Mars just submerged into Scorpio, and for the next six weeks any of the following could very well be its avatar – which of these warriors will you choose? (Hint: You may want to swap out your fighter as needed)
If you’re reading this post then you’re probably well aware by now that we’re currently heading toward a major astrological alignment that has been almost 40 years in the making: The conjunction of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, which occurs on January 12, 2020. If I had to describe this vibe in a nutshell with regard to how it functions, one good way to look at this energy is as if there’s some old-school blacksmithing going down in one part of our chart. First we have the smelting of the ore where intense white-hot heat is being applied to burn off impurities – sounds super FUN, right??? That part would be Pluto, and this is something that has been a long time in the making ever since Pluto started grinding its way thru Capricorn in 2008. At least one area of our life is undergoing a prolonged purification process where the dross is being slowly and carefully burned off. Then Saturn came on the scene at the tail-end of 2017 to hammer out this base metal. Blow after blow lands, and as Saturn edges closer and closer to Pluto this pressure gradually gets more intense; shaping the ingot purposefully while hopefully not distorting its function. We have to be careful that it doesn’t warp on us at this stage; ever mindful we must be of straight vs. crooked – it can be easy to get bent out of shape (resentful) over the definite impressions being planished in. If we can withstand this process as the eye of this conjunction passes over us between now & January, we’ll be left with something strong, resilient, and useful; an empowering, vulcanized tool that has survived time, heat, and powerful forces.
It’s almost time for our final Mercury Retrograde of the year, and this one is set to make quite an impression because it’s kicking off in spooky Scorpio *on* Halloween! In a nutshell, connections we once thought severed may suddenly become reanimated during the next several weeks. So before we pick up our phone or answer that email/text message for curiosity’s sake, consider what it did to the cat. 🤔🙀 Think twice before resurrecting lines of communication that may have best been left undisturbed, because it’s quite possible to open up a can of worms during this retrograde. Think of it as if you were contemplating excavating a gravesite – if the thought of what could be uncovered brings up a sense of horror and revulsion, better to let that conversation Rest In Peace. Don’t let false notions about “closure” suck you in, either – closure is about the peace you make with yourself in the aftermath and nothing more. Besides, conversations are more likely to be tinged with bitterness or resentment when Mercury is retrograde in Scorpio – old triggers can play on repeat and toxic, dagger-like words may come lashing out with lethal accuracy. One of the better uses for this particular Rx energy is to go over old traumas – preferably talking about them with a trusted, qualified therapist – to see what root operating scripts in our brain need to be overwritten. Internal exploration of the psyche is favored over reviving long-dead connections that may haunt the mind. While it is true that healing discussions can also be had, the likelihood of wires getting crossed is high during Mercury Retrograde so the risk makes this a dicey proposition at best; bridges can be burned as quickly as they are mended.
One thing this retrograde will definitely be good for, however, is attuning our psychic antennae to alternate sources of data; everything from picking up on the vibe conveyed in someone’s body language, to reading what’s *not* being said, to getting information from Spirit or via divination tools. Withdrawing a bit to be alone with our thoughts is favored, and allowing ourselves to exist more in a feeling-state as opposed to a headspace can help us tap into a deep wellspring of insight & illumination. Listen to or make music – songs may speak to us in code now. Talk out loud to deceased loved ones and ask for signs of their presence or for their guidance. Perhaps we can petition them to communicate with us via a dream Visitation if they’re having trouble connecting to us on the earthly plane. As far as dreams go, this is another way we might obtain symbolic information during the next several weeks – keeping a recording app or good old fashioned pen & paper by our bedside to document is a good idea. And lastly, never underestimate the power of words to bless or to blight. You might even think of a personal Word of Power to chant like a mantra daily during this Mercury Rx – repeat it over and over again as in invocation; an empowering spell. So mote it be! ✨
I’ve noticed there has been an interesting trend with Neptune’s passage through Pisces correlating to a marked rise in what I’ve referred to as “pseudo-spirituality”; the *appearance* of something looking or sounding “spiritual” when it’s actually….not. So often a premise, philosophy, etc. gives off a false glamour – yes, as in the faerie kind – designed to allure; to hypnotize and captivate, but it offers very little to nothing in the way of true substance when broken down. With Saturn in Capricorn now marching toward its third and final sextile this year w/ Neptune in Pisces (exact on November 8, 2019), cutting the nonsense and separating the real from the bull in this regard is utterly en vogue at the moment.
I’ve written before about how this astrological alignment correlates to a sense of sane & grounded spirituality, but these days with earth-worship (why hello Saturn; our most terrestrial of planets!) becoming so popular I think we need to differentiate what it means to truly revere the sacred earth rather than just *appear* to worship it. There are many things that prompt my desire to broach this subject, but the most recent was when I came upon a booth selling things like crystals, incense, and essential oils along with blessed white sage and palo santo at a local country fair.
Why was this triggering, you ask? Because as of recent there is such a demand within the New Age, contemporary “shamanic”, and neo-pagan communities for these sacred plants they’re now being grossly over-harvested. How can it be true earth worship if we’re supposedly “all about the plants” and yet using them in our own personal spiritual practice when we’re not doing our due diligence to ensure they’re being sustainably and responsibly harvested? I’m not sure how it got to be this way, either – the fundamental foundations of most earth-based spiritual Paths (whether more in alignment with traditional indigenous ways or neo-pagan lineages) entails making use of what’s available in our local environment and developing a personal relationship with the plants that grow in our own backyard. Why and how have we lost this critically important context?
This is the hazard of people blindly exploring spiritual “trends” while failing to take the time to truly understand the root foundations they are built upon – is it any wonder that people are crying out about appropriation, colonialism, and capitalism in response? When it concerns spirituality – and far be it from me to police anyone’s personal Path which I believe is something strictly between the individual and Divinity alone – talking the talk is one thing, but walking it is something else entirely. Anyone can pay lip service to an ideal without actually taking the time and effort to check themselves regarding how they are applying it, and this is something we should all find universally problematic.
