• Lelia

Learning from Clichés: The Trite but True in Astrology


In one of Steven Forrest’s books, he mentions that every astrological sign could be reduced to a few clichés. That cliché might be a perfect motto if you’re under the heavy influence of that sign or its ruling planet, but it won’t serve you very well when a different sign or planet is impacting you.


Reading Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin, I’m thinking a lot about aphorisms that have become cliché, because Jane’s brother Benjamin was - as most Americans learn at some point during their school years - a master of pithy sayings regarding the conduct of life, many of which have become cliché. (“No gains without pains.” Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1745.)


As you read his proverbs, especially the ones aimed at Jane’s sons (who appear lazy, but may have simply had tuberculosis), you realize that although there's nothing inherently false in the ideas Benjamin Franklin is advocating - in fact, they offer sound advice - they’re rather paltry in the face of life as a whole. But of course they’re insufficient, if as Steven Forrest suggests, each cliché represents only 1/12 of truth and wisdom.


Benjamin Franklin seemed to speak the language of Capricorn and Saturn:

  • His choice of motto for the two-dollar bill: Tribulatio Ditat or “tribulation enriches.”

  • His Poor Richard’s proverbs: “Sloth, like Rust, consumes faster than Labour wears, while the used Key is always bright.”

  • His advice to his nephews: “A trade is a valuable thing; but unless a habit of industry be acquired with it, it turns out of little use.”


But he occasionally speaks in more Martial/Aries terms. Referring to the colonies’ need to stand up to the bully England, he writes, “If you make yourself a sheep, the wolves will eat you.”


For your own chart, it can be fun to do a cliché mash-up. (It doesn’t have to be a cliché. Any pithy aphorism, song title, movie title, tag line or short, catchy phrase works if it captures the essence of the sign, planet, house.) List the clichés for a planet, its sign and house and see if you can get a feel for how those energies come together.


So Saturn in Gemini in the 12th house:

Saturn: A habit of industry.

Gemini: "Curiouser and curiouser." (To borrow from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.)

12th house: behaviors that take you “beyond the field of time.” (To borrow from Krishnamurti.)


You can mix and match endlessly and, potentially, spark a new and deeper understanding of your blueprint for this lifetime, from trite but true sayings.


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