Friday, November 1, 2019

The Veil is Thin




Last night was stormy, with lightning and thunder scaring away any trick-or-treaters who were still on the streets.  We didn’t see many at our door, just two small spidermen and one slightly taller angel.  There’s still a whole basket full of Kit-Kat bars, and I’m going to have to distribute them fast before I start eating them. 

Mercury went retrograde last night, and this puts me in a haze of nostalgia.  I find myself reading old notes and journals, browsing through lists I kept through the years.  Why have I always kept so many lists?  Clearly because I didn’t want anything to get away from me – not information, not time, not memory.  Time has definitely gotten away from me, and memory hides in the corners of my mind too often.  But what’s left is emotion.  Reading a long list of memorable dates in my life, I remember how it felt when those things happened.  I see names of people I loved who are gone now. 

This morning my wife was telling me the difference between All Saint’s Day (today) and All Soul’s Day (tomorrow).  Apparently today you’re supposed to waft good thoughts to the saints up in heaven, while tomorrow you do the same for your beloved dead, your family members. I wasn’t raised Catholic and have never thought much about the saints, but I do believe in benevolent spirits, so I’m willing to put them in the same category.  I’ve frequently seen St. Anthony do his thing when people in my wife’s family have mislaid something, and I’m sure the others have similar skills.  So, hey, saints.  Thanks for any help with this complicated material world.

When it comes to my beloved dead, I do believe they maintain a relationship with us.  We connect to each other in the same way that one breeze will greet another.  Nobody can see it happen, but it does.  We can’t see them, but we can feel them, because we know these people, and we recognize them even when they’re gone.      

I believe that when we become spirit, we are distilled into our essential selves – all love, all joy, all glow - but I don’t think we lose any of our personality in this process.  So when I think of friends and family that are gone, they are still themselves, with the same quirky expressions, the same vocal timbres, the same preferences.  What’s gone are all the fears, insecurities, hungers and dreads that we earthlings carry around with us.  Without all that, who are we?  Pure creative energy, freely dancing through all time and space, and through the absence of time and space as well.   

So Mercury retrograde and All Soul’s Day combine to bring me closer to my beloved dead.  And this month, the Scorpio emphasis also encourages me to go deeper into the emotional plane.  I can visit people I’ve loved, and find healing and support there.  But I can also go into the inner caverns of my psyche, and visit with less comfortable figures.  With respect and caution, I can approach the archetypal Wise Woman, the Crone.  She may give me hard knowledge, knowledge that I’ve sought but also avoided.  She tells me what I most need to know. 

This inner work takes energy, time, and attention.  But Mercury retrograde tends to make time by putting obstacles in the way of all the new things we try to do.  We succeed best when we do things that are remedial, when we go back and learn from the past, when we correct the mistakes we’ve been living with.  (That’s why it’s a great month for impeachment proceedings.)  

However, just because it’s a meditative month, that doesn’t mean that it’s a calm or stable one.  The new moon of October 27 was very volatile, and this influences us until the next new moon on November 26.  With the sun and moon opposite Uranus, it seems clear that there will be a big shift during this lunar cycle - a rebellion, an overturning of the usual order.  This is one of the months in which the wheel turns, and people will be dislodged from their comfortable positions and moved somewhere much less familiar.   

Your ancestors and your spirit guides can’t protect you from the wear and tear of earthly existence.  But it may be that the nurturing you feel from them, and the advice you receive, can make a difference.  Just listening can make a difference, because it reminds you that there are many, many worlds besides this one.  We can hear sounds from them, we can see shadows from the forms that move there, and sometimes we can visit.  For me, as I traverse the margin between All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day, I am grateful to all the saints and all the souls who guide us through these worlds and beyond.  Confronted with change, I want to learn from them how to be sure-footed and clear-hearted on this journey.                  




Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Impeachment



Yes, I’m going on the record here.  I think the end of Trump’s presidency is coming.  I think this impeachment will grow some teeth.  And unless he dies of a heart attack first, there’s a good chance he’ll be the first president removed from office this way.  And as for whether that starts a civil war - well, the last civil war never really ended, so that’s not much of a threat.  

