by Boots Hart, CAP

Monday, April 30, 2012

Thereby Hangs a Theme

 1940's Olivetti Telephone
 (photo credit: Kornelia and Hartmut Hafele)

…over our head, that is. That 'theme' is about us.

Shall I explain?

So I was sitting there, noodling away at a game of computer solitaire while waiting for my friend to react to what I had just told him. What had I just told him? 

Think back…think back 19 years. What were you doing?”

“Being happily married.” Unaccustomed to having this think tank prodded by an astrologer, my friend (who we’ll just call Him and He) groaned that groan of exasperation every astrologer hears when they’ve not-so-subtly pointed out that life is full of cycles. 

Those we don’t learn, we repeat. Those we do learn, we get tested on periodically. If we still remember the lesson, we move on to a new, better and higher form of said lesson.

And yes, that bigger and better lesson comes with a bigger, better, even tastier carrot to lure us into giving life another go.

No, seriously.” I tried to cajole him.

Nothing doing. “I AM being serious! This is me being serious! I was happily married!”

Again came the growl.

Hearing the sound of a panther collecting itself to pounce, I whipped out my best and most standard deflection. It works, trust me – simply because it’s true. Those who don’t like facts can growl all they want, a fact is still a fact.

I don’t invent these rules, I just report on them,” I intoned semi-cheerfully, wondering where I had put my girl-on-the-street reporter gear. “This one is called the Metonic cycle. So what were you doing 19 years ago? Think of it in terms of themes, not specifics.”

We both started doing mental math. I do so much astrology for others that I often don’t do much of it as applied to myself. Besides – much as doctors are advised against treating their own family (too much connection spoils the prescription), astrology is hardest to do for those you know best.

No, it doesn’t mean we don’t try. But I have found that giving tough news to people I know takes me longer to live down. Like I say…I just report on this universe even if people seem to think I’m conjuring this stuff up out of pleasingly plump air.

I think that’s why I’m always so willing to discuss orbital inclinations and planetary revolutions and such. For whatever reason, you tell people that Jupiter – a planet whose mass is 317.8 times that of Earth – manages to have a day which is 9 hours and 55 minutes (plus 30 seconds) long (as compared to Earth’s 24 hours) and that tends to stop folks.

I like to think it’s all about Jupiter – our solar systemic metaphysical symbol of learning and conceptualization.

Twenty years ago would be 1992…” My panther had started thinking. His pounce-meter was subsiding, slinking back towards zero.

Nineteen years ago…1993…” Having not had the spiffiest 2012 as yet on record, I began trying to place what I was doing. “Oh yes! That was when I left studio work and production accounting and location work.” It was all coming back to me.

As for 2012, this year has served up one giant insurance hassle under glass, a seriously spicy fracas with a medical type, a side of souring financial strains to test my tensile strength at the corpuscle level and a passive-aggressive salad (unspoken but well tossed) to be shared by me and my brother.

 A tossed green salad...I think I'm the tomato,
not sure about my brother.
 (photo credit: National Cancer Institute)

So what do they have in common? This is that ‘theme’ thing…and the common ground is this a change of life direction and focus. Back in 1993, I voluntarily changed what I was doing with my life. I took a decided ‘left turn’ by leaving the world of film locations et al in order to move into…and this is the real clue…tech writing.

And that ‘left turn’ turned out to be a right turn – the right turn for me to take at that time.

For me, 2012 is all about figuring out the steps to move 
from where I am into book publishing. (You may wish me luck and I shall thank you for your kind wishes!)

I’m also a Pisces person (if you read it with a Brooklyn or Queens, New York accent. it’s much more fun!). So I’m made to be tested through my own willingness to feel my feelings and my own ability to ‘see the dream and create an inspired and inspiring reality from that dream.’ May’s eclipse will square my Sun, so everything which is coming at me is meant to hassle me into a.) a financial corner and, b.) an emotional place where I want to do something to create calm water for myself.


This is how we look for trends. The square from an eclipse to my Sun is not about changing my ‘way of life’ (Sun = life, ability to sustain one’s life). It’s not about clashes with classic ‘Sun’ emblems like men or authority figures…or companies or corporations (my Sun is in the 11th and most ‘corporate’ house of the horoscope).

No, this square to my Sun is about my doing that which will care for my Sun. It’s about fulfilling my purpose – emotional and creative. And the square says 'new or different direction.' It says 'challenge yourself...or be challenged by life and others in your life.'

That’s the trend. That’s the abstract level at which we need to think about eclipses. You can weather the event which shows up when an eclipse smacks you in the face (or some other part of your body…). And absolutely – you probably need to prioritize that and deal with it effectively.

But while doing that, think back. Growl if you must, but think back. What were you doing in 1993? What ‘thematic’ pattern do you see between now and then?

And okay…so maybe this eclipse doesn’t have your name on it. But the next one…or the one after that will. And when that happens, Kimosabe, think back to this post. If you figure out the puzzle, you’ll be leaps and bounds ahead in making good on your challenges of the moment – and fulfilling your purpose in life.

Ultimately, that ‘purpose’ thing looms large. One of my ‘pet’ questions as an astrologer is to ask people ‘if this was the last day of your life (and you knew it was the last day of your life) what would you regret not having done?’ Those are the things which are important – and why ‘money’ isn’t the answer to anything.

Okay…so you have money. What do you want to do with it? That’s the important thing. And if you figure out why that’s important to you, you may just disarm some eclipse bomb sitting inside your psyche.

My friend? He hasn’t quite figured His eclipse thing out yet. Or maybe he has and wants to contemplate the passing of an old cycle and the impending beginning of a new one.