With sage plants in particular, what also puzzles me – besides how people have latched onto this herb as if it were the only etheric cleanser available – is why people don’t just grow their own. Seriously; sage is a hardy perennial in many climates that will grow back year after year – even if it’s too cold in our location to keep it outside all year long, it can be grown in pots and brought inside during the winter months. We can get years of service out of a single plant if we learn how to take care of it properly. We can even take cuttings off of it to grow whole new plants. Or just grow it as an annual and harvest & dry it before the cold & snow start blowing.
What’s that; you say you kill every plant you come in contact with? I realize this is going to be controversial and I certainly don’t mean this in any sort of jerky elitist way, but in all seriousness I do have to be real: Please rethink your spirituality if it revolves around reverence for plants & animals and yet you can’t/won’t tangibly show care for the land; specifically when a plant is being over-commercialized and over-consumed to where it has become a matter of grow your own or do without it.
Again, this is the difference between *saying* one believes in the *ideal* of Nature’s sacredness vs. having such reverence for it that one will bother to educate themselves and actually toil in order to ensure they are authentically walking their talk in this regard. I’ve heard cockamamie pseudo-spiritual ideas like the concept of only eating with one’s hands to get closer to the spirits of the plants we’re consuming, but if we’re *that* concerned about getting spiritually closer to the earth, then instead of focusing on nonsensical things like silverware usage wouldn’t it instead behoove us to learn how to grow a vegetable garden? 🤷♀️ It takes time and energy to raise a plant for our own consumption; whether we’re talking organic farm-to-table dining, medicinal usage, sacred smoke cleansing, or as a component of magick. But the sweat equity we expend preparing and fortifying the soil and raising that plant ourselves both establishes a sense of sacred reciprocity with the earth and gives us a tangible and personal connection to our spirituality that makes that plant’s holy Medicine all the more potent. While we might not all be green-thumb gardeners, it is important to take the time to learn about our plants and how we use them to – at the bare minimum – ensure we’re living in harmony with the land and our environment as much as humanly possible if our spiritual Path claims to respect Nature.
Regarding Palo Santo, the trees this wood is obtained from are endangered and it should only be harvested when trees or branches die of natural causes. And while we’re on this subject I should also mention Frankincense resin, which comes from an endangered tree as well. Frankincense is harvested by making cuts in the tree’s trunk and this damage makes it more susceptible to disease &/or predation from pests, which can in turn kill the tree. For both Palo Santo & Frankincense, if we insist upon using then it’s very important we obtain from sources that engage in responsible harvesting practices. If we can’t find a good ethical source or the carbon footprint involved in getting to our door is massive (which is the case for most of us since the trees only grow in very select locales), then please consider other alternatives. Remember that both indigenous peoples & pagans the world over have known for thousands of years how to make use of whatever Mother Earth provided in their local environment – we can consult any manual regarding the metaphysical properties of plants and come up with a whole host of potential alternatives that will suit our purposes without doing irreparable harm to the land. The core of any earth-based spirituality is to respect, protect, and live in harmony with flora and fauna and if we’re not doing this where the rubber meets the road, then our spiritual practice isn’t very legit now is it?
At the moment we are hardcore building toward the big finish of the Jupiter/Neptune Square; exact on September 21, 2019. It’s been quite the ride but it’s far from over and though it’s several more days yet until this energy peaks, it will take into October for the vibe to totally recede. In addition to all I’ve written about it on here and in my newsletter, there is one final thought I’d like to leave you with regarding this square: The concept of un-believing. This year-long on again/off again square has signified major confusion, disappointment, and/or disillusionment for many of us when it comes to spiritual matters, and perhaps the one thing we might take away from it – if nothing else – is the idea that we may have to un-believe some of the spiritual doctrines, paradigms, & dogmas that we’ve absorbed; things that may be subtly eroding what truly is for our highest spiritual good. So often when it comes to matters of faith we are asked to suspend our disbelief, but what if it actually served us better not to buy into a particular paradigm hook, line, & sinker? Under this square, it may be time to do some de-programming.
Look carefully now at matters that relate to how a particular school of thought may have sought to somehow template your personal growth and/or spiritual understanding as if it were a blanket one-size-fits-all prescription cure-all. This is absolutely FALSE; there is no *one* path toward betterment in these respects, because we all grow in our understanding in different ways. Think of all the self-help books in your library, for example – the tools and techniques contained therein may indeed be helpful in certain ways or contexts, but adopting the author’s prescription verbatim without objectively stepping back to evaluate 1) if it’s truly valid 2) whether it might be possible that we’re misinterpreting something 3) whether a particular doctrine/dogma may actually be doing us more harm than good (particularly if carried to far, or if used w/o regard to context) can be problematic for obvious reasons. This is not a criticism of the genre, BTW; just a broad example of the types of things to contemplate in this regard. The same might also be true of organized religion or the more free-flowing spirituality popular in many holistic & New Age communities. Anything seeking to promote a cookie-cutter Path to your soul’s betterment – even if veering toward the more non-secular – should be looked at as suspect. Meditatively – and with the utmost honesty & self-compassion – reflect on your personal beliefs now & what *is* and truly *is not* serving you, because it’s likely that we have something twisted in this regard without knowing it. If you’re unsure, ask to be shown loudly & in all caps – if we’re quiet with ourselves, the message that comes in may be big & loud. Listen & ask to receive only Truth now.
Saturn has been hovering around the Moon’s South Node in Capricorn foreeeeeever – we had one pass of this alignment back in April, another in July, and now this horny old goat of a planet is humpin’ up on the South Node a third and final time as we speak. 😬🐐 Because Saturn is nearly at a standstill (no, it’s not *actually* stationary; it just *looks* that way to us here on Earth), we’ll continue to feel the effects of this energy well through the end of the month and even into October. What does this portend? Look back over the events in your personal life during the months of the last two hits to get a better idea for *your* unique specifics, but broadly speaking we all need to be very careful about potentially OD-ing on the Saturn vibe for the foreseeable future. What do I mean?
