It’s okay!

I’ve recently been reminded that we heal in layers. If it seems like you’re struggling with the same old stuff that you thought you already released, it’s likely either a deeper layer or someone else’s. We unconsciously “learn” fear-based conditioning just by living in the world. There’s pain all around us, and when we process it, we walk back out into the world as healers.

The source of your pain doesn’t really matter. Treat whatever comes up for you the same as any other pain you experience. Hold it in a space of loving compassion. Allow it to just be whatever it is in the moment. While you’re processing feelings, keep reminding yourself to focus on the sensations you’re feeling instead of your thoughts about your feelings (including why they’re there and if you should be feeling that way). Take care of yourself as if you were taking care of someone you love very much who is completely dependent on you and is going through whatever you’ve been going through.

This means pampering and nourishing your body, giving yourself a serene sanctuary in which to rest, allowing yourself time your renewal, lovingly protecting yourself, meeting your needs for socialization with with people who enrich your life, doing nice little things for yourself (such as giving yourself a small frivolous gift) just to show you how much you care about you, addressing any unpleasant tasks that putting off is causing stress (either by doing it as a form of self-care or just letting yourself off the hook), feeding your heart and spirit with soul food, getting help when you need help, and just cutting yourself some slack.

Remember, we’re always perfectly imperfect. There’s no such thing as healed. There’s no finish line towards which to race. There’s nothing you need to do to make yourself worthy of love, acceptance, support, protection, peace, joy, or rest. Remember:

– It’s okay to feel the way I feel right now. Just about anyone would feel this way in this situation given ALL of the factors involved.
– This, too, shall pass.
– This is hard, but I can do hard things.
– I don’t need to understand everything right now. It’s totally okay to just not know something. If I can make peace with not knowing, whatever answers I truly need will become clear to me when the time is right.
– Everything is perfectly imperfect. Everyone is perfectly imperfect. It’s perfectly okay and even beautiful that my situation and I are not perfect and never will be.
– Happiness is always NOW. It can never be experienced in the past or future, only in the present moment.
– It’s okay to be just allow myself to happy.
– It’s also okay not to be happy right now.
– It’s okay to say no.
– It’s okay to take time to rest.
– It’s okay to ask for help.
– If I fill myself up first before giving to others, I can give from a full heart and feel blessed by the giving. If I do this, I will never be depleted or resentful, will be able to see the true needs of others more clearly, and will have SO much more to offer the world!
– Nature heals.

Take good care of yourselves! ❤

Inner Peace: What Usually Works, Why It DOESN’T Work for Everyone, and What Else Can Be Done

There is no peace without surrender.
 
I’m a recovering alcoholic and love addict. The love addiction is actually what drove the alcohol consumption (though, of course, there’s a genetic component to alcoholism as well), and I was not able to address one addiction without addressing the other simultaneously. Learning how to process my feelings was both the key to motivation behind and the key to my recovery, and it all comes down to surrender.
 
What is surrender? Many people equate surrender with passivity, resignation, or defeat. It is none of those, though it may feel that way from a position of clinging to the edge of the abyss.
 
Surrender is basically just radically acceptance of what is. If pain is the reality of the moment, then it is accepting that reality without resistance, judgement, hope for a certain future, will, or any concept of “supposed to”. It is about just experiencing the situation without trying to make sense of it or otherwise control it.
 
It is also necessary to give up all beliefs about how awful or hopeless everything is in order to surrender. This is, perhaps, the hardest part! Beliefs such as, “I will always be in pain,” or, “Things will never get better,” or, “I will never be enough,” are JUST as much a defense mechanisms as addictions and other forms of escapism. They prevent us from the most intense and terrifying of all vulnerabilities: happiness.
 
Surrender is releasing the notions that drive our suffering. It’s acknowledging that we don’t understand and can’t know or control what will happen and that we can no longer pretend that we’re capable of adequately preparing for or shielding ourselves from all of the intensity and pain in life, that sometimes things just really, really suck for a bit.
 
It’s accepting that that the experience of the present moment just is whatever it is in THAT moment, and we don’t know what to do about it, how long it will last, if there’s a way to prevent the same pain in the future, or even why it’s happening.
 
This is why it’s possible to be in pain and be at peace at the same time. In fact, inner peace is not dependent on the presence or absence of pain. Peace is truth. When we’re struggling to hold onto our untrue ideas about a situation, we experience turmoil in direct relation to how strongly the situation is showing us our error. When we release those beliefs and open ourselves to experiencing the situation for whatever it truly is right then and there, we have peace.
 
