by Boots Hart, CAP

Friday, January 31, 2014

Venus: the Station

I know...ow. Just ow.

Yes - I know. Been there...doing it. Ow.

This is the start of the next three months. What we learn now - and going forward, echoes.

I have no answers for you at the moment except this is a moment to endure and learn from. As I write, the Sun is at 11 Aquarius (ON A VAST STAIRCASE STAND PEOPLE OF DIFFERENT TYPES, GRADUATED UPWARD) which seems to be the image of all we are going through at the moment which is giving us greater clarity - for good or ill - about where we stand with ourselves wherever we have gotten to in life.

Within a couple of hours the Sun will move into 12 Aquarius, the Sabian symbol for which is A BAROMETER...which is keynoted as 'the ability to discover basic natural facts that allow us to plan in advance for action.'

We're at a checkpoint - a point at which we look at the barometer and 'read' our pressures personal and external, considering as we do how it would seem a painful truth that human beings never let go of comfort or that desire to humor themselves or some cherished vanity until sheer need overcomes unwillingness.

That effect and concept will now deepen and move towards coloring central considerations as the weekend turns into next week, as Sedna goes on station, and as our capacity for greater perspective (or the lack of same) becomes that which governs critical choices leading to this year's external challenges and those realizations which amount to internalized success.

Other than that, this Venus retrograde almost became my death knell. Yes, it was an accident, but the whole affair made it very plain to me that what we don't know can indeed kill us - and that there are both prices to be paid for such ignorance...and clarity about what's worth anything which just maybe can't be learned any other way.

In any case, I hope these weeks were reasonably kind to you and yours. Going forward, what kind of human we want to opposed to why we know we've been that person we are now...that's grist for our mill going forward.

And I wish us the very best with that.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 
EDIT/UPDATE: From the emails I'm getting, I need to say a bit more - most of which falls under the general title "SCRAWLS FROM DETOX."

Come to think of it, it's worth saying. What happened is this: after I was told to 'go forth and detox' by all the Los Angeles MDs, I looked the drug up to see if there were any known 'side effects' which came with detox.

On that rather benign looking list was 'loss of appetite' and 'anorexia' - the latter of which my brain filed under "not in this life."

Seriously...once I got out of the house and had access to food I was fine about eating. Until I began detox, that is.

Let's just say I lost my appetite, which at first was fine. But then...well...I didn't get hungry, so...

Moral: what you don't know can kill you. There was a very sobering moment when a woman out begging looked at me and said 'are you going to make it?'

It was about then that I realized something was wrong.

Like I say...what you don't know can kill you. Food being a Venusian thing, this whole episode strikes me as strangely karmic as it strikes me as wholly Venus retrograde.

When I say that any retrograde can force you to get in touch with that 'quality' (like food, like nutrition) on the inside, that's how a retrograde works.

(No, some retrogrades aren't all that friendly.)

I'm okay. Venus is going station-direct at the top of my chart so I'll go with the idea that I'm simply owning this experience in public. Maybe by my doing that, you or someone you love will never go through anything like this.

And that would be good. :)
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

Thanks for your emails and expressions of care. I really appreciate them. Grazi.

- Boots


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Mercury enters Pisces + a 10 Aquarius New Moon

There’s definitely something about Mercury in Pisces which heightens our ability to relate…maybe to our own situation, maybe to the plight or words of someone else. Technically defined astrologically as being ‘in detriment’ Mercury in Pisces may not be the ‘typical’ crisp defining force and mental sorting tool we tend to think of when thinking of Mercury, but that doesn’t mean this incoming influence is weak or unworthy of consideration.

As a matter of fact, probably nothing could be farther from the truth. Planets in signs of detriment often represent attributes which are every bit as dynamic as a planet in rulership – it’s just that the energy is acting atypically.

In other words…the Mercury which in Virgo often speaks to precision, technique and getting the job done in Pisces becomes lingering in the moment, reveling in the feeling and allowing ourselves to dream.

Astrological dignities in two tables
Just don’t get too comfortable. All this loveliness comes at a price – which is the other issue with detriments. Any Pisces influence - at some level – relies on a little Virgo earth-bound practicality and pragmatism to keep things in line. So if the planet being influenced by Pisces is Virgo’s ruler (which is to say, Mercury) then we could get a bit off base.

Even a lot off base, off schedule or off point…which would be why Mercury in Pisces tends to be a time when we may ‘color outside of the lines.’ Those may be our lines…in which case we may exceed or fail our standards – we just won’t be hitting them. Or maybe we’ll be becoming involved in is taking us beyond our previous experiences.

Or even ‘out of bounds,’ whatever that may mean in any given situation, in your community or in your life.

The Mercurial awareness implied here is that of emotionality…which is to say our feelings, how we feel about things specific or general…and what our feelings lead us to think about in that ‘imagining it’ sort of manner which gets us ever closer to who we really are…or our willingness to move past our dreams to seeing and doing things in reality.

So there we all will be…January is ending, and Mercury moves into Pisces on the 31st (UT/+0 time). We’re all in the middle of some sort of powerful Venus process which by April will have forced some sort of inspiration to know ourselves better than we ever have. It’s not easy. It’s not  subtle. Things which are inescapably true about life and equally true in our life in terms of who we really are – that’s all becoming ever clearer.

As are (unfortunately) the gaps between that inner and outer world – the individual (personal) and interactive world. In this moment, and going forward, something about us which pertains specifically to what we really value – is getting exposed. For some of us this will represent a goal. For some, the errors of choices past will surface in a morass of complications, most of which will be suffered in personal moments of questioning.

Mercury enters Pisces at 2:30 in the afternoon of the 31st (UT/+0 time) with Venus not actually going direct until 8:50 p.m. (with all of this being dated February 1st for those in Oriental longitudes).

And all of this will occur just after we get a New Moon – an Aquarian New Moon at 10 degrees of this most systemic of the zodiac air signs. In Aquarius we consider the whole idea…the big picture…how things will work if XYZ happens – or doesn’t. Under Aquarian influences, perspectives broaden, but they may be far from flexible.

