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

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

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

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

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

Under The Jupiter/Neptune Square

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.

06/11/2019

Saturn Conjunct Pluto In Capricorn: Peak Dysfunctional Patriarchy

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? 😒

06/04/2019

Squaretile ™

Squaretile: An astrological alignment in which a planet or point makes both a 90ﹾ (square) & 60ﹾ (sextile) aspect. See also: Neptune in Pisces, currently.

**NB: Not intended to be educational  🙃

06/04/2019

Saturn Conjunct Pluto In Capricorn: The “Crash Course”

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.

04/25/2019

Destiny Derailers

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 🐘

04/16/2019

Ascendance

“Every time our unconscious is working something out, it calls into our lives the people who have within the pieces of the answer we are seeking”  – Martin Schulman, Karmic Relationships

Over the years I have developed an astrological theory that seems to dovetail nicely with the quote above – I’ve  observed a correlation that when a transiting or progressed planet crosses the natal Ascendant of an individual, a person will then tend to enter that individual’s life who will sync up with that particular planetary archetype.  So for example, if it’s Saturn crossing the Ascendant then a Saturn figure may appear in the individual’s life.  If it’s Mars, we get a Martian figure and so on.

When a planet it crosses the threshold of the Ascendant, that energy is brought to our consciousness in a very front-and-center way.  We’re going to get in touch with what that planet is all about one way or the other, and more often than not I’ve found this can mean an outside agent appears to make us intimately familiar with the energy/archetype for the purposes of bringing it out in our personality. I don’t often see people spontaneously adopting the demeanor of whatever planet is making the visit to their Ascendant on their own; rather someone who embodies that planetary archetype seems to step in to provide feedback, instruction, a model, or whathaveyou to put us in touch with the qualities of that planet we need to embrace more fully in our own persona.

As a reference point, using the above hypothetical planetary scenarios Saturn across one’s Ascendant might bring them a mentor figure; someone who can help them “adult” and be more responsible, professional, advancement-oriented, or perhaps parental.  Mars may bring us someone who will help us to embrace our Inner Warrior; someone who might challenge us, be a sparring partner or competitor, light a fire under our butts and get us to be more physically active, or who will show us by example how to stand up for ourselves/others and be more assertive.  We hold within us the seeds of each planetary archetype and it seems when the Ascendant is crossed by one of these heavenly bodies, that seed germinates.

Now it could certainly be argued that in theory we *ought to be* observing this phenomenon moreso when a transiting planet crosses the Descendant as it is the opposite end of this axis that is said to represent “The Other”.  But my practical experience has been that in general we tend to be LESS conscious of energies crossing the Descendant as we’re not apt to recognize their influence as something within.  When a planet is located near the Descendant its energy more inclined to be disowned or projected; both within our lives and personas.  For example, Saturn near our Descendant might cause us to view a partner as a restrictive influence, as parental, as someone who more or less metaphorically “pees in our Cheerios”, or who tells us to “suck it up”/“grow up”.  But does this necessarily cause us to embody the energy of Saturn on a personal level?  No – we’re far more likely to disown those qualities and resist by acting out the opposite end of the spectrum when Saturn crosses the Descendant and offers his counterweight against the “I” of the Ascendant.  We might find others curbing us under this transit, but it’s hardly self-initiated and is always at the behest of someone else; a scenario of artificial enforcement rather than natural embodiment. Thus, when a planet crosses the Descendant it’s more difficult to harness the astrological energy in question – we tend to experience it as being outside of us rather than within us.  It’s why oppositions in the chart incline toward projection.   In the realm of the Descendant (or even the entire 7th House for that matter), the answer lies less with others and more within how we experience others.

Conversely ,what I’ve seen happen time and time again with a planet’s passage across the Ascendant is someone comes in to help us develop (one way or the other) that neonascent energy which is dormant inside of ourselves.  As the Ascendant represents how others view us, perhaps it’s a quality within us they see or sense; something they recognize and possibly find resonance with (“You’ve got potential, kid!”). Whatever the case, it’s something that through this interaction we’re naturally stimulated to accentuate within ourselves/ our being/our persona.