He’ll get back to me, I’m sure. He’s like that.

Therefore, with all this said, now I have a question. I have already written one of those beauty essays on the actual eclipse itself: the whole eclipse and nothing but the eclipse. I currently have it scheduled to post on May 20th…not shockingly, the date of the eclipse.

Would you like to see it posted earlier? If you would, drop me a note…leave a comment…let me know. I know you're out there! Thousands of you! This is the moment - have your say!

Meanwhile, I hope we all make our 'right' turns in coming to 'right' terms with ourselves, too.

And yes, I won the solitaire game.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Earth: A Very Attractive Planet

Taken from Ehrenburg, Walberia, a 45-minute time exposure centered on Polaris (photo credit Udo Kugel - September 2001)

It just ticked me pink to see on of PSRD’s latest 'Cosmo Spark circular.

Link to: Cosmo Spark

Who the heck is PSRD – and what did I find so scintillatingly amusing?

PSRD stands for Planetary Science Research Discoveries, and the team which is behind all that PSRD-ing are a flock of planetary geoscientists at Hawaii’s Institute of Geophysics and Planetology.
(Planetology? Like you’re going to tell a planet to open its mouth and say aaaaaah?)

In any case, they’re a pretty cool group. And every once in a while they sends out a missive. It could be on gas captured in ancient rocks (I know – you’re excited, right) to this week’s thriller, a Cosmo Sparks message on the subject of how popular our watery blue planet really is.

On a celestial basis, that is.

Evidently our lovable Planet Earth has fans. According to PSRD, “At any given time there are at least one or two meter-sized asteroids and about a thousand smaller centimeter-sized rocks also orbiting our planet.” PRSD calls them (oh, shades of Austin Powers!) “minimoons.”

Evidently not all such asteroid-Earth love affairs last all that long. Most of the time, after a brief and chaotic orbital fling (say, after two or three times around) most asteroids go their space-bound ways.

(No, we don’t know what they’re saying about Earth once the attraction cools off, but we can hope they proceed on in stony silence.)

A few find their attraction for Earth truly deadly, plunging to a fiery death in our resistance-laden atmosphere. We call those meteors.

And while all this goes on, our Luna Moon continues serenely on her way, securely captured by Earth’s gravity and eternally capable of tugging on Earth’s watery mantle. (Sounds like a lot of marriages I know.)

So why am I bringing all this up – apart from the fact I obviously got a big charge out of thinking of asteroids as planetary suitors?

Ah yes. Now we come to the interestingly astrological part. It seems that these asteroids take up this madcap courting of our planet at two very specific times of the year. And those two time periods happen to be a week or two after Earth’s perihelion and aphelion – what we the astrologically inclined tend to call the Summer and Winter Solstice.

This part where it happens after the solstice got me to thinking…after all, part of that solstice thing (or at least its affects) has to do with exactly where Earth is in its seriously complicated tilt-wobble-precession sort of process.

Believe me – it’s hard work being a planet.

We talk more or less often about precession. It’s a 25,920 year cycle which is about the fact that the imaginary ‘stick’ we think of as being stuck through Earth’s polar axis orbits clockwise as earth rotates in a counter-clockwise direction.

(At least that’s the way it looks if you’re looking down on the North Pole….so for you in New Zealand, Southern Africa and Australia, g’day and switch the terms around!)

 Planet Earth, showing it's Axial Tilt, the circle of precession
 its poles describe over 25,920 years and the difference
 between Earth's celestial equator (the thing we think of as an
 equator) and the plane of the ecliptic - the path Earth takes
 around the Sun each year. 
(diagram credit - Dennis Nilsson,, December 2007)

The tilt thing? Well, Earth’s tilt is pretty stable – between just over twenty-two and twenty-four and a half degrees off vertical. At the moment it seems to be at about 23.44 degrees off vertical and apparently people are still able to walk around without looking entirely cockeyed (or drunk) so all’s well.

And listen – it could be worse. Uranus rolls. That’s right…Uranus’ axis is at 90 degrees off vertical. And because of this, it presents one pole to the Sun for about 40 years then turns the other way. (No, don’t’ ask me which one its its planetary tush! I have no idea!)

The more science comes to know about Uranus, the odder Uranus really seems. Despite this pole-to-pole toasting it gets from the Sun, the “equatorial” regions of the planet still register as being warmest. No wonder astrology associates Uranus with the ‘non-status quo,’ the change, the discovery, the innovation, the breakthrough. As a planet, Uranus seems to break all the rules.

Isn’t it interesting how astrologers figure these things out in advance of science and yet the science backs the astrology up? Says a lot for research and testing points on a whole lot of charts!

Just to wrap up here before we get back to those asteroids…the wobble thing. Yes, Earth wobbles. Here’s a diagram made by the International Terrestrial Reference System (ITRS)…a project overseen by the Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS) (Yes, they skipped a few letters.) This is the group which keeps track of Earth’s orbit and the syncing of clocks, including the need to insert ‘leap seconds’ and such.

In any case, here’s their diagram of Earth’s polar motion from 2005 to the present.

 Polar motion from 2005 to present
(credit: hpiers/obspm, France)

So what’s all this got to do with asteroids which get the hots for Planet Earth?

It’s just all part of the celestial mechanics. Some of the above is a bit of karmic veggies I’m slipping in before we get to the astrological dessert, and all of it is good for us to know.

The part which got me to thinking was why do these asteroids hook up with Earth AFTER the solstices?
That the metaphysical sense that I'm thinking of it, has to do with precession. (And who am I to not share factoids I find so fascinating?)

