May 5, 2017: Grand Earth Trine

IMG_6496Astro-Happenings: May 5, 2017.

Blink hard, and you may miss this one…but for part of today, the Sun, the Moon, and far-distant Pluto will line up in a configuration known as a Grand Earth Trine. Trines are usually thought of as pleasant relationships that form between Planets as they go careening about the sky. When three of them step up so as to form an actual triangle in this Grand Trine fashion, then the effects can ramp up considerably. It can feel like three distinct sets of capable, cosmic hands are all working in unison toward some excellent goal. Grand Trines are believed to bring harmony and apparent good luck with them when they manifest, so most Astro-minded people tend to welcome them.

This one involves the three Earth Signs: Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn. Do you have any important placements in these Signs in your own birth-chart? And if so, are these placements in the 15-20-degree range of those Signs? If you can accurately answer “yes” to both of those questions, then this fleeting but powerful development may really make itself felt in your corner of the world today.

And even if you have no Earth Sign placements in that vicinity, you may still feel some of this energy. The Moon moves fast, and it will break ranks from this formation by the close of biz today, thereby dissolving the Grand Trine, but while it holds, be aware of any new happenings in your own Earth-centric affairs: career, money, health, family, home, and possessions are all possible hosts for this Grand Trine activity.

Despite the quickness factor, this could be large-scale action, too, as it involves both the Sun and the Moon, which are two of the grandest and most primal symbols in all of Astrology. They’re also joined by Pluto, an exceedingly intense energy with ties to such heavily loaded concepts as sex, death, the occult, great riches, transformation, rebirth, and extreme power dynamics. So some very big lights will shine briefly on some very dark subject matter today, but in ways that work well for all of the energies involved…and hopefully for all of us, too, down here where those energies will be touching down.

What do you want to transform in your life today? How do you want to transform yourself? What Earth-business of yours would benefit from some Phoenix-style rebirthing? Put some effort into making these changes today, and the Universe may throw its weight behind yours. It may not be easy, and it may be frightening, but you have a lot of light at your disposal at the moment to help show you the way…

Mosh-Pit in Aries Today!

The Sign of Aries serves as host for several travelers today, as the Moon, Mercury, and Uranus all congregate there. The Moon is especially quick, and Mercury is no foot-dragger, either, so this configuration won’t last for very long. But what does this particular set of celestial circumstances mean for you?

For one thing, it will most likely mean a lot more if you have anything situated in that stretch of Aries in your own birth-chart. Check also for placements around the 25-degree mark of any of the other Cardinal Signs (Cancer, Libra, Capricorn).

But even in the absence of any such placements, we all might feel certain thematic winds blowing today in general. First, you need to look at what the Planets involved are all about. The Moon has to do with our emotional core, and our instinctual selves. Mercury is our communication function, and the more logical/rational parts of our consciousness. And then there’s Uranus: the urge toward newness and individuality. Uranus is a tricky one to predict, because by its very nature, it’s often about the unpredictable. It fires up without warning, spits out a lightning bolt or three when activated, and then settles back down into apparent slumber, always ready to deliver a jolt of change just as we’re focusing on something else.

And remember that this meeting is happening in the passionate, impulsive, conflict-ready Sign of Aries. It’s not a coincidence that this Sign is associated with the Ram, an animal designed by millions of years of evolution to run head-on into shit as its favored means of progress in the world. And when Planets wander through Aries, they tend to do their work in decidedly Aries-flavored ways.

Mix all of those notions together into a sort of conceptual smoothie, and what do you get…? There are plenty of possibilities, but but here are a few… We may all be called to face some intimidating and possibly unusual issues around communication right about now. Simply facing up to the challenge may be more important than whatever the eventual outcome might turn out to be. The only real failure is in refusing to take the test.

We might also find our linear left-brain and our chaotic right-brain working together in a rare show of synergy, delivering up profound insights and epiphanies that can pay dividends for days, weeks, or even months to come.

Be on guard, though, against impatience and quick tempers. Bullying might rear its ugly head for a minute or two, and reversals of fortune might be on the menu for some.

