November 2012′s Lunar Eclipse

Something remarkable is going on in the heavens right now, but it’s not generally known about.

There’s the eclipse of course, at 6 Gemini – Sagittarius, but this actually forms a Grand Cross with Chiron’s current opposition to Orcus. Chiron – Orcus is the wound of integrity of course, and in the Virgo and Pisces polarity, it manifests through criticism and distortion. If you are being criticised by somebody just now you are probably handling that just fine, the problem is that their criticism is unjustified. It’s based upon a distortion, and there’s probably a sleight of hand, mouth or intention in the picture which is designed to wrong-foot you. The wound is based in the fact that one of the parties is being set up to take the fall, and they’re not the villain of the piece. “It was a fit-up your honour!” And it was.

Of course, it’s possible that you’re the one doing the criticising, and no doubt you feel justified in telling that person why you think they’re a fraud, a victim or a drunk, but even if you are justified (I mean, is that ever justified?) then tread carefully.

The reason that care is required is because this opposition, which is designed to hit a person’s most sensitive spot, is squaring the eclipse. On top of that Mars is transiting Pluto, (so partly this is coming about to serve a domination agenda) and Venus is on Saturn (and there’s a feeling of rejection, or of not being loved which is adding to the pressure.)

All in all, there is an enormous amount of pressure in the heavens just now.

Bear in mind that this eclipse is about how you relate to others (all eclipses are that), but most especially partners, parents and the like. The Gemini to Sagittarius polarity is ruled by Mercury and Jupiter respectively, so the danger here is that you shoot your mouth off, give somebody a big slice of your opinion and get to repent about it at your leisure.

I have witnessed this happen over the last few days with several people I know. And I say to them that “telling it like it is” is still subjective. And because Mars and Pluto are together in this, it’s entirely possible that you’re pushing your perspective and not even open to any other. Mars always has this problem, he just isn’t interested in anyone else’s point of view. So the Mercury-Jupiter quality of today’s eclipse can cause a real problem with people who think they have an opinion to share. The square to Chiron ensures that somebody will be wounded and the square to Orcus means that somebody is not being honest about their motives.

Once again, the only way to get through this unscathed is to say as little as possible, keep respectful, be honest and most of all, be prepared to be called the bad guy. It doesn’t really matter what you’re called if it’s not true does it?

Bear in mind that Orcus is out there, and Ixion is itching to emerge as well. Along with the action of Saturn in Scorpio, the bullies are gonna be outed. So let them rant and rave. Now that Orcus is in the world you cannot get away with it any longer. Orcus says, if you’re a game player you’re going to lose the game.

Today’s eclipse has a powerfully ruthless edge to it. Healthy boundaries are the key to weathering this one successfully: and that means having good boundaries for yourself, and respecting others’ boundaries too!

On the whole, Venus is the powerhouse of this eclipse, but as ever the eclipse changes quality dependent on where you are in the world as it happens.

LONDON: The eclipse falls across the 7th and 1st houses, so other parts of the UK may experience the eclipse in the 2nd and 8th. Venus dominates the chart and is conjunct Saturn in the 6th house and in Scorpio. That’s a very unhappy Venus. In the conflict of the eclipse responsible, reserved, gracious behaviour is the winner. Remember that Venus ruled by Pluto has a tendency to be very hot and cold, and here it’s exacerbated by a difficulty with showing (and in fact receiving) affection. The same is true of money. Be sensible with it, but don’t be miserly. And don’t spend your money (Venus) to serve a domination agenda (ruled by Pluto conjunct Mars). If you’re on the other foot, and somebody is spending money to dominate you, don’t rise to it. They’re way more transparent than they think they are. Saturn in Scorpio combined with Orcus squaring the luminaries isn’t having a grain of it.

NEW YORK: The same themes apply, Venus is dominant but in the New York chart the Moon is exceptionally weak. Mars is also considerably more powerful than in the London chart. The Moon’s weakness unbalances the New York chart considerably, and there is a strong pressure to end a bad relationship and seek solitude from one’s troubles. As ever, any action taken in integrity cannot really go wrong.

LOS ANGELES: The LA chart is especially compelling because the eclipse falls across the horizon, but even so Mars is the chart powerhouse, and conjunct Pluto on the cusp of the 2nd, this eclipse will bring a financial struggle to a close for this part of the world. Of course it might not be solely about money, but it certainly has a material bias. There is plenty of financial ruthlessness in this chart, it’s easy to push too far for monetary gain or indeed to get pushed around, perhaps quite brutally (Mars – Pluto trines Orcus) so if you’re after something, go steady, and if you’re being pushed, shore up those boundaries!

DELHI: Venus rules the chart, but now from the 4th, so formal family relationships are running the show. Power struggles within families are often the most difficult to cope with, because they can be subtle and effectively invisible to the rest of the world. Remember that respect should be a universal commodity. If somebody cannot treat you with respect then it shouldn’t matter that you’re related to them: it’s not your problem, it’s theirs!

And WHEREVER YOU ARE at this time, think on this:

What is the quality of your intent?

