I had my first astrology reading when I was 28 years old. Sitting beside me, my astrologer Steven Forrest looked me in the eye and broke the news to me that I was going to be a late bloomer. With my natal Sun in Aquarius in the 11th House, the House of Future Plans and Goals, he counseled me to be patient with the process of discovering my life’s purpose. He told me, in fact, that the age of 54 would be significant. I understand now he was looking at the time when my Progressed Sun in Aries would cross my Ascendant, a point in the chart that among other things heralds new beginnings. Age 54 seemed then like a very long time to wait for my life to begin.
Eleven years later, inspired one day by a conversation with Lorie about the work we were developing, I felt a compelling impulse to reserve the domain anewpossibility.com. I was beginning to define then what I now know, that the essence of our work focuses on supporting people in transforming obstacles, illness, and impasse into the discovery of new possibilities in their lives.
For the next nine years, the domain sat empty, with only an awkwardly composed placeholder page offering visitors a means to contact me. The seed of A New Possibility was planted in my heart but it took until last year for that seed to ripen to the stage of germination.
How is it that Steven could decipher from the symbols in my astrological chart that I would bloom late in life? Do the symbols dictate the story of my life as if I’m some kind of cosmic puppet or am I the author of my own life? And if I am, how does the story I am telling reflect symbols on a piece of paper? What I’ve come to understand is that my life is unfolding at the intersection of cosmic forces innate to my soul and my own conscious free will in relationship to those energetic tendencies within me.
I spent the first four and a half decades of my life doing a lot of reparative and preparatory work. I grew up in a family that did not encourage ambition or the pursuit of success. The culture of my early home life was, for me, a confusing and terrifying field of addiction and violence. Scarred by incest, I learned to keep quiet, to stay small, to survive by never taking the risk to fully exist.
In astrology, we speak of the Sun in the chart as the symbol of the Self. The glyph is a circle with a dot in the center. This same symbol stands for gold in the alchemical tradition – the “gold” of a spiritually meaningful life born of the “lead” of suffering or impasse. You can see this symbol in our logo as the O in Possibility.
You can understand it as the divine spirit (circle) surrounding the seed of potential (dot) that lives in each of us. The nature of the Sun is to shine. Our task, if we choose to take it up, is to grow our seed potential in the direction of our divine mandate. To do so is to discover the gold of our purpose, to shine the light of our personal Sun meaningfully into our life.
As I mentioned, my natal Sun resides in the sign Aquarius. The Sun is said to be in “detriment” in this sign, which is another way of saying that it has a bit more difficulty shining the light of the Self when it lives in Aquarius. The mandate of Aquarius, above all else, is to discover individuality, and to allow that radical expression of Self to direct the life no matter how weird or unconventional it appears to the collective familial or cultural values. It takes great courage and hard work to carve an individuated life. It’s no wonder it can be difficult and take time.
Last spring, with transiting Pluto (the planet that asks us what is most deeply meaningful to us) crossing my Midheaven (the point in the chart that represents our work in the world, our contribution to our community) and transiting Uranus (ruling planet of Aquarius – the God of freedom, innovation, technology, and sudden change) crossing my Ascendant (the point in the chart that represents our persona or appearance to the world), one of the participants in my and Lorie’s Esalen workshop casually asked me one day, “So, what are you up to in your life?” I responded in the way I’d always learned was safe in my family – by minimizing the life-changing work that Lorie and I were doing with our students in our Mentorship programs. But because I knew this man had accomplished a great deal of worldly success, something inside me snapped. I knew it was time to begin telling a different story to myself and others about my life. I knew I had to develop a site at my languishing domain, anewpossibility.com.
Within the month, I was introduced to the work of Seth Godin, whose message of “Go. Do Something.” in today’s world of the information economy lit a fire in me. Then, through a series of synchronistic events, I found Marie Poulin, the brilliant and talented digital strategist who has inspired us, guided us, and served to move my and Lorie’s work into the digital world. Marie worked with us to turn our original mind map, drawn on giant pieces of paper hung on the wall of our bedroom, into the beautiful face of A New Possibility.
Our work over this last year +, like any creative process, has not always been easy but it has been transformational. Alchemy teaches us to cherish the lead for it is the raw material that, once worked with, yields our gold. That lead can take many forms – a crippling doubting internal voice that tells you everything you have to say is worthless or a lack of faith that what you are doing will make any difference in the face of the immense problems humans face in today’s world. Launching our site has forced me to examine my Self in profound ways, to get clear about who I am and what I believe in, and to articulate to the world a vision for building community that honors work with the soul as the foundation for lasting healing and change.
Steven was right. As I prepare to turn 50 next February, I can readily affirm that I am a late bloomer. But every flower blooms in its right time. I look forward to sharing our work of Alchemical Healing with you.