Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Mercury Meets Saturn in Scorpio

And MP Goes on Hiatus

The climax was last night just after 8:06pm eastern time. 

I posted an essay (on the Our Sky Face Book group) earlier this morn about one responsibility I accepted yesterday and the stew of emotions it got bubbling.  This chart for the evening shows the many other wonderful things that the universe was spinning out in our corner of the galaxy yesterday.  I won’t tell about the lovely project coming to fruition in my family; I will just say that Venus is now reaching fulfillment in her cycle with Jupiter.  I will relate that as I was walking the second son home last night, Venus was bright in the western sky and the kindergartner was excited to share what he had learned about that wandering star; but that’s just one small blossom among the many that I can see currently unfolding.   

Mercury conjunct Saturn can be seen at the bottom of the chart, but were only visible at dawn yesterday.  Here in Raleigh the skies were clear and they were a beautiful pair on the eastern horizon before the sun came up.  Mercury is the most difficult planet to ‘catch’ visually because it is always so close to the Sun. 

Todd Clayton suggested I check out Michael Lutin’s astro site.  I have not done that.  I hope Todd will post a link; professional astrologers are a big help for people who do not yet know (it is always my dream that one day people will be as comfortable reading charts of the ecliptic as they are reading clocks and calendars) how to read a chart.  One of the most valuable psychological skills we neglect to develop by turning away from these old teachings is the ability to outline the conflicting thoughts and motivations which compete in our minds.  Astrologers show the resulting tensions as part of the natural unfolding of life.

Look who the Moon is approaching- Mars!  They only meet twice in Virgo this year compared to 9 times in 2011/2012 when Mars was retro in the 6th sign of ripening to perfection.  Our upcoming Martial entrenchment from Dec 8, 2013- July 26, 2014 will occur in the sign Libra.  Prolonged challenges to our Venusian sense of beauty and fairness are on the way; we will be following Venus closely since it is the planet that rules Libra.

I leave you all with that.  An old family friend agreed to let me interpret his chart for practice, and for the last two months I have been searching for a block of time to focus on recording the reading.  Until I finish with that project I will not be posting.  Till then – mazel tov

Monday, November 11, 2013

What the Ancients Wanted to Say

About the word cryptic; Webster's Dictionary includes both Old Norse hreysi-heap of stones, and Lithuanian krauti-to pile up, with the more familiar Greek kryptein-to hide, as origins for the word crypt. I like 'heap of stones' because it echoes the image of the tip of an iceberg showing above water, an apt way of illustrating the depth of meaning tucked within each letter of these older languages.

Without extensive understanding of the relationships between the signs and planets, astrology is still a very beautiful language; but the real treasure is in the network of connections which are not immediately apparent. It is nice to know that the circle with the dot in the middle is the symbol for the Sun and that Venus is the circle with the cross underneath; but to see in the symbol for Venus the relationship between the sun and existence on Earth, which is what the cross stands for- the point of intersection, a specific location in time and space, a limited experience in physical existence; to see in Venus not just the goddess of beauty, but a philosophical construct about the nature of life on a planet in a solar system with other planets, gives a firmer grasp of the knowledge outlined in the language. To also know the cycle of Venus brings even more understanding; for instance to know that the cycle of Venus mirrors the period of human gestation, to know Venus is never visible for more than a small fraction of the night right after sunset or before sunrise; to know how much time Venus spends retrograde, how often it is lined up with other planets and in what order it moves from one to the next; and to be able to compare that with the cycles of the other planets, gives a deeper understanding yet of the 'meaning' behind the symbol of the circle over the cross.

In Spanish the expression for 'meaning' is 'wants to say.' That really bothered me when I first started speaking Spanish among my new friends. There must be some word for 'mean' as in "what does this word mean?"

"Wants to say." Now I appreciate that expression. It is perfect for describing the purpose of astrology. To seek an understanding of what astrology means is to search the language for what the people who devised it were trying to say. To study astrology is to study what the ancients 'wanted to say.'

They wanted to say so much more than the Sun conjunct Mars spells trouble with a capital T. They wanted to say life is not nearly as chaotic and ruled by chance as it may seem, that observation of the universe out there, beyond life in these beastly bodies, actually helps make sense of our beastly behaviors.

It is all there in this old language. Start with the rock on the top of the pile, maybe it is a planet, maybe it is a marker for a section of the ecliptic that has been given a poetic mascot for its name, such as Capricorn the Goat for when we are rotated to the highest point in the cycle of Earth's rotation on its tilted axis, or Cancer the Crab when we are at the lowest point, under the Earth, looking up at the plane of planetary orbits. Every symbol is just a poetic way of talking about the mechanics of Earth's motions in the celestial sphere. Don't let the sign posted in the heap of rocks
distract you from the whole story of what the ancients wanted to say.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Venus Enters Capricorn

Well I had in mind to talk about Venus entering Capricorn today and getting a new team of dispositors.  Dispositor is the astrological term for what I call a subcontractor, or some might call expert.  The people newscasters introduce to explain a complicated situation, referred to as authorities, are like dispositors.  The dispositor is the planet best equipped to dispose of the task at hand. Today with Venus entering the sign Capricorn, the task is to build something, or keep a structure in existence, through times of low energy.  The authority on keeping things together, when there is a deficit of energy, is Saturn.

