Year of the Dragon

Year of the water dragon

This is the Year of the Water Dragon, which evidently is a very big deal in Chinese culture.  I confess that my knowledge of Chinese astrologer doesn’t extend far beyond what’s printed on the placemats in Chinese restaurants, but I do know that I am a Dragon which made no sense when I was younger.  It’s only now that I am aging that I see the Dragon within me.  But that’s another story…


Evidently the Dragon year is a very popular year during which to have children because it is thought that Dragons will be successful financially.  Dragon years are periods of growth and change, and evidently attract events that are larger than life.  It’s interesting to me that mainstream publications that don’t traffic in Western astrology will often make a big deal out of Chinese astrology, such as this one:


According to CLSA, Asia-Pacific Markets, the word for “Dragon,” in Chinese is spelled “Lóng.” Automatically that is a good sign for markets, as we are always hopeful for long markets and lots of profit. The Chinese Zodiac takes into consideration all five elements of metal, fire, water, earth, and wood, and in the Year of the Dragon, the zodiac predicts that markets will steadily drop until about mid-August when a huge surge will take place and a “Lóng” market takes us well into the next Chinese New Year. Predominant elements this year are water, which could douse any fire in the markets, and is expected to be a powerful force in February and March, and so the Dragon says to liquidate (yes, liquidate) any funds you have during that period (CSLA).


There’s an interesting corollary between the Chinese Year of the Water Dragon which combines the element of water with the natural fire of the Dragon, with the combination of Uranus in fiery Aries and the entry of Neptune into watery Pisces.  I suppose it’s possible that Neptune in Pisces, with its penchant for delusion, could indeed douse the over-the-top enthusiasm of Uranus in Aries.


While there are twelve animal years, each animal year has an element year and since there are five elements in Chinese philosophy this makes for a 60-year cycle.  So this next year, my 60th year, is actually my Dragon Return, the first time the Water Dragon has returned since the year of my birth.  (Which I guess is now no longer a secret!)


So I have been wondering, what does it mean that this is my Dragon Return year?  I asked the proprietor of the local establishment of Chinese cuisine that I frequent, and he shook his head.  “Not usually a good year,” he said.  “Sometimes it brings out the worst in you.”  That was not very encouraging but I can see where that would be the case.  Just as with any astrological cycle, much of what occurs depends upon how far we have grown during the preceding period.  And since in this case the preceding period is my entire life, I suppose the question will be how far along I’ve come in my mastery of Water Dragon-ness.


In any case, Happy New Year to all!  And blessings for taming the Dragon.

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By | 2012-01-31T06:13:50+00:00 January 31st, 2012|2012, Astrology|0 Comments

Neptune re-enters Pisces February 3, 2012

By its very nature, Neptune is difficult to talk about. It tends to be evasive and dreamy, and full of imagination and artistic creativity.  It also can become lost in the illusion of fantasy and encourage sacrifice of the individual self, sometimes for a higher purpose and sometimes in a codependent loss of Self.  In its highest form Neptune inspires us to transcend the material world and connect deeply and directly with an experience of the Divine.

Before Neptune was discovered, Pisces was ruled by Jupiter.  Jupiter, being one of the personal planets, operates on the worldly plane where Neptune, a transpersonal planet of transformation, inspires us to go beyond this world.  Where Neptune governs the direct experience of transcendence, Jupiter presides over the more intellectual construction of what gives life meaning.  Jupiter therefore is more concerned with religion and theology where Neptune deals with matters of spiritual experience.  Both planets also have a hand in popular culture.  Neptune is found in areas of artistry and entertainment, where Jupiter is more involved with the actual media through which entertainment is  delivered to the masses.

With Neptune moving into Pisces, there is the potential for tremendous spiritual transformation, but also mass delusion such as has never been seen before.  The last time Neptune entered Pisces was in February 1848, shortly after its discovery in 1845.   1848 is the year that the gold rush began in California, leading one reporter to complain that everyone in the state was under the spell of gold fever.  This kind of fever, or mass hysteria, is emblematic of Neptune in Pisces.

