Greetings friends, I’m setting out here to highlight perhaps an under-addressed topic in astrology: the widespread problem of depression. I’m writing this as someone who has spent her life figuring out how to successfully heal from chronic, clinical depression. Before you get too excited and imagine that I’m about to hand you the magic formula for a pain-free life, I’ll just come right out and say that I agree with Chris Corner that “Happiness is a discipline, a skill,” as much as anything else in life is. Happiness flows from happiness-producing habits, and the choices you make every day; rarely does it bubble up effortlessly and overwhelm you, unless you’re a small child or an accomplished Yogi.
I’m a huge fan of Chris Corner’s (who performs as IAMX), more especially now that his lyrics candidly and poetically express the pain of depression. Chris has done some incredible healing work to manage his depression, and that comes out in his lyrics too. But you don’t have to be an IAMX fan to get something out of this blog (although I imagine you might become one by reading it). My inspiration for this essay was a blog Chris wrote about his year of soul-sucking depression, 2013, and I’ll be applying some astrological analysis to that year and to his natal chart. Read on, and you’ll gain a general idea of how depression can show up in the natal chart.
Click HERE to read Chris’s blog about his struggle with depression. If you’ve ever suffered from a long-term, debilitating depression that required a hospitalization, or if you’ve ever had severe insomnia, you’re probably going to want to read it – and then listen to some of the beautiful music it spawned, which I link below.
OK, to our topic. Depression. I don’t mind telling you that I was hospitalized for a suicide attempt when I was fifteen years old. 25+ years later, I do experience overwhelming states of happiness possess me for no reason, and I’m not even an accomplished Yogi or a small child. About midway on my path to healing my chronic suicidal ideation, I found myself teaching a literature class to college freshmen, and I thought: why not take this opportunity to explore the literature of depression? Believe it or not, it wound up being a “fun” class, and the first thing we read was Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy (1621). Or rather, I should say, we read small sections of the Anatomy of Melancholy, since the complete text is a behemoth of over a thousand pages and several hundred thousand words. Burton wrote it to battle his depression, you see. He never stopped working on it, and continually put out new editions.
But notice that date: 1621. This was my first clue on my healing journey that my horrible, terrible, oh-so-embarrassing, hyper-personal problem with depression was not actually about me or these corrupted times I was living in. We could say Burton was a product of modernity, sure, but if a refined and highly educated English clergyman who lived 400 years ago faced the same demons that I faced – maybe there was something more fundamentally human about this depression monster than I realized.
Bonus: Burton was also an astrologer, and in the Anatomy of Melancholy he talks about how his natal chart indicates his struggle with depression. Surprise, it has something to do with the baleful influence of Saturn and the grim, solitary lives of scholars. If it makes you feel any better, Marsilio Ficino (you know, the guy who more or less authorized the Italian Renaissance), had the same complaint: Saturn highlighted in his natal chart led to both quality scholarship and chronic depression. Ficino’s solution was to treat his depression with vivifying astral magic and medicine. But I digress …
You’re here to get the dish on super-Aquarian Chris Corner, not to hear about the 400-years-ago Aquarian Robert Burton. I suppose I included this bit about Burton because it was so foundational to me getting over the uniqueness and specialness of my own pain. Perhaps the reason many people turn to astrology is because they carry some inexplicable, fucked-up pain and are casting around widely for answers …
Behold: Chris Corner’s birth chart, birth time unknown. Even astro novices will notice some exceptional features of this chart right away. How about five, count ‘em five, planets in airy Aquarius, the sign most likely to ignore its human needs and long to be a flawlessly functioning android? While we’re on the subject of androids, I’ll mention as an aside that electro-music pioneer Gary Numan also has Venus in Aquarius, just like Chris, a placement that tells us about an individual’s style and taste. Gary perfected the android persona in his early 1980s career, and Aquarius, the sign associated with cutting-edge technology, explains why both of these musicians are also programmers and sound engineers. There’s not much of the human or organic in either of their styles; the sonic beauty is all machine-mediated. Click HERE to read more about how the slow-moving outer planets influenced the 20th century rise of electronic music.
