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A Page From an Astrologer’s Diary: Progressed Moon Enters the First House

Back to back women An astrologer is always experiencing life on a couple of dimensions (pun intended!) On one hand, they're engaged in whatever is going on in their life at the moment like everyone else, and at the same time, they're wondering what this current event has to do with Mars trining their Midheaven or Pluto squaring their Ascendant. The good and humble astrologer is always taking notes from their life and the lives around them to see astrology in real life action, outside of the key words and fixed descriptions of what a certain astrological event is supposed to produce. Sometimes it takes a pretty horrific event to grab an astrologer's attention away from the analyzing dimension, but still; somewhere in our mind, we are thinking "wow, this is horrible and I'll probably be scarred for life, but what fascinating material for my astrology blog!"

Which is exactly what I have been thinking as I've been experiencing the rare event of my secondary progressed moon entering my first house.

I've been feeling it for about a month, and it's about a week or two away now from the actual crossing over. It's not uncommon to feel these shifts even two months before they happen. In my book, Astrology of the Moon, I compare a progressed moon shift to passing through a tunnel: 

BookcoversmallestImagine going through  a tunnel. You see it approaching ahead of you, even before you enter it. The change in the light and in the air becomes apparent soon after you enter the tunnel and may take a bit of an adjustment if it’s dark. As you continue to move through the tunnel, your eyes adjust and you get used to the new rhythm, the new environment. As you reach the end of the tunnel, you see it coming. The light is changing again, ahead of you. There is a natural anticipation of the shifts that happen as we see them coming. When it comes to the progressed moon, we may see a period of our life approaching. We often feel a change in the air. 

Developments in your chart, especially when it comes to the progressed planets, do not tend to happen overnight. While there are times when events in our lives are of such a magnitude that they can alter us forever in a moment, our general evolution is a slow progression. Awareness of new truths and changing attitudes tends to build in us over time, even if the realization of what’s been brewing in our subconscious happens suddenly. There will come a point, as each of these progression periods begin, where you start to notice the shift, notice that you’re feeling differently lately. For many people, this starts even a month or two before the actual progression period begins. Because we are always gradually developing, the shift from one progression to another is a slow build of the changing needs of the heart. But it may also take a month or so of sitting with the new energy to really notice that something has changed for you.

Here is a list (ah, my Virgo heart sings at the word), in no particular order, of the things I've noticed happening for me as I personally experience this shift.

  • I seem to be taking almost everything personally, which is not characteristic for me. While I have become more empathetic and sensitive over the years, I seem to regard every traffic slight and every external schedule delay or change personally. Heaven help you if it's my turn to merge and you speed ahead of me. I'll either curse you or cry about it! I've invited you over 3 times to my house for dinner and you can't get it on your schedule? How mean!
  • I seem to be focusing on drawing out my 'unlived lives', undeveloped parts of me that, due to focus on other things and other areas, haven't had much of an opportunity to surface, such as a sudden desire to purchase cookbooks and cook every night, or begin weight training at my local gym. I am curious to see if these desires continue and how linked they may be with the classic connection between the first house and the body.
  • My progressed moon has been in the sign of Capricorn for the last 2 years, and will remain there for another 5 months, so coupling that with the first house entry seems to have increased the hunger for The Next Big Thing. I'm not interested in little projects that may want to draw my attention. I'm looking for the next project that will really matter to me, that will define my life, that will light me up and Start My Life Anew. I'm wanting to launch. The trouble is, while I long for direction, I've got these first house butterfly wings that are still drying as I've only recently emerged (emerging) from the 12th house chrysalis and don't know what these wings can do or where I want them to take me yet.
  • Here's a fun one in that it seems so clearly correlated with its astrology: Uranus is square my Ascendant and Descendant, so naturally as my progressed moon crosses the Ascendant, it's squaring Uranus as well, and opposing my Descendant (did you catch all that, newbies? Sorry if you just choked on the jargon). Lately I have been recognizing how intense my frustration when anyone (including myself) attempts to identify or label me, even with 'good' labels. I am none of the things you think I am, or that I think I am, and as soon as you want to understand me, I cannot be understood, nor truly seen, and am resentful that I must define myself so that you (or I) can understand what I am as we have our casual conversation. Who are you talking to? I don't know, either. I feel keenly attuned to the idea that I am always in progress and process, therefore a slice of me in any moment will not tell you who I am in the whole. I think anyone could say that, but my awareness of it is intense these days.

Coming home from another fabulous NORWAC last night, I had this image relentless playing out in my head as all these thoughts was rising: I have just been thrust through the front door and onto the porch, rather abruptly, though not with rude intent. The door slams against my back. Palms and back against the door, heels still on the edge of the threshhold, I stand motionless as I face the world in front me.

Which Astrological Sign Am I Really? Beyond the 13th Sign Ophiuchus Debate

Today I got a question from a client of mine who has been experimenting with Vedic astrology. He was wondering about his sun sign because in the Vedic system of astrology, he's a Leo, but in Western astrology, he's a Virgo. He said he was really identifying with the creativity of Leo and feeling stifled by Virgo. He was unsure of which sign he really is and asked me which one was "real".

I really welcome this kind of question. It really opens the door to think about what astrology really is and what it can do beyond simplistic categorization of personality traits. It's an elegant system, but it is by no means as tidy as we'd like to think. Many people who are against or ambivalent about astrology balk at it because they can't believe that life can be reduced to 12 boxes–and they're right.

But even in more complex astrology, there is still the great mystery of life and its meaning. Astrology, like many other tools used to try and divine meaning and truth (psychology and other sciences are among them, not just tools of the so-called 'new age'), is not about definites, but about the act itself: sitting in the question and using a tool to focus one's attention on the question often yields results, even if that tools is simply two hands folded in prayer, to any god you like.

 

So here's what I told my client. What would you have said?
Opening-quotes First of all, it makes sense that you'd identify with Leo to some extent. Leo is firey and you have two very strong elements in fire: Sagittarius rising and Sagittarius south node in the first house (possibly the most firey of all influences in your chart). Also, you have Venus in Leo. So there are plenty of factors in your western chart to 'explain' the identification with Leo.

