I believe we need to expand the definition of the astrological Chiron. Yes, it’s our wounds, especially that primal one that lives in the core of our Being. And it holds that special gift, that thing we can do like no one else. Chiron also shows where we can offer healing to others–and my own personal theory, that since 2012 we’ve been able to offer that healing to ourselves–that year didn’t bring the end of the world, it brought the end of a world where we weren’t able to give ourselves, to do for ourselves, that soothing and knitting together we’d wished to have but found we could only pass on to others. Now we can give that healing to ourselves, provided we can access our Chirotic energies consciously. So, Chiron covers a lot of vital ground, and I’m not proposing a change in what it signifies so much as a shift in how we think of it.
My recent work has been pointing more and more to the isolating way we’re thinking of Chiron. It hurts! It’s over there! It’s tricky to understand, to access! We’d rather not think about it, probably because Chiron in healed form asks us to be thoroughly responsible for ourselves–and most of us would rather leave a little room for excuses, blame, and a wee bit of slack–and I don’t blame anyone for that.
I’ve concluded we need to think of Chiron not as the wound or the gift or that special healing energy, but as the sum of all experience–because what informs our remembrance of things past as thoroughly as those things that wounded us, or that healed us, or that we excel at? Those are all core components of unique identity, a kind of anti-karma: it’s not the total meaning of what we do, it’s the total meaning of what we undergo, the times we bump up against the world and the world bumps back, leaving a mark, changing us through hurt, through helping define our particular talents, or through a growing understanding of what it takes to recover and go on.
I ask you, then, to think of Chiron as a collection of results, gleaned from experiences that shape us. They feel like facts, like things we’ve been presented with, whole, but they are actually malleable, changing with our changing exposures and interactions. Chiron needs to be seen as the sum of all experiences that change our core concepts of our weaknesses (the hurts) and strengths (original talents and gifts). In that sense, this body informs us, in very clear terms, about where we might be susceptible to pressure that skews our motivations and perceptions (to protect the wound) and where we should hold an unusual amount of confidence (when utilizing our very particular talents), and it shows us precisely where we have a kind of magic touch when it comes to helping others. And those are all pretty useful things to know.
As I’ve said before: if you’re looking for happy happy in your astrology, this isn’t it. Or maybe I should say, if you’re looking to find the way to a clearer understanding of influences at work, both inside yourself and in the outer world, this is the place–at least, one of them. I think becoming more aware is the entire point of astrology–so it just naturally follows that some of what we discuss won’t be sunshine-y. I’m especially interested in the ways we work against ourselves, as these are (typically) not only our biggest obstacles, they’re the things most under our control–and so most easily banished, if we can both accept that they exist, and fathom their workings in our lives.
We typically go on about the qualities, strengths and deficits, associated with the twelve signs, but it may be just as useful to consider that the natural human propensity to some sense of vanity may lead us to believe we have strengths we don’t actually have (cue Venus, as a kind of natural asset deceptor, as she usually persuades us that we are very very good, or very very bad, each in its own way playing to the ego: Mars, and each in its own way persuading us of the worth to our modus operandi of both our negative Venusian characteristics and our positive ones).
By observation I’ve come to believe these deceptions may be seated in the signs opposing the ones we have planets posited in. For instance, if one has a Cancer Sun, one may believe they carry a number of what are actually Capricornian traits in the areas of identity, Soul purpose, and matters of the House that carries Leo–and as we know, operating from a false sense of Self means we won’t understand the effects we’re creating. The world will seem unknowable to us, and a lot more random than it really is, if we’re interacting with an inaccurate idea of our Beingness. Others, and the Universe itself, will be reacting to who we really are, rather than to our ideas of who we are–so you can see how this might send things spiraling into chaos, or at least confusion and a serious mismatch of our efforts to the resulting effects, internally and externally.
I think these connections to opposing sign energies are rooted in our natural desire to attain equilibrium in expression. When we sense a weakness, we may reach out energetically to the opposing strength, as if to say, ‘See? No problem here at all!’ This action misleads us into thinking we are more than suited to meet the challenge–in fact, may see what we’re reaching for as the actual strength we possess–not realizing that denial makes us much more vulnerable than does recognition of reality–because reality is something we can deal with, respond to, and so act on to compensate for any genuine shortcomings.
