Closing Thoughts on Scorpio; Centaurs on the Move

Closing Thoughts on Scorpio; Centaurs on the Move

AS ONE of the cross-quarter phases — that is, the signs located halfway between where equinoxes and solstices occur, containing the high sabbat of Samhain (now called Halloween) — Scorpio is always a turning point. Interesting that the metaphor is a costume and the result is often a revelation.

There has been some momentous astrology during Scorpio, including the first part of a three-stage fixed grand cross (the next two are around Dec. 5 and Jan. 15, prompted by the movement of Mars (retrograding back and forth across Taurus) in relationship to Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune). Jupiter has entered Scorpio — the first major planet activity in that sign since Pluto left in 1995.

Astrological signs represent a clear ray of energy; the associated house (in this case, Scorpio, as related to the 8th house) show us how we play it out on Earth, for good, for ill or for naught. A house is a worldly stage where we explore the mundane drama. The drama of the 8th is the one that is running life on the planet at the moment, with all its power plays related to sex, death and control of resources.

Life on earth as we know it is pretty much dominated by 8th house energy. For many, and for society itself, it’s the house we cannot escape.

During the Sun-Scorpio phase, Jupiter entered this sign and seems to have had a few effects. In some ways it’s acted as a kind of balm, making the emotional quality of Scorpio available. One of the ways we get into so much trouble on Earth is by either not feeling, ignoring our feelings, or getting overwhelmed by our feelings. Typically, the factor is fear — fear that overwhelms, fear that makes loving seem irrational.

Consider the extent to which we have blended the idea of love with that of sacrifice. This is a significant part of the 8th house paradox. Though it’s neither easy nor particularly compelling to explain (I could see doing it in a trilogy with well-developed characters) if sacrifice is involved, something other than love is involved. Love is just love. We can only doubt this because the experience is so unfamiliar!

Up from the Minors

Of note, in recent years Scorpio has been stirred up by the minor planet Pholus. This has gone on since Oct. 20, 1999. Note that minor planets are akin less to the minor leagues of baseball than they are to a minor scale in music. They are not less important; they are just different, and noticed less often.

Pholus has been working its way out of Scorpio all year, and makes its final transit into Sagittarius Saturday, Nov. 19. I have not written much about this planet, which was the second discovered Centaur, sighted in 1992 (after Chiron, discovered in 1977). But by some odd coincidence, it happens that I wrote a short article on the subject earlier in the week. Here is a brief quote; full article to follow below.

Pholus has a quality of opening the door to the infinite. Depending on the door, that may or may not be helpful, or seem helpful, but it is what it is and when Pholus has become active, it’s necessary to get out of denial and work with the energy consciously.

But in any event, Pholus has the property of release from situations, opening to new possibilities, and emerging into new states of existence. It is the Centaur of fast-moving changes, or rapid transformations, typically initiated by one’s own action. Something as simple as curiosity or a chance encounter may start the chain of events. As Robert von Heeren has so aptly put it, “small cause, big effect.”

The energy of Pholus is, “I would never have done that if I knew what I was getting into,” sometimes with the added idea, “but I’m glad I did.”

Pholus, von Heeren adds, is “the catalyst and provider for a landslide-like change (in history for example) and turning points,” adding, ” Pholus exaggerates energies in their raw state. Pholus is an emphasizer.”

So, no major planet activity during the phase of history that brought us the Iraq war, hurricane Katrina and her cousins, the Bush administration, the apparent dissolution of NATO and much else besides. And the personal ramifications are beginning to be felt not just by the families of veterans or by those displaced in storms; most people are feeling some effect, and the more sensitive ones are noticing all the more. But plenty of minor planet activity!

This is the phase of history where we will look back and say enough people finally got it to catalyze a shift in consciousness, at least in our civilization. Unlike one year ago, most people really do understand that climate change is real and that the Iraq war is going nowhere faster and faster, but note the Pholus-like energy involved in both situations and so much else in the world today. There has been a kind of opening that built in momentum — along with awareness of the problems.