Second, you might be going through something personal right now that wants to embody what you think Leo represents. Just for speculation, I could imagine that if someone was feeling thwarted or stifled for reasons they are unsure of or aren't sure what to do about, then identifying with a symbol that seems to mean more freedom and creativity would certainly give them hope, "true" or not.

This would be less of an astrological right or wrong thing as much as what symbols, metaphors, and archetypes speak to you, inside and outside of astrology. Astrology doesn't 'make you', it's just labels, and it can be useful because understanding the labels sometimes helps you understand more about what's inside. So if you don't want to be a Virgo because you don't like the sign, in a way you can't just change the label and make it true, yet in another way, the label doesn't actually matter anyway in a sense that it's what's inside that matters – the label is only to aid in deciphering the inside. "Mislabeling" something wouldn't change what it is, only the perception of what it is.

And third, perhaps the Vedic system as metaphor and philosophy just makes more sense to you. There are plenty of people form whom that's true (try almost ALL of India at least!) That's a big question that astrologers can't really agree on an answer to amongst themselves anyway. Some astrologers have tried to reconcile it by saying Vedic seems more true for fateful, event-based questions and Western for personality/psychology. Some choose sides. For me, I honestly (and not just to be politically correct, but sincerely) think whatever tool you use, western astrology, vedic astrology, tarot cards, palm reading, dice, tea leaves, phrenology, throwing the bones, runes, or any other silly thing is merely just a tool through which to 'scry', to divine meaning. So they are all 'real' to me, so long as as they are used skillfully and with clear intent. So, this, in a way, is a discomforting answer if you're looking for definition or certainty. But it's an answer that permits a lot of personal experimentation and freedom.

Closing-quotes One more thing: astrology is truly only as good as its interpreter. Each sign and planet have a spectrum of traits and that spectrum is wide. Many people, for example, will think that their sign doesn't fit them at all, when really it's not the sign that's flawed, it's the narrow and sometimes poor interpretations of fallible  humans trying to dumb down a vast archetype into 20 'key'words or less. Hence everyone thinking that Scorpios are all about sex, and  Virgos are always  critical and all Cancers think about is having babies. Pop astrology and the true art of astrology are frighteningly far apart.

Whatever the reason for questioning one's astrological 'label', you are the final word on you.

Incidentally, a very interesting book was written a few years back called Under One Sky, in which several different astrologers employing different astrological interpretation techniques analyzed the same chart. Quite interesting!

What is Evolutionary Astrology?

Evolutionary Astrology is a term that has been coined by Steven Forrest and Jeff Green, to refer to a set of techniques as well as a philosophy in practicing astrology. Evolutionary astrology (often referred to in shorthand as simply "EA") is practiced in an individual way by each practitioner, but there are basic ideas1 that are central to the core of its philosophy and its techniques.

 

The Philosophy: EvoluButterfly with
chain handstion


 Evolution
ary Astrology. It's most basic principle is right in its name: that humans evolve, over the course of their life as well as from lifetime to lifetime. Reincarnation is at the core of evolutionary astrology philosophy, but it's not so much a doctrine as it is a natural observation in that babies and children don't seem to be entirely a product of their environment; there seems to be something inherent in their personality, their needs and desires (above merely the physical needs for food and emotional need for safety & love). There is 'someone home' even in a new being, so evolutionary astrology seeks to understand what came before.

 Evolutionary astrology orients around the natal chart from the perspective that the chart reflects the past, the present, and the future. The chart reveals the past by showing the orientation of the soul as it entered this life, and what came before. It reveals the future by illustrating what the purpose of the incarnation is and why someone has the birth chart they have in the first place. The present unfolds in the entire dynamic of the natal chart 'toolbox' as we make choices in how to use those tools over the course of our life.

What is the natural orientation of this soul and what did this soul
bring forward with it as it begins this life? What is the purpose for
the incarnation at all? What has this soul come to learn or experience?
Evolutionary astrology looks at these questions by looking at the birth
chart as essentially the toolbox, the character traits that soul has
come to develop and the lessons its come to learn to fulfill it's reason
for the incarnation to begin with. The birth chart is not what you are,
it's what you're becoming.

 In a way, evolutionary astrology is very similar to psychological astrology or any kind of spiritual/karmic view of astrology. It is about digging deeper than prediction or character trait analysis, to reveal the chart as a more dynamic soul plan rather than just a snapshot of one's sealed fate. Evolutionary astrology also comes with a set of techniques that further differentiate it.



Glasses on star map The Techniques: Pluto and the Nodes


Aside from the fact that evolutionary astrology interprets every sign, planet, and house as a range of possibilities rather than the perspective of fate or only a possibility of one outcome, such as Saturn in the 7th house means you'll never marry or Jupiter in the 2nd house means you'll be rich, there are techniques above and beyond this perspective to coax forth the past and future elements of the chart.

The Lunar Nodes2

To put it simply, the South Node of the Moon, and everything connected with it, including the sign and house placement, its sign ruler, and any planets in aspect to it, tell the story of the past life or lives: what came before. The North Node of the Moon, its sign ruler, and any planets in aspect to it, tell the story of the way forward: the purpose of incarnation. The planets in aspect to either node as well as their planetary sign rulers have a dual meaning: how to develop and use what the planet represents as a tool in the present life and how it's been a factor in past life conditioning as well.

Pluto and Pluto's Polarity Point

There are several ways that the techniques of Jeff Green and Steven Forrest differ. However, one of the primary differences is in the use of Pluto. Students of Steven Forrest use the south node condition as described above to reveal the past life intent & desires and the north node condition as the future intent, the way forward. Students of Jeff Green use Pluto as representative of the soul's past intent & desires and the opposite 'empty space' of Pluto, it's "polarity point", to represent the future intent, the way forward. The north and south nodes of the moon are still used, but as a further illustration of how Pluto and its polarity point are actualized in the life.

This material, regardless of method, is rich and vast, and its nuances astounding, but those stories lie outside of this simple Introduction to Evolutionary Astrology.

 


1 For a more formal list of the core elements of Evolutionary Astrology's philosophy: http://www.forrestastrology.com/General-Astrology/what-is-evolutionary-astrology

 

2 The north and south lunar nodes are not planets, they are found by looking at where the Moon crosses the path of the Sun as it appears to circle the
earth, which it will do twice: once going north, once going south.

