Chris Brennan on his The Astrology Podcast listed Chani Nicholas’s bestseller You Were Born for This as one of the top books he recommends to astrology students, particularly beginners. Published in 2020, this book is immensely readable and brings focus to what can be an overwhelming subject of study. Chani Nicholas chooses to focus on just three elements of the chart – the Sun, the Moon, and the Ascendant and its ruler – as enlightening entry points into a natal chart. Understanding how each is placed and affected by the other planets in the chart gives us insight into our life purpose, our needs and how to meet them, and into the life direction which best helps us manifest the promise of our chart.
I pulled up the chart of Wynona Judd, someone much in the news these days after the tragic passing of her mother, to demonstrate how we can use Chani Nicholas’s method to understand how astrology reveals the person behind the famous name.
Chani instructs us to begin with the Sun, the life force and life purpose. A Gemini Sun, Wynona’s role in this life is to gather and disperse information, stimulate her mind by pursuing a diversity of interests, and embrace her own contradictions while maintaining an openness to change. Wynona’s Wikipedia entry tells us that while she is known as a singer, she pursues other interests, including writing, acting, and philanthropy. Showing her willingness to shift and change, she has also been married three times!
Wynona’s life purpose can be further explained by its placement in the 12th house. Here, the Sun seeks to explore and heal from deep-seated wounds, both one’s own and the suffering of others. Wynona’s lively Gemini Sun can tap into the suffering of those around her while never losing her own sense of loss and pain. Her life story involves generational trauma and estrangements which she would eventually overcome once she had healed. Those closest to her have experienced terrible events – her husband lost a leg in a motorcycle accident, her daughter was sent to prison on drug charges, and her mother committed suicide after struggling with mental illness for many years. She has needed to bring the light of her Sun into some very dark corners.
Finally, we get a fuller picture of the life’s purpose by examining the aspects made by the other planets in the chart to the Sun. Wynona’s Sun in square to Saturn tells us that her life force may encounter many obstacles and responsibilities that seem to weigh her down, but that working through them with determination and discipline will make her stronger as the years go by. The Sun is also challenged by a square to Uranus and Pluto, giving Wynona the capacity to shock and the lifelong struggle for power and control. Facing one’s demons is the key to overcoming what can seem to be overwhelming forces and finally obtaining control over one’s own narrative.
The Moon in Wynona’s chart serves as both the indicator of her physical and emotional needs and as the ruler of her chart (her Ascendant is in Cancer, ruled by the Moon), which tells us her motivations and life direction. Born with a Moon in Capricorn, Wynona will gain great emotional satisfaction from working hard towards and then achieving great honors in this world. The Moon here, however, is in detriment (opposite from the sign it rules), so it has to work twice as hard to bring one the emotional security it craves. Early nurturing could have been lacking, leading one to try to fill the gaping needs one experienced as a child with less than healthy obsessions. From reading the memoirs of both Wynona and her mother, Naomi, we learned that Naomi as a mother had to spend many hours away from her children just to earn enough to support them, and Wynona had to essentially raise herself. Wynona has also very publicly described her obsession with food and her struggles with her weight.
When we place this Capricorn Moon in Wynona’s 7th house, we can understand the importance of partnerships in her life – including the partnership with her mother which rocketed them both to fame and fortune. With a 7th house Moon, one can best explore one’s feelings and meet one’s needs through one-on-one relationships with others. While Wynona’s connections with both of her parents went through periods of estrangement, she, Capricorn style, never gave up and worked through emotionally to a place where she could have a relationship with each parent. She also, after two divorces, never gave up on marriage and is now in a 10-year marriage with her third husband.
The closest aspect to Wynona’s Moon is a separating trine to Mars by seven degrees. Chani Nicholas tells us that a Moon-Mars trine indicates one may have had a very independent mother, who influenced her child to have the same independence. This tracks very well with Naomi and Wynona Judd. After Naomi retired, Wynona went on to have a stellar solo career.
A Cancer Ascendant gives Wynona the ability to create caring connections with others while maintaining a crusty shell which protects one’s sensitive feelings. Wynona has lived close to home and family for most of her adult life, sharing land in Tennessee with her parents and sister. With her Moon in the 7th house, Wynona also the power to connect with others emotionally one-to-one with the beauty and soulfulness of her voice. Adding to Wynona’s attraction as a performer is the planet Venus in her 1st house in Cancer, which gives her the ability to attract what she wants and needs through the expression of her musical gifts.
When the Moon rules your chart, Chani Nicholas tells us that “your life direction is steered toward being able to reflect, emote, care, build bonds, and find ways to embody the power of your life’s purpose in all that you do.” When we think of Wynona’s 12th house Sun and the pain and loss she has experienced and endured, we can see the purpose of her amazing talent and the beauty she creates as she sings. With her gifts, she brings healing – one can even say, she builds a bridge.