A Sea Change on the Horizon?

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For many months now I have been watching the future. Inevitably this is a key concern of the astrologer, the Uranian, the Aquarian, the 11th house individual, but actually, this coming month there is an astrological event of staggering magnitude in the making.

So far as I can work out, 27th of May will be a day of great importance in the destiny of this world.

Of course, better astrologers than I have come unstuck through making such bold proclamations and I do not wish to characterise this “happening” as having any profoundly calamitous or dramatic overtones, indeed, the nature of it all suggests that it may be much more subtle than we at first understand and of course, to pinpoint a day is also a little presumptuous, since this is only the point of greatest intensity, but I am getting ahead of myself.

The event: in astrological terms at least, is a super-conjunction of Jupiter with Neptune and Chiron within a 15 minute orb of 26° Aquarius.

Below is the chart for the evening of 27th May, at five past nine in the evening here in the UK. I have looked at this in numerous ways most especially regarding house systems. I have experimented with putting the stellium on the 1st to judge its expression, using an arbitrary point in space, and placing the Sun on the 1st too in the tradition of daily horoscope writers, but in the end I have decided upon a simple 0° Aries configuration: it is the birth point into consciousness and form and this I believe will give the easiest route to interpretation.

Before I begin to explore the scenarios it might be as well to talk about generalisations. Jupiter – Neptune contacts speak to spiritual philosophy, non-materialism, matters of faith and religion, disappointed hopes, idealism, speculation and financial wipeout. Neptunian affairs are expanded and Jupiterian concerns are dissolved or transcended. Chiron enters the fray and themes of wounding and healing are highlighted, but these are humanity’s wounds and the effects are undoubtedly global.

One way of getting a flavour of the contacts is to look at what was going on the last time these contacts were made. Jupiter was conjunct Chiron in 1990, just days before Iraq invaded Kuwait and today, mere days before the next contact the UK is pulling its troops out of Iraq. Is this the end of the Iraq problem? Consider that the last time that Neptune was conjunct both Jupiter and Chiron was in September 1945, within a day of the end of the second world war and at the end of that set of contacts, the United Nations was formed

Before that, the last time the same superconjunction occurred was in the summer of 1881 when Britain signed the Pretoria treaty which ended the Boer war, within 3 days of the closest contact between Ju/Ne/Ch. The cessation of wars therefore appears to be a theme of the great conjunction of these planetary superpowers with the rogue comet Chiron.

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There are an enormous number of potentials here and it would be best to start with the most obvious, and possibly the most unattractive.

Scenario One: Global Pandemic

Jupiter conjunct Neptune conjunct Chiron. Here Jupiter expands Neptunian energy and attaches a measure of pain to the result, pain which is itself magnified. Poseidon (Neptune) was called “worldshaker” by the Greeks and with the Aquarius and 11th house influence this could certainly be an issue which affects the whole of humanity. With Pandora configured too it could also be of case of something having “got out”, and in the absence of any concrete measures being mooted, hope appears to be the last commodity available.

Sun and Saturn are peregrine. Authority and societal structures are out of the picture and with Saturn overexpressed in Virgo (and note: the exact midpoint of Virgo) and Sun in Gemini there are themes of communication breakdowns and health problems. Pluto is on the midheaven and in Capricorn, so change is afoot, and the usual structures do not hold. Sun is also in partile square to Ceres (not a minute out) which again suggests a real vitality problem, sickness even.

Moon and Mars are strong, Moon is in her sign, in hayz and at the midpoint of the Sun – Ceres square with the Sun too at the midpoint of the Moon – Venus square, a need to protect loved ones and family then. Chiron is exactly square Algol whose ancient imagery is of piled up corpses. Proserpina squares the stellium too, so loved ones may be taken down to the underworld and Neptune is stationary at this exact moment too.

The imagery of Neptune is interesting in this context. Neptune has of course long been associated with sickness and far more than Pluto is an impersonal force of devastation. Pluto actually represents an intensely personal confrontation with the Underworld, Neptune is the maker of sickness and has a much broader and less individual reach. It should be noted too that regardless of the broad trends indicated by this point in time that the event-mapping of the moment is somewhat uncomfortable to contemplate. Pl=Ve/Sa suggests transient states of chaos, the halfsum involves Venus in Aries (thus representing the physical body via the 1st) and Saturn in Virgo and the 6th: health. Thus, chaotic and confusing conditions relating to physical health. Then consider the darkly foreboding implications of Ne =  Ma/Ur = Ve/Pl! Fainting fits, raving madness and incredible fear combined with immoral and desperate behaviour.