Want to learn Evolutionary Astrology? Contact Amy for formal study options. Here are some self-study options:

Recommended Reading

By Amy Herring:

By Steven Forrest:

  • The Inner Sky (natal)
  • The Book of Pluto (natal)
  • The Changing Sky (transits & progressions)
  • Skymates 1 (Synastry) and 2 (Composite)
  • Yesterday's Sky (past lives and the nodes)

By Jeff Green and Deva Green:

  • Pluto Vol 1: The Evolutionary Journey of the Soul (natal)
  • Pluto Vol 2: The Soul's Evolution Through Relationships (natal but in view of relationship needs)
  • Evolutionary Astrology: Pluto and Your Karmic Mission / Deva Green
  • Forthcoming: Insights into Evolutionary Astrology / Jeff Green and more, edited by Rose Marcus

Speculations on the Astrology of Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter

In the popular series of novels Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter, written by Laurell Hamilton, Anita is a gun-toting animator (she raises zombies for a living), necromancer, vampire hunter & executioner, who frequently works with the local police to help solve supernatural crimes. Oh, and she's a master vampire's human servant and sleeps with a werewolf or two on the side. She's a complicated lady and I started to wonder what this complicated lady's astrology chart would look like.

I compiled a list of Anita Blake's traits, such as: loyal, competent, 'shoots first and asks questions later', mistrustful, doesn't like to compromise, requires truth above any comforting lies, keeps her word, protective of her people, talks a lot of smack with bad guys (hiding behind sarcasm), surprisingly sensitive (hates to see others cry, protects the weak, has a stuffed penguin collection), surprisingly naive and idealistic, and of course, a powerful necromancer and eventually, succubus.

Arguments can always still be made to forever tweak the chart in different directions (many of which I made repeatedly with myself), but here is the proposed astrological chart of Anita Blake (click to enlarge).

Anita-blake-natal-chartAries Rising represents her overall outlook and approach to life: come in guns blazing, don't hesitate, and don't let fear stop you from anything. She's direct and she doesn't let anyone push her around, almost to a fault. Her south node is in the first house in Aries with Mars conjunct, which demonstrates that while she feels most comfortable presenting the Aries face to the world (her Rising sign), she needs to leave behind some of the overactive, 'negative' traits of Aries as she matures over her lifetime, such as the 'my way or the highway' tendency that comes with an overactive first house (first house of Self), or the 'shoot first and ask questions later'–often resorting to violence and extreme self-defense (Mars/Aries) before diplomacy.

The south node often represents the past life orientation of a soul, as well as early life experiences that can leave their mark. Her Pluto in the 8th house as well as Mars on the south node leave a sort of wounded mark on her early life (her mother died when she was 8 in a car accident-Mars-, and death marks her very identity, for better and worse–Pluto on the Sun in the 8th house).

A Scorpio Sun conjunct Pluto in the 8th house represents many
things: her intensity, her frequent black & white thinking, her
loyalty, her ability to handle dark truths and taboo issues, as well as
her ability as a necromancer and animator. Pluto (death and rebirth) fused to her Sun (the core of who you ARE, your identity) in the 8th house of all things hidden. This is an intense mark of transformation (to name only one, her ability to "transform" the dead). She's also got an out-of-sign trine to Neptune in the 12th house, which connects her ability with the dead to the spirit world, magic, and psychic qualities.

Mercury is conjunct her Midheaven in Capricorn. She's got a level head and has the ability to think strategically and recognize what must be done without getting overly emotional about it, in many circumstances. Yet it's opposed her Cancer Moon (which we'll get to in a moment), so her emotions can still cloud her judgment, especially since her moon is squaring her Aries Ascendant and sextiling her Mars/South Node in Aries, which encourages her emotional loyalties and protectiveness to jump straight to action, in 'opposition' to what's sensible just as often as she's able to think about the overall goal and leave sentiment behind. Mercury, not just our thought processes but also our voice, rests on the Midheaven, and she is often the spokesperson, the 'voice' for the monsters both officially in the press and unofficially, such as in her duties as Jean-Claude's human servant. Mercury squares her Ascendant (and Descendant) and opposite her moon, both influences represent her tendency to not know when to quit when she's trading insults with bad guys or making threats.

Throughout the first 8 books, give or take, Anita really struggles with her changing philosophy on her stance on monsters. Are they good guys or bad guys? While Mercury is conjunct her Midheaven, the beginning of the 10th house, it's technically in the 9th, and opposed the Moon in the 3rd house. This sets up a tug of war internally with hard rules of her moral philosophy (Capricorn/9th house) and her subjective, emotional everyday experiences that tell her a different story (Cancer, 3rd house). The 3rd house, being the opposite of the 9th house of philosophy/religion, represents the process of being open to whatever the facts are in front of us and letting ourselves be flexible enough to respond to whatever we are experiencing moment to moment, rather than the fixed, established nature of 9th house truths.

Onto her love life: her Moon is in Cancer which is yet another indicator of her loyalty and also protectiveness. It also explains why she tends to have this secret, mushy side: romantic notions of Sundays watching musicals on the couch with Richard and getting married while her brain (Mercury/mind opposed Moon/heart) argues with her heart about the unlikelihood of that succeeding in reality. Her Cancer Moon also speaks a little to the traditional girl in her (prudeishness, a trait which also comes from her desire for privacy & self-protection of Cancer–the crab shell).

Her Moon is technically in the 3rd house, but conjunct the Nadir, the 4th house cusp, which emphasizes a desire for clan and a protected, sheltered home, but with Saturn also in Cancer and the 4th house, this represents one of the most desired (Moon), but most difficult (Saturn) things for her to do: allow herself some softness, her desire to nurture others to come through, and share enough of herself to build a 'family' that can support and nurture her and vice versa.

Venus is in Leo in the 5th house, representing her tendency to be especially attracted to men like Richard who has that larger-than-life, warm and generous dynamic about them (she notices consistently how his golden hair falls in waves on his shoulders, the strength in his body, and his light-up-the-room smile). It's opposed Neptune, which brings on a tug of war between opening to others and following her own agenda (coupled with the rest of her chart which is geared toward an orientation on the self), which represents the tension in the developing storyline of Anita having many lovers due to the ardeur, represented by the 5th house. Venus and Neptune are also both square Mars, so there's a friction there that both heats up the issue for her and has her fighting herself.

