Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A Message from Venus

Here on the east coast of the US, we’ve had a strange surge of summer weather.  It’s been nice to shed the coats and scarves and gloves, even though we know this is not such a benign phenomenon.

In all of human history, there’s never been a time when humans felt responsible for the weather.  No wonder climate change denial is so prevalent, besides the fact that it’s well-funded by the businesses that contribute to it.  Beyond that, this new way of understanding the world is hard.  It’s burdensome. 

The weather has always been vast, powerful, a region populated by gods.  From Zeus snippily hurling his thunderbolts, there was always a capricious quality about it.  It was Fate, it was something that humans had to submit to, and this capacity to submit was a key ingredient in religious devotion.   Even when the weather ruined your life, even when it starved you and killed your loved ones, you had no choice but to bow to it.

And now we know that, as much as the weather influences us, we also influence it.  The trees we chop, the color of our rooftops, the particles we manufacture, it’s all us, swaying and converting and influencing those ferocious weather gods.  But we can’t just demand that the weather do our bidding, any more than we can point our fingers at an electric outlet and demand that the electricity flow.  No, we have to learn its language.  We have to speak the language of our former gods. 

We’ve always suspected that we could influence those weather gods through prayer and sacrifice.  I think we were on the right track, and if we had kept up these rituals, we might have noticed the earth’s distress much earlier.  And now we have to do a lot of praying and sacrificing in a hurry.  Praying that a ray of light enter the thick brains of the country’s current leaders.  Sacrificing some old conveniences for new ways of living. 

In March, we get a chance to backtrack, and to work on this relationship, because Venus, the planet of love, will be retrograde.  Starting on March 4, she’ll be going in apparent backward motion for about six weeks.  And so this is a time to look at everything we love:  the ideas, the things, and the people.  How do we love?  How do we connect?   

The relationship between the human race and the earth can tell us something about our patterns of loving.  First, we were subservient, at the mercy of these fierce gods of lightning and rain and sunlight.   Then we gained a bit more independence, harnessing the powers of warmth and light, and at that point, we could’ve had an equal relationship.  But fear was still driving humans, and we chose domination. 

At its root, domination is always fear.  Dominating the weather is about trying to rise above those wild, elemental powers.  Dominating women is essentially a fear of women’s unique ability to give birth.  Domination of gay people is based on the fear that patriarchy won’t prevail if people have a choice about their orientation.   Domination of African-Americans is the fear that that cruelty will be answered in kind, and legitimate anger will seek retribution in blood.  And the longer domination goes on, the stronger the fear grows, and the harder it is to root out. 

And domination precludes love.  On writing this, I thought about S & M, and then I realized that that's play domination, not the real thing.  S & M is based on mutual consent and the person at the bottom always has a “stop” signal to reassert control.  True domination doesn’t allow this level of mutual awareness. 

No, in domination, love is crowded out.  And we all know that love is key to survival for our species.  Unloved humans do not thrive.   They die early, as wistful babies, and they die late, as neglected senior citizens. 

It takes great courage to turn fear into love, and this is the challenge of our times.  Venus’ retrograde through Aries will show us something of how this works.  Aries is the fire sign that has most to do with autonomy and independence, and Aries’ keyword is, “I am.” With Venus moving in reverse in Aries, that changes to, “Am I?” and further on, “Who am I?”

The answer for all of us is “a lover”.  All of us love something or someone, but what do we do with this energy? Do we use it to possess, and to feed our addictions?  Do we use it to connect, to celebrate, and to find joy?  Do we truly see the people and things we love, or are they just our mirrors?  Or is it always some combination of these things?  Does love cease when the person or thing or god you’ve loved is ready to shift roles?

We know Trump loves an overcooked steak and the clink of a cash register, but what else does he love?  Looking at his chart, we see Venus in the emotional, affectionate sign Cancer, so we know he is attached to many people, places and objects.  But Venus is also conjunct Saturn, the planet of fear, so he is also very afraid of losing what/who he loves.  The fear leads him to work hard to maintain control, to dominate.   

But this doesn’t work when you’re trying to govern millions of people with various and immediate needs.  And it doesn’t work with the weather gods, who are waiting for us to learn how to communicate with them, to speak the wider languages of wind and rain.  They are waiting for us to be empowered by love, rather than frightened by it. 

