by Boots Hart, CAP

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Accountability: Running with Astrological Scissors

Hall und Schährer by Adolf Wolfli (1926)

The subject of accountability has been coming up a lot of late. I hear it casual conversations, as part of discussions in the media...and of course, on the political stage.

That got me to thinking about accountability as an astrological concept. And just to prove that life is synchronous (not to mention ironic), as I logged into Blogger to begin typing this post I found a comment from 'Anonymous' (ah yes...Anonymous by any other name...) telling me I'd gotten the day of a week wrong when specifying a date.

Personally, I have no problem owning the fact that I have flaws. (Oh, let me count the ways...) One of my flaws is the ongoing battle of the disconnect between the thinkery and the fingers doing the typing.

If I was a magician, I'd call it slight of hand. But I'm not. And as an astrologer (as in everything else I do) I feel my responsibility to do the very best job I can do...which unfortunately doesn't mean I won't make mistakes

However...I am willing to own up to those mistakes, rectify those mistakes (whenever possible) and to try and do something about what I do and how I do it so that if possible, I won't ever do it again.

So when I saw Anonymous write ...'you meant Tuesday the 8th, right?' ...I looked the comment right in its digital face, posted it, then wrote a reply owning my mistake.

(And yes, I corrected the copy.)

With apologies to all concerned, the process I went through is one version of accountability. And I bet you've noticed how there's a marked lack of same going around. You'd think the world had the accountability flu or something. I'm sure you know someone in your world who is eternally evasive, right? Someone who seems to treat avoidance or escapism as a way of life? And let's not forget those masters of deflection and PhD's in subject-changing.

I had been giving this accountability issue a bit of thought before coming to the blog (ah, karma...such a lovely and fascinating thing!)...and what I came up with was this: accountability differs from denial by being a matter of mental focus on the realities (or a lack thereof) where denial is straight-on emotionally different.

That's important in the astrological sense because it tells us that on the astro-elemental level, denial is more of a water sign thing and accountability is either air or fire. (Which fits, as the two signs associated with denial are water signs Scorpio and Pisces.)

Accountability is also not responsibility as it's not what we need to do - it's about what we've already done. So Saturn isn't the symbol here. Saturn our symbol of time and all we need to (yet) do or get done. It's about what we build or what we refuse to take part of (or acknowledge), not the quality thereof.

Accountability is also not karma or repercussions, which lets Pluto off the hook. (Not that I think you can put a dwarf planet on a hook, but...) Both karma and repercussions are things we don't control and which affect us...but which we plainly can't control or entirely change (much as we might want to!).

Though the term 'repercussions'...that does connect us along a clickity-clack train of thought 'consequence.' And accountability does seem to have some relationship to consequences.

But this is not consequence in the Orcus 'what is done is done' sense. Coming from Orcus being a god of facing what we did in life once we die, there aren't any chances of changing anything which is astrologically Orcus in nature. 

So accountability isn't on the Orcus list. But we do have a winner in this theoretical category for why we seem to be seeing so much lack of accountability and (not surprisingly) a desperate need for accountability. maybe they're not 'winners,' but at least we have astrological candidates, namely Ixion and Pholus.

And in case you don't know much about these two points, here are the links to articles on same here at Ye Olde AstroBlog...

In the article about Pholus, as a matter of fact, there's a whole discussion of how Pholus and Ixion are currently transiting in tandem. So that you don't have to read the whole post (although I don't know why you wouldn't want to know all there is to know about the ever-toxic Pholus thorn in the human paw) is an excerpt from that post which is specifically about Ixion and Pholus in connection:


(From 'Pholus: A Little Nasty')

Pholus is going to be playing footsie for Ixion for quite some time, so issues which at their heart pertain to 'committing the same mistake over and over again' are going to be with us, and part of our personal lives for some time to come. The years 2013 and 2014 have Ixion and Pholus conjunct. This is either a great time to rid yourself of personal and/or psychic baggage or a time when you may embody the famous Rhett Butler ‘frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn’ attitude in all the most unpleasant and unsubtle ways.

Come 2015, Pholus will begin to move ahead of Ixion.

Then as 2019 rolls around, Pholus moves into Capricorn as Ixion moves over the Galactic Center.

On one hand, this doesn’t sound like peaches and cream. On the other, since the Galactic Center speaks to the necessity to make a contribution in this world and the perils we run when we think first and last of ourselves (or 'our group') this may spell the height of ills and the 'coming to light' of a necessity to change our ways.