Chris Corner and Gary Numan’s natal Venuses are so close as to be conjunct and, no surprise – they’re friends, or at least close colleagues. Check out this video that Chris directed of Gary Numan’s chart-topping song, My Name is Ruin.
Now, some bad news. We can’t actually know if Chris Corner’s Moon and Sun are so perfectly conjunct like they appear in this noon chart. If Chris was born at 1am instead of the middle of the day, his Moon would actually be in Capricorn. Every astro newbie who has memorized their rulerships knows that Capricorn Moon is not a happy Moon, and the Moon is the seat of comfort and nourishment in the natal chart. As a Capricorn Moon myself, I resemble that remark! But of course, it’s not all gloom over here. I’ve just had to learn that working nourishes my soul, and it turns out I’ve gotten to be an expert (Capricorn) in these pesky realities called feelings (Moon).
What I find most interesting about Chris Corner’s chart is that it falls precisely on the New Moon. I work with the eight Moon phases as indicators of personality and life themes, and again we can’t know which side Chris falls on without an accurate birth time. Is he born just before the New Moon, and thus a Balsamic Moon? (“Balsamic” refers to incense floating to heaven in the dark of the moon). Balsamic Moon people are often the black sheep of their families, and their lives are typically marked by loss and ghostly phenomena. Or is Chris a true New Moon, born just after the New Moon is exact? I refer to the New Moon phase as the “rockstar” phase, because New Moon people ooze charisma out of every pore. They light the world with their own creativity. So it’s a toss-up, right? The brooding, darkwave, workaholic musician points to a Balsamic Moon in Capricorn, while the glamorous, extroverted, electronic musician points to New Moon in Aquarius.
As with most complex life situations, we’re not going to be able to pin depression down to a single factor in the natal chart. There are several types of depression, just for a start. Saturn is indeed the most common culprit for depression, because Saturn energy is limiting. Saturn insists that finite, material realities like your bank balance and your blood-count comprise the whole of life’s meaning, and that’s just not true. Saturn, however, doesn’t want to put security into changeable variables like relationships, or to invest energy in hobbies that only have invisible benefits, like meditation. He’s not a big fan of pleasure for its own sake, either; all in all, the Saturnine person is the original melancholic.
What’s interesting about Chris Corner’s chart is that he has Saturn on his South Node (!!!) The South Node in the Evolutionary style of astrology I practice is the seat of past karma. This means that Chris has spent many lifetimes focused solely on grim survival, instead of cultivating faith and joy in everyday existence. There’s no blame in the Evolutionary system, by the way. Often times these karmic habits are created by existential factors beyond our control. If you were born into a family of medieval serfs and destined to become a serf yourself, grim survival is pretty much your only option.
Chris’s past karma doesn’t look like serfdom, however; the ruler of the South Node in Aquarius conjunct Jupiter conjures up a person engaged in intense and unceasing mental work of the technical variety. One imagines a brilliant architect enslaved by the grandiose demands of a despotic King.
If you’ve worked with me before, you know I believe that most of the pain we experience in life flows from unresolved past-life wounds. I wish this idea didn’t sound so “woo,” because in practice this perspective leads to profound soul healing. The basic principle of Evolutionary astrology is that we elect to re-experience old karmic wounds in order to heal them.
In his blog about depression, Chris talks about how he never slept normally or well, not even as an infant. His childhood doctors said this was caused by an overactive intellect and high intelligence. Well, let’s see, the ruler of the past-life point in the chart is Mercury, planet of quickness, manual dexterity, and intellect, in the hyper-intelligent air sign Aquarius, conjunct expansive gas-bag Jupiter, which cranks the volume up on that placement to 11 … YA THINK? I think. I absolutely think the life-long insomnia is due to Chris having the South Node in mental Gemini, with grim Saturn revealing a sense of responsibility to never turn off his genius brain (Mercury-Jupiter).
