by Boots Hart, CAP

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The 2 Virgo New Moon / Sedna, Station-Retrograde

(photo credit: KMJ, Oct 2007)

Like much of life it seems, astrology is rife with verbal shortcuts, one of which is the idea of maturity or maturation in association with dwarf planet Sedna.

Yes, both those terms do apply. But the process being referred to is more about how we arrive at maturity (or a moment or experience which is maturing)...what causes such a moment or change of perspective to happen and how we came to think or act as we did prior to changing.

All such things are part of the Sedna process, starting with that last part, the part which is about assumptions, presumptions, ‘standards,’ and habits personal, cultural, economic or of any kind and not so much where they come from as why they may (or may not) actually be correct. Or true.

And yet...though the kind of change of perspective we’re talking about here might seem to be something we would experience like the flicking on of a light switch (the proverbial ‘light bulb moment,’ to use a  modernist’s Aquarian Age term) - that’s not how it works. After all, Sedna takes over eleven thousand years to move through 360 degrees as it orbits our beloved Sun - so we’re not talking about anything close to instantaneous or swift. So when Sedna goes retrograde at 1:48 in the morning (UT/+0 time) on August 26th, it’s continuing a metaphysical process started some time ago.

How long ago?

Well, granting that each of us has various individualizing astrological qualifiers which would cause such dates to vary some, in general terms the shortest of short terms would date back to May 8th (when Sedna entered 24 Taurus, the degree it will be going retrograde at), the next longest consideration would be early February 2014 (when in tandem with Mercury, Sedna went retrograde)...and the still-broader ‘bookend date’ would be June 25, 2013 - the date when Sedna first entered 24 Taurus, a particularly testing degree which with Sedna present would indicate a testing time during which we are all will end up facing some need to get/gain/expand perspective on our own security issues.

Not ‘theirs,’ ours. And that’s not a collective ‘ours’ - that’s the you, me, one-by-one everyone on Earth ‘ours.’

And what’s the subject matter we are to be all so individually tested on? Answer: the difference between courage and over-aggressive, the difference between accessible and vulnerable, the difference between help and manipulation, the difference between spirituality and the abandonment of realism.

Sedna marks periods of process. It also marks moments when we recognize how things have changed - that being us in that moment of realizing our perspective has actually changed, a moment we can learn from in any of a number of ways.

And finally, Sedna marks the person we become both for having gone through our experiences - and through our realization of how such processes work.

As usual, we would expect for Sedna’s change from direct to retrograde motion to stir things up - changing our perspective, as it were. Those of us who have major positions in our natal chart (planets, dwarf planets, nodes or axis points) between 19 and 19 of Taurus or those same degrees in Scorpio are the most likely to find this moment ‘educational’ at some level with those on the Taurus side having to deal with issues which touch directly on how we ‘secure’ ourselves (whether emotionally, financially, with a door lock or any other way) and those with positions in Scorpio feeling challenged by external means, be that someone confronting you, some sort of news, a choice which needs making - something.  The squares to Sedna’s station would have the same degree spans but be in Aquarius or Leo with those on the Aquarian side having to wrestle with what needs doing and those on the Leo side having to deal with what’s already been done.

More to the point, Sedna’s going retrograde means we are all moving into a period of months (from now until February 6, 2015) during which our living our own life - just the process of doing that - becomes a catalyst for our coming to understand something more about the difference between making a thoughtful choice and those ‘choices’ or actions which reflect ‘knee-jerk’ responses to situations in our life.

Are we capable of knowing what is a choice and what we’re acting on because we think we are ‘supposed to’? This is the Sedna focus. That which we do because we lack true inner security will reflect past experiences where that which we truly choose to do (or not do, be or respond to) will reflect our consciousness of Self...not the situation or someone else.

As for whether we will do any such thing, the fact that there’s going to be a New Moon in productivity-oriented Virgo on the day before Sedna’s actual turn to retrograde seems something of a clue.

The Moon over Djúpivogur, Iceland
(photo credit: Daniel Om Gislason, January 2009)

To be exact here, the August New Moon will occur at 2:14 in the afternoon of August 25th (UT/+0 time). And it will be at 2 Virgo, a degree which by definition is personal, action or physically oriented, and which is based on tangible knowledge against tangible results. Virgo being the second of the zodiacal earth signs to Taurus being the first gives us a pretty good indication that the first part of the week (and some part of the weekend which precedes that) will be about putting some notion into play...or recognizing how well/not well something in motion (or ‘play’) is working.

The essential (and eventual) question is whether we can reach our goals - whatever they may be. But in the short the ‘now’ the question is what needs to be done? Since Virgo only works well when responsibility of all types is lightly held but kept very much in the forefront of all choices, efforts and activities, morals, ‘the quality of’ things and who we associate with are all important. Virgo favors the established because that gives us something to work with or from (why make things any harder than they need to be?)... and yet Virgo is also well known for endless busywork.

