by Boots Hart, CAP

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Dateblog: April 2014

Three planets – Mercury, Venus and Neptune – are all in Pisces as April begins, lending a note of belief-based emotionalism, whether that’s sacred or secular. And by the end of April’s first week, that fervency begins to become more theoretical. Pallas going direct tells us that less passion works better- and that as of April 9th passionate attention is there to be stirred by those practiced in stirring attention (it is a talent, after all…) and how In keeping with the mirroring of Mercury’s shift through signs and elements there’s a hunger for considering basic things.

With Pluto’s station-retrograde occurring on April 14th in tandem with a lunar eclipse (with all in advance of the April 29th Taurus solar eclipse) we can expect to be imbedded in some experience which among other things tests our underlying sense of personal self-worth, value and respect…particularly through others.

Unique to each one of us, barely will this cluster of mid-month events have influenced our perspectives (or methods of approach) when an entire series of strangely inter-related ideas, facts and events come up for consideration. Reflective of overlapping meteor showers (the Lyrids and Eta Aquarids), such facts may fit with whatever round of forks-in-the-road now present themselves.

Then again, with Mars still retrograde in Libra there may be a ‘rejection of involvement’ which is more about the need to attend to personal needs than anything else but which may come off as unpleasant, separatist, dismissive, selfish or otherwise self-concerned to others.

There’s an interestingly subtle pattern set forth by the timing of all which happens now: the first two thirds of April 2014 seem designed to test us, most of all in areas where our ability to tolerate how we feel (inside) when it turns out things aren’t precisely as we were thinking they were going to be…even how they “should be” (in our opinion). In keeping with true semi-sextile form(at), we will all have most of a month where an opportunity exists to learn from difference between what is and what we were expecting.

And beyond that, there’s even more to be gleaned by anyone brave or insightful enough to take on thinking through why motivations differ.

It’s just we’re not likely to be in the mood – which is what it is, pro and/or con.

Then the celestial clockwork clicks into ‘opportunistic’ (Sun-Mercury sextile Venus) mode. But as this happens as we move into and through the April 29th solar eclipse…?

That suggests a period which sets off, reveals and ends various ineffective, immoral- even indecent use(s) of power, be that personal power or power as in electricity, gas or anything else.

April is less than likely to be a month of destinations and not unlikely to elicit moments of defiance amidst a determined sort of calculated desperation.

We know what we need to do. We just have to do it – in spite of the fact it’s antithetical to who we generally are.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Revisionist Aries Moon

There’s a New Moon which will occur on March 30th at 6:46 p.m. (UT/+0 time) at 9 Aries. As it occurs, instincts stir in keeping with this beginning of a last cycle of daily lunar doings before our life and planet shifts through an inexorable eclipsing of value.

Becoming who we are…the reason we would raise voice, or feel ourselves being motivated by a conviction finding voice within us, the making strides not out of the need to assert what we believe in but as a demonstration of our ability to believe in it –such will be the commonly held virtues of a New Moon moment in Aries which in its own vibrant way urges us to prove our point.

And yet…that point is often not as we think it is…which is a noteworthy concept found through many a doing now and moving forward. It’s as if this 9 Aries cycle is prompting us to ‘answer a call’ precisely so we will learn not to respond to emphasis or ‘volume’ alone, but rather the reality of need.

Aries is always personal and lunar cycles are the heart and celestial clockwork timing of daily life and doings. Given our current Mars in retrograde opposition effect (from Libra) many if not most of us will feel pre-occupations alternate with a thoughtful sort of longing which estimates the distance between ‘us’ and ‘them’ (or where we are and where we were or want to be) as not being what we want it would be.

And that means whether we wish we were closer to that whatever ‘it’ is would either just go away or stop standing there and fix things.

Either way, we’re not picky. We just want not to have to think about ‘that’ any more – and by ‘that’ we don’t mean the thing or person, we mean the feeling inside your soul which is motivating you to feel that something is so peculiarly important.

Something needs proving. We want to prove it – at least to ourselves.

That’s the crux of very issue: we’re all about us now. Whatever passes between us amounts to prompting, setting us up…or off…wherever we’re dissatisfied with ourselves. Yes, we may think it’s the other person (or ‘side’) which is at fault.

Those feelings though…the ones in our gut? They’re ours.

This is an Aries lunation: it’s a cycle having to do with understanding our very existing, our very flesh and blood human life.

And we feel alone. Even if surrounded by others or being ogled by millions, in our soul we will come to this time feeling an isolation which in some very unique and personal way affords us the opportunity to watch.

And watch we will, as if condemned to stand on principle – ours. We see the damage. We are passionate about how things should be and how they must be done.

We’re just missing the human part. That would start with breaking through either our reluctance or incapacity… and in some cases, the reluctance to deal with simple lack of capacity. With ‘blame’ easily exteriorized and assigned, fewer of us than might be useful will get past however they ‘see it’ to that place which in respecting truly universal parameters earns respect.

That would seem the path to eradicating ills of old and disunity within and without, but…we are so very human. It’s just so, so easy to blame someone else for the respect for Self we lack, finding in that projection sufficient justification to prevent any consideration of why someone else’s defeat will never salve our most painful, long-standing wounds.

And that would be our aim. Aries is always a personal sign, and with this lunation we are brought closer than ever to those things we’ve always feared were true not in terms of what we need to become, but what we need to correct in order to be the person we claim we are on the inside.

You know, to ourselves.

The above image – the t-square – is centered on the New Moon itself (Sun conjunct Moon) with Uranus and Juno, symbol of ‘managing the household,’ whether that would be our home, our life, our mentality, our accounts, a company or whatever else we’re currently involved with.

It’s about us and about our conscious, everyday life as a means by which that life experiences change – that which is astrologically so very Uranian. How this happens is individual…the measure of change you experience through realization may come to someone else through getting a new job. Or through letting go of some hope, some plan, some relationship or ideal. Maybe you’ll move physically.

Or maybe you’ll move off a position or decision held since half-past before you started forever.

It could happen. And if it does, providing we are giving something up which has held us back, then all begins falling in line.

Not instantly, but eventually. Give it a year…or three.

That’s how eclipses work.

Those who will not change – either in this moment or as a matter of stance or principle are the most likely to experience problems as this is not a lunation which deals well with rigidity. Even the most staunch of positions – or the person embodying such a stance – is likely now to meet up with unexpected considerations.

As with all things Uranian, flexibility is advised. Wherever a ‘vision’ or aim can be revised, updated or innovated, look there for facts and the sort of inspiration which cleaves a natural path through challenges while creating minimal disruptions.

Uranian moments either explode upon us, in our hands or through our mindsets, blowing out that which whether new or old, flimsy or time-honored, has outlived its functionality.

And no, we don’t get to control such things. We may or may not like the march of time. We may protest the passing of years and supplanting of ideas all we like and yet discover we haven’t changed a thing.

Except our outlook, that is.

And that…or something about how the world works is confusing. Or, as the weeks wind on and Mercury moves from Pisces into Aries, even daunting. Differences between perspectives will stand out now, and many of us will feel compelled, especially as the Lunar Eclipse of April 15th draws closer – to try to insist.

On what?

On something which means a great deal – even everything - to us.

