This next practice gets imagination and intuition working together. But don’t think about it too much. The trick is to keep this in a spirit of play.
In my twenties I briefly studied intuition with a wonderful California psychic, Simone Harrington. For a while she taught weekly classes in her North Hollywood home. One night we arrived to find dozens of small paper bags in the room. Each was numbered and contained a different ingredient. Our assignment was to hold each bag and tune into its concealed contents. What were our impressions? Did we sense any qualities? She gave us a list of questions and we recorded what we internally saw, felt, or heard. Later, one by one, the items were revealed and we could note how close or far we came.
I can see now that this was a wonderful exercise for developing intuitive perception. Using emotionally neutral opportunities to test accuracy is a great way to strengthen this gift. It’s like working out at the gym or doing finger exercises at the piano. When I began to take my own intuition more seriously (this wouldn’t happen until my fifties), it was from the small, unimportant experiments that I learned the most. The inner scientist was able to sit on my shoulder in a more curious and friendly way, noticing what worked and what didn’t, without judgment. Nobody’s life depended on any of it. This is how I improved. But in Simone’s class that night, trying to conjure objects out of paper bags—well, the tension of trying to get it right nearly did me in.
I’ve known Simone a long time and at some point I asked her how she ever got the courage to do intuitive readings for strangers, to pull information out of the air, and trust it enough to charge them money for it. “It’s simple,” she said. “I never care whether I’m right or wrong.” Wow. She didn’t mean that she was indifferent to the value of her service; rather, she had eliminated those personal anxieties that wreck intuition for most of us.
I could only imagine such freedom. For years I measured myself against this possibility. I’ve always worked diligently with people’s charts before my readings. For many years this was because I couldn’t bear the thought of anyone being unhappy with my reading. Eventually the balance tipped. It was as though invisible sand had been slowly pouring onto the lighter end of some inner scale. Gradually I began to pay more attention to the information itself, instead of my performance anxiety.
I still like to spend plenty of time with people’s charts before their readings. But it’s more pleasurable now. I feel immersed, like a tea bag soaking in a cup of hot water, though I couldn’t tell you which of us, the chart, the planets, or the diviner, is the water, the cup, or the tea.
The following exercise is like Simone’s game with paper bags. It has no use in the real world. It doesn’t matter whether you get it wrong or right. But it will interest your intuition. That’s because it starts with a question for which you likely won’t have an immediate answer. You’ll have to wonder about it. So here’s the question: What was the weather like at the moment you were born? (If this is part of a family story and you do know the answer, then just use somebody else’s chart or pick a random date and time.)
The Sun’s location on the wheel tells you what time it was. But what else was in the air? Was it cloudy? Blistering hot? You can answer this—approximately—by knowing the time of year. Of course you know your birth date. But let’s pretend you’re getting this information solely from the chart. The time of year is another story that’s told by the Sun. Its zodiacal position is a calendar.
It takes about a month for the Sun to rotate through each sign, advancing about a degree a day. He’s in cardinal signs at the beginning of a season. That’s Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn. He’s in fixed signs in the middle of a season. That’s Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius. He’s in mutable signs at the season’s end. That’s Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces. Look at the degree of the Sun in your chart. This tells you how many days he’d already traveled through your birth sign.
So, if you were born in the northern hemisphere and your Sun is 5 degrees of Aries, you were born on the 5th day of spring. The day was likely bright and blustery. If you were born in the southern hemisphere, it would be the 5th day of autumn. Maybe there’s a chill in the air. Or fallen leaves are scuttling in the wind. (If you’re unsure about the season of your zodiac sign, consult the table of seasons in the notes at the end.)
So let’s give this a whirl. Imagine that you’re floating above your birthplace. Your vision allows you to see into the birthing room as well as a full 360 degrees around you. Seconds ago you sang your first song on this Earth. You took your first breath. Then you were cleansed and wrapped in something soft and warm. Now see yourself in this place, breathing on your own. Allow yourself to gently feel the wonder of this moment. (If there are emotions, breathe. Let them flow. If there aren’t any, no need to wonder why.)
Turn your attention now to your locale and the surrounding atmosphere. You already know whether it’s day or night. Knowing the time of year, you can make a logical guess about the weather. This gives your imagination something to start with. Remember, it’s a game we’re playing. What was the weather like at the very moment you were born? Tune into this scene.
Is the sky cloudy or clear?
Are the streets dry or wet?
What’s the vibe?
Do you hear any sounds?
What does the air feel like on your skin?
What else do you notice about this moment?
Enjoy visualizing for as long as you like. When you feel complete, you can send a heartfelt blessing to the newly born you and/or the team that helped your birth. Also, if you want, before leaving this important moment, imagine yourself now sending a great shout of gratitude and joy through the landscape. Aiieeeee!
My visualizations are hardly crystal clear pictures. Often, I just get the suggestion of an image, like what I imagine a nearly blind person might see. There’s a sense of light and dark, of movement, and a feel for the density of things. When I picture my birth moment, intermittently at first, I see a black sky, a low Moon, Jupiter above, and all of this as though through gauze. My fuzzy picture reminds me of the backdrop for the set of the Jimmy Kimmel show—a photograph of the Moon, the mountains, and city lights. Slowly, this more specific image works its way into my own. It helps me to anchor my visualization.
I’m looking toward the foothills in the east now, hovering over what I imagine is an operating room in a Santa Monica hospital. The night is quiet. I’m surprised that it feels so peaceful and expansive. I keep waiting for a car to backfire. But I never hear one. I wonder if my mind is intruding. The first time I did this exercise, I didn’t hear the ocean at my back. But now I do. It is gently murmuring.
I was born in late November. Logically, it could have been raining. It could have been cold. The sky could have been overcast, which means neither Jupiter nor the Moon was visible. Today, if I wanted to, I could probably locate this information online. But I’m not interested in becoming a weather intuitive. I’m practicing how to tune into a birth moment.
It might have been raining on the night I was born, but the picture conjured by my imagination and intuition was expansive, peaceful. As I said earlier, this surprised me. Later, when I thought about it, I realized this was an expression of the very symbols I’d been visualizing. Jupiter is expansive. There’s peace between the Sun and Moon in my chart. At that moment, they were in a comfortable aspect known as a trine. I’ve read what other people have to say about this aspect. Its peace isn’t something I’ve reliably identified in myself yet. How interesting to meet it here.
Remember what Jung said about surprises. It’s a clue that we’re in a relationship with a living symbol, one that brings new information and energy. Had I asked the question differently, this living energy might not have entered my visualization. If instead of identifying the weather, I had asked myself to picture a scene that represented my birth chart’s energies, my analytical mind would have gotten in the way. I wondered if I’d been doing that with my internal debate about whether or not a car was backfiring. This detail didn’t make sense astrologically. A loud “pop!” is something you might expect if Uranus were on an angle or squaring Mars. Oh! Here was my second surprise. I always forget there’s a Uranus/Mars square in my chart too.
|Season||Northern Hemisphere||Southern Hemisphere|
|Transition: Spring to Summer||Gemini||Sagittarius|
|Transition: Summer to Fall||Virgo||Pisces|
|Transition: Autumn to Winter||Sagittarius||Gemini|
|Transition: Winter to Spring||Pisces||Virgo|
Excerpted from Naked Astrology