Astrology May 2018

"How Does It Feel to Be One of the Beautiful People?" Uranus Enters Taurus

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How does it feel to be one of the beautiful people? Now that you know who you are......
— John Lennon
When German soldiers used to come to my studio and look at my pictures of Guernica, they’d ask, “Did you do this?” And I’d say, “No, you did.”

Inspiration does exist, but it must find you working
— Pablo Picasso

Full Moon in Scorpio 9˚ 39’ 5:58 PM PDT, April 29th, 2018

Uranus Enters Taurus 8:23 AM PDT, May 15th, 2018


I was talking with my dental hygienist the other day. You know, just the usual chitchat. “I love astrology,” she exclaimed, “I have for 30 years!” I ask, “What Sun sign are you?” “Capricorn.” “Oh, you are probably in a Saturn time right now,” I say. “What does that mean?” she asks followed by “Oh, I don’t follow transits, but I listen to what’s going on via youtube all the time!” I wonder to myself, what is she doing with this cosmic information? So often I meet people like this. Familiar and comfortable with astrology, but not sure what to consider or where to look next.  I wish there was a way to say learning your birth chart and following an ephemeris is a path, a journey, and one really quite simple to follow and learn. We currently have a Full Moon in Scorpio, yes, but what does that mean for you? Where is the Full Moon happening in your birth chart? Does the Moon create aspects with planets or luminaries in your birth chart, especially aspects to those in other fixed signs – Aquarius, Taurus, Leo? In what House does the Full Moon occur?

 

The Moon moves fast and such transits happen for only a brief moment, but in two weeks we have a much slower, potentially much more lasting and profound time of awakening.

We have a very big astrological change starting in May and it can be useful to see where this is happening in your birth chart. Let me show you through some quick examples.

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I keep hearing a Beatles song in my mind over and over again. “How does it feel to be one of the beautiful people?” I have been planning a possible trip to India, and as one thing led to another, I started reading about John Lennon and George Harrison, the Beatles and their time in Rishikesh in 1968. I was reflecting upon what a radical time of spiritual awakening and shifting sense of self that time must have been for each one of them. The year before their infamous quest to the subcontinent, Lennon’s line about self-realization, “a beautiful people”, developed into a song co-written by John and Paul, “Baby, You’re a Rich Man.” I often find myself reinterpreting song lyrics and giving them meaning relevant to my own reflections and, well, this song was no different. I always thought the song was a critique of “the beautiful people,” those of wealth and privilege – “the rich man.” In truth, Lennon was writing about the community of Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco, those waking up to, what I would argue was, a spiritual life and embracing a countercultural movement able to break out of the rigid norms and conventions that held previous generations back from personal and collective growth. A.K.A. the hippies. Well, I had never thought of the song that way! Surprise, surprise! The lightbulb went on, a flash of insight; one could say I had a Uranian moment.

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Uranus, the ‘Great Awakener’, is about to enter the sign of Taurus in May (on the 15th, then the planet will briefly move retrograde back into Aries this coming November 6th, reentering Taurus March 6th, 2019). Collectively, this is a big shift as the planet Uranus moves slowly, taking 84 years to orbit the Sun. Uranus has been in the sign of Aries for about the last seven years (entering March 11th, 2011). Now I don’t know about you or how Uranus in Aries may have hit your chart, but when Uranus was conjunct (same degree) as my 1st House Aries Jupiter in my birth chart, a flash of cosmic juice shot through me, radical freedom stretched her arm into every part of my static life – I changed, with a capital ‘C,’ big time, radical, major CHANGE. Not only did I change in energy and attitude, with a new-found vibe   - can I say juju? – that infused all I did, my life as a whole turned on its heels, spun me around and I awakened to completely new directions. I must mention such reactions to a transit, of course, will vary. It is especially important to pay attention to how critical a part the planet being transited plays in the overall symphony of person’s chart – Jupiter is co-ruler, along with Neptune, of my own birth chart, and so the big, gaseous giant carries a particularly powerful punch!

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Welcome to Uranus, rebel, outsider, game changer. And now we have the planet moving into Taurus, a fixed earth sign, very different from cardinal fire Aries. The topic of mundane astrology – the outward changes we will see and the collective shifts that take place – will be fascinating, and at times difficult, to watch unfold. But what does Uranus in Taurus mean for us on an individual level? Where in our chart are we stuck, fixed, in need of a great awakening? A sudden moment of grace and liberation? I hope to show, by exploring briefly the biography of two well-known artists, how we can use astrology as a self-reflective tool so that, perhaps, we may consider such potential “awakenings” occurring in our own birth charts.

