Thursday, 31 December 2009

The wheel turns
the planets spin.
One year ends
another begins.

A Full Moon in Cancer. A blue moon ( two full moons in one month). And a Lunar Eclipse. Pretty powerful combination to start the New Year. Very Auspicious...especially for anyone born under the sign of Cancer. And in general... everything mooney...luney...is exaggerated, intense, powerful. The Moon is the planet of emotion, of tidal changes, of the Great Mother, of home. (see previous article for bit on the moon...near the end) Of the unconscious. A time for deep reflection; for going inward. Remember Dorothy in Wizard of Oz? Trying to find her way home.

Do you feel full as the moon? And maybe just a bit blue? And not just from all the chocolate and deserts and food you have consumed. Maybe its the Moon. As I am a Cancer sun sign I tend to feel the Moon quite strongly. And maybe this powerful lineup is contributing to this sense of fullness coming from within... remembering my personal path and my inner journey...who I am and why I am here.


I always go through feeling very intense and a bit down leading up to the Solstice. Many things have ended for me around this time including my marriage and a few other relationships as well(actually most of my endings have happened at this time....). And my family are far away in Canada. So I tend to be more inward than usual and need time alone. And then as Christmas comes and goes and even while all the social activities happen...or are avoided...I take time to reflect and process the whole of the past year. It's kind of like digesting Christmas dinner...I feel heavy at first; a bit uncomfortable; then slowly , perhaps after a walk...or two...and a few digestive enzymes...(a trip to the loo...)I start to feel content and satisfied.I rediscover that home is where the heart is...inside of me.

(Just click your heels Dorothy and say after me..."there's no place like home, there's no place like home, there's no place like home....")


So its a time of digesting all that has gone before and off loading what I don't need anymore; integrating the lessons and as well as joys of the year. At a full Moon that energy can be more pronounced, and a Cancer full moon definitely emphasizes emotional processes. So, if you are feeling a little tender or teary at this end of the decade...call your mom; and/or take time to nurture yourself. And let the tears fall...gently, tenderly. Ponder/reflect on their significance. Let them be for a moment; then wipe them away and turn to face a new year, a new cycle, a new beginning.



"And the seasons they go round and round
and the painted ponies go up and down.
We're captive on a carousel of time.
We cant return we can only look
behind from where we came.
And go round and round and round
in the circle game."


Happy New Year

Monday, 28 December 2009

Planets as Symbols

Firstly, I want to reiterate what I said at the beginning of this blog. The daily or weekly Astrology columns you see in the paper are not truly representative of astrology. They are based on very general planetary influences and are just a taste of how we can be influenced by the heavenly bodies. When you have a birth chart drawn up we look at the planets in the sky at the moment you were born and examine where they are in relation to each other and to you on planet earth. The chart is a template or a map, if you will, and reveals a story or a description of who you are, where you have been, and what you have chosen to learn about in the lifetime.


Yet why do we attribute these powers to the planets at all?

Carl Jung coined the term Archetype to explain the idea that there are recurring and universal motifs that represent various aspects of human nature. He found these were repeated in stories and myths from all over the world as well as in people's dreams. He felt that by exploring these motifs we can perhaps glean a bit about the human psyche. Ancient cultures used the symbols or motifs woven into their stories as tools to teach daily lessons and impart universal truths. I highly recommend A Hero's Journey by Joseph Campbell, in which he elucidates some of Jung's theories about how myths can reveal a tremendous amount of information about human nature and culture.

Astrology can therefore be can be seen, in relation to this idea of universal themes, as a symbol system which uses archetypal language to explore and perhaps explain something about the forces within us and around us. Some astrologers hold to the Jungian idea that we project these attributes onto the planets, and that although they are valuable in revealing clues to our own inner psychological makeup, the attributes we give them exist solely within our own psyches.

Another approach is based on the belief that the planets each have an actual energetic field that radiates out toward the earth. In this way each planet is seen to have its own unique signature or energy…and depending where we were born and where the planets were in the sky at our time of birth, we each have a particular “sign” and an individual map or chart based on the grid of the intersecting lines of energy emanating from the planets.

