Saturn in the 1st House: “Unblocking”

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If you have Saturn in the 1st house natally, your developmental task is the organization of self, which means to arrange all of your parts into a structured whole and develop  effective methods and purposes which surround your actions. You’re being asked by the universe to navigate life with solid and concrete intentions.

A room awaits you, filled with honor and recognition, and it’s just behind the brick wall.

The ringed planet is asking you to view yourself in your most realistic light and love that self that you see with a sense of permanence. With this placement, Saturnine principles are essential to the formation and development of your identity. Thus, accountability, self-reliance, responsibility, and work ethic need to be integrated into your life for the optimal flourishing of your person-hood.

A theme that looms large with this placement is that of claiming your own authority. To expound on that further, this means writing your own story, i.e. becoming the “author” of your life and ordering your own existence as you see fit.

It’s not that you’re necessarily rejecting input from others, but rather you’re learning to place yourself at the front and center of your life and be your own “go-to” person. Your “unblocking” manifests when you can neutralize or banish doubts surrounding issues of competence. Surely, you can model that concept for others.

A hesitancy to place yourself in front of the world may surface because of a fear of failure. However, it’s important to fully examine and understand the standards and values that you’ve used in formulating what that means to and FOR you.

The key to navigating this territory is to acknowledge your life as a step by step process which allows room for experimentation. Maintaining this type of perspective can result in a process of “toughening”, which shapes you into an individual who’s capable of placing the work you must do above concerns from your inner critic.

It’s essential to understand that it’s a reward to be in your position and it’s more of a matter of stepping into and claiming what’s already yours rather than a fervent striving to “arrive” at a certain place or stature.

For you, self-mastery is the ultimate result of navigating this placement successfully. Establishing an honest, grounded and solid foundation, which includes recognition of your strengths, challenges and limitations can lead to facing the world with wisdom, maturity and a finely honed sense of integrity.

In this way, you “self-credential” and come to the realization that measuring yourself according to external qualifications bears significantly less fruit than working with astute strategy and design in your chosen field(s) of endeavor.

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Cancer Sun, Aquarius Moon

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One of the most challenging parts of our unfoldment as human beings is undergoing the process of developing into autonomous people. Staking the claim of our own identities outside of the structures which can either serve as liberating forces or stultifying traps: family, educational institutions, friendships, racial groups, gender roles, etc……

Around Adolescence, which is roughly between the ages of 12 and 18, the desire to have our unique personhood validated and affirm ourselves a distinct individual is intensified.

We want to create our own codes, live by independently established values and put our original stamp on our life patterns. Most likely, we’re not solid in exactly who we are at this point,  so the freedom to try on many hats and experiment with various identities is paramount.

There are a number of tension filled conflicts which arise during this stage: peer pressure, the beginning of consistent contact and relations with the opposite sex, major concerns about body image, attractiveness, popularity and the dilemma of “fitting in” or “standing out”. 

To think that all of these polarities, complete with consistent points of crisis will be resolved neatly and cleanly by our 18th birthday is a fantasy. The process has merely started…..

The combination of  the Cancer Sun and Aquarius Moon highlights the anxious, uncertain yet exciting and electric oscillation between remaining rooted and forging forward; between the past and the future.

In a natal (birth) chart, when the Sun is in Cancer and the Moon in Aquarius, the individual is fueled by emotional and familial security. The core life energy seeks the familiarity of a tribe of like-minded individuals. The Cancerian energy is inclined to seek bonds and connections with others whether they’re “blood”, or simply because their ideologies and worldviews click.

It should also be mentioned that the dysfunction of Cancer attunement is manifested behaviorally as the inability to release these bonds, thereby holding others (and themselves) as emotional hostages. The motivation behind this behavior is often because they feel they’ve given so much of themselves through warmth, caring and active listening that it should be returned in equal measure.

The Aquarian Moon uses the Cancerian Sun’s light and energy as fuel to create a personality whose nourished by anything unconventional which doesn’t fall under the criteria of a humdrum existence. There’s a reigning emotional need to be acknowledged as a unique individual complete with all of the quirks. This person won’t be fulfilled until it’s settled that they’re “not like everyone else”.

Additionally, this Sun-Moon blend calls for the person to challenge the same tribe which stimulates their core life energy.

The misuse of the Aquarian Moon energy can be seen in behavior which is rebellious without a cause and slavish to the “fad” of non-conformity just for the sake of it, which is actually conformity by default.

When used constructively, the tension of this challenge can accelerate and broaden life development.

The Cancer fuel that’s used in belonging must make friends with the Aquarian Moon’s need for the personality to individuate.

A possible positive outcome of this Sun-Moon combination is someone who can make their “home” anywhere. An individual who has released the guilt of unnecessary familial obligation and claimed their birthright to view life through their own unique lens while remaining rooted in healthy attachments and relationships which nurture their self-actualization.

