THE SKY WITHIN


Report for Martha Stewart

An Interpretation of Your Birth Chart

by

Steven Forrest

 





 

 

 

This  report was created by:

ArtCharts

151 1st Avenue #109

New York, NY 10003

917 829-6450

 

 

 

 

The Sky Within

 


Martha Stewart
Aug 03, 1941
01:33:00 PM EDT  +04:00
Jersey City, NJ    
074W04'41"  40N43'41"


 

Planet

Sign

Position

House

 

House Cusps

Sun

Leo

10Le58'

09th

 

01  10Sc15'

Moon

Sagittarius

25Sg25'

02nd

 

02  09Sg18'

Mercury

Cancer

25Ca25'

09th

 

03  12Cp53'

Venus

Virgo

09Vi09'

10th

 

04  18Aq39'

Mars

Aries

16Ar18'

05th

 

05  21Pi21'

Jupiter

Gemini

14Ge49'

08th

 

06  18Ar20'

Saturn

Taurus

27Ta18'

07th

 

07  10Ta15'

Uranus

Taurus

29Ta54'

07th

 

08  09Ge18'

Neptune

Virgo

25Vi47'

11th

 

09  12Ca53'

Pluto

Leo

04Le07'

09th

 

10  18Le39'

Midheaven

Leo

18Le39'

 

 

11  21Vi21'

Ascendant

Scorpio

10Sc15'

 

 

12  18Li20'

 

 


Planets within orb of 1.5 degrees of the following
house cusp are displayed and interpreted as being in
that house, except the Ascendant which uses 3 degrees.

Orb Conjunctions with Sun or Moon are 8 degrees.
All orbs are set according to Steven Forrest's methods.


 

 


Copyright 1985-2000 Matrix Software, Inc.

407 N. State Ave., Big Rapids, MI 49307  231-796-2483

 

 

 

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 Leo.

When we hear "Lion," we think "fierce."  But that's misleading.  Go to the zoo and have a look at the "King of the Beasts."  He's lying there, one eye open, looking regal.  He knows he's the king.  He doesn't need to make a fuss about it.  The lion, like Leo at its best, radiates quiet confidence.  A happy, creative, comfortable participation in the human family -- that's what Leo the Lion is all about.

The evolutionary method is deceptively simple: creative self-expression.  As we offer evidence of our internal processes to the world, we feel more at home, more accepted, more spontaneous -- provided the world claps its hands for us!  That's the catch.  Leo needs an appreciative audience.  That audience can be a thousand people cheering or one person saying "I love you."  Either way, it's applause, and for the Lion, that's evolutionary rocket fuel.

Toughing it out, not letting oneself be affected by a lack of support or understanding, may well be an important spiritual lesson -- but not for Leo.  Here the evolutionary problem comes down to lack of real, ultimate trust in other people.  The cure isn't toughness; it's building a pattern of joyful give-and-take.  So perform!  And if no one claps, go somewhere else and perform again.

With your Sun in Leo, you are naturally creative.  Your task is to express that side of your character vigorously and confidently -- and to make sure that what you offer is appreciated.  What is the best truth you know?  What's holy and pure in your life, worth living for?  That's your gift.  Dramatize it.  Package it somehow.  And perform!  You may be drawn to the arts.  But just as possibly, you might express your creativity in a business, or in some public service.

Beneath the colorful surface of your character, there is an insecurity.  Hardly anyone sees it.  It's the fundamental spiritual problem you've come into this life to work out.  Your "yoga" lies in tricking the world into clapping its hands for you.  Be wary, though: even if you win the Nobel prize, it won't mean a thing unless you win it for expressing your SELF.  Otherwise, your deep-seated doubts and insecurities about your SELF go untouched and unhealed.

One more thing -- if you're doing your best and nobody's clapping, remember this: your act is fine; it's the audience that needs to be replaced.

