Holocaust Remembrance Day, April 12, 2018: Remembering Henriette Pimentel

The New York Times reported in today’s paper that the Holocaust is fading from popular memory. Most millennials believed only 2 million died and couldn’t identify where the death camp Auschwitz was. Six million were killed and Auschwitz is located in Poland. Soon to leave this life, the remaining Holocaust survivors and the WWII veterans who liberated them are in their 80’s and 90’s, frequently unable to give personal testimony. Still, the memory of that time, that place in history needs to be shared, and a day in April is just as good as any other date. We are doomed to repeat what history we do not know. Let me share with you one story, told within an astrological framework of an amazing woman’s life:  Henriette Pimentel. 

Henriette Pimentel was born on April 17, 1876 in Amsterdam into a well to do Portuguese-Jewish family. With no public birth time recorded, the natal chart above is set at the neutral time of 12 noon. (Determining an ascendant, ruler of the chart and planets placed in house position requires a time of birth or chart rectification. I’ve chosen to focus only on planetary relationships and important transiting aspects.) Her Sun, Chiron and Mercury form a stellium in the late degrees of the dynamic, fire sign of Aries, indicating a forceful character and intellect, aware of her own internal failures. Her third quarter moon is in the independent, community oriented sign of Aquarius, suggesting a rational and cool soul aware that actions have consequences. She is part of a cohort born with Pluto in the sign of Taurus – a generation of people who lived to see their homes, lives and lands transformed by the Great Depression and World Wars I and II.

Henriette married when she was 23, in the year 1899 as transiting Jupiter moved to conjunct her natal Jupiter at 00° of Sagittarius in December of that year. For her, the beginning of her life’s second Jupiter cycle signified a renewed commitment to participating in the larger community through the act of marriage.

The chart above also speaks to the confluence of Jupiter, Uranus, Mercury and Saturn flooding the world with the adventurous, restless energy of the mutable Archer. 1899 saw an elderly Queen Victoria sending troops to fight the Boer War in South Africa, while Alfred Dreyfus was pardoned in France and Marconi successfully transmitted the news via radio across the British Chanel.  

Trained as a teacher and nurse, Henriette worked as a governess and later as a kindergarten teacher. She herself appears to have had no children, leading one to speculate that by 1916, this may have become a sensitive issue in her late Victorian marriage, culminating in her divorce.

Transiting Mars may have served as Henriette’s personal alarm clock, setting off the first bell in November of 1915 and completing her wake-up call in April of 1916 as the planet completed a series of conjunctions with her natal Uranus, both in Leo. A transiting Uranus in Aquarius simultaneously opposed natal Uranus in Leo – demonstrating how a classic mid-life crisis over identity and its place in the larger community resulted in a release of the bonds of marriage for the forty-year old Henriette. Place this personal crisis within the context of the larger chaos of WWI, when the Netherlands somehow absorbed over 1 million refugees from neighboring Belgium and France. Henriette’s teaching and child care skills were of use and probably kept a roof over her older but wiser head.

In 1926, Henriette was appointed director of the Crèche and Kindergarten Institute in Amsterdam, then located on the Plantage Middenlaan. Infants and young children, many Jewish but also of other faiths were cared for by a team of female attendants, allowing mothers to enter the work force. She was roughly 50 years old at the time of her appointment and soon became known for being a strict but capable director, with a small dog named Brunie as her constant companion. Shown in the chart below, transiting Uranus in Pisces once again shakes up the status quo, joining forces with the natal north node providing a career shift into her life’s potential fulfillment.   

In 1941, German troops occupied the Netherlands and by the autumn of 1942, Jewish citizens in Amsterdam are forced to gather at the Hollandsche Schouwburg, a repurposed theatre located in the heart of the Jewish neighborhood. From there men, women and children were transferred to the Westerbork Camp, a Dutch collection point before deportation to the death camps located in occupied Poland: Auschwitz- Birkenau, Sobibor, Bergen-Belsen, and Theresienstat. Anne Frank was briefly interned in Westerbork before being murdered at Auschwitz in 1944. From 1942 – 1945, 107,000 people were deported from Westerbork with 5, 200 thought to have survived. Of note to my Canuk readers – Canadian troops from the 8th Reconnaissance Regiment along with The South Saskatchewan Regiment liberated Westerbork in April 1945.

