Saturday, July 25, 2015

Venus Going and Coming while the Solar Court Faces Pluto

Tues Aug 4 Venus will meet Jupiter again in the last duad  (12th) of Leo.  The last section of Leo is Cancer, meaning by the time we get to the end of Leo we are in a very tender place.  Imagine performers at the end of a high energy production, or the audience leaving the theater.  It is strange to make the transition from bombastic exaggerations dramatizing life, to the real thing.  We pass through the still darkened theater to the lobby and then the light of day, or streets lit by passing car lights and lamp posts.  This return to reality follows an intense hour or more of raised or amplified voices, high powered lights capable of melting a candy bar in seconds, and a repetitive order that would take years to emerge from the everyday chaos of events swirling around us.  The last 10 minutes of the scripted production are an emotional coming together designed to foster communal healing.  That last 10 minutes where what was inevitable comes to pass, and the survivors hold hands under the lights and bow in deep breathing sweat soaked appreciation to the audience filling the darkness with the sound of applause, is the Cancer 12th of Leo.  Then the Virgo review; from the perspective of life outside the theater, considering works by the same actors, authors or directors, other productions of the same plays, comparing and finding similarities and differences, begins.

Venus going back to meet Jupiter is like the little baby benific going back to ask another question from the young adult benific.  Everybody loves them both, but one is blind, Venus.  Venus is blind in the same way Mars is, but even more so.  Mars at least gets to stray from Sun’s side and be seen on the dark side of Earth every couple of years.  Venus, bright and beautiful as it is, never gets more than a couple of hours to reflect the Sun’s light without being overpowered by the source.  Jupiter gets to do it for months at a time, every year.  Jupiter is not just big and stormy, and popular with the Moons, but the first planet as we travel from the Sun that gets to shine all night long for several months of every year.  That brightness is unmistakable.  It is brighter than any celestial object other than the Sun whose light it is reflecting, or the Moon.

By the way a week or so ago I said blessed be Jupiter and I should know better than that.  This week has been pretty awful, not for everyone of course, but certainly for me, and it’s got me down on my knees paying homage to Mars.  Venus, the planet of acceptance, standing still makes me appreciate the planet of will.  I would be hopelessly addicted to this life if it weren’t for the pain and suffering that comes with it.  Some people are wise and don’t need suffering to turn their attention away from material gain and success.  They already understand the futility of these Earthly endeavors.  I am one of those who need a good dose of failure, fear and hopelessness to be reminded that this is no more than a ride through the body of Nature who is ultimately at the controls.  If I bless the benific I have to do the same with the malefic.  It’s not my place to curse parts of nature’s body.

Back to Venus, the little benific that could.  It is now retro, approaching not just Big J the Party Master, but also Mercury, then Sun and yes, all the way back to Mars, the one bearing responsibility for the troubles we have endured in the last month.  Let’s talk a bit about this last month.

Mon July 6th the Sun passed into Pluto’s 7th house.  The few days leading up to that would be considered the beginning of opposition between the Spirit and the Exile. Using houses to visualize a precise border crossing we see that the few days leading up to July 6, Sun was in the end of Pluto’s 6th house of apprenticeship.  The Spirit was completing its period of studying under the exile for this year.  On the 6th they were once again on equal terms beginning the mature phase of their relationship.  Then, as Earth proceeded to swing between Sun and Pluto, and Mercury and Mars followed their course on the far side of Sun, we had a parade of invisible lesser luminaries wrapping up their apprenticeship with Pluto and moving into partnership.  The healing Moon came through Wed July 15th just as Mars was stepping over the line, the last debutante out on the dance floor, face to face with the Cinderella of the solar system. 
Such a strange partnership, the Moon and Mars seen together, but after all it happens every month.  There was the Moon in Cancer, as wise and powerful as it ever gets, it was old, invisible, but in that leaky sign of energy slipping away, give, give, giving.

