Dear Seagoat #10: Don’t Be a Poet, Be a Balls-To-The-Wall Poet!

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Dear Seagoat,

I want to be a poet. I want to teach community college and maybe workshops while living and writing on a farm. But I also need a steady stream of income and enough money to care for my family. It seems more practical to go get my MIT and be a high school teacher who writes on the side. Should i go or the dream for the reality?

–Scorpio Unsure of Direction

Dear SUD,

Dreamy urges versus nuts and bolts. Why, SUD, it seems you’ve stumbled into a classic (and highly American) dilemma!

On the surface, things look simple. A choice of personal values. Do you value security (your family) more, or adventure and personal growth (yourself)? A false dichotomy emerges. Choices take on a moral dimension, begin to tell you what kind of person you are. Are you good and giving but weak? Are you courageous and powerful but selfish? Gender complicates this further. Girl training makes the former seem preferable, boy training, the latter.

And if you’re going down this road, stop STAAAAAAHP! IT IS SO LOADED DOWN WITH CRAPOLA YOU’LL NEVER ESCAPE!!

This classic dilemma—safety vs. fulfillment—hides so many layers of culturally-reinforced fears and prejudices, it’s a black hole. A better place to begin then, is a bit skeptically, asking what lies underneath? What fears? What unexamined beliefs?

Your North Node describes the person you’ve been and the one you’re becoming. With an Aries/Virgo* North Node, you’ve come into this world a quiet, passive dreamer, prone to devote your (formidable and very loving) energy into personal relationships, fantasy, anxiety and escapism. On the other hand, your great and hidden talent is to alchemize that love and spiritual awareness into action, through your physical body, your ability to execute detailed plans and by your innate gift for turning risks into opportunities.

I wonder if there’s some safety to maintaining your dream as a dream. Is it easier to long for a poet’s life than to actually do the work of “becoming” a poet? A good way for an Aries/Virgo North Node person to put their dreams to the test is to identify the goal in concrete terms and to concretely, actively and quickly take the first step.

For example. What “is” a poet? How would you know if you were one? Is a poet someone who writes every day? Who submits her work for publication? Who teaches the writing of poetry, or its study? Who reads one new poet each month? Who takes regular part in writing groups with other poets? Identify the concrete actions you associate with “being” a poet. How will you know when you’ve reached this goal? Fill in the details of your fantasy. Make a list.

That is a good place to start.

And then, the secret? You have to keep going.

Step two is action. Don’t think, just act. Your passive side** wants to stay in dream’s safe cocoon and will use its favorite strategies to keep you there: overthinking, worrying, self-doubt and weighing choices. When you act—just act from your first impulse—your personal SUD power source electrifies you. You’ll know that your new writing group is good, for example, when you leave the gathering energized and inspired to do more.

Step three is keep moving. Once you leave your hypothetical writing group, WRITE. That very afternoon if you feel pumped. When you finish a poem, SEND IT OUT. (You see where I’m going with this?)

You may notice that I’m not answering your question, SUD. The fact is, I refuse to answer your question because it sets my Spidey senses spinning. I do not for a second buy your question. Both options you’ve presented are absolutely practical—and both are absolutely dreamy and unrealistic, until you ground them in a concrete plan that grows out of your desires, passions, interests and skills.

Teaching high school may be more socially encouraged than teaching a private writing workshop or community college composition, but either of the latter may be more financially stable depending on a number of contributing factors. There are many well-endowed poetry MFA programs that would provide you with a nice living stipend, teaching experience and get you out of school debtless. Likewise, teaching in a high school could be either creatively stimulating or stultifying depending on the school and the boundaries you set around overworking yourself.

My point is, the best choice is to act on your dreamy impulses in the small, immediate ways and see which sets you surging with energy. Whichever path that is will be the right direction, offering fulfillment and enough motivation to get you (and those you love) a stable salary.

You’ve got the power, SUD. Now make the world stand up and take notice.


*Aries & 6th house, actually. With the nodes, however, I find sign and house are largely interchangeable.

**12th house/Libra south node. Also Sun and Venus in the 2nd which are not exactly passive but so fearful of change and upheaval as to become immobilized for long stretches of time.


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Dear Seagoat #9: Must a Retired Helper Fish Help More?

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Dear Seagoat,

I have recently retired and am thoroughly enjoying my freedom—reading novels, playing and listening to music, going to movies, seeing friends…but with so much need and injustice in the world, I am feeling guilty for not doing more –to be honest, anything, to help. On the other hand, my whole career involved helping people and I feel like it should be okay to take a break—but apparently my conscience doesn’t agree. I’m afraid if I don’t start volunteering soon, I’ll get too comfortable with my self-indulgent lifestyle and will never get around to it. Any advice?

–Pisces At Loose Ends

Dear PALE,

Congratulations on your retirement! As a double Pisces (Moon and Sun in Pisces), you draw your sense of purpose and emotional grounding from peace, flow and unstructured time. Immersion in music, stories and love feeds your Piscean connection to universal oneness. On a symbolic level, Pisces represents the last stage of human development—the surrender from physical reality to spiritual reality. Safe to assume you’ll be at your best during your retirement years.