Certain people have a way of saying things that shake us at the core. Even when the words do not seem harsh or offensive, the impact is shattering. What we could be experiencing is the intent behind the words. When we intend to do good, we do. When we intend to do harm, it happens. What each of us must come to realize is that our intent always comes through. We cannot sugarcoat the feelings in our heart of hearts. The emotion is the energy that motivates. We cannot ignore what we really want to create. We should be honest and do it the way we feel it. What we owe to ourselves and everyone around is to examine the reasons of our true intent.

My intent will be evident in the results.”

Thurgood Marshall, from Acts of Faith: Meditations For People of Color – Page 27.

November 2012′s Solar Eclipse

I have given it some thought and I have determined that it might be useful to say a few words about the current Solar Eclipse at (close to) 22 Scorpio. Of course you can read plenty of commentary on this from various astrologers who will all tell you that this eclipse will signify a time of deepening responses, the beginning of new cycles of difficult but ultimately rewarding emotional change and a feeling that it is time to get serious or real about life, most especially about the affairs of the house with Scorpio on its cusp, the house where the eclipse falls, and to some extent, as a kind of moderating influence, the houses containing and ruled by the Sun and Moon.

As an example, the eclipse falls for me in the 6th house, and with Sun in the 6th too, ruling the 3rd, and Moon on the Descendant, I am starting my new astrology school. That will change the way that I work (6th) in a profound way (Scorpio) through teaching my skills (3rd) to others (Dsc). It is very simple when you look at it that way. Of course, you will have to look at these factors as they apply to your own nativity and transpose that onto your subjective reality to have it make sense.

What most astrologers fail to mention about this eclipse , or any other lunation for that matter, is that understanding the effect for you and your life depends – and hugely – on where you are in the world when the eclipse (or any lunar phase) occurs.

For example, in the UK this eclipse has been a very curious phenomenon. The Sun and Moon are perfectly balanced, as are Venus and Mars, and too Jupiter and Saturn. These pairs of planets form polarised partnerships in astrology and therefore the fact that each pair is equally potent in the UK eclipse chart is quite fascinating. This suggests to me that there is a getting back to balance imperative arising from the event.

But despite this, in the UK at least, the strongest planet, by some considerable degree, is Neptune. This means that Neptune sets the tone for the eclipse, so the new emotional changes that are called for are to do with getting back to a place of reality, of rebalancing one’s spiritual energy and either fixing, or killing off difficult relationships.

Because that is the other foundation stone of the lunation cycle: every phase is concerned with relating. So if the eclipse falls in your 10th house, it’s the way in which your relationships make you appear to the world at large which needs rebalancing. Have you held onto people in your life because they make you look good, in spite of the fact that perhaps they don’t really nurture you in any meaningful way? Or conversely, have you shut somebody out of your life because of shame, or because they don’t really suit your image and lifestyle somehow? Now is the time to examine how appearances and relationships go together in your life.

As another example, what if this eclipse falls in your 7th house? An eclipse in the 7th is always especially powerful because not only is it an angular position, it’s also a relating house even without the confluence of solar and lunar energies. Here you are being asked to examine the ways in which you relate to partners, especially marital partners (past and present!) Have you let any ‘bad habits’ creep into your primary relationship over the last few months or years? Now is the time to set things straight again, to get some balance back into the relationship. Maybe that means that rather than opting for an easy life, you finally just say what’s been on your mind and get it out into the open, or alternatively, maybe it’s time you were honest with your partner about that situation that you’ve been brooding on for all this time. You know. That situation.

This advice always comes with a caveat though. Neptune is extremely strong and Mercury is weak through this eclipse, so the danger is that you struggle to speak authentically. With strong Scorpio energy the natural predilection is to speak to the heart of any matter, but where Mercury is weak one’s reasoning powers are unlikely to be terribly incisive, and as Mercury squares a very strong Neptune it is extremely tempting to put things in such a way that it glamorises your own part in the proceedings. Indeed, it’s almost impossible not to do this under this influence.

There is a solution to the problem of Mercury – Neptune though, and it goes like this:

  1. Hold in your mind an image of the person that you love (or loved, if they are gone) most in the world and really experience your feelings as you “look” at them.
  2. As you picture that beloved soul in front of you, become aware of your eyes and how they feel soft and caring.
  3. Now, as you relate to others at this time, look at them through these same eyes.

It is such a simple trick, and it is powerfully effective. This completely catharsises negative Neptune energy right at the source and you will find that you can relate to anyone in this way and speak the truth without evasion or unconscious malice.

 

Of course the situation is going to be different wherever you might be in the world. In New York for instance, Neptune is still strong, but so is Mars. This means that the tone of the eclipse for those living in New York is going to be subtly, but experientially quite different from anyone in London. There’s more sexual energy at work, so it’s useful to go with the current lessons of Saturn in Scorpio and ask yourself where you’ve been avoiding intimacy in your life. As an aside, if you’re looking for more insight about this, try Mandi Lockley’s in-depth but highly accessible Saturn in Scorpio. The other side of the New York eclipse lies in the use and abuse of energy in your relationships, here are a few questions that might get you thinking along useful and self-edifying lines at this time:

  • Is it fair for me to be angry at someone who’s sick, helpless or a victim?
  • Is it fair for that person to be angry with me when it’s not my fault?
  • How does passive and covert aggression block me from relating to others meaningfully?
  • Does being tired prevent me from getting the most out of my relationships?
  • What dreams, desires and fantasies am I keeping hidden from my significant other?

