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  • Writer's pictureSaila Kokkonen

Echoes of generations past

Updated: Apr 24

I'm a textbook example of someone who used to feel out of whack with my own patterns of feelings, thoughts and actions. However, especially astrological analysis of my own birth chart and those of my parents and grandparents has helped me get to the root of some troubling inherited patterns, often previously subconscious. Here's my story in a nutshell.

I have not suffered any significant trauma in this life, but I realised in early adulthood that I was nevertheless acting out of trauma reactions in my relationships.

"What on earth, this is not mine," I thought of my own actions.

I began to wonder what was the cause of my own actions. Terms like "triggers" and "programming" were by no means familiar to me at the time, but I began to intuitively wonder why I felt so many limiting emotions as often as I did.

Why I thought about myself and others in ways that eroded my self-confidence and relationships.

Why I acted against myself, and against my better understanding.

Fast forward to the present day, some 15 years later. My internal analyses have been beefed up by the rich tools provided by astrology in particular, to understand and balance events, triggers and programming.

Our unique composition of collective building blocks is what makes us unique individuals

With astrology, I have come to understand the diversity and uniqueness of humans on a wholly different scale than before. However, I have learned that individuality is made up of archetypal, collective energies in particular - building blocks that are common to us, regardless of time and place. It is our unique composition of these collective building blocks that makes us unique individuals.

Indeed, some of these collective building blocks are the generational stamps of the slow planets, found in the birth charts of all people of a given era - in their energy signatures. These generational stamps help us to understand that, despite their individuality, each individual is and has been influenced by the quality of their time. However, time is also cyclical, so past generational stamps give an indication of the types of energies that may affect certain phases in the future. An example of this is the approximately 84-year cycle of Uranus, the planet of sudden changes and societal evolution. What this means is that this planet cycles through the zodiac in 84 years, and is always in the same place as it was about 84 years earlier, highlighting similar energies.

The saying that you can't escape your past is not wrong.

By comparing my own birth chart with my parents' and grandparents' charts, I have learned e.g. the following about our similarities:

  • My own existence triggers and brings to life certain generational stamps of my grandparents. This includes the absolute harshness that my grandfather's generation, born around 1931, lived with, and the shattering changes to it (astrologically, this is shown in our birth charts by the conjunction of my axes with my grandfather's generational planets - if you don't speak astrology and this means nothing to you, don't worry!). Being aware of this has helped me, among other things, to understand my interest in my family heritage and why I feel my grandfather's wounds alive in me, even though I've never even met him.

  • The intellectualisation, limitation or burial of emotions is widespread in my family, which I recognise in myself also. Various recurring patterns of grief, abandonment, hardening, or sudden changes in basic security, as well as challenging relationships between children and parents, surface from the positions of the Moon, Ceres and Saturn in many relatives' charts.

  • A certain wound of inner masculinity, related to our own limits and agency, is passed down from generation to generation on both sides of the family. In myself, I have long recognized an empathy for the sensitivity that resides especially in the men of the family, especially in times when the model for 'being a man' was extremely limited. The relationship between sensitivity and masculine energy has been a difficult one, and sensitivity has been hidden, blocked and unleashed through self-destructive channels that have of course wreaked havoc on those around as well. The themes of boundaries and limitlessness have led to all sorts of problems, including substance abuse and an inability to deal with and let go of what no longer serves, old grudges and the wrongs of the past. However, deep down these are all issues of an imbalance of Aries and Pisces energies, an imbalance that is also central in my own chart. With their heavy emphasis in past generations, I no longer wonder why these energies play a large part in my own growth path, too.

All in all, I feel astrology allows me to get to the root causes of destructive behaviour, wrongs and difficulties better, so that my interpretation of the past does not remain at the level of "that person wronged this person". Similarly, I can get a sense of the talents and skills, perhaps inner desires, of my already-deceased relatives, and why they were not able to put them to the best use in their time. Where they are repeated in me, I have a better chance in this day and age to grow to embody them.

In me, as in all of us, various strains of the collective wounding of humanity come to life. The unfulfilled dreams and hopes of past generations, and perhaps also dormant resources, are bottled up inside me, and the pressure to live up to my own potential feels great. I feel all this as powerful inner tides or cross currents, in the face of which I have often felt helpless and confused in the past. Because I do not feel that I have suffered great trauma in this life, the storms of my inner world have also caused me great shame because I have not felt they were legitimate experiences - because "so many others have it so much worse than me".

However, the understanding of the intersection of my own and past generations' energies has brought me immense peace and acceptance - empathy towards myself that the challenges I am working through in myself are indeed not "just mine", not even just my family's, but part of something larger, a common heritage of humanity.

After all, within each family there are very similar patterns of events and experiences, but what is valuable is to be aware of which of these come to life in your own life. And of course: how to turn them into an asset rather than a burden.

I am also encouraged by the realization that by taking advantage of the opportunities afforded to my generation to act in a more healing, integrative way than was socially desirable for my parents' or grandparents' generations, I have the opportunity to feed back into the collective legacy more positive, more loving programming for the benefit of the collective. I am grateful that I can therefore use my own processes to dismantle something harmful, and build something more enabling for myself and for life in general.

The old Finno-Karelian wisdom about 'birth spells' - recounting the origin of things - come to mind:

According to a birth spell, understanding the origin - birth - of something, as well as its history, is what brings control of it, whether an illness, iron, fire, etc is in question.

Astrology, and having an understanding of your birth chart and its connections to the people who are central to your life, is based on the same wisdom: that by understanding our origins and the roots of our programming, we can achieve the best possible "control" of our lives. Often it turns out that this "control" or power to influence one's reality then paradoxically comes through letting go of the attempt at control, and accepting the state of things instead, rather than forcibly trying to change oneself or one's surrounding reality. Maybe this is the very wisdom of birth spells? Any "evil" loses its power over us when we understand its roots.

Interested in working on your roots utilizing astrology? Check out the "Your family's legacy - your story" astrological consultation series!


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