Evolutionary Astrology

Full Moon in Capricorn and Mars Retrograde in Aquarius: Won’t You Be, Won’t You Be, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

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We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say “It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.” Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.
— Fred Rogers

 


Full Moon in Capricorn 6˚28’, 9:53 PM, Conjunct Saturn in Capricorn 5˚49’Rx at 8:34 PM, Square Chiron in Aries 2˚24’at 1:41 PM, Trine Uranus in Taurus 1˚54’at 12:40 PM, PDT, June 27.

Mars station retrograde 9˚13’ Aquarius, 2:05 PM, PDT, June 26.

 

Yesterday I went to see the new movie, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, about the life and public mission of Fred Rogers, a.k.a. ‘Mister Rogers’, directed by Oscar-winning documentarian Morgan Neville.  It seems that everyone’s favorite neighbor has returned to our collective consciousness. It is not surprising that a film celebrating the strong will and intellect of a man, who successfully fought for justice and dignity for all children, should be popular at the moment. A moment when the right of children to remain with their parents seems at jeopardy and images of broken families saturate the media. I assume most of us feel as I do; I want to act, change, move my magic wand, and somehow reunite the families torn apart at the U.S. national border. Yet how do I find that inner warrior and what path, what part, do I play in the fight for justice? For a better world? For radical change? I don’t have a small Tiger sock puppet, as Mister Rogers had, to help me face such challenges but, well, I try to use this time, a retrograde Mars in Aquarius and a Full Moon in Capricorn, to find my own inner mountain to climb, maybe my own small way of making a difference, a way to make my contribution real.

 

The Full Moon in Capricorn, 6˚28’ conjunct Saturn, may bring limitations, and, depending upon the House location and aspects the Moon makes to your natal chart, may not be the easiest of Full Moon celebrations. The Moon also forms a trine, 120˚, aspect to Uranus in Taurus, earlier in the day (or night, depending upon your location!), so, with effort, new directions may awaken in us, but strategy is in the planning. Also several hours before, the Moon will form a square to Chiron in Aries, a wound in action or lack of assertion in the past may be in memory and up for release so the inner healer may open as part of the plan, the strategy. Strategy is a great Capricorn word. I believe being open to seeing limitations or obstacles as just one inevitable part of long-term change can be a possible strategy for this particular Moon time. Taking it in as part of our overall strategy for our future might help. I also think it is instructive to look at these signs  – Capricorn and Aquarius – in the example of Mister Rogers’ birth chart and see if it might give us some clues.

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I can’t help thinking the current popularity of the documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, is somehow reflective of the astrological moment. The planet Mars is stationing and turning retrograde as I write, the afternoon of June 26 (PDT), at 9˚ Aquarius. In Fred Roger’s birth chart, Mars is in Aquarius, 16˚ 11’ (if we use the 8:20 AM birth time - see below - Mars is in the 10th House - House of mission)  – fixed, air energy – the sign ruled by both Saturn and Uranus – can be the rebel and revolutionary fighter, stubborn advocate for ethical treatment of the outsider, the underdog, while also holding firm to what one believes is right despite the status quo, or perhaps I should say, what appears to be the status quo. Mars in Aquarius is about ideas, revolutionary ones, and defending those ideas and putting them into action. It may not always be about justice; my own father’s natal Mars in Aquarius contributed to him becoming a cutting-edge artist and designer in the 1960s, helping to create a radical new vision in the world of design. Much of what we consider “retro ‘60s” today in terms of design came, at least in part, from my Dad’s and other artists’, willingness to think and act differently about art and design, to be the “outsiders.”

 