And while some people may on some level be able to deny that these things affect them personally, there is a question that’s becoming evermore obvious — what kind of world we want to live in?

Of astrological note: Pholus entered Scorpio in 1999 under the influence of a fixed grand cross (the famous total solar eclipse of August 1999 just predates the transit) and leaves Scorpio under the influence of a fixed grand cross that unfolds throughout the current season and into the next (Dec. 5 and Jan 15 being the next two moments of this aspect). The fixed grand cross is an aspect of transcendence; of going from one level to the next. And that’s the basic message of Pholus as well.

Pholus in Sagittarius

Sagittarius is the sign of the higher self, God, spiritual enlightenment, pure science — and the Jihad. Pholus has an amoral quality: it just releases whatever is already there. So we can expect to see an acceleration of the entire Sagittarius process as Pholus proceeds through this sign, following in the footsteps of both Pluto (still in Sagittarius) and Chiron (who was there from 1999-2001).

If you get your news from TV, the Pluto in Sagittarius phase of history has become the era of the suicide bomber. We have to see this logic for what it is if we’re going to see it at all. “I am going to walk into this [wedding, breakfast joint, police station] and blow up everyone in the name of Allah and my people” [apologies to Allah and Mohammed] is the same logic as, “We’re going to bomb your country and torture the prisoners we take in the name of ending dictatorship, spreading democracy and doing the work of Jesus” [apologies to Jesus, Jefferson, Ben Franklin and the Iraqi people].

In entering Iraq, the United States and UK embarked on a suicide bombing.

Human beings are not so stupid as to believe this makes any sense at all. Intelligence is not the issue; fear, ignorance, greed and needing to worship something that seems powerful precisely are. And when you put people under these influences for a long time, combined with various forms of protracted physical and emotional desperation, our minds can start to act very weird. Logic, sense and sensibility lose their grip.

As Pholus now begins its long journey through Sagittarius, we get to untangle these issues on what you might call the spiritual level. What is the relationship of our souls to this whole mess? What of the souls of those who are killed? What’s actually going on with our national “leaders”? Are we dealing with a case of demonic possession? Look closely and consider that one please.

With Pholus in Sagittarius, we will also have to live with those whose messianic tendencies rival the great works of 20th century science fiction, many of which address this theme. Pholus in Scorpio was a relatively short journey. But because Pholus has such an exaggerated elliptical orbit, it will remain in Sagittarius through 2018-19 — long after Pluto leaves in 2008.

What also gets released with this transit is a whole lot of higher-consciousness energy, new responses to old problems, and the global awareness for which Sagittarius is so famous. Many people have been training for many years, taking workshops, reading books, studying healing technologies, meditating and so on and on. Now is the era in which we must put these skills and resources to work. Now is the time. Pholus in Sagittarius is the calling.

Remember that Centaurs always tell both sides of the story. But then, as Edward R. Murrow said, “Sometimes there is only one side of the story.” And when that is the case, you’ll get it from one of these planets. But if you don’t like it; if what seems like the truth cannot be so, look for the other side. Ask the question a different way. Go searching for evidence.

Chiron and Nessus Change Signs

The first three Centaur planets — the new generation of modern planets — are Chiron, Pholus and Nessus. Remarkably, all three are in the process of nearly synchronous sign changes, which have developed all through 2005.

After transitioning into Capricorn in 1999 (synchronous with Pholus in Scorpio), Nessus has made an approximately six year journey through Capricorn. Chiron followed behind in late 2001, shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks.

I think it’s clear that these three sign changes initiated or arrived with an entirely  new era in history. And now the three planets are changing signs again, this time much more closely synchronized.

Nessus actually entered Aquarius for good (no more retrogrades into Capricorn) two days ago — on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2005. Pholus is just four days behind, entering Sagittarius tomorrow. Chiron enters Aquarius Dec. 7.

What we now get is a lot of long-term energy, activation, transits, etc., in Sagittarius and Aquarius — Centaur style, which means intense and in your face. In particular, the Chiron-Nessus conjunction (sextile Pholus) is something that we will look back on many years from now and see how obvious it was that this was the aspect that defined the change of eras, that marked the shift in a generation.