The trick is that there’s a physical component to this, too. For example, some people’s brains are wired in such a way that their emotions are overwhelming and drive their thoughts to be unrealistically negative. The unrealistically negative thoughts, memories, and beliefs then feed the emotions which feed more unrealistic negativity, and it just continues to spiral. In their case, mindful acceptance of what is can be impossible at times because intense emotional suffering is currently their natural set point.
For people who do not experience fast, incredibly profound relief from just allowing themselves to experience the reality of their pain for a bit (10 or 15 minutes), a different approach is necessary. For those individuals, steps must be taken to gradually re-wire their brains and heal their nervous systems so that they will be in a position to experience distress without being sucked into a vortex of pain and spiraling downward. Their brains are wired to remain stuck in turmoil, so pushing themselves further into it may only make things worse for them.
 
For such individuals, studies show that the most beneficial things they can do are to join a DBT group and learn DBT skills, to receive treatment from qualified professionals, and to have the ongoing support of loved ones who have learned about how their brains work and are committed to doing what they can to support their emotional needs. Many of the responses involved in providing this type of support seem counter-intuitive, but over time they have an incredibly healing impact on the individual. (The brain is, after all, plastic.) It takes time and practice to learn them, and it takes time for them to work. Understanding and accepting that mistakes will be made and progress will be gradual is important for success, but if you love someone with this type of struggle, it’s well worth the commitment, effort, and patience.
It’s worth noting that sometimes, a person isn’t even for DBT or even professional help yet, and in those cases, the knowledgeable and loving support of the people closest to the individual is the most critical factor for healing.
For more information, I very highly recommend checking out book Overcoming Borderline Personality Disorder: A Family Guide for Healing and Change.

How to Get With Someone

You meet a person. You’re attracted. You learn more about him or her, and you become interested in the possibility of pursuing a relationship with the person. What now?

Here’s what doesn’t work:

  • Directly tell the person that you want to be together without a bit of back and forth flirtation, hints, and time spent together leading up to it.
  • Think about the person constantly even though you’re not actually dating him or her.
  • Plan your future with the person in your head in ways that wind up causing you to feel empty or discouraged.
  • Worry a lot about whether or not the person will be interested in you, will stay interested in you if you do get together, and will actually make you happy once you’re together.
  • Debate or criticize yourself about whether you should feel this way about this person.
  • Get way more emotionally invested in the outcome of your interactions or relationship than the other person is.
  • Get caught up in waves of intense highs of hope and lows of despair.
  • Determine that this person is the one person you want, and no one else will do before you’ve even dated.
  • Get ahead of where the relationship is.
  • Contemplate how to potentially get with the person for hours upon hours.
  • Learn as much as you can about the person before dating him or her.
  • Believe that this person could save you from feeling empty inside.
  • Talk about the person to your friends constantly.
  • Contact the person a lot even though they don’t contact you as often, doesn’t always respond, and don’t seem to care as much about your interactions as you do.
  • Spend more time focused on the other person than your own life.

When you’re very focused on the other person, your feelings for the person, how to get with the person, or what a relationship with the person would be like, you’re filling up a whole lot of room in your mind and heart with ideas about the person. It doesn’t leave much room for the actual person even if he or she might otherwise be interested in being involved with you.

When you’re significantly more emotionally invested in a person than they are in you, you’ll unconsciously send out that message, and it will repel the person whether he or she realizes it or not.

When you believe that another person can save you from loneliness, you’re setting yourself up for severe disappointment no matter what happens because while human being do need connection, affection, and intimacy, whether your need for those things will be met is entirely dependent on you, not your partner or a potential partner.

When your moods are very dependent on your perception of how things are going or your sense of how likely it is that your feelings will be returned, you won’t be capable of truly receiving the person’s feelings, particularly his or her feelings for you. You can’t truly understand and connect with another person unless you’re able to accept his or her feelings in a given moment, whatever they are. When your own feelings hinge on other people’s, not only are you not able to see theirs clearly, but you’re also prone to reacting to them in ways that make it unsafe for them to truly show you themselves.

So what does work?