 

First, perhaps it might help to consider the sign and house position of Uranus in our birth chart. Let’s take John Lennon as our example. Now there is a lot to explore in Lennon’s chart that suggests his life as an artist, activist, advocate for peace and an end to all wars (and, yes, religions too). Here we will just briefly consider Uranus in Taurus, something Lennon shared with a cohort of people born between June 6, 1934 and May 15, 1942, the last time the planet was in Taurus  (Notice these years – economic upset led to new infrastructure in the U.S. under the New Deal – let’s hope for the same focus on rebuilding and restoring  Mother Earth now as we see such manifestations again while Uranus is in Taurus – Taurus as an earth sign wants to stabilize, build, make real and secure, while Uranus wants to “think outside the box,” find new technologies to do so).

 

Lennon, a Libra Sun, Aquarius Moon and Aries ascendant, was born October 9th, 1940, at 6:30 PM, Liverpool, England.  John Lennon’s birth chart has Uranus at 25˚33’, Taurus, in the 1st House, along with a very close Saturn/Jupiter conjunction at 13˚13’ and 13˚42’ Taurus. The 1st House encompasses the primal sense of self and it is also associated with recognized positions of leadership. Saturn and Jupiter in a tight conjunction (together in the sky at Lennon’s birth) suggest a person with the natural enthusiasm, joie de vivre, and appeal of a “king” and a faith to embrace life (Jupiter) in tension with the hard work and commitment to make it real (Saturn). Saturn also suggests the potential as the wise elder Lennon could (did?) become in heralding and envisioning a faith and optimism in a better world. Uranus in the 1st House in Taurus, in turn, is the rebel leader who questions the status quo, rattles the cage (complementing Lennon’s Aquarius Moon), through music, art, love, and peaceful non-violence (Lennon’s Sun is in Libra – Venus rules both Taurus and Libra).

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 If we start to consider transits (the sky at the moment in 1967-68), Uranus and Pluto were close and, at times, conjunct, in Lennon’s 6th House of work, service, daily routine, forming a harmonious trine, 120˚ aspect by transit, to his natal Taurus Uranus (within a 3˚orb of the trine - they were also conjunct his natal 6th House Neptune), opening up Lennon to a lifestyle and to daily practices of meditation to create one of the greatest creative minds and leaders in free thinking. Since a number of writers have written about the Uranus and Pluto conjunction of the 1960s, I’ll move on to another example of a “Uranian moment” that I find telling and, well, quite remarkable. This I believe will be a good example of the possibility for sudden shifts in awareness – can I say enlightenment? Certainly, enlightened liberation and action – we can learn from and cultivate in ourselves when Uranus conjuncts key natal degrees in our own birth charts. To help illustrate this sudden potential to awaken a planet in one’s chart, I’d like to move to another artist whose chart’s Taurus planets were transited by Uranus’ movement through Taurus in the 1930s, the years prior to Lennon’s birth.

 

Let’s turn to a particular time in the life of the famous Spanish artist, Pablo Picasso. Picasso was born October 25th, 1881, at 11:15 PM in Málaga, Spain. A Scorpio Sun, Sagittarius Moon, Leo ascendant, Picasso had natal Uranus at 17˚ 2’ Virgo, 2nd House, forming a trine with his natal Neptune, Chiron, and Jupiter in Taurus in his 10th House. Taurus and the 2nd House are both ruled by Venus and the trine allowed the revolutionary artistic and visionary side of Picasso’s nature to express as he made manifest his Leo ascendant. Again, like Lennon’s birth chart, there are so many ways to pursue looking at Picasso’s chart.

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I always remember a story I learned many years ago about Pablo Picasso. Apparently, when he was just 13, Picasso was able to pass a very difficult entrance exam in art in a matter of days. The exam was supposed to take several weeks to finish. When Picasso was a young artist, his natural talent in drawing and painting, as the legend goes, so shocked his artist father that his dad gave up painting altogether to help his son develop his talent. But it is Picasso’s experimentation with cubism and eventual conversion to abstract art that radically shifted the art world and opened the door to Modernism in the 20th century.

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A quick look at Uranus’ passage through the houses of Picasso’s chart reveal the awakening potential of the artist’s vision. Early in the year 1907, Picasso began working on a radical, new modern work, inspired in part by African art, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, a cubist portrait of prostitutes from Avignon district of Barcelona, Spain. The planet Uranus was transiting between 8 and 12˚of Capricorn in Picasso’s 6th House (Mars was there as well by transit), forming a trine to Picasso’s natal Saturn at 9˚27’rx, within orb of his 10th House Neptune. (Both Uranus and Mars turned retrograde later that spring and Uranus throughout much of the year revisited the same degrees, aspecting Picasso’s 10th House planets). Boom, boom, boom. Like I mentioned when bringing up Uranus by transit in John Lennon’s 6th House, Uranus sparked new directions in Picasso’s work and daily routines, while opening a potential (trine, 120˚ aspect) to radical and revolutionary ways of seeing in his artistic vocation (10th House Taurus planets).

 

Let’s return now to Uranus through the sign of Taurus in the late 1930s and to the transit of the planet to the 10th House of Pablo Picasso’s birth chart – often considered the house of “career,” the part of the chart that speaks to the person’s mission, where the artist touches the larger public and brings outward change (the midheaven or 10th House cusp is the most “public” dimension of the birth chart and often speaks to the possible vocation or public identity of the person). The planet also opposed his natal Scorpio Sun, ruler of his chart, in the 4th House.

