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Marlena Applebaum

M.A. in Counseling Psychology

Astrological Counseling

 
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“My evenings are taken up very largely with astrology. I make horoscopic calculations in order to find a clue to the core of psychological truth. Some remarkable things have turned up which will certainly appear incredible to you.”

~Carl Jung in a letter to Sigmund Freud (June 12, 1911)

 

Astrological Counseling

I offer astrological counseling for psycho-spiritual exploration, understanding, and transformation. Astrology utilized in this way can be a missing key for deep inner work and can shed light on the path towards greater harmony with the natural rhythms and cycles of one’s life journey. My approach to astrology is to share the potentials and opportunities I see while exploring how the symbols and archetypes are manifesting uniquely for each individual. Astrology is a wonderful tool for self-knowledge and a help in times of challenge or transition. It can facilitate tremendous insight and peace, as well as provide timelines for certain archetypal or energetic influences reflected in our lives and inner states of being. Consultations available for birth chart exploration, current influences, relationship dynamics, and timing for important events. 

 

Contact me

 

 

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An Astrological Timeline for the Pandemic

 
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Many astrologers anticipated the dramatic and gnarly aspects of 2020 in advance, but astrology is not like looking into a crystal ball. Astrology is a language of symbols, so what astrologers can see ahead of time is the symbolism pointing toward a variety of possibilities. We can see archetypal themes, energies, and influences that will be active within a particular timeframe, but it is usually not possible or productive to try to predict exact specifics regarding concrete manifestations. Instead of trying to predict the future, I find astrology to be most helpful in the moment or in retrospect, as a tool par excellence for making sense of what is happening, and for strengthening faith that there is a divine order and intelligence behind the scenes. This gives me solace in times of difficulty… So now that we have a clue about what we are dealing with in 2020, I have drafted my ideas for how some of the aspects this year might portray the global issues we are facing. This is definitely a work in progress (originally posted on 4/16/2020). 

  

The Prelude

  • December 3, 2019: Jupiter enters Capricorn 

When Jupiter entered Capricorn, it joined Saturn, Pluto, and the South node — three challenging influences already in Capricorn. This created a cluster of big and formidable forces clumped together. When in Capricorn Jupiter takes on the flavor of that sign, which is diametrically opposed to Jupiter’s own nature. And in this sign Jupiter is also under Saturn’s stern rule. So in this case Jupiter does not have as much power to bestow its usual beneficence, but it still confers expansion upon everything it touches.

  • Dec 26, 2019: Solar Eclipse conjunct Jupiter in Capricorn
  • January 10, 2020: Lunar Eclipse opposite Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn

These two eclipses set the stage for at least 6 months. Where eclipses fall in a chart, they are known to usher in phases of volatile changes. In this instance, the eclipses activated the challenging and complex placements bunched together in Capricorn (Jupiter, Saturn, Pluto, the South node, and Mars to join as a trigger). Over the course of 2020 we will see their joint magnitude unfold. The eclipses offer somber foreshadowing.

 

The Rising Action

  • January 12, 2020: Saturn conjunct Pluto in Capricorn

Two “dark” forces converge. Nothing in astrology is actually dark, but what is constellated above can reflect back to us what may appear dark from the ego’s limited perspective (Example: from the earth’s point of view the pandemic has caused less fuel consumption and less pollution). Historically, the configuration of Saturn and Pluto in aspect to one another was associated with international war, genocide, plagues, or other tragedies and in response a reactionary impulse towards more authoritarianism (this is well documented in Cosmos and Psyche by Richard Tarnas). Pluto empowers, intensifies, and magnifies what it comes into contact with, so in this case it is intensifying the Saturn themes of contraction and oppression. The conjunction between two planets launches a new beginning in their cycle together. A plausible hopeful outcome of these two planetary archetypes joining together is a transformation (Pluto) of old, toxic structures, systems, and authorities (Saturn) that reign and cause destruction, but that’s the long game. For the time being we are still in the middle of watching the birth of this aspect unfold, so all we can do is be present with what it is stirring up for each of us. Saturn rules fear, isolation, and deprivation; and Pluto rules viruses, epidemics, disasters, and death, but also rebirth, regeneration, and rejuvenation. The pandemic is bringing up different struggles for different people. For the lucky ones, the worst case scenarios will only be confronted in our minds. But one of the features for everyone, in one sense or another, is fear — whether it is fear of disease, of being alone, of losing a loved one, or of enduring a financial crisis, food insecurity, or a loss of personal rights and freedom. (Sometimes I think the things we are most afraid of happening in the future are actually things we have already experienced on some level / in some dimension in the past, and we have residual trauma from it). Pluto, being an outer planet, elevates the issues to a societal level, revealing problems we are confronting together as a whole. Hopefully this collective crisis will act as a reset button and help us work towards creating a more sustainable future.

