A handful of readers sent me comments concerning last week’s quote: “There is no happiness. There are moments of happiness.”

“Isn’t that a little harsh? asked one long-time client, while another told me “very cool saying”.

From my side, I’ve always found that quote to be intriguing, as it raises the question of what it means to be happy and whether happiness is something that should or even can be ‘pursued,’ (as it is stated in the Declaration of Independence). A  more reasonable concept of happiness is the one put forth by William S. Burroughs, who said: “Happiness is a byproduct of function, purpose and conflict; those who seek happiness for itself seek victory without war.”

In astrology, there is no single planet that can be consistently identified with “happiness”. However, I think a case can be made that if you find the strongest planet in your chart and work with it, you’ll begin to experience happiness in the way that Burroughs describes it, as a byproduct – of knowing and following your power, which is what the strongest planet in a chart indicates.

In readings, this can occasionally be a straightforward task, as simple as suggesting to a person: live in your Sun, not in your Moon, which can loosely translate to “you’re letting your emotional reactions (Moon) color or taint all your experiences of who you are and what you do. The person can’t shine (Sun) or is unable to have very many “moments of happiness” because they are clouded with emotional baggage (Moon in a bad state).

But that’s just a fast, simple example and by using it I’m not in any way seeking to diminish people’s struggles to figure themselves out. To be honest, in some charts finding the strongest planet can be a challenge. Doing so, however, can be a helpful endeavor along the road of increasing the of your “moments of happiness”.

If we continue our use of Lady Gaga’s chart, we can get an idea of how the strongest planet can be found and used. Here the identification is not immediate. We have the Sun in Aries and the Moon in Scorpio. Both are linked by the planet, Mars (circled). Why? Because Mars rules both Aries and Scorpio. Here Mars is placed in Capricorn where it is what we call “exalted” – in other words, it is very powerful. It becomes the planet that both the Sun and Moon can potentially channel their energies through. In addition, Mars has power over both Jupiter (ruler of the Ascendant) and Mercury (ruler of the Midheaven). In other words, Mars is involved with almost every planet in the chart.

As we know few personal details about Lady Gaga (Moon in Scorpio!), we do know that she extremely aggressive in promoting herself. (“I kill to get what I need,” is a quote ascribed to her.)  And here’s what important to remember: while she changes the projection of her image to the public, what does not change is the force of her projection. Mars – force – is what she does best and appears to be happiest when she’s doing it.  Not surprising from a woman who has states: “Don’t ever let a soul in the world tell you can’t be exactly who you are.”