The transit of Neptune in Pisces this time around once again (as it did in 1848-1852) coincides with a strong aspect between Uranus and Pluto that inspires revolution and radical change and the destruction of the status quo.  The Neptunian influence can cast a spell of delusion over the fever for revolution, or it can inspire us to greater love and compassion for all of humanity.

As we move from the age of Pisces into the age of Aquarius, humans are waking up out of their sleep of delusion that religious dogma has cast over the world during the past 2000 years of Piscean mystery.  Aquarius is more concerned with the rights of the individual, although it can be brutal in its efforts to accomplish social equality as we have seen throughout history in events such as the French Revolution.

As we stand at the doorway of the Age of Aquarius, this passage of Neptune in Pisces represents a completion of sorts – a final test of our ability to rise above the urge to lose ourselves in unconscious urges and escapist behavior and instead achieve a higher level of conscious awareness in the elevation of our ideals and dreams.

Neptune wants to inspire us to transcend ordinary reality, and its ideal expression is to seek this transcendence through a connection with the divine.  This is the source of the creative fire, as we channel any type of creative output through our more limited conscious experience.  As Neptune travels through Pisces we have an opportunity to more easily stretch ourselves beyond the limits of our intuition and conscious awareness.  Our capacity for compassion for the suffering can grow and our hearts can open.  If we ground ourselves in a spiritual practice we will be able to take advantage of the opening flower of divine wisdom that will be available to us, especially during the period in which Chiron is also in Pisces.

With Uranus squaring Pluto over the next four years, revolution and radical changes in the global landscape will be a major part of our experience.  Neptune in Pisces can inspire us to either escape from the difficult intensity into new heights of avoidance, or to seek the higher path of elevated consciousness that can help us to create real change and transformation.  Neptune in Pisces offers opportunities for unparalleled creativity and imagination which can combine with the powerful Uranian influence for invention in ways that can create amazing things for the world of the future.

The symbol for Pisces is two fish swimming in opposite directions.  Pisces is said to be the sign of the saint and the sinner, the priest and the addict. It is our choice, as it always is, whether we will take the easy road of sleep and unconsciousness,  or remain awake and utilize the powerful energy of change that is coming.

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By | 2012-01-26T07:07:10+00:00 January 26th, 2012|2012, Planetary cycles|0 Comments

A look back at the Astrology of 2011

Sankofa birdI like the principle of the Sankofa Bird, which says that in order to understand the future we must understand the past.  When I see a new client I always go back over the past five years or so to see where they’ve been before I can help them to see what the future might hold, and the same holds true for global predictions.  The Romans held the same principle in their god Janus, who looks both forwards and backwards and rules the month of January – the first month of the year.

To understand what happened in 2011 we have to go back to early 2008 when Pluto entered Capricorn and began the contraction that is now spreading around the world and creating one economic crisis after another as country after country implements austerity (Capricorn) measures that continue the contraction rather than counteract it.  In 2009 and 2010 Chiron and Neptune aligned to force us to look beyond the material world (Neptune) and heal the wounds of the past (Chiron).  These years also marked the peak of the Cardinal Drama as I called it (also known as the Cardinal Crisis in many astrological circles) during which up to seven planets and luminaries combined in a variety of challenging positions to execute intense change in our personal lives and in the world at large.

I didn’t write an article last year on the Astrology of 2011, but if you want to go back you can listen to the podcast I did to forecast the events of 2011.  This was a year markedly less impacted by major planetary cycles other than the square between Uranus (radical change and revolution) to Pluto (destruction and regeneration) that will be the most important planetary news over the next three or four years.  This aspect began building in March when Uranus entered Aries and came within breathing distance of Pluto’s energy field.

