by Boots Hart, CAP

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Meteor Showers 2012: The Perseids

 A 270 hour x-ray photo of the central regions of
 the Perseus galaxy reveals thousands of galaxies
 amidst multimillion-degree gas.
Photo taken by by Chandra
 (photo credit: NASA-CXC-IoA-A Fabian, December 2005)

Every August, Earth travels through the lingering tail of comet particles which we know as the Perseid meteor shower. And while we know the Sun is going to be in Leo when this happens, everything else changes, of course.

For instance: this year the Perseids come upon us with Mercury having just come out of retrograde. Last year Mercury was in the middle of its retrograde – and the year before that (we’re talking 2010 now) Mercury was just about to go retrograde.

So the parameters change. But at its heart, the Perseid meteor shower is all about ‘a little sprinkling of ideas’ or events, incidents, input or inspirations. Wherever the middle-latter part of Leo falls in your chart, that’s where you tend to experience the Perseids.

Going back to the astronomy here, the comet which causes this meteor shower is named ‘Swift-Tuttle’…which I have an unfortunate habit of typing out as ‘Swiff-Tuttle,’ which suggests I like a certain kind of bird.

We all have our bad typing habits, y’know? My worst tends to be an everlasting habit of typing the name of the state in which I live this way: Califnifia. Don’t ask me why, but that’s the way it is. It’s so how it is that I’ve been asked where I live and (yes) I answer: Oh – I live in Califnifia…

 A population map of California. I live down in that
red splotch a quarter-of-the-way near to the bottom
(Los Angeles, in other words.)

But enough of my bad typing...back to Swift-Tuttle.
Currently positioned about half way through its orbit, this is a comet with a 133.45 year orbit which at it’s farthest point from the Sun is beyond Pluto (make that Pluto, Huya, Chaos, Ixion and a host of other objects)…and which at it’s nearest is at a mere 0.9585 AU from the Sun. And if you remember that one ‘AU’ (astronomical unit) equals the mean distance from Earth to the Sun, that means that Swift-Tuttle crosses Earth’s orbit – hence Earth encountering the remnants of comet debris…the meteor shower.

  Comet Swift-Tuttle's position at August 2012

Having reached that closest-to-the-Sun point (the perihelion) back in October of 1992, Swift-Tuttle is currently on its way back out into the Kuiper Belt, where it will reach its ‘far point’ (the aphelion) in 2067.

What this suggests on a metaphysical level is various. One point however, strikes me (as the daughter of a movie producer and film production vet) as interesting, and it goes like this: if the Kuiper Belt is that region here originate all the ideas which provoke things we have never thought of or experienced before, then it might make sense that the comet which ‘feeds’ the Leo (creative) meteor shower reached its perihelion back in the 1990s. I mean…isn’t it pretty much around the early 90s when we started getting into re-run and sequel mania?

Before you squeal with alarm at the idea that this means nothing new will get made for another 70 or so years, I suspect this is not just a transiting but a natal aspect. That means that there are plenty of people born during Swift-Tuttle’s last ‘approach’ who still have something new to say…they’re just bucking trends in an industry which has become more or less loathe to say them.


So worry not. The good news is that artists are generally just neurotic enough to keep at it, and in time things will change.

Seeing that not everybody is in the business of coming up with new ideas (be that in the world of entertainment or anywhere else), there’s more here to contemplate – namely where Swift-Tuttle appears to come from, sky-and-constellation wise.

Astronomers call this ‘origin’ the “radiant point.” And Swift-Tuttle’s radiant point lies in the constellation of Perseus.

The tails of comets can not only string out for thousands of miles. Not
only that, but because space isn't an 'atmospherically active' place,
those 'comet tail particles' can linger in space - pretty much in line with the
comet's passing - for an incredibly long period of time. The photo above
is of Comet Lovejoy - not Swiff-Tuttle (which I haven't found a photo of).
The really fascinating thing about this photo is not just that it shows the
comet so clearly, but that it was taken by from the perspective of
astronaut Dan Burbank on December 22, 2011.
Real humans...real comets. Very cool!
 (photo credit Dan Burbank-NASA)

Just in case you don’t remember Perseus, he’s a handsome young Greek buck who takes up the hero cause in order to save his mum (Danae) from the clutches of a local king who is hankering to marry her. It’s the usual Greek affair with said king posing an impossible task for young son to perform, but unbeknownst to the king, Perseus’ father is yon honcho god Zeus.

