Venus Retrograde Consultation Discounts

venus cycle flower

Venus in Leo is not only currently conjunct Jupiter, she is also beginning to slow down in preparation for her station retrograde on July 25.  Those particularly sensitive to the deep Venusian pull of this upcoming Venus retrograde cycle will already be feeling her effects in your life on an inner and outer level.  In other words, this is a great time for an astrological consultation!

At the same time, for personal reasons I am hoping to increase my finances through my astrological practice in the coming weeks, and so I thought I would create a win-win situation by offering a 40% discount on all of my astrological consultations for the next three weeks, through July 26, 2015.  Essentially this means that you would be paying $78 for an astrological consultation with me.  If interested please email me at consultation@graycrawford.net and I can arrange a time with you for us to meet. I can do a consultation with you over Skype and can then send you a MP3 recording of our conversation afterwards.

This looks to be a dramatic and pivotal Venus retrograde period, and so I send my blessings for all of you to find clarity, joy, and good health in the months ahead.

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New Moon in Gemini

Emblem 10 as New Moon in Gemini

Emblem 10 in Atalanta Fugiens by Michael Maier. “Da ignem igni, Mercurium Mercurio, et sufficit tibi. (Give Fire to fire, Mercury to Mercury, and you have enough.)”

New Moon in Gemini

The New Moon in Gemini on June 16, 2015 has a charged atmosphere of enlivened desire, an intensification of feeling that can bring clarity to the direction we are choosing to initiate and follow.  Mars in Gemini is closely conjunct this New Moon, and just as we experience a new lunar cycle with our Sun, we also have entered a new cycle between Mars and the Sun.  It follows that both our identity and consciousness (Moon) as well as our will-force and ability to focus our consciousness on a desired goal (Mars) are simultaneously being purified and regenerated by our Sun in the sign of the Twins.  Just like the ruler of Gemini, Mercury, bridges dualities such as light and night, conscious and unconscious, so in Gemini we have the mortal twin and the immortal twin, the rational twin and the irrational twin, the magical twin and the mundane twin, and an inquisitive spirit that can connect us with the underlying source that unites and transcends binary dichotomy.  There is extraordinary depth to the sign of Gemini that is sometimes glossed over by astrologers, a quality of inquiry that can see through to the essential and thus holds this same potential for us at this New Moon.

Further electrifying the cosmic environment is the trine between Jupiter in Leo and Uranus in Aries that is almost exact (and we can also add in the goddesses Eris in Aries and Juno in Leo). Since the Gemini New Moon is in sextile to both Uranus and Jupiter, these aspects are a gift to seize and open awareness to sense the full spectrum of options available to choose from in the path ahead, without any restrictive limitations of perception present.  If you have been reading my blog and feel like you have been hearing me write about this concept repeatedly, over and over again, it is because this first quarter trine between Uranus and Jupiter has been building for months and we now only have less than a week left of it applying before it begins to separate for good in this cycle.  In other words, from now through the upcoming Solstice in Cancer is the most powerful time left to take advantage of this dynamic, inventive aspect of procreative force- and it is making a sextile to this New Moon.

Mercury in Gemini is the ruler of this New Moon and has now emerged from its time in the underworld to herald our dawn as a Morning Star again.  Mercury in this position has a strong capacity for rational analysis combined with inquisitiveness, and ability to focus on the setting and achievement of goals.  Mercury here is curious and likes to explore, and can integrate the new level of perception gained from this past Mercury retrograde period.  Whatever we discovered during the Mercury retrograde we had to realize about our circumstances, no matter how difficult it could have been to acknowledge past mistakes, misfires, or miscues, we now have an opportunity to set intentions informed with the wisdom gained from our recent experiences.  As Mercury in Gemini begins to move direct again, it also begins to apply to a sextile with Venus in Leo that will be gaining in strength over the next three weeks, eventually also coming into range of a sextile with Jupiter in Leo.  As a result, out of the dark, hidden depths of its recent travels, Mercury is now regenerated and able to facilitate our awareness of opportunities and receive support for deeper creative actualization.

Mars conjunct New Moon in Gemini

Bird in the Spirit by Morris Graves

Mars conjunct Sun in Gemini

The synodic cycle of Mars creates the atmosphere of this Gemini New Moon, as the New Moon is conjunct Mars.  Two days before the New Moon on June 14, 2015 the Sun and Mars united at 23°17′ Gemini.  The previous cycle between Mars and the Sun began on April 18, 2013 at 28°08′ Aries.  If you are like me, life has completely transformed since that time, and the great desire that arose then and may have seemed out of reach today is closer to manifestation or has already been experienced. When Mars unites with the Sun, Mars is infused with the solar force and the symbolic arrow shooting out of the circle of spirit in the Mars glyph is revivified to shoot off with focused desire in a new direction. In the past weeks with Mars under the beams of the Sun, the Sun has been burning off whatever has needed to be released in relation to Mars in our life.  This could have felt like an agonizing process at times, engulfed in the fires of our own discontent in moments, but if we have been doing this work we now can be present with a more authentic use of Mars in our life. We have shed the inessential and our desires are now rooted in the essential.

Understand that in the coming weeks you will most likely feel vulnerable in this new direction you are wanting to take, and that it will take time to build the forms and structures in your life to support this new Mars direction.  If you have felt called to pursue a new course or project in some form, this is a great sign that is in sync with the Mars and Sun cycle.  In case you have not felt a new sense of direction yet, wait for it because it will be on it’s way.  In any case, this all means that this is an especially auspicious New Moon for intention setting.  And who is that arriving now to facilitate a re-structuring in support of our new path?  Why, if it isn’t that dark and devilish master, Saturn in Scorpio.

crow japanese

Crow and Reeds by a Stream, by Kawanabe Kyōsai (Japanese, ca. 1887)

Saturn in Scorpio

Saturn returns to the sign of Scorpio just in time for this New Moon in Gemini.  Saturn was previously in Scorpio from October 2012 through December 2014, and as we retrograde back into it’s dark waters, we gain a final opportunity to process these years of tumultuous transformation.  Moving from Sagittarius to Scorpio can be jarring, as our taskmaster Saturn shifts from a fiery, expansive, optimistically visionary sign into a watery, intense, secretive, condensed, and decomposing sign of depth. With Saturn freshly retrograde into Scorpio at the time of this New Moon, it means that our initial impulses, feelings, and experiences associated with the shift into Scorpio inform this Gemini New Moon. So just as the Sun and Mars are adding a shifting tone, so does Saturn, and Saturn moving retrograde with this shift means it is fitting to set New Moon intentions to restructure the aspects of our life demanding attention, as well as restructuring our consciousness at a bottom-line level.  With Saturn moving into Scorpio we will be realizing the why behind not only the recent experiences from Saturn in Sagittarius but also dating back to 2012 and the transit of Saturn through Scorpio.  Saturn in Scorpio wants us to be a witness without escapism and denial.  As we witness our own inner motivations and realize what the underlying patterns of our motivation have been, we will likewise gain penetrating insight into the motivations driving those we have been in relationship with.

There is a natural sextile between the signs of Capricorn and Scorpio where Pluto and Saturn currently reside, and Saturn retrograde in Scorpio is now in a balsamic semi-square aspect to Pluto retrograde in Capricorn.  This is a strong indication of a lot of material surfacing from past years to be processed, decomposed, and then ultimately used as fertilizer for new growth.  Saturn in Scorpio is in a quincunx by wide orb to the New Moon in Gemini, meaning that this Gemini New Moon gives us an opportunity to adjust to the shift of Saturn into Scorpio by creating a Mercurial bridge that links the root qualities of Gemini and Scorpio.  While the natural quincunx between the signs of Gemini and Scorpio are ignored by astrologers focused on traditional Ptolemaic aspects in astrology, there is nonetheless a deep connection between these signs that can be seen in the fact that Gemini is the eighth sign away from Scorpio.  It is the deeper, penetrating side of Gemini that connects with Scorpio, and the ability of Gemini to connect across boundaries can stimulate the Scorpio talent for merging at a core level with everything from bodies of knowledge to bodies of intimate partners.  While Gemini and Scorpio at first glance may seem to lack common ground, this New Moon initiating Saturn’s return to Scorpio is a strange gift that can utilize the Gemini talent for synthesis and shifting to dislodge any fixation we are feeling from Scorpio such as our fears, so that we can open ourselves to experience a deeper level of Scorpio transformation in the end.

