Astrology: Sex, Death and the Occult

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Last week, I made a long drive to North Carolina to attend a four-day seminar given by the great astrologer, Steven Forrest.  Steve has written nearly a dozen books on Astrology, and they’re about the most accessible and helpful texts that I’ve read on the overall subject.  This was my third intensive seminar of Steve’s that I’ve experienced, which qualifies me as an official Forrest Apprentice.

On top of the certification-style advancement, though, it was also a very illuminating session!  The topic was “Sex, Death, and the Occult,” and we took a long look at where and how these concepts appear in a person’s birth-chart.  Mainly, we were studying Pluto the Planet, the Sign of Scorpio, and the Eighth House, with a dash of Mars thrown in, too.

Of the three named concepts, we probably leaned on death the hardest, then sex (only in the sense of people bonding in intimate ways, though – nobody got graphic or porn-y or anything!), and we probably spent the least amount of time on the occult.  We did, however, spend an interval discussing the differences between being a magician versus being a mystic, and this part of the lecture really got my wheels spinning!  I’m considering maybe doing a future post or two to expand on these notions…

Meanwhile, I’m again convinced that just as the Tarot deck serves as a microcosm of our entire existence…so, too, does the birth-chart.  The specific symbols aren’t identical or interchangeable, but the depth and richness are certainly there in both fields, and I believe that whatever you might be seeking to examine in your life or out in the Universe, you can find a corresponding marker of that concept in either a Tarot deck or in your own birth-chart!

28 comments

  1. Pluto is apparently a very busy and entangled planet in my chart, and all three of these things have been tangled in one another and in just about every other aspect of my life.

    I have a ground-level working knowledge of the subject and no more; as I encounter people who have much more than that, they usually have something astonishing to tell me — like about what’s apparently the most awkward yod ever in my chart *laugh*. The most recent one looked at synastry between Darren and me and nearly fell over laughing: “You’re SO stuck with each other. Live with it.” She also said something I find interesting because it kind of throws itself in the face of standard knowledge: For me (unfortunately) Saturn is the the most entangled planet in my chart by far; it touches some part of just about everything in my life. Because of that she said, Saturn contacts in synastry, which usually are troublesome, actually work out in the balance positive for me, because if someone doesn’t contact my Saturn in some major way, any relationship with that person is very likely to be shallow and fleeting.

    • Hmm, that does make sense about you needing to interact with people who can provide some significant contacts to your Saturn in order for you to feel engaged in a way that registers as meaningful. It’s also worth noting that Saturn — when respected and sort of cultivated in constructive fashion — can lead to longevity, such as with a relationship. Basically, Saturn can be a real pill to hang around with, but Saturn also gets things done, and these things are usually built to last… And wow, Saturn and Pluto as some of your busiest and most entrenched Planets sounds like the makings for a very serious chart!

      • A serious mess, yeah. *laugh* I’m kind of an astrological trainwreck — Sun and Ascendant grumpy at each other all the time; Moon and Sun that confuse each other; and that yod that thanks to a lot of mostly awkward conjunctions in my chart encompasses Sun, North Node, Saturn, Moon, Pluto, Uranus, and Neptune. It’s very rare for my life to go smoothly at all.

        Just stamp the whole chart ABNORMAL LIFE and send it on its way. *laugh*

      • “A lot of mostly awkward conjunctions” sounds oddly fascinating. I’m reminded of that old curse: “May you have an interesting life.” 😀 The yod thing is interesting, too, as many astrologers completely discount the effects of configurations like that, while others swear by them. It sounds like you do seem to feel the influence of yours, though. I love hearing feedback like this from people who gaze into their own charts and then hold the results up against themselves!

      • I’d never even heard the term ‘yod’ before until someone on here recently told me about it. The more I read, the more astonished I was; it was like a roadmap of the struggles, challenges, and goals that have defined my life. Hindsight’s 20/20 and all, but not knowing also means I couldn’t behave in certain ways based on knowing.

        Sing it with me, kids….Conjunction Junction, what’s your function? (Yes, that’s the first thing I thought of, being of the right age.)

