Creative Connections & Client Communications
Counseling Insights 12/31/06The Difficulty with talking about Death
Oh my! What a difficult topic death is. It is the deepest question a person can have about herself/himself; it is the question clients want to ask about and it’s the question astrologers don’t want to hear; it’s the most elusive and tension-packed point of information in astrology.
Eastern astrologers in the main tend to wear death-predictions as a badge of fame, using their astrology always with a sense of colossal control on life.
Western astrologers are scared to death to face up to the issue against the risk of being somehow unethical, dangerously undisciplined and irresponsible. [There have been some American astrologers who captured death-focused reputations for themselves, and their professional situations became very sad.]
I feel that the Eastern astrologers manage the subject of death with knowledge they want to be correct, because it is very detailed; the western astrologers avoid the subject for fear the astrology is inadequate, our grasp of the issue is so general. –I have said so many times to protect my sensibilities and the integrity of astrology –in my opinion—that astrology is a celebration of life not a search for death. With death, the astrology stops. And this could easily be called a semantic cop-out.
Yet, some twenty years ago, I think I had a breakthrough to help us with this: a special way of looking at the issues of the 8th House and related planetary networks that has fared well through an enormous number of horoscope consultations. I see the 8th House not as “death” per se ---certainly not your death— but as the House of “the matters of death.” This includes experiencing death around you, not the death OF you.
Especially with the onset of age, people face the experiences of others’ death more and more frequently. What is ultra-dramatic for an impressionable 8-year old, for example, when her beloved uncle or grandfather dies, becomes, for someone 60 or older, ‘the way things go.’ –There was a time when I did not know anyone who had died. Now I know too many.
In facing those experiences, we are often called upon to be involved somehow, to manage estate dealings, to fight will technicalities, to communicate comfortingly with those left behind. We learn new things about life to manage the finite affairs of death. Populations in the West are now older and older and older, with people living longer than ever before. Care of the elderly and death management have become important and large businesses … and outlets for people who have that special understanding in helping others through such a difficult experience. [Western Hemisphere emphasis, strong vocational profiling of Saturn, Aquarius and Scorpio and Cancer, etc.]
Talking about these issues is difficult for the Western astrologer; we don’t want to be right! So, when we see an ominous measurement, what do we do?
The first consideration would be to overlook it. –Who are we to butt into a situation that may not even have been in our client’s consciousness but, with our presenting it, be put there forever!?
Case in point: last week, a 33-year-old lady client showed SA Asc=Saturn/Pluto, with Pluto ruling her 8th House, and Saturn ruling her Midheaven [Sadness; mourning]. This midpoint arc picture would probably be in place for consideration for about two or three months, beginning in February (some six weeks after the consultation). I felt I could not ignore it.
I asked her “Is there anyone right now in your extended family who is very sick, near death?” [I’ve worked very hard to formulate that question just that way: it’s non-threatening, it’s reasonable, and it’s clearly about someone other than your client.]
She replied that there was an uncle who was having real problems with depression etc. … but the way she mentioned it, there didn’t seem to be strong cause for alarm. It seemed removed somehow, out of her immediate experience milieu. But it could be her having to deal with “the matters of death.” –I contributed that “there may be an intensification of that situation soon, and I hope it can be managed well.”
Three days later, the client called me to report that the uncle had “blown his brains out.” He was a suicide.
The point here is the sharing of an effective, not indelicate way of managing the discussion of death matters. Indeed, if I were to go further with this situation with my client, I would find out how she was going to be involved with the family restructuring, the estate management etc. But then again, the lady is only 33 years old; surely, there would be others more senior who would manage things. I chose to leave the issue alone.
Another observation on this issue is the prominence of the Moon as a receptor of aspect activity at times when death matters take place. My 94 year-old father died peacefully when I experienced SA Saturn=Moon (Saturn rules my 8th). Of course, this death was long expected, but it occurred within the week of partile, with transiting Mars square Saturn at the same time.
If I were my own client, I would follow up with observations that there might be protracted difficulties in managing the man’s estate because my client’s (my) 8th House ruler, Saturn, is natally in the 10th House opposed by Neptune.
A lady client experienced the death of her father similarly, with Saturn-Moon. And her mother ten years later also with Saturn-Moon contact. Saturn rules her 8th House.
So we are seeing the life sensorium of the Moon absorbing the impact of time and circumstance; the involvement of the ruler of the 8th. We must watch for it.
And when with the young, the experience of death is absorbed –a grandparent, an aunt, an uncle—and it is apparently a pivotal memory, we must ask simply, gently … “and why was this occurrence so important?” The answer to that question offers so much for consideration in the analysis. –The uncle or grandfather could have been the “father” figure the real father never was, etc.
Next Update: January 31, 2007