Astrologers have inherited a truly rich history, and we modern astrologers would be wise to integrate more of its lessons. For instance, having some time ago researched the astrology around the Black Death of the Middle Ages, I was not surprised when the swine flu erupted onto the scene earlier this year, even when it was labeled a pandemic. After all, medieval astrologers blamed another triple conjunction in Aquarius — that of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn — for history’s most famous pandemic. However, when one looks more closely, it is easy to see that that triple conjunction did not occur at the time of the outbreak itself. Rather, it occurred at the Sun’s ingress into Aries in 1345. This is a clue about the vital importance of these moments of ingress.
One of the most powerful tools for the mundane astrologer has always been the ingress chart — cast for the capital city of a country at the precise moment when the Sun enters the cardinal signs, which mark the solstice and equinoctial points and, thus, the foundation of the tropical zodiac. It was by using these charts that I correctly predicted (in the Dec. 2002/Jan. 2003 issue of The Mountain Astrologer) that the war in Iraq would face significant opposition before its first summer was over. When one views the 2008 Aries ingress through the lens of classical astrology, it becomes quite clear that the unusual nature of this chart depicts the third worst year in the history of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Jupiter in Capricorn is in fall in the 2nd whole sign house, and Mars in Cancer is in fall in the 8th. The dispositors of those planets, Saturn and the Moon, respectively, are conjunct in Virgo in the 10th and opposite their fallen dispositor, Mercury in Pisces, in the 4th. In short, this chart says: Fall, Fall, Fall. And that’s the way it was. So, let us have a look at 2009 and gaze into the crystal ball that its ingress charts provide.
A general rule in traditional astrology is that if the Ascendant of the Aries ingress chart is in a cardinal sign, the chart remains valid for three months only, and it is necessary to draw further charts for the Sun’s entry into Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn. The 2009 Aries ingress, which has an Aries Ascendant (when cast for Washington, D.C.), is one such case. So, the Cancer ingress is the chart we have been living under for the past three months. You may remember that the summer solstice was closely accompanied by a New Moon and the asteroid Vesta. I have noted that Vesta represents a process of compression and contraction much like the first stage of birth labor. The uterus is pressing in on all sides, but the cervix has not yet dilated, so there is no place yet for the baby to go! Doesn’t this describe the emotional turbulence surrounding this summer’s health care “debate”? Curiously enough, the Libra ingress is also closely preceded by a New Moon, which is again conjunct one of the Asteroid Goddesses, Pallas Athena. Pallas symbolizes a release of the pressure from the Vesta stage and a springing forth into the birth canal (or wormhole) that leads to our future. Let us hope it is so! You can read more material about the Goddesses on my Web site and my Goddess Astrology page on Facebook.
With this general sense of the process of rebirth in mind, what else does the 2009 Libra ingress chart show us?
When the chart is cast for Washington, D.C., we see an Aquarius Ascendant. Right away, this tells us that President Barack Obama (who also has Aquarius rising) will be making some prominent appearances. This is no surprise, but this theme is backed up in a couple other places. The Moon is a mundane chart represents the people and where their attention falls. In the 10th whole sign house, this Moon is focused on the executive branch of the government. The president himself, symbolized by the Sun, is in the 9th whole sign. This suggests that his attention is on legal and foreign affairs. But what about health care, you may ask? We must assume that, after his speech, the president will once again leave this process to the legislative branch. In fact, the Sun in the 9th is suggestive of him signing into law some new initiative(s). The Congress itself and legislation are symbolized by the 11th house. With the Sagittarius Midheaven there, ruled by Jupiter rising in the 1st whole sign, we can again assume some progress.