There’s a curious quality of brittleness some might even call fragility often elicited by Aquarius. And with this being the New Moon, that may manifest physically. Known for its symbolic connection to electricity and ‘electrical systems,’ Aquarian physicality issues include matters having to do with how “power” functions in our body, whether that involves exhaustion, ambition, anxiety, any of the neurological systems and (on occasion) issues having to with vision, muscle function, circulatory issues and/or sleep disturbances.

Of course issues of “power” may also have to do with power grids. Or your “power” to be effective (as an individual in a greater social system)…the concept of “buying power” (which brings in matters of income) and all things digital, technological, universal and separatist.

As a sign which alternately unites the disparate, separates through improvement and judges nothing based on gender, beauty or any of the “usual suspects” Aquarius dares us to be human… which may just be the crux of current doings and that which unfolds as we move away from all of those things we were forced to contend with under Venus retrograde while not liking a one of them.

Yet it’s not like we’re out of the personal woods just yet. The Sabian Symbol for 10 Aquarius being as follows… DURING A SILENT HOUR, A MAN RECEIVES A NEW INSPIRATION WHICH MAY CHANGE HIS LIFE… it would seem that we have some thinking to do. So to start with, isn’t it handy that we’re about to go into a Mercury retrograde?

No…don’t groan. I know how difficult Mercury retrograde can be – and considering how this one is going to quickly move back into Aquarius, a word to the wise here: do your mechanical and tech maintenance. If you drive a car and have been putting off some ‘little thing’ …do yourself a favor and don’t put it off. Get those important letters, emails and phone calls made. Tend your site, blog or whatever else you have.

Mercury will go retrograde on the 6th – which means its station effects begin on the 4th (use February 7th and 5th respectively if you live in Middle East longitudes or east from there). What this amounts to is a pretty narrow window, but it seems worth mentioning.

(I’m feeling very pragmatic today.)

For those prone to dismissing responsibilities, you may be tempted. In fact, with dwarf planet Sedna going direct on February 5th, there’s a distinct aura of ‘wanting to play the game our way’ now which isn’t likely to get us anywhere.

Will we get the message? Some of us will, but only when it hurts enough to get us to let go of our armor-clad positions.

Getting back to 10 Aquarius, the fact that it’s the degree of a New Moon speaks to something which begins here and continues to evolve – maybe dynamically…or perhaps subtly – until March 1st, the date when Mars goes retrograde.

That tells us there is work yet to be done. Not that we may be in the mood to do it. Mercury in Pisces isn’t known for its dynamism, though it is known for faith, artistry and confidences which touch us so deeply as the create vulnerabilities while healing hurts. Mercury in Pisces can represent a time of dissolution or dreams or effortless prowess, depending on how we use it.

The essence is all about ego. Or more precisely, letting go of ego and trusting that who we are and what we are is enough – and that we are in the right place to do what we need to do next, even if we aren’t quite ready or still need to work through a few details about this or that.

Moreover, this New Moon comes with a Yod – that most peculiar of astrological images:

With Pallas at 10 Virgo we may be tempted to ‘sit’ on something, often to our disadvantage. The position at the ‘point’ of a Yod describes the tact or tactic we think will ‘control’ some problematic situation – the situation represented by the “Y” or double inconjuncts built into this formation.

And that would be wrong. Though yes, we do have to adjust, what we have to adjust is not to the situation but our thinking on whatever situation(s) arise now…or as the Moon ‘trigger’s each of the Yod points (dates: February 4th; February 16). Where Pallas does come into its own here is in the idea that as the Moon reaches these points it is the information or perspective we achieve or become privy to which ‘develops’ the doings of the month. Sun/Moon sextile Uranus is a description of innovation which ‘seconds’ the Sabian given for 10 Aquarius in saying there is newness to be and to be done this month.

And that will require some (Pallas) perspective. 

Unfortunately Pallas is positioned in a degree which can be difficult as it’s known for being a focus for when we don’t know ‘friend from foe’ and indeed can go along with someone to our personal detriment.

This may argue that we need more Aquarian individualism (and maybe some better personal boundaries or thicker skin). Then again, maybe this may be the moment when you realize you have been getting towed off course by someone who may love you all to pieces, but who isn’t living your life.

Again…maybe more (Aquarian) individuality is being called for. Then again, since the ‘solution point’ for a Yod is the degree immediately opposite the ‘pointer’ of the Yod (9 Pisces) maybe all that’s happening is about us. Maybe the ‘other people’ are reflecting our indecision. Maybe we haven’t decided who friend and foe really are and they’re just playing along with us… a thought which carries us on to the other image which is part of this New Moon – namely a magic square which includes Venus stationary…and no, I don’t mean writing paper.

Any planet on station can be considered to be potent in the utmost degree. With Pluto conjunct this stationary Venus there is an enormous amount of power which we will be tempted to use or utilize for our own purposes.

That would be questionable. Venus-Pluto connections are often obsessive, and as part of a magic square, whatever you’re obsessing about at the moment may hold huge potential and longevity, but there is a danger – namely that we will take the good for granted and in doing so, destroy that thing which carries us to such heights.

That’s not an immediate or mandated danger here, though it is a possibility – and when the ‘magic’ experienced through a magic rectangle ‘breaks’ we tend to feel hopeless and helpless about putting things back together. It’s sort of like we didn’t earn something through challenge and travail to begin with, so we end up floundering instead of simply taking the task on as a task and getting on with it.

Jupiter opposition Pluto/Venus spells huge potential and an equally huge desire to achieve or get something done…and the possible cost of doing so. Here ‘cost’ is described as emotional, but the cost is not to us so much as it’s with or in us.

In other words…we come into this time with all sorts of (Venus-Pluto) ambition and desires. Chiron-Juno in Pisces speaks of deep emotions and overwhelming emotionality as well as some sort of lack of understanding when it comes to why things have to be as they are.

