The recent news has been so full of the current astrological symbolism, it’s hard for a poor astrologer to keep up. In tech news (Uranus rules computers and hi-tech) we have the NASDAQ sell-off, and the Heartbleed bug — which may not be entirely unrelated. In the “yet more insane, horrifying violence” sort of news, we have the shooting at Fort Hood, and the stabbings at a PA school, both involving heroic actions by women. Also, this. I suggested the likelihood of "notable actions of a woman or group of women" happening this month in my post on the Aries New Moon.
The chart of the Spring Equinox of 2014 is an intense, powerful chart that suggests a strong possibility of a sudden and profound awakening within the country. This chart influences the next three months — until the Summer Solstice — and is cast for Washington, DC, so is predictive for the entire USA.
This chart (find it here, and a bi-wheel with the USA chart here) speaks strongly of ideology run amok — not that we haven’t been seeing enough of that lately in the halls of government, especially here in Appalachia, where Republicans Gone Wild has been the theme recently, and the environment we all live in is paying for their extreme ideology (coal ash, anyone? A cocktail of mystery chemicals? Some tailings from mountain top removal?). I suspect that that there will be strong components of religion and environmentalism in the loud and heated discussions and clashes of ideas that seem inevitable this Spring, not to mention explosive events. We are walking the high wire during this time of the Uranus-Pluto square, and all our focus needs to be on getting to the other side, to a sustainable, life-affirming culture.
But there’s a strong call to spirituality, ethics and evolution in this chart as well. The conjunction of Mercury and Neptune in Pisces is a magical one, with the magic strengthened by the trine from Jupiter. Mercury is in his detriment in Pisces, which is kind of like being at a party where you don’t know the other people, and you’re not sure you want to. But we can give him something useful to do by directing our minds towards creating visions of a better future using the oceanic awareness of Neptune and Pisces. This is a great opportunity to sharpen and strengthen our meditation and visualization skills. Magically, work to connect with tutelary spirits should be well-supported. However, there is also a risk of getting lost in fantasy or embroiled in deception, so it’s important to stay grounded and to listen if trusted friends question our judgment.
“Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.” ~ Marianne Williamson
If you’ve been anticipating that lovely, romantic Full Moon on Valentine’s Day, you might want to reconsider your approach. Instead of dreaming of moonlit skies and stardust, dust off your altar and pull out your journal and your magical tools, because you’re going to want to work to shift the energy of this Full Moon into some positive results. As with most difficult charts, there is power here, but you need to put a bridle on that horse, or you’ll likely get thrown.
This post will be a two-parter: You can read part 2 here.
“No man lives without jostling and being jostled; in all ways he has to elbow himself through the world, giving and receiving offense."—Thomas Carlyle
With Mars settled into Libra for a nice long transit of about six months, this is a good time to take a look at the Red Planet’s meaning in our lives, in our charts, and at the lessons we can glean from the Warrior’s transit through the realm of Themis and Her scales of justice. Mars isn’t happy here — He’s not very good with the social graces beloved of Libra, the sign of his detriment — but he’ll happily fight for Libran causes. This means that one of the most prominent manifestations of this transit is often an emphasis on fighting for social justice, which can — and frequently does — devolve into fighting over issues of political correctness (at any point on the political spectrum) and hurt feelings. Libra is the sign of the diplomat, and wants everyone to get along. Mars loves to fight. Put the two together, and you’re going to see a lot of people with ruffled feathers, fighting over whether or not their feelings are getting sufficient respect and attention from others. In other words, there will be a lot of people taking – and giving – offense.
Sometimes, an act or statement of opinion we deem “offensive” so clearly challenges our sense of justice or personal core values that it requires an emphatic, even aggressive, action or statement of opinion in response. So the feeling of being offended can serve to raise an internal red flag, alerting us to a possible violation of standards we deem personally acceptable, and the need to do something about it. But more often than not, people don’t simply notice the red flag, take it as a warning, and then move to identify and solve a problem. Instead, they chase the flag and the flag-bearer around the arena, snorting and huffing and puffing, determined to trample the offending parties into the dust, certain that only the total decimation of the red flag will make the pain they are feeling go away. But it won’t, of course, no more for the offended person than for a wounded bull. And the offended person is wounded, no mistake, but the pain is sourced in a wounding much older than any current situation. Those unhealed wounds are worth identifying, whether in ourselves, someone we care about, or even just someone who is demanding our attention. We all overreact sometimes, and tracing that reaction back to its source can give us a wonderful opportunity for healing.