The South Node symbolizes a “path of least resistance”; attitudes, traits, & behaviors that represent an unconscious, habitual rut we may be inclined to fall into on our soul’s evolutionary journey that doesn’t serve its growth. When a planet passes over this point we have to be especially careful not to misuse its energy by aligning with the Lo-Fi end of its vibrational spectrum, because this can have the potential to derail our individual and/or collective destiny. In the case of Saturn, this correlates to hard-heartedness, control, authority, ambition, the need for prestige/”status”, and/or being “all-business”. Because this planet is fortified occupation of its Capricorn home fortress, defensiveness and self-protective instincts run high but also awry. The hardworking, ambitious character of The Ringed One devolves from productive to workaholic very quickly. Pressures – such as from parents, our bosses, teachers, or our biological clocks – skyrocket and can push us into bad decisions if we yield to fear. Collectively, we’re also being schooled on ethics, as well as learning about that which we can/can’t control; particularly when it comes to material or factual realities – this planet does tend to put us in touch with our limitations one way or the other.
We also have to be careful in business now; especially when it comes to capitalism and ethics. We must not not sacrifice our integrity chasing dollar signs, and if it comes down to the basic math of putting bread on the table by “hustling”, sacrificing the quality of our work or product, or doing something we’re not qualified/adequately trained/experienced to do vs. folding up our business, taking the financial pressure off the table before we do something with longer-term karmic ramifications that we’re ashamed of is probably a smarter plan. When it comes to shuttering our doors, we can always try again later under better timing.
Saturn hovering around the South Node also cautions us against being overly authoritative, and advises us against using status or prestige as the benchmark of “success” to the exclusion of other metrics. See also: Brett Kavanaugh. More benignly, we’re more likely to be consumed by work or school (parental validation, anyone?) and may fail to put time or effort into other things; things like relationships, family, or friends. There is a very good chance that our priorities aren’t in the right order for our soul’s growth somehow – we may be assigning an undue level of importance to something/someone that should be much lower on the figurative totem pole. Shift the weight if the load is off balance.
Depression and pessimism are another two thematic pitfalls to avoid at the moment – while things may not exactly be hunky-dory in the world right now, it’s better to focus on the things we *can* control and get to work, because feeling productive and keeping a solution-based focus can do wonders for preventing us from sinking into a slump. Physiologically, awareness of our posture is a simple but quick mindful behavior that we can do to both check in with ourselves about how we’re feeling and make corrections to fend off that “defeated” emotional state. We may also be unconsciously curling up our neck & shoulders toward our ears; almost like we’re bracing for impact. If the posture is fearful/defensive, take gentle steps toward directing breath and attention at relaxing them.
I’ve never understood why some seem so obsessed with others’ forgiveness. Not in the sense they themselves seek absolution for wronging someone else; rather they feel the need to preach to those who have been hurt by another about the virtue of forgiveness as if their own salvation somehow depended upon it. This sort of one-size-fits-all spiritual approach just does not resonate with me; in my eyes, a decision to forgive a person who has transgressed against us is entirely personal – I’m not sitting in your shoes, so how could I possibly judge what is/is not a forgivable offense?
I think some take the old “To err is human; to forgive, divine” proverb a bit too far at times; particularly with the last round of the Jupiter/Neptune Square (exact September 21, 2019) rapidly closing in. It is entirely possible to overdo it in this regard & open ourselves up (or others, if we’re promoting the Forgiveness Gospel as the only way) to further victimization under this square. We are not divine beings; we are human beings having a human experience, so setting forth a universal expectation that we should always be able to forgive and be the bigger, better person across the board is just a tad lofty & unrealistic. What if someone murdered our child? What if someone caused us grave emotional, psychological, physical, or material harm? We don’t know the whole story, so to attempt to superimpose this kind of dogma upon the situation would seem rather misplaced/misguided, IMO. It is so curious to me that we seem to focus more on preaching the forgiveness gospel to victims than we do preaching atonement to their victimizers.
It is also important to point out how the state of being unforgiven inherently implies a need for redemption – it is this state that can motivate victimizers to be and to do better; if not for the person they’ve harmed then for others who cross their path in the future. The sadness, guilt, shame, and social isolation one can experience through the experience of being unforgiven may help them feel remorse for their behavior, cause them to make an honest apology, and motivate them to seek to redeem themselves in the eyes of Divinity; even if they are not permitted the opportunity to do this with their victim(s).
As for those who can’t find forgiveness in their heart, simply put this is not something one owes to anyone; it is between themselves, the offender, and/or Divinity (assuming one’s belief system incorporates the Divine; YMMV). We don’t have any idea what they’ve been through so isn’t it important that we have compassion for their experience rather than judge them as being “unforgiving”? A lack of forgiveness isn’t always about anger, either; sometimes it is self-protection or the protection of others. Sometimes it’s necessary the offender see the consequences of their actions; if they received a “pass” for every misdeed and there wasn’t any fallout, then what motivation would they have to seek deliverance from their trespasses? Before preaching “Love all; forgive all” as a universal mantra, please remember this. Forgiveness is a private gift of grace we give when we are able to transcend; not a moral obligation.
We’ve gotta to talk about this – with illusory Neptune now halfway through its journey through spiritual Pisces and the curtain call of its year-long square with Jupiter fast approaching, we need to learn how to spot pseudo-spirituality from a mile away now more than ever! From people who only pretend to be spiritual or who sound “enlightened” to those espousing insidious ideologies that (however possibly well-intended they may be) are actually harmful and screwing with peoples’ heads. For example –
Spiritual Stockholm Syndrome is: Blaming yourself for an inability to cope w/ 60+ hr workweeks & believing that if only you handled stress better/were more mindful/said more positive affirmations it would be OK. This is FALSE; The System has tricked you! It’s made you buy into the concept that happiness is an entirely inside job because this makes your more complacent so you don’t push for social & systemic change. Imagine what would happen if you did.
