Astrology as illustrative and reflective, rather than causative
I love this quote from Chris Brennans new book on Hellenistic astrology:
“Despite the formulaic nature of astrological omens, the astrologers themselves did not necessarily think that there was a direct causal connection between celestial and earthly events. Instead, the celestial omens acted as signs or indications of the future that were sent by the gods, and not as causes of the events that they correlated with. The stars in particular were seen as a sort of ‘heavenly writing’ that was inscribed across the sky. Naturally, as Rochberg points out, ‘the notion of the stars as a heavenly script implies their capacity to be read and interpreted.’ Thus in the earliest Babylonian strata of astrological tradition, astrology was seen to be a type of language.”
This supports what I often say, that the planets do not cause things to happen, rather they merely reflect ones karma. The birth chart is an illustration of ones sanskaras for a given lifetime, and there are various techniques to look more closely at a specific timeframe within the lifetime... We are drawn to astrology to gain insight, understanding, and acceptance of the complexity of circumstances we find ourselves in and the attributes we came in with, as well as the inner and outer events and developments that unfold over time.
It appears that some ancient astrologers placed great value on endeavoring towards acceptance of life as it is and developing forbearance, equanimity, and contentment regardless of circumstances (as revealed by, not caused by one’s astrology). The Vettius Valens (c.175 CE) quote at the beginning of Chris’s book is incredible: “Those who engage in the prediction of the future and the truth, having acquired a soul that is free and not enslaved, do not think highly of fortune, and do not devote themselves to hope, nor are they afraid of death, but instead they live their lives undaunted by disturbance by training their souls to be confident, and neither rejoice excessively in the case of good, nor become depressed in the case of bad, but instead are content with whatever is present. Those who do not desire the impossible are capable of bearing that which is preordained through their own self-mastery; and being estranged from all pleasure or praise, they become established as soldiers of fate”
This strikes me as counter to the modern concept of “manifesting” one’s desires and dreams. I resonate with Valens and appreciate the realism and dignity of his words. I am still certainly a proponent of trying one’s best to improve one’s self or one’s lot whenever possible, as that may also be part of the path, but striving for equanimity and acceptance if or when certain things seem unchangeable is just as worthwhile.
Venus Retrograde Mar 4—Apr 15, 2017
Venus turned retrograde in Aries yesterday. With Venus in the sign that is most opposite to her own intrinsic essence, this may stir up some discomfort. But it is an important and necessary phase of processing Venus-related things (partnerships, financial matters & comforts, beauty & aesthetics, etc) — that should prove to be clarifying and freeing.
Venus, known for her relationship-oriented, other-focused, ready-to-understand, ready-to-accommodate way of being is in the sign that is all about “me,” “my” own needs, what “I” want, and being true to “self.” The context of these opposites is an opportunity to find more inner wholeness.
Further, the nature of a retrograde cycle activates things from the past — under the surface resentments or unresolved issues — for the purpose of rousing out those undetected but simmering impediments to a clear and clean interrelationship, and making changes that need to be made. Depending on where you have Aries in your chart will reveal the area of life most affected by this retrograde process. With Mars also in Aries (Jan 28-Mar 9) there is a an extra quality of feistiness, self-interest, or conflict in that same area of your life.
Venus will back up into Pisces on Apr 2, which will have a different flavor for that part of the retrograde cycle. Venus in Pisces has more of a sense of unity and unconditional love, which would be a nice result of the resolution of old resentments. Then when Venus makes her final pass through Aries (Apr 28-Jun 6) moving in direct motion, things will be in a different place. Not stuck, but ready to go forth, which Aries likes to do!
The transiting nodes through the houses
Tracking the transiting nodes of the Moon through the birth chart can be very elucidating. It takes about 18 months for the nodes to move through a pair of signs. During that time, the North node will be working one house of your chart while the South node will be working the opposite house. From Western to Vedic, and from modern to ancient astrology, there are several different ideas about how the nodes manifest. From my studies, including my own direct observations over time, I have come to some conclusions…
The axis of houses across from one another form a pair of experiences that are related — these areas of life compliment and balance one another. When the nodes move through a particular pair of signs and opposite houses (using whole sign houses), that axis of experience within your life is gradually processed and transformed in a new way over the course of the 18 months (that it takes for the nodes to complete one pair of signs). As the nodes move through a pair of opposing houses, they bring a major focus to both of those related areas of life, and that usually means a bit of chaos for you in those areas. The nature of the North and South node, however, have some interesting distinctions. Mythologically, the North node is referred to as the dragon’s head while the South node is referred to as the dragon’s tail. This has some suggestive implications. Where the North node travels through your chart, the dragon “eats.” In this area of life, energy is taken in, something new is integrated, and there is an experience of increase and nourishment there. In the opposite area of your chart, where the South node is traveling, the dragon “excretes.” In this area of life there is a letting go process, a detoxification of sorts, and there can be an experience of decrease, loss, and usually a bit of stink there…
At first glance it may seem that the experience of the North node is inherently more positive and the South node is inherently a bit negative, but it usually isn’t that simple. While it’s true that everyone usually enjoys the fulfillment and satisfaction of eating — the process of digesting and excreting is just as critical for life. Sometimes there can be a real crisis in the area of life where the South node is transiting, as the detoxification or letting go process unfolds. It is helpful to remember that this is not a meaningless difficulty or crisis, but a healing crisis — either physically, emotionally or spiritually. The crises may be more apparent when the eclipses (which happen near the transiting nodes) hit significant points in your chart. The eclipses mark heightened moments of intensity within the larger process of the nodes moving through a set of signs and houses. By the time the nodes complete their transit through a pair of signs, certain seemingly fated experiences come to a close and there is a resolution in that arena for you. Then it is time to get ready for a different area of your life to get triggered, stirred up, nourished, digested, processed, and ultimately transformed.