  • February 3 — March 4, 2020 and March 16 — April 11, 2020: Mercury in Pisces
  • February 16 — March 9, 2020: Mercury Retrograde
  • April 3, 2020: Mercury conjunct Neptune

Mercury rules the flow of information and communication. While Mercury is in Pisces, retrograde, and with Neptune, information may be emotionally driven, contradictory, mystical, creative, and therefore up for interpretation — as opposed to clear, precise, and accurate. Mercury in Pisces is great at “painting a picture” of reality, so it can present on the one hand ideals and higher realities, or on the other hand confusion, vagueness, and blurriness. Outright deceit can enter the picture. 

 

First Act where Mars is a Trigger for the Loaded Guns

  • February 16, 2020: Mars enters Capricorn

Once entering Capricorn, a robust Mars begins almost 3 months of co-presence (being in the same sign) with a commanding Saturn. The two traditional malefics hanging out in the same sign, and a sign in which they both have extra strength, is daunting, because together they join forces and become even more powerful. Mars, the warrior, brings danger and struggle; while Saturn, the hermit, brings restriction and isolation. Mars and Saturn will first be together in Capricorn and then together in Aquarius, both signs where Saturn rules. So Saturn themes win out: caution, guardedness, anxiety, limitations, going inward, scarcity etc. Even though Mars is potent in Capricorn, his actions are frustrated unless they are in the service of Saturn’s agenda... Having to stay within the structure of one’s own home is a literal manifestation of Saturn’s rule. 

  • February 26, 2020: Mars conjunct South node
  • March 20, 2020: Mars conjunct Jupiter   
  • March 23, 2020: Mars conjunct Pluto
  • March 31, 2020: Mars conjunct Saturn 

Volatile Mars moves down a corridor of conjunctions, igniting everything it touches. First it passes the South node, pressuring us to let go of attachments; then Jupiter, making everything bigger (or at least appear bigger); then Pluto, compelling us to face the specter of death; and finally it reaches Saturn, helping us to take practical (and somewhat miserable) steps in order to cope/survive. After March is over we will have come through one of the most concentrated months of the year, in terms of the severity of dramatic aspects packed within a short period of time. I’m not saying I think everything will magically get better after March, but we will have passed a milestone by the end of it. 

  • March 30, 2020: Mars enters Aquarius 

This shift presents us with the opportunity to perceive how we are all in this together. What touches one of us touches all of us.

  

A Key Player

  • April 4, June 30, and November 12, 2020: Three passes of Jupiter conjunct Pluto in Capricorn

This repeated aspect reveals the character of the predicament we find ourselves in. Pluto correlates with the intense upheaval that is happening within the world, societies, families, and individuals — propelled by serpentine forces hidden beneath the surface. Pluto reveals to us the destruction that is probable if we do not transmute unconscious shadow forces into instruments that serve humanity and the earth as a whole. During this year (roughly) of Jupiter conjunct Pluto, Jupiter expands all of these situations represented by Pluto. And on the darker side, this aspect could also be described as a magnification of the wealth that buys power, and a fortification of plutocracy under the guise of democracy. I suppose the forces of light and dark are always co-existing simultaneously. On the spiritual level, Pluto requires and inspires us to surrender to a higher power. And usually there is a benevolent or healing aspect to Jupiter’s influence. Jupiter, though not as Jupiterian while in Capricorn, is still Jupiter, and still has the potential to bring a spirit of generosity, friendship, harmony, and resources to the table (a small stimulus check from the government is inadequate yet unprecedented). Though we are isolated from one another in obvious outer senses (due to the dominant Saturnian influences discussed earlier), we still have the power to work together for the common and individual good. Jupiter’s participation reminds us of that, and Pluto’s energy of intensification could potentially empower Jupiter’s benevolence in this configuration.

 

Like all three-part aspects, the first meeting of Jupiter conjunct Pluto on 4/4 introduces the issues at hand, the second retrograde meeting on 6/30 stirs up the issues to be revisited and reviewed, and the last meeting on 11/12 has the potential to offer a resolution. I am hoping that by the time the third pass in November rolls around, more of the truth (Jupiter) will be revealed and more of the unanswered questions about what all was transpiring underneath the surface (Pluto) this year, will be more apparent. 

 

Intermission

  • May 6, 2020: The Nodes of the Moon shift out of Cancer/Capricorn 

The global crisis reached a crescendo when Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and the South node (the dragon’s tail) were all in Capricorn. With the Nodes of the Moon shifting into new signs, the dragon’s head and tail will no longer be accentuating all those forces in Capricorn at once. I imagine this will correlate with a degree of relief.

