Trucks, trees and talent shows
Updated: Jan 20
And other inspiration from the Capricorn bonanza of 2020
NOTE: This article was posted prior to the pandemic, although the insights gained in writing it helped me tremendously in 2020—and into 2021 following the Great Conjunction and during the Saturn/Uranus squares. An update on all that transpired during these years is certainly coming, although it takes time to properly digest and find the right words to express such deep complexities.
Structures that no longer serve us are breaking down so that new ones can form. This is the phrase astrologers repeat to describe the historically significant planetary activity of 2020.
I particularly like Christopher Witecki’s interpretation: we are in the midst of cutting chords and writing new laws. He says we’re changing directions and creating a new future that represents “the new spiritual laws” of our hearts.
I’ve observed this path unfolding for the vast majority of the population. For the past year, it’s as if Pluto has been telling Saturn exactly what needs to change, and Saturn says, “I hear you, just give me some time.” In the past month, that moment of change has arrived, although many details still need to be sorted out.
Nevertheless, I’ve been wondering, is this the experience of those on the Complete Unified Self Path (CUSP)?
Many of us have been writing our own rules for quite some time now, so our reality seems quite different than the lifestyle perpetuated by mass media, mainstream education, and the dominant economic system. We have been creating these new realities in both small and big ways—whether that be by living off the grid, backpacking in the wilderness, banning the TV, focusing on endeavors to serve others, or holing up to devote ourselves to artistic or spiritual growth. Some only return to the larger collective reality when absolutely necessary, such as to interact with family or long-time friends. Otherwise, we’ve been creating something new. What has resulted is basically separate realities—we have one foot in the one we grew up in, and another in the one we are establishing.
So are we still in the midst of writing new rules?
In some ways, we are. We’re taking what we’ve learned thus far and refining the rules such that they work better for us. We’re going deeper into who we feel we are at our core, and fine-tuning our outer expression so that it matches our innermost being.
Yet there’s another phenomenon that I’ve been noticing. The world is inching closer to us, and we are inching toward it—even if we are just making small compromises for short periods of time to get from point A to point B. Our challenge is to stay calm and collected—to not jump back in immediate repulsion. I appreciate Simon Vorster’s discussion about how our nervous system digests our environment, impacting our capacity for tolerating experiences. As we learn about the energy associated with Saturn, we can embody patience in the midst of turbulence.
As we do so, we can bridge the realities that in the past we have straddled.
PLANETARY CYCLES OF MARRIAGE AND SEPARATION
A conjunction is like a marriage—when two distinctly different energies join together so that they can evolve. A marriage works best when both parties are eager to learn and ready to change while remaining strongly in tune with their own needs. For those of you who have been married, do you agree?
Conjunctions happen all the time in astrology. The monthly new moon is one example—the Sun and Moon are at the same place in the zodiac circle once a month. Otherwise they are separate but still always in partnership. It’s as if the Sun is engaged in a project for the benefit of the extended family, while the Moon goes from house to house checking on all the family members, gauging their emotional well-being. The Moon returns once a month to the Sun to report its findings, and then the two adjust the project accordingly. Since the family’s emotional capacity has reshaped over the course of the month, they can restart the project on new ground.
The two separate again, and they return to their roles. The Sun is the creator, while the Moon is the emotional gauge and the fuel of the creation. Ultimately, they can’t operate without each other, despite the illusion of separation.
We can adjust the metaphor of “family” to coincide with anything in life that needs both a spokesperson and a behind-the-scenes advisor. The metaphor could be self, for we all have both of these parts in varying degrees.
Most conjunctions are spread out in years rather than one month. The major conjunction of 2020—Saturn and Pluto, which was exact on January 12—happens about every 35 years. The one in 2020 is receiving even more attention than usual because it’s in Capricorn, which hasn’t happened for more than 500 years, and is typically associated with major changes in systems within humanity. I recommend listening to Witecki’s interpretation that we are transitioning from a win-lose economy, reverberations from the reliance on slavery, to a win-win one.
On top of that, a ton of other types of energy has been in Capricorn this past month, so astrologers compare this period to historic times when there was a significant transition between the ages. These dates and coinciding events can be difficult to pinpoint, partly because our calendar systems switched from Julian to Gregorian since we had such extensive line-ups of planets in Capricorn.
On the January 10 full moon eclipse in Cancer, there was an extraordinary amount of planetary energy in Capricorn—Pluto, Saturn, Mercury, Sun, Jupiter and the South Node, all in opposition to the full moon. (Did you feel it? Most people I know were grappling with significant buried emotions that weekend, which their outer reality was bringing to the forefront). Eclipses tend to have a lasting effect—at least six months, but sometimes the reverberations continue for years.
Saturn and Pluto are both slow, deep change-makers, so the effect of this transit wasn’t restricted to just January—the transformation has been building for at least the past year, and is continuing throughout 2020. At this moment, all we can do is put one foot in front of the other because collective reality is shifting. Saturn and Pluto are getting used to each other—they haven’t been in the same room for 37 years now and need to acclimate to how they’ve evolved. Slow and steady is the name of the game because we’re setting the stage for how we are living for the next few decades—and how the collective society will operate for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years.
