by Boots Hart, CAP

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Cancer Ingress Update

The Cancer ingress - the year's longest day - occurred back in June. The chart is posted in the sidebar, but since I wouldn't want eyes to stray (no, not even for a moment!) here 'tis yet again...!

So what's up? Why bring this up now?

The 'what's up' is that July 31st is when, by implied progression (that would be astrological-ese, yes...) the Sun chart conjuncts the Venus of this chart, activating  Venusian properties.

And that's not all bad! Venus is Leo can be a very happy thing. It can symbolize good times and much fun. And considering that since the ingress, Venus has moved on into Virgo (where it's not so much fun!) we might all need a break. Even a day's break...might be quite welcome.

You with me?

But let's be real: Venus in Leo can also be a sign of self indulgence. And since Leo is ruled by the Sun, with the Sun actually reaching this position there's a chance to be 'struck blind' over the weekend. Not literally, but may not see something. Or you might not be seen for who you are or what you have to offer.

Then again, you may just welcome this effect. Sometimes we just don't want to see reality - we want a day off....we want to fling caution to the wind and go play. 

Whatever happens, the big 'down' side (if there is one) to remain aware of is about two things: keeping things in proportion (that applies to you and everyone around you, too) and the possibility that you may be arrogant. Good cheer is a positive, ignoring necessity or responsibility because you want your cheery time...? Not so good!

There's a temptation here to 'just round those jagged corners' - which may be the wanting to make everything sound or look nice (even when it isn't) or good old fashioned escapism. And so long as you don't over-ride good sense, the fact you're dancing on a rainbow which won't last may not be a problem. Making do and playing along - all fine.

Just don't kid yourself with thinking you can rob Peter, pamper Paul and never pay the piper! That kind of excess is going to come back come the end of August... sort of like too thin ice which holds up just long enough for you to get in over your head before you get plummeted into the drink. Youch!

So if something comes up...or is already on the table...? Maybe its better to solve the issue now and own the human glitchiness of life than risk an ice bath later?

That's up to you. This season is totally full of opportunities. But it's also strewn with personal challenges. And we each decide how to deal with them as little cosmic bells go off. Like now.

There's a lot of talk going on about planetary pictures and alignments and such. And not to rat out on some less-than-lovely tactics employed not just by astrologers but by Madison Avenue and media/political machines...getting you scared is a pretty good way to get your attention, allegiance, time and (yes), money.

And that - frankly - is part of the test: how much we are sheep and to what degree we are each willing to own our individuality as part of our greater world? That underlies much of what's now in the works: a big t-square involving achievement-oriented Saturn (the 'what we want from life') being challenged by Plutonic changes in the world and our world. 

In essence, we so want what we want. But will we get it?

Astrologically, this isn't about whether life is stopping us. It's more about life challenging us to be who we should be. It's less about denial and more about maturity; less about loss than it is about your/our willingness to accept the 'whole package' that life (and our life) really is.

Planetary pictures don't spell doom; they're a natural part of life's vast and intricate cycles. Those who would tell you otherwise are merely trying to 'work' you. Challenges turn up when we become stagnant because growth, not relaxation, is the thing which life relies and is built on. And from.

So these planetary pictures? They're no more doomsday than having someone tell you it's a-quarter-to three. By this I mean that it it's a-quarter-to-three and you need to get going, you know that.

In that self same way, you don't need anyone to tell you to keep growing - you know it. You may not like it, but you know it! 

As for how growth patterns will set up now? That's another matter. Some doors will be sticky and some are  truly locked. And there are some you haven't tried...and whether you know it or not, these are like as not exactly the doors you should be trying now.

Why? Because the object is to move from what we want to do towards what we are capable of creating, becoming or achieving. 

What that is...that's totally up to you.  

And that being it for the day (she said reaching for the apple some kindly student left on her desk)...class is now excused! Here's a link to the Cancer Ingress blog, if you want a brush-up...

....and I hope you have a fabulous Venus sort of day!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Mercury Retrograde: Into the Shadow


Tomorrow July 31st, Mercury crosses 5 Virgo, entering what's known as the "shadow" of it's upcoming retrograde.

Mind you, this isn't anything nefarious. It's not like Mercury is doing anything 'shadowy.' All that's meant by the term is that in crossing 5 Virgo, Mercury is beginning to traverse degrees which during retrograde, it will then again back over. And once it goes direct again on September 12th, these degrees will again be hit in forward (direct) motion.

The whole of this cycle not ending until September 28th, marked above as the date when Mercury exits it's shadow and moves on.

So what does this mean in general and to you? As any planet enters its shadow of upcoming retrograde (and remember, all celestial objects except the Sun, Moon, fixed stars and galactics do this celestial dance step)...any time this occurs we enter a 'zone' where things already 'on the table' are what will be worked out during the whole of the cycle.

