Why do we squirm when someone holds power over us? If we owe someone money, for example, there is an (often unspoken) dynamic where we think we have to abide by their wishes for us. Parents use threats like, “as long as you’re living under my roof, you’ll do as I say”, to control and manipulate the behavior of their children. These wounds persist into adulthood without self-awareness. Many of us are afraid of anything holding power over us.
Conversely, many people do not want the responsibility of owning their own power. We constantly outsource our authority to our peers or our significant others - oftentimes institutions and traditional authorities too - in lieu of doing what’s right for us and what we believe is right. We fear being in control, because what if we’re wrong? What if I lose my position within the social hierarchy? The other pathology here is that some people give their power to life itself, masquerading as laid-back people who never take control and compulsively surrender.
Your relationship with power and authority reflects your relationship with your Father, which influences your relationship with masculinity more than any other piece of your upbringing.
Modern spirituality is partly to blame too, filled with both fake gurus and deluded followers. This dynamic has skewed our relationship with power. We have confused following a teacher for a brief time with guru worship, we have confused trusting that someone else might know what is best for us with giving our power away. The result of this is an increase in self-deception and broken trust, the legacy of a twisted relationship with the phrase, “Father knows best”.
A lack of trust in ourselves has led us to avoid standing in our power. This isn’t about figuring out why we don’t trust ourselves, it is about accepting it and working with it. If we stand in our power and people misunderstand or react from their own wounding, that reinforces the belief that we should just go along with the crowd. If standing up for what you believe is right means ruffling some feathers and potentially triggering others, most of us choose to avoid power altogether, never pushing into that edge.
In order to nurture this confidence, we have to develop introspection, examine our shadows, and learn how to show others that we care about them.
Astrology, Mythology, Human Design, and The Gene Keys
I will use all of these frames throughout the course of this essay to provide archetypal context for what is coming up. We’ll get to learn about the planets involved, dig deep into the sign of Aries, and the 21st Gate/Gene Key (Human Design/Gene Keys) to point to something universal.
True Authority Requires Submission
The 21st Gene Key has the Shadow of Control, the Gift of Authority, and the Siddhi of Valour. To show what happens when we enter into the 21st Gift of Authority, I’ll introduce a simple 3 stage developmental framework.
We begin with an immature, youthful sense of power and authority. Think troubled teens on Maury shouting at their parents, “You don’t tell me what to do, I’ll do what I want”. We don’t think rules apply to us, so we act like they don’t. Of course, we also will submit out of fear at this stage, which is not voluntary, it is coerced. We have those who go along with the traditional power dynamics and we have those who react to them - contrarians.
Stage 2 is framed as voluntary slavery. We must freely choose to submit to something that we recognize has universal, enduring power and holds more wisdom than we do. A good way to frame this is by adhering to a spiritual path or trusting in ethical axioms. Having children is another common path into this stage, as we have to submit to forces we cannot control. We might look towards religious teachings, but the basic premise is to pick a set of rules that you did not create and follow them, then keep following them.
In Yoga, we trust that our minds and bodies tend towards imbalance if left unchecked, and we develop consistent practices and learn the frameworks for right behavior. We commit to the path, even though we know that no path is complete, the map is not the territory, the finger pointing at the moon is not the moon, etc. We recognize that every spiritual cliche applies, and yet still, we work within the system and go as far as we can go within it, and we test the possibilities. This is not saying “there is only one way”. This says, “this is the way that I have chosen, and I am going to stay committed to it while I learn the lay of the land”.
Your spiritual journey is akin to digging a well. Is it practical to dig 5 feet down, become impatient, and go start digging elsewhere? We know we will reach water if we stay committed to our path, even once the excitement fades and we are left with a somewhat monotonous journey at times. Digging 10 holes to find water is silly, so why do we try 10 different spiritual paths and take what we prefer from each of them?
This is what the metaphor of Voluntary Slavery refers to. Pick a path, listen to people who know more than you do, and follow the rules.
Stage 3 is Authentic Authority. We have submitted and disciplined ourselves for enough time that following the rules actually creates more karma than bending them. We have built our lives upon a sturdy foundation that is tried and tested, and we can fall back on this as a safety net as we begin to play and take bolder risks outside the lines. This is the path of Tantra or non-rejection, which shows us that anything can be spiritual with the right intention. Everything is sacred. We begin to walk the razor’s edge, and the discipline we flexed earlier acts as a life raft if we find ourselves lost or regressing.
