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Astrology: who’s in charge?

by Janette Dalgliesh
Reading Time: 6 minutes

19 – 25 April 2020

It’s all too easy to look at any headline at the moment and feel the urge to freak out.

It’s not surprising. 

As the owner/operator of a human brain, I know that my brain yearns for a feeling of being in control.

And she cannot get that from reading the headlines; in fact, my brain can’t ever get a feeling of being in control from looking to the external world.

But I can give her back that feeling of control, even in troubled times.

Because it’s never the external circumstance which causes our suffering; it’s our thoughts about the circumstances.

(That’s not to dismiss anyone’s pain, but it is a reminder that the reins are always in our own hands. Even if we’re in lockdown. Even if our circumstances are radically changed. Even if we’ve lost a loved one.)

Yes, we have to acknowledge our own anxiety or trauma.

And then we reclaim our own emotional wellbeing – because nobody and nothing outside of us can do it for us.

This week’s astrology is especially helpful for this.

By the end of the week, Pluto will have slowed its travels through our skies, ready to pause and go into retrograde motion.

Pluto spends a significant amount of its time in retrograde style, so this is not exactly unfamiliar territory.

But it’s worth exploring what happens when Pluto travels retrograde, in terms of our own relationship with our own feelings of personal power, a.k.a. feeling like we’re in control.

Pluto retrograde is a good time to ask “where do I feel like am I being controlled?“

And to be really hyper aware of the answer.

Personal power doesn’t come from sharing the latest conspiracy theory or defying quarantine. It doesn’t come from some weird teen angst version of ‘you can’t make me’. Sometimes it looks exactly like following external rules and guidelines.

Right now, personal power for me means wielding my power to protect others from that virus, by staying home and exercising all the strict hygiene protocols I need to.

Personal power comes from a combination of excellent research and critical thinking, and highly developed skills at owning your own emotional well-being.

Because when we know how to soothe ourselves, how to generate the feeling of being the owner of our own lives, and how to engage neutral curiosity – it’s way harder for someone outside of us to manipulate or gaslight us.

But that’s not the only dynamic in our favour this week.

Chiron at 6° of Aries will form a quintile angle with Pluto at 24° of Capricorn.

The quintile is an angle which promotes a new awareness of a problem or conflict, along with an awareness of the solutions.

It’s as though that blank wall in front of you suddenly develops a door – and you discover the key in your hand.

This is Chiron at an early degree of Aries – fiery, courageous, bold and audacious. He’s not afraid of an impossible quest, especially one where healing of some sort is made possible. 

And this is Pluto, still at that same spot in Capricorn where the Saturn-Pluto conjunction happened in January, and where the Jupiter-Pluto conjunction happened at the beginning of April.

As a global community, we are facing a situation we’ve never had to deal with before. 

We’ve known for some decades that a pandemic of some kind was inevitable. Good science-fiction writers have been playing with the idea for years, and smart leaders have ensured we’d be as prepared as possible.

But as individuals, our brains are having to deal with situations they’ve never had to deal with before.

The invitation here is to become fierce about being the one who gets to decide how you feel.

That is not code for “ignore feelings of grief loss or trauma“.

It is not code for “just get happy in the face of significant financial loss or illness or death”.

It is an invitation to get informed with as much intellectual prowess as you can muster, and then focus on what you CAN control.

In his book Man’s Search for Meaning, psychiatrist Victor Frankl describes his experiences in the Auschwitz concentration camp, which so few survived. His experiences were traumatic beyond what most of us can begin to imagine – but his fascination is less with the suffering, and more with the question of how anyone survived at all.

He concluded that life is not primarily a quest for pleasure, as Freud said, or a quest for power, as Adler taught, but rather that life is a quest for meaning.

Those who chose to focus on the meaning of their life were more likely to survive.

Frankl saw three possible sources for meaning: our work (being useful in the world – which may or may not be paid), the love we feel (caring for others), and our courage in difficult times. 

This is completely in line with the kind of exploration we can do for our own selves during the Pluto retrograde, especially with the Chiron in Aries dynamic to bring in the courage.