Your theme song is “History” by Mos Def featuring Talib Kweli

You can listen here:

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Venus in Virgo : “Discriminating Love”

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“Everything keeps its best nature only by being put to its best use.” – Phillips Brooks

As we explore the method that’s Venus in Virgo, we do so with the understanding that Venus can’t be reduced or limited exclusively to “love” in one’s birth chart. There are far more associations which accompany the planet. However, for the purpose of this particular article, one’s idea of love, as viewed through the Venus in Virgo lens, will be emphasized.

For those with Venus placed in Virgo in the natal chart, Love is utilitarian. Love is continuous improvement. Love is pragmatic.  Love is service. Love is efficiency. Love is careful and continuous analysis. Love is health. Love is selective and discriminating. Love is paying attention.

With this arrangement, love needs are sought to be fulfilled in an environment which calls for the use of one’s faculties of discernment. While Virgo’s complementary sign, Pisces, is geared toward merging and unification, the Virgin’s direction consists of recognition and understanding of the difference between on thing and another.

For Venus in Virgo individuals “relationship competence” is of utmost importance, as a healthy developmental direction to which to proceed in puts emphasis on doing whatever is required to make relationships the best that they can be and operate in a healthy manner. These actions include picking the relationship apart, examining each facet thoroughly and determining its overall usefulness. As time goes on, the conclusions that one draws about what’s helpful and necessary for their partnerships will most likely change as a matter of principle and as an indicator of striving toward excellence.

One’s growth is naturally enveloped in the process of employing sound judgment in partnerships, and using these same unions as a vehicle for one’s own refinement and the betterment of the partner. Ideally, one’s relationships should work efficiently, like a well-oiled machine.

When placed in action, Venus in Virgo correlates well with the love language that Gary Chapman refers to as “Acts of Service” in his bestselling book “The 5 Love Languages”.

“Acts of service” consists of doing things that you know that your partner would want you to do or appreciate; seeking to please her or him by serving them. One would naturally know what their partner wanted after careful listening, analysis and observation which are all mercurial functions that are “at home” with the sign Virgo.

Also, as Chapman emphasizes, these acts of service would require thought, planning, time, effort and energy and if they’re done with a positive spirit, they would be expressions of love.

In regard to this placement “discrimination” is a key phrase. And, depending on our life circumstances, we may have only been exposed to the negative connotations associated with this term, which deal with the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age, gender or sexual orientation.

However, there’s another side to discrimination which indicates one’s ability to choose and make distinctions with care. Refinement of this faculty will most certainly be connected to one’s ability to maintain and execute relationships in a healthy and functional manner.

Potential challenge areas emerge for individuals with Venus in Virgo when their analysis goes too far, in that they attempt to answer every question: past, present and future – in order to account for every possible scenario without taking the actual plunge with their feelings in relationships. In essence, an self-inflicted paralysis and a robbing oneself of the right to possibly experience the love and relationship that you deserve.

Astrologer Jeffrey Wolf Green elaborates on this:

“Venus in Virgo people are plagued by a deep sense of inner doubt which is caused not only by the desire to deflate their egos, but also by the excessive inner analysis that creates a diversity of competing thoughts and perspectives. In turn, this can lead to an inner paralysis of their ability to take action as necessary. When these individuals consider some new project, or some new direction, or some new strategy leading to self-improvement, they will make these new ways seem so big and complicated that it reinforces their sense of personal inadequacy. Thus, they can defeat themselves before they even start. The way out of this self-defeating dynamic is to realize that the path to perfection, self-improvement, or the actualization of their abilities occurs one step at a time”

An important lesson for you to learn is: as efficient as you may be, there are no guarantees. You must take the initial steps involved in risk taking, and when you find yourself in the midst of a relationship, you must wholeheartedly INVOLVE yourself as opposed to consciously distancing yourself and playing the role of “remote tinkering technician”.

Also, it’s essential to understand that the same time and care that one puts in dissecting the relationship must be invested in considering the feelings of one’s partner. People aren’t “projects” and using your aforementioned powers of discrimination, to make the fine distinction between the two will benefit you greatly in the long run.

Understand that the pursuit of the ideal in relationships is both a natural and honorable inclination for you. To relinquish the belief that these aspirations must be accompanied by the excessive criticism of yourself and others, or that to be content and satisfied with what you have is accepting mediocrity is to invest in the breaking your own psychological and emotional chains.

References: “The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts” by Gary Chapman

“Pluto Volume 2: The Soul’s Evolution Through Relationships” by Jeffrey Wolf Green

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Venus in Capricorn: “Undefended Love”

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As we explore the structure that’s Venus in Capricorn, we do so with the understanding that Venus can’t be reduced or limited exclusively to “love” in one’s birth chart. There are far more associations which accompany the planet. However, for the purpose of this particular article, one’s idea of love, as viewed through the Venus in Capricorn lens, will be emphasized.