Then again, maybe not. Pholus spends a good long time in Capricorn and as noted, Pholus lingering in a sign seems to spell times when we most want to influence that other sucker into the ground if they don't agree with us.

It's probably worth remembering that Capricorn is also the sign of regulation, laws, governments and the business of commerce, too.

Yet maybe awareness will count for something. If so, maybe the fact that you're learning about Pholus and how these cycles work will help you do better where your own life is concerned.

Plus you never know - if enough people come to understand the concept, maybe enough of us will figure out that the pressure without which triggers the pressure within is about our tendency to feel pressured, and deal with matters from that perspective.

A better perspective, we might say?

Orbital mechanics being quirky things, Ixion will continue trailing Pholus for a while. But Ixion will catch up. And that it does with both points in Capricorn is fair warning to us now in an era where we are experiencing the Pluto shift from Pluto's residence in the receptive/reactive signs to its evolutionary transit through worldly-if-personal proactive signs.

Once Pholus gets in front of Ixion (as of 2015), with all this still flowing through the Sagittarian lens we are likely to see the cost but have a harder time seeing our own fine hand in the cause. Passive or participant, this combination of Pholus and Ixion is big on wanting to see things our own way.

Then 2019 rolls around. Pholus hits the Capricorn ingress ‘reality’ quotient as Ixion passes over the Galactic Center (the Galactic Center being the black hole at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy).

Let me put it this way: in the realm of theoretical celestial one-upmanship, while Ixion is 'closer' to us (i.e., more "native" to our sense of individual life and wanting what we want), there's no question but when the fight is billed as Galactic Center (Black Hole) versus Ixion, Ixion loses.

One assumes that those most 'Ixion-ish' (who do what they want or what will benefit them without regard for morals, morays, laws or ethics) will find someone lighting a fire under their tails about then.

We don't know who (or what) will be striking this match. But since the mythic Ixion ends up tied to a rotating, flaming wheel for all eternity for having ignored the opportunity to learn better...these stories do seem intertwined.

And intertwined in our time. So we'll all do well to remember that where there's a difference between what we want to be true and what works in the greater reality, our wants don't win, no matter how many times we try to make them win.


The Pholus post goes on in this vein discussing time frames all the way out to some twenty years from now. And though a lot of what I'm saying here may be theoretical (...of use to the many who read this blog as students of astrology - yes, I know you're there and I'm complimented...) but there's an applicable side to all this as well. The approach, encounter and intertwining of Ixion and Pholus does seem to coincide with the upswing of need for accountability along with the increasing lack of it in society and our individual lives to the point where now it's all around us....the bullying, the spouting of  falsehoods here and there - on the internet, television and in everyday life. And that seems to define the sort of systemic or societal lack of accountability being seen as a confluence of 'lack of self-reflection' (Ixion) plus 'lack of proper respect for the consequences' (Pholus).

Currently transiting Sagittarius since 2005, Pholus pretty well marks the social-societal 'going off the rails' quotient I'm talking about. Sagittarius being all about the 'dissemination of ideas'  and 'the spread of influence' fits perfectly. Sagittarius being a fire sign which among other things rules education, media, the idea of medical practice or legal practice, travel and things foreign (and foreigners), religion, publishing and...I particularly like this fiction - all that gives us an interesting insight on why so many think it's okay to 'disseminate' information which amounts to "science fiction."

(Or if you prefer, pure fantasy!)

The Ixion part of this mix seems to be the 'again and again,' 'over and over' part of the problem. The mythic Ixion simply learns in the moment, but doesn't learn until the sky (quasi-literally, in his case) falls in on him.

Together, especially as media and communications become so pervasive in daily life, we get the picture of repetition of information and Twittering and ad buys and news good and useful as they can be, they may also be part of the problem. We aren't just talking about violence in video games and movies, but also the Youtubing and endless recycling of video online and in the media when something bad does happen. Is it sheer chance that with the rise of media as a pervasive force that when one act of mass violence occur and the media goes to work covering every splinter of it that we see similar acts breaking out in other places? Is there even a point at which focusing on some victims stirs those less celebrated and more unsupported to acts of violence?

Who is 'responsible'? Is the media responsible for what it puts out or are we responsible for what we take in?

And what about mental health, you say? Well what is mental health, I ask? Who defines it - and how healthy are they mentally in this Pholus/Ixion time? Can anyone be immune to the times in which they live? Should we be heeding first the voices of those who have paid the greatest prices - and if so, what exactly does that mean? 