So Venus is leaving the umbrella of Jupiter (Link to Venus entering Sagittarius post) and coming under the roof of Saturn.  The planet of making the best of what there is, is now crossing through the territory where there isn’t very much.  This is a tough place for beauty (Venus), and while Saturn is away on private business (Saturn still has another year in Scorpio) it is even more challenging—because, taking a look at our List of Rulerships we see that Scorpio is ruled by Mars. 

Don’t get lost.  We went from Venus to Saturn, because Venus is in Capricorn, the land ruled by Saturn.  Now Venus has to look at what Saturn is doing if she wants to survive in his territory.  We look and see that Saturn is in Scorpio, which is ruled by Mars.   

Here’s the deal with Saturn; it is kind of like a parent with the responsibility of keeping things together through hard times.  If you put that parent in an atmosphere of moral and physical break down (Scorpio), well, I guess it is kind of like sending an experienced drill sergeant in to shape up demoralized troops.  There is a big difference between training new recruits who have no idea what they are getting into and training people who know very well what war is all about.  Saturn in Scorpio is not trying to prepare innocents for the world, but to convince battle weary soldiers of life that their integrity still matters in a world which they now know to be full of corruption. 

Saturn was in Scorpio Nov 1953-Jan 1956 then again Sept 1983- Nov 1985.  Anyone born between those dates ‘has’ Saturn in Scorpio.  They started out in life at a time when the planet of discipline was in the sign of loss.  Scorpio is the sign where the ecliptic descends below the celestial equator; we see it cross under in Libra, but in Scorpio the descent becomes starkly visible.  The Mars rulership of Scorpio mirrors this separation.  Mars is the planet of primitive individuality.  It rules this portion of the life cycle where the energy is steadily decreasing and reserves are visibly low. 

Most of us can easily see how Mars would rule Aries, the sign of life exploding into being; the association with Scorpio is not so obvious.  In Scorpio, Mars is preserving life for the future, it is storing its essence, or seed, for a time when the energy levels will again rise.  So Saturn in this sign of secreting something away helps keep the storage area free of rot. 

Many Saturnian types get pegged with being bitter.  How does a tree keep its growing mass of cellulose from being consumed by opportunistic organisms?  It produces a chemical that tastes bitter.  It is this bitter chemical in the flesh of the expanding trunk of the tree that keeps it from rotting, which is really just the process of being eaten alive by another organism.

Saturn in Scorpio is like an old soldier among a bunch of battle weary troops suffering from war and overindulgence in pleasure.  Saturn has the time, the experience, and the integrity those people who have been through the worst can admire.  When they talk about what they have seen and done, Saturn does not shrink in horror.  Saturn in Scorpio gives people who have something to be ashamed of a chance rebuild their self respect one small step at a time.  And for those who think they have nothing to be ashamed of, Saturn has ways of relieving them of their illusions.

It takes a lot of courage to face ugly stuff- where is the planet of courage now?  Mars is now in Virgo, the sign ruled by Mercury.  So the work now is being carried out in the clerical pool and communications battalion.  Corruption is being dealt with on a logistical level, as in let’s figure out where the problem is entering and how it is spreading once it gets in, by examining the situation…..as opposed to lets spray it with bullets or napalm.  Mercury right now is in Scorpio, so the planet of facing challenges and the planet of investigation are currently working closely together.  You could say they are codependent. 

And this morning Venus comes under the influence of this pact of war makers.

Yesterday I flipped through a book about the artist James McNeil Whistler, whose mother fled the chaos of the American war between the states to live with him in England.  If the bohemian painter’s puritan mother had not felt the need to travel to England, we would not have the painting that is now so popular in western culture.  Just one example of how great beauty comes from great trials and losses. 

Arrangement in Grey and Black no. 1
James Abbott McNeill Whistler  Portrait of the Artist's Mother

Looking at the lower left quadrant of this morning’s chart you can also see that the sun is meeting Saturn.  Earth is now lining up on the exact opposite side of the Sun from Saturn.  That should be about as far as we get from the planet of discipline; so why did I feel so melancholy yesterday?  I agree with Johannes Kepler; it is difficult to accept this ‘sublunary’ influence of the outer planets, how can something so far out there have such profound effect on us down here?   But like him, I find the evidence of my observations to confirm that of the ancients.  The Sun conjunct Saturn is not fun.

I love working for artists- the book about Whistler and his mother was at an artist customer’s house- on a different artist customer’s kitchen wall (right near the control panel for the security alarm) there is a small illustration of white bearded Saturn with his scythe as a staff, standing beside the luxurious bed of a sleepy woman.  On such a cold morning as this I can feel the warmth of the wine colored comforter she is not ready to leave.  The caption reads something like this: “The problem with the Father Time wake up service is that there is no snooze button.”

Link to Cape Fear Civil War Round Table essay about Whistler's mother (and brother).