Probably around kindergarten, we figure out we aren’t the same. Some of us are red skinned, others darker, some have eyes of blue, unlike your brown-eyed siblings. There are those we know who are easy to ruffle and others placid as lake water.
I’m not exactly sure when it occurred to me that I was different from anybody in my family despite our mostly-mutual coloring and our shared predilection for drama. Different, back then, didn’t get you a five-star review. Had astrology been a course of study at the time and someone of importance in my life had studied it things might have gone a lot differently for me.
I understand why folks don’t race out to consult the stars, or embrace the idea that there is any validity to planets having control over our lives. Four people in my family share the same birthday. Chalk has more in common with cheese than we four have with each other. When we check out our horoscopes in the astrology columns, we are all reading Cancer’s prediction for the month–end of similarity! How can it be? My take-no-prisoners dualistic thinking concluded: Astrology lacks credibility if four so remarkably dissimilar human beings share the same sun sign.
Before throwing the ancient practice out altogether, I thought I should delve deeper than a few forays into columns in Harper’s Bazaar or Vogue for my evidence. How else would I validate my conclusions? Luckily there is an astrologer right here in Charlottesville. Her name is Cheryl Hopkins and her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
My elder sister and I don’t share the same birth sign. We rarely share the same take on any given experience, which makes perfect sense to a point. A few years back when she suffered a heart attack our lack of a consensus view could have been more stunning . She died and was twice resuscitated. I couldn’t wait to hear about her adventure. Hardly able to control my excited curiosity, I listened expectantly as she relayed the events up to and after the attack.
She left out the most important part of her narrative. Never one to leave a question unasked, I inquired, “Did you go to the light? How about a tunnel?” I pelted her with a barrage of the near-death experiences I had read about. “…None of those? …Not any one of them, really?” We were each mystified by the other’s response.
Now as I am beginning to discover, there is no mystery here. Death and transformation are themes that crop up like weeds in my natal chart and barely register in hers. With a quick look at our horoscopes any surprises in her answers melt away. “No, I don’t remember anything. I just woke up?” Before this conversation, I suspected we didn’t share similar worldviews. Afterwards, no doubt existed. Steeped throughout our shared childhoods in a decided right and wrong mentality, one of us had to be wrong, and I was pretty sure t’was I. The habit of being wrong formed at an early age and persisted despite my logical mind’s contrary protestations. Imagine if a parent or teacher possessed even a cursory knowledge of what the stars revealed in a child’s personality how beneficial that could be. In my case I wouldn’t be wrong just myself, different.
Coming to grips with my arbitrary nonconformity fueled a lifelong pursuit of self-discovery—another thing setting me apart from most of my family of origin, my neighbors, and pretty much the rest of the world. Despite all my efforts to create similarities between me, and thee, one peculiarity stood out like a principled man in D.C. No matter how hard I tried putting on the I’m-just-like-everyone-else hat, it didn’t fit. I can’t help being different. It is in my chart. By design, I came in order to be the outlier.
As I was coming to discover there is more to astrology than just your sun sign.
Once I found Cheryl, I made an appointment right away. When we spoke, I told her I was a skeptic since three other of my family members had the same birthday and we couldn’t be more distinctly individual. Also for giggles, I had some issues I wanted to take a stellar perspective on to find some clarity.
I’m here to tell you to have a human being you’ve never met tell you things about yourself, details long time friends might not pick up on, is weird. I jokingly asked if she had been peeking in my windows. When she started off our session with I was different and why that was so, I was nonplussed. She explained: “Your natal sun and Uranus are conjunct. Your sun is your sense of autonomy, identity and conscious awareness. Where it lands in your chart describes what part of your life you express this part of your psyche. Joined with Uranus, the outer planet representing individuality, authenticity and revolutionary change (that’s what conjunct means) and you get someone whose normal is anything but; doesn’t run with the crowd and is oriented toward shaking up the status quo rather than going along, like you.”
Hearing that bit of information was like the satisfaction you feel when you find a long sought after puzzle piece that had fallen under the table. Its shape outlined clearly, once found makes sense of the whole puzzle. Your natal chart is a gold mine of information.
Carl Jung used astrology extensively in his practice and coined the term “synchronicity” to describe meaningful coincidences occurring in his life and the lives of his patients in regards to the position of the planets.
They are too far away to directly affect us. Yet observation of their placements, relationship to each other and the events occurring in the lives of individuals and nations for many millennia show a correlation. We resonant with their symbolism. That offers useful information that is relevant whether one is open to it or not.
The moon doesn’t cause women to menstruate, yet their cycles synch. Every twenty-nine years coinciding with the orbit of Saturn like clockwork, a new phase of maturation begins in a person’s life. Similarly around forty-two to forty-four there’s a powerful urge to break free of collective, societal, and familial conditioning to be true to self and to go to extremes, if need be to do so. That’s the revolutionary impulse of Uranus’s symbolism waking you up to the idea you let yourself play small for way too long and it no longer serves you.
If instead of personality, psychological and academic tests as the sole way to assess a person it would be enlightening to utilize the information in one’s astrological chart as the basis for understanding another’s orientation and potential first. If instead of using tests scores to assess a child’s potential, how wonderful would it be if horoscopes were the benchmark of an individual child’s abilities?
The symbolism of the planets is reflected in our collective experiences, too. On 9/11 Saturn, representing society, structures and authority was in the sign of Gemini; relationship, business and two of something. It was opposing the planet Pluto representing death, destruction, transformation and rebirth in the sign of Sagittarius; beliefs, religion, and foreigners. Cheryl shared that, that event literally played out the energy of the two signs. Where they contacted the United States chart showed that our sense of who we are and how others see us in the world would be fundamentally altered. Maybe the heavenly bodies do have some sway over life on earth? Makes you think, doesn’t it?
Now, don’t all call Cheryl at once.