Sunday, April 13, 2014

Nourishing Self, Nourishing Others: Total Lunar Eclipse In Libra 2014

In Roman Mythology, Ceres was the
goddess of grain, fertility, agriculture,
and motherly relationships. Statue of
Ceres, Rome, Italy. Photo by
Yellowcat, via Wikimedia Commons.

Total Lunar Eclipse/Full Moon @ 25 Libra 16’
April 15, 2014
12:42 AM Pacific
3:43 AM Eastern

This month’s Full Moon is a Lunar Eclipse in the sign of Libra. That means that we are entering eclipse season this month; and that’s yet another reason April is such a significant month, as it correlates with the peak of the cardinal grand cross involving Mars retrograde, Uranus, Pluto and Jupiter.

Those are some pretty heavy omens compressed into a very short period of time. So what does it all mean? Should we hide under our beds until this whole thing passes over? You could do that, but you’d probably miss out on some truly transformative and creative energy.

It is times like these that we’re called into action (literally, due to the cardinal energy) to make some changes in our lives. Yet, that word, change, gets thrown around quite a bit these days. What does it actually mean? Is the world really changing? Isn’t it always?

Yes, it’s true; each and every day is different than the day before. So what makes this period of time more unique than any other, since change is a ubiquitous presence lest we all die from the stranglehold of stagnation? I suppose the answer is that we’re in the middle of very rapid and intense changes, where things begin moving much more quickly and at an accelerated rate.

At least that’s what this month is likely to feel like, or has felt like already. In fact, this cardinal energy has been active ever since 2010 and really started heating up in 2012. One “side effect” of the Uranus and Pluto square is a sense of time acceleration—that is, the perception that time is speeding up and that events are unfolding faster than we can keep up with.

We may equally feel like we’re being pulled in many directions, since literally each planet occupies four different and conflicting signs. We may find ourselves expending energy in a multitude of life arenas, which can be a healthy expression of this energy unless we find that we are somehow overextending ourselves.

So, taking action is all well and good, and truly supported by this cardinal energy. In fact, this month’s catalytic modus operandi is likely to drown out the more subtle and inwardly oriented nature of the eclipses, which makes them a bit more challenging to interpret.

But, another aspect of eclipses is….yes, you guessed it, change! Eclipses signify brief yet impactful moments in time where personal growth is accelerated; inviting us to push through barriers that once intimidated us. These are moments that offer us the opportunity to move on into new realms.

With Mars retrograde, we are in the process of reinventing ourselves, as well as strengthening and supporting many facets of our lives. We’re also in the process of reorienting ourselves on the current timeline we travel. All this energy comes to a peak mid-month, just as eclipse season begins with this truly interesting and powerful Lunar Eclipse.

So with that all said and clarified, let’s take a look at this eclipse. As I said before, the Lunar Eclipse (Full Moon) occurs in the sign of Libra, where apparently a lot is going down. Yes, that’s the same sign as Mars’ current retrograde cycle. While the Eclipse doesn’t exactly make contact with Mars (unless you stretch the orb quite a bit, which is technically appropriate for the Sun or Moon), it is still highlighting this sign and thus drawing attention to this dynamic cycle.

In fact, we could say that this Full Moon/Lunar Eclipse in Libra is in many ways a culmination point of the current Mars retrograde cycle (though technically, the peak of Mars retrograde occurred on April 8, with the opposition of Mars and Sun). That means that whatever you’ve been focused on (reinventing yourself, strengthening some component of your life) is likely to reach some kind of climax alongside this lunation. Because it is an Eclipse, this culmination is greatly amplified more so than usual.

This eclipse also conjoins the North Node (currently ingressed into Libra) as well as two asteroid goddesses, Ceres and Vesta, with an opposition to the asteroid/goddess Juno. First, let’s deal with Libra. We all know that Libra is the relationship archetype of the zodiac. So, quite simply, Libra deals with issues of interrelating, connection, negotiating and reflecting (that is, seeing your inner content reflected in another).

When Libra is highlighted, we’re invited to see things through the eyes of another—to walk in their shoes, so to speak. We’re making concessions, compromises and adjustments to accommodate the viewpoints of those we are relating to. Libra is also a sign that seeks to “beautify”; to makes things more harmonious, balanced and stable and is thus associated with homeostasis.

The North Node points to a suggestion for growth and change. It may feel like our “destiny”, or some demanding desire we must fulfill. Collectively, the North Node in Libra is urging us to grow most significantly through new forms of interrelating. This requires constant and conscious communication, as well as the need to ask for feedback and insight.

The presence of Ceres and Vesta brings to us a critical question: Are we being properly nourished in our relationships? Vesta can also bring in the theme of sexual nourishment—since Vesta deals with sex as a sacred act of service to another, beyond self-fulfilling pleasure.

