Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Return of the Light: Full Moon in Cancer 2015

A close up of Amanita Muscaria
mushrooms in South Cambie, Vancouver,
BC, Canada; photo by peardg.
Full Moon @ 3 Cancer 20'
Dec 25, 2015
6:11 AM Eastern
3:11 AM Pacific

This month, the Full Moon comes to a culmination in the tropical sign of Cancer on Christmas Day. While the winter solstice is a time to honor the return of the Sun’s light after reaching its lowest declination in the sky, traditionally (in the extreme northern hemisphere), Christmas Day was the official day that the light of the Sun would literally return after three days of darkness. There is convincing evidence that our western Christmas celebrations originated in northern Siberia, where shamans would gather sacraments (psychedelic mushrooms known as Amanita Muscaria; they’re red capped with white spots) on winter solstice, hang them up to dry on pine trees (where the mushrooms grew in symbiosis beneath), and then distribute them to local villagers on Christmas Eve (via climbing down the chimney of their homes because the front door would be blocked by snowpacks).

The villagers would sometimes hang the mushrooms in stockings above the fireplace to dry (the drying diluted the more toxic constituents within the fungus). Thus, the earliest Christmas celebrations were honored as a time of deep introspection, healing, and mystical vision. The ego death experienced via the sacramental ingestion of the mushrooms mimicked the death and rebirth of the Sun. This was the way that our ancestors perceived reality; they understood the symbiosis of all life and the synchronicity between the inner psyche and the outer world. Much of that understanding has been lost today, but it is slowly reemerging in what Terrance McKenna called the “Archaic Revival”. It’s not hard to see the extreme disparity between those ancient Christmas celebrations and what the modern, western world celebrates today.

The Resurrection of Santa Claus; oil painting
by Jimmy b, 2004.

The excess focus on materialism and the stress of getting everything done for the holidays (the dark side of Capricorn) seem to intrude upon the opportunity that this time of the year affords for contemplation, soul searching, and mystical experience. As much as we can’t entirely escape the traps of modern culture, we can preserve these ancient understandings by honoring our need for solitude and mystical vision in our own personal way. However you can cultivate that for yourself, I encourage you to do so. But with that aside, the sign of Cancer is perceived as a rather nostalgic and tradition loving sign. The bulk of the population will respond to this lunation with an increased interest in the traditional Christmas accouterments so beloved by the modern, western world.

Yet, much of that hinges upon an illusion. To be a little cynical for a moment, for example, the vast majority (more than 60 percent) of Christmas decorations purchased around the world are made in China, where workers practically slave away for very little (making in a month what I practically make in a single day)—completely detached from any sense of magic or meaning that we project onto the holidays. For them, they’re merely trying to make ends meet and barely doing so. The Christmas celebrations, at least here in the United States, feed into our economy of hate and exclusion that supports greed, selfishness and the exploitation of those desperate and less privileged than others. That truth really kind of makes me sick, and yet there isn’t much I can do about it myself, beyond my non-participation in hoarding wealth and living simply and humbly. I still buy gifts for those I care for, and I do enjoy it, but I try my best not to get so wrapped up (pun intended) in the mania of the holidays that many fall prey to (Black Friday, etc.).

This Full Moon is unique in the sense that a Full Moon on Christmas Day is a rare occasion indeed. The last Christmas Full Moon was in 1977 and the next will be in 2034—far rarer than any “Blue Moon”. So, what is its significance? Depending on your awareness and level of consciousness, each astrological event differs for each person. As I said, Cancer can be a rather nostalgic sign. It seeks security, protection, safety, comfort, nourishment, nurturance, and healing. All these impulses will be amplified during this Full Moon. A Full Moon always brings things to a head and culmination. 

Something is emerging from the unconscious to conscious awareness. At the root of Cancer, is the longing in our heart to belong and to cultivate intimacy in our lives—not necessarily sexual, but communal--the experience of truly connecting, bonding and sharing ourselves authentically with other human beings who see us as we actually are. Such an experience requires trust and deep commitment.  One question might be whether or not you have such experiences in your life. Many of us go through the usual routine with our families around the holidays. Some of us may enjoy it, yet others may feel alienated from their blood-related relatives. I often have mixed feelings.

As I’ve discussed before in other articles, we are biologically wired to be nomadic creatures. I don’t think that throughout the bulk of our evolution that we ever really stayed tied to a nuclear family, or the same people our entire lives. Our ancestors were likely rather promiscuous vagabonds. But our ancestors still craved Cancerian experiences while communing over a fire, sharing a recently butchered carcass, gathering berries in the forest, or breastfeeding babies. Our archaic sense of family extended beyond our blood relatives in those days to the whole community that we were a part of. And since our ancestors were likely devoid of any concept of paternity, we were likely unaware of anyone beyond our biological mother.

One thing I’ve noticed, at least here in the United States, is that many people have lost their trust in other human beings. The media obsesses over reasons to be afraid, reasons to no longer trust others. Within the majority of the western world, we live highly compartmentalized lives—segregated and disconnected from any sense of true community, intimacy, authenticity, or trust. Such a society breeds paranoia, distrust, competitiveness, narcissism, and alienation. We seem to financially reward and idolize sociopathic/antisocial behavior while seeming to simultaneously uphold the merits of having a conscience: charity, compassion, and empathy. It’s quite a paradox and contradiction, isn’t it? I suppose such is life. But what can we do about it? What can we change within ourselves and within our own lives to shift our world from an increasing sense of isolation to experiences of trust and connectivity?

The head of a marble Roman statue
depicting a Vestal Virgin, a priestess of the Goddess Vesta;
circa 100-120 AD; British Museum of Art; photo
by Carole Raddato.