In 1941, Henriette experiences the German occupation with a life time lived as an able administrator, teacher and guardian to countless children. She is now called to care for Jewish children being prepared for transit to Westerbork. She has proven to be intelligent, capable, independent – interiorly how did she respond to this dire situation? What strength or belief sustained her? In the chart below, note transiting Saturn in practical, earthy Taurus conjuncts Henriette’s natal Pluto. Her world has turned inside out and upside down and nothing will ever be the same, yet with sustained work and discipline a radical rebirth is possible.

Henriette collaborates with Walter Suskind, the Jewish official in charge at the theatre along with Johan van Hulst, who directed the adjacent teacher preparatory college. Together, the troika made arrangements with Dutch resistance groups to smuggle an estimated 600 or more children to safety. Somehow, a scheme to remove the childrens’ names from transport schedules went undetected, even as many more were deported. Henriette was often tasked with securing parental approval, asking mothers and fathers to choose which in their family would live. Babies were transported to safety in boxes and backpacks, while deported mothers carried inert dolls wrapped in blankets as they boarded the trains to Westerbork. Other children slipped away with help of the crèche’s care givers to the waiting resistant groups, or through the help of van Hulst and staff at the college. The Germans closed the crèche in July 1943, sending Henriette, the remaining staff and children to the theatre and on to Westerbork.  Henriette died in Auschwitz in September 1943.

Henriette Pimentel so clearly lived a full life, serving her community and saving lives at a moment in time when hope was almost extinguished and death was a certainty. In an astrological framework – she lived her natal chart’s potential to the fullest, finding the strength and skills necessary to meet the many challenges of each transit and planetary cycle.

It is said that we die twice. Once with our last breath, and then a second time when the last person who speaks our name takes their last breath. On this Holocaust Remembrance Day, Henriette Pimentel lives. May her story quicken your heart and challenge you to remember.

 

 

Christopher Plummer Wrestles With Pluto

Christopher Plummer is experiencing a professional whirlwind of acclaim, since November 2017. This renowned stage and screen star agreed at short notice to replace Kevin Spacey in the role of J. Paul Getty in Ridley Scott’s film All The Money In The World. He then garnered critical applause and a best supporting nod for the 2018 Oscars. In synchronistic fashion, he is also synthesizing important astrological transits that include an impressive Pluto opposition only offered to a generational cohort now marking their very elder years. Is it coincidence or something more akin to fate that brings a major Pluto transit into Plummer’s life just as he portrays the ultimate plutocrat, J. Paul Getty?

Pluto is an outer planet with an erratic orbit, spending 16 to 30 years in each astrological sign and orbiting the sun in about 248 years. Discovered in 1930, it is an ancient archetype associated with Hades, Greek god of the underworld and extending even further back to Ereshkigal and the Great Mother herself. In modern astrology, it is a transpersonal and communal energy which modulates an entire cohort’s response to regenerative and transformative change.

In a person’s natal chart, transiting Pluto will sooner or later aspect a natal planet or angle. Due to its slow movement, a Pluto transit may last several years, including a period of time before the actual transit, the direct and retrograde motion of the transit itself and the separation. No matter the type of aspect made or the duration, this outer planet will announce itself through dreams, vague unease or outright external demands for eliminative, regenerative and transforming change.

For most people, transiting Pluto will square the birth Pluto somewhere in the middle of life. Elders in their late 80’s and older may experience the opposition while no one will experience a Pluto natal return. Take for example Plummer’s fellow actor, Leo DiCaprio. He was born with Pluto in the sign of Libra. DiCaprio’s Pluto to natal Pluto opposition will occur only if he reaches age 99, in the year 2074.

From May 26, 1914 through October 07, 1937 – Pluto was roaming the ecliptic under the cardinal, water sign of Cancer. These 23 years included WWI and the years prior to WWII, the financial collapse of the Great Depression and the authoritarian regimes of the 1930’s. Plummer was born in 1929, amid the sweeping societal changes that challenged, revitalized and transformed the elemental concepts of home and what it could become. Almost 89 years later, Pluto now travels through the opposite sign of Capricorn and the world at large struggles with the regeneration and transformation of its political and social structures in light of climate change, economic inequality, sexual and gender liberation.