Mainly, since Uranus is involved, this could be a fantastic time for working on your own process of individuation. How can you become even more the unique being that you came here to be? What makes you so spectacularly…you? Uranus wants to help you to be that, but even more than you have been. Strip away the homogenizing layers of Papier mâché that the world has mummified you in during the course of your life, and access that fabulous weirdo underneath. Be brave about it – be Aries about it! – and the Universe may lend you its support…

New Moon in Taurus (Wednesday – April 26)

The New Moon looms, in the Sign of Taurus, the Bull…

This Wednesday, the 26th of April, marks the occasion of our next New Moon. In sharp contrast to Full Moon moments – when the Moon is as large and bright and majestic in the nighttime sky as she ever gets – New Moon occurrences are remarkable for the total absence of a visible Moon. The sky can’t really get much darker than it does during these intervals.

And it’s for this very reason that people often find it as useful and empowering to perform rituals to mark the New Moon as it is to commemorate a Full Moon. One approach is to make use of that yawning black abyss up there above us by releasing things into it that are no longer serving us. The operating theory is that if we can hold forth those thoughts, emotions, unhelpful behavior patterns, and self-defeating bits of programming that we carry around with us, then that staggering void up there may snatch them from our trembling fingers, and disperse them across those light years of vacuum, effectively nullifying them for us. In essence, the result is like somebody deleted some unsatisfying text from the documents of our lives…

This particular New Moon takes place at about 6 degrees into the Sign of Taurus. Take a look at your chart to see if you have anything located there. Check also to see if you have anything situated at or near the same degree of any of the other Fixed Signs: Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius. For example, my own natal Sun lies in the 4th degree of Scorpio, which qualifies as being opposite this particular New Moon. This set of circumstances says that I might be likely to feel this New Moon to much greater extent than somebody with no such placement in their chart might feel it.

But even if you have no Planets making direct relationships with this New Moon, that doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily be completely immune to its effects. It can still be worthwhile to address an event like this with ritual and meditation.

So what does a New Moon mean when it happens specifically in the Sign of the Bull…? Taurus is an Earth Sign, and in particular, it has associations with concepts such as the body, sensual pleasures, simplicity, material belongings, and a love of beauty and serenity.

Are there things in these areas that you could let go of at this time to your benefit? Such things might include poor dietary and exercise habits, self-recriminating body images, a need to place too much or too little emphasis on money or possessions, bursts of laziness and procrastination, and maybe plunging too deeply into hedonism (or not plunging deeply enough?). If you can perceive any of these issues within yourself right about now, then this New Moon could be the perfect opportunity to release them into the Universe to be repurposed as more helpful energy elsewhere. Reclaim some of your bandwidth this Wednesday evening under the blackest of skies, and start fresh on the things that really do matter to you…

Pairing Tarot Cards By Using Astrology

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Are these two cards secretly bonded…?

Over a century ago, there was this group of mystics in England who called themselves the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (often shorthanded by us modern types into just the “Golden Dawn” or even the “GD”). Their work still pervades almost every corner of present-day Tarot, and one of the more interesting things that they accomplished was the creation of a system of occult correspondences that mapped a semi-staggering amount of symbols onto Tarot.

Want to find the four seasons or the four primary compass point directions in Tarot? The GD paired each one with one of the four Tarot Suits. Care to work with principles drawn from Qabalah? You’ll find that the GD has Tarot and the Qabalistic Tree of Life gloriously intertwined. Do you prefer working with various plants and animals? The Golden Dawn got there ahead of you, pairing all manner of flora and fauna with different cards.

They also worked with Astrology. If you study your Astrology, you’ll come across this notion called Planetary Rulership. The idea is that each Planet “rules,” or exhibits a very powerful affinity for, one or two of the 12 different Zodiac Signs. The GD employed only the seven visible “Planets” in their system, but modern Tarot people have since woven in some of the bodies that humanity discovered after the creation of the telescope (notably Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto).

It occurred to me that we might pull some real value out of a careful inspection of the card that the GD paired with each Zodiac Sign and the card that the GD paired with the Planetary Ruler of each of those Signs. Surely there must be some enlightening connections running between each pair, right?

Here are the the GD astrological associations marrying each Planet or Sign to one of the Major Arcana cards (and I’ve added in the three “modern Planets” name-checked above):

Zodiac Sign

Major Arcana Card

Ruling Planet

Major Arcana Card

Aries The Emperor Mars The Tower
Taurus The Hierophant Venus The Empress
Gemini The Lovers Mercury The Magician
Cancer The Chariot Moon The High Priestess
Leo Strength/Lust Sun The Sun
Virgo The Hermit Mercury The Magician
Libra Justice/Adjustment Venus The Empress
Scorpio Death Pluto Judgement/The Aeon
Sagittarius Temperance/Art Jupiter Wheel of Fortune/Fortune
Capricorn The Devil Saturn The World/The Universe
Aquarius The Star Uranus The Fool
Pisces The Moon Neptune The Hanged Man

Because Astrology to this day still doesn’t have a completely neat and efficient system of Planetary Rulership such that we enjoy a one-to-one set of correspondences – i.e., we do not yet have a system in which each Planet rules one Sign, with no Planets doing double duty and no Signs having more than one Ruler – we see a couple of Planets, and therefore a couple of Major cards, being referenced more than once here.