Sexual nourishment is different than merely “getting off”. It’s the conscious exchange of energy between two people that leaves both deeply satisfied as well as energized. Ceres, known as Demeter in Greek mythology, is an Earth goddess, and deals with themes surrounding the food supply as well as painful and difficult emotions  surrounding loss (from her association to the underworld and the kidnapping of her daughter, Persephone).

So this is a rather powerful eclipse which pulls in many heavy themes. Food and sex may be of significance here, inviting us to assess our relationship to how we nourish ourselves and how we nourish others. This may be a time to reflect upon these issues and see what insights emerge.

Juno’s opposition to the Eclipse again pulls in the theme of partnership—since Juno often points to the joys and challenges inherent within relationships. Juno places emphasis on what we need in a partnership as opposed to what we idealize. Thus, we have another powerful theme coming to light and into awareness through this climactic Full Moon/Lunar Eclipse.

What must you unveil and uncover related to your relationships with this eclipse? What do you need to do to maintain balance in your partnerships, so that both sides are deeply nourished and nurtured? How can you express your sexuality in a healthy way, so that neither person is drained or taken advantage of?

The eclipse energy tends to draw our attention much deeper than usual, to look beyond the façade of reality into what really matters. Juno invites us to reflect on what is essential for a partnership. Are we lacking close connections in our life? Is there a desire for deeper connections? Alternatively, do we have too many superficial connections, do we need to cut back and focus on those relationships that mean the most to us?

Venus conjunct Neptune puts the focus on our idealized relationships versus what is closer to reality. Be careful and discerning with this energy as we may find ourselves seeing only what we want to see in another. As the eclipse heats up, we may find our bubble has burst, leaving us disenchanted or confused.

Uranus conjunct Mercury seeks to shock us into a new awareness and perception of the world. We may find this energy channeled through conversations that serve to break up stagnation and to get things moving. Sudden, shocking or revelatory insights and ideas may also coincide with this eclipse.

Pluto turns stationary retrograde the day before the eclipse, drawing us again much deeper than usual, into the underworld to uncover what has been subjugated or disregarded. This is an interesting side note, since Ceres is conjunct the Moon at the time of the eclipse. This may be a time of deep healing and acceptance of something we have lost or something we were forced to let go of in the past.

Come through this eclipse passageway consciously and carefully. While the cardinal energy urges us to take action, which we must do in some way, use the peak of the eclipse as a more reflective moment to consider what you need to do exactly. Also be mindful of amplified emotional responses, so common during a Lunar Eclipse. What you don’t deal with consciously may erupt in more unfavorable ways.

All of this energy (the cardinal grand cross and two eclipses this month) can feel a little intense and overwhelming. On a purely mundane level, these events can foreshadow many catalytic changes in the political arena, as well as many earth changes (earthquakes and anomalous weather). While all this is a possibility, it’s no reason to go into hiding or to avoid the world; just be prepared for the unexpected should it arrive.

Remember that the outer world is simply a mirror of our own inner process. This may sound a little egocentric, as if the whole world is purely reflecting you, which is true, but not entirely true. The whole world is reflecting itself, mirroring the face of god/goddess. It’s true that all desires separate us from oneness, but accept where you are and work to consciously exhaust them.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Cardinal On-ramp: New Moon In Aries 2014

Photo by Chad Woodward,
Temecula, Ca 2012
New Moon @ 9 Aries 59
March 30, 2014
11:45 AM Pacific
2:45 PM Eastern

The astrological New Year has arrived and the New Moon in Aries helps to further solidify the new solar cycle. Aries is a sign of action and forward momentum. As a cardinal sign, Aries seeks to conquer new, uncharted frontiers.

 A New Moon brings a fresh new process into focus, and occurring in this catalytic zodiac sign, we are each presented with a clean slate, a blank canvas from which we can choose to create something fresh and original.

The desire for something new and unique finds further reinforcement from Uranus, conjunct the New Moon. As a planet that thrives on breaking routines and firmly entrenched conditioning, Uranus invites us to break free of anything holding us back from further evolutionary growth.

Whatever that means for you, however drastic or subtle, this New Moon urges us to step out into the unknown and to pave the way for some new direction. This lunation serves as a powerful launching pad that will carry us steadily toward any desired destination. But the path toward that end will be anything but a cakewalk.

The conjunction of Sun and Moon finds itself in the midst of the precarious cardinal axis--precarious because a conjunction with Uranus means a square to Pluto and Jupiter. That’s a lot of tension; we can view this New Moon as an onramp, preparing us for the dramatic and climactic grand cross to occur mid-April.

This astrologically historical alignment is anything but subtle. It demands our attention and participation. It urges us to consciously take part in the collective processing of a grand scale reformation. On a personal level, we must channel this desire for epic change into our lives in some way. Otherwise, we may experience the more “negative” projections emanating from the external environment, forcing change upon us.

If you’ve already taken the steps necessary to induce this change in some way, then consider this New Moon a reinforcing influence that will help further your objectives. While squares symbolize incredible friction, especially when involved in a t-square formation (as we see with this lunation), they equally symbolize the impetus to take action so that life can move on in new directions.

