What if who you already are is enough?
A friend of mine once said: being able to talk with good friends is the ultimate therapy. I found his comment insightful. I believe peer-to-peer counseling can be extremely healing (a Wikipedia link, there, but it gives a sense of the wide range of conditions and contexts for which this kind of support has been proven to help). In particular, I believe the insights—the 360-degree hawk’s eye vision of ourselves, our families and communities, the world—that astrology offers can bring tremendous insight for ourselves and the journey we’re all on together in this life.
What I can do
As a Virgo, I approach astrological analysis like a researcher or detective. I’ll tell you what’s happening in your transits, accurately and straight. I thrive on research, as well as helping. And with a Neptune-Moon conjunction, I’m intuitive (sometimes painfully so).
But that Moon-Neptune of mine is in Sagittarius, the sign of a fellow traveler and adventurer—not a water sign. I’m not afraid of the hard stuff (one of the things that differentiates evolutionary astrology), and I’ll tell you as sensitively as I can about what I see may be going on, all in the aim of the most positive integration possible. I can point to what’s in your natal chart, what’s happening in your transits and progressions, and what the advanced analyses I use suggest about a relationship.
But how you process the information and emotion ultimately has to be yours. Integrating what you feel is up to you.
A consultation in these terms also helps to prevent the drift toward idolization that can disempower a healing journey. Kill your idols, as we say. We are all here on our own own path: my role is to help you find, explore, settle into it—to locate yourself by holding up a mirror. Not to tell you what to do.
The insights gained through astrology can take time to settle. There’s no need to rush. Still, to help work through emotions that may come up, consider a comforting, restorative yoga class, or a chat with a good friend.
A brisk walk or more intense physical exercise, like running, may be a better fit for Fire signs, or those (like myself) who are Mars-influenced or prone to ruminating or anxiety.
If you’re introverted or spiritually inclined: journaling, meditation, or walking in nature, if you can, are all options. Ditto hanging at home in pajamas, cuddling with your pets, taking a bath with Epsom salts, watching a cathartic movie.
If you find comfort processing with others, I suggest energy work or massage with a Cancer/Ceres type—someone who is deeply in tune with the body and comfortable with emotional expression. In the Hudson Valley, I would personally recommend Katherine Manaan in Saugerties and Third Light Healing in Kingston.
I conduct sessions as responsibly and humanely as possible, but I am not a therapist. At times, trained, professional support is the best next stop.
Whether you’re dealing with trauma, dissociation, or other serious issues, or need medicative aid: prioritize as much as possible finding sensitive, nurturing help. Check out 12-step or other group support programs. Call a local rape crisis or domestic partnership support center for suggestions. Ask around among understanding people you know for recommendations. Hang in there!
Don’t settle for the first name your insurance offers: take the time to look for a counselor or service provider you comfortably and genuinely connect with, culturally and socially as well as emotionally and intellectually. (Personally, counseling provided by the YWCA in Chicago helped most for me. Work with a feminist Jungian psychotherapist in Berkeley also helped.) Only you can know what is right for you—but I urge anyone dealing with a serious issue to keep working on seeking help until they find something that really works. There are good options out there, though it may take some luck and persistence to find them.
Finally, please take what you hear—from anyone–with a very big ole hunk of salt, and always consider your own needs and make up your mind for yourself.
If you’re not dealing with immediate pressing issues—in this era of pay-your-own-way for mental health care—to my mind: why not consult an alternative practitioner? Astrology can offer a kind of guidance not available elsewhere, because it arises from and is based on your own individual path.
How it helps
Astrology is a remarkable tool for self-understanding, as well as for getting a handle on what’s happening in the moment. Transits reveal overall patterns and can help in avoiding drama or catastrophe (like getting in an argument or attempting major renovation on a Mars square day: it’s unlikely to end well—speaking from experience).
It also helps in coming to terms with the inevitable ups and downs in relationships—if not investing at all. (A flirtation during a Venus retrograde that disappeared when Venus went direct? Happened to many more than once.)
To my mind, one of astrology’s greatest gifts is simply the knowledge that transits end. Good or bad, external circumstances pass, new patterns arise. If you’re going through a rough (or productive!) period, we can identify what’s happening in your planetary transits and look at ways to positively channel that energy—as well as identify when it will ease.
For relationships: in my experience, analyzing what’s happening astrologically can highlight patterns that may be just at the edge of consciousness. See a pattern that you have only vaguely been aware of reflected in the chart, and it becomes crystalline—and you can choose how to respond, rather than blindly react.
Say, for example, you occasionally feel awkward expressing strong emotions around a friend and activity partner. You like having someone to hike or cycle (or whatever) with, though, and other things seem to work pretty well. So you let it go. Examining the aspects between your respective charts reveals their Saturn squares your Moon. Suddenly, that experience of feeling silenced around them is brought into sharp relief—while also, perhaps, illuminating this person’s own discomfort expressing their feelings. Then, say, their Jupiter also conjuncts your Mars, so you feel invigorated and confident around them (you do like to be active together). Meanwhile, their Venus makes positive aspects to your Venus and Uranus: you have a lot of fun when you’re bike riding or checking out a trail, despite the occasional friction. You might ultimately decide to work with this relationship—thus encouraging growth for both of you. As a result, ultimately, you may not need to take conscious action at all: as in the natal chart, simply becoming conscious of these patterns or issues can help transform them.
Bottom line: the insight I’ve found in the astrology and alternative health communities rivals anything in standard therapeutic modalities, by light years. Want to know what your core issues are? Hate to say it, but after dealing with insensitive if not bumblingly inept therapists myself: consult a talented energy worker, psychic, or astrologer—not a therapist.
Astrology has been such an incredibly insightful, practical tool for me personally that this is one of my primary motivations for wanting to share knowledge of astrology with others.