Magic rectangles imply grace under any and every circumstance, even if the sort of ‘magical’ effect we associate with this image astrologically is only occasionally solely about ability, talent or resources. Here pictured as something of a societal setting or a ‘global’ sort of personal challenge, we move forward now through our determination and almost in spite of (Venus/Damocles trine Mars in Libra retrograde) difficulties. Such difficulties may well be (Eris/Pelion) huge and ‘expertise’ may be required to compensate where (Aries) individual incapacity is involved. ‘Damage’ and ‘damages’ requiring an enormous amount of effort may be experienced locally, universally and in the present…or they may now surface and be presented as legacies from some past, perceived or otherwise.

Not knowing what we know collectively and not wanting to believe what we know in our hearts instinctively as true (Pallas/Kassandra opposition Venus/Damocles) now vie against a reality which is only as dangerous or disappointing as our expectations and presumptions.

Which can be highly problematic, granted – which is the other side of this entire month’s dynamic. There are those who have lost or who are lost. There are those who feel threatened by the idea of something broken or broken down which they don’t know how to put back together.

Nobody said life was ever easy, even for those we suspect live a life of ease. No matter who we are, no matter where this lunation finds us, the difference between some long held idea(l) and an incontrovertible and bluntly realistic limit is forcing us to reconnoiter and rethink not for some future action, but for a future we will necessarily face.

In that arena, today’s theoretical advances go most readily to those revisionists willing to take on whatever abstractions have caused them to be so reluctant to be human – but to those willing to do so in public.

We are our own best …or worst tool now, depending on how we utilize not our opportunities, but our greater, most ethically human abilities.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ixion and Pholus Station/Retrograde

A diagram showing relative orbits and distances from the Sun for planets Saturn,
Uranus and Neptune along with Plutino Ixion and centaurs Pholus and Chiron 

Still sitting in conjunction to fixed star Ras Alhague, Ixion goes retrograde at 22 Sagittarius on March 22nd at 8:17 a.m.

Then Pholus goes retrograde at 24 Sagittarius a day later, at 3:44 in the afternoon…and as always, both times are given in UT/+0 terms.

Whatever our internal challenges are, since any station-retrogrades represents either a ‘taking in’ or ‘being stopped at’ some given point, that’s where we would expect life to be…or take us…starting as of March 20th.

That March 20th date in advance of Ixion’s turn? That allows for two days of ‘station lead-in time’…and since Pholus is going retrograde a day after Ixion, that means things can be expected to start off ‘more on the Ixion side of things’ and end more in our personal Pholus mode – whether that means we’re experiencing an ‘isolated’ or ‘isolationist’ moment or are being pushed (or pushed back) into some ‘dark place’ which uniquely our own.

Or who knows…maybe the Pholus ‘isolating it’ harmonic will surface in your life as your putting some issue aside – isolating yourself from it so you can get on with something higher on your priority list.

But however we all experience this time, there would seem to be something of a ‘trying’ notion to what goes on right now. This combination would seem to signal a somewhat trying time. Yet whether the question is someone getting in your way or our acting in some manner which someone else finds ‘trying’…whether there’s some ‘rule’ we have a problem complying with or even some ‘standard’ which causes us to withdraw (or want to withdraw)…the central issue is us.

Not them, us. Yes, you, me, that other person…each of us will face some inner urges to ‘never mind them’ and do what we want at some level which tests our Pholus notions. Will we ignore real life? The needs of others? How things work in reality? Are we prepared to face the world (or others)? Can we face what we have or haven’t done in life? Can we reconcile how we’ve used our will with our deepest convictions along with our darkest, most vulnerable-feeling secrets? 

The “they” or “that” which now irritates us feels judgmental or rude or even insulting to our sense of who we are in that curious sort of Ixion manner which triggers our determination of will, taunting us about whether we ‘can’t’ do (or be) what we want to do or who we feel entitled to be… which is probably the Ixion point as transiting Ixion raises challenges which ask whether we can control that exact impulse...or not.

Can we acknowledge to ourselves that yes, we feel we deserve something in spite of the fact we may not have yet earned it? Have we come to some point where we’re realizing that whether or not we want to do what we want to do (and have things work the way we’d like them to work)…how upon reflection, that’s not working? 

Ixion actions tend to be somewhat (and sometimes a great deal) shortsighted in spirit. Being a Plutino (i.e., an object whose orbit is controlled by planet Neptune’s magnetic resonance) the Ixion drive is often about some belief, some image (of Self or ‘how things should be’) which isn’t real. It may be worthwhile, yes. It may be your heart and soul’s desire – absolutely.

But is it real? Could it exist in reality and if it did, would it work the way you envision?

With Ixion – as with Neptune itself or any other Neptune-controlled object – we are far more likely to succeed in our aims if we accept our dream as a motivation and not the reality we seek. Where Neptune or any Plutino is concerned, the ‘dream’ is best used to help us get through our work…as if dulling us to the pain so that we can marshal on.

With Neptune itself, we most often achieve our dream through embodying it or sharing it with others, serving as an inspiration in their lives so that the dream can then live on.
A computer generated image of Neptune's cloud tops
(photo credit: NASA, JPL, Don Davis, September 2009) 
That, in human terms, is immortality. Anything beyond that is ego…ego being the fulcrum which balances our Ixion issues. Strength of ego is not abhorred…in fact, where Ixion is concerned it’s probably required, if only because Ixion moments ask us to manage a Self often armored with, by and for the purposes of ego defending ego. (Which is one of the things ego is for, after all.)

That’s where the problem comes in on the Ixion side of things. Neptune is a planet. Ixion isn’t a planet. Neptune’s surface area is nearly 15 times that of Earth. Not even classed as a ‘regularly formed’ (i.e., close to spherical) object, Ixion is less than a thousand kilometers across.

Earth has problems bigger than Ixion – at least on a physical basis. And as far as that goes, Pholus is even smaller. Yet size is not wholly determinative – very small objects or moves or choices can bring down long-laid plans, even bigger careers, a high flying reputation or lives and entire nations. And yes, this is a moment when some act or action already committed to could have some grave sort of consequence. Yet it’s far more likely that these days ahead will bring matters to light – maybe just as a glimmer or a thought.

And if that happens, this double-station turn to retrograde may be our seeing some brink ahead which prompts us to ‘go inside’ and find some way to keep ourselves from ‘going there.’

With the Sun in Aries, all feels very personal. Known famously for its focus and courage, this is just the sort of time which may well find us accepting some challenge. If taken on in the spirit of broadening our experience, understanding and effectiveness without undue focus on Self, much can be gained in due time if we remember the difference between who we are and what we can do.

Plus, let’s not forget - Mars is in Libra, the sign of the other. So though we may be feeling Mars “desire” in everything we do…in our every waking moment…we don’t ‘rule’ them. We don’t control them – nor will we ever control them. You’ve heard it once and will like as not hear it too many times to count in this life…’we only control our self.’

But since that Self is probably feeling a bit frustrated about now (Mars retrograde in any sign tends to spell an undercurrent of floating frustration), that sets us up for willfulness. Yet that isn’t likely to mesh all that well with current convictions as we’re all likely to come down (hard) on the side of what we want.

And thus the question becomes to be on what we can do which others will react to positively.

All of which would be just fine and thrilling except for the fact Aries is all about our focus on Self.

So some of us will assert ourselves in our own cause and go overboard as others are getting so annoyed with someone else that they give up and walk away – only to end up focused on what they know they should have been doing all along.

Then again, since all of astrology operates in that polarity…and because you may have a natal chart in which Pholus and Ixion represent periodic triggers which stop you from living life in the dark or getting too willful.

If (or where) things do go awry now, whether the gap in your road is mild, moderate or the Grand Canyon, disappointments and feelings of defeat or rather more than half-likely. Moreover, they’re bound to center on some subject which seems more important to you than anyone else – which is neither good nor bad as long as care is taken to how you proceed, sharing rather than telling or notifying.