So...are we applying grease and spinning our wheels? Or are we actually about to get somewhere?

Yes, that would be the question - a question we will find ourselves answering in the days and weeks to come. In case you need to know (which you do - need to know, I mean) Pluto will be going direct under this lunation. And among other things, that ties the other of the zodiac’s earth signs (Capricorn) to the doings of the next month.

Things are going to be...earthy, if nothing else. (And probably ‘earthly,’ in terms of ‘what do we intend to happen to life on this planet,’ but that’s another matter.) Seeing as Pluto always carries some level of ‘karma’ wherever it goes, the Capricorn nature to dismantle that which no longer has use while meting out consequences would seem to be set against Sedna in (or as) a conspiring of circumstances which asks us what we are willing to do (part one) and what the definition of ‘necessary’ really is.

In terms of planets (true planets), the only aspect to this New Moon being Neptune at 6 Pisces (notes on which can be found HERE...) it is to be expected that there will be questions during the time of this New Moon. Even some degree of confusion. That Neptune is involved in a grand trine with Juno and Vesta which the Moon is not ‘technically’ (read: by strict application of orbs) part of speaks to matters which are not in our control which we will need to take into account during the days ahead. 

 The 2 Virgo New Moon (glyph chart)
August 25 2014 - 2:12 p.m. (UT/+0) - Aries Wheel (Location Not Specific)

The 2 Virgo New Moon (text chart)
August 25 2014 - 2:12 p.m. (UT/+0) - Aries Wheel (Location Not Specific)

There’s one other aspect seen at the time of this New Moon which deserves a moment of discussion. That aspect is Mars conjunct Saturn at 17 Scorpio, an indicator of a great deal of pressure, particularly applied pressure of the emotionally provocative kind. This is not a kindly combination (Mars/Saturn) though it lends a great deal of strength - ‘steely strength’ or ‘and iron grip’ would be the kind of metaphorical expression one would go for with this pair in structural combination.

As for 17 Scorpio, this is a degree which concerns, and which is known for moral cowardice in the face of losing sight of alternatives to the blind sort of ‘lower Scorpio’ sort of energetic manifestation. Referred to in several texts rather specifically with ailments like cancer, appendicitis and lower GI tract problems, 17 Scorpio is also known for the flaunting of shallow emotional attributes with all of this thought to be the result of not having dealt with inner resentments, anger and frustration.

When in ‘normal’ motion (as it is now), Mars tends to move one degree every two days - or a half a degree a day. Given that and the standard five-degree orb of conjunction, Mars entered the ‘Saturn conjunction zone’ back on August 14th (late on the 13th for those in the eastern Pacific basin region)...and Mars will technically remain in orb to Saturn after having passed Saturn’s position by until September 3rd. In your personal life, trying issues of today which arose back around the time of the 14th (give or take your location) may well end...or at least finish one ‘phase’ in a greater overall structural process by then.

But with Mars conjunct Saturn at the New Moon, we have every reason to expect that things going on now will be going on weeks from now. No, they will not be exactly as they are now, things will change.

We will be in the same chapter of the story, if you will...if not on the same page. How far we each get depends on what we’re willing to do - that much (at least) is clearly indicated by the New Moon - with the Moon being an indicator of daily doings - being in a sign all about health, work, service...which includes the commitments we have to our Self - as well as those we have to others.

How we balance those questions out spells where we will be a couple of weeks from now when the Full Moon rises at 16 Pisces... a time likely to be filled with all the emotional vulnerabilities pertaining to things we refuse to admit or think through now. Over the days and weeks ahead, how well we deal with not the idea of responsibility but the execution of responsibility is going to become a question which we succeed through or fall short on depending on own willingness and orientation towards effort...particularly that effort which in the end either generates or destroys at least some portion of the support upon which we habitually depend.

Of course, we could change...but wouldn't that require a different perspective?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Sun in Virgo / Eclipse Effects Begin

A mirage sunrise over Lake Superior
(photo credit: Tom Ruen, July 2002)

Believe it or not, everything that we have been going through and seeing around us in the world is something of a prelude (or prequel, if you prefer).

To what?

To understanding what it’s all about, which at some level and at some point isn’t about ‘them’ or ‘that’ or whatever. It’s about us. It’s about how willing we are to grapple with what’s wrong - not with life, but with how we’re responding to life. How we’re treating ourselves through whatever we choose to do with our days, our life, to this world and (so we think) to others. All the fighting, all the despair and disregard, all the name calling and ill will, all the shameful neglect for our own standards with regards to anything or anyone who would dare disagree with us...

