Limited Time Only – Special on Birth-Chart Interpretation

Birth-Chart Interpretation SpecialIn the spirit of the springtime season that’s now touching down around us here in the northeastern US, I’ve decided to run an Astrology special that should help to usher in positivity and fresh growth.

For the next 10 days, until the month of May lands, I’m offering birth-chart interpretation sessions at a full one-third off! This 33% discount means that for a 60-90 minute interaction (by Skype or in person if you’ll be in my geographic area), instead of the usual $75 USD, sessions will cost only $50 USD!

Your birth-chart is a profoundly meaningful document that serves as a sort of wiring diagram of your psyche. Understanding it more fully is a lot like being handed the User’s Manual for your own self. Become better equipped to pitch your efforts in life at being exactly who and what you were truly designed to be, instead of flailing away at things that don’t align with your true nature.

If you’ve been feeling unsatisfied with your lot in life, then a better grasp on your birth-chart may be part of the solution! CONTACT me today to set up your session!

Understand Pluto by Understanding Persephone…

Somber Hades, Lord of the Underworld, and his three-headed Hellhound, Cerberus…

Yesterday, I posted HERE about Pluto’s impending turn retrograde, set for tomorrow. I talked a little bit about what Pluto signifies in Astrology, and I also held forth somewhat about what retrograde periods might mean when they decide to settle in around us.

Today’s post is more purely aimed at fleshing out the specific character of Pluto.

So this is a Planet that was named after the Roman God of the Underworld. And while it might be a bit uncharitable to the Romans and their Deities to say this, most of the Roman Goddesses and Gods seem like barely updated versions of the earlier Greek Deities. Jupiter, the King of the Roman Gods, with his mighty thunderbolts, feels a lot like Zeus, the King of the Greek Gods…with his mighty thunderbolts… Mercury, the Roman Messenger-God with his winged sandals and magic caduceus-staff is the spitting image of Hermes, the Greek Messenger-God, with his winged sandals and his magic caduceus-staff… You probably get the picture.

But even though the Greek incarnations came first, it somehow transpired that we humans named the Planets of our solar system after the Roman versions of these mythic figures. You know the names: Venus, Mars, Saturn, Neptune…

And Pluto is no exception in all this: the Greeks had an incredibly similar Lord of the Underworld named Hades, but we named our far-distant, planetary system-mate after the Roman version. Still, it can be very instructive to examine one of the primary myths about Hades to understand more about the role that the Planet Pluto plays in Astrology.

This image has always made me think of Persephone before Hades arrived on the scene – she’s carrying on her mother’s agricultural work, but not looking especially passionate about it here, and is maybe wondering if there might be something more for her out there…

To tell this particular story about Hades, though, is also to relate the story of Persephone, a young Goddess who would have a fateful encounter with the gloomy Lord of the Netherworld (whose nature would eventually be mapped onto our icy Pluto)…

So after the generation of Greek Gods known as the Olympians ascended to power, an age of growth took hold. The Olympians settled in to rule, and various species flourished down on the earthly level. One of the Olympians, Demeter, assumed the role of Goddess of Agriculture and of the Harvest, and so control of all green and growing things became her province.

Demeter was often helped in her agrarian efforts by her daughter, Persephone. An innocent and beautiful young Goddess-girl on the cusp of Goddess-womanhood, Persephone seemingly had little independence and identity of her own outside of being Demeter’s sheltered daughter.

Hades abducts Persephone – this is a great summary of what can happen to us when Pluto the Planet becomes activated…

One day, though, Persephone wandered down to Earth, and strolled about in a meadow all by herself. While there, she caught the eye of her grave uncle, Hades, who was watching from down below in his Underworld domain. Unable to fight back his loneliness and desire, Hades harnessed his chariot, raced up toward the surface, caused the earth to open up beneath Persephone, and he gathered her up as she fell, and brought her back to his dark realm below.

And as Persephone dealt with this abrupt and frightening turn of events, her mother was quick to notice her absence, and launched a frantic search for her. It took some time, but eventually, the Olympians learned that it was their own kinsman, Hades, who had abducted young Persephone. When Zeus, their King, demanded that Hades return the wayward Goddess to her home up above, Hades pointed out that while she was his guest, Persephone had eaten six pomegranate seeds…and no one living, not even the Olympian Deities, may eat of the food of the dead.

Zeus found himself caught in a real bind here, not wanting to reward Hades for kidnapping an innocent Goddess-girl and depriving Demeter of her beloved daughter, but also agreeing that the prohibition against the living eating food from the Land of the Dead was an important law that was not to be broken. He settled on a compromise: for every pomegranate seed that Persephone had eaten, she would have to spend one month per year below in the Underworld with Hades, while for the other six months of the year, she could roam Olympus and Earth as she pleased.