Venus is not just the planet of love, but the planet of beauty.  And it seems to me what we need to do is stitch some beauty together – not just in art museums and manicured gardens, but in daily life for all people.  When all people live and work in places that feed the spirit, where there is air and sun and an absence of fear, then we’ll be in a place of balance with the earth.  Everything she has given us is beautiful, and when we learn to echo that beauty, we can be the lovers we were born to be.   

Friday, February 3, 2017

This Land is Our Land

It’s ironic that in the middle of this mess, when so many immigrants find themselves in limbo, that my wife finally got her green card.  So we’re staying.  We’re not running off to Canada, thank you very much. 

Of course, it has nothing to do with Trump, any more than current upticks in employment do.  But it reminds me that there is a momentum that’s already been set.  We’re moving towards a wider and more inclusive future, and we’ll get there.  It’s just that progress will be a bit slower, what with Trump amusing himself with all the shiny knobs in the driver’s seat.

The Women’s March was also encouraging.  Half a million women, a crowd spotted with pink hand-knitted hats, thousands of pithy home-made signs. I felt the enormous power of women like a hand raising me up into an unmarked sky.  I moved above the rumble of dread and fear coming from this new administration.  I knew that growl of thunder was mostly bluster, that there was nothing there that could bend the human spirit. 

There’s an energizing aspect this month -  Jupiter opposing Uranus -  and this will help us avoid resistance fatigue.  But does show that things are not going to settle down in February.  Not for any of us.

So yes, Trump and his minions will probably do all kinds of outrageous things this month.  And the rest of us – people interested in a fairer and more civil society – will stay underfoot, using every tool we can call to hand.  There’s a great deal of creativity in this Jupiter/Uranus opposition. 

This aspect is basically about rules vs. anarchy.  Jupiter in Libra stands for laws, protocols, civility, and moral standards.  And yes, I have to say it.  Even though I’ve seen myself as a rule-breaker most of my life, I’m actually quite invested in the idea of a truly lawful society, one that treats everyone equally, with unhurried deliberation.  One that’s transparent and open to all. One that’s expressed in dignity and courtesy to others. 

And to some extent, we have that here.  Oh, I know the law we have is far from perfect, both in practice and in theory.  But there are some basic ideals that have become enshrined in our law and our system of government, some of them quite precious.  So we’ll be using those, relying on them.  Jupiter in Libra is also about relationships, about compromise and cooperation, and we’ll also need to master this if we are going to make positive changes in this world.   

And then there’s Uranus, planet of sudden shocking changes.  This is Trump’s specialty, mostly because he’s kind of a brat.  He doesn’t believe that any set of rules has any hold over him, and I have a feeling that some of the people who voted for him were kind of fascinated by this unbound, unfettered quality of his.  It’s the same reason we all like to look at videos of little kids and puppies.  Look at what they get away with!  Look how awkward!    

So he’s got the Uranus thing down, as we can also see by the sun/Uranus conjunction in his natal chart.  He’s got people around him trying to handle him, but they’re not generally going to succeed.  He’ll seem docile up to a point, but then he’ll turn around and do something unexpected.  And of course, you know what they say about too many cooks.  There are a lot of people around Trump, pulling strings in all different directions, so this is going to add to the flailing. 

But we have to own Uranus too.  The secret to dealing with an opposition is to find ways to express both sides of it, to bring them together.  We already are pretty good at the law side of things.  We have the ideals, the basic human sense of justice, on our side.  How do we work in the creative excitement of Uranus?  How do we keep them as off-balance as they’ve kept us? 

It’s not easy because we’re used to seeing the office of the presidency of one of authority and dignity.  That goes along with our basic respect for law.  And yes, we’re used to seeing a dignified, intelligent man there.  But Trump is doing his best to show us that the office can become an international laughingstock, and it can happen in a matter of days.  So I think we can adjust.   

So I suggest that this movement, our movement, is going to be two-pronged, in order to succeed.  You could say it’s a juggling act.  One ball is law, one is anarchy, and we need them both in the air.  We need our pinstriped lawyers, working for justice in the courts, and we need the crazy radicals, calling into question all the things we thought we knew. 

