TMA This Week

The Astrological Faces of Love

By Gary P. Caton | February 13, 2012

In all faces,

the Face of faces

is veiled as a riddle

Nicolas of Cusa, 15th century mystic (1)

Is there anything more basic and universal than Love? Even an archaic species of human, the Neanderthals, demonstrated the ability to care for the sick and injured and practiced flower burial. Indeed, recent scientific studies have shown that even cows and sheep show affinity for others, as well as what we might see as the shadow side, i.e., the grudges and depression that come with being separated from the objects of affection. (2)

In astrology, when we talk about Love, we usually think first of Venus. Venus is the closest planet to Earth and holds the archetype of Love, consistent with the idea that love/affection is one of the closest and deepest emotions. Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, Love is an extremely multi-faceted experience. There are probably as many ways to love as there are people, or perhaps even beings, on this planet. For the sake of simplicity, I’m going to focus on what I see as the three most basic faces of Love.

Western astrology arose out of  the Hellenistic era in the Greek tradition. There are several Greek words for Love. Among them are Eros, Philia, and Agape. (3)

Plato defined Eros as an appreciation of beauty, but most people associate Eros with the more passionate, sensual and erotic face of Love. All these attributes are consistent with the Greek version of Venus, Aphrodite, the goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation. Aphrodite was seen as the epitome of beauty, but she was also vain, so her beauty was as troublesome as it was beneficial. To win the judgment of Paris as the most beautiful of the goddesses, she bribed him with the promise of the most beautiful woman as his wife. This was Helen, who was already wed to a King, and so began the great Trojan War.

We can see several important things in this story: Eros can be a possessive love, and violent consequences can ensue as a result of the shadow side. We can say that the shadow side of Venus, the planet closest to Earth, can serve as a trigger for the shadow side of the planet next closest to Earth, Mars.

In New Age circles, it is commonplace to hear appeals to a “higher” form of love that seems unconditional and more sacred. The Greeks called this Agape; the word was later used by the Christians to describe the divine love of God. In modern astrology, we associate this kind of cosmic love with the transpersonal planet Neptune. Despite the common tendency to deny it, this kind of love is not without its troublesome aspects. Stanislav Grof associates Neptune with the very first stages of life, that of floating in the womb. The positive aspect of this archetype is a transcendent feeling of ecstasy, but the shadow side is confusion, distortion, or even deluded, paranoid, and psychotic feelings. (4) Liz Greene notes in her tome on this modern planet that an unintegrated Neptune can result in a regressive infantile longing for a blissful Eden that is not realistic. (5)

It is my opinion that the problematic natures of the modern planets are often underestimated and the positive side overestimated. Humanity has recently experienced the very first Neptune return since its discovery. If the first Saturn return signals the beginning of real maturity and adulthood, then collectively we are like the average 29-year-old young adult with respect to Neptune – not exactly experts yet. So, trying to make the big leap from Eros to Agape seems like something of a fool’s venture.

Fortunately, we don’t have to make the leap from Venus to her “higher octave” Neptune in one step. In her seminal work Asteroid Goddesses, Demetra George introduced the idea of “octave transformers.” (6) Because the asteroids dwell between the rocky personal planets and the transpersonal gas giants, they can be seen in the role of transformer. Asteroids with the same archetypal quality of the other two planets can be seen as transformers in the archetypal circuitry. Their role is to literally step up (or down) the archetypal energy between the personal and transpersonal. My friend and colleague Jim Rodgers wrote about this recently in the NCGR Research Journal. (7)

Rodgers sees Juno as the octave transformer between Venus and Neptune, and I find this useful. In this role, I think Juno also serves as the archetype holding the face of Love that the Greeks called Philia. As the Goddess of the sacred contract of marriage, Juno embodies virtuous love, which demands loyalty to friends, family, and community, and requires equality. Philia is basically friendship and good will, but is also altruistic, like the love of a parent or mentor. Another way of thinking of Philia is the Quaker concept of “right relationship.” (8) Beyond a simplistic moral notion of “doing the right thing,” philosophically, a thing is right when it preserves the integrity, resilience, and beauty of life.

In my view, the natural progression of Love is from Eros, to Philia, to Agape. One has undeniable and obvious affinities for certain people, places, and things. This is Eros. By engaging our natural Eros while also seeking “right relationship” with the objects of our affections, we avoid the possessive shadow manifestations because we are truly concerned about the well being of the other as much or more than ourselves. It is only when we have mastered the right relationship of Philia that we can approach Agape without unconsciously or unintentionally engaging the dangers of the transpersonal realms.

In my opinion, once integrated, these three archetypes, or faces, of Love are really One. If we consider the concept of Holarchy, each part or piece of the whole also contains the whole within itself, thus Venus contains within her the essences of all three faces of love and love “planets.” (9) It is as if there are three “decanates” of Venus: Venus-Venus, Venus-Juno, and Venus-Neptune.

Coincidentally, visually speaking, Venus has three incarnations: Morning Star, UnderWorld, and Evening Star. Her Eastern appearance as Morning Star is separated from her Western appearance as Evening Star by 60 days of darkness. As she passes through the crucible of the Solar fire, during her superior, or exterior, conjunction with the Sun, she is invisible to the outer vision of humans for 60 days and nights.

Image copyright 2012 Gary P Caton

Thus, we can see the synodic or visual cycle of Venus as a journey of three basic stages. It is a journey of growth toward wholeness. One of our oldest recorded stories is the Mesopotamian myth of Venus,  as Inanna, who can be seen to go through the entire journey of exploring these three kinds of love herself.  Early in the myth Inanna explores Eros via her marriage to Dumuzzi. Later she explores the “right relationship” of Philia via the confrontation with her dark sister Eriskegal and the banishment of Dumuzzi to the Underworld for failing to mourn her properly. Finally she experiences the divine compassion of Agape for Gesthinanna, Dumuzzi’s sister, and sets up a divine balance between the masculine and feminine with each being renewed by spending half the year in the Underworld.

We are currently experiencing the Evening Star phase of Venus, which can be seen to correlate with the third face of Love. Like an older, wiser, and initiated Inanna, who brings order to the kingdom through Agape, it is possible that we can also experience the balance and wholeness that Agape brings if we have successfully entered into right relationship with our world. And whether or nor this Valentine’s Day is as blissful as we hope for, and deserve, we will have almost four months while Juno is retrograde (from March 24 through July 14) to work on our Philia face before reaching again for the cosmic Agape Love of Neptune, as the cosmic love planet squares the nodes at the north bending this summer.

References & Recommended Reading:

(1) Angeles Arrien, The Second Half of Life: Opening the 8 Gates of Wisdom. Chapter 2 – “The White Picket Gate: Changing Identities, Discovering One’s True Face” opens with this epigraph

(2) Jonathan Leaked, The Secret Life of Moody Cows

Sentience in Farm Animals

(3) Wikipedia

(4) Stanislav Grof, Holotropic Research and Archetypal Astrology

(5) Liz Greene, The Astrological Neptune and the Quest for Redemption

(6) Demetra George, Asteroid Goddesses, Chapter 12, pgs 185-202.

(7) Jim Rodgers, Humanizing the Modern Planets: The Re-Awakened Feminine as Octave Transformer

(8) Quakers Advocate Living in ‘Right Relationship’ with Creation 

(9) Wikipedia

Bio: Gary P. Caton is an eclectic Astrologer who embraces an organic process-oriented approach of spiritual exploration via the Living Sky. Gary has studied Spirituality for over 23 years. After exploring Shamanism and the Tarot, in 1993, his life was changed by a magnificent Dream where he was shown planetary alignments and became an Astrologer. Gary earned a degree in Counseling with honors and has developed a unique multi-discipline path to practicing Astrology over 19 years. Visit Gary at his website: Dream Astrologer

Comments Off | Permalink

Like what you see?   Subscribe to The Mountain Astrologer

Venus Eclipse of the Sun

By Mary Plumb | January 23, 2012

In this blog I want to talk about a timely and unusual book: The Venus Eclipse of the Sun 2012, by David Tresemer.

David Tresemer has a Ph.D. in psychology and is a student of Rudolf Steiner. He and other colleagues, namely Robert Powell, William Bento, and Robert Schiappacasse, have taken the study of the wisdom of the stars in Steiner’s work (i.e., Astrosophy) to a new audience. Astrosophy can be considered a specialty within the larger body of Steiner’s work, Anthroposophy.

Tresemer’s newest book looks deeply at the implications of the upcoming celestial event. We know this is rare — the transit of Venus over the Sun on June 5 is the second in the pair of transits that occur about every 125 years. The pairs arrive every eight years; the June 2012 transit follows the one of June 2004. The next pair will be in 2117.

