The New Moon in Fixed Fire (Leo) Square Uranus, Trine Chiron and conjoined Venus on the 1st August at 4:11am BST
“What’s it like being the circuit breaker in your family?”
Pupils dilating as his eyes widen, his brow rising, lips slightly parting, a smile emerges. Laughing, as he replies, “How did you know that I’ve been the long suffering black sheep of my family?”
“Truly?”, I replied as I scanned him over for a second time, maybe seeking to reappraise my first impressions of him in light of this confirmation. Sitting on the other side of my consult room was an ordinary looking, nah virtually non-descript, early older-aged gentleman, dressed in his Sunday best 1990s suit, impeccably polished shoes, hair combed over a large balding oval, his neck spilling over his tight collared shirt, his tummy protruding through his jacket.
Eagerly nodding, excitedly he replied, “Yes. I so am”
“Would you care to share a little more? It will help me frame some other patterns in your chart.”
“You see it is my love of Prods!”
It was my turn to have my eyes widen, as I momentarily pulled my head back in a feigned look of surprise. Laughing at his statement I countered, sweeping my arm sharply over my head, my hand outstretched as if pretending to cut through butter, “Hey, I maybe Irish and get subtly, but that’s a little over my head! Can you explain a little?”
His hands now eagerly clasped, he leaned towards me, “you see my family are originally from Roscommon and when I was six, my Da got a job in Belfast so we relocated to West Belfast. You know, the Catholic side. You know what the North was like back then in the late 1950s. Anyway, I was a teenager during the 60s and I love music and dancing. Maybe it has something to do with my parents- they met in the dance hall in Elphin, you know, so naturally was keen to go out at night, chasing girls and having the craic. You couldn’t avoid the Catholic/ Protestant divide in Belfast back then, but I just didn’t get it. Maybe I’m just a little naïve, but I eventually found a place where kids could hang out, listen to music and dance. It was a great place. But here’s the thing. I’d see a girl I’d like and I’d ask her to dance. At the end of the evening, I’d always walk her home and somehow I’d always end up walking East, you know, towards the Proddy part of Belfast. Always! My parents would do their nut. They were worried I’d get beaten up. After all you can’t dance with one of them. They’re too stiff and stuffy!
“But things came to a head when I met wee Imelda. She was such a light and I was so captivated by her. But my Mam wouldn’t have anything to do with her. The shame of it, she’d say. The devil’s got you. I’m sure she was in confession and praying daily for my immortal soul. Anyway, I had to leave Belfast because no-one would marry us, so we skipped off to London and got married, without my parents and family present, in Hammersmith. We decided to settle there. I had no contact from Mam and the others until Mam was diagnosed with cancer in 1981. So Mel and myself and the kids drove up to Stranraer and got the Sealink over to see her. Mam was too sick to put up a fight and Mel finally got to meet her. They got on like a house on fire. Mel was so good to Mam and was with her night and day for weeks before Mam died. Mam apologised to Mel and to me, and told me how sorry she was for having only seen Mel’s religious background and not Mel herself.
“It did something to the rest of the family, Mam’s acceptance of Mel. It kinda broke something down. We moved back to Belfast after Mam died and Mel has taken up the role as the family matriarch. They all see Mel as a fixer or healer and tell her everything – all their stresses and strains. The religion thing is not an issue, even though it meant that the family were isolated from the community until the 90s, as it wasn’t the thing to do, consorting with Prods when you live in West Belfast. I miss her Andrew, she died last year of the same cancer Mam had…”
And on our consult continued…
“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through. You won’t be the same person who walked in. That is what this storm is all about” – Haruki Murrakami
Sean’s story was one of quite a few educational sessions I conducted as a young, mentorless astrologer in the mid-1990s. It helped me reframe my idea of what a black sheep was, having previously entertained fanciful notions of shocking hair, dramatic clothes and an anarchic edgy ‘fuck you’ attitude. The reality, however, was much more banal and subtle, yet lonely and powerful. Sean love was bittersweet, as he stepped away from the closeness of a fearful family unit into the unknown of starting a life in an alien town with the woman he loved. Whether, at the time of his appointment, Sean truly appreciated it or not, it took confidence to do what he did, though unsurprisingly he did not see it that way.
“Why should religion matter”, he mused. “I liked these girls and so asked them to dance! It didn’t cross my mind to ask them what side of the city they were from. Nor did I think of the impact it may have on my family, especially when I met Mel. She was angelic and radiant. Andrew, you wanta have seen her move. Jesus, what a woman.”
Sean was captivated by the essence of the women he danced with, and with Mel, who he fell in love with and married. Where they were from, what church or school they attend was irrelevant. He knew how he felt and acted on it. The fact that it was contrary to societal, moreover familiar expectations, was only something that arose thereafter. He recounted the intensity of the emotional tide that surged again and again, breaking upon him without letting up, battering him, despite his prayers that this storm, embodied by his mother, would let up. He was deafened by the unrelenting elements howling amidst Thor’s mighty fury. Yet, he had the determination to stick to his guns, to remain true to how he felt, even if it meant leaving behind all that was familiar.
