Sun/Jupiter Trine

IMG_6556“A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.”

To borrow from The Simpsons, Jupiter embiggens stuff. It makes things larger. Jupiter brings expansion and growth with it, along with an optimistic outlook. If you’re having a party or a fundraiser or – any event at all, really! – then you probably want Jupiter there.

And here’s some good news: in two days (on June 3), Jupiter, from its current location in Libra, will be forming an exact trine relationship with the Sun in Gemini. Air Sign energy abounds! Look for the next week or so to be a semi-extended opportunity for growing your own true self, especially through the Air business of communication, social interactions, words, symbols, language, ideas – brain-centered work.

And given the harmonious feel of a trine relationship, this work may not even feel much like work. You may need only to get out there and gab – speak your truths, listen to what other people have to say, and it may seem that the Universe wants to do the rest.

Noted American poet Theodore Roethke once captured the essence of this feeling:

A lively understanding spirit

Once entertained you.

It will come again.

Be still. Wait.

It seems Roethke was right, and that spirit has come back around again… So how do you want to grow right now? Where in your life would you like to see some expansion? How can you better feed yourself the specific nutrition that you, as a very unique being, require…?

Put it all into words this week, and thereby embiggen yourself!

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…

Jupiter Opposing the Sun…

IMG_6399Seeds… They’re like little treasure chests full of concentrated life-force. If you take good care of them – if you plant them in good soil, feed them, water them, keep them free of weeds and pests – they will respond with surges in growth and vitality. These two results seem to go hand in hand, and it’s even possible to sometimes think of growth and vitality as being the same thing.

Growth and vitality are not exactly interchangeable synonyms, though. They’re often linked, and each can lead to the other, but they’re not identical.

It’s possible to have an increase in growth without a corresponding increase in vitality: consider what happens when cancer cells begin to grow unchecked in an unwitting host body. In a case like this, there’s mad growth for a while, for sure, but overall vitality in the system takes catastrophic hits, often to terminal degree.

And on the flip-side, it’s also possible to witness a rise in vitality without there necessarily being any new growth. Think here about someone making a strong recovery after some illness or mishap had confined them to bed for some extended period of time. Our hypothetical sufferer bounces back in tandem with a steady rise in vitality…but they don’t start growing simply because they got more lively. No one ever shucked off a full body cast after lying almost dormant in it for 8-10 weeks and then grew a foot taller upon rising to greet the world again.

Which brings us to Jupiter and the Sun.

In Astrology, symbols always have multiple meanings. Each symbol’s meanings are generally related to each other, but it’s virtually impossible to sum up any given Planet or Sign or House with a single keyword, not without leaving a bunch of equally applicable and necessary keywords lying on the cutting room floor. Attempts at this kind of intensive nutshelling can lead to fairly drastic and potentially misleading oversimplification.

So having said that, please allow me to oversimplify anyway…

Among other concepts, Jupiter represents growth. When Jupiter gets activated, things tend to expand.

And then there’s the Sun. Among its allotment of symbolism, the Sun embodies the concept of vitality. Just as the real Sun is the source of all life here on Earth, the astrological Sun stands for anything that causes a spike in our life-force.

Why does any of this matter?

As I write this, it’s a Wednesday – the 5th of April. Out there in our solar system, from our point of view, it appears that Jupiter and the Sun are moving into positions such that this coming Friday, they’ll achieve perfect opposition. That is, if we were to look straight at Jupiter during the next few days, then the Sun would be directly behind us, and blocked from view by the Earth itself. The reverse would also be true: if we were to gaze toward the Sun in the daytime during this period, then Jupiter would be at our backs and screened from us by the bulk of our own Planet even if we were to turn around in a full one-eighty.

An opposition arrangement like this generally tells us that the two opposing Planets’ energies will be making a very strong sort of circuit with each other…but those energies may not integrate all that easily. In the opposition, specifically, the resulting dynamic is often a lot like a seesaw in a schoolyard playground: you can’t lift both ends of it at the same time.

So for the next several days – peaking on Friday and then lasting for a couple of days afterwards – it may be the case that you’ll be furnished with some real opportunity for both growth and vitality. The downside of this is that it may also seem that the two things are mutually exclusive at this time, so you can have one, but not the other.

Oppositions can be frustrating. They can make you feel like you’re stuck in a boat with two big leaks, but only one free hand available for doing any plugging.

With Jupiter tightly opposing the Sun, you may get the sense that attending to your growth will sap your life-force. Is it good to grow if doing so makes you feel sickly?

