Stas Pylypets/Stocksy

There Are More Ways To Parent Than Are Dreamt Of In Your Philosophy

It all started with giving my child a name that is out of this world: Io. One of the four Galilean moons of Jupiter, Io is home to hundreds of active volcanoes and plumes that shoot gases 300 miles high. The moon itself is made of mostly silicate rock that surrounds a molten iron core.

The first time I learned about Io, I was reading an ‘80s astronomy textbook I found on a random stoop in Brooklyn. It was in near-perfect condition and my finding it felt serendipitous given I’d recently finished reading How the Universe Got Its Spots and was immersing myself in all things related to astrophysics and cosmology. It’s a perfect analog for the ways I simultaneously wondered if there is more than one way to be a parent — a way that felt most right to me — space outside the dominant forces for diversity.

I’d never given much thought to the idea of moons, aside from Earth’s own natural satellite. Growing up I was always intrigued by and curious about the moon. From the sporadic full moon ritual to daydreams about what the late heavy bombardment might have looked like, my relationship to the Earth’s moon has always been grounded in the spiritual and the material realm.

After reading How the Universe Got Its Spots, new emotions and concerns about the universe, and my place within it, came in waves. The ebb and flow of my feelings regarding existence, from both a cosmic and deeply personal perspective, compelled me to learn more about life and creation outside of the pale blue dot.

Years passed and life became the ever-present now. One image that remains in my mind, as omnipresent as cosmic microwave background radiation, is that of Earth’s moon. A glowing orb, bright, cloaked by the darkness of the endless universe. I constantly remind myself that no matter what phase of the moon we view from earth, the moon itself is always full. Always whole. It comes down to perspectives and tricks of light and shadow that determine what parts of the moon are visible from earth.

Even more fascinating than earth’s moon are the moons of other planets. Be it Saturn’s Titan, recently discovered to be home to deep lakes, or Jupiter’s Ganymede, the histories and complexities of the many moons of the Milky Way galaxy are as unique as they are mysterious. When choosing our child’s name, we saw an opportunity to expand their growing mind. A teaching moment. But what’s in a name? I do my best to be as cosmically minded as possible when it comes to my parenting style.

From an astrological perspective, the symbolism and meanings associated with the phases of the moon can serve as great sources of inspiration for intention-driven action.

These concerns and curiosities influence my parenting by forcing me to question everything, consider different perspectives.

I’m sure you’re doing a great job navigating all of life’s obstacles and making the best decisions for you and your family, but sometimes it helps to get a cosmically-guided second opinion. Whether you’re someone who knows all of their friends birth charts by heart or you sporadically read your own horoscope for curiosity’s sake, astrology is something we’ve all got some sort of connection to. For me, astrology is a source of inspiration and a handy guide that helps me look at things from new and different perspectives. There are many practical uses for astrology that are often ignored — mostly because some people have negative, and misguided, ideas about it that are usually perpetuated by stereotypes and jokes about “new age BS.”

I genuinely appreciate how astrology invites us to look at people, especially ourselves, and situations from different perspectives. I’m a skeptical person who is incredibly interested in belief-formation processes and the idea of “truth” (shoutout to my fellow philosophy grads) so I rarely consume any content with intent to accept it necessarily as fact or true. When it comes to astrology, I’m studying for the sake of finding more ways to interpret the world around and within me.

Our charts offer insight into how we can be and ways that we can live should we choose to. When you read your horoscope for the day the words offer you a point of departure for thinking about how you feel, what you need, and what to do. It is a tool for making sense of your circumstances in different ways. By thinking of astrological guidance as an open-ended source of advice or a toolbox for coping you can turn to astrology for help when you’re not sure how to act in any given situation.

Maternity photo by Sirena Domino Hildebrand, inspired by the moon in a dark sky freckled with stars.

When you merge the astrological with the astronomical, you create a framework within which to think about life and existence in interesting ways. As a parent, I’m constantly thinking about the near and distant future. My child is learning and absorbing information every moment and I try to model healthy, compassionate, and honest living through my own actions. When I want to ride the wave of curiosity and intrigue when it comes to different issues related to parenting, it can be fun to turn to lunar, cosmic, and astrological sources of inspiration.

I genuinely appreciate how astrology invites us to look at people, especially ourselves, and situations from different perspectives.

Sometimes it’s reminding myself that others’ perceptions of me are based on their own perspectives. They may see phases but I’m always whole as a mother, as a person. Sometimes it’s reading my detailed horoscope to find new ways of thinking about my current circumstances, worries, and concerns. Sometimes it’s spending hours researching current projects at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory or browsing photos of the moon in order to gain some much-needed perspective. There’s more to life than what’s here on Earth. From our moon to the icy layers of Nix, there are countless cosmic examples of diversity and the wonders of creation.

Our human perspectives offer us limited insight into the universe. There are so many other worlds that make Earth seem like a basic, floating rock. When I think about Earth’s moon, and the moons of other planted, I’m amazed, inspired, and sometimes confused by what their existence means for us on earth. For the next generations. For anyone who wonders if the sky is the limit. These concerns and curiosities influence my parenting by forcing me to question everything, consider different perspectives, and think deeply about what it means to be human in an ever-evolving universe.