ONE FOOT AT THE FARM, ONE AT THE RETREAT
For me, two scenarios are simultaneously evolving. As I wrote about previously, I’m preparing to move off my farm, and am currently in talks with an owner of a retreat about an hour away. I’m hoping to establish new parts of my business there. The goal is to eventually turn that space into a getaway for clients of InnerSynastry and of other practitioners. To generate the means to do so, I’m seeking potential buyers for my current farm.
Selling the farm is not simply about finding a buyer. It’s about developing a relationship with someone who can continue the very unique business that’s been forming for almost ten years.
In carrying out the mission of growing ecologically sustainable plants, I found there is much more entailed in achieving this aim than just using the least resource intensive materials. Customers need to learn about this landscaping style, and systems need to be developed so that it can fit seamlessly into their lifestyles.
The vision for the farm is to offer classes in native/edible landscaping tailored for landscape professionals so nursery customers can hire their help. The plan also includes the construction of a community-oriented commercial kitchen so garden customers can cook together. They’re not only learning how to pair their eating habits with the bounty of the garden, which can sometimes be a daunting task, but also prepping their meals for the rest of the week. I’ve also been talking to organizations who can integrate long-term housing with the farm, further bridging the connection between people and food.
All of this is easy enough to say, but there’s a lot entailed in these ideas—on all sorts of levels.
I wouldn’t have developed the proposal if I didn’t see an obvious need. Landscape architects have been reaching out, wanting to incorporate edible and native plants in their projects because their customers are asking for these types of plants. But doing so takes an entire change of mindset. There’s all types of landscapers and I don’t want to put them into one box; that said, plants are often an afterthought to the house construction. Easy-to-maintain shrubs are plopped around the house—ones that look exactly the same whether it’s December or June—and the rest of the yard is seeded in grass. The landscape is designed to make labor simple—that way, the maintenance crew, often a revolving door, can easily be trained. Landscape maintenance can be an intense job, so not many laborers stick with it long.
Edible and native landscaping is pretty much the complete opposite to all of that. For one, it takes years to learn about all the different species and their growing needs. Perennials often only bloom for one month, so the landscape changes constantly. In between flowering, only the leaves are visible, and sometimes the plant is entirely dormant—the roots underground are still alive, but otherwise, it’s invisible. The gardener needs to be very familiar with the property to know what to remove, what to keep, and what is going on underground so nothing is planted on top of what is desirable.
Usually that means the property owners are the ones who maintain the landscape—they care, and care is what is needed for this situation. Our current economic model often doesn’t compensate this immense amount of adoration and nurturing. Therefore, people who otherwise would love to have an edible/native landscape—busy families, active community members, or focused business owners—don’t because a limited number of professionals are trained to assist them.
Convincing those in the landscape industry to change their businesses to address these challenges is not an overnight thing. Yet the customer demand is such that it’s inevitable. People want their yards to contribute to the health of the entire ecosystem. My task is to stay committed to my vision and not be tempted to sell the business to someone that might backslide into a quick and easy economic return. Yet I also need to be open to the way others see the world—practicing standing still and negotiating, instead of running to more comfortable terrain or creating a safe bubble in seclusion. In the middle of our two realities is the answer—a place where I can stand firmly, solidifying myself and my values into the collective reality.
OLD AND NEW TRUCKS
As I sat down to write my interpretation of this time period, I realized that the change as reflected by Saturn and Pluto joining together has been rising for much, much longer than a year. When paired with other significant transits, this conjunction signifies the start of a new era, which has been forming in the background following the upheaval most associated with the 1960s.
This revelation hit home as I contemplated my recent purchase of a vehicle in relation to Saturn-Pluto (although certainly a Jupiter/Sun conjunction—associated with bounty—was also at play). In some ways, discussing buying a truck in the context of this historical Saturn-Pluto transit seems a bit trivial, especially when there’s been world-altering events occurring like massive fires in Australia, concerns about a war with Iran, earthquakes in Puerto Rico and Turkey, and a U.S. presidential impeachment. Yet as I looked closely at this purchase, I uncovered something quite deep, not only in my own life, but in my culture’s relationship with automobiles.
My concern about climate change has never been intellectual. I feel it in my bones. In my early 20s, I developed a deep relationship with the wilderness, first backpacking and scuba diving in Australia, immersed within its wide swaths of undeveloped land, massive populations of wildlife, and nighttime views of stunning constellations sprawled across the sky. Then, back home in U.S., I enrolled in a graduate program for which, in combination with some outdoor jobs, I essentially lived in a tent for two years while at the same time learning about humanity’s impact on ecosystems, and finding solutions.
It’s difficult to explain in just a few sentences how these experiences transform a person, especially one who grew up embedded in the mainstream of the 1980s—when happiness was nice hair, clothes, cars, boys, achievement, thrill and stimulation. In the wilderness, exposed to the weather day in and day out, the separation between me and nature became quite thin. Its needs were mine. So I became deeply concerned about habitat loss as a result of human activities, and that included the impact of car emissions on climate change.
