by Boots Hart, CAP

Sunday, March 6, 2011

In Tune with Polyhymnia, a Reflection

 'View of Toledo' by El Greco (1596-1600)

As this post goes up on March 6th, Polyhymnia goes direct at 14 Cancer. Given how Cancer is a water sign and thus all about life’s feeling moments and emotional bents and one of Polyhymnia’s great themes is that of ‘reflection’ (or reflecting), this is me doing a little astro-reflecting…and sharing my reflections on Things Astrological with you.

One of the things which interests me about astrology is a concept the ancient Mayans put well with their phrase ‘wheels within wheels.’ That most often being a reference to their multi-place calendar system and the sacred Tzolkin ‘count of days,’ what it comes to suggest to me as an astrologer is how and why different lives are so different – as reflected in the machinations of emanation.

Or to put it may be a bit more simply, the solar system in all its glorious workings. A good astrologer can ‘tell time’ in your life because as Einstein put it so nicely, E=mc2’d. In other words, we’re all energy. You, me, your dog Fido, the doorknob and Pluto – we are all essentially made of the same stuff.

This actually brings up a really good question: if we’re all energy, how is it that we think we’re separate people or different things? (You know, you not being me, neither one of us being Fido and Fido being neither the doorknob or Pluto…unless he’s a Disney dog named Pluto!)

But that wasn’t really the place I was going here. Where I was going was with regards to the long and short signs (zodiac signs, that is) of orbits.

You’ve probably heard me refer to Pluto as having a very ‘eccentric’ orbit. And while I’d like to say that means Pluto wears a funny had and tells odd jokes at holiday dinners (which may be true in some other universe, but not this one), what I’m really referring to here is the fact that Pluto’s orbit around the Sun is not round like the hula hoop, but rather egg shaped – very much so, as it happens.

Et voila…! A pictorial rendition of Pluto’s orbit:

See? Mucho egg shaped.

What this means in an operative sense (astrologically) is that since the zodiac is a ‘belt’ which surrounds Earth with a nice evenness attributed to the 360 degrees of a circle being divided by twelve sign parts, that means that as Pluto travels along its 248.09 year-long orbit around the Sun, as we live here on Earth that would have Pluto “lingering” longer in certain signs that others.

Being someone with way too much curiosity to keep confined inside one head, one day I took it upon myself to track down how long Pluto had been in successive signs – not for the last hundred years, no. Not even for the last complete orbit of Pluto!

Naw – too simple.

No, what I did (really…don’t ask) is track down the basic time periods/durations for Pluto’s passage through the signs for the whole of the now-ending Age of Pisces.

And having done that, I put it in a table.

If you’re wondering, the two numbers in red are the longest and shortest Pluto transits I found.
But besides being a sterling example of just how geekish I can actually be (and no, I don’t own any pocket protectors, but I do wear glasses!), what this really tells us is the difference between Pluto passages if, say, you’re born in 1800 as opposed to if you’re born in 1970 and in each case live to the age of 70 years old.

Here’s what it looks like…

Born in 1800:

Movements of Pluto through 'standardized' chart
wheel for a person born in January 1800

Born in 1970:

Movements of Pluto through 'standardized' chart
wheel for a person born in January 1970

This is the same chart wheel being used for both examples. It's no one in particular - it's just "a chart" which ends up showing us that for the person born in 1970, Pluto will end up moving through more signs because of where it is (given its very rather highly egg-shaped orbit) when you were born.

Now...remembering that each one of those houses of the horoscope represents a 'department of life,' let's look at that same chart, same date, same born in 1970 scenario - but this time let's have the person born in the morning as opposed to the evening.

Movements of Pluto through 'standardized' chart
wheel for a person born in January 1970

The 'morning' person experiences Pluto moving through houses 9, 10, 11, 12, 1 and 2. The 'night' person's life is colored by Pluto moving through houses 12, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.
And though I've only pictured one chart for the 1800-born person, they only have Pluto moving through four houses during their 70-year lifespan, not five.

So would you say the person born in 1970 is experiencing more...? Or that the person born in 1800 is born in a time which gives them a deeper experience in fewer areas?

It's sort of the quality versus quantity discussion - and truthfully, you could argue quality or quantity on either side!

Now! Let's come back into real time. Let’s think about  someone born in the 1920’s who lives to be 90….and there are plenty of such people happily among us!

When they were born, Pluto was in Cancer. As they reached 90 (or are reaching 90) in 2010 (and/or beyond) Pluto has reached Capricorn.

Capricorn is the opposition sign to Cancer, right

(Answer: yes it is.)

Given Pluto’s full orbit is 248.09 years long, we would assume no one would live (currently) to be old enough to experience Pluto opposition Pluto, considering that half of 248.09 is 124.45 (years). And to my knowledge, nobody’s lived to be 124.45 years old. I could be wrong, but…

However! Due to Pluto’s eccentric orbit, there are a whole bunch of people who are actually living to see  Pluto oppositions - aka transiting Pluto opposition natal Pluto. And that is due to the fact that Pluto is currently in the ‘quick’ part of its orbit.

So what’s the key word for Pluto? Yes, there’s the triad slogan of create, deny, destroy. But the overall keyword is…?

Cammon! Lemme hear it!


