Helpful Observations

Therapeutic Images

When we hear an inaugural address, a presidential debate, the first words spoken on the Moon, any auspicious utterances, we've learned to listen for the telling phrase, the words that hang together in a special way, the phrases that are memorable, meaningful, and usually inspiring. These are called "soundbites" by the television and radio media. We know them well, "Ask not what your country can do for you…", "Senator, you're no John Kennedy!," "One small step for Man…"

During a consultation, we use words (not astrological mumbojumbo), and we must use these words artfully. The words communicate our creative concepts. How well we use words, how well we communicate, determines to a great degree how successful an astrologer we are!

I work at this resource. As a writer of skill (and I thank my 9th grade English teacher every day in my heart), words are my metier, obviously (and Moon in Leo in the 3rd House helps, of course). But practice promotes growth, and you and I can improve with the creative connections make symbolically in astrology and how we translate those observations into words that have vivid imagery and, often, inspirational energy for the client. At the least, the client will remember the telling phrase more than the routine one.

Last week, I had a telephone consultation with a man who had a strong, classic Saturn-retrograde placement and, at the same time, the Moon conjunct the Nodal axis. We have the "difficult" father, if you will, and the "indulgent" mother. Perhaps -and the probability is very high-- the father was too difficult and the mother was too indulgent. The problem was -and almost always is-in the extremes. Here was a case of a double too-much.

This judgement emerged -not so much in those words but generally- from our consultation discussion together. It was clear; it was the client's reality. The patterning was so very strong throughout the developmental years that it was now problematic in his adult life, in his relationships, in his patterns of reliance, whom to please, from where rewards come, etc.

As we talked, I was preparing a way to make this polarization very clear to my client. At just the right time -in a moment of clear mutual understanding-I said, "It's easy to reject tyranny, isn't it; and It's not so easy to reject protection." I spoke this slowly, perhaps wistfully. It was a special moment. The client understood. Implicit, of course, in this remark -its inspiration, if you will- is "So let's talk about what finally we can do about this."

A female client -also in a telephone consultation that same day, had the Sun in Gemini opposed by the Moon in Sagittarius, the axis squared by Saturn; Mars in the 12th (hidden anger). Here we have an enormous emphasis on communication, diversification, opinionation, will-'o-the-wisp nerves, and ALL of that -including the an expected articulation skill- was strongly under tension, challenged by Saturn.

As I assessed how intrusive the Saturn factor had been developmentally, I heard a tremendous indicator in our conversation on the phone: my client said "", slowly and deliberately, before every single sentence, as if guarding her thoughts, protecting herself against the choice of the words to come. It was labored and disruptive. It delayed our communication. I kept track of the number of times she used this device.

I decided that part of my job as a paid consultant was to bring this to her attention…but I had to do it meaningfully, helpfully, revealingly. [Much as I would kindly urge a client in my office to see a dentist if his or her teeth were greening or gums were sorely inflamed.]

I begged her indulgence with the personal note, but she had "used to begin every sentence she had said, giving enormous tentativeness to her life-stream of communication! In fact she had used the device 35 times in 6 minutes."

She gulped in surprise, in shock, and I could feel her intelligence begin to work on the problem. I then added this image, "May I suggest that this is a device of insecurity and fearfulness; much as a demoralized dog may cower when you lift a newspaper, so you are cowering when you have something to say."

THAT's an image, for sure. Her immediate reply was,"My goodness! You've hit the nail right on the head! No one has ever listened to what I have to say, not in my home where I was forgotten among so many children, and not here…my husband is not interested; I'm not … I'm not allowed to say anything!"

This was a bright moment of understanding. We discussed the situation extremely productively. And, most gratifyingly, I heard practically no more of the "Ums" throughout the rest of the consultation. At the end, I pointed out how things had changed in the speech pattern, and how that could be a reminder of her returning confidence and freedom.

Constructing Memorable Phrases You can put your thoughts into powerful phrases by paying attention to two things in the main:

First: there is symmetry, balance, rhythm. Think of memorable phrases; be aware of their parallel structure: "Ask not…Ask what…"; "small step for man…giant leap for mankind"; "…government for the people, by the people…"; juxtapose opposites; keep the words simple.

Second: there is the dramatic, even confrontational statement of realism; that which is vivid, that which can not be answered, can not be easily defended against: "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall"; "…you're no John Kennedy". -Then there is the combination of the balanced and the unquestionable realism: "That which can be foreseen can be prevented" (Dr. Charles H. Mayo).

You can appreciate this skill all the more by studying a book of famous "sayings," aphorisms … available in any bookstore. This skill helps your other skills enormously.

Next Update: November 30


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