We know that the gravitational pull off the moon affects our weather, our tides, etc. Farmers used to plant by the cycles of the moon (some still do)( ... root crops when the moon is waning, above ground crops when it is waxing etc). Sadly, in our drive to dominate and control everything, we have become disconnected from nature in an illusion that we are separate from it. Yet we are made up of the same molecules as everything around us.

In astrology, the moon, as it waxes and wanes, is said to represent our changing emotions and our deep unconscious... as well as the mother. The word for women’s' monthly cycle (month -moon...) is menstrual which also comes from the word moon. The length of a month is based on the full cycle of the moon from empty to full… (or was until the Romans forced it into a rigid format.) Originally there were 13 months based on the 13 moon cycles in a year. It’s not a huge intuitive leap to see the connection with birth and mothering. The watery amniotic fluid is connected to the unconscious as well as to the tidal effects of the moons pull. We may think that these are all vestiges of superstitious times, but there is a symbolism and power that exists in astrology that defies that simplistic explanation.

BTW: Have you ever wondered why the number 13 is considered so unlucky that even today many buildings do not have a 13th floor? This false propaganda came from the patriarchal Christian effort to suppress the goddess religions that honoured the feminine principal. In the pagan calendar 13 was/is a sacred number due to this relationship to the mother/feminine principal/fertility etc. The number 13 was subsequently invested with so much negative associations to influence people away from their so-called pagan beliefs and toward the control of the church.

Anyway, back to those funny round objects floating in the sky. I agree with the Jungian vision of a symbolic system reflecting aspects of our individual and cultural psyches. At the same time I also accept that the movements of the planets does seem to have a profound and fascinating effect on both our individual personalities and also on world events. My own personal interest is in the psychology of each individual; then in how we interact with others and with the world. Astrology can reveal so much about our self, our tendencies, our habits, our ways of reacting to life etc and however one decides it works, the main thing is that it actually does.


In the next blog I will start to look at the attributes of each planet and sign and how they represent aspects of our individual experience.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Between a rock and a hard place

“Astrology is a form of imagination emerging from nature and having direct relevance for everyday life. It is an applied poetics, a vision of life on earth stimulated by movements in the heavens, which can take us into areas of self-reflection as no other system of symbols and images can.”
Thomas Moore, The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life.


Note: In the following, I have extracted and added to some of Liz Greene’s discussion re the planets at astro.com. This is a work in progress so if any of it makes sense (..or doesn’t…) please let me know. I hope to avoid being too academic about all this…and give instead my own personal reflection and a bit of info as well. Having said that its already quite long. I am also slowly adding links; bear with me as I get accustomed to this blogging experience.


To begin, I wanted to look at the configuration of Saturn and Pluto in the current sky as they have added a great deal of pressure on an already tense world situation. They are of personal interest to me as they are also squared to each other in my own chart. If you want to see where these planets are in your own chart go to www.astro.com to get a birth chart drawing. (I know you may not have a clue what a square is ... I will be getting back to that sort of thing shortly. Basically: it’s a tense angle between planets.)

I do promise I will be introducing you to more basic astrology such as your sun sign etc … very soon, but figured I would start with what’s current in the sky. To that end, I want to introduce you to these two very potent and powerful astrological players: Saturn and Pluto.


According the Liz Greene in The Astrology of Fate, Saturn was originally analagous to the Greek Kronos... a fertility god and patron of the harvest. She describes him as being quite benign in Roman Myth and that his “Golden Age was a time of harmony and peace on earth when men enjoyed the fruits of the soil without strife.” Each year the Romans celebrated him in Saturnalia…which was apparently a time of license and abandonment…honouring the "lecherous and fertile aspect of the god”. The celebrations included a school holiday, the making and giving of small presents and a special market. It was a time to eat drink and be merry. (from Wikepedia)  Sound familiar?

Saturnalia falls between Dec 17 and 23rd and was the Roman precursor to Christmas. It is no coincidence that Saturnalia was celebrated on the solstice, which is when the sun moves into Capricorn…(whose ruling planet is Saturn).