  • May 13 — June 27, 2020: Mars in Pisces 

For the first time since mid February, Mars is no longer co-present in a sign with Saturn. This initiates a phase of respite during which we are no longer undergoing the first wave knocking us over (spurring us to panic-hoarding, etc) as we try to adjust to a shocking new lifestyle. At this point we are no longer reacting to the first terror of Mars triggers. Now we are settling in but wondering how this fragile situation is going to unfold from here… While in Pisces, Mars won’t be making hard aspects to the other challenging planets, except its conjunction to Neptune on June 13, 2020. On the negative end, Mars and Neptune together could describe rash autocratic moves (Mars) by those in power, amidst a swirl of confusion and illusion (Neptune). On the high end, we have strong motivation (Mars) to come together with a sense of unity and oneness (Neptune) to champion (Mars) for justice. While we experience Pisces, tuning into the suffering of the collective is inevitable and painful, but a much needed feature of this emotional and empathic water sign…

 

Regarding health, Pisces and Neptune both have something to do with the “soup” we are all in together — the invisible sea of germs we are swimming in — and Mars rules contagious and infectious diseases. Does that mean there will be a more extensive spread of the virus stealthily infecting people during this time? In normal circumstances the flow of germs makes us stronger in the long run as our immune systems build in strength through exposure. Perhaps the process of communities acquiring natural immunity during this time will gain momentum, if that is possible. 

  • March 22 — July 1, 2020: Saturn dips into Aquarius, initiating Saturn square Uranus

Saturn leaves Capricorn for a few months, creating a little more distance between Saturn and Pluto. While these two planets take a break from sharing the same sign, many are experiencing a decreased level of alarm related to the pandemic (sensibly or not, we will find out later) and the dark Saturn-Pluto themes of fear and confinement. At the same time we are getting a taste of what the next couple of years may be like. For most of 2021 and 2022 we will be embroiled in another powerful planetary alignment: Saturn in Aquarius square Uranus in Taurus. This transit could be described as the status quo power structures (Saturn) poised in a tug of war (square) with the voices for radical change (Uranus) to confront and uproot racial injustice, economic injustice, environmental injustice, and all other forms of systemic institutionalized oppression and bondage. We are seeing a strong uprising against the horrific brutalities that commonly occur against people of color (George Floyd being a last straw). And this is just the beginning, virus or not. I am finding myself grieving deeply about the pain my beloved brothers and sisters of color have endured for centuries. Mercifully this is now once again becoming too flagrant for white people to ignore. Along with the grief, my heart is also rejoicing as I watch the ubiquitous inequities come to light more visibly for white people to see. Seeds of real change are being planted now correlating with this transit. It is a square, so no surprise, change and reform will not happen without great struggle... 

 

On a side note, Aquarius rules modern technology. The last time Saturn was in Aquarius the internet was born. And now as Saturn enters Aquarius we are in this sudden (sudden thanks to the square to Uranus) phase of life where many have no choice but to conduct their work and socializing primarily online. Though I hope this isn’t the new normal, I do appreciate that this form of communication was never before available during earlier times in history. Once Saturn re-enters Aquarius in December 2020, it will spend the next two and a half years in Aquarius. With Jupiter by Saturn’s side for the better part of 2021, we can expect a proliferation (Jupiter) of new technology (Aquarius) built into the structure (Saturn) of our existence. (For instance, I have heard there are plans for 800,000 more cell towers, 1 million more antennas, and 50,000 satellites continuously radiating from the sky covering every corner of the earth in order to support all the wireless devices in use. How will this impact the health of all creatures?)

  • April 25 — October 4, 2020: Pluto Retrograde
  • May 11 — September 29, 2020: Saturn Retrograde 
  • May 14 — September 12, 2020: Jupiter Retrograde

Retrograde periods give us time to digest and integrate the past in order to facilitate new problem-solving innovations that help us move beyond obstacles. Just as the planets appear to go backwards from our perspective on earth, certain matters in our lives also do not move forward as readily. I am wondering if this will work in our favor during the pandemic, offering us intervals of relative respite with reports of positive cases and deaths slowing down. Will we be able to ease up on restrictions and caution, or will there be a false sense of security? Additionally, Mercury will be retrograde twice more this year: June 18 — July 12 and October 13 — November 3, 2020, and Venus will be retrograde (signifying the many economic and relationship impacts we are facing) May 13 — June 25, 2020. If things fail to move forward at the regular pace, especially during the Mercury retrograde periods, will we feel a sense of interminableness in this new tenor of life? It seems we have been conditioned to dread Mercury retrograde, but we desperately need our retrograde times. We need time to learn from our mistakes. We need time to catch up, time for reflection, time to reframe the past, and time to revision the future. 