On top of all that, overseas travels led me to develop relationships with people from cultures I previously knew little about, including those whose native homes are on oil fields. It just so happens these countries are regularly at war—and my country commonly perpetuates those military actions. Due to our win-lose mentality, we assume that the countries with oil—and by default the people living there—are our enemies. Yet, my experience interacting with them was the opposite. The people are usually loving and welcoming, with a “my house is yours” mindset. That’s not to say there aren’t complexities in their cultures. But one thing was certain—I didn’t want my actions to contribute to any injustices imposed on innocent people who happen to live on top of oil.
So, at age 24, I got rid of my car. That was doable when I lived in cities with reliable public transportation or interned on a farm in biking distance from town. When I moved to different circumstances, I converted a diesel truck to run on used vegetable oil—which sort of worked. Thankfully it also could run on biodiesel so I wasn’t too reliant on a homemade fuel system.
Then when I started a job that required extensive traveling through the mountains, I bought a hybrid vehicle. I absolutely loved it and it served me well for 15 years. I kept it even when I decided I needed a truck to haul mulch and other supplies for my farm. I permitted myself to buy a used and aging small truck, that probably only gets 20 mpg at best, because it would mostly stay at the farm.
I should point out other lifestyle choices, just to emphasize how strongly I’m motivated by this issue. These actions include buying local food that hasn’t traveled across the country; building an energy efficient greenhouse that doesn’t burn fuel to heat it; establishing income-producing activities that keep me close to home; and avoiding air travel. That said, I don’t stick to an ideal of perfection—I recognize sometimes I need to lift my version of ideal to address practical concerns. But whenever life slows down enough so that I can take a breather and reassess my consumption, I make rearrangements as necessary. I’m not insinuating that everyone needs to be driven by the same level of passion as me—this is just my story.
Last year, the hybrid battery on the Honda started to die—for the second time. (I’m not too resentful—I’m fine with being an earlier adopter as a way to invest in developing these technologies.) I knew I didn’t want to push my luck on a 15-year-old vehicle any longer, so I decided to sell and planned to buy new. In the meantime my farm truck, a 1999 Ford Ranger, was my primary vehicle for a few months. It’s a solid vehicle, but I knew I would need something that I could put some miles on, anticipating driving between my current farm and the new property. I procrastinated—buying as much time as possible—before making the leap into new car ownership.
I still need a truck for hauling loads for the garden, and of course I looked at electrical vehicles first. I was encouraged to discover some promising developments with electric trucks. Test models are coming out in 2020, and Atlis Motor Vehicles even has an intriguing subscription service that might make driving these vehicles affordable, especially if customers buy into older reconditioned models.
However, it’ll be a few years before electric trucks are out in mass volume. So I decided to go with a gas model that I know holds its value, a Toyota Tacoma—it would be a short-term investment, a temporary hiatus from my strict rules about mpg and emissions standards, to get me from point A to point B.
A few years ago, when my sensitive side was making a reemergence after years of suppressing it, going to the car dealership would have wreaked havoc on my well-being. Perhaps that sounds a little extreme, but there are so many elements inherent in the activity—my awareness of what our vehicle-based society is doing to the Earth; the pressure of making a decision I’d have to live with for a while; the worry that I would make a poor financial decision; my body’s reaction to all the stimuli at the car dealership; the reaction (even if it’s subtle) salespeople have to a single female car-shopping alone; and the feeling like I have to be on guard against someone who is going to talk me into something I don’t want or can’t afford. I’m especially reactive to unsavory sales tactics since I’ve held strong to my integrity in building my own business, making sure I find appropriate balance between both my client’s needs and my own, never pressuring anyone into anything.
On top of that is the public perception of a new car. This stigma may be hard to fathom for those who aren’t in a social circle or profession like mine. For much of society, the car signifies status, and the more impressive the better. But many of those who are engaged in small-scale farming reject any show of wealth or embrace of an unfair economic system. I’ve had to spend years working on releasing stigma around money so that I could be fairly compensated for my value. I think it’s extremely important to do so because a new economic system won’t form until professions of integrity are properly valued, and that typically means monetarily.
Despite all the factors that could have hindered this truck purchase, it all went fairly smoothly. By now, far into the development of my business—which entailed coordinating building projects, interacting with the chaos and demands of construction crews—I have developed coping skills, training my body-mind to be calm in high pressure situations.
I think it is good for Highly Sensitive People or those of us on CUSP (if someone fits in the HSP category, they aren’t necessarily on CUSP too, but they often are), to put ourselves into situations in which we are interacting with the larger collective reality. The salespeople get to interact with a self-sufficient entrepreneur, who also happens to be a woman. (The dealership was in a neighboring town that’s a bit more in the country and has more old skool perceptions than my city). They hear our comments and preferences that help them understand emerging values, like when I told them I expect to sell the truck in a few years so I can buy an electric model. Plus it’s good to practice being in over-stimulating situations—staying put and dealing with my reactions rather than diving into protection.
As I drove away from the dealership in my new truck, I suddenly became aware of all the nice cars on the road. I don’t know if I just hadn't noticed all the new vehicles since I’ve been over-focusing on the Ranger, my senses hyper focused on any signs of potential problems. (I’ve had an irrational fear of car breakdowns since childhood that still emerges despite years of trying to release it, although living with the old Ranger, which remained fairly reliable despite my worries, helped in doing so).