I’ve just been looking over Richard Nixon’s transits in 1974, looking for similarities.  And there are plenty of them.  Saturn was making a lot of hard aspects to Nixon’s natal chart that year, shutting off his options, one by one.  And the aspects to Trump’s chart look very much like that, with things getting dicier in December, and Pluto delivering some telling blows in January.     

I remember Watergate.  I had a small child at the time, so I wasn’t particularly focused on politics.  I just remember feeling some surprise at the way things inexorably developed, ending with the president’s resignation.  I was already pretty cynical about the whole political machine at that point, assuming it would all coming crashing down in armed revolution pretty soon.  But Nixon’s removal from power was satisfying, and even tempered some of my cynicism.    

And now the same mechanism is shifting into place.  There are so many parallels.  One is that Nixon was an unpleasant guy, with all the ranting and cussing, and it seems like dealing with Trump is equally taxing.  When everybody around you wishes you were gone, I have to think that the universe eventually listens.      

One difference between them is that Nixon was smarter and not as lucky.  His natal chart features a Mercury/Mars/Jupiter conjunction, which got him up to the pinnacle of success (in his terms), and then all three planets oppose Pluto, which represents the Stranger Within.  This spells paranoia.  He projected his demons outwards, and then very effectively squashed them, but conjuring enemies can get out of hand quickly.

Looking at Trump’s chart, I don’t see anywhere the same level of paranoia.  Trump’s dislike is focused on anyone who withholds anything from him - mainly adulation, approval, money, and probably originally candy.  He’s just a spoiled brat with a very minimal attention span.  But he has a lucky sun/Jupiter trine, which often wafts him unhurt over danger zones.

During the rest of October, there are two hard aspects affecting Trump:  a Uranus/Neptune inconjunct and a Neptune/Jupiter inconjunct.  These are irritating, and they indicate repetitive aggravations rather than major change at this point.  It may become impossible to hide certain sensitive financial documents, and other secrets will slowly begin to coalesce into something that threatens his money and prestige.     

Around the third week in October, Trump may (probably accidentally) win back some public approval when Jupiter conjuncts his moon.  Maybe he’ll figure out a scam, something that allows a vast number of people to feel happy.  As a showman, this is his main skill.  But by the end of the month, Jupiter is opposing his sun and inconjunct his Saturn, and the pinch is beginning.  He’ll feel it in his ego.   

For all of us, October begins with three planets in Libra, focusing on law, order, and justice.  Pluto goes direct early in the month, and this brings many of our demons into consciousness.  All of us have fears, desires and ambitions that we don’t want to face, and we project them out into the world.  Trump is definitely one of those demons, created by all of us, bigger in the media than he really is as a human being. 

This impeachment inquiry will require a lot of people to come to terms with the meaning of Trump.  Some folks see him as a strong man who’s on their side against the scary non-white people. Some see him as a distillation of the worst traits of white people.  Some folks see him as a harmless buffoon.  Some see him as a route to lots of conservative judges who will turn women into non-stop baby-making machines.  Some like him being a bad boy, and enjoy insults and outrages.  Some just want to belong.  Some see him as the devil, some as their personal Elvis. 

Because he’s so mercurial, very few haven’t felt queasy at some point about something he’s said or done.  And so October will be a month to ponder this, as Pluto goes direct, and Mercury, Venus and the sun all move into Scorpio.  People will go down a little deeper than they usually do, perhaps connecting more viscerally with the fears that Trump fosters.  Some people experience these fears as a need for Trump to run roughshod over our political system, while others experience them as a dread of the damage he can do. 

Scorpio’s energy tends to be intensely emotional but very private, with a lot happening in the shadows.  But for each of the planets going through Scorpio, the first aspect will be an opposition to Uranus, planet of sudden change.   Uranus brings that intense inner energy outwards, by contradicting it, confronting it, and threatening to destroy old patterns and attachments.  

So through the month, as corruption becomes public, there will be times when the people explode into rebellion.  Protests will be large and noisy.  This will happen in many areas, all over the world.  But here in the US, in the political arena, public outrage is the key to Trump’s conviction.  It’s the only way to bring the Senate around, although this will probably take a few months.     

Change will be a sharp rallying cry in October.  Activists like Greta Thunberg and many others will use this energy to amplify their voices – to delineate the evils done in our name, and to clarify the alternate roads available for us.  We need to be brave enough to risk change, in order to survive.  We actually need to look our demons in the eye, to call their names, and to understand why we created them.    

