Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Leaderless Age

David Brook's op ed piece in the New York Times on March 14, 2014 caught my eye..It begins.."We are in a remarkable shift in how Americans see the world and their own country's role in the world." Brooks continues that according to the most recent Pew Research Center survey, for the first time in 50 years, Americans say that we should be less involved in world affairs. Survey results convey the sentiment that our influence in helping to solve the world's problems is declining; and that survey takers think we are "doing too much" trying to solve the world's problems.

The survey also suggests that we have lost faith in the idea that American political and military institutions can "fix" things in other countries. The American people now believe that there are severe restrictions on what the military can do. The Obama administration is proposing a reduction in  the military budget which would bring the size of the US Army to its lowest level since 1940, and people from both parties, who took the survey, are in  agreement.

Brooks continues that this trend is not just a result of the post-Iraq disillusionment but part of a longer term cultural shift involving the transfer of power from one generation to another. The baby boomers came out of WWII trusting in big governmental institutions and unions which operated with "top down management". Today's polling results and the millennial generation are more likely to believe that history is being made from the bottom up, not from the top down. People-to people contacts either in public squares or through the internet are creating the force of change in contrast to the hierarchical, autocratic system in place since WWII.

The irony is that those political and corporate heads of large institutions and organizations, still think they are in charge. Being removed and insulated from the masses, they are not getting the shift that is occurring. Brooks says that this swarm of people is very difficult to lead and can only be summoned to swarm by someone who arouses intense moral loyality-and maybe even then only for a short time..thus we have become leaderless. Where is George Washington when we need him?

This essentially leaderless approach is the overarching sentiment of the Aquarian Age that we are entering into. Unlike the 18th century, power today rests with the masses of people, forming consensus, when and where they can. The military is useless in such situations-in fact the clash between the two different approaches is where the bloodshed occurs.

We are in a transitional phase, with the two different leadership styles colliding, as we have seen all over the globe since January 2011 when the Tunisian fruit seller set himself on fire to protest excessive governmental intrusion. These collisions and changes in the social order have been part of every cultural shift around the globe. The shifts coincide with planets Uranus and Pluto forming a geometric pattern to one another as they orbit around the Sun. 

These "Epochs of Revolution" as Rick Tarnas calls the times of radical social change, occur when Pluto and Uranus are forming a geometric pattern in the sky. These revolutionary and rebellious times have fallen at the French Revolution 1787-1798; between 1845-1856 when a wave of revolutionary impulse arose with mass insurrections and radical social movements in every capital in Europe; again in 1896-1900, with the proliferation of progressive and radical labor movements, the rising of the socialists movement, militant women's and black civil rights movements. The last time, before now, that these two planets were in contact was during the 60's, another period of widespread social change.

Since 2011 and through March of 2015 we are in a similar pattern with the above mentioned periods, with Pluto and Uranus again forming a pattern, symbolically coinciding with social unrest, some of which Brooks wrote about. (He even mentions 50 years ago, which would put us in the 60's). A radical shift is occurring in Americans viewpoints about our place in the world.

This month on the 21st these two planets form their 5th of 7 exact aspects, which this time is occurring during a biannual eclipse season, when emotional pressure and intensity characterize events. Sudden disruptions and interruptions are characteristic of both the Pluto/Uranus energy and the Full Moon Lunar eclipse on the 15th, followed by the New Moon Solar Eclipse on the 29th. 

But "these best of times and worst of times" are not all crisis and trauma as there is also a very beautiful triangle in water signs-the feeling signs- forming with Venus, Jupiter and Saturn.. Through these intense times we have an opportunity to be compassionate and loving towards those who are experiencing the most severe crises and everyone else we meet everyday.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

House of Cards

What is the nature of political power?  What is the nature of personal power? How do the two intersect? These are the questions that interest "House of Cards" writer Beau Willimon, as posed  in Adam Sternbergh's New York Times magazine piece of February 2nd. Willimon, a 36 year old playwright and screenwriter, worked on Howard Dean's political campaign in 2003. As some of you may remember Dean's presidential aspirations evaporated in one event on the stump when he had a momentary burst of unbridled enthusiasm which went viral. Dean looked almost crazy and definitely not of presidential material. The campaign's staff took the high road and ignored it, thinking that the detractors had no power over the situation, they let go the reigns, did not respond quickly enough and in the end forfeited power. Dean was history, but the philosophy behind "House of Cards" was born in Willimon's mind.
 