The good news about past-life wounds is that our sole job in this incarnation is to heal them, and we are usually endowed with all the tools and inclination we need to change our habits. The North Star we need to follow is the North Node in the natal chart, which is always 180 degrees opposite the South Node (yes, that means we all have to do a 180 on our karma!)
Chris is so insightful about his healing journey that there’s a lot of grist for my mill here. He mentions that as an infant he had to be hospitalized for a week and not receive any touch, and that he’s been mourning that week for his entire life. Whoa – that’s a very trauma-informed perspective. I do a reading around the mother wound which looks exclusively at the planet Ceres in the natal chart. Ceres, I have found, expresses our personal rhythm, and rhythm is something we learn from Mom as an infant. If Mom had a rhythm around sexuality, or art, or drugs, that rhythm is going to be downloaded into our infant self.
In Chris’s case, a rhythm of closeness and touch was suddenly, inexplicably denied. We don’t even have to get into blaming Mom here – this sounds like a medical decree from a doctor. The square to Ceres from off-the-wall Uranus, the planet that rules over shock and trauma, indicates that Chris absorbed a rhythm around sudden abandonment of normalcy and routine. There are productive ways to work with this, of course, but that Uranus square to Ceres is a doozie. I find that Uranus in relation to Ceres can also lead chart natives to adopt unnatural, chemical rhythms, like the drug and alcohol addiction that Chris describes in his blog.
Am I doing a good job of unfolding depression in the natal chart here? I’m not sure. One thing we might say about Chris Corner’s chart is that it’s not a typical depressed chart from an astrological perspective, but in my opinion, there’s no such thing as typical. I read for clients who are insanely joyful in the face of god-awful, tragic circumstances, and others who are miserable with every opportunity in the world. There’s not much rhyme or reason to it (except for the X factor of past-life wounding). People with heavy Saturn, Pluto, Capricorn, and Scorpio placements are most likely to get described as depressive in astrological textbooks, and yet these are the same people who are able to face the shadowy areas of life squarely, without taking them personally.
It sounds counter-intuitive, but airy, intellectual people like Chris are often the most easily undone by the harsh brutality of existence, because the intense pain of living doesn’t make any sense. And the world not making sense really wipes out the life force of the air signs.
Let’s return to Chris’s natal chart. He’s got five (or maybe four, if he was born earlier in the day) planets squashed into less than twenty degrees of the sign of Aquarius. While that doesn’t sound like a classic recipe for depression, and Aquarius is usually too socially minded to allow himself the personal luxury of depression, there are some pitfalls to having this huge spate of energy all in one place.
I might call this a “putting all your eggs in one basket” style of chart, and we all know what happens when you do that – if you drop your basket you’re going to starve! I’ll note that even if the Moon is really in Capricorn, it would still make an out-of-sign conjunction to Chris’s Sun. Having the Sun and Moon, the two most important lights in the natal chart, in the same basket, lessens the possibility that the chart native will immediately bounce back from a dropped basket – and the basket always drops.
Let me explain a bit further. There are no “bad charts.” We all have unique strengths and challenges. Someone with planets scattered widely across many houses and many signs is going to have a lot of resources; these types of charts are called the Jack- or Jill-of-all-trades. Let’s imagine a hypothetical Jill with a Cancer Moon. Her boyfriend dumps her and she’s really sad so she takes refuge in making jewelry with her skillful Mercury in Gemini. Someone steals her designs on Etsy so she gets very possessive and self-righteous with her Taurus Sun, and organizes a lawsuit. That’s slow-going and frustrating so she throws herself into cross-training with natal Mars in Aries. She doesn’t want to get her sensitive Cancer heart trampled again so she takes up a course in healing dance with natal Venus in Pisces. Baskets. Jill’s got a lot of them. She can’t get bogged down with any one facet of her life because she has so many escape hatches.
