Saturday, September 28, 2013

Moon and Jupiter Radiate Light of Kindness on Buried Venus

We revisit the Moon conjunct Jupiter today while Venus is low.  On the last meeting between Luna and the great benific (as Jupiter is often called) Venus was strong because it was in the sign of partnership and cooperation, Libra.  Saturday Aug 31, 2013 Moon conjunct Jupiter in Cancer  This month as the Moon meets Jupiter, Venus is in Scorpio and has fallen from power.  Not many people consider seeds beautiful, they tend to be more attracted to the plants and fruits those seeds can produce; Scorpio is the sign of fallen fruit and the seed.  

Venus near Saturn in upper left quadrant, and Moon near Jupiter in upper right quadrant.

While Venus is in Scorpio we are profoundly aware of the limits of what love can accomplish.  We see the dead ends of relationships and the ways life gets stuck, stopped or drained and dejected.  Venus has been in Scorpio since Sept. 12 and will move on to Sagittarius Oct 15.  The planet of diplomacy is well ahead of the Sun in the zodiac and we get at least an hour to look at her after sunset every night.  But these mature signs, Scorpio, Sagittarius and Capricorn are low on the horizon and represent areas in the cycle of life where experience rather than innocence rule.

So these days when the Moon is near this year’s nurturing Jupiter we get a chance to feel the difference between slogging through the sad facts of life and being lifted up with hope at the same time we acknowledge the corrupt nature of existence.  Last month’s meeting of Moon and Jupiter was lighter with the air of Venus in the sign of friendship; this month’s is heavier as Venus leads the sun along the ecliptic to the adult signs.  Still, hope is unmistakable on this day after the moon has met great Jove, sitting on his throne, sipping ambrosia, lightning bolts stashed in their Olympian quiver.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Using the UNL Sun's Motions Demonstrator to Understand the Zodiac

I used to tell people that the chart is a map of the sky and now I realize how confusing that is.  An astrology chart is actually a map of a very small part of the sky, specifically the plane of orbit of the planets in our solar system, known as the ecliptic.  Observing the night sky, it is only in the band of the ecliptic that we see lights changing position among the constellations from one night to the next.  The lights we see moving around are our neighbors in the solar system. 

At night, if we in the northern hemisphere face toward the north pole, with our backs to the equator, we see constellations rising slowly from our right side, arcing over Polaris and setting to our left side.  The time each constellation rises gradually changes throughout the year, but the lineup of stars within the constellations remains virtually the same, because all the stars that circle around Polaris are light years away from us.  The Big Dipper Clock by UNL School of Astronomy shows the constellation Cassiopeia circling the North Star (Polaris).

The story is different when we turn our backs to the North Pole and face toward earth’s equator; we see the southern part of the sky where the sun makes its east to west journey every day.  Imagine a continuous blue laser thin light that shines from the earth’s equator out into the sky (the celestial equator), and then imagine a white laser light that marks the plane of orbit of all the planets in our solar system (the ecliptic).  Since our planet is tilted about 23 ½ degrees we see the white belt of the ecliptic crossing the blue belt of our laser light equator at an angle of 23 ½ degrees. 

The above UNL School of Astronomy Sun's Motion Demonstrator shows the motion between the ecliptic and earth’s celestial equator as we rotate on our axis and travel around the sun.  It looks like the default latitude is for Lincoln, Nebraska- about 41 degrees north.  Our latitude here in Raleigh is about 36 degrees north.  Be sure to check all the boxes under General Settings.  Under “animation mode” start out by clicking on ‘step by day’ and then adjust the speed to a leisurely 10 days/sec.  With a little finesse you can click and drag the little or big hand on the clock to adjust the time of day.  I adjust the ‘day of year’ by clicking and dragging the arrow that runs along the bar of months.  Look at the celestial sphere on the left as you move the arrow over Sept, and you can see the yellow circle (for the Sun’s daily path) meet the blue circle of the celestial equator.  You can watch their movement on the globe as you manually move the arrow along the bar of months, or just set it some where and click on the Start Animation box under animation controls.

 When you play with the Demonstrator, keep in mind that all planets move along the same path of the ecliptic, just at varying rates compared to the fairly constant motion of the Sun.  The months along the day of year bar could just as easily be marked off with the signs of the zodiac; Aries would begin at about March 21 and Libra about Sept 21.  All of the planets are located somewhere along that white belt, traveling at different rates around the sun.  An astrology chart is a simplified map of where the planets are along the path of the ecliptic, and which part of the ecliptic is above the horizon, for a certain position on earth, and which is below. 

UNL Sun’s MotionDemonstrator (the above embedded version is a bit fuzzy so I've included a link to the original interactive animation.  Click on the blue text to open a new window at the UNL page.)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Today's Change in the Mars Chain of Command

Sun is in upper left quadrant at 29 degrees Virgo 47 minutes.  Chart for 11:32am Sept 22, 2013

“The buck stops here” does not apply when there are few or no planets in their signs of rulership. 

Today at 5:30pm in our town of sidewalks rolling with acorns, the Sun will leave the sign Virgo and enter the sign Libra.  The Sun’s position is always important, but while Mars is in Leo we focus even more on our local star’s location.

Rulerships are a good way to gain a deeper understanding of planets and signs.  It can seem silly to think of the Sun as being under the influence of little Mercury just because it is in the sign Virgo.  One way to think of it, without having to learn a bunch about the geometry of the ecliptic, is to think of the signs as activities the planets pass through.  Whenever any planet passes through a sign associated with basic communication, it is under the influence of the planet that communicates.  The planets are the ‘doers’ and the signs are the various activities the ‘doers’ cycle through.