        Sun conjunct Saturn, North Node
        Moon conjunct Pluto
        Mercury conjunct Venus, MC, Chiron
        Venus conjunct Chiron, MC
        Saturn conjunct North Node
        Uranus conjunct Pluto

        Sun, Saturn, North Node, Moon, Pluto, and Uranus are all involved in that yod. So is Neptune; no conjunctions there, but plenty of other fun and games.

      • I have very fond and vivid memories of Schoolhouse Rock, too, so I totally get where you’re coming from with that reference! But yeah, that’s a lot of conjunction energy. I have a similar amount in my chart, but just not in yod formation. I have the Uranus/Pluto conjunction, but adding the Moon to the mix sounds like a set-up for a lot of very intense emotional experiences. Actually, so does the Venus/Chiron conjunction. Hopefully, the rough spots are getting smoothed out for you over time as you get more familiar with all of these parameters!

      • Intense, strange emotional stuff, very non-traditional relationships, multiple marriages, and unfortunately, the loss of way too many relationships through death. That goes to the Venus-Chiron as well, I believe. My faith in things lasting is not very good.

        What seems to be smoothing out a lot of it for me is age. Hello, Saturn! I think I’m going to become more grateful for its influence as that happens. Everyone has always said things would settle down for me around 40, but the magic number seems to be 50 for me. My Jupiter return is this year, so maybe that plays into it.

      • Is your Sun in your Eighth House? Or do you have a lot of H8 activity? The workshop I attended last week was all about Pluto/Scorpio/H8, and one of the possible manifestations of the H8 Sun is, as you said, the loss of pivotal relationships to death. Obviously, other results can occur, and other astrological set-ups can also lead to that result, but it’s one definite candidate for what you’re describing. And yay for the Jupiter Return! I had mine about two years ago, and it was a fine time! In fact, I’d sign up for another if somebody passed a sign-up sheet around…

      • 8 is entirely empty, odd as that seems given how my life has worked. The bulk of my activity is in 10 (3 planets and North Node). That’s always seemed weird to me, too. I have never held a career-track job, and have never wanted one. 3 is next busiest, and that makes much more sense to me given the nearly lifelong poetry thing.

      • Hmm… Beefed-up Pluto? Well-populated Scorpio? Angry Mars? I don’t know – these things don’t always behave exactly as the teachings would have it… You can also see which Sign is on the cusp of your Eighth House, and then look at what’s up with that Sign’s ruling Planet in your chart to pick up a few more clues…

      • Good lord, I don’t know if it answers this particular question, but it has to be doing *something*: Uranus rules my 8th house; I also just miss having Uranus and Pluto conjunct (5 degrees; the woman who did the chart says she cuts it off at 3, though I know others will go up to 5)

        Beyond that, we know Pluto’s a messy planet for me. All I have in Scorpio is Neptune, which I believe is generational? Mars is pretty soothed down, actually; it’s in Taurus. I suspect that’s the major reason my Aries Sun/Virgo Moon/Cancer ASC head doesn’t explode. 🙂

      • Yeah, I personally feel that conjunctions can work up to 5 degrees, although much of that depends on what else is happening in the chart, which Planets you’re talking about, etc. Cutting things off at 3 degrees is pretty tight, but also helpful in narrowing your focus. But if Pluto is weighty in your chart, you can feel okay about opening the gates a bit wider when considering the Aspects it makes. Neptune is pretty generational, yeah, due to its slow progress through the heavens, but I still believe the Outer Planets are all very important. That’s another question that each Astro-person has to decide for themselves, though (i.e., whether to place importance on the Outer Planets). If Uranus rules your H8, you can examine the House that Uranus is actually in, and then look for ties between those two Houses in your life experience…?

      • I went back and looked at the notes, and I got it backwards; she said 5 degrees in birth charts (3 degrees for the slower outer planets to one another, possibly back up to 5 if they’re very heavily aspected; she said Saturn was a definite 5 for me *laugh*). The stricter 3 degree limit she uses for synastry charts. She did one of those for us, too, and I got mixed up.