Specifically, astrologers still credit Venus with ruling both Taurus and Libra, and Mercury is deemed to rule both Gemini and Virgo. This state of affairs then lends itself to the possibly mistaken impression that – within the context of this exercise that I’m trying to undertake here – the cards associated with Venus and Mercury (The Empress and The Magician, respectively) are somehow more important or more influential than any of the other cards in the Major Arcana.

Then again, if we were to rejigger the distribution of associations somehow, by, say, relieving Venus and Mercury of their added Rulership burdens, we’d solve one problem, but in doing so, we’d be creating another.

By way of example, let’s say we decide to usher in a couple of additional entrants into the category of what we consider valid astrological Planets. There’s some support among modern astrologers, for instance, in viewing the Planetoid called Chiron as maybe working as the modern Ruler for Virgo. Cool…

But what if we wholeheartedly endorse that assignment, and bump Mercury from Rulership of Virgo in favor of Chiron? That does eliminate the double-presence of Mercury and The Magician card in the mix here that we’d been facing…but we don’t have a card to represent Chiron at all. The Planetoid wasn’t discovered by humanity until decades after the Golden Dawn had peaked in its activity and influence and then basically subsided. So reworking the system like this would mean that for one thing, we wouldn’t be able to examine a given birth-chart’s Chiron placement through the filter of Tarot, because no card is available to serve as Chiron’s Tarot-y stand-in.

And we have another issue. Part of the appeal of working with the chart above is that we have the opportunity to study the pairs of cards created in each row of the table. It feels likely that if the astrological associations are on point, then we should be able to find some real value in the synchronicities and synergies flowing within the pairs of cards that are formed when we line up Sign-analogues with their matching Ruling Planet-analogues.

To illustrate, if Aries is ruled by Mars, then we should be able to find some fairly deep and illuminating connections when we look at the Aries card (The Emperor) and the Mars card (The Tower) together, right? And it’s not hard to make this work at least to some extent. It’s pretty arguable that a good Emperor, along the road to Empire, will be tasked with toppling a Tower or three…or conversely, that in the wake of a Tower-crash, there will be a considerable need for an Emperor-figure to step in and take command of the rubble-clearing and rebuilding efforts. Some resonance between these two cards is there if you look for it. In some of the cases, that resonance may be even stronger than this, and in others, it might demand a bit more effort on our parts to see it (or…manufacture it, even…?).

But look at what happens to The Hermit if we do replace Mercury with Chiron as the Planetary Ruler of Virgo. Instead of looking for connections between The Hermit (the Virgo card) and The Magician (the Mercury card), we’re left with trying to analyze The Hermit with a Chiron-analogue card that doesn’t exist. We have no Major card that Tarot people will agree is “the Chiron card.” So The Hermit will basically be swindled out of having a card-partner to play off of in this analysis. And if we try to address this shortcoming by simply declaring one of the Majors to be that Chiron-analogue card, then we’re back where we started…because if we give each Zodiac Sign a distinct and unique Ruler, we have 24 astrological symbols to capture (12 Signs plus 12 different Planets), but only 22 Major Arcana cards to do the capturing, and we’ve already assigned astro-symbols to all of them. Admitting a Chiron or a Juno or a Black Moon Lilith onto the playing field will just create another case of a card appearing twice in our table in the same way that The Empress and The Magician are appearing twice now.

img_6031But so with that one nagging issue in mind, it might still prove to be a worthwhile exercise to run through the table above one row at a time, and see if you can squeeze some new insights out of the operation. Do The Chariot and The High Priestess actually share some previously unguessed at but informative connective tissue running between them that might help you to better understand these two cards, or to more helpfully work with them in readings? Do The Moon and The Hanged Man have some enriching observations to make about each other that you’ve never noticed before…?

Try taking a few minutes to ponder each row’s pair of cards, and see if you come away with any new understanding that had been escaping your notice until now…

RWS and Thoth: Anubis!