Scenario Two: Global Financial Collapse

This was my original opinion and I have held this particular view for more than a year now. It appears to hold true as well, at least thus far. Global conflict is, in these latter days, increasingly economic, sanctions have replaced gunboats, but more widely I do believe that this theme bears out, even mundanely. In all cases of the previous conjunctions of this type it would appear that idealism wins out after a sustained period of pain and wounding. At this time Uranus transits the midpoint of Mars – Jupiter and Mars – Neptune from the 12th house. This suggests sudden plans being formed to combat sudden crisis conditions in business institutions, and as Uranus rules the stellium in Aquarius it is a decision taken by a hidden group; the ruler is well aspected however, so I am not especially pessimistic. A world currency? This possibility has been on my thoughts for longer than I care to mention. I do have grave misgivings about this as a concept and it could only probably be put into place if a profound financial crisis were in evidence (whether it had been manufactured or not). This last factor is echoed by the square to Mercury in Taurus: an enormous financial lie (Me sq. Ju/Ne from Taurus and the 2nd).

Scenario Three: A Spiritual Forward Step

Events of this type are invariably precursors to major shifts in thinking. In 1534, when Jupiter, Neptune and Chiron were all conjunct Martin Luther translated the bible into German for the first time and the Church of England became a functioning entity through Henry VIII’s first Supremacy Act. In 1945 the United Nations was formed. These are cohesive events which create a sense of higher purpose that can be shared by all people and crucially, which offer a sense of unity and a glimpse of a more enlightened future.

Most intriguingly in my view however, The stellium occurs on the astrologers’ degree of Aquarius. This is a profoundly sensitised point in the internal dialogue of astrology and it creates quite a buzz across the polarity to the 27th degree of Leo. Unquestionably this will up the ante for the world of astrology, even if not overtly.

The Sabian is delightful too:

An Ancient Pottery Bowl Filled with Violets.
This is a symbol of the permanence or changelessness of the real as an ultimate assurance to the human heart. No matter how many shifting forms the face of life may present to man, there are always the surviving tokens of an enduring stability on which the ephemeral and the superficial are unable to make any impact. Where there is replacement of substance and variety of structure there is also an over-all continuance of meaning and identity in which self may anchor itself. The keyword is TRADITION. When positive, the degree is a high realisation of values and a real gift of using them, and when negative, a loss of self in conventionality and its meaningless trappings.

In my heart of hearts I believe that we are all faced with a choice in this life and at no time has the urgency of the withering dichotomy that is the  collision of material and spiritual values been so apparent. This degree tells us that it is time to get real about our values. We as individuals do not have to hide our lights under the bushel of shame that has been handed down to us by those with no universal – only selfish – conviction. I for one refuse to be ashamed of those tenets I hold dear. I am here to help people and I do not want to be enslaved into the empty material trappings that are the garb of those who have not dared to believe in anything more. What of it if I go to my demise destitute? The rationalised avarice of our times is built upon a pyramid of parasitism that I simply cannot tolerate as a life philosophy. I want none of it, it sickens me, although not with an angry disgust, but just through proximity to the unclean and the poisonous. If life can be better, lived to a higher ideal then I want to aspire to that possibility, and if it cannot, then at the very least I do not have to be dragged down by it daily, again and again.

It’s actually very simple, but it takes a peculiar and rather detached view of your own place in this world to realise it.

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Moon – Pluto: the Gathering Storm

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Recently I wrote an extensive article on the key tenets of Sun-Pluto contacts. Today I would like to discuss in similar depth, the themes of Moon’s application to the Lord Hades, its effects being less outwardly manifest, but absolutely as far-reaching and powerful. The same quality of course will permeate the astrology of anyone born with Moon in Scorpio or with Moon in the 8th house. Also, it should not be forgotten that Moon in parallel or contraparallel to Pluto will evince a similar influence upon the life of the native.

