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The Profection Project | The Place of the Bad Daemon

***For more information on this project, visit Ashley Otero’s post here.

a photo from when i was 23 yo.

a photo from when i was 23 yo.

First we should go over some of the astrology:

Using the specialized timing technique known as annual profections, my 23rd birthday opened me to the natal significations of my 12th house (also known as the place of the bad daemon). This is a place which is considered difficult to access due to its inconvenient proximity to the 1st house (the ascendant). It is made additionally difficult because of its declining nature. The 12th house is falling away from the angle or the pivotal energy that makes up the 1st house, thus inhibiting any placements in this house from expressing themselves effectively. One way to imagine the 12th house is this: a windowless sound-proof room where you can hear only your own heartbeat and breathing… it’s not easy to be there, but also there is no easy way to communicate with the outside world. This is the nature of the 12th house.

In my chart, the 12th house is ruled by Jupiter, which is traditionally considered a helpful and productive planet. On one hand, this can suggest that my 12th house experiences, though difficult, may ultimately offer me a broader sense of connection to my personal narrative and general life direction. But on the other hand, my Jupiter finds itself in the 8th house, which is considered an idle place, often associated with death and debt. This 8th house placement reduces the positivity associated with Jupiter by making the greater benefic lazy and indolent. It also adds the extra layer of death and debt into the isolation and declining nature of my 12th house.

There is more to this of course, but I think this is enough to get a jist of how my story is going to go: the way I told stories to myself was problematic and caused isolation, loneliness, and fatigue amidst experiences of death, and debt.

 

Here is my experience of the Bad Daemon:

The year I turned 23 was difficult. My dad died that year. It was very sudden, came without warning, and without reason. Like a gun shot from behind; not knowing if I should turn around or duck or run. It left my tiny family in pieces. We relied on him for everything, so it was more than grief, it was survival and desperation. His death forced us to consider, plan for, and make decisions about things we had taken for granted, which in retrospect, taught us so much and we became much more independent and confident in our abilities. But at the time, in those first weeks and months, it was like living in a war zone - never knowing how something might turn out - uncertain of who to trust - blaming each other for things outside of our control. It was chaotic. 

my dog blue, who i very sadly had to surrender on the same day my dad died.

my dog blue, who i very sadly had to surrender on the same day my dad died.

Before my dad died, I had already hit a very troubling low point. In hindsight, I can see it reflected so clearly by my environment: many of my friends were depressed - suffering medical conditions - or otherwise experiencing similarly isolating-challenging-traumatizing things, my living space was covered in rats and their shit, and I spent most of my time volunteering with shut-ins or elderly people who had been abandoned by their families. Not to mention the bizarre coincidence (fate?) that I had reconnected with someone who had bullied me in high school, someone who had left me shaking in my boots trying to stuff myself into smaller compartments so as not to be a bother or a burden.

Also, I was spending most days in a state of oblivion/fog - if not via drinking, then losing myself in attempted meditation, practicing yoga for hours, writing sad stories about death, and exploring my boundaries with emotional suffering.

I wanted to feel connected because I felt lost; I wanted to feel meaning because I felt numb. And it was easiest to feel sad all the time, which somehow gave me meaning and connection without making me vulnerable to judgment. - if someone had anything bad to say about me, I had already said it about myself and felt satisfied in being proven correct. I had no direction whatsoever, and desperately wanted to find a path, so suffering was my path.

That is about the time my dad died. The suddenness of it - the fact that the day earlier a friend had attempted suicide - and all the stories of death that I had written, it was almost comical. of course this would happen! What more can go wrong now?

some trees near that rat filled apartment.

some trees near that rat filled apartment.

There were a lot of things that continued to go wrong; money problems, legal issues, constantly not having a job, and all the psychological damage I took on. The feeling of being a victim, the trauma of shock, the not-knowing-why, the indescribable disappointment that legacy isn't real and people don't live on in memories and who cares if anyone dies ever? Who cares if I am or am not - what difference do any of us make and why do we care so much about being important or the best or having things when none of it matters?