It’s not your fault, though – see “the man behind the curtain”, because it’s all trickery. Society has been doing this for a long time; conditioning you into thinking all that matters is your own perception of reality & teaching you not to look too far outside of your own little sandbox for contentment. Question the parameters – The System will use, exploit, and enslave you with this methodology; the premise that all that matters is your own perception of reality & if you would just change that, well then everything would just be hunky dory, right? Righhhhhht??? NOPE.
They’ll often package this in soothing tones and frame it as self-care of course, but what they don’t tell you is how their method is also going to disconnect you from your FEELINGS. Feelings of frustration, anger, sadness – in short, the discomfort of what often gets labeled as “negative” emotion – is typically what prompts us to make HUGE CHANGE; both individually & collectively. Learning how to use emotion to your – and most importantly to *our* (collective) – advantage is key.
Listen, I’m all for putting on your own oxygen mask first. But it troubles me when this has devolved into something where we’ve silenced the internal voice of critical thought &/or our conscience because we’re so focused on “nonjudgmental acceptance”. With the Moon’s North Node presently traversing Cancer for the foreseeable future, being plugged into our emotions is vital for soul growth now. Instead of putting our feelings on mute, the key is to re-engage with them in constructive ways. Don’t buy into whitewashed pseudo-spirituality that advocates otherwise; such as labeling such engagement as “3D” or otherwise implying this is somehow “beneath” us. I’ve said this many times before, but humans are equipped with a full spectrum of emotions by Divinity at birth for a reason – if you claim otherwise, I want no truck with your brand of pseudo-spirituality. ✌ 🧿 And with the Jupiter/Neptune Square now tightening for a third and final time (exact September 21st), there’s a lot of this kind of BS floating around – stay woke, friends.
Welcome to Mars in Virgo! As of August 18, 2019 the Red Planet remains on The Virgin’s turf for almost 7 weeks until it bows out on October 4th. There’s a marked switch-up in the vibe with this energetic transition, and if you want to understand it better there is no scene in the history of cinema that describes this vibe more perfectly than the following clip:
“What was this drug? I couldn’t stay messy on it, I hadn’t had a cigarette in 6 hours, hadn’t eaten…so abstemious and tidy..? What was this; a drug for people who wanted to be more anal retentive? I wasn’t high, wasn’t wired; just clear – I knew what I needed to do and how to do it.”
LOL, no substances required; it’s just you on Mars in Virgo! 😆 So clean the bejezus out of everything, organize your life, nix the nicotine/caffeine/anything screwing with your health, and cut all the crap out of your diet – this energy is guerrilla nutrition at its finest, so fight back against lethargy and inertia with a kickass diet and exercise routine that motivates you to operate at peak health and efficiency! Tidy up, streamline, and you’ll be off and running at max productivity in no time flat!
“Sane” is such a relative term; I know. Believe me, as an astrologer I’m fully aware that some people look at what *I* believe and think it’s nutty! 🙃 Despite the mild irony inherent in addressing this topic, I feel it’s something important to talk about. Because with sober Saturn in grounded Capricorn making contact to spiritual Neptune in mystical Pisces a total of 3 times this year, one of the key themes running throughout 2019 has been this concept of a more concrete, less airy-fairy brand of levelheaded spirituality that revolves around personal responsibility. Oneness consciousness is not meant to be used a shield that absolves us of self-accountability; rather it is a tool to help us see how important it is that we each do The Work divinely ordained of us by cleaning up our own side of the street as best we can to the benefit of ALL. If enough people do this – personally, socially, politically – it creates a ripple that becomes a wave. Far too often have we seen people defending their mistakes or personal shortcomings in this manner – yes, it is important to have compassion and understand that to err is human. With that said, it’s also irresponsible for one to use pseudo-spiritual “rationale” to deflect responsibility (often couched by the defended ego as “blame”) for words or deeds that have a detrimental effect upon others – what’s so hard about just saying “I made a mistake; I’m sorry”???
The backbone of healthy, sane spirituality lies in how one deals with their own faults; with humility and an honest desire to set things right again, or with denial and excuses? Sane spirituality accepts that living this earthly existence means we’re all going to screw up somewhere along the way, but we hope at least to learn from it, to contain the damage we stand to do to others in our ignorance/obliviousness, and to work to prevent such things from happening again whenever possible. Where spirituality goes off the deep end is when functions as an insular yet fragile little cocoon that shields us from self-accountability; when we wrap ourselves up in feel-good platitudes or just plain navel-gaze at how “we’re choosing to let things affect our individual reality” while totally ignoring the realities of others. Sane spirituality entails having a social conscience and realizing it’s not just about *us* while working to do what we can to alleviate the suffering of others. Yes, by all means put your own oxygen mask on first and don’t become a martyr by trying to save the world on your own. But also be aware of bigger picture issues rather than tune out others’ problems. Spirituality is nothing without practical application, and if we’re not using it to make the world (not *our* world!) a better place then what good is it really? Bring it down to earth via humble service to humanity in whatever limited capacity is possible – our sphere of influence may only extend so far, but we really can’t go wrong if we pause to take our own inventory, fix what we can when we err, and also take the time to help others with their own very real struggles. Angels on Earth do exist – let’s resolve to get down to business and earn our wings before this sextile comes to an end in November.
“Aren’t there really 13 zodiac signs? I just read an article online and some guy at NASA said….”
This is a topic that seems to keep intermittently popping up every now & again – every so many years, some scientist or maybe team of scientists decides it’s that time again; time to put out a press release attempting to refute the basis of astrology cuz SCIENCE! While I understand these individuals probably feel as if they’re somehow doing their civic duty in pointing out the number of constellations along the ecliptic, there’s an erroneous assumption on their part that it’s the basis of how astrologers make their calculations. Um… I hate to break it to ya, but that’s not how it works, guys. 🙄😒
No, astrologers do not have it all wrong. No, nobody’s astrological sign has suddenly changed because (take your pick) either a new constellation has suddenly been discovered or astrologers have ignored a constellation that has been right in front of their noses for thousands of years. Before throwing stones or veering out of their lane, it would be nice if astronomers bothered to research (Hey, I heard you scientists are supposed to be pretty good at that) or even ask an actual astrologer about this *perceived* (keyword) discrepancy. Because as an astrologer for over 20 years, I can assure you that either premise is quite laughable.