If we continue to fear people or systems having power over us, we will remain stuck in stages 1 or 2, unfit or unwilling to wield Tantric ideals and mired in self-deception. Attempting to skip steps will lead to dysfunction and distrust.
Reclaim Your Power
2023 is the year that it finally begins. This is the year we reclaim our power and authority. Of course, this will happen in layers. There will be progress and regression, but the next 4 years hold the keys.
There are many pieces to this story. Our relationship with masculinity, the Warrior archetype, our parents, and authority all play into each individual’s broken relationship with power. We have power dynamics that shift based on context and there are some that are universal. What empowers one group may disempower another. The web is complex, and one would be justified in throwing their hands up in the air and taking the easy way out.
If we wrestle with this issue earnestly, though, there is untold potential energy. We must recognize what is at stake for us in the conflict and learn to self-regulate so we can avoid reacting or collapsing under the stress of the challenge.
March 11, 2023 - Jupiter Conjunct Chiron in Aries
Chiron in Aries
Chiron has been in Aries since 2018 and will remain there until 2027, a turning point year according to the systems of Human Design and The Gene Keys. This is a consequential transit for the trajectory of humanity.
Chiron is a dwarf planet that sits between Saturn and Uranus in the solar system and was only discovered in 1977. Chiron is most often understood as the “wounded healer”, and reveals the healing journey we are here to take responsibility for so that we can help others to heal from it. When Chiron is involved, we see triggers, reactive behavior, and a break is revealed. Chiron does not break things. Chiron reveals what needs to be mended and provides a path to healing.
The root word for Chiron is the same as Chiropractor, the Greek word “kairos”. This word has deep philosophical implications. It is sometimes translated as “the right moment”, but has a more profound meaning as a “turning point”. Kairos reveals a time when history itself adapts, changes, and builds a bridge from one epoch to the next. Kairos demands we meet the needs of the moment - the outcome is not predetermined.
Kairos is being born again. Kairos is a change in the meta-perspective of society.
The mythology of Chiron is predictably dramatic. Chiron was a centaur, but he wasn’t just any centaur. He was borne of the Titan Cronus and the nymph Philyra, which is distinct from the other centaurs. Chiron was abandoned after birth and was found by the god Apollo, who took him in and taught him music, medicine, and prophecy. Chiron was a great healer, teacher, astrologer, and oracle. Chiron was a tutor to many Greek heroes as well, including Achilles.
Chiron eventually gave up his immortality voluntarily in exchange for the life of Prometheus, who was left to die after allowing mankind to obtain the use of fire. Chiron was struck by a poison arrow and, somewhat ironically, could not heal himself even though he was a master of the healing arts. Zeus, his half-brother, took pity on him and placed him in the stars to be immortalized as the constellation Centaurus.
There is a poem, which has been mostly lost through the ages, called “Precepts of Chiron”. While most of the epic Greek poems of the time were songs recounting the great work the gods had done and tales from their lives, this poem was less of a narrative and more life advice. Chiron had a message for the Greeks, and the poem was supposedly written as though Chiron were teaching the great warrior Achilles.
Chiron has a goofy orbit. It takes about 50 years to transit the entire zodiac, but it stays in some signs much longer than others. Most of the time, Chiron spends 3-4 years in each sign. For Aries, where Chiron currently resides, the erratic mini planet spends about 8-9 years on average, depending upon retrograde timing.
It’s interesting that Chiron’s most notable pupil was the infamous Achilles, perhaps the greatest Greek warrior there ever was. Chiron spends up to 3 times as much time in Aries than any other sign, the sign of the Warrior. Chiron’s lessons and teachings seem especially relevant for the Warrior. Clearly, there is something special here and it’s reasonable to assume that we ought to pay extra attention to Chiron when he transits Aries.
We see themes of healing, wounding, prophecy, wisdom, astrology, alignment, pivotal moments, and rebirth very clearly when we dig into Chiron.
Even though Chiron is not integrated into Human Design’s body graph, his transits are considered of great importance, especially if you have a 6th-line profile. Human Design and the Gene Keys each contain prophecies of a great turning point or Great Change in the trajectory of humanity in 2027, which has been seeded for the last few generations. With Chiron finally leaving Aries in 2027, we see a connection between this Chiron transit and the birth of a new human civilization.