Here’s an example: Someone I’ve known for years loves music–his Whole Sign 12th House Neptune in Scorpio experiences it as connecting him to the Cosmos, a spiritual experience, one he easily loses himself in–all appropriate for this placement. But, every once in a while he insists on singing publicly, an activity/ talent very much associated with Taurus–and the man is completely tone deaf. I kid him about having only one note–and despite a rather devastating experience as a teen when he got up on stage, volunteering to sing with a band, he now and then again gives public performance a try. Good on him, for his Neptunian idealism, for wanting to express creatively–but the 12th tells us this is something to be done behind-the-scenes, manifesting in research or finding Truth in the Universe or in inspiration gleaned from a dream or tapping a direct conduit to the unseen, connecting the ideals of Neptune with the capacity for transformation of Scorpio, with Pisces on the 4th saying this may be an internal dynamic, solely for personal use, or something done in the home or involving the family of origin (such as in ancestral research)–and he has recently delved into family history and the genetic line, and shows a genuine and quite creative talent for ferreting out the past.
What follows are some hints about what we might be mistaken about, according to sign. The best way to read it is to consider a certain energy or placement for what it expresses in the chart. For instance, if you’re looking at ways you contact and interact with the world overall, you’re talking about the Ascendant, so should look at the sign it’s in to see in what ways you may be assuming traits of the opposing sign. That’s not to say that you might not have these abilities through some other placement, but to look at characteristics in light of the specific function they’re applied to. Take these suggestions as food for thought, signposts that could tell us where and how our own assessments may be slightly skewed.
Aries may see themselves as the one who should assess others, casting themselves in the role of sole and ultimate judge–an ironic blending of Libran focus on fairness and the Martian concept of leadership. The idea may be to push forward as ‘first among equals’, demanding the cooperation of others and ‘forgetting’ that true leadership is about taking the initiative and setting an example others want to follow.
Taurus may presume they have x-ray vision, using it to excavate where they should offer comfort or support. They may confuse their own version of Scorpionic ‘Truth’ for real-world evidence or need that’s right in front of them; the duty may be more to express a version of what they see, to translate it, than to dissect or alter it.
Gemini may look to the Sagittarian horizon, always thinking of bigger or better, of more–and may believe they are the only ones in possession of ‘the facts’, who are optimistic in a sea of pessimists, or who embrace authentic belief. Instead of comparative thinking (a separative approach), connecting with others one at a time or in small clusters would bring information from Big Picture to personal, and so bring into operation one of Gemini’s actual assets, an ability to navigate the niceties of networking and organize information so that it’s useful and applicable to the individual.
Cancer may feel they are the organized, authorized, or disciplined one, by confusing systems and methodologies (Capricorn) with sincerity and intuition as guides (Moon ruled energy). Accepting that the feeling nature is the forward-facing one, for Cancer, may help them see how sensitivity and emotion can be just as reliable as any calendar, list, or rules, when employed by the appropriate person (Hint: that’s you, Cancer!)
Leo may see the desire to roar as more legitimate if they can point to the intellectual reasoning behind it or the academic underpinnings for their position–but who told them they need to justify themselves in the first place? They should know they don’t have to understand (Aquarius) why they are shining (Leo)–their only mandate is to do it.
Virgo may want to present as a dreamer (Pisces)–but they will inevitably get tangled in the details, in giving an account of themselves, if they shun a more hands-on, material, or pragmatic approach. To responsibly deal with what is (Virgo) can be just as creative as imagining what could be (Pisces), delivering satisfaction through accountable focus they may have sought through the nebulous and the unreal.
Libra may believe they need to go it alone–but that’s just not natural to the sign of partnership. They may hide in the Arian pioneer or lone wolf spirit when cooperation seems too costly, in one manner or another, or too difficult–but interacting with and depending on others is precisely what they need to do, to get the most out of a Libran placement.
Scorpio may feel they must be grounded before they can ‘dig in’–which can make for never getting started in the first place. Shying away from reality, the Truth, or the need for change or alteration is poison to the Scorpion, as they aren’t meant to be settled (Taurus), they’re meant to unsettle.
Sagittarius may talk a good game–but when it comes to taking the big steps, making the big gesture, or facing up to the facts, they may dissemble, hiding their true goals from themselves–but they’re only shorting out their own opportunities, in the end. Embrace of the mission (large goal) is their ticket to success, while endless rumination or connecting the information dots will keep them running in a small, tight, ineffective circle–so much for ever hitting that horizon.
Capricorn may believe it’s their feelings that count, when it’s really the rules or Self-discipline that needs to be applied. Measuring things by their warm fuzzies may make Cappy think they’re becoming more versatile, when in fact it may be that they are reluctant to stay on the straight and narrow because of what it will ask (or require) of them.