This is the dawn of a not-so-mini Aquarius Age, because two outer planets (these Centuars are now precisely that) is a lot of energy in a sign. And Aquarius is exactly what we need right now, particularly if we take it in a constructive way. Taken in a destructive way, the keynote of Aquarius is “escape from freedom” — which is precisely the reaction that leads to a fascist takeover. The challenge in strongly Aquarian times is to free your mind, and stay that way. It’s not as easy as it sounds — but it is possible.

In an interview with Sydney Telegraph writer (and my neighbor) Yasmin Boland, I described this yesterday as “power to the people” astrology. The fact that the Chiron-Nessus conjunction makes a sextile to Pholus in Sagittarius is the astrology of a mass awakening. Remember that it does not take all that many people waking up to get the job done. One in 20 would more than suffice. One in 10 would bring about a complete shift of energy on the planet.

It would be easy to make it sound like I’m overstating the case of these sign changes, but in reality, difficult to do. This is a developing story — there is more to say, but I’ll leave it at this for now.

The full delineation for Pholus follows. Nessus is not quite done, but I can leave you with some quotes from the article.

Regarding Nessus:

Nessus raises the issue of responsibility for one’s actions, and for the consequences of action. There is the issue of intention. Intent can mean desire, but it can also mean that you knew or should have known your actions would, or could, have a certain result.

As with all the Centaurs, there is a distinct sense of cause and effect that plays out in experience, but Nessus is most often felt by the results. When it is clear is that something specific has developed, Nessus can help us get to the bottom of why that is, and to trace things back to their root cause, be it ‘symbolic’ or ‘real’. In this spirit, Melanie Reinhart describes the process as, “The buck stops here.”

Nessus can reveal and help heal all kinds of abuse. This comes in two major categories: one, the insidious kind that doesn’t seem like much later on, until one looks closely. The other, less frequent edition, the kind that was obviously so.

Many have noticed that this Centaur is about the return of karma, such as stories that travel circular paths. Conspiracy with a point of origin, rather than the illusion of a conspiracy or the sense of a conspiracy all around (like Arachne).

Melanie Reinhart adds this idea:

“As the orbital length of Nessus is way longer than most individual life spans, look to Nessus processes where the karma of deep ancestry or past life matures. This can be an indescribable suffering, whether physical or emotional, like the motif of the ‘burning shirt’ [of Heracles -ef] from the mythology. But the good news is that it really does burn away the toxins, on whatever level. The vicious cycle ends. We learn not to take personally that which is not personal, and to also stay closer to the suffering which is personal. This brings resolution and healing, and transcendence to another level.”


Pholus, discovered 1992
Provisional name: 1992 AD
Catalogue number: 5145
Orbital phase: 92.4 years
Crosses orbits of Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.

Small cause, big effect.

Pholus was the second Centaur discovered. It was due to this discovery that the planetary class was defined (Chiron and Phlolus were grouped into the new class), and indeed, the discoveries proceeded very rapidly from there — true to the nature of Pholus. In 1992, there was a second significant discovery: that of the first planet beyond the Pluto-Charon binary system — the as yet unnamed (15760) 1992 QB1. In other words, this was the year of the discovery of the Kuiper Belt, a vast region of space where millions of small planets reside.

Prior to the discovery of QB1, the Kuiper Belt had only been theorized, but with a second discovery, there was finally tangible evidence. As of this writing, there are more than 20 named bodies in both classes (Chiron and Kuiper objects), which together constitute a completely different Solar System cosmos than the ones that any prior generations of astrologers have encountered or even pondered.

In a sense, Pholus offered a “vague precognition” to the discovery of these realms, in the words of the co-author of the first and only book on this planet, Robert von Heeren. But when Pholus is involved, such always leads to concrete and tangible results.