        Uranus is in 3 for me…and it’s there with (you guessed it) Pluto. Together — with the Moon, as well — they definitely speak to the kind of poetry I write and what my inspirations are. I write preponderantly in free verse; when I tackle forms, I tend to pick the weird, obscure, or complicated ones (sestina, abecedarian, mirror, ballade, the lesser-known sonnet forms). Nearly all my poems are inspired by relationships, even if they aren’t about them. I’m not sure how it all ties together with H8, but I look at it, and once again I get a sense that it does. Maybe it’s Uranus insisting on the connection being weird. 🙂

      • Oh, this makes sense, about allowing for wider orbs with birth-charts than with synastry. It’s not uncommon for people to use tighter orbs for the predictive stuff, too (transits, progressions, etc.). The H3/H8 connection could take many forms: maybe your deep relationships and experiences around death and occult topics (H8) inform your communications (including your poetry — H3)…and maybe your communications and poetry (H3) magnetize certain H8 experiences toward you? I’d probably have to look at your chart to get a better picture. It’s just interesting that you seem to have had some serious H8-style energies in your life, but you have no Planets there. A beefed-up Pluto (or Mars, too) could account for some of that. Are you pretty sure on your birth-time? You could also experiment with running your chart through different House systems. You’ll get very different results if you go from, say, Placidus (the default of many Astrology packages) to, say Whole Sign Houses. It could be that you’re just meant to use a different House system than the one you’d been employing in previously run charts…?

      • I had to email my friend to ask what kind of chart she uses; it’s Placidus. I know basically nothing about that part of it, but I suspect changing it would alter my ascendant, along with moving a lot of the 9th-10th house clutter around. I thought I was a Leo ascendant for many years (and wondered who was insane as a result; I’m about as non-Leo as it’s possible to be!) because I had my birth time about half an hour off. The one I have now comes from my birth certificate. She did say she’d run an equal-house chart to see what it looks like (and that I can expect to hear back shortly *laugh* — I’m an experiment!)

        I think my writing responding to H8 things is really on track for me. Just recently, I’ve had issues to work on identify themselves through poems. Not all of them are H8 issues in themselves, but that kind of dredging up of deep things seems to fit.

      • It’s true, all the House stuff can morph wildly when you go from one House system to another. I have a lot of placements in my H12, and when I try out a system other than Placidus (which is the system I do like, and which produces a chart that actually feels like me), some or all of those Planets can slip into H1. And I’m not at all like the kind of person you’d expect when you consider a heavy H1 signature. It can be illuminating to do these kinds of experiments, though — it’ll be interesting to see what your friend comes up with!

      • She said she’s going over things now, but the short version is that whole sign houses changes basically nothing, but equal houses moves an enormous amount into H9, which makes a lot of sense for me (education, spirituality, foreign connections…). Still no activity in H8, though. *laugh*

      • Still no H8! Well, we tried… 😉 Interesting that a lot of thing shifted from H10 –> H9, though. Some people love Equal Houses or the Whole Sign Houses. Like I said, Placidus feels right for me…but we each experience the Universe in different ways. I can see that one system might be truly valid in one person’s experience, while a different system works best in another person’s experience. Reality has a subjective element running around loose in it, I’m convinced!

      • I’ll be interested to see where this goes, if things get more…well, obvious, I guess. I see a lot of relevance in the chart I’ve always known, but it’s more slippery sometimes, a sense that things are connecting, more than tangible connections.

      • My chart (Western; Placidus) really does feel like me, which is part of what initially convinced me that there’s something to this Astrology business. I’ll be curious to learn what you think of what comes out after you run it through another House system or two…

      • Lest you doubted I’m an English (as very opposed to math *laugh*) major, I didn’t realize until she sent me the chart image just now that aspects and stuff weren’t going to be changed, only the house placements. Durrr…. But based on what I can cobble together from my own knowledge, the houses in the equal chart feel more right for me in many instances. It moves things out of H3, but given my life, they probably belong in H2 anyway, and most of the writerly energies apparently came from Mercury in aspects more than in a house.

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