So the next time you have a planet crossing your Ascendant, do pause and take note – especially if it’s a slower-moving planet like Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, or Pluto – if a corresponding figure appears on scene to teach you how to accentuate those energetic qualities.  Embrace the gods within by being willing to see others as the emissaries for the astrological vibrations we should be cultivating inside ourselves.

03/27/2019

Coping Styles By Moon Sign: A Field Guide

Everybody has different coping styles when we’re emotional; the Moon sign (and aspects to the Moon for the intermediate astro-students in the house) governs this expression. For the purposes of this post however, we’re going to stick with describing just the Moon sign.  Maybe you’ll read the list below and recognize some of your own habitual processing methods or those of loved ones – my hope is that if so,  it will help you to better understand yourself and others. Gaining insight on what we or others need when we find ourselves immersed in the waters of feeling can provide productive natural outlets so emotion can flow rather than become backed up.  I see emotion as neutral energy; neither inherently “good” nor inherently “bad” – I’ve said this many times, but I don’t believe in judging any organically occurring feeling that Divinity equipped with at birth as being inherently “positive” or “negative”.  However, for best results I do believe emotional energy should be allowed to circulate rather than stagnate – with that in mind, may the following post provide you with some ideas for how to swim with the natural currents of your internal landscape.

Aries Moon: Copes with strong feelings by doing something physical.  A workout, sweating it out on the dance floor, or a fist fight; the Aries Moon reacts quickly to feelings & directly translates this into motion/activity in the physical body – especially if angry. Can be hot-tempered and may use anger to cover over vulnerability; the best defense is a good offense, as they say.

Taurus Moon: Retail therapy or self-care pampering are common ways Taurus Moons deal with surging feelings. Their generally mellow mood means they don’t tend to rile easily; preferring instead a massage, a glass of good red wine, or gourmet chocolate to get back on an even keel in an emotional sense.  Perhaps even a bout of gardening for the Earth Mama types, where one can stick their hands into the dirt to literally “ground” their feelings.

Gemini Moon: Tends to cope with their feelings by either intellectualizing them or talking them out.  Journaling is another popular way for this Moon sign to process their emotions when a chat, phone call, or text won’t do.  In times of stress, this Moon sign (along with Cousin Virgo) is more prone to seeking out an emotional distraction; little things to keep whatever is bothering them off their mind.  Or perhaps they like to just get in the car and go for a drive to clear their head.

Cancer Moon: Frequently seeks comfort from their family when all up in their feelings – sometimes when this isn’t available, they might be inclined to turn to comfort food instead (cooking and/or eating).  This sign needs to feel secure in order to be emotionally vulnerable otherwise they do tend to retreat.  Of all the signs, if they’re “in a mood” sometimes they just need to stay at home until the tide changes – don’t try to push them to go out; they’ll come out when they’re ready.

Leo Moon: Has occasionally been known to make a production out of their feelings – Leo energy tends to dramatize things & they may need an audience in order to play out whatever role their feelings demand. Alternately, also the “Good Time Charlie” who parties their ass off to cope or hits a night out on the town to dance their feelings out.  Give them a creative outlet to express their emotions; Leo energy is highly creative and this Moon can use their feelings as inspiration.

Virgo Moon: Analyzing, compartmentalizing, or even criticizing their own feelings are ways that Virgo Moons tend to process their emotional landscape.  Self-care may include exercise, dietary cleanses, staying up on their health, making sure their meals are ultra-nutritious, or enhancing their diet with natural supplements so the body can work more efficiently during emotionally intense periods. When all else fails this Moon sign is often comforted by a bout of cleaning and/or organizing; there is something Zen about filing, alphabetizing, labeling, or generally making things tidy/more efficient. Keeping to-do lists and/or day planners in place to help manage the day-to-day details is quite helpful for them when stressors arise.

Libra Moon: Tends to bounce their feelings off others for validation; a partner or BFF for example – it’s comforting for them to feel like others are in agreement with their sentiments.  Libra Moons try to be on an even keel emotionally and don’t like to be ruffled, so they favor a bit of pampering to help them relax and get their feathers smoothed back down.  Generally speaking, they may tend to focus more on others’ feelings rather than their own and may need to re-orient a bit to consider what they themselves need in a given moment.

