TMA This Week
By Mary Plumb | July 12, 2010
I love the symbolism of eclipses; they loom large in our collective memory as auspicious, unusual times and have always been important in history. As far back as 1700 BC, the Babylonians tied eclipses to the death of the monarch. About a thousand years later (i.e., 700 BC) the Assyrians had traced the ecliptic in the sky and were able to predict eclipses of the Sun and Moon.
It is said in one early record (609 BC) that Thales of Miletus predicted that a total solar eclipse would bring a five-year-old war to an end. (1) The eclipse occurred in the sixth year of the war and “the battle ended abruptly due to a total solar eclipse; the eclipse was perceived as an omen, indicating that the gods wanted the fighting to stop.” This, the Battle of Halys, became known as the Battle of the Eclipse. (2)
In the New Testament (Luke 23:44) there is a description of the crucifixion, which refers to what many believe was a solar eclipse, when “darkness came over the whole land until about three in the afternoon, while the sun’s light failed.”
Although the oil gushing completely untethered from the Gulf at the time of the eclipse does not seem like a good omen, perhaps we can take heart in Bernadette Brady’s interpretation of this eclipse, 12 South in Saros Series 146. She writes: “This Saros Series will bring successful outcomes to long-term worries or illness. An issue which has worried or drained the individual for some time will at first seem worse and then clear with successful outcomes.” (3)
The solar eclipse carries the symbolism of a new cycle; it is the dark of the Moon, where potent, unseen influences are strong. Eclipses have long been thought of as unpredictable; at a solar eclipse, much is hidden and will be developed as Moon gains in light. Although an eclipse announces themes that will develop over months, it is, of course, telling to observe the time of the eclipse itself.
Certainly this solar eclipse suggests the deeply receptive pull and wisdom of the feminine Moon in Cancer; many of the people I spent time with (and spoke to) on the eclipse day seemed quite aware of being very impressionable now.
Late in the day I talked to some people who I knew had close connections in their natal horoscopes to the eclipse degree. I wanted to see what they were doing (or feeling) during the time of this solar eclipse at 19º24’ Cancer.
One friend, with the natal Moon (and the Sun/Neptune midpoint) at 21º Libra in the 1st house, became suddenly quite ill early on the morning of the eclipse. The eclipse is square the natal Moon in this chart, and the sometimes physically debilitating implications of a solar eclipse seem to be showing in this case.
Someone else has natal Mars at 20º Capricorn in the 9th house; she told me that she has come to a very clear decision that she wants a long drawn-out lawsuit she is involved with to be “out of her life.” It sounds like she will do what she can to bring closure to this situation, which has been going on for at least a few years.
A man I know, with natal Mercury at 19º Capricorn and Venus at 24º Capricorn, was surprised and delighted to see an old friend unexpectedly. He was at a café within an hour of the exact moment of the eclipse when she came in. The opposition from Cancer manifested as someone (sweet and lovely) from the past reappearing in the present.
Someone else I talked to, with the natal Sun at 19º Pisces in gentle trine to the eclipse, spent the eclipse time by a lake, throwing stones into the water and saying a prayer with each stone. She said she felt “emptied out, very peaceful, and relaxed.”
A client has Sagittarius rising and natal Jupiter at 5º Capricorn, the degree of the June 26 lunar eclipse. The progressed Jupiter is at 19º Capricorn, opposite the solar eclipse. We had a very interesting conversation about the current triggering of her ruling planet, e.g., first her natal Jupiter and then progressed Jupiter. She spoke of how she has faced things in herself in these past weeks that have been very hard to see, but very significant. (Remember, the June 26 lunar eclipse was at 5º Capricorn conjunct Pluto, inclining towards revealing the deeper corners of the shadow.) She felt that her “shell is empty” — that what she has done in certain key departments of her life is not working, and she’s not sure what’s next. After our conversation, she wrote an email to me: “I’ve felt most of my life that I’ve been living out of a shell of myself, but through this period have become acutely aware of a more vital, expressive ‘me.’ As this happens, the shell has seemed more and more empty. My life has been built upon that shell, as it were, so the shift is disorienting. But because it’s a return to myself, it’s very welcome.”
I thought about the ruler of the Ascendant, Jupiter, in detriment. One view of the detriment planet is that it tends to act on the physical plane; it takes awareness to elevate its function to support spiritual growth in the individual’s life. (I’m not picking on anyone here, but speaking from experience; the ruler of my Ascendant is also in detriment.) This is an important time for her in changing key life patterns.
An artist I know has Mercury and Uranus conjunct at 18º Cancer in the 5th house. At the time of the solar eclipse at 19º Cancer she was singing in an outdoor venue. She told me she was “wailing.” (Her voice sounded hoarse, in fact, when we spoke later in the day.) She was elated; she said she felt as if she had “come home.” She’s a fine graphic designer, but years ago she “started her creative life with singing” and returned to that with this eclipse. Further, natal Chiron is at 19º Capricorn, suggesting another layer of meaning to finding her voice again.
I spoke with someone with the Mercury/Neptune midpoint at 19º Cancer, who was very lonely and depressed on the eclipse day. Presumably, this is an acute and passing mood that is bringing sad memories to the foreground and she will be able to turn toward a happier time very soon. I also know someone with natal Venus at 18º Cancer; he spent part of the day quietly contemplating his current and past relationship life.
There are lots of ways of timing the development of eclipses. Transiting Mars in aspect to the eclipse degrees is one technique. (A well-known recent example: there was a Solar Eclipse on July 21, 2001 at 0º Cancer; transiting Mars came to 0º Cancer on September 11, 2001.) On August 28, 2010, Mars at 19º Libra will square the eclipse degree and then oppose it from 19º Capricorn on January 1, 2011. Mars will next square the eclipse from 19º Aries on April 26, 2011 and return to 19º Cancer on September 1, 2011.
