Full Moon in Scorpio: Time to Reflect upon the Longer Journey with Pluto.

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Full Moon in Scorpio, May 10th, 2017, 20˚24’ 2:42 PM PDT


Up a narrow flight of stairs
In a narrow little room
As I lie upon my bed
In the early evening gloom
Impaled on my wall
My eyes can dimly see
The pattern of my life
And the puzzle that is me
— Paul Simon
Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know
— Pema Chödrön
You ain’t got half of what you thought you had
Rock you baby to and fro
Not too fast and not too slow
— Robert Hunter

Full Moons are always so beautiful to gaze at in the night sky. I like to follow the phases of the Moon change through the month and then sense if I feel some kind of culmination, something reaching strength before the Moon wanes. This Full Moon is in the sign of Scorpio, at 20˚, so the potential is for an inner culmination of something buried below the surface, a swift undertow ready to rise, perhaps a moment of truth about the patterns of behavior that make us who we are, as Paul Simon wrote, “the puzzle that is me.”  A Full Moon happens quickly, but working together with slower planetary aspects or in conjunction with longer transits evident in your birth chart, a potential moment is there for us to reflect and try to understand better our journeys. Scorpio is ruled by both Mars and Pluto. The day after the Full Moon, Mars, the traditional ruler, will form a square to Neptune and then a trine to Jupiter a few days later. These bring action, optimism and possibly some escapism into the waning gibbous time. But I want to focus upon Pluto, the modern ruler of Scorpio, because this particular Scorpio Moon forms a sextile with Pluto about two hours before reaching Full phase. To best grasp the psychological depth into which we can dive with this Full Moon, I want to consider as well this spring’s square between Saturn and Chiron. My teacher Steven Forrest says, “All aspects are about integration.”  He is referring to the complexity of the aspects at play in a birth chart. I believe we can better tap into the passage of the Moon through her phases and the climax of the Full Moon’s energy by listening to the symphony of the sky at the given moment, as well as shortly before and after, about integrating those aspects with the longer transits occurring, and work with the grand sweep of the night sky. Let me see if I can explain.

I believe it is helpful for anyone to notice where Pluto is moving at the current moment (transiting) in comparison to your birth chart, especially if Pluto happens to be making an aspect to a natal planet’s position in your chart. It is difficult to address Pluto because of the schism so evident between the astrological world and the general public. Most people with little or no knowledge of astrology think “Pluto? Really?” They consider the definition of a Dwarf planet, the small size of Pluto in relation to the Earth, that Pluto is smaller than the Moon, and that Eris is denser, and that Pluto is just one of many Trans-Neptunian objects. The facts create the skeptic. In the meantime, astrologers of all stripes have thoroughly wrestled with the meanings of Pluto, developing set schools of thought, methodologies, ways of seeing and understanding the planet in relation to the human soul, evolution, even seeing Pluto as a reflection of karma and previous lives. Who am I to join in this conversation?  Yet I cannot write about this Moon and not mention what I see, what I feel is helpful to consider about Pluto. In all humility I write from experience. The French have two words to convey, “to know”: savoir is to know as in “to know a fact” and connaître means to know as in “to know from experience” or to know “by acquaintance”. My writing comes more from the second notion of “to know,” connaître, because I have had an ongoing relationship with Pluto transiting my natal planets in the past several years, what seems like almost a decade - Sun, Mars and Mercury in Capricorn (as well as the south node of my Natal Moon) - by conjunction (Pluto gradually reached, or is about to reach, the same degree of each as they are in my birth chart).

Because Pluto’s orbit is unusual and it takes so long - 248 Earth years - to orbit the Sun, these transits are slow moving and have the greatest impact upon the individual psyche. I do not wish to carry on about the details of my life’s unfolding dramas. Needless to say the last four years of my life have been one long obliteration of who I am and one long process of rising up into who I will become, punctuated by quick moments of change, challenge and growth. Welcome to Pluto. Work on your stuff, or your stuff works on you. Ask yourself: how am I being pushed to grow and evolve, what avenues of learning are for my soul in this lifetime? Where is Pluto transiting in your birth chart? Does He create an aspect to any of your natal planets, your ascendant (rising sign) or pivotal points in your chart? What house is Pluto moving through at this time in your life? Depending upon the size of a house (I use the Placidus system), Pluto’s transit may last years, even decades, in a particular house. But that transit is unique to your life story. That long period can be such a long step or process of your own journey in this lifetime. Pema Chödrön says it well, “Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” The quick passage of the Full Moon and sextile right before of the Moon to Pluto feels into the moment of what these changes may be - what self-realization will help bring about the highest manifestation of the slow-moving plutonian shift happening for you? I want to underscore that this particular sextile aspect and what I write is most relevant for those being directly affected by a conjunction, square or opposition of Pluto (19˚ Capricorn, consider three degree orb) to a natal planet (Cardinal signs - Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn). However, given that the Full Moon is in Scorpio, co-ruled by Pluto, the moment is a poignant one for anyone to consider what this slow-moving planet might mean in our personal evolution and how Pluto’s path through our birth chart might be reflective of the larger story of our life. The Moon at 20 Scorpio will be felt strongly by those with natal planets at 20 degrees of the fixed signs as well (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius).

 

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The Full Moon in May marks the Buddhist celebration of Wesak. Wesak does not always fall on a Scorpio Full Moon. Last year’s festival occurred under a Sagittarius Moon. But this year’s Scorpio Moon and the Moon’s sextile to Pluto seems especially designed for the Buddhist Holy Day, which honors the life journey of the historic Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama - His birth, enlightenment and death (or Parinirvana). A sextile aspect is one offering the potential to make something manifest - it is not a guaranteed opportunity. The energy is soft and available if one opens to what is possible. Pluto can pull us down into the depths of our subconscious; bring to the surface truths, opening our inner selves through psychological process that then allows us to touch the Divine. Life in its fullest is a journey from birth, enlightenment, into death. The asteroid Juno joins Pluto as well (Conjunct at 18˚ Capricorn). Juno, the mythological wife of Jupiter, is the archetype of committed and long-term relationship (it is not necessary to assign gender or specify heterosexual relationship here. I honor all). In what ways does relationship and intimacy play in awakening consciousness? Is Juno’s dance with Pluto calling us to deconstruct, reevaluate committed relationship in light of our own expanding consciousness? In the narrative of the historic Buddha’s life, he leaves his wife and child as he embarks on the spiritual quest. Yet, in the end, Buddhists take refuge in the Three Jewels: the Buddha, the Dharma (teachings) and the Sangha - the community.  We need the “other” and we need community. Such ongoing reflections on relationship are also at play in the moment(see my recent posts on Jupiter in Libra and the Jupiter and Uranus opposition). Our work forward for the collective good depends upon the changing dynamics we create through relationship and partnership.

 

I want to end by mentioning a little about the current square in the sky between Saturn (27˚ Sagittarius) and Chiron (27˚ Pisces) because I believe it is helpful when considering the inner truths one may try to reflect upon under the Scorpio Full Moon and the Moon’s sextile to Pluto. Chiron in Pisces is a collective wound playing out in a unique fashion in each individual chart. Together we can co-create a better future and move humanity from the wounded to the healer if we address our own soul’s journey with the asteroid Chiron. Chiron, an area where we may carry a wound and where we must heal, is forming a 90- degree angle at the moment to Saturn, the taskmaster who sets up restrictions and calls us to hard work and maturity. A square forces us to face what potentially is tension between where Pisces falls in your chart and where Sagittarius lies. This is especially so, if you have natal planets at 27˚ mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius or Pisces). It is useful to contemplate where in your birth chart Chiron’s square to Saturn falls. In the larger interconnected world in which we live and engage, Chiron in Pisces is like a collective wound which, if we can all address, frees us to be the healers and instigators of change we need at this critical juncture in time. Saturn may challenge you where tough work is needed and the square may bring crisis in order to heal that Pisces wound. Then the potential of the Pluto work will unfold.