Aquarius may insist on acting, on making a splash, on drawing attention–and it’s all in service of keeping them from intellectual understanding of what they’re up to. Being unique or original, even changing their mind on the spur of the moment–oh yes–always with the goal of understanding both individually and in the larger context; showing off, or being jealous of those in the spotlight, or believing they know how to show others how to shine–that’s a nope.
Pisces may hide in nitpicking, criticizing, or list-making, believing that their connection to the Cosmos grants them the right–but it’s really more like looking the wrong way through a telescope–you’re not just using it wrong, you’re giving yourself a headache. The Piscean capacity for the Universal must be respected by taking a step back, not by throwing everything under a microscope–creativity needs a free hand, even as it gives things form.
Hi All!Still hard at work on the book. It’s going well, but there’s just so much in the Lunar world! Who’d have guessed? 🙂 I hope you’re having a great week!
What follows is an article re-printed from an issue of ECLIPSE. It’s been edited to remove outdated transit material, and has some new material added.
We reach our early 50s and have our Chiron Return. Up to that point, we’ll have had squares, oppositions, and trines of the transiting body to its natal self, and these have given us direct experience of our primal wound, and possibly our exceptional and unique Chirotic gift, in action. These contact points come at radically different times for individuals, as Chiron has an exaggerated elliptical orbit, and yet it returns to the birth point at a consistent average of 50.7 years. We don’t actually know if it’s a comet or an asteroid, as it exhibits properties of both; but we have been watching it since its discovery 18 October 1977 by Charles Kowal—so we’ve had enough time to get a clear idea of what Chiron stands for in the birth chart, which is a necessary step for any body entering the canon of regularly used astrological placements. Its minor planet designation is 2060, should you want to locate yours at serennu.com.
This is the one Return that really jars the life; it comes at a point when we are likely still feeling at peak professionally (or feeling poised to continue to climb), while personally we may become keenly aware that we are definitely closer to the end of life than we are to the beginning. We are, probably for the first time in our current conscious existence (the exception being for those who have had Pluto conjunctions by transit to the personal bodies of the natal chart), realizing we are vulnerable: to time, to the consequences of our own choices, to changes in the world that challenge our conceptions of ‘What Is’, and certainly to what ‘Could Be’, the threatening potentials for wounds that mostly just seemed theoretical, before.
Other Returns come much more often (even Saturn is headed for his second encounter with the natal placement by the time Chiron goes home), so that we have some personal reference point when they occur—we have been there before–and the outers that take larger forms—communal, spiritual, symbolic—don’t necessarily need that touchstone of personal viewpoint. With the outers we can only expect with any certainty to see phases where they form major aspects to their own natal spots (by square, trine, opposition) so that the natal energies are examined from a different viewpoint than we held at birth, offering a new take on who we are in relation to that energy—we see how far we’ve come, and how we’ve changed, in the energy’s expression or inclusion in the life, but we don’t review things from our initial point, the point of Return.
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) roughly 38% of people can expect to live to see their Uranus Return at approximately 84 years, making seeing that Return a much-less-than-sure bet; considering that around 88% of individuals will see their second Saturn Return at approximately 60 years of age, that’s a big difference, a large span of years with only the minor cycles recurring, though Jupiter does make a Return at 72, bringing personal meaning as well as re-aligning us to the social order—but the Chiron Return is the only Return bridging the Saturn cycle and the Uranus one in terms of outer energy reassessment of itself (Astrologer Barbara Hand Clow describes the Saturn-Uranus connection via Chiron as the Rainbow Bridge). By its singular nature, the Chiron Return implies that things are going on there that won’t occur in quite that way anywhere else in the chart or the life.
Of course, any Return brings forward contemplation of the energy, a review of how we’ve handled it, and where that handling has taken us; with Chiron this is about processing not just the primal wound, the one that has been there even before we had language to name it, but also about all the wounds we carry, no matter how they were inflicted. It’s also about healing, with any contact of Chiron to itself setting us up to answer for what we’re not trying to make better. It’s as if the transit energies say, “Okay, you’ve taken inventory of all that hurts you–now what are you going to do about it?” with the silent addendum that it’s healing or nothing; during a Chiron transit to itself, no other measures will address the pain. Allowing healing is the only alternative, at that point in time—or we must face the fact that we are unwilling to heal this psychic, mental, and emotional space within ourselves.