Dietrech Pessin’s new book, Lunar Shadows III, teaches another very interesting way of timing with eclipses. In her method, which describes “Moon Families,” this eclipse is tied to both past and future lunations. In the future, this eclipse is connected to the First Quarter Moon on April 11, 2011; the Full Moon on January 9, 2012; the Last Quarter Moon on October 8, 2012, etc. (I reviewed her book in the Aug./Sept. issue of TMA.)
Our guest blogger, Gary Caton, has written fine articles on each of this month’s eclipses. Do go back and read them if you haven’t already. (add links) Among other gems, he traces events from the previous eclipses in this Saros Series.
(3) Bernadette Brady, Predictive Astrology: The Eagle and the Lark, Samuel Weiser, 1999, pg. 326.
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By Gary P. Caton | July 5, 2010
As if there weren’t enough juice flowing through the cardinal signs — with four of the five outer planets currently transiting near the solstice and equinoctial points — we now begin a period where the Cancer archetype will be forced open, ejecting its inner contents and forcing all the world to become aware of the loss. This is because an eclipse is essentially a rip in the fabric of time, and the South Node (now in Cancer) suggests a loss.
To appreciate the power of an eclipse, it is useful to understand that time here on Earth is fractal. It is measured by the constant repetition of the primal alternations of darkness and light. This rhythm of dark/light is ingrained into our bodies and psyches.
When there is a disruption of this pattern, via an eclipse, the natural flow of the dark/light fractal is stopped in its tracks. There is darkness where there should be light. It is as if the Laws of our Universe are temporarily inverted. The world is stood on its head, specifically in terms of the archetype within which the eclipse is operating.
An eclipse occurs when there is a lunation near the lunar nodes — the place where the Moon crosses the path of the Sun or ecliptic. Astrologically, the lunar nodes have been called the head and tail of the dragon, for in myth it was a demonic serpent swallowing the heavenly orb. The North Node represents the head of the dragon, therefore something being taken in or ingested. The South Node or tail of the dragon represents something being released.
The South Node is now in the sign of Cancer. As a Cancer nation, it is hard not to remember the exodus of American celebrities and dignitaries that surrounded last summer’s solar eclipse at 29° Cancer. A partial list includes: Ed McMahon, Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, David Carradine, Karl Malden, Steve McNair, Walter Cronkite, Les Paul, and Eunice Kennedy Shriver. We lost Ted Kennedy on the day that Venus crossed the eclipse degree. It is almost as if a door was opened to the “other side” through which these souls were bound to exit. It should be noted that the release doesn’t always have to be destructive. For instance, following last summer’s South Node eclipse, world leaders announced that the G20 will replace the G8 as the main economic council of wealthy nations. Technically, this was the “death” of the G8; however, since it continues to exist in another form, we could more aptly describe it as a transformation..
When wondering what the coming eclipse will release, it is important to remember that eclipses happen in families or series; a new member emerges about every 18 years. This is the Saros cycle, first discovered by Babylonian astronomer/astrologers more than two millennia ago. Solar eclipses with very similar characteristics repeat every 18 years, 11 days, 8 hours; these eclipses are then part of the same family or Saros series. Any two eclipses separated by one Saros (6,585.3 days) share very similar geometries. They occur at the same node with the Moon, at nearly the same distance from Earth, and at the same time of year.
The current eclipse belongs to Saros Series 146, the last two of which occurred in June 1992 and 1974. This series is made up of a total of 76 eclipses; the current July 11, 2010 eclipse is number 27 in the series. The family began on September 19, 1541. The first total eclipse in the series took place on May 29, 1938. The eclipse of June 30, 1992 was the longest total eclipse of the series and lasted 5 minutes and 21 seconds with a magnitude 1.0592. The July 11, 2010 eclipse is the 2nd longest of the series, lasting 5 minutes and 20 seconds with a magnitude 1.0580.
When we look at the birth chart for this series, we see a very powerful conjunction of Mars with Uranus in late Leo near the Persian Royal star Regulus. Certainly this series has recently seen its share of sudden dramatic reversals in fame and/or power, including Hitler in 1938, Elvis in 1956, Nixon in 1974, and the British Royal Family in 1992.
Saros series 146; September 19, 1541; 3:44:05 p.m. LMT
Whole sign houses
When we look specifically at the three most recent eclipses of this family, we see some very powerful events unfolding near the eclipse and/or within the following six months (until the next solar eclipse). I have noted a few of the most important events that clearly resonate with the zodiac sign of the corresponding eclipse.
Total Solar Eclipse, June 8, 1956 (18°02′ Gemini)
On June 29, 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Federal Aid Highway Act, which created the Interstate Highway System. With the completion of the highways, the cross-country journey that took Eisenhower’s U.S. Army convoy two months in 1919 was cut down to two weeks. Direct subsidization of the suburban road infrastructure made commutes between urban centers to suburbs much quicker, which furthered the flight of citizens and businesses from inner cities and compounded vehicle pollution and excessive petroleum-use.
Total Solar Eclipse, June 20, 1974 (28°30′ Gemini)
In the face of likely impeachment for his role in the Watergate scandal, Richard Nixon resigned as President of the United States of America on August 9, 1974.
Total Solar Eclipse, June 30, 1992 (8°57′ Cancer)
On November 24, the 40th anniversary of her accession, Queen Elizabeth II described the closing year as an “annuls horribilis.” This was due to several scandals damaging the image of the Royal Family, as well as the Windsor Castle fire. On December 9, Prince Charles and Princess Diana publicly announced their separation.
The current July 11, 2010 Total Solar Eclipse occurs at 19°24′ Cancer.
Solar Eclipse; July 11, 2010; 3:40:52 p.m. EDT
Whole sign houses
The Porphyry 8th house cusp of the U.S. Sibley chart is 18°40? Cancer, within one degree of the upcoming eclipse.