As is so often the way with compromises, no one was especially happy with this decision. Hades had only half of the companionship he’d been seeking, while Demeter was being forced to go without her daughter’s company for half of every year. In retaliation, Demeter declared that she would help nothing to grow for those intervals when Persephone was down below in the darkness – this is why we have the Autumn and Winter seasons each year, and why, when Persephone returns aboveground on the Vernal Equinox, we enter the warm and fruitful six months of Spring and Summer (obviously, the Greek tales originated with a society that lived in the Northern Hemisphere…).

Persephone as Queen of the Underworld: now a Goddess of great power, with tremendous influence over her husband, and the ability to inspire fear in the hearts of even the greatest of mortals…

Interestingly enough, though, while her abduction must have been fairly terrifying at the time, Persephone arguably benefitted from it. Where she’d once been little more than an extension of her mother, with no real identity and no real autonomy, Hades’ intervention transformed her into the powerful Queen of the Underworld. Almost overnight, she made quantum leaps forward in establishing a new role for herself, amassing a tremendous amount of personal power, and transforming from a young, naïve Goddess-girl to a fearsome, fully matured Goddess.

In Homer’s classic Greek tale, The Odyssey, the hero of the piece, Odysseus, is obliged at one point to travel to the Underworld, and he clearly states his desire to finish his errand and get gone back to the surface before “dread Persephone” puts in an appearance. And this was one of the greatest heroes of his time, fresh off the bloody horrors of ten years spent fighting in the Trojan War – Odysseus was arguably one of the least cowardly mortals then roaming the Greek landscape, but thoughts of even a three-minute encounter with the Mistress of the Underworld had him wanting to flee that dark place like an incontinent child…

In some tellings, Persephone even seems to become the true power in the Underworld, forcing Hades into a never-ending quest to win her forgiveness and her affections after having stolen her away from the bright, airy upper-world and the life she’d known there. In these versions of the tale, Hades spends the rest of his days in a vain effort trying to make his Queen smile and love him back.

So the point of all this is that when Pluto the Planet – named in roundabout fashion for Hades – becomes active in our lives, it’s possible that we might have to play the part of Hades himself in some dynamic. We might be called to grapple with our own long-denied hungers, to choose whether to exert our power over others, and to bump up against the limits of how much we truly value the consent of those others before we exercise our will upon them.

More likely, though, there’s an excellent chance that during times of Plutonian influence, we may in some manner be slotted to be on the receiving end of some version of the Persephone treatment. That is, Pluto energies may take us on a forced march into some scary Underworld of our own, to face whatever dwells down there in the dark. We may be ripped from our usual routines, and we may be sequestered for a time in some fairly dismal psychic locale. We may have to contend with the worse aspects of human nature, and we may have to make some truly hard choices.

But as with Persephone’s experience, the developments may not be exclusively bad here. Plutonian passages can allow for us to retrieve long-buried psychological material and then transmute it into something positive. They can also trigger profound transformation, and yield massively enhanced power and knowledge.

It’s not really possible to outrun Pluto’s influence, or to hide from the Lord of the Underworld – he comes for all of us at some point. When he does, though, what we can do is accept the challenges that these periods present us, and try to ride them through to some personal metamorphosis.

For this Pluto retrograde, you can prepare and cope by making use of such techniques as meditation, dream journaling, psychotherapy, visualization exercises, shamanic practices, and energy healing. Have faith in yourself, make wise choices about what to use as fuel during this retrograde interval, and accept that change is inevitable…but not necessarily “bad.”

Pluto Retrograde

Pluto is the Lord of the Underworld…and when Pluto gets active, all of the hidden, buried things come crawling up to the surface…

It’s been some season of retrograde activity lately here on Planet Earth. For a moment there, we were toiling under no less than four Planets that, from our ground-bound perspective, looked to be traveling backwards through space. A few days ago, on the 15th, Venus halted her retrograde ways and returned to more standard direct (= “forward”) motion, but that still leaves us with Mercury, Jupiter, and Saturn all seeming to backtrack along their usual orbital pathways.

And two days from now, on the 20th of April, cold, dark Pluto will join them.

So what does it mean when a Planet named for the Lord of the Underworld seems to cease its creeping progress around the Sun and then roll backwards…?

As you may know, astrologers generally tend to describe retrograde periods as times when the energies symbolized by the Planet in question will be more likely to manifest in our inner worlds rather than as concrete developments out in our external consensus reality as they normally might.