Pisces is also super sensitive. Pisces picks up on emotions, thoughts, worries and dreams in its surroundings. Pisces also lacks the boundaries other signs take for granted—for a strongly Piscean person, it can be near to impossible to tell where ‘I’ ends and ‘you’ begins. In the process of that exchange of (spiritual) fluids, Pisces soaks up whatever is most human (or maybe just most holy) in each individual. This is what makes Pisceans such gifted helpers: they easily love others’ best selves—and that love can be profoundly healing for those ready to grow.

Your Piscean sensitivity is what makes you unable to tune out the world’s “need and injustice.” Yet your question is basically a moral one. Should you put your free time toward the causes that inspire your Piscean empathy? Is volunteering important? Is there a point at which we are done helping others—or where our obligation to humanity is fulfilled?

Fucked if I know.

What astrology sucks at: morality. What astrology is excellent at: pragmatic solutions.

Mainly, astrology can tell you what your personal path looks like—how you feel when you’re on it, which directions you’ll head when running away.

And boy howdy does Pisces like to run away. Pisces, sign of spiritual oneness is also the sign of addictions, cults and hopeless fantasizing. Thing is, Pisceans love so fully, they are devastated when humans don’t live up to their potential for good. (That injustice you mention really breaks a Piscean heart.)

Back to those pragmatic solutions.

Problem: you = double Pisces* who will self-isolate and indulge in solipsistic escapism (leading to depression and physical illness) when you can’t cope with this ugly, nasty, mean world.

Solution: put your Piscean love to work, because tuning into others on a heart level grounds you in that sense of connection.

Try this: let go of the moral question. The practical one is what supports your loving, peaceful Piscean flow? Maybe you’ve outgrown your structured, professional “helping” role. Maybe there’s a lighter, more pleasurable Piscean way for you to continue giving back—and staying connected.

For instance, could you bring music to others? Or spend time with older folks (who are truly at the Piscean stage of life) reading aloud? Taking them to movies? Teaching them to sing or play instruments?

What gift do you possess that you could share or awaken in others? What kind of people or situations or support roles would make you feel most connected to something larger than yourself?

Oh, and since Pisces doesn’t really get down with linear time: yes, start right NOW. Waiting leads to fantasizing which leads to eating ice cream which leads to sadness.

Take advantage of these years to enrich your life and bring you the kinds of happy connections that you can joyfully look back on later.


 

*Also: Cancer/7th house North Node


 

 

Want to read more about Pisces planets and personality traits? Check out this.

 

 


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Dear Seagoat #8: How To Climb A Mountain In Good Company

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Dear Seagoat,

Every year, I face a quandary that exemplifies the biggest ongoing issue in my long term relationship: birthdays. My partner and I have been together for over ten years, and I’ve had quite a few disappointing birthdays, birthdays where there was barely a card or a gift. Our solution has been that to plan my birthday celebration together. I tell her where I want to go and what I want to do, and if I want a gift then I prescribe it.  It’s better than nothing, but in the end, I’m chronically a little disappointed. In the end, having to explain to my partner exactly how I want her to appreciate me leaves me feeling, well, unappreciated. I try to accept that my partner might not ever be the kind of person to surprise me with flowers, but in the end, thinking about it always leaves me feeling a little glum.

What do you do when you have a need, and it’s reasonable, and it’s just not in your partner’s nature to fill it? Do you just accept it and move on?  Or is there an alternative I’m missing?

Sincerely,

Unappreciated, Glum Goat

 

Dear UGG,

Capricorns are built for harsh conditions. We are the mountain goats who slog to the chilliest summit of our goals. Where our non-Capricorn companions take that as a cue to go inside the ski chalet and celebrate with a bottle of wine in the hot tub, we fix our eyes on the next summit, grit our teeth and get going. Even when that means our more lighthearted traveler buddies get left behind.

With three personal planets in Capricorn, UGG, if you have to, you can swing the lonely, each-for-his-own lifestyle. It does sound like your Capricornian realism is helping you drill down to the pragmatic level of the birthday conflict, but I can see why those “choices” (to suck it up, or…to suck it up) would leave you feeling glum.

You refer to two hardwired, at-odds natures. But, dear UGG, what are these Natures? The Nature of birthday card forgetting versus the Nature of birthday card needing? What lies underneath on your partner’s actions? Is she indifferent to your feelings or is she overwhelmed by not knowing how to make you feel appreciated? Does she usually forget dates or is her own birthday experience so different she can’t quite grasp why this matters to you? There are so many possible motivations for that behavior. If you haven’t yet, start by asking open-ended, non-blaming questions to learn more.

Your nature shows up loud and clear in your chart. With your Cap Sun in the 5th house, you share your light and draw energy from mutual appreciation, romance—and from giving and receiving plenty of happy, playful attention. Capricorn means business, so fun and romance for you are matters of responsibility. When your partner doesn’t step up in the way you expect, that disappointment runs deep. As you say, birthday cards (and lack thereof) symbolize a significant expectation you hold. To pretend this expectation does not exist is to effectively shut your partner out of your true self.

Another aspect of your nature which lurks beneath the question is a tendency to be incredibly hard on yourself*: to push yourself to make do with less, go it alone, struggle, play the helper, giver and martyr so that no one gets close enough to see your vast inadequacies.