I discussed the Saros cycle above; however, the Greek astronomer Meton of Athens observed another eclipse cycle. The Metonic cycles track eclipses that occur near the same degree of the zodiac. Four or five eclipses occur near the same degree of the zodiac, with each one almost exactly 19 years apart. In the previous century, two Metonic cycles occurred near 17° – 19° Cancer. A Metonic cycle of North Node eclipses occurred near these degrees in 1907, 1926, 1945 and 1964. A Metonic cycle of South Node eclipses near these degrees occurred in 1953, 1972, 1991 and 2010. A cursory glance at history shows that the months following eclipses near these degrees (17° — 19° Cancer) have been very eventful for our country. I will list the North Node eclipses in sequential order, then the South Node eclipses.
The North Node annular Solar Eclipse on July 10, 1907 (17°12’ Cancer) was followed by the Panic of 1907. This financial crisis occurred in October and was triggered by the failed attempt to corner the market on the stock of the United Copper Company. The New York Stock Exchange fell close to 50% from its peak the previous year. Panic occurred and there were numerous runs on banks and trust companies.
The North Node annular Solar Eclipse on July 9, 1926 (16°56’ Cancer) was followed by Great Miami Hurricane on September 18. The storm’s enormous regional economic impact helped end the Florida land boom of the 1920s and pushed the region on an early start into the Great Depression.
The North Node total Solar Eclipse on July 9, 1945 (16°56’ Cancer) was followed by the Trinity Test and U.S. nuclear bomb dropped on Japan. By executive order of President Harry S. Truman, the U.S. dropped the nuclear weapon “Little Boy” on the city of Hiroshima on Monday, August 6, 1945, followed by the detonation of “Fat Man” over Nagasaki on August 9. These two events were the first and, thankfully, remain the only active deployments of nuclear weapons in war.
The North Node partial Solar Eclipse on July 9, 1964 (17°15’ Cancer) was followed by the Gulf of Tonkin incidents on August 2 and 4. The outcome of the second incident was the U.S. Congress passing the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which granted President Lyndon B. Johnson the authority to assist any Southeast Asian country whose government was considered to be jeopardized by “communist aggression.” The resolution served as Johnson’s legal justification for deploying U.S. conventional forces and the commencement of open warfare against North Vietnam.
The South Node partial Solar Eclipse on July 11, 1953 (18°30’ Cancer) was followed by the end of The Korean War on July 27. The Armistice was signed with the division line approximately at the 38th parallel. The Korean Peninsula remains divided to this day and no peace treaty has been signed.
The South Node total Solar Eclipse on July 10, 1972 (18°37’ Cancer) was followed by U.S. Senator Thomas Eagleton, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, withdrawing from the race on August 1 after revealing he was once treated for mental illness. Another key event after that eclipse was the departure of the last U.S. ground troops from Vietnam on August 23.
The South Node total Solar of Eclipse July 11, 1991 (18°58’ Cancer) was followed by the collapse of the Soviet Union. On December 25, 1991, Gorbachev resigned as president of the USSR, declaring the office extinct. That night, the Soviet flag was lowered for the last time over the Kremlin. By December 31, 1991, all official Soviet institutions had ceased operations and individual republics assumed the central government’s role. This gave the U.S. a de facto victory in the Cold War.
The two Metonic cycles outlined above demonstrate the striking difference between North Node and South Node eclipses. The North Node eclipses brought powerful new forces to bear, tearing open the previous status quo. The South Node eclipses brought an end to things and have marked the final stages of major hostilities. Remarkably, this is in agreement with President Obama’s plans to begin withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan. Perhaps the ending of this South Node Metonic cycle will correspond with the closing of a chapter of American history and the dawning of a new era. I’m sure many would look forward to a future where we no longer engage in controversial regional conflicts in far-flung and remote corners of the world.
Gary P. Caton is an eclectic astrologer who embraces an organic, process-oriented approach of spiritual exploration. Gary holds a degree in counseling and has developed a unique and multidisciplinary approach to astrology over 17 years. Connect with Gary at: www.DreamAstrologer.com
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By Gary P. Caton | June 21, 2010
Astronomically, an eclipse occurs when there is a lunation near the lunar nodes — the place where the Moon crosses the path of the Sun, the ecliptic. Astrologically, the lunar nodes have been called “the head and tail of the dragon,” for in Chinese myth it was seen as a demonic serpent swallowing the heavenly orb. The North Node represents the head of the dragon, and therefore something being taken in or ingested, as opposed to something being released or excreted at the South Node, or tail of the dragon.
Currently the North Node resides in the sign of Capricorn. That’s why this astrologer wrote (in a TMA blog) about the North Node Solar Eclipse that happened earlier this year: “We begin a period where the Capricorn archetype will be torn open, erupting its dark shadow contents and forcing all the World to see.” I later noted that that particular Solar Eclipse (i.e., January 15) and the first eclipse of its family or Saros series both contained Jupiter-Neptune conjunctions. Just after transiting Chiron crossed the eclipse chart’s Jupiter (29º23’ Aquarius) and made his ingress into Pisces, we had the Deepwater Horizon event where the dark contents of Big Oil and corporate/government scandal were rudely thrust into the Gulf of Mexico.
It is the nature of a North Node eclipse to force something into awareness, and often this is something uncomfortable, what psychologists would call “shadow material.” Note that an eclipse is by nature a phenomenon of shadows. Generally, the Moon is said to govern domestic matters, the people, and emotions, so a lunar eclipse tends to have a more personal effect than the solar eclipse, which, as we have seen, has a distinctive socio-political effect. Also, since the lunar eclipse is by nature an opposition, it has the tendency to work itself out via the relationships with other people in our lives.
The lunar eclipse on June 26 (4º46’ Capricorn) is a really intense one, to say the least. It could be said to represent roughly the lunar equivalent of the “Nostradamus” solar eclipse of 1999, which contained a grand cross in the fixed signs. Venus crossed the degree of that eclipse on September 11, 2001 as the Twin Towers fell. We might say then that this lunar eclipse has the capacity for emotional paradigm change in a similar way as the 1999 solar eclipse had in the socio-political arena. The main difference is that this grand cross is in cardinal signs and so represents the potential for new beginnings or emotional re-birth rather than awareness of something (such as terrorism) becoming fixed into the socio-political fabric.
