by Boots Hart, CAP

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Ixion and Pholus Station-Direct

Centaur an den Kaskaden in Kassel
(photo credit: Fingalo Christian Bickel, May 2008)

Plutino Ixion and centaur Pholus both have somewhat problematic reputations. They’re not quite the zombies of our character set, but they do seem to tempt us to act contrary to our own best interests.

How they do that is individual - which is to say described by where these points are in your personal chart and where they are going to be going direct, which is at 19 and 20 Sagittarius.

Being that I’m still having some physical difficulties, I’m not going to do a marathon fandango on the lore and astro-theory behind these points.

But never fear - we have links:

Either way, both Ixion and Pholus are about what we don’t want to do, though they act on that desire in very different ways. Ixion acts out (is assertive or pro-active, to use the common terms) and Pholus tends to retreat, single out, ignore or isolate.

As defined by what these points are astronomically, they will also tend to describe different sorts of influences we would meet up with (either in our own heart, mind or soul or through some external prompting). Like better-known Chiron, Pholus is a centaur - one of a number of astronomical objects which act sort of like ‘short range’ comets which unlike “official” comets don’t cycle around the Sun - our emblem of consciousness, existence and will to live.

Because Pholus doesn’t orbit around the Sun, it doesn’t represent any ‘core’ aspect of our personality. It can’t directly affect our life, will or consciousness - except in the sense that in cycling back and forth from just beyond (outside) Neptune’s orbit to just inside Saturn’s, Pholus does indeed cross over Saturn’s orbit, an event which symbolically represents Pholus as a force which can ‘penetrate’ our outer barrier (Saturn).

Pholus is about that which can get to us, or the experience of dealing with ourselves once something has gotten to us. What Pholus doesn’t seem to be is outwardly motivated.

That’s Ixion. Ixion is that ability to do the same thing over (and over) again thinking you will succeed this time. Ixion tempts us to ignore life’s realities in favor of something we believe we are - and in particular, that we are entitled to do, be or have.

And in that, we would be wrong. But that’s the point - where we see Ixion we tend to do think we can ‘get away’ with something (whether in conjunction with others or our Self).

It doesn't work. That’s the Ixion nature: to pursue some path (generally one which is open to us because of some natural talent or simply because of who we are or know how to do) in a singularly self-serving manner until our lack of respect for others and life in general becomes our Self-undoing. Ixion is a Plutino: an object whose orbit around our Sun is governed by a little invisible (to us) force called magnetic resonance - Neptune’s magnetic resonance.

And since Neptune notoriously symbolizes all the many ways we idealize, imagine and so often delude ourselves (lest we have to deal with all that messy ‘being a mortal human being’ stuff), that would be why Ixion always has to do with somewhere in our life where we tend to delude ourselves.

So Ixion tends to ‘act’ and Pholus tends to ‘withdraw,’ which makes things curious when you consider that these two points are stationing at 19 (Ixion) and 20 (Pholus) Sagittarius.

Part one: they’re in conjunction.

Part two: this is the ‘bookend’ to their having gone into retrograde in tandem.

Part three: there is a general traditional notion that degrees vary by nature depending on whether they’re numerically even or odd. Even degrees are ‘receptive-responsive’ and odd degrees are ‘proactive-assertive.’ So that proactive Ixion is going direct at proactive 19 Sagittarius and reactive Pholus is going direct at a responsive degree like 20 Sagittarius tell us that we should expect anything Sagittarian to move towards more polarized or ‘purist’ forms of expression bent on classic Sagittarian aims like expansion, exploration, getting the word (or anything else) “out there” and dealing with objections, blockades or errors in judgment or operational imperatives.

And let’s just say Sagittarius isn’t exactly known for being all that cooperative when it comes to having people or things not cooperate. Famously associated with the legal system, Sagittarius is all about the debate rather than the punishment, punishments legal and otherwise fall under Capricorn (with the exception of guilt, shame and other such emotional torments, all of which fall under water signs).

Moreover, to have Ixion at 19 degrees and Pholus at 20 degrees is something of an indication that a ‘connection’ [the conjunction] is currently in play which links Sagittarius’ ‘fervent zone’ (its second ten degrees) with Sagittarius as a basic signature of things going on in the world.

That Pholus is ahead of Ixion may well say that some of us (those who have Pholus more prominently placed in their natal charts, one would guess) will, upon confronting whatever is going on will retreat, want to retreat... or at least function from a separate and singular perspective. What that gives us may take any number of forms: some of us just have things to do, some people will choose (for any of a number of reasons) to stay uninvolved or at a distance which allows them to be less partial, and some of us will simply ignore, deny or insist on being hard-headed in wanting to believe what we want to believe, never mind anyone else (or the facts, in some cases).

With Ixion just behind Pholus and still in an emotionally charged degree there is a deal of energy driving our needs and convictions, which against Pholus’ instinct to separate and go one’s own way is likely to manifest as various types of confusion and conflict within and without our Self and in that ‘zone’ we have defined as our sphere of operation.

Which one of these influences is strongest and therefore represents which side of this push-pull being individual will make everything a bit more messy, of course. Plus there are certainly those who will feel more of these effects going into the September 3rd (Ixion) and 4th (Pholus) station as opposed to coming out of it.

We give stations a two-days-before, two-days-after ‘allowance’ period (making the full extent of this station from September 1st through 6th), and if you follow this sort of stuff (yes, astrologers collect people stats as opposed to sports stats) what you’ll learn is that events (real time or mental, it doesn’t matter) which occur prior to the actual moment of stationing tend to refer to things which have yet to play out where things which occur after the station tend to reflect a ‘wrapping up’ of matters which have already happened. With this particular station occurring just as Mars and Saturn are parting their Scorpio conjunction things are intense and require the kind of focus which refuses to go off half-cocked, which is to say before what AND why everyone is doing and feeling as they are - before all of that is at least noted, if not well understood.

