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Monday, February 6, 2012

A Short Guide to Winter in the North or Considering Opposites in Astrology

Here in the Northwest winter has finally come to call. She must’ve mislaid her invitation somewhere (if she ever had one) as she is very late. I don’t mind really, as far as I am concerned she needn’t have bothered. For most of us the winter season is far from our favorite. In the pastoral calendar of old, December 23rd otherwise known as the winter solstice, was considered midwinter. Coincidentally (or maybe not) that is the date that our Sun changes signs from adventurous Sagittarius to serious Capricorn.

This happening has an effect on the human population. If your birthday is anywhere from (approx) Dec 23rd to Jan 21st   your Sun sign is Capricorn and all the honors and tribulations that go along with that sign are yours. Yet, it isn’t just native Capricorns getting all the fun, for one solid month we are all complimentary Capricorns because we have to deal with the Saturnian energy the sun is shoveling in. Saturn is Capricorn’s ruling planet. You might call it the boss. Saturn would like that and it’s always preferable to stay on a bosses good side. Saturn is one of astrology’s more infamous planets. It has a reputation for being difficult to deal with. Well what boss isn’t? Saturn isn’t as threatening as it is demanding, just as winter is demanding. Winter can turn threatening too if we are grow unconscious or lazy toward it. Saturn (and winter) has a lot of expectations. At certain times of our lives there are rules applied and we are expected to color within the lines and make the most of it. One thing that winter and Saturn have in common is that during their reign we can’t cut loose and do whatever we want. If we try speeding down icy roads it isn’t going to end well, we’re going to get hurt.

There are other rules in life that aren’t as physically obvious but breaking them can end up hurting us just as much. Another word for rules is responsibility. Saturn asks: who or what are we responsible for? If this responsibility is right and true for us to accept then how can we find joy while meeting the demands? Lastly, what are the consequences for us if we chuck it all anyway and run? This is part of what Saturn has to teach us. During the winter we all get to try on temporary versions of this kind of energy because responsibility is being imposed on us by outside seasonal conditions rather than through our birth charts, lives or transits. We feel (or should feel) the “rules of the road” this time of year. A time to pull in, take stock and recognize what is important enough to drive through a blizzard to and what is not. Scarcity is the order of the day. Everything from what is in season and affordable at the grocery store, to how much time do I have before it gets dark outside to how much energy am I going to have left after shoveling the driveway and thawing pipes? It isn’t even practical to be away from home for very long as the bitter cold can turn small mishaps back at the ranch into major problems quicker than you can say: “Jack Frost.”

There is no changing the weather, but one may change their attitude and consequently their actions and that is where astrology comes in handy. Understanding what is being asked of you and why can provide an answer to the question of: “Just what kind of joy can I get from responsibility?”

In astrology the answer to one signs dilemmas or extremes is its opposite sign. That is, the sign that is 180 degrees from it on both the astrological wheel and the wheel of the year. The opposite of January is July and the opposite of Capricorn is Cancer.  

Now another plug for my assertion that astrologers include Earth in their astrological studies:  once again Earth has something to contribute to these situations because when the Sun is in a sign our Earth is in the opposite sign. The Sun is the active principle here meaning, that it is the Sun’s dynamic (and the sign it is in) that is dominating our lives every month, the outside force to be reckoned with at this moment. Being stable and slightly inert the Earth has the passive principle. Caught in winter’s claw the Earth can’t really do a whole lot but hunker down and neither can we. This is our first hint of guidance. A passive role also includes our inside energy, the psychological attitude we need to cultivate and our reaction to this dynamic Sun energy that is snowing on our parade. In other words the Earth sign, being the opposite of the Sun sign at any given time shows the creatures of Earth how best to deal with the Sun’s present energy level or color.

Let’s look at the energetic signature of the sign of Cancer. Cancer is known for a penchant to pull in when a situation threatens and assess the emotional temperature around them for the purpose of getting a better bead on things. As a result their natural intuition gives them the ability to instinctively know the best time to take their next step.     

Cancer is also famous for its extreme nurturing abilities. According to Dictionary.com to nurture is “to support and encourage or to feed and protect” Also covered is training and education for the development of oneself.  

When the year swings around and the Sun is in the sign of Cancer (and the Earth in Capricorn) we experience the other seasonal temperature extreme here on Earth: high summer. It follows that in July we then look to Capricorn for the right psychological mindset and emotional mood to align ourselves with. Here we have a see-saw like pattern unfolding:

In January, Capricorn Sun: Peak of Winter, freezing cold and bitter outside? Cancer Earth: Regroup and make plans and nurture them. Develop and deepen your talents or even train yourself in a new specialty. Stay indoors and nurture you, your home, your family and friends and maybe a business idea or two. Reconnect with all indoor and internal levels and ideas.

