Monthly Archives: February 2012

Now Available: 2012 Spring Report for all 12 Signs

Listen to the audio introduction, which covers the astrology of spring 2012.


Subscribers and recent customers have received their discounted offer for the Spring 2012 report. You can order the report here at the current price. This is a 12-sign audio report that covers the highly unusual cluster of events over the next four months. I’ve just finished recording the report today — it was a one-week project — and we’ll have it through production and ready for you in about a week. If you’re a subscriber, please watch your inbox for the discount link. If you’re not, just watch this space and we’ll have it available here soon. The intro goes over the events of the coming season and is available to everyone at the audio button above. If you click on “read more” you will get a written list of the events that I cover in the report.


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From Sol to Soul: Sun conjunct Chiron in Pisces

This is the second entry of a two-part series. Here is the first.

Today the Earth aligns with the Sun and Chiron to form a conjunction in Pisces. The conjunction is an extension of Tuesday’s New Moon, which was at the Neptune-Chiron midpoint. So today’s aspect is a kind of culmination. Whatever it represents has been brewing a while, and we will see different manifestations through the weekend and in truth for much longer.

The Sun is the only star used by many contemporary astrologers, and Leo is the only sign 'ruled' by a star. In this image, a huge loop of material shooting up from the solar surface in March was one of the first events witnessed by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. Known as a prominence eruption, the loop was born from a relatively cold cloud of plasma, or charged gas, tenuously tethered to the Sun's surface by magnetic forces. Such clouds can erupt dramatically when they break free of the Sun's unstable hold. We live in a extraordinary era when it's possible to actually see these detailed images of something previously invisible.

In astrology, the Sun represents the adult ego. The ruling body of Leo and the one exalted in Aries, the Sun is the expressive principle — the big I Am. Egos come in all shapes and sizes. The adult ego is supposed to have a sense of both self and other; it wants a role in the world; it wants to shine out. It’s the basic statement of existence, but many more processes are operating that help that ego/I Am to mature — and those are usually represented by the outer planets (spending most of its orbit outside of Saturn’s orbit, Chiron has that property and in many ways exemplifies it).

As we mentioned yesterday, Sun-Chiron aspects can come with a struggle around maleness and around father. We live in a culture that doesn’t produce so many emotionally mature men. Whatever we can say about women, we might say that our culture specializes in the man-child — and the warrior.

We’re really great a creating warriors, who possess qualities which we then conflate with male maturity and extol as heroism. When you add Chiron to the Sun, by aspect or by transit, that hero can take a fall or be exposed as something less. Consider all the scandals involving corrupt cops and politicians previously venerated as heroes. For psychology heads, this is where the concept ‘shadow material’ comes into the picture, and the question of how we process it.

Taken another way, Sun-Chiron aspects can represent the very conditions that allow an immature man to grow into an expressive and responsible one. Often the way that happens is that a man gets hurt at some stage early in life, or experiences a sense of injury or of being outcast, and as a result of that injury or sense of injury goes through a healing process that allows him to gather power. What we think of as ego begins to express something deeper — that elusive quality we describe as soul, or in non-religious terms, you might say authentic personhood. Typically there is, however, little appreciation in our culture for the long process of initiation that it takes to get there.


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Planet Waves FM — The Fire Breathing Fish


Today’s edition of Planet Waves FM was recorded Tuesday right before the Pisces New Moon, by your host, the Fire Breathing Fish. It morphs from a reading of the New Moon chart into a rant on women’s autonomy and what used to be called reproductive rights. Casting the issue as total sovereignty is more accurate. But it lacks a certain appeal — where there are rights, there are responsibilities. Privilege without a corresponding sense of duty is inherently toxic — and even well-bred royalty know this. If we’re wondering why any woman is willing to give up her rights, her autonomy or her sovereignty, the answer may be found in her relationship to being a steward of her own body and the power that it contains.

The Virgo Squad -- Betty Dodson, right, with Planet Waves friend and contributor Beth Bagner.

At a certain point in the podcast I launch into a tirade on the religious ‘right’ doing its takedown of women, and then describe a new video by my mentor and friend Betty Dodson. She’s recently come out with a new video in her series on women’s sexuality, a documentary of one of her bodysex workshops.

I highly recommend this video and I will be reviewing it more thoroughly soon. I recognize that it’s $40 so I suggest you go in with a few friends and make an evening or two of it. What this DVD offers is a model for a sane conversation about sex and sexuality. If nothing else, we get a model for how to think and how to speak — in an original way, but within a framework that includes boundaries, a sense of purpose and most important, a sense of humor.

It includes discussion of body image, sexual evolution, making choices, the struggle with sex within relationships and many other topics. Part of the problem we face is that we don’t know how to talk about sex, we’re embarrassed to do so, it rarely happens so we don’t get any practice, and we’re afraid that Western civilization (or at least our relationship) will collapse if we even try. I guess we will have to see. The problems is that we pay a price for giving up the discussion — which is that it gets taken up by someone else (the entire political machine) in a regressive and oppressive way.

It’s twenty-sodding-twelve and we’re really discussing whether people have a right to use birth control? Or rather a bunch of men who want to take public office and be commander-in-chief are discussing women have a right to use birth control? Most of the time I look at this and I cannot believe it’s even happening.