That ‘circle of precession’ we talk about…which currently has Earth’s north pole ‘pointed’ at Polaris? That picture looks pretty much like this:

 Time diagram of Earth's north pole precession
 by  Tau'olunga (June 2006)

Polaris is the star at the very tail of Ursa Minor - the constellation known as the Little Bear. On this diagram, it's located just beside the marker for the year +2,000, meaning 2,000 CE.
There were pole stars before Polaris and there will be pole stars after Polaris. And that’s what PSDR’s Cosmo Spark sparked in me. The fact that Earth is attracting its latest batch of suitors after the solstices made me wonder if Earth is already sort of ‘over’ Polaris. Obviously on a scientific platform this wouldn’t be the case – Polaris is 434 light years from Earth. But metaphysically, this ‘disparity’ speaks to us.

Here’s a diagram of the ‘precessional circle’ Earth’s north pole would appear to ‘trace’ in the heavens.

The ‘dot’ in the center here is where the ‘axis’ of this (Earth’s) precessional circle would be. Positioned within what some might call a ‘protective’ circle of constellation Draco (which others might feel is our inner spirit ‘surrounded by Draco) 

Anyway…here’s a few astrological concepts to chew on while you’re not living such an apparently tilted life. (I guess Earth’s tilt is why we say we’re inclined to do this or that? Would we therefore be prone to doing things if on Uranus?)

Our current pole star – give or take exactness here – is Polaris. Astrologically, Polaris is the leader. The director. The one who points the way. Given how e metaphysical ‘north’ is always a reference to intellect (just as ‘south’ is metaphysically a reference to emotions or emotionality), Polaris thus becomes exactly what it says it is: the leader versus the director…the one who inspires and who is part of the effort, or the one who tells others what to do but who isn’t intrinsically ‘hands on.’

Is there a good or bad here? Maybe, maybe not. It’s probably all in how you handle your Polaris (so to speak). Currently positioned at 28 Gemini (conjunct Betelgeuse, a star all about aiming to have things ‘work well or easily’) there is great portent for good and great possibility for selfishness from anyone as they attain a position of leadership.

Of particular interest this year (2012) would be knowing that Thuban was Earth’s pole star between 3,000 and 2,700 BCE (give or take)…which would make it the pole star for the Egyptian and Mayan civilizations, among others. Very much linked to the constructive/destructive ideas of the dragon, Thuban is a symbol of value, worth and ‘the treasure.’

Back when Thuban was the pole star, it was in Gemini – just about where Polaris is today, though Betelgeuse and Polaris were then in Aries (at around 19 Aries or so).

It’s all rather curious, seeing as we have the Mayan ‘creation calendar’ drawing to a close this year with the Galactic Center now positioned at 27 Sagittarius, in direct oppositional alignment with where Thuban was then…and where Polaris (and Betelgeuse) are now.

Was the Galactic Center in Sagittarius back then? No. Back in the year 3,000 BCE our Milky Way’s center (and its resident Black Hole) was at 15 Libra, rather in opposition to…(yes!)…Betelgeuse and Polaris.

With Polaris having been in Aries back then, survival was the key and trying to make it through the day or year with a modicum of ease (Betelgeuse) was the rather simplistic optimal and learning (Thuban) was the treasure, the symbol of one’s value. Being someone of learning has lasted through the years since then as a guiding precept.

And maybe that’s what the Mayans (and the Egyptians, as others) wanted us to know – that learning and choosing to learn and to use what we know (thought, thoughtfulness)…that those Gemini precepts would be our ‘guiding light.’

With Polaris now our guiding light and in opposition to the Galactic Center we would appear to be polarized by the need to be ourselves and to learn enough…and yet to remember to contribute. That’s the requirement of the Galactic Center. The GC (as it’s known among astrologers) is always a point which describes where we have to give and wherever 27 Sagittarius (the position of the Galactic Center in 2012) falls in your chart, that’s where you will rise and probably also fall to your highest and lowest nature.

In a sense, that’s the price we pay for living in a time which combines the challenge of being with that of leading. For the Maya and the Egyptians and other great cultures of their day, the aspiration of learning (Thuban) was something other than the struggle to survive and to be a head of household or society.

Not so now. It’s just another sign that the Age of Aquarius – an age which stratifies, separates and distinguishes and requires that we treasure our differences asks that we join together in making things work.

 Aquariusurania as pictured in Urania's Mirror,
 a set of 32 constellation cards published by
 Samuel Leigh (London) in 1825

No, we don’t all have to like each other. But in the Aquarian Age we’re going to need to recognize that as different as we are and should be…how that doesn’t mean one person, one idea, one culture, one gender, one profession, one way of living is any better than any other. Those who don’t…well, like those Earth suitors which come along and end up going off on their own, we’ll be ‘deep spacing’ ourselves. That’s pretty cold.

Meanwhile, Earth goes on collecting it’s minimoons and leaving most behind. Our lovely blue planet remains in its monogamous relationship with Luna Moon while making friends along the way…just as many of Earth’s inhabitants do. For a minute there, I wondered whether Earth was just plain fickle.

Then I realized that when you’re a charismatic planet with a lot of magnetism and local space mass, you’re bound to pick up fans along the way!

Yup, I guess it’s all and learn, right?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Spica and Arcturus

The Moon, Mars, Venus and Spica as seen from Nashville, TN
 (photo credit - Goddard Space Flight Center)

Brightest star in constellation Virgo, Spica has been known to cultures around the world and down through the ages. Hindu astronomers and Chinese astrologers…evidently Spica’s prominent twinkle-power has not only added a lot to our night skies but stirred many a thought over many, many years.