The current Full Moon passes quickly as does the Moon/Pluto/Juno sextile, the Saturn / Chiron square moves slower, falling mostly out of orb in the months ahead. Contemplating the quick moments in celestial time may help us with the longer, slower (and more profound) gifts of evolution Pluto transits offer. “Rock you baby to and fro…Not too fast and not too slow.” Each type of transit works in sync with the others; each one rocks us just right. It all simply rests on us to listen. 

Buddha Blessings!

 

A Spark, A Fire, A Journey Ahead: Full Moon in Leo, Jupiter and Uranus in Opposition

There’s a dragon with matches that’s loose on the town. Takes a whole pail of water just cool him down.

Fire! Fire on the mountain!

You say it’s a livin’, we all gotta eat. But you’re here alone, there’s no one to compete. If mercy’s a business, I wish it for you. More than just ashes when your dreams come true.  Robert Hunter

 


Hot, passionate, anticipation, a call to action, unbridled enthusiasm thrust against strong energies of self-expression, leadership and the urge to find self, and to individuate. The Full Moon is a powerful time of momentary flair and emotion; things may combust, the good times may roll, but we might expect equal measures of possible anger, angst, a lack of patience, power play and aggression. The hours leading up to and after the moment of the Lunar eclipse, at 22˚28’ Leo, 4:33 PM PST, is packed with trines and sextiles, including what astrologers call a ‘Grand Trine’ in the element of Fire.  And then there is Valentine’s Day only a few days away and this weekend may be the chosen time to celebrate. This year’s February Full Moon seems to roll out the red carpet with promises of fiery passion, romance and gusto. Venus chases Mars, the warrior at home in the sign of Aries. The Moon, with a penumbral eclipse, forms a 120˚ trine with Saturn at 25˚28’ Sagittarius and Uranus, 21˚22’, and Eris 22˚38’,  in Aries. We also have sextiles between Saturn and Jupiter, Uranus/Eris and the Sun, and a trine between the Sun and Jupiter. It is almost like Divine fingers are playing one harmonious chord. But some of those notes - watch out! Sharps and Flats…Can we create music to tame the savage beast? Do we want to? How do we individuate and still balance self in relationship or with our tribe?

 

Do you know the expression, “It isn’t the wedding, but the marriage that follows that counts?” The current sky under the Full Moon in Leo reminds me a bit of that expression. All that Fire and all those closely knit aspects seem to radiate the here and the NOW, but if we are to be more practical, step back and look at the bigger picture, we can see some potential is just beginning, may even be turning back, processing through what the slower moving planet, Jupiter, fiery and expansive in his own right, may push us towards in the months ahead. The Full Moon may be the “wedding” but the marriage of true individuation, finding our inner rebel, our own genius, and letting it reach its optimal expression with the right partners, right intimates, comes later, and is a slow process we need to honor and let unfold.

 

So much astrological writing focuses upon the moment at hand, quick transits and “celestial weather reports” promising us short-term satisfaction of a Valentine weekend. Yet, sometimes we can see a glimpse of something more, perhaps developing and offering endurance for greater personal change and growth. This particular Full Moon falls in my own 6th house, house of daily routines, work and service, and so I am going to reflect here in part about how you can use the on-going aspect of the slower moving planets - Jupiter and Uranus in opposition - as the year moves through spring and into early fall. The strong Earth energies in my own chart want to offer practical advice, something I hope may be useful. Our New Year began in January with this opposition, 180˚, between Jupiter in Libra and Uranus in Aries, at 21˚. Now in the month of February, Jupiter turned retrograde early in the month and will oppose Uranus again at 22˚at the end of the month and into early March. The process of moving through and back and through again in this opposition allows for the radical, revolutionary spirit along with the potential for the creative, innovative epiphanies of Uranian insight and opportunities for opening and expanding our consciousness - dare I say “sudden enlightenment” or as the Japanese Zen Buddhists would say Satori may be a possibility for you? All one step at a time. Such openings are possible, but the marriage of awareness and of self (Uranus in Aries) and other (Jupiter in Libra) needs time to percolate. Honor that process. The last week of September, when Jupiter is again moving forward at 27-28˚ Libra, the planet will oppose Uranus again bringing those Uranian visions and epiphanies into fuller expression.

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Key to understanding this transit is to notice and meditate upon where in your own chart Jupiter and Uranus are transiting. The cultural historian Richard Tarnas, in Cosmos and Psyche, summarizes the revolutionary impact of these two planets in aspect through history as the “greater benefic” Jupiter presents opportunity in conjunction or through opposition with Uranus as the exiled genius, “ The Jupiter-Uranus complex appears to be associated with the experience of breakthroughs of all kinds, joyful Promethean moments of discovery, sudden ascents, unexpected insights that expand one’s world, the “Aha!” experience.” (309) Richard Tarnas describes the many scientific and technological discoveries of the times of axial alignment of Jupiter and Uranus, such as the invention of the electric light bulb in 1879 and the first Internet transmission, 1969, and the first personal computer designed by Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs in 1976. The months ahead offer us such innovative ideas and revelations! Some will be expressed on grand stages of our current history, but we also have a chance now to let the energies play out for our own individual evolution. What houses in your birth chart do you find the opposition? Where in your life do you need to self-actualize and where can you find the people, the friends, the intimate partners who will best help your journey?

 

Blessings for the Full Moon in Leo. I hope everyone finds a “Valentine,” whether it is through the love of a partner or joy of friends, family and community. May the affectionate, demonstrative, and self-expressive side of the Leo Moon along with the Sun and Jupiter trine, bring you pleasure and good times. Let’s hope we all can be patient with the tempers that flair, with the ego parades that unfold, and let’s just make the moment one step closer for us as we journey through what Jupiter and Uranus offer us in the months ahead.

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Full Moon in Gemini, the Arrival of Winter: Capricorn and the Messages that come from Mercury

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game.
Joni Mitchell

    Time...is on my side. Yes, it is.      The Rolling Stones, written by Norman Meade

The World is so full of a number of things, I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings.     Robert Louis Stevenson

 

December 13, 2016 Full Moon in Gemini, 22°26’, 4:05 PM PST. Sun 22°26’ Sagittarius, conjunct Saturn 19°16’, Moon forming a loose Grand Trine in Air signs with Mars at 25°56 Aquarius and Jupiter, 18°52’ Libra. Jupiter opposes Uranus, retrograde, 20°40’ Aries.

December 19, 2016 Mercury in Capricorn retrograde 15°8’, 2:55 AM PST, within orb of conjunction with Pluto, Capricorn 16°31’. 

December 21, 2016 Winter Solstice - northern hemisphere, 2:45 am PST, Sun enters Capricorn.


When I was a kid, I used to love to write stories. I used to illustrate them too. I also had a goal that one day I would climb Mount McKinley, officially known as Denali, the sacred mountain's indigenous name. I imagined reaching the top. Summiting was something I could strive for and I could actually make it happen. Don’t we all have dreams as kids? Goals we set for ourselves. But our dreams seem to change. They change as our perceptions, along with our circumstances, change.  And the structures that we once thought were so present in our lives seem to morph into something else. We end up becoming a different person, different than what we thought we would become when we were six.  Whatever happened to climbing Mount McKinley? Now I find myself writing stories again and wondering what it would be like to climb Olympus Mons. That’s the largest mountain in the Solar System, taller than any mountain on Earth. Of course, we’d have to travel to Mars, but why not? A curious mind is a flexible mind. We open doors. The Full Moon in Gemini, a mutable sign ruled by Mercury, stimulates our mental processes and offers us opportunities to shift our perceptions. The week following the Full Moon, Mercury in Capricorn will turn retrograde asking us to search inward and reflect back upon our "mountains" – what changes now need to happen to guide and give structure to your goals? What great accomplishment is calling you?