At any age we can have trouble processing our Chiron injuries, as other transits also stir things up, and in transit Chiron can ‘visit’ our other energies and show them a little hurt! Some ways of dealing that are particular to the Return (in fact, are in some form required at the Return) can be modified and used to address other transits of Chiron to itself. The Return requires us to refuse to be hurt anymore; we need to take the position that externals, including other people, are not the agencies of our pain–we are, in the way we process events and interactions. This is not a hardening of heart that’s called for, but some will misinterpret the energy in that way and close themselves off; we all know people who have suddenly become highly Self-focused and selfish, not with a healthy Self-interest and spirit of exploration and discovery, but in a way that says, “I’ve had enough of others and what they inflict/want!”—Chiron to Chiron is one of the transits that can do this.
We’re facilitated in the use of Chiron’s energies by the anticipated ‘end times’ of December 2012. What actually came to an end, in my view, was our personal inability to access the healing nature of our Chirotic gift directly. Up to then we’d been able to offer others our gift but found it blocked from our own use; we could do for others what we couldn’t do for ourselves. The energy situation was something like that story where everyone at a table has only a very long spoon and is served soup. They find themselves starving, until someone realizes they can feed each other. They succeeded by directing their efforts toward others, and for time immemorial that’s the way it has been; with the 2012 period we found for the first time that we possessed spoons short enough to feed ourselves. That doesn’t obviate the need for service to the community, but it does change the nature of our interactions: we can now give freely, without the background assumption that cooperative efforts are essentially an exchange; now that we can provide healing for ourselves, we don’t show up for others in our own state of need–we instead go whole, and can thereby offer that much more in interaction.
The Return (or another Chiron-Chiron contact) also requires we express the energy in a ‘new’ way; that is, new for us as individuals. Here we are talking about those Chiron-related gifts that may largely lie dormant, but which are still there, ours to give away, and post-2012, to use for our own benefit. Think of your Chiron as a highly unique talent or insight that only you have, shaped from your own experiences and directly related to your sense of compassion (we see this in the myth, when Chiron chooses to take on the pain of another and sacrifice his life, freeing them both from their agony). With each Chiron-Chiron contact, this must evolve, if only just a bit, toward a greater empathy and understanding that carries the ‘style’ of your Chiron placement. For instance, in Aquarius the mandate is to gain a greater intellectual understanding of the world, or it can be to find empathy with ‘the group’, or the courage to stand and act as an individual, with additional specifics related to your own Chiron aspects (and I suggest a look at the Sabian for this body as well, for a symbolic description of the heart of your Chirotic energy—round up, unless your Chiron is exactly on the degree and 00 minutes. For example, with Chiron at 12 Aquarius 19, one reads the symbol for 13 Aquarius).
Lastly, Chiron in contact to itself, but especially at the Return, demands that we have developed a means of communicating with the Universe, with the Divine, or with whatever we consider Greater Than Ourselves. This can be those methods described as divination, meditation, work, contemplation, through dreams or spiritual practice, or some other form of communion that has an underlying purpose of serving others. That’s the important part: that our spiritual practice (which from the outside may not look like spiritual practice at all) is engaged in specifically to aid not just ourselves, but humanity as well. I say ‘humanity’ rather than ‘others’ because what is required is a dispassionate compassion, a level of aid that does not judge to whom it’s offered—it’s offered to All.
With the Chiron Return we may enter a time of being a teacher or mentor, even if that was not a role we enacted before. At the Return point we are perfectly balanced between our store of accumulated knowledge and a mind still open to new things, which can make us both student and teacher in the most dynamic and responsive form possible–so not a bad way, I think, to enter later life.
Right now Chiron is in Aries, trine Mars in Sagittarius. This is a recipe to take personal responsibility for our own healing, to act on what we know, to do our best to share our gifts, especially those based in facts or in faith, the kind that says it’s up to the individual to make a difference. That sounds like a heavy load, and if what action’s needed isn’t obvious to you, just wait about a week (the end of the month)–that’s when the Sun will square Chiron, and shine a bright light on exactly what we need to turn our attention toward, in order to heal it.
In doing some chart work this past week, it occurred to me that Jupiter really does offer us a kind of mission statement, an approach blueprint for what we’re here to do, beyond any Soul intentions (the Sun) or Earthly needs (Earth, always directly opposed the Sun, designating the environment or atmosphere or material requirements necessary to fulfill the Soul’s purpose). This is a thread that likely runs through so much else that you do or strive for; it’s probably a sort of ‘silent component’ that is part of any activity or intention, aside from a stated goal or point. So, here are a few brief potential mission statements for each sign; these are off-the-cuff, so please forgive any shortcomings or things I might have forgotten.
