The Swiftly Tilting Planet
Dear Friend and Reader:
IF WE have learned one thing from doing the ongoing Mercury Retrograde news timeline, currently tracking the turning points of the end of the ‘shadow phase’, it’s that the news is difficult to deal with, and consumes a significant amount of emotional energy. If you are following blogs out of the Middle East, you know the situation is much worse than we’re being told — but you probably could have guessed that. But somehow it seems urgent to stay aware. Note: yet another nuclear-armed nation is involved in an escalating war.
For individuals, the mind free in the cosmos, making its way along the web of humanity, Mercury itself presents real challenges when it changes directions. There is a phase of reorientation during and after the station. It’s a little like a magnetic pole shift which our brains take time to catch up with. I have no doubt that, though not ‘proven’, this is a physical as well as symbolic phenomenon, and I propose that we’re at a true advantage for being aware that it’s happening.
As of Friday, August 4, Mercury’s daily motion is two-thirds of a degree per day, and will have increased to 1.5 degrees per day when it enters new territory on August 13 for the first time since June 17. Mercury’s speed peaks at 2 degrees per day on August 25. If you measure this change in percents or see it on a curve, it becomes clear why the mental environment is so changeable and seemingly erratic.
Mercury is something of a conducting agent for what is going on around it, and for sure, many factors are at work. The Saturn-Neptune opposition comes into focus next week because the Aquarius Full Moon occurs exactly along the axis of the opposition, which as of Friday is exact to four degrees and closing fast. The Sun is approaching Saturn in Leo, and the Moon is quickly waxing toward the full. By quickly, I mean that like Mercury, Luna is gaining speed every day and will be at her fastest daily motion for the month, called perigee, when she opposes the Sun on August 9.
Saturn-Neptune opposition is another way of saying that the Earth is suspended between two of the largest planets, with profoundly different natures. Metaphorically, Neptune is of the nature of water, fog and imagery, and Saturn is of the nature of solid material, such as rock, lead or a tangible plan. Though both planets are made of gas and have some similarities, they symbolically impart distinct properties.
As the Sun and Moon reach opposition (that is, full phase), the Sun will emphasize Saturn in Leo to one side of the Earth, and the Moon will emphasize Neptune in Aquarius on the other. The Sun-Saturn conjunction seems to set natural limits, while Moon-Neptune provides a means of escape.
Also in Aquarius is Ceres, technically an asteroid but one likely to be re-classified as a planet in the next year or two. That Ceres takes up fully 25% of the mass of the inner asteroid belt is one thing, but the themes of Ceres — food, nourishment, moving through grief and understanding the relationships of mothers to their children — are what call for attention now.
This rare alignment, bringing together many cycles and factors, points to a big drama to which everyone who is alive will be compelled to respond. Our planet is changing and many people are struggling. It seems we cannot do much about it, but we must deal with what we witness or learn. For the past 50 years, industry and consumers have wired the planet with a sophisticated extended nervous system reaching not only into every car, home, airplane and cafe, but which now follows us around on our phones using GPS technology.
A Mental Environment
This environment goes beyond the devices and obvious connections. All that is broadcast enters consciousness and reverberates within a kind of mental or psychic environment that contains every sentient being. An early 20th century Jesuit scientist and philosopher named Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955) called this the noosphere. Even if we attempt to pay no attention at all, we are affected; we swim in this environment, it is made of us and our awareness, and centuries of evolution have taken us to the point where psychic senses are now an accepted fact.
We feel the planet and we feel one another, all in addition to feeling ourselves at this urgent crux point of history where the momentum of change is gathering rapidly. Yet at the same time, many factors have conspired to create a mass shutdown of awareness. This, combined with the compression of time and new psychic portals opening, has a lot of people living with some pretty severe internal tension. It feels as if a balloon of awareness is growing inside everyone, waiting to burst.
Because tuning out and shutting down does not work on any level except the most temporary, those who plan to survive need to develop adaptation strategies, the first of which are psychological and emotional. Then we need processes to embrace the accelerating onrush of the future in more creative and efficient ways. Planetary awakening on any scale involves many combined individual awakenings, as well as a plasma-like gathering of energy. On the larger scale this is for the sake of the planetary evolution process, that is, our collective mission here and certain other goals seemingly beyond human awareness.