 In the northern hemisphere, the short days and fading light as we approach Winter Solstice seem to bring us into a time of reflection. We seek the light inside ourselves and recognize it within those we love as we feast, celebrate the year that was and ready our hearts for the year ahead. The Solstice brings us into Capricorn season. Capricorn is the sign ruled by Saturn. In antiquity, the Romans celebrated Saturnalia, a festival in honor of the God Saturn, in the middle of December.  This year, Mercury retrograde in Capricorn allows us to look back on the paths we have taken. Because Capricorn is about the climb. This sign fits so naturally into this season of advent, which is a time of turning inward. The internal process of advent is a Christian meditation. However, we all know it does not matter if you are Christian or Pagan, Jewish or Muslim, we recognize the gifts we get from such inward- focused times. Let’s step back a little. Let’s look for that light inside. When Mercury stations retrograde, on December 19th, he will be almost in a conjunction with the dwarf planet, Pluto (After the New Year, starting January 8th, Mercury appears to move forward again and he will meet Pluto exact at 12:18 PM PST on January 29th). The near, but "not quite there," conjunction, brings an opportunity for our meditations to delve under the surface, look for truth within, find the inner side of consciousness that holds us back or pushes us forward up the mountain. We all see such forces in play around us. A lot of people, rightfully so, are questioning the political turmoil of the moment, the veracity of the election process in America, and they are critically looking at the systemic and often rigid structures we have built in our communities and nations. Yet,  December is also a time to honor self by using Mercury retrograde to pull inward and investigate our own inner terrains. What processes make it so hard to see? What blocks us from seeing the cycles of our dreams and goals that come and go, evolve and change? The Full Moon in Gemini initiates this process by breaking down the limitations of our perceptions.

 

At the time of the Full Moon in Gemini, a loose trine, roughly 120 degrees, between Mars in Aquarius and the Moon and between the Moon and Jupiter in Libra creates a Grand Trine in Air signs. We have an opportunity to act and assert ourselves through emotional self- expression, through verbal, artistic communication and through the joy and support of others. The sign Gemini is so often associated with words and the intellect. But, mercurial communication can also be through the realm of creative image-making that may help stimulate the upcoming meditations of the retrograde period. We often consider artistic expression to be closely tied into Venusian signs of Libra and Taurus. But the power to communicate through imagery, such as visual arts, film making, metaphor and music, can be a Gemini art that opens our preconceived notions and shifts our understanding. Take, for example, master musician, bard, and poet, Bob Dylan, whose Birth chart has strong Gemini energies along side a strong Taurus 5th house and Libra, 10th. The current Trines are flowing, easy aspects holding a potential to underscore the mental shift of this Full Moon. Meanwhile, Jupiter in Libra also opposes Uranus in Aries (this aspect is exact the day after Christmas, December 26th, at 10:32 AM, PST). Uranus, the individual, the rebel, the eccentric, in fiery Aries, is in tension with our desire to build jovial, loving 'friend' energy, a harmony and balance with others. Of all the planets in the Solar System, Uranus is the only one to rotate on his axis tipped at a 98-degree angle to the planet's orbit around the Sun. A freak, an outsider, Uranus plays his own tune and dances to his own rhythm. This opposition of Uranus and Jupiter plays into the shadow period leading to Mercury retrograde because it presents an opportunity to wrestle 'self' and one's true dreams and goals from the expectations of pleasing others. During the days prior to the Full Moon, the Sun met up with Saturn in a conjunction in Sagittarius making this hard work.

Capricorn so often receives a "bad rap" as the conservative, restrictive sign ruled by Saturn. In actuality, Capricorn done right offers us a kind of strength; it comes from being able to see past structures and patterns that restrict our growth and evolution. It is what old age brings us through the ability to be able to look back and say “I’ve done this before. I‘ve done this and I’ve done this and I've done this yet again."  And so there it is; there’s the structure. We can view it. View it from today. It doesn’t matter what age you are; the elder wisdom that comes from reflecting upon retrograde Mercury in Capricorn will help you. Consider where the sign Capricorn falls in your Birth chart, what aspects it effects, especially note mid-Capricorn degrees (second decan - Shadow period began at Sagittarius 28 degree). Mid-degree of Cardinal signs will be also emphasized. Remember to look where transiting Pluto is in your chart: what lies behind these cycles, limitations, set backs to our dreams? Why DO we go round and round in the circle game? Shifting perspectives may help us see. That is what the mercury retrograde is about. 

There is a trickster dimension of Mercury. The retrograde period may fool us into hurrying through our day-to-day communications and bog us down with technological glitches as we fail to notice simple mistakes. But a full-body "sweater" to protect us from "harm" is not necessary. Rather take the trickster for the game and make it work for you in Capricorn style. In Mercury's giant impact crater, Caloris Basin, lies "the Spider," a formation of deep troughs or valleys marking the surface of the planet. Like the Lakota Sioux trickster spider Iktomi in Native American myth, this apparition of a Mercurial spider fools us with parts and pieces to reveal an essence. It is similar to a gestalt; you have to look at all the lines to grasp the big picture. This retrograde period of Mercury in Capricorn allows us to look back upon all the "pieces," all the pathways, that gave structure to the "mountain." We don't have to let Mercury simply be the "trickster." Use this inward time of reflection to fill in the gestalt and see the cycles of the past and rework the goals and steps for the future. The Moon opposing Saturn several hours before the Full Moon calls us to work on contemplating and communicating about what feeds us emotionally and what out-dated, rigid structures and paradigms keep our viewpoints locked and our goals limited.

Detail of Caloris, a large impact crater on Mercury, and the extensive radial troughs known as 'The Spider'

 

You might be asking, but wait a minute, isn’t Mercury about communication and the mind? About conveying information? Mercury is also about receiving and observing, a dialogue where we listen and perceive. When retrograde, it is possible to revisit, review messages in a fresh light. Twisting information into new ways reminds me of the now famous dream of Nobel Laureate James Watson, who in sleep saw the spiral staircase that would help him realize the double helix of DNA. Here is another short story, a true bit of history, that I believe helps us to question how we glean information from creative insights, not just as words on a page but, like evolutionary astrologer Steven Forrest describes, as omens, signs made known to us. In 1726, Irish author Jonathan Swift wrote, Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships, better known to us today as Gulliver’s Travels. Most of us know the famous chapter in which the ship surgeon Gulliver ends up among the "little people" of the land of Lilliput. But in another part of the book, Gulliver meets a people, the Luputans, who are great mathematicians and astronomers living aboard a floating island. They observe the two moons of Mars, Phobos and Deimos. But yet how did Jonathan Swift know to include these two moons? Astronomers would not discover them until 1877, over hundred years after the publication of Gulliver's Travels.  Swift was using most likely a popular mistranslation of one of Galileo’s letters. Galileo put his discoveries into Latin word puzzles in his letters as a way to document his findings, but at the same time, keep them secret from the reader. Galileo sent the letter to fellow astronomer, Johannes Kepler. Kepler was not able to translate the anagram properly and assumed Galileo wrote of two moons orbiting Mars, but Galileo did not see these moons. Jonathan Swift knew of Kepler’s translation and hence wrote of the Luputans and their observation of the two moons.  Swift even wrote a fairly accurate estimate of the orbital paths and distances of the moons from Mars. Are there two moons of Mars? Yes! Was this chance? Maybe. But to me, this story illustrates the complex way information can be conveyed, the subtle forms an omen can work and the possibilities of diverse modes of perception Mercury can reveal. The Luputans had it right.

The Two Moons of Mars. From Giberne, The Story of the Sun, Moon, and Stars, 1898.

 

Here is a more mundane example of how Mercury works as a change in perception. To be aware of the omens takes an open heart and the patience to listen. Remember the times you were on the way out the door and you see the bank card there on the table? A feeling comes over you like you need to pick the card up, you will need it, you perceive it as a feeling, but the rational mind kicks in and says, “No, I don’t need that card.” Then hours later at work you realize you have left your wallet at home. The card would have saved you. Have you missed a Mercury moment? Perhaps. Under the retrograde an awareness of that process can be made more real for you as an idea, an insight. See if you can notice those moments this winter season. Like we saw in the example of Jonathan Swift's story, they may just help you to see the "two moons."