The real damage, the lasting damage was the way I learned how to survive in such a physically and emotionally harsh environment. Because at the end of all of this, the money and the material world are fixable - with enough work and study you can accomplish so much in hard reality. You get yourself a job, you pay off the debt, you save money to move somewhere better, then you get a better job, and then you have the things you need to survive. Easy. But it is the mind, the spirit that makes it so goddamned hard. The feelings, the emotions, the drama, the paranoia. The backlash or whiplash of having had to broaden the mind to hold grief, and then to be normal again, or to return to a place of emotional stability. 

It was because of this - the heaviness of spirit - that I found myself going deeper into metaphysics. I had always loved astrology, had been slowly reading and learning about it, and not even sure that it was something I truly wanted to pursue... But the questions that came out of my grief sparked me to go deeper with my astrological studies. It felt instantaneous, one day I questioned everything about life and the next day astrology was answering every question. By the end of that year, astrology became a language I could speak and I was inspired to continue pursuing it - to become an astrologer. I found that this larger cosmic language helped me bring context to the tragedy I was experiencing; it gave me a sense of hope and meaning. And I wanted to share that language with others.

It did take me a long while, and my journey with astrology is much deeper and richer than I've shared in this brief reflection, but in the deepest of deep grief, I found a direction and purpose. I don't mean to romanticize or glamorize depression, death, debt, or trauma -- or to say that astrology is the cure all. Nor am I saying that my suffering is more or less than others - it just is what it is. And this is my story. This is a narrative that soothes my broken heart and brings context to the life I have lived.

a full moon in libra. the importance of it stood out to me; it was the first time i really felt a lunar return.

a full moon in libra. the importance of it stood out to me; it was the first time i really felt a lunar return.

The United Astrology Conference | A Past Present Future Spread

There is something to be said about being surrounded by people who understand you. Not quite like how your family understands you or the way a lover might understand you, but the way someone or many someones are on the same channel with you. And when you bring these many someones together in the same space, it creates an unimaginable electric buzz, a palpable feeling of resonance and connection. The United Astrology Conference is just that for any astrologer or would-be astrologer out there. 


The Past - 10 of Cups

10 of Cups

10 of Cups

Before I had committed to being an astrologer, I had no real alignment to my purpose. I had a lot of interests and talents as a kid, but as I grew older the only interests that stuck with me were astrology, the occult, and spirituality. These I perceived as embarrassing hobbies to explore in secret; as an adult I have suffered extreme shame over my occultist leanings.  

As I entered the workforce, I lamented over the mundanity and lackluster of living wage jobs. I found myself in positions I hated, completely bewildered that I couldn't find a job I loved. I spent years reflecting and researching possible future careers, but couldn't think of or find anything that excited me until the idea of becoming a working astrologer dawned on me. It both thrilled me and frightened me. On one hand, the idea that I could make a living wage doing something so deeply a part of me was incredible, but on the other, the idea that it required me to identify myself as an occultist terrified me. (Spoiler Alert: It still does.) And so the excuses started rolling in, and with them a lot of my escapist tendencies. 

I'm a sensitive person who picks up on signs easily, and as soon as I realized becoming an astrologer was getting the green light, I panicked. I fled towards alcohol, abusive dieting, and emotionally avoidant behaviors. Soon (because I have an extremely indulgent side - thanks Jupiter!), I crashed, and it became evident to me that I was on a moving train (time), unwilling to make a decision.  

In the crash, I felt like a void or a vacuum where only nothingness exists. In that emptiness, I realized my path forward was so obvious I had to completely blind myself in order to avoid it. Shaken by the fear of becoming the void, and pulled forward by my love of the stars, I was finally ready to take the leap forward. 

As soon as I made a serious commitment to myself to become an astrologer, doors flung open. I saw an opportunity to reduce hours at my day job, to make space for spiritual growth and education. I sought and found teachers who could guide me. I found online community spaces where people had gone through exactly what I was going through. And then all of a sudden, I was on my way to becoming. As soon as I took the leap, there I was landed on my feet. It became apparent that becoming an astrologer was far easier and much less frightening than I had initially expected because I was doing it with love and intention and purpose, and the universe was with me.


The Present - Queen of Cups

Queen of Cups

Queen of Cups

There was a point in my studies where I was suddenly able to read a birth chart. That was a lightning bolt of a moment - like a breath of fresh air. It was the moment when I knew I was an astrologer. All these years of reading, studying, living the astrology, and then the concentrated effort to unify the information I had gathered over the years - it all culminated into this beautiful blossoming of intuition and knowing. 