The key understanding here is that Plutonic energies are brought to bear on lunar qualities in the life; which can have a number of dramatic effects, dependent as ever upon the evolvement of the subject and to some extent too the house and sign of the contacts. Our understanding of aspects especially leads us to an understanding of first principles: the conjunction is the most innate and in some sense therefore the most seemingly intrinsic blend and here most especially the sign and house become of paramount consideration. The Pluto in Scorpio generation will no doubt create a slew of individuals with this effect in serious overdrive, in Libra relationship themes will predominate, and Virgo might display extreme pragmatism as an obvious outlet for this combination. The particular nature of the aspect however is not especially key in my view, since in reality, all aspects are squares with the most marked difference between them being for the most part subjective. Moon square Pluto individuals might struggle more in themselves with the discomfort of the aspect, and their expression of it will therefore be more apparently stressed, but the impetus is just the same as it is for the trine or the conjunction.

Moon Pluto creates anything but milk and water types, their best qualities are self-sufficiency and an ability to stand alone, these natives are tough, resilient to the nth degree and too they are tough on themselves, as we shall see during the course of this discussion.

Let us begin with the simple observation that Pluto is murderous and implacable. This has to do of course with the birth-death-rebirth archetype of the Scorpio principle, one that is engendered in Persephone (Proserpina) the maiden-wife of her uncle who raped and stole her away to Tartarus thus incurring the wrath of Ceres. Every 6 months Proserpina is reborn and reunited with her mother and the crops grow again until harvest and winter whereupon she descends once more into the underworld to be with her husband. Similarly then, there is a cyclic quality to anything that Pluto touches and holds in his power; a thing must be killed before it can be reborn. The rebirth allows an evolvement too, so, perhaps in an ongoing facsimile of the karmic cycle, the killing is enacted in order that something improved might take its place, very much like the phoenix rising from the ashes of what went before. The phoenix too is blind, hinting at the compulsive quality of the cycle, we are very often blind to these same compulsive effects, and it takes a rare honesty and courage to face up to the Plutonic heart which beats life into our darker motives. Here though, the Moon, an already fluctuating and oft-times obscured energy in the psyche is combined with this dark impetus: the emotions must be killed too, especially at times of great distress and this occurs simply because – supercharged as they are by Hadean force – they would otherwise be overwhelming. The double edged sword of Pluto combinations is again revealed, the very power that generates such intensity becomes itself a source of threat and menace, it is as though the force is too great to be integrated, so it is partially absorbed and then one must shy away at the last so as not to be burned in the ensuing conflagration.

This creates a facility for emotional amputation that is the dark-side of a habitually intense, passionate and rich emotional life. For the most part, the native with Moon-Pluto contacts can experience even the minutiae of life in a strangely profound manner, but when there is serious anguish or confrontation, most especially within close or family relationships, the manner which once seemed remarkable for its passion and connectedness becomes suddenly cold, distant and aloof. This is simply the drowning point of Plutonic feeling where the native cannot allow the emotions to run any higher, so a facility has developed to forgo them completely. In almost every case this relates back to the mother, in keeping with the lunar quality and usually there is a sense that the mother in some way used a subtle form of emotional manipulation to try and control the child, perhaps by withholding affection to ensure compliance. The problem however is that the child, learning in a more fundamental manner than any adult can hope to emulate becomes even better at sealing off the emotional side of their nature than the parent; in any case, the relationship with the mother is always likely to be difficult. This might manifest in a number of ways. It could be the case that the mother is seen as being unusually powerful or intense or even cruel, or in some other way she embodies a Plutonic principle; often she may have survived some difficulty in her own life and herein lies a further observation about Moon-Pluto, issues of survival become manifest. Most often this can be seen to operate at a number of levels, and it may be experienced through outside agents (most especially with the opposition) or it could even be self-inflicted.

Consider the themes of Moon and create from them a sense of struggle for survival, and a propensity to Spartanism (a key tenet of Pluto) the mother therefore might not be especially nurturing. The same can be said for those with Moon in Pluto’s domicile, Scorpio and also his house, the 8th. Very often children with these placements are made to ‘make do’ or suffer some form of privation that sets them apart from others. One friend of mine with a strong Moon-Pluto configuration was always forced to make do with the cheapest school shoes and soccer boots, such that they hurt his feet because they were so cheap and poorly made. His mother saw the cost of good shoes as a waste of money since he would only grow out of them anyway. This seemingly trivial economy belies the normal priorities for a mother at least in the eyes of the child: the mother is supposed to consider the welfare, happiness and comfort of the child as being of paramount importance and yet here is a subtle message that the child is undervalued, not worth the expense and not very well nurtured.

This lesson is often taken to heart too.