The chart for the Spring Equinox in March showed the Equinox Sun exactly conjunct Uranus and with five planets in Aries, signifying an intensely combative three month period, and that is exactly what occurred.  Aries is ruled by Mars and is devoted to the expression of the aggressive instinct, and when that aggression combines with the powerful revolutionary force of Uranus you get the various protest movements and the “Arab Spring” that spread like wildfire across the Middle East last year.

You can read more about the details of these cycles here in these pages, just go into the archives of previous posts.

The square from Uranus to Pluto peaked in July when the two planets came within a degree of an exact alignment, and the planetary weather between August and the end of the year was much more subtle.  But it would be a mistake to be lulled back into an unconscious state, because the Uranus/Pluto square will reach its full force in 2012.

Uranus and Pluto conjoined in the 1960s and inspired the cultural revolution and change that transformed the world during that time period.  There is a reason that everyone is saying these days are just like the Sixties – and that reason is Uranus and Pluto.  This is a potent combination for creating endings and new beginnings, both globally and in our personal lives.

I’ll write more about what is coming up in 2012 over the next few days.  Stay tuned!

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By | 2011-12-31T10:41:03+00:00 December 31st, 2011|2012, Astrology|2 Comments

The late Sathya Sai Baba on the 2012 bandwagon

2012 end of Mayan calendarWith all due respect to the late Sathya Sai Baba, who was a controversial guru beloved by many before he died this spring, this recent interview with him shows an exceptional ignorance about the cycles (and lack of them) that are tied into the 2012 phenomenon.  (For more details about 2012 please see this article.)

In this interview Sai Baba is quoted:

Well, in one way there are several prophecies that signal this date like a term or important conclusion in the history of humanity, but the most significant is the end of the Mayan calendar, which prophecy has been interpreted in different ways. The most negative ones think that during this year the world will end, but it will not be like that, it is known that during that year a new era will start, the Age of Aquarius.

This has to do with the rotation of the whole solar system (solar cycle) that goes passing through the different eras each one of them lasts 5125 years. The era in which we now are, called the Age of Pisces, started on the year 3113 B.C. and ends on 2012.

This is all kinds of incorrect.  The Great Ages last approximately 2160 years each (with Great Wheel of Ages taking approximately 25,920 years to complete.  We do not know exactly when the Aquarian Age begins but none of the theories use 2012 as the transition point.

The 5125 year cycle is the Mayan Long Count cycle, but that cycle is completely unrelated to the transition into the Age of Aquarius after 2160 years in the Piscean Age.

I report this not to be critical, but to continue to try to clear up so much of the confusion and illusion (Neptune in Pisces anyone?) over the whole 2012 phenomenon.  I personally believe that we are in the transition from the Piscean to the Aquarian Age – if you figure a 5% orb of influence for the Great Ages just as we use for planetary transits, that gives us a buffer zone of 108 years as we move into the Aquarian Age.  So I feel that we are beginning to experience the mutation and personal changes to help facilitate that evolution, especially in the children that are coming into the world now.

Still, maybe it’s just my Sun/Saturn conjunction but I feel it’s important to try to separate fact from fiction where 2012 is concerned.

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By | 2011-08-20T13:06:18+00:00 August 20th, 2011|2012, Age of Aquarius|3 Comments

Looking forward: The transformation of 2012

Looking back to understand the future.

No matter what you think about the controversy over the end of the Mayan calendar in 2012, there is no question that this is a significant time in human history.  As I write this, a wave of revolutionary fervor is spreading throughout North Africa and the Middle East, and in the United States frustrated workers are taking to the streets in protest against a political structure that favors banks and corporations and strips individuals of their economic rights.

It would be easy to think that perhaps the world really IS coming to an end if you weren’t following the astrological trends.  These trends provide a context for these world events and offer clues to help us to make sense of them as well as the changes that are occurring in our own lives.  The interrelationships of the planets as they circle the Sun help us to define periods of cyclic change that will encourage personal growth and global balance.  Depending upon the nature of the individual planet, areas of life which are out of balance will be highlighted and will require that we make some sort of adjustment in order to achieve a harmonious state in our lives.