The work relies on the sidereal zodiac; the June eclipse will be at 20° – 21° Taurus (rather than 15°44’ Gemini in the tropical zodiac).

Part of the author’s examination of the significance of the eclipse rests on his research into 20° – 21° Taurus and its opposite, i.e., 20° – 21° Scorpio. Tresemer previously developed a system of “word Images” based on the notion that each of the 360 degrees of the zodiac carries a different quality. (Although it may sound familiar, it has no relationship to Sabian or other degree symbol systems.)

Tresemer’s degree system work is part of his Oracle of the Solar Cross, which describes an Image for each of the 360 degrees of the zodiac.

He has taken his cue from “the statement by the philosopher Rudolf Steiner that Christ Jesus was in complete accord with all celestial movements in the heavens.” The word Images used herein are derived from the author’s study of the events of the last four years in Christ Jesus’s life, which has been catalogued by earlier writers in the Anthroposophical field. (I mention this background for the Images as it may be of interest to some readers, particularly those with an interest in Anthroposophy, but it’s not essential to appreciating Tresemer’s book.)

Tresemer offers the word Image for 20° – 21° Taurus and teases apart the symbolism. It’s beyond the scope of this brief review to go into detail, but the author does weave a quite magical and multi-valiant tale. Suffice it to say, one overarching theme is an examination of the use (and misuse) of tools and technology.

Although the work is primarily focused on the Taurus and Scorpio degrees, some of the many events he includes in his research occur with planets square, opposed, or trine to those degrees.

Essentially, events that happen as the Sun is at that degree are connected to the Image, and also to the degree opposite, in this case 20° – 21° Scorpio. Tresemer speaks of people and events tied to these degrees. The people may have been born with the Sun therein, or died on that day.

In the chapter, Mentors and Spoilers, Tresemer discusses the notion of “bodes,” something like a residue of those events or people who have passed through that particular degree, or stargate — “they either bode well and become mentors, or they bode ill and become spoilers.”

He talks about befriending these personages, or investigating the historic events of that degree for positive support and guidance in these times. He writes of “star resonance” or “world memories” stored at each degree.

Since the Venus transit is for the entire world, the events and people at those degrees are mentors and spoilers for us all. Herein are fascinating thoughts on why listening to Mozart, or having a respectful dialogue with Carl Jung (among others) may be important in the days ahead.

Profound qualities of Venus herself are also richly and creatively discussed in this book. The author writes on her connection to Eros and “erotic phantasms;” love’s unhealable wound; the seductive power of technology; and the urgency of finding one’s soul group as themes that may all be quickened by her travel directly across the Sun.

David Tresemer is a clear and conscientious writer. Where appropriate, he explains Steiner’s views and generously references others’ work. He also has a lot of personal stories and anecdotes from his well-traveled and keenly observed life. He is certainly a devotee of astrosophy (rather than astrology), but his ideas cannot be easily categorized or reduced.

He ends his treatise on the significance of the Venus eclipse with a summary, Hands of the Heart. “We can respect the wonderful tools and magical implements that exist in the outer world, but learn to depend on the capacities of our own hearts.”

This is a book unlike any other; from Rudolf Steiner’s esoteric lore to recommending activities that include connecting your hands to your heart, David Tresemer is at home in a wide range of experiences. His last sentence: “Expand your vision to include what can be felt, that is, in the terms of this book, learn to see with the heart.”

David Tresemer has written a fine and fascinating book. If you feel called to a deeper contemplation of the Venus eclipse of the Sun in June, this is the place to go.

The Venus Eclipse of the Sun 2012, by David Tresemer, Lindisfarne Books, 610 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA 10230, 2011. Softbound—151 pp.—$15 (ISBN 978-1-58420-074-1).


7 Comments - click to read them or write one | Permalink

Like what you see?   Subscribe to The Mountain Astrologer

Scratch Some Virgo, Find Some Pisces

By Eric Francis | January 16, 2012

The late, great horoscope writer Patric Walker once wrote, “Scratch a Pisces and you’ll find a Virgo under their skin.” Though this was a cute one-liner that I read in The New York Post, Patric was alluding to a real astrological principle: the ‘opposite’ signs contain one another. In a sense, they’re not even really opposite; they are aspects of the same thing, and in this way a polarity works as one entity.

When signs on both sides of the polarity have planets or notable events in them, this is especially noticeable — and that’s what’s happening these days with Virgo and Pisces.

Mars is currently in Virgo, making an extremely rare eight-month visit that includes a 12-week retrograde. (The retrograde extends between January 23 and April 13.) Chiron is currently in Pisces, where it will be into 2019, and Neptune is due to arrive on February 3, and will remain there until 2025. Such events qualify as the ‘full activation’ of the Virgo-Pisces axis — what I will call the axis of practical imagination. Virgo expresses the technical side of nearly anything, based on its tendency toward integrated or applied knowledge; Pisces expresses the imaginative side of the psyche, which can often inspire the more practical modes of expression.

Think of the circuit board and all the ingenuity required to create it as an expression of Virgo. Think of the concept ‘Macintosh’ as an expression of Pisces. To get anything done, particularly anything creative, it’s necessary to have both ends of the polarity working. We’re definitely getting both right now, and we will be for a while.

Let’s start with a careful look at the Virgo side and come back to Pisces. Mars in Virgo is the mind on fire. This placement can represent a drive for integrity, impeccability or even perfection. Healing and self-improvement can become obsessions. There is the drive to fix things. If Mars in this sign turns on itself, the result can be a painful and even tortured neurosis. Casting Mars retrograde in Virgo in the best light, I see an inquiry of some kind, a questioning of conventional values, and an intellectual quest that continually questions itself.

For retrograde hunters, the last time Mars was retrograde in Virgo was in 1997, but part of that cycle happened in Libra, so we did not get the full effect. Mars did something similar in 1950, splitting a retrograde between Virgo and Libra. Mars spent a little piece of its 1995 retrograde in Virgo as well.

The last all-Virgo Mars retrograde was the famous one that took place in early 1965, famous in my mind, anyway, because Mars passed through the Uranus-Pluto conjunction. Doing so, it stirred up a lot of collective energy, helping spark what we think of as the 1960s. That conjunction, which happens less than once per century, combined the revolutionary power of Uranus with the evolutionary power of Pluto and set many things in motion.

In January, Lyndon Johnson made his “Great Society” speech. Two months later, he sent the first combat troops to Vietnam. The Civil Rights movement was on fire in Alabama, where James J. Reeb, a Unitarian Universalist minister was beaten to death. In April, the first anti-Vietnam War march, organized by Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), drew 25,000 people, which was just the first of many impressive antiwar protests that year.

In May 40 men burned their draft cards at the University of California at Berkeley, and marched a coffin to the local Draft Board. Good thing, too. By July, Johnson nearly doubled both the ground troop count in Vietnam and the number of men drafted. (He also signed the Social Security Act of 1965, which provided for Medicaid and Medicare).

Births from this specific era of 1965 include Trent Reznor, Robert Downey, Jr., Eric Cantor and Sarah Jessica Parker. A piece of timeless artwork that manifested in this moment was the recording A Love Supreme by John Coltrane.

We are now having another all-Virgo Mars retrograde. What is interesting is that we are once again in a potent Uranus-Pluto phase — the square. This is the first Uranus-Pluto quadrature (90-degree type) aspect since the ’60s, and it’s pretty easy to feel the resonance between our era and that one. This retrograde will awaken Uranus and Pluto in the natal charts of many people born in the ’60s. It’s fair to say that for a while, the world will feel a little more like home to ’60s babies — though this isn’t just about Virgo.

This particular Mars retrograde also arrives with a Pisces awakening. At the moment, Venus and Chiron are in Pisces. Neptune is about to arrive, which will shift the story of the world, and allow the realm of imagination to be more tangible and accessible. When the question is one of method, we find a counterpart in purpose in its counterpart energy, Pisces. When it’s one of proof (in Virgo) we have a matter of faith (in Pisces).

What our era has in common with the mid-’60s (indeed, nearly the whole decade) is once again the presence of Chiron in Pisces — something that blended the focusing power of Virgo with the softer light of Pisces. I think of Chiron in Pisces as being the side of the ’60s that was about love, peace and beauty. This was a spirit represented, among other manifestations, by The Beatles, who provided a soundtrack and embodied a peace-loving, creative ethos available beneath all the turmoil of the era.