We can take our analysis of your natal Sun a step further. When you were born, that solar light illuminated the Ninth 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.

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 Sun in the Ninth House, you have to pack the experiences of two or three lifetimes into a single lifetime.  That means being willing to say good-bye to safe havens, to avoid the human tendency to drift into routines.  The motif of the Quest is strong in your destiny-pattern.  It manifests as travel, but also as a search for knowledge and meaning.  Trust yourself; don't be seduced by "practicality"; above all, recognize that we're all just pilgrims in this world, here for a moment, then gone, carrying only what our souls have managed to digest.

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 Second house of your chart.

Traditionally, the Second House is the House of Money.  That's true, but the issues here are much broader.  This is the House of Resources, and resources aren't always financial.  If you're lost in Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia, at two in the morning, you'll probably feel pretty insecure.  If you have a thousand dollars in your pocket, that'll help; you'll feel more legitimate.  The money is a resource, and it produces the classic Second House effect: helping you feel more confident. But speaking fluent Serbo-Croatian would do the same; knowing the language is a terrific resource, even though no one will give you a nickel for it.

Your Second House energies feel awkward, as if everyone is staring at them.  Dignity and self-esteem are the issues here.  The solution isn't some "We all God's chillin'" formula for uncritical self-love.  Instead, it's a process of recognizing your deficiencies objectively and seeking to correct them: proving yourself to yourself, in other words.

With the Moon in the Second House, feeling confidence in yourself does not come automatically; you've had to work at it.  How?  A lot depends on what we just learned a few seconds ago -- the activities connected with the sign your Moon occupies play a terrific role in helping you feel worthy of the good things in life.  Add to that formula the classic lunar strategy: nurturing.  If you find something -- a person, an animal, an institution -- that's wounded in some way and you manage to bring it back from the brink of disaster, you're feeding your Moon and thereby deepening your elemental dignity.  The pitfall, of course, lies in not letting go of the thing you're healing even after it's well.  Avoid that, and you'll be fine.

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, Scorpio was lifting over the eastern horizon of Jersey City, NJ. Let's begin our analysis by considering the meaning and spiritual message of the sign of "The Detective".

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 Scorpio rising, we find something of an astrological paradox: the sign most concerned with penetrating the innermost reaches of the psyche is charged with the task of creating the exterior of the character!  It's not a natural combination, but what happens is that your style tends toward intensity and probing.  You make eye contact easily.  A wall of energy radiates from you, carrying an unspoken message: "There will be no phoniness between us.  Either tell the truth, or take a walk."  Some people will choose to take the walk!  But others will immediately find themselves overwhelmed with a desire to "confess" something to you.  "I've never told anyone this before, but..."

To feel centered, you need to experience a lot of eye-to-eye intensity.  There must be drama in your life; there must be truth; and there must be passion.

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 Leo with the Moon in Sagittarius and Scorpio 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 Performer", or "The Aristocrat", or "The Clown". Those are just different ways of saying you have the Sun in Leo.

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 Detective", or "The Sorcerer", or "The Hypnotist". Those images capture the spirit of your Ascendant, which is Scorpio.

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, Pluto 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 Pluto."

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

"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.

One more point: Pluto moves so slowly that it remains in a given Sign for many years. As result, its Sign position in your birthchart refers not only to you but also to your generation. The House position, however, is much more personal in its relevance.

Pluto was journeying slowly through the sign Leo. Thus the shadow material you are called upon to face has to do with the dark side of the Performer archetype: an obsession with being noticed. In what part of your life or personal history have you chosen style over substance, glitz over moral excellence? (If your answer is "Nowhere!" then congratulations... you're Enlightened... or not looking hard enough.)

At the moment of your birth, Pluto gleamed in the Ninth House... a part of the natal chart concerned with expansive adventures, and with philosophy. It is essential that you make contact, however brief or long term, with "foreign" cultures. Through the act of committing yourself to such a quest, a transformation occurs in your being -- and the capacity to fulfill your transpersonal mission arises. What is that mission? To forcefully encourage people to consider their lives from the viewpoint of meaning and purpose. This is the Path of the Preacher; follow it, but be wary of the pitfalls of self-righteousness and certainty.

