The Year I Turned 27, Part 1

Oh, youth. I remember the sweet, swan-song days of yore — it almost feels like yesterday that my only concerns were somewhere along the lines of being mad at how early I had to get up for school and not wanting to wear that one ugly hand-me-down sweater my mom got at the Mormon-run thrift shop. For somebody who couldn’t even brush my own teeth without being told to because I didn’t understand the merits of a cavity-free mouth, I definitely peaked when I was 9.

Will Smith Reveals Why 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' Character Was Named After  Him - Essence
This is a real-life still of me as a kid being hot shit / Image (c) NBC

Now that I’m the ripe old age of 27, I’m not exactly sure how I’m ever going to capture that vigor again. I’ve been told by the media that I should’ve capitalized on my looks a decade ago when I was at the pinnacle of my youth and that I should think about “settling down” since my “best years” are already behind me. I guess what this means is that I need to learn how to get comfortable with my own mediocrity because it’s all downhill from here. . .

Or something like that.

It’s hard to keep track of what I should and should not be doing at this age since I’m in a weird “in-between” right now. I am no longer young enough to hold capital in industries who love drooling over teenage girls, but not old enough to be told I need to go get some Botox injections before I wrinkle worse than a Shar-pei.  And until I actually turn 30, I can’t even be won over by those little Hallmark cards telling me I should go live it up like an extra in Sex In the City.

The Real Beginning 30th Birthday Card - Greeting Cards - Hallmark
Well I’ll be damned. I guess everything I’ve been doing up to this point is meaningless! Now I have to pressure myself to have a successful 30s or else what the fuck is the point? / Image (c) Hallmark.

All said, I guess that means there’s only one thing left for me to do: bitch about it while getting astrology involved.

But First, A Primer

Believe it or not, I didn’t choose to talk about my 27th birthday just because I feel left out of celebrating a big milestone (although I do think it’s totally bogus how Western culture makes you feel like there’s not much left after turning 21).  Nor did I choose to talk about it as an Angel Number or a numerological concept – if I had wanted to do that, I could find a reason to talk about every single year.  

Instead, I want to talk about turning 27 because I think it’s quite magical from a starry-eyed standpoint.

Consider: if you’re at least somewhat familiar with astrology, then you might recognize 27 as being the precursor to the ever-dreaded “Saturn Return.” There’s no doubt that you’re starting to feel Cronus’ breath on your neck as he asks you if you’re finally ready to live up to your worldly duties, tick-tock-tick-tock. You’re on the cusp of self-actualization and you want to be prepared.

So prepare you do. Or don’t. Saturn doesn’t care either way. What I mean by that is Saturn will force your hand toward your duties whether you’re being good about it or not, and you’ll know if you’re not because the things you’ve been getting away with up to this point will fall apart. Steadfast friends will suddenly fall to the wayside, that partner you think is the one will no longer be, the job you’re working at will feel more like a cage – you get the idea. At some point, you’ve got to “adult up” if you don’t want an unhappy Cronus tearing apart your structures.

I don’t care how old he looks, this motherfucker ate his kids without thinking twice and carries a giant sickle at all times. Be careful that you’re not on his list! / image (c) Lucille Turner

But okay. You know that’s still a year or two off. And my preamble into this article was about turning 27, not 30, so what gives?

What gives is that in order to be ready for your Saturn Return, you need to be in the headspace to do it. You have to take what you’ve been learning up to this point if you want to be capable of handling what Saturn throws at you.  

It is based on my observation and experience that you first undergo two things to help you prepare:

  1. Emotional maturation
  2. Understanding what you feel “called” to do (or your Soul Mission)

Today, we’re going to talk about the first one and what astrological phenomenon that correlates to. Enter:

Secondary Progressions and The Progressed Lunar Return

Progressions are just one of many ways we can expand upon astrology’s interpretive power. Though I talk here today about one type, there are other methods of playing with the natal chart to get different results, all of which are based on how one decides to mathematically move (“progress”) the horoscope.

Let’s think about this from a 3D perspective for a second. When we are studying natal charts we are doing so from the Earth’s perspective, and the Earth – that big, blue, beautiful planet of ours – is a sphere. I know, duh. But this is where the zodiac wheel comes into play: we flatten the 12 zodiac constellations into a 360 degree circle and divide them up accordingly. This means that, from the start of one zodiac sign to the next, there are 30 degrees (360 / 12 = 30).  

Still confused? Let’s zoom in a little and use the Sun as an example.   If you were to track the transiting Sun throughout the zodiac, starting at 0 degrees Aries (which is considered the “real” start of the year because of the Spring Equinox) you would notice that it moved about one degree every day. After about 365ish days, you would notice the Sun back roughly in the same spot, 0 degrees Aries. This is astrology in real-time.

Progressions work a little differently here.

In the case of secondary progressions (the type we’re discussing today) the rule of thumb is “one day for a year.” Going back to our lovely little Sun example, that means we would stretch out the progression of the Sun through the zodiac to one degree per year. Put another way, the Sun would take 365 YEARS to make a full rotation around your progressed chart, a fact that sadly none of us will live to see!

The same rule applies to all the other planets based on their rate of movement. As you might imagine, slower moving planets like Jupiter and Saturn would be stretched out to a timeframe so long that, when using this method, we don’t tend to consider them for this type of progression.

So what about what’s left then?

Well, between the luminaries and the inner planets, the VIP of this type of progression is the Moon. In real-time, the moon takes roughly 2 ½ days to go through a zodiac sign so once again we apply the “one day to a year” rule here and stretch it out. Now it takes about 2 ½ to 3 years to make it through a single sign, the likes of which cumulates into your Progressed Lunar Return when it crosses over your natal Moon after ~27 years. Isn’t math fun?

Astrolog chart sphere animation
From the Earth’s perspective – our perspective – the arrangement of the planets can be understood based on which zodiac sign its in and the latitude/longitude of the houses at that exact moment. Any time we start tinkering with our analysis of planetary movement, we’re really just modifying what’s already happening above us! / Image (c) astrolog

Alright, alright.

You’ve endured my primer and toughed out the wibbly-wobbly math. Now you probably want to know why that wibbly-wobbly math even matters and what it says about your emotional maturation.