Please note: Pluto has defined zigs and zags before settling into an extended period in one sign. Pluto retrograded into Gemini then directed back into Cancer several times from Sep 1912 through May 1914. Similarly, the period after Oct 1937 Pluto moved forward into Leo then retrograded back into Cancer a few times from Oct 1937 to June 1939. It remained in Leo from June 13, 1939 until October 19, 1956 when a similar zig and zag occurred with Pluto moving into Virgo. Confused? Check an ephemeris for the specifics or visualize Pluto’s movement with an astrological software program.

Plummer along with his generation are intimately experiencing the Pluto in Capricorn traveling back and forth in opposition to his natal Pluto in Cancer. It signifies radical change in some area of Plummer’s life. Normally, it is a metaphorical death with resulting rebirth. Sometimes it is a battle with illness or a loss of a friend or partner that shakes up life, creating new priorities.   Something is lost or eliminated and within the newly created void a rebirth occurs.

A key to unlock the opposition is to review life events when transiting Pluto in Libra first squared Plummer’s natal Pluto in Cancer. The year would have been 1980 and Plummer just turned 50. Whatever rebalancing Pluto in Libra demanded of Plummer is now up for review as Pluto in Capricorn challenges the very structures and accomplishments made in the intervening years. The past plays a part in this transformation. You need to understand where you’ve been to realize where you need to go.

Plummer’s birth time is publically unknown, so there is no way to tell what house/sphere of life is affected by the current Pluto opposition (see chart above). At almost 89 years of age, it is reasonable to consider that Plummer may prefer to stay rooted in psychological and/or physical habits that have served him well. My counsel to Plummer and any other lucky elder undergoing a Pluto to Pluto opposition is to rely on the hard won wisdom you may have garnered through a long life. Surrendering and metabolizing the needed change are skills an elder already has. Professionally, Plummer has great experience entering and exiting on cue – Pluto asks that it be applied in his personal life.

Paul Getty died June 6, 1976 at the age of 83, leaving behind an estate then valued at $2 billon. A quote attributed to him perhaps sums up his general philosophy…”the meek shall inherit the earth, but not its mineral rights.” He died while Pluto in the guise of Libra transited his 9th house, proving even a billionaire must face the greatest of philosophical questions. Plummer in the role of this great plutocrat may have brought clarity to his own Pluto directed journey. If so, then he has won a cosmic prize far greater than another Oscar win could achieve.

 

Justin Bieber: Jupiter Returns Home

 

Justin Bieber welcomes home transiting Jupiter in 2018, bringing behind the scene, 12th house blessings to his very public life.   Jupiter is Christmas morning, an all-night rave and the winning lottery ticket all rolled up in one. The planetary archetype reminds me of a whole bowl of only green shamrock Lucky Charms or a big red balloon rising towards the sun and any other joyful excess you can imagine. Keep in mind, Jupiter is also the morning after hangover, the popped expectation and the over the moon letdown. Yet, we need Jupiter in our lives to imagine and create the philosophies that underpin higher education, the rule of law and spiritual journeys.

Jupiter’s gregarious planetary energy dived deep into the water sign of Scorpio in October 2017 and will gallop into its home fire sign of Sagittarius in November 2018. Bieber was born with Jupiter placed in the 12th house at 14° of Scorpio (inner ring of the above chart). Transiting Jupiter joined in union with Bieber’s natal Jupiter on December 19th (outer ring) and in 2018 will return two more times: June 10, 2018 in retrograde motion and August 9, 2018 in outgoing direct motion.

It takes Jupiter about 11.8 years to travel around the sun and this gas behemoth will spend about a year in each of the 12 zodiacal signs. Thus, a person experiences Jupiter’s return to their natal placement roughly every 12 years. Jupiter naturally calls Sagittarius home, reveling in the element of fire and the mutable mode. In a personal chart, Jupiter’s placement in a house will signify the area of life where a bit of luck, expansion or growth may occur. It’s the sunny side of the street that we cross over to in search of life’s meaning and belief systems. Lurking in the shadows lie grand schemes, empty promises and inflated dreams beyond our capabilities. Hard won wisdom balances Jupiter’s excess and best be acquired along the journey.