Lunar eclipse; June 26, 2010; 7:31 AM EDT; Washington, D.C. (77W02’ 38N42’)
Geocentric, tropical, whole sign houses
So how are we supposed to handle the immense potential for emotional paradigm change that this lunar eclipse represents? In this astrologer’s view, it would be by focusing on the personal planets and how they are involved in the chart. The social and transpersonal planets are certainly heavily involved, but, to this astrologer, they simply represent that we each now have to deal with the obvious fact that all our modern conveniences come at the very high price of dependence on a highly technological and toxic oil-driven economy. The personal planets represent the basic tools we have as individuals to learn to cope with the emotional and psychological ramifications of this rude awakening.
The first thing we should notice is that the personal planet closest to the cardinal axis is Mercury. Therefore, the best tool we have is our ability to communicate with each other. This may seem so obvious as to be silly, but, as a trained counselor, I’ve learned that communication skills are not always something we value as a society. Interpersonal communication is not taught in our public school system, at least not until the post secondary level, and even then it is usually an elective. There are some very basic communication skills that I always remind my clients of, which go a long way to making stressful situations more manageable.
The first skill we need to remember is to make “I” statements. Starting a sentence with “you” is like pointing the finger; nobody likes it and most people will naturally become defensive. The second thing is to be clear when we’re talking about feelings versus objective facts. It’s important to do both, but if the other person is talking about facts when we’re talking about emotions, we’re are not really having a conversation but just talking “at” each other. Some people have trouble talking about feelings. A good formula for making feeling statements is as follows: I feel ____ (name an emotion) when you ____ (name a behavior) because ____ (name the effects the behavior has or could have on you). An example would be: “I feel angry and scared when you drive carelessly because I love my family and don’t want to see anything bad happen to them.” I trust the reader can see how that would begin a much more productive conversation than: “You are a terrible driver!”
The next personal planet that stands out is Venus. Venus in Leo is making the same Arrowhead, or Thor’s Hammer, alignment that Mars made from Leo earlier this year. She is making the tri-octile or sesquisquare aspect to both ends of the massive square between Jupiter-Uranus and Moon-Ceres-Pluto. As I wrote in these pages about that formation, there are basically two ways to see this energy flow: Some astrologers view this configuration like the t-square, with the energy originating in the tension of the square planets (in this case, Jupiter-Uranus and Moon-Ceres-Pluto) and finding an outlet through the apex planet (in this case, Venus). This means we must use the apex planet, Venus, to find creative solutions to the square or the tension of the square could erupt suddenly and destructively. This perspective reflects the use of this configuration as a tool like an arrowhead.
The aforementioned square holds the clear signature of huge emotional trauma over our Planet being carelessly despoiled by corrupt profiteers. However, I would also venture to say that it serves as a window to much deeper and more personal feelings. Demeter’s Eleusinian mysteries were a rite of passage that gave people an awareness of the possibility of pleasant conditions in the afterlife (when they reached the realm of Hades). So, in many ways, the Moon-Ceres-Pluto conjunction is about recognizing, confronting, and getting over our fear of death (both personal and that of our civilization), so that we may get on with truly living. The Jupiter-Uranus conjunction at the Aries point challenges each of us to be like Charles Lindbergh, “Lucky Lindy” (who crossed the Atlantic solo under the last such alignment), and pilot our lives across some previously uncharted terrain in order to open a new realm of experience for both ourselves and the coming generations. Venus as the apex or focal planet of this square says that as we do both these things, we can serve as a model for others. By sharing our personal stories, struggles, and adventures, we can help assist others in slicing like an arrowhead through their own emotional morass.
Other astrologers see the energy flow of this configuration as originating with the apex planet (Venus, in this case). This image is more like a Hammer. Venus, then, must find a way to wield the immense power and dynamic energy of the square planets. We need to find a way to use this constructively and creatively or the energy can become destructive. A hammer can either be used to crush an object or to drive home a connecting agent, such as a nail or dowel. Perhaps Venus, as the hand on this hammer, can represent emotional leadership and the power of personality being harnessed to champion the causes whose needs become more and more apparent to us all in times like these.
Finally, there is a very close conjunction of Mars and Vesta. Recently I wrote about this extensively in my own Soul Sign Horoscopes blog. In brief review, this represents the purging and release of old ways that are outworn and clearly not working. As we are brave enough to let go of our hold on the habits of the past, we make room in our lives for something new to emerge. The immense power of this lunar eclipse is such that the new things that emerge may be powerfully liberating — in much greater proportion than that which we released. On a practical level, this purging can be achieved in any number of ways. I will give some examples, but I recommend readers use their imagination and trust their own instincts and judgment. On the physical level this could mean fasting, sweating, and other cleansing exercises. On an emotional level this could mean spending time alone and becoming still and quiet. On a mental level, this could mean identifying the old stories we tell ourselves to rationalize the way life is and not repeating them if they don’t really feel true anymore. On a spiritual level this could be some sort of ritual where we give away something symbolically representative of the past.
Over the next six months we have a tremendous opportunity to harness the enormous power of this eclipse for personal growth. Mercury, Venus, and Mars all hold the keys to how we can do this. All three planets will be hanging out in the western sky this summer. Gazing upon them occasionally in the evening at dusk is a way we can check in with ourselves and gauge our progress on this journey of becoming.
Gary P. Caton is an eclectic astrologer who embraces an organic, process-oriented approach to spiritual growth, exploration and transformation. Gary holds a degree in counseling and has developed a unique multi-disciplinarian approach to Astrology over 17 years. Connect with Gary at DreamAstrologer.com
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By Mary Plumb | June 7, 2010
Saturday night I had a restless sleep, as I’m learning many others did as well. There was a triple conjunction — the Moon and Jupiter moved into Aries within an hour of each other and conjoined the rebel-rousing, agitating, unnerving Uranus.