When we begin to look at the dispositorships for this chart, we can flesh out the picture further. The president, symbolized by the Sun in Libra, seems to be on a diplomatic mission of peace, since the Sun’s dispositor is Venus. Located in the 8th whole sign (Virgo), Venus symbolizes a concern with the details of our financial relations with other countries. In the sign of her fall, she is unable to exercise her power due to circumstances beyond her control. Because Venus reports to a retrograde Mercury in his own sign and conjunct Saturn, this astrologer thinks it not unlikely that President Obama will once more feel the need to call on former Democratic Presidents Clinton and/or Carter for support. I also predicted earlier this year that, since Mercury retrogrades are moving from air signs back into earth signs, we may see political issues from the years 2002 and 1996 re-emerge, as Mercury was following the same pattern in those years as well. Specifically, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process may be up for renegotiation, since Obama’s mediator had meetings with Netanyahu earlier this year. Juno’s current return to Obama’s natal placement of 0° Aries seems to be an indicator of success in such endeavors.
A broader look at the dispositor trees for this chart gives us a feeling of the overall spirit of the time. Since there is a mutual reception, Mercury in Virgo cannot be the final dispositor of the entire chart. A fallen Mars in the 6th whole sign house, in mutual reception with a fallen Moon in the 10th, suggests that issues of public health will be on the people’s minds and perhaps demand to be addressed by the president. The fallen Sun in the 9th may indicate a call for some voluntary restrictions on travel to ease the possibility of spreading contagious illnesses. A fallen Venus in the 8th also suggests that public mortality (perhaps from war as well as flu) will be perceived as somehow under the control or influence of special circumstances.
The saving grace of this chart seems to be Mercury in his own sign of Virgo. I feel that he is protected by his conjunction with Pallas, the patron of heroic endeavor — the Palladium was one of the most sought-after protective talismans in ancient Greece. Since Mercury is the final dispositor of all other planets except Mars and the Moon, this suggests that the media, ambassadors, trade/commerce, and communications of all kinds will be very active and prominent. However, Mercury also faces a few challenges here because he is retrograde, conjunct Saturn, and invisible. I do not embrace the concept of “combustion” for planets hidden by the Sun; instead, I view them, as does Bernadette Brady, to be planets not entirely of this world. Additionally, the Underworld journey is the natural mythic province of Mercury, so I believe that he is not necessarily “weakened” by this phase, particularly since he is past the point of interior conjunction with the Sun and thus can be seen as rising or on his way up and out of the “special world” of the Hero.
The journey to the Underworld is steeped in diverse mythology. Joseph Campbell notes that it is part of the Universal path of the Hero. In astrological symbolism, we can see that the invitation to the Underworld harkens at every turn. Midnight comes to us each day, beckoning us to explore the subconscious Underworld of our dreams. The New Moon visits us monthly, asking us to explore the ebbing of our vital force and the quiet place within. The winter solstice is a time of spiritual seeking and rededication of our life path. The heliacal setting of a planet into invisibility (as it moves within 15–18 degrees of the Sun) asks us to explore the unconscious qualities of that energy in ourselves and our environment. But as astrologer–shamans, we also know that each of these markers is only a point in an endless cycle — a cycle of rebirth! What this placement suggests to me, then, is a more spiritual focus for Mercury and Saturn, rather than material. In addition, invisible planets (particularly in the 8th whole sign house) often represent forces behind the scenes that later burst out in dramatic fashion (symbolized by the movement toward heliacal rise and rebirth into visibility as morning star). We can hope that this represents the triumph of decency and genuine concern for our fellow citizens over the interests of big insurance, lobbyists, and corrupt politicians.
Brady, Bernadette. Visual Astrology Newsletter, August 2009; http://zyntara.com/VisualAstrologyNewsletters/van_August2009/van_August2009.htm
Burk, Kevin B. “Essential Dignities,” in TMA, Aug./Sept. 2009.
Caton, Gary P. “Saturn’s Perihelion,” in TMA, Dec. 2002/Jan. 2003.
Caton, Gary P. “Avian Flu,” in Considerations, Vol. XXI, #1.
Caton, Gary P. “Mercury Elemental Year,” Major Sky, Pisces New Moon Edition.
Caton, Gary P. “Goddess Astrology Re-Visioned,” in TMA, Aug./Sept. 2009.
Caton, Gary P. “Obama’s Juno Return,” www.facebook.com/goddess.astrology
Houlding, Deborah. “Ingresses,” www.skyscript.co.uk/ingresses.html