In the case of Pluto, we’re often talking about deep, often long-buried psychological material emerging into the light. This can be a terrifying sort of occurrence, but it can also ultimately be very healing and empowering. Keeping a secret can often enslave us to that secrecy, and it can be profoundly liberating to expose such hidden material. Doing so then frees up all of the bandwidth that had been dedicated to preserving the secrecy.

And it’s important to note that when Pluto gets active, the secrets in question can be of the deliberately and consciously kept variety, or they might be things that are hidden even from the person doing the hiding. Humans can display astonishing powers of denial and suppression. Sometimes this happens due to concerns revolving around self-protection: for example, someone might suppress memories of traumatic experiences simply so they can continue to function in the wake of the trauma. At other times, people can bury thoughts, emotions, and memories in the depths of their psyches due to triggering pressures such as guilt, fear, shame, or doubt. Might it not be better in the long run, though, to deal with such issues in a conscious manner rather than letting them fester in the darkness, where hidden things tend to patiently bide their time, while growing in potency and influence…?

It’s very often true that when we don’t deal with our issues…our issues deal with us. And when they do, at times and places of their choosing, it’s a pretty safe bet that we won’t enjoy the results.

In addition to “hidden stuff” in general, Pluto can also symbolize intense power dynamics, transformation, intensity, issues in the realm of sexuality, and at times, great wealth.

So when Pluto turns retrograde, we enter intervals of time during which all of these themes may turn inward. We may be invited to descend into our own internal Underworlds, and confront our own inner demons. We may have to face parts of ourselves that we fear or despise. We may need to identify self-imposed blockages and other unhelpful programming that we’ve taken on over the years. We might have to come to terms with certain threads of darkness that lie within us. It’s also possible that this is an opportunity to acknowledge and embrace aspects of our own power that we’ve been denying or avoiding. In some cases, this might even be a chance to bring about some remarkable transformation within ourselves.

But whether the overall effect is one we might label “positive” or “negative,” Plutonian events are generally going to feel heavy, stark, intense, and often frightening. Taking an active hand in their development, or at least recognizing their approach and bracing for them, can be helpful techniques in dealing with them.

And as always, it’s a good idea to see where the event is occurring as related to your own birth-chart. This Pluto retrograde will be happening at about 19 degrees into Capricorn. Do you have anything at or near that location in your chart? Or do you have anything at around the 19 degree mark in any of the other Cardinal Signs (= Aries, Cancer, Libra)? These are the places where this particular event will deliver its strongest impact. Also, if Pluto is naturally strong in your chart, this retrograde may make itself felt in your life.

Pluto moves very slowly as compared with the other Planets in our solar system, so its retrograde periods last for some time. This one will remain in effect until September 28th. Until then, it may be good policy to tune in to your own internal worlds. Meditation, recording your dreams, various forms of therapy, shamanic practices, and naked honesty with yourself about yourself may all prove to be helpful tools in navigating this particular retrograde period.

It’s not always possible to avoid being caught in the darkness…so maybe view this interval as an opportunity for gaining some skill at navigating within it.

Neptune Disconnected…

IMG_6396It’s pretty popular in the Astrology world to talk about what’s happening among the Planets out there in our solar system. The idea is that the Planets are very visible indicators of certain invisible forces making themselves felt in our reality. If we can unravel the gist of what’s happening “up there,” then we can also transfer that analysis to the personal level “down here” to make some educated guesses at how these developments might also manifest here on the human scale.

For example, you’ll often hear about which Planets are retrograde, or which ones are moving into new Signs. Some astrologers write excellent columns about the various relationships that materialize and then fade away as the Planets continue making their forever circuits around the Sun, and what these ever-changing connections might mean for us in our daily lives.

And while it can be incredibly beneficial to get some solid astrological evaluation about what’s happening around us on the planetary level, it can also at times prove equally beneficial to take a look at what’s not happening.

Which brings me to Neptune… Named for the Roman God of the Sea, Neptune symbolizes our drives toward the mystical, the cosmic, and the spiritual. Neptune is about consciousness and transcendence, and our relationship with whatever it is that each of us might privately label “The Divine.”

You can definitely find plenty to talk about in a chart cast for this particular moment in time – several retrogrades are happening, and there are some interesting Aspects and configurations out there, like that Jupiter/Uranus/Pluto T-Square that’s been raining down power surges and bursts of weirdness for weeks now. You may also notice, though, that behind all that oddness and intensity, Neptune is pretty well detached from the planetary mix right about now. It’s not lined up in any kind of noteworthy way with a single other Planet in the system. It’s diving deep into the waters of Pisces, the Sign that most shares its dreamy, contemplative vibe, and the rest of the Planets seem content to let it submerge there as it will without any interference.

