First off, I want to apologise for being so infrequent in my posts here lately. I've had all manner of good intentions to write. I've thought about a range of topics I had wanted to write about, still want to write about, in fact. I hope I will resume writing about them soon. I'm hoping this post might even be a trigger for me to get back into blogging more regularly. But the first half of this year has been a very intense time. I said to my flatmate the other day that I felt like I had just finished a very heavy semester of teaching. Unfortunately I haven't been teaching and I've been unemployed now for a little over a month. The job I had been doing was a reprise of the casual research assistant work I was doing late last year and which I really enjoyed. It combined reading books, internet surfing and research cum literary detective work, all of which I found really satisfying - I was even learning things. But alas the money ran out and so the job finished end of May. The work itself wasn't intense but alongside it I've had a very busy time partly of community involvement through the LGBT History Action Group; we organised and were involved with a number of projects and big events over the last few months. On top of that there's been my work in editing the festschrift which has certainly kept me busy. And then to cap it all off I've also written an essay for an anthology on same-sex marriage. I was working on that mainly last month. And then I've experienced some demanding personal times too; I won't go into them all here now, but it's been a time of grief and joy, of uncertainties, of challenges to inner resolves, of doubts, of feeling separated from loved ones and sense of loneliness arising, of all the anxieties and disconnects that come from precarity.
With all of that happening, it's felt more like a chore to try and write anything, to summon the energy to write anything. This month, with all the intense times behind me for now, I've declared my holiday month. My holiday is courtesy of being unemployed but it feels like a holiday nonetheless. This last week I've been adjusting to this holiday mode. To taking it a bit easy. In one sense it allowed me to let my guard down and I underwent a sudden surge of topsy turvy emotional intensity. For a little while I was worried that I might be succumbing to the old depression. After all I no longer had anything to distract me, plus the stresses of the year so far had me pretty wired up. Hopefully I've settled somewhat now, at least I'm feeling some kind of equilibrium set in again (although every once and a while I feel a press of tears at the back of my eyes, bubbling up from the cellars of my heart).
A few days ago I experienced my 59th solar return. The solar return is when the sun returns to the position it occupied when a person is born. The solar return generally occurs on or around a person's birthday. Astrologically, the position of the planets and the new disposition of ascendant and house cusps and related derived points at the time of the sun's return to its natal position, gives an overall flavour for the year ahead. Unsurprisingly, my solar return chart is bedevilled with contradictions. I guess I'm writing this to explore and make sense of those contradictions.
Before I say more on the chart, I should first explore some more my holiday mode. In part, it's a kind of kick-back, take it easy and bugger the consequences mode. But it's also a strange lethargy, which is why I'm surprised I've started writing right now. Even a couple of days ago,the thought of trying to write something would make me feel exhausted and disinterested both, somewhat reminiscent of the depth of depression last year. But only reminiscent. I'm not in that depression now (although I know it lurks and sometimes pokes its paws through the rips anxiety causes in my emotional fabric). In one sense, I should be. I'm unemployed and at an almost unemployable age. All the career aspirations I had once, are gone now. Furthermore I have no idea of what sort of work to do. I applied for some jobs last month and explored some other employment options but all nada, not even an interview with the job applications. My confidence is down in the depths, in part because I have no enthusiasm, and yes there's self-doubt too. I look at job notices every day, generating a strange mixture of boredom, anxiety and contempt, the latter because many of them seem to be couched in the language of spin or they seem utterly unreasonable in their expectations. Maybe I feel this way because I don't feel any sort of ambition towards any of them, let alone a sense of vocational attraction. None of my main skills seem to be relevant for just about any of them and those that might have some sort of possible match for some of my experience are the ones that I feel have the unreasonable expectations. That's the work scene. My personal life has seen a number of challenges too. I won't go into them but I've been challenged in some of the resolves with which I started the year in quite surprising ways. I've stuck to them nevertheless but I've had to undergo major self-examination, reviewing quite a lot about my life. Lots of doubt, plenty of doubt, exacerbated by feeling cut off, without community. I feel quite disconnected from the society in which I live - I can't even watch TV because I don't feel any interest in the social worlds it purveys. And as for contemporary politics, well I just can't connect - it's all so faux, so vacuous, so confected. The less said the better, actually. (But I am pleasantly relieved with the carbon tax package the federal government has negotiated - it's not the best, but it's not bad nonetheless).