That means Perseus gets help.

High level, from the top of Olympus-type immortal help.

 The Arming of Perseus by Edward Burne-Jones (1885)
(Am I the only one here who thinks this rendition of
Perseus looks rather like Orlando Bloom?)

This also suggests to us that Zeus – aka Jupiter – is of concern to us in the moment.

And where is Jupiter? In Gemini. At 11 and 12 Gemini during this meteor shower. Moreover, except for a period of about twenty hours on the 11th Jupiter will be unaspected – at least by classical planets.

What does ‘unaspected’ mean? There are all sorts of ways to describe this situation, but for all intents and purposes this means that Jupiter – which lets remember is second in size only to the Sun in our solar system – Jupiter is pretty much on its own, doing what the heck it wants to, unsupported and unencumbered by anyone else.

Currently in Gemini, this says a lot about what might get said during this period between August 8th and 13th (more or less). It also suggests listening may prove enlightening. Considering how Jupiter in Gemini has a reputation for over-doing, over-explaining, stepping over the line and every variation on that theme, we shouldn’t be surprised if these days turn out to be filled with surprising – even shocking information.

With Mercury just having come out of retrograde, those who have been ‘waiting on something’…or who have delayed something (or even thought they’ve gotten through the worst of things) may well find their world rocked.

It’s just a variable point in time. On one hand there’s a lifting of barriers here…on another, there’s a need to be sensible. Maybe even a bit careful – except where life is offering a validated, verified opportunity to grow.

But even then…Jupiter in Gemini does have a reputation for jumping out of the situational airplane without one’s mental parachute. And this is a transactional sign. So make sure you know who you’re dealing with and/or what you’re doing. That said, go for the informational gusto! So long a you don’t spill the sacred beans, all should be well.

Or reasonably well, give or take. Ultimately the metaphysical Jupiter is always about expanding of our experience, be that physical, mental or emotional. Some experiences come with pretty daunting moments attached – not all education is pretty or even pleasant, even if ultimately education it is. Jupiter has long been known as the ‘greater benefic’ which personally I consider something of a con and something of a motivation: provided we’re willing to work towards a good and decent goal, Jupiter does tend to represent the opening of doors and the pointing to the path.

But let’s face it – Jupiter appears in every chart, which means it also appears in the charts of every nastiness known from mass murderers on down to your local arrogant idiot.

This applies, trust me. That we can see through Jupiter ruling Sagittarius totally solo-ly, and its rulership of Pisces in the ‘getting into it’ sense.

Sagittarius is one half of the Sag-Gemini polarity which asks that we choose something to do or learn and see that through to fruition, learning as we go. And where Gemini-Sag is the ‘getting the idea and seeing it through’ thing, Virgo-Pisces is the polarity which tests our basis for doing things and if we’re emotionally prepared to deal with the consequences of what we do, how we do it or just plain life.

Taking this altogether, Jupiter (metaphysical and greek mythological) is the process of learning and sometimes of learning better. When we violate the rules, Jupiter (and whatever the 9th house of your natal horoscope is, by the by) represents every force of society and nature which will get in your way or stop you in your tracks. When we are headed for achievement, that Jupiter-9th house-Sagittarius thing is all about the ballyhoo and networking of the word.

All of which brings us back to the Perseus - the constellation and the hero.

 Constellation Perseus 
(note the star named Algol)

Perseus the hero is the guy who goes into the cave where Medusa has slunk off to after being transformed from gorgeous female to gorgon with snakes for hair for having violated the terms of her service to goddess Athena. That whole gorgon ‘turning you to stone’ thing is rather prosaic and typically Greek. Medusa had been not just sincerely freakin’ vain about her beauty, but also silly enough to think she could get away with doing-the-dalliance thing with Neptune right there in Athena’s temple when Neptune showed up to pitch a little woo.

