Category Archives: environmental issues

Between Root And Branch

LIGHTNING-TREE-A

At 14° Pisces the first full Moon after the August solar eclipse shines down on a world awash with floods and scorched earth. Perhaps, given the water and earth axis which it activates, we should not be surprised that our attention is pinned on these events, but, this is no place for glib astrologising and there is nothing intrinsically catastrophic about the Pisces Virgo polarity that would explain the environmental turmoil that we are currently experiencing – that comes of imbalance and the exacerbation of already present extremes. True, total solar eclipses are comparatively extreme events, small within the cosmological scale but not forgotten once experienced – but even then, the release of destructive qualities we are seeing now from within the ‘natural world’ is not made intelligible by such natural phenomena, their cyclicity, or by reaching the ‘maximum’ of the lunation opened by the ‘Great American’ eclipse.

If we were to have telescopic sight, able to penetrate the glare of Virgoan sunlight reflected from the lunar disc, we might perceive the underlying presence of Pisces ruler Neptune close on the full Moon. But, for all its symbolic resonance Neptune’s smokey lens within this planetary set up is not the catalyst that has set the forests ablaze or pushed the rivers to breaking point. It may be an indicator of ‘pervasive’ elements at work and its symbolism more likely to create an illusory cinematic effect in our minds than lens Virgoan attention to detail into a coherent picture we can understand, but, this is a picture that was already losing its center and distorting our focus long before the eclipse, or this lunation.

Uranus, however, is not only rotating on its own axis at an anomalous angle to the plane of the solar system, compared with the other planets, but is at an oddly disquieting angle to the Moon and Neptune as well as the Sun at full Moon. Astrologers associate the semi-square with an uncomfortable energy, an angle of relationship that sensitizes whatever it touches with tension, a precursor to the full-blown right angled antagonisms of the square. This is nevertheless a spur to development, to find creative relationship through which the tension can best be relieved and expressed, preferably with conscious effort. It is a little like the moment of first recognition within a relationship when something or someone catches our eye; there is attraction, or a call to pay extra attention, especially when there are warning signs, but there is also a heavy dose of the unknown at work in that moment – as exiting as that can be, with Uranus involved ‘the unknown’ has a major role to play, so willingness to step beyond the known is a part of the deal here. At least that is an experience we can all recognize, but, does it account for the hiatus that is upon us?

Some would say that we have arrived at that point in relationship to the natural phenomenon we are now seeing escalate across the globe – the chaos factor is rising and living memory no longer serves to reassure us of how to weather these fire and water storms, symbolic or not, let alone whether we can, if they persist.

Looking further afield we could add that all the outer planets, including Chiron, are retrograde at this full Moon. The amplification of archetypes is a potential hazard here, first and foremost an inwardly registered experience when this is the case but all to often projected outward – however, there is an important element of psychological resonance with these archetypes when the retrograde ‘trans-personal’ planets touch directly into our personal planetary matrix. We can observe a collective transference or exchange of energy that displays their hallmark characteristics in which we may see ourselves reflected. This is ripe ground for emotional distortion, if we are unable to separate our own feelings out from the collective, and makes potential Neptunian infection and distortion of reality a stronger factor in how we relate to each other, our circumstances and perceptions. Full Moons up this quotient significantly.

What comes to mind at this point is a real need to hold to our own center, to ground ourselves and feel our body rooted in the earth. Virgo’s earth not only houses the Sun here, asking for realistic assessment, but sees Mars entering into its first degree at full Moon. What drives the necessity for realism is all too often our own survival and, our current planetary circumstances aside, this inception of Mars can mean determination to see through the emotional hazing and focus on what is immediately to hand, if not to re-purpose our emotive energies into practical actions and to do so with the fire of natural instinctive drives – passion for what we know is right. We need to feel the sturdiness and solidity of our own existence just as it might be embodied in and felt by the trunk of a tree, even while our roots and branches are being pulled towards extremes, between fires and floods. The last thing we can tolerate the thought of, much less the reality, is being blasted and uprooted in the midst of these storms.

