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Marlena Applebaum

M.A. in Counseling Psychology

Astrological Counseling

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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

 


February 9, 2017

“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 (2017): 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?”). 


May 21, 2014

Mars is Direct and the Sun entered Gemini

 

 

The energy has officially shifted. Dynamic, enterprising, and passionate Mars is direct after 2 ½ months (since March 1st) of being retrograde. When a planet is retrograde its associated qualities can seem subdued or suppressed, because the archetypal life of the planet changes from the usual outward manifestation to a more internalized expression, which may be difficult to see, understand, or access. Mars is most comfortable when he gets to play the superhero, warrior, pioneer, or all out go-getter. While retrograde and in Libra he was needing to be peaceful, reserved, and patient before taking action — and if he wasn’t he probably lost in battle. Now that Mars is direct all of that pent up energy is allowed to flow freely again. New ideas, desires, and opportunities may be appearing where there was a sense of stagnation or indecision before. It’s exciting and yet still very uncertain. Things are moving, but which way are they going? It may not be clear for a little while as Mars first has to retrace his steps before he actually moves into new territory. The Sun also just shifted from spending a month in slow and steady Taurus to now being in quick-moving and changeable Gemini, which is contributing to the new thought-forms popping up. 


October 4, 2014

October’s eclipses

 

 

There is a lot happening today — Mercury is turning retrograde (see post from Sept 27), the Sun is square Pluto, Mars is trine Uranus (see post from Sept 26), and the Moon’s happenings can always be discussed. However, this post is about the upcoming eclipses!

 

As my wise Bubby (grandmother) used to say, “Life brings changes” — a perfect saying for eclipse season, which comes around about twice a year. There are 2 eclipses in October, a Lunar Eclipse Full Moon on Oct 8th and and a Solar Eclipse New Moon on Oct 23rd. In general, eclipses break up stagnancy and create powerful portals that we must walk through — as something old dissolves away while at the same time something new emerges. Often the changes and transitions marked by eclipses are desired and can feel refreshing and freeing. On the other hand, sometimes the changes are not desired by the ego-consciousness and are experienced as loss. Either way, cosmic intelligence is clearing a path, and we are launched forward into the next phase in our journey of personal growth towards wholeness and Self-realization. Read more...


July 24, 2012

Jupiter squares Chiron

 


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.


June 24, 2014

The unfoldment process involving the Mars T-square with Uranus & Pluto

 

 

Since Mars was retrograde during the Spring of 2014, instead of moving steadily along through the signs, it stopped at about 28º Libra, turned around for awhile from Mar 1st to May 19th, and went back to 9º Libra. Then Mars turned direct at 9º and once again began moving forward through Libra. What this means is that Mars is going over a portion of Libra three times, creating an unfoldment process beginning the first time Mars came to 9º Libra on Dec 25, 2013 and completing around Jul 21, 2014 when Mars will reach 28º Libra for the last time in this cycle. 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...


March 2, 2012

What each sign finds most distressing:

 

 

(The following is not comprehensive — just some observations. And it is important to recognize that no one is a pure archetype. The Sun sign holds a central place in the personality but other important factors in the birth chart — especially the rising sign, the Moon sign, and strongly placed planets — combine to make us each unique and complex.) 

 

Aries ♈: to be held back from acting on an impulse, to be suppressed, to be prevented from expressing contentious and/or passionate energies, to be slowed down.

Taurus ♉: to be rushed, lack of financial or emotional security, to be deprived of touch, to be deprived of beautiful sights, smells, sounds, tastes, and textures.

Gemini ♊: boredom, lack of information, being “out of the loop” or cut off from communication, pressure to commit to one thing, having to stay still.

Cancer ♋: no one to nurture and protect, no one to be nurtured and protected by, thwarted from cultivating one’s “baby,” not having a safe and comfortable home. 

Leo ♌: no loving audience, not being seen, not being appreciated, not being adored, not enough attention, cold-heartedness.

Virgo ♍: lack of attention to detail, skipped steps, orderless chaos, not adhering to thorough technique and “proper” procedure, lack of refinement, lack of purity. 

Libra ♎: having to go it alone with no one to bounce off of, having to make a quick decision without being able to weigh the pros and cons, that which is unjust or unfair, insensitivity, lack of empathy, inconsideration, ugliness.

Scorpio ♏: superficiality, inauthenticity, feeling powerless, revealing vulnerability, failing to do one’s deep inner work, lack of emotional intimacy, lack of meaningful bonding.

Sagittarius ♐: the everyday routine with nothing exotic mixed in, lack of freedom, lack of access to philosophical perspectives, lack of ethics, narrow-mindedness, a life with no adventure.

Capricorn ♑: that which is unrealistic, inefficient, wasteful, impractical, or theoretical only; losing status, losing authority, lack of mastery, lack of having a respectful place in the world.

Aquarius ♒: conformity, exclusive hierarchical systems, social inequity, being confronted with ignorance, self-centeredness, or drama queens/kings.

Pisces ♓: the mundane details of life, no way to escape ordinary reality, lack of inspiration, lack of vision, lack of art, lack of feeling connected with the divine.


April 3, 2015

Lunar Eclipse Full Moon

 

 

We had a Solar Eclipse New Moon on Mar 20th and there is a Lunar Eclipse Full Moon tomorrow morning (Apr 4th). This Lunar Eclipse (at 14º Libra) is tightly connected with the last exact Uranus/Pluto square, which though ebbing is still very active. So this Eclipse may correlate with moving in the direction of closure regarding the transformative process of internal and external restructuring that took place over the last three years.


The time around eclipses, and especially between a set of eclipses, can be highly charged for many (depending on how it is interacting with your birth chart), because eclipses have a way of bringing things up to the surface, which were previously only brewing in the unconscious. Once in plain view often something must be done or at least seen and accepted as a reality. In this way eclipses necessitate actions and attitudes that usher in needed change. But even positive change can be tumultuous or scary.

As always a Full Moon brings awareness or clarity (though often not until a day or two after the exact Full Moon) as it sheds light where there was darkness (the unknown) before. Also, Full Moons and Lunar Eclipses embody a polarization of some sort as the Sun and Moon are in direct opposition to one another. This opposition between two poles may be felt as an internal tension or experienced with an external person or situation. This eclipse is near the North node, so wherever Libra is in your birth chart, is where something new will be learned, assimilated, integrated, or received.


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