So don’t worry if some of your friends have gone completely around the bend, and are spending their time mumbling about the revolutionary things they intend to do.  Encourage them!  We need the wild-eyed ones.  Give them some ambrosia, and let’s get moving.  Let’s give our movement color and sound and excitement.  Let’s take it where we never dreamed we’d go. 

But at the same time, we have to keep our footing.  We need to be able to leap off the high wire and land upright in a world of justice, peace and equality.  We can do it.  Our net is wide.  Our net is as wide as the this land.      

Thursday, December 1, 2016


I was as freaked as you by the election results, believe me.  Successful astrological prediction requires objectivity, and I didn’t have that, so I didn’t attempt an election prediction.  But I was lulled into a sense of security by the prevailing wisdom that Hillary would win, in spite of a lingering feeling of dread whenever I considered the alternative. 

Now that dread has taken a more concrete form, and like everybody else in the world, I’m looking at least four years of backwards motion.  I’m accustomed to dealing with backwards motion, since all the planets go retrograde occasionally.  Sooner or later, they always go direct again, and move forward into new territory.  I have no doubt that this will happen in the US as well. 

But I’m still feeling a lot of grief.  I’m devastated that we’ll have a racist in the White House, after eight years with the first Black president.  I’m sorrowful that the president will be a misogynist, after a woman came so close to shattering that glass ceiling.  And I’m traumatized by the election of a confirmed con man, during a time when so many are calling for real change. 

Astrologically, I blame it on Neptune, the planet of confusion, illusion and hypnosis.  I feel that a large chunk of the country has been under a sort of spell, and I didn’t credit it because it didn’t touch me, or most of the people I know. 

Yes, for a large part of the last year, Neptune has been squaring Saturn, and so everyone has been looking for a messiah.  Trump was an unlikely leader, all surface and no content, but he recognized that it’s all about the energy you generate, and he was good at exciting crowds, especially through corralling and focusing anger.  Seen from the outside, his rallies looked eerily like the Third Reich, but experienced from the inside, they must have been as satisfying as a good work-out (although I’m sure for some people, some sick feelings lingered a while). 

People egg each other on.  And when a huckster can tap into mob mind, and get everybody yelling and screaming the same words, he’s got a lot of power at his fingertips.  With the election over, this energy is still emerging in the increased amount of harassment on the street.  This is not a myth.  A friend of mine, an almost-bald cancer survivor, has been threatened on the street because some men saw her as too androgynous.  This was in Maryland, but there are reports like this from all over the country.   

Will Trump keep fueling this anger during his presidency?  Will he keep his mob focused on a common enemy?  He’s more likely to cause pain to his own followers than to actually hurt the objects of their ire.  There will still be as many brown-skinned people sending their kids to school, as many women calling out sexual harassment, as many gay people marching, but it will be many of his own supporters who suddenly lose their health insurance or their Medicare benefits. 

But there are ways, used by all politicians, to distract voters from all the ways they’re being screwed.  One is war.  Trump may not be smart enough to think of that, but the people around him will.  So that does worry me. 

The upcoming aspect activity is setting a tone for the coming year.  There are two exact aspects in December, and both of them will be repeated twice more during 2017.  Both involve Uranus, the planet of change.  One aspect riles Uranus up, while the other settles it down.  So this is the pattern in December, and a continuing pattern.  One day, everybody is in an uproar, and the next day, calmer minds prevail.  Then, a little while later, there’s another uproar. 

The calming influence is the trine between Saturn, planet of structure, and Uranus.  This is a fiery trine, so it’s not exactly mellow, but it does harness the innovative energy of Uranus, and move it towards organizing, building systems, and long-range planning.  

This could be a description of what progressive people will be doing.  It’s a slow, steady campaign of anchoring a particular philosophy to real-life consequences.  It involves taking responsibility for specific things, educating yourself and others, and combining new technology with established wisdom.  Everyone will be practicing and teaching, but even with many shared objectives, this is not about buying into a group mind. There’s a lot of scope for individual freedom and initiative. 