This is a lunar month rooted in what we think of others and what others think or think about, with or without us.

There is distance described here, and that distance, that gap, that difference between the “I” and “thou” of life – whether that’s personal or societal – exists so that we can grow…learn…find our way to that which allows us to fulfill our destiny and potential through taking the time to take ourselves seriously.

Under Aquarius, as under Pisces, our passions can’t be solely about what we get. Only by seeing ourselves as a resource which in giving to others powers life inclusively do we achieve both a clarity of identify and the fostering of acceptance… that which ultimately grows our satisfaction in humanity personal and global – and thus our gratitude towards life itself.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Venus Direct

Act in Blues
by Antoni Karwowski (January 2009)

Of all the posts I write, without question those marking the end of a Venus retrograde or Mars retrograde are my favorites – if merely for the relief I know they will spell for so many.

So here’s the news we’ve all been waiting for: Venus will go direct on January 31st at 8 p.m. (UT/+0) at 13 degrees of Capricorn.

In going direct conjunct Pluto and in a semi-sextile to an Aquarius Sun everything isn’t perfect or probably even sorted out at the moment. Many of us are still uneasy or undecided about what has happened during the past six weeks. That the degree Venus is going direct in (13 Capricorn) points to where we stand at the moment in our own life as well as where we thought we were going has created a curious sense of separation…isolation…even alienation as we’ve tried to let go of certain things while preserving that which seems vitally important.

And not all those choices have been easy. Or “fair.” Venus in retrograde, so known for its ability to manifest as situational relationship dynamics which disappoint, fall short of expectations or which elicit feelings of compromise, rejection or lack of proper reward for our efforts. Focused through the Capricorn lens, this particular retrograde has been sobering. Apparently ‘aimed’ at our hard core, real life, ‘what it takes to exist’ sorts of Capricorn standards as applied to wherever we need to grow, get more realistic or consider the effort(s) being made – or which need to be made, this Venus retrograde has been uncomfortable for all and costly on a very personal and human scale.

Through others, through our experiences we have been forced to at least consider something about who we are and how we’re going about living our lives. And now that Venus is going direct, all those many things which haven’t been so straight-forward or obvious are facing us – at least as an undercurrent - going forward.

To toss in a little metaphysical history here, that Venus is going direct at 13 Capricorn – a degree which calls on the toughness it takes to make it on your own while making us wish things were ‘nicer’ all the way around – this is a degree hit by a solar eclipse back in January of 2011. At that point something about our ‘direction’ (or the directives by which we live our life) was irrevocably altered, sending us into a three-year solar eclipse rebuilding cycle, the results of which only really began to surface during early-mid 2013.

As those effects did surface, something else was revealed…something we could not have anticipated and which we would not have considered or undertaken to take on had we not been through that January 2011 solar eclipse.

Or more specifically, the two months or so before that eclipse. In some ways we could say that this Venus retrograde has taken up where the eclipse left off, echoing through our lives asking us who we really are – and what or who we want to be thought of as.

The most sensitive points affected by the January 2011 solar eclipse AND this
current Venus retrograde (which takes its station to go direct at 13 Capricorn)
are the Capricorn conjunction, the Cancer opposition (the 'confrontation' with
issues and ideas) and the two squares - one in Aries and one in Libra. Seeing that
all four of these signs are members of the cardinal (pro-active) modality, what the
2011 eclipse may have stopped now will have resurfaced as a check point.
All of these points have a five-degree orb allowance, as shown above.
The gaps between those two ideas or values or qualities were shown up in large scale back in 2010/2011 …now we’re at a checkpoint, asking ourselves what we have and haven’t done since then, focusing in particular on the human side of this equation: our satisfaction with life, the integrity with which we think we’re living our lives (and in that, how we feel about integrity as a necessity or option) and what it means to ‘win’ in your terms and survive only to recognize the cost to others…maybe to other things you actually value…and to our self respect, our feelings of self worth and whatever it is which makes us want to do whatever it is we do in this world.

Mind you, this is only Step One in a much longer process. Yes, there will be those among us who will shake off Venus retrograde effects and trot away like some puppy which has forgiven itself its latest transgression. But most of us still have a lot of work to do, the underlying qualities of which are going to remain Venusian and linked to this December 2013-January 2014 retrograde period. Seeing as next up on the calendar is a Mercury retrograde beginning in Pisces and ending in Aquarius we can expect an unusual combination of effort, contemplation,  investigation and rejection during the weeks ahead – all with a dose of wondering what we should take on or be in competition about.

Are we competing with them, with ourselves – or with some ghost of failings past, real, ingrained or imagined?

Then we come to Mars and Saturn retrograde – a pairing of stations which for some may well prove to be monumental on their own and which play into what we’re talking about with Venus seeing as Mars, along with Venus is considered a ‘primal’ sort of descriptor of emotionality – the ‘strength’ side of the feeling energetic - as opposed to Venus which represents a softer and more ‘receptive’ side of our emotionality. And though the natural tendency is to think of these emblems as good-or-bad and even masculine-versus-feminine, that’s not the issue here. This ‘Mars and Venus as Moon partners’ (and the corresponding ‘Jupiter and Saturn as Sun partners’) is not about social attributes, but about whether we are able or even willing to harness our abilities without getting in out own way.

Or maybe more to the point here, what with Mars being in Libra, whether our Mars drive to get things done/assert one’s Self is in harmony with your own intent or desire. And make no mistake, sometimes life knows better than we do…and no, we don’t tend to like it when life takes that tact.

Part of what we are dealing with now – and which we will be dealing with on an increasing basis as we move forward (towards the Mars retrograde and Taurus solar eclipse) is a subtle if ongoing awareness. Mars in Libra is an air sign which functions through the ‘idea of the thing’ – which in the case of Libra is all about who we are in relationship to others, personally and/or professionally. (And yes, sometimes both.)

Meanwhile, Venus in Capricorn (or shall we say, Pluto-Venus in Capricorn) can perhaps be typified as a ‘drive born of necessity’ which operates in a very Big Picture fashion – the ‘big picture’ part being all about the fact that the last four signs of the zodiac (Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces) are worldly and public by nature.