Scorpio Moon: Experiences their emotions intensely and as a result can sometimes stew over or bury their emotions. Often very insightful in an emotional context; may need to unpack their complex feelings with a trusted confidant or therapist with whom they are allowed to puke up whatever unpleasant ruminations may have been bothering them without judgement. They need to vent to take the edge off any raw feelings so these don’t fester from being left unattended. Scorpio Moons are emotional alchemists; able to turn lead into gold – especially when dealing with dark or turbulent feelings.  Encourage them to dig into the root of what’s bothering them without fixating on things they can’t control and help them to feel empowered.

Sagittarius Moon: Tends to be an emotional optimist with candid emotional responses and generally feels a need to look at the bright side of things in order to cope.  Keeps emotional perspective by putting their feelings into broader context and looking at the grand scheme of things – hey, it could always be worse, right?  This truth helps them choose to exist in a feeling of gratitude, even in emotionally difficult situations and they are often comforted by a belief that everything happens for a reason.  Does not tend to experience emotion in a “small” way – big feelings make for frank emotional responses and they are nothing if not honest about their feelings.  May be comforted by faith/prayer.

Capricorn Moon: Is inclined to be reserved, mature, and serious when it comes to their feelings.  The Capricorn Moon can be a bit pessimistic but also rational, realistic, and pragmatic when emotional.  While it can be challenging for them to open up, this Moon sign will figure out a plan for how to manage their feelings and may find comfort in productivity; via taking care of business or finding solace in a sense of accomplishment.  Has a habit of slipping into “Boss Mode” and trying to control what can be controlled when upset.

Aquarius Moon:  Aquarius Moons tend to have highly variable and rather unpredictable emotional responses; detached, aloof, and “I don’t care” on one end of the spectrum and yet suddenly and surprisingly emotive on the other end.  This Moon sign often seeks out comfort through friends and/or online communities, or sometimes in taking space just to breathe. Doesn’t tend to require touchy-feely comforting in the traditional sense, but does need social stimulation and will tend to crowd-source opinions regarding whatever is bothering them within their social spheres.

Pisces Moon: Highly sensitive creatures apt to need time alone to process their feelings.  The Pisces Moon can be flooded with emotion which may be experienced as confusing to them, so retreating to get quiet with themselves in order to tap their inner guidance is helpful.  Otherwise, they can be rather suggestible/impressionable and absorb others’ feelings.  May seek comfort in a bath/shower, a yoga class, in meditation/prayer, or in a bottle/pill/other “substance”- the latter is ill-advised however, as it only functions to numb out their emotions.

03/08/19

Saturn In Capricorn Sextile Neptune In Pisces: “Adult” Sacrifices

Though we’re now through the first round of the Saturn/Neptune Sextile and its influence will continue to dissipate in the immediate short-term future, we do have two more hits of this energy coming in 2019 so it’s important we continue discussing this energy and what it brings to the table.  Over the last month+ you may have noticed any or all of the following themes coming to the fore in your life, but in addition to what we have already covered regarding this astrological alignment there’s also an aspect of voluntarily surrendering to the yolk of responsibility and making some very “adult” sacrifices somewhere in our lives; partly because we know we “should” and partly because we may see our labor as being in service to an even more important/monumental goal of some kind.

For example, one way this could play out might be through logging in some serious community service hours for free because it looks good on our resume, or maybe because it helps us get our foot in the door in the social services department of a nice secure government job somewhere.  It doesn’t have to play out exactly this way mind you, but there is a very real sense of there being some kind of deferred “payoff” arising from whatever mature sacrifice we might be called to make during this sextile that is both altruistic and yet strategic; something that both serves our 5-year plan AND helps us feel good about our reasons behind whatever we’re giving up.  This oblation has a definite purpose; whether we might see it as a Divine lesson or model (ex: In the spirit of following the teachings of Christ or perhaps another Ascended Master of our choosing), a means for the absolution of difficult karma, or perhaps because there may be a higher or more more spiritualized goal/calling we’re answering by giving something up now.

