by Boots Hart, CAP

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Orcus at 6 Virgo: Our Possible Price

The Young Man and Death by Gustave Moreau (1865, oil on canvas)

Consequences. That’s the Orcus thing – consequences. Specifically those we can’t avoid.

And you know how much we all like a good unscheduled consequence, right….?


Considering this (and changing the subject slightly if not at all), it continues to amuse (or maybe amaze me, I’m not sure) how the astrological world-at-large doesn’t make more of Orcus.

After all, look at all the attention Pluto gets. People are just fascinated by the allure, the craven draw of Pluto in all its potential disastrous-ness. Heck, we humans even get off on wallowing in the pain of our Pluto disasters. (We are quite the race, aren’t we?)

Our Pluto silliness isn’t really what I’m on about here…what I’m getting to is that Pluto is a dwarf planet. So is Orcus. Not to sound repetitive or anything, Pluto is also a Plutino – meaning it’s orbit is controlled by Neptune, the ‘big blue’ of our solar systemic planetary world.

And so is Orcus.

So…! Why DO we-who-are-metaphysically-inclined pay so much attention to Pluto and virtually NO attention to Orcus?

Answer: because Pluto’s energetics pertain ONLY to ‘what happens.’ We don’t much notice Plutonic consequences…we just feel the deliciously dangerous draw of their allure.

Pluto effects really hit in an event’s wake. It’s energies embody a less-than-fully-planetary-sized processing of our ability to forget (for good and ill), ignore (for the best and otherwise) and attempt to outguess eventuality (good luck with that). Where Plutonic forces function as part of our legacy, not all of us care (though some do fervently, granted) and where they pertain to our projecting our greatest desires on the future Pluto brings us those Grand Twists of Fate. Pluto is also about that we inherit through being born to whomever we were born to and how we harness (or don’t harness) our abilities in relationship to the world around us and our life in general.

Artist's image of Pluto based on Hubble's photographs
(image credit: C. M. Handler, December 2010)

In other words, Pluto is something we work with.

Orcus, on the other hand, is about consequence. In other words, Orcus is about that which is over, done, finis – and about which we can do nada, zilch and exactly zero.

With Pluto, in other words, we still have hope. How well founded that hope is….? Well, that’s what we might call “the Neptune side of Pluto” and all about how realistic we are and how well we deal with our emotionality. (And there’s nothing like a Pluto transit to teach us where we’re a wee bit wanting in the Emotionality Department… do I hear a seconding of this notion?)

(Don’t all groan at once, please…)

But to the point: where there is Orcus, there is no more negotiation. There is no hope of changing the situation as it stands. To the Romans, Orcus was the god-type who greeted you on the other side of the doorway through which you passed when leaving this life. And true to form when it comes to so much that Rome adopted from ancient Greece, apparently Orcus was the chilling godly sort of type who welcomed folks to the afterlife and then walked them to their destined destination in the underworld while having a (perhaps tastefully critical) conversation with them about what they did in life which… well… wasn’t so nifty keen and cool.

Nothing like a reminder after the fact, is there?

Like all of the objects controlled by Planet Neptune, Orcus tests our (Neptunian) responses to our own feelings and our reaction to being made to feel those feelings. With Pluto, the ‘lure’ (if you will) to get us into the situation which tests is primal and desirous.

With Orcus, it’s just fact. And it’s the very coolness and dispassionate factuality of Orcus which is so very daunting.

Yea verily to some – or to all of us on some occasions - even frightening.

Still, the thing to understand about Orcus is that the idea of ‘this is now dead and done, you can’t change it’ is not always as final as it sounds. Certainly we might expect to see (and yes, do see) transits from Orcus or to someone’s natal Orcus when someone dies. But Orcus isn’t a ‘symbol of death.’

It’s just an indicator that where you have been coming from – particularly as that pertains to what’s “ideal” to you emotionally…or idealized by you emotionally…that said ‘Neptunian illusion’ is no longer valid.

And maybe it was never valid.

Where Orcus is concerned, we face the utter lack of control which Pluto makes us think we can somehow get hold of.

And now Orcus is going retrograde.

The date: December 6, 2013 – which means the ‘window’ for station effects opens around December 4th and extends to…let’s say December 8th. During this time life will be becoming ‘ever more Sagittarian’…busy but introspective and filled with ideas and things which need – and which are worth contemplating.

But to put this a bit more cut-and-dried-ly, Mercury will be moving into Sagittarius on the 5th (the Sun is already in Sagittarius) and as of the 7th, Mars will move into Libra.

That puts Orcus – this ‘vibe of consequence’ (or maybe ‘consequential vibe’) right between two influences which would tend to say we went too far too fast and have either said too much or too little…and that we now (Orcus) are recognizing we have to face the consequences of our actions. Or lack of actions.