Metaphysically, none of that is about anyone but us.

Yes, it’s you and me and everybody else, individually going about stirring up our own karma. There is an argument to be made here that things have gotten so bad that there is some underlying knowledge that we need to do some purging of the malicious sort of toxin which has been eating away at our world.

It’s just that very (very) few of us are yet at the point where we realize that the ‘bad’ out there is what we apparently need.

Need? Who needs grief?

Evidently we do.


Simple: because we’re human, and humans generally don’t learn all that much through the good times. We would like to think that we do, but then there are all those expressions like ‘the burned hand teaches best’ (and a thousand others) which admit what we know deep down in our gut: we learn best through pain. That which carries too high a price, we tend not to repeat - just as that which we keep doing over and over again must have some benefit.

Think about that for a while and then think through what’s going on in our world. Humans don’t seem to be in the habit of ‘committing’ peace.’

But why would that be?

Astrologically - which is to say metaphysically - the reason we would be looking for here is described by Scorpio, the sign which wherever it manifests is always about the feelings we are confronted with through our experience of others or emotionality connected with some process, choice or situation.

When it comes to anything Scorpio, we like to feel not that we can win but that we’re going to win - a quality which tends to manifest in Scorpio’s intensity of drive and personal focus. But let’s be real here... as convinced as we might want to be, the reality is that if there’s a question of winning, there’s also a possibility of losing.

There are three water signs: Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces. With Cancer there’s always a candy coating of innocence. So Cancerian mistakes, as flinch-worthy as they may be are generally of the ‘fool me once, shame on you’ type.

But with Scorpio there’s a knowing - at least an emotional knowing. Plus Scorpio is a sign which belongs to the public and interactive quadrant - as opposed to Cancer, which is personal and mostly hidden from the greater world at large. This marks the Scorpio mistake as the one which isn’t just annoying, but possibly embarrassing...even humiliating.

And when people are threatened with humiliation, most don’t take it very well...hence Scorpio’s reputation for manipulation, vengeance and badgering, browbeating and other forms of waiting out a ‘foe’ - which is the point here: in representing where we intersect with others, as part of its polarity to Taurus (sign of personal security) Scorpio also represents how we defend our internal Self...or whether we need to.

This becomes important now as the Sun reaches 0 Virgo on August 23rd (at 4:45 in the morning UT/+0 time) simply because 0 Virgo is in perfect sextile to 0 Scorpio, and 0 Scorpio is the degree of this October’s solar eclipse, a solar eclipse which will occur on October 23rd (UT/+0).

In other words, with the Sun moving into Virgo (which obviously begins with 0 Virgo), this is also the moment when a celestial timer goes off as we enter the two-month ‘breaking down’ period which precedes any given solar eclipse. This ‘breaking down’ process has to do with us - the breaking down of our resistance to things, whether that amounts to something we need to know (and/or accept) about our Self, or something we need to understand about life, our world, or something going on in that world.

As Mercury moved into Virgo last week on the 15th we started thinking about things. Now, as the Sun moves into Virgo, the ‘thinking’ as something apart from real time efforts fades or even vanishes - a quality often seen when Sun and Mercury are in the same sign. Mercury alone is the thought...Mercury plus Sun becomes the theme.

With Mars in the 3rd sign to Virgo (Scorpio) throughout most of the Sun’s transit of Virgo we can expect to see efforts, denials and threats over the next few weeks, all of which are diversions of sort considering there are things coming to the surface in everyone’s life which are too real to ignore even if dealing with them is difficult at best. Eliminating things (and people) is sometimes necessary and yet often simply the easy way out - one which we are likely to find cuts us short in the process.

This year’s annual Sun in Virgo is likely to have  financial implications. Such matters do not have to be negative, but they should be taken into account. That this Sun/Eclipse positioning forms both a one/eleven... well as a one/three...

...harmonic note speaks to communications and responses, acceptance and whatever earnings our successes are due against that tendency we have to segregate, separate, differentiate or unify, whether actively or passively, whether financially, mentally, systemically, societally or through any other means we might think to associate with ‘identity,’ ‘identification,’ ‘individuation’ or ‘ideation.’

...All of which is not only its own little pot of things to stew about (stewing can be nourishing), but also a means by which we will begin to process and either a.) attract, or b.) manifest those situations which represent our individual Scorpio test of personal security.

(Oh joy, oh rapture...)

With the Sun entering Virgo, the eclipse sits in the derivative third sign (1. Virgo, 2. Libra, 3 Scorpio), eliciting everything and anything which has to do with the generic third house...or the individual third house of your natal chart, which we obviously can’t talk about in detail. But we can consider what it means to have an eclipse ‘blacking out’ that which we have thought of as our ‘norm’ or ‘modus operandi’ for however long, tra-la-la.

