The World Getting Wider
on 4h/9h stuff, motherwort babies, Frida Kahlo's creative process
Having the same planet ruling my 4th house and 9th house is strange.
As the lowest part of the chart, the 4th house represents our roots: family, ancestors, land, private spaces.
As the joy of the Sun, the 9th house is all the illuminates and connects us to our larger world: travel, spirituality, higher education, direct divination.
If you were born when Leo was rising, as I was, then Mars rules both of these houses, weaving their meanings together.
No wonder, then, that I spent the past two weeks taking no fewer than 8 flights to accompany my grandmother to a family reunion in Denmark and to visit her oldest friend in France. Of course with a malefic energy ruling, I could only focus on the discomfort: of leaving my normal context and culture; of having to hurry up and wait in the airport and sit in small airplane seats. I thought of all the baggage that family comes with— the outdated roles we inhabit, the patterns we can’t shake and the wounds the child self can’t help but grow around.
But, lucky me, I have my practice. I can always place my hands on my heart, sending compassion to myself even when it hurts. I can always intend to be a well of wisdom and love, even if I do it quietly or don’t always hit the mark.
Mars is not just about attack but protection. What is softest deserves our fierceness so it may survive, thrive, even.
But even then, we only have so much control. I received help from the book I was reading on the plane, “Easy Beauty,” a memoir by Chloe Cooper Jones. In one passage, she is relaying fears to her mother, who tells her “No matter what you’ve been through, your story is one among many. Try focusing on that…Focus on the feeling of the world getting wider.”
One of the solaces of spiritual practice is the continual turning towards the big view. That I am always a part of the world, but only a small piece of something infinite. Considering my 9th house 4th house connection, I see travel as an opportunity to expand the definition of home, perhaps to someday cover the whole world. Wherever I am, there is also my heart and my hands to place over it or to reach out and make the unfamiliar, known.
What a blessing, to feel the discomfort of stretching past my single home.
May my children be better than me
One of the most surreal things about returning home is you can notice changes. While my plants would have grown regardless, being away for a few weeks makes those changes stark and unmistakable. While out of the country, my wild rose plant finally begin to open its fragrant petals. The tiny white yarrow buds began to bloom. And my motherwort grew to be taller than me!!!!!
This is especially exciting because I am quite a lazy gardener. Any attempt at growing plants inside from seedlings has failed. I don’t know anything about soil composition and rarely use compost or fertilizer. My motherwort plants grew directly from seeds (c/o Alchemy Works) that I sowed directly into the ground and watered when there wasn’t any rain. Last year, when they first started sprouting, they were barely recognizable; just nondescript green leaves that I hoped were motherwort because they didn’t look anything like the lemon balm plants proliferating around it. Over the past spring, I watched them grow but it was only in my absence that they surpassed my height and began unfurling their tiny pink blooms.
Its Latin name, Leonurus cardiaca, or “lion heart” demonstrates its affinity with our cardiovascular system, including helping with heartburn and heartache.1 Its folk name shows its affinity with the menstrual system and fertility in general. Sarah Corbett tells us that the “motherwort person is someone who tends to feel isolated and alone or unsupported – who suppresses their emotions, holds things in, and explodes when it becomes too much to bear”. Motherwort is an ally when one wants to turn towards heart-centered living. In addition to helping alleviate heart palpitations and increasing circulation, motherwort is also a bitter nervine, aiding in relaxing the body and regulating hormones, which is helpful for PMS and other menstrual-related ailments.
This next week I will gather a few of the stalks my backyard plants have to spare, chop them up, cover them in alcohol and make a tincture. I will let this generous plant work on my heart from the inside-out.
Frida Kahlo’s Creative Life
I see my above relationship with motherwort as a creative act. Reconfiguring my thoughts and deciding how I will enter a space— also a creative act. I mention this because I want to open up the category of “creativity” for everyone.
We limit our artistic potential when we only include active art-making as an essential part of the process. Ligaya Mishan reminds us that “the work of art is flagrantly unproductive, even anti-productive”. We need rest, day-dreaming, walks, cooking, dancing, kissing, and the noticing that makes each moment a work of art.
With my muse research and creative practice offerings, I wish to convey this openness of the artistic practice. By looking at the whole chart alongside the prominent muse conjunctions, we can tease apart what new facet of artistry you are meant to embody.
Let’s look at Frida Kahlo’s chart for further evidence (and, I will note, she has nothing in her fifth house).
The first thing I notice is that Jupiter, ruler of the 5th house of creativity, is in 12th, exalted in Cancer. Traditionally, this is the house of solitude, the unconscious, and suffering. Kahlo was going to be a doctor until a bus accident left her permanently disabled and bedridden for long periods of time. It was during this painful isolation that Kahlo turned to painting.
But, being in conjunction to her chart ruler, we see that she soon realized how important art was to her very sense of being and that this self could shine best in this secluded, self-driven practice.
Beyond the 5th, I look to the 3rd, house of praxis and routines, to tell us what a regular creative practice would look like for her. Ruled by Venus in the 11th, it is clear that her friends and networks were key to her art-making. She was friends with artists and avant-garde thinkers from all over the world, the influences of which often bled into her work. She was also known for her revolutionary ideals and political activism so her art was a way of continually engaging with these beliefs.
We also turn to the Muse asteroids to see what other parts of her chart can be sources of creative activation. Reminder that a prominent muse asteroid is less about what sort of medium an artist will undertake but what form their inspiration takes. The only tight conjunction she is the asteroid Terpsichore conjoined her descendant, pointing to her one-on-one relationships as being attuned to the muse. Indeed her on-and-off-again husband and fellow artist, Diego Rivera, greatly impacted her work and was often featured in her paintings.
Terpsichore, more specifically, is the muse of dance as well as the chorus in Greek plays. Whereas the actors wore masks and gestured, the chorus spoke directly to the audience. Similarly, music and rhythm were seen as the highest form of art because they mimicked the movement of the heavenly spheres. You get the sense that Rivera acted as an ordering force in her life and art— and that he also held power over her, perhaps speaking on her behalf or trying to name her irrepressible creative force.
**If you, too, are interested in all the places and way your creative potential shows up in your chart, my Creative Practice Beta Readings are currently open. ***
Where in your life has creativity shown up for you? Let me know in the comments :)🎨
Until next week, my loves,