This is not the best time to be too insistent, as the energy of insistence (like that of critique) tends to promote defensiveness at any time and right now people feel buried somewhere in their lives whether they really are or not. Assertion will tend to be seen as a need to validate Self (or your desires) which be harmless – and then again, can create enmity and rejection. Ixion’s going retrograde in conjunction with fixed star Ras Alhague intensifies everything we talked about last month…

...while mixing in some of our Pholus ‘in or out of the light’ issues…meaning ours: what we may regard as the bad or less ‘approved’ in our character against the lighter or more positive notes. There’s a ‘turbulence’ implied here which expressed through fire sign Sagittarius suggests things we are struggling to be clear on – some of which ‘looks’ like it’s about others or something going on in our world.

But it’s not. Astrologically, a double turn to retrograde can only be ‘taking in’ or ‘retreating’ at some level which is ‘into the Self’ (however we understand that in our individual life) – and since the ‘psychological wavelength’ of 24 Sagittarius tends to run darker than some, it’s to be expected that we may not like what we know now.

That doesn’t mean we don’t know it…and doesn’t mean it isn’t true. We’re just not happy about it.

But with Ixion in the mix here, why is that? Is it possibly just because we don’t want to be interrupted or otherwise ‘inconvenienced’ as that pertains to what we’d “rather” be doing – or even in how we’d “rather” think of our Self (or someone else) despite evident truths of necessity?

And yes, we may see all these things in projection – happening in the lives of those around us or in the world at large. It would be natural to want to ‘turn away’ from news good or bad now, simply because something about the moment…the subject, the timing, the comparison with what’s on our mind, the person delivering the news…something about it doesn’t fit.

Which is fine. A station like this one can indicate ‘taking a break’ in order to regroup, recalibrate, retool or rethink. In the middle of all, some of us are bound to look up, experiencing inner revelation.

Then again, some of us will simply look inside and come up with a more worthy (of us) level of determination.

What we do with any of this is up to us, of course. Yet considering how Mars is in retrograde…and that Mars is going to be in retrograde for another two months during which a solar eclipse at 8 Taurus promises provocation of our inner sensitivities…

…Let’s just say that it would seem we’re not seeing the world as it truly is and in all its glorious potential – at least not at the moment.

Evaluation is probably needed as there are questions here about what we need to protect – or what we’re actually protecting. Where our answers lead back to strength of ego Ixion’s Neptunian quality may lead to confusion…even mistakes which we regret by the handful.

During these years of Ixion and Pholus in Sagittarius it will always be easy to sell ourselves on the idea of something, only to find a bit down the line that theory is not reality.

What we do from there…? That determines not merely our worldly success, but whether when all is said and done we feel we’ve lived up to our potential – a feat which satisfies best when that within is ultimately balanced with all which in reality, surrounds us.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * 

Ixion in Sagittarius:
December 1995 – December 2020

Pholus in Sagittarius:
January 2005 - January 2018

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Solar Aries Equinox 2014…and Icarus Retrograde

From the Pothos Series, 'Icarus and A Toy Plane'
by Manolo Yanes (2007-2008)

They say that approximately 70% of Earth is covered with water. With people, though the percentage varies with gender and age, 50% is pretty much minimal. 

Considering how energy is energy (you know, that E=mc2’d thing) whatever water is means a lot to us, our world – and our perception of that world...which on the metaphysical level is all about feeling and feelings, however that occurs.

Pisces, the sign the Sun is now leaving, is the realm of ‘deep water.’ So the trials we have seen ourselves feeling our way through over these past weeks…? Whether overwhelmed or purged of resistance by life lapping at some veneer hardened by and against life, now as of 4:58 in the afternoon (UT/+0 time) on March 20th the Sun moves into Aries.

And that marks our journey…for as the Sun moves into Aries, that is one of two yearly moments when Earth’s comes to its own point of equinox - the balance between light and dark, or the ‘length of time’ we should (and evidently need to) acknowledge as part of life. 

Representing metaphysical 'shifts' in general life, both yearly equinoxes reflect the Sun's change of zodiacal hemispheres, giving us a whole list of issues to think about: our private versus public life, the obvious versus hidden, the Self versus Others, ideas of intellect against our many tugs of emotion...whether coming from within or being tossed our way, any and every form of anything where there is preference or something native set against that which is not so native to us, our relationship and experience of all such dichotomies (or polarities) now arrives at a point where we can look at both sides of things.

Whether we will or not...that's up to us.

Since the year’s second equinox involves the Sun moving above the zodiacal horizon as it enters the Libra-through-Pisces realm of the public, worldly and interactive, that means the Aries equinox is our moving from that part of the year which we experience interactively into that six month (six sign: Aries through Virgo) period when our experiences are more personal, singular and internalized.

How we experience the current passage and shift has at least a deal to do with how well we handle our own reactions – the ‘how we feel about how we’re feeling about things’ part of life. That is the Pisces essence we are carrying forward into Aries.

And Aries, though often spoken of as rebirth and renewal is no guarantee. Aries represents our opportunity to be who we are, and to be that person with all the courage we can muster. This is not about aggression, nor even assertiveness except in the sense that as we come to this part of the year we all have things to do because of …or in spite of all which has come just before.

In a sense, Pisces renders us tender so that we can feel ourselves anew – the experiencing of which is all about Aries, sign of consciousness, the strength of innocence and the defense of that conceptual existence we refer to grandly and otherwise as ‘life,’ replete with its joys and defeats.

Associated with planet Mars and war god Ares, Aries asks us what skill we have – or need – in life, serving up those situations which will ask us to think carefully about whether we are just going to stand there hiding inside our armor or whether we’re going to use our power (i.e., our “weaponry”) to get something done. From cutting edges to burning need, Aries confronts us with that which tends towards the raw simply because it’s that very sort of experience we will tend to translate into the motivation which gets us to move…and move on.

The question is ‘from what.’ Aries being the sign of the singular and individual and Pisces the emblem of humanity’s collective emotional experience(s), some of us will stand strong simple for what we believe in – and some will stand strong in spite of what someone else believes in.

We we know that what we say carries as much weight as what we don’t say (Mercury remains in Pisces…) and that’s confusing. There’s a curious clear perspective on others as the ruler of Aries (Mars) continues its retrograde, counting down through degrees of Libra in reflection of a strange and increasing sense that we – not someone else – have to account for our Self.

Not ourselves (as in ‘I’m accountable to others’)…no, this is about accounting for who we are – and who we have been being or not being - to our Self.

Count on a few twinges (maybe even a regret or two) as this transit begins, some of which is reflective of this month (and the season which follows) being pictured as Sun conjunct Europa, she for whom Europe is named.

Europa by Willy Bosschem (1994)

And yes, that does indicate an astrological emphasis in terms of geographical effect (an important matter considering current global situations).

So there’s no doubt astrologers professional and amateur will be casting this ingress chart for specific locations all over Europe to see localized effects and/or specific indications of that will is…or which will yet be or become. What they – or we – will find is how where we are is either a product of having gotten carried away. There is some sort of difference or gap between what we think we know (or what we thought we knew) and that which we’re learning now…part of which are revealed as a truth we now have to contend with, and part of which is simply startling…even shocking…on its face.

Or it might simply be (as they say) ‘news you you.’

That this would seem to not be anything minor is also indicated: asteroid Icarus will be go retrograde within hours after the Sun’s ingress.

