The Astrology Podcast
Transcript of Episode 258, titled:
Astrology As Radical Self-Care, with Diana Rose Harper
With Chris Brennan and astrologer Diana Rose Harper
Episode originally released on June 9, 2020
Note: This is a transcript of a spoken word podcast. If possible, we encourage you to listen to the audio or video version, since they include inflections that may not translate well when written out. Our transcripts are created by human transcribers, and the text may contain errors and differences from the spoken audio. If you find any errors then please send them to us by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Transcribed by Mary Sharon
Transcription released August 22, 2021
Copyright © 2021 TheAstrologyPodcast.com
CHRIS BRENNAN: Hi, my name is Chris Brennan, and you’re listening to The Astrology Podcast. This is episode 258 and I’m recording it on Sunday, June 7th, 2020, starting at 2:05 PM. Today I’m going to be talking with Diana Rose Harper about the astrology of radical self-care. Hey Diana, welcome to the show.
DIANA ROSE HARPER: Hey Chris, it’s great to be here.
CB: Yeah, thanks for joining me. The genesis of this episode is that you gave a talk on this topic at the Northwest Astrology Conference last month that I saw, that I really liked. I wanted to have you on to talk about this topic and sort of get into the details of it. Is there like a short description maybe of what we’re going to be getting in today that you could sort of explain for those questioning whether or not they want to listen to this episode?
DRH: Yeah, totally. Radical self-care is like a way of thinking about self-care that goes beyond the most surface level like markety kind of versions of self-care that exists in the world right now. So, it’s an approach, it’s a mindset and it’s a way of getting at sort of the causes or the roots of why certain forms of self-care are required in this day and age. And like really digging into, especially the things that influence our sensation of worthiness as well as our judgment of other people’s worthiness as well. It ends up being self-care that is not only actually about you, it’s also about the world around you in a way that I think can really support people in being the good people that they aspire to be in a more foundational and enduring and kind of, I don’t know, deeply stable way, if that makes any sense.
CB: Yeah, totally. That makes complete sense. Thank you. That was actually super and way more concise definition than I could have pulled off. That was one of the things I loved about your talk is that you never take anything for granted, and you’re always very careful to define your terms ahead of time. So maybe in order to start since this is your first time on the podcast and just to introduce you to the audience, I often ask people what their background is in astrology or what their sort of journey with it has been up till now.
DRH: Yeah. My real first introduction to astrology was when I was a kid, I think, as is true for a lot of people. I distinctly remember reading the newspaper horoscopes especially when I was at my grandparents’ house because we always got the paper every single day. So at breakfast, every day I would read the comics and the horoscopes were always right by the comics and I always thought they were really interesting, even though they had no relevance to me as a seven-year-old. It felt like there was something there, even if I didn’t understand what was there, and even if I didn’t feel like the depth was being presented there. So, I would go to Barnes & Noble and I would kind of scope through some of the esoteric books and things like that.
CB: That was bookstore for those that aren’t familiar with what those are for the younger people listening to this episode.
DRH: Yeah. Barnes & Noble and the library were my favorite places as a kid. So but kind of extending out of that, I distinctly remember this was my favorite part of elementary school. Actually, at one point, you know those like dome tent things that they’ll travel around and they’ll project constellations into the ceiling of?
CB: Yeah, like the astronomy and like a bubble or almost, yeah.
DRH: Yeah, exactly. One of those came to my elementary school when I was in fourth grade or something, and I just got obsessed with the constellations. And my grandparents and I used to go on these long like three-week road trips and we would camp the entire way. I got really into the fact that I could see the constellation Draco in the outer banks of North Carolina, as well as in the Rocky Mountains. I thought that was super cool just that whole containering, I guess, of just like the whole world together. But I didn’t get super into like astrology astrology until college really. I did a little bit in late high school, but college is really when it started to take off. Really, it was a lot of trying to figure out who I was and what I was here to do and why my relationships were the way they were and knowing that or feeling like the other explanations that had been given to me were insufficient. So as I worked more with astrology and did the whole autodidact self-teaching thing with it, a lot of patterns revealed themselves in the way that astrology kind of opens up. Then after college that’s when I found Richard Tarnas’ Cosmos and Psyche. So before I read Cosmos and Psyche, my experience of astrology was super personal. I shared it a little bit with my closest friends, but it wasn’t something that I was out of the broom closet about, so to speak. As I read Cosmos and Psyche, in this book Tarnas goes through all of this history, which like I had been experiencing in college at a pretty high level. But then adding a layer of contextualization that just kind of helped pull out the materialist skeptic from my head in a really good way of really helpful and like opening way. So then I just dug even deeper and eventually went to UAC 2018 cause that happened in Chicago. I went to college in Chicago, I lived in Chicago for a decade. Since it was happening in Chicago, there was absolutely no way I was going to not go, [laughs] and that’s where I met you for the first time, that’s where I met like a lot of people for the first time. At this point, I had already been listening also to your podcast, to The Astrology Podcast for couple of years at that point. Being at that conference and interacting with astrologers and astrology enthusiasts solidified how valid a study and how valid a practice this is in a way that hadn’t landed for me before. So yeah, so that’s when I really, I guess kind of married myself to the practice.
CB: What was the intersection with the idea of self-care, like radical self-care?
DRH: Yeah. So before I claimed the title of astrologer, I was a Reiki master. I was a bodyworker, I was a clinical massage therapist, and I was oriented towards doing deep care work with people after college, trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I worked in a rare books library, I worked for a medical terminology company, and the thing that really came through for me and in part this was like me understanding my seventh house more. But the thing that came through for me is that I really wanted to be working with people in order to support them in whatever healing work that they needed or wanted to pursue, like whatever kind of tending and I don’t know, softness I guess they needed in order to grow beyond traumas and things like that. At a certain point I thought I was going to go into some kind of mental health counseling program or a PsyD program or something like that. I actually worked for a psychotherapy practice for a while as their intake coordinator, and so I’d been doing different kinds of self-care oriented things with people up to that point. I’d also in private been doing a lot of what gets called shadow work. So just like really going deeply into your own experiences and composting the muckiest bits of that. And as I was working at that psychotherapy practice, it’s a practice that’s very aimed at LGBTQ+ affirmation. The majority of clinicians there fall somewhere on that spectrum themselves and are serving clients that fall on that spectrum, and I was observing them burning themselves out. They were doing this work of tending to marginalized populations, there were also several therapists of color serving populations of color who were also LGBTQ+, etc. As I was observing that, and as I was also experiencing the burnout myself, I was like, “Why are we doing this? What’s actually happening here?” So then there was kind of a concatenation or like a collapsing in of things that I learned in college around social systems and the history of colonization and the history of domination and things like that. Then combining with the work that I was aiming to do with individuals, of wanting to support people and then witnessing people who do support not supporting themselves. [laughs] So that kind of swirled into an approach or a theory or a way of thinking that understood more clearly. I’m not going to say I understand it with absolute clarity, but understood with more clarity the influences of systemic things on individuals and how even when we’re attempting to address systemic things with our work outwards, if we haven’t done that work inwards, we actually end up kind of undermining, I think is the word that I want here. We kind of undermine our work. So when I was at that psychotherapy practice, one of my bosses and I were talking about this and she was like, “Do you want to teach this to us?” And I’m like, “Yes.” So that turned into a continuing education unit, like a CEU granting workshop. Again, part of this is also if you personally don’t think that you deserve care, that you deserve rest on a fundamental level, even if on the surface you’re like, “Yeah, totally. I deserve to take a nap.” If you don’t actually feel that in your bones, but then you tell somebody else that they should totally take a nap. It comes more from a place of paternalizing than from a place of genuine care and genuine kind of embodied knowledge. You know, even to make a huge kind of leap connection here. Before I went to UAC, I knew that astrology was a real thing and that people made their entire careers about it. But I didn’t know that there was so many people whose entire lives are centered on astrology until I was surrounded by like 1400 astrologers. The embodied sensation of that is part of the depth that a radically self-caring orientation brings. And whenever you’re really getting at like, okay, what are the roots of this, and what are the things that are gnawing at my roots to a certain degree? That’s when more profound, I don’t know, more profound care, I guess can happen.
CB: Yeah. Because one of the things, when you talk about self-care, one of the points you made in your lecture was that it’s not just about physical things, which is usually what we think about when we think of the term self-care is the commercialized sense of it. But also can be extended to things that are mental or emotional or spiritual, which includes things like therapy and self-inquiry and by extension things like astrology or tarot.
DRH: Yeah, exactly.
CB: Okay. So maybe let’s expand on that a little bit to set the foundation and build it up because I realized we’re not going to be able to do it as effectively as you did in your lecture actually, where you spend a lot of time building each of these points up. But in terms of self-care, why is that important or why is self-care important because people will burn themselves out otherwise or what other deeper things are important about that as a topic?
