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WOODRUFF ON ASTROLOGY - SPRING 2022
BY FREDERICK WOODRUFF
WOODRUFF ON ASTROLOGY | WOODRUFF ON ASTROLOGY | WOODRUFF ON ASTROLOGY | WOODRUFF ON ASTROLOGY | WOODRUFF ON ASTROLOGY
WHAT DO YOU DO?
People are obsessed with the question. Especially Americans. As a country that’s born under the sign of Cancer, how we make money, consume, and survive (all big Cancer themes) fascinates everyone who lives here. Nothing wrong with fascination. But think about how cliched the question has become.
Our inquisitiveness with 'what do you do?' is exaggerated in a bustling gathering like a party, where there might be lots of unfamiliar folks gathered around the watering hole. So an answer to the vocational question telegraphs relief, helps us orient and relax. "I'm a clerk. Oh, and you're a nurse. Cool." Our cards are on the table. As if our job comprises the entirety of what we're about as a person.
In the mid-70s, counterculture party people, still high on the dawning Aquarian Age, devised a much more interesting question: "What sign are you?" I miss that question. And I'm all for restoring the quirkiness of that particular social strategy.
With COVID restrictions lifting, I attended a party last night where the notion of small talk wasn't appealing. I mean, if I'd a choice between chitchat and watching The Real Housewives of Hoboken, I'd probably have stayed home and watched the harridans go at it.
What can I say? My birth chart features a Scorpio Moon with the planet Pluto on the ascendant. Sometimes my intensity gets the best of me. During a party, I can usually toggle over to Venus in my horoscope and let her Gemini-informed esprit take over, but last night Pluto's extreme vibe set the conversational tone. After a couple of gin and tonics, I announced to anyone who asked—right out of the gate—that I was an astrologer. And usually, I don't.
Revealing that I'm an astrologer violates my grandmother's central axiom: "With strangers, don't discuss sex, religion, or politics." Why? Because astrology (or at least announcing that you’re an astrologer) can touch off those triggers. Topics that, within our polarized culture, have become difficult to address and maneuver gracefully. Why?
Well, astrology carries with it mysterious, occult associations. Crossreferences that can evoke the powerful buzz of sexuality. Too, as religion goes, there's often a goofy New Age assumption made about stargazers. Because the person I am talking to must assess which sociocultural camp I belong to, politics--by association--can rear its head. Some people don't 'believe' in astrology' and consider the art ridiculous. But they're the exception.
Here's the thing—the big thing—astrology calls forth the ancient relationship of querent and oracle.
Astrologers are connected, through lineage, to an eons-old archetype that touches the heart and soul of each of us. That's what archetypes are about: Universal experiences that form the bedrock of our psyche, the commonality of our human being-ness.
You have a mother. I have a mother. We both partake of the Mother archetype. You wonder about existence, and how your life is situated and where it is heading. I wonder about my life in the same way.
That wonder, that curiosity about one's baseline nature and the future, can easily conjure the Seer or Oracle archetype. So imagine you're at a gathering, eating a shrimp cocktail and suddenly an oracle is standing next to you, holding a gin and tonic. It can liven things up.
Even the staunchest rationalist is impacted by the Oracle aura and will usually override their skepticism with a suspended, self-negotiated inquisitiveness.
I had a Taurus dude challenge me once by doing the doltish "OK, what sign am I?" schtick. Because Tauri are the only people left on the planet still doing this at parties, I naturally guessed correctly. He acted as though he didn't register my answer and immediately pointed to the two women that were standing beside us. "What's their signs?" he challenged. Both ladies were stylishly dressed and made a striking sort of 'bookends' impression. "They're both Libras," I replied. And they were. (I'd even amazed myself at that point).
Then he relaxed into focused attention, ready for some earnest astro-dialogue. Experience has taught me that Taurus folks generally have a childlike desire to believe in the irrational, and this usually shows up as a fascination with ghosts, Ouija boards, and similar otherworldly stuff. It's the oddest thing. But it's very Taurus. It's the closest they'll let themselves come to the oracular. And so what? It's a start.