For individuals, however, there is very much a life or death question in the environment, even if our own lives happen to be supported.
Let’s pretend this is all a plot in a novel. A planet where things have been pretty touch and go for many centuries, and extremely violent the past 100 years, is suddenly thrust into a state of crisis. It involves resources, climate change and hostility. Most national or tribal leaders respond by increasing their aggression, in an effort not only to secure resources for their people, but out of personal greed. Conflict is used as a means to an end: chaos, and then control.
In order for those in national or global leadership positions to preserve their power and perpetuate the myth of their own effectiveness, indeed, to justify their lavish public salaries and privileges, many lies must be told, and the extent of the crisis must be concealed from those who would indeed care. This has a secondary effect of holding down the positive results that would come as a consequence of lots of people waking up and dealing with the situation.
Because people are so conditioned to worship authority, the fact that we have been abandoned and betrayed by authority is nearly impossible to conceive of. It violates something fundamental about human interaction, since we’re not supposed to be fed to wolves, or eaten for dinner, by our own parents. Yet relatively few people are individuated to the point of being able to take leadership. Denial is thick in the air. But many people realize they have a choice, and that their actions at this time in history can impact the future, in ways both tangible and those impossible to see.
Now for the question: where do you fit into the story? Where do you want to fit in? Do you do your best to live well for as long as you can? Do you pretend nothing is happening, and try to drone along with your usual life? Do you adopt the religious mythology that the end is destined to happen soon? Do you just decide that the whole scenario is so far fetched that either it’s not true, or you’ll deal with it when you have to? Do you get angry, and try to save the world?
Or do you respond to the inner stirring to make a series of moves that will help you adapt? Today, in the face of so many lies, living more authentically is perhaps one not so obvious strategy for adaptation and survival. The people capable of helping one another are most often those who are living truthfully, and who can trust one another. Part of that truth involves acknowledging who one is; and part involves acknowledging our situation, including now, when the troubles all seem to be in far-away countries and the bombs seem to be falling on somebody else.
Solar and lunar activity often serve to emphasize existing astrology. As we’ve been discussing, we are in a global threshold indicated by the opposition of Saturn and Neptune, which is also working on the level of a psychological and emotional process for each individual. While the aspect reaches the exact alignment August 31, the Full Moon on Wednesday will pull it into focus and precipitate events that are involved with the larger process, most of which have been developing nearly 20 years.
But the presence of the exceptionally personal Sun and Moon will do something else — draw many people into the situation, through awareness, experience, and feeling. The Full Moon is like being near the water when the tide is rising. If you’re on a boat, you go up. If you’re on the beach, you get wet, or you go to higher ground.
Whether we’re aware of it or not, Saturn-Neptune presents us with a huge dilemma. Let’s take another look at the aspect and the sign placements in relationship to the time we’re living in.
I think I’ve covered pretty well the ways in which Neptune in Aquarius represents a kind of mass delusion and media haze, which is being used to pump an aggressive agenda into the minds of people in countries with the most resources. As well, it represents the extent to which hundreds of millions of people in Western culture are on personality-suppressing drugs. In the past 25 years there has also been a massive corporate takeover of the media, to the extent where about 10 megacorporations control 90% of what you see and hear. Even before the Internet we industrialized society were being exposed to some 4,000-plus advertisements a day, which tend to swamp consciousness, take over our values, and hypnotize many of us into eating food that consists mostly of salt, sugar and fat — all of which affects awareness.
The increasing pain level on the planet, the lack of resources many places, the changes to the environment, all invite attempts to tune out and shut down. Let’s not forget alcohol; and let’s remember how many people struggle to get through the day. One last manifestation of Neptune is using religion as a way to tune out. Yes, there are ways to tune in with Neptune, but they are subtle and work well if you’re a musical composer.