The combination of cardinal energy, the pioneering nature of Aries and the catalytic power of these square aspects, produces a lunation that’s certainly hard to ignore or overlook. But with this energy slowly building, we have already heard the call to action, especially those of us with significant planets or placements within the cardinal axis (Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn).

Mars, the ruler of Aries, retrograde in Libra adds more significance to this rare and unique moment in time. Mars’ two year retrograde cycles often coincide with specific developments that grow and unfold with each retrograde cycle. Look around at the events unfolding in your life as well as the people you’re involved with.

There may be a sense of familiarity or continuity of events that have unfolded over the past few years and as much as there is a strong sense of newness accompanying this New Moon, there is more of a rejuvenation of things that we have already put into motion. With Mars retrograde, we’re also invited to more consciously assess our choices, actions and decisions more carefully—particularly encompassing the views and perspectives of others.

With that said, consciously take a ride on this onramp upward toward your higher goals and objectives. Shake something up, break out of the mold in some way. Uranus and Aries urge us to fearlessly face the unknown and to make a dynamic impact. Follow this energy wherever it leads you, because new life is on its way. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Virgo Full Moon and the Astrological New Year

Corn Poppy in a field of wheat. Photo by 3268zauber.
Full Moon @ 26 Virgo 02'
March 16, 2014
10:08 AM Pacific
1:08 PM Eastern

The Full Moon in Virgo occurs just days before the Sun enters Aries, initiating the astrological New Year. Each lunar cycle comes to culmination when the Sun and Moon are in opposition to each other. This climactic lunar event arrives once a month (usually), and something in our life is quite often brought to a head in synch with this cycle.

The buildup of energy fills the air and alongside the Equinox there’s a powerful sense of new life erupting into consciousness, but with Mars retrograde in Libra new life is brought to the past.  We may find ourselves redefining and rejuvenating old relationships and commitments previously established. Mars retrograde in Libra allows us to strengthen and support those connections we thought were outworn or beyond repair.

Changes of direction and focus are also common during this time. Anticipate a change in plans or an alteration of specific goals. Virgo, a mutable earth sign, is practically focused but flexible. While concerned with the details of any game plan, Virgo isn’t a sign that stubbornly clings to outmoded strategies. The ability to adapt to changing circumstances is one of Virgo’s strong points.

Thus, this Full Moon is quite conducive to peering effortlessly into any flaws in your current strategy and making modifications where appropriate. A supportive sextile from Saturn to the Full Moon and a trine to the Sun, provides a tone of seriousness and discipline to this lunation, one that assists in cutting away the clutter and getting to the heart of what’s essential for the successful execution of your goals, plans and objectives.

With the Sun in Pisces and the Moon in Virgo, there’s also a strong sense of idealism—a desire to match our visions with reality. With Saturn’s help, we may find the assistance needed to more closely align ourselves with those lofty objectives. With the momentum provided by the Sun’s zodiacal renewal, a strong sense of determination may just carry us through.

A Full Moon in Virgo can bring to culmination health, healing and work related processes. Virgo is a sign that is deeply concerned with continual improvement--perfecting, cleansing and organizing. Take advantage of this potent Virgoan energy which can assist in creating more order in our lives and in our environment, but also be mindful of getting too carried away; Virgo’s ideals can sometimes overwhelm, leading to an obsession with perfection.  

The Aries Point: The Astrological New Year

Horoscope for the Vernal Equinox, March 20, 2014
@ 12:57 PM Pacific, 9:57 AM Eastern.

In the northern hemisphere, the Sun’s ingress into Aries (March 20) coincides with the Spring Equinox. In the southern hemisphere, the Fall Equinox signals the Sun’s gradual, annual demise. But either way, from the astrological perspective, the Sun’s movement into Aries initiates the start of a new solar cycle; it renews its sojourn around the zodiac from our geocentric perspective.

This, the astrological New Year, is a prime time for setting intentions or “resolutions” for the cycle ahead. It is a powerful moment that gives greater weight and legitimacy to our ability to change and direct our lives alongside the universe. Use this opportunity to get clear about what you want to accomplish over the next 12 months; you may choose to write out statements of intention or to get creative through visual illustrations.

The horoscope for the Equinox features a striking t-square configuration involving Uranus conjunct the asteroid Juno square Pluto and Jupiter. The chart erected for any seasonal transition forecasts subtle archetypal themes that may have prominence over the coming cycle. Juno’s involvement indicates the prominence of relationships—a theme given further credence through Mars’ retrograde cycle through Libra and conjunction to the North Node at this time.

Astrologers associate Juno with the concept of marriage and tend to use it as a descriptor of the partner one actually needs as opposed to what one idealizes. Put simply, Juno is a symbol of marriage and relationship and all the joys and challenges that they embody.

In the midst of significant tension from the t-square, Juno conjunct Uranus in the freedom seeking sign of Aries, indicates that this solar cycle may ignite significant pressure to break free of limiting bonds or to take the steps necessary to induce change within our relationships.