The chart cast for the moment of the Winter Solstice — when the Sun enters Capricorn — is predictive for the three months ahead, and when the chart is cast for the capital of a country, it is predictive for that entire country. As we spiral in towards the next solsticial shift — from dark to light here in the northern hemisphere, and from light to dark in the southern — we are caught up in planetary energies that demand change, and change often demands the destruction of the old before the new is birthed. It is the light within us — our inner Sun — that gives us the vision, energy, courage and strength to build anew in a world in which hi-tech warfare, critical levels of environmental pollution, catastrophic climate change and resource depletion promise a future very different from our present. The challenges are clear, and the Solstice chart offers us insight into the personal and spiritual strategies we can use to meet these challenges with grace, compassion, and courage.
December’s New Moon is a Vegas kind of Moon — big, bold, and dramatic. It heralds a holiday season of screaming headlines, explosive events and probably some wild parties, as well. The entertainment industry, issues of children and youth, especially education, and any kind of gambling, including the stock market, will be emphasized in the coming month here in the USA.
Let’s cover the basic astrology first. (Non-astrologers can skip this paragraph) The chart can be found here. Set for Washington, DC, it features the New Moon in Sagittarius in the 5th, with Sagittarius’ ruler, Jupiter, powerfully placed on the Ascendent in Cancer, the sign of its exaltation, opposing Venus, and widely opposing Pluto, as well. Uranus sits in the 10th house, adjacent to the Aries Point Midheaven, which is opposed by Mars. The Uranus-Pluto square is in full force, and the Sun-Moon conjunction plus Mercury are in a wide square to Neptune. There is a strong trine between Jupiter and Saturn, and between Uranus and the Sun-Moon. The New Moon falls in the fifth house, joined by Mercury and Saturn, and the fifth house rulers are Mars and Pluto. The houses and angles on this chart are specific to the USA, but much of what I say here will be applicable globally.
This is going to be an expansive month, a time when people will want to push the proverbial envelope, to try new things — but they’ll want to do that from a secure home base. There are indicators of self-indulgence, but that energy can also express itself as simply playing the social butterfly, or taking particular care with appearances. Ideally, social gatherings will revolve around something practical, protective and nurturing. Building something beautiful, creating structures of meaning, expanding to include others are all supported by this chart. It will be an inspirational time for artists, especially those whose natal placements have significant interactions with the New Moon chart....
The New Moon eclipse coming up on November 3rd is profound and transformative. The effects of a solar eclipse are more far-reaching and longer lasting than a regular New Moon, beginning a month or so before the actual event, and lasting for up to 18 months. This one will have us digging deeply into our psyches or projecting our shadows for some time to come. As I mentioned in my last post, there is an ongoing gathering of planets in Scorpio, the sign of transformation and secrets, sex and death, power and wealth, and they are all tied into the dramatic and revolutionary Uranus-Pluto square. The eclipse chart takes a picture right at the height of this wild party. There are some observations and cautions to be drawn from the chart from a national point of view — when cast for Washington, DC, the chart has the Scorpio stellium in the twelfth house, with Mars and Neptune in a wide opposition across the MC/IC axis — and I’ll discuss those, but the chart also offers considerable insight on a more personal level.
One of the first things that jumps out of this chart is a complete lack of planets in Air, and a considerable emphasis on Water. Mercury is also retrograde, and in a Water sign. This subdues communication, information exchange, and the open and rational discussion of ideas, while giving free rein to the expression of emotion and the imposition of material authority through the close cooperation of the three authoritarian planets, Mars, Saturn and Pluto. Saturn and Pluto relate to karmic issues in a chart, as does the sign of Scorpio, which is ruled by Mars and Pluto. A lot of us are going to be looking at karmic issues coming home to roost, and struggles on an emotional level that can be exhausting because they are rooted in childhood or past life experiences. We may feel like we’ve been thrown overboard into the waters of deep feeling, and can’t find an island of logic and perspective on which to rest.