In July, Cancer Sun: Peak of summer. Emotions are running high, family and friends actively coming for a visit. Need a retreat? Capricorn Earth: Take charge, organize and defer. Throw yourself into work and career, plans and projects should be at their highest operational level now.
However like its mirror image winter, the sweltering hot days of summer can hold some similar restrictions too. Recognize that this time of year is not the time to spread yourself too thin or run too fast, you’ll collapse with heat stroke. Get all your plates in the air and then kick back a little in the afternoon. Wine cooler on the patio with a lively guest anyone?     

The planet Saturn, like the winter season, represents a limiting set of circumstances and high expectations whether it’s one month a year or as in our natal charts: throughout our entire lifetime. Yet if we heed the message in the medium of astrology, paying close attention to opposites, marrying the active outgoing principle of the Sun and the attitudinal passive principle of the Earth (in the signs of Capricorn and Cancer respectively, this time of the year), if we work within that criteria we can meet Saturn’s expectations with a song in our hearts. Then Saturn rewards us for a job well done. We will establish ourselves as serious and successful workers who can handle life’s adversities with know-how and great timing while sporting the support system of a strong foundational home-life of family and friends. Happy Winter!                  

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Mystic and Me: Experiencing a Transit through your Dog


Well, the holidays are over but I still have a guest at my house. Her name is Neptune. Now moving away from my Uranus/Jupiter conjunction in the second house, Neptune inches ever closer to laying a square on my Moon (6) opposition Mercury (12) doorstep but I have till May 2012 before it actually makes direct contact. Not such a big concern yet. However, the universe in its infinite wisdom, has given me a small preview of coming attractions. “They” have put me together with my dog Mystic who just happens to be dealing with Neptune conjunct her Sun! Yes, animals are people too and they have transits just like anybody else. Mystic, (I know, I know, the symbolism in the coincidental name of my dog has not been lost on me) has had a simply awful 6 months. In August when Neptune was making yet another pass at her sun she was diagnosed with Lyme’s Disease. At that time she also had the Sun, Mercury and Venus in opposition to her natal Sun.

Here I will to pause to make note of something. I use our planet Earth in all my astrology charts. Although most astrologers pay it no mind I feel that the inclusion of Earth is not only important but a very essential addition to our charts. I explain this in great detail with a book I’ve written and currently trying to get published called: “Earth Rise:  A Case for Studying and Using Planet Earth in Astrology” I’ll let you know if I have any luck. Anyway, in studying this planet one of the things I’ve discovered is its link to the body. The body is the earthly vehicle our spirit inhabits and so it is logical that the planet Earth’s symbolism be reflective of that in astrology charts. When people (and pets) have dealings with their bodies, Earth usually shows up right in the middle of the mix. When Mystic was suffering through her symptoms of Lyme’s Disease she also tore a tendon in the right knee. Along with Neptune, the planet Earth was also sitting on her Sun in transit in August 2011.On December 21st 2011 Mystic went in for knee surgery. The Surgery to correct took place with Neptune once again in conjunction to her Sun but now the Earth placement had progressed and was Trine her Sun and Sextile her own natal Earth! She is recovering but now Neptune’s test (and mine) begins.

The vet has given us strict instructions to keep her quiet. That includes no running and jumping. Mystic is a West Highland Terrier. We live in the country alongside many wild animals. Does anyone see a problem here? In short: It’s been hell. We pile pillows on the couch, she climbs over them, we stack up items on the chairs and she stands on her hind legs to reach the window sills instead, dying for a glimpse of the squirrels, the deer or the raccoons. Then she races through the house barking and we try and tackle her before she does herself harm. We are now the enforcers of the universal will. More than that, we too have restrictions: we can’t laugh, raise our voices or wrestle/rough house or she will get excited and jump or run. I can’t go to town much as she can’t be left alone and taking her raises other issues. So! What has happened is a Neptune transit is being vicariously lived through for everyone in the house. Since I am the one home most hours, next to Mystic, this transit is mostly mine too. It is odd to watch the restriction of movement (we have to carry her down to her dog yard for potty breaks) and the enforcing of the quiet contemplative time that Neptune bestows on someone so close to you and yet not have the immediate burden producing it. In the past when my clients have had Neptune clamp down on them I have counseled relaxation or meditation, a time to take a break from the everyday and dream up new realities for their life. But I don’t know what dogs are supposed to do with their Neptune transits? Do dogs need down time? (Maybe terriers do) Do they contemplate their life and make plans for a new future? Or, is their frustration all in vain? Whatever the case may be, Mystic and I continue to find our way through the shared hurdles of a Neptune transit.      

