Learning To Let Go – Maybe

Tuesday May 21st 2013
Ceres by Antoine Watteau. The asteroid Ceres
was discovered more than two centuries ago, but it’s taken astrologers
a long time to acknowledge her as a contender.
Astronomers now classify her on the same level as Pluto.
The sickle she holds here is also her astrological symbol.

One of the readers of this blog sent me a question last month, which I have been taking out of the files at the back of my mind every now and then, and turning over. 

I print her email here since, in asking her question, she set off a whole chain of further questions in my mind. 

Here is what she wrote:
“...Here’s a little more info before I ask my question…
Buz Myers was one of my favorite astrologers. Unfortunately he died in the 90s, but he left a legacy of recordings. One of my favorites is his lecture on the void of course planet in a natal chart. He felt that the VOC planet tells the story of the main life lesson. 

[A planet is considered VOC if it will not make any more aspects to other planets before changing signs. I think Buz is using this definition, although other astrologers might not be. However, I think it’s interesting to consider whether his idea might apply to the planet in the latest degree in your chart, whether or not it is in orb. Is that too techie? ed. ]
Here’s an all too brief summary of his two-hour lecture:
[what you need to learn to let go of, what you need to learn in this life cycle]

Sun: ego
Moon: detachment; had to detach from a nutso family; detach emotionally; let go
Mercury: shares out (then releases) information; release brothers, sisters, environment; ties to agreements; brothers and sisters (in general)
Venus: lets go of money, resources and relationships
Mars: lets go of sexuality, doesn’t “need” it (it doesn’t mean you don’t want it or enjoy it!)
Jupiter: beliefs; philosophies; teachers, expansions, learning, belief systems-especially prejudices
Saturn: responsibility; let go of parent/authority figures; binding and cumbersome situations; laws of man; crap from parents; dutiful stuff; the “right” thing – even when you know it’s not the right thing
Uranus: transcendental; letting go of higher mind; letting go of 11th house stuff (groups). Here to learn manifestation.
Neptune: space cadet; very intuitive and psychic; must release fear
Pluto: life and death; death and dying
What would you add to that for each of the asteroids?
This would be my hypothesis, thinking about the archetypes of the asteroids, but I would need to test it.
Juno: let go of the need for partnership
Pallas: let go of the need for strategy, learn spontaneity
Vesta: let go of home or the need to serve
Ceres: let go of the need to breed

I think you could apply these ideas very well to progressed charts and solar returns too. In progressed charts the heavy and medium planets at 29° have this karmic feeling too.

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  1. Here’s something I find presents a practical challenge in evaluating this theory: progressions. Even if a planet is in the last few degrees of a sign, how do you know it didn’t go retrograde after your birth and make other aspects, unless you look at the progressions until it goes into the next sign?

    I actually just did this for my chart, because I found that the only void of course “planet” in my natal chart was the Sun, except that I thought perhaps the newly discovered planetoid Sedna was another one. It turns out that Sedna moves so slowly that even though it was in the last degree of Aries in my natal chart, it still is in my progressed chart. Meanwhile, several other planets have made aspects to it in progression. I have been tracking Sedna in my chart, ever since I read this article, which made me quite curious about what it does in a chart: http://http://www.falconastrology.com/sedna.htm

    So it turns out that the sun is actually the only void of course planet in my chart. In terms of an anecdotal analysis of whether this represents what I need to let go of, I will say that I have had MANY experiences in my life where I’ve needed to let go of any concern about what others think of me, or the pigeonholes they try to put me in. As a Pisces, I find that if I let others’ opinions of me get into my head, even subconsciously, I get confused and have trouble finding my own path, because Pisces isn’t very good with boundaries. It’s an ongoing process to try to shed other people’s expectations. I’m not sure if this is the same thing as ego, however, unless it’s ego in terms of a certain pride in others’ opinions of me. There’s also been an ongoing process in my life of trying to let go of the idea that I have to somehow make an impact on the world that will be recognized and remembered. My creative life works better if I’m not really thinking about what other people are going to make of it.

    • Yes, the inwardness has its advantages. “Know thyself.” Hard to do if you’re always focused on externals. In terms of low self-esteem, you’re right. That’s not necessarily the issue. In my case it does mean I’m somewhat frightened of unknown other people, though, having been bullied as a kid (by other kids) and having since witnessed some pretty nasty examples of man’s inhumanity to man. I tend to want to know people before I talk much (which can be a challenge, since that’s how you get to know them sometimes).