Truly, it is not my intention to bash astronomy or the scientific community – I appreciate the process of scientific inquiry and encourage people to exercise their own critical thinking faculties. However I do get tired of having sand kicked in my face for no good reason at all; as well as in the faces of my colleagues, clients, and the legions of people the world over who are “into” astrology. So in order to keep the perspective balanced, I think it’s important for people to pause and consider what an actual astrologer might have to say about the matter. I’ve noted that commentary from such professionals always seems conspicuously absent from any of the pieces I read pertaining to this topic – if the goal is to educate & inform the public, then why not point out these supposed “discrepancies” to a real, live astrologer and ask them to explain? To do otherwise just seems rather one-sided.
It’s unfortunate that astronomers and astrologers have very little in common nowadays; unlike in ancient times when both roles were one and the same. Astronomers typically know very little about the fundamental mechanisms behind astrology these days, which causes problems when one of them decides to talk out of turn & make commentary about subject they typically have very little (if any) knowledge of. Let’s explore this topic a bit and you’ll see what I mean….
You know all those horoscopes you’ve read your whole life that tell you you’re a/an:
Aries if born approximately March 20-April 20, Taurus if born April 20-May 20, Gemini if born May 20-June 20, etc?
This are based on your Sun sign, and it’s important the reader understand these dates are all based on Tropical astrology. Tropical astrology uses time and the seasons (or, more precisely, the Equinoxes and Solstices) to determine the position of the Sun in the “signs” at given parts of the year. The fact the “signs” astrologers use seem to draw their names from physical constellations is what often leads some to jump to erroneous conclusions about how astrologers calculate and track the movement of celestial bodies. In fact, if you were to pick up any beginner’s book on astrology, most authors are quick to make the distinction between the “signs” that astrologers use (which are simple 30 degree divisions of a 360 degree circle) and the physical constellations we see in the night sky in order to avoid confusion. In short, the “signs” we speak of when we look at an astrological chart are not the same as the constellations.
Now, when Tropical astrologers say, “You have the Sun in the sign of Aries.” what we are really saying is that on the day of your birth the Sun occupied a segment of time that we call “Aries” – this period begins at the March Equinox and lasts for 30 days, at which point the Sun leaves Aries for Taurus. We are not saying “You have the Sun in the constellation of Aries” – BIG difference! But to the layperson who does not understand the differences between the “signs” and the constellations it’s easy for them to assume the two terms are interchangeable, which they are not.
Why am I talking about this system? Well, because once you understand that the horoscopes you have been reading your entire life for your “sign” in books, newspapers, magazines, and on the internet are almost always based on the Tropical system – and know that this method of calculation is based on time and the seasons – arguments that detractors of astrology try to throw out about the quantity or positions of constellations in the sky become pretty much irrelevant. It’s a non-issue as we’re not measuring by that yardstick, so to speak.
Now, I used the words “almost always” in the paragraph above quite deliberately. There is another system of astrological calculation (used more in Asia) that is called Sidereal astrology. Sidereal astrology didn’t really grab a firm hold in Europe, America, and the majority of the Western world the way that Tropical did, so you can rest assured the horoscopes you’ve read during the course of your lifetime are most likely not based on this this system. But for further elucidation:
What is Sidereal astrology? Sidereal astrology uses space/location to ascertain the position of the Sun in the “signs”. The sky is divided into twelve even “slices” – each of which is 30 degrees in size and is called a “sign”. Like Tropical astrology, the “signs” each have names that correspond to a series of constellations roughly situated along the ecliptic; however, once again this is a case where the “signs” and the constellations are not the same thing. As anyone who has ever looked up at the night sky can tell you, the actual constellations themselves vary considerably in size! Some are diminutive while others are quite huge, so assigning them each a 30 degree “chunk” of real estate in the sky was essentially just a way of creating a standard and uniform system of measurement and nothing more. This branch of astrology uses the positions of certain fixed stars (not whole constellations!) to determine the Sun’s passage from one “sign” (as in 30 degree segment of a 360 degree circle) to the next. These stars are simple reference points that remain relatively constant, and as such it causes the Sidereal “signs” to match up much more closely with the location of their real, live constellational counterparts. Mind you, it’s closer, but still not exact and never has been – remember we’re still treating each segment of the sky as an equal 30 degree division of space when the actual constellations aren’t even remotely uniform in size. Contrast: The constellation of Virgo w/ the constellation of Pisces, for example.
But what of this “13th constellation”? Usually the one being referenced in these scientific articles is Ophiuchus. And again, this is an important distinction; Ophiuchus is another constellation (astronomy), not another sign (astrology). And if you’ve been paying attention to our lesson so far, it should be clear to you now how the signs are merely a unit of measurement that the ancients used for reference and they did not (and do not) correlate directly to the constellations in the sky. Posing this question is a lot like asking “Why aren’t there 13 inches in a foot?” – simply put, it wasn’t the standard of measurement set forth at the time.
But what is a constellation, really? Plainly stated, it’s an arbitrary grouping of stars that is assigned a territory in the sky. There are no real, tangible lines connecting the stars together and forming them into various shapes. The ancients used their imaginations and folklore to group and name them, but what our ancestors recognized as constellations vs. the 88 we know today are likely very different. Why is this so? Because it wasn’t until the early 1900’s that the IAU (International Astronomical Union) formed and attempted to uniformly demarcate them. Even now, when new stars are discovered they are simply incorporated into the constellation they are located nearest to. Astrology has been around for much longer than the IAU.