But let’s be realistic here... Ixion and Pholus are not the kind of life factors any of us like coping with. Sure, we’re all about what ‘the Other’ is doing or saying which we don’t like or maybe want to brush aside... but we’re not as good with ourselves. Their flaws and the problems with situations...? That we see. That, we’re willing to see.

But flaws in our Self? Both of these points refer to personality paths which are Self unaware - and both come from a position which speaks to where or how we tend not to take responsibility for Self, particularly as that pertains to being one human among many, all of whom are equally human.

As for the degrees involved, 19 Sagittarius is known equally for an aversion to ‘mainstream’ standards or ways of doing things... difficulties and trials which specifically test inner emotional (water sign) stamina... in a symbolic offset to the inner emotional tests, an affinity for natural water and waterways. This degree is associated with causes. Yet though having a ‘cause’ (or focus) is a plus, failing to deal with negatives, evils and any lack of inclusive thinking (which with Ixion tend to be ours by definition) is a recipe for bitter... even poisonous pain.

Not theirs, ours.

Though this is only a moment in time and the passage of a few days, what happens now can be important. Ixion has an oddly ‘fated’ quality reflective of this influence as one which brings some very ugly traits to the surface... and whether we like it or not, we’re all human and we all have some spots dappling the landscape of our thinking and personality which in the grander scheme of things are just ugly.

From Pompeii's Casa dei Vettii, a detail from a scene depicting Ixion's punishment which
features Mercury holding the famous caduceus.
(public domain)

With Pholus, personal ethics and morality count. With Ixion, social and societal contracts count. So with Mercury just crossing Virgo's massive black hole M87 (see previous post) just as Ixion takes its station turn, we are almost being invited to see things differently... to see others and our attitude towards those others in an entirely alternative light.

What we do after that... or in lieu of that, should we are so enamored of our own personal vision of things that we’re not even willing to entertain someone else’s truth as truth... that’s up to us. And because that's up to us, that means the karma which comes from what we do or not do leaves us with no one to blame (or cheer) apart from our Self.

But then, that would be the theme here: taking responsibility for what we do, who we are, how we think and feel - and what we allow ourselves to do or be because of that.

Or maybe in spite of that.

Speaking of karma, Pluto (the outcome ruler of Scorpio, sign of karma) is going direct in just a couple of weeks.

So this would seem to be a signpost.

Will we read it? And beyond that, will we heed it - or will some Ixion-Pholus impulse get the better of us?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Mercury in Libra

A field of ripening barley in Palouse, USA
(photo credit: Victor Szalvay, June 2006)

There’s a strong human tendency to make things simply personal...or not personal...according to personal preference.

Surely you’ve noticed?

Yes, any number of us will make the good ‘ours’ and simply reject whatever we don’t like, disowning it lock, stock and responsibility - even when we’re plainly in the mix. So strong is this habit that even when we think about metaphysics, again we tend to divide our charts: the Aries “I Am” of life we stand for and take hold of.

But when it gets to Libra, so often we opt for blanket ‘thou’s, projecting and separating ourselves from things in our own chart.

In other words, in our own life - and we’re not talking about the live being lived in your town, city or state, we’re talking about every moment of that life which has us breathing or holding our breath.

It’s our chart. Libra is in every chart and is a precept in every life. So why do we project? We want a good life, surely. But how can we live a good life if we’re not willing to admit that the life we’re living (inclusive of who we attract, how others feel about us and how our work or efforts are received) how to live that  good life while abdicating the power we hold in our hands (and minds) to empower said life?

There’s a difference between not knowing and not liking, after all. Both can be equally valid in a well-balanced Libra-like world, which is why the difference between Libra’s positives and negatives can both be typified by one simple metaphysical statement: what we put out comes back to us.  

Sometimes we don’t recognize it...and sometimes we don’t want to recognize it.

Pointing at ‘them’ is relatively easy. Dealing with our Self, particularly when that Self is in the middle of wanting (yearning, longing, etc.) to feel better about the life that Self is living...that’s hard. 

Sometimes it’s purely annoying.

And still, after all the projecting is done, there we still are with whatever problems, refusals to see (think, hear, etc.) we came in with...which is a whole other issue. After all, those among us who don’t want to deal with their issues are surely not going to be a cheerfully jazzed to know that they not only still have to deal with things, but that their ‘problem child’ is looking at them from the mirror.

No one likes that. (But it is terribly Libra.) Yes, Libra is about everything we encounter in life because it’s our life. Such things inform us. They test us to see if we really know what we think we know. The Libra Principle becomes active in our life, so that we will learn what works...and what doesn’t work...which isn’t ‘about’ them, but rather about our experience of them or something in our wide-ranging world...or their experience of us or what we do.

By those reactions and responses we learn more about our Self - what parts of it work or don’t work and why.

Dealing with all those ideas, from the ‘what’ to the ‘what happens’ (complete to everything between), that’s Libran too.

It’s to think about. And lucky for us, Mercury (symbol of thought, communication and mentality) is about to enter Libra.

So once Mercury enters Libra on September 2nd at 5:39 in the morning (UT/+0) time, feel free to think up, folks. Think hardy, think thoroughly, give things some thought or think nothing of it - whatever be your personal choice.

You know, a personal choice you’ll make which will then affect others who will let you know if your idea works in their Libra framework and thus in their equally individual Self-driven world? As Mercury enters Libra we are symbolically being told that our communications, our thinking, our experience and estimation of today and tomorrow (and all they may contain) will be moving from a personal orientation to a more worldly what we do, what we are doing will become more visible to others and more apt to be commented on or responded to.