It starts with you and the choices that you make in your own life. It starts with each of us choosing to find our true communities, our true families. While this lunation doesn’t symbolize anything too revolutionary, it does present some tension that could catalyze change. The asteroid Vesta makes a square to this Full Moon (a 90 degree angle) from the sign of Aries. The glyph of Vesta symbolizes a fire, a hearth—such as the ancient fire that burned in the yurts of Siberian villagers as they dried their sacraments just after winter solstice. Vesta is symbolic of the devotion required to stoke the flames of creative and sexual passion. Its contact with this Full Moon hangs in the balance between both the paradoxical and potentially complimentary qualities of Cancer and Capricorn: the solitude required to achieve anything great and manifest it in the world and the longing to bond, connect and share ourselves authentically with those we truly love and care for.

First, you may feel that polarity within yourself—a longing to connect and a longing to retreat into your own soul. An opposition suggests that you find a way to feed both ends of that spectrum. And yet Vesta in Aries brings in an impulse toward independence and freedom from what blocks you from your authenticity. Vesta may bring to your attention just what it is you are devoted to and whether it truly feeds your heart and soul. A square symbolizes the ripening of karma, the call to action. It places a certain kind of pressure upon you that may feel unbearable. While the past is comforting because it’s predictable and known, it is perhaps equally suffocating and stagnating, too. What to do? The Sun in Capricorn invites you to seek solitude and to reflect. The Full Moon invites you to share yourself, whether or not you feel received, seen or understood. From there, you will come to realize just what you should truly be devoted to—where you need to place your time and energy. This Christmas/Holiday Full Moon offers you an opportunity to redefine your sense of devotion, commitment, and passion for yourself.

What are you passionate about? How are you living a creative, passionate and heart-centered life? This Full Moon may bring these questions to your attention. Remember, that the dark side of Capricorn is coldness, apathy, and a desire to control or dominate as a compensation for a lack of true authentic connection to one’s soul’s purpose or destiny. The dark side of Cancer is an inability to care for oneself by placing too much significance on the caretaking of those who would be better off with tough love. To truly love others, you must first learn to cultivate self-love—a devotion and commitment to what feeds you. That love will then extend throughout the community and the universe will bring just what you need. So, to be devoted to anything or anyone requires first, a devotion to your own wholeness, health, and happiness. Take some time to contemplate that. 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Getting On With It: Mercury Conjunct Pluto

Mount Whitney, Sierra Nevadas, California; photo taken by Wikimedia Commons user
Geographer, March 2003.

On Dec. 19, the planet Mercury enters the shadow period of its retrograde cycle, and it also happens to align with the planet Pluto—one of three conjunctions it will make between now and the beginning of next year. As you probably know, Pluto and Uranus have been in a tense conflict since 2012 and slightly before. This has been reflected on the world stage rather clearly. The underworld has revealed its face to us all, collectively and personally. “Progressive” change has inundated the social, cultural and political infrastructures the world over. Perhaps you’ve changed a lot yourself, too. Perhaps you’ve endured your own personal reformation.

As Mercury comes into contact with Pluto, it also comes into contact with Uranus—thus igniting some more tension within you and within the collective psyche. Since both Pluto and Uranus are outer planets, they pull us out of our own personal bubble and help us focus on the “bigger picture”—our contribution to the greater whole that we are a part of. But Pluto in particular, so often draws us to the realization of our impermanence. We have a limited time here. While I don’t think we (as in our soul) only live a single life, I know that my ego (my illusory and fleeting identity) will not exist forever. Its time is short. You, as a separate and individual being, will not last forever.

So, why have you come here? Why do you choose to exist? I often feel like I forget myself, sucked into the numbing comfort of ignorance so many find themselves enmeshed. But some part of me can’t remain there for too long. Some part of me knows that it better get on with it. For whatever reason (maybe I’m an old soul), I have to always pull myself out of those traps and get back in alignment with my purpose, whatever that is. Pluto so often does this, especially during the lengthy period of its transits to planets or points in our horoscope. It points us (sometimes painfully) to what we need to get on with. It slowly churns in the background of consciousness, beckoning us, stalking us, until we notice its calling. Pluto, God of the underworld, pulls us under. It beleaguers us with a seemingly “dark” presence that we really shouldn’t ignore.

But what is that feeling? What is that “darkness”? In my opinion, it’s merely the part of our self, our psyche, we have yet to uncover and manifest. Those demons are merely the uncharted, lost, subjugated, and ignored aspects of our potential—what we have yet to face and deal with. And what better way to get our attention than to appear as something so frightening. The darkest chasms of your mind are those places holding your deepest fears, wounds, and regrets. In Buddhism, it’s said that our karma is primarily what we have yet to do but long to do. The soul is brought back to earth (time and time again) by its unfulfilled desires. When we die, the Tibetan Buddhist believes that the soul is eventually tormented by that karma (manifested in the guise of “demons”) until it jumps into another incarnation—back into the cycle of life and death, and so often suffering.

As Mercury conjoins Pluto three times (Dec. 19, Jan. 22, and Jan. 30/31), it gives you some time to contemplate what you’ve come here to do. Perhaps this is simply a subtle recognition or wake-up call. Perhaps (if it’s impacting something more personal in your chart), it’s a much bigger, more encompassing realization. However it manifests, you’re likely to feel that pull inward, as Capricorn so often does. But then, we can’t forget the presence of Uranus, drawing us towards freedom and individuation. So, the rest of the year and the first month of 2016 may have you focused on some “serious” matters—matters pertaining to your purpose, matters pertaining to the calling of your soul and the freedom required to bring that calling forward and into the world.

Consider what distractions you may need to overcome to get back in alignment with your truth and with your integrity. Consider what you need to prioritize and what is simply in your way. Trust that feeling to turn inward now; it correlates perfectly with the Sun’s natural position in the sky and the emergence of the winter solstice here in the northern hemisphere. This is a time, naturally, of deeper reflection, introspection, and contemplation. And Uranus calls us to remain true to ourselves and our unique evolutionary pathway. It cares not what everyone thinks, but merely that we are true to our purpose and destiny. Perhaps you’ve forgotten, but you have one because you exist. And to exist means that you have a desire to do so. And that desire led you back here. So, maybe, just maybe, you might as well get on with it.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Patience and Introspection: Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius/Capricorn 2016

Outdoor statue of Great Showa Buddha, Yamazaki, Kuwahara, Aomori Prefecture, Japan;
photo by Fg2 via Wikimedia Commons.

Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius/Capricorn 
January 5-25, 2016

Dec 19, 2015   Enters Shadow
Jan 5, 2016      Stationary Retrograde
Jan 8, 2016      Mercury Enters Capricorn
Jan 14, 2016    Mercury Trine Jupiter and Conjunct Sun
Jan 22, 2016    Mercury Conjunct Pluto
Jan 25, 2016    Stationary Direct
Feb 14, 2016   Leaves Shadow

From Jan. 5 through 25, the planet Mercury will turn retrograde (it will appear to move backward) through tropical Aquarius and Capricorn. It will spend the majority of the retrograde cycle in Capricorn, but will station (stop moving) in Aquarius, spending roughly four days of the retrograde cycle in this sign. First off, Mercury turns retrograde every three months, three times a year. It’s the most common inner planetary retrograde. This isn’t a time to panic, worry or otherwise avoid carrying out your life as you usually do. However, Mercury retrograde is a time to modify the way you carry out your daily affairs and to be particularly mindful of your communications with others.

While Mercury is retrograde, you need to be aware that the three weeks of its retrograde cycle (and often the shadow periods, too) require versatility and flexibility. That means you should be open to the possibility that plans may change or sudden and unexpected setbacks may pop up, inviting you to alter your direction, goals, and strategies. When a planet turns retrograde, it changes the “normal” flow of things related to that archetype. We associate Mercury with the signs Gemini and Virgo. On the Gemini end, Mercury retrograde places emphasis on communication and how we go about our daily lives.

Be particularly mindful that what you’re saying is clear and understood. Serious and sometimes costly misunderstandings are common during Mercury retrograde (so double check the message or repeat and reiterate more than usual). The Gemini side of Mercury also associates with local travel, and that often has a perceived influence on cars or other means of transportation. The Virgo end of Mercury actually has more to do with the notorious issues involving machinery or equipment used to either enhance work performance or generally improve living conditions. In others words, a lot of stuff tends to break down during Mercury retrograde in an unusually higher frequency.

And the reason is because Mercury retrograde pokes perceptual holes (Gemini) and accentuates the faults (Virgo) in the things we rely upon to improve our lives. In other words, Mercury the trickster is trying to expand our conscious awareness by shedding light on issues we’ve been ignorant about or have chosen to ignore, but often in an annoying and irritating way. It can be a time of increased delays and setbacks. But the good news is that if you feel rushed to push forward with anything, the universe will support you more if you hold off and take your time to revise and double check your work.

That doesn’t mean that you should cancel all your plans or avoid moving forward with anything just because Mercury is retrograde. Check the signs and signals from your environment to discern what the cycle is telling you. Often, if you keep coming up against blockages or setbacks, it’s usually an indication to hold off and wait things out. But remember, a retrograde reverses the “normal” flow of things in a particular area (often associated with the house in your natal chart that Mercury will retrograde through). If things have been particularly stuck or stagnant, than Mercury retrograde can push things forward and expand your awareness of new directions; it will reverse the flow.

The last critical piece of Mercury retrograde combines the symbolism of both Gemini and Virgo. This relates to the expansion of your perceptual awareness which requires humility to change or alter your opinion or perception in the presence of information that challenges what you once knew or understood. These three weeks are a time to keep your mind loose, open and receptive to new input and information that could end up having a profound impact on your understanding of reality and could also turn out to be incredibly useful, practical and helpful. This is a time to review things, go over what you’re working on, and make adjustments where needed. You’ll actually have extra time to do this, so don’t feel rushed.

And as far as I know, there is no reliable way to predict whether a particular Mercury retrograde cycle will hit you hard or not (whether you will experience a high influx of technical problems or setbacks). I suppose you’ll just have to wait and be surprised. But if you approach this cycle with humility, open-mindedness, and consciousness of the need for versatility, you’ll be much better equipped to deal with problems should they arise. The trickster’s main intention is to lead us into new directions and to show us realities we are unaware of. Sometimes setbacks can be opportunities to notice things you would otherwise overlook. And that is the true gift of Mercury retrograde.

From Aquarius to Capricorn

Both signs Aquarius and Capricorn, are classically ruled by the planet Saturn. Aquarius is also seen to have a resonance with the planet Uranus—it’s modern planetary ruler. Mercury will only spend about four days in Aquarius and the majority of this cycle in the sign of Capricorn. On the Uranian end, Mercury in Aquarius seeks complete freedom of thought and expression. As it moves retrograde through this sign, Mercury may reveal problems in relation to some progressive ideas. In order for innovation to effectively take place, you must have a respect and understanding of what has come before.

You wouldn’t try innovating something without the hard work of learning about what preceded it, would you? For example, imagine you’ve taken a few yoga classes (without really studying it in depth) and suddenly you think of a new way of doing yoga, or you invent some new posture and then decide to you want to teach others and set up studios, while ignoring the fact that yoga is far more than just a physical exercise, and that it’s a tradition that’s been around for thousands of years. It might be a good idea to take some time, possibly many years, studying it before you should feel learned enough to change it. True innovation and genius must precede hard work, discipline and a willingness to master the techniques already perfected. 

While Mercury moves back into Capricorn for the rest of the retrograde cycle, this is an ideal time to review or reconsider a strategic plan of action, or to keep your mind open to the possibility of putting in some extra time to master certain techniques that have withstood the test of time. Whatever you want to move forward with will likely require that you go back and focus on the proper way of doing it. Since Saturn rules both signs, we can feel the weight of this planet, the master teacher, and stern disciplinarian, tainting this particular cycle.

Let’s say you’ve lost your way, or perhaps you’ve lost your ability to focus, or you’ve been lacking the motivation to plan ahead and strategize. Mercury retrograde through Capricorn is an ideal cycle to get yourself back on track, to go open your mind to new strategies or advice from those wiser or more experienced than yourself. This cycle may also urge you to spend some time alone or to embrace more solitude so that you can put in the necessary effort required to achieve something involving hard work and the ability to organize yourself.  Consider that this cycle may assist you in gaining more competence and the necessary discipline needed to withstand the tests and challenges that any great work must endure if it’s to come into full manifestation.