Here it is:  the Moon in astrology is about security and emotional comforts. She also deals with our base instincts and represents our Mother, both our literal mother and the ways we want to be mothered by others. What a progressed chart then does for you is it helps you articulate those needs as you age; as the progressed Moon travels throughout each sign/house in your chart, it illuminates that part of your life for a good 2-3 years and exposes you to experiences that (hopefully) add understanding to your own innate needs. Eventually, this accumulates into your Progressed Lunar Return.

Think of it like a pilgrimage, or a hero’s journey. Before you leave, you make sure to pack your creature comforts (your natal Moon) so that the trip is easier.  As you travel, however, you encounter things that can expand, challenge, destroy, and renew your idea of “comfort,” forcing you to adapt to different circumstances. Once you’ve returned home (your Progressed Moon travelling back over your natal Moon), you not only have exposed yourself to new things, but you’ve also learned more about what really makes you tick on a primal level. You are more appreciative of those homely comforts and know how to seek them out regardless of where you are in the world.

Then you do it all over again. Your second (and maybe) third go-around will continue to illuminate different parts of your life and ask you to expand your understanding on what makes you feel secure; safe. But it is in that first pilgrimage that you get to experience the world raw and undiluted.

You learn how to mother yourself.

You learn what you need to surround yourself with and what comforts you when you are distressed.

You learn, above all else, what brings you peace.

Coming Home: A Progressed Lunar Return Story

Open Photo
My parents circa 1990

I grew up poor and spoiled. Whenever possible, my father would bring back treats from his day job as a dishwasher; how much of my daughterly affections were given was gauged by what he had in tow. If I saw a white Styrofoam box, I leapt (El Matador enchiladas were my ultimate comfort food). If it were a toy – a remote controlled car or a doll or even a hand-held radio – I would stare from my seat in the old, oval chair and wait. I wanted to know what the occasion was and if I could play with it now or if he was going to make me wait.

My mother, meanwhile, was doling out a constant helping of Whatever-I-Want so long as it was the start of the month. The regularity of her Social Security benefits combined with the fact that she didn’t work meant I could be spoiled at any time. On a perfect day, I would head to Shopko with mom, pick up a new Bratz doll, and then be back in time for dad to come home with something twinkling in his hand, no strings attached. At least none that I could see.

So goes the tale of a girl whose natal moon is in Virgo.

In astrology, Virgo symbolizes service. Service to ourselves, to others, and to the Earth. We are duty-bound creatures who want to care for all living things if we can help them because we are in tune with the rhythm of the soil. That does not, however, mean that that service is all we are, or all we do. It’s important that this placement has the chance to explore our curious impulses without being shamed if we “fall short” the first time. More than that, it’s important that we are shown affection without the caveat of needing to “perform” for that affection. That means love is given not just when we get good grades or do all our chores.

I remember the first time I did not come home from school with good results. I was in 5th grade and our homework assignment was to do a state report – easy enough. I chose New York and, with a little web searching and borrowing of my grandparent’s printer, was able to cobble together a serviceable presentation. What I hadn’t realized was that there were multiple things we were supposed to research about the state; I had only done the bare minimum. The result was a not-so-satisfying D.

Dad was the unhappiest that I had seen him. He overheard what happened while I was talking to mom as we got out of the car. The gift of the day – a white teddy bear with a big, red heart – fell limp in his hand as his shoulders slumped over. Where he was about to greet me with a smile, he frowned, staring at me with disbelief for so long that I wanted to vanish on the spot. I still got the gift, but it was on the condition that I would have to listen to him rant on-and-off about how disappointed he was and that he expected me to do better, be better.

Eventually, I was given a chance to fix the grade in the easiest fashion possible: bring something to the class that comes from the state. Since Coca-Cola was made in New York in the late 19th century, all I had to do was bring in a few 12-packs to appease both my fellow classmates and the teacher. This brought my grade up to a meddling C.

The good news is, is that this particular type of incident didn’t happen again. It didn’t have a chance to; dad passed away part-way through 7th grade. The people I lived with afterwards were not as insistent that the occasional C would spell my doom.

But I was. That day had cemented itself into memory, an instinct I called mine despite it not being born from me. I did not need to be pressured to do good in school because I pressured myself. I could live with a B and make peace with a B- but spirits willing, never a C. A C meant disappointment. A C meant I would not succeed.

It sounds absurd, doesn’t it? Yet this – among other toxic, even abusive conditions – sharpened me into my own worst enemy. Though I summoned the strength of my Virgo moon to work my way to an out-of-state college, I carried in my body these untruths. Anything not up to my own implanted standards sent me into a downward spiral, the likes of which I could only crawl my way back from once I had recognized these beliefs as a foreign object lodged in my cells.

After years of therapy and unlearning, I can now emerge from the other side of my Progressed Lunar Return some the wiser. In order to claim myself again, I was called to cleanse that which Virgo rules: I had let go of the need to equate affection with productivity. I had to (re)learn what love without expectation meant. I want to serve but only when I am called to do so by joy, not exchange.

⚠️ IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT! ⚠️

If you’ve been a regular of my blog, you might’ve noticed some recent changes to the menu, the biggest one being that I am now accepting readings DIRECTLY through here!

What changed, you ask?

I’M REBRANDING THE MAIN WEBSITE!

Like a phoenix from its ashes, something more glorious is going to be reborn from the dust pile that will soon be The Sterile Slut. It’s going to be more in line with what I like doing of course, but it’s also intended to make more sense for visitors. There will be more clarity between the two websites and what I offer.

Nothing here is going to change – much. Rather, I will be adding and improving on what’s already here by making it feel like its own self-contained website. I will be making new social media for this site and even give it its own storefront, but those are things that can only happen once the rebrand is complete.

Until then, I simplified the Book-a-Reading process if you’ve wanted to work with me but felt the old set-up (Square) was too convoluted to navigate (which I’m inclined to agree).

More updates will be coming soon. I’ll make a separate announcement when things start to settle more into place, but until then, I hope you enjoy this new, if temporary, format!

About The Author

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Jasmine Sierra is freelance content creator, poet witch, and amateur boudoir model all at the same time. She holds her Master’s degree from Splading University and currently resides in Seattle, WA; she would love it if you would consider supporting her by booking a reading or signing up for her Patreon!

