Category Archives: planetary aspects

Post-Truth And The Power Of Love

Post-Truth

The new Moon at 4°47′ of tropical Gemini on May 25th is unaspected within the planetary matrix, enhancing the entire field in resonance with its qualities. There is a fired up conscious energy at work in the inception of this lunation which can be brought to bear on actions and ideas that carry the revolutionary potential to go beyond the norm. This breaking of ‘old patterns’ inherent within ‘the norm’ is itself a necessity born of long held beliefs and views now being perceived to have well and truly run their course. In fact, the uprising common sentiment driving this energy of change is that ‘enough is enough’!

The 5th degree of Gemini carries the Sabian symbol of “A Revolutionary Magazine Asking For Action”, as poigniant a symbol as you could ask for in the current socio-political climate of an impulse for populist change and a reseting of what we ‘believe’, or have been led to believe, against ‘what we know’ to be true. The Sabian’s keyword of “Plenitude” has positive qualities here, indicating a release of energy that expresses movement beyond fullness and culmination. A saturation point is reached where prevailing conditions are now collectively perceived to be unsustainable to the extent that a decisive and corrective movement towards realising their opposite is inevitably stimulated. This is clearly expressed by the Sabian’s resolution of its symbol through the desire “To Reach Beyond Established Forms”, the very impulse which carries this energy of change. We might sense within this time a threshold beyond which is poised what the Sabians further describe as “the experience of a world of being so far unperceived by the everyday consciousness”.

Such novel inventiveness is both natural to life and an expression of Life’s non-linear capacities for creating uniqueness within ‘evolution’.

But, although otherwise unaspected, this new Moon enhances the dynamics of a planetary matrix that is already similarly poised; the celestial field is fomenting the desire for realisation of this creative release. It has its counterparts in the mundane world where, amidst dynamics that are reseting the power structures underpinning western (and ostensibly ‘global’) society, the recent series of political elections figure strongly – the upcoming UK parliamentary election on June 8th is itself an opportunity for the revolutionary potential of this moment to be given form. Voting UK nationals take note – if ever there was a time to vote and to maximise this potential, this is it!

All things being equal, the global (and ‘globalist’) political agendas that have brought us to this point are consistently being tested in our times, Brexit and the election of Donald Trump being arguably perfect examples, and, while a rear-guard resistance to such change is inevitable, the otherwise seemingly ‘immovable object’ of the ‘establishment’ is now seen to be losing credibility and integrity. While the voice of the ‘establishment’ might speak of being ‘strong and stable’ (which is the predictable mantra that the UK’s prime minister Theresa May has chosen to lead her Conservative party into battle with) this meme is very far from the emergent truth that is seeking expression and, ‘if truth be known’, as the Gemini Moon suggests the ‘irrestistable force’ that would bring the necessary change is gaining sway. The planets mirror this sentiment with unerring accuracy.

Uranus, Saturn and the Moon’s north node trine each other, uniting the fire signs, with Mars in Gemini in waxing opposition to Saturn, together forming a kite configuration at new Moon. This aspect becomes exact on May 28th when the Mars Saturn opposition becomes exact and the Moon in Cancer opposes Pluto, forming a T square with Venus in Aries.

Venus too is now moving forward carrying the dream of a new reality that she seeded during her recent retrograde – in pragmatic unison with Pluto’s complete restructuring of the ‘power base’ in Capricorn, their influence is infusing the new Moon’s global resonance for conscious action with a new focus. We’ll come back to Venus, but, there are other planetary factors which support this focus as the lunation unfolds.

Mercury in Taurus and Neptune in Pisces are forming a yod at new Moon with Jupiter at its action point in Libra. This is a catalystic aspect pattern that also becomes exact on the 28th of May, here pushing levels of awareness in collective consciousness to a new high; the recent publication of three books all sharing the meme of ‘Post-Truth’ in their titles resonates here and, true to our times, the Oxford dictionary chose ‘post-truth’ as its word of the year in October (1).

What we might have formerly held to be ‘true’ is undoubtedly now being called into question and its is our inner conscience, the voice of our own heart and spirit, which is now pushing for new values to be shared as a common basis in this time of ‘post-truth’. We need to listen to this inner voice of conscience as well as communicate the truths of its own values to each other to maximise this lunation’s potential.

Mars opposition with Saturn, still conjunct the Galactic Centre, highlights the need for collaboration between the energies our personal awareness with the reality of the bigger picture – this resonates with the Moon’s nodal axis as an elevating influence on how we perceive the future, and our personal role and place within it. Big themes yes, but, to make sure that Venus’ dream goes  ‘big time’ this is the celestial mandate for our focus.

This Venus retrograde, for all its visionary subtlety, registers in the heart, and as mediator between the ‘body-mind’ and ‘brain-mind’ the heart embodies the centre and balance point, the generative power house of creative energy that gives our physical vehicle life and, ultimately, those core values which are most truly meaningful to each of us.

Old value systems which are incapable of embodying these powers are on the wane, their redundancy becoming ever more obvious, a fact of life which the state of this post-truth world reflects back to us faithfully day by day.

Within the political establishment, its religious and economic foundations, an emergent reality is at work, but, far from rising from the old order, it is sourced in the individual, expressed to great effect collectively, and requires our personal involvement to realise its full potential. We saw the process at work in the US elections, but, who could have predicted its outcome – in truth this is an outcome that is still unfolding and each political juncture brings its potential further to the fore. The ‘war on our minds’ this is fueling is now very tangible.

For UK voters the moment is loaded with meaning, a truth now being fully felt through terrorist intervention, following the Manchester bombing event which is now pulling on our attention. Timing is crucial in understanding what is at stake here – in recent years ‘terrorist attacks’ have almost unfailingly coincided with political processes, interrupting elections, creating diversions and drawing focus, often enough away from other key political, military and financial developments – such is in the nature and design of so called ‘false flag’ events. But, the contentious nature of such events is itself perhaps not the only relevant factor to us now; we are fast becoming savvy to the patterns involved, are developing our ability to read beneath the surface of appearances and join the dots. While this is highlighting the tension between beliefs, appearances and inner truths, it is also calling us to the counter their underyling causes and this increasingly asks every individual to think more carefully about what we can do to affect change upon those causes themselves.

The post-truth quality of our times has politicised life to an unprecedented degree – in a sense we are re-inventing politics in our own image. This impulse too aligns with the energy of this lunation, but, it also expresses a natural function of the Pluto Uranus squares that began coming into orb a decade ago. If the turn of the millenia saw us shocked into questioning reality, post 9/11 we have begun to rebuild from within. The financial and environmental crashes we have witnessed since have forced us into realisation that our world is under assualt, and questioning these realities, are now coming to realise that it is not all ‘our’ fault’ or for that matter down to forces beyond our control, as the political memes otherwise might have us believe. An increasingly awake and questioning public is ensuring that the ‘politics of guilt’ is now being crucified on a cross of its own making.

The complicity of the ‘power-base’, of corporatocracy and a pernicious ‘agenda driven incentive to deceive’ are now become a daily part of a war on our minds, as much as on our liberty. Where we formerly rallied to the call to ‘wake up’, many now have and the level of cognitive dissonance encountered in the process is pushing the envelope on ‘truth’. The process is now become political at a personal level – we know that our liberty is not only at stake, but its re-establishment is commensurate with ensuring the health and future of the planet. The means to achieve this are themselves at stake, a pragmatic imprint of this lunation’s qualities.

The June 8th election in the UK will see the country’s national chart challenged by the intrinsic impulse of this lunation in particular and, as a case in hand, is worth mentioning here.

