Mars In Pisces In The News

If you’ve ever wondered whether or not fire can burn under water, the answer to that question is a resounding YES.  Paradoxical as it is, it can also burn quite furiously as demonstrated above  – anyone who has ever worked in an industrial setting can tell you about the dangers presented by white-hot magnesium fires, which CANNOT and SHOULD NOT under any circumstances be put out by water.

Why is this relevant at the moment?   Water is symbolic of emotion and the watery sign of Pisces this represents *collective* emotion.  Mars – AKA the anger planet – is currently traversing Pisces  and we sure are seeing evidence of this energy manifesting here in the United States as the collective anger over the murder of George Floyd gathers momentum  like a tidal wave; engulfing cities in riots nationwide.

I’ve said for a long time now – without a trace of pessimism – that as the USA approaches our Pluto Return, things will get worse before they get better.  I said this years before the debacle of the 2016 election even took place, and continued when those horrified by the regime it ushered in disbelievingly insisted “This has *got* to be bottom, right???” Nope; not by a long shot.  Apparently it takes more than having the most corrupt & incompetent administration in our nation’s history, a rampant resurgence of emboldened white nationalism, a failed impeachment thrown by blind partisanship, becoming the new epicenter of an international pandemic that as of today’s date has killed over 100k people in this country alone, record unemployment, the continued slaughter of POC at the hands of police, and who knows what else as we spend the next two years waiting for our Pluto Return to truly kick into high gear.  These crackling flames now licking at our fingertips are merely the beginnings of Rome burning; some of us – those who can see the putrefaction for what it is, who can understand the necessity for this purging fire and welcome the potential healing/resurrection waiting on the other side of crisis – will come to love the smell of napalm in the morning.  🔥🔥🔥

Blessed are the warriors fighting for all of us; those fighting the nightmare we are living in and fighting for both Dr. King’s Dream & the American Dream to be made real for all of humanity.  🙏✨💪✨

05/30/2020

 

 

Saturn In Aquarius = Social Responsibility

I’ve talked about many of the manifestations of Saturn in Aquarius in recent editions of my newsletter (see: March & April 2020 issues), but I’m really feeling a need to drive home one specific facet regarding the right use of its energy in light of recent events: Embracing the concept of social responsibility.  Saturn is the planetary symbol of responsibility; in community-minded Aquarius this is applied in a social context toward our “brothers” and “sisters” in the community-at-large.  Saturn rewards those who embrace his tenet of knowing where our personal accountability lies; both toward ourselves and others, and metes out punishment for any failure(s) to do so – he is hard, but he is fair.  His cosmic edict dictates that “As ye sow, so shall ye reap” – do the right thing always, even when it is hard, and it will eventually pay off. Do the wrong thing and you will get yours in due time; they don’t call Saturn the Lord of Karma for nothing!

What we’ve seen in recent months as the Covid-19 situation evolved here in The States is a distinct sect of the population protesting restrictions upon their individual liberties as states enacted necessary stay-at-home orders to help stop the burgeoning spread of this virus.  Note that states *had* to do this, as the federal government – aside from issuing some basic “guidelines” – has done absolutely nothing on a national level to protect public safety and prevent the spread of this particularly virulent contagion.  Our “fearless leader” has even actively advocated on Twitter for states with such stay-at-home orders be “liberate[d]” in the midst of a global pandemic that has surpassed (as of today’s date) 88K deaths in our country alone.   As a result of all this Uranian rabble-rousing, the Cult of Kefka his followers have risen up en masse at rallies around the nation to bemoan this impingement upon their individual liberties. The governor of Michigan –  Gretchen Whitmer – even received death threats over this; it’s sickening to watch rabid fanaticism  erode all logic and reason.

Here’s the thing, guys: This isn’t an individual liberty issue; it’s one of public safety.  And right along with personal responsibility, Saturn’s #1 concern is safety – apply this within the context of communal Aquarius, and it becomes our civic duty to protect our people. LOL, if you think sitting at home for 2 months is hard, buddy have I got news for you: What do you think is going to happen when – because of your bellyaching – these restrictions are lifted prematurely and we wind up playing whack-a-mole with this virus for years instead of mere months? If you think the economy is circling the drain now, just wait until our Pluto Return kicks into high gear two years from now; it’s the incredible shortsightedness in this regard that’s going to bankrupt (and literally kill, FYI) us.  And if you’re chafing under social restrictions now, wait until Saturn and Uranus square off all of next year; you haven’t seen anything yet!  And it will be all your fault these restictions need to be tougher, too – as I said, Saturn holds us all accountable one way or the other and if you refuse to grit your teeth and see the necessity of doing this voluntarily, you’re *really* not going to like the vibe next year! I fully expect to see much stricter lockdowns in 2021 as a direct result of all the jackassery going on now; all because we couldn’t collectively get with the program sooner.  Fall in line and do the right thing for each other now, or you’re pay dearly later; it’s your choice.  It’s going to be up to the rest of us to apply enough social (peer) pressure to ensure these wingnuts get compliant if we want to prevent this outcome from becoming a reality – time is ticking, though. The community needs to police itself and right now we are failing in this regard.