For individuals with the natal placement of Venus in Capricorn, Love is solid; you can take it to the bank. Love is enduring . Love is order. Love is structure. There are “rules” to love. Love is responsibility. Love is commitment. Love is a test. Love is integrity. Love is discipline. Love is work. Love is maturity, and like fine wine, gets better with time.

Love is the neutralizing of one’s defense mechanisms in order to open up the heart space.  In the words of Edwin Louis Cole:

“Boundaries are meant to protect life, not to limit pleasures.”

Two essential developmental questions for those with Venus placed in Capricorn would be: (1) What are my ultimate responsibilities in regard to my intimate relationships and (2) How can I become a model of integrity in my relationships allowing thought, word and deed to masterfully align?

It’s clear that this is a serious situation when the fulfilling of Venus’ relating needs are sought by way of the Saturn-ruled Capricorn environment. However, in this case, serious merely means that it requires immediate and skillful attention.

Contained in this placement, is an overarching strength in understanding the importance of delayed gratification and the awareness that REAL and ORGANIC relationship processes take TIME and WORK. If there’s anyone capable of sustaining long-term relationships, it is you.

In order to successfully navigate this placement, one must be willing to exert the necessary effort towards fostering which will likely be fewer relationships (as compared to many) of quality, substance and depth.

The focus here is not light and unfettered social butterfly-ism (see the elaboration of Robert Greene’s rule 16 in his “48 Laws of Power, which states that “too much circulation makes the price go down.”), but rather the establishment of solid foundations with others that build bridges of trust, honesty and mutual respect.

To facilitate this process, it’s key to understand the all important part that the lowering of one’s defenses and self-revelation plays in its overall effectiveness. For Venus in Capricorn, the thawing of a natural reserve can be difficult for a few reasons.

Concerning the more maladaptive expressions of Venus in Capricorn, Astrologer Jeffrey Wolf Green introduces a possible theory which outlines delayed emotional development and an intense blockage, constriction and compression of one’s feelings, as a result of induced guilt from the parental relationship:

“The Venus in Capricorn person has typically been born into family structures in which the parental reality has been defined by the consensus of the society in which they live. Consequently, the parental reality has typically had a heavy undertone in which the child has been expected to conform to the parental value system. When the child deviated from these expectations to conform, he or she was made to feel guilty in covert or overt ways through the use of judgment. A related dynamic within the general pattern of expectation to conform to parental values is one wherein the parents have projected on the child a rigid code of conduct that the child is expected to adhere to even when the parents themselves do not. The cliché “Do as I say, not as I do applies here.”

What can be gathered from this is that the Venus in Capricorn individual may have witnessed, and or been a part of an environment where vulnerability, open affection and free relating were not top priorities, but rather ” conditional love from a distance” and an authoritarian stance reigned supreme.

When we consider how this may filter into ones intimate relationships at worst, we arrive at an unremarkable need to “manage” one’s image and relationships borne out of an excessive fear of rejection or feeling inadequately “prepared” to participate in relationships. The compensation for this is to view relationships as a “game” where strategic moves, or having a “one up” carry more value than a mutual sharing of intimate feelings and thoughts.

Nevertheless, for those with Venus in Capricorn the universe’s call is for them to participate in the process of “undefended love”, a term coined by Marlena Lyons and Jett Psaris:

“Intimacy-direct, unmediated, heart-to-heart connection with ourselves and with others-can only occur when the heart is undefended. To cut through our personal differences, to reach the unveiled part of ourselves that is deep enough to express the most profound and untamed aspects of our being means learning how to love and be loved without defenses and without obstructions. It means cultivating the capacity to be emotionally present even when we feel exposed or vulnerable; learning to relinquish the many strategies we have employed to feel safe and in control; and finding the courage to love without guarantees or requirements.”

Like anything else, these things take time. So, it wouldn’t be fitting with the Saturn and Capricorn archetype, if one was expected to snap into this mode of being overnight. However, the greater lesson which can be learned through conscious and active participation with this placement is :

When you, the Venus in Capricorn individual, keep your heart open, you’re able to continue an unrestricted conversation with the source which moves you toward loving and constructive actions as well as healthy choices which will nourish you emotionally.

It’s important for you to keep your “feeling portals” open, as well as your mind, and to be consistently receptive to the myriad of life’s experiences.

Developing an inner dialogue with yourself allows you to stay in the “driver’s seat” and define your own experiences and attitudes when it comes to life, love, and relationships.

If you allow unpleasant experiences with one (or more) individual(s) to control the manner in which you live and love moving forward, you’ve essentially “given up the wheel” in favor of living in perpetual fear and doubt.