My Presence is My Past: Your Saturn Return in Aquarius

Cover Image (c) Kelsey Smith

I LOVE(D) the 90s. Mind you, I was only 5-6 years old at the turn of the new millennium, so my memory of things is warped by things a 5-6 year old would concern themselves with: the latest toys, not going to bed when I’m told, and trying my damndest to make some friends in kindergarten.

PET DOCTOR BARBIE - She had snazzy legging pants AND came with a cat and dog that moved "magically" when you patted them ... so obviously she was on every kid's wishlist, circa Christmas 1996.
I was too busy being salty about not getting this version of Barbie around this time. I mean, come on mom, I want Vet Barbie so I can have a toy dog I’ll lose in a week! (Image (c) Martel).

Nonetheless, I remember just enough of the 90s that I more or less miss everything about it. Yeah, most of that might have to do with the blissful innocence that being a young kid can bring, but the gift of retrospect helps me realize that I got to grow up during an era that feels like lightning-in-a-bottle. Being on the youngest end of the millennial spectrum, I was one of the last to remember a time where the Internet wasn’t breathing down my neck at every turn.

I remember when there was still a delineation between “online” and “offline.”

I remember when climate change — though we knew of its existence for decades before it hit “crisis” levels — still seemed like a faraway conclusion that could wait.

I remember when a subculture was just that: a subculture.

But I’m not here to wax poetic all-post-long about how the 90s rocked and everything since “hasn’t been the same.” The occasional pang of nostalgia isn’t harmful, of course — I experience it myself in waves — we just have to take caution that our longing for days past doesn’t blind us from creating a better present. Change is also natural; inevitable. To pretend that it’s not is how we get into situations like these, where reactionary politics and societal decay take over.

And that’s one of the primary missions I think we, the children of late 1990 to early 1994 have to learn. We have to learn this because we are the torch-bearers of change. As one of my favorite astrologers (Alice Sparkly Kat) says about the current Saturn in Aquarius generation: “we are no longer young and, being no longer young, we cannot think of ourselves as subcultural and naïve anymore.”

Phew.

What a loaded statement I just put out there! It’s easier said than done to enact change when we know the powers that be want to cling to the status quo.

That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, though. And before you think this is going to be a long list of things you can do now to help (i.e. being on the ground protesting, calling your representative, etc.), I want to say that, while all those actions are important and very much necessary, those are not the ONLY ways you can enact the change you want to see in the world. The change, as a cheesy, age-old adage goes, starts from within.

Saturn in Aquarius: To Break the Rules, You Must First Know Them

One of the very first things you’ll ever learn if you’ve done any kind of art is the rules. If it’s music, you learn how notes work. If it’s poetry, you learn different techniques to elevate the reading. So on and so forth. The idea is supposed to be that you can’t really call yourself an “expert” in a given practice if you decide to say “fuck it” and break the rules of your craft without having bothered to at least try learning them first!

The same logic applies when your natal Saturn is in Aquarius. Aquarius, the egalitarian, community-loving Water Bearer, pours what it knows from its container so the people have the knowledge to challenge our current understanding of things. When you understand the game our politicians are playing — when you understand how companies try to get you to divest your sweet time from enacting change by strong-arming you into buying their latest product — then you understand the “rules” they are playing by. By that I mean they aren’t really playing by any in the first place. Sure there are laws that protect us, limits imposed on policymakers and CEOs that inhibit them from doing shit like putting lead in our gasoline, but for every rule that pops up is another rule that is in desperate need of writing.

Image result for saturn aesthetic
It gets said a lot but one more time for the new folks in the back: Saturn (who is associated with Lord Chronos) deals with things like rules, limitations, boundaries, and foundations. It was also seen as the “ego-slayer” in Traditional Astrology for it represented the divide between Heaven and Earth. To pass, you must first release that which no longer serves you (image (c) hexagonest).

Yet here you are, a common everyperson who knows that you are required to follow them! They told you to do good in school and get a Bachelor’s degree so you could be competitive in the job market and grind the good ol’ career ladder like everybody else. Unfortunately for you, whether or not you chose to do that didn’t really matter: you were doomed before you could even start.

Worse still, I bet you, you fellow Saturn-in-Aquarius bearer, noticed that you felt like you didn’t fit in regardless of which path you chose. You could have been a standout, straight-A student who made it all the way to Harvard, or a “I’m-trying-out-community-college” after being out of school for five years student, and you probably felt like you an outcast either way.

This is why I mentioned subcultures earlier. And it’ll all tie in together in a second, but you gotta walk with me here for a sec.

First, let’s add one more association to Saturn: our “authority” wound. Everybody has one no matter where your natal Saturn is, but what sign/house its in will tell you how the authority wound manifests in your life.

To keep this short and sweet, in the case that you have Saturn in Aquarius, your authority wound has to deal with the fact that you KNEW the rules don’t really matter because they weren’t enforced equally. Yet any effort you made to disobey or rebel was met with harsh punishment. This punishment may have been quite literal, like losing recess because you tried to cheat on a test. But it can also be more subtle, like getting rejected from a group of friends because you weren’t able to intuit the unspoken rules of interacting with each other.

Subcultures in the 90s and early 00s were a refuge from all of that. I know I loved the young, wild west of the internet as a kid because I could come up with a ridiculous ass username, shout some inflammatory shit about a fictional character I didn’t like, then log off and go play outside without ever once thinking some rando dudebro was going to doxx me for it.

Kagome sweetie I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry that a ugly ass bitch (me) like this would even say that. Oh my god. (Image (c) Viz Media).

Again, however, this is now a bygone era. We the children of Saturn in Aquarius are now hitting an age where we must accept that there’s nowhere left to hide. Now you are being called on by your Saturn Return to accept the truth: you’re kinda fucking weird and you might’ve been a victim at one point but now’s your chance to BE the weirdness you want to see in the world.

Saturn Return In Aquarius: Fuck the Rules, I’ll Make My Own

Well that sounds nice and poetic, doesn’t it. If I could have said “fuck the rules” already, I would have tossed all my stuff into the trash, booked it into the woods, and started a commune of fellow witches where we drag each other via tarot all day long.