Buffalo Springfield - For What It's Worth
’Tis the season of scary in our culture, when we put on glaring display (using lots of plastic and blinking lights) the things that we are afraid of, mostly having to do with death and unknown or unseen powers — ghosts, monsters, skeletons, witches and oversized spiders. Undoubtedly, the underlying urge to flaunt and so face down these fearful things is rooted in our agrarian past, when the fact that this is the season of death here in the northern hemisphere was unmistakable, and the cold winter ahead threatened illness and hunger. Acknowledging and externalizing fears allows us to share them, and helps stave off the creeping dread.
There are two interesting lunations (New or Full Moon) coming up in October that can give us some insight on the month ahead — the New Moon on October 4 — and on the upcoming 6 months or so in the case of the Full Moon on October 18, which is an eclipse.
Let’s start with the New Moon. These are some of the configurations astrologers will want to take note of (here is the chart): Cluster of planets in the sixth house, 3 planets in Scorpio including a Mercury-North Node-Saturn conjunction. Venus rules the chart from her throne on the Descendant in a house she rules, but in detriment and tensely aspected. It’s a Libra New Moon, so we are looking for balance, and there is little to be found, with the Moon/Sun tightly configured with the Uranus-Pluto square. Mars is square the AS/DS axis and Venus, and in tight aspect (SSQ) to both Uranus and Pluto.
What to make of all this? From the point of view of mundane astrology, things look a bit tense. (I should note here that individual humans can use the energy of the planetary patterns to change themselves and their lives. Hence, individual reactions to a lunation are more likely to be positive and less “fated” than events in the nations and large groups that are the subject of mundane astrology. My fellow blogger here at Pagan Square, Kate Cartwright, has written about how best to use the personal aspects of this lunation here) This chart is cast for Washington, DC, so it is predictive for the entire country.
First, of course, we’ll look at the Sun and Moon, which are activating the ongoing Uranus-Pluto square (UPS). This means that surprises, transformations, explosive (physically or emotionally) events, and powerful breakthroughs are all likely. It’s probable that many of these manifestations will be in the realm of relationship, particularly, from a national point of view, the relationship of the people of the country to its leaders.
The Autumn Equinox is coming up this weekend, so this is a good time to look ahead to the rest of the year, since (as you know if you’ve been reading this blog) charts of the solstices and equinoxes, also called cardinal ingress charts, are predictive for the quarter ahead.
Just a quick heads-up on the Full Moon that occurs Tuesday evening/Wednesday morning (depending on your time zone), because it is going to pack a punch, and you’ll want to be aware of what planetary energies are on the run now. For some, this Full Moon may bring a great release of tension, a time of breakthrough, or even a streak of luck. For others, there will be changes and disturbances — quite possibly sudden and surprising ones — that are destabilizing and expanding at the same time. This depends, of course, on how the transits fall in your chart, and what other influences (arcs, progressions) are affecting you now.
This Full Moon happens just hours before the square between Jupiter and Uranus becomes exact. When cast for Washington, DC, (and so reflecting the event’s effects for the entire country), the chart shows Uranus conjunct the Ascendant, with Jupiter oppose, and Pluto conjunct the Midheaven. Nationally, we are likely to see surprising, sudden events, perhaps explosive revelations. With headstrong Aries rising, and Mercury conjunct the Sun in fiery, self-assured Leo, things are not likely to be peaceful. The 5th/11th house involvement points to another possible Wall Street/economic spectacle of some kind, along with an entirely inadequate, misleading and/or obfuscating government response to the crisis du jour. (The Moon moves into Pisces, and then conjuncts Neptune just hours after full, trining the master manipulator, Saturn, in Scorpio) Also look for sudden developments in foreign policies, and people climbing onto their soapboxes all over the place. Religious themes will be prominent, as will themes of liberty and personal rights.
I do not lay claim to being a great Astrologer. In that regard I humbly defer to other bloggers on this site whose calling it is to cast horoscopes. I also realize that people born under the same sign can differ quite a bit in personality because of numerous other influences - rising signs, moon signs, etc. - which are usually different, while those same elements can make people of opposing signs more akin than one would normally expect.
I'm even aware that the Vedic Astrologers of India don't go by the month you were born; they determine your astrological sign by the month it was likely you were conceived! So there are many variables in this ancient field of study.
