So, I’ve been in Chicago for almost seven years now, and I think it’s time to go. I came here and ordered a rather big plate, but I’m full, and yet I’m starving and would rather get dessert at a different restaurant.
It was very cold and dry outside on Friday night, but I was driving my car around, thinking of places I should go to keep the battery from dying as I don’t really need to drive much these days, and I realized this. As I stared out into the city with all the street lights, stop lights, headlights, brake lights, flood lights, L lights, night lights, and moonlight all hallowed and haloed in what is an utterly familiar experience that normally keeps me from driving at rush hour.
So, up until recently, I thought that this is how other adults see the city at night, and that this sort of halo effect on all the lights was simply how lights are seen. After all, I still have pretty good vision in the dark; it’s the lights — always the lights — that bother my eyes. Bright, fluorescent lights, flashing lights, over-bright classrooms and offices. I hate it when people walk into my unlit room and say “how can you even read in this lights?!” before I can say “how could I otherwise?” Of course, that doesn’t make sense, because while I’m used to it and drive like a grandma in the city at night to accommodate it, if everyone drove like me, or saw like me, everything would be slower or much less safe, even though I never considered my vision debilitating.
And I should have realized that other people don’t see lights the same way since I don’t see lights depicted this way in art.
And as I realized I had spent about seven years here, I started to count the times in which I actually enjoyed my time here, and it wasn’t long until I ran out of things.
Chicago has overall been a lackluster experience. It hasn’t been nightmarish, but it has not been pleasant. It is not enjoyable for me to live in Chicago. Seven years of working, working, working, delaying gratification, always thinking someday, and when the time comes…and the time never comes.
I came here and went to work, and then I went to law school and worked, and took the bar exam and worked, and got a job as a lawyer and worked and worked, and started/restarted my astrology business, and worked, and worked. I couldn’t go out socially much of the time, and Rick never wanted to do anything or go anywhere. I’ve had a few in-the-dark well-wishers this holiday allude to the idea that I must feel very alone and bored without Rick at Christmas or New Year’s, but frankly, the last two were very pleasant because I didn’t have Eeyore stinking up the sofa watching WWII documentary after WWII documentary the entire fucking time.
I’ve made very few friends in Chicago. I didn’t really make any in law school, and the ones I made after I pretty much lost touch with, and now, nearly ten months of being single and now having the time, the money, and the ability to go out and be social and make friends, and it’s still a pandemic, but it’s not just the pandemic:
My feet itch, and I truly wonder at times what’s stopping me from just packing up the car and driving away. I mean, besides from the way my life could be potentially ruined by doing so, and this is precisely the problem:
Here, in Chicago, I am the actually the voice of reason, and my voice is the only one I hear most of the time now.
In fact, a surprising amount of people in Chicago who have come to me since Rick’s death all come under the guise of friendship but ultimately want some sort of labor from me. Not from people outside of Chicago, however. Friends outside of Chicago were really good like that.
But I still don’t really know a lot of people in Chicago. In fact, I haven’t had a single person in Chicago hire me for an astrology session.
And as I was driving around realizing that despite the things I built — and I don’t want to hear about all the things I accomplished in Chicago, because I’m already aware that I did stuff here — and the things I managed to acquire, there has been no joy here. Just work. And I guess that’s why it feels like home to me because I don’t have any native, early experiences with the concept of home being good and enjoyable. Chicago feels very familiar, and that I call home, and for that, it may as well be my hometown. Family, home: words that I understand intellectually to mean rest, comfort, and acceptance in common parlance, words I can use in that manner to convey the universally assumed sentiment, but only if I ignore the proto-thoughts and instinctive sentiments that these words conjure in me. Like when an unmarried person talks about spouses, they don’t do it by tapping into experience but rather what they learn from the culture and the people around them. For me, home is like that, because I have never really been at home anywhere, ever, but I have experience with homes, so while Chicago has never been comfortable for me, or felt like a place I belong and can just be myself, it actually feels like a home I have experienced before, something familiar even if not pleasant.