As we discussed earlier this week when Mercury entered Virgo, there are different 'style's to how people cope. Apart from that, the general lore of direct-versus-retrograde motion is that during direct motion we experience and learn from 'input' and external events. During retrograde we build on what we've learned, consolidate gains, cut losses and otherwise do some mental/personal housekeeping.

In this case, as Mercury goes sliding into its shadow, there's some...celestial 'noise' going on. Call it a bit of cosmic bickering. 

The symbolism here is Mars (direct), Saturn (direct) and Black Hole M87 in early Libra, all opposing a retrograde Aries quartet of Jupiter, Lust, Uranus and Hebe (plus ill-favored Scheat in late Pisces). This is a picture of 'conflicting interests' either in your head, maybe in your schedule or your can be about you and other people in your world, some personal relationship or something you're trying to achieve.

Whatever it is, it needs time in which to consider parameters, information and options. Virgo representing the linkage between the desire and the 'achieving of the thing' questions now swirl around am I doing the right thing? or maybe is what I'm doing really going to get me where I want to go? In some cases you will have to cope with "oppositional forces" which are presenting you with critiques or important choices.

During the last week before retrograde, typically feelings of urgency about. The rule is to differentiate between what's on track to finish naturally (easily) and what you feel pressured to rush and take care of.

Rushing isn't good. But things which may come to fruition (climax, completion) during this time because you've reached the end of a process? Well, bravo! Go ahead - take care of the thing and be done with it. 

Things may be emotional as station/retrograde nears, but that isn't necessarily bad. And please - don't do or not do because retrograde is coming: the ONLY question is whether your ducks are in a line. Don't worry about what others may or may not do - or when they're going to do it. Astrologers get lots of questions on this score  (yours truly included); for some reason people think all of life is/should come to a halt during retrogrades.

But nothing of the sort is remotely true! Take Mercury's a great time for catching up on paperwork. Or phone calls. It's fabulous for doing research or a fine-tooth edit. It's a fine time for conversations which may clarify your thinking.

Put simply, Mercury's retrograde periods (like that of any other planet, asteroid, TNO or what not) can be incredibly productive. It's all in how you use it.

So just be aware. All retrogrades ask us to do is take note of what we might in our rush run on by. Retrogrades ask us to explore the broader and richer potentials in life.

We all tend to focus narrowly. We all tend to see too much simply in black-or-white. And because we do, along comes the conceptual shadow of a retrograde, adding metaphorical and metaphysical shadows...and thus depth. During retrograde cycles our life takes on context and texture.

They give us a bit of pause in the action so that we can accept, absorb...then move on to excel in this thing we call life.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mars in Libra (July 29 - September 13)

Painting: Maxfield Parish "Stars"

Mars rules Aries, the sign of "I Am." As such, Mars is the symbol of knowing who you are and doing something with that person that you are. Not always well and not always all that carefully (no one ever said Mars is about neat, clean and thorough!). But if you need the job done, Mars is the symbol of the determination, gusto and courage to get out there and slay that dragon, unclog that sink or look under the log to see if the noise is really a snake or just a squirrel rustling in some leaves.

Mars is also the primary ruler of Scorpio. Famously about sex, Scorpio is really all about where we test out how our values cause us to choose this, that or the other thing. Taking that risk takes some kind of courage - which applies whether you're investing your money, trusting someone else with your secrets, feelings or savings, or if you're taking your clothes off to do that deed most intimate.

What signs Mars is strong in actually tells us rather a bunch - all of which is probably best begun by giving you a little ol' natural zodiac wheel to see and grok with. 

Voila! There would be that wheel.
Now...let's think quarter-past-nursery school. If we only have 100% of any given thing (say, a strength) and we give 75% of that strength to one side, what does that mean for the other?

Right! It's less strong. In astrology, we call these opposite pairs of signs (and houses) 'polarities.' And every sign (and house) have planets which are naturally strong(er) there...and naturally weaker there.

Since we're talking about Mars entering Libra (a sign), we'll just concentrate on that part today...Mars being very, very strong in Aries means it's less strong in Libra.

But is it weak, or is it merely less assertive? Ah! That would be exactly the issue we now get to deal with, my wise little grasshoppers!

Mars in Aries is all about being self possessed and aware of yourself and your capacities. Take that to extremes and you get people who are obnoxiously egotistical and self centered like to make you want to barf.

Mars in Libra can be about capitulation. Then again, it can be the lowering of that 'it's all about me' thing just enough that you can actually hear someone else.