Pluto rules issues around power. Between 2012 and 2015 Pluto is in a hard aspect, that is Pluto is meeting Uranus in the corner of a square. Uranus rules sudden unexpected eruptions, individual freedom, the urge to break free. Pluto's movements in the sky symbolize the process of our evolutionary progress, destroying what is no longer serving the personal or public good. Uranus creates the impetus which intensifies to the breaking point so that the intrenched power (Pluto) becomes desperate in the struggle to stay in power, often holding on with ruthless force. There are power shifts, which occur suddenly, when these two planets come together. This can be within a country or within a person; and depends upon whether a person or country has a natal placement, most likely the Sun, in the current path of these two planets.

Some persons or countries are born with more of an ability to be flexible enough to juggle the two factions, the Tunisian revolution comes to mind. This event became the forerunner in the series of global uprisings since 2012 when Uranus and Pluto started meeting in the corner of a square seven times, through March 2015. The uprising in Tunisia followed the suicide of a fruit vendor who was harassed one to many times by a government official in December 2010. Ten days after his death in January, the President resigned after 23 years in power, certainly an unusually easy transfer of power that has unfortunately not been replicated.

This transfer of power directly lead to the uprisings in Tahir Square Egypt. Those first events foreshadowed each and every uprising we have seen across the globe since then, all in accordance with the symbolism of Pluto and Uranus in hard aspect-meeting each other in the corner of a square. Each country where we have seen the revolutions or attempted revolutions have their Suns being contacted by Uranus and Pluto. Most are unresolved as of yet. The US's turn will be in April.

But to get back to our original question. What is the nature of personal power? Where does it reside? In the person who usurps it and holds on? Does a moral code come into play? Is power in and of itself a virtue?  Can power be transferred easily? Do we know of a person who makes decisions from a sense of "disinterested virtue"? If personal interest and public good collide, can anyone make a decision which might be "political suicide" but is right according to his conscious?  How do the Coloradoan politicians who voted for stricter gun laws but were then voted out of office feel? Is it more important to stay in power or sleep at night?

I do not portend to have the answers to these questions. Jon Meacham in his book "Thomas Jefferson The Art of Power" defines power as "the bending of the world to one's will, the remaking of reality to one's own image. Our greatest leaders are neither dreamers or dictators: They are like Jefferson, those who articulate national aspirations yet master the mechanics of influence and know when to depart from dogma." Meacham continues that Jefferson could be both a philosopher, believing in the possibilities for humanity, but maneuver like a politician and bend history to his purposes. 

This time period with Uranus/Pluto active resonates more strongly with those persons born at previous times when these two planets were active. Those persons carry the essence within themselves that enable them later in their lives as those planets repeat again, to effect sudden significant revolutions, to understand the transfer power or to ignite brilliant achievements in their field of activity.

Alexander Hamilton, born in 1755, has Uranus/Pluto active in his natal chart. He fought with Washington as an aide-de-camp and as an artillery commander during the years 1777-9  when the two planets were active again. His achievements as our First Secretary of the Treasury, 1789-95 laid the groundwork for a modern nation state with a budget system, a coinage system, a funded debt, a tax system, a central bank, a customs service. These achievements again occurred during the times Uranus and Pluto were active. Men (in the broadest sense) and their times come together.

My sense is that the current event/events approaching in April with Uranus/Pluto affecting the US Sun (and there are other planets at the other two corners this time as well) will have to do with our monetary policy as Hamilton designed and developed it; because that is what was born in one of the the previous eras when these two planets met at their corner square. The other one  would be 1873-80. There is of necessity have to be some transfer of power, as that is what these two planets signify. On what level this occurs is not for anyone to know ahead of time. We will have to wait and see and be flexible enough to know to bend with the current of the times.  


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Sitting in Traffic Destroys the Soul

This is the first sentence of 'The Talk of the Town" in The New Yorkers January 27th edition.  How many of us can relate to that? What is it about the time spent sitting in traffic that is so unnerving?  Elizabeth Kolbert wrote a piece on the GW Bridge lane closings and Governor Christie, whose sentence is quoted here, the whole first paragraph of which put me in stitches of laughter. But not everyone in New Jersey is laughing most especially not Governor Christie..

Looking at things from an astrological perspective is always fun and sometimes enlightening. We do not have a birth time for Christie but know he was born on Sept 6th, 1962 in Newark, NJ. We also know he had a Solar Eclipse on his natal Neptune last November 3rd. Solar eclipses are very potent New Moons whose effects last for years. Neptune is the planet that influences us towards sainthood or addiction. We live in so much of an idealized world that we loose all sense of reality. We want to escape, we long for a Utopia, our dreams are big, our delusions huge. We can commit fraud, be deceived, cheat, stretch the truth, or just not see the truth clearly. When an eclipse hits a natal planet those issues come to the forefront for that time period.  Nothing changes anyone's life more than having an eclipse fall on a sensitive point in our natal chart. And so it is now with Gov Christie and his ability to see and speak the truth.