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Another kind of Neptune Transit, Hello Jupiter (and Uranus)

Well, I've had a few weeks and still I've only just begun the Neptune transit to my Moon and Mercury. In the meantime, I have also discovered (I'm a little slow) that Neptune is just moving away from a Quincunx or Inconjunct to my natal Uranus/Jupiter conjunction.This makes sense as I have been questioning my belief system (Jupiter and Neptune ruled) quite a bit. Had a long talk with a very nice, devout Christian and even borrowed a bible to see if there was anything I had missed when I passed Christianity by. I found out there wasn't. It was as I remembered and I couldn't reconcile my personal relationship with God/Goddess with the guy they were talking about in the Book. This is not a slam to any Christians out there, I have the greatest respect for all paths leading to Spirit. This is just my personal quest and where The Great Spirit has lead me in this life. But, during this transit I was very open to new ideas and now that Neptune is moving away I find that one cannot deny one's own expereinces and connections to the world even if others (or even temporarily, you!) think they are wrong. This much I learned, and not for the first time I might add. Now that Neptune is leaving my Jupiter/Uranus conjunction Uranus is giving me back the courage, nay the impetus, to hold to my own truth no matter what. With Uranus it is always about your truth or the absolute truth in any situation you find yourself in, and you had better be real about it, no matter what. So I have come full circle and find myself back where I was at the beginning of this journey. It was not for nothing though. It had been years since I took a look at other religions. It was time to explore them again. I was so much younger then, I may have gotten it wrong. It is good to know that I didn't. At least, not for me. I feel more sure of myself and perhaps just a little frustrated that, as I told my Christian friend: "The game is rigged." I cannot just decide to be something I am not because it is easier and far less lonely. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Neptune Transit

As an astrologer I have certain advantages over an average citizen of the world. I can track the up and down cycles of my life and study them. When bad things happen to astrologers they have charts and graphs and books they can pour over that give them answers to many of life’s trickier questions. At the very least, we can see when a particularly harrowing time will have an end. That is, until that old devil Neptune comes a calling.

I was born with a fairly tight opposition between my Moon and Mercury in my natal chart. The natal chart Moon is primarily someone’s feelings and emotions.
That is: what and how you feel about things, how you process those feelings, your intuition, your empathy, the irrational side of you and how you find and cultivate your own feelings of security in an insecure world. Other themes that orbit around the moon include your subconscious and anything to do with females, (mom, and women in general) just to name a few.

On the other hand, Mercury represents the mind. What we think about, how we think about it, what and how we talk about, and communication of almost any kind.

Neptune is currently stomping on them both in the form of a square. It isn’t pretty and since Neptune moves very slowly and with the orb I use I could be in this situation for a few years. In short, I have a long way to go. Neptune’s influence on any planet is soon felt in the form of loss, even futility. Neptune “erodes” “fogs up” and "dissolves" much of the foundational strength and understanding you may have spent a lifetime building. In this case it is my feelings and emotions and my mental processes, like thinking and communicating. That’s all.

So, how does that feel? Well, it feels awful. First you start feeling unsure about yourself. The insecurity comes from the fact that your usual mode of operation (M.O.) is not working anymore. Either because other people are challenging it or you can’t find it. Suddenly the things that used to inspire you or conversely, tick you off just aren’t anymore…HUH? What happened? Or, in the current vernacular: WTF? Whatever Neptune is touching, the planet and all it represents, begins to get erased to a certain extent. Then because you aren’t sure anymore what is “what” you look outside of yourself for some indicators, loose your boundaries and end up confusing what others think or feel with what you think or feel. You say things you don’t really mean and take what other people say wrong as well. Grand hi-jinks ensue and not the fun city kind. Nothing is as you thought it was. How could you be so stupid, blind, na├»ve etc.?

A very disconcerting vulnerability descends on your psyche. 
You walk around uncharacteristically crying and when people ask you what the trouble is, you may have an answer, but you know that if things were normal you wouldn’t be this upset. You just can’t handle what you used to handle and you don’t know why. You get touchy and depressed. What is the point of it all? If I survive this week that will come in the form of part two.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The August Sun

We are a month behind weather-wise in the inland Northwest. It all started with a very cold and rainy spring that really never let up until sometime in early July. We were probably the only place in the country fairly cool all summer. However, now that September is here, we are having our August temperatures at last. In the northern hemisphere August is usually everyone's hottest month. Appropriately, the sun is in charge of August in astrology because it is the ruling planet of Leo. Most sun sign Leos are born in August. In the public arena it is specifically the sun and sun sign astrology that gets the most press (That should please all the Leos out there.) Everyone is familiar with their sun sign. When we look at the sun symbolically it is representative of the center of the self or, our home base of operations, a touchstone for all that we are in this lifetime, and it governs our self expression, so after all, this is a pretty important piece of the personality to consider.