A number of astrologers have discussed the birth chart of Fred Rogers, ‘Mister Rogers’, and so I don’t wish to repeat what has been said. There are just a few points about his birth chart that I find useful for considering the current Full Moon and for this time of turning inward as we consider what Mars retrograde in the weeks ahead may mean for us. Fred Rogers was born in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, on March 20, 1928. His chart has been given an A Rodden rating because the birth time is based upon family memory. The time widely accepted and used to prepare his chart is 8:20 AM. Accurate timing of birth is critical to a proper reading and Rogers’ chart is a good example of how radically different a birth chart can be if time is set differently. Other astrologers have discussed at length Rogers’ Pisces stellium, a number of planets are in the water sign. Using the 8:20 AM time, his Pisces Sun, along with his Pisces Moon, 11˚ 56’, Venus, 2˚58’ and Mercury, 2˚ 02’ gifted Rogers with the creative vision and imagination to access the world of a child, while also seeing the Divine expressed in all beings (Rogers was also a minister, musician, artist and deeply compassionate - his compassion for all animals led him to become a vegetarian in midlife). Rogers’ natal Sun is at the critical degree 29˚ 42’ Pisces – very close to Aries, so close this Sun, on the cusp, could be interpreted as Pisces with a spice of Aries flavor. If he was born later that day, he would be an Aries. His Sun is conjunct his 3˚09’ Aries Uranus. Mild-mannered Mister Rogers, loving visionary Pisces, created alternative worlds of fantasy to reach children, but he was also a passionate fighter.

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Rogers’ natal Sun was colored by the close conjunction with fiery revolutionary Uranus in Aries, a sign ruled by Mars. Mister Rogers’ had the solar identity of both the mystic and the warrior, one who fought for the outsiders, the ones most vulnerable in the collective (if 8:20 AM is used as the birth time, his Sun / Uranus conjunction falls in the 12th House). When Uranus by transit opposed Rogers’ Natal Sun and Uranus conjunction, in 1969, he made his famous defense of PBS broadcasting and children’s educational television in front of a U.S. Senate Committee during the congressional hearing over federal funding for Public television. Working together with his Sun/Uranus conjunction, Mars in Aquarius in Rogers’ chart forms a sextile with natal Saturn, at 19˚ 04’ Sagittarius, providing strong, solid convictions and faith in what he held sacred: all children should be honored with utmost respect, always cherished for what made each of them unique: “I hope that you'll remember…Even when you’re feeling blue. That’s it’s you I like” and “There is only one in this wonderful world. You are special.” Looking at Rogers’ Midheaven (using the 8:20 AM birth time), the sign Capricorn suggests Fred Rogers was seen as a parental figure, a wise one, an elder in the community, in the “neighborhood.” He certainly had a strong sense of ethics, holding firm to them in times of battle, and gently, but boldly correcting mainstream attitudes toward racial segregation by offering to soak his white feet in a kid’s bathing pool with the feet of his black neighbor, Officer Clemmons, at a time when many across America forced blacks out of public pools for whites.

 

Capricorn is often seen as the rigid face of patriarchal authority, but the sign is also one of structure, tradition, and morals. The current Full Moon in Capricorn conjunct Saturn is telling us “Ok, time to get real”: what do we hold high in terms of our ethics?  What structures and goals do we strive for? What obstacles are worth tackling? With Aquarius Mars retrograde, we might also reflect what or whose battles are worth the fight? Saturn’s transit in Capricorn touches us individually depending upon the House(s) Capricorn occupies in our birth chart and also the natal placement of the planets Saturn aspects. The House(s) reveal the arenas or places these questions may be playing out for each of us. In any case, however, I believe the Full Moon conjunct Saturn shows us how to be mature, to grow, by giving us these obstacles so that we might find the right path, the one worth the climb. How do we become the elder in the House(s) where Capricorn graces our charts?

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Most recognize the Full Moon as a phase of fulfillment and making manifest what has been in process for us as Saturn has asked us to plan and work diligently toward our goals (again look to the House placement to reflect upon where in your life these plans are in process). Saturn may offer us obstacles to make us question our path. Saturn also may make this Full Moon seem like things are worse than they are; a bit of a downer. But the gift Saturn gives is time. Be patient and try to see frustrations or blockages as just one more avenue to help us see what really matters or perhaps the ways we really can make a difference. Saturn in transit in your 4th House and building that new home? What additional work needs to be done? What is it that is going to give you long-term happiness and a feeling of accomplishment in that home? In the 7th House or aspecting Venus? Do restrictions or frustrations in relationship help us better understand commitment or our needs for security? It is not easy to deal with the disappointments of Saturn and they may very well confront us. But one of the gifts of a Saturnine nature or the sign of Capricorn is endurance. Again, let’s consider the wise Mister Rogers with Capricorn at the most public arena of his chart, asked by the U.S. Senate Committee to not read his prepared speech, so carefully worked out, but rather to openly speak his mind. Instead of falling under an unseen obstacle, Rogers waits, gathers his thoughts and speaks slow, patiently, with wisdom – and with grace.

