Urania's Well: Astrology for Changing Times

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

You may have noticed that this week’s post is a little late, or maybe next week’s is a bit early, depending on how much writing I get done the rest of this week. :-) My personal Mercury retrograde incident happened as that planet entered its shadow, conjuncting my Mars, and I’ve been recovering from some first-world trauma in the form of an unexpected computer failure — and the backup drive failed at the same time. Yeah, I didn’t think that would ever happen, either. All is well now, and the new computer is a jewel, but I’m still catching up. And speaking of the new computer, I want to give a shout-out to the good folks at Matrix Software. I’ve been using their astrology programs since the pre-Windows days of DOS, and their customer support has always been exceptionally good. They were a big help this time when I ran into some questions about my new setup. I use their WinStar Pro software, but they have excellent, less expensive options as well. Find them here.

November's New Moon falls on Tuesday the 13th, at 22 degrees of Scorpio, and a solar eclipse happens a few minutes later. Like any New Moon, this one will indicate the planetary energies in play for the month ahead, but the influence of eclipses tends to last for several months, and this one will be particularly noticeable in the lives of people (or countries, or businesses, etc.) who have personal planets or angles in their natal chart at between 19 degrees and 25 degrees of any of the fixed signs (Scorpio, Aquarius, Taurus, Leo).

(This post is going to get a bit technical, for the benefit of those who are interested in the astrology, so I will bold my conclusions for those who want to skip the astro-jargon and just cut to the chase. All the charts I discuss will have links to pdfs of the charts themselves, so you can see what I’m looking at.)

Eclipses tend to be most powerful in the areas where they are visible. This one is focused on Australia and its neighbors, and parts of South America. (You can see an animation of the eclipse here.) But that doesn’t mean we won’t feel its influence in the US and elsewhere. Let’s consider what the eclipse might mean for the USA.

The event chart cast for Washington, DC has the eclipse occurring in the 6th house, with the North Node and Mercury tightly conjunct the Descendent (oppose the Ascendent). The Sun and Moon are widely conjunct the Descendent from the sixth house, and closely tied to the Uranus-Pluto square by semi-square and sesqui-quadrate. Saturn is in the 6th as well, and both Mars and Pluto are in the 8th, with Mars tightly inconjunct the Ascendent. So we are seeing a major Scorpio influence here (remember Mars and Pluto rule Scorpio) as well as an emphasis on the 6th and 8th houses. Another thing that jumps out is the very tight square between Mercury and Neptune, which is conjuncting Chiron in the 10th (the house of government).

There are a number of ways these combinations can manifest, but I’m seeing repeating pointers to issues of public health and infectious disease. Do you see how I’m reaching that conclusion? Look at the chart…powerful Scorpionic placements in the 6th and 8th of public health and public mortality (not morality). Neptune rules epidemics, particularly water-related ones and is strong in its own sign, with Chiron, the wounded healer, and square Mercury, which rules public transportation, often the way illnesses are spread. Also, because Mercury rules the lungs, this aspect could indicate respiratory illnesses or air pollution. The mutual reception of Pluto and Saturn in — again — the 8th and 6th. Scorpio and the 8th house are associated with sewage and waste-treatment. These placements also echo the Libra Ingress chart, which had Scorpio on the Ascendent, Mars in Scorpio rising and ruling the 6th house.

Knowing the status of New York, New Jersey, and the rest of the areas hardest-hit by Sandy, I think we can expect to see a lot of public health issues as these areas recover from the storm, continuing problems with water and waste-water treatment, and possibly a serious outbreak of flu or other infectious disease. Considerations of transportation, or, more likely, lack of it, will also be center stage. Since the chart is set for the capital, Washington, we aren’t just looking at the Northeast, or the DC area, but at any events and concerns that affect the country as a whole, and there may be other health concerns in other parts of the country. However, with the Saturn-Neptune trine and Saturn-Pluto sextile and mutual reception in effect, I’m going to assume that any problems will be met with an appropriate governmental response.

Additional sectors to watch, as well, are those of civil service, the military, public services (FEMA, etc.) corporate matters, public debt and taxes.  The heavy Scorpio influence and the tight Mercury-Neptune square also suggest scandal, the uncovering of hidden truths, fraud, and obsessive delusions. This is a very watery and deeply emotional chart. Expect stormy emotions and stormy weather.

We also should note the mutual reception of Mercury and Jupiter, both retrograde, both in their detriment, which suggests that there will be an ongoing national conversation over religion and government. I have high hopes that this conversation will be reality-based. I may be under the delusional influence of Neptune in that expectation, however.

Another way to approach this New Moon eclipse chart is to compare it to a natal chart, either of a person or a country. I’ll use the USA’s chart (12° Sagittarius Asc.) as an example. If you want to follow along, here is a bi-wheel of the New Moon chart around the USA’s chart. So remember, we are looking at the planets of the New Moon chart as they are distributed through the houses of the natal chart of the USA.

