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Into the Sublime Seas

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_diver-and-fish.jpgBe not the slave of your own past. Plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep and swim far, so you shall come back with self-respect, with new power, with an advanced experience that shall explain and overlook the old.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

This New Moon in Pisces on March 1st is remarkable for the fact that three planets — Mercury, Mars and Saturn — will be standing still in the sky (stationing retrograde or direct) within 24 hours of the New Moon moment. This will amplify the strength of those three planets in this chart, and in classical astrology, Mars and Saturn were considered the “malefic” planets — with good reason. Mars tends to deliver conflict and violence, while Saturn often brings restriction and loss. (But hey, at least Mercury’s going direct.) Both Mars and Saturn do, of course, have more beneficial manifestations — Mars can bring strength, passion and needed action, while Saturn can deliver earned material rewards and wisdom teachings. As always, an individual or focused group can do a lot to shape the energy of a chart towards growth and positive change, but en masse we tend to see the less conscious demonstrations of whatever the chart promises. Let’s look at how we can work with these planetary configurations at the New Moon to manifest wise and constructive action in the month ahead, because in the chart cast for Washington, DC, (which is predictive for the whole USA), Mars and Saturn — not to mention Jupiter, Uranus and Pluto — are kicking ass and taking names. 

 (If you’re not interested in the astrological details, skip the next two paragraphs). You can get the chart here and a bi-wheel with the USA here. Mars, though in the sign of his detriment, is strengthened by being stationary, by his square with Venus and conjunction with the North Node, and, in the chart cast for Washington, DC, by his position on the Midheaven, ruling the IC, and dispositing both Uranus and Saturn. Saturn rules the Capricorn ascendant, which is within orb of the powerful Aries Point (zero degrees of the cardinal signs). Saturn is also in mutual reception with Pluto, and square Mercury. The Uranus-Pluto square is still well within orb, of course, and Jupiter is now exactly squaring Uranus. The New Moon is conjunct Neptune and part of a 4-planet stellium in the second house, emphasizing vision and spiritual values. Neptune, Sun and Moon are trine Jupiter, which could bring an empathic opening of hearts, or easy deception, or disillusionment, or expansion of spiritual awareness, or creative inspiration, or issues of addiction. Or all of the above.

Looking at the New Moon chart in a bi-wheel with the chart of the USA we see Mars tightly square the USA Pluto-Mercury opposition, and Venus conjunct the USA’s natal Pluto. Transiting Pluto is directly opposite the USA’s Sun, forming a T-square with the natal Sun-Saturn square, and the Ascendant/Descendant axis of the NM chart is exactly square the MC/IC axis of the USA’s chart. Transiting Saturn squares the natal Moon, and the New Moon itself falls in the USA’s third house, along with Neptune.

This is not a pretty picture, so it is likely to be a trying month for the country — transportation and communications may be particularly stressed —  but there are also opportunities for big, breakthrough ideas and expanded awareness, particularly around the environment, as well as religion and social justice issues. Violence, especially gun violence and violence against women and LGBT people, is likely to be a front-and-center issue for the country during this month. On a personal level, this New Moon brings tremendous opportunity for re-aligning with our spiritual goals, re-assessing our core values, and any work that involves art (especially photography or film), intuition, deep personal insight, visionary work, or the ability to walk in other realms and communicate with non-physical beings.

One project we can usefully embark on during this month is doing work around self-forgiveness. Too many of us have tape loops of guilt, shame and blame endlessly running through our heads, and a Piscean influence, as we have in this chart, can encourage self-inflicted misery and shame. It can also help us find compassion for ourselves and a healing vision for our future.  A constant emotional overload of negativity keeps us from authentic relationship — not only with others, but with ourselves. Being able to forgive yourself for your faults is necessary for personal growth and change.

Like feelings of anger and offense, feelings of guilt and shame should be temporary indicators of mis-steps and needed change, not a permanent judgement of inferiority. (Blame is simply useless.) A lot of these negative feelings swim about at the edges of our consciousness, and now is a good time to put on your scuba gear, dive in, and swim on out to the edges of the consciousness harbor. See what you can find lurking around — those thoughts that dart in like a school of fish then disappear into the reef just before those times when the bottom falls out of your mood, or you get really angry or anxious for no apparent reason. Thoughts and feelings of shame and blame need to be caught, dragged to shore, examined, and eliminated. Replace them — again and again and again, until you really believe it — with thoughts and affirmations of personal worth.

Doing this work involves learning to track and pay close attention to your thoughts. It can be helpful to spend a few weeks setting four or five random alarms during the course of a day (use your phone, and set the next one as soon as one goes off). When you hear the alarm, immediately determine what you were thinking in that moment, and assess your emotional state. Then try to trace your thoughts backwards. For instance:

“I was thinking about how bad rush hour traffic is getting. What made me think of that? Oh, I was thinking I need to go to the grocery store after work for dog food, and that the traffic would be bad. Then before that, I remembered that the dog’s rabies shot is overdue, and I felt guilty and ashamed that I hadn’t made the vet appointment. Why was I thinking about the dog? Oh, right, I noticed dog hair on my jacket.”