DRH: Yeah. So burnout obviously is a key part of it, especially for people whose work or vocation in the world requires tending other people. If you burn out, then that’s that many fewer people that you’re helping or that’s that it diminishes basically your capacity to be effective and being helpful in the world. Then there’s also, and this is one of the things that I think is relevant in this moment. There’s also the fact that when we do deep self-care, it’s not just about like actively then being better able to help other people in a really direct fashion. It also improves our spaciousness as we interact with other people, because part of radical self-care is questioning some of the beliefs like the super baked in beliefs that you don’t even realize are beliefs, questioning those things in a way that then facilitates you having more agency in choosing how you perceive other people. And in turn also how you perceive yourself, how you perceive your own value, how you perceive the value of other people, how you perceive the levels of threat that another person might be coming at you with. It can open the door to genuinely more compassionate and more connected relations with all kinds of people. When I say that, I also will include non-human people in that too eventually, I think a lot of people need to start with their human relationships. This can also improve your relationships with your plants or with your pets or with the city that you live in. Or like I’m someone that’s pretty concerned with ecological things and I have found that certain aspects of performing radical self-care with myself like doing radical self-care with myself has also then helped my relationship with occupying Earth [laughs] and understanding my responsibility and also what I can’t be responsible for. So yeah, does that answer your question?
CB: Yeah. So what are some of the questions cause pretty your premise is that in order to truly be able to have self-care, radical self-care, that you have to question what some of your underlying premises are that you might be taking for granted that you don’t even realize you’re taking for granted, that sometimes are just inherited about your life. What are some of those things that people might be taking for granted? Are there questions that they should be asking themselves?
DRH: Yeah. I mean, oh man, there’s so many different ones. The one that just comes to mind is running water. [laughs] Because it is something that we’re culturally just so used to. I mean, at least in the United States, most places in the United States barring like I know that there are Native American reservations that have a lot of struggle with actually having proper water infrastructure in place. But for the majority of the people listening to this podcast, I imagine that running water is not something you ever think about as a special magical thing that happens in your day-to-day life. That’s something that whenever you question, like why do I assume that running water just as a default? And can I take some time to consider what all has had to happen in order for me to have potable running water come out of multiple different faucets in my home. That process can help to kind of, especially if you then take that further, who doesn’t have access to this? Why don’t they have access to this?
CB: So it’s like the identification of something you’re taking for granted in your life, but then also the extension of what if that wasn’t something you took for granted or what if you’re interacting with somebody that wasn’t taking that for granted.
DRH: Yeah, and then you can take that further. Like what does having clean running water in your house facilitate for you? You know, it means you don’t have to boil your water or use iodine tablets. It means you don’t have to go fetch water from a particular source. It means you don’t have to worry about whether like there’s a runoff happening from a hog farm into your main water source as you go to fetch it or any number of things like that. You can take that as far as you want, but then part of that and I think this is maybe one of the important next steps is understanding that there can be feelings of shame and guilt that come up whenever you realize that you’re taking something for granted that isn’t actually a default for all people. Then once you recognize that there’s shame and guilt, you can also be like, okay, but what if anything is available to me to do about this? Then from there, you can do what is available for you to do, even if that’s as small as like recognizing that it is a fortunate thing, that you have something that you’ve taken for granted. Does that make sense?
CB: Yeah. So you’re trying to identify, cause it’s not just limited obviously to like ecological things, that’s a really good example. But then universalizing that to all other areas of your life, where you might be taking something for granted versus something that not everybody takes for granted, because this was in the genesis part of the other genesis of this episode was after hearing your talk I immediately connected it to a discussion I had with Benjamin Dykes on episode 19 of The Astrology Podcast, where we framed it in terms of objective versus subjective reality and how people often have. I was frustrated working with clients after years that I would see people would frequently have blind spots in their lives, either about things that they took for granted. And sometimes those are positive things that they took for granted, and they just assumed everybody had that. Or other times there would be negative things that they took for granted and kind of normalized and just assumed that it was the same way for everybody. When I was listening to your talk, I was realizing this is sort of an extension of that or a different angle on looking at the same thing, which is sort of like blind spots that everybody has in their lives in terms of things that they take for granted to some extent.
DRH: Yeah, totally. As I was listening to that episode in preparation for this conversation, one of the things that I think radical self-care helps with whenever we approach astrology from a radically self-caring perspective is bringing in the systemic influences on our lived experiences. So someone who has a specific good thing or a specific not so good thing happen consistently in their lives, there’s a good chance that they are surrounded by people who are having a similar experience. That is part of what gives them the space to universalize that experience. So by doing some deeper inquiry around, like is this actually universal? What does it mean if it’s not universal? [laughs] What does it mean to either want this to be universal in the case of something like clean running water or wanting it to be something that just never happens and so that nobody thinks is universal in the case of a more negative experience? That ends up being a really interesting process to just like recognizing the existence of systemic goodnesses and like systemic badnesses. Then also as you look into the historical records of why certain things are the way they are, why certain perspectives are the way they are, that also gives you room to be like, “Okay, so this isn’t like a cosmic fact always. There might be a cosmic indicator in my chart that might point to an experience like this, but that doesn’t mean it’s a universal fact for all of time.” So then how can there be greater agency there in terms of adjusting or removing or adding to the systemic structures that delineate the edges of people’s contextual existences in a way that influences their individual existences?
CB: Okay. So that’s sort of the step towards that as first towards radical self-care for the self is first acknowledging systemically conditioned beliefs and values and moral assumptions that you’re making about the world basically.
DRH: Yeah, and recognizing that they’re systemic and they’re not inherent to humanity, I guess is maybe one of the things that I like to put forth is like just because it’s extremely common doesn’t mean it’s inherent to being human.
CB: Yeah, I like that. Cause in the episode with Ben it’s like we were focusing on individuals doing that about oftentimes like having a benefic like the most positive planet in a certain house in their life. Let’s say Jupiter in a day chart really well-dignified in the second house and financial matters always came easily to them or maybe they were born into a family that had financial wealth and therefore that was never something they struggled with. But instead of being able to see that, it was just something they took for granted. So if you as an astrologer gave them a delineation saying, it looks like financial wealth as in finances is an area that you have the most fortune with or don’t have struggle as much with compared to other people, they would often not really recognize that cause it was just something that they took for granted. So for you and the additional angle that you’re coming at this with is people not just identifying those individual things but also broader systemic things that they might be taking for granted as well. What are some examples of that? Or what areas can we talk about besides like ecologically things that people might be taking for granted?
DRH: Yeah. Well, I mean, I love this example of like a dignified Jupiter in the second. Is it like Warren Buffett has that right? Is that true?
CB: Maybe, I mean I was using like Jupiter-Pluto conjunctions recently. Bill Gates has like Jupiter, I believe in the second house which is conjoined with Pluto. But yeah, you might be right about Warren Buffett.
DRH: Yeah. So that’s a good example of whenever you can take something that’s been really good for you and recognize that it’s been really good for you for reasons that are beyond your personal control, then that can open the door to understanding, okay, so why is it that I benefit from this and are there people who don’t benefit from this and why too? What’s important with this is to go beyond and this is something that I talk about in my talk, which is this idea of deserving good fortune and deserving bad fortune. I am vehemently against the idea that people deserve good fortune and deserve bad fortune. Because that then kind of places the onus on the individual when very, very often certain significant portions of good fortune and bad fortune are not actually up to the given individual. This is one of the things that you and Ben talked about in episode 19, which is not directly, but even thinking about zodiacal releasing periods or periods when particular planets have stronger influence than other planets using time-lord techniques. There are going to be some times when financial things are favorable and financial things are less favorable and we can put that in the context of something like astrology. So if you have a really dignified Jupiter and you’re in a Jupiter-ruled year, and in your Jupiter ruled year, Jupiter is also in a very dignified position and has minimal interaction with malefics. That’s a way of kind of contextualizing not your own choices that are influencing something really fortunate happening to you. So it’s like a removal of personal fault without necessarily removing personal responsibility if that makes any sense.
CB: Yeah. Just distinguishing that there’s sometimes things that are in our control in our power and actions that we take that have results. But sometimes there’s things that happen to us that are completely outside of our control and recognizing that as like a major category, which is ironically not ironically, but it’s kind of important, especially in the modern age or in the modern “new age community”, where from like the mid-2000s forward there were things like the spirit and other things or not the spirit. What am I thinking?
DRH: The secret?
CB: The secret in terms of manifestation and the idea that anybody can manifest anything that they want just through pure intention or willpower versus recognizing in some instances that’s not necessarily the case, or at least there are some things that are outside of our control and that that’s an important category of events to recognize.
DRH: Yeah, Saturn influences. Saturn puts limits on things and Saturn frames reality. And if we even think about… There is like this meta orientation that’s like, well, your soul chose to be incarnated into a particular situation, which like that’s a different conversation than your incarnate human consciousness making a choice to be born into a particular situation. I think that’s one of the important things to keep in mind whenever we’re engaging with something like radical self-care or engaging with astrology to comprehend the frameworks of our lives which is the chart is… I think the phrase that you and Ben kept referring to is astrology is not omniscient in that it can know all of the details. Like a given chart can be for a person. It can be for a horse, referring to the Ptolemy reference, which I’m going to let you talk about in just a second. But just to kind of go on with that, which is just a super well-dignified Jupiter in the context of someone who is systemically marginalized is going to be experienced differently than someone who is systemically extremely elevated because of systemic things.