This kind of flexibility is not natural to people with strong sign dominance like Chris Corner. Just as our Jill-of-all-trades is not likely to get extremely depressed, she is also not very likely to commit herself to any all-consuming creative project. Chris, on the other hand, with his Sun tightly conjunct natal Venus and the Moon, is a songbird. He has to express himself creatively or his feathers will droop. Those three planets operating as a unit create a lot of pressure and intensity, and they’re backed up by his capacious intelligence (Mercury-Jupiter) running along those same Aquarian tracks. He might have all his eggs in one basket, but it’s a great basket; he has an impressive discography to show for his monomania.
Earlier I mentioned that the “basket always drops.” Why is that? Doesn’t that seem unfair? If God or the Universe or our higher self picked out this star chart for us to live through, why does it have to make us suffer? Why can’t we just truck along merrily doing our thing as a quintuple Aquarian, for example? One thing I like to say is that we incarnate to experience every spoke on the wheel (or every approach to existence as expressed by the twelve signs). Keep in mind that the planets in the sky are always changing signs. That’s why some times the wind blows against us, and other times it blows our way. If you’re a super airy guy like Chris, when the slower moving planets from Jupiter on out are passing through air signs, you’re going to get a boost. The world will seem to reflect your values and approve of your choices. But when water and earth signs are emphasized in the sky, you’re going to feel like you’re trudging through mud. It will seem as if “boring,” unenligtened people and situations are conspiring to hold you back.
One thing I really like about the Evolutionary model of astrology is that it’s process-oriented. Astrology books can make it sound like the point of astrology is to find your core essence, but I think that’s too simplistic an outlook. I like to imagine all the planets in the pantheon as minor deities who demand our attention. We tend to really enjoy serving the deities that express our natural strengths. We also studiously avoid the planets that make us uncomfortable, or contradict our strengths (expressed as squares and oppositions in the natal chart). The phrase “inner conflict” describes the action of squares and oppositions pretty well. So it’s not that we all have some pure “core essence” that is under siege by unfair circumstances. Rather, it’s that we’re here to evolve by learning how to handle situations that we did not consciously sign up for, and which we would not pick as “first choices” among the range of human experiences. What I’m trying to say here is that most of us do not choose to evolve (and get to know those neglected parts of ourselves) unless we’re forced, and that’s why life has to force us.
There’s no moral judgement behind not evolving of your own free will. If you’re a great guitar player and your life has a lot of forward momentum and happiness because of that, why would you stop playing guitar? I hear these types of stories so often: “All my joy and self-worth and career and identity were wrapped up in playing guitar, and then I sustained an injury to my wrist which has prevented me from living that life anymore. Why are the gods so cruel?” Wow. That is cruel. But this is not an uncommon story. We all have our own version of that story. My version of that story is that I felt like all of my wildest fantasies were fulfilled when I learned how to blend natural perfume, and soon after I was diagnosed with an immune condition which causes violent allergic reactions to fragrance.
Here’s another common version of this story: “I trained for this career for ten years and I was damn good at it, but then my industry tanked.” I can claim that story too; I trained as an English professor, but humanities professor jobs that pay living wages are as scarce as hen’s teeth these days. You might say that both of those slap-downs by the Universe are what caused me to become an astrologer. This job wasn’t my first choice, no, but cultivating this role has allowed me to develop soulful, wise parts of myself that I would have gone on happily ignoring, had it not been for the dire “existential prompt” from the Universe that I needed to figure out a new way to live.
So to reiterate: we’re here to experience every spoke on the wheel, and typically we must evolve some new facet of our personality in order to face those new realities. That is why our favorite baskets with our favorite eggs always have to go smash, even if only temporarily. The astrological perspective has helped me to accept that I was meant to evolve this wise counselor aspect of myself, and that’s a much nicer story to tell myself than that I was meant to be an English professor because it was fun and I was really really good at it, and then the capricious gods took it away! Do you see how if we constantly focus on what we wish was happening, instead of what is actually happening, we create the condition of suffering and depression? When we tell the Universe we can only be happy with one job or one particular partner or one manner of conducting our lives, we’re really begging for an existential wake-up call to force us to learn to value those other spokes on the wheel of existence.