It’s vital that through your growth you increase your awareness.

And, it’s gravely important for you to avoid using temporarily unfavorable outcomes as a platform for beating up on yourself. A more constructive move would be to combine your newly discovered insights with your inner wisdom and allow the synthesis to reflect in your unique life perspectives moving forward.

Even through your pain and heartbreak you will discover a marvelous teacher. Pain shows us where our limits are, allowing us to say “ouch”.

If nothing led you to this point, how would you know what hurts? Better yet, how would you know when enough is enough?

As horrible as you may have felt (or may be feeling) during trying times, if you wish to fully participate in life and loving in the most authentic sense, sooner or later, you must risk the same painful emotions resurfacing in your life.

You could possibly spend the rest of your days attempting to employ more sophisticated tactics of pain avoidance, projection, self-protection, and the like. However, by all indicators, this is not what you truly desire to do.

With Venus in Capricorn, one of the best case scenarios is that you’ll arrive in a place which demonstrates that neither genuine honesty and vulnerability or healthy human boundaries restrict you from experiencing the love and relationships you crave and deserve.

It is through these boundaries that you maintain and preserve your self-love and respect while simultaneously allowing yourself to reach out and offer the key to your heart, as a sacred gift, to another.

If you have Venus in Capricorn in your birth Chart, your theme song is “Garden (Say it Like Dat)” by SZA. You can listen right here:

References: “Undefended Love” by Jett Psaris and Marlena Lyons. “The 48 Laws of Power” by Robert Greene. “Pluto Volume 2: The Soul’s Evolution Through Relationships” by Jeffrey Wolf Green

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Aries Sun, Libra Moon

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The blending of the Sun in Aries and the Moon in Libra is fundamentally illustrative of the need to integrate the dynamics of the assertion of individuality and harmonious social relations. The natural opposition, or complimentary force between the signs calls for awareness of ourselves and the other.

With an Aries Sun, the person’s essential life energy and stimulus consists of thrusting the identity into the world with force and distinguishing the self as an individual, distinct from the herd,asserting and claiming themselves as number one in their chosen field of endeavor.

This solar placement suggests an initiating quality which can manifest behaviorally in the form of dynamic, courageous and empowering leadership when operating on a functional level. The Sun in Aries potential centers around the drive to leap forward into action and using their strength to defeat any impediments which may be present.

 

When operating dysfunctionally, the Aries Sun can manifest as someone who’s so vitally “alive” that they think they’re the ONLY one’s alive. The overfunctioning of the ego serves to alienate those who might otherwise be allies.

The Libra Moon uses the Sun’s light to reflect a personality whose nourishment depends on balancing self-approval with social appreciation. Where the Aries Sun is focused on self, the Libra Moon’s orientation is toward others, with a tendency to evaluate themselves from the observer’s point of view. Cooperation, social relatedness and the joining of forces toward a common goal are some of the emotional needs suggested by a Libra Moon.

 

When  the Moon’s placement in Libra is operating dysfunctionally, the individual OVER relates to others. He or she becomes confused about who they are outside of their relationships. There may be a ‘peace at all costs” philosophy at work where the person suppresses their identity in favor of amicable relations. However, this set up ultimately leaves the door open for animosity to creep in causing an eruption of epic proportions. The very dynamic which was trying to be avoided through accommodating behavior has now been created because the individual wanted to be seen as “fair” and “good”.

 Navigating the balance point between the assertion of self as a separate entity and the recognition of how that impacts our relations with other people is the key to constructively integrating this Sun-Moon blendTo have confidence that we can simultaneously claim our individual selfhood and relate as equals to our fellow human beings is essential.

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Sagittarius Sun, Sagittarius Moon

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In a birth chart, when the Sun and Moon are placed in Sagittarius the core life energy which fuels the individual and the essential needs of the personality are inseparable.

The Sun’s placement in Sagittarius suggests that the person is stimulated by the freedom to influence and shape thought via free exchange of ideas, philosophies and opinions. There’s an inclination to view the world holistically, wanting to “take in” as much as possible through a broad, panoramic view.

The Sagittarius Moon uses the light and fuel of the Sun to reflect a personality who needs to have their perspectives taken seriously; to have their views respected.  

This lunar placement suggests an emotional need to stretch barriers and boundaries and to shoot their arrows of thought into the realm of the unknown fused with the optimism that there will be new and progressive discoveries made. 

Expansion in ALL forms serves as nourishment for lunar Sagittarians. A narrow or restrictive existence is an abomination to their principles.

Speaking of principles, it would help those with this Sun-Moon blend to understand this: the same freedom and justice which they so passionately fight for must be given to others who are on a quest for establishing THEIR own set of principles and philosophy of life.

When operating dysfunctionally, an individual with this Sun-Moon blend is capable of exhibiting the most hypocritical, inflated and self-righteous behavior. 

