The Full Moon in warm, open-hearted, playful Leo (Jan. 28, 2021, 11:16 am PST) stands in kittenish contrast to the Sun in Aquarius’ cooler, Saturn-ruled style. Ruled by the Sun, Leo seems custom-made to shine brightly and joyfully.
But while I was born with the Sun in this extravagant sign, I’m something of a failed Leo. My mother used to tell me that I started out as the sunniest, happiest child she’d ever seen. Perhaps it’s true. Certainly I’ve seen pictures of myself as a little girl, looking incandescently cheerful.
The thing is, I don’t remember ever feeling as happy as I looked. In every one of my earliest memories, I am shy, irritable, and moody. Throughout school, my musical and secretarial and even astrological careers, I can remember moments of satisfaction; but full-on, unbridled happiness? Not so much.
But I’m just past my second Saturn return, an age when one begins to fantasize about redoing the past and resolving to do things a bit differently going forward. And so, having exhausted all that moodiness and dissatisfaction have to offer, I decided to give happiness a try. And in astrology, to seek happiness, we follow the Sun.
FOLLOWING THE SUN
Once we’ve experienced our first Saturn return at age 29, we’ve usually learned that happiness is something more than simply being in a good mood. It’s about living in integrity, keeping perspective, and making an effort to be our best selves. And while astrologically you could make the argument that it’s all pieces of the birth chart working together in harmony and balance that results in happiness, there is a lot to be said for focusing on a single symbol: the Sun. The Sun symbolizes the unchanging core of who you are, the nucleus around which all of your other qualities revolve.
It’s easy to trivialize the Sun’s transiting cycle because it moves so quickly. Whereas planets like Neptune or Pluto take a house of your chart hostage for decades, the Sun moves along at a fast clip, covering an entire zodiac sign and probably about one house of your birth chart in a single month. Nevertheless, he makes his presence felt.
The Sun moving through the houses of your chart is like The Man Who Came to Dinner. In the George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart play, an overbearing radio celebrity comes to dinner at the home of a prominent businessman, slips on the ice outside their house, and moves in for the duration. In very short order he comes to dominate the entire household.
The Sun can be sort of an overbearing celebrity himself, and when he enters a new house of your chart he has a way of making all your furniture seem a little shabby and your conversation a bit dull. At worst, he dominates part of your life with his ego, his demands, his tantrums, and his theatrics. But at best, he motivates you to bring your “A” game – to want a little more from life, to get a better haircut, to mind your posture. In short, to make your life a bit better – and potentially, a whole lot happier.
MY ASTROLOGICAL HAPPINESS PROJECT
Years ago, I read and enjoyed Gretchen Rubin’s bestseller, The Happiness Project. Rubin’s personal happiness project was based on choosing a different area of life for each month, studying what great thinkers, philosophers, and self-help gurus had to say on these topics, and following their advice to see if she could become happier.
Intrigued, I wondered whether such a project could be transformed into an astrological exercise, with the transiting Sun as its organizing principle. Over the years, I’ve rearranged Rubin’s monthly topics to fit with the Sun moving through the houses of the birthchart, creating an astrological happiness mandala for my personal year. Briefly, my astrological happiness project is laid out like this:
When the Sun is in your…
- 1st house (self, body, personality) – Gather Strength
- 2nd House (money, possessions) – Enjoy What You Have
- 3rd House (perception, thinking, communication) – Be Mindful
- 4th House (family, home) – Lighten Your Heart
- 5th House (play, creativity, fun) – Take Fun Seriously
- 6th House (work, routines, health) – Perform Practical Magic
- 7th House (relationships) – Love the One You’re With
- 8th House (intimacy, shared resources) – Lose Yourself
- 9th House (adventure, religion, learning) – Gaze at Unfamiliar Skies
- 10th House (ambition, career) – Reach for the Stars
- 11th House (future, friendships) – Build a Legacy
- 12th House (spirituality, hidden matters) – Be Here Now
Some months have been better than others, but this simple mandala has given me a way to focus on getting more happiness out of my year. When the Sun enters a new house of my chart, I know I’ll begin by feeling a little embarrassed at how this area of my life looks. Then, like a lovable relative, the Sun will boss me around and ask why I’m standing in the way of my own happiness. And I’ll be forced to come up with some solutions instead of endless excuses.
At this Full Moon in Leo, think about what your own astrological happiness project would look like. How can your light shine a bit brighter, and your heart beat a little stronger? And how can you finish each year happier than you began? Astrologically, it might be as simple as following the Sun.
When will the Sun be in each house of your birth chart this year? Here’s a video to help you find out.