CB: Maybe we should define systemic really quickly for those that are not familiar with the term.
DRH: Yeah. So when I talk about systemic I mean the collection of cultural norms and policies that put limits around people’s existence in some way or that puts structure on people’s existence in some way. So for example, whenever people talk about systemic racism, this is not talking about individual people being racist to other individual people. It’s things like policies in the mid-20th century, actual policies on books, legal policies that prevented people of certain races from buying houses or getting mortgages or owning property in the same ways that people who were considered white were able to. So that then puts into the system a lack of ability to build wealth through property for particular populations. Again, it’s not individual to individual, it’s like policies mean this entire population exists differently than this entire other population or has to encounter things differently than this other population does.
CB: So even if there’s outliers, systemic is the policies put in place that apply to people almost universally as a class or as a group of people that are setting them apart in some way.
DRH: Yeah. That will then extend into maybe not on the books, but institutions orienting in particular ways. So I’m just trying to even think of a good example. I mean, even after the 9/11 attacks and there was a massive amount of racial profiling towards Arab-looking individuals, that is putting into place a cultural like a cultural orientation to having suspicion towards particular people because of what they look like, even though what someone looks like does not actually tell you very much about what they believe or what they’re about to do. If you’re just looking at someone’s face straight on and you’re not, you know, that’s not going to tell you actually that much about what someone believes generally speaking or what they’re going to do. That ends up saturating the… The term that I use in my talk is the collective unconscious, which I use beyond just the Jungian sense, but it influences the zeitgeist in a specific way that is very broad and very influential that goes beyond again just like one-to-one interaction.
CB: So the idea that there could be broader cultural notions that are current and let’s say society that are not transcendental, like spiritual things, but are actual things that are there just below the surface of large groups of people’s sort of consciousness in some way.
DRH: Yeah, and that then directly influences the lived experiences of individuals within that society.
CB: Okay. So this is important because you make a number of points about this, but it ties into the deservingness and undeservingness. But you said, that no person is born “deserving to live a life of destitution and unending suffering due to systemic inequity.” Then also, conversely, no person is born “deserving to live a life of materially abundant ease due to systemic inequity or inequity.” Is that correct?
CB: Okay. So that’s important too, cause it sort of gets ties into a later discussion about ideas of privilege and what a person has and when that’s used in different ways. But maybe that would be a transition point to expanding on that in terms of this notion of deservingness or undeservingness.
DRH: Yeah. So I think one of the things that I observe as an American living inside of American society, who critiques a lot of the ways that the American mythology does not play out in individual people’s lives, as much as the mythology might promise. There’s the concept of the heroic individual and the bootstrap puller who succeeds, despite all odds. And kind of this focus on the exceptional individual which then transfers responsibility for the wellbeing of people from the cultural communitarian container to the individual, just being really bad-ass [laughs] essentially. That feeds into, or like feeds out of, or just like is in a loop with kind of the, I mean, even just like the mythology of the “chosen one.” Which then in my talk, I point to the concept of predestination as an example of this, like one example of this that has had from my perception, significant influence. So this concept of predestination comes out of Protestant Calvinism and continues to be this idea that you can know whether you are chosen by God to be saved essentially, to be welcomed into heaven whenever you pass based on the evidence of your material circumstances. So, something that you can then extrapolate from that is like, if you’re born into really positive material circumstances, that’s evidence that you’re chosen by God to be amazing and to ascend to heaven eventually. So then if you’re born into really destitute circumstances, that’s proof that you are not chosen by God. Or if you’re born into destitute circumstances and no matter how hard you work, you can’t ever seem to catch a break. That’s also evidence that you’re not chosen by God. Or if you’re born into fortunate circumstances and you fall from those fortunate circumstances, like all of your money is lost or your entire family estate goes up in flames or something like that, it’s sorry, not chosen. I feel like that concept, that structure can then be really useful whenever we’re thinking in the present and how that idea has over time kind of historically become saturated into the secular culture of America. Calvinism ended up being really influential in the early days of the United States of America. You can even see it a bit in Ben Franklin’s writings and the protestant work ethic and things like that. And whenever that is, oh–
CB: So people may be taking for granted some concepts like that that have leached into society, even in a secular context, even if they’re not card carrying like Calvinists in the early 21st century.
DRH: Yes, exactly. You know, it’s something that influenced the drafting of early laws. It’s something that would have been prominent in the creation of civic charters and things like that, and policies around how debtors are treated and so on and so forth. So if that concept is just kind of part of the zeitgeist, but isn’t consciously known to be something that’s about like whether or not one is deserving within a particular religious structure, then it’s just like, okay, so my life sucks and it’s my fault. [laughs] This is something that I see then pervading things like the secret of just like, you’re just not trying hard enough that’s why you don’t have good things in your life. It’s on you. Instead of having this perspective of, well, systemically speaking, our nation or our communities don’t prioritize caretaking these people in these ways for these reasons. It’s not because these people just like are inherently bad people, it’s actually because we have culturally not prioritized community care-taking.
CB: Sure. So that’s an example of something they’re taking for granted and that’s something and one of the first steps of radical self-care would be acknowledging a layer of that that might exist in society, or maybe even in your own psyche on some unconscious level that could leach into your astrology. So you mentioned the secret, but even I could think of another example of astrologically, how people might interpret the Saturn return and how sometimes it’s framed as my partner, Leisa Schaim always complains because it’s always bothered her about how it’s often framed as if you do the work, then you’ll get the reward and that there’s some people that go into their Saturn return or come out of it better off for having learned something. But sometimes people encounter major loss or tragedy or something there, and that framing sometimes accidentally puts it on them as their fault, if something problematic or something tragic or negative happens to them when it might be completely outside of their control.
DRH: Yeah, absolutely. I think that even reminds me of like going back to episode 19 with Ben Dykes of how, if you approach astrology, if you approach a natal chart as though it’s only about an individual psyche and an individual’s agency and an individual’s potential for evolution or whatever. If that’s your only orientation, and you’re also are not aware or paying attention to the exterior circumstances that someone might experience, then you’re cutting yourself off from being able to speak to someone’s entire experience in a way that is genuinely compassionate for that entire experience. That’s one of the advantages of traditional astrological orientations, which is acknowledging that the chart isn’t only about you, but it’s also about circumstances surrounding you and people that you will interact with in some way and factors that as much as you might want to control them, you can’t. It’s one of those weird things. Like for me, this feels like one of the Saturn lessons, honestly, which is that accepting where you don’t have control is one of the most liberating things you can do, because it gives you that much more space to then pay attention to what you do have some influence over instead of slamming your head against the brick wall of circumstances beyond your control.
CB: Right. Definitely. Or focusing on lamenting that or focusing on feelings of undeservedness surrounding things that you can’t control, if that’s truly something that’s out of your power due to much broader things than are focused on you.
DRH: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. It’s not about deservingness, it’s about happenstance to a large degree.
CB: In terms of talking about systemic inequity, what are some of the other classes or things that we’re talking about in terms of that that might be the context of different people’s lives? I guess we’re talking about things like gender, for example, or–
DRH: Yeah. Gender and gender presentation are both huge factors in this. This is something that I’ve been thinking about recently actually, in terms of I feel extremely lucky, extremely blessed that I so early in my astrological career was able to speak at NORWAC, for example. I recognize that a factor in that could be my relative pretty privilege in that I am a light skinned black person who does not have intensely African looking features. I don’t know, within this cultural container that we exist within, attractiveness is usually on a scale towards maximally pretty European-looking person. So on that spectrum, I am more conventionally attractive, so to speak than someone who is extremely dark skin with extremely African looking features in terms of mainstream perception of what is pretty. So obviously, that’s not the only thing that has influenced my, I don’t know, my career growth, you could say. But it’s something that I recognize might be a factor within all of this. So pretty privilege is a thing. Pretty privilege is real especially for people who are perceived to be women.
CB: Sure. I mean, haven’t they done scientific studies on that, just in terms of the saying that people respond differently supposedly to people that are perceived as more attractive versus people that are not, and that creates a sort of conditioning in and of itself that affects many different levels of things in society and people’s experience.
DRH: Yeah, exactly.
CB: But then your additional point there is not just that, but also that even what counts for like beauty in, let’s say just America has different cultural layers and biases that are built into it as well.
DRH: Yes. Yup. 100%. 100%. So that’s one of the interesting things about a lot of these, I don’t know, I guess systemic influences is that they intersect. That’s one of the things that comes through with intersectional theory which originated in legal documents, legal work done by Kimberlé Crenshaw. And if anyone who is listening is curious about this my colleague Bear Ryver also spoke about intersectionality, so we’re not going to go super deep into that because there’s going to be an episode.