'Ikarus' (Icarus) by Heikenwaelder Hugo
(oil on canvas, c. 2006)

Son of Crete’s mythic labyrinth designer Daedalus, Icarus fell when he attempted to ‘take flight’ without having first mastered the skills of flying. Typified as ‘haste leading to a fall’ or some sort of (untrue) conviction about having everything ‘in hand,’ this is the sort of influence which can surface either way and from any vantage point.

In other words, we might act so as to cause our fall. Or  someone may set things in motion which 'melts away that which supports us.'

Or the opposite may happen: someone may step in to prevent some sort of fall, failing or potentially dangerous problem we're simply not conscious of...or doing something about, for whatever sort of reason.

Something strange and certainly unexpected is also indicated here by one other not-so-minor metaphysical fact: Icarus is taking its station and going retrograde in exact conjunction with Uranus. The degree being 11 Aries for both, what is shattered now is some sort of ‘vision’ of how something is, was, could, should, or might be.

Aries here says this error is ours or about some estimation we have of/about our Self. Innocent though tragically painful, the Icarus-Uranus side of things here is offset by Sun-Europa as Europa’s story is about a mortal who is ‘carried away’ from her homeland (i.e., her native orientation) by Greek god Zeus – the drive for knowledge and precept of knowing astrology clocks by watching the cycles of planet Jupiter.

More to the point here is where Jupiter takes Europa so as to ‘ravish’ the mortal with the overwhelming presence of knowing.

That place would be Crete – the same location Icarus was trying to escape from…leading us to understand that this ingress and the three months of the astrological ‘season’ which follows are all about our ability to face life courageously and without haste. There’s something in ‘the distance’ – some salvation or personal goal we want to be ‘out there’ which is both unlikely to be exactly what we think it is…and which will not be achieved by simply ‘launching’ ourselves at it.

The Sun's Aries ingress (glyph chart)
March 20, 2014 - 4:58 p.m. (UT/+0) - Aries Wheel (location not specific)

The Sun's Aries ingress (text chart)
March 20, 2014 - 4:58 p.m. (UT/+0) - Aries Wheel (location not specific)

For some of us, this consciousness will dawn as soon as the Sun reaches Aries. For others, everything just described will more akin to a tale of discovery which unfolds with each succeeding day. First will come a considering of all with an emphasis on what we can ‘manage’ in the overall sense, or what we can manage ourselves as opposed to needing help from others.

Then will come a test (or tests) of order. Timed by the Sun setting off the ongoing Pluto-Uranus-Jupiter t-square, early April becomes an expanse of days during which overly idealistic images succumb to sudden and possibly highly contested or conflicted assertions of realism, reality and limitations having to do with sheer human mortality. All is caught up now in the inexorable mechanics of time and manifestation, teaching some of us that ‘secret motives’ are hardly secret (we’re all human – we all understand such things) while teaching others how important it is to live in and with the reality of our planet and corporeal life.

We humans are prone to getting lost in the layering on of hopes, ideals and beliefs that we forget the essence of human life as a reflection of life itself.

Life is something we have an opportunity to treasure, marvel at and honor. We are who we are, no matter how we disguise ourselves in our disdain or love of Self or others.

The only real difference there really comes from what we contribute, as surely our causal energies and the choices we make to act or not act, to hate or take mercy is – in time – what comes back to us.

And not just to us, but through us to everyone we love and all we could in turn be loved and honored by, transforming our lives from a duration of endurance into that triumph over challenge we know it can...and should ultimately be.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Mercury in Pisces

An open air market in Guadelajara, Mexico
(photo credit: Christian Frausto Bernal, June 2006)

Most of our past two months has reflected – among other things – an incisive sort of mental clarity about what we were doing, regardless of how well things were going.

And no, they didn’t always go the way we wanted them to. But that just leads us to a different and inevitable Aquarian sort of question…would we have learned as much if we hadn’t met up with those challenges?

No, not about others, about our Self. Life isn’t about ‘them’ – it’s about how well or not well we develop ourselves with regards to, and in interaction with others. With the world. With our aspirations, hopes and dreams.

…All of which brings us back to that most ultimate of considerations: how do we feel about it all? How do we feel about what’s been going on? Some things have gone right for us – notably when and where we have stuck to our guns in determining what we thought was right, necessary and needed.

That all began back in January…and it began under Venus retrograde in Capricorn, meaning the underlying lack of satisfaction felt like it was generated by some worldly function or process even if metaphysically the issue was something we needed to learn about our relationship to our Self…and whether we’ve invested enough in, or structured our life so as to cover all the necessary bases in our effort to…become.

Yes, it’s becoming a becoming sort of time…provided we are willing to become that which we have actually come to be. 

The reason to bring Mercury in Aquarius up is because the hours before Mercury moves into Pisces (on March 17th at 10:25 p.m. UT/+0 time) this extended Aquarian period will be ‘pushing’ to understand and ‘gather in’ all which may apply to our cause or ideas…and then some sort of electricity fades into softness.

That feeling of ‘softness’ or pliability is typical of Pisces. It can also be highly deceptive – literally or figuratively, so don’t get too comfortable and don’t assume you know the truth of everything you might be thinking now, and going forward into early April.

That idea of ‘deception’ is a rather well known factor with Pisces with the basic thing to understand being that Pisces ‘deceives’ either out of fear or compassion… and that said fear or compassion is about us. No, it’s not about them – if they’re our feelings, its our fear or compassion…and thus our experience of Pisces, the central (fishy) debate of which is about where being vulnerable enough to connect, feel and experience the faith of trust becomes a detriment, vulnerability and liability perhaps in terms of others, but first and last in Self.

Pisces, last sign of the zodiac, tests our level of emotional liability. Through Piscean experiences we are surrendered to our own psyche with the sign on our 12 house natal cusp (which may not be Pisces) being the indicator of where or in what area of life we will tend to meet up with Piscean experiences.

So first we wrap up some Aquarian sort of ‘thinking’ going into Mercury’s Pisces ingress. Then when Mercury crosses over the degree (3 Pisces) it went retrograde at back on February 6th on March 20th.

And after that happens…several matters we have been waiting to ‘finalize’ or get information on come back into play.

Are our mental blanks sufficiently filled in that we can move on now? That’s the first question, though with the Sun having moved into Aries by this time, it seems obvious that we have to do something.

But do we? Is it better to take action or better to wait long enough until we are sure we are fully conscious and cognizant (that being the Sun in Aries requirement) of how others feel?

That’s the required understanding here – the innate acceptance that we are people. We’re mortal and vulnerable and flawed, each and every one of us. Part of this entire Aquarius-Pisces cycle has been about divisions and part of it has been about commonalities. We all know the universal maxims – so why is it we can’t get things into alignment?

No, it isn’t them, its us. Each and every living last one of us…and the accent here is on ‘living’ even though discussions may center on death, loss and the lamentable distance we all have to travel on our way to living up to our better selves as opposed to greatly egocentric standards…standards we would surely feel better about if others were with us instead of against us.

Or ignoring us.

Or not listening to us.

Although…with Mercury entering Pisces as Neptune is positioned at 5 degrees of Pisces (conjunct fixed star Deneb), asteroids Arachne, Pandora, royal star Fomalhaut and Hebe, emblem of helping or helpfulness… what we have is a recipe for either doubt or illusion.