And when the jack-o-lanterns glow at the end of the month, we may be better acquainted with our own unhinged hungers.  And maybe, down there in the limitless caves of the human psyche, we can find an older, deeper magic – something that will free us from our allegiance to these demons.  Here in the US, impeachment is just one step towards that freedom. 



Friday, August 30, 2019

Toxins




I am not always fond of reality, and yet one of the first things I do every morning is read the news on my phone.  This is an abrupt switch from hugging my pillow and dreaming of beaches.      

This morning, I was reading about Ajay Kumar, a victim of torture by the US government.  He asked for asylum here because he was subjected to political persecution in India, and the response has been to lock him up in ICE detention for almost a year.  When he (and others) went on a hunger strike to protest these conditions, he was force-fed. 

Force-feeding has no relation to nutrition or sustenance at all, and in fact it’s the antithesis of nurturing.  It’s brutal and painful, and it’s a stripping away of the last vestige of bodily agency.  It’s almost always used to silence political prisoners who are trying to make a statement.  It was used a hundred years ago – in Britain, to persecute suffragettes, and in the US, to torture a woman whose crime was distributing birth control to other women.  It’s been used in Guantanamo, and probably still is.

I’m writing this at the tail-end of August, on the first day of a new lunar cycle.  This morning’s new moon was very concentrated, with the sun, moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars all together, all within 9° in Virgo.  It’s as if the sun and moon have surrounded themselves with all their helpers – the Messenger, the Diplomat, the Warrior – and they are gathered together to craft a statement to the world.  In addition, they have a great trine going with Saturn and Uranus, representing the Old Guard and the New Wave.  So they are fortified, definite, clear. 

And what is this message?  I would say it’s about getting ourselves together, getting healthy, and tossing out the old power imbalances, before it’s too late.  These power imbalances are the toxins in the world we live in. 

Virgo is the sign of health, work, analysis and discrimination.  Discrimination doesn’t mean arbitrary judgments against people, but rather a considered investigation into what makes sense and what doesn’t, in terms of one’s recognized objective.  If the objective is to survive as a species on this planet, then there are things that waste our time and effort, and other things that yield the preferred results.  This may sound cold, but Virgo is a practical sign, and practical people are survivors.       

Maybe power imbalances benefited the species once upon a time.  There’s a whole “survival of the fittest” argument, although this leaves out the fact that cooperative efforts have added easily as much to human development as individual ingenuity or bravery.  Most individual acts of heroism take place in a family, community, or some other support system.  Support systems work, raising people just a little higher than they can manage on their own.  And they are natural to people.  We are really more like bees than wolves. 

But we have these toxins, these pockets of corruption and cruelty.  Imagine a hive with a whole wing full of non-worker bees who spend their time harassing and abusing the ones who work, and torturing any bees who object.  This is what our society is like these days, and it’s not favorable for our survival.

As I write this, there’s a storm approaching the US coast, a storm called Damian.  My friends in Florida are worried about what the next few days will bring, and so am I. 

There’s something of a cleansing effect about this Virgo new moon, but it will take more than a few storms to clear the toxins out of our society.  It may take a level of desperation that we haven’t seen yet, before we say, “No more!”  When will we be ready?  It will be hard work, but this new moon shows an advantageous time to begin a new phase.  Now is the time to flush out the toxins and create a healthy world community.   

It won’t happen overnight, because these toxins are buried deep inside all the structures we’ve built.  But if we are going to hang on to our niche on this planet, it has to be done.  We have to learn how to nurture ourselves and each other, as well as the eco-systems that support us.  We have to learn how to get rid of the poison.   




Thursday, August 1, 2019

Fire Month





I’m writing this on the first day of August, just after the new moon in Leo.  There are four planets in the fire sign Leo, and I can feel their confidence and vivacity, like a troupe of acrobats waiting in the wings.  Mercury just went direct, and is moving towards Leo as well.  Things are beginning. 

I’m just getting over a cold, and my own energy is a bit soggy.  July was an emotional month, ranging from great warmth to cold fear, and I feel like a rag doll that’s been soaked in salt water.  So I’m looking forward to a solar month - one that will dry my bones, get my blood moving, invite action.  Leo is a sign of games, risk, romance, theatre, laughter, excitement.