 

Second Act in which Mars is a Trigger and Saturn Inches Closer to Pluto Again

  • June 27, 2020 — Jan 7, 2021: Mars in Aries 

Mars is in Aries for an unusually long time, because its entire retrograde period takes place within the sign of Aries. While Mars is in Aries we can expect the Saturn-Pluto themes of disease and darkness to heat up again. Mars will again be in hard aspect to these heavy-hitter planets, and again be acting as a trigger of the crisis that began early in the year. While in Aries, Mars is again extra potent, but now no longer in service to (i.e. ruled by) Saturn as it was when in Capricorn. Saturn is all about fear, caution, and isolation. Mars is more about fighting for rights and asserting oneself regardless of the consequences. Saturn was in charge earlier in the year, but not so this time around. During this second act, both Saturn and Mars are strong and fighting out disparate agendas. The exact squares and potential peak points of stress are:

  • (July 14, 2020: Mars conjunct Chiron)

  • August 4, 2020: Mars square Jupiter retrograde
  • August 13, 2020: Mars square Pluto retrograde
  • August 24, 2020: Mars square Saturn retrograde
  • September 29, 2020: Mars retrograde square Saturn
  • October 9, 2020 Mars retrograde square Pluto
  • October 19, 2020: Mars retrograde square Jupiter 
  • December 23, 2020: Mars square Pluto
  • January 14, 2021: Mars square Saturn
  • January 23, 2021: Mars square Jupiter

The timeframe of these repeated squares will likely correspond with a second wave of the pandemic crisis in some form. But the experience will be different, because it will reflect the advantage of a learning curve already integrated, leaving us more prepared and able to pass though it with more skills, hopefully! First Mars will meet Chiron in mid July. This could reveal our vulnerability and how we have been wounded. Then the first phase of squares begins. After that Mars goes retrograde (September 9 — November 13, 2020) to begin a review process. While retrograde Mars is not able to push forth its agenda as immediately, so that may offer less outward intensity during that time but more internal strife as we grapple with processing volatile emotions and instincts. Also, the South node will not be involved this time, meaning one less challenging point for Mars to trigger. On the other hand, the Mars retrograde creates an extra long period of stressful aspects of intense conflict. This phase of the crisis will be prolonged in comparison with the initial phase of Mars triggers that occurred during the conjunctions in Capricorn in February and March. The conjunction is sometimes the most shocking part of an aspect cycle, because it poses a new problem and brings it to the fore for the first time. In contrast, the square represents turning a corner within the cycle, albeit with struggle and great effort. The months of Mars squares listed above will likely correlate with significant peak points of struggle in passing through the stages of this pandemic life experience and eventually getting to the other side of it.

  • July 2 — December 17, 2020: Saturn returns to Capricorn
  • September — October 2020: Saturn is within 3º of Pluto

Because Saturn retrogrades backwards, completes its dip into Aquarius, and re-enters Capricorn, it again comes into close proximity with Pluto. Although these two planets will not make another exact conjunction during this cycle (other than in January 2020), Saturn will be awfully close to Pluto during September and October 2020. This will also coincide with the Mars triggers mentioned in the previous section. During this period, Mars will be in Aries, in the middle of its three-part square aspect to Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto. As mentioned, it is reasonable to prepare for another iteration of the dark archetypal conglomeration of Saturn-Pluto themes — widespread power struggles and affliction of the masses in some form — until Saturn gains more distance from Pluto, and until Mars is finished setting things off. Since Saturn will not quite reach Pluto this time, I am hoping the Saturn-Pluto themes will not peak as intensely as they did in the beginning of the year. 

 

The Denouement

  • December 17, 2020: Saturn enters Aquarius
  • December 19, 2020: Jupiter enters Aquarius
  • December 21, 2020: Jupiter conjunct Saturn at 0º Aquarius at the Solstice
  • January 21, 2021: Mars conjunct Uranus

By the end of December 2020 we will be entering the beginning of a new 20 year cycle initiated by an exact Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in Aquarius. Jupiter will no longer be in a sign incompatible with itself. Both Jupiter and Saturn will no longer be sharing a sign with Pluto. And Mars will almost be done (but not completely until the end of January 2021. See the dates in the Second Act section) with its long process of triggering and then re-triggering the challenging planetary placements of 2020. 2020 draws to a close with Jupiter conjunct Saturn right on the winter solstice. This will mark the beginning of the end of the fearsome Saturn-Pluto conjunction, which will hopefully also translate as the beginning of the end of pandemic life… 

 

With Saturn and Jupiter both leaving the conservative earth sign of Capricorn, entering the nonconformist air sign of Aquarius, and meeting at 0º, there is a feeling of inspiration, at least in some small way, reminiscent of “The Age of Aquarius” and all that is associated with it. In the best case scenario this will strengthen an alternative vision for healing, freedom, and justice and encourage new Aquarian seeds of reform to be planted. I long for the time when we are fully on the path towards living in a spirit of brotherhood, sisterhood, and with a sense of the unity of all life. I know there is a growing mass of us with this kind of vision in our hearts and commitment to continue working towards it, so that gives me hope…

 

2021 begins with a bang, as the Saturn square Uranus transit that only just began in the spring of 2020 takes hold for a two year journey. The archetype of fighting for change within an old rotting system is the general theme of this transit, but it will have some interesting twists. Saturn, the planet that represents the old structures, is in Aquarius, a sign that rules reformation and revolution. At the same time, Uranus, the planet that represents radical change, is in Taurus, a fixed earth sign known to be resistant to change. On top of that, Saturn is fortified by the presence of benevolent Jupiter working under Saturn’s rule in Aquarius for much of 2021. And Uranus is vitalized by a somewhat awkward yet ever bellicose Mars in Taurus for a couple of months. So this longer term volatile aspect between Saturn and Uranus kicks off with not just those two planets pitted against one another, but instead four planets involved in the fight. I am eager to see how this is going to play out.