Now, this kind of occurrence, this “Planet in the penalty box” deal, isn’t so rare a thing that we all need to quit our jobs and prepare for a Rapture-level event…but it’s worth pondering for a minute or three. All Planets do go through periods like this, when the peculiarities of differing orbital velocities take one of them into a “time out” sort of moment in some semi-disconnected patch of sky…but what do these periods mean? The presences of strong Aspects generate the overwhelming majority of astrological discussions, it seems. But what do their absences say…?

In this case, I have to wonder if the message might be that we’re moving through an interval during which our access to our own spiritualities might have fallen into a bit of a blind spot. More than usual, we may be required to make a conscious effort to connect with our inner mystics, to remember that there’s more to life than what occurs on the material plane, and that our relationships with “something Higher” are as important as the ones we maintain with other physical beings down here below in consensus reality. More than ever, this might be a terrific time for putting energy into meditation or that yoga practice or working on that dream journal. Being in the here/now moment, and reminding ourselves to keep putting that intuitive right-brain to work could be in order.

All things of course must pass, and if you just wait a few days, some of the quicker Planets will change location enough to forge new energy-bridges with Neptune. Until then, though, life may tend to take on a decidedly unspiritual tone…unless you step in and actively lend it a helpful nudge back toward the mystical. If ever a round of willful navel-gazing seemed in order, this might be that time…

ASTROLOGY TIP: Start with the Planets

If you haven’t started really studying Astrology yet…or if you have, and you feel like you’re drowning in a sea of weird symbols, and you need something to anchor yourself to…start with the Planets.

It’s easy to get all caught up in the Signs first, because for some reason, it’s the Signs that have found their way into our culture (no one at a party ever uttered a seductive, “Hey, baby, what’s your House…?”). So the Signs just naturally seem like The Thing To Do at first.

But yeah, no – start with the Planets. The Planets represent active forces. They drive the engines. The Signs modify the actions of the Planets (and other things). In an admittedly oversimplified but not horribly inaccurate analogy, the Planets are like people, and the Signs are like jackets that the people can wear. The Houses are the rooms that the people hang out in once they’ve chosen a jacket to wear and put it on.

And because Astrology isn’t complicated enough, I’ll add another wrinkle for you right here… The Signs and the Houses? You can pretty much find a consensus out there that there are 12 members in each of those two sets. You can even find a decent consensus out there as to what each Sign and each House should be called and what they each generally mean.

Wait…Ceres?

But with the Planets, it’s different. In Astrology, the Sun and the Moon are included as “Planets.” So is Pluto, unlike for the astronomers. Well…that’s true if you’re into Modern Astrology. The modern school accepts the “Outer Planets” (Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, and depending on the individual astrologer, maybe many more orbital bodies out there, too) as having vital astrological impact on the system. The traditional Astrologer, though, only tracks the seven Planets that are visible to the naked eye from Earth: the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.

 

Gas_giants_in_the_solar_system
Virtually all astrologers let Jupiter and Saturn into the party…but where do you stand on Uranus and Neptune…?

The point is…unlike with the Signs and the Houses, there’s no ultimate consensus among astrologers as to exactly which Planets are to be considered essential components of a chart. To some extent, it’ll be on you to decide that.

So, sorry for that added bit of complication and responsibility… But yes, start with the Planets! Start especially with the visible seven (at least everyone seems to agree that those seven are crucial to the mix – it’s out beyond those seven that things get scattered). I also highly recommend looking into the Outer Planets, and if you feel like that’s still not enough to fully keep you busy, explore some of the Asteroid Belt asteroids and some of the Trans-Neptunian Objects way, way out there in the dark.

But whichever ones you decide should be considered Planets…start with the Planets.

Tiwaz on Tuesday…

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As part of my start-the-morning rituals every day, I pull a single Rune.

Some people look at their Sun Sign horoscope over breakfast or coffee. More metaphysically-inclined types will even pull a single Tarot card or consult the I Ching.

I pull a Rune.

They differ in a lot of ways, but the intent behind each of these various methods is pretty much the same: we all want a taste of what the day ahead might hold for us, so we’re asking The Powers That Be.

My Rune for today is Tiwaz.

This is the Runic equivalent of our own letter T, and Tiwaz also refers directly to the Norse God, Tyr.