The Port of Authority is run by officials from both New York and New Jersey. When Christie came to the governorship of New Jersey in 2010, he appointed nearly 50 of his own supporters in the lucrative positions, whose governance had been severely reduced by the 9/11 tragedy, as Kolbert explains. The Port Authority owned and were headquartered in the Twin Towers and when the then executive director and eighty-three other employees lost their lives, the Authority was obviously severely impacted and weakened. Governor Christie's high school friend, as the agency's interstate capital projects director, was the one who ordered the lane closings (he has since resigned). Last Thursday seventeen subpoenas were issued to officials of the agency and those in Christie's personal staff..

Experiences with Neptune are, if nothing else, humbling experiences, which demand a subsuming of all ego, a "letting go". Anyone with Neptune eclipsed, as his was last November, is going to experience either a highly spiritual sensitive time, or a confusing time where one is not sure of anything and is walking around in a fog, or a time where an element of sacrifice is present. One's version of reality will be severely tested. Situations arise that demand honesty.

Governor Christie is also somewhere near the end of a 30 year long Sun/Moon cycle, at the Balsamic Moon phase to be precise, where endings and closures are pronounced. It is a wrap period for the previous 30 years, a transition with intimations of the future. More a time or reflection and introspection, where we distill something we have learned. 

He was also born with a retrograde Jupiter. He has to come to terms with his overinflated self image. Jupiter will turn direct June 15, 2015. The fact that Jupiter will apparently change directions in his normal life span, which is not always the case, is significant. His life up until June 2015 can be seen as being a review, inner reflection or as a treading water in regards the moral and ethical systems he was born into. He will be forced to look inside and evaluate how well he operates within his social world and on what it means to have ethics (moral principles or values to live by). Even though Jupiter, (think religious values, morals, ethics) was in Pisces at birth and of very fine quality, meaning he has a hugely compassionate side, the retrogradation and Jupiter's conjunction with Chiron, the wounded healer, tells us that he has much inner work to do in the ethics/morals/values/social compact area. The fact that Jupiter will turn direct gives us hope that Gov. Christie will use this opportunity to correct his "overextended" self.

These issues are intensified by his progressed Venus which went retrograde March 2009. Christie has some reevaluating to do. What are my values? What messages have I unconsciously or consciously allowed to trickle down through my staff and within the administration that gave them permission to behave with such rampant disregard for the lives of thousands and thousands of people over the four days the lane closings occurred?  I do not see this as the end of his political career forever, as he has Pluto conjoined the Sun and those people have an amazing ability to regenerate themselves, but this event is definitely a defining moment, he will turn a corner, close a chapter.

If politics is an extension of morality, as Roger Kennedy states in his book, Burr, Hamilton and Jefferson; A Study in Character, then is it too much to ask of all our politicians and office holders, whom we assume intend to effect the common good, that how they do so be in a manner that does no harm?  This can only come about with a thoroughly honest appraisal of the values, standards and ethical moral codes we choose to live by. Of course our leaders are no more perfect than ourselves, but their willingness to put themselves in the public eye demands they do the work. When they have not done so, events occur which make the need to do so imperative.   


Sunday, January 12, 2014

January 11th's Venus/Sun Conjunction

Correlating the celestial with the terrestrial helps us understand the meaning of our lives. This is what we do when we study astrology, or notice where the planets orbiting around the Sun are, in relation to us, planet Earth. Saturday morning marked the mid way point of the Venus retrograde cycle. Venus conjoins the Sun. She has left the evening sky, setting after the Sun, where she was so beautifully bright (being close to the Sun). Venus moved closer to the Sun until the morning of the 11th, when they conjoined. Being too close to the Sun that we do not see her and will not again until Venus rises ahead of the Sun in the morning sky next month. Venus has gone retrograde or "underground".
 
What does a retrograde cycle or "going underground"mean? For a period of time a planet is turning away from its apparent regular path around the Sun (Sun and Moon never retrograde) and into a more deviant mode of operation. This apparent celestial occurrence coincides with a time frame when a reflective person has an opportunity to become more objective about assumed situations and orient himself/herself away from the past or what is expected, towards a more personal and unique approach to whatever that planet signifies. (For further enlightenment see Alexander Ruperti and Cycles of Becoming). You can be born with a planet like Venus retrograde, in which case the "going against the grain" issues will be life long; or as we are experiencing it now, in a few months time, we all get the shorter opportunity to reset our inner compass.

