I’m just so terrified that my children will never be able to experience nature as it is with all the animals and diversity and plants and insects and forests and snow because this generation didn’t wake up.
The energy of personal planets is expressed internally, and thus are always within
our line of sight and accessible to us. They are the tools with which we achieve
the needs and wants represented by the Luminaries.
Mercury allows us to solve life’s problems, and communicate our
ideas and desires. Venus connects us
with others in order to satisfy our emotional needs, it shows us how to
appreciate and be inspired by the beauty of others and the world around us. Mars is the drive that we use to accomplish
our goals, and it is the life force with which we create.
Social planets commonly manifest externally in the outer world as people that we meet and things
that happen to us. We subconsciously program our environment with these
energies so that we can grow and learn. While the energies of these planets can
be internalized, it’s relatively uncommon and no one is able to fully control
Jupiter becomes the lucky
breaks we receive, and the teachers and mentors that we meet who help us along
our path. Saturn manifests as the
hardships that we face and the difficulties that we must overcome in order to
mature as human beings.
Transpersonal planets are largely inaccessible to us. We may
feel the itch of Uranus making us feel stifled and oppressed, the dreamy
intuition and delusion of Neptune, or the fear of Pluto calling us to crave
power and control but for the most part these planets are expressed externally
and play a large role in our interaction with larger societal issues and
Uranus is externalized
as the unexpected (and often unpleasant) changes that force us to into rapid
growth. Societally it becomes the growing unrest and dissatisfaction that is
felt by a people whose government no longer serves them. Neptune is externalized in the ways that we’re deceived by others,
the dreams and delusions that we project on to our reality in order to make the
world feel safer. Societally it manifests as the glamour and trickery of mass
media and the idolization of celebrities, it also becomes the ideas of what
constitutes spirituality and what does not. Pluto is externalized as others who try and control and manipulate
us, a force which makes us grasp our own power to retaliate and rise anew.
Societally it becomes the power games that are played in politics, and what we
consider important in our relationship with governance.
Upon reading all these “humans are weird” and “Earth is space Australia” posts, I had an idea.
Other social species on our planet typically join together to wash and clean each other in a group (apes picking bugs off of each other, cats grooming each other’s fur, etc.) But we humans tend to shower or bathe ourselves alone as soon as we are able to, and freak out when someone randomly comes into the room when we’re unclothed without warning.
Imagine aliens not having this sense of privacy, and they see each other unclothed all the time and are not bothered by it nor see it as an invasion of privacy. Imagine an alien walking into the quarters of their human co-officer and being bombarded by shouts of panic for them to get out and close the door, or they find the door to the washing room has been locked, or blocked, from the inside to prevent anyone else from coming in while the human is showering.
Representation: Make Your Own, Vote with Your Wallet
Here’s a comic that I drew up to explain my grievances with these counter-arguements I’ve seen popping up. I’ll write more in text here.
I don’t want to stop anyone from making their own games. Making games is a hard, incredibly rewarding creative task, and you should never stop making games, ever. You want to see a game that is totally your thing, your own brainchild go out into the world for people to enjoy? Do it. Make that game, and share with the world more culture than ever before. There is nothing stopping you from making your own game except time and effort.
But one person’s games, that’s just one voice in a million. As a gay person (and I cannot speak for anyone else but my own gay self), I grew up without any gay protagonists, with the constant background radiation of “Straight Is Normal”. Every romance, every love interest, every single character who wasn’t a joke or a villain, straight. I couldn’t share a part of me that was vitally important to me, and nobody knew what being gay meant, since there were no positive gay characters in the media we were consuming. If I made a game with a gay main character, that would still be one game in tens of thousands. It wouldn’t reach a wide audience, and there wouldn’t be the presence in media that is sorely required. I would need to have a marketing campaign, and millions of dollars I don’t have to reach the audience who really needs this representation.
Because this isn’t about one game, this isn’t about any particular game. This is about culture in general. Children will grow up playing straight leads and create straight leads in their own games. They won’t think “Hey, maybe I should make this lead gay” because that’s not what they grew up playing. We imitate what we’ve learnt, and we create building blocks with which we craft stories. The gun toting veteran soldier is always male, the princess who needs saving is always female, the hero is always straight and always gets the girl.
But what if we made sure that wasn’t the case? What if the hero had a gay love interest, what if the princess was a dude, what if the gun toting vet was a lady? What if we explore these avenues, construct a more complex narrative and not just rehash the same narratives we ourselves played as children?
We shout loudly for this to happen, decry wasted opportunities because we need to. Because if we don’t bring it to the attention of the people making the games, nobody will. We cannot remain passive consumers - “only play the games you like” only counts if there are games that represent us - and if there are parts of those games we find hurt us, we can still love those games and recognise the hurtful bits. I do not want to boycott games with problematic elements - that will ensure only bad games get made. How do you make money speak the necessary things we have to say?
(As a footnote, I will explain how money talks. Money is a language all of it’s own, and it is a very simple language. If you give someone money for doing something, you are saying “I support the thing you are doing”. If you do not give them money, you aren’t really saying anything, as it could be anything from “I don’t support this at all!” to “Eh, I wasn’t invested enough to lay down money” to “I wanted to support you, but I couldn’t.”. Now, if someone made a really really good game, but it had an insulting or degrading depiction of your group inside it, and you really liked the game, would you buy it? Would you not buy it? If you bought it, you are supporting the status quo - they will continue to do anyway. If you didn’t buy it, they might think “Wow, we need to not do a game like this ever again” and not even consider that the problematic elements were the problem. Money is too crude of a language to get this across.)