CB: Yeah, I’m talking to Bear now about doing an episode on that, but we could still define it cause it’s certainly relevant right now.
DRH: Yeah. So with intersectionality, the original idea was that previously in legal code, it was kind of impossible to combine a legal argument about being discriminated as a woman with a legal argument about being discriminated as an African-American person. Kimberlé Crenshaw argued that, [laughs] that doesn’t work in practice if these things are not separatable, especially because there’s a specific experience of discrimination that happens for black women that is different than the discrimination experienced by black men. And that is just different than the experience of discrimination by white women. So since then the term intersectionality has expanded to be something that acknowledges the ways that different identity, class, and other kinds of markers interact with one another in order to create someone’s collection of experiences as a person in the world being perceived by other people in the world. Does that feel like a good definition?
CB: Yeah. I think Bear, because again, that’s why it was his talk as well that I was really impressed by as well as yours at NORWAC, that it came out of them wanting to do episodes on. But he also described it as a person is not usually just subject to one instance or one level of discrimination, but usually there’s multiple overlapping categories that sort of can compound each other or at least be relevant at the same time rather than there just being like this one thing. So, yeah.
DRH: I haven’t observed intersectionality being used in terms of then also privileges, but that’s another thing that gets mixed into that whole soup as well. For example I was talking to somebody recently who has been working on some writing stuff and I was working on some writing stuff and I was helping this person with some writing stuff, and recognizing that one of my privileges that I carry is I grew up with an English teacher, like a college level English teacher. I grew up reading, I started reading when I was like three. I went to a top tier university and had lots of academic level writing instruction in both English and French. So that has given me a nimbleness with writing and also a facility with communicating and doing certain kinds of application processes and like all of those kinds of things that someone who hasn’t had that collection of experiences doesn’t have, or needs to learn in a different way. So I mean, and part of that is my Mercury is ruled by Jupiter. [laughs] At least, that’s one of the understandings that I have of my Mercury ruled by Jupiter.
CB: Sure. You have Mercury in Sagittarius?
DRH: I have Mercury in Sagittarius and Jupiter in Cancer.
CB: Okay, nice. Jupiter’s exalted. Okay.
DRH: Yeah. And not everybody’s Mercury in Sagittarius work the ways that work in the way that mine does.
DRH: I still have like word salad come out of my mouth as that example just now. But there’s a facility with Mercury things that I can see in terms of both my lived experiences of certain kinds of privilege and that I can also then see to a certain degree in my chart.
CB: Yeah. I like that. And that was something that really stuck with me from your talk was you explained the idea and the concept of looking at, and just starting to think about instance of privilege and using that term privilege, which sometimes can be kind of triggering for people. Or sometimes people can think that it’s means one thing, but just taking into account some of the different things that you take for granted that are benefits that you’ve had in your life or natural facilities or things that were sometimes just outside of your control that worked in your favor and acknowledging those things can actually be really useful in understanding better your own life story, or even looking at your life through the context of your birth chart or what have you.
DRH: Yeah, 100%. And like part of that too, whenever I do a client work, one of the things that people often come to me with is trying to figure out what their strengths are, like what they are supposed to be doing in some way. And frequently, what I’ll see in the chart are talents and skills or natural proclivities that they don’t even realize are special, which is a kind of another way of putting that. I think one useful way to think about privilege is, it’s not necessarily something that is always good for you, or it means your whole life is great because you have this one specific kind of privilege. Again, it intersects with other forms of privilege, as well as other forms of marginalization. But it means that your life isn’t difficult because of that thing.
CB: Sure. You don’t have the cards stacked against you, at least in that one area.
DRH: Yeah. I think having it put that way can be really helpful if then being like, okay, if the cards aren’t stacked against me in this area, if I want to do the work of being positively influential in the world, then this is probably an area that I can lean into as a tool set for being a positive influence or living out my birth chart promise, however you want to put it.
CB: Yeah. Well, it also expanded the scope of what privilege means that it’s not just something that sometimes it’s placed in a purely or at least people perceive it as being placed in a purely racial context or something like that. But it can also be things like you mentioned like beauty or attractiveness, we’ve also mentioned wealth even coming from, I mean, we could go through basically all 12 of the houses and talk about different ways that a person might experience or be privileged in different areas of their life. If that part of their chart, let’s say hypothetically, is well-situated as an area where broadly speaking, the cards might not be stacked against them and it might not necessarily be due to something that they deliberately had to cultivate on their own, even if they did choose to at some point.
DRH: Yeah. I actually really love that idea. Do you want to do that really quickly?
CB: Yeah. Well, I mean, we could do it. I mean, cause the first–
DRH: It’s pretty quick. [laughs]
CB: So the first house, let’s start with the first house as the body, as well as the mind. In my book, one of the classical indicators I took from Hellenistic astrology that they would mention occasionally was just like having Venus in the first house and for whatever reason, appearing to be abnormally attractive, let’s say, or well-proportioned or beautiful, whatever you define beauty as different people perhaps having that if they have the first house well-placed for some reason.
DRH: Yeah, and then for the second house that would bring us to those things like wealth, like having abundant resources, like the example that you gave of Jupiter well-placed in the second and not having difficulties with financial matters, which not having difficulties, that can mean any number of things. It can mean like having $100 million in the bank account or something. It can also just mean whenever you need money, it appears when you need it. You know, maybe you’re not living high on the hog, but you are never completely destitute.
CB: I want to go back really quick to the first house cause I don’t want to skip that. I could easily skip over, but these ideas of like ableism, because the first house also has to do with the physical body. And sometimes if there’s problems connected to it in terms of the first house or challenging indications, there can be the opposite. There could be challenges in terms of one’s physical body or physical mobility or physical health if that makes sense.
DRH: Yeah. Should we do like a positive, positive and negative–
CB: Positive first, or how do you want to do it?
DRH: Maybe let’s do them like both a positive and a negative for each house as we go round. So that way people aren’t like, “Wait, why are you talking about the first house again? I thought we already talked about the first house.”
CB: So the first, do you have anything else about the first or any that come to mind for you or is that good?
DRH: Oh, like one thing I think that might be sometimes relevant for the first house is your sense of safety as you move through the world. Like if you feel strong in your physical presence and your physical form, then as you move through the world, you might not have as much fear or apprehension, things of that nature, which is a privilege to be able to feel like you can just go out and be fine.
CB: Sure. Yeah, definitely. And that can be connected to a bunch of different overlapping categories.
DRH: Okay. So then with the second house, we talked a little bit about financial ease, financial like just undifficulty, for lack of a better word. And so then the opposite would be financial difficulty. We even think about how many Americans have been experiencing bankruptcy due to medical bills, for example. I don’t have any chart examples in my head that would necessitate a connection to the second house. But maybe almost the opposite is like more of the eighth house for that, but even just not being able to ensure financial stability for oneself, maybe needing to rely more on other people versus feeling like you can have your financial and other resource needs met based on your own activity.
CB: Right. That’s a really good one. I had a client that this example always stuck with me because he grew up in a very poor family during the great depression in the 1920s and 30s. And that experience always stuck with him throughout his life, and always continued to inform his sort of mental state involving with Saturn in the second house, I think in a night chart and just fear surrounding materials security as being a consistent issue throughout his life, even once he was able to overcome that to some extent and become stable as an adult.
DRH: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Okay. So third house if you have a well situated third house experience, like living in a really safe neighborhood. A neighborhood that you feel really comfortable and having a positive relationships with your neighbors and positive relationships with any siblings or like sibling, like people in your life.
CB: Versus the opposite of living in a difficult neighborhood or where you’re subjected to violence, or let’s say profiling or other circumstantial issues that are sometimes out of your control in terms of your neighborhood.
DRH: Yep. Fourth house, well-situated, having positive relationships with your family of origin or if you’re adopted, whatever your core family is in some way and maybe also not struggling to find and establish physical homes for yourself.
CB: Yeah. That’s really good ones versus the opposite of let’s say, losing a parent or not having parents or having your parents be abusive or having difficult background stories because the fourth is also just your roots and your origins. And so maybe other extended problems in terms of that or areas where you encounter or experience struggles as a result of who your parents were.
DRH: Yeah. Even thinking about intense instability at home however home looks throughout your life, maybe consistent themes of instability.
CB: Right. So, I mean, maybe that’s an issue, or question we should talk about that’s coming up for me, which is sometimes in the discussion with Ben, we framed this in terms of fortunate versus unfortunate or things like that. We’re talking about it partially in the context of privilege, but is privilege always something that you’re born with, or can it be something that is temporary or can be just like an event or event-oriented in some way?
DRH: Oh, I would say that it can definitely be like event-oriented and transitory. So for example, say you do have a really good financial year, maybe you don’t have a super dignified second house, but it’s also not negatively situated either. So you have a really good second house experience, and then you have a really negative second house experience. Whenever you are in a position of financial abundance or material abundance, then you have the privilege of having financial and material abundance. But those are things that decay or can decay, can be lost. So in a lifetime, even like those stories of people who win the lottery and do not have access to the kind of financial counseling that would facilitate long-term abundance with those winnings and then they end up in bankruptcy.