(That’s ‘woo’ as in ‘wooing,’ not ‘woo’ as in 'WHOO-HOO!’ though somewhere undoubtedly the two do tend to meet…)

The quick and dirty breakdown here: Athena is the she-goddess who ‘sprang full grown from the brow of Zeus’ (Jupiter) …which is another way of saying she’s all thought, no feeling. Neptune, on the other hand is the god of the oceans. And water – in all cases metaphysical – is always a representation of emotions.

So Medusa has sworn to serve intellect and then gets distracted and seduced by emotions.

As a result she is sentenced to being uglier than ugly – capable of ‘turning life to stone.’

This becomes important when we realize that we each have the asteroid Medusa in our chart. And make no mistake – Medusa is active especially when conjunct an axis, node or planet.

Trust me on this one. I know a guy with Medusa/Sun and in the moment when he decided his life was “golden” (that he had it made), he turned into a true human gorgon. It was ugly. (Still is – he ain’t dead by a long shot.)

Yes – I did know about his chart. But as I’ve confessed, I’m a curious little critter. Besides, if you're going to be a researcher of any time, you have to take a few risks. I'm no astronaut. Do a space walk? Uh, no...I like my feet on terra firma, if you please. But I am mentally curious - wherever we see Jupiter, we see curiosity, the plus and minus of which are written in the individual chart. So I often will meet people with 'iffy' placements and, if I like them well enough otherwise, I'll stick around to see how they work those placements out.

But if blood gets shed - real or psychic - I'm out of there! So I enjoyed the brilliance of this guy and was curious about how his Medusa/Sun worked. While he used it in his own someone whose life (Sun) was about exploring and facing the mysteries and scary (Medusa) things about life which because he is (Sun) alive he has to (Medusa) face, we were fine.

Then we got to a point where he stopped being curious and started thinking he didn't have to try any more. Or learn any more. Or face anything else inconvenient any more.

But his Medusa was still there - right there in his chart, still very much conjunct his Sun.

That's when I found out how his Medusa was going to work as the 'I'll turn you to stone' force in what he did for a living.

And at that point, I didn’t walk, I RAN...leaving him to the darkened caverns of his soul.

 Medusa by Arnold Bocklin (c. 1878)

Hopefully sooner rather than later he will summon his Perseus (again, we all have one) and deal with how his fear of being who he is and could in abandoning himself he's not just turning others to stone (against him) but he's turned himself to stone in his own life.

And that is the real point here. Medusa is the dark cave of each one of our souls which is activated when we don’t face the factual (Athena) truth about our Self.

So whenever we see Perseus as part of any picture, that Medusa Factor comes into play. And that's why it's so interesting (if you'll accept the word 'interesting' here) that the Perseid Meteor shower happens every year during the latter part of Leo. 

Remember…Leo is the sign of envisioning what could be. That’s supposed to be translated into motivation, but with any Leo facet (and we all have some Leo in our charts, whether or not you have a planet positioned in Leo)…with any Leo facet there is a tendency to think you know better because you have that idea of how things should be.

Hence Leo’s association with a little problem known as self-centeredness (sometimes known as brattiness, selfishness or even arrogance). And that – or the oppositional ‘inspiration’ may come to light as part of your Earthly experience of the Perseids. The Leo/Aquarian polarity represents the choice to either create something which can then be useful in a group or social (societal) setting…or to try to make the group, the society or the social operand suit your fancy.

And beneath that choice is the question of whether you have really faced your Self.

One other item about Constellation Perseus – it’s association with a certain star named Algol rather underscores everything already said. Algol is sometimes known as ‘the gorgon’s head’ and has a nasty, nasty reputation. But what that reputation – and the star – really represents is the choice between self-indulgence in the emotional arena (and Algol is always emotionally driven) or whether you will fight to do the right thing…that which truly embodies personal integrity, whether or not you like the outcome or even the process of getting there.

