by Boots Hart, CAP

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Pholus-Ixion on Station

A detail from Angelo Bronzino's painting of Venus, Cupid, Folly and Time 
(Angelo Bronzino: 1503-1572)
No sooner will we have moved through…(or into, rather)…our own personal 'deep water' courtesy of Sedna's station and the evolving evolutionary potentials of a series of continuing on-off grand sextiles but Pholus and Ixion will go on station mode and turn direct.

Both of them?

Yes, both of them. Pholus goes direct on September 1st and Ixion goes direct on September 2nd.

Not only that, but they’re both going direct at 18 Sagittarius, which given the unity of expression here seems the place to start thinking this through.

18 Sagittarius, by simplest definition is several things. The Sagittarian question has to do with finding our way and seeing if or how or how well our concepts of how life works or how we’re going to reach our goals work. Sagittarius being a fire sign, there is an element of ‘the vision’ which given Sedna’s recent turn to retrograde may well point to our discovering…or coping with the realization that old ways of thinking, old goals, old ‘definitions’ of what’s right (or right for us) are in flux. Or in need of a change.

The fact that eighteen as a degree of any sign indicates areas where that sign manifests emotionally, in Sagittarius we may well encounter moments of excitement, fervent debate, frenetic thinking or feeling like our world is in a whirl and there’s just too much coming at us.


Dane Rudhyar gives us the keyword of ‘Survival’ for this degree and speaks to how pelicans are known to sacrifice themselves to feed their own young. But what are our ‘young’? For some, the meaning is probably literal – you have children and those kids are your ‘young’ (or young ‘uns, depending). But since astrology is universal and not everyone has children, the concept here has to be broader than just that literal interpretation.

The clue is probably found in the polarity – the fact that Sagittarius is where we find out whether our Gemini thinking, those Gemini choices and our Gemini path/method of building our life is solid. Will it stand up under scrutiny? Do our presumptions or theories about life – or how our life should work function as well as we thought they would when put into real life ‘application’ sort of situations?

Having come this far in thinking through 18 Sagittarius, this last concept rather brings in what Pholus and Ixion going retrograde may actually point at. Pholus being an astronomical centaur, the metaphysical essence is about an ‘argument’ (if you will) or test of will between our headstrong nature and our intelligence…our willingness to think things through at a productive level rather than just to go with our assumptions.

In the myth, centaur Pholus is friends with Heracles – that hero of great strengths and resourcefulness we of modern day ilk generally know as Hercules. Considering this friendship, it’s safe to say that Pholus and Hercules had things in common. And since weaponry becomes a focus in the story, one would assume that strength, assertion…even aggression are one of those traits.

The turning point in this tale comes when Hercules is called to do something noble and instead of joining him in his ‘noble effort,’ Pholus chooses to remain in his cave…which in Sagittarius is most likely to be ‘sticking to our perspective on how we think things work,’ or how we want them to work, or wanting to do things our own way.

And while sitting in his cave, Pholus spots an arrow which Hercules left behind.

 Pholus' orbit at September 1, 2013. With Pholus currently headed away from
the solar system's 'central district' we may be more likely to damage that which
might benefit us going forward by refusing to see where we are coming
from than otherwise
(image courtesy of JPL's Small Object Database)

Arrows are obviously weapons. And when we think through all the lore about arrows, they seem to be all about ‘piercing us to the heart’ – whether that’s on the theoretically positive side (as with Cupid) where love ‘stabs us to the heart’ or whether ‘death’ is dealt (in Sagittarius to some plan, some idea, some belief or some previously committed to course of action) – this is what Pholus found himself staring at.

And then he makes his mistake. In picking up the arrow, he gets careless and cuts himself on the arrow’s poisonous edge.

And yes, he dies.

So here’s the question: in whatever arises now, is clinging to our belief or idea or plan the mirror of how we are being ‘careless’ with our life? In sticking to our ‘rules’ are we ‘cutting’ ourselves short - or out of something which would enhance our world beyond knowing? Or is making a change the act of being careless to the ‘point’ what we poison what we’ve already built or committed to?

Or maybe we're just being the 'stickler' in the pack who refuses to go along with what we know full well is futile folly?

What's right?

It’s hard to know. And given the nature of astrology, it could be a little bit of the 'do' and a little bit of the 'undo' (aka 'self undoing') all at once. So much of life cuts both ways! In gaining, we often lose - at least our ignorance.

But then, you know what they say about 'ignorance is bliss,' right?