We’re now entering a time of history that will make the ’60s seem like a day at the shore. The Uranus-Pluto square describes an extended phase of awakenings, creative expression and surges forward in many necessary aspects of life. Yet this radically progressive astrology is taking shape in a world where the human spirit has been all but legislated out of existence or subsumed in advertising. Still, we have the strength to wage ideological battles and attempt to prove our points either intellectually or with intellectual bullying.

Beneath the hashing out of supposed right and wrong, of evidence and proof, there is a softer reality. Amidst the chaos, there is a calm voice speaking and asking reasonable questions.

Check out Eric’s new blog at the Reality Check website.

21 Comments - click to read them or write one | Permalink

Like what you see?   Subscribe to The Mountain Astrologer

Michelle and Marilyn

By Mary Plumb | January 9, 2012

Eclipse patterns and nodal connections offer unlimited insight into cycles of time. They are also useful to work with when the birth time is unknown. The nodes form an axis across the birth chart, often pointing to deep, soul issues or moments of destiny in an unfolding life. An eclipse of the Sun or Moon will always fall when one of these bodies is close to the Moon’s nodes and in parallel aspect to one other. (1)

The actor Michelle Williams was born on September 8, 1980 in Kallispell, Montana (time unknown). (2)

(All charts have been calculated on a Mac with IO by Time Cycles Research.)

Michelle Williams Sunrise I saw her newest movie, My Week with Marilyn, this weekend and wondered what kind of connection she might have with Monroe.

Even though they do not look at all alike, Williams has been praised for her ability to capture the essence of the wondrously, glamorously vulnerable Marilyn Monroe. (3) In an interview about the film, Williams said: “I have always been drawn to Marilyn……She has that magnetism and that draw for so many people, so I read about her when I was young, devouring biographies.” (4)

We do have an accurate time for Marilyn Monroe. She was born on June 1, 1926 at 9:30 am in Los Angeles, CA. AA data (5)

Marilyn Monroe natal chart She has the Moon in Leo in the 7th house opposite Neptune in Aquarius in the 1st house.

Williams’s north node at 20° Leo is conjunct Marilyn’s natal Neptune; her south node at 20° Aquarius is conjunct Marilyn’s Moon.

Marilyn and Michelle bi-wheel That so well describes the kind of compelling attraction that nodal connections can indicate. I’m thinking too of Williams’s ability to capture the beguiling (and sorrowful) quality of Marilyn’s appeal. She was able to feel deeply into Marilyn’s emotional nature — at least enough to create a beguiling film presence herself.

Williams was born on the day of a New Moon at 16°50 Virgo. (The Moon traveled between 14° – 26° Virgo that day.) She has the Sun, Jupiter, (and maybe the Moon) closely square to Neptune. Her sturdy Virgo nature is also porous and malleable, a gift for an actor.

Marilyn has the Moon opposite Neptune; her public image was powerfully erotic and open to projection. Saturn in Scorpio in the 4th house is squaring the opposition; her early life was one of emotional devastation. (Midpoint watchers may be interested to see that on the 45° dial, Marilyn has the Uranus/Neptune midpoint with Sun, the Moon, and the Venus/Mars midpoint.)

I don’t want to get too far a field with this blog, but I have included some links to articles about her chart below. (6)

Williams was in a relationship with actor Heath Ledger from 2004 until September 2007. Again, with no known birth time, I’ve cast the sunrise chart. (7)

Heath Ledger, sunrise chartHer natal Sun is conjunct Ledger’s north node at 17° Virgo. The couple separated in September 2007; there was a solar eclipse on September 11, 2007 at 18°24’ Virgo, conjunct her Sun-Jupiter and his north node.

Heath Ledger died from an accidental overdose on January 22, 2008. At his death, transiting Pluto was at 29° Sagittarius (with Venus at 28°) square her natal Mercury at 29° Virgo (with Saturn at 29°). His natal Mercury is 29° Pisces, also being squared by transiting Pluto.

Heath Ledger, death transitsTransiting Mercury and Neptune were conjunct at 20° Aquarius, her south node, when he died.

One other thing we can see in these two sunrise charts are planets “at the bending,” i.e., square the nodal axis. Williams has Uranus square the nodal axis, specifically the North Bending (8) One event from her biography that matches that symbolism is that at “age 15, faced with her parent’s disapproval, she emancipated herself from them. This was in order for Williams to better pursue her acting career and not have to worry about child labor laws.” (9)

Heath Ledger has Neptune at the North Bending, a hint to a highly sensitive nature, as well as a testament to his gifts as an actor.  The Dark Knight was the last film he completed before his death. He was awarded Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor as well as numerous other posthumous awards.

Michelle Williams and Heath Ledger have a child, Matilda Rose, born on October 28, 2005.

Matilda Ledger, natal Her Moon is between 9° – 21° Virgo, close to her mother’s. Matilda’s north node is at 13° Aries, exactly conjunct her father’s Sun. In a statement Williams gave at Ledger’s eulogy, she said: “I am the mother of the most tenderhearted, high-spirited, beautiful little girl who is the spitting image of her father. All that I can cling to is his presence inside her that reveals itself every day.” (10)

Maybe we can hear echoes of the north node/Sun conjunction between father and daughter in her words.

May they both have continued prosperous and happy times ahead.

(1) A parallel occurs when planets are within one degree of the same degree of declination, i.e., the position above or below the celestial equator, described in degrees and minutes north or south of the equator.

(2) Wikipedia

(3) “Initially terrified of taking on the role, she turned down the offer. ‘Physically and vocally, everything about her is different from me,’ she explained. Eventually, she found the offer too good of an opportunity to pass up.”
The Telegraph

(4) The Telegraph

(5) AstroDatabank

(6) Here are a few places to read about her:
Marilyn Monroe 80th Birthday Horoscope
Ohio Astrology

(7) Wikipedia

(8) “Planets at the South Bending are related in meaning to the South Node, that is, they signify a point of release — experiences are internal and have difficulty being expressed outwardly. The North Bending resembles the North Node, which is a point where energy comes in; events and experiences will manifest in the outer world.
To easily see which bending the planet occupies in a chart, start with the North Node and move clockwise around the wheel; if a planet is at the opening square, it is the South Bending. Continuing clockwise around the wheel, if the planet is at the closing square, e.g., 270° from the North Node, it is the North Bending.”
From my earlier blog, At the Bending

(9) Wikipedia

(10) The Daily Telegraph

4 Comments - click to read them or write one | Permalink

Like what you see?   Subscribe to The Mountain Astrologer

Venus Cazimi

By Mary Plumb | December 12, 2011

I reviewed Arielle Guttman’s book Venus Star Rising in TMA Oct/Nov 2011.  She began her intensive research on the subject right before the transit of Venus over the Sun in June 2004. The next in this pair of rare transits, which was known to the Maya, is on June 5, 2012. Arielle calls the prenatal conjunction of Venus and the Sun the “Venus Star,” and her book intricately describes how the Venus Star impacts partnership dynamics.

Although we have spoken over the years, Arielle and I met face to face for the first time in May at the time of the Venus-Mars conjunction at 9º Taurus. As we realized at the time, my natal Venus is 4º Aquarius and hers is 5º Leo, both connected to the previous inferior conjunction of Venus with the Sun, which was at 5º30’ Scorpio on October 28, 2010, and to her first appearance in the morning sky, which was a few days later at about 3º Scorpio. (1)

Arielle kindly gave me an idea for this blog, i.e., watch transits to the Sun-Venus conjunction degree for the manifestation of events. So here I’m going to consider the inferior conjunction of Venus with the Sun at 5º30’ Scorpio. (As mentioned above, her heliacal rise was a few days later at about 3º Scorpio.)

The Sun- Venus conjunction is considered the start of her 584-day cycle. The heliacal rise can be considered as the start of the cycle as well. It was recognized by the Mesopotamians and later “termed Phasis by the Greeks — which means “an appearance that speaks.” (2)

But, the heliacal rise is harder to calculate due to variables in latitude, weather, and atmospheric conditions. As I wrote in May, Arielle explained that “because of that slightly irregular timing and her connection to the notion of ‘cazimi,’ that is, a planet at ‘the heart of the Sun,’ the idea that she develops in the book is based on the inferior or superior conjunction of Venus before birth (the inferior is always the retrograde conjunction). In other words, the cycle does not begin with Venus’s observable appearance in the sky (i.e., the heliacal rise), but it begins with the cazimi, with Venus exactly in the heart of the Sun.” (3)

Now, on to the transits, as there has been a lot of planetary activity at 5º Scorpio since the conjunction in October 2010. Venus and Mars both came to 5º Taurus in May 2011, opposite 5º Scorpio. This was when Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and their respective sex scandals, were in the headlines.

