Across the Inner Divide

Across the Inner Divide

Dear Readers:

This week marks the anniversary of two events that should not have happened, and which occurred on the same day separated by 42 years. They could be ranked among the very worst environmental disasters in known history, and are defining moments of the 20th century. One is the first ever self-sustained nuclear reaction, on Dec. 2, 1942. The second is the Bhopal disaster, wherein a Union Carbide chemical plant in India released tons of insecticide gas called methyl isocyanate, poisoning an entire city on the night of Dec. 2, 1984.

The first of these opened the door to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians were killed. It commenced the nuclear arms race; opened the potential for atomic power technology; and created the threat of nuclear terrorism.

The second incident killed, maimed, blinded or sickened tens of thousands of people sleeping in their beds. It was a shocking example of what can go wrong anytime, anywhere. But perhaps more devastating, Bhopal demonstrated that corporations can escape culpability and responsibility for harming humanity, no matter how negligent or intentional were their actions.

The first nuclear reaction’s astrological chart [above date, 3:35 PM EWT, Chicago] is associated with a phenomenon called the Nuclear Axis. The chart contains a planetary alignment that is sensitive to transits (that is, aspects from moving planets), and where the presence of transiting planets tends to be associated with nuclear and chemical emergencies. The ‘axis’ itself is a set of oppositions across Gemini and Sagittarius, between 3 and 15 degrees of those signs. There are entirely too many examples of what can happen when planets reach these degrees and activate the chart.

But the Bhopal incident, which I discovered this week, was a shocking revelation. Though it’s unlikely that I’m the first astrologer to put Bhopal around the Nuclear Axis chart, I was not aware that it was so closely linked to this chemical disaster, with many significant associations between the charts that could be the subject of a whole article. But that’s not my purpose today.

Pluto (namesake of plutonium, an element scientists developed to quadruple the force of the atomic bomb) worked the Nuclear Axis between 1995 and 2002, and truly I hold it as a miracle that we came that far avoiding a serious problem — though during these years we apparently came very close to a situation erupting between India and Pakistan. Now, Uranus (namesake of uranium) has arrived, and this planet is well known and respected (to put it mildly) for surprises. Because Uranus is now is making a series of squares to the Nuclear Axis from Pisces, we are basically in a new high-alert zone where nuclear and ecological issues are concerned. Unfortunately, the involvement of Pisces is likely to convince people to view technology in an idealistic way rather than in a sober one, and not take the potential problem seriously. But we shall see.

It is, however, too easy to set about making predictions, and it does precious little good unless we can respond in a meaningful way. The Nuclear Axis chart offers an excellent opportunity for looking at the spiritual condition of the human family and many people as individuals. Let’s visit the chart, which you can find at this link, courtesy of my friends at [prior article linked]

The chart is for the first self-sustaining nuclear reaction, or splitting of the atom. Nuclear reactions had been created prior to this time, but none had reached what is called critical mass: the point at which they could go without outside help. So the chart is for the first moment of nuclear critical mass, when the reaction continued on its own (which some minutes later had to be brought under control by the insertion of ‘control rods’ into the reactor core).

There is much we could say in relation to the Nuclear Axis chart about history, science and politics. But I was interested in the psychology associated with this chart, so I went across town Thursday and visited Lynn Bell, a teacher and seminar leader at the Center for Psychological Astrology (CPA) in London (who lives in Paris). Much of what I’m about to relate to you emerged during that conversation — though I take responsibility for the views presented here, as we are not co-writing this article. I’ve tried to be faithful to what we discovered.

As you can see in the chart, there are several planets opposing one another, from Gemini to Sagittarius. They are circled in red. Apropos of the moment, this opposition conveys the energy of a split or a division; it is a highly polarized arrangement. Energy and matter were dividing themselves, on their own, for the first time. If we consider this as a birth chart, it certainly birthed the arms race, a highly polarized life-or-death situation.

The involvement of the sign Gemini (where Uranus and Saturn are located) speaks of this division on its own. Gemini is the central astrological computer where the idea of dualism is processed. The sign of the Twins, and later associated with the Tarot card The Lovers, Gemini addresses a pair of opposites, or alternates, and sometimes presents a choice between options. Hence, The Lovers card’s keywords are sometimes offered as ‘correct choice’.