While a fairly large number of people have Pluto 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.

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 Ninth 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 marinating in the depths of Cancer. That combination links your mental functions with the dreamy creativity and compassion of the Healer archetype. Your voice is soothing, your mind full of sensitivity and subjectivity. Spiritually you are learning a lot about the risks -- and the absolute necessity -- of emotional self-expression.

With the traditional "Messenger of the Gods" occupying your Ninth House, you have the mind of the eternal student, always learning, always eager to stretch a little further. It's important that you blow out the mental cobwebs periodically by taking a trip into another culture -- or by enrolling in a stimulating class or workshop.

Your birthchart displays another area of heightened activity: the Seventh House. The reason for that is simple -- there's a lot of planetary activity. With Saturn and Uranus 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.

One thing about love -- there's no way to learn much about it without some help!  The Seventh House, traditionally the House of Marriage, is the part of your birthchart where you encounter the people who'll provide your deepest insights into intimacy.  But that's not a code word for sex!  For that reason, "Marriage" is a misleading title for this House.  You can have intimacy without erotic or romantic feelings.

There are two parts to understanding the Seventh House.  The first is that whatever energies you have in this part of your birthchart represent lessons you're learning about empathy, trust, and commitment.  The second is that those same planetary energies describe the people who'll provide the lessons.  They may be mates or lovers.  They may be best friends.  They may be colleagues or business associates.  They may even be "worthy opponents."

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 earthy terrain of Taurus 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 Bull's shadow side: spirit-numbing predictability. Will yourself toward openness! Throw a monkey wrench into your efficient systems! This is especially healing -- and challenging -- in the context of Saturn's House in your birthchart. Which House was that?

The Seventh! The arena of life where we encounter our soulmates -- lovers, deep friends, and partners -- and figure out what to do with them! With Saturn here, you face some profound lessons in the intimacy department. To prepare for them, focus first on self-sufficiency, both materially and emotionally. Then seek out partners with Saturnian qualities: responsibility, sobriety, a willingness to make -- and keep -- deep vows.

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 Taurus, the process of individuation for you is tied up with the Path of the Earth Spirit. That is to say, you strengthen and clarify your own Uranian identity through deepening your bond with nature -- and without that you're likely to clog up your life with unnecessary conservatism. Consciously chosen forays into the natural world, such as hiking, gardening, or close association with animals, 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 Marriage -- that's the old name for the Seventh House, where your Uranus lies. The issues are broader; not just marriage, but all your significant partnerships. Uranus is your Teacher here, and the lessons can be summarized this way: the only kinds of emotional bonds that are likely to last for you, at least happily, are ones in which there's plenty of room for your own freedom and self-expression. You bristle at constraint. To link with your natural soulmates, you'll often have to break taboos... hooking up with people upon whom your "tribe" looks down, or whom they feel are "inappropriate" for you somehow.

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.

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 Virgo. Thus, to trigger higher states of consciousness in yourself and to stimulate your psychic development, you may choose to follow the Path of the Servant... that is consciously, intentionally to seek the perfection of those skills and virtues in yourself which benefit others. Without exposure to the purifying, soul-bleaching effects of selfless service, you tend to drift away from Spirit, losing yourself in the mazes of daily life -- or in the subtle ego-traps of meditation.

Neptune, planet of transcendence, occupies the Eleventh House of your birthchart, where its mystical feelings are linked to the priorities which increasingly shape and dominate your life as you mature. If you get six out of every ten existential questions right, by the time you're old you'll be living a contemplative life, full of the presence of God. Inevitably, down that road we would see you surrounded by people who draw inspiration from you. The darker path, optional unless you fail to explore the spiritual dimensions of your life now, is that by the end of life you'll be totally dedicated to keeping yourself anesthetized.

