Bevin's Blog I'm blogging the relentless pursuit of my joy

2013-03-15

Astrology Q & A with Katie Sweetman of Empowering Astrology

After I posted about my astrological chart reading with Katie Sweetman of Empowering Astrology, I received a really interesting comment* to my blog that I thought made a really great follow-up post about “the whole astrology thing.” Also, Katie’s comments are a bit more of a background to what a natal chart is and why it matters. Hopefully Katie’s words will help folks understand a little more about what Astrology is and what it can do. (And, as an aside, I’ve had enough experiences with having agitation, unsettled emotions or strong emotions with no triggers and found out something was going on planetary that lined up far too accurately for me to totally buy astrology as a concept. Monster moon of 2012, you were bananas for this Capricorn.)

IMG_4903.JPG
Me and some of my favorite faeries, Dusty and Quito.

Hi Bevin, I just discovered your blog and I absolutely love it! You are beautiful and amazing and very inspiring for this shy femme. This blog is like a breath of fresh air. 🙂

I’m really curious about astrology, but there are a few things I just cannot get over. All of the planets and stars are too far away to actually impact us. Mercury doesn’t go backwards when it’s in retrograde. I’m more inclined to say that the moon can throw things out of wack just because it is close enough to actually impact the Earth.

So, how do these planetary movements affect us? Do they tug on our brains? I don’t believe in a soul, I believe in brain chemistry and neurons, do you have to believe in a soul in order for astrology to have an impact on you?

I’ve been going to counseling for a year now and I’d like to think I’m open to other self-care and therapy methods, I’m even open to the idea that people born at a certain time of year have certain traits. I’d love to get an astrological reading just to explore my life but I don’t know if I can get past its very foundations. I just don’t know how the movements of the solar system can affect our emotions, because I’ve never seen an explanation as to why/how they do.

I get that you are not an astrologer, I don’t want you to feel like I’m putting you on the spot or anything, I was just wondering what your thoughts are about the purely physical aspects of the planets and their relationship to our bodies.

–Lindy

Here is what Katie had to say in response:

So I was mulling over the questions posed by your commenter. They are not new questions; they’re usually the ones countered at an astrologer by the incredulous. But they deserve a thoughtful reply.

Astrology isn’t for everyone and I’ve never been interested in being the one who tries to defend it to skeptics. For many, the mere mention of astrology brings derision and belief that anyone who thinks it’s real is either stupid or worse, a charlatan. I’m never going to convince those people nor do I want to. It would be a waste of energy.

But for those willing to entertain the idea of astrology, the standard argument I make is that astrology is more than what you read in a newspaper column. Sun sign astrology as it is known is watered down astrology — astrology reduced to its most basic components. So if that isn’t real astrology, then what is? And why is something at least four thousand years old still relevant in this day and age?

Astrology is a symbolic language. Using symbols and mythology, it tells the story of you — your wants, your needs, your desires, your ambitions, and some the most intimate corners of your existence. I don’t know why astrology works, but it does. I wouldn’t keep consulting it for my own development and using it with clients if I didn’t see it foster amazing insight and healing.

622360_4201951527251_1408187357_o.jpg
From the Winter Solstice Rebel Cupcake. Photo Credit: Kelsey Dickey.

I think astrology is less the physical influence of the planets and more their symbolic influence. Lost somewhere in the haze of time was the discovery that the movements of the heavens reflect life both here on earth and our internal life. “As above, so below” is the old hermetic axiom. Astrology is still relevant because it helps us peek into our psyche and understand why we act certain ways and see the mechanism behind certain behaviors. Psychologist Carl Jung was a proponent of astrology as he saw it was a way to get to the root of neuroses.

You don’t have to believe in a soul to find astrology relevant. But I think you need to believe in something outside of this existence. There has to be room for magic or a hunger to known yourself on a deeper level. Even if we’re just carbon and molecules and neurons, it would be a dull life to not want to make the best of our time here in our bodies. It’s the same impulse that makes us want to explore the world or explore space in rocket ships. It’s this sense that there’s something out there waiting to be discovered if we’d only start the journey. And it’s the same impulse that takes us to counseling — the impulse to heal and know ourselves on a more intimate level. Astrology and the natal chart acts as the map that takes us forward.

Thanks Katie for your compassionate and thoughtful answer! If you’re interested in getting a reading from Katie you can contact her here, check out her amazing blog or follow Empowering Astrology on Facebook for great information about what the stars have in store for us.

*As an aside, I also got a hilarious comment from someone on twitter that they had hoped that I would tell more of the juicy tidbits about my reading with Katie! If you want to know, some of the highlights are that I have had my voice stifled in past lives and my individuality and voice is really important to use in this lifetime. It is likely I would live abroad/very far from my family, and Katie said it was likely that me living 3,000 miles from my family now is a version of that. Also, I have a lot of planets in Scorpio. My moon in Scorpio means I demand authenticity in my interpersonal relationships. In April or May I’m going to get some big insight into changes about where I want to go.

