My Personal 'Hero's Journey'
My personal Spiritual path is the path of ‘No Shame.’ A very tricky path to be sure, but I’ve found it to be the most rewarding and enlightenment-inducing of them all.
What is the path of ‘No Shame’ you ask?
It’s a walk on the ‘One True Path’ of wholeness. It’s seeing Shame (and it’s counterbalance Perfection) as your two most respected and revered Teachers. (And learning to honor them alongside all other pairs of opposites).
This path started when I was young, although I didn’t know it at the time, when I, like most old souls who are very service-to-others oriented, was perpetually wracked with guilt and shame.
This was because I was so painfully aware of just how far I was from the compassionate ideal I held in my mind, and felt terribly guilty and shameful for constantly falling short of it.
I was raised in a family full to the brim with service-to-others oriented souls. Every last one of us took it as a personal point of failure if a family member was sad or angry or anything other than full-on blissed out happy at all times.
While this may seem ideal, those of you who can relate know all too well that the goal of “Never hurt anyone ever” can be a form of crushing defeatism as well, as it is, in the end, impossible to fully accomplish.
This realization leads service-to-other types down 3 typical paths - the Martyr, the Rebel, and the Seeker.
These three come in all combinations, sometimes mixed in together equally, sometimes with one taking the lead and ‘highlighting’ over the others.
For me, as with most folks, all 3 were always in some way present, but the ‘highlighted’ chunks of my life (aka the years when each Archetype was my main lesson) seemed to go in order.
I, like most of you, had my first highlighted path be the path of the Martyr.
The Path of the Martyr is one undertaken by buckling down and only allowing absolute perfection in kindness and compassion as the only acceptable means of interacting with others.
And in my life, I have attempted some Oscar- winning performances of Martyrdom.
(Side note, I have Chiron on my AC and have both my Sun and Moon in Pisces. Before I created a healthy relationship with the Shame Deity, debilitating Martyr-level shame was pretty much the name of the game for me).
I have given homeless people literally everything in my car and then driven them to the bank so I could empty out my bank account (which, at the time was $40, but still), and even after that felt guilty about not doing more.
I have stayed in relationships with people for years longer than I wanted because I was convinced it was rude and ‘selfish’ of me to expect them to meet my needs (they had come from such terrible backgrounds! They were trying the best they could! (cue Oscar music)).
(Side note to all you compassionate folks out there - you are NOT being kind to someone by staying with them past the point of them holding your interest. That’s called pity, and one of the most insulting things you can do to another human being is pity them. It strips them of their confidence and self respect).
The majority of the reason for my Martyrdom extraordinaire was that in my younger days I held the belief that boundaries were evil harsh things that you only pulled out if you were really mad at someone.
Looking back from my now older and wiser perspective, I see that so so many difficult experiences could have been avoided if only I had known how to form and express the words to say ‘That’s your truth, not mine.’
It took many years to come to understand healthy boundaries (one of my specialties now thank you very much), but this only occurred through fully exploring the extreme ends of my Martyr-ful ‘no boundaries’ years followed by my ‘all the boundaries’ years when I entered into my Rebel period.
My Rebel phase came in hard and fast after I hit a breaking point in my mid-twenties thanks to a karmic roller coaster relationship that just would not die.
I, kind, compassionate, double Pisces me in full awareness of what I was doing, broke up and got back together with the same person 14 times over the course of 6 years. Let me just give you a minute to take that in.
That's about every 6 months my brain and heart having a very thought out conversation between the two of them that went something like this:
“You know, I really am not that happy in this relationship, and I’m not doing him any favors by resentfully staying, so the best thing I can do is to just cut the cord and end the relationship.”
Then a few months would go by and my brain and heart would once again have a meeting and say,
“You know, he really is suffering, and I don’t remember things being that bad, so why don’t I just stop being so selfish and go back to someone who obviously really loves me.”
And then repeat those two conversations 13 more times.
That relationship honed and refined my Martyr skills, and at the same time also was the catalyst to push me into my next highlighted path, the path of the Rebel.
The Path of the Rebel is one undertaken by most after years of not having their kindness recognized or appreciated, until finally they just crack. They then find the freedom (or so it appears) of selfishness and see all others who still follow the ‘nice’ path as naive sheep.
My Rebel path, while seeded when young (thank you Natal Venus in Aries), did not fully get off the ground until after I, once and for all, left that karmic roller coaster relationship.
Only then was I ready to fully embrace my powerful Rebel Archetype, which led to some fabulous (or insane, tough call) decisions on my part.
Moving to France and (almost) marrying a Tunisian, French Astrophysicist who barely spoke English (that’s a fun story) but last minute changing my mind and going to Italy and marrying myself instead.
Breaking hearts all over the place because of my weakness for handsome Italian men. (Oh those accents…)
Moving to London to make it as a Professional Artist (just to name a few).