 

 

Talking about the Age of Aquarius, if you need a laugh as much as I do, I recommend watching this: https://youtu.be/fdsCGm4bP3E (The Age of Aquarius scene from The 40-Year-Old Virgin)

 

(art: The Carousel of Time by RC DeWinter)


4
February

Making Friends with the Planets

 
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After a long/semi-permanent hiatus from social media — for the purpose of spending more time outside in nature and less time at my computer — I had an inspiration to write the attached article. I hope you like it. Please let me know. My learning and practice of astrology hasn’t stopped even though I am not posting much online. Much love...

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When the planets in the sky interact with our birth charts, especially the longer term transits from the heavy hitters like Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, each transit can last from several months to a few years, and these transits usually correlate with the most growth-inducing times in our lives.

 

For anyone who is paying attention to these transits and anticipating which ones are imminent, it’s helpful to have a way to hold this knowledge without a sense of fear and dread. Otherwise it’s easy to get caught up in negative anticipation as these heavy transits keep unfolding over the years. We certainly get times of respite, but sometimes it can be one challenging transit after another. 

 

So, I have been contemplating how to make friends with these planets. I take inspiration from the Indian/Vedic tradition of literally worshipping the planets in the hopes of gaining their mercy or graces. And I have great respect for those who feel called to do ceremonies or rituals in honor of the planets. For me, however, creating a relationship with each planetary archetype and finding a way to honor that archetype in myself and in my life is what feels more natural and is what I am focusing on in this article. So I thought I would share some of my ideas for how to do this with regard to each of these heavy hitters/great lords in the sky. Tuning into their presence in our lives, through the seemingly magical synchronicity that is astrology, offers one way to get an inkling of the perfection of Divine Intelligence.

 

Saturn

Everyone seems to know about the Saturn Return these days, when Saturn in the sky returns to the same position it was in at the time of your birth, at the age of 29 or so. And in Indian astrology there is the Sade Sati, or the 7½ year period when transiting Saturn goes through three consecutive signs: the sign before your Moon sign, the sign of your Moon, and the sign after your Moon sign. These are usually life-changing years in our lives. How can we propitiate Saturn and flow more harmoniously with these transits? I believe it is by actively incorporating, welcoming, and expressing Saturn principles as much as possible during these periods. Here are a few general ideas for how to do so:

  • Be responsible, reliable, hard-working, and disciplined. 
  • Say no to frivolous things that don’t serve your long-term goals.
  • Spend time in solitude/Be a hermit for awhile/Overcome the fear of being alone (“Seclusion is the price of greatness.” ~Paramahansa Yogananda) 
  • Be frugal and get serious about planning for the future.
  • Contemplate and prepare for the inevitability of your own death and the deaths of your loved ones.
  • Allow deep or chronic sorrow to rise to the surface. It is emerging now because the time is right for revisiting it, reparenting yourself, and moving further along on your healing journey.
  • Accept and take pleasure in the tedious, monotonous, and mundane chores of life. 
  • Think structure: Get structured about your time, create structures in your life that you can count on, and let structured support help you cope.
  • Embrace humbling and ego-annihilating moments and events. Trust these moments are serving you even though it might feel like torture. 
  • Enjoy, respect, and learn from the elders in your life. 
  • Behold the wisdom and backbone that develops in you as a gift from Lord Saturn. 

Uranus

Uranus is the god of radical or shocking change, revolution, freedom, new technology, eccentricity, and electricity. Everyone has a Uranus opposition in their early 40s, which can be understood as part of the so called mid-life crisis, where the typical challenge is to express a more authentic self. But one can have a major Uranus transit at any time depending on one’s chart. Now, as Uranus recently entered Taurus, those of us with more planets or angles in the fixed signs of Taurus, Scorpio, Leo, and Aquarius are currently having or will soon have some serious Uranus energy to contend with over the next 6 years, depending on the degree of those placements. Here are a few ideas for how to play with Uranus:

  • Be open to the possibility of making a seemingly wild or crazy change — one that fulfills a longing that you have been craving for awhile. It may require a significant upheaval in your life (usually it will be in the area related to where Uranus is transiting in your chart or what it is triggering). At the same time, consider any changes made during a Uranus transit as experimental. If possible try to avoid making any permanent decisions just yet as you may end up changing your mind again before Uranus is done with you, or after the transit is complete. And then you might have terrible regret to live with if you threw the baby out with the bathwater as you were creating your more authentic life.
  • Alternatively, go with creative ways to incorporate more freedom, space, and newness into the current structures of your life. This way the major upheaval is circumvented, yet the need for change and freedom is still honored. 
  • Be willing to let go of structures you built under Lord Saturn’s rule. The changes that happen may come to you from the outside, from unexpected events or initiated by others. These changes may appear to be against your wishes, yet Uranus deems change and disruption is needed to free you from attachments, stagnancy, or old concepts that are holding you back.
  • In general: Speak your truth, live out loud, and no more people pleasing if it isn’t coming from an authentic place. In the end, everyone will benefit from any healthy changes you make (even if they resist the changes at first).
  • Receive glimpses from Uranus. Inspiration can strike you. Be open to tiny sparkling glints that reveal an alternate way of seeing things, especially with regard to old beliefs that were once keeping you alive but are now no longer needed. 
  • At times, change for the sake of change can be a good thing in that it shakes you out of self-imposed or confining patterns, and it introduces more flexibility into your being. 
  • Behold your limiting walls crumbling when Lord Uranus gazes upon you.

Neptune

Neptune is the god of oceanic oneness and unity, dreams, visions, and mysticism, but also illusions, addictions, delusions, and escapism. What a Long Strange Trip it’s Been is an apt title for a Neptune transit. Here are a few ideas for how to merge with Neptune constructively:

  • Focus on your spiritual path, whatever that means to you. 
  • Immerse yourself in activities or environments that help you tune into and feel connected with that which is greater than yourself, your greater self, and the greater whole, the cosmos, God, or whatever it is for you… Things like meditation, prayer, being in nature, being in or near large bodies of water, and engaging in creative or movement practices that get you in the zone. 
  • Even though certain things may usually seem black and white, it could be beneficial to contemplate the grey areas at this time. Something transcendent might emerge from the edge of that grey.
  • Try to hear and discern the quiet voice of intuition within.
  • We all have imaginative scenarios that come up from the unconscious, almost unnoticed. Catching one of those is like catching a fish, a little treasure from the deep. To assimilate that content can contribute to a significant internal realization.
  • Be aware that information you receive from others may be lacking in clarity or reality. Conversely, do some self-inquiry about whether you yourself are painting a picture that is somewhat misrepresentative.
  • Be especially mindful about pharmaceutical drugs and other chemical exposures, which you may become more sensitive to during a Neptune transit. 
  • Behold! Out of the vagueness of the oceanic currents Lord Neptune confers your divine destined wholeness.  

Pluto

Pluto is in Capricorn from 2008 to 2024. Where you have Capricorn in your chart — that area of your life is currently going through a slow, sometimes imperceptible, but utterly thorough and complete makeover. It may not be clear now, but in retrospect it will be awe-inspiring to see the fullness of the transformation. When Pluto connects with a specific planet or angle in your chart the transformation process peaks for a couple of years. Here are a few ideas for how to be on friendly terms with the god of the Underworld: 

  • Have the willingness and courage to face parts of yourself you may have disowned, denied, or never encountered before. These previously unconscious parts may initially become known to you through external forces in the form of other people or events, yet in the largest sense, it is all in you. Forces that initially threaten to overpower you impel you to undergo shifts that result in self-empowerment. 
  • Contemplate forgiveness of self and others. I mention forgiveness because sometimes Pluto transits correlate with events that stir up an abyss of pain, resentment, or guilt. If you can begin the process of seeing these events as instrumental for your growth and regeneration, a glimpse of being able to forgive may knock on the door of your heart. (For clarification, I see forgiveness as being able to have understanding, insight, and empathy around something that was harmful or hurtful, but it is not the same as condoning that thing.)       
  • Engage in some type of therapy to begin to process all that gets stirred up. Pluto requires us to see and touch the very depths of our being that we don’t normally contact. We may not have conscious cognizance of all that is being worked out within the psyche as this is happening, yet the transmutation that occurs will be seen more fully at a later time. 
  • Allow yourself to experience a symbolic or psychological death — such as the death of a cherished ideal, self-image, or life plan — that you were attached to but that needs to be let go of now. Though this ending can be painful, scary, or simply revelatory, a rebirth is on the other side of this experience. 
  • Behold the phoenix that rises from the ashes of the old you after lord Pluto pays you a visit.

I hope these ideas for how to connect with these divine archetypes are helpful. For those of you who have any of these planets prominently placed in your birth chart, the ideas above may apply for that particular archetype in a longer term way or in a more global manner for you. The lists above are not exhaustive by any means. I would love to hear your ideas or experiences with how you survived and thrived during transits from these game-changing planets. 