Some will spend the whole of these next few months trying to ‘balance’ the individual/interactive concern against their bigger or worldly concerns. Others will instead move towards the idea of relating to others (or what they learn from others) as a ‘microcosm’ of that ‘world’ in the sense that society is really just a collection of countless individuals, all of whom have pretty basic instincts, tastes and opinions.

Considering the sign aspect here is a square (from Venus to Mars) the first variation will tend to cause friction within us (as to how to use our Mars assertiveness energies) and that’s likely to surface as problems, tough choices and for many, hard scenes. With squares – whether by sign or degree – we always want to work towards integration, towards synthesis. That takes work, hence the reputation squares have for being difficult.

But the reward is an inner understanding we’ll never lose…and since this is Mars-Venus we’re talking about, what stands to be gained here seems likely to be self respect or confidence.

The ‘medium’ through which Venus operates may be anything - emotional or financial, something to do with a career you have or want…it may pertain to some physical necessity. Or simple survival needs. You may be grappling with the nature of some responsibility you’ve taken on and whether that really fits who you are.

But whether this time is about something you need to get done in order to move forward towards and into the new…or  whether you’ve determined that you need to put distance between your today and yesterday, this is just the start of a process.

A turning point, call it.

Given the Mars in Libra inconjunct to this April’s Taurus solar eclipse we can anticipate there’s something to be learned from others or experienced through some association or situation which is going to affect us on a substantially personal level.

As for when we’ll encounter such a moment, catalyst or insight…that’s individual. However, considering the fact that Mercury is entering Pisces rather in sync with this Venus turnabout, some of us will be making changes now which we will capitalize on or find out the true wisdom of come this April. Mercury in Pisces can represent indecision and insecurity…but it can also signify intuition and a grace of spirit which is often highly seductive. And because this ingress will occur in tandem with Venus’ station, we can expect an intense few days when relationships and our ability to relate to someone through relationship (be it business or personal) can become a matter of personal fascination.

The caution here is obvious: lest you fall prey to some own desire to be seduced into (or out of) something, know your limits.

It’s also entirely possible that you may now meet or become involved with a project or person who will change your perspective on something fundamental. If so, enjoy the positive but pace yourself. Venus/Pluto connections are well known for stirring obsessive feelings which, given the Mercury in Pisces cue, may be nothing but a mirage.

As always, there is a two-days-before and two-days-after ‘station allowance’ given here, and the usual astro-theories will apply: things which occur during the two days before the station have yet to play out and things which happen during the two days after the station are a playing out of situations already met.

Pluto will be moving into 13 Capricorn as of February 26th…which would be late on the 25th for those in the Americas or eastern Pacific basin. It will then remain at 13 Capricorn and go retrograde on April 14th under Mars retrograde - during the heart of eclipse season.

This 13 Capricorn Pluto sequence will recommence just before New Years 2015 and finalize in January, teaching us all a lot about what ambition really means along the way. 

This last six weeks has been difficult for everyone. No doubt it's been particularly hard on Gen X’ers (born under Venus-ruled Pluto in Libra) and Gen Y folks – the Pluto in Scorpio tribe. (My sympathies, absolutely.) But across the board, no matter what generation you were born into, as many times as we've all been told we need to learn to love our Self, most of us aren’t that good at comforting ourselves with the sort of support we need when we feel like no one understands us and we don't understand life, when it seems like our dreams are crumbling for no known reason, when nothing seems to be going our way.

This feeling...the odd malaise so many of us have been laboring under for the past month or so...will begin to pass as January gives way to February. But it will be slow. Any planet coming out of retrograde takes a bit of time to pick up speed again, and thus our lives - or in this Venusian case our sense that things are more or less back to 'normal' will take a bit of time. Some of this is individual. But even if your personal chart doesn't answer to 13 Capricorn (Venus' station point), 23 Taurus (the degree Sedna will go direct at on February 5th) or 3 Pisces (the degree Mercury will go retrograde at on February 6th) it will be mid-February before Venus motion is more or less back to normal - at which point we'll be under Mercury retrograde, an influence which is easier on the heartache but more prone to producing headaches.

That Venus won't be exiting the shadow of this retrograde until March 4th tells us we're going to be working with and through much of which we've been challenged by for a while yet. But that's natural. Some decisions haven't yet been made (or acted on) and many situations need resolutions. Relationships and financial issues are likely to take the longest to sort out and a few such matters (probably those which embody or test our personal sense of vulnerability as it concerns how to proceed) - will become part of Mars retrograde quandaries. 

Still, as of January 31st we can expect communications to warm and many a process human or situational to finally achieve some sort of ease. The combination of Venus going direct as Mercury motion slows can create great clarity, great confusion and a whole list of questions and choices all at once. So yes, we do evidently still have a lot to learn yet.

But at least we've gotten this far.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Astrology’s Professional Ethics

A planispheric astrolabe from the Paris workshop of Jean Fusoris (c. 1400) which
is now housed in the Putnam Gallery at the Harvard Science Center
(photo credit: Sage Ross, Nov 2009)
Granting that it’s Venus retrograde and everyone is feeling a bit ragged, I’ve received an unusually large (digital) pile of emails over the past couple of weeks, all of which prompt me to post information about professional ethics when it comes to astrology.

I recognize that these ethics will vary according to national laws and the rules of various organizations, but for astrologers who receive accreditation through United States organizations, basically the same principles of confidentiality which apply in the field of medicine apply. That means your information is private, apart from whatever data YOU make public. So if you post your birth date and place online (or if your birth data becomes public through your being in the public eye or through a published biography or something of that ilk), any professional astrologer is allowed to talk about it online, in public or to a client who might be coming to them wanting to work with you.

On the other hand, if that information isn’t posted anywhere in the public sector, the astrologer shouldn’t say a word even if they (personally) have your chart in their files mental, paper or computerized. 