Mars is transiting out of trine with Uranus releasing us from a willful desire to assert the madness out of our system, as cathartic as that may be to people in positions of power. World leaders take note. Now it is the intelligence of clear speech that is most effective as a mental or emotional reaction, not rhetoric or threat – bravura is a poor substitute for good leadership and belies a severe lack of concern for human frailty or vulnerability. Fully ignited Neptunian compassion would throw sufficient water on that false flag fire if collectively embodied and leadership that can inspire such compassion is a rarity in these times. The people are doing the leading here.

Keeping the faith with each other as a creative counter to mental crowd control, Mercury has stationed direct, on the degree of the solar eclipse, and is teaming up with Uranus to bring creative thinking outside of the box into the collective power game. This is no more true than when the power games are designed to shut down that innovative capacity we have, but, again, humans do not have to accept ‘representations’ of reality at any time and the Uranian element of subversive non-compliance can open doors where none were thought to exist. And we are now witnessing this reality too, first hand.

If it carried any symbology, this most recent solar eclipse was a wake up call to this fact and gave us the cosmological opportunity to experience a greater reality first hand. Its natural development has brought the need for an added edge of realism into the midst of everyday life, a measure of which is provided by the speed with which we are able to respond realistically to events as they unfold. For many, seeing through the rhetoric, the falsity and the pre-programming surrounding these disruptive events is now where the real action is.

Do not be surprised, once Mercury gathers speed and enters Virgo, to see a plethora of facts emerging that cut through the manufactured reportage and engineered reality-bites associated with the backstories to the floods and fires. Mercury will oppose Neptune on September 20th, at new Moon. It is already happening, as anyone tuned into the geo-engineering debacle knows, and the fact that the debate surrounding it has not only accelerated but entered ‘the mainstream’ shows that there is a significant shift taking place in the arena of public awareness. This is our opportunity to get with the beat. The beat of microwave pulses through heavily sprayed cloud bases for example.

This full Moon can be a powerful time for cutting through the fog of disinformation if we understand how important our own personal role is in supporting that shift and adding the truth of our own story into its impetus. If the Jupiter Uranus cycle we are now seeing crank up to their final opposition is anything to go by, its foundational development in environmental disasters and wayward technology is creating its own perfect storm – but, it ain’t natural to use heavy metals in cloud seeding any more than it is to use them as conductors for super-heating the cores of hurricanes. Yes, the impetus is growing in calling this particular reality out for what it is.

There is cause for qualified optimism as the angles between Saturn, Jupiter and the Moon’s north node are tightening as this lunation winds down bringing us back into a more realistic and expansive if philosophical creative vision for our collective future. Uranus will figure into the trine pattern with Saturn and the north node as we head past the Ju/Ur opposition and Jupiter enters Scorpio – any guesses where this is heading? Best be philosophical and expand our thinking accordingly; looking ahead we see Sagittarius hosting the Sun, Venus, Saturn and Mercury when the December full Moon arrives forming a T-square with Neptune, and Jupiter is upping the reality stakes trining Neptune at that time, all of this is coming immediately after Mars opposes Uranus – time is of the essence and we should not expect a respite, just yet. But, the power of nature is a great teacher when realities are being manufactured.

The Neptunian factor is not so much showing us ‘how’ we have been duped as to the fact that we have been, not least of all in that the philosophies of a nation’s ‘dream’ are nothing if they cannot be lived. Once that bubble is burst in any person’s mind there is no going back – the doubt we may feel about the reality we have been presented with has a cutting edge of critical thinking at its disposal, a personal human faculty which can not only spot anomalies as flags and way-markers for evidence based discernment but is an essential part of the knowledge base in which survival and healthy living are rooted.