In this case we are talking about Venus, so we are reformulating our values, our desires, our feelings, what we are attracting to ourselves, what satisfies us, our relationship to money, our relationship to others, our motives, what we want from love, the price we pay, our relationship to our women friends, our ability to weigh, compare and balance, how we look, how we get the "sweetness" of life, how loving we are, the value we place on love. 

Since Venus's retrograding began on the 21st of December all or some of the above mentioned areas might not have been as effective or personally satisfying as they have in the past. A new relationship, a new hairstyle or something we recently bought might not feel satisfying. We might have been undermining ourselves or another, or under or overvaluing ourselves or another or some material item. The retrograde cycle demands we turn inward, reflect, and ask "Why did I do that?" or "How did I get myself into this situation?" "Is this what I want?"

The conjunction of Venus and the Sun marks the moment that we become aware that something has been unsatisfying in our emotional life. The reevaluation process could have been occurring in our unconscious, without our being aware of it.  The Sun represents our "self", our life purpose, our intention, the direction of our life. When Venus meets the Sun, our purpose (Sun) shines through Venus (love, money, values) and through that connection only what is truly authentic to ourselves can survive.  If what we have been feeling/loving/valuing is not truly an expression of our innermost selves, it will be noticed by the Sun; we are given an opportunity to reevaluate. (If we are a conscious and reflective person that is-otherwise events will tell us whether we are getting our values correctly imbedded in our life or not).

This conjunction occurs for everyone in the department of life, or house where Capricorn is on the  cusp. Some will be affected more than others based on whether they have planets/angles at 21 degrees of Capricorn or other planets/angles at 21 degrees of one of the other cardinal signs, Cancer, Libra and Aries). This time period will also be important to also those whose ruler is Venus, those who have Libra or Taurus rising. 

We have from now until the 31st of January to integrate this new understanding at which time Venus will proceed again "apparently" forward in direction, staying in Capricorn all through February, until the 6th of March when she will enter Aquarius and move into new territory.  From now until then is a time to deepen our commitment to whatever it is we hold dear and precious. This Venus/Sun cycle time period begins a new round of experience in our love life and the values we live by. August 15th 2015 is the next opportunity we will have to reorient ourselves in our feeling life away from the usual towards what is more unique to us. Venus and Sun will again have their retrograde conjunction, this time in Leo.  

To illustrate three examples, one historical, one from current affairs and one personal.

Happy Birthday Alexander Hamilton, who was born Jan 11 1755 (see Ron Chernow's biography), with Venus retrograde conjunct the Sun. Venus being the ruler of his chart (according to the Regulus Astrology rectification), Hamilton's life had every conceivable aberration of love and money scenarios one can possibly imagine. From his obscure and impoverished childhood, born out of wedlock and orphaned, through the rest of the many facets of his life, from clerk at age 11 for the outpost of a New York trading company in St.Croix, where he reconciled currencies from all over the world, to the pinnacle of his career with the ratification of the US Constitution and becoming Washington's Secretary of the Treasury, he encapsulated a Venus retrograde phenomena. 

Hamilton envisioned and through shear persuasion founded the modern nation state with its emphasis on a strong financial footing, a budget, a funded debt, a tax system, a central bank, a customs service, the beginnings of a stock market and speculation. He understood the value of funded debt; that in order for this country to be deemed viable in the World's eyes the US had to borrow and pay back money with interest. He went against the norms of the time, when before his efforts, the Continental Army (which he was a part of) had been severely under supplied with food, clothes, shoes and ammunition because Congress had no authority to collect taxes to pay for supplies.

Yet how could a man who was responsible for the founding of a modern functioning nation leave his widow impoverished at his death?  It took Gouverneor Morris, the USA 's first millionaire, to organize a secret subscription service among Hamilton's friends to provide for the widow and children. The account kept in The Bank of New York (founded by Hamilton), was kept secret until 1937.

The same inconsistencies can be seen in his love life.  What member of the Cabinet married to a wealthy wife from a prominent New York family, having had an affair and instead of keeping quiet about it, would publish a 90 page pamphlet explaining and defending himself? Such are the aberrations and unusual circumstances encountered by a Venus retrograde person.