So to return to my solar return for this year. As I said before it's quite bedevilled with contradictions. While the Sun will always be in Cancer everything else about it, the way it fits in the Return chart will be quite different from the birth chart. This year the sign of Leo was coming up over the horizon when the Sun returned to its natal position, thus placing the Sun in the 12th house of my Return chart. The 12th House is known as the house of solitude or sorrow, and is associated with spiritual pursuits, imaginative endeavours, behind the scenes activities, but also hospitalisation, confinement, self-undoing. In the Return chart it signifies a year of spiritual pursuits and development, service to others, but usually work done out of view, also research and writing. It can signify work on reconciliation, of healing old wounds. The Sun is the ruler of Leo, which is the rising sign in the chart so the Sun is the ruler of the Return chart so making the 12th house themes pretty dominant for the coming year. Here, I have to admit I have been thinking a lot about spirituality lately and how to re-orient life around a more spiritual basis, and I'm thinking here in some kind of shared way, because in many respects, nowadays, I seem to be living like a kind of a monk but without a monastery, or any sort of community at all. And when I say monastery, I refer to some kind of group living, with likeminded folks. But it's all quite nebulous (another 12th house word) at this stage.
But then Leo is rising in the chart. Leo is definitely not a reclusive, behind the scenes sign. It's out there, it wants to star, it's the performer, the leader; it's dramatic, optimistic, energetic. Furthermore it's not only conjunct my natal Mercury it's also conjunct the return Mercury too. Yep, my solar return takes place a day or so before my Mercury return. Mercury is all about communication and lots of it here, a double whammy intensified by being smack on the Ascendant. According to one source I read, this Mercury position highlights "communication, adaptability, education, travel,... This year will be full of mental activity, talk, letters, phone calls, writing, travel, movement, busy work, short trips, and frequent comings and goings". I'll also seem "more youthful, agile, quick-witted, and verbally expressive'! These Mercurial themes are given even more weight by the fact that the Ascendant degree falls in my natal 3rd house, the house of communication, amongst other things, and ruled by Mercury. The natal 3rd house is highlighted in the Return chart.
But that's not all. I also have the Moon rising in Leo which not only makes me more assertive and forthright but means I'm going to be a moody and emotional person too. I probably should apologise to everyone in advance, especially when I consider the mood swings I've had over the last couple of weeks. The Moon is also in a very tense opposition to Neptune which heightens confusion, despondency, sadness and self-deception, although can also be more sensitive, compassionate, intuitive and imaginative.
Sun Moon and Ascendant are the three main power points in any chart and in this one they are quite contradictory. Reading solar returns is not my main skill, but it looks like I'm going to be much more low-key but dealing with emotions much more. One source I read said that Moon in the first house indicates that the year ahead will be spent recovering from emotional trauma from the past; it is a year of recovery and emotional growth. While another source said that the 12th house Sun indicates a year of preparation with recognition coming the following year. If the Sun is in the 10th house in the following return it will mark career recognition, in the 9th it can mark publication. In my Return next year he Sun will be in my 8th house so I'm not really certain what that means. If anyone out there has any ideas let me know.
This year, the Sun is also in a tense aspect to Saturn which indicates another year of struggle, of lean times, highlighted too by Saturn being in the Return 2nd house of resources, finances and values. Discipline and restrictions will be the order of this year ahead. And yet the Return part of Fortune is also in the 2nd and in positive aspect to the Return Midheaven. So there might be some more fortunate moments too. And there seems to be several indications of sudden changes or unexpected directions in a positive way in the Return chart too.
But the main thing I'm getting from the chart is to try and stick to my watchword I've adopted for this year and that's trust. Anxiety stems from uncertainty, feeling powerless, isolated and abandoned. Trust is the best antidote, trust in people and in life itself, for the more religious, trust in God. I've had a couple of crises this year and yet somehow, out of the blue, things got resolved, help came my way. I was in a state of panic close to meltdown on at least one occasion. But the help came really quite out of the blue, unexpectedly. I should also add that anxiety allows the old depressive beast, that black dog, to once again start nagging away, and that old black dog just loves tossing shit, to traduce the motivations, intentions of others, to run you down, to say that all the bad stuff is a result of you. But the moment you turn around and embrace the personal vulnerability and powerlessness and decide to trust no matter what, the black dog's power is broken. The anxiety dissipates and there's a chance for insight. And lets face it powerlessness is the reality of our lives. Acceptance is the only way to deal with it and acceptance is only possible through trust.
That's about it for now, I think. Obviously there's a whole lot more in the Return chart but if I was to discuss everything I'd be writing my own Solar Return report. I hope this piece will mark a new start on blogging for me because I do have plenty to write about. And my apologies if this piece seems too self-indulgent and boring.