It's all a sense of proportion. If you're someone who has trouble with others saying 'no' to you, Mars in Libra is going to feel like being an undercooked turnip getting a mashing. And let's not just be all one sided (that wouldn't be fair and fair is a totally Libra buzz-word!) ... if you are someone who normally capitulates and doesn't speak up, this transit can be totally demoralizing!

And yet...and yet...the REAL purpose of Mars in Libra is about doing what it takes to promote and find resolutions. Mars in Libra, at its best, is the negotiating a compromise. That means the meek have to step up to the plate and the strong have to stop with the bullying  routine.

Mars in whatever sign it transits tends to want to assert. And whatever your natal Mars is, your inclination will be read from there. And again, we can kind of group these inclinations by their polarities:

If you have either a Capricorn or Cancer Mars, you won't much like Mars in Libra because you're going to feel like you're being 'called out' on something or other. If (and to the degree) you can own up to your own hard headed-ness and tendency to impose your point of view or run roughshod over others, you'll do well under Mars in Libra. You may (MAY...) even come out smelling like the proverbial rose.

If your natal chart includes either an Aquarius or Leo Mars, this incoming Mars transit is an opportunity to get a lot done. As things ease up tension-wise you may feel like kicking back and just taking a break - and that's fine too...but you would be missing out on an opportunity which only comes around once every 6-8 months.

If your natal Mars falls in either Pisces or Virgo, your in for some personal confrontation - not with others, but with yourself. You're just coming out of a very intense period and this 'tapering off' of focus may tempt you to relax - except for the bumps. Those bumps and rough patches are meant to keep you in focus, calling your  attention to little points which still need fine tuning so you're ready when in a couple of months opportunities burst out like light bursting from the horizon at sunrise.

If you're one of the natal Mars-in-Aries or Libra folks, this is your time to either shine or face the music. Much depends on what you've been up to over the past 6 months or so. This isn't a subtle time no matter what - you can fuss and feud or deal with things productively, taking all things into consideration.

You say you have a natal Mars in Taurus or Scorpio? Given this, Mars in Libra means an adjustment. Mars in Scorpio types are going to be forced to reconsider priorities in all their resplendent, repercussive glory. Mars in Taurus folks face a re-balancing period which though you'd like to think it was about others is really about how well you consider who others really are before making many a choice.
Last (but certainly not least!), for those with Mars in either Gemini or Sagittarius, you also have an opportunity. Gemini Mars people are going to need to focus on interactions with the world around them while Mars in Sagittarius people work on getting where they want to go - the sorting out of choices, and making one, following it through with erstwhile charm.

One other thing...when Mars rolls into Libra on July 29 at 23:47 (GMT), it obviously enters the sign at zero. Whatever your natal Mars is placed at numerically, that tells you pretty much when your personal 'issues' are going to come to the fore. Transit descriptions above hold generally for the whole of the period, but it's also worth breaking this down a little too - decanate by decanate...for reasons you will see as we move along.

July 29 - August 14/Mars at 0 to 9 Libra: This is Libra's physical decanate. The focus is on physicality and what we do to-with-according to others. If your Mars is in any 1st decan of any sign, this you're likely to literally feel (or at least hear about) Mars-in-Libra effects in your world.

The negatives here are a'plenty: retribution, criticism, feeling attacked, ousting, feeling ignored...oh, for some this may be such the trying time! You may feel undervalued, overworked, underpaid...and get into a personal snit about how inconsiderate and domineering others are. How dare they!
And yet...the tough part here is really your ego. Don't blame them - ask yourself why they would be saying such a thing to you. This period exalts Mars in Libra on a personal level: imbalances between parties now are about the right to be who you are and how as people we tend to overstep our bounds in asserting our Mars/ego thing.

August 15 - August 26/Mars at 10 to 19 Libra: The second ten degrees of any sign - it's 2nd decanate - are always emotional. (Yes, even when it's an air sign!) Emotions and verbalization are more emphatic and passionately expressed now than ever - and that may be the reality of it, or merely the fervency of the moment. If you are the proud owner of a 2nd decan Mars in any sign, your emotions are going to get called out now either through provocation or commentary.

How you respond? That would be the crux of the thing so be prepared. You may not need a muzzle, but even without a 2nd decan Mars this is going to be a sufficiently touchy time that it might be best to have picked up your flack jacket from the cleaners before we get this far.

August 27-September 13/Mars in 20-29 Libra: This is Mars in the 3rd and worldly decanate. If your natal Mars is in a 3rd decanate then you tend to do things and there's a general pause before you find out if they work or not, which is genuinely difficult and oftentimes annoying.

