by Boots Hart, CAP

Friday, February 28, 2014

A Pisces New Moon: Sensitivity, Focused

Ruby Falls, inside Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, TN
(photo credit: Jtesla16, March 2009)

A New Moon will occur on March 1st at 8:01 a.m. (UT/+0). It will be at 10 Pisces, a degree which gives us the symbol of MEN TRAVELING A NARROW PATH, SEEKING ILLUMINATION. Astrologer Marc Edmund Jones refers to this symbol as ‘the capacity inherent in every individual to seek at whatever cost entrance to a transcendent realm of reality’ …to which the ever-philosophic Dane Rudhyar adds the Zen injunction to ‘walk on.’ 

Since this reference is to a New Moon, all of this refers to something which comes from the less hard-and-fast fact-bound side of life. Call it instinct, call it that grappling we all do inside our Self in light of what we know or know needs to be done.

How we feel about that – that’s the Pisces quality,  Pisces being first and foremost where we feel ourselves feeling. Wherever Pisces falls in your natal chart, by house that is where you will encounter not necessarily the reality of weakness…but an occasional (or more than occasional) feeling of weakness?

Yes, that is guaranteed…and though we all dislike the emotional whirlpools life tosses us into, we learn more (and sometimes better) for such experiences.

It’s part of why water (emotionality) is considered by many the strongest of the four (western) metaphysical elements…not to mention that people are feeling beings. Even those who seem hard or seem cold are feeling people.

They probably just can’t afford to feel vulnerable. In other words, the cold or hard or callous soul we confront in life isn’t showing strength, they’re showing us all the strength they can muster so that we shouldn’t know how afraid they are of feeling vulnerable.

And yet…if you think about the order of the zodiac and how it all leads to Pisces, that very sort of vulnerability would seem to be the ‘object’ at the end of the road. Where Scorpio tests our emotions through situations and what we might call ‘our relationship to relationships’ personal or platonic, intimate or impersonal, Pisces tests our emotions against our notion of emotionality in ways which bring ultimately bring about knowing not just what we feel about anything – but why we feel that way.

And what we feel about feeling that way.

And what we feel about others feeling the same way we do…or differently – and why we feel that.

Pisces teaches that knowing how we feel creates a willingness to feel ourselves being one sweet soul in a boundless sea of human experience who is equal  to the whole through the willingness to feel even as we realize the reality of our individuality and all the mortality and vulnerability which goes with living life.

Reaching that inner illumination…that’s our goal – one which asks whether we are willing to walk within ‘narrow’ confines, whether that means requiring certain ‘standards’ of ourselves or focusing on our sensitivities, whether we even know how to be compassionate in our own cause. Ours now is a growing understanding; the probing nuances of Mercury in Aquarius remain with us, carrying us through to where on March 4th we finally…at very long last, arrive at the point where cycles begun in late December (as Venus went retrograde on December 21st) complete and reveal their purpose.

That’s just a couple of days from now. The Moon will be in Aries by then, setting off aspects of life which harder to predict and which require a 'lighter touch' in managing. But such is the moment. We need to know our mind at the same time that we need to be willing to listen. Life is asking us to go beyond old expectations and anticipations, which in a world of other people overly preoccupied with their goals can be a problem...and then again can afford us exactly the space we need in which to operate.

In its association with Uranus, this New Moon signals change and changing times as well as many a shift of position, alteration of 'circumstance,' endings and beginnings of relationships and perspectives on life - and through any (or all of that), long-term opportunities to grow our life and advance our cause with, and through others.

A deal of thrust will emerge between the mid-afternoon of March 2nd (UT/+0) and late on March 4th (UT/+0), with the focus being on whether we are on the 'doing' or 'receiving' end of things and our motivations for whatever it is we are involved in. Here, immediate and eventual results depend on whether we are leading others along a path (i.e., using them) or walking our own path among equals in this life.

Where we are doing what we should, we proceed. Where we are doing things at the expense/disregard of others...or where we are involved in something other than what we purely think of as our purpose, something happens. It could be as simple as a distraction, a postponement or an interruption.

Then again, life may need to throw us off course in order to get us to get ourselves back on track. It all depends.

The 2014 Pisces New Moon at 10 Pisces (glyph chart)
March 1, 2014 - 8:01 a.m. (UT/+0) - Aries Wheel/location not specific 

That Venus clears the point of its December-January brings us to the point of reckoning with all we did back then and how we did it. We all made errors even as things in the world seemed to make making those errors inevitable.

The point wasn’t what we did or didn’t do. It was getting us to this moment, this time, this place where in the light of much else we can consider what it all means…and from here look back at (Mars’ station as a ‘turning around to look’) and see who we were then and just how we have changed since then.

And what that means about our capacity to grow, for good, bad and unknown. That Mars will go retrograde at 27 Libra in tandem with the New Moon’s setting up our next four weeks of activity says that whatever starts or ‘takes a turn’ now, whatever is ‘new’ – how at a personal level that speaks to the emotional thread we will be following throughout the next several weeks.

We’re likely to find going forward that assertion isn’t the path to success, comprehension is – specifically that which allows us to comprehend how things…and others (Mars in Libra) work. Or how they aren’t (or haven’t) worked. Between Mars’ station and this Pisces New Moon we may now ‘turn away’ from one phase of (Mars) effort to a next.

In this text chart of the 2014 Pisces New Moon (cast as an Aries chart to take location and time
zone out of the equation because of limits imposed by writing on the internet) Sun-Uranus
is a semi-sextile, the aspect most known as feeling like an offense or ego bruise - even an
ego attack or an attack on the validity of one's being. By itself, a Pisces Sun/Aries Uranus
speaks to personal feelings/things being taken personally...or a wrestling with feelings
of weakness or intolerance of feelings/unwillingness-or-inability to feel compassion. Presented
in conjunction with Dionysus, there is a definite strain on emotionalism which is
likely to erupt either physically or in self-sacrifice (and maybe both) with the astrological
origin being the Uranus square Jupiter (in Cancer) suggesting some sort of ingrained idea
which is more about habit (or longevity - perhaps of tradition) than necessity. Ultimately
the question presented her concerns the nature of what is "sacred": is the priority who we
are or the world and times in which we are born?

