Friday, 31 July 2009

Saturn and Uranus in aspect with the Lights - The prize of consciousness

Both these planets are associated with the sign Aquarius, no matter how valid this association is. However, they seem to represent two conflicting energies, as Saturn is constantly trying to silence Uranus and Uranus is constantly trying to overthrow Saturn. So, what happens when they both aspect the Lights and, in particular, when each one aspects a different Light?
If - perhaps simplistically - we view the Moon as the conditions that make us feel at ease and at home, our personal way of relating to other people and our connection to the world of instincts, and the Sun as that voice that keeps calling us from afar and never stops calling us until we decide to follow his path, we can attempt to delineate these aspects. With the Moon in aspect to Uranus, the world of instincts is foreign to you. You just can't understand emotional behaviour. You watch other people crave for simple things like security, tenderness and stability, but you can't relate to that. You feel like an outcast and you prefer hanging around with people who, for some reason, display "abnormal" behaviour. Relationships become difficult because other people soon realize that you do not connect to them like you are "supposed" to, but instead you keep them at a distance. The word "empathy" is not included in your vocabulary. You may be able to offer sound advice to your friends, but when they simply want a shoulder to cry on, they go to someone else. You feel that all this disgusting emotionality and clinginess is what keeps humanity from truly progressing. If, however, you also have the Sun in aspect to Saturn, things can get a lot worse. You may be an outcast, but you hate yourself for it. You don't want to be different, you just want to fit in, even if you are temperamentally unsuited to it. You try to do the done thing, what you think is expected of you, but you do it awkwardly and other people see right through you. Very often you go against your own nature, trying to satisfy social demands. You may dislike the idea of marriage, for example, but you end up getting married nonetheless. You don't like children, but feel you have to have them. This is a very tricky combination and you may spend your whole life trying to find the right balance.
On the other hand, with the Moon in aspect to Saturn, it is very hard for you to step outside the boundaries of normality. You feel that the whole world consists of autocratic parents whose sole purpose in life is to teach you the virtue of discipline. You mistrust eccentricity and believe it's just an excuse for those who refuse to face the hard facts of life. You feel at ease around people who know what they want out of life, you respect authority, you are good-mannered and you can't stand cheeky and impudent people, especially those who have ideas quite above their station. However, if you also have the Sun in aspect to Uranus, every once in a while a little bell rings in your head telling you to break free from all chains. You don't want to listen to it, because you fear what's going to happen if you say goodbye to the solid ground you walk on. Life, however, has a way of messing with us, the moment we least want it to. One day you realize that there is a part of you that is not universally acceptable. It dawns on you that you have more in common with the people you pretend to hate than you originally thought. You realize that even though you sought the friendship of normal people, they actually bore you. But you don't want to go over completely to the other side, because you dread social exclusion. You can't fully embrace the uranian spirit because it clashes with your saturnian predisposition. Tricky, indeed.
Can something be done to solve this dilemma? A modern astrologer would urge you to integrate both these aspects of your personality, but is that truly possible? What you seem to gain from this dichotomy, however, is consciousness. By being unable to completely identify with either of these two warring functions, you cannot lose yourself in the oblivion of ignorance. You cannot pretend to be just one thing and the hell with everything else that doesn't agree with you. But when you sit alone in a dark room at night with no one around to distract you, you hit upon an absolute truth about life: That consciousness and happiness are incompatible.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Jupiter and Saturn transits - Who's the benefic and who's the malefic?