As a final observation for New York, Orcus energy is quite ferocious for this eclipse in your part of the world, so loneliness is part of this picture! If you’re not intimate then you are likely lonesome, right? Time to put your energy into a relationship that can work, and get shot of what’s too broken to be worth rescuing! Yes, plenty of Neptune here. For some instant therapy try reading The Shipping News.

As a final illustration, if you are in Sydney Australia, then the eclipse is going to be even more powerful and profound because it’s visible. But here Saturn is the heavyweight in the eclipse chart, in more ways than one! Mars is also flexing his muscles so the energy here is about a real blockage. What is it you’re not doing out of fear or because of a lack of confidence? Your relationships with friends are highlighted, but this eclipse also focuses inner resources on the way in which your primary relationship fits into your social life. How does your primary relationship stop you being free with your friends? How do your friends stop you from being intimate with your loved ones?

So you see, the tone of an eclipse has a basic quality, but you cannot gauge its specific quality independently of your location. When you apply the locality of this eclipse to your nativity you can begin to formulate some very clear observations about how it will affect you.

If you want to learn how to understand these matters for yourself, then sign up for my 2013 Astrology School. I can show you how it’s done, and much more besides.

And do let me know how the eclipse applies to you: all war stories are gratefully received!

The Astrology of Oblivion

Last week, we explored some of the broad themes of Neptune. What a delight Neptune is, with his glorious, undermining illusions.

A few months ago, somebody asked me to look at the case of an aging relative who was becoming ‘confused and forgetful’. We talked about it for a while, science, in the form of a kindly, but ultimately noncommittal doctor had no answer to the problem, nor any advice it seemed, except to “monitor the situation”. The fear was, naturally enough, Alzheimer’s.

It is tempting to assume that Alzheimer’s falls within the purview of Neptune. After all, the key energetic qualities have much common-ground. There is confusion, a gradual drifting away, an encroaching sense of loss and eventually, oblivion. It is not for nothing that it is called “the long goodbye”. I researched the matter, and – in an attempt to better grasp the genesis of the disease and its implications – I looked at the history and origins of the disease, then at several case studies and in that process I discovered something new and remarkable.

As is often the case with disease, we are looking at the ‘last resort’ of astrology. I have written extensively on this subject before, as for example with the “Cascade Effect”, and it is worth revisiting the central premise:

Any physical symptom is simply an expression of the astrology at the level of last resort. That psychic impetus that you have not manifested at some level higher-up in the totality of your awareness has – left with no viable alternative – found its way out into the body, and that is the cause of your symptom. Now, you might argue that you did not decide to drink the lead-poisoned water and that it was all the wicked power-company’s fault, but really, you did decide to drink it, because it was an esoteric response to a profound unconscious requirement that you apprehend some vanishingly precise and unique expression of human experience and the only way you could manage it was to move into an area where the water was poisoned by an unscrupulous corporate entity.

This posits a fundamental truth of the cascade from psychic pressure, which is itself predicated upon your karma and your innate level of consciousness, the totality of which I would call ‘spiritual energy’, through the emotional body and then into the physical body. If you cannot respond at the spiritual level to your karma then it will begin to have emotional effects. If you cannot purge the ‘dark matter’ then it begins to bring a pressure to bear upon the physical body. Louise Hay writes extensively on the subject without the benefit of astrology, but even so, her observations, with few exceptions, were remarkably cogent. If you have no love in your life then your heart will suffer. If you are fearful then you will have a digestive problem. Problems with the liver and pancreas relate to an inability to feel joy. As can be seen, all of these difficulties are preceded by an emotional trauma, acute or chronic in nature, usually between one and three years before the problem begins to manifest into the body. In that interim, the spiritual problem has begun to poison the emotional system.

Of course, as Wayne Dyer espoused: there is a spiritual solution to every problem, and this is true, but it takes an unusual soul to manage the great leap of faith and love to expedite it. Inevitably, even the most enlightened beings struggle to some extent with anger and woundedness, and these emotional symptoms of a non-spiritual response to conflict and difficulty, if not themselves ‘solved’ with a change of heart (and how apt is that phrase in this context!) will manifest into the mind or body as disease.

So when somebody approaches me with a concern about Alzheimer’s, we look first of all at the background to the problem itself, if we can, and try to build a framework within which we might put the problems in context. We hold in our minds the probability that Neptune is at work, but we can make no assumptions. Herein lies a meandering conundrum about the process of astrology too, which bears examination.

Here is what happens when your 6th house is ruled by Mercury opposition Neptune.

