TMA This Week
By Mary Plumb | October 12, 2009
Within a week President Obama went from the stunning disappointment of traveling to Copenhagen, replete with exaggerated media attention and fanfare, to having Chicago eliminated for the 2012 Olympics, and then to the equally stunning surprise of winning the Nobel Peace Prize.
What happened in his personal horoscope within that week?
As a background theme: the President has Scorpio on the Midheaven, which symbolizes his public life and reputation. Scorpio is ruled by Mars, which is natally placed at 22°35’ Virgo. Transiting Uranus, of course, has been opposing Mars since summer 2008. And 22° is a particularly sensitive degree: Uranus stationed retrograde at 22° in June 2008 and, after moving back and forth a bit, it stations again at 22°, this time going direct on December 1. So, generally, Obama’s reputation is subject to the quick reversals signified by the volatile and eccentric Uranus.
Looking more specifically, transiting Mars was applying to oppose natal Saturn in Capricorn (co-ruler of the Ascendant) for the trip to Copenhagen. The opposition was exact on October 6; some obstacle had come to a head and was behind him when the Nobel Prize was announced on October 9. Transiting Venus came to consort with Mars as well — Venus was exactly conjunct the President’s natal Mars late on the 8th.
Obama’s progressed Mars travels through 23° Libra, the degree of the beautiful fixed star Spica, for only a few years in his horoscope. In October 2008, Mars arrived at 23° and will move to 24° in mid 2010. The President’s progressed Moon was at the very end of a sign when he went to Copenhagen, at 29° Aquarius. On October 6 the Moon moved into Pisces, just in time to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
The mysterious, shape-shifting, projection-laden, out-of-the-ordinary, yet expansive/possibly magnificent conditions described by the rare and refined combination of Chiron, Jupiter, and Neptune is part of the picture as well. Disappointments (Neptune), unusual experiences (Chiron), great honors (Jupiter) are all hovering around the President’s Ascendant. Jupiter is closest right now: the bringer of reward and accolades goes direct on October 12, within a degree of Obama’s Ascendant.
With this combination of influences, the Aquarius archetype is obviously pronounced. We can imagine for a moment that the Nobel Prize might signify some of the best of Aquarius, i.e., the ability to see beyond what is currently apparent, to demonstrate clear, deep thinking, to have genuine independence from practical restraints, and to recognize creative possibilities hidden from our ordinary view. As Rick Tarnas has proposed, rather than Uranus, it may be Prometheus — the wisest of the Titans who tricked Zeus and stole fire from the gods to give to humans — who is resonant with the sign of Aquarius.
Psychological astrologers say that it’s never a good idea to argue with an archetype. Putting cynicism and doubt about the prize being awarded to the President so early in his term (and on the same day he was debating a huge expanse of troops in Afghanistan) aside, maybe the Aquarian ability to offer an experience of mutual hope and bring inexplicable events is setting a very high bar that the President and all of his companions (that’s us, friends) can indeed accomplish.
There was an air trine in the sky on the day of the announcement: the Sun at 16° Libra, and the Moon in Gemini complete the trine to Jupiter. (1) (Oct. 9, 2009; 9:00 am GMT; Oslo, Norway)
Certainly, as transiting Saturn is about to cross the U.S. Midheaven, our reputation as a nation is at a crucial turning point and the U.S. can demonstrate a new kind of responsible leadership in the world. (2)
(1) “Mr. Obama was not told of the award in advance and only found out about it when he was awakened by his press secretary at 6:00 am (1000 GMT), an hour after the decision was announced in Oslo.”
(2) The Sibly Midheaven is 1°03’ Libra. Transiting Saturn will be exactly there on November 8 and continue through the summer of 2010.
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By Gary P. Caton | September 21, 2009
Astrologers have inherited a truly rich history, and we modern astrologers would be wise to integrate more of its lessons. For instance, having some time ago researched the astrology around the Black Death of the Middle Ages, I was not surprised when the swine flu erupted onto the scene earlier this year, even when it was labeled a pandemic. After all, medieval astrologers blamed another triple conjunction in Aquarius — that of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn — for history’s most famous pandemic. However, when one looks more closely, it is easy to see that that triple conjunction did not occur at the time of the outbreak itself. Rather, it occurred at the Sun’s ingress into Aries in 1345. This is a clue about the vital importance of these moments of ingress.
One of the most powerful tools for the mundane astrologer has always been the ingress chart — cast for the capital city of a country at the precise moment when the Sun enters the cardinal signs, which mark the solstice and equinoctial points and, thus, the foundation of the tropical zodiac. It was by using these charts that I correctly predicted (in the Dec. 2002/Jan. 2003 issue of The Mountain Astrologer) that the war in Iraq would face significant opposition before its first summer was over. When one views the 2008 Aries ingress through the lens of classical astrology, it becomes quite clear that the unusual nature of this chart depicts the third worst year in the history of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Jupiter in Capricorn is in fall in the 2nd whole sign house, and Mars in Cancer is in fall in the 8th. The dispositors of those planets, Saturn and the Moon, respectively, are conjunct in Virgo in the 10th and opposite their fallen dispositor, Mercury in Pisces, in the 4th. In short, this chart says: Fall, Fall, Fall. And that’s the way it was. So, let us have a look at 2009 and gaze into the crystal ball that its ingress charts provide.