Once he made that decision, a sense of quiet descended, almost as if the Eye passed over him and Mel and he tentatively ventured out into the scarred and sodden landscape to start a new life. He was irrevocably altered. He suffered from bouts of depression in London, largely as a result of the enforced separation from his family but he said it was worth it to be with Mel and to start his own family. His emigration was not as a result of economics, a plight so common to the Irish. His was from the lack of acceptance from his family and community. Yet despite landscaping and re-shaping his surroundings, miraculously his hearth remained undamaged.
Unintentionally, though, his adherence to the truth of his heart, holding steadfastly onto love in the face of a tempest, cracked open the darkened blanket of ignorance allowing the light to shine, challenging his Mam to confront her bigotry, which in turn led to an opening up of his family who eventually embraced diversity, as they grew past the binds that held them stuck, even in the face of violence from those within their community.
Sean was a black sheep, an emotional outlier within his community, whose presence served to open up his family and to break through countless generations of bigotry. Did he do it consciously? Not according to him. But then the truth of the Black Sheep is not necessarily overtly shocking. It merely embodies a consciousness that challenges the paradigm of closed ignorance, serving to show others another way, a path more tolerant, more informed and more inclusive.
Sean was born with Uranus squaring both his Sun and Moon, an astrological pattern arising during the 1st August 2019 Fixed Fire lunation. Fixed Fire is another name for the sign of Leo, a sign that describes the hunger to develop a deeper belief in yourself, regardless of the opinions, expectations and projections of the world around you. The issue with Leo is the development of self-belief and self-confidence, and the issue with Uranus is to do this alone, without guidance or mentoring. It is not an easy path to step out on your own. It is a lonely one, even if you have support. And yet it is the only path, if you are going to break free from the scripts and patterns of conformity held deep within your cultural and familiar matrix.
It is something you have been made more conscious of in recent weeks, as the true nature of your emotional disposition and patterning has been challenged to remain true and not to compromise to make other’s feel comfortable. Deep feelings have been invoked, your inner sense of balance tested and your emotions and reactions have been heightened as you have been ultimately called to ask yourself some very honest questions about how your needs are being met and how you are creating an emotional reality that enables your needs to be met.
It may be a good idea to take some time back to dispassionately reflect on the state of your emotional health; to look at all close, intimate relationships and family bonds so you can assess the scale to which you may have compromised your autonomy and authenticity to keep the peace or to adhere to the status quo. Issues concerning your family of origin, your emotional intelligence, the way in which you receive and the way in which you honour your heart will naturally arise. Therefore it would be prudent to give yourself some space to reflect on the nature of those relationships, the scripts you unconsciously assimilated and the nature of the current dynamic of those emotionally charged relationships.
How at ease are you within yourself? Are your needs being met? What are those needs? Are you free from any underlying pattern that has guided your prior emotional responses? Are you aware of how to assert your needs?
Do you genuinely care for yourself? How is your current diet and nutrition? Are you sleeping okay?
Is your home and are your living circumstances a true reflection of who you are now? Do you need to bring around any changes therein?
Have you done any release work regarding your maternal line? Do you have any underlying issues with your family from which you need to step away so that you can be a more objective support should family dramas arise? Are you able to remain present, despite any feelings of running away?
There are times when you have to listen to your inner wisdom and to the Divine Feminine within you, no matter how loud and dramatic Her counsel may seem. As you move through this Tempest, the only refuge you have is what lies within you. Therefore further cultivation of your soul and exploration of the health of your feminine expression is what this lunation is about as you gain deeper insight and awareness of how you breathe in; how trusting you are of life; how safe you feel; and how at home you are within yourself. Finally, by engaging in honest dialogue around your emotional needs, how much freedom and how much security or familiarity you really require, it will enable you to more smoothly embrace what arises for you and better equip you to integrate and move forward.
Whether Sean was conscious of it or not is irrelevant. He listened to his heart. He followed it. And it helped him walk through the storm. Yes, he had Mel. But he lost his family, only to find them again, or should I say, they found him and realised that it was their emotional prejudices that clouded their sight. He was the black sheep. He was the reluctant circuit breaker. He was the change bringer. As you too now have the opportunity to embody.
So, I will end this month’s offering with the words of Oscar Hammerstein III and Richard Rodgers, “walk on through the wind, walk on through the rain, though your dreams be tossed and blown”
When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark
At the end of a storm
There’s a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark
Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown
Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never walk alone
Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never walk alone
Songwriters: Oscar Hammerstein II / Richard Rodgers
All rights reserved – Andrew Smith. Written at 11:06 CEDT, 20th July 2019.