On Jan. 14, Mercury will conjoin the Sun which will symbolize the midpoint of the retrograde cycle. Typically, the time leading up to the midpoint is wrought with increased frustrations and experiences that urge you to deconstruct things or to notice what’s wrong with your strategy or plan of action. After the midpoint (Mercury/Sun conjunction), you may notice that solutions will arise and that you’re able to implement changes that eluded you before. On the day of the midpoint, Mercury and the Sun will both trine Jupiter, symbolizing a fleeting opportunity to move quickly into the direction of integration as well as the emergence of insights and clarity. Jupiter’s conjunction with the North Node also indicates that assistance from others may emerge which will help you further perfect what you’re focusing on.Be open to constructive criticism and feedback that could be helpful.

On Jan. 22, Mercury will align with the planet Pluto. The days surrounding this conjunction may bring up some uncomfortable truths or a reality check. The mind is turned inward during a retrograde, and Pluto always dredges up realizations that are often frightening or uncomfortable to the ego. In order to work effectively with Pluto, you must open your mind to the possibility that any problems encountered externally are manifestations of blockages within yourself. Psychological realizations are common under this aspect, as well as an opportunity to shed light on issues you’ve been ignoring or shoving aside. Take an honest look at yourself and the situations in your life; Pluto can help you see the bigger picture. This is a time of deep introspection and self-reflection.

This retrograde just happens to correlate to the start of the New Year. Astrologically speaking, the Gregorian New Year has no relation to natural cycles, but we can’t ignore its collective significance since we all agree on it. The New Year is often a time of setting “resolutions” or intentions to move forward in positive directions. This Mercury retrograde cycle encourages you to remain fully conscious and open to the idea that in order to move forward this year, you may need to step back to place yourself in a better position to succeed.

Whatever you plan on achieving this year will work out best if you take your time and align yourself with your priorities. Use the first three weeks of the New Year to pace yourself and make sure that you’re clear on what it is you want to move forward with. Since this is a particularly practical cycle, you’re likely to be more focused on real world concerns which require patience as well as a willingness to put the effort, time, and energy needed to bring something to completion. But if you put your mind to it, and humble yourself, you’ll eventually find that you have a strong foundation from which you can accomplish great things this year.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Growing up and Moving On: New Moon in Sagittarius 2015

A group of wandering Arabs, Tunis, Tunisia; photo from Photochrom Print Collection,
1889, via Wikimedia Commons.

New Moon @ 19 Sagittarius 03'
December 11, 2015
5:29 AM Eastern
2:29 AM Pacific

As the Sun and Moon conjoin in tropical Sagittarius, you may be feeling the desire to break free of something in your life. Sagittarius always points consciousness beyond the mundane and routine—toward the horizon of infinite potential and possibility. And yet, a New Moon can be a time of low energy and reserves. While there is a collective desire to lay low, reflect and gradually gather momentum, Mars and Uranus are separating from an opposition (an 180 degree face off in the sky). 

Additionally, this New Moon finds itself in the crosshairs of dynamic tension. It’s involvement with Chiron, Jupiter and the Nodal axis (via a t-square) creates the motivation to begin taking steps toward shifting your attitude and cultivating the patience to put in hard work or effort toward the resolution of a crisis or conflict. Jupiter in Virgo, ruling this New Moon, suggests that you pay attention to the details at this time, and humble yourself to receive input from others more knowledgeable or skillful at something than you yourself. But Mars and Uranus create a mood of considerable rebelliousness and the desire for freedom, which works against submission to the perspective or suggestions of others. 

Consider that both Mars and Jupiter currently occupy signs foreign and uncomfortable to them in relation to their archetypal nature. What this suggests is that, along with the frictional geometry accompanying this lunation, you may be feeling equally uncomfortable with something in your present circumstances. Change always requires adaptability and open-mindedness. In order to embark upon uncharted territory, to bring a fresh perspective or new life into something, you have to sacrifice comfort and often place yourself in an awkward position—environments you are not initially familiar with.

And yet, as humans, we are innately versatile creatures. Consider that throughout the bulk of our evolution, we were nomadic wanderers—never settling in one particular place for too long. While much of that has drastically changed, that part of us is still vocal and strong. It has a voice. Much of that instinct is embedded in the symbolism of Sagittarius. And under this New Moon, consider what has outlived its usefulness for you, what places you no longer belong, and what new perspectives, training or skills you need to acquire to make your life and what you do more interesting and better rounded.

The dark side of this New Moon is a refusal to change and adapt to a changing world and the environment around you. Sagittarius points us onward. While what you know has likely worked for you, consider what you don’t know, and what you could find useful if you open your mind and heart to it. And that won’t be easy. It might be challenging, painful and uncomfortable, but consider that a good thing. If you’re not uncomfortable, you’re not evolving toward greater complexity. If you’re addicted to the delusion of self-righteousness, you’re getting this wrong. Know that the tension you may be feeling is an indication that something needs to shift, and that means going beyond the old ways of doing things; it means needing to grow up and move on. 

For personal readings and consultations, please e-mail me directly at kosmicmind@gmail.com

Friday, December 4, 2015

Crisis or Consciousness: The Mars, Uranus and Pluto T-Square

A contemporary statue of the Buddha in red lighting;
 photo by Aaron Logan, 2004. 

As Mars makes its way through Libra, it will come into contact with the slowly dissipating square between the planets Uranus and Pluto—the defining aspect of our current era. Mars will contact Pluto on Dec. 6 (via a 90 degree square aspect) and Uranus on Dec. 10 (via a 180 degree opposition). The relationship of these three planets forms a structure in the sky known as a t-square. A t-square of any kind brings with it a feeling of considerable tension and holds the potential for conflict, but when involving Mars, Uranus and Pluto, the conflict is particularly pronounced.