But relationships are not simply limited to the bonds we share with other people. In fact, our external relationships are merely reflections of the relationship we have with ourselves. Thus, the next 12 months may prove to be a catalytic period of time that may greatly alter our most intimate connection within that will have a residual effect on our external connections.

If there were any intention that we should really embrace this astrological New Year, it would be the conscious improvement of our relationships, to ourselves and to others. Anticipate sudden and unexpected events to shake things up in our current relations, or a spark that ignites a deeper commitment and connection with those relationships that have been sitting on the back burner. 

Friday, February 28, 2014

Kosmic Horizon: March 2014

Photo by Neil Herbert.
The month begins with Mars turning retrograde in the topical sign of Libra. All this retrograde activity at the start of the year serves to move us into new realms of activity as many things have probably shifted quite dramatically over the past three months. Mars turning retrograde signifies the beginning of yet another shift of reality and perception. Only this time we’re dealing with issues of willpower and the initiation of desires.

Similar to Venus retrograde, Mars retrograde can have a significant “karmic” aspect to its nature. Events seem more “fated” and synchronistic than usual during these cycles. We sometimes meet fairly significant people who seem somewhat familiar, or who end up having some kind of impact on our lives. These relationships grow, develop or come to an end in synch with future cycles.

We may feel like things are going backwards, yet we also find ourselves moving forward in new directions, rerouted from our preconceived course of action. Because of this, we’re taken into new realms of life experience and many things begin to change.

Mars retrograde permeates the atmosphere this month but will continue on until May. We will sense new beginnings this month, but this will likely be the opening of a new chapter within situations that have already solidified. In other words, we’re likely to experience the beginning of a new phase of development in relation to past situations.

The Spring Equinox occurs this month as the Sun moves into the tropical sign of Aries. This, the astrological New Year, brings about a sense of renewal—a time for setting intentions or resolutions for the new solar cycle.

As stated, March 1 begins at the onset of Mars’ retrograde cycle in Libra. This is a time to strengthen and reinforce some things in our life. Look to the house(s) that Mars will occupy during its backward transit; it will unveil key insights into the themes and issues covered this cycle. While Libra highlights relationship issues and the maintenance of balance and homeostasis, the house symbolism will specifically show the arena this will all play out in.

Saturn turns stationary retrograde on March 2, along with Venus striking a square aspect to Mars retrograde. Saturn will be retrograde in Scorpio until July 20. Saturn retrograde can help us digest and assimilate the hard work and progress made during its direct transit through a specific house (or houses) of our natal horoscope.

Saturn retrograde can also help us with further mastery as well as the reinforcement of the structures we’ve been building in our lives. Venus in Capricorn square Mars retrograde in Libra can create a conflict of desires or a confusion of passions. Pursuing the unattainable can be a pointless exercise at times, and we may find ourselves expending energy needlessly.

There may be a conflict with past relationships or associations asking us to take the higher ground—if all else fails it may be best to simply walk away. But squares also push us past resistances. Knowing when to push forward or when to back off takes considerable awareness.

Venus enters Aquarius on March 5, amplifying the desire for eccentricity or unusual forms of experimentation. Venus in Aquarius invites us to open our minds, and to associate with others in more logical and objective ways. We may feel the need to branch off and meet others outside our usual box of associations.

Jupiter turns stationary direct in Cancer on March 6, initiating a new process of expansion, growth and the seeking of opportunities. Growth and expansion doesn’t stop while Jupiter is retrograde, but we find ourselves going back to opportunities or expansive experiences we may have left behind.

On March 11 Mercury in Aquarius squares Saturn in Scorpio. An acute mental focus and a penetrating, discriminating gaze will be the reward from for sustained effort. Communication conflicts find their root in faulty, ambiguous information. Stick to the tried and true today, no matter how enticing the information.

Mercury makes a trine to Mars on March 14, giving the green light for open communication and the sharing of unusual ideals or solutions. Mercury trine Mars gives added strength to ideas—giving them traction in the real world. If you don’t find yourself implementing something you’ve been conceptualizing, you’ll likely find yourself talking a lot about it.

The Full Moon in Virgo occurs on March 16. A sextile from the Moon to Saturn allows us to get ahead in some way, bringing about a culmination of sustained effort and hard work. Step up and take opportunities as they reveal themselves to you; if you’re ready for more work, real growth opportunities await.

Mercury moves back into Pisces on March 17 after its retrograde passage through Pisces/Aquarius. A moment to gain more clarity and objectivity gives way to increased intuition and a desire to pursue mystical and creative pursuits. As Mercury moves through Pisces, approaching Neptune, daydreaming may be more pronounced than usual. Attending to more practical affairs may be more difficult, but spontaneous creative and spiritual insight seeps into the mind with very little effort.

