TMA This Week

Eclipse stories, part 2

By Mary Plumb | September 11, 2017

For many of us, the notion that the “Great American Eclipse” (so named by NASA) would primarily be a seed-planting time (as per its connection to the New Moon as a cycle that begins in the dark) has been (temporarily) washed away by hurricane winds, floods, storm surges, or blown away and burnt up by raging fires and mandatory evacuations. (1)

As noted in our last blog, the eclipse degree was on the Midheaven in Houston where Harvey landed on August 25, the first national disaster in this current run.

Irma has now devastated Cuba and islands in the Caribbean and is whipping through Florida, where more than four million homes are without power and in the path of Irma’s wind and storm surges.

On September 2 at about 3:30 p.m., a few feckless young people threw a firecracker into the dry tinder on a well-used hiking trail near Portland, Oregon (which saw the solar eclipse at 99% visibility). The ensuing blaze jumped the river into Washington State and quickly became a 30,000-acre conflagration, tearing through the gorgeous Columbia Gorge. Transiting Mars was at 28º26′ Leo and Mercury was at 28º 52′ Leo, exact to the minute of arc to the August 21 solar eclipse degree.

Eagle Creek fire
The Eagle Creek Fire, which crossed the Columbia River to burn in two states. Photo from:
Oregon Department of Forestry

I am in southern Oregon, not in any path of fire, but surrounded by smoke from the multiple large fires in the region. (2) This morning there is a blue sky with “moderate” air quality, the first day in weeks that is not “unhealthy” or “hazardous.” Locals are temporarily venturing out to the land of the living without zombie masks (to protect the lungs). In this particular microcosm, it is a moment when we remember what normal felt like. May everyone in the lands impacted by the storms and fires also have a moment soon that feels like “normal.”

In a tweet that captures the moment — and echoes many conversations in these past days — writer John Scalzi wrote on September 8: “These aren’t the End Times, but it sure as hell feels like the End Times are getting in a few dress rehearsals right about now.”

A story from outside the realm of natural disaster — and certainly in the category of an event that will unfold over many months — is the Equifax security breach. “On September 7, 2017, Equifax announced a cybersecurity incident potentially impacting approximately 143 million U.S. consumers.” (3) On September 7th, Mercury was direct and back exactly to the minute of arc of the eclipse degree (28º52′ Leo).

Although first reports of the actual potential damage are sketchy, the timing of this looks pretty bad. Whilst discussing the current air quality here in Oregon my friend, Jyotish astrologer Steve Stuckey, alerted me to the Equifax chart. He found the business formation date of December 20, 1913. (4)

The chart, set for 12 a.m., as stated on the government site, has 19º41′ Gemini at the MC; thus, 19º41′ Sagittarius at the IC, less than 2º from Saturn’s direct station on August 25.

Equifax, business formation
December 20, 1913
12 a.m.
Atlanta, GA

Equifax natal

The chart also has Saturn at 13º37′ Gemini and Mars and Neptune co-present at 20º and 27º Cancer. ” The company thinks the hack happened sometime between mid-May and the end of July, but has only now announced the breach. That’s all we know.” (5)

On May 10, transiting Mars was at 13º36′ Gemini, conjunct the company chart Saturn, with Neptune at 13º Pisces squaring the Equifax Saturn. (Transiting Neptune square Saturn was exact on April 27, August 6, and again on February 23, 2018. Fun fact: The transiting Moon will be at 13º40′ Gemini on February 23, too. More is bound to come on this story, but as the Moon represents the people, this must be a celestial heads-up to fix our cyber security pronto.)

Stay safe out there, dear readers. The outer events and personal awakenings following the solar eclipse are just beginning to show themselves. One simple aspiration: May the good people of the U.S. emerge with a clear commitment to the common good — and, bonus points in honor of the eclipse on our land — may climate deniers everywhere take another look at the evidence.

Footnotes:

 (1) This blog is centered on the U.S. — extreme weather and natural disasters are worldwide — i.e., a magnitude 8.2 earthquake (the strongest in 100 years) devastated southern Mexico, massive flooding in South Asia, etc. In the Guardian today, Bill McKibben wrote: “For the sake of keeping things manageable, let’s confine the discussion to a single continent and a single week: North America over the last seven days.”
The Guardian

(2) Oregon.gov

(3) Wikipedia:Equifax

(4) Georgia: business search

(5) Equifax data breach: How to find out if you were one of the 143 million hacked

 

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Early Solar Eclipse reports

By Mary Plumb | August 28, 2017

Tem, whom I know to be an aficionado of weather conditions, noted several days ago on Facebook that the solar eclipse was on the Midheaven in Houston and eastern Texas, the site of Hurricane Harvey’s biggest impact.

On Sunday morning, a spokesman for the National Hurricane Center said: “Everything that we had hoped wouldn’t happen but was forecasted is happening. We have a catastrophic, life-threatening flood event taking place over southeastern Texas, including the Houston metropolitan area. It’s bad now and it’s getting worse.” Torrential rains are forecast for days to come.

I am writing this blog at the time of the above dire announcement — the Moon is in Scorpio and will square the North Node and Mars (24° Leo) and the eclipse degree (29°) early Monday morning (Pacific time).

Transiting Mars has been conjunct the North Node (August 26-27) and will reach the eclipse degree (29° Leo) on September 3, followed by Mercury’s direct station on September 5 at 28°25′ Leo.

Our thoughts and prayers are with all our friends and families — known and unknown — in Texas.

Here are a few other early stories from the eclipse:

On Science Alert site, How Did Animals React to the Solar Eclipse? includes this report from the Memphis Zoo (93% visibility):
“Visitors and staff observed the black bears running around during totality, then calming down after the sun returned, the giraffes moving toward the barn like it was nighttime, and African black-footed penguins vocalizing.”

For those of you who may have been on the internal prayer/ritual path and missed the excitement of watching the eclipse, here’s a well-done 5-minute video from Madras, Oregon.

And these guys at Smarter Every Day caught the space station transit across the Sun from Wyoming — “There’s good people all across America, y’know.” They had great equipment, and at totality the photographer got so excited his “brain stopped working.”

A reporter from N.Y.’s station PIX11 went to Oregon for the eclipse. Read his report and watch the video clip: The emotions and impact of seeing a total solar eclipse – a reporter’s first hand accoint.
“I had heard, and seen on TV, my entire life, reports and dramatic images of total solar eclipses and the effect they can have on people fortunate enough to view them. And then I was one of the fortunate ones Monday … The 1 minute and 38 seconds of totality that I had was … again, there are no words for the emotions, the feelings.”

And, from Richard Quinnell, editor-in-chief at Electronic Products website, here’s another account: Solar Eclipse 2017: My first hand account of witnessing totality
“The moment has arrived. Solar glasses come off and the awesome spectacle of a black hole in the sky surrounded by a white nimbus becomes visible to the naked eye. The crowd around us cheered; small children shrieked and danced with excitement. People pointed out the brightest stars that suddenly appeared (“There’s Venus, the morning star!”). I felt like I was suddenly in another world, or at least on the set of a science fiction movie. Others simply grew profoundly quiet, perhaps contemplating how truly small we are and how vast our universe is.”

Nick Anthony Fiorenza, creator of Lunar Planner works with the sidereal zodiac. He has a very detailed look at the sky configurations surrounding the solar eclipse.
“In addition to the Total Solar Eclipse, another equally significant event occurs within this lunar cycle: the Ceres Jupiter-Haumea Eris T-Square.” He has a beautiful graphic ephemeris (from May 2016 through October 2017) of Ceres Uranus-Eris Opposite Haumea-Jupiter & the Jupiter-Pluto Square.