The point is we are likely to be called to give something up this year – it could be a goal, it could be a dream.  But this is *NOT* defeatist; make no mistake – far from it!!  It’s something purposefully done out of humility, out of a desire to be used in service to Divinity’s Master Plan, and there is indication of a reward for doing so.  Granted this is more of a delayed reward scenario, but Saturn’s gifts are always tangible; especially when it traverses dense and material Capricorn. If you’re sitting there waiting for Divinity to throw you a bone, how about you try reversing your stance and throw Divinity one instead? Don’t resist giving up what you think you *should* be giving up; the tighter you hold when you should be surrendering, the less in alignment with this energy you are and thus your chances of reaping a favorable reward are greatly reduced by staying stuck in this setting during 2019.  Remember, to sacrifice is to make sacred; what would you sanctify through the act of necessary relinquishment this year? While this series of sextiles continues to play out (next hits are in June & November!) it’s time to stop putting it off and suck it up, buttercup; bite the bullet & get on with it instead of trying to postpone the inevitable. You’ll look back on it later and be glad you did.

02/14/2019

The Jupiter/Neptune Square: “Religion Is The Opiate Of The Masses”

Opium poppies.

As the incoming square between Jupiter in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces continues to tighten up (perfecting for the first of three rounds on January 13, 2019), there certainly is merit in discussing the above quotation because this alignment very much affects spiritual matters…among other things. The sign of Sagittarius and the planet Jupiter are associated with organized religion; Pisces and Neptune spirituality as well as “substances” – you can see, then, how the above quote resonates with the energy of this astrological alignment.

In dissecting the above statement it’s important to state right out of the gate that it’s actually paraphrase of a longer quotation by philosopher Carl Marx; one that has been oversimplified and lacks context.   On its face, this would seem a rather critical statement about religion as a whole in comparing its effect to that of a drug.  Now this perspective can be true from the POV that belief – and specifically when we start getting into the territory of delusional belief – can cause us to suspend judgment and impair our critical thinking.  This may be true of religion, but it may also be true in the political arena as well (which is also and not coincidentally associated with Jupiter and Sagittarius); just look as the vast and apparently endless pitchers of toxic Kool-Aid being swilled in mainstream politics today.  *glares directly at Climate Change Deniers et al*  

In such cases we often surrender our (good) judgement and substitute it for someone else’s (a religious leader, a political pundit, etc.) because hey; that’s what true faith’s all about, right???  But what happens when the person to whom we’ve entrusted our faith has a cockeyed moral compass; isn’t that how cults become *a thing*???  When religion (or for that matter, politics) would dull our senses and have us have us turn a blind eye to things like moral incongruity, it is indeed A Problem; a huge one, much like an opiate addiction.  And this is most definitely something I expect to see a lot of in 2019 while Jupiter in Sagittarius square Neptune in Pisces dominates the astrological scene.

That said, the full statement by Marx via his “A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right” is as follows and it’s much richer than the oft-quoted soundbite:

“Religious distress is at the same time the expression of real distress and the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness”.

In reading the full context, one gains the impression that Marx is at least somewhat sympathetic to people’s attachment to religion.  He appears to look at it as a symptom; much in the same way an opiate temporarily relieves suffering but doesn’t make the underlying root cause of the pain suddenly vanish. He appears to view it as medication, but also emphasizes that in his view for people to be truly happy it’s important to ditch the crutch of religion.  Additionally is important to note that religion can also have the capacity become an instrument of oppression when it’s used to induce submission to an external authority; being comatose with dogma certainly makes people much easier to control when one’s intentions aren’t honorable.