But this isn’t home as I think other people mean home, and as time goes by, I’m getting very curious as to what that experience might be like, or to at least try to figure out what the fuck people are all gaga about when they talk about home.
I get to do a lot of very primitive journeys in this lifetime, don’t I? Because I still tell myself there’s no way statistically I could be alone on Earth right now feeling this way and be the only person on Earth feeling this way. I mean, I couldn’t even be the only person in Chicago feeling this way, could I? So why not talk about it. There are millions of people in America right now looking for home.
I can’t just pack up and leave. I have responsibilities and leases and other things that bind me, but the first step is admitting you don’t want to be somewhere, I guess, but I’m thinking I need to tour America a little as a prolific, sophisticated drifter in order to try different cities to figure out which ones are home. The question is not how. I mean, I don’t need to ask about the logistics because that I could make happen. The question is where. In an increasingly divided country, there aren’t that many places I feel I could consider a home right now: even if I blend in at the grocery store, the moment I open my mouth, you know.
I still wonder what happened to the man I met at Mariano’s a year ago. And that’s weird, because there are many people I have met many more times than just once, people I’ve cultivated relationships with, and I don’t really care where they are. Ex-husband? Don’t care. My best friend from second grade? Don’t care. My friend from sixth grade? Don’t care. My best friend from 11th grade? Don’t care. The guy I had an all-consuming crush on in eleventh grade even? Don’t care. Every single member of my extended family? Don’t care. I already know where they are and what they’re doing with their lives, and if that’s changed in the last decade or two, so what? And they don’t care what I’m doing, or that I’m driving around the North side of Chicago about to pull into a McDonald’s to get a diet coke and rub my eyes because it’s that time of night in which the glare is the worst, and my best bet is to drive West, leave the city, and therefore leave all the lights.
And as I was driving around, I thought about my relocation chart in Chicago and what that actually looks like, because I remembered that all the planets that were in my 6th house moved to my seventh house. Almost all of my planets moved one house up, and all of my angles moved back.
And back in 2014, I actually thought this would be a good thing because 1) I didn’t know as much astrology as I do now, and 2) when I want to do something, I can dismantle and rebuild anything in the image I want it to take when it’s my interests, including my own chart….which is why astrologers still work with other astrologers.
How effective is a relocation chart?
My theory is that the more flexible you are (mutable), the more willing you are to be shaped by the world around you, and therefore the more relocation charts will resonate with you. People with a lot of mutable energy, particularly Sagittarius, are more likely to go native and allow their world to affect them more than they affect the world around them. People with a lot of fixed energy are more likely to impose their energy on the world around them regardless of where they are. People with a lot of cardinal energy tend to pick where in their world they want to make the most waves and stay there and do it, taking in whatever helps them further their goals. While we are all affected by the places we live, you may be more or less prone to change or adapt depending on who you are.
…depending on where you go, you can become more of one thing or the other. I definitely became more “Plutonian” seeming when Pluto was in my first house in my relocation chart for Seoul. It just came out of me more easily.
Here in Chicago, I have no more planets in the 6th house, which is odd because this is just been a place of labor for me. In fact, this relocation chart has no intercepted planets, no Saturn conjunct the descendant, no Venus conjunct the Midheaven. This is great, right? This means that all the shit that I had to deal with when it came to love, money, and control in relationships and marriage was no longer an issue, right? Of course it was — I mean, that’s part of my thing here on Earth because it’s in my natal chart — but I didn’t think it was. I thought this was going to be a place where I would have cooperation and compensation and vindication and all sorts of things you wish you could have when you’re young and still believe in fairness.
I also got these things, but I didn’t pay attention to them:
- The South Node conjunct the Ascendant/North Node conjunct the Descendant,
- Mars conjunct the descendant,
- Neptune closer to the Midheaven and Venus no longer in conjunction with the Midheaven,
- Pluto in the 8th house,
- Uranus in the 9th house, and
- The Moon and Pluto out of interception.
