you are, by warning you about the comforting lies we all tell ourselves, and by illuminating the experiences that trigger your most explosive leaps in awareness.

After that, the rest is up to you.

 

YOUR TEN TEACHERS

 

Freud divided the human mind into three compartments: ego, id, and superego. Astrologers do the same thing, except that our model of the mind differs from Freud's in two fundamental ways. First, it's a lot more elaborate. Instead of three compartments, we have ten: Sun, Moon, and the eight planets we see from Earth. As we'll discover, each planet represents more than a "circuit" in your psyche. It also serves as a kind of "Teacher," guiding you into certain consciousness-triggering kinds of experience.

The second difference between astrology and psychology is that astrology's mind-map, unlike Freud's, is rooted in nature itself, just as we are.

The primary celestial teacher is the Sun. What does it teach? Selfhood. Vitality. How to keep the life-force strong in yourself. If the Sun grew dimmer, so would all the planets -- they shine by reflecting solar light. Similarly, if you fail to stoke the furnaces of your own inner Sun, then you'll simply be "out of gas." All your other planetary functions will suffer too.

How do we learn this teacher's lessons?

Start by realizing that when you were born the Sun was in Scorpio.

The Scorpion! A spooky image for a spooky sign. There's a scary side to life. People get terrible diseases. Kids get damaged. Old people are forgotten. Everybody dies. Socially we're conditioned to avoid mentioning those things, or to mention them only in ritual contexts -- like jokes or political speeches. For Scorpio, the evolutionary aim is to face those shadowy places. To make the unconscious conscious. To break taboos.

The Scorpio part of you is deep and penetrating. It has little patience with phoniness or hypocrisy. Trouble is, a little phoniness or hypocrisy often make life a lot easier for everyone! Be careful of becoming so "deep" that you lose perspective. In the Scorpion part of your life, you could slip into brooding and heaviness. So laugh a little! And find a few friends you can talk to. Do that, and you'll keep you balance well enough to find wisdom.

With the Sun in Scorpio, Spirit's question to you is not "Can you be deep?" You're deep! That's how Spirit made you, and there's not much you can do to alter it. The question is, "Now that you have this depth, can you handle it?" That is, can you avoid being hypnotized by your own depths, slipping into a heavy, tragic feeling in which all the sparkle is drained from life. In avoiding that pitfall, you need to cultivate two allies: a sense of humor and two or three truly intimate friends -- people with whom you can discuss anything, however dark or taboo. Make friends with those allies and you'll add the one ingredient that makes it safe to work with this penetrating zodiacal power: a sense of perspective.

We can take our analysis of your natal Sun a step further. When you were born, that solar light illuminated the Eighth house. What does that signify?

Start by realizing that Houses represent twelve basic arenas of life. There's a House of Marriage, for example, and a House of Career. Always, we find an element of "fate" in our House structures; the "Hand of God" continually presents us with existential and moral questions connected with our emphasized Houses. How we react and what we learn -- or fail to learn -- is our own business.

One brief technical note: Sometimes the Sun, the Moon, or a planet lies near the end of the House. We then say it's "conjunct the cusp" of the subsequent House, and interpret it as though it were a little further along... in the next House, in other words.

In the Eighth House you experience three basic human instincts in a radically heightened way. The first instinct is sexual -- not simply having intercourse, but also allowing yourself to bond fully with a partner, letting the primal sexual "program" in your deep psyche manifest, riding the roller coaster, trusting it, even though noÿone can completely understand it.

Death is the second Eighth House instinct. Again, we let ourselves flow with something deep within us, learning consciously something that our cells know automatically -- that death, like sex, is just another biological roller coaster, spooky maybe, but worthy of trust... which leads directly to the third instinct: our sense of immortality. Something deep and trans-rational in us knows there is a realm beyond death. Life has an "occult" dimension -- that is, a hidden one. Without an acceptance of that intuitive feeling, we live forever under a shadow of futility and foreboding.

You have lessons here. Let's consider them.

With the Sun in the Eighth House, you can't learn what you've come into the world to learn without the catalytic effect of a lover upon you... and whether or not you and that lover are married is irrelevant. The point is that many of your deepest lessons lie in the steamy realm of committed sexual intimacy.