All other similarities end there. Saturn is often called the “grand malefic” in older Astrological texts, and is associated with strife, restrictions, heavy responsibility, duty, difficulty and challenge.
SATURN, as an astrological symbol, represents the father, and authority in general. It gives us rules and restrictions, structures and systems. (it rules our skeletal system for example) It is associated with caution, fear, and contraction, as well as ambition and determination. Saturn challenges us and forces us to grow. The sign position (look where Saturn is in your chart) shows what we need to feel safe and secure, and what we fear that we will never have enough of. Since this is where we tend to be fearful and insecure…. and thus where we have big lessons to learn.

On a fundamental level, Saturn shows how we experience the material world...what we call   "reality", and it indicates where we experience resistance and discover our limitations. It therefore represents conscience and moral conviction, as well as the laws and rules which we govern us. It is also an indicator of our powers of endurance and the ability to concentrate; thus it lends qualities like earnestness, caution and reserve.

Thus, despite the bad rap Saturn tends to get, a strong Saturn in one’s chart can indicate strength and endurance, discipline, the ability to focus etc. We need structure and boundaries in our lives. Just not too much of it.    ( all work and no play make’s Jack (or Jill) a dull boy/girl…).

Enter stage right: Pluto: god of the underworld.

Pluto describes how we deal with power, personal and non-personal. It can come though others power over us or in exercising it ourselves. Pluto brings change, crisis, transformation, death of the old, birth of the new. There is an unconscious tendency to resist these changes; hence the possibility of crisis. Yet our survival requires we release old outmoded ways of thinking and operating and bring in new energy. Pluto is there to force us to grow.

Clare Martin , an astrologer who also posts on http://www.astro.com/, says “At the root, Pluto describes the life force itself, the urge to bring to the surface and eliminate anything which is no longer serves life because it has become poisonous, decayed or rotten. As Pluto purges and regenerates, it ensures the survival of life. Pluto’s dark side is obsessive and compulsive, and pulls everything towards it, like a black hole. There is something about Pluto that is primitive, savage, dark and destructive.

These are uncomfortable aspects of our nature, with the result that we will project these qualities onto others or onto the outside world. Yet once Pluto is activated, these dark destructive aspects can be purged, healed and cleansed. If we consciously accept the challenge of Pluto in our charts, we can cooperate with the process of psychic purging which is a necessary prerequisite to any genuine self healing.”
                          from An Introduction to Psychological Astrology, by Clare Martin www.astro.com


Winter begins in the Northern hemisphere around the time of  Beltane…or Halloween…which are at the start of Scorpio (ruled by Pluto) when the days of darkness are increasing, plants are dying, everything begins to decay and die. This is necessary for the renewal that happens in the spring when new life emerges again from the underworld. There is an instinct to withdraw, to light fires…for warmth and for comfort, and even our metabolism slows down in preparation for the long cold winter.”

Speaking of cold and withdrawing…that leads me back from my reverie….to the present moment… as the winds howl against my window.    I wanted to talk about  the squaring off of these two powerful forces. The stubborn, rigid, patriarchal structures of the material world represented by Saturn being pushed and shoved and cornered by the explosive, implosive, intensity of Pluto. Like I said…like being between a rock and a hard place.

The following are excerpts from Saturn Square Pluto - The Crunch is On! by Robert Wilkinson at http://www.aquariuspapers.com/astrology/2009/11/saturn-square-pluto---the-crunch-is-on.html

“Among other things, it's a clash between the force of time and evolution and the force of inevitable change...We are on the edge of a shift in history, a fulfillment of a great historical cycle, and the beginning of a decline that will last for a few years until the next conjunction down the road a piece. Governments, authoritarian systems, and control mechanisms will all break down over the next year while this aspect is prevalent.”

“What's happening now is the first in a series of squares, setting many things into motion that are HIGHLY frictional... shattering old ways forever as well as putting the brakes on whatever need stopping”

“So things are spinning, ending, grinding, and turning corners…"

Yikes!

The point is…there are rigid and immovable parts that are being pushed and shoved by intense and impatient and explosive forces and the tension, both internally and externally, which could bring a crisis of will and of faith. Yet, if we persevere…( do we have a choice?) the result is a removal of what is now beyond repair and actually holding us back, and a renewal, rebirth of what has been waiting in the wings.