I was anxious because I had been (surprisingly) asked to speak at the Unity Church service here in Ashland on Sunday morning. The pastor, Norma Nakai Burton, was speaking on the 11th century mystic, Hildegard of Bingen. Having a keen appreciation of astrology, she asked me to address the Jupiter-Uranus conjunction briefly.
I did it. It was a stretch. I work mostly alone, or with people one-on-one and in small groups. But with the stirring energy of the Aries planets overhead, I said “yes” to the invitation to try to capture a bit of the zeitgeist for this community.
Once I relaxed a bit (with the help of Rescue Remedy and lavender oil), I was able to just let the words come. And, surprise, it was fun. It was a deep pleasure to speak the language of the stars to a new group. We astrologers do have something to say that is helpful — especially now, when our faith (Jupiter) in the future (Uranus) may need polishing.
So, dear friends, if I can step out of my self-image and try on a radically (Uranus) bigger (Jupiter) new identity (Aries), trust me, you can too.
I also had a giggle on the phone today with my 5-year old granddaughter. Since she is a Cancer rising, with her progressed Midheaven at 3º Aries, and the progressed Moon at 0º30’ Aries, I figured she’d be a direct conduit for some Aries Point activity. I wasn’t disappointed. She has just decided what she wants to be when she grows up: “A baby-sitter, an ice cream scooper, a ballerina, and a cowgirl.”
May we all listen to our wildest dreams and let our imaginations guide us toward the best possible outcome as we steal a bit of fire from the gods to help carry us all onwards and upwards.
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By Mary Plumb | May 24, 2010
I’ve been thinking about a big, warm welcome to Jupiter and Uranus who are about to enter Aries. We, of course, have had transiting Pluto, followed by Saturn, on the cardinal axis (from 0º Capricorn and Libra, respectively) since 2008.
Although the world picture is compelling now, I’m imagining herein how these factors are playing out in the personal sphere, in the realms where most of us most directly participate.
All the points in our individual horoscopes that connect to the Aries Point have had the gifts, grace, and challenges brought by the lord of the underworld and the keeper of linear time pressing upon us. (These two can come uninvited and not warmly welcomed, but apparently necessary. Sound familiar?)
So, it’s exciting to realize that the excavation and restructuring of those compartments in our lives that are sensitive by degree to Pluto and Saturn are opening into a whole new dimension with the presence of the great awakener, enhanced by the breadth of Jupiter. What is being fervently examined, stripped to the bone, and perhaps ending (i.e., Pluto and Saturn), relating to our contribution to the world (i.e., the Aries Point) is due for a mega-change in perspective.
As has been noted, the last Jupiter-Uranus conjunction on the Aries Point (0º Libra), in July 1969, was the very day that man first walked on the Moon. My sister, Kate, suggested to me today that this upcoming conjunction of Jupiter-Uranus (exact on June 8th) is like “our own personal walk on the Moon.” Our sense of personal authenticity, self-realization (this is Aries, after all) and scope for what is possible can all expand beyond the previous limits or boundaries. We experience a quickening of our unique gift to the greater world. The next conjunctions of Jupiter and Uranus are back in the sign of Pisces where the collective field prevails, so this is a rare time of individual awakening to potential.
Any planet or point in the horoscope at 0º – 2º degrees of the cardinal signs is the most obvious place to look. And, we can get more specific if we study the midpoints that are on the AP in the natal horoscope.
I know someone who has the Sun-Uranus on the AP. In part, the Pluto-Saturn ending has been noticeable in regards to a certain gentleman who has played a big role in her life. After many years of entanglement, he is now irrevocably (and suddenly) out of the picture. This situation is concurrent with her newly invigorated commitment to her own creative and unique work life.
Some one else has Mars-Pluto, Jupiter-MC, Venus-Mars, Neptune-Ascendant and Uranus all on the AP. She has been designing and building a state-of-the-art house with principles from the sacred architecture of India for the past several years. It has been taxing and challenging in the extreme, but now the house is complete. She is living there and beginning to offer the space for groups. She hosted the first workshop this weekend, which she thought was a cooking class. “And yet,” she told me, “it was so much more than that. It was really about the deepest philosophy of healing.” She said, “I walked into this world I know nothing about.” Her natal Sun is 1º38’ Libra: Pluto and Saturn pressed her to create a (literal) structure whose purpose has an exciting and unforeseen life of its own that is beginning to unfold.
Another friend has Aries rising with natal Mars in Cancer. She has Moon-Venus and Saturn-MC on the AP. She is an educator and social activist whose time in these past few years has been spent tending closely to some difficult matters in her immediate family. She is longing for a new socially relevant project that she can devote herself to and move ahead in her customary high-spirited way.
Someone I know just returned from her first trip to Europe. She has 1º51’ Libra on the Ascendant and 1º57’ Cancer on the MC. In the past several years her life has completely changed. She left an office job, moved a thousand miles, and began work in a community focused on sustainable agriculture and shepherding the earth’s resources. The Jupiter-Uranus conjunction is coming to her Descendant. She said that this trip has given her a “different perspective on life,” both internally and externally. She told me that she had expected to feel anxious and unsafe (echoes of Saturn and Pluto?), but she felt neither. Rather, she felt a great exhilaration and sense of wonder and discovery.
A close friend of mine (with natal Neptune/North Node on the Aries Point) is a lovely writer, world explorer, and all around lover of beauty in this life. As I was working on this article, she posted this on Facebook; it is from David Whyte’s poem, The Seven Streams:
“Be a provenance of something gathered, a summation of previous intuitions, let your vulnerabilities walking on the cracked sliding limestone be, this time, not a weakness but a faculty for what’s about to happen.”