We are also coming to a moment when our thoughts may well change as Mercury moves through Libra’s earliest degrees, that being the position of giant black hole M87. Being that Mercury moves very quickly (its ‘fleet-footed’ orbit around the Sun takes a mere 87.9 days) this contact will be felt rather immediately, raising alternate views (and viewpoint) from September 2nd through 6th, when Mercury exits M87’s orb of influence.

Some of us will be inspired by thoughts and events which occur during these days. Some of us will recognize how we may have been too short-sighted about something - or how we didn’t know, see or listen to something which may at first blink not have been our taste...but which is in reality seriously important to our aims short term and long.

That Mercury is coming into Libra aspect-free and  on its own speaks to a free-wheeling quality in thought and conversation which though perhaps not overly obvious is there to enjoy...and to employ. However, please be advised: the farther into September we get, the less options we’re likely to have as things seem to acquire a life and momentum of their own. Still, many will be likely to be ‘in their head’ or ‘lost in thought’ or simply preoccupied (mildly or otherwise) for at least some part of this transit. For them, Libra’s interactive quality will reflect in consideration of how to exist with others, among others, in this world or at some other level which has to do with ‘getting along’ in life, though Mercury in Libra by itself isn’t the kind of indicator we would think of as defining times good, bad or indifferent.

What this transit says is that our thoughts will be about others. Or situations others are connected to, or that we (or they) may need to discuss with someone - and because Mercury will be going retrograde come October 4th (September 14th being the date Mercury crosses into its retrograde shadow) the latter part of September is likely to be filled with our feeling pressured and frustrated as we try to get something done with life (and people in that life) resisting, not getting things done as they focus on how annoyed they are with others or whatever is getting in their way or being otherwise entirely unsatisfying.

(Yes, its that projection thing again. We’re not happy, so it or they must be to blame, right?)

(No, not right - but as an example of human nature in function, often accurate.)

More to the point, as Mercury moves into the shadow of its upcoming retrograde Jupiter is just reaching 13 Leo, setting up a sextile. And since Mercury retrogrades (inclusive of their pre-and-post retrograde shadow periods) are periods which will have us catching up with ourselves and sorting things out (or tending to re/organizing of various mental or mentally-governed [Mercury] factors) have Mercury sextiling Jupiter as we trip the light-footed fantastic into Mercury’s pre-retrograde zone?

Well...that would seem to be a positive sort of note.

Mind you, just as sextiles offer opportunities, sextiles require work. And after we accept that much, then we add the concept that retrogrades require going through whatever it is we need to go through to get us into position with our Self to take life on come retrograde’s end, when (oh, incidentally...) things - or at least our perspective or thinking about things - takes a turn.

In Libra, this is all going to be about, in conjunction with, and concerning things we experience at the level of interaction - which is to say, they affect our thoughts about who we are (and aren’t) and what we’re doing or why we’re doing it and how that affects our place in the world, just as it’s affecting everyone else in the world at the very same time.

We will all be thinking. And given the Libra effect, we may be more focused on the Other than our Self, but why we would do that would be part of the Mercury in Libra process. Why we care, why we don’t care, why we pay any mind or don’t mind ignoring others if or when they don’t suit what we want to think about our Self...that would be part of the Libran process.

And wherever Libra falls in our natal chart, that tells us what we will experience through that Libra process and how we will pursue our Libran experiences...all wrapped in Mercurial questions, answers, ideas and choices, many of which will prove either harder to make or harder to have work once Venus (ruler of Libra) moves into Virgo on September 5th (UT/+0 time).

Once Mercury enters its shadow (which it will do as Mars enters Sagittarius, heralding new efforts, new actions and new discoveries of every type as a result of actions taken) it will be just over a week until Pluto goes direct. During that time, will something trigger a change in our [Mercury] thinking - and if so, will that guide or control us?

One more thing to toss in the mental stock pot here: Mercury enters Libra on September 2nd, Ixion goes direct on September 3rd, Pholus goes direct on September 4th and Venus ends this cavalcade of shifting on September 5th with its own move from Leo into Virgo.

Yes, Ixion and Pholus went into retrograde together last March...and now they're going direct together in early September.

Is this a hint?

From the Mercurial perspective, this would seem to be a recipe for situations which bring out some of our less caring aspects - and end up disliking the results.

Maybe in knowing that we can resist the lesser aspects of this passage? We can use this time to think about others and how to share our space, our ideas, our needs, desires and aims. We can use this time to improve our ability to relate to others and thus our relationships with others...and maybe more importantly (at least to us), their relationship to us.

But will we?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The 2 Virgo New Moon / Sedna, Station-Retrograde

(photo credit: KMJ, Oct 2007)

Like much of life it seems, astrology is rife with verbal shortcuts, one of which is the idea of maturity or maturation in association with dwarf planet Sedna.

Yes, both those terms do apply. But the process being referred to is more about how we arrive at maturity (or a moment or experience which is maturing)...what causes such a moment or change of perspective to happen and how we came to think or act as we did prior to changing.

All such things are part of the Sedna process, starting with that last part, the part which is about assumptions, presumptions, ‘standards,’ and habits personal, cultural, economic or of any kind and not so much where they come from as why they may (or may not) actually be correct. Or true.

And yet...though the kind of change of perspective we’re talking about here might seem to be something we would experience like the flicking on of a light switch (the proverbial ‘light bulb moment,’ to use a  modernist’s Aquarian Age term) - that’s not how it works. After all, Sedna takes over eleven thousand years to move through 360 degrees as it orbits our beloved Sun - so we’re not talking about anything close to instantaneous or swift. So when Sedna goes retrograde at 1:48 in the morning (UT/+0 time) on August 26th, it’s continuing a metaphysical process started some time ago.

