by Boots Hart, CAP

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mars and Kleopatra: Sensing Our Edge

 'Cleopatra and Caesar'
by Jean Leon Gerome (1866)

There are two subjects de jour, and they are as follows: Mars entering Pisces at 1:07am on February 23rd (UT/+0) and asteroid Kleopatra going retrograde at 5 in the morning (UT/+0) on February 24th at 9 degrees of Scorpio.

The reason why I’m combining them is that with Kleopatra going retrograde early on the 24 Universal/Greenwich time, that means Kleopatra’s two-days-before/two-days-after “station allowance” begins on February 22nd…obviously running through the 26th.

So while we’re here, let’s talk about Kleopatra. The woman, the Queen of Egypt, the legendary Cleopatra lived in the first century BCE. We probably think of her as a woman of striking beauty in part because  Hollywood pictured her that way. But maybe more to the point is how those who lived in her day spoke of Cleopatra – and thus, her the nature of her reputation as the legacy of her being.

Last of Egypt’s pharaohs, Cleopatra VII Philopator was actually a Greek. Also a member of the Ptolemy clan, unlike most of her regal relatives she actually learned to speak the language – Egyptian – of the land she came to rule.

(Can you imagine a ruler in today’s world who would simply announce they didn’t want to learn the language of their sovereign land?)

Cleopatra as depicted on an ancient tetradrachm
coin from the Ascalon mint
photo credit: PHGCOM (2009)

More than that, Cleopatra not only learned to speak Egyptian, but several other languages of her time. She was also not only well versed in Things Political, but charming, witty and conscious enough of human nature to make it her business (or more precisely, the business of her various underlings) to find out everything she could about guests-to-be so that when they arrived at her court, they would find familiar foods and all laid out to their liking.

Charm goes by many names. From Cleopatra we learn the value of knowing how to relate. 

On the asteroid side, Kleopatra the asteroid is one of thousands of main belt asteroids which lie between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Like all other main belt asteroids, Kleopatra thus represents something we ‘meet up with’ in life (or from time to time) on our way (Mars) to knowing who we want to be and how to be that person (Jupiter).

As main belt orbits go, Kleopatra’s is rather right in the middle of the pack, making it something of a ‘central’ precept among things we need to learn. With an orbit of 4.68 years, that tells us an interval at which we go through yet another cycle of learning how to be the person we want to be to a somewhat greater degree, a somewhat more elevated level.

Currently, Kleopatra is going retrograde at 9 degrees Scorpio. Over these past months, life has been prompting us to learn things, and to experience how to relate more through external experiences large and small.

Once Kleopatra is in retrograde, we will all be doing a measure of reflection. Things and thoughts will prompt us to reflect. By mid-June when Kleopatra goes direct, retrograde will have moved it back into the third decanate of Libra where the idea of HOW we relate (Libra + Kleopatra) will be more theoretical than it is now, as Scorpio is sign which functions through emotional interactions. Considering that we are all ‘experiential’ creatures who on a daily basis seek out what it is we instinctively think we want or need, right now one of the things we are and have been doing is seeking out situations which by their very nature, prompt us to feel.
The question is whether we will learn from our feelings.

For some of us, that means learning that our feelings are just that – our feelings. Others don’t feel as we do. For others, the lesson is that our feelings are simply our feelings; they’re feelings yes – but not necessarily factual or anything to treat as an enduring reality.

The very qualities described by 9 Scorpio add to this fact. For one, this is a first decan point. So the crux of the station period is about what is done or how that affects real life, the reality of life. That equals consequence, which in Scorpio means the emotionalism which goes with, or arises as part of the consequences of our choices.

This is also a degree which appears to speak very definitely about ‘echoes of childhood.’ Whatever was or wasn’t learned as children forms the basis for responses now. And from that…how we interact with others.

Which in turn, provokes reactions through what we understand or learn or realize we need to deal with in our world and in ourselves - and often both.

So…as all such questions begin to arise in life/our lives (Kleopatra’s station effect) Mars enters Pisces.

 Cleopatra pictured as the goddess Bastet, protectors of pharaohs
photo credit: George Shukin (2007)

But a couple of days ago, Mercury entered Pisces. Obviously still in Pisces, Mercury’s passage through this sign of ‘global/universal emotion/ality’ signals our being more aware of feelings…ours, and those of others. Things which promote or provoke those feelings are happening in life and our lives; thus do we do the Mercury act of thinking about them and choosing how we will deal with our motions (and those of others.)

Still in early degrees (2 Pisces) the basic Mercury question being posed as Mars enters Pisces is what are we going to do…or do ‘about’ something, whether that’s doing something about our feelings or the thing which has caused such emotions to be in play.

Because Pisces represents the unfathomable oceanic depths, there’s always a feeling of trepidation with and about this sign (and the 12th house of any horoscope which carries the Pisces vibe). This issue is about being ‘overwhelmed’…or possibly getting ‘drowned.’

Yet given that said sense is all about whether we will (proverbially) surrender and float as we become part of the great and oceanic body of Existing or whether we need to hold so tightly to our preconceived sense of self that we are afraid of “affording” ourselves the liberation to be emotionally freed…that’s all about ego.

And let’s face it – we all have one of those!