In the simplest terms, Gemini’s opposites are light and dark: the conscious mind and the shadow side of the nature; or borrowing from the Gemini myth, the dualism of Hades (hell) and Olympus (the immortal lands), hence, between people seeing themselves as either mortal or immortal, and the struggle that this engenders. We really should not overlook the fact that the shadow that hangs over humanity, and from which most people are trying to escape on some level, is mortality.

The planets placed in Gemini, Saturn and Uranus, themselves represent matter and energy, respectively, and they are in a newly formed conjunction — the beginning of a long cycle that in fact concluded with the fall of the USSR and the end of the Cold War shortly after Saturn and Uranus made their very next conjunction, in Sagittarius in 1988.

The Cold War and the associated arms race were presented by both sides as a struggle between good and evil. It was a struggle during which our leaders and corporations rigged the whole planet with ‘mutual assured destruction’ or MAD — too many nukes, depicted in the absolutely essential film Dr. Strangelove as the doomsday machine. The principle of ‘deterrence’ was that neither side had the incentive to attack because it meant suicide for its side and, in reality the planet. (With that incentive removed with the end of the Cold War, certain entities now feel freer to attack. Those curious to explore this issue may read an excellent book called The Fate of the Earth by Jonathan Schell.)

Yet Gemini is about psychological dualism as well as ideological or national dualism. In these terms, we are looking in this chart at a study of good and evil within human nature.

There are many other ways to (allegedly) split the psyche, and in the end they all work out to about the same thing: for example, the experience of the ego and the soul being separate; between life and death; light and dark; male and female roles and feelings. To some extent or another, it seems that every person lives with a degree of dualism and division in their experience on Earth. Many spiritual traditions teach that this is the essence of the particular plane of reality we are now living on. It is the theme of almost every movie and book ever created. We are obsessed by this issue of good and evil.

Often, that dualism, or split, involves seeing someone (or anyone) else as separate from us, which leads to the ‘us and them’ way of life that is so influential in the thinking on this planet at this time — and, it would seem, going back a long time.

Speaking in psychological terms, what begins as an inner division is projected outward onto the world. Typically, we camp out in one side of the split in our own minds, and project the other side out into the world. The projection is precisely the result of not embracing both seeming polarities within ourselves. When this occurs, instead of dealing with our own inner conflict, we make it a drama around us. This can happen on an individual level, or on the species level (such as with nations and cultures). At the moment of the first self-sustained nuclear reaction, this was a profoundly potent energy, and it took on a material manifestation with the scientific development that propagated in the world.

The dualism effect of the nuclear chart is illustrated most vividly by the oppositions to the three planets in Sagittarius. Now, Sagittarius is the sign of resolving dualism. For this reason it has spiritual overtones, such as the identification with wisdom, with God, and merging of the ‘lower self’ with the ‘higher self’. Dualism is implied in these ideas, but Sagittarius strives to work it out. However, along the way, there can be quite a lot of conflict expressed, such as involving different ideologies, religions, nations and cultures (all of which fall under the domain of Sagittarius). We are certainly living through a time where religious, cultural and national ideology seem to be at the core of world conflict — and this is a very Sagittarian time in history because Pluto is there.

Let’s shift the discussion to the houses, which takes us to a new level. This will give astrology students an example of how signs and houses work together to create or facilitate the messages of a chart. While the signs involved are Gemini and Sagittarius, the houses involved are the 2nd and the 8th. The houses express what is going on in the signs and planets and represent the area of life where the events or drama unfolds. They literally tell you where to look for the action — in the closet, in the kitchen, at work, or driving in your car.

The two houses involved, the 2nd and the 8th, contain the issues that are basically the root of all misery on Earth. Their themes involve property, money, death and sex. They are about survival and power. On each of these themes, there are currently control dramas being played out to epic proportions. Begin the games with one theme, and they quickly spread to the others.

The 8th house has a way of striving for what it thinks of as ‘absolute control’ and this is very much a chart that speaks of the drive for absolute control over resources. Imagine the promise of the atomic bomb to the men who were devising it, and the government leaders who were funding the project: it was to be the secret weapon with which we were to rule the entire world. In true 8th house fashion, the way that the government (the sponsor of the atomic project, and initially its beneficiary) thinks it’s going to get that control is through death. But in the Nuclear Axis chart, death is given God’s name (Sagittarius on the 8th house). Indeed, Harry Truman credited God with the nuclear devastation of Hiroshima. (He also lied when he told the American public that Hiroshima was a “military base” when in fact it was a civilian city.)