Also, a 2-minute video of the angles for Harvey’s landfall in Rockport, Texas as “a ‘Grand Square’ forms on the location’s angles … Pluto-Midheaven (MC) opposite Ceres (IC) and Eris-Uranus rising (ASC) opposite Moon-Haumea-Jupiter setting (DSC).” (This is very easy to follow with his graphic.)

And, from TMA‘s (newly formed) Planning Ahead department, here’s a short video that shows every upcoming solar eclipse until 2040 (created by Tech Insider).

We look forward to hearing from more of you about your eclipse experience for a future blog.

Until then, stay safe out there, everyone. And, in deference to Saturn’s direct station (August 25), enjoy the passage of time.

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The August 21st Solar Eclipse

By Mary Plumb | July 31, 2017

Digital graphics are a perfect medium for explaining the astronomical phenomena for the solar eclipse. Check these pages on Vox:

Total solar eclipse 2017: everything you need to know

A solar eclipse is coming to America. Here’s what you’ll see where you live.

Astrologers are getting lots of mainstream coverage, too. Newsweek magazine has a big piece featuring reference to Wade Cave’s extensively researched (and freely available) article posted on Skyscript.

Marina at Darkstar — Astrology For Discordant Times considers the significance of the fixed star Regulus — the solar eclipse is on that star at 29° Leo. (She takes into account Regulus’s recent progression into tropical Virgo in her article as well.)

Marina concludes: “Regulus has a big heart, it is the heart of the Lion after all … So for this golden Solar Eclipse it will be very hard to keep anything in the dark … Skulking cowards will not do well under this Solar Eclipse, there will be nowhere to hide.”

Here’s her 45-minute YouTube video on the subject.

There are lots of YouTube videos, including many interviews with Amanda Pua Walsh at Astrology Hub.

Here is Amanda’s 50-minute interview with David, The Leo King:
Solar Eclipse August 21 2017 Astrology Talk with The Leo King.

And here’s the interview with Arielle Guttman that addresses personal empowerment with the solar eclipse in Leo.

(Other astrologer interviews in this series are with Christopher Renstrom, Kathy Biehl, and Gemini Brett.)

Christina Caudill speaks on Shifting the Collective Destiny: Lunar Nodes into Leo and Aquarius on the Evolutionary Astrology channel. (She looks back at previous cycles with these nodes, which she finds is “not just a story of resistance, this is a story of resolve.”)

Back to the written word for The Astrology King’s post on the August Solar Eclipse. Noting the solar eclipse conjunction to Regulus and exact trine to Uranus (28° Aries), he writes: “This is an excellent solar eclipse to change destructive or outdated behaviors such as prejudices and addictions. A strong desire to succeed together with self pride will break bad habits and provide unexpected new interests and hobbies to replace them.”

TMA pal Dale O’Brien has a wonderful 70-minute talk: 2017 & 2024 Solar Eclipse Paths: America’s Historical (and Near Future?) Societal and Earth Changes. He carefully looks at both eclipse paths on the U.S. landmass (and their crossing point). He also mentions other cultures’ views on eclipses, Hopi prophecy, and the specific historical significance of the August 2017 solar eclipse “that divides, yet unites, and connects Lincoln City, Oregon to Lincoln, Nebraska, to ‘the land of Lincoln’ Illinois, to Fort Sumter, South Carolina.”

The astrologer writing as anthropik9 at Sabian Earth references Charles Jayne, Bernadette Brady, and others in War! DJT and the August Eclipse.

“This eclipse by itself does not suggest that the U.S. is in immediate peril of war, but it alerts us to be prepared for some kind of significant, perhaps shattering event here in America … The proximity of Mars to the eclipse is indicative of a rather volatile mood that will be stimulated by the astronomical event, regardless of where one is located on the globe.”

Of the current transit of Saturn to Trump’s Moon, anthropik9 writes: “With Saturn crossing his Moon, DJT may experience health and stamina issues (he has apparently always enjoyed good health); he may feel strong inner frustrations because he doesn’t feel that he can act as freely as he has throughout his life. He has always been the total captain of his ship, answering to no one, now as President of the most powerful nation in history, he finds that he is more restricted than at any other time in his life. Boy! What a bummer!”

Here’s a site with snippets (easy to read) on Myths and Superstitions Around Solar Eclipses. “The Tewa tribe from New Mexico in the United States believed that a solar eclipse signaled an angry Sun who had left the skies to go to his house in the underworld.”

Mark Flaherty’s blog is called Are the Lights Going Out on Trump?
“Traditionally, solar eclipses are considered the most malefic of omens in astrology, since the Sun, the source of all life, disappears during the middle of the day, plunging the earth into darkness. My teacher will not even leave his house on the day of an eclipse.”

Turkish astrologer Öner Döser’s article Leaders Time! includes these observations: “According to Persian astrologer Abu Mashar, Leo and Mars are related to Turks. This means that 2017 will also be an important and remarkable year for Turks, as Mars will be in Leo during the two eclipses in August this year. During the summer months, when the Sun and Mars will be close to each other in Leo, the chart of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shows that this year will be highly important, as his natal Pluto is activated by the eclipses.”

Jude Cowell at Stars Over Washington covers the eclipse entry point on the Oregon coast and its last place of totality — in the fishing village of McClellanville, SC — and the Saros series in her blog: Horoscope: August 2017: Solar Eclipse Across America.

“In 2017, the manifestation of 1N is the first time the ‘Nostradamus’ ‘King of Terror’ (or, ‘Alarm’) — the ‘Mother of All Eclipses’ — has repeated since its much touted manifestation at 18° Leo on August 11, 1999. The Fixed Grand Cross of that eclipse is notable for its appearance in the Book of Revelation of the Oxen Point, the Lion Point, the Eagle Point, and the Angel Point of the mid-degrees of the fixed signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius).

Perhaps you prefer to think that this link by eclipse between 1999 and 2017 is of no matter. Well, as always, dear reader, that is up to you. Yet the Fixed Cross degrees and the degree and sign of the 1999 eclipse are sensitized and I expect some repetition of such themes.”

I am in Ashland, Oregon, where the eclipse will be 93% total. Local shops have stacks of eclipse glasses on hand and campsites and hotels have been booked for months. Thus far, I am one of those inclined to aim for a very quiet retreat on the 21st.

Be well everyone! A very hot summer indeed.

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Trump’s Russian Grand Cross

By Alex Miller | July 17, 2017

They say there’s no smoke without fire, and if so, then judging by the amount of smoke being generated over the various probes into Russian involvement in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and potential collusion by the Trump campaign, there must be one massive conflagration somewhere.

Consider: Trump National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, resigns just weeks into the new administration for lying about the extent, the timing, and the content of his interactions with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak; Trump Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, recuses himself from any Russian-related investigations after it was discovered that he lied to Congress during his confirmation hearings about his contacts with this same ambassador; first son-in-law and presidential advisor, Jared Kushner, is reported to have had conversations with Kislyak regarding setting up a secret communications channel between Trump and Putin, which he “forgot” to report on his security clearance application; Trump himself fires both the acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates, after she warned the White House that Flynn was compromised by the Russians, and FBI Director James Comey, avowedly to ease the pressure from his investigation into the Russian connection; and it was Trump who revealed classified information, and later opined on the firing of Comey to that same Russian Ambassador and the Russian Foreign Minister in the Oval Office the day after the firing. (1)

Up to this point, multiple investigations by the House, the Senate, the FBI, and now by the Special Counsel Robert Mueller, have yet to reveal concrete proof of collusion or explicit wrongdoing. But, as astrologers, we have other tools besides subpoenas to help us get to the root of the matter. One of the most valuable of these are PNAs (Personal-Named Asteroids), which can point the finger to specific places and people that might have a bearing on the story.

So, if one were to try to astrologically explain the seemingly dominant hold that Russia has on Donald Trump’s political psyche, where would one begin? How about with asteroid Russia (#232)?