The third house/sign points to mentality, choice, consideration, information, organization, intelligence, record-keeping, accounting/accounting for, siblings, communication, cars-trains-planes-telephones-computers and whatever else ‘communicates’ us or our ideas to anyone or anywhere else. To have a solar eclipse in this aspect to Virgo speaks to a desire (or) need to let something to... which may mean a real (tangible) something - or it may be our attitude which makes us think getting rid of someone or something will some a problem which in reality is about our personal perspective.

In other words, as the Sun reaches Virgo and as all comes to be as it is at that time and moving forward, something about our (Virgoan) efforts is either eliminated... or comes to be causal in some sort of event or experience wherein life is asking us to not just deny but actually let go of (in reality) something we have long used as methodology, justification, moral position - something.

One slightly unusual quality about this Virgo ingress chart is the fact that as the Sun enters Virgo it  doesn’t actually aspect any other standard planet using standard (Ptolemaic) aspects and standard orbs - a quality which in astrological terms accelerates or multiples the general effect of any placement.  Yes, the Sun is certainly in aspect to fixed (royal) star Regulus at 0 Virgo as it conjuncts it, but this rule only applies to the 'standard planet' list (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto).

As for Regulus, this is the point which gives us royal notice about how in all the things we may think of doing, revenge had best not be not a part of any of it.

No, don't even think about it.

You’re free to do what you want to do about this, of course, but Regulus at any degree promises success only where we are not embodying or utilizing the concept or qualities of revenge (otherwise known as vengeance). At 0 Virgo this speaks to a combining of two rather different influences, one being a burning confidence and the other being the humble servant, suggesting all sorts of ways we may move forward through requiring of ourselves that we lead through earning the respect of all those we would like to have as supporters and/or followers. It not being in the general Virgo play book to do much but drop a hint as to what may be coming at us, this unaspected Virgo Sun may well represent matters or issues in life which we don’t pay much attention to.

It may also represent our not wanting to pay attention to something which doesn’t tickle our fancy.

There is no pre-determined ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ chiseled in stone here. Furthermore, there is just that odd but karmic chance that something highly focal at the moment may be just the thing which the universe has made (in true Scorpio and Scorpio/Virgo style) irresistible so that it will elicit the behavior or choice or realization or victory or complete and utter loss which for some of us will be the 0 Scorpio black rabbit hole we drop rather in slow motion between now and October 23rd, the to-be-hallowed (in short order, no doubt) date of the incoming eclipse.

The March 2006 Solar Eclipse at 8 Aries
(photo credit: Aliparsa, March 2006)

As a side-comment here, if you’re thinking that you should start dreading now and avoid the October solar eclipse rush, there really is no hurry.

Why so?

Well, it’s not like we’re not already on slippery Scorpio ground with ourselves. We can tell that - just look around: wars are raging and death is stalking among us overly openly. Reason has become subject and subjugated to ensnarled passions we haven’t come to grip with yet.

We think we have, of course. But we haven’t. That’s what the next two months are about, with the first part of that process to be lived out under Sun in Virgo.

Oh yes...before I close, the other part of this Scorpio-Virgo relationship - the Virgo-to-Scorpio (one/three) derivation. We can expect a lot of demanding, a lot of manipulation, a deal of denial, much begging (real and otherwise) and a whole host of human beings attempting to manipulate, corner and browbeat others (often through sheer volume or repetition) over the next few weeks.

Be aware: those who fall to such tactics are showing you their vulnerabilities. Treat those issues with kind respect and both sides will win. Take advantage of such chinks in armor and the karma will be yours. you really want to try that fate on (of your own free will) as we go into the prelude to the last and most primal of all Scorpio solar eclipses?

That would be the question.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Mercury in Virgo

Employees of Foundry Department working in 1937 to pour molten metal into molds
(photo credit: US Navy Yard, Mare Island, CA, Sept 1937 National Archives and Records Admin ID296870)
There’s a pretty noteworthy list which goes with  Mercury’s entering Virgo on August 15th at 4:43 in the afternoon (UT/+0 time).

That list would start with the fact that Mercury in Virgo is all about the process and the processing of whatever we need to get done. Virgo is the sign which connects the determination with the goal, in serving as that engine, linkage and challenge also tests our morality.

Mind you, that morality...? That can come in any form, shape or size and it can pertain to any time frame - that we have done, that we still need to do, that we should have done but didn’t... whatever, whenever, however, now is the time to think about what to do about some things, how certain things require more attention than others - and how if we’re not going to devote the proper amount of attention to the task we need to deal with whatever it means to be responsible for our own lack of availability (interest, time, ability, etc.).

