A Light in the Darkness

December 21-23, 2012

The times surrounding the Winter Solstice of 2012

We all knew the world wasn’t going to end today (at least I hope you knew), but the sudden mass shift into higher consciousness and rainbow light predicted by some new age philosophers hasn’t exactly been happening either.  Many of us have been inundated in tragedy, stress, suffering, grief, and madness.  That being said, there have been some interesting developments: for example in USA politics, there have been some movements and shifts on a status quo level that would have seemed unlikely several months ago.

Many of us into astrology have been navigating a storm of astrology works talking about the Yod, or finger of fate, happening right now, so I won’t bore you by going into detail.  For those who don’t know about this, a Yod is an aspect of destiny that can involve sudden shifts, and so symbolically does go along with the shift of consciousness predicted for this time period. This yod has Scorpio Saturn and Capricorn Pluto at the base in mutual reception, both streaming energy into Gemini Jupiter.  This yod has been extra intense because first Mercury triggered it this past week by being in opposition to Jupiter in Sagitarius, and now Venus is in opposition to Jupiter triggering the whole dynamic.

Did you think this was going to be easy?  Pluto, Saturn, and Jupiter are in our face showing us everything that is wrong with our society.  We have had a mass murder of children that has gripped the mainstream media and culture in the USA, serving as a perfect example of the evil that can come out the power dynamics of our society.  Yes, we have assault weapons readily available for purchase at Wal-Mart.  More importantly, we have a culture deluged with violence and a culture filled with mental health issues.  Most, if not all of us, have mental health issues.  And most, if not all of us, are in denial of our mental health issues.  Some people have more intense mental health issues.  But in general we have yet to figure out a way to heal our mental health issues on a systematic level.  And the way the system is currently working to heal mental health issues, such as the psychiatric system drugging people on a mass level, clearly is not working.  To be clear, medications do work for some people who are able to find the right chemical balance for their brain;  for many people, however, the psychiatric drug system does not work for their greater holistic health.  And on a systematic level, we don’t currently have a lot of other options-  therapies can be great, but many people don’t have the health insurance or do not pursue therapy for whatever personal reason.

When we look at the placement of Jupiter at this time of the Solstice, we can see it all.  Jupiter is moving retrograde in Gemini, and at the root of all of this is the old patriarchal beliefs that still hold mass sway over our culture.  Jupiter is being set off at nine degrees of Gemini, and the Sabian Symbol for this degree is so perfect, I will quote it in entirety for those without access:

Gemini 9: A Quiver filled with arrows

Man’s aggressive relationship to natural life, as a basis for survival and conquest.

The bow and arrow represent symbolically man’s ability to extend the scope of his conquest of nature and to kill enemies in order to build a larger base for the collective development of a culture and an organized society. Implied in the symbol of the arrow is the piercing of a target. The mind of man is essentially a trans-piercing power; it goes through the object toward which it is aimed.  It seeks to go through and beyond the obstacles on its path, and this usually implies the destruction of the obstacle.  At a higher level- as in the Zen practice of archery- the obstacle is the ego.

~from Dane Rudhyar’s An Astrological Mandala: The Cycle of Transformations and its 360 Symbolic Phases

Dane Rudhyar’s interpretation of this symbol as being a Zen practice of archery to destroy the ego I believe is the potential for the shift of consciousness that could occur for many at this time.  There is so much oppression and tragedy happening in the world right now, it is forcing many of us to let go of ego beliefs we had been holding on to tightly in the face of the tragic circumstances we are witnessing.

Indeed, Dane Rudhyar’s interpretation for the placement of Saturn in Scorpio at nine degrees at this time sheds further light on current developments:

Scorpio 9: A Dentist At Work

Keynote: Overcoming the negative results of social practices and ego-cravings.

Social living and cultural patterns impose upon us certain habits of eating, arouse desires for unwholesome or denaturated food, force us perhaps to eat in tense circumstances and hurriedly. This results in tooth decay far more frequently than should be inevitable through aging. The symbol therefore shows us how society and civilization, which may indirectly cause tooth decay, then have to invent means to skillfully repair the damage.