Now, that seems like a perfect ode to this threshold moment, between the sometimes grim tidings of Saturn and Pluto and Jupiter and Uranus — newcomers to the world axis and the bearers of all that can be magically uplifting and of supreme vision for all that is of the greatest good.
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By Mary Plumb | May 10, 2010
It came to me last night to try to capture something about the paradox and perplexity of Uranus as it is leaving Pisces and moving into Aries. (This happens on May 27th when Uranus will be in Aries for the first time since 1927–1934; Uranus has been in Pisces since 2003.)
I got out my copy of Rex Bills’s The Rulership Book and made lists of some keywords and started mixing it up. (For any non-astrologers reading this, although all the planets and signs are complex and multi-layered in meaning, we can take a shortcut and use keywords to encapsulate meaning into succinct phrases, meant to kindle the imagination.)
To start, a key idea of Uranus is the awakener. In Pisces, Uranus awakens through subtlety, sorrow, empathy, and an invisible — though keenly felt — presence. In Pisces, Uranus awakens through sacrifice of a personal reference point.
In Aries, Uranus awakens through pure joy in the life force, courage, impulsiveness, acting as a warrior, and jumping in without thought. In Aries, Uranus awakens through a pronounced and fearless individuality.
Uranus signifies brilliance and takes us to the farthest reaches of creativity. Uranus in Pisces aligns us with brilliance through believing; trusting; the awareness of intangibles; watercolors; dreaming; pretending; schemes and schemers; séances, secrets, and our innermost emotions.
Soon upon us, Uranus in Aries takes us to the extremes of creativity through the distinction of separateness; bravery; valor; heroism; physical activity; sleeplessness; adventuring through life; and being willing to face conflict.
In Pisces, Uranus opens inner vision; in Aries, Uranus motivates direct action and initiative.
Uranus also agitates and accelerates. In Pisces, this can happen through intoxicants; or in private life; or with the destitute and mystics; or in mazes, monasteries, and all places of confinement.
Uranus in Aries agitates and accelerates our physical activity; the conquering of new lands and spaces; heroes and leaders; the military; surgical equipment and procedures; headaches and sleeplessness.
In another guise, Uranus brings sudden change and detachment. In Pisces, that can be from our disappointments and self-deceptions. Uranus in Aries may bring detachment from, and a different appreciation of, the experience of being alone.
Uranus can also be deviant, disagreeable, distorted, eccentric, perplexing, and extraordinary. It is where we disobey and bring disorder. Uranus rules uprisings, uncertainty, the unconventional, the uninvited, the unprecedented, and the untimely. In Pisces, these things may be hidden and cloaked; in Aries these qualities come to life in plain view.
Uranus alarms, amazes, and astonishes — in Pisces, we are astonished by our sensitivity; in Aries, we are astonished by our courage.
Uranus inspires by bringing the future into the present. As Uranus changes signs, may the potential self-undoing, sabotages, and undermining of Pisces turn to a resounding “yes!” for the next great round of challenge that Uranus in Aries will happily bring.
(And, for those who haven’t had quite enough time to awaken in the fog, veils, and damp, wet places, take heart: Uranus will be going back into Pisces from August 2010 until March 2011.)
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By Mary Plumb | May 3, 2010
Astrological analyses of world events are always fascinating. Tem has initiated lively discussions on our Facebook pages, and Shelley Ackerman’s Karmic Relief is always a timely and informed synopsis.
I’m writing more personally today, with apologies in advance to those who prefer a more objective approach.
April 20 was Chiron’s entry into Pisces, the day of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion. Chiron is the shamanic journey, the wisest teacher, and the traveler out of ordinary time. Pisces’s greatest strength is to open the doors of perception, and, if conditions are lined up, can bring a glimpse of interconnectedness.
Last week I was listening to early news reports about the oil spill: the scramble to figure out what was happening and the impending economic catastrophe that it would bring. After the technical and business commentators, an environmentalist spoke of the water, the complexity of the sea life, and the fragile coastline. When he mentioned the sea turtles, I started sobbing. I know nothing about sea turtles, but somehow their plight and vulnerability opened me up to a grievous sorrow for the whole sea life.
There is often some distress at the heart of Pisces, especially with Chiron newly into the sign, and I felt a crack open into an experience of a deep sorrow. I pulled myself together and got on with things after awhile, eased that I had had a deep cry. As a Pisces Sun, I am finding that it is the willingness to allow myself to feel that seems to keep me upright and moving in some semblance of “forward” these days — on most days, that is.
To consider another recent change in the heavens: Ceres moved into Capricorn on March 19, and it squared the Sun at 0º Aries at the spring equinox on March 20. A square demands attention and the equinox chart sets the stage for the year. Although building for months, the eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland quickened dramatically on March 20, just as Ceres ingressed into Capricorn. Pluto, the powerful lord of the underworld, has been committed to the sign of moving earth since November 2008.
Pluto rules hidden things and the journey into darkness to see what is there. Ceres is the goddess of grain and all that flowers on the Earth. She is known as the goddess of agriculture and is connected to the environment. And now, as she travels with Pluto, we are witnessing acute devastation to the environment. Ceres moved slowly to 4º Capricorn, where she stationed on April 28, and stays within a degree of Pluto until early June, when she retrogrades back into Sagittarius until conjoining Pluto again in October.
I’m remembering Demeter/Ceres’ grief and devastation at the loss of her beloved daughter, Persephone. She is the deep mothering principle and sustainer of life, while Pluto’s fate is that of destroyer (and creator). These two together suggest a grievous loss, the deep pain of attachments and separations.
I called an old friend today who was born with Ceres conjunct Pluto in the natal chart to talk with her about this. She said she has felt deep sorrow recently about not being with her eldest daughter and her new, first grandchild. She then spoke about feeling the Earth (she has the natal Sun, Venus, and Mercury in Taurus) and her grief at the extreme pollution. She’s lived in Hawaii for much of her life and talked to me about seeing lava as the blood of the Earth and her sense that Gaia herself is grieving.