Barbara Hand Clow, in her book, “Chiron: Rainbow Bridge to the Outer Planets”, lays out a compelling case for Chiron being the true ruler of Virgo and the 6th house, one I have integrated into my Astrology practice. In the book, she posits that Chiron arrived to offer us a hand in traversing our underworld in order to access our unique potential. Because Chiron sits between Saturn and Uranus, and because we can see the progression of the planets through the lens of a developmental sequence, Hand Clow makes the case that the healing work that Chiron demands of us is an integral part of Unique-Self Actualization and Transcendence.
If we don't do the work of Chiron, we can never authentically tap into the inspiration and uniqueness of Uranus.
Chiron’s small size (~220 km diameter) shows that the path is narrow. We must pass through the needle’s eye if we are to arrive at the promised land. We have to walk through hell in order to reach heaven, a myth that is echoed even in the story of Jesus Christ and chronicled in the Apostle’s Creed.
The journey seems impossible when we start. Think of Frodo and the ring, as they form the Fellowship and begin the quest to Mt. Doom. All of them know they are probably doomed, but they know they have to try. Tolkien’s story is an incredible allegory for the type of shadow work we must take on individually and collectively if we hope to actualize our potential and transcend the limited self, claiming our uniqueness and authenticity in an offering to the world.
Jupiter in Aries
Now, Jupiter is a different story. Jupiter expands and exaggerates the themes it works with. Jupiter entered Aries last year, then retrograded back into Pisces before finally re-entering Aries towards the end of 2022. Jupiter brings up themes like optimism, abundance, growth, and exploration. When we see Jupiter enter a sign we know that this sign holds incredible potential for us. Jupiter’s shadow is overly optimistic and irresponsible. Its expansion can exhaust us and bring us out of integrity, away from our core.
Whereas Chiron is tiny, Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system by a huge margin, which makes this conjunction downright comical. Jupiter’s mass is 2.5 times the rest of the planets and asteroids combined.
When Jupiter is in Aries, we would do well to embrace the Warrior ethos; light, agile, impulsive, decisive, and pioneering. The Warrior does not carefully weigh all sides of a decision during a battle. The warrior attacks the enemy in front of him, then the next one. This is not the strategic general. The warrior decides, acts, and irons out the details as needed.
Aries is often a reluctant leader. It is rare that Aries sets out to gather followers. Aries ends up as a leader by virtue of his willingness to try new things and chart his own path through the wild darkness. Aries doesn’t need proof to act on a hunch. Aries does not like having to wait for others to catch up. Aries would rather just do something himself than show others how to do it, feeling bogged down by having to communicate, teach, and deal with questions that seem irrelevant from his perspective.
While Jupiter is in Aries, it is time to minimize your lifestyle and potentially even your circle of friends. Aries thrives when it has fewer people’s feelings to consider. When there is a myriad of people who are depending upon Aries to come through for them, that pressure leads to subversion, causing Aries to deny his nature or he will eventually crack under the pressure and leave abruptly.
Aries teaches us that making the wrong decision is better than making no decision at all. Being among the first to try new things has certain advantages both short and long-term, even if there are some minor headaches and glitches in the beginning. Aries teaches us that we should try and fail, rather than agonize over whether or not we can do the thing.
We have to be light and agile now, ready to change direction and act on a moment’s notice. We have to look over our shoulders, and we have to know who is on our side, and who isn’t. This isn’t about friends and enemies, it’s about knowing who you can trust when things are tenuous. When you are in the heat of battle, who do you trust?
Aries as Achilles
When we lean into this comparison, we can find a rich tapestry of mythology that is not only relevant today, but poignant. Chiron was a great tutor to many Greek warriors, so his connection to the sign of Aries and the long transit he takes in this sign is hardly coincidental. The most famous chronicle of Achilles comes from Homer’s The Iliad, the basis for the movie Troy where Brad Pitt plays Achilles.
There is a moment during the Trojan War when Achilles becomes filled with unfathomable rage after the death of one of his closest comrades. At the time, Achilles had been refusing to fight in the war. No more, though. Achilles’ rage takes over and he kills many, many Trojan men, so much so that the river god Scamander begins to battle with him, for the dead men are choking the river. Zeus sends the gods to restrain Achilles so he will not take Troy down before the gods will it, suggesting that the unhindered rage of Achilles can defy fate itself. Achilles ultimately slays Trojan hero Hector.
Later, after Achilles’ death, supposedly the work of an arrow to his heel, Odysseus sails to the underworld and meets Achilles as told in Homer’s Odyssey. During the sometimes perplexing conversation between Odysseus and Achilles, Achilles shares that he would rather, “be a slave to the worst of masters than be king of all the dead”.