And what do we hear often from people who are now in their 90’s? They talk about the incredible pace at which the world has …CHANGED. 

You know, how their lives have been transformed by life at a really rapid pace.

What’s interesting is that if you arm yourself with a really good social history book (I happen to us Timetables of History) what you find is that every time Pluto gets to Leo (which is when people born under Pluto in Cancer would be hitting their adult stride) things in society start changing at pretty much a lickety-split rate.

Interesting, right?

So that’s one of ‘time’s wheels.’ Astrologically (using signs) we can see a relative ‘speeding up’ and ‘slowing down’ of a particular functionality we know as Pluto’s – emotionally transformational circumstances. 

Now, I’m not here to argue or describe anything close to why those ‘motion effects’ which Pluto’s orbital movement through space sends out as tiny shifts and ripples which reach us and translate into the plethora of emotional transformations we go through. Heck no! Look how long it took science to catch up with the assertion made by early astrologers back in ancient Babylon that there was a connection between the Moon and the tides!

Oh yes – by the way…next time you hear someone talk about astronomers of biblical times, I suggest a chuckle. Why? Because there weren’t any! Astronomy (the science) didn’t come into being until Greek/Hellenistic times, that being when science as a concept separated from religion, metaphysics and philosophy.

Interesting how they're coming back together again, isn't it?

Anyway…back to this wheels in wheels thing. Here’s a chart – a cut-down of one of my big worksheets.

(What, you think I keep all these planetary notes and numbers in my head? Dream on!)

(Nice thought though….sigh…)

In this chart, what I’d really like to point out are the columns labeled ‘Aphelion’ and ‘Perihelion.’ The first is the farthest a celestial body is from our Sun and the other is the closest that celestial body comes to our Sun. And to put it concisely and yet generally (a feat in itself) the greater the difference between these numerical values, the more egg-shaped the orbit is. So Chiron is very eggy. Comet Swiff-Tuttle is so eggy as to almost be its own omelet. And Sedna breaks the eggshell mold in the egg-shaped orbit department!

But even if we’re talking Mercury or Saturn, there is a variation in how fast planets move through signs. And there is – as we saw above in the Pluto chart – a ‘regularized’ area of the zodiac where each planet moves quickly and each planet moves slowly.

Given that each planet represents an attribute and ‘department’ of mortal life, that gives us a ‘pacing’ at which those attributes speed up and slow down as a matter of development.

Saturn for instance, has a total orbital period of 29.457 years. Divide that by 12 (signs) and you get 2.45 year as the average length Saturn spends in a sign. Saturn first ‘touched’ Libra territory at the end of October 2009, went retrograde then re-entered and committed to its transit of Libra in July 2010.

But Saturn doesn’t even begin to leave Libra for Scorpio until October 2012. And once in Scorpio come October 2012, it then rushes on, beginning to dabble its toes in Sagittarius in December 2014, with rolling on into Capricorn taking place in December 2017 and the Saturn/Aquarius ingress taking place in March 2020.

Do the math yourself and though the differences are not huge when we talk Saturn, we see to be in the ‘quick’ portion of Saturn’s orbit, equaling rapid developments and quick rise and falls in leadership – and probably in our opinion of leadership.

So Saturn and Pluto seem to be in the quick portion of their orbital cycles. How about Eris? A full Eris cycle takes 557 years, giving is an ‘average’ one-sign “theoretical duration” of 46.416 years. Eris began to transit of Aries in 1925 and it’s not only still in Aries, but will stay in Aries begins dabbling discordant toes in Taurus come 2048 – which is over a 120 years no matter how you toast it.

(And no matter whether your toast lands butter side down if you drop it, too!)

Eris in Aries is the discord of self. We’re in a long period when human beings are experiencing and acting discordantly. Since we’re talking about a period of time which began back in the 1920’s that fits perfectly with our discussion of Pluto; Eris has been signaling discordant times and Pluto has been signaling a lot of emotional transformation in life and emotionally transformative times.

Then let’s add Neptune. Neptune’s 164.79 year-long orbit divided by 12 (signs) giving us a 13.73 ‘one-sign-average.’ About to change signs (into Pisces from Aquarius), Neptune committed to its transit of Aquarius at the end of 1998 and is going to move into Pisces in 2011 and from there into Aries in 2026.

That gives us about 12.25 years in Aquarius (roughly) and a smidge under 15 years in its home sign of Pisces. We are evidently moving from the quick to a ‘slower’ section of Neptune’s orbit as we speak.

What does that mean? A whole lot of things. It means there will be more confusion and nebulous circumstances – those things which require us to allow ourselves not to know (the great Neptune slogan!) It also suggests that in spite of all, we may be moving into a very inspirational period of time. And yes, a time when inspiration means a lot to us.

More on Neptune (in specific) later. There’s plenty of time to chat about the celestial big blue.

But maybe from all of this you’re beginning to see some of what I grok (as they say in science fiction)? There are – as they ancient Mayans said – wheels within wheels.

Yes, the planets will repeat their own cycles over the long run. But how they overlap each other…? That is the uniqueness of time, what astrology is really good at sorting out...

...and really a pretty interesting concept to marvel at.

Welcome to my world, right? And to think, I used to be a wiz kid at accounting. From the finitely precise to the infinitely operative. we all of us do grow! Fascinating stuff, eh?


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