The questions we can ask ourselves might be:

  • How do I best do my work in the world (even if I have to do it differently from normal)?
  • How do I show love for others (staying home unless you’re an essential worker is a damn good start)?
  • How do I find my own courage?

We have some help with that.

The week begins with the Sun moving into Taurus, followed soon after by a New Moon in Taurus, and that’s a beautiful set-up.

This earthy Venus-ruled sign is where we connect with our own tangible resources: our bodies, our core values, the food in our pantry, the portable possessions that reside within our homes.

Our Plutonic work goes deep, and it can sometimes feel confronting. 

The Taurus energy is a reminder to tap into the tangible present where – right here and now – we are safe. It helps keep us grounded as we do work which might feel rocky. It helps soothe us, with its expertise on sensory pleasure and comfort.

Some ways to play with the current astrology:

  • Celebrate the Taurus New Moon. Carve out time every day this week, to celebrate your body and your resources – soak in a bath purely for the sensory pleasure of it; inventory your pantry and celebrate how much food is in there; spend double the usual time pampering your body with a sumptuous lotion or butter, weaving in a blessing of love; practice personal adornment for the sheer fun of it; or immerse yourself in some wonderful silliness in the most mundane way, like those crazy Bin Isolation Outing folks
  • Create a policy for how you are going to interact with incoming information, and practice it regularly. My own policy on Facebook, for example, is that I only post that which will enlighten, entertain or educate. That means I will not share anything that has not been thoroughly fact checked, by multiple sources with minimal political bias. 
  • Skip the outrage. If incoming information makes you feel scared,  angry, or a sense of righteous indignation – be aware that those emotions are used by various algorithms to entice engagement. That does not make them accurate. Take a deep breath and come back into your body. Feel her power. Remind yourself that you are the one in charge of how you respond to a situation. From that place of power, do your fact checking, and if the original post had some truth in it – don’t post that (there’s usually no benefit to amping up the outrage). Instead, seek out someone who is offering a good solution and post that.
  • Get curious! Curiosity is the enemy of helplessness, because it flips us from “I don’t know what to do“ into “there is something I can do, I wonder what it is?“
  • Revisit your core values. Any time you say something in a headline on social media that alarms you, ask yourself “which of my core values is missing here, and how could I bring it to bear in this situation?“

Victor Frankl reminds us that we cannot control everything that happens to us in life, but we can always control our response to what happens.

The current situation, with all of its confusion and unexpected change, is probably the most potent invitation any of us have ever had, to take responsibility for our own responses.

This week, I plan for my responses to come from love, compassion, and well-read yet defiant optimism, as much as possible. 

Will I pull that off 24/7? 

Of course not – I’m only human.

But as the owner/operator of my human brain, that will be my mission for this week.

And not just for this week – because I know that the more I practice the art of choosing my response, the better I get at it.

PS if you want to learn the skill of joy, come join my Facebook group, where we explore the deep, soul-satisfying joy of expressing your purpose, living with love, and tapping into courage. We’ll also explore the astrology du jour, in a safe space.

Exact times (US Eastern timezone):

  • 19 April, 10:45 AM – Sun enters Taurus
  • 22 April, 9:12 PM – Pluto at 24º Capricorn quintile Chiron at 6º Aries
  • 22 April, 10:26 PM – New Moon at 3º Taurus
  • 23 April, 4:16 PM – Ceres enters Pisces
  • 25 April, 2:54 PM – Pluto Retrograde at 24º Capricorn 
  • 2 October, 3:14 AM – Pluto Direct at 22º Capricorn

Janette Dalgliesh has one mission in life – to wreak more joy in the world. That means no more walking through the day like a zombie, doing the job-from-hell, twisting yourself into a pretzel to suit other people, or putting off those secret dreams you’ve had since childhood for yet another year. Janette uses her unique blend of astrology and neuroscience-based coaching to help people take charge of their own lives with love, inner peace, fun and deep contentment – no matter the external circumstances. To get her Astrology articles direct to your inbox, along with exclusive bonus coaching tips, get on her email list today.

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