Except, if I really want to . . . I could. Just like I decided to say “fuck this job, I’m out” by quitting, moving across the country, and starting up my business as an intimacy coach/spiritual practioner/poet/amateur boudoir model.

Image result for ahs coven
Listen y’all. . . .I’m down for the coven if you are (Image (c) FX).

Now I’d like it to go on record that not everybody has the ability to do that. Our current system kicks some of us down more than others and for some, being alive is your biggest achievement right now (which by the way is a form of rule breaking since our system would rather see you dead, in which case, you’re already doing the damn thing ♥)

There are plenty of other ways to break rules, though. Example: I joined a Buy Nothing group for my area and have already done a couple of exchanges with people. I’ve also participated in donation-based yoga sessions and have been a part of a virtual art community despite having never met these people face to face before. In a time where isolation is necessary and buying goods can be difficult because of our shit economy, being able to build community (how very Aquarian) can become a lifeline. And it’s something your fair-weather capitalist is never going to tell you because it benefits them more when you compete AGAINST each other instead of work TOGETHER.

As transiting Saturn begins to roll over (or has already rolled over) your natal Saturn, think about all the ways you break the rules in your life. Also think about how your weirdness (which might have gotten you ostracized as a child/teenager) is seen as more acceptable now since the dissolution of subcultures. Are you still ashamed to be who you are? Are you shutting other people out because you don’t trust you can be your authentic self and make a difference?

Today — as in, right now — you can be the difference you want to be. It can be as elaborate as starting your own community garden or as simple as taking a stance against bigotry and calling out that Karen when she makes a backhanded statement on your friend’s Facebook post. Instead of waiting to find the right community for you, make your own. Start a Discord server, a Tumblr chat, a Telegram. Honestly, I don’t care how you do it but one of the most important things Saturn in Aquarius asks is that you SHOW UP for your community. Not your boss, not your government, but the people who live next to you.

Image result for mr rogers
A wise man once said “it’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood / and a beautiful day for a neighbor.” (Image (c) PBS)

You can also get a clearer idea of what ways that needs to show up in your life depending on what time of day you were born. As I mentioned in my previous post, Saturn is considered the dinural (daytime) malefic planet. How you’ll experience your Saturn Return will depend on if this maleific is happier (day) in his position or not (night).

If you were born during the day: How have those with perceived authority made you feel powerless? How have you made yourself feel powerless when you had the chance to claim your authority again? Why are you afraid to deviate?

If you were born during the night: Think about the next time where you had a chance to be an authority on something but weren’t taken seriously. On whose merit are you looking to be accepted by? In what ways are you still looking for authority to rescue you? Do you still trust you know yourself without the validation of an authority figure?

The influence of your Saturn Return further varies depending on what house it’s in and what aspects it’s making. You may also experience it differently if you are Saturn-dominant (meaning Saturn is the strongest or one of the strongest influences in your chart) because you are a child of Chronos and are used to way he tests you. To find out where you fall, you can book a chart reading with me and take 15% off if you’re one of the first 10 to do it.

Ending Thoughts

Listen, nobody is pretending that being an adult is easy. . . except for Boomers who can’t let go of a past that no longer exists. Which is exactly what I’m warning you against, my fellow millennials! Mainstream media will gush about how Gen Z are doing all the heavy lifting when that’s just not true at all. We have reached a fever pitch in a time of unyielding crisis — you are watching, in real-time, what happens when those who make the rules but don’t listen themselves.

Is it so bad now to be weird in a time where “normal” is failing?

Saturn in Aquarius is asking you to find comfort in your weirdness.

Saturn in Aquarius is telling you to use your weirdness and create a new normal that centers on those around you.

Saturn in Aquarius is demanding that you finally recognize that you really do know yourself. Stop looking for authority to validate if you’re doing it right.

You’re doing it right already.

Further Reading

Saturn Return in Aquarius

About the Author

Jasmine Sierra is an intimacy coach, spiritual practioner, content creator, and amateur boudoir model all at the same time. She does all her own stunts in Seattle, WA and would love it if you would consider supporting her by booking a reading or signing up for her Patreon!

The Man Who Sold The World: A Love Letter to Kurt Cobain

If you read my previous post about the astrological marker that Vaporwave has left in the music world, then this post likely comes as no surprise to you. Nonetheless, this post is overdue for me as I’ve been itching to talk about it for a while.

And there’s much I can say about it — about Kurt Cobain — without even touching the natal chart. We are talking about a person whose fame has seemingly transcended time, his memory still a fresh imprint now two generations removed; their most popular song broke one billion views on Youtube — a rarity shared only by 178 other videos since its inception in 2005. The acoustic guitar he played at the now iconic 1993 MTV Unplugged Show has also recently sold for $6 million, making it the most expensive one to ever sell at an auction.

On and on I can go. My own bias aside, there is a clear, measurable impact that Kurt continues to leave decades after he took his exit from Earth. After all, it’s hard not to be inspired by the electric genius that was his music, or by his rage against the bullshit treatment marginalized identities get. “Grunge” may be the genre, but “punk” was his spirit.

A wise man once said that Nirvana cut the popular Hair Metal genre of the 80’s down “like wheat before the sickle.” How else can you describe a song that revolutionized an entire decade of music and pop culture?

Of course, the astrology in this man’s natal chart has also been turned and spun a decent amount of times. I’ve read excellent breakdowns about just how influential the Grand Water Trine in his chart and his ability to make his art flow like water. I’ve also read about the drowning influence of Neptune (due to the fact that five planets were located in watery Pisces) and how it came to create a person whose compassion for the masses’ suffering, and his sensitivity to the constant limelight, made him feel as if he was constantly drowning.

All this is to say I agree with it. None of those feats would be possible without the dream-like dissolution Neptune brings. Or the fact that the concentration of planets in Pisces wouldn’t create anything less of a person who is constantly aching to merge with all of humanity.

I’m writing this, however, because I want to see more love letters to the potency that is his Grand Kite formation.

The natal chart of Kurt Cobain, born February 20th, 1967 with a recorded time of 7:38 P.M. The location is set for Aberdeen, WA. I outlined the pattern in his chart for clarity.

