TMA This Week
By Gary P. Caton | May 9, 2011
Through sheer happenstance, I was extremely fortunate to find myself living near the small town of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia in the mid 1990s. This was when Robert Schmidt of Project Hindsight was beginning to share with the world his translations of 2,000-year-old astrology texts from the Hellenistic era. But for me, what really stood out were a handful of techniques that turned out to be relics from the even earlier Mesopotamian and Egyptian observational traditions. What I learned from Schmidt and Project Hindsight that had the biggest impact was that the observable phenomena of the planets matters greatly in our understanding of their qualities.
When a planet is “under the Sun’s beams” (later known as “combust”), that is, within about 15º of the Sun in a horoscope, it is invisible and incapable of being observed in the sky. Later, after separating 15º from the Sun, a planet achieves heliacal rise and escapes the blinding rays of Helios, i.e., the Sun, to appear as a Morning Star in the eastern sky at dawn. This first visible appearance of a planet was termed Phasis by the Greeks — which means “an appearance that speaks,” or a sudden dramatic showing of something. Thus, any planet that appears 15º or more in a counterclockwise direction (or earlier in the zodiac) from the Sun should be seen as highly intensified.
We can see evidence of this phenomenon in the Christian Bible, which states that wise men came to Jerusalem saying, “Where is he that is born King of the Jews? — for we have seen his star in the East and have come to worship him.” (As just described, “in the East” is the planet’s heliacal rising.) (1) Scholars who understand that the Magi were Zoroastrian priest/astronomers have suggested that the biblical account of the Star of Bethlehem was, in fact, the planet Jupiter making an unusual heliacal rise in Aries, a sign associated with the Jews, in 6 BC. (2)
Therefore, from the point of view of an ancient visual astrologer, the inference seems clear: There has been a new appearance, or birth in the Heavens (heliacal rise of Jupiter in the East), and the Magi were in search of the correspondent birth here on Earth. As above, so below.
For a more modern example, let’s consider the horoscope of the United States of America, born on the 4th of July 1776. In this horoscope, the Sun is in the 14th degree of Cancer.
Going in a counterclockwise direction, e.g., earlier in the zodiac, we see Mars in the 22nd degree of Gemini. This separation of 22 degrees between 14º Cancer and 22º Gemini shows that Mars had recently made its heliacal rise and could now be seen as the Morning Star in the eastern sky at dawn. (The heliacal rise would have occurred when the separation between the Sun and Mars was 15º— as Thomas Jefferson was composing the Declaration of Independence.)
Another view of these morning sky planets comes from Ptolemy. He calls a planet that rises before the Sun (whether in the same sign or the next) a doryphory. Planets who are doryphory are seen as attendants, bodyguards, or a kind of John the Baptist figure to the Sun. The best meaning of the word is spearbearer. How apropos then that the USA, with its incredible military history and sprawling Military Industrial Complex, has Mars, the God of War, as its spearbearer!
We are currently in the midst of a very rare, once in a lifetime alignment of four planets in doryphory, where not one — not two, not three — but four planets rise before the Sun. (3) I put out a query to my Facebook friends in an attempt to find just how rare the current alignment is. Thanks to Dan Ciubotaru of Bucharest, Romania, I discovered that 1680 was the last time that Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter have been this close by zodiacal degree for this length of time! (4)
An alignment similar to the current one last happened in 1966. On August 11, John Lennon apologized for his infamous comment that the “Beatles are bigger than Jesus.” His comment had been republished (out of context) on July 29, as Mercury Rx became oriental and began moving into a morning sky stellium with Venus, Mars, and Jupiter in Cancer/Leo. So, we had four visible planets coming together in the morning sky, and the “Fab 4” were in the news for comparing themselves to Jesus. This was a huge turning point. The 1966 tour was the Beatles’ last. The group eventually split up. John Lennon continued to speak his mind and cause controversy. He was murdered (or assassinated) in 1980. In retrospect, it seems that the “Jesus” event can be seen as the genesis of John Lennon as a kind of public enemy number one, who later became hounded by the CIA for his political views.
This brings us to the current morning sky alignment in Aries/Taurus. Until April 30, Jupiter was the doryphory, that is, closest to the Sun. On April 27, President Barack Obama silenced the “birthers” (whose cause had recently been joined by “The Donald”) by making public the long form of his birth certificate. At that time, the Sun and Jupiter were separated by only 16 degrees. We, therefore, had “an appearance that speaks” of Jupiter. The Rulership Book gives both certificates and foreigners to Jupiter, and at issue was whether our president is of foreign or native birth. (5)
April 29th was the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Princes are classic Jupiter figures, and a royal wedding is certainly larger than life. Bernadette Brady sees the doryphory as boding extremely well for the Prince. (6) Like the Sun, oriental or morning sky stars are essentially fiery, or hot and dry in nature. They are about individuating and making distinctions between things. Assuming that William distinguishes himself from his father, Charles, by steering clear of any scandals, my guess is that, when William has an heir, Queen Elizabeth will pass the crown to him.
After the Mars–Jupiter conjunction on April 30, Mars became the doryphory closest to the Sun and, therefore, the closest “spearbearer” to the King. The next day, President Obama sent an elite team of military commandos to assassinate Osama bin Laden. Eight years to the day after George Bush proclaimed “mission accomplished,” the job of bringing the 9/11 mastermind to justice was actually completed. Eight years is a Venus synodic cycle, and Venus is one of the four current doryphory, along with Mercury.
The most striking thing about the death of bin Laden is that it marks something of an end of an era. Clearly, this event is the closest thing to closure we will ever have for the events of 9/11. While many public figures are saying Al Qaeda is still a threat, others seem to think that without its charismatic leader, Al Qaeda will vanish into the dusty history books. (7) In any event, we now have a clear marker, a distinction between times. This is the fundamental purpose of morning sky planets: to individuate and make distinctions. Morning sky planets mark the birth of a new presence in the Sky and, therefore, the beginning of something new on Earth. As above, so below.