Next, transiting Jupiter came to 5º Taurus in the first few days of July. Jupiter is BIG, of course, and as Arielle commented, “It was a biggie – Andrew Weiner’s wiener got flashed all over the internet.”

N.Y. Congressman Anthony Weiner resigned on June 21, hurried along by the solar eclipse on June 1 at 11º Gemini, square to his natal Sun at 11º Virgo. (4)

This sexting incident also had big political repercussions: Republican Bob Turner won the special election held in September to replace the eclipsed Democrat Weiner. (5) He “is the first Republican Congressman to represent this district in 88 years.” (6)

In late October (exact on the 27th), Jupiter made his retrograde pass over 5º30’ Taurus. Arielle had foreseen another “Weiner incident.” Alas, we had two big stories emerging then: Jerry Sandusky from Penn State and Herman Cain. (7)

After a three-year investigation, Jerry Sandusky was indicted on November 4, 2011 and charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse of young boys over a 15-year period.

He was born on January 26, 1944, the day after a total solar eclipse at 4º33’ Aquarius. (8) In the solar chart for his birthday, the Sun is 5º Aquarius (conjunct the South Node at 6º46’), opposite Pluto at 7º39’ Leo (conjunct the North Node at 6º46 Leo). Transiting Jupiter at 5º Taurus was squaring his natal Sun-Pluto opposition; with the cazimi Venus point at 5º Scorpio, there is a fixed square. Like everyone else, I have a sense of the horror of the alleged abuse, but it took sports-minded friends to clue me in to the importance of Penn State in the sports world — it has a very, very successful, very, very wealthy football program.  (As Arielle had said, with Jupiter, it is big.) “The scandal badly damaged the image of the powerhouse college football program and forced out its legendary head coach Joe Paterno.” (9)

Joe Paterno, the other big name mentioned right away in the scandal, also has a natal planet sensitized by the transits to the cazimi point. Looking again at a solar chart, he has natal Mars at 5º Taurus. (10) (I heard him described by one sports commentator as possibly “the most important person in Pennsylvania.”) “The board of trustees fired Paterno and Penn State’s president for failing to tell police about an allegation of abuse once they learned of it. Apart from the criminal case, the university faces a string of external and internal investigations.” (11)

Recent eclipses have lit up both men’s charts. The total lunar eclipse on December 21, 2010 was at 29º Gemini. The Sun was then conjunct Sandusky’s Venus and Paterno’s Sun, both at 28º Sagittarius.

The total lunar eclipse on June 15, 2011 (24º23’ Sagittarius) was square Paterno’s natal Uranus at 25º Pisces. He was fired after a 46-year career in mid-November 2011. The solar eclipse on November 25 was at 2º37’ Sagittarius, the degree of his natal Saturn is (2º08’ in the solar chart). Sports and higher education fall under the dominion of Sagittarius.

Jupiter will make a final transit to 5º Taurus in February 2012. We’ll see what happens then.

But for now, I want to conclude with some other thoughts about the Sun-Venus synodic cycle. The late Robert Blaschke also studied the prenatal Sun-Venus conjunctions. He felt that if the conjunction was retrograde, i.e., inferior, that that person was completing karma in relationships in the current life. The retrograde prenatal Sun-Venus cazimi showed that we move toward significant relationships with those with whom we have deep and incomplete soul connections. He felt that those with the superior cazimi, i.e., Venus was direct when conjunct the Sun before birth, were meeting new people and starting new relationships in this life. I think it’s a very interesting observation, and I invite you to explore that idea in your close relationships.

Robert also noticed that the transiting cazimi degree (whether inferior or superior) is highly sensitive. If you have 5º Scorpio (or 23º Leo, the superior cazimi in August 2011) on an angle or with the Sun, Moon, or other important placement in the birth horoscope, Robert would have said that this would bring an important relationship into your life. This also shows the alluring strength of 15º44’ Gemini, the degree of the June 2012 Venus transit of the Sun.

Both Arielle and Robert have made fine observations about the quality of relationships between those with the prenatal Sun-Venus conjunction at the same degree. (In her book, Arielle calls them “Twin Stars.”)

Here’s to embodying all of Venus’s fruitful gifts as we all learn to love each other in all kinds of ways.

(1) There was a superior conjunction, when Venus was direct, and on the other side of the Sun, on August 16, 2011 at 23º Leo.

(2) See Gary Caton’s blog Astrology as if the Sky Mattered

(3) Unruly Mars has a far more erratic orbit, but with Venus, symmetry prevails.
“Deborah Houlding’s article, The Beauty of the Venus Cycle in TMA Feb/Mar 2010, considers the start of the Venus cycle to be the superior conjunction. What seems important to understand, is that Venus has an “enduring symmetry.” No matter where one considers the start of the Venus cycle (i.e, at heliacal rise, at the inferior conjunction, or the superior conjunction), Venus will always make the five-pointed star in her eight-year journey with the Sun and the earth.”
See Mary Plumb’s blog Venus – Enduring Symmetry

(4) Anthony Weiner; September 4, 1964; Brooklyn, N.Y. Sunrise chart.

(5) Sexting


(7) Using a solar chart, Herman Cain does not appear to have as obviously dramatic a connection to 5º Scorpio as the others. Although we can never know what goes on in the emotional lives of those involved, perhaps this is suggested by the apparently consensual nature of Mr. Cain’s various sexual relationships.  Herman Cain; December 13, 1945; Memphis, Tennessee. Sunrise chart.

(8) Jerry Sandusky; January 26, 1944; Washington, Pennsylvania. Sunrise chart.

News Page 1

(10) Joe Paterno; December 21, 1926; Brooklyn, New York. Sunrise chart.

(11) News Page 1

17 Comments - click to read them or write one | Permalink

Like what you see?   Subscribe to The Mountain Astrologer

The Moon and Mercury Overthrow the Sun, part II

By Gary P. Caton | December 5, 2011

Unless the eye catch fire, God will not be seen
Unless the ear catch fire, God will not be heard
Unless the tongue catch fire, God will not be named
Unless the heart catch fire, God will not be loved
Unless the mind catch fire, God will not be known

William Blake (1)

A total lunar eclipse will take place on December 10, 2011. It will be completely visible, from beginning to end, throughout Asia and Australia. This eclipse will occur at moonrise over Eastern Europe and at moonset over northwest North America. This is the second of two total lunar eclipses in 2011, the first having occurred on June 15. (2) Moreover, this will be the third total lunar eclipse in a row, going back to the solstice total lunar eclipse of December 21, 2010. This is happening during a period of four partial solar eclipses. When we look closer, we see that the three consecutive total lunar eclipses are happening in opposition to Mercury’s conjunctions with the Sun.

December 19, 2010: Mercury Rx conjunct the Sun at 28° Sagittarius
December 21, 2010: Total Lunar Eclipse at 29° Gemini

June 12, 2011: Mercury (direct) conjunct the Sun at 22° Gemini
June 15, 2011: Total Lunar Eclipse at 24° Sagittarius

December 4, 2011: Mercury Rx conjunct the Sun at 12° Sagittarius
December 10, 2011: Total Lunar Eclipse at 18° Gemini

The day before the December 19, 2010 interior conjunction of the Sun and Mercury in Sagittarius, a young street vendor in Tunisia set himself on fire and sparked a series of “days of rage” across the Arab world, in what has been referred to as the “Arab Spring.” (3) In August 2011, during the next Mercury retrograde in Leo, we saw riots in London that, along with protests in Spain and Greece, became characterized as the “European Summer.” Now that we have come full circle back to the Sagittarian Mercury retrograde, the conflagrations have morphed into the “American Autumn” of the Occupy movements. When cast for Washington, D.C, we see the cardinal, or moveable, signs on the angles. Since these are the signs that mark the changes of seasons, it is a good bet the movements of the “American Autumn” will effect some changes by spring. Over the last year, Mercury and the Moon have teamed up to overthrow many Rulers, signified by the Sun. The Sun also signifies CEO’s, so it could be that some of the Banksters have a date with destiny.

Dec. 10, 2011
Total lunar eclipse
9:37 a.m. EST
Washington, D.C.
Whole sign houses

While some have equated all these movements with the applying Uranus-Pluto squares, I think that is an oversimplification. It is quite obvious to me that the Mercury retrograde and nodal/eclipse cycles are also playing a crucial part by accentuating the Fire element this year. All of the Mercury retrogrades have happened in Fire signs this year, and the North Node has been transiting a Fire sign, Sagittarius.

