January 14th, 2014

Jessica Murray: “Respond to These Times”


My recent interview with astrologer Jessica Murray generated a good amount of reverberations within my site’s comment section, on Facebook and via personal emails; most of which were steeped in low-grade agitation. Each alluding to the question: “Now what?”

Apparently the title I chose for the piece (“A Way Through”) wasn’t the most perspicacious, in the sense that readers took it literally, whereas I was using the term as a way to frame an open-ended inquiry, not present a list of ‘how to’ steps or specific solutions.

When I informed Jessica as to the questions the interview set in motion, she was kind enough to forward a response to share with you. Which you can now read and comment on below:


“I imagine that all astrologers who write about transits for a general audience of unseen readers come up against this conundrum: Although we know our readers would like us to be more specific – to pinpoint acts and events that would make sense to them in their own world — without seeing our specific natal charts, we can’t do it.
Unless we’re addressing a particular client’s chart, all we can do is make informed generalizations; to try to say something that’s relevant to everyone living under the same sky… an exciting and demanding sky, right now, full of tumultuous transits.” Read more

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January 11th, 2014

Finding a Way Through: An Interview With Astrologer Jessica Murray


Jessica Murray is a professional astrologer with a fascinating personal history that involves writing, publishing, political activism and a command of semiotics. Semiotics is field of study, some would call it a science of sociological code-breaking, that involves reading the language of signs.

The concept of semiotics is easier to grasp if you think of it as a system that attempts to understand how human beings create meaning from the manner in which reality displays itself, be that through events, words, images and objects.

Ideally, astrology benefits from the semiotic approach because astrology too is a language, a language that is brought to life by the linguist’s ability to skillfully interpret signs and symbols. If we think of an astrological chart as a signature of the soul, you can see how a confluence of astrological and semiotic insight would make for a formidable astrologer. And Jessica is very much one of contemporary astrology’s most creative and vibrant authors. Her close readings of the sociopolitical landscape are both dazzling and educational.

Jessica lives in San Francisco and writes regularly for her website Mother Sky. She has published two books, Soul-Sick Nation and At The Crossroads, both available here.

Our discussion centers around themes related to the ongoing and unprecedented Uranus Pluto square, a planetary component of the unfolding “Cardinal Cross Years,” which comprise our current historical moment — a time when “the modern Western mind … with its machines and weapons and power games, has grown so out-of-whack as to be needful of tough-love intervention, like a self-harming child…Our goal must be to get in touch, on a gut level, with the fact that the breakdowns we see around us are signals of incipient breakthrough.” Read more

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January 02nd, 2014

Your January through June 2014 Horoscopes: LIVE! from The Vashon Delphi (Me!)



Aries: You’re the equivalent of a quantum physics pioneer. The requirements of living in conventional time and space make you both agitated and bored. An awful clash of extremes. You continue to morph into the poster child for all things Uranian, meaning: If it’s wild and untried, you want to help usher in the ‘shock of the new’, regardless the fallout or damage. You understand instinctively that disruption and revolution are OK. No death, no rebirth.


Taurus: You’ve got to shake your own tree to affirm your independence in 2014. The bull must engage now! There’s a reason sloth is considered a misguided passion; it robs you of the desire to create, express and touch the world with beauty. Your inspirational output is connected directly to your sense of autonomy and freedom in 2014. You’ve been incubating a backlog of plans and surprises throughout 2013, and come June you’ll be ready to for the big reveal.


Gemini: Money is freedom. Better yet, having money means you don’t have to think about money. The caveat? Stop equating being poor with being unfettered. Money begets freedom and vice versa. Is there a magic money solution for you this year? Yes! Evaluate carefully your goldmine of friends and professional contacts. And then network and recruit like crazy come the spring. You’ll find the support you need and the money that follows.


Cancer: The dynamic Jupiter Pluto opposition this spring highlights sharp angles in your horoscope: Your identity, partner and career. Each particular is up for ruthless re-examination. The keywords for this transit are: Bigger, deeper and stronger. So extremes actually become you in 2014. This means amplifying your presence in ways you haven’t before. Say yes to everything. Hire a PR agent. Save the world! It’s the only way to cope with so much cosmic pressure.


Leo: The first half of 2014 finds you receiving transmissions from other realms. This sounds wonderfully unconventional, but it’s actually a realistic necessity — an important development in your process of ‘you’. This means exploring ways of thinking that minimize control and optimize faith. This is the year you discover that you aren’t the only lion in the jungle and that ‘higher powers’ really do exist. Take up a spiritual or philosophical practice that reinforces this insight and creates a foundation that is beyond time and space.


Virgo: A casual approach to romance isn’t going to cut it for you this spring. In other words hookups are out; as are sketchy schemes that don’t meet your high standards and quality control. But you knew all of this already. You’ve been on an unrelenting search for a partner or creative project that mirrors your newfound lust for life. Pay attention to your heart, everything you need to understand related to passion will arise through your feelings – not thinking. Note the distinction, it’s a crucial demarcation.


Libra: Each of the cardinal signs, of which you are one, are conduits for the ongoing Uranus Pluto clash. We’re looking to you to solve the riddle: “How to thrive when everything around me is collapsing?” The only sign that is not an animal or person, Libra has uncanny insights into the art of distancing and remaining objective and, well, balanced, regardless the mishegas. You instinctively sense that what’s unraveling is part of a larger pattern and movement – and you’re going to show each of us how to discover harmony amidst the discord.


Scorpio:: If you’re not working on a book that explains the ‘all and everything’ of existence, then, well, you are wasting precious time. Get on with it! You’ve upturned every rock in your backyard, studied the contents of those dark underworlds – and so – now what? Come March you must engage and commit to an active path that brings healing and rejuvenation. You’re all about re-creation and the ability to remain optimistic amidst the dimming of the light. Why? Because you know, instinctively, that a new dawn is just moments away. Yay!


Sagittarius: No other sign can conflate the notion of a divine plan with that of day-to-day existence as effortlessly as a centaur. And yet, what happens when doubt rears its head? You rewrite the script. You discover new moves that aren’t in your repertoire. The point? The first half of 2014 involves pushing beyond what you have taken for granted, namely your ‘always on’ optimism. Now you need to confirm your faith in very pragmatic ways, through work, love and newfound vision. Quite the koan.


Capricorn: Mars, the planet that dares you to win, forces closure to an awkward situation at home at the start of 2014. It’s a simple equation for the rest of the year: You can’t move forward until you’ve buried the past. Gain new ground by investing in a plan that involves partnership and cooperation. You can’t go it alone this year. Break free from your old mode of relating – it’s a requirement. But, good times and renewed vigor await those who dare to share. So do the later.


Aquarius: Get specific with your financial and vocational goals. Stop waiting for the perfect situation to fall into your lap. Ain’t gonna happen. Optimization comes when you pay attention to simple, step-by-step solutions, especially solutions that impact your health. You’ve got to move down from your head and align with forces that are earthbound. All of your charismatic ideas and inventions can’t take root without an anchored relationship to reality. Consider 2014 to be your wake-up call. Get ready for your close-up.


Pisces: The need to take on more commitments or obligations than you can handle is actually the universe’s way of confirming that you’re sitting on a wellspring of creative energy. But now the big riddle: What exactly do you want to create? You’ll need to define and finalize a choice come the early spring when your ruler, Jupiter, begins to move forward, out of its current retrograde phase. What felt like restraint turns out to have been a long process of refinement. And that’s a keyword you like very much, yes?

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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 acutest 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 origin (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).

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.

Read more

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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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