©12-2009 by Donna Cunningham and CJ Wright
This is Part 2 of our 2-part series on Shovel-Ready Projects for the 12 astrological houses, astrological cycles and retrogrades. Part 1 can be found here.
There are a variety of astrological cycles that affect each of the 12 houses of your birth chart in turn. Understanding the cycles and using them improves your sense of timing, so you can keep tabs on your life and take care of important concerns as they arise. The dozen divisions of the circle each have several meanings but between them, all the major areas of life are covered.
Following the natural rhythm of the planets reduces stress and makes your efforts more effective. As we learned in part 1, three cycles are kicking off within the next month—Mars’ 3-month retrograde in Leo from 12/20/09-3/10/10, Mercury retrograde in Capricorn from 12/26/09-1/15/10, and the annual cycle of New Moons beginning 1//15/10.
What we’re looking at here are ways to use your chart consciously to create your own personal stimulus package with the shovel-ready projects you need most. We covered the houses 1-6 of your astrology chart in Part 1, and now we’ll look at the other hemisphere—houses 7-12.
Let’s focus on Mars’ stationary and retrograde periods like the one we’re experiencing just now. The six months total that it’s in Leo will give you an unusual burst of energy to tackle big projects that might have been needed for years. They’re a window of opportunity to tackle long-standing obstacles to a more productive and fulfilled life. Roll up your sleeves and do battle with clutter—real or metaphorical.
If Mars is going retrograde in one of your first six houses, see part 1, Shovel-Ready Projects for Houses 1-6. If it will spend the next several months in houses 7-12, you’ll find more information here. We’ll review the concerns of each of those houses and present a few suggestions—they may not be the exact choices you’d make, but they’ll get you thinking. (If you need l help in finding where Mars is in your chart, see Mars Retrograde 101—Answering your Questions.)
How to Approach a Retrograde Period
If we consider a planet’s forward motion as masculine, retrograde motion can be viewed as feminine. During retrograde periods, like the upcoming ones for Mars and Mercury, try taking a more feminine, receptive approach to your projects. When Mars retrogrades, embrace the Tao of Mars. Instead of doing, just be. Let it sit for a while. Don’t bang your head against a wall. Let things come to you. This is resting, reflective energy—not gung ho, let’s get it done now! That’s for after the second station, when the planet moves forward again.
Let’s suppose Mars is retrograde in your first house, so you decide to do something different with your hair or wardrobe to make your appearance more authentic to your real tastes. During the first passage of Mars, you may get the idea for a makeover, but you know the retrograde is coming.
Hold off for awhile. Don’t give in to the urges and impulses just yet. Flip through magazines for ideas on haircuts, consider colors that comfort or stimulate you, clothing styles that put you at ease. Try things on in styles you’ve dismissed in the past. But don’t buy, don’t put the scissors to your hair just yet. Sit with it. When the retrograde period is over, you’ll have done your research and made some necessary adjustments. What you’ve avoided is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
Another way to think of this comes from the old joke, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice.” Retrogrades put you in the rehearsal phase before your big premier. No matter what the planet, sign, or house…practice, practice, practice. Get to know the part you play. Listen to the other players. Learn to be at ease on the set. Observe the action around you on this stage, in this area of your life. Become comfortable with the script. Then give it everything you’ve got.
Projects for Houses 7-12
The Southern Hemisphere is made up of houses 7-12 and comprises the top half of your chart. This sector represents how you use the skills you’ve developed in houses 1-6 to interact as an adult with the world at large. It begins in house 7 with your important relationships. It is here that you must learn the team skills that will be the foundation for all mature associations.
In this hemisphere hangs the guiding star that lights the way of your own unique path. It shows us the world that lies beyond our own door, how to be a steward for others, and the way toward creating bonds that live beyond our own mortality. It defines our code of ethics and our personal quest, teaches us how to lead without force, and how to be a good friend and neighbor. It eventually brings us home to the loving and compassionate spirit we can call peace.
Seventh: Partnerships—personal and business, close, committed relationships, types of people we attract, sharing.
- Keep your promises
- Get a really good mirror ~ a looking glass for inner or outer gazing
- Identify the solid relationships in your life and why they do or don’t work
- Find the romantic you that serves the beloved
- Respect yourself and others
- Look for the lopsided and bring balance to it
- Listen to someone else’s story without judgement
- Choose your battles
- Learn to barter so that everyone wins
- See yourself through the eyes of others
- Commit to something or someone
- Turn your enemies into friends
- Set standards for yourself as a role model and seek them in your partners
Eighth: Sexuality, money you don’t earn (inheritances, grants, etc), taxes, partner’s resources, birth, death, transformation, healing.