The second example, from current affairs is the case of the Indian diplomat, Devyani Khobragade, on the front page of the New York Times January 11th.  Arrested December 12th, for visa fraud and for making false statements about her treatment of her domestic worker, she was also apparently strip searched. The diplomatic crisis between the world's two major democracies highlighted the cultural discrepancies between the two countries. As the Times said  "While Americans reflexively came to the defense of a maid who the authorities said was subjected to abuse, Indians reflexively sympathized with the diplomat". A cultural abyss opened up between the US and India-a clash of values (Venus). The diplomat was expelled from this country as her husband and two young daughters, all US citizens, remained in New York. Khobragade, like Venus, is alone on an inward journey, in retreat, on account of cultural differences in value systems.

The third example is from my personal story. Having just had my birthday on the 23rd, I have Venus retrograde in my Solar Return chart for the year, in fact it is on the Ascendant. I expect to have experiences this year that will help me clarify what is important to me. Working on a friendship with my ex, whom I had not communicated with, except through lawyers for 8 years, I feel there is still some chemistry between us. But instead of being the aggressor and going after what I want (which is how the relationship began 40 years ago) I am taking a different tack. I am exploring my more feminine side (Venus) more the seductress, than the seducer (Mars). We will see how it turns out.  I feel the change inside me-valuing my self more and not being so needy for an external fulfillment.

The Venus retrograde cycle gives us a span of time where some fundamental change in our feelings and values can occur. Whether conscious or unconscious, Venus's retrograde cycle, being closest to the earth and brightest in the sky, takes us on an inward journey where what we like and dislike what we attract or push away can be more clearly defined. Retrograde cycles are very special but the outcomes might not be evident right away. Wait until March 6th, when Venus leaves Capricorn, before making any definitive pronouncements on the matters..

Friday, January 3, 2014

Blizzard New Year's 2014 Post

Merry Christmas Part Two has become Blizzard New Year's Post. Sequestered in the house, in front of the fire, watching the birds at the feeder and drinking chai; it doesn't get any better. My thoughts and fingers move to type and write. The exact moment of the Winter Solstice, the Venus station and the New Moon on New Year's Day have passed but the effects of these most recent astronomical events linger. And what does each signify?

The Winter Solstice, when the Sun moves into 0 degrees 0 minutes of Capricorn, begins winter.  Occurring December 21st this year at 12:11 PM EST, the Sun appears to stand still (sol-Sun and sistere- to stand still). According to the Farmers Almanac the length of the day on the 19th of December was 9 hours and 4 minutes and remained that way until the 22nd when it increased to 9 hours and 5 minutes. From the 16th to the 25th the length of the day went from 9 hours and 5 minutes, to 9 hours and 4 minutes to 9 hours and 5 minutes again. For all apparent purposes the Sun stood still. That is why the ancients celebrated, and we have continued to make festivals at this time and again at midsummer, to encourage the Sun to move again. ( It is the Sun's path seen from the earth that has reached its lowest possible altitude in the Northern Hemisphere, before reversing direction).

We were choir rehearsal on that Saturday Solstice day and after having been there a few hours, all of a sudden we disbanded.  I looked at my phone and it was 12:11 PM.  The sudden shift in energy was noted. (This is not unlike what we spoke about last time with Washington's Army crossing the Delaware as Mars moved into 0 degrees and 0 minutes of Libra, commencing a surprise attack at the Battle of Trenton, which was a turning point in the War for Independence.) The Sun moving into 0 degrees of one of the four cardinal sign initiates one of the four seasons. When Mars moves there our energy and will force accelerate, as it did for Washington and his hungry and shoeless army. Here we are talking about the Sun moving into 0 degrees of Capricorn, and the beginning of winter.

The Solstice moment has another feature to it, astrologers use it to gleam trends for the upcoming year. I listened to Gary Christen's Solstice talk 2013 (available alabe.com) and he explores some interesting ideas. As we are still experiencing the effects of the Uranus/Pluto opening square, we are set for deep seated changes that appear suddenly. Now these can be on a personal level, if these two planets are connected with your natal chart, or in our culture, which is rapidly advancing technology as a solution. (Uranus-sudden and technology and Pluto-deep seated change)

I saw confirmation of this last night on PBS's Newshour segment on robotics. Amazon is looking into using drones to deliver its products, a reporter drove Google's car last summer which drives itself, companies are building robots with expressive facial gestures that communicate with and respond to humans. Gary thinks that the 3-D printers which actually produce objects and the use of robots in manufacturing, will take more and more jobs away from humans. Breakthroughs in medicine will also be forthcoming (leukemia had one last Fall). The Teutonic plates of the earth are moving. The Atlantic Ocean is getting wider. The only Teutonic plate that has not moved recently is the one near Washington and Oregon. An ad from Motley Fool on the New York Times digital this morning spoke about Near Field Communications (NFC's) technology, where credit/debit cards, which began with the Diners Club card in the late 40's will become obsolete. We will be purchasing and paying bills with our smart phones-no more plastic.. (already an option on Nexus phones). 