So as the old world order .. . such as monetary systems… crumble and fall…we have to find what lies deeper and has more meaning than those external structures we have come to rely on. As climate change forces us to transform our lifestyles and our creature comforts…we are given the opportunity to find new and more effective ways of living on this planet and with each other. Perhaps easier said than done…hence the great tension that exists. Yet out of tension and friction comes energy. Power. Change. Growth.

There are also some very auspicious things happening as well. Jonathan Cainer is very optimistic about the Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron conjunction coming up for the third and final time…saying they bring much blessing and healing to us all, and are a balance to the stress of the Saturn Pluto square. To see where this blessing will manifest, it will mainfest in areas of your chart which fall around 23 degrees Aquarius. See http://www.cainer.com/

As knowitallblogger said in the previous article, it’s all about finding our authentic selves, beyond the masks beyond the roles. Yet as we discover who we really are and why we are here (hopefully) we will have cause for celebration.


And if all else fails…beam me up Scotty…get me outa here…. (just kidding)

Sunday, 13 December 2009

I am starting off the discussion of Pluto and Saturn squared in the sky with an excellent bit from another astrological blog to introduce you to Pluto:

From http://theknowitallastrologer.blogspot.com

"The biggest mark Pluto in Sagittarius has left on me is a deep understanding of authentic power. See, Pluto rules the things we give power to, so for most people that's our fears. We give our power over to our fears, because we think this is what will make us invincible to hurt. Then our fears become masks and roles we take on in order to protect and hide the part of ourselves that is most vulnerable to being hurt. These masks and roles can be of great service at times when dealing with day to day stuff. They can also be enormous fun. The problem is when we become too identified with them, especially during, oh, we'll say, a Pluto transit to your ascendant. What Pluto then does is rips off the masks and starts poking you where it hurts the most just because he can. At least until it slowly dawns on you that being vulnerable is not something to protect or hide. At least until your realize there is no such thing as more or less power, or power over, or power sunnyside up. You're either owning your power or giving it away to something outside of you. You're either being your real self or a fake someone else.

I could go on endlessly trying to describe my hard to put into words Plutonian transformation, but basically, I feel like I should be wearing a shirt that says, "Pluto destroyed my ego and he is too a planet."

I will be back tomorrow to add to this discussion...this is just to get things started.

till then

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

When most people think of Astrology , they think of the weekly columns they see in the newspaper. "You will find a new friend today". " This is not a good day to spend money"...etc etc. And they write the whole thing off as superstitious, silly, superfluous. What I tell people is that is not Astrology in its true sense. That's just a bit of fun. Of course there is no way every Sagittarius will have the same kind of day. Or Taurus.Or anyone born on any particular day.

What Astrology really is ...is a system or language used to explain and describe patterns that run through our personalities and our lives. It gives us a tool to explain the variety of experience and tendencies of character that makes each of us unique. There are many systems out there which attempt to do this...and many are very useful and helpful tools for self knowledge. The psychologist Carl Jung's Personality Types is an example...many businesses use this method for hiring and working with their staff. Jung himself studied Astrology and found it a fascinating and accurate tool for self analysis. Any tool that enables us to grasp some of the innate tendencies we have is going to improve our self understanding and give us a better chance for success in life. Its also helpful to discover that each of us has a different blueprint for success and what works for you doesn't necessarily work for me.

This blog will be an ongoing exploration of what Astrology is and does and why. It will also be an outlet for my own exploration of Astrological themes in my own life. I am not an expert... always a student. When I look at a person's Astrology chart and see some patterns and speak to them about it. I cannot and will not predict their future. Wouldn't dream of it. Your future is what you make it. What I can do is offer some tools for self understanding... (hard won by the way) and the ability to see the patterns a person is running, show some issues that stand out, point out some strengths and weaknesses. And through that process we can have fun seeing how amazing and profound life can be. And also how ordinary. All of it and none of it.

I will also look at what each planet represents, explore why they are given these attributes, and go into the history of Astrology. It's an interesting and surprising subject. Having said that, there are many very informative sites out there, so rather than repeat it all, I will provide links to them. This blog is really to be an ongoing expression and discussion of life themes...and I hope you will join in. Next blog : Pluto square Saturn...are you feeling between a rock and a hard place?