Ptolemy – one of astronomy’s own forefathers – only recorded about 48 constellations in his work circa 140 AD. Astrology first originated in ancient Babylon thousands of years prior to his documentation, and it is difficult to say for sure just how many constellations the ancient Babylonians actually observed in the sky and what it was they looked like. Documentation to this effect is obviously somewhat lacking as this was a time period that relied heavily on oral history and tradition rather than on the written word. Even looking back to Ptolemy’s time, some of the constellations he recorded (for example, Argo the Boat) are no longer recognized by astronomers today and are not counted among the 88 listed by the IAU.
Does this mean that the ancients were wrong? Hardly. It just means that defining a constellation – up until very recent times – was a highly subjective thing; much like you and I looking up at the clouds and one of us sees a bunny while the other sees the face of a woman. It is doubtful the ancient Babylonians looked up into the sky, saw the constellation Ophiuchus, and then arbitrarily decided to “ignore” it as it has been suggested by some. One must then pose the question, “When did this constellation first become recognized by mainstream society?”
Though Ptolemy did document this constellation’s existence in his work around 140 AD, it is unclear exactly when it became such a part of popular culture and folklore as to be included among the stars as a constellation. Some earlier records from Eudoxes and Aratus mention its existence a few hundred years prior, but this information postdates the origin of the 12 zodiacal constellations by a few thousand years. It is likely that this constellation was adopted into existence after the advent of 12 original zodiacal constellations.
Further muddling the picture is the fact that Ophiuchus’ southern territory (i.e. the parts of the constellation that actually cross the ecliptic) was originally assigned to Scorpius. In fact, if you look up at this constellation it is only the feet which cross the ecliptic; one of which is actually located ON Scorpius. So where did one constellation’s territory start and the other’s begin? Essentially, this becomes an issue of how and when the dots were connected so to speak; when the Ophiuchus we know today came into being and what his original territory was vs. the territory we have assigned him today. We must remember the boundaries of constellations are artificial, and as such are prone to periodic interference from mankind.
So in closing, please do not buy into any hype/hysteria along the lines of “Your zodiac sign has changed!” – I can assure you that according to the standards astrologers have measured by for millennia, it has not. Thank you for coming to my TED talk. ✌
🙃 It’s that time of year again; we’re gearing up for our quarterly Mercury Retrograde and this one looks like it’s going to be a doozy! On a personal level the last week or two seemed populated with minor annoyances like random phone glitchiness, TV quirks, and – more recently – email login wonkiness, but yesterday’s large-scale half day mini-meltdown of multiple social media platforms (FB, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) had me fully convinced “The Trickster” (that would be Mercury, FYI) was indeed in full effect if there was even a shred of doubt left in my mind.
Many folks are inclined to focus solely on the period that Mercury is actually retrograde (in this particular case, from July 7 – 31, 2019) as the segment of time when wacky things tend to happen with our technology (and oh so much more!), but the weeks before and after the retrograde can be just as funky; usually moreso before as Mercury’s kinks have been mostly worked out by the time it turns Direct. This time frame is often referred to as the “shadow”, and it’s a madcap stretch because Mercury is already traversing a patch of the zodiac it will have to cover again in a few weeks or it will have already covered that same spot twice in the last month in a half. Mercury doesn’t seem too keen on this review/redo, so to keep things interesting it releases a few
krakens gremlins because if it has to suffer, we might as well suffer too, LOL – that’s *my* theory, anyway! 😂 Mercury has always been a rather impish figure with a notoriously low threshold for boredom so perhaps it’s just how this planet gets its jollies; by screwing with our phones, gadgets, communications, cars, and whatever else it can get its hot little hands on for ha-has.
I’m not an astrologer who advocates canceling everything during Mercury Retrograde, but we do need to bear some extra things in mind. Back up your data prior to the Rx. Don’t even think about applying non-mandatory software updates or doing something wack like picking now to switch to a different OS. No, don’t buy a new phone or car and do take extra care with the ones you currently have. Pick your words more thoughtfully; think twice about what you write or say. Don’t put yourself in the position to have to “sign on the dotted line” if you don’t absolutely have to. Try to avoid travel if possible, or if not be patient and account for the possibilities of SNAFUs or delays. And last but not least – and this is coming directly from personal experience – don’t accept or start a job when Mercury is retrograde.
Instead, try and use this period to get caught up on some (re-?)reading. Tweak your nutrition or daily routine. Have a conversation you need to have again. Write yourself good old-fashioned memos; preferably on paper (careful with putting them on your phone/computer in case of technology hiccups). Review and revise things. Pick up the phone and call someone you haven’t spoken to in a while to reconnect (be cautious if this is with an ex or anyone you suspect you might later change your mind about ). Redo your resume. Unplug more & make it a point to be more alone with your thoughts so you can hear your inner voice more clearly. Simplify your schedule and minimize distractions. Diversions are allowed, but be conscious instead of mindless about them. De-stress. Take a trip down Memory Lane and uncover a blast from the past while also appreciating where/who you are now – sometimes it’s nice to dust things off and sit with them for a spell, but not everything/one from the past necessarily has ongoing relevance in *this* era. Clean and reorganize. Tend to your mental health.
A theme song of the current square between Jupiter in Sagittarius & Neptune in Pisces:
“God sometimes you just don’t come through….”
You ever sit there paradoxically full of faith on one hand and yet wondering where TF your miracle is on the other? If this is you right now, know there is nothing wrong with you – I mentioned this in my June newsletter, but one of the (many) effects of the Jupiter/Neptune Square is how we can tend to feel confused, disillusioned, or just plain disappointed regarding our relationship with Divinity. We may have some kind of philosophical misunderstanding with God/Goddess/The Universe, or feel like Divinity has somehow “ghosted” us. Don’t automatically believe your perception, though, even as you rightfully question what you’ve thought to be true. Do, however, be willing to reinterpret that which you’re not presently understanding. The context is muddled. Clear perspective is needed; one that isn’t colored by dogma or bias. Talk about it. Use logic & critical thinking. And if your way of seeing something isn’t working for you, be willing to examine whether that belief is truly serving you or if instead it might be the result of indoctrination.
