Ask Alice (Vol. 1)

Ask Alice on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @erisphilia

I don’t understand how astrology works. I know my sign, but that’s it.

I love talking about this.

Okay, so, our solar system is on a plane. At the moment you were born, if you drew a line from you (and your mother) through the Sun, it would eventually reach one of the twelve zodiac constellations. This is your Sun sign, the one you probably already know. You can also draw lines through all the planetary bodies — the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, and some important asteroids — and get what sign of the zodiac they ‘pointed at’ on that day. 

Houses add another dimension. At the time you were born, the Earth sky looked a certain way. When we use those same zodiac constellations as a guide, the cosmos can be split into 12 sections like a clock; 6 below the horizon, 6 above. Since our planet rotates and changes the perceived positions of the constellations in our sky, is why birth time is necessary in order to get an accurate reading from an astrologer. 

Each of the zodiac signs is an archetype, a character from which traits are drawn. 

Each of the planetary bodies represents an aspect of the individual, and indicates energetic tendencies.

Houses are representative of fields of experience and so tend to be more important as an individual’s life progresses. 

The collection of the positions of the planetary bodies and the houses they’re in on the day you are born is called a birth chart, or a natal chart. There are many websites (here’s one, and another; and here’s a fun one to look up celebrities) and apps (here is my favourite for daily updates) that can produce your chart and tell you individual bits of yourself, but an astrologer is able to read your chart in its entirety and help you overcome your challenges & recognize your gifts.

Feel free to reach out to me for more detailed questions regarding astrology.

I’ve been seeing this guy for a little bit, and I’ve never felt this way about anyone! Last week he told me he loves me, but this week he’s standoffish and even a bit rude. When I tried to talk to him about it, he called me crazy, tried to shift blame, and then fully denied ever saying he loves me! I love him, but what do I do?

First off, I’m so sorry that you’re experiencing this. Reality denial is essentially gaslighting. Our immediate reaction is to question ourselves, “Did I mishear?” On a long enough timeline, the gaslighter will have you relying on them for understanding and processing your experience. 

My advice in this case is to analyze your own attachment towards this person. More often than not, we are trying to reach someone unreachable, get love from someone who doesn’t have an abundance of love to share. The question then becomes, why do I feel so intensely for this person (and how do I stop)?

The why is simply unresolved relational trauma. As children, we are biologically wired to worship our caregivers — their role is to take care of us! So when our caregivers do not provide consistent care or abuse us, we internalize it — this being that cares for me is treating me this way, they know better, so I am genuinely worthy of this kind of treatment. This conditions a child to abandon their own intuition in favor of the treatment of the caregiver. As children, we lack the conscious analytic capacity to reconcile the traumatic caregiver experience. Intrinsically and intuitively, all humans have preference for good-natured behaviour. The normalization of the abandonment of intuition makes us prone to what Freud calls repetition compulsion; we try to ‘get it right’ with someone somewhat similar to that traumatic caregiver. So in this situation, I invite you to ask yourself, which caregiver wound does this romantic interest fit into? Was a caregiver unreliable in their affection? Unable to express vulnerability? 

Healing from caregiver trauma is not a quick fix. The beliefs we gain about ourselves and the world from our caregivers are deeply ingrained, and they take time to rewire. (Abusive relationships are difficult to untangle from for this very reason.) Learning to trust our intuition, redefining our worth, and having compassion for our own experience are all fundamental to healing from any kind of childhood trauma.

I’m happy to give advice for difficult situations, but please seek professional help if you’ve been experiencing emotional distress for an extended period of time.

I’ve been living with my family during the pandemic. Between COVID-19, the media, the current political situation, and my family’s previously-intolerant perspective, I feel like I’m losing my mind. It’s not realistic for me to get my own space right now. What do I do?

The first question I have for you is, are you safe? If you are not, please reach out to appropriate agencies in your area.

This moment in time is difficult for everyone, but if you are compassionate, impassioned, and well-informed, it can be draining and destabilizing. The energetic ebbs & flows during this Chiron in Aries transition will continue to poke at us for another seven-ish years, so buckle down for this.

Find peaceful routine. Develop your practice. Seek support in relationships that uplift you. We cannot change others — particularly those whose identities are deeply rooted in the maintenance of patterns that you intuitively know are dysfunctional & unsustainable. You are not responsible for convincing anyone else to believe what you believe, to value what you value, to champion what you champion. Focus your energies on ways you can make a difference, but remember: your state of being comes first. Giving must be done from a place of personal abundance, not through abandoning ourselves.

Ask Alice on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @erisphilia

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