The Moon-Pluto child might become painfully awkward when attending to their own nurturing as a result. As adults they may develop compulsions about food and dietary issues and this is why Moon-Pluto more than any other contact seems to associate with eating disorders, although in general terms there will invariably be several other supporting factors in the astrology too. As an example, consider the fascinating and tragic case of Karen Carpenter who died aged only 32 from complications relating to anorexia:

Karen Carpenter, musician. 2 Mar 1950 11:45 (+5:00) New Haven CT, USA

Karen Carpenter, musician. 2 Mar 1950 11:45 (+5:00) New Haven CT, USA

Moon Pluto is not even the standout feature here, Uranus peregrine and rising but ruled by the Moon which is conjunct Pluto of course is the key factor. Ebertin ascribes to Uranus the manifestation of rhythm and Carpenter was considered to be a virtuoso drummer and indeed played the drums on every studio track she recorded. Uranus in Cancer of course can create a number of effects, most commonly wanderlust and ofttimes a sudden break from the home environment, but here, consider the conjunction to Ascendant which really creates enormous nervous tension and with the lunar rulership (and on the Aries point too!) a genuine issue with nurturing that might well have a physical manifestation.

mo_pl02There are a number of supporting factors.

First of all consider the presence of Saturn in Virgo. Here there is a test of diet and assimilation as much as anything else. One friend of mine with Saturn in Virgo is a lifelong vegetarian and has at various times been vegan and fruitarian and indeed is quite fixated on diet such that – whilst he explains his interest as a concern for good, clean living – it resembles something closer to a grim and onerous duty to the onlooker. This is common enough with Saturn in Virgo and indeed, Karen Carpenter was notorious for her dieting. Indeed, malnutrition was cited as a major factor in her death which technically occurred when she was putting on weight during her recovery from anorexia: the extra bulk put strain on her heart which failed as a result (and Pluto is on the degree for the right auricle of the heart in her astrology.)

Sun opposes Saturn too and here there is often a genetic or congenital difficulty. I have Sun opposition Saturn and was born with a cardiac shunt (more commonly known as a hole in the heart) and because of Sun’s rulership of Leo it can very often create a heart difficulty of some form. Here though, with Saturn in Virgo there is an imbalance triggered through diet and with Saturn in the 4th, thus ruled by the Moon, which rules the chart, there is enormous emphasis placed on food and nurturance in general.

Not shown in the nativity is a tee-square from Su – Sa to both Ceres and Hygeia conjunct in Sagittarius and the 6th. Here are further food issues, with Ceres in Virgo’s house and Hygeia too, quite possibly at home there, but profoundly stressed. There is no real doubt however that she was in recovery from her eating disorder and had she survived at the very last she may have gone on to live out the rest of her life comfortably. That is the nature of the early difficulty implied by Saturn and the general tenor of the tee-square itself, which must trine out eventually.

Pluto too rules the 6th, so the small matters of maintaining one’s good health in a prudent and balanced Hygeian manner is a life and death issue for her, and with Pluto conjunct Moon? Nurturance and food are bound to figure.

Memories too can be a rich source of feeling for those with Moon – Pluto contacts and they may have access to powerful emotional recollections from early childhood, a time which might hold a store of rich and often difficult experiences. The Moon of course corresponds most closely with the earliest childhood as well as the final days of life, so the theme of the beginnings of life will undoubtedly be played out at the end of life too for those with this configuration. All of these disparate elements though are connected with the cascade effect of the astrology wherein – like a fountain where the water moves with gravity from one tier to the next – the strength and intensity of the emotional life plays out in all the various interrelated factors and contacts in the inner and outer life. Pluto supercharges the lunar qualities and lends an imperative to transformation, usually through intense, difficult and uncomfortable experience. The emotions therefore are over-powered, which is unquestionably pleasant when the emotions are themselves pleasant, but as soon as anger, jealousy or some other difficult feeling is experienced it becomes overly intense resulting in hard lessons. The Moon-Pluto individual must therefore learn to moderate these outbursts of negative feeling, otherwise like the Scorpion that corresponds to Pluto at his most unevolved, he will even sting himself to death when attacking his enemy. The only possible and lasting solution is true transformation. This creates a necessity to develop self-awareness, so that the snake might be realised from the scorpion, the eagle from the snake, and ultimately, the indestructible phoenix from the eagle. It is only with evolvement therefore that the richness and profundity of emotional experience and feeling promised by this configuration can be realised and its damaging excesses left behind. As ever with Pluto, absolute honesty and a willingness to confront the darkness within are of paramount importance.

