The Astrology of Shadow Work

Karina Lafayette – April 16th 2022

‘Alice in Wonderland’

Shadow work can be very tricky, and also highly misunderstood. Often, there’s this idea that the shadow self is this side to us that is dark and evil. If anything, the more your upbringing was open, loving and expressive, the less likely shadow work will feel strenuous. However, if you had an upbringing that was either very repressed or with a “play by the rules” mentality, the more shadow work you may have to do, because the more you were told that your way of being in the world was wrong. It can be done in many ways, such as in meditation, therapy, in your relationships, or even with astrology. It can even be done through travel or study, where you get to be put in situations that challenge your idea of normal. By doing shadow work, not only will you find that a lot of what you were told was just plain wrong, you’ll come to know a side of yourself that is beautiful, sensitive, and dynamic. But like Alice when she first sees the White Rabbit, the only way the journey can happen is by diving into the unkown.

Are you ready?


Pluto

Hades from ‘Hercules’

The house that Pluto is located in our charts shows an area of life that we are particularly passionate about, to the point of obsession. This can go either of two ways: either it’s an area that can bring you great transformation or power struggles. For example, others may try to silence you if you have Pluto in the third house. You could be forced to keep a lot of secrets or come from a community that has many secrets. Pluto is the planet of rebirth, transformation, psychology and power. Wherever your Pluto may be, the goal here is to hone in your power and sense of self-confidence. Because Pluto is a generational planet, this is the area where people from your generation have a strong impact on you. It could even show trauma you need to let go of that took place around the time you were born. For example, people with Pluto in Scorpio (1983-1995) were born at the height of the AIDS pandemic, which can subconsciously explain their fear of intimacy and habit around ghosting and playing hard to get. Regardless of where Pluto is for you, don’t try to avoid it because that can only make this placement seem worse. Instead, look at how you can use it for self-empowerment.


Saturn

Edgar from ‘The Aristocats’

Saturn is probably one of the most hated planets, if not the most, but it’s really because we live in a society that lacks accountability. Wherever Saturn is in your chart, this is the area of life where you can experience delays and challenges. I always describe it as the muscle that needs the most work whenever we’re at the gym- it may be hard at first, but eventually this body part will catch up (by body part, I mean the house Saturn is in). Interestingly enough, the more work we put in here, the more potential for rewards. Saturn is the planet of karma, patience, responsibility, leadership and father figures. This area of life calls for you to take the initiative, otherwise people will do it for you. It can feel very tedious at first, but with time, you become an expert at it. It’s also the area that older family members had an influence, or were even a role model for you. For example, Saturn in the first house gives a sense of wanting to be like your father, or even having a father who imposes his personality onto you. Whatever it may be, the goal is to take other people’s wisdom with grace, but to remember you have important gifts to offer, and at the end of the day, only you have personal authority.


Neptune

King Triton from ‘The Little Mermaid’

Ah, Neptune. Love the illusion, but only so much of it is actually beautiful, let alone healthy. Wherever Neptune is at in your chart, this is an area where you tend to be the most devoted and selfless. It’s also where people may take advantage of you, so be vigilant. The key to working with Neptune is to use your spirituality in a way that is beneficial for your well-being. As soon as you start using something to escape responsibilities (a.k.a. Saturn), this is when you need to step back, especially if you have Neptune in the third, fifth, seventh, eighth or eleventh, since these are all relational houses. All these houses depict the different ways we connect to others, and under Neptune’s influence there can be risk for betrayal, dishonesty or manipulation, at least at the low point.

At best, Neptune is where we meet our soul family, the people we have a spiritual goal to fulfill. Even with unconditional love at our side, we’re still more likely to have boundary issues, so it’s a good idea to step back once in a while and make sure people in our life do have your best interest, and vice versa. These are soulmates, best friends, maybe even pets- the people who just “get” us and forgive our flaws. Neptune can have us leaning too much on our vices and crossing paths with people who encourage our worst behavior, and not just with drugs or alcohol. Sometimes the vice could be found in focusing too much on our work or career, especially if you have Neptune in Capricorn. Regardless of whether you’re someone who gets lost in work or tries to avoid it, remember like Saturn: balance is the answer. Dreaming about what you want is key to making life more beautiful and interesting, but at some point, for those dreams to manifest, you need to come back to reality.

