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Astrology & Mental Health

Thursday, December 2nd, 2021

“And I’ve seen astrology bring people together. I’ve seen queers relax and smile when their friends tease them for their Moon sign, laughing along with them about being a Leo rising because it makes them feel so seen. I’ve seen sarcastic New York seniors who do not otherwise want to share their stories come together and ask whether we can all talk sincerely with one another about our natal charts. I’ve seen teens who are otherwise self-conscious and guarded about where they are, shielding themselves with fashion or learned academic language, admit that they have a lot of deep feelings as a Scorpio. I’ve seen kids talk about the burdens and joys of being a Capricorn with big dreams, of being an Aquarius who is just the right amount of cynical but with a huge helping of healthy smart-assedness. I’ve seen the request for someone’s Sun, Moon, or rising sign become a tender shorthand for “I’d like to know you better” and the invitation to talking about astrology be shorthand for “I’d like to hear you imagine yourself beyond how I was taught to perceive you.” Through astrology, we are funny, sincere, and vulnerable. We use astrology to see each other.”

— From Postcolonial Astrology by Alice Sparkly Kat

There are many ways I wanted to write this, but they always came out too long and a bit melodramatic for my taste, when that’s not what wanted this to be. This is something I’ve wanted to share for a while, just to get my thoughts in a neat and concise way. This also ties in with other things I want to write about in the future relating to gender and ethnicity, but I don’t think I’m ready to share those parts yet, so I’m just going to stick to this for now.

So, I’ve had identity issues for about a decade now, if you can call it that. I’m sure everyone has gone through their own identity crisis before, but for me it was less of an actual identity crisis and more so a gradual progression of analyzing the self, figuring out all the whys and who’s and what’s, and trying to figure out a way to fix my mentality and how I can fit comfortably in this world. There is no moment in time that I can point to and see that as the catalysts to me having such a fragmented view of myself, but rather an accumulation of life events that I can see contributing to this fragmentation and a sense of alienation.

One of these contributions is having no connection to my heritage or culture. I come from a family of Puerto Rican immigrants, before PR was considered US territory, and I moved away from them young, so I never got to fully connect with them, our culture, and learn Spanish fluently. I also went to majority Latin/Hispanic public schools so I was surrounded by people who looked like me and had similar backgrounds to me, but I couldn’t relate to them. I was teased a lot for not being able to speak Spanish by both my peers and my family and dubbed a “gringa” which is a demeaning term meaning foreigner. I was a foreigner in this group of people I was under the impression I was supposed to feel a sense of community with.

I also had little social capital amongst my peers. I’m a late bloomer, so I wasn’t popular or that conventionally attractive, and had interests that are arguably normal for a child to have but were seen as silly or childish since a lot of my peers were maturing a lot quicker than I was and allowed to have more freedom. My family moved around a lot, so I wasn’t allowed to go out on my own and had no real ability to see any friends I had unless they came to me. The final nail in the coffin was when we moved out of state after my 16th birthday. Any hope or impression I had that I’d one day be able to see my friends more often when I was older was crushed and after we moved, I had no one and nothing but visual art and my thoughts. I was extremely homesick and had no one to confide in since at the time I was so angsty and grew up in a family where a lot of things were left unsaid.

There’s this saying that the brain often creates its own problems when it doesn’t have any, and I can see that ringing true for me, even if I can see that objectively, I had issues. With all that time on my hands, I began deeply analyzing myself, my values, and the people around me, and it didn’t take long for me to realize and understand the deep seeded issues my family fundamentally had. I’ve always been an inquisitive person and had a minor interest in psychology and philosophy for a while and used both as mediums of analyzing the self and others. And it was fucking hard. For me, it was extremely frustrating to realize all these issues within my own family, like the generational trauma and the inability everyone had to just say what the fuck the mean when they need to instead of just assuming shit or letting things go unsaid. And with that, I also had to look inward and realize all the things I had done wrong and was still doing wrong.

I tried many different mediums of analyzing and dissecting the self besides those two, like personality types, character analysis in movies and TV shows, true crime. Anything I could get my hands on to try and understand people and existence, I’d consume it, but nothing was as accessible and interesting to me like astrology. I don’t primarily use astrology as a means of psychoanalysis, but I cannot deny that it has helped me in a way that nothing else did. Not only is it fun, but it also validated a lot of the things I went through and felt and gave me a way to basically anticipate events that could possibly happen so I wouldn’t feel so blind sighted when they did.