Transiting Pluto precisely opposes the UK’s natal 10th house Moon throughout this time and, on election day itself, the Sun opposes UK’s natal 3rd house Mercury which is at 18 Sagittarius. The voice of the people rests upon the power to bring the necessary percieved need for change into manifestation. There is a worldly quality to this voice that is carried by the younger generations of voters, those whose savvy in world affairs is perhaps more clearly expressive of the new reality that is seeking expression – on election day transiting Mercury, domicile at 3° Gemini, squares the UK’s natal 5th house Pluto and trines UK’s 12th house Uranus. This is a moment of high octane creative potential and an opportunity to truly break with the past. The creation of a new social mandate is required; whichever party most reflects this need will capture the imaginative vote.

The ruler of the UK’s Ascendant, Venus, is trined by the transiting Sun as the poles open, activating innovative social awareness with more worldly conscious energy. Venus occupies the 5th house in Aquarius in the UK chart and the Sun’s transit through the UK’s 9th house suggests that the values of the bigger picture will be highlighted in this political process, but, the key is in the Sun’s opposition to Mercury here.

The voice of the younger generations needs to be heard – can the establishment really be said to represent that voice……

 The Power Of Love

Venus retrograde saw her track back to 27 Pisces, the degree of her exaltation in the sign of her exaltation, a point which may have slipped under the radar of collective consciousness but which nevertheless reveals the core values she is now carrying forward. In many ways she has unconsciously touched and activated that inner voice of conscience we all have.

With the inner meaning of Venus retrograde now being carried forward, emphasis on our abilities to live out our heart’s desires and knowing is now brought into the broad light of day. It should be remembered that Venus conjoined with Chiron as she stationed in 27 Pisces and old wounds are now coming up for long awaited healing. In Neptunes realms the energies locked up within them carry a strong redemptive value. With a re-invigorated and resurgent spiritual quality, the energy we bring to this impulse is both creative and visionary – we should not hold back in applying it. It is with exquisite timing that the May-June lunation furthers this seed for the future and brings it into the conscious sphere.

There is also a core principle at work here which, in esoteric teachings, tells us that conscious focus maximises energetic manifestation. ‘Energy follows intent’ would be another way of expressing it, but, when the underlying seed of a ‘completely new’ reality is being activated an extra level of awareness, rooted at deeper more innate levels of consciousness is also necessarily at work – its manifestation also requires that we be fully awake to the emergence of its unknown and ‘so far unperceived‘ qualities, ready to respond to them and work with them co-creatively. This level of adepthood will find resonance in each of us according to the degree of self-awareness and heart centeredness we have achieved, being grounded in where we put our individual focus. Behind this another reality is also at work, that which lives in us as an accumulation of the past which is embodied within us in the present.

In previous posts we have seen how the celestial impulse emerging through recent lunations has drawn our attention to this truth, the need to own our personal power and to stand firm, deeply rooted in it. From this place of inner integrity and culminating presence the energy of this lunation draws its most potent power. To now give it voice and form is central to its celestial mandate.

Having taken time to look into the resonances unfolding throughout the Venus retrograde, it is now possible to identify some of the key areas in which this is embedding within the collective sphere. In the follow up post we will journey into the esoteric side of this process, but, for now, the lunation pulls us into a worldly sense of timing. Again, ‘timing is everything’ here and how we make this lunation count depends as much on this as on our individual potentials.

Venus emphasis on the truth of the heart pulls us into personal focus, grounds us in the present and can make short work of the cynicism which pervades the political terrain of our times. With this lunation, its point of focus is nowhere more strongly visible than within the rising generations that will inherit the political reality it is now instrumental in choosing. The power behind this focus, which can carry its intent forward most effectively is Venus own, the Power of Love. Reclaimed from its own seeding in the 60’s, the era of the Uranus Pluto conjunction which began their present cycle, the potential for this to be instrumental in activating its new tap root and deeply grounding its much needed power within the world is at hand.

If the harmonious implementation of the ‘so far unperceived’ planetary impulse behind this lunation is to find its true form in the world, this is the power it must now rest upon. For us all, but for the people of the UK in particular, the ‘next day’ will say it all – June 9th is the day of the full Moon in 19 Sagittarius, conjunct UK’s natal Mercury. The Sabian symbol for this degree has this keynote : “The need for people concerned with the future to discover a new way of living and more wholesome surroundings” – its keyword is “survival”…..

…..if ever it were in doubt, this alone should tell us that ‘now is the time to speak from the heart, with the power of love‘.


(1) Evan Davis’s Post-Truth: Why We Have Reached Peak Bullshit and What We Can Do About It’
James Ball’sPost-Truth: How Bullshit Conquered the World’
Matthew d’Ancona’s Post Truth: The New War on Truth and How to Fight Back’

The Madness Of King Donald or Showdown With KJU?

At a time when both Chinese and Russian ministers of foreign affairs have issued diplomatic warnings to the USA administration to ‘cool it’ with North Korea, and Kim Jong-Un, the NK leader, has provocatively stated that the US has done nothing but fail through its aggressive actions in Libya, Iraq and Syria, it comes as no surpise to find that the current planetary transits are falling squarely on hot spots within the charts of those concerned. Such is the current of our times.

From the perspective of planetary aspects alone, the situation is almost perfectly if not precariously poised. As I write, Venus is stationing direct, conjunct Chiron in Pisces, both squaring Saturn in Sagittarius. Mercury is newly retrograde in early Taurus and the Sun is conjunct with Uranus in Aries. Jupiter in Libra is slowly slipping out of exact square with Pluto in Capricorn while simultaneously re-developing its waning inconjunct aspect with Neptune, also in Pisces. A complex of tensions and stress points by themselves, both dissolutionary and fluxing, veiling and exposing, this is a matrix of uncertainty and shifting polarities, not least of all between inner and outer dynamics. The key players are hotlining the moment and anything can happen. But, if the ‘drums of war’ are beating, what of Mars?

The red planet is having his Algol moment, aligned with Medussa’s star while tightening a waxing inconjunct with Saturn, an aspect that will become exact as the Moon joins with Pluto on April 18th; not a time to try and stare out the wrathful war inflamed goddess! It is an understatement to say that a conscious adjustment to the deeper imports of the situation now developing seems necessary, if not inevitable, and the US president needs to pay heed to his Russian and Chinese advisories. However, Mars is also transiting the USA’s Neptune Pluto midpoint in the Sibly chart….we should not expect too much diplomacy, or truthfulness from the US administration at this time, especially when it comes to displays of aggression, but nevertheless, that is the necessary work in hand.

Next stop for Mars over the coming months are its transit to the US 6th house Uranus followed by the US Descendant, and, as the year heats up towards the third and last Jupiter Uranus opposition in September, Mars transits in succession the US Mars, Venus, Jupiter and Sun, all in the USA’s 7th house. A rush of adrenalin around foreign policy is not what we all need from the USA right now or in the near future. Transiting Mars will also square the US midheaven and 10th house Libran Saturn in the process. Any notions of diplomacy will be severely tested. And then, of course, there’s the maverick in Trump’s sights.

According to the January 8th 1983 birth date for Kim Jong-Un (1) transiting Saturn now sits on the North Korean leader’s natal Neptune, Mars is currently applying in opposition to KJU’s natal Uranus+Jupiter, and transiting retrograde Mercury is exactly square KJU’s natal Mercury+Venus conjunction in Aquarius. There is not a lot of encouragement in this, or hope for peaceful communications. The problem here is not only that crosscurrents of communication are being exacerbated by rash hedonism, rigid idealogy and hardly veiled threat, but, Kim Jong-Un’s birth time is in question – in fact there is even dispute over the year itself. I have gone with the most frequently refered to natal planetary positions for him.

