Saturday, September 16, 2017

My Very Busy Mercury Meets Mars in Virgo Day

The busy part started almost as soon as the conjunction had taken place.  There was a soft knock on the door from one of the neighbor children.  It was Crystal, wanting to play with a puzzle.  About 40 minutes later there was another quiet knock knock.  This time it was Millie.  Millie and Crystal are cousins and they are both in first grade.

We read some, played with puzzles and then Crystal asked if they could draw, so we got the paper and coloring pencils and markers out. 

At about 5:50 Millie said we shpuld go look for the sun.  We looked at the orange moon ball through eclipse shades and Millie danced around.  She danced a lot today, in between trying to jump on the pogo stick and swinging the hula hoop around her waist.

We went inside and the girls drew some more.  We talked about mothers.  They said they wanted me to be their mother.  I said ok.  They each gave me a peck on the cheek.  After a while I said I was tired of being the mother it was someone else's turn.  Crystal said she would be the mom.

About 20 minutes later there was another polite knock.  "I am tired," I said.   I was on the couch with my feet up watching the girls draw pictures to make a book.  "Ooh!  Crystal you should annswer the door since you're the mom!"

"Ok!" And she went to answer the door.  It was Millie's brother Jesus.  Their mom wanted to know where Millie was.  Next thing we had Eduardo knocking.  He is in 3rd or 4th grade.  He has big sweet eyes and walks like popeye.  Eduardo is the youngest brother of 5 boys.  Then finally came Millie which is short for Milagro which is Spanish for miracle since they finally had a girl.

It is cool to watch them all filing down the street to the bus stop in the mornings with their mom.

The boys made origami with big pieces of paper.  When it was almost sunset the girls and I went back out.  "You have to stand still in one place so you can see it moving.  Can you see it going down behind the trees?"

"Yes!"  Crystal could see it.  But Millie was dancing and running in circles with the eclipse shades. 

"Let me have those.  I'm afraid they'll get broken."  Mean mom, but they were too happy to be bothered.

Then they played on the monkey bars.  At one point Crystal had left the house crying.  She cried at the big oak tree in the front for a minute and then went home.  Jesus taped Millie's pages togther to make a book.  I taped Crystal's pages together and took them to her house.  Her mom was outside --her aunt and cousin were visiting.  I showed them the pictures Crystal drew and translated the words she wrote into spanish,  I told them about how I got to be the mom and then Crystal was the mom.  Crystal kept opening and peeking through the front door and then going back inside.

As I was leaving she came running up behind me wanting to come back and play some more.  We finished the book we had left off reading earlier and then watched the sunset as I described earlier.

Then a friend stopped by to visit while Millie and Crystal were outside blowing bubbles.  After a little while I asked them to go home so I could visit with my friend.  Crystal did not want to go.  She pouted.  But Millie put her bottle of bubbles inside and offered to take Crystal's.  Millie announced that she was going home and Crystal followed her. 

I had a short visit with my friend and then she left to go to a birthday party for a friend who is turning 50.

It was a really special day.  I wondered what it would be like, Mercury catching up to Mars in Virgo.  Every one was so well behaved.  Any time one person said something out of sorts another person improvised a response to smooth things over.  I congratulated the girls when they came to an agreement on sharing the eclipse shades.  They thought it was perfectly natural, but I was amazed and delighted.

Now a friend is calling!  More fun!  What a wonderful way to celebrate this very Virgo day.

Mercury looks like Venus with a little Moon hat.  It is right beside Mars, the circle with the arrow.  They are at 7 degrees Virgo.  Virgo is the green m with a little cross through the end of it.  You can see it on the top of the chart circle on the right.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Microscope to River

Going from chart to ephemeris is like looking at a drop of water under a microscope and then going down to the river to see the running body of water where the sample was extracted. 