How long ago?

Well, granting that each of us has various individualizing astrological qualifiers which would cause such dates to vary some, in general terms the shortest of short terms would date back to May 8th (when Sedna entered 24 Taurus, the degree it will be going retrograde at), the next longest consideration would be early February 2014 (when in tandem with Mercury, Sedna went retrograde)...and the still-broader ‘bookend date’ would be June 25, 2013 - the date when Sedna first entered 24 Taurus, a particularly testing degree which with Sedna present would indicate a testing time during which we are all will end up facing some need to get/gain/expand perspective on our own security issues.

Not ‘theirs,’ ours. And that’s not a collective ‘ours’ - that’s the you, me, one-by-one everyone on Earth ‘ours.’

And what’s the subject matter we are to be all so individually tested on? Answer: the difference between courage and over-aggressive, the difference between accessible and vulnerable, the difference between help and manipulation, the difference between spirituality and the abandonment of realism.

Sedna marks periods of process. It also marks moments when we recognize how things have changed - that being us in that moment of realizing our perspective has actually changed, a moment we can learn from in any of a number of ways.

And finally, Sedna marks the person we become both for having gone through our experiences - and through our realization of how such processes work.

As usual, we would expect for Sedna’s change from direct to retrograde motion to stir things up - changing our perspective, as it were. Those of us who have major positions in our natal chart (planets, dwarf planets, nodes or axis points) between 19 and 19 of Taurus or those same degrees in Scorpio are the most likely to find this moment ‘educational’ at some level with those on the Taurus side having to deal with issues which touch directly on how we ‘secure’ ourselves (whether emotionally, financially, with a door lock or any other way) and those with positions in Scorpio feeling challenged by external means, be that someone confronting you, some sort of news, a choice which needs making - something.  The squares to Sedna’s station would have the same degree spans but be in Aquarius or Leo with those on the Aquarian side having to wrestle with what needs doing and those on the Leo side having to deal with what’s already been done.

More to the point, Sedna’s going retrograde means we are all moving into a period of months (from now until February 6, 2015) during which our living our own life - just the process of doing that - becomes a catalyst for our coming to understand something more about the difference between making a thoughtful choice and those ‘choices’ or actions which reflect ‘knee-jerk’ responses to situations in our life.

Are we capable of knowing what is a choice and what we’re acting on because we think we are ‘supposed to’? This is the Sedna focus. That which we do because we lack true inner security will reflect past experiences where that which we truly choose to do (or not do, be or respond to) will reflect our consciousness of Self...not the situation or someone else.

As for whether we will do any such thing, the fact that there’s going to be a New Moon in productivity-oriented Virgo on the day before Sedna’s actual turn to retrograde seems something of a clue.

The Moon over Djúpivogur, Iceland
(photo credit: Daniel Om Gislason, January 2009)

To be exact here, the August New Moon will occur at 2:14 in the afternoon of August 25th (UT/+0 time). And it will be at 2 Virgo, a degree which by definition is personal, action or physically oriented, and which is based on tangible knowledge against tangible results. Virgo being the second of the zodiacal earth signs to Taurus being the first gives us a pretty good indication that the first part of the week (and some part of the weekend which precedes that) will be about putting some notion into play...or recognizing how well/not well something in motion (or ‘play’) is working.

The essential (and eventual) question is whether we can reach our goals - whatever they may be. But in the short the ‘now’ the question is what needs to be done? Since Virgo only works well when responsibility of all types is lightly held but kept very much in the forefront of all choices, efforts and activities, morals, ‘the quality of’ things and who we associate with are all important. Virgo favors the established because that gives us something to work with or from (why make things any harder than they need to be?)... and yet Virgo is also well known for endless busywork.

So...are we applying grease and spinning our wheels? Or are we actually about to get somewhere?

Yes, that would be the question - a question we will find ourselves answering in the days and weeks to come. In case you need to know (which you do - need to know, I mean) Pluto will be going direct under this lunation. And among other things, that ties the other of the zodiac’s earth signs (Capricorn) to the doings of the next month.

Things are going to be...earthy, if nothing else. (And probably ‘earthly,’ in terms of ‘what do we intend to happen to life on this planet,’ but that’s another matter.) Seeing as Pluto always carries some level of ‘karma’ wherever it goes, the Capricorn nature to dismantle that which no longer has use while meting out consequences would seem to be set against Sedna in (or as) a conspiring of circumstances which asks us what we are willing to do (part one) and what the definition of ‘necessary’ really is.

In terms of planets (true planets), the only aspect to this New Moon being Neptune at 6 Pisces (notes on which can be found HERE...) it is to be expected that there will be questions during the time of this New Moon. Even some degree of confusion. That Neptune is involved in a grand trine with Juno and Vesta which the Moon is not ‘technically’ (read: by strict application of orbs) part of speaks to matters which are not in our control which we will need to take into account during the days ahead. 

 The 2 Virgo New Moon (glyph chart)
August 25 2014 - 2:12 p.m. (UT/+0) - Aries Wheel (Location Not Specific)

The 2 Virgo New Moon (text chart)
August 25 2014 - 2:12 p.m. (UT/+0) - Aries Wheel (Location Not Specific)

There’s one other aspect seen at the time of this New Moon which deserves a moment of discussion. That aspect is Mars conjunct Saturn at 17 Scorpio, an indicator of a great deal of pressure, particularly applied pressure of the emotionally provocative kind. This is not a kindly combination (Mars/Saturn) though it lends a great deal of strength - ‘steely strength’ or ‘and iron grip’ would be the kind of metaphorical expression one would go for with this pair in structural combination.