We just completed the last of the eclipses through the Virgo/Pisces axis. Starting in May, the nodes of the Moon move into Leo/Aquarius for the next phase of development. If you are interested in looking at how this (or anything else) is playing out for you, schedule a consultation with me. I am transitioning to mostly phone or Skype consultations even for local people. I love working with people in person, but with astrology, connecting over the phone works just fine and the convenience of this will allow me to schedule you sooner.
“What about this year? It has been a struggle so far. Any ideas?”
I recently received this question on Facebook. At first I laughed because it is such a broad and big question, and I am far from having any answers. But if together we take a look at your chart and your life, we may see how the current planets and aspects are reflecting your experience, and that can be so helpful for finding the answers within…
I can offer a brief sketch of some general astrological themes for this year: The revolutionary energies of radical change and wrenching transformation that began a few years ago during the epic Uranus/Pluto square are getting triggered off this year by Jupiter in Libra. Additionally there is an emphasis on FIRE, and air feeding fire this year (with Saturn in Sagittarius, Uranus in Aries, Jupiter in Libra, the Nodes of the Moon preparing to enter Leo and Aquarius, with our first Leo eclipse tomorrow on Feb 10, and Venus and Mars both in Aries right now as well). So it makes sense that collectively we are seeing and feeling instantaneous flare-ups of high-spirited passion and energy, manifesting in all kinds of different ways.
I have a lot of fire and air in my natal chart so I am used to intense energies within myself zooming to the surface for expression. For balance I look to and learn from my more earth and water friends. They are not instantaneous in their reactions. When I am able to slow down my responses, and try to really listen, and pause before speaking — it is miraculous. Taking it a step further is listening for the feelings and needs underneath whatever we are hearing or seeing, that might seem irritating, disturbing, frightening, or enraging… When we can bring mindfulness, inquiry, empathy, understanding, compassion, and presence to whatever is arising within or around us — it is a nourishing tonic for this fiery year, with the potential to offer deep and healing solace. I am needing to review my Non-Violent Communication books and I am loving listening to Tara Brach’s podcasts. She continually reminds people to ask, “What is it like to be you?” When we ask this we automatically become an ally, especially to marginalized and vulnerable others (“What is it like to be you?”), or especially to people with whom we vehemently disagree (“What is it like to be you?”), and often most importantly to ourselves (“What is it like to be me, in this moment?”).
School Prayer by Diane Ackerman
In the name of the daybreak
and the eyelids of morning
and the wayfaring moon
and the night when it departs,
I swear I will not dishonor
my soul with hatred,
but offer myself humbly
as a guardian of nature,
as a healer of misery,
as a messenger of wonder,
as an architect of peace.
In the name of the sun and its mirrors
and the day that embraces it
and the cloud veils drawn over it
and the uttermost night
and the male and the female
and the plants bursting with seed
and the crowning seasons
of the firefly and the apple,
I will honor all life
—wherever and in whatever form
it may dwell—on Earth my home,
and in the mansions of the stars.
Question about Synastry (relationship analysis)
I received this question from someone, and I think it’s such an interesting topic that I decided to post about it.
My boyfriend’s Moon and Venus fall into my 7th house, but my planets do not fall into his 7th house. Will I be the only one stimulated by this? Will he feel the familiarity too? Does it go both ways?
I have observed and thought about this many times. In the context of a significant relationship, when a person’s planets, especially their Sun, Moon, or Ascendant, fall or overlay into your 7th house (the part of the chart representing partnership), yes it does mean that they embody in a big way whatever it is that you need in a partner, so you may feel strongly drawn to them. They balance you and complete you in a sense. This can apply to a romantic, friendship, business, or any other significant partnership.
So how does this affect the person whose planets or Ascendant fall into your 7th house? In my experience, it is not the same dynamic, but the connection and attraction is still mutual. The person whose planets or Ascendant fall into your 7th house feels called and inspired to be your partner. It feels natural to them to be what you want and need in a partner. This happens on a relatively subliminal level. Some authors say the attraction is stronger for the person whose 7th house is being over-layed by the partner’s planets, as opposed to the partner, but I have not found that to be the case. Your 7th house (i.e. the partnership) provides for them an area and a context for vital expression of part of themselves.