The alchemical symbol for Fire is an upward-pointing triangle, and these popular up-risings have definitely displayed the spontaneous and volatile nature of the fiery element. In mundane astrology the Moon symbolizes the People. In this powerful series of total lunar eclipses, the Moon is linked with Mercury. As I mentioned, this is concurrent with his retrogrades in the fiery element. It seems that Mercury and the Moon together have accomplished much more than they ever could have alone.

When you look more closely than the broad historical picture and focus on any particular event, it seems clear to me that outer-planet archetypes generally do not become actualized as events without the help of the personal planets. For instance, an often-overlooked fact is that the 9-11 attacks occurred during a t-square from the Sun, a sextile from Mercury, and a trine from Venus, to the Saturn-Pluto opposition.

Sept. 11, 2001
8:46 a.m. EDT
New York, N.Y.
Koch houses

Uranus crossed 0° Aries, the Vernal point, twice in 2010 (i.e., in May and in August). However, it was only when Mercury joined Uranus at the Vernal point this spring (on March 9 at 29°51′ Pisces) that we had the Fukoshima disaster. Which is the more powerful planet then? My answer is both. It seems the awesome power of the outer planets often only materializes as events with the additional synergy of the personalizing power of the inner planets.

Since the previous total lunar eclipse (on June 15), we have seen this synergistic effect for the beginning of the Occupy Wall Street movements. On July 13, 2011 the Canadian-based Adbusters proposed a peaceful occupation of Wall Street to protest corporate influence on democracy, a growing disparity in wealth, and the absence of legal repercussions towards those implicated in the recent global financial crisis. In the chart for this event, Mercury is at 16° 29′ Leo, quite near his station direct on August 26 (18°41 Leo). This placement forms a Thor’s hammer or Arrowhead aspect configuration with the Uranus-Pluto squares. By residing at the far midpoint of Uranus and Pluto, Mercury is forming sesquisquares to both outer planets. When Mercury crossed the degrees of the Uranus-Pluto conjunctions of the 1960’s, we saw the first days of the Occupy Wall street protests. And when Venus, the Sun, and Mercury crossed the Autumnal equinox point of 0° Libra and formed a t-square to Uranus-Pluto, we saw the Occupy movements quickly morph into a national and global phenomenon.

July 13, 2011
5:38 a.m. EST (sunrise)
Washington, D.C.
Whole sign houses

During the last year, Mercury and the Moon have teamed up with Uranus and Pluto to overthrow many rulers, signified by the Sun. With the third total lunar eclipse looming, we inhabit quite a different world of possibilities than we had only a year ago. Whether or not you agree with, express solidarity with, or join forces with any of the protest movements around the world, it seems clear to me that the potential for radical paradigm shift is especially accessible to all of us over the next six months. (Six months is an average time for a lunar eclipse to be effective; this also coincides with the first exact Uranus-Pluto square in June 2012.)

On a personal level, the Sun is the ego and the overthrow of the Sun is the overcoming of false ego identity. However, as the alchemist’s say, there is no transformation without fire. Whether it’s the “fire in the head” of Yeats, the “fire in the eye” of Blake, or Keen’s “fire in the belly,” some part of us is yearning to catch fire and be transformed. (4) In alchemy, Fire operates through the process of Calcination.

Psychologically, Calcination is about the destruction of false ego attachments. The death of outdated, unwanted, or unhealthy ego structures results eventually in the birth of new ones. This can be achieved through a deliberate surrender of our inherent hubris through a variety of spiritual disciplines that ignite the fire of introspection and self-evaluation. Meditation or ceremonial work with fire as an element should be especially fruitful. (The elemental being associated with Fire is the salamander. This probably originates from salamanders hibernating in and under rotting logs. When wood was brought indoors and put on the fire, the creatures “mysteriously” appeared from the flames.)

Astrologically, access to this process may be shown in our personal charts by connections to the Fire element, e.g., by transiting Uranus in Aries, or the Sun and Mercury in Sagittarius in the chart for the current total lunar eclipse. It may also be shown by connections from our personal chart to Sagittarius’s ruler, Jupiter in Taurus.

Total lunar eclipse
9:37 a.m. EST
Washington, D.C.
0 Aries Ascendant

We should also note that the Moon is in Gemini at this lunar eclipse. Gemini, an Air sign, is compatible with and helps fan the flames of the Fire placements. In alchemy the Air element expresses itself through the operation of Separation, which involves rediscovery of our true essence and the letting go, or cutting away, of the self-inflicted restraints to our true nature. Mars rules cutlery and is the planet associated with the operation of Separation, as the goal is to cut away any remaining dross or falsity. Mars in Virgo is t-square to this total lunar eclipse and transiting Mars will be doing his retrograde dance in Virgo for the first four months of 2012. So the operation of Separation will be carried out via the use of critical thinking skills (Virgo), which will assist the Air element (intellect) in sorting and sifting through our lives. What parts are working and worth keeping and what parts need to be cut loose?

This series of total lunar eclipses seems to have inspired worldwide activism, and it is clear to me that we are passing a threshold. There is serious potential for moving ‘outside the box’ in creating our future. We’ve been waiting a long time for 2012, sensing it, feeling out the possibilities. Now it’s almost time to surf the wave. Whether through the conversation of an Occupy general assembly, the intense feelings provoked by participating in protests, or the deep inner psycho-spiritual searching of alchemy and other personal growth modalities, the work we do over the next six months paves the way for our experience of the first two Uranus-Pluto squares next year. This lunar eclipse is catalyzing the future. Our task now is to go into the spirit world and meet it, and then to return and call it forth from that magickal place to this one.

(1) The William Blake quote has various secondary sources, but I was unable to find the original source for this often quoted text.

(2) Please see Gary’s earlier blog on the June 2011 total lunar eclipse: The Moon and Mercury Overthrow the Sun

(3) Readers may enjoy this earlier blog: The Eclipses in Tunisia and Egypt

(4) William Butler Yeats’s poem, The Song of Wandering Aengus, refers to the ‘fire in the head’ that characterizes the visionary experience.
Sam Keen, The Fire in the Belly: On Being a Man, 1991, Bantam.

Recommended Reading and Listening:


Dennis Hauck, The Emerald Tablet: Alchemy for Personal Transformation, 1999, Penguin Compass

Alchemy Journal

Alchemy Lab: Calcination
Ceres Astrology: Calcination

Elemental Fire

Alchemy Lab: Separation
Ceres Astrology: Separation

Gary P. Caton is an eclectic Astrologer who embraces an organic process-oriented approach of spiritual exploration via the Living Sky. Gary has studied Spirituality for over 22 years. After exploring Shamanism and the Tarot, in 1993 his life was changed by a magnificent Dream where he was shown planetary alignments and became an Astrologer. Gary earned a degree in Counseling with honors and has developed a unique multi-discipline path to Astrology over 18 years. Visit Gary at his website: Dream Astrologer

11 Comments - click to read them or write one | Permalink

Like what you see?   Subscribe to The Mountain Astrologer

Sagittarius Eclipse: A New Power Emerges

By Gary P. Caton | November 21, 2011

A partial solar eclipse will occur on November 25, 2011 at 2°37′ Sagittarius. This will be the last of four partial solar eclipses in 2011; the others occurred on January 4, June 1, and July 1, 2011. With the North Node of the Moon, the Head of the Dragon, moving through the middle degrees of Sagittarius, we are now reaching the culmination of a period where the Sagittarius archetype is being torn open, erupting its dark shadow contents and forcing the entire world to see them. I say this because an eclipse is essentially a rip in the fabric of time, and eclipses at the Head of the Dragon represent something new coming into our awareness that we must struggle to integrate.

The North Node represents the evolutionary path forward. The North Node is also, and more appropriately, called the Ascending Node, because it is where the path of the Moon crosses the path of the Sun (ecliptic) going upward. It is thus interpreted as “where we are going” or “what we are here for.” It represents a place where something previously below (consciousness) now rises up. Just as the Sun crosses the horizon at dawn, something now is piercing the main plane of existence (ecliptic) in an upward manner, struggling to become manifest.

Systems theory can help us make a little more sense of this. (1) As living organisms, people (and arguably nations and civilizations) are open systems: they cannot survive without continuously exchanging matter and energy with their environment. This interaction has two components: input, i.e., that which enters the system from the outside, and output, i.e., that which leaves the system for the environment. The transformation of input into output by the system is usually called throughput.

Since Sagittarius is the sign where North Node eclipses are occurring now, the Sagittarius house cusp in any chart will be an area where new energy, feelings, and ideas are trying to enter. This is the input into the system. The input of an eclipse is basically added psychic energy, which stirs the pot and makes any energetic blockages in the organism more apparent.