This aspect doesn’t just influence political movements.  There will be plenty of business people who are able to combine a structured plan and an exciting vision of the future.  Even if the US government maintains a regressive approach to global warming, there are many individuals who will carry on towards a cleaner, greener future.  There will be both independent efforts and some loose coordination.  This movement may not involve as much screaming and yelling as the other side, but it could still be a pretty exciting place for a young innovator.

And then there’s the other aspect, the one that shakes things up, an opposition between Jupiter and Uranus.  This is all about the rebellious, restless energy of Uranus, so it signals some pitched battles.  The confrontations that are forming in December will be forerunners of those we’ll see in 2017. 

For one thing, the legal challenges that the Trump administration will have to parry may be considerable.  Already, there’s a bump in questions about Trump’s conflicts of interest, the relationship between his businesses and his new position, and some of these come from sources that are harder to ignore.  Would Trump give up his businesses to keep the presidency?  Somehow, I don’t think so.    

For progressive movements, this Jupiter/Uranus opposition signals situations in which the message can be broadcast more dramatically, through action.  We already see this at Standing Rock, where people are protecting their homes and water supply, but also making a powerful statement against additional oil delivery infrastructure.   

I’m not sure how this can end well, however, once we have a Trump presidency.  I worry that an unsympathetic president will use the indigenous people as political footballs, reviving that old cowboy vs. Indian storyline for his own use.  Remember, his supporters are happiest when they can vent their rage at a target.   

But if anything, the explosive Jupiter/Uranus opposition shows that people will not take suppression lying down.  People will be standing up and fighting for the things that matter to them.  And whether we win or lose the open battles, the organizing work will resume, a vast underground network of practical, concentrated intention.  

Storms can come along and shake a tree, and sometimes they can topple it.   But it’s the length and depth of the roots that give it stability.  So for this month, and for the next year, my advice to everyone is to find your place somewhere in those roots.    

Friday, October 28, 2016

Halloween and Hillary

Here we are, finally at the brink of November.  I’m not sanguine, I’m still at the edge of my seat, even though all polls say that Hillary Clinton will win.  I’m not objective enough to make any kind of astrological prediction about that. 

However, at the end of the month, I do expect to have a female president-elect, for the first time in the history of the U.S.  Not just a woman, but the one who said, “Human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights.” It’s a great speech, I just reread it. (http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/hillaryclintonbeijingspeech.htm)  

In a couple of days, it will be Halloween, the quintessential woman’s holiday.  Like many other holidays, it began as an important pagan celebration, but unlike the others, it’s never been entirely papered over with Christian imagery.  In astrological symbolism, this time of year – the sun’s passage through Scorpio – is connected with what is hidden.  It’s the time when what lies underneath comes most alive.    

The pagan tradition is one that values the natural world.  This is an interconnected world which keeps its balance through a constant cycle of giving and receiving.  This philosophy has been largely replaced, in much of the globe, by one of hierarchy and exploitation, with women disrespected, equated with the earth and nature.  And now we are so out of balance that we are in the process of destroying our own habitat and our species. 

Looking under the surface,  I see an ancient and holistic tradition buried under centuries of patriarchal dogma.  I see oppression directed towards women’s bodies, softness and vulnerability met with violence. 

I am not so naïve as to think a woman president will allow us to retrace our steps to that earlier time.  There have been women in power before, and Hillary Clinton is a woman of acute contradictions.  She has worked hard on women’s and children’s issues, but she’s been attacked relentlessly whenever she dropped the “traditional feminine” pose and showed her strength.  And so she has lost much of her own spontaneity and trust along the way.  It’s not surprising. 

This election has been a real test of feminism, not just because Hillary Clinton is the first woman to approach the US presidency, but because her opponent is such a misogynist.  He pretty much covers all the classic misogynist postures.  He belittles women, condescends to them, exploits them sexually, and is clearly grossed out by all female bodily functions.  His posture of unrelenting dominance is an illustration of one of the most dangerous tendencies of modern humankind.

He represents something that must be peeled away, in order for us to regain our connection to the earth.  We need to rediscover what is hidden beneath, the underlying ground of human emotion.  In this Scorpio season, we can turn to Hillary Clinton, a woman with the sun, Mercury and Venus in this sign. 