Or even ‘turn into’ something which means more to us personally.

In short, whether we are turning towards or away from something, someone or some idea reflective of Mercury’s February 28th station in Aquarius…the fact we are doing it means what it means something vital to us.

THAT’s the point. We cannot expect everyone will feel the same way as we do, and we cannot expect that everyone will understand exactly why we feel as we do.

What we can get to…and get across right now is the importance of human emotionality. For some that will be insight into something like market appeal in business while others may experience an upsurge…even a crisis of (Pisces/Aquarius) conscience.

There’s a good deal of energy available at this time; how we tap into it is the central question. Given that Libra and Pisces are both worldly signs, the combination of New Moon and Mars station is likely to trigger events in the world and which affect our lives with the basic question being whether we have come into this time to be active or reactive.

Neither is right, neither is wrong. Each simply has its own plus and minuses. Those who are more active (more ‘Mars-like,’ we might say) will do best where they are able to temper personal emotions in an effort to be more inclusive where those who feel more ‘on the line’ emotionally will need to summon internal fortitude.

We’re all human. We all have work to do on ourselves and that which life is moving us towards and into is where we will do that work. As much of it will be initiated, engendered, required, requested or earned by others as by ourselves; it’s up to us to see the value on both sides and to neither sell ourselves short nor insist on having our own way.

That’s the bottom line on the Sabian Symbol we started out with: this ‘illumination’ we’re seeking is coming from Pisces. It’s feeling. It’s emotional.

It’s needed. In fact, with solar eclipse effects having begun (as of February 28th) anyone who believes the great maxim that unbeknownst to us, the universe is unfolding as it should and that all things happen when they should’ there is every reason to believe this New Moon is indeed the start of something new.

Not necessarily in the world…but in ours? Yes. It would seem we’re all our own ‘work in progress’ at the moment. We’re at a place where we don’t know what is going to come or become of us…we’re know what we’re doing but not feeling entirely secure about how it’s all going to work.

That’s what we’re working towards…and why this feels like a critical time. These days we’re going through may have the same number of minutes in them as any other day does, but they feel more vital and important because we’re encountering something which provokes us.

This is our life…our life’s time. Whatever it means that you care and whatever it is you care about, whether that’s in the fervency of the moment or not, that you feel what you feel now will make an impression on you.

That impression is likely to stay with you for the whole of this lunation – at least. If you take it to heart, in time…as the stations and effects surrounding this New Moon slowly give rise to new orders…that impression well lead you to an even greater insight. Or an opportunity which teaches you how or why having faith in that which is correct and not merely pleasant ultimately provides the richest rewards.

This is a moment of letting go – mostly of what we thought would be there forever. Acceptance of that is the only simple answer, one which lies beyond our sensitivities of ego, illusion and focus.

Are we willing to own our beliefs through who we are in this world, this life...this skin we inhabit?


Blog Notice: Comment Moderation ON

Over the past couple of months astroPPM has been running with no comment moderation rather swimmingly, and I'm all for that.

However, since people do some pretty odd things (especially on the internet), comment moderation will be being re-instigated here at astroPPM until Mars comes out of retrograde this May.

In the meantime, comment moderation will be ongoing and all comments which belong on the blog will get there. Plus all will settle out soon enough.

In the meantime (and as always), thanks for understanding.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Mars, Saturn, Vesta Station/Retrograde / Eclipse Effects Begin

A Christmas Tree at Home
(photo credit: Yatharth, December 2010)

Twice a year I begin talking about solar eclipse effects. And every time I begin this conversation, I wonder if its going to matter to anyone.

It always does – mightily and hugely - and yet I still go through my chat with Self when the appointed two-months-out-from-the-eclipse date rolls around.

In this case, the solar eclipse in question will occur on April 29th (UT/+0) at 8 Taurus, a degree which if nothing else tells us this incoming eclipse is going to feel very person to those it most affects.

As for who those people are, anyone with a Sun, Moon or any prime (horizontal or vertical) axis point between 3 and 13 degrees of Taurus, Scorpio, Aquarius or Leo had best pay attention. Something about the way you actually ‘process’ life (your Sun) or about work through life’s days and ups and downs (your Moon)…or who you think you are in your own mind (the vertical Midheaven/Nadir axis)…or something about what you’re doing, how you’re doing it or who-where-why you’re doing it – that’s about to get re-energized.

And in the process of getting re-energized, it…and you…will be in some vital way, remade.

Also – for those of you who would ask ‘what if the eclipse orb (above) hits something else?’ Then I suggest you find out what that attribute is on the psychological level…AND that you acquaint yourself with a list of things (items, professions…even countries) that symbol connects to.

All that is about to change. Solar eclipses bring out whatever is ‘hidden’ under “normal” (day to day) conditions. Known for thousands of years as part of the cosmic, karmic, energetic means by which life promotes cyclic changes of an inexorable sort of type, solar eclipses (as opposed to lunar eclipses) indicate a change of life circumstance which manifests through bringing out whatever has been missed, avoided or denied full voice. (That last, by the way, is why solar eclipses are associated with the fall (and rise) of kingdoms, societies, terms of rulership, etc.)

The two months which precede a solar eclipse are typified by a ‘breaking down’ of whatever needs changing in order for us to move ahead in our life – which unbeknownst to us may have been designed to be a whole other thing than we thought it was. Yes, sometimes solar eclipses also herald rewards and achievements. But with that thing we have ‘always wanted’ always comes something unexpected.

Whatever happens in the weeks and months ahead, remember this: with the bad (or from the hard time) will come good – though not right away. With the good (or the reward) will also come a cost as well. That cost may be levied up front…or it may reveal itself as the ‘shadow’ of something we didn’t suspect would or could happen.

The hard part to swallow here comes when we recognize that in order to get us to and through whatever change is coming, those metaphysical ‘girders’ (if you will) have to get shaken… then loosened… then finally knocked out of place.