Judging from how events have unfolded, when Mercury passes Mars in the sky on May 20 and becomes the doryphory closest to the Sun, we can definitely expect some action of a Mercurial sort. Until then, we have some jostling between the other doryphory planets with a Mercury–Venus conjunction on May 9, and Venus–Jupiter and Mercury–Jupiter conjunctions on May 11. I’m sure ancient stargazers would have seen this as a sort of passing of the baton or some other kind of interaction between the attendants or spearbearers to the King. So, it seems we can look for more big news stories to emerge next week.
However, from a more participatory standpoint, perhaps if we honor these attending planets with our presence, our awareness, and our prayers or affirmations, they will take up a mission on our behalf. Get up early to see the amazing doryphory in the morning sky at dawn. Sing a sacred song, dance a sacred dance, or light a sacred flame. Let the Universe know that you know what is going on and are an active co-creator in the celestial drama. Ask for what you want or need in your life. Better yet, assert that you already have it and it is now on its way to you. Most of all, Carpe Diem! You might be surprised by what happens next. At the very least, you’ll feel a little more alive for having been part of such an awesome, once in a lifetime spectacle. Perhaps, in retrospect, you’ll see that this was a time when something very important in your life was being born.
(1) King James Bible
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-discipline approach to Astrology over 17 years. Connect with Gary at Dream Astrologer
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By Kate Plumb | April 18, 2011
I suppose you can blame it on the recent and ongoing Aries stellium as to why this staid old goat decided to start writing a blog. It was not something I brooded over for a long period of time; in fact, it burst forth, in good Aries fashion, from nowhere. This “out of nowhere” can be attributed to the fact that Aries is on the cusp of my natal 12th house. The current pile-up of planets in the sign seems appropriate for an initiative arising so spontaneously without any forethought.
The forethought came in the selection of what to blog about. I’ve read a few blogs, both astrology and non-astrology related, and I’ve noticed that one has to have something to say, and my inspiration for this blog was the February/March 2011 issue of TMA, The Archetypal Roots of Astrology. Glenn Perry wrote a piece in that outstanding issue entitled The Emerging Field of Archetypal Cosmology, in which he mentions a new book by Keiron Le Grice called The Archetypal Cosmos. I bought the book and read it.
Le Grice presents an outline “of a new mythic world view through an exploration of the theoretical basis of archetypal astrology and its application to mythology, psychology, and contemporary spirituality.” (1) After exploring Campbell and Jung, Le Grice explores the theorists of the new paradigms of thought, i.e., David Bohm, Fritjof Capra, Teilhard de Chardin, Erich Jantsch, Stanislav Grof, Rupert Sheldrake, and Brian Swimme. All these thinkers are challenging the orthodox scientific worldview as being full of dichotomies — subject and object, cause and effect, mind and matter, nature and spirit. They present a more holistic and unified worldview that recognizes the interconnectedness of all phenomena.
So where does astrology come in? Le Grice feels that what happens in the human soul or psyche, and is then enacted on the world stage, is very much related to the physical structure of the universe, to the pattern of the planetary alignments in the cosmos. In other words, both cosmos and psyche are made of the same “stuff,”meaning that we carry and bring forth the universe’s deepest intentions.
As a long-time astrologer, now devoting myself to a full-time practice, I am wondering why more people don’t come to see astrologers. Are they afraid that we know something more than they do about their lives? In reading Le Grice’s book, I was struck by the thought that if more people understood the theoretical basis upon which many astrologers operate, as embodied within the new paradigms in science, the hesitation and fear would be alleviated. Learning to gently use the planetary symbols (because symbols are mysterious) by watching them work in our lives could greatly increase a more relaxed and open attitude toward astrology by the general public.
From mid-March to mid-May, we have three Mercury-Jupiter conjunctions in Aries, a New Moon in Aries, as well as Uranus and Mars entering the sign of new beginnings. It’s time to expand our minds and our philosophies, to start a new journey in expanded consciousness. We are so lucky to have this understanding in our tool box. I am even learning to love retrogrades, as there seems to be less time pressure to get it right the first time. And that is something this Capricorn loves.
(1) Keiron Le Grice, The Archetypal Cosmos, Floris Books, 2010, pg. 21.
Kate Plumb is a certified NCGR Level 4 Counseling astrologer. She was also certified by Jim Lewis in A*C*G. She first studied astrology in 1971 (thanks to her sister) with Rod Chase and Alan Oken in Brooklyn Heights and later with Zoltan Mason in his bookshop on Lexington Avenue. She has written for TMA, teaches classes, and sees clients in her home office in Sag Harbor, New York. She has recently started a at offtheplumbtree.blogspot.com
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By Mary Plumb | March 21, 2011
I took a wild and windy drive these past few days from Ashland to San Francisco and back through a major storm that came with the SuperMoon. After some jittery days when radiation and earthquake scares rippled through the west coast with the shifting of the plates, my close companions and I landed in a deeper version of the simple truth to “choose love over fear” and so we went to the airport to pick up our special visitor.
At the beginning of the drive, we saw a massive, perfect double rainbow off to the east. It appeared to be the essence of rainbow. It was ecstatically bright for a moment, then gone. There were furious and lashing winds and hail most of the rest of the trip, and it took all of my attention to keep the car steady. As we got closer to the end of the drive, there was again a singular, perfect gift from the sky — a brilliant and dazzling lightning bolt flashed straight ahead.
It was a wild and momentous journey and it led me to take a break from thinking about the ongoing worldly calamities to indulge in homage to Uranian magic.
These days we go to sleep at night not knowing what the morning will bring. That is always true, naturally, but with the tremendous force of Uranus at 0º Aries, this is an equinox like no other.
What if we could really just start all over again? What if the regretful, sorrowful, anxious, depressed, gloomy, bluesy, hopeless, helpless, depleted, dismayed, disturbed, and despairing parts of our brains could be re-fired with the inspiration, bliss, and newness brought to us by the potency carried in Aries? We may have moments of unimaginable innocence, and a simple and pure motivation to fully give back to this life with our whole hearts and beings.
Perhaps a gift from this spring equinox is an increased ability to notice the present moment. One of my friends (who is very sensitive to subtle energy) lives on a farm and keeps her hands close to the earth. Last night she said, “All you can do is look around and see what needs to be done, and do it.”
