Astrology as illustrative and reflective, rather than causative
I love this quote from Chris Brennans new book on Hellenistic astrology:
“Despite the formulaic nature of astrological omens, the astrologers themselves did not necessarily think that there was a direct causal connection between celestial and earthly events. Instead, the celestial omens acted as signs or indications of the future that were sent by the gods, and not as causes of the events that they correlated with. The stars in particular were seen as a sort of ‘heavenly writing’ that was inscribed across the sky. Naturally, as Rochberg points out, ‘the notion of the stars as a heavenly script implies their capacity to be read and interpreted.’ Thus in the earliest Babylonian strata of astrological tradition, astrology was seen to be a type of language.”
This supports what I often say, that the planets do not cause things to happen, rather they merely reflect ones karma. The birth chart is an illustration of ones sanskaras for a given lifetime, and there are various techniques to look more closely at a specific timeframe within the lifetime... We are drawn to astrology to gain insight, understanding, and acceptance of the complexity of circumstances we find ourselves in and the attributes we came in with, as well as the inner and outer events and developments that unfold over time.
It appears that some ancient astrologers placed great value on endeavoring towards acceptance of life as it is and developing forbearance, equanimity, and contentment regardless of circumstances (as revealed by, not caused by one’s astrology). The Vettius Valens (c.175 CE) quote at the beginning of Chris’s book is incredible: “Those who engage in the prediction of the future and the truth, having acquired a soul that is free and not enslaved, do not think highly of fortune, and do not devote themselves to hope, nor are they afraid of death, but instead they live their lives undaunted by disturbance by training their souls to be confident, and neither rejoice excessively in the case of good, nor become depressed in the case of bad, but instead are content with whatever is present. Those who do not desire the impossible are capable of bearing that which is preordained through their own self-mastery; and being estranged from all pleasure or praise, they become established as soldiers of fate”
This strikes me as counter to the modern concept of “manifesting” one’s desires and dreams. I resonate with Valens and appreciate the realism and dignity of his words. I am still certainly a proponent of trying one’s best to improve one’s self or one’s lot whenever possible, as that may also be part of the path, but striving for equanimity and acceptance if or when certain things seem unchangeable is just as worthwhile.
Saturn is often considered a challenging planet associated with obstacles and hardships. However, especially in connection to a synastry analysis (how two birth charts interact together) and particularly between a parent and child, I have been noticing an interesting theme with regard to Saturn. It is one that contrasts with the common Saturnian stereotype of difficulties, obstacles, and hardships. Saturn aspects between a parent and child often turn up in harmonious relationships. In these cases the parent is indeed in an archetypal parental role, taking responsible and reliable care of the child, and being ultra motherly or fatherly. As well, the parent is experienced by the child as the authority. And that initial dynamic between them often continues, even after the child is fully an adult. In relationships like this I have repeatedly seen the parent’s Saturn tightly conjunct a significant point in the child’s chart, especially the child’s Sun, Moon, or Ascendant. This is not surprising, as Saturn is known as “the wise old elder.” And it is commonly said that Saturn is almost always notably placed in the synastry of any long-term relationship (such as family).
In non-parent/child relationships, even in the case of hard aspects, such as an opposition, for instance, from one spouse’s Saturn to the other spouse’s personal planet such as the Moon or Venus, the Saturn person may simply take on a responsible, mature, and perhaps a directive role in the relationship. Depending on the other person’s internal relationship with these Saturnian qualities, the person receiving the Saturn energy may be harmonious with this dynamic or not. In any case, a Saturn configuration between two people in a committed relationship is commonly present and is indicative of a tone of accountability, reliability, and practicality within the structure of the relationship.
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.
“Newspaper reporters would regularly seek interviews with Meher Baba, and sometimes he would consent… ‘But what about astrology?’ the reporter asked. ‘Everything has something to do with spirituality. It depends on how it is worked out.’ “ (From LM, p. 2077)
Venus (love) is opposite Chiron (the wound) today. There may be a feeling of vulnerability — a tangible tension between the expression of love or going towards what one desires — and the memory of painful wounds and debilities, or a fear of getting hurt because of them. But there is power in vulnerability. The sheer courage it takes to come face to face with our vulnerabilities is part of living wholeheartedly.
July 4-13 Venus connects with all the outer planets
From 7/4 to 7/13 Venus connects with all the outer planets one after the other - bringing intense focus to relationships and ones sense of self-worth. Venus will reactivate the Grand Cross - tension, polarization of opposing feelings, and the need for change/transformation that we felt through June - but Venus also makes harmonious aspects supporting spiritual vision, connection, and buoyancy. Read more...
With the polarization of opposing feelings, values, desires, and urges, etc. (symbolized by the 2 oppositions that form the cross), the challenge is to integrate opposite positions, either within yourself or within a relationship, rather than to suppress or deny one side of a polarity. The squares involved are difficult and demand that you mobilize in order to turn a corner, but once turned you realize you have advanced through and past an internal obstacle.
“On Independence Day, the cosmos are set up for you to declare independence from the illusion of being an isolated human! Connecting with your divine source, and the divine in others, can flow easily, thanks to a Venus-Neptune trine.” ~Benjamin Bernstein