 

Under the current Full Moon, Saturn’s potential for blockage will be compounded by Mars appearing to move retrograde (Saturn is also retrograde at the moment). I think it will help to recall how retrograde motion allows us fresh opportunities to reconsider, rework, reprogram, reconstruct our sense of action in the part of our chart we find the sign of Aquarius. Time to process through our own Martian desire to be warriors for what we believe needs to change beyond the status quo, for those outsiders or underdogs we wish to aid, and, maybe most important, for the rebels in ourselves. As a fixed energy, Aquarius can also be stuck or rigid in terms of the ideas we hold true, what opinions we value. In the retrograde period, we can wrestle with perhaps the ideas or notions we need to reprogram to move us collectively into a productive future. What cause, what outsider do you seek to protect? How can we all work together and fight for radical change? What strategies and goals are worth our time and effort?

 

Blessings to everyone on this Full Moon in Capricorn!

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Solstice Blessings: Sun and Saturn in Capricorn

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Winter Solstice, Sun enters Capricorn, December 21, 2017, 8:29 am PST.

Saturn, 0° 11’ Capricorn.

I spent a little time on the mountain, I spent a little time on the hill…
One way or another, one way or another, one way or another, this darkness got to give.
— Robert Hunter

The arrival of winter in the Northern hemisphere begins Capricorn season. My favorite image that I think of when pondering the archetype of Capricorn is bamboo. Chinese literati painters, the scholarly artists of Asia’s past, preferred the simplicity of bamboo as a subject, because the plant represented endurance. Stable throughout a time of adversity, bamboo models for us an inner strength valued by the Chinese. Push down upon a bamboo branch and feel it push back, return to position and hold its course.  Capricorn leads us to personal evolution (look to see the House location of Capricorn in your birth chart) through patience, maturity and hard work. Winter Solstice is marked by the arrival of the Sun into Capricorn, a sign ruled by Saturn. In the Northern hemisphere, the Solstice brings hope for the light of a new year, the eventual arrival of spring, and rebirth. Just two days prior to Winter Solstice, 2017, Saturn entered Capricorn, giving a particularly strong Saturnian flavor to this year’s Solstice and Capricorn season. This is a powerful Solstice as Saturn returns to a place, a sign, of natural support, strength and power.

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Saturn takes roughly twenty-nine and half years to orbit the Sun. Last time Saturn was in Capricorn was from 1988 to 1991. It may help you to reflect upon the challenges, visions, goals and changes of those years in your personal story. During those years, the slow-moving planets of Uranus and Neptune also entered Capricorn, eventually together in conjunction with Saturn, combining the structures of Saturn with visionary Neptune and revolutionary Uranus to bring us a time of sweeping technological change, altering the very fabric of how we communicate and connect on a global level. The timing of Saturn’s return to Capricorn this December seems auspicious; each fast-moving planet, first Venus, then Mercury (after the planet moves direct just after the Solstice), and eventually Mars, will meet up with Saturn in the weeks and months ahead. Saturn, in turn, will eventually join slow-moving Pluto in 2020. Mundane astrology, which covers larger patterns of history and humanity’s evolution, suggests a time of intense power struggles and possible breakdown of time-honored structures of government, institutions and leadership. I think this is a time where it helps to recall Capricorn is also about reform and moral responsibility. Evolutionary astrologer Steven Forrest pointed out how Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol while Saturn was in Capricorn in 1843. We often think of Ebenezer Scrooge as the epitome of Capricorn’s stern, serious, practical and calculating approach to life’s need for security. But let us also think of the enduring legacy of the moral message of A Christmas Carol, meant to correct an age of greedy materialism and lack of concern for the underprivileged. The wisdom of Capricorn to reform and evolve is the essence and true heart of the story.