Known in medieval Arabic tradition as ‘Azimech’ (the Undefended) or ‘Alarph’ (the Grape Gatherer), Spica has also allegedly played an interesting part in the development of science, too. How did it do that? Well, apparently those uber-builders of ancient Egypt liked focusing temples and monuments on particular stars. So that’s what they did.

In the course of this, somewhere around 3,200 BCE they built this one particular temple in the city of Thebes which was focused on Spica.

This particular temple was dedicated to the Menat, an early ‘Hathor-figure.’ And since Hathor was a major goddess of home, hearth, childbearing and providing that which life depended on, when this one temple failed to “stay in alignment,” folks started wondering why.

What they came up with was a theory - later validated by Copernicus – which is now understood as scientific fact: the idea we know as precession.

It’s hard, living here on Planet Earth, to really grasp that our planet is zooming through space, rotating as it does, and…(this is the precessional part)…wobbling ever so slightly in the process.

What this amounts to is that the imaginary ‘stick’ we tend to think of as ‘stuck through’ Earth and around which Earth rotates…that stick wobbles ever so slightly, rotating as a top does, describing a little circle. That circle - which moves in the opposite direction as Earth's rotation - is precession. And it moves one degree each 72 years, meaning the Earth precesses one zodiacal sign (30 degrees) every 2,160 years, with a full Great Precessional Age taking twelve times that amount: 25,920 years.

 From the Egyptian Book of the Dead / Papyrus of Ani, 
a scene which shows the goddess Hathor - here
portrayed as a cow - standing in the reeds (c 1275 BCE)

Now, you’ve heard people (including me) talking about Astrological Ages. That’s a function of precession. And what Spica has to do with all this is that Spica is the star which for whatever reason was the star everybody focused on down through the ages as they figured precession out. Arab, Egyptian, Greek (his name was Hipparchus), Polish (Copernicus), Chinese, Indian…everybody's eyes have seemingly focused on Spica.

Is it the brightest star in the sky? No.

hough it , though it is one of the brighter ones – the 15th brightest, to be more precise.

So what's the draw?

For the moment, let's just call that 'coincidence.' Though as someone once remarked to me, 'coincidence is just God's way of remaining anonymous.'

That said, a little about the science-side of Spica. There are astrologers (and those interested in astrology) who simply fluffy off science. Yet if metaphysics works, it has to work across the board. That says that we can learn more about the metaphysics from the science.

So let's consider the facts: Spica isn’t just ‘one’ star. It's evidently a closely tied pair of stars – a binary star. That tells us that in all things Spica, there's more than one 'part' of the question to consider if we are to arrive at our 'full brilliance.'

Next concept: Spica is classed as a ‘Beta Cephei’ type star (star formation) which means one or both of these energy spewing objects displays a ‘variable brightness.’

Easiest to say here is 'better them than us,' but maybe that's the point. Known as Alpha Virgo (the brightest star in the constellation Virgo), for our earth-bound purposes Spica 'illuminates' the Virgo concept of getting to our goal. Therefore the variable brightness says sometimes we'll do that 'attending to our work' well, and sometimes we'll be a bit more dim about it!

Interestingly, the rotation of this pair is estimated to be 4 days. Why would that be interesting? Well, being the brightest star in our constellation of Virgo, Spica could very easily be seen to have something of an overall association with life’s cycles. Four seasons is easy to associate with the agricultural cycle, and Virgo is the sign of the harvest.

Then again, seeing that the lunar cycle is 29.53 days long (rounded), that pretty much gives us four weeks of seven days in our month (a rough approximation of the lunar cycle).

And a week is how our lives are organized. Virgo is all about neat and organized, right?

More to the point, that's what our world uses to function. And that's seriously Virgo!

Yet beyond that, Virgo is a sign not just about getting from seed to harvest, or about morality, duty and responsibility (and all the effort mental and physical required to hold ourselves to our schedules and prevailing rules of conduct). No, Virgo is also about the ordered process and the ordering of the process, and about thinking through what it takes (for instance) to get something we plant - be it a ‘seed’ or a relationship or a company we want to grow to profitability - what it takes to bring those to full fruit and not to keep them from...spoiling, shall we say!

Growth, nourishment, food – it all has a connection to Virgo. Often associated with motherhood, the better Virgo word is probably ‘nurturance.' And on the flip side, Virgo would also be about how to handle 'toxicity' (which on the physical side leads us towards health, health care workers and medicine as a business)... and how eliminating our toxicity mental, biological, physical, moral, intellectual, fiscal or otherwise - is something which requires thinking through.

It's a process. Virgo is all about the process of getting from Point A to Point B, which is why the well-known Virgo 'caught up in details' thing is not exactly considered a Virgo positive.

Put this all together and what is Spica, this brightest star in Virgo? Known sometimes as a star of knowledge, considering the effort, patience, and diligence which Virgo honors, Spica would seem to be a star all about ‘know-how.’
Having the ‘know-how’ or learning to do something so that you have the ‘know-how’ - being able to help others who know less and all the Virgo responsibilities which weigh out what I 'owe' me and what I 'owe' them (that binary thing? That would appear to be in play here. And knowing when you can prioritize one thing (the 'me' versus the 'them or it') that would appear to be part of our Spica learning curve.

So! With all this said, what does Spica have to do with our world and our life as we meander, stumble or frolic through 2012?

  Copernicus' Conversation with God  by Jan Matejko (1872)

I’m glad you asked. For reasons I’m not going to get into at any length here, Spica (this star which is part of Virgo) is currently positioned at 24 Libra.