The only way to resolve the crisis peacefully is through conscious effort and focus on reaching the higher ground (which exists for any astrological configuration, no matter how grim it looks). On a collective level, Mars’ involvement with the Uranus/Pluto square will likely correlate with increased media attention on issues pertaining to the need for “progressive” social change as a reaction to violence. This is expected considering recent events inundating the news (if you’ve been paying attention). But as these aspects come into focus, many of us will feel compelled to take some kind of action or urge community leaders to do so.

On a personal level, these planetary contacts can stimulate an urge for freedom, independence, and free expression of pent up anger, frustration, or tension. From Dec. 6 to Dec. 10, be very mindful of how you respond to these impulses and particularly mindful of how those around you are responding. As Mars comes into contact with Pluto on Dec. 6, you must be mindful of projecting unconscious issues onto external situations or people in your life. In moments such as this, the collective is highly prone to a frenzied response over things it has no ultimate control over. Often, we use external events and problems “out there” as a scapegoat for dealing with the problems within ourselves and in our personal lives. And then, once the event passes, we're still left to deal with our own lives, having accomplished nothing but a brief cathartic release. 

Anger and violence are the darker, more demonic manifestations of Pluto/Mars contact, particularly through hard aspects. Remember that Pluto is a higher vibration of Mars, and its ultimate teaching is that the darkness in the world is a reflection of the darkness within yourself, and you are not truly free, in that you do not truly have free will, until you are conscious of what motivates your desires and impulses, until you are aware of their ultimate root and origin. Before you get caught up in some unconscious hysteria, take a moment and simply allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling, acknowledge it, and allow it to pass through you as opposed to acting it out or projecting it onto some external situation. Often, that will lead to more hurt, pain or trauma and resolve absolutely nothing.

The higher expression of Mars square Pluto is taking the initiative to become conscious of your frustrations or anger (what it is that’s really at the heart of your feelings). Often, that will lead you to some deeper existential questions. Our collective anger likely stems from our blind adherence to delusional ideologies and false beliefs about how we are to live happy and meaningful lives. Mars in Libra is in detriment, which means that it is not free to fully express itself completely. Mars must integrate insights and assistance to function in this foreign terrain. The momentum that is building between Mars and Pluto could motivate you toward achieving some great things, but you must be open to help and the prospect of collaboration. Alienation or a lone wolf strategy will not work out too well under these aspects.

Mars in Libra must learn to compromise its will to the will of others for the sake of survival and maintaining cohesion within the community. That means changing your tactic or approach so that you can build bridges as opposed to burning them. As Mars contacts Uranus on Dec. 10, the urge for freedom and authentic self-expression will inundate the collective psyche. Again, be mindful of the temptation to sever all connections that you feel limit you and your ability to follow your own path. Your authentic path is important and needs to be acknowledged, but the views, wisdom, and advice from those you depend on and care for are equally important. The challenge posed by these aspects is the ability to be who you are in the face of those who see the world differently.

The days of Dec. 9 and 10 are also interesting because they correlate with Mercury reaching the first degree of Capricorn (while out of bounds, beyond the Sun’s lowest declination) and the exact opposition of Uranus and Pluto. Solving a particular dilemma at this time, either personally or collectively, requires that you think outside the box and that you expand your perception to rise above the consensus narrative you’ve been given. Mercury’s out of bounds transit across the point of the winter solstice will lead to an opportunity to obtain an innovative strategy to get to where you want to go. Remember that Mercury will turn retrograde through Capricorn in Jan. and you will have extra time to revise a plan of action as well as better situate yourself to achieve a certain goal or endpoint.

To conclude, we cannot force the world to change. We cannot force anyone to see the world the way that we see it. Our will and the pettiness of the ego are delusions in the face of the ultimate godhead (the homeostatic impulse within the universe). Who are we to force the world to change? Who are we to judge that the unfolding narrative of the universe is somehow wrong or defective? Our choice, always, is whether we choose the path of passive unconsciousness or an awakened participation in illuminating the unconscious universe. Over the next several days, look soberly at your frustrations. They will point to changes that need to be made, changes that will lead you to your higher purpose and destiny. And the more conscious our community, the less we'll need to act out our frustrations on the world around us. 

For personal readings and consultations, please contact me directly by e-mail at kosmicmind@gmail.com

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Intimacy and Authenticity: Venus in Scorpio 2015

An unknown image from The Universal Anthology: a collection of the best literature, ancient,
medieval, and modern, with biographical and explanatory notes (1899); via
Wikimedia Commons.

On Dec. 5, the planet Venus will enter tropical Scorpio. Venus’ transit through this sign will correlate with a brief moment where three inner planets are in the signs of their classical detriment (in the sign opposite their sign of rulership). As Venus moved through Libra, you may have noticed an increased interest in outward appearances or a greater awareness of how you come off to others—how you relate to people and how they respond. 

Planets in their home sign feel comfortable, but comfort isn’t always a good thing. For Venus, it can become incessantly lazy and lack the motivation to do much. But Venus’ transition into Scorpio will add further tension to the collective vibe—tension you may need to motivate yourself to change. As Venus moves through Scorpio from Dec. 5 until Dec. 29, it will add to the already existent feeling of discomfort or awkwardness that appears to coat certain situations in your life.

That is to say that, the current moment is not a time to stick to the same routines, tactics or approaches you’ve been used to. If you do, you’re likely to experience a feeling that something isn’t right or that you don’t belong in a certain place anymore. Venus in Scorpio will change the collective mood for the remainder of the month. While Venus in Libra is subject to an overt emphasis on people pleasing and polished, social graces, Venus in Scorpio must contend with more than surface appearances. 

If left to its own devices, Venus would fool us all into thinking that it’s the epitome of beauty and perfection—flawless, dignified and the life of the party. But in Scorpio, Venus finds itself in a place it’s not particularly wired for. For your current relationships, that means needing to get to the bottom of issues you’ve been skirting around recently in an attempt to keep the peace. It means needing to be honest and upfront about what really needs to be openly discussed or looked at.