Moreover, unless you (yourself) give that astrologer either face-to-face, ear-to-ear (telephonic) or written permission to share your data or information, the professional astrologer shouldn’t be sharing it. They can make observations on anything you make public, but anything known beyond that cannot be told to your mother, brother, lover, child or BFF without very specific permission.

My personal training in this began being shaped by a couple of decades spent at the production money end of the film industry. As key accountant on a film (a role which caused me to be known for a while as the Bank of Boots) one of my roles was to be paymaster. And if you and your Significant Other were working on the same movie it didn’t matter if you had been married 500 years - unless you had personally told me that it was okay to hand your paycheck to your spouse, I couldn’t do it. The Internal Revenue Service (the Big Dog in U.S. payroll operations)...the IRS said no. And their logic is simple: no one outside of a relationship really knows the full text of what’s going on inside. Nor should they be asking, as it’s not for them to judge. So the rule is that the person who earns the money gets the money.

And that's just how astrology works: s/he whose data it is ‘owns’ that data and they have all rights to privacy with regards to same until and unless that right is voluntarily surrendered.

Astrologers should neither be hackers nor pillagers. As I have freely admitted, by now I’m someone who is attracted by the mere sight of a date (this is when you know your hobby has become a mind-style)...but I’m not ‘after’ anyone’s data. About the most fervent hunt for astrological information I’ve done in the last year or so was a several-week hunt for when Google’s purchase of Blogger became official.

Yes, I’m going to give Google something to Google itself about. (I’ve also now officially read more online articles about the tech biz than I had ever planned to.) It's slated for February, but since I'm still having a bit of a hard time with typing it may have to wait until I get a book through editing.

Speaking of Google (and therefore business), things are not quite as black-and-white in the business realm - which is to say in business astrology. Basically the  separation there is between public versus privately held companies for the simple reason that in the United States, incorporation records (the ‘birth’ data for a corporation) are a matter of public record searchable online through any state’s Office of the Secretary of State. (You just have to find which state.)

There are a few other curlicues in the personal and relationship arena, the most important of which can be summarized as follows:
1. Parents are allowed to request consultations with regards to minor children. That right ends when the child reaches the legal age of adulthood.

2. Any kind of relationship question or consultation (I mostly use Davison time/space relationship charts) will require data (time of birth, place of birth, date of birth) for both parties. However, in any situation where the other party is not part of the conversation (or privy to the consultation), while the relationship chart (Davison or otherwise) CAN be discussed, the astrologer cannot ethically talk to you about how ‘the other person’ feels about the relationship…or what they’re going to do or not do about anything.

We can tell you what upcoming transit passages (say a Venus retrograde or eclipse) are slated to stir in your life, however that plays out and whatever that will mean, given your natal chart. That’s really what you should want to know, as any change (positive or negative) worth noting will be shown in or on your chart.

3. There are astrologers who have learned the very ancient rules for prophesying death. By American standards it is considered unethical to deliver this information to anyone. I recognize this rather tramples the 'it's your data' concept but in this one area the 'do no harm' quotient laid down in medicine trumps all other considerations as astrologers - no matter what area of astrology they are practicing in - are considered personal confidential consultants akin in many ways to psychologists.

So you know, I refused to take the course which would have included death calculations as I knew full well they would stick in my computer brain and get run through the numbers module whether I wanted it to happen or not.

I don't want to know. I tend to think only those who haven't stared death in the face would want to know such a thing...and that would not include me. The course in question here (this was some years ago) was being taught by a top astrologer - and yes, we got into it.

He was adamant and so was I. In spite of this we parted on good terms.

I remain of the opinion that the ban is a good idea.    

Lastly, please don’t ask an astrologer what’s ‘wrong’ with someone else you’ve had a bad time with. The metaphysics here is all about how people come into our lives to evoke our life lessons, no matter who they are and what that interaction means to them. So don’t worry about what they should or shouldn’t learn or do - focus on what you’re learning about yourself through having chosen to interact/not interact with them.

Are there astrologers out there who will ignore these standards? Yes. One of the reasons I have now and again suggested that you know who your astrologer is – whether they have professional credentials, what organizations they are or aren’t associated with, their general body of work – is exactly because of this. Though credentials don’t guarantee any astrologer is up to date with regards to cutting-edge data in the area of your interest, just as with a doctor, lawyer, engineer or other technical professional, credentials do indicate an accepted level of proficiency.

And beyond all that lies ethics. There is the ability to do the work…and the willingness to do it ethically.

Not all astrological organizations require ethics courses or that an ethics oath be signed potential candidates. When in doubt, check with the organization - they're all online. My credentials are issued by ISAR, the International Society for Astrological Research.

Yes, I took the class and signed the oath.

More importantly, I live by it. 

As I say all this, I know it’s hard to meet up with someone on the internet and feel you know who they are. I encourage you to be wary, as at present time there are no restrictions that I know of saying astrologers must have credentials or even any specific level of education to call themselves an astrological practitioner. When in doubt, if you’re interested in astrology or an astrological consultation from a qualified practitioner, try requesting names from one of the national or international organizations for a reference. (I've posted a list of them in the sidebar here at the blog). Many such organizations are now listing names of their credentialed astrologers online.
People still tend to think of astrology as a toy – which it’s not. A horoscope is literally a map of the energetics you were born with…and as. A well-trained, experienced astrologer can look at your chart and tell you that your aunt called last May on the second Tuesday of the month. 

(Seriously, I saw someone do that once.)

That once you hand an astrologer your birth data they can pretty much know anything about you that they want to (yes, right down to those things…) that may delight you. It could also feel very disturbing.
Astrology is a sacred science – a topic to be treated scientifically with a sacred regard for the trust being granted you by those you work with or assist. Holding and protecting that trust means everything to me, so I ask that you understand: I don’t ask questions if I don’t need to and I will protect any third party I don’t know as zealously as I protect you.