Really, these “inadequacies” are the positive, healthy signs of being human. Your chart is set up** to help you (over time and with some work) relax and share the pleasures of being human with others. To get there, though, you have to let people in.

Capricorns like to present fully-assembled solutions to their partners. Problem is, that undermines the partner’s confidence and can create a pattern where the Cap manages the relationship and the passive partner continually disappoints. When this happens, the opportunity for true compromise dries up and the relationship loses.

What is your partner’s version of events? Does your knowledge of her Nature come from engaged conversation or assumptions?

My guess is that the missing alternative on your list is more complex than a question of birthdays. Something along the lines of slowing down to make room for more cooperation, more wine, more Jacuzzis, more listening and discovery of one another. How can you collaboratively build a relationship culture of mutual acknowledgement and appreciation? Is that as important to your partner as it is to you? If not, what does she care about? What can you two build that’s greater than the sum of your individual Natures? Rather than backing away from the birthday conversation, explore these questions together. In spite of your abundant Capricorn drive (peak upon peak), your fulfillment in life comes from the companionable, leisurely climb. When you take time to chat on the mountainside, to enjoy the views, take interesting detours and to get to know your buddy, you automatically start having fun and losing yourself in the shared moment. Then, you become the ultimate 5th house Capricorn: that confident, grounded, inspiring soul who takes joy seriously and only wants to generously share their pleasure with another.

 

* Pluto square Sun and Mercury; Mercury, Mars, Sun in Cap; Virgo Moon; Venus in Pisces; South Node in Sagg.; Saturn in Leo in the 12th.

**NN in 3rd House & Libra


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Dear Seagoat #7: Problem Dads, Fix-It Moms

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Dear Seagoat,

My 10 1/2 year old daughter is just about to start middle school. I have been a single mother for most of her life and her relationship with her father seems to be getting more strained every year.  She spends every other week with him and as she becomes more independent, he gets more disgruntled and isolates himself and her from friends.  He tends to dump all of his problems on her. I am concerned about her future relationships with men (boyfriend, boss, friends etc.) She seems so flexible right now, maybe too flexible. Will she grow that backbone I am hoping for?  How much helping can her Virgo mama do?
— Virgo Mama with Pre-Teen Stress Drama

Dear PTSD,

Mama-dedication and -love threads its way through your question. It’s a tough one, though, for anyone. How much influence does a parent have in the fate of an almost teenager? You, PTSD, are what I like to call a super Virgo*. The Virgo drive to help, to problem-solve and to control outcomes makes it easy to assume too much responsibility for your daughter’s developing psyche.

Astrology is a useful tool in this respect because it shows that your daughter’s life lessons came with her into the world. I like to think our souls “signed up” for their life work.** Much of your daughter’s work*** centers around learning to trust her own strength and listen to her inner knowing. The patterns in her relationship with Dad may indeed play out in adolescence and adulthood with her romantic partners. For better or worse, she will have to walk through these lessons alone. The good news is that walking through challenges will teach self-trust. Self-trust, in turn, will allow her to build the positive, healthy relationships you so wish for her.

You cannot save your daughter from her own life, PTSD. Nor can you upload a boundaries and self-love app into her brain. (Too bad though!) Still—and I bet this will make you happy—you can help her grow strong. Some ideas:

1) Worry less. Your daughter does have a backbone, and a good one—she just has to recognize it. She possesses deep resources of independence**** and her 9th house North Node lends killer intuition (when she resists the urge to overthink). Anxiety is contagious, especially to such a psychically sensitive kid. When you worry, she internalizes the worries as self-doubt. Therefore…

2) Have faith. With your North Node in Virgo and the 12th house, your faith and love profoundly influence those around you. Keeping a positive outlook strengthens your daughter’s optimism and resilience.

There’s plenty to have faith in. Your daughter absolutely possesses the ability to set boundaries in relationship, to love herself and to be happy in partnership.

Notice and affirm when she’s practicing these skills. When she sets a boundary (e.g. “Mom, let me handle this”), respect it—and praise her for setting it. When you see her accomplish a goal, acknowledge her tenacity, vision and commitment. When you’re concerned something negative is going on with dad, ask open-ended questions (“Hm. What’s your gut sense on that?”). These techniques model a healthy inner voice that she will absorb and practice even when you’re not physically present.

3) Model positive behavior. The question of boundaries shows up in your chart too. The more you practice honoring your own boundaries, the more resources your daughter will have to protect hers. As a super Virgo, this means not over-helping, over-giving or trying to save your partners—or your child. Watch for codependence in your life and practice stepping back when a relationship, job or behavior drains your energy. Seeing you treat yourself well will teach her women can be strong, secure, healthy and self-loving with or without romantic partners.

Parenting a preteen may not be easy, but your love and investment is a powerful inoculation against her dad’s selfishness. Keep loving and having faith. She’s got what it takes—and so do you.


*Sun, Mercury, Saturn, Ascendant and North Node in Virgo.