The shortsightedness of saying “But the economy!” in the short-term without understanding the longer-term crisis we potentially face in evading this greater social responsibility of truly being “Our Brothers’ Keeper” is IMO what will truly be the Fall of Rome here in the USA – we’re dealing with a violently contagious pandemic and people are out here whining like petulant teenagers about their freedom instead of taking this seriously and protecting each other.  Even if you don’t give a damn about the health and safety of yourself, it’s your responsibility to protect the health and safety of everybody else in these Saturn in Aquarius times. The entire elderly population of the US – that’s 16% of the population – could die prematurely due to Covid-19.  Don’t respect your elders and think that “old people are throwaways” anyway?  Then what about the 25 million asthmatics in this country (about 8% of the total population) that Covid-19 presents a disproportionate fatality risk toward?  Or the 10.5% of the country that is diabetic?  I’m not even getting into the number of Americans with underlying autoimmune issues or who are pregnant!  In a worst-case scenario, you would be killing greater than 34% of our people; that’s literally millions and millions of taxpayers – what’s going to prop up your precious economy then?

I strongly feel that one of the most important things we should all collectively keep in mind in the face of mounting economic pressures, pressures by our leaders to re-open for business, & general stir-craziness presented by the present social restrictions ushered in by Saturn in Aquarius is this: The idea that “Freedom without responsibility is license; not liberty” – it’s a concept that was introduced to me in youth via the late great Isabel Hickey’s “Astrology: A Cosmic Science”.  Now more than ever we must carefully weigh our needs for individual freedoms – the freedom to work, the freedom to assemble, or the freedom to be in public without a face mask on – against our social obligation to keep each other safe.  Freedom is one thing, but we all have a right to life and a right to our health; what good are liberties without such basic and essential guarantees as these?

05/16/2020

 

Mercury/Venus Mutual Reception: People Say The Nicest Things

June's Mercury/Venus mutual reception: Mercury in Taurus, Venus in Gemini!
The April/May 2020 Mercury/Venus mutual reception: Mercury in Taurus, Venus in Gemini.

It sure is lovely to have the impending mutual reception between Venus in Gemini & Mercury in Taurus soon arriving (4/27/20 – 5/11/2020); something that will help smooth some of the rough edges off these Covid-19 nerves!  It’s amazing what a kind word can do under this vibe; how verbal expressions of kindness can multiply as we reciprocate and communicate the same to others, or how such sweetness can replace anxiety and help to ease the mind. Sure there is the potential for mere flattery with this mutual reception, but as this energy approaches we should never underestimate the power of a heartfelt, loving, complimentary, or appreciative word – the world needs it now.  💚💚💚💚

04/24/2020

Meet Deana

In my March newsletter, I spoke about Saturn in Aquarius & the importance of strengthening our social networks – to that end, today I’d like to take some time to introduce you to a dear friend of mine: Deana Paqua of Embody the Sacred. Deana has long been listed among my friends & allies; both on a professional and, blessedly, a personal level as well.  As an astrologer I feel it’s important to understand where my expertise both begins and ends, which is why I believe so strongly in having a good, solid network of holistic wellness professionals around me to refer clients to if/when their chart indicates a need and they are open to it.  Astrologers are not healers; we can identify a need and make recommendation accordingly, but we are not doctors, nutritionists, herbalists, chiropractors, physical therapists, etc.