I’m hoping this post will help clarify these issues not just for those who have written to me over the past couple of weeks but for everyone else, too. I’m not unsympathetic to your frustrations, puzzles and desire to know, I just understand how the ethic which you may find annoying or inconvenient in the moment ultimately protects you.

Sorry...but thanks, too.

The next thing to discuss is Venus retrograde…so stand by. There is light ahead.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Jupiter opposition Pluto

A drop of water
(photo credit: Michael Melgar, March 2007)

One of the interesting things to be observed when you think things through astrologically is the difference between the effects of personal or inner planets (Sun, Moon, Venus, Mercury, Mars) against what happens when generational planets Jupiter and Saturn - or an outer planet like Uranus or Neptune move through aspects over time. As an example here, nobody (at least that I know of) has any fun at all with the ongoing Venus retrograde. Whoever we are, whatever we’re aimed at doing or being…accomplishing or figuring out, Venus retrograde seems to have found our weak point.

Not that it’s mysterious, no. That quality is exactly what astrologers mean by ‘personal’ planets – they affect us personally, and at a personal level. When personal planets go retrograde very few of us think wonderfully… maybe even rationally…about ‘our person’ or self.

And thus things happen – personally and on the personal level.

Now it isn’t that Saturn and Jupiter or the outer planets (or all that lies beyond Neptune) doesn’t affect our personal life. Our life is our life and we feel all of it. (Hopefully, that is. To be deprived of knowing your Self is after all, a form of losing your life.)

But when we’re talking about Jupiter, we’re talking about something akin to an interface. Known as the planet of ‘expansion’ and ‘increase’ the astrological Jupiter embodies the process of going beyond where you are now, whatever that involves.

Yet Jupiter is not a personal planet. So when Jupiter is in retrograde, the question is more about what we don’t know about where we are now (and how are we going to learn all that?) and all we need to do in life. We’re growing and expanding inside – within the realm of our mind or soul or psyche. We’re realizing that the world is bigger than we suspected. That things can happen we never imagined would happen in life or to us – whichever.

Jupiter's Auroras photographed in UV
(photo credit: NASA,JPL)

Currently, Jupiter’s retrograde in Cancer is coinciding with Venus’ retrograde in Capricorn – which is the astrological ‘reason’ (or indication) that the current Venus retrograde is…well…about as little like the Venus we know and want to love as apparently possible.

I did tell you I’ve been getting complaints about this, didn’t I? Yes. I’ve even been getting protests from people who don’t like astrology – and let me tell you, that’s a sure sign that something is amiss.

Theory would suggest that considering the belief that since everything happens when (and as) it should, this Jupiter-impounding-Venus-retrograde effect which is forcing all of us in some way to take a good look at what it is we need to do or be in order to function cohesively in a world which seems ever more complicated and structurally amiss.

There are no simple answers here. But we do have a bunch of astrological facts to think through – the first of which is the obvious one. We already know that Venus is retrograding back through Capricorn about to go direct at 13 Capricorn. Those gut wringing effects have been with us for a while now asking us to re-prioritize so that the whole Venusian concept of ‘cause-effect’ works correctly – which is to say, what you puts out comes back to you…meaning we can’t be aiming for the effect and trying to ‘back into’ whatever will cause that.

That won’t work. And that’s one of the big points of this time – we don’t just get to do things the ‘pretty way.’

And frankly, if you haven’t gotten that message by now, stand by. Yes, there are a few of us who for whatever astrological reason have had the right rock to hide under to avoid this Venusian chaos, but as an astrologer I’ve never seen a chart which would be theoretically “immune” to everything which is going to occur over the next four or so months. It has struck me of late that it’s some sort of cosmic dirty trick that Venus and Mars tend to go retrograde in a 1-2 fashion as both planets are personal astrological indicators pertaining to our sense of being appreciated in this life and world.

So yes, there is an important point there: how we feel about whether we’re appreciated or not may have nothing to do with how others truly regard us. But it’s a feeling…and that feeling is real. Vitally real.

An artist's conception of Pluto and its moon-and-binary-partner, Charon
(courtesy of Pat Rawlings, NASA - October 1992)

Evidently life doesn’t want us resting on our laurels collecting huzzahs and accolades…which brings us back to Jupiter. Life wants us to keep growing – that would be the Jupiterian view. So as Jupiter moves from 13 Cancer into 12 Cancer and ‘locks in’ this face-off against the forces of transformation and our need to change something in order to move on…ahead…or even just to stay in one place, so we move from the more theoretical realm of 13 Cancer (an unusual Cancer degree which functions through the intuitive mind) into 12 Cancer, a degree which through exposing us to whatever is habitual, mundane and seemingly inescapable tends to drown dreams in false promises we may well think are safer.

This issue is purely Cancer: Jupiter in Cancer. There is in essence, no safety in yesterday’s solutions. We can try to avoid the inevitable, but if we do, inevitability will find us – eventually and inevitably. A lot is breaking down and a lot is coming out. Jupiter’s being positioned in this image at 13 Cancer brings in dog star Sirius, which questions our use of brilliance and our willingness to be simply…dazzled.

And when we do, and of through that we end up with nothing – or with something we know is utterly wrong for who we are…is the lie theirs? Or is it the lie that we told ourselves when we truly knew better?

Asteroid Hel and Child are sitting right beside Jupiter at 11 and 10 Cancer respectively bringing in the emotional aura of wanting things to be good and to go well. But are they? Given the opposition from Pluto (i.e., Pluto/Venus retrograde) this would seem to be some form of personal naiveté being brought to our own mental table for a bit of carving.

At least trimming of the fat. We’re better than all of the wishing and hoping, the placating, putting off and ‘going along to get along’ we’ve been doing - it’s time to get down to work. Across the zodiacal gulf, Pluto is just sitting there alongside asteroid Psyche (our mind) in Capricorn, asking us to use what we know in a manner which can change our direction – and maybe that of a few others or something else out there too.

Pluto conjunct Psyche is the sign of a changing mind. Those who resist Plutonic energetics generally get crushed, stripped or unjustly taxed – even punished. Those who stop trying to define today and tomorrow by yesterday inherit Pluto’s power.