Asteroid Russia makes a powerful statement in The Donald’s birth chart. (2) It is at 12° Aries, which squares Mercury at 8° Cancer; to paraphrase the old Ray Charles hit, that spells “Russia on my Mind” in no uncertain terms. Mercury also rules commerce and trade, and, according to Eric Trump’s conversation with a golf writer in 2014, Russian capital formed a huge part of Trump’s funding, especially after the economic downturn in 2008: “We don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.” (3)

At 12° Aries, natal asteroid Russia is also trine to Trump’s natal Pluto at 10° Leo, another indicator of potentially deep pockets in that country for the Trump empire. There’s an element of coercion, power politics, and scandal when Pluto is involved, all of which lend their flavor to the Russian investigation.

But most importantly, Trump’s 12° Aries asteroid Russia opposes his Jupiter, which is stationary direct at 17° Libra and conjunct Chiron at 14° Libra. Jupiter, of course, rules politics, as well as foreign relations, diplomacy, and international commerce. Because it is stationary (it turned direct barely three hours after his birth), Jupiter is deeply embedded in Trump’s psyche. It acts as a still point upon which the chart revolves, a sort of gravity well that draws in whatever it touches. 

With Jupiter opposite asteroid Russia, Trump’s political philosophy naturally turns toward all things Russian. His iconoclasm on the issues affecting this country is made all the more dramatic by Jupiter’s exact trine to natal Uranus at 17° Gemini, which delights in upsetting the apple cart, shocking others’ sensibilities and flouting social norms, and espousing unconventional attitudes. Trump’s continual praise of Vladimir Putin, his unfathomable hesitation in ascribing the hacking of the DNC and the Clinton campaign to Russia, and his coziness with Russian officials, all demonstrate this Uranian inability to toe the line of others’ expectations. Natal Uranus is conjunct Trump’s Sun at 22° Gemini, also in trine to Jupiter, which makes all this very personal indeed. (4)

The contact with Chiron also indicates a maverick streak, reinforcing Uranus’s alternative, often-eccentric approach to politics, but also suggesting a serious wound from that quarter. Certainly if Trump’s political career comes crashing down, his connections to Russia will be a huge part of that disruption. 

And just as Chiron acts to reinforce those Uranian urges Trump seems unable to quell or resist, there is another player in the mix that reinforces Chiron’s emphasis on self-wounding. This is asteroid Nemesis, which, at 16° Cancer in Trump’s natal chart, forms a t-square to the Jupiter–Russia opposition. Nemesis is named for the ancient Greek goddess of divine retribution, a karmic force that intercedes to restore the balance when we mere mortals step too far out of line or fail to pay proper respect to Fortune for having blessed us. When we start to attribute our greatness or success solely to our own efforts — discounting the role of fate — Nemesis reminds us just how lowly we really are.

Originally a force of “due enactment,” a comeuppance for our sins, in modern usage Nemesis has come to represent any person, circumstance, or power that stands in our way, blocking our goals and ambitions, deservedly or otherwise. In that sense, we can see Nemesis’ hand in the rapidly decreasing political capital for the Trump White House, distracted and consumed by the pushback on the Russian investigation, losing focus on its agenda, and having difficulty enacting any sort of legislation.

But we said this pattern was a grand cross, and so far we’re only seeing three “corners” filled. This is where things get interesting, from a PNA perspective. The confluence of the Comey firing and the Russian Oval Office meeting made me curious about how these players might factor into Trump’s natal asteroid Russian ties. There are more than 17,000 named PNAs, so there’s a good chance that at least some of these names are represented celestially.

As for the fired FBI Director, there’s no “Comey” asteroid, but there is a Combe, a close phonetic match. (My research with PNAs over the past decade has shown that often these will work, appearing in natal and event charts in ways that drive the narrative from an astrological perspective.) And so it is with Combe: At 12° Libra natally for Trump, Combe activates and energizes his natal tendencies toward political (Jupiter) wounding (Chiron). Asteroid Combe is also exactly opposed asteroid Russia at 12° Aries! Initially, Trump had less to fear from the congressional investigations run by Republican chairs with potentially sympathetic views toward indiscretions committed by a Republican president. But FBI Director Comey was independent and therefore more of a danger; after failing to extract a loyalty oath or an agreement to pull back on the investigation, Trump fired Comey on May 9, explaining to his Russian guests the following day that this would ease the “pressure” he had felt. (5)

The Russian guests at that May 10 meeting are in the mix as well. Asteroid Sergej (a variant spelling of “Sergei”) falls at 13° Cancer in Trump’s natal chart, conjunct Nemesis and square the asteroid Russia/Jupiter opposition.This represents both Ambassador Sergei Kislyak and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who is also represented by asteroid Lavrov, which, incredibly, has an eponymous asteroid that falls at 14° Capricorn in Trump’s nativity, filling in the empty leg of the Grand Cross! Sergei Kislyak is deeply involved in whatever this story turns out to be, and could well prove Trump’s nemesis, as prefigured by asteroid Sergej’s conjunction with asteroid Nemesis. As above, so below!

When we factor in the transits for May 9, the day of Comey’s firing, plus natal placements for Comey himself, we find a stunning resonance. (6) First, transit Jupiter at 14° Libra was effectively fanning the flames of this as yet unsourced fire. Jupiter was about to return to its natal degree in Trump’s chart and exactly conjunct his natal Chiron; the emphasis is on the political wounding that has lain dormant since Trump’s birth. Not to be outdone, Comey’s natal Jupiter at 10° Capricorn fits snugly into the pattern, and was reinforced on the day of his firing by asteroid Rosenstein at the same degree. (Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s recommendation was the initial reason given for Comey’s dismissal, until Trump himself exposed the Russian motivation a few days later in an interview with NBC anchor Lester Holt.) 

The confluence of these energies natally, and their apt reinforcement by transit, is a truly staggering display of celestial synchronicity, but it is by no means a rarity. These placements betray the internal fires from which all this external smoke issues, and give us excellent insights into the motivations and proclivities of this seemingly chaotic and abstruse story.

So, Comey’s out and Mueller is in. Will things get better for Trump?

Not likely. There’s also an asteroid Mueller, and on the day of the Comey firing, transit Mueller was at 16° Cancer, exactly conjunct Trump’s natal Nemesis. Worse, its natal degree is 13° Aries, just a degree off natal asteroid Russia, and very firmly tied to the Russian Grand Cross. Comey’s appearance as asteroid Combe may be judged to be tentative and ephemeral, a catalyst rather than a staple in the story. But Special Counsel Robert Mueller is emphatically and powerfully embedded in the pattern, so he’s going nowhere.

Not only that, but transit Pluto, currently retrograde, comes to its direct station in September at 16° Capricorn, exactly opposed Trump’s natal Nemesis at 16° Cancer. This is barely a month after the path of totality of the “American Eclipse” highlights the U.S. from sea to shining sea and falls atop Trump’s natal Ascendant. 

Fasten your seatbelts; it’s going to be a bumpy summer!

Footnotes:

(1) Wikipedia

(2) Donald J. Trump; June 14,1946; 10:54 AM EDT; Jamaica, N.Y., Rodden AA.

(3) The Hill

(4) An exact square from Trump’s natal Sun at 22° Gemini to natal asteroid Mosvka — Russian for “Moscow” — at 22° Virgo reinforces this, making it a part of his core essence.

(5) NPR

(6) James Comey; December 14, 1960; Yonkers, N.Y. (no known time). Wikipedia.

Bio: 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. His work with deep space points and asteroids appears monthly at DayKeeper Journal. Alex can be reached for comment or services at glaktix@verizon.net, or visit him at his website: Alex’s Asteroid Astrology.

