One of my students in the Chart Interpretation Forum explored the idea that Mae West’s chart seemed to point to a career in politics. West’s chart suggests a tremendous amount of charisma and a need to express her individuality in a very big, extroverted way. And when you also include West’s Mars in Aquarius in the 10th house, which seeks to take humanitarian action in a very pubic arena (and which is also heavily involved in West’s identity and personality), it does indeed suggest an inclination towards public service. Whether that career in politics would be distinguished or successful is another matter entirely. West’s strong personality also carries a strong 12th house emphasis, which brings up self-sabotage and hidden enemies; plus, her Mars is retrograde, which suggests resistance and backlash surrounding her public actions. On reflection, this describes a typical career in politics, including the scandals and public humiliation.
Everything about this interpretation was astrologically sound and well argued. There was just one problem: it was virtually impossible.
Mae West was a woman, born in the United States in 1892. Not only were there no women politicians at that time, but also women didn’t gain the right to vote in a national election until 1920. Politics wasn’t an option for West. She had to find some other avenue to channel and express these energies.
In theory, our lives are filled with unlimited possibilities, but in practice, our choices are limited. This has nothing to do with power; you have infinite creative power at your disposal. What you need, however, is vision, imagination, and faith. Not only do you need a dream, but you also need to be able to see yourself living that dream. And far too often, our dreams are limited by our realities.
Role Models and Cultural Conditioning
As children, we are programmed with unconscious beliefs about what is possible. The adults that we see in the world are our role models. They demonstrate what we can be when we grow up, but they also demonstrate what we can’t be. And we’re also influenced and limited by cultural and social programming about what kinds of behavior are acceptable, and what kinds of behavior are not.
In The Talent Code, Daniel Coyle documents how role models and heroes are responsible for igniting hotbeds of talent because they provide primal cues. For example, until 1998, no South Koreans had ever been successful in professional Golf. But in May of 1998, Se Ri Pak became a national icon when she won the McDonald’s LPGA Championship. Throughout South Korea, girls began to think, “If she can do it, why can’t I?” Every year, more South Korean golfers participated on the LPGA tour, and within 10 years, there were 33 South Korean women on the tour, collectively winning about a third of the events.
There was no astrological shift involved here. There is no astrological signature that represents the ability to golf. What changed was the culture. Girls growing up in South Korea suddenly had a new way to channel and express certain energies. This didn’t have any effect on girls in any other country, however, because an American girl would not see herself reflected in the image of a South Korean woman. In fact, the unconscious message to an American girl might be “I can’t become a professional golfer because I’m not South Korean.”
In the case of Mae West, it’s unlikely that she would have been a politician because when she was growing up, she never saw any women in politics.
Women born with very strong or prominent Mars energy had few acceptable outlets to express this until very recently. A man with a strong Mars could be an athlete, or a soldier, or a powerful leader; but a woman with a strong Mars had none of these options until quite recently. Billie Jean King was instrumental in legitimizing women as professional athletes. Women born in the 1980s had powerful, strong role models to express a strong Mars, but this was not the case for women born in earlier generations.
Obviously, someone has to be the first. There will always be pioneers, exceptional, courageous individuals who can see beyond cultural limitations of gender, race, or indeed any other label. Jackie Robinson became the first African American to play in major league baseball. Billie Jean King challenged — and defeated — male tennis champion Bobby Riggs in the “Battle of the Sexes” and raised the profile of female athletes. Sandra Day O’Connor was the first woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court. And of course, in 2008, Barack Obama became the first African American to be elected President of the United States. Each of these remarkable individuals opened doors for millions of people around the world, presenting new possibilities. But each of these individuals is remarkable. They are exceptions, not the rules.
The energies in the natal chart can express in an infinite number of ways. The conditions of our lives focus and direct these energies, much like the banks of a river direct its flow towards the sea. We each have the ability to change the course of the river of our lives, but most people just go with the flow.
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