Mars/Saturn Opposition

Astro-Happenings: it’s May 24, 2017, and a Mars/Saturn opposition is taking shape…

Oppositions are Aspects that involve a Planet lining up precisely across the circle of the chart from another Planet. These relationships are believed to carry a certain amount of inherent tension. They’re very powerful connections, but the energies symbolized by the Planets often don’t want to play well together. They may even seem to set up circumstances in which they each demand attention simultaneously, but they turn out to be mutually exclusive propositions, so good luck with that.

SeesawWithKids_wbThink, for example, of that mainstay of schoolyard playgrounds, the seesaw. Only one end can be up at a given time, and when one end rises, the other one falls. This is essentially the whole point of the seesaw. Oppositions in Astrology can function along similar lines.

And as it so happens, Mars and Saturn are now moving toward that kind of perfect opposition. The moment of exact, 180-degree separation between the two won’t land until May 29, but the Aspect should be starting to make itself felt right around now, and will intensify for the next few days before it hits that crescendo next Monday.

So what can you expect from this celestial development…? First of all, as always, I seriously recommend that you hold this opposition up against your own birth-chart to see if you have any Planets or Points that will be directly contacted by our oppositional friends out there.

IMG_6545I’m providing a picture of my own chart so as to provide a strong example of what I mean by this. As I’ve indicated in the photo, transiting Mars and transiting Saturn (the real ones out there in space) will be lining up to create multiple squares with no less than four of my own natal Planets (the ones in my birth-chart). That may sound like gobbledygook when written out in English, but the accompanying image should make it pretty clear what’s happening. Squares can be every bit as tension-heavy as oppositions, and Mars and Saturn are not exactly warm and cuddly forces to begin with, so I’m bracing myself for a possibly intense week or two ahead.

But even if your situation is different from mine, and you have nothing coming specifically under fire in your own chart as these two so-called “malefic” Planets oppose each other, you might still experience some of the general feel of this occurrence. Sometimes big transits out there can symbolize something that’s so large and transpersonal that it leaks into even the charts of people who don’t have direct, Aspect-style receivers set up for it. So if that were to happen for you, what might that look like…?

Think about the two specific Planets involved here. Mars is hot and fiery, while Saturn is cold and dispassionate. Mars acts on impulse, while Saturn plans and calculates. When these two energies oppose each other, you may find yourself inclined to choose one of these Planets’s energies, and to set the other one’s aside.

Do you want to be assertive and adventurous and impulsive…or do you want to be cool and practical and patient? Do you want to crash full-tilt into things that are standing in your path…or do you want to build things up carefully from out of nothing? Do you want to be governed by your anger and lust…or do you want to be diligent and responsible?

As with any seesaw situation, you can make a conscious effort to try alternating between the two ends of the opposition: embrace your urges and your lusts for a set period, then fall back into allowing your serious, structured self to take the reins…lather, rinse, repeat…

And be especially aware that when these two Planets face off like this, one of the main recurring themes can be that of fear versus bravery. We all know that it’s possible to become overwhelmed by too much fear. Every human is undone by panic at some point in life, failing to do what needs to be done because the rising fear wins out over the sense of duty. It’s also just as possible to feel too little fear: the annual Darwin Awards are an ongoing catalog of people who aren’t nearly nervous enough when contemplating absurdly risky actions.

This Mars/Saturn oppositional period may well be inclined to throw multiple tests of courage your way. If this happens, try to remember to take a deep breath, and to look at the situation from both sides of the fear spectrum. It may be tempting to commit totally to one end or the other, but pure fearlessness probably won’t serve you any better than pure fear will.

Take an honest look at your own responses to the circumstances at hand, and assess whether those responses are in line with the amount of fear that the situation truly demands. If you’re veering too far toward the Saturnian end of things, you may be feeling more fear than the scenario warrants…but if you’re being too Martial, you may not be feeling enough of the valuable kind of apprehension that keeps us from picking up our own dubious Darwin Award. Discretion/valor ratio analysis is highly recommended as a coping tactic here – for the next week and change, go out of your way to pick your battles very, very well…

RIP Chris Cornell – Hygiea Happenings

 

 

1024px-Chris_Cornell_Montreux_Jazz_Festival_2005
Rest in Peace, Chris Cornell…

It’s about 95F here in Providence today. My windows are up as I write this, so I keep hearing cars rolling by along the busy street outside, and many of them have various Soundgarden tunes blasting from out of their own open windows. This seems fitting enough, as the band’s frontman and primary songwriter, Chris Cornell, passed away last night of causes as yet unknown. I didn’t care much for Soundgarden in their early days, but I became a fan as they evolved, and I saw them live in concert twice in the ’90s, so this event saddens me…

While awaiting further details of Cornell’s passing, I found myself compelled to look at his chart to see how the transiting Planets out there in the system had lined up against his natal versions of them just as his current Earth-walk was drawing to a close.