Solar eclipses are not gentle. Even when they’re wonderful, they represent a period when surprises feel like shocks and when delights come with down sides – some of which we ignore or dance by at our own eventual cost. If your chart is getting hit directly by April’s eclipse there is every chance your values and sense of security is going to get a going over, so expect cooing and crying…whether it’s yours or not.

Since the degree being eclipsed here involves specific types of security which have to do with emotional rather than physical defensiveness, this would be a time which examines involvement and involvements as well as various forms of isolation, elitism, rejection (or marginalization) and the difference between ineptitude and unwillingness.

We’re all about to learn a lot about ourselves, most of all. And much of that will be learned through or with the help of others. The lessons – ultimately – are about what we value…but how we get to that lesson, its implications and utilization?

That we cannot do alone and will not do in short order. When April 29th arrives the eclipse isn’t over - we merely ‘shift’ from the ‘breaking down’ to the ‘learning better and rebuilding’ phase…a phase which lasts about three years and which comes with a bit of a twist right towards the end.

With all of that in mind, there are also four stations marking the onset of solar eclipse effects. One of them – Mercury’s station/direct at 18 Aquarius – we talked about in a separate post.

To be exact here, as this post hits the internet (on February 27, 2014), Mercury’s station/direct is still in tomorrow’s future. But meanwhile, as of today Ceres will go retrograde (or will have gone retrograde, depending on when you read this).

(If you haven’t checked in here recently, you may want to catch up. Knowing the lay of the mental and emotional landscape means beaucoup at the moment.)

As of February 27th, a lot of projects and attempts to deal with commitments are needing to be attended to. Sorting the ‘merely finished for now’ from the ‘I’m actually done with that’ is part of this process – and it’s a necessary part of the process, though haste isn’t suggested.

Part of our challenges from here through the end of April come from how we deal with the difference between being just plain headstrong as opposed to properly determined on a personal level. As Mercury goes direct on the 28th and February slides into March, much of what we encounter and deal with in our own right will center on such questions.

March 1st is the date when our planetary neighbor, Mars, goes retrograde. Mars retrogrades deserve their reputation as particularly trying (sometimes frustrating) times – but they don’t have to be. All you have to remember is that the object is to be who you are, and to own what comes of that. With Mars being sort of the standardized symbol of assertion and assertiveness, action, heat (emotional, physical or chemical) and thought we’re sorry to say it ego, self-centeredness and any kind of obsession which focuses on the Self to the exclusion of others…“normal” Mars dynamics are outward. We do what we need to do to get what we want from life and all that. We go after our goals. We assert our opinion.

Under Mars retrograde, that ‘other’ feels like it’s missing because we’re being called to pay attention to our Self. This can be the physical self – and particularly as Mars is going retrograde in Libra, there is every chance this March 1st through May 20th, our actions…or the lack thereof…is going to be being called into question – most of all by us.

This isn’t about guilt. This is about better understanding ourselves in the grand scheme of things so we have a better sense of consequence when it comes to whether we do something or ask that question or pay attention to what that person over there is saying…or screaming…or not.

And yes, I say that last part (the screaming, in particular) for a reason. Mars retrograde can feel oppressive. Mars retrograde in Libra is going to bring out a lot of errors, maladaptions, loneliness and all those unpleasantries we either didn’t think of as possibilities…or which we didn’t want to know about.

Situated at the equator of Mars, Valles Marineris is a canyon system some 4500 kilometers long, 200 kilometers wide and 11 kilometers deep, meaning it's about seven times as 'grand' as Earth's Grand Canyon in Arizona (USA). 
(photo credit: Nasa, JPL, Caltech, USGS)

As I say that, there is an entirely different route through this next several months of Mars retrograde which some of us will take. For some this will be a time all about increased dialogue, and some of that will be difficult. Why? Because Mars retrograde is about self development. Astrologically, Mars is a personal planet – which means by astro-definition this is an element native to our basic personality. It’s inside of us. It can’t get under our skin because it already started there.

And the truth is that Mars (through its rulership of “I Am” sign Aries) is related to ego. The same sort of energy which is assertiveness is a form of being personally present. And that present tense ‘being-ness’ is all about ego.

So no matter what sign Mars retrogrades in, it feels personal. In this case the retrograde begins at 27 degrees of Libra and ends at 9 Libra.

That means Mars moves…what, a whole 18 degrees in the space of about two-and-a-half months?

(I pause to take a breath, thinking of how to break this to us all gently…)

Mars orbits once around the Sun in 687 days…which to spare you fetching out calendar or calculator equals 1.88 years. Thinking about this in terms of averages, this would suggest…because 687 (days) divided by 360 (degrees in a cycle, circle or the zodiac) equals 1.908…we would think Mars would move one degree very two days, give or take.

And that’s what normally happens. But now we have a two-and-a-half-month (81 day long) period where Mars is only going to move eighteen degrees?

That’s a ratio which comes out to about 1/9th the ‘normal’ amount. (Yes, I’m rounding a tad, but still…) Considering that metaphysics translates motion as any form of ‘getting somewhere,’ specific to Mars as a symbol of action or activity, there would seem to be very little happening.

So will things be slow? Will we feel…bottled up or unable to get out of our own way? Or is this about doing something slowly so that sufficient care is taken?

Whatever this kind of energy means in your life, the implication isn't 'rapid.' This is Mars in something of a metaphysical metamorphic energy state, which is helpful for those of us who are coal willingly poised on the edge of becoming diamonds...facing only whatever our process of ultimate purification is.

The months ahead will pit us against our Self, purging many of unmerited vulnerabilities masquerading as vanity.

And yet, that’s all on the outside. Remember, retrogrades are about apparent movement. They’re about how things ‘look’ from here on Earth – not how they are in the overall realm of existence. The fact that relative speeds should cause us to ‘go back through’ some issues – that’s real. But so is the fact that in reality, Mars is moving along as it always has even if from the ‘Earthly’ …which is to say mundane human and everyday…perspective, Mars appears to be hardly moving at all – and when it does move, it seems to be doubling back on its steps.

