Those people with a tattoo of their star sign (myself included) recently found themselves very seriously rethinking their ink, thanks to a mysterious 13th sign – Ophiuchus – that’s managed to squeeze its way into the zodiac and cause a major stir in the press.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I consult my astrological chart before getting a haircut, applying for a job or taking a trip overseas, however I must admit, I’ve always given a certain degree of credence to the personality descriptions of the zodiac. There’s just too many uncanny similarities between my preferences, habits and character and those assigned to Sagittarius for it to be plain old ‘coincidence’. Or so I thought anyway, until Ophiuchus appeared on the scene brandishing a giant snake.
As I looked deeper into the issue, it turns out that it’s not all as melodramatic as many people are making it. Essentially, tropical astrology (which is the system predominantly practiced in the West) isn’t affected by the wobble in the earth’s axis, hence star signs as we know them stay the same (*abandons Google search for tattoo removalists*).
It’s only in Vedic astrology (practiced mostly in the East) that the zodiac is fixed to constellations and changes over time. So, unless you subscribe to the Vedic system Ophiuchus is no more problematic than an annoying colleague you can block out with headphones and some strategically placed box files. Go forth and read your newspaper horoscopes in peace!
What the 13th Star Sign REALLY tells us about ourselves…
But on a more serious note, this whole 13th star sign thing got me thinking about the labels and various methods we use to define and decide who we think we are.
We all have ‘a story’ about ourselves that we’ve constructed over the years. Some of it we’ve derived from what others tell us about who we are. Other things we’ve determined on our own. Often, when we’re young, we don’t have the reasoning capacity of our adult selves and readily accept what others tell us about ourselves as truth.
Many adults don’t think carefully enough about the way they talk to children, nor do they consider the impact their careless, reactive words can have. It’s likely that someone, be it a teacher, parent, or relative, said something to you at some point in your childhood, that has long been a part of your psyche – playing a role, often subconsciously, in the story you tell yourself about your life.
Think about things like, ‘Be brave. Big boys don’t cry,’ or ‘Do your homework or you’ll never amount to anything’, or, ‘Keep on that way and you’ll have no friends’. Such well meaning but thoughtless throwaway comments can stay with someone long into their adult life, replaying themselves as a critical voice in your head that snipes, belittles and fills your mind with ‘shoulds’.
“I should be brave. I shouldn’t acknowledge my feelings. I shouldn’t let this affect me. I should be stronger.”
Or, “I should work harder or I’ll never be a success. I should achieve as much as everyone else and earn as much as the people around me. I should have money and ‘things’ or I’m nothing.”
And finally, “I should have lots of friends. I should be popular. If I’m not popular it means there’s something wrong with me.”
You Are Not Your ‘Story’
Creating a ‘story’ about who you are means defining yourself by standards, labels and roles. When really, as a unique human being with immeasurable depth in your soul, you are none of those things. You are not your job, your relationships or your bank balance.
That’s why you often see people falter and fall into deep despair when they lose their job, their partner or their assets. They defined who they were by those things and without them are lost – they don’t know who they are anymore.
That’s why it’s good to discover who you REALLY are by becoming self aware. There are many ways to do this, but quiet, self analysis in solitude is a great start. It’s not a process you can undertake by reading books and acquiring knowledge. Instead, awareness is an experience, not a quantifiable, right or wrong definable destination – it’s a journey.
Think about the current ‘story’ you tell yourself….
I always come last.
I never get what I want.
No-one loves me.
I’m a failure.
What If You Dropped Your ‘Story’?
What if you refused to see the world through the lens that your story creates? Would you be free from some of the limitations and restrictions you’re placing on yourself? And is your story even really true? (If you answered yes, who says so?)
And finally, are you hanging on to your story for a reason? Does it benefit you to keep telling the world that ‘this is my story and this is who I am’ – pity me, love me, be scared of me, include me, follow me, believe me – or whatever payoff you’re receiving from your story?
Once you realise that your story is just that – a story – you’re free to create a different reality for your life. One that is empowered and positive.
So, Leo Sagittarius or Ophiuchus, what are you telling yourself about the way you are – what labels are you subscribing to – and are they in your best interests?
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