 

See my older post on Astrological Rites of Passage for more about the timing of the Saturn return, Pluto square, Neptune square, and Uranus opposition, etc: http://www.marlenaapplebaum.com/blog/3675

 

(Art by Kagaya)


July 18, 2015

Pluto’s heart

 

 

The news about the historic first time ever flyby of Pluto is a few days old now but still interesting to me, and this is the first chance I’ve had to post anything. At the very moment of the flyby of Pluto by NASA’s fast moving spacecraft, New Horizons, which took almost ten years to get to Pluto — the Sun, Moon, Mercury, and Mars were all opposing Pluto. The opposition is an aspect of awareness of the Other. It is like looking across a round table at someone sitting exactly opposite you. Although they are furthest away from you, you are in a position to have the most clear, straight-on view of them compared to all the other seats around the table. So with the faster moving planets in this opposite position we got a much better look at Pluto, who is known to us in astrology as the hidden, mysterious, and powerful symbolic god of the underworld. On the day of the flyby the Sun and Moon were unified in Cancer opposing Pluto in Capricorn, representing a sort of spotlight bringing our undivided attention to Pluto. Additionally Mercury’s opposition represents communication with and about Pluto, and Mars represents decisive and probing action regarding Pluto. Wherever Pluto is currently transiting in your birth chart will give an idea of the area of life that is undergoing a slow but profound death and rebirth process (what we associate with Pluto). During the last couple of weeks with this four pointed opposition to Pluto — we had an opportunity for more awareness of what is being disintegrated and transformed within ourselves or our lives.

These faster moving planets were acting as triggers, going over the degrees of the longer-term transit of Uranus square Pluto, which is correlated with a groundbreaking turning point for us individually and collectively, as well as now literally with new astronomical information about Pluto. Even though Pluto is small in size (though New Horizons found it to be larger than anticipated) and even though scientists are finding many other dwarf planets out there in space, I trust there is a reason why Pluto is unique and has been part of our consciousness for a long time. I am struck by the heart-shaped landmass shown in the new photos of Pluto and widely circulated and discussed in the media. Pluto is associated with doing the heavy and sometimes frightening psychological work of confronting one’s unconscious shadow parts. But this new mass awareness of Pluto’s heart, suggests that on a psycho-spiritual level, once we actually have the capacity to get a closer view of our own deeply hidden feelings and motives, for instance, as symbolized by this distant and invisible (to the naked eye) body in our solar system, we may also discover a more welcoming and loving part of ourselves that we never knew before.


November 5, 2014

Mars triggering the Uranus/Pluto square

 

 

Things are heating up as Mars is getting ready to set off the long-term and life-changing Uranus/Pluto square (active from 2012-2015). When there is a trigger from a faster moving planet such as Mars, it can mark a pivotal point within the larger transformational process that is happening. The current waxing Moon in Aries is giving a preview of the flammable energies that are building. On Nov 10th, Mars will conjoin Pluto and on Nov 12th, Mars will square Uranus. When Mars is making hard connections such as these with Pluto and Uranus, there is a potential for aggression, power struggles, shocks, or accidents, etc. However, these aspects can be utilized consciously and productively… Pluto forces us, for the purpose of deeper healing and awareness, to unearth buried wounds or parts of ourselves that may be manifesting unconsciously in the form of external circumstances or unhealthy behaviors and relationships… Uranus brings change — wanted and unwanted — to push us towards living more in alignment with our inner truths and greater potentials. The trigger from Mars to Pluto and Uranus will provide plenty of energy, motivation, and opportunity to go after our own healing and spiritual development and to confront internal or external conditions that are impinging on desired freedoms. Read more...


September 23, 2014

Pluto turns direct

 

 

Last night Pluto turned direct after being retrograde since Apr 14th. When a planet prepares to change directions (or more accurately, its apparent motion from our perspective on Earth), it gradually and increasingly slows down first, comes to a full stop, and then slowly begins to move in the opposite direction. If the planet changes directions at a degree of the zodiac that aspects your chart, the experience of that aspect will be prolonged and intensified. In the case of Pluto, the slowest moving planetary archetype that we study in astrology, this means that if you have any significant planets or points in your chart at or close to 11º Capricorn or 11º of the other Cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, or Libra), you will be feeling this Pluto station especially strongly during all of Aug, Sept, and Oct 2014. 

 

So what does an intense Pluto aspect feel like? Well, Pluto is the god of the “underworld.” If you have been “abducted,” like Persephone was by Hades, you will be feeling it — maybe only symbolically or internally but possibly more literally, depending on what is needed for your personal growth. Read more...