A general rule in traditional astrology is that if the Ascendant of the Aries ingress chart is in a cardinal sign, the chart remains valid for three months only, and it is necessary to draw further charts for the Sun’s entry into Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn. The 2009 Aries ingress, which has an Aries Ascendant (when cast for Washington, D.C.), is one such case. So, the Cancer ingress is the chart we have been living under for the past three months. You may remember that the summer solstice was closely accompanied by a New Moon and the asteroid Vesta. I have noted that Vesta represents a process of compression and contraction much like the first stage of birth labor. The uterus is pressing in on all sides, but the cervix has not yet dilated, so there is no place yet for the baby to go! Doesn’t this describe the emotional turbulence surrounding this summer’s health care “debate”? Curiously enough, the Libra ingress is also closely preceded by a New Moon, which is again conjunct one of the Asteroid Goddesses, Pallas Athena. Pallas symbolizes a release of the pressure from the Vesta stage and a springing forth into the birth canal (or wormhole) that leads to our future. Let us hope it is so! You can read more material about the Goddesses on my Web site and my Goddess Astrology page on Facebook.
With this general sense of the process of rebirth in mind, what else does the 2009 Libra ingress chart show us?
When the chart is cast for Washington, D.C., we see an Aquarius Ascendant. Right away, this tells us that President Barack Obama (who also has Aquarius rising) will be making some prominent appearances. This is no surprise, but this theme is backed up in a couple other places. The Moon is a mundane chart represents the people and where their attention falls. In the 10th whole sign house, this Moon is focused on the executive branch of the government. The president himself, symbolized by the Sun, is in the 9th whole sign. This suggests that his attention is on legal and foreign affairs. But what about health care, you may ask? We must assume that, after his speech, the president will once again leave this process to the legislative branch. In fact, the Sun in the 9th is suggestive of him signing into law some new initiative(s). The Congress itself and legislation are symbolized by the 11th house. With the Sagittarius Midheaven there, ruled by Jupiter rising in the 1st whole sign, we can again assume some progress.
When we begin to look at the dispositorships for this chart, we can flesh out the picture further. The president, symbolized by the Sun in Libra, seems to be on a diplomatic mission of peace, since the Sun’s dispositor is Venus. Located in the 8th whole sign (Virgo), Venus symbolizes a concern with the details of our financial relations with other countries. In the sign of her fall, she is unable to exercise her power due to circumstances beyond her control. Because Venus reports to a retrograde Mercury in his own sign and conjunct Saturn, this astrologer thinks it not unlikely that President Obama will once more feel the need to call on former Democratic Presidents Clinton and/or Carter for support. I also predicted earlier this year that, since Mercury retrogrades are moving from air signs back into earth signs, we may see political issues from the years 2002 and 1996 re-emerge, as Mercury was following the same pattern in those years as well. Specifically, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process may be up for renegotiation, since Obama’s mediator had meetings with Netanyahu earlier this year. Juno’s current return to Obama’s natal placement of 0° Aries seems to be an indicator of success in such endeavors.
A broader look at the dispositor trees for this chart gives us a feeling of the overall spirit of the time. Since there is a mutual reception, Mercury in Virgo cannot be the final dispositor of the entire chart. A fallen Mars in the 6th whole sign house, in mutual reception with a fallen Moon in the 10th, suggests that issues of public health will be on the people’s minds and perhaps demand to be addressed by the president. The fallen Sun in the 9th may indicate a call for some voluntary restrictions on travel to ease the possibility of spreading contagious illnesses. A fallen Venus in the 8th also suggests that public mortality (perhaps from war as well as flu) will be perceived as somehow under the control or influence of special circumstances.
The saving grace of this chart seems to be Mercury in his own sign of Virgo. I feel that he is protected by his conjunction with Pallas, the patron of heroic endeavor — the Palladium was one of the most sought-after protective talismans in ancient Greece. Since Mercury is the final dispositor of all other planets except Mars and the Moon, this suggests that the media, ambassadors, trade/commerce, and communications of all kinds will be very active and prominent. However, Mercury also faces a few challenges here because he is retrograde, conjunct Saturn, and invisible. I do not embrace the concept of “combustion” for planets hidden by the Sun; instead, I view them, as does Bernadette Brady, to be planets not entirely of this world. Additionally, the Underworld journey is the natural mythic province of Mercury, so I believe that he is not necessarily “weakened” by this phase, particularly since he is past the point of interior conjunction with the Sun and thus can be seen as rising or on his way up and out of the “special world” of the Hero.
The journey to the Underworld is steeped in diverse mythology. Joseph Campbell notes that it is part of the Universal path of the Hero. In astrological symbolism, we can see that the invitation to the Underworld harkens at every turn. Midnight comes to us each day, beckoning us to explore the subconscious Underworld of our dreams. The New Moon visits us monthly, asking us to explore the ebbing of our vital force and the quiet place within. The winter solstice is a time of spiritual seeking and rededication of our life path. The heliacal setting of a planet into invisibility (as it moves within 15–18 degrees of the Sun) asks us to explore the unconscious qualities of that energy in ourselves and our environment. But as astrologer–shamans, we also know that each of these markers is only a point in an endless cycle — a cycle of rebirth! What this placement suggests to me, then, is a more spiritual focus for Mercury and Saturn, rather than material. In addition, invisible planets (particularly in the 8th whole sign house) often represent forces behind the scenes that later burst out in dramatic fashion (symbolized by the movement toward heliacal rise and rebirth into visibility as morning star). We can hope that this represents the triumph of decency and genuine concern for our fellow citizens over the interests of big insurance, lobbyists, and corrupt politicians.
Brady, Bernadette. Visual Astrology Newsletter, August 2009; http://zyntara.com/VisualAstrologyNewsletters/van_August2009/van_August2009.htm
Burk, Kevin B. “Essential Dignities,” in TMA, Aug./Sept. 2009.
Caton, Gary P. “Saturn’s Perihelion,” in TMA, Dec. 2002/Jan. 2003.
Caton, Gary P. “Avian Flu,” in Considerations, Vol. XXI, #1.
Caton, Gary P. “Mercury Elemental Year,” Major Sky, Pisces New Moon Edition.
Caton, Gary P. “Goddess Astrology Re-Visioned,” in TMA, Aug./Sept. 2009.