We could never tolerate this unless we wanted it on some level. That wanting is artificially induced. Most people would rather make love than make war, yes? In our society, the way people are kept hungry for more death is by infusing them with fear and violence — and also by corrupting sex, which leaves lots of energy and space for fear and greed to take over the psyche. There is a direct connection, but under the thrall of the split, we don’t see usually see this for what it is. Teaching school kids terror of lovemaking while we inundate them with images of war seems, well, perfectly natural in this upside-down unreality.

It also seems that, too often, the people with the most inner conflict and the most dramatic ‘us and them’ complexes become world leaders. How else could they brave the political process that gets them into power in the first place? To be the leader of a country, you pretty much have to be a conqueror of some kind. Conquerors all tell you they are doing God’s work and most people, fascinated by God and power, or afraid of them, go along with the idea.

Much of how the political process works is that people striving for power use our own built-in inner divisions to whip up an ‘us and them’ fervor, usually in a political or military campaign. There is always somebody else who is evil that we have to deal with. Over and over again, this works flawlessly. We are certainly seeing a lot of division these days, particularly in the splits within the United States society (for example, the ‘Christians’ versus ‘Pagans’ issue that has surfaced recently); the Western world versus the Islamic world; supporters of the war versus opponents of the war; and even with divisions that have been created within the Western world (such as the United States declaring France, historically one of its very best friends ever, a traitorous enemy). And this split is being pushed wider every day as the level of fear, violence and the caustic tone of the rhetoric increases.

When did this begin to rear its head, most recently?

Around the time of the Saturn-Pluto opposition in Gemini and Sagittarius, which was exact from around August 2001 through May 2002. As this opposition reached across the Gemini-Sagittarius axis, it made many transits to the Nuclear Axis chart, calling to attention a split that was already there. Then one day, we had a mock nuclear disaster in the form of the Twin Towers (see Saturn in Gemini) being knocked down over ideology (see Pluto in Sagittarius) and creating something that became known as Ground Zero. This is a term that was originally used to describe the epicenter of a nuclear blast, but was quickly adopted to describe the World Trade Center site.

This one incident was used to whip up all the us and them thinking you can imagine. Yet what Sept. 11 called attention to was the split — and that division was already within ourselves. And if we want to heal the world, we need, at the least, to see the division where it is, and take back the projection that it’s outside us. In short, I’m saying that inner work is the path to world peace, or at least it is the beginning of the journey.

In response to this, it’s possible to say, well, that’s a nice theory; maybe it won’t work. My sense, however, is that it’s the only thing that could possibly work. If people are not divided against themselves, we are not going to fall for the old story about the other guys being so evil we have to kill them, which has been proven false again and again.

Fortunately, the notion that anything is divided from anything else is a concept, and concepts cah change. The split in the mind is also a concept, and the division in the world is a concept. Powerful concepts, yes, with actual results, but that should demonstrate the power of an idea. In a universe where any entity affects every other entity — a fact established by physics as well as by mysticism — it would seem that what we need to do is to hold that unity more gently, be a aware of our relationship to everything else, and not pretend the connections are not there.

Said a different way, healing is already here. We just need to see it for what it is: or rather, see ourselves for who we are. From a practical standpoint, there are many ways to approach this healing process. We’ll look at some of them next week.


I have recommended this before, but I do suggest going to your neighborhood video store and renting The Atomic Café, a stunning work of documentary filmmaking that tells the story of the nuclear era. Please watch it with friends.

Venus and Mars are Alright Tonight

Some of what I’ve described above is being addressed by the now very close conjunction between Venus and Mars in Scorpio. Where there is no cloud cover, the conjunction can be seen in the east before daybreak.

This the first Venus-Mars conjunction since May 10, 2002 in Gemini — which occurred right on the node of Venus, where the transit of Venus happened this summer. The position of the 2002 conjunction was 18 Gemini 17 (Sabian degree symbol: A large, archaic volume reveals traditional wisdom). This weekend’s occurs at 16 Scorpio 33 (Sabian degree symbol: A woman, fecundated by her own spirit, is great with child).

In light of the above discussion, I think Dane Rudhyar’s interpretation for the symbol of this weekend’s conjunction is helpful. He talks about “deep and complete concentration reaching to the innermost center of the personality. Where the Living God acts as a fecundating power. This reveals the potency of the inward way, the surrender of the ego to a transcendent force which can create through the person vivid manifestations of the Will of God.” He goes on to say that “the human person becomes a ‘mother of the Living God’. This is the Transpersonal way of existence,” leading to creative growth and experience.