Given that its orbit crosses all the modern planets, with their revolutionary changes, compelling spiritual processes, as well as Saturn, the most traditional, you can be sure it carries a lot of energy wherever it goes, and can wear many masks. The energy of Pholus is like shaking up a bottle of Pepsi on a hot day, and promptly opening it. It’s just that the stuff keeps coming out. A genie coming out of a bottle is perhaps a better metaphor.

Pholus has a quality of opening the door to the infinite. Depending on the door, that may or may not be helpful, or seem helpful, but it is what it is and when Pholus has become active, it’s necessary to get out of denial and work with the energy consciously.

Pholus has the property of release from situations, thus opening to the new possibilities, and emerging into new states of existence. It is the Centaur of fast-moving changes, or rapid transformations, typically initiated by one’s own action. Something as simple as curiosity or a chance encounter may start the chain of events. As Robert von Heeren has so aptly put it, “small cause, big effect.”

The energy of Pholus is, “I would never have done that if I knew what I was getting into,” sometimes with the added idea, “but I’m glad I did.”


Pholus, von Heeren adds, is “the catalyst and provider for a landslide-like change (in history for example) and turning points,” adding, ” Pholus exaggerates energies in their raw state. Pholus is an emphasizer.”

In some cases, Pholus represents or instigates situations something gets out and you can’t get it back in, such as when riots begin and you cannot stop them, or you make one change and it cascades into a series of other developments. This same quality also gives Phlous experiences the quality of a leap to a new level.

Another quality of Pholus is anything involving three generations. Wherever there is a question that may be multigenerational, no matter what the subject, the position of Pholus in the natal chart can offer insight and assistance. Look for the influence of ancestors, issues and gripes to be taken up with ancestors, and one’s relationship to predecessors. Pholus, in this respect, addresses issues that belong to the entire tribe, collective property, and group responses to situations.

Pholus has a relationship to healing addictions, as well as their causes and consequences, which often have multigenerational effects that may or may not include the actual substance itself — but rather the effects of being raised under its influence, or as passed from a grandparent.

Kirsti Melto has been doing the orbital and naming research on the Centaurs as part of this project.


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Planet Waves by Eric Francis
November 18, 2005 – Weekly Horoscope #585

Happy Birthday Scorpio!
You know by now that the worst of your fears will not come true, and you owe it to yourself to begin considering some of the better possibilities. Recent challenges have brought out the best in you, and every experience has become an opportunity to get to know yourself and others at much closer range. True, this has not always been easy, and you’ve had to think through the ethics of a particular situation more times than you can count. But right and wrong will sort themselves out in time, particularly as you learn to take full responsibility for your feelings.

Aries (March 20-April 19)
It’s not customary for you to deny your sexual nature, but circumstances may prompt you to pass up an opportunity despite a strong desire to open up and share yourself — or to use a certain situation where strong feelings are involved to your advantage. I cannot tell you what is right or wrong, only that you are thinking strategically, considering the larger situation, and maybe making an attempt to leverage or consolidate your power. There may well be a matter of ethics involved in this. I suggest you ask yourself what your feelings, your senses and ultimately what your body, are really for.

Taurus (April 19-May 20)
You need to decide for yourself if someone close to you is being sincere or is really a lawyer dressed in lover’s clothes. But then, you can’t blame anyone for being cautious, since you have not exactly been such a star when it comes to making up your mind for more than a day. And you seem to be announcing with every cell in your body that you have your limits, and you’re not going past them. I would argue to the contrary. You do have your limits, and you intend to go beyond them. If you’re going to kid other people, you had better not kid yourself.