And there is that fact that what we think we want is so often not what we really want. I have known many people who walked away from everyone only because they wanted to be treated decently by anyone.

So which is which? That's the question.

One of our answers comes from the gross disparity between the mythic characters Ixion and Pholus and the rest of the world in their stories. Pholus was a centaur living in a world populated mostly by humans (give or take the occasional Olympian god). And Ixion was born to be the king of his realm.

Both of these stories are at some level about the 'isolation' from the mainstream. They're either about not wanting to have to consider what others think or what's important to them (Ixion) and the other is about choosing to go your own way (Pholus). 

And yet...when we think of myths, what we're thinking of is an aspect of our character. So Ixion and Pholus refer to some nuance, some urge, something which dares us to flaunt not necessarily society's standards (this being Ixion we're referencing) but our own. In the case of Pholus, are we willing to be careless with ourselves simply because it's 'easy enough to do'?

The tightest planetary aspect to this (double) station is Mercury. During the days of this transit (taking into account the full station windows) Mercury will move from 12 Virgo through 21 Virgo…which again alludes to the overall Virgo nature of this time and seems to point at the ‘health’ or ‘wellbeing’ of our life, our way of thinking and – given that both Pholus and Ixion are nothing if not about our internal imperatives – our mentality. In starting at 12 and ending at 21 the Mercury hint would seem to be that our feelings – and how they apply to our choices and where we stand with others – is part of this current process.

And let’s not forget – Pholus and Ixion are turning direct. So this is about what we are going to DO…and also about how others react to us or prompt us or how they view who we are being.

No, this isn’t a picnic, though it doesn't have to be anything major. (It could be, but it doesn't have to be!). Like as not, we'll be feeling confused and be falling back on our habits and not stopping to consider what we could do which would be constructive if we would just get our of our own pig-headed way.

And why wouldn't we get out of our own pig-headed way?

Let's just say that's likely to be an Ixion challenge. You may well know by now that the story of Ixion is another one of those myths which really grabbed my inner psyche. (Nothing like knowing what gets to your astrologer, right?) Astronomically, Ixion isn't big enough to qualify as a dwarf planet. But it is a Plutin - and that means that Ixion's orbit…and thus our ‘Ixion thinking’…is governed by Neptune.

And that would be where the delusions and the problems and the odd thinking begins. Pluto is governed by Neptune too…and if you’re into astrology you know what trouble your tendency to obsess over, about and through the lens of your Plutonic focus can get you into.

There is however, a pretty big difference between Pluto and Ixion in terms of meanings. Pluto is the idea of ‘dying to ourselves’ (or our egos) so that we can be reborn transformed and purified of whatever toxic ways we have become muddied by. Wherever you see Pluto in your chart, all the things and functions and people which are connected to that sign and horoscope house will be where and how and through what you will experience this Plutonic force, for both good and ill, for all the difficulties and blessings which may befall you…or become the means through which you will become blessed.

Or yes, plagued by your inability to change – or at least transform negatives into positives.

I’ll give you an example. My personal Pluto is in the 5th house and about as close to perfectly trined to my Ascendant as possible, which is a good lesson in the idea of “the closer the aspect, the more powerful the effect.” The 5th house is the house of children, creativity, our initiative/initiating power in the area of socializing-societal doings, dating, performance-competing-ego-as-motivator and how our own childhood affects all these areas of life.

To be brief about the background stuff, I was pretty lucky to have survived my childhood and teen years for a variety of reasons we don’t need to discuss here. So I have all the negatives which might go with that 5th house list…and the Plutonic need to do something with all that sublimated energy.

For me, that became the heart of my creative motivation, my desire to help others who also may have stumbled and to make a contribution to this world in the hopes that things will be better for others. And's also all about my endless need to learn from people about how their lives work as a way to fill in the things I never learned growing up. (To be my friend is to live with an endless series of questions about what you think about things in life...and in your life...which those determined to live in denial simple dislike to the max!)

I’m also Plutonic in that my mentality is amorphous enough to take on – or take in – the perspective or energy of others and through that ‘become them’ enough to understand them. It can be good, it can be bad…trust me. It's a big plus in writing and a big minus when I'm trying to keep the thee-versus-me sense of life in well-defined personal order. (And yes, my friends do tend to be the philosophical and self-examining types!)

Every chart contains every point. Pluto as the symbol of 'create, deny, destroy' operates in all three modes in each and every person's chart. We aren't 'better' for ignoring our hurts (or denying their effects on us or our world) just as we aren't any better for hiding in those hurts without understanding how they motivate us for better...and yes, sometimes as part of self-damaging, self-limiting and utterly toxic choices.