When we consider any disease, or even any broad situation in life, we see that there is a result. The result however, is not the cause. The result might therefore be Neptune in one sense or another, but the cause is not Neptune. Neptune may be part of the cause, but there is no one cause in the nativity. Causes are manifold. In fact, the more causes there are, the greater the likelihood of a particular placement manifesting the result. Sometimes this is a straightforward identification process, the apex of a Yod or tee-square, the debilitating and pernicious black energy of a Mars-Saturn-Pluto stellium, or a series of contacts that are within the same vibrational framework: consider Ronald Reagan’s Mercury opposition Neptune – ruled by Saturn in the 4th – Orcus in a Neptune ruled 3rd house, Pluto peregrine. At birth, Reagan’s Venus was his strongest planet, closely outpacing Mars and Moon, and this set the tone for his life mission, to bring order and harmony to the world (according to his own vision (Mars rises in Capricorn) and traditional, homespun values (Moon is in Taurus)) but crucially, when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in August 1994, Neptune had assumed supremacy by his progression onto the IC. He therefore needed to express the quality of Neptune, could not manage it spiritually, nor emotionally, and so the force of Neptune made its way into his mind. The point though is not so much that he was compelled to vibrate at a Neptunian frequency, because that is itself only a result of some other set of prevailing conditions. Thus, if the wind blows from the East, your boat will drift to the West.

Reagan’s first job as a pro-rescuer – and a good one, he saved 77 lives. Neptune only got stronger from here on in…

In Reagan’s case, there is a fascinating stormy petrel in the form of White House correspondent Lesley Stahl who recounts her final meeting with the president, in 1986: “Reagan didn’t seem to know who I was. … Oh, my, he’s gonzo, I thought. I have to go out on the lawn tonight and tell my countrymen that the president of the United States is a doddering space cadet.” But then, at the end, he regained his alertness. As she described it, “I had come that close to reporting that Reagan was senile.”

This meeting took place precisely as Orcus fell conjunct Reagan’s Ascendant by progression.

There is one other important factor to consider in the case of Ronald Reagan’s Alzheimer’s affliction, one final cause, but we must digress further to make it accessible.

When we look at the history of the disease, we find that it was named for Aloysius Alzheimer, a German psychiatrist whose life obsession became a single 51 year old patient, August Deter, who exhibited all of the, now classic, symptoms of the disease: withdrawal and confusion being most prevalent. After the patient’s death, Alzheimer studied the chemical structures of Deter’s brain and discovered that when studied under a microscope, the patient’s neuron structures were deformed, having a ‘tangled appearance’. These tangles cause the proteins to become insoluble, and thus normal brain function is impaired, albeit in a way that science does not understand. The result is Alzheimer’s disease. Doctor Alzheimer presented his research on November 3rd 1906 (at the 37th meeting of the Southwest German psychiatrists in Tübingen, the first order of the day’s discussions, after breakfast), wherein he first described the characteristic neurofibrillary tangle. Alzheimer’s disease was ‘born’.

The birth chart is interesting because Mercury rises and is precisely parallel Arachne on the Ascendant at 22 Scorpio. Mercury trines Orcus. The neurofibrillary ‘tangle’ looks, under the microscope, like a cobweb, and Orcus makes a prison from the mind as a result.

As I researched Arachne further I came to see that this little-known point loomed large where dementia was found. It was a ‘marker’.

Now, when we return to our study of Ronald Reagan’s nativity, we see that Arachne was trine Orcus at birth and had progressed precisely to his Midheaven on the day he was shot by John Hinckley in Washington DC on 30th March 1981. Remarkably, when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 1994, Orcus has covered one third of his nativity, and replicated the birth trine to Arachne, albeit now from Leo, rather than Aries.

A seriously bad choice of mug-ee…

Further research bears out. Charles Bronson, another Alzheimer’s sufferer (and Orcan personification) experiences a Grand Trine of (Sun/Mercury) = (Pluto/Arachne) = Uranus, and these form the basis of Kite when Orcus is included: via his opposition to Mercury!

Iris Murdoch too, with Orcus on the Midheaven opposing Arachne on the IC died 9 days after the all-powerful middle-pass of Orcus = Ascendant; her Alzheimer’s was diagnosed as Orcus transited in opposition to her Moon and Mercury. At the middle pass, quite naturally.

By 1965, Neptune was really making himself felt…

Numerous case studies affirm that Arachne and Orcus are the major markers of Alzheimer’s disease in the nativity. But it bears repeating that it makes no sense to rush off and look up one’s own susceptibility. These are merely the routes to a result that your soul needs to manifest. If Neptune becomes your strongest power then you are simply letting go of control in your life, and you can resist that need to let go if you like. As Louise Hay writes of dementia: what is it that you need to forget?

For Ronald Reagan, it is my view that he could not face the ultimate powerlessness of his own mortality on the fateful Washington morning in 1981, exactly as Reagan’s Arachne progressed onto his Midheaven! The sheer randomness of that dreadful threat must have shaken him to his core. Hinckley, his would-be assassin was declared insane and quite rightly, after all, he decided to kill the President in order that he might impress Jodie Foster.

Jodie Foster incidentally has a one-degree opposition between Orcus and Arachne.

And Hinckley? Orcus conjunct Node, Mars and Mercury, square Moon, sesquisqaure Saturn, parallel Jupiter, Uranus and Arachne, semisquare Arachne.