Except for Venus, not yet retro, the Sun was leading the Cancer pack.  Mercury was gathering speed, not quite ready for the incredible Solar pass it executes like a miraculous race horse every 4 months.  We would think the Sun is strong in Cancer as it shines on summer fun, but Cancer marks the spot in the yearly cycle where the time a planet is above the horizon begins decreasing.  The change is only seconds/per day, but it is the difference between the last trickle of water topping off a bucket, and the dripping leak from a widening crack near the bottom. 
The Sun doesn’t rule until it gets to Leo and we see the widening leak, the increasing loss, stemmed.  Leo is where the giving is brought under control and generosity is managed.  The Sun’s cycle with Earth is our most predictable cycle; it does not weave and bob above and below the ecliptic, as the Moon does.  It doesn’t stop and go back to look for something forgotten, as the other planets.  It is the baton carrying leader at the front of the parade, who gets passed once in a while, as the reflecting lights flow around with complete respect.  The Sun in Leo is the planet whose ability to give never dies in the sign where loss of energy is first seen coming under control.  That’s where the Sun is now, Leo, but it was in Cancer when it first balanced the see-saw with Pluto July 6th.

Venus was the only member of the pack in Leo, way out there having reached greatest elongation in June.  Venus has been slowing down ever since reaching the end of her string with the Sun.  She just made it into Virgo, not her favorite sign, and there she turned just as the Sun was rising on the east coast this morn.  So Venus is now out in the lobby or on the street after her period of Leo performance that began June 6th.  She’s going back into the theater, it is not yet time to read the reviews.  The audience lights that were brought up as people left the theater will be turned down on Aug 1 and she will be on stage under the hot variety of lights, and in the darkness of the theater seats.  The production will begin from the end where everyone held hands and bowed as a team of people who trust in each other.  The sound of applause from the audience will fill the hall.  The drama leading up to the final moment will play out in reverse, not to the curtain opening, but just past the scene where youth reaching blindly for the stars meets a veteran of the spiritual path of love.  The story will look much different than the first time, not because it is in reverse, but because things never stay the same, the planets, every one of them, are always moving, as we are always changing, and we can never return to the exact same moment, even in a scripted play.  Ok.  Cut from the poetics to the mechanics.  During the first passage of Venus past Jupiter (July 1) they were both in the high energy part of Leo, kind of like the part of the play where there is a lot of scary action, and even though most people know the outcome, the performers are running around or raising their voices, or singing all together and maybe even waving swords around and the audience is gripping the armrests of their chairs, the Aries part of Leo, is where Venus met Jupiter on July 1.  How fortunate the blind aspirant of love (Venus) was to find herself beside the party animal of generosity (Jupiter) at such a challenging moment.

This time, as the production is played in reverse, and everything seems different, the generous veteran of celebrations that bring people together and give them hope to carry on, the planet that makes life seem worthwhile (Jupiter) will be going to school!  As they are holding hands for the last bow the Big J will whisper to little one determined to love no matter what, that he has enrolled in a school for what?  Little one determined to love no matter what may not be able to hear the details.  The passage will be quick and there will not be as much time for talk as there was the first time around.  Big J going to school?!  But her hero knows everything there is to know about love and reaching for the sky!  

Then, in the beginning of September, just as our little aspirant of kindness meets Mars in the very sober part of Leo, the place where maybe the cops show up and say to turn the music down, or some earthly law must be recognized above self expression, ugh! She will stop again.  Once again after slowing down to a standstill, right in the middle of the production this time, Venus will turn around.  She’ll make her way through the singing and dancing, the lines with other players in the production, it will be strange to go over the same territory and see everything looking so different.  No one will be the same in relation to each other as they were before.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Venus on Point

Venus is coming to a standstill.  Here are some snippets from the Astrodienst Ephemeris.   
Venus travels only 7 minutes in the zodiac today.

The planet of love and kindness can be easily followed throughout its cycle with Earth and Sun.  

Tracking Venus when it is slowing down is a great meditation. We can consider how it is falling from view in its approach to passage between Earth and Sun.

It helps steady the mind and focus on the solar system, as we approach new spiritual experiences.  Do you feel your ability to extend kindness pulling back or coming into a still focus?  Does seeing Venus slowing down give you any insight into the changes you feel coming in your approach to others? 