2013-02-07

My Reading with Empowering Astrology

I like to think of activities like having my astrological chart interpreted by an astrologer, visiting mediums, having tarot cards read, past life readings and other types of woo activities as a cross between spiritual practice and therapy. They often work better if you go in with a specific question or questions and have something to work through by the end. I usually feel relieved and understand my path better as a result.

Last week I had my astrological chart read by Katie, the bombshell behind Empowering Astrology. I had met her once before years ago and upon one glance at my chart she knew that the previous few months (because of Pluto sailing through my chart) had been “like a nuclear bomb went off” in my life. She had no way of knowing but I had lost a job of five years and my apartment became uninhabitable in that span of time. That little nugget stayed with me and I had always wanted to come back for a full chart reading.

astrologicalchart.jpg

Your astrological chart is basically a map of the stars as they existed at the exact time and location that you were born. When people say “I’m a Capricorn with a Virgo rising and my Moon is in Scorpio,” what they mean to describe are aspects of their personality as dictated by the positions of certain celestial bodies when they entered this world. Lesbians and woo-oriented queers use astrology as code with one another all the time, so it’s helpful to know those basics. You can get a free chart at astro.com if you know your birth time and location.

I’ve had a free chart for years and am very curious about how the natal chart can give me information about my life. I totally believe in past lives and that our higher selves select certain natal information to structure our journeys in this life. My relationship to woo spirituality is on the “why not” spectrum and if it helps me understand my purpose here and helps me to more effectively do the work and art I do then this spirituality is doing exactly what it’s meant to do.

Even though we both live in Brooklyn, Katie and I met via Skype video chat. Number one, this helps with the whole “Scheduling is the hardest part” bit of coordinating with New Yorkers. Number two, Katie was able to record our session so that I could have an mp3 of our conversation and not have to rely on my notes to piece together what I learned.

Tea service is really helping me finish this trust document.
Bring your own tea.

I learned so much! There’s a lot to know about how an astrological chart works. It seems to me that a good astrologer is a combination scientist, mathematician and intuitive. Katie definitely has all three. She knows so much about astrology, the way the planets talk to each other and can distill it easily into real talk for people who don’t know what a progressed chart, Mars conjunct Sun or what each house in our chart means. And those are just some nuggets of things I learned about in our hour-long conversation.

She began by asking me what I was looking to glean from our conversation. As I tend to do, I asked about my journey in life and my higher purpose. When I was younger I was always mostly curious about romance and money and that’s not to say I’m not still curious about those things, but these days I want to find out how to make it easier for myself to stay on the path I’m meant to be on. I’ve learned a lot through the language of pain about how hard it is to try paths that you’re not meant for, I’m looking for a peaceful journey leaning into the lessons I’m meant to learn.

Party planning involves spreadsheets & hauling beer.  We're ready for Yes Ma'am on Saturday!

Katie had a lot of lessons to tell me about. We began with her overview of a few areas she noted in my chart, like the clusters of planets I have in the houses in the bottom of my chart and some heavy duty “relationship karma.” I was surprised at how much past life information could be gleaned from my chart and Katie had a lot to say about how the things we’ve worked on in past lives can affect this life.

We talked about the planetary positions and certain traumas I was going to need to recover from, which hit the nail on the head for me about what I saw as my work in this life. I feel very reassured about the work I’m doing after my reading with her.

I especially enjoyed talking about the transits I was about to go through in the upcoming months. Transits are those lines in the chart where the planets move and Katie was able to tell me certain things to look out for. She also blew my mind by saying “Money is simply a 3D manifestation of energy.”

The contents of my bra at the end of the evening : 2 drink tickets, $6 in cash, 1 splenda packet, 2 lifesaver wint-o-mints, my cell phone (not pictured), an 11 year chip found next to the bar.

Since my reading I’ve listened to it again via MP3 while in the bath, which has helped me glean more out of it. She highly recommends listening to the reading several times. Her approach values shaking things up by providing insights into the natal chart and she really is an “energetic midwife” as she describes on her website.

If you’ve ever been curious about having your natal chart read, I cannot recommend Katie enough. She is smart, warm and extremely insightful. Also, her website includes a rad blog with a lot of nuggets, including this Moon Ritual to Manifest (or as I call it, Womanifest) I’ve done before and it’s been awesome.

Katie also has an awesome Facebook fan page for Empowering Astrology where she shares nuggets of wisdom about the planets moving around. Honestly I’m much more interested in astrological forecasts that talk about what the planets are doing for everyone than just what the Capricorn horoscope for the week says. Astrological destiny is way more complicated than that! Also, isn’t it nice sometimes to realize “Ugh, I went to my friend’s birthday party and felt so terrible all night for seemingly no reason” and then finding out there was a MONSTER full moon that was throwing everyone for a loop, and especially Cardinal signs. Anyway, Empowering Astrology on Facebook has those kinds of forecasts and I like them.

Also, as a rule, I pretty much only go to therapists, tarot readers or spiritual folks if I have a personal recommendation by someone queer or they are queer themselves. I just feel more safe and there’s less language to translate about my life and loves and gender and sexuality to people in my community. Katie’s queer herself.

Powered by WordPress