So, we are left with the only avenue that is viable for us: Actual Dialogue and Critique. Where we are free to say “I really liked this game, but it had problematic elements in it”, and discuss the things that went wrong in the game. Now, critique is not the same as censorship. With censorship, you remove the media from the public’s eye as soon as possible, so that their eyes are not offended by it. I do not want this. I cannot stress enough that I do not want this. Censorship is a regressive and counterproductive tactic, which does not help us learn from our mistakes and missteps. If we censored every piece of art that had mistakes, we would stagnate.
Critique, on the other hand, is the honing of skills and behaviour through discussion of the implementation of such behaviour. Just like an artist can recieve critique on anatomy,a writer can recieve critique on representation. A poor artist draws what they think something looks like, a poor writer writes what they think something acts like. And just like a poor artist can avoid drawing body parts they have no skill in drawing, a poor writer can avoid including people they know nothing about. Representation is simply another way we can improve the quality of our games - with proper representation comes richer, more varied casts.
I want to stress again that critique is forward thinking, not backward thinking. When we say, say, that Assassin’s Creed: Unity has four identical white males and that’s boring and samey - it is a critique of the game itself. It is a flaw that perhaps Ubisoft can learn from, and if we didn’t point it out, they would be none the wiser about it. Ignoring flaws is just as bad as censorship - both ways we learn nothing about it. Would you like to see a game industry filled with nothing but grizzly Doom Marines? If nobody pointed that out, the industry would blindly make more Doom Marines, because that’s what would sell. But once we’ve pointed out the samey Doom marines, or the four white lads, future games can be made that have an eye to this critique, and it can only benefit everyone. Sure, there will still be problematic games, but we are only human, and we are still allowed to enjoy those games. But I think the game industry can be better, and it needs to be told where it is going wrong. Those games that it creates, they will still exist for you to enjoy. They will always exist, and they will be fun.
I know you want creative freedom, and I do too, but the industry makes a profit from creating games geared with marketing and not just a little cynicism. By having better representation, we open up avenues for more voices, more varied creators to have their say, not just the ones that “sell at the moment”, as executives, the ones that are really in charge of the creative decisions, are a frightened and conservative lot. If we show them that no, we won’t stand for this lack of representation, they will have to reconsider their cynical and conservative marketing avenues. And we can’t do this by money alone. Money can only take us part of the way there, and for the rest of it, the vast majority, we need…
REAL FUCKING DIALOGUE.
I bet even some of you out there are still skeptical, like, why do we even need better representation, games are fine as they are. I’m not here to tell you that you can’t enjoy games. I’m not here to tell you that games aren’t important, or aren’t art, or should be a lame minority rainbow, or that all games should be Captain Planet and the Planeteers, where social consciousness is the deal of the day, all day, every day. I think that would be terrible. But what I do want? I want gay heroes to be just as normal and ordinary as straight heroes. I want black heroes to be unnotable and accepted. I want female heroes, I want trans heroes. I want characters that stick in people’s minds as normal. There is no “Special Snowflake Patrol” wanting to make every hero be an intersection with every marginalised group.
I just… want to be normal. I don’t want to have to shout, or campaign, or point out Straight White Male Protagonist #6753 as being yet another wasted opportunity.
I want to be normal. I want to be able to walk down the street with my boyfriend, holding hands, without people recalling all the regressive stereotypes that they have seen in the media and informed themselves about my sexuality.
I want to be normal. I want to be the hero sometimes, I want to be the villain sometimes. I want great gay romance, I want terrible gay romance. I want to pick up a straight-to-DVD animated movie and sometimes see gay characters just existing, being gay, without it being notable or anything.
But that will never happen if I just make my own media and just passively consume the media that most closely fits me. Not existing in media I enjoy is not good enough for me. I refuse to be a passive consumer. This solution needs
And if we need to get a little loud to be heard over the roar, well, that’s just what we’ll have to do. Why not join in, so that we can fix this problem sooner, and we can all rest and enjoy making our own games, while enjoying games made by teams of people with far more money than we’ll ever see in our lifetimes? After all, it must be great to see a big budget game with a romance that you can connect with. I wish I could play one!
And even though I’m gay, and not a person of colour, female, or transgender, I still want them to feel the same thing I’m striving for. That’s what equality is all about. I’ll help them, they’ll help me, and if you help as well, to strike up dialogue, to critique, to discuss and deconstruct, we’ll get there.
We’ll get nowhere just passively consuming. Let us
UPDATE: My good friend Samael inked the comic for me! It looks much better now!
it’s hard to learn more about astrology if you don’t know the basic astrological vocabulary, so here is a list of astrological key terms and definitions. If I am forgetting any important terms, let me know so I can add them! I didn’t add the zodiac signs, for the sake of brevity, but if you’re interested in learning more about the zodiac signs, check here.
Air: The third of the four elements of the zodiac. The air signs are Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius. Air signs are defined by their intellect, social character, and idealism.
Anaretic degree: The 29th degree of any zodiac sign. If a placement is in this degree, that part of the person’s essence may be awkward or uncomfortable.
Angular houses: The 1st, 4th, 7th, and 10th houses, all ruled by the cardinal signs. These are the most important houses, and they show us how we are in contact with the world around us and how we take action. The cusps of the angular houses are the ascendant, imum coeli, descendant, and midheaven.
