“Again and again some people in the crowd wake up.
They have no grounding in the crowd,
And they emerge according to much broader laws.
They carry strange customs with them,
and demand room for bold gestures.
The future speaks ruthlessly through them.”
-Rainer Maria Rilke (1)
There are three people through whom the future has spoken to me in my own astrological practice: Alexander Ruperti in Cycles of Becoming, Robert Blaschke in Holographic Transits, and Arielle Guttman in Venus Star Rising. The astrological theory and technique common to these three works are the importance of the solar conjunctions with the planets and a focus on their delineation. For several years, I’ve been tracking these conjunctions and their synchronous correlates in the experiences of friends, clients, and students. Here, I will share some of what I’ve learned and how it has informed the technique as I currently practice it.
Over the course of the 19-month synodic cycle of Venus, there are two conjunctions with the Sun. Venus’s conjunction with the Sun while in retrograde motion is known as the interior, or inferior, conjunction. Venus passes between the Earth and Sun at this time. Venus’s conjunction with the Sun while in direct motion is known as the exterior, or superior, conjunction, when Venus passes on the other side of the Sun from the Earth. These two conjunctions happen about 9-1/2 months apart.
For some reason, presumably because he likened it to the New Moon, Ruperti clearly gave primacy to the inferior conjunction. He considered the degree symbol (such as the Sabian symbols for each of the 360 degrees) and house position of the conjunction to be the basic factors in an individual delineation. Ruperti felt that the house placement of the transiting conjunction could be a place of Venusian problems (and a need to review one’s values), or of Venusian fulfillment. I have found indications of both. (2)
Blaschke looked at both conjunctions, but considered the degree of the inferior conjunction to be important in relationship analysis. He believed that if the transit inferior conjunction was conjoined to a luminary, planet, or angle in the nativity or secondary progressed chart, it could herald the arrival of a significant relationship. Blaschke also asserted that the effect of any transit synodic conjunction of a planet with the Sun is felt for the entire duration of that synodic cycle, which is 19 months in the case of Venus. (3)
Guttman focused her delineation of both kinds of Sun-Venus conjunctions on their zodiacal sign position. She notes that the most recent spate of conjunctions in Aries began in the same era with the conjunctions in Scorpio, in the 1920’s, and erects a horoscope for what she calls the Aries Venus Star Point, based on the first of these conjunctions on April 20, 1929. (4)
In my experience, all of the above techniques have been rewarding when applied to personal horoscopes. The sign and house of any Sun-Venus conjunction is often a clear focus of Venusian activity for the subsequent nine months. I’ve also found that when a transiting Sun-Venus conjunction contacts a natal planet, the person’s experience of that natal planet undergoes a profound shift. Finally, I’ve found it valuable to look at the whole conjunction chart, in order to discern the contributions of the rest of the planetary pantheon to the influence of the conjunction.
In the chart of the Sun-Venus conjunction of March 28, 2013 (drawn below for Washington DC), there are nine bodies between 8 and 12 degrees of various signs, making for a very complex, interrelated aspect pattern. Beginning in Aries we have the Sun, Venus, Uranus and Mars all between the 9th and 13th degrees. Jupiter is in the 12th degree of Gemini. Saturn is in the 11th degree of Scorpio. Pluto is in the 12th degree of Capricorn. Mercury and Chiron are in the 11th and 12th degrees of Pisces, respectively.
March 28, 2013
Washington, D.C. 38ºN54’; 77ºW02’ 1:05 p.m. EDT
Whole sign houses
Rather than seeing this as a fleeting transit, when viewed through a synodic lens, the influence of this Sun-Venus conjunction can be seen to last for nine months, until the next conjunction of the Sun and Venus. So, within the larger time frame of the Uranus-Pluto squares, I believe we could be on the verge of a shift in the energy, primarily because, in the chart for the Sun-Venus conjunction, Uranus is in a four-planet stellium with Sun, Venus, and Mars. This adds an emphasis on the Uranian side of the Uranus-Pluto squares.
Another interesting feature about this chart is that there are two yods present. One yod is formed by the Aries stellium which is sextile to Jupiter and both of these are quincunx to Saturn in Scorpio. The other yod is formed by the sextile of Saturn in Scorpio with Pluto in Capricorn and both of these are quincunx to Jupiter in Gemini. This double yod is especially interesting to me because recently I was reading Martin Schulman’s book on Venus where he noted that the signs for the classical essential dignities (rulership, detriment, exaltation and fall) of Venus form two Yods in the natural zodiac (see diagram below). Guttman mentions this pattern as well.
