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Marlena Applebaum

M.A. in Counseling Psychology

Astrological Counseling

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October 16, 2014

Mercury retrograde conjunct the Sun

 

 

As Mercury continues to move backwards, he converges with the Sun today and is fully absorbed into the Sun’s light. I have heard a couple of explanations about this that I really like. One is that when a planet is conjunct the Sun, it becomes purified by the heat and fire of the Sun. Since Mercury represents the mind, thoughts, and how we communicate, we can take this moment as an opportunity to consciously choose to place certain habitual thought forms or patterns of communication that are no longer serving us, into a symbolic sacred fire to be dissolved and burned away. The other explanation I like is that the conjunction with the Sun represents a significant moment to seed a new beginning. So after the fire there is a space, an opportunity for regeneration, and a freedom to create a new thought, a new idea, a new way of communicating that represents how we want to think and express ourselves moving forward into the future. The rest of the Mercury retrograde cycle (through Oct 25) can be an incubation period providing time for further research, development, and clarification for this new consciousness or intention.


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: /blog/3675

 


December 22, 2014

Saturn shifts from Scorpio to Sagittarius

 

 

Saturn takes about two and a half years to travel through each sign of the zodiac. Since October of 2012 Saturn has been in Scorpio, but tomorrow morning (Dec 23) Saturn will enter Sagittarius. Wherever Scorpio is in your chart is the area in which you had the opportunity to transcend yourself and your typical patterns for the last 2+ years, through the process of facing obstacles and restrictions presented by Saturn’s demands. Where Saturn is traveling represents the realm of life where you may currently need to restructure things, pay your dues, be disciplined, be patient, and be ultra responsible, etc. Saturn can be a stern taskmaster but if we listen and do as he urges, it will create positive results and changes over time. Over time is the key phrase here. The work we put in for Saturn takes time to develop and come to fruition. Integrity, achievement, and mastery are the rewards for obeying Saturn’s long-term plans and principles. Read more...


November 22, 2014

Sagittarius season

 

 

Today the Sun entered Sagittarius and there was a New Moon at 0º Sagittarius this morning. Wherever Sagittarius is in your birth chart represents the area of life where a new beginning is now opening up. It’s time for a fresh start, clean slate, or the beginning of a new endeavor in that area of life. Sagittarius is a mutable fire sign. Exuberant, spirited, and free – the Sagittarius archetype is about seeking the meaning of life through experience, exploration, and adventure. Through these encounters personal knowledge is gained, sorted, and distilled to make up one’s own belief systems and guidelines by which to live. Sagittarius is also characterized by a resolute striving, as imaged by the archer shooting arrow after arrow upward to a higher level. Along with the Sun and Moon, Venus entered Sagittarius on Nov 16 and Mercury will enter Sagittarius on Nov 27, so for the next month Sagittarius energy predominates and is highly accessible to all of us. 


November 15, 2014

Sun and Venus encounter Jupiter and Saturn

 

 

The Sun and Venus have been traveling close together for the last month or so, bringing some ease to relationships and generally encouraging the enjoyment of life, during an otherwise potentially tense time. Together they (and we) are moving through the sign of Scorpio. While in Scorpio we are destined to plunge into the depths and wade through a mire of swampy darkness if need be, in search of truth, authenticity, and connection with what is real in self and other, whether it is pretty or not. This is not always comfortable for Venus as she prefers the pleasantries and niceties of life. However, since this dive into the unknown is in the service of intimacy, she tolerates being out of her comfort zone while in Scorpio, because she knows that deep down she too craves real intimacy, which requires this type of journeying. Read more...


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 17, 2012

Mercury retrograde conjunct the Sun

 

 

Today Mercury retrograde is conjunct the Sun: “Mercury is in the Heart of the Sun, symbolically in the throne room of the King. This is the ‘seed moment’ of the Mercury cycle — as the Earth, Mercury and the Sun all line up in a straight line. Thus, it is a wonderful time to set your intentions with respect to communications, movement, learning, teaching and any other Mercurial significations” (Gary Caton). This conjunction of Mercury with the Sun is near where the eclipse happened — once again highlighting the area of one’s chart where Scorpio lies, and showing a specific area of life and self where one can focus the intention. “I believe that if there is something you wish to achieve or master, it helps to sit down first and have an image of yourself already there” (Howard Sasportas)


October 24, 2014

Scorpio season, a Solar Eclipse, Sun/Venus conjunction, and Mercury turns direct

 

 

The Sun, Moon, and Venus all entered Scorpio yesterday (Oct 23rd). This is a big shift all at once from diplomatic, reasonable, and mental-oriented Libra — to intense, piercing, and feeling-oriented Scorpio. The Scorpio archetype is about speaking and acting from a knowing that originates deep within the gut. During Scorpio season we may find ourselves more in tune with the truth of our instincts, and more inspired to courageously express ourselves from that internal wisdom. Read more...


November 20, 2011

Sun square Neptune (☉◻♆)

 

 

Sun square Neptune today: Vitality may not be at its height, nor logic and clarity. It could be more productive to slow down and nurture the right brain side of life. The demand of a square can help one make a shift. With some effort — one may discover intuition, vision, compassion, or mystical love. Even in practical pursuits there may be a dimension of art or transcendent inspiration... Planetary transits are opportunities — we can partner with them to go with the flow instead of resist it. 


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...


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