This is some nice symbolism when mingled with the sexual imagery of Venus and Mars getting together in Scorpio, and getting together for the first time in some 30 months. The aspect is within a few arc minutes all day Sunday, and is in orb through the weekend. It is exact at 11:13 pm CET on Sunday; subtract six hours for Eastern time and nine hours for California time.

As this occurs, the Sun crosses the Great Attractor at 14 Sagittarius 02, a point I have discussed previously at this link; that conjunction is at 8:58 pm CET.

Mercury is retrograde, and began this week in a close conjunction to the Galactic Core. More in my column on Jon Cainer’s web page.

Happy Birthday Sagittarius!

Stand your ground. You may not be able to see the strength of your position, but I assure you that others do

If you refuse to let the doubts and misgivings of anyone else cloud your judgment, you will soon discover that you were on the right path all along. While it’s true that you cannot always see the big picture for which Sagittarians are so famous, you can see enough of it to have a sense of where you really stand in the world.

The only time problems arise is when you doubt your own strength, or when you confuse fear of the worst thing happening with your more natural expectation that the best thing really is possible. You have done well so far, in part because you’re always able to take any situation and, at the very worst, turn it to good experience. Usually you do a lot better; your optimism tends to get optimum results, a lesson for which we all value your presence in our lives.

At the moment, however, you may be experiencing what seem like the doubts of a close partner, who perhaps claims to have a better way or deeper insight. Most probably, you owe it to the circumstance to sort out doubt from actual creativity, and to give this person’s ideas a real opportunity. We know that you are a fiercely independent person who values, above else, your ability to know what is right and wrong for you.

But this is an unusual time in your life, when closer collaboration on the more intimate details of your life is necessary. Indeed, intimacy is the word of the year. It seems that, all things going well enough, that you will be inclined to share aspects of yourself and dimensions of your soul that it might never have occurred to you to share. Indeed, what you are sharing are likely to be entirely new experiences it may have never occurred to that you would have — experiences, that is, in the human realm.

Because the Venus-Mars conjunction is occurring in your 12th solar house, it appears that a whole new dimension of your psyche is being fertilized. The 12th is always a challenging house because it is experienced as being so intangible, and its themes, issues and events can easily be overlooked. The point is precisely to not overlook the subtle even as so much obvious change is unfolding.

Because there is so much activity in two signs that have tremendous sway in your life — Scorpio and Sagittarius — it’s as if your life will be lived simultaneously on two planes of reality. There is no telling which will seem more interesting, and there may be times when you have to choose. But in reality, the same story is being told on both.

There is a joining happening, and this joining is within you. It may, at different times, seem that one person or the other in relationship or partnership situations is influencing the other more. In truth what is happening is that both of you, or all of you, depending, are being taken into new territory, and creating new elements of feeling and consciousness. I suggest you indulge this newness deeply, and draw nourishment from it.

You have earned this! The enormous energy, some of it willing and some of it less so, that you have put into becoming a true individual in your own right, has created a lot of stored-up energy. And as you draw on the many new experiences of this year, and step back from judging them, you will find that you have many new sources of inspiration that change you and the world around you in some surprising, even shocking ways.

The key to it all, I think, is not judging how you feel. Stand back from having to decide whether what you are experiencing is right or wrong, good or bad, and you will have a lot more fun letting it be what it is.

Planet Waves Weekly Horoscope
for the week of Friday, Dec. 3, 2004

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Aries (March 20-April 19)
Relationships are exchanges. No matter what, something is given and something is received, though rarely in equal measure. If in the past you have been reluctant to accept nourishment and pleasure, there is an opening now. If you’ve struggled to accept the security of a solid bond with a partner based on loving commitment and not obligation, a new cycle of experience is beginning. What occurs next is not something you will do, as much as something you must be open to and allow to happen. As the Indian mystic Osho taught us, we must accept all gifts graciously. And I would add, consciously.

Taurus (April 19-May 20)
It’s taken far longer than you thought to get your act together. Though it may not seem reassuring that all that’s changed is your point of view, you could do a lot worse. If this world struggles with one thing, it’s that many people here tend to be deeply committed to seeing things the same way every day. You are in a rare position where you can not only see, but feel and experience the condition and reality of those around you as if it were your own. This affords you an unusual depth of understanding, and you must use it to everyone’s benefit.