This actually changes a lot of things. Now, instead of having just Saturn and Pluto intercepted in the 7th house, I have Mars, the North Node, Jupiter, and Saturn in the 7th house. This isn’t the really the best relocation chart for moving somewhere to go to law school and build a legal career. First, Venus on the Midheaven is good for a law career. It’s still in the 10th house, but the natural charm and ability to look good even when you’re totally fucking something up is vitally important to practicing law, and I don’t shine like that so much here.
Second, the South Node on the Relocation Ascendant is a clear sign that if you go to that place, you will relive some old karma. You will relive old cycles, and if you figure it out in time, you can resolve that karma so you can move on. But you will go back to something familiar and not helpful for you in a place like this.
Third, having the North Node and Mars on the Descendant means that the partner is the one with the mission and the mojo and you’re just here to help, Jupiter means that they’re either super generous or super greedy, and Saturn means they hold you back and tie you down with responsibility or they control everything, or both. This is the kind of placement that if I now were to see this in synastry in a reading, I would tell her to run, especially if like in my chart, those planets are squaring her Sun in the 9th house, because even if that Sun is now in a wide conjunction with the Midheaven, there will be tension between who she wants to be in the world and what her partner wants her to do for him.
Fourth, Neptune alone conjunct the Midheaven is just really bad for trying to cultivate a reputation as someone who doesn’t mix up words when they talk or appear to be lost in places they’ve been working in every day for months, which is to say it’s not exactly great for lawyers. Granted, the fact that I have the conjunction natally might portend this would be a thing pretty much anywhere I go, but here, it’s harder.
Fifth, Aries Moon in the first house no longer intercepted means Aries Moon unchained, which needs to be number one, the only one, doing it’s thing, not caring about picayune things like rules, or authority, or superiors, or the laws of physics.
Sixth, Pluto in the 8th house is at home but is also more likely to go to enter into relationships of dominance and surrender but to also seek to upset the power balance, and I’ll tell you this right now: law school professors fucking hate that shit.
Seventh, Uranus in the 9th house is really not a great placement for the town you go professional school in unless it’s a Uranian-type schooling, like engineering school, or astrology, or some sort of technology. It’s not really good for studying things that do not want to be upset, like you know, most things that fall under the 9th house, like religion, like law. No one wants you to go into law school and then come out an outlaw; the expectation is that you will know the laws and accept that they exist so you can take the bar exam. Likewise, no one wants you to come into say, divinity school or law school and create something new. That’s not what those places are for, even if that’s what Uranus in the 9th house wants to do.
Okay, so any positive qualities?
Yes! In fact, if I were doing something different, like say, an astrology business, this is all pretty good stuff, actually. All the liabilities I just mentioned could foreseeably become assets. For example, Uranus in the 9th house adds new stuff to the old lessons, even if it’s just a new way of putting it out there in the world. Pluto in the 8th house will challenge everyone, including the rest of the world, and break off and do it’s own thing in secret (I don’t volunteer what I get up to in my spare time when those things come up at work). Neptune on the Midheaven makes you empathetic and more attune to energy and to symbols. The Moon no longer intercepted is good for really expressing what’s going on inside and instinctively reacting to the world and others. The South Node on the Ascendant is an opportunity to explore tons of karmic relationships, which I have, even though most of those people don’t even live in Chicago. Mars, the North Node, and Jupiter in the seventh house brings an abundance of energy to relationships and partnerships, and can mean possibly being the one who is the earner, the benefactor, the fighter in the relationship. It can also mean that this individual treats relationships like entrepreneurial endeavors, either going into business with a partner or treating the partner like a business, but not necessarily as a business partner, either.
Chicago could have been a different experience if I had come here for a different experience. Instead, I was essentially already in a partnership and looking to start a legal career here. I think if I came here by myself with no plans and no responsibilities, Chicago would have been different. However, I think I would have quickly ended up with these things.
And there was a karmic lesson to be learned in Chicago, and perhaps there still is, but I think it’s time to think about the next place on my journey.
So let that be a lesson to you all:
A relocation is successful based in part on astrology and in part on your intent for being somewhere.
But you know, without going into details about my legal career, I’ve been pretty damned lucky despite the fact that I still wonder how this actually even happened because the odds were against this happening.