A contemporary shamanic practitioner and expert on a wide array of cross-cultural healing techniques, Deana is someone to whom I have myself turned for healing.  The insight I’ve gained from working with – and quite honestly, just by being around – her has been tremendous and I have a vast amount of respect for her point of view.  Her knowledge is authentic and has often been hard-won, and I revere the fact that she took no shortcuts on her Path. These days – especially with Chiron now in Aries – it seems like people are all too quick to wear that self-appointed badge of “Healer” without putting in the necessary time and work to earn this honor the legitimate way; which is something that can only be appointed by the community and takes many years of humble service to acquire. Deana has been doing this work for a long time; she can cite her teachers, has permission from the indigenous elders she’s studied under to share what they have taught her, and – as you will hear below – on a very human level she has direct firsthand experience gleaned from her own healing Journey.  Without further ado…. ❤

03/31/2020

Black Hole Sun

Somewhere along the course of your astrological studies, you’ve probably heard of the term “Hades Moon”; i.e. the Moon forming an astrological alignment (aspect) to Pluto.  But what about its archetypal Solar partner; the Sun in aspect to Pluto? Or – as I prefer to refer to it – the “Black Hole Sun”.  What does it fundamentally mean to have a Pluto-powered Sun?  There is no singular definitive answer; like all astrological energies it is capable of a broad spectrum of expressions (Hi-Fi, Mid-range, and Lo-Fi), though because Pluto tends to be a planet of extremes by nature we are much more likely to see Sun-Pluto alignments manifest in a Hi/Lo fashion; even if other mitigating astrological factors can somewhat temper this.  But for the sake of understanding the core of what this kind of energy signature is, here are some basics on how it functions:

The Black Hole Sun swallows up the light of the Self (Sun) so that what becomes illuminated – or perhaps the better word is “revealed” – is the Shadow (Pluto); those dark, dysfunctional bits of the psyche we would often prefer to reject or leave “safely” locked inside a closet.  The light is eclipsed by the dark, and a distinct silhouette appears in stark contrast to the dimmed corona outlining it.  In artistic terms, we might think of this as being somewhat akin to “negative space”; drawing the space around an object rather than the object itself. The emptiness is the picture; the Self becomes more clearly defined by the “holes” within (i.e. the experiences of loss, desolation, and trauma).  Solar energy is life, but when withered by Pluto’s skeletal death-touch it becomes what we’ve lived through; what we’ve survived. These things naturally leave their “marks” on the identity and we must be careful not to over-identify with the damage done/loss incurred but fix our gaze instead upon healing.  To do this however, we first need self-awareness.  We have to be able to look unflinchingly at the “ugly” parts of Self in all their horrifying glory and extend/expend deeply restorative energy in that direction.  When we have insight into the things that – through no fault of our own – were inflicted upon us, we become less resistant to letting go of our attachment to that damage as being the sum-total of our identity.  We are not our scars, though certainly we can become them if we become too invested in our trauma instead of our empowerment and recovery.

Everybody’s level of consciousness level is, of course, different and the efficacy of our self-restoration efforts will be directly proportional to how in-depth we can be with I.D.ing those levels of dysfunction within. If one’s consciousness level is stuck in the basement – that is to say, one is living a life on a very base level that is unexamined and which operates more on reflex and instinct than on the level of conscious awareness – it is going to be very difficult to devote healing energy to that which is essentially invisible to oneself; i.e. that which isn’t able to seen by the Self as non-functional.

That’s not a judgement, either – there are any number of reasons why such a thing might happen; say, by being forced by circumstance to live in “Survival Mode” for an extended period of time.  As Maslow’s Hierarchy illustrates so clearly, we have to take care of those lower-level foundational needs first before we can get to the self-actualization pinnacle up on top. If you’re just barely getting by in life, it’s awfully hard to focus on thriving when you don’t even have essentials like food, shelter, or a sense of basic security.  You gotta do what you gotta do just to function, and sometimes that is “good enough” (certainly at least for now, anyway).  Worry about working on yourself when you can breathe/have had a meal/have a place to rest your head at night – no sane person would expect more from someone under these conditions!

However when things repeatedly go bad?  Look within; ultimately we are our own Lowest Common Denominator.  Yes, some people have crap luck.  Yes, curses (generational or otherwise) do exist. But divesting ourselves of the power we have to heal by being invested in our trauma more than our recovery is, in itself, a pathology.  That’s not to say we necessarily have the power to metaphorically resurrect the dead, and some scars we unfortunately do live with. But that doesn’t mean we can’t extend light and warmth to the darkest reaches of our being so we’re not sucked into a vortex of negativity from which we cannot escape.  Seek always the light; even in gloom.  You will find that – from the supposed inevitable – an impossibility will arise: You are still alive.  You are not the shit that happened to you; you are not your circumstances.  You are who you make of the shit that happened to you; draw into that negative space with your own hand and let it reveal your true character.  Deep down there is far more to you than meets the eye – not everyone will see it, but that’s OK; their eyes simply aren’t capable of picking up on this dimension of the spectrum.  Eye see you, though. 👁

03/11/20

Astrologically Warned

I wrote the following in January 2020 in reference to the impending Mercury Retrograde in February 2020 (excerpt):

“…Boost your immune system in prep for this retrograde, though – there’s a ‘communicable illness’ side of this Rx that can have us laid up if we’re not good about washing our hands or avoiding exposure to those who fail to cover their mouths when coughing….” 