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Holidays, Astrological Style

By Angela Slezak | July 3, 2017

If you’re an astrologer, you might not experience holidays in the same way as your fellow countrymen, especially if you’re an American. When Valentine’s Day arrives on February 14 and your friends are buying flowers and chocolate for their sweethearts, you’re probably thinking “romantic love in the sign of Aquarius?”

When astrologers rule the world, holidays can be appropriately rearranged. In preparation for this great responsibility, we in the U.S. should plan the new holiday calendar now by placing holidays within astrological alignment.

Many holidays are religious holidays and follow astronomical and astrological configurations, such as Easter, Hanukkah, and Diwali. We’ll leave those alone as they already have underlying significance. In deference to business, the crux of the U.S. economy, we’ll make sure each month has a holiday that encourages vigorous shopping.

New Year’s Day

New Year’s Day is January 1, in the sign of Capricorn. Capricorn is ruled by Saturn and describes contraction, caution, authority, rules, limits, structure, and tradition. In the northern hemisphere, Capricorn brings “Old Man Winter.”

Does this sound like the way to begin a new year, with Old Man Winter?

The New Year in some other cultures begins with spring. Let’s join them and put the New Year back in the physical and astrological spring — Aries. Aries is the first sign of the zodiac and begins with the March equinox.

Not only does this adjustment solve for New Year’s Day, it also solves for New Year’s Eve, which will now be in 29° of the last sign of the zodiac, water sign Pisces. New Year’s Eve is primarily a drinking event and so properly belongs in a water sign.

Valentine’s Day

As already alluded to, Valentine’s Day, regardless of its religious significance, is, in the United States a holiday of romance celebrated with flowers, chocolate, and dinner at a fancy restaurant. Astrologers reading this know where this is going — to the opposite sign of Leo.

Aquarius is friendship and Leo is romance, so Valentine’s Day can move 180° to August 14. While marketers out there may fear for their February sales, they can rest assured that, in Leo, sales will be even greater than February sales, as the sun and warmth increase romantic feelings.

Innovation Day

I would like to propose a new February holiday: Aquarius — the sign of freedom, independence and innovation — could host Innovation Day. On this day, all citizens may make one recommendation for a societal or technological innovation. Each prescribed community will hold elections to vote on the innovation for their community.

Earth Day and Mother’s Day

At the very end of April in the sign of Taurus is Earth Day, a perfect placement as Taurus is the fixed earth sign, the Earth itself.

Mother’s Day is a toss up, as Taurus represents the stability of motherhood but not its emotional components, which are more properly placed in the mothering sign of Cancer. However, the Earth nourishes, so we can merge these two holidays into Mother Earth Day.

Mother Earth Day will celebrate all forms of mothering and nurturing. We can engage the Earth in activities that nurture it, such as planting trees. Earth mothers will, as usual, be honored with breakfast in bed, a full day’s activity of choice, and no household chores.

Memorial Day and Independence Day

Placed in early Gemini, the sign of mental acuity, friends, and neighbors, Memorial Day could find a slightly better placement. Gemini certainly has a good memory, but the emotional content of Memorial Day brings to mind the sign of family and clan connection, Cancer (July).

July already has a holiday — July 4, Independence Day — the day of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. On that day, the Sun was in Cancer, the Moon in Aquarius. Aquarius is the sign of independence and freedom, the utopian society, and universal brotherhood. Cancer, in contrast, is more about family, clan, and the sense of belonging.

Since July 4 is the date of an actual event, it is difficult to move. We can, however, re-name it more appropriately as National Day. Most countries have a National Day, so it should be easy to transition into this term, as it serves Cancer’s sense of belonging.

Memorial Day has lots of connections with the holiday now known as Independence Day, so we can combine these two into National Memorial Day. We can remember our Founding Fathers and all who served in the armed forces on a single day.

(You might have already worried that with New Year’s Day moving to March, taxes, normally due on April 15, might be rushed to be paid in this new calendar. National Memorial Day can also be tax day, which will reinforce the idea that our taxes support community services.)

Flag Day

On June 14, 1777, the flag of the United States (then with 13 states) was adopted. Like Independence Day, Flag Day is difficult to change, as it’s a holiday based on an actual date. However, Gemini is a very nice place for this holiday because it’s an air sign that naturally understands and conveys the power of symbols.

The U.S. flag began with 13 stars and now has 50, exhibiting its Gemini mutability, which not only embraces new experiences and friends, but also actively seeks them. The stars represent states joined in union, a concept well placed in the sign of siblings and neighbors. Gemini is the community and the flag represents that community.

Father’s Day

Father’s Day in June in the sign of Gemini is an okay placement, but, astrologically, fathers are ruled by Capricorn in January, as mothers are ruled by the opposite sign, Cancer, in July. Since we’ve moved New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day out of Capricorn, fathers can take this spot.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a strong Capricorn leader of people. Without diluting his holiday, we can have Father’s Day the day after King’s birthday, making for two days that we honor the strong and valiant males amongst us.

Honoring fathers on their special day will include Capricorn traditions ripe with dignity and respect. Fathers lead and guide us and shall therefore choose how to spend the day. No one will complain about any of his choices and will follow all of his rules. If he doesn’t want to stop and ask for directions on a long drive, that will not be challenged, as Capricorn represents respect for authority, even when it’s wrong.

Labor Day

Labor Day in the sign of Virgo, which rules work, health, and pets, is the perfect placement. No changes needed here. Many school terms also begin in this sign, which is ruled by Mercury and, like Gemini, is very intelligent and curious, with a desire to learn.

As with Independence Day, Labor Day could use a re-brand into Labor, Health, and Education, and Pet Day. Marketers should love the expansion of the holiday as now we can have a huge push for health and wellness products to pet supplies. I recommend vitamin shops and pet stores double their sales forecasts.

In this holiday realignment scenario, remember that astrologers rule the world, giving us the power to re-brand in a literal way. So let’s just call it Virgo Day. At that point, citizens will be so well educated in astrology that they will be aware of all that Virgo represents.

Halloween

Halloween has roots in All Souls’ Day and All Saints’ Day and, like Labor Day, is very appropriately placed, this time in Scorpio. Although it has religious connections, in the U.S. it’s been commercialized, so we’ll include it here.

In Scorpio, there is physical merging and boundary breaking, from sex to sharing money to giving a portion of your money to the community. In All Souls’ Day, we see the boundaries break between this world and the world of the dead. We spend most of our time ignoring the world of death, but in Scorpio we acknowledge its presence.

The “trick or treat” tradition also falls into the Scorpio realm because we are asking for others to share. We’ve made this one day an annual tradition, but, on other days, someone knocking on your door asking for treats would be considered the crossing of a boundary.

Veteran’s Day

Veteran’s Day in the sign of Scorpio doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, although, like Independence Day, it’s based on an actual event (a World War I armistice). Aries, ruled by Mars, is the sign of valor and is associated with war and aggression. A more accurate placement of Veteran’s Day is April, sometime after New Year’s Day, possibly in the middle of the month, since we’ll no longer need to worry about taxes at that time.

Veteran’s Day can be re-branded and expanded as Warrior Day to honor current armed services personnel, the defenders of the nation. National Memorial Day, as noted above, can cover veterans who are no longer with us.

Thanksgiving

Like the prior two autumn holidays (Labor Day and Halloween), Thanksgiving is also well placed in the sign of Sagittarius. Ruled by Jupiter, Sagittarius is about expansion and abundance. It’s fascinating that Thanksgiving is placed in early Sagittarius, where, in the United States, most of that sign is spent shopping and feasting. That shopping ends abruptly at Christmas when the Sun moves into contracting Capricorn.

Sagittarius is when we spend; Capricorn is when we pay the bills. New Year’s Eve is now in Pisces (March), so we can let Capricorn be Capricorn. As tax season has moved to July (Cancer), there is much more time to pay the bills, which — retailers please note — encourages more spending.