Typically a busy sort of time, Mercury in Virgo is often trying to those who have problems with boundaries or realistic priorities (which is to say putting the need before the want!) - a fact which is unlikely to be any different this year apart from the fact that with so much personal energy still vibrating along our Leo and Scorpio pathways the world is likely to look very black-and-white over the next couple of weeks as we perceive those that are weak, those who display strength and those who are sufficiently aware of the relative values of ‘good’ as not to judge, presume, project or covet.

Another little factoid about this year’s just-over-two-week stint with Mercury in Virgo: it’s going to take us from relatively neutral celestial waters (yes, you heard me - this was neutrality you just experienced) into the next two-month ‘break down’ period preceding this coming October’s solar eclipse.

And I know you’re looking forward to that, right?

(insert: sounds of jeering crowds)

Yes, of course you are.

With Jupiter’s ongoing Leo-based inconjunct to Neptune in Pisces coming to a head as Mercury enters Virgo, there’s a lot of clear need and a lot of confusion in terms of how to make many factors fit together in a way which is both sensible and capable of supporting what needs to be done.

And let’s remember - the Sun is in Leo, so ‘need’ is likely to be a relative term (ahem) with a lot of people veering towards seeing their wants as needs and their preferences as oh so important but your stuff? You know, all those things that you think are so important?

That may not rank.

Still...Mercury moving into Virgo is the beginning of a shift which will by the end of the month have us working on moving past our current sticking points, whatever they may now concern. Moreover, by the beginning of September (as Mercury is about to move on into Libra) we may even have realized what we have led ourselves to learn over this past few months.

No, it’s not guaranteed. But it is possible that some of us will - as Mercury moves into and through Virgo, even in advance of the Sun and (ultimately) Venus joining the Virgo parade - it’s entirely possible that we’ll become more inclined towards the sort of pragmatism which typifies those most famous Virgo keyword: health, work, service. Whether this means we’re considering how we need to think, act or operate as to support our own greater aims or dealing with the need to look at or take care of the ‘health’ or ‘healthy status’ of some project, person, place or physical process.

Which yes, would include becoming aware of the fact that something needs healing, or coping with same.

Associated with responsibility, Virgo often manifests as that which is (not so) affectionately known as “the daily grind” or that which we need to learn/learn about (or learn how to manage effectively) in order to take ‘the next step.’ And as Mercury - representing the mental organizing we would need to do in order to make that step happen - moves into Virgo, most of us will simple move into our ‘how to get (something) done’ mode with relatively little fuss. On some subtle (if realistic) level this signals a start to the letting go of thinking about everything in terms of the ‘idea of it’ in favor of practical factors and more grounded, analytical and coolly goal-driven thinking which sorts things through in terms of what deserves priority in the grander scheme of things.

We know of course that with fixed (and royal) star Regulus currently positioned at 0 Virgo, its ‘rule’ that success can be ours providing we don’t act (or haven’t acted) in the spirit of revenge says motivations for our choices (particularly those which dictate what, when and how we do things) come into operational play. Some matters - for whatever reason - now need correction, and why we do or don’t react to such needs is less about the external than the internal except in areas where we have violated the needs, rights or security of others. But let’s be clear here: Virgo is less about ‘the other’ or the external situation than it is about our greater relationship to others, the values we bring to doing whatever it is we do in life and our ability to separate what we’d like the truth to be versus what exists, what could exist or what would come to function successfully in real time, whether in our personal life or otherwise.

With Apollo at 1 Virgo, some of us are going to be finding out that they have bought into some measure of flattery or have been fooled, willingly or otherwise. Added to this is a nuance described by Moon conjunct Mirach at 0 Taurus, a mélange of qualities which generally point to kindly and supportive attitudes and feelings which may be unrealistic... and then again, may be signaling an incapacity or lack of resources which may simply be about a lack of capacity to do things, change things or get things done. There is plainly a [Ceres/ asteroid Pax] need to find a well-balanced means of interacting and moving forward, and to make our efforts work there is going to have to be some sort of [Juno] management and discipline of [Cancer] native instincts. Juno-Mercury speaks to ‘regulated actions’ and the need to regulate (manage, organize, lay out) things in one’s mind with the combining of these (Cancer-Virgo-Scorpio) influences pointing out the need for detailed and accurate coordination with regards to what needs doing - even if that’s only about getting things organized in our head before we walk out the front door or raise our hand in class.