Later, on the day of my Chiron in Pisces/sea turtle meltdown, I went for a walk by the creek and sat for a while by the water pummeling over the astonishingly green mossy rocks (Oregon is beautiful!). The vibrancy of bubbling water reminded me of the cardinal signs starting to come on strongly with the imminent great leap of Jupiter and Uranus into Aries.
Meanwhile, the oil erupting from the Deepwater Horizon spill continues at 25,000 barrels a day with no containment in sight. I spoke tonight with another old friend who has engineering in his background and Chiron conjunct the Ascendant in the natal chart. This gentleman told me that there are creative technologies waiting to be tested and utilized to help contain the oil spill. Here’s to Jupiter and Uranus bringing revolutionary technologies into the world, right when needed!
In the park that day, walking back from my time at the rocks, I overheard two young men saying goodbye to one another. There was a closeness in the air and one fellow said to the other with great certainty in his voice, “Don’t worry; something good will come of this.”
I took that as a mantra for those moments when the sad and grievous seem pervasive.
I feel that grief also allows for more joy, more real presence and awareness of the whole picture, and may be a needed part of the feminine re-balancing that many are experiencing and writing about.
P.S. Anyone out there feeling the need to stimulate a good cry and propitiate Chiron in Pisces, here’s a suggestion: Cats
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By Mary Plumb | April 5, 2010
Pluto stations retrograde on April 6 at 5°32’ Capricorn. We can see how slowly (i.e., deeply) through the inner/outer landscape Pluto travels as it nears its station: it will be in the 5th degree between late February and mid-May, when Pluto moves back into the 4th degree of Capricorn again.
As I’m writing this, the earthquake in Mexico has just been reported. As of Monday morning, “It sounds like it was felt by at least 20 million people. . . Most of Southern California felt this earthquake,” U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Lucy Jones said in Pasadena. (1)
Aside from those directly experiencing the earthquake and aftershocks, those of us with planets or angles in aspect to 5° Capricorn in the natal chart may be feeling Pluto strongly. Those with Scorpio Sun, Moon, or rising sign in the birth chart are also especially sensitive to Pluto’s command. If you can use more of a map, try looking at the chart for the moment of the station at your location. Set the time of the exact retrograde for your place of residence; the angles for that chart in relationship to your own horoscope may be revealing.
When considering Pluto as guide to the interior life, we may know a raw scorching as we are pressed into our hidden selves, our shadows, the secret corners of the soul where terror and remorse and shame dwell.
Pluto’s placement in the zodiac aligns it now with the ongoing square from Saturn in Libra: how we relate to one another is being purposefully and profoundly re-visioned by the great gods of the sky. We’re traveling along and can see the signs on the road: Pluto station just ahead. Treacherous emotions arise to be seen in their emptiness. Proceed with heart. Resurrection assured.
I laughed with a friend today in recognition of the irony that what we need to do now – whether it’s taking an action, letting go of a habit, or facing a particular demon – is that it’s also what we really, really, really do not want to do.
Norma Nakai Burton, the minister at Unity Church here in Ashland, said on Sunday she had a feeling that even Jesus in Gethsemane didn’t know about the resurrection. He moved toward his fate because he had to. We all have moments at the crossroads of our fate. We may be frightened or deeply anxious, but something in our souls is aching, or howling, as we careen towards an as yet unimaginable new dawn.
One of the great gifts of our astrological view is that with Pluto we know that a rebirth, a surprising and glorious resurrection, will come. We have seen and felt that over and over, and have helped one another through many dark passages. So, look around at everyone with you, both near and far. We may feel starkly alone, especially and poignantly at moments with our closest intimates, but we are all on this life road together.
In my ongoing fascination with planets at the bending, I noticed the Sun squares the nodal axis on the same day as the Pluto station.
(The Sun is at 16° Aries and the nodes at 16° Capricorn/Cancer on April 6.) This is a harbinger of Jupiter and Uranus coming to the Aries Point in early June. The Sun is at the North Bending, which suggests energy coming in, e.g., the planet becomes visible and manifests (in contrast to the South Bending, which implies a surrender of that planet’s function).
So here we have the Sun, dignified in Aries, at the North Bending. I guess we’re on a path towards individualization, whether we like it or not. I’ve got a notion to capture some brave self-sufficiency from the Sun in Aries and use that solar fire in a firm step towards individuating, and give it all up to Pluto’s deepest transformative and purifying possibility. Sounds like a big job, but there’s no time like the present, and I know there’s nothing to lose. (Sounding more like an Aries already.)
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By Mary Plumb | March 8, 2010
Venus’s ingress into Aries woke me up very early on Sunday morning with an idea for this blog.
I’ve been thinking about Saturn square Pluto (who hasn’t?), which, along with Saturn opposition Uranus, are forming the underlying archetypal motifs as we move along towards the continuing excitement promised this summer and beyond.
The second of three exact squares of Saturn and Pluto was on January 31; the last will be on August 21, 2010.
Saturn got to 4°39’ Libra on January 13, where it stationed retrograde. Pluto makes it to 5°25’ on April 6, where it stations retrograde.
This month Venus, then Mercury, and then Sun in Aries will form an opposition to Saturn in Libra, followed by a square to Pluto in Capricorn. Venus will be making the exact aspects from March 9th to 11th; Mercury enters Aries on March 17th and makes the t-square between the 18th and 20th; and the Sun’s ingress is on the 20th. The Sun’s opposition to Saturn will perfect on the 21st, and the square to Pluto on March 25th.
So I’m looking at the Aries planets this month as a chance to propitiate the pair and make peace with Saturn and Pluto while I can.
I was with someone a few days ago who usually is of very good cheer and high spirits. She said she was noticing a slight feeling of “dread.” I generally can think and talk and write somewhat abstractly about the meaning of the planets and aspects. But this quiet mention of a feeling of dread caught my attention, and it wasn’t long (the next day, in fact) before I noticed a vague, ill-defined sense of dread myself, somewhere in my body, maybe in my heart.