Setting Marx aside for a moment, I do believe anything we use as a crutch only hobbles us from achieving our true authentic potential as human beings and there is merit to learning to stand on our feet without the aid of whatever that happens to be. That said, I’m not necessarily comfortable classifying religion as a crutch – this in my view amounts to painting with too broad a brush.  I feel that – with the context of a proper anchor/safe container – faith can play a major role in our soul’s development and do not wish to bash organized religion because there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all when it comes to spirituality – Different Strokes for Different Folks; Live and Let Live & all of that jazz.   But as this square hits, there is most definitely is merit in looking critically at how our beliefs are or aren’t supporting us and certainly questioning them for the sake of ensuring they’re not doing us more harm than good.  The Neptune/Pisces influence distorts things, and when we apply this to Conservative, religious Jupiter/Sagittarius we have to be particularly careful regarding anything around which we might tend to be evangelical. While this is true more broadly as well, do understand as these two planets square off that religion and politics in particular can indeed be super potent drugs when we go overboard.

01/02/2019

Saturn Conjunct Pluto In Capricorn: Nihilistic

“On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero” Unnamed narrator, “Fight Club

It’s been a while since our last discussion of the Saturn/Pluto Conjunction; a major incoming astrological alignment coming to a theater near you in January 2020.  But I think it’s about time we resumed coverage seeing as it’s only about a year away now.  In understanding the essence of this energy and its many manifestations, the above soundbite seems to so perfectly set the tone for this vibe. And make no mistake; this *is* – by definition – some dark and heavy energy we’re dealing with here, so this post will not be a light read.

Before I proceed, let me clearly state the above quote most certainly isn’t in any way alluding to the Saturn/Pluto conjunction signifying some kind of mass extinction event; rather, it’s a statement meant merely to be illustrative of this conjunction’s ability to 1) acknowledge ugly – or perhaps even grim – realities and 2) crunch the numbers in these sorts of scenarios. Ideally, the latter leads to the formulation of some kind of “plan”.  Prevention, of course, is the best plan; focusing time & energy how to stop things from ever getting to that “worst-case” scenario.  But sometimes we don’t always have control over the outcome – such as the inevitability of time marching on regardless of our finite lifespans – which can lend itself to the adoption of a nihilistic slant.

Setting that angle aside for just a moment,  speaking of what we *do* have control over, an important keynote of upcoming Saturn/Pluto conjunction regards how this energy is a qualified expert at crisis management – Saturn in Capricorn is the quintessential “Executive” archetype for a reason (able to respond well under pressure, architects plans, pragmatically lines things up & puts them in order, and is superb at controlling/managing/delegating). Pluto energy, however, catastrophizes.  Pluto is where the proverbial crap hits the fan – it represents powerful and often destructive forces over which we have no control; save our response to those circumstances.  Merge those two energies and you have someone who reliably and consistently keeps it together when things are going to pot; just ask the kids born circa 1982/83 (preferably the Scorpio or Capricorn Suns/Risings) how they do “crisis management” – they were born with a Saturn/Pluto conjunction in their natal chart.

Now regarding the Saturn/Pluto Conjunction’s potential nihilistic slant, this combo is very Nietzsche-esque in a sense for a number of reasons.  For one, the “will to power” that so much of his philosophy was founded upon – the psychological drive for ambition, achievement, and reaching the highest possible position in life – is so very Saturn/Pluto mashup. Saturn in Capricorn is ambition & achievement in spades while Pluto symbolizes power & the compulsion of unconscious drives. For two, Nietzche’s own thoughts on nihilism (coming to us from “Will to Power”) were as follows:

“Nihilism is…not only the belief that everything deserves to perish; but one actually puts one’s shoulder to the plough; one destroys”

Putting the shoulder to the plow and doing the work is very Saturn in Capricorn, while the destructive principle is once again symbolized by Pluto. When we think of true nihilism, we commonly think of it within the context of a destroyed sense of purposefulness; unless that sense of purpose is to destroy. (Are we seeing shades of Tyler Durden here yet?)  Nietzsche’s views on the subject of nihilism were intriguing – he saw it as both inevitable and as a means to and end: The “Ubermensch”.

“I praise, I do not reproach, [nihilism’s] arrival. I believe it is one of the greatest crises, a moment of the deepest self-reflection of humanity. Whether man recovers from it, whether he becomes master of this crisis, is a question of his strength. It is possible….”