The chart fixes a moment in time/space and magnifies it.  Today I am anticipating the moment Mars overtakes nearly stationary Mercury tomorrow morning.  It will be 5:37am in Raleigh.  The last image in this post shows a chart from Astrodienst for that time and place on our planet.  Much of the information in the chart can be found in the Sept 3 row of the 2017 ephemeris.  Before the chart there are 2 screenshots of the Sept 2017 section of the ephemeris (also free from Astrodienst).  The first shot is a wide view showing the dates and location of Sun, Moon and Mercury at midnight UT. 

UT is the 21st century version of Greenwich Mean Time.  In the process of going from coordinating train schedules to coordinating cell phones, the time engineers have made a few upgrades.  For our purposes though, it is safe to think of Universl Time as GMT.

The 2nd shot zooms in on the Mercury -Mars columns.  You will have to count the dates from Fri Sept 1 at the top to Tues Sept 5 when Mercury turns from retro to direct.  You can see that the numbers are decreasing from 29degrees47minutes to 29degrees16min Sept 1.  They decrease a bit less Sept 2 from 29d16m to 28d51m.  In other words Mercury regresses 31m Sept 1, and 24m Sept 2.  The numbers tell us Mercury retro is slowing down.  

We are at the creek (not exactly a river, but the flowing body of water I will visit when I finish this post to see how it is running after last night's big rains) looking at the oncoming water to see how fast it is moving before and after it passes a patch of rocks and debris.  Mercury will change direction as a leaf trapped in a whirlpool exits and continues toward the distant sea.  Or we can compare the decrease in Mercury's motion  to the slower running creek after the rain has washed to lower ground. Any allegory that comes to mind is a good place to start.  We are just looking for ways to feel welcome and relaxed purusing those  long columns of numbers in the ephemeris.

We won't consider here why the actual planet Mercury is changing direction; that's an exercise we can save for a future session of contemplation.

We looked at Mercury slowing down, now let's hop over the Venus column to the Mars column and find where Mars will overtake slowing Mercury.

Midnight UT Sept 3 

Mercury 28Leo51......Mars 28Leo29

Midnight UT Sept 4

Mercury 28Leo35......Mars 29Leo07

From the above figures we can deduce that Mars goes from 22m behind Mercury Sept 3 at 00hr to 32m ahead of Mercury  at 00hr Sept 4.  So we know Mars passes Mercury on the ecliptic highway sometime about halfway between those two times.

Since we are only astrologers and not math whiz computer programmers, we will have to guesstimate and get charts from Astrodienst check our guesses.  

First we want to make the terminology of time more familiar by converting UT time to local time.  Since we are 5 time zones west of Greenwich we know it is 7pm Sept 2 in Raleigh when it is midnight Sept 3 in Greenwich England..  Next we convert 7pm standard time to 8pm daylight savings time.  Converted to local time, our guess is halfway between 8pm Sept 2 and 8pm Sept 3. 

So I have a chart for 8am Sept 3 Raleigh.  You can see Mars 6 minutes ahead of Mercury in the 12th house.  I got a few more charts up and zeroed in on 5:37am, the last chart for this post.  You can see Mars and Mercury a bit lower, under the eastern horizon reflecting the earlier Raleigh time.

The chart for Mars meeting Mercury is like the micrscope sample, taken from the creek right when and where a floating stick was passing the aforementioned leaf in the whirlpool.   In the chart we see not just where the planets are along the ecliptic at midnight 00degrees longitude.  We get to see how the planets along the ecliptic appear from a specific spot on Earth at the moment in the 24hour period that Mars passes Mercury. 

And then....if we turn from the microscopic view of the chart back to the running creek view of the ephemeris, we can see that the leaf/Mercury will catch the stick/Mars Sept 17.  

If you have followed this post and made sense of the relationship between the numbers in the ephemeris columns and the ones in the charts, congratulations !  You have accepted one of the challenges associated with Mars meeting Mercury!