  • Go ahead and appreciate the things about the person that you admire. Feel the warmth of the experience, and then let it go when the feeling passes. Don’t go out of your way to do or think things to feed that feeling outside of your interactions with the person. It will come back if you and the person are a good match and proceed towards dating and then being together. Do this for anyone you meet, not just that person.
  • Do daydream about your desires if you’re able to do it in ways that leave you feeling good. It’s okay to put that person’s face to your daydream if it helps you create the feeling of being in a happy, healthy, loving, supportive relationship. However, know that this mental practice is about showing your unconscious mind what you want in a relationship, not about getting exactly what you see with exactly that person. If your daydreams leave you feeling deflated or lonely, then you’re putting too much expectation into it. Back off and focus on other things that work for now.
  • Ask yourself what conditions would make you feel better about yourself. Explore how it would feel to feel better about yourself. How would you act? How would you interact with others? What would it look like? What would your home look like if you felt better about yourself? Then ask yourself if there are any little steps you could take right now that are in line with what you saw. Focus on the things that are within your power to do right away. Consider this multiple times per day. Do those things.
  • If you find yourself thinking about the person in a way that makes you feel bad, just notice those thoughts and feelings, and then either sit with the sensations you feel (refocus your attention on the sensations when your mind wanders) until they pass or up to fifteen minutes, whichever comes first, or…
  • Do something nice for yourself. Ask yourself what you need right now. A night out with friends? A delicious meal from your favorite take out restaurant? More sleep? A hot, relaxing bath? Time in meditation? To wrap yourself up in a warm blanket and watch your favorite old movie? To go for a hike? To go back to school for a new career??? Ask yourself this multiple times per day, and then tune into the most compassionate, loving, wisest part of yourself. Use that part to decide whether or not to do it.
  • Focus on the above actions until you feel you can interact with the person without being too invested in the outcome. When it feels right and you’re in a pretty positive place with yourself regardless of what that individual says or does, it’s time to put yourself in his or her path. You’ll be in a position to casually show positive reactions to the person, to truly see and feel how the person behaves and interacts with you, to develop an equal relationship if that’s where it goes, and to happily walk away if you discover that you’re not as good a match with the person as you might have previously suspected. If you do walk away, you’ll then be in a position to start a happy, healthy relationship with another person with whom you’re more compatible whenever he or she happens to walk into your life. You also won’t be as likely to carry the baggage of past loves and rejections into the relationship, and you won’t just restart the same old pattern of longing and despair from which you finally just escaped with another person.
  • If you do wind up dating and in a relationship with the person, take one step at a time. Make a conscious effort to communicate openly about where each of you is, including openly receiving their feelings for you, so that you’re both connected to where the relationship actually is and are open to each other instead of getting caught up in your ideas and disconnecting from each other.

In short, be AWESOME to yourself, and you’ll wind up in a position to attract, date, and get into a relationship with the right person for you. That person may very well be the one who initially caught your eye! If it’s not, you’ll feel just fine about walking away from that possibility because you will see it for what it is and know that there are better options for you (even if you don’t know what they are yet).

Blessings ❤

This again?!

Have you ever noticed that you can do some really amazing, deep, transformative healing, and then six months later, the same freaking thing comes back up again? I have found that it does for me, and I used to wonder why it happened and whether I was ever actually as “healed” as I thought I was.

Here’s the thing: The human mind is fantastically brilliant! Our unconscious minds compute unfathomable amounts of data from everything around us, and they are like incredibly powerful computers that can use that information to calculate things that our conscious minds cannot. The book Blink by Malcolm Gladwell explores this in detail with case studies and scientific research.

Everything we don’t even realize we see around us is computed. Even seemingly meaningless things like how well the lawns in our neighborhood are maintained and slight changes in someone’s pitch as they speak go into the calculations. The conclusions of those calculations are generally only available to us through our feelings, such as our emotions, sensations, and intuition.

Our minds develop rules for how to function to help us avoid pain, though usually we’re not consciously aware of those rules. Everything we feel changes our brains, but pain is more impactful than anything else. Our minds are so brilliant that they don’t just use our own personal experiences to create rules for how to avoid pain. They also see the evidence of the pain of others and use that information as well.

In this way, we take on the pain of others even if we don’t see the original cause of that pain. The core wound from the neighbor’s early childhood can indirectly impact us even if we never pay any attention to the neighbor. Our minds are just THAT powerful!