Let’s start with a quick refresher on what a Grand Trine is. If you are still newer to the language of astrology, a Grand Trine is a configuration of 3 (or more) planets that all reside in signs of the same element. In Kurt’s instance, the afromentioned pattern occurs because Neptune in Scorpio chats with Jupiter in Cancer, who then have a three-way conversation with the Mercury-Venus-Saturn configuration going on in Pisces.

“Come, doused in mud, soaked in bleach — ” I’m not even going to add much here. The resonate, watery themes are exactly what you can expect from a Grand Water Trine

As wonderful as this all sounds, no position, aspect, or pattern is without its shadow side. Trines are generally considered positive because the communication between planets simply flows without resistance, which is why the trine aspect requires that planets be in the same element — who else could understand the plight of an element’s fundamental nature better than itself? But the lack of tension present here means sometimes that it’s easy to ignore your hidden potential. Talent may come so naturally that working hard seems pointless. You can just do it.

The difference between a Grand Trine and a Grand Kite is the introduction of at least two sextiles and at an opposition; it’s fun little astrological pattern that shows a burgeoning karmic potential. Consider: before Nevermind, Nirvana was a band that could only afford one $600 session to record their album. The sudden shoot to the top of charts after years of grinding behind the scenes has Jupiter being in the 10th house written all over it, thanks to the expansive nature of the planet in its sign of domicile. And keep in mind that Neptune, Pisces’ modern planetary ruler, is off being the other sextile in this configuration in the chatty 3rd house. This only doubles down on the elusive nature of Kurt’s lyrics, considering the way he chose to express himself and communicate was rarely straightforward.

Now consider the crown of this pattern: the opposition. As Lynn Koiner writes, “the key to understanding the dilemma of the Kite is in understanding the influence of the opposition.” Oppositions in a natal chart indicate a conflict of energies that the individual is constantly battling; this configuration can make one teeter back and forth between two split impulses, their frustrations with integrating these contradictions projected both out and in. Even without considering the planetary bodies spearheading this Grand Kite, oppositions can be the source of great tension.

But consider them we should. Every astrologer who uses the modern system will tell you Pluto is no joke. This is the planet that causes the deepest disruptions in our psyche, both personal and collective. Power is everything to this planet; it is an all-consuming and all-or-nothing energy that leaves no room for moderation. When you pair it off with an eccentric, marches-to-its-own-beat kind energy like Uranus, you’re going to get a revolutionary who craves constant, enduring change.

There is more than just Neptune at play when we take a deeper dive into Nirvana’s music. For example, listen to this guitar solo (time: 2:29) on this cover Kurt did at his Live at Reading performance. The way he pulls off from the established backdrop of the bass and drums in a rancorous wail, then end it with frantic screaming — the sudden change (Uranus) in tempo comes in raw, unfiltered, and disruptive as hell (Pluto).

The Pluto-Uranus conjunction pinned so neatly to Kurt’s ascendant is reflective of the era he was born in. I don’t think we need to take much of a history lesson here; the 1960s stands out in our mind as one of the most iconic eras for the Civil Rights Movement, a time fraught with constant violence and the emergence of radical schools of thought a la Malcom X. There was also manifestation of things like second-wave feminism, the Free Love Movement, and a renown urge to explore radical, out-there drugs like LSD — all expressions of a potent conjunction that wanted to tell the system to fuck off in every way possible. Since planetary configurations like this come only every so often (in this case, anywhere from 111 – 146ish years), having one so powerful sit on the ascendant means his very being felt compelled to push boundaries constantly, and at any cost.

This is why that, despite how “quick” Nirvana’s success seemed, it was anything but. The Grand Kite pattern can supersede a Grand Trine when it can be realized because the opposition often compels the individual to put their potential out in the world. Before and during the band’s “official” inception in 1988, Kurt was filling notebooks with fake interviews that he came up with, constantly thinking about how he wanted to respond to potential questions he might receive about his music. He would also fill his journals with mock-ups for his music videos, and was known to be finicky about who he worked with to make sure the creative direction was honored. It’s on record that when the director for “Heart Shaped Box” declined to do any more music videos in fear that he couldn’t live up to Kurt’s expectations, Kurt said he would never make another music video again (and he didn’t — “You Know You’re Right” is a posthumous release.)

In finances too does this impulse show up: regarding the infamous 1992 dispute over Nevermind’s royalties, Nick Soulsby states that “Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl receive[d] a cut on only eleven Nirvana songs including 12.5% each on Smells Like Teen Spirit, [with] Kurt receiving the remaining 75% on those songs.” Put simply, the control of finances and the conscious manipulation of the band’s image is nothing short of the Plutonian impulse for power (the added layer of a Pluto-Saturn opposition going on his chart would have only stressed his rigid discipline and issues with control).

"I'm Kurt Cobain and I'm in a dress! Fuck You!" Lol
Journal entries like these reveal the amount of thought Kurt put into the artistry behind the band. It was easy to believe the “slacker” image he put on considering both what he said and how he dressed, but I can’t imagine a slacker ending up with being hailed as one of the greatest artists of all time on accident.

None of this is to discredit the power of Uranus here either. To sent trends, thinking outside of the box is crucial; how else to do it than through the flashy, lighting-bolt inspiration that Uranus gifts us? Such futuristic insight often means that the ingenuity isn’t understood until years — sometimes decades — after. However, the beneficial aspects the Pluto-Uranus conjunction was receiving from a happy Jupiter and a content Neptune I believe offset the lag time that sometimes comes with these heavy configurations. Not to mention that there was already momentum from the Seattle sound (“grunge”) pushing Kurt along. It just so happens that in activating this pattern, he was able to articulate most clearly the collective’s trauma by channeling his razor sharp awareness (Uranus) through his Piscean energy, creating a sound that is equal parts harrowed and melodic. Talk about seeing into the year 3000.

This configuration is not without its downsides. The constant tension that demands resolution in the opposition can be stressful. Being that Pluto (who also rules death) and Uranus (which can herald sudden endings) lead the way, we recall all the near-death instances Kurt had towards the later part of his career — he nearly overdosed during promotion of In Utero in July of 1993, and then again in March of 1994. There’s also the matter of his stomach issues, which he has been quoted saying were so bad that it made him consider suicide. Since Uranus is the modern co-ruler of Aquarius, which in turn rules the 6th house cusp, the erratic nature of this planet has caused many fits and starts with the stability of Kurt’s health. The fact that his Sun is tied up here means the chronic illness he experienced often weakened his vitality; the experience was very personal.