Creativity Day

Perhaps Libra, currently hosting Columbus Day (the second Monday in October) could use a more robust holiday.

Libra, ruled by Venus, is the sign of partnership and a love of the arts. Creativity Day would honor the spirit of Venus. On Creativity Day, all businesses will be closed and citizens will focus on a favorite creative endeavor, which today takes many forms — from traditional arts to technology. Creativity Day will also focus attention on how our lives are the result of our creations. The mirror of creativity can provide insights into our contribution to life on Earth.

In summary, here is the proposed Astrologically-Aligned Holiday Calendar:

Sign Month Holiday

Aries: March — New Year’s Day
Aries: March/April — Easter (religious, no change)
Aries: April — Warrior Day
Taurus: May — Mother Earth Day
Gemini: June — Flag Day
Cancer: July — National Memorial Day
Leo: August — Valentine’s Day
Virgo: September — Virgo Day
Libra: October — Creativity Day
Scorpio: October — Halloween (no change)
Sagittarius: November — Thanksgiving (no change)
Capricorn: December — Christmas (religious, no change)
Capricorn: January — Father’s Day
Aquarius: February — Innovation Day
Pisces: March — New Year’s Eve

Bio: Angela Slezak enjoys data and patterns of all sorts, from art to astrology, which she has studied for the past 30 years. The global changes occurring today are particularly fascinating, and astrology has an important place in helping us to understand how our patterns and thoughts lead to the present energy. Read her work at Ohio Astrology.

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Planets on the 1st: An Experiential Astrological Technique

By Tara Aal | June 19, 2017

A few years ago I began using an astrological technique, “Planets on the 1st,” which Adam Gainsburg had introduced to me. At the time I was deeply involved with his Immersion Soulsign astrology program and his Open Heart work. I wanted to stay connected to my heart and body without going straight to my head, and I was passionate about astrology, which is generally a very cerebral study. Adam offered a bridge and it worked for me! I began having more direct and visceral experiences, rather than merely intellectualizing life and myself.

We know that the birth chart is a diagram of the psyche, a symbolic representation of the individual person. The planets represent facets of our psyche, and all of the planets are included in the richness of how we experience ourselves and the world.

The birth chart is structured around the angles, beginning with the Ascendant. We habitually experience life through the sign and any planets on the Ascendant. In this technique, we imagine placing any planet — and the sign it is in — on the Ascendant to see what life is like from that new perspective. Even if outer circumstances cannot change, our perspective can! That is the gift of this technique.

To begin: Pretend you are in a very large space with numerous rooms, doors, and windows. If you have always stood in the same corner, looking straight ahead, your experience has been limited. However, the other rooms, doors, and windows are always present. Choosing a planet on the 1st is simply re-orienting you in your own space; you are opening yourself to a broader field of experience. We can consciously choose an experience of ourselves from a different facet within our wholeness.

Another way to describe this process is to imagine yourself as a cast of characters in a movie or play. Choosing a planet on the 1st is choosing whose perspective will reveal the story. You are the whole cast, but choosing to see your life through natal Mars will be a very different filter than natal Saturn. (I have some suggestions in the link below about how to evoke the different planets.)

Choosing planets on the 1st strengthens and develops parts of us that have atrophied or weakened. When we choose a planet on the 1st, we aren’t just getting more information or intellectually learning about this function within us. We are literally having an experience of ourselves living life through the function represented by that planet. For example, choosing the Moon on the 1st may increase the need for feeling emotionally secure, safe, and nurtured. Choosing Mars on the 1st may invoke the strong desire for action and assertion; Mars needs something to fight for. This is experiential and may take practice. Each person is different, and literal experiences of the planets will manifest in variations. Sometimes the changes will be subtle, although in my case the shift was dramatic.

The first time I tried the technique was in celebration of my birthday in 2015. I chose Venus on the 1st and my life completely changed almost immediately. My natal Venus is 0° degrees Cancer in the 3rd house, on the cusp of the IC and ruling my Descendant. I have a natal Pluto-Venus square; finding value and confidence in my feminine qualities has been challenging. Receiving life, including love, sustenance, and pleasure, is something I often reject. For much of my life, my Venusian self has operated underground, in the dark, just as she does at the root of my natal chart. Choosing Venus on the 1st brought her into the light and instinctual action of the Ascendant. I gave my Venus new agency and she sprang forth in many ways.

Simultaneously with my decision to choose Venus on the 1st, I quit my job as a compliance director at the University of Washington, marking the end of my 22-year career in health care compliance. The next month, I met my partner, Darren. I was not looking for someone; in fact, I was excited to meet creative, passionate people and pursue my own interests. Two years later, Darren and I are true partners, something new for me, despite previous long-term commitments.

I am almost 43 and my year as Venus on the 1st was the first time since the age of 15 that I did not have a traditional job with steady income. Darren and I traveled and I relaxed my previously restricted diet to include ice cream, cookies, and other treats. I gained at least 15 pounds and my hormones kicked back on. I felt like a teenager and experienced a strong desire to create a family, including babies. I moved to New York City to live with Darren after never having left my family and my hometown in Seattle. I just wanted to love and be loved. Creating relationships with my body, Darren, and myself were my full-time pursuits.

Portuguese astrologer Nuno Michaels teaches that Libra is about “learning to love.” Venus rules Libra, of course, and in so many ways, my Venus on the 1st year was exactly that. Venus also represents receptivity, and I was more open to receive than ever, including my own previously invested money. I took an early withdrawal from my retirement to support my needs and desires during this time.

I can look back and neatly summarize what happened, but living it was also messy, disorienting, and often extremely uncomfortable. Along with the deliciousness of indulging my senses, I experienced more fully the ways my body did/did not feel good. Clothes that I never minded squeezing into now felt tight and restrictive. Sometimes I felt fat and sloth-like, not doing much more than eating, sleeping, and making love. My physical health sensitivities and symptoms seemed relentless. I was feeling more, for better or for worse.

Most of this time I cared more about the harmony and well-being of my partnership with Darren than being right. I don’t know if I ever truly chose a relationship first prior to this year. My past is filled with a bipolar blend of sacrifice, suffering, and selfishness. My Venus on the 1st adventure began to reveal my authentic versions of caring and kindness, and with whom I wanted to invest the time to really connect.

In choosing Venus on the 1st, I dramatically changed my life and impacted the lives of others around me. I became more human, more embodied, and more accessible. I am committed to being honest and present, which often requires slowing down. I am now more capable of staying with myself and my feelings (a Venusian function). I’m experiencing more strength in, and enjoyment of, my femininity. In many ways, I was drastically less active and ambitious with Venus on the 1st, but my life expanded in depth and richness. And, without question, my resources (Venus’s domain) are greater, including my inner stability, self-sufficiency, ability to truly nurture myself and others, and a new-found capacity and desire for partnership, support, and cooperation.

Try it! You might be intrigued to discover how life can open up in new ways when you set your intention to experience more and are open to the outcome. Like me, you might find the planetary archetypes living as strongly within you as they do without.

Author’s note:

Here is a link to a PDF with some thoughts about how the planets represent parts of our psyche. These questions are intended to evoke experiences. You can use them as suggestions when trying this technique for placing each of the planets on the 1st. (Pluto is not included because in Evolutionary Astrology we use Pluto to represent the Soul and its journey. I feel that is hard to categorize, and so am not comfortable using it — not yet, anyway!)

Bio: Tara Aal uses astrology, writing, photography, and art to explore and express love, truth, and beauty. Tara has been practicing and teaching astrology and tarot since 2011.  She completed Laura Nalbandian’s Evolutionary Astrology three-year program and is a certified Soulsign Astrologer through Adam Gainsburg’s Immersion program.