This is part of why you may sometimes find that you have core wounds that don’t seem to make sense based on the life that you’ve lived. Another reason is that we also have genetic memory. Scientists believe that our memories actually change our genetic material, so we pass our traumas from before having a child onto future generations through that child. Traumas experienced many generations ago due to war, practical realities of life, and social injustice can show up as core wounds even if we don’t know that they happened!

And just like other people’s core wounds can unconsciously or consciously impact us, when they heal those core wounds, the manifestations of their freedom to live their truth also impact us. When we heal our own core wounds, we walk out into the world as healers because our very presence has a healing influence on others even if they initially react negatively on the surface. This then creates a ripple effect. The people with whom we come in direct or indirect contact go on to impact others around them, and those people impact others around them, and so on. The very best thing we can do for anyone and everyone is to take very, very good care of ourselves!

Living in the world means absorbing the pain of others, and continuing to process our feelings means healing that pain not just in us, but also in others. When we heal ourselves, we’re indirectly healing everyone!

This is one of the reasons why it is unhelpful to try to figure out why you feel the way you do. You may never know, and if you make an assumption, the pain that you are experiencing will reinforce that assumption and change or reinforce your mental model. This also causes you to hold onto that pain. However, if you just go ahead and feel it without assigning meaning, you’ll likely release it. Whether or not you have an epiphany about why you felt the way you did, you’ll be better off for having processed your feelings. 🙂

Blessings ❤

“Why is this kid so freaking DIFFICULT?!” An important consideration when dealing with frequent meltdowns, temper tantrums, or aggression in small children

Do you know any young children who are difficult, uncooperative, or aggressive? If a kid younger than 5 or 6 is frequently acting this way, usually it means that there’s something with which he or she is struggling but doesn’t understand or know how to articulate. Small children NEED to be loved and accepted. From a biological standpoint, for a creature as small and helpless as a young child, acceptance by caregivers and “the pack” is necessary in order to survive. For this reason, they are generally very eager to please. They desperately want to do what’s expected of them and be well liked.
They’re also sensitive to any possible indication that they’re not loved and accepted, and for them, feeling unloved and rejected is felt as a threat to their survival.  Even things as simple as their caregivers not delighting in them or meeting their specific Love Language needs are felt on a visceral level as being unloved. This reaction is felt even more painfully when they are disciplined, scolded, or responded to with annoyance or anger, so they try very hard to avoid experiencing these things. Of course, children also need discipline, but there are things that make attempts at discipline more successful or less successful.
No matter how contrary or even violent their behavior, they’re trying their very best to fit in, get along, please their caregivers, and succeed socially. They’re trying like their life depends on it. If they’re doing things that upset people around them, it’s not because they enjoy being difficult. It’s not because they don’t care. They’re not willfully deciding to aggravate or hurt others. It’s happening because there are one or more unmet needs are overwhelming their long term survival needs.
Of course, it’s always important to consider whether a child who’s acting out is hungry, tired, sick, etc. There are also some long term conditions that can cause kids to act out over and over again.
 
One of the most common things that can cause or contribute to this is Sensory Processing Disorder. People with SPD experience sensory input differently than how most other people do, so an environment, object, or activity that’s comfortable or tolerable to everyone else in the room might be overwhelming or otherwise intolerable for them. When this happens to small children, they may not be able to communicate that there are too many chaotic sounds in the room, that they’re hot, that their shoes are uncomfortable, that the lights are too bright, that holding still that long is very stressful, that there are too many people too close to them, or that the tag on their shirt is aggravating them. They just go into panic mode. They can’t think or communicate effectively, and that includes listening to others no matter how clear and simple their requests may be.
When too much unpleasant or overwhelming sensory input causes them to go into fight or flight mode, they react and often lash out in illogical ways. These are not the type of emotional reactions that you can read on their face or in their voice like when they’re afraid because of a scary movie. Their expression may look angry or may have a “deer in the headlights look” instead of looking scared or pained. They may run away from their caregivers, physically attack something or someone, yell, or otherwise have a meltdown.
It is not possible to reason with or successfully discipline them while they’re in this state, and attempts to do so will only make the situation worse both short term and long term. Short term, attempts to get them to change their behavior without addressing the cause just adds to their feeling of being overwhelmed and their inability to use executive function in their brains instead of just reacting with fight or flight.
Long term, they don’t understand why they just can’t seem to behave. They want to, and they really do try their best. They think there’s something wrong with them, but they don’t know what or how to change it. They quickly begin to lose hope, believe they are unlovable, and develop psychological defense mechanisms. This manifests over the course of hours and weeks as no longer even trying to please their peers or caregivers or even claiming that they want to be bad or don’t care about hurting others. Those claims are very, very rarely true. They say these things because they cannot face the pain of rejection. Because these are their formative years, this impacts their sense of who they are and how the world works for the rest of their lives or until they heal those core wounds.
Different people with SPD have different tolerances and needs for different things, so figuring out what’s going on is largely a matter of observation and experimentation. The right technique or product (such as minimalist shoes or hearing protection) can dramatically change the child’s life and the lives, or at least comfort, of those around them. There are many great resources out there! Here are a few that I’ve found recently:
The most important thing is to look for the unmet needs instead of focusing on the behavior as a discipline problem. Yes, children absolutely need boundaries, rules, expectations, and discipline. These are excellent areas on which to focus after meeting their needs. For a kid with SPD, managing their environment so that they’re not in panic mode is a need!
Thank you. Blessings! ❤