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It’s easy to focus on all the differences that separate the RWS and Thoth decks from each other…but it also pays to celebrate the similarities once in a while, and to remember that Waite and Crowley both came up through the ranks of the Golden Dawn, and both loved a lot of the same source material.

For instance: Egyptian Mythology! It’s so interesting to see, for instance, that the great jackal-headed psychopomp and Underworld figure, Anubis, actually appears “on-screen” in both decks. Waite has him appearing in the Wheel of Fortune, while Crowley showcases him in The Moon…and as someone who has a huge amount of respect and affection for Anubis, I’m happy to see him in both of these outlets!

Astrology/Tarot Mapping: The High Priestess

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The astrological symbol that you’ll most often find people holding forth as a correspondence for The High Priestess is the Moon. And that’s understandable in part because in the highly influential Rider-Waite-Smith deck, The High Priestess wears a headdress that’s evocative of the three phases of the Moon, and she also has a large crescent Moon sitting on the ground right next to her feet. She’s literally adorned with Moon imagery from top to bottom. So visually speaking, there’s plenty of basis for associating Moon –> High Priestess.

In conceptual terms, this attribution also isn’t doing too badly. In Astrology – as in many other fields of thought – the Moon is seen as a sort of symbolic representation of the Great Feminine…or better yet, how about we call it the great Yin (as compared to the Sun’s Great Yang)? The astrological Moon captures many Yin principles: receptivity, reflection, instinct, intuition, our emotional core, our reactive self, the subconscious. And on the face of it, all of these things can pretty well arguably be said for the High Priestess card, too.

So what’s the problem? Well, my only problem with this particular attribution is the fact that there’s another Major Arcana card that makes even more sense as a correspondence for the astrological Moon. And that card would be…The Moon! The Tarot community as a whole tends to map the astrological Sun onto the Sun Card in Tarot, so what madness prevails such that we wouldn’t similarly tie the Moon to the Moon card?

That of course leaves us with the question of which astrological symbol we would then link to The High Priestess if we did take the Moon elsewhere…and I have no perfect answer. One of the Water Signs, maybe? The Water Element itself (although that gets tagged to The Hanged Man, which feels like a pretty good match, actually)? The Nadir/Imum Coeli? Maybe space itself – the void between Stars and Planets? Suggestions welcome…

Tarot: Gateway Cards, Part 2

IMG_4675A few days ago, I posted about this notion of The High Priestess serving as a sort of “Gatekeeper” who can allow passage through her pomegranate curtains to worthy seekers, where they will then suddenly find themselves in the landscape of the Moon card.  We talked about this in the Tarot Toolkit course, and one of the students – Mike (@magickmike7 over on Instagram) – asked the very astute question about whether other cards might similarly serve as Gatekeepers.  We were specifically talking about the Justice card, as that’s the only other Major that also features a central character sitting in front of a curtain.  Mike theorized that maybe passage through the Gateway of Justice would lead you to the realm of the Sun card, which is a suggestion that has its merits, for sure.

For my part, though, I landed on the notion that maybe Justice leads through into…Judgement.  I have three main reasons.

1) Both cards feature titles and concepts that have found their ways into our society’s legal arena.  Justice and Judgement are both terms and ideas that populate our judicial system.

2) Justice in Tarot is often about balance…and a balanced approach is arguably necessary in dealing successfully with the kinds of upheaval that can beset a person undergoing the processes symbolized by the Judgement card.  Just as The High Priestess might bar the gate and force people to take the long way to The Moon if she’s not satisfied that they can bear up under its energies yet, maybe Lady Justice similarly forces pilgrims to travel by the long path to Judgement if they don’t yet show a solid enough grasp on balance.

3) In Egyptian Mythology, when you die, you’re greeted at the entrance to the Underworld by the great God, Anubis.  He holds a set of scales – just like those of Lady Justice – and tests your heart to see if you qualify for either eternal afterlife or total deletion from reality.  In other words, if you get past his application of a very Justice-style evaluation, you’re ready to deal with a new phase of your existence, post-“death”…much like the figures emerging from coffins in the Judgement card might be poised to do.

Just some musings aloud, inspired by Mike’s great question.  Answering thoughts are most welcome!  #tarot #tarotcards #tarotcommunity #tarotreadersofinstagram #tarottoolkit #tarottip #divination #cartomancy #justice #judgement #Anubis #highpriestess #moon #ladyjustice #indigokyanite #crystal #metaphysics #metaphysical #esoteric #occult