CB: Right. Okay. So it can be something that is temporary. It’s just something that offsets you and what your situation is relative to other people who may not have the same experience or the same level of being, not just fortunate cause it’s not necessarily, I don’t know, is it right to situate in terms of fortunateness versus unfortunateness or it’s just something that creates an imbalance in some way.
DRH: Yeah. I mean it creates and is a participant in some of the baked in inequities like winning the lottery.
CB: Based on societal values, which themselves are shifting and not necessarily permanent but just relative to current society.
CB: Got it.
CB: Okay, so fourth house I think that was pretty good. Fifth house, children traditionally.
CB: The house of children.
DRH: So like a fortunate fifth house or like a privileged fifth house wouldn’t just be children and also like art. Maybe if you have–I don’t know. Say you have an Aquarius fifth house with Venus in Aquarius and Venus ruling the Ascendant in a night chart and then Venus is otherwise also very happy and you’re a super well-known artist, right? This is a direct example of something on Twitter whenever I tweeted something and someone demonstrated themselves, presented themselves as an example of having Venus in its joy in the fifth and ruling the Ascendant simultaneously.
CB: Yeah, or maybe with a placement like that even just maybe when you’re in elementary school you had a really great art teacher who really encouraged and helped to facilitate the growth of your artistic skills that then leads you later into pursuing a career in becoming a successful artist. But if you hadn’t had that luck or that privilege of having that important teacher who facilitated that for you, you wouldn’t have otherwise been able to become as successful later on.
DRH: Right. Yeah, or even an example like maybe you’re super creative. This would be kind of a–This is less of a privilege thing, so maybe it’s less relevant. But I was just gonna say being an excellent artist but not being discovered until after you’ve passed.
CB: Okay. Yeah. So that’s important because I do want to be able to distinguish between, if we can, what is privilege versus what is not privilege so I understand the distinction between those two categories. You’re saying that’s not a great case because it would be an inherent privilege if they had an inherent skill or aptitude with art in and of itself. Are you saying that that counts as a privilege even if it’s not something they’re able to take advantage of fully in their lifetime?
DRH: Yeah, that’s such an interesting question. Because then we get at the question of when is the concept of privilege most relevant and when is it luck versus when is it privilege. And I feel like in this conversation one of the things about socio-political privilege is that it confers social benefits to you as you move through the world in some way as you operate within the world.
CB: So privilege is primarily socio-political in its origins. Cause we never defined completely what classes of things we’re talking about in terms of that.
CB: So what are different types of privileges, or what are the different classes of privilege that people have?
DRH: Yeah. There’s very many, right? There’s visual privilege as you move through the world, how you are perceived, and whether your presentation is something that confers upon your ease of movement or disease of movement. So this would encapsulate things like certain manifestations of white privilege, certain manifestations of pretty privilege, certain manifestations of gender presentation privilege even to a large degree certain manifestations of wealth presentation privilege. Cause you can tell when somebody is wearing expensive clothes versus when they are wearing rags. That’s a very visual component, so I think there’s visual privilege. Then there is class privilege which can include visual privilege but goes beyond it or, I don’t know, is in a non-exact Venn diagram maybe with visual privilege. So class privilege would be around the access that you have to material resources and the things that only material resources can provide you with. So this would also include educational privilege, property, certain kinds of neighborhood safety, being able to, I don’t know, bribe someone to not get you in trouble about something. Those sorts of things.
DRH: Let’s see.
CB: That could even apply to maybe the legal system of people being able to get off for certain types of crimes or not go to jail due to being able to afford or having access to expensive lawyers versus somebody in a lower socioeconomic level not being able to afford that and therefore getting a much harsher sentence or what have you than you’d get otherwise.
DRH: Yes. Yeah. Or like being detained indefinitely instead of being able to live your life while your court date is coming up.
DRH: Yeah. Okay, so visual privilege, class privilege, trying to think what other categories. Cause I feel like those are maybe–There’s also cultural privilege. Cultural privilege I think counts too because there’s this phrase called cultural hegemony which is this idea that a particular cultural orientation is the default. And if you are of the default, you don’t really consider that you’re of the default because that cultural orientation just is the thing that people operate within. And it can then be really uncomfortable whenever you’re put in a position that questions your culture or goes against your cultural default. But within that we could even think about ethnicity, immigration, religion, spirituality, other sorts of cultural norms and whether those cultural norms are broadly considered to be norms or if it’s a subset of society and your cultural norms within that subset are noticeable, they stand out in some kind of way within broader society. So one example of this that I can think of is like the ongoing issue in France of whether or not Muslim women are allowed to wear hijab or face coverings that are relevant for their faith. And with coronavirus, face coverings for coronavirus have been allowed but not the religious face coverings that Muslim women would like to be wearing within that context. And so within the cultural hegemony of France face coverings for this specific reason of the subculture of Muslim women is not allowed but face coverings that are beneficial for the cultural hegemony so the bodily safety of the French population at large are okay, right? Is that–
CB: Yeah, yeah. And in enumerating all of these I’m starting to then–I think it’s then becoming clear we can take it back to the original point of why the recognition of all these multiple levels is important in terms of self-care because you have to be able to identify the–I think you said the identity matrix is what you called it in your lecture that you’re operating within in order to truly understand not just your birth chart and to be able to contextualize it but also to be able to identify what are the things that you’re taking for granted in your life and what are the things that you don’t have to just take for granted or what are the things that maybe you want to remove from the list of things that you’re taking for granted or try to change in some way not just in yourself but also in terms of society in general.
DRH: Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. So for example even thinking about going back to the French example where the wearing of certain kinds of Muslim headgear of some kind whether it be a headscarf or a face covering of some kind that being a religious indicator that is disallowed. But say wearing a necklace that indicates your religious affiliation or even nuns in France being able to wear their–What is the head covering for nuns called? Their–
CB: Oh yeah. I know what you mean. It’s like a–It’s not a cloak, but it’s sort of like a cloak or something. Yeah.
DRH: Yeah, I’m totally spacing on the word right now. But that kind of head covering is okay because Christianity is closer to the broader French cultural hegemony than Muslim women also wearing some kind of covering.
CB: Sure. And I forget even cause I’m not fully familiar with the issue. But the French at least political stance is it they think–Maybe I shouldn’t even attempt to articulate what their–
DRH: Yeah. So my understanding of it is it’s both an assimilationist thing where it’s like we want all French people to be French and a misperception that women covering themselves is the same as women being oppressed, that any Muslim woman who is choosing to wear hijab or any other kind of religiously-based covering is doing so because they are being smashed by patriarchy instead of doing so because of their own personal convictions and beliefs around their faith. And so it’s like an imposition of a particular kind of idea of what it means to be a liberated woman versus allowing women to just make choices for themselves.
CB: Sure. Yeah. So that’s a really good example then of different cultural ones coming into conflict with each other.
DRH: Mhm. Yeah, and also which variants of the same activity are allowed based on cultural assumptions.
CB: Sure. Right.
CB: Okay. So this sort of takes us a little bit back to and what we’re already basically getting into, but the underlying point is that the context of the chart matters. And that was one of your main things that you were really pointing out in the lecture and you referred to when we were preparing for this about Ptolemy this not being like a new thing. It’s not like this is a new idea. But, in fact, back in the second century Ptolemy basically said the same thing that the context of the chart matters.
DRH: Mhm. Yeah, exactly. And so even thinking–if we’re gonna go back to the houses discussion with the fifth house culturally speaking if one of the cultural, I don’t know, priorities I guess is having lots of children. Then within that cultural context a blessed fifth house or a fortunate fifth house would be one that is very fertile and indicates high chances of producing lots of children and healthy children and happy children that go on to continue your line unendingly, right? And then a misfortunate or an unfortunate fifth house would be one that points towards barrenness or infertility instead of the production of children. But in a cultural context that prioritizes creativity or artistry or things like that more so or an equal measure to the reproductive qualities of the fifth house or a cultural context that is a really big fan of hedonism and pleasure and other Venusian things then that would be the thing that would be the beneficial impact of a well-situated fifth house.
CB: Right. Okay.
CB: So good and bad part of it then is that fortunate versus unfortunate or even privileged versus not having privilege is very culturally relative and it brings back a really important thing about not just the context of the chart but all astrology being culturally relative in some way.
DRH: Yeah, absolutely. Where I think it’s like Rick Tarnas is the most recent reference I have for this of just astrology is archetypally accurate but not necessarily down to the most detailed hard-lined accurate. Because that’s one of the gifts of astrology. It’s like my chart if i was existing in 1600s Italy would have a different experience than the chart that I have existing in 2020 in America.
CB: Right. Right. Yeah, that makes sense. And the things available to you based on your own socioeconomic status and different factors of class and gender and race and everything else or appearance are also gonna be other layers that further put you in not in a corner but at least will specify the range of possible manifestations to some extent.