Thanks for trudging through this post.  I am on my way to the creek. 


Friday, September 1, 2017

The American Ephemeris

The hardest working book in your library.

There are free ephemerides on line- I have several 10 year ephemerides downloaded on my phone from Astrodienst.  They take about 500kb memory, a lot less than a photo.  These are fine for looking up info for specific dates.  But, ultimately you want to enter sustained contemplation of longer cycles, such as Saturn's meetings with Pluto, which happen about every 35 years. (Oct 1914, Aug 1947, Nov 1982, Jan 2020)

The American Ephemeris for the 20th Century and the American Ephemeris for the 21st Century are essential references for gaining a sense of familiarity with these historic cycles.  You need to be able to flip back and forth within 200 years worth of daily data while reading about modern historic narratives. 

This morning I was thinking about the north node cycle and Hitler's appointment as German Chancellor.  I opened The American Ephemeris for the 20th Century to Dec 1931 when the NN backed from Aries to Pisces and followed the German empire rebuilding trajectory through the end of WWII.  I was able to easily back up to the Saturn Pluto meeting at the beginning of WWI, when Germany invaded Belgium.  I could hop from consideration of those two cycles, North Node and Saturn/Pluto, to thinking also about Saturn meeting Uranus in early May 1942.

With more data to ruminate on organic time your attention is distracted from emotional responses to history and drawn into deeper consideration of the delicate web of cause and effect that reaches before tetrapods emerged from the salty sea.

We are less than 3 years from Saturn meeting Pluto.  Right now Saturn is 21Sag and Pluto 17 Capricorn.  So every month the Moon lines up with marginalized Pluto just 2 days after meeting sober Saturn.  It also means Pluto rises every day less than 3 hours after Saturn.  The  punches of life's grim realities are coming closer as the 2020 meeting approaches.

I used to read about people in war zones and wonder how they could sanely survive under such chaos.  I wonder how I would survive, how I would stand up as a responsible citizen in such situations.  The one answer that often comes to me is that chaos does not errupt from out of the blue, unless we make a concerted effort to ignore its existence.

Revolutionary change is often near to hand and we naturally adjust to its approach as all life forms do.  Do we think of ourselves as Herculean individuals charged with Olympian tasks, or do we take time out, while we are able, to contemplate the waves of change that we fear or struggle to hasten.

Today's chart shows Saturn near the red Sagittarian arrow rising in Raleigh (left side of circle just below horizon) as the Moon meets Pluto. 

Saturn and Pluto would be lower in chart for western US location at same Greenwich Mean Time (Universal Time).

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Moon near Saturn

Can you feel in your inner world the Moon near Saturn today?  Last night I ducked committing to do a favor for a friend this morn.  I was concerned about getting enough rest before going to work this afternoon.

This morning I declined politely to contribute to the Democratic Party when a caller read her scripted appeal.

A new friend in Guerrero told me two weeks ago that she is despondent because she has no money to pay for removal of a cyst in her reproductive tract, and I was reminded of her when a relative here said she had just sent a bit of money to help out.  My only response at the time of the friend's cry for mercy was, "I am so sorry for your worries! That sounds terrible!"  And, as we said good night, ending our text exchange, "I hope you are able to get a good night's rest and feel stronger in the morn to face this challenge."

She felt despondent she said, because there was no money and noone she could turn to for help.  I did not take the opportunity to help in response to such an obvious appeal.

I'm putting the chart for the moment two weeks ago when my new friend sent the text that she was "un poco mal."  The Moon had just entered Saturn's 7th house, or Saturn's house of partnership.  Many astrologers would say the Moon was in opposition to Saturn, which to me highlights the difficult nature of partnership.  I like to use the word fulfillment; when a planet crosses the half way point in its cycle between meetings with a slower body, it is the time of harvest in the cycle of gestation, fruition, decay and rebirth.