And that 'recipe' is made up of many factors, the variables of which are likely to be many and variously worthwhile as imaged by the Sabian symbol for zero Pisces: IN A CROWDED MARKETPLACE, FARMERS AND MIDDLEMEN DISPLAY A GREAT VARIETY OF PRODUCTS. In notes on this degree, astrologer Marc Edmund Jones referred to it as a 'commingling and interchange' which by both benefit and flaw reveals the positives and negatives - the "health" (as he puts it) of a community.

Which is valid. But considering how zero Pisces is the earliest of all Pisces degrees indicates an inception, a beginning, something new - or at least seen in a new light.

A feeling light, that would be. And the feelings are ours, complicated thought they probably are. The same 'great variety' we might choose from in the marketplace within our psyches becomes the many factors which go into how I feel about...

It's that moment, the moment when we perceive the 'marketplace' within that Pisces becomes operative. And from there the only question is whether we are willing to feel and endure the full breadth of whatever our loves, regrets, points of confusion and inspirations may be.

Those who will feel will learn. They may not like all they come to understand, but with acceptance, that deep intuitive understanding we think of as wisdom begins  materializing. We can't start it, we can't stop it, we can only absorb, bear witness and through feeling all that such experiences entail, evolve our most human and mortal essence.

As for those who won't feel, their keyword is 'denial'...the one word which recalls Pisces most painful detriments, those many things which have earned this sign the nickname 'trash bin of the zodiac.'

It's not so nice a name and I'm sure a lot of Piscean people have been offended (and secretly hurt) by that reference, never realizing that anyone who would use it is referring to their own willingness to throw away some part of their own humanity.

That's offensive, yes. But it's not offensive in the way most people think of offensive. The idea that we we would reject our Self simply because that Self has been hurt or isn't pretty...that's the height of rejecting mortality.

Humans are not perfect. We grow through having  vulnerabilities which force us to grapple with our feelings, becoming more of our Self in the process.

Pisces is not to be equated with weakness. Our modern world is full of exhortations to reject our emotional shadow.

And in that lies the reason why life is becoming ever more difficult. That which we are that we reject, deny or project onto others comes back to haunt us.

The chief indicator here is the Mercury/Neptune connection. Though this combination can indicate altruism of a very high order (and if you have a choice, that’s the way to go), Neptune-Mercury contacts more often than not include some level of deception - and not the kind where someone lies to us, no.

This is where we choose to lie to ourselves because whether the issue is what we want of/for others or what life is requiring of us, the truth of where our feelings come from would tear us up.

Royal star Fomalhaut, surrounded by its dust disk as photographed by
the Herschel Space Observatory.
(photo credit: ESA)

In other words, Pisces avoids, eludes and evades not because it doesn’t care…but because we care about so very much - and this isn't the Mercury in Aquarius caring about the idea and whether we understand someone. This is the Mercury in Pisces 'I feel you'...this is where we care about how we feel about having to understand that thing we never wanted to think about.

This is where life presents us with something either so awesome or so terrible (and sometimes, strangely, both) that we find ourselves feeling our Self yearning.

We’ll sometimes think something important in that 'passing fancy' way. And then we'll walk away and feel ourselves knowing how it’s not 'the thing' or what was being said but how we feel about it which counts. That's what's endowing whatever with its importance (or lack thereof).

It's us, not them...which is a pretty stunning thought considering the clarified convictions we will arrive at this transit embedded in.

We think we know 'them' and 'that' as surely as we think we know the facts, we know how we feel about those facts and we're the person with the plan.

Wrong. In fact, the more you think you 'know' them or what something is 'about,' the more likely you are to be proven wrong now unless you have been able to accept your intuition as fact and act on same with an equal willingness to be right or wrong.

And make no mistake - Pisces will test us emotionally. So though we may well want to know who others 'are' and where they stand now, they're unlikely to be any more sure of why they are as they are than we are about ourselves over these weeks ahead...which is only going to heighten everyone's confusion.

But that's the other Piscean point: Pisces asks us to accept what happens. It's about having sufficient faith to accept ourselves and others in equal heartfelt measure, giving because we can and receiving because we earn our right to be valued in kind. Pisces tests us in regards to others, or through what happens to others because of our needs, not theirs.

It’s part of our life-long search to feel valid. Not validated – that’s a worldly term - valid. We want to feel valid. And when we think about that idea in light of Pisces being the twelfth and final sign of the zodiac, then we come to what may be the biggest lie of them all: that life is individual.

It isn’t: we’re all in the same life, we’re all living in the same time and we’re all we’ve got – individually and collectively.

What a precious lot we are, too.

During Mercury’s passage through Pisces we will think well and ill of ourselves and others not to confuse us, but in order to get us to let go of thinking life is all about us – the great key to inspiration, faith and emotional salvation during the weeks ahead. Without that we will tend to be fearful and feel terribly rejected even though we’re not.

We’re just being who we are. We’re just finding our way in a world filled with other people finding their way. If we accept that, as we accept that our emotional walls will fall away and leave us free.

Of course then we’ll just start feeling exposed – which is the Piscean way. Whatever we do, whatever we settle on now, life proceeds apace as long as we proceed with what we’re doing with a light hand and willingness to listen.

With Mars still in retrograde and pre-eclipse ‘breaking down’ effects slowly but steadily making it plainer and plainer where in our lives we’ve based our choices or priorities not on universal strengths but rather our inability to escape some sort of inner doubt, Mercury in Pisces is something akin to a suggestion which feels in part like a dream…and in part like a decree, which at times will annoy us – and at other times bother us a good deal.

The choice to react or not – that’s about us. And what it is what it is will also be part of what we feel ourselves learning about during the next three weeks.

This can be an extremely creative time. Then again, it can be a disappointing, even frightening time.

The trick is knowing which is real…and that nothing is yet settled.

Not yet.

And that's the final Piscean thought here - one about how Pisces teaches endurance through forcing us to tolerate whatever affects us most uncontrollably.

It is in the learning that those things aren't about someone else but only about us that we confront our individuality - and thus the intrinsic 'aloneness' of being born. Once we can own both the fear of that mortality and our love of life...once we can own feelings and feel those feelings while not being enslaved by those feelings - then we find our heart and that compassion for Self which in turn allows us to care ever more deeply for others and where they come from.

It's not an easy lesson - which is another thing we need to be sensitive to. We can't learn everything all at once. Nor should we expect ourselves to do so. And that we know we can't do, we should understand in - or learn about through others.

It's all and always either about what we give or are given, which keeping with the Mercurial thought and talk mantra...becomes what we are given to know, feel and share our experiences of. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The 26 Virgo Full Moon

 An Arizona Moon by John Fowler

As Earth’s moon dictates the planet’s tides, so we all experience a monthly flow and ebb, the increase of which begins with elemental themes presented by the New Moon with some sort of ‘high tide,’ ‘turning point’ or point of which occurs around the time of the Full Moon.

That Full Moon will occur on March 16th (UT/+0 time) at 5:09 in the evening – and it will be positioned at 26 Virgo.

Right away we know several things: the results of what you have done or not done (said or not said, participated in or not participated in…etcetera) dates back to March 1st, the date of the New Moon. And that March 1st New Moon, besides being in the Piscean world of shared emotionality and common human feelings was also wedged in time between Mercury’s turn to direct in Aquarius and Mars’ turn to retrograde in Libra.

Things could get done, things did get done. In fact, since Saturn went retrograde a day after Mars did, there will be consequences, ramifications of, and/or a playing out of whatever was thought about, done, ignored, talked about, reacted to, begun, ended or  committed to at that time.