But, astrologers love symbolism and this full Moon comes with a high dose of pertinent symbology, for any willing to take its portents on-board; its a free gift of the liberated mind that it can hold the metaphysical and the physical in one thought without losing a sense of reality – it speaks a kind of poetic realism where, in other words, poetry is the voice of the life being fully lived, both hemispheres firing simultaneously, roots in the earth, branches in the heavens, so to speak. It is a spiritual language, even in its secular forms, that reveals humanity and, in astrology too, tells us the ongoing story of our times and our place within it.

I will leave you with the Sabian symbols for the Piscean full Moon of 2017 and the Virgoan Sun that is feeding it as a symbolic reminder of where we stand. Roots hold firm, branches protect, we stand between, the body that connects and holds the flow.

 

(VIRGO 14°): AN ARISTOCRATIC FAMILY TREE.

KEYNOTE: A deep reliance upon the ancestral roots of individual character.

Stressed here is the fact that the power available to any one person in time of crisis and decision has very deep roots in the past……one returns to the roots in order to produce the flowering of personality, if this flower is to bring forth a living seed. ROOT POWER is essential to seed-achievement.

(PISCES 14°): A LADY WRAPPED IN A LARGE STOLE OF FOX FUR.

KEYNOTE: The use of intelligence and mental subtlety as a protection against storms and trials.

In symbolism and mythology the fox is always a clever and subtle animal. It represents the intellect at its early stage of “cunning”; in a broader sense, it also refers to “intelligence,” considered as the ability to adapt to any and all life situations. Spiritual will and the ability to stand in facing tests are necessary in any crucial or challenging situation that an individual meets within a power-oriented group. But the sword-like will often has to be shielded, and intelligence or acumen can be the most precious help in danger………..a self-protective way of meeting the inclemencies of weather, actual or psychic, which abound as one leads a life consecrated to a vaster Whole……the need for PROTECTIVE SHIELDING is imperative.

 

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Return Of The Thunder Spirits

circle-of-life frank howell

“……the companion Inyan created for himself was the Thunder spirits. Their form was so terrible that they must conceal themselves within a cloud, or people would go insane merely from glancing at them. But their purpose is noble. They are here to rid the world of filth. They are here to wash away the demons, like the ones who destroyed (and are destroying) your mother. Like the ones who want to destroy you…..” (1)


As this article goes to press the deadline to clear the Oceti Sakowin camp at Standing Rock approaches – 2.00pm local time. By the time you read this it will almost certainly have passed and the battle for Standing Rock will have reached what may prove to be its crucial turning point. Time will tell, but, we are witnessing a moment in history that could be repeating itself, seeking resolution. The background for this possibility is clearly reflected in the astrology that links Standing Rock with one of the most crucial and well known events in the history of the struggle between the indigenous peoples of North America and the armed forces of the European settlers, the battle which has come to be known as ‘Little Bighorn’.

The onset of Lt. Colonel Custer’s assault on the Sioux nations on the 25th of June 1876 and its eventual bloody conclusion on the 26th give us a timeframe in which to reference the planetary positions then, and the period from 22nd February 2017 to the new Moon/solar eclipse of Feb. 26th give us the relevant timeframe for their position in the present.

The aim of this article is not necessarily to forecast any outcome for the present stand-off at the camp of the Sacred Stone, but, it provides adequate insight and food for thought to alert us to a powerful correspondence between these two events, a heads-up to its signifiance and repercussive nature.

lost-warrior frank howell

The current planetary backdrop for the 22nd to 26th February 2017 sees a major T-square playing out between Jupiter rx in Libra opposite Uranus in Aries, both squaring Pluto  in Capricorn; Mars is within 3 degrees of Uranus as I write, just 4 days from their conjunction in Aries which becomes exact at the eclipse. Alongside this, Saturn in Sagittarius is connecting into the T square through sextile with Jupiter and trine with Uranus.

The release point of this T square is opposite Pluto, around the 16-20° mark of Cancer. Going straight to the correspondences we quickly find that they speak for themselves as Mars is currently squaring its LBH (Little Bighorn) degree – that degree is 19 Cancer. Mars will arrive at this degree on July 4th 2017, American ‘Independence Day’.