In all cases however, Pluto in Capricorn has been and will continue to be transiting KJU’s natal Sun, trining North Korea’s Sun in Virgo, which will itself come into play in the last quarter of this year when Mars and Venus conjunct the North Korean Sun. Economic factors that will undoubtedly affect the dollar could play a crucial role not only in America’s global identity (2), but, could feed directly into the North Korean scenario, if it has not been toned down or resolved by then – several commentators have recently expressed the opinion that an economic collapse around the dollar markets will fuel global tensions and instability, if not trigger and deepen further conflict. With heavy investment in the military budget by the Trump administration one has to wonder what is behind the sudden about face from Trump, who previously expressed the desire for seeking peaceful solutions to conflict, now resorting to the apparent opposite.

We could go further but it would only be putting detail on what is already becoming clear – this is a geopolitical minefield that is ready to trip, and room for wrong moves is fast diminishing.

The obvious question is, what is on Donald Trump’s mind right now?

Lobbing bombs on foreign soil, without recourse to Congress, is one answer, and not just any bomb, target or foreign soil….aside from the Syrian question, and the veracity of allegations being thrown about, or the fact that the largest of non-nuclear bombs has just been dropped by the USA on Afghanistan, there is a quality of what appears to be recklessness and petulance being displayed here, a demonstrative if unpredictable show of strength with a strong reactive quality built into its effect, if not its causes. So, what of those causes?

In Donald Trump’s natal chart the Mars connection is through the Trump MC, which it is currently transiting, and by square to natal 12th house Mars – a sense of damn-it-all ‘might or bust’ has been undoubtedly coming to the fore, but what else is feeding it? Transiting Uranus+Sun are squaring natal 11th house Saturn+Venus and, besides the ‘protectionist’ values behind Trump’s  policies this might imply, the chauvinist reactionary is simultaneously on display. Transiting Venus+Chiron are squaring Trump’s natal 10th house Sun+Uranus+North Node, suggesting that a crisis surrounding deeper values and potential for reckless disregard of consequences is feeding in, and at a soul level – is he losing direction, or getting the wrong directives fed to him? We might be more reassured if the Donald would only just step back, take the necessary deep breaths, collect himself and take in the bigger picture! ASAN put it nicely in the following image….

If we go to Donald Trump’s Solar Arc chart we find tr.Jupiter applying to SA Pluto and tr.Mars squaring SA Uranus. Trumps SA Mars is also, interestingly, conjunct KJU’s natal Pluto+Saturn (3) – the degrees involved here are those that will be triggered by the Jupiter Uranus opposition in September. And, Trump’s SA Uranus is now conjunct his own natal Mars. That Uranus Mars flip flop is highly significant in respect of the current ploys Trump is exhibiting, but, Uranus, Pluto, Saturn and Mars are a highly volatile and stubborn mix by themselves, perhaps revealing something of the internal pressures he is under, a wilful need to exhibit ultimate power perhaps being its natural projection, through shock if nothing else; but, it is Trump’s progressed chart that shows the immediacy of our rightful concerns.

Uranus and the Sun are now transiting Donald Trump’s progressed Descendant and this degree will see transiting Mercury station direct conjunct tr.Uranus on May 4th. The erratic and unpredicatable behaviour we are seeing is amplified by Jupiter sitting opposite on Trump’s Ascendant in the progressed chart. When Mercury stations on May 4th the transiting Sun will square Trump’s natal 12th house Pluto-Mars midpoint – a clear message to the world that he means business, or that the power has gone to his head and he has lost his marbles!? Maybe both, as it will also trigger his progressed Mercury+Pluto 10th house conjunction.

There is more in Donald Trump’s current and approaching astrology that could be brought in but, already, this has all the halmarks of a personal hiatus being played out on the world stage. As if to drive home the point, Trump’s progressed Uranus is currently conjunct the USA’s 7th house Mars – it is true that Trump began with  a key stroke, throwing out the TPP and signalling a snub at the globalist corporatocracy, but, even this is now being called into question with ‘Goldman Sachs’ in the Whitehouse – if ever there was a case for the suitability of a presidential candidate being astrologically vetted before attaining office, this would give adequate evidence of its necessity. But, suitability for office is one thing, and ability to weather the unforeseen storm is another.

Trump’s natal DC although ruled by Uranus and Saturn, being in the final degree of Aquarius, is courting both Neptunian idealism and Jupitarian expansionism in his 7th house dealings. With a Gemini Sun+Uranus+NN natal 10th house conjunction and Venus ruling his MC he is oriented towards transforming through material values and means from his position as leader – he probably feels that his leadership is both beneficial and yet holds a devil may care attitude, if only others would trust him. Trouble is Donald has a deficit of Earth in his natal chart – its either an outward show covering or compensating for an inner lack, or it is unconsciously feeding an inner need. But, the infamous if not downright quirky Trump linguistics and need to communicate with the populace via unofficial channels, which all to often simply provides fuel for ‘the opposition’ and calls forth widespread derision, needs to be backed up with solid, consistent and dependable reasons to trust him and, still only four months into his administration, the deep political uncertainties that now surround the President are testing his ability to both hold to his original agenda as well as hold fire.

If this short excursion into this mundane arena of personal and international interactivity is to be of any value it must, however, firstly bring a sense of perspective to what is, on the face of it, a perplexing and uncertain time on the world stage through a glimpse into the astrology applying to two of its key players. The value this brings to us as individuals may be limited by our own personal bias or concerns, but, the inherent dynamics, revealed or not, do affect us all.

In the next post we’ll provide something by way of an antidote and delve into ‘the other side’ of things, quite lterally, and take a look at the cosmological dance now shaping up that is fueled by changes sourced far beyond our home planet. One of the chief protagonists here is Saturn who, besides squaring Venus and Chiron, is currently conjunct the Galactic Centre, highlighting what in our present circumstances might well be an all to easily disregarded underlying aspect of our collective planetary transformation. Although we will be focusing on a much more universal aspect of these times, Saturn’s role in this is also one that may develop to become a key moment for President Trump, especially when Saturn (now retrograde) stations direct on his natal 4th house Moon.

But, we’ll leave the Trump saga behind now and, with the next post firmly in mind, set our controls for the heart of our galaxy……oh, and by the way, that tweet trolling the Donald from Earth orbit is actually a direct quote from Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell :

“You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch‘.”

You can read the full story about this off-world protest here >>>
https://www.rt.com/viral/384659-trump-protest-space-science/


(1) Kim Jong-Un’s birth time is unknown and the year is in dispute – however, personel from within the Kim household have testified to the year being 1983 and this is generally prefered over the alternative 1984 date; the day is verified as January 8th.

(2) The Venus Mars conjunction in mid-Virgo opposes Neptune in September 2017,  squaring the US Asc and opposing the progressed US 7th house Sun. The Jupiter Uranus opposition of the same time activates progressed US Venus on the cusp of the 9th house – I have flagged up this date in previous posts as an indicator for hyperinflation, and it is almost certain to bring financial shock, effecting both internal security and foreign trade, if not investments, both military and financial. Pluto also squares the US progressed 2nd house Mars and 8th house Chiron through this time. A deeper analysis of this and the founding Wall Street chart, and its progressed chart, will be upcoming here nearer the time.

(3) Saturn’s position in the 1983 chart for Kim Jong-Un is occupied by Pluto in Scorpio in the alternative 1984 chart, while Mars occupies Pluto’s 1983 position in the 1984 chart.

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’

Looks Within Moon

This is precious time for us, a time of reconnection and unity in a common purpose – to hold to the sacred as protectors and guardians of the unbroken thread of life that unites us all. In the north the fires are lit that mark the opening of the bone road, between this world and that of our forebears. In the south it is the first flush of the pregnant world that swells the seed within the flower and calls us to nurture hope within the world again.