The vast, broad overview somehow shrinks into a dogmatic and subjective bastion of “exclusive” belief. It’s as if arriving at “truth” has only ONE formula and they’re the ONLY one who is in possession of the secret concoction.

This pride, manifesting at times as a rather exalted view of oneself (perhaps as the only one who can reveal the “truth”) , is part of the dualistic nature of Sagittarius, the symbol for which is the centaur- half horse and half human. Sagittarius has the lifelong task of integrating their more idealistic nature with their more unrefined, impulsive, egocentric tendencies.”

“They often think too highly of themselves and want to project an admirable image to others.

They like to feel idealistic and upstanding, but if they look at themselves honestly, they often have to admit that they are not as impeccably honorable as they like to think; for they can rationalize their behavior as well as anyone when it is convenient or advantageous to do so.”

A constructive use of this Sun-Moon blend is to teach and assist others in casting just as wide of a net for their OWN lives as they do for themselves.

To accept others with the open arms that they expect the wide world to embrace them with. To spread infectious enthusiasm in allowing others to find their personal truths rather than forcibly creating a ready made version for them. To realize that the Sagittarian higher mind not only has it’s roots in intellectual exploration, but also in human tolerance.

Your theme song is :”Oh My  God!” by A Tribe Called Quest

You can listen here:

Reference: Person-to-Person Astrology: Energy Factors in Love, Sex & Compatibility by Stephen Arroyo (Frog, Ltd. Books)

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Hip Hop’s Magnum Opus: The Birth Chart of Nas’ “Illmatic”

©2016 by Sagittarian Mind Consulting

How do you begin talking about a masterpiece? I mean… where do you start? First of all I make no apologies for stating my personal opinion that I think Nas’ Illmatic is one of the best (if not THE best) Hip-Hop albums ever created.

Many of us still want to know what the young, 19 year old upstart from Queensbridge was thinking during the making his debut album, which would go on to be critically acclaimed as a standard for Emcees everywhere.

With a heavy hitting “dream team” production from DJ Premier, Large Professor, Pete Rock, Q-TIP and LES, the red carpet was rolled out for Nas, and he delivered in such a colossal way that Illmatic will forever go on the list of albums that set a  blueprint for hip hop greatness.

There’s no question in my mind that Illmatic was needed in the universe right at the time it came out, and it embodied the qualities of that moment, as we’ll see by looking at its birth chart.

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It’s apropos that the introduction to Illmatic is titled “The Genesis”, which is a powerful expression of its 29 degree Aries Sun.  This album signals a sense of “coming into being” and new beginnings,   especially for the New York hip-hop scene.

In addition, Aries at the 29 degree mark suggests the height of competition. There’s a glaring illumination of potential for a colossal impact in the world as reflected by its 10th house position near the top of the birth chart.

Illmatic’s Aries Sun suggests being ignited by the fuel of “champion” or warrior energy where aspirations are centered on winning and being the best. There’s no doubt that the cosmos confirms Illmatic being a pioneering album with aims toward being number one. Nas’ masterpiece was given a coveted “5 Mic” rating (suggesting a “perfect album”) from “The Source” Magazine, who at that time, held significant weight in the area of critical reviews of hip-hop recordings.

In the VH-1 documentary “Driven” MC Serch described Nas’ success with Illmatic as having “Hit 10 Home Runs.”

(photo: dj premier, q-tip, nas & large professor) source : ambrosiaforheads.com

When Mercury and Mars, which are also in Aries, are added to the equation, there’s a “push” factor which undeniably holds the potential to force others into competition and prompt them to apply their will at a heightened level of assertion.

In fact, there have been numerous interviews from DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Large Professor, Q-Tip and LES which discuss the level of competition amongst producers in the making of Illmatic. One could easily argue that this is the finest group of hip-hop producers assembled for one album.

With the Sun’s powerful developmental connections to both Uranus and Neptune, we’re witnessing an album whose originality and genius, borne out of rebellion takes center stage. Nas, in stating his feelings about the recording of Illmatic said that he had to tell a story which was “all his own” (Sun-Uranus). This vibe is coupled with a poetic, flowing self-expression which provides inspiration through vivid imagery and the symbolic painting of pictures (Sun-Neptune).

(photo : nas and a.z.) source: stopthebreaks.com

According to Peter Rosenberg of the radio station Hot 97 in New York, Nas was hailed a “Hip-Hop Messiah of mythological proportions.” (Sun-Neptune) upon the release of this album.

Illmatic’s Leo Moon reflects the light of the Aries Sun through a personality which is fulfilled through gaining notice, praise and validation from others.