Ascendant: Also known as a person’s rising. Often symbolized by the abbreviation “AC” or “AS.” The cusp of the 1st house. Our ascendant shows us how we express ourselves and how the world around us sees us.
Aspect: An aspect is a special angle formed between two planets or points on an astrological chart that show the relationship between those planets or points. The major aspects are conjunction, opposition, square, sextile, and trine.
Biquintile: A minor positive aspect of 144º with a possible orb of ±1º.
Cadent houses: The 3rd, 6th, 9th, and 12th houses, all ruled by the mutable signs. These show us how we are think and how we use our resources.
Cardinal: The first of the three modalities of the zodiac. The cardinal signs are Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn. Cardinal signs are defined by their leadership qualities and dynamic personality.
Ceres: A popular asteroid. This asteroid shows us how
we nurture others and how people have nurtured us. The asteroid is also
strongly linked with motherhood, fertility, and gardening.
Chart ruler: A chart’s ruler is the ruling planet of the ascendant. A chart’s ruler shows which planet leads the chart forward.
Chiron: A popular asteroidesque planetesque celestial body. Chiron is strongly connected with our
health and healing. It shows us how we’ve been wounded and how we’ve
healed, and it shows how we strengthen ourselves through our pain and hardship. It is also associated with wisdom.
Conjunction: A major neutral aspect of 0º with a possible orb of ±10º. This is considered the most important and powerful aspect. It indicates a focal point in the chart.
Critical degrees: Critical degrees within any sign show points of heightened sensitivity.
Cusp: A cusp of two signs is the area between the 29th degree of one sign and the 1st degree of the next one. You can be born within a cusp, but you cannot be a cusp sign.
Cusp of a house: The cusp of a house is the point where a particular house begins.
Decan: Each zodiac sign is separated into three equal subdivisions, called decans. Each decan emphasizes a different part of the sign’s archetype.
Descendant: The cusp of the 7th house. Our descendant shows us what traits we are attracted to and what gives us balance.
Detriment: A planet is detriment in a sign if the sign it’s in is the sign opposite the sign the planet rules. A detriment planet can feel uncomfortable or awkward in the sign.
Dominant: A person’s dominant sign, planet, element, or modality is the one with the strongest influence over a person’s natal chart. Sometimes, it’s the sign/planet the person relates most to.
Draconic chart: A person’s draconic chart shows the substance of the person’s soul and of the self beyond their body and this world.
Duality: One of the classifications of the zodiac signs. A sign’s duality shows where the sign directs its energy, inwards or outwards.
Earth: The second of the four elements of the zodiac. The earth signs are Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn. Earth signs are defined by their dependability, patience, and practicality.
Element: One of the classifications of the zodiac signs. The four elements simply show us basic personality traits associated with the zodiac signs’ archetypes
Empty house: An empty house is one with no luminaries or
planets in it. Empty houses indicate a part of your life that isn’t as prominent as
other parts, since each house represents and encompasses a different
part of your life.
Exalted: A planet is exalted in a sign if the sign’s archetype pairs well with the planet’s archetype without being in the sign it rules. An exalted planet can feel comfortable in the sign.
Fall: A planet is fall in a sign if the sign it’s in is the sign opposite the sign the planet is exalted in. A fall planet can feel uncomfortable in the sign.
Feminine: Also considered the introverted, passive, or yin duality. The second duality. The feminine signs are Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn, and Pisces. The signs all direct their energy inwards. They tend to be
more introverted and less direct.
Fire: The first of the four elements of the zodiac. The fire signs are Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius. Fire signs are defined by their passion, outgoing
character, and courage.
Fixed: The second of the three modalities of the zodiac. The fixed signs are Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius. Fixed signs are defined by their determination and stubbornness.
Generational planets: Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto are the transpersonal or generational planets. They move very slowly and affects large generations of people rather than individuals.
House: The positions of the houses in a natal chart are
calculated using the person’s time of birth and geographical birth
location. While the zodiac signs and the planets in the zodiac signs are
based on the earth and the other planet’s revolution around the sun,
the houses and the planets in the houses are based on the earth’s own
rotation about its axis.Each house represents a different part of a human life. Read this post for more information.
Imum Coeli: Abbreviated as IC. The cusp of the 4th house. The lowest point of the circular chart. Our Imum Coeli gives us insight into our childhood and roots.
Inconjunct: Also called a quincunx aspect. A minor negative aspect of 150º with a possible orb of ±2º.
Juno: The asteroid related to long term partnerships. It is associated with our
soulmate, commitment, and true love. Its influence is similar to
Venus’s, but the love associated with Juno is more long term,
fundamental, and, often times, more subconscious.
Jupiter: A social planet. Jupiter in any astrological chart symbolizes expansion, largeness, generosity, and luck.The planet rules the zodiac sign Sagittarius.
Lilith: A person’s Lilith, which is based on the moon at the time of their birth, shows their primitive side and how they seek revenge.
Luminary: The sun and moon.
Mars: A personal planet. Mars in any astrological chart symbolizes the person’s physical attraction, raw energy, drive, and aggression. The planet rules the zodiac sign Aries.
Masculine: Also considered the extroverted, active, or yang duality. The first duality. The masculine signs are Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius, and Aquarius. The signs all direct their energy outwards. They tend to be
more extroverted and more direct.
Mercury: A personal planet. Mercury in any astrological chart symbolizes the person’s communication style, mental processes, and superficial intelligence. The planet rules the zodiac signs Gemini and Virgo.
Midheaven: Also known as medium coeli and abbreviated as MC. The cusp of the 10th house. The highest point of
the circular chart. Our midheaven shows us what we aspire to and what our reputation is like.