Gemini (May 20-June 21)
Events, circumstances and even familiar people may seem powerful to the point of being overwhelming, though you cannot see what you cannot be. This is yet another invitation to focus your energy and meet the world straight on. You’re not a person who has a stomach for meek or trivial work, and if the stars this week have just one message, let it be one that rings like silver, so loudly you can hear it for years: you must do with your precious time exactly what you are on this Earth to do. Say what you are hear to say. Be who you are; the world will change to accommodate you.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
You have an awesome opportunity to resolve a health situation by working on the spiritual level. This is usually the last aspect of life that people check in when they’re feeling a little off-center; when a headache shows up, aspirin seems more logical than working out an issue in one’s journal. Take the time to go within yourself for an answer or solution you’re seeking. Nobody is going to hand it to you, and if they did, you would be wise to doubt it. When this one arrives, the lights will come on so bright that night will turn to day.

Leo (July 22-Aug 23)
While you may sense that a long-awaited creative breakthrough should be arriving right about now, don’t be so sure it isn’t already here. Whether you can see it is another question, and if you look from the right angle, you’ll notice exactly what I’m talking about. It may start with a troubling family matter and when you unravel that and watch the thread pile up on the floor, you’ll see the truth as the naked, beautiful (if really odd) thing it is. Don’t worry if you keep changing your mind about this discovery; that is part of the process of perpetual creation of which you’re becoming a master.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
Do we ever really make the same mistakes twice, or are there always other factors that lead to our ending up in similar circumstances long after we vowed something would never happen again? Just what those circumstances are calls for a good look now; the values that lead to your choices could be the subject of a book. What you need to remember is that every effect has a cause. Nothing moves in this world without energy carrying it. Nothing arises in consciousness that lacks meaning. Therefore, give names to what you see, what you feel and what you remember.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
Your loyalty is not a political tool. No act of bravado can make what is obviously senseless into something clear and logical. You would do well to question where you choose to invest your precious allegiances. I’m not saying they are the wrong choices: this week’s aspects could be describing a scene of your dauntless companionship offered to one who truly deserves such a blessing. But there’s the possibility this week that anything can turn to its opposite — so you need to know what each and every one of those opposites might be, and watch closely for them.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
It is rare that we find a true sense of completion from association with another person, but there are moments when that turns out to be true. I wonder, though, if at such times there is not some corresponding factor rendering us complete on the inside as well. In any event, both the inner state of your heart and the outer conditions of your life are in a rare alignment that is offering you closure on a long period of your history, and inviting you into a moment of joy, surrender and freedom. Go just where you feel called; knock on the door; wait for it to open.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22 – Dec. 22)
Dec. 5 is when the Sun crosses a point called the Great Attractor each year. For centuries, astrologers have viewed Sagittarius as the ‘world beyond the world’, the sign of higher wisdom and the most spiritually-attuned ideas. To the extent that this is true, we’re now aligned with the region of Sagittarius that serves as one potential source of wisdom. Over the next two weeks, all the air, the trees and your heart will vibrate with a message about who you are and how you can help the world through this critical time in its history. Be prepared to make any changes necessary to get the work done.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
You’re in a good position to see the mistakes that others are making; you have their choices analyzed down to the last detail. But you must look at the larger scheme of things if you want to be helpful. In fact, your instincts are working on a much higher level than your mind. I suggest you do any and all helping behind the scenes, if at all; prayer would work best, though awareness is a form of religious devotion. One thing you can trust is that despite the considerable pressures and seeming uncertainty of the moment, things are about to resolve very well. So, fear less and love more.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
You can have faith that not everybody likes you, and equal faith that such a fact is another bit of meaningless trivia. ‘Dislike’ is hardly a commitment, and those who are devoted to your cause, or better still, to your heart and soul, are right where you need them. If you have any doubts, do a quick reality check, and while you’re at it, ask for suggestions about what you can be doing to further the goals to which you so earnestly aspire. The world is in a sorry state right now, but as such, it’s exceptionally open to just the right influences. Make sure you’re one of them.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
Professional matters are seem caught in the midst of some unusual cosmic weather. But what’s blowing through is not your average storm. There’s a pattern to the events that are unfolding, and to make the most if these, you merely need to pay attention to where you are at any given moment. Make every last communication of a business-related matter count; speak as if your reputation were being constructed of the very words you utter in any moment. There will be several times during the next few weeks when precisely this is happening. And remember: no Pisces is really a businessman.
For you, everything is art, or at least theatre. But please, focus some of that talent on business.

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