Adding to the fire in August, Jupiter is in Sagittarius, and from here it makes supportive trines to Mercury, Venus and the sun, as they move through Leo.  And so there will be some luck.  There will be times when the sun shines on people’s projects and endeavors, when the fates are generous.  There will be opportunities to expand.    

There are also three planets in earth signs – Saturn, Uranus and Pluto – making tense aspects to Leo planets this month.  On the one side, earth is practical, cautious and slow-moving, while on the other side, fire is excitable, spontaneous and heroic.  Earth always wants to contain or be contained, while fire resists containment, sometimes leaping over barriers.      

Fire is passion, and it’s urgent and immediate.  It can destroy whatever is in its path, because it’s focused on its own essential power.  Yet in billions of years, rolling over its surface, fire has given the earth innumerable new beginnings.  It clears out the old deadwood, giving more space, more light and air.  

Sometimes the fire is figurative, and sometimes it’s literal.  It is the hottest month, and every year we reach a new record heat, so fires are more severe everywhere.  Right now, satellites look down on thick blankets of smoke covering Greenland, Alaska and Siberia. Even the Arctic is burning, for the first time ever.

And the fires go deep, releasing things that have been buried in the soil for a long time.  As they go through Leo, the sun, Venus, Mars and Mercury will all make tense aspects to Pluto, which deals with hidden power dynamics.  Pluto represents one’s inner demons, the ones that you normally ignore or banish.  People spend a lot of energy keeping these inner passions, fears, resentments and desires tucked neatly away, but all it takes is a challenge, an altercation, and they are released into the atmosphere. 

Old crimes are buried, because everyone wants to feel innocent, and to avoid thinking about the ways we’ve wronged each other.  Everyone has old guilt, whether conscious or not.  Instead of owning it, many people project it onto others, finding convenient scapegoats everywhere.  Racism, sexism, and xenophobia are projections of people’s inner demons.  And because these things are enshrined in old custom and established structures, it can seem safe for people (like Trump and his admirers) to enact them. 

However, old customs and established structures are the very things that are wiped away, when the fires begin to burn.  We are already seeing some dramatic power shifts, and we will see more.  This doesn’t mean that everything will change in August.  But old toxins will be exposed, and some old hiding places will disappear. 

The planets in Leo will also have tense aspects to Uranus in the coming month, and Uranus is the planet of change and innovation.  It gives everyone a glimpse of what is odd and different, and what would happen if you looked at everything slantwise.  Though these aspects to Uranus are destabilizing, they are also full of exciting creative potential.

So in August, there’s a place for guerrilla theatre, for ridicule of the rich and pompous.  Pride often goes before a pratfall.  This is a good way to take down those who believe they deserve to be in charge.  And to the extent we can laugh at ourselves, it will be a healthy month.  

Uranus is also connected to the scientific and technological communities, and there will be plenty of challenges there.  How will the Fire People fare against the Robot Horde?  It’s a sci-fi melodrama, but it’s also an archetypal dilemma.  From the old stories about our stealing fire, we know how precious it is.  What is the human spirit worth, in this age of mechanization?  How can we keep the spark of humanity glowing, in a world of concrete slabs and silent robots?  This is a struggle for our very survival as a species.   

And the Leo planets also have tense aspects to Saturn, the planet of gloom and limitation.  Saturn can give a sense of being stuck in old patterns which are relentless, unchanging, hopeless.  Sometimes we all feel that we’re trudging along in the long shadow of history, seeing variations on the same cruelty and oppression play out around us.  We fight the Nazis, and sixty years later, the US president sucks up to them.  Where does it end? 

But in fact, the generally slow pace of history makes it very hard for any of us to see change.  It’s like living with a kid.  One day they’re an adult, and you have no clue how that happened.  But there is movement, glacial though it seems at times. 

Our restlessness, our discomfort, our fears and anxieties – those in themselves are signs that our times are changing.  If everything was really always the same, we would be used to it, wouldn’t we?  But nobody is used to the world as it is today.  No, we feel these prickly changes around us all the time, and we don’t know how to interpret them, or where they’re taking us, and so we take a stance, trying to maintain control over at least our own philosophical constructions.  But the stance itself requires constant maintenance, and can become a prison.

