Things haven’t changed much since people started coming to counseling astrologer and Feng Shui consultant Paloma Garcia with their questions about love. They are the same questions that have driven many people to madness, obsession, and restlessness, and are the same questions that she tries to illumine and resolve with her clients.
Paloma counts among her clients some of Manila’s rich and famous. She bases her readings on both Eastern and Western astrological charts, and uses the BaZi system (also called the “Four Pillars of Destiny”). Both methods, when combined, present a more accurate reading of a person’s astrological charts churned from his birth time, birth date, birth year and birth place. Paloma said that from information on these details come a wealth of knowledge about one’s self, and one’s life, purpose and destiny.
For those who have already found their partners, consider yourselves lucky, said Paloma. “Not everybody is blessed to have that kind of love,” she said. Although we experience love in many forms (love for parents, for siblings, for offsprings, for friends, for God), romantic love – the kind that thoughts turn to this time of the year – is one that is, indeed a complicated matter.
If you ask Paloma, if and when you find romantic love is not exactly something that is within your control. In fact, finding true love is a lot like telling a joke: it’s all about timing.
Ready For Love
“The reason true love doesn’t come right away is that you are not prepared for it,” she said. In astrology, she explained, there is a set time when two people are fated to meet; her task as an astrologer is to counsel clients in order to spare them a lot of guesswork, unmet expectations and broken hearts along the way.
The charts can also answer the perennial question among the partner-less during Valentine’s Day: How come I haven’t found The One?
“It depends on what your charts bear,” said Paloma. “I have had charts of clients where, wala talaga… love and marriage is not the focus… not in this lifetime.”
While this may be depressing news to those who do not have romantic love in their charts, she offers this advice: Maybe the lesson here is, to learn to be alone and happy.
“The myth that another person completes you or that happiness can be found in your mate is just that, a myth,” she said. Maybe in this lifetime, she added, the lesson that one needs to learn is how to care for others in a different way.
“The coming to you of love can come in so many different forms,” she said, adding that there are so many other forms of love beyond the usual romantic love that we have come to associate with happily-ever-afters.
Not being prepared for love can also be because one has not found the balance needed in nurturing a successful relationship. Got a good career going but your marriage seems to be going down the drain? Maybe you’re spending too much time at work (therefore the promotion) and forgoing date nights with the spouse (therefore the feeling of growing apart from each other). The concept of balance, Paloma said, appears in both Eastern and Western astrology. Balancing between one’s self and one’s mate, and between work and home life is a perpertual juggling act that needs many lifetimes of adjusting to even come close to perfecting.
This balancing act depends a lot on awareness. “You can read all the books you want, but if you are not aware of what is happening in your life, and you don’t have the feel or knowledge of what is lacking or what is too much, it’s going to be difficult,” she said.
And what if true romantic love never comes?
“In my more than three decades of clinical experience, I have seen that what is yours will find its way to you, and what is not, no matter how tightly you hold on to it, will go because it was not yours to begin with,” she said.
Love the One You’re With
But what about marriages arranged by matchmakers, some of which are matches based on a compromise of factors other than the couple’s charts? Such arrangements are also in the charts, she said.
“Can a happy marriage come out of it? Only if the persons involved are willing to work at it,” Paloma said. Although matchmaking comes out of decisions that are not based on how a man and a woman feel about each other, the couple involved is often forced to make the marriage work. The couple grows to adjust to each other and learn another valuable lesson in love: acceptance.
“I have always believed in ‘getting along’ as the basis for true love. ‘Getting along’ is quite different from compatibility,” Paloma said. Couples, she explained, need to get along with each other and accept each other; in other words, they need to be friends.
“Most people jump into relationships too quickly. I have sat down with couples that have been married 40, 50 years and still don’t know each other… I have seen couples that are just living together, who are not married, and yet have a good union,” she said.
These lasting unions, she said, have relationships that work on several levels and are not just fleeting attractions. “Among couples who’ve been together a long time, love has evolved to a much higher level,” she said. But more than that, Paloma believes that these lasting unions happened because the couple has learned to forgive each other.
“Every one of us is wounded and rotten in some aspect and all you have to do is get to know ourselves and the other person and accept the givens and work at it, then chance blesse it” she said. “When you don’t accept, that’s when trouble begins and separation happens.”
Torn Between Two Lovers
Paloma has had her share of sob stories concerning marriages that are on the rocks. Troubled marriages – specifically, problems with a cheating spouse – are among that most common concerns consulted with her. For philandering wives/husbands, Paloma offers this very straightforward, common-sense advice: try talking it out with your partner before going out to buy quartz crystals to somehow win your spouse back. Often, she said, people come to her with the desire to resolve the situation. As an astrologer, she tries not to judge people and instead draws from the charts to better understand where troubles are coming from and what lessons are to be learned.
However, she offers this fair warning: when two people are meant to be together, there is no stopping them. “I have seen married couples and then suddenly one of them meets her soulmate. Looking at the charts, I can be so sure: you cannot stop these two,” she said.
Going further, she said that it is quite possible for one person to have two soulmates (“We call that split souls: one essence that comes back in two bodies [yet] it’s the same soul.”), further complicating what is already the messy business of marriage.
Relationships- romantic or non-romantic – are already a complicated matter. As Paloma puts it, relationships are the battleground of karma. It is how we work out unfinished business in a past life, how we pay our debts, and how we discover what lessons we still need to learn.