Venus sextiles Uranus on March 18, stimulating relationships. An initiatory spark serves to catalyze new connections or sudden realizations about interpersonal dynamics. The sextile relationship between Venus and Uranus urges us to try something new and is quite conducive for spontaneous activities, possibly with others.

The Spring Equinox (or Fall Equinox for our friends in the southern hemisphere) occurs on March 20 as the Sun reaches Aries and the vernal point. The equinox brings about several days of solar equilibrium; day and night are equal length. As the Sun progresses through the zodiac daylight gradually increases or decreases (depending on which half of the globe you’re living).

This is the astrological New Year, a time to set intentions, goals or resolutions for the new solar cycle. This potent event magnifies the power of intention—a time to focus on what you really want to accomplish and make happen over the next 12 months.

Mercury conjoins Neptune on March 22—opening the doors to the numinous. The mind prefers more abstract or spiritual concepts or ideas. There may be a strong urge to escape through daydreaming, conceptualizing or through the use of mind altering substances. Flashes of intuitive insight help us connect more deeply to something larger, deeper and more meaningful.

This is a time to entertain or to dream up ideas or concepts, but remain skeptical of anything that sounds too good to be true as our judgment may be a bit faulty. Mercury becomes more idealistic when conjunct Neptune, period. Looks can be deceiving; proceed with caution.

On March 26 Mercury makes a trine to Jupiter. More idealism fills the air with a bit of intense optimism. Communication may flow more easily and effortlessly today, but a tendency to blow things out of proportion is equally strong. Expand your mind today but be wary of your mental and cerebral limitations.

Mercury makes a sextile to Pluto on March 28, inviting us to probe deeper into dark or normally uncomfortable territory. A strong sense of self-assurance and confidence allows us to mentally sort through realms we normally fear to tread. Complex psychological material may unravel quite effortlessly today.

On March 29 Venus makes a trine to Mars and a square to Saturn. There may a strong sense of passion today, allowing us to openly express certain desires. But Saturn’s square to Venus can create a sense of pressure within relationships. Today is a day to get straight to the point and to be conscious of potentially volatile emotions.

If your find yourself obsessing over certain issues or pushing a point too far you may need to back off a bit and let things straighten out in their own time. If you can’t come to a resolution in the moment, have patience and wait it out.

The New Moon in Aries occurs just as the month comes to a close on March 30. Conjunct Uranus and Juno and forming a t-square with Jupiter and Pluto, this New Moon has a highly charged and catalytic energy. Mars retrograde brings our focus backwards—allowing us to gear up and to initiate the big changes we’ve been pushing aside.

Utilize the tremendous power of this New Moon to move past the resistance and stagnation that’s been holding you back. Look toward the situations you’ve been mired in for some time, because there you will find the keys to lasting change and transformation during this lunar cycle.

March 1- Mars stationary retrograde
Mar 2- Saturn stationary retrograde; Venus square Mars
Mar 5- Venus enters Aquarius
Mar 6- Jupiter stationary direct
Mar 11- Mercury square Saturn
Mar 14- Mercury trine Mars
Mar 16- Full Moon @ 26 Virgo
Mar 17- Mercury enters Pisces
Mar 18- Venus sextile Uranus
Mar 20- Sun enters Aries—Spring Equinox
Mar 22- Mercury conjunct Neptune
Mar 26- Mercury trine Jupiter
Mar 28- Mercury sextile Pluto
Mar 29- Venus trine Mars; Venus square Saturn
Mar 30- New Moon @ 9 Aries

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Between A Rock and A Soft Place: New Moon In Pisces 2014

Presence I by Kathy Crabbe. Website

The New Moon in Pisces gets sandwiched between two very different planets: Neptune and Chiron. While Chiron certainly has a spiritual and even “transdimensional” quality, it’s more concerned with the physical body and the concrete actualization of one’s spiritual mission. Neptune, a truly ethereal and “mystical” archetype, deals purely with intangible planes of existence.

In Pisces, the end of the tropical zodiac cycle, we get the sense of something ending, yet something new just beginning on the horizon. Two supportive aspects, a trine from Jupiter and a sextile from Pluto, give the impression that something seemingly impossible is indeed within our ability to manifest.

Strong idealism and optimism finds a palpable sense of traction in the world, asking us to dream big or go home. If we’re realistic and rational, this New Moon and lunar cycle can really help us take some big steps toward the actualization of a specific vision or dream--to match ideals with reality in a truly unique way.

However, the watery depths of Pisces and Neptune and the harsh lessons of Chiron can equally bring us down to a place of depression or feelings of futility. But Jupiter and Pluto’s supportive aspects lend a helping hand, perhaps shining a light where only darkness has pervaded. 

The energy of this New Moon serves to give us a sense of hope, to pull us out of a seemingly bottomless pit, or to accentuate our confidence and optimism around current positive developments. Wherever you find yourself, embrace the help that’s being offered now. Look beyond appearances to see the deeper meaning behind the events that surround you.