Or the other thought I had was that I somehow transitioned overnight from modest farm living (albeit rich in lots of non-monetary ways) to middle class. As my sci-fi oriented mind often does, I entertained the possibility that I had flipped timelines, no longer in the granola crunchy town that I moved to 15 years ago, but instead suddenly immersed in modernity. In any case, I became aware of how much wealth had entered my fairly economically depressed town the last few years, largely due to tourism.
I had mixed feelings about being one among the nice vehicles. Yes, I would no longer feel slightly embarrassed when going to a nice restaurant (ignoring the embarrassment as soon as it arose), as the only old vehicle in the parking lot. That said, I also didn’t want to be a sellout.
INTEGRITY—SATURN'S SPECIALTY AND PLUTO'S ASSISTANT
During this time, leading up to the Lunar Eclipse and Saturn-Pluto conjunction, I deeply contemplated integrity. When is it appropriate to make practical choices even if it means compromising deeply held values? Or when do we stay committed to our mission despite that a project may take years to develop since the larger collective is not on the same page? Saturn is synonymous with integrity, and Pluto is most palatable when it is infused with integrity. It is indeed possible for this typically hard combination to feel beneficial if the energies are properly balanced, as Unity Astrology helps us do.
I found myself getting triggered by anyone who professes to be a leader and role model, but then behind the scenes acts in questionable ways. Instead, I’ve been drawn to self-improvement gurus who openly talk about their struggles and short-comings, and publicly work through them. (If you’d like examples, please contact me directly—I’m happy to privately share my influences).
Mercifully, I’m well-schooled in projections and don’t linger long in a space of judgement. I have mastered looking inward whenever I react to the actions of someone else. In finding our commonalities, I find the solution. That said, this eclipse energy was a doozy, let me tell you. It took all my skills to dig myself out of bitterness.
I assumed that my reactions had something to do with my emerging life path as a practitioner of sound healing and astrology. Despite that I’m super excited to share my insights, I am developing this modality and new astrological philosophy one step at a time to make sure I’m keeping integrity. I discussed my reservations in broadcasting it widely in this video. I’m aware of audiences that I could easily tap into who would be intrigued with this modality and eager to try it—and I hope one day to reach out to them. Yet I am also careful to not let the most readily available audience define the modality. If I instead work to frame it in a way that those on the far cusp of my potential clientele can grasp it, then in the long run, it might develop deeper roots and have a larger impact.
There’s also a challenge to articulating Unity Astrology to a wide audience, partly because duality, which is the lens that conventional astrology uses in dissecting reality, still has important lessons for most people. When in session with clients, I can easily flip back and forth between conventional and Unity methods depending on what I sense the client needs. That’s quite the feat when I’m writing to a larger audience. So I’m careful about who I share my writing with and which astrologers I interact with. I need this modality to settle into the ground before I involve others on any significant scale.
At the same time, I’m also careful to not slip into old patterns of fear, another trademark of Saturn. Since the first day the modality came into my awareness, I’ve been watching myself, making sure outdated habits aren’t holding me back. I tend to be overly cautious, schooled by past experiences when I jolted into extremes and scared myself. So when the modality first popped in my head in 2017, and I was aware that Jupiter (expansion) was conjunct my Uranus (quick, genius-level changes), I was adamant in following my intuition and embracing opportunities, sharing it with people who I felt called to. That period served me well, as their excitement created a long-lasting motivation that eventually led me to restructuring my life so I can study it further.
Additionally, I’m preparing myself if income must largely come from other sources while I continue to develop InnerSynastry—if not from short-term rentals, as I am planning, then perhaps a grant source or strategic partnership. It’s still important I stick to my goal of being properly compensated for my value. Adequate energy exchange is a crucial part of healing, for both the customer and the practitioner. Customers only receive what they equally contribute (and fortunately contribution doesn’t always have to be in the form of money).
Thankful for the insights that a projection has to offer me, I release judgements of those who I might be quick to call dishonorable. While looking at their natal charts helps me understand their life paths and lessons, I can never entirely walk in their shoes. Perhaps their course is helping mine in a way that I can’t understand from my limited vantage point. I have a sense that some version of us—the higher parts of ourselves—have decided that it’s best to walk separate yet parallel paths, at least for the time being. There is some lesson that I could have gained if I walked their route but I decided their trail is not the best one for me to be on. Perhaps they’re walking in rough terrain partly on my behalf, and I’ll gain from their lessons when we meet up again.
In separation, it’s still best to keep to the values of marriage as stated previously—even if it’s just in our thoughts—seeking compassion, understanding and forgiveness; wishing them well on the path that they have chosen; and remaining poised to learn from them when the opportunity arises.
Yet it’s also perfectly okay to stay strong in our intentions of walking separate paths. A crucial part of marriage is knowing when to separate, even if just temporarily. Ultimately, we’re still connected, even if just by memories stored in our neurons.
MY RELATIONSHIP WITH CARS
Memories involving vehicles sift through my head while driving the new Tacoma. When I was 16, acquiring a license was my source of freedom—in a rural area, I felt bored and trapped in the seclusion of my family’s house, 40 minutes from a large city. A car was a crucial part of gaining independence and becoming myself. At that time, the only automobile feature I really cared about was the stereo.
