December 31st, 2013

Hello! A Collect Call From Cassandra: Will you Accept the Charges?

I’ve been waylaid by an aggressive flu, so plans for the site — some ‘best of lists’ and a music mix of highlights from 2013 — went amiss. Sorry about that.

But I do want to talk a bit about the fervor that’s building as we enter another new year. Many astrologers are declaring that this won’t be just any new year; no — this will be 2014. The year that commences with a New Moon exactly conjunct Pluto. The year that will frame the most acute of the ongoing Uranus Pluto squares. The year when the United States’ birth chart is severely PMS-ed by a grand square involving its Saturn and Pluto of orgin (intermixed with the aforementioned Uranus Pluto square).

The Cassandra squawking just won’t stop. Which, to me, in my usual way of thinking about predictions, indicates that reality, being the slippery experience that it always is, won’t deliver the horror show everyone is expecting or perhaps hoping for. (There’s nothing like a full blown disaster to clear the decks and start things afresh).

I write this as an astrologer who has published for years, studied and taught astrology for close to 45 years, and counseled thousands of folks throughout. When your attention is consistently involved with any one subject you become, if not an expert, at least well-informed statistically. And as I’ve written many times throughout this site, astrology proves a disaster when it comes to predictive accuracy. And mundane astrology, the astrology of groups, nations and world events, has a particularly horrible predictive record.

I much prefer the work and style of astrology that an astrologer like Jessica Murray has mastered, where predictions are forgone in the presence of intelligent, in-depth inquiry into the present and what animates the present, which would be human presence. Because at the end of the End of Days, after we’ve read the last goofy bit of babble about upcoming ‘changes’ and ‘challenges’ and ‘transformations’ (terms that recycle through astro blogging like a virus), we are still left alone with our silly selves, unmoved, untouched because an event as profound as an actual ‘transformation’ involves working with a level of consciousness that is beyond our pea-brain capacities. As Gurdjieff repeated often, “Man can not do.” So until one does, all of the other noise is a distraction.

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December 14th, 2013

Saturn: The Work and the Love

Love and work … work and love, that’s all there is.
– Sigmund Freud

The outcome of my life is no more than these three lines:
I was a raw material;
I was cooked and became mature;
I was burned in love.
– Rumi

Rarely is the astrological Saturn associated with love. Traditional astrology certainly doesn’t make that distinction. Though esoteric astrology does. Alice Bailey once noted that to view Saturn as the bringer of opportunity, and not simply disaster, was a sign that one had touched upon the path towards wholeness. Both Freud and Rumi understood the truth related to this alchemical process. Work, as a kind of friction, and love as the driving force that is also the culmination of the process. A willing mixture of work and love, a conscious acknowledgment and co-mingling that denotes spiritual maturity and wisdom.

That is how Rumi summarized his life work — in the above poem. And for each of us, the journey from ‘raw material’ to alchemical cooking and maturing, to the eventual transmutation through love, is an unavoidable engagement. We each have our appointed time with this process. Freud, who devoted his life work to rummaging through and classifying the structure of the unconscious, emerged for light in the end with his simple truism. It’s all about love and work, work and love.

One does the work and discovers the love, but more specifically one sees that love facilitated the work all along. And in this sense Saturn can be associated with love. We think of Saturn’s exaltation in Libra as being related to equanimity and the uncompromising law of what is fair. Which in one sense is true — within the Saturnine cosmology there is never cheating. You pay a dollar and you get a dollar’s worth.

As Ouspensky once said, it’s true people do occasionally find money in the street, but such an event is rare, you can’t count on a philosophy of happenstance to sustain a life. Saturn in Libra evokes a force that is the exact opposite of magical thinking. There is simply reality, seen in all its ‘is-ness’ and from there one begins their work. Libra, being a sign that is not human or animal, facilitates this sharp sort of clarity.

I would add, too, that Saturn’s exaltation in Venus’ sign conveys a deeper mystery. When we meet reality head on — that is to say, without filters, buffers or illusions we actually begin to sense the ground of love, and its unifying, form-making presence. A power that maintains the manifestation, keeps it visible — with distinct and particular colors and shapes, but all united in love. Evolving and deepening, the movement of love.

It’s a shocking insight, really, this equating of love with Saturn. But I’d like to suggest you contemplate Saturn’s placement by house and sign in your horoscope and see if you can’t connect to that unifying, form-making principle of love related to the particular ‘stage set’ of your life — represented by Saturn’s house placement. And then tease out, as you reflect over your history, the various trials and limitations that — as a kind of friction-making conundrum — generate the warmth, light and, yes, love, that create meaning and purpose. These are Saturn’s gifts to each of us.