10 of Swords

10 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Gemini III Decan

The image of the 10 of Swords as illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith took on new meaning for me when I read Austin Coppock’s book on the decans, 36 Faces, and realized that since Egyptian culture is the source of the decans in astrology, it is significant that ancient Egyptian traditions as well as the Hellenistic astrological tradition viewed Cancer as the first sign of the zodiac in some of their astrological arrangements.  For example in the Thema Mundi the Hellenistic chart said to represent the birth of the universe, it is Cancer that occupies the first house and Gemini that occupies the twelfth house.  Therefore, if we conceive the zodiac as beginning with the Cancer Solstice, or the first decan of Cancer, it means that the Gemini III decan would considered to be the end of the cycle, the final of the 36 faces of the zodiac.

Since the 10 of Swords is the tarot card connected with the third decan of Gemini, it is therefore fitting that the image is of a dead man who has surrendered to death, with ten swords plunged into his back- representing the death of the cycle.  While the card embodies dark skies and death, there is also brilliant light present in the sky, as well as an upturned hand that seems to indicate contentment with this release from bodily form.  In addition, there is a deep body of water behind the body, resonant with the symbolism of lakes as a portal to the underworld, as well as the current transit of Saturn returning to the sign of Scorpio.   Austin Coppock linked the death of the Gemini III decan with the necessary death or sacrifice of one of the twins of Gemini:

It is important to understand the precise nature of the death which occurs here properly, for it is not the self-sacrifice of Jesus, nor the cognate immolation and rebirth of the Phoenix. The third decan of Gemini sees Castor fall, Cain slay Abel and Set slay Horus.  It is the climax of a story of polarity.  The death which occurs here reduces a warring pair back to a stable unity . . .

For by the third decan of Gemini, dualities have permutated far beyond the shades of grey previously explored.  The ultimate extremities are present here, taken to the point that they cannot truly coexist.  Day and night must split time-  they cannot take place simultaneously.  Good and evil must do the same.  In the end, the conflicting wills of the body and spirit cannot be wholly equilibrated.  While the other decans of Gemini involve discovery, exploration, and simultaneity, in the third wait choices-  judgments that must be made.  To achieve actuality, a multitude of possibilities must be sacrificed.  Though such burnt offerings are a necessary inevitability, it does not spare those who walk this face difficult decisions  (p. 98-99).

The Sun is the ruler of the third decan of Gemini, and so it is further fitting that the recent new conjunction between the Sun and Mars initiating a new cycle also occurred in the third decan of Gemini.  At this New Moon we are experiencing the death of an old self and the emergence of a new self, in an atmosphere of intensification thrusting what was previously undifferentiated into sharp relief and realization.  In this burgeoning gale of a Gemini New Moon we set our new course with faith in the unknown before us.

GeminiNewMoonWRIGC1A

References

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.

Venus in Leo

Venus in Leo Bastet

“Aegis” of Egyptian goddess Bastet, 9th-8th Century BC

Venus in Leo

Venus in Leo has claimed center stage in our sky at night as she should, brilliantly radiating at her maximum elongation from the Sun over the past few days.  Venus in Leo is on her way toward a conjunction with Jupiter in Leo, and these two beautiful lights will be getting closer and closer each night, finally uniting at the Full Moon in Capricorn on July 1, 2015.  Leo is an elegantly brazen place of residence for Venus, and so her dance with Jupiter over this next month will encourage us to ignite with passionate purpose from within and confidently express our own unique style of creativity in our environment.  We have a long time to work with Venus in the fixed, fiery sign of Leo as Venus will be in Leo for the next four months save for the period of July 19 -31 when Venus will enter Virgo and station retrograde.  Venus will be retrograde, mostly in Leo,  from July 25 until September 6 and will not leave the Venus retrograde “shadow zone” until October 9, 2015 when Venus re-enters the sign of Virgo at last (Venus enters the “retrograde shadow zone” on the Solstice of June 21, 2015 when it crosses over 14 degrees of Leo).

Anahita on Lion as Venus in Leo

Anahita on lion

As Leo is ruled by the Sun, those born with Venus in Leo have their solar soul purpose intimately linked to all things Venusian.  Celebrities with Venus in Leo include Madonna, Michael Jackson, Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams, Tim Burton, Stanley Kubrick, Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Greta Garbo, Alfred Hitchcock, Andy Warhol, Nicole Kidman, Tom Cruise, Michelle Williams, Gwyneth Paltrow, Tori Amos, Fiona Apple, Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse, Tobey Maguire, Daniel Radcliffe, Mother Teresa, and the 14th Dalai Lama. Star power can radiate from natives with Venus in Leo like beams of light, and there is a penchant for grand gestures and drama.   Perhaps the Leo in the Venus of these natives likes getting attention, but the attention Venus in Leo attracts has less to do with attention seeking and more to do with authentic allure and magnetism that flows with scintillating vibrations from them.

By Transit, Venus in Leo tends to spark inspirational thoughts and desire to actualize our creativity in everything from our daily tasks to projects associated with our life’s work. As Venus in Leo will form a square or an opposition to any planets one possesses in the other fixed signs (Scorpio, Aquarius, Taurus), Venus in Leo also tends to shake up places that have become stagnant through resisting change in favor of the comfort of stability.  As Venus in Leo forms a sextile to the signs of Gemini and Libra, and a trine to the signs of Aries and Sagittarius, if you have planets in these signs you can look forward to Venus enlivening your experience with stimulating impulses toward intensifying growth in whatever astrological significations are activated.  Venus in Leo brings inner awareness of the fertile potential we each possess, and lights a burning desire to actualize our creative gifts into the world around us.

Sekhmet as Venus in Leo

Sekhmet from the Sanctuary of Khonsu Temple in the Precinct of Amun-Re at Karnak Temple

The Egyptian goddess Sekhmet is a compelling mythic figure to contemplate in relation to Venus in Leo.  Sekhmet in myth can be a fierce and wrathful goddess, but she also seems to be a regenerative one whose fire burns away the inessential in preparation for a rebirth.  Though she is linked in myth to mass destruction and warfare, she also has a strong connection to healing as her son Nefer-Tem is a god of healing and she also had significations and names directly evoking medicine.  Sekhmet is primordial and one of the most powerful goddesses in all pantheons.  As Leo is ruled by the Sun, and the Sun in astrology is said to have an all-pervading power that can overwhelm any planets that go under it’s beams or combust, Sekhmet similarly signifies the celestial fire of the Sun that can weaken and destroy, or heal and stimulate.   Sekhmet wears a solar disk with a serpentine uraeus that further connects her with kundalini energetic awakenings, the divine rulership of pharaohs, and the judgement of souls commonly connected with the goddess Ma’at.

Likewise Leo is a limitless placement for Venus in the sense that Venus in Leo knows no limits, roaring in the face of any source of limitation.  Venus in Leo does what she pleases, and never asks permission for what she can or cannot do- she simply, confidently does.  As we will have a stronger pull than normal to activate what we sense is our creative destiny with Venus in Leo, we need to realize that when we do not receive the attention we feel is our deserved due that we can become angry on the one hand, withdrawn on the other hand.  Venus in Leo is ambitious, yet we must monitor feelings of unworthiness or inadequacy that could come up if we feel we are not being given positive validation tantamount to the level of ambition we were aiming for.  With Venus in Leo getting closer and closer to Jupiter in Leo each day in the month ahead, it is imperative for each of us to make choices each day to actualize whatever we feel strong desire to create from within.  In the end, being brave enough to manifest our creative purpose in our surroundings is much more important than whether or not we receive the amount of acclaim we were hoping for or perfectly manifest material in accordance with our idealized intentions.  A lot can shift once Venus goes retrograde at the end of July, and so this is an ideal time to set intentions and initiate action while Venus is direct and shining with the most brilliant light of her cycle at night.

Astrology Classes in Olympia

Wednesday Night Astrology Class

Wednesday Evening Astrology Classes

I am excited to announce I will be teaching a series of Astrology Classes in Olympia, Washington beginning on June 24, 2015 and going through July 29, 2015.  Classes will be once a week on Wednesday evening from 7:30 – 9:00 pm, at Firefly Yoga located at 421 Water Street in downtown Olympia.  Firefly Yoga is located next door to Tradition’s Cafe & World Folk Art.  The cost for each class will be $10 – $20 on a sliding scale.