Fulfillment of the Saturn mandate is not the miracle of fishes and loaves.  Saturn is forbidding father time, so its fulfillment is not as florid as, say Jupiter's or Venus's.  Fulfillment of Saturn is more like the inevitable effect coming from the limiting cause, or as modern educators say, 'consequence.'  When a child does not finish assigned homework and must complete the task during recess it is called a consequence.

This afternoon I go to clean for my ex husband.  It is always a bitter sweet day when I am in his home.  I treasure my time in his space, surrounded by the objects that inhabit his quiet home life, but I must keep a strong faith in the path I have taken, to make a life apart from him, and not let my mind circle on questions of why I could not be happy in the marriage. 

The Moon is near Saturn.  Unconditional love which flows from  the soul is lined up in the sign of philosophy and music with the planet of  discipline.  My husband has a good stereo and a wonderful collection of music.

As soon as the friendly plumber comes, if he is able, to fix the outside faucet I will be off to clean for my Sagittarian dream guy. 

The cool thing about Sagittarians is that by the time they are thirty they have evolved into Capricorns.  The later they are born into Sagittarius the earlier the sobering transformation.  My husband is an excellent example, for a man who drinks as much beer as he does, he is very sober and values his integrity. 

Then too we are both nearly sixty, and he was born when the Sun was near the end of Sagittarius, so it has progressed (Sun progresses 1 degree per year) through Sagittarius and Capricorn and is now working its way through austere Aquarius.

So today the Moon renews its cycle with Saturn, a new chapter begins for the soul and the limits of existence under which it labors.  The second chart is for today.  The Moon is the crescent and will be visible in the chart near the symbol of the cross over the crescent.  The cross of existence means we can only be in one place at a time as long as we inhabit our respective individual bodies.  Saturn is the cross of existence over the crescent of the soul.

If the skies are clear tonight they will be visible in the middle of the sky soon after sunset- the little dot of distant time and the growing Moon.

One last note, sometimes I do remember the small, but not insignificant percentage of earth's population that lives in the Southern Hemisphere.  While we see Saturn low in the sign of the archer, they see it high in the sign Gemini (not same as constellations), so the soul for them meets discipline  in the sign of communication as opposed to philosophy.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Sun Leads old Moon into Leo

Sun enters Leo 11:16am today (Raleigh, NC).  10:16am for our friends in Memphis, TN.  The invisible old Moon will be close behind, entering Leo at 4:34am Sunday.

Consulting our ancient mandala <<<click on link to go to zodiac mandala, locating Leo (bottom right), we see Sun rules in that sign.  While you are at the mandala take a look at Cancer on the bottom (just before Leo, going counter clockwise).  See the Moon listed as ruler of Cancer.The

So the Sun and Moon are coruling.  Ego and soul are both strong and working together.  But by Sun morn the power will not be shared so equally, for the Moon, while fun and inspiring in Leo is not in power.  These last 20 or so hours of the Moon in Cancer are like a period of nurturing preparation before the big event.

What big event?  The Sun meeting Mars in Leo.  The Sun meets Mars about every 26 months.  Each meeting happens about 2 signs further in the zodiac than the last.  For instance Sun met Mars in Aquarius during the period Hosni Mubarak was struggling to hold power in the face of thousands of protesters demanding his resignation in early Feb 2011. 

Sun is in its detriment in Aquarius.  Any planet opposite its ruling sign is in the weakest position to fulfill its mandate.  For example Venus, the planet of kindness, rules in Libra and is in detriment in Aries.  List showing planets in detriment.  <<Click on link and scroll down to 2nd list.  The list is just a more explicit rundown of rulership/detriment info in zodiac mandala.