I don't want to get all preachy here, but this is your Mars and understanding this pattern should in time teach you to be careful about evading rules, cutting corners and otherwise jumping your own gun. You may hate, loathe and go all flapjacks about taking the long route to anything, but you're probably better off teaching yourself to look, think, and look again before you leap lest you act in haste and repent at discouraging leisure.
In any case, if you do have one those late-in-a-sign natal Mars signatures, this is the time when everything comes to a head in your life. Pressure or need or effort you may have avoided now becomes unavoidable.

And yet...even as I write that, I know there are a few who will dive under a rock rather than deal with situations straight out.

Well okay...but don't be surprised to find someone has come along and dumped a load of concrete on that rock while you were hiding. You want to hide? That's your choice - Mars is always about what we do or don't do. But if you have a late Mars and do your hiding now, be prepared to spend the next two years breaking out of the bunker without the door you've now constructed.

For all those willing to own their Mars in Libra integration and interaction thing...for everyone brave enough to face themselves in the mirror of the audience and get that what we receive is all about what we've put out there...this can be a miraculous time.

Mars in Libra offers us a chance to get where we want to go. It just won't let us hide. It doesn't honor dishonorable behavior. It doesn't reward those who don't give in kind, but merely take because they can.

Mars is always about ego...and now we learn the lesson that sometimes less is more. This isn't about goodness, this is about true mortal humility.

There's a difference!

Mars as seen by the Hubble Telescope - source: NASA

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Two Liliths

The stories about Lilith are many and varied. All of them stretch back into the Greeks, to early Jewish folklore, to Babylon and even early Mesopotamia.

There seems little doubt that Lilith is some kind of demon - but lest we get all she-devil about this, the Mesopotamians (which being the earliest in the lineage would seem to have some say-so about what this tradition is about) held that Lilith was merely the female form of a demon which also came in male and animal form.

There are a couple of interesting parts of all such myths which all come forward into the astrology. The first part is that (according to the Mesopotamians, who thought of Lilith as daughter of their sky-god), Lilith was given free will over infants, and it is through exercise of that free will that she chooses to do evil instead of good. 

The second fact which seems highly evocative arises most clearly in the Jewish/Old Testament (and Talmudic) tradition, which holds that Lilith was made from the same clay as Adam so that ol' Adam didn't have to be all by his lonely (humans are not a solitary species!). 

When Adam requests that Lilith be subservient to him, she refuses on the (literal) ground that she was created at the same time and from the same clay (earthly, earthy) substance as Adam himself. Of course, he didn't like that much, so after a fight she leaves, refusing to return to the Garden of Eden and eventually hooking up with Archangel Samael.

 Meanwhile Adam gets a new wife - Eve. Since she is created from Adam's rib, Eve is a natural 'subset' of Adam (so to speak) and thus theoretically is more amenable to being subservient to him. 

A brief disclaimer here: none of this is being said to degrade,denigrate or contradict anyone's spiritual tradition. This is simply what you find if you do the research on the evolution of Lilith as an image. 

As for Archangel Samael, though technically a 'fallen angel,' Samael remains in decent graces with the Almighty, serving as the Angel of Death. This is an interesting note in the astrological sense as when we take the whole pantheon of objects together, that connects Samael with Orcus, a TNO named for the god who meets one as they cross over from life into death, reviewing with you there all which by virtue of death can no longer be changed.

 In the end, What this amounts to is the 'wedding' of Lilith's 'free will' to ultimate consequences - something to bear in mind, especially since no matter which version of the Lilith myth you read, Lilith chooses to do at least the unpopular thing, if not the out-and-out evil thing. 

Yet astrology does run entirely contrary to the socio-historical-religious Lilith standard in one critical and vitally important way: since every chart contains Lilith, that means Lilith cannot be a woman or be merely about women. There is a Lilith quotient in all of us, just as there is an Achilles or Pluto or Mercury or Mars quality in all of us. 

And, in point of fact, there are TWO astrological Liliths. If you've followed this blog, you're aware of that by now. So what's the difference and why would they be what they are? 

First of all, let's be real here. No one likes to think of themselves as unpopular or evil. Even if we choose to be a hermit, we like to think it's our choice. And nobody, not Hitler, not Genghis Kahn, not Pol Pot - nobody gets up, goes to the mirror and says "Hello, Evil One! What nasty, nasty thing can we do to make this world worse today?" 

And this much we do see in the Lilith of myth and legend; whatever Lilith is to us, it's not that thing we like to focus on. Lilith is that primal 'wife quality' of our psyche - the 'other part of us' we have 'divorced.' 

In other words, Lilith is that we deny about ourselves. It's our psychological shadow.

 The first Lilith is the asteroid Lilith: a member of the main asteroid belt which cycles in a closer orbit than say, Psyche - our mind and the symbol of knowing ourselves (article on Psyche). That Lilith is closer to us than full knowledge of our mind tells us that we are likley to run into that we don't want to be before we find that which we truly are. It speaks to how easy it is to be led astray by our own ignorance, naivete, innocence...all those things we treasure as precious qualities we are 'created with' (the original clay)...once we achieve free will, that is exactly what we can run afoul of. 