Each week’s class will cover an introductory astrological topic and focus primarily on one planet in the following order:

June 24:     Saturn

July 1:        Jupiter

July 8:        Mars

July 15:      Venus

July 22:      Mercury

July 29:       Venus Retrograde

We will discuss the astrological meaning of the planetary topic in class, and then explore it’s implication by house and aspects in the birth chart. We will also discuss the meaning of the planet by transit, and explore how the planet in its current transit is impacting the birth chart of class participants. For example, in the first class on Saturn we will delve into the meaning of Saturn having moved retrograde back into Scorpio for a final time, and the impact this can make in the charts of class participants. In the final class on Venus retrograde, we will explore the meaning of Venus retrograde within the cycle of Venus with the Sun, and look at the impact the Venus retrograde beginning at the end of July will have in the charts of class participants. If interested in attending, please email your birth chart information to consultation@graycrawford.net

Guiding Stars Radio: Dark Moon before a Solar Eclipse Equinox

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On the Pontine Swamps (1852) by Arnold Böcklin

On Wednesday, March 18, 2015 at 10:00 am Pacific Standard Time, I will be appearing on Kristin Fontana’s Guiding Stars radio show.  Click below for a link to her website (featuring an excellent weekly astrological starcast for each sign) and a link that will take you to the radio show as well as to an archived list of past shows in case you miss it live:

http://kristinfontana.com/radio/

March 18 will be a Dark Moon in Pisces with Mercury conjunct Neptune in Pisces.  Two days later on March 20 we will experience a Solar Eclipse at 29-30° of Pisces and then later in the day will celebrate the Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, the Fall Equinox if you are in the Southern Hemisphere.  During this show we will discuss how we can utilize the Mercury and Neptune conjunction in Pisces to prepare for the coming Eclipse season and the initiation of the new Equinox.  In addition, we will explore the seventh and final square between Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries that goes down on March 16 or March 17, depending upon your time zone.  We will also place all of this in the context of Saturn stationing retrograde in Sagittarius on March 14.  Please join us!

March18RadioShowWRIGC6

The Guilt of Prometheus and Pandora’s Gifts

I invite you to read this beautiful exploration of the Prometheus myth and its archetypal impact on our collective experience and personal individuation within the collective. As she often does, Monika in her “Symbol Reader” writing here encapsulates the feeling of the current astrological climate without explicitly stating that she has done so. To me, this post brings forward aspects of the Pluto and Uranus square, the ingress of Saturn into Sagittarius, Mercury and Venus combined in Aquarius, the exit of Mars from Aquarius and ingress into Pisces, and most especially the sextile between Saturn in Sagittarius and the forthcoming Mercury retrograde cycle in Aquarius.

symbolreader

Jean Delville, "Prometheus" Jean Delville, “Prometheus”

Prometheus was one of the Titans – the gods who descended from primordial deities, and preceded Olympian gods and goddesses. His name meant “forethought;” he proved he deserved it by showing a gift of premonition and prophecy when he sided with the Olympians during the war with the Titans. He knew beforehand who the winners would be and chose to cooperate with the bringers of the new order. However, his defiant and unyielding nature rebelled whenever he felt that the Olympians did not have the interest of humans at heart. Prometheus and his brother Epimetheus (“afterthought”) did not get imprisoned in Tartarus after the war with the Titans because they had displayed their loyalty to the Olympians. Zeus entrusted them with the task of creating humans, which Prometheus accomplished using mud (clay), into which the goddess Athena breathed life. Prometheus fell in love with his earth-born creation…

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Guiding Stars Radio: Gemini Full Moon

Elohimy Herkulec & Amazone

I will be on Kristin Fontana’s “Guiding Stars Internet Radio” show on Wednesday, December 3, 2014 at 10 am Pacific Standard Time.  We will be discussing the upcoming Full Moon in Gemini as well as the upcoming ingress of Mars into Aquarius through the lens of Evolutionary Astrology as taught by Jeff Green.  You can find a link to the show here, as well as a link to archived shows in case you want to listen to it but cannot make it for the live broadcast:

http://kristinfontana.com/radio/

Motion of Soul

norwac header49

The following quotes are taken from a lecture by Robert Hand at the 2014 NORWAC Astrology Conference.  On the final night of the conference, 25 May 2014, Robert Hand presented his talk “Toward a Post-Modern Astrology.”  I was particularly struck by the following excerpts as the philosophy he presented deeply resonated with my own feelings toward life and astrology. I was comforted by the fact that he has spent years of deep philosophical research and exploration, and that his summary and synthesis of his findings validated my own feelings that lack the intellectual rigor of research in support.  One of his central ideas was introduced through a description of a dream he had:

In the dream, I was giving an astrological workshop, obviously of a philosophical bent, in a bookstore somewhere here on the West coast, at least thats what it felt like at least . . . and I was talking about the three levels of Soul that are described in Aristotle’s work on the Soul, “De Anima” [“On the Soul”] . . . basically they are the vegetable soul, the animal soul, and the intellectual soul.  The vegetable soul is the level of soul one finds in plants, the animal soul is the level one finds in animals, and the intellectual or intellective soul is what you find in human beings.  This is Aristotle talking, not me, I would make the division a little differently . . . So after talking about the vegetable soul, the animal soul, and the intellective soul, I then said something in the dream, “And of course, you also have to understand there is a mineral soul.”  And, shortly after that I woke up and said, “Wow.”  Because I understood exactly what I was saying in the dream.  And that is, that there is nothing that is not composed of soul. It is simply that the lowest manifestation, appears to be inert. I would not use the term mineral soul anymore, and even at the time I recognized it as a placeholder name.  This is very important as I think I will show you . . .

As you probably know . . . Einstein figured out that matter was a form of highly concentrated energy . . . and thus established that matter and energy were two different forms of basically the same substance.  Now, what do I mean by substance.  Substance does not mean matter. Substance means that which stands under everything else . . . substantia in classical Latin . . . and anything that can become that out of which other things are made is a substantia . . . So matter and energy became in 20th Century physics the substancia of all existence . . .

What is life?  That is to say, what makes things alive?  A very older view is that an immaterial entity known as a spirit comes in and inhabits the body and animates it. In fact, that’s what animate means, it means ensouled.  The word animate, meaning to move, and the word anima, meaning soul, are all one piece. Motion and Soul are universally linked in ancient philosophy.  So, science has a problem determining where living beings come from as living beings  . . .

What my dream told me . . . is that Soul is the third substance, or more accurately, it’s the first substance . . . Ultimately we will find I believe that energy is made up out of soul just as much as matter, as we conceive matter to be, is made up out of energy. Now, obviously this is not soul as we normally conceive of it, “soul stuff” might be a better way of putting it, but the point is, there is no discontinuity because nothing is truly inanimate. And last night, Bernadette [Bernadette Brady on the previous night presented a talk concerning Astrology and Fate] added a really interesting ingredient to this by pointing out that the reason we can’t tell that a rock or a hill or a landscape are alive is because their life encompasses such a long period of time that we can’t see it . . . we can only infer it from geological examination . . . all we know is that their wavelength is very long . . .

So my proposition here is that matter and energy are actually composed of the stuff that is the foundation of soul, so the universe is actually filled with life energy.  Energy is the wrong word, but life stuff . . . I prefer stuff because it doesn’t make any assumptions . . .

The last major movement in ancient philosophy is usually referred to by modern scholars as Neoplatonism . . . In Neoplatonism there are said to be four levels of something or other . . . The most primal level is simply referred to as the One. It basically is everything that is . . . that also pertains to could be, will be, or was. Whatever the totality is, that’s it, and thats about all you can say about it.  In turn, it generates true being. The One in a rigorous philosophical sense cannot be said “to be,” because “to exist” you have to be within something else and there is no something else.  So it in turns generates being.  And one of the forms it takes is the recognition of a Self and an Other.  So this is where the boundary between a Self and Other is born . . .

Soul is the third level, or psyche . . . The level of soul is that in which the entire physical universe exists. In other words, the physical universe does not generate life, life generates the physical universe . . .  Now, what is a peculiar characteristic of soul? Well, of course it involves movement as in anima/animate, but that is not the one I am going to grab on to tonight.  Soul is atemporal and nonlocal . . . time occurs within it, it is not time. It does not experience time, time occurs within it. And it is nonlocal because it is everywhere, at all levels . . .