What the Sun does is shine- so when it is in Leo, the sign of radiance, it is doing what it does best.  It is ruling.  When it enters the sign Virgo it is passing through the activity of fruit ripening.  It is no longer in its favorite territory of eye catching flowers but reduced the task of making sure fruit is getting just enough light to help it reach maturity. 

Mercury does not shine like the Sun but passes back and forth in front of and behind it.  Without ever going far from the Sun it rapidly cycles back and forth like a short antenna sweeping the bounds of local territory.  Mercury is a communicator, constantly making small adjustments.  It rules the sign Gemini associated with sprouting of leaves, and Virgo where the fruit ripens.  

While Mars is in Leo, the sign of steady outgoing energy, it is ruled by the Sun—but while the Sun is in Virgo it is weakening, rapidly.  Yes it shines just as brightly as the rest of the year, but we in the northern hemisphere are getting a lot less of its radiation with every passing day.  We are aware of a need to adjust to the loss of energy.  All organisms in the northern hemisphere that have evolved over the last 4 billion or so trips around the Sun know the schedule and are well prepared for the change, whether they use words to talk about it or not.

So today the Sun passes from Virgo to Libra, it crosses below the celestial equator.  (UNL Daylight Hours Explorer) But Mars is still back there in Leo rising fairly high in the sky every day, still in that place associated with flowers and courtship.  So what is Mars good at?  Mars rules Aries actively and Scorpio passively.  In Aries the seed explodes and the truth comes out, and in Scorpio all not consumed begins to decompose except the seed.  Mars is the truth, either revealed (in Aries) or hidden (in Scorpio), that life is a mess of competing interests.  Mars is the competitor, hero or soldier.  While in Leo the soldier has to play a game, or engage in theatrical activities rather than actually explode and smite the competition or sneak behind enemy lines and steal some ammunition.

While the CEO of the theater company (the Sun) has been down the block in Virgo, Mars is engaged in intellectual theatrical productions.  There has to be some socially redeeming moral to the story the hero is acting out.  Virgo productions are less geared toward entertaining the crowd and more toward encouraging them to follow the rules.

So while the CEO of the production Mars must dance through has been in Virgo (Sun in Virgo), why don’t we look and see what Virgo’s ruler is doing?  Mercury is in Libra, the sign of the harvest, actively ruled by Venus. 

We’ve got a long chain of command going here—Mars ruled by the Sun, the Sun ruled by Mercury, and now Mercury ruled by Venus!  So our hero’s theatrical production is not only overseen by a goody two shoes student but that student is under the rule of Venus calling always for balance and generosity.  But wait a minute…. balance and generosity are not exactly front page news right now.  If Mar’s current chain of command leads to Venus, then we also need to know what Venus is doing.

“The buck stops here” does not apply when there are few or no planets in their signs of rulership.  Venus right now is in Scorpio, under the passive rulership of Mars!  The planet that should ultimately oversee Mar’s Leonine march down victory lane is in its detriment. 

Detriment is an astrological term for a planet in the sign opposite its place of rulership.  Venus rules Libra, the sign of generosity; and Taurus, the sign of accepting things as they are. It is the planet of growing where one is planted.  But right now it is in Scorpio the sign of retreating into the darkness and hiding the seeds of the next generation until conditions are right for them to sprout.  Venus, a planet of peace and generosity, is in a sign of secrets and withdrawal of life.

Not only that but if you look at the charts, you can see that Venus has just finished up a meeting (Sept 18) with Saturn, the planet of discipline.

So we have a chain of command that circles back on its self.  Mars in Leo is ruled by the Sun.  The Sun in Virgo is ruled by Mercury.  Mercury in Libra is ruled by Venus.  And Venus in Scorpio is ruled by Mars. 

When the Sun enters Libra this evening the command will bypass Mercury and go directly to Venus, removing a good deal of intellectual activity from the Leonine production that Mars is engaged in, and focusing more on Venus struggling to radiate kindness from under a pile of fallen leaves and a few worm eaten apples.

Sun is in upper right quadrant at 0 degrees Libra 02 minutes.  Chart is for 5:32pm Sept 22, 2013.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Moon conjunct Saturn Today

Today we look at a stellar preview of tough love as the moon completes its passage between earth and Saturn.  Included in this post are two charts; one for the morning when exact conjunction takes place and one for evening (9 hours later) when the sun has gone down and the planets are visible.  Venus will catch up with Saturn Sept 18.

         Now for the view of moon separation from Saturn at sunset


Monday, September 2, 2013

Moon Moves from Jupiter to Mars

Saturday the Moon lined up with Jupiter at about 1pm and now it has finished lining up with Mars at about 2:20am Monday morn.  That means it has taken about 37 hours and 20 minutes for the Moon to advance from Jupiter to Mars.  Of course the Moon isn’t actually near Mars, we just see them together in the sky.   
It took the Moon about 37 hours, or one and a half days to get from the Jupiter conjunction to the Mars conjunction; in that period the earth revolved on its axis one and a half times.  In the chart this is shown through the different house placement of the planets.  In Saturday’s chart Jupiter and the Moon were shown together in the 8th house, while in this morning’s chart they are in the 1st house getting ready to come up on the eastern horizon.  

Below is a series of 10 mini charts beginning with the one for Saturday afternoon when the Moon was conjunct Jupiter and they were in the 8th house.  I labeled the houses in the big chart above, but not all of the mini series-- houses are always 1-12 beginning with the first pie slice under the eastern horizon (on the left side of the circle).

Watch how all the planets rotate through the houses 1 and 1/2 times clockwise, while the moon advances step by step from Jupiter to Mars in a counterclockwise direction.