There was also the on-again, off-again nature of his heroin addiction. The Pluto-Uranus conjunction is on his ascendant, yes, but hiding just behind it, which puts it in the 12th house of subconscious matters. It seems he would have these Uranian flashes of insight now and again that made him aware of his self-destruction, but Pluto here can make it hard to access (and heal) up the traumas that compel one into addictive behaviors. It felt like a black hole in his life that he could not fix; being that the conjunction opposes Venus in the 7th, it could have been that, when he felt he was not receiving the assurance and love he so deeply craved, he would turn back to his old tricks in an effort to salve the wound (and this is only emphasized by the fact that the conjunction is also opposing his Chiron, which is the asteroid that symbolizes the ‘wound we cannot heal’). Such wounds are left to fester when they cannot be dredged up into the light.

Here’s an example of this illustrious configuration being triggered by transiting aspects that were expressed negatively. On October 22nd, 1992, Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love made a series of threatening phone calls to journalist Victoria Clarke. Transiting Mars is conjunct both his natal Moon and Jupiter, indicating emotional unrest (Moon) that kept growing (Jupiter). The transiting Sun is also conjunct his Natal Mars in Scorpio. In domicile, Mars’ fiery temper flowed freely; because Kurt felt his home life was under attack, he went on the offensive, encouraged by the transiting Sun to take matters into his own hands (“If anything comes out that hurts my wife, I’ll f*cking hurt you.”)

I’m not going to re-hash the events of his death because I feel that is territory too well tread, and I want this to be more of a love letter than I do an eulogy. With that being said, I will briefly point out that Pluto, being in the lower degree of the conjunction, is firmly in control of the chart, to the point that I would argue it is 2nd only to Neptune. Think about it: we’ve discussed how Pluto oversees death and wealth. How is it that the Cobain estate was able to balloon from a modest $50 million at the time of his death to the $450 million empire it is today? We are still talking about the man whose guitar was the most expensive to ever be sold off at an auction, after all. It helps that his North Node is off in 8H Taurus (which if you recall from my previous article on Surviving an 8th House transit, is the house that pertains to, you guessed it, death and other’s resources). Taurus is not a fan of being in the 8th because it wants to hold on to what it possesses, but the karmic trigger to share his material abundance is already set. Not to mention it can overlook “letting go” in this instance because Taurus here is providing for those it loves. Think about it: he has been able to ensure that both his wife and his daughter, Frances, can live comfortably for the rest of their lives should they choose to never work again.

Here’s an example of astrology in action even long after the chart bearer has passed. Using progressions as my method of analysis, we can see that his progressed moon at the time of the guitar being sold (June 20th, 2020) is in conjunction with his Gemini MC. Clearly, he continues to evoke resonant emotions in the public eye. Then there is also the matter of his progressed Mercury passing over the Venus-Saturn conjunction. The auction is just one more way Cobain lives on; I have reason to believe that the new owner of his guitar has nothing but serious (Saturn) love (Venus) for the late frontman, which he spoke about quite candidly (Mercury) in the interviews I skimmed.

Revisiting what Lynn Koiner has wrote about the Grand Kite formation and how the opposition is the crux that makes the wheels turn, “the opposition requires much self-examination to utilize effectively, to resolve the conflict and harness its power. ” Compromise was necessary to utilize the natural talents inherit in his Grand Water Trine, but the compromise was that he had to trade his comfort for anonymity by accepting his status as a superstar. It may seem that he couldn’t do it (considering he’s no longer walks with us on this plane), but I would argue that he has fulfilled his destiny by living on decades after the fact. Not to say that we don’t want him here with us (I would always want that!); but rather, that we should do well to appreciate his transformative insights on what it is to hurt, to love, to rebel, and to live through the power of his music.

Pin oleh Inoue Chika di Nirvana | Kurt cobain, Tokoh sejarah, Musisi
If you don’t think “kill a politician and wear his clothes” is the most metal ass thing a Pluto-Uranus person could say, then I don’t know what to tell you.

References

31 Years Ago: Nirvana Release Their Debut Album
Cobain’s ‘Unplugged’ Guitar Sells for Record $6 Million
Ownership of Nirvana, Part One
Victoria Clarke, “My Adventures with Kurt and Courtney”
Suffering and Success: The Astrology of Kurt Cobain
Tom Petty on Nirvana’s Success
THE KITE PATTERN


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Vaporwave is Dead, Long Live Vaporwave: The Astrological Imprints of the Internet’s First-born Music Genre

Cover image (c) shorkiedokey

Vaporwave. You might have seen it around if you’ve ever had a Tumblr, or frequent the underground music scene for the latest experimental trends. The name itself eludes a singular definition; it is instead stitched together from disparate parts of 80s and 90s pop, smooth jazz, funk, and chillwave — just to name a few. Album covers evoke aesthetics of diffuse, neon-lit malls; palm trees swaying against a technicolor sky; anime characters and the Japanese written language system; Greek statues; glitch art; and if one is daring, all of these things at once.

An example of the Vaporwave aesthetic. The easiest way to describe it is the packaging of bygone eras (namely the innocuous pre-internet days of the 80s and 90s) wrapped in kitschy, 2000s-era inspired visuals (from here).

Vaporwave appeals to me as a millennial living in the aftermath of a globalist movement where both our planet and the economy are threatening to collapse. When I need a moment of escapism, I can open my Spotify and listen to some Com Truise, immediately comforted by the serenade of re-verbed pop singers and synth beats filtering through my headphones. I don’t need to have been alive in 1985 to get a sense of what it was like to believe in the dying promise of post-modern prosperity before I knew it was already over. The lush, resonate synth waves a song like Open cracks a window open into the past for those who didn’t experience it, while still structuring it in a way that echoes the current decay rampant consumerism has wrought.