That is exactly the same feeling I had at UAC. Suddenly I'm doing it!!

For those who don't know, UAC or The United Astrology Conference is an international conference, the largest astrology conference on earth, in which astrologers known and unknown gather in one space to learn from each other, party with each other, and bask in their shared love of the stars. Many of the astrologers who attend UAC have friendships and community with other attendees. There is a reunion quality at UAC gatherings because so many people are seeing each other after being separated by time and distance. And it is exactly that reunion quality that can make newcomers feel a little isolated initially. 

Personally, I didn't know any other astrologers going to the conference (or anywhere else in the world). I knew of a lot of astrologers, and felt some kind of warmth and connection seeing them across a room, almost like spotting a celebrity. But I had no personal affiliation with anyone there - no one to embrace upon seeing - no one to look for or to wait for. I arrived at the conference unnoticed. And that feeling is daunting - it's huge. I was so overwhelmed the first day, that I avoided human interaction at almost all costs. I wonder if that's what stops people from going to these things, or at least causes some pause in the more introverted astro people out there. But I digress... What I'm trying to say is that despite the fear and uncertainty it was all worth it. 

Because really, I already knew I belonged even if there was no one who recognized me. I already knew that this was something I had to do in order to become a decent astrologer. It was a gut feeling, something that I couldn't quite put into words, and it only took a little bit of forward motion before my intelligible awareness aligned with the reality. And then, suddenly I was doing it!!

Every conversation I had was interesting - even the most one dimensional ones. Everyone I met, I felt I could trust because they themselves had once been in my position, had once experienced the same uncertainty. And even more interesting were the people who were currently in the same boat: we could share in the raw thrill that comes from doing something you love with people who get it for the first time in your life. And beyond that we all shared this unbelievably insightful knowledge which elevated our capacity to share and connect with others. I felt free to be myself - whoever that was, is, will be. Once I was able to connect with that feeling of freedom, I loosened my grip a little and let the universe work its magic.

I let myself drift, gave myself permission to try anything that seemed interesting to me. To let myself get pulled into whatever direction was pulling me. To my delight, I found the most incredible people and ideas. I discovered that alchemy was a practice I performed often, but something I never had a name for. I learned about aura photography, about my energetic expression, and felt someone really see me. I discovered the incredible and inspiring work of Gary Caton, I learned about secondary progressed mercury from Gray Crawford, I realized that Adam Elenbaas is my neighbor, and I met tons and tons of brilliant young astrologers. I think my favorite was the midnight meditation on Mercury guided by the current president of the Association of Young Astrologers. In the meditation, Danny guided us through a visualization practice after passing around licorice tea to taste and wild lavender oil to smell. It was during this visualization that I received the most incredible downloads and am still seeing the messages play out. 

Now that I've returned to my home in the DC area, I feel the incredible buzzing lightning strike of joy start to wear off. And in so doing, I am beginning to articulate all of the experiences that occurred - I'm able to really reflect on how UAC has possibly changed me, definitely inspired me, and reminded me that home is wherever I can be myself fully. I am in the after glow of something incredible, something that I believe (I hope) is only the tip of the iceberg for me. 


The Future - Judgement

Judgement

Judgement

As I look back to see how far I've come, gratitude wells inside of me. I couldn't have done it without the privileges I've been granted: a supportive spouse who makes an income that can support my part-time hours - an encouraging parent who always believed in me - and the physical time and energy it takes to invest in doing what you love. I also can't help but take pause to reflect on the countless unjust systemic privileges that shouldn't have been but were that got me to where I am now. 

As I take in my present, I feel a lot of energetic currents moving around me without knowing where they will take me. I feel excited, a desire to keep engaging with the electricity I've felt and the freeing experience it is to be one's true self. 

I can see how being my true self is going to be a challenge for me, and am not surprised by Judgment's appearance here. As I learned at UAC, it's important to let go of the ideal long enough to go out and experience life - to share with others and expand. Fear that I will be ridiculed, harshly critiqued, and even possibly attacked for my beliefs is something that I've had to combat all of my life. 

But then I remember all of the lessons I've learned so far, all of the electricity around me, and I have to say fuck it!

Here I am. I am here. See me.


Thank you for exploring my UAC experiences. 

With love and gratitude,

Cello