The first thing to look at is where the Sun-Moon conjunction falls. It’s almost exactly on the cusp of the 12th house, but still in the 11th (Congress and the people), so it will influence both. The position of Jupiter is also important in this Jupiter-ruled, Sagittarius-rising chart, and we see transiting Jupiter retrograde, directly opposed the Ascendant of the US chart. The ascendant of a country’s chart indicates the people, as does the Moon. The eclipse is widely square the USA’s Moon, which rules the 8th, and the Scorpio Moon-Sun influencing the 11th and 12th house, with Jupiter in its detriment, Rx, oppose the Ascendent. This speaks to me of a populace that is fed up, and ready to rumble, but in a somewhat weakened state. Jupiter has a tendency to blow things out of proportion, and, speaking of blowing things up, let’s not forget that transiting Uranus in Aries is still square the USA’s Venus-Jupiter conjunction. Venus rules the 6th and the 10th in the USA chart, and both planets are in Cancer in that chart, the sign that rules the people of a country. More rumbling.

Do you see the repeating patterns here? Again, we note 6th, 8th and 12th house emphasis, keying public health issues, civil service, debt, the military.  What about transportation, travel and airborne illness? Check. Transiting Mercury and Jupiter are in mutual reception, both retrograde, Mercury in the USA’s 12th, square transiting Neptune, Jupiter oppose the Ascendent. These placements also echo the focus on religion. So a view of the New Moon chart laid over the USA’s chart is saying much the same thing as the New Moon chart cast for Washington, DC. These repeating patterns are what we are looking for.

Now, there are plenty of other events and manifestations that might be covered by the symbolism of these planetary configurations. Astrology is more art than science simply because of the difficulty of identifying, much less controlling for, all the variables, and experience and intuition definitely come into play when interpreting charts. But looking for what Noel Tyl refers to as the “big bells” — the major aspects, the repeating patterns — and then applying both knowledge and intuitive perception, can give us considerable insight into the issues, both spiritual and mundane, currently facing a person or a country.

There is a lot more to be seen in these charts, of course, and I encourage you to look for it. If you are interested in learning more about astrology and want some practice, you could cast the New Moon chart for your location. As you probably realize, the angles and houses will be different, which will give a different interpretation.  Look at the eclipse against the backdrop of your own natal chart, or the chart of your group or business. What house does the New Moon fall in? What natal planets does it aspect? What planet rules that house, and how is it aspected? There is much insight to be gained from these indicators about the direction your life might take in the upcoming month.

If you are curious about mundane astrology (the astrology of worldly affairs and events) try casting a New Moon chart for the capital of your state, or your county. Washington, DC astrologers might find it illuminating to look at how local issues are often reflected in national ones (that’s what happens when you live in a country’s capital). The New Moon happens on November 13 at 5:09 pm Eastern Standard Time, so correct for your time-zone and plug that information in to your astrology software with your location. Questions? Feel free to ask in the comments.

I also want to follow up on the Mercury Rx station on Election Day (see my original post on that here). I was afraid that, if the presidential election was close, there would be more of the sort of mess we saw in the 2000 election, the last time Mercury stationed on Election Day. And much of the voting was a mess --  votes being altered by voting machines, dead men being elected, waiting in line for hours and hours to vote in innumerable places -- I could go on and on with Mercury Rx election day stories -- I'm saving them up for reference. But when it came right down to it, none of it mattered. The people spoke decisively, and the biggest influence of Mercury Rx seemed to be on the Republican Party. Jon Stewart does a great job of showcasing what Mercury Rx looked like for the GOP.

Oh, and one more thing: I’ll be starting a series of posts, probably next week, on basic astrology, for those who want to learn more about their own chart and how to use it both for personal insight and for magickal and spiritual workings. I’ll post one of these lessons every two or three weeks. If you want to make sure to be notified of all my posts, then subscribe to this blog, which you can do by following the link above the Urania's Well title at the top of this page.

Until next time!

Last modified on

Diotima Mantineia began studying astrology in 1968, taking classes from Zoltan Mason in New York City. For the next 22 years, she practiced astrology only for herself and her friends, continuing her studies while watching an increasingly humanistic, psychologically oriented, modern astrology blossom through the work of leading astrologers such as Noel Tyl, Liz Greene, Rob Hand, Marion March, Stephen Arroyo and Howard Sasportas. In 1986, Diotima began her study of Wicca and started reading Tarot, discovering that she is a gifted intuitive. In 1991, she began practicing both astrology and Tarot professionally. She majored in plant and soil science both in college and grad school, and grows much of her own food and "materia magica" on her land in the mountains of western North Carolina. Diotima’s personal spiritual path is rooted in the Western mystery traditions, the principles of Yoga, and a profound connection with the natural world. Wicca gives structure to her spiritual journey, and she utilizes shamanic practices for healing and to live in harmony with Nature. Over 15 years of studying Chinese martial arts has given her a deep appreciation of Taoist thought which has strongly influenced her magical and personal philosophy. You can find her at www.uraniaswell.com


  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard Monday, 12 November 2012

    I am so relieved to have you 'splain this all for me. Gad zooks.

  • Diotima
    Diotima Monday, 12 November 2012

    Gad zooks indeed -- this one gets personal. Had a look at your ascendent lately, Ms. B.? ;-> But it's a North Node eclipse, so the changes should be good. And there will be changes. But you knew that.

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