Very likely, you've had more experience with the transitory nature of life than most of us--untimely deaths of family members or friends, near misses in automobiles. It's as though something keeps tapping you on the back, reminding you that any moment could be your last. You can get depressed about that, but there's a better response: you can realize your destiny, which is to live with absolute intensity and unwavering honesty, stemming from a feeling for life's fragility and preciousness.

The next step in our journey through your birthchart carries us to the Moon.

As you might expect, Luna resonates with the magical, emotional sides of your psyche. It represents your mood, averaged over a lifetime. As the heart's teacher, it tells you how to feel comfortable, how to meet your deepest needs. While the Sun lets you know what kinds of experiences and relationships help you feel sane, the Moon is concerned with another piece of the puzzle: feeling happy.

When you were born, the Moon was in Sagittarius.

To the medieval astrologer, there were three kinds of Sagittarian: the gypsy, the scholar, and the philosopher. They're all legitimate, healthy parts of the picture. Sagittarius represents the urge to expand our horizons, to break up the routines that imprison us. One way to do that is to escape the bonds of the culture into which we were born -- that's the gypsy. Another is to educate ourselves, to push our intelligence beyond its customary "position papers" -- the way of the scholar. Finally, our intuition can stretch outward, trying to come to terms with cosmic law, attempting to grasp the meaning and purpose of life. That's the philosopher's path.

To keep your Sagittarian energies healthy, you need to feed them an endless supply of fresh experience. Travel. Take classes. Learn to scuba dive. Amazement feeds the Archer the same way protein feeds your physical body. Conversely, if there's a cardinal sin for Sagittarius, it is to consciously, willingly allow yourself to be bored.

With your Moon in Sagittarius, there's a plucky, open, innocent quality to your instinctive life. You find yourself here in this fascinating, inexplicable universe. You have X number of minutes to explore it all--better get on with it! You feel most comfortable when you're actively pursuing your Holy Grail, which is Understanding. You may do that by reading books or watching National Geographic specials. You may do it by stretching your physical horizons. But you'll never do it while mired in predictable routines.

Your spirit feels good when you have people in your life who aren't strangers to amazement, people who like it when you change their minds... and people who are capable of changing yours.

Going farther, we see that your Moon lies in the Ninth house of your chart.

The House of Long Journeys over Water -- that's one old name for this part of the birthchart. Since you have energy focused here a fortune-teller would say, "I see travel in your stars." True enough, although a deeper way of expressing the same notion is that immersing yourself in cultures outside the one into which you were born is a pivotal spiritual catalyst for you.

There are other kinds of catalytic journeys. Getting a wide education, formally or informally, is one. So is anything that breaks up the normal routines of life and thought. Even learning to hang-glide.

Ultimately, in the Ninth House you weave a grand scheme of life's meaning and purpose, at least your own version of it. This is the House of Religion... provided we recognize that many major world religions have no churches or temples. Cynicism is one such religion. Existentialism, Materialism, and Science are others, not to mention Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism and so on.

With the Moon in the Ninth House, instinctively you sense that each moment is precious. Your heart has a taste for adventure, for learning, stretching, seeking new horizons to cross. You have wonderfully adaptive reflexes when presented with changing circumstances or alien customs. All those qualities taken together constitute a powerful "Teacher" inside you. To learn the lessons, all you need to do is follow that expansive impulse within yourself, however impractical or irrational it may seem: travel, explore, connect with people from radically different backgrounds than yourself. Yours is a religion of the heart; knowledge, information, even insight take a back seat to a simple feeling that the universe is the Great Mother, that she's wiser than you, and that she's guiding you.

There's a third critical piece in your astrological puzzle -- the Ascendant, or rising sign. Along with the Sun and Moon, it completes the "primal triad." What is it? What does it mean? Simple -- the Ascendant is the sign that was coming up over the eastern horizon at the instant of your birth. It's where the sun is at dawn, in other words. In exactly the same way, the Ascendant represents how you "dawn" on people -- that is, how you present yourself. It's your "style," or your "mask."

The ascendant means more than that. It symbolizes a way you can help yourself feel centered, at ease, comfortable with who you are. If you get its message, then something wonderful happens: your style hooks you into the world of experience in a way that feeds your spirit exactly the kinds of events and relationships you need. Your soul is charged with more enthusiasm for the life you're living -- and you feel vibrant, confident, and full of animal grace.