Bieber was born with Jupiter in the sign of Scorpio, coloring the usual buoyancy with a deep and passionate thirst for answers to the very questions that make life more meaningful: philosophical theories, educational journeys and spiritual exploration. Will-power aligns with faith and will rescue Bieber at critical moments, with Jupiter’s placement in the 12th house of hidden strengths and weakness. The theme of a hidden Jupiter is emphasized with the placement of Sagittarius within the 1st house – indicating a need to further uncover the archetype’s expression in his immediate physical surroundings and social expression. The planet Pluto’s placement upon the Ascendant angle, and it’s rulership of the chart emphasizes Scorpio traits that Bieber embodies: an intense physical presence and a focused social intelligence. A bit of Jupiter’s sunny optimism and resilient faith will lighten Pluto’s heavy load.

Over the course of a lifetime, a person who lives to age 84 will experience 7 Jupiter returns. At each turn of Jupiter’s wheel, find ways to reintegrate personal belief systems, philosophies and faith within the larger community. Bieber experienced his first Jupiter return at age 11 in 2006. By October 2008, he had a record deal and was well on his way creating the journey that a gifted Sun in Pisces, Moon in heart throb Libra and disciplined Scorpio Ascendant soul might well create.

Now as Bieber approaches his 24th birthday, his 2nd Jupiter rewind asks him to reenter into the social compact. As he answers these questions, Bieber will also be experiencing transiting Jupiter in Scorpio making a trine to his natal Venus in Pisces. Luck in love (Selena, that’s you babe!) and money is an opportunity too good to pass up. Finally throughout 2018, transiting Neptune in Pisces will trine natal Jupiter suggesting that creativity will flow easily now: beats and lyrics should form into song and songs into an album with little difficulty.

With Jupiter’s return it is wise to stay on the sunny side of life while avoiding empty words, grandiose actions and false appearances. Count your blessings, renew your faith and share what wealth and abundance you have with those you love.

Good advice for Justin Bieber and you.

 

3 Unique Saturn Returns: Rihanna, Emma Thompson & Christopher Plummer

Rihanna, Emma Thompson and Christopher Plummer are individually celebrated for their artistic achievements around the world. Beginning in late December 2017 and through 2018, they also celebrate a Saturn return to their natal Saturn in Capricorn.

They each share the hallmarks of Saturn as expressed through Capricorn: a call to duty, perseverance and prizes won against worldly obstacles. Individually, they will express in some sphere of their life organizational skills that with age and experience lead to accomplished life goals. There may be displays of dour practicality or frugal efficiency. Each will feel a unique interior pause as one Saturn cycle ends and another begins.

In general, Time Lord Saturn returns to a person’s natal position every 28-29 years. Most of us experience the first return before our 30th birthday while many of us will age to understand the second return as we welcome our 58th-59th year. Some of us will physically endure to celebrate a third return as we approach our 88th year. If any soul upon their 117th year reaches the 4th Saturn return….their worldly wisdom is beyond compare.

Saturn returns signify a cycle of world experience has completed. An inner tally of challenges met, hurdles overcome and lessons learned is part of the transit no matter what the native’s age. The return is the culmination of Saturn’s cycle through our lives. The chart below is a cyclic example of Saturn in action for these three individuals.

Saturn’s similarity with a lunar cycle is noteworthy. The moon’s 28-29 day cycle symbolizes the flux and flow of our interior life, while Saturn’s 28-29 year cycle heralds our mastery of this earthly reality. Saturn’s waxing, outgoing square has a first quarter feel, while an opposition alludes to a full moon moment. The waning, incoming square is similar to a third quarter moon which leads to a natal Saturn return and new moon promise.

Rihanna is experiencing a first Saturn return, with the exact transit having occurred on December 24th, 2017. If the reported birth time is correct, the Saturn return will echo through the 9th house spheres of life:  spiritual quests, long distance journeys, life philosophies, higher law and education.  As I write, she is making a public call to end gun violence as she mourns a younger cousin’s tragic death over the Christmas holiday in Barbados.

Christopher Plummer follows with his 3rd Saturn Return on Jan 02, 2018. He recently received a Golden Globe nominee for Best Supporting Actor for the role of J. Paul Getty in the film “All The Money In The World.” With Saturn like discipline, this 88 year old actor credited his early theatre training in allowing him to step in and replace Kevin Spacey over a demanding 9 day re-shoot. Will Plummer be rewarded with an Oscar nod later in January?