What? Why is Alpha Virgo's star in Libra, you ask? No, this is not a hostile takeover of Libra by Virgo (though that is a thought worthy of contemplation...). 

Part one: fixed stars do move, if slowly. And let’s face it. Any way you slice it, whether you’re hedging your bets Greek style or you're into going all the way back in astro-thinking to 3,200 BCE when the Egyptians were changing their ‘we're building this temple in Thebes,’  it’s been a seriously long time. Long enough for Spica to have moved a sign or so down the line.

Here's the skinny: Spica left the mathematical Virgoan space on February 12, 285 CE. As for the constellation Virgo, (this being Part two of 'What's Alpha Virgo doing in Libra?')Virgo is absolutely one truly large constellation. You might say Virgo ‘sprawls’ across a broad swath of sky. (Ah yes, a very earthy sign, Virgo!)

Also: not only is Spica a binary star in its own right, but for thousands of years now, it's been traveling through the zodiac (the sky as seen from Earth's perspective) in conjunction with Arcturus.

And what's Arcturus? Arcturus is brightest star in the constellation of Bootes and the fourth brightest star in our sky (third brightest if you're looking only at individual - not binary- stars).

Together, they're 'lighting up' 24 Libra as we live and breathe.
But is this a ‘focus’ on 24 Libra? Or is it a distraction - a 'hiding something in the light' sort of thing?

Arcturus has long been thought of as representing the courage of individualism. Wherever we see Arcturus, we see someone who is willing to be their own person or walk their own path.

Is it always for the best? Not necessarily. But the instinct is surely there.

So if Spica is 'know-how' and Arcturus is 'having the courage to be our own person' together, they ask if we know how to be our own people.

Though these two stars have been in conjunction for plural milennia, they do separate ever so briefly (in celestial terms) in changing degrees. Arcturus entered 24 Libra on December 5, 1983. Spica entered 24 Libra on January 12, 2011.

So what's 24 Libra about?

Being a 3rd decan degree (a degree between 20 and 29 of some sign) we know 24 Libra is about the quality of interactions we encounter, based on the quality of self (or other "product") we bring to the discussion.

Because this is Libra we're talking about, this is the 'idea of the thing' and thus the idea of how we are regarded by others or received by the world. Part of Libra's nature is to cause us to seek out and find ourselves through relationships - but the big mistake is to think it's them (or their fault) when 'they' are only giving us a heads up on either our quality or the equating of the qualities between two parties (or ideas).

24 Libra is not known as a particularly strong degree - which in Libra terms can lend itself to cooperation and a willingness to work out compromises with others. On the other hand, because 24 Libra is also know for a peculiarly black/white conceptualization, Arcturus having entered 24 Libra back in 1983 makes sense when we think of the 1980's as time when there was a decided upswing in materialism coupled with the extensions of credit needed to finance that.

But then we look at this metaphysically. Is this not a signal that this is a time when an entire generation of people began to think they - as human beings - should be able to act on credit too?

Taking this back to Arcturus' quest for individuality, as Arcturus moved into 24 Libra, there would be a rise in the temptation to think of ourselves in black-and-white terms. And to be confronted with our own willingness, the question of whether we have the courage to be our own person.

Then in comes Spica. As of 2011, Spica reinforced the 24 Libra in a time when the have-nots were asking can I live this way? as the 'haves' were saying will I be able to continue living this way?

All over the world we see people acting bizarrely. We ask 'how can they be doing that?' and 'how can anyone let that happen?' 

The question is partly about them, yes. But it's also about us. The Arcturus/Spica energy drives us to figure it out. It asks that we have the courage to stand for what we really believe in our own minds and to learn - not be judged - by the reactions of others.

Remember, in Libra there is always a balance. When there is a problem, the first Spica-Arcturus question will tend to be 'who is right or wrong' when the more correct question is probably who is willing to be their own person? Who is willing to learn more (or better)?

And that isn't about our 'group.' The human tendency is to retreat to those who will agree with you or at least coddle you. Why others do that is also something to think about. Is theirs an act of Virgo nurturing? If so, they will care for you, but not instruct you. After all, you need to be your own person - which includes learning how to be an independent being.

But again - why care about that now?
There are two very good reasons why this is important to us now. One is because Venus – planetary ruler of Libra – is about to go retrograde. It’s going retrograde in Gemini, the ‘other’ sign ruled by Mercury, the planet which rules Virgo.

 Constellation Bootes

Metaphysically, this may give us a very really good hint about Spica as part of Virgo-the-constellation being now positioned in the sign of Libra. Virgo always requires that we think. Virgo is about getting it right being effective – if not barbaric – about achieving your goals. This is where the world ‘morality’ enters into the Virgo conversation. Virgo morals aren’t about being a prude or a clean freak, it’s about achieving the aim without undermining your own goals, breaking accepted collective standards or hurting/harming others.

Given that Libra is always about the quality with which we present ourselves and act in this world – those two can very easily go together. So for Venus to be going into a Mercury-ruled retrograde as of May 15th, that really is reason to think.

Or to be thought of…how?

Or to be critiqued or supposed based on whether we actually do or don’t have the ‘know how’ to support our claim, actions, efforts or position in life?

Venus will go direct again on June 27. But just before it does so, Saturn will have backed up to 22 Libra and go direct right atop a galactic Black Hole.

Saturn itself will be retrograding over 24 Libra from May 1st through May 16. After going direct on June 25th, it will make its final forward pass (for this time around the zodiac) over 24 Libra between August 3rd and August 17th.

If I just tell you that, it’s sort of like letting you watch Act II and Act III of a play. What happened to Act I – when we met all the central characters and set up all the plot and conflict stuff?