Saturn is the karmic taskmaster who will cyclically point to the deepest individual and collective patterns for us to focus on and address; if we do not, we are often faced with an intense experience integrating multiple symbols of the karmic pattern.  At this time, Saturn in Scorpio in this yod at this degree reflects the complex interwoven fabric of societal influences that have tightened over centuries of human egoic conquest of nature, and has resulted today in not only widespread oppression, but in the USA a situation in which souls lost in this societal fog who commit mass murders is becoming a familiar news story.

The need for us to devise solutions on a societal level to heal problems created on our societal level has been reflected in the transits of Mercury recently.  During this past week Mercury continued its spellbinding journey of 2012 by triggering this yod exactly and now crossing the Great Attractor.  There are huge debates in the USA occurring right now about topics at the root of our cultural difficulties, a debate that didn’t even seem possible to have earlier in the year.  Many pundits and people are devising various solutions that should come out of our government or from other places of power to try to repair the damage caused by the very same forces that sustain the government and give the pundits their position in our culture.  It isn’t exactly surprising, therefore, that the pundits and the representatives of government haven’t been able to devise any successful solution.  It will be up to the people, taking individual power and responsibility, and then linking that awareness with others to create a larger movement for change, for any effective long-term solution to emerge.

In fact, the spiritual component of recent tragedies could be that it can often take crises and cataclysms for people to wake up and shift their perspective, work on shifting their beliefs, and have their awareness and consciousness opened and expanded.  The final piece of the yod, Pluto in Capricorn at nine degrees, has the sabian symbol of An angel carrying a harp with the keynote of “the revelation of the spiritual meaning and purpose at the core of any life situation” (Rudhyar, p. 235).  Even in the worst of times, if we want to avoid becoming mired and stagnant in suffering, we must have the courage to look for a spiritual meaning behind the events and consequences, and look to find the places where an opportunity for our personal growth has occurred.  Pluto in Capricorn has been reflecting the need of society to transform it’s systematic power structure, and like everything with Pluto, this societal transformation will continue to get more intense as Pluto moves deeper into Capricorn.  The intense crises and tragedies happening around the world at this time reflect deep issues at the core of our collective being in need of transformation and evolution.

And now at this time of the Solstice, into the mix steps Venus in Sagitarius:

What could be the evolutionary purpose for ourselves and humanity with Venus in Sagitarius triggering this yod at the time of the solstice?  Well, Jeffrey Wolf Green in Pluto Volume II: The Soul’s Evolution through Relationships describes the evolutionary purpose of Venus in Sagitarius as a “deep need to discover and actualize their own personal truth . . . a guiding philosophy of life in order to have a core sense of meaning and purpose” (p. 168-9).  Green draws attention to the ability of Venus in Sagitarius to possess strong intuitive powers, and fittingly, at this time of the Solstice it will be important to pay attention to our intuition and follow it instead of being directed by more of a left-brain rational process.  Green describes the evolutionary lesson for Venus in Sagitarius, seen in the point of Gemini occupied by Jupiter at the moment, to be  to “learn that their particular point of view, their truth, and their beliefs are relative, and not the only or absolute truth” (p. 173).

All of the difficulties and suffering we could be experiencing at this time are connected with our beliefs and our perceptions mixed into the various beliefs and perspectives around us, particularly the dominant perspectives and beliefs taken to be the absolute truth by the dominant culture and status quo.  The shadow side of Venus in Sagitarius is thinking that our perspective is right, feeling like we should convert other people to our perspective instead of allowing them the space to hold their own opinion and perspective, being overly defensive and dogmatic about our own beliefs in the process.  The tragedies of these times are calling all of us, no matter how enlightened you believe yourself to be, to critically examine our beliefs and the roots and foundations of those beliefs, and to realize that our belief system is not the one and only absolute truth.  Unfortunately, as we have seen, part of the major problem of these times has been people holding on tightly to their beliefs and refusing to compromise or be open to other points of view.  As Venus sets off this yod we may experience more events that will work to help force this shift of perspective.

Finally, as I mentioned in my November blog post, there is also now a second triple Goddess T-Square involving Ceres in Gemini moving retrograde squaring Pallas Athena in Pisces almost exactly, and in a wider opposition to Juno in Capricorn at the Solstice point.  Yes, at the time of the solstice Juno is almost exactly conjunct the Sun at zero degrees Capricorn (I also wrote about Juno in a blog post earlier in October).