The throughput aspect of this process is our own personal responsibility to maintain awareness of these blockages as they come up, and to begin the internal work required to remove them. If our throughput processing is even minimally successful, the output will be an ability to let go of blockages and live with greater ease and a more healthy and enhanced expression of both houses on the Gemini-Sagittarius axis.

In his excellent article earlier this year, Austin Coppock brilliantly described the basic function of this axis in terms of the alchemical formula Solve et Coagula, that is, separate and join together. (2) The basic function of Gemini is to fracture the One in order to see its different facets. Sagittarius then re-unites these fragments just as the centaur physically unites the animal/instinctive body of the horse with the rational/logical head of the human.

When understood this way, the location of the Great Attractor in Sagittarius makes even more sense, because gravity pulls things together. (3) This also seems to re-affirm the Sibly chart for the U.S. because Sagittarius is consistent with the idea of E Pluribus Unum — out of many, One. However, given the continuous difficulty of achieving any kind of true unity in this country, the Scorpionic America chart, put forth by David Solte, also seems appropriate. (4) Rather than falling on the horizon axis (as in the Sibly chart), Gemini/Sagittarius forms the vertical axis of this chart. The Sagittarius Midheaven signifies something we aspire to, rather than something we embody. In the Solte Scorpionic America chart, this eclipse could be viewed as a wake-up call regarding the realism of those aspirations to unity.

With Sagittarius on an angle in both the Sibly and Solte charts, it is no surprise that the U.S. is receiving a wake-up call from the Occupy Wall Street movement (OWS). Contrary to mainstream media accusations that they lack a clear message, the basic message of the OWS movement has always been: We are the 99%.

You might ask: what does it mean to be the 99%? It is an established fact that income inequality in this great country has steadily increased for more than three decades. We are one of only a few developed countries where this is true. A Congressional Budget Office study in 2011 found that incomes of the top 1% increased about 275% in the period between 1979 and 2007, while all lower income levels lost their share of national income. (5) Put simply, for almost the entire life of this author, the 1% have been getting filthy rich while the 99% have been getting poorer. Unless you are a billionaire like Michael Bloomberg, or the average millionaire congressperson, I can’t see why that is anything to wave a flag about. Nor should it come as any surprise that many find this intolerable. I remember my undergrad sociology professor citing the basic sociological fact that when the gap between the rich and poor is stable, no matter how large, it is tolerated, but when the gap grows, revolutions occur. In other words, economic injustice and greed breed revolutions.

It also seems very fitting that Jupiter, the ruler of the North Node of the Moon in Sagittarius, is currently transiting Taurus, as there is such a spotlight on economic injustices. The question remains whether we can heal the division between the 99% and the 1% and bring economic unity back to this country. Perhaps the chart of the Saros Series, to which the November 25, 2011 partial solar eclipse belongs, can tell us something about that potential.

Eclipses happen in families or series, and a new member emerges about every 18 years. This is the Saros cycle, first discovered by Babylonian astronomer/astrologers more than two millennia ago. Solar eclipses with very similar characteristics repeat every 18 years, 11 days, and 8 hours; these eclipses are then part of the same family, or Saros Series. Any two eclipses separated by one Saros cycle (i.e., 6,585.3 days) share very similar geometries. They occur at the same node with the Moon at nearly the same distance from earth, and at the same time of year.

The current eclipse belongs to Saros Series 123, the last two of which occurred in November 1993 and 1975. This series is made up of 70 eclipses, and the current partial solar eclipse is number 53. The birth chart for this series — dated April 9, 1074 — is an eclipse in the middle degrees of Taurus, at the cross-quarter point between the vernal equinox and summer solstice. (6) The ruler of the eclipse, Venus, is near the vernal equinox point of 0° Aries, also called the Mundane or World Axis. Since eclipses in this series have important points on the World Axis, this series will have pronounced socio-political effects.

In the 1074 chart, there is also a t-square in the early degrees of the mutable signs (i.e., Mars in Pisces, Saturn in Sag, Mercury and Neptune in Gemini).  The current eclipse, at 2°37′ Sagittarius, resonates strongly with this chart. This suggests the current member of this Saros Series could be carrying a particularly potent version of the family story, which is about initiating big (cardinal) changes (mutable).

Chart for Saros 123: April 29, 1074; 3:05:35 a.m.; Constantinople

The chart for the November 25, 2011 partial eclipse echoes the birth chart of the series in a few important ways. (7) The ruler of this eclipse, Jupiter, is in Taurus, the sign of the first eclipse of this series. Also the mutable t-square in early degrees is again present, this time between the Sun and Moon, Mars, and Chiron.

Chart for solar eclipse: November 25, 2011; 1:09:58 a.m.; Washington, D.C.

Within these commonalities we can form some reasonable expectations. The Taurus theme tells us it is appropriate to focus on economic issues. Furthermore, Jupiter is part of a loose earth grand trine with Mars and Pluto. With all three planets being somewhat near their stations, we know this grand trine will be re-visited. This will happen in mid March 2012 when Mars squares the Lunar Nodes. I suspect March will be a major culmination of the energies that are beginning to gather steam now.

In the short term, this partial solar eclipse is followed in two weeks by a total lunar eclipse. Both eclipses occur during Mercury retrograde. As I suggested earlier this year the Mercury retrogrades in the fire element, along with a total lunar eclipse in air, are going to once again further invigorate the current global conflagrations. When Mercury crossed the North Node on November 15, the NYPD evicted the Occupiers. This has only served to strengthen their resolve, and now the protests are spreading onto college campuses. It will certainly be interesting to see what happens with OWS at the next two passes of Mercury over the North Node and the Great Attractor, in retrograde motion on December 2nd and in direct motion on December 26th. I have noticed a history of Mercury being active in the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) events. Stay tuned for more on that in two weeks, when I cover the coming total lunar eclipse.


(1) “Systems theory is the transdisciplinary study of systems in general, with the goal of elucidating principles that can be applied to all types of systems at all nesting levels in all fields of research …..In this context the word systems is used to refer specifically to self-regulating systems, i.e., that are self-correcting through feedback. Self-regulating systems are found in nature, including the physiological systems of our body, in local and global ecosystems, and in climate – and in human learning processes.”

(2) Read Austin’s article here.

(3) Editor’s note: From an earlier article by Eric Francis: “Among the many strange marvels of the sign that contains the galactic center is another galactic point called the Great Attractor, located at about Sagittarius 14 degrees and two minutes.”
Also, see Gary’s blog on the Great Attractor.

(4) See Scorpionic chart.

David Solte (1949 – 2002) proposed a rectified chart for the U.S. in May 1993. He was a frequent contributor to TMA before his untimely death.David Solte Memorial

(5) Wikipedia

(6) Beginning of Saros 123: April 29, 1074; 3:05:35 a.m.; Constantinople.

(7) Solar eclipse; November 25, 2011: 1:09:58 a.m.; Washington, D.C.

Gary P. Caton is an eclectic Astrologer who embraces an organic process-oriented approach of spiritual exploration via the Living Sky. Gary has studied Spirituality for over 22 years. After exploring Shamanism and the Tarot, his life was changed in 1993 by a magnificent Dream where he was shown planetary alignments and became an Astrologer. Gary earned a degree in Counseling with honors and has developed a unique multi-disciplinary path to practicing Astrology over 18 years. Connect with Gary at

15 Comments - click to read them or write one | Permalink

Like what you see?   Subscribe to The Mountain Astrologer

Tuning into the Subtler Signals in the Sky

By Gary P. Caton | November 7, 2011

Any astrologer who has been practicing for very long knows that certain themes weave in and out of one’s life as one reads charts. The latest theme for me is the importance of the middle degrees of Sagittarius, which have appeared often in my clients’ charts. This is the location of a super-galactic gravitational anomaly called the Great Attractor. What the heck is that, you might ask?

In his “cosmic blip” newsletter of October 28, Philip Sedgwick describes the Great Attractor thus: “This amazing ‘thing’ is one of the most powerful pulling influences in deep space. It radiates in every energy spectrum and is one of the most gravitationally potent objects in the Universe. Its gravitational effects actually bend light around the Great Attractor such that it can be seen from behind.” Philip notes that the “symbolic imagery is important at times when one stands on tip toes wanting to know what looms over the next horizon…” (1)

We can speculate that the world is being initiated into the energy of the Great Attractor via the lunar nodes, currently at 14° Gemini/Sagittarius. That means we may get some clues about the meaning of this strange thing. The nodes, however, are often vague and hard to pinpoint, possibly because most people don’t understand what they are.