**I picture this as a an activity board at a summer camp for spirits—instead of horseback riding or whatever, souls write their names down under “Relationship Work” or “Tortured Artist” or “Chronic Pain” etc. Disembodied spirits probably think this sounds like fun. They probably say to each other, “Hey, are you in my emotional macramé class?” “Nah. I’m taking anger management lessons from the soul playing my father.” Little do they guess.

(Also, what is macramé? Enquiring minds are too lazy to Google.)

***North Node in Taurus/9th house; Neptune in 5th.

****Moon in Aquarius conjunct Uranus, Mars opposition ascendant.

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Dear Seagoat #6: Ship Seeks Dinghy for Good Times, Big $$$

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Readers! Dear Seagoat is running low on questions! Have a relationship, career, creativity, sexuality or emotional issue burning a hole in your pocket? Ask now and let the planets patch that shiznit up!


 

Dear Seagoat,

I’m one tough lady with too many opportunities. I’ve had my own business for 25 years, but when the recession hit, I took a part time job to supplement my income. Now that my biz is buzzing again–though not quite at 2007 levels–I quit the job and am back in the saddle, to mix my metaphor. Well, lo, the biggest boys in the biz (in the world, actually) have approached me to join up my little solo co with their mega inc. I do play well with others, but only as long as I make the rules. I’ll never grow any bigger than I am without some help, but I’m scared to take the leap. Do I go with the opportunity or stay in my safe, but not really sound, niche? Help me!

–Indecisive Or Tough-minded Aquarius?

 

Dear IOTA,

Running a small business can be a bumpy ride. While the hit in ’08 must have been painful, I hear your justified pride in having saved the business yourself through hard work and commitment.

Your Aquarius Sun thrives on the sense of defying the odds and going its own way. Meanwhile, your tenacious Taurus Moon needs* to experience self-sufficiency. Valuable qualities indeed for a small business owner, giving you the inner resources to withstand many storms.

Let’s assume you’ll manage regardless of future crises to keep this business afloat. Then the next step is to think about larger goals. What would you like to see this business achieve in the world? If you didn’t have to worry about staying afloat, what could you put that energy toward? What does a truly sustainable lifestyle look like? What would your ideal retirement plan be?

Aquarians are natural visionaries with high ideals. You know you need help to grow, and my guess is you’re thinking big. With that Taurus Moon, you’re in the habit of struggling hard but your emotional wellbeing also requires long-term financial security. Both of these factors suggest merging would serve you well.

The heart of the problem is this. You know your current niche is “not really sound,” yet the opportunity of joining the “mega inc” presents major uncertainties—if only because you don’t know what you’ve never experienced. Change is hard on most of us** for this reason and even though don’t-fence-me-in Aquarius loves to see itself as radical, both Aquarius and Taurus are fixed signs that get badly set in their ways.

Perhaps your indecision here stems from a fear of identity loss. You’ve forged a strong system of values and ideals to make your way as an independent business owner. Maybe that identity feels like the core of who you are, your value in the world and to yourself. In that case, merging may feel like a kind of death. Maybe it is. But if so, it could help to redefine death as letting go to make way for renewal and growth. Consider other selves you’ve shed. How did it feel to move on? What did you gain from change? Try recalling your perspective before other changes occurred, especially ones that brought positive results. Recall also what these positive results felt like emotionally. My astrological guess is that frightening change has often left you light and energized.

With your North Node in Capricorn and the 8th house, life has taught you that when you cling to security and the familiar, your world becomes brittle, lonely and vulnerable to disaster. On the other hand, when you take risks, accept support and (best yet) join your goals to someone else’s, your projects become robust and success unfolds naturally. With your North Node in Capricorn, you come alive when in pursuit of meaningful challenge. Survival isn’t enough. Your vitality requires a community-level impact, the sense that your hard work will last. The 8th house North Node suggests success comes when you’re willing to see your goals through another’s eyes (and value system).

Based on this information, I’d guess joining up with “the biggest boys in the biz” is the best move, IOTA. However, if your discernment and the wise counsel of others*** has you turn down the offer, consider what a more appropriate team would look like. Embrace the opportunity to have your boat rocked by an ambitious and risk-smart partner. Not only will your finances be safer, the more deeply you engage with others, the more joy, excitement and energy you’ll experience. Who doesn’t want that?

 

*because the Moon always talks about needs

**especially anyone with a personal planet in Taurus!

***key decision-making strategies for Capricorn North Node


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Keywords: Advice, career, Scorpio North Node , help, feminist astrology.

Dear Seagoat #5: East Coast Fish, West Coast Waters

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Dear Seagoat,

I’m coming up on my one-year anniversary in California after leaving tighter-knit communities on the East Coast and overseas to start grad school. The past year has been a complete disaster for me personally – I’ve never lived anywhere this long and had no friends, no dating life and zero understanding of the prevailing culture. The one upside is that I found an amazing apartment that has been a haven to me.

I’m wondering: is there any change in sight? Especially with my Saturn return coming up! No rest for the weary. So I guess a follow-up question would be: if it’s just going to be tough and I’ll continue feeling like a stranger in a strange land for my time here, what are the upsides? Any particular areas where I can focus my energy and see results?
–Aries Fish Out of Water

[Note to readers: last week, I explored the concept of the Saturn cycle with a question about early twenties’ life transitions; this week, I’m continuing with thoughts on the Saturn Return. If this is all hieroglyphics to you, check out this quick explanation in Dear Seagoat #4. For more on transits, look here.]