Then we have Saturn in Leo. This represents a process of individuation; the self-identity factor of Leo is gathered and contained in the defined structure of Saturn. The creative factor takes on a form and a means of expression. There is the struggle that many have voluntarily embarked upon of turning lead to gold, that is, recognizing our true inner identity and taking the opportunity to transform ourselves from our past self-images and identities, which we carry around like lead bones. Along the way we need to let go of certain life structures, relationship forms and patterns of interrelating in order to make room for new growth, experience and responsibility. Relationships that fail to jump to more mature levels need to be left behind, or will disappear. This is a psychological process that is an urgent part of the lives of people committed to personal evolution, and who are aware of the collective (Saturn) level as it relates to the individual level (Leo) as well. Every person is responsible for their own psychological process, but there are at this point in history many people prepared and trained to assist others in their individuation. At first the ‘sense of self’ that emerges may feel strange, cumbersome or heavy, and awareness of our collective plight may feel like a burden. But there is no turning back, and self-awareness soon may develop into a sense of duty.
Now, put the two processes into a face-to-face confrontation with one another. On one side there is a challenging process of raising awareness, accepting individual responsibility and taking on some of the abundant collective karma that’s flooding through the streets. On the other side, there is a population caught in a dreamy haze of comfort, willing to believe lies because it’s much easier than challenging them — and ever-present the lure of going that way.
If you’re really imaginative, now visualize these both as experiences going on within each individual, where we each make a desperate attempt to go along with the unreality flow, and not stir the pot, while at the same time, we feel the internal pressure to find our own way. It’s like being of two minds: one capable of taking on the challenges, tasks and burdens of consciousness; and one which is not. Then there is the intuitive calling to get together with others who are ready to be individuals and cooperate in more constructive ways than we’ve been taught in the past — or than we ever knew existed.
Let’s flip the interpretation of this aspect over. Imagine Neptune in Aquarius is the true spirit of the people, who turned out by the tens of millions, in all the Western world’s major capitals, for the F-15 protests in 2003. These were the global protests, two weeks after the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, where people came out into the streets around the world objecting to the planned invasion of Iraq. This represented our collective awareness that people are capable of coexisting peacefully, and want to live in harmony — and that the people knew better than their supposed leaders. The ‘genius’ represented by Neptune in Aquarius was able to tune into the anima mundi, the soul of the world, and we had a demonstration, in the true sense of the word, of the authentic true will of the people across many highly diverse cultures.
At the same time, we had, and have, rigid and self-determined leaders, materialistic and pumped up on their own egos, seeking to spread their influence and consolidate their power, doing precisely the contrary of the collective will: starting a campaign of global war and chaos in a time when resources are badly needed to safeguard the future for our children. The grandiose and heroic images of these leaders was used as a kind of weapon, as was the threat of retaliation for treason, and the individual will asserted itself. But now that Saturn is in Leo, we are seeing the karma of those actions, this excess of individual will, in opposition to the whole, come home to roost.
Now, these two natural forces face one another in ever greater focus. Not everyone is convinced or even aware of the process yet. Those who create the memes, or cultural patterns, are still pumping enough fear through the global nervous system to keep most people cowering and begging for authority to come in and save them from their own fear. But as the Full Moon emphasizes this confrontation, and as the opposition perfects over the next three to four weeks, the contrast will grow more evident. For some, the existence of a polarity within will grow more pronounced in awareness. A perhaps subtle but undeniable choice is possible.
An Afterthought: Revisiting the Myth
Let’s not forget that Saturn-Neptune is an old story with a lot of tension and animosity, including tension between the generations. According to the Greek-influenced version of the myth, Saturn/Kronos ate his children whole, one of whom was Neptune/Poseidon. He later was forced to regurgitate them. The conjunction in 1989 would be when Neptune was in Saturn’s stomach (Uranus was in there too, that feels like indigestion). The opposition is like when he propelled him across the sky with a little cosmic disgorgement. It seems a lot like an image of male pregnancy/birth — and now Saturn is threatened or confronted by his own creation again — the reason he ate him in the first place. And on that note, it’s time for lunch.
“When you incline to have new clothes, look first well over the old ones, and see if you cannot shift with them another year, either by scouring, mending, or even patching if necessary. Remember, a patch on your coat and money in your pocket is better and more creditable than a writ on your back and no money to take it off.”