Tara is currently full-time Lead Writer for Sage Goddess in Torrance, CA. In her hometown of Seattle, Tara practiced astrology and tarot at Stargazers Bookstore and Higher Wellness Health Care Practice. She offers private sessions and continues writing and speaking, including lectures at NORWAC and UAC. She is a regular contributing author for Infinity Astrological Magazine.

Tara is passionate about supporting people in their choice to be more natural, authentic, and honest. Her commitment to feeling and embodiment is radically changing her life and use of astrology and tarot. With the compassion and understanding that comes from diverse, intense, and transformative personal relationship and career history, Tara is especially available for people making life changes. Contact her at TaraAal.com

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Getting to WYSIWYG — the Solar Perspective

By Raye Robertson | June 6, 2017

The circle is primal symbolism — encoded in our psyches, if not in our genes. To a two-year old picking up her first box of toddler-sized crayons, a circle is the shape of the shining sun and the heads of Mommy and Daddy. Mommy, Daddy, and the Sun are her cosmos; ideally, they encircle her being in the same way that 12th century holy woman, Hildegard von Bingen, envisioned the “Godhead” embracing all within its arms.

We might distinguish between that cosmic circle’s center and its circumference. Joseph Campbell speaks of a model of the psyche where the hub or center of the wheel is the still point — our Self, that aspect of our being that is constant and eternal. As astrologers, we see the Sun as our nucleus, or our center, which embarks on the archetypal hero’s journey about which Campbell spoke so eloquently.

When looking at a circle, the eye is naturally drawn to the center, literally the “center of gravity.” Carl Jung referred to the “individuated Self” that can be seen as the solar “center of gravity,” which gradually draws us in throughout the labyrinthine course of life.

The circumference is where the planets, as the various agents, or “ego fragments,” of the Self are busy, scattered and diffused, as they play the roles demanded by our daily lives. It’s always great when these characters we harbor within are team players that pull in the same direction, but how frequently does that happen? We are a multitude, and things tend to get messy; ideally, over time these characters are integrated within our core Solar being, but it’s a lifelong process.

We can envision the circumference as being where our Solar selves gain awareness and wisdom from our interactions around the wheel of life. Astrologically, this wheel encompasses the entire solar system, and our evolution is driven by how well we internalize its lessons over time, lessons that are delivered via planetary aspects, transits, and progressions.

In a natal chart, it seems that the Sun and its planetary system create an evolving, dynamic web of energy exchanges or relationships within the human psyche — between our ego fragments (on the circumference) and our Higher Self (at the center). Ideally, our inner “team” gradually learns to pull together around a strong, coherent center.

This web of relationships amounts to an archetypal “hero’s journey,” as Campbell and the ancients he studied characterized it in tales like Homer’s Odyssey, The Epic of Gilgamesh, and Le Morte d’Arthur, describing King Arthur’s quest for the “holy grail.” Ideally, our personal epic journey ends where it began, by bringing our ego fragments home, integrating them finally into a sense of greater harmony and wholeness, a state of WYSIWYG: “What You See Is What You Get!

Importantly, we often explore these mysteries by journeying into the farthest reaches of our personal universe, the “Otherworld” of Neptune and Pluto. (1) Whenever Neptune features powerfully in a transit (especially to our Sun or so-called personal planets), in progressions, or even in a nativity, its influence tends to overwhelm our awareness and become our perceived “reality.” These dynamics operate on all levels, personal to collective: as we learned this past election season, Neptunian confusion, distortion, illusion, and outright deception are powerful weapons.

Under Neptune’s influence, we acquire a pair of filtered lenses that can dominate the “forest of our minds” in wildly different ways, from drug abuse and victim consciousness to compassionate service, from delusional obsession with conspiracy theories to a creative/artistic renaissance.

Extending Hildegard’s analogy, it seems that we feel “hugged” by the spirits conjured up for us by Neptune because they weave a comforting narrative into our lives, like a parent does when reading a bed-time story to her sleepy child. What do we dream, imagine, or believe? How do we envision our role in this cosmic fairy tale? What, if anything, does it all mean? These tales are drawn from our personal and collective unconscious and told by Neptune in the language of allegory and symbolism. The tales are key to our solar evolution, but there are dangers.

Neptune demands surrender and immersion in those tales, as any artist who’s made the journey through addiction into a second-chance career knows. It promotes that immersion by overwhelming our structured mental, physical, and spiritual defenses (Saturn is Neptune’s nemesis), but Neptune’s methods are quite different from Pluto’s: Pluto ravages, purges, and reduces us to essentials with its sheer chthonic force; Neptune seduces, wearing away our resistance, like waves lapping a rocky mental shore.

Emotion is a valued tool in both Neptune’s and Pluto’s kit, and it coalesces their force in disastrous ways at times. Our Plutonian survival instincts trigger a range of emotions that, with Neptune’s help, cascade through our body-minds like a feverish epidemic: fear and insecurity spawn hyperbole, irrationality, hatred, and outrage, in worst cases culminating in hysteria and mob rule. These dynamics operate on all levels, from tragic personal meltdowns to regrettable collective episodes.

Even recent history is filled with examples, from the internment of Japanese-Americans after the attack on Pearl Harbor to the rise in hate crimes against minorities after election 2016. The tone of political rhetoric matters, and to deny the observable consequences of Trump’s rhetoric is the Neptunian equivalent of a battered spouse covering up for her Plutonian abuser. The “truth” is whatever a Neptunian mind wants it to be; add Pluto’s quest for “power over” to that distortion and the results are insidious.

With Saturn’s input, Pluto takes us back to basics, reducing our lives to the primal level of sheer survival; after a long bout with cancer, survivors often claim to feel incredibly alive, with new focus and purpose. Pluto has stories to tell, only these stories are told around the archetypal “Cauldron of Life” (there’s a reason Scorpio rules the 8th house and Pluto), and the themes are reliably fixed: that birth, death/transformation, and regeneration are one indivisible, scalding “brew” that feeds all Creation, from the microscopic to the astrophysical. (2) Nature is “red in tooth and claw,” and violence begets violence. (3)

For its part, Neptune breaches our Saturnian structures — including the principles and narratives that hold our public institutions together — and we rarely see the resulting changes in ourselves, in our relationships, our communities, or in the larger collective until those structures crumble around us. In keeping with the proverbial “frog boil,” Neptune’s spirit only gradually overwhelms, but at a certain critical threshold, it unleashes the deluge. By the time the hapless “frogs” realize their cozy warm bath is getting dangerously hot, it’s too late to leap out of the pot.

There’s a reason the 12th house and Pisces (naturally ruled by Neptune) are associated with chronic conditions, mental health issues, and institutions like hospitals, prisons, and spiritual organizations (churches, mosques, etc.). Neptune does indeed take prisoners, and in return it offers a glimpse of life beyond the Saturnian earth plane. Whether that context is positive and healthy is not always clear because it is subject to Neptune’s seductive “spin.”

In all fairness, however, we shouldn’t underestimate Neptune’s redemptive potential — probably the main reason its energies seem aligned with Christian and even pre-Christian dogma. The sacrificial lamb is a potent Christian image, but its genesis falls well before the Christian era. The “gods” were jealous, demanding, haughty, and vindictive in ancient times, and people sacrificed their finest, most valuable goods — in some cultures, even other people — in return for continued life, fertility, and prosperity.

The Great Deluge, a cataclysmic event recorded by many ancient cultures and mythologies, imprinted on humanity for all time that the gods will destroy Creation if we fail to keep them happy. Ironically, we’ve been far more likely to destroy ourselves, and if there’s to be an equivalent 21st-century cataclysm, it won’t happen in one 40-day inundation. It will simply continue the climate degradation that’s been going on for decades.