Fire is never stagnant.  It moves, and it moves inside you.  Find your own source of life, and light, and joy, and creative passion.  Move with it. 




Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Where Is All This Intensity Coming From?





I’ve been seeing a lot of break-ups, breakdowns, deaths and endings in the last few months.  Everything has been intense, not just for me, but for a lot of people. 

Saturn entered Capricorn at the end of 2017, and felt quite pleased there, in its home sign.  Saturn is the stern teacher, the disciplinarian, now in the most organized and goal-oriented sign in the zodiac, Capricorn.  All right!  Let’s clean up this town!

Of course, upon entering Capricorn, Saturn saw Pluto way over yonder, in the second half of the sign.  No worries, Saturn thought, by the time I’ll get there, I’ll have everything in hand. 

So Saturn strides along, being tough with the bad guys, making distinctions, getting organized, judging and condemning, building and maintaining.  Then suddenly it’s April 2019, and Saturn is uncomfortably close to Pluto, less than three degrees away.  Pluto is quiet most of the time, in the way an atom bomb is quiet during the countdown.  Saturn is not ready.  A world of maximum efficiency and control has not yet been achieved. 

Then Pluto turns around and starts advancing towards Saturn.  This has happened before, but not when they were so close!  What does Saturn do?  Stand its ground?  Hell, no.  Saturn turns too and flees.  The pace would be faster, except that Saturn is incapable of moving quickly.  It inches away, maintaining dignity, but with chattering teeth.  Better to move backwards and check over everything already done, to see what’s been missed, to make more preparations.   

Now, in June, Saturn is just over three degrees away, still retrograding.  Pluto is still close, but it won’t catch up, since it moves much more slowly.  The distance between them will increase during the next few months.  Come September, more than seven degrees from Pluto, Saturn will feel safe enough to turn direct once more. 

In January 2020, Saturn will reach Pluto’s position at 22° Capricorn.  Saturn’s stern, disciplined energy will be at the service of the planet of deep transformation. 

Both Saturn and Pluto have a connection to the devil, with Saturn representing a more medieval depiction of this figure.  Saturn represents the earthbound aspect of the human being, often seen as devilish in old Christian religion.  It’s the reality principle, and reality is studded with frozen fears for all of us.  It’s convenient to see them as something external to us.  Other planets offer escape, while Saturn tends to remain fixed in unyielding patterns.  This is why hard aspects from Saturn can be so painful: there’s no easy way out.

Pluto wasn’t discovered by earthlings until 1930, and then it was given the name of the god of the underworld.  Although it’s been demoted to a planetoid since then, it still has a powerful influence.  Moving very slowly, it shapes the main outline of our lives, pointing to what needs to be transformed. 

Transformation comes from going deep inside, and paying attention to what has been rejected or repressed.  The shadows inside us don’t sleep forever, but always burst into vivid life sooner or later.  Transformation often comes from recognizing our own power, and often too it comes from yielding to greater powers.  It’s called destiny, and it happens to us as individuals and as massive social movements.  We are always being carried along by inexorable underground rivers.   

So Saturn and Pluto together are rather a bloodcurdling sight.  You could say that it’s Father Time going down into the Underworld, where time has no more meaning.  Will everything freeze until Saturn re-emerges on the other side of Pluto?  How many buried fears will take form, and goad us to action?  How many nightmares will become visible? 

It is the work of Pluto to expose who we are, and what we are, on the deepest level.  I have seen a lot of this in the last few months, as people go through personal crises and are required to figure out what really matters to them.  Now, in June, we are moving away from this, but it will only be temporary.

And I do think it matters how ethically we’ve lived.  I do think the crooks and con men like DT will be winnowed away first.  But there are ways in which we’re all complicit, and in about seven months, we may understand this so much more clearly.  So I think it’s worthwhile to pay attention to our shadows now, to get to know them, and to make friends – as much as possible – with these two forces within our own psyche. 

Shake hands with Saturn, who wants only to keep you safe on this planet, and Pluto, who wants to take you beyond safety.       




Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Inexorable Fragmentation




I didn’t write a column last month because I was sad.  My family suffered a loss when our matriarch died, our oldest member.  Tití was a few months short of a hundred years old, almost a century of history wrapped up in one small self-possessed woman.  She was a native of Venezuela, but lived and travelled all over the world.   