We always dread an upcoming Saturn transit but look forward to a Jupiter one. They are the great benefic and the great malefic, after all. However, in many cases, things don't turn out like they are supposed to. In fact, sometimes it's exactly the other way round. We have a hard time during a Jupiter transit and a good time during a Saturn one. Very often, nothing of any significance happens and things run smoothly or rather, there are no evident changes in our lives. Why is that? Are transits an important predictive tool or aren't they?
John Frawley in one of his books on traditional astrology states that William Lilly devotes only three paragraphs on transits and that's two and a half paragraphs more than he should have. Perhaps this is an exaggeration or an over-simplification. Still, he has a point when he says that the life of an average person doesn't involve one tragedy after another and that most of our days pass by harmlessly. Of course, in Lilly's day, there were no outer planets whose transits are long-lasting and traditonal astrology had to invent other more reliable predictive methods. It seems though, that modern astrology, at least in certain circles, overemphasizes transits and tries to expalin everything that happens in our lives with a particular transit which, of course, is interpreted accordingly. We hear statements like: "Of course you are having a hard time, transiting Chiron forms an exact sesquiquadrate with your Lilith!" I would have to agree with Frawley on this, who says that a transit is simply a trigger. No transit can bring anything that it is not written in your natal chart. Just because Jupiter is transiting your second house, you can't expect tons of money to fall on your lap if such a thing is not promised in your natal chart. Yet, when different factors are added together, a transit can become pretty important. Let's say transiting Pluto is about to oppose your Sun. If that's all he's doing, you need not panic. But if you have a natal Sun/Pluto square and your progressed Ascendant is conjunct natal Pluto, then you should really stand up and take notice.
Having said that, let's go back to Jupiter and Saturn transits. If we want to keep attributing importance to transits, I feel we have to combine modern and traditional astrology. What do Jupiter and Saturn signify in our birth charts? Do they rule "malefic" or "fortunate" houses? Are they dignified? If Jupiter in the nativity is retrograde, in Capricorn and rules the 12th house, then I cannot expect him to bring me any luck. On the other hand, if I have a well-dignified Saturn, I need not fear. Saturn is never pleasant, that's not his nature, but when he is in form, he's extremely just and fair.
Then, we should take into account the sign the two transiting planets happen to be in and how that sign resonates with our chart. If, for example, the signs Virgo or Capricorn dominate in our chart or if Saturn is particularly strong, it is inevitable that we dislike Jupiter. Jupiter doesn't just shower us with gifts, but requires something in return. And that is FAITH. Which is something the two aforementioned signs lack. You have to believe that you deserve good things to happen to you, that life can and should be easy from time to time. I'm afraid that Virgos and Capricorns (I'm not talking about individuals here, but about the energy of these two signs) generally mistrust anything that isn't a direct result of hard effort. They tend to be suspicious of anything that comes easy to them and they are always looking for faults. From Jupiter's point of view however, that's ingratitude. So, why should he bother? The fire signs, on the other hand, appreciate whatever Jupiter offers them. They have a natural enthusiasm, they willingly embrace life and hate difficulties even to the point of laziness. When Jupiter comes along therefore, they are thrilled.
By contrast, if you have many planets in Cancer or in Leo, then in all likelihood you are going to hate Saturn. Even if nothing significant happens during a Saturn transit, it's still safe to say that you are not going to jump up and down with joy. You may read in the astrological predictions for your sign that this is a good time to lose weight, for example. No, it isn't. Some of you may feel so depressed that you rush to the fridge and devour everything in it. Your friend the Capricorn, however, will manage to lose 40 pounds when Saturn conjuncts his Sun.
So, only if we take these factors into account can we make a more or less accurate prediction of how difficult or beneficial a particular transit will be. All our potential is included in our natal chart and transits and progressions will help unfold it. It is each individual chart therefore, that will tell us which planets are friends and which are enemies.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Neptune transits Part 2

I want to share some more thoughts on the subject in a perhaps futile attempt to bring some clarity to Neptune's fog, although with Neptune everything must be taken with a grain of salt. Possibly, we are not in a position yet to fully grasp its' qualities. We can try, though.
One of the main themes, I think, during the Neptune transit is the blow the ego receives. I know most astrology books talk about how the self dissolves and all that, but it's not made perfectly clear just what that is in practical terms. In my experience, I feel it's like this: Before the Neptune transit, you pride yourself on something, something you conquered or achieved, some kind of accomplishment you feel particularly proud of and you feel especially confident in your abilities. That is not a bad thing per se, but what usually happens is that your ego gets inflated. You begin to feel special and therefore separate yourself from others busking in the glow of your superiority. Even if you don't say it out loud, what you are really thinking is "I did that, I, I, I!" For example, let's say that you give up smoking and you fell liberated, you boast about kicking the habit and reproach others for not having the strength to do likewise. Neptune comes along and you start smoking again. You realize just how weak you really are and you wallow in self-pity. However, after this period is over, you start to get a glimpse of a sort of metaphysical truth that actually it was not you who kicked the habit, but instead you managed to do so by the grace of God or the Gods or the Spirit or whatever. You temporarily aligned yourself with that power that connects us all and found the strength to overcome your weakness. However, this is something that all people can do, should they put their minds to it, and unfortunately this alignment is not permanent, unless you consciously devote yourself to the task of maintaining this bond. So, what you learn, and this is the unique gift of Neptune, is empathy. In the light of such self-knowledge, one can only be humble and refrain from judging other people whose weaknesses are just a reflection of one's own.
One other thing worth mentioning, and strongly Neptunian people can attest to this, is that it's impossible to take sides. Neptune, along with empathy, gives this chameleon-like ability to easily step into other people's shoes. The fog the textbooks mention is really THE ultimate objectivity. Everything seems unclear, because you realize that there isn't ONE truth. Lets' say that two of your friends quarrel and they both confide in you. With Neptune, you realize that they are both right and wrong at the same time. You may hate this ambivalence, because it's much easier to live in the security that the illusion of ONE truth provides, but you can't help it. You can try and explain to each one where they went wrong but they may not listen. What's more important however, is that you realize that what they did, you probably also do yourself. You start to wonder that if two perfectly nice people who generally mean well got in such a mess, then why not me? Neptune stops you from taking the easy way out believing that something like that will never happen to you and forces you to question your objectivity and re-evaluate your judgements and certainties. It dawns on you that knowing the complete truth about something or someone is practically impossible and you lose the smugness only absolute certainty can provide. And the gift of all this, is that you begin to truly connect to other people, because you realize how easy it is for all of us to make mistakes. You are no longer ignorant of your shortcomings and you share them with others, refusing to hide behind a facade of righteousness. As a result, people find it easy to open up to you, because they know that you are someone who understands.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Swine flu and the Jupiter/Neptune/Chiron conjunction - Saturn why hast thou forsaken us?