And I’ve been pretty damned lucky despite everything. I’m doing okay, and hating having to live in Chicago right now is a pretty good problem to have overall. And yes, I learned some things while I was here about life, love, work, myself, the world, and I don’t know how much of that was Chicago-dependent, but I think some of it was.
For example, last month, I learned that I have astigmatism, which I suppose I could have learned somewhere other than Chicago, but it’s nice to know, and it answers some questions about a great many things, even things I never thought I would question, such as whether reading glasses for astigmatism exist so I can sit and read for hours on end again like I did as a kid.
Apparently, they do not.
You don’t cease to be who you are when you move.
This, despite the fact that this is a reason that a lot of us, including myself, like to relocate. Nothing changes in a relocation chart except for houses, and possibly the Moon by a few minutes, and the angles. Almost everything else stays the same by sign, degree, and intraspect in the chart. [Now, Arabic parts will obviously change because they’re dependent on house cusps for calculations, but I’ll get to that more in the next section.]
Get into the weeds here!
So, normally I don’t suggest getting into the weeds, or going too far into the details if to do so causes you to ignore the big picture. Part of reading a chart is to go from the top down in importance and to know when to stop. For example, if you’re doing a synastry reading and you can’t find obvious factors to show attraction between two people, like aspects between the luminaries, Venus, Mars, the angles? Then stop. You can go further into midpoints, into asteroids, into progressed composite charts, into using the minor aspects to get what you’re looking for, but in the end, you can’t build a sofa built with toothpicks for legs and expect it to stay up when a couple of people sit on it, and I apologize if that sounds like something Dr. Phil would say but less completely fucking obvious to anyone with half a brain. What I mean is that even if you dig deep enough and find an obscure aspect that would tend to show mutual attraction, like the South Node conjunct the Sun/Moon midpoint, it’s probably not enough because in reality, people are rarely moved by one itty bitty thing unless there’s some mitigating factors, like being stranded alone on a desert island together.
But when you move to a new city, when you make a commitment to live in a place and attempt to become part of the community, you’re going to exercise all of the things that could occur in that place, so all the things you’ll find in a relocation chart are relevant so long as you intend to be somewhere for a while. For example, you don’t move to Disneyworld, but you can do a relocation chart for Orlando to determine if you’d like to spend a week there or not, and what’s going to be most important are the most salient features. So, for example, if a trip to Disneyworld puts your Capricorn Moon in the first house, don’t go, because you will hate it. If, however, if puts your Capricorn Moon in the 12th house, you’ll still hate it but you’ll forget that you hate it.
I eventually came home and parked the car in anticipation of not having to leave my apartment for two days, full of fire to spend the weekend either writing or catching up on the sleep I have lost in this last month’s bout of insomnia. It was 10 p.m. by then, the battery was charged, and the sun had gone down enough that it was just dark enough for the various lights to not merge together in one big halo.
Because you know, when I’m not actually driving, astigmatism is actually kind of beautiful at night. If you don’t see it, then you can never really see how the world just sparkles and glows at night in the winter.
And it’s not a big deal; just a change in perception. I mean, I can still read, drive, watch a screen, write letters to people I will never put in the mail, and all sorts of other things. I can also still live in Chicago. It’s not nearly the war zone Trump made it out to be, although I’m hesitant to correct him if in doing so I inadvertently make his supporters feel welcome here.
But it’s time to address these things. I have a year’s worth of contact lenses that have done wonders in reducing the relative blurriness of the world, although I have to say I kind of miss the shimmer and glow that everything had at night, a sort of low-key aura around all things that a more spiritual person might say is the aura of everything, despite the fact that I learned that those things were never there.
And sometimes, the things you think are there just aren’t there, and you have to correct your vision and adapt. And that’s okay.
How much more trouble could I get into going west, or moving to the West coast, putting my Mercury retrograde/Uranus conjunction on the Midheaven? I mean, I know: I know exactly how weird this could turn out, but after seven years in Chicago, I’m just dying to drive across a desert to find out just how weird it could be.
Until then, there’s still work to do in Chicago, and let’s face it: I’m drawn to labor.