Summer of 2021 was hell. I haven’t looked at the astrology around that time, but it was such a hectic time in my life since I felt at my lowest point. (It probably has to do with the eclipse cycles that has happened the past 1.5 years.) My emotions were so turbulent to the point I thought something was clinically wrong with me, I relapsed back into self-harm, my beloved hamster passed away, and I wasn’t going to see my boyfriend for a while. I started therapy, even though I could not afford it. All of that happening back-to-back, astrology happened to be one of the things that truly helped ground me. Therapy felt too vulnerable for me because I threw myself into it. I knew I needed help and was just splurging all my baggage to this stranger, and it made me feel guilty for doing so, even though she was extremely nice, and it was quite literally her job to listen to me and provide me grounded guidance. All the other things I used in the past to help me intellectualize what was happening, did not help anymore. It all sounded like pretentious jargon to me at that point. Astrology was my saving grace. It was the middle ground between validation and providing solution for me that was accessible. It provided me a way to start piecing together who I was and who I could be.

I had already been casually studying it by that point, but it fell into place one day when I looked up the meaning of Chiron and nearly cried with out accurate it was in my chart and that I wasn’t just completely delusional or looking for issues.

Chiron is known as the “wounded healer,” and it represents where our deepest wounds lie. The house placement is more important than what sign it’s placed in. I have Chiron in my 4th house of home, family, roots, ancestry, etc. This placement can manifest differently for different people, but generally signifies a hectic or insecure family life. For me, my family was never abusive, not really. They’re not bad people, just flawed people with no self-awareness. We moved around a lot, and they can be really controlling and say insensitive things that have good intentions but couldn’t help me in the way that they wanted to. My needs were never fully met and they always felt a thousand miles away. Chiron in the 4th house reflects this. Pluto and Mars reflect this sentiment, too, as they’re both malefic planets, and add extra emphasis to the very turbulent dynamics I often have with my family, even if I love and care for them a lot.

snapshot of my 4th house

Another thing that further solidified my belief in astrology, and helped me fully intellectualize my thoughts and emotions, was my natal Mercury in Pisces. Mercury is my chart ruler, meaning it’s the planet that rules the rising sign, and sets the tone for the rest of the chart. Mercury is the planet of communication, messaging, how we process information and how we express that back out into the world. Having this as a chart ruler indicates that I’m a very talkative person who often thinks a lot and has a lot to say. But Mercury is in Pisces, in its detriment. Without making this too complicated with astrological jargon if you’re a noob, a planet is in detriment when it’s in the opposite sign it rules. Mercury rules Virgo, and directly opposite is Pisces. When a planet is in detriment, it means it can not function properly; it doesn’t have all the tools or the ability to express itself the way it needs to.

learn more about the essential dignities here

My mode of communication and intellectualizing things has always been confusing for others to understand. I go on tangents, and can never fully express what I mean, even to this day, though I’m working on it. For a long time, my verbal communication was practically nonexistent, and it bled into my lack of emotional maturity. I often went silent when confronted or yelled at and had to resort to writing things down to communicate when I got overwhelmed. It became physically impossible to speak. It wasn’t until I met my boyfriend and saw how many issues I was causing due to how shit my communication style was that I decided to make a change. Now I can’t shut up when I’m around him. We compliment each other so well once I was able to express myself and needs to him.

People who have Mercury in Pisces may have more extremes of this debilitated communication. It can indicate speech impediments (I don’t know if a lisp is a speech impediment, but I do have a lisp), or selective mutism, or another disability that hinders communication or learning.

There are other things in my chart that were pivotal for me — such as Mercury square Pluto, which validated my obsessive thinking and provided me with a way of mediating it — that helped me along my astrological journey. Learning about this through astrology started to put all the pieces together for me and sucked me in even further into this study. I try not to take it so seriously and conflate my beliefs with that is objective, but I do believe that astrology is more than just a coincidence and can help people in a multitude of ways. I’ll always hold this practice close to my heart and be thankful for the clarity it provided me when I needed it.

Relearning The Basics

Thursday, November 25th, 2021

Growing up with the internet, I had access to a vast amount of information that was essentially right at my fingertips, but with that freedom of choice and that sense of unlimited potential and knowledge, I stuck to what I was already familiar with for the most part, which bled into my astrological journey.