This was well before hearing of the coronavirus that has since been declared a Public Health Emergency by the WHO in recent weeks.  Astrology is not fear-mongering; the sensible precautions the Art can advise do have the ability to literally save lives in some instances.  Would you rather have the terminally positive reader who tells you what you want to hear; like to go ahead and take that trip to Wuhan, China (“Everything will be awesome, man!”), or would you prefer instead to have an astrologer who tells you to pick different timing for your journey; say maybe not during this Mercury Retrograde?

02/28/2020

The Capricorn Stellium: Root Down To Rise Up

We have a decidedly grounded vibe on our hands for the foreseeable future with Pluto, Saturn, and now Jupiter all currently traversing terrestrial Capricorn.  While this earthbound vibe may feel like bit of a slog for some, the key in utilizing this energy to its highest capacity lies anchoring ourselves in uber reality, leaning heavily upon the virtues of personal responsibility and accountability, and connecting to a hidden subterranean reserve of inner strength, constancy, and resiliency; even in crisis.  This energy symbolically represents the firm and deep establishment of roots that anchor a large and ancient tree; its sprawling branches growing ever-upward  even as it remains planted in place.  We feel connected to the Earth, to our bodies, the lowest two levels of need in Maslow’s Hierarchy are fulfilled, and we have good & healthy boundaries with others where we are firm in knowing exactly where our responsibility for things both starts and ends.

At this point the yogis among us reading this are probably envisioning Vrksasana (better known as Tree Pose) and the sacred energy center Muladhara – more colloquially known as the Root Chakra  – this asana is often prescribed for.  For me however, it calls to mind the Family Tree; our own personal Tree of Life from which we ascend.  Some might say descend, but after spending the last year of my life delving deeply into my own personal genealogical history I’ve come to prefer seeing my Ancestors as the foundational pillars and myself functioning as a sort of bridge (perhaps part of the trunk?) helping to pave the way for the successive upliftment of future generations who hopefully grow to greater heights than all previous successors. Given some of the darker matter the seed of my creation germinated in, I’m understandably partial to viewing family “line” as spreading upwards rather than the reverse.

But how can one truly accomplish this; choosing to be the upward trend in the line rather than a downward one?  In a phrase, “Root down to rise up” – digging down deep into the matter (specifically, the Shadow material) from which we come, centering the Self, and choosing to be the point of accountability where dysfunction stops. In recent months, I have been discussing the concept of using the energy of the Saturn/Pluto conjunction to straighten out gnarled roots in the family tree from an energetic point of view; even if posthumously.  Nobody likes to think of their family gene pool as being “tainted” but the fact is many of us are living with the heavy-duty residue of things like abuse, war, slavery, or even genocide lingering in the shadows of our lineage.  Doing everything we can to clean up whatever karmic “messes” our predecessors may have left behind so our line can come correct from an energetic standpoint and honor can be restored is work well worth undertaking at this time. In fact, I’d argue it’s eternally worth the effort to do our best to clear up any negative karmic debts our Ancestors may have incurred but having 3 slower-moving planets hanging out in Capricorn for a while certainly makes the sense of responsibility for doing so considerably more prevalent. When so many of our parents have not yet learned the lesson of accountability, it only makes sense that eventually someone’s gotta do it; might as well be us.  There’s no time like the present to rectify the past/our personal history and set right what we can – time’s a-wastin’…..

02/02/20

A New Take On Your Astrology

The next time you’re exploring your chart and groaning over hard the aspects, I want you to  reframe this by keeping in mind the following:

The pressure of squares creates diamonds.

The friction of conjunctions makes pearls.

The tension of oppositions yields exquisite high-tensile strength silk.

An “easy” chart is a chart in which there are more limited opportunities for massive soul growth – a nativity littered with trines and sextiles just doesn’t offer the individual the same degree of stimulus to hone & refine character.  That’s not at all to imply those with comparatively more relaxed nativities are somehow “lesser”; far from it!  It’s just that in every difficult chart, from a spiritual point of view there is some kind of latent rags-to-riches Cinderella story waiting to unfold.  Whether or not the individual will rise to this challenge is, of course, entirely up to them.