Conjunctions and Stelliums

What Are They?

When Planets are conjunct ☌ , it means that they’re close enough to each other that their energies combine and work together as one. It’s like mixing blue and red and getting purple. Look at Mars and the Moon in the chart below for an example of what it looks like. The red line between them indicates that they’re conjunct.
A Stellium is when there are many planets conjunct. Some people define it as three or more planets. Some say it’s four or more. Define it however it makes the most sense to you, but just keep this in mind: The more planets are conjunct each other, the more strongly that area of the chart is emphasized. More planets in one area simply means more emphasis there.

Case Study

How does this look in practice? If someone, for example, has a stellium of six placements including their Sun and North Node all conjunct in the 2nd and 3rd Houses in Capricorn plus Mercury in Sagittarius in their 2nd House, would that person be the most accomplished, successful, well spoken, polished professional out there? A self-made millionaire before age 25 who does Ted Talks on how to be successful in the businessmen world? In my experience, no. See the chart below for an example of a friend with whom I was very close.
 
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My friend cared a great deal about what people thought of him, being successful, doing a good job at whatever task was in front of him, thriving in life, and making others happy. He cared so much, in fact, that he was plagued with debilitating anxiety that led to a very strong tendency towards addictions. He always tried so hard. Too hard. I’ve never seen anyone care so much OR fail as hard and as often as he did. He tried to be generous but was blind to how incredibly selfish he usually was. He was the most affectionate and most self-sabotaging person I’ve ever known. Nearly everything he ever tried to do somehow blew up in his face, and it was typically the result of silly or even ridiculous mistakes or oversights on his part.
He was ditzy, clumsy, intense, forgetful, and awkward. He had a very poor sense of professionalism, common sense, and personal boundaries at all, yet he was so incredibly charming, loving, sweet, and funny that, where ever he went, he always made a lot friends and really touched the lives of many of those with whom he came in contact. He was good at cheering people up and always encouraged others to be themselves. He loved and accepted them exactly the way they were, and that’s something that’s very rare. He was also an empath and very sensitive to the emotions of others, particularly towards him. This was often overwhelming for him, and as a result, sometimes he’d become avoidant and take some “me time” for a week or two during which time he failed to show up for jobs or meet other responsibilities.
His anxiety made it pretty much impossible for him to function effectively socially or especially professionally, so he self-medicated with many types of drugs and alcohol. Not surprisingly, the substances he to which he turned to make him more functional had exactly the opposite effect. He rarely held a job for more than two months much less excelled in his workplace. Towards the end of his life, he had managed to find a job which he not only managed to keep for an extended period of time but also progress. He had found some success.
Despite all of this, no one who knew him even somewhat well ever questioned whether he did his best. He, like all of us, just wanted to be loved and did his best to be worth of that love in the only ways he knew how.
Does this sound like a Capricorn to you? I wouldn’t imagine so! This is the impact of having so much focus on one particular area in our chart. The pressure is just so high, and sometimes it can even be unbearable. What can we do?