The Mars, Neptune, Venus trio is involved in tension with her north node is in Libra in the 7th house, which represents the ultimate lesson she needs to learn: how to compromise with others and allow herself to have true partnership. Over time she's recognizing more and more that she's not free to do just whatever she wants, whenever she wants, without serious consequences in the lives of those who love her, such as in book 9, Obsidian Butterfly, when she leaves Richard and Jean-Claude to get a grip on herself and move toward a more comfortable dynamic: only herself to worry about and answer to.

There are also countless other dynamics and connections in the chart, but you don't have all day to read this, so get back to work!

Jupiter in Astrology: Looking Beyond Luck

Jupiter isolatedMany think of Jupiter as the planet of luck. This is true, but the word 'luck' sells Jupiter short, telling only half of the story. Luck is defined as something desirable that just happens to a person by chance, out of their control, fated. It is true that where Jupiter lies in our chart might be an area of our life where we might find a sort of guardian angel at work, or where we may be able to narrowly slip out of scrapes more easily than some people. But the things we attribute to luck, good or bad, can often be more attributed to what we said yes or no to, the potential we allowed ourselves to see and hope for, in ourselves and in life's ability to bring good things our way.

Psychologist Richard Wiseman has been investigating luck for a decade: who thinks they've got it (or doesn't) and why? Over the years he interviewed 400 different people from both camps, lucky and unlucky, and asked them to try different experiments and report their results. He found themes among the lucky and the unlucky, and not only that; he was able to use what he discovered in the attitudes and behaviors of the lucky to help the unlucky camp become luckier. In his recent article posted on the GoodNewsNetwork, he outlined some of his cases and what we found, stating three similarities he found in the lucky vs. the unlucky. They were:

  1. Unlucky people often fail to follow their intuition
  2. Unlucky people tend to be creatures of routine
  3. Lucky people tend to see the positive side of their ill fortune

Let's look at these ideas. First, following one's intuition. While Neptune or the Moon tend to be thought of as the planets that have the market on intuition, Jupiter is the ancient ruler of Pisces, a sign which has very much to do with intuition and believing in things that can only be seen through the eyes of spirit. Jupiter plays a special role, too, because of the faith it takes to trust one's intuition and even to act on it. Faith in this context is believing in things unseen or unproven, and that's where the Jupiterian principle of hope can come in, or a word I like to use, potential. This is not just faith in a higher power, but faith in ourselves as in confidence, or faith in life as in hope.

Door with clouds How about the pitfalls of becoming too reliant on a routine? We may think of Uranus as the planet that likes to shake things up, but Jupiter is about looking for opportunity. Jupiter is the ancient and modern ruler of Sagittarius, embodying the Saggittarian desire to expand its horizons by experiencing the broad world around it. When we are so deeply invested in our routine and our own comfort zone, we are reluctant to upset it, and therefore unwilling to take the inherent risks always involved in saying yes to something new. In addition, routine has us focusing so intently on carrying out our expectations that we may only see what we expect to see, rather than opportunities that may have always been present but are not in our narrow line of sight.

Last, seeing the positive side of one's ill fortune was the third factor Dr. Wiseman listed as present in 'lucky' people. This speaks to Jupiter's alignment with optimism. It's the classic question: is the glass half full or half empty? Either answer is true, but much is revealed in which answer a person most resonates with. Luck and whether or not a person feels lucky is rather subjective, so this is point is less about the objective measurement of how lucky someone is, but almost a measure of happiness. It's human nature to look for evidence that confirms our existing beliefs and ignore evidence that does not. So if one holds a belief that they are (or can be) lucky, openness to opportunity and gratitude for what one already has seems to follow.

The Big Leap is a book that focuses on overcoming your limitations by addressing  the attitudes and beliefs you may hold that keep you from expanding into your potential. The author, Gay Hendricks, speaks about his mentor who said something that really impacted him (paraphrasing): when we are afraid, we hold our breath. The most important thing to do when you are afraid is breathe. When you hold your breath, it's like you're bracing for impact. When you breathe into your fear, it becomes excitement. Next time Jupiter comes your way, take a breath and take a leap!

Striking a Balance: the Astrology of Positive Thinking

With four planets in Libra in my natal chart, including Uranus and Mercury in my 9th house of philosophy, I often have a 'knee-jerk' reaction to any statement that appears to be an opinion stated
as an absolute. Mars leads my Libra planetary pack so perhaps it's no
wonder that I often defend anything by starting my argument with "Yes,
but on the other hand…"

Bright sided book cover So when I was introduced to and began reading Barbara Ehrenreich's latest book: Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking has Undermined America,
I was excited to see that the chronic "flight into light" behaviors
that sometimes accompany 'new age' thinking and the (in my opinion)
misuse and misunderstanding of the Law of Attraction being argued. But
would she do it in an intelligent and even-handed way, I wondered? Or
was this going to be a pessimist's manifesto, just as extreme as its
opposite argument?

To
my surprise and enjoyment, I think she argued intelligently and fairly,
with the overall message of grounded optimism, not pessimism and also
not empty-headed positive thinking. But this isn't exactly meant to be just a book review, so let's get on with the astrology.

As soon as I saw Barbara's interview on The Daily Show,
all kinds of astrological possibilities entered my head. This book's
appearance seems to be synchronistic with the ushering in of the Pluto
in Capricorn period, particularly coming from the Pluto in Sagittarius
period. Pluto has been in Capricorn for a good while now, but it is
still in the beginning stages of entry and the effects are not yet
fully shaken out. Barbara's subtitle about "undermining America,"
though I think a tad dramatic (yay, marketing), got me to thinking
about the United States' chart and the recognition of Sagittarius, the sign of optimism if there ever was one, is the United States' Ascendant. And then, of course, I wondered about Barbara's
own chart.

How Pluto Works in the Collective

The outer planets, usually referring to Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, are sometimes called 'generational'
because they are in the same sign for such a long period of time that
they can affect an entire generation collectively. I think the mistake
in that perspective is in thinking that the generational effect is
their only relevance. These planets matter greatly in a personal natal
chart, but they also function on a larger scale. Pluto especially,
staying in a sign for at least 10 years but sometimes more than 20, can
reflect an entire generation.