Try this inquiry, and please feel free to share your observations below.

Opening painting by Odilon Redon Silence. 1911. Museum of Modern Art

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December 06th, 2013

Venus and Mars and The Mind as the Body’s Largest Erogenous Zone

This post comes via a suggestion from astrologer Sherrye Weinstein, and I’d like to thank her off the top for it.

I’d posted a request for article ideas over on Facebook today and Sherrye suggested an inquiry into the peculiar — and rather long — transits of Venus in Capricorn and Mars in Libra. Venus will move through the sign Capricorn until early March 2014; and Mars will transit Libra, beginning tomorrow, until the end of July 2014. That is a long Mars transit, and in a sign that, conventionally, Mars is muddled in. Not to mention Venus’s FAIL in Capricorn.

Without launching into a diatribe against the too-tight limitations traditional astrology applies to interpretation (with its rulerships, laws, dignities, falls and train wrecks), I want to focus more on the fascinating possibilities that exist for each of us while the planet of love traverses the sign of structure and limitation — Capricorn (where Mars is exalted and runs free — bastard!).

As you’ll see, I’m not negating our heritage from traditional astrology, but I’m amplifying the various paradoxes in a way that fit a modern logos, one imbued with the merits of psychological understanding. Having said that, it’s interesting to remember that Saturn, Capricorn’s ruler is exalted in Libra, a Venusian sign — and that offers a cogent clue here. We’ve a bit of a cluster fuck with these transits, and it’s fun to untangle the various limbs and gender parts, to find the goose that lays the golden egg (I think I mixed metaphors, yes?) Read more

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December 05th, 2013

Women And Astrology: But Where are the Guys? (I Know Where the Gays Are)

Not much changes in the world of astrology — when it comes to gender. (Mind you, my observations are subjective and based on what I’ve observed in the United States, so there’s my disclaimer right out of the gate.)

Women comprise the largest group of attendees for classes and seminars and conventions. And also, women hold professional positions more than men, meaning they teach astrology and work full time as astrologers.

The majority of my clients are women. In fact, it is so rare to receive a call from a man that whenever I do it feels like I’ve slipped into an alternate non-astrology reality.

When I commenced with my brilliant career, as a student, the majority — over 80 percent — of the folks in our astrology class were women. And both of my initial teachers were women.

Men, back then — which is to say during the heyday of astrology’s revival in the early 70s, were usually gay. And I’d say that almost every man I interacted with, that was even slightly interested in astrology, was gay.

Oddly, the majority of men I met that were heterosexual were intensely involved with sidereal astrology. It seems too cliched to be true, but the more literal approach of sidereal astrology appealed to the traditional masculine mindset: Rational, scientific and, again, literal.  (Please do not write comments below about this post being sexist, I’m simply opening up an inquiry here with different sets of impressions).

Speaking of impressions, I’m forever grateful to the colorful tribe of students I studied with in the early days — women and men. A madcap array of eccentrics, many of whom I can still picture as if I’d just seen them walking down the street yesterday. Read more

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November 22nd, 2013

Five Things You Need to Know About Saturn

“The scientific theory I like best is that the
rings of Saturn are composed entirely of lost airline luggage.” –Mark Russell

Saturn has been on my mind this week. Or rather Saturn has been pinging me, tapping my shoulder and nudging my conscience in the same way most of us experience Saturn — which is to say obliquely. From the corner of your eye, in the tractor beam of a projection or a dark figure in a dream.

Most of us have our eye, ear and heart tuned to the frequencies of the other planets: Mercury (planning and multitasking), Venus (feeling what we want), Mars (getting what we want), Jupiter (how we’ll get more of what we want). The Moon is more the medium of how consciousness morphs within the soul and doesn’t do much other than support our comfort zone and old habits. With no light of her own, the Moon reflects the activity and lazy lags of the soul, but adds nothing to the symphony of self.

But with Saturn we’ve what psychologists call depression. If you tune out your conventional notions about depression and consider the condition in a different light, you will see something like this:

The writer Thomas Moore wrote that depression is an answer — a remedy — to our manic hyperactivity, a frantic state reinforced by the constant buzz and hum of our info-glutted age. Feeling low and heavy we are forced to move inward and that movement inward is necessary for the soul. It creates psychic space, a container for deeper reflection where soul increases and the surface of events becomes less important.

So when you’ve a moment this weekend, take some time and consider the following facts, pointers or articles related to Saturn. It benefits each of us to know, consciously, the only planet in the solar system that rules not only lead but also diamonds.

Think about that while you research these five finds: Read more

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