Flash forward 25 years—the Ranger didn’t even have a working sound system, and the Tacoma is the first one I’ve owned that has satellite radio. I have to say, I’m enjoying singing at the top of my lungs to the acoustic station, observing whatever emotions need to work through my body, otherwise ignored in the name of getting stuff done.
I also remember my high school boyfriend’s obsession with sports cars. How he would spend hours waxing and polishing his car-of-the-year so that no scratch was visible, and in fact that activity was often how we spent our dates. He called it his baby, the same nickname he had for me. He did, by the way, have a lot of admirable qualities, and I greatly appreciate the value of that relationship in the beginning stages of my romantic explorations. That said, the family story is that we broke up because I felt like he loved his car more than me. It’s been too long for me to remember if that is true—I’m sure there were multiple reasons for us parting ways.
Now as an adult, I can see a broader perspective—how he grew up in a culture where men drooled over cars in magazines just like they did naked women. That’s what boys were supposed to do, so that’s what he did. And I think about how possibly he was channeling an unmet need to take care of something by giving so much attention to a vehicle. Sometimes it’s easier to nurture a mechanical object that can be broken apart and put back together again than it is to care for something as mysterious as a girlfriend. No one was teaching boys back then to understand women; instead they were teaching them to fix cars, while the opposite was true for girls.
I also think about the reaction I used to have as a teen when I saw big trucks cruising through my small country town. The bigger the wheels got, the more racist the driver was, I assumed. I equated big trucks with close-mindedness, and it was a continual reminder of how I wanted to get out of that town.
But then there were other times, later in life, in which trucks made me feel quite different—when I was entirely on my own and sometimes reliant on assistance from people who had an easier time making it in our economic system. I felt a sense of safety as I sat in the passenger seat next to these important men in my life who generously assisted me. It’s a nice feeling to be taken care of, and for whatever reason, a truck can make a girl feel looked after. Even an independent woman like me.
As I drive the Tacoma, I notice the wide elevated hood beneath the windshield; the comfortable cushion seats in the spacious interior; and all the new safety features (I have to admit, the backup camera on the rear bumper is genius). There is a sense of reclaiming my power since I’m now the one in the driver’s seat—having gotten myself to a point where I’m less reliant on others. While being taken care of is nice, self-sufficiency is even nicer.
There is something to be said about feeling safe, especially when participating in an activity that doesn’t have a stellar reputation for being safe. If we’re going to keep on investing into this transportation model, it seems like everyone on the road should have access to a safe vehicle.
Yet I’m also aware of the illusion the truck is creating. On the evening of the full moon eclipse in Cancer, I sat in traffic, atypically on the busy side of town during rush hour. Here I was, on the lead-up to a historic planetary conjunction that is supposed to signify the break-down of societal structures that are no longer serving us, and I was in a newly purchased truck that gets a measly 20 mpg.
Inside the cab is an experience of ease and luxury, and I was definitely not unappreciative, so used to a clunky truck made in 1999. But I was reminded of the feelings that had prompted me to design my life so that my vehicle wasn’t center stage. This plush life inside the cab seems like a mirage, prompting us to forget about the loss of time devoted to productive, creative and community-oriented pursuits as we sit in traffic. Not to mention, helping us ignore the emissions contributing to climate change. Smoke and mirrors.
This conundrum was grounding me. When we purchase hybrid vehicles—or go without a vehicle altogether—we can easily feel outside of all this mess. I’m not at all discouraging these decisions. I wish everyone made them. That said, we need to understand why people don’t make these choices, and address those reasons, rather than just separating from others, putting ourselves in a place where it feels like all has been solved.
Instead of pointing fingers and demanding change, perhaps it’s better to imagine ourselves inside the shoes of others, and determine what values are being fulfilled and why they continue with old habits. Ultimately, what drives our obsession with the vehicle? A sense of safety? Independence? Power? Luxury? Is it a way to express our nurturing/protective side? Perhaps what’s best to do is to build a society in which we can replicate these values through other routes—recognizing just how central the vehicle is to our character, and finding other ways we can express the sides of ourselves that it enhances.
NETWORKS—ABOVE AND BELOW
Lately, when I tune into the meaning of a planetary transit, I’ve been seeing images. I appreciate how my intuition (which I typically tap into through words or sensations) is developing such that visuals are now a part of it—a fairly recent occurrence, thanks to how landscape designing has altered my brain. As we hold an image in the mind, we can gain a wealth of valuable, nuanced information.
When thinking of Capricorn in 2020, I saw an image similar to a tree, with networks above and below it. After I had that visual, I noticed other astrologers displaying similar images to portray the energies of 2020.
It’s not unusual to think of the tree in association with Capricorn and its ruling planet Saturn. They are frequently associated with structure, roots, stability and foundations.
But what is interesting is that the collective subconscious—as I call the pool of knowledge that we all have the capacity to tune into—seems to be directing us astrologers to view the branches in the air just as much as the roots.
I saw an image similar to this:
which I translated to meaning all the ways that we are interconnected through our inspiration, neural networks, and communications—spoken aloud and just in our minds. Similar to this:
Then I visualized the complex roots under the forest floor, providing a route for the trees to communicate with the help of microscopic fungi called mycorrhizae. They send distress signals about drought, disease and insect attacks, prompting other trees to alter their behavior when they receive these messages.