Because Lilith the asteroid has mass and is tangible, it is something we can 'get a hold of' if we are willing to face our Lilith and understand its nature and how that Lilith free will can take us to where what we have done cannot be undone, equaling consequences. Having an orbital period of 4.36 years, the Lilith of our chart conjuncts TNO Orcus once every cycle. So asteroid Lilith is obviously not just about physical death. It may in fact be part of our learning process - those tough lessons which we come away from saying 'I'm sure not going to do THAT again!' 

The other Lilith is a calculated points. Having no mass, this is something we can be aware of, but cannot fully control. Sometimes referred to as the 'Black Moon,' calculated Lilith is the point at which the Moon is at its apogee (farthest point) from Earth.

 Looking at this metaphysically, this describes the point at which our feelings and link to mankind and/or social memory are at their most distant from earthly reality. 

It's perhaps interesting to note (if a bit disturbing) that many sociopaths and criminals speak of their 'greater perspective' on humankind and how that 'superior vantage point' made them feel 'entitled' to do whatever they wanted with what they thought of as 'lesser creatures.' You know, the rest of us. 

Even those of us who aren't criminals seem to have a need to flirt with our 'dark side.'

Some of us just need to learn our limits, others need to take a fall (or hit a wall) where either form of Lilith is concerned.

This conversation isn't about telling you that Lilith is doing anything in particular. This blog is calling to attention the fact that Lilith is alive and well in each of us. The Black Moon - calculated Lilith - is the dark side of societal forces which are always out there. They have influential 'free rein' on life and at times may manifest as forces which call us down on our disruptive behaviors or attitudes. 

The asteroid Lilith is our own dark side. It's things we don't like to see about ourselves but which are there, nonetheless. 

The real lesson about Lilith is probably that which is most primal: Lilith does represent an equal force to our conscious determination, but it's not always what we think. In symbolizing those forces which test our ability to not just knuckle under and become subservient to conditioning, tradition and habits, Lilith has a healthy function in our life - so long as we don't allow rebellion against all we know is good, worthy and productive to become our way of life.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Mercury enters Virgo Prior to Retrograde

Planet Mercury as viewed by Mariner - source: NASA

As Mercury enters Virgo on July 27 (9:42pm GMT) it does so in exact conjunction with Orcus, symbol of all those things which can no longer be changed, whether that means money gone, trust broken, lives spent or decisions made badly. 

And just ahead, at 4 Virgo, sits Atropos, the Greek Fate all about endings. 

Gee...does that give us a clue, or what?

 And yet, considering the great metaphysical theorems that 'all things happen for a reason' and 'unbeknownst to us, the universe is unfolding as it should,' that suggests that whatever 'ends' (or we let go of) is truly all for the best. After all, Virgo is all about making things better and more functional. 

So maybe this is a very auspicious way for this particular ten week transit to begin. 


Did I say TEN weeks? 

Yes, actually, I did say ten (count 'em, TEN!) weeks. It wasn't jus a test just to see if you were listening. 

Now...I know that you the fairly more savvy astro-watchers know what this means. It means that Mercury's about to go into retrograde, elsewise it would move on to a new sign in something like...oh, say...three weeks or so. You know, the standard sort of time period for Mercury transiting any given sign. 

The retrograde itself we'll talk about in detail later. But as for this 'letting go' thing, there's a couple of ways to think of it, considering the retrograde is a-comin'.

 One is the pro-active concept. And yes, those who know something needs giving up who begin the letting go process now will probably have that process pretty much well and done by the time Mercury ends retrograde and goes direct on September 12th, having all 'in gear' and moving on to the next thing by the time Mercury exits its shadow come late September. 

Then there's the 'I guess I have to think about it, but I'm not making any decision yet' group. Considering this is all taking place with a Mercury (thought process) in Virgo (making things work better/more workable), this group is going to investigate all the angles and see what can be done without doing anything truly drastic until the September 12th station rolls around. At that point they'll see why something has to change and begin making changes. 

For the record, this is likely to be most people. 

The last group of people are the 'I'm going to do this my way - I don't CARE what anyone else thinks!' group. This group will resist pressure heading their way as retrograde approaches, hold on by the proverbial skin of their teeth (however unhygeinic that is) through the actual retrograde period and then, as Mercury goes direct, find out what the gain or loss is for having refused to yield to clear indications that things weren't okay as they stood. 

In other words, especially with Atropos as part of this picture, they are going to feel or experience loss. 