Dear AFOW,

The couple of years leading up to the Saturn Return is more difficult for most people than the Return itself. Since the Saturn Return is the defining rite of passage (aka “Turning 30”), you might expect a tidal wave of angst to be headed your way. But, nope. The stress is the buildup.*

Why?

Because it’s the Saturn Return that makes you strong enough to handle to the Saturn Return.

As you’ve been moving into your late twenties, Saturn has continued piling on the pressure. My guess is that tough-loving Saturn is what got you moving toward grad school. His pressure probably also gave you the future-vision to leave your warm community for the chilly (yet weirdly temperate) Pacific coast.

In 15 months, when Saturn finally circles around to his original position in your natal chart (Sagittarius in the 1st house), you’ll be amply prepared. Think of your current solitude as Saturn’s body building regimen. As you push through, you’re becoming muscly, tenacious, organically steroidal. Since Saturn keeps notching up the weight, it may be hard to notice at the moment. But when the time comes, the best parts of your warrior-like Aries nature will likely be at forefront, helping you rise to the Saturn Return challenges of responsibility, recognition and adulthood with ferocity and grace.

That you’re struggling with relationships right now makes sense. You’re naturally people-oriented, particularly toward romantic and family bonds. However, your biggest challenge appears to be feeling strong and confident on your own.

Saturn doesn’t mess around. He knows what your issues are and wants you to work through them. (The operative word here being “work.”)

The 1st house of the birth chart represents self-discovery and being seen. Saturn is the planet of restriction. Saturn in the 1st house of your birth chart means, basically, that you limit expressing and fully inhabiting yourself. (Read: self-censorship.)

Maybe you’ve let your tight-knit communities’ belief-systems rule your personal choices. Maybe you’ve depended on romantic relationships or being liked to give you a sense of self-worth. Maybe you’re holding yourself back out of fear of failure. These are all possibilities with Saturn in the 1st house. What’s certain is that you have some fear or restriction around personal expression and identity. Whatever it is, that’s what Saturn wants you to face and muscle up to.

Now might be the ideal moment to revel in being a cultural outsider. What obnoxious, brash, funny, honest East Coast behaviors do you miss? Act ‘em out. Instead of letting the West Coast be your problem, be its problem. Getting all East Coast-style might alarm some especially indirect Californians, but what’s important right now is letting yourself be seen. Once you’re fully visible, I suspect your people—the ones who make sense, who understand and reciprocate your cultural gestures—will appear.

Where to focus your energy and see results?

Because Saturn rules personal authority, take control over the image you project (1st house) in a positive, self-affirming way. Use this time that you’re on your own to become yourself more fully and own the fears loneliness brings up. Examine your existing relationships: which give you space to grow and which don’t? Is there anyone you’re ready to let go of? What qualities make the good relationships so positive for you?

Beyond that, do what you love. As Saturn re-enters the 1st house, he wants you to re-build your self-concept—and that includes understanding your pleasures. What activities (time with nature/plants, writing, making art, hiking, running, meditating, editing, volunteering with kids, advancing your career etc.**) help you feel more like yourself? Deepen your involvement with the ones that matter.

The upside?

Because Saturn works long-term, the strength you’re developing right now will be a resource for the rest of your life. You can trust that this time alone is relationship work; the sense of security that comes from knowing you can handle yourself will help you trust your partnerships and feel safe within the ups and downs of all current and future relationships.

*Usually. Mitigating factors exist.

**Some things a person with Virgo Moon/10th house, Aries Venus/5th, Sag. Mars/2nd or Aries Sun/5th house might enjoy.


Dear Seagoat wants to answer your relationship, career, creative, sexual etc. questions! Send ‘em here. Or, email seagoatastrology@gmail.com to schedule an in-depth Skype reading of your own planets & transits. Includes MP3.


Keywords: Advice, Saturn Return, transits, help, feminist astrology.

Dear Seagoat #4: Crying in the Bathroom (A Rite of Passage)

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Dear Seagoat,

I am a queer writer living in a not-queer-friendly home, which is home nonetheless. I just graduated from college, so I’m at this weird turning point in my life where I can’t seem to make any decisions. (Why those are connected I have no idea.) Here are the situations that are strangling me in my current state in random order:

1. To leave my family (who are problematic but whom I love) to pursue opportunities which I may not get, or to stay at home and be under heavy surveillance, cry alone in the bathroom, and hear bigotry daily, but lead a frustrating, yet safe and boring life that allows me to read lots of books and watch the sunset repeatedly.

2. To try to publish my work, (Where? I have no idea.) which is not quite yet to my standards (but will it ever be?) or keep working on it (even though my unemployed self is currently not doing that at all…between thinking about job applications and watching terribly cheesy Bollywood films with my mother, I have no time you see. It’s not like this is the perfect time to write, or anything, it’s not like I’m lazy or anything. No really.)

3. To take or not take a job which isn’t exactly what I want (but will better ever come along?) and I do need money.

— Stay-At-home Taurus
P.S. I am not out to my family.