“You! Yes, you! Stand still, laddie!”
When we grew up and went to school
There were certain teachers
Who would hurt the children any way they could
By pouring their derision
Upon anything we did
Exposing every weakness
However carefully hidden by the kids
But in the town it was well known
When they got home at night
Their fat & psychopathic wives would thrash them
Within inches of their lives
~Pink Floyd, The Happiest Days Of Our Lives
The above soundbite is crucial to listen to if you want to understand a particularly dominant note of the upcoming Saturn/Pluto conjunction in Capricorn. From this clip we get a dark & sadistic feeling; one of oppression and subjugation by so-called “authority figures”. It’s no coincidence at all that Saturn in Capricorn is an energy very much associated with teachers – put dysfunctional Pluto nearby and we can see these figures taking on a twisted countenance; one that firmly adheres to the old axiom “Spare the rod, spoil the child”.
Though I cringe in contemplation of the above, it is absolutely critical we have awareness of how this astrological alignment reflects a deep-seated underlying social sickness – that sickness, my friends, is Patriarchy. Saturn in Capricorn represents The System; it’s the quintessential Daddy State, and with Pluto nearby this takes on a decidedly screwed-up tone. Saturn conjunct Pluto in Capricorn = tyrannical legislature designed *by* men *for* men in order to quash resistance from all deemed “lower”. Under the guise of imposing providing “order”, “protection”, and/or “setting the bar”, of course. No matter how restrictive, impositional, or just plain fucked up these standards are, unless you are one of this privileged class the chances are high you’re probably going to experience this conjunction much like the schoolchildren in the above song. Authority is particularly dangerous these days – we have low people in high places and these men in power have absolutely no qualms about kneecapping others by whatever means necessary to maintain control. When Saturn joins Pluto in Capricorn, it is wise to distrust male “authority”.
Though this astrological influence isn’t exact until January 2020, Saturn has been “in the neighborhood” of Pluto since about the beginning of April and this has given us a little preview of some of the the things we might expect to see out of this conjunction. Here in the USA, it’s manifested as sweeping legislation banning abortion – even in cases of incest or rape – in several states. There’s no better marker that we’ve hit Peak Dysfunctional Patriarchy than when a woman – whose bodily autonomy has already been violated by a man via incest or rape – is then forced by law to carry a resultant pregnancy to term. In the era of #TimesUp & #MeToo – when women are already publicly crying out about the abuse they’ve suffered at the hands of men – women are now taking to social media to share their experiences with abortion while the men who impregnated them are allowed to sit privately and peacefully in shadow because it’s not their bodily autonomy being legislated. Somethin’ ain’t right here, ya think? 😒
Touted as the latest in tactile (Taurus) communication (Mercury), this braille-based smartwatch for the visually impaired connects to a smartphone via bluetooth technology and allows users to not only read time, but texts, & notifications via their fingertips as well – how cool is that?! Taurus is a sign we associate with the sensory and specifically the tangible, and with communication & gadget-loving Mercury currently traversing this sign I was quite tickled to see this news today.
In other Mercury in Taurus-related news, this past week there was a strike by Uber & Lyft drivers who were protesting – among many other things – their lack of being paid a living wage. Mercury also rules cars & drivers while cash cow Taurus is all about the moo-lah. Not coincidentally, this protest was going on just as Mercury in Taurus joined up with rebellious Uranus. 🙃
A live look at the current Mercury/Mars mutual reception; Mercury is in Aries, Mars is in Gemini. Note that Mars is also out-of-bounds right now:
Things remain hot, hot, hot – especially in a verbal sense – thru May 6th. Before road raging-out or giving someone a piece of your mind, please bear this in mind. And do watch your fingers and arms around hot or sharp objects.
With Saturn and Pluto both currently sitting in a near-standstill just a few degrees away from each other, the astro-vibe du jour serves us a little taste of the upcoming Saturn/Pluto conjunction; a major astrological alignment culminating in January 2020. Metaphorically, if you have a rather sour taste in your mouth at the moment, you’re certainly not alone – this is some dense, dark, & heavy energy we’re dealing with, so the effects upon our lives tends to be anything but light-n-sweet. The conjunction of Saturn with Pluto in Capricorn is like a stale cup of extra strong dark roast served straight-up and cold – there’s nothing to mask the bitterness, but from a utilitarian standpoint it gets the job done if you can stomach such a no-frills brew.
In a somewhat similar sense, Saturn in Capricorn as the archetypal Great Cosmic Taskmaster reminds us that we’ve all got something to learn while crisis-oriented Pluto tends to bring things to a head – at present, we all seem to be getting a crash-course educational intensive in some area(s) of our life as these two planetary titans merge their energies. There’s a definite impression that we have a very limited amount of time with which we must attain an intense level of proficiency at something. To get an idea of what this might be, look at the House this duo is occupying in your own personal astrological chart or examine any aspects they may be making to any of your natal planets. This combo is dead-serious; there’s a real sense there is no time left for fucking around and the stakes are high, so this can constitute some pretty intense pressure. But if instead of being scared we can see this as a challenge to attain a deep level of mastery in an area where we were previously deficient, we’ll see how we can in fact use this energy to fortify ourselves from the inside out. Look at where the cracks are now; where the crises arise or where weakness is exposed. The challenge is to be dipped into the river Styx entirely so that we no longer have an Achilles’ heel in that particular regard. Baptism by hardship; a trial-by-fail. A difficult Initiation. You’re going to grab the controls and figure out how to land that plane safely, though, come hell or high water – step up and dig deep.
With the impending Saturn Retrograde about to arrive in just days (April 29, 2019) and this planet currently sitting stationary, right now is an ideal time to feature a post on this planet and also review what we’ve been learning from Saturn in Capricorn thus far. To recap, Saturn has been in Capricorn since December 2017 and it remains in this sign – excluding a brief 3 month stint next year when it will pop its head into Aquarius – until December 2020. We’ve talked about Saturn in Capricorn and how it helps us master the art of delegation, how it teaches us to say “no” & set boundaries, and also how it definitely gives us the collective sense that our biological clocks are ticking. It’s this last concept I want to expand upon now.