So shall we. The real question is why we will do that, how we will do that, how well we will do that, and how we will deal with what has been found. Plus – seeing as this retrograde has Mars in Libra, much of the effect here is either real-time or effectively about how we connect to others…how we are connected to them, what connects us…whether that works or is viable…whether we need to make some effort or make changes to get to our goals…

…all that stuff and all those many things. The details of life and the details of how our lives intersect, intertwine, compliment, confront, question, learn from and – most of all reflect – will be being bestirred within. Relationship matters will be of great import whether you do or don’t have a relationship – and despite any specific relationship nature. Friend, enemy, guru, lover, authority and authoritarian, buddy, chum and huckster, we’re all alike under the Mars in Libra guise in the sense that we’re all equally human.

The photo here is of the May 2012 Annular Solar Eclipse at 0 Gemini taken 100km
north of Tokyo in Takenezawa (Tochigi Prefecture) by Carl Drinkwater

It’s that being thing which gets us. The details of that living challenge (whatever form it takes in your life) are individual and far too many to imagine. Through confrontations (or lack of same) with others, we experience our Self in a very personal and thoughtfully revealing way. Somehow…maybe at long, long last we’re find ourselves approaching the place where we’re willing to be confronted with the essence of understanding and a window on consequences, be they personal or otherwise. Far more through that we can’t predict and couldn’t (or wouldn’t want to) control we see and experience how cause and effect manifest in a subtly dynamic way which has escaped us until now.

Or maybe it’s not so subtle. Thinking back to last November’s solar eclipse (and the several eclipses prior to that) it’s hard to remember any marker for the onset of eclipse effects to be so heavily weighted as this one.

Maybe that means this is an important time for you. Or one which is critical to some greater flow of time. Whatever is going on, since there are all these planetary (and asteroid) stations clustered right at this ‘two months to go’ marker, that seems something we can take as a workable mental calendar.

Then again, Mars retrograde was never defined as a frolicsome sort of time. So we shouldn’t be surprised if the weeks…and yes, months ahead or filled with meaningful moments of many types.

Inside, we are likely to be moved by whatever happens going forward...and to, in time, move forward based on what we either do now (Mars) or realize now (Mercury in Aquarius) …or we may come to  whole new understanding – or way to understand - ‘about’ how things do or don’t work.

And how when we get stalled along the way through life, how it’s not always about failure. Sometimes it’s so that we have more time to observe, learn, become aware, hone abilities…and in general, enable greater success in the process.

What we are going through now…and that which we will go through in a very focused or focal way over the next several months – it has portent. It’s important. It’s one of those times when life itself is flexing enough that we just might get helped by moving ahead with something extraordinary (to us, at least)…and we can see it.

Everyone around the world smells the danger and feels the potential. We are all longing to individualize at the same time that, in finding a more productive and ‘fitting’ place in life, we become theoretically secured.

Saturn going retrograde on March 2nd at 4:20 in the afternoon UT/+0 time represents all our  challenges and needs. That Saturn is going retrograde just a day behind Mars implies a good deal of effort, at least some degree of risk and the positives involved in bringing skills to bear on ‘cutting edge’ questions.

By reputation, Mars is ‘hot’ and Saturn is ‘cold.’ Together, they represent the chilling thrust, the unstoppable conviction, the deadly accuracy of necessity and the bravery to do the impossible.

Great achievements and great disasters loom ahead. We will expect some now…and some to be seeded now. After going retrograde now, Saturn will return to the degree and minute of its station in late October – within days of Mercury going direct after another retrograde (this one in Libra, where Mars is now) as  October’s solar eclipse goes off.

This is a connection which can be counted on. Life has laid out a path and bridge for us…but whether we will tread it, where it will lead us to and whether we’re willing to let go of some of our hard ‘shells’ depended on so diligently coming into this time…that’s up to us. The Sabian Symbol for the upcoming eclipse at 8 Taurus reads 'A FULLY DECORATED CHRISTMAS TREE,' an image which astrologer Marc Edmund Jones typified as 'the ability to create inner happiness in dark times.'

For some of us that will merely be about making ourselves better. For others, that will involve the bringing forth from spirit, Self, mind, heart and abilities that which creates inner happiness - hopefully for many - when things are sincerely trying.

These days are the first steps along a path which will teach us much about this whatever way it applies to you in your life...over the next two months as eclipse effects unfold. Then we will or won't do something because or in spite of all we've come to be aware of.

That will take us the next three years, during which time much else will cross our path, refining, exploring, tempering and exploding whatever it is that the current 'hard core' (martian-saturnine) has now laid in our experiential path.

One last thought here...the 'main players' in this drama apart from Sun and Moon are very much clustered all together.

Two identical detail clips from the Aries wheel (location non-specific) chart for Mars' station, one (upper left)
shown in text and the other (lower right) using glyphs. 
Eclipses being a physical (astronomical) function of an alignment of Sun, Moon and Earth, the astrological version only varies by substituting the lunar Nodes (i.e., the nodes of the moon) for Earth. And if you think of it that way, then that Saturn, Ceres, Vesta, the North Node and Mars are all clustered together is very much a  'thematic' imaging of the eclipse.

And that's how this eclipse season is starting out?

However you feel about what you're thinking about, facing and doing going forward, the image above is one which speaks to what it will take now to move forward - and the fact that we cannot do so without knowing, learning or learning better about what it means to be 'bridging' the Libra-Scorpio energetic...that which is always about who we are to ourselves because of who we are with others.

Nothing is 'about' them. It's about our experience of our Self in the light of their existence...and how when things are really working that's enough to contend with, grow from, be inspired by and survive with.

And when things aren't working? Then no matter how much we have, gain or get, we don't feel like we're really living.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Mercury Direct at 18 Aquarius

In accordance with the Sabian image for Mercury's station degree, a photo of a forest fire in Russia's Yugansky Nature Reserve taken by Tatiana Bulyonkova (July 2012)

One of Aquarius’ interesting qualities is its dual rulership by first Saturn, a symbol of solidity…then Uranus, the energy of being freed, which is about as theoretical a notion as any – and therefore capable of being molded in any of a thousand ways.