Pisces invites us to see life through a unifying and holistic lens. At the end of the zodiac cycle, all has come to culmination. With the wisdom gained throughout the journey, we now see things more clearly and symbolically.

Chiron points us to what’s imperative for our survival; often that involves seeing the truth for what it is. Neptune, on the other hand, tends to gloss things over, making things appear more conducive to our ideals. With this New Moon we may also find ourselves between a rock and a soft place, literally a rogue minor planet and a gaseous giant—the truth and the fuzzy, glossy truth.

While the Sun and Moon meet in the far-out reaches of Pisces, contemplate the possibility of finding a balance between what’s real and what could be. Look for a way to create a bridge between what’s actually happening and what’s actually possible.

Everything we humans have created began as a dream. Our world could indeed be nothing but a shared, collective vision. With this New Moon, the lines separating fact from fiction and dream from reality are definitely blurred. Take advantage of this lucid perception—embrace a vision and give it a concrete formation, in whatever way you can manage.

In synch with the beginning of the new lunar cycle, both Mercury and Mars shift gears, stopping in their tracks. Mercury turns direct on the day of the New Moon while Mars turns retrograde the following day. Additionally, Saturn turns retrograde on March 2 while Jupiter turns stationary direct on March 6.

These four planets coming to a standstill can create the illusion of time slowing, generating an extended moment where pause, assessment and reflection become the focal point. Thus, this Piscean New Moon stands as a symbolic threshold, where we collectively enter into a new reality. Use this time wisely to simply enjoy and take in the moment; look back on the past few months and see just how far you’ve actually come.

But don’t feel pressured or rushed to get it all done. In fact, take this opportunity to simply observe your reality, seeing it for what it is, and then what you can do to change it. In other words, relax and let it all unfold in a timely manner. Pisces invites us to go with the flow of cosmic and universal energies—to gracefully drift likes leaves on a gentle stream.  Flow with it and you’ll find yourself beautifully in synch.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Saturn and the Apotheosis of Ego

False color image of Saturn taken from Voyager I. Photo by NASA, Wikimedia Commons.

The planet Saturn takes approximately 29 years to orbit the Sun. As it moves through the houses of the natal horoscope, it crystallizes and compresses those life arenas – solidifying their awareness into consciousness. Because Saturn deals with limitation and the restrictive barriers of reality, it symbolizes the boundary of ego; the temporary identity the soul cloaks itself with each incarnation.

With every passage or significant transit of Saturn, something solidifies within the individual. At the ages of 28, 29 or 30, the planet Saturn completes its cycle around the Sun, returning to the precise position it was at one’s birth. This significant event is known as the Saturn return, a critical stage of growth and development each of us experiences as either a crisis or a blossoming of ego potential.

At the Saturn return a piece of us dies and a new identity is born. How we each choose to handle this momentous period of time will very much determine the rest of our lives. Saturn urges us to let go of our adolescent identity and to step into a more mature and fully developed self. It can be a period wrought with tension and an impetus to “grow up”.

Successfully navigating the Saturn return is crucial in taking advantage of this powerful launching pad which catapults the individual into an entirely new reality—one that was totally incomprehensible beforehand. Astrologer Steven Forrest, in speaking about the Saturn return, likens the experience to a second puberty. It is indeed the Saturn opposition, which occurs at ages 14-15 that completely segregates the individual from childhood.

With each of these periods, the opposition and the conjunction (return), there is the emergence of a new world—new desires, feelings and urges. Our priorities drastically change at these times, in ways that we couldn't possibly comprehend prior to. We encounter entirely new responsibilities and limitations that greatly challenge us beyond anything we've encountered before.

Saturn is a force of considerable pressure; the friction it often ignites forces us to change our act, to “get with the program”. As we mature, we soon realize that we have to conform to certain rules and codes of conduct if we wish to successfully participate in the world. Human society, as well as the natural world, has strictures put in place which everyone must eventually learn to follow if they wish to survive.

Saturn teaches us how to play the game. Those that fail to conform, to some extent at least, often spend their lives fighting a battle with the world around them—like constantly pushing upstream, against the current. Too much conformity can of course stifle true individuality and change, but there must be a balance between playing the game and breaking the rules.

Uranus, the planet just beyond Saturn, allows us to find the loopholes. But Uranus’ secrets are unveiled only to those who master the Saturn passageway. So in reality, it isn’t until one has completed the Saturn return that Uranus fully emerges into consciousness, inviting us to transcend the limitations of the physical world.

Once we pass Saturn’s test, we gain access to the Uranian/Promethean landscape; we now have the opportunity to create our own rules, to step up and govern our own reality—to do as we please. The Saturn return is really the introduction to Uranus which culminates at the Uranus opposition at around age 42. To responsibly utilize Uranus, we must master Saturn.

True Uranian consciousness requires maturity and integrity. In astrology, we associate Uranus with creative genius, sudden revelations and technological breakthroughs. Uranus allows for the manipulation and control of earthly matter; but without maturity and integrity, this can turn ugly.