Once you’ve done this, tracing your thoughts and emotions as far back as you can, then spend a few moments re-setting your thoughts and your emotional state. You can do this by recalling any magical intentions you’ve been working with, repeating affirmations or mantras, breathing consciously, taking a few moments for meditation, etc. This only takes a couple of minutes, and over time — especially if you start writing this stuff down — you will begin to see repetitive patterns of thoughts, and you can take action to examine and release thoughts of shame and blame.

This is not to say that you should give yourself a free pass for irresponsible behavior, but taking responsibility for a problematic situation and taking steps to rectify it is one thing — beating yourself up over what an awful person you must be to have allowed yourself to create or get into this situation is another thing entirely. Repetitive thoughts of self-recrimination are counter-productive and usually based in beliefs and attitudes that were imprinted on you in childhood. They must be seen for what they are and let go.  Working with your thoughts this way will also help you become more aware of what triggers negative thinking in your environment, and strengthen your overall control of your thoughts and mind.

While the Pisces vibe is very introspective, there are also strong calls to action in this chart (heavy cardinality, Jupiter-Uranus square, Mars stationary) that invite us to take the required steps forward, but do so with tact, compassion, and awareness of others' needs. Don’t rush in headlong — take time to reflect and consider all probable outcomes of a situation. Let Saturn in fixed Scorpio help you to dig a bit deeper, get a more in-depth understanding of of whatever projects, challenges or choices you are dealing with during the month ahead. And let Mercury in fixed Aquarius help you invoke the inner Observer, that part of your inner awareness that majors in helping you sort out reality from any deceptive projections of your mind.

Meanwhile, out in the big wide world, as the Uranus-Pluto square inexorably repeats and repeats — late April brings the next exact aspect —  we are seeing conflict between the plutocrats (Pluto, of course) and the proletariat (Uranus) heat up. We are also seeing heartbreaking destruction of the natural world, primarily through the actions — or lack of action —  of the above-mentioned plutocrats. I am hopeful that we will see increased awareness among the general public of the insanity which seems to have claimed many of those in power. It is insane to drain and poison water sources to supply us with fossil fuel (fracking). It is insane to store massive amounts of highly toxic substances next to rivers. It is insane to put nuclear power plants on top of active earthquake faults.

We are long past the time when focused, concerted action towards conservation and the funding of research to develop renewable energy sources could have made the transition from the Age of Oil an easy one, but it is still the only sane option. Uranus in Aries almost invariably corresponds with major scientific breakthroughs (the recent discovery of the Higgs boson, for instance) and it also corresponds with awakenings. My hope is that those of us who retain some hold on sanity will wake up to the need, step into our power, and begin to insist that our governments work for the common good, not for the corporations, and legislate the care and conservation of the natural environment on which we all depend.

To end on a more cheerful note, I’ll be teaching at the Sacred Space conference ‎ in a couple of weeks — hope to see some of you there! I’ll be back here on Pagan Square with the chart of the Spring Equinox sometime in mid-March.


The Perfect Birthday Present

Looking for a thoughtful — but inexpensive — birthday present for someone? I’m now able to offer an excellent astrological report called The Birthday Report. It’s a beautifully presented, 30+ page look at your solar return chart, interpreted. A solar return is the chart of the position of the planets as the Sun returned, this year, to the same place it was when you were born, and is predictive for the year to come. The report gives you month-by-month insight into the year ahead and interprets all the planetary positions. You can see a sample of The Birthday Report here. You can purchase it here. Cost is $15.

I will need date, place and time of birth. Time of birth is important — take it from a birth certificate, if possible. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Software-generated reports like this one do not offer the specificity, whole-person perspective, or intuitive insights of a personal consultation with an astrologer, but they are very useful when read with an eye to finding the repetitive threads that run through the report. Important issues in your life will be reflected in a number of different planetary configurations, you can pay particular attention to those explanations.


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Diotima Mantineia began studying astrology in 1968, taking classes from Zoltan Mason in New York City. For the next 22 years, she practiced astrology only for herself and her friends, continuing her studies while watching an increasingly humanistic, psychologically oriented, modern astrology blossom through the work of leading astrologers such as Noel Tyl, Liz Greene, Rob Hand, Marion March, Stephen Arroyo and Howard Sasportas. In 1986, Diotima began her study of Wicca and started reading Tarot, discovering that she is a gifted intuitive. In 1991, she began practicing both astrology and Tarot professionally. She majored in plant and soil science both in college and grad school, and grows much of her own food and "materia magica" on her land in the mountains of western North Carolina. Diotima’s personal spiritual path is rooted in the Western mystery traditions, the principles of Yoga, and a profound connection with the natural world. Wicca gives structure to her spiritual journey, and she utilizes shamanic practices for healing and to live in harmony with Nature. Over 15 years of studying Chinese martial arts has given her a deep appreciation of Taoist thought which has strongly influenced her magical and personal philosophy. You can find her at


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