Of course, the water signs—Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces—jump right into the pool with me. They're relieved to have someone they can talk to about their relationship to relationships. And because they have spent most of their lives trying to figure other people out, the typologies of astrology appeals to them. The water signs are intrinsically aligned with the mystical impulse as well. Their imagination is keenly developed, they slide easily into the concept that heaven and earth mirror each other. They like the romance, the poetry of that notion.
Fire signs appreciate the romance of astrology too. But not from the relational angle. They're interested in astrology because it imparts insights and revelations about their favorite subject: Themselves. Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius already view life through a mythic lens. They are interested in evolution—their quest to become. To create. It's no coincidence that the solar system's most dynamic celestial bodies 'rule' the fire signs. Jupiter (the largest planet governs Sagittarius), Mars (the most vibrant, rules Aries), and the Sun, an actual star governs Leo. All of that is just fine with fire signs. Of course, they'd be associated with the big celestial players—they're fire signs after all!
Earth signs find this sort of metaphysical talk frustrating. What does astrology have to do with the nuts and bolts of living? As I noted about the Taurus folks, Virgo and Capricorn have an innate skepticism in place. This has to do with control. As in not losing it. Astrology translates as a force that is beyond one's ability to guide or wrangle—a maddening predicament for the earth signs. Though Virgos, because they like categorizing things and people, will take to astrology as a way to file something/someone away in the giant library within their head.
Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius act like they're intrigued, but secretly they will talk to other people about you as though you're a homeless person who managed to crash the party. Rationality gets the best of them. If they do engage me on the topic of astrology they will often argue or challenge me because, well, that's just how air signs roll. They figure out where they stand on issues by first opposing them and then weighing what they observe through the opposition. And then, a little later, they decide how they really feel. Maybe. But oddly enough when an air sign comes on board, their interest in a previously sketchy subject becomes unquenchable. They become excellent astrologers; their objectivity allows them to bring astrological concepts to life, communicating with clear language and a balanced perspective.
Oracles, the great and minor ones, through the story of time, are always connected with the mythological. The same as astrology and its hidden origins. A horoscope, as astrologer Wendy Ashley notes, is the "map of a myth," and the astrologer's job is to uncover which myth is most fitting their client's chart. "The word 'myth' is related to the word 'mouth' and mirrors myth as a particular 'story.'"
It's been said that God created humankind because She enjoys stories. I'd agree.
The author Robert McKee responds when he says: "Stories are equipment for living." And then I'd add that God created the art of astrology for men and women to make sense of their world, inner and outer, by studying the syntax of the cosmos—God's grandest story yet.
I always think of the 'O' in the word "oracle" as an open mouth. “In the beginning, was the word.” The word is that oracular link between heaven and earth.
"What do you do for a living?”
This question might be better put as: "Where are you going?" And fair enough. As Earthlings, we're doing our best to manage the mystery of existence. And if heaven can help a little bit, can inform my conversation with a bit of oracular stardust, well, I can't imagine having a better job for myself.
HERE ARE YOUR HOROSCOPES FOR THIS SPRING
ARIES (MAR 21-APR 20): Oddly enough all of the force in your life is coming from behind you right now. Attention is required to better understand past happenings and relationships. You might be feeling off your mark. See if you can arrange for more quiet time and privacy to allow the riches of your unconscious to offer the inspiration you’re seeking related to your future dreams. This is a perfect time to release the reigns and see where the wind carries you.
TAURUS (APR 21-MAY 21): Although spring is associated with new beginnings, the unfolding season is about closure and release. You’re also ready to put your commitment to commitments under the microscope as well, to scatter chronology and calendric living. Repetitive habits are on the wane too. As Aphra Behn noted, “Variety is the soul of pleasure.” And no one relishes the simple pleasures of life like you. Welcome the new patterns that appear within your mosaic.