Or you might feel that working on your vitality and doing whatever energizes and enlivens you right now will undercut your ability to grow. Is it helpful to work on boosting your sense of well-being if that work prevents you from growing?

Another possible effect here is an apparent duel between faith in something greater than us (a Jupiter concept) and faith in ourselves (Sun business). Does embracing one necessarily mean abandoning the other? Not always, no, but it may be difficult during this period to feel any other way, and it may seem that the Universe around us is delivering this message with some vigor, too.

So what can you do when two usually happier and more positive Planets are foiling each other’s efforts to brighten your existence? The trick with most oppositions is to treat them like that schoolyard seesaw: lift first one side, and then the other. Breathe deeply, and repeat. You can’t lift both sides of the seesaw at once, remember…and for the lion’s share of the week ahead, you probably won’ be able to both enjoy growth and to stoke the flames of your life-force at the same time. First work on one…and then tend to the other. Making a conscious effort at doing this may pay large dividends for you.

This particular opposition will remain in effect until around the 11th, when the Full Moon in Libra ushers it offstage with a classy overture. Until then, good luck riding the seesaw!

Astrology and Romance…

IMG_4186The other day, I taught an Astrology workshop focusing on what birthcharts can say about a person’s romantic potential (you know: Valentine’s Day and all…). We leaned mainly on the personal Planets and the Ascendant, and off to one side, I tallied up all of the Sign placements in the attendees’ charts, because I’m nerdy like that, and because I thought it might be illuminating to see which Sign-energies might be most likely to propel people out into the cold to try to improve things in their romantic spheres…

Q: Care to guess which Signs were the most represented?

A: By a very wide margin, it was the Signs of Virgo (first place) and Leo (very close second) that topped the polls here. Not a gargantuan sample size, and only one event in one geographic locale studied here, but still interesting (he says, with his Mars in Virgo…).

Astrology 101: Planetary Rulerships and Connections Among Houses

Here’s where we finally circle back around to the technique that I hinted at when we looked at the concept of Planetary Rulership a few posts back in this series…

I’ll start by refreshing that notion of rulership… Each Planet has a special affinity for one or two of the Signs – astrologers will say that the Planets “rule” these Signs with which they share these affinities. For example, the Moon rules the Sign of Cancer…the Sun rules Leo…Mars rules Aries… When placed in a Sign that it rules, a Planet can then perform its functions with a sort of enhanced purity and power. Such placements tend to take on added significance in a chart.

This table lays out the most commonly used modern rulership assignments:



Modern Planetary Ruler

















Pluto (traditional Ruler = Mars)






Uranus (traditional Ruler = Saturn)


Neptune (traditional Ruler = Jupiter)

We can also take this concept a step further, and use it to spot subtle but definite connections between various Houses. This works in one of two ways:

1. Cusp to Ruling Planet. Start by looking at the Sign that lies on the cusp of any given House that interests you (remember that the cusp is just the line that divides the House in question from the House that came before it).

Travel the chart of a traveler: Amelia Earhart's H9 cusp (1) lies in the Sign of Sagittarius (2)...Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter (3), which lies in her her H9 affairs are powerfully connected to her H5 experiences and vice versa...
Travel the chart of a traveler, House cusp to Planet: Amelia Earhart’s H9 cusp (1) lies in the Sign of Sagittarius (2)…Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter (3), which lies in her H5…so her H9 affairs are powerfully connected to her H5 experiences and vice versa (4)…

Let’s use vanished aviator Amelia Earhart as our example in all this. Since it’s the Ninth House that contains our experiences in the realm of long journeys, it might be interesting to examine H9 in the chart of this renowned world traveler.

As it turns out, Amelia Earhart’s Ninth House contains no Planets. As we’ve already discussed, this likely just means that the evolutionary, karmic business that she came into this lifetime to work on was happening in other arenas in her life…

But so how do we proceed here…? Remember that as we discussed in previous posts, even with no Planets to guide us in interpreting the workings of a specific House, we can still get some information about that House by studying its cusp. Here, Amelia Earhart’s H9 cusp lies in the Sign of Sagittarius. This is a Sign brimming with explorer-type energy, so it lines up extremely well with the House of Long Journeys. This Sign and this House are almost like two units in a set of matching luggage.