When the new Moon is born at such a time it augers deep healing and brings remembering into our lives. The Scorpio Moon invokes memories and emotions to this purpose, sourced within the most mysterious unchanging aspects of creative energy as it flows into life from its source – its ability to transform and inform, to survive the journey, to survive all; great courage and a will to live can be found in this. It infuses our lives with a sense of belonging that is braided into the most fundamental roots of our being.

In connecting with Neptune’s energies this Moon brings the vision of our spirits alive within this regenerative place and reminds us of our own true purpose. It holds the vision of our future at its heart as it connects at the opening of the lunation with the Moon’s nodes.

It reminds us that the knowledge of life and death is rooted in the heart and womb, the power and true value of feminine wisdom within our world – Venus and Saturn square the Moon’s nodes showing us how this power informs and holds steady its true value for us as living souls.

Through Uranus square with Mars the power of discovery and inspiration are born under this Moon, opening possibilities for new pathways to be forged and encouraging mindful appreciation of the directions we are taking. There is great power for healing at work in this, as Mars sextiles Chiron. This can bring us closer to each other and lend our workings in the world the powers of the subtle realms.

Mercury runs before this Moon, carrying the radiance of the Sun that is in the hearts of the children, and the illumination of their deep untarnished connection with the source. Jupiter stands at the midpoint of Mercury and the Moon’s north node, squaring Pluto,  bringing optimism to our vision for the future, and spreading the power of recognition that we all share the same source, are all related.

But, it is the ignition of the great fires of creation, the source of connection with the divine known more fully to those who have passed before us, which can bring this Moon’s greatest gift to us. In this our common ground and deepest source of inspiration can be found when we look within, our connection with the worlds within this world and the mind of nature.

Within this Moon a powerful elixir can be invoked, for healing, connection and belonging, a salve for our times that is at the heart of the elder wisdom gifted to us by the Looks Within Moon.

The old ones, the wise ones, lit the fires of dreaming under the Looks Within Moon. Gathering the people in as the fires were lit they brought out their bundles, the sweet medicine of their stories, carried from the time of the first fires, carrying the flame of the last fires. Their eyes upon another world they would feed us with the warmth of their own soulfires, and tell us of the dreaming Earth, Her love for Life and of us, her children.

In this Moon there is a longing to reunite with the luminous core of our belonging, our longing to be at one with the deepest and most meaningful aspects of life, and to give thanks for the gifts we find there. It is a Moon of deep feeling, of reaching into the settled stillness of things, to allow the warm inner radiance of belonging to infuse our own roots. At the heart of all things, offering the promise of return, it is the sweet medicine of Earth that calls us to gather around her central fire, to remember this fire burning within our selves.

Memories of Life, of lives once lived that yet carry pain, can be healed in this time, its salve, rememberance of times in which we have known the radiance of our own soulfire, its joy and warmth, and the healing balm of coming home to our heart and hearth, our Earth.

In our time, amidst uprooted lives and damaged life, the casualties of war and manipulation, pollution and illness, this deep feeling can be raised to unite us in passionate invocation, for protection of all that matters most, for unity and deep rooted solidarity as guardians of the sacred, of each others lives, and the lives of those yet to come….

…..and, in this place we can ignite another fire, our own center fire. Its gift, the shared warmth of an elder wisdom that still burns with a passion for life, made rich through lives lived, that in the deepest core of our selves yet lives on. Its presence can be summoned, can unite us all in its knowing beneath the Looks Within Moon.

In the northern realms our bonfires hold a memory, of a journey we have all taken along the bone road, the road of return and communion with our ancestors. Old and young come together here, around this ancient fire – the elders might gather and give counsel, themselves children amongst the spirits of the ancestors, holding an unbroken thread of belonging. The old songs are sung reminding us of our roots, our grounding and role as guardians of the sacred Earth.

Our children are honoured here, around this center fire, their voices the sound of fresh springs and running waters, reminding us of our sacred duty to life, a certainty that all the suffering we endure has a purpose. They remind us that they are our future, our guides as we walk this path of responsibility, strong and united in the courage and commitment to protect and nurture new life, to keep the thread unbroken. In every childs face is the elders dream come home, Earth’s dream in our midst once more…..

……if the fire is lit and the way of Earth’s dreaming is brought back into the village, new beginnings can be made, founded on wisdom and courage, connection and responsibility. We can rise to the challenges of life with assurity. Our voices can rise within these beginnings and be as the sound of wild bees, drawn home to make the golden honey of truth in our world, restoring in life the sweet medicine that lives in each of our stories……use this medicine well to bring healing to the forgotten ones, the orphans of circumstance and greed, to bring recognition and respect back into their lives, and ours.

This is the time in which the Earth enters her dreaming, as the shadows lengthen in the northern realms and falling flames of ancient sunlight lay their gold, tawny and red blanket upon the Earth, as the flower’s dance with the sound of wild bees and feel the breath of the Sun Spirit swelling in their hearts in the southern realms.

At this time……ignite the fires of belonging with this medicine, for those who have gone before us, who have come into our midst again, and those who will come after us – they will tell us who we are, will help us to remember why we came here, if we look within and hold this prayer at the lighting of our sacred fire.

Even amidst the turmoil and uncertainty that surrounds us, one simple flame can hold the path open for us at the time of the Looks Within Moon, and bring us back to the center, the radiant still point at the eye of the storm. This is a talisman of continuity and rememberance, of the creative energy we carry, the generative power that unites us all. We can invoke its power for the healing we know is needed, wherever it is needed, whether it be our own, or others less fortunate than ourselves, or of the ancient guardians themselves, the wise beings of our natural world. We are all one in this. Be of good heart loved ones, this is Earth’s gift…..under the Looks Within Moon.

Failing Magnificently

nine samuri

“The creative adult is the child who has survived”
Ursula Le Guin

Growing Pains

The August lunation opens with the new Moon at 10°58′ of Leo in the tropical zodiac. The Sabians tell us that this degree augers “spontaneous activity of the innocent mind”, a creative energy that loves to explore the possibilities of life, is open to the future, but whose outlook is still ‘green around the ears’ and easily swung by emotional energy. This childlike energy belongs amongst the people as awareness of something of great significance emerging into our world; but we do not know at this point what it is, the shape it will take, more that it is immanent and happening, an upsurge of ‘spirit’. It is a playfull energy that can inspire, wants to run free and yet, at this stage, is also vulnerable, needs to be ‘protected’, and the aspects to this new Moon bring out the tension generated between these qualities.

In traditional ways the elders, in their wisdom, will let the children play freely, but, will always keep an eye out for them and be there when reassurance, compassion and the wisdom of experience is needed. Its a community approach that values uniqueness, young and old alike. The Sabians clarify this, telling us that the role of tradition and grounded knowledge which the elders signify offers valuable protective space for the as yet ‘young’ to flower in. But at new Moon the Sun and Moon are in aspect to Neptune and Saturn whose own antagonistic square is actively breaking down the old to make way for the new. ‘Tradition’ and ‘the orthodoxy’ too is being tested out in the world, the tried and tested is giving way to the ‘unknown third thing’.


We are looking at a handover of power, from the old to the new, from the established formalised ways of the older generations to the innovative ways of another, younger age group under the stars. Walt Whitman captured something of the underlying sentiment at work here when he said,

“When I heard the learn’d astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in
columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams,
to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomerwhere he lectured
with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wandered off by myself,
In the mystical moist night air,
and from time to time,
Looked up in perfect silence at the stars.”