GEMINI (MAY 22-JUN 21): You’re are at the top of your game this season. But only if you include your instincts with your mental process. Sometimes intuition trumps intellect (with fantastic results). If there’s one central lesson for you this season that’s the one. Patience is required now too. You’ll garner great results if you can find a way to include your friends’ feedback and insights into your strategizing. Slow down and pay attention to your peers.
CANCER (JUN 22-JUL 22): Samuel Beckett noted that “Art is the apotheosis of solitude.” And you’re probably the first to agree with that revelation. Consider this: You’re sitting on a fierce gathering of creative force this season. Aloneness does not equate with loneliness, but the mileage you desire right now can best be achieved by spending private time with your muse. The rewards will be quick once you commit and engage.
LEO (JUL 23-AUG 23): Consider yourself officially enrolled in The Academy of Amour. Like any learning experience, there will be a wave of highs and lows this season. Focus on the importance of cooperation and mutual respect. Experiment with offering your light and warmth to compliment and praise those in your inner circle. This sets the heart’s wheels spinning and suddenly you’re on a new road forward. Perhaps with a new companion too.
VIRGO (AUG 24-SEP 23): The first full moon of the new season is in your sign, clearing away some of the confusion or indecision that’s clouded your path recently. This winter you’ve been privy to some exciting inspirations—both divine and earthly. Visions that many folks would avidly have welcomed. Now, it’s time to engage with your keen way of making all of the pieces fit together. You’re on your way to creating one of your masterpieces.
LIBRA (SEP 24-OCT 23): A fantastic season to make headway on whatever new plan or enterprise you wish to set in motion. You’ve landed on a secret formula that can gather together the elements necessary for success. Picasso has created a motto for you too: “What one does is what counts, and not what one had the intention of doing.” Anyone can have an intention, fortunately, you’re ready to move beyond that preliminary part of the process.
SCORPIO (OCT 24th-NOV 22nd): Lots of harmonious vibrations flowing your way this spring. Don’t squander the blessings. Consider it a grace period from the cosmos as Uranus, the planet of sudden insights (and occasional disruptions) continues to dislodge you from old habits and ways. Be prepared to enter a new social circle that promises to expand your horizons and introduce you to new people and the philosophies that inspire them.
SAGITTARIUS (NOV 23rd-DEC 21st): The artist Mary Schmich said, “Good art is art that allows you to enter it from a variety of angles and to emerge with a variety of views.” And this diamond-like perspective could be your motto right now. Springtime has your thinking cap lit up like a Christmas tree. Bring structure to your enthusiasm by setting a schedule or routine that helps you capture the real gems within your newfound treasure chest of ideas.
CAPRICORN (DEC 22nd-JAN 20th): The new season ushers in a breakthrough or ultimatum related to your long-term goals. Although, what appears to be revelation might be another facet of a familiar mystery. The artist Diane Arbus once remarked: “A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know.” See if you can ride with this sentiment and wait patiently for your destination to find you.
AQUARIUS (JAN 21st-FEB 19th): Time to bring into the world what you experience as beautiful and aesthetically pleasing. But first, you’ll need to dispel some old prejudices about creativity. Most of us have had that spirit disrupted, via comparison, when we were young. Reconnect to your eccentric nature and invest time into making something tangible. Especially if that project can improve the lives of others. The secret is to engage with what gives you pleasure.
PISCES (FEB 20th-MAR 20th): Nearly half of the solar system is moving through your sign now, pushing you directly into the spotlight (or crosshairs) of fate. Do you feel the force and the pressure to show up and take a seat on your throne? Ask yourself: Where am I exactly? And then set about communicating your new locale to the world. Help the rest of us revel in the thrill of discovering new worlds, new ways, new inspirations. We’re waiting.
Frederick Woodruff’s weekly musings on pop culture, astrology, and fate appear regularly in his WOODRUFF Substack. You can subscribe for free here.
His new book All Across the Universe: The Astrological Beatles arrives in the spring of 2022.
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