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Astrology, shadow, and self-acceptance

Exploring alternative belief systems to discover internal truths.

Note: This one is personal y'all, we're going deep. If you have a fixed mindset, don't subscribe to self-growth concepts, or feel uncomfortable reading vulnerable pieces of writing, this might not resonate with you.


Astrology, shadow, and self-acceptance

Have you ever dismissed something outright, only to find it holds the exact answers you've been seeking? I did, and my skepticism led me on an unexpected journey of self-acceptance through way of the stars.

I come from a research and science-focused family made up of nurses, paralegals, journalists, and professors. Suffice to say, I've always been an evidence-based facts kind of gal. And despite doing yoga and practicing meditation for almost 15 years now, I've been resistant to exploring different forms of belief systems. My childhood wasn't very religious and I naturally have a strong inclination towards control, so I felt most comfortable flitting between atheism and agnosticism. I believed I was the controller of my own fate. It took the pandemic and some rough times to push me through that barrier of control and decide to try different belief systems and spiritual practices. After practicing kundalini and other transcendent forms of meditation, learning more about my Jewish heritage, and a brief stint in Stoicism, I'm now turning to astrology.

In parallel, I've started to deepen my commitment to self-growth and acceptance, particularly in response to those aforementioned rough times. Since 2020, I've done a considerable amount of shadow work and parts integration which, honestly, has been one of the more difficult things I've attempted in life. If you aren't familiar with shadow work or parts integration, here's a brief overview: both concepts are built upon the hypothesis that there exist multiple parts of ourselves, and mental health issues arise if any of those parts are ever in conflict with each other or ignored. Resolving those conflicts and accepting all parts will heal those issues.

While I didn't set out to explore astrology with any specific motivation in mind other than curiosity, I was pleasantly surprised to gain immense self insight upon simply listening to an in-depth podcast on Scorpios and reading an online analysis of my birth chart. Key aspects of my shadow self which I have struggled to integrate and accept turn out to be core characteristics of people with Scorpio- or Aries-heavy birth charts. AKA me.

For those into astrology, I have 3 Scorpio and 2 Aries placements in my Big 6: Sun, Mercury, Venus in Scorpio; Ascendant and Moon in Aries. Both signs being ruled by Mars...even with my limited knowledge I know that's probably a lot of Mars in one person.

And that's how I usually feel - "a lot". Hearing and reading these descriptions helped me feel so seen, particularly after having difficulty showing up as my full self since the troubles of the pandemic. It was a bit surreal. Especially when this clarity was stemming from a belief system I had tended to criticize in the past. I wasn't confident in my own internal debate between fate and agency. I was unwilling to admit I may lack complete control over my fate. But when I noticed myself thinking "well I guess these things are just part of my nature", a weight lifted off my shoulders.

I do have an inkling that I was primed to have this moment of self-acceptance due to the work I've been doing in therapy, but for some reason it took hearing some random podcaster describe me to a T that made it click: this is just who I am. There is nothing inherently good or bad in these qualities - it's what I make of them.

  • Intensity can lead to obsession, or it can lead to unwavering dedication and passion.

  • Emotional sensitivity can lead to isolation and social anxiety, or it can create a person with limitless empathy and capacity for understanding.

What's most wonderful about this whole process is that I don't have to step any further into astrology to reap the benefits of this realization if I don't want to. Astrology played its part - the click has clicked.

While this originally started as a reflection on how astrology could act as a catalyst to shadow integration and ultimately, self-acceptance, it also helped me understand why some others get so involved with this belief system. It provides two key comforts:

  1. You are not alone, there are others like you

  2. Certain traits are inherent to your nature, sometimes they can't be helped
    This one is especially important for anyone who struggles with a lot of internal guilt, heightened feelings of personal responsibility, or a very harsh self critic.

Exploring this idea further also led me to thinking about the concept of "ignorance is bliss" and how being curious about yourself and the world can sometimes play a part in declining mental health - but can it also be a cure? In this instance, my curiosity led me to hearing information I'd already been told hundreds of times in a context where I happened to be open to actually receiving and integrating it.

If you feel blocked by something in your own personal development path or journey towards acceptance, I invite you to think out of the box. Explore something you flinch at a little bit, as this may turn into more of a mirror than you realize. Those who experience the most diversity in life have the most potential for innovation, creativity, and stepping into their full authentic selves.

Stay curious,
Erica

P.S. I strongly believe the world would be a better place if people were more comfortable being vulnerable and authentically themselves. For this reason, I ask that all readers be kind and thoughtful when engaging in discourse. Negative comments will not be tolerated - although respectful debates, constructive criticism, and helpful suggestions are always welcome :)


Future topics to explore

Here are some other ideas floating around in my mind. Feel free to let me know which one I should look into next!

  • Failure as a tool for success

  • Reputation, attestation, and permissionless identity as core themes in the upcoming cycle

  • A look at how intimidating and unintuitive Web3 UX still is through documenting the creation of my first NFT collection

  • AI therapists and the dangerous potential of corporate/big pharma influence

  • How Farcaster, a new Web3 social network, fosters authenticity and community

In honour of exploring new things and staying curious, I'm using AI to help generate unique pieces of art based on the central themes of each article. I will be cross-posting all articles on both Substack and Paragraph, the latter of which you can mint an NFT version of this article with the associated cover art :)

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