And what would this blog post be without some astrological analysis as well? Vaporwave has the mark of the Uranus-Neptune conjunction written all over it. Consider: A decent swath of artists (i.e. Saint Pepsi, Vektroid) were born while the conjunction was within a 10° orb, infusing their impulse to look at things from a new perspective into the art they create. As for the “movement” itself, Vaporwave is post-music if there’s ever been such a thing as post-music, having been conceived exclusively on the internet (Uranus) and thus, enabling it to bleed into every corner of the globe with no boundaries (Neptune).

Another example of Vaporwave. Note the mix of upbeat tunes reminiscent of old commercial jingles, coupled with the heavy screwing and chopping that makes the listener feel like something’s “wrong.” The fact that the artist paired these beats over training videos and adverts is meant to be an ironic sentiment that says: “Look at this. Weren’t things funny back then? We didn’t pay people what they were worth thirty years ago, and we still don’t now!”

The Neptunian impulse to wax nostalgic over an era perceived as simpler clashes against the Uranian desire to critique the institutions that have gotten us here now, and I don’t think it’s going away any time soon. Vaporwave continues to evolve into the present day in its efforts to understand where we’re heading when nothing seems certain. But In order to see where it’s heading, we first need to visit where it began.

The “Birth” Of Vaporwave: Chuck Person’s Eccojams, Volume 1

Because Vaporwave is one of, if not, the first internet-exclusive genre of music, it’s hard to pin down a precise date that Vaporwave began. We could take into consideration the “forefathers” of the forefathers (think: chillwave), but having dug around, most Vaporwave fans agree that artist Daniel Lopatin’s (a.k.a Oneohtrix Point Never) release Chuck Person’s Eccojams, Volume 1 was the definitive starting point for this new genre.

An event chart cast for the album’s introduction to the world on August 8th, 2010. It was released under the label “The Curatorial Club.” Event time has been set for a default of noon and is based on the artist’s location — Brooklyn.

Right away, you’ll notice the Moon is in Domicile (being in Cancer) AND is conjunct the Midheaven — very apt, considering the album uses reverb and distortion to create an “underwater” effect as you listen.

Image result for eccojams vol 1
Album cover of Eccojams Vol. 1. The shark being underwater is also calling out to the Moon-Midheaven conjunction, presenting itself to the public as an aquatic adventure.

What’s interesting to note is the positions of Saturn and Mars. Both are in Libra — Saturn here is exalted and is hanging on to the edge of the 11th house, signifying to me that, while Saturn limited this album’s ability to spread widely between groups of people, its reception was received fairly at the time of its release. This also ensures the album’s longevity; to this day, Eccojams Vol. 1 serves as inspiration to Vaporwave artists both new and old, oft cited in Reddit forums and Youtube comments by fans as a timeless classic.

Another reason I think this album had a limited reach at the time of its release is due to Mars being off in 12th house Libra. Mars, the planet of forward movement and drive, hates both of these places quite deeply. In Libra, it is in its fall, and in the 12th house — the house of introspection and subconscious motives, of isolation and soul searching — Mars is trapped, stuck putting its aggressive energy back into itself. The result is an album that is subtle in its violence — yes, Eccojams Vol. 1 is soft and shapeless in nature, one song flowing into the next without boundary, but the layering of sampled music and distorted noises become erratic white noise that could have, at the time, washed over a listener in a way that disoriented them deeply!

Then there’s a matter of looking where the 12th house ruler is — Venus. Like the Moon, Venus is having a great time being here (its place of Domicile), but its conjunction to Saturn put stipulations and boundaries around this album receiving the love it deserved at its release. Experimental music fans and niche genre hunters were applauding this piece without hesitation, but were not able to convince the mainstream that it was worth its critical appraise (which could also be why it took so long before it got more widespread acclaim). Not to mention that Neptune, which shares some of its themes with the 12th house, is tucked away in the private 4th house, limiting its dissemination to that of unconventional methods. Considering this was out in 2010, an era where social media was still learning how to crawl, being able to hit the mainstream in the absence of major record labels was still a nigh-impossible feat.

There are other factors that might have limited Eccojams Vol. 1‘s ability to become a national sweetheart right away, but the astrological footprint this album has created a supportive energy that sets us up for the real “boom” of the Vaporwave movement: MacIntosh Plus’ Floral Shoppe.

Rising to Fame: Macintosh Plus and the Advent of Floral Shoppe

If Vaporwave was still a bit of a “joke” between its underground artists and ironic appreciators, then the laughing stopped when the artist Vektroid (known also by her one-time monkier, Macintosh Plus) dropped Floral Shoppe.

The event chart for the release of Floral Shoppe on December 9th, 2011 under the now-inactive record label, “Beer on the Rug.” I was able to find the label’s place of origin as Lawrence, Kansas; like before, the time is set for noon.

Before I even began thinking about tackling Vaporwave with an astrological bent, one of my first impulses was that this movement is drenched with Neptunian energy — and I have to admit, I’m pretty tickled to see I had the right idea. Right away, we note that at the time of release, Neptune was wrapping up its transit in Aquarius (where it was from 1998 to 2012) and sitting just behind the event’s ascendant, which cuts through the early degrees of Pisces. The fact that it trines an exalted Saturn in Libra means it was given an extra push to ground its seemingly “erratic” and “alien” sounds in a way that was more digestible. It was strange, yes, but it could now resonate with a larger audience because the audience could more readily contextualize the samples in the album. Diana Ross’ chopped up vocals over jazzy snares was some of the first music to really articulate that an era is dead and gone (Saturn in the 8th.) The oldest millennials were now old enough to grapple with the weight of nostalgia. Not bad for an artist who wasn’t even alive in the 80s.

“Lisa Frank 420/Modern Computing” is widely hailed as one of the most definitive Vaporwave songs to have been created, due to the way it neatly grapples with these issues of past-and-present, comfort-and-decay.

Another big boost to helping get this album out into the world is the fact that Sagittarius rules the MC, helped along by a Sun/North Node conjunction. Furthermore, Sagittarius’ ruler, Jupiter, is off relaxing in the 2nd house, sextiling Neptune and trining an 11th house Pluto. These energies show that the album was able to truly go global — the Sun/NN conjunction makes this piece feel like it was “destined” to happen. Jupiter expands the album’s touch — the artist has proven her “worth” because she has permanently cemented herself in the conversation about Vaporwave. And Pluto came in and made sure that it mystified its audiences, compelling them to dig deeper and deeper for more works like this.