Ironically, the more we suppress Neptune, the more its shadow gets projected onto others. In my case, I have Neptune in Capricorn in the fifth house and I used to fantasize about having a successful partner. Till one day I realized that my attraction for this type had to do with the fact that I didn’t think it was possible for me to be successful. In reality, potential partners who are always work focused actually frustrate me, because this type didn’t want to connect deeper, and would use material things to make up for quality time. All words and no real action, just like Neptune in Capricorn can be known for. By focusing on my own success, I didn’t need to lean on anyone else’s anymore. I could have my own life and not worry so much what everyone else is doing. On the positive side, because the fifth rules creativity, writing and art have been very therapeutic for me. It’s helped with coping through tough situations and allowed me to come out on top.


Chiron

Simba after his father’s passing in ‘The Lion King’

Considered as a minor planet, awareness around Chiron is still fairly new, since it was only discovered in 1977. In mythology, Chiron was rejected by his mother at birth, and went on to be raised by Apollo, to become a healer and master of many different crafts. He was a teacher, oracle, astrologer, and much, much more. In a natal chart, the sign Chiron is in shows some type of rejection we experienced in childhood, while the house shows where it may have taken place. The goal is to utilize the sense of rejection and channel it into a skill that can later be used to help others. Someone with Chiron in the third could’ve been bullied at school or feel like they don’t fit in with their community. Once they overcome their issue around learning or fitting in, they may either become a teacher themselves, a therapist, or even an author. Someone with Chiron in the twelfth may have no idea that their pain exists or keeps quiet anytime something upsets them, due to growing up in a household where adults didn’t take time to acknowledge them. Developing compassion and a strong spirituality is key. There’s even a slight tendency of using spirituality as an escape, so in the twelfth it’s important to get out into the world and share as much as possible.

Personally, I’d say that Chiron is underrated and deserves more praise in astrology, because once you become familiar with how this placement affects you, amazing progress can be made. Chiron’s agony still lingers, but by leaning in, you can turn pain into power.


The South Node

‘Cinderella’

The South Node is tricky, because it shows our comfort zone, as much as it shows what we need to grow out of. Whatever sign your South Node is in, usually it’s the negative aspects of that sign that shine the brightest, but not necessarily. Most of the time, it’s really the area that we’re most naturally good at. Skills that we were raised with, or that we mastered in past lives- that is, if you believe in past lives. It isn’t uncommon for our parents, siblings, and childhood friends to have planets near our South Node, because these are the people we naturally vibe with. However in order to grow and learn, you’ll want to also be surrounded with people who have planets in the sign of your North Node.

More often than not, we come to the South Node to unwind and relax, which is fine, but the goal isn’t to remain stuck there. A person with South Node in Aquarius or the eleventh might be tempted to worry what everyone else thinks and do what’s best for the group. That would’ve worked before, but in this lifetime, the main goal is for you to share your own talents with the world, and to avoid standing in the background. Whenever feeling overwhelmed by attention, it’s okay to lean on friends for support, just don’t let them become a crutch. If your South Node is in Scorpio or the eighth, you have a habit of telling yourself that life has to be hard and letting others have power over you.

No matter where your South Node is, until you overcome whatever hang ups you have around leaning into your North Node, you’ll keep coming across situations where you feel discouraged. The minute you step into it with more confidence, that’s actually where you’ll feel the most comforted and supported.


Black Moon Lilith

Esmeralda from ‘Hunchback of Notre-Dame’

According to Jewish folklore, Lilith was Adam’s first wife before Eve. Upon getting ready to consumate their relationship, Adam insisted on the missionary position. Lilith, seeing herself as his equal, refused, called out the real name of God and left the Garden of Eden in favor of her freedom. And that’s exactly how Lilith can show up in a natal chart. Similar to Chiron, Black Moon Lilith shows where we may feel rejected or a bit of an outcast. However, because Black Moon Lilith is a void in the sky and not an actual planet or asteroid, it can be much harder to pin down. This is the untamed divine feminine that answers to no one. A person with Black Moon Lilith in the seventh house may often run from commitment even though they want one, or they tend to meet partners who only want physical intimacy. A person with Black Moon Lilith in the first house may feel like people objectify them, or they could have a career centered around using their body to express themselves. In the third house, Black Moon Lilith may be drawn to writing adult novels or even working in adult entertainment.