The Two Moons of Mars. From Giberne, The Story of the Sun, Moon, and Stars, 1898.

The Two Moons of Mars. From Giberne, The Story of the Sun, Moon, and Stars, 1898.

Finally, I want to close with an image that seems to capture the essence of Capricorn as we approach Winter Solstice and the Sun's ingress (entry) into the sign. It is one of walking on ice, or rather the dry, black spaces between the ice, as one carefully and gradually steps along the ground. My principal astrology teacher, Steven Forrest, used this image once in a story. I only heard him share the story one time, but it lingered in the back of mind because, for me, a person with several natal planets in Capricorn, it worked. It captures the spirit of the "sea goat," the gradual evolution of a soul and a life well lived. Imagine a dark, cold alley in an old, medieval town. On a winter's night, you walk along the rough, uneven cobble stones, up an old, crumbling set of steps, near the walls of a church ruin. There is little light so it is difficult to see. Some parts of the stone surface shine with the reflections of light from the street lamps, subtly revealing the icy patches. Capricorn spies a narrow slice of dark, dry pavement, steps lightly, then firmly, maneuvers the feet and turns to seek the next dry segment, sure-footed and skipping a step to find a clean landing. One step, check, balance to the next, check. The rustic surface of the stones require care and caution.  Capricorn looks for steps with a focused sight and chooses a path that will endure.

What were those paths, those steps that led us one way or another through the years in our "circle game"? And how did we get sidetracked or did we get sidetracked at all? How did we decide what dreams were worth pursuing? As dark turns to light here in the northern hemisphere, we claim the time for introspection and the grace to see our paths in new ways. Wishing everyone a blessed Winter Solstice and much joy in the New Year!

Nothing can cure the soul, but the senses: the Full Moon in Taurus

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Nothing can cure the soul, but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul. Oscar Wilde

Make the universe your companion, always bearing in mind the true nature of things - mountains and rivers, trees and grasses, and humanity - and enjoy the falling blossoms and the scattering leaves. Matsuo Basho

November 14, 2016 Full Moon in Taurus, 22°37,’5:52 AM PST. Sun 22°37’ Scorpio, conjunct Black Moon Lilith 19°45’, Sun in a quincunx aspect to Eris, at Aries 22°48’ and Uranus, Aries 21°22’, Sun trine Chiron, 20°48’ Pisces (Moon in a sextile to Chiron), Mercury, 3° 1’ Sagittarius in a sextile to Mars, 3°55’ Aquarius. Jupiter, Libra 13°52,’ in a sextile aspect to Saturn, 15°51’Sagittarius.

American Thanksgiving, November 24th 6:00 PM PST: Jupiter 15°48’ Libra, Moon 15° 9’ Libra square Venus 15°19’, Pluto 15°47’ Capricorn.


There is a healing practice in Japan called Shinrin-yoku, forest bathing. The simple joys of letting nature calm the heart and soul, while being present in the woods. The art of simply being there. In a similar sense, the Japanese tea ceremony, or chanoyu, developed as a calming exercise under the turmoil of war and the political and social upheaval of 16th-century Japan. People sought comfort in the quiet, slow movements of the ceremony in the rustic simplicity of the teahouse amidst Japanese pavilions and gardens. I want to start by mentioning a few suggestions reminiscent of these subtle and simple Japanese cultural practices. I hope these insights may be helpful during the current Full Moon in Taurus. We all are entering a period of adjustment. How could we not? It does not matter how you voted or if you voted in the recent American presidential election, if you call United States your home or if you live abroad, this past week was a time of shock and disbelief as many realized our world will not be the same. The Full Moon in Taurus asks us to simplify. We find comfort in our routines, reflect upon what we have, what is real, our support system, and to recenter ourselves and take stock of our resources in order to process such a collective shift. A lot of us will be climbing out of a kind of psychological shell shock and facing our thoughts and feelings about what a Trump presidency will bring, disrupt or repeal. We all need moments of calm. We reclaim our soul out of the mayhem, honoring our bodies, our basic needs and comforts. Our Shinrin-yoku may literally be a place in nature, in the woods or at the beach, or a quiet tea ceremony in the soft, comforts of our home. Such periods allow us to regroup, reset, adjust and move forward. For those of us living in the northern hemisphere, the yearly passage of the Taurus Full Moon suggests the gathering of resources in a time of asking what are our fundamental, basic needs as the light of day dims and we prepare for winter solstice in December. The meaning of the Full Moon in Taurus, leading us gradually toward winter solstice, can offer solace and hope. The act of taking stock of what we have and can use, the time of adjustment and regrouping, can only make us stronger.

 

There are a few unusual traits of the Full Moon this month that seem to help manifest its energy as well as potential for emotional impact. The Moon will reach perigee – the Moon’s closest point to the Earth - within one and a half hour’s time of the Full Moon, 5:52 AM PST. A so-called “Supermoon” is not uncommon; we usually have several Supermoons a year, causing the larger than usual tides known as Spring tides. This particular perigean Moon, however, is unusually close to the Earth, the closest she has been since 1948. The Moon will not come this close to Earth again until November 25, 2034. Those folks living near the coastline may enjoy viewing the particularly high tides in the days ahead. The energetic signature of Taurus will be felt strongly and it might be helpful to look to see where the sign of Taurus falls in your birth chart or if you have natal planets at 22° of the fixed signs, Taurus, Leo, Scorpio or Aquarius. The opposition of the Scorpio Sun and Taurus Moon will also be the last major aspect the Moon makes before moving into Gemini. Astrologers refer to the Moon at this time as being void of course.  In general, when the Moon is void of course, it is best to wait before embarking on new paths, signing contracts or taking on new commitments. However, it is a productive time to let go and release what is not needed - in this case, the Taurus Moon gives us a time to drop the stress and tension of the past few months and let us return to the simplicity of the moment, of our bodies, of our souls. Tap into the wisdom of the body through touch and the senses (soak in that hot tub or bubble bath!), through healthy practices of yoga, hiking, and eating (in moderation!) good, honest foods. Take time to enjoy cuddling and loving the animals in our lives. And embracing silence when needed can go a long way. The sign Taurus is ruled by Venus and so aesthetic pleasure, the sensual and natural beauty in visual art, or the comfort of our favorite pieces of music, are especially powerful as a nurturing, healing expression under this Full Moon.

 

The picture I include to illustrate the Full Moon in Taurus is a photograph I took while traveling through Dogon country in rural Mali, West Africa. I chose this image, in part, because of the feeling of connection between child and animal and the tilling of the earth. The bull, of course, is a symbol for the sign, Taurus. But there are two stories behind this picture I feel capture the polarity between the energies of Scorpio (the Sun will be in Scorpio until November 21st) and that of Taurus. The Dogon people are traditional farmers. In some ways, I am hesitant to use my experiences in West Africa here because it is so easy for people who are from outside of the continent to simplify African peoples and cultural practices as “primitive” in comparison to communities in Europe, Asia or the Americas. But I believe these stories will help illustrate the two signs well. While staying in one of the villages along the Bandiagara Cliffs, a vast plateau and valley where Dogon communities are found, I witnessed the basic sense of connection with the land so clearly in the people I met. At night, I slept under a simple mosquito net on blankets under the stars. I was on top of one of the houses in the open air. One night, I slept well until I felt tiny drops of rain starting to fall some time in the middle of the night. I scrambled to pack up my things to scurry down below to seek shelter when my friend, Madou, came up to my sheer tent and whispered, “No, lie down…in a minute, it will pass.” The rain stopped then and I realized how deeply in tune Madou was to his cliffs, to his Dogon home, to the wind and rain, like a simple Taurean bodily response to knowledge and wisdom. The rain will stop and it did.

Dogon Village of Begnimato, Bandiagara Cliffs, Mali.

Dogon Village of Begnimato, Bandiagara Cliffs, Mali.