In order to understand the nature of the changes that are coming, we must travel back in time to the beginning of 2008 when Pluto entered Capricorn.  As the planet that governs destruction and regeneration as well as revelations about the dark side of human character, Pluto has a transformative effect on the issues of any sign that it travels through.  Pluto’s journey through its own sign of Scorpio witnessed revelations of sexual abuse and the HIV epidemic  (death through sex) which transformed the way most of us viewed the permissive sexuality that came about during Pluto’s sojourn through Libra, the sign of relationships.  Pluto’s passage through Sagittarius brought us not only the September 11th tragedy (death by airplane and religion, both Sagittarian motifs) but also a relentless optimism ® that resulted in “bubbles” in the stock market and in housing.

With the entry of Pluto into Capricorn, that excessive optimism of the Sagittarian theme was forced down to earth with a hard landing.  Where Sagittarius encourages us to seek worlds that lie beyond the boundaries of our imagination, Capricorn requires that we restrict our scope and attend to the details at hand.  The economic debacle that followed Pluto’s entry into Capricorn has been most difficult for those of us who were the most optimistic during the Sagittarian period – those of us who took out large mortgages in anticipation of employment success or who were living beyond our means.

The difficult adjustment period of Pluto’s entry into Capricorn in 2008 was followed by a conjunction of Chiron (wounding and healing) to Neptune (spiritual attunement) in 2009 and early 2010 that brought up all of our anxieties and emotional distress and may have made it even more difficult to work through our economic difficulties.  Chiron’s ultimate goal is to heal any imbalance in the body/mind/spirit system and sometimes in order to do that we must undergo a “healing crisis” which forces the release of mental and emotional toxins which have become problematic.  Occasionally this results in actual illness that must then be attended to.

Where we are now

transformation of 2012Art by Teka Luttrell. In 2010 a major alignment of planets in the cardinal signs of Capricorn, Cancer, Aries and Libra began to take shape.  Pluto in Capricorn, Saturn in Libra, and Jupiter and Uranus in Aries all  took their places in a drama that forced many of us to make changes in our personal lives in order to accommodate these global forces for healing and transformation.  These forces reached a peak during June’s eclipse in Cancer when the planets aligned in a Grand Cross of transformation and power.

Now that we are just one year away from the dreaded 2012, many are fearful of changes that might still occur.  “Haven’t we had enough change?” we may be asking.   And if everything in our personal lives is in balance, then we have had enough change.  THEN we are ready to take a break.  Until that point, the planetary gods work tirelessly to encourage personal and global transformation to bring balance into our earthly lives.

During the summer of 2011 Uranus in Aries will be within one degree of an exact square to Pluto in Capricorn.    The combination of Uranus and Pluto is a particularly potent one that breaks down old structures and ways of being (Pluto) so that something new and fresh and completely authentic can replace it (Uranus).  This is not always an easy process.  Those of us who remember the 1960s (when Uranus and Pluto conjoined in Virgo) will remember the thrill of radical and revolutionary new lifestyles that broke down the stuffy (Virgo) morality of the period.  This was a time of great liberation around the world: Black Power, Women’s Liberation, the domino of independent states across Africa as colonialism fell– but there was also a great Plutonic cost in terms of human lives that were lost  as the old order was broken down (Pluto) in order for change (Uranus) to take place.

The upcoming square of Uranus to Pluto will actually begin in the summer of 2012, and the two will dance an incredible seven times before concluding in March of 2015.  The turbulence that we see now sweeping across the Middle East and North Africa is just the beginning of this wave of Uranus/Pluto energy that seeks to sweep away the old and rotting corpse of a way of life that no longer works for humans at this stage of their psychic and spiritual development.  This same dynamic will be at work in our personal lives, revealing any pocket of experience that is no longer serving us and which needs to be removed from our lives.   This will understandably create a certain amount of chaos on an intimately individual level.