We are all connected, even when sometimes; we really don’t wish to be.

The Dream Dealer

It’s a time of reflection, do you feel that?

Saturn in Scorpio is really starting to work his magic. Except it doesn’t really feel like magic. Or if it is magic then it’s some old-school thaumaturgy, or one of those terrifyingly savage shamanic rituals that unfortunate sailors would get caught up in, far from home, in the South Seas in the 1700s. It isn’t fun at all.

When the Moon hit Saturn in Scorpio, the energetic landscape changed. What I really became aware of was the way in which Jupiter in Gemini was suddenly, through an act of contrast, laid bare, and he looked kind of ridiculous. Suddenly that boundless frivolity started to seem dumb. It was, in true Saturn style, a reality check. The fact is that Jupiter is appalling in Gemini. Arguably not as appalling as in Virgo, but appalling nonetheless. Jupiter, who likes depth and substance has nowhere to go except to spread himself further on the surface, because Gemini gives no natural depth. Saturn in Scorpio gets seriously deep and suddenly Jupiter looks like a second hand car salesman arguing life perspectives with Alan Watts. In many ways I am far more comfortable with Saturn in Scorpio – as ridiculous as that sounds – than I am with Jupiter in Gemini.

In part that’s a generational problem. Having pondered the conundrum for some time I believe that Neptune is partly to blame (blame? Neptune?) for this. Allow me to explain.

Neptune always gets cast as the good guy; if I may quote myself (from “Orcus” p. 202):

“I believe that Neptune is given a fabulously good press by contemporary astrology, and one that is scarcely deserved. Certainly, Neptune’s reputation is enormously positive compared to his brother Pluto’s, and yet I am endlessly sceptical about how deserving of his many generous epithets Neptune truly is. Like the ocean, Neptune seems beautiful, yearning and restive, a vastness of potential and a personification of a gentle eternity, but it seems that way from the perspective of the safe shore. Anyone who has been beyond sight of land in a black and angry sea understands that Neptune’s power is just as dread as his brother’s; equally as alien and inhumane. Pluto’s realm is buried, however; unknown to the living, whereas Neptune’s treacherous tides and currents are glamorised by his glittering waves and gentle breezes. Neptune’s dreams, poetries and symphonies are spin-doctors par excellence.”

Neptune’s wonderful trick is that he flatters to deceive by presenting us with an image of the ideal that we cannot possibly hope to realise. Then, unattained, the dream becomes a goad to our discontent.

And, when you get to grips with it, Neptune describes your dream. With Neptune in Scorpio, the basic premise is a kind of unencumbered Spartanism. You dream of a life of purity, of minimalism, of spiritual depth. If that Neptune is in the 6th house then you will have a dream about starting your day by donning your robe, walking into the clean air as the day breaks, up to the dojo under the mountain and beginning your meditation. If the 7th house, then instead, you awake in your remote cabin to find sunlight streaming through the trees. Your beautiful, funny, successful wife has made a pot of rich Columbian coffee and you join her on the porch to listen to the birdsong. In the 8th, you wake up in the presidential suite of the Waldorf Astoria. The Swedish women’s volleyball team are staying on the same floor…

Okay, I’m joking, mostly.

But you get the idea. Neptune has a dream. It is highly personal and always alluring because it is purpose-made for you. With a Scorpio placement, the quality of that dream is always going to be characterised by depth and richness. It is not a case of bigger and better; rather it is a case of finding something pure and valuable, like a rich seam of gold deep in the black earth. Imagine that for a moment, it shines in the darkness and promises so much.

The placement of Pluto and aspects to Neptune are going to have a profound influence on the themes of your dream. If you have Scorpio Neptune in the 7th and Pluto in the 10th, then after you have drunk coffee with your wife, you climb into your Porsche and drive into the city to make big-money deals.  If Neptune trines Mars then of course, all the girls flirt with you, you’re so charming after all, but they all know that you’re happily married and can’t wait to get home to see your wife.

With Sagittarius, the dream changes, fundamentally. Now Jupiter is running the show, so it’s not a seam of gold buried deep in the earth any more, rather it’s a bright, hot-air balloon drifting gently in the balmy summer sky. You’re up there in the clouds looking down on the glittering panoply under your feet.

With that Neptune in the 6th house, you want a daily routine that’s filled with fun and laughter and good times. Yes, you can feel that can’t you? You get up and the kids are laughing, the sun is shining, your handsome, jovial husband is cooking breakfast and telling goofy jokes. You sit down to eat and your best friend calls and you arrange to go out for lunch after your yoga class. You see? That is the “more is more and it will all be great fun” style of Neptune in Sagittarius’ dream.

Inevitably though, the dream can become something of a curse. Actually, it invariably does, and when we experience hard transits to that Neptune, we begin to feel just how painfully short of that dream our reality actually is. The Neptune squares are the time in our life when we get the best opportunity to feel how far from that dream we are, and to make necessary adjustments, which invariably require coming to terms with the fact that we are going to have to let go of some things that don’t serve that dream. But that isn’t the only time we can improve the situation.