How to Handle a Stellium

Astrology shows us not only how we’re all naturally unbalanced but also how we can focus our attention on other areas in our charts to help restore balance to our lives. This can lead to greater peace, success, and whatever else it is we hope to find in life.
Having no placements in a particular Sign or House doesn’t mean we can’t express energy in that manner or in that area of our life. It simply means that it’s not our natural tendency to do so. We can, however, be mindful of our natural tendencies and purposely put focus on the areas of our charts that help bring balance to us and our lives.
To balance a stellium, the first place to look is the opposite side of the chart. Which Houses and Signs are opposite that stellium? For Capricorn, that’s Cancer. For the 3rd House, it’s the 9th House. Consciously put your attention there as you go about your day and life.
What else can be done? If you’d like to experience significant growth, look to the Signs and Houses that are square the stellium (same modality), particularly the closest one counter clockwise the stellim. If you’d like to experience comfortable assistance, look to the Signs and Houses trine the stellium (same element), again, especially counter clockwise.
There are also other tips that can be suggested by looking at other aspects and placements in your chart. This is where studying astrology so you can read your chart or hiring a professional to do it for you can be an excellent investment.

Squares

My experience is that Squares are the unsung heroes of astrology. Most sites will say that they’re challenging or difficult, and they are, but they’re an amazing impetus for growth and progress. If we understand them, we can mindfully navigate our relationships and our own thoughts, feelings, and actions so that Squares become a source of strength, stability, and support. Squares are extremely stimulating, and the energy dynamic pushes us to resolve issues. Squares between current planetary placements in the sky (Transits) and our natal chart placements can be utilized to this end as well.