I then saw these roots joining forces with the complex system of the city networks.
A crucial ingredient to be able to contain the massive amount of power inherent in such complex and sometimes fragile connectivity is purity. That purity can be found through the heart:
The “heart” is an abstract sentiment that some resonate with and others don’t. For me, the definition of heart is the connective tissue that binds all of us together, and the sensations in our chests that are linked to this tissue are extremely important gauges as to if we’re appropriately on course.
When I saw these images in my mind, my immediate interpretation was that I was to further enhance my connectivity to the wilderness while at the new property, but then stay connected to the urban farm that I currently own so that the needs of the wilderness stay in tune with the needs of the city.
I've heard astrologers analyze their visuals of tree branches—these networks in the air—by pointing to the date (March 21) that Saturn moves into Aquarius. Saturn is reuniting with its “air” side (associated with mental activity), for it’s called the ancient ruler of Aquarius, an air sign. Astrologers also point to Pluto moving into Aquarius in 2023, which promises to be another momentous event.
I agree with these astrologers, and I’m also considering some insights that have come to me while articulating the emerging Unity method. There’s a continual link between Saturn and Uranus, which are not only co-rulers of Aquarius, but also on the cusp of each other through the signs of Capricorn and Aquarius. Saturn and Uranus appear to be opposite—one grounded in current reality, the other always innovating something new—but in fact they are the same, acting in partnership even when they are apart.
The networks above us are typically associated with Uranus. The networks below the surface are usually associated with Saturn. Now our work is to get them to work in tandem seamlessly, so that Uranus is not outpacing Saturn, and Saturn isn’t holding Uranus back from evolving humanity. All needs are understood and attended to.
To find the answers, we can always return to the body. For instance, we can examine any sensations that arise when we ask: do we need to step closer to our values, or do we need to loosen up temporarily? Only each of us individually can know the answer.
I can almost always find the solution in my gut. If I shift awareness to the spot just below my belly button, I get a signal as to if I’m making a decision from fear, or if I’m acting from integrity. If it feels like I’m compromising my values, perhaps in doing so, I will have the opportunity to better understand others.
Let’s return to the Sun and Moon, which reunite each month on the New Moon. According to Unity Astrology, the Sun would be a complementary opposite of Saturn because Saturn is the co-ruler of Aquarius, which is opposite Leo, ruled by the Sun. (Saturn has many complementary opposites). So we can use Saturn to help find balance in how the Sun expresses itself, and vice versa.
One feeling I associate with an imbalance in the Sun-Moon (Leo-Cancer) combo is a sense that I’m not doing enough. I’ll get a flash of despair that I don’t have enough time or energy for all who rely on me—my plants in the greenhouse, my kitties, my garden, my landscape customers, or just my world in general. What I’m forgetting is that one person can’t have all the tools. There are sources outside of me. My job is to just do the best I can at any given moment, and invite others to help.
Yet that feeling—a motivation born from love—is so important. It has fueled a lot of wonderful projects. My farm wouldn’t have emerged without it.
Lately, when I get an ache in my heart region that feels like it’s not expressing itself fully, I say to it: I hear you. Then I step back and look at all the sticks around me. I then slowly start picking up each of the sticks, finding ways that they might fit together to form a structure of support for all who I love.
As it turns out, it’s a quite elaborate structure.
Drafting this piece has been quite the Pluto-Saturn experience in itself. Typically, my writing process has more of an Uranian quality—I get quick bursts of inspiration, which I jot down quickly in my notebook, but then take several days (Uranus’ counterpart, Saturn) to craft the words on the computer so it’s understandable for others.
For this article, I felt like I needed to step inside the words so that I could really embody the situation I was writing about. I had to get on the same wavelength as the text. Uranian inspiration allows me to hover above, throwing down bombs of creativity onto society, but Pluto/Saturn required me to be inside the story, uncovering what’s in the depths, before I could surface and articulate an explanation.
Last week, I thought I was done writing the article. But one night, I returned home to a flooded basement—motivating me to discuss a whole other important element to the 2020 Capricorn story.
A pipe that runs from my house to the tie-in with city water had deteriorated and needed to be replaced. The situation seemed appropriate not only for Saturn/Pluto (a structure, connecting me to the city, literally breaking down so that it can be replaced), but also for the nodal lesson of Cancer (associated with water) balancing Capricorn (earth/form), which we are collectively experiencing until May before the Nodes switch to Gemini-Sagittarius.
As I monitored my internal reaction to the pipe leak, I was reminded about the momentous lead-up to the Saturn-Pluto conjunction, which I’m realizing now has been my entire lifetime. For the last few years, I was very aware of the significance of the healing taking place, but I was only vaguely aware of its relationship to the 2020 conjunction until I started writing this article.
Long story short, it is nearly a miracle that houses are becoming the main way I generate income. I used to be scared about even owning my own home, let alone taking care of more than one. I can pinpoint some reasons for these fears from my childhood—perhaps the biggest one: I just wasn’t interested in learning about fixing things. I preferred to escape, writing in my bedroom or playing “pretend” outside. If we don’t have any experience with something, we tend to be frightened of it.