The Astrodienst Swiss Ephemeris is free, and accessible to the public.
At conjunction on far side of Sun Venus covered 1 degree 15 minutes in a day.  The last one was in Oct at the beginning of Scorpio.

5 months after superior conjunction in Oct Venus is still flying.

We saw Venus highest in the evening sky in June.  Greatest elongation, when it was seen farthest from Sun, was June 6.
And to keep things interesting, Mercury is now flying at top speed as it rounds the far side of the Sun!  Our minds are very active, commerce and communication are whizzing away.  Then there’s the growing Moon….  But this meditation centers on Venus; the friend slowing down as it passes from the celebratory sign of Leo to the studious sign of Virgo, and then back to the Leo party.   This July our brilliant evening star dipped down below the ecliptic, like a Radio City Music Hall Rockette ducking out near the end of the line as the curtains closed in from the west. 
Both Venus and Jupiter set earlier every night as we see the setting Sun’s light every day closer to both of them.  We are losing visibility of our two charming benifics, and have to know without being able to point to them that they are still there. 

&    +      *     &      +      *     &     +     *     &     +      *     &

We don’t have to comb through the ephemeris looking for the moment Venus was as far ahead of the Sun as it gets for a cycle, Astrodienst provides another (free!) set of pdf’s that show several highlights of a planet’s cycle.  These are snippets from the pdf for Venus from 1600-2100.  Yes, they cover centuries of cycles!
In this cropped section of Venus cycles I outlined the date for greatest (or maximum) elongation with a blue square.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Stairway to Heaven

This Sunday at 7:50pm local time (12:50am Monday British Summer Time) Venus will enter Virgo for just long enough to reverse course Saturday July 25 and head back into Leo.  He, Venus, will look like a lover returning to his great muse Jupiter for one last long drink of pleasure before entering school Oct 9.  The funny thing is the greater benific will enter school Aug 12, less than 2 weeks after Venus comes back for their second meeting.

These are the kinds of movements that would have generated some really good stories back in the days when people talked about the planets like they were revered founding members of our living family.  Plato walked a line, honoring the stories but trying to bring the public closer to the spherical geometry of Earth turning on its tilted axis that informed them.  He was the last writer I know of who described celestial motions with the reverence of a poetic scientist as opposed to Delphic mystics or engineers promising results of a certain nature.

That’s a little secret about the history of astrology and philosophy.  It’s not a secret because anyone tried to hide it, it’s just that few people who practice astrology read Plato and few people who read Plato are familiar with the language that was taught in all academies back in his day.  That to me is a form of social-schizophrenia.   We see this phenomenon take many forms throughout the ages.  I see it every day in the struggle among my Mexican friends for immigration rights.  They come to see the American government as their oppressor, forgetting the wrongs done to them by the country they fled.  It is natural for humans to think this way.  I suspect we tend to fight the battle that is closest to us at the moment and ignore other complicating factors which might weaken our sense of conviction about the drastic actions we feel forced to take.

Now I will share a little secret about my personal past.  It used to really bother me that I had Venus and Mars in Pisces.  I wasn’t too crazy about having my Sun in a sign passively ruled by Venus (Taurus) either.  I wanted to think of myself as a strong, masculine woman of action.  For a few years I was attached to the idea of being a macho slut.  Being around lesbians and strong older women for many years helped me understand the nuances of what it means to be a strong woman.  The change did not happen overnight or in one victorious moment as I wished it would, knowing better, but still, always hoping for that miraculous transformation.

That burning desire for transformation is natural too, especially in Pisces, because the next place we see anything in this solar system after Pisces is Aries.  Without knowing anything about celestial mechanics, most people know Aries is explosive as a rutting ram.  Aries is a prolonged developmental passage for most humans born when Venus, Mars or Sun was in Pisces.  In the case of the Sun in Pisces, every Piscean Sun can count on 30 years of Arian development, like the unwinding spring of a clock.  It’s just part of the Piscean package.