Aries: the mission is to discover who you are. The reason for being, exploring the needs and consequences of action and choice, and to plumb the depths and limits of the personal Will. Showing others the importance of acting, doing. The value of the Self.
Taurus: the mission is to discover forms of harmonious expression of the Self through materiality. To explore the array of bodily needs from survival to luxuries, and the value of refining a necessity (such as food) to an artisanal level. Our connection to Nature through diet and environment. The value of caring for the body and honoring physical needs, and of imbuing the everyday with artistry.
Gemini: the mission is to discover forms of connection and communication. To explore, act as a ‘translator’, in both the language and broadcast senses, and to share the web of perpetual communication that is always present, always informing. Thinking as a necessity. The value of being informed, and the importance of that to our interconnectedness.
Cancer: the mission is to discover what it truly means to care. To nurture and be nurtured, to experience the beauty of keeping another being alive, to guide others with loving energy attuned to their welfare, rather than your own. To soothe and emotionally support. Exploring the concept of sacrifice for others, and knowing when that’s appropriate, when to be avoided.The value of positive action supported by emotional investment.
Leo: the mission is to discover what it truly means to be fulfilled. To explore what efforts and attention are genuinely meaningful, what works to uplift others, what it means to each individual to live optimally, making the most of their talents and opportunities. Learning to ‘shine’ from the core Self. The value of doing and being your best.
Virgo: the mission is to discover the subtleties of discretionand their expression through useful critique and analysis. To explore concepts around accountability and responsibility, and to insure everyone receives what’s due. The value of seeing things and people as they are, and so assessing them for best function/ role.
Libra: the mission is to discover what cooperation and partnership really entail. Exploring recognition of and regard for ‘the Other’. Learning when to put ‘we’ before ‘I’. Seeing when and where aesthetics matter. The value of doing things with others, not out of survival or want, but out of Love.
Scorpio: the mission is to discover what ‘the Truth’ really means. To explore when to dig, when to let things alone. Learning to let go of things in order to clear the way for something else. Developing the ability to know when sacrifice is necessary, and when to ‘try again’. The value of persistence; the good judgment to know when something’s over, and to recognize when something’s real.
Sagittarius: the mission is to discover what Faith really means to you. To explore the middle ground between facts and beliefs, and to know the difference between them. Being willing to discover other ways of seeing and being. Learning how and when to reach out, ‘spreading the word’, and refusing to exaggerate or over-promise. The value of moving forward/ sharing based on real-world facts or on genuine belief, and honoring accumulated knowledge by doing so.
Capricorn: the mission is to discover the importance of feeling secure to the human spirit. To explore the optimal uses of guidelines and structures, literal and figurative; to learn when to follow tradition, when to discard it. Learning to gauge when restraint is needed, and when it must be removed. Offering others a ‘safe place’. Learning positive ways to accumulate in the material world. The value of creating something strong, solid, orderly, that gives a sense of security and shelter and anchorspeople in reality.
Aquarius: the mission is to discover how to connect with Higher Mind in the moment. Exploring what genuinely reflects elevated consciousness/ core spirituality, what is shallow, academic, or a fad. Seeing the modern, and how it can mesh with what is/ the past. The spirit of innovation, inventiveness. The value of understanding as it supports acceptance and opens the way for ‘the new’.
Pisces: the mission is to discover the Oneness of All. Exploring the source of both creativity and spirit. Learning the means and power of manifestation. Promoting Universality in positive ways that allow distinctiveness and creative expression within the Collective. Showing that the only sacrifice necessary is one of ego. The value of recognizing everything is spiritual.
Part 1 is here. In continuation, a couple of quick examinations will make it clear that it’s not always easy to distinguish between our actual talents and those things we are, one way or another, obligated to share with the Collective–and then there’s what we want to be in life, the image we want to have in the world, our ideas and beliefs about who we are, and what the social order tells us we are or expects us to be. All these cloud the talent picture and contribute to confusion over how we best fit with and serve the Collective–and it almost goes without saying, what genuinely serves the world serves us as individuals, as well.
Individual Distortions Can Affect the World: Adolf Hitler
Politicians make good fodder for this study, simply because what they do and are affects so many others—they’re the rare individuals whose personal abilities matter to the largest number of people. Though he’s been studied relentlessly, Adolf Hitler (20 April 1889 6:30 PM Braunau am Inn, Austria) is still a great example of what happens when an identity crisis, and confusion about gifts, takes on serious proportions–and if you’re sick of Hitler, just skip ahead to the next example.
