Monday, July 26, 2010

Through a Mercury/Neptune Aspect, Darkly

Astrologers are pretty good at predicting individual movements. Show me a natal chart and some transits, and I can give make a pretty good guess about where the impulse energy is taking a person. I understand that they still have plenty of freedom to withstand their own impulses and to shape a new direction. But I can see the direction of the current, the depth of the water, and the strength of the flow.

But mass events are another thing entirely. And I don't know of any astrologer who is good at predicting these.

It's not that we can't see that something big is going on. Clearly, the current planetary patterns are dramatic. And I can see it operating in lots of individual lives. People are leaving homes, leaving jobs, taking risks, challenging themselves in new ways. I see it all around me.

But my blind spot is that I can't see the scope. When I read about that accident at the Love Parade in Duisburg, Germany, I thought, "Well, of course." It absolutely makes sense that that would happen, given the forming Mercury/Neptune opposition. People in charge of traffic control were confused and communicated badly, and the result was a stampede through a narrow tunnel. The Jupiter/Pluto square was also virtually exact, with Pluto representing pressure and stress, and Jupiter representing excess.

Nineteen people died, and for those nineteen people and their families, this was an enormous tragedy. But what makes the difference between events in which nineteen people die, and other events that kill hundreds? The aspects are not necessarily any more dramatic or powerful.

Maybe it's just that astrologers see hundreds of individuals, and we get a feel for the patterns on that level. But we're all living in one single time-line, and, even when we study several centuries of history, we still don't have enough of an overview. We can look back on things that have already happened, read the symbolism, and understand that the event perfectly embodied the spirit of the times. But predicting what will happen next, that's another thing.

But we keep trying. We're fascinated by the unfolding picture.

The Mercury/Neptune opposition is exact today, and that may be why I'm caught in this "wondering" mode. Mercury is about the conscious workings of the mind, while Neptune takes us into a more amorphous and intuitive realm. Neptune is the planet of fascination, so it figures that I'm writing here on this blog. I want to understand. But in order to understand, first I have to enter that foggy place in which I become aware of all the things I don't know.

And I have to wander around here, in this dream landscape, for a while. My mind relaxes and allows me to travel outside this chair, this desk, this monitor, this cup of tea. I find myself in a large misty field. The grass is soft and wet under my feet. I hear voices, but they are just echoes, and the words are indistinguishable.

I walk a while, and then I come across a goal-post. Sitting under it is an old woman, shrouded in a shawl. As I walk up to her, she looks up and says, "Nobody can win this game." I nod, but I wonder then why the goal-post exists.

I turn and walk through the lowering fog towards the other end of the field. And as I come closer, I hear people calling, cheering, exhorting. And there are people playing, kicking a ball around. Sweat flies, muscles flex, legs kick. I move quickly, getting out of the way just as a mass of players charges towards me. But a strange thing happens as the players rush towards the goal-post where the old lady sits. They move more and more slowly, until they are hardly moving at all.

I see what she means. Nobody can win this game. I recognize the old lady as Saturn in Libra, the Crone, the wise woman. Perhaps she is expecting these eager players to give up their idea of winning, and come to a place of cooperation and compromise. But they are so excited. And they are on a playing field. There is a goal post. How can they become what they are not?

I look back at the players. There is an abundant supply of them, tussling and fighting over the ball, running towards the Crone, and then freezing when they get close to her. There's someone on the team who keeps trying new things, plays that have never been attempted before. This must be Uranus in Aries. Now robots are moving towards the Crone. But they still slow down, and stop before they reach the goal.

And now a figure goes over to the join the Crone. I peer through the mist, and see glimpses of a beautiful, androgynous person. At one moment, I think I am looking at Venus, and at the next, I think it's Mars. But it's Mars in Venus' sign, Libra. And she is glaring across at the wild boisterous play of the other team. I have a feeling she's going to forsake her usual gentleness and courtesy, and kick some serious ass.

And suddenly I am back in my chair, noticing that my tea has gotten cold. What did I see? What does it mean? What will happen when Mars in Libra comes over to join Saturn, and gets involved in the Aries/Libra opposition? Mars is a volatile planet, and this is already a volatile configuration. All that action on one side, all that stasis on the other.