Midpoint: The point physically equidistant from two planets, which shows how the two planets comes together. The most popular midpoint is the Sun-Moon midpoint.
Modality: One of the classifications of the zodiac signs. The three modalities show us how the signs interact with the
world around them.
Moon: A luminary and personal planet. The moon in any astrological chart symbolizes the person’s internal stuff, including their emotions, fears, and strongest desires.
Mutable: The third of the three modalities of the zodiac. The mutable signs are Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces. Mutable signs are defined by their flexibility and adaptability.
Natal chart: Your natal chart shows the positions of the planets, asteroids, and
other points at the moment of your birth, relative to the zodiac signs.
Each zodiac sign is designated a 30º portion of the celestial dome, and
our natal chart shows where the celestial bodies are positioned in the
dome. For example, I am a Gemini moon, which means that at the moment of
my birth, the moon was present in the portion of the dome assigned to
Gemini. Your natal chart as a whole maps out how you express yourself, perceive reality, and interface with the world around you. It does not necessarily determine your fate.
Neptune: A generational, trans-personal planet. Neptune in any astrological chart symbolizes deception, illusions, and psychic ability.
Nodes: The nodes are points in an astrological chart that shows what parts of a person’s soul or spirit were well-developed or under-developed when entering their life.
Opposition: A major negative aspect of 180º with a possible orb of ±8º.
Orb: The distance between an aspect’s exact, theoretical position and an aspected planet’s position. For example, if the moon in a chart forms a opposition aspect with the sun, but, instead of being exact 180º apart, they are 178º, the that opposition aspect has an orb of -2º.
Pallas Athene: Usually just called Pallas.A popularly used asteroid. Pallas shows us where are talents lie
and how we figure out things like patterns. The asteroid is also
associated with injustice and equality and father/daughter relationship.
Personal planets: The personal planets are the sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars. These planets move the fastest around the sun, which means that they pass through zodiac signs the quickest. The effects of these planets on the person’s psyche are the strongest.
Pluto: A generational or trans-personal planet. Pluto in any astrological chart symbolizes secrets and endings.
Progressed chart: Your progressed chart defines you at any given day or year and how
you’ve evolved throughout your life unlike your natal chart which
encompasses your entire life as a whole. The younger you are, the more
similar your progressed chart is to your natal chart. Generally
(depending also on how late in a placement you were born), as a
teenager, your moon sign is the only sign that dramatically progresses.
Quintile: A minor aspect of 72º with a possible orb of ±1º.
Ruling planet: A planet rules a certain sign if the planet’s archetype matches the sign’s archetype well.
Saturn: A social planet. Saturn in any astrological chart symbolizes a person’s limitation, work ethic, or reaction to authority.
Semi-sextile: A minor aspect of 30º with a possible orb of ±2º.
Sesquisquare: A minor aspect of 135º with a possible orb of ±2º.
Sextile: A major positive aspect of 60º with a possible orb of ±6º.
Sister signs: The opposite sets of signs. These signs are both or either repelled by or attracted to each other.
Social planets: Jupiter and Saturn are the social planets. They represent the two possible reactions of a person to the people around them and to society, in general.
Solar arc: A solar arc is the distance between a person’s natal sun and a person’s progressed sun on a certain day. This distance can be added to all placements in a person’s natal chart to create a solar arc directions chart, which is used in predictive astrology.
Solar return chart: A solar return chart is used in annual predictive astrology and is based on the moment during a year where the sun returns to the sign and degree it was in at a person’s birthday.
Square: A major negative aspect of 90º with a possible orb of ±7.5º.
Stellium: A stellium exists when 3 or 4 planets are positioned in one house or sign. The exact definition of a stellium is debated by astrologers.
Succedent houses: The 2nd, 5th, 8th, and 11th houses, all ruled by the fixed signs.
These show us how we administer and enjoy what we do.
Sun: A luminary and personal planet. The sun in any astrological chart symbolizes the person’s expression, sense of self, or ego.
Synastry: The study of relationships and compatibility using astrology and inter-chart aspects
Trine: A major positive aspect of 120º with a possible orb of ±8.3º.
Uranus: A generational, trans-personal planet. Uranus in any astrological chart symbolizes discovery, change, progression, and technology.
Venus: A personal planet. Venus in any astrological chart symbolizes the person’s “relationship style” and what they look for in a relationship or partner, along with style, beauty, and other classically “feminine” things.
Vesta: A popular asteroid. It is associated
with how we direct our energy and focus. It also has connections to sexuality, but it’s not like raw Mars or primitive Lilith. It has more to do with
focused and pure sexuality along with virginity.
Water: The last of the four elements of the zodiac. The water signs are Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces. Water signs are defined by their intuition, sensitivity, and emotion.
Planet Dancetime: Social Skills and Functioning Labels
If you’re allistic, it might be difficult to imagine what life is like for an autistic person. That can make it difficult to write from an autistic perspective. In order to help facilitate understanding, I, Mod Aira, have come up with an extended metaphor that I hope will be helpful. This is the first in a planned series, and it will cover some of the basics of social interaction as well as the harm that functioning labels do.
Please note that this series is written from my perspective and according to my personal opinions and experience. It will not necessarily reflect the reality of all autistic people, but it is one authentic perspective.
