In my experience, the deepest and most meaningful learning about astrology comes from experiential observation and involvement. Book learning is essential of course, but for instance, to truly understand the intensity of a transit from a slow moving planet to your birth chart, living through it or watching someone close to you live through it, is entirely different than reading about it. The theory you studied suddenly becomes tangible and is clearly manifesting before your eyes, and yet at the same time it is infinitely more complex and varied in its expression than you could have imagined. The same goes for truly understanding another human being, let alone yourself. It is a lifetime study. As an astrological counselor, I can study a natal chart for hours and hours, days, and weeks, but it would still take time to truly and comprehensively know the native (the owner of the chart). I may be able to quickly speculate about trends in character, predispositions, challenges, gifts, themes of the past and future, and various timelines of various archetypal influences affecting the individual, etc. And all of this can be immensely helpful for people in terms of inspiring self-understanding, self-permission to be who one is, as well as to give encouragement, patience, and strength with one’s life situation. Read more...
However, to really know a person, in a deep sense, and what it means to have a combination of particular planets in particular signs and houses with particular aspects, it takes time and keen observation. That is why I like working with people for a series of sessions over a period of time. We can go so much deeper into personality, life, or relationship dynamics, all of which the chart will illustrate in perfect fashion. Yet it takes time to unravel those mysteries written in a symbolic language. Like any relationship, it takes time and participation with someone to get to know them beyond the surface appearances or presentation. The same is true in a relationship between a counselor and a client and between an astrologer and a chart.
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.
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...
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...
In modern astrology we try to emphasize the positive psychological benefits of all planetary influences, so we use words like transformation, death and rebirth, and rising anew like the phoenix from its ashes, when speaking of Pluto. We talk about going within into the depths of one’s being and taking an honest look at what is hidden and lurking in the darkness of one’s unconscious. All of that is relevant and true, but sometimes Pluto transits are described that way instead of being described simply as being in hell, faced with cruel circumstances or actual criminals, and only to be released after a long and tortuous nightmare is over. During an intense contact with Pluto, it can truly feel like being in hell and it is possible you will meet some dark characters while there. I want to honor that fully. But in time, like Persephone, we may come to appreciate our time in the underworld. We have learned so much about ourselves and about life from the abyssal voyage. We have probably lost a bit more innocence and naiveté, painful as it is necessary. In Jungian psychology it is said that what is not given a conscious outlet in oneself will be encountered externally in others. By the time we return to the surface where the sun shines, we will not only be wiser and stronger, but we will be more whole, as we integrate our experience of Pluto. That is why Pluto is also associated with hidden treasures, riches, and wealth. We must venture down below in order to discover and take them for ourselves.
I love this quote by Stephen Arroyo regarding “the art of not giving advice.” My thoughts exactly.
“What then, one might ask, does an astrologer do? What is his purpose? What can he legitimately offer people if not specific advice? He can offer his insight, his understanding, and his support; and he can provide, with the help of astrology, clarification, a sense of order and meaning, a possibility of gaining higher awareness, and a sense of the ultimate implications of the present situation. Astrology used in this way provides a means by which people can more effectively deal with their lives by recognizing their participation in cosmic cycles, thus helping them to gain a true perspective on themselves and their dealings with the outer world. A birth-chart is not a static thing that one simply “gets done.” It is rather a map which can help the person along the road of self-discovery and self-realization.”
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...
While Mercury is retrograde (June 7-30) it is a fitting time to review, reflect, and fill in additional necessary learning in connection with the complex internal processes and/or life-changing events and developments that have occurred, and which may still be stirring up conflict or confusion especially as new possibilities emerge. Mercury is having us go back and forth over the territory helping us to make sense of and integrate our experiences, as well as giving us an enticing glimpse into a richer existence more aligned with our larger self.
Another thing to note while Mercury is retrograde is that it is common to either not have all the information about matters or to not have good mental clarity about matters, and the pieces may not fall into place or all come together until after Mercury turns direct (July 1st). However, June 19th is a good day to pay attention and listen, as the Sun and Mercury will meet, planting relevant clues in the mind related to the vision of ourselves or our lives of which at this point we can only get an obscure sense.
Wonderful intro to AstroPsychology by Glenn Perry (he articulates so well something Ive often tried to explain - that the birth chart is not fixed, but rather it reflects and embodies our ongoing evolution):
“The traditional way of interpreting charts is to focus on character delineations and fated events, treating both as relatively fixed outcomes. Conversely, a psychological approach views the horoscope as an evolving story that reflects a process of growth over time. Character and events are still delineated, but no longer in terms of fixed outcomes; rather, events are interpreted as vehicles for facilitating a process of characterological development. Read more...
As character evolves, so also does ones narrative of the outer world. As the upgraded, revised story supplants its more limited predecessor, this leads to increasingly satisfying experiences that reflect an evolution of the inner story. In effect, the astrological chart is a kind of living document, or life script, which allows for continuing amendments and revisions. I especially like the word ‘script because it not only conveys the idea of story, but also of a set of instructions that are written down, as in ‘a script to follow. That, in fact, is my thesis: the astrological chart is both a story and a set of instructions for living-that is, for evolving.”
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.
With the practice of astrology you may see a thing coming, but that does not mean you can avoid it. You may note influences and archetypal energies that are active, but regardless of how accurately you interpret meanings for a particular time period, or how much awareness and self-knowledge you have worked to achieve, that does not mean you can eliminate certain lessons that are necessary to expand and deepen your being. So, what can astrology offer? Astrological explorations have the potential to mirror back to you with validation and insight what you are experiencing, and help you make connections between outer and inner events and passages, as well as a larger context of cycles in your personal journey to greater wholeness. This can bring more inner peace, acceptance, and understanding about whatever is happening. Higher intelligence and divine purpose guide the journey. Birth charts, as well as transits, progressions, elections, and the other astrological charts we use — help one gain glimpses of that divine intelligence and purpose.
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.