    • Christina says:

      Mercury retrograde natally – shy, introverted? Yes – or unheard. Progressed Merc is v. v important. When it starts going forward you do too. But it that inwardness has its advantages I think. Being shy does not mean you have low self-esteem or feel insecure.

    • “Letting go of the need to shine” – I like that. I think it fits.

      I’m glad you said that about Jupiter. Mine is going to progress from Gemini to Cancer by early next year. I’m quite looking forward to that.

      Do you find that natal or progressed Mercury retrograde tends to make people introverted? My natal Mercury is retrograde, and I’ve been quiet and shy my entire life, but it has progressed into directness, which I think has helped.

    • Christina says:

      Actually I like what you say about the creative process anyway — that is with or without the astrology — and I think it fits with the idea of letting go. Maybe it’s simply letting go of the need to shine?

      I also personally identify with your Pisces problem of letting other people’s opinions into your head. It’s a really important life lesson — and an ongoing one for me too.

      It’s true about the heavy planets in progressed charts. They usually stay in the same sign for the whole lifespan, however I did just have a client whose Jupiter changed sign. Incredible uplift.

      I don’t think it matters if it went retrograde; what matters is where it is now. However, retrograding planets are crucial in progressed charts. The most common one – Mercury – always tells a story.

  2. Isy Aweigh says:

    I’m tentatively offering an expansion on Juno. Is it reasonable that she could be telling us, not only about spousalesque relationships, but about women who are important in our lives? She sometimes addresses women who are playing, or overplaying, a role in my life.

    Fascinating piece I’ll be mulling for awhile.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I agree to Juno meaning giving up partnership : my husband died when my progressed Ascendant was on Juno.

    About Mercury retro. in progr. chart : it went retro. in my chart when I was about 35 years old and direct when I was 57 years old. The years in between I always felt very awkward when meeting new people : I never knew how to make simple contact, not only in private life but also in my office-life (I was a secretary then), though sometimes I really really needed contact.
    Subsequently people always reacted to me in awkward ways – now I know why. It feels like being mute – has nothing to do with being shy – more with being ashamed you’re not able to make contact (but in fact you are learning what making contact means).

    Now I have no problems at all anymore.
    The stranges thing is : I met my husband just after Mercury went retrograde and he died just after it went direct. He taught me a lot about motives of people and their relationships (he was a Scorpio).

    About Ceres : it is conj. Chiron in my chart in 5th house : to me it means giving up the wish to become a mother and dealing with that.


    • Christina says:

      You are succeeding in that.

    • Anonymous says:

      I can relate to that – I did not very much like to be a secretary, but I just had no idea what to do to change my life. So – I changed to working part-time and became a housewife and I dedicated my time to working in my garden, cooking (which my husband really liked !) and learning more about astrology.

      I guess, that is my real education – learning astrology and becoming a wise old woman (Vesta in Pisces) !


    • Christina says:

      Mimi – absolutely agree about Ceres. She is always involved with childbearing and fertility by transit or progression, so the reverse must be true.

      Also my experience of Merc Ret was similar: I found myself unable to negotiate normal social interaction, unheard. Also my education took a nosedive.

  4. Persephone says:

    I have a question. Should a void of course planet be treated as an unaspected planet or vice versa? I have an — almost — unaspected Sun, a wide sextile to Mars being the only natal Sun aspect. There are times when I simply freeze, not knowing which way to turn — a fairly normal state of affairs according to Karen Hamaker-Zondag’s The Yod Book. Since many of my immediate family members and close relationships have had unaspected planets, I’ve done a lot of digging into the subject; and, consequently, look for unaspected planets in every horoscope that I study. I’ve found that the unaspected planet becomes a focal point in the horoscope, almost every time. That planet wants desperately to be heard. As to the asteroids, they seem to add definition and color to the rest of the horoscope without necessarily becoming focal points on their own.

    Thoughts? Comments? And, thanks.

    • Christina says:

      I had not thought about the focal point/asteroid thing before, but I think you are right. They aren’t focal points int quite the same way as the bigger planets. Although I don’t see why they shouldn’t be. Now I need to go look at some charts to see.

      I think some astrologers would say that a planet is only properly VOC if it’s not in aspect. However, I am simply counting the planet at the highest degree as VOC. I think VOC and unaspected are different. VOC is much more about letting go, unaspected is much more what you describe. But I do think there is a similarity in that both have an important life lesson to teach.

      I always pay close attention to unaspected planets too, because I think they are absolutely key. Now I’m going to be looking at that VOC one too.