Squares are made up of Planets or placements in signs that are the same Modality. One sign in a Square is Yin and the other is Yang. The “easier” aspects such as Trines, Aspects, and even Oppositions are all Yin + Yin or Yang + Yang relationships. It may be helpful to think about it as a girl’s/guy’s night out vs a date or perhaps your relationship with your bff vs your relationship with your significant other. Yes, the same Yin/Yang polarity interactions are typically more comfortable, but the Yin + Yang interactions are no less important. They are more likely to make you sweat or to keep you lying awake at night, but they provide a great deal of motivation, growth, stability, effectiveness, and productivity in life. I’ve written about a similar topic here. Yin needs Yang, and Yang needs Yin. They support and protect each other.
In short, once we learn how to work with and balance out the energies, Squares are often, in my personal experience and understanding, an incredibly beneficial aspect! I have some Squares in my natal chart, but I’d like to offer this synastry chart as an example of how Squares can work:
The above chart is the synastry relationship chart. I’ve not written about synastry yet, but squares in synastry function similarly to squares in transits and natal charts. This particular synastry chart contains a Cardinal Grand Square. (Please note that this is not, however, a Grand Cross. They’re a different beast to discuss a different day.) Each of the red lines in this particular chart is a separate Square. This relationship has been both the most challenging and most rewarding experience of my life, and I’m a mother, so I’m not saying this lightly!
As an example of how Squares can be a debilitating weakness or an incredible strength, let’s look at the red Aries placements square the blue Cancer placements. Of course, charts are significantly more complicated than that, and it’s not possible to totally isolate one area of a chart, but my experience with this relationship highlights the dynamic that I’m attempting to explain quite well. For the purposes of this example, I’m just going to focus on the Signs, not the Planets or Houses.
Aries is the simplest of signs. It wants movement. It wants to win, and if its efforts are unrewarded by clear, measurable progress, it quickly gets frustrated and begins to push against whatever is standing in its way. It can be outspoken and even aggressive when faced with barriers or even minor delays. “Do do do, go go go! Outa my way!” and, “Are we doing this or not?!” and, “I’m going with or without you,” are mentalities we might see with Aries expression of energy. If Aries gets too impatient, it will just simply move on. “This is a waste of time. I’ve got other things to do.” It is the most shortsighted of signs, so it doesn’t think much about the long term or consider even somewhat far reaching consequences such as how its brusque nature can be hurtful and damage its relationships with others. It’s not malicious in and of itself, but it’s also not particularly thoughtful or considerate. Some say it’s selfish, and from a certain perspective, this is true. It’s not thinking about much of anything other than what it’s trying to do right now. It’s not that Aries thinks its values are more important than anyone else’s. It’s just not thinking about any of that! It’s Cardinal Fire, initiating and passionate. It’s also incredibly Yang: Active, outgoing, decisive, and dominating. A person with an Aries heavy chart can be warring and aggressive if there are not other energies at work in the chart to tame the person.
Cancer, on the other hand, is emotional, sensitive, gentle, nurturing, and guarded. The crab with its hard shell was chosen to represent Cancer for a reason! Some ancient systems used the turtle to represent Cancer. The turtle and the crab both have shells. Their home is important to them. They’re also not the speediest of creatures. The crab even moves sideways! Cancer is also very Yin: It’s passive in areas that aren’t particularly important to it, but it retreats into its shell when it feels threatened. It does not appreciate being pushed to do something that it’s not ready to do, and it’s very concerned with both protecting its loved ones and values and being protected. It needs stability from others to thrive because it’s moody. Its emotional state is everything, and its heart and therefore mind, demeanor, and behavior can change like the phases of the moon. During the darker phases, it can be pretty insistent on not moving. If you try to force it, you’ll find out exactly why those pincers are there! Cancer needs people to not only be patient and gentle with it, but also to provide stability and structure so that its free to indulge in its true feelings at any given time. It needs people who don’t take it too seriously, overreact, or abandon it when it lashes out or withdraws when its having a rough day or week.
I’m sure you can imagine how exasperated Aries could become with Cancer and how wary and thus uncooperative Cancer could be with Aries! How could any of this be a good thing?
Let’s remember that while Cancer is Yin, it’s also Cardinal. It wants to initiate and create, but it’s passive and introverted, so it can lack the necessary push to get its desires off the ground. Yin attracts others to take action. Aries, on the other hand, can push too hard and fail to reach its objectives due to impatience and lack of consideration for others. If we understand this, we can use that knowledge to see the situation from both perspectives and thus get past the initial hurdles. Aries must understand the cyclic nature of Cancer’s moods, refrain from overreacting to them, and give Cancer time and space when necessary with the faith that Cancer’s bright side will soon shine again. Aries must also refrain from pushing Cancer too much and allow Cancer to initiate indirectly through emotional expression. Once Aries understands this, it’s a fun challenge to stay present enough to spot Cancer’s cues that it’s time to act. There’s great satisfaction in meeting this challenge. Aries also benefits from the lessons it learns about how to patiently wait for the best time to move forward, how to notice and respect moods, and learning how to relax and allow itself to be nurtured.
Cancer, on the other hand, must trust Aries enough to express its feelings and desires and understand that Aries’ directness and even aggression can be tempered through proper communication. Aries can also be an excellent protector.This trust may sound simple, but it’s no small feat. What’s in it for Cancer? Aries loves to take action and make stuff happen, so Cancer can attract Aries and then harness some of this power to do by letting Aries know what it wants. Cancer can also learn to be more confident and from Aries, and it can become more comfortable with taking risks. When Aries and Cancer understand and are considerate of each other and work together, they can come to appreciate and even rely on each other greatly, and this creates stability. This applies in relationship charts as well as in natal charts. With transits, the Planet in question isn’t impacted like a person would be, of course, but the person involved can make use of the Square for growth.
Each set of Square Signs and each set of House and planetary placements has its own nuances, so consider all of that when looking at signs as well. Sun in Aries in the 2nd House Square Sun in Cancer in the 5th House is going to be a lot different than Mercury in Aries in the 11th House Square Moon in Cancer in the 1st House, as an example.
One of the ways to help the squared Signs or placements understand and work with each other is to focus on each Sign’s opposite (Capricorn for Cancer, Libra for Aries). In the case of a T Square where three of the Signs of the same modality are Square, focus on the fourth sign of that modality.
Of course, too much focus on one modality has pitfalls as well even when they are supporting each other well. A method for balancing that is to focus on the modality that follows the one on which there’s a natural focus in the chart. For example, the example above contains a Cardinal Grand Square, so it’s helpful to focus on the fixed Signs. There’s already a very strong focus on Scorpio due to my Moon and Uranus there and it being his Ascendant and having Pluto in Scorpio. There’s already a bit of a focus on Aquarius due to it being my Ascendant and South Node. He has Jupiter in Aquarius, but it’s intercepted, so it hadn’t been much of a focus for him before we knew each other. Meeting me did seem to bring him more into his Aquarius expression of energy! Taurus isn’t particularly pronounced in my chart, but his DC, Venus, and North Node are there. It’s an area in which I have put more attention since I’ve met him. My DC and North Node are in Leo, and Leo is also intercepted in his chart. This means that in our relationship, I would be wise to focus on Taurus and, even more so, Leo expression of energy, and he would be wise to focus on Aquarius, Leo, and especially Taurus expression on energy. (However, because Aquarius and Leo are intercepted in his chart, he must access them through the previous Signs, Cancer and Capricorn, but that’s a topic for another day.)