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A critical year in Pablo Picasso’s public life as an artist occurred in 1937, the year German planes bombed the Spanish Basque town of Guernica, a sudden destruction resulting in much pain, suffering, and loss of life of many innocent civilians. Picasso had been wrestling with an important art commission, a very large oil painting, to be exhibited at the Spanish Pavilion at the Paris exposition later that year. On May 1, 1937, within days after learning of the bombing in his home country, Picasso tore up his sketches and suddenly reworked the entire piece as an anti-war protest artwork that would become Guernica, one of the most famous of all modern artworks of the 20th century, a forerunner of protest art against the violence of war.  Uranus at that day was at 9˚ Taurus, conjunct Pablo Picasso’s 9˚27’ natal Saturn (retrograde) in the 10th House. The Sun, too, happened to be at 11˚ Taurus, roughly the midpoint between Picasso’s natal Saturn and Neptune, acting as the spark, or trigger, to catalyze the event. Saturn we say can be a blockage we experience through its placement in a particular astrological house. But as we mature and work through and claim its energy, Saturn can give structure, discipline and lead us to become the elder in that very same placement. Uranus, the planetary fuse box gifting a break and freeing him into moments of change, allowed Picasso soul growth into higher expressions of his 10th House Saturn and Neptune.

 

Uranus is the rebel, the outsider, the genius, the revolutionary. Just consider the planet Uranus rotating parallel to the ecliptic, while every other planet spins roughly perpendicular to the ecliptic as they orbit the Sun in the solar system. In other words, if all the other planets are spinning like tops as they orbit the Sun, Uranus turns on his side while he orbits! Uranus is sudden transformation, lightning bolts and radical awareness. Uranus in Taurus in the natal chart can manifest as someone whose core values, self-esteem and sense of aesthetics take on a radical tone as in John Lennon’s 1st House placement. By transit, as in Pablo Picasso’s case, Uranus in Taurus altered the very foundation of the artist’s aesthetic sensibilities (remember Taurus is ruled by Venus and the sign often plays a prominent role in the birth charts of artists and musicians), gave the artist a critical cause or fight worth rebellion (the slaughter at Guernica), to openly declare and claim as part of his artistic 10th House mission.

Picasso's birth chart is the inner circle, the outer circle shows transits for May 1, 1937 at noon. Note the 10th House planets (in upper left house). A number of other transits were occurring that day as well stimulating a number of key areas in Picasso's birth chart.

Picasso's birth chart is the inner circle, the outer circle shows transits for May 1, 1937 at noon. Note the 10th House planets (in upper left house). A number of other transits were occurring that day as well stimulating a number of key areas in Picasso's birth chart.

 

So you might be asking: but what about all the other little babies born in Málaga, Spain, October 25th, 1881, at 11:15 PM? Why did they not become great modern artists who touched the world in a radical, bold artistic leap of faith? Well, I hold that our horoscope, our birth chart, current movements in the sky, and our own free will, all make up a two-way dance, a kind of cosmic Do-si-Do, as above so below, a moving dialogue of opportunity, potential, and our own will to act.  Astrology, to me, is a state of mind; a cosmic dance we co-create and bring to life. It is up to us – how do we respond? How do we, as in Picasso’s case, break beyond the blockage and seek the higher ground? We make the dance happen. Uranus will swing the partner, but we got to take that step.

 

Meanwhile Uranus is gradually approaching my own 2nd House cusp, a House associated with Taurus, Venus, one’s resources, money, self-esteem and personal values. I have been pondering the word, value, and trying to come to terms with what personal values mean for me, what I hold most dear and what I cherish. I believe my values are changing. At times in the past, I have not let myself recognize certain things that I now believe were so important to me. I just didn’t know it. What makes me richer? This is how I am trying to learn. I guess now might be a good time for all of us to ponder our connections – wants versus needs – to material things and to what we truly value.

Photo by Josh Power.

Photo by Josh Power.

 

So maybe now is the time to consider Taurus, the sign, in your own birth chart. See what and when (over the next 7 years or so) Uranus will aspect, what sudden moments of enlightenment and change are ready and waiting for you to step into and dance? And “How does it feel to be one of the beautiful people?” “Now that you found another key, what are you going to play?” A Full Moon in Scorpio is a good time to dive deep into the inner waters of what makes you tick – enjoy in the reflection and many blessings!

Postscript: Last spring I wrote this blog post in which I included certain astrological transits marking events in the life of the famous Spanish artist, Pablo Picasso. Later in the year, while attending an astrology conference, I heard a well-known British astrologer present on the exact same transits and time in the life of the artist. Although I am very well aware that similar findings are common, I want to state here that I do not consult other writers when writing for this website and so conclusions I make here come from my own reflection and analysis.