So i read Wild by Cheryl Strayed last year and adored it. I just thought of it again now, reading about the Reese Witherspoon/Nick Hornby adaptation. It’s been called a grungier version of Eat, Pray Love but it’s way more than that. In her mid-20s, Strayed (she changed her name after an early divorce) was crashing hard via grief, an abusive background, drugs, a messy divorce caused mostly by her infidelity and some other factors. Instinctively, with no prior hiking experience and clearly in an intense transit (more on this soon), she heads off to hike the officially challenging nearly 5000 kilometre long Pacific Crest Trail in California. It takes three months, is an epic journey and ends up being the brilliant book.
At one point in her trip, her toenails basically ripped off and facing a particularly hideous climb, she recalls an earlier encounter with an astrologer. It’s an interesting anecdote and worth reading beyond what I’ve extracted here – the rest is about the relationship with her father, how the astrologer sees it and I’m thinking she is referring to Chiron.
“…I thought of the woman I always thought of in such moments: an astrologer who’d read my natal chart when i was 23. A friend had arranged for the reading as a going away gift just before I left Minnesota for New York city. The astrologer was a no-nonsense middle aged woman named Pat who sat me down at her kitchen table with a piece of paper covered in mysterious markings and a quietly whirring tape recorder between us.
I didn’t put much faith in it. I thought it would be a bit of fun, an ego-boosting session dureing which she’d say generic things like You have a kind heart. But she didn’t. Or rather, she said those things, but she also said bizarrely specific things that were so accurate and particular, so simultaneously consoling and upsetting that it was all i could do not to bawl in recognition and grief.
“How can you know this,?” I kept demanding. And then I would listen as she explained about the planets, the sun and the moon, the ‘aspects’ and the moment i was born. about what it meant to be a Virgo, with a moon in Leo and Gemini Rising. I’d nod while thinking this is a bunch of crazy New age anti intellectual bullshit. And then she’d say another thing that would blow my brain into about seven thousand pieces because it was so true.”
So Cheryl Strayed is a Virgo but more to the point her Sun is bang-on Pluto & Uranus – so often this is about the intense, beyond the norm life & wisdom/genius attained via surreal experiences.
And f.y.i. the epic, life-altering hike that was to change everything took place with PLUTO on her Neptune and square her Midheaven. I was talking to Kim Falconer about Pluto squares to the Midheaven or Ascendant today and how these sorts of transits remove whatever fake mask or i.d. you’ve got going on. It’s like the superhero/superheroine story – the moment of awakening, the descent into darkness, the facing of the demons, the emergence back into the light etc.
Astro-Fiends, Strayed also has her Mercury-Venus in the 5th House opposite Saturn SO she has to write & tell these powerful stories, obviously & that Saturn sting cannot be separated from the process. It’s a brilliant book. As this article entertainingly relates, she has copped from flak from various reviewers for her searing honesty re drugs, sex & divorce + she gets to have sex on her hike – the lady has a libido – you know what these Venus in Libra peeps are like lol – but she is The Awesome.