One other thing to note here: given the ‘chain’ of three sextiles involved in this ingress (Ceres to Mercury, Mercury to Juno, Juno to Mirach/Moon) this image is also four-sixths of a grand sextile - that six sided astrological figure representing the linking of fate and free will (otherwise known in more spiritual terms as ‘heaven’ and ‘earth’). So for anyone - or any entity, in the case of corporations, partnerships, nations and otherwise - in the case of any chart which has planets (dwarf or otherwise), axis points or nodal positions between...

a.) 28 Aquarius and 2 Pisces


b.) 28 Sagittarius and 2 Capricorn

...that will turn this relatively minor astrological event into something far more telling and/or far-reaching: a grand sextile. Commonly known to manifest as situations or realizations which change us in mysterious and far-reaching ways, grand sextiles are seldom dramatic in the moment but rather a sign that something ‘big’ is going to change in an inexorable and evolutionary manner. 

To be clear here, even without the additional points there is a quality of something which is already in motion with much now having to do with what we are going to choose to do with regards to such ongoing matters. But with October playing host to that previously mentioned solar eclipse at 0 Scorpio and with 0 Scorpio being a degree which fits in with this Mercury/Virgo ingress, while this transit will function in its own right in the here and now, there's also a hint about things in present tense having something to do with social, societal and economic factors (reflecting the October eclipse) which are about to become far more thoroughly known.

On a personal level, Mercury in Virgo is the sound of efforts, personal lessons/learning better and getting things done.

On a more global level, Mercury in Virgo asks whether what we’re going (or the manner in which we are going about doing it) is ethical on a truly global basis.

Not our definition of global, but truly global. With the polarity sign to Virgo being Pisces, whatever we face now is best dealt with thoughtfully. But since being really thoughtful now is going to force us to face our feelings, it is entirely reasonable (and therefore Virgoan) to bear in mind that there are any number of people (and entities) whose unfeeling natures or unwillingness to feel are going to manifest in anything from callousness to malice, malice being often nothing more or less than an  indignant retaliation for having been made to feel something beyond our ability/willingness) to cope with.

What we do about that is a test of responsible thinking. Fortunately Mercury is entering Virgo - a fact which says we may not like what we need to think about over the next few weeks, but we still need to do some thinking nonetheless.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams (1951-2014)

Comedian Robin Williams performing as part of a USO holiday show held for the Aviano Air Base community.
(photo credit: Aviano Air Base, Italy - Dec. 22, 2007 - US Air Force photo /Staff Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth)

I’ve just heard on the television that Robin Williams is no longer with us.

Hearing he was no longer breathing took my breath away.

I worked with Robin back in the day when I was just learning about movie production first hand (as opposed to hearing my-father-the-producer complain about making movies at the dinner table). The movie was called “The Best of Times”...and the making of “The Best of Times” was anything but. It was a hot, hot summer and every dumb cliché you’ve ever heard about movie making was somehow making an appearance to costly effect.

No one was happy. Days were long, the drives to “near” location were longer (and in LA traffic) and somewhere just shy of mid-picture (the point at which half the crew starts looking for their next job as the rest start gritting their teeth) the crew - all something hundred of them - they all got quite bent out of shape.

And on that day when the crew assumed various postures resembling paperclips, Robin Williams stepped up to the plate. As everyone broke for lunch, Robin ducked into the catering truck telling the chef to ‘just put something to one side for me’ - then he headed out into the sea of tables set up for mealtime and started doing improv stand-up.

According to one of the production assistants on the show, he never stopped. It was hot and everyone had worked themselves into that cheerful state of exhaustion which so typifies Hollywood production but wherever he went Robin had a quip, a comment, a poke which made everybody laugh.

Back at the studio I came across Robin one day as I wandered by a knot of people while thumbing through a stack of checks, unabashedly pausing to listen (as crew people do) when I heard someone engage Robin in what struck me as a classic exchange built on Robin's having already regaled everyone with some number of minutes of brilliance.

Crewperson: Are you like this all the time?

Robin: Sure. I’m just being me.

Crewperson: So what does your wife say about it?

Robin: She tells me to shut up.

Robin grinned that silly grin of his as he pronounced his personal doom, smiling at the idea - and maybe even at the fact no one would ever be the wiser as to what was real or comedy...who knows. But now, several decades later I still hear his voice ringing as it always seemed to with the blatancy of the obvious laced with irony and humor.

In the end I guess I always come back to Robin as the Genie in Disney’s ‘Aladdin.’ (People who are clients are chuckling at this point.) But more to the Robin of it all, there was a story which went around town during the making of ‘Aladdin’ about how when Robin when into the studio to record his dialogue, his ad libs were so much better than the script that the studio ditched both the script and the animation work done to date with regards to those scenes, telling the animation department to go back, do it again and this time follow Robin.

That's a pretty exotic story (even for Hollywood), considering the money which would be involved in such a command. But I tend to believe this tale for three reasons:

1.) because the ability to blow people out of the water most amazingly is sheer Robin Williams.

2.) because this is Disney we're talking about. (Never has there been a studio which understood the value of a well-constructed character better than Disney).