Emma Thompson will experience a 2nd Saturn Return in 2018 beginning in February and ending in November. In October 2017 her frank assessment of Harvey Weinstein and Hollywood culture made headlines around the world and illustrated this Saturn in Capricorn native’s ability to overcome career impediments placed in her path. Thompson’s interior dialogue with Saturn will determine the direction of her next 28-29 years. 

Are you born with Saturn in the early degrees of Capricorn? Then you have or will experience a Saturn return in the coming months. Your experience may not be as public as the three mentioned above, but it is a moment to take a deep breath and consider lessons learned, challenges met and plans yet to achieve. The celestial taskmaster has returned and beckons you to grow in maturity and wisdom. Many happy Saturn returns to all.

Matt Lauer: Saturn Returns With Invoice Marked Due

On Wednesday, November 29, 2017, NBC fired veteran Today Show host, Matt Lauer for inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace. Viewed through an astrological lens, was his second Saturn return involved? Saturn returns every 28-29 years to its natal position and will demand an accounting of past actions before settling accounts and beginning the next cycle of life. Let’s investigate.

Lauer is 59 years old, soon to celebrate his 60th on December 30th of this year. Born in 1957 in New York City, Lauer’s birth time is unknown. Below, Lauer’s natal chart is set at 12N, which allows an astrologer to consider the planetary relationships…but not the ascendant, ruling planet of the chart or the spheres of life where the planetary energies play their parts.

Focus your gaze immediately on Lauer’s natal Sun in the sign of Capricorn, with Mercury in retrograde motion in Sagittarius followed by Saturn in the same natal sign. Natal Mercury retrograde speaks to an internal dialogue that exists before a person will speak the words of everyday life out loud. Paired with Saturn in a loose conjunction, there would be a cautious and skeptic tone added to Lauer’s speech that would extend to his belief systems as well.  Natal Saturn will also limit and discipline an unrestrained Sagittarian wit.

Lauer’s first Saturn return occurred in 1987 at the age of 29, with the planet transiting over natal Saturn three times: direct on Feb 10th, retrograde motion May 20th and completing the cycle in direct motion on Nov 8th. Whether processed internally, externally or most likely a combination of the two, Lauer experienced some sense of completion and adjusted life goals to complement the adult he had become. Note that his divorce from first wife Nancy Alspaugh was complete sometime in 1988.

Lauer’s second Saturn return occurred in December 2016, at the age of 58. This recent, one-time transit set in motion a scenario similar to that of a bill coming due. Public life was going well…Lauer weathered the criticism aimed at his election interviews with both Clinton and Trump while renewing his co-anchor contract thru 2018 with a yearly salary of a reported $20 million dollars.   What other life lessons was Saturn suggesting he learn?  And when?

It is now almost a year later with transiting Saturn and Mercury in Sagittarius having joined in conjunction with Lauer’s natal Mercury (see chart below). Fleet footed Mercury has delivered Saturn’s recurring message and it has illuminated both Lauer’s inner journey as well as conferred very public consequences based upon the many choices he made and lessons not learned over the last 29 years.  Mercury will turn retrograde December 3rd, suggesting that Lauer review the belief systems, gender and cultural mind sets that have lead to this destructive behavior.

Saturn in Capricorn will conjunct Lauer’s natal Sun through the year of 2018: direct motion March 27th, retrograde May 10th and direct on December 9th. Limitations along with taking responsibility for the consequences of past actions will test and challenge Lauer’s sense of self. No transiting planet operates alone and Lauer will experience Saturn’s boundaries and restrictions within the context of all the other energies of the chart.

If Lauer was a client and an accurate birth time was known, I would suggest looking towards the 8th house as well as where Pluto lies.  Precise and intense psychoanalytical examination, followed by elimination and hoped for transformation into a balanced, healthier psyche is certainly called for.

Matt Lauer’s journey continues and only time will tell what Saturn’s third return in 2046 will bring. Lauer will be 88 years old and will have grown not just older but perhaps wiser. Saturn would have it no other way.

Guillermo del Toro – At Home With Pluto

Guillermo del Toro – film director, screenwriter, creative auteur of fantastical monsters, evil men and empowered women. Who is the man?