DRH: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So I just had like another idea about the fifth house in privilege. Maybe you have a fifth house that to a certain degree indicates biological barrenness, right? But there’s something happening maybe with your seventh house and your second house that indicates both the resources and the capacity to do something like IVF treatments or adopting being able to successfully adopt or have access to surrogacy as a method of bringing a child into your life.
DRH: So I don’t know. Just thinking about how the houses might interact with each other in terms of indicating privilege or lack thereof around a particular house topic.
CB: Right, as well as challenges a person might face that might be indicated in the chart. But also sometimes the presence of mitigations can indicate the ability to overcome challenges or difficulties or setbacks that you might start with but you might be able to get through in some way.
DRH: Yeah, exactly. So then even going to the sixth house where a super well-situated sixth house can point to just like not having very many problems around sixth house topics potentially. But I’m even actually being reminded of a chart example that Kira Sutherland used in one of her NORWAC talks of an individual who had Gemini in the sixth and Mars in the sixth and exercised constantly like extremely fit was using their Mars to be active physically active but experienced something that meant they couldn’t be physically active and then had a manic episode because their usual Mars outlet was removed from them for a time. So that would be it’s like the privilege of being physically able to engage with Mars through health-generating activity versus the lack of privilege the lack of mobility that then leads to a negative manifestation of Mars in the sixth.
CB: Right. Yeah, that makes sense with the sixth primarily being about physical health or physical illness. And sometimes physical health or illness can be something that can take away or remove your ability to operate like other people do.
DRH: Mhm. Yeah.
CB: Okay, seventh house and just relationships or partnerships or relating to other people in one-on-one relationships in general?
DRH: Mhm. So being charming is a privilege, right? It’s not the same as pretty privilege but to be able to be in relationship with people in a way that feels good and is positive and generative and supportive versus having a more like less positive situation in your seventh house and having a lot of challenges connecting with other people. And this gets it something that’s like it’s kind of beyond systemic to a certain degree because humans are social creatures and we actually really do need to be in contact with other people for our overall wellness. But I can imagine that certain kinds of social anxiety in different socio-cultural contexts will have different impacts. So maybe you’re a really shy person and you have a blessed seventh house which means that you find friends who can see you where you’re at and who hold a positive container for you and all of that kind of thing. But maybe you’re a really shy person and something is happening in your seventh house that just leads to further and further isolation even just thinking about the–This is kind of dark, but it leads us into the eighth house to a certain degree which is just the sensation of isolation and lack of hope and lack of connection with other people contributing to when people decide to take their own life.
CB: Yeah, that’s a really good point with the seventh house even if things are changing, but if you took it back like a few decades would–If you were in a same-sex relationship or that was your orientation would that be an instance of being versus if somebody is a heterosexual and having that privilege versus not. Would that be an accurate instance of what we could think about with respect to the seventh house?
DRH: Yeah, absolutely. Straight privilege or heteronormative privilege versus non-heteronormative relationship even thinking about if we’re continuing to participate in bringing in the cultural context of these like being a single working woman in the 1920s versus being a single working woman in the 2020s. There’s a vast difference in terms of how you’re perceived by society and what kinds of opportunities are even presented to you. So–
CB: Yeah. Or being a–There was a phrase for the 1920s or ’30s an unmarried bachelor as like a key word if a man wasn’t straight and they were past a certain age and weren’t married. Yeah.
CB: Okay. So those are good instances. And then so the eighth house you’d already mentioned one there. Did you mention the opposite or what like a instance of privilege would actually be?
DRH: So for the eighth house one of the things that I’ve observed in my client’s work with some folks is having access to resources through inheritance especially.
CB: Yeah, totally.
DRH: And not everybody gets an inheritance when their parents pass on because not everybody’s family has the privilege basically to accumulate wealth in such a way that it can then be dispersed to their offspring once they pass. So that would be–
CB: The passing on of generational wealth.
DRH: Yeah, exactly. That would be the main privilege that I would point or that I would see in something like the eighth house. And then the passing on of debt or just the accumulation of debt in order to survive would be a negative, a less savory, an anti-privilege I guess.
CB: Yeah, that’s a really good one. I can definitely think of some instances of that. Yeah. So the ninth house is traditionally education and foreign travel and interaction with foreign places and things?
DRH: Mhm. As well as religion, right?
CB: Religion. Yeah.
DRH: Religion and faith. And so in terms of privilege like culturally being of the predominant religion, I would consider that to be a certain kind of privilege versus being of a faith that is explicitly oppressed in a given context for a given time period. And then–
CB: Yeah, I’m imagining a scenario where somebody is living in let’s say small rural town where they’re predominantly Christian. And you move in from out of town, and your family is Muslim or something like that. That would be an instance of that.
DRH: Yeah. Or even thinking about paganism, different forms of paganisms and whether or not that’s accepted or you’re just dismissed as a devil worshiper or something like that which can be really dangerous for people.
CB: Yeah. Or honestly even astrology sometimes because I’ve seen people that become astrologers struggle with that if their family is either let’s say highly religious. And so that puts them on the outs with their family or even the opposite end of the spectrum if their family is a background of let’s say scientists or something and suddenly they’re an astrologer putting them on the outs in terms of that.
DRH: Yeah, like highly atheist or the specific kind of materialist atheist I think can sometimes react very negatively to something like astrology.
CB: Right, or even conversely and then to flip that around let’s say somebody that is an atheist but is practicing within the context of predominantly religious society. And that’s something that puts them on the outs of–Not the outs but in the minority of the popular.
DRH: Yeah. Potential disadvantage. And then, yeah, obviously education is a huge thing. And the way that higher education has been structured at least in–like I know at least in France and in the United States which are really the only places that I’ve had any kind of interaction with the higher education system. They have systems that have by and large calcified class differences which is why it can feel so important for people who are the first in their family to go to college. It’s a huge thing because it’s the–it’s considered a stepping stone into a class that is above the class of their parents or their family.
CB: Yeah, and an opportunity to get outside of that and to transcend it or to move beyond that class in some way through education.
DRH: Yeah, which doesn’t always work out especially if there’s a massive accumulation of debt along the way.
DRH: It’s like eighth-ninth relationship.
CB: Right. Good point. And that’s where you can connect some of these houses as you did earlier through the rulers of the houses which was really important since that was actually the original context of the discussion with Ben in episode 19 was I just finished doing this really long eight-hour lecture on the rulers of the houses for my Hellenistic course which ended up being most examples I used in that chapter of my book. But it was just becoming so evident to me because you could see how different parts of a person’s life were connected when you paid attention to the rulers of the houses. And that was always something that was missing cause it’s not usually introduced in most late 20th century astrology books.
DRH: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely.
DRH: Okay, 10th house.
CB: 10th house.
DRH: Having the right kinds of networks for your career to move forward especially if you are someone with the midheaven that is placed in the 10th. Being the right kind of visible to the right kinds of people and having the right kind of appearance within career in order to further whatever your work in the world might be.
CB: Right. Definitely. So when we were preparing for this, I remember you were asking me. And we talked about maybe discussing some of our own instances of privilege, and that was one of the things I thought about because I have the degree of the midheaven, it’s in the 11th whole sign house, but it’s conjunct Venus. And I’ve definitely gotten lucky at different points not just educationally and being able to go to some place like Kepler College but also having different mentorship opportunities like meeting Demetra George and having her become my mentor and then getting lucky through that in being invited to go to Project Hindsight and other things that have helped me along the way in terms of my different career goals and aspirations as an astrologer. And that’s something I’ve been reflecting on over the past couple of weeks just would I have had some of the same opportunities if I had different backgrounds in terms of my race or gender or sexual orientation or socioeconomic status or other things like that?
DRH: Mhm. Yeah, absolutely. And that actually is a good segue into I guess we should say a negative thing about the 10th or an antiprivilege about the 10th which potentially– I’m trying to think. Problems with authority. Problems with bosses. Being perceived as or actually being a problem I guess in terms of operating with other people, problems with your reputation which again even thinking back into history of just like to be a single working woman at certain time periods sometimes the assumption is that you are a sex worker. And that could really diminish your opportunities in your professional field of choice. Or if it came out that you were a homosexual man, you could end up divorced and unemployable and blacklisted essentially which-Yeah. I don’t know. But segueing into the 11th where your MC is conjunct Venus, having friends [laughs] having supportive community around you with your MC there that clearly feeds into your work, your most visible work in the world. But even for people whose MC isn’t there to have a well-situated 11th house can really facilitate all of the things that are fed by positive community interaction.
CB: Mhm. Right. Yeah. And when I was in my early 20s and my profections were going through there and all that stuff was getting activated, I was invited to join the board of the Association for Young Astrologers very early cause I was complaining that they weren’t doing a very good job. And so they said, “Well, why don’t you just–Then come aboard.” They basically turned it around on me and said, “Well, join the board.” And then I eventually became president in my early 20s. And then as a result of that, the National Council for Geocosmic Research reached out and asked if I would join their board and become their research director for a few years. So that was instances of me having luck or getting advantages through 11th house/10th house topics while some of those things were getting activated due to positive placements that were reflected in my birth chart.
