Astrology Lessons from Ursula K. Le Guin*
Updated: Apr 2
In Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer writes about Indigenous Americans’ Original Instructions.
“These are not ‘instructions’ like commandments, though, or rules; rather, they are like a compass: they provide an orientation but not a map. The work of living is creating the map for yourself. How to follow the Original Instructions will be different for each of us…”
The natal chart is, I think, like an individual soul’s Original Instructions. But the way we craft a life out of those instructions is varied and unpredictable. There are a million ways to live your chart well.
When I get excited by an author, I like to look at her chart and connect her life and writing with the placement of her planets. Seeing how someone articulates her chart gives me a deeper understanding of the planets, signs and houses.
So, reading Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Wave in the Mind, I got some insights into Taurus, Libra and Gemini, Mercury and Jupiter.
Le Guin begins one essay, “Sometimes I am taken for granite,” which makes me chuckle, admire her gift for wordplay and think of her Taurus Ascendant. For her to self-actualize she must present herself in such a way that people have the impression of fixed earth. No wonder she’s taken for granite. I have a friend with a Taurus AC and when I suggest something that she doesn’t want to do, I can feel her consolidating into an immovable wall of “no.” Granite.
But Le Guin is not granite. She is mud, she tells us.
“Being mud is really different from being granite… People make footprints in mud. As mud I accept feet. I accept weight. I try to be supportive, I like to be obliging.”
Here we can imagine that earthy Taurus mask mixing with Le Guin’s very prominent Libra energies. Her Sun, Venus and Mercury are all in obliging, harmony-seeking, artistic Libra in the 6th house. She’s learning the skills of the artist, friend and lover.
Mercury in Le Guin’s chart has a strong position in the 6th house—one of the houses it rules. It urges Le Guin to build the artistic skills of her mind and voice. It’s no wonder, then, that she writes of having a “compulsive reading disorder.” This intellectual curiosity is emphasized and exacerbated by her Gemini moon in the 2nd house, traditionally called The House of Money. Her heart’s happiness is in gathering the resources that support her intelligence and curiosity.
Thus: libraries. “Knowledge sets us free, art sets us free. A great library is freedom.”
With such optimistic faith in intellectual resources, it's no surprise to see that Jupiter is conjunct Le Guin's Moon in Gemini in the 2nd house. Her generous faith in life (Jupiter) and her heart’s happiness (Moon) are both rooted in the resources of the intellect. We can also hear Jupiter’s optimism in the House of Money, where we prove ourselves to ourselves, as Le Guin writes, “you can do anything if you love it enough.”
That wonderful line is in a description of her childhood refuge—the public library.
“I discovered that the foreign books were up on the third floor and nobody ever went there, so I moved in. I lived there, crouched in a spiderwebby window, with Cyrano de Bergerac, in French. I didn’t know enough French yet to read Cyrano, but that didn’t stop me. That’s when I learned you can read a language you don't know if you love it enough. You can do anything if you love it enough. I cried a lot up there, over Cyrano and other people.”
Le Guin's heart and her faith in life were bolstered in the intellectual refuge of the library, as was her security. That’s the 2nd house—the actions we take to build security, to support our survival. As Le Guin writes, “Without the library I wouldn’t have survived the school, not in my right mind, anyhow.”
And with Jupiter there, her faith is well-placed. That's her gift from the gods, as Steven Forrest would say: the resources she needs to support her intellectual curiosity will always be there.
* I'm not 100% positive that Ursula K. Le Guin believed in astrology, so she might not appreciate me linking her with it.