Imagine that tomorrow, you wake up on another world. It’s called Planet Dancetime. The people there look just like humans, except their social rules are insane. They do a complicated dance while they talk to each other, and all communication is carried out in this dance-talk. At first, you can’t make any sense of it, but slowly you start to puzzle some of it out. When you speak to a woman, you have to stand on your right foot the whole time. When you speak to a man, you have to stand on your left. If someone is non-binary, you have to stand on your toes. You also have to touch the shoulder of the person you’re talking to every ten seconds exactly. If you don’t follow this rule of *precisely* every ten seconds, you’re being very rude. When you’re telling a happy story, you have to wiggle your shoulders, starting with the right side and working your way left. Sad stories are the opposite. For *angry* stories, the wiggle is in the eyebrows. You also have to indicate your emotional state and age at the time the story happened by a complicated motion in your fingers set to a specific beat, and your *current* emotional state by the particular angle at which you hold your elbows and wrists.
There are still countless other rules here, more than you can figure out. The Dancetime people are constantly making strange gestures and movements. The crazy thing is, it seems to be effortless for them. How can they possibly keep track of all these rules? You decide to ask someone.
The response is not positive. You get the most disdainful look you’ve ever seen, and the explanation, “It’s obvious. Just use common sense.”
Well that isn’t helpful. How could they possibly conceive of this system as being obvious? And if it’s so simple, then why can’t they explain it?
At long last, you come to an epiphany. Of course this system isn’t simple. In fact, it’s so complicated that the only way for them to manage it is for their brains to handle it subconsciously. A massive amount of their brainpower is devoted to decoding, remembering, and carrying out all these convoluted rules. And their bodies are naturally conditioned for it, too. They can stand on one leg for hours without any effort – it’s just the way they evolved. But you can’t. Your brain is busy doing other important things that these people hilariously can’t do (more on this another time), and it’s not about to take over all those extra responsibilities now. You have no easy options, and you’re stuck here now, so you have to make a choice.
Option one is to say – hell with it. Maybe you just don’t have it in you to do this – you just can’t get your head around it, and it’s impossible for you. Maybe you have a physical issue that prevents you from dance-talking, or you just don’t have the type of memory required to learn dance moves, or the multitasking ability necessary to count and talk at the same time. Or maybe you just decide: I’m not going to bother with their stupid rules. I’m going to stand on two feet when I talk, and I’m not going to count to ten silently in my head while I’m talking so I can time the shoulder-touches properly – I mean, who could even do that? I’m just going to be me, and they’re just going to have to deal with it.
This does not go well for you. When you fail to follow their dance-talk rules, these people freak out. Some of them are angry – how dare you insult me with your non-dance body language? Even worse, it turns out that some movements that you make entirely naturally which have nothing to do with conversation, or some aspects of your normal, natural body language, are actually grave insults in dance-talk. You can’t figure out which things you’re doing which are so wrong, and no one will explain it to you. Many people think you’re extremely rude. But some of them are scared or worried and are determined to figure out what’s wrong with you. You are quickly surrounded by “experts” who want to help you. After all, you couldn’t possibly survive without the ability to dance-talk. You obviously suffer from some kind of hideous disorder. You try endlessly to explain that you can talk just fine without the dancing, that there’s nothing wrong with you, but they won’t have it. If you talk without the dance moves, they ignore everything you say like it’s some kind of incomprehensible babble. If you can’t dance-talk, then you obviously have a disability, and you need to be cared for. You’re obviously not intelligent enough to communicate, so you’re automatically not intelligent enough to care for yourself. You wind up in an institution with the others who have been diagnosed with “low-functioning human disorder”, also known as “severe humanism”. The nurses look at you with pity in their eyes and don’t bother talking directly to you. You hear them talking (as though you’re not there) about the tragedy of your extreme human-ness, how terrible it must be to live that way, and what a burden you are to those around you. You try to scream: it wouldn’t be terrible if you’d just leave me alone! But your screams, lacking their accompanying dance moves, fall on deaf ears.
So let’s consider the other alternative. You can try to puzzle out the dance-language and see if you can fit in well enough to get by. Not everyone has this option – I mean, the dance-language is obscenely complicated, after all. But maybe you’re one of the lucky ones. Maybe you have a good memory for movements and are good at figuring out or guessing when to use each one. So you give it a shot. And after a lot of trial and error, you start to find some success. Your dance moves are still a bit off, and you get funny looks pretty frequently. Eventually, you get “diagnosed” with “high functioning human disorder” and told you should be fine as long as you put in enough effort. You ask that maybe someone teach you some of the dance moves, and you are rudely dismissed as being lazy or pretending to be disabled so that you can get more attention.
This is the same reaction you get every time you make a mistake. And of course, you will always make mistakes. There will always be days when your legs are simply too tired, and you have no choice but to stand on two feet for a while. Sometimes, when you’re trying to talk about something, you just can’t spare the brain power to count to ten over and over again, and you miss a few shoulder-touches. Sometimes you’ll get the wrist and elbow angle just slightly wrong and give entirely the wrong tone to a conversation. And sometimes you encounter a social situation you’ve never learned the moves for, and there’s no possible way for you to do it right.
Every single mistake is met with indignation. How dare you insult us that way? You apologize and try to explain that even though you’re pretty good at it, this dance-talk still doesn’t come easy for you. It doesn’t help. Your explanations are written off as lazy excuses. Everyone knows you are perfectly capable of using dance-talk. You do it all the time. The fact that you’re not doing it now obviously means that you are doing it on purpose. You are intentionally insulting those around you, and they don’t appreciate it.