Venus, of course, would rather maintain that illusory veneer to convey that all is well and good. And if you succumb to that desire, Venus in Scorpio will indeed be detrimental because whatever you shove to the wayside and choose to ignore typically begins to grow and fester until it becomes something so grotesque you simply can’t look past it anymore. And that massive tumor beneath your skin is usually quite uncomfortable—it feels invasive and out of place, but it’s an indication of something that’s been neglected and ignored.

For the remainder of the month, all relationships will be put under considerable scrutiny. That’s not to torture you, but to simply increase your level of consciousness. Scorpio, a sign that has a resonance with Mars and Pluto, amplifies the need for honesty and a willingness to face important issues in your interactions with others. In its highest expression, Venus in Scorpio can help you to convey yourself more authentically. While not everyone will be comfortable with that, you can gain more clarity about what it is you really want and who it is you really are in the presence of those different from yourself—leading to deeper intimacy and trust with those that really matter. 

For personal readings and consultations, please e-mail me directly at kosmicmind@gmail.com

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Surrender to the Unfamiliar: Full Moon in Gemini 2015

Lenticular clouds over Mount Hotaka; photo by Alpsdake via Wikimedia Commons.

Full Moon @ 03 Gemini 20'
November 25, 2015
2:44 PM Pacific
5:44 Eastern

As always, the Full Moon correlates to a moment of heightened energy and culmination within the collective psyche. In tropical Gemini, the Full Moon highlights the field of collective perceptual awareness and the emergence of information pertaining to the environment around you. The planet Mercury has an archetypal affinity with Gemini and stands in opposition (180 degrees from the Full Moon) along with Saturn and the Sun in Sagittarius. Mercury in Sagittarius emphasizes the need to acquire a different communicative or research strategy—to acquire a larger or alien perspective or viewpoint.

This means that alongside this Full Moon, you need to think outside your usual frame of reference. With Mercury in the sign of its detriment (the sign opposite its sign of rulership) joining Saturn and square Neptune in Pisces, this Full Moon feels a bit tense and potentially uncomfortable. It requires stepping out of your comfort zone to successfully integrate the polarity of Sun and Moon (knowledge vs. faith). It challenges your beliefs and your faith in what you know about life, the world, and the universe you exist within. Neptune’s participation in this Full Moon represents the dissolution of spiritual, religious, or philosophical structures, revealing their limitations in fully describing the ultimate meaning of existence.

With the heavy emphasis in Sagittarius, you may be urged by this Full Moon to first open your mind and expand your reality in some way through the acquisition of new information and foreign perspectives. That may come about through a desire to break up a routine or communicative approach that you’ve been used to. Whatever emerges into consciousness with this Full Moon requires a mature and responsible attitude as well as a willingness to include the reality of those who think differently or who come from an entirely different cultural background. If you manage to keep an open mind and humble attitude, this Full Moon could signify a moment of subtle breakthrough and deep connection to an experience that is larger than you alone.

In its lower, demonic expression, the most dangerous attitude would be an attachment to any sense of certainty. Dogma and fundamentalism would also be a lower expression of this Full Moon. Since this lunation occurs just a day before the Thanksgiving holiday here in the United States, we can imagine the potential arguments over the dinner table pertaining to religion, politics, or cultural or ethnic differences (likely fueled by current events and hot topics). Those arguments could lead to breakthroughs beyond the disillusionment, but Neptune can also impulse one to avoid facing the truth or reality of a situation through escapism—over indulgence in alcohol or simply numbing out in front of the television.

In its highest, angelic expression, Neptune invites us gently to the realization that all of our differences are ultimately illusions which stem from the ultimate illusion of our separation from source (god, goddess, and oneness). Keep that in mind as you encounter this Full Moon. Ask yourself how you can let go of your illusionary certainty and self-righteousness to include the perceptions most threatening to you. Take the initiative to see past the façade of the reality before you. This is a moment to surrender to an experience that may be different, foreign or uncomfortable, but the insight and awareness gained has the power to enhance your understanding of the world and your place within it. 

For personal readings and consultations, please e-mail me directly at kosmicmind@gmail.com

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Mars in Libra and Mercury Out of Bounds (Video)

Freedom and Love

Venus Rising the Star by Jean Leon-Gerome.

Over the next several days the planet Venus will be approaching an opposition (a 180 degree face off from our point of view) with the planet Uranus. Venus just recently came into contact with Pluto, and in a way, set off the now fading Uranus/Pluto square—the defining aspect of our current, tumultuous moment in time. The Uranus/Pluto cycle correlates with historical periods of significant social and political unrest, progressive societal changes, as well as radical, revolutionary uprisings. Believe it or not, the peak of that cycle is receding in the collective psyche, though its effects still reverberate in time, especially when a planet comes in contact with Uranus and Pluto.

On a personal level, Venus and Pluto (via a square on Nov. 20) may have stirred up tension in your relationships via the surfacing of secrets or hidden, unconscious elements you would rather have not known about or probably ignored. But their interaction compelled you to look deeper, beyond the immediate appearance. Pluto’s message is always that your problems are not truly out there in the world but lie within yourself. If you took the initiative to explore that reality, you may have made some progress; you may be able to move on and heal.

On Nov. 23 Venus will face off with Uranus, bringing in a different archetypal element, though the Moon’s pass by Uranus on Nov. 22 will be equally significant. These two days will highlight the need to redefine yourself in the context of your relationships (romantic, platonic, professional, or otherwise). Venus in Libra seeks to make everyone happy and wants to put on a pretty, smiling face. How often do we do this to win social approval? Its human nature….and it’s also heavily conditioned into us. But, when does that façade get in the way of being who we truly are? (For those of us born with an emphasis in either Aries or Libra, you will feel this transit most profoundly).