The mutable square between retrograde Neptune and Saturn carries this flavour at its most philosophical level and this square has been at work since late 2015. It will continue through this year to revision our knowing and understanding, to challenge our beliefs as well as our capacity to mature, to step into the “mystical moist night air”. Neptune’s pervasive creative resource can be very otherworldly and Saturn’s knowing conservatism very down to earth ~ they are not in easy relationship. Goethe also captured something of the dynamic in their ambivalent relationship when he said “talent develops in tranquility, character in the full current of life”. For our dreams to grow beyond the known we must be prepared to take risks and accept the ‘breakdown’ as a part of the ‘breakthrough’, before we can build new edifices for our mores and ethics, our invention and learning. And, as Sarah Ban Breathnach tells us, “playing it safe is the riskiest choice we ever make”.

Walt’s tiredness with the old mechanical view of things was enough to inspire him to follow the call to a far less jaded and self-congratulatory place and commune in more innocent rapture with life. There is a deceptively naive beauty present at this Moon, both raw, knowing by instinct, and clarified in its knowing, the more clearly to see and experience Life. It is the soul nourishing innocence of one who has survived and taken their inner child with them for the journey. We too must trust that knowing and enjoy its mature transparency.

But, as Mark Twain said, “loyalty to a petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul”, and while the energy of the lunation may have a fresh and forward looking quality to it, the emergent awareness is also telling us that we are no longer able to rest in innocence and are waking up to those aspects of living in which we must find a new freedom, one that feeds rather than defines or delimits the creative expression of our souls.

In trining the new Moon retrograde Saturn also gives us the benefit of a more positive protective quality. There is a co-creative element at work here too, in that the creative energy is crucial and must be allowed to develop through its own experience and wisdom, given the space within which it can feel safe enough to take risks. Here Saturn’s more maternal archetypal qualities are revealed, those belonging to the all embracing mother goddess as Crone, ‘She who knows’ and within whose compass all arises and resides.

The Moon and Sun quincunx both retrograde Neptune and the Moon’s south node, and here culture and tradition is being pushed to re-envision itself from within. Antoinne de Saint-Exupéry captured the essense of this aspect well when he said, “if you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t asign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea”. If the ocean of imaginal creativity is to be explored we must have more than simply the means to do it; we need the passion, a sense of calling, and the willingness to set sail from the safe harbour of the known, the Moon’s south node. This node can provide us with vitals, essential supplies, talents for finding our way by skillful means and charting new territory, but, they do not represent the end in themselves – to some large extent that ‘end’ belongs in the ‘lap of the gods’ and the fair winds they may or not assist us with!

Pattern Recognition

In astrology this threefold aspect complex is called a ‘pythagorean triangle’, and this one (involving planets; the Moon has been triggering this aspect many times through this period) is the last of nine that have been peppering the planetary matrix over the last three months. The ‘uncertainty’ it embodies comes from the quincunx, an aspect in which an incongruity arises, a lack of relationship that calls for a new level or quality of consciousness to prevail; the ‘necessity’ is expressed in the square, where dynamic interaction between two different but clearly defined ways of approaching a problem is at its most difficult, in which the process itself needs to be raised to a higher level, regardless the outcome; the willingness to go forward together is expressed in the trine, where a continuous interchange of energy underpins the process and lends its qualities to the outcome.

Together this configuration of aspects brings a sense of uncertainty, necessity and willingness to ‘taking the leap’ together and the lunation will carry this forward in a positive way, if we give expression to its creative energy, allow its process to unfold while holding the tension embedded within its dynamic. In the words of Rabindranath Tagore, “when the string of the violin was being tuned it felt the pain of being stretched, but once it was tuned then it knew why it was being stretched”.

At a time when the entire gamut of worldly life is feeling the tension of this unavoidable process at work this lunation can be seen as a potential watershed, a place beyond which, if its positive side is nurtured, the emergent ‘new thing’ will begin to come more fully into view. To do so we will need to keep our eyes on the trends and currents that are emergent, to look for the patterns they are expressing, and build this ‘pattern recognition’ into our knowledge base, the better to navigate and work our passage. We will not see the pythagorian triangle again for a few months so the field is changing now and both ‘the inspired’ and ‘the experienced’ must work together, to keep an eye on the ‘weather’, and how it is changing. And that includes the emotional energies we are experiencing, together and in our own lives. We must not allow ourselves to fear, either failure or its consequences, but, the creative persistance that will prevail if we trust ourselves enough to make the leap, is the best quality we can bring to working through this time with the energies of this lunation.

Ice Cave Aurora

Falling Awake

As I write this the Moon is forming a pythagorean triangle with Neptune and Saturn from tropical Cancer, close to the degree of the last new Moon, and the sense of culmination is growing. It is a sense being enhanced through its quintile with Jupiter, 72° away in Virgo.

Jupiter is now opposing Chiron in Pisces and quincunxing Uranus in Aries. This is an aspect pattern that pulls us into a healing space that needs us to center ourselves in the unencumbered present, the kairotic moment represented by Uranus, for its fruits to be delivered. To do so these aspects too calls us to bring a new level of consciousness to bear, to pay attention to our wounded nature, to mature beyond the past and its grave errors and allow the moment to reveal the inner meaning of our history. Much of this revelation centers on invoking the creative energy of the lunation through practical means, and, Venus in late Leo at new Moon aids this release very creatively through trining Uranus and quincunxing Chiron.

This is about letting go of past hurts, while being able to accept our wounds, errors and limitations, so that we can not only mature as people but enjoy the collective freedom our hearts know we desire by embodying it creatively. It is a complex of aspects that supports the lunation’s matrix for growth, while bringing it into a more personal space. Go with your hearts desire but, as the Chinese proverb has it,  ‘be aware of your mistakes in the beginning!’

Buckminster Fuller once said, “Nature is trying hard to make us succeed, but, Nature does not depend on us. We are not the only experiment”, and with Pluto trining the Moon’s north node at new Moon the reality of Bucky’s statement is very much present with us as we navigate the transformational qualities of the times. Pluto is in a waxing quincunx with the new Moon and Sun but is otherwise unaspected as the lunation begins, and this pervasive sense of scale within the bigger picture, while it is a part of our growing process as a species, is not only hard to accept, but is humbling once it has been.

This lunation will close with a trine, from the north node, Sun and Moon to Pluto and pressure to take this perspective in will increase as we approach that time. In fact, the solar eclipse we will see as the September lunation opens will bring the sense of culmination to a head.

If we are to work with the larger perspective that the times require of us, and bring this lunation alive within our lives, allow its creative energy expression, the luminosity we each carry within will be our most valuable asset. As Elizabeth Kübler-Ross said, “People are like stained glass windows; They sparkle and shine when the Sun is out, but, when darkness sets in their beauty is revealed only if there is a light within”.

Failing Magnificently

The final piece of this puzzling time is provided by Mars who enters Sagittarius once more just as the Moon is renewing its cycle. Falling out of aspect with the other planets as the lunation opens, Mars is bringing a strong sense of purpose to the entire matrix, a sense that this is the time and the time is now! His journey through Sagittarius will see him meet with Saturn and re-ignite the burning issue of how we use our power to create the reality we are now experiencing in the world. War will be top of the agenda for scrutiny, not least of all as they re-unite on the fixed star Antares. As Thomas Jefferson observed, “War is an instrument entirely inefficient toward redressing wrongs; and multiplies instead of indemnifying losses”. As the pressure for confrontation is tangibly increasing so is the anti-war voice at large in the world.

We can transform the world, we know, simply by choosing more peaceful means for expressing this energy, but our journey will be all the more magnificent if we can do so by transforming our wounds, and the understanding we have of ourselves and the world in the process. In fact, the one rests upon the other. Mars will accelerate through Sagittarius and spend a mere six weeks in Capricorn, where a conjunction with Pluto looks like a catalyst for significant upheaval. This might give us cause for real concern, but, as Hellen Keller advised, “we could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world.” 