 

Earlier that night I felt the magick, some other realm of my own inner shadows, in the very same village before going to bed. I went out at dusk and started playing tag with a bunch of the Dogon children. I ran between and through the mud, adobe houses and felt their chase, all a game of fun and laughter. Night fell and the shadows loomed and gradually the energy changed. I felt some kind of fear rise up inside me, the children pressed on and after me and then I felt something raw, real and difficult to escape. These were just children. What was it that came through me? Scorpio makes the subconscious conscious, brings truth to the table and reveals forces underneath, either within us or around us (Scorpio is ruled by Pluto, planet of deep psychological transformation and work, along with Mars, the warrior planet). Was it some childhood fear of my own coming back into consciousness? The experience reminded me of the classic novel, Lord of the Flies, the group overtaking me. What was it that I felt? Was it my own inner prejudice of the other, fearful of a children from a different culture, world, than my own? Or was it the shamanic side of Scorpio (Scorpio is also associated with the sorcerer, with the occult) that allowed me to feel fear, but also see and feel something deeper, something more at play that night in the shadows. This is how I see Taurus and this is how I feel Scorpio. The two energies are so different; each so revealing, each in some way so human, so universal.

Dogon children at play, Mali.

Dogon children at play, Mali.

At the Full Moon, the Sun will make a quincunx (150°) aspect to the current conjunction of Uranus (Aries 21° 22) and Eris (Aries 22° 48). Although this is a fast-moving aspect (the Sun moves a degree a day), I feel it represents the culmination of what a lot of us are wrestling with at the moment. The Full Moon can be a time of fruition and then release, a natural time of fulfillment. Yet, for some of us, the recent presidential election in the United States does not leave us with a feeling of fulfillment. The period for me, and I believe probably for some of you, reflects the energy of “misstep,” irritation or a need for adjustment embodied in the energy of the quincunx. A quincunx (150°) is about reconciling or settling into two very different energies, in this case Scorpio and Aries. In astrology, we talk about the Ptolemaic aspects, such as a conjunction, sextile (60°), square (90°), trine (120°) or opposition (180°) based upon the division of a circle. They were named after the famous Greco-Egyptian writer, astrologer, mathematician and astronomer, Claudius Ptolemy, who used them in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD/CE. In earlier periods of Mesopotamian history, the Sumerians and Babylonians used a numeric system based upon a sexegesimal mathematics, a base of 60, and defined a circle as 360°. The Ptolemaic aspects are major aspects, and it makes sense to us how they operate. We can see the circular pie and the slices seem logical. But the quincunx, a 150°, is not a comfortable number for us to see when dividing a 360° circle and it is not as easy as the major aspects to recognize and to process.

Election day, November 8th, and the period right after, embodied the sudden, abrupt energy of Aries, shock and revolutionary nature of Uranus and the feeling of resentment, anger and retribution that is a potential manifestation of Eris. As I mentioned in my last post, Eris, a dwarf planet, has recently received critical attention by astrologers. In myth, she is the goddess who is not invited to the party and throws to Paris the apple of Discord he uses as a prize in his judgment of the goddesses, Hera, Athena and Aphrodite, which leads to the Trojan War. The apple can be seen as a symbol of sustenance, what is needed and desired, and what leads to discord and conflict. The recent political upset in the United States, in part, stems from the feeling of rejection or lack of attention or recognition felt by of some in America. They do not feel heard by the mainstream factions of the two political parties. Black Moon Lilith is at 19° 45’ Scorpio in conjunction with the Sun as well and the Sun forms a trine to Chiron in Pisces, suggesting a potential for a collective wound and a need for healing. Black Moon Lilith marks the lunar apogee - the place in the lunar orbit farthest from the earth. An archetype of the Divine feminine, she also can symbolize the repression of the feminine at the expense of the patriarchy, another indicator of discord and upset in recent months as the respect for women and the right of a woman to lead have been called into question.

I do not wish to elaborate upon the election nor the astrological “politics” at play. Rather I mention the quincunx to help us best process the feeling nature of this Full Moon for us on a more personal or individual level. Following such a sudden, outer thrust of change, what surfaces for us? How do we balance the angry, impulsive reactions versus our deeper reflections upon the truth of why the upset happened? The quincunx, I believe, offers us a chance to dive deeper into what this election means for us, what it triggers in our psyches, what truth is behind this time of uncertainty for ourselves and perhaps we may ask what is really behind the current political forces for others. For ourselves, the Scorpionic energy can help reveal what lies under the surface that we need to wrestle with and combat for us to be successful activists, to support social justice and be better global citizens. Like the fear I faced in the shadows of the Dogon cliffs and houses, what fears arise in us?

 

The current passage of Mercury in Sagittarius opens our perceptions and understanding into this process. Time to free our preconceived notions of how politics work and brainstorm new ways to build bridges of rapport. During the Full Moon, Mercury, 3° 1’ Sagittarius, will form a sextile to Mars, 3°55’ Aquarius, supporting ideas and plans for action and change. At the same time, Jupiter, at Libra 13°52’, will be in a sextile aspect to Saturn, 15°51’Sagittarius. Saturn adds structure and reality to the enthusiasm of Jupiter. Mercury will eventually conjunct Saturn on November 23rd in Sagittarius helping to add clarity along with reality to our ideas and eventually Mercury will form a trine to Uranus, further supporting our insights for action and change. These last aspects mentioned can bring the abstract into reality and may help to reinforce the push for change in more concrete terms, whether in the new Trump administration or through efforts to revise and change the system.

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I would like to end by transitioning into the weeks ahead and briefly mention the beginning of the holiday season and Thanksgiving, which in the United States occurs this year on November 24th. I find Thanksgiving a difficult holiday to embrace, especially this year when the indigenous community is continuing to face battles over access to clean water and sacred lands due to the ongoing struggle to prevent the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. Let’s hope we can honor and hold in our hearts the movement and ask for justice, guidance and peace. Thanksgiving will involve the coming together of family and friends, giving us yet another opportunity to heal from the anger, tension and divisiveness of the election season. Venus moved into the sign of Capricorn on November 11th helping us find joy and comfort in the traditions of the holidays and structures of family life we cherish. Traditions can be so soothing and reassuring and none better than those at the holidays! On Thanksgiving, the Moon will join up with Jupiter in mid Libra, 15° 42,’ for a celebratory mood of love and connection. But both will also form a square aspect to Pluto and Venus in Capricorn. Conversations and arguments may be based upon deeper truths and issues hiding under the fray. Pay attention to the undercurrents of family dynamics; they can reveal a lot! Was that comment my sister made really about my political sentiments? Or is she still holding onto some deeply held grudge or past hurt? Awareness of these undercurrents can bring healing. Though we often feel them at play during the holidays, this particular year holds opportunities for psychological insights to surface. As a final note, avoid spending too much money on the holidays or indulging in too much merriment of food and drink just because Jupiter said it was ok. We may want to spend more as a psychological release. Instead perhaps it is better we ask, what really is at play in our desires to indulge?

Wishing everyone a beautiful Full Moon in Taurus and a joyful Thanksgiving!

Let the Dance Happen and Revolution Will Follow: October's Full Moon in Aries

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“If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution.” Emma Goldman

“But let there be spaces in your togetherness and let the winds of the heavens dance between you.” Khalil Gibran

 “In so many and such important ways, then, do the planets bear witness to the earth's mobility.” Nicholas Copernicus explaining a heliocentric model of the universe

October 15, 2016 Full Moon in Aries, 23º14, 9:23 PM PST, Conjunct Uranus, 22º29, Eris 23º05, Mercury in Libra square Pluto in Capricorn, 15º01, Mars in Capricorn, 12º45, Venus in Scorpio, 27°27


The only constant in life seems to be change. And sometimes it seems to me the change is gradual like the passage of the seasons, other times abrupt and unexpected. So deeply embedded in our processes of change is the dynamic of relationship. Who touches our heart, who offers us a hand to dance? The one we connect to because we see soul with our eyes. Synchronicity brings you together, possibility is there, and as the French say “et plus si affinities.” It is more than “déjà vu.” Is it projection? Are we seeing self in other? What is authenticity in relationship? Equally meaningful, who steps away, abandons us, leaves the dance floor empty when the time seems ready to take the dance deeper and develop intimacy? Is it your fear or mine? We have been traveling through the season of Libra, the push and pull of the dance we do with others, finding the right balance, applying the right discrimination to know what and who we need in our Divine dance with our own soul. Our Milky Way is composed of solitary stars, like our Sun, along with binaries, pairs of stars that orbit each other at distances unique to each pair, triplets and multiple star systems. Like the stars above, we orbit one another to create meaning in our lives and to discover perhaps what we ourselves have hidden. At times, we are best alone. Some of us truly become stronger as single stars. But it helps to remember that the origin of the word disaster is “without stars.” We all have Libra expressed in our charts; we all need others to grow.