I also have a Scorpio sun, and I completely understand Hillary’s desire to keep parts of herself secret, to control what the world sees of her.  This is the sign of people who feel intensely but do not reveal easily.  And Hillary Clinton has the moon in Pisces, the most sensitive of water signs, so she is doubly vulnerable on the personal level.  No wonder she approaches everything so carefully and strategically. 

And this mistrust is met with a certain amount of mistrust on the part of the people.  What’s underneath that reserve?  For many people, it feeds into their conspiracy theories.  They say she’s murdered people, plotted against anyone who challenges her, frozen people’s hearts with a glance.  They say that she’s a witch, an excuse for persecution that goes back centuries.  They say she’s a practicing lesbian. (We’re considered dangerous because we’re harder to bribe.)   

To walk in the halls of power, you need strong armor.  Hillary has that.  And still, through her life, she’s put much of her energy into the bottom-line issues that have to do with easing suffering.  So, as I prepare to go to the polls, I’m thinking:  More power to her. 

This month, there’s a square between Jupiter in Libra and Pluto in Capricorn.  Pluto is the ruler of Scorpio, and the planet of shadows, underground rivers, deep transformations, secret powers, and unconscious desires.  Jupiter, on the other hand, focuses on what is overt, prominent, and socially acceptable. 

Jupiter also represents the people’s picture of themselves, the philosophy of a community. With Jupiter squaring Pluto, there will be growing tension between the outer image that the country is presenting, and what’s going on underneath.  After the election, I can see the Republicans starting right away to conspire to retake power, to try to reestablish their past empires.  But there could also be healthier and more holistic movements tunneling underneath, like earthworms aerating a garden.   

And I’m sure there will be some overt grabs for power, as well.  At the point where I’m standing, this crossroads between a woman and a woman-hater, I’m still not sure what will happen.  I’m as nervous as a temple healer, watching soldiers from the North destroy statues of the Goddess, knowing they will destroy women next.  This old fear and anger is buried too, and I hope it has been composted into wisdom by the ages.  I don’t want revenge, only a world where both young and old women are free, freer than even men are now.    

And in this coming month, I’m ready for whatever my deep self has to teach me.   

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Basics

“I’m worried about the big march in Venezuela today.  I hope it doesn’t turn violent.”

My wife, sitting on the edge of the bed, reached down to tie her shoes.  This is the interlude when we check in with each other – after her morning shower, after I make the bed, before she drives off to work, before I make myself breakfast and start writing.  We talk about our dreams, our plans, the world, anything we’re thinking about.  Often she’s thinking about Venezuela, her homeland. 

“When does the march begin?” I asked. 

“It’s already begun.” She told me that people have been coming into Caracas for days, including tribal leaders from the Amazon who led a ritual this morning.  She paused to send me links to a bunch of newspapers and websites - El País, El Tiempo, BBC Mundo.  I read that they’re calling this event The Taking of Caracas, and that they’re expecting a million people in the streets.    

I tell her, “It’s a powerful day today, with a solar eclipse.  That doesn’t necessarily mean it will be peaceful.  But it does mean something important is beginning.”

The highway from the airport – a highway that my wife used to travel every day to go to work, a steep but beautiful highway with a view of the Caribbean sea to the north – is now taken over with tanks and anti-riot equipment. Demonstrators are coming in on buses, although sometimes these buses are held up by police roadblocks.  It’s safer to be riding in the buses of people recruited by the government for a counter-demonstration.  Opposition leaders have been jailed, or moved from house arrest to prison.  

They are saying that the march will be peaceful.  They’re marching for a referendum which could revoke the powers of the president, something that’s allowed in the constitution.  But the government is drawing parallels between today’s march and the rally in 2002 that turned into a coup, temporarily ousting Hugo Chávez.  Earlier this week, all TV stations were obligated to show a documentary about that event, entitled “Keys to a Massacre”. 

The march’s goals seem fairly abstract.  The referendum is being held up by the government’s electoral body, and once it's allowed to proceed, the signatures of  20% of the voting population will be collected, and this will force a new vote.  But the basic issues are not abstract.  Food has shifted from a basic human need to a challenging struggle, involving being in the right place at the right time, standing in line for hours, managing not to get robbed, and still getting ripped off in the end by monstrous inflation.   