Pluto affects the collective in two ways.
First, events that take place during any given period, such as when
Pluto was in Sagittarius from 1995 to 2008, will reflect what we all
are learning about that sign, both it's blind spots and negative qualities as well as its possibilities and positive qualities. Second, the generation that is born during that time not only lives through it but carries the energy of it throughout their life, which then ripens when those children become adults, entering the work force, establishing and changing laws, and shaping culture.

Pluto in Sagittarius: Bigger is Better

In a nutshell, Sagittarius rules things like expanding one's reach through travel, crossing boundaries of race and country for multi-cultural experiences, adventure, the quest for knowledge and discovery through (sometimes naive) experimentation, faith and optimism. Here are a handful of things that happened during Pluto's journey through Sagittarius:

  • The Euro began circulating, making travel through Europe easier through standardized currency
  • Dolly the Sheep was cloned
  • Construction started on the International Space Station
  • Internet use ballooned, as well as development of faster ways to access it and it became easier to purchase things from other countries through e-commerce
  • GPS (Global Positioning System) became fully operational
  • Nelson Mandela was elected president of South Africa
  • Terrorist attacks on September 11th in New York
  • Credit over-extension grows as do examples of economic balloon and collapse, such as the 'dot-com' cave in
The new age movement did not start during Pluto in Sagittarius by any means, but it continued to grow. The idea of the Law of Attraction regained popularity through the introduction of The Secret book and movie, and while the idea of visualizing what you want is a great one, since thoughts can lead to actions, the way it was popularly received seemed to be not "you can become what you imagine" but "you are what you think."

Pluto in Capricorn: Bursting the Bubble

It is during the shifts from one sign to another that the contrast
between them can so easily be seen. One of the most obvious differences
is the increasing realization of the need to live within one's limits:
especially financial and environmental – the management of one's
resources. As Pluto has entered Capricorn, the over-extension behaviors, especially financially, of the previous years has collapsed on itself, and a majority of people are dealing with the reality of this cave-in. Moving from Capricorn to Sagittarius feels like everything is being condensed, refined, and pressed into a much smaller but more solid form. Sagittarius was about possibility, Capricorn is about reality.

When we pass from spending a lot of time in one sign to another, there seems to be a readiness to move into the new energy, often showing up as a backlash from the negative qualities that permeated culture in the previous sign. No doubt we will be fed up of being ruled and regulated to death once Pluto enters Aquarius, but for now, many of us feel ready to 'come down to earth' and get a handle on things that have run away from us (or at least, the necessity is certainly presenting itself).

Capricorn
is no better than Sagittarius, just different and with a different
purpose.  Perhaps we must take the "anything is possible if you only
believe" optimism of Sagittarius and push it through the translation process of "everything is possible just not all at once and with no money or time or plan"
ideology of Capricorn. I think this book is a great example of this process, moving from Sagittarius to Capricorn specifically. Barbara is expressing something I've heard from a lot of clients, disappointed that the thinking of The Secret and similar philosophies did not work like the magic trick it seemed to be.

Striking a Balance

My interpretation of Barbara's argument is that it's not that one shouldn't be hopeful or positive at all, only that in overdoing it as a philosophy, it has become its own oppressive 'religion'. I don't feel that thinking positively is a bad thing, and in fact my own philosophy with my clients is geared toward empowering them to respond to their situations in a way that helps them participate in intentionally crafting their life rather than feeling powerless or victimized. I do think, though, that there is a huge difference between that and telling ourselves that "Happy feelings will attract more happy circumstances" and expecting that our thoughts alone are all that are required. Interestingly, Barbara pointed out that when measured, Americans don't seem to be any happier, despite our "vaunted positivity." One can see how the Sagittarian shadow of more, more, more might leave one never satisfied.

In my attempt to show the Sagittarian shadow, I am not trying to ridicule it's purpose nor am I making an argument against the power of our own willingness to risk and have the faith and confidence in ourselves to step into our potential. I'm also a huge fan of humility in the face of the Unknown, and am not a fan of those who would assume that nothing unseen or unproven is real (I'm an Astrologer for goodness' sake!) But my early experiences with religion left me with a bad taste in mouth, specifically the tendency to attribute all good things with God, and all bad things with our weakness in succumbing to the Devil, which I think leaves us with the 'catch 22' of blaming ourselves only for the bad things we do and never being able to take pride in or credit for the good things we do. This is more an interpretation by those who practice religion rather than the fault of the system itself, but nonetheless, it was a cultural perspective I could never swallow.

Sometimes our misuse of positive thinking can show up as merely suppression of negative thoughts, not the successful management of them. Anger, fear, and sorrow are just as natural, though not nearly as comfortable, as joy, excitement, and contentment. I think it's important that in our attempts to empower ourselves with one hand, we not disempower ourselves with the other hand by shutting down the parts of ourselves and our responses to life that are uncomfortable (is my 8th house stellium showing?) Hiding our darkness behind "love and light" can be almost as damaging as drinking ourselves to death in order to numb the pain, and our growing chronic use of anti-depressants, while beneficial to many, can also be (and in many cases has been).

It's probably not a very good idea to quote someone who was paraphrasing another someone, but it was such a striking example of this that I'm going to allow myself this faux pas. Several years ago I was in a class and one of the participants in the class was a licensed psychotherapist. She related a story to the group about a recent event she'd been to where the speaker was discussing the benefits anti-depressants and the like, and at one point he apparently stated that with these drugs, 'no one would ever have to have a bad day again.' Of course, we all gasped in horror, but when we are responding in an unconscious way to the philosophy of positive thinking, I think we can be quite vulnerable to living and acting in a way that attempts to prevent ever a 'bad day' from happening, even if consciously we would never claim that as our philosophy.

I think the concept of responsibility is woven in to these positive thinking philosophies, but can be skewed in a poisonous way in much the same manner as I described above while discussing religion. In
a well meaning attempt to empower ourselves and not respond to life as
a victim, we are also vulnerable to inflating our own sense of power,
which not only leads to a let down when reality doesn't reflect that,
but can be an insidious way to punish ourselves and others. One example
I've heard, unfortunately much too often, is the idea that any disaster
or upsetting circumstance in someone's life, from a business failure to
a car crash to a health concern, has been brought on by the person
themselves. Sometimes the more gentle theory is proposed: "because they
needed its lessons." However, all too often there is the judgment
projected that the person somehow failed the Law of Attraction test and
this is their result or even their punishment. This perspective does nothing to empower
someone to respond positively, but  simply to suppress natural feelings of
fear, anxiety, or sorrow out of a sense of shame that  they would even be feeling
them in the first place, and allowing themselves to behave like a,
gasp, victim!

