Saturn and Pluto, Part 1

Saturn and Pluto

Saturn and Pluto

Five hundred years ago, during the year 1518 according to Wikipedia, one of humanity's darkest and cruelest endeavors, the transatlantic slave trade, began. In the United States, slavery was a legal and acceptable practice for roughly 250 years, outlawed now for only 150 years. While we see no legally sanctioned instances of slavery in the US today (or do we?), ongoing problems of racism are still prevalent, as we have hardly erased the stain of slavery's trauma on our nation's consciousness.

Just prior to that time, in November of 1517, the planet Saturn culminated its conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn, a conjunction that would last well into 1519. When we consider the archetypal nature of the relevant symbols — Saturn, Pluto and Capricorn — we can imagine a difficult dynamic of power and control, of superego wrestling with id for domination. Compulsion for order and unbridled passion merge and clash in supreme battle, giving rise to relentless pursuits of power. Saturn and Pluto together represent the lowest, as well as the highest, of possible collective human achievement, positive and negative modes of construction and destruction.

Today, Saturn and Pluto are again conjunct in Capricorn, having taken 500 years to return to the sign they were in when the tragic chapter of modern era slavery began. Using the techniques outlined by Richard Tarnas in his book Cosmos & Psyche (15º orb for outer planet quadrature alignments), the conjunction began in January 2018 and will continue through the end of 2021.

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Looking Again at Mercury Retrograde

I was recently interviewed by ABC7 News to explain the meaning of Mercury Retrograde, from both an astronomical and astrological point of view. As the presenter (community journalist Jalyn Henderson) explains, people tend to get a bit excited or even freaked out when Mercury goes retrograde. But as I tend to explain to those who ask me — you can relax, this is not a bad thing.


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Mars in Taurus: Revitalizing the Golden Calf

Fiery Bull

On Valentine’s Day Mars made its entrance into Taurus, where it will remain until March 31. This planet and sign combo is a curious one, given Mars's tendency towards passionate action and Taurus's relaxed complacency. Mars in Taurus evokes aggression with relaxation, fast movement with rooted stubbornness, new frontiers with known environs. Fire finds its fuel from earth and roots down into solidity.

To understand this transit and the kinds of experiences and events it can correlate with, we might consider what happens when Mars, the god of war, takes a break from the bloody conflicts of Aries to revive and rejuvenate. His focus has shifted from fighting battles to a passionate deepening into a calm environment, taking in salves that help heal and erase the traumas of war. At other times Mars in Taurus asserts, or defends, for the sake of preservation, stability and comfort.

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Video of Friends of Astrology Talk

On September 21st I gave a talk on dual-sign and dual-planet rulerships for Friends of Astrology, an astrology group local to Chicago. My talk explores the implications of various forms of dual rulership, the reasons these rulerships exist and how we might discover rich treasures of meaning from a fuller understanding of planetary rulerships.

View the talk on YouTube.

Astrology & The Mythological Layer

Meeting Iron John

Meeting Iron John, animation still by Xun Wang

In his book Iron John, Robert Bly writes about the collapse of the mythological layer. He’s referring to our culture’s sacrifice of a truly living mythology for hard idealisms of pure reason and delusional attachments to unattainable glamor. We’ve lost touch with the invisible inner realm of gods and goddesses that the Egyptians, Greeks, native peoples and other ancient cultures knew quite well. From our centuries-long infatuation with science and factual knowledge to the exclusion of the mystical dream source of experience, we’ve piled intellectual boulders before the gates to heaven and left ourselves bereft of its wonders.

This leads to all manner of great anxieties and dysfunctions. A murderer does not know about the mythological layer and thus identifies with the dark spirit that passes through him and acts out its intentions. A man leaves his wife after falling in love with the wrong woman because he confuses the idealized goddess that briefly moves through her as the woman herself. A father terrorizes his children because his ignorance of his own mythology produces resentment at what he believes to be his life’s ruin. The child becomes an adult who has also learned nothing of mythology, so frets endlessly over her terrorized childhood because without a mythological context we can only remain trapped in victimization.

What to do?

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Pisces New Moon 2018

Chart cast in Astro Gold

The Pisces New Moon occurs Saturday morning March 17th, 8:14am in Chicago. It features a square to Mars at the last degree of Sagittarius, which can reflect an uneasiness about the dissolution of whatever adventures we've been on as we need to begin the work of building upon what we've learned from them. As this New Moon is also conjunct Chiron and trine to Jupiter in Scorpio, the work we have to do is connected to healing our souls. It's a great time to begin or deepen practices of inner journey work, energy medicine, depth psychology.

Whatever opportunities life is bringing up for us, including any apparent chaos or challenge, we can find that a simple adherence to seeing them through yields a profound sense of transcendent guidance, a realization that a compassionate hand is always at play in our lives, seeking to help us secure our faith in a divine order that works for us so long as we accept it.

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Jupiter Retrograde in Scorpio: Shadows and Shades of Inner Power

Jupiter in Shadow

Image courtesy NASA

Jupiter entered Scorpio this past Fall and among other things is correlated with the #MeToo movement, as this transit tends to out secrets, deceptions and abuses of power. Conversely, Jupiter in Scorpio provides a safe haven for entrenched powers, making them appear more brazen, with greater scope and breadth (Russia, Trump, Assad). The Stoneman Douglas school shooting is a prime example of the contradictions inherent in this transit, as Jupiter gives an expanded sense of power to a mass murderer and keeps him safe from death (for the moment), yet this tragic event catalyzes a political movement based on deeply held moral principles that will have enormous future impact.

(Side note - The students of Stoneman Douglas high school are of the Pluto in Sagittarius generation. Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter and Pluto rules Scorpio. This confluence of planet/sign affinity indicates we're seeing the beginnings of what may very well come to define this generation.)

On a higher level, Jupiter in Scorpio is the shaman, the wise woman or man who journeys between worlds of dark and light, acting as a guide to others and bringing back wisdom from hidden places. Jupiter in Scorpio is also the "blessing in disguise," the greater good that comes from an initially painful loss.

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