Parenting as an astrologer
Last week, I had the pleasure of being a guest—along with astrologer Patrick Watson— on Chris Brennan’s show, The Astrology Podcast, to discuss the unique position of being an astrologer and a parent. I was really excited to have the opportunity to finally speak with other astrologers about this as I knew that other parent astrologers had to have similar thoughts and questions about this interesting role we play in our children’s’ lives. What makes our role interesting (in my opinion) is the literacy of a divination tool like astrology. Conceptually, we wield a powerful tool that has the ability to predict the probabilities that lie in our children’s future. That’s a bold concept. Bold as it may be. It’s real. But just because it’s real doesn’t mean we [as astrologers] are always able to accurately or clearly anticipate exactly how events in our child’s life will unfold.
Astrology is a social science that interprets symbols. Symbols aren’t limited to one version of manifestation. And for that reason, our imaginations can get away from us at times…particularly those times when challenging times are anticipated ahead (due to the nature of an upcoming planet’s transit). This tendency towards anxious anticipation and imagining worst case scenarios is something astrologers really have to be cognizant of. If all you can imagine are crippling anxiety-ridden scenarios, this isn't a tool for you (even if you are an astrologer)! Parenting comes with enough worry, we don't need astrology to make it harder. Sadly, this can and does happen to talented astrologers and it's something I'm still trying to wrap my head around. Do other astrologers that are parents suffer from this?
Considering that each individual has their own limited knowledge and range of experiences to work with and because it’s so easy to slip into the projection of our own value judgments, perceptions, and ideals onto someone else when delineating their chart— parenting by astrology is a slippery slope, indeed. That said, there’s no need for astrologers who drink from the wisdom of astrology’s cosmic soup to base their parenting decisions off of a chart. Patrick made a good point in our discussion about paying attention to the person in front of you rather than looking at the chart when it comes to encouraging the talents of your child. The idea is to not get carried away by compartmentalizing a highly complex individual into a wheel of wedges and symbols-- especially someone you’re meant to have a sacred bond with. Parenting is hard enough as it is (regardless of whether you’re an astrologer or not). Astrology doesn’t make parenting easier. It just offers more insight into relationship dynamics and the perspective of each chart holder.
As astrologers, we naturally think about our children’s timelines in a more complex way. We distinguish between periods of time like a chapter (and sub-chapter) in a book and we describe them with planetary qualities, such as: Expansive, growth oriented, spiritually replete, or stagnated for example. With Mars being such a pronounced planet in my son’s chart, I’ve already considered the developmental leaps he’ll make during his first Mars return, which occurs around the age of two.
Mars is traditionally known as a malefic planet. That is, Mars is interpreted as one of the challenging planets. For those born with the Sun below the horizon, Mars typically points to a more mild type of challenge. Rather, night charts tend to engage Mars energy (action, anger, and drive) in a way that feels subjectively favorable to the native. Mars likes to win and conquer. Night charts tend to experience that sense of “winning” or accomplishment after a challenging Mars transit. This is theoretical of course. You never know the whole story until you see the entire chart (and speak with the chart holder). Those born with the Sun above the horizon (day charts), however, tend to experience Mars transits as [subjectively] less favorable outcomes. Understandably, subscribing to traditional interpretations of Mars (and Saturn) can make anyone, including astrologers, nervous about how things will transpire around certain planetary transits. At best, the querent or seeker of knowledge walks away with a sense of meaning and embraces their circumstances. But an inability to find a constructive perspective and a sense of meaning from an astrological interpretation can be more costly than it’s worth for many. The psychological affliction that might accompany hearing about a potential hurdle or a future crisis is something that conscientious astrologers are highly aware of.
I can see how predicting aspects of a child’s future feels scary or maybe “wrong”. On one hand it seems important to consider that some children/people are more influenced by the power of suggestion and that could be a dangerous thing if an astrologer were to point out that mental illnesses, like depression, could be something to be mindful of down the road. But at the same time, we have to consider that practitioners of medicine often do this very thing when screening for risks, etc. Not to say that makes it okay or acceptable, but if people don’t see harm in that, then perhaps we can think about astrology in a similar way. Regardless of whether a parent practices astrology, they will in some way influence and attempt to steer their child in a direction they believe is beneficial to said child. Astrology is simply another way that this can take place. Those that choose to practice magick realize that their decision to do so is no different from any other person in the sense that we all do things and act in ways that effect other people. If you have a pulse and you have desires your existence has an effect on those around you. Practicing magick just acknowledges that in a more direct way… but that’s a different discussion for another day. If we are to question the potential of unintentionally shaping a parent’s perception of their child’s life and choices (or influence the child’s perception of their own life and choices) by discussing one’s chart, we should also be seriously considering how we also do this outside of astrology (because we do, don’t we?).
Astrologers should, of course, assume a certain level of responsibility in their practice by selecting their messages and words thoughtfully. Realizing that the interpretation of a child’s chart could carry weighty consequences down the road is something that mindful astrologers will keep in mind, but it doesn’t mean that the practice should be avoided all together. That said, predicting for more benign things like temperament, emotional awareness, talents, and areas where extra help might be needed (Is this child more likely to be an introvert or an extrovert?; Do they lean towards a certain learning style or environment?; Are they likely to enjoy a very social life or a calmer social environment?) seem to offer some legitimate advantages!
I know there are a lot of astrologers out there (despite not knowing many of you), and the number of them continues to grow as astrology becomes more widely accepted by younger generations, which makes this topic more relevant than we might think. I’d love to hear some of the more sophisticated thoughts among you out there (particularly those of you that are both a parent and astrologer) as there is much to be said on this topic— I realize that as a very young (new) parent, as of this writing, that there is much I have yet to experience or notice regarding the dynamics of parenting as an astrologer. If you haven’t already, have a listen to our discussion on The Astrology Podcast and let us know what you think!