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 Gemini. 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 Witness or the Storyteller. What that means is that when you're sad, the only cure is a big dose of amazement. Do something new. Take a chance. Learn something. Break up a routine. Have a fascinating conversation with an intriguing stranger. Almost invariably that will put the sparkle back in your eyes.

In your chart, the "King of the Gods" reigns in the Eighth House -- traditionally the "House of Death," although mating and sexuality are actually more central to the symbolism. To maintain your faith in life, you must seek a living sexual bond, full of eye-contact and soul-contact, with an open, enthusiastic partner. If you lack such a connection in your life, then it's especially critical that you contact the primal forces of nature in other ways. Walk in the wind. Meditate on a mountaintop at midnight. Stand on a dune with your heart open to the gale-driven waves.

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 blazes in Aries. This is a natural combination of fiery energies, and it turns up the volume on your gutsiness, assertiveness, and general feistiness. There's a price tag, though: with all that fire coursing through your veins, you need to burst through brick walls every now and then -- or you'll slip into argumentativeness and temper. Spiritually you're learning the purest Mars lesson of all: bravery.

With the War-God occupying your Fifth House, you have a strong and rather competitive streak of playfulness. One of your greatest joys lies in finding a "worthy opponent" -- on the tennis court, across the chess board, or in the dramas of any passionate human interaction. Be careful of overwhelming people; you can do it, often without knowing that's what you're doing.

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 Virgo. Thus, both your aesthetic sensitivity and your taste in partners is shaped by the keen-eyed discrimination of the Virgin. In the realm of beauty, whether natural or wrought by human hands, you have a taste for quality, for precise execution, for technical virtuosity. The same goes for friends and sexual partners -- you appreciate people with a no-nonsense air of competence and realism, people who assess themselves with searing honesty, then get on with the business of working on themselves.

With Venus in the Tenth House, your "cosmic job description" is Peacemaker, Counselor, or Artist. An old-fashioned astrologer would simply say you're lucky when it comes to work and status. That's true... in a way. But be careful: Life will dangle cushy positions before you like the worm before the trout... and they conceal the hook of emptiness. (How to avoid it? Go back half a hundred words and re-read your "cosmic job description"... those Venus-sign images describe the paths of joy for you.)

 

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 Pisces, the sign of the Mystic. Anyone looking into your eyes as you took your first breath would have observed an eerie wisdom, as though he or she were looking into the eyes of a buddha. For centuries, you've been exploring trance states, typically in the context of spiritual traditions and institutions but occasionally in darker ways... like the "trance" induced by alcohol or opium. As a result, an intuitive grasp of altered and higher states of consciousness has arisen in you. Now, like one who has become too heavenly to be of any earthly good, you must learn new lessons: practical helpfulness toward others and a willingness to face squarely the mucky details of getting free.

That nascent ability to willingly and effectively accept the yoke of service is symbolized by your North Node of the Moon, which lies in Virgo -- the sign of the Craftsperson. 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 Virgoan spiritual work? The "yoga" is easy to say, harder to do: you must overcome the myth of "World Transcendence" inside yourself, and begin polishing a set of skills with which you can address the pain of other people, one by one.

There's another piece to the puzzle: The Moon's South Node falls in the Fifth House of your chart. This implies that previous to this lifetime you lived out the notion that "the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom." There has developed in your spirit a spontaneous immediacy... creative and joyful, but vulnerable to the life-derailing effects of whimsy and self-indulgence.

In this lifetime, with your North Node of the Moon in the Eleventh House, you must act to counterbalance those whimsical, self-indulgent tendencies... not so much because they're "bad" as because you've already learned everything you can from them. The time has come for you to take authority over the shape of your own life, establishing your own goals and priorities, determining in advance what kind of elderly person you'll become. Finish what you start!

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.