When you took your first breath, Aries was lifting over the eastern horizon of Charlotte, NC. Let's begin our analysis by considering the meaning and spiritual message of the sign of "The Warrior".

Courage! That's what Aries is all about. Traditionally this sign is represented as the Ram -- a fierce, frightening creature. That's a pretty good description of how this energy looks from the outside. Inside, it's different. Not the Ram, but the newborn robin, two days old, just hatched from its shell, living in a world full of creatures who think of it as breakfast. Does it cower? No -- the little bird flaps its stubby wings and squawks its head off, demanding its right to exist. That's Aries: the raw primal urge to survive. Existential courage.

Courage is a funny virtue -- it has to be scared into a person. In the evolutionary scheme of life, Aries energy has a disconcerting property: it draws stress to itself. You can choose a life of risk and adventure. Or you can choose a life of one damn thing after another. Refuse the first, you'll get the second.

However gentle your intentions may be, with Aries rising, you often frighten people! Your "mask" is direct, brusque, impulsively honest. Only people with solid ego-structures get along easily with you -- unless you intentionally tone yourself down. That's something you may learn to do in social or business situations, but it's no fun and doesn't contribute directly to your happiness or sanity.

What helps you feel centered is basically "going for it" -- taking chances, putting yourself on the line. That can involve adventure, or some sporting activity, but just as readily it can be confronting a friend with a real disagreement -- and those who are truly, naturally, your friends will enjoy that process rather than view it as a threat to your relationship. However we look at it, one key notion emerges: for you to feel good, you need to feel the "edge" every now and then.

What have we learned so far? Quite a lot. Astrologers use the primal triad of Sun, Moon, and Ascendant in much the same way people who know just a little astrology use Sun signs. The difference is that while there are only twelve Sun signs, there are 1728 different combinations of all three factors. So when we say that you are a Scorpio with the Moon in Sagittarius and Aries rising, that's a very specific statement.

Here's a way to make those words come even more alive. Traditionally, signs are connected with Bulls and Sea-Goats and Scorpions -- creatures we don't see every day. But we can translate those images into more modern archetypes.

We can say you are "The Detective", or "The Sorcerer", or "The Hypnotist". Those are just different ways of saying you have the Sun in Scorpio.

We can say you have the soul of "The Gypsy", or "The Scholar", or "The Philosopher"... your Moon lies in Sagittarius, in other words.

We can add that you wear the mask of "The Warrior", or "The Survivor", or "The Daredevil". Those images capture the spirit of your Ascendant, which is Aries.

You can combine those archetypes any way you want. And you can go further: Once you have a feel for the three basic signs in your primal triad, you can make up your own images to go with them. Whatever words you choose, those simple statements are your fundamental astrological signature. It's your skeleton. Our next step is to begin adding flesh and hair to that skeleton by considering the planets.

Unsurprisingly, planets can gain prominence in a birthchart through association with the Sun, Moon, or Ascendant. These three are power brokers, and any linkage with them boosts a planet's influence.

Your own birthchart is complicated by the fact that, at your birth, Venus was aligned with the Sun... or "conjunct" the Sun, to use the proper astrological term. Thus, the energy and spirit of that planet is fused with your solar identity. In a sense, you are an "incarnation" of Venus."

What can that mean? Start by understanding the significance of the planet.

Venus is the part of your mental circuitry that's concerned with releasing tension and maintaining harmony. Its focus is always peace, inwardly and outwardly. As such, it represents your aesthetic functions -- your taste in colors, sounds, and forms. Why? Because the perception of beauty soothes the human heart. Venus is also tied to your affiliative functions -- your romantic instincts, your sense of courtesy or diplomacy, your taste in friends. Invariably, this planet has one goal: sustaining your serenity in the face of life's onslaughts.

Venus was passing through Scorpio. Thus, both your aesthetic sensitivity and your taste in partners is shaped by the probing, digging spirit of the Scorpion. In the realm of beauty, whether natural or wrought by human hands, you have a taste for passion, for intensity, for a willingness to unsettle people. The same goes for friends and sexual partners -- you appreciate individuals who look you right in the eye and tell the truth, ones who are not overly concerned with politeness. Your sexuality is intense, but you're most peaceful when facing the journey with one special partner who renews the vow between you every time your eyes meet.