Sagittarius does not like to feel trapped, and feeling a victim is certainly a  way one can feel trapped, but Capricorn doesn't like to play victim either. They both combat that thinking through very different methods. I think it is the Pluto in Capricorn period and the children that carry the stamp of that period forward that can marry the idea of positive thinking with the actual setting of realistic but ambitious goals. During Pluto in Capricorn, we'll see plenty of Capricorn's dark side, such as examples of the cruelty that can come with "ends justify the means" thinking, often in the name of trying to respond to the realistic limitations in resources we find ourselves dealing with, and possibly a lot of examples where value is placed on justice, but perhaps not balanced with mercy.

Barbara-ehrenreich-natal-ch Barbara's Natal Chart

I won't spend too much time here because more than one blog entry can always be written about the fascinating world of one person's natal chart. However, I did find it personally amusing when I saw that the planet Jupiter was squaring her nodes, indicating, among other things, that the attitude of hope, confidence, potential, and, gasp, even positive thinking, represent an evolutionary rite of passage in getting from her south node to her north node (although it's in Gemini, which certainly speaks to clear thinking and using one's voice and mind to communicate a message  – something she clearly seems to be doing vigorously and successfully in her life).

Her north node lies in Virgo, along with her Sun and Mercury and Neptune. Speaking from an Evolutionary Astrology perspective, Neptune opposed her south node and yet it's ruler, would seem to reflect a feeling of being oppressed/opposed by the things Neptune in Virgo represents, such as spirituality delivered in strict rule and ritual, right and wrong fashion (among other things). In working toward her north node, I would imagine she would need to learn to make peace with that oppression and move beyond it, to embrace her own truth. Is this book accomplishing that for her? Who can say, but as it is a book that was, in part, born out of her struggle with breast cancer and the frustration she felt with the positive thinking overload which left no room for sorting through anger or fear, I would speculate that it's an excellent step in clearing the debris.

The “Wrinkle” in Applying Ancient Astrology to Modern Thinking

A wrinkle in time I began and finished re-reading my 23 year old paperback copy of Madeline L'Engle's A Wrinkle In Time this week. The cover is worn and taped to the book itself, the pages discolored on the edges from so much page turning. In the story, three children, along with three supernatural creatures, travel to several planets in order to fight The Black Thing, to save other worlds, and their own, from it's grip. One of the planets they visit is called Camazotz, a planet that has already given into The Black Thing. The planet's inhabitants have all submitted to something called IT, which causes them all to do everything according to the same protocol and even in the same rhythm, denying basic freedoms and creativity but eradicating disease and the worry caused by bearing the burden of making decisions.

On two different occasions, the children visit a seer called the Happy Medium, who looks into her crystal ball to show them a better look at the Black Thing. One of the children asks if she can see what happens in the following excerpt:

"Can't she see what's going to happen?" Calvin asked.

"Oh, not in this kind of thing." Mrs. Whatsit sounded surprised at his question. "If we knew ahead of time what was going to happen we'd be–we'd be like the people on Camazotz, with no lives of our own, with everything all planned and done for us. How can I explain it to you? Oh, I know. In your language you have a form of poetry called the sonnet."

"Yes, yes," Calvin said impatiently.

"It is a strict form of poetry, is it not?"

"Yes."

"There are fourteen lines, I believe, all in iambic pentameter. That's a very strict rhythm or meter, yes?"

"Yes." Calvin nodded.

"And each line has to end with a rigid rhyme pattern. And if the poet does not do it exactly this way, it is not a sonnet, is it?"

"No."

"But within this strict form the poet has complete freedom to say whatever he wants, doesn't he?"

"Yes." Calvin nodded again. "You mean you're comparing our lives to a sonnet? A strict form, but freedom within it?"

"Yes." Mrs. Whatsit said. "You're given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself. What you say is completely up to you."

I love me a good metaphor, so this one struck me in particular when I realized how much it speaks to my (and many others') views of astrology and the birth chart. It is a sonnet, a plan, a form; the container that provides us with the structure in which to create the life we want. I enjoy the predictive quality of astrology and my eyes still get wide when I see it's power demonstrated in our personal and shared lives, but to me, the magic of astrology lies in the way it can reveal ourselves to ourselves, without taking away the mystery of it as if skipping to the end of a good book because you just want to know how it turns out.

One of my favorite sayings is "Know Thyself." It has been repeated everywhere for ages and seems to speak to the wisdom of uncovering and utilizing one's self-awareness. If you know yourself, perhaps you are less likely to get into situations that are not productive for you, or make unhealthy decisions (at least, I think that's the theory!) With an 8th house stellium, I'm very motivated to Know Myself as I dig through the depths of my psychological processes, fears, and strengths. But I don't think the wisdom of knowing yourself comes from categorizing your personality traits. I think respecting yourself is vital too, respecting the mystery that you are and the spark of the divine that you are carry. I think to know yourself you must keep becoming and recognize what you don't yet know, but will create tomorrow.

When most people first begin learning astrology, they are not always lucky enough to pick up a really great and thoughtful book. They may attempt to memorize keywords and plug them into each other  in an A+B+C=whoknows sort of fashion. We've all got to start somewhere, but the "wrinkle" in that plan comes from carrying that sort of definitive, keyword oriented kind of thinking into trying to make sense of an entire human being's personality, life, and soul. When we look at the birth chart as not what we already are but as what we are becoming, then we can turn astrology around. A very simplistic but effective way to begin transforming the way we use the old stereotypes of astrology into this "new age" is to start by changing our wording, which can begin to change our thought process.

When we say "Aries is brave," for instance, we give a definitive statement, a black and white, right or wrong statement. We imply that if you are an Aries, you must be brave. Therefore, if you are not, you must not really be an Aries, or astrology must be wrong, or perhaps it's one of your other signs "canceling it out." However, when we say something like "the intention of Aries is to learn courage," then we imply action, something that can be worked on, practiced, grown into. This simple change can get us thinking in a direction that is more reflective of an attitude of choice within structure, freedom within the plan, to pick up the pen and write our own sonnets.