As for 17 Scorpio, this is a degree which concerns, and which is known for moral cowardice in the face of losing sight of alternatives to the blind sort of ‘lower Scorpio’ sort of energetic manifestation. Referred to in several texts rather specifically with ailments like cancer, appendicitis and lower GI tract problems, 17 Scorpio is also known for the flaunting of shallow emotional attributes with all of this thought to be the result of not having dealt with inner resentments, anger and frustration.

When in ‘normal’ motion (as it is now), Mars tends to move one degree every two days - or a half a degree a day. Given that and the standard five-degree orb of conjunction, Mars entered the ‘Saturn conjunction zone’ back on August 14th (late on the 13th for those in the eastern Pacific basin region)...and Mars will technically remain in orb to Saturn after having passed Saturn’s position by until September 3rd. In your personal life, trying issues of today which arose back around the time of the 14th (give or take your location) may well end...or at least finish one ‘phase’ in a greater overall structural process by then.

But with Mars conjunct Saturn at the New Moon, we have every reason to expect that things going on now will be going on weeks from now. No, they will not be exactly as they are now, things will change.

We will be in the same chapter of the story, if you will...if not on the same page. How far we each get depends on what we’re willing to do - that much (at least) is clearly indicated by the New Moon - with the Moon being an indicator of daily doings - being in a sign all about health, work, service...which includes the commitments we have to our Self - as well as those we have to others.

How we balance those questions out spells where we will be a couple of weeks from now when the Full Moon rises at 16 Pisces... a time likely to be filled with all the emotional vulnerabilities pertaining to things we refuse to admit or think through now. Over the days and weeks ahead, how well we deal with not the idea of responsibility but the execution of responsibility is going to become a question which we succeed through or fall short on depending on own willingness and orientation towards effort...particularly that effort which in the end either generates or destroys at least some portion of the support upon which we habitually depend.

Of course, we could change...but wouldn't that require a different perspective?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Sun in Virgo / Eclipse Effects Begin

A mirage sunrise over Lake Superior
(photo credit: Tom Ruen, July 2002)

Believe it or not, everything that we have been going through and seeing around us in the world is something of a prelude (or prequel, if you prefer).

To what?

To understanding what it’s all about, which at some level and at some point isn’t about ‘them’ or ‘that’ or whatever. It’s about us. It’s about how willing we are to grapple with what’s wrong - not with life, but with how we’re responding to life. How we’re treating ourselves through whatever we choose to do with our days, our life, to this world and (so we think) to others. All the fighting, all the despair and disregard, all the name calling and ill will, all the shameful neglect for our own standards with regards to anything or anyone who would dare disagree with us...

Metaphysically, none of that is about anyone but us.

Yes, it’s you and me and everybody else, individually going about stirring up our own karma. There is an argument to be made here that things have gotten so bad that there is some underlying knowledge that we need to do some purging of the malicious sort of toxin which has been eating away at our world.

It’s just that very (very) few of us are yet at the point where we realize that the ‘bad’ out there is what we apparently need.

Need? Who needs grief?

Evidently we do.


Simple: because we’re human, and humans generally don’t learn all that much through the good times. We would like to think that we do, but then there are all those expressions like ‘the burned hand teaches best’ (and a thousand others) which admit what we know deep down in our gut: we learn best through pain. That which carries too high a price, we tend not to repeat - just as that which we keep doing over and over again must have some benefit.

Think about that for a while and then think through what’s going on in our world. Humans don’t seem to be in the habit of ‘committing’ peace.’

But why would that be?

Astrologically - which is to say metaphysically - the reason we would be looking for here is described by Scorpio, the sign which wherever it manifests is always about the feelings we are confronted with through our experience of others or emotionality connected with some process, choice or situation.

When it comes to anything Scorpio, we like to feel not that we can win but that we’re going to win - a quality which tends to manifest in Scorpio’s intensity of drive and personal focus. But let’s be real here... as convinced as we might want to be, the reality is that if there’s a question of winning, there’s also a possibility of losing.

There are three water signs: Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces. With Cancer there’s always a candy coating of innocence. So Cancerian mistakes, as flinch-worthy as they may be are generally of the ‘fool me once, shame on you’ type.

But with Scorpio there’s a knowing - at least an emotional knowing. Plus Scorpio is a sign which belongs to the public and interactive quadrant - as opposed to Cancer, which is personal and mostly hidden from the greater world at large. This marks the Scorpio mistake as the one which isn’t just annoying, but possibly embarrassing...even humiliating.

And when people are threatened with humiliation, most don’t take it very well...hence Scorpio’s reputation for manipulation, vengeance and badgering, browbeating and other forms of waiting out a ‘foe’ - which is the point here: in representing where we intersect with others, as part of its polarity to Taurus (sign of personal security) Scorpio also represents how we defend our internal Self...or whether we need to.

This becomes important now as the Sun reaches 0 Virgo on August 23rd (at 4:45 in the morning UT/+0 time) simply because 0 Virgo is in perfect sextile to 0 Scorpio, and 0 Scorpio is the degree of this October’s solar eclipse, a solar eclipse which will occur on October 23rd (UT/+0).

In other words, with the Sun moving into Virgo (which obviously begins with 0 Virgo), this is also the moment when a celestial timer goes off as we enter the two-month ‘breaking down’ period which precedes any given solar eclipse. This ‘breaking down’ process has to do with us - the breaking down of our resistance to things, whether that amounts to something we need to know (and/or accept) about our Self, or something we need to understand about life, our world, or something going on in that world.

As Mercury moved into Virgo last week on the 15th we started thinking about things. Now, as the Sun moves into Virgo, the ‘thinking’ as something apart from real time efforts fades or even vanishes - a quality often seen when Sun and Mercury are in the same sign. Mercury alone is the thought...Mercury plus Sun becomes the theme.