Of course we can change. That's the Plutonic point...that life is about evolution and the process of evolving.

So in taking that lesson to Ixion, it occurred to me that Ixion may function differently than Pluto because Ixion isn’t a planet – dwarf or otherwise. Yet, Ixion has that same sort of 'allure' (Neptune) quotient which Pluto has. Ixion manifests in our life as areas or habits or choices which we keep going with even though they consistently don't work...or they create a 'shell of self' which we live so totally within that we are never on a par with others and thus able to recognize and accept our own humanity.

The glory, the foibles, the longings, the desires, the hurts and is our calling to become aware of what and who we are and - ultimately - to become aware that all is a gift and all is meant to empower our connections to our world, within our psyches and with the searching souls of others.

Ixion is currently moving towards us from the outer reaches of its orbit,
speaking to an ongoing tendency to create our own problems individually
and collectively.
(Image courtesy of JPL's Small Object Database)

But goodness's not easy. That we can see by how poignantly painful the tale of Ixion truly is...and how since we all have Ixion in our chart, we are all going to manifest Ixion resistance in some way. As with Pluto, wherever your Ixion is, that’s where you will tend to repeatedly ‘burn yourself’ until you learn to be grateful and (yes) careful with that which life offers you.

But once we learn to be grateful, then the burn becomes a whole different thing. I have a friend who 'burns' with shame for something they did a long time ago. That recognition of what they did has motivated them to change and become an entirely different person.

Many of us go through such 'life conversions' which can be traced to Ixion placements and transits by Ixion or to our natal Ixion. The tricky part comes when the conversion is made...when we try to forgive ourselves while retaining the sense of learned gratitude.

Wherever your Ixion is in your chart, the ruler of the sign it's in, the ruler of the house Ixion is positioned in and any and all aspects to Ixion will give you the pro-and-con of this process. Like many, my friend has come to fear the depth of their own feelings - not understanding that the iron hand of fearing those feelings is their own emotionality.

And thus Ixion's lesson repeats. It is no better for this person to not care about the love their humanity craves than it is to have treated anyone else badly.

Hopefully they'll figure it out. When we can convert Ixion into the gratitude that we have another chance and use the pain behind our mistakes to fuel the self-discipline which holds us to the quality of what we do and those we choose to do it with - then we win. Then Ixion becomes the means by which we can like a Phoenix, be reborn to ourselves and those around us forevermore, on an ongoing basis.

Considering how Ixion (like Pluto) takes 240-plus years to go once around the zodiac, Ixion is another form of ‘generational influence’ and not (probably) of the very best kind.

When Pluto was in Cancer (1914-1938) Ixion was in Virgo, moving into Libra as of 1935. Then, for the full and very long period that Pluto traversed Leo (1939-1957, the Baby Boomer generation)…and on into Pluto in Virgo (the Yuppies: 1957-1972) Ixion was in Libra – the signature of difficulties with the ability or even the willingness to really connect with others…and attribute which ends up ‘burning’ all of these folks through relationship connections.

But not all of the Yuppies got Ixion in Libra, as Ixion moved into Scorpio in 1967. And seeing as Ixion didn’t move on into Sagittarius until 1997, that means that the end of the Yuppies, ALL of Gen X and ALL of Pluto in Scorpio (a tough generation to belong to anyway) are colored by Ixion in Scorpio’s tendency to get ‘burned’ through the willingness to be intimate…and the resistance to intimacy.

With Ixion, you just can’t win – at least not starting out. The Ixion cycle seems to be all about getting burned and at long, long last learning how to be not as self willed about “designing” how life runs. It’s about not setting up your own set of rules to live by which given Ixion’s current transit of Sagittarius means we are all being confronted by the need to be who we are while working with the world around us.

The balance would seem to be the question. And here, as Pholus and Ixion go direct at the same time on the last days before the ‘breaking down’ period in advance of this November’s Scorpio Solar Eclipse begins…well, that tends to say that a lot about a lot of things is getting stirred up in our lives.

In our psyches.

In our relationships.

In our ability to keep doing whatever we’re doing and pursue our chosen path.

Lore on 18 Sagittarius speaks of the tendency to ‘reject’ in such a way which hurts us because in rejecting we are getting farther out of balance – not with others, but with ourselves. The ‘solution’ here speaks to ‘natural things’ – which may be the ‘nature’ of the world, the ‘nature’ in our world, or that which is ‘natural’ to have in one’s life.