And here’s how we use the rulership technique to acquire a bit more applicable data… The Sign of Sagittarius is ruled by the Planet Jupiter. The idea here, then, is that the affairs of the House that has Sagittarius on its cusp (H9 in this example) will be connected to the affairs of the House in which Jupiter resides. In this same chart, that would be Ms. Earhart’s H5: the House of literal children, metaphorical “children” (the things we create), and joy in general. So we might conclude that some of Amelia Earhart’s truest joy (H5) was bound up in her long journeys (H9)…and possibly also that her long journeys (H9) served for her as “children” of a sort. She had no biological offspring of her own, but maybe each long journey was, for her, like a work of art that she crafted and brought into being (H5)…

2. Ruling Planet to Cusp. We can also work in the opposite direction. That is, we can start with any Planet… Next, anticipate that the House in which that Planet lies will be connected to the House whose cusp is located in the Sign that the same Planet rules.

Here’s another example from Ms. Earhart’s birth-chart that will hopefully make that more clear…

Same chart, Planet to cusp: Saturn (1) in Amelia Earhart's H7 rules Capricorn (2)...Capricorn in this chart contains the cusp of H10 (3) Ms. Earhart's H7 and H10 share a profound connection in her life...
Same chart, Planet to House cusp: Saturn (1) in Amelia Earhart’s H7 rules Capricorn (2)…Capricorn in this chart contains the cusp of H10 (3)…so Ms. Earhart’s H7 and H10 share a profound connection in her life…

Let’s pick one of the Planets that resides in her H7, the House of Partnerships. One of these is Saturn. There are other Planets in this House, but let’s keep this simple for now, and focus only on that one. Saturn happens to rule the Sign of Capricorn…and in Amelia Earhart’s chart, Capricorn contains the cusp of her Tenth House, which is the House of career, public reputation, the person’s mission in life.

This connection then implies that Amelia’s primary partnerships were inextricably linked with her life’s work, and her life’s work had major influence on her primary partnerships – probably more so than for most people. We know that her husband (an H7 partner) had to accept that their marriage would in many ways take a supporting and subordinate role to Amelia’s career (H10) as a famed aviator: she kept her own surname after they were wed, she refused to halt or even slow her work following the union, and he eventually ended up working in a flight school that she established in California. Meanwhile, her chosen career (H10) determined who quite a few of her other primary partners (H7) would be in her life (mostly drawn from her field of aviation). Again, we can trace connections flowing between two Houses due to this principle of Planetary Rulership connecting them.

So the technique here says that we can look at any House in a chart, and that House will be significantly connected in the life of the chart-holder to whichever House contains the Planetary Ruler of the Sign that lies on the cusp of that initial House that we were analyzing.

One last note… Sometimes you’ll find a Planet residing in the Sign of its own rulership. For instance, in Amelia Earhart’s chart, her Sun lies in Leo – the Sign that it rules – in her Fourth House. On the one hand, this doesn’t allow us to link her H4 affairs with another House in the chart using the technique described above…but on the other hand, it does tell us that H4 affairs were most likely of highly magnified importance in her life.

It can be easy to get a bit lost in this technique once you start to explore it. One House will lead you to another, to another, to yet more Houses… As you experiment with it, though, you’ll start to get a feel for when it can grant you valuable new insight, versus when it just has you scattering your energy like a cat chasing a laser-pointer’s red dot. Try playing around with it, and if you feel like it’s providing some helpful information, you can add it to your toolbox, and if it’s just distracting you, you can set it aside for later, or even discard it and focus on other techniques…

Blood Moon/SuperMoon Eclipse

"Her pictures don't do her justice..."  I'm no master of the camera, and I had no tripod to keep things steady while the shutter stayed open, so my humble efforts don't capture the full and glorious spectacle that went on up in the sky earlier tonight...
“Her pictures don’t do her justice…” I’m no master of the camera, and I had no tripod to keep things steady while the shutter stayed open, so my humble efforts don’t capture the full and glorious spectacle that went on up in the sky earlier tonight…

Hopefully, you all got to drink in the sublime sky-show that we were privileged to see this evening…  This was the first time during one of these so-called Blood Moon events that the Moon did actually look to be tinged with red from where I was watching.  It was really something to behold…

And if you’re into Astrology, eclipses are thought to foretell intense and often sudden changes or revelations.  These occurrences can be difficult, but they can also lead to growth and transformation.  You may want to take note that at the time of tonight’s eclipse, the Moon was at roughly 5 degrees Aries, while the Sun was directly opposite at 5 degrees Libra.  If you have any Planets or Points (Ascendant, Midheaven, etc.) in the 0-10 degree ranges of either of those Signs, or in the same ranges in Cancer or Capricorn (the other Cardinal Signs), you may be especially tuned in to the effects of this particular eclipse.  Take a look at your chart to be sure!

And if you missed the eclipse, take a look at some photos posted online, too, as it really was something to see…