02/02/2020

The Saturn/Pluto Conjunction, Aggregated

We are now just 10 days away from one of the more heavy-duty astrological alignments we’ve seen in decades: The conjunction of Saturn with Pluto in Capricorn on January 12, 2020.  I’ve spent well over 2 years prepping clients for this event since we haven’t had one like it in almost 40 years and won’t see another for a good 30+ more, but as this energy will be peaking during the next week and a half it occurs to me that it would benefit my readers to have all the information in one place.  For your consideration then, I submit the following:

Excerpt from my November 2019 newsletter on the Saturn/Pluto Conjunction

All posts tagged Saturn conjunct Pluto in Capricorn

If you read only one thing, do make it the excerpt from my newsletter because it both dissects how this energy works and discusses how to best manage/direct it. Strength through adversity, my friends – tough times are temporary, but tough character is permanent 💪 Whatever manner of fuckery you may be dealing with at the present moment, you’ll outlive all of it.  ALL.  OF.  IT.

01/02/2020

Moonstruck

As of last night, we are officially in the midst of yet another eclipse season.  These semi-annual events can only happen at a New or Full Moon and usually occur in groups of two (or far more rarely, three) lunations six months apart – right now they are a summer/winter phenomenon but eventually they’ll shift over to a spring/fall pattern.  The current signs in which they occur are along the Cancer/Capricorn axis, but you certainly don’t have to *be* a Cancer or a Capricorn to be affected by them.  If you happen to have a key planet or point within a couple of degrees of where an eclipse falls, the wry old benediction “May you live in interesting times” would seem completely apt.  Eclipses can – and often do – upend our sense of “normal” when they touch a sensitive point or body in our personal astrological chart.  Not every eclipse will be a “hit”, but the ones that do land can have a profound “You sunk my battleship!” feel to them.

To determine a “hit”, first we need to find out what degree of the zodiac a given eclipse falls on.  Using last night’s solar eclipse for example, this one was at 04Cap07; or four degrees and seven arcminutes of Capricorn.  We would then consult our personal astrological chart to determine what planets or points of ours may be within one or two degrees of being affected.  Beyond this, we also must consider the overall weight the affected planet/point carries in our personal chart – a “hit” to one’s Sun, Moon, or Chart Ruler is far more worthy of our consideration than, say, contact made with an outer planet like Neptune that isn’t otherwise significant in our personal nativity. An eclipse falling on our Ascendant will have much more of an impact than one falling on our Venus/Mars midpoint.

The effects of an eclipse are often long-lasting and can be thought of as epochal – they tend to herald big shifts in life that may be felt for 6 months – 1 year or even beyond this as a “life-changing” event.  One may, for example, leave the parental nest and move out on their own – it’s the end of the safety of being under our parents’ wings but also our flight into true independence/adulthood.  Something or someone may pass from our lives during an eclipse – both myself and a dear friend lost our fathers 6 months apart during eclipses; hers being expected but still sad and yet serving as a relief of suffering, while mine was very abrupt.  Before you get all panicked after reading that, let me be clear that an eclipse does not = death.  Rather, what I mean to speak to in relating this story is how radically different life becomes for us when a parent passes away – in my case, it involved taking on the complicating responsibilities of managing the affairs of a deceased loved one and tying up all their worldly loose ends. The day a parent passes away is an indelible marker in life – everything is different from that point on.  And there’s a lot of processing things – both in terms of the physical (possessions, bills, house, money) and legal parts as well as the emotional end of dealing with our feelings surrounding that loss – that takes time to settle out; certainly at least months, if not an entire year or more.

So with all of this in mind, our next eclipse on January 10, 2020 happens at 20 degrees of Cancer, and it’s a big one due this eclipse being wired into the Saturn/Pluto conjunction happening just days later.  Look and see what you may have at the 18-22 degree mark of the Cardinal signs (that would be Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn) to see if it’s going to be a hit and to get a feel for how you might potentially be impacted.

12/26/2019

Saturn Conjunct Pluto In Capricorn: Some Old-School Blacksmithing

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.

10/28/2019

Mercury Retrograde Oct/Nov 2019: Reaching Out & Haunting Someone

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! ✨

10/22/2019

Saturn In Capricorn Sextile Neptune In Pisces: Legit Earth-Based Spirituality

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?

10/3/2019

Jupiter in Sagittarius Square Neptune in Pisces: Un-believing

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.

09/17/2019

Saturn Derailment

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.

09/15/2019

The Jupiter/Neptune Square & The Forgiveness Gospel 🙏

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.

09/02/2019

Neptune In Pisces & Pseudo-Spirituality

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.

08/26/2019

Mars In Virgo

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!

08/21/2019

Saturn In Capricorn Sextile Neptune In Pisces: Sane Spirituality

“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.

8/14/2019

The 13th Sign 🙄

“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. ✌

07/20/2019