There was a big buzz surrounding Illmatic, so it wasn’t just an album that came from out of the blue and snuck up on people. Nas also mentioned in an interview , sponsored by Google that he felt those hip-hop icons that had come before him, and had given so much to the art, HAD to like his album in order for him to feel complete. He wanted the likes of Kool G Rap, MC Shan, etc… those icons that he may just happen to run into at a local bodega in Queensbridge, to tell him “good job”. Nas also mentioned the fact that his career could’ve been over if his album didn’t receive the “co-sign” of those who were respected in hip-hop circles.

Also appropriate for the Astrological signature of Illmatic is its Cancer Ascendant. Nas’ childhood picture (Cancer), graces the covering (Ascendant) of the album, along with his roots and foundation, Queensbridge projects, in the backdrop. Also, within the fold of the liner notes, there’s a picture of his childhood friends as they sit on a park bench. Illmatic is filtered through the lens of nostalgia, with songs like “Memory Lane”, and it also invokes an emotional response as a focal part of its identity expression.

Finally, it’s Cancer rising speaks to a musical lineage, as Nas’ father, Olu Dara, a jazz musician joins him by lending his musical talents on the LES produced track “Life’s a Bitch”. Not only did this track highlight biological family, but also artistic family, as it gave birth to A.Z’s career, and he’s gone on to become a hip-hop heavyweight in his own right.

In the aforementioned VH-1 documentary “Driven”, Peter Rosenberg stated that the release of Illmatic put hip-hop in a position to be taken seriously as an art form, which it’s Pisces MC flanked by Saturn strongly suggests: Not only serious art on the world’s stage, but A standard bearer (Saturn) for music  from a universal standpoint (Pisces).

Looking at Illmatic’s 5th House, which outlines the domain in which both artistic and physical “children” are created, we see circumstances which surround birth, death and the underbelly and ills of life. The themes which pervaded this album weren’t always pretty, yet there were also benefits and artistic riches to be unearthed from tumultuous circumstances on the path to meeting Illmatic’s ultimate destiny (Jupiter, North Node and Pluto in Scorpio).

The death came before the making of Illmatic when Nas’ best friend, Willie Graham, better known as “Ill Will” was shot and killed. According to Nas’ brother, Jungle, in the VH-1 documentary, “Driven”, this occurred on May 23, 1992. This had a profound effect on Nas and would later serve as fuel for a powerful and transformative creativity which connected to his self-expression. The birth would occur on June 15, 1994, a couple of months after Illmatic’s official release date, and that would be his daughter Destiny.

Using whole sign houses, we can easily see that the 3rd/9th house MC/IC axis of Virgo and Pisces suggests that on all of Illmatic’s tracks although Nas is speaking with exactness and precision (Virgo) about his experiences in his immediate environment (3rd house), the cosmic design is to balance that so a much larger sphere of the world (9th house) can relate for Universal (Pisces) understanding.

With the Taurus/Scorpio nodal axis, Illmatic, as a work of art had to find a way to make money (Taurus), while projecting a deeper significance (Scorpio) for hip hop culture.  Although critically acclaimed, the album didn’t immediately catapult to the heights of platinum status as did may more commercially recognizable albums. Nas’ brother Jungle stated that Nas’ advance for Illmatic was a mere $17,000 at the time, so he was forced to, at that time to consider a balance between regenerating (Scorpio) hip-hop and material comforts (Taurus).  In many eyes, Illmatic (and Nas) wasn’t/weren’t receiving the return on investment which it deserved.

Fortunately for the hip-hop faithful, Illmatic is an album which is being discussed 20 + years from its release, and for Nas, it’s enabled him to integrate the works’ nodal axis on the strength of a brilliant display of artistry thereafter.

Representin’ is Illmatic.

Making Astrology Practical : The Words of Dr. Amos Wilson

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Arguably, in this day and age, we have access to more information than ever before regarding spirituality, holistic health practices, and various tools for evolution and self development such as astrology, tarot, feng shui, meditation techniques, dream work and astral projection.

Because we’re faced with such a wide variety of options, it’s of paramount importance to employ our powers of critical analysis and discrimination wisely.

We would be selling ourselves and our brains short if we hopped on every bandwagon which proclaims “peace, love and light”, or followed every trail of incense smoke, complete with shea butter rubdowns and wheat grass shots.

It’s absolutely essential that we trust our inner voices when confronted with bundles of rhetoric which do not encourage any behavioral changes, yet are cosmetically and aesthetically pleasing.

I quote from the esteemed ancestor and brilliant psychologist Dr. Amos Wilson:

“There is nothing wrong with using the astrologies, the esoteric religions and using the moons and planets as guides for our behavior; but let us not become obsessed with them to such a degree that we do nothing else.”

No matter how much we engage in meditation, chanting and the like, chances are, there’s a tangible physical reality which we must be fully present for every day. The concrete world requires our participation.

Whether it’s our rent, or a 15 page paper that’s due, organization of ourselves is key. I would be willing to bet that our landlord or professor doesn’t take “Oms” as a form of compensation or completed work.