Soul stuff drives the cosmos toward manifesting entities that clearly do exhibit to our eyes the characteristics of living entities.  This is caused by complexity . . . not any old complexity . . . The substantial soul is soul as a basic substance of all being . . . We are all sitting in an infinite sea of soul, we are the infinite sea of soul.  Hinduism would actually not have much of a problem with this . . . Hinduism at its higher levels regards each individual human as the entire universe experienced from a particular point of view. Which fits beautifully- and by the way, every human being in his or her essence, fills the entire cosmos . . . So all apparently nonliving matter operates within a continuous field of the substantial soul.  This is the master field, if you will.  It is the source of the laws of nature.  So the laws of nature are the laws of soul . . .

The totality of all soul stuff at all levels constitutes the Anima Mundi or World Soul.  So we are all part of it.  We are not just in it, we are part of it.  That indwelling sense of Spirit is the direct action of the Anima Mundi. Known in Christianity as the Holy Ghost, although they are not quite happy with the idea that it might be female, or at least appear female.  In Kabbala, and Judaism in general, it is the Shekhinah, which is the female presence of God in this world. And it’s also Sophia . . .

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Robert Hand

I was deeply engrossed in his talk when something fantastic occurred in my mind.  As Robert Hand began to speak the following quotation from Plotinus, I perceived an emanation of white light coming out from his head, not unlike an aura.  This is not a usual perception that I have, and I am still amazed at it’s occurrence, especially considering the following words that simultaneously came out through his voice that moved me deeply:

They (the inhabitants) see themselves in others.  For all things are transparent, and there is nothing dark or resisting, but every one is manifest to every one internally, and all things are manifest.  For light is manifest to light.  For every one has all things in himself and again sees in another all things.  So that all things are everywhere.  And all is all, and each is all.  And the splendor is infinite.  For each of them is great, since the small is also great.  And the Sun there is all stars.  And again, each and all are the Sun.  In each thing, that one thing is pre-eminent above the rest, but it also shows forth all.

Plotinos

Plotinus

Passionate Longing for Dialogue (1): Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

This is a new project I am working on in collaboration with Monika of the Symbol Reader blog discussing works of art and their archetypal impact. Here we discuss Haruki Murakami and his “Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage.” We do have some astrology references in here, such as that the main character is 36 years old in the time of a Jupiter return, and the content does connect with the impending Lunar Eclipse, in which our great light is temporarily eclipsed into darkness to return again.

symbolreader

tsukurucover and board togethermurakami

I am starting a new series on my blog which will consist of conversations regarding books, films and potentially other soulful topics of interest. I am calling the series “Passionate Longing for Dialogue,” which is a quote from Martin Buber’s I and Thou. The following is my exchange with Gray of graycrawford.net about the new novel by Haruki Murakami. I met Gray through blogging on wordpress and we understood immediately that we have a strong mercurial connection and that our thought processes resonate with each other very deeply.

Monika: Murakami has been one of my favorite novelists for a long time now, so I try not to miss any of his novels. The most recent one, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, really enchanted me. I finished it in just four days, I think. I love everything about his writing: the meditative sentences and the fathomless…

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The Song We Have Sung For Ourselves

I have not previously reblogged anything here, but in the spirit of the North Node of the Moon in Libra, I feel it important to spread this article to as many people as possible. I have been working with Chiron and feel deep resonance with this writing about him. Astrologer David Coleman in part delves into the discovery chart of Chiron, making me realize how this discovery chart is going to be experiencing a lunar nodal return connected with the upcoming Lunar Eclipse. Also the writing here about Chiron’s meaning connects strongly to other current transits, including Jupiter in Leo in trine to Uranus in Aries, and their additional aspects with Saturn in Scorpio and Pluto in Capricorn. There is a substantive message to integrate in this article that cuts across time yet is also aligned with our current moment in time.

journeys in the astral light

ChironCave art from India, circa 2000 BC

 An exploration of Chiron

for Mateusz and Scorpia

“In the time of the Seventh Fire, a New People would emerge. They would retrace their steps to find the wisdom that was left by the side of the trail long ago. Their steps would take them to the elders, who they would ask to guide them on their journey. If the New People remain strong in their quest, the sacred drum will again sound its voice. There will be an awakening of the people, and the sacred fire will again be lit. At this time, the light-skinned race will be given a choice between two roads. One road is the road of greed and technology without wisdom or respect for life. This road represents a rush to destruction. The other road is spirituality, a slower path that includes respect for all living things…

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Taurus and Incarnation

scenes from Buddha's life

Taurus and Being Human in Form

What do you desire?  What do you value?  You may have noticed others, including astrologers, asking you these questions recently as we have been experiencing an incredibly intense time period of Taurus energy these past couple of weeks, but especially now.  Unrelated to astrology, in the community college class I teach recently students have been creating projects and writing exploring what they want to attract into their life, what their current purpose in life is, what they desire to have in their life, and what they value.  There have been as many different responses as there are different people, differences in human personalities and backgrounds, with some wanting to possess material items and others more immaterial qualities.  There has been a wide range of material desires, from wanting a more simple type of a pet or a house, to more outlandish possessions such as a private jet, exotic animals, and millions of dollars; there has also been a wide range of immaterial desires, from wanting to have happiness and provide service to the local community, to wanting to provide service to the global community and to explore a higher level of consciousness.  What all of their responses have had in common, however, is desire, human desire, and the fact that human beings have desires, and that we also tend to develop a sense of values that are important to us, and that some of us live from.  This brings up the question, what is desire?  Where do our desires and values come from?  Why do we desire and value what we do?

I was recently listening to a taped lecture by astrologer Alan Oken and gained a new sense of understanding for the sign of Taurus by hearing him break down the etymology of Incarnation.  Incarnation means “embodied in flesh” or “in the flesh,” “in the meat (carne),” and so connects with Taurus as being the second sign of the zodiac since in Taurus we incarnate into form the new impulse of celestial life connected with the first sign of the zodiac, Aries.  We can further link this concept of being in the flesh to our thoughts and emotions, and indeed the sign of Taurus is connected to not only our physical form and sensuality, but also the crystallized form of our thoughts and feelings that make up the value system we live from.  The image of the Buddha above may not be the first one that comes to mind when you think of Taurus, the sign of the bull, until you begin to consider how his teachings connect with the conflicts we encounter in our physical incarnation in a body, and the suffering we cause ourselves through the crystallized patterns of thoughts and emotions we view our world from.

In contrast to thinking of the Buddha when we think of Taurus, as a result of Venus traditionally ruling Taurus in astrology many tend to visualize the sign as a sensual Goddess enjoying her physical incarnation and all the pleasures that can come through it.  And of course, since Taurus is the sign of the bull, we also associate Taurus energy as being embodied by a bull who can be fully engrossed in the presence of the moment in its natural setting, again soaking in the physical delights of its physical form:

MoreauEuropa_and_the_Bull

Taurus is all about being in our body and feeling the sensations of our world  upon our flesh.  The connection to Venus can be felt in the sensuality of our flesh merging with the flesh of our lover, the scent of our lover’s sweat, the taste of their skin.  The crystallization of thought and desire in Taurus can be seen in how we become possessive of this feeling, possessive of our lover, how some can become obsessed more with the intensity of past romantic experience more so than manifesting love into their current life.  This is the shadow side of Taurus, and we can have karmic consequences for our possessiveness.  For example, the image above is one of the most significant catalytic events in myth:  Zeus desiring to possess the beautiful Europa, so transforming himself into a bull to lure her away, and carry her off to the land that became Europe.  The desire of Taurus to possess and hold onto objects or values is where we can apply the expression of “being stubborn like a bull,” and the angry emotions that can erupt out of the normally calm Taurus when a desired object or value is lost is when Taurus can be described as “being like a bull in a china shop.”  The strong sensual desire of Taurus can be applied to anything in our life, such as the taste of food or the more nurturing touch of a friend or family member.  It can vary from culture to culture, especially where material items are concerned: to some possessing a high octane mechanical vehicle with plush interior made up of the skin of a cow could be important, whereas to someone else owning the cow itself could be important.  With Taurus it can come down to possessing what we desire, and this is where we can come down into our suffering.  This is because if anything is true in life it is change.  And since everything is constantly changing, if we are consumed with possessing something we can suffer when it goes away.