Right! When did Saturn first roll over 24 Libra? That was November 14 through 23rd of 2011.

Now…when you’re trying to piece this puzzle together in your head remember: this is NOT a literal ‘connective.’ We’re looking at themes of daring or know-how. Unless you have a very special natal chart which for whatever reason gives you ‘immunity’ to this passage (which would mean you use this concept of Arcturus ‘daring’ and Spica ‘know-how’ on an everyday basis) …unless you have that, you’ve been feeling this passage for some time now. It may be wonderful, it may be ugly, it may be ‘I’m good at this and I suck at that.’

Constellation Virgo

Two votes for individuality: being our own person is evidently very important in this day and age. And if it’s being stressed so on the zodiacal level, doesn’t that suggest that a lot of us need lessons in just that issue?

Uh, probably yes.

No matter what your situation here is, This Venus retrograde/June Saturn station is a test probably not so much about who you are as who you are willing to be or become.

And that’s the ‘up’ side of Saturn. Saturn is a symbol of long-term growth. When we refuse to grow at a structural level, that’s when the astrological Saturn represents problems. Saturn isn’t about the social status, it’s about being the upstanding citizen who merits the social status. Famous for representing an intolerance of fakery, Saturn transits (personal or global) bring us advances or collapses, depending on what we’ve earned.

With all that said, do you know how your know-how quotient is doing? Do you know how to best utilize it? Choosing to do something more or something better if things are tough could be just the boost your life needs. 

So (Mercury) think it over. Consider how well (Spica) things are, or aren’t working. Make a (Venus retrograde) plan and if/where necessary, own your (Saturn) responsibilities.

Ultimately, ‘know how’ is all about us. It’s not just about what you can do, it’s knowing when you should and shouldn’t do things. Saturn’s turnabout atop a Black Hole in the wake of Venus retrograde and May’s Gemini solar eclipse is a glimpse into our future.

The Black Hole tells us that it isn't going to be what we think it is right now. Black Holes always indicate the 'alternative' reality. So we can change...or be changed.

Wherever Spica and Arcturus are in your natal chart, that's the 'venue' they will operate through during your lifetime. You'll see year-to-year shifts on the nature of the interaction depending on solar return charts and transits to your individual natal chart.

Yes, there's that individuality thing again! Your Spica-Arcturus combination is not 'just like' anyone else's. And that's the point. It shouldn't be. Nor should you want it to be, assume it to be or acquiesce to, should anyone else try to render you incapable of being your own person.

Whatever house Arcturus and Spica appear in, that will also be a 'department' of life where you meet up with their issues. Those areas of life will probably hold some almost 'magical' draw for you. Why? Because it's through those Libran interactions with others that you learn more about yourself and therefore are prompted to work on your individuality.

This duo seems more obviously dynamic when natally positioned on the right (reactive/responsive) side of the horoscope. But don't be fooled. Though a 'right-side' Arcturus/Spica placement would be doubling up on the manifest 'reactive' quality of having this pair in 24 Libra, those with a proactive left hemisphere Arcturus/Spica are probably more obviously at odds with who they are.

And what they're doing.

And how they're doing it.

And if they can deal with others not liking it...or what they do when others don't like who they are.

Either way, it's tough to remember it's not how they're treating you (or reacting to you) which is the prime and eternal thing. It's who you are being to evoke those reactions. Not all which glitters is gold, they say...and not all applause is healthy. Wherever and whenever we surrender our individuality or give up the job of being a courageous human being, we lose. It doesn't matter how much money you have, how glorious your lifestyle is - there are plenty of rich and famous and beautiful people in this world who are obviously and painfully unhappy.

Arcturus/Spica may, in fact, be part of the difficulty of being famous. Even notorious. Is the image the person? Libra tempts us to say 'yes,' especially in a 3rd decanate degree which has everything we do being commented on or critiqued.

And maybe that's the point - even for those of us who aren't 'famous.' We all wear social and societal masks and to a greater or lesser extent care (or don't care) about what anybody thinks of us.

Maybe we should be more involved in being who we are than listening to our own 'press,' as it were. Good or bad, they don't know everything that we are. This probably applies even to those we consider part of our 'group.'

Nobody knows what goes on in our head, in the depths of our heart or in the boundless insight of our soul.

Do we? Probably whether we do or don't know ourselves, Arcturus and Spica represent the (Libra) relationships and (Virgo)  responsibilities/areas/effort where we learn the most about ourselves.

And in the end, whether 'they' like us...does that matter as much as whether we like ourselves?

One last note here: if you have a planet, axis point or natal nodal placement in 24 Libra, you probably know that you polarize people. You are - in a sense - part of their Arcturus/Spica learning process.

But what you do with you deal with that thing...that 'responsibility'? That's on you. At some level, even how we relate to things in our own minds - that's a Libra dynamic too.

It may even be the most important, for from how we deal with ourselves comes how we deal with others - and how they respond to us.

Modern life connects us to others - and allows them to react to us. Or more exactly, to whether we have the know-how and courage to be the people we'd like to think we are. 

We live in nakedly Spica-Arcturus times. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Lyrid Meteor Shower 2012

 Comet Bradfield from Cactus Flats in northeast Colorado,
 just before sunrise (photo credit : Starmom - May 2004)

This year’s Lyrid meteor shower comes to its crest on April 21, telling us that we can expect life to be  peppered with a ‘shower’ of ideas and input during this time.

The 'Lyrids' (as they're known) will be visible for several days - as they are every year - but with there being a New Moon on the 21st, this is a particularly good time to use the darkened sky as a backdrop for enjoying nature's splendor.

