I grew up in one of those “weird” families. Maybe yours was, too. The parental units weren’t exactly hippies, but they didn’t mix well with the status quo, either. They didn’t wear Birkenstocks or smoke pot with their guitar-playing friends (or, not that I know of), but neither were there potlucks, potluck parties and PTA meetings. While the other kids in my suburban neighborhood took dance or sports lessons, their big ploy was to get me to take mime (huh?) or meditation classes. Since neither activity had social support from my peers, and so threatened my perilous ten-year-old self’s social status, I wasn’t interested. But if I was awash in the anxiety of social awkwardness, so were my parents. I could feel it at parent-teacher conferences, supermarket trips and visit to friends’ houses, both theirs and mine. We simply didn’t fit in with what was going on around us.
I remember watching National Lampoon’s Vacation (after I left home, as we weren’t allowed to watch movies growing up) and taking comfort in their parallel strangeness. Radicalising Uranus is conjunct my Libra Ascendant, oppose my Moon, and exactly square my IC, the fourth house cusp angle of home and family. Over the years, I played the outsider and alien role in various ways. It took time, but eventually this lifelong feeling of being out of step with so much of society and culture was assuaged by my connection to astrology and the people in our “tribe”. Today, my truest, deepest heart-“kin” are those who speak my language, who share this common bond.
For as much as I deplored being the weird family on the street, I have a different, more mature, vantage point today. I see that those who led “normal” lives- including the one that I coveted in my friends, as a kid- didn’t always lead the most interesting, growth-filled, dynamic ones. Often it was quite the opposite. Maybe, today, normal is a setting on the dryer, as the Facebook jpeg circulating, says, but I suspect there are probably as many kids feeling alienated now as there were when I grew up. Let alone, adults, whose child self re-experiences this alienation in surprising, painful moments.
My younger sister (Uranus in her natal fourth house) felt displaced in our family, too, so she adopted herself into a new one when she was about twelve years old. Brave girl. At first it looked exactly like teenaged rebellion; she later told me she had decided to go where the unconditional love was. If you can imagine all the various ways a family can shame a kid for leaving, you know what a hard path she had. Yet as she matured, she took another look at her extended blood ties and has since formed strong, solid bonds. Despite that, misunderstanding still arises; people still confuse the definition of “family” with an archaic form of blood loyalty. “It’s complicated,” they say. But alienation ensues.
This Full Moon falls in Cancer, sign of hearth, heart and home and on the same day as Uranus, the Great Awakener –planet of all things and people unusual and weird — changes direction. Themes of alienation, other-ness and progress co-exist with togetherness, kin-ship and nostalgia for the past. It’s an uncomfortable, but not impossible, relationship. We just may need to do things differently than traditional social or familial dictates. We just may need to throw a circuit breaker into the system, to shake things up, cry freedom. Not merely to go our own way, but to redefine the map of the heart, to show others how to love, and how we wish to be loved. Because without the freedom to pursue our own authentic heart path, blood bonds are nothing more than bondage.
Remember the old Coca-Cola commercial, “I’d like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony?” “I’d like to buy the world a home and furnish it with love…” It’s my Uranus in Libra slash Sun in Cancer torch song. I’ve long-loved that commercial, where people of different nationalities, cultures, stripes, create harmony. I may’ve created a new one with my partner, a partnership in which we’ve placed the freedom to self-actualise as a clear and present guiding value, but I also feel a deep kinship, familiarity with my more global astrological tribe, with you. The “nuclear family” never fit my experience. Family is a feeling in your heart. The recognition that: These, these people, are my people. I can get that feeling in a room full of like-minded strangers. I can get that feeling when a client becomes a friend, and while tickling the belly of my laughing niece. When I do, I’ve come home.