I recommend all of Betty’s videos but my personal favorite is Her Life of Sex and Art, a frank (and frankly hilarious) talk given by Betty in good old politically correct, may I please glance at you Seattle. This is Betty at her most authentic and spontaneous — an off the cuff description of her life, that is, her life of art and sex. This DVD is $10 and it’s nothing but fun. If you would like to read more about Betty, here is one of my articles about her.

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Pisces New Moon, starring Chiron and Neptune

Heron on a dock out behind the 7-Eleven in Montauk, New York. Photo by Eric.


The New Moon in Pisces is exact at 5:34 pm EDT, just a few hours after the Moon arrives in that sign. This is a spectacular New Moon, happening at the midpoint of Neptune and Chiron in Pisces. With precision befitting a nautical engineer, the New Moon splits the distance between these two slow-moving points.

See if you can spot the Sun and the Moon in this chart. Their glyphs are accurate pictograms, and one clue is they have the same numbers next to them. Neptune is above the Sun, Pallas is next to the Moon, and the little key is Chiron.

To one side we have the imaginal, dreamy energy of Neptune. To the other, we have the pragmatic, hyper-focused quality of Chiron. This New Moon is saying we need a balance, and it’s showing us how to create one. Notably, this is happening with Neptune brand new in Pisces, and with Chiron still a recent arrival; Pisces is very much a sign of the times, and we have to get used to spending at least part of our lives living on water.

When you think of Chiron — and I suggest you do, since it’s one of the best things about studying astrology in our lifetimes — think of it as a utility to help you access the subtle energy of the outer planets. Here we have a case in point. For a couple of years, Chiron and Neptune have been traveling close to one another, at about the same speed (Chiron is a bit faster).

If you recall there were a series of conjunctions of Jupiter, Chiron and Neptune in 2009 (those were in late Aquarius), and now over time, that conjunction has developed very nicely into a useful setup that is teaching us about working with the different elements of thought: intuition, emotion, cognition and varying degrees of focus.

Chiron is currently at the center of all of this, like a therapist coordinating a group session. Or you could think of it as an art therapy session. Imagine someone is a survivor of some emotional or psychological damage, and the therapist hands them a blank canvas and says: paint. They may have never painted before, but it’s not so much about the ability to paint, but more the creative process of opening up and putting anything at all on the canvas that helps them heal.

Through this process of art creation, they heal the trauma AND make a beautiful painting (that is, access a deeper layer of themselves that comes out as something authentic and beautiful). The process is tangible, it’s structured, it’s not so easy — but ultimately it’s rewarding and much healing, progress and success comes from it.


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Ahoy Landlubbers: An Age of Pisces

Not your average sunset -- the setting of a precise conjunction of the Sun and Neptune over Fort Pond in the middle of town. Neptune is invisible to the eye but not the soul. Photo by Eric.

Welcome to an age of Pisces. Not the big kind of age — that would be 2,000 years or so, of which we’re supposedly at the end (and it’s a long ending). This is a phase more human in scale, of a generation or so. Though Neptune ingressed Pisces a couple of weeks ago, Sunday the Sun caught up with the eminent god of the sea (and of earthquakes, which often happen at sea) and formed the first conjunction to Neptune in Pisces in more than 150 years. This will happen just 13 more times between now and 2025 as Neptune makes its way across Pisces.

Chart for the Sun-Neptune conjunction earlier Sunday. You can tell there is a conjunction because both points have the same degree value, 00 Pisces 36. Note the Aquarius Moon above, and the many other points in Pisces and Aries below.

Neptune events have a way of being subtle in their obvious manifestations, at least for long stretches of time. It’s like they’re invisible or can be perceived only at the far end of our senses, and our sense of time. There is something undeniably mystical about this alignment, though we may only be able to see it out of the corners of our eyes, or notice it like the subtle changes of light when the Sun is nearing the horizon. Neptune summons us to another level of awareness, the deeper world than this that Sting once reminded us is tugging at our hand.

This may be that unusual something that’s been coming through your dreams, your fantasies and your art or music the past few days. Neptune can have a slightly narcotic feeling, or a touch of clairvoyance that you might wonder whether is real. It’s a quality of presence that most often goes unnoticed in the world, or it’s so exploited with glamour, liquor, meds and advertising that it verges on impossible to notice because the frequency is so jammed up already. That and the too-often prevailing chilly cynicism of the world are enough to make most people impervious to the subtler dimensions of Neptune and Pisces.

But let’s pretend that we’re not, for a moment. Let’s imagine we really can pick up on the imagination that this transit inspires, and think of it as what was once an opaque veil being made transparent; now the choice is whether to pull the veil back and reach in a little deeper. Where would you let your mind go? What would you do with your imagination? In what ways would you demonstrate the sense of ‘universal calling’ implied by such potent Pisces energy? Many of our readers are involved in both artistic and spiritual exploration as a way of life. Be grateful that you have those modes of expression, and take this as a cue to go deeper with them. If you long for some way to express what cannot be said in words, this is an opening, a direct invitation to take the chance.


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