I’ve mentioned before how Saturn in Capricorn is *the* most time-conscious energy there is. We become more aware than ever that time is indeed a finite resource, so a large part of the lesson we’re all collectively learning now is how to master the management of it. Budgeting the time we have so that we can use it effectively is absolutely crucial; we’re only allotted so many hours in a day and we do need time to sleep, too. But realistically, many of us aren’t being economical with the overall usage of our time and we’re simply not allotting enough of it to the higher-priority items. This isn’t about rigidly structuring every minute – especially with Saturn in Capricorn’s series of repeated sextiles to Neptune in Pisces also in the mix this year – but it *is* a call to identify and limit (within reason) the amount of non-productive leaks that generally suck away our productivity. Lest you think this is an entirely slave-driver of an energetic influence, this includes building in time for relaxation, too. What we’re looking to put a stop to are the ways in which we’re unconscious about out time usage. Mindlessly zoning out on television. Going down an internet rabbit hole for hours on end. Idle Facebooking. Endlessly scrolling through Twitter. You get the idea; it’s not that we need to stop doing these things entirely but if we should find there’s a lot of time-suckage going on somewhere, then we *may* want to tighten up the slack.
The next few days are ideal for calling a “time-out” and re-evaluating how we’re spending our days. Are we dedicating enough time to the things that matter most? Are we allocating enough of it to the necessities and are we taking care of business? Conversely, maybe we’re overworked and need to schedule some regular chill time for ourselves. The idea, though, – rather than to be careless about it – is to become more intentional and actually pencil things in. Whether we choose to look at our free time in terms of daily or weekly blocks is irrelevant; the point is to make more of an effort to wrangle the various time-sucks of which we may be unconscious and instead set aside dedicated hours to the pursuit of relaxation. This will allow us to have better control over our schedule rather than getting sucked into vortex and then wondering where the day went. Try spending the next week troubleshooting in this regard. Invest in a day planner or download a time-tracker app. Then consider how you might want to tweak your time management & implement a plan – make this revision now and it will pay off later. It may take some time, but if you make and effort and stick with it you should definitely be reaping rad results over the next several months and beyond!
We have an interesting astrological setup playing out during April – Pluto just crossed the Moon’s South Node at the beginning of the month and now Saturn is about to do the same at its end. The South Node symbolizes a “path of least resistance”; attitudes, traits, and behaviors that represent an unconscious habitual rut we may be inclined to fall into on our soul’s evolutionary journey that don’t serve its growth. When a planet passes over this point we have to be especially careful not to misuse its energy by aligning with the Lo-Fi end of its vibrational spectrum, because this can have the potential to derail our individual and/or collective destiny.
Pluto symbolizes power, sex, and corruption. It is a destructive principle as a first order and while under ordinary circumstances sometimes tearing things down is necessary and warranted, when this planet crosses the South Node we do have to be careful this doesn’t veer pathological. Abuse and misuse of power or sex must also be avoided and it’s generally good policy to abstain from anything sleazy or underhanded when Pluto hovers around the South Node.
Saturn represents control, authority, hard-heartedness, ambition, status, and business. Its hardworking nature can create hazards for us when it joins up with the South Node; particularly from the angle that it can veer workaholic and “all business”. Saturn hovering around this point means that collectively we’re learning lessons pertaining to that which we can/can’t control; this planet puts us in touch with our limitations one way or the other. It also cautions us against being overly authoritative or using status/prestige as the benchmark of “success” to the exclusion of other metrics – for example, one can have a very successful professional life and yet because they were consumed by this “end-all, be-all” tunnel vision they may have wound up lonely or depressed because they failed to put time or effort into family, friends, and relationships. One real hazard of Saturn conjunct the South Node is that we’ve failed to weight things properly; that we’re assigning a level of importance to something that we shouldn’t and have our priorities askew.
On a more transpersonal level, this combination of astrological influences makes April a crucial month for examining the power corruption has in causing the steady and gradual derailment of our leadership. It represents a sloping downward pitch on a graph; I see this very much as an inglorious, undermining type of influence that degrades the pillars of society and the very framework of our governments. Saturn concerns itself with hierarchies; it represents delegated officials as opposed to the Divine Right of kings. When you place it in proximity to Pluto and the South Node, this might be thought of as a power vacuum where all sorts of unseemly influences can gain control – low people in high places seems to be a theme.
This energetic effects of this triple alignment unfortunately do not terminate in April; we’ll see the residuals of this for quite some time and it should be thought of more like a slow lead-in to the big Saturn/Pluto conjunction of January 2020. While this means we’re going to be wading through some pretty dense, heavy energy for the foreseeable future, no matter how grim reality may look at the time we mustn’t fall prey to negativity and pessimism; two of Saturn’s other downfalls. We *will* need to recognize, however, that corruption has corporate – or perhaps even State – sponsorship.
While we’re deconstructing this, we must remember that when the world is run by cruel authoritarian/totalitarian regimes, dysfunctional Patriarchy, and/or unfeeling corporate entities, it takes audacity to care. In these sorts of screwed-up conditions, rather than hardening over, shutting down our emotions, and easily defaulting to giving our power and authority over to apathy, the key is to fully engage with our feelings and dare to give a damn; particularly when it comes to that which we wish to protect and nurture. It may feel a bit like David going up against Goliath, but this is how we staunch the flow of poison leeching its way into The System; with passionate purpose and true patriotism in contrast to heinous hardline nationalism. It is possible to love your country and yet still be deeply disturbed by what it is – or maybe isn’t – doing; remember that as you carve out internal space for tenderness and caring. With the Moon’s North Node in Cancer for the foreseeable future, we all do well to tap into Maternal energy now; to meditate upon the Universal Mother archetype and how we can embrace or embody facets of this protective, nurturing energy. Think: Elephant Medicine 🐘