A word of caution: Cornell’s birth-time isn’t known, so I used noon in order to generate a chart for him. However, while this method is generally solid in terms of determining which Planets were in which Signs for a person at their time of birth, it negates any reliability with respect to the Houses…

astro_24gw_196_chris_cornell_2017518.65119.26799With that said, though, because I was investigating health concerns, I included the Asteroid called Hygiea. I’m not usually a huge proponent of using the Asteroids – we have plenty to work with as it is, just using the major Planets – but I’ve found over time that Hygiea definitely seems to spawn many unlikely synchronicities whenever I work her into the mix, whether that be in my own chart or in the charts of friends, family members, and clients. I was curious here to see if Cornell’s natal Hygiea was on the receiving end of any noteworthy Planetary energies at the time of his demise.

Here’s what I found:

Transiting Uranus was making an extremely tight sextile with Cornell’s natal Hygiea – so tight, in fact, that it was only a scant few minutes off from an exact 60-degree difference. Uranus can often symbolize sudden and unexpected developments.

Transiting Chiron – another health-related symbol – was about 1.5 degrees away from forming a perfect square with Cornell’s Hygiea. Squares can be friction-filled relationships, so when two health-centric bodies square up, the outcome could easily spell gloomy results for a person’s overall wellness.

The Moon’s South Node was less than three degrees off of an exact trine with Cornell’s Hygiea (which means that by definition, the North Node was the same distance away from a perfect sextile). When the Nodes get busy, karmic energy can come home to roost.

Finally, transiting Saturn was lined up in almost perfect opposition to Cornell’s Hygiea. Like squares, oppositions speak of tense dynamics, and Saturn symbolizes a rather demanding force that serves to test and temper whatever it touches. In this case, one possible interpretation is that it was Cornell’s wellbeing that Saturn was focusing on.

That’s quite a heavy burden of precise and pitiless Aspects! When you factor in Uranus, Chiron, the Nodes, and Saturn, you do not get a recipe for a good time. This mix speaks instead of shock, health concerns, and karmic bills coming due. And this does all feel like a handful of concepts that may well be on point with respect to the sad and early demise of Chris Cornell.

I’ll be watching for more details of his death, as I remain a fan, impressed with the man’s words, and with the voice that delivered them to the rest of us. And in the meantime, I, too, will be blasting Superunknown from my open windows.

RIP, Chris Cornell…

 

Astrology and Your Health

Medical_Zodiac-Man_(detail)If you’ll be in the Providence, RI area tomorrow, and you’ll have your lunch hour free, you might consider stopping by The Empowerment Factory in Pawtucket. I’ll be giving a FREE one-hour lesson on how to go about discovering what Astrology says about your own health profile.

I’ll be discussing which symbols in Astrology have the strongest ties to notions of health, and how to connect some of this up with your own unique birth-chart. I’ll also be touching on the sub-field of study known as Medical Astrology.

More information about the session can be found HERE.

Full Moon in Scorpio

IMG_6515This is the chart for tonight’s Full Moon. This one is happening in the intense and sometimes scary territory of Scorpio. The chart points out a few interesting facts about this event.

For one thing, Pluto – the Planet that we humans named after the mythological Lord of the Underworld – will just happen to be located near the very bottom of the chart at the exact moment of the Full Moon. This seems like a fitting place for an Underworld God to be. Pluto is said to “rule” Scorpio, and anything in it, which would include the Moon during this passage, so Underworld vibes may be abundant this evening (and for a day or two on either side of the Full Moon). Pluto is also making a very agreeable sextile connection with the Moon, suggesting that the energies represented by these two symbols will be ready, willing, and able to work together in agreeable and potentially exciting ways.

With the Ascendant in Libra and a packed Seventh House, themes of partnership are also being pinged with some real enthusiasm during this Full Moon. Libra – the seventh Sign – and the Seventh House both have much to do with important one-on-one relationships. It could be that the grounding presence of the right partner may be exactly what you need to inspire you to not only descend into your own personal Underworld, but also to then find the strength within yourself to make the wearying climb back up into the light.

Uranus and Mercury are teaming up in the bold Sign of Aries to lend us courage if we embrace these strong partnerships. Honest communication will be key, and that Uranian input may result in oddity: odd partners, odd interactions, oddness welling up from within ourselves. If things get strange around this Full Moon, you can maybe take that as a Sign that you’re especially plugged into this one, and that you’re right where you need to be.

With the Lord of the Underworld himself encouraging a visit, and the light of the Full Moon to guide you and keep you safe, you have a fantastic opportunity for descending into the depths, retrieving something you stashed away down there in the dark a long time ago, and carrying it back up top so you can reclaim it and integrate it into your psyche. Your partner can’t travel down to the nether-regions with you – these are journeys we have to make by ourselves – but take comfort in the fact that the right partner will always be standing by, ready to help you in any way possible. Have faith in your partners…and have faith in yourself.