So the big light of everyone's life ceded power to the military when Sun met Mars in Aquarius. Two years and 2 months later Sun met Mars in Aries during the hunt for the bombers of the Boston Marathon.  Sun was 31 minutes behind Mars the moment of first explosion and was overtaking Mars during the hunt.  When the surviving brother was captured the Sun was 24 minutes ahead of Mars.
The last meeting, in Gemini in 2015 was June 17 marked by the Charleston  Church shooting.  A young man sat in the evening congregation, passing himself off as a fellow worshipper, and then pulled out his automatic handgun and killed 9 people.  Sun was 56 minutes ahead of Mars at the moment of the shooting.

This time they meet July 26 at 4 Leo.  The closest lineup is 00:57 (July 27) Universal Time which translates to 8:57pm July 26 in  Raleigh.

Please, please use this information only as a launch for meditating on the inevitability of violence.  We consume a variety of life forms  every day, people are dying violent deaths every day.  When the Sun meets Mars it just is a matter of ego and will coming together.  We are here to learn how to control ourselves while living among others, some with more self control set good examples and bring stability, others with less self control give us opportunities to control ourselves in the face of challenge.   

The above examples are hard-to-ignore dramatic events, but there is also a story that was unfolding in each of our lives.  Can you recall something about your life during past Sun Mars meetings.  It is a revealing meditation to cycle through the dates of Sun Mars meetings and recall events in your life.  Surprising and enlightning story lines emerge and your sense of your own history takes on a more organized and forgiven theme.

One last note; while the last three meetups were marked by dramatic events, I don't see a comparable event for the Sun Mars conjunction in Aug 10, 2002.  That's the most recent conjunction occurring in the sign Leo.  Things were calmer then compared to the last 6 years of Uranus in Aries.  Still if you can recall what was going on in your life in late summer 2002 you can get an idea of how the ego is becoming more determined to have fun or get its way in a relatively controlled environment.  Now transfer that determination to express yourself in the relative calm of 2002 to the protracted explosion of 2017. Another difference in this meetup is that the lead time was mostly in Cancer, we only now see the Sun entering Leo in the last 4 days before the meeting.  In 2002 the Sun was in Leo, therefor ruling, for 17 days before meeting the martial planet.

The first chart for today shows Sun entering Leo and Moon at 19 Cancer.  You can see Sun a few degrees behind Mars. 

The Sun and Mars will be lined up July 26 8:57pm EDT

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Observing Line up of Sun with Mars

I've been reading the histories of Polybiius (Punic Wars around 250bc-lots of battles at sea and on land between Rome and Carthage) and watching the Sun gradually catching up to Mars.  Right now, while the Sun is in the way, we can only know where Mars is by reading charts and following the numbers that gauge its progress around the ecliptic.  I have mentioned before, this is the kind of knowing Plato (writing about a century before Punic Wars) was trying to foster in so many of his writings.  Going beyond the limits of the senses to the spiritual - we can't know Mar's whereabouts through the senses only, but must exercise our minds to deduce its location.  This 'knowing' came to be celebrated as a cult in later centuries, called Gnosticism.  

It wasn't popular in Plato's time though, which had a little, but not all, to do with the trial and execution of his teacher, Socrates. This form of knowing only became popular in the west long after Plato was writing.  By the time this form of knowing became an entrenched social movement scant few followers had access to the actual writing of Plato, much less knowledge of the cycles of the planets. The Macedonian Hellenistic empire that followed Plato's times had long since given way to the Romans and the Romans in turn were falling to the Goths. 

I have read  that Augustine of Hippo (writing around 400ad) never learned Greek though he wanted to, and that he originally had great hopes of learning about the lunar eclipse cycle from the Manichean Faustus.  Faustus had a big reputation and Augustine was told by many, "that's the man you want to meet, he'll be able to tell you everything you want to know."   Pardon the quotes, don't mean to be misleading about rigorous documentation, especially regarding the famous figure {who came to be 'known' in German legend as a magician in league with the devil.}  The statement in brackets is based on a wikipedia paragraph suggesting  the original Faust, behind the German legend, was the Manichean Augustine debated in Contra Faustum.  That paragraph and link has been deleted.  There is now a link to an article about  Johann  Faust born around 1480.