The lunar nodes represent the intersection points of the path of the Moon and the (apparent) path of the Sun, or ecliptic. Eclipses occur when there are lunations near the nodes because the Earth, Sun, and Moon are perfectly aligned in three dimensions. Currently the nodes are transiting through Gemini and Sagittarius, so the eclipses are happening when the Sun and Moon transit these signs together. Intersections like this are very significant in astrology, forming a kind of crossroads, with the potential for a lot more action than other quieter stretches of the celestial highways.

The Great Attractor isn’t the only unusual thing located in the middle degrees of Sagittarius. In his essay “The Riddle of the USA Horoscope,” Dane Rudhyar points out that this is also the location of the planetary nodes of both Venus and Uranus. (2) Astrologers most commonly use the lunar nodes in their work, but the planets have nodes, too. Just as the intersection of the Moon’s orbit with the ecliptic forms nodes, so too do the intersections of the planetary orbits with the ecliptic, although planetary nodes move much, much slower. For instance, the long awaited transit of Venus in June 2012, wherein Venus eclipses the Sun, is due to the fact that the Sun and Venus are crossing Venus’ North Node at the same time. These unique Venus transits, with Venus also eclipsing the Sun, occur in pairs more than 100 years apart, and are currently in the signs of Gemini and Sagittarius. (The first Venus transit of the current pair was in June 2004.) It will take hundreds of years for these rare transits that are also eclipses to change signs, and 80,000 years for the nodes of Venus to make a full circuit around the zodiac! (3) Therefore, the planetary nodes are even more fixed, or slow moving, than the so-called fixed stars, whose precessional movement takes 26,000 years to make a zodiacal circuit. This means that the planetary nodes are pretty close now to where they were during the founding of the U.S.A. in 1776.

Since the location of the Great Attractor wasn’t known until 1986, we have to assume Dane Rudhyar didn’t know about it. While I agree with Rudhyar regarding the significance of the South Nodes of Uranus and Venus on the U.S.A. Ascendant, the presence of the Great Attractor really seals the deal for me about the correctness of the Sibley chart. For instance, immigration to the U.S.A. first crossed one million people per decade in the 1840’s; this shows that the U.S.A. personifies the enormous gravity of the Great Attractor. (4)

Also, adding the South Nodes of Venus and Uranus to the Sagittarius Ascendant gives a perfect description of The Statue of Liberty, which graces our Eastern shore like the Ascendant of a horoscope does.

Emma Lazarus wrote her famous sonnet to the Statue of Liberty, The New Colossus, in 1883. (5) Here is part of the poem, with my additions of the keywords for Venus, Uranus, Sagittarius, the South Node, and the Great Attractor added in italics:

“A mighty woman (Venus, whose metal is copper) with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning (Uranus), and her name
Mother of Exiles (South Node).  From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide (Sagittarius) welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities (Sagittarius, a double-bodied sign) frame.
‘Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!’ cries she
With silent lips. ‘Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse (South Node) of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, (Great Attractor)
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

And who are the “wretched refuse” of America these days? We are. You and me. The 99%. The Banksters have stolen all our cash and cast us aside like trash. And the Occupy movements are bringing awareness to this fact. Accordingly, there is a conjunction of personal planets, Mercury and Venus, slowly moving toward a crescendo in the middle degrees of Sagittarius, where they will join with the North Node of the Moon, the Great Attractor, and the South Nodes of Venus and Uranus. The triple conjunction is at 14° Sagittarius on November 14.


A close (within two degrees) triple conjunction of Mercury and Venus with the lunar North Node in the middle degrees of Sagittarius is a very rare event. (6) This is about as rare as a Saturn-Pluto opposition from Gemini to Sagittarius. Since the Saturn-Pluto opposition across the U.S.A. horoscope’s horizon was such a big deal, it is quite possible this triple conjunction on the Ascendant will also be very important.

Beyond any possible mundane ramifications, what could this mean in the lives of regular people? Put simply, a heckuvalot.  One of my podcast listeners reminded me that it was at the last pass of the transiting lunar North Node over the Great Attractor (and the South Node of Venus) that I had my big Dream, where I saw the glyph for Venus in the heart of the Sun, and found out that was what was actually happening in the sky!

In the e-mail referred to above, Philip Sedgwick says, “The Node to the Great Attractor refreshes life mission statements.” Evolutionary astrologers believe the lunar nodes represent something akin to what Caroline Myss calls your “sacred contract.” This means the lunar nodes say something about a soul’s intentions for incarnating. I wrote about this perspective on the nodes for Planet Waves at the July 2011 Solar Eclipse. (7)

Let’s assume for a moment that the lunar nodes represent a sort of portal through which souls with similar intentions come into the material plane for certain kinds of experiences. What this means is that a particular kind of contract is being activated at any given time. Since the Sun and Moon align with the nodes at an eclipse, it could be a moment when these contracts are activated as agreements. This could mean that, right now, thousands of souls are getting their marching orders for incarnation over the next six months, or at least setting their intentions consciously.

What does this have to do with you? Well, what if you can re-negotiate your contract? What if, like the souls who’ve been waiting for incarnation, you can now get the stamp of approval for a change in your own marching orders? What if now is the perfect opportunity to shift your life’s focus from repeating your past, or your karma, to embracing your future, your calling, or dharma?

I would suggest that it doesn’t matter at all if any of this is “true.” What I’m proposing is a version of what coaches, therapists, and counselors call “the miracle question,” an aid to help you envision how the future will be different when any particular problem is no longer present. It also helps you to establish goals.

So, imagine that this is true. Imagine that you can re-negotiate, re-new, or re-affirm your sacred contract, your mission in life. Not only that, but imagine it works so well that you get the stamp of approval to change your contract in a way that would eliminate any problem in your life.

When you wake up the next morning, how will you begin to discover that the miracle has happened? What else are you going to notice? What else?

As Mercury, Venus, and the North Node of the Moon all head for a conjunction on the Great Attractor, now more than ever, communicating from your heart (expressing your Eros) has an attractive or unifying force that arises from within and makes you and others more aware of your true nature, one that is more fully realized and in tune with your world.


(1) Sign up for Philip’s Galactic Times newsletter to receive his “cosmic blip” e-mails. This quote is from the October 28, 2011 e-mail.

Astronomical data about the Great Attractor: (also from )

The Great Attractor (Abell 3627)
Tropical Longitude:14 Sagittarius 02 22 (epoch 2000.0)
Latitude: 38 S 54
Sidereal Longitude: 19 Scorpio 18 11
Right Ascension: 243 53 12
Declination: 64 S 55 on the GA

(2) The positions of the nodes of Venus and Uranus were one of Rudhyar’s reasons for favoring a Sagittarius Ascendant for the U.S.A. chart. The Sibley Ascendant is 12°21’ Sagittarius; Rudhyar rectified the chart to a 13°10’ Sagittarius Ascendant. Khaldea
The South Node of Uranus is 13°59′ Sagittarius; the South Node of Venus is 16°40′ Sagittarius. From: Heliocentric Astrology

(3) SavageGarden


(5) The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus

(6) Using Dan Ciubotaru’s configuration hunter website, I found that the previous triple conjunction was in 1285.
Configuration Hunter

(7) Planet Waves

Gary P. Caton is an eclectic Astrologer who embraces an organic process-oriented approach of spiritual exploration via the Living Sky. Gary has studied Spirituality for over 22 years. After exploring Shamanism & the Tarot, in 1993 his life was changed by a magnificent Dream where he was shown planetary alignments and became an Astrologer. Gary earned a degree in Counseling with honors and has developed a unique multi-disciplinary path to practicing Astrology over 18 years. Connect with Gary via his website DreamAstrologer

10 Comments - click to read them or write one | Permalink

Like what you see?   Subscribe to The Mountain Astrologer

Venus and Mars

By Mary Plumb | October 10, 2011

Paul McCartney married Nancy Shevell on Sunday, October 9, 2011, at the Olde Marylebone Town Hall in London, the same location of his wedding to Linda Eastman in 1969. (After a famously close and happy marriage, Linda died in 1998.)

We have recorded times for Paul and Linda and I’m going to start with the angular connections (and eclipse patterns) between their horoscopes.There are significant planetary connections to the all-important angles between the natal charts: Her Jupiter (21° Gemini) is conjunct his MC (24°); her nodal axis (22° Virgo-Pisces) crosses his Ascendant/Descendant (25° Virgo-Pisces); his Moon (17° Leo) is conjunct her MC (16° Leo), and his Juno, asteroid of marriage (7°48’ Scorpio), is conjunct her Ascendant (8°42’ Scorpio).