With Mars in the 3rd sign to Virgo (Scorpio) throughout most of the Sun’s transit of Virgo we can expect to see efforts, denials and threats over the next few weeks, all of which are diversions of sort considering there are things coming to the surface in everyone’s life which are too real to ignore even if dealing with them is difficult at best. Eliminating things (and people) is sometimes necessary and yet often simply the easy way out - one which we are likely to find cuts us short in the process.

This year’s annual Sun in Virgo is likely to have  financial implications. Such matters do not have to be negative, but they should be taken into account. That this Sun/Eclipse positioning forms both a one/eleven... well as a one/three...

...harmonic note speaks to communications and responses, acceptance and whatever earnings our successes are due against that tendency we have to segregate, separate, differentiate or unify, whether actively or passively, whether financially, mentally, systemically, societally or through any other means we might think to associate with ‘identity,’ ‘identification,’ ‘individuation’ or ‘ideation.’

...All of which is not only its own little pot of things to stew about (stewing can be nourishing), but also a means by which we will begin to process and either a.) attract, or b.) manifest those situations which represent our individual Scorpio test of personal security.

(Oh joy, oh rapture...)

With the Sun entering Virgo, the eclipse sits in the derivative third sign (1. Virgo, 2. Libra, 3 Scorpio), eliciting everything and anything which has to do with the generic third house...or the individual third house of your natal chart, which we obviously can’t talk about in detail. But we can consider what it means to have an eclipse ‘blacking out’ that which we have thought of as our ‘norm’ or ‘modus operandi’ for however long, tra-la-la.

The third house/sign points to mentality, choice, consideration, information, organization, intelligence, record-keeping, accounting/accounting for, siblings, communication, cars-trains-planes-telephones-computers and whatever else ‘communicates’ us or our ideas to anyone or anywhere else. To have a solar eclipse in this aspect to Virgo speaks to a desire (or) need to let something to... which may mean a real (tangible) something - or it may be our attitude which makes us think getting rid of someone or something will some a problem which in reality is about our personal perspective.

In other words, as the Sun reaches Virgo and as all comes to be as it is at that time and moving forward, something about our (Virgoan) efforts is either eliminated... or comes to be causal in some sort of event or experience wherein life is asking us to not just deny but actually let go of (in reality) something we have long used as methodology, justification, moral position - something.

One slightly unusual quality about this Virgo ingress chart is the fact that as the Sun enters Virgo it  doesn’t actually aspect any other standard planet using standard (Ptolemaic) aspects and standard orbs - a quality which in astrological terms accelerates or multiples the general effect of any placement.  Yes, the Sun is certainly in aspect to fixed (royal) star Regulus at 0 Virgo as it conjuncts it, but this rule only applies to the 'standard planet' list (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto).

As for Regulus, this is the point which gives us royal notice about how in all the things we may think of doing, revenge had best not be not a part of any of it.

No, don't even think about it.

You’re free to do what you want to do about this, of course, but Regulus at any degree promises success only where we are not embodying or utilizing the concept or qualities of revenge (otherwise known as vengeance). At 0 Virgo this speaks to a combining of two rather different influences, one being a burning confidence and the other being the humble servant, suggesting all sorts of ways we may move forward through requiring of ourselves that we lead through earning the respect of all those we would like to have as supporters and/or followers. It not being in the general Virgo play book to do much but drop a hint as to what may be coming at us, this unaspected Virgo Sun may well represent matters or issues in life which we don’t pay much attention to.

It may also represent our not wanting to pay attention to something which doesn’t tickle our fancy.

There is no pre-determined ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ chiseled in stone here. Furthermore, there is just that odd but karmic chance that something highly focal at the moment may be just the thing which the universe has made (in true Scorpio and Scorpio/Virgo style) irresistible so that it will elicit the behavior or choice or realization or victory or complete and utter loss which for some of us will be the 0 Scorpio black rabbit hole we drop rather in slow motion between now and October 23rd, the to-be-hallowed (in short order, no doubt) date of the incoming eclipse.

The March 2006 Solar Eclipse at 8 Aries
(photo credit: Aliparsa, March 2006)

As a side-comment here, if you’re thinking that you should start dreading now and avoid the October solar eclipse rush, there really is no hurry.

Why so?

Well, it’s not like we’re not already on slippery Scorpio ground with ourselves. We can tell that - just look around: wars are raging and death is stalking among us overly openly. Reason has become subject and subjugated to ensnarled passions we haven’t come to grip with yet.

We think we have, of course. But we haven’t. That’s what the next two months are about, with the first part of that process to be lived out under Sun in Virgo.

Oh yes...before I close, the other part of this Scorpio-Virgo relationship - the Virgo-to-Scorpio (one/three) derivation. We can expect a lot of demanding, a lot of manipulation, a deal of denial, much begging (real and otherwise) and a whole host of human beings attempting to manipulate, corner and browbeat others (often through sheer volume or repetition) over the next few weeks.

Be aware: those who fall to such tactics are showing you their vulnerabilities. Treat those issues with kind respect and both sides will win. Take advantage of such chinks in armor and the karma will be yours. you really want to try that fate on (of your own free will) as we go into the prelude to the last and most primal of all Scorpio solar eclipses?

That would be the question.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Mercury in Virgo

Employees of Foundry Department working in 1937 to pour molten metal into molds
(photo credit: US Navy Yard, Mare Island, CA, Sept 1937 National Archives and Records Admin ID296870)
There’s a pretty noteworthy list which goes with  Mercury’s entering Virgo on August 15th at 4:43 in the afternoon (UT/+0 time).

That list would start with the fact that Mercury in Virgo is all about the process and the processing of whatever we need to get done. Virgo is the sign which connects the determination with the goal, in serving as that engine, linkage and challenge also tests our morality.