Last month, in the northern hemisphere, the Celtic festival of Mabon marked the time of year known as fall equinox when the day and night are of equal length. The Sun’s passage into Libra on the equinox each year is tinted by the blending energies, like colors of autumn leaves, marked by the shifting motion of the planets, the angles they create. This moment we find ourselves in 2016 is part of the rhythmic cycles of the planets’ motion through time. This Mabon came just as Mercury finished his retrograde motion in Virgo. September was a time of revision, remake, review with the critical mental processes of Mercury as he retraced through his own sign. He was in his ‘shadow’ until October 6th when he reached 29º04’ Virgo (the shadow period is the time when Mercury is moving ahead but has not yet reached the degree he initially turned retrograde). Mid-October we find Sun, Mercury and Jupiter together in Libra. Mercury’s quick passage through the sign triggers the slow dance of Jupiter, bringing us fresh perspective and awareness of the part relationship plays in our lives through the house Libra falls in our birth chart. Later in the month, the Sun and Mercury enter Scorpio as we approach Samhain, Halloween, All Souls Day or El Dia de los Muertos. We move from the earthly dance of day-to-day relationship with friends, family, lovers, to the shamanic healing spiritual realm of the souls of the other side. Happy Halloween! And may the spirits of your ancestors bless you. Now is the time to pay them homage and remember.

El Dia de los Muertos in the Highlands of Guatemala.

El Dia de los Muertos in the Highlands of Guatemala.

October’s sky asks us to focus upon where we want to create a stronger sense of balance and equity in our evolving dance with others. Where or with who do we work one-on-one and is it time to develop that dance further? When I think of Libra, I think of self as well as other, in a supportive dialogue of give and take. The recent New Moon that followed the autumnal equinox on September 30th was at 8°15 Libra. She was in a conjunction with Jupiter about seven hours before and in a supportive sextile (60°) to Saturn almost seven hours after. Jupiter opens us up to opportunity, followed by Saturn in an aspect granting possibility for structure and reality for our New Moon dreams. The weeks ahead in October are great times to reflect upon the next year, as Jupiter moves through Libra, how we might establish, through our relationships, the love and support we need. Checking the house(s) in your birth chart where the sign Libra falls may help focus upon the places in daily life you might find this work productive.

After fall equinox and then throughout the first half of October, Venus, the planet ruling Libra, moves through Scorpio, entering Sagittarius October 18th. While we have the Sun, Jupiter and Mercury in Libra the first half of October, a Scorpionic Venus pushes us into deeper territory, perhaps allowing us to get beyond the surface pleasantries of Libra. Even a good salesman or, dare I say, political candidate, can manipulate words and use persuasive actions to reap the benefits of relationship. But Scorpio Venus delves into truth; what really is behind our need for ‘balance’ - harmony? Is it a personal agenda, a kind of selfishness through other? Again, it may help to meditate upon Jupiter’s transit through Libra and how he touches your birth chart. These are the places (houses) and avenues of expression (planets) where you may consciously reflect upon “What kind of relationship are we building?” “What place does it serve in the greater good of our lives or in the larger collective?” Look below the surface and investigate what needs to be transformed. Later in the month, Venus’ passage through Sagittarius opens us up to more fiery, outgoing play and release, during our time of masquerade and tricks and treats. By then, the Sun and Mercury have entered Scorpio, a New Moon in Scorpio occurs at 7°44 on October 30th moving us into the season of darkness and spirit.

The sign of Libra, the scales, with its emphasis upon balance, reminds me of the fusion of opposites, the union of substances, and the Latin expression Coincidentia oppositorum, in the ancient practice of alchemy. The psychiatrist Carl Jung used this Latin phrase to characterize the need we all have to integrate opposing aspects within our own psyche. The sign of Libra and the planet Venus ask us to consider the role of others in the alchemical process of the evolving soul. I brought together images from the alchemist’s workshop to represent Jupiter in Libra in the illustration I include above. Centuries ago, alchemists developed a musical octave, similar to a scale, composed of each of the seven known planets (including the Moon) and ending with Saturn. The child in the photograph below is playing a musical interpretation of the octave in a museum exhibition about alchemy (Here Saturn appears on the top of the octave as if beginning the next octave up in progression). Called the Music of the Spheres, astronomers, who were also astrologers of the time, saw the relationship between the orbits of the planets as harmonic intervals reflecting the similar natural harmonies of music.

In turn, aspects (the angles between planets) also carried a harmonic structure: conjunction 1st harmonic, opposition (dividing 360° in two) 2nd harmonic, trine 120° 3rd harmonic, square 90° 4th harmonic, quintile 72° 5th and sextile 60° the 6th harmonic. Libra is ruled by Venus, the planet known for having the most perfect circular orbit in the solar system. Venus in Libra expresses the beauty of aesthetic harmony, balance and perfection of form. The Music of the Spheres, the music of the planets, the harmonies embodied in the aspects, like the binary and multiple star systems, demonstrate an interdependence of energy. “As above, so below.” Aspects, angles, the planetary positions in sign and house of our birth chart act in unison like a musical score. Coincidentia oppositorum is an internal, evolutionary process that lasts a lifetime, the lifetime of the soul. Yet like the celestial dance of the planets through time, the fusion of self is dependent upon harmonics played between self and other. Enter our need for the sign of Libra, the 7th House, the work one does with another, the work one does in relationship. 

Then we have a Full Moon, conjunct Uranus and Eris, in Aries, October 15th. The radical rebel, Uranus, graces the night sky less than a degree away from the Moon. Eris and Uranus have been conjunct for several weeks. In Greek mythology, Eris is the Goddess of discord. Potentially vindictive, she carries the energy of the one left behind and not invited to the “party.” Eris is a dwarf planet receiving critical interest among astrologers in recent years. Here she is coming together with the abrupt agent of change, enlightened thought, freedom, independence and genius of Uranus, in Aries the sign of the self, the initiator of fiery action and leadership. The word, revolution, in all its forms in current usage, comes to mind with this Full Moon. Revolution is often applied to radical social upheaval and overthrow of political power, but the word stems from the sudden shift in cultural and scientific thinking that began when Copernicus explored “outside the box,” discovering a new way of seeing the universe (at this point in time, the universe was perceived to be the solar system). The Copernican Revolution shifted a 2000-year old foundational view in astronomy: the Earth was seen previously as the center of the solar system, while Copernicus led the way to eventual acceptance of a heliocentric model, placing the Sun at the center and the planets orbiting the Sun. The Earth “revolves” as well, hence “revolution” around the Sun, the Copernican “Revolution.” The movements of the planets confirmed the theory, as Copernicus wrote, “In so many and such important ways, then, do the planets bear witness to the earth's mobility.” As we saw the emphasis upon relationship between self and other in Libra, and the relationship of planets through the Music of the Spheres and in aspect, revolution comes from the independent thought of genius in response to the work of previous generations of astronomical study. In turn, this word “revolution” came to symbolize societal shifts, rise of new paradigms, brand new ways to visualize and shake up the status quo. Our modern definition of the word “revolution” was born.