Ben Franklin, from Poor Richard’s Almanac, 1756
MARS IS IN VIRGO. Over the next seven days it forms conjunctions to the natal Pluto of everyone born between late 1960 and early 1964. It also forms conjunctions to the natal Uranus of everyone born between late 1963 and mid 1965. After the Full Moon next week, Mars will touch the natal charts of people born deeper into the mid-1960s.
In all, the charts of everyone born between 1957 and 1972 are affected by the transit of Mars in Virgo, which will set off both Uranus and/or Pluto and in many instances, both simultaneously — particularly for people born between 1964 and 1967, where the two planets are very close in their personal charts.
Conjunctions and oppositions of Uranus and Pluto, which each occur less than once per century, consistently arrive with a surge forward in political reform, the arts, technology and all aspects of thought. This is evident from studying 500 years of such aspects, recently published in the book Cosmos and Psyche by Richard Tarnas. Occurring most recently in the mid-1960s, this is the astrology of revolutions, intellectual, social and political. To the extent that we still experience some creative, sexual and psychological freedom today, we have events surrounding the conjunction of Uranus and Pluto to credit for this fact.
And while we are currently under a phase of astrology that is provoking a mass-scale reactionary conservatism and religious fervor (which consistently fuels an atmosphere of restriction rather than a sense of freedom and expression), many millions of people born in the years mentioned above are carrying the spirit and seeds of freedom in their souls — as a conscious choice. But when they will take action is another question. It would seem that for many, the passive nature of Virgo is dominating, rather than the assertive and unstoppable nature of Uranus and Pluto.
Mars in Virgo is now provoking action for healing, service and social justice. That the outer atmosphere may be holding us down need be no more a factor than the repressive atmosphere of the 1940s and 1950s suddenly giving way to a spirit of expression, experimentation and reform. Then, as now, the problem is fear. We have been so conditioned to believe that if we express ourselves we’re going to die; that if we dare to be ourselves, we will be squashed; that the moment we find our voice, it will be taken away; that many dare not to think, speak or budge. But Mars is now shaking the Pluto-Uranus conjunction to life.
This, by the way, occurs in the midst of a long phases when transiting Pluto is square the natal Pluto position of many late 1960s charts (Pluto square Pluto transit), and Uranus opposes the natal Uranus of many mid-1960s charts (Uranian opposition transit), including natal charts and events. So, we have a real Pisces-Virgo power surge available if we want it, and dare to be clear with ourselves.
At the same time as this is happening, Jupiter continues its transits over the natal Neptune of all mid-1960s charts. This immediate re-emphasis of 1960s natal astrology will blend well with the radicalizing, polarizing events surrounding the approaching Full Moon and Saturn-Neptune opposition.
Through the weekend, the Moon is in Sagittarius (beginning Friday morning) and then in Capricorn (beginning early Sunday). Luna in Sagittarius is one of the most easygoing and optimistic of the lot. It is trine and sextile the Sun-Saturn/Neptune-Ceres configuration mentioned in the article above. So in some ways it serves as a release point for those energies, a chance to attune yourself to a more optimistic frame of mind than the moment may seem to be calling for. This shows up as a tangible choice of some kind after the Moon arrives in Sagittarius, as for the next 24 hours it’s applying in a square to Mars. Square says inner choice and the ability to integrate seemingly conflicting dimensions of reality. Resolving the difference might feel like some version of the statement, “I’ve got something to do, so I’m going to enjoy it.”
But Moon conjunct the Great Attractor (overnight Friday to Saturday) and the Galactic Core (overnight Saturday to Sunday) comes with their own form of drama or intensity, potentially a strange, overwhelming urge to tune into the higher spiritual energies that are available but which only human involvement can ground on the physical plane. They may also find a way to infiltrate our usual filters and boundaries. The Internet, strongly associated with Sagittarius because of its international nature, should be a pretty interesting place to hang out, but we need to be mindful of the urgent project of weaving meatspace into cyberspace.