So, separateness is an illusion, after all. We may have suspected it, we may have believed in it, but it takes things like the swine flu epidemic for us to truly grasp the reality of our interconnectedness. Saturn has opened the door and invited in one of his signs his two arch enemies, Jupiter and Neptune. Their combined energies have managed to deal him a heavy blow. Despite our differences and our self-imposed boundaries, it turns out that we are all one. Neptune has won the battle.
Astrologers usually talk about Aquarius being the most humane of signs, a progressive and democratic one. Which is true, in this case at least. Viruses are extremely democratic and liberal and they make no distinctions. They don't care if you are a Palestinian or a Jew, a king or a slave, black or white. It's just what the 16-year-old boy said in the final film of The Matrix trilogy "The machines don't care how old I am. They are going to kill me just the same." Naturally, there is no need to panic with this flu, since most cases so far have been mild and there is no essential difference with the common flu. Still, it makes you think. What if it were a deadlier virus in its' place that could spread out with similar ease? Which means that life in the saturnian sense of the word is ultimately futile. No matter how hard you try to build your structures or how long it takes you to reach a certain level, it can all be taken away in the blink of an eye. Neptune calls us to detach ourselves from whatever we think defines us and focus on those things that can't be destroyed by a flu epidemic or a natural disaster. If we live our lives following Saturn's way, there is only one conclusion we can safely reach: That life is inherently unfair.
Which brings us to Chiron. Liz Greene says that the difference between Chiron and Saturn is that there is no apparent explanation for the chironic wound. Life wounds us in some way and we cannot blame anyone for it. You may have been orphaned, for example, at a very young age, but you can't blame your father for getting killed in the war. It's just how life is. This epidemic has all the characteristics of a chironic wound as you can't blame nature for the existence of viruses. So where does that lead us? To acceptance. To the realization that there are things in life completely beyond our control and we must learn to co-exist with them.
Jupiter, finally, brings a religious tone to all this. We must have faith that things will turn out exactly as they are supposed to. That evil is an essential part of life and perhaps equally divine. Because we must go on living no matter what and only Jupiter is capable of providing us with such strength. And who knows? One day we may find out what's really going on and if life has a purpose or not.

Monday, 6 July 2009

The Penn and Teller show - A need for astrological humility

The latest episode of the Penn and Teller show "Bullshit" was about astrology and of course we heard the usual stuff we've already heard a thousand times before. However, instead of criticizing those shows, isn't it about time we started questioning ourselves and the astrology we know? We go on and on about how astrology is not magic, but we are the ones we treat it as such. We feel compelled to answer every question the client asks us, we cling to every little thing he/she tells us and we rush into judgement. "Oh, that's Uranus on your MC "or "That's your Mars/Pluto speaking" and so on.
If astrology were that simple and if our astrological knowledge were that accurate, wouldn't we know ourselves by heart by now? How many of us can honestly claim this? Instead, we change our interpretations about our own chart all the time as we grow as individuals and astrologers. How many times have you rectified your chart using this and that technique, those of you at least who don't have an accurate birth time? Richard Idemon did it constantly. How many schools of thought are there and how many house systems exist, all claiming to be equally effective? Are secondary progressions better than solar arcs? Or perhaps primary directions? Are solar returns stand-alone charts or ar they to be read side by side with the natal chart? And what about the greatest division of all, the one between traditionalists and modernists?Isn't it logical to assume that if one system were 100% effective, it would overshadow all the others? Yet, theories abound and the truth of the matter is, the moment we become too sure of ourselves, astrology escapes us.
Which means that, in fact, we know nothing. Nada. Niente. Rien du tout. Pick your language. If inside the astrological symbols hides the wisdom of the cosmos, it is simply hubris to say that we know astrology. We only know what our experience, intelligence, studies and observation allow us to know at any given moment. One can only be humble realizing the vastness of astrology. No more absolute truths and absolute certainties. So the next time a Uranus transit on the Ascendant doesn't produce the results we expected, we must re-think our astrology and everything we know about transits. The next time an important progression passes by harmlessly, we must re-think progressions and all the relative theories. We must study different authors but we must not treat anything they say as gospel truth, no matter how sure of themselves they seem to be or how respected they are in the astrological community. We must use our own discretion and wit and at the same time look ourselves in the mirror from time to time and say: "I can be wrong".
Which means that we don't go on shows like that. Not only because we can't convince those who refuse to keep an open mind, but also because by appearing on such shows, what we are really saying is that our astrology is foolproof. That we know everything there is to know. That nothing can possibly go wrong. In short, that we are arrogant.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Contest horary - The Williams sisters