What does this mean for our current Full Moon coming mid-October? We have a moment of claiming our personal power, initiative, drive to individuate, to be authentic self, and let the inner rebel thrive. Lead the revolution - even if it is an internal one. With the other planetary energies at play, a Libra Mercury and Jupiter in a square with Capricorn Mars the days before, and Mercury forming a square to Pluto in Capricorn on the day of the Full Moon, building upon the dance, our Libra skills of diplomacy and the insights we gain by working with others can help bring about and transform the Aries warrior, the Capricorn elder and leader in us all. Where the planets Eris and Uranus, as well as the sign Aries, fall in your birth chart reveal the places where a revolution of the authentic self can manifest. Claim personal freedom and let your genius speak. Be cautious of the inner Goddess Eris and the potential for resentment, spite and hurt (look to see where 23° Aries falls in your birth chart). Instead be part of a collective paradigm shift through your individual gift of genius or through the spirit of the rebel. In relationship, honor the freedom and space the other needs. As Khalil Gibran wrote, “But let there be spaces in your togetherness and let the winds of the heavens dance between you.” It may be a time of awakening, a time for sudden, abrupt change, where the light bulb goes on. As the bumper sticker says, “Shift happens.”

Wishing everyone blessings during the Libra and Scorpio seasons, the Full Moon in Aries, and through Samhain, El Dia de los Muertos, our most sacred time of connection!

September’s Harvest Full Moon in Pisces

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams” Eleanor Roosevelt

“Finding the right work is like discovering your own soul in the world.” Thomas Moore

Moon in Pisces conjunct Chiron, Penumbral Lunar eclipse
Sun in Virgo in a loose conjunction to Mercury and Jupiter. Jupiter enters Libra.
Mars in Sagittarius squares Moon and Sun.


September 16th brings a Full Moon in 24° Pisces at 12:05 PM PST. Always coming late summer into early fall, as the Sun moves through Virgo, the Pisces Full Moon is aptly called the Harvest Moon. There seems to be a feeling of going home at this time, like a returning to our spiritual roots and finding our place again within the mystical whole after the play and joy of summer.  Leading into fall, through Libra, and eventually Scorpio, the Sun’s path suggests a time of letting go, turning back to the source. A water sign co-ruled by Jupiter and Neptune, Pisces energy allows us to manifest the inner mystic part of us that connects with the Divine. This particular Full Moon will be conjunct the asteroid Chiron currently at 22° Pisces and will be forming a square to Mars at 23° Sagittarius. Chiron is the wounded healer who in mythology was a centaur injured by an arrow with a wound that would never heal. His wound eventually becomes his source of power that gives him the gift of healing. Chiron and Jupiter were in an opposition, 180 degrees apart, in mid-August, possibly offering us an opportunity through work, service or perhaps mentorship (Jupiter at 24° Virgo) to release a blockage, a spiritual wound, or to open avenues to heal our relationship with our spiritual work. “Spiritual” in this context does not necessarily imply “religion,” although it can, but may connote a compassionate mission- one that sees beyond boundaries of self and other. A month later, under the Full Moon in September, we see the fruition of the Virgo/Pisces Jupiter and Chiron opposition. This may be a good time to consult your birth chart and see in what houses, what areas in life, you can best refine your gifts of service, your modes for healing, for the good of others and the planet. “Finding the right work is like discovering your own soul in the world.” How else can we better serve the Divine?  

In another perspective, the Pisces Full Moon is an emotional, sensitive Moon and can be time for a“good cry,” having compassion for our own suffering and tender emotions. With Chiron there as well, overall it maybe a time to be cautious of our escapist tendencies. Pisces energy can lead to desires to numb ourselves through the altered states of drugs or alcohol or just the pleasures of excess food or television. In what ways do we bandage the wound and escape from the pain? The Pisces Full Moon is a wonderful time to tap into your deepest imagination, your dream world, and your higher vibration of spiritual self. Keep beauty in your dreams. Let go through dance, meditation, artistic expression. The ongoing Saturn / Neptune square at this time (see my other post for a description) instructs us to take advantage of the discipline of Saturn and give our creative visions form, rather than falling into negative patterns of escape. 

Mars in the square aspect to the Sun and Moon at this time may add to the emotional tension of the typical Pisces Full Moon. Tempers may flair up and it is a good time to avoid arguments based upon fixed opinions that are too rigid in opinion or offer no solutions (Mars in Sagittarius). Don’t allow emotions to rule over peace. It is not a good time to insist you are right; rather it is better to encourage compassion by seeing how really we all are connected. Jupiter enters Libra September 9th and will remain in that sign until October 10th, 2017.  Now is a good time to look to see where Libra falls in your natal chart and plan accordingly for the year ahead. The astrologer Rick Levine likes to point out the similarity of the 12-year passage of Jupiter through the zodiac to the 12 signs of Chinese astrology. It helps us to reflect upon Jupiter in Libra as a period of roughly a year when planets in Libra or the house(s) in your natal chart touched by Libra may bring new opportunity and growth. In conjunction with the Virgo Sun during this Full Moon in Pisces, the arrival of Jupiter in Libra calls us to bring out the harmonious balanced love in the larger Neptunian realm of Pisces without allowing the warrior spirit of Mars in the square to win the day. Rather the square of Mars in Sagittarius to the Pisces/Virgo axis can be used to muster up in ourselves the will to work upon what needs to expand into higher realms of consciousness, what faith, beliefs and philosophy will open us to reach those higher goals of understanding. How much better will our actions and intentions be than if they were to fall into dogmatism and emotional outburst?

Like the centaur of Sagittarius shooting the arrow, Mars can push us to take action in a way that helps us through the Piscean wound and reach that spiritual gift.  Recognizing a very loose conjunction of Jupiter in Libra with the Virgo sun and Virgo Mercury, part of this action may involve new pathways of communication - a communication grounded in critical discourse and that seeks building off of a real desire for harmony and balance. Virgo Mercury square Mars in Sagittarius again holds the possibility of arguments, and we maybe nitpicky, where we can be overly critical in the will to be right. It may help to keep the ongoing Saturn /Neptune square in mind at this time since there is a tendency toward delusion and false “facts” that may surface under this slower moving aspect. It may work better to use this time to constructively reflect upon how I might best serve the greater good (Virgo Sun and Mercury opposition Moon in Pisces) for more harmonious understanding (Jupiter in Libra), for expanding my mind (Sagittarius Mars) in more flexible ways (Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces are mutable energies) and not at the expense of maintaining the collective wound (Chiron in Pisces). One last final point involves the asteroid, Vesta, which forms a trine, 120-degree angle, with the Pisces Full Moon. Except for Chiron, I do not use the asteroids very much in personal readings unless they are in a critical place in the birth chart. I, myself, have Vesta in the 10th house very close to my Midheaven and I find the asteroid plays strongly into the theme of my natal chart (I use the Placidus House system for casting charts). At the time of the Harvest Full Moon, Vesta will be in the sign of Cancer, at 20°. There is not enough time here to write about Vesta in length, but I would like to add one comment that fits within the larger reading of this particular Full Moon. Vesta is the fire in the temple and what moves us into action - Divine action. Echoing the call to action (square) of Mars in Sagittarius (fiery sign of faith) with the Pisces Moon/Chiron conjunction, the coming into fruition (Full Moon) of the Jupiter /Chiron opposition, Vesta also asks us to tend the fire of the spiritual self, here in another water sign, Cancer, where there is a need to nurture and protect what is sacred. 

Wishing everyone many blessings on this Harvest Full Moon! This time will be especially powerful for those who have planets in their natal charts that fall between 21-27 degrees of the mutable signs, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces, and Gemini. Much love and joy for the autumn season and for the year ahead as Jupiter travels through the sign of Libra!