What has happened, what we’ve done or not done is the Orcus part. How we feel – and indeed whether we feel, whether we are willing to deal with our reality? That’s the Neptune part.
A simulation of Orcus' orbit as example of the path followed by any of the Plutinos,
 all of which 2-to-3 resonance with Neptune.

Here’s the magic: with Neptune, to accept is to enshroud yourself with the ability to learn better (always good) and to – if you want to – improve things by adopting the Neptunian position of humility and admitting your errors or vulnerabilities at least to your Self.

That Orcus is going retrograde at 6 Virgo reminds us that the person we have responsibility for Self but at the same time how life cannot become a matter of our ego or ego drives, positive or negative – that when they do (or because they have) we may be ‘judged’ as wanting.

Unless of course, you’re willing to ‘own’ your own errors. At that level, Orcus transits (and stations, yes) are about knowing there are consequences…and how that pertains not just to us, but to the consequences others may ‘pay’ for us.

That’s the thing which over time…after now having had even just a handful of years as an astrologer in which to watch new (to us here on Earth) points and think them through…that’s the thing which is becoming more obviously to me than ever about Plutinos. Yes, they do each have their own particular ‘test’ and way of bringing about big shifts in our lives. At the same time however, they all also represent a ‘class’ of astronomical object which has (and should have) it’s own astrological meaning.

What I’m referring to here is the fact that what makes a Plutino a Plutino is the fact that its orbit is controlled by Neptune through Neptune’s amazing ability – as a planet - to influence vast swaths of space (and just about everything wandering through that space) all along its orbital path.

In short, Plutinos generate the sort of vibe which has a peculiar sort of ‘radiant’ quality. Think of Pluto in the unfortunate case of a terrible traffic or train wreck which everybody then has to come and stare at. Pluto has that ‘magnetic’ effect – the lure and allure, the fascination and all the possibilities of guilt and guilty pleasures which go with that.

And Orcus?

Orcus isn’t the train wreck…it’s what we do to create a train wreck in our own lives. And considering that, Orcus going on station at 6 Virgo says a lot. For one, the Sabian Symbol for this degree is ‘A HAREM,’ – a singular collective which stresses receptivity, with noted astrologer Marc Edmund Jones referring to this as ‘a fateful (even if sought after) subservience to the vagaries or desires of the emotional nature’ with Dane Rudhyar counting by thinking of this state of existence as ‘an emptiness of waiting’ which begs to be used for positive purposes.

Why we create what we create, and why that was important enough to serve as sufficient motivation to bet the most irreplaceable thing we have in life (time) is at least as important as what we create or what others think of us. It would seem we have each – in some part of our life – gotten ourselves to a place where we can do nothing but wait for some right moment or turn of tide.

Having created our ‘consequence’ (good, bad or mixed) we are now being asked to look at what some might think of as the most restrictive or punitive parts of our experience as a source of personal enlightenment.


  1. Hey how did you make that orbital resonance diagram? You always have interesting astro tools.

    1. I didn't make it - it's a copy of one JPL (I think) made. It looks like something made with a Spirograph, doesn't it?

  2. Yes, a spirograph! I wanted to comment on the pretty picture Orcus' orbit makes as well :)

  3. I have Orcus trine my north node.
    If there are no negotiations when it comes to Orcus, I wonder what it means to have your nodes aspected by Orcus.

    1. My first thought would be pretty positive - that if you do what you should in life and with the 'right' people (meaning those who are right for you and those things you need to do) ...all that being North Node...that through those efforts you can create lasting (Orcus) change.

      Of course, once you go there, then you get the alternative nodal instructive: to avoid being or becoming that thing or person (or whatever) you are deep inside is to court life foisting upon you either the requirement that you do just that. I have even seen this sort of thing manifest as some life incident which makes it impossible for the native to become that thing they had 'waited' to get to - at which point that person realized how much they wish they had done that thing...which could be anything from career to climbing Mount Everest to getting married, studying something...that part's up to you.

      In essence, the do/not do of the North Node either CREATES the Orcus result or 'consequence' or the Orcus situation creates a consequence or consequential situation which affects the Nodal need or relationship.

      Does that help?

    2. Thanks. That is helpful.

  4. Hey all...just leaving a note here at the blog: I've been struggling with a neck/back injury for about a week which has gotten worse and made it hard to type, so please understand if I'm a bit more brief or get to your question more slowly.

    As always though, your comments are always appreciated.

  5. Orcus is very representative of the life experiences of Nelson Mandela and he died just while Orcus is retrograding right now...

    1. He was indeed a man of consequence - your observation is so, so apt!