We find LBH Saturn in the 9th degree of Pisces, the degree of the solar eclipse on 26th February.

Chiron, presently squaring Saturn, is precisely on the degree of the LBH north node.

Although not necessarily acting as triggers the present transiting positions of the major outer planets reveal some of the qualitative tensions now being played out.

In the LBH chart Jupiter opposes Pluto from Scorpio; Jupiter is now quincunxing LBH Pluto, while Uranus quincunxes LBH Jupiter.

Pluto is also presently quincunxing LBH Uranus.

Mercury, now entering Pisces, is quincunxing LBH Venus. In addition Mercury is also in softer aspect to other luminaries in the LBH matrix, trining LBH Sun and sextiling LBH Neptune, and as the solar eclipse approaches Mercury is transiting the current lunar south node’s degree, activating awareness of our spiritual past and the legacy of events related to this.

In the LBH timeframe the Moon transits the present position of the lunar north node, not a temporal marker necessarily, but a transit that brought it into opposition over June 25-6th 1876 with Saturn. The solar eclipse is effectively activating these degrees across the lunar nodal axis.

This may be a time for closure to be sought, but, our ability to realise this will certainly be founded on more than transient phenomena.

Although the quincunxes suggest the tension underpinning the playing out of the unresolved legacies of Little Bighorn, and the disconnect between the forces now involved, the hard aspects and direct correspondences between the events by transit of key degrees confirms the connection. Mid points are also brought into  play and Pluto is also currently applying to the LBH Saturn Jupiter midpoint, directly tieing in the current T square.

But, it is within the present Uranus Mars conjunction that we find the most striking connection and transiting Mars is undoubtedly the catalyst, a warning that the unresolved ghosts, if not energies, of conflict are being raised once more. Could it be that Chiron’s position on the LBH north node indicates the that healing needed for resolution is finally manifesting, that its time has come, or will the wound of the past be deepened by these triggers? Will the ghosts be laid to rest or infuse the present with a spirit of retribution?

It is notable that a 26th Feb. solar eclipse chart cast for Standing Rock (14.58 UTC) has the current T square directly on the Asc/Dc axis with Mars and Uranus rising – Pluto squares from the mid 10th house. This carries a heavily loaded potential for resurgent and insurgent action. Strong leadership with powerful revolutionary potential is indicated in this, but, it can swing both ways and with Jupiter in Libra setting in the west, the eclipsing of justice is not beyond the scope of this chart either.

The Mars square suggests that conflict will continue to unfold, with Uranus potentially bringing unprecedented and traumatic consequences. There could also be significant breakthrough as a result of the enforced eviction. This may not be obvious at first but there are larger patterns at work in this and it’s dynamic is going to continue, and these dynamics are now applying out on a much wider scale.

lakota-blue-aura frank howell

It helps to reflect upon how crucial ‘leadership’ is in the current time and, in terms of leadership involved then and now, it is worth remembering Custer’s own downfall and its essential core reasons. He was an ambitious and daring individual, willing to lead from the front, whose reckless vanity was almost certainly his undoing. Without going into the well documented timeline of events that illustrate this at Little Bighorn, consider Sun Tzu’s commentary on military leadership in this light :

“There are five dangerous faults which may affect a general: (a) Recklessness, which leads to destruction; (b) cowardice, which leads to capture; (c) a hasty temper, which can be provoked by insults; (d) a delicacy of honour which is sensitive to shame; (e) over-solicitude for his men, which exposes him to worry and trouble.

These are the five besetting sins of a general, ruinous to the conduct of war.