Gemini (May 20-June 21)
You seem to be escaping the perils that everyone around you is going through, but then you’ve learned to monitor your fears and do the ever important reality check on a regular basis. Any difficulties of your own can be worked out by doing what therapists describe as “calling in your projections” — that is, taking responsibility for what you’re thinking and feeling and not pretending it’s someone else’s materials. This will be particularly true (and useful) if you notice other people acting like family members used to. If so, they are just performing your scripts in your play. Turn on the lights and stop the drama — should be that easy.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
I suggest you try it — whatever it is — before you lose your nerve or talk yourself back into run-of-the-mill morality. The cautious side of your nature is a little behind the times, and has not quite caught onto your higher energy level, better than usual luck and moreover the necessity to dare that are the themes of your life right now. It is true that you’re dealing with a concern involving your health, but what you really need is to eat better and refrain from consuming combustible liquids for a while; then your mind will feel better, and the past won’t seem so sticky.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23)
You seem to be reaching the turning point involving a professional matter, though this is a calling to leadership. It might not be the bound for glory leadership that you get in a movie, but it’s the kind that calls for character, for working with structure and for keeping a firm sense of your responsibilities. Often, being responsible means taking some responsibility for others, and there’s always a risk involved in doing that. But you’re in the process of making some extraordinary discoveries about yourself, particularly as regards your strength and integrity.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
Have you ever looked into someone’s eyes and thought, Wow, there’s nobody home. Well, the prolonged message of the stars has been to make sure that you’re home all the time. And at the moment, you need to keep the front porch light on and some food on the stove for whoever may arrive for a visit, be it a thought or memory from the past, a friend, or someone in your family who needs your assistance and attention. Many moons and even long years of work have brought you certain healing gifts; now is likely to be a time when you put them to use.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
There are times when feeling good about oneself has a way of drawing wealth, abundance and assistance; there are times when feeling badly seems to do the same thing. There is energy contained in both, and you in particular can be certain that someone will always respond, no matter how you define your needs. At this point, you have a choice in how you live; in which side of the equation you emphasize. The real question is not how you feel about yourself as much as it is what you feel you have to offer. What, exactly? That, in essence, is how you feel about who you are.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
This has not been a simple time in your relationships, and even if you’re experiencing things that have happened over and over again, you don’t have reason to be concerned. The important thing is that you notice, even if you notice what you’ve noticed many times before. But you are free to worry your head off if you choose to ignore the patterns. The best you can hope for is to be bored with what is genuinely boring and deserves to be so. That’s your cue that you’re ready for something entirely new — and you are.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
If there was ever a time when you could bust out of your genetic destiny and throw yourself free of all the weird things your family tattooed into your mind, this is it. The main tool is awareness, and at that, specifically awareness of how you’re responding to a particular person. Here’s the identikit: he/she reminds you of your mother. You’re not sure if he/she is treating you this way, or if you’re making the whole thing up. It does not matter. What matters is your reaction. If you react like somebody is your mother, they are your mother. If you don’t, they are not. Sometimes life is that simple. But not usually.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
It is now a matter of days before Chiron makes its final exit from your sign for the next four-plus decades. So you have been through something unique, some form of concentrated experience that set in around December 2001. Every dark corridor in your mind has been illuminated. Every angle of your past has been presented to you — in what may have been one of the most unusual and indeed bizarre sequence of events of your life. And you are, for certain, a different person. I dare say you know more, you’ve learned something about what you want, and you’ve learned who you are not. Very good start.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
Aquarius is the sign of individuality. Everyone is an individual, sure, but it’s the energy of Aquarius poring into every chart that, at the very least, pushes us to be truly real. If you want a clue how this works for people other than natal Aquarians, note that Leos have Aquarius as their relationship sign and can deal with just about anyone. But you are an actual embodiment of this energy, and you rattle the charts and energy fields of everyone around you, instigating them to be authentic, real and in the moment. A lot of this energy is about to come your way — from somewhere deep in the center of yourself. And this will have a more than mildly shocking effect on the world, so get used to it.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
This can, if you allow it to, be a week of some of the most amazing transitions of your life. The planetary picture makes the best illustration — Jupiter, Pisces Planet #1, is approaching a perfect trine to Uranus, the planet of invention, revelation, revolution and illumination of the mind. This occurs in the water signs (Scorpio and Pisces) so the event is tuned exactly to your frequency. The process goes on over the next few weeks; I am alerting you to it a bit early, so you can relax and get your mind into the “let it flow” mode. Because right now, despite many troubles elsewhere, your universe is a big milky cosmic cow. I suggest you start by solving the most serious issues first, then go for the frills.

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