Most of us are born into lives with teachers (also known as parents) who are really good at imparting lessons we most need to learn. My mother was a Virgo with a tenth house Sun. With a placement like that you would’ve thought she’d be running an organization, or heading up a service non-profit. The tenth house is the house of “calling,” contribution on a large scale; tenth house planets have big ambitions… and planets here need a high level of development to step into such big shoes.
My mom did spend a period working with the developmentally disabled, but ultimately she did not have an easy time finding her calling in the world and eventually succumbed to a mysterious debilitating condition I can only call a failure to thrive. The exacting standards you’d expect of a Virgo Sun turned into paralyzing procrastination. Odd jobs would be drummed up, kids picked up from school and bills would get paid -when she got around to it. I now believe she was a closeted perfectionist who had set such impossibly high standards for her life that at a certain point, in her case a fatal tipping point, the mountain of infinite potentialities imploded into inaction. Focusing on the inadequacies around her, where situations and people fell short, she refused to critically address the details of what it takes to build a functional life. By the time she died, her life, her choices, no longer made sense to those who loved her.
I’ve been arm-wrestling lately with the demon of not being good enough. I’ve created this life, this career, and this person named Jessica Shepherd looks really convincing. But sometimes it feels like an act, a farce. Sometimes the fear, of not hitting all the right notes in a chart reading, of not delivering my very personal best, of not measuring up to my teachers -and all the many talented astrologers out there who have said everything there is to say, and often better than I have, overwhelms me.
Those are not my better days. They create writer’s block. They have me feeling inordinately nervous before a presentation. I want to pull my turtle head under my turtle shell and call the whole thing off. These thoughts work against the very principle that has, over time, earned me a place at the table, that feeling of allowing passion, curiosity and excitement to lead me where it may. Knowing I was not ready, but also that I’d never be truly ready or confident or secure enough. I trusted that the desire and impulse to follow what called my name was holy, and that if I weren’t meant to be at said table I would be tapped on the shoulder and quietly asked to leave. Until that moment, I decided back then, I would keep moving ahead.
I suppose, in a backwards way, my mother taught me the shadow of perfectionism. I learned, early on, that the day of feeling “good enough” may indeed never come… and that “waiting” could be a way of opting out of life with it’s complexity, overwhelm, insecurity and messiness.
Perfectionism can be debilitating, paralyzing. Getting it right, says Julia Cameron, Fixing it before I go any further. You may call it having standards. What you should be calling it is perfectionism… Perfectionism refuses to move forward. Like waiting until we’re assured of success or financial security before pursuing our dreams, perfectionism, accepting nothing less than excellence, gets us nowhere fast.
This Virgo Full Moon asks: Is your desire for a guarantee, your fear of not being good enough, your “high standards”-your perfectionism- holding you back from taking action in your life? Chiron joins the Pisces Sun, near Neptune, circulating feelings of inadequacy, chaos, overwhelm, and potentially the feeling that we are cut off from Spirit, we are alone. Chiron is aligned with the negative stories we tell our self, about our self, that our life is particularly unfair, that other people’s lives are better, stories that perpetuate our own suffering. Watch out for those stories right now.
These are not easy days. The Uranus-Pluto square is exact on my Moon, creating emotional unrest; for every hydra I slay, three more grow in its place. For all, the square is forcing us to look into our shadow, to heal our wounds to claim freedom. It’s a big, sometimes God-awful, job. As with any battle where personal liberty is at stake (Uranus in Aries), some soldiers will fall. At this Full Moon, to curb potential overwhelm and subsequent passivity, I suggest steeping in the simple wisdom of Virgo’s work ethic: Take one small step, then another. Cross two things off on your to-do list, today. If you feel you’re treading water, imagine all the canvases Van Gogh cut his teeth on before Sunflowers (try Google-ing “bad art by great artists” -you will feel better). Show up. Do what you do… until a consensus tells you to stop. And take comfort: Whether working on our self, an astrology reading or writing a book, the work of our life is never complete, or perfect. We just get better at learning to let it go.