Whichever side of the balance you come into this dual station on…too much, too little, too much ‘out there,’ too much ‘in here’…whether you’re exercising more of the Pholus ‘caving’ instinct or the Ixion ‘if I want it I’ll take it’ sort of habit, that’s what is now likely to get challenged. Or evoked. Or provoked. Or poked and prodded until you pay attention not just to the painfulness of it all, but the part you play in not rebalancing your life, which by any other name is the mentally and emotionally ‘healthy’ (Mercury in Virgo) thing to do.

This is, without question, a curious and powerful time. The whole of this year has been littered with signs and signals that life is changing…our lives are changing. And that isn’t just the ‘outsides.’ Who we are is undergoing an inexorable metamorphosis which we can only harm our eventualities by resisting.

Ixion goes direct on September 2nd, making August 31st through September 4th (UT/+0) the focus of Ixion shifts. Shifts which bring about discomfort of various types would be typical of this time both on the giving and receiving end.

Meanwhile, with Pholus will go direct on September 1st (UT/+0) means that the Pholus effects start on the 30th and extend through September 3rd.

What this means on an overall basis is that however these two stations manifest in our lives, they are doing so in part as a bridge between the ‘shifting’ grand sextile of August 29 and the onset of the shuddering of our lives which precedes any solar eclipse.

The Grand Sextile of August 29, 2013
And that should be a clue about what is yet about to happen. Solar eclipses aren’t gentle, yet they are ultimately a primal shaper in a life where many of us seek to ‘make do’ and go for ‘good enough’ rather than to be the person we know deep inside we have the capacity to be…that person we know we should be even if we will be required to give up everything which we have temporized with in the process.

Going back even beyond the grand sextile, Sedna’s turn to retrograde on August 25 is another form of being asked to ‘let go.’ With Sedna, the things we need to let go of are images and  assumptions about ‘what we need to be’ in the finding of our true internal power.

Between that need and the celestial linking of eventualities which is the grand sextile and now Pholus and Ixion going direct as the opening which leads us into the evolutionary force which is this November’s Scorpio Solar Eclipse? And that said Solar Eclipse is itself a climax, an accumulation, a reflection and transition into a process of reward or loss transition seeded last February when Saturn went retrograde at 11 Scorpio….


Our need to grow is great. Our need to be realistic about our choices and not to be so headstrong that we harm our own better interests is being evoked.

What to do about it all?

That’s our choice, a challenging choice which asks us to see what ‘good for me’ means in a whole new and different – more balanced - light.


  1. Not relevant to this specific post, but I thought you'd enjoy it:

    NASA releases photos of Aug 17th Mars solar eclipse. Phobos passed between Sun and Mars, digital photos by the Curiosity Rover.

    1. Totally cool, Charles - and sharing is always relevant in my book!

      Pursuant to other comments, I'm still trying to find software which will allow us to look at planetary moon positions. I keep thinking there has to be something to the 'energetic wave effect' of alignments of planet-moon-earth and planet-moon-Sun. Or even with other planets!

      Hopefully soon we'll have such tools.


  2. OK, it's me again... wondering if I jumped the shark in this 18 degrees Sag situation? Or With 17 Sag 51 ASC, do I get hit head-on by this one too? Isn't that 11 Scorpio Moon and it's endless ongong series of fun-and-games enough? The sky is joking, right? This is pretty funny.
    You're a gift. Thanks a million!

    1. You're welcome two million, Angi!

      I know it seems like there are a lot of factors hitting squarely in your court...(for the benefit of others reading our conversation, I should note here that we have worked together exploring the world of your chart)...and when it 'snows' aspects and stations, that's really life asking us, prompting us, URGING us to see things more clearly or differently. We're being asked to do more or do differently. We're being asked to see what works and what doesn't work and to make changes which will benefit us in the long run.

      Are they always what we want to do? No! Are they always what we feel all comfy and cuddly about doing? Absolutely not. But the universe is better than we are...and at some level we're like the dinosaurs - we can adapt or go extinct, not in a literal sense, but in the sense of our relevance in our own life. Evolution is constant. OUR evolution is continuous. We aren't really put here on earth to have it easy...we're put here to grow and evolve and learn more and more and still more yet again. It's generally when we refuse to hear and when we refuse to change or deal with that which isn't working by stonewalling life that life gets tough for us.

      We say we want to be free like children, but the essence of that is discovering and trying new things - not clinging to old ways. (Kids are lucky in that they have no 'old ways,' granted!)