Venus and Mercury remain in late Cancer. Mercury is ahead of Venus by several degrees. The two are in a conjunction that will gradually separate, as Mercury increases its speed and Venus is holding steady at its maximum speed of 1.25 degrees per day. Both transit from Cancer to Leo shortly after the Full Moon on Wednesday. Until then, there is still a loose grand trine in the water signs, as the energy of the Full Moon accumulates momentum rapidly as Luna reaches perigee and opposition to the Sun.
Meanwhile, another significant opposition is brewing, one which is involved with 60s charts: Mars opposite Uranus, from Virgo to Pisces. This is exact August 13, and like so many other aspects in the vicinity, is the astrology of a flashpoint, a spark of awareness, and the dawning of the obvious.
Weekly Horoscope for Friday, August 4, 2006, #622 – By ERIC FRANCIS
Happy Birthday Leo!
THIS YEAR represents a peak moment in your life. The Full Moon so close to your birthday will remind you how far you’ve come, and is a symbol for your choice to express yourself to the full capability of your talents.
But this is not the kind of peak that passes by quickly. The core of the astrology, Saturn in your birth sign opposed by Neptune in Aquarius, lasts throughout the year and will inspire a process of setting new goals, and making observations about yourself and your role in the world.
While it will take some time to put them into action, you’re now in a phase of internal inventory when you are, at long last, recognizing the strength and integrity of your values. And while you’re often quietly aware of what is important you, you may be noticing the strong inclination to put your values to work in the world in a more tangible, action-oriented way.
An aspect between the Sun and Jupiter close to your solar return may have the tendency to make everything seem bigger than it is, as if you’re looking at life in a magnifying mirror. You’ll need to pay attention to a sense of exaggeration. The benefit of this quality, though, is that you’ll be able to dream a little larger than life and set your goals higher than you might ordinarily.
But because Saturn is involved, you may feel like you’re subject to a limit or regulation of some kind. Such limits are often helpful in the creative process like little else, and this is actually an excellent reminder to honor your natural boundaries and limitations, while at the same time devising ways in which to conserve your physical energy and work mentally, cooperatively, with others to get even more accomplished.
In truth you will be viewed as a natural leader, as long as you respect the autonomy of others. This is natural enough for you — it is the people close to you who may be looking to your leadership more than you’re accustomed. You seem to have something they lack, which is a tangible sense of yourself, your potential and your limitations. Becoming a mature person is not tops on the agenda for everyone (to put it politely) but it is a truly significant subject for you.
Part of what you will need to do is gently guide the people around you to recognize and honor their own individuality, including the process of setting some new boundaries in your most intimate relationships. This can be a subject that makes many people squirm, but actually, the boundaries that you create, and hopefully co-create, will serve as containers for energy rather than as anything that impedes or inhibits you.
The first of these is likely to be a higher level of self-disclosure in your relationships. Working with what is true, and who we really are, is the one container that saves vast amounts of energy and time. People who are clear with one another can actually share agendas, and coexist in much closer harmony.
In all relationships, it’s vital to seek and find common ground, and to build from there. Even in relationships among very different people of different ages and agendas, common ground is crucial for all parties to be aware of, as is a shared framework of purpose. At this point in your life, these kinds of tangible structures need to be a high priority.
This is because there is so much energy of change, on the one hand, and on the other, so much drive for progress and renewal. In any project of life involving expansion, improvements to safety or security (and there do appear to be many in progress), or any change that focuses on your family, make sure that you’re working with a structured plan. The structure is more than an inconvenience. It’s like the yeast that will rise the dough.
Aries (March 20-April 19)
It may be true that someone owes you something, but now is not the time to collect. You may be confusing a debt, particularly an emotional one, with a sense of insecurity that you’re finally beginning to understand. Recent developments have shown you the power of working out your discontent rather than having anyone else make up for it. And events this week provide clear evidence that you really can decide to be happy. But as I’m sure you’re figuring out, working for your well-being is a daily project, though you’re obviously noticing it’s one that can get clear results.
Taurus (April 19-May 20)
You seem to be pursuing someone, but you won’t quite catch up to them until they come to you, be it physically or emotionally. You could save energy and effort by going slower, and appreciating the closeness you do indeed share. So much is possible, though you need to build on the positive rather than emphasize what is not there. Give and receive, rather than insist. If you work with this one idea, what you share now will become a truly fulfilling experience that leads directly and rather smoothly to the next.