He has Scorpio on the 2nd, the House holding Earth, ruler Pluto in Gemini in the 9th (and co-ruler Mars in Taurus in the 8th); on the 11th we see Leo, with the House holding Saturn and the Midheaven, ruler Sun in Taurus in the 8th. Talents revolved around a serious ability to make a material impact through intense communication that goes far and wide (Pluto in Gemini in the 9th), with personal action supported by others in aesthetics or by offering security or comfort—and obviously he showed this with flying colors, by extreme negative example. (And we note, Pluto is conjoined Neptune, a classic contact of misunderstanding, misinterpretation, confusion–which directly affects his own interpretation of his talents, since Pluto rules the 2nd).
With an Earth element Sun at 00 of Taurus (and with ruler Venus also in Taurus, retrograde), Hitler was almost bound to confuse the just-budding aesthetic sensibilities to which his Soul was then turning attention with the Scorpionic intensity of the House of talent and its ruler placements, which likely made him feel (along with Mars in the 8th) that he was perpetually in danger of having his sense of identity, his manhood, and his Will totally subsumed by others, and specifically by their teachings or philosophies (Pluto in 9th plus potent 8th)—not to mention the way others disregarded his attempts to create a career as an Artist. The ‘too soon’ placement of the Taurus Sun, plus the too heavy emphasis on the ‘permission’ of others—the 8th—or of schooling—the 9th—tell us he was unlikely to make headway as an Artist no matter what—this is in spite of the ‘look what the world could have been saved from’ assertion that laments how, if Hitler had only been accepted into Art School, the Holocaust never would’ve occurred.
This line of thinking is typically offered as if merely giving someone what they want will make them a kind and cooperative individual–and anyone who’s tried to appease another knows this ain’t so. The chart proves Hitler’s frustration was inevitable—(and that it was his choice not to learn artisanship—Taurus—that would’ve begun cultivation of and development of genuine artistic abilities). Because Hitler’s attention remained largely focused on himself, in real terms he may never have consciously addressed why he might be here, and what he might have to offer; he was too caught up in the sense of personal struggle (Mein Kampf, and those 8th and 9th House connections) to get beyond that. But what did he really have to share with the world?
It could be said that Hitler came equipped to share the difficulties fostered by vanity and intricacies of how to ‘shine’ in the social sphere, and what the need for Self-regard, both Self-esteem and Self-awareness (all Leo), will do to someone who doesn’t have that genuine Leonine regard for the Self (and so seeks to form the world around them to supply the esteem they lack). The ability to wield power, to make and re-make, to rise from the ashes (Scorpio/ Pluto), especially mentally (Gemini) and philosophically (9th), is there; he could’ve served as an example of how to find one’s place in the larger order, to cooperate and support others (11th, 8th House Sun), but the insecurities plus the Leo energy seem to have overwhelmed any potential positives–he went straight to bully for and grab the personal glory, as soon as his initial impulses weren’t valued–a childish response that unfortunately had the power of Pluto behind it, to the detriment of so much and so many.
Too, consciousness about what every individual contributes to the Collective, and of the role of an effective group leader (MC In 11th), as well as awareness of the virtues and dangers of elevating a sense of discipline and rules above common sense (Saturn) appeared to have been part of his potential offering—and all these he did share, in one form or another—but until he embraced the individual role within reality and the established order (Saturn in Leo) and the interconnectedness of all people (ruler Sun in the 8th), especially through their interdependence materially (Sun in Taurus) he would live and die unfulfilled—and I think he did just that.
Food For Thought: Anthony Bourdain
The late chef, author, and travel host Anthony Bourdain (25 June 1956 8:35 AM New York New York USA) carved a career not just from his love of and expertise in the world of food, but from his presentation of first the culinary world (in books like ‘Kitchen Confidential’), then the world at large (in several shows such as ‘No Reservations’), through his restless and very particular personal viewpoint, focused through food. The Cancer Sun of course fits someone for whom food occupies an outsized role in the life, and its placement in the 12th House might suggest he would’ve been destined to thrive behind-the-scenes, in the kitchen rather than before the camera–so what happened?