2015-2016 Saturn / Neptune Square: Saturn in Sagittarius/ Neptune in Pisces - Making Dreams Real

November 26, 2015 at 7°, June 17, 2016 at 12°, and September 10, 2016 at 10°  

“If we are full of enthusiasm for life, then the unknown reveals itself, and our universe changes direction.”
Paulo Coelho

“We are spirits in the material world
Are spirits in the material world”
Sting

“Go slowly and go far”
Old Welsh saying


While watching the media coverage of the Summer Olympics, 2016, I noticed a young athlete who reminded me of the opposing energies of Saturn and Neptune. Neptune is currently in transit through Pisces, a sign the planet co-rules with Jupiter. Expansive, opportunistic Jupiter complements the dreamy visionary dimension of Pisces and Neptune. Saturn, on the other hand, is in Sagittarius, and has been making a series of squares - 90-degree angle - with Neptune over the past year, the final square occurring this September.  I have no knowledge of this woman’s birth chart, but her conversation in an interview led me to reflect upon what this current planetary square offers us in terms of vision and making dreams real.  In addition to her accomplishments in sports, the woman in question is an aspiring artist. With enthusiastic confidence, she shared some of her artwork with the interviewer.  I thought “how bold” and what confidence she has - how Jupiterian in spirit! She embodied a youthful enthusiasm, putting herself and her creativity out on a line without hesitation. Saturn teaches us to slow down and use caution wisely. But the planet also provides the discipline and mind set to make the vision real. Given the chance to present her work, was the young athlete turned artist naïve? Was she taking too much of a risk?  Or was the time ripe to say “this is what I create” and “I take responsibility for who I am, what I believe,” so “I take a leap of faith to put it out there.” This square asks us how do we find the balance of visionary Neptune with the structure of Saturn.  There is a fine “art” to knowing when it is time to make the vision real.

 

The planets move in cycles through time. In astrology, we explore these cycles and the meaning of the planetary archetypes involved to better make use of the current celestial energy. Two big players in the sky this past year have been the planet Saturn, which has been moving back and forth creating a 90-degree square with the planet Neptune at three points in time. Starting late last fall, on November 26, Thanksgiving Day, Saturn, 7° Sagittarius, made the first square to transiting Neptune, 7° Pisces. Then in mid-June, on the 17th, the second square occurred at 12°. And, finally, the last square takes place this month, September 10th, at 10°. 

Let’s start by looking briefly at each of these planets and the signs they are transiting. Saturn in Sagittarius represents opposing energies as Sagittarius, a fire sign, is ruled by optimistic, enthusiastic Jupiter. Jupiter expands while Saturn contracts. Jupiter is about seeking and having faith about embracing life. Saturn calls faith into question - a reality test. When Saturn transits Sagittarius, it is an opportunity for furthering education (perhaps through travel), challenging preconceived ideas, dedicating time and effort to understanding your philosophical views. It is a great time to learn. You might look to see where the sign Sagittarius falls in your natal chart. You might explore the validity of your beliefs relative to that area of life represented by house location of Saturn. Is Saturn touching any natal planets by conjunction or is it creating angles (transiting aspects) to planets in your natal chart? Saturn calls us to work hard, mature and take responsibility in these areas and aspects of life symbolized through the planetary archetypes and houses. In classical astrology, Saturn has been called the “Great Malefic” because the planet is associated with times of difficulty, restrictions, and limitations. On the other hand, Evolutionary astrology, the type of astrology I practice, stresses individual choice and freedom to work upon our own personal development and maturation through using knowledge of the sky to transform self. In regard to the meaning of Saturn, we can move beyond the negativity, step up to the plate and claim responsibility for the work Saturn is asking us to do.  Saturn will be in Sagittarius until December 20, 2017.

Neptune, on the other hand, is at home in the sign of Pisces, which the planet co-rules with Jupiter. A slow moving planet, Neptune will spend about thirteen years in the sign, entering in February of 2012 and remaining there until 2025. The period can be a deepening time of spirituality and recognizing the Divine presence in the world around us. Most likely we will see a rise in meditation and prayer. We may also see an increase in escapism through realms of fantasy and altered states through drugs and alcohol (such as the rise in prescription drug abuse as a form of escape). A visionary time, Neptune in Pisces breaks down boundaries between the material and the spiritual. The appearance of the Holy Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe, to Saint Juan Diego, in 1531, and the visions of Our Lady of Lourdes, the Virgin Mary, to Saint Bernadette Soubirous, in 1858, both occurred in years when Neptune was in Pisces. Few Marian visions have had the lasting impact of Our Lady of Guadalupe and of Lourdes in cultivating deep devotion and love of God in the history of Christianity. During the period of time Saint Bernadette Soubirous experienced her visions at Lourdes, transiting Saturn was in Cancer forming a trine (120-degree aspect) to Neptune and further triggered by Mars in Scorpio, combining to create a Grand Trine in water signs. The current square of Neptune and Saturn has seen a rise in religious fundamentalism, martyrs dying in the name of faith and the use of violence and terrorism in radical religious wars. As I write, Mars, a fast- moving planet, is transiting through Sagittarius to conjunct Saturn, and will act as a trigger for the ongoing Saturn / Neptune Square. We live in a time of tension indeed. 

 

In order to reflect upon the current Saturn / Neptune square, it might be helpful to refer back in history to another moment characterized by this aspect: November, 1963, when the assassination of President John F. Kennedy occurred. Saturn in Aquarius was in a square to Neptune in Scorpio. The reality of Saturn called into question our Nation’s visions and dreams. The current 2016 Presidential election brings to mind a similar crisis - what vision for America do we hold true? What facts, what political rhetoric, what media spin can we believe? A friend posted on social media that one of the popular terms for political corruption at the moment is “porous ethical wall.” (“Porous” Neptune - deceptive, nebulous, uncertainty - and the“ethical wall” of Saturn - duty, deep moral conviction, responsibility - are at odds). There is no better time than during an election year to question the “facts” and keep reality checks in place. However, as we move to consider the square in the birth chart of individuals, we can see this aspect as a cosmic push or crisis that can lead to positive growth. Delusion, lies and escapism are all possible, but we can turn to higher opportunities for these planetary archetypes to manifest. In Evolutionary astrology, we honor the soul’s freedom of choice and will to reach for the higher expression rather than fall to despair, denial or escape.

 

For individual meaning and reflection, we might question our own dreams, visions, and beliefs - where do we need objectivity? Where do we need to apply hard work and discipline to make a vision real? You can have the romantic dream, but only Saturn gives it structure; there is no dream come true without effort. The sign Sagittarius represents optimism, hope, faith and with Saturn in the sign we have a chance to work, planning our dreams as “spirits in a material world.” You can consider where Neptune and Saturn fall in your natal chart, what houses they are moving through, and what aspects do they make to planets in your natal chart. Knowing the houses will help you ponder the meaning of the square in your journey. The archetypes of the planets involved will guide your understanding. Saturn moving through your 12th house square Neptune transiting your 3rd House natal Moon? Perhaps it is time to develop a meditation practice to support your creative writing projects and help you through a writer’s block. 

Let’s take another example of the creative process. I chose to illustrate this post with a photo collage I made for my own reflection about the Saturn / Neptune square. The image doesn’t “look” real, but in actuality, the principal photograph IS real. It gives a frame and structure for a more nebulous horizon - the water and light reflected in the background of the scene. I took this photograph through a glass window from the interior of the famous Opera House in Sydney, Australia. The night before I had looked through the same window at the light of the full moon at intermission while attending the symphony. The picture carries an emotional memory, a feeling of place and time deeply personal. Now think of the years of practice and patience required of each musician in that symphony performance to allow the sound to become music. The beams, rods and railings of the Opera House, support the glass that reveals a deeper vision - the creation of the music and architecture that feeds the soul. Astrologer Tony Howard noted that some of the greatest jazz musicians of the 20th century, such as Miles Davis and John Coltrane, have the Saturn / Neptune square in their natal chart. The soul is pushed into making the artistic vision (or in this case, sound) real.  Neptune improvisation - creative dream - meets the Saturnian physical plane. The rigid skeleton of the Opera House, the discipline, foundation, reality of Saturn, give way to windows of glass, the dreams and visions of Neptune and Pisces. 

 

Wishing everyone peace of mind and heart during the final Saturn / Neptune square this fall. May we all find a place for our “spirits in the material world” as part of our own individual soul journey. Blessings!