I loved pushing other people outside of their rules, even and especially, when they thought they were already ‘outside the rules.’
I would poke at my Shaman friends who ‘accept all’ but are judgmental towards people who act ‘normal.’
I would poke at my peace-keeping friends who are open-minded and ‘love everyone’ except when it's pointed out that conservatives are ‘everyones’ too.
I would poke at my brilliant Atheist friends by always bringing up proofs of how modern Quantum Physics and Astrological and Spiritual Wisdoms are rather identical.
One of my favorite rebellious ‘cognitive dissonance’ exercises was dressing up in adorably cutesy outfits to witchy gatherings and then pulling out some Alchemic Astrological brilliance after they’ve ‘summed me up.’
I even started rebelling against any rules I put on myself.
I had been rebelling so hard against everything that I, one day, realized I had, along the way, thrown out core parts of myself, softer, gentler parts, that were as much me as the ‘don’t tell me what to do’ parts I loved so much.
This realization shook me to my core and dive bombed me into asking big “Who am I?’ questions, which brought me, with a vengeance, back to an earlier love - Astrology.
Astrology entered my life, unbeknownst to me at the time, with my childhood love of Myths.
I adored the Greek and Egyptian stories of gods and heroes and would spend days pouring over any new book I could get my hands on, especially the creation myths that aimed at explaining ‘how the world came to be.’
I later discovered Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung and Spirituality and became obsessed connecting the dots of how it all fit together.
I started seeing everything in my life through the filter of how it fit into my own ‘Hero’s Journey.’
Astrology had been in my life for a long time, but up until the existential crisis that concluded my Rebel days, I had simply had it as a background hobby and not thought much of it.
But after meeting a new friend (who I later realized I had spent many lifetimes with) who could explain everything through her Astrological filter, I reopened that can of worms and started asking her endless questions about the inner workings of Astrology.
And after I saw that Astrology could indeed help me with my existential crisis, I got seriously bitten by what I call ‘the Astrology Bug.’
I’ve watched my students do the same thing when they hit a tipping point from ‘interested in Astrology’ to ‘I MUST CONSUME ALL THERE IS TO KNOW.’ It really does hit you like that.
So for the next few years I went into serious Hermit mode, and consumed more Astrology than I did food. Astrology was literally the only thing I ever wanted to spend time doing.
I also during this time learned to meditate on a new level and then proceeded to download all my previous lifetimes of learned Astrological wisdom into my conscious brain.
Over the course of the next 4 years I studied / downloaded / remembered an insane amount of wisdom. And with each new level of understanding, a deeper level of compassion grew, not just for others, but also for myself.
Along with this compassion came the emergence of a Spiritual Philosophy I was starting to define for myself.
A philosophy that allowed me to encompass the full range of my experiences - the hard, the soft, the brilliant and the forever lost, a philosophy of the ‘One True Path’ of wholeness and integration.
The more I used Astrology to incorporate every last part of me into a cohesive ‘story’ (the further I went down the path of integration) the more I started to notice, for the first time really, a lessening of the ever present feelings guilt and shame I had had my whole life.
I had found my path of the Seeker.
Then the 2012 shift came and the universe basically pushed me into sharing what I had now ‘remembered’ with others.
So I created Soul Map Mandalas, with the intention of being a different kind of Astrologer.
I personally wanted to embrace a more intuitive, feminine way of sharing the wisdom of Astrology, one where I could also include my creative, artistic side. A way that incorporated and un-shamed ALL aspects of me (and by default, all aspects of my clients and students).
Because in the end I’ve always found that the truest ‘reality’ was one where thoughts and experiences could have space to expand into their opposites. A list of facts is real enough for most, but I’ve found that facts don’t fully reveal their whole story and ‘show their true selves’ until I’ve let them run around with the muses for a while.
This is why I use my other life long love, Art, to deepen my understandings of the wisdom held within the Deity of Astrology.
Through letting my ‘logical’ brain rest, and allowing the ‘facts’ of the situation to become more fluid and open, I give my Soul permission to open the wisdom of Astrology up to be more fully understood.
After a while, I was asked to do a workshop of my artistic understanding of Astrology. Then another, and another, then students asked if I would teach them a long term course, and then more courses.
Around this same time my husband and I (who is also an Astrologer) started giving talks, more students came, and now, amazingly, my life path is teaching Astrology.
(Fun story, I met my husband many years ago through him noticing my Zodiac pendant, and me noticing the Gemini glyph around his neck. We started dating on the exact day of his Saturn Return, and fell in love on the exact day of mine).
So that’s my story.
Where has your Spiritual and Astrological journey taken you? :) I'd love to know!
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Hi, I'm Veronica - Astrologer, Artist, Teacher, Storyteller, and Soft-Hearted Seeker of Non-Dualistic Truth.