Now Venezuela is going through a terrible and tumultuous time.  It’s painful to see so many progressive people in my circle upholding Maduro and claiming that yesterday’s events were orchestrated by the CIA.  Today, as I write this, the streets are once again full of people. 

I know that the U.S.’s imperialist hunger has been the villain in countless other stories.  My wife and I just saw the documentary “Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America”, and much of the history given was familiar to me.  The US doesn’t have clean hands in Venezuelan history, either, since it supported several dictators in the past.  But Chávez was his own worst enemy, as is Maduro, and the US didn’t wreck the Venezuelan economy.   In fact, the US was the biggest buyer of Venezuelan oil until March of this year.

What I know is that Tití worked hard all her life, and if the Venezuelan economy had worked, she would have ended up with a pension and health care in her old age.  Instead, she had no security at all, except for her relatives in other countries.  We have other friends and relatives in Venezuela who spend their days trying to find food and medicine, and their nights in the dark, with only intermittent electricity. 

Wondering what the outcome will be,  I checked out Nicolás Maduro’s chart, and there’s a mix of aspects.  On the one hand, Neptune’s inconjunct to his Mars indicates confusion and strife.  But Uranus is sextiling his Jupiter, so there are also lucky breaks, and perhaps there was a last-minute rescue, as some people have reported.  Juan Guaidó’s chart is not looking particularly good right now, with Saturn and the south node opposing his Mars.  This looks more like jail than victory.   I think it’s true that the military is very divided, and they are the ones who have most of the power at this moment.

So I don’t have much good news about Venezuela, and I’m just praying that people are able to stay safe, and to survive.  This is a time of change, but I’m not sure that Guaidó will be able to lead this charge into the future.  His chart has the look of a hero, with a lot of fire, and a Jupiter/Uranus conjunction in Sagittarius.  But, in real life, I don’t put a lot of faith in heroes. 

In so many parts of the world, things are breaking apart.  It seems every country is fiercely divided between an authoritarian power bloc (which for some reason calls itself populist) and a more progressive movement.  The middle ground has vanished.  Brexit is a case in point, a sledgehammer poised to demolish the status quo, with people scrambling to figure out how to contain the damage. 

I see this in my own life, as several well-established lesbian organizations are splintering.  Suddenly women are sharply divided about what the word “lesbian” means, and old friendships are turning hostile over this.  No matter how distraught people are, nothing stops this movement toward dissolution.  It has to play itself out. 

Here in the US, the old boy’s club that’s upheld Trump’s presidency is also breaking up.  I’ve been looking for the aspects that show the Fall of Trump since he was elected, and now I’m finally seeing them – not in the next month, but in the next eight months.  These are slow aspects.  I assume this has to do with all the investigations, but it could also be about his health, or some combination of the two.  
All of us humans are dealing with an intense karmic aspect right now, as Saturn conjuncts the lunar south node and moves towards the conjunction of Pluto.  It won’t be till January 2020 that Saturn joins Pluto, but we’re seeing the first cracks these days.  I expect this Saturn/Pluto conjunction to be a significant meeting, a crossroads time for many of these old, strained institutions. 

Saturn turns us around, so that we see and understand the results of our past actions, and that’s why they call it the Great Teacher.  How much do we have to learn?  What are the consequences that we need to own?  What parts of our history will explain us to ourselves? When we turn around and look honestly at the past, we see into the blind spots we never knew we had.    

The end of the Trump regime won’t fix anything, but it will release a lot of tense energy, energy that’s been bound up in containing him, justifying him, lying about him, or attacking him.  (I do admire Nancy Pelosi’s cool head as she’s dealt with the toxic mess in the executive branch.) 

And then afterwards, we’ll have to look our own extinction in the eye, and see if we can head it off.  Perhaps at last we’ll be ready to deal with some basic survival issues.  In 2023, Pluto enters Aquarius, and this seems to me to give the best chance for us to come together and devise new ways to live as a world, scarred but united.    

Until then, let’s all try to stay out of the way as the rubble falls.     




Friday, March 1, 2019

Dissolve into March





It’s been a long month since my last column, but still, little has changed.  I’m looking out on a snowy landscape once more, although the snow has fallen and melted, fallen and melted, since I wrote here last. 