Hopefully you can sense by now how in addition to the Goddess Venus, the Buddha clearly connects with the sign of Taurus as well, and not only because he is believed to have been born, reached enlightenment, and have died during the time of Taurus.  When we consider the historical life of the man who became the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, we can imagine that he grew up in a constant state of hedonistic delight, having his every desire attended to, as the popular version of his story indicates his father the King attempted to shield him from the suffering of the external world.  The fact the Buddha grew up in such a materialistic state mirrors the lower nature of Taurus, the side of Taurus that has a desire for material possessions that can never be satiated; the more it possesses, the more it continues to desire more materialism.  In contrast, the higher nature of Taurus mirrors the spiritual development of the Buddha away from attachment to matter and desire, into freedom from materialism, gaining the freedom to connect with Spirit.  In Soul-Centered Astrology, Alan Oken illuminated this connection between Taurus and the Buddha:

The Buddha taught that the path of detachment from desire is the vehicle for the entrance of Light; that is, the Creative Will . . . He did this through those methods which imparted the means to awaken the Third Eye- the “Eye of the Bull.”  This awakening brings into one’s daily life a consciousness in which the expression of the Soul is centered in the intuitive or “Buddhic” plane.  Such an awakening brings forth the potential for the fullest expression of our humanness.  In this respect, the dual horns of the Bull become the single horn of the one pointed spiritualized being, as symbolized by the Unicorn . . . As we open our hearts and Higher Minds, we externalize those aspects of ourself which correspond to the Christ and the Buddha.  This opening is at the core of all of our efforts at self-realization; this is the realization of the Self.  The work to free ourselves from possessiveness and materiality so that through these lessons true Wisdom may emerge is very definitely at the center of the Taurean phase of the turning of the wheel.

— Alan Oken, Soul-Centered Astrology, pp.  167-168

It is traditionally said that at the age of 29 Siddhartha finally journeyed beyond the confines of his controlled life, and was able to witness the old, the sick, the dying, and the dead, causing an expansion of consciousness from within.  In astrology, the age of 29 is significant for being the time of the first Saturn return, a transit that embodies the karmic meaning of this turning point in the Buddha’s life.  He left his princely palace life in order to follow his own Path of Spirit, a journey which took him into many turns leading within himself.  In contrast to the hedonism of his youth, he went to the extremity of abandoning all sensory delight into a lifestyle of ascetism, learning in the process that a Middle Way was the True Path.  Out of this insight came his Four Noble Truths:  the truth of dukkha (translated as suffering, stress, anxiety, or dissatisfaction), the truth of the origin of suffering, the truth of the cessation of suffering, and the path leading to the cessation of suffering.  The Buddha next elaborated upon an Eightfold Path that leads to enlightenment:  Right Understanding, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration.  These can perhaps become more manageable to think of grouped into three categories:  “Right View (encompassing Understanding and Thought), Right Relationship (consisting of Speech, Action, and Livelihood), and Right Meditation (Effort, Mindfulness, and Concentration)².”

The astrology of the moment suggests we can be gaining a lot of information into the root causes of our current wounds this lifetime, no matter your beliefs concerning past lives, with the potential to notice how our perception of reality and our attachment to forms could be causing our suffering.  It brings up the question of whether or not learning more about how we have been wounded can even be useful.  Is it useful to go into our wounds? Mark Epstein, who studied and practiced Buddhism before becoming a psychotherapist, explored these questions deeply in his book Going on Being:  Buddhism and the Way of Change, recounting this story of the Buddha:

Talking one day in the forest environment that he favored, he suddenly held up a handful of simsapa leaves and asked the attentive bhikkhus (or monks) to tell him which was greater, the leaves in his hand or the leaves in the surrounding grove . . .

“Very few in your hand, Lord. Many more in the grove,” they replied with unsparing simplicity and none of my taste for duplicity.

It was the same with his psychological and spiritual knowledge, responded the Buddha. Like the many leaves of the simsapa grove, his knowledge far exceeded the handful of his teachings.  Out of the vastness of all possible understanding, he taught only that which in his view led to freedom.  When asked why he would not reveal other facts about reality, he gave the following reply:

“Because, friends, there is no profit in them; because they are not helpful to holiness; because they do not lead from disgust to cessation and peace; because they do not lead from knowledge to wisdom and nirvana.  That is why I have not revealed them.”

The Buddha’s teachings were always direct and to the point.  In coming up against the world of psychotherapy, I have tried to use his words from the simsapa grove as a guide.  “How much of this analytic wisdom is actually helpful?”  I have wondered.  “Does it lead to wisdom, cessation, and peace?”  In the Buddhist view, knowledge is never envisioned as an end in itself but only as a beginning, useful as a means of getting oriented.

–Mark Epstein, p. 119-121

Mark Epstein explored important questions in this book, bringing up the fact he had many friends and associates who gained insights through therapy and yet remained as unhappy, dissatisfied, and egocentric after being in therapy as they were before.  He felt a place where Buddhism, meditation, and psychotherapy can all be helpful is the concept of “going on being,” which he first read about through British child analyst D.W. Winnicott.  The idea of going on being is having “an uninterrupted flow of authentic self,” similar to the pure action displayed most often in our culture by young children.  According to this idea of going on being, it “does not need to connote any fixed entity of self; but it does imply a stream of unimpeded awareness, ever evolving, yet with continuity, uniqueness, and integrity.  It carries with it the sense of the unending meeting places of interpersonal experience, convergences that are not blocked by a reactive or contracted ego” (p. 30-31).  Epstein connects this non-attachment to a “fixed entity of self” to the Four Noble Truths of the Buddha, since the Buddha taught that the first type of clinging is for “pleasant sensory experiences,” and is “equivalent in many ways to the Freudian sexual drive and involves the seeking after sensory gratification” (p. 10).  Later in the book, Epstein shows how this dukkha of the Four Noble Truths relates to our suffering, and to me this connects with the strong energy of Taurus we are currently experiencing:

We want what we can’t have and don’t want what we do have; we want more of what we like and less of what we don’t like.  We are always a little bit hungry, or a little bit defensive, anticipating the slipping away of that which we have worked so hard to achieve.  Behind every suffering, Buddhist teachers say, is the desire for things to be different.  This attempt to control or manage what cannot be changed interferes with our going on being.  We worry about the past and anticipate the future or worry about the future and anticipate the past.  Our self-centeredness causes us to create an uneasy relationship with the world in which we try to fend off any threats to our hard-fought security.  This sets up an indefensible position; we become like a fortress:  a self within a mind within a body that is threatened from all sides.  (p.55-56)

Epstein also connects this issue to being a therapist, and how his “desire for control, in the form of being a helper, is as much of an obstacle to healing another person as it is to healing oneself” (p. 56).  These aspects of dukkha related to self-identity are the other two types of “clinging” taught by the Buddha:   clinging for “being” and for “nonbeing.”  This is an important aspect I don’t have the space or time in this blog to properly explore, but it is sometimes the idea of being “empty” or lacking ego that draws some to Buddhism in order to get away from their egocentric perspective; however, to the Buddha, in either case it is the “mind’s need for certainty” that shortchanges reality (p.22).  The Buddha taught the middle path because the self concept of being a “somebody” or a “nobody” are both mistakes, having a “self-centered attitude is as much of a problem as the self-abnegating one” (p.22).  It is “our sense of self-certainty” in either case that is the issue, because since life is always changing, if we are clinging to any sense of self too strongly we are not being fully in the moment, fully going on being (p.22).  Epstein also brings up insights taught by his friend and teacher Ram Dass in his book, including that it is also a mistake to try to get rid of unwanted parts of ourselves in an attempt to gain greater freedom.  Instead if we can develop a practice of mindfulness and awareness, the “more we bring our attachments into awareness, the freer we become, not because we eliminate the attachments, but because we learn to identify more with awareness than with desire.  Using our capacity for consciousness, we can change perspective on ourselves, giving a sense of space where once there was only habit.  Discipline means restraining the habitual movement of the mind, so that instead of blind impulse there can be clear comprehension” (p. 71).  Since we are in a time of such tremendous Taurus energy, and Taurus has a strong tendency to want to hold onto past habits of comfort in order to gain a sense of self-security, it will be especially important now to practice greater awareness and mindfulness of our attachments.