Dear SAT,

Age 22 bites. (That’s not advice. I’m just saying.)

While I’m sure there are some out there who loved/are loving their early twenties, they are rare and mysterious creatures, much like the unicorn and cheerleaders.

The astrological reason 22 bites so much is our grim friend, Saturn. Saturn rules responsibility and processes of maturation. Each stage of his 29-year cycle marks a new phase of your relationship to reality. At age 7, Saturn woke you up from childhood’s dreamstate; at 14, he gave you a social life (or lack thereof); at 21, you’re heading into the Real World of jobs, bills and adult worries; all building up to your Saturn Return at 29, when you’ll be ready to take concrete steps toward your long-term goals.

Most people feel crappy under Saturn cycles. Usually the younger you are, the worse Saturn feels. For some, this translates to depression. For others, anxiety about the future.

SAT, you began the ¾ phase of your Saturn cycle last November. It will be over mid-September, but before then, Saturn wants to “help” you make some changes.

Especially challenging is that as a loyal, safety-conscious, family-loving Taurus, you like to stick with what you know, even when that requires timeouts to cry in the bathroom. Your family has given you powerful roots; making use of that power is loyalty. Even when they don’t know how to embrace your choices, you serve your family’s lineage by directing that energy outward, into the world. And the only way for you to find out how much you’re capable of (a great deal, I suspect) is to let yourself be tested, and even fuck up.

And that’s exactly what Saturn is pushing you to do.

So, here’s the quickie advice.

1. Crying in the bathroom sounds like symbol for being quietly queer in a loudly anti-queer household. I can see from your chart that your family LOVES you, but can’t always see you. Your Taurus Sun lives in the 12th house of your chart and the 12th house is where we put parts of ourselves we feel our families can’t handle. When the Sun—your source of shiny, special YOU-ness—is in the twelfth house, it’s like burying your personal battery pack in the middle of the ocean. What else besides your queerness are you afraid to express? How small are you making yourself to fit inside that bathroom?

2. Why publish just for publishing’s sake? If you have a piece that’s ready to be seen, by all means, send it somewhere. Or better yet (at this stage), blog or make a zine. Having your work read could be affirming, but more important for your writer-self is continued exploration, on the page and in life. Saturn wants to make sure you’re challenged enough to grow, so if you’re feeling creatively blocked, ask yourself how you can bring more challenges into your writing life. (A concrete goal, writing group or a structured class can help with this.)

3. Take the job! Why not? Saturn loves a paycheck. Your paralysis/anxiety looks like it’s mainly coming from inexperience. If you hate the job, no biggie: that’s what quitting is for. Plus, $$ means you can address whether to stay home or move out as a decision, rather than a helpless response.

The bottom line: the stress is there to get you moving. Saturn wants you to start seeing yourself as an adult. Take heart in knowing that everyone your age—no matter how confident they appear—is going through the Saturn wringer. The only way through is forward, into the unknown. Give yourself the chance to make mistakes, to learn and to grow. It might be more fun than you think.

*For astro-geeks: North Node in Capricorn, Pisces Mars, Sagittarius Moon in the 7th, Sun in the 12th.


Dear Seagoat wants to answer your relationship, career, creative, sexual etc. questions! Send ‘em here. Or, email seagoatastrology@gmail.com to schedule an in-depth reading of your own planets & transits.

Dear Seagoat #3: Idea-Drowned Writers and Other Pisces Problems

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Dear Seagoat,
I’m a writer who isn’t writing.
I don’t know what’s going on in my life right now. My mind is going in a zillion directions. What I most want is to be a writer… But I keep ending up in wonderful other adventures – I’m having such great dates, I started a business (with more in the works), I got a motorcycle, I keep chasing shiny pretty things.
When I  do sit down to write, I have about a dozen writing projects started (a novel – maybe two – a play, 3-4 stories, a poem, a series of collaborations). My creative life is like a dropped garden hose spewing everywhere. What if I have a heart attack right now and nothing is done? What’s important? What should I be working on? Have you seen my keys?
–Aquarius Loves Finishing

Dear ALF,

Oh, inspiration. Those who want it, can’t get a drop, those who’ve got it, are drowning.

Pisces, sign of inspiration-flood, has its prints all over your birth chart.* Good thing, too. Dreamy Pisces is absolutely necessary for visionary writing. Pisces, champion fictioneer, allows the writer to immerse into characters and worlds and forget about the boring reality of day-jobs and landlords.

We’ll call this version, “Happy Pisces.”

A truckload of Pisces can have its risks, though. Pisces is responsible for the artist stereotype (KURT COBAIN**, GUYS)–heroin needle in one arm, paintbrush in a fist. Cute, until you have to vacuum around the prostrate bodies or, like, collect rent. We can call this “Unhappy Pisces.”

It sounds to me, ALF, like you’re currently suffering from a midrange condition, “Mildly Dismayed Pisces.” Symptoms of MDP include, but are not limited to, distraction, abundant dreams paired with abundant self-doubt, a craving to make art but not getting butt to chair. Under MDP, it becomes far easier to help others than to pursue one’s own dreams. Depending on your line of work, this may be why the business is going well while the writing is struggling.