These months are not just about us. To think so is likely to be one of our big and bigger mistakes – as indicted in the above t-square. With Jupiter in the ‘goal’ position here we are asked to get ‘over’ our Uranian ‘I don’t want to’ selves…or to embrace the unique and Uranian in our Self and to use that universally so that we can achieve our Jupiter (expanded) goals.

T-squares always, always, always ask us to think more globally. To therefore have an Aries Uranus at the ‘hurdle’ of this t-square asks us to ‘use our Self’ in a universal way or in a universal cause – or merely to understand that what we’re going through is something everyone can relate to, or everyone is going through in their own uniquely Uranian way.

That process starts with our moving ‘off’ our Venus/Pluto position – which could well be some sort of personal ‘power base’ into something new or unknown. Against that, Uranus in Aries (pretty much by nature) represents the nerve-wracking which  generally requires at least some ingenuity and maybe a bit of risk. Then again, Uranus in Aries can make us think we’re risking when we’re not – we’re just stepping outside of some ‘known’ or ‘comfort zone.’

Into all this comes the idea of 9 Aries, a degree which concerns the need to make corrections, often of the “course correction” type. Realizing that such things are universal may help us now as we admit – even just to ourselves – that how we have been going about something isn’t optimal.

9 Aries also supports learning about the pros, cons and variable values concerning just doing ahead and doing things as opposed to stopping to consider the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ and/or ‘popularity’ of something among friends, associates and others. Considering this is an early Aries degree and Aries is (if nothing else) the heart and soul of ‘I am me’ it’s curious to think of any Aries degree as being ‘group-oriented.’ But maybe that’s the point – Uranus in 9 Aries will be, if nothing else a test of our willingness to own our opinions and gain perspective on who we are in any given situation.

Not that this t-square stops there.

Yes, that is a complicated diagram – and thus an indication to us that things will be complicated. So let’s just go through it one item at a time…

The bulk of the additions here end up centering in Pallas (dispassionate perspective) retrograde – indicating a perspective on ourselves. That Pallas is in Virgo increases our ability to carefully ‘inspect’ what we’re doing – a positive in anything complicated, technical or task-oriented. Against this, Pallas in Virgo can be a negative where feelings are concerned. Pallas is hardly a cuddly symbol and when we add in the Virgo tendency to opt for the earthy and practical, this combination could be wonderful or disappointing, depending on how earthy your personal natal chart is. (Or isn’t.)

That Atropos and Sphinx are united with Pallas at 11 Virgo speaks either to a good will which is for some reason being held/caged in or the definitive (Pallas) understanding that the (Sphinx) time for waiting is (Atropos) over. In sextile (denoting an opportunity) to Jupiter, there is no requirement per se that we do anything, but we could. With the Pallas-Atropos-Sphinx grouping solidly trined to Pluto/Venus, we have the standard trine notification that the status quo isn’t going to change until we do – which in this case comes in part from the Uranian t-square hurdle we talked about plus this Pluto/Venus-Pallas group-Jupiter ‘workaround.’

We’re working around our situation…and around ourselves. (Yes, it’s come to that.)

However…with all of the above (this is beginning to sound like a murder mystery), the Pallas triad is also inconjunct Uranus. This astrologer isn’t going to make any call on which end of this 150 degree inconjunct is going to give, but either the Pallas end or the Uranian end is likely to give between now and…oh, call it mid/late May.

Did I mention that mid/late May is when Mars goes direct after going retrograde on March 1st? And how there’s going to be a solar eclipse in Venus-ruled Taurus while Mars is transiting Venus-ruled Libra?

I’m just guessing here…but in reading through an ephemeris it looks like we’re all in for some seriously trying growth over the next couple of months. How you and those around you choose to handle this time will without question raise issues of helplessness and the need or call for those types of self-discipline we would all much rather exert through exercise than personal vulnerabilities of self or to others. And yet, courtesy of Juno, Chiron and Dionysus at 11 Pisces in opposition to Pallas, Atropos and Sphinx in Virgo, we will all face, hear or experience such moments, with the sorriest part of it all being our own lacks and a resulting feeling of regretted failure to live up to our own standards of belief about ourselves.


Another thing to consider: everything here and about this time is not only what it is in the moment, but also part of a greater Jupiter/Pluto synodic cycle. Such cycles roll through about every thirteen years with the last one having begun in December 2007 at 28 Sagittarius – a degree which one one hand requires patience and endless dedication...and which on the other is often slow to mature, coalesce or succeed. The Sabian Symbol for this degree reads as follows: “A FAT BOY MOWING THE LAWN OF HIS HOUSE ON AN ELEGANT SUBURBAN STREET.” The original keynote from astrologer Marc Edmund Jones speaks of ‘The need to attend to everyday tasks which both ensure social worth or respectability, and benefit one’s constitution,’ which Dane Rudhyar brings down to pithy succinctness by citing SOCIAL RESPECTABILITY.

With Jupiter and Pluto having begun their synodic cycle at this degree, in some senses the joke is on us – and it’s no joke. Wherever these two start their cycle is the crux of a thirteen-year-long odyssey which will bring most of us to our knees through lessons which teach us the fallacies of ego and the illusions built into our most mortal, human desires.

Then again, life does have to get us to do something somehow.

This month’s Jupiter-Pluto opposition perfects on January 31st, the same date as Mercury’s Pisces ingress and Venus’ turn to direct.

I repeat: this is NOT a genteel time. We can get over life not being what we would like it to be and not working the way we thought it would - or not.

After January 31st, Jupiter will continue in retrograde as Pluto moves into achievement-oriented 13 Capricorn.

 From Solar Fire's Graphic Ephemeris generator, a screen shot of a partial page
showing activity patterns for the early months of 2014. The symbols at the left
being (from the top down) Saturn, Uranus, Pluto, Jupiter and Neptune, if you
follow the green Jupiter line you will see where it aspects Pluto's position at
the end of January and rather late on in April.
Then we get April. With Mars retrograde in Libra (can we say ‘relating and relationship issues’?) Jupiter turns direct on the 6th, we take a breath and then pass through a lunar eclipse in Libra (more interactivity) and Pluto’s station/retrograde on April 14th.

