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Oracles And The Family Karmic Inheritance
by Elizabeth Spring

As an astrologer I am continually struck by the potential for sorrow and suffering when first reviewing a client's chart. However upon meeting them, I am usually astounded at how uniquely they have coped, survived and even flourished in spite of the potential for anguish. If we change the word "enemies" in the quote above to "families," the most important point of this article would be made. I often wish my clients' families could see and hear their struggles and their intentions, for these at least, would "disarm all hostility." The oracle that speaks through the language of astrology, if nothing else, teaches compassion.

It has been said that the soul is ruthless in seeking its own path home, and that the needs of the soul, not the desires of the personality, orchestrate our lives. I have been finding that there is a mystery and history to each of us that reaches back beyond our present lives directly to our family lineage. We've inherited a karmic legacy that reflects the victories, defeats, and hard won battles of our ancestors, for they are indeed very much with us. 

Within families there is a karmic inheritance that is handed down the family line along with the genetic blueprint. We inherit deeply entrenched emotional and mental perspectives. Musical and mathematical talents can be inherited, as well as alcoholism, depression, abuse and certain illnesses. We gladly accept the Mozart-like unearned talents or propensities, but an idea such as the Kennedy family "curse" is not pleasant thinking. It is more reassuring to think that our soul picked our family and our karmic inheritance so that we could meet the precise challenges needed for our highest soul growth. 

These karmic patterns are not in themselves innate curses or blessings, for our will, intention, and grace are always operative. But anything can behave erratically if willfully suppressed for generations. Talents, as well as troubles, are the gold in the subconscious. Each time we summon our courage to try something new we reach for that gold. And each time we step out of denial and choose to make choices to heal rather than conceal, we change the pattern for the next generation. 

The nature of this family inheritance, particularly with regard to problems, echoes back to the idea that the "sins of the fathers shall be visited on the children for seven generations." What about the "sins" of the mothers? And what about the gold? I decided to look at this theory more closely, by examining my maternal family line. 

Actually I did not choose to do this, so much as it chose me. One Sunday morning a while ago, I awoke with a vague depression that seemed to come from nowhere. On that morning I decided to use the tarot to see if it could shed light on the heaviness in my psyche. I pulled the Ten of Swords. On a divinatory level the Ten of Swords marks the ending of a difficult situation, and this particular deck told the story of Orestes and the curse of the House of Atreus. It is a dark tale full of conflict and bloodshed that is one of the most popular of Greek myths. As it reads: "A family curse such as Orestes has to bear, is an image of inner conflicts passed down from one generation to another, where the grandparents and parents have been unable to face life's conflicts honestly and the children must inevitably suffer until insight is gained." It went on to say: "A deep seated and ancient problem is now forced to the surface and something must ultimately leave our lives." What left my life that morning was some of the ignorance of what I had inherited. And though the process continues still, the depression and morning fog had lifted by the end of the reading. 

A Synastry of Charts

It is often difficult to find the secret history of our families when parents and grandparents so often choose to speak only of their successes or the failings of others. Even asking probing questions to grandparents often yields little. Such being the case with me, I decided to do research using the charts of my grandmother, my mother myself, and my daughter—four women linked by genes and an obscure karmic history. I found there were significant astrological connections. 

My grandmother's chart had a predominance of planets in earth signs with the sun conjunct Pluto and Neptune in Taurus. Born in 1880, she had been a talented artist as a young woman, then had five children and never painted again. Her husband died in his late fifties of alcoholism. With four planets in Taurus, issues around money, security, and values were predominant here, and with Sun conjunct Pluto she would have experienced many symbolic—if not real—deaths and rebirths in her life. In fact, her mother and sister both died young from "heart problems" and when her favorite son succumbed to alcoholism as well, she retired to her room for the rest of her days. It seemed as if she never felt the serenity and security that is the touchstone for Taurus. Its not necessary to judge what can't be truly known, but like a good mystery there are clues and connecting links. 