Help with your own Moon – Pluto problems can be found here.

A Sense of Saturn: through the signs…

Astrology simply cannot be about lists. A list of qualities is an attempt to extrapolate something that is innate and this is fundamentally why there is no better adjective to describe the quality of Saturn than Saturnine. We can use approximations that flesh out this fundamental and core energy such as thoughtful, austere, serious and so forth, but the true understanding of any placement lies in a realm somewhat above the language that is used to describe it; it is (as someone once said about the objective of poetry) attempting to describe the indescribable.

It is for precisely this reason that I wish to underline the key insight that best illustrates the quality of a sign placement, we have to look to people to truly apprehend the meaning of astrology; words fail us, and not necessarily because we have a poor facility for language. Language fails us, in fact, because the thing we are trying to describe is somehow too profound to be grasped intellectually. We need to simply feel it.

Thus, today, I am going to post the first part of an understanding about Saturn. There will be no list of qualities, simply an example of Saturn in each of the signs using the three most urgent expressions of any planetary energy or focus: rising, peregrine or conjunct the Sun. Of course there is a subtle difference between the three which bears examination.

  • A rising planet modifies the appearance and initial manner of relating; it is the quality of first impression that is made by the native.
  • A peregrine planet is an overwhelming force in the native’s life, often it will run away with the entire chart. The impetus can be quite compulsive and overwhelming and often creates an overpowering sense of purpose in the life expression.
  • A solar conjunction creates a self-ideal, the native strives to express this quality, not in an unconscious manner like the rising planet, actually in a rather self-conscious manner. It is how they wish to be perceived.

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Thus John Voight appears as Saturn in Aries, Kylie is on a mission to embody it and Sir David Frost consciously aims to express it. Saturn is in fall in Aries, but somehow it works rather well (and this would be, in my opinion because Mars is exalted in Capricorn which rules Saturn, thus there is a route to exaltation even in a sign of detriment.) The opposition to Sun in Libra bears some examination too (I wrote about this before) since the mutual reception by exaltation contains some measure of promise (Hugh Jackman, Emily Procter).

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Saturn in Taurus is not so easy to find good examples for: Nancy Kerrigan, the Olympic figure skater was famously clubbed in the knee by rival Tonya Harding and almost lost her place in the 1994 Winter Olympic trials as a result. Saturn of course rules the knees in the physical body. No coincidence. The opposition to Sun in Scorpio is shared by Tom Conti and Roy Rogers.

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Once again, consider the qualities of each of these individuals in terms of appearance and first impression (in the case of Mick Jagger), in the life purpose with Jim Morrison (and Jimmy Page who also evinced Saturn peregrinated in Gemini) and in a more conscious attempt at self-realisation with Malcolm McDowell. Jimi Hendrix had the Solar opposition.

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Thus with Saturn in Cancer: David Beckham has the appearance and manner of it, George Bush has made a mission out of it (protection of the homeland) and Danny Glover – who plays the serious and responsible (Saturn) family man (Cancer) role opposite offbeat and unpredictable Mel Gibson in the Lethal Weapon movie franchise so well, consciously aims for it.

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Thus, James Woods, who is somehow so very serious and yet showy all at once has an almost perfectly Saturn in Leo appearance and manner. Barry Gibb has peregrinated Saturn in Leo and also peregrinated Sun in Virgo, and his picture is an almost perfect exposition of Virgo and Leo taken to the extreme. Arnold Schwarzenegger on the other hand is determined to express that combination of Sun and Saturn (doubly so by rulership and conjunction), so little wonder that he wants to assume a position of regal authority.

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Finally we have Virgo: which evinces a similarly neat ambience, a rather thorough and detail focused persona or manner.

Whilst looking to all of these examples gives considerable insight into the sign quality of each, they all share a common saturnine thread, for the most part every one of these individuals, with Saturn stressed, prominent or powerful in some sense, evinces a measure of seriousness or gravitas in their demeanour and for this reason they will all struggle to appear especially youthful. The one real exception to this is found in the case of peregrinated Saturn in Aries which in old age (Saturn) gives a propensity to youth (Aries). This quality (peregrinated too) is shared by Twiggy, the British model, who in her 60s has become something of an icon for older women due entirely to her remarkably youthful appearance and demeanour.

I will continue this article with the remaining 6 signs in a future instalment.