Truth is, there's some sense of loss to be associated with this transit no matter what. It doesn't have to be terrible or disatrous, it's just a 'loss' in terms of what comes out of it is an altered status quo - it could be totally positive! The question is really whether you want to participate in the changes and ultimately benefit from them, pinch Peter and pay Paul as you go along, hedging every bet - or if you're just going to have change thrust upon you, for lumps or glory. 

Virgo being an earth sign, this concerns something tangible. Something which is part of your reality. Considering that Virgo is a mutable sign and not set in its ways, that accounts for the aura of change, exchange, interchange, improvement and experimentation.

A medieval image of the astrological Virgo as the goddess
of harvest who teaches us to care for that which 'feeds' our needs

Being that Mercury rules Virgo, this is a highly focused period. Your thoughts are going to be on whatever your issues at hand are. Meanwhile, others are going to be focused on their stuff - so don't be surprised if you're not getting the normal amount of input or support you might normally expect. 

But that's not all. There's a whole slew of points standing in opposition to Mercury as we trot into this mini-epic, starting with Neptune, representing ideals and illusion or disappointment. Neptune supports non-egotistical energies and dissolves that which is simply too over-the-top selfish to bear. (And no, you don't get to decide which is which - that would be the cosmic/karmic point!)

Then there's Chiron, the mythic centaur healer. Chiron is all about those things which you don't know how to do (or "fix") and which truthfully you'd be much happier never having to face, never mind deal with.

 As it to underscore the issue, then we have Icarus. You may remember Icarus from the myth - a youngster who when equipped with wax wings takes off into the sky, forgetting that if you get too close to the Sun the wax melts and down, down you go. Astrologically, Icarus tends to be about overstepping the bounds of both safety and good sense. All three of these symbols are in social, societal, friend-and-income (supportive) Aquarius. In opposition to Mercury/Atropos, this sounds a bit like standards of behavior and/or operational parameters.

Moving on to the Pisces portion of this opposition program, only a couple of points, the first being royal star Fomalhaut, a star which rewards one with great success unless corruption enters the picture. And since Athena (wisdom) is here, this is a whole 'you should have known better!' story. Or maybe even a 'you DID know better and did it anyway' tale. 

Considering this ingress happens just a day or so after a Full Moon in Aquarius, whatever was 'highlighted' at the full Moon...(which would have been on Sunday the 25 in the Americas and Pacific region and on Monday the 26th in the UK-Europe-Africa region and from there, all points east)....whatever was highlighted then has set a tone, theme and tenor for what unfolds from this point forward.

Remember...this all started with Mercury/Orcus - the idea of something already done. We can build anew, we can fix, apologize, restructure...but we can't 'undo.' And sure as shootin' we shouldn't in this moment try and evade, deny or ignore. 

One more 'looking back' note: as we started we noted not just Mercury conjunct Orcus at 0 Virgo, but Atropos at 4 Virgo. That implies 'units' of 4: days, weeks, even months. (It could even mean years, though with this being about Mercury that seems highly unlikely.)

Atropos, cutting the 'life thread'
There's also that Mercury reaches 4 Virgo on July 30, so don't be shocked if something pokes you with a stick about then.

How you handle all this? That's of course up to you. And how you emerge from this cycle? Again, that's all your personal doing. With the whole of this passage in Virgo, cooperation is helpful and obsessive focus on doing your thing your way not only often not helpful, but undermining. 

This can actually be an incredibly productive time of substantial achievement. It just depends on your understanding and willingness to own that you don't know everything, your ways aren't always the best ways to do things and that the world has standards and necessities we all need to pay attention to.

So bottom line here, be honest with yourself. In the end, that's the Virgo-Mercury healthiest thing you can possibly do. You may not love the reality of your life, but it is your reality - and reality...realistically...that's all we ever have.


Monday, July 26, 2010

BP: What Percent Crude PR?


There are two important versions of BP's chart. The first is its original incorporation chart:

 Anglo-Persian Oil Co. Ltd (BP) - Incorporation chart

Founded as the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (Ltd.), the company we now know as BP's Descendant - what it would have put out as messages to the public (and shareholders, one assumes) is represented by 12 Aquarius.

Aquarius being the sign of the marketplace, corporations and income and 12 being a 2nd (emotional) decanate degree, we know that BP would always put out a message that was slightly fervent. With this position modified by Pelion - the great mountain one must climb? Make that fervent and long-suffering, even in anticipatory mode.

With Aquarius ruled first by Saturn (representing the foundations upon which the corporation's fortunes are built) then Uranus (its success), we then look to these two planets to see what else may be seen.