We are gifted another opportunity when Saturn moves into Neptune’s sign. It rarely feels like an opportunity, because the nature of these two energies are fundamentally dissonant, but for those born with Neptune in Scorpio, now is the time to make the hard and often onerous changes in your life which will help you to make the dream a reality. This is because the planet of reality is bearing down on the planet of fantasy, and when they finally meet, they are going to find a middle ground. It might be that Saturn gives way and you work hard to realise the dream, or it might be that Neptune gives ground and you start to get real about what is possible, and adjust the dream accordingly. Whichever way it goes, and usually there is a combination of both, after this transit, your ideal life, and your actual life will be closer than ever before. The process will not have been easy, or enjoyable, but you’ll be glad of it when it’s done.

With Neptune in Sagittarius, the situation is unique and considerably more compelling. Neptune in Sagittarius’ dreams and aspirations are in many ways bigger than Scorpio’s, and easier to deflate for that reason. But the great cosmic mechanism has ensured that Neptune in Sagittarius gets a double dose of adjustment as Saturn moves into Sagittarius between December 2014, and December 2017. People born in about 1971 are already being given a taste of this problem because – born between 1971 and 1972 they have Neptune in Sagittarius and Saturn in the early degrees of Gemini. They’ve lived with the dissonance of Saturn opposing Neptune their entire lives and as Neptune squares the opposition around now, the reality check can be especially sobering. Neptune is so very idealistic in Sagittarius after all, and the opposition to Saturn really polarises the fantasy with the reality. The dream is extremely positive and the dawning truth at the time of the Neptune squares can feel like a wet blanket the size of the old Soviet Union when it descends.

For those born somewhat after, they will experience Saturn moving into Sagittarius at the same time as their Neptune squares. It’s a double ‘turning of the screw’ on the dream of the perfect life, and for that reason it will feel very tough.

But in both these cases, all is not lost. The adjustment is painful and dissonant, but it also offers a powerful opportunity to make a shift of consciousness, which is always Neptune’s exalting pressure, into a truly spiritual mode of life. Once made, that shift is a panacea for the harshness of Saturnine reality, because it recontextualises material reality, success, status and toil into immaterial terms. Status is no longer being seen as a success, but rather in knowing that one is a good person. The small chores of life are no longer drudgeries, rather they are become meditations. What we call “work” is now “the Work”. Fundamentally, this shift is found in the realisation that the life of contentment and ease that we yearned for is not ‘out there’ but it is inside us, bound up in the distortion of perspective that we are somehow hard done-by, a victim of somebody else, or of God, or that, in fact, because we are good, we deserved better. Saturn teaches our Neptune that nobody gets what they deserve, they get only what they need to let go of the illusion that they deserved better.

Orcus on the MC: A Real Big Hitter

Recently I had a conversation with Nate, he had read “Orcus” and wanted to share his own experience. The book spoke to him, he said, and indeed as he explained his many perspectives I could only agree, he was deeply connected with a positive expression of Orcan energy.

One of the real challenges of writing the book was in attempting to explain the fundamentals of Orcus without making the picture appear too bleak and heavy. When a researching astrologer is looking through charts, the mind becomes attuned in an almost sympathetic manner to the most perfect expositions of the planetary energy. What this means in practise is that people who express the fundamental energy of Orcus in its most uncontaminated form are, rather necessarily, quite scary. When Orcus energy gets a grip on your life, you can suffer extreme experience, so the examples that found their way into the book were often case studies whose experiences had been exceptional, and therefore, whose experiences had often been exceptionally difficult.

When one of us mere mortals gets in the way of Orcus, the experience can be testing in the extreme, but only rarely does the experience not let us go. By contrast, some are seemingly doomed to go to the very last mile with Orcus and those people – Terry Waite, Princess Diana, Louis Braille, Helen Keller – leave in their wake a singularly compelling and often frightening narrative. That does not mean that everyone who has a strong affinity with Orcus will go to the same extremes, any more than those with Pluto strong approach the limits of Hadean experience, but these individuals who do go to the bitter end, give up, in their struggles, the distilled principles of Orcus’ painful energy. We who come after can apply Orcus’ lessons to our personal experiences and thus come to better understand our place within the great design, thankfully, without having to go so far.

One of the areas in which Orcus can find a positive and free expression is in the world of sport. As Nate related to me, this is a marvellous outlet for this otherwise rather polarising unconscious directive:

Wow. I just got your book and am reading it now. I haven’t gotten to the Mars-Orcus part yet. But I’m reading the Pursuit section where you talk about athletes. I have Mars 10th in Aries trine Orcus 2nd. I won a national tae kwon do championship when I was 15. When I was fighting, I had a mode I called Kamikaze. I didn’t care how many times you hit me. I was going after you until I hit the ground. I was also, the ‘Enforcer’ on my rep basketball team.”

Nate in fact has a Grand Trine of Sun – Mars – Orcus, with Orcus ruled by Sun, Sun ruled by Jupiter in the team-focused 11th house. No wonder he became the ‘Enforcer’ for his basketball team.