So in this time of great Taurus energy, we can perhaps use our powerful sensory abilities to become more aware of our desires.  This is somewhat similar to the “diamond approach” of A.H. Almaas that involves sensing one’s body in an ongoing basis, with focus on a point in the belly, helping one to become more grounded in physical body and physical reality, and eventually bringing with it the potential to become more in touch with a spiritual essence.  To me, this is also somewhat similar to “gut wisdom” and the danger that if we are not practicing awareness, we can end up reacting to events from our guts that are more rooted in our past wounding than from a place of heart-centered awareness of the moment.  The potential of using Taurus sensory awareness to develop greater connection with Spirit and presence in the Now of the constant flux of life, also reminds me of the wisdom contained in Taoism.  In particular the following quote from the Tao Te Ching translation by Stephen Mitchell (45), brings up for me the perspective we can gain from losing attachment to form so that we can truly use the form of our life in greater alignment with what is actually happening around us:

True perfection seems imperfect,

yet it is perfectly itself.

True fullness seems empty,

yet it is fully present.

True straightness seems crooked.

True wisdom seems foolish.

True art seems artless.

The Master allows things to happen.

She shapes events as they come.

She steps out of the way

and lets the Tao speak for itself.

bull in lascaux cave

Current Transits in Taurus & Scorpio

As I am writing this, the Sun and all of the personal planets are in Taurus:  Sun, Moon, Mercury, Mars, and Venus is literally in the final culminating minutes of her most recent pass through Taurus.  This Taurus energy is even more intense today as later we will experience a Solar Eclipse in Taurus, with the Sun and Moon within a few degrees of the South Node of the Moon in Taurus.  The fact that the South Node of the Moon is  in Taurus means collectively, all souls on our planet are processing and synthesizing past issues connected with Taurus, including past life issues that could be buried in our unconscious.  The image of the Bull above in the ancient caves of Lascaux, France represents just how long the archetypal image of the Bull has been significant to humans- we are talking over 17,000 years ago most likely!  Once we step into belief in the possibility of us having a soul, a soul that has had previous incarnations on this planet, we step into the possibility that we could be impacted somewhere in our psyche by events from even as long ago as when this bull above was painted on the wall of a cave.

We can again bring the Buddha into our discussion of these times of Taurus because part of his spiritual awakening involved knowledge of his many previous incarnations, bringing the awareness that we all have a soul we have been re-incarnating in many different forms in many different lifetimes or incarnations.  In astrology, two of the approaches I am most drawn to are deeply connected with the Soul:  Evolutionary Astrology and Esoteric Astrology.  It is fascinating that both of these astrological approaches have a channeled background:  the Evolutionary Astrology paradigm as taught by Jeffrey Wolf Green originally came to Jeff in a dream, in Sanskrit from Sri Yuketswar, the guru of Yogananda;  in comparison, the Esoteric Astrology material was channeled by Alice Bailey from the Tibetan Master D.K., and is currently being taught and made popular by Alan Oken and his work in astrology.  In her book Esoteric Astrology, Alice Bailey described the connection between Taurus and incarnation:

As the individual descends into incarnation and when he takes an astral shell (emotional body), he definitely comes into a Taurian cycle, for it is desire which impels to rebirth and it takes the potency of Taurus to bring this about.

–Alice Bailey, Esoteric Astrology, p. 380

This link between desire and re-incarnation is part of the answer to my question at the beginning of this article concerning the origins of our desires, and why we have them.  The Evolutionary Astrology paradigm taught by Jeffrey Wolf Green also places great importance on the connection between our desires, our Soul, and our past incarnations.  Green teaches that the placement and aspects of Pluto describes the types of desires the soul has had in previous lives that have a direct connection to the current evolutionary intentions of the current lifetime- in Sanskrit this archetype is called Prarabdha Karma.  As a result of Pluto correlating with our soul desires, Green teaches that it also correlates with our deepest sense of security, meaning that by connecting with the sources of our soul desires, we can maintain a sense of self-consistency and security- so we tend to have a hard time moving beyond our desires as they are connected with our soul, our previous incarnations, and our comfort zone.

With regards to the South Node of the Moon, Green describes it as correlating to the kind of ego identities that the soul has created in past lives in order to actualize the evolutionary desires of the soul.  Since the current South Node of the Moon in Taurus will be conjunct the Solar Eclipse today, all of our soul desires on a collective and individual level could be triggered.   Amazingly, the Sabian Symbol for the current South Node of the Moon in Taurus at 17 degrees is connected with the story of Gautama Siddhartha in his process of becoming the Buddha.  In An Astrological Mandala, Dane Rudyar links the symbol for 17 Taurus to the Buddha in this way:

When Gautama, having sought in vain for the answers to his questions among the teachers of tradition, sat under the Bodhi Tree, he had to fight his own battle in his own way, even though it is an eternal fight.  The spiritual light within the greater Soul must struggle against the ego-will that only knows how to use the powers of this material and intellectual world.  There is no possibility of escape; it is the energy that arises out of the present moment- the inescapable NOW- that the daring individual has to use in the struggle.

The symbol is A SYMBOLICAL BATTLE BETWEEN “SWORDS” and “TORCHES,” and according to Dane Rudhyar, “suggests that salvation is attained through the emergent individual’s readiness to face all issues as if there were only two opposed sides . . . a stage of POLARIZATION OF VALUES” (p.  81).  Tied into this symbol is a “seeker” who has transformed into a “warrior,” “refusing to depend upon the past,” and “fighting anew the eternal Great War” (p. 81).  Polarity is an important concept in Evolutionary Astrology as well, for example integrating the polarity point of Pluto (Cancer to Capricorn; Scorpio to Taurus) is connected to our evolutionary development similar to integrating the North Node of the Moon.  Taurus being the sign of the South Node of the Moon at this time makes us even more magnetized than usual to past patterns because of the comfort Taurus finds in the stability, and so it will take the intense transformation energy of it’s archetypal polarity, Scorpio, to force us onto a path of greater evolutionary growth.

Since eclipses often correlate with sudden and unexpected events that can be uncomfortable, this Sabian Symbol of Gautama becoming the Buddha suggests we could experience spiritual growth through facing the events without attachment to our past, and through welcoming the struggle between the will of our soul and the will of our ego personality- achieving growth in consciousness through the conflict.  Rudhyar’s description of the Buddha in this Sabian Symbol is also a timely image for the current South Node of the moon because it brings a sense of an active warrior energy to the traditional image of a calm, peaceful Buddha-  this is because we will need to actively move beyond our ties to past patterns of desire into greater freedom and a new life of meaning amid the flux of changes that will most likely occur in this time period of eclipses.  Today’s eclipse correlating with greater awareness of spiritual forces is further shown through the Sabian Symbol of the Solar Eclipse at 20 degrees Taurus:  “Wisps of winglike clouds streaming across the sky,”  described by Dane Rudhyar as a sign that an “individual who has taken a new step in his evolution should look for the ‘Signature’ of divine Powers confirming his progress . . . The ‘winglike clouds’ may also symbolize the presence of celestial beings (devas, angels) blessing and subtly revealing the direction to take, the direction of ‘the wind’ of destiny” (Rudhyar, An Astrological Mandala, p. 83).  If we make the difficult or uncomfortable choice to move out of our comfort zone into accordance with our evolutionary growth- again, this could feel like a polarity to the desires and values we feel secure with- we will hopefully receive guidance or signs of synchronicity showing we are on the correct path.

It will not be easy to be move beyond patterns of desire associated with the South Node of the Moon because of the large number of transits currently impacting it:  on May 6, the Sun was conjunct the South Node of the Moon in Taurus, and on May 7 Mercury and Mars became conjunct in range of a conjunction with the South Node (the third conjunction of Mercury and Mars in 2013:  they were conjunct twice in Pisces in February).  So our soul purpose (Sun), perception and organization of reality (Mercury) and sense of Will (Mars) will all be connected with the South Node at the time of the eclipse.  The recent Mercury and Mars cycle is connected with the intense Pisces energy we experienced in February (which then became the intense Aries energy of April, the intense Taurus energy of May- more so than normal just so you know!). On February 8, Mercury and Mars were conjunct in Pisces (also conjunct Neptune and Chiron in Pisces and square Jupiter in Gemini), and then once Mercury stationed retrograde, they were conjunct again on February 26, 2013 in square to Ceres in Gemini (I wrote about this here:  https://esotericembers.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/an-angel-watches-over-an-argument-between-ceres-and-mercury/).  Now, three months later, they are finally conjunct once again, conjunct the South Node of the Moon at the same time as a Solar Eclipse conjunct the South Node of the Moon!  In the time of Pisces we were able to open to some sense somewhere of greater vision and possibility in our life- now is the time to manifest, and work with our mind to change the way we are thinking, to align our mind and our perceptions with not only our Will but the Divine Will of the Universe.  The Buddha and Buddhism teaches that we are what we think, that we become what we think, and that it is possible to change who and what we become in form, through changing the form of our thoughts.

