How Weaknesses Become Strengths

Take a long view also. Qualities that start off as weaknesses often develop into tremendous strengths, as we try hard to compensate for them. This is often the case, for example, with the house and sign your Saturn falls in, since Saturn shows areas where we grow in the course of maturing through diligent hard work and self-discipline. We need to periodically re-define ourselves. By hard work, you may have already overcome some of your weaknesses, and so let your consciousness catch up with your growth. Or, you may still be in the process of overcoming some of them—since we are always in process— but at least acknowledge how far you've come.

Other traits that we regard as weaknesses are the consequences of focus and specialization. The more time and energy we devote to any single pursuit, the less we have for other pursuits, purely as a matter of course. Especially prone to specialization are people with a stellium7 in one sign or house, or with the Sun and Moon in one sign or house, or who have most of their planets in one segment of the chart.

If you have a chart like this, you will find a great deal of your energy concentrated in one area of life. Naturally, you will develop more skill and ability in that area of concentration and therefore may be lacking in other areas our culture defines as desirable or important. Why berate yourself for those lacks? Only by specialization and devotion can you achieve something really worthwhile.

Many of the greatest talents of our time are considered rather one-sided because they devote so much time to practicing their art. Should they hate themselves for being onesided? That's as silly as a great neurosurgeon hating himself because he can't pull teeth. For instance, I sometimes regret that I can't paint or draw, but I paint and draw with words—that is where I have chosen to concentrate my efforts. In my case, the stellium is in Gemini, a sign that is highly verbal and communicative.

Self-hatred can also be an inversion of self-love. "Look at me! I'm so TERRIBLE! I'm the biggest monster on earth!" How very important that makes you, doesn't it? Neptunians often fall into this pattern—or Pisces-Leo combinations like my "meek" double Leo friend, who loved to dramatize her sense of worthlessness. I asked a question in a poem once that I still think is a good one: "Why is true humility so foreign to the self-hating?" Find some other way to be important besides being miserable.

7 A stellium is a combination of three or more planets placed within a narrow range of the zodiac, each no more than 8-10° from the next. This makes the planets involved act in concert with one another, becoming a very powerful influence.

If you can admit that you sometimes behave in self-defeating ways, start now to overcome these patterns. For myself, I began working on my Pluto very early in my astrological studies—as soon as Isabel Hickey's books pointed out the negative ways I was expressing it! (My colleagues, none too kindly, used to refer to me as Our Lady of Pluto.) After 35 years of diligent attention to self-improvement in these areas, I can say I have made progress—by no means perfection, but certainly progress!

It's true that healing or therapy may be needed to overcome some of our astrological baggage, but begin by understanding your natal chart in depth. It is a priceless tool for gaining perspective on the self and for finding the roots of conflict and self-defeat within us. In discovering sources of self-defeat and self-hatred in your chart, you will free the life-affirming facets of your being to work more openly. By accepting all parts of yourself over time and allowing them positive expression, you can become a healthy, fully


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