Astrological Musings

Sunday poetry: What to remember when waking


The Sun has just moved into Gemini – we can shift into new shapes now and adjust to find new ways of living that better fit our souls.

What to Remember When Waking

In that first hardly noticed moment
in which you wake,
coming back to this life
from the othermore secret, movable
and frighteningly honest world
where everything began,
there is a small opening into the new day
which closes the moment you begin your plans.


What you can plan
is too small for you to live.
What you can live wholeheartedly
will make plans enough
for the vitality hidden in your sleep.


To be human is to become visible
while carrying what is hidden
as a gift to others.
To remember the other world in this world
is to live in your true inheritance.


You are not a troubled guest
on this earth,
you are not an accident
amidst other accidents
you were invited
from another and greater night
than the one from which you have just emerged.


Now, looking through the slanting light
of the morning window
toward the mountain presence
of everything that can be,
what urgency calls you to your one love?
What shape waits in the seed of you
to grow and spread its branches
against a future sky?
Is it waiting in the fertile sea?
In the trees beyond the house?
In the life you can imagine for yourself?
In the open and lovely white page on the waiting desk?


~ David Whyte

Image from Deviant Art

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By | 2017-05-22T21:04:16+00:00 May 21st, 2017|Inspiration|3 Comments

The Astrology of the S-town podcast

S town astrologyThis post will be most interesting to those of you who have listened to this podcast.  If you haven’t yet heard it you might want to take a listen before reading the post, it will be much more revealing. 

S-Town is a serial podcast from the folks that bring you This American Life.  It begins as a story about a murder, and ends up as something else entirely.  Along the way, the darkness of a human soul is revealed. It’s a fascinating psychological study of a man imprisoned by his own rage and self-loathing and the layers of mysteries that lie within the people surrounding him.

I recently took a long flight and listened to most of the seven episode podcast on the way home and over the following couple of days.  At the very end of the series the birth date of the main character, John B. McLemore, was revealed:  March 15, 1968.  I wanted to learn more about this guy and delved into his chart.

I’ve tried not to reveal any podcast spoilers for those of you who intend to listen.

John B. McLemore was a southern gentleman who lived in Woodstock Alabama, which he calls S-town (using the full expletive rather than the polite version).  The story is full of twists and turns like the maze which John grew on the farm on which he lives.  Over the course of the podcast we learn that he is brilliant, but desperately unhappy and lonely – that he hates his life but feels trapped within it.

This is a theme that many of my clients struggle with – they want to change but they feel they lack the courage or the will to take the necessary steps to get there.  I usually see this as a fire problem – a weakness in the fire element or in Mars that keeps them from being able to take action.

McLemore’s chart (click to enlarge) is fascinating.  Born with the Sun in watery Pisces, his natural tendency is to go with the flow.  He is sensitive and finds boundaries difficult – Pisces is the sign of the ocean and boundaries simply stop the flow and prevent its easy trajectory.  Chiron (wounding and healing) conjoins his Sun, indicating a deep and painful soul wound that requires conscious growth in order to heal.  Uranus (electromagnetic energy, radical behavior) is opposite Chiron and the Sun, revealing a rebellious character (Uranus opposite Sun) who is also extremely sensitive energetically (Chiron opposite Uranus), and to top it all off Pluto (obsession and transformation) gets involved, opposite the Sun and widely interacting with Chiron and Uranus.

Already we see that this is not an individual who can fit easily into the mold enforced by small town life in the deep south.  Then we see that his Moon is in Libra, creating a longing (Moon) for connection (Libra) – but his Moon is opposed by stern Saturn which creates in him a predisposition to feeling lonely and isolated despite his desire for love.

Mars is in Aries, its own sign, which is the strongest place for Mars.  Mars is the planet of action and shows how we assert our personal Will: what we want and how we go about getting it.  An individual with Mars in Aries has strong desires and a strong Will; however, McLemore’s Saturn is also in Aries which creates insecurity around taking the steps to manifest that Will and attain his desires.

A chart like this does not make life easy.  I have counseled many individuals with similar charts, and often their fear keeps them stuck in places or relationships or jobs or other situations which are ok enough, but not really satisfying.  Often these people want to know when their chart says they will be able to make a change.  Or they want to know where they should move so that their live can be easier.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.  Astrology can’t fix our lives – we have to make the difficult choices and take the hard steps to make the necessary changes that will bring us the satisfaction and joy that we crave.