Caton, Gary P. “Obama’s Juno Return,” www.facebook.com/goddess.astrology
Houlding, Deborah. “Ingresses,” www.skyscript.co.uk/ingresses.html
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By Robert P. Blaschke | August 17, 2009
A contentious public debate now taking place over the efforts by the Obama administration to enact health care reform legislation is being played out during the five Saturn-Uranus oppositions forming in the heavens between November 2008 and July 2010. The first four fall in the mutable axis of Virgo and Pisces, the medical signs, while a fifth and final opposition occurs exactly on the Aries Point.
The last time in U.S. history that major health care legislation was passed by Congress was the Medicare Act of 1965, when oppositions of Saturn and Uranus were also forming in the signs of Pisces and Virgo. The duel between the need for reform and the entrenched interests of the status quo becomes highly intensified during these once-in-44-year mundane aspects.
Against this backdrop, 2009 has also brought the alignment of Jupiter and Neptune in the sign of Aquarius. Conjunctions of these two planets take place at 13-year intervals and every thirteenth conjunction recurs at nearly the same Zodiacal position. Neptune’s sidereal cycle averages 165 years and the Jupiter-Neptune conjunctions divide the Neptune cycle into 13 sub-periods (13 x 13 = 169).
The last conjunction of Jupiter and Neptune in this degree area of Aquarius took place in 1843. That year, the American social reformer, Dorothea Dix, revealed in a report to the Massachusetts legislature the shocking conditions in prisons and asylums. With recent riots between black and Mexican inmates at the overcrowded Chino, California Men’s Penitentiary, history is repeating itself in foreseen fashion.
As Neptune moves from one sign to the next, eleven out of twelve times it meets Jupiter only once while transiting a sign. Dane Rudhyar and Alexander Ruperti both wrote that the Jupiter-Neptune conjunction is the high-point of Neptune’s stay in any given sign. What does this mean for the remainder of Neptune’s transit through Aquarius until 2011-12?
Aquarius symbolizes the principles of decentralization and distribution, following a concentration of wealth in the hands of the elite during the sign of Capricorn. To finance health care reform, the rich will have to pay higher taxes, the insurance industry will have to become more humane and less profitable, and doctors have to give up perverse incentives to prescribe expensive and unnecessary procedures.
Since the ingress of Neptune into Aquarius in 1998, society has not seen this promise of decentralization and distribution. Rather, the working and middle classes have become noticeably poorer while the affluent have seen their wealth reach unprecedented heights. When the gap between rich and poor reaches a critical limit, the Aquarian principles of fairness and equity in society asseverate – and either a revolution or a legislated redistribution of wealth must take place.
Calculating the conjunction for the nation’s capital, 20°17′ Leo culminates on the Midheaven and this degree symbolizes the leader of the nation. From Sepharial’s translation of La Volasfera, we find the degree symbol for 21° Leo to be:
A human face surmounted by a coiled serpent; a raised hand also appears.
“It indicates not only a powerful and commanding nature, but a keen understanding of the laws of life; much introspection and knowledge of human nature; strong sympathies; much discretion; careful balance of power and effort; intuition and foresight, as well as diplomacy of no mean order. The native will have strong powers of concentration, good memory, and will be successful in commanding others, through his insight into character. It is a degree of PENETRATION.”
This Jupiter-Neptune conjunction conjoins President Obama’s South Node which in turn is itself conjunct the U.S. Sibly Moon. One theorizes that he is a reincarnation of a past U.S. president who sided with the people over the powerful; this writer believes that Mr. Obama is the reincarnation of Abraham Lincoln. The above degree symbol supports the premise that his sophisticated intelligence ultimately prevails.
With the two spiritual planets of our solar system, Jupiter and Neptune, aligning in the most humane of the Zodiac signs, 2009 holds significant promise for a fairer and more equitable society to emerge. If health care reform legislation cannot pass this year, it never will. Alexander Ruperti, writing over 30 years ago, propounded:
“Neptune brings to Jupiter’s social action the great dreams of social reformers, panaceas which are supposed to do away with all economic and political evils. The tendency of those in public office to present new plans for social and economic reform is generally premature or deceptive at the time of the Jupiter-Neptune conjunction.” — Cycles of Becoming (1978)
Researching Jupiter-Neptune conjunctions during the 20th century, the astrologer finds that one out of every three or four of the 13-year alignments results in a triple conjunction, such as is occurring in 2009. As in 1919-20, when Jupiter and Neptune conjoined thrice in Leo, and again in 1971, when three conjunctions occurred in the early degrees of Sagittarius, 2009 has had its first two conjunctions on May 27 and July 9, with the third in the series to align on December 21.
During this part of the year when both Jupiter and Neptune are retrograde, one sees much misinformation being spread about proposed health insurance reforms by small-minded and self-serving politicians. After Jupiter and Neptune station direct on October 12 and November 4, respectively, the health care reform legislation will evolve into its final framework and be passed by both Houses of Congress and signed into law by the President before December 21.
The global economic crisis brought about by the Pluto ingress into Capricorn has exposed the worst practices of free-market capitalism. Reform in the health care and financial sectors is indeed necessary in order to prevent future threats to the systemic health of the global economy. Millions of people have been devastated by the current recession, having lost hundreds of thousands of dollars of value in their mutual funds and in retirement accounts, or by declining property values having resulted in mortgages now worth more than their homes. Despair is all around us.