What we see first is a 14 Aries Saturn conjunct Mercury (at 15 Aries) and Sedna at 10 Aries. Sedna being all about the struggle to let go of security and reach one's actual potential being conjunct Saturn - which never mind being the signature for BP's Descendant is the premier symbol of business - this combination in and of itself is wonderfully descriptive. Founded in 1909, BP (then the Angle-Persian Oil Company) was one of the first oil producers and the first to go into Persia. It pioneered much of what we now think of as 'standard oil operations.' And it did all this in Persia - the place we now call Iran.

Obviously, to British would-be oil tycoons, Persia was a very foreign country, and the 9th house is the house of foreigners and foreign places. So that this fledgling British Company had to risk letting go of dear old England and travel abroad to found its fortune is right in keeping with the chart.

Once it was established that the Masjed Soleiman field held sufficient promise to justify same, an oil lease was negotiated with Shah Mozzafar al-Din Shah Qajar of Persia. This is Orcus at 10 Aries. Orcus describing things done which cannot be changed, the fledgling BP had to invest enough money to find the oil before they could negotiate the lease.

Industria at 12 Aries and Rhadamanthus (fairness) at 13 conjunct Mercury (thought, organization) at 15 tells a tale of the enormity of effort it would have taken to get temperate climate English workers out into the deserts of Persia and the training of locals to partake in what must have been a grueling effort to tap those first wells.

And that grueling part? That we would know not simply from knowing that its hot in Iran, but because Mercury in the 9th house would make anywhere where BP tends to work a harder-than-usual place to work. Hence Iran, the North Sea, Alaska, the middle of the Gulf of Mexico...'s a corporate thing with this Anglo-Persian company which grew up to be BP. This just isn't a 'take the easy way out' company. Which means - yes - that this is a company which even when it doesn't intend to can make things very, very difficult for itself.

And that Mercury reaches out just far enough to conjunct Pandora (and her famous box) at 20 Aries? That doesn't just reinforce BP's 'strenuous efforts' of all types but also speaks volumes to the repercussion oil was to have not merely on BP's fortunes, but on the world as a commodity. Ruled by an Aquarian Mars in the employee and work-standard 6th house conjunct Psyche (the mind) and an early Aquarian Moon however...that lays the groundwork for BP to have issues with cost cutting.

With Uranus, the secondary ruler of Aquarius also in this 6th house but in the last third of Capricorn, we see the Anglo-Persian Oil Company as a founding industrial giant. It did the (Uranus) job of literally breaking ground as it broke through all the Uranian/Aquarian geological, technical, distribution and marketing problems in turning oil into a commodity then a baseline necessity upon which the whole world has been running on for heading towards a hundred years now.

That same 9th house which represented the 'foreign interest' is also the house which rules dissemination of information. Ruled by Jupiter in Virgo in the 2nd house we get our second indication that everything which comes out of BP's corporate mouth isn't the whole truth and nothing but the corporate truth.
Why would that be? Well, because Jupiter in Virgo tends to over-scrutinize either the information or what it chooses to say. Ruled by that Mercury in the 9th which here being conjunct ultra-fair Rhadamanthus and Pandora's plethora of ills which one must endure in order to find hope...this is the picture of a company which will generally stick its oil boot in its corporate mouth before it loses the oil slick and comes clean.

Oh yes - Medusa and Ixion are also in the 2nd and also conjunct Jupiter, as is Thuban, a fixed star known for imparting struggle. Medusa is a fascinating entity - it's fear, yes. But also fear of the truth (link to article on Medusa)...and even fear of self. Ixion, meanwhile is about ingratitude, particularly of the 'I should be able to simply because I can or have the opportunity right here' type (article on Ixion). So this is greatly about corporate fear of what people think - no matter what the news is. Are they making enough money? Too much - do they look like gluttons? Will they undermine their own position by people knowing too much? Not enough?

Love the company or hate it, this is an entity almost to pity for its inability to take a stand and go with it.

I said almost.

Saying all that, now we come to the most recent major merger, that committed to as of December 31, 1998 with Amoco. The chart for BP/Amoco (later renamed simply  BP) looks like this:

BP/Amoco merger chart

Going back to the prime PR spots of any chart (the Descendant and 9th house) at the Descendant we have fixed star Spica -  the gift of knowledge and brilliance - sitting with Deucalion, signature of 'finding the moral path.' So far, so good.

But then we look at the Venus ruling this 22 Libra Descendant; said Venus is in Capricorn (sign of business structures) in the very worldly 10th house of leadership. Still not bad at all! Venus here is conjunct two pairs of symbols (with Venus at the midpoint, the pairs don't connect). On one side we have Atlantis/Bali, which in 3 decan degrees are without question the desire to have everything be good and as ruler of the Descendant, to look and sound good too.