Spirituality is all encompassing. It permeates every aspect of our being. Because we’re spiritual people, it doesn’t mean we don’t curse, fight, have sex, or become angry.

In fact, I would make the case that one of the true aims of spirituality is to locate an organized center within ourselves and integrate our many dimensions by finding constructive outlets for our various facets to thrive.

As spiritual beings, we’re not going to float away in euphoric bliss and project ourselves into a dimension which will alleviate us from earthly responsibilities.

We may even have to appear ruthless at times. Eliminating people from our lives and severing the ties of situations which are blocking our growth. Distancing ourselves from unhealthy relationships physically, emotionally and psychologically by any means necessary.

True spirituality strengthens and enhances us. It doesn’t convert us in to passive people who advocate peace at any cost. Sometimes we have to go to war with the “monster”, relegating it to it’s proper place in our lives.

Thinking for ourselves regarding spiritual concepts merits very serious consideration. Hopefully, we’re all seeking to evolve and create physical, tangible evidence through our actions to show us that we’re doing so.

We know that it’s not enough to exclude analyzing the way we act in favor of the external trinkets, dress, diet or language which we think “enlightened” people abide by, yet misusing these resources as “props” to divert attention from the lack of desire to positively change our behavior.

I quote again from Dr. Wilson

“Why not demonstrate the effectiveness of what you’re talking about in your own behavior, life and therefore be a beacon to other people? Demonstrate through your life-behavior and habits the effectiveness of your ideologies religions and concepts?”

The question then becomes:

What is my behavior saying about me? What am I teaching others about my views on spirituality through my actions?

There are many tools of development, when used in a constructive manner, which can greatly enhance the quality of our lives.

However, if we show little to no concern about staying focused on our true intentions of self-improvement, the same systems lead to the evasion of concrete reality. Avoidance from the fundamental concept stated so eloquently by the African proverb:

“When deeds speak, words are meaningless.”                           

*Notes: Excerpt from a lecture delivered by Dr. Amos Wilson at the Marcus Garvey Senior Citizen Center, Brooklyn, NY (1985 )                                

Saturn Transits To The Moon : “Emotional Boundaries”

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When transiting Saturn makes contact with the Moon, themes of emotional boundaries, limitation and taking responsibility for one’s feelings are highlighted. What’s being asked of you, especially during this time, is to face reality- as well as any of your fears concerning what you need to be emotionally fulfilled.  Also, you’re being called to re-organize your response patterns and gain maturity in doing so.

One of the lessons to be learned from this passage is that feeling differently from those you may be close to, through familial ties or intimate relationships, doesn’t indicate a flaw in your character. It simply establishes the boundaries on how you experience the world versus how others do.

You may speculate that stating your feelings about what matters to you, in an authentic manner is subject to alienate you from others, and you’re right. However, this isn’t a period of time where you succumb to the whims of other people, no matter how close they are or claim to be.

Optimally, Saturn-Moon transits suggest a time of accepting responsibility for the model of the heart you’re creating with no apologies. Honesty and REAL responses can now fuel your growth toward construction of a life experience that’s more robust.

You have the potential to clear out any clutter which binds you to a painful past, whether that includes bitter resentment concerning the family, or harsh treatment from someone you ‘ve confided in and lowered your defenses for.

You may realize that what you need isn’t as complicated as you once thought, and your first inclination may be to criticize yourself for this, thinking that you lack depth. This is not the case. If anything, there’s an indication that you’re making an effort to cut through neurosis and stabilize your existence.

These transits illicit questions of trust: ‘Do I trust myself?” “Whom can I bear my intimate feelings to?”

In matters of love, you’re being challenged to negotiate feelings of giving too much and receiving too little. A ruthless inquiry to examine whether or not a scarcity mentality is present may be appropriate. Understand that there’s enough affection to go around for everyone in this world, and the urge to cajole, force or control to create the illusion of that will surely backfire sooner or later.

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A Holistic Perspective on Astrology

Black Gold Head Circle (1)

“‎Wholeness and longing are as common as breath, so much a part of the fabric of our being they often remain unseen. They meet us everywhere, setting direction, not detail. All we do is answer their call. The shapes we build about them become a life lived, unique in time.”
 – Michael Bratnick

In a recent conversation regarding relationship compatibility throughout the zodiac, I made the comment that true astrological chemistry cannot be determined solely on the basis of sun signs. An in depth analysis of both individual’s birth charts is required.

In response to my comment, the question I received was: “What entire chart?”  I am now here to supplement my original response by providing an answer which is more comprehensive.

Depending on your level of interest and or expertise in astrology, you may or may not know that an entire birth chart exists for every human being.  YES, we are becoming a Gemini, or a Pisces as our “signs” (also known as sun signs) indicate.