Added to that, I completely rejected the idea of “home” in my early 20s, selling all my belongings and living out of a tent. When we dismiss a key element of our culture, we are banishing a part of us, and it takes years to coax it back into our lives.
I think back to who I was when I first purchased my house, and I imagine how I would have reacted to returning home to a flooded basement. I probably would have freaked the hell out, my nervous system completely overtaxed. My entire body would have been tense, making it impossible to sleep, and all sorts of scenarios of disaster would have been running through my head. Plus, I may not have had the connections in the community to immediately help me.
Flash forward 10 years—I can’t claim I was as calm as a placid lake, but when I would start to catastrophize, I would immediately recognize what I was doing. In becoming aware of my tendencies, I could feel relief seep into my nervous system. I was then able to take swift steps to solve the problem, at first drawing from my own knowledge of how houses work, and then, when I was in over my head, reaching out to others who have helped me over the years.
What changed? For one, I gained experience. A rental house (which I eventually parceled off and sold) that was originally part of my farm when I expanded in 2015 had a basement that flooded regularly. I spent a ton of time cleaning it and fixing the problem as best as it could be. I had the internal fuel to do so because it was part of the farm. For the farm to succeed, the rental house needed to be in good shape. I began forming memories in which I solved problems that I might have previously worried about becoming disasters. I also came to terms with things not being perfect—my helpers and I fixed the basement as best we could, and then we moved on.
During the farm renovation, I also got used to working with house contractors, understanding their typical mode of operation. Their values are speed and efficiency; in their minds, they are keeping costs down for their customers. However, care for any plants that may be in the vicinity of their work is often an afterthought.
Ten years ago, my heart would have sunk when the plumbers dug up my blueberry shrub to get to the source of the pipe leak near the foundation, breaking some of its branches and tearing up the groundcover surrounding it. This week, I recognized my alarm would have been an overreaction. Plants are generally resilient, and if they do die, they can be replaced. Right now, the most important task at hand was getting the water working so that I didn’t have to cancel the reservation for Airbnb guests checking in the next night.
That’s not to say that I dropped my instinct to take care (Cancer) of the landscape. When the plumbers stepped away for lunch, I gently shoveled out any plants in their pathway that I wanted to keep so I could replace them later. I then removed the top soil from the garden of which they would need to dig to the bottom. That way the excavation process wouldn’t disrupt the soil layers that have been forming for years. Once the plumbers were done replacing the pipe, I carefully returned the rich soil so that it sat on top of the clay that’s the bottom layer of the garden, directly over the new pipe.
Yes, it’d be nice if contractors already understood all these elements of skilled gardening without me having to be proactive. But until they do, all I can do is be patient, understanding their M.O., while also recognizing the source of my panic. If I hadn’t been in the midst of studying astrology while I was developing the farm, I don’t know if I would have fully uncovered that source.
One of the ways that I learned astrology is that I looked at the natal charts of all my friends. I got to know why they operate the way they do. And I also unexpectedly noticed something else—how they were related to me. I was aware of how I was particularly drawn to a handful of these friends, and I think they felt a similar pull to a certain degree, but life events kept on occurring that prevented us from being in the same space. As much as we may have liked to, at least on a conscious level, we couldn’t get into the same room.
In studying their charts, I realized they were born on or soon after the last Saturn-Pluto conjunction, lasting from the end of 1981 through 1983. For most of that period, the Nodes were in Cancer and Capricorn like they are in 2020.
I looked at the other aspects to my natal planets that were happening at that time, particularly Uranus conjuncting my Moon, followed by Jupiter. Both Uranus and Jupiter are very stimulating energies in comparison to Moon. Conjunctions to my Moon emphasize the impact on “home,” (already significant since the North Node was in Cancer, ruled by the Moon). Additionally, all this planet activity was on the cusp of my fourth house (using Placidus house system), also linked to the "home" or "internal self."
Then I had a significant insight. I lost parts of myself when I was 4 and 5 years old, when these friends were born. During these transits, I was exposed to such expansive, rousing and intense energies that a portion of my self couldn’t handle it. So I rejected a part of me, particularly the one associated with “home,” in both a literal and metaphoric sense.
I don’t think anything overly egregious happened, at least in comparison to what others experience. But because I’m a Highly Sensitive Person, these events had an effect similar to trauma. First, I left the very protected environment of my household to go to the babysitters and to school, which I’m sure seemed chaotic in comparison to the strict order of my family’s house.
The culminating event happened after the separation of Pluto and Saturn, in May 1984. (Uranus was conjunct my Moon/Neptune, square to my Mercury in Leo and Saturn in Virgo; while transiting Pluto was conjunct my natal Venus, and Saturn and Mars were conjunct my natal Uranus. Jupiter was in Capricorn by then.) I participated in a talent show, dressing up as Orphan Annie. I was in full costume, complete with the orange wig, red dress with white trim, and freckles painted on my face. I knew all the words to “Tomorrow” by heart. I loved Orphan Annie so much, and I was eager to share that love with the world.
But when I got on stage overlooking the gymnasium full of parents, I forgot the words. I succumbed to singing the chorus, “The sun will come out — tomorrow,” over and over again while the pianist keyed the full song as it is supposed to be played.
I was 5, so I didn’t understand that I was a cutie pie, and everybody in the audience was probably having a blast. Who cares that I forgot the words.