With Venus in the Seventh House, you sincerely enjoy the company of others of your species! There's a warm-heartedness about this configuration, an ability to reach out to people and form bonds of trust and affection. Caution, though: True intimacy is a gift that must be earned gradually. You radiate such magic that people's judgments can be eroded. They can bond with you more quickly and deeply than is appropriate. And you can do the same! Your true soulmates are Venusian types; that is, they are graceful, attractive people, typically with elevated aesthetic sensitivities.

While a fairly large number of people have Venus in that sign and house, the fact that it lies conjunct your Sun gives it special emphasis. By pushing the strengths it suggests toward their limits, you charge your solar vitality, approach your destiny, and set the stage for fullfilling your spiritual purpose.

The lunar dimensions of your astrological signature are deepened by planetary overtones. At the instant your independent physical life began, the planet Mars was conjunct the Moon -- aligned with it, in other words. As a result, we cannot discuss your emotions and instincts without including the notion that your Soul is charged with the spirit of Mars, as though that ancient "god" lived inside you.

Our first step, of course, is to get aquainted with this new element in the puzzle.

Pale red Mars suggested blood to our ancestors, and they named it the War God. That's an effective metaphor -- Mars does represent violence. But today we go further. The red planet symbolizes the power of the Will. Assertiveness. Courage. Without it, there'd be no fire in life. No spark. Where your Mars lies, you are challenged to find the Spiritual Warrior inside yourself, the part of you that's brave and clear enough to claim your own path and follow it.

Mars is stretching for the stars in Sagittarius. You have a passionate instinct for adventure, for anything novel, foreign, or unfamiliar. When confined or restrained, you're explosive. Some of your deepest and most unsettling spiritual lessons revolve around recognizing the way we humans -- you included -- tend to sell our freedom cheaply, trading it for security or status before we've recognized the horror of what we're doing. Avoid that! For you, it's a road to terrible hurt.

With the War-God occupying your Ninth House, you have a fiery enthusiasm for life itself. Passionately, restlessly, you seem to be searching... for what? Answers, maybe, although that's a pale word. Instinctively you form a "religion" whose nucleus is the notion that mortal existence is not for the faint-hearted, that without courage, faith, and a willingness to live life to the fullest, we are nothing -- and deserve less.

Sometimes a planet gains prominence in a birthchart simply by sharing a House with the Sun. That's the case with you. Mercury is bathing in solar light, occupying the Eighth House along with our central star.

Mercury buzzes around the Sun in eighty-eight days, making it the fastest of the planets. It buzzes around your head in exactly the same way: frantically. It's the part of you that never rests -- the endless firing of your synapses as your intelligence struggles to organize a picture of the world. Mercury represents thinking and speaking, learning and wondering. It is the great observer, always curious. It represents your senses themselves and all the raw, undigested data that pours through them.

Mercury is seething in Scorpio. That combination links your mental functions to the penetrating, soul-searching logic of the Detective archetype. Unerringly, your intelligence seeks out hidden truths and lies agreed upon, always drawn into the realm of the taboo. Spiritually you are learning a lot about intellectual courage, especially when it comes to unraveling painful human situations.

With the traditional "Messenger of the Gods" occupying your Eighth House, your intelligence is exploring the realm of mystery. Instinctively, you are a student of all that's "taboo," all that's hidden and dark. Sexually, anyone with whom you can sustain long-term passion is mentally sharp, eager to share thoughts about the Journey, and willing to discuss anything, however unsettling. Such a person likely reads books... and does so without moving his or her lips!

Your birthchart displays another area of heightened activity: the Fourth House. The reason for that is simple -- there's a lot of planetary activity. With Jupiter and Pluto in that area of your life, it is charged with activity, soul lessons, and opportunities for personal development. Before we even consider the planets separately, our first step is to explore this piece of existential real estate in broad terms.