Venus is traveling with Neptune now. On Saturday, the two will be conjunct at 29º44’ Aquarius, just before Venus moves into Pisces, her sign of exaltation. Amidst all the other aspects that are occurring now, this suggests a kind and gentle note to our story these days.
Love to all. Have a good week.
(P.S. This title Short and Sweet refers to this blog itself, and also to my special visitor, my Sun-and-Venus-in-Taurus granddaughter.)
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By Dale OBrien | February 28, 2011
This is Part 2 of a blog that began on January 3, 2011.
The month of January was named for two-headed Janus — one head looking forward into the new year, another looking back. Nowadays, we typically look back only during the last days of December, and then, usually only back into the past year. Astrologers particularly tend to favor looking forward, especially in early January. However, I beg your indulgence to not only look back at these recent eclipses, but also to look way back, to 1638 and 1639. The lunar eclipse on December 21, 2010 was on 29º22’ Gemini; an eclipse was on the same degree in 1638. The solar eclipse which followed was at 13º38’ Capricorn on January 4, 2011; there was an eclipse at the same degree on January 4, 1639. Rather than speculating from astrological keywords about what these recent eclipses portend, I will examine correlations between then and now, with observations from events (primarily in North America).
As I mentioned in my previous Mountain Astrologer blog, it is my contention that a rare eclipse, i.e., hours before the Winter Solstice, “upstages” the Winter Solstice in terms of its historical significance. In my earlier blog, I wrote about my interpretation of December’s 29º Gemini lunar eclipse. Herein, I will look at events from 1638, when the lunar eclipse occurred at the same degree.
In colonial New England, 1638 was a year of firsts, when fundamental assumptions were shaken up in a variety of arenas. (1)
March 1638: A controversial, charismatic, self-appointed religious leader, Anne Hutchinson, was tried and convicted for religious heresy. She was banished from Massachusetts on November 8, 1638. (All other religious leaders of the time were male.)
April 3, 1638: Preacher John Wheelwright was banished from Boston.
June 1, 1638: The colonists experienced their first earthquake, in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
June 25, 1638: The first documented North American celestial event, a lunar eclipse, occurred.
December 20, 1638: The second documented lunar eclipse occurred less than 14 hours before the Winter Solstice.
In summary, in 1638, the presumably stable earth trembled, the skies darkened, and authority was challenged by popular (and threatening) troublemakers who were consequentially banished. (At the time in the New England colonies, the political and religious authorities were one and the same.)
If we compare those themes to 2010, we can now see unprecedented earth changes, eclipses at the same times, popular (and threatening) troublemakers (namely, Julian Assange and Bradley Manning) uprooted from where they wanted to be, due to actions that each took without approval of the authorities.
Solar Eclipses January 4, 1639 and January 4, 2011
As mentioned above, the December eclipses of 1638 and 2010 were both followed by solar eclipses at 13º38’ Capricorn on January 4. The Sabian symbol for 14º Capricorn is: “An ancient bas-relief carved in granite remains a witness to a long-forgotten culture.” (2) The Sabian symbolism implies that solar eclipses on this degree might deal with matters long ago set in stone or with significant political and cultural precedents. I will look back to 1639 to see what was manifesting politically or culturally between January 4, 1639 and the Full Moon of January 19, 1639, i.e., in the waxing Moon after the solar eclipse.
In Connecticut, on January 14, 1639, principles for the framework of a new government were approved. Called “The Fundamental Orders,” these guaranteed “liberty of speech.” Prior to this written agreement, any powerful leader or minor group could unilaterally change or create new rules of government. With the new agreement, such capricious actions would no longer be allowed. The Reverend Thomas Hooks, whose sermon partly inspired these “orders” said, “The foundation of authority is laid in the free consent of the people.” He closed this influential sermon by saying, “As God has given us liberty, let us take it.” No overt allegiance to England was specified in these orders. Historically, this document is seen as, in essence, the first constitution in colonial North America.
Looking further at the imagery of “set in stone,” sometime during 1639 the Henry Whitfield House was built, which still exists to this day. It is the oldest house in Connecticut and the oldest stone house in New England. The year 1639 also marked the creation of the first printing press (“type set”) in North America, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 1639, also in Cambridge, Harvard University (America’s first corporation) was named after the late Reverend John Harvard, who willed his library, land, and money to the university.
January 2011: What Was “Set In Stone”?
What parallels can we see in 2011 and beyond? Assuming that 1639 is a viable correlate, then January 4 through January 19 of this year should correspond to significant governmental precedents or the re-emphasis of very old political and cultural precedents. Some events from this time period follow:
In early January, nationwide, “Tea Party”–influenced Republicans hold the most state House majorities in 80 years, plus a majority of the U.S. House of Representatives. Nationwide, the rights of union and state workers are targeted by the newly elected representatives.
It is revealed that at least $10 million in anonymous hedge fund money was spent on the recent 2010 elections. It is also revealed that two of the wealthiest men in America, the Koch brothers, bankrolled most of the “Tea Party” and Republican candidates, such as the new Wisconsin governor, Scott Walker.
The 112th Congress opens on January 5. House Majority Leader John Boehner wields an oversized gavel and promises to end “business as usual.” Boehner said that Obama’s health care plan would be challenged as part of a deficit reduction plan. Boehner is also pushing for the “privatization” of Social Security. Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. lose House voting rights. A bill to rewrite the 14th amendment is submitted.
The so-called “Democrat,” President Obama, installs a former executive of J. P. Morgan as his new chief of staff. He also promises less federal regulation of Wall Street and big business.
Obama meets the leader of China and offers multibillion dollar trade deals on behalf of a few big U.S. corporations. He says nothing about human rights abuses in China or about their lax ecological practices.
The Federal Reserve declares that there will be no “quantitative easing” for struggling municipal governments. (This is the same Fed that bailed out Wall Street, General Motors, etc.) Goldman Sachs invests $450 million in Facebook.
Meanwhile, recent poll results indicated that 61% of those polled want tax increases for the most wealthy.
Recent U.S. Census results find approximately one in six Americans living below the poverty level, and this figure is especially high for those over 65.
On January 10 in Tucson, Arizona, a moderate Democratic Congresswoman and others are shot and wounded; a federal judge and several others are killed. Afterward, some representatives leave office or announce their intention not to seek another term. Other representatives decide to start carrying concealed weapons.