The looks, the stares, the muttered insults, they eat away at you. You are doing your best, damn it. You are doing infinitely better than should ever have been expected of you. You put so much energy into the most basic conversations, you don’t even have enough left over to care for yourself. You haven’t been eating well, with no energy to cook. You suffer from constant anxiety – fear of the next mistake – when (not if) will it happen? How will they react? But no one appreciates that. No one helps. No one explains the mistakes you’ve made – and usually, you have no idea what you’ve done wrong. You’re expected to just figure it out on your own, and are punished for each misstep, because damn it, you might be technically human, but they’re not about to let you use your humanness as an excuse for rude or lazy behavior.
You feel the constant underlying threat all the time: if you can’t dance-talk like the rest of us, if you stop trying or make too many mistakes, then we’ll change our minds about you. We’ll change your diagnosis to low-functioning human disorder, and stick you in the institution with the others. We’ll never speak to you again. We’ll never look at you as a person again. You’ll just be a lump of flesh that we have to feed and bathe. So you’d better try harder.
The best case scenario you can hope for is that people will find out you’re human and say, “Oh, wow! You barely look human at all! You should be so proud of yourself.” Human is an insult. Not human is a compliment. That’s the world you find yourself in now. And sometimes you start to wonder – are they right? Is being human really a disability? Is there something wrong with me? Now you can add a fight against depression to the list of things you have to deal with. There are days when you wonder if the effort will ever be worth it. You feel hopeless and lost.
All because dance-talk doesn’t come naturally to you.
Now, disclaimer, here: this is a simplified analogy of how functioning labels can feel, and the ridiculous basis on which they are assigned. The reality is a little more complicated and there are more factors, some of which we’ll explore later. And as always, we repeat: everyone’s experience is different, and not all experiences are reflected here. This story is designed to help those who are not autistic start to understand what life is like for those who are. This really is how it feels for a lot of people, myself included. These are the choices I feel I have. I can relax and give up and just be “me” without apology, and then I am liable to lose everything – my job, my friends, my life. Or I can try to fit in and act like the others, at an enormous energy cost, and often not have the strength left over to take care of myself. They call me “high functioning”, but they’re ready to take that shiny little badge away at any moment – and they would have taken it away long ago if they saw how I am at home at the end of a stressful day.
A far, far better situation would be to do away with the functioning levels entirely. Judge each person based on their individual attributes, and try to understand that under other circumstances, they might be very different. Sometimes I can talk, and sometimes I can’t. Acting “normal” takes a lot of energy, and sometimes I don’t have enough left to do it. But I’m still able to live independently, and still have many strengths and abilities – many that “allistic” people typically do not have.
So please, when you’re thinking about writing an autistic character (and good for you! hooraaaayyyy!!!!), don’t think of them in terms of high- or low-functioning, in terms of “severe” or “mild” autism. Instead, think of a list of traits, what they’re good and bad at, what comes easy and what doesn’t. Your character is as individual as you are.
The Sun rules the sign of ♌
Leo and is associated with the ego, its wants, and creativity The Moon rules the sign of ♋
Cancer and is associated with the emotions, the subconscious needs, and the memory
Personal Planets: Mercury rules the signs ♊ Gemini and ♍ Virgo and is associated with communication and intellect Venus rules the signs ♉ Taurus and ♎ Libra and is associated with love and relationships Mars rules the signs ♈ Aries and ♏ Scorpio(Sub) and is associated with passion, aggression, and vitality
Social Planets: Jupiter rules the signs ♐ Sagittarius and ♓ Pisces(Co) and is associated with expansion and grace Saturn rules the signs ♑ Capricorn and ♒ Aquarius(Co) and is associated with restriction and discipline
Transpersonal Planets: Uranus rules the sign ♒ Aquarius and is associated with change and upheaval Neptune rules the sign ♓ Pisces and is associated with illusion and spirituality Pluto rules the sign ♏ Scorpio and is associated with transformation and control
Houses: The 1st House represents the self, self-image, and body The 2nd House represents the value system, finances, and security The 3rd House represents the communicative ability, skills, and learning The 4th House represents the home, family, and connection to the past The 5th House represents the creative ability, amusement, romance, and children The 6th House represents health, routines, and analytical ability The 7th House represents one-to-one relationships, the law, and marriage The 8th House represents collective finances, depth relationships, and the transformative ability The 9th House represents travel, higher education, philosophy, and religion The 10th House represents career, public persona, and aspirations The 11th House represents social networks, dreams, and rewards The 12th House represents isolation, the subconscious, spirituality, and undoing
Any placements that would indicate social awkwardness ?
Hello~ Venus rules over social urges so any affliction can lean towards different upsets with the social life according to the energies involved. I think more so Venus in adverse aspect to Saturn, a social planet that rules the public image, can lead to this theme of “awkwardness” like a shy and self-conscious flower at first, that blossoms in time.
An afflicted Saturn in a public or social house, especially Saturn in the 1st or 10th, these houses show how the world views the individual and when Saturn is afflicted in these positions the person can seem to the world distant and aloof, shy, timid and the insecurities of Saturn are unwillingly displayed for all to see I think this reflects “awkwardness” overall.
Aquarius/Uranus or Pisces/Neptune in the public houses too such as the 1st/10th (dual world perceptions) or 11th (societal and group view), Uranus here is on a different frequency and the world sees them as unconventional and eccentric, their erratic impulses are often misunderstood… in regard to the ascendant, even the traditional physical appearance is lanky and wiry, The Look of awkwardness.