In current relationships, these days may stimulate a short period where you may feel compelled to rebel against certain restrictions or barriers within those relationships. It can work equally to catalyze an urge to begin relationships or radically change or redefine those that have been stagnant or nonexistent. The higher end of this transit is an ability to maintain your individuality while avoiding the urge to burn bridges you may later regret. An opposition is a culmination and sometimes crisis, but always it’s an opportunity to reconcile diametric constructs. If you take the higher road, you can be yourself without scaring people away by coming off too strongly. You can make space in your current relationships so that they support your unique path. And you can potentially culminate a new stage of development within your relationships, but ideally in alignment with who you are destined to be. 

For personal readings and consultations, please e-mail me directly at kosmicmind@gmail.com

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Breaking Through the Doors of Perception: Mercury Out of Bounds in Sagittarius

La Puerta (The Door) by Mauricio Garcia Vega.

As the month of November comes to an end, the planet Mercury will enter the tropical sign of Sagittarius (Nov. 20), followed by the Sun (Nov. 22). Within our classical system of astrology, Mercury is considered to be “unhappy” in Sagittarius since it is in the sign opposite its sign of rulership (Gemini)—a position known as detriment. Within the evolutionary astrological paradigm, planets in the sign of their detriment symbolize opportunities to acquire foreign attributes or capabilities, diversifying the archetypal expression of that planet. In the case of Mercury, it is an opportunity to assimilate a foreign perspective, perception, a new understanding of reality, or an alternate form of communication.

While this may be an uncomfortable process, if you work with it, with an open mind and a willingness to see reality in a different light, you may come out the other end with a greater understanding of your environment and a diversified communicative faculty. Imagine moving to an entirely new country and having to learn the local language via a process of immersion. While likely awkward and difficult, the experience has the potential to increase your ability to communicate with a varied group of people. While you shouldn’t expect to master a new language over the next few weeks, the metaphor is a relevant description of the process.

While moving through Sagittarius, Mercury will descend beyond the Sun’s lowest declination, which means that Mercury will be considered “out of bounds”. It has reached past the Sun’s lowest descent along the ecliptic. For nearly a month, our collective perception has the ability to see past the consensus agreements which dictate what we discern. Within Sagittarius (until Dec. 9), Mercury will entice each of us to reach beyond the known and accepted truths of our reality—glimpsing into an alternate perception of those truths. This may be a time to acquire a new or renewed awareness of natural laws that transcend the synthetic laws created via collective agreement.

If you’ve been striving to gain a clearer perspective of a situation you’ve been faced with, a greater awareness of where a particular creative process is going, or a different approach in communicating with others, the next several weeks may help catalyze your ability to break through the doors of perception, rendering greater awareness and cognizance of what lies ahead, along with confidence in your ability to understand something that you couldn’t quite grasp before. While Mercury is in Sagittarius, you may also be confronted with a need to change your tactics of communication, trying a new approach so that you can connect with others on a different and diversified level.

On Dec. 9 Mercury will transition into Capricorn and will remain out of bounds until Dec. 25 (Christmas Day). Mercury will also pass through the first shadow phase of its upcoming retrograde cycle while in Capricorn (Mercury will turn retrograde from Jan. 5 to 25). With a renewed sense of perspective and a more resilient understanding of the holistic picture, you may be better equipped to get some things in order and acquire an innovative strategy or game plan. Mercury out of bounds in Capricorn offers you an opportunity to see beyond your current strategies to conjure an improved approach toward reaching your current goals. 

Mercury’s retrograde back through Capricorn will give you extra time in Jan. to revise that strategy and get yourself back on track. Mercury moving through Sagittarius at the end of this month and the beginning of Dec. may be awkward simply because change itself is always awkward initially. When left to its own devices, Mercury so easily gets distracted and unfocused. The next three months offer you an opportunity to reframe your focus and to establish new priorities so that you can get where you ultimately want to go. This also opens a temporary window of time where we can rise above the surface of collective awareness. When in doubt, just keep your mind open and follow the signs and omens. They will guide you to where you are destined to go. 

Current Events 

You're probably aware of the recent massacre in Paris, France involving supposed terrorists. When looking at the astrology, I found it interesting that the killings coincided with Mars' ingress into Libra while simultaneously conjunct the lunar North Node. The symbolism of the event is a clear correlation to a lower expression of Mars in Libra--a planet in the sign of its detriment (and strangers in a strange land, indeed). But more interesting was Mars' contact with the Aries point. The Aries point is located at 00 degrees of tropical Aries and thus anything situated at or near (typically within an orb of two degrees) 00 degrees of any cardinal sign (Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn) will contact the Aries point. The Aries point itself symbolizes what astrologer Eric Francis Coppolino calls the "intersection of the personal and the collective."

Planets in contact with the Aries point seemingly "jump out" onto the world stage. They have far reaching effects and influences. An Aries point event is a collective event that has consequences for the vast majority of the human community; they become personal and reach into our intimate lives. We can recall such events as the massive earthquake that hit eastern Japan in March 2011 when the planet Uranus hit the Aries Point itself. The radiation released from the meltdown of three reactors at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant has inundated the Pacific Ocean and northern hemisphere and continues to do so. And of course, we can't forget the events of Sept. 11 which paved the way for the endless war and American occupation in the Middle East, as well as the mass surveillance of citizens the world over (e.g. the NSA). 

On Sept. 11, when the first plane struck, the planet Mars was "out of bounds" and square (within a degree) to the Aries point, along with the lunar South Node. The Moon was also nearing a square to the Aries point in Gemini and was in opposition to Mars. The next day, the Moon jumped out of bounds for two days. The same thing happened after the earthquake in eastern Japan. On Dec. 9 of this year, Mercury (while out of bounds) will cross the first degrees of Capricorn, and so theoretically, we can expect information or a message regarding a potential strategy (not violence) coming from authority figures (world leaders) that will have vast consequences and will seep into the personal. Will it be connected to the events of Nov. 13? That's very possible. Mercury, while out of bounds, will cross the radix Mars and lunar South Node in the chart for the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11. Is this a continuation of this ongoing narrative? These events may be more connected than we realize. The days surrounding Dec. 9 may be something to watch out for. 