Part 2 of Carl Jung’s “Red Book”: The Astrology Behind the Publication of Jung’s Most Personal Work

Carl Jung was a Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist that helped bring
forth the birth and development of psychology. In 1914 he began a
journal in which he described his personal journey, his "confrontation
with the unconscious," as he called it. From 1914 to 1930 he wrote in
this Liber Novus (new book) with a red binding and cover, which he
simply called his "Red Book." It has remained mostly unseen, even
during his life and certainly after his death, until it was taken from
a safe deposit box in Zurich in November of 2007. It's long-awaited
publication date is October 7th, 2009.

In part 2, I'll discuss the astrology of the publication date, both on its own and in Jung's chart specifically. Then we'll move on to his natal chart.

 

Carl-jung-oct-7

October 7th, 2009: The Date of Publication

Mercury catches up with Saturn in Virgo after turning direct. The words (Mercury) become real (Saturn), in black and white for all to see. The moon also trines the two that day, adding the element of the subconscious coming into consciousness and reality.

In Jung's own chart, the transiting Sun sextiles his Uranus exactly, seeming to indicate the light shining on Jung's true self, warts and all. We are all likely to get a view of Jung that may challenge the view we'd like to hold of him and how we've adjusted his views and his work to suit our own perspectives. This is a view of the man in a truer sense than the work he chose to publish and reveal, but perhaps due to the nature of a sextile, that light will reveal delightful surprises into the man, as well as challenge the ideas we've settled into about him. The moon conjuncts his Pluto in the third house that day as well. Two symbols of the unconscious coming together indicate the intensity of the moon that may prevail as the pages are opened, and in the third house, new ideas will be presented to be investigated and pulled apart. The third house's opposite, the ninth house, is about pulling ideas together to form meaning, a larger understanding. But the third house is about new data coming in and pulling things apart that we thought we knew. To truly SEE without judgment or filter is highlighted here.

 

Carl-jung-natal-chart

Jung's Natal Chart: Why Was He Here? An Evolutionary Astrology Perspective

The placement of the south node in the 8th house seems to reflect the second nature of Jung to dig deeper into the motivations behind the behavior of others and therefore his life's work of mining the unconscious. With that sound node in Libra, it's quite likely that he benefited greatly from seeing the contrasts between people and himself from 'the other' in relationship as the primary incubator for what he brought forth in this life in his work. On a personal level, though, he may have entered this life with a vulnerability to deferring to much to the other or depending too much on the other in relationships of all kinds. Mercury and Venus square his nodes from Cancer in the 6th house, signifying the importance of filtering his observations and beliefs through his own subjective mind (Cancer/Mercury) and through right relationship dynamics (Venus), especially in work partnerships (insert the obvious Freud reference here). It also indicates that it was important for him to really dig in to the emotional nature of the work (cancer) in a tangible and detailed way (6th house) on a daily basis by simply talking to his patients and what he could really learn from them. His 3rd house planets in Taurus would have assisted him in a willingness to take in the data from his patients as it appeared without an agenda, however with those planets being the Moon and Pluto, he would have to work hard to maintain a sense of the objective as he took in that information. His heart was in the learning and the surprise of what he uncovered though, and his natural Libran ability to see more than one perspective would be of assistance, although with a lot of energy in Taurus and Cancer, it seems that he was trying to get out of the bottomless tendency to second guess or consider 'the other hand' so often that he could not come to the intuitive connections that he would otherwise. Seeing the Moon and Pluto in the 3rd house and Mercury in a water sign seems to be an indicator of the astrological source in his interest in dreams and the subconscious as well, not to mention Neptune squaring his Sun and ascendant, always reminding him of the 'other world' and perhaps representing his willingness to eventually explore 'alternative' theories and systems such as astrology.

Considering the Sun and Uranus in the 7th house in Leo, Aquarius rising, and Saturn in the 1st house, in the light of his south node in Libra in the 8th, these placements represent the perfect incubator of relationship being the actual modality through which he expressed his individuality and his need to be heard and seen. The 8th house classically represents the resources of the other, and with Libra energy there in addition, a tendency toward relying on the validation or sanction of others rather than one's own resources or merit is what he may have come to resolve. Saturn in Aquarius in the 1st shows the difficulty in walking one's own path as it comes to the very essence of who he is. To 'be yourself' sounds simple until we realize how isolating it can feel when there is no beaten path; something he would need to work with for self-actualization.

The famous break with Freud proved to be very traumatic in the light of a south node that needs validation and the ruler of that south node in the 6th house, associated with work but also heavily with unequal relationships: mentor/mentee relationships. This was part of the work he was meant to do, to break away from giving his power away in unhealthy relationships of this apprentice/master nature, but not an easy thing to do. The beginning of this period also marked his beginning of his Red Book. His exploration into his own darkness and the phoenix dying and rising from the 3rd house is about to be made visible.

With his north node in Aries in the 2nd house, developing courage to come to believe in his own capability and empowerment outside of the shadow of another was the gist of his soul's task. Risk taking (Aries) would have been a key factor in his journey to, as Steven Forrest has said, "prove himself to himself." The ruler of his north node is Mars, in Sagittarius in the 11th house, suggests that a primary method through which to do that is to share his own beliefs, philosophies, and truths (Sagittarius) with the world/public (11th house) with the courage of conviction. His progressed Midheaven (evolving role in the world) has been crossing over his own north node beginning with the Red Book's removal from the safe deposit box. Looks like one's work is never done!

To read a fuller analysis of his chart, see my July 25th 2010 entry, Happy Birthday Carl Jung: An Astrological Vignette.

 

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Carl Jung’s “Red Book”: The Astrology Behind the Publication of Jung’s Most Personal Work

Carl Jung was a Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist that helped bring forth the birth and development of psychology. In 1914 he began a journal in which he described his personal journey, his "confrontation with the unconscious," as he called it. From 1914 to 1930 he wrote in this Liber Novus (new book) with a red binding and cover, which he simply called his "Red Book." It has remained mostly unseen, even during his life and certainly after his death, until it was taken from a safe deposit box in Zurich in November of 2007. It's long-awaited publication date is October 7th, 2009.