Gary says we are in a period of radical transition. 2014 will bring weird transportation issues in NYC, the possibility of a military campaign in the Spring, more earthquakes, Republicans and Democrats still at each others throats for 1 1/2 more years, more polarization, conservative fashion trends with hems going down and "the real truth" still being covered up. Early March, the 3rd week in April, May and the Fall are critical times, mid terms in November bring more "dumb people" into office  He also postulates that some important personages may pass, which has already happened with Mandela leaving us and now Sharon gravely ill.

Of course there is one elephant in the room that nobody talks about; that is the CME's, the coronal mass ejections from the Sun. A CME is a massive burst of solar wind and magnetic field that rises up from the Sun's surface, reaches into space and affects the circulation in the upper atmosphere of the earth causing more Northern Lights and potentially affecting our electrical grid, weather patterns, bird migration patterns and our nervous systems. The series of Uranus/Pluto squares mentioned above in effect from 2011-2016, are a part of the unsettling period we are experiencing now.
First auroras of 2014.

There was a huge CME on July 23rd 2012, one of the fastest CME's ever recorded, but it was not aimed in our direction. And another last October 25th. The Sun is now in the active phase of its 11 year cycle. During the high point of the Sun's 11 year cycle the magnetic polarity of the Sun reverses. Stanford University's Wilcox Observatory issued a press release on November 11th reminding us that the Sun's magnetic field was in the process of flipping and should occur in the next 3-4 months.  (See earthsky.com November 11th 2013). No one knows what effects, if any, this will have on earth or any other body in our solar system.

But as Bruce Scofield says on naturalastrology.com in the 'Cycles of the Sun article', probably many processes on the earth are affected by the Sun, we just have not explored them yet. We need to look more closely at what is happening between Sun and Earth as a unit and not separately in regards the intermingling of electromagnetic fields. Someday we might even be able to validate astrology with concrete evidence. Gary says that will come in 2025-26..We have a lot to look forward to...

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas Part One

I do not know about you but for me the past week has been almost electrifying.  It started with the Full Moon last Tuesday the 17th, which was located at 25-26 degrees of Sagittarius /Gemini-opposite signs. The Sun was in Sag and the Moon was in Gemini. Gemini gives us information, Sag gives us the meaning of life. The position of the Sun, with the Moon mirroring from across the way, is at the GC or Galactic Center of the Milky Way, where a super Black Hole lies. The black hole is millions of times larger than the Sun and absorbs and transmits electromagnetic energy. As Austin says.."the Full Moon's alignment with the GC provides extra energetic support for releasing old beliefs, remembering our cosmic origins and realizing our life's purpose." (see TMA's December/January issue Stephanie Austin's piece on the Full Moon.) This Full Moon (Full Moons are always  synchronous with a "breakthrough" or "ah ha" moment) will give us information about the meaning and purpose of our lives, if we are looking in that direction that is, and will be in effect until the next New Moon on January 1st. 

That same day saw a station or apparent station, from earth's perspective, of Uranus at 8 degrees 35 minutes of Aries. Uranus will now move forward in the zodiac once again, after having gone retrograde from July 17th. Planet Uranus is our symbol for the revolutionary and progressive impulse in our lives; when things suddenly get turned upside down in your life, Uranus is active in your chart. (I just spilled my chai as I was writing this and yes it is in mine and this accident prone energy will be quite apparent for all of us into Christmas Day as Mars configures itself with Uranus). You need other influences to sustain the sudden intensity, but the excitement of the moment gives us a glimpse into the future. This is true especially as this Uranus station occurred simultaneously with the Full Moon at the GC.

And the news of the day of the Full Moon?  The front page of the New York Times had four articles,  demonstrating the future coming towards us.  Firstly, a federal district judges ruled that the NSA's program that is systematically keeping records of all American phone calls, violates the constitution. James Madison, author of the Constitution would be "aghast" that the government was invading our privacy to this extent, Judge Leon wrote in his 68 page ruling. (According to Eric Francis and his Planet Waves site, who obtained birth data on Leon, he is a maverick with his Sun conjunct Chiron-one who leads humanity forward, one who goes his way alone, a healer.)

Secondly, the drug company Glax-Smith-Kline has agreed to stop paying doctors to promote its products.