But I wanted to be perfect. I was extremely disappointed I wasn’t able to share all the love I had for Annie.
This incident was not the only one in which I fumbled with words while in front of groups when I was a kid. These memories are embedded in my neurons, so not surprisingly, my speech is not always as fluid as I’d like it to be, and I have to prepare a good bit before public engagements. The astrologers among you are probably aware that my Mercury in Leo conjunct Saturn in Virgo are at play here. (Saturn restricts Mercury/communication while performing, the domain of Leo.)
The talent show experience, in combination with the overstimulation of leaving home for school, caused me to “turn off” parts of myself. Meanwhile, current-day friends of mine, who carry the energies of 1981-1984, are helping me reunite with these lost parts. When around them, I am reacquainted with exuberance (Jupiter), genius (Uranus), performance (Mercury in Leo), steadfast profundity (Saturn/Pluto), the comfort of home (Moon), and the ability to build a home (Capricorn, where the South Node was for most of that time).
As long as I've refined these energies so that other parts of myself find them palatable, I can embody them. But that process can't go too fast, hence why the universe kept my friends at a distance at times. Plus it's important that I express the energies—rather than relying on them too much to do so. (That knowledge doesn't stop me from wishing these friends were in my daily life on a more consistent basis).
In contemplating the dynamics with these friends, I realized that to get a full picture of the life path, personality, lessons, and points of integration of someone on CUSP, we also need to study the natal charts of those who surround that person. This notion is a key ingredient to Unity Astrology.
One caveat should be noted here: My South Node is in the Seventh House (relationships) and in Pisces (lack of boundaries), and I have an emphasized Neptune and Twelfth House (both associated with Pisces). That means I am likely to sense ethereal connections with close friends more than others do. Nevertheless, I believe it’s worth exploring the birth charts of those who surround CUSPers, because I suspect many CUSPers have lost parts of themselves—and they are drawn to people who assist in their unification.
After this realization, I began to notice that the energies embodied in my “counterparts,” as I call these friends born between 1981 and 1984, occur in several other important people in my life. It’s not necessary for people to have similar birthdates to carry like energies. Other planet/house/sign combinations can create comparable manifestations in people.
For instance, both my mom and one of my best friends from college have Saturn in the eighth house, which is associated with Pluto. The synastry of Mom and me shows how that energy is amplified when we are together—my sun is exactly conjunct her Saturn (also conjunct her Mars, adding to the significance). So even though neither of us were born when Saturn and Pluto were conjunct, we’ve been living out that energy just by the very nature of our relationship.
With this knowledge, I started practicing moving toward energy that I associate with 1981-1984 rather than running away from it. Realizing that my loved ones embody this energy—and recognizing it was helping me unify with lost parts of myself—I was motivated to reconcile my differences with it. Even if it made me feel overstimulated or discombobulated.
The insights also allowed me to know ahead of time that the Saturn-Pluto conjunction of 2020 would be a turning point for me. While I don’t have any major planets in Capricorn—or in its opposite Cancer—my counterparts do. So that means I’d be affected. Sure, if you squint closely at my chart, you can see how I’d be impacted regardless, as my Mars is square the Saturn-Pluto conjunction and my north node is trine it. Also, Jupiter transiting through Capricorn is trine my other planets in Virgo. But using conventional predictive techniques, I don’t think it would have been obvious that my entire life would change course at this time. (That said, I’m always open to other astrologers’ opinions about this. Do you think the 8 degree opposition to my Jupiter in Leo was at play?).
In any case, without Unity astrology, I wouldn’t have gained the knowledge that led me to heal complex inner dynamics, and hence unify the lost parts of myself.
It just so happens that my Mercury-Saturn conjunction is the same degree of the August 2017 solar eclipse, which was when Unity Astrology dropped into my awareness. I uncovered the modality that would help me heal the wound of my Leo on the day that our collective energy was focused on the degree in the zodiac where my Mercury lives. Then as I wrote this article about getting the networks above and the networks below to work together, it became clear to me just how important a healed heart (associated with Leo/Sun) is in unification.
In running the farm, I have interacted with many others who react in similar ways to the trampling of precious vegetation as I used to. I realized that this reflex was not just something I struggled with, but something persistent in a marginal population. There are all sorts of explanations out there for this collective trauma, often myths such as the loss of Atlantis and Lemuria. (Some people are certain these stories are real, and I have no reason to debate them if that belief system is helpful to them—who can say what’s really true).
One hope I have for InnerSynastry is that it can help this population heal these wounds. We can do so if we let collective society—and therefore the parts of ourselves that we rejected—back into our lives slowly but surely at whatever pace that seems appropriate at the given time. The solution is engagement. As we create new memories, and therefore reform our neural networks, we are creating new forms of ourselves.
I believe this is how we achieve inner union.
Note: Underlined words with no links denote articles that are not yet posted. Check back in the near future!
Talking about my own life is often the easiest way to try to articulate a point, but I’d much rather tell your stories! If you have an example of how the structures in your life are reforming, or how your loved-ones helped reconnect you with lost parts of yourself, contact me at email@example.com.
As always, thanks to Xtine Edits for donating so much of your time looking at my writing and to Cindy Wheeler for your help with images.