The other pair would make is even more skeptical: Child and Hebe (the servant) at Capricorn's critical 29th degree tells us the worse the situation is for the business or world opinion (i.e., anyone outside the BP fold), the more they are likely to serve up something dumbed down to 'not scare the Child.'

But this is a classic astrological mistake: the Child we are referring to is BP asteroid Child, not yours or mine. They are projecting it on us and thus they are acting as though we are children better off without the real facts. But the real fact is that it's BP which is scared: wherever the symbol appears (by house) is the 'department of life' where that energy will manifest. So when it gets to the executive running-BP-as-a-world-entity level of the company, if/when BP runs into trouble it...acts like a child! (No mommy, I didn't break it - it broke itself!)

And since the Saturn ruling this 10th and the Venus (et al) in said 10th...

...Since that Saturn is a 3rd decanate Aries Saturn unhappily placed in the first house, we know BP dislikes outsiders and doesn't like anyone having input or the ability to comment or discuss what it is doing. Conjunct Circe, Sphinx and Sisyphus (sounds like a very bad law firm)...this is more about BP as a company which will do its best to wait out public furor (Sphinx) or transform  situations/information to serves its own purpose (Circe). And if necessary - which is to say if you disagree with BP while "on its turf" (which one would have to assume at least means working with or for BP) then BP will have to simply do away with you somehow (Sisyphus).

This kind of determination serves BP well as an oil explorer. It serves them very badly as a real life corporate entity in an increasingly interactive world.

For all the mergers along the way (BP has had a barrel full of them from inception until now)...this company hasn't and has changed. The Ascendant/Descendant of today's BP is only one degree off the original chart's prime vertical - the Midheaven/Nadir 'who are we as a corporation?' - with that original vertical axis now turned into the horizontal axis.

What would that say? That would say that who BP started out to be, they now use as the face of who today's BP wants you to think they are. They want the world to think they're that same pioneering company.

But they aren't. The vertical axis of this new chart is 8 Capricorn (Midheaven)/8 Cancer at the Nadir or IC - the foundational point of the chart. Looking to Cancer's ruling Moon we find it in the 2nd (emotional) decanate of Gemini (thoughts, communications, choices) in what would be the modern company's 2nd house of corporate coffers.

Through chains of rulership, the Mercury which rules the 2nd (value/values) and 3rd (organizational concept) house of this chart points to Jupiter - which rules both the 8th house of investment and 9th house of foreigners/foreign things. This says a lot, especially in this international world where BP has to work outside its native UK with less rather than more world power now being part of its national identity.

That the Jupiter which ends up ruling this 8th and 9th (the 9th house part including 'information disseminated and thus PR') being intercepted in the 12th house conjunct Pallas (wisdom) and Sabine (forced imprisonment) tells us two things.

One is that BP is in a sense hostage to its stockholders. BP knows that an enormous number of real live people - that their pension funds are invested in BP on the London Exchange, and that part of BP's financial power has come of its ability to be a premier source of dividends.

The second part of this is BP feeling that it can simply hold knowledge hostage. Niobe (pride) and Amphitrite (overwhelm) conjunct the 26 Aquarius 12th house cusp tells us that this company's overwhelming pride is a good thing when its about how they can indeed take care of others but a total detriment when they are focused on their own reputation and income.

With all this said, we each have to decide for ourselves exactly what percentage of BP's PR is simply crude which has bubbled up to the top. What is for sure however is that unlike oil, what BP says only ever partly dispersed by means natural or artificial.

That the modern chart was hit by the January 2010 solar eclipse on their Venus/Child/Hebe in advance of the Deepwater Horizon debacle speaks volumes to the financial hit BP is going to take coming out of this disaster. It may be worth looking ahead to incoming solars and eclipses to see where the company's going to go (vote with your blog comments - if you want more information, you'll get more information!).

There is no question but that BP is going to try to evade/avoid full payouts. That started as soon as the well blew out with BP trying to 'fudge' or cover up exactly how many barrels of oil have flowed out of the Deepwater well because of their agreement with the sovereign nation involved (the US). The US has every right to not merely make BP pay for every barrel 'extracted' from its mineral rights reserves, but fine BP for every barrel allowed to pollute the Gulf of Mexico.

And that ain't just chump change.

Lay on top of that physical/ecological damages and loss-of-livelihood lawsuits and BP will have more than just a pond of fiscal goo on its hands.

Oil is a dirty business, unquestionably. But protecting the current corporate structure at the expense of public opinion is probably the most karmic thing BP can ever do. For one, it will erode the public trust. And secondly, it will cause people to see that there really does need to be an alternative to oil.

That's literally driving consumers away - which in the end is not merely the most costly form of PR possible, but BP having crudely undercut the very legs of the platforms their corporation stands on. Literally.