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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.