And we’re still taking care of my wife’s grandmother, who sometimes gets stronger and sometimes weaker.  But she keeps soldiering on. 

I’m not sure anything much will happen in March either.  Mercury is going to be retrograde in Pisces for most of the month, so we may all be locked in a dreamlike state.  Forward motion will be checked in subtle ways.  Someone could start out from her house, follow a winding path, and end up at her own back door.

The month begins with a new moon in which the sun and moon in Pisces are closely conjunct Neptune, the planet of dreams and illusions.  The Pisces New Moon is always a Dreamer’s Moon, a Poet’s Moon, but the conjunction of Neptune makes the dreams that much deeper.  We are all wrapped in the softest mantle of snow.  How can we be bound by something so feathery and fluffy?

This is a gentle new moon, and so the dreams may be beautiful ones.  Even for the feistiest among us, it’s a time of surrender.  There are many things that won’t get done in March, and you can forget about them.  Instead, let your dreams take you wandering down pathways you can only imagine.  There are tunnels, where the sunlight is diffused to a faint glow, and they seem to go on forever.  The ends and the beginnings come together, reminding you that change is just a reconfiguration. 

So does this mean nothing at all will take shape in March?  Are the forces of dissolution so much stronger than the force of creation? 

Well, no.  What’s predominant in March are the energies of Pisces and Neptune – sensitive, subtle, gentle, melancholy or blissful.  The main image of March is that of a dancer who spins to a tune that only she can hear.  But there is an earthier influence, and so there are things that will take shape.  They are slow, but they are solid.  Just as the earth does her steady work under the crust of snow, creating roots and buds, so it will be for us.  There will also be some foundational work this month. 

Mars in Taurus is carrying a lot of this burden, staying sensible while the shape-shifters dance.  Taurus is the fixed earth sign, the one that’s most impervious to the distractions that all this Neptunian energy provides.  And Mars is about the way we use physical energy.  So while Mercury tells ghost stories around a fire, Mars is hewing the logs for the fire, or knitting blankets to keep you warm.  There is practical work to be done, and Mars in Taurus makes sure it happens.

Until the spring equinox of March 20, there are no really speedy influences in March.  When the spring equinox comes along, with the Aries sun, a certain restlessness takes hold, with an urge to pick up the pace.  But the dreams won’t let go.  During the last third of March, Mercury slows down to go direct while conjuncting mystical Neptune, so the mental plane continues to be fanciful and magical.  Mars in Taurus is still plugging away, building something strong and sustaining, but words themselves are even more evanescent and unreliable than before.    

So you could say this will be a month for poets, but you could also say this will be a month for liars.  There’s a pervasive sense of unreality all through March, so it will be hard to even settle on a definition of truth, much less isolate it.  Everyone could stay a bit ambivalent and confused, as well as very easily distracted by strange, twisting scenarios.  We are already seeing this in the highest circles of power in the US government, and we’ll see more in March.

During a Mercury retrograde, people look to the past for answers, generating a lot of  heartfelt nostalgia.  Sometimes this is just a way to check out, to escape into a dreamscape.  And yet there are things in the past that can help us through this time of shadow plays and master manipulation.  There are things we know, even though the knowing can be buried deep, deep inside us. 

Everyone has a single point of universal connection in this complex of nerve endings and stray thoughts we call the self.  From this point, energy springs forth and takes on lights and colors and shapes and textures, making for a life full of sensation and stimulation.  Meditating, you find that beginning point within yourself, and you recognize it as the source of everything you are.              

We all need to spend a lot of time there in March.  It’s a month of strangeness and beauty, confusion and deception, dissolution and transformation.  But we have our answers, in our center selves.  When you get tired of wandering, just be still for a while, and let knowing form within.  It’s always there, even though the weather outside is continually shifting.                   





Friday, February 1, 2019

A Milder February




It’s snowing outside.  It’s been a hard winter for us here, so far.  My wife and I have taken on new roles as nurses, helping her grandmother navigate her suddenly uncooperative body.  She’s awake and aware, and she holds on to her dignity, but it’s not easy for any of us. 

I’ve been an astrologer for many years, and I knew that things were about to get intense.  But you never know exactly what form it’s going to take.  Looking at the new moon of February 4, though, I’m a little heartened.  It’s much gentler than the last one. 