But there’s hope! Let’s you and me figure out how to turn that frown upside down.

How to Make Pisces Smile

1. The “Just Say No” campaign is not a model for your (writing) life. Pisces, most compassionate of signs, is super-sensitive. When you yell at Pisces (“Focus, lazybones!”), it curls up into a weepy ball of guilt. At that point your best bet is to become Mother Theresa (or throw yourself into your business), because the only way to make Pisces feel its sins have been cleansed is by helping others. Better yet, be kind from the start. Thank your brain for its childlike dreaminess. Remind it how it likes to get lost in a creative project. Let it know that the world needs dreamers. Ditch the internet (addiction risk). Drop the clock (too much reality). Hand Pisces a blank-paged notebook, take it somewhere peaceful and let that imagination go.

2. Be process-oriented. Instead of predicting your own cardiac demise, focus on the here-and-now. What do you love about writing? Whatever it is, notice yourself enjoying it. So long as you’re enjoying immersion, you’ll be able to make a (socially acceptable) addiction out of it. Then, you’re good to go.

3. Embrace grubby imperfection. Pisces has a direct line to the god/s. Holy inspiration flows and the Pulitzer seems at hand. Only, when proverbial pen hits paper, what comes out is, well, crap—right? Or far enough from the holy word, it might as well be. I’d interpret your distractedness as grief. Check your standards. My guess is they’re absurdly high. Knock ‘em down by half, then by half again. Let yourself feel sad about this. YOU WILL NEVER CATCH THE DREAM AND PIN ITS WINGS TO A BOARD. Even if it could be done, you, ALF, are too tender-hearted to impale anything. Instead, write the story inspired by the perfect story. Let it be inadequate, mediocre, whatever. It doesn’t even matter. What matters is letting others in on your dream. Readers, fellow Pisceans, are hungry for any story they can fall into and get lost. Their imaginations will fill in the gaps.

4. Find a good editor. A Piscean artist friend, Kate, once said to me, “Luke, you know why Kurt Cobain killed himself? He hung out with assholes.” ALF, don’t hang out with assholes. You are a dreamer, so acquire a good dream-sifter. Piscean artists are best off when they let more grounded type handle the nitty-gritty details, which in a writer’s case includes later stages of revision. As soon as you get a first draft done, bring one (or several) trusted others in to help pull the vision to the surface. There is no door prize for doing everything by yourself.

Finally, last word, trust creative cycles. If it doesn’t happen for you now, let go and relax into this moment of your life. If you aren’t usually this distracted it may be the result of a Pisces-emphasizing transit, Neptune conjunct Mercury, which increases imagination, but decreases focus. Go with the flow and expect your mind-mojo to return in February.

*aka planets in Pisces, aspects from Neptune to personal planets and/or planets in the 12th house.

**OMG, you do not even want to know how much Pisces energy this guy had going on.


Dear Seagoat wants to answer your relationship, career, creative, sexual etc. questions! Send ‘em here. Or, email seagoatastrology@gmail.com to schedule an in-depth reading of your own planets & transits.

Dear Seagoat #2: Love Trauma-Rama

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Dear Seagoat!

I am just starting a new relationship.  It seems to be going wonderfully.  Lots of flirting, lots of sweetness.  But then, alas, I looked back at an old relationship that started around June 2012, and ended, flamingly! in fall of 2013.  The new relationship seems nice but I’m scared it’s just like the old one, because when I think about it, they all start off nice!…what do the stars say?  Please help!

  — Superlatively Suspicious Scorpio

 

Dear Sss,

Let’s talk about love. Also, hurricanes.

In astrology, we’re all constantly experiencing different kinds of astrological weather, which we call, “transits.” Some transits are no big deal. A little drizzle on your freshly styled ‘do, a sunburn that brands your sunglasses into your face, etc.* Other times, we get hit by the equivalent of a Hurricane Sandy and the best we can do is saran-wrap our photo albums and prepare the lifeboats.

Sss, in 2013, you got walloped by Hurricane Sandy—aka Pluto square Venus.**

Pluto transits usually correspond with a grief process—those “flaming” losses that double us over in pain. All for a good cause, though: whatever it touches, Pluto regenerates. Death and rebirth—wholesome, if not much fun.

Getting rebirthed in this case is Venus, your love planet. Like literal birth, the process can be a little, um, sticky? (read: F*CKED UP). So, biiiiig round of applause for getting back in the love saddle. Thump your boxing gloves together! Dance with one of those oversize foam hands! You’re a champ!

Ok, hate me now: Pluto will be squaring your Venus for another six months. But I promise, you’re through the worst.

& Now, About Those Fears:

Pluto breaks up unhealthy relationships. That your last one incinerated under Pluto tells me that the ending—however ugly—was crucial. A before-and-after chapter. (Think of the photos! On a spiritual level, you’re wayyy cuter now.)

To get the best out of this new, sweet relationship, pay attention to what you learned there. If your ex appears to be the villain, look carefully for your role in the dynamic.