Gemini (May 20-June 21)
One week ago you might have never imagined you’d sort out such a complex web of mixed emotions. There seemed to be no end in sight; then a moment came when you found yourself in a whole new space of clarity. The equation is simple: doing what’s important to you is how to feel safe. But more than that, you pay attention to your environment and respond to the information you get. Once you do that, the choices and correct actions become obvious.
Cancer (June 21-July 22)
Take extra care when resolving financial matters, and bear in mind that recent delays will likely work out to have been beneficial. You are involved in a step-by-step process that calls for caution, alertness and paying attention to both your mind and your instincts. Remember that you’re not going for the quick cash fix, but rather, for building a long-term solution to the equation of material support. You’ve added the extra requirement that you must do what’s important to you. Like Rome, this achievement will not be built in a day, but build with faith.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23)
You can accomplish a great deal this week, but make sure you set reasonable goals. Affirm that you’re a person with limits; limits are your friend right now. Certain aspects suggest you’re likely to over-exert yourself; to push a little harder than you need. It would be wise to consider what you want to accomplish and why, and work your way backwards when determining what to do. Work within a structure, and leave room in your plan to adapt to changes that may arise. Be methodical, and you will be happy.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
Trust is a more delicate matter than most people will acknowledge. It’s also a more precious resource. As you can see, your perceptions are not always accurate in the first go-round, but sooner or later, you do see the light of day. When trust is in any way threatened or shaken, most people feel it’s okay to throw away the part that’s left. I would propose that you’ll find true benefit from extending your support to someone who has not quite met your expectations — and so will they.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
Everything would be perfect if…[fill in the blank]. Now, remember not to fall for this old trick. The ‘one imperfect thing’ is a kind of mind game designed to keep you in a state of longing rather than a state of fulfillment. But you can turn it around, and let that one thing you think is wrong remind you of how much is right. You’re finally back to making substantial progress on a long-cherished professional goal, and you can afford to emphasize the positive. If you can do that, it will start to emphasize you.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
If you can understand the relationship between your potential and your limitations, you will be able to work with both. In truth, potential has to come first. You cannot actually build with anything but creativity; the obstacles merely serve to help you find direction. At this particular juncture, you need to dream big, then tailor for the various necessities and limitations that are involved in the situation. But what you don’t need to question is your integrity; that is your greatest asset and will carry you through every day, no matter what else the day brings.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
If you perceive this week’s developments as a test of faith, that’s not so bad, but you can be more constructive than that. I mean, life is a test of faith from the first day to the last. But what happens this week can just as easily be an expression of faith, which is, by the way, one of your most awesome assets. The difference is not subtle and the results will be very different, depending on which side of the equation you choose. So, my faithful friend, pretend you don’t have a cynical bone in your body, and get ready for a miracle.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
Someone is finally beginning to see your point of view, though over the next few weeks they may become somewhat confused about their own. So, for a while, you may need to look after both their interests and yours. The chances are very good that they will trust you at least this far, as long as you trust yourself. Be aware that there may be a jealousy factor involved. I suggest you go out of your way to demonstrate that someone is not really competing for their attention, and if someone is, that you’re able to respond to everyone’s needs.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
Others are driving a hard bargain, but you’ve got plenty of flexibility and you may as well use it. More to the point, you’d be wise to determine what the underlying issue really is. It seems someone close to you is having an authority crisis and is trying to work it out on you. What they don’t quite get is that you’re able to see both sides of any situation that involves either being in a position of power, or responding to those who are. Just remind yourself that whatever anyone’s perceptions may be, you’re a fair person with good judgment.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
This current meeting between the Sun and Jupiter is pushing you to express some ideas you’ve been developing during the past month, while Saturn is helping you set natural limits. Now is indeed the time, though I suggest you work slowly and carefully and make sure you keep your life in balance along the way. These ideas deserve discipline and long-term commitment as well as your usual creative passion. Meantime, make sure that the people who care about you the most know you’re thinking of them regularly. Projects are important; people are more so.