Peel away the layers of the psychological onion, get down to the core of your being, the realm of your heros and nightmares -- you've entered the Fourth House. This is psychic bedrock. Traditionally, it's the House of the Home. That's a valid notion in lots of ways. First, with any astrological factor in this part of the birthchart, you're at least "minoring in psychology" and that process requires a safe haven; hence, you feel an elevated need for the privacy and security of the "nest." Second, much of your psychic bedrock was profoundly influenced -- or scarred -- by your childhood experiences. Many of your most fundamental challenges spin off the effects of a powerful parent upon your present character. Third, "Home" is "where you're coming from" -- and this House answers that question in the deepest way: it's the core of your being.

Take all the planets, all the meteors, moons, asteroids, and comets. Roll them up in a big ball of cosmic mush. They still wouldn't equal the mass of the "King of the Gods" -- Jupiter. Exactly that same bigness pervades the planet's astrological spirit. Jupiter is the symbol of buoyancy and generosity, of opportunity and joy. At the deepest level, it represents faith... faith in life, that is, rather than faith in anybody's theological position papers.

Jupiter stands in Cancer. This is an important piece of information -- maybe a pivotal one. Being human is tough sometimes. When you need to boost your elemental faith in life, your answer lies in following the Way of the Healer or the Fantasy-Weaver. What that means is that when you're sad you have two solid options. One is to find another being who's wounded, and then bind the wounds -- visit a sick friend, adopt a cat, water the plants. The other is to curl up in a safe, hidden place, and either read some faraway tale or close your eyes and invent one of your own.

In your chart, the "King of the Gods" reigns in the Fourth House -- traditionally the "House of the Home." To keep your faith and enthusiasm for life strong, it's essential that you invest yourself heavily in your home. That may mean parting with a week's pay for an oil painting to hang over the sofa. But it goes beyond money; you cheer yourself by putting out the energy to personalize and decorate the place you live in, making it magical. It also suggests that you may be happiest with a family, and that you need to do your best to heal and deepen the bond between you and your parents.

"Life's a bitch. Then you die." Go to any boutique from coast to coast; you'll find those words on a coffee mug. Meaninglessness. Like most truly frightening ideas, we make a joke of it. That's Plutonian territory: the realm of all that terrifies us so badly we need to hide from it. Death. Disease. Our personal shame. Sexuality, to some extent. Initially, Pluto asks us to face our own wounds, squarely and honestly. Then, if we succeed, it offers us a way to create an unshakable sense of meaning in our lives. How? Methods vary according to the Signs and Houses involved, but always they have one point in common: the high Plutonian path invariably involves accepting some trans-personal purpose in your life.

Pluto was journeying slowly through the sign Cancer. Thus the shadow material you are called upon to face has to do with the dark side of the Crab archetype: hiding from life. In what part of your life or personal history have you chosen safety over experience, the appearance of love over the steamy reality of shared growth, security over magic? (If you answer is "Nowhere!" then congratulations... you're Enlightened... or not looking hard enough.)

At the moment of your birth, Pluto gleamed in the Fourth House... the part of the birthchart where what we call "psychology" happens. Spirit has blessed you with sound instincts regarding the way people come to live with their old wounds, surviving, but also suffering. To create a sense of meaning in your life, you need to accept your role as a healer of spirits. To do that, you must first recognize the places where darkness touched you as a child.

In the final analysis, all planets are important. Each one plays a unique role in your developmental pattern, and failure to feed any one of them results in a diminution of your life. Just because the following planets aren't "having breakfast with the President" through association with the Sun, Moon, or Ascendant doesn't mean we can ignore them.

If Uranus were the only planet in the sky, we'd all be so independent we'd still be Neanderthals throwing rocks at each other. There would be no language, no culture, no law. On the other hand, if Uranus did not exist, we'd all still be hauling rocks for Pharaoh. All individuality would be suppressed. This is the planet of individuation... the process whereby we separate out who we are from what everybody else wants us to be. Always it indicates an area of our lives in which, to be true to ourselves, we must "break the rules" -- that is, overcome the forces of socialization and peer pressure. In that part of our experience, what feeds our souls tends to annoy mom and dad... and all the "moms" and "dads" who lay down the law of the tribe.