My pet planet Pluto, god of death, transformation, and rebirth, is often the catalyst for these dead-ends in life that force you to evolve, and we can bring this all home in a look at the activity to Chris Corner’s chart in 2013. Let’s remember that this man has a natal Sun exactly conjunct Venus. Among other things, Venus rules art, music, singing, aesthetics, fun, and happiness. So this all sounds pretty good, right? Chris Corner is a beautiful fashion-plate, talented vocalist, gifted songwriter and programmer, accomplished video director, and just generally exudes music from his soul. The Sun conjunct any planet identifies with that archetype, and it looks like Chris is very positively identified with beauty, the creation of it and the quest for it.
But wait! Venus has a shadow side, and it is – shallowness! Now don’t misunderstand me, I love Venus, all the planets represent important and necessary archetypes, and I’ve counseled lots of people to invest in some healthy, fun, silly, beautiful vanity and superficial pleasures. The problem only arises when we attempt to reap all of our human needs in life out of a single archetype (this comes back to all the eggs being in one basket). Man cannot live by art alone, unfortunately. Based on what Chris describes in his blog about depression, he for many years lived the self-indulgent life of a rockstar, making the scene at pretty places with pretty people and hyping it all up with cocaine to blunt its less glamorous realities. I’m not gonna lie, that sounds fun (Venus), but fun when it’s not reined in by one’s physical and emotional limits stops being fun and just becomes compulsive, a bad habit.
If it’s not clear yet, let me state explicitly that every placement in the chart carries with it a positive and negative potential. Venus conjunct the Sun can mean natural gifts in the arts, and it can also mean that you don’t know how to turn down a good time or how to integrate an unpleasant reality. When I started dating the man who would become my husband in 2008, we exchanged music, like you do. He made me an IAMX mix CD. I liked it alright to dance to, but I couldn’t really plumb this guy’s fascination with Chris Corner. The lyrics were so – goth candyfloss. All the songs seemed to be about dancing and dating and fucking and being naughty, and Chris himself was so pretty and styled and unreal; to me it was all glitz and no substance. I vividly remember attending my first IAMX show and meeting my future husband’s goth friends for the first time. They were likewise artfully dressed and heavily made-up and talked a terrific streak of spun sugar, and then we all got fantastically drunk. So that first show for me was a blur of sound and light and color and kissing, and then the world spinning madly when we collapsed on someone’s lawn outside the El Rey theatre in Los Angeles, laughing our heads off. All very heady high Venus stuff, the energy of a flirtatious giggle, pretty people playing silly games. Don’t ask me how we got home that night.
This kind of early IAMX party vibe is on full display in songs like “Nightlife,” linked above. When we saw IAMX again in Portland in January, 2013, the same year Chris went dark and fell into full collapse at his parent’s house, there was a different quality to the music. It was edgier, angrier, and more relatable. The first IAMX song I really fell in love with was “Unified Field,” released in 2013 on an album with the same name. There’s so much humility to the lyrics, a nakedness that belies all the rockstar posturing. Singing “We are one in the Unified Field” is to me a way of recognizing that our pains and problems are universal, not tragically unique, as the ego would have us believe. I also like how the song moves beyond “caring” and “feeling” to just being in the soup – the Unified Field – with the rest of the human family. To me, that point beyond caring and feeling is the place of acceptance, knowing that you’re limited and flawed and vulnerable and needy and there’s no point in fighting it anymore, it just is.
Chris kicked off the tour for his next album, Metanoia, in Orange County in 2015, where we had just moved. There had been another metamorphosis. It was subtle, I suppose, but this is my jam, after all – I read subtle energy. Instead of a beautiful doll showing me the colored surfaces of his glamorous existence, there was a new potency to Chris Corner’s performance, the urgency of a real person attempting to get a vital message across. The lyrics on Metanoia stunned me. The only person I’d heard use that word before was Carolyn Elliott, a spiritual teacher who models a very powerful technique of shadow integration. Working with Carolyn transformed my life. Her basic idea is that the shadow holds the keys to wholeness, and so we may as well dive right in and make love to that nasty monster. The song “Cruel Darkness” on Metanoia seems to sum up Carolyn’s signature exercise, “existential kink,” so well, because it’s a paean to your sexy underworld. I feel like people only get to the place of reveling in the shadow when there’s just nowhere else to go – might as well self-indulgently love your hot mess self, because someone’s got to.