And this eclipse in Virgo is all about the basics – nutrition, health, daily life.  It’s about the little things which, day by day, become the foundation of the future.  What kind of future is built on fear, anger and scarcity?  A solid foundation comes from children with strong bones, the free time to learn new things, and the good will that comes from a full stomach. 

So we are at a crossroads.  Which future are we engaged in building?  There is an eclipse at the new moon today, and another eclipse at the full moon on September 16.  Both of these engage the Virgo/Pisces axis, the tension between small details and larger visions.  The Virgo side boils down to:  how do we make it work?  How do we organize our society so that it gives us the basics that we need?  The Pisces side is about empathy, compassion, and spiritual awareness, the softening agents that encourage us to work for the common good. 

In addition, Mercury is retrograde for most of the month, until September 22.  So the focus is on reclaiming.  There may be many important inventions that haven’t yet been developed, and that will play a crucial part in our future.  But there are many more methods and techniques that we already know about, things we don’t use because there’s no profit involved.  We need to reclaim these basic skills.  We need both Virgoan skills – how can we do it better? – and Piscean skills – how do we connect to each other and create one shared, peaceful earth? 

In addition, Jupiter changes signs in September, something that only happens once a year.  The Jupiter sign points to social preoccupations, and gives a particular direction to collective improvements.  For the past year, Jupiter’s been in Virgo.  What have we seen during this time?  For one thing, and for the first time, all nations agreed to reduce climate emissions at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris.

Will the commitments made there be enough to save us as a species?  Maybe, maybe not.  But Virgo is all about small steps.  At least we’re trying to figure out a sustainable way to live on this planet. 

This month – on September 9 – Jupiter is entering Libra, a much more abstract sign.  At its best, it’s the sign of equality, peace and partnership, and we can hope for new peace initiatives and a stronger commitment to justice. 

But while Libra is a sign that fosters cooperation, it can also give a tendency to try to be all things to all people.  Libra gives the ability to see both sides of any equation, and this can give a gift for compromise and diplomacy, but it can also mean endless debate and argument.  You can see this with Donald Trump, who has Jupiter in Libra, and is skilled at playing different factions against each other.

Is it good for Trump that Jupiter is entering the sign it occupied when he was born?  I have to say yes.  Does this mean he’ll win?  I certainly hope not!  I have to note that Bill Clinton has Jupiter in Libra, and it was in this sign when he won the presidency.  But I’m not despairing.  Hopefully it just means that the election and its aftermath will make Trump richer than ever, and that will count as a win in his book. 

What will Jupiter in Libra mean for the opposition in Venezuela?   This sign tends towards balance between opposing social elements, so it won’t necessarily mean an immediate victory.  However, we can look to Venezuela in 1945.  Then, under Jupiter in Libra, there was a coup by Acción Democrática, a party that was still operating in Venezuela when I lived there fifty years later.  So sometimes the balance shifts. 

The eclipses of September do signal a change. For those living in the most unbalanced places in the world, this shift could just be a matter of a million people congregating in the street, giving weight to their basic human need for sustenance.  We humans been coming together to help each other eat for millennium;  it’s something we do.  But when we obstruct each other’s access to food, something has to give. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

The Real and the Unreal

We’ve been going through a period of hype, hope, glamour and confusion, with the Saturn/Neptune square, and it’s not over yet.  In fact, it won’t be over until early October, giving people one short month to come to their senses before the election. 

Saturn is the Crone planet, the one that represents the Wise Elder.  It’s all about the ability to take responsibility, to build clear structures, to discipline yourself in order to reach certain goals.  Saturn is the planet of caution, experience, and realism, so it’s pretty clear which candidate is more Saturnine. 

On the other side is Neptune, the planet of mysticism and imagination.  Neptune represents the fantastic illusions of, say, the Wizard of Oz.  Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.  But even though he keeps making awkward moves and showing who he really is, the glamour holds.  He could shoot somebody and they’d still vote for him.  That’s the magic of pixie dust, a lovely blurry filter made up of expensive suits, good television angles, and spontaneous superlatives. 

To be adult, or to live in a fantasy?  That’s the choice that’s underlined by the Saturn/Neptune square. 