Of the three signs of the zodiac with such dual rulers, two (Scorpio and Pisces) are water signs – water being the symbol of all things emotional and emotionally insightful, provocative…or otherwise educational if trying when it comes to the subject of trying to live the lives we really want.

Only Aquarius differs – and it does so by being an air sign. Aquarius is also fixed, which is to say its operations tend to be particularly ‘calculated,’ whether that means a goal is predetermined, why that goal ‘works’ (or is fitting) and/or how the ‘style’ of one’s methodology tends to be determined as well as in some measure determined by moment-to-moment facts at hand.

But Scorpio is fixed too...although Scorpio is about the sticky parts of emotions - the parts of emotions and emotional experiences which 'stick' with us (and which sometimes even stick it 'to' us...) - as opposed to the Aquarian wrangling of the idea - be it complex, incomplete, universal, rewarding, acceptable or unacceptable. The difference is very much with us at the moment seeing as the end of last year was all about that sort of uniquely Scorpio feeling of getting emotionally wrung out even as - and strangely enough - in virtual diametric opposition to all the difficulties, doors seemed to open.

At least in our minds, hearts or spirits.   

But now we're in the Aquarian realm. A very ‘big picture’ sign by nature, the biggest Aquarian challenge seems to be getting from the idea of what needs doing to the 'done' point with all in order and on time without emotional frizzles.

Aquarius teaches us that we can't have it all...but we can have what we really value providing it's an honest expression of who we really are. When Aquarian influences run thick in life's Mercurial mix (such as over the next few days) we will tend to think down the road, around the corner and into that next dimension no one’s thought about thinking up yet – although this 2014 Aquarian passage of Mercury has been anything but glassy slick or smooth. Comfortable and profitable have not seemed to exist in the same breath – at least not all the way around.

We've all had to surrender something. It was something of a lesson in humility - which Aquarius is also about in the sense that it's a universal/universalist dynamic both about the individual human and the whole of humanity, which perhaps you'll pardon me for saying...I found a particularly intriguing thought while the Olympics were going on in Sochi while not so far away fires were burning in the Ukraine.

I mean no criticism's just...these two events were happening at the very same moment. That's the level at which astrology functions on a global level.

I just wanted to point that out. The combination of Mercury's retrograde starting in feeling Pisces seems to have pulled emotional energy into our Aquarian thoughts. It challenged and exhorted us, reflecting the onset of Ixion conjuncting fixed star Ras Alhague at 22 Sagittarius - the call to attend to our injuries lest we be injured by sheer self-motivated insistence. 

It’s definitely been one of those times when no matter how ‘fine’ things are, something – and something unexpected at that – is turning desires, hopes, plans and other such personal cravings for whipped cream and sprinkles into a not-so-merry-go-‘round of conflict.

And all this has been highly encompassing if also something of a ‘backdrop’ against which we know life is playing out…a life which is our motivation, challenge and glorious disappointment often all in one whether you’re dealing with the fires of war or fires on the personal home front as you work out personal problems.

To the extent we have based our hopes on others – or what others ‘do’ (or don’t do) and not on what WE do to interface, connects to or contributes to the overall environment…or which affects capacity to function or functional capacity…to the extent that we have spectated on our own life we are being tumbled. Sometimes thought of as substances metallic or crystalline, there’s always a strong positive in any Aquarian issue or drive which serves to clarify our thinking.

Yet even as it does that, even as the Aquarian ability to parse, fissure, factionalize and factor finds ever greater comprehension, so it also raises new questions.

That’s just the Aquarian way. Understand that one idea and you’ll understand why Aquarius is the sign of modernization, upgrades and all the ruptures – social, mechanical, economic and individual – which in breaking something down…or in breaking us down to ourselves or someone we love, or in some plainer fashion leads to greater potential, power and plain old everyday likeability.

Acceptance, call it.

Or maybe success.

All this – all the challenges and enhancements to our ability to understand and utilize any such notion or focus which began back in January issues returned  by mid-February. And from there…as Mercury backed down (retrograded) through Aquarius, so life backed us down in one or another way, starting in the public (third decan/degrees number 20-29) arena.

By February 20th (the 19th in some time zones) Mercury backed into Aquarius’ most fervent, most driven second decanate (degrees 10-19). And since Mercury was in retrograde (where energy is internalized) we pushed internally towards goals – which yes, in the case of a couple of nations meant civil unrest (the push on a nation’s ‘internal’ affairs).

Mercury goes direct on February 28 at 2:01 in the afternoon, UT/+0, which means there will be an uptick in activity between February 26 and March 2nd.

March 2nd is the date for Saturn going retrograde, by the way. It’s doing so in a degree known for dissipating Scorpionic energies – which we can hope will mean a ‘dissipating’ of ongoing violence.

The truth is however, such a dissipation – especially in the wake of Mars’ March 1st Libra station – could just as easily represent the ‘dissipating’ of pent up (or controlled) energy in some sort of “explosive action.”

The degree Mercury is stationing at being 18 Aquarius, there are likely to be highly quirky challenges which arise from ‘turnabouts’…(large and/or small; singular and/or as part of a greater action, movement or process)…wherever our plans, actions, hesitations, methods or responses to others and the society in general are derived from false information, presumptions, diversions or incomplete (and/or) overly simplistic reliance on ‘socially accepted’ answers as opposed to reality, or the facts of the matter.

The Sabian Symbol for 18 Aquarius (which is numbered phase 319 for those looking it up) gives us the following image: A FOREST FIRE IS BEING SUBDUED BY THE USE OF WATER, CHEMICALS AND SHEER MUSCULAR ENERGY – an image astrologer Marc Edmund Jones typified as the skill and courage necessary to bring under control the destructive potential of carelessness of karmic ‘visitations’…which is a curious sort of comment when applied to airy, theoretical Aquarius (metaphysically karma is generally thought of as watery or emotional) ….very curious except for how the days may affect how we operate.  

Or maybe they’ll just end up turning us in a whole new direction.