Thirdly an American organization of professors announced a boycott of Israeli academic institutions to protest Israel's treatment of Palestinians.  "People who truly believe in academic freedom would realize protesting the blatant and systemic denial of academic freedom to the Palestinians, which is coupled with material deprivation of a staggering scale, far outweighs concerns we in the West might have about our own academic freedoms."

And fourthly, Pope Francis replaced a conservative American cardinal on a powerful Vatican committee with another American considered more moderate.  The fact that the editorial board of the NYT,  which meets daily to decide which news stories to put on the front page chose these four stories on Tuesday the 17th, with the Full Moon on the GC, is significant. Remember in astrology it is not what happens to us that is important it is when it happens that is. 

There is another news story of note, that came in that week.  Glenn Greenwald (the Guardian reporter who broke the Snowden files story) and other national security investigative journalists have joined forces with the founder of eBay, to form a new media company, NewCo.  This is not "a same old" publication but one that augurs for the future. There are two components to New Co, one a technology company run for profit that will develop tech tools for making and distributing news and then selling those products to outside companies. The profits will then be funneled into the second segment of NewCo, a not for profit arm which will publish and support independent public interest journalism..
to be continued...



Saturday, December 14, 2013

Pre Christmas Thoughts

Having set aside Friday afternoons for writing, I find myself with so many different threads that I am having a time of it coalescing the various pieces into a whole.  I often rely on my first impressions upon waking, when I remember them, as I find these carryovers from sleep life extremely valuable.  This morning's impression was about the planet Mars..

Mars is the first planet outside of earth's orbit around the Sun; so circles the Sun in approximately 2 1/2 years, compared to earth's cycle of 365 1/4 days. Last Saturday, the 7th at 3:41 PM, Mars changed signs and moved into 0 degrees of Libra, hypothetically moving in front of the area of the sky where the sign Libra, the sign of the scale resides.  Mars was last in Libra July 30, 2010 until September 15th, a normal passage of 6 weeks. (If you have kept a diary, then going back to those dates will give you a clue as to what the issues will be for you this time..) This year however, Mars is going to be in Libra now until July 27, 2014 more than 6 months!  This is when astrology or the study of planetary cycles can be so helpful. By becoming  aware of the possible repercussions of this long transit of volatile Mars, we can be pro-active, as they say, and use it, rather than being used by it. 

In order to understand the whole (the long transit of Mars in Libra) we must investigate the parts.  Mars is the principle of energetic force, the impulse and capacity to assert, to act and move energetically and forcefully, to have an impact, to press forward and against, to defend and offend, to act with sharpness and ardor; the tendency to experience aggressiveness, anger, conflict, harm, violence, forceful physical energy; to be combative, competitive, courageous and vigorous.(from Richard Tarnas, Cosmos and Psyche.)

Libra is the sign of the scales, where we weigh and balance things. Justice who holds the scale wears a blindfold. Libra is a cardinal air sign, initiating Fall. Libra has to do with building one on one relationships, where, like the scales there is equality, communicating with one another and making peace. Libra loves Universal Harmony, Ideal Relationships, the marriage of Spirit and Matter. There is an urge to cooperate, to seek compromise, with an ability to make adjustments to encourage a more harmonious experience. (The Congressional budget compromise this week comes to mind as a manifestation of the change of Mars moving into the sign of compromise.)

If combining these two vastly different energies, Mars in Libra, brings a disconnect in your mind, you are not alone.  This combative energetic force (Mars) must be used for peaceful, humanitarian purposes (Libra) or it is bound to bring trouble. Mars in passing through Libra, Venus' domain, brings battles for just social causes or stalemates where one cannot decide which side to take. Mars is out of place in the gentle peaceful sign, preferring a cause to rally and fight for or defend against.  (Although Libras do make good generals as they instinctively need to know what the other side is doing-they can see both sides thus prepare themselves.)  

So where does this leave us so as to be able to use this transit and not be used by it?  Firstly, when Mars went into Libra last Saturday, he entered a new department of life in your natal birth chart.  It is impossible to say what area of life that is without knowing your birth chart. But you should have gotten clues this week as your energy, assertiveness and focus went in a different direction than before the 7th. (You can also go back to the times listed above when Mars was last in Libra for clues.)

Secondly, as we have said, Mars will be in this department of life for 6 months, not the usual 6 weeks, which can go by so fast that one hardly notices. But after a 6 month pass you are bound to notice the shift in focus.Your energies, your drive, direction and often work, will be different in August of 2014 than it is now. Even if you stay in the same profession or job, something about the situation and your direction or purpose in it will have shifted and it started this week.