In addition, with Jupiter continuing to be in Gemini and Venus moving into the beginning of Gemini at the time of the eclipse, we could experience a flood of information concerning the desires we have that are linked with past incarnations, more information than could even seem useful because of the overwhelming feeling it brings.  It again brings up the issue of whether or not all this information, this going into our past problems can help us- and again, the advice of the Buddha to train mind, discipline mind, in order to disentangle ourselves from our past thoughts and desires, in order to change through changing the way we think, does feel helpful to me.  Indeed, if we look at the Sabian Symbol for the North Node of the Moon, 17 degrees Scorpio, at the time of today’s Solar Eclipse, we will see that we do indeed have this power of divine thought within us:

Scorpio 17:  A Woman, fecundated by her own spirit, is “Great with child.”

Keynote:  A total reliance upon the dictates of the God-within.

. . . here we see the result of a deep and complete concentration reaching to the innermost center of the personality where the Living God acts as a fecundating power.  This reveals the potency of the inward way, the surrender of the ego to a transcendent Force which can create through the person vivid manifestations of the Will of God.

–Dane Rudhyar, An Astrological Mandala, p. 202

So even though the strong Taurus energy in this time period could potentially correspond with us falling into even more of a comfort zone than normal, we can use the deep rooted centering of Taurus to help us be present to the transformations occurring around us with our full being.  But in order to do this in connection with our evolutionary intentions, we will need to do it while integrating the polarity of Taurus: Scorpio.  Scorpio is the polarity to Taurus, and the location of our collective focus of evolutionary growth in the form of the North Node of the Moon, as well as the current location of Saturn, the great karmic master of our three dimensional reality here.

mahakala

At the time of today’s eclipse, the North Node of the Moon and Saturn will be widely conjunct in Scorpio.  Saturn in Scorpio to me is like the karmic taskmaster Mahakala, seen in the image above.  Mahakala is always depicted with five skulls, the five skulls standing for the transmutation of desires into wisdom.  Mahakala destroys ignorance, confusion, and doubt, he is the Lord of Time and the Lord of Death, and to me is like Saturn in Scorpio in that he may seem intense and even wrathful, but in his intensity he purifies and protects.  At this time of Saturn in Scorpio standing in opposition to the extreme magnetic desire energy of Taurus, it is a time for us to face our desires and places we are acting out of confusion without fear.  It is a time to go through death, because death is our friend in transformation-  like Mahakala, we can make friends with our own personal “demons” and integrate ourselves into greater consciousness, as Mahakala turns demons into protection.  It is like how Taurus rules our desires for form, and in Scorpio we transcend or transmute our desires beyond attachment to form.  It is like the phoenix rising from the flames.  We do not fear death, we step into it and experience our freedom.  In another passage from Going Into Being, Mark Epstein explains his understanding of Nirvana and how it is not really about death, it is about the freedom we gain from releasing the fear of death:

Nirvana is the Buddha’s word for freedom, not for death.  It is his answer to the problem of common unhappiness, to the anxiety that is encapsulated most clearly in the fear of death.  Nirvana, as the late San Francisco Zen master Suzuki Roth put it, is the capacity to maintain one’s composure in the face of ceaseless change.  The key, from the Buddha’s perspective, is to find nirvana through overcoming one’s own self-created obstacles to that composure.  The path to nirvana means working with one’s own reactions to the change that surrounds us, to the change that we are.

–Mark Epstein, Going on Being: Buddhism and the Way of Change, p. 125

Joseph Campbell and others have elaborated upon the significance of ritualistic deaths in myths and in the reality of cultures around our planet, in that the important thing is that the participants believe they are going to die, and so experience a death of their infantile ego.  Some of the most widely practiced ancient rituals were connected with myths of the underworld, resurrection, and transcendence of form, such as the myth of Demeter and Persephone, and the myth of Isis and Osiris.  Going through a near death experience, or a ritualistic experience in which we believe we may die, helps us destroy our ego perspective that feels dependent upon society or the expectations of others to validate our authority, and helps us step into our own inner authority in an authentic manner without fear of judgment.  I do not mean to suggest that we need to go through a death experience at this time in our lives, just that the symbol of death and transformation associated with the archetype of Scorpio is very important right now, being the polarity to so much Taurus energy.

In fact, this transformation we could experience at this time could be quite peaceful, calm, and meditative, if we are using some of the wisdom teachings of the Buddha.  The Sabian Symbol for the current placement of Saturn in Scorpio is especially illuminating in this way:

Scorpio 8:  A calm lake bathed in moonlight

Keynote:  A quiet openness to higher inspiration

One could stress the romantic suggestions such an image evokes, but even at the level of a love relationship what is implied is a surrender of two personal egos to the inspiration of transcendent feelings which are essentially impersonal.  Love expresses itself through the lovers, for real Love is a cosmic undifferentiated principle or power which simply focuses itself within the “souls” of human beings who reflect its light.  The same is true of the mystic’s love for God.  Man strives hard to achieve great things through daring adventures, but a moment comes when all that really matters is to present a calm mind upon which a supernal light may be reflected.

–Dane Rudhyar, An Astrological Mandala, p. 196

To quote one of my favorite wise womyn on planet earth, master herbalist Carol Trasatto, this “balm of calm” could be quite helpful in these intense days ahead.  If we can reach within for this calm state of mind and being, we can be like the reflective surface of a tranquil lake receiving the glow of the full moon, like our calm mind receiving the Light of Spirit.  A helpful meditation for these upcoming times can be found in this translation of the Tao Te Ching by Stephen Mitchell (63):

Act without doing;

work without effort.

Think of the small as large

and the few as many.

Confront the difficult

while it is still easy;

accomplish the great task

by a series of small acts.

The Master never reaches for the great;

thus she achieves greatness.

When she runs into a difficulty,

she stops and gives herself to it.

She doesn’t cling to her own comfort;

thus problems are no problem for her.

Buddhist_Vajravarahi_Yantra

Harmony through Conflict

Times of eclipses are usually never easy, but when exactly is life easy for humans on our planet these days?  If we look at the symbol above, a six pointed star or what is often commonly referred to as the “Star of David,” we can see a symbol to meditate upon for guidance.  Similar to the symbol of the cross, the six pointed star meets in the middle, in the heart.  The triangle pointing upward symbolizes the transmutation of our lower nature into our higher nature, and the triangle pointing downward symbolizes the integration of our higher nature into our lower nature:  they meet in the middle, the heart.  Just as the cross meets in the middle, the heart.  The heart is the fourth chakra (the middle chakra, with three above and three below), just like humans are the fourth kingdom (three kingdoms below- mineral, plant, animal, and three kingdoms above- the soul, and the more “angelic” realms).  Sound like the middle path?  Using the number seven as a symbol for consciousness in these ways, we find that the number four is in the middle, and the number four stands for being heart-centered.  This connects with the Fourth Ray of Esoteric Astrology:  as Alan Oken teaches, what is the conflict?  Meat!  Being in the flesh, being incarnated in our physical form on this planet in the middle of extreme energies!  And what is the harmony?  Consciousness, and living a heart-centered life.  Fittingly for this Taurus eclipse season, the two main signs of the 4th Ray are Taurus and Scorpio- Taurus, the sign of being in form, beauty and art, and “the creation of the various forms of life and the ultimate release of consciousness from them that constitutes the lessons of daily living” (Oken, p.120), and Scorpio, the archetype of transcending attachment to form, ruled by Pluto on our ego level because of bringing about the death process of our desire nature.  Alan Oken has already written a brilliant summary of this dynamic, that could relate to intense events corresponding with these series of eclipses while the third Pluto-Uranus square is happening at the same time:

There is a common rhythm for those crises brought on through the urgency of Fourth Ray energy.  It may be outlined as follows:  A person finds herself in a relative state of harmony, but then a certain change enters her life, shifting the status quo.  Such a change brings on the tensions of the struggle between the past and the unfolding future, between the urge for things to stay the same and the inevitability of transformation.  A battle ensues between the two opposing forces, which leads to a passing and a death of the form of the situation.  She is left with the struggle to reconstruct a new form out of the experiences of the battle that has just taken place.  This new form consolidates and settles, and once again there is harmony– until the entrance of the next change!  Is this not the rhythm and movement of Scorpio?  The Fourth Ray, the human state, forces the resolution of conflict, the harmonizing of the pairs of opposites, and the eventual evolution from the focus of instinct and desire to the release into consciousness and pure, essential love.