      The sky is blue because it scatters light. And like the sky, sometimes we scatter our potential. The waves of energetics which reach us from afar are the tides of change which move us along on life's currents. Sometimes that forces us to gather in haste what is important and let go of what really has outlived its useful life. That is the purpose and point of stations and transits.

      Thank you for being you too, Angi. Your exuberant spirit in the face of all which needs doing always brings a smile to my face because I so appreciate your fabulous humanity!


  3. Re Pholus cutting himself on the arrow and dying: I wonder if yet another question could be, does hiding away (instead of doing what is good and right) lead to one 'dying a death' inside?
    Or, if we stick to what we know, when it may well be time to make new choices and venture forth, is that a form of dying to what COULD be a more fulfilling future?

    (Oh, yes.. I just read your next paragraph!)

    Does Pholus "get careless"with the arrow because he realises he is wasting away within his cave and he therefore becomes morose and/or places less value on his existence?
    Or does he fatally injure himself on the arrow as he grabs it hastily whilst he is running out the door to join Hercules? Are there sometimes no second chances?

    Would self-sacrificing our wants/needs for the sake of our family constitute being "careless with ourselves" - because 'to thine own self be true' is a higher concept?

    OR am I simply projecting

    (One last time before I "let go" lol)

    and this 'golden future' that I think I really want is nothing more than my propensity for change for the sake of change?

    Am I deceiving myself by thinking in terms of it being self-sacrificial ... when it's more truthfully a matter of feeling guilty that I'm apparently so unloving and fickle to even consider leaving?

    In actual fact, is this 'golden future' dream simply an unrealistic choice that will harm my better interests? Not to mention the collateral damage to my family?

    How to discern which side of the coin is right, true and good?

    When you write, " sticking to our ‘rules’ " do rules equate to vows?

    Gosh, i could go on with a lot more questions, but instead I will take a break and cogitate. Afterwards I shall have to read it again, and probably again! Deep stuff, thanks Boots :)


    1. Great questions, Debbie...!

      There isn't a lot of information on Pholus' mood while he's sitting contemplating the arrow. Most accounts of this story that I have read say the arrow is one of Heracles/Hercules' and that Pholus simply decided against not joining in the fray Hercules was dashing off to help with.

      So all we know is that the 'strictly human' part of us (Hercules) becomes devoted to doing that which is thought necessary while some powerful-but-conflicted part of us (the "centaur") is hanging back.

      Does this mean that the 'conflict' may be the thing which is getting 'killed off'? Quite possibly so...and for that, and the nature of what that conflict is, we'd look to where Pholus is in your chart natally and where it's current station is and all such delineating factors. I know people who are at this moment totally heading for getting past their internal conflicts and I know people who are devoted to killing off that very essential animal/human 'centaur strength' which could change their life.

      Clearly it all depends. But then, it always does - we are individuals.

      I tend to think the really important part of this is the understanding that all sides of this question are us...AND that Pholus - like everything in the chart - is never really "dead." It goes on, though the next time around (when the point is activated) we may harken back to this moment and make that next decision differently. Or we may know what it took to get through this moment managing our own tendency to 'kill off' that which we might otherwise need (or use) and feel more empowered to face that next situation?

      As for 'sticking to rules'...the term 'rule' tends to be external where the term 'vow' tends to be personal and therefore internal: one is imposed on us and one is a choice we take on ourselves. When I use the term 'rules' I'm speaking more of something we cannot change, or something which we change or 'violate' at possible cost (like breaking a law - a law is an externally imposed 'rule' for which there is a societally prescribed penalty).

      Why you think of Pholus (or Ixion) as self-sacrificial is probably more about you than the story. There is nothing in either myth (that of Pholus or Ixion) which suggests that either entity was doing anything except acting in a manner consistent with their's just that those character traits were not exactly positive, given the circumstance, which is where the crux of each given myth comes in.

      If you have more questions, by all means - post them! We all get to learn when any one of us voices a new or different thought!


  4. Cogitating, still cogitating...

    Thanks for your reply and clarifying the difference between rules & vows - I should have worked that out myself :)

    And forgive me for extrapolating the story to make it more personal than it needs to be, or even is (regarding the sacrificial part) .. sometimes I just don't want to miss any form of guidance and everything therefore leads to a case of "it's all about me and whatever is uppermost in my mind at the time ..
    Cogitating, still cogitating..

    PS - i meant to also mention that the painting reminded me of a weeping angel from Dr Who!

    1. No problem on the extrapolating of the story...I wonder if anyone from 'Dr Who' reads this blog?