They married on March 12, 1969. (1) There was a solar eclipse on March 18 at 27° Pisces, conjunct his Descendant and triggering both of their prenatal solar eclipse (PNSE) degrees. (2)

Linda was born on September 24, 1941, a few days after a solar eclipse (September 21). Her PNSE is 27°47′ Virgo, precisely conjunct his Neptune (27°07’), ruler of his Pisces 7th-house cusp.

Paul’s PNSE is 25°45′ Pisces, exactly on his Descendant, placing unusual emphasis on the striking importance of partnerships of all kinds in his life. (3) (Remember the Beatles?)

Linda died on April 17, 1998. There was a full moon eclipse on March 13 at 22°23’ Virgo conjunct his Ascendant/Descendant  (and square the MC/IC) and her nodal axis (22° Virgo/Pisces).

In 2002 Paul married Heather Mills, a marriage that ended with a very messy divorce in 2008. I have used a sunrise chart for her, as there is no birth time. (4) Her Pluto-Uranus conjunction (opposite Chiron) straddles his Ascendant/Descendant axis.
Paul and Heather

Paul and Heather were married on June 11, 2002, the day after a solar eclipse at 19°54′ Gemini conjunct his 1st-house ruler, Mercury retrograde at 18°21’ Gemini.

Heather Mills’s natal Juno is exactly conjunct his at 7° Scorpio. The less savory side of Juno in Scorpio is apparent, as personal details about their respective shadow sides came into the public record in the divorce proceedings. (5)
Curiously, her PNSE is 9° Scorpio, conjunct natal Juno. (6)

On October 9, the birthday of his songwriting partner John Lennon, Paul McCartney married Nancy Shevell in London. I did not find any information about Nancy Shevell’s birthday (or year). (***See update in comments below)

However, there will be a lunar eclipse on December 10 at 18°08’ Gemini, again conjunct Paul’s 1st-house ruler, Mercury.

Transiting Mercury was at 23° Libra, conjunct the beautiful fixed star Spica, and Juno at 24° Libra on his wedding day. The news reports of the ceremony included warm memories of his beloved wife Linda and the general happiness for the new couple.  (Paul and Linda’s composite Juno is at 23° Libra in the 1st house, which is also the degree of Linda’s Sun/Moon midpoint.)

The great songwriter has the natal Venus/Mars midpoint directly conjunct the Sun at 26° Gemini, so the creative dance of the masculine/feminine resides in the heart of his essential nature.

Here’s a link to his song, Venus and Mars Are Alright Tonight, written in 1975 when he was married to Linda.

YouTube Preview Image

May Paul and Nancy have all happiness!

Data for chart 1: Paul McCartney: June 18, 1942; 2 pm BDST Liverpool, England; Linda Eastman: Sept. 24, 1941; 10 am EDT: New York, NY (both Rodden A rating)


(1) All biographical details from Wikipedia

(2) Readers may know that I am keen on noting the degree of the PNSE (as per Carl Jansky) as a lifelong sensitive degree that can show people (or events) with whom we have a compelling or unusual connection.

(3) The solar eclipse prior to Paul’s birth was on March 16, 1942.

(4) Heather Mills: Jan. 12, 1968 in Aldershot, England, sunrise chart

(5)  “Mills publicly accused McCartney of cruelty and sought a massive $250 million divorce settlement, but the judge sided with McCartney, calling her claims exorbitant. The British public, enamored of the sunny Sir Paul since his early Beatle days, also sided with the singer.”
Sun Times

(6) The solar eclipse was on November 2, 1967.

6 Comments - click to read them or write one | Permalink

Like what you see?   Subscribe to The Mountain Astrologer

Occupy Wall Street

By Mary Plumb | October 3, 2011

The Ascendant of the 2011 U.S. solar return chart is 2°50’ Libra, which is closely conjunct the Sibly 10th-house cusp (1°03’ Libra). On September 17th, the first day of the Occupy Wall Street protest, transiting Venus was at 3° Libra conjunct the solar return Ascendant, the Sibly 10th-house cusp, and in a t-square to transiting Uranus/Pluto, which are angular in the solar chart. Venus is associated with banking and money matters.


Sibly solar return 2011
Note also that the Midheaven of the solar return is 3°13’ Cancer, conjunct natal Venus at 3°06’ Cancer.

I wrote earlier that the Ascendant of the solar return conjunct the Sibly 10th-house cusp “places this year’s very clear emphasis on actions of the government itself, and on the nation’s self-image and role, as well as responsibility and reputation, in the wider world.” Among the calls from the people in the streets: “The whole world is watching.”

Also in the 2011 solar return, Juno, the asteroid associated with balanced power and sensitivity to those who are disempowered, is conjunct the U.S. natal Neptune in Virgo, which squares Mars in Gemini.

Sibly & sr 2011The Sun on the 17th, the first day of the occupation, was at 24° Virgo, just past the U.S. Neptune (22°25’ Virgo) and the U.S. solar return Juno.

The solar return Juno, at 23°44’ Virgo, was the last of her three conjunctions to the U.S. Neptune that began in December 2010.
The U.S. horoscope has Mars at 21º Gemini in the 7th house, square Neptune at 22º Virgo, sign of its detriment. I wrote in an earlier blog: “As a nation, we have a collective storyline that includes both nebulous (or ill-defined) actions or motivations, and a susceptibility to propaganda or seduction, side-by-side with a guileless belief in altruistic action.”

Much of the media has reported that the “occupation” has begun with ill-defined or nebulous aims, but those who relate to general feelings of outrage at corporate malfeasance have no trouble relating to the mood of the protestors.  (1) (I read several commentators on blogs suggesting a succinct key theme for the occupation: “We want our f…… money back!” How’s that for Venus square Pluto and opposite Uranus?)

The New Moon on September 27th was at 4°00’ Libra conjunct the solar return Ascendant, further triggering that chart, as well as being square Pluto and opposite Uranus. We know the early degrees of the cardinals are highly sensitive now; Uranus stationed retrograde on July 9 at 4°33’Aries. Pluto went direct on September 16 at 4°53’ Capricorn.

The first quarter Moon today is at 10°33’ Capricorn, with the Sun at 10° Libra, conjunct Saturn of the solar return chart. In spite of 700 arrests over the weekend, this morning’s news reports the growing protests in other cities. I’m hoping Saturn suggests a further solidarity and organizing, and not increased repression by the police.

Transiting Mercury was at 15° Virgo on the first day of the Occupy Wall Street protest on September 17th. The mainstream media began writing about the event on Monday, September 19th, by which time Mercury the messenger, in its place of rulership in Virgo, had passed through 17°09’ Virgo, the degree of the three generational marking Uranus-Pluto conjunctions between October 1965 and June 1966. Each of those conjunctions occurred between 16°-17° Virgo (Thanks to Gary Caton for bringing this to my attention.)


(1) See Another Occupation Without An Exit Strategy?

(2) “September 19 (Day 3) – the stock market opens on Wall Street for regular business. Many major news sources begin to publish articles on the occupation, and Occupy Wall Street caught some mainstream media attention across a wide variety of sources.”

Some other astrological bloggers:

Leo Knighton Tallarico’s site, Perspectives from the Sky has a new entry, Occupy Wall Street, Hope in America

Jude Cowell’s Stars Over Washington has a video, Wall Streeters mock Occupy Wall Street marchers with champagne toasts

Eric Francis has great photos at Down on Wall Street

Theodore White’s thorough new entry at Global Astrology includes Signs of Uranus Square Pluto: Americans Occupy Wall Street

Some other (non-astrological) commentators:

Virgo Activist Van Jones (born on September 20, 1968 with Uranus and Pluto conjunct the Sun) is co-writer of Wall Street Protest: Which Side Are You On?

Chris Hedges, an eloquent and influential journalist and early supporter of the occupation, writes The Best Among Us.

The Guardian: Occupy Wall Street rediscovers the radical imagination
“The young people protesting in Wall Street and beyond reject this vain economic order. They have come to reclaim the future”

A US Autumn Responding to Arab Spring by Princeton University professor Cornel West

21 Comments - click to read them or write one | Permalink

Like what you see?   Subscribe to The Mountain Astrologer
Page 8 of 16« First...678910...Last »


  • This Week's Features

    • Scorpio Solar Eclipse
      Guest blogger Sheldon Rosner writes on personal and political themes of this week’s Scorpio solar eclipse.   read more...
    • Astrological podcasts
      Mary Plumb collects links to podcasts. Although some early adopters have archived their work (from as long ago as 2007!), and some are newly created, there’s a range of interesting topics and approaches. Enjoy listening.   read more...