DRH: Yeah, yeah. And then the opposite, struggling maybe not even having aspirations. I think for people who are very oriented towards achieving something, leaving a legacy of some kind, having a positive influence, having some level of positive notoriety it can be really easy to forget that there are people that literally just don’t have aspirations for whatever reason. Maybe due to other circumstances through witnessing or being told that their dreams were invalid or their dreams couldn’t happen, they just give up on achieving something which to me is like a very sad 11th house kind of situation. Even if we were to go back to the fifth house example that kind of sent us on a loop-de-loop. So say someone has a Venus in her joy in the fifth but in antithesis or something. And in combination with that, maybe it’s a day chart and they have Mars in the 11th and maybe a Mars-Saturn conjunction in the 11th. And early in life someone tells them there’s no way you’re ever gonna be an artist. It’s impossible. And so then that person goes their whole life just never letting themselves aspire to their creative potential.
CB: So just focusing on that 11th house core signification of one’s hopes and wishes and aspirations?
DRH: Mhm. Yeah.
CB: Okay. Yeah, that’s a really good one. And also to go back to the 10th house but also carries over to the 11th. But just I want to use this specific keyword that we hadn’t used but just experiencing discrimination when it comes to your career and that being actually something that holds you back or sets you back. And I have had clients who had that who didn’t get promotions or didn’t move up as fast as they could have through their career or even to speak to your 11th house topics about hopes and aspirations were blocked from some of the things that they wanted to achieve in their life as a result of discrimination.
DRH: Yeah, 100%. The concept of the glass ceiling right of being able to see that there is more to achieve but being prevented from breaking through by structures and ways of thinking that are beyond your personal control. And that often because it’s glass one of the things about the glass ceiling is it’s invisible to the people that have transcended it, right? They don’t see that it’s there, and this can be true in so many ways. It can be true for gender, it can be true for race, it can be true for sexual orientation, it can be true for even class and ability, all of these different things can be factors in people dismissing your worthiness. [laughs] Go back to worthiness, dismissing your worthiness of advancing within a particular field.
CB: Right. That makes sense.
CB: Well, and also tangibly 11th can just be friends and sometimes having friends or group structures that are supportive of you versus maybe not having that or being left out of groups or support structures that would otherwise support you and support your hopes and aspirations.
DRH: Yeah. Nobody achieves their dreams on solo effort alone. There’s some combination of factors that are beyond your own personal influence that contribute to those things, so not having those things is a huge huge thing.
CB: Yeah, and that was one of the reasons why I was involved in AYA early on because that was a important thing in the community at the time where there weren’t support structures when I came into the community for younger astrologers and helping them get connected to the established older astrological community and building that. And as a somewhat of a segue, I wanted to mention that because then that’s something in terms of other organizations and groups that would be useful and help balance things out like that where AYA played that role kind of like 10 or 15 years ago and continues to. But in your talk and also in Bear Ryver’s talk you had mentioned working on an organization that you guys are still working on behind the scenes.
DRH: Yeah. So that’s with Bear Ryver, Shakirah Tabourn, myself. Erin Tack Shipley is now participating in some of the foundation creation like the foundation laying I guess would be a better way of putting that. But it’s MICA, the Metaphysical Intersectional Collective of Astrologers, and it’s really focused on especially like the intersectional component of what does it mean to support the astrological community in bringing the not just “diversity and inclusion” but actual community building around the multifaceted nature of people who love astrology. [laughs] So, yeah, I don’t know how much I can really say. But I know one of our big goals is education. So education for especially people who are wanting their astrological practices to be more inclusive and more aware of the factors outside of the astrological consult setting that are impacting their clients or their students or both depending on what your role in astrology is. And then access. So we would like to get scholarships going of various kinds if we’re going to conferences for education, for people getting readings even, right? Understanding that actually getting consultations, being on the receiving end of consultations is a huge part of astrological education. It’s like sitting with a professional. [laughs]
CB: And you said that at one point. That was an eye-opening thing for me, but you pointed out that astrological insights and knowledge are privileged or can be a privilege in and of itself especially due to the expense of getting an astrological consultation or even getting a consultation with the best astrologers can sometimes be outside of what a person can afford.
DRH: Yeah, exactly. There’s that factor. There’s also the privilege of even having a birth time which I think a lot of people don’t recognize as a privilege like if you are adopted or you were born in a context where there wasn’t that kind of record-keeping, even rectification can’t fix everything. Yeah, those being kind of the two main things when it comes to accessing it but also having the time.
DRH: Like having consistent internet and a safe space in which to engage with astrology. Going back to the ninth house question, which is what if the cultural situation for you is completely hostile to your astrological studies and you’re putting yourself at some kind of risk to engage with pursuing astrology? That’s not my situation, and I recognize that as a privilege. So–
CB: Sure. Yeah, that’s really good. In terms of MICA, you guys don’t have a website yet. But you do have an Instagram page. So I just wanted to share that which is just m i c a astrologers. So instagram.com/micaastrologers. And that might be good if people have Instagram to follow that just so when you guys do get the organization up and running, they can start getting notifications.
DRH: Yeah. And we are really grinding on trying to put things out now. So just like after NORWAC. So yeah.
CB: Good. All right. I think that brings us finally to the 12th house.
DRH: Mhm. Yeah. And the 12th house, this is actually one of my favorite houses to engage with because I have things there. [laughs] I have dominant things there. I have Sun, Moon, and Mercury all in the 12th whole sign house. But for me a privilege there is like the facility, right? Like the facility and willingness to engage with 12th house topics which is really challenging for a lot of people. And to be able to do that engagement requires a lot of things that not everyone has access to like willingness, first of all. I don’t even know what to call it. The 12th house is always hard to put words to. It’s not exactly resiliency but–What is the word that I want? Fortitude maybe. There’s a kind of–I wanna be careful about not trying to phrase this in terms of spiritual evolution language. Because that’s not really what it is. But it’s kind of the tenacity to be able to engage with some of the things that exist in the 12th house which can be a lot of shame, it can be a lot of pain, it can be a lot of the sensation of isolation, the sensation of being very liminal. For certain people this also looks like literally being some level of, I don’t know, put away so to speak. So like time spent in psychological hospitals or psychiatric hospitals. Excuse me. Time spent in jail, time spent in ashrams or monasteries or on solo retreat of some kind. And so that actually could be one of the dividing lines between a privileged experience of the 12th house and a non-privileged experience of the 12th house. Privilege looks like being able to choose to go on a meditation retreat. Non-privilege looks like being pulled into incarceration.
CB: Right. Or being falsely incarcerated or not having the ability to hire a lawyer and therefore getting put away for 30 years on false charges or something like that.
DRH: Mhm. Mhm. Yeah. Again, but the 12th house is so murky. But those external things of just like where are you physically located but then also the internal experiences of like can you can you withstand being face to face with some of those deep psychological or spiritual, I don’t know, contents? For lack of a better word.
DRH: Do you have the support for that? Have you found the right resources to guide you well? Can you safely engage with those things without maybe falling into a psychiatric break of some kind?
CB: Yeah, that’s a really good point. Or to think of the other side of my analogy, a person that goes to jail let’s say but then teaches themself and learns law and becomes a lawyer and then successfully is able to free themselves and then go on to fight for others in similar circumstances in the future. Obviously, those are very rare instances but sometimes things like that happen and just what you would expect to see in a birth chart in instances like that versus ones where the opposite happens.
DRH: Mhm. Yeah, totally.
CB: All right. So I think that was a pretty good trip through the 12 houses, and obviously there was a lot that we could have gone into to get into more detail in that. But I think maybe this brings us around or back full circle since we’ve now come back to the first house appropriately to how this is tied into the idea of self-care, the identification of these things, and what you can do with that information once you’ve identified maybe areas of privilege in your own life.
DRH: Yeah. Well, it’s in part identifying areas of privilege but also in part identifying areas of relative marginalization while simultaneously kind of recognizing the differences of experiences that people have throughout their lives. And so one thing that I encourage people to do, and we kind of touched on this earlier, is to look at what you understand your privileges to be and your marginalizations to be and to do the work to kind of eradicate any sense of deservingness or undeservingness that you have around those things. If I could just kind of pluck the concepts of deservingness and undeservingness out of people’s heads, I totally would because it really gets in the way of self-compassion as well as compassion for other people. I go into this in my talk a little bit more explicitly. But if you believe that people deserve their lived circumstances, then how kind are you to people who have less than you have for example? And–
CB: How much empathy or true understanding of their situation do you have?
DRH: Yeah. And how much compassion do you have for their situation? How much do you understand your capacity to potentially positively impact their circumstances in some way? So, yeah, that would be the first thing. It’s just like look at what is in front of you and do what you can to remove deservingness and undeservingness which is way easier said than done. So that’s kind of an addendum which is like whenever you engage with this work as much as you can, be kind with yourself through it. Cause–
CB: Yeah, cause you point out in your talk that this in’t easy work. Identifying these things is not easy. It can actually be very very difficult for yourself.