We are not just an incarnation of our first moment, but of our first cycles.  We take our first breath in motion.  It is a bit confusing for beginners to see experienced astrologers talking about progressions after being trained with a moment frozen in time.  I imagine it is like seeing an engine come to life after taking it apart and putting it back together without ever witnessing what happens when volatile gas enters the cylinders and a hidden spark is set to it.  Without progressions a human life is seen as something static, buffeted by the moments encountered throughout life’s journey.

There must be others, but Dane Rudyer and Plato are the only two I can think of who always discuss the signs as steps in repeating, yet with each repetition, varying cycles.  Though recipes for predictions have been handed down based on these cycles, the philosophy of why we follow them has been buried.  Most astrologers have passed it over in the race to satisfy the public’s craving to outwit nature.  They have to compete after all with engineers who can bring down or raise whole nations with ingenious devices.

K   E   D    K   E   D   K   E   D   K   E   D   K   E   D   K

Last night I celebrated Mars opposing Pluto by taking down and throwing away all the charts on my walls.  I began in the kitchen with the charts for the end of WWII and establishment of Israel, the one for the beginning of the Berlin Airlift; I took down the ones for St. John of the Cross and the establishment of a monastery devoted to poverty and charity, scandalous at the time, resulting in persecution that ruined his health; the charts for the early Huguenot battles, the day of the Greensboro lunch counter sit-in, the first operatic performance of Orpheus and the one for Faye Weldon.  I took down the charts for the early campaign to get pedestrians off the streets and make way for cars in the 1920’s, the annual mass rallies of Nazi’s in post WWI Germany, the chart for Italy invading and occupying Ethiopia.  Bored yet?  Maybe that’s why I took them all down.

I took the ones in the hallway down of the Pope being named and presenting himself to the public, Lincoln, Carl Jung, Thoreau going to jail for not paying taxes in protest of government sanctioned slavery…

To be honest, there were a lot of bitter thoughts going through my mind.  It felt liberating to let the burden go, but the bitterness was there that so few people seemed to care.  Then I moved into my bedroom, stripped the walls completely of all the charts and notes I taped up over the last few years to have these ideas where I could readily see them.  Charts, quotes, alphabets in Greek and Hebrew.   Then I went through my files and threw away all but maybe 15 of the hundreds of charts I’ve saved from over 30 years of studying charts of friends and customers.  I filled more than 10 bags with charts from walls and files.

To a non astrologer this is just one of those moments, but to me it is a manifestation of the power of Mars.  I had to keep releasing the bitter thoughts- aside from that, the action felt good, though rash because it was completely unanticipated.  It had never occurred to me to throw away all that had been so important to me.

But among the bitter thoughts there was an affirmation from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali that any spiritual path is just a ladder to liberation.  Once we get to heaven we kick the ladder away because we no longer need it.  In Jack and the Beanstalk the impoverished farmer steals the magic goose, returns to Earth and chops down the stalk.  

I’m getting threatening letters from the IRS and will have to clean a few extra houses to appease them.  I have credit card debt that I cannot pay with my current income.  As I removed all those white pages from the dark paneling in my bedroom I surfed back through the years of study with a feeling of having found the magic goose against all odds.  It was almost a stumbling, or at least it felt that way.  I sifted through mountains of other peoples’ knowledge before the mystery that had driven me forward finally took hold of me and gave me a smile from across the centuries like any archeologist dreams of.

Now I can go back to cleaning houses.  It is what my community wants from me.  It is what my community is willing to pay me to do.  While it may sting, it doesn’t matter if just a few people care for just a few minutes about what I have learned.  As one friend said of her husband’s loss of memory, “he has a very limited attention span.”  The same can be said of people struggling against all odds to survive or improve the lives of others.  It doesn’t matter that I cannot make my message more entertaining or hold the attention of my community.  I have received a quieter gift, that for now fills me with enough hope to carry on with the existence I have been given.  The golden eggs of knowledge about what the constellation myths actually refer to are my inner peace.  There is no need to bring the goose down to Earth.  The giant roars and says frightening things, but I don’t believe he will eat me.