I didn't want to post this at first, because I'm not sure which house goes to whom, but then I thought it would be a nice exercise for me and for those of you who are interested in such things, regardless of the outcome of the match. First of all, this is the horary chart I erected for the two sisters.

My main problem is that I don't strongly favour one of the two when they play other players, but when they play against each other, I favour Venus. So, it's not that I like Venus that much, it's just that I "dislike" Serena. Is that enough? John Frawley states that even a minor preference is sufficient, but the real purpose of my "Who will win?" question is to see if horary works, so perhaps this question is not fit to judge. Bearing that in mind, let's interpret the chart, giving Venus the 1st house and Serena the 7th.
Let's look at the condition of the houses first. If we decide to use Pluto, then the 1st house is afflicted, but not particularly, since Pluto is in a different sign from the Ascendant. On the other hand, Lord 7 is in its' own house and, as a result, both essentially and accidentally dignified. One major testimony for Serena. The Sun is also there, peregrine, and even though in the face of Mercury (Serena), strongly prefers Venus by being in Jupiter's (Lord 1) exaltation and term. What's more, Mercury (Serena) is under the sun beams, moving closer to the Sun, but in a different sign from it. Does that weaken Serena? Not dramatically, I suspect. Mercury's antiscion however, is in a much worse state. In early Cancer, it is combust and opposite Pluto. Do we accept combustion for an antiscion? If so, Serena is weakened.
On the other hand, Jupiter (Venus) is in Aquarius, in a neutral house (2nd) and so not especially strong. I can't see any positive testimonies for Venus. She is not accidentally strong, very far from the North Node, conjunct Neptune and Chiron and square a debilitated Mars. The only favourable aspect Jupiter receives is from Venus (an omen?) well-dignified in Taurus, but in the cusp of the malefic 6th. Jupiter's antiscia fall on the early Taurus/Scorpio axis, not doing anything of importance.
What can we make of all this? It seems that there is not a clear answer. It all depends on the amount of importance we will assign to the weakening effects of the Sun to Mercury, its' antiscion and the 7th house. If it weren't for the Sun, then Serena would be a clear winner. Moreover, it seems that if Venus finally wins, it will be because Serena lost the match for some reason, since Venus doesn't seem strong enough to win the match by herself. So, let's try another technique, the chart for the event.

We first have to decide who the favourite is. Before the tournament, it was definitely Serena, because she is world No2 and has had better results than her sister lately. However, Wimbledon is where Venus excels and after her annihilation of world No1 Dinara Safina at the semi-finals, she seems stronger than ever. This must mean that Venus is the favourite, although I'm not sure what the bookies say, so you'd better check with them.
So, the favourite gets the 1st and the 10th house and the underdog the 7th and the 4th. Since the 10th house ruler is the Moon and we want to keep the Moon for the flow of events, the favourite gets only Lord 1 for significator. We are interested only if any of them are in an angular house and which one. None of them is. Then we check the Part of Fortune, but not its' bodily placement, but its' antiscion. Its' antiscion is in 11o 49' Libra, widely conjunct the Ascendant but not close enough. Maybe a very minor positive testimony for the favourite. Next, we check the Moon's aspects to the significators and Fortuna, allowing a 5-degree orb or so, bearing in mind that the Moon's final aspect within this orb wins. The Moon nakes no aspects to Venus (Lord 1) and Mars (Lord 7), but makes an applying aspect to Saturn, (Lord 4), therefore favouring the underdog, since it's also its' final aspect. However, we must not forget the aspects the Moon makes to Fortuna and its' antiscion. The Moon squares Fortuna but with a 7-degree orb, which is probably too much. However, it immediately sextiles its' antiscion in 11o 49' Libra, which is a major positive testimony for the favourite, since John Frawley says that aspects to Fortuna or its' antiscion are final and we can ignore the Moon's square to Saturn. The Nodes are in the 4th/7th house axis, but we cannot say that they either weaken or strengthen one of them, being in a different sign from that of the cusp. So, unless I've missed something important, the match should go the favourite. The problem is who that is. We will soon find out.