To feel seen and nurtured
Highlight of my day: At the end of a session, client said she felt seen and nurtured. I love that. It’s truly a gift when I get to play the role of helping people feel more peace about themselves and life.
Life is often so full and things happen in phases and cycles. This has not been a writing phase for me (sorry for no astro blogs for quite awhile!), but I am still doing consultations!
Everything has something to do with spirituality
“Newspaper reporters would regularly seek interviews with Meher Baba, and sometimes he would consent… ‘But what about astrology?’ the reporter asked. ‘Everything has something to do with spirituality. It depends on how it is worked out.’ “ (From LM, p. 2077)
Mercury retrograde in Libra, Lunar eclipse in Aries
We’re past the halfway point of this Mercury retrograde (Sep 17-Oct 9), and so I have a few observations (The deepest learning of astrology comes through observation). Like all Mercury retrograde cycles this one is providing opportunities to revisit and reconnect with projects and relationships from the past, review misunderstandings or mistakes, and move towards resolving old issues. Since this Mercury retrograde takes place fully in the sign of Libra, the revisits may revolve around Libran values, such as interpersonal relating, empathy, and understanding the feelings and needs of both sides of any difference or conflict. Depending on the house of your birth chart where you have Libra will determine more specifically the types of things you may be reworking during this Mercury retrograde period.
Meanwhile the Lunar eclipse on Sep 27th was an interesting counterbalance occurring in the opposite sign of Aries. A Full Moon is always the peak, climax, or crisis point of the lunar month, but the addition of an eclipse takes it to a more intense level. Even though the deeper significations of an eclipse take place over a period of months (before and after the exact date of the eclipse), the day of the eclipse itself can certainly be telling too. I knew of three people who had this eclipse tightly conjunct one of their Aries planets, and they were all sick during the few days around the eclipse. Since this was an eclipse occurring near the South node of the Moon, it suggests a time of letting go. For those who were sick, I’m interpreting this as a detoxification process. But more generally this eclipse could be seen as a detoxification process for all of us in whatever part of our natal chart where we have Aries. I have Aries in my 7th house of one-to-one relationships, and right around the time of the eclipse, I had fleeting but important differences to attend to with a few people I connect with in a one-to-one way. Each one involved letting go of old thought forms or patterns. The fact that it was a Full Moon, an eclipse, and being in the fiery, impulsive, assertive sign of Aries added a higher degree of emotionality than might otherwise be present.
How did this eclipse play out for you? It’s always fruitful to note these things, in the same way it is fruitful to remember and explore the meanings of one’s dreams. These practices help us along the path towards greater self-knowledge and self-mastery.
During Mercury’s apparent travel backwards, at the midpoint of the retrograde phase, is a special moment when Mercury meets up with the Sun. This occurred on Sep 30th. It can be thought of as Mercury’s New Moon so to speak, the beginning point of a new Mercury cycle. Things are sown, either consciously or unconsciously, at this conjunction, so you can note what occurred on that day — ideas, discussions, events, or flashes or urges for a new and different way. It is an inception point, though it may not be clear just how those things will grow up and expand until after Mercury goes direct.
You can find abundant information about current astro weather everywhere on the internet. So, instead, for today, I’m going to write about what’s on my mind a lot lately with regard to the planets… Though first I will say briefly that there is a lot going on right now astrologically (but there always is. It never stops). We’re in-between eclipses — a North Node Solar Eclipse in Virgo on Sep 13 and a South Node Lunar Eclipse in Aries on Sep 27. Eclipses mark big though sometimes subtle shifts, which unfold over the course of several months before and after the actual eclipse dates. Also, Mercury is about to turn retrograde on Sep 17 (we’ve been in the shadow period since Aug 28) and Saturn moves into Sagittarius (also on Sep 17) to stay until Dec 2017…
But what I want to mention today is the last Venus/Sun conjunction, which occurred on Aug 15th. Astrologer, Gary Caton, taught me to pay attention to these special conjunctions, because they set into motion a deep transformative process that is in effect for about 9.5 months until the next Venus/Sun conjunction. Through observation I have found this to be profoundly true, yet it’s sometimes only in retrospect that I can really see and appreciate it, which is why I’m bringing it up now. We’ve had a month to start feeling this new Venus unfoldment process. The conjunction was at about 23º Leo. What house of your birth chart does Leo fall in for you? That house will describe the sphere of life that is beginning to undergo a transformation of values (values, a Venus thing), especially if 23º Leo is near an angle or planet in your chart. Where Leo is in your chart is an area of your life that will be in focus until the next conjunction in Jun of 2016 in mid Gemini. The domain of life affected by the Venus/Sun conjunction often manifests in a clear or concrete way over the 9 month period so it is worth contemplating. The Venus/Sun conjunction correlates with a discovery process of what you truly value/desire/enjoy and that discovery creates change. if you want to think about the 9 months prior to Aug 2015, the Venus/Sun conjunction before this last one was on Oct 25, 2014 at 2º Scorpio. If you aren’t familiar with your chart or if you want to explore this further, contact me and we can set up a consultation.
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