3.) I heard this story from an animator I had worked with on ‘An American Tail’ who went on to work for Disney on ‘Aladdin.’ (I tend to believe a guy facing doing months of work over again, Robin Williams or no Robin Williams.)

Apart from that, I never heard a cross word about Robin from anyone in the entertainment industry - which for those who work in Hollywood is an award of spirit as precious in its own way as a shiny Oscar. 

Robin Williams was born in Chicago, Illinois on July 21, 1951 at 1:35 p.m. (CST).

 Robin Williams
July 21, 1951 - 1:34 p.m. (CST/+6) - Chicago, Illinois (glyph chart)

 Robin Williams
July 21, 1951 - 1:34 p.m. (CST/+6) - Chicago, Illinois (text chart)

As an astrologer would, when I heard the news I looked back at the calendar and it all came clear even as my eyes filled with tears.

Uranus went retrograde on July 22nd as the Sun moved into Leo - a day after Robin’s are the links to the posts on same, if you’d like to read them.

As I have said many times, events which precede a planetary station - like Robin’s birthday did in this case - have yet to play out. And so it did.

But as for Robin no longer being with us, for me that will never be true. Robin will always be with me because on that one cavalier day when he was talking about his wife and I was looking for someone who needed a check, he impressed me with his willingness to laugh at everything about being human.

Today that laughter still remains...but it's sobered by a veil of tears for someone who will be missed even as we revel in the joy of his memory.

Robin's spirit remains a friend to us all.

Thank you for allowing me to share this moment of personal sadness.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Venus in Leo

Planet Venus above Boudicca's prancing horse at Westminster
(photo credit: Mattbuck, March 2012)

Once Venus enters Leo, that will bring the number of planets in Leo to four (Venus, Jupiter, Sun and Mercury).

That’s a lot of Leo energy - not to mention that the ruler of Leo (the Sun) is one of those four planets.

Under any (or every) circumstance, Venus in Leo can be creative and fully capable of exuding incredible warmth and charm. This is the kind of influence one might associate with that perfect relaxing day, that effortlessly deft show of skill or that feeling that we’re on top of the world. Venus in Leo can put the spark in sparkle and turn up the light in utterly delightful.

Venus in Leo can also manifest in acts, choices or thrusts which are selfish, unthinking, or downright arrogant.

The difference between these qualities sounds simple: it’s about taking the opinions, preferences and aims of others into account. In other words, should Venus in Leo manifest as some sort of drama with you as the performer, it’s one thing not to care whether you have an audience (that’s performing for the fun of it) another to do your best for a suitable audience and another yet again to have some sort of paying audience whose sensibilities you completely ignore.

It’s not that Venus in Leo necessarily promotes thoughtlessness... although it can. And it’s not as if Venus in Leo is lazy, though there is a tendency to get a bit ‘lost in the moment’ (or in one’s own thoughts) at a moment which doesn’t work for others - and of course since they’re under Venus in Leo as well, the mere idea of being ignored can rub their Leo fur every wrong way in town.

Venus in Leo tends to dramatize things - even in our thoughts. With all the Leo energy going on at the moment everyone has their own (Mercury) idea on and are probably entirely too (Jupiter) willing to explain to you why they’re right... sometimes whether or not what they’re being so ‘right’ about even applies to what’s being discussed. Under Venus in Leo things seem more important than at other times which can be lovely or desperation-inciting, depending on where we stand with ourselves otherwise. Those who are content or in good shape are apt to reap benefits, especially as transiting Venus conjuncts and passes over Jupiter on August 18th (UT/+0) at 7 Leo while those who are having difficulties are likely to react or experience the breaking of dreams that those at the behest of those caught up in the dream of what they consider ‘right.’ This is a ‘transactional’ conjunction which - given that the Moon will be in early Gemini at the time - creates the ability to take a lot on but warns that potential is not reality and that details... particularly those we gloss over... are likely to come back to haunt us in a singularly flat-footed way.

Overstepping limits (‘coloring outside the lines’ or exceeding previously set boundaries) is another thing we’re likely to see and hear about between August 12th and 20th. Such matters will have enormous power of suggestion and should be treated/treated with accordingly, as it will be easy during these days to set forces in motion...and not so easy (and maybe not even possible) to contain or ‘edit’ what others are thinking - which of course means we’re going to hear the good and the bad, the discoveries and fun along with a fresh batch of rumors and trash talk coming at us through various media.  

Put simply, it is our allegiance to whatever idea we are currently holding dear which either motivates us to success...or which confuses us and confounds our success for reasons we tend not to understand but which have everything to do with the Leo tendency to be so involved with making something happen that we tend to not see our actions (present or past) with enough perspective to see what part of reality (or realities) we’ve forgotten.

(Or purposefully ignored.)