We’re all exposed to astrology at some point, one way or another, but I can guarantee the majority of the kind of astrology that all of us are initially exposed to is the typical pop culture astrology, where sites like Buzzfeed or Vogue will make an article about what your horoscope indicates for this month or freak out about Mercury going retrograde as if it were the first time it has ever gone retrograde. They’ll probably even have a section all about the signs where they list off all of the stereotypical behaviors of each sign, like how lazy and gluttonous Taurus is or how brooding and mysterious and slightly sexually perverse Scorpio is. Very rarely do these sites know what they’re talking about, which is expected because they don’t specialize in astrology and just want to get you to stick around and sink down deeper into their weird and inaccurate interpretations and predictions so they get more money. But even some really popular sites that are all about astrology, and very large influencers in the astrological or spiritual communities, fall victim to this usage of stereotypes and word salads about destiny and past lives and “breaking out of the system”, and it becomes very apparent by that point that something is very wrong.

This is why I started to place heavy emphasis on starting from the root of everything and focusing on history and tradition. While tradition does not always equal value, learning about where these things came from and why the signs and the planets mean what they mean is vital to really understand astrology and utilizing it in a way that works for you, instead of relying on memorization of what everything means from sites that are solemnly reliable. History is great and important!

I recently attended two of the free prerecorded webinars that Maren Altman has on her site to not only refresh my brain about the very basics of astrology (signs, planets, houses, etc.) but to also learn a bit more about the WHY and the general variations between how astrology was used back then and how it’s used now. I found them to be really well presented and informative, and also really bittersweet because of her own history with this study and how far she’s come from then.

I’m also reading the sample pages of Chris Brennan’s book “Hellenistic Astrology: The Study of Fate and Fortune” and I really appreciate his very concise and informative style of writing. Most people can find history or learning anything dense or difficult to be a drag, but you just have to find your medium. For me, it varies, but really, it’s all about finding the right person who speaks your language that makes everything click for you.

Also, with the webinars, I learned about how to properly manifest with the moon. It seems pretty obvious when you look at it like New Moons mean new beginnings so that means Full Moons means closure or letting go, and so on. But it wasn’t something I really invested a lot of time into researching and learning about since I don’t consider myself to be that spiritual. I believe that there is something metaphysical in a way, and although astrology isn’t inherently spiritual, it still falls into the synchronistic nature that our existence just happens to have and follow. I don’t think we really know where that comes from yet, but it’s fun to have theories or beliefs, that’s why we have religion and spirituality. But I’ve personally always been a skeptical person and the idea of those things never fully resonated with who I am, though I’ve tried and am still very open to any idea of what the world and consciousness come from.

Hearing about manifestation from Maren’s perspective and her own recommendations really piqued my interest. This is probably because she made it practical and digestible in a way that I couldn’t grasp any other way. Not because I’m incapable of understanding abstract ideas, but rather, from the stuff that I read online and the influencers in these spaces, they present these ideas in a way that makes it seem larger than life and using a bunch of words that frankly don’t make sense. (I can go on an entirely separate discussion about this alone, and from personal experience.)

This same notion goes in hand with a gripe I had with a video I watched recently about Astrologers vs. Astronomers that Jubilee published about 2 months ago.

If you watch the video, the astrologers are the ones I have a problem with because of how ill-informed and unprepared they seemed. I’m sure they’re well versed in the history of astrology and have gone on their own journey of understanding their reasoning on why they believe what they do and how they chose to practice, but they definitely didn’t come across that way and I felt frustrated. Jubilee definitely didn’t help balance out this discussion because of the framing of their questions, and how much time each side is given to discuss. (This might be due to their editing, too.) It was just a bad video in my opinion and I wish the astrologers had prepared more and tried to make it accessible for people who are obviously very skeptical and a bit hostile. (I say a bit hostile because of that one woman who said that people who believe in astrology lack guidance, which I can completely understand given the reputation astrology generally has, and is tainted with misinformation.)

Even though I really didn’t like that video, it really motivated me in going back to what I knew about astrology and set up this page to not only document my own progression and thought processes but to hopefully motivate other people and show them that astrology is a lot more nuanced than a lot of pop culture makes it out to be and that knowledge is attainable. It’s not all about intuition, or about higher planes of existences, or higher beings at play. Astrology simply IS. That’s why even though I’m not here to educate or inform, given I’m still a noob myself, I put resources I think are reliable, and even consider weeding some out. Astrology is really beautiful once you give it a chance and don’t take it so seriously.