Planets out of bounds don't follow the rules. They break them. They tell whoever is in charge to "stick it" (as astrologer Steven Forrest likes to say). That can be a great thing for someone striving toward achieving something positive; it adds a flair of genius and innovation. But in the "wrong" hands, the potential of an out of bounds Aries point event has a darker manifestation. An out of bounds planet can breed criminality and sociopathy. Whether in the hands of terrorists or a nefarious, elite group of world leaders, the ability to have free reign and break the rules can turn ugly. All we can do is be mindful of the potential that exists within ourselves. Because the world "out there" is merely a symbol of the world "in here"--a projection of our collective inner darkness. The more light you cast upon your own psyche, the more you help raise the rest of us out of this darkness. 

So, shine on. 

For personal readings and consultations, please e-mail me directly at kosmicmind@gmail.com

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Stranger in a Strange Land: Mars in Libra

Hernan Cortez "greeting" Montezuma in Mexico City. He could have probably
benefited from a higher understanding of Mars in Libra, or maybe Mexico would have.

The planet Mars will be in tropical Libra until Jan 3, 2016. Mars last moved through Libra in early 2014 where it spent quite a bit of time due to its retrograde cycle (from March to late May 2014). Reflect back on the momentum you were building at that point in your life. Where has it carried you now? Are you getting the results that you wanted? If you’ve stuck with it, congratulate yourself on the new you that has emerged from that cycle. In our classical system of astrology, Libra is a bad place for Mars to be since it is in the sign opposite its sign of rulership. From an evolutionary astrological standpoint, there is no such thing as a “bad” place for any planet to be, though Libra can render Mars feeling like a stranger in a strange land; it can feel a little uncomfortable. But being uncomfortable or feeling awkward is a normal response to any foreign environment, and it’s where we all start when we try a new experience.

What this means is that Mars’ usual tactics (full throttle momentum; let’s smoke em’ out) don’t work. For you, that means that you may find yourself having to contend with other people’s realities, routines, and certain social formalities more than usual. If you’re usually quite forward, direct, and aggressive in nature, you’ll likely feel as if you have to restrain yourself due to current circumstances. Imagine a rough and rugged, gun-toting cowboy suddenly finding himself at a cotillion or an aristocratic dinner banquet. Feel the awkwardness there? You get the idea. To ease the discomfort, you’ll find it best to learn from those whose perspectives are different than your own. The more you try to fight against those differing perspectives, the more frustration you’re likely to experience, and the less likely you’ll be positively received.

In other words, whatever you’re trying to put out there will succeed only by opening your heart and mind to input, feedback and an ability to be cognizant of alternative perspectives. To get what you want requires that you try a different tactic then you’re used to. Mars in Libra is actually a good time to change the way you go after what you want in life and how you initiate change. Life gets rather frustrating, dull and boring when you do the same thing over and over again, trying the same tactics, and wondering why they don’t work anymore, or why people aren’t responding. The reason at this point is clearly because you need to open yourself up to the reality of other people and learn a thing or two.

When Mars gets it right in Libra, it takes on new qualities and perspectives that weren’t there before. The cowboy becomes a little less rugged, knows how to clean himself up and can carry on a casual conversation about current politics or the height of the French Rococo art movement. That doesn’t mean that you completely change who you are, but that you are simply humble enough to admit that you are incomplete in and of yourself. There is a whole world of people out there who could teach you something useful, who can make you more interesting or better-rounded than you currently are. If you choose to stick to the usual habits, then Mars in Libra may indeed feel like a “bad” place to be. But when you genuinely open your heart to some new experience, you’ll find that you have more clarity and a better sense of where you fit in the world and the social environment that you are a part of.

For personal readings and consultations, please e-mail me directly at kosmicmind@gmail.com

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Reaching Out From the Dark: New Moon in Scorpio 2015

A single tree highlighted by a shaft of sunlight through the dark
forest of Coed Moel Famau; photo by John S. Turner, 2009.

New Moon @ 19 Scorpio 01'
12:47 PM Pacific
9:47 AM Eastern

As the Sun and Moon come together in the sign of Scorpio, you may find yourself needing to face the reality of situations that you don’t want to acknowledge. Scorpio is an archetype that embodies the awareness of uncomfortable truths—those things in our lives that the mind and ego would rather ignore. But our subjugation of anything, either personal or cultural, only amplifies its influence and control over our lives. The planet Mercury joins this New Moon, bringing with it an expansion of perception to include a greater awareness of what you have been ignorant of or have chosen not to deal with.

You can still choose to ignore it; nothing will stop you, but you will have to continue your life knowing that something dark and potentially troublesome will be left to fester and grow within you. In this dark of the Moon, you have the opportunity to set in motion a strategy to bring consciousness and awareness to that which is unknown to you. And what is unknown isn’t always as bad as you think it is, but the only way to find out is to be brave enough to step into the dark consciously.

The planet Mars is nearing the end of its passage through Virgo and is about to enter Libra to align with the North Node of the Moon. As Mars nears the cusp of Virgo, it correlates to this feeling of something that’s “about to explode”. Mars is activating the intersection between the personal and the collective. Put simply, it brings to the surface events that affect us all, collective events that seep into our personal lives. It symbolizes the emergence of issues that are much bigger than you alone.

And as you choose to deal with situations you’ve buried or pushed aside, you have the opportunity to reach out and ask for help. Take the initiative and admit that you’re scared or that you need support and assistance. A new cycle is emerging that invites you to stop sitting alone in that dark corner. The world is populated with a lot of other people who can help you if you know where to look or who to ask, but that will require vulnerability.

In your personal or intimate relationships, this New Moon requires opening up and getting real about what you have been ignoring. It also requires that you open your mind and perception to include input from others you trust and rely on. If you can approach this moment with honesty, realism, and humility, as well as a willingness to face some uncomfortable material, you will have succeeded in illuminating some mysteries (whether they’re what you feared or not), leading potentially to rapid healing and transmutation. Whatever the reality of the situation, try to acknowledge that help and support is available to you if you’re willing to receive it. You don’t have to face this darkness alone.

For personal readings and consultations, please e-mail me directly at kosmicmind@gmail.com.