I’m not sure what Chris Corner means by metanoia, because there are a lot of ways to interpret his use of that word. But Carolyn talks about metanoia as a way of “reversing the flow” of negative thinking, which is always going to feel unnatural when your self-defeating habits are deeply ingrained. Anyway, I can’t think of a more brutally honest album about depression than Metanoia. Every song is about being in process with depression. I like that Chris doesn’t offer any happy endings or easy solutions, but just shows us the struggle. Because it’s like that: changing your mind (metanoia), changing long-established habits around negativity and pain is not accomplished in a month or even a year. I’ve been sort of dancing around the idea of self-acceptance here, the mood that I pick up in “Unified Field” and “Cruel Darkness,” because that’s really the beginning of healing. You’re broken and you need help. You’re not super-human and you’re not immortal. Some parts of you are deeply disturbed and you may never “get over them,” but – surprise! – people are going to love you anyway. It’s funny how often people find that last bit, that you’re going to be seen in all your flaws and vulnerability and your friends won’t even be mad at you, the toughest part of the healing process.
As for myself, I started healing by setting the bar really low. I decided that every day that I didn’t commit suicide was a victorious day, and that meant that every single day of my life, I could congratulate myself for making progress. Still, to this day, I congratulate myself on the regular for making the choice to be here, the choice to be alive and witness to all the struggle and pain. I guess this mental discipline has served as a way of not placing any judgement or expectation on my day-to-day experience, allowing me to be more neutral (beyond caring and feeling) around whatever arises. My only job is to show up, to be here, to witness.
OK, so what happened to Chris Corner? Why did depression erupt into his life in 2013? Let me first say that I have no doubt there were other contributing factors to this intense life event that I can’t know without access to his birth time: perhaps Neptune made a conjunction to a sensitive angle like the Midheaven; perhaps his progressed Moon moved into the 12th house. Both of these events might be consistent with the “total wipe-out” Chris describes happening in 2013. He became non-functioning and had to seek professional help, he had to cancel a tour and move in with his parents, who fed and cared for him like an infant. By his own account he spent months in the fetal position, totally depleted of will and energy.
When I ran outer planet transits for 2012/ 2013, I saw that transiting Uranus had opposed Chris’s natal Pluto during that time. What’s interesting is that this transit does not kick everyone’s butt in the same way that it razed Chris Corner. We all make very individual responses to planetary stimulation, because we all have very different charts. Uranus is the energy of shock and sudden disclosures. For my money, Uranus is the true motherfucker of the planetary family. I find it to be capricious and cruel, and had built up sort of a grudge against it, but then when I did an inventory of major Uranus transits to my chart, I realized – Uranus heralded the future in every case. I might have been perfectly comfy with a certain boyfriend, job, living situation, etc., and then Uranus came around and re-arranged the furniture. Though I kicked and screamed and mourned the past each time this happened, the onset of newness under Uranus stimulation always had profound influence on the future path of my life. While some planets help us to evolve gradually and organically (Saturn and Pluto), Uranus rips the rug from beneath your feet and says curtly, “that’s over, we’re doing something else now.” Uranus offers you the prospect of an evolutionary leap, but gives you no time to pack your bags for the next phase of existence.