When we look at the 2nd of talents and personal assets in Bourdain’s chart we see an empty House filled by Virgo, with ruler Mercury strong in its own sign of Gemini in the 11th of what one has to give the world, goals, friendship, and group involvement. Now, we know that an empty House doesn’t mean ‘no talent’, but it does place an exceptional amount of importance on the situation of the House’s ruler. We might translate this as a talent for critique and communication (Virgo)–a strong one, with Merc in a sign it rules–with the signal that the ruler landing in the 11th means this is the real talent, the one he was meant to share, no matter how otherwise nurturing life in the kitchen may have been.
The 11th also holds the South Node, which is conjoined Mercury, suggesting past knowledge that can be applied to talent expression, and Venus, which is not only retrograde but is also major body of latest degree in the chart. Venus in Gemini reads as communicating beauty and values, but when we factor in the retro condition and the latest degree position, we may find someone who always ended things, especially relationships and weighing the worth of things, at a mental stalemate; too much mental activity, too much musing over the meaning of things, may have short-circuited his relationships with the things and people he loved–so the world could’ve felt to him a very lonely place, as his own mind created distance with others, or a too-critical note with values or interactions better just enjoyed.
This is important to the talent picture as Venus is both the rewards we receive and the enjoyment we partake in–and Self-expression suffers, nay, doesn’t even happen, if we’re not getting those pay offs. Venus rules the 3rd of thought/ communication, linking it even more firmly to the Mercurial/ talent energy, and also rules the 10th, making it vital to the career–and this latter may carry the implication that the career would never offer the Venusian rewards and good feeling we all look for, considering the connections it has to overthinking and the inevitable disappointments of a naturally critical assessment of things.
Venus is part of two Fingers of God: one sees Venus sextile Sedna, apex Saturn=combining the desires, love, assets with what one ‘knows but doesn’t know’, what the instincts inform of, can successfully shape the real world and the reality picture–that’s hopeful, and certainly one of the ingredients behind his success; the other has Venus in 11th sextile Pluto-Jupiter-Zeus in the 1st of Self, apex the Moon-Hygeia combo in Capricorn in the 6th=at least some of that thinking and re-thinking about relationships, what’s worthy in life, about values may be stirred by ambitions, knowledge of the wider world, and all the fears, sensitivities, and destructive elements he’s seen on a day-to-day basis.
Relationships themselves, even money (Venus), may have felt like the thing that brings opportunity (Jupiter) and allows ambition fulfillment (Zeus), and also promises destruction and power struggles (Pluto)–though the optimistic potential for transformation (Pluto) may have helped him go forward for quite awhile. And, Venus trines Neptune-Vesta in Libra=easy to be misled, to lie to oneself, to imagine things are ideal–and that violates a genuine belief in the sacredness of human interaction (Vesta), especially at an intimate level. Essentially, this may bring cycles of disappointment if ideals or creative perfection aren’t reached. So, lots of conflict inherent in the way the psyche processed relating to others, even as there may have always been a spark of inspiration and hope for the ideal in relationships.
And we haven’t even talked about Mercury much yet! Only two more things here I think might apply to the talent and asset picture. Mercury is apex to a Fist of God with base of Neptune-Vesta square Hygeia-Moon. That suggests there was a basic conflict between maintaining a healthy emotional state and pursuing creative ideals, making ‘the dream’ happen (and this in any area, career, relationship, and so on), with the stress likely coming from the Neptune in Libra tendency to over-romanticize intimate relationships, and Vesta insisting on seeing every close connection as sacred. The continual tension (the square of the base) that arose from knowing that loving relationships aren’t fantasy-perfect (Venus in Gemini trine Neptune-Vesta), that such an ideal wasn’t healthy (square to Moon-Hygeia) pushed the Mercury apex for an answer–but does an unsolvable problem, or maybe a wish like this, have an answer?
The Geminian Mercury outlet probably saw the mind as the ‘way out’, believing it was up to him to sort it out, get his head on straight, so to speak, with belief in the responsibility of the Self strong (Jupiter–the belief system–in Leo in the 1st). With Merc in the 11th, this was a line of thinking (that probably felt like a life-line!) that said pursuit of dreams and goals would almost magically (Neptune is involved, after all) resolve the ongoing tension–and though reaching goals or achieving positive relationships may have temporarily alleviated the dilemma, it wasn’t a permanent answer, as the ideal vs. healthy/ real dissonance continued (Merc sesquiquadrate the base square).