That said, is this an important, serious or otherwise earth-shattering astrological time? Maybe, maybe not. But whether or not it's is a time likely to offer grist for our mental mill. Little problems, figuring out how to deal with little problems, votes for and against things we’re considering doing, figuring out how to get things done and achieve our personal aims…that would all be entirely typical of this time.

Here's what NASA has to say on the subject. They've put up a nifty little video, too. Very astronomical!

There’s a blog on the Lyrids posted last year here on astroPPM...

...that deals (in some detail) about the theory of meteor showers and what comet Thatcher – the comet responsible for the Lyrids – is about.

At least at some levels. But like all astrology - there's always more to say!

For those who want the Cliff Note version of the 2011 'chat,' comets are objects which, instead of orbiting around the Sun per se, make big loops starting somewhere Out There and coming whatever distance in towards ol’ Sol.
In Thatcher’s case, the aphelion (farthest from the Sun) position is truly way out there: Thatcher’s aphelion distance is 110.443 AU (one ‘AU’ or astronomical unit being the distance from Earth to the Sun). Just to compare, Jupiter’s aphelion is 5.458 AU and Neptune’s is 30.44 AU.

So 110 AU? That’s a whole long ways away.

On the inside track, Thatcher is also something of a celestial overachiever. It’s perihelion (the closest point to the Sun) is at 0.9207 AU – and since anything less than ‘1’ would indicate something which is inside Earth’s orbit, this tells us that Thatcher is what’s known as a ‘earth crossing comet.’

Don’t worry though…it isn’t going to hit us. As a matter of fact, at this very moment, Thatcher is pretty much as far away from Earth as it gets on its 415.5 year orbital journey.

 The orbit of Comet Thatcher as diagrammed
 by NASA/JPL for April 22, 2012

But metaphysically, it still does cross Earth’s orbit. So this is an object which astrologically we would consider emblematic of ‘information coming to us from out of the blue.’

Or out of the very cold darkness, to be more outer space about it. And considering how outer space is pretty much a vacuum, this is an interesting commentary on meteor showers in general. The information which turns up during a meteor shower fill may well ‘fill in the gaps’ where some greater issue is concerned. Or they may be ideas which fill in the gaps in our time. Or ideas about how to use those little gaps in our time.

Drawing on the long-built logic and lore concerning the Lunar Nodes, we would also think that any other ‘Earth crossing’ object would also represent an ‘intersection.’ In this case the orbit being crossed is that of Earth orbiting the Sun: our greater life plan, our purpose, our consciousness, our life in general.

And the source? That’s probably the most informative point here. Considering where Thatcher is at the moment (i.e., near to being as far away from us as possible), that which ‘comes to us’ now – whether in the form of an idea or an event – is coming from…from where? From way out there.

Think of this in terms of expressions like ‘out of left field,’ ‘out of the blue,’ or the ever-to-be-marveled-at ‘from a whole other direction than what I expected!’

Can this be good? Yes. Can it be a pain? Yes. After all, let’s go back to that Thatcher aphelion point – 110.443 AU. That’s beyond Sedna, for goodness sake! Yes, even when Sedna’s at it’s farthest from the Sun, Thatcher goes beyond that.

And it’s not like Sedna is at its farthest from Earth at the moment. It doesn’t reach it’s actual perihelion (closest approach to Earth) until the year 2076. And even at that, it’s going to be 76AU away – over twice as far away as Neptune is from us at it’s furthest.

The orbit of Sedna as diagrammed by
NASA-JPL for April 22, 2012 

But let’s think this through…so Sedna is about as close to us as it gets and Thatcher is about as far away as Thatcher gets.

Put simply, they’re both way out there though Sedna is (metaphorically) ‘pressing in upon us.’ And that says that all the Sedna ‘issues’ – the management of our superegos and identities and all the problems which go with maturity (or lack thereof) and earning-versus-entitlement - or put another way, narcissism – are naturally being shown up either in our lives or in the world around us?

So this Thatcher ‘sprinkling’ we’re getting? It may be about any of these subjects. Maybe you’re becoming more informed about something. Maybe it’s insight which pertains to you or someone you know – or maybe even why you know them?

Identity – in it’s greatest sense, positive and negative – seems a key Sedna quotient. All the pluses and all the ‘ikky bits’ (as a British girlfriend once put it to me) are very Sedna indeed. Why? Because the good of our nature is that we either share or harness in making efforts and the greedy, me-me-me side of our personality, the side which says I’m entitled to do this or take it out on somebody else or try and make life all about me, my problems or my desires…that’s part of our nature too. By polarizing us in a way we humans think of as ‘maturity’ (emotional, intellectual, spiritual – one or all) Sedna periods signal when such qualities will be our signature, our challenge, our aim or our downfall.

So whether you’re having to deal with Sedna issues or Sedna ‘stuff’ is being evoked in you (either to your surprise or because its habitual)…or even if you’re just feeling bombarded by stories which strike you as Sedna like in this world…this Lyrid meteor shower is an adjunct to same.

But Thatcher – and thus the Lyrid Meteor Shower – is more than just about Sedna. Remember, Thatcher goes outside of Sedna’s orbit and from there ‘brings to us’ all the unsuspected things of life, all that we  have no control over in life (the Kuiper Belt). And along the way, it permeates our personal protections and societal/personal ‘masks’ (Neptune and Uranus)…it represents the metaphysical talent life has for inspiring, daunting and challenging both our efforts and what we’re ever so sure we know for true (Saturn and Jupiter).