However, as a former Rosicrucian, I find it instructive to note that my metaphysical forebears - the Alchemists of the Middle Ages - rather simplistically assigned the following "humors and elements" to the various zodiacal birth signs:...
The chart for the moment of the Summer Solstice is called the Cancer Ingress chart, and cardinal (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn) ingress charts are a very useful way to predict national and local events. The planetary positions are the same world-wide, but the angles and houses are location-specific, and the chart cast for a nation’s capital is used to predict for the entire nation. As always, I’ve cast this chart for Washington, DC, as an indicator for the entire country.
I know that some people question how a cardinal ingress chart can be predictive for an entire nation. The proof’s in the predictions, though, so let’s take a quick look back at the Aries ingress chart, which I wrote about here, and check some of those predictions with a few examples.
- “Violent expressions of emotion around political beliefs”. Sadly, the Boston Marathon bombings happened just weeks after I wrote this. Casting the Aries Ingress chart for Boston shows both Mars and Uranus on the Ascendant.
- “Violent weather and environmental events” and “major flooding in parts of the country” Moore, OK was decimated by the widest tornado ever recorded, tornadoes and flooding were widespread, including record flooding in the Midwest and Texas , while the South and Northeast were drenched by tropical storm Andrea, and wildfires in Colorado and California caused widespread destruction.
- “…anything to do with mining, fracking, extraction of resources will be a focus, and industrial, mining, or environmental accidents cannot be ruled out.” Within days of the equinox, a train derailed in Minnesota, spilling almost a thousand barrels of tar sands crude. Two days later, in Arkansas, an Exxon-Mobil pipeline burst, spilling an estimated 12,000 barrels of crude oil. On April 17, there was a fatal explosion at an Exxon-Mobil refinery, and another fatal and highly destructive explosion at a fertilizer plant in West Texas. In June, an explosion at a Louisiana chemical plant killed one and injured many.
- “We are also likely to see exhibitions of moral courage…and possibly some more remarkable scientific breakthroughs” Edward Snowden took his place with Manning and Assange as he blew the whistle on the NSA at considerable personal risk, and Nature announced a breakthrough in cloning human stem cells
You can see that the cardinal ingress chart technique can be very accurate. What we’re looking at when we interpret these charts is a national shared focus of attention and awareness, at events that resonate on a collective level. Now let’s take a look at the Cancer ingress chart, and what it can tell us about the summer....
Smile O voluptuous cool-breath'd earth!
Earth of the slumbering and liquid trees!
Earth of departed sunset — earth of the mountains misty-topt!
Earth of the vitreous pour of the full moon just tinged with blue!
Earth of shine and dark mottling the tide of the river!
Earth of the limpid gray of clouds brighter and clearer for my sake!
Far-swooping elbow'd earth — rich apple-blossom'd earth!
Smile, for your lover comes.
Walt Whitman - Song of Myself
Beltane always falls when the Sun is in Taurus; if you celebrate Beltane astrologically, the Sun will be exactly halfway through Taurus, and halfway between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice — always a few days later than May 1st. (This year, it fell early on Sunday, May 6th) Whether you are heading towards summer or winter, the Earth is in transition. Perhaps this is why the sign of Taurus is so concerned with security, with farming, and the Earth. Taurus’ other main focus is a sensual connection with the Web of LIfe, and the creation and enjoyment of beauty.
The New Moon Eclipse on May 9th will highlight Taurean themes for some months to come. There are four planets (a stellium) in Taurus in this chart — Sun, Moon, Mercury and Mars — and if you follow this blog, you’ll recall that the influence of a solar eclipse can be as long as a year. Saturn in Scorpio provides a balance point for all that Taurean energy. Though there is no direct opposition, as I noted in this post, “We can look on the progress of Saturn through Scorpio over the next 2 ½ years as an initiatory undertaking — a deep, transformative time when, if we will discipline ourselves to fulfill the requirements of the body and the Earth, we can create with power, insight and spiritual awareness.”
Venus, the ruler of Taurus, has just moved into bright, aware Gemini, where life is a question to be answered, and connection to others is key. Venus is square to Neptune in Pisces, and Pisces' other ruler, Jupiter, is also in Gemini, unaspected, making it even more of a wildcard than usual.