Mind you, that morality...? That can come in any form, shape or size and it can pertain to any time frame - that we have done, that we still need to do, that we should have done but didn’t... whatever, whenever, however, now is the time to think about what to do about some things, how certain things require more attention than others - and how if we’re not going to devote the proper amount of attention to the task we need to deal with whatever it means to be responsible for our own lack of availability (interest, time, ability, etc.).

Typically a busy sort of time, Mercury in Virgo is often trying to those who have problems with boundaries or realistic priorities (which is to say putting the need before the want!) - a fact which is unlikely to be any different this year apart from the fact that with so much personal energy still vibrating along our Leo and Scorpio pathways the world is likely to look very black-and-white over the next couple of weeks as we perceive those that are weak, those who display strength and those who are sufficiently aware of the relative values of ‘good’ as not to judge, presume, project or covet.

Another little factoid about this year’s just-over-two-week stint with Mercury in Virgo: it’s going to take us from relatively neutral celestial waters (yes, you heard me - this was neutrality you just experienced) into the next two-month ‘break down’ period preceding this coming October’s solar eclipse.

And I know you’re looking forward to that, right?

(insert: sounds of jeering crowds)

Yes, of course you are.

With Jupiter’s ongoing Leo-based inconjunct to Neptune in Pisces coming to a head as Mercury enters Virgo, there’s a lot of clear need and a lot of confusion in terms of how to make many factors fit together in a way which is both sensible and capable of supporting what needs to be done.

And let’s remember - the Sun is in Leo, so ‘need’ is likely to be a relative term (ahem) with a lot of people veering towards seeing their wants as needs and their preferences as oh so important but your stuff? You know, all those things that you think are so important?

That may not rank.

Still...Mercury moving into Virgo is the beginning of a shift which will by the end of the month have us working on moving past our current sticking points, whatever they may now concern. Moreover, by the beginning of September (as Mercury is about to move on into Libra) we may even have realized what we have led ourselves to learn over this past few months.

No, it’s not guaranteed. But it is possible that some of us will - as Mercury moves into and through Virgo, even in advance of the Sun and (ultimately) Venus joining the Virgo parade - it’s entirely possible that we’ll become more inclined towards the sort of pragmatism which typifies those most famous Virgo keyword: health, work, service. Whether this means we’re considering how we need to think, act or operate as to support our own greater aims or dealing with the need to look at or take care of the ‘health’ or ‘healthy status’ of some project, person, place or physical process.

Which yes, would include becoming aware of the fact that something needs healing, or coping with same.

Associated with responsibility, Virgo often manifests as that which is (not so) affectionately known as “the daily grind” or that which we need to learn/learn about (or learn how to manage effectively) in order to take ‘the next step.’ And as Mercury - representing the mental organizing we would need to do in order to make that step happen - moves into Virgo, most of us will simple move into our ‘how to get (something) done’ mode with relatively little fuss. On some subtle (if realistic) level this signals a start to the letting go of thinking about everything in terms of the ‘idea of it’ in favor of practical factors and more grounded, analytical and coolly goal-driven thinking which sorts things through in terms of what deserves priority in the grander scheme of things.

We know of course that with fixed (and royal) star Regulus currently positioned at 0 Virgo, its ‘rule’ that success can be ours providing we don’t act (or haven’t acted) in the spirit of revenge says motivations for our choices (particularly those which dictate what, when and how we do things) come into operational play. Some matters - for whatever reason - now need correction, and why we do or don’t react to such needs is less about the external than the internal except in areas where we have violated the needs, rights or security of others. But let’s be clear here: Virgo is less about ‘the other’ or the external situation than it is about our greater relationship to others, the values we bring to doing whatever it is we do in life and our ability to separate what we’d like the truth to be versus what exists, what could exist or what would come to function successfully in real time, whether in our personal life or otherwise.

With Apollo at 1 Virgo, some of us are going to be finding out that they have bought into some measure of flattery or have been fooled, willingly or otherwise. Added to this is a nuance described by Moon conjunct Mirach at 0 Taurus, a mélange of qualities which generally point to kindly and supportive attitudes and feelings which may be unrealistic... and then again, may be signaling an incapacity or lack of resources which may simply be about a lack of capacity to do things, change things or get things done. There is plainly a [Ceres/ asteroid Pax] need to find a well-balanced means of interacting and moving forward, and to make our efforts work there is going to have to be some sort of [Juno] management and discipline of [Cancer] native instincts. Juno-Mercury speaks to ‘regulated actions’ and the need to regulate (manage, organize, lay out) things in one’s mind with the combining of these (Cancer-Virgo-Scorpio) influences pointing out the need for detailed and accurate coordination with regards to what needs doing - even if that’s only about getting things organized in our head before we walk out the front door or raise our hand in class.

One other thing to note here: given the ‘chain’ of three sextiles involved in this ingress (Ceres to Mercury, Mercury to Juno, Juno to Mirach/Moon) this image is also four-sixths of a grand sextile - that six sided astrological figure representing the linking of fate and free will (otherwise known in more spiritual terms as ‘heaven’ and ‘earth’). So for anyone - or any entity, in the case of corporations, partnerships, nations and otherwise - in the case of any chart which has planets (dwarf or otherwise), axis points or nodal positions between...

a.) 28 Aquarius and 2 Pisces


b.) 28 Sagittarius and 2 Capricorn

...that will turn this relatively minor astrological event into something far more telling and/or far-reaching: a grand sextile. Commonly known to manifest as situations or realizations which change us in mysterious and far-reaching ways, grand sextiles are seldom dramatic in the moment but rather a sign that something ‘big’ is going to change in an inexorable and evolutionary manner. 

