We’ve had an exciting recent discovery in the sky: On March 27, 2020 a new comet was noticed from space via a Near Earth Object exploration mission of NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, for which said comet became named. The name alone raised my eyebrow; “newly-wise”….hmmmm, sounds an awful lot like Chiron in Aries to me! The wise Centaur teacher in the astrological sign that “maketh all things new”….on this hunch, I pulled the chart for this comet’s discovery date and was utterly unsurprised to find Chiron in Aries right next to the Sun, which makes Chiron in Aries very prevalent in this comet’s identity and vibe. Via this astrological signature alone, we can already see an identity and energy that is strongly tied to the concept of self-healing; part and parcel of this will mean bringing illumination to the places where we are in immediate need of healing – be it physical, mental, emotional, and/or spiritual – within ourselves. In tandem with my last post, a large part of this may entail shining a spotlight upon the Wounded Masculine archetype; healing toxic masculinity in all its forms. In my view, comet NEOWISE appeared at this point in time to raise humanity’s awareness of these issues so that we might walk the path of The Healer instead; that we might bravely direct attention and energy toward holistically integrating painful, fractured components of the Self so it can be made whole again.
Though discovered at the end of March, NEOWISE was dim and couldn’t be seen with the naked eye – it only became visible more recently in early July as it escaped from the most perilous part of its Vision Quest: perihelion. The closest approach of a comet to the Sun is a dangerous time and many don’t survive this leg of the journey. However comet NEOWISE surprised astronomers by not only pulling through, but by becoming even brighter than they had anticipated! As a fighting Aries Sun, NEOWISE’s will to “live” triumphed; it was able to endure the intense heat because – astrologically speaking – it was born of fire and baptized in it. There is a reason the Sun is said to be exalted in Aries! What we – as human beings – might take from this is the idea that being metaphorically dipped in boiling oil early in life can render one a bit like the mythical Achilles, who was (unsurprisingly) a student of Chiron. We all have a weakness, but that doesn’t mean this can’t exist hand-in-hand with strength. Achilles was a celebrated hero of the Trojan war; brave and highly accomplished in battle. Perhaps his downfall may have one of overconfidence where he defined himself so much by his identity as a warrior, that he lost sight of his most glaring vulnerability. What are our flaws but evidence of our humanity? The spark of Divinity may live in each of us, but this certainly does not make us immortal gods.
Historically, the ancients did not find comets to be a favorable portent – they were most often associated with large-scale global shakeups, like natural disasters and the death of kings *side-eyes President Orcus*. Before anyone panics re: Omens of Doom, relax and look at the context: NEOWISE showing up on-scene is simply a reflection of the circumstances we’ve already been enduring in 2020. I certainly consider a pandemic that changed the world and crashed global economies a “natural disaster”, as germs are about as natural as it can get – they have existed since the beginning and will continue existing long after humans are gone. This microscopic virus is a reminder of our humanity as this minuscule and comparatively “simple” life form cripples even the mightiest of men & nations to bring them down to their knees. Sounds a bit like Achilles’ unprotected heel, doesn’t it?
These facets aside, NEOWISE has interested me greatly for the constellations it passes through; particularly now that we’re able to see it. In July it started out in the vicinity of Auriga (the Charioteer) with a migration to Lynx before making its way toward Ursa Major (the Big Bear). I work with the Fixed Stars in my astrological practice, so the layered symbolism of these constellations is not something lost on me. In my view, the Charioteer is a reminder about the importance of taking the wheel in life – because I associate NEOWISE strongly with the concept of self-healing, in 2020 it becomes more crucial than ever for us to have self-awareness regarding our wounds and actively steer our path in alignment with that of health & wellness on all levels. Remember as I said earlier this comet carries holistic themes, and one of the foundations of healing lies in Right Action. Part of choosing this path entails being pro-active instead of re-active when we are made aware of our human frailties – this allows us to walk in our strength instead of our weakness. I look at this “Taking the Wheel” theme on a personal level, but I also see broader geopolitical contexts in play; particularly when your federal government largely takes its own hand off the wheel and leaves such direction to individual states in a time that your entire nation is sick and hurting. *side-eyes President Orcus again* 😒
Auriga had significance to the ancients as being representational of the club-footed son of Hephaestus; Erichthonius. Erichthonius’s bum feet *coughCadetBoneSpurscough* were not only a source of embarrassment to him, but they also made it tough for him to get around. So being the son of the great God of the Forge, he decided to fashion himself a contraption – aka the chariot – which basically served as the first wheelchair. Pause for a moment here just to note the recurring theme of a (physical) weakness that defines the identity as well as the rejection of this handicapped state. Whether Erichthonius ultimately came to make peace with his condition isn’t known, but with the augmentation of his new set of wheels he did indeed get around quite well; to the point that he competed in the Olympic games and even caught the attention of Zeus. We see again the echoes of Chiron here – Chiron was part man and part horse; Erichthonius became (for all intents and purposes) part man and part “machine”, as far as his identity was concerned.
As to how the ancients augured Auriga, Ptolemy assigned the stars of this constellation a Mars-Mercury flavor, so active and changeable on the whole. Mars was – and still is – considered a malefic in astrology, so the late great Vivian Robson’s nod to the “danger of great vicissitudes” is apropos here; meaning unpleasant or unwelcome changes in fortune. Auriga IMO urges the importance of keeping a tight rein on things in the midst of a fluctuating and potentially dangerous situation; not letting there be any slack in the line as we masterfully guide the way forward. The symbolism of this is not lost on me during a year when this pandemic has made it painfully obvious who is slacking vs. who the true leaders are.
