On metakosmios, wandering, trusting the journey
Despite my optimistic tendencies, I know my job extends well beyond highlighting the positive. As a Zen Buddhist, I know that suffering is, on some level unavoidable. As an astrologer, I know that difficulty always lives somewhere in the chart. Part of what I do is highlight the natural boons and blights of a person, rounding out their full experience.
Astrology offers many guidelines for determining the relative strength or difficult of a planet or part of your life. But lately I’ve been wanting to look deeply into what we consider ill-omens or inauspicious placements in astrology, provide some space around them. Though I don’t want to explain away difficulties or parts of our lives that might not always work the way we wish, I do want to look more deeply into the overlooked parts of our charts.
As this tweet states, what is considered “auspicious” in astrology is often tied up in productivity: how well is a certain planet able to act effectively act in the public world of business and visibility? Will it make you money, lend your influence, give you power? Planets are automatically considered less fit for this type of success when are are in cadent houses, i.e. the 3rd, 6th, 9th and 12th.
Briefly, the topics of these houses:
3rd house: House of the Goddess, daily environment, rituals, intuitions, embodied spirituality
6th house: sickness, crisis, labor, servitude, problem-solving
9th house: religion, wisdom, divination, pilgrimage
12th house: pregnancy/what happened before birth, the unconscious, the hidden, self-undoing
Rhetorius called these houses metakosmios, or the “state between worlds”.1 This phrase refers the fact that all of the topics of these houses “all refer to behaviors and states of mind that are not conducive to to business in the outer world” but instead “encourage the cultivation of the inner life”.2 We turn to the cadent houses to cultivate hidden skills, which, while invisible from the outside, help support us in trying and complex situations. They are indeterminate, undefined, but full of otherworldly knowledge. Demetra literally describes cadent people as “not of this world”.
The 3rd house, for example, shows the state of consciousness where “one can access one’s inner faculty of intuition, which is historically connected to divine inspiration”.3 The 12th house, on the other hand, shows the hidden parts of our lives— secrets, clandestine and illegal activities, spies, witchcraft as well as what is still in a fragile state of being born.
So if you have planets in these houses, particularly the Sun, Moon, Lot of Fortune, and/or chart ruler, then consider your work in the in-between. Though it might not be as flashy or immediately useful as other houses, don’t overlook this work beyond the seen, the legible, the clear.
Looking but Not Finding
Last week I went on a walk with a goal. For the past week, I have been immersing myself into the world of mullein. I love mullein because it’s so big, with giant leaves and a strong, upright stalk lined tightly with yellow flowers. Though I’ve made a tincture with it, my favorite use for mullein is to include them in smoking blends. Mullein is an expectorant and a demulcent, both of which make it excellent for coughs and lung issues. Though I’ve heard it useful for ashmtha attacks, I find adding some of its soft leaves to a smoking blend alleviated any irritation or coughing.
Using Worts and Cunning’s 30-day plant challenge, I have been reading about and contemplating this wooly plant that begins to sprout around Portland this time of year, though it doesn’t flower until late summer/early fall. Mullein loves rocky cliffs and disturbed ground; my first wild mullein encounter took place on a city walk when the plant had shot up between the cracks in the sidewalks.
But this year it’s been harder to find. The only one I’ve seen so far has been as the nearby Rhododendron Garden, but it costs money to enter and it was closed by the time I ventured out. So, I just took a walk to the local cemetery and checked all the rocky ground, cracks and crevices nearby to find its signature rosette. No luck. But, along the way, I saw Iris for the first time this season and smelled the wisteria blooms. I will go out searching another day.
I am trying to be less goal oriented lately, to let conclusions or reasons for certain events elude me until the chaos makes itself clean, if at all. A phrase I would associate with Mullein is soft structure. Classically a Saturn plant, ruler of boundaries and limits, mullein enjoys barren soil and rocky areas and it is one of the strong plants I’ve encountered (just try pulling off the central flowering stem without scissors, I dare you). But some of its folk-names include velvet plant, felt-wort and donkey’s ears, so-called for the softness of the leaves. I have heard of travelers putting mullein in the bottom of their shoes to lessen foot pain. We can have general desires or an idea of where we are headed but their is something so delicious about making room for the detours or the unknown.
I think about the above phrase a lot because I think the idea of “movement” just means doing *something* to engage with the present moment, whether that be spending time with plants, wearing white on Mondays to strengthen your Moon or eating peppers if you want to be more bold. Even just journalling for ten minutes, taking a quick, mindful walk or practicing your instrument for some time can create new flows of energy and shifts. What I love about astrology is that it can help decode what sorts of rituals or lateral movements we can engage in to meet what is currently arising without expecting us to always be in control.
If you want help responding to your current unfolding complexity or understand what parts of you need tending right now, my astrology books are open ⛲
We can discuss not just who you are, in all your depth, but what is currently unfolding and practical yet magical ways to interact with the current moment. I currently having natal, timing, creative imagining and fixed star consults.
For now, I encourage you to check out Worts and Cunning’s 30-day plant challenge for yourself! You can do it with any herbs you find around you, are growing in your garden, or even those you find in the supermarket. It’s a cool way to connect with the plant life around you and let it take you on a journey.
Until next time,
Demetra George, “Ancient Astrology in Theory and Practice” p. 619
ibid p. 619
ibid, p. 671.