When Uranus opposes Pluto, which it will only do once in every person’s life, that juggernaut of revolutionary energy is aimed squarely at the shadow. It’s said that Pluto represents our frozen traumas and deepest wounds. The thing with repressed traumas is that they’re repressed – you can’t know how deeply they impact you or how much they’re influencing your behavior. But under stimulation from Uranus, Pandora’s Box is exploded and your demons are loosed upon the world. Now, let me qualify this a little bit; Pluto does represent the shadow, that’s true, but the shadow is also the keeper of personal power. How powerful are you if you’re just living your life upstairs, in the mind, and rejecting your seething underworld of unprocessed pain? Not very, of course. So it’s not that these outer planets are mischievous devils delighting in fucking our shit up for their own nefarious reasons. It’s that all the nasty stuff you repress is eating away at your life force, and it needs to get exposed to the light so that it can dry up and go away. For this reason, I often read Uranus opposing Pluto as a time when we become more powerful.
Of course, 2013 was not a time when Chris Corner appeared to become more powerful; his birth time might reveal that he has natal Pluto in a sensitive place like the 8th or 12th house, in which case that Uranus stimulation is going to feel a lot more devastating. I imagine that Chris Corner was suddenly (Uranus) hit very hard with knowledge of his own traumas (Pluto) in 2012/ 2013, and these revelations were so overwhelming that they just laid him flat. In his blog, he talks about how his “therapy” was a course of stillness. No thoughts. No movement. No commitments. No responsibilities. Just rest and an awareness of the beauty of nature. I see so much of the Libran aspect of Chris’s natal Pluto (peace and balance) in his healing process. We know from his South Node conjunct Saturn and ruled by a turbo-charged Mercury that “rest” has not been in Chris’s vocabulary for lifetimes. I think of his time-out from life in 2013 as righting a cosmic imbalance, giving his mind the quiet and down time and respite from activity that it so desperately needed. By surrendering that electric Aquarian goodie basket for a time, Chris learned to value those more remote resources we find in body consciousness, emotional awareness, and spiritual openness. While those things don’t have the same buzz as the mind’s distracting pops and whistles, they are vital to our psychological health.
So, to recap: Chris Corner is a guy whose natal chart emphasizes overkill in airy, intellectual endeavors to the exclusion of the needs of the body and heart. His Sun conjunct Venus makes it hard to pay attention to things that are heavy and unpleasant. This sets up a scenario in which a Uranus-Pluto event (the sudden consciousness of the shadow) feels like it’s going to eat him alive. Indeed, it does seem a lot like Chris underwent a psychic death and rebirth in the years preceding Metanoia; to me, the music makes this transformation abundantly clear. My favorite song on Metanoia is probably “Look Outside,” because in it Chris talks about how Los Angeles helped heal his depression. I relate! My early life was so abysmal, but when I moved to LA in my late twenties, I felt like I got to have an actual childhood and live purely for pleasure. So I really feel these lyrics: “Los Angeles, you took care of me/ I raise my broken glass to your sanctuary.” Though I prefer the album version, I thought I’d give you more of an organic Chris Corner playing an acoustic version of “Look Outside” in the desert (linked above).
Depression is too overwhelming and complex an illness for me to suggest a simple formula for healing it. But I will say that I like the message of “Look Outside.” Go to your window. Immerse yourself in nature, in life, in your friendships, in other people’s problems, in the fact that seven billion of us and more are all suffering and you are not alone. I dare you to take a walk and sit under a tree for a half an hour and still feel alone. People are hard, I know, but nature is alive and restorative and unconditional. “The wilderness is calling your name …”
Welp, I hoped you learned something about astrology, IAMX, depression, and how to unfuck your life. I just saw Chris perform a few months ago on his tour for the album, Alive in New Light. Do I even need to tell you how much I love this song and this album? Metanoia shows us the gritty process of being present with your depression, while Alive in New Light shows us a person learning how to integrate his newfound awareness and vulnerability with that old rockstar persona. Because Chris invited us to witness his shadow journey in Metanoia, I believe him when he sings he’s “alive in new light.” I also believe him because I got there too, eventually. I’m grateful and clear and humble and absolutely thrilled to be alive on this earth. And I’m proud of YOU for being here too.
All thanks to Chris Corner for the gift of his music and the greater gift of his honesty.