The new moon shows some of the new beginnings we can expect this month.  This is a more dispassionate, cerebral new moon, with Mercury close to the sun/moon in Aquarius.  It’s a time when we can all be more objective, when we can get some distance from the problems that shocked and unbalanced us during the last lunar cycle. 

And this distance lends itself to problem-solving, to ingenuity and creativity.  One of the hallmarks of Aquarius is the willingness to try new things, to invent and construct alternative techniques and strategies.  I’m looking forward to this, if only to help us streamline our new routines a bit. 

Maybe we’ll turn out to be hotshot nurses.  Only yesterday we were congratulating each other because we’ve gotten pretty smooth with a drawcloth and a three-count, hoisting the granny up to a higher position on the bed.  Maybe there will be more stories to hear, before she falls back asleep again.  Maybe we’ll be amazed by the secrets that emerge, secrets buried for almost a hundred years. 

The granny holds court from a bed which obligingly changes shape at the press of a button.  Meanwhile, winter creeps by outside, soft flakes falling past her window.  She ignores them,  fixated on the pictures hanging on the wall, the photos of family and close friends.  When we take them down, she touches them and says the name of each person.

Mostly gentle, the February new moon has one hard aspect:  a separating square between Mars and Pluto.  This shows an ongoing struggle with power, with forces that are too strong for us.  In our home, we certainly see this, as we face the harsh realities of human frailty and transience.  There is so little we can do.  The snow covers everything, once again.   

In the political landscape, we see it as well.  One of the grueling things about January was the government shut-down, and the economic insecurity it engendered for so many people.  It became obvious that the president’s habit of ignoring consequences really doesn’t work for him – and definitely not for anyone else.  Now the new Democratic House has started working with the kind of energy we haven’t seen in Congress in a while, and it’s becoming clearer to the public where that energy is getting choked off.

During the first half of February, there are a lot of stimulating Mercury aspects, which keep mental energy flowing.  Information will move outward more freely, coming from discussions, meetings, and the sharing of ideas.  This will be a welcome contrast to the kind of gaslighting the president routinely does.  Of course, it’s only a beginning, a showcase of how government, civil society, and the press can work together.  But it will be heartening. 

The middle of February is the most turbulent time, and I realize this is when government funding comes due again, on February 15.  Mars will move out of combative Aries and into the more sedate sign Taurus.  However Taurus is a fixed sign.  Could there be another impasse?  I doubt it, because Mars in Taurus is also basically practical, and a government shut-down helps nobody.      

However, something rather violent and shocking could happen, when Mars and Uranus conjoin in late Aries.  This happens between February 9 and 16, and if you have anything in the last degree of Aries (or any other cardinal sign), it’s a good idea to be extra careful then.  It looks like something will be ending, but unfortunately, I don’t think it will be the Trump presidency.  I don’t have too much hope that that will happen till March at the earliest, when Jupiter opposes his sun for the first time.  At that point, some of his excesses could catch up with him.

One danger is military action, during this Mars/Uranus conjunction.  But I’m hoping the month’s emphasis on healthy civil discourse will have a discouraging effect when it comes to military adventures.  I don’t see any astrological indication of an invasion of Venezuela, since this Mars/Uranus conjunction is actually benign in the Venezuelan national chart.  It could mean a sudden but positive shift in the balance of power there. 

Other tricky aspects in mid-February are less turbulent, but could be problematic.  Venus conjuncts Saturn, and this is rather bleak.  Hard Venus aspects often indicate setbacks in the gay and queer community, but this is not an easy aspect for anybody’s love life.   At the same time, Mercury conjuncts Neptune.  This aspect lends itself to fantasy worlds which distract everyone from the disappointments of that Venus/Saturn aspect.  It could be all shimmer and glitter, and it could be beautiful, but it could also be one of those mass hypnosis times.  Afterwards everybody wonders why they fell in love with a donkey, or believed one of DT’s lies.

Aside from the sudden shocks of the Mars/Uranus conjunction, and the sorrows of the Venus/Saturn conjunction, I’m not seeing too many surprises in February.  The best thing about the coming month is that people will be thinking, and except for that spate of delusion in the middle of the month, they’ll be thinking more clearly than usual.  Dawn takes its time, following one band of daylight with another and another.  But sooner or later, the world will be a lighter place.