Another week passes, Jupiter (now direct) opposes Pluto for the third and final time and we arrive at the solar eclipse at 8 Taurus, a degree known for its ability to test how well what we think the world is matches the world’s seriously worldly realities. 

Do or be done in by that we choose to leave undone would seem to be the message here. The learning isn’t easy and our failure to learn becomes our mortal hindrance.

That’s all I can really tell you.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Ceres News

An artist's conception of spacecraft Dawn approaching Ceres
(courtesy of NASA/JPL)

By seemingly every electronic medium possible, word went out yesterday that the presence of water on asteroid Ceres has been confirmed.

That’s extra-special news.

But it’s not just the science which counts here, though that’s rather fascinating as well. However, on an astrological level, since metaphysical water represents emotion and Ceres-the-symbol tends to ‘act’ somewhere between earthy, pragmatic, practical and perhaps a bit airy-(Libra)- theoretical in the sense that Ceres is often seen connected to whatever plan we have (or need to put together) in order to reach that tangible and practical goal.

And we already know that Libra is not just a sign all about connecting and interacting, but one which we are getting a major ‘overhaul’ in courtesy of Mars’ eight-month transit of this airy sign. 

As for Ceres, located in the heart of the asteroid belt, Ceres is the first asteroid-type object considered for reclassification as a dwarf planet…which is where the water gets a bit muddy. The NASA version of this announcement (Link Here) says Ceres was reclassified as a dwarf planet back in 2006 (which I seem to remember being when Pluto got “demoted”). And yet…

Wasn't this 'it's a dwarf planet' thing not chiseled in stone? I so distinctly remember that being the case that when I read today’s announcement, I went over to JPL (the Jet Propulsion Laboratory does function as the data bank side of NASA, after all)…and looked Ceres up.

And here’s the header I found on the JPL page:

 A screen shot from JPL's website
Look right down near the bottom of that page header and you'll see "1 Ceres" (one being Ceres' numerical designation) ...and right below that it says main belt asteroid. Not dwarf planet, not SDO, not TNO, not centaur...just asteroid.

(If you’d like to see this full page for yourself in all it’s numerical glory, go to the JPL Database Browser which is HERE and type 'Ceres' in the search box highlighted in pale yellow to the right).

NASA’s spacecraft Dawn is on the way towards Ceres and will arrive in February 2015. I seem to recall that as when the ‘final call’ was going to be made on whether or not Ceres really is a dwarf planet.

If Ceres is classified as a dwarf planet, that will make it the only (known) dwarf planet in the asteroid belt or anywhere inside the orbit of Neptune. It will also means that the astrological idea of Ceres as an emblem of planning, protection and ‘the need to bring things to harvest’ (or to reap what we earn) will become far more important. We may have greater needs and things may make a greater impact on us so that we will recognize those needs. What we’re doing, how we’re doing it or how we’re going about (or not going enough to) either earn…or to receive what we have earned stand to become more vital to  our general (continuing) status quo, or to our personal progress.

That’s if Ceres is deemed a dwarf planet. (I think this probably merits an email, which only proves an old slogan I learned when working movie production: 'you don't have to know everything - you just need to know who to call.' Seriously! That's how movies get made!)

Regardless of label, the intent of today’s announcement - the facts about Ceres having water and some sort of atmosphere – those remain. At some level water denotes not only emotionality but also life…life as we know it on our very watery planet.
To be precise here, it was the ESA (the European Space Agency) which sent out the word as it was the ESA’s Herschel Space Telescope which issued this news was made with Ceres at 27 Libra – a degree which gives us the Sabian Symbol ‘A man becoming aware of spiritual forces surrounding and assisting him’  - and the Sun conjunct Hebe at 3 Aquarius, a pairing which echoes the idea of eternal or ‘pure nourishment’ of a mental or theoretical (air sign) type which focused through the degree 3 Aquarius speaks to a number of issues.

The first is the idea of a long term struggle which seeks to establish some truth. Or something you truly want to accomplish or bring into being. Loss – particularly as that concerns those we care about – seem to be part of the 3 Aquarius lore and whether connected or not connected to the idea of ‘a loved one lost,’ are ideas or questions which are either painful or uncomfortable to you… and which you have to deal with anyway.

Today we have been told that it will take both mental and spiritual strength to reach our goals.

Tomorrow – as this post goes out - we will find out more about our humanity through the experience of someone else’s life or necessary choice. They may be our friend or someone we hear about on the news or online – it doesn’t matter.

This is obviously an ongoing story we will learn a lot more about next February. But that we are hearing about Ceres now, at a moment when so many of us are wondering what to do and how to get through the process of doing it, and that Ceres is in a sign (Libra) which is Venus ruled….?

That should tell us that we are moving towards a point when Dawn will arrive and we’ll get a clearer and more definitive perspective on the emotionality of our values and whatever ‘system’ we have when it comes to evaluating the value of people, information, ideas or anything else as we pursue our aims, dreams and goals.

One last thought here…spacecraft Dawn will be arriving at Ceres just as Ceres (which by then will be in Capricorn) takes up a position alongside Pluto basically as Venus is doing now.

NASA's diagram of the Dawn mission to Ceres

That’s an astrological “dotted line” which says that some of what we’re planning, planning on or aiming to achieve starts now and comes to fruition (or to the end of a ‘next step’) next February. Or perhaps you’re going about your business now…planning, doing (once Venus goes direct, we would suppose?) with all of what you’re doing now being part of something which happens next February which is your ‘harvest’ for efforts made now.

As for water – and evidence of an atmosphere now being verified on Ceres, that suggests that with careful effort and a bit of sensitivity (maybe even vulnerability) a whole new world will soon unfold.

We just have to endure all the getting there.