Wherever we are required to push ourselves beyond normal limits Orcus is in the signature. It gives us a drive, endurance and will to win that is more than the sum of the muscle, sinew and fibre which makes up our mortal frame. Orcus is the reason why it isn’t always the biggest guy that leaves with the Lonsdale Belt, or why one person ‘breaks’ under torture or the lonely rigours of ‘solitary’ while another seems to emerge from those experiences somehow stronger.

If you look at the two charts below you will immediately notice a profound similarity. They both have Jupiter with Orcus on the MC.

The first chart is that of Muhammad Ali, by secondary progression on the date of the ‘Fight of the Century’ (March 8th, 1971), while the second is the progressed chart of ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson on the day he became the youngest heavyweight champion in the history of the sport. Both of these boxers, who made it to the very top of one of the most gruelling and physically punishing of all possible professions, did so under the auspices of Jupiter-Orcus progressing onto the Midheaven. Joe Louis too, possibly the greatest boxer ever to take to the ring, made his professional debut precisely as Orcus progressed over the MC.

Orcus progressing to the Midheaven is not usually so easy-going. In the chart below you see the progressed chart for the precise date that serial killer Ted Bundy was sentenced to die in the electric chair: would it be possible to imagine a more perfect – and chilling – manifestation of Orcus with Uranus on the Midheaven?

These are extreme examples, but they are, writ large, perfect delineations of the terrifying power of Orcus and his style of manifestation. When Orcus hits your Midheaven by progression (which is very likely to happen during your lifetime if Orcus is in the 10th or 11th houses, possibly also the 12th or even 1st) then you will experience a major change or event which will push you to your limit. It’s highly unlikely to be as extreme a limit as that experienced by those who totally embody Orcus energy – in good and bad ways – but it will be easily as profound and challenging as the same transit by Pluto. Indeed, Orcus is designed to help you find what your limits are, and how you react when you really get down to brass tacks. Can you face Orcus and keep your integrity?

Make no mistake: Orcus is a big hitter, and when he hits, you will feel it all the way to the bottom of your soul.

Saturn in Scorpio: Time to Get Real…

While Saturn travelled through Libra, we were tasked with new learning. Saturn is always about learning as evidenced by the fact that wherever he resides in your chart is a place where you are especially under-prepared. If you have Saturn in Libra therefore, you start out with a difficulty in relating in a mature and balanced manner. Life seems to throw lessons at you which force you to grow-up in that area of human endeavour. The hope is that as a result of Saturn’s stern erudition, you grow and mature to become an especially thoughtful example of the principle in question. With a Libra Saturn therefore, you become a role model of careful, mature and respectful relating. If you have worked consciously with your Saturnine taskmaster, later in life you will be held up as an example to others of what a decent and supportive partner should be, whether that’s in marriage, business or in the law firm. How it works in your life is dependent upon the matrix of aspects and expositions, but, provided that you do Saturn’s work diligently, you will be seen as a role model in the way in which Venus, her house and the house containing Saturn, and ruled by him, are configured in your chart.

When Saturn moves into Scorpio, the energy shifts. Saturn feels rather comfortable in Libra because they have a shared familiarity with principles of reason. Venus is genuinely cooperative, and Saturn is mature and they both enjoy doing things properly, in a seemly and just manner. It might be that with Saturn in Libra there is an early difficulty with seeing the other person’s point of view, but that is the lesson. Just as with Saturn in Libra’s opposite sign Aries, there is an early difficulty with going it alone. This is why it is usually at the Saturn return that Saturn in Libra gets serious about relationship. Saturn also rules separation, so if you think back over the last two years you will see that the people who could not relate to you with respect are gone from your life.

But with Scorpio, the energy is not nearly so mutually compatible. While Libra’s domicile causes Saturn to, rather sympathetically, learn to be reasonable, Saturn in Scorpio has no such concern. Here Mars’ night rulership, and Pluto’s domain are under the spotlight of Saturn’s harsh lessons, and this means that we have to learn to grow-up in a way that is almost diametrically opposed to Libra’s benign pressures. Libra is about appearances and the niceties of life, about relating and about being considerate toward others. With Scorpio, the growing up required by Saturn is all under the surface.

It is in part for this reason that Saturn is not nearly so comfortable in Scorpio as it is in Libra. With Libra we do not have to dig deep to grow because we can formalise instead. When we put Venus (in her Libra guise) together with Saturn we create various new forms: marriage contracts, polite conversation, business law, financial regulation, older lovers, business functions. When we put Saturn together with ‘dark Mars’ and Pluto, the energy shift is bound to be uncomfortable, because we cannot formalise our deepest self in the same way that we can formalise aspects of relating. With Libra Saturn it is enough to learn to communicate with maturity in your primary relationship: that is an important lesson for any successful union between two people, but with Scorpio Saturn the work is very personal and very deep. You will be tasked over the next two and a half years with growing up in the very depth of your being. In a way this complements Saturn’s transit through Libra which has forced us to grow up on the outside, because now we have to walk the walk too.