2014 March Full Moon chart (glyph chart)

 2014 March Full Moon chart (text chart)

Those Mars/Saturn ‘eventualities’ are hardly due yet. And no, none of us were entirely comfortable with what we were having to do, or what we were doing knowing that other people weren’t necessarily going to like it around the time of the last New Moon…even if what we were asserting was a personal emotional truth. Having eclipse effects set in on February 28th going into the New Moon (and Mars plus Saturn stations) assured us we would be given time to work through things…and that there would be plenty which needs working through on our way to changes we will make or meet up with as-and-after the April 29th solar eclipse.

The current lunar cycle having begun in one of the water signs (Pisces), the whole of this month is ‘underlaid’ or ‘centered’ in how we feel about things…and our feelings about life in general. With both the New and Full Moons in 2nd decanate degrees of their respective signs we also know feelings would run high – that this month would be filled with a sense of need, urgency and desire to have things ‘feel’ the way we want them to feel.

Unfortunately things haven’t been exactly to our liking (that being the current Mars/Libra retrograde effect)…its as if something isn’t quite in alignment. Life’s ‘machinery’ isn’t meshing. Nothing is happening in the way…or at the rate we thought it would.

And now, as the Moon comes to Full phase in Virgo, we either realize something more about what needs to be doing in order for things to proceed more smoothly…or we pass/fail to pass some sort of functional ‘check point/’ The implication here is about some sort of adjustment which needs making. That may be to our attitude, methodology, timing, tools or to the choice of or need for teammates, with central questions being about what will help or hinder performance and operational parameters.

Mind you, many of us will have gotten a great deal done over this past little while. We may even be feeling very accomplished even if with Mars in retrograde everything seems to take more effort than we think it should.

Regardless…something isn’t done yet, and some part of what that is and why things still aren’t fitting together may very well be reflective of whatever difficulties we (or others) have with reconciling pragmatic Virgo realities with more spiritual, esoteric…even mythical beliefs.

Imaged in the above by dwarf planet Sedna, the myths we believe in now are those we either use to inflict or defend from whatever it is we consider our most deadly challenge (Algol), be that from within or without.

The image of any Full Moon being the Sun in opposition to the Moon, our instincts are pragmatic and practical while our (solar) consciousness and the power of our being is focused either on our emotions…or how emotionality functions either when we are (or get) carried away or what incites emotionality to the point of ‘undoing that which you otherwise know.’ Whatever we hear, see or encounter now is as likely to provoke our reactions, and reactions are probably either due or duly necessary.

But there is a trick here…and that is really knowing what our feelings really are. Amidst all else, we are so dearly likely to be driven by echoes of our own issues that though we may try to make a practical choice that whatever choice we make is not towards what we think the goal is, but as a reaction to something implanted deep in our psyches a very long, long time ago.

That doesn’t make whatever we do or why we do it right or wrong. It just makes our motivations less explicable than usual – even to us.

Or maybe that’s the ‘other guy’s motivations…with Moon conjunct MakeMake in late Virgo why and exactly anyone is doing what they’re doing may very well seem immoral…and yet, on some perhaps very odd metaphysical level the weakness is actually with or within our Self.

It’s an injury. Our ability to connect to others in such a way as to build and advance our ultimate aspirations (Scorpio) is injured – that injury being indicated by fixed star Toliman. While we have learned much from the pain, it has also grown to be something which at some level (Mnemosyne) both pains and drives us, creating some sort of limit, some emotional Saturnine wall within which causes us to judge our priority meaningful and that of others less so.

In the diagram above Mercury is shown in isolation at 28 Aquarius, a combination which at its heart is about non-involvement. This is the reality and ugliness (or in some cases, our presumption of ugliness) which makes us not want to ‘touch’ or be touched – which in being separatist (or elitist or contrarian, etc.) violates the Aquarian notion of universality. It is fine in other words to not want to be involved so long as you treat others as an equal  entitled to the same rights and respect you are entitled to.

To list the technicals in brief here, Mercury is semi-sextile Europa and Scheat, suggesting we are at odds with what others might think. Mercury is also in square to Saturn, Mnemosyne and Toliman, representing the broadest of all challenges here – the recognition that whoever we are, we all instinctively fear the same things.

We’re all human. The trials of mortality and eternity expressed by 26 Virgo are all about being afraid of paying any price for being human.

Because of this…inevitably…we end up wanting to see others pay that price,  if only so that we know they paid…not us. And though that may sound harsh and it isn’t kind, this is a basic and instinctive need, one which 26 Virgo challenges by ‘freeze-framing’ some portion of our psyche into immobility, causing the rest of our Self to cast about looking for ways to validate that existence which suddenly feels so strangely and oddly incomplete. We will tend now to see emptiness in the searches of others not because their efforts are empty, but because our quest to fill our own insecurities (however buried and denied they may be) are pushing us to the point where we will tend to become less forgiving of the very mortality we feel so acutely in our Self – and thus  less forgiving of others.

Hardly known as the world’s most innately ‘forgiving’ sign, squares from Mercury in late Aquarius often trend towards public discordance and the sort of haste which makes for mistakes, particularly in the area of understanding and /or communication. It is far, far easier to criticize someone else now for what they aren’t than to realize that such a speculation can only be rooted in who we aren’t in our own eyes.

Moreover, we may just be wrong – about ‘them’ or what they’re doing, why they’re doing it or the basics of some situation we’re trying to act on or react to without having all the facts.

All of this is happening under Mars retrograde in Libra, so we will do well to remember that we are in the process of learning about ourselves through others. We think we’re considering them when we’re really considering what we think of them, and why we think that.

We’re doing it so that we can concentrate on ourselves – which would be why the Full Moon is in Virgo, the earthy sign of working towards our goals.

Not humanity’s goals, ours.

When our myths of accomplishment overcome the willingness to be human, others may well suffer first, but we will ultimately suffer last.

And longest.

Most of all in our own regard.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Medusa: Through Our Mental Mirror, Darkly

We all know Medusa - that female gorgon of salacious tongue and twining snake hair...She who evokes such fright that human life turns to stone the moment one lays eyes on the utter perfection of her terrifying flesh.

Or at least we think we know Medusa. But neither the myth nor astrological Medusa are as simple as all that. In the general sense Medusa is about fear. But this point refers to no simple fear on our part.

No, Medusa is...more slithery than that, more frightening and less understood by that Self which in some way or form will learn to fear fearing fear.

In particular, fear of something you don't want to know...that you fear knowing about your Self or life itself. 

Which means Medusa isn't about 'that' or 'them.' Snakes and all, the Medusa in your chart says something about you.

Something intrinsic about you.

Classed as a 'common' main belt asteroid (number 149, should you need to know), we may take solace...(such as it is) knowing  asteroid Medusa is one of literally thousands of asteroids out there. Given how Medusa is about the sort of fear which disquiets us to the point that we will not or cannot do something (that being the 'turned to stone' quality) as humans we are going to have an intrinsic avoidance with regards to anything Medusa.

So that Medusa is merely one of thousands of life factors...that may help us feel comfortable with the 'odds' of reaching our goal(s) without facing something which will stop us in our tracks.

On the other hand, doing that very sort of 'odds weighing' as a means of getting ourselves to do what we need to do in life...isn't that also one of the ways we face the very Medusa we fear?

Ah yes, 'there is nothing to fear but fear itself,' as one American president put it.

Asteroids metaphysically represent all the many factors we face on our way from 'I'll give (this) a try...' to '...I understand now,' and in  Medusa’s case, the “cycle” period within which 'fear' or 'fearful' issues resolve whatever internal issue has been raised.