–Alan Oken, Soul-Centered Astrology, p. 121

In these times of eclipses, with the third intense Pluto-Uranus square fast approaching on May 20, may we be heart-centered, heart-focused, and live from the heart.  If we can combine this with the guidance the Buddha brings to us in this season of Taurus, to train our minds to disentangle from the desires preventing us from sensing our true being in the world without interruption, we will have a heightened ability to shift and flow with whatever intense events may be on the horizon of our lives.

Hathor as a cow, from the papyrus of Ani

References

1. A.H. Almaas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._H._Almaas

2. Epstein, Mark. (200. Going on Being:  Buddhism and the Way of Change. Broadway Books.

3. Mitchell, Stephen (1988). Tao Te Ching. Harper Collins.

4. Oken, Alan.(1990). Soul-Centered Astrology:  A Key to Your Expanding Self.  Ibis.

5. Rudhyar, Dane. (1974).  An Astrological Mandala:  The Cycle of Transformations and its 360 Symbolic Phases. Vintage.

Crystal Shipsss and the geyser within

Crystal Shipsss, a psyche-delic band from Berlin, recently passed through Olympia. Jacob Faurholt writes the songs and is touring the USA at the moment with his girlfriend accompanying him, showcasing their new 10 inch album very worth a listen (on youtube also check the song “Smile” and “Uh-huh” and others under his real name).  Jacob sometimes confronts aspects of his own mind in his lyrics, other times confronts the opinion of mental health officials calling him crazy, other times just weaves an artful work of words-  one of those artists who you know where they are coming from.  He told me he loves the bands Galaxie 500 and Guided by Voices, and so does share aesthetic sensibilities with me.

During this time of Pisces Neptune squaring the Nodes in Gemini (South)-Sagiatrius (North) with Capricorn Pluto Uranus squaring Aries Uranus at the same time, some of us may have been experiencing some disorientation and strange trips of the mind, while others may be lost in an illusion and be in complete denial of it, even thinking it is perfectly “normal.”  As I will explore in a subsequent blog post, Mercury in Leo was first trine Uranus / sextile Pluto on July 2-5, 2012, then stationed retrograde and passed back over this point July 24-28, and then stationed direct on August 7 in quincunx to the Pisces Neptune and trine North Node / sextile South Node.  Today Mercury has moved back forward to once again be trine to Uranus and quincunx to Pluto within their intense square dynamic.

So, I feel at this time the geyser imagery in this video by Crystal Shipsss goes along with Mercury’s recent trip through Leo forwards and backwards and forwards again, linking the Neptune-Nodal square with the Uranus-Pluto square- today and in the next few days this arrangement in the stars could reflect an internal eruption we experience from within- sudden insights, sudden upsurges of feelings and emotions, hopefully which will also include insight along with the inspiration. More to come about this . . .

Sabian Symbol of the Sagitarius North Node of the Moon today

Sabian symbols are channeled images for every degree of the zodiac. At the moment the North Node of the Moon, symbolizing the evolving soul direction for our collective souls on our planet, is at 2 degrees Sagitarius.

From Sabian Symbols by Marc Edmund Jones, originally published in 1953:

Sagitarius 2  The ocean covered with whitecaps  This is a symbol of the unending availability of everything ever needed for life and experience, emphasized subjectively through the tireless anticipations of the human soul. Implicit in the symbolism is the necesity for giving direction to the restlessness of an over-all consciousness in which man’s immortal being is cradled, and for channeling this into a manifestation of personal energy.

The current retrograde Pisces Neptune is making things confusing for many on this planet at this time as it is almost exactly squaring the Nodal Axis. The image of an ocean covered with whitecaps can feel at this time for many of us like we are splashing and trying to keep our head above water, surrounded by a vast ocean we dimly understand and do not appreciate the full magnitude of. Disillusionment and denial of disillusionment abound. Spiritual discernment and discernment in general is a needed practice at this time. Discernment at this time is like an expert swim stroke.

The Uranus-Neptune generation (especially those entering our world between 1988 and 1996)

I teach community college in a program offering a high school degree to students who have dropped out of high school or have been unable to complete their diploma, if they can earn their diploma requirements at the community college level.  I teach only students between the ages of 16 and 21, so everyone I’ve taught in the program so far has been born between the years of 1996 and 1990. From 1988 until 1996 Uranus and Neptune were most exactly conjunct in the sign of Capricorn.  There is a lot to be written about this, and I plan to begin posting some of my thoughts upon this group of souls soon.

For now I am going to share some of the thoughts of Richard Tarnas, who brilliantly and comprehensively analyzed the historical cycle of Uranus and Neptune in his masterwork Cosmos and Psyche.

Throughout…centuries I noticed a parallel pattern of historical and cultural phenomena, similarly coincident with the alignments of the Uranus-Neptune cycle, involving the emrgence of utopian social visions and movements. Again, the underlying archetypal gestalt in this category can be recognized as a distinct synthesis of the two relevant principles:  Uranus’s Promethean impulse towards creative experiment and innovation, freedom, rebellion against the status quo, and a vector towards the future all complexly interacting with Neptune’s idealism and hope, spiritual inspiration, intuitive vision, the dissolving of conventional boundaries and structures, and the imagination of a perfect harmony and unity to be realized in the human community.

For example, the earliest influential statement of a utopian social vision in the Western tradition was Plato’s ideal communitarian republic that was to be overseen by philosopher rulers guided by the eternal Ideas. Outlined inThe Republic, this vision emerged from Plato’s philosophical awakening during the Uranus-Neptune conjunction at the turn of the fourth century BCE. Similarly, the first utopian work of the early modern period was Thomas More’s Utopia with its Renaissance Humanist vision of a more ideal social order. More’s work was the first to use the word “utopia,” which, with typically Neptunian ambiguity and paradox, draws on Greek roots to mean both “good place” (eu-topos) and “no place” (ou-topos), a world at once ideal and imaginary-two distinct sides of Neptune’s archetypal principle compressed into a single bivalent term. The sequence of axial alignments of the Uranus-Neptune cycle was closely correlated with the births of individuals who brought forth influential utopian works and visions, as with Thomas More’s birth in 1478 with a nearly exact Uranus-Neptune conjunction. This was the conjunction that took place from 1472 to 1486 – the period of the Florentine Platonic Academy and the revival of Platonism, of Ficino, Pico, Botticelli, and Leonardo, which also coincided with the birth of radical visionary reformers such as Luther and Copernicus. [p. 375]

Looking back over this [1985 to 2001] extraordinary period of the late twentieth century and the turn of the millennium, we can recognize that virtually every one of the major categories evident in past Uranus-Neptune eras played a dominant role in the life of the world community during this most recent alignment: the widespread spiritual renewal of the age, the astonishing multiplicity of spiritual paths and traditions from many cultures and eras disseminating and merging throughout the world, the burgeoning of religious movements in Latin America, Africa, Russia, and East Asia, the Islamic revival in the Middle East and elswhere, the rapid spread of Pentecostalism and other Christian missionary initiatives on many continents. We can discern the familar signs of the Uranus-Neptune archetypal complex during this conjunction in the pervasiveness and intensity of mediation and mysticism, in esoteric traditions and mythology, in Jungian and archetypal psychology, in transpersonal theory and consciousness research, in shamanism and indigenous traditions, in nature mysticism, in the convergence of science and spirituality, and in the emergence of holistic and participatory paradigms in virtually every field. [p. 419]

Equally suggestive of this archetypal gestalt are such characteristic terms and metaphors as “cyberspace,” the “World Wide Web,” “surfing the datastream,” “hypertext,” and the dynamic and nonlinear amorphous “sea” of virtually infinite sources of information, complexly interconnected through hypertext links, all mediated by genie-like search engines that have revolutionized the search for and transmission of knowledge. The many allusions toe the Internet as facilitating the emergence of a “global mind,” “Gaia mind,” the “Telhardian noosphere,” and “Indra’s net,” with Internet connections, high-speed fiber-optic cable (much of it undersea), and wireless technology that can potentially link every individual node of consciousness to every other on the planet, clearly reflect the Uranus-Neptune archetypal complex. We can also recognize the distinctive signs of this planetary combination in the widespread utopian, even mystical aspirations that emerged during these years in direct connection with the new technologies.  [p. 422]