Besides being a powerful planet in its own right, sometimes the sun can actually be over emphasized in a person and of course that would be reflected in the natal chart. The most common ways a planetary energy can get ramped up are:

1) The sign the sun is in at time of birth can make it stronger
2) Where it is placed in a natal chart, especially when on the cusp of the angular houses 1st, 4th, 7th, or 10th 
3) By aspect: a planet’s power can be increased (or decreased) by its association with other planets    

But when it comes to this “planet” you don’t need to be an astrologer to observe someone with stronger sun energy flowing through their chart. Just like the August sun they are quite noticeable! There is a line from the movie Jurassic Park that describes this situation quite well. In an early scene when the guests are being introduced in the helicopter, Dr. Hammond the park curator, has this to say about one of them:
“You’ll have to get used to Dr. Malcolm he suffers from a deplorable excess of personality.” Have you ever encountered someone like that? When they walk into a room they will take the conversation over. You may admire the way they unabashedly light up the room and never apologize for being who they are. They may be funny, clever or just very entertaining. They’ll delight in being the center of attention and even make you feel somehow special. When it comes to life, they are “all in.”
Sometimes though, the intensity of that sun can also create the loudest or even the most obnoxious person you’ve ever met. (At least you will remember them!) Like the hottest summer sun they can be overwhelming, unrelenting, and exhausting wearing you down until you run for the shade.
           

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The North Node: Compass to a Fullfilling Life

There was a joke going around several years ago and it went like this: "This life is a test, it is only a test. If this had been a real life you would have been given instructions as to where to go and what to do."  It was very funny because so many of us feel we came into this world without a manual. So where can we go or who can we ask to give us a sense of what we have been put here to do? The answer is: The North Node. The only place I know to get this valuable information is with a natal chart in hand. The moon's nodes (both north and south) mark the pathway where the moon crosses the sun creating sensitive points in a chart. When reading a chart they are the indicators of the native's past (South Node) and their future (North Node). The sign the South Node is in tells what kind of energy and activity has been done to death and needs no further investment of that person's time. The North Node's sign tells the bearer what will give them a feeling of novelty and excitement because it is a new concept to them. By studying and following the sign indicators of their North Node the native can actually receive instructions on where to go and what to do in this life! There are lists of careers for every sign of course, but beyond that, one may simply cultivate an attitude and develop a playbook that matches the sign of their "North" and feel a certain satisfaction, a rare frisson everywhere they go. My North Node is in Sagittarius, a sign of higher learning and philosophy.  I notice when I blindly take on projects that make my heart beat a little faster or things that promote my chosen career, if I check back on that moment transit-wise my North Node is throwing a party and has invited quite a few friends. When I started this blog the North Node in the sky was on my own NNode.Neptune currently traveling through my 10th house made a nice sextile to my NNode and the Sun, Mercury and Venus (in the 4th) were all trining it. Nice indicators of communicating with my fellow human beings spiritually orientated musings and (hopefully) having a positive impact on not only them, but myself as well. Nothing like getting a little astrological cheer-leading from the sidelines.  

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Once a Week Moon and my Mother

I live in the country so going to town is always an expedition of sorts. One that I can easily track by the moon's movements through my chart. My trips to town almost always involve my mother because we enjoy shopping together. I pick her up and we embark on those essential errands of life that usually include food, liquor, and hardware acquisitions. The day of the week that I choose to do these things always involves the moon. This is as it should be for the moon's transits are indicative of when I will feel like doing something. The day I go to town the transiting moon makes contact with certain planets in my chart. This isn't that unusual because once again, the moon moves fast so it is bound to run through a few aspect angles to some point or planet in my chart throughout the course of a day. It's the two or three consistent planets the moon is making contact with that grabs my attention. There is always an exact major aspect by the moon to my moon, my Venus and to a lesser degree my sun whenever I go to town. We all know that the sun symbolically represents our individuality, our center of operations so that aspect is fairly prosaic. In addition to mood, feelings and emotions the moon most commonly represents mother and nurturing. In addition to love, beautification and our social life in natal charts Venus represents women in general.  
Day by day the moon in the sky is busy setting up small happenings throughout each day and the planets in a chart that the moon is having major transits with tells us with whom or what are we dealing with? What is the flavor of the day? The moon/mood of that day for me, is consistently about women and almost always involves one woman in particular: my mother.