We have to wonder whether the technological advancements of our modern era were created by those who had truly mastered Saturn. In looking at the polluting effects of fossil fuel consumption and nuclear energy, we eventually come to the conclusion that without Saturn, Uranus can bring havoc and destruction to the world. 

This is a critical insight in understanding the Saturn return, or any significant transit of Saturn in the natal horoscope. If we don’t master the rules, if we don’t learn to respect and honor the limitations of the natural world, we succumb to destructive tendencies and are overwhelmed by the chaos that is ubiquitous to the universe.

Saturn with a scythe, sitting on a stone
and clipping the wings of cupid. By Ivan Akimov,
Like a child that is raised without boundaries, free to do as he or she pleases, they eventually find themselves untamed, out of control and lost in the world. Saturn’s structure is a vessel we must construct to make our way in the world. In order to properly build this vehicle, we need to follow directions and paths previously laid.

Embracing Saturn means having respect for the wisdom of our elders, ancient knowledge and the traditions of the society we’re a part of. To successfully break free of tradition, we must have fully acquainted ourselves with it and assimilated its essence. All great artists mastered the techniques created by previous masters. Uranus cannot successfully blossom without the foundation of the past, without the wisdom of its forebears. 

In many spiritual traditions the ego is an obstacle to be overcome, mastered and transcended. In western society, the ego is a primary focal point. Modern day popular culture glorifies the ego to the extent that we idolize individuals who have exemplified the height of egoic development. In a world of Facebook and American Idols, the “false” self truly has a powerful grasp of our collective psyche.

So, in reality, in the western world at least, a strong, developed ego or sense of self is paramount to functioning in the world. The ego can be defined as the “I” or “Me” within an individual. It is a conglomeration of likes or dislikes, preferences, and external inputs that make up “who we are”.

From a more spiritual perspective, the true self is beyond this ego mask. Behind the façade of ego, lies the true soul essence, which is free of attachments or concrete forms of identification. This more authentic self rarely finds expression in modern western society. We cling to ego in order to survive and interact with others.

So, depending on your perception, ego isn’t necessarily a “bad” thing, and there are periods in our life when we should actually be more focused on its development. That initial period of life is the time prior to our Saturn return. While Saturn makes its way around our natal chart for the first time, back toward its natal position, we are in a process of ego development; that is to say we’re in a process of defining ourselves as separate from the external world.

The first hard Saturn aspect to its natal position occurs at approximately the age of seven, when transiting Saturn squares its birth position. This is a time when a child first develops its own individuality as separate from its mother. Logic and rational thought processes emerge within the psyche, so that a child is able to comprehend the rules, boundaries and limitations presented by the external world and society at large.

It is evident that fairly young children who have yet to experience their first Saturn square exist in a world that is more unified and cohesive than more fully developed adults. Trying to teach a very young child “do’s” and “don’ts” or complex rules or codes of social conduct can be very confusing for a child because they have yet to develop the capacity to comprehend it.

[To discuss this issue at length is beyond the scope of this article, but an excellent take on the subject is presented in Magical Child by Joseph Chilton Pearce.]

Saturn’s transits prior to the first Saturn return work to segregate the individual from the external environment, to create a separate sense of self that is unique and distinct. After birth, Saturn slowly creates barriers and separations between the internal and external world.

After all, Saturn is the last of the planets visible to the naked eye. It is quite literally the boundary of the visually perceptible outer reality. The period leading up to the Saturn return is a period of preparation and quite appropriate for ego development. 

We could say that Saturn contains the contents of the natal horoscope within a clearly defined structure we call the ego. The “unseen” or recently discovered planets thus symbolize the aspects of the psyche imperceptible upon first glance. They are the concealed forces within the psyche churning in the background of consciousness.

Thus, Uranus, the first planet beyond Saturn, symbolizes the confrontation between the ego (the self) and the hidden persona that lies just beyond the threshold of conscious awareness. At Saturn return, we each experience what we could call an apotheosis of ego—the process of the past 30 years culminates and takes concrete form.

Promethus by Stephan Kovarik, 1969.
This is crucial to understand, because without allowing for the healthy development of individuality prior to this state, we can end up stunting our own growth, we can end up feeling lost and unable to express ourselves to the fullest. This can lead to feelings of anger, frustration and resentment later in life. The Saturn return is a time to step up and into this fully developed sense of self—a time to announce who we truly are, what we stand for and to make our own way in the world.

These are all obvious Uranian issues. After successfully crossing the Saturn return threshold, we now have access to these “higher” planetary vibrations. We are no longer confined to the limitations of Saturn and the ego template. But with every process of blossoming and culmination, comes the subsequent breakdown and decay.

Just as a new self emerges, the ego begins a process of deterioration. The period of life proceeding the Saturn return becomes far more conducive to the pursuit of spiritual interests and inclinations. This instinctive desire for spiritual attainment is a response to the unconscious realization that there is something more to us than the false and fleeting ego identity. There are higher laws and codes of conduct than those presented by society and the natural world.