The same can be said of our own personal development in 2020; we may well wind up in a metaphorical “ditch” if we’re unwilling to captain our own ship and instead pawn that leadership role onto others. A huge part of successfully grabbing those reins involves plotting a firm course toward our (physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual; as well as global) recovery. There are no shortcuts, though – the hazard lies in thinking speed is the answer when it’s more akin to heading into a sharp curve in the road and taking your foot off the gas before finding the perfect moment to accelerate into the curve so your wheels maintain a firm grip. Collectively, what we’ve been doing – at least here in The States – is rushing to get things back “up to speed” when sickness is spreading like a runaway freight train faster than we can get a handle on it. Instead of wholesale rejecting the turbulence of the conditions by trying to “full steam ahead” on all fronts, the answer lies in focusing on how to “flatten the curve” and figuring a way to accelerate our way out of it toward a truly holistic and integrative recovery. America, your economy will continue to be crippled as long as you allow illness to run rampant; by focusing solely on economics you choose path of sickness rather than one of actual healing. IMO, COVID-19 should be renamed what it truly is: The Sickness of Capitalism.
One of the most curious examples of how Auriga’s energy seems to mirror the current issues of the day (As Above, So Below) lies in its “interest in social and educational problems” – sage words once again from Robson’s mouth! I’d say COVID-19 has created some damn significant “social and educational problems”, wouldn’t you? This is especially relevant in July as many schools in the Northern Hemisphere are trying to figure out at this very minute if or how classes might resume between August & September; the traditional start of the new school year. Again Auriga’s influence shows the need for a firm steady hand to guide, but NOT one which belongs to the shortsighted! Several prominent figures have postulated that getting kids back to school = getting parents back to work = getting the economy “back on track”, but IMO the mechanics of that all fail to address the root cause of this economic collapse, which is illness. HEAL THE ILLNESS FIRST; that is our Prime Directive with a Sun conjunct Chiron in Aries comet appearing like a neon sign flashing in the sky.
The constellation of Lynx is much more subtle in its effects – with no major Fixed Stars to give away its position, this constellation slinks quietly in the background like a feline with silent, padded feet; perhaps making ready to pounce. Lynx are known for their night vision and so metaphorically this seems to allude to need for acuity of sight in both an inner and outer context. I spoke a moment ago of the hazard of shortsightedness, which is one kind of “vision problem”. But in a time when so many of us seem to have lost the ability to sort fact from fiction, Comet NEOWISE seems to be drawing our attention to a need to heal our (outer/inner) “eyes”, IMO – Lynx were said to have the ability to “see through things” for good reason! But crucially more interesting is the fact that we also had a comet in this constellation in 1893; the year of the stock market panic that sent the USA into a 4 year recession. Not only was it a time of similar economic disruption, but a period of significant political upheaval as well and the man sitting at the helm when all of this happened – President Grover Cleveland – was overthrown in the next election.
NEOWISE’s last stop before it disappears from view is the constellation of Ursa Major; the Big Bear. As one of the two chief Power Animals of Wall Street, economically speaking this is certainly an ominous portent; particularly if we keep driving our “chariot” blind and in the wrong direction! But this is certainly nothing new or revelatory – the largest stock market crash in history took place in March 2020, right when NEOWISE was being discovered. The price of oil fell so low it dipped (how’s that for a constellation whose major component asterism is the Big Dipper!) into negative territory; fueled by a price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia. Hmmmmm….isn’t one of Russia’s symbolic Power Animals the Bear??? IMO, this is not at all coincidental. I predict we will see more significant developments with this country in 2020 – perhaps like the Lynx, it does its best hunting in darkness and has been silently slinking around behind drawn blackout curtains as it prepares to spring.
As to the energetic effects of this constellation, in antiquity Ursa Major was looked upon as having a Mars quality to it and to corroborate this in more modern times, Vivian Robson mentioned its capacity for “great revengefulness when roused” (ergo the hazard of metaphorically “poking the bear”). He mentions (yes, Robson is indeed a gentleman; look him up) this constellation having patience and self-control, but a tendency to be suspicious & uneasy. Comet NEOWISE whizzing through this part of the sky may highlight a need to heal issues that center around mistrust, as well as how we respond when disturbed. The visual image I get is one of someone being woken up from a dead sleep and then throwing a heavy book at the offending party as they turn and rush out of the bedroom door. Perhaps by proactively posting a “Do Not Disturb” sign on our door the night before and simply yet directly enforcing our boundaries in advance, we might mitigate this urge to unleash our more bestial nature upon whatever unlucky or irreverent fool happens to stumble into our den. Manilius mentions this constellation as having a taming quality to it where one makes friends with wild animals, so perhaps the key lies in getting to know where the more feral parts of our nature tend to kick into gear. For most humans, tired, hungry, sick, or stressed tend to be blanket situations that are apt to bring out the beast (not best!) in us, but individually there are usually more context-specific scenarios that can cause a savage part of our psyche to engage. Don’t tell yourself this doesn’t exist, either – if a Chiron-flavored comet can teach humanity one thing, certainly it is to honor both our human and animal sides while actively choosing to civilize.