All of this suggests that in the months to come, issues of material security will be raised again and again at varying levels of intensity depending on how this configuration falls in your personal chart. Are you stuck in a rut somewhere? Has the pursuit of security smothered your creativity and playfulness, or do you need to pay more attention to how you support yourself on this Earth? What are the personal and social costs of the way you live your life? If you don’t ask yourself some of these questions, they will be asked of you, and the answers will demand both action and clear communication.
I believe in the flesh and the appetites,
Seeing, hearing, feeling, are miracles, and each part and tag of me is a miracle.
Walt Whitman - Song of Myself
On April 25th, there will be a partial lunar eclipse. Both New and Full Moons are used for prediction in astrology, and their influence is considered to extend until the next New Moon. Eclipses (which always happen at either a New (solar) or Full (lunar) Moon) have a far longer influence — 6 months to a year. (I’m going to get into some fairly detailed astrology in the first part of this post, so if you just want my conclusions about how this eclipse will play out in the USA, scan down the article for the text in bold.)
Eclipses are used for prediction in a couple of ways:
- We can cast the chart of the actual event for a particular place — where one is living, or the capital of a country, for instance — and interpret the chart as it stands, with its own angles and houses.
- We can also take that chart and arrange it around the wheel of another chart, such as one’s natal chart, or the chart of a country. This is known as a bi-wheel, and the natal chart is put in the center, using natal angles and house divisions.
The first thing we’ll look at is the Sun and Moon — the eclipse itself. Here, the Moon is in Scorpio, in the 2nd house and the Sun in Taurus in the 8th (remember that house positions are specific to the place for which the chart was cast — in this case, Washington, DC., which makes this chart relevant for the entire country. The planetary signs and aspects are relevant globally) Immediately, we also see Mars in close conjunction with the Sun, and Saturn conjunct the Moon (a conjunction with Sun or Moon, of course, means an opposition with the other light at a Full Moon). This means both Mars and Saturn, in opposition to each other, can be considered “rulers” of the eclipse. Ack! This is not a happy placement. “Cruelty” is the first word that comes to mind when Mars and Saturn are in tense aspect with each other, especially in Taurus/Scorpio.
Let’s keep looking and see what else stands out.
Just a few quick notes on the Aries New Moon that happened earlier today, and what it might tell us about the month ahead. It gives us a line-up of 5 planets in Aries, Pisces rising in Washington, DC, with Neptune in the 12th, and Mercury on the Ascendant, ruling the 3rd, 4th and 7th houses. Jupiter is in the third house. In the USA’s (Sibley) chart, all the Pisces/Aries action is in the 3rd and 4th houses, squaring natal Mercury, with the Sun and Moon conjunct the USA's natal Chiron. For the country, I very much hope this will manifest as a vigorous public discussion on environmental issues. In my post on the Spring Equinox chart, I noted the strong possibility of industrial accidents, particularly involving mining, fracking, or any extraction of resources. There have been three major oil spill accidents in the country in the past week, and it becomes clearer every day that such a discussion is long overdue.
The stellium in Aries in the New Moon chart suggests a time of pioneering attitudes, of accepting challenges and fighting for freedom. Tempers tend to flare, and no one seems to want to back down. The Obama administration will, I think, be having a hell of a time with foreign affairs, and we all will get an opportunity to think about where courage, strength, and initiative bleed into foolhardiness, willfulness, and unwarranted aggression. When Mercury moves into Aries in a little over a week, we can expect to see an increase in bombastic rhetoric on the world stage. In our personal lives, we can use this time as an opportunity to communicate with honesty and courage.
Two of the closest aspects in the chart are a inconjunct between Saturn and Uranus, and a sesqui-square between Mercury and Saturn. These are very tense, high-anxiety aspects, both involving Saturn in Scorpio. There is a sense of cruelty here — cruelty fueled by rage. You’ll likely see this played out on the world stage, but watch carefully in your own life and notice where you tend to ignore others’ feelings in pursuit of efficiency or in response to fear....