Because the symbolism of the number 13 is so prominent in the Jupiter-Neptune cycle, with 13 years between conjunctions and 13 alignments during the sidereal cycle of Neptune, its theme of transcendence is especially poignant during this era:
“The number 13 refers to the Christ principle and as such is the symbol of the power to overcome death and limitations on all planes … Therefore, in essence, the Jupiter-Neptune cycle gives mankind a basic rhythm of and describes its urge toward transcendence.” — Alexander Ruperti
America is healing from an unprecedented 13-year period of violence, paranoia, greed and social decline ushered in by the previous Jupiter-Neptune conjunction of January 1997. The Greater Benefic was fallen and both Malefics were in detriment or fall, opposed to one another on the axis of the lunar nodes, and were in exact conjunction to the MC/IC axis of the Sibly chart. Moreover, the alignment of Jupiter and Neptune was itself exactly conjunct the U.S. Pluto. One has to believe that things can only get better and have nowhere to go but up from here.
A beautiful album by a precious angel was released to the public during the last conjunction in 1997 with lyrics and music to soothe the weariest of souls:
Though we share this humble path, alone
How fragile is the heart
Oh give these clay feet wings to fly
To touch the face of the stars
Breathe life into this feeble heart
Lift this mortal veil of fear
Take these crumbled hopes, etched with tears
We’ll rise above these earthly cares
Cast your eyes on the ocean
Cast your soul to the sea
When the dark night seems endless
Please remember me
The Book of Secrets 1997
© 2009 Robert P. Blaschke
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By Alex Miller | August 10, 2009
Newly minted Associate Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s August 6, 2009 confirmation came with the full plate of judiciary-related celestial markers that have been so much in evidence in her birth chart and the confirmation process. Astonishingly, asteroids Justitia (#269) and Themis (#24), named for the Roman and Greek goddesses of Justice, respectively, are precisely conjoined in the sky at 14° Scorpio, with asteroid Sonja (#1293) right beside them at 15° Scorpio, all squared by the 14° Leo Sun! You can’t get much plainer than that!
Additionally, several deep space factors add a galactic flavoring to the proceedings. Asteroids Sonja and the two Justices are also conjunct a Pulsar at 15° Scorpio. A Pulsar is a rotating, pulsing stellar remnant that is informational in nature and often appears at newsworthy moments with strong media attention. The Sun is exactly conjunct a Maser, a violent anomaly that spews jets of matter from its core, light years into space. Astrologically, Masers often signal controversy; they also manifest as heightened energy, excitement, volatility, even violence. Although the vote itself was now a foregone conclusion — Sotomayor easily passing by 68-31 — this galactic nod to controversy well reflects the genesis of her nomination, which was a period fraught with contention and conservative animus.
When that nomination was announced on May 26, 2009, asteroids Themis and Sonja were also conjoined, retrograde at 12° and 13° Scorpio, with Justitia, at 5° Scorpio retrograde, conjoined Sotomayor’s natal Saturn (representing her career) at 2° Scorpio, which is conjunct natal Justitia in the same degree. (1) The divisiveness of the early nomination process was augured by a 21° Aries Eris, named for the Greek goddess of Strife and Discord, in a stellium with Venus (women) at 20° Aries and Mars (arguments, battles) at 26° Aries, all points prominently displayed at the 22° Aries Midheaven for the 10:15 a.m. EDT announcement time.
There’s another celestial body with a judiciary application which reverberates throughout Sotomayor’s life. This is Rhadamanthus, which like Eris, is a Trans-Neptunian Object, or TNO, a bit of icy rock debris in the Kuiper Belt region near Pluto. Rhadamanthus is named for a king in Greek mythology who was so respected for his impartial, fair judgments and integrity that, after his demise, he was made a judge of the dead in Hades. Sotomayor has Rhadamanthus natally at 10° Cancer, conjunct her 7° Cancer Jupiter, which rules the Supreme Court, and natal asteroid Sonja at 12° Cancer. Her Sun at 3° Cancer and Mercury at 18° Cancer are also both broadly conjunct Rhadamanthus — or, more accurately, he falls within their orb of influence.
At both Sotomayor’s nomination and confirmation, transit Rhadamanthus appears at 15° Libra, exactly conjoined a Quasar, yet another type of deep space anomaly, this among the farthest and brightest objects in the universe. As such, Quasar activation throws a spotlight on whatever it touches, and it aids us in attaining our highest aspirations; having a judge-related body conjoined a Quasar for this nomination process is typical of the types of high-profile events they promote. This message from the outer solar system is also reflected in planet Jupiter’s current transit of another Quasar at 25° Aquarius. Jupiter appears at 26° Aquarius for Obama’s announcement of Sotomayor’s nomination and at 23° Aquarius for her confirmation, while Sotomayor’s natal Jupiter closely conjoins the Quasar at 8° Cancer, with natal Rhadamanthus in exact square to yet another at 10° Aries and natal Saturn/Justitia within orb of a third at 4° Scorpio. That’s a lot of success, achievement, and renown associated with a judicial career, so it’s not at all surprising that Sonia Sotomayor has made it to the top of her profession!
(1) See previous blog: “On May 26, 2009 President Obama introduced his choice for Supreme Court Justice. Sonia Sotomayor was born on June 25, 1954 in New York City.”
Alex Miller is a professional writer and astrologer, author of The Black Hole Book and The Urban Wicca, former editor of “The Galactic Calendar,” and past president of The Philadelphia Astrological Society.
His pioneering work with Black Holes in astrological interpretation began in 1991, when his progressed Sun unwittingly fell into one. Alex can be reached for comment or services at firstname.lastname@example.org
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By Mary Plumb | May 25, 2009
We’ve been watching Jupiter, Neptune and Chiron move closer to one another for several weeks. Jupiter and Neptune are exactly conjunct for the first time on Wednesday at 26° Aquarius, and shape-shifting Chiron, the wise teacher from outside of our solar system, is also at this degree. Since both Chiron and Neptune station in the next few days, and Jupiter stations in mid-June, these three continue to stay close all year, with another peak period in December.
Mars is now at 26° Aries; in these immediate few days the qualities of these three bodies coming together, their alchemical possibilities, gain encouragement, warmth and guidance through the easy support of the sextile aspect.