 Diagram of the greater solar system (credit: NASA-JPL)

After doing all that, comet Thatcher then sails through the asteroid belt, illuminating, sparking and showing up so many possibilities and  pitfalls life and processes can hold…it’s about interrupting what we thought we were so sure about doing (Thatcher passing Mars) and bringing ALL that not just back to us and our life, but a little beyond.

A little beyond, you ask?

Yes. The planets which orbit between Earth and the Sun (that Sun being emblematic of the core of our existence – life itself)…there are only two planets there.

One is Mercury: our thought processes. And the other is Venus. Any way you slice this, these are personal and internal qualities. We act/interact with others to feed the needs outlined by Venus and Mercury, and by their nature in our natal charts (especially when combined with transiting indicators) we can tell how well (or not so well) these attributes are functioning in our lives.

Venus transiting in front of the Sun
(photo credit: Jan Herold - June 8 2004)

The astrological Venus represents value and worth - and the cause/effect of our being able to get the desired response from others based on the quality/qualities of our Self that we bring to the table - or put on public display, use in our interactions or embody as a 'product' we put out into the world.

When we say ‘worth’ here, we mean ‘self-worth,’ even though yes…many do try to substitute financial worth for a sense of worthiness.

(Hmmm…could we be hearing an echo of the Sedna maturity thing here?)

Probably the interesting quality about comets is their tail. The fact they have one, and that even when the comet itself is (as Thatcher is currently) far, far away, a smattering, a dappling of all they bring to us remains for Earth to be ‘reminded by’ once every year.
It’s sort of like how we celebrate ancient holidays. Or traditions. Or how there’s so much to be learned from the tail (trail, tales) of those who have gone before us.

Is it any wonder that at this time when economics and so much wrestling with what is basic and what is extravagant and being in simple touch (with reality or others)? It any wonder Sedna is now nearing its perihelion?

One would guess that there are many – too many – who are in the process of throwing all the rules and standards out the window. The ‘why’s are probably legion here, but everybody seems to be polarized, particularly in terms of ‘what’s wrong with them but don’t you dare point at me!’

Yes, it’s a challenge. Through what we do and our contributions to the world (and others around us) we hopefully earn respect, acceptance, love and (oh yes,) money.

Yes, this would be the Taurean precept, AND where folks try to make that short cut between ‘self-worth’ and ‘worth.’

From the real deal development of the internal Self comes (in time) satisfaction. That satisfaction is all about having known you really lived up to your potential. In spite of that old saying ‘the one who dies with the most toys, wins’ life isn’t about a competition with someone else. Exteriorizing our (self) worth to the point that we think what others matter is the measure of who we are is not only a bit dicey, but a sure and ready symptom of an internal self-worth issue begging to be nurtured.

And how to do we nurture them? Like the myth of Sedna teaches, as implied by Thatcher’s path, the Lyrids – occurring just as Taurus begins – urges us to tend our own mortal, mental garden. As to help, life ‘sprinkles’ (or ‘peppers’) us with ideas…and sometimes critiques or problems. The point isn’t to set us back. The point is to give us perspective so we can feel our own feelings, fix our own basis of perspective and in time, become more secure.
From our security, and from that which we create in life because we do feel secure – that’s where real respect from others and ourselves is born.   

So maybe you’ll get some really insightful glimpses on yourself, your friends or this world about now.

Thatcher was “officially” discovered back in 1861, and though comets don’t ‘come from the stars’ as was thought Way Back When, metaphysically, the point where they “originate” from (known as a comet’s “radiant”) matters.

At least astrologically, I mean.

In the case of Thatcher, it’s 'origination’ point ‘appears’ to be in constellation Lyra.

Constellation Lyra

From that, we can deduce that Thatcher – and thus our yearly Lyrid Meteor Shower period – carry at least a bit of the qualities associated with Lyra’s brightest star, Vega.

What's Vega about? Vega is about charisma - having it and how you use it. Vega is associated with great orators, writers, singers, salespeople and those who use charm to get their way.

Vega can be a great positive - or personal negative. Some of us use it, some of us are prone to getting used by it.

 Fixed star Vega as photographed by the Spitzer Space Telescope
(photo credit: NASA-JPL/Spizer Space Telescope team)

And yes, some of us use and get used.  

I mentioned Thatcher’s being discovered in 1861, but the Lyrids? They’ve been known to mankind long, long, long before that. We have a record in China’s Zuo Zhuan which in referring to May 22 of 687 BCE references the Lyrids.

And that tells us something else. Back in 687 BCE this meteor shower was occurring just at the very beginning of Gemini. These day’s it’s happening just at the beginning of Taurus. That’s a shift from mentality to self-esteem and a sign that the Lyrids are about a linking of though and self-esteem.

You may think this is about what we think of ourselves, and that may well be true. You may mean this refers to thinking through our personal issues in order to solve them, and again – I can’t find any flaw with that. You may think this linking of ‘thought’ and ‘worth’ is emblematic of the Information Age and all the intellectual property rights which are becoming more and more valuable and all the fracas about that. Or that it’s through our exercise of mind that we invest in ourselves and do anything of worth which (according to the Taurus pattern) give us the maximal ability to grow our self-worth and our financial worth (if that’s on our agenda) and wind up feeling satisfied and secure about our life.

Again, I’m with you.

So while this isn’t likely to be an earth-shattering moment (and if it is, it’s not Thatcher doing the shattering) this is a time when considering what life is really worth is probably apropos.
Then again, it may be a perfect time to sit and the window and gaze out at the stars. There’s something very humbling yet very reassuring to know how small we really are. It takes the pressure off…and somehow frees us to be more than we were when we got up just this morning.

That’s enlightenment!