What astrology CAN and DOES do, however, it to reveal the internal workings of the chart so that we can better understand the inner motivations that create our problems, making it easier to repair and transform them.

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By | 2017-05-20T09:04:43+00:00 May 20th, 2017|Astrology, People, Psychology|1 Comment

Questions about “cusps” and birth signs

[A portion of this article is taken from earlier posts.]  The idea that a person was born on the “cusp” originates from Sun Sign astrology.  Your sign as you know it is actually the sign that the Sun was in at the time you were born.   If you pick up a book or newspaper horoscope about your Sun sign, or as some publications call it, your star sign (if you see a publication that refers to star signs, run as fast as you can in the opposite direction), it will refer to a range of dates for your sign.  This stems from the fact that the Sun doesn’t move from one sign into another on the same date each year and these publications have no way to calculate the exact position of the Sun in your chart.

born on the cusp

Approximate dates of Sun Signs

For example, in this diagram Aries is said to begin on March 21st, but this year the Sun entered Aries on March 20th.

A question I was asked: “I am looking to understand the “CUSP” between a Virgo and a Libra? After reading [horoscopes for] both for several months, I am finding myself more inclined to be or leaning towards Libra. Can you give me any insight that might point me towards my true sign?”

This individual was born at 29 degrees 17 minutes Virgo. If you were born in the last four or five degrees of one sign, the qualities of the next sign begin bleeding through. He is moving away from the characteristics of Virgo, the previous sign, and his focus is more on the next which is Libra. Mercury in his chart is in Libra, so his thought process is filtered through the Libran love of beauty and harmony rather than the Virgo desire for details and safety and this adds to his sense of the Libra qualities.

The Sun sign is the biggest single piece of the chart but it is only one piece. Because the Sun represents our quest or mission, a placement in the last degrees of a sign shows that you are completing that mission and beginning a new one during this lifetime. That is not true for those born at the beginning degrees of a sign; once you have moved into the next sign there is no more bleeding through. Still, the rest of the chart adds a richly layered tapestry of other influences to complete the picture. This individual has Sagittarius rising, a Capricorn Moon, a Leo Mars, Jupiter in Cancer, Venus in Virgo. All very different influences that come together to create a unique individual.

I believe that one reason there is so much skepticism about astrology is that people equate astrology with Sun signs and think that astrology means that everyone who is born under the sign of Aries is the same.  This misses the richness and beauty of the astrological pantheon and frankly is the reason I started this blog back in 2005.

Sun sign astrology, or “horoscopes” as they are inaccurately called, is fun and entertaining, but it should not be mistaken for real astrology.

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By | 2017-05-15T10:30:44+00:00 May 15th, 2017|Astrology, Lessons|5 Comments

Dark Moon musings for Mother’s Day

Artist unknown

The astrological Moon is generally connected with the archetype of the Mother.  In today’s more gender fluid world, it is not so unusual for a father to be the more nurturing parent and I typically find that the energies surrounding the way an individual is nurtured is found in the fourth house.  The parent who inspires and affects the way we present to the world is found in the tenth house.

Regardless of which parent is most present or most nurturing, though, the Moon is still tightly bound to the Mother – the feminine body that carries the fetus in the womb for 280 days, more or less, regardless of what happens afterwards.

Aspects to the Moon, the sign the Moon falls in, and the general disposition of the Moon in the chart reflects the way the individual perceives the maternal relationship. Our perception of the energy of our mother is not always the same as what the mother is projecting, and I have had to soothe many a mother who comes to me for a reading about her child and discovers a stressed Moon in the child’s chart.

Often, but not always, the sign that the Moon is in reflects the way the child perceives the mother.  A Capricorn moon child perceives mom as being somewhat distant and perhaps cold.  A Virgo moon child feels criticized and not ever good enough.  A child with a Pisces moon may find the connection with mother elusive.

Pluto, the planet of death, is conjunct my own Moon and I often felt that my mother wished I was dead.  In fact, my mother had an abortion before I was born and in a meditation I experienced being that child, before I ever knew about the abortion.  I recently saw an article on Facebook about the archetype of the Death Mother, and we would certainly relate this archetype to a Moon (mother) conjunction to Pluto (death).

When we learn about our astrological chart and see these family dynamics which were present at the time we were born, before any traumatic events occurred, we realize that we incarnated with a predisposition to have these experiences.  In my own theology we are given these predispositions so that we will learn important lessons from these traumas and eventually grow from them.