The New Moon yesterday was at 3°28′ Gemini (and a happy lunar return to the president, whose natal Moon is 3°21′ Gemini). President Obama, of course, has the North Node at 27° Leo (conjunct Uranus at 25° Leo) and the South Node at 27° Aquarius, also the degree of the U.S. Sibly Moon. (This is also the degree of his pre-natal solar eclipse, February 15, 1961.) The convergence of Jupiter, Neptune and Chiron this week activates all of these points.
The Moon in the chart of a country represents ordinary people and the general populace, the “little” people as opposed to the rulers. One aspect in the political debate this week is the focus on the president’s nomination for Chief Justice. Obama made the shocking-to-some admission that he is looking for the quality of “empathy” in his choice. As Mercury retrograde is bound to do (accompanied in this case, by a square to Neptune), the word has been reframed and dissected throughout the media this week. In some contexts a discussion of empathy vs. compassion and sympathy might be relevant. But, for now, I’m going to imagine that “empathy” is a quality that the union of Jupiter, Neptune and Chiron could well pull off, if not specifically in our next Chief Justice, then perhaps in our own ordinary/extraordinary human consciousness.
Since the Moon in a country’s horoscope shows the mood of the people, maybe we are confused (e.g., is anyone telling the truth?), yet optimistic and idealistic. The planets that bring the greatest benefit (Jupiter) in the best possible ways (Neptune) to the human community (Aquarius) are speaking to the people of the nation. With Chiron there as well, there’s an even more translucent quality to this time in which the invisible worlds are opened up and teaching us a lot. Increasing our spiritual sensitivity has many methods and means, of course. Whether through devotion to religious or artistic practices, a meditative or contemplative path, or a more secular inquiry into issues of human rights and justice, we certainly see a deep reorganizing of priorities as people grapple with huge unemployment numbers, unending wars, an upended economy, global warming, etc.
These are strong days for our most expansive ideals, demonstrations of faith and generosity, and raucous nothing-to-lose interconnectedness and service to the highest good.
If we consider transits to your personal horoscope, the natal house where this conjunction falls is of primary focus. At least as significant, however, is the house with Pisces on the cusp. Herein is the domain in your inner/outer life where the experience of sublime transcendence and dissolution of self-centered fixations can be directly felt (and may, for some of us, require guidance – remembering Saturn’s place in keeping us tethered in reality).
In a display of Gemini’s capacity to gather information, here is a brief offering of ideas and experiences that I think suggest this current alchemy between Jupiter, Neptune and Chiron. Please add your suggestions to advance the collective endeavor offered by these planetary archetypes towards more (Jupiter) love (Neptune) and healing (Chiron) for us all (Aquarius)!
Many readers may be familiar with the teaching of Gangaji, a spiritual teacher in the lineage of Ramana Maharshi. She’s now blogging on one the most visible sites: Huffington Post. Her first entry is a clear and simple commentary on the meditative state.
Environmental activist Paul Hawken gave a superb commencement speech earlier this month at the University of Portland. If you haven’t already, do read it now, with the words charged by the potency of this moment. Hawken’s words are infused with “a deep sense of connectedness to the living world.” He says: “Inspiration is not garnered from the litanies of what may befall us; it resides in humanity’s willingness to restore, redress, reform, rebuild, recover, reimagine, and reconsider.”
Musician John Legend also gave a commencement speech this week at the University of Pennsylvania. Legend considers the reality of poverty and the politics of war, as well as the necessity for a “politics of empathy” and the quality of soulfulness. (Musicians, sensitive to the muses, are ruled by Neptune whose dreams are furthered spectacularly now by Jupiter’s expansive view and Chiron’s body/mind wisdom.)
Your Practice Site for Gratefulness is a lovely stopping point. It is the site of an international nonprofit organization that “provides resources for living in the gentle power of gratefulness, which restores courage, reconciles relationships, and heals our Earth.” There are meditative and prayerful experiences herein, including a labyrinth walk and the Angel of the Hour The angel hours are accompanied by bells and chants for each of the traditional eight hours of the day (e.g., Vigils, The Night Watch, “before the day’s noises begin and it is still perfectly quiet”; Terce, The Joy of Living, a “mid-morning prayer break” and Compline, Completing the Circle, at night, just before going to bed.
And, of course, Susan Boyle sang to the world again on Friday night. One of the British TV host’s spoke of how the world going through a very difficult time was looking for a “bit of hope and inspiration” and found it in Ms. Boyle. TV reviewer Ken Tucker writes: “Wearing a glittery brown dress, standing behind a backdrop of clouds with a spotlight behind her head making it look as though her face was emanating from heaven, Boyle pulled off her second major public appearance with ease.” As Robert Blaschke noted in an earlier blog, she has the prenatal solar eclipse at 26° Aquarius (like President Obama). If you’re not already one of the 60 million viewers who have seen it thus far, take delight in Susan Boyle’s singing (and notice the supreme confidence in her face and voice while singing the lines “a new day will begin.”)
On this Memorial Day, thank you to all who have served, who are serving and who will serve our country in the days ahead.
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By Mary Plumb | April 26, 2009
We are all lucky to have such a brilliant (and prolific) astrologer as Robert Blaschke in our midst. I am especially fortunate to have him as an ever generous friend. Although he was preparing for a teaching trip, Robert offered to send me his research on the swine flu to use for today’s blog.
Here is the Mexico mundane horoscope as a tri-wheel with its secondary progressions for Sunday, April 26 when the transiting Mars-Pluto square perfects.
Here is a summary of Robert’s research:
“Viruses are ruled by Pluto. In the Mexican Constitution mundane horoscope (1) transiting Pluto is in a stationary opposition with its national Pluto at 2°41′ Cancer from January 13 until July 4.