Neptune in these places is on a different frequency too, a different world, and they often soak up the given environment; such as a dissolving of the self when in the 1st house, a dissolving into the collective in the 11th, and a dissolving of the personal image in the 10th, all which lead to a feeling of being unaware of their place in the world. This causes them to appear lost, distant and confused and their uncertain expression is conceived as perplexing to others; they are awkward in the sense that they don’t know what to do with themselves or how to express themselves to the world in a clear and unchaotic way.
i usually dislike those “uwu humans are special, look how weird we’d be to aliens” posts because you know what? buddy idk how to tell you this but if anything were out there that could build a vehicle capable of taking them all the way out here, they’ve probably got plenty of courage and curiosity of their own and i doubt they’d be surprised by a microwave or ice cream
you know what would be kind of interesting? what i’d be curious if, compared to some other sentient thing would turn out to be uniquely human among sentient races?
how damn social we are
now, sure, if you’re an evolutionary psychologist or biologist you might be thinking, hold up yo! there’s overwhelming evidence that our highly social natures drove our evolution. and i’d say, yeah. that’s exactly right. a fascinating combination of competition and cooperation resulting from our social structure led us to becoming as intelligent as we are. and we are, after all, the smartest things on the planet–in light of recent political events, it might seem questionable, but I assure you it’s true.
but my question is: what if that isn’t a pre-req for intelligence? what if there are other paths to sentience? if you think i’m purely speculating, let me tell you something: there are things that live in the depths of the ocean, and they are deadly hunters, largely asocial, and terrifyingly intelligent, yet very alien to us.
yeah, i’m talking about the octopus. octopus are mollusks. they have few hard parts in their bodies (to the point they can squeeze themselves through nearly anything they can fit their beak through), they have, in effect, tiny “brains” that control each tentacle–their arms truly are semi-autonomous in a way that our arms are not, because we do not have such complicated reflexes; our limbs are limited to largely “avoid-pain” while their limbs aid in hunting and feeding. Many species can control the texture and color of their skin and are speculated to use this as a form of communication. they live in the depths of the ocean, in darkness and water. in short, it’s hard to imagine a creature more alien to us.
and yet they are incredibly intelligent. anecdotally, while i work in human cognition, i have colleagues who study animal cognition. one worked in an octopus lab. i was asking about what it was like, and she told me that honestly, it was a huge pain–anyone who has worked in an animal lab knows that this is not unique, but her reasons were. “they could be kind of unnerving,” she told me. “sometimes during feeding it just felt like they were watching me. i mean they were, but it felt very intentional,” and then she laughed. “but they were very smart, even outside of the research. we had difficulty keeping them contained or getting them to do things they don’t want to. they were scary good at escaping, and they seemed to have memorized our schedules to time their escapes that way.”
while at a conference in chicago two years ago, my colleagues and i decided to visit the aquarium. i was able to speak briefly to a trainer about the octopus there: when i saw the exhibit, i was surprised at first to see this enormous grayish thing in the water, tentacles flowing like smoke, carefully manipulating colorful shapes in its tank. it had several of them, along with what appeared to be foam blocks, and something that might have been a puzzle. they looked like baby toys, or the kind of enrichment i’d expect with apes, but i’d been surprised to see that they gave them to an octopus.
it seems that the best theory as to why octopuses evolved such intelligence has to do with the difficulty of their native environments. they are hunters, but they must be effective at catching a variety of different prey types in order to survive, and so they must be able to come up with a variety of different strategies–and have nearly as many strategies to evade any predators of their own. these are very different reasons from our ancestors’ social pressures. yet they are intelligent, and effective (check out the mimic octopus sometime, a particularly clever animal with some particularly clever strategies) hunters, and anecdotally, i hear they seem to be curious about the world around them sometimes.
imagine then if alien life resembled them more than us. what would they be like? intelligent enough to get here, and able to at least tolerate each other’s presence and cooperate for a common goal. but they’d probably see us, and our intensely social nature, and maybe find that a little strange. because sure, talking to other people can be interesting, but then we go home…and like to live around other people? to keep in contact with our families as often as humans do, and not just that, but work for the good of the family unit? to not just tolerate, but enjoy each others’ presence? and the degree to which we are willing to sacrifice ourselves for others–now that would just be beyond their understanding, that would be a weird alien mindset (there’s evidence, by the way, that even on earth, in reality, our degree of altruism may be unique to us. while altruism commonly varies as a degree of relatedness in social animals–in essence, the more related, the more of your own genes are in that other being, and so you’re more likely to help them, which is ultimately helping your genes survive–even our closest simian relatives don’t seem to take altruism as far as we do).
so if you were looking for something uniquely human, regardless of hypothetical aliens, something really beautiful about us, the fact is that humans love each other a whole lot. we have such strong affiliative bonds that we seek each others’ company all the damn time and unlike crows and dogs and bonobos and every other social animal on the planet, we alone really know what we’re doing. we make sacrifices that we understand for one another because that is the depth of our love for humans. we find meaning in each others’ existence.
and just think: people use the term “humanity” as a synonym for compassion for other people. is that interesting or what?
These planets relate to personal and subjective areas of an individual’s life. The positions of these planets account for the differences in the natal charts and personalities between people born only days apart.
Sun: the planet of self, ego, and our conscious mind. Also represents the father.
Energy: Masculine (active)
Time in each sign: 1 month (approximately)
Completes its cycle of all 12 signs in: 1 year
Exalted in Aries
Detriment in Aquarius
Fall in Libra
Moon:the planet of our emotions, deep personal needs, our unconscious mind, habits, and instinctive reactions. Also represents the mother.