Schulman has much to say about this, but the thing that really struck me was the following: “There is a great mystical secret in the Venus Yod which becomes revealed to us when we realize that the Hebrew letter YOD means the point of creation from which all else comes. It is the divine spark of essence, the ultimate source of all beauty which we call Love.” (5)
Schulman uses words like creation, divine spark, and source which seem to imply an active, masculine or yang expression of energy, like the Big Bang which is believed to have created our Universe. It is interesting then that the two points of the yods formed by Venus’ essential dignities are the fire and air signs of Aries and Libra. The yang energy of the fire and air elements has always been symbolized by upward pointing triangles, because the nature of fire and air is to move up and out. The yin energy of water and earth is symbolized by downward pointing triangles, because their tendency is to move down and in (see diagram above). Thus, we can see that a basic component of most any Yod is a kind of indirect opposition of contrary elements. The sextile is usually between elements of the same polarity (masculine or feminine elements) and the other end of the yod will usually be in a sign whose element is contrary to the other two by polarity.
I am reminded of William Blake’s Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Blake’s theory of contraries was a belief that each person reflects the contrary nature of God, and that progression in life is impossible without contraries. Two types of people exist: the “energetic creators” and the “rational organizers”, or as he calls them in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, the “devils” and “angels.” Both are necessary to life according to Blake.
“Without Contraries there is no progression. Attraction and Repulsion, Reason and Energy, Love and Hate, are necessary to Human existence. From these contraries spring what the religious call Good & Evil. Good is the passive that obeys Reason. Evil is the active springing from Energy. Good is Heaven. Evil is Hell.” (6)
It occurs to me that we have inherited an astrological system that is set up perfectly to look at things this way. Malefic and benefic planets have been cast in the roles of devils and angels. Even if we have grown beyond a gross literal interpretation of good and bad or benefic and malefic, these terms still serve a purpose — to remind us that certain planets act fundamentally as polarized pairs. In the chart for this Venus conjunction, we have three of these pairs interacting: Venus/Mars, Jupiter/Saturn, and Uranus/Pluto. All of this begs us to look at our own tendencies toward being the “rational organizer/angel” versus the “energetic creator/devil.” Perhaps this conjunction is asking us to change something, to find balance in the way we express these energies.
Likewise, the astrological elements form polarities that correlate to what Blake is saying. Being feminine and receptive in nature, the earth and water elements might be the “good,” or the “passive that obeys Reason.” Being masculine and active in nature, the fire and air signs might be the “evil,” or the “active springing from Energy.”
Capricorn certainly has a reputation for “obeying reason.” Perhaps our current Pluto in Capricorn and Saturn in Scorpio symbolize not only the wealthy Plutocrats who will do anything to preserve the status quo, but also the passive masses — “angels” who obey the Plutocracy well past the point of reason, into absurdity. Blake would say it is only an active, creative, or “devilish” energy that can break this pattern, that only through contraries can there be growth.
Aries has a reputation for “active springing from energy.” Perhaps Uranus and the stellium in Aries, as well as Jupiter in Gemini, symbolize not only the destructive forces of misguided industrial enterprise unleashed by the Plutocrats, but also new energetic “devils” springing forth with fresh awareness and energy that is both destructive and creative. It could serve to tear down the ivory tower of Plutocracy, but also to rebuild a new world. In this sense, could it be that we desperately need more energetic “devils” in this World, and soon? On a personal level, perhaps, over the next nine months, you’ll be able to find and relate to your “inner devils” via the sign, house, and planets in the degrees of this conjunction in your chart.
May the angels and devils together bring growth, balance, and wholeness to us all.
References and recommended reading:
(1) Rainer Maria Rilke “About Art,” part 3, 1899.
According to the web reference below, the essay is from
Rainer Maria Rilke: The Complete Works. Volume 1-6
(2) Alexander Ruperti, Cycles of Becoming: The Planetary Pattern of Growth, previously published in 1978 by CRCS, Vancouver, WA. Re-published in 2005 by EarthWalk School of Astrology Publishing, Port Townsend, WA.
(3) Robert P. Blaschke, Astrology: A Language of Life, Volume 5 – Holographic Transits, EarthWalk School of Astrology Publishing, Port Townsend, WA, 2006.
(4) Arielle Guttman, Venus Star Rising: A New Cosmology for the 21st Century, Sophia Venus Productions, Sante Fe, NM, 2010.
(5) Martin Schulman, Venus: The Gift of Love, Golden Light Press, New York, NY, 1981, pg 65.
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 24 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 highest honors and has developed a unique multi-discipline path to practicing Astrology over 20 years. Visit Gary at Dream Astrologer