Many of the questions we may ask include the term 'responsible.' In the Saturn representation of consequences for laws broken and societal bounds breached, yes, there is a 'responsibility.' To get someone there...just to even get people to admit there's a problem in the ranks, whether you're talking about the media or school administrators or doctors (who are legendary for refusing to admit one of their fellow MDs are coloring outside the lines) or on Youtube or in the Twitterverse, getting to the Capricorn/Saturn point of being able to nail the problem down is hard.

That would seem to be all about the fire sign quality of Sagittarius. Metaphysical fire is the idea, the inspiration, the motivation. But to use the old expression, there's no 'there' there.

Holding on to that idea for yet another moment, in thinking of the Pholus story, that a 'slip' is all it takes to bring down this powerful centaur says we can be undone - apparently with all innocent or best intentions. We can slip up when we deal with toxins or...thinking of Sagittarius as the sign of expansion which is in opposition to Gemini...when we allow ourselves to 'push those boundaries' to the point where they become toxic behaviors, toxic speech - whatever.

And this would seem to be where many of the discussions about the media, about violence in video games and movies, about gun control are coming from.

The question is always who went too far? Who's hand is slipping?

That we see so much of this happen in the skies aboard airplanes, in the schools, in the media and even in places where things are being said or shown (I'm thinking of Gabby Giffords in Arizona who went out to meet constituents and the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting)....these incidents seem to be the very sign of our times.

And thus we can draw from them that whatever else they may be, that they are raising the questions which need to be asked at this time. We can't expect concrete answers - we're talking about fire signs. But we do know that in time, objects like Ixion and Pholus move on. We know that by the end of this decade, Pholus in Sagittarius will give way to Pholus in Capricorn, which is a suggestion that by then these problems will have been worked out (to some extent) as new questions are raised. 

Not all of us are on the world stage (or want to be on the world stage) taking these issues on at a societal level. But there is our daily life. Fire signs ask that we imagine not just the possibilities but the consequences and that we be motivated sufficiently by that to do whatever needs doing to improve things in how we live our own lives, whatever that means in the moment.

And that's probably the best news we're going to get here, because what that says is that by paying attention and by not running with metaphysical scissors we can stop doing ourselves and others such harm. Be they pharmaceutical, environmental or merely mental, we can stop treating toxins so lightly.

As if we really know how to use them and the full range of what they can do to us?

And yes, it is apropos to bring ecology, toxic waste, the gas and oil industries, pharmaceuticals into the conversational bucket. Why? Because Jupiter is a ruling influence in both Sagittarius and Pisces, and Pisces is the realm of oil, ecology, pharmaceuticals and such, which brings Jupiter into the discussion.

With Jupiter currently loitering at 6 Gemini (and about to go direct) we know this is a time to be thinking things through and making choices - as individual people and collectively, as societies.

The thing about Gemini - as any Sun sign Gemini will tell you - is that it's a whole lot easier to dabble and scatter your efforts than make a choice and take a stand, first and foremost with yourself.

And who are we 'accountable' to first? Ourselves. And where does that accountability function? It starts in our mentality. This is not about 'the thought police,' this is about policing our thoughts. It's about heeding the fact we know what's okay and what's not okay. It's about knowing that there is a difference between fantasy and reality and that real life is not role playing - not with ourselves and certainly not with the lives and understandings of others.

Livre de comptes de Jean Martell, fondateur de la maison Martell, Cognac, France
(the Book of Accounts from Jean Martell, founder of the House of Martell, Cognac, France)
(photo credit: Rosier, Sept 2012)

Jupiter is going direct in Gemini at the end of January, 2013. Given that Pholus and Ixion are in the low 20-something degrees (the early 3rd decanate) of Sagittarius, this means that it will be May 2013 before Jupiter makes an actual opposition...first to Ixion, then to Pholus.

But we'll feel the effects prior to that. Jupiter will come within standard orb (5 degrees) of its Gemini-Sagittarius opposition to Ixion by mid-April.

And I just know you're going to love this part...that will be during the distant-rumble-of-thunder period which precedes the May 2013 Solar Eclipse at 19 Taurus.

Taurus is a sign all about our security. Sun sign Taurus spend a (Sun) lifetime learning that security is all about how they feel about themselves, not what others think of them or about what they have (material possessions). An eclipse in Taurus' second decanate is all about a wiping of the emotional clean slate where certain concepts about emotional security and personal values are concerned. And since this eclipse is going to happen pretty much as Jupiter opposes Ixion and Pholus (there's about a week of time span involved, which is pretty much nothing in cosmic time)...its a safe bet that at whatever level, we are each going to be challenged in some area of accountability.

