In November of 2015 I’d been freelancing as a transcription editor for a couple of years. And then I stumbled upon Proofread Anywhere, a program that trains people how to do the specialized proofreading that is required for court reporters pertinent to legal transcripts (they also have a general proofreading course, but I completed the transcript proofreading course).
At first I was concerned that the course was a scam. (It’s not.) The holidays were also coming up. So it took me about two months to take the plunge and sign up for this course. But it seemed like a win to add a new skill to my service offerings, so I signed up.
It took me several months to complete the course, and the course itself was actually a very good course. I learned the ropes well. I knew my stuff. I graduated from the course feeling ready to take on the court reporting world.
When Logic Is Defied by Illusion
You guys, I have Gemini rising, and my chart ruler Mercury is in diplomatic Libra and the creative 5th house. And Mercury-ruled Gemini has lots of natural talent and flair with words.
My parents taught me how to read with phonics when I was three years old, and I was reading adult-level books when I was in grade school. On a normal day I can pick up the weirdest, most obscure errors and do so effortlessly. I also brought to the table a deep background with engineering, scientific, and construction terminology. Many of my colleagues encouraged me that my success as a proofreader was “in the bag.”
But after I started working as a proofreader, I discovered that I was strangely unable to satisfy my clients.
While Gemini’s opposite, Sagittarius, can often believe that he has all the answers, Gemini has questions galore. And sometimes those questions are by necessity uncomfortable. So, naturally, I had to begin asking myself, “What’s the problem here, and what do I need to do about it?”
It’s (Mainly) a Neptune/Pisces Problem
Well, to begin with, I have Pisces on the Midheaven of my natal chart. The Midheaven is about your career and your public presence, among other things. And since the spring of 2013, transiting Neptune has been fogging up my natal placements in early Pisces: first Jupiter, then Chiron, and most recently my Midheaven. Spring of 2013 also happens to be the time when I quit the last job that I held as a W-2 employee.
And every time transiting Neptune has touched my Pisces midheaven, it has been opposing my Pluto in Virgo conjunct IC. And with Pluto involved, the situation was bound to feel both traumatic and toxic. And it did feel that way.
This wasn’t a typical situation for me. I worked in the engineering world for close to two decades in a career that required lots of Virgoan precision, and I did it very well indeed. But Neptune wasn’t transiting my Midheaven during those 20 years.
Astrologer Elsa Panizzon has written a ton of material about Neptune on the Midheaven over the years. Elsa notes that when Neptunian energy is very public in your chart either natally or by transit, you are vulnerable to other people’s projections. So the specter of imperfection loomed large over me, and I believe that’s what my court reporting clients tended to see.
I’ve observed over time that while a few of my colleagues were able to get and keep “great clients,” quite a few others of my fellow proofreading course graduates have quietly walked away from proofreading in the court reporting niche as a career. I’m sure not all of them are having the same Neptune problems as I am. But certainly since the 2008 recession, the Universe has been throwing knuckle balls at lots of people.
My inability to make my career as a proofreader work was for a while a bitter disappointment for me. At any other time in my life, I’d have been pretty much unbeatable at it. But one of the things I now understand is that Neptune has been calling me to a different expression of my talents. More about that in a bit.
The North and South Nodes of the moon aren’t planets–they’re just mathematical points in space. They do mean something, and yet there’s nothing material for them to “grab onto” in a natal chart in the same way as physical planets do. But my 8th house Saturn functions like an anchor for my South Node.
Moon-ruled Cancer is very security-conscious, and I am driven (Mars) to make my own money (2nd house) and build security for my family (Cancer). I believe the Universe also wants me to be able to take pride (Leo North Node) in my own efforts in this area rather than relying on other people’s money (South Node 8th house). Supporting our families is a strong motivator for many of us, of course, but astrology helps me to understand my own individual orientation to this drive.
So back to Neptune: Astrologer CJ Wright, who blogs at Auntie Moon, acknowledges the disappointments involved with Neptune.
What does Neptune teach us? Feelings of disappointment can linger for decades, tinting our psyche[s]. Perhaps we disengage from the source of disappointment or, worse, become resentful. We lose trust. There’s no room for love when disappointment and resentment take up so much space.
Yes, I know all the platitudes. I know that being bitter and not forgiving myself for my mistakes and not forgiving them for projecting their own fears of imperfection on to me (Virgo) is like me drinking the poison. But what do you do when you are having trouble with forgiveness?
Anastasia Pollock, LCMHC, a therapist who works with trauma victims, notes
“Often people struggle with this word [forgiveness], and rightfully so. They do not want to imply what happened to them was in any way OK. [And] they don’t want to excuse the perpetrator’s behavior; they feel the perpetrator is not deserving of forgiveness. The worst thing I can do as a therapist is to talk people out of the way they feel.
Emotions are important and automatic. When we can acknowledge and appreciate even the darkest, most negative-feeling emotions, they often soften and release. As soon as I say, “You don’t have to forgive,” the person usually breathes a sigh of relief.
Pollock also mentions “unburden” as a workable perspective rather than “forgive.” And there are plenty of other words that describe a process of letting go, without letting something or someone that you feel harmed you in some way off the hook.
(Sometimes a thing you’re invested in isn’t good for you in the end. From Lord of the Rings. New Line Cinema.)
So I stopped accepting work as a proofreader and closed down my sole proprietorship. While the year and a half that I worked as a proofreader brought some new traumas into my life, it was also just a short blip on the radar of my life. And I’ve been working on rebuild my faith and trust in the processes of Life.
Neptunian and/or Piscean energy is tricky to have on the Midheaven. I couldn’t have imagined, 20 or 30 years ago, building a career for myself that’s innately spiritual. Also, due to Mars’s and Saturn’s influence on my 2nd/8th house axis, it probably wasn’t the right time for me to try to establish such a career.
An additional factor has to do with my chart ruler, Mercury: In the 5th house, Mercury’s message is to perceive and tap into your own creativity with words. So that meant writing my own content rather than making corrections to other people’s content.
But the great thing about Neptune on the Midheaven or Neptune in Pisces is that eventually it can lead you to the career of your dreams.
The study and practice of astrology has been near and dear to my heart for over a decade now, so I decided that it was time (Saturn) to make that spiritual (Neptune) career (10th house) happen for me. My difficult experience in the court reporting environment actually did help me to cut through Neptune’s fog to realize that I’d allowed my fears about financial security lead me into something that, as it turned out, was no longer right for me.
Why was it so hard for me to believe that it might finally be time to accept Saturn’s rewards? I guess I felt guilty (Virgo) more than anything else. But Neptune can offer redemption and spiritual healing after you’ve cleared the fog around your illusions.
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