The chart of the Spring Equinox — cast for the moment the Sun enters the sign of Aries — is arguably the most important of the four Cardinal ingress charts. Many astrologers believe it sets the tone for the entire year, not just the following quarter. It happens at the same moment (not the same clock time) everywhere, so the house positions of the planets are different, depending on the location. Casting the ingress chart for the capital of a country is considered predictive for the whole country for the following quarter regarding the politics, events, attitudes and general zeitgeist. You can analyze the chart for a particular location, and/or analyze it in reference to another chart. Here is the Aries ingress (Spring Equinox) chart cast for Washington, DC, and here is a bi-wheel of that chart around the chart of the USA (Sibley) if you want to follow along with my analysis.
If you follow this blog, you know that one of the major current transits is the ongoing square of Uranus to Pluto, and that aspect is, of course, a major player in this chart — not exact, but still within less than four degrees of orb. (*Note: in the original version of this post, I said the aspect was exact again in June. This is a good example of why we elderly types should not rely on our memories. :-) It's exact again May 20th.) As I mentioned in my discussion of the Winter Solstice chart, Uranus rules electricity, Pluto rules breakdowns and extremes of all kinds, and there were many, many problems with the electric grid over the last few months in different parts of the country, almost all of them due to a series of severe winter storms, as well as a great deal of public discussion around fracking, a very Plutonian process that provides fuel for the electric grid. In the Spring Equinox chart, Mars joins the fray, strong in its own sign, tightly conjunct Uranus (and more widely, the Sun) square the Moon, and, of course, square Pluto. The three planets in Aries cluster around the IC (4th house cusp) of the USA’s chart, and in the first house of the equinox chart.
The first house and its ruler signify the people of a country, as does the Moon, and the fourth house. Mars with Uranus is an explosive aspect, and the public discourse is likely to become even more heated in the upcoming months. Violent expressions of emotion around political beliefs is probable, and the fracking debate will, no doubt, be ongoing. The fourth house rules weather, and Uranus will be in the fourth house of the USA for quite a few more years. Uranus with Mars in this house suggests violent weather or environmental events, as well as highlighting issues of manufacturing and the military. With the square to Pluto, anything to do with mining, fracking, extraction of resources will be a focus, and industrial, mining, or environmental accidents cannot be ruled out. Munitions also come under the rulership of Mars, and I expect the gun control debate to continue to rage. We are also likely to see exhibitions of moral courage (thank you, Bradley Manning), and possibly some more remarkable scientific breakthroughs (hello, Higgs boson! BTW, that discovery was announced just after Mars had entered Aries)....
Do you listen to weather forecasts? Do you use that information to make choices about how you will do things? I certainly do, and it is much the way that I view astrological forecasts. For example, let's say that tomorrow you have a very important job interview and it is going to take place in a nearby city. The weather forecast calls for snow, winds, and icy roads. You could call and try to reschedule the interview. You could see if a friend with four-wheel-drive could drive you there. You could stay in bed and pull the covers over your head. There are wide array of possibilities of what you can do in response to awakening the next day and finding that the roads are covered in ice. The sacred science of Astrology can give us predictions about the parameters of the environment and the times that we will be moving through. What it cannot predict is which options or which choices we will make in response to the circumstances that manifest before us.
In the last couple of posts, we’ve considered the best ways to work with Uranus as it transits Aries, and Pluto's transit of Capricorn. In this post, we'll look at how to make the experience of the square between them — which will be happening through March of 2015 — a bit easier, or at least constructive.
If you’ve studied astrology for any length of time, you know that the square is considered to be a difficult aspect, both natally and in transit. But if you’ve been actually interpreting charts, you’ve come to realize that a square can be challenging, but is by no means intrinsically “bad”. It is an aspect which demands that we confront our conflicting beliefs, and change.
Mercury in Retrograde-what is it?
The planet Mercury, like all planets follows an elliptical orbit. Three times a year for about 3 weeks (see a pattern?) there are times when Mercury appears to go backwards in its orbit (it doesn't really reverse course but it looks like it from our earthly vantage point.)
In Western Astrology the planet Mercury rules over communication, technology, organization and its the ruling planet of Virgo and the natural ruler of the 6th house-both of which are associated with health.
Mercury in Retrograde has a terrible reputation-people experience communication breakdowns, there are fights, there are lost hard drives, important agreements fall through, legal difficulties emerge and travel drama ensues-it can all be rather...unpleasant.