happiness

Psychology corner: The sadness of a happiness expert

New York Times

I found this article about a happiness expert who took his own life strangely compelling.  I had never heard of Philip Brickman, but as an astrologer whose Mercury (mind) is in Scorpio, I am an avid researcher of the nature of happiness and depression especially as it shows up in the natal chart.  Brickman is apparently best known for this study in which accident victims and lottery winners were compared to see who was happier in their later lives:

The study is straightforward. As the title suggests, the authors surveyed lottery winners and accident victims, plus a control group, hoping to compare their levels of happiness. But what the authors found violated common intuition. The victims, while less happy than the controls, still rated themselves above average in happiness, even though their accidents had recently rendered them all either paraplegic or quadriplegic. And the lottery winners were no happier than the controls, at least in any statistically meaningful sense. If anything, the warp and weft of their everyday lives was a little more threadbare. Talking to friends, hearing jokes, having breakfast — all of these simple pleasures now left them less satisfied than before.  read more here…

 

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Philip Brickman was born August 22, 1943 in Montreal (no birth time available – the chart shown is for noon that day with the Sun on the ascendant).  Depression shows up in different ways in a chart – there is the heavy hopelessness of Saturn, the deep wounds of abandonment with Chiron, the fear and often abusive history of Pluto.  But one often overlooked astrological […]

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By |2022-09-13T12:47:01-04:00December 7th, 2020|Life|12 Comments

Tell me something good.

It’s human nature to seek pleasure and avoid pain.  Nobody wants to feel bad, or go through difficult situations.  I have been an astrologer for more than half of my life now, so it’s hard for me to remember what it was like before I knew about planetary cycles that were likely to bring challenges that required adjustment and change, but I imagine that it is pretty confusing.  Life is going great, and then all of a sudden here comes a curve ball and suddenly I’m feeling depressed for apparently no reason.

Some of you have heard me say that I have the hardest chart I’ve ever seen, and I like to think that’s so that I can bring some understanding to the table when consulting with clients.  When I talk about healing the core wound, or dealing with depression, it’s not just a concept – I’ve been there.  I know what it’s like to consider suicide.  I know what it’s like to feel that life will never get any better.  But I also know what it’s like to have moved through these horribly difficult times and come out the other side with great joy and happiness.

Sometimes in a consultation the client will say “I’ve just had a terrible time but now I want to move on.  Tell me something good.”  And it would be easy to help her to forget about where she has just been and talk only about the Jupiter transits that are coming, or the fact that her Moon has just progressed into Sagittarius which will make it easier for her to avoid the pain that she’s feeling.  But my experience tells me that before we can REALLY move on, we have to understand […]

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By |2019-11-10T19:09:05-05:00August 28th, 2019|Astrology|3 Comments

What we need to learn from the death of Saoirse Kennedy Hill

One of the granddaughters of Robert F. Kennedy took her own life the other day at the age of 22 after a long battle with depression.  I wanted to write about this because Saoirse was of the Pluto in Sagittarius generation – the generation (born 1995-2008) that tends to be fixated on the perfection of the heavily curated Instagram life.  Sagittarius is associated with media, optimism, and a search for meaning that can sometimes disappear in the haze of today’s world of instant gratification and the superficial happiness of things.  A look at young female YouTubers offers an array of videos with titles like “What I Wore, Bought and Did in Capri,” “Huge Summer Try-on Haul,” “What I Wore to Coachella,” etc.   Social media is shown to be harder on girls, who tend to compare themselves to others in the best of circumstances. When the comparisons are made against a curated perfection, it’s no wonder young girls are depressed.

Pluto is the planet of transformation, but also of obsession and self-undoing.  It offers the keys to transformation through the exposure of the qualities that will be our downfall, and this is especially true in the generations that share Pluto in a particular sign.  For example, Pluto in Leo marked the Baby Boomers – the generation that is fixated on our own glorious self expression (Leo traits).  Pluto in Virgo people (1957-1971) are the hard workers of Generation X – the generation which, like Virgo, tends to avoid the limelight, qualities which led to this generation being called the Slacker generation, a term which they fortunately outgrew as they matured and began to take on their roles as stable, conservative members of society.  The Pluto in […]

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By |2019-11-10T19:09:05-05:00August 3rd, 2019|Life, Psychology|5 Comments

The Leo New Moon offers an opportunity to shine

Art by Larry Landolfi

The Moon is new in Leo, the first lunar event since the eclipses of July.  Leo is the sign that celebrates the Self – the healthy Ego, open-hearted, generous and full of life and an ability to embrace joy.  Many of us have been having a very difficult time under the planetary conditions of the past couple of months, and this Leo New Moon offers an opportunity, should we accept it, to look for the silver thread that lines every cloud.

The New Moon is flanked by Venus on one side and Mars on the other – all in Leo.  This is a big burst of Sun-ruled energy to both soften the hard edges of our experience (Venus) and motivate and inspire us to take action (Mars).  All of this outgoing Leo energy is harmonized through a trine to Jupiter, planet of abundance and optimism, in its own sign of Sagittarius where it is particularly abundant and optimistic.

There is a darker and deeper side to this New Moon, though.  Mercury (mind and communication),  now direct (thank goodness!) is opposed by Pluto, leading to obsessive thinking.  Pluto can also provide us with deep insight, should we take the time to listen to our inner voice.  And Saturn, planet of tests and challenges, is still aligned with the South Node of the past, demanding that we fix our mistakes and learn their lessons.

At this Leo New Moon, the central question is:  What regrets or sorrows from the past am I holding onto which are keeping me from finding true joy in my life?  Am I ready to fully open my heart to happiness, or are there issues and resistance that are keeping […]

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By |2019-11-10T19:09:05-05:00August 1st, 2019|Moon|2 Comments

Sunday inspiration: Life is a Rhythmic Dance

Art by Lincoln Harrison

Inspiration from my friend, astrologer Robert Wilkinson:


Each of the parts of our lives, inner and outer, has a rhythm of its own. Our bodies, feelings, mind and higher Self all have their rhythms of appearance and disappearance, increasing and decreasing, ebbing and flowing. Our relationships have their own rhythms of coming and going, merging and doing one’s own thing. There is no part of our lives that doesn’t have fluxuation, except for our Inner Flame. Astrology is the art and science of examining these changes, and noting what is happening and when, one is able to estimate the next time we will be in major change and what factors are involved. This helps us evolve our response-abilities, and lead to a more natural and perfect self-expression.

Every major change we confront in our life is showing us what is ending, and what is beginning. Even in the middle of a larger process, every significant change in any area of our life affects other areas. These changes show us how we must change to restore harmony in our life. Ultimately every part of our being is seeking to be in harmony with every other part of our life. That’s what we call “happiness.” When everything works in harmony in our lives, when our inner self is in harmony with our world and our relationships, we feel that harmony and want it to continue. Our heart’s desire for our lower self is for it to have abundance, love, and perfect self-expression. Major changes show us the way to these things, but our lower self has habits and opinions and fears that often obstruct our happiness. Then the […]

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By |2019-11-10T19:09:05-05:00July 6th, 2019|Inspiration|2 Comments
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