In other words, Medusa is not the solution to "the problem." The inception of Medusa cycles (which would be the conjunction in your natal chart) will refer to periods or situations which in evoking your response raises something about the difference between being driven by instinct and the honoring of that we know to be not merely true, but that which at some very deep and real level we are sworn to by our own choosing to believe...understand...stand for.
Why all this is and would be...? That comes from the myth about Medusa, a myth which starts with three sisters.

Two of those sisters are immortal. Medusa isn't. Medusa is born mortal - just as we are - and is thus defined as "vulnerable" to things her sisters would never be affected by.

Human traits will differ. When they do, is that what makes us vulnerable to our fears? And in mythic terms, if we are reading the myth of Medusa, should we be wary if we are told that this mortal vulnerability is also described as extremely beautiful?

For Medusa is beautiful. In fact, all three of the sisters are beautiful.

But Medusa is extraordinary. Not only that, but she just loves to show off her long, gloriously beautiful hair.

As for her family, Medusa came from Titans - entities embodying the eternal, sometimes infernal and certainly uncontrollable ('titanic') forces which shape our life and world.

This being the philosophic if highly organized world of Greek mythology, it isn't surprising that such uncontrollable forces were embodied as unruly characters like the Titans. Never represented as particularly personable, wise or witty, they weren't held in high regard by the (somewhat more contained) higher ups of the Olympian pantheon.

But they were Medusa's parents. There is one version of the myth which speaks of Medusa as the child of Ixion's narcissistic lack of gratitude. Yet most name sea Titans as her parents with several names being volunteered as the parents of Medusa and her two somewhat less horrifying sisters, which because water is the metaphysical element of emotions might make it seem like sea Titans are the correct choice as the nominees for gorgon parenthood.

But if so, how is it that Medusa is born mortal and her sisters were born immortal?

That would seem to make the answer Ixion...which in turn (if true) would say Medusa began her own story as the child of Greek myth's original murderer.

And considering how the Greeks had no problem with that all-too-human habit of embodying guilt bequeathed to and embedded in our psyches less by the intent of others than by the triggering of our own internal fears...that explains a deal about the power of a myth which spells a bad end for Medusa from the moment of her beginning.

Not that the myth begins in Medusa's childhood. Far from it - the myth begins as Medusa has been sworn to serve as a priestess to the goddess of all knowledge ethical, logical and unemotional: Pallas Athena.

Athena in Vulcan's Forge
Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574)

It was an honor to do such service in the day. So when the opportunity came to Medusa, she of course took the job of serving Athena on with pleasure.

Thus did Medusa, the vulnerable offspring of titanic emotionalism, enter into the Pallas Athena, she who in springing from Jupiter/Zeus' brow expresses the conviction that an ultimate sort of 'heady' power (wisdom) is to be found in the clarity of perspective and dispassionate comprehension.

And that's where Medusa was and what she was doing when into Athena's temple came Neptune (Poseidon). As ruler of not just oceans but all water physical and metaphysical, Neptune  embodies the 'fluid dynamic' of emotionalism - and considering how life on Earth is water based, it's not surprising that Medusa was drawn by Neptune's presence.

She could hardly help herself. After all, Neptune was Jupiter's brother - which in itself is an interesting foreshadowing of modern science considering the relative roles of planets Neptune and Jupiter in our solar system. Both planets control objects through sheer power of magnetism - which is not unlike what the Greeks postulated in their descriptions of both gods.

This is exactly how metaphysics works.

And yes, the implications can be frightening, particularly as we consider how in most versions of this myth Medusa abandons her vow in willingly succumbing to unfathomable Neptunian passions, thus defiling the sanctity of Wisdom.

That was an exceptionally bad thing to do, for while the knowing of Jupiter and truth of Athena is the basis of that we call 'Free Will,' so Neptune takes us through the full breadth of emotional arc to where all dissipates into that unconscious surrender mortals tend to call 'Fate.'

by Angelo Bronzino

As for the 'alternate' versions of this story, they aren't any more pleasant as they have Neptune raping Medusa. Either way, Medusa is overcome.

And because Medusa is so prone to being overcome by her emotions even when surrounded by the facts of all she has sworn to serve, Athena metes out the famous punishment by transforming Medusa from a beauty into a gorgon - something so shockingly awful as to arrest us where we stand.

In most versions of the tale Athena not only transforms Medusa but her sisters as well. Is that a curious reference to how the feelings of people who otherwise like, love or admire us are affected ("punished") by what we do? Or is the reference to punishing Medusa's sisters an allusion to how often a person shamed in one area of life tends to crumple in others?

The effects of our feelings aren't isolated, after all.

In any case, three young beauties become an ugly trio, though only Medusa achieves the landmark ability to turn mortals into stone.

It's an attribute guaranteed to make it hard to make friends and influence people in any enjoyable (never mind survivable) way and soon Medusa, frightened by her own power, did what many do: she went into isolation, turning punishment into the retreat of self-condemnation.

From that comes an important note on asteroid Medusa: where we find Medusa in the chart we find something which will cause us to hide - either literally, mentally or emotionally. That we hide from created our problems to begin with and it's always emotional.

Too bad we feel too scared of our truth to face it. But we do. There is a place in each heart, mind or soul where we lose the ability to serve in our best interest. The idea of that is scary - and the reality that we can consciously or unconsciously become the instrument of our own downfall simply because of how we are made, who we are, where we come from...that's even scarier.

And yet we know we dare not abandon ourselves to our fears, whatever they may be. 

So what do we do?

How is Medusa - our Medusa - to be defeated? 
The call here being for a 'heroic effort' in our individual cause, the story now shifts to a Perseus, a hero in the making.

Unfortunately Perseus isn't happy. And the reasons for his unhappiness are very much understandable. Not only has Perseus just been given the task of doing away with Medusa, he's been ordered to do it for not the most altruistic of reasons.

And what would that reason be?

That reason starts with King Polydectes, a rather unsubtle fellow seriously intent on marrying Perseus’ mother, Danae.

Polydectes wants Danae in the very worst way and Danae wants nothing to do with Polydectes.

Besides being king (meaning he made all the rules) Polydectes must have also had some smarts as he didn't simply order Danae to become his wife - the common solution of the time for kingly types.

Instead, he concentrates on Danae’s god-like teen son - the product of a truly immortal affair Danae had with Jupiter. If Polydectes was going to have any chance of bullying mom to the altar, Perseus would need to be dealt with. 

So Polydectes cooks up a plan any lustful monarch would be proud of. Feigning a somewhat offended shrug, he lets everyone know that if Danae isn't interested in being his queen...well, that's her problem.

Polydectes will just be moving on.

Danae, Mother of Perseus
by Gustav Klimt

And move on Polydectes does, soon announcing that he's chosen a different woman to be his privileged which point, with his new claim duly claimed, Polydectes stares young Perseus down. What, no wedding present?

Perseus tries pleading financial ineptitude, but that doesn't get him very far as Polydectes accuses Perseus of sitting around on his heroically lazy butt - an accusation which angers Perseus. He's been trying. He just hasn't found the right right job yet...and while he's doing his best, Perseus would take it kindly if the local king would just stop flacking him. After all, what kind of gift was Polydectes expecting from Perseus? What could a young Perseus give the king which would be any sort of suitable wedding present?

Thus the trap is sprung. Having lured young Perseus into volunteering himself, the entirely prepared Polydectes probably waits not a moment before replying.

He actually has something in mind...something Perseus could be a good lad and go fetch for his king.

That thing?