At some point, if this destructive process is not halted and reversed, the proverbial dam will simply wash away (Neptune), allowing devastation to cascade through the environment. If the Earth’s riches and ability to sustain human life are the sacrifice our contemporary gods are after, we need to find new gods.

This belief that sacrifice renders salvation runs almost addictively deep in the human psyche, so it’s hard to see how this concept distorts our responsibility for protecting the Earth. The major religions promise some version of salvation in a future “afterlife,” and for some believers, these Neptunian promises amount to a divine “reprieve” from that responsibility. Why bother if it’s all up to God, the “endtimes” are upon us, and this isn’t the real Paradise after all? Saturn’s appreciation for reality on this plane (enshrined in today’s beleaguered sciences) gets lost in the Neptunian fog.

In my observation, when we succumb to Neptunian addiction or Plutonian “tooth and claw” cynicism — or when we choose to chase an illusion rather than to care for what’s real, physical, and present — we are scattering our “ego fragments” to the wind and falling out of touch with our core Solar being. Whether it’s our digital age, our stressed working lives, the 24-hour news cycle and a constant state of being “on call” technologically, many seem to be struggling with an inability to feel rooted and centered. It’s impossible to find a direction forward if we don’t know where we are.

With all the doing out there on the circumference, we risk losing track of being itself. Perhaps it would help to stop occasionally, reel our many fragmented selves inward, and renew our solar, back-to-basics perspective. Our natal Sun placements offer deep wisdom if we pay attention and follow the bread crumbs from point to point. They all mean something in the end: we are not just a sign, or an inventory, of the scattered roles we play in the world: we are a being with a story to tell. Enjoy!

Footnotes:

(1) The Otherworld is a term used in Arthurian legends to denote that mysterious, challenging world “out there” where the hero journeys, proves himself, and seeks the Holy Grail. See John Matthews’ The Arthurian Tradition, Element Books Ltd., 1994 U.S. printing, Rockport, MA, p. 16-17.

(2) The “Cauldron” and the “Cup” were used interchangeably in Arthurian legend to mean a “sacred vessel which contained the potentiality of all wisdom and knowledge, and through them of understanding.” Matthews, p. 63.

(3) Phrases.org.ok

Bio: Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer, and former university English instructor. A graduate of the Faculty of Astrological Studies (U.K.), Raye focuses on mundane, collective-oriented astrology, with a particular interest in current affairs, culture and media, the astrology of generations, and public concerns such as education and health. Her articles on these topics have been featured in The Mountain Astrologer and other publications over the years. She can be contacted at her blog, Diary of a Mundane Astrologer, or by email: robertsonraye.com.

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Some thoughts on the North Node, newly in Leo…

By Anne Whitaker | May 22, 2017

Impetus and inspiration for this post came from a very striking experience I had on May 9, 2017 at around 7:00 p.m. More about this shortly…..

The North Node’s transit through Virgo (South Node in Pisces) was from the end of 2015 through early May 2017. The transit picked up on the particularly undermining, painful, and difficult Saturn-Neptune square (from Sagittarius to Pisces) that challenged us all. This was especially true when the attendant eclipse seasons in September 2016 and February 2017 triggered the pattern. (1)

Collectively, we had the pain and trauma of waves of mass migration from the world’s trouble spots to European countries ill-equipped to cope, with many migrants drowning in overcrowded traffickers’ boats, their hopes for a better life perishing with them. We had the election of Donald Trump and the shock waves that event sent around the world. We also had the U.K. voting to exit from the European Union, with similar effects.

On a personal level, many of us experienced a great deal of confusion, uncertainty, family trauma, and other types of suffering. The impression I gained from astrological colleagues — especially via social media — was that the nodal axis through Virgo/Pisces had challenged us to grow and move forward on our personal paths through much worldly pain.

As the imminent shift of the nodal axis into Leo/Aquarius approached, there was a great deal of positive comment, hope, and anticipation across the astro-Web. A move from Virgo’s dense earth and Pisces’ deep water to Leo’s creative, optimistic fire, complemented by Aquarius’ detached, humane airiness, would surely be easier and more pleasurable to deal with?

The North Node crossed my 9° Virgo Ascendant and entered the 12th house with the South Node moving through the 6th house in November 2016, where they will remain until the spring of 2018. I was aware in late April/early May 2017 that the North Node’s shift into Leo was imminent, and so began reading some of the astro-Web’s outpourings on the subject.

However, I was too immersed in grappling with the inner challenges brought to me by trauma close to home — not of my making — to pay much attention to second guessing what the shift might bring for me personally, or indeed what day it was going to take place.

Then, on May 9, 2017, just after dinner, my inner turmoil suddenly resolved itself to the point where I was able to take constructive action to put some distance between what I know to be my main path for whatever life remains to me and the needs of others. (Protecting other peoples’ privacy prevents me from being more explicit than this.)

In essence, I re-affirmed for myself that night that the energy my creative life and spiritual path require was not going to be given away to grappling with old family pathology, from whose grip I have largely managed to extricate myself after decades of tough spiritual work.

Realizing that this was a key moment, I put up a chart and was stunned to note that the decisive action I had taken had been almost exactly the moment that the North Node shifted into Leo in my 12th house. That night, I was also even more aware than usual of the unconditional support my Aquarian husband has always given me to follow my creative path.

Looking for some nodal images I could use whilst writing this post, I came across this summary — brilliantly appropriate for where I am at the moment — from the website of Alison Gunn, Ph. D., an astrologer whose in-depth work I very much admire:

“…In a nutshell, then, this is the dichotomy of the 6/12 nodal axis: you have to find a way to live in the everyday world and, at the same time, keep the issues confronting your ‘immortal soul’ on the front burner…” (2)

I hope you will find this personal account of interest, and that it will inspire you to keep a close eye on the pair of houses being highlighted in your horoscope over the next eighteen months by the transiting nodal axis and its attendant eclipses. These are the areas in your life that are now ripe for challenge and change!

To end on a pungent, amusing, and I think very accurate piece of astrological shorthand that I learned from the incomparable astrologer Michael Lutin: Couched in the terminology of Alcoholics Anonymous he invites us to think of the South Node as the Bottle and the North Node as The Meeting … a very concise way of reminding us that the South Node represents the safe haven of familiar responses and patterns that, if we stay there, leads to no progress. We need to push ourselves in the direction to which the North Node beckons if we want to grow and develop to the fullness of our capacities as this lifetime unfolds. (3)

Footnotes:

(1) There was a solar eclipse on September 1, 2016 at 9°21′ Virgo and a lunar eclipse on September 16 at 24°13 Pisces. On February 11, 2017 there was a lunar eclipse at 22°34 Leo, followed by a solar eclipse on February 26 at 8°11′ Pisces.

(2) See Alison Gunn Ph. D., Beyond The Stars Astrology and Tarot, Analysis of the 6th house/12th House Nodal Axis through the Signs.

(3) See Anne Whitaker’s blog, where you can download a free copy of The Moon’s Nodes in Action, the author’s extensively researched and thorough (172 pages) work. Although written in 1998, the work is only recently available and a fine contribution to the astrological literature on the lunar nodes. Anne writes:I thought I’d never be able to resurrect the whole text of The Moon’s Nodes in Action from its cyber-grave of apparently unopenable files going back to the 1990s.” Luckily for all of us she was able to retrieve the text and has generously made it available.

Bio: Anne Whitaker is a writer, astrologer, and astrology teacher living in Glasgow, Scotland. Her work appears in many contexts including the UK’s Astrological Journal, The Mountain Astrologer, Astrodienst, Infinity Astrological Magazine, and Dell Horoscope magazine. Find Anne at astrologyquestionsandanswers

Editor’s note: This is a slightly edited version of a post that originally appeared on Anne’s blog…thank you, Anne, for letting TMA share your good work.