Two more ideas come to mind. Firstly, When Mars went into Libra, the planet passes into 0 degrees of Libra which connects direcly with its opposite, 0 degrees Aries, the beginning of the zodiac. We all have that point someplace in our natal chart.  It is where we connect with the general public and what we will be known for after we die. Some of us have that point more strongly connected to our personal life than others. We had a HUGE demonstration of the impact of Mars entering Cardinal sign Libra this week with the death of Nelson Mandela. This event was brought to and mourned by the whole world. Rightly so, as if ever there was a person personifying working (Mars) on social justice issues (Libra) it was he; adding to that struggle is all the violence and destruction the working for social change unfortunately often brings.

The study of planetary cycles, as we do in astrology enables us, like Janus, the Roman god, to look both backwards and forwards. By looking into the historical cycles in US history, which are fairly well documented, we can get a sense of what is ahead for the country. (Your personal life can be managed this way as well, if you are a reflective person.) We are exploring Mars at 0 degrees of Libra, as this is what happened this week, but has happened before and will again.as Mars revolves around the Sun over and over again. 

In the natal chart for the USA, July 4th 1776, planet Mars was in Gemini, but "progressed" into 0 degrees of Libra September 15, 1940, as we were vacillating about entering the European conflict. FDR signed "The Selective Training and Service Act" the next day. This was the first time in US history that we had a peacetime draft called up. Early Americans considered a permanent standing Army a form of tyranny; militias were called up and disbanded repeatedly after a crisis. (We have come a long way from those founding perspectives.) 

On July 20th, 2006, 3 years into the Iraq War, progressed Mars in the USA's chart, still in Libra since Sept 15th, 1940,  appeared to stall. Although it is just an optical illusion, it is illustrative and useful in understanding cycles in history. Thus began an 80 year period when the planet of forceful action (Mars) is no longer speeding ahead but slowly, from earth's vantage point, appears to be moving from one side of the Sun to the other, "retrograding". During these months in 2006 a Congressional Iraq Study group was meeting and concluded in December that " US forces seem to be caught in a mission that has no foreseeable end", the USA's Mars went retrograde in Libra. The USA is and should be retreating (Mars retrograde) from the use of  military force to resolve conflicts.

In keeping with our Janus theme of looking backwards and forwards, the first time transiting Mars moved into 0 degrees of Libra after the birth of the country, was Dec 16th 1776. Congress had abandoned the capital, Philadelphia, amidst fears that British General Howe, already in control of New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island was ready to seize it. To forestall an attack on Philadelphia, as a tonic to his dejected compatriots, and before enlistments in the army expired at the end of the year, General Washington, says Ron Chernow (biographer), "began to think creatively"and  "awakened from his mental stupor" that had plagued him since the Long Island disaster. Just as Mars changed signs, moving to 0 degrees of Libra, the Continental Army crossed the Delaware and entered New Jersey, striking a blow against the Hussein mercenaries in Trenton. This became a huge victory for Washington. Mars in Libra-fighting for social justice-in this case for the colonialists to have the same rights as Englishmen everywhere.

As we have said, in studying planetary cycles we look both backwards and forwards because we are caught in our circular or elliptical solar system. All the planets moving around the Sun return to a position against the back drop of the zodiac repeatedly. Looking ahead, March 28th, 2086  the USA progressed Mars will end its retrograde motion and apparently move forward. Although I did not have anything to do with it, the place in the zodiac where this will be is  0 degrees of Libra, where it was on Sept 15th, 1940 when FDR called up the first ever peacetime draft. (Not a usual happening that we start at the beginning of a sign again,.) Thus the events of this week when Mars went into Libra and every time Mars has done that or will do that in the future, foreshadow the events in 2086.  We are talking specifically about the USA's chart here but the principle is the same, even in your personal life

Although March 28th 2086 is way beyond my lifetime, and everyone's else reading this blog, the study of historical planetary cycles-what happened the last time when...is illuminating. Hopefully we will have learned some hard fought lessons in the 146 years since the cycle began in September 1940, about our use of force (Mars) to make peace (Libra). Will a calling up of an army be necessary again? Will we have abandoned our standing military by then and directed the money into social justice causes? Or will we need an army to fight for a just cause and have learned nothing? The point is the US will have a second chance to redo our position on the use of force. Habits begun and perpetuated since 1940, began to be questioned in 2006 and by 2086 should be completely overhauled. .That is the value of a long retrograde time period of a planet. And if you really want your mind blown the USA progressed Mars will not leave Libra until Mar 2nd 2170!! We sure should be working on peace and harmony by then.  Next up will be Venus who turns retrograde on the solstice the 21st.
Thanks for your time...