The Art Gallery of Ontario’s current exhibit Guillermo del Toro: At Home With Monsters takes “inspiration from del Toro’s extraordinary imagination, reveals his creative process through his personal collection of art, artefacts, books, and props, all culled from Bleak House, del Toro’s creative haven located in Los Angeles.” (www.ago.ca)    I got a chance to view the show early on a quiet Sunday morning, before the normal crowds arrived. At every turn, del Toro’s genius springs up from the dark shadows of humanity’s beating heart and aligns him with the esoteric power of Pluto.

Born on October 9, 1964 in Guadalajara, Mexico, del Toro has no publically known birth time. As an astrologer though, I believe his work pulsates with the touch of Pluto’s underworld energy. With a bit of fantastical thinking of my own, I’ve chosen to rectify his birth time to 4:37 AM (see chart below), placing his natal new moon in the sign ruled by Pluto, in the critical degree of 29 Scorpio. This moon sits with Neptune in the 3rd house of day to day communication – gifting him with the drive to communicate the underworld energies of this passionate, intense new moon energy.

Pluto also dominates the Virgo ascendant angle in this natal chart – announcing the importance of Scorpion themes that the chart’s ruler, Mercury will communicate in the sphere of its influence, the 10th house of public life and career.  There will also be a need to physically and socially manifest Pluto thru the ASC and 1st house, with Mercurial wit and intelligence balanced on Libra’s fair scales of justice. 

In del Toro’s Wikipedia page, the claim is he picked up his father’s Super 8 camera at age 8 and began to make short films. Note in the dual chart below his natal Saturn is in the 6th house square the 3rd house Scorpio Moon. Del Toro must physically labor in the day to day of life to manifest the moon’s creativity. Around age 8, transiting Saturn in Gemini conjuncted the mid-heaven in three distinct hits and later conjuncted his natal North Node in Gemini, suggesting his early interest in film was no accident but part of a life’s plan.

 

In astrology land, I often look for serendipity in groups of 3 when working with a chart and more with an unknown birth time. For the purpose of brevity, I have counted the Scorpio moon as #1, the Saturn 10th house transit at age 8 as #2. Now for #3.

Once again as per Wikipedia, in 1997 the 33 y/o del Toro was given a $30 million budget to shoot the film Mimic for Miramax. Following this career coup, his father was kidnapped in Guadalajara, culminating in del Toro and his family’s involuntary exile from Mexico.

Del Toro’s 1977 chart below shows transiting in the 8th house of life and death, Saturn in martial Aries opposes del Toro’s natal Libra Sun located in the 2nd.

Astrology doesn’t necessarily express itself so concretely, but in this quick assessment the pieces fall together nicely. Saturn’s archetype of the elder comes alive:  it is del Toro’s father who is threatened in an 8th house life/death situation. Del Toro was literately forced to make the choice inherent in an opposition and chose a transformative, life giving 8th house move away from his country of birth.

Trick or treat – this is my Halloween gift to you. Know that this natal chart has been creatively rectified to suit a particular interpretation of one person’s birth on a particularly monstrous day. Reader be(a)ware!

The exhibit remains at the AGO until January 7th, 2018. Toronto is a great town for a weekend visit, so consider Guillermo del Toro in the light of both his creative work and natal astrological potential as he beckons you to join him At Home With Monsters.

 

Astrology Data Organized

How does an astrologer begin to organize all the bits of information that occur in any one span of time? What piece is useful, another just a small fragment of the larger picture? The answer is that each astrologer organizes it individually based upon their working habits.

Personally, I fire up the Solar Fire software program and look at the daily transit chart that magically pops up. From there, I’ll identify key planetary movements and relationships that are important to me, my family, friends and clients.

I think about myth, archetype and modern events and trends. I consider the mundane application of the planetary snapshot in relationship to current events. It is a complicated and surprisingly sophisticated synthesis of astronomy, astrology, world history, anthropology, archeology, myth, archetype and human behavior. The process is active with skills in each area growing and expanding in a never ending cycle of ebb and flow.