The reference to karma also tends to remind us of Scorpio, karma’s ‘home sign,’ if you will. And that’s a bit of a reminder that Saturn…which is, after all, the primary ruler of Aquarius…how Saturn is about to go on station in Scorpio.

Things aren’t a joke right now. They don’t even feel like a joke right now. Between the seriousness and our (Sun in Pisces) sensitivity to our inability to escape our feelings of limitation, anyone can get to feeling terribly raw now. So kindness counts – to yourself equally with others. A cross-collateralization of some type may be possible if you’re willing to wade through choppy waters…and for those who realize those waters are their own feelings, things will become manageable.

That’s a persistent theme which has…and which will continue to carry for a couple of months yet: the projection of power on others. We have the ability to walk some longer road ourselves. We just want…and hope…and dream of somebody helping us.

According to that which lore says about this 'Mercurial presence,' help is now to be found in our friends, in our societies, in our wits. Those of us who think in terms of connectivity between self and others or in the sense that any system of any type has to be connected to work…those people will see a path forward. No – it isn’t simple.

Nothing which is both Aquarian and high quality is ever simple. It may LOOK easy…but it’s never simple.

And there is the fact that by the time Mercury goes direct a couple of days from now, other things will have happened. The time between now and the 28th will present us with all sorts of moments which ask us where we’re going and what it will take to get there – which rather automatically ask if it’s worth all that effort…which may be another way of seeing the symbol for this degree, as all astrological symbols are first and foremost about our relationship within our Self.

From that, all else flows…which is why people say ‘life is what you make it’ – which in the case of an Aquarian Mercury station starts with what we conceive of as our current status quo, and what needs bettering from here.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Saturn, Sedna, Ceres, Jupiter: Manifest Gearing in Motion

A 'dragon storm' on Saturn
(photo credit: Cassini spacecraft/NASA, JPL, Space Science Institute - September 15, 2004)

Back as February started there was a couple of days astrologically marked by Sedna going direct and Ceres entering Scorpio. 

Of course with Sedna nothing is quick – so though the February 5th station will have ‘marked’ a turn of perspective, beyond choices of that moment, there’s an awareness of what the whole of this period means which will take time to formulate and become something we can…and may yet consider acting on.

So don’t forget what you’ve been doing. Good or bad, it’s a reference point you’ll look back on from somewhere down the line as surely as these days and weeks passed have gotten us all to see time’s swelling continuum.

In fact, that Sedna hasn’t changed degrees is something of a metaphysical ‘directive,’ if you will…one which says we’re not ‘moving off the mark’ – we’re just ‘turning things around.’

With Sedna in Taurus, this could be our seeing what someone else values or why they value it. We could also be involved in an extended (Sedna) period of time which is about developments leading to a better perspective on who we are – and aren’t. With an orbital cycle of over 11,000 years, dwarf planet Sedna isn’t about ‘this instant,’ it’s about all the many ‘instants’ which go into those things we never expected or suspected which end up transforming our life or perspective on life. 

 Jupiter, Mercury and Virtue by Dosso Dossi
(16th century painting - oil on canvas, Wawel Royal Castle, Krakow)
We are all…in our own way…cautious. It’s built in. And however your ‘caution’ tendencies work, or whatever it will take to ‘caution’ you, that’s been part of the mix going into events and recent trends. It’s as if we need to know what our limits are so we can decide whether to…or how to continue on. Or if we’re willing to let go of something in favor of some ‘greater capacity.’

Through whatever our Sedna process is, we either slowly fulfill our greater possibilities or merely sink into our depths, there to be endlessly drowned in the unconscious abandonment of greater potential.

Which is…by the way, one of the ways Sedna differs greatly from Ixion – which we’ve been talking about of late. With Ixion we always ‘know’ better but something gets us to give in to that we know we shouldn’t be doing. 

Of course that ‘should versus shouldn’t’ would be the sticking point. In Ixion’s case the challenge is bedrock reality and what we know we believe right or wrong, real or unsubstantial. With Sedna, the challenge is to let go of whatever our current reality is because we’ve outgrown it. Only by letting go can we embrace and be embraced by our more powerful potentials.

So how to know which is which?

In general, Ixion is something about you or in your life which you do or have 'in interaction' with others, or at least in the presence of others - should you, or shouldn't you do, be or believe that way? Sedna is broader - more philosophical and more about who we are against who we would have the capacity to be if we gave ourselves permission to own every scrap of our abilities. In embodying Sedna, we become more a part of - not apart from our world.

And if any of this sounds like ‘earning our way’ through life, that seems both true and particularly apt now as the increased sense of ‘applied pressure’ has manifested throughout February as a series of ‘Saturn tasks’ – things which have to be done so that other things can happen.

The ‘plan’ – the idea of having a plan and understanding what any plan involves – is the Ceres part of this equation, with Ceres in Scorpio emphasizing a focus on emotional abilities, inabilities, vulnerabilities, defenses and possible/absolute costs…with ‘costs’ referring to anything financial or otherwise which ‘costs’ us – or our (Ceres) plan at some emotional level.

There is a place where Ceres always represents our need – as well as the instinct - to protect ourselves, whether that comes from a real need, imaginary danger or some knee-jerk reaction/habit we’ve gotten into.

Even one we’ve allowed ourselves to get into, whether it’s useful or…you know…costly. At worst, we will now experience relationship stresses, which considering the Sun is in Pisces may promote some sort of feeling of defensiveness – even a touch of panic on our part. That we are only likely to experience such notions in areas of our life where something or someone has been unfair (that being the 1 Scorpio quality brought in by Ceres’ station)…that asks where exactly we are willing to tread, considering none of us are angels.

We just aren’t. And as mortals, we aren’t supposed to be angels – we’re supposed to be figuring out what’s wrong with the way life as a mortal works – a process which tests our sense of inner coherence over the next week or so. By feeding situational dynamics down into inner niches of our more often than not secret soul we are brought to know how our areas of blockage are really places in our life where we’re not ready to take on responsibility.

Or maybe we just don’t want to have to really grow up?