It is hard for us to continue to witness the pain and suffering being brought upon us by so much blatant misuse of power, and this is a time for mobilising the creative energy in the face of the destructive. It is a time when we might feel anxious, wrought by fears and doubts as much as by horror and a feeling of deep uncertainty about our future, but, there is some wisdom to be had even as we do so; as the Chinese alchemist Wei Boyang said two thousand years ago, “worrying is preposterous; we don’t know enough to worry”.

As the August lunation opens Venus is pulling out of a square with Mars and will be working her way through the Virgoan fields of healing and nurturing as the lunation progresses – she brings the dedication necessary for our time and our acts within it to really count. It is a concept that is at the heart of the most traditional of healing ways, that the world is in constant need of repair and maintenance; this is the basis upon which our healing must take place. When we understand that our true power lies in being magnificent in the face of this unremitting demand for care and creative giving, the world becomes transformed, a constant source of inventiveness and response-ability, a place in which love is the means and the end in itself. In that place we have the power to fail, regardless, and to do so magnificently.

As Venus approaches Virgo and activates the feminine wisdom of healing and nurturing through this lunation, and as Mercury very much at home in Virgo crosses the Moon’s north node and comes to meet with Jupiter opposing Chiron at full Moon, it seems fitting to close as we opened with the strong and down to earth voice of feminine wisdom that can help us traverse these difficult times while capturing something of the essense of the moment :

“Life is glorious, but life is also wretched. It is both. Appreciating the gloriousness inspires us, encourages us, cheers us up, gives us a bigger perspective, energizes us. We feel connected. But if that’s all that’s happening, we get arrogant and start to look down on others, and there is a sense of making ourselves a big deal and being really serious about it, wanting it to be like that forever. The gloriousness becomes tinged by craving and addiction. On the other hand, wretchedness–life’s painful aspect–softens us up considerably. Knowing pain is a very important ingredient of being there for another person. When you are feeling a lot of grief, you can look right into somebody’s eyes because you feel you haven’t got anything to lose–you’re just there. The wretchedness humbles us and softens us, but if we were only wretched, we would all just go down the tubes. We’d be so depressed, discouraged, and hopeless that we wouldn’t have enough energy to eat an apple. Gloriousness and wretchedness need each other. One inspires us, the other softens us. They go together.”
Pema Chödrön


Images :

Still from the film ‘The Nine Samurai’

Nest sculpture ~ Nils Udo

Cave Aurora ~ Sebastian Saarloos

Gobekli Tepe, Turkey

The Mirror and The Stars

Embedded high up in immense cliffs a beautiful convex mirror is held within the rock matrix. Appearing as an artifact from another world, its pitted surface belies the magic it holds within. Covered in the dust of ages, unrecognisable but for the circular shape of its rim, it is a living archetype. Concretised and held fast, it conceals memories,  stories and knowledge, fossilised yet reaching far back in time….and yet, its lensing face pointing towards the stars, it holds the promise of a greater vision brought to earth.

Far below, on the shores of a deep and winding river a vast cavern echoes with ancient voices.  Each word a luminous spark ascending from a hidden fire, their rhythmic chant rises through the old forests lining the deep valley to become myriad stars wheeling high above the towering cliffs.

Between these realms a great tree connects heaven and earth. Older than all the forests, its roots reaching into the deepest subterranian realms, its branches touching unseen worlds between the stars, it is wise in its silent presence, intelligent beyond all earthly knowing.


The Power Of Persuasion

Deep in the heart of Saturn’s realm the July full Moon illuminates a world of extremes. At 28° Capricorn it speaks of ‘high station’, a place of elevation where the bedrock of law and power oversee the stability of the material realm. Its role is to balance the ineluctable interior forces of the imaginal world, here illuminated and activated through the Sun’s position at 28° Cancer, against the exteriorising power of the intellect, the reasoning and formalising potential of Nous. It is a balance between the felt and the abstracted.

In Capricorn this is the degree of the ‘Statesperson’, the lawful arbiter upon whose speech the nation’s well-being rests, through which it is negotiated. In Plato’s ‘Statesman’ this wordweaving is the handwork of Athene, upon whose paradigm he posits the craft of ‘politics’. It augers the power of words to arbitrate the anomalous, to find a place within the ‘sanctified whole’ for what James Hillman, in referencing the dilema of Orestes, translates as the ‘resident alien'(1). Orestes is a victim of necessity, caught between the worlds having transgressed sacred boundaries at the command of higher powers. He is torn between archai. The paradox is manifest in Ananke.

A symbolic representation of Necessity’s fundamental archetypal power, Plato described Ananke as ‘narrowing’, both of circumstance and scope, like ‘walking through a ravine which is impassable, rugged and overgrown, and impedes motion’. As an archetypal power Ananke carries something of Saturn’s signature, but it also embodies the irrepressible forces constellated at the emotional centre of the psyche. If released, which they must be for integration to be achieved, these fierce forces can manifest as anomalous outbursts, and their latency is made clear through their etymological links with angst and anxiety.

And yet, in its very narrowness, if redeemed of its alien otherness, Ananke intimates a ‘close bond’, a fundamental kinship, and natural and moral ties between persons. The balance sought through this Moon’s process of ‘negotiation towards integration’ seeks not to obliterate the anomalous identity and its latent power but to ‘normalise’ it, by finding a place for it within the ‘divine order’. The quality of this Moon, for all its paradoxical stresses, carries potential for reconciliation and healing. The key lies in the power of words.

In the ‘Oresteia of Aeschylus’ (2) it is indeed Athena who arbitrates the fate of Orestes, and she does so through the power of Peitho, Persuasion. This is the core active element working through this full Moon, but, it also carries magical overtones, through association with incantation and ‘spell-work’ that are equally persuasive.  These are of a more  hidden nature than Athene’s applied framework of reason and rhetoric. In fact rhetoric can be as magically persuasive as the esoteric power of words suggest, but, at root their power is here sourced in Ananke, rather than Nous.

At the Sun’s degree in Cancer we find both interwoven.


The Inner Radiance

The Moon’s influence finds its counter balance and resolution in the Cancer Sun, a point of contrast carrying the emotive language of a deeply innate source. At 28° Cancer the protective shell of the dwelling place has taken on the symbolism of ‘the cave of the ancestors’, the womblike opening in the earth, where we find our greater family itself embedded within the matrix of the fertile valley of Life. Its inhabitants, existing ourside of time and Saturn’s realm, subsume the full Moon’s high position. Arising from common roots within the matrix of life, the achievements of high culture are enriched by the deeper meaning they can deliver. Reconciling the tension between these polarity points is an act of healing, which Athene achieves through persuasive influence and inclusivity. But, her presence here originates with the Sun, the force behind original identity, through the asteroid Athene. One degree from the solar disc at full Moon, Athene is also found conjunct the TNO (Trans-Neptunian Object) Varuna.

In Varuna we find the pervasive presence of the divine that is ‘behind everything’. Varuna, representing the fundamental spiritual power beyond perception, was one of the pre-Vedic creation deities and the first ‘named’ TNO to be discovered beyond Pluto’s orbit (3). In fact Varuna, like Athene, is also associated with the application of law, to those who do not keep their word. But, unlike Athene’s application through human law, Varuna’s are natural laws, an expression of the incomprehensible cosmic order, as opposed to the order of society. In essense, Varuna is akin to the background radiation that infuses all in the material world, out of sight, but here, and distinctly not ‘out of mind’.

The corollaries of Athene, Pallas and Minerva, also hold the balance of the earth and water signs at full Moon – Pallas is at 5° Pisces and Minerva opposes at 3° Virgo. The triumvirate goddess is coherent by element, Minerva and the Moon in earth, Pallas, Athene and the Sun in water. The triplicated water element holds sway – a reflection of the healing potential needing to be brought to the people, represented by the Moon, a restorative to the soul.