BONUS: For an added layer of analysis, I took a quick look at the synastry between the two albums. The fact that Eccojams‘ Jupiter is conjunct Floral Shoppe‘s Uranus at zero degrees Aries is a Hail Mary for sudden fame. Eccojams’ NN also sits snugly between Floral Shoppe’s Venus and Pluto, prompting a sense of “destined” love and long-lasting critical acclaim (as I stated before, Eccojams Volume 1 not having “mainstream” success doesn’t mean its astrological footprint didn’t lay down the foundation that Floral Shoppe needed to push this genre forward!)

Vaporwave is(n’t) Dead: A New Nostalgia for a New Decade

This is the part in my article where we take a huge leap forward, the reason being that there are so many other artists and albums to cover that I don’t think this “brief” overview can truly do it justice. OG artists like Blank Banshee, Luxury Elite, Windows 96, and Saint Pepsi push(ed) the narrative of what Vaporwave means in forward-thinking ways. Newly inspired artists come in and experiment, experiment, experiment, such to the point that “Vaporwave” is now really an amalgamation of multiple sub-genres. Is that release you’re listening to Future Funk, or Mall Soft? How do you feel about “Oceanpunk?”

But there’s always a shadow side to things, and this is no exception. In my hunt for “The History” of Vaporwave, I kept running into a cliff: as early as 2013, people were claiming that Vaporwave was “dead.” Yes, things were still being released, but whatever gems were in there were being overshadowed by a wash of repetitive, uninspired content. This is to say, there are other “hallmarks” in the genre to go back and listen to, but it seems none hit the same magnitude the same way Floral Shoppe did.

Rico Nasty – Big Dick Energy – The Hype Magazine
Rico Nasty’s cover for her song, “Big Dick Energy.” Anybody who says “Vaporwave is dead” doesn’t understand how deeply embedded the Uranus-Neptune conjunction is in our consciousness, because the inspiration of things like glitch art and old school anime prevail well beyond Vaporwave itself.

I may revisit this in the future by digging deeper, but for the sake of keeping this essay a manageable read, I decided to fast-forward to present day. Instead of Googling “the history,” I looked for “latest releases,” and one caught my eye that might indicate the way Vaporwave is choosing to go. Enter: Building a Better World.

Natal chart for the release of Building a Better World by artist 猫 シ Corp and t e l e p a t h, under the newly founded Hiraeth Records on July 27th, 2019. Hiraeth Record is noted to be located in “The Netherlands” without specificity to where, so the chart was cast for Amsterdam at noon.

While Vaporwave has been busy splintering off into multiple sub-genres, I’ve seen fans and critics alike referring to this piece as a “back to basics” with a fresh twist. Building a Better World is an album that opts to lean more into the “future” part of the “past-and-future” themes that often prevail. It uses real instruments and samples nature sounds to create a washed-out, dreamy feeling. Now that we’ve had more time to process the rapid changes in our world, the time to keep dwelling on how much better we had it in the past is coming to an end. We can’t keep waiting for the future because the future is here, and, as noted here by the grim Saturn-Pluto-South Node conjunction going in this chart, the future is a real dark place.

Don’t despair! The beauty of this album for fans (and even a more casual listener like myself) lies in the fact that it combines the grimdark reality of our today with a glimmer of hope for tomorrow. The fact that we hear rain means the planet still goes on. Technological glitches wrap around the sound of chimes, giving faith that civilization can be built anew.

When I close my eyes, I envision the first rays of sun kissing the wasteland of skyscrapers and abandoned cars, with people peering out from dilapidated windows in disbelief that they made it.

The dire Saturn-Pluto-SN triple whammy in the chart’s 4th house — the house of ancestry, the past, and our childhood homes — promises there will be a breakdown in structures we once relied on. This is true even without the event chart, of course: look no further than outside, and you can see the rot settle in all of our institutions. Lord Hades and Lord Chronos shook hands back in January and now the world is trembling.

But we also look for the promise sitting in the 10th house, the fact that again, the NN is in the 10th house and this time it is in Cancer. This album and the story it paints is one that again feels like it’s “destined” to happen, that though there may be death, new life can be built from the ashes and we can be born again. Mercury and Venus are also here, indicating that this album is here to speak of compassion and spread the love.

And love it is. The Sun is Domicile in Leo, meaning Building a Better World is getting the attention it knows it deserves. Mars in Leo is off trining with Jupiter in 3rd house Sagittarius (who is also in its Domicile), promising that it will be disseminated widely. Last but not least, we can see Neptune (who surprise, is Domicile in Pisces) sextiling the gritty Saturn-Pluto-SN trio, suggesting that it’s okay to allow these barriers to dissolve. The past holds us back, but by tapping into our sense of the divine, we are imagining both a new sound of Vaporwave, AND a future that is better for the survivors. Considering it’s in the practical, hands-on 6th house, the idea that we can work this belief into our daily lives is of spiritual necessity.

References

A Brief History of Vaporwave
An Interview with Jornt Elzinga/猫 シ Corp, Owner of Hiraeth Records
Vaporwave: A Brief History
The Evolution of Vaporwave
The “New” World of Vaporwave?

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Surviving an 8th House Transit

woman wearing black long-sleeved top while standing
Credit: @alexiby

If you’re new to astrology and you’re doing your due diligence to learn about what each of the 12 houses mean, then no doubt your initial encounters when studying the 8th house have been met with dread. It’s just one of those things in our current astrological climate that get a lot of flak, much like the 12th house (the house of your subconscious and ergo, your undoings) and the South Node (your “past life” karma). Of course, if you haven’t reached this point in your study yet, or don’t study astrology at all, then you’re likely asking what the hell an 8th house is in the first place and if you should bother to care!

Before we go further, I want to start saying that, even if you don’t study astrology, you can still benefit from this knowledge. Leave behind the terminology that doesn’t make sense and focus more on what you can gain by understanding the themes of the 8th house as they apply to your life. After all, we will all one day die, and no doubt (almost) all of us must pay taxes — whether you believe in astrology or not, the 8th house hangs over us for the entirety of our lives.

Continue reading “Surviving an 8th House Transit”