Sorry for the confusion!  

Well, apparently Faustus did not know much of anything about planetary cycles.  He was just a charismatic guy who knew a minimum about astronomy/astrology and preached a rather forbidding path to salvation.  Augustine ended up publishing responses to counter the preachings of Faustus around the time Rome was succumbing to the invading Gothic warriors.  Augustine espoused a message of inclusion and forgiveness and pointed out how the pacifist impoverished Christians were the only ones spared by the  invaders.

Faustus was not a Gnostic, his learning originated further to the east than the teachings handed down from Plato.  My point here is that by the time of Rome's fall and the subsequent rise of Christianity, few people in that area of the world had access to good information about planetary cycles.  Gnosticism was a faint shadow of the kind of knowledge advocated by Plato. 

I try to understand the rise of Christianity in the context of history, it helps me understand the changing fortunes of astrology (ha ha).

Well this morning I was taking a break from Polybius and the ascent of the Romans and meditating on the soul.  I recalled that it was in the context of talking about the soull that I first heard of Plato in elementary school.  The nuns were fond of talking about the soul, the ones at my school were from the Sisters of St. Joseph.  Maybe that's a more philosophical order than some others.  They wore the complete habit back in those days with the rigid bib and triangle head thing atop a complete face encircling enclosure.  It was like their whole head waa encased in a special white wrap of thick linen. A white frame rose from that wrap to form a slightly concave platform just a few inches above the head, and yards of black silky fabric was draped in layers over the whole set up.  When they weren't teaching in the class, or playing with the children at recess, or chatting among themselves, they could be seen touching the beads on the rosary that hung from the waist.
That was my first exposure to women meditating in moments between interactions with others.

My reverie of nuns and philosophy of the soul led to Socrates and his trial.  I could only find the year, not the month or day  he drank the tea.  Then I went back to the year of the Thirty Tyrants.  With the financial backing of Cyrus the Younger, Spartan warriors got the better of Athens and Sparta installed a group of thirty men to govern the famously democratic city. Their brief and bloody rulership came to be known as The Thirty Tyrants and lasted from the end of 404B.C. to the beginning of 403B.C..

The chart is for the beginning of 403bc when a group of Greek exiles were organizing the battle to overthrow the Spartan sponsored group of tyrants.

The first thing that got my attention was Uranus meeting Neptune which happens about once every 150 years.  If you take a minute or two to examine the chart you will notice another historic lineup -Jupiter and Saturn in Libra.  That meet up of Uranus and Neptune is a much bigger deal, but the Jupiter Saturn meeting adds interest to an already rare occasion.

I guess that's enough from me today.  It is dark now and the skies are clear.  I have a date with a beginner's telescope and the dark side of heaven.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Splitting Albireo

I saw my first double star last night through a beginners' telescope handed down to me from a customer.  I'm not absolutely positive of the 4:46 time.  I know Venus was up fairly high because I had been looking at it and Aldebaran when I swung the scope around to the west and remembered a Raleigh Astronomy Club member showing me Alberio in his telescope.  What looked through my binoculars like a generic white star, appeared as two stars, one faint white and another, clearly separated by a couple millimeters, fainter and very blue.  It was really cool to get it in the field of view and see the pair again.

Earlier, around 1:20 or later am, I had been looking at the late rising Moon, Vega and a couple other stars in Lyra.

Every time I managed to aim the scope at an objective and get a clear magnified view I became more confident and eager to see something else through the magic tube. 

When I remembered Alberio and got that I started to send an email to the RAC member who helped and encouraged me on my first observation outing.  It was a real thrill which I knew he would be pleased to hear about.  Instead I made a chart and will save the memory to tell him the next time we see each other at a club meeting.

I really like the group of people.  Their love of astronomy and committment to forming a welcoming community  is infectious.