The U.S. government subpoenaed an Icelandic parliamentarian regarding WikiLeaks.
Overseas, protests stir in Tunisia and stirrings of unrest begin in Egypt and elsewhere.
Can we assume that corporate government will continuously rule the U.S. for many, many years to come? Perhaps. However, there are major differences between the 17th and the 21st centuries. Astrologically, outer-planetary bodies have been discovered since 1639, and significant outer-planetary ingresses and aspects make this quite the time to watch!
(1) Historical references from: Colonial Wars
(2) Lynda Hill, The Sabian Symbols As An Oracle, 1995, A White Horse Book, Avalon, Australia, sabiansymbols.com
Dale O’Brien has been a full-time astrologer since 1991 and a member of ISAR (C.A.P.), AFAN, and NCGR, a Jim Lewis-trained Certified Astro*Carto*Graphy Interpreter. His writings have appeared in The Mountain Astrologer, From Here to There (An Astrologer’s Guide to Astromapping), and elsewhere. Dale has taught astrology at all levels and has presented, conventionally and experientially, for UAC, ISAR, NCGR, and elsewhere, as well as on radio. He is also trained as a Dream Tender. Dale lives in Eugene, Oregon.
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By Mary Plumb | February 7, 2011
Many of us are closely following the uprising against plutocracy, tyranny, and repression, and the spectacular bravery of people in Egypt and throughout the Middle East. (1)
A New York Times headline this morning reads, “Normal Life in Cairo Begins to Resume.” Of course, we know differently.
Stepping back to the longer cycles of time, we know that as Pluto moves through Capricorn, we are in an extended time of accelerated death and rebirth on all fronts.
With Uranus squaring Pluto (not precise until June 2012), revolutionary (Uranus) transformation (Pluto) is a grand and overarching theme of our time. The world will be different, and we haven’t seen yet what these coming brilliant and disruptive (Uranus) transformations (Pluto) will look like.
As one more specific indicator of the time: As astrologers, we know that mundane events that take place near the time of an eclipse have long lasting implications; the waves and results from actions at an eclipse are magnified. As I wrote last week, the events occurring now in Egypt were seeded in part by Mohamed Bouazizi, the young man in Tunisia who set himself on fire in protest of a tyrannical and oppressive regime. He died on the day of the solar eclipse on January 4.
The planet Saturn is where we get swallowed up, or oppressed, or contracted into a too-tight skin or a too-confined experience of our world or ourselves. On January 25th, Saturn stationed retrograde at 17º14. (2) (This degree, and all that resonates with it, stays sensitive and meaningful until Saturn turns direct at 10º Libra on June 13.)
The middle degrees, i.e., 10º – 20º, of Libra are the Uranus decan of Libra. (3) So, Uranus is a subtext now to Saturn’s gift at solidification. Uranus is the radical vision, as yet unseen.
Retrograde motion is retrieval, a backtracking. Saturn is painstaking, and yet solidifies the infrastructure that we hold fast to. And that infrastructure is now infused with the necessary radical and brilliant urge towards freedom. I think of it as overthrowing the tyranny, in our own minds and emotions, of all that is oppressing us.
Mars was conjunct the Sun precisely on February 4th at 15º Aquarius; this degree is strengthened by being on the Aries Point of maximum potency of expression. Both planets then moved to trine Saturn in Libra, exact on the 5th and 6th.
This is a robust picture for us to draw upon this week: Mars and the Sun together, with Saturn’s support. Mars and the Sun declare a personal boundary; something inside says no, I’m not going to do this anymore, and Saturn confirms and stabilizes our resolve. The planetary archetypes of individuality (Sun), drive (Mars), and diligence (Saturn) are connecting with ease.
As Rick Tarnas has so eloquently described, astrologers know that inner and outer events are connected by meaning. We watch the planets move against the backdrop of the zodiac. The planetos, the wandering stars, and all of the newly recognized celestial bodies, are the messengers from the great beyond. And these movements are occurring within the very cells of the human being. As above, so below is unimaginably vast in scope, and absolutely precise and personal; both far away and deeply inside. Everything indeed is alive and animated and interconnected.
In traversing my own life and the people I see, it seems that no one is having an easy time. I have many clients and friends with great and obvious difficulties besetting them, e.g., health challenges, severe financial stress, acute depressions, relationship woes, and anxieties of all manner.
Even those who have everything — I know a few people with ample money, loving partnerships, successful children and careers, etc. — are experiencing the pressure of inexorable change in some deep or invisible compartment of mind.
Saturn in Libra suggests that our safety and security come in the shared social endeavor. We are equals as we build bridges for the new life and new consciousness that is calling us all. Sometimes that bridge is simply a call or visit to a friend, who is caught in some undercurrent of despair, or being swallowed by the tides of the time. We seem to take turns there, being crushed, or overwhelmed, by the pressure upon us, and maybe, just as often, feeling the exhilaration of a rebirth.
I always have to remember the Moon. The Earth’s closest ally is the Moon; our emotional lives and intimate connections with each other are our most accessible guardians of the psyche.
Jodie Forrest includes these words from Carl Jung in her lovely article, The Water Houses, in the current TMA: “Emotion is the chief source of all becoming-conscious. There can be no transforming of darkness into light and of apathy into movement without emotion.”
Last night, the Moon-Jupiter conjunction in early Aries was very bright here in Oregon; that was an inspiration for this blog, too. The Moon moves quickly, and every month it touches every part of our horoscope, every part of us. Jupiter will be in Aries quickly, only until June 4.
Moon-Jupiter in Aries shows a paradox of an inner ruthlessness towards disarming our protective armoring, standing vulnerable and open, and gently, ever so gently, holding each other in the embrace that sustains us all.
Note: The current issue of TMA has a theme, The Archetypal Roots of Astrology. The articles are wonderful, and we’ve already gotten lots of praise for it. I was especially taken with Kate’s letter (she’s our Special Projects Editor), which is an eloquent summary of her intent as editor of this issue. If you haven’t read it yet, please do enjoy it here.