With Uranus in Aquarius, the process of individuation for you is tied up with the Path of the Rebel. That is to say, you strengthen and clarify your own Uranian identity through questioning authority in all its forms, through looking at the "obvious" and daring to see what no one else has seen before -- and without that kind of radical creativity and intellectual courage you're likely to foul up your life with mere eccentricity. Consciously chosen forays down the "road less traveled" purify your sense of self, purging out the spurious "inner voices" you've swallowed sitting in front of the great wraparound television set of late twentieth century Industrial Culture.

House of Friends -- that's the old name for the Eleventh House, where your Uranus lies. The issues are broader; not just friends, but also the framework of goals and priorities by which you orient your life. Uranus is your Teacher here and the lessons can be summarized this way: the older you get, the stranger you get! You are on a diverging course from the social mainstream, and you come into increasing conflict with the "tyranny of the normal" as you mature. Trust your path! You have a unique gift for the human family, but you're not ready to offer it until you reach the second half of your life.

Look at a NASA photo of Saturn. The icy elegance of the planet's rings, the pale understatement of the cloud bands... both hint at the clarity and precision which characterize Saturn's astrological spirit. Part of the human psyche must be cold and calculating, cunning enough to survive in the physical world. Part of us thrives on self-discipline, seeks excellence, pays the price of devotion. Somewhere in our lives there's a region where nothing but the best of what we are is enough to satisfy us. That's the high realm of Saturn. In its low realm, we take one glance at those challenges and our hearts turn to ice. We freeze in fear, and despair claims us.

The colorful terrain of Leo offers a region of profound spiritual challenge for you, as Saturn was passing through that sign at your birth. You must learn to steel yourself in the face of the Lion's shadow side: fear of rejection. If people applaud your false self, what good is that? Cultivate your creativity and don't be afraid of artful embellishment, but will yourself toward honesty too! And support that journey in practical, Saturnian terms by fortifying your creative talents -- especially in areas pertinent to Saturn's House in your birthchart. Which House was that?

The Sixth! The arena of life where we learn lessons of responsibility and competence, where we are asked to be of concrete value to those around us. With Saturn here, you are challenged to acquire a set of skills which don't come easily for you or anyone. Perhaps they are highly technical. Perhaps absorbing them requires long education. Maybe the work seems nearly impossible. Grit your teeth and do it anyway -- or else a kind of pointless martyrdom or trivial workaholism will rush into the vacuum.

You're lying in your bed, going to sleep. Suddenly a jolt runs through your body. You just "caught yourself falling asleep." Where were you two seconds before the jolt? What were you? Astrologically, the answer lies with Neptune. This is the planet of trance, of meditation, of dreams. It represents your doorway into the "Not-Self." Based on the sign the planet occupies, we identify a particularly critical spiritual catalyst for you... although we need to remember that Neptune remains in a Sign for an average of a little over thirteen years, so its Sign position actually describes not only you, but your whole generation. Its House position, however, is more uniquely your own.

Neptune was passing through Leo. Thus, to trigger higher states of consciousness in yourself and to stimulate your psychic development, you may choose to follow the Path of the Performer... that is consciously, intentionally to seek the purest expression of your creative vision. Without exposure to the purifying, soul-bleaching effects of spontaneous, unreserved self-expression, you tend to drift away from Spirit, losing yourself in the mazes of daily life.

Neptune, planet of transcendence, occupies the Fifth House of your birthchart, where its mystical feelings are linked to your creativity and playfulness. A basic "yoga" you need to practice in this lifetime lies in experiencing the "creative trance" -- that curious state all artists know in which the conscious mind simply gets out of the way and allows the unconscious to speak. By allowing yourself to receive creative inspiration, you establish rapport with the secret realms of your own soul... and more than artistic imagery will flow up that road. Spiritual illumination will too.

 

Your Lunar Nodes

The soul's journey

 

Here's a jolly baby. Here's a serious one. An alert one. A dull one. A wise one. Those are common nursery room observations, but they raise a fascinating question: How did that person get in there?

Most of our psychological theory, either technically or in folklore, is developmental theory... abuse a child and he'll grow up to be a child-abuser, for example. But in the eyes of the newborn infant, there is already character. How can that be? One might say it's heredity, and that's certainly at least part of the answer. A large part of the world's population would call it reincarnation -- that baby, for better or worse, represents the culmination of centuries of soul-development in many different bodies. A Fundamentalist might simply announce, "That's how God made the baby." Who's to say? But all three explanations hold one point in common: They all agree that we cannot account for what we observe in a baby's eyes without acknowledging the impact of events occurring before the child's birth.