And for those who do see their errors or miscalculations, then comes the big Leo flinch. Leo, doesn’t like being wrong. Wherever we see Leo (in this case as a signature for Venus) that’s the area of life we’re not going to enjoy anyone even threatening to find flaws with. Under such Leo ‘threats’ (which may not be real threats even though our ego certainly feels threatened) instinct often triggers us to get all defensive-aggressive - which with Venus often manifests as physical criticism, attacks on ‘how something looks’ or responses, retorts and declarations which are basically ‘I’m so fabulous - never mind them.’

And sometimes that works. Sometimes it doesn’t.

Venus enters Leo
August 12, 2014 - 7:25 a.m. UT/+0 - Aries Wheel (Location Not Specific)

This year Venus is arriving at its Leo ingress on August 12th at 7:25 in the morning UT/+0 time, perfecting a square to Ceres, which having moved into Scorpio on August 7th will still be loitering around at 0 Scorpio.

Venus-Ceres is about having a plan and executing a plan which accomplishes things which are (in particular) important to longer-term considerations. Having come into the 5-degree orb-of-square on last Thursday or Friday (August 7th or 8th, depending on where you are), with Venus then still in Cancer most efforts were about things basic, necessary and supportive of anything or everything else we might want to do in this life.

That quality changes once Venus enters Leo, asking how we can achieve those aims creatively. Cancer’s influence being cardinal (action oriented) we ‘did’ then and now we’re pausing to think what still needs doing and how to do... not do... or undo the next item on our list as Cancer’s watery emotionality gives way to curiosity, imagination and inventiveness - all of which are particularly strong for the first few days of this transit. Once Mercury moves into Virgo on August 15th (UT/+0 time) pragmatic and practical parameters start taking hold, becoming ever more evident (and useful) as the Sun joins Mercury in Virgo early on August 23rd (UT/+0), helping us to make headway on whatever tasks may be at hand.

A few more notes here on what is typically a rather pleasant transit (though if things are going wrong you can expect a good deal of grumpiness!). Are you planning on taking a vacation? Venus in Leo works well for vacations of the restful, recuperative and recreational types, though with so much energy in Leo there are bound to be more than a few people who (vacation or not) are too full of themselves for their own good. Why that is may be about pride... or it may be about some deep-seated feeling of vulnerability to embarrassment, which often comes off looking like pride. At the moment such moments (apart from the purely gleeful) are most likely to be set off when people try to do something they just don’t know enough about.

Bluffing sometimes work. Then again, sometimes it just makes things worse. Leo as a sign is the very antithesis of its polarity sign Aquarius in that Aquarius (and Aquarians) have a near-infinite (and to others, sometimes maddening!) ability to shift into impersonal mode where Leo takes all things personally.

That all of this is happening as Jupiter’s inconjuncting of Neptune comes to its focal point on the 15th (the same day that Mercury moves from Leo into Virgo) emphasizes the fact that there are a lot of people who are living in either an ideologically driven emotional space or a period of time which is emotional because our ideals are being contested by realities we (frankly) don’t like. How we deal with our own [Neptunian] fears on various subjects and whether we are willing to feel our fears and do what is morally, ethically and universally humanistic (in real world, real life, real human being terms) now tends to divide and conflict us, even with regards to that which we have believed in now for some length of time.

There are [Mars and Saturn in Scorpio] things which we will need to face now and deal with, like them or not. In dealing with such matters we will ‘steel’ ourselves, with most choosing ‘duty’ over humanity.

Where such choices (and all they lead to) express our personal internal standards with truth and accuracy things will be simple and direct. 

Where we are essentially in violation of our own inner core of mortal standards however, we will do what we must do with even greater vehemence, hoping to convince ourselves through the reactions of others.

And as always, we will project. The more married we are to our own ideas and ideals, the more we will come to this time feeling alienated or envious or simply regretful...the more we will tend to look to others without taking stock of - and learning (or relearning) how to utilize our worth.

But then, that’s one thing Venus in Leo is very good at. Venus in Leo can be the heart of showiness or an influence under which we are ‘shown’ what we yet can do and excel at. The native instinct under Venus in Leo is to do what we want while aiming to please our Self (or fulfill our dreams).

And often that works just fine.

Yet as with all things Leo, what we do which contributes to a greater whole (or purpose) is far more lasting and powerful. We are all being faced with a series of situations which seem to be all about the ‘other’ and what they like or even understand, with much in the way of challenges coming from areas of life or concern where people are embedded or ‘conditioned’ by some established position.

But that’s not what Venus in Leo is about. Venus in Leo is about who we want to be (or be seen as). Some such efforts are working, others are not.

And still we’re reluctant to change. Why that is may well become a bit more clear over these next few weeks - at which point we’ll decide what we want to improve upon.

Or not.