Mercury is also conjoined the South Node and part of a T-square with the North Node, with all squared by Mars in Pisces in the 8th. That Mars placement could put a lot of pressure on a man to live up to his ideal of the ‘perfect man’–and in the 8th his short-comings in this regard could’ve felt very public, with a tendency to project his own beliefs and expectations of perfection onto others, making him feel they were judging him, or pressuring him to meet their standards–and that’s a tough complex to go through life with. The square between Mercury-South Node and Mars could indicate an elephant-like memory for things said to him in the past by others, especially friends or in group situations (8th and 11th)–and we all know how judgements made of us, even casually, can echo for the rest of our lives, sometimes crippling our Self-image unnecessarily.
The T is of course a tense aspect, with the thinking and perceptions melded to the past in some form (in his case, maybe a constant awareness of his own past, which included addiction), and by sheer placement, somewhat contradictory to the idea of progress, of going forward into the future (NN). Mars in square adds stress to every thought (Mercury) and action (Mars)–is this the right thing to do, considering my past, and looking toward, and trying to move into, my future? Again, a refrain that doesn’t have an answer–though a sense of traveling and learning certainly helped him cope (Mars rules the 9th).
Perhaps surprisingly, what Bourdain had to give the world was his unique way of thinking, processing, his critical eye on the world around us, and the way that world is reflected through culture and a culture’s choices about food. That’s a pretty wonderful legacy, opening our eyes, giving us a greater sense of what’s out there to be explored, and emphasizing how no matter our differences, food connects us all.
This originally appeared in ECLIPSE, and has a second part that will follow.
We start by defining the difference between these two Houses in terms of assets and output; in both Houses we find qualities and talents inherent to the individual, gifts, abilities, and in each House the question is, What should be developed, shared, given away, or used to earn? In the 2nd we find material assets, including those earned through personal effort; we also find inborn talents, those things about us that can be considered a kind of natural asset—this is typically something that can be seen by material application: singing, artistic sensibilities that can be applied in multiple arenas, intelligence that takes a specific form. Our actual property falls in this House, as well (unless it is shared with others, then it is in the 8th).
Any talent we carry in or that is related to the 2nd is something we should rightfully expect remuneration for. These are things we value in ourselves, and that others value about us, and so are willing to pay for expression or sharing of—and these are things or talents with which we can do what we will, develop them or not, share them or not—others can’t really take them away from us, we must let them go (in the case of cash) or ignore or ruin them (in the case of talents or assets), for us to experience their loss—otherwise we can sing (Venus in the 2nd, perhaps) or write great speeches (ruler of 3rd or 9th in 2nd) our whole lives.
The 11th has a much different asset character, though in many instances there may be a little (or a lot) of overlap between 2nd House talents and what we find in the 11th, namely What We Have To Give The World. Rather than purely talents or assets, this House describes very particular inclinations, abilities, and gifts that we have specifically designated as not just worthy of sharing, but that we alone can provide with a special combination of ability, viewpoint, experience, and talent—and we have promised this, in some form, to the world. We are obligated to present these things; we may see fame from this, or give unrecognized, and we may experience very little of the actual asset we are sharing on a personal level. What we share from the 11thflows away from us, and there’s nothing that promises we will receive anything in return. When people say, “That’s what she came into this world to do” they are often referring to this 11th House offering; instinctively others know when it is manifested.
You’ve heard the saying, “Everybody has a story”? The 11th House assets are the equivalent of this in the form of talents, lessons, information, and gifts we have promised to share indiscriminately and on a large scale. When we share 8th House assets, we have an ‘us and them’ mentality, with awareness of how the assets are being distributed, who has what, and so on, while 11th House sharing goes one way, out from us, and we may only partially choose recipients or an audience; these are meant for everyone to partake in if they choose, and can be regarded as gifts to the Collective/ group.
Does that mean we always give away what’s in the 11th? Not necessarily, as the 11th is also the income House of the 10th of career or vocation. The 11th can be tricky to define in this asset sense, as it covers the spectrum from what we wish for, to our goals, to those things that are much more ephemeral, like our attitude toward groups and organizations (and toward the world, by extension), our prayers and intentions, and our hopes—but in with all those things are factors we will share in the course of pursuing our goals, dreaming and hoping, and through interactions with alike others.
The elements can give us a general idea of our proclivities, with Earth signs suggesting material manifestations or a focus on earning for what we do, Air signs implying the world of thought, the intellect, and ideas is the focus, Water suggesting we may appear to others to be more passive or receptive, almost offering the impression that we don’t generate anything, but the Water signs will have a direct link to, and often have the expression of talents shaped, by the emotional experiences, and Fire signs give an activist-orientation no matter what the talent or abilities.