When an army is overthrown and its leader slain, the cause will surely be found among these five dangerous faults. Let them be a subject of meditation.” (2)

Custer was undoubtedly guilty of points (a) and (d), and as (c) would suggest, was certainly over hasty and rash; he utterly failed to carry out vital reconnaissance and sought a greater glory (a delicacy of honour) in dealing what he hoped would be the decisive blow within the Sioux Wars. He faced strong leaders and warriors who easily matched his courage, but who also demonstrated the advantage of a superior knowledge of the terrain and an ability to out-think the Colonel – with overwhelming numbers on their side there was little impediment to their victory. If there is a lesson to be learned here, present leaders might do well to consider its relevance and application in our times. The blinkering ‘vanity’ of leadership is one of its greatest stumbling blocks, but, when the scale of resitance is growing, such myopic  leadership will see its misplaced values severely tested. But, the point of Sun Tzu’s strategies was always to avoid conflict and still gain the benefit.

No matter the nature of this conflict or how it plays out in our time, while the land rights of the indigenous people, whose ‘medicine’ Chiron could also be symbolically respresenting here, are crucial to the outcome. But, the scope of the battle has widened and we now see opposing forces of a different nature at work unfolding its dynamic on a much broader front.

An ancient opposition seeded in the far distant past, a struggle symbolised by the conflict between encumbent authority and individual sovereignty through the deeper polarity between the secular and the spiritual, is itself coming to a head, but, is doing so now on a global scale. Our human relationship with land and environment are at its center. Water protectors, choosing peaceful resistance over bloodshed, now oppose militarised federal forces. The people’s sovereign rights are overtly aligned with Earth rights and oppose the power of State aligned with vested corporate interest.

Entangled within this are issues around immigration and boundaries, associations that the current T-square and Saturnian influence are reflecting in an exacerbated state of national and international affairs, politically volatile and shot through with violence.  Thanks to innovative Uranian technologies and the power of social networking they facilitate, the current situation is deeply affected by both manipulative co-oercion and instant connectivity of a nature never before seen in the ‘historical’ period.

The stand-off at Standing Rock, encapsulating so many of these factors has, like the battle now known as Little Bighorn, become iconic and is deeply charged with these dynamics. Natural resources are central to both conflicts, gold being at the heart of the government’s landgrab in the 1870’s. Now the ‘protection of the waters’ from the dangers of the exploitation of such resources is at the heart of Standing Rock, and the same spirit is at work in protection of the natural world in general.

fruit-from-the-light-frank-howell

Protectors of the waters, of the Earth and of the people are uniting to defend sovereign rights and the honouring of lawful treaties. They share many of the attributes and aims with the Native American warriors who fought at Greasy Grass, the indigenous name for Little Big Horn. But, the nature of resistance has changed.

As Custer approached the Sioux settlement he drove captured Sioux women and children before his column of soldiers. Seeing this Sioux scouts alerted the camp and the warriors were mobilised. In our time it is the women of Sacred Stone camp who are leading the way in protecting the sacred waters, a restorative reflection of the peaceful resistance that the protectors embody. May peace prevail.

Such is no less the case at any site where the appetite of greed and disrespectful ambition is tearing up the Earth and being met with protective resistance. But, division has become deeply instrumental and the contrast between one side and the other much more stark. The stand-off at large will continue, so long as respect for life and reconciliation is absent and the conflict remains unresolved.

What prompted me to look into the astrological correspondences here were the clear historical and tribal connections and their dynamics being played out now at Standing Rock. Just as the State attempted to order the Sioux nations off their lands under difficult conditions on the ground during the winter of January 1876 , the protectors at Standing Rock have been given a deadline amidst adverse conditions brought by snow melt and heavy rains, but, it was a video that Chase Iron Eyes posted this morning that caught my attention and prompted this article.

Chase Iron Eyes is a member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, an attorney and activist who is also a member of the Lakota People’s Law Project – I leave you with the video in which he talks of the importance of the Thunder spirits to the situation as it is now unfolding at Standing Rock……

(1) ‘Coyote Medicine’ – Lewis Mehl-Madrona, Simon & Schuster, 1997
(Italics, mine)
(2)’The Art Of War’ – Sun Tzu, various translations

Images by Frank Howell – from the top :
‘Circle Of Life’
‘Lost Warrior’
‘Lakota Blue Aura’
‘Fruit From The Light’