We see here that Achilles’ story has a lot to say about power, submission, hell, and rage. Achilles shows that an act of will can change the fates, that we have the capacity to alter the trajectory of “the plan”, and that even the fiercest and most independent warrior would rather serve in life than rule over hell.
What is Hell?
Hell is a complicated concept. If Chiron is in fact the ruler of Virgo, not Mercury, it makes sense on many levels. Virgo and its ruler are generally accepted to reflect the 6th house. The 6th house, therefore, carries themes of health and monotony, and many astrologers refer to the 6th house as the house of hell. The 6th house is also one of attempting to make things better and consistent effort. In this way, Hell can be seen as the struggle we suffer to make our lives better, now.
Meaningless suffering, is there such a thing?
The Greek myth of Sisyphus is an interesting one to draw parallels to hell. Sisyphus was a former Greek king who angered Hades, god of the underworld, on many occasions. From betraying “guest’s rights” to cheating death, Hades saw Sisyphus’ transgressions so abhorrent that he sentenced him to an eternity of suffering. Sisyphus was given a cursed boulder to push up a mountain. Upon nearing the top of the mountain, the boulder would roll away from Sisyphus, and we would have to start again from the bottom.
There is something both elegant and troubling about this allegory when we overlay it with the human experience. Humanity can never reach the summit. There is always more to do. Even when we think we have done our work, more emerges, and problems that we were unaware of emerge. Hell is the suffering that we cannot escape, that we must accept as grace. It is our attitude toward the boulder, not the boulder itself, that makes it hell.
We each have a mountain to climb. The sooner we learn to love our mountain, the sooner we can better equip ourselves for its conditions.
The story of Moses in the Old Testament should tell us all we need to know about our mountain. "From the mountaintop, Moses saw the Promised Land. “Then the Lord said to him, ‘This is the land which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there’” (Deuteronomy 34:4).” And, as promised, Moses died before his people reached the promised land.
Dr. Martin Luther King later referenced the metaphor in his final speech before being assassinated as he addressed sanitation workers on strike in Memphis. Toward the end of his speech, King refers to threats against his life and foreshadowed his impending death:
"Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn't matter with me now, because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live – a long life; longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. So I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord."
Hell is believing that we are a victim of our mountain. It is attachment to what comes on the other side of our struggle. Hell is the inability or refusal to recognize the deeper meaning of our suffering. Hell is our refusal to take responsibility for our suffering. Hell is when we fight God’s will. It is the belief that we are powerless. It is the cross that we must bear.
The Warrior would prefer to submit to his mountain and trust in divine will than to be in control of those who are mired in self-deception and victimization.
Healing our Wounds is our Mountain
The tricky part with this is that acknowledging the pain of other people is really, really important. And, we shouldn't expect it for our own wounds. Our work is to understand, not to be understood.
So, what do we make of this healing journey now? We fight, day in and day out, to reclaim our power and heal our wounds only for it to be revealed that we will never reach the promised land. We will never receive the acknowledgment we yearn for. Any acknowledgment we get should be seen as a bonus. Acknowledging other people is our work.
And, we have to try. It’s the only work worth doing.
The work to keep an open heart and do what we were born to do is the only mountain worth climbing. And we will keep climbing it, until our last breath. We don’t do this as martyrs. We don’t do this scornfully. We definitely don't do it for praise, acknowledgment, and recognition - that's not a thing on the mountain. We do it because we have to, because it is the only thing that really makes sense to do.
We have to constantly be aware of our attitude towards our mountain. To love our mountain is the ultimate power. This level of Authority paradoxically requires total submission to our purpose. The depths of this purpose are revealed to us in layers when we are ready. We are not given a cross we cannot bear. If we cannot give our power to something bigger than us, we can’t actually have it for ourselves either.
Power is Trust. Trust that where we are is where we ought to be, and that our circumstances provide the perfect substrate for our unique purpose to come alive.
We first have to recognize the way that a victim mentality forfeits our power, and makes us fear power and fear others. Then we must be willing to take responsibility for our circumstances and stop blaming and complaining. We prefer to believe that we are powerless because if we aren’t, we only have ourselves to blame.
Look around you. See the others who are climbing this same mountain. These are the people you can trust. We need support from others who do this work in order to muster the fortitude to keep pushing on days when the weight feels too heavy. Reach out and ask for help, and listen. Sit with your triggers and assume they have something valuable for you to hear. Breathe space into your body when a trigger is revealed, and soften its edges slowly but surely.
Acknowledge the work the people around you are doing. It matters.
Don't expect to reach the promised land, but keep climbing.