Sometimes I’ll create a chart that personalizes ephemeris data, as shown above. Note the use of a lunar calendar, extending the sense of waxing and waning into the thought process. Recently, I’ve begun to study declination and its application to astrology. The next lunar cycle, I hope to include parallel and contra parallel along with out of bounds chart info. True, a pocket ephemeris will tell me roughly the same information – yet it is in the creation of the chart where the learning occurs.

Venus is noted as a morning star, signifying for me the symbolic journey this divine feminine archetype is making towards a superior/exterior conjunction with the sun in January of 2018. The planet Venus will morph into the ancient Sumerian goddess Inanna as She approaches her reign as queen of heaven and earth. Then as an evening star, the planet Venus as Inanna will begin a descent culminating into an underworld journey that ultimately ends in rebirth as a morning star in October of 2018. The planet Mercury is an interior planet with inferior/interior and superior/exterior conjunction cycles and is on my astronomy to learn list in greater detail.

Have I lost you, intrigued you, or confused you? Or perked your interest to begin your own astrological journey of discovery? If intrigued, understand it takes time, dedication, instruction and mentorship to grow in astrology.

In a future post, I’ll share with you some of the many resources available that may help you in your astrological journey.

 

Saturn Into Capricorn – An Early Welcome

On December 19, 2017 at 11:49 pm in Toronto, Canada, Saturn will return to the sign of its rulership – Capricorn. The Sun will follow suit upon the winter solstice on December 21st around 11:30 am and join in conjunction with the time lord Saturn in the longest night of the year. This festive season will usher in for most of us living upon the shores of Lake Ontario, holiday parties, ice hockey and getaways to warm weather places.

People living in the northern hemisphere experience the holidays as the Sun’s most southern point in declination, followed by the Sun’s slow climb through the winter months and culminating in the balance of the Vernal Equinox. Sagittarian ruler Jupiter wearing the mythic guise of the Holly King is cosmically overcome by the proceeding Capricorn ruler Saturn as the Oak King in Celtic lore. January becomes an earthbound, stern season of sober reflection, befitting the symbolic horned zodiacal Capricorn goat climbing upward along with the sun towards the far off mountain top. Prudent goals are set, elder sages honored, laws and tradition hold sway, and society rewards those who reach the top.

The Midheaven and 10th house in the flat chart are associated with Saturn and Capricorn, representing our public identity and career possibilities. It is here that benefits are received from a person’s 2nd house set of values and resources and the 6th house rewards of vocational toil. Where Saturn is placed in the natal chart and what sign it expresses its planetary energies in is a person’s apprenticeship in this thing called life.

Within the birth chart, Saturn in Capricorn natives are born with an innate sense of limitation, boundaries, rules and the awareness of the inevitable bottom line. Many with this placement will have responsibility thrust upon them early in life. Their parental figures may believe in the value of discipline, family tradition or tribal custom. Too many rules and restrictions may lead the native into fits of anxiety or irrational fear. Others will gradually learn a work in progress approach to life’s many challenges and will slowly master the situation at hand. Aspects to Saturn will bring greater clarity to any interpretation.

How to work with this universal taskmaster? Take the time to understand the myths, archetypes and dynamism of Saturn. Learn more about how a zodiac sign adds to the basic Saturn expression. Then work with house placement and consider Saturn’s sphere of influence in the chart. Add aspects to further define Saturn’s planetary expression.

Finally, consider where Saturn is in the larger 28-29 year cycle it makes in a natal chart. Native Saturn in Capricorn cohorts will be experiencing Saturn returns beginning in the middle of December 2017 thru December 2020. There will be a brief dip into Aquarius beginning mid-March 2020 followed by Saturn’s retrograde movement back into Capricorn in the first few days of July 2020. Brush up on how to read an ephemeris or learn how to use an astrological software program, like Solar Fire.

Astrology is often associated with the prophecy of Uranus but it is the many hours of study that will lead to an understanding and ultimate mastery of Saturn’s energy.

Saturn Introduced

Somewhere in the middle of life, I was sitting with John Marchesella, a skilled New York City astrologer, for one of many astrological counseling sessions he graced me with over a 20 year period. Though aware of astrology basics, the finer points eluded me back then. He kept repeating basic themes of discipline, mastery, overcoming fear and rising to the occasion and pairing it with the planetary energy of Saturn. Finally, in a fit of impatience I said “Saturn, Saturn, Saturn – what is it about this planet that makes it such a prominent part of life?”   He chuckled and gave me a line or two that smoothed my edges away…but not my curiosity.