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At another time in history, Saturn and Pluto were conjunct, together in the sky (as they will be again in a few years), in early Capricorn on November 9, 1518, the day the pope condemned Martin Luther’s writings as opposing traditional beliefs of the Catholic Church. Such astrological transits take time. And, of course, such changes take time, if they happen at all or at least in part. The current Pope Francis has Mercury in Capricorn in the 7th House of his birth chart – House of one-on-one relationship with others - and Saturn will transit there soon. Pluto is currently in his 7th house by transit. Working with others to balance both a maintenance of tradition, while embracing reform, entails careful planning and strategy. After writing these words and before I posted this reflection, I heard the news of the death of Cardinal Law, bringing the painful events surrounding the sex abuse sandals in the Boston archdiocese back into public discourse. Saturn's entrance into Capricorn begins for Pope Francis, as the planet will transit his natal 6th House Jupiter, then eventually his descendant, 7th House cusp, and his natal Mercury. This must be a difficult personal time for Pope Francis as he needs to negotiate tense debate within and outside of Church doors and to reflect upon his own moral conscience and beliefs.

Returning to the 16th century, as Saturn moved through Capricorn the few years following Martin Luther’s initial problems with the authority of the Church, Luther’s teachings were examined. One can only imagine the inner challenges and loneliness Luther felt as he faced a trying and difficult journey, asking for a strength of will and determination to hold fast to his values and beliefs in reform. Though pushed to recant for months on end, Luther did not and was eventually excommunicated from the Church January 3, 1521, just following Saturn’s entrance into Aquarius. Not an easy time, but a Saturnian one. In terms of evolutionary astrology, where we consider individual growth and potential, Saturn’s passage through Capricorn can give us great lessons in maturity and personal conviction.

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I often feel like I need to come to Capricorn’s defense. After all, the holidays are a time of relaxation – how does the expression go? “Making rather merry”? The Romans celebrated Saturnalia in honor of the God Saturn in December and filled the season with feasting, pleasure parties and gifts. When sunlight is at a low, we come together with love and warmhearted generosity to share what we got and bring joy and light, into the World. I don’t feel it is necessary to just look at the gloom and doom of Saturn. Let me see if I can give Capricorn and Saturn a positive spin.

Despite such reputations for both sign and planet of limits, struggles, discipline, and responsibility – plain, old hard work - I believe we can look at Capricorn and Saturn for what we can achieve, what wisdom we can learn, what reform we can help to bring about and what mountain can we climb worth a soul’s quest. Capricorn’s symbol, the Sea goat, helps us visualize slow, gradual evolution, the fishtail merging into the mountain goat, similar to the long passage of a human life and the arrival of old age, the crone. We all experience the path of the Sea goat when setting long-term goals, imagining the steps, carefully calculated, like rungs in a ladder, to reach the mountain top. Saturn in Capricorn at this time can allow us more focused energy in creating the kinds of structures we need to build these steps. The House position in your birth chart helps you find the mountain where Saturn wants you to face and embrace that ladder. Saturn can give us strength in this area of our life, but we must want to do the work and make it real. Try to visualize the obstacles as part of one long journey, one worthy of both the valleys and the climb.

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As always, when considering our own soul’s journey, we need to consult our individual birth chart – our celestial map for understanding what Saturn’s movement through Capricorn means. Look to see if Saturn forms aspects (especially Ptolemaic: conjunction 0°, sextile 60°, square 90° trine 120° or opposition 180°) to any of the planets or luminaries (Sun, Moon) in your birth chart, and consider the Houses affected as well. Saturn in “old school” astrology is the great Malefic. Why? Because Saturn asks us to face reality, limitations, often blockages, to the areas of life we most need to develop inner strength of character and wisdom. Where the upcoming conjunction of Saturn and Pluto fall in our charts also asks us to reflect upon our personal power, what possible part do we play in breaking down or reforming tradition, what structures do we tear down, what new mountains do we climb? Now more than ever, I believe we need to question our own values, our sense of personal power and/or privilege. To successfully navigate the upcoming Saturn and Pluto conjunction in a few years’ time, you just want to be on the right side of the fence in terms of universal goodwill. Easy? Well, think about it. I know I have to ask my heart constantly. Now is the time to visualize goals, strategies for your own evolution – Saturn allows the time for reflection. In the meantime, there may be some challenges and there may be some obstacles. It is hard to see adversity as a gift, but I suppose the Chinese artist scholar had it right; better to approach life as a simple branch of bamboo, bend but hold firm.

Wishing everyone joy and happiness this Saturnalia and Solstice season, Christmas and New Year. Many Blessings!

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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!