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Heath Ledger: A Remembrance

By Mary Plumb | May 8, 2017

Actor Heath Ledger was born on April 4, 1979, and he died on January 22, 2008. (1)

(no time known) Sunrise chart
April 4, 1979
Perth, Australia 31S47 115E51
Porphyry cusps, True node

The natal chart has some notable planetary placements: the Sun in Aries, Venus in Pisces, and Jupiter in Cancer are all in their signs of exaltation; they are the honored guests in someone else’s home. (2) This gives prominence to the Sun and both benefics, showing a life with a special fortune, though obviously not without complexity. The Moon was in Cancer all day, her sign of rulership. (He came from a prosperous and philanthropic family; the Sir Frank Ledger Charitable Trust is named after his great-grandfather.)

Mercury, Mars, and the South Node are all in Pisces. Mars, dispositor of the Aries Sun, is conjunct Mercury retrograde and in detriment in Pisces. The water planets show sensitivity and empathy; the Cancer Moon responds to life and instinctively connects with the public. Mercury and Mars show deftness with language; he was known for subtlety in expression and the range of roles he played. (3)

Along with the charisma granted by the exalted benefics, Ledger was also known for intensity — he had the natal Sun applying to an opposition to Pluto. His friend, musician Ben Harper, said:
“Heath was the most alive human, and if it wasn’t on the edge it didn’t interest him.” Ang Lee, who directed Ledger in the much-lauded Brokeback Mountain (2005), said: “Even if he was a supporting actor he would steal the whole show, that was the power of Heath Ledger.” (4)

On April 23 at 5:00 p.m. EDT, a documentary entitled I Am Heath Ledger premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. (5) Transiting Venus, in her sign of exaltation, had just turned direct while conjunct Chiron (April 15 at 27° Pisces), and the transiting Moon was between Chiron and Venus at the time of the film’s premiere. Saturn at 27° Sagittarius was square to the Pisces planets, evoking a bittersweet beauty and a sense of sorrow or loss.

film opening: April 23, 2017
5:00 p.m.
Manhattan, N.Y. (40N35 73W59)

In another testament to the timelessness of the natal chart, the planets at the recent premier were conjunct Ledger’s natal Mars at 27° Pisces, dispositor of his Aries Sun. Transiting Jupiter was opposite his natal Sun, highlighting his unique presence and bringing his story to life again.

Bi-wheel: inner: Heath Ledger natal; outer: transits for April 23, 2017; 5:00 p.m., Manhattan, N.Y. (40N35 73W59)

RIP Heath Ledger

Footnotes:

1) Biographical material and quotes from Wikipedia.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heath_Ledger

2) The Sun in Aries is also at the degree of its exaltation, 13°.

3) Film critic A.O. Scott wrote about Ledger’s performance in Brokeback Mountain: “What made the performance so remarkable was that Mr. Ledger, without betraying Ennis’s dignity or his reserve, was nonetheless able to convey that truth to the audience. This kind of sensitivity — the ability to signal an inner emotional state without overtly showing it — is what distinguishes great screen acting from movie-star posing.”
New York Times

4) Quotes from the film trailer.

5) Tribeca Film Festival

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Moonlight and its director

By Mary Plumb | March 27, 2017

Barry Jenkins is the director and co-writer of the film Moonlight, which won an Oscar for best picture at the 89th Academy Awards. (1) In “an epic bungle before 33 million viewers,” the wrong film — La La Land — was mistakenly announced as best picture. (2)

The film tells the story of Chiron, a young African-American gay man growing up in a housing project in Miami. His story is divided into three segments — boy, teenager, and adult — and played by different actors at each stage.

The film, produced for $1.5 million, has earned over $50 million, and has won praise on many fronts (e.g., the cinematography, the score, the cast), but also for its sensitive depiction of Chiron’s emotional life. (3) For astrologers, Chiron evokes pain and redemption and experiences that take us to a new edge of perception or vulnerability.

The film was described by an early reviewer as “a disarmingly, at times almost unbearably personal film.” (4) Jenkins said about Chiron: “He’s someone who’s very curious and open about the world, but that’s slowly beaten out of him by the reaction of the world around him. In love we expand, and in fear we retract. He’s a character who wants to love and be loved.” (5)

In another comment about the character, producer Jeremy Kleiner said: “There are people who will see the film and feel somehow less alone than they were when it began. I feel that way, and I don’t have much in common with the literal experience of Chiron. But I feel like I’m watching the most specific human experience and, through that, I access the importance of love and what its absence can do.” (6)

Now, for a brief look at Barry Jenkins solar chart. Without a known birth time, I’m not going to try to synthesize the chart, just mention a few planetary themes — kind of a cookbook approach.

Barry Jenkins, sunrise chart (no known birth time)
November 19, 1979; Miami, Florida 25N37 80W12

The Sun, Mercury, and Uranus are in Scorpio. The Moon was in Scorpio until about 8:00 p.m. on the day he was born, which was the day of the New Moon at 26°48′ Scorpio. Mercury retrograde was at its conjunction with the Sun that day as well. The chart has Venus conjunct Neptune in Sagittarius and Mars at 29° Leo, with Saturn, Jupiter, and the North Node in Virgo.

The eloquent emotional depth of Scorpio is obvious in the film, as is the artistic impulse symbolized by Venus-Neptune. Naomie Harris, the actress who plays Chiron’s sometimes crack-addicted mother, initially did not want the part. However, “after reading Jenkins’ words and hearing him make a passionate case for the character of Chiron’s troubled mother, Paula, she realized ‘he had a vested interest in ensuring this character didn’t become a stereotype and would be given her full humanity.’ “ (7) I view this as a display of Venus conjunct Neptune, seeing beyond her troubles into “her full humanity.”

Along with the gentle artistry of Venus and the emotional and sexual intensity of the Scorpio planets, the director’s Virgo placements are apparent — in the interview referred to above, Jenkins said: “I am a craftsman.” (8)

Mars at 29° Leo is on the fixed star Regulus, the kingmaker. Without a time of birth, one thing we can do is set the pre-natal solar eclipse (PNSE) chart set for the place of birth to get a feel for the big themes and purpose of the life. Barry Jenkins’s PNSE was at 29° Leo on August 22, 1979. The Sun, Moon, Venus, Jupiter, and Mercury are all in Leo straddling the MC, surely a sign of a brilliant and visible career in the arts.

PNSE
August 22, 1979
1:10 p.m.
Miami, FL 25N37 80W12

The item that got me started on this topic was Jenkins’s remark on February 26th, the night he won the Oscar after the aforementioned goof with the wrong film being named. Jupiter and Uranus were opposing in the sky. (9)

“The last 20 minutes of my life have been insane,” Barry Jenkins, the director of Moonlight, told reporters backstage after the awards. “I don’t think my life could be changed any more dramatically than the last 20 or 30 minutes.’ “ How’s that for Jupiter-Uranus, especially with Mars and Uranus exactly conjunct and opposing Jupiter?

Academy Award night
February 26, 2017
set for 7 p.m.
Los Angeles, CA 33N55 118W20

Mars, significant in Jenkins’ natal chart as dispositor of the Scorpio Sun, Mercury, Uranus, and maybe the Moon, and also conjunct the royal star Regulus, was precisely triggering Jupiter-Uranus by transit that night. Now that’s a memorable and fortuitous turn.

Footnotes:

(1) The film is based on an “unpublished semi-autobiographical play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue” by Tarell Alvin McCraney.
Wikipedia

(2) NY Times

(3) Deadline

(4) NY Times

(5) Deadline

(6) Deadline

(7) Hollywood Reporter

(8) Deadline

(9) Jupiter opposite Uranus, exact on Dec. 26, 2016; March 2; September 27, 2017.

(10) Live Entertainment

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