This configuration is just taking shape. During the last days of July and the first days of August, there will a group of exact aspects involving all these players - wise and critical Saturn in Libra, just and inexorable Mars in Libra, excitable and excessive Jupiter in Aries, changeable and inventive Uranus in Aries. And squaring them all, powerful and stressful Pluto in Capricorn. I didn't see Pluto on that misty playing field, but I think she was there, skirting the shadows, conveying some intense but invisible pressure.

So what kind of mass event could occur? Something to do with war and competition. Something to do with justice. Something violent, and something that suddenly ends violence. The pressure to change, and absolute resistance to change. Will it be the earth that explodes, or some man-made object like a roof or a floor? Or will a group of people suddenly catch fire and do something they've never done before?

Will it be something that we hardly notice at the time - a law passed that slowly but definitely changes history, a court judgment that tips the balance of power, a statement that makes hundreds of people see more clearly? Is there someone in some cellar, at this exact moment, inventing something which will put us all into a completely different world?

This Mercury/Neptune oppositon is a fleeting influence. It will be over tomorrow. It's acting as a portal. But nothing it shows me is absolutely clear. I still don't know where the winds of change will take this world. I know that they're blowing. I know it will be different.

And maybe that's why I can't see what's coming. Maybe it's too different from what I'm used to. Maybe the future refuses to be contained in the words and concepts of the past. Maybe it just needs the freedom to become.

Friday, July 16, 2010

This Virgoan Moment

I've been leading a rather monastic existence, with my spouse at a conference in the U.S. I work, I eat simple meals, I go for walks, I am asleep before midnight.

Right now, there's a stellium of four planets in Virgo. So it's no wonder that I was at the farmer's market this morning, before sitting down to my computer. It's no wonder that, when I opened up my mail page, the first thing I saw was "Trending: health care". It's no wonder that my teenage jock nephew has started doing yoga with me.

This Virgo stellium is like an Amish buggy going through the expressway of my life -really, of all our lives. It gives us time to look around and go, "Well, well. So that's what's growing on the side of the road."

So the oil gusher has been capped? That's another thing I read this morning. It's about time. Well, it's way past time according to all our harassed sensibilities. But clearly, this is the time, this Virgoan moment in which things can be fixed, patched, mended and healed.

Although the water and its living things will take a lot more healing, I know.

And this is only an interval. Right now, the moon, Saturn, Mars and Venus are all in earthy, practical, service-oriented, health-conscious Virgo. But in about four hours, the moon will enter Libra. In about five days, Saturn will enter Libra, and stay there for the next two and a half years. Mars will wait till the end of the month to enter Libra, while Venus won't do it until early August.

But that first degree of Libra is a pivotal point. It's as though I'm watching them - the moon, Saturn, Mars and Venus - amble through a nice grassy meadow. The moon is chomping on wheat straws. Saturn is saying wise things about preserving the soil. Mars is gamboling. Venus is picking flowers. And they don't notice that they're just about to walk off a cliff.

Yes, right at the first degree of Libra, they will all encounter the opposition with Uranus, the planet of change, in the fire sign Aries. Uranus' symbol is the lightning bolt, while Aries is known for flash fires.

So all this pleasant tranquility may be coming to an end. But hey! This could be good. Libra is a cardinal sign. It's the sign of justice. How many reformers have had important Libra placements? Eleanor Roosevelt and Fannie Lou Hamer had the sun in Libra, Elizabeth Cady Stanton had Venus and Jupiter in Libra, Aung San Suu Kyi has the moon in Libra, as did Flora Tristan.

Of course, I feel compelled to add, looking at my lists: not everybody with important Libra planets is a reformer, at least not in my terms. It gives a strong sense of right and wrong, but that may not jibe with my own sense of right and wrong. I like to think I have an unclouded sense of justice, but I'm just as partisan as the next Western lesbian feminist baby boomer.

And that is a very Libran thing to say. I adjust to the other. They may not think like me, but they're right in their own way. Live and let live.

Will we be able to stay in balance when Uranus comes zapping down? Will our lack of balance be a good thing, will it bring needed changes that could never exist without that Uranian stimulus? Will we be challenged to say who we are, what we believe, and where we're going next?

And I'm reminded that the Fool in the tarot deck is not a bad card. We are all innocents, and that's what keeps us open to spontaneous possibilities.