Of course, there’s another way to see this.  Saturn is also the planet of limits, restrictions, and fears.  It represents an earthy reality, enclosed within a set of established laws.  It gives little room for change.  It’s safe, but maybe too safe?

Neptune, on the other hand, is odd, tricky, fey, with the ability to change its shape.  It represents the yearning for something cosmic and beautiful, something beyond our current choices.  A celestial city, a dream of peace.  And there’s nothing Neptunian about the brutish tendencies shown by the Republican candidate.  So you could say that Bernie is the Neptunian choice, and the impossibility of him being elected just adds to that - because Neptune is the planet of beautiful fantasies. 

Bernie himself is a much earthier and more pragmatic guy.  He’s got a lot of air signs in his natal chart, so he’s definitely an idealist, but he’s not particularly woolly or dreamy.  With his Neptune conjunct the north node in Virgo, his destiny in this life is to attract dreamers and then point them towards concrete, human-sized solutions to problems.  This has been somewhat flattening for some of his supporters.

With every illusion, disillusionment naturally follows.  This is not to say that dreams don’t sometimes come true, but this only happens when there are at least a few real, solid ingredients in the formula.  Since Bernie is an earthy guy, his candidacy didn’t lack for concrete proposals, and there’s a good chance that most of them will be adopted through the years.  But the illusion was that this country was ready for a revolution, an actual dramatic restructuring of the economic hierarchy by a Socialist.  And the people who are in the worst shape, who might be ready for revolution, don’t necessarily want an old white guy leading the charge.

On the other side, the Republican candidate has nothing particularly solid in his repertoire, so there’s really nowhere for his acolytes to go when it all falls apart.  He brings up a nostalgia for a time that was simpler for white folks, when the rules were clear and nobody else had any rights to speak of.  His constituency consists of a bunch of people whose time has passed, but who are unwilling or unable to embrace another way of living.  

You could say that Neptune is about living in service to a dream.  Some dreams may be worth serving, because they make you and other people happy.  I think artists embody this.  But there are other kinds of unreal constructs that are less innocent, and racism is one of these.  It’s a world view that postulates all kinds of magic powers to one group, and pins unwieldy caricatures and angry projections onto others.  This country has been caught in this bad dream, this skein of illusions which is going through a long, slow unraveling process.  And those who are clinging to it are destined to fall the hardest.     

But as Neptune weaves its spell on us, Saturn keeps finding the words, ideas, and practical necessities that bring us down to earth.  Saturn is about looking around you and seeing what’s really going on, and because of that, Saturn can be damned depressing.  This is not an easy time for a lot of people, and it’s probably easiest for those who are most removed from reality.  So if you’re feeling some pain, congratulate yourself.  You’re dealing. 

In August, Saturn stations, which means it appears to hold still.  It stays at 9° Sagittarius for most of the month, so if you have any planet close to 9° in any mutable sign (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius or Pisces), you’ll be more affected by this square.  You’ll be feeling Saturn’s static voice in your bones, while Neptune’s haunting tones seduce you at odd moments. 

But for all of us, this is a time when we're aware of the two sides of this conflict.  Saturn says, “This is the world.  Get used to it!” and Neptune says, “None of this is real at all.”  Can we find a meeting place between these two voices?  Can we find magic in the world, and a little more of the world in our magic?  Can we be gentle with ourselves as our bubbles burst, rather than castigating ourselves as fools, or seeing the world as too sharp and cruel? 

It’s just the world:  a rocky place with enough gravity to keep us anchored here, while strange thought-balloons drift over our heads.  The wind catches them and they turn into wisps:  feelings and memories and stories. We have to let them go.  There will always be more.  

Friday, June 3, 2016

The High Winds of June

I’ve officially turned into an old lady since last month’s blog, since I’m walking with a cane now.  It’s a knee problem, which I keep insisting (to myself and to anyone in earshot) is temporary, but still the cane is a marker, especially combined with flyaway white hair and skin sag.  I’ve been a granny for nine years now, but suddenly, I look more like everybody’s definition of one.  