As Saturn opposes Sedna on Wednesday the 26th (UT/+0 time) Jupiter’s square to Uranus (as part of a greater Pluto-Uranus-Jupiter t-square) perfects.

Obviously where the planets are now isn’t where they were when the energy reaching us got stirred up. But given all the implied adjustment for time signals here are one part confluence plus a mighty push towards change.

Or is that a confrontation with that which won’t – or is unsettled in the face of, or by the idea of change?

 A 'false color' image of Umbriel one of Uranus's more than several moons
(photo credit: USGS, August 2007)

Much now depends on whether we are needing to renovate or innovate. With Jupiter’s square to Uranus (as part of the bigger Pluto-Uranus-Jupiter t-square) perfecting on the same date – February 26th (UT/+0) – that Saturn’s opposition to Sedna comes to exact, points are being made.

We’re being taken down to bare bones with ourselves. And an evocative journey it is.

We can expect our feelings to be flexing now as part of all else we’re involved in. There’s obligation in the air and we know it’s as important as it is even if we feel unprepared to cope.

But as soon as we get that far and admit that much to ourselves…it’s about then that we feel ourselves knowing that we indeed can cope. It’s more about a choice of whether we want to.

And for some, whether they know how to.

Realism counts moving forward; there is nothing for it but to recognize that much is at stake now. It has very little to do with life around us and everything to do with whether we are willing to own our strengths as possible detriments and those ‘suspected’  vulnerabilities as under-utilized sources of vast potential.

And then there’s that other little fact…the one about the date of this dual Saturn/Jupiter ‘exactitude’ also being the opening of Mercury’s station-direct ‘turnaround’ on February 28th. That window being February 26 through March 2, we would expect things occurring right now - particularly those which occur right at the beginning of the ‘window’ (around the 26th) to indicate other things which are going to appear or be fulfilled in the future. 

Where or how far in the future depends on your individual chart...but we do know that as Mercury is going to be in the late ‘teen degrees of Aquarius about then, it’s the idea of the thing which counts – the clarity of the passion, the quirks, the attention to technique, technical aspects, details and good old fashioned attitude in putting things out there which counts.

Nike may say ‘Do it’…I say ‘Own it.’

They go together.

Much is in motion - and much of the current question is how much, or to what degree we are involved...or how much or to what degree we have exempted ourselves. "Safe" may be the right name of the game in the personal sense, but in a greater sense the real question - the path which holds our greatest potential and which will require the most of what we know ourselves to be...that requires taking some sort of risk.

And where you are with the mere idea of that risk (the idea being the air sign/Aquarian part of all now)...that's not about the risk itself - that's about the state of your emotions.

Which is a whole different matter. You can solve the problem and maybe the problem (challenge, job, effort, etc.) will be solved - at least for the moment or perhaps forever.

But that still leaves the feeling part.

Some of us will tend wholly to feeling things now, ignoring the outside world or our need (read: responsibility) to be involved with the world on its basis, not our carefully cherry-picked one.

You'll feel better so long as you don't look outside - outside maybe of your Self, and maybe of that window on the world you've been avoiding. 

Oh yes…in case you hadn’t heard, that we’re special isn’t what wins in Aquarius. Aquarius is all about that thing which is special about us which we can be appreciated for – which implies we put out there with full acceptance of what we’re doing as our calling card and foundation.

To get where we want to be, to be the person who is that person living that life now asks us to let go of some part of who we used to be. That’s hard – none of us deal well with growing pains when the angst and agony are ours.

Do it anyway. You’ll like yourself for it, both in the short and long run.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Ixion-Ras Alhague

At the center of the Swan Nebula (M17) in Sagittarius, new stars are wrapped in dark hydrogen
(photo credit: NASA, Holland Ford, ACS Team, ESA - April 2002)

If Ixion is the Neptune-controlled…(or perhaps we prefer the term ‘guided’?)…which tests our ability to know the difference between that we can do and that we should do (and the many reasons both positive and negative for such)…then Ixion’s conjuncting of Ras Alhague, a fixed star of some repute is likely to be a period of some upheaval.

Internal upheaval at least…and if we avoid such recognitions of/within our Self, through externally-driven ‘life lessons.’

Sometimes thought of as a ‘non-spiritual’ Greek and philosophical personification of the biblical Cain, Ixion is the universal tendency to have a point or place in life where we tend to repeatedly undermine ourselves (or our efforts) through ‘wrong’ thinking specifically of the ‘dis-connective’ type. In other words, where Ixion is concerned we may insist on having our way…or simply not do ‘that other thing’ (good or bad) we might have had in mind.

With Ixion, we act in haste and repent at leisure…or we choose, in spite of Self and less ‘personally appealing’ options, whatever they may be.

And then there’s Ras Alhague, a fixed star of varying repute. Known sometimes as a great force for healing and in other situations as a ruthless engine of harm, Ras Alhague’s current position at 22 Sagittarius will bring out polarities of either good or ill or show up great efforts along with shocking abdications of responsibility (for what would be indicated by the star’s house and aspects in an individual chart).

As of February 22nd (2014) Ixion will move into Sagittarius, telling us that on some metaphysical level these two sometimes righteous, sometimes raunchy energies will now ‘fuse.’ Considering how slowly fixed stars move – and how Ixion has an orbital period of 249.95 years (about a year longer than the orbital period of Ixion’s fellow Plutino Pluto) – it’s obvious the ‘melding’ of these influences has been coming on for some time. The standard orb of conjunction being 5 degrees, that takes us back to 17 Sagittarius – a degree Ixion entered back in October of 2011.

Seeing that Ras Alhague and Ixion both tend to make things a lot easier or a lot better, part of the question would be how does each object work? Ras Alhague is a fixed star…something which is more like a backdrop than a detail or akin to an ambient feeling in society which you’re aware of needing to be aware of. How to fix things? Are things past fixing? How frustrating is it to have to deal with so much which seems so wrong when so much which is so good could be accomplished?
Against this we have Ixion, a Plutino of ill-repute which may simply serve (ultimately) to show us the folly of such labels as ‘ill-repute.’ Where Ixion is concerned, the folly is ours…and where Ixion is concerned, we will do almost anything not to admit that fact to ourselves – until we get burned.