However, in our chart we also have placements for: the moon, mercury, venus, mars, jupiter, saturn, uranus, neptune and pluto. In addition, we have an Ascendant, or rising sign.

All of these planets serve their function toward our ultimate aim of wholeness.

In fact, one could view the planets as subpersonalities operating within our psyche. So, when we speak of : “a part of us wanting to go out to the “Rock The Bells” concertbut another part of us wanting to stay home.”what we are essentially experiencing is the polarity of the various drives which exist in our mental framework.

Our whole birth chart is a symbolic tool box filled with planetary expressions to suit all occasions. These subpersonalities assist us in transitioning through the myriad of roles that we’re asked to play.

Most likely, we may need to exhibit behavior that is professional and more formal when we venture into our work settings. We also may tend to be more relaxed and casual when at home. When in the company of good friends, or intimately involved with a partner, we display yet another dimension of our personalities.

The essential purpose of our birth charts as a whole is to integrate all of these energies in order that they may function more effectively as a process of synthesis.

The whole is always greater than the sum of its parts.  Once we become aware that these sub-personalities are at work within our psyches, we activate the possibility of organizing them into our own celestial government,  As a result of this fusion, our entire birth chart actually becomes a new, more powerful entity with its blended expression manifesting through the vessel, which is our sun signs.

The Players
So, who are these subpersonalities that I speak of? As stated earlier, we not only have a “sign” or sun sign, but we have several other planetary energies operating within our birth charts: we have a moon sign, mercury sign, venus sign, mars sign, jupiter sign, saturn sign, uranus sign, neptune sign and pluto sign.  Below, I have listed some brief notes on the planets and key themes that are associated with them:

Sun: our core, the ingredients that comprise our ego, what we consider to be important, our life force, vitality, where we “shine”, our pride, life purpose and destination. The type of fuel we require to maintain our vitality.

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Moon: Our emotional needs, instinctive reactions, feeling response. What we need to sustain us, our biological and ideological home, family and roots, where we retreat to, general habits, how we feel nurtured and how we nurture others.

African Moon Circle

Mercury: Our communication, what we think and talk about, information processing, speech, writing, the rational mind, opinions, making connections, siblings, school, how we learn.

African Mercury Circle

Venus: The pleasure principle, giving, relating to others, sharing, co-operation, attraction, taste, art, money, means of exchange, love, beauty, mediation, comparison, diplomacy, how we seek to make ourselves and others happy.

Venus Chartreuse & Teal Circle

Mars: Action, drive, self-assertion, anger, passion sex drive, will, courage, survival, fight, endurance, competition. The application of will.

Mars Circle

Jupiter: Expansion of consciousness, meaning, wisdom, understanding, mental and physical travel, higher thought/education, synthesis, inflation, exaggeration, beliefs, confidence, greed, optimism, growth.

Jupiter Face

Saturn: Authority, discipline, business experience, limits, structure, organization, reality, control, fear, time, duties, learning hard lessons, evaluations, assessments.

Saturn Circle

Uranus: Change, revolution, freedom, breaking patterns, independence, individuality, the urge to rebel and shock, deviation from the norm, non-conformism, sudden awakening.

Uranus Circle

Neptune: The unseen realms, the urge to merge and dissolve boundaries, imagination, the ideal, purification, extra sensory perception, refinement, purification and cleansing, infiltration, deception, sacrifice, escape, transcendence, dreams, fantasy.

Neptune Updated Circle

Pluto: Regeneration, transformation, rebirth, death (literal and figurative), taboos, obsession, compulsion, depth investigation, paranoia, crisis, catharsis. hidden forces, enigmas.

Pluto Circle

The planets show you what energies are prevalent. The signs show you how these energies tend to express themselves, and the houses illustrate where in your life you will most likely experience the manifestation of these energies.

Note: The outer planets, which are Uranus, Neptune and Pluto move very slowly. Therefore, their sign positions are generational. Everyone born within roughly a 7 year period will have the same Uranus sign. Everyone born within roughly a 14 year period will have the same Neptune sign and everyone born within roughly a 21 year period will have the same Pluto sign. In most cases, the house placement and the aspects of these planets to our personal planets will be of more significance than the sign placement.

The next time someone asks you “what’s your sign?” hopefully, you will be armed with the information to tell them that your sun sign is Virgo, but….. that’s not ALL that you are. That is not enough to encompass the complexity and multifaceted character of your being.

Ultimately, the ideal personality as expressed by our birth charts, is a balanced set of subpersonalities in which each subpersonality is strong and it’s particular talents fully developed.

I wish everyone well on their infinite quest for understanding.

References: 
Aspects in Astrology: A comprehensive Guide To Interpretation by Sue Tompkins

Multiple Mind: Healing The Split In Psyche And World by Gretchen Sliker