A fierce War-God, Tyr once knowingly sacrificed his own right hand so that his kinfolk could bind the terrifying Wolf-creature, Fenrir. The Rune is therefore all about such concepts as duty, integrity, resolve, courage, force of will, loyalty, strength, nobility, and sacrifice (especially for the greater good). Tiwaz advises us to take high roads, to be aware of the big picture, and to be impeccable with our word. When this Rune appears, it might be time to channel your inner Tyr…

And here’s another interesting tidbit about this draw: the Old English version of Tyr’s name is Tiw…and a day of the week was named in his honor. Back then, it was called Tiw’s Day. In modern times, we know it as Tuesday…

And as it happens, I’m writing this post on a Tuesday/Tiw’s Day! I have a huge soft spot for synchronicities like this when they happen.

I also like this Rune: it looks like an arrow…in flight…

Interested in Runes? I’m teaching an Intro to Runes class this Friday evening at Ascension NXT in the Providence, RI area. Message me for details if you’re interested!

Dream with the Fishes…

I’ve made it a sort of on-again, off-again practice to post about some of my weird dreams in my social media outlets whenever those dreams feel like they might have some connection to metaphysical topics…or even just a more vague but definite overall metaphysical vibe about them (you know…more so than dreams already have).

And I’ve decided that in the spirit of this being a “new year” and all, I’ll not only revive the practice, but hereby pledge to write up as many of my odd dreams as I can in 2017. Sometimes doing this helps me to pull the messages from out of them, and sometimes, I can get behind the idea that maybe the messages aren’t even meant for me – maybe I’m just the delivery system, and the messages are meant for somebody else out there. Like maybe you, for example, reading this right now…

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My piece of Shattuckite…

Before I detail my weird dream for you, it may be important to note that I sometimes like to try to affect my dream-experiences by putting a crystal under my pillow. The variety of crystal is subject to change depending on my prevailing mood and any cues I feel I’ve been getting from the Universe. Last night, I used a piece of Shattuckite that I got just a couple of weeks ago. This stone is believed to stimulate the Third Eye Chakra, thereby greatly enhancing any perceptive abilities, both sensory and extra-. People inclined to this type of thinking might say that Shattuckite can beef up your psychic input.

Your mileage may vary, but I can say that almost every time I’ve slept with this particular piece of Shattuckite under my pillow in the last two weeks or so, my dreaming has increased in both quantity (i.e., I’m dreaming more than I was in the last few weeks prior to my Shattuckite purchase) and quality (my dreams have been more vivid and more agreeable about allowing me to remember them the next morning).

Anyway, here’s what my dream-self got up to last night:

I was standing outside somewhere, possibly behind the house that I live in now, although in the dream, the weather was warm and balmy, not all frosty, and choked with half a foot of snow as it actually is as I type away at this post. There were a few other people with me, although they didn’t seem to have exact identities – no names, no faces, and they weren’t people that I know in my waking world.

As we milled about, enjoying the sunshine and the warmth, there were these large fish drifting around near us through the air. In the dream, this was completely natural.

What was not natural – even in this dream-scenario – was what happened next…

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A Barracuda (clearly not the kind with wings and fur that floats in the air and comes when you call it)…

The fish all looked a lot like the real-world creature that we call the Barracuda. They were long and substantial, and built for speed. In the dream, though, this air-version had wings that were blurred to near-invisibility like a Hummingbird’s, they had tufts of fur, and they were mostly colored a deep, rich, striking shade of blue that doesn’t happen too often in nature out here in consensus reality.

And for some reason, I got it into my head to try to call one of the fish over to me, even though I knew in the dream that these were untamed creatures, about as likely to come when summoned by humans as a Squirrel or a Deer or a Robin would be in the flesh-world.

But here’s the weird part: the fish I was addressing floated over to me when I called it. It hovered before me, and it let me reach out and begin scratching it gently with my fingertips beneath its “chin.”

I was astounded by this, there in the dream-space, and so were my vague dream-friends, who began expressing their own various versions of astonishment while they watched me pet this floating fish.

I continued to commune with the air-fish for a while, until the dream sort of ushered me back out of it, and I woke up, still feeling the firm pressure and mass of the fish against my fingers…

And so there you have it: this morning’s edition of “Crystal-Spawned Dreaming.” Maybe some of it means something to you: the Barracuda, a flying/floating fish, a wild creature choosing to relate to a human, the Shattuckite… If so, I hope the message is a helpful one!

More weird dreams to follow as they happen… And I heartily recommend the crystal-under-the-pillow trick to any and all of you! Give it a try and see what dreams may come…