- Reveal a secret that will heal a wound
- Get and keep your insurance papers, deeds, and other important documents in order
- Recycle things you no longer need
- Read the Kama Sutra
- Learn the art of intimacy
- Treat the treasures of others as truly valuable
- Resurrect something that longs to live
- Memorialize someone who has passed away
- Let go of lingering resentments
- Have a release ceremony for something you mourn
- Leave a legacy behind
Ninth: Higher education, advanced studies, religion and philosophy of life, legal matters, foreign lands, distance travel. (Course work of one kind or another is common while this house is emphasized, but focus on learning skills that further your career goals.)
- Take a refresher course to update skills for your work
- Take a month to reread those favorite books on your shelves
- Reread an inspirational or self-help author who helped you in a bad time
- Write to or about a teacher who brought out the best in you
- Do a gratitude list each day for a week, a month, or more
- Pick a spiritual practice and do it daily for a week, a month, or more
- List 10 things you firmly believe—then write why they might not be true
- Attend a service for an unfamiliar religion…or one you no longer belong to
- Watch the travel channel or a travelogue about a land you want to visit
- Learn a foreign cuisine, and read best sellers from that country
- Plan for and make a pilgrimage, if only in your mind
Tenth: Career and long-term goals, how you are remembered, parental authority, bosses and the type of boss you are.
- Take an inventory of all the goals you’ve achieved
- Find or be a mentor
- List the qualities and standards that make you feel successful
- Analyze your parents as role models for your career
- Consider if you’ve become like your own parents with your kids
- Take your boss to lunch
- Be a good steward
- Get serious about something
- Establish an inner board of directors to make your decisions
- Lead by example
Eleventh: Friendship, relationship to peer group, the teenage years, group membership, social consciousness, activism, aspirations.
- Google college or high school pals to see what they’re up to
- Do something thoroughly adolescent and silly—and revel in it
- Have a long phone chat to catch up with one of your dearest friends
- Instead of a present, give a friend the gift of your skills or presence
- Make amends to an estranged friend that you’ve hurt—expect nothing
- Analyze co-dependent ties for how you’re enabling or being enabled
- Make a new internet buddy through a blog or forum with shared interests
- Analyze your groups to see how they enhance or detract from your goals
- Give back to groups that have helped you—volunteer for something
- Question authority—protest an injustice by taking an action
Twelfth: Things that are repressed or hidden, self-defeating behavior, chronic illness, chronic illness and care facilities, selfless service, retreats, spiritual quest.
- Take the phone off the hook for a weekend and contemplate your life
- Go on a spiritual retreat—organized or one you create for yourself
- Meditate daily for a week, however you are most comfortable
- Practice Random Acts of Kindness for a week or month
- Court dreamland revelations by journaling your nightly dreams
- Confess your worst secrets to a trustworthy person—in a confessional, perhaps
- List 10 ways you regularly shoot yourself in the foot and figure out why
- Make it a project to stop at least one of them
- Befriend someone who’s suffering as you once suffered and overcame
- Visit someone in a hospital, prison, nursing home, or homeless shelter
(For more insight, read the series that starts here: 7 Secrets You May not Know about the 12th House.)
More Help in Using Astrological Cycles Effectively
Astrological cycles are the spiraling path we travel to become the best person we can be. We all make mistakes and there’s usually something we would do differently if we had the chance to go back and try again. Cycles give us the gifts of hindsight and foresight to improve our performance every time we run each planet’s track.
Each astrological cycle gives us the opportunity to either walk around the “same old, same old” time and time again without advancing, or to raise our own bar, expect more of ourselves, and deliver. We are given another chance to learn from the past and use our personal history to make headway toward a more satisfying future. We become older and wiser, and we stop falling in the same holes again and again.
The entire journey is simply to get fully acquainted with ourselves and learn how each of us can be a better “me.” When the cycle is completed and another cycle comes our way, we’re armed with knowledge, experience, and a deeper understanding of the part we play in these great dramas we call the human condition and the evolution of consciousness. We may awake one morning in joy and amazement because we’ve found the answer to one of the most perplexing questions of all time, “What is the meaning of life?”
- Part1: Shovel-Ready Projects for Houses 1-6
- PDF of Parts 1 and 2: Shovel-Ready Projects for the 12 Astrological Houses
- Download a chart blank here: Blank chart with house meanings.
- Need More details on the 12 houses? Download: AGSA ch13-houses
- Mars Retrograde 101—Answering your Questions
- Mars Mission 1: Mars and Conflict—Road Block or Productive Detour?
- Mars—What Great Minds say about Its Functions
- Mercury Retrograde Projects–Use the Energies Constructively
- 12 Things to Do (projects by sign)
- Libra ~ Who am I? Who are You?
- Mars Retrograde ~ A Cosmic Do-Over
- Almanacs & Ephemerides Online
Oh, and those shovel-ready projects Congress’ stimulus plan was meant to finance. How have they worked out? See: Stimulus Watch: Keeping an Eye on Economic Recovery Spending. Here’s hoping your own stimulus plan works out way better!
Art credits: All the shovel images were copyright free at WikiMedia Commons.