To be clear here, even without the additional points there is a quality of something which is already in motion with much now having to do with what we are going to choose to do with regards to such ongoing matters. But with October playing host to that previously mentioned solar eclipse at 0 Scorpio and with 0 Scorpio being a degree which fits in with this Mercury/Virgo ingress, while this transit will function in its own right in the here and now, there's also a hint about things in present tense having something to do with social, societal and economic factors (reflecting the October eclipse) which are about to become far more thoroughly known.

On a personal level, Mercury in Virgo is the sound of efforts, personal lessons/learning better and getting things done.

On a more global level, Mercury in Virgo asks whether what we’re going (or the manner in which we are going about doing it) is ethical on a truly global basis.

Not our definition of global, but truly global. With the polarity sign to Virgo being Pisces, whatever we face now is best dealt with thoughtfully. But since being really thoughtful now is going to force us to face our feelings, it is entirely reasonable (and therefore Virgoan) to bear in mind that there are any number of people (and entities) whose unfeeling natures or unwillingness to feel are going to manifest in anything from callousness to malice, malice being often nothing more or less than an  indignant retaliation for having been made to feel something beyond our ability/willingness) to cope with.

What we do about that is a test of responsible thinking. Fortunately Mercury is entering Virgo - a fact which says we may not like what we need to think about over the next few weeks, but we still need to do some thinking nonetheless.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams (1951-2014)

Comedian Robin Williams performing as part of a USO holiday show held for the Aviano Air Base community.
(photo credit: Aviano Air Base, Italy - Dec. 22, 2007 -
US Air Force photo /Staff Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth)

I’ve just heard on the television that Robin Williams is no longer with us.

Hearing he was no longer breathing took my breath away.

I worked with Robin back in the day when I was just learning about movie production first hand (as opposed to hearing my-father-the-producer complain about making movies at the dinner table). The movie was called “The Best of Times”...and the making of “The Best of Times” was anything but. It was a hot, hot summer and every dumb cliché you’ve ever heard about movie making was somehow making an appearance to costly effect.

No one was happy. Days were long, the drives to “near” location were longer (and in LA traffic) and somewhere just shy of mid-picture (the point at which half the crew starts looking for their next job as the rest start gritting their teeth) the crew - all something hundred of them - they all got quite bent out of shape.

And on that day when the crew assumed various postures resembling paperclips, Robin Williams stepped up to the plate. As everyone broke for lunch, Robin ducked into the catering truck telling the chef to ‘just put something to one side for me’ - then he headed out into the sea of tables set up for mealtime and started doing improv stand-up.

According to one of the production assistants on the show, he never stopped. It was hot and everyone had worked themselves into that cheerful state of exhaustion which so typifies Hollywood production but wherever he went Robin had a quip, a comment, a poke which made everybody laugh.

Back at the studio I came across Robin one day as I wandered by a knot of people while thumbing through a stack of checks, unabashedly pausing to listen (as crew people do) when I heard someone engage Robin in what struck me as a classic exchange built on Robin's having already regaled everyone with some number of minutes of brilliance.

Crewperson: Are you like this all the time?

Robin: Sure. I’m just being me.

Crewperson: So what does your wife say about it?

Robin: She tells me to shut up.

Robin grinned that silly grin of his as he pronounced his personal doom, smiling at the idea - and maybe even at the fact no one would ever be the wiser as to what was real or comedy...who knows. But now, several decades later I still hear his voice ringing as it always seemed to with the blatancy of the obvious laced with irony and humor.

In the end I guess I always come back to Robin as the Genie in Disney’s ‘Aladdin.’ (People who are clients are chuckling at this point.) But more to the Robin of it all, there was a story which went around town during the making of ‘Aladdin’ about how when Robin when into the studio to record his dialogue, his ad libs were so much better than the script that the studio ditched both the script and the animation work done to date with regards to those scenes, telling the animation department to go back, do it again and this time follow Robin.

That's a pretty exotic story (even for Hollywood), considering the money which would be involved in such a command. But I tend to believe this tale for three reasons:

1.) because the ability to blow people out of the water most amazingly is sheer Robin Williams.

2.) because this is Disney we're talking about. (Never has there been a studio which understood the value of a well-constructed character better than Disney).

3.) I heard this story from an animator I had worked with on ‘An American Tail’ who went on to work for Disney on ‘Aladdin.’ (I tend to believe a guy facing doing months of work over again, Robin Williams or no Robin Williams.)

Apart from that, I never heard a cross word about Robin from anyone in the entertainment industry - which for those who work in Hollywood is an award of spirit as precious in its own way as a shiny Oscar. 

Robin Williams was born in Chicago, Illinois on July 21, 1951 at 1:35 p.m. (CST).

 Robin Williams
July 21, 1951 - 1:34 p.m. (CST/+6) - Chicago, Illinois (glyph chart)

 Robin Williams
July 21, 1951 - 1:34 p.m. (CST/+6) - Chicago, Illinois (text chart)

As an astrologer would, when I heard the news I looked back at the calendar and it all came clear even as my eyes filled with tears.

Uranus went retrograde on July 22nd as the Sun moved into Leo - a day after Robin’s are the links to the posts on same, if you’d like to read them.

As I have said many times, events which precede a planetary station - like Robin’s birthday did in this case - have yet to play out. And so it did.

But as for Robin no longer being with us, for me that will never be true. Robin will always be with me because on that one cavalier day when he was talking about his wife and I was looking for someone who needed a check, he impressed me with his willingness to laugh at everything about being human.

Today that laughter still remains...but it's sobered by a veil of tears for someone who will be missed even as we revel in the joy of his memory.

Robin's spirit remains a friend to us all.

Thank you for allowing me to share this moment of personal sadness.