Vesta in Gemini moving retrograde out of a triple goddess t-square and being replaced by Ceres moving retrograde in Gemini has many ramifications.  In the USA current event news cycle of this time period, the most obvious symbol has been all of the mother issues coming out of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary school, from the mother murdered by her son, to the extraordinary mothering instinct for the lost children as well as their own children that has been triggered in mass USA culture.  The Ceres/Demeter myth is so powerful in our collective consciousness because of the personal connection all parents can feel for her tremendous grief and rage over losing her daughter Persephone to Pluto/Hades and the underworld.

Ceres in astrology represents mothering issues including the myriad emotions surrounding the attachment disorder that is so widespread in our USA culture.  A son murdering his mother en route to a mass murder is a horrific example that is uncommon.  What is more common, however,  is the generational family cycles of children not having their emotional needs met through nurturing in their early childhood development, an issue that is then transmitted through the later parenting of their own children, and as this is passed down and children grow up, as adults they can have difficulty forming and sustaining attachment in relationships- or have a distorted over attachment to relationships that are not healthy for them and in which they are not truly having their emotional needs met.

In Asteroid Goddesses Demetra George describes Ceres in Gemini issues revolving around education, communication, listening, and transmission of knowledge.  Difficulties could stem from low academic self-esteem, feeling “mental inadequacy,” or attempting to “intellectually impress or verbally manipulate others” (p. 64).  In addition, George describes stressful aspects between Ceres and Juno as being about conflicts with a partner and especially an ex-partner in parenting and raising children, conflicts in relationships through partnership responsibilities, or discontent with a relational role such as being a husband or a mother.  Furthermore, George describes issues coming from a stressful aspect between Ceres and Pallas Athena as being about rejecting one’s mother while overidentifying with one’s father:  “this can manifest as the alienation from one’s feminine origins and nature which in turn can block one’s creative abilities” (p. 75).

Along these lines, Ceres is carrying a powerful message for us at this time of the solstice.  We need to be able to integrate our feminine, nurturing, compassionate, and mothering side of our nature into our intellectual and creative expression (Pallas Athena) as well as into our relational roles and responsibilities in the world (Juno).  If we feel resistance to connecting more deeply in an intimate relationship, investigate if we have an attachment “disorder” of some sort operating under the surface, and push through it for the growth.  Combined with Venus in Sagitarius, we need to re-connect with and follow our intuition, letting go of the belief system we tend to rationally react from. Blessed be, please.

Pussy Riot in the Stars

Pussy Riot has been one of the biggest stories during this time of Aries Uranus square Capricorn Pluto. The energy of Aries in Uranus is reflected in the image above, the energy of Capricornian Plutocrats attempting to control and repress this same energy, below:

There is more going on with the cosmic archetypes relating to Pussy Riot besides Uranus and Pluto, but they are two of the main ones. Aries Uranus in a first quarter square to Capricorn Pluto directly reflects the radical energy of Pussy Riot meeting the harsh backlash of totalitarian power, as the first quarter square aspect indicates there may be a push of some radical energy at this time, but there will be at least as strong of a push back, and that we are only at the beginning of a process of change happening.

The revolutionary image and group collective aspects of Pussy Riot also evokes the coming Age of Aquarius, with the beginning shifting into the Age of Aquarius meeting the prideful power stances of Leonine authority figures. The masked neon attire of Pussy Riot is the group collective hero archetype of a masked figure that could be anyone; and as Putin’s regime has attempted to blot out Pussy Riot, there are new members of Pussy Riot popping up all over the world in neon masks, crying out in protest. We are still dealing with issues of the Age of Pisces, however, and Pussy Riot emerged into international spotlight as Neptune shifted into Pisces. The misunderstood sign of Pisces is very much a part of Pussy Riot energy, made all the more evident by their performance of “Punk Prayer: Mother of God, Chase Putin Away!” on February 21, 2012 during a New Moon in Pisces that was conjunct Neptune in Pisces, Pallas Athena in Pisces, and Chiron in Pisces; not to mention Vesta was at the end of Pisces, and Mercury was strongly in mid-Pisces at this moment:

There are various translations of “Punk Prayer: Mother of God, Chase Putin Away!” but this is one by Sasha Dugdale, a published translator of Russian poetry:

Virgin Mary Mother of God
Chase out Putin
Chase out Putin
Chase out Putin

A black robe with stripes on the shoulder
All your parishioners crawling to the altar
A ghost of freedom up in the skies
But Siberia in chains for Gay Pride

The Head of the KGB is their big saint man
Loading the protesters in a prison van
If you don’t want to insult the most Holy Lord
Women! Know your place is in the birthing ward

Shit shit holy shit, shit shit holy shit

Holy Mary Mother of God
Be a feminist to us
Be a feminist to us
Be a feminist

The Church pays homage to degenerate bosses
A black limousine in the procession of the crosses
If a Priest comes to your school today
Take in your purse – you’ll have to pay.

Patriarch Gundyaev believes in Putin –
The dog would be better off believing in God!
The Virgin Mary’s belt – no replacement for protest
The most holy Mother of God is at the rallies with us

Virgin Mary Mother of God
Chase out Putin
Chase out Putin
Chase out Putin

Here we can see the full polarity of the Pisces-Virgo axis, integrating the Virgin Mother with a call for a personal sense of Spirit to work on the behalf of the oppressed, the true work of Jesus, instead of being used as an instrument of a totalitarian regime. As a Pisces with strong Aquarius energy in my chart, I always love the Aquarius to Pisces time period shifting of February 21 that Pussy Riot staged their direct action in, a time period of birth for famous figures who took Piscean explorations of radical fringe concepts into mainstream popularity, such as Kurt Cobain and Anais Nin. Pisces is often portrayed as being submissive, but that can often be an outside perception of the disassociated connection with reality many Pisceans maintain because of feeling a total lack of connection within our Patriarchal and Hierarchical cultural context today; in fact, Pisces can become as angry as Posiedon brewing up a huge storm on the seas, especially from a sense of outrage over oppression against natural law. In their actions Pussy Riot is expressing a Piscean anger against oppression from their own sense of inner divinity, with a Scorpio drive of Pluto and Uranus intensity.

The birth charts of the three members of Pussy Riot put on trial involve strong archetypal themes of Pisces/Neptune, Uranus/ Aquarius, Pluto/Scorpio, and Saturn/Capricorn. All of these archetypal themes can be found in the generational aspects of two of the members who were born with Pluto in Scorpio with a conjunction involving Saturn (Capricorn), Uranus (Aquarius), and Neptune (Pisces). Pussy Riot is one of the most publicized actions to come from the generation coming of age now who were born with the conjunction of Uranus and Neptune in Capricorn (1988-1996), a time period that coincided with the development of the riot grrrl punk feminism in Olympia, Washington and that Pussy Riot draws inspiration from. In the momumental Cosmos and Psyche, Richard Tarnas tracked Uranus and Neptune cycles throughout history and found themes that included “spiritually inspired political activism (p. 363),” and “new art forms and new media of expression for the cultural imagination (p. 364)” amongst many other themes involving epochal shifts of psychological, spiritual, and cosmic understanding amongst humans on our planet. Punk Rock is a perfect expression of Uranus-Neptune energy, utilizing Piscean musical expression of a strident Aquarian value system. In her closing statement on trial, Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova described the instrument of punk music possessing “yurodstvo,” which translates as “holy foolishness,” a perfect description of Uranus-Neptune archetypal energy.

It is noteworthy that each of the three women have conjunctions between Saturn and at least one of the outer planets, and in balsamic conjunction. This points to each having a deep soul history with issues of power they are resolving in this lifetime, and they have the courage and discipline to take strong stands integrating energy that may make them look like lunatics to the status quo. In addition, within the three women there is a bridge from the Pluto in Libra generation to the Pluto in Scorpio generation, as well as the Uranus and Neptune in Sagitarius generation to the Uranus and Neptune in Capricorn generations:

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (11/07/1989) born with Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune conjunct in Capricorn, as well as her Scorpio Sun conjunct Mercury in balsamic conjunction to Pluto in Scorpio, represents the Capricorn Uranus-Neptune generation just now beginning to step into their power, as well as carrying some strong energy for the Pluto in Scorpio generation! With a Capricorn Saturn that is balsamic to Neptune and new phase with Uranus, she has the power to ground the idealistic energy of Uranus-Neptune into direct action. In combination with her strong Scorpio energy, she represents a femininity that is not going to back down to oppressive power structures and will integrate and merge anger against that system into creative and artistic protests that will be instantly communicated across the wide ranging social network of the Internet that was developed during the Uranus-Neptune time of her birth. Nadezhda in particular embodies the strong Scorpio energy carried by Pussy Riot, seeking to test taboos of culture in order to create a transformational shift of status quo cultural values that have become fixed- such as are involved in orthodox religious viewpoints linked into oppressive power structures.

In her closing statement at trial, Nadezhda stated, “Pussy Riot’s performances can either be called dissident art or political action that engages art forms. Either way, our performances are a kind of civic activity amidst the repressions of a corporate political system that directs its power against basic human rights and civil and political liberties. The young people who have been flayed by the systematic eradication of freedoms perpetrated through the aughts have now risen against the state. We were searching for real sincerity and simplicity, and we found these qualities in the yurodstvo [the holy foolishness] of punk.”

Maria Alyokhina (06/06/1988) was also born with a Saturn-Uranus-Neptune conjunction, but in contrast has Uranus at the last degree of Sagitarius and Saturn at the first degree of Capricorn, both in balsamic conjunction to Neptune in Capricorn. Maria also has a Pisces Mars that is conjunct her north node of the Moon in Pisces, and both Mercury and Venus retrograde and conjunct at the very end of Gemini and therefore in opposition to her Sagitarius Uranus. Like Nadezhda, she also has a Scorpio Pluto, in her case in a trine aspect with her Pisces Mars. With a retrograde Venus-Mercury conjunction in Gemini opposite her Sagitarius Uranus, at the final degrees of each sign, she represents a culmination of the Uranus movement across Sagitarius that includes many with deep connections with Natural Law. She also carries strong Pluto in Scorpio energy that she can channel through her Pisces Mars, expressing the anger against oppression of women and other infringments upon Natural Law that must be overpowering for those growing up within the totalitarian regime of Putin.

Maria’s closing statement is notable for also integrating the difficulties those reflecting Neptunian energy can have with their mental health growing up in a culture they cannot relate to, while possessing a conception of Spirit that is in contrast to the mainstream spiritual groups and educational system dominating their personal development. Maria explained, “Today’s educational institutions teach people, from childhood, to live as automatons. Not to pose the crucial questions consistent with their age. They inculcate cruelty and intolerance of nonconformity. Beginning in childhood, we forget our freedom…I have personal experience with psychiatric clinics for minors. And I can say with conviction that any teenager who shows any signs of active nonconformity can end up in such a place. A certain percentage of the kids there are from orphanages…In our country, it’s considered entirely normal to commit a child who has tried to escape from an orphanage to a psychiatric clinic. And they treat them using extremely powerful sedatives like Aminazin, which was also used to subdue Soviet dissidents in the ’70s…This is especially traumatizing given the overall punitive tendency and the absence of any real psychological assistance. All interactions are based on the exploitation of the children’s feelings of fear and forced submission…I would like to note that this method of personal development clearly impedes the awakening of both inner and religious freedoms, unfortunately, on a mass scale. The consequence of the process I have just described is ontological humility, existential humility, socialization. To me, this transition, or rupture, is noteworthy in that, if approached from the point of view of Christian culture, we see that meanings and symbols are being replaced by those that are diametrically opposed to them. Thus one of the most important Christian concepts, Humility, is now commonly understood not as a path towards the perception, fortification, and ultimate liberation of Man, but on the contrary as an instrument for his enslavement…When I was involved with organizing the ecological movement, I became fundamentally convinced of the priority of inner freedom as the foundation for taking action. As well as the importance, the direct importance, of taking action as such.”