This statement is incredibly resonant when contemplating the Saturn/Pluto Conjunction; a “great crisis” (Pluto), deep self-reflection (Pluto again; it loves to make us look at our own Shadow), the mastery (Saturn) of crisis (Pluto) being a question of his strength (Saturn). What I find hopeful about this, though, is Nietzsche does seem to think it possible.  It is my astrological opinion – at least as we simultaneously face down the barrel our Pluto Return in government-oriented Capricorn here in the USA – that as this conjunction perfects there might just be a place for some degree of political nihilism; the notion that we have to scrap and rebuild the very framework of a broken, compromised democracy and construct an “Ubergovernment” upon superior, more functional foundations. Along a similar vein, collectively we’ve seemed to hit peak Dysfunctional Patriarchy; patriarchy of course being closely tied to paternal Saturn and Pluto symbolizing the corrupting principle.  I truly hope the current socio-political nightmare is enough to provoke deep and lasting collective self-reflection upon what got us to this point and that it is – as Nietzsche postulated – a catalyst for serious and lasting transformation for the better.  One can certainly hope, anyway.

12/28/2018

When Saturn Met Neptune

Or rather; when Saturn meets Neptune, I should say – yes, this post is a reference to the upcoming sextile between Saturn in Capricorn and Neptune in Pisces that is in the process of activating for the first time as we speak!  Though Round 1 of this cosmic alignment doesn’t perfect until the end of January 2019, it will be felt weeks before and after it peaks and it’s beginning to kick into gear now.  You may recall from our previous discussions on this topic there are two more hits of this vibe that will occur in June and November of 2019, but setting these particulars aside for moment let’s talk about what else we can anticipate with this vibe on-scene.

Since Saturn arrived in Capricorn about this time last year, it may have felt like a grind for many of us under this super hardworking vibe.  Yes, we’re productive.  Yes, we’re getting our shit together.  But the hours may have been long, we might have significantly more responsibilities than we’ve previously had in our lives, and we’re generally inclined to get stuck on one setting under this vibe: TCOB Mode.  Needless to say while this energy *is* useful, it’s not exactly what you’d call “fun”; Saturn in Capricorn = hardcore “adulting”.

But something awesome happens when this planet slips into supportive alignment with relaxing, restorative Neptune in Pisces: We ease up.  Neptune in Pisces affords Saturn release and escape; as they always say there’s not enough hours in the day, so why waste them all on workaholism when it doesn’t matter anyway?  For goodness sake, even God rested on the 7th day; why can’t we??  When Saturn in Capricorn synergizes with Neptune in Pisces, the rigid structure of our timelines, plans, and life goals start to soften a little bit so the hard edge comes off and we’re not so freaking uptight and on-deadline all the time.  Yes it’s OK to slack a little bit, because busting your hump 24/7/365 simply isn’t sustainable.  Loosen your necktie; maybe live a little and go business casual for a change.  If you can’t remember the last time you had a day off, call in sick.   Neptune in Pisces gives us permission to take the time off we’ve earned and just sleep in or have a day where we don’t get out of our PJs because we’re binge-watching movies or our favorite TV series on Netflix.

If Saturn in Capricorn is all about control and having things in order, Neptune in Pisces is all about surrender and letting go of the need to have everything all lined up and squared away.  When these two celestial bodies link up as they are about to next month, it’s OK to tap out if/when we’re tired and take 5.  It’s fine not to bust our butts at work for a boss who – when (s)he sees how hard we’re working – just “rewards” us with more work; sometimes there’s merit to pretending a task is more challenging/taking us longer than it is so our competency and efficiency isn’t treated like slave labor.   What’s the sense in burning ourselves out for an imaginary carrot (a raise, promotion, etc.) that we have no tangible proof even exists? It’s OK to throttle back and coast a bit where we can under this energy – we’ll have plenty of time to resume O.D.-ing on Saturn in Capricorn’s ambition when it‘s *not* in helpful alignment with Neptune in Pisces; particularly once it joins up with the South Node (Sept 2019) & then Pluto (Jan 2020).  But for now, maybe figure out when you wanna pencil in time to take that breather.

12/17/2018