This weekend’s Full Moon in Taurus is a lunar eclipse, and it’s the last eclipse in the sign of Taurus for a while (roughly two decades).

If we think of astrological elements–planets, signs, and houses–as components of a cosmic story, one that impacts each of us uniquely, with this final Taurean eclipse one of these storylines has come to an end.

Like any ending, it’s a good time to look at where we’ve been and what we’ve learned along the way.

Taurus is associated with the second house, which is related to resources (including your very first resource: your body).

This house deals with what you value and desire and your personal definition of security.

I love what the late astrologer and psychologist Howard Sasportas says about the second house, that we can look to the signs and planets in this house for “guidelines indicating the kinds of inherent faculties and capabilities which we can develop and concretize, and through which we gain a greater sense of self-worth.”

When it comes to money and possessions, resources more generally, and a life connected with our personal values, the second house “gives clues to our most natural path of unfoldment in that area of life. Why not listen to these clues?”

Sasportas gives the example of Mars or Aries falling in the second house, indicating valuable qualities the person could cultivate, such as “courage, directness and the ability to know what one wants and how to get it.” (The Twelve Houses, p. 36)

The second house is about your resources. If you have these tools within your psychic arsenal, why not develop them?

In my own chart, Capricorn rules my second house, and over the years I’ve come to see how deeply entangled my personal values (second house) have been with competition and comparison. I picture the Capricornian goat trying to climb the highest mountain and scanning to see how far all the other goats have gotten.

It’s clear to me how this entanglement was strongly modeled in my family, and I find it interesting to ponder whether I was born into this family so I could learn to work productively with competitive drives or whether I had to find a way to work with these drives because I was born into this family. (Both, most likely!)

Whether we use astrology or other methods to enhance our self-awareness, doing so gives us a greater range of options.

For instance, when my competitive drives were largely unconscious they simply ran the show, leaving me hounded by a sense of never being enough, always falling a beat behind, and needing to prove myself anew, every single day.

The more aware we are of the forces within us, not only do we feel less tossed about by fate, we also tap into more nuanced and beneficial expressions of these energies.

Instead of displaying, say, a very rigid, rule-bound version of Saturn (perhaps triggering a rebellious inner part who causes us to abandon projects before completion), we could make use of Saturn’s ability to establish helpful habits and structures that provide a container for more freeform energies to gather and create really cool things (​like a magic circle that contains energy for spellcasting​).

I like thinking of signs and planets as possessing different octaves, and the more awareness we cultivate, the more octaves we can play with, leading to richer, more inspired melodies.

For me, exploring my competitive energies from a bajillion angles has revealed some surprising ways that competition rears its head and how I can shift relentless perfectionism into a more personalized definition of success.

Competition, and more specifically, comparison, became a substitute for skills I hadn’t fully developed, all of which stemmed from a deep discomfort with my inner life–my thoughts, feelings, desires, potentials, etc. Let’s take a look…

1. Comparison as a substitute for exploring what we genuinely want and need

Growing up, I frequently saw adults assess whether someone or something was “good” or “bad” based solely on how it stacked up to something else. This boyfriend was “good” because he wasn’t “bad” like the last one (until he was). This job was “good” because it wasn’t “bad” like the previous job (until it turned out to suck even more).

Instead of checking in with how you’re feeling around said boyfriend, whether you feel connected, like you can communicate effectively, like he’s interested in getting to know you and you him, the question becomes whether or not this guy is “better” than the last one.

But what does “better” even mean in this context?

What I witnessed was–honestly?–pretty arbitrary qualities used to build the case of Better, things like having a “better” taste in books or being an only child versus one amongst siblings. (It reminds me of junior high, when a crush’s compatibility could be measured by musical taste and which brand of shoes they wore. Like…so what?)

And later, if it turned out that one wasn’t a keeper, those very same qualities were pointed to as irreparable failings, demonstrating how arbitrary they really were. The formerly elevated taste in books is actually “snobby,” whereas the new guy has more down-to-earth preferences and is clearly Better.

When looked at over time, the comparison method is little better than throwing darts at a board, only maybe even less so because darts at least have the capacity to be random (thereby introducing something new), whereas this pattern is a stale oscillation between one extreme and the other.

Comparisons can’t substitute for building a connection to Self and tuning into your inner experience.

In my own life, this disconnection leads to waffling over pros and cons until the cows come home. (And then the cows get so sick of my continued waffling that they just up and leave again, and we’re back where we started.)

The majority of life doesn’t come with a clear ruling of “good” or “bad.” Returning to the theme of the second house, we’re tasked with developing our personal set of values, a core facet of the Jungian process of individuation.

Life inundates us with collective priorities, whether those be the values of our family, our peer group, or the larger culture. It takes work and, quite frankly, guts to clarify what’s personally meaningful to us, especially if the people around us don’t share those values.

But if we don’t, we’re left with things like empty comparisons and external metrics to try and assess what’s important, and it’s no wonder when those collectively assigned priorities leave us feeling dissatisfied and wondering, “Is this all there is?”

Tomorrow, we’ll dig deeper with the second skill comparison often stands in for, leading to confusion and stuckness.

Then we’ll explore shifting to a more personal definition of success, and with it, I’ll share a squishy-vulnerable experience I had recently when I let go of comparison and sunk into what I was actually feeling.

See you then!

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