The third decan of Capricorn in which we find the full Moon is sub-ruled by Venus, now quincunxing Pallas and Neptune from early Leo. Along with Mercury, Venus also trines Saturn in Sagittarius and the message is clear. The feminine energy now emphasises the need to integrate Athene’s qualities of holding and receptivity into the greater whole.

This is a Moon that encourages the healing power of Capricorn to prevail, its higher order concieved through feeling connections rather than applying the fruits of ambition. The metaphysical nature of language can overcome the physical attributes of the Moon’s degree. In doing so the people are called upon to remind the statespeople of their essential role, not as aggressively defensive representatives of nationalistic indentity, but, as people whose words and rhetoric embody the most noble and reconciliatory responsibilities of their high office – the resolution of the apparently irreconcilable, the disfunctional seperation between the power of the State and the voice of the People.

In Plato’s conception of the State the balance between Nous and Ananke is vital, and Athene’s role in maintaining it paramount, but, there is a deeper and more cosmological meaning at work here as Plato also considered creation to arise not out of the elements, but out of the interweaving (an Athenian word) of Nous and Ananke. It is in Athene’s power of rhetoric to carry ‘change’ to its next level that her creative side is revealed. She brokers the deal by incorporating necessity, giving it a rightful place. In our pathological world this is tantamount to taking back antagonistic elements of our shadow from projection, of integrating its presence and subsuming its forces into a higher, that is to say more holistic, order of consciousness.

As political as we might expect a Capricorn Moon to be, in its deeply founded instincts, impersonal yet natural, Ananke embodies ‘driving necessities’, and their prevelance cannot be denied amongst the body politic. Ananke is fundamental ‘being’ whose powers cannot be subsumed in themselves, but, which can be given their appropriate place, honoured and recognised, without compromise to either their integrity or the integrity of the whole.

This pathological quality is also a political necessity that infuses this full Moon with a need to recognise the driving forces behind our current circumstances, as well as the wounds they may inflict through eruption, both indicated by sextiles from the Moon to Mars in Scorpio, and Chiron in Pisces. Along with the Sun, this kite configuration can fly aloft and achieve great heights, but it is in the Sun’s anchoring position that its healing capacity is most fully illuminated. Without the root, the thread of generative power rising from within its womb like cavern, the past and the future become dangerously cut adrift from reality – and, without the ancestral thread, the people lose identity.

In this full Moon is a poigniant reflection of the current political upheavals through which we are seeing diplomacy being heavily orchestrated by the tension between both globalised political realignments and restructuring, much of which remains hidden and out of the hands of the people, and terrorist outbreaks of violence which release powerful irrational forces within the populace and the force of necessity within the body politic.

The cracked and tarnished mirror must be retrieved, moistened and worked upon to restore its soul reflecting potential, and the highest offices of power restored with a transparency and integrity that is capable of reflecting the soul of the collective. As it is, the mirror, as the People, occupies the moral and ethical vantage point, but, it is encrusted with centuries if not millenia of calcified political and social wounds, held fast and obscured.

It is a vantage point from which the Moon reflects the dangers of a world in which even the highest levels of consciousness are prone to wrong use, where its aspirations have become entrapped in false ideologies and hubristic illusion. If over-indulgent of its own level of importance, its position’s highest value can become clouded by irrelevance, forgotten amidst a jaded sense of self justifying meaning. Cut lose from the necessities of the mundane and secular through misuse of force and power, as much as from the People themselves, it posits its own truth in the face of the apparent opposite. This is the degree of Capricorn where leadership can manifest its own shadow, perhaps as clear an indication of the flavour of the times as we can expect.

However, the complimentary gift of this degree is its capacity for taking the Saturnian qualities of focus and realisation to the next level, and for those who can aspire towards and work with that potential, as well as for the dreamer who would set the mirror of their own soul free from the binding constraints of worldly power and necessity, a more transcendant role is also offered here.


The Divine Gift

Etymologically Athene is connected with both ‘attainment’ and ‘holding’. In maritime lore hers is the place at the top of the mast, the ‘Tau’, where the lookout is stationed. At the base of the mast is the holding box, the ‘Kau’, which corresponds to the centre of balance for the vessel. The dynamic between the two is itself extreme, the one pitching with every wave, exaggerating the energy of the swelling ocean, the other pivotal and steady, keeping the vessel bouyant, balanced around a common centre. Her role is to weave together, to foster the crafting of life through navigating a sure course, in all events, reconciling its vicarious nature between these polarities.

She can be seen as the Mother figure of the State, even though in her mythology she remained childless and in ‘virgin’ state herself. She is the fierce protector, fully armoured and ready for combat, but, in her capacity for finding healing words and containment she brings the feminine and the masculine into balance. She represents the middle way, the center ground which is capable of embracing the ‘abnormal’ through inclusivity based upon steadfast intelligence.

Like Saturn her emphasis on discipline is dispassionate, however, her persuasive reasoning can bring both energy and direction, and inspire while formulating goals of a higher order. In this full Moon she offers the means for releasing the light of reason, as a vehicle for life affirming forces to become re-integrated into the world, at a time when the mirror is defiled and its reflection cracked.

These are primal innate forces that can neither be named or objectified, but, which give rise to all that has become incarnate. Their highest expression transcends boundaries, as symbolised in the Tree of Life, but, just as the lunar disc is dependant upon the solar disc’s radiance for its glory at full Moon, the people are dependant upon the endless stream of ancestral voices singing us into being. As Hillman says, “in the mouth of Athene speech becomes a curative hymn, a word which etymologically means ‘spun’ or ‘woven words'”(4). There is great power for the good to be found in this, an enchantment. The ancestors voices give us our root identity and their light lives on in Nature, both on Earth and amongst the stars. In retrieving the mirror of the soul from its bondage in the material, our work at its restoration and re-enchantment will bring their reflection back to Earth and illuminate our souls.


(1) & (4) Facing The Gods ~ James Hillman, Spring Publications 1980

(2) The Oresteia of Aeschylus ~ trans. G. Thompson, Cambridge University Press, 1938

(3) Varuna was discovered in the year 2,000; not the first minor planet to be observed beyond Pluto’s orbit, it was the first to be given a name. It has been designated the number 20000.

Asteroid Athene’s number is 881; Pallas is 2; Minerva is 93

The imagery at the head of this article came from a dream many years ago which arrived under a Capricorn full Moon and was fleshed out, its inner significance to this time confirmed, through meditations on the degrees for the Sun and Moon sourced in the Sabian symbols and the divinatory meaning given to these degrees through the Chandra symbols.

Creating The Path Is The Path ~ Mars Stations Direct

In the early hours of June 30th Mars stations at 23°03′ of Scorpio and, from our Earth perspective, begins a new two year cycle of direct motion.  Mars direct offers us a springboard for informed action that is in alignment with our deepest desires. However, to gain the optimum benefits of this impulse it is well advised to first align with Mars slowdown, to realign ourselves with our own internal drives before putting new plans into action. As Mars slows down to standstill after ten weeks of being retrograde, it is now time to take a moment to reflect on the most important lessons we can draw from the last two months or more.

If you have felt as though, in some important areas of your life, you have been driving with the handbrake on, from the end of June into early July you can expect a sense of emergence and greater freedom to come into play – allow some time to let your wings to unfurl and feel their power before taking off for the wild blue yonder.

If you have been able to bide your time or have treated this time as an opportunity to have fun with the retrograde period, doing handbrake turns and making circles in the road, this is now a time to stop burning rubber senselessly and take a more serious view towards your own agenda – draw breath and for the next couple of weeks show yourself just how adept you can be at taking the potential of your own life seriously.