(1) Here’s an opinion piece by Nicholas D. Kristof: We Are All Egyptians
(2) If this is not something you’ve heard before, here is a good description of the decans: horoscopeswithin.com
(3) I wrote last week, “On January 25 thousands of people took to the streets protesting against poverty, high food prices, and overall government corruption.”
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By Arielle Guttman | January 17, 2011
Asclepius (also cited as Aesculapius, Asklepius, and Asklepios), the Greek God of Healing through Dreams, was the subject of an in-depth article that I penned on Dream Interpretation Using Astrology and Myth in the current (Feb/Mar 2011) issue of The Mountain Astrologer.
Greek myth tells us that because Asclepius was able to literally bring people back from the dead, he was killed by Zeus with a thunderbolt. Later, remorseful Zeus placed Asclepius in the sky as the image Ophiuchus, the Serpent Bearer. Sandwiched in between Scorpio and Sagittarius, barely touching the ecliptic, stands a giant serpent holder…a giant man in the sky, the image of Ophiuchus.
The serpent represents the Kundalini and the double helix of the DNA. Images of serpents and bulls appear all over the ancient world (in Babylonia, Egypt, Greece, etc.) beginning around the time that Gemini and Taurus were rising and Ophiuchus was setting in the precessional scheme in the sky, a vivid demonstration of As Above So Below. During the era when the signs of Gemini and Taurus rose at the Vernal Equinox (approximately 6,000 to 4,000 years ago), the stars of Scorpio and Sagittarius were on the western horizon, including the sign in the middle of those two: Ophiuchus. Testaments to these signs as guiding beacons are the numerous emblems carved in stones, painted on fresco walls, and left as bas-reliefs by our predecessors. Especially noteworthy is the emblem of the snake wrapped around the healing rod caduceus as the identifying cult symbol for the followers of Asclepius (Ophiuchus) at this time. And that emblem has endured through time. Hippocrates, considered the father of modern medicine, is a descendant of Asclepius. The caduceus symbol of serpentine healing power can be seen all over the world in hospitals, healing clinics, ambulances and everywhere people go in attempts to obtain healing cures for all types of disorders and illness.
The 13th sign is somewhat obscured from view and is not typically included in the zodiac of twelve signs that astrologers generally use. This may be due to the fact that only the feet of Ophiuchus are visible from the ecliptic (see star diagram above), with the rest of his body towering above the constellations and not contained within the rest of the zodiac. In fact, one foot of Ophiuchus is smashing the Scorpion’s claws, while the other foot is where the Archer’s arrow is aimed. Nevertheless, astrologers definitely know it is there, and I for one, have been an advocate for including the interpretation of Ophiuchus in people’s charts ever since I first learned of his existence from the lectures and articles of astrologer Robert Hand, some thirty years ago. In other words, if a person’s horoscope contains many points in late Scorpio and early to mid Sagittarius, then they are indeed “born” under the influence of Ophiuchus, and the healing wisdom of Asclepius and Chiron is inherent in that person’s repertoire of opportunities, abilities, and influences in life.
Chiron the centaur, a recent addition to our solar system, orbits between Saturn and Uranus, while the rest of the centaurs’ orbits lie beyond Pluto. Due to Chiron’s unique orbit, distinct from the rest of the body of centaurs located beyond the orbit of Pluto, and because he was the god-father and mentor to Asclepius (Ophiuchus), I have come to proclaim Chiron as the ruler of the 13th sign. This Ophiuchus constellation takes up almost a half of each of the signs mentioned earlier (Scorpio and Sagittarius). A great deal of Scorpio symbolism for healing, depth, penetrating beneath the surface (including journeys to the unconscious realm), and transformation are all related to Ophiuchus. As for the symbolism of Sagittarius? The sage, the interest in philosophy, and the burning desire to know the meaning of life are also contained in the mysteries of Ophiuchus and its serpent-kundalini energy source.
Arielle Guttman and Kenneth Johnson, Mythic Astrology: Internalizing the Planetary Powers, Llewellyn Publications, 1993-2004.
Arielle Guttman and Kenneth Johnson, Mythic Astrology Applied: Personal Healing through the Planets, Llewellyn Publications, 2004.
Both volumes are available through Arielle’s website:
© Arielle Guttman 2011.
Thank you, Arielle, for bringing the story of Ophiuchus so clearly into our awareness.
Here are some other commentators on the current re-appearance of the 13th sign. Enjoy!
Rob Hand’s classic article, On the Invariance of the Tropical Zodiac, is an “inquiry into a fundamental problem that has to do with the tropical versus sidereal zodiac controversy”
Theodore White writes The 13th Zodiac Sign? Astrologers Ask: “Where’s the Beef?” complete with (funny) TV and YouTube clips about the “big discovery,” moving graphics showing precession, astronomers throughout history, and the mythology of Ophiuchus.
Your Astrological Sign Isn’t Changing But It Was Fun While It Lasted includes a video clip of Rachel Maddow’s commentary about the molten core of the earth.
The Daily Beast has a report on the story, with comments by “astrologists” Susan Miller and Rob Brezsny.
Lynn Hayes is a very clear writer and she easily explains the difference in the tropical and sidereal zodiacs in her article Your “zodiac sign” has not changed!
Here’s a video from Fox with good graphics and a very nice presentation from astrologer Chris Taylor.
Gary Caton, in his letter to astronomers, writes: “Hey Astronomers, WAKE UP! Constellations are not Signs. Please learn some basic astrology or else leave the Signs to us.”
And, I did see a news clip of the astronomer who started the latest version of the “discovery” of the 13th sign (since removed) where he talks about his take on the media event. He’s just happy people are thinking about the sky. We couldn’t agree more.
Have a good week everyone.
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By Mary Plumb | November 1, 2010
The New Moon is on November 5 at 9:51 p.m. PT (November 6, 12:51 a.m. ET) at 13º40’ Scorpio.
Starting Tuesday afternoon, when the Moon is 45º from the Sun, until the New Moon, we are in this month’s balsamic, or the dark of the Moon, phase.
The suggestion of attunement to the dark and the internal life is pronounced now as the Sun and Mercury are in Scorpio, with Venus retrograde there as well. The asteroid Vesta is the closest body to the New Moon; she is within a degree and a half of the lunation.
