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What’s a Rising?

I, like many of you, have spent the last year trying to entertain myself. It has been a challenge to be unemployed and self-employed through the pandemic. An excess of time does great things and horrible things to anyone with anxiety. Unfortunately, there is only so far that pouring over hours of YouTube videos or Internet memes can get you. So, like anyone who has too much time, I attempted to search for answers. To what, I’m not sure.

After diving into an obsessive relationship with Instagram, I became exposed to several astrologists and their zodiac memes. If you’re like me, you would likely scoff and write them off as a bunch of crystal-wielding nuts. As someone who has never felt called to their zodiac sign or horoscope, I was skeptical. Nonetheless, I found the astrology community hiding in a small corner of the Internet.

Most videos poked fun at the stereotypes and tropes of each sign, and some were entertaining regardless of any perceived validity. What I didn’t expect from this innocent adventure was a budding curiosity. 

Has anyone else searched for answers to life’s unknowns in the past year? I think the world was such a mess that I just needed to find some peace in knowing there’s something I can explain, or better yet, control. So, in an effort to find some meaning and fill my time, I jumped in.

The astrologers I watched often quoted something called a “rising sign”. Being a complete skeptic and astrological denier, I had no idea what that meant. It became clear that I needed to start at the very beginning—my birth chart. Lucky for me, there are many free resources of varying reputations, so I reviewed the community’s consensus and chose a site

My mother was a great record keeper when I was an infant, so I easily acquired my birth time and entered it in along with my place of birth and birth date. The website produced a strange-looking wheel with a bunch of odd-looking lines and signs. I was never good at math, so looking at this thing wasn’t a great starting impression. 

Underneath the chart, a large detailed summary listed all of my “planet’s positions” and “houses”. Cool, I like planets and space, so at least I knew what those were.

Scrolling through the huge document, I sat and read each part. The document explained what zodiac and house my planet fell into and how they related to each other. When I finished, I still had many questions, but I thought it was strange how accurate it was overall. Some of the accuracies and unanswered questions only piqued my curiosity more. For example, I needed to understand what houses meant, why squares were problematic elements, or why conjunctions were harmonious. And in this case, there were answers!

I won’t bore you with explaining how deep down the rabbit hole I went. But, if you are a fellow astrology student, I will at least share my big three, and maybe that will satisfy some answers. Born in December, I knew I was a Capricorn Sun, but I learned I am an Aries Moon and Libra Rising through this process. While interesting to know, this information is irrelevant for most of this story. However, it is important to note that finding this information took me to a strange place. Let me explain, using my moon as an example.

My fiery Aries Moon is in my seventh house, which deals with interpersonal relationships. I’ve always known my emotions can be a little volatile. I feel a lot of strong emotions, and often very quickly. I am especially prone to strong feelings around people I care about most. So, my moon (emotions) and its placement (relationships) makes perfect sense to me.

I understand a lot more about astrology in general. Now, I give it more credit as an art form and practice than I did to start. (Yeah, that surprised me too.)

Astrology didn’t solve any mysteries about my life. It didn’t tell me my life’s purpose or give me some master guidance about where to go from here. I also still don’t know how to rectify the conflicting information that says I am one way, then that I am the opposite. Which is it, guys?

I am grateful it continues to give me a different way of understanding myself. Was it nice to have my own perceptions about myself confirmed by the sky? Yeah, it was kinda interesting. But was it more important that I learned how to talk about my emotions and view them through a different lens? I think so. 

Through uncovering my astrological placements, I can now talk about pieces of myself with a new appreciation, especially the difficult parts. No one likes to acknowledge where they need to improve and be better. I do. I like knowing my problem areas. Being aware of a problem gives you the advantage—seeing it makes it possible to fix or grow.

We are, like astrology tells us, the sum of all different parts. Sometimes it helps to look closely at the small bits or to just observe the bigger picture. Either way, it offers a snapshot of the sky when I came to be and is a reflection of my life. That offers a marvelous potential for beauty if only you dare to look. 

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