DRH: Yeah. It can be really hard, and it can be hard for a couple of reasons. It can be hard because we don’t see air for example, but we’re all surrounded by air. [laughs] And we can perceive air through things like the movements of air through adding something to it like adding particulates to it like incense. We can see air currents more if we have some smoke involved. So muddying your self-concept is part of the process, and that can feel really destabilizing just like, “I’ve always believed I’m a really good person, but here’s all this evidence that I am complicit or participating in things that harm people.” [laughs] That’s hard. It is really hard, and also it’s just part of the work. That’s my Saturn jumping out of just being like, “Sorry, it’s hard. You just have to do it.” [laughs]
CB: Yeah. Well, and that’s something I’ve been really cognizant of and seen really vividly over the past couple of weeks is the disconnect where people think for example that if they don’t actively have not done things that they considered to be racist or that they are not racist themselves that they don’t realize that they’re still operating in a framework where systemic racism exists and their lack of acknowledgement or realization of that is itself is participating in that in some way to some low extent even if they themselves are not consciously what you might consider to be a racist person or what have you.
DRH: Right. And that actually, I was talking about this with a friend recently of just like there’s a difference between racism and white supremacy. And one of the key differences is like on an individual level if you grow up inside of a racist society, you are some level of racist. It just is like, I’m racist in ways that I am constantly sifting through. But–
CB: cause you’re taking for granted things that are based on systemic long ago racial premises that you don’t even fully realize in some instances.
DRH: Yeah, yeah. Exactly. And I benefit from racism in certain ways. I also am harmed by racism in a lot of ways. But I’m not a white supremacist, right? Being a racist or being racist and being white supremacist are kind of two different things at least in the way that I approach it. Being explicitly white supremacist is theviolent, like actively violent form. But racism can be very subtle and insidious and very very very difficult to pull all the way out. So yeah. So just going back is just like being tenacious, having perseverance, and having kindness and compassion for yourself through the process of working through any of these things, any of the privileges, any of the marginalizations, the deservingness question, the worthiness question. And kind of on the flip side of that, there’s the pulling stuff out, but there’s also the growing the things that you want, and that’s the more enjoyable part to a certain degree. It’s still work, but say you are actively eradicating classism from how you work and operate in the world. And then part of that process is like building better structures for people to or contributing to organizations that are already doing this work of building better access to necessary resources. That’s a lot more like, “Yeah, I’m doing something that is benefiting more than myself.” And not doing it because it’s proof that you’re good but doing it because you want good things for people.
CB: Mhm. Yeah, that makes sense. It’s not just a performance to prove that you’re good. Because if you’re still questioning that, then that’s still something that you need to work on in terms of the deservedness, undeservedness level.
DRH: Yes, exactly. And, again, these things–It’s not like you’re just done with it forever. It’s like maybe you figure it out in one area and you process it, you digest it out. It’s no longer like the strong influence in this one area of your life. And then in a year or a week or a month or something, something else crops up where you’re like, “Oh, here’s another area of life where my sense of worthiness could use some help and where my–” And sometimes that can be triggered by perceiving, watching ourselves judge someone else for something like a quality that we also have. But that’s getting into the fine tooth combs question or component of this work, but it’s an ongoing process. So on my website I have the two PDFs that I created for my NORWAC talk. They’re available for free. But one of them is exercises to engage with this practice. And I really wanted to focus on helping people grow parts of their brain that aren’t the parts of our brain that really like to cling to negative stuff. And so that includes making really really wildly positive delineations about your own chart. Because when it comes back shrinking this back to the self-care component, one of the things that the chart can show us is the ways that we’re incredible in some way, shape or form. But it can be really easy to just cling to the things in our chart that prove that we suck. So deliberately practicing especially with another astrologically literate person, creating wildly positive delineations can be a really fun brain exercise that helps create kind of like a positive fortitude almost which then helps you keep doing the harder work of like seeing the things that are maybe less savory about yourself or your place in the world.
CB: Yeah, that’s great. So that brings it all the way back to and I think finally brings it full circle in terms of the topic and why you call it radical self-care because you have to get to the underlying roots of everything and in some instances dig them up in order to fully identify the things that you’re taking for granted in your life that are both good and bad. But ultimately the point is that you can use astrology as a form of self-care which is not just physical but also mental and emotional and spiritual in a very deep and profound way. And that’s ultimately what you’re going for here. And you have some exercise sheets on your website, some PDFs for people to start taking some of those steps.
DRH: Yeah, exactly. Exactly.
CB: Okay, so what’s your website again?
DRH: So my website is ddamascenaa.com. And that is spelled D D A M A S C E N A A. You can also go to dianaroseharper.com which is much easier to spell. But yeah. If you go to downloads, you will see I have three different tiers for the video recording of my talk. I like to provide sliding scale where and when I can. And then I have two zero-dollar PDFs. One is a list of resources, and one is a list of exercises that you can do as part of this work. And for those that might be curious, I am tithing 50% of the proceeds of the sales of my talk to Black Lives Matter Los Angeles.
CB: Awesome. Okay. And yeah. So I’ll put a link to that for those listening to the audio version of this in the description page for this episode both below the YouTube video as well as on theastrologypodcast.com website. Yeah, I’m trying to think of anything else. Of course, you’ll be launching the organization in the future. You’re gonna be giving more talks or possibly other workshops related to this, or how do you see yourself expanding on this work in the future?
DRH: Yeah. Well, again, this is a talk that I’ve done a couple of different variations of already. I’m gonna be doing one for a small school district in Wisconsin later this month, and I’m really excited about that.
DRH: I have a zine that goes along with the workshop. It’s Tarot for Radical Self Care. So if there’s anybody here who’s into tarot, the physical zine is currently sold out. But I’m hoping to acquire a printer so I can print them here at home as well as make a digital version of that soon. And people have been asking me to teach the tarot version online as well, so at some point that will be something that exists in the world as well. But, yeah, otherwise at this point I’m kind of just working through my current stack of things. But, yeah, I’m really excited to have this out in the world. And I’m really excited to see how it supports people ongoingly. It gave me a lot of happiness whenever you messaged me and mentioned that my talk helped you to kind of perceive privilege as one of the things that can be understood within that matrix of people not recognizing certain things about their life even though it’s clearly delineated in the chart. Because that’s just one example of things that have kind of opened up for people after experiencing this work, and that is I don’t know. I find it incredible. I feel like–Yeah, I’m just really excited to continue to hear about people’s engagement with it because it’s not about me. It’s about seeing how people are engaging and working through and feeling encouraged and doing this too. Cause it’s important. It’s important always. It just is extra important maybe in this given moment.
CB: Yeah. And it seems you had submitted that talk for NORWAC probably almost a year ago like last summer or something and then just the timing of your talk and Bear’s talk which I already walked away with, like you said, an interesting and what felt like an important additional viewpoint to access something I’d already seen and tried to articulate but maybe wasn’t able to fully articulate. But being able to pursue that more now is kind of exciting. And then, yeah, of course in terms of the timing it seems even all the more relevant now for astrologers to be talking about things like this.
DRH: Yeah, 100%. 100%.
CB: Yeah. Awesome. All right. Well, thank you so much for joining me today. I know I could actually keep talking to you all day, but I know you have to go. We might wanna wrap up this episode for today. But thanks a lot for giving that talk. I hope people check out your website and buy the lecture where you go into much more detail from the NORWAC lecture about some of these topics and some of the philosophy behind it, as well as some of the exercises and other things like that. So, yeah, keep it up. And I look forward to seeing where you take this work in the future.
DRH: Yeah. Thank you for having me, Chris. It’s great to have a conversation with you. That was one of the things of just NORWAC happening digitally. I feel like we didn’t get to have a good hang. So, glad that this happened.
CB: Yeah, definitely. Right.
CB: Yeah. And hopefully the first of many.
CB: All right. Well, thanks a lot for joining me today. And thanks everybody for listening to this episode of The Astrology Podcast. Thanks to all the patrons for supporting it, and I guess that’s it. So we’ll see you again next time.
DRH: Right. Bye.
CB: Thanks to the patrons who helped to support the production of this episode of The Astrology Podcast through our page on patreon.com. In particular, shout out to patrons Christine Stone, Nate Craddock, Maren Altman, Irina Tudor, Thomas Miller, and Bear Ryver as well as the Astro Gold astrology app available at astrogold.io, the Portland School of Astrology at portlandastrology.org, and the Honeycomb Collective Personal Astrological Almanacs available at honeycomb.co. The production of this episode of the podcast is also supported by the International Society for Astrological Research which is hosting a major astrology conference in Denver, Colorado September 10th through the 14th 2020. More information about that at isar2020.org. Finally, also Solar Fire astrology software which is available at alabe.com. You can use the promo code AP15 for a 15% discount on that software. For more information about how to become a patron of The Astrology Podcast and help support the production of future episodes while getting access to subscriber benefits like early access to new episodes or other bonus content, go to patreon.com/astrologypodcast.