Okay, I'm ready. I think. Let me just admire the wildflowers a little longer.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Leading Vibration

I was actually sweating this last weekend. This doesn't happen all that often in north Germany. Some friends from Atlanta were visiting, and for them, this was weather as usual. They probably got tired of us saying, "I don't know what's going on! We NEVER sweat in Bremen!"

I am not one of those astrologers who can predict the weather. Maybe if I knew when a particular cloud was born, I could figure out whether it will rain on us or drift away. Astrology is definitely a study of beginnings. Amorphous things that blend into each other, like weather systems, evade our graphs and angles.

During the last couple of days, the moon has been traveling through Aries, conjoining Uranus and Jupiter, and that has made everything more exciting, not to mention occasionally unpredictable and nerve-wracking. Our Atlantean friends were catching a train to Frankfurt yesterday morning, and it broke down and blocked the tracks, so that the next one didn't arrive either. When they came back to our place, we said, "Amazing. The train always comes."

They're probably going to go home and tell everybody that northern Germany is a swelteringly hot place with unreliable trains.

The cardinal energy is still strong today. The moon is still in Aries, as are Jupiter and Uranus. Mercury, Juno, the sun and the south node are in Cancer, and Pluto and the north node are in Capricorn. All these planets in cardinal signs quicken my blood, make me eager to mark my place in the world. That's probably why I've returned to this blog this morning, promising myself an hour here before other commitments.

I've been thinking a lot about the energy we lead with, as we plow through the world. This is a very Aries-influenced train of thought. Aries is about the thrust towards the future. So I've been checking in with myself more often, thinking about my dominant emotion. What drives me at any particular moment? Sometimes it's joy, sometimes it's irritation, sometimes it's eagerness to experience something, sometimes it's curiosity, sometimes it's a sort of fatalism.

Those of you with strong Aries planets, or (like me) many planets in the 1st house, are probably feeling this increased self-awareness. It's stimulating. It's heady - naturally, since Aries rules the head.

What do we lead with? Doesn't it have a lot to do with where we're going?

Right now, I'm leading with excitement. Mixed in with the excitement is a sense of struggle, as I look for the words that will hold my meaning, as I reread what I've written, as I delete and reorder and rewrite. This struggle - the challenge of writing - holds the excitement, gives it something to do, keeps it with me.

And I feel good doing this. It feels right to me to be writing this blog, in this moment. I'm not feeling the resistance I felt last time, when the Mercury/Saturn square dogged my words.

We are all composed of a clamor of voices, needs, and drives, and they all compete to be the leading vibration. Pragmatism may come forward, with the authority of an earthy Saturn, and then suddenly be bounced by the emotional hungers of a watery moon. And then your Venus jumps in and says, "But hey, girls just want to have fun!" And for a moment, that's what you're doing. Until a cool airy Mercury moves in with a bemused overview.

And if two planets are in hard aspect to each other, one is more likely to jump in when it sees the other in the forefront. "No! Get that moon out of there! She'll just muck things up!" This is Saturn talking, when there's a hard moon/Saturn aspect in your chart. Saturn naturally wants to get in front and get everything back in order. But if she pushes the moon too harshly to the side, the moon will need a lot more comfort and reassurance when she finally manages to be the leading vibration again. And she will.

This is one reason it's good to make peace between your planets in conflict. Your vibration can be purely one thing - just the red anger of your fiery Mars, or the soft vulnerability of your watery moon - but it's often a hybrid. It can be the restrained wisdom of your airy Saturn coupled with the sensuality of your earthy Venus, so that you're having a great time but are also aware of your limits.

But that's different from holding your vibration back. Sometimes you have the energy right there, in the forefront, moving towards the future, vibrating like a house afire, making something happen. And some other part of you is saying, "No, no, that won't work," without putting anything new forward. Saturn can do this a lot.

You gotta love Saturn. You really have no choice about this.

And so when you catch Saturn doing this, you have to recognize that this negativity comes from somewhere. Suppose you've thought of something you really want to do, something incredibly interesting and time-consuming, and then suddenly you get a little depressed because you know you don't have time to do it. This is Saturn nixing that vibration. "Don't even think about it. You've got to finish XYZ first!"

So what do you do? You give Saturn what she wants, mainly Time.

You tell her, "It's there. It's beautiful, this idea. And I'll do it when I have time."

So there she is, right there in the leading vibration. There's Saturn. You can throw anything else in there with her. As long as you make sure there's Time.