Medusa’s head.

The Head of Medusa
(unknown Flemish artist, 16th c, oil on panel, Uffizi Gallery)

Hearing this, Danae realizes her headstrong son is in over his headstrong head. So she appeals to Zeus (Jupiter) in the key of plaintive, and Jupiter responds by sending his go-to god (Mercury) out as chief procurement organizer.

In truly Olympian fashion this soon results in Mercury and Athena (yes, that Athena) equipping Perseus not merely thoroughly, but in the manner befitting a bastard son of Jupiter (of which there were more than several).

First Mercury hands over a cap of invisibility (on loan from Pluto/Hades). Then the god helps strap his own famously winged sandals onto Perseus' demi-mortal feet before handing the teen an unbreakable, sickle-shaped sword.

But with all this, not surprisingly it's Athena's token which will count most when dealing with Medusa. That which is provided by Athena is Wisdom's own immortal shield. Brightly polished on both its outer and inner faces, Athena's shield literally images how we come to know truth (Athena) in reflection and how that reflection is meant to clarify our perspective on our Self (our truth) as we go up against our conflicts in this world, this life, this existence. 

 The Arming of Perseus
 by Edward Burne-Jones (1885)

So Perseus seeks Medusa out...(apparently her cave is in Africa). And when he gets to that cave he kills the gorgon of emotionality not on sight or by looking at her, but instead by thinking through what to do and how to do it in reflection.

Perseus was out to decapitate and do away with his problem. And as anyone who has ever tried to do something based on processing directions given to them in a mirror's reflection, it takes a peculiarly intense concentration to overcome our instincts.

But it can be done - and that's the point and solution to the Medusa question: to not be driven by instinct. Where Medusa appears in a natal chart or by transit isn't our 'doom' - it's an instruction: this is where you must not operate instinctively. Understanding the issue may be frightening to you, but the cost of not facing such a fear is likely to be far, far greater in the long run.

In essence Medusa asks us to respect ourselves enough to brave our fears, whether they be simple or complex. The image of Perseus wielding the sword of Mercury while protected by Athena is nothing more or less than the metaphysical statement about how in the most dire or difficult of situations it is through the clarity of dispassionate reflection that our mortality is protected - most off all from that instinct which otherwise will prove our undoing. 

As Medusa’s head is severed, blood is spilled. And as that blood flows out into reality, from it comes Medusa's offspring, creatures sometimes considered hers alone and sometimes seen as the product of Medusa surrendering to Neptune.

Whatever that may be, whether taken separately or together, these two creatures do seem to represent Medusa's extremes of spirit: she who serves against she who without thought takes what she wants, regardless of word or promise.

Yes, Medusa does sound a bit like Ixion.

Medusa's first child is the winged horse called Pegasus, a the embodiment of fear as flight, replete with the kind of brute-or-graceful animalistic strength which in the human terms may well suggest that aspects to and the placement of asteroid Medusa may be an important part of astrologically understanding our individual fight-or-flight imperatives whether they be active or unneeded in an otherwise happy life.

Known as “the giant Chrysaor,” Medusa's other 'blood child' grows to become a hero armed with a golden sword upon whom Medusa's curse falls through family - echoing many a human whose family experiences alternation of generational allegiances and trials. Recalling Medusa's reptilian side, one of the Chrysaor children is Echidna, a deadly she-dragon whose upper half is all beautiful female and whose lower half is that of a serpent.

The other child is known as the Geryon - or sometimes in plural form as the Geryones. This isn't a problem of counting, but rather one of distinction - a quality which recalls the 'fuzzy' or more indecisive aspects of Neptune.

In brief, this single-plural problem stems from this entity's description as “a three-bodied giant” - a quality which is somehow supposed to come out as less threatening than Echidna.

Assigned to guarding sacred cattle at the western end of the world, Geryon has come to be associated with constellation Orion the Hunter while Pegasus has its own constellation - one marked by including fixed star Scheat, a problematic star which often speaks to ideas, matters and personalities which are 'before their time' and thus subject to rejected by ourselves or others, either as a 'flight of (Pegasus) fancy' or something which is objected to instinctively.

And yes, thus often enough, incorrectly.

Using the power of reflection, after slaying Medusa Perseus covers her head with a leather sack and carries it away. Still wearing Mercury's winged sandals, he flies north with blood dribbling from the gorgon's neck.

And as those drops fall to the sands below, they give rise to all the poisonous snakes in Africa. Yet lest we think that which is poisonous is always bad, when several drops of Medusa's blood are given to someone with the highly polysyllabic name Erichthonius along with instructions how how to use it as poison, with that also comes instructions on how to use gorgon blood in reanimating the dead.

No, not literally. Perhaps in myth, yes. But for astrological purposes this is a reference to that image we most often associate with the Phoenix - the rising from the ashes, the bringing back to life that which our disproportionate passions may have theoretically destroyed.

To finish here, ultimately Polydectes receives the quintessential lesson in why we should be careful what we ask for, lest we get it when (as most versions of the story have it) Perseus returns home to learn Polydectes has raped his mother Danae.

The young hero heads for the palace where (not shockingly), Polydectes is surprised to see him.

But for good or ill, Polydectes is still Polydectes. Whipping out his most illustrious and kingly sneer, Polydectes informs Perseus that he'd 'known' Perseus couldn't kill Medusa.
But Perseus did kill Medusa. And to prove it, as all the king's sycophant courtiers sneer on Perseus pulls Medusa's head out of the sack, holding it up where all can see it...and be promptly turned to stone.

Some questions shouldn't be asked and some truths are impossible to live with.

But that's just life.

With the king and court duly dealt with, Perseus returns the immortal garb and weaponry to the proper Olympian immortals.

And what about Medusa's head? That Perseus gives to Athena, who then embeds it on the front of her shield - the same shield she gave Perseus to carry.

Is it a warning? Perhaps. Often we try so hard to learn and then are sorry we know. It's the essential lesson of knowledge - that with knowledge comes power, and with power comes the responsibility to use that power properly - which means sometimes in a manner which requires us to silence the voice of instinct in thinking things through.

So sometimes knowledge is indeed a frightening responsibility. But to not know and instead act solely on instinct?

That plainly can ruin a life which could otherwise have been just...beautiful.

Oh how scary...but truth nonetheless.

Perseus (Andromeda's son) doing battle to save his mother - the mortal
spirit of innocence before that which has given Perseus life can be
overwhelmed by Neptune (emotionality) arising in 'mostrous' form from
'oceanic depths' - the psychic sea which is humankind. we really know who Medusa is? Or is Medusa that thing in our life which keeps us from being willing to know the 'frightening reality' of who we are, or what we are capable of doing to our Self or others?

Is that... the knowledge, the possible fear of 'doing' a greater share of why humans seem so drawn to preferring a dream that we can never build on in reality to a factual reality in which we could possibly build our dream but which we cannot access without facing our inner fears?


The head of Medusa as it ended up, mounted at the center of Pallas Athena's
shield, facing all who would approach - a lasting mythic comment on the
connection between fear, perspective and conscious wisdom...and
probably the need for just that.

Beyond whatever else, the frightening face in Wisdom's shield is a directive telling us that our greatest truths lie beyond facing our greatest fears. Only through knowing what our fears are can we choose to learn differently and dispell them.

Yet since there will always be more to learn and be, in the end the only knowledge which will ever really set us free of instinct's rampages is that truth which allows us to accept the beauty of that fear which allows us to know everything about our Self, that being the path to a life as a human being unafraid to face anything.