Chase Jarvis's Creative Calling and the 11th house
"Most of us have a gap in our lives between where we find ourselves and the life we actually want to be living. It's time for you to look at that gap, acknowledge it, and then use your innate creative capacity to close it. Stop acting out someone else's script and write your own: What do you want to make? More important, who do you want to be?"
These lines in the first chapter of Creative Calling by Chase Jarvis inspired me to grab my pen and notebook and really think about this gap in my life and how to close it. Answering this question lands us squarely in 11th house territory, the house where we set goals and then find the tribe that will support those goals. (Go ahead, if you want, and answer the questions: who do you want to be? What do you want to make? Is there a gap between your answers and where you are?)
I found, when I answered this question, that major changes weren't required, just mindfulness about where I want to go and routines and habits to help me get there. This is the domain of Marge, the no-nonsense, let's-get-started Muse developed by Jill Badonsky. When you've identified a goal, you break it down - way, way, way, way down, as Jill Badonsky would say - to a next small step. I found that one of my goals was to write more and, having read Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, I know that writing happens when we make a daily practice of actually sitting down to write.
Addendum: Jill Badonsky would say to make a daily-ish practice because two things can happen when we set a daily goal.
1. We immediately don't want to do it.
2. When we miss a day we feel like we failed and we give up.
Side note: as far as archetypes go, Marge and Saturn (one of the co-rulers of Aquarius and the 11th house) rhyme. Both carry the energy of discipline, effort, no-nonsense perseverance. And Creative Calling is full of wise encouragement of the practical "let's get started" Saturn/Marge variety.
- "Do what you can with what you have today."
- "Rekindle your creative craft for a few moments every day... simply sit down and make something."
- "Stop thinking, take action, and the results will take care of themselves."
My beloved astrology teacher Steven Forrest would say that to successfully navigate the 11th house you must first set your goals (even if they take you off the beaten path of cultural/social norms) and then find the tribe that helps you reach those goals. Jarvis has loads of advice for this, even for people who, like me, are not joiners. And with Mars in Aquarius, Jarvis has had to walk his talk, activating his warrior energy to shake himself free of the expected/normal path in order to find his true calling. In his book, he gets to the heart of the 11th house challenge: "It can be tough to reconcile this need for support, collaboration and community with the need to follow your own path. The acid test is this: if you're walking the path but getting nowhere, go find communities of other humans who are passionate about the same things you are and get involved. Roll up your sleeves. Participate. Collaborate. And don't hold back."