Energy: Feminine (passive, reactive)
Time in each sign: 2 ½ days
Completes its cycle of all 12 signs in: 30 days
Exalted in Taurus
Detriment in Capricorn
Fall in Scorpio
Mercury:the planet of communication, day-to-day expression, intelligence, language, and speech
Houses: 3rd and 6th
Time in each sign: 7.33 days (approximately)
Completes its cycle of all 12 signs in: 88 days
Rules Gemini and Virgo
Exalted in Virgo
Detriment in Sagittarius and Pisces
Fall in Pisces
Venus:the planet of beauty, art, romance and love, equality, harmony, and unity.
Energy: Feminine (passive, receptive)
House: 2nd and 7th
Time in each sign: 18.75 days (approximately)
Completes its cycle of all 12 signs in: 225 days
Rules Taurus and Libra
Exalted in Pisces
Detriment in Scorpio and Aries
Fall in Virgo
Mars:the planet of passion, desire, motivation and drive, and energy.
Energy: Masculine (active)
House: 1st (and traditionally also the 8th house)
Time in each sign: 57.25 days
Completes its cycle of all 12 signs in: around 2 years (687 days)
Rules Aries (traditionally also Scorpio)
Exalted in Capricorn
Detriment in Libra
Fall in Cancer
Social or Transpersonal Planets:
Planets whose significance in the natal chart is not as personal and subjective as the personal planets. The social planets represent the individual’s connection to a collective (the public, society, and culture)
Jupiter:the planet of luck, mental and spiritual growth. shows how we express generosity and tolerance, how we trust and improve our lives, and areas where we overindulge.
Energy: Masculine (active)
Time in each sign: 1 year (technically 361 days)
Completes its cycle of all 12 signs in: 12 years (approximately)
Exalted in Cancer
Detriment in Gemini
Fall in Capricorn
Saturn:the planet of restriction, limitation, fears, and structure. shows our challenges in life and what obstacles we face, also, how we can overcome and endure those obstacles.
Energy: Masculine (active)
Time in each sign: 2 ½ years (approximately)
Completes its cycle of all 12 signs in: 29.5 years
Exalted in Libra
Detriment in Cancer
Fall in Aries
Impersonal, Collective or Transcendental Planets:
Planets whose effects are felt by whole generations. These planets relate to attitude and theme of each generation.
Uranus:the planet of innovation, discovery, change, and revolution. It rules radical ideas, humanitarian and progressive ideals, freedom, and originality.
Time in each sign: 7 years
Completes its cycle of all 12 signs in: 84 years
Exalted in Scorpio
Detriment in Leo
Fall in Taurus
Neptune:the planet of sensitivity, illusion, whimsy, compassion, idealism, and psychic and spiritual forces. The planet also relates to addiction, drugs, alcohol, and medication.
Time in each sign: 14 years (technically 13.75)
Completes its cycle of all 12 signs in: 165 years
Possibly exalted in Cancer or Leo
Detriment in Virgo
Fall in Capricorn or Aquarius
Pluto:the planet of destruction, renewal, rebirth, death, the uncovering of hidden truths and secrets, and transformation. Pluto is the “great renewer” which destroys in order to rebuild.
General meaning: The Sun composes the basics of one’s identity; it is the foundation of one’s personality, the ego, the sense of self, the backdrop to the rest of one’s natal chart. Its positions describe the base assets of a person.
General meaning: The Moon embodies one’s emotional realm. It constitutes one’s instincts, habits and behaviors formed from childhood, immediate reactions – its positions illustrate our needs and core tendencies.
General meaning: Mercury is all about thought and communication. One will find that they operate much like their Mercury sign – mental processes and lingual expression have everything to do with this planet.
General meaning: Venus is the planet of love & beauty. One’s view of art and romance may be attributed to this planet, as can their needs and desires in a relationship. The love language of a person has to do with their Venus positions.
General meaning: Mars constitutes the drive of a person, be it sexual or ambitious. It has to do with strong emotions, passion, aspiration, intention, determination, sex, primal urges, and self-control.
Domicile: Aries Detriment: Libra Exaltation: Capricorn Fall: Cancer House: First Glyph: ♂ Energy: Masculine Type: Personal Planet
General meaning: Jupiter’s positions in a chart indicate the way one treats other people and one’s attitude toward knowledge. Generosity, education, journeys, mentors, and travel are all associated with this planet.
Domicile: Sagittarius Detriment: Gemini Exaltation: Cancer Fall: Capricorn House: Ninth Glyph:
♃ Energy: Masculine Type: Social Planet
General meaning: Saturn influences the roles one feels obligated to adhere to. It causes trouble and strife, but spurs on growth and the learning of lessons. Inhibitions, fears, self-control, work ethic, maturity, and responsibility are associated with Saturn.
Domicile: Capricorn Detriment: Cancer Exaltation: Libra Fall: Aries House: Tenth Glyph:
♄ Energy: Masculine Type: Social Planet
General meaning: Uranus has everything to do with the way a generation views progression, technology, and revolution. It influences the trends, developments, and changes a particular era makes (or fails to make).
General meaning: Neptune is about fantasy and reality, truth and deception, confusion and clarity. It influences a generation’s worldview and sense of actuality. Dreams, uncertainty, ignorance, mysteries, and perplexity are associated with Neptune.
General meaning: Pluto is about power, transformation, and discovery. It influences the destruction an era will face and the rebirth that will come from it. The way a generation uses or reacts to dominion is heavily colored by Pluto.