The gist is that Mars retrograde  is a time to either slow down and go with the flow or to let off steam, both being preparation for a coming time of focus and concerted effort. Either way, in Scorpio Mars ultimately gives us a deeper sense of our own power and its place in the world, and, with this apparent change of impetus a change of perspectives comes into play. The third quarter of 2016 will undoubtedly challenge us to face up to how we are using our energy in pursuit of our most deeply held desires.

Reassessing our deepest passions at a personal level inevitably brings us face to face with limitations to using our personal power that we have experienced in the past. The expansion of imagination and (self) knowledge that we can bring to bear on this process will directly affect the world view we have, especially when Mars enters Sagittarius again just after Lughnasadh, at the beginning of August. This will be a good time to embark upon new fields of learning, to broaden our skills base and thinking.

Collectively, in the face of current circumstances, this shift in perspective meets a longer term necessity; we know  we must become more worldly wise, especially as we now enter a time in which the will of the people will be increasingly tested against the will of the power brokers in this world. Where these clash, where we experience dissonance between our own agendas and those that have we have been co-opted into, ‘a new level of understanding’ is the optimum prerequisite – it signals a time of ‘consciousness raising’ and any action that lacks this fundamental requirement runs the risk of repeating our mistakes, as well as of instigating confrontation and violent reprisal. Conversely, with the higher goal firmly in our grasp we stand a good chance of seeing the ‘groundswell’, the resurgent ‘will of the people’ that was seeded at the Spring eclipses bearing first fruits.

The cultural and global impact of this effect will bring fresh challenges to the status quo, and a refueled sense of purpose is a prerequisite for making our actions count, in the face of any resistance to systemic change it may catalyse. I am anticipating a third quarter of dynamic attempts at restructuring the relationship between personal and institutionalised power, and we need to be ready and well informed!

Mars will be carrying the Scorpio imprint of unwavering focus and determination forward in its new cycle so, where there are clashes of agendas, we can expect hightened friction to colour the mundane world as we shift between the Ages. However, the planetary matrix indicates that we will see this dynamic upping a gear sooner rather than later. Towards the end of August the red planet will return to 9° of Sagittarius, the degree in which its retrograde period began – the preparation we can undertake now and ensuing the sense of direction we have chosen will meet its first real test.

swordwoman

On August 24th Mars will meet with Saturn on the fixed star Antares, squaring the lunar nodes, a strong indication that the prevailing focus will be on how the wilful use of aggression is shaping our world, and what its antidote is. At its ‘higher octave’ Antares martial focus belongs to the individual who champions the underdog, the ‘David’ like figure who stands up to ‘Goliaths’ of this world and fights for liberation. People power starts with each of us and activism will be more effective if it is ‘knowingly applied’, organised, keeping the bigger picture firmly in mind, rather than simply as a collectively realised personal reaction to events. A skilfull use of our personal power and knowledge is favoured over crude use of force that follows the herd.

The challenge is to use the will to higher ends, to temper our tempers, to use the fiery life force at large constructively, and to keep the focus on significant and beneficial long term change rather than short term victories. There is a philosophical flavour to the view that will emerge, bringing the more traumatic consequences of ‘short-termism’ into sharp focus.

As Mars moves beyond Saturn a moment of hiatus may crystalise following events that, for example, cause us to severely question and make a concerted effort to bring an end to the misuse of  our vital energy and its co-option in the pursuit of conflict and war. This will coincide with Mars transit of Uranus south node, a crucial point already activated by Saturn’s station retrograde three months ago.

Saturn’s retrograde will itself come to an end shortly before the meeting with Mars when the Moon transits the ringed planet on August 12th, so the lessons of Saturn’s own retrograde period must also be taken into account before hand, as a part of our preparation. These reach back to March 24th 2016 when, just hours after the full Moon/lunar eclipse, Saturn slowed to a standstill within 30′ of arc of the south node of Uranus in Sagittarius.

Embedded within the 36 year cycle between Neptune and Saturn this astrological event underlined the question of who we are and why we are here, the meaning of our mortality and relationship with death within life. With these two planets currently in a tight square and the lunar nodes closing to square Saturn over the coming months the third quarter of 2016 has a philosophical quality about it that underpins the ongoing global transformation already underway.

Uranus seven squares with Pluto have undermined the power structures of ‘the Establishment’ and we are now dealing with the effects of this, the turbulence in their wake. Saturn’s presence also carries the Sagittarian signature forward, putting everything that has stood for maintenance of the status quo into a ‘global context’ of reconfiguration at ground level.

The challenge is to avoid falling back into old patterns and materialise a break with the past that commits to working for a better future. Collectively, this could be a magical and inspiring time, if our personal will is able to operate beyond habitual constraints and we have the imaginative ability to re-envision the human imprint upon our home planet. Every individual’s contribution counts.

In Saturn’s square with Neptune the anthropocentrism of the human presence on planet Earth is questioned in its relationship to the ecocentric spirit and aspirations of our times. This relationship is bringing increasing tension into the world as we question our own collective purpose in the light of environmental disturbances and their relationship to our use of power and technology within the current cultural and spiritual paradigms. This is an aspect that brings the imaginative and spiritual realms of consciousness into question through the lens of pragmatic worldly analysis. When we get into this frame of mind, the constellation of Piscean archetypes and the dynamics of imagination can ground in new forms within the Sagittarian field, but not before exposing both our spiritual deficit and our hubristic tendencies. Uranus can also indicate where the trauma arising from these tendencies continue to affect us, where we need to raise our consciousness to a new level.

Saturn and Neptune’s rhythm is deeply instructive. In the human realm the 36th year marks the first waxing square after the first Saturn return, a moment of maturation that tests the validity of the gains we have made in the process of coming home to the reality of our selves. It is the equivalent of three Jupiter cycles, an expansion of our personal power that requires a new level of maturity, and presages the need to consolidate our gains towards meaningful ends, a process which is tested at mid-life. As we enter the very beginning of the current period of recapitulation and preparation, as Mars slows down and turns direct, we now find Jupiter and the Moon’s north node conjunct in Virgo. They are exactly on Uranus and Pluto’s meeting point at the beginning of their current cycle during the mid sixties.

These times carry some potent connections across time and question our capacity to embrace the wider view through time towards the future. Uranus in Aries is quincunx Mars as he stations direct in Scorpio – and Mars rulership of both signs reflects a time to claim our own sovereignty. Mars also trines retrograde Chiron in Pisces – self compassion is the key to healing our spiritual wounds, the sign that we are ready to reclaim and strengthen the link with the wisdom of our ‘higher self’.

‘Rebellious youth’ must, inevitably, become ‘responsible adult’ and humanity, having acted for too long like a kid in a Ferrari, must realise that the red light that is flashing in the periphary of our vision is not simply the cops giving chase, the past catching up with us, but, also the sign that our tank is approaching empty and we may be running on air. The ‘fly-boys’ and hedonists of the world are about to get their comeuppance! But, we don’t want to be taken down with them…..

longship

Make good use of the coming weeks to get with your own inner beat, develop the meaningful art of understanding your own rhythms, and re-orientate your life towards worthy causes that your own passions align with naturally. With a sense of liberation and willingness to navigate through unknown territory the world takes on a dynamic vitality that reflects Mars impulse to get up and live; as the July new Moon approaches we can prepare for fresh fields, an expansion of our personal and collective scope, and carry the momentum forward with a deepened sense of responsibility.

No matter how small you may feel in the face of our current global challenges Mars message is to be confident in yourself. There is great power in this. Take this time personally, make it your own, but, remember, everything you do has a meaning and a purpose that reaches well beyond the known – this is the age of transition and, in it, creating the path ‘is’ the path.