And there is an added dimension here because for the first time since 1776, Saturn and Pluto are in mutual reception. “1776!” I hear you ask. “That rings a bell!” you say. Because 1776 was the year that the United States declared independence from Britain, so this particular transit is especially pertinent for America (and Britain actually); the energy signature is a repeat of that time. In truth it is arguable that in many ways it is more potent because Pluto was not fully revealed in human consciousness as it is now. When the Declaration of Independence was written by Jefferson it contained some truly reasonable ideals and aspirations, and at the time of its signing, Saturn was in Libra and the 10th house, that is a public statement of reason for sure. But by December of that year, Saturn had moved into Scorpio, and it came time to actually deliver on those high-minded ideals, and that is where the truly difficult work was begun.

For the United States of old, as for us today, the challenge remains the same. We have worked hard to become more reasonable, more fair-minded and more cooperative during Saturn’s sojourn in the scales, but now it is time to get beneath the polite veneer and see if we are capable of delivering that maturity from a place of deep truth. We can’t just talk the talk any more, people are beginning to see through it and we are being tested to see if that outer maturity comes from the inside, or if it is just a veneer.

It is for this reason that Saturn in Scorpio is truly tough. We can’t fake it till we make it any more: it’s time to grow up on the inside.

The September 2012 Full Moon

Any full Moon represents either the culmination, or we might say fruition of a relationship, or the end of it. There is much talk about lunar cycles and how they ought to affect us as individuals, but rarely is there a recognition of the basic implication of Sun and Moon when it is discussed. Sun and Moon are, at their most archetypal, male, female, father, mother, husband and wife. This is why a true understanding of the distinct phases of the Moon has to encompass the way in which we relate to one another as human beings. At the full moon, the meanings and implications of relationships are released so that they can be fully seen. From the new moon forward the energy in a relationship or situation builds and at the full moon the energy is released: for better or worse.

When astrologers talk about the new moon as being a good time to start something, and the full moon as a time of fruition, they often fail to appreciate that Sun and Moon fit into the wider patterning of human gender roles, and the natural cycles of relating. It is true that from the new to the full moon, energy is in a building phase, but it is also an unconscious phase because we cannot see what has been developing beneath the surface to finally be born into consciousness as the full moon ripens what was previously conceived.

So the full moon is not so much a time of endings as it is a time of changing perspective and seeing if what was fermenting is at all palatable. It becomes an ending if we decide that the energy we have been building is not good. If it is good, we are not so much in a time of ending as a time of sharing.

The coming full moon is not easy. With a tee square to Pluto and Moon’s conjunction with Uranus, the child of this lunar cycle is extremely challenging and will erupt violently and rather shockingly into consciousness. This is not such a problem if you are the type of person that enjoys profound and unexpected change, but if you are resistant, then it will be tough. The broad scope of this Sun-Moon opposition suggests that it is strongly focused on matters of relating, because that is the basic consistency of any Sun-Moon contact, and because the Moon falls in Aries and the Sun in Libra. Here there is a sudden and perhaps deeply uncomfortable realisation about a particular relationship. If the change in it feels right, then maybe it will be a keeper, but it will be a struggle in any case. One person wants to go their way, while the other is offering compromise, either position is being challenged, but – and here is my advice – compromise is the way to go: here’s why.

The Moon in this picture is weak. Even though the Sun is in his fall, he has other factors at work which lend him considerable strength, while the Moon has almost nothing going for her. The Moon will react, probably explosively, but in the long term she will lose out. The Sun is ruled by a strong Venus and the Moon by a strong Mars, but in broad terms Mercury and Saturn are the strongest energies at the full Moon time, so communicating in a mature and responsible manner is the way to go, and Sun has that role. Moon conversely is very hot-headed and uncooperative.

Much depends on where you are. The chart at the top shows the London full Moon: it’s broadly relevant for most of the UK. The chart below, is the full Moon chart for New York. That’s a very different story.

In the UK chart, the challenge from Pluto is not very strong, because Pluto hasn’t got too much power here. The pressure of the US full Moon is considerably greater (although I haven’t cast the chart for the West coast). Pluto is applying to the 7th house and is right on the angle here and has more power. The same goes for the Moon, she is stronger because Cancer is rising.

There are many permutations, but the point is, the full Moon is different wherever you are. The full Moon always has a basic flavour: relating, a culmination and either a letting go or a sharing, but it also has this other way of applying energy, and that is very much dependent upon where you are. The full Moon then has another dimension, and that is where the planets fall in your own nativity.

In my view, there is a strong issue with property in the UK chart. I think that one example of how this energy might manifest is through taxes – a strong Plutonic motif – on property, (Pluto falls at the cusp of the 5th house – therefore luxury homes). The people are likely to get mad about this issue now, and the authorities will offer a seeming compromise and soothe the situation in that way. This same kind of strategy will serve individuals as well. If you are dealing with somebody who is having a strop, then be conciliatory, offer a compromise and be the grown up. That way you will survive and quite possibly thrive. The US chart seems considerably more fraught than this, there is a sinister enemy in the making here and reacting in a hot-headed manner will lead to a major fall.

You can get a better picture by looking at where this full Moon falls in your own chart, and remember, mature, reasonable communication, offer a compromise, be the grown up. You’ll be fine.