The astrological signatures, both on their own in the sky as well as impacting Carl Jung's natal chart, do not disappoint. I'll discuss a few of them here and welcome comments and further insights from your own research and observations.

1913-1914: the Red Book's Beginning

Carl-jung-natal-chart

Certainly the time period of 1914-1930 is vast and yields many powerful transits and progressions impacting Jung's natal chart. However, it was interesting to note that in 1914, the year he began the journal, Jupiter crossed his ascendant early in the year, transiting his first house for the remainder of that year. Jupiter, a planet associated with growth and realizing one's potential, correlates with Jung's desire for personal growth, as it traveled through his first house of Self. Jupiter is also traditionally associated with one's philosophy and the pursuit of truth, something that signified the initiation into Jung's dive into his pursuit of the truth in and of himself. This period of time also encompassed the classic Uranus opposition, which brings a confrontation with what one truly is and a course correction if one feels they are not on their true path.

In 1913, Jung appeared to begin coming apart, experiencing inner visions that were disturbing. This was during the period that found his progressed moon in the 8th house and Uranus crossing his Ascendant. The progressed moon shows where one's emotional attention is, and often correlates with internal and external changes that drive a person to deal with new emotional experiences that are coming up. In the 8th house, we confront our fears and often find ourselves dealing with our own darkness, as Jung did. It would have been especially powerful for Jung as his south node and Jupiter also reside in his natal 8th house, so as his progressed moon moved over each, he would have to confront any old soul patterns of security and let them go. Even though his progressed moon was in Libra, a sign of partnership, confronting demons having to do with habitual ways of hiding himself in partnership would have been up to deal with during this time, possibly having him feeling paradoxically alone as he made his descent into his own madness. See my assessment of his natal chart in part 2 for more about his south node.

As his progressed moon passed over Jupiter, well into 1914 at that point, he would be prompted to free fall into his own beliefs and let go of beliefs that no longer served him, even if they were comfortable and had worked in the past. He was birthing new truth from the fires of his own psyche. Uranus also crossed his ascendant in 1913, liberating and even divorcing him from the persona he'd adopted up until that point, the face he presented to the world as well as how he acted upon it, and he was set adrift to find his own path back (Uranus often shocks us by separating us from something that does not serve our highest individual truth).


Carl-Jung-Nov-2007

November 26th, 2007: the Red Book is Removed from the Safe Deposit Box

An article was published on September 16th in the New York Times by Sara Corbett. She tells the story of Jung and the Red Book's removal from it's safe deposit box, as well as its journey toward publication. I had the pleasure of communicating with Sara and she generously provided me with the exact date of its removal, which was November 26th in the morning in Zurich, Switzerland. That day, Jupiter (a planet of truth and philosophy) was approaching Pluto (in this case, representing that which is hidden). A conjunction of Jupiter and Pluto in Sagittarius signals Jung's truth coming to light in a powerful way – truth emerging from it's hiding place, often in a way that is challenging to hear because Pluto represents things that are hidden often for a reason, such as a fear of facing something that may shake us to our core.

True Black Moon Lilith had just passed over Mercury in Scorpio the day before. The symbolism of Lilith goes back to Christianity's Adam whose first wife was Lilith. She has been demonized but like many things that have suffered bad publicity, it is often out of fear and misunderstanding. Lilith represents the true wild, that which is untamed and is not about being appropriate or palatable to fit into polite and careful society. It is about a reunion with part of the natural self. Mercury represents communication, quite directly writing in this case, and in Scorpio the theme of the dark and hidden coming to light continues. The fact that Lilith was the trigger indicates to me that what will be revealed in the Red Book is certainly not going to be comfortable, tidy, and polite information. It is howling from the depths, Lilith representing the wild being released and Mercury giving it voice. (For more on Lilith, see the work of Tom Jacobs).

The asteroid Pallas was conjunct the north node in Pisces, which is an asteroid that can represent the joining of both the female and male, the intellect and the intuition. The Sun was in Sagittarius, and the Moon in Gemini, both signs representing the pursuit of knowledge.

Jung's resurgence in the collective awareness seems to be highlighted in the transiting and progressed planets interacting with his own natal chart. The Sun had just crossed his Midheaven and was squaring his Ascendant. The Midheaven is the point in the chart that represents how we shine in the world in a larger sense, something that's often explored in terms of one's career but not exclusively. Steven Forrest calls it not just your job, but your "cosmic job description;" it's the work that you're meant to do in the world. When the Midheaven is triggered by a moving planet, it can often signal a development that pushes that person into the public's eye, calling attention to a role we play in the world. That certainly seems to be the case here, but with the Sun squaring his ascendant at the same time, and Mercury (the information planet) opposing Jung's own natal Pluto (one's own unconscious mind), the revelation seems certain to challenge what we knew of Jung and our public impression of him as opposed to the private truth of him as a human. Were he alive he might feel a bit exposed!

Mars has just recently crossed his own Mercury in his 6th house and squared his nodes, indicating the push to Get His Voice Out There and reveal the 'grunt work' (6th house) and emotional effort he'd poured into the book's creation. His progressed Mercury had just crossed his Midheaven, illustrating how it's time for his evolving voice to become public and contribute to his great work, his legacy. Apparently Jung still has something to say! His progressed Midheaven was also forming a conjunction to his north node in Aries in the 2nd house; his evolving role in the world has caught up with the work his soul originally came here to do: claim his power as his own resource, without standing in anyone's shadow but having the courage to stand on his own.

Stay tuned for part 2 where I'll discuss the astrological conditions surrounding the October 7th publication date of the Red Book, and a natal analysis of Carl Jung himself.

****************************

For those who want to work directly with the chart data:

Jung's birth data is given as July 26, 1875 at 7:32 pm in Kesswil, Switzerland. Astro.com gives Kesswil a time zone of -00:30, which yields a chart with 1-1/2 degrees Aquarius Rising according to their calculations, but according to WinStar yields 4 degrees Aquarius Rising, which is used here. AstroDataBank verifies the birth time with an "A" rating (birth time from memory).

All progressed charts have been calculated with the location of Kusnacht, Switzerland, since that is Jung's earthly resting place.

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