Astrological Musings

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Q: I am in need of career advice! I have a BA in psychology and have been in a PhD program in a top-ranked business school for the last two years.This program was my top choice and I was so thrilled to be accepted into such a highly esteemed university. I am very interested in studying issues pertaining to individual experiences at work and hope to contribute to the well-being of everyday working people and their organizations.

However, I am not very happy in this program – and my performance has been hurting. In June I did poorly on my preliminary exams and have been asked to retake them in the beginning of December. This situation offers me several options – throwing myself into passing the exams the second time around and working to improve my fit in the program, choosing to spend the next two months applying to other programs at different universities(perhaps in Psychology or even another Business school), or taking my Masters and begin a non-academic career. What should I do?

A: I want to start with a look at the basic underlying influences of your chart which are a bit conflicted. Your Pisces Sun/Mercury/Venus conjunction is very fluid and adaptable, and like the water element with which Pisces is associated, you likely have a tendency to follow the path of least resistance. Your Scorpio Moon is very interested in psychology and the things that make us the kind of people we are, and you have a passionate nature that tends to become immersed in anything that you are interested in. However, your Moon is conjunct Uranus in your chart which gives you an inner restlessness that may urge you to flee if you become too entangled in any one project. Then to make matters a little more complicated, Taurus is rising in your chart so you also have a need for stability and a dislike for change in your life.

Over the past year transiting Saturn, the planet of self-doubt, restriction and limitation, has been making a square to the Moon in your chart and therefore to Uranus as well, creating some depression and probably some defeatist (Saturn) feelings (Moon) as well as causing you to feel somewhat limited and confined (Saturn/Uranus). Then in August you completed your Saturn return, the time that occurs for everyone at age 28-30 when transiting Saturn returns to its place in your birthchart. This is a time of struggle and a lot of hard work that can lead to great success, or it can be very difficult depending on how we approach it.

The good news is that Saturn is now your friend, and will soon be making a harmonious transit over your ascendant which will start to bring you some of his gifts of achievement and reframing your life with new structures just in time for you to re-take the exams, if that’s what you choose to do. Your transits (planetary cycles) over the past few months look great, but it will be important to make this decision before the end of the year. Next year you have some challenging cycles: one will tend to bring up long-buried emotional issues (transiting Chiron square to your Moon/Uranus conjunction) so you will want to be in an environment where you feel safe to deal with these; and another could create conflicts with those in power (Transiting Jupiter square Pluto). Still, these are two minor blips in an overwhelmingly positive environment.

I suspect you already know within you which of these paths you want to take. It’s important to try to avoid making a change just for the sake of change or because you feel restless, but to listen to the message that you are given from within. If you want to remain in the PhD program but are afraid that you will experience more of what you went through over the past two years, I can tell you that this is behind you. But if you feel that the program no longer suits your current needs, evaluate what those needs are and act acocrdingly.

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