Happy Full Moon in Scorpio!

May Astrology Highlights

A few days late with this, but get your month of May Astrology highlights video report here!  I recorded this with a fantastic local group called the Thrive Tribe, with more of these videos planned.

They also run some great workshops, classes, and other events at their space, so if you’re in the Providence, RI area, you should get yourself acquainted with them and start showing up at a few!

 

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.

The Four Elements in Astrology

I tend to preach a fair amount about the classical Four Elements of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. I think it’s a really important system in metaphysics that can be extremely helpful in getting a handle on various other symbols.

For example, if you know that two Signs of the Zodiac are both Fire Signs, and you know the basics of what Fire is all about, symbolically-speaking, then you’ll understand that these Fire Signs will share some common traits. They’ll also have their definite differences – Aries is not the same thing as Leo, and neither is interchangeable with Sagittarius – but it’s a fair bet that these Fire Signs will be concerned with the energetic level of existence, and they’ll share themes of a Fire-y nature, such as passion, will, adventure, charisma, possibly anger issues, maybe lust issues of some kind, and the management of life-force itself.

Elemental associations for the Signs are pretty well-known, sometimes even to non-astrologers (they may not know exactly what these associations mean, but it’s not uncommon for a non-astrologer to at least be able to report the fact that their natal Sun lies in, say, a Water Sign…).

Here’s how those associations play out along the Zodiac:

Sign

Element

Aries

Fire

Taurus

Earth

Gemini

Air

Cancer

Water

Leo

Fire

Virgo

Earth

Libra

Air

Scorpio

Water

Sagittarius

Fire

Capricorn

Earth

Aquarius

Air

Pisces

Water

As is usually the case, though, the Houses are less acknowledged and understood. Just like the Signs of the Zodiac, the 12 Houses are also assigned associations with the Four Elements. You might notice a pattern developing here:

House

Element

First

Fire

Second

Earth

Third

Air

Fourth

Water

Fifth

Fire

Sixth

Earth

Seventh

Air

Eighth

Water

Ninth

Fire

Tenth

Earth

Eleventh

Air

Twelfth

Water

The same sequence of Elements that repeats itself three times over as it runs alongside the Signs – Fire, Earth, Air, Water – does the same exact thing next to the Houses. If you can memorize that F-E-A-W sequence, you’ll have a handy mnemonic device for keeping all of these Elemental associations pinned down…and you’ll also then have a pretty great wellspring of basic meanings to draw from as you do your chart interpretations.

It can be really informative to get a sense of which Elements are emphasized in a given person’s chart, versus which ones are kind of thinly represented.

Heavy emphasis on an Element can indicate great skill with the business of that Element…but it might also flag the possibility of over-reliance on that Element. If you have a platoon of Planets placed in Water Signs and Houses, you might be terrific at the stuff of Water, such as emotions and romance and mystic/psychic phenomena…but you might also tend to be a dreamer, a space cadet, an addictive or escapist type, or a slave to your feelings. And you might have a tendency to try to force everything into a Water-y context, even when that’s not an especially helpful thing to do.

On the flip-side, when an Element is underrepresented in a chart, it can signal a decided unfamiliarity with that layer of life, a discomfort with it, and maybe blind-spots in your ongoing experience of the world. A person with few Water placements at all may have trouble understanding their own emotions or dealing with the emotions of others. This person might also be clueless about romance, or they might lack imagination.

Here’s a simple exercise you can try out so as to see if Elemental analysis resonates for you as a valid technique… Look at your own chart. Make a table, and then tally up your own Planetary placements one at a time. For each Planet you’re tracking, tally its Sign and House Elements. For example, if you have your natal Venus in Cancer in your Eleventh House, then this Planet is in a Water Sign and an Air House. Run through the Planets and record each result. When you’re done, take a look at:

  1. What’s the Elemental breakdown for the Signs in your chart?
  2. What’s the Elemental breakdown for the Houses in your chart?
  3. What’s the Elemental breakdown when you add them all together?
  4. Do the results feel like they map accurately onto the you that you know?

For that last question, just take an honest look at yourself. Say that through this exercise, you discover that your chart shows that you have a preponderance of Air energy and maybe very little Water. A breakdown like that could easily translate to you being very intellectual in your approach to life, while possibly being a bit emotionally detached (that is, you lead with your brain, not your heart). So you’d then need to really examine the question of whether or not that description does accurately apply to you…

You shouldn’t feel pressured to make this the cornerstone of your practice or anything…but working with the Four Elements can add a lot to chart analysis. It can also be especially helpful when you’re in the beginning stages of learning: Astrology is complex, and getting a lock on four symbols (the Elements) is much easier than learning 12 (the Signs), another 12 (the Houses), or all 24 of those at one go.

Fire, Earth, Air, Water…Fire, Earth, Air, Water…Fire, Earth, Air, Water…