The Mars-Pluto square perfected on Sunday at 9:08 AM PDT. This is forming a transiting cardinal T-Cross in the Mexican horoscope.
One would presume that the outbreak would peak on Sunday, and then subside.
When transiting Mars opposes the Mexican progressed Moon (symbolizing the public) between May 1 and May 4, another flare-up could occur.
It is also of interest that this viral outbreak is taking place as Jupiter transits the Mexican progressed Uranus. This is not good for containment – Uranus rules aviation and Jupiter rules international travel.
Already, some school children in NYC who had recently traveled to Mexico City are reported to have these swine flu symptoms.”
(1) Described here as BWH#216, that is from the Book of World Horoscopes, by Nicholas Campion, chart #216. Tri-wheel: inner wheel: Mexico Constitution, January 31, 1917; 4:00 p.m. LMT; Queretaro, Mexico (20°N28′; 100°W23′); middle wheel: progressed to April 26, 2009; outer wheel: Mars square Pluto, April 26, 2009.
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By Mary Plumb | April 13, 2009
Mars conjuncts Uranus in the sky every two years and is exact this Wednesday, April 15, at 24° 27’ Pisces.
Four pirates attacked the U.S. cargo ship Maersk Alabama on April 8, the day before the Full Moon. Captain Richard Phillips offered himself as hostage so his crew would be released unharmed.
On Friday night President Obama authorized the use of force against the pirates if the danger to the captain escalated. On Friday, transiting Mars was at 21° Pisces opposite Obama’s natal Mars at 22° Virgo and square the U.S. Sibly Mars at 22° Gemini. As we all know, Navy Seal snipers killed three pirates and Capt. Richard Phillips was released unharmed. This is a successful Mars on display: the Navy Seals are rightly being praised for their sharp shooting skill and Capt. Phillips for his heroism and bravery in offering himself as a hostage so his crew would be freed. (1)
Of course, there are many sides to any story and, as one blogging headline noted (i.e.,“Doesn’t End Well for the Pirates”), the situation is more complex than the immediate and daring tale of rescue at sea might suggest. (2)
A news report this morning said that “the rescue ending in the pirates’ deaths could ramp up hostilities in the growing wave of pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia, in which crews and pirates have seldom been harmed.” Vice Admiral Bill Gortney, head of the U.S. Navy’s Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet, said to reporters: “This could escalate violence in this part of the world, no question about it.” (3) The applying conjunction of Mars and Uranus suggests that this might be quite true.
On a personal note, I wonder where the parallels are: where are our own daring rescues-at-sea? How do we use this week’s planetary alignment? It’s not a frequent conjunction – the last was on April 28, 2007 at 17° Pisces, and we don’t see it again until April 3, 2011 at 1° Aries, which suggests an uncommon moment in time.
Mars with Uranus, of course, has lots of implications: we can fight for freedom and human rights or exaggerate selfish aims. The combination can heat up detachment, inspire quick response, be sudden, surprising, and aggressive, or brilliant, intuitive, and strategic. (Jeff Jawer describes the pair as “raging forces” in his column in this month’s TMA.)
Conditions in the natal chart and levels of manifestation are always a primary consideration, of course, but in keeping with the current motif of courage on the high seas, I would say that the house that holds 24° Pisces in your horoscope is begging to be refreshed and exposed. The conjunction suggests that the contents of the particular astrological house in question are ready to be out in the open and have a grand new cycle in life.
One best possible road for Mars and Uranus is to be an impeccable warrior for truth in the houses’ concerns. Trust the passion for freedom and the inclination towards upsetting your comfort zone, and tell the truth to yourself at all costs.
Press yourself onward and upwards. There may be nothing to lose. Pisces, after all, can relinquish a point of view and fixed reference point with ease and grace.
Imagine for a moment that the coast is clear for you to head in any direction forward in your life. Where are you excited about going, what brings aliveness to your day? What actions inspire your most courageous heart? Harness that quality, because these two great planetary beings don’t come back to such intimate contact for two more years.
(Come to think of it, the conjunction is exact on April 15. Tax revolt, anyone?)
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By Mary Plumb | March 30, 2009
On the spring equinox, March 20, Michelle Obama joined a group of middle school students to break ground for a White House herb and vegetable garden. (1)
The previous New Moon, on February 24, had the Sun and Moon at 6°34’ Pisces, with the asteroid Ceres, the goddess of agriculture and grain, at 7°12’ Virgo. The opposition from Ceres was the closest aspect to the lunation; we can see the asteroid’s signature in this simple, yet important, event.
This year’s garden is the first at the White House in 60 years since Eleanor Roosevelt’s “victory garden” during World War II.
Ceres is in Virgo from November 3, 2008 until August 3, 2009. Ceres, the largest asteroid and named for the Roman goddess of grain, signifies all things related to food production, i.e., agriculture, farming, gardening, horticulture, plants, and the nurturing of seeds. The White House garden is one highly visible sign of the tremendous growth in home gardens, as fuel prices and population concerns bring awareness of food sources, safety and availability to communities around the country.
Organic food and sustainable farming methods have many advocates, but Californian Alice Waters is famous for her efforts. She opened her first restaurant, Chez Panisse, in Berkeley, in 1971, and has promoted organic and small farm products in her writing and cooking. Among her many food-related endeavors is the “edible education” project that has been introduced into many California schools. Keenly aware of the current crisis in childhood obesity, Waters teaches young people about food and is an advocate for policies that promote good eating habits. (2)
In a profile about her on March 16 on CBS’s 60 Minutes, Alice Waters said: “I have been talking nonstop about the symbolism of an edible landscape at the White House. I think it says everything about stewardship of the land and about the nourishment of a nation.” (3)
Another recent project founded by Alice Waters was the Slow Food Nation event in August 2008. This was a gathering of 50,000 people (“it was the largest celebration of American food in history”) in San Francisco in support of sustainable food production. (4)
Working with Slow Food and being a famous cookbook author and restauranteur, how delightful to find that Alice Waters is a Taurus Sun and Cancer Moon. She was born on April 28, 1944 in Chatham, New Jersey. Waters has the Sun in Taurus conjunct Mercury and the Moon in Cancer conjunct Mars and Ceres. (I did not find a birth time for her, but the Moon was in Cancer that entire day that she was born.) What a beautiful signature of someone deeply connected to Mother Earth and motivated to provide food and nourishment to the public.