The elder of this trio, Yekaterina Samutsevich (08/09/1982) has been having quite the Saturn return! Born with Saturn in balsamic conjunction to Pluto in Libra, she carries a different generational energy than her two comrades. Yekaterina has a Uranus that is at the very beginning of Sagitarius and a Neptune toward the end of Sagitarius. In fact, Uranus was stationing direct at zero degrees Sagitarius when she was born! Although she does not have a Scorpio Pluto like her two bandmates arrested with her, she does have some strong Scorpio energy as she has Mars and Jupiter conjunct in Scorpio, at the beginning of Scorpio. So, as Maria was born at the very end of the Uranus journey through Sagitarius, Yeketarina was born at the very beginning of it. She also represents the Pluto in Libra generation, a group who can become sidetracked at times with relationship issues, but carries a deeply ingrained sense of social justice that can be channeled into powerful direct action that draws on the strong drive this generation has for cultivating relationships.

In her closing statement, Yekaterina clearly and succinctly described the reasoning behind their choice of location: “That Christ the Savior Cathedral had become a significant symbol in the political strategy of the authorities was clear to many thinking people when Vladimir Putin’s former [KGB] colleague Kirill Gundyayev took over as leader of the Russian Orthodox Church. After this happened, Christ the Savior Cathedral began to be openly used as a flashy backdrop for the politics of the security forces, which are the main source of political power in Russia….In our performance we dared, without the Patriarch’s blessing, to unite the visual imagery of Orthodox culture with that of protest culture, thus suggesting that Orthodox culture belongs not only to the Russian Orthodox Church, the Patriarch, and Putin, but that it could also ally itself with civic rebellion and the spirit of protest in Russia.”

Tragically, recent events have taken an even more tragic turn than the two year prison sentence each woman received, with ghastly murders being committed and made to look like they are linked with supporters of Pussy Riot. There has been the other side of Pisces Neptune, the side of delusion and illusion, very much at work during recent events as well as the trial that evoked a witch hunt. Just yesterday in an interview, Russian President Putin described past actions by the collective Voina that Nadezhda and Yekatarina have been linked to as follows: “First, in case you never heard of it, a couple of years ago one of the band’s members put up three effigies in one of Moscow’s big supermarkets, with a sign saying that Jews, gays and migrant workers should be driven out of Moscow. I think the authorities should have looked into their activities back then.” In actuality, the reasoning behind this past protest was to “draw attention to government policies encouraging anti-Semitism, xenophobia and homophobia, not endorsing those sentiments” according to the New York Times. There are conspiracy theories that some of the ghastly murders that left evidence in blood linked to Pussy Riot were orchestrated by Secret Police in Russia. An article by Robert Mackey in the New York Times yesterday describing a recent interview of Putin concluded that when Putin was “[a]sked later in the interview about new restrictions on the Internet described as an attempt to suppress dissent by the opposition, Mr. Putin again cast himself as a defender of Russia’s moral majority, insisting that his only concern was to “ban child pornography” online. “Any steps we take are in the interests of the Russian people, and our children need this kind of protection,” he said. “No one is going to use this as a tool to restrict the Internet or online freedoms, but we have the right to protect our children.”

Pussy Riot has been victorious in bringing attention to the polical activist potential of punk rock and direct art action on an international level. The intense astrological energies of these times suggests that there will continue to be a massive power structure backlash against any attempts of radical revolutionary energy, utilizing the illusionary aspects of Pisces Neptune to control and manipulate information to the mass public. The stage is set, and we are a long way from any resolution to these intense energies.

But- one glimmer of hope in the stars is an asteroid, but she is also a Goddess- Pallas Athena. Pallas Athena was in Pisces and conjunct the New Moon (Sun & Moon), Neptune, and Chiron on the day Pussy Riot performed their “Punk Prayer.” Today she is moving retrograde in Aries and is conjunct Uranus, so she is moving against the cultural mainstream with her creative intelligence on the side of Uranus in this struggle of star energy. Pallas Athena, who was co-opted by the Patriarchy who re-wrote the myths in a delusional Pisces Neptunian way to place her on the side of their takeover of the Matriarchy. Pallas Athena, who was put in a military headdress by the Patriarchy and evoked in their military strategies of war and plunder. Pallas Athena, who is now garbed in a neon mask of Pussy Riot! May we all use our creative intelligence to devise ways to help break others out of oppressive situations.