Vesta is the goddess of the hearth to the Romans. Her presence was recognized by the sacred fire burning in the hearth. In our world, she shows us how to tend to the inner fire of our own being.
Venus retrograde in Scorpio, in very ordinary language, certainly suggests awkwardness in social situations. She tends toward being ill at ease in her sign of detriment. Her natural grace, and confidence in her own appeal, so clear in Taurus, is weakened in Scorpio. Venus’s retrograde phase, beckoning towards inner contentment, can also bring unskillful moments in what would generally be expected to be easy, effortless situations.
I have heard stories this week from friends and clients about bumbling social situations. Most of these stories have the hallmark of a moment where things just didn’t “feel right” — nothing particularly devastating, or of long-term consequence, but a bit clumsy or inelegant.
I went through something today that caught me by surprise: a friend, not a close friend, but someone who has been a fellow traveler and confidante this past while, told me that he felt misunderstood and unsettled in our last meeting and is choosing to end our friendship. I know Venus retrograde is blundering and prone to misunderstandings, but I was surprised by how this impacted me. Ah! But then I remembered that Chiron and Neptune both station direct on November 5. Aside from an exquisite openness to guidance from the invisible realms, the pervasive sensitivity of this combination can be experienced quite subjectively, and ‘hurt’ feelings are easily magnified.
Vesta’s close presence at this lunation shows us something, too. The inner flame can be kindled now within ourselves, in whatever ways we have access to — look to Vesta’s placement in the natal chart as an entryway to that internal source of life.
There may be some newly found inner resource or gem from Scorpio’s undying knowingness that comes to life with this New Moon. In the meantime, I will enjoy whatever time I have to be alone now, and I’ll try to be extra kind, as everyone is in this sometimes awkward dance together.
Thanks for coming by.
I hope you all have a good and deeply restorative week.
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By Mary Plumb | September 20, 2010
Jupiter, now retrograde and closest to the earth, is glorious in the night sky. If you have a view and clear skies, do go out and see that beautiful planet traveling west across the night sky. Since Uranus is so close, a peer through a telescope will show the unprecedented-surprising-awakening one right there as well. (The conjunction was exact on June 8 and September 19, 2010, and will be again on January 4, 2011.)
Tomorrow (September 21) the Sun will be at 28º Virgo, opposing Jupiter and Uranus; for a few days the energies of these two planets are exceptionally vivid and bright.
There are some fine blogs now on this conjunction. I thank and appreciate all the creative and generous thinkers and writers out there who add so much to our understanding of the wondrous times we live in!
Jessica Murray says in her always beautifully thought out blog at MotherSky:
“The issues the world is dealing with now are huge (Jupiter), and they are coming at us fast (Uranus).”
Lynn Koiner writes about what happened to her at the conjunction in 1966 and takes us through the conjunction in each house in The Great Jupiter-Uranus Conjunction of 2010.
Anne Whitaker is a careful observer of these planets. She has written a book, Jupiter Meets Uranus: From Erotic Bathing to Star Gazing (reviewed in TMA Apr/May 2010), and documents her continuing research in Jupiter/Uranus do Religion: Countdown to 19 September.
And Jamie Funk includes the fixed stars associated with the 1983 and 1997 conjunctions, and the asteroid Eos, which is important now, at Jupiter Conjunct Uranus 2010 at Darkstar Astrology.
Regarding the conjunction, I always remember my sister Kate’s description of Jupiter-Uranus as “our own personal walk on the Moon.” (She’s referring to the conjunction in July 1969 when man literally did walk on the Moon.)
In this time of rhetorical excesses (Jupiter) and up-side-down (Uranus) storylines (one of which I mention in the Footnote below), here are a few simple real life stories from the past few days.
I have two friends (a mother and daughter team) who are each very tuned into Jupiter: one is a Pisces Sun with Sagittarius rising, the other a Sag Sun with Pisces rising. They have had a long summer with lots of struggles and upheavals. On the day of the exact conjunction, the older one told me they both felt a “breath of fresh air.” She said it was like a whoosh! of energy just moving through and clearing the way.
Another Sag rising friend told me about an unusual (for her) dream on Friday night: she was in a car feeling too restrained by the seat belt. She was extremely restless and wanted to get out and go, yet she didn’t know where she was actually going; it was the vivid feeling of pushing against the constraint of the safety belt that defined the dream for her.
I spoke with another astrologer about her experience with this passage of the ongoing Jupiter-Uranus conjunction. She had a riveting experience of being “jolted” by connecting with a group of people in an innovative and collaborative effort, whose key elements include sustainable agriculture, music, and history! Sounds like the future is coming.
With Jupiter so brightly visible in Pisces now, maybe we are getting a message to be willing to feel — subtly, sorrowfully, joyously, ecstatically and more. Uranus does shock; we may experience it as mild or quite devastating, but the nature of that planet does require a change of perspective.
The portal whereby we — one way or another, like it or not — surrender a personal frame of reference (i.e., Uranus in Pisces) also allows us to recognize a new view from the brilliant fire that Uranus always carries. A splendid, creative “Yes!”
And I heard the conjunction speaking when a yoga teacher suggested gently this weekend (whilst having her students hold an especially strong posture): It’s your life, don’t miss it.
Republican primary winner Christine O’Donnell could be the first conservative candidate to have “dabbled in witchcraft” (the news of which may make her more interesting to some). O’Donnell was born in August 1969, a few months after the last exact Jupiter-Uranus conjunction in March 1969. Her natal Uranus is 2º Libra, with Jupiter at 7º.
Christine O’Donnell was born in Morristown, N.J. on August 27, 1969.
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By Robert P. Blaschke | August 9, 2010
Mutations in 77-Month Recurrence Pattern since 1960
Over the next nine months, because of a six-week retrogression of Venus in October and November, there will be three Venus-Mars conjunctions between now and May 2011. These three alignments will fall in the signs of Libra, Scorpio and Taurus, and are part of a recurring 77-month cycle. They are also part of a longer 32-year cycle of Venus and Mars. (1)
Astrologers of a certain age will be taken back in their memories to the time period from August 1978 until May 1979, when this sequence of triple Venus-Mars conjunctions last recurred in these same three signs of the Zodiac. For those already practicing astrology during that era, 1978 was the year that Cycles of Becoming, the classic treatise on transit cycles by Alexander Ruperti, was first published in America. It was this book, which was a summary of the humanistic approach to astrology first elucidated by Dane Rudhyar, that taught many of the younger astrologers of that period about recurrence patterns in the transiting Mars-Venus cycle, and about patterns in other inter-planetary synodic cycles.