One other telling astrological note: Michelle Obama has the natal North Node at 11° Cancer, conjunct Alice Waters’s natal Ceres at 11° Cancer. What a lovely connection between two individuals who are crossing paths in support of a highly visible project that is designed to bring nourishment and sustenance to many people. (5)
(5) Michelle Obama, January 17, 1964; sunrise; Chicago, IL (41°N40’, 87°W39’).
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By Mary Plumb | March 2, 2009
Venus, planet of beauty and love, is remarkable in the evening sky now. On February 27, she reached her maximum brilliance of 4.8 magnitude and, if you’ve had clear nights where you live, you’ve been able to see her at her very best.
She’s now as far from the Sun as she can be; she stands on her own out of the Sun’s rays and appears at her brightest. Venus is following the Sun; she appears after the Sun has set in the western sky. When she reaches this far distance from the Sun, she is also moving very slowly and about to turn retrograde. (Venus goes retrograde every 18 months for about 40 days each time.)
On March 6 Venus stations at 15° Aries and starts her deliberate walk all the way back to 29° Pisces. (She actually gets to the degree of her station direct on April 11.) Since she is moving very slowly again, Venus stays at 29° Pisces until she moves direct on April 17.
Venus is the Evening Star now; the Greek astrologers called her Venus Hesperus (i.e., “setting in the West”). As she stops and goes retrograde, Venus is moving closer to the Sun. As she gets closer to the Sun she is less visible, and Venus will disappear from the sky for about two weeks beginning around March 23. Still retrograde, she will reappear in the sky before sunrise on April 3, now the Morning Star, or Venus Lucifer (“the light bearer” to the Greeks).
This period, when Venus disappears from the sky, was famously important to the Mayan astrologers who saw it as Venus’s descent into the underworld. The Babylonian astrologers considered Venus’s reappearance in the morning sky as the time to go to war.
Significantly, during the time Venus is invisible, she will conjunct the Sun. This occurs on March 27: Venus retrograde conjuncts the Sun at 7°16’ Aries. This is an important moment in this backtracking process. For all of us, Venus going back to meet the Sun suggests an opportunity to align our desires and our sense of delight with our creative purpose. The Sun symbolizes the drive for realization and fulfillment of purpose in each of us. Venus is in Aries, pioneering her own way, and impetuous and eager for the newest pleasure. She’s stopping soon, though; she can’t go any farther and must reevaluate and reconsider what it is she really wants. With the infusion of solar intent on March 27, we may find ourselves hearing a deeper — or subtler — call to what is our true heart’s desire. Whatever comes into our minds or hearts at that time may be showing us a notion of happiness that is truly sustainable.
Venus will go back to the very poignant last degree of Pisces. From April 12 to 23, Venus stays at 29° Pisces. This is in her sign of exaltation and a critical degree. It’s as if we’re collectively reclaiming some deep sorrow, offering, or sacrifice. If that degree is sensitive in your chart, it may be a deeply personal experience of an exquisite yearning for love, tinged perhaps with an awareness of loss or impermanence, that somehow is revisited or rediscovered. Transiting Mars is also conjunct Venus on April 21 at 29° Pisces. Certainly that will be a passionate moment for some; a union of the masculine drive and feminine desire nature suggests a powerfully creative force. Venus, after all, has gone back to allow her mythological consort Mars to catch her again. The personal desire nature is focused and strong; how will we direct it?
Venus is now at 15° Aries, the degree of her station on the 6th, and her stories are starting to appear. I’m thinking about a few people I know well and seeing hints of the retrograde themes thus far. One friend with Taurus rising has Venus stationing retrograde in her 12th house, near natal Juno in Aries. In a conversation this morning, she said she was feeling drawn to have a past life regression, or some sort of process to uncover what it is from the past that is impacting her current relationship life. Her natal ruler, Venus, is in Sagittarius, which is inclined to keep looking forward; this desire to look back and in to find a possible hidden motivation is not her usual style.
Someone else has Libra at the Midheaven. Venus is now turning retrograde in her 4th house and will cross back over the nadir before going direct. This person is weighing what she really wants to do in her career. A newly diagnosed health issue has suddenly gotten her attention. (Venus also rules Taurus, which is on the cusp of her natal 6th house of illness.) She told me that she’s feeling like she needs to discover what she really loves to do and make that part of her work life. She has made the association that when she figures out the next career move, it must be toward what she really loves to insure her health will improve. (She is not an astrologer.)
A gentleman (with natal North Node in Aries in the 5th) has been in a relationship for several years and has felt certain about wanting to move forward with a more serious commitment. Taurus is on his 7th-house cusp. Now, as Venus is slowing down and becoming more guarded and deliberate, his partner is talking about a commitment and my friend is suddenly unsure. He says this sudden feeling of caution has surprised him.
Another person I’ve spoken to recently also has Venus ruling the 7th house. She is happily married and feels confident with her partner, but she’s noticing that her circle of friends may be changing. There are friends in her life to whom she suddenly is not feeling connected. Nothing traumatic or difficult has occurred, just a gentle and gradual awareness that her values and her life have changed and certain people may not remain as close as they have been before.