June 16, 2014

Some thoughts about June

 

 

There are two particularly tense times in June that echo the dramatic changes, upheavals, and long-term effects of the Cardinal Grand Cross that peaked in April. On June 14th Mars squared Pluto again, and on June 25th Mars will oppose Uranus again. Squares and oppositions are known to be stressful or hard aspects, but they serve the purpose of pressuring us to turn corners, make choices, and overcome obstacles or problems that require attention, by calling upon our ingenuity, strength, and determination. Mars contributes plenty of vigor and energy to confront these challenges but can spur us into overdrive and add volatility or impatience to the mix. Uranus brings revolutionary thinking outside of the box, but this can also mean being suddenly outside of one’s comfort zone. Pluto tends to dig up buried parts of the self that have been suppressed, revealing hidden wounds, as well as potential treasures. If these Grand Cross aspects are not affecting your chart significantly, all of this may only be experienced as a subtle feeling or in the background of the collective. But many people were and still are being directly and concretely affected by the Grand Cross and these eruptive aftershocks. The Grand Cross can be seen as a Crossroads and with the planets in the Cardinal signs there is a lot of energy for initiating new directions. Read more...


September 20, 2012

These are high intensity days within a long-term process of change

 

 

Sep 18th-20th are high intensity days. Conflicts, crises, resolutions, and shifts that occur now are part of a long-term and deeply transformative process of change, which is happening on both the individual and collective level. On Sep 18th, Pluto stationed direct, right before the second of seven exact Uranus/Pluto squares on Sep 19th, giving this generational-changing/revolution-bringing aspect extra momentum. Then on Sep 20th, fast moving Mercury triggers the Uranus/Pluto square, which has the potential to stir unconscious or core issues up and into our thoughts, words, and day-to-day interactions. We may not be able to fully appreciate or understand the full impact of what is now in process, as there are still five more exact Uranus/Pluto squares to come through 2015. The seven squares in total indicate that it will be a profound series of changes and upheaval, unfolding over time, urging us to let go of outdated and restrictive structures within our psyches and within our societies. This process can feel challenging or scary, as a part of us has to die to the old way, but ultimately it correlates with a strong push forward and a rebirth that is aligned with liberation from internal and external limitations that are no longer serving.


July 18, 2012

Mars triggers the Uranus/Pluto square

 

 

Today Mars triggers the long-term aspect of Uranus square Pluto, which could put some volatility in the air. Uranus square Pluto is happening over the next 3 years. We had the exact square on June 24th and will have 6 more passes of it through 2015. This aspect marks the first significant turning point since the conjunction of Uranus and Pluto back in the 1960’s, which was associated with ubiquitous cultural revolution. Dane Rudhyar calls the first waxing square a “crisis in action.” Tensions have been building… Big changes and all-embracing transformations in the collective as well as the personal sphere are called for during this period.


April 19, 2012

Pluto went retrograde on April 10th...

 

 

Pluto went retrograde on April 10th. Because Pluto moves so slowly, when it is stationing to change directions, it stays in the same degree of the zodiac for weeks to months at a time, creating a powerful force field of Plutonian energy in one spot. If activating one’s natal chart, Pluto stationing can feel as though a hole is being burned through the part of oneself that Pluto is touching. Pluto is the planet that most correlates with depth psychology and integrating the shadow, because Pluto aspects or transits are known to bring to light things that we would rather keep hidden, even from ourselves. Read more...


January 12, 2012

Astrological Rites of Passage

 

 

As the planets move through the sky and through the zodiac, they affect each one of us differently depending on how they connect with one’s individual birthchart. There are some astrological events, however, that happen to everyone at approximately the same age, which mark important rites of passage and correspond with certain life phases. Here is a list of a few of the major ones: 

 

Saturn return (Saturn conjunct Saturn), first one at age 29: 

This is the symbolic entrance into adulthood — new structures are built or current structures break down if they are not in alignment with one’s proper track in life, responsibility increases, and/or obstacles must be overcome.

Second one at age 59: This is a time of passing on the torch to the next generation — all that has been learned and achieved can now be shared fully, and let go of, as one prepares for the last third of life.  

 

Pluto square Pluto, varies due to Pluto’s irregular orbit, currently takes place at age 35-37, but in certain other eras, it was around age 62:

This is a significant turning point involving the integration of one’s shadow — can be experienced as intense pressure, forced growth, or having to surrender. This eventually leads to regeneration, transformation, empowerment and finding new purpose and meaning in life. 

 

Neptune square Neptune, age 40-41:

This is a spiritual turning point — the need arises for direct experience of something greater than the ego self. Initially it can manifest as confusion, doubt, or escapism, but leads to a shift in consciousness.  

 

Uranus opposite Uranus, around age 42:

Uranus brings freedom from that which is limiting or preventing one from being true to oneself. Sudden changes and shock often accompany this transit, but culminate in the awakening to a new life.

 

Moon’s Nodal return, every 18.6 years, at approximately age 19, 38, 56 and so on:

The nodes have to do with the soul’s direction in the larger scheme of one’s life. The nodal returns are moments in time that may be particularly destined and feel like they have a karmic quality to them. 

 

Jupiter return, every 12 years, at age 12, 24, 36, 48 and so on:

These are times of growth, opportunities, blessings, and abundance connected with the area of life where natal Jupiter is in the birthchart.

 

I would love to hear about people’s experiences with these major passages through time. Feel free to contact me with questions or comments. 


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