In the article cited above, Marion Goodman says:

“So long as we are blind to our inner tyrant, we blame an outer tyrant when we fall into darkness.  The focus of our blame can be a person, a political system, a social system, or it can be our own body.  But the moment we turn to blame the initiation fails and we remain buried in the darkness.  We sink ever more deeply into the clutches of the Death Mother. …

Death Mother is born out of despair. It is incubated by the crushed hope of an unlived life. Death Mother is the shadow side of disappointment. …Early in our journey, when Death Mother’s stranglehold is particularly ferocious, and when consciousness is afraid to open itself to the otherness of the unconscious, we experience ourselves as victims of the apocalypse [transformation]; in time as we bring Death Mother to consciousness and begin to experience life beyond her clutches, we may gradually come to see ourselves as partners in the apocalyptic process.

Some of us, lacking a nurturing mother figure, have had to mother ourselves or find friends and partners to take on that role in our lives.  The problem with this is that the original complex involving the mother just gets passed on to the new mother figures. By taking an active role in the process of healing the mother archetype in our own psyche we release the role of victim and become empowered in our own transformation.

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By | 2017-05-22T21:07:12+00:00 May 13th, 2017|Moon|3 Comments

Donald Trump astrological update: The “Will He Quit?” edition

If you haven’t already done so, you will probably want to read my profile of Mr. Trump from last year here.  Please note that this post is for astrological interest only and is not intended to disparage.)

The presidency of Donald Trump is now well underway, and it has been an interesting one.  Mr. Trump recently admitted that being President is harder than he thought it would be. As I wrote in my earlier post, Mr. Trump’s chart has Mars in Leo right on the Leo ascendant, a powerful influence that reflects his need to shine in the spotlight and be admired..  Mars is the planet of aggression and independence – Mars does not like to be thwarted or regulated and neither does Mr. Trump.

We would expect someone with Trump’s supreme confidence to have a strong Jupiter component, and we see that Jupiter (planet of good luck and self-righteousness) in the 2nd house of money in a harmonious trine to the Sun.  This trine of Jupiter to the Sun tends to bestow a sense of having been chosen by the gods – there is a tendency towards luck and the kind of success that comes from an abundance of positive thinking.  His Jupiter-ruled Sagittarius Moon helps to cement that super-confidence into a belief system that is virtually unshakeable.

However, there are no planets in earth elements in Trump’s birth chart which would help to ground him and give him a practical sense of moving through the world.  He is all fire and air – energy, enthusiasm and ideas.

One tool that astrologers use for forecasting is the progressed chart which shows how the individual is progressing through time.  In Trump’s progressed chart, the Midheaven (career and public life) is moving towards an alignment with Saturn (tests and challenges).  This influence causes an individual to look more seriously on their life and desire to take on a greater role with more authority – however, there are challenges to be met with Saturn involved.

Click here for chart.  Beginning in December and January Saturn began a cycle affecting other areas of his chart as well, triggering the Full Moon lunar eclipse in his chart which challenges all of his ideas of who he thinks he is.  The Full Moon personality tends to be larger than life, and because that dynamic is also an eclipse there is an unmasking of the emotions that can be difficult to manage. This Saturn cycle will last throughout 2017.

Beginning in May we will see (and are already seeing) a shakeup (Uranus) in the relationships and alliances (Venus) that Trump has surrounded himself with.  At the same time, harmonious aspects to Mars (aggression) enhances his boldness and desire to act swiftly and without much aforethought although the influence of Saturn will frustrate his efforts to act freely.

I don’t really see anything in these planetary cycles to suggest that the frustration will become severe enough to cause him to quit the presidency.  If he does survive this first year, a challenging square from Saturn (frustration) to Neptune (confusion) will erode his confidence and clarity and make it difficult to find a clear path.  This planetary cycle is usually accompanied by a recommendation not to make major decisions, but of course this will not be possible for the president of the United States.

Let’s not forget that the US Pluto Return will begin in 2020-2021 (just a few short years away), and talk of a constitutional crisis is not surprising.  Pluto cycles tend to bring about intense change and the collapse of systems together with the re-emergence of new ones.  The changes that are occurring in the US political system are merely a harbinger of those changes still to come.

 

 

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By | 2017-05-22T21:10:11+00:00 May 12th, 2017|People, Politics|9 Comments
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