It’s weird to be moving so slowly in such a fast-moving time.  There is so much happening, in my own life and around me, that it’s hard to keep up.  I just got back from Womonwrites, my much-loved lesbian writers’ conference, and I’m about to go to Where Womyn Gather, a festival of womyn’s spirituality.  All of these things involve a higher intensity of thinking, feeling, talking, connecting, and driving – and I am trying to do it with very little standing or walking. 

I have now become aware of the intricate strategies used by disabled women.  Sisters, I never before realized the care and focus with which you go through your days.  Whatever else I’m learning from this, it’s broadened my awareness in that area.

It does make sense that I’m simultaneously dealing with slowness and speed, because we’re all handling some very contradictory influences this month.  The new moon on June 4 sets the tone for the month.  There’s a mutable grand cross, and this is sensitive, changeable energy.  It rushes here, rushes there, gets distracted midway, changes its mind and heads back the way it came.  It’s like a flock of butterflies, random and inspired. 

And yet one of the planets involved is Saturn, the planet of resistance, delays, and obstruction.  Saturn keeps trying to formalize things, to turn all these skittish ideas into some kind of resolution.  What are we doing?  Where are we going?  We need a plan!!  The other planets in the mutable grand cross just keep zinging through the air, headstrong, excited and heedless, while Saturn tries to catch them.  Yes, Saturn is like a big butterfly net, determined to pin things down. 

If Saturn is sitting on one of your planets, then you may be feeling stuck, while all around you, there’s a bewitching, confusing, bewildering fluttering of wings.  If you have planets in the middle of any mutable sign (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius or Pisces), this will particularly affect you.  I do, and I’m definitely fingering Saturn as responsible for my uncooperative knee.  Of course, Saturn is also sponsoring whatever wisdom I’m supposed to glean from this.    

The other planets are Jupiter and Neptune.  Jupiter is all about abundance, enthusiasm, and growth, the antithesis of Saturn.  With Jupiter and Saturn squaring each other, there’s an ongoing tension between the urge to surge forward and the need to hold back.  Jupiter is in Virgo, the most sensitive of the earth signs, the one that is drawn to heal, fix and organize whatever is sick, broken, or chaotic. 

The Achilles heel of Virgo is a sense of absolute certainty about what needs fixing, and how to do it.  And you are probably seeing this all around you.  People are absolutely convinced they know how to make things better for their friends, family, the country, and the world, and if everybody would just get on board and use these particular tools and methods, everything would be okay.  Jupiter in Virgo, especially when it’s dealing with all this resistance from Saturn, can be zealous and dogmatic.

And Neptune is the planet which rules hypnosis, illusion and imagination, so there could be a shortage of clarity.  All those people claiming they know the one true path – well, they could be completely deluded.   You have probably been thinking that at least half of them are, mainly the half that don’t agree with you.  I think this too.  Why are people so convinced they’ve found their Messiah?  That never works out well.  Or is it just that I lack faith? 

Whatever you can say about this rambunctious, noisy period, at least it’s very much alive.  With the Gemini new moon ushering in the month, the level of talk and writing will rise.  New ideas are popping up everywhere, some of them completely nonsensical, some of them brilliant.  The future is taking shape, and it’s hard to see, because the images are changing at breakneck speed, with a prescient idea one second and a crazy notion the next.  We all know that some new possibilities are coming into being, but how to separate them from the static? 

This is a time to reconcile faith and intellect, and to work on untangling many other internal contradictions.  A mutable grand cross contains all four of the elements, so fire, water, earth and air are jockeying for position.  Mental clarity is burned away by passion, passion gives way to hard realities, reality is denied because of emotional needs, and deep needs are asked to justify themselves intellectually.

But the elements can work together, and each can grow during this period of testing.  If you can stay intellectually clear in the face of passion and anger, you can keep learning.  If you can be passionate in the face of pragmatic realities, you can remain inspired and involved.  If you can maintain your hold on reality even though your feelings are churning, you are truly grounded.  And if you can believe in the truth of your emotions no matter what your rational mind is telling you, then you’re in touch with your own intuitive wisdom.

I don’t have to tell you to keep moving.  There’s nothing but movement this month.  There are some strong winds that keep stirring everything up, rearranging any order you set up for yourself.  For myself, I may be walking very slowly, but there are still ways that I can fly.