Totally burned.

So at a fixed star level, what we have to work with (or the times we’re dealing with) include both the opportunity for great healing…and great harm.

(Why am I not liking this post all of a sudden?)

Meanwhile, we have to decide what we’re going to do…and we are likely to do something simply because we want to. Or because it appeals to us. Or will give us what we want in this very short-sighted moment.

For some of us, ‘doing’ is better. For some of us, ‘not doing’ is going to be better.

How to tell them apart? Astrologers would look to your Ixion and Ras Alhague in the natal chart…and again in the solar chart. We would look to see if either point was under any long-term influence by something like Sedna or Eris. We would think about whether your Ixion is located where it’s going to be hit by either of the 2014 solar eclipses, one of which will be at 8 Taurus and the other of which will be at 0 Scorpio.

And then we’d ask you if you have any decided history which applies…which is your clue in thinking this conjunction through without someone like me sitting there gazing at your chart. Ixion involves patterns. Ixion speaks to something we have done at least several, if not many times and never really to our lasting betterment.

This encounter of Ras Alhague and Ixion is likely to end up being a time a time when many of us ‘see’ or begin to understand our ‘patterns.’ Some of us will simply make course corrections. In embodying Ras Alhague’s healing force we may even become someone others look to as an example of what can be accomplished if we just put our Ixion towards  some greater purpose instead of our own desire for gratification.

Then again, some of us will jump wholeheartedly into something thinking it’s all about us and what we can ‘get’ from the situation…or out of, considering the situation. Those who follow this path and prioritize servicing vanities ahead of necessities personal, ethical, moral, spiritual or integral are very likely to hit some sort of very hard wall as Saturn rolls into and through this area of the zodiac early in 2017.

And 2017 is another big year for global economics.

Situated in the Ophiuchus, the quandaries posed by Ras Alhague are very much in keeping with the constellation’s image – that of a hero wrestling with a snake, an obvious image of the wrestling we do with and within our Self...and which Ixion often has us falling prey to.

Kepler's Drawing of Ophiuchus made in the wake of a supernova in 1604
in the constellation's 'foot'

Are we going to repeat our pattern? Or will we finally see something as a pattern and deal with it more effectively?

Whatever our habits…‘vices’…or weak points are, these months and couple of years ahead represent a time when we can finally own up to our ineptitudes (our repeated ineptitudes, in some cases) and in owning our humility, move on.

Or we can reinforce our sense of entitlement – most of all to do that so-very-Sagittarian thing of seeing flaws in the other person’s thinking…even if it’s none of your business. Sagittarius can be a bastion of mental entitlement, the sign which represents and the energetic under which sweeping pronouncements get made which allow for no variety, no differences of opinion or priority.

And with this energetic coming from Sagittarius’ third decanate (the last ten degrees), there is no way to shut others out.

They will have their say.

If that’s a problem, buy earplugs. You have, after all, no more of a right to tell them who they are and what flavor of ice cream their tongue likes best than they have to tell you what sort of music twinkles your toes.

And that – to some great degree – is the heart of this period. During the months of Ixion and Ras Alhague conjunction we’re all going to feel pushed and pulled by our feelings and aims and how they do (and often don’t) work with the priorities and goals of others.

Even people we like.

Even people we love. Or thought we loved.

This is not about ‘giving in’ or ‘giving up’ anything to anyone other than our Self – but that…? That we may well have to do. Or learn to do. All of our choices remain ours.

This is also not any ‘constant’ – that we know because Ixion’s yearly direct-retrograde-direct cycle includes periods from now through to the end of 2015 when our challenges and frustrations will seem stronger or weaker as Ixion moves in and out of 22 Sagittarius.

And what would Ixion represent in those other degrees? Ixion in 21 Sagittarius generates situations through which we test our boundaries of self-assurance in new ways and through new things – which with Ixion is likely to result in some sort of ‘acting out’ or overstepping of bounds (even if that’s just the bounds of good taste on occasion) in an effort to cause us to become more aware of/willing to take on questions of internal balance.

Then there’s Ixion in 23 Sagittarius, which is likely to bring out many a frustration and the kinds of feelings of defeat which can be heedless and uncaring, either to others or with regards to whatever isn’t suiting our Ixion fancy.

Yet put simply, all of this is about where we are out of balance. Such areas are arenas where we don’t maintain stability because our tendency is to go for a solution instead of a restructuring. As with all other astrological signatures, Ixion isn’t about “causing us trouble” – it’s an opportunity to learn about ourselves, often through those standards held by others. But on its own? Wherever you see Ixion in a chart, you know that’s where the person who ‘owns’ that chart could get themselves into trouble – first and foremost with their Self.

All of this is why this encounter with Ras Alhague holds such promise. In Ophiuchus not being on the ecliptic and therefore not being a constellation of the ‘zodiac’ there is no astrological slighting. Yet about every two, three (…ten or twenty) years or so the spirit of fighting for constellation equality seizes people and a huge debate gets started about Ophiuchus as the thirteenth zodiac sign.

The argument is ridiculous – the zodiac is defined as constellations on or across the ecliptic (Earth’s path around the Sun) and Ophiuchus isn’t there.

But that this ‘fight’ keeps getting waged with regards to a constellation which images a hero wrestler wrestling a snake? Without getting coiled into metaphysical snake lore, the quest to overcome and the need to ‘wrestle’ with something can be internal or external.

Either way, during the periods when Ixion and Ras Alhague are (by zodiacal degree) in absolute conjunction we would seem to have a chance to get past a few of our own sticking points.

Whether we have to set them off so as to become aware of them…? And just how that might happen? Those notes are individual.

And maybe we can’t know. Then again, there are the words Ixion is compelled to cry out once he has had but lost his way: 'I should be grateful to my benefactors.'

If nothing else, that would seem to be a clue...though what it means to you is likely to be very different than what that statement means to me.

As well it should.