What Dane Rudhyar and Alexander Ruperti had researched was that, although Venus and Mars formed conjunctions about every two years, a cycle of five conjunctions was found to recur in which Venus was retrograde in nearly every fifth conjunction between these two planets. The alignments of retrograde Venus and direct Mars recurred approximately every 77 months, and were part of a longer recurrence pattern wherein the conjunctions would form in the same sign every 32 years (within 7-8 degrees of the last conjunction).(2)
Additionally, the alignment of retrograde Venus and Mars would take place as the middle conjunction in a sequence of three lasting about nine months from the first to the last. For example, from the 1920s until 1960, this recurrence pattern played out like clockwork. However, after 1960, an aberration in the Venus-Mars transit cycle began to take place.
These tables were calculated using Solar Fire for Windows, v.5
© 1994-2001 Esoteric Technologies Pty. Ltd.
Ven Cnj Mar Jan 9 1921 03° Pi 40′ D 03° Pi 40′ D
Ven Cnj Mar Apr 7 1921 09° Ta 31′ R 09° Ta 31′ D
Ven Cnj Mar Oct 3 1921 08° Vi 42′ D 08° Vi 42′ D
Ven Cnj Mar Aug 23 1923 24° Le 43′ D 24° Le 43′ D
Ven Cnj Mar Jul 11 1925 09° Le 26′ D 09° Le 26′ D
Ven Cnj Mar Jun 9 1927 02° Le 16′ D 02° Le 16′ D
Ven Cnj Mar Aug 30 1927 22° Vi 51′ R 22° Vi 51′ D
Ven Cnj Mar Feb 13 1928 19° Cp 01′ D 19° Cp 01′ D
Ven Cnj Mar Jan 2 1930 03° Cp 12′ D 03° Cp 12′ D
Ven Cnj Mar Nov 18 1931 14° Sg 17′ D 14° Sg 17′ D
Ven Cnj Mar Oct 13 1933 03° Sg 12′ D 03° Sg 12′ D
Ven Cnj Mar Jan 24 1934 21° Aq 44′ R 21° Aq 44′ D
Ven Cnj Mar Aug 2 1934 11° Cn 53′ D 11° Cn 53′ D
Ven Cnj Mar Jun 19 1936 26° Ge 08′ D 26° Ge 08′ D
Ven Cnj Mar May 7 1938 09° Ge 45′ D 09° Ge 45′ D
Ven Cnj Mar Apr 9 1940 05° Ge 28′ D 05° Ge 28′ D
Ven Cnj Mar Jun 6 1940 13° Cn 12′ R 13° Cn 12′ D
Ven Cnj Mar Dec 2 1940 08° Sc 16′ D 08° Sc 16′ D
Ven Cnj Mar Oct 23 1942 24° Li 01′ D 24° Li 01′ D
Ven Cnj Mar Sep 10 1944 08° Li 00′ D 08° Li 00′ D
Ven Cnj Mar Aug 8 1946 29° Vi 43′ D 29° Vi 43′ D
Ven Cnj Mar Nov 7 1946 00° Sg 23′ R 00° Sg 23′ D
Ven Cnj Mar May 18 1947 27° Ar 51′ D 27° Ar 51′ D
Ven Cnj Mar Apr 2 1949 09° Ar 26′ D 09° Ar 26′ D
Ven Cnj Mar Feb 16 1951 19° Pi 42′ D 19° Pi 42′ D
Ven Cnj Mar Jan 17 1953 13° Pi 51′ D 13° Pi 51′ D
Ven Cnj Mar Mar 21 1953 01° Ta 06′ R 01° Ta 06′ D
Ven Cnj Mar Oct 3 1953 12° Vi 17′ D 12° Vi 17′ D
Ven Cnj Mar Aug 23 1955 27° Le 51′ D 27° Le 51′ D
Ven Cnj Mar Jul 11 1957 12° Le 51′ D 12° Le 51′ D
Ven Cnj Mar Jun 14 1959 08° Le 26′ D 08° Le 26′ D
Ven Cnj Mar Aug 14 1959 15° Vi 45′ R 15° Vi 45′ D
Ven Cnj Mar Feb 16 1960 25° Cp 04′ D 25° Cp 04′ D
Ven Cnj Mar Jan 4 1962 08° Cp 04′ D 08° Cp 04′ D
Ven Cnj Mar Nov 20 1963 19° Sg 09′ D 19° Sg 09′ D
Ven Cnj Mar Jul 17 1964 21° Ge 09′ D 21° Ge 09′ D
Ven Cnj Mar Aug 26 1964 17° Cn 40′ D 17° Cn 40′ D
Ven Cnj Mar Oct 18 1965 10° Sg 36′ D 10° Sg 36′ D
Ven Cnj Mar Jan 8 1966 13° Aq 21′ R 13° Aq 21′ D
Ven Cnj Mar Aug 3 1966 15° Cn 49′ D 15° Cn 49′ D
Studying this table of Venus-Mars conjunctions from 1921 until 1966, one observes:
1. The retrograde Venus alignments recur every fifth conjunction.
2. The retrograde Venus conjunction is in the middle of a sequence of three.
3. This sequence of three conjunctions is spread out over a nine-month period.
4. The retrograde Venus conjunctions recur about every 77 months.
5. Every 32 years, the conjunctions recur in the same sign (i.e. 1921 + 1953).
6. An aberration in the regularity of the cycle began after 1960.
7. Two extra conjunctions took place in the pattern between 1959 and 1966.
The humanistic approach to astrology, as outlined in the books of both Dane Rudhyar and Alexander Ruperti, made recommendations for spiritual growth when consciously working with the Venus-Mars synodic cycle. This nine-month period containing the three conjunctions of Venus and Mars, which recurs only about every 6 1/2 years and into which we are about to enter (between now and May 2011), is ideally, at the middle conjunction, “a significant turning point in one’s emotional life and provides an opportunity to change one’s values and to find a deeper spiritual significance to one’s individual actions”. (3)
If the retrograde Venus conjunction falls in a degree that conjoins a Luminary or an angle in the nativity, then this period would be especially potent for a personal metamorphosis. The upcoming middle conjunction of Venus and Mars in early October is in 12° Scorpio, and the natal house into which it falls will also be activated for the next several years.