Thus, as we move beyond the Saturn return, we learn to live by our own more spiritual laws. Having learned, mastered and conformed to the limitations of the social complex we live within, we now have the opportunity to transcend, challenge and even overwrite the strictures that once bound us.

When the Saturn return presents us with a crisis, we have to ask ourselves some serious questions. Am I actually pursuing the dreams and goals conducive to personal ego fulfillment? Am I dreaming too much and not taking the practical steps and actions toward the fulfillment of those dreams? More than at any other time in life, the Saturn return can truly make it or break it for many people.

What you have conceived of doing as you mature needs to concretely take shape and form at this time. Ego fulfillment is at its peak and there’s a definite sense that it’s now or never. When we fail to take the leap during a significant Saturn transit, we often feel stuck in situations that are no longer suited to our growth and development; we feel stagnant and bored with life.

When Saturn passes with little effort on our part we find ourselves trapped in a life devoid of passion--mundane and unfulfilling. The Saturn cycle helps us to define ourselves in our own way. When we consciously work with Saturn we are able to not only create the life experience we always dreamed of, but we’re able to do as we please, free from the demands or expectations of others.

A clearly defined sense of self allows us to be who we are, say, do or think in our own way, but in order to do that we have to step up and take responsibility for our own lives. To accomplish our dreams, we also have to do the work necessary for mastering techniques and acquiring the appropriate skills. That means no shortcuts—just pure hard work and effort.

But the rewards are long lasting. While Saturn may feel difficult, cold and sometimes overbearing—the greatest joy and sense of fulfillment accompanies a successfully navigated Saturn passage. When Saturn arrives at your doorstep, either through transit or the return—it’s a time to push yourself beyond the threshold toward growth and maturity.

When you feel the urge to move on, to step up and evolve past stagnating and worn out structures, it's time to follow your inner guidance. The soul seeks only to evolve. When we get in our own way through resistance and fears, external circumstances force us to grow up and the experience is generally rather unpleasant to endure.

During any Saturn cycle, just remind yourself to keep moving, to keep pushing beyond the threshold. Know that if you’re responsible and accountable for your actions and that you’re doing the best you can do, Saturn will assist you in the manifestation of your dreams. After all, no one else is going to create them for you; you have only yourself and Saturn to help you out. 

Eco-Ego by Laís F. Camargo via Wikimedia Commons.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Open the Door to the Numinous

Combined color and near-infrared image of Neptune by the Hubble Space Telescope. 

As the Sun approaches Neptune proceeding its ingress into Pisces, we may be feeling a strong urge to drift in more ethereal realms. Artistic and creative inspiration is highlighted alongside a pronounced psychic and intuitive sensitivity. It's easy to feel overwhelmed, to feel the urge to withdraw into your own intimate chasm. Neptune is a beacon of inspiration but can equally tempt us to "check out" through drug or alcohol consumption. As always, moderation is the key.

Drift into this Solar/Neptunian conjunction with a certain level of consciousness. Exact on Sunday, February 23, the Sun and Neptune conjunction will be felt in the days before and after their precise rendezvous. Gather from these freely flowing wells of imagination and creative vision, quench your spiritual and visionary thirst. Neptune is a transcendental force that takes us beyond the mundane, crystallizing ideals into concrete and palpable constructs.

When Neptune touches us, we can become a vessel of higher energies--a mediator of physical and spiritual realities. But its presence is often confusing, mysterious and difficult to fully grasp consciously. When working with Neptune, it’s important to have a firm handle of reality, to stay grounded and centered within yourself. The next several days are far more conducive for abstract and subjective pursuits. Trying to pin down facts or attempting to deal with purely mundane material will prove difficult.

Our mind is elsewhere, floating in ethereal space. With Neptune so active in the collective psyche, we’re looking for larger and all-encompassing experiences or universal truths. Pisces, the end of the tropical zodiac cycle, symbolizes the apotheosis of conscious experience. At the end of the journey through the 12 signs we've reached a reflective state and a sense of having seen it all. In Pisces, we’re looking for something more, something often undefinable.

Mercury’s retrograde cycle, still going strong yet winding down, pulls us backward in time. Creative projects we may have put aside may suddenly reemerge, inviting us to bring them to completion or a more perceptible state. Familiar spiritual encounters with the unknown may break through the cracks of the veil separating dimensions. This is a moment calling for more awareness and sensitivity to the external and internal environment.

Use this time to connect with something just beyond your reach. It’s not every day that we experience such openness and fluidity with the world around us. As the Sun and Neptune meet, we’re encouraged to drift softly and freely through each passing moment. Subtle sense impressions are stronger and more ubiquitous than usual. As the barriers between each of us momentarily melt into a Piscean/Neptunian glaze, see reality with a renewed sense of vision; but keep at least one foot on the group, lest you float away, carried by the ethereal stream.