The local restaurant community here in Seattle was rocked a few weeks ago by the death of the founder of Rachel's Ginger Beer. She died suddenly at the age of 42 and left behind a partner, small children, a company, and a bevy of shocked and saddened friends and colleagues. The comments about her were universally flattering, and the food industry in Seattle will genuinely miss her.
Last week, her cause of death was released. She died from chronic ethanolism--alcohol abuse. The family revealed that the COVID-19 lockdown of 2020 took a mental toll on Rachel and she drank to cope.
I think back to the summer of 2020 and I remember the deaths of a couple of older restaurant owners. The middle-aged father of my favorite family-owned Mexican restaurant died of a sudden heart attack that May, no doubt brought on by the stress of lockdown. The patriarch of my favorite Mediterranean restaurant needed open heart surgery by the end of the year.
With the news of Rachel's sudden passing, it's a stark reminder that stress kills and that psychic hurt can become physical injury. We've all been stressed out by the pandemic. We were all frogs slowly being boiled alive, inured in constant uncertainty and stress.
Before we can go back to "normal," we need to heal and address our psychic injuries.
I've often wonder now why people are so edgy and mean nowadays. Within this context of hurt, the answer becomes clear--we're all mean because we're hurting and we haven't healed. We're carrying the burden of injuries that we've endured over the last three years and we're looking at work conditions, our commutes, the cost of living as the reasons for our stress. But those are all external factors. While they do contribute to our stress, they aren't the solution or the cure.
We need to look within. We need to find out exactly what's going on, be it through therapy or, in my case, astrology.
First off, let me issue the disclaimer that I am not a licensed mental health professional or counselor. True clinically defined trauma needs to be handled by an expert, not an astrologer. With that being said, let's continue...
The stereotype that astrologers mostly deal with lovelorn girls wanting to know when they're going to meet their future husband is false. Most of my clients are intelligent, driven, spiritually sensitive adults who are at critical junctures in their lives. They're at important crossroad or strange impasses, and they need help to navigate their futures. They're often undergoing an identity crisis, as well. They're struggling, and they don't know what to do.
The birth chart is beautiful in that when it's placed in the hands of a thoughtful and learned astrologer, it's a lesson plan as well as a navigational guide for life. It gives context and meaning to traumatic events and even can offer advice for how to proceed and heal. It can also show you what your soul's "true north" looks like and how to move towards it.
Many times, traumatic events are simply closures to a chapter of life that doesn't serve a person anymore. I had a client who went through an emotionally cataclysmic series of events in his life that resulted in job loss, career loss, deaths in his family, and the loss of his identity as a father when he had to move away from his hometown. Important elements in his natal chart were affected directly by the Uranus-Saturn square of 2021. The Uranus-Saturn double-whammy was incredibly traumatic, but, afterwards, freed from an unhealthy sense of duty and attachment to his former career and finally able to stand up against abusive behavior from his children, he proclaimed that he finally felt like he was living for himself for the first time in his life. (With Uranus representing individuality, rebellion, and freedom, doesn't that proclamation sound like Uranium freedom?)
I told him that because Uranus is all about individualism, it's incredibly selfish and wants you to be more selfish. It makes sense that it would attack things related to his responsibility and duty. He interpreted his job loss as failing at being a provider and father, but in Uranus's eyes, he was failing at being himself. And being not a gentle planet, Uranus "helped" in its jarring, shocking way, by relieving him of the things that kept him from being radically authentic to himself.
He wasn't meant to give up on his duties, but, rather, to give up his attachment to his sense of duty. It's like when people are addicted to being busy. The hustle isn't the problem--but the attachment to hustle definitely is a problem.
We then spent time talking about what authenticity looked like for him based on his chart and how he could pursue it. And just as importantly, we also talked about when the saga would end and when things might settle down. He needed to have his struggle acknowledged, to be listened and heard, and to have the experience framed as an opportunity for growth and evolution.
And he's not the only one. I've counseled so many people during the pandemic who had their own life-changing struggles, all compounded by pandemic stress. The act of naming it, giving it context, assigning meaning to it, and bringing everything back to the ultimate lesson plan of the birth chart is not just healing, it's sanity-preserving!
I've spoken to my clients through their struggles and framed them in the context of their charts. We've spoken of the seasons of their life, and how there are seasons to seek freedom, to transform, to surrender to the paths that their souls chose to walk even if it flies against pragmatic concerns. Our souls don't come to make money, and when the cosmos decides that enough is enough and that it's time to do what we actually came to do, it's rarely easy to part with the comforts we've accumulated.
And that's the beauty of astrology. We are so focused on our problems that we get myopic. For me and my clients, a reading is just a way of pulling the person a few steps back away from the painting so that instead of just seeing dots, you finally get to see the impressionistic masterpiece. You can only truly appreciate Monet when you step back and see the big picture, and that's what a reading does.
So please remember to be gentle with yourself. Trauma occurs every day and we encounter trauma throughout our lives, but we all underwent planetary trauma over the course of the last three years, which has affected our minds, bodies, and spirits.
In a previous blog article, I wrote about the 2021 Uranus/Saturn square that hit the fixed signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius). Saturn is now affecting mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces), while late-degree cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn) and folks born at the very beginning of fixed signs are dealing with the potentially devastating effects of Pluto. Chiron has also been cutting a swath through Aries and affecting cardinal signs.
Even without a pandemic, we are all dealing with something. Add a pandemic, economic instability, and food shortages? We all need to be kinder and gentler to ourselves.