When I put all of our charts within concentric circles to compare them. a procedure known as synastry, I found a progression of planets aspecting each other in such a way as to suggest that there has been a transmission of both blessings and wounds. Artistic talent, strength of will, naïveté and pride are all there. Perhaps the most poignant aspect is my mother's Scorpio moon conjuncting my Chiron exactly, i.e. her emotional style strikes me at the place of my deepest vulnerability. Our relationship has always been painfully enmeshed, and codependency issues—sign of an afflicted Neptune—is prominent in both charts. 

Looking at my daughter's chart however, I see signs of a healthier response; the wounded trail of an afflicted Neptune is still there, but the problem appears to be much less severe. The aspects to Venus in all the charts hint of an inherited struggle with creativity echoing back to the great-grandmother who fought with the competing demands of art and children. 

The Family Curse

In a much more radical fashion, some charts, such as the Kennedy's, show signs not only of great gifts but of a possible family "curse." In 1969 when Senator Edward Kennedy saw the collapse of his Presidential hopes after Chappaquiddick, he asked whether there was a curse on his family. And indeed, if one examines this family there are elements in the family story that suggest this possibility.

There are certain features which appear in every myth about a family curse. It usually begins with an individual's abuse of a God-given talent or advantage. Something positive gets misused or distorted through arrogance and pride, what the Greeks call hubris. The abuse of creative potential, which is sometimes linked with a subtle or not so subtle abuse of children, is made worse by the denial, and hubris is carried on within members of the family. Although each generation and each person could expiate the curse by accepting a certain degree of limitation in their life, they don't, and this refusal to make necessary sacrifices can be seen as an act of putting personal desires before the needs of the soul. The soul's needs are ruthless, however, and require a transformation of consciousness to change the family legacy. 

Anything consistent in our lives and which shows up in the chart, can behave like a curse. Our behavior can change it, although the attitudes that have very old entrenched roots are harder to change. In the case of the Kennedy's, one could speculate that the arrogance, ambition, and possible abuses of "Papa" Joe Kennedy (including the lobotomy of his first daughter) exacerbated a karmic situation that had its roots in the history and sufferings of the Irish people. The collective struggle of Irish against English, Catholic against Protestant, and the tragedy of the famine which drove so many of our grandparents out of Ireland could have fueled his ambition. He may have groomed his children for political power in order to redeem, in his mind, the shame and tragedies the Irish have had to endure in the last few centuries. This powerful man set in motion a set of inherited attitudes that produced both great goodness and unforeseen tragedy. Who is the victim here and who is the victor? Was his ambition (and therefore the curse), actually a necessary sacrifice for the greater good of our country and the Irish? Perhaps. Of course all this is just speculation and hypothesis, but this is what astrologers do. 

The opportunity to act on the unlived gifts of our family legacy is a gift. And what a challenge it is to redeem what was lost through ignorance, lack of courage, arrogance, or willful unconsciousness. Through our clarity, humility and willingness to accept limitation, we have the chance to bring forth the gifts that are longing to be expressed through us. 

By looking at the patterns in the family line one can't help but stand in awe of the patterns that say "this was my hope and fear for myself and my children" and to sense that the soul's choices are not always that of the conscious ego. The connection between soul and ego always has this mystery, this uncharted territory, created by the contract made pre-birth by our soul. Misfortune and sorrow is often the soul's last resort in moving a person closer to the right path for them. And whose to say what is truly misfortune? The soul's path is not easy to describe, and rarely simple to resolve. But we try.

___________________

Elizabeth Spring, MA has been an astrologer and counselor since 1992. She has studied astrology and the work of Carl Jung in England, Switzerland, and California, and has written numerous articles for newspapers and magazines, which can be read on-line. She does readings by phone (401-294-5863) and in person (R.I.), and can be contacted through her web site: www.elizabethspring.com or at: elizabethspring@aol.

This article was originally published in Spirit of Change Magazine—not to be confused with OfSpirit.com Holistic "Internet" Magazine & Resource. We thank Spirit of Change, New England's Premiere Holistic "Print" magazine, for allowing us to give new life to this article and share it with OfSpirit.com visitors for education, entertainment and empowerment.
Click here for more information on Spirit of Change.

 

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