It has become obvious to me that many are struggling with a pervasive and nearly constant feeling of anxiety or dread these days. It may be only a fleeting moment or quickly passing mood for some, but if it is there, it is hard to deny.
I remembered the feeling in the air around 911, when Saturn and Pluto were most recently in hard aspect to each other. There is a similar emotional resonance now, regardless of our eloquent expectations of transformation and the restructuring of all levels of reality.
Now, my latest thought is to take note of that feeling of dread when it arises and sit with it, facing it directly, with the knowledge that the sense of anxiety looming large in the collective (the planets of death and finality, after all) is also happening inside of me (along, of course, with a very gracious Jupiter, a playful Mercury, etc.).
This month, I’m going to try to be steady and watch for Saturn’s honest feedback on how I’m doing in Venusian, Mercurial, and Solar matters, and not avoid or deny what I see. And, to attempt to relax into Pluto’s relentless press toward annihilating all that is not truly true in my relationships and with money (Venus), in my thinking and perceptions (Mercury), and in whatever aspirations are drawing me forward (the Sun).
My friend, Robert Blaschke, just reminded me that the whole time the Sun is in Aries (March 20th through April 20th), it will be in mutual reception with a newly direct Mars in Leo, so our masculine courage will be strong. Thank you, Robert. Sounds good, and right when we need it!
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By Mary Plumb | February 1, 2010
In this past week, we saw the Full Moon conjunct Mars and the partile square between Saturn and Pluto.
Perhaps I’m responding to the post-lunation disseminating phase in this week’s blog, with my somewhat random collection of thoughts and observations.
On Friday the 29th, it was grand to see President Obama respond to Mars’ transit to his Sun (12°33’ Leo), as the biggest, brightest Full Moon of the year (10°15’ Leo) was nearly exact. The Sun represents the King, the ruler, and with Mars retrograde in that sign, all questions of rulership and authority are being re-examined closely. Mr. Obama seemed both effortless and in command of himself in the room full of his Republican House adversaries. It was a riveting political performance and a fine display of Mars in Leo.
The Saturn-Pluto square is another layer of the story of the times. External manifestations are fascinating to observe as the challenge for power and control signified by these two planets continues to unfold. The Supreme Court decision on January 21st, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, was one quite graphic (and profoundly disheartening to many) display of these planets in action.
I appreciate and applaud those astrologers who have commented on the case. (See Claudia Dikinis for one fine assessment.)
Although mundane astrology is an interest of mine, I wasn’t quite up to looking at that yet and was drawn in another direction.
A minister of my acquaintance gave a sermon that I attended on Sunday. Although I am not part of her congregation, I know her to be in touch with the archetypal worlds, and with the second Saturn-Pluto square perfecting in the afternoon, I was curious to hear what themes would inform her sermon. With Saturn in Libra, we know that all matters of how we experience others are in focus, and the Sunday sermon was about trust and relationships.
Countless surveys and research show that people on their deathbeds commonly say that it is the people in their lives who have brought them the greatest meaning. Yet we know this can take us into a fraught and complex web. (Although hopefully not always as dire as Sartre’s famous statement: “Hell is other people.”) (1)
The minister said that relationship conundrums can benefit from our willingness to see ourselves more clearly, and that relationship struggles are not as solid as we think. One kind thought, one gentle inquiry towards the other (whom we are thinking of as the cause of all our troubles) might go a long way to bridging the gap between ourselves and others. With the pressure and insistence of the square aspect, if we walk along our edge and resist our instinct to seclude and withdraw, we may make a very creative move.
She also gave some guidelines for managing relationships, and all of them resonate for me with Saturn and Pluto. First, take responsibility for whatever we are irritated by in other people, i.e., self-responsibility. We can also reduce our self-importance (try whilst in the midst of an argument with a friend or intimate!) and act with impeccability. Impeccability is not about being perfect, but about being awake to recognize when an action or decision is needed.
Although Mars retrograde may especially incline us to see what others are doing wrong (is it just the people around me who are behaving badly?), it is best, of course, to resist the urge to just have a fight and get it over with, and consider our own actions and motivations. Blaming others and complaining about our circumstances may in fact be a diversion or distraction from what we really need to be doing.
In terms of propitiating the gods and working with the internal dynamics articulated by the Saturn-Pluto square, we are impelled to stay at the very edge of our awareness, recognize painful and recalcitrant truths about our own conditioning and beliefs, and be open to experiencing what may be the most challenging step possible — that of letting go (i.e., of some one, some thing, some thought). Staying true to the inner heat generated by this square may indeed be the most honest, the most magical, the most transformative way forward.
I’ve been thinking about Neptune, too. Transiting Neptune has been at its discovery degree, 25°53’ Aquarius, for the last year. (Neptune was discovered on September 23, 1846 as it stationed retrograde and conjoined Saturn in the sky.) This is also very close to the U.S. Sibly chart Moon (27°10’ Aquarius) and the president’s South Node (27°18’ Aquarius). This transit perfects for the first time in mid-March.
Although I can’t resist the thought that maybe the entire U.S. public is in some kind of trance or spell, I also want to give Neptune the infinite respect it is due. I trust that the confusion or veil often brought by this planet is also a balm to the soul, and being offered for good use. In deference to Neptune’s call to the higher octave — currently infused with Chiron’s wise teaching from out-of-ordinary-time — I don’t know how anyone is keeping spirits up these days without a regular homage to Neptune. We can see countless ways all around us. People are dancing, moving their bodies, making music, writing poetry, and singing their hearts out; others are weeping with sorrow and pouring money, prayers, and supplies to Haiti.
In its connection to the invisible worlds, Neptune also beckons a more subtle awareness of the breath. The breath is our constant companion and that which will stay with us until we leave this world. As a wise yogi said recently, the breath connects us to the life force, which is always positive.
Have a good week everyone!
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