Upon the 2017 Fall Equinox, Saturn sits at 21° of Sagittarius and will soon move into Capricorn around the Winter Solstice. This numinous, planetary energy was given form and structure in ancient myth by the Titan god Kronos who swallowed his children in an attempt to avert his eventual removal. Zeus and other Olympians gave battle, forcing generational change.

In modern myth, Saturn is often depicted as an older man in a long robe holding a staff or scythe. The tarot hermit card is an older but wiser archetype worthy of weaving into a more holistic, conscious consideration of Saturn’s energy. Liberating the planetary energy from myth, cultural and gender bias loosens up the many positive possibilities inherent in each of us. Saturn’s many themes include: mortal reality, the aging process, limitations, depression, mastery through discipline, shouldering responsibility and plain hard work.

In the birth chart, Saturn’s themes will be expressed through the lens of an astrological sign and in the sphere of life signified by house placement. For example, Saturn in the mutable, air sign of Gemini will find day to day communications challenging or limited in some way. Place this combination in the public and career 10th house and this may be the executive who enrolls in a speech class to overcome their childhood fear of public speaking.

Saturn takes 28-30 years to cycle through all 12 signs of the zodiac (about 2 ½ years in each sign) and will return natally 2-3 times in the course of a person’s life. These Saturn returns are bellwether moments, where life experiences are tallied and the wheel is set for the next spin of time. An individual’s return will be uniquely sensed and processed either in full awareness and increasing mastery or within the shadows of doubt and lurking disappointment. Either way the celestial taskmaster’s presence will be felt; if not in the day’s waking moments then in the night’s dream world.

The first Saturn return as a person nears 28 to 30 is the final hurrah of youth and the journey towards mature adulthood. Responsibilities normally increase, relationships grow or wither away and life’s purpose continues to be shaped by Saturn’s call to authenticity.

The second Saturn return between 58 and 60 will reflect wisdom hard won through the course of the adult years. Shamans of experience, the wisest among the second Saturn returnees will walk into their elder years laying foundations for future generations.

At the age of 88-89, the third Saturn return signals culmination, an approaching mortality, a final opportunity to bring talent, wisdom and a bit of hard work to relationships and life projects the ancient one loves and cares about.

Weaving Saturn into the larger picture will bring definition and clarity along with the passage of time. Wisdom is always hard won and bittersweet – to be treasured as well as shared for the benefit of all.

 

Mars into Virgo Getting Stuff Done

Mars moved into the versatile, earth sign of Virgo today.  Low and behold, my clothes closet got reorganized:  unloved items off to the community thrift store and summer clothes into storage.  It wasn’t a planned activity, it simply felt absolutely right that this was the morning to tackle the task.  This was me physically playing out a manifestation of dynamic, get-it-done Mars in one of the more practical, curating signs of the astrological cosmos.

Mars in Virgo energy can be expressed in the most obvious of ways through military service or more subtlety by the lab researcher searching for a cure through the night.  It is the ambulance driver rushing to save a life or a community activist promoting the local farmer’s market.

Sexually, Mars in Virgo will not necessarily fall head over heels in love, but will review the partnership possibilities, fastidiously research the pros and cons, and critically choose the lover with the best potential.  Condoms are placed in a purse or wallet before a Friday night out and personal hygiene before and after a lusty and skilled romp in bed will be attended to.

Mars in Virgo requires flexible alternatives, organizational flow, discriminating choices, intelligent action, community service and laser-like focus.  Anger is expressed towards themselves or others when standards have not been met, goals not reached or service not properly provided.  Imperfections are not tolerated and fools not suffered when Mars is in Virgo.

Mars will remain in Virgo until late October.  Take a look where this practical earth energy is placed in your natal chart for a clue as to where in your life to use it.  Note if there is a hard aspect (conjunction, square, opposition) to a natal planet or angle and make the necessary adjustments.  If you are lucky enough to have a Mars in Virgo trining one of your natal planets, don’t let it slip away from you!  Use the smoothly flowing energy to get done the project, job or activity the aspect suggests.

Clothes closet organized!  Now how about preparing the garden for winter…..