In other words, Algol tests our sense of personal proportion at an emotional level. And as such, it very much fits in with the stories of Perseus (the boy who must face a terrible fear of Self in order to come of age as a man)…Medusa (the mortal who in giving herself over to emotions doomed herself to self-loathing when confronted by cold facts)…and Neptune, the god of all which we might want and might fear and might never know the difference between.

It’s all actually very Leo. Leo is after all, the sign of creative envisioning. In Leo the hard part is reckoning…accepting…being totally bare bones honest about where you’re starting out, where you are, and the difference between what you want to be true and what is really true.

That really true stuff? That’s the basis of all which can be.

Earth passes through the trail of comet Swift-Tuttle (I’ll try to spell it right from here on out…) as the Sun is passing through the latter part of Leo’s emotionally evocative second decan (degrees 10-19) and into Leo’s third decanate (degrees 20-29) where we don’t get to vote so much as others – and life – votes on who we are, how we have acted, the choices we have made/not made, the promises we have kept or broken and whether we’re a ‘class act’ or not.

Often times this passage through the Perseids is just a little nibble, a little bubble in our road. Maybe we get a little irritated, or maybe we just ignore  everyone.
And that may be what happens now.


(You knew there was going to be a ‘however,’ right?)
…about the time the Perseids end, the Sun is rolling across 21 Leo.

And 21 Leo would be the square to the 21 Scorpio solar eclipse which is going to occur this November. That means the smart money (or let’s just say the smartest money) is on starting to deal with problems about who you are and how you’re going about being You now rather than later. Leo is the sign of creativity which makes it a great sign under which to take yourself in hands. Add the Perseids and we have a bucket full of opportunity to change our ways.

Those who don’t…and especially those who don’t who have planetary-nodal-axis placements between 16 and 26 Scorpio, Leo, Aquarius or Taurus? They’re in for a wake up call this November – call it an ‘eclipsing’ of their immunity…to something.

How likely is it that we’re going to be all peppy and ready to snap to and do the right thing?

That would seem to be the question. And in the answering of that question, we encounter a t-square.

 The major 2012 Perseid Meteor shower transiting t-square.
Legend: planets/dwarf planeets in yellow, fixed stars in green

I know…you’re all jazzed to see a t-square.

(That's a joke.)

But it's not all that bad. Well maybe yes...but the point is that if we can just bear in mind that the point at the ‘t’ (which in this case is the Sun in Leo) is the thing we need to get over in order to make the whole thing work...then maybe we will make this whole dynamic work out for ourselves.

(I'd say each and every one here, but I'd feel all Dickensian to say that and I'm just not a fan of Dickens.)

In this t-square, there’s a whole lot of energy in the ‘me, my way, mine-mine-mine I WANT IT RIGHT NOW’ corner. And yet the object is to master interactions with others so that you can HAVE all that me-mine stuff.

Again, the Leo Sun – and hence all the Perseus-Medusa-Neptune-Algol concepts we’ve just talked about, those are the things in your life which you need to get right with in and with your Self in order to achieve your own goals. Scorpio is the ‘guardian’ of many gates…all of which involve getting others to agree, approve or participate in whatever you’re trying to do, whether that’s have a relationship, get a loan, find a job – whatever it is.

That Scorpio ‘hurdle’ …the getting past them (whoever “they” may be) is what you’re aiming at. And that Leo Sun says you need to examine your own track record to see what has worked for you and if that still applies in your life, in this society – in the general here-and-now.
Most of us would rather be doing ‘something else’ right now. Many of us will be tempted to do something which allows us to ‘feel better’ without facing that Self out of fear we may not like something we see there.

Oh, that again?

Yes, that again.

Again, the good news is that any meteor shower marks a time when inspiration and real insight can spark us right through our sticking points and zoom us on to victory.
Personally, I rather like the Perseids. Leo is generally a trying time of year in my life, but I get a lot done.
Maybe the slogan here is it’s better to follow the shooting star than get shot down by one…?

Probably yes – in which case, I’m going to go find my shoes so I too can do some star following!

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