However Lilith isn’t only about forbidden desires, she’s more about the part of yourself that feels forbidden and doesn’t play by the rules. Black Moon Lilith’s shadow could even be as simple as wanting to become an artist in a family of doctors. She doesn’t always involve the dark side, sometimes it’s about integrating a part of you that others told you not to.


Fourth, Eighth and Twelfth House

‘Alice in Wonderland’

The reason why the fourth, eighth and twelfth houses are so difficult to approach is because those areas represent the realm of emotions, and because they’re naturally ruled by the water signs. The fourth being ruled by Cancer, the eighth being ruled by Scorpio, and the twelfth, Pisces. Now, unless your rising is Aries, obviously the houses change sign. Nonetheless, it really means the sign on the cusp will have an influence on this area of life. For example, since the fourth represents home and family, having Sagittarius here can show someone who comes from a big family, or who had to move around a lot growing up. It can also make them particularly sensitive around their values and philosophy, since this is what Sagittarius is all about. There’s also a tendency of overindulging at home, or perhaps enjoying a home that’s very lavish and inviting.

Like I already mentioned in a previous article, the fourth house is very private because it’s where we have the IC (Imum Coeli), which for many astrologers, is seen as your second moon sign. The reason it’s crucial for shadow work, has to do with the fact that this side of our personality really only comes out at home. It’s also an area that was deeply influenced by the parents or caretakers, so if your childhood was troubled in some way, it’s important to heal the IC. People who have planets in our fourth bring us comfort, but they can just as well have a tendency of enabling our bad behavior. Otherwise, there may be family patterns that get in the way of achievements, which can be found in its opposite sign, the MC (Midheaven).

As for the eighth house, this area is all about secrets, transformation, intimacy and other people’s money. When someone has planets in our eighth, either the connection will be very wholesome and intimate, or it will trigger a lot of insecurities, jealousy, and even risk for abuse. It all depends where both of us are at in our journeys. The eighth is also a good indicator of how you behave in moments of betrayal and any issues surrounding sexuality but especially, sexual intimacy.

When it comes to the twelfth house, honestly, few people will dive into the twelfth, simply because it’s a dive into the unconscious mind, something no one has control over. You’ll probably notice that the time of year where the sun transits your twelfth is your least favorite, since this has to do with it being a period that requires rest and solitude. Another reason why this house can be triggering, is because it represesents hidden enemies. If someone has planets in your twelfth, the two of you may have known each other in a past life, or there’s often something about this person that feels elusive, like they’re hiding a terrible secret. They trigger your deepest trust issues, but also bring out a side to you that others can’t ever touch.


The Moon

Pocahontas and Grandmother Willow in ‘Pocahontas’

And last but not least, we have of course, the moon. It shouldn’t be a surprise that the sign of our emotional world could involve so much shadow work, but it does. Face it, we live in a world that still favors masculine, controlled energy and the moon is as feminine and unapolagetic as you can get. It really is a glimpse into our most authentic self. Not only so, but it reflects the relationship we have with our mother, or even mothering energy in general. As someone with moon in Capricorn, connecting to my emotions isn’t easy, but it has been worth it. To heal your moon, it’s helpful to look into the house that it’s in, because this is where you feel most at home, the safest, and where you most naturally your guard down.


Wherever you’re at on your journey, shadow work is never easy, that’s why it’s called work. However the reward involves not only a greater sense of awareness, but an improvement with the most important relationship in your life, the relationship with yourself.

Karina xo


To read more on the placements above, I have a few articles to look at:

The Fourth House in Astrology

The Eighth House in Astrology

The Twelfth House in Astrology

Chiron in the Natal Chart

Working with Saturn

And be sure to check out the Disney movies mentioned above, since they can offer insight into these placements as well.

To check out my books, social media and more, scroll to the menu, where you can also get a reading. And be sure to watch my new short documentary series on the Saturn Return! If you support my work, please consider buying me a coffee.

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