In astrology, the South Node of the Moon refers to events occurring before your birth, helping us to see what was in your eyes ten seconds after you were born... however we imagine it got in there! The Moon's North Node, always opposite the South Node, refers to your evolutionary future. It's a subtle point, but arguably the most important symbol in astrology. The North Node represents an alien state of consciousness and an unaccustomed set of circumstances. If you open your heart and mind to them, you put maximum tension on the deadening hold of the past.

As we consider the Nodes of the Moon in your birthchart, we'll be using the language of reincarnation. Whether that notion fits your own spiritual beliefs is of course your own business. If it doesn't work for you, please translate the ideas into ancestral hereditary terms. After all, it makes little practical difference whether we speak of a certain farmer weeding his beans a thousand years before the Caesars as your great, great, mega-great grandfather... or as you yourself in a previous incarnation. Either way, he's someone who lived way back there in history who sort of is you, sort of isn't, and lives on inside you--influencing but not ultimately defining you.

At your birth, the South Node of the Moon lay in Gemini, the sign of the Storyteller. Anyone looking into your eyes as you took your first breath would have observed the results of lifetimes spent sharpening the senses, honing your capacity for instantaneous reaction and adaptation. Many incarnations in which you lived by your wits have made you quick and fluid, hungry for fresh experience, eager to share ideas. But triumph for yourself -- that's the only cure. The triumph may be huge -- like getting your Ph.D. -- or it may be a little daily thing, like actually getting around to cleaning out the closet.

That nascent ability to come to terms with the intuitive, faithful side of your own psyche is symbolized by the North Node of the Moon, which lies in Sagittarius -- the sign of the Gypsy. As we saw earlier, the North Node can be seen as the most significant point in the entire birthchart. Why? Because it represents your evolutionary future... the ultimate reason you're alive, in other words. How can you accomplish this Sagittarian spiritual work? The "yoga" is easy to say, harder to do: you must overcome your addiction to the sharpness of your own formidable intelligence, intentionally placing yourself in situations which you do not comprehend and to which you must therefore respond from your gut rather than from your head.

There's another piece to the puzzle: The Moon's South Node falls in the Third House of your chart. This implies that previous to this lifetime you developed an extremely quick wit and a capacity to think on your feet -- "street sense," in other words. Trouble is, in your concern with assessing changing circumstances, adapting to them, and putting the right verbal "spin" on your self-justifications, you lost a sense of the larger picture.

In this lifetime, with your North Node of the Moon in the Ninth House, you must act to counterbalance some of that old cunning... not so much because cunning is "wrong," but because you've already learned everything you can from it. The time has come for you to concentrate on larger questions, trying to establish some ultimate framework of meaning for your life. In that effort, a terrific assistance comes to you whenever you leave familiar territory and expose yourself to the mind-expanding, reality-shattering effects of culture shock -- travel, in other words.

And that's your birth chart.

Trust it; the symbols are Spirit's message to you. In the course of a lifetime, you'll make a billion choices. Any one of them could potentially hurt you terribly, sending you down a barren road. How can you steer a true course? The answer is so profound that it circles around and sounds trivial: listen to your heart, be true to your soul. Noble words and accurate ones, but tough to follow.

The Universe, in its primal intelligence, seems to understand that difficulty. It supplies us with many external supports: Inspiring religions and philosophies. Dear friends who hold the mirror of truth before us. Omens of a thousand kinds. And, above all, the sky itself, which weaves its cryptic message above each newborn infant.

In these pages, you've experienced one reading of that celestial message as it pertains to you. There are others. You may want to consider sitting with a real astrologer ... micro-chips are fine, but a human heart can still express nuances of meaning that no computer can grasp. You may want to order other reports, ones that illuminate your current astrological "weather," or that analyze important relationships. Best of all, you may choose to learn this ancient language yourself, and begin unraveling your own message in your own words.

Whatever your course, we thank you for your time and attention, and wish you grace for your journey.


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