Your Venus (relationship planet) in Libra loves to be in love. So much so, that you may find yourself disappearing into relationships at times. While that can feel pleasurable, healthy interdependency happens when two people support each other—and each do their own thing, too. Sometimes Venus in Libra people undermine their relationships by making a zillion compromises. They try so hard to please that they forget what they wanted in the first place. When break-ups happen, Venus in Libra often protests, “It’s not fair. I gave you everything!”

Right now, Pluto is pushing you to own your power. If you do tend to give everything, ask yourself why. Are you afraid of being rejected or being seen as selfish? Is it easier to support someone else than risk pursuing your own goals?

Whatever it is, try a new tactic in the current relationship. Maybe Pluto helped you pick someone who can change with you. Your Scorpio sun nature motivates you to shed old skins. Go for it. Say what you’re afraid to, ask questions and above all, be as open as possible.

At the same time, respect your suspicions. You got hurt. It makes sense to be wary. Scorpios love at a gut-level and have wounds to match. Emotional cuts and scrapes require the usual remedies: time and oxygen. (Ixnay on the Neosporin, though.) Take time to rebuild that trust that’s so important to a Scorpio heart. Finally, though Scorpio loves to keep its wounds tightly bandaged, air your fears. If Sweetheart is a catch, s/he’ll be able to listen, respond and help you heal.

Love,

Seagoat


 

*A good example of this is the infamous “mercury retrograde.” That, my friends, is drizzle—mucking up our cell phone signals and clogging traffic over the Bay Bridge. (Don’t believe the hype. It’s not really a big deal.)

** also true for anyone with Venus at 9-11 degrees Libra, Aries, Capricorn or Cancer.


Dear Seagoat wants to answer your relationship, career, creative, sexual etc. questions! Send ’em here. Or, email seagoatastrology@gmail.com to schedule an in-depth reading of your own planets & transits.

 

Dear Seagoat: “Her boyfriend is the jerk, but I’m getting punished.” — Virgo Under Duress

**Astro-friends: Dear Seagoat is a new site feature. Kind of Dear Abby meets Savage Love, but with more planets. If you have a question, send it to seagoatastrology@gmail.com along with your birth info (time/date/location) and I’ll happily take it for a spin.**


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Dear Seagoat,

A good friend of mine has a boyfriend that I absolutely can’t stand. He is flaky and passive aggressive and treats her badly. Their relationship has been tumultuous and she often complained to me in the past about his behavior, but recently she seems to have some kind of deluded idea that things are perfect. Me and all our friends can see that he is the same selfish loser as always, but he does just enough to keep her from leaving. I finally decided to tell her what I thought. She doesn’t deal well with confrontation. Now she’s constantly delivering passive-aggressive jabs at me. I believe I did the right thing by being honest, but now am being punished for it. At this point, I feel like she and her boyfriend deserve each other, but she and I still have to work together and I can’t take much more. Do you have any suggestions for how to handle her behavior?

— Virgo Under Duress

Dear VUD,

Between your helpful nature (Virgo sun), gooey-squishy compassionate heart (Pisces moon), defend-your-friend-to-the-end relationship style (Venus in Cancer square Aries Mars) and your ironclad bullshit detector (Pluto in the 1st), you, VUD, are a kickass friend. So, good for you for taking the risk of speaking up, even though it sounds like you guessed it could have repercussions.

Problem is, your South Node (woospeak: past life baggage) is also in Virgo/11th house, which creates the expectation that if you do the Right thing, you’ll be rewarded with friendship, security and appreciation. You’re hardwired to equate other peoples’ reactions with the quality of your actions. When a friend jabs passive-aggressively at you, your South Node asks, “What did I do wrong?”

Tell your South Node to lay off, because in this lifetime, you’re learning to let go of your friends’ opinions and respond out of your sense of joy, generosity, spontaneity, intuition and love. While your friend’s negative response may be stressful, it has to do with her, not you. It takes a lot of work to leave a toxic relationship. If girlfriend isn’t there yet (which is what it sounds like), then it’s easier for her to decide that you’re the asshole than to face the abyss of a potential breakup, her attraction to douchebags, etc.

So, what now?

As burned as you feel, I’d advise against cutting off/giving up on her—yet. By telling the truth about Boyfriend, you opened up a conflict and your Pisces/5th house North Node (woospeak: soul growth) job is to stay present with everything that comes up as a result. That doesn’t mean you have to fix her or the friendship—you absolutely don’t—just that you’ll feel more positive (and be better able to work with her) if you stay in touch with the love that motivated you to speak up in the first place. So she’s conflict-phobic, so what? That’s her trip. Your chart shows you have the tools to maintain your integrity and evolve with the situation. That may mean interrupting the passive-aggressive jabs with directness—and warmth. She’s probably reading you as more aggressive than you actually are, because 1st house Pluto folks tend to project intensity, so reassure her by being warm, open and without any hidden agendas (e.g. to change her or to prove yourself right). Who knows how she’ll react to that, but at least that way you’re not letting her hang-ups dictate your behavior.

Finally, remember you don’t have the answers and you’re not responsible for her reactions. Your only job is to stay present, be loving to yourself and notice the good growth you’re doing. Those strategies should give your Pluto (urge for saving others) and North/South Nodes (anxiety, etc.) a sense of peace and help let this situation turn out the best possible way for everyone.

Love,

Seagoat

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