We can all look to the houses ruled by Taurus and Libra to see where we have a chance to carefully reevaluate what we have and what we may really want. The degrees of Venus’s stations are also very important; in this cycle, that is 15° Aries and 29° Pisces. In her regular motion Venus moves about a degree everyday. With the retrograde cycle, she moves slowly and spends about 12 days in each of those sensitive degrees.
Look in your own chart for where these degrees fall. If you have planets or angles at 15° Aries or 29° Pisces, this period will be especially important and personal for you.
For all of us, Venus retrograde is a chance to look again at what we cherish, to let assumptions about what is dear to us fall away, to acknowledge what has changed, and to move onward with confidence that our real heart’s desires are within our grasp.
For a wonderful sojourn with Venus, I highly recommend Anne Massey’s Venus: Her Cycles, Symbols and Myths. She explains beautifully the geometry of Venus’s stations in the sky and a great deal more. I reviewed it for TMA here.
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By Mary Plumb | February 23, 2009
On February 19, Neptune and Pluto were exactly septile. This is just one in the current series of septiles between the two planets (beginning in 2001 and ending in 2012). The septile is a 7th-harmonic aspect, which is 1/7 of 360°, or 51°26′. This time, transiting Saturn has also been in a 7th-harmonic aspect with each planet – it is biseptile (103°) to Pluto and triseptile (154°) to Neptune.
What to make of all these crazy numbers?
First, let’s consider the number seven: In mathematical terms, it is an irrational number, i.e., a number that cannot be represented as a simple fraction, a number that is “uncountable.” To the mind of the symbolic thinker, the number is associated with all that is strange and unusual.
To quote an anonymous web author: “If we were to examine every class of occult teaching from the Hindu, Chinese, Egyptian, Greek, Hebrew, or modern school, whichever one may choose, in every case – and without a single exception – we will find that the quality of the number 7 stands for the expression of that mysterious God force in Nature.” (1)
We get a glimpse here of why astrologers associate the septile with larger forces of destiny at work, or fated events.
While trying to get a grasp of the septile aspect, I went back to John Addey (1920 – 1982), a key voice in bringing Pythagorean understanding of numbers into modern astrology. He wrote Harmonics in Astrology in 1976; it is now back in print after many years. He writes that the number seven (and the 7th harmonic) ”is a difficult number to pin down” and “somewhat elusive to interpret.”
I tend to trust him in this matter, as the gentleman had two natal septiles: between Saturn in Virgo (6°) and Mercury in Cancer (14°), and between Jupiter in Leo (15°) and the Sun in Gemini (24°). (2)
Closer to home, TMA publisher Tem Tarriktar wrote in his 2004 article that it was the “dominant planetary aspect of this decade.” Do read it here, as Tem references the aspects’ previous appearances at significant moments in history. I also mentioned this septile in an earlier article, having been taken with Robert Wilkinson’s name for it: the aspect of “grand irrationality.”
And now, here we are with the aspect partile in the sky again. Almost all of the earlier partile aspects in this series (16 out of the 17 aspects that formed between 2001 and 2008) had Pluto in Sagittarius, and now Pluto is solidly in Capricorn.
Whereas barely a few months ago, media outlets hedged around suggesting any similarity between the current situation and the Great Depression, now, with Pluto firmly ensconced in Capricorn and joined by Saturn, there is a media fixation on the worldwide financial meltdown, and words such as “collapse” and “catastrophe” are part of the daily headlines. In an article called “Soros sees no bottom for world financial ‘collapse,’ ” published on the very day the septile was exact, for example, financier George Soros said, “the world financial system has effectively disintegrated,” adding that “there is yet no prospect of a near-term resolution to the crisis. (3)
This is occurring at the same time that others are anticipating widespread euphoria about the Age of Aquarius: “When the moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars,” etc. Although Jupiter and Mars have been conjunct in Aquarius many times since 1900, now Mercury, Neptune, Chiron, and the North Node are there as well. This is a moment when the Aquarian capacity to unleash heretofore untapped creative potential for the good of the whole is quickened enormously.
Neptune and Pluto, the higher octave planets, have us feeling as if we’re on a precipice. Joined by Saturn, the feeling is tangible. In many sectors, people are deeply anxious; there is a pervasive fear of what’s ahead. Others are tuning in to the great possibilities and mysteries of an unborn magnificence that our time is about to witness.
Many of us are experiencing both, along with other strange permutations as well!
I’d like to include a heartening interpretation of Neptune septile Pluto (as if it appears in your natal chart) from the book Astrology 101: Beginner’s Guide to Reading Your Chart by Gyan Surya. (4)
“You have a destiny to fulfill as a midwife of the spirit, having the need and ability to transform and transmute the deepest reaches of your being. This is felt as a divine imperative in your life, and despite any personal sacrifice, you never waver from the path. It is your mission, and you realize you are meant to share the fruits of your efforts to assist others with their transformation. You have great insight, compassion, understanding, and imagination, as well as a profound acceptance of and reverence for the cycles of life, death, rebirth, and transformation. You gravitate naturally to the role of the spiritual surgeon, supporting and nurturing while also prodding, testing, and tempering. You are deeply committed to penetrate through illusion and uncover the bare, unvarnished truth. Any work in the area of depth psychology would be ideal for you. You may often be aware of the hand of Spirit guiding your decisions and directing your process of unfoldment.”
Many thanks to my sister, Kate, a very fine astrologer, for suggesting this septile as a topic for a blog. And to my esteemed colleagues and good friends, Tem Tarriktar and Robert Blaschke, for taking time for conversations with me as I tried to formulate my thoughts on such a big idea. Thank you all. This blog is truly a group effort. Yeh Aquarius!
(1) the number seven
(2) John Addey, June 15, 1920; 8:15 am BST; Barnsley, England (53N23, 1W28); birth data: “A”
(3) Reuters article
(4) Astrology 101
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