Queering Astrology

Adapted from an article originally published on 2.3.16

(I was having a difficult time writing for this Aquarian New Moon, which is a bit on the weird side for me — I can usually write about Aquarius for days. It’s one of my favorites! Alas, an old article kept pinging into my consciousness, so I decided to re-work it a bit. It’s about Queer Astrology, which is in and of itself quite the Aquarian/Uranian discipline. So here you go!)

Several years ago I attended an afternoon workshop with the Queer Astrology Roadshow— a traveling show of astrological fun that “aims to intervene on western cultural soul-sickness, and foreground the potentials of queers and astrologers to thrive as healers.” I attended for many reasons, the foremost of which being that folks practicing under the bracket of ‘queer astrology’ are using embodied practices and trying to re-create and re-imagine myths of gender, sexuality and relationship. Embodied and experiential exercises help make heady, intellectual concepts real. Re-imagining myths of gender, sexuality and relationship not only helps astrology to be more inclusive. It is also a subversive and revolutionary act.

I came across a concrete description of queer astrology in the compiled transcripts from the first Queer Astrology Conference. In summary: “Queer indicates broadly anyone who does not conform to traditional patterns and norms.” Astrologer Rhea Wolfdescribes ‘queer’ as, “anyone committed to knowing who they are in all their parts without relying on stereotypical, pre-assigned, or socially acceptable notions of gender, sexuality, relationships, time, and space. To be queer is to be open to the moment… to be queer is to focus on the process of creating a life rather than on producing labels, constructing ideologies or manufacturing stability.”

Oh, god. That quote is so good. I have to read it again.

My heart gets all a-flutter when I come across individuals who recognize the urgent importance of questioning and shrugging off labels, living their own truth, and supporting others who are attempting to do the same. I feel empowered and energized. Astrology without the experiential, subversive components — which in my opinion makes the practice a spiritual pursuit — just falls flat to me. I don’t care so much about astrology as a way to predict or elect so much as I care about astrology as another tool for paradigm shift. That’s where the true power of astrology lies. When I come together with people in spaces where conversations about these concepts are going on alongside embodied practices, I enter a space of active hope. In those moments I know that the world can and is changing for the better and that I am not alone in striving to create that world.

The astrological community is facing a critical moment in our evolution. We have an opportunity to embrace what seems to be a renaissance of our art, recognize its potential to help people own their shit and then co-create a better world. We get to help with the deconstruction and reconstruction of stereotypes, specifically in terms of gender, sexuality and relationship.

Focusing on embodied practices helps practitioners, clients and just general fans of the astrological language use astrology as a way to relocate truth and power within. It provides a diverse cosmological context where each individual can see their uniqueness supported, while also providing a cohesive and universal way to orient.  The way Venusian energy flows through me, or the ways I relate to Venus is going to be — and should be! — totally different than the way it feels for you. You might associate Mars with anger, but maybe I associate it with action. Anger might be a gendered thing for you — masculine, for example — but for me it might come through in images of lava spewing forth from a volcano. Our felt experiences of the ways “Mars Energy” flows through our bodies is going to be incredibly different. Reclaiming that full body feeling of how a universal current flows through each of us individually is where the true healing potential lies.

Our bodies have suffered immensely due to the modern paradigm, in particular through the insidiousness of Christian teachings that see the body as sinful — particularly bodies that love, desire and express differently. If we contextualize this in terms of the Age of Pisces and the Virgo-Pisces axis, we see the themes of sado-masochism (self-flagellation both literal and metaphoric), self-sacrifice (to be a good mom I have to sacrifice all of my needs; it’s romantic when we give up everything for each other), and the inherent dirtiness and sinfulness of the flesh.

We can also just take a look at historical trends towards genocide, mass violence, the crusades, the holocaust, and all the other atrocities committed in the name of ‘God.’ These are complex, intersecting themes that play out not only in the way we regard our bodies, but in our mistreatment of and neglect of the physical planet we call home.

When we view these themes — the traumas generations of people have suffered through warfare, famine, diaspora, etc. —  through a reincarnational lens, we start to understand how these traumas build up within us over long periods of time, lodging in our energy bodies, in our institutions, in our hearts and minds. Regardless of our experiences with violence in this life, we have all been marked by the violence of our collective history and the systems and structures that govern us.

Many years ago, when I was in the thick of my own Saturn-in-Scorpio underworld journey, I came face to face with a part of myself I had no idea existed. My energy healer dude was leading me through some kind of letting go, and asked me to lean into mother Earth, into Gaia, telling me to let her help me shoulder the burden. He was asking me to feel the safety of being supported by the ground beneath me.

My whole body recoiled. There it was: despite my outer persona’s general enthusiasm of dancing upon this Earth, some deep part of me was absolutely terrified of being here. This part knew there was no safety here. Even if I live in a society that is peaceful and free, the Earth can shake and move and purge at any time, stealing happiness and leaving grief and doubt. This shaken part of me knew that to think there is safety here, or in life at all, is a ruse. My spine, my solar plexus and my heart all clenched with a stubborn fierceness that brought a somber awareness of just how resistant I am to being here, in this physical body.

It makes sense, of course. I think about my own work in past-life regressions and the number of times my soul has experienced torture, painful and lonely death, and Earth cataclysm — many of which have been in the context of serving as part of one spiritual lineage or another. My soul has experienced the ecstasy of pure faith and belief in god/goddess (or parent…or lover…) followed by absolute betrayal of that faith over and over again.

I offer that as a way to connect the dots. So many words just to say: our bodies don’t necessarily feel safe here in this time and place. There can be a lot of suffering here in this time and place. We have been categorized, labeled, chained, accused, abused and other-ized into submission time and time again. Add to that our participation in this drama as victim, hero and perpetrator, and the complexity intensifies.

But alas, I do believe we are here to fully inhabit and make use of these flesh suits — these vessels of joy and wonder — and so any time I come across tools that speak to that I pay attention, especially when they involve astrology or depth psychology.

What if we try leaning into our bodies, our experiences and our lives, whether they fit the mold or not? Queer astrology provides a space to do just that.

So, what does ‘queering’ astrology look like? Well, the options are endless, really. In many of the workshops I teach it has to do with spending time at the beginning in some kind of embodiment exercise, be it walking meditation while focusing on a color or element, or just breathing. We sniff essential oils that are reflective of the theme — maybe some black pepper, orange and clove for the optimism of Sagittarius, or some sandalwood and rose for the grounded sensuality of Taurus and Venus.

We talk about relationships in all kinds of forms, rather than just as a hetero-normative binary of “man finds woman; they get lost in each other’s eyes and are bound together forever.” I mean, trust me, I’ve come across those kinds of forever bonds and vows in past lives as well, and they’re not always the best thing.

We ask a lot of questions. We take away the notion that The Astrologer is there to provide answers, and welcome in the notion that astrology helps us to ask more poignant, focused questions that help us to navigate the tricky things and the fun ones.

We also celebrate ourselves as sparks of the divine flowing into and out of manifestation, coming together in community to face the complexities of our current era. Perhaps that’s part of the key to transitioning out of the Age of Pisces and into the Age of Aquarius. There is a way to ease up on the self-sacrifice that honors both the individual and the collective. There is a way to see beyond labels. And there is a way, I hope, of being gentle with ourselves when and if we decide to fully commit to being here, on the Earth, in these weird flesh suits we call the body.

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