In modern times, since 1960 an aberration has occurred in the Venus-Mars transit cycle in which the retrograde Venus conjunction no longer recurs exactly every 77 months as before. In the view of your correspondent, this has contributed to a societal decline in personal reflection taking place within marriage that would have led to an improved self-awareness about one’s personal responsibility for problems in relationship. As a result, without that necessary introspection, society has evolved relational patterns that repeat over and over again in a counter-productive sequence of ongoing serial monogamy. (4)
Since the retrograde Venus conjunction with direct Mars in January of 1966, the cycle’s historical aberration has caused some subsequent conjunctions (recurring every 77 months) to occur when Venus and Mars were both in direct motion, or to be missed altogether. For example, in May 1972, the next expected alignment after January 1966, the conjunction occurred with both planets direct in 02° Cancer 31′. Venus did not station retrograde until 26 May 1972, some 10 days after that conjunction.
Ven Cnj Mar May 16 1972 02° Cn 31′ D 02° Cn 31′ D (Venus SRx 5/26/72)
Ven Cnj Mar Oct 21 1978 22° Sc 16′ R 22° Sc 16′ D
Ven Cnj Mar Feb 27 1985 18° Ar 30′ D 18° Ar 30′ D (Venus SRx 3/13/85)
Ven Cnj Mar Jul 25 1991 06° Vi 33′ R 06° Vi 33′ D
Ven Cnj Mar Dec 22 1997 03° Aq 20′ D 03° Aq 20′ D (Venus SRx 12/26/97)
Ven Cnj Mar Oct 3 2010 12° Sc 36′ D 12° Sc 36′ D (Venus SRx 10/8/10)
Because of this aberration within the Venus-Mars cycle, the seven expected conjunctions of retrograde Venus and direct Mars recurring every 77 months since 1966 have not gone anything like clockwork. There have been only two retrograde conjunctions, in 1978 and 1991, and in 2004, the expected sequence of three conjunctions did not even transpire. The next retrograde Venus conjunction with direct Mars will not take place until 2015. (5)
This year, the middle conjunction of three on October 3rd will have both planets in direct motion, with Venus not stationing retrograde until October 8th. The recurrence pattern was even further disrupted during the last two years, when a sporadic sequence of three conjunctions took place out of schedule between September 2008 and June 2009.
Looking ahead, the cycle of Venus and Mars will not return to “normal” until 2060 when, at that time, every fifth conjunction will regularly recur with a retrograde Venus and will continue in that predictable pattern until the year 2258. Looking backwards, prior to 1960, this recurrence cycle had repeated like clockwork since 1761. What is the astrologer to make of this century-long aberration in the Venus-Mars transit cycle, preceded by and followed by two centuries of regularity? (6)
One may hypothesize that human relationship requires a fluid and dynamic evolution in order to grow and change with the times. After two centuries, the social pattern has become stagnant and thus needs to transmute into a different form. As we have seen since 1960, when the birth control pill and the feminist movement radically altered roles for men and women, it is not unreasonable to expect that the social disruptions brought about by the changes to the relational patterns could take an entire century to stabilize. If this is the case, one can predict that it will take another 50 years for stability to return.
One can carefully study the degrees in which the once-in-77-month conjunctions fall and see if any of these Venus-Mars alignments may have conjoined a natal Luminary or angle. (7) If Venus was retrograde at the conjunction, then necessary self-reflection about one’s spiritual values at that time will have led to a personal metamorphosis. However, if Venus was direct at the time of the middle conjunction, there is the risk of having resisted an important period of reorientation, with the result being a continuation of old patterns.
To share a personal story with you, your correspondent was living in Vermont in 1978 at the age of 24. He received initiation into an Eastern Spiritual Path on August 13th of that year, exactly on the day of the first Venus-Mars conjunction in the sequence of three. It was like enlisting in the spiritual Marine Corps, as the four required vows stipulated 2 1/2 hours of meditation per day, a strict lacto-vegetarian diet, no drugs or alcohol, and no sex outside of lawful marriage. Of course, all four vows were eventually broken over time!
As you can see in the above tri-wheel chart, the middle conjunction in the sequence of three had a retrograde Venus aligning with a direct Mars and formed an exact conjunction with your correspondent’s Sun in 22° Scorpio. Looking back, he would have to say that over the course of his life, that was the year of his greatest personal metamorphosis.
caption from the back of photo:
Initiation, E. Calais, Vermont
August 13, 1978
Mr. Robert Paul Blaschke and Mr. H.F. Weekley
Now, 32 years later as the Venus-Mars recurrence cycle repeats itself in Libra and Scorpio, your correspondent, ailing with cancer and trying to stay alive, will have to face another metamorphosis, one in which he commits to fasting for six weeks twice a year and also transmuting into a raw food diet in order to heal the body. With the middle conjunction of this upcoming sequence of three occurring with Venus in direct motion in 12 Scorpio, exactly conjunct his progressed Ascendant, any resistance to the required reorientation this time will result in death. Sounds like a Scorpio’s fate, eh?
© 2010 Robert P. Blaschke
1) One observes that these three signs place Venus and Mars in either dignity or detriment.
2) Ruperti observed that 77 and 32 in numerology add up to the number 5; associated with the Venus cycle and its 5-pointed star.
3) Cycles of Becoming, 2nd Edition, Alexander Ruperti, Earthwalk School of Astrology, 2005, pg. 89.
4) The ubiquity of on-line dating has certainly accelerated and enabled this trend!
5) This middle conjunction of retrograde Venus and direct Mars in September 2015 takes place at a rare 59-month interval.
6) 3000 years of Venus-Mars conjunctions can be found at Richard Nolle’s site: www.astropro
7) The secondary progressed Lights and angles should also be taken into consideration.
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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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