The changes of the next few years will most personally affect those of us with planets between 5 and 15 degrees of the cardinal signs (Cancer, Capricorn, Aries and Libra), and most especially those with Uranus and Pluto in these signs, including:

  • Those born between 1919 and 1928 with Pluto in Cancer
  • Those born between 1929 and 1932 with Uranus in Aries
  • Those born between 1951 and 1953 with Uranus in Cancer
  • Those born between 1969 and 1972 with Uranus in Libra
  • Those born between 1974 and 1978 with Pluto in Libra
  • Those born between 1989 and 1992 with Uranus in Capricorn

With Pluto in Capricorn, the very foundation of our material world will be challenged by the Uranian influence.  Our finances, our retirement plans, our marriages – any of these structures that we build to contain our lives could be threatened if they are not built on solid footings.  The effect of Uranus can be very stressful for the nervous system since Uranus operates on an electrical platform that can excite and thrill us, but also inspire anxiety and distress.   It is crucial to remember during this period that if any aspect of our personal lives break down under these influence, it is because they are no longer serving their purpose and require transformation in order for all involved to move forward in their personal evolution.

Looking ahead to the future

Transformation of 2012The gods are kind and they will be gracing us with a number of powerful harmonious transits to accompany the stressful times.  Chiron (the Soul Healer) and Neptune (the Soul Teacher) both move into Pisces this year where they will offer a direct line for us to communicate more directly with our own inner guides and teachers.  This process will be facilitated by Pluto, the Great Transformer, in a harmonious sextile to Chiron that occurs between 2012 and 2014.  At the same time, Saturn, the Celestial Teacher, will be in a harmonious trine to Chiron, helping us to more easily work with the soul wounds that are the source of our greatest pain, but also the keys to our greatest personal transformation.

Saturn will also trine Neptune between 2012 and 2013, enhancing our ability to give form (Saturn) to our direct connection to the spiritual world and our own personal guidance.  And finally, a harmonious sextile from Saturn to Pluto during this same period will provide us with a solid container (Saturn) within which this tremendous metamorphosis can take place.

Because every human being is interconnected through an energetic grid, the personal work that each of us does to accelerate our personal transformation will have an affect on every other person on the planet.  But this works both ways: we ourselves our affected by the energies with which we surround ourselves.  Waves of fear and distress can be internalized in ways that are not helpful.   We are being guided here by the most powerful of the planetary gods, and a high level of trust in the process will be required of us.

The biggest enemy of personal transformation is resistance, and in a period of extreme volatility such as the one we are entering it is tempting to try to protect ourselves by digging in our heels and attempting to hold back the flood of change.  This will not be effective and will only create additional distress.

As part of this resistance you may find yourself experiencing physical illness or drug addictions (especially with both Chiron and Neptune in Pisces, the sign of escapism as well as spirituality).   You may be plagued with anxieties as you attempt to hold back submerged thoughts and memories which clamor for attention and release.

Or you may find yourself engaging with these planetary energies by allowing yourself to be led by them in a mode that is completely reactive and without thought or planning.  The force of Uranus can inspire us to quit our jobs and leave the country one minute, and regret it the next.  Some of us will react to heightened anxiety by acting out and creating chaos in our relationships and work environments.

Under this pressure, psychotherapy may be helpful, although most psychotherapists are not trained to look at life through the lens of a spiritual awakening.  Throughout this period we will be best served by orienting ourselves towards the spiritual experience by seeking greater intuition and wisdom that is freely given from the inside.  Turning inwards In meditation, ecstatic dance, yoga, chi gong – all of these classic modalities teach us how to work with the energy of life to find the quiet center within.  It is from this center that all effective transformation comes.

And most of all. learn to trust the planets.  Through their guidance and wisdom we learn that just as we fear we will be enveloped by the darkness, the light shines through in greater measure than ever before, bathing us in the warm glow of ecstasy as we leave the darkness of the past behind and walk into a new world.

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By | 2011-03-01T08:30:58+00:00 March 1st, 2011|2012, Longreads|6 Comments