Mars as ruler of Aries, “native sign” of the proactive act of self-identification (another facet of ego) has a hard time in Pisces. Yet as it enters Pisces, we will inevitably begin to let go.

A colorized photo of Mars based on an image taking by the Viking spacecraft.
photo credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

If I tell you that Mars in Pisces is a great time to just kick back and relax…or when music may reach you in a whole new way…maybe you’ll begin to relate. Mars in Pisces is not about ‘giving up’ or ‘giving in’ – that’s not the inner sense of ‘surrender’ as used in a metaphysical sense.

Think more in terms of ‘allow.’ Think in terms of ‘not resisting.’ Think in terms of ‘accepting.’ You don’t have to like it…but you might! You might not want things of the moment to last for the whole of your life – but they may be necessary now.

Like all celestial (astronomical) transits of Pisces, Mars in Pisces asks that we not prioritize ourselves – that we think more in terms of being part of… 

Of what? A greater group? Maybe. Our world? Maybe. Mankind? Usually. Existence? A valid concept.

Which makes the negative side of Pisces what? Isolation. Giving up on yourself as someone valid in this life, this world, as part of the human race. Known as the sign of inspiration, artists, prophets and gurus as surely as it is known as a sign of addicts, criminals and the merely hapless…and the sign of the old, the infirm, and the unfortunate or helpless.

Pisces asks us to accept people first, and to not impose our ego judgment on them, but to allow them to be who they are without allowing them to enslave, addict, or abuse us. Pisces asks us to be wise in who we trust and to be aware of when trust is broken and why it was broken. Sometimes there’s a rationale which is acceptable. Sometimes trust is broken because someone’s willingness or ability to value our right to be who we are has diminished or been replaced by their personal ego demands.

With Mars entering Pisces and meeting up with Chiron at 0 Pisces, we are likely to see a lot of things – good and bad – more clearly than we had. In many situations, the Chiron instinct that we don’t know what to do will rear up and with Mars’ normally gung-ho energy tamped back, leave us feeling more than hapless.

For some, this is the very lesson you need – what it feels like to not know. Or to not be able to do something. For others, learning that the ‘you’ in the equation is not the sum and total of life’s object is the game, set and match. What you should do about it? Well, that’s the Chiron part – welcome to your next couple of months!

With an orbital cycle of 1.88 years, Mars spends approximately two months in any given sign. Symbolizing the very nature of our desires (and all the energies which drive us to try and try again), Mars will now be in Pisces until the dawn of April.

During that time, Uranus will commit to its transit of Aries. This is a signal that we are heading into an extended (8 year long) period when who we are and what we think our lives are about are in for a little shakeup.

Okay…a lot of shake up!

Then there’s the fact that a couple of days after Mars leaves Pisces for Aries on April 2nd (UT/+0), Neptune will enter its home sign of Pisces.

A lot of illusions are going to be dissipated at that time and moving forward. What we haven’t learned life ‘isn’t about’ since early 1998 will begin crumbling or maybe just tripping us up, leaving us behind a curve many of us haven’t even yet gotten around to being willing to admit exists.

And what has kept us from realizing that curve exists? Ego. Sometimes as the ‘egotistical’ sense of the word and sometimes merely in the sense that ‘ego’ is that essential sense of Self which allows us to value our existence.

It’s all a matter of degree. There’s no money, a little money, some money, enough money, an overabundance of money and an excess of money. The same scale runs from a total lack of self regard to psycho-sociopathic narcissism.

The two fish which are the sign of Pisces, each swims in its own direction. Sometimes we see this as the ‘going with the flow’ fish and the ‘bucking the current’ fish. Sometimes this is the ‘controlling fish’ against the ‘cooperative’ fish.

What is to remember is that here at the end of the Piscean Age, though most of us still prefer one fish over another…and in that, how we tend to swim only with like fish or fish who will own the energy we don’t want to acknowledge in ourselves, that’s the real Piscean issue.

We are both fish. 

 Pisces - the two fish connected by a golden cord, symbolizing
how power does not exist except for a venue in which to be
powerful and how both strengths and weaknesses are part of
ourselves and life itself. We just don't get one without the
other...with day comes night, with life comes death, with that
we know comes that we don't know or deny.

The reconciliation is within the Self. It’s about the Self. It’s all about not denying things. About not basing your life so on one thing or one idea or one part of life that we never become not who we would want to be, but who we know we are capable of being.

Good fish…bad fish?

Not so fast! Try ‘fish I like versus fish I respect.’ That’s probably closer to it…especially now as Mars enters Pisces, suggesting that its time for us to reconcile with the responsibility for Self we all have – to some degree – denied.

Soft fish, harsh fish, caring fish, greedy, denying fish.

This is an opening moment to a final set of spirals in an Astrological Age  - the Age of Pisces - which is like a great wave, retreating from our shores.

The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai Katsushika (1830-1831)
- a depiction of humans facing a 'greater nature'

Life is not ending. Only life as we have conceived it is ending. Whether we greet the new Age – that of Aquarius (which we will begin talking more about soon) - with wonder or regret the passing of what was with sorrow, those are two other fishes…those of spirit and soul.

Meanwhile, all that separates us that sorrow from that wonder is how we relate (Kleopatra) to our (Mars) ego…whether our ego is a limited, self-defining factor or the unbounded possibility which  ultimately is our wellspring of life.

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