Ixion's involvement tells us it's something we have refused to see. Ixion's tie-by-orbital-influence to Neptune (yes, Ixion is a Plutino like Pluto) tells us that while we may not be in complete denial, we're probably kidding ourselves rather thoroughly about something. The Neptune 'rule' here is: the thing you think most likely is bound to prove incorrect while the thing you think least likely will in the end be the truth.

Over and over again we have told ourselves or done something which has ended up not serving us well. We obviously enjoy it in the moment...or at least we enjoy not being made to do otherwise...but it never works for us.

That's Ixion. When you hear from people in alcoholic or drug addiction recovery you tend to hear variations on this Ixion theme which speak of people 'needing to hit the bottom' before they get real.

For some of us...and I'll guess for some organizations and institutions (I haven't done any chart surveys, so I'm not naming names)...that 'hitting bottom' is going to be the Taurus solar eclipse.

But there is hope. Much hope! Though...well, this hope comes with a set of teeth like you wouldn't believe!

In this case, the metaphysical hope is held out by the presence of fixed star Ras Alhague on the Ixion/Pholus side of this equation. Ras Alhague is a star with a pretty fierce reputation. But when you boil it down to gravy, this is a star which indicates great harm or great healing.

Jupiter arrives at 22 Gemini, opposing Ras Alhague's position at 22 Sagittarius, on May 22nd. And if you have your ephemeris out (or have committed all the eclipses to memory) that will ring a bell, as May 25 is the second of two lunar eclipses which will grace our skies during the April-May season.

The May lunar eclipse will be at 4 Sagittarius, a degree I happen to know (because of one particular person's chart) is active in the charts of lots of folks born in 1972 through that being where Neptune was at the time.

But there are oodles of other people who will be affected by this eclipse as well. As will our world.

We're not going to get into this eclipse thing too deeply - at least for now. The only thing I will add (as part of this discussion) is that the April lunar eclipse occurs at 5 Scorpio, which creates an April/May period where we have two 'high tide emotional' events in successive signs.

Astrologically, aspects struck between successive signs are called 'semi-sextiles.' It's an energy which tends to feel a bit irritating or offensive. Given that the venue producing this energy is a pair of lunar eclipses, it's likely that many of us (those whose charts would be aspected by one or both of the lunar eclipses) will be dealing with some degree of 'give and take' emotionality which feels like it's "about them" but which, given the overarching Jupiter-Ixion-Pholus-Ras Alhague dynamic (not to mention the solar eclipse, which pretty much trumps all) is greatly...hugely...primarily about us.

Solar eclipses always (always, always) indicate life events and situations which, in eliminating something which has been part of our life's "status quo" makes room for something which is truer to our overall life purpose.

And that would seem to be not so far off the idea of  becoming more accountable to ourselves.

Meanwhile, there is also another thought to be taken 'into account' here...namely that Pholus is a centaur, and Sagittarius is a constellation (and sign) represented by the image of a centaur.

A Russian coin featuring representation of Sagittarius
(in public domain per regulations of the Russian Federation)

All such references go back to what the mythological essence of a centaur is: the joining of the human to the animal at the human genitals (instinct) and the horse's heart. How we 'rise above' what might be referred to as 'animal instinct' or how we harness our greatest strengths through 'a higher perspective' (the human mind) and all the challenges which go with that, whether you go towards the Ixion story of betrayal of human standards or the Pholus story's point about remaining aware about what we do in even our smallest actions, these all seem to be coming together during these years. The result is a tide of events which show how some people fall prey to their 'lesser natures' or it callousness, malice, selfishness or whatever else up to and including insanity...

It's on display in the world and through what happens in the world we are each getting tested in our own lives.   

This first half of 2013 is beginning to look like a pattern alluding to opportunities to deal with our own 'accountability issues,' whatever they may be. If we go with the idea that the idea of accountability seems very Pholus and that Ixion is merely raising the stakes and priming us to make that same mistake over and over again until the roof (sky, Olympus) falls in, then we do have the opportunity to use the Ras Alhague dynamic on ourselves...and in healing ourselves, be able to help heal our families, communities, society and world-planet-connective psyche.

It won't be convenient, it isn't likely to be fun - that's the very nature of the issue we're dealing with.

Thus I close, hoping that this post has given you some useful insights. Or even something to think about or toss out to baffle friends and family. For myself, I'm going to work on keeping dates and data straight and make myself more accountable from there. But that's peanuts compared to what's going on in our world, so let's all hope that we each become more wiling to account for ourselves and our own accountability, and in that, to create a situation wherein others are held to account for their own choices in kind.


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