Urania's Well: Astrology for Changing Times

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The Trickster and the Eclipse

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_birdimages.jpgWe have quite a bit of astrological activity happening this week, not the least of which is a lunar eclipse on Wednesday. The action actually began this past Friday morning, as Mars, the planet of violence, triggered the Uranus-Pluto square by squaring Uranus, the planet of upheavals and sudden events. Predictably, all over the country, Black Friday triggered fights, chaos, guns and knives drawn, and even a gang fight that ended up filling a mall with pepper spray. Mars goes on to conjunct Pluto on Tuesday, the eclipse happens on Wednesday, and…oh, how could I forget — Mercury goes direct today!

A Look Back at Mercury Retrograde

This week, I’m going to demonstrate how we can interpret the personal effects of an eclipse by looking at it through the lens of our own charts, and I will use Hillary Rodham Clinton’s chart as an example. But first, I’d like to clear up some lingering misconceptions about Mercury retrogrades, particularly the astrological predictions made about the Mercury station on Election Day.

I’ve heard a number of people suggest that because the presidential election was clear-cut, that the Mercury Rx station did not have an effect. But, in fact, the delays and chaos predicted by most astrologers did happen. Mercury does not indicate the results of an election or whether or not it will be close — Mercury Rx only indicates that there will be troubles, delays, and miscommunications with the actual voting. Had the presidential race been as close as most pundits predicted, there would certainly have been a delay in determining the outcome. Florida, for instance, did not finish counting the votes until four days later. But Obama’s victory was a broad one — surprisingly, he did not even need Florida — so the Mercury Rx messes did not materially affect the outcome of the presidential election.

It did, however, affect many, many, local elections. It affected people’s ability to vote — lines were long almost everywhere, there were many questions of voter eligibility. It affected the vote counting —  in Florida, Arizona, New Jersey and New York among many others. Some close races were legally contested (Allen West, for instance), and some local New Jersey elections are still not decided . I gave more examples of Election Day problems, such as dead men voting, in this post. So there were plenty of Mercurial snafus, as predicted. For me, the most interesting manifestation of Mercury Rx happened after the planet had retrograded back into Scorpio, the sign of covert operations, when Anonymous released a video in which they claimed to have stopped Karl Rove from stealing the election. Video is here, . More detail here and here.

There is a personal lesson here for all of us. Yes, Mercury retrograde heralds communications breakdowns and other snafus, but it is not something to fear. You certainly want to be careful of your communications during a Mercury Rx, but these times can also be the perfect time to revisit and reconsider things, such as overdue communications that have been pushed to the back burner, attitudes that no longer serve us, and perceptions that are inaccurate. Handled properly, a retrograde planet gives us a chance to deconstruct and then rebuild in whatever areas of our charts are affected by the retrograde. Worry is an affliction of the mind — which is why, I think, people tend to freak out about Mercury when it goes Rx, since Mercury rules the mind and mental perceptions. Yet, these periods are excellent times to turn inward and learn to shift your mental attitude from a place of worry to a place of acceptance and power. Re-visiting that meditation practice might be a good place to start…

Interpreting the Lunar Eclipse

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has lived much of her life in the spotlight of national politics and public service, and we know from news reports that she is stepping down from her position because she is tired of traveling and would like to spend more time with her family. She has also been prominent in the news lately. Her name is being bandied about as the next Democratic presidential candidate — when they were visiting Thailand just last week, President Obama said in a conversation that Secretary Clinton would be “the next president” -- and just a day or two later, she was again front and center in the news as she helped broker a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. (Not to mention the fact that the “Hillary texting” meme just won’t die.) You might think — correctly — that with all this publicity there would be a lot of activity in her chart right now. So let’s look specifically at how the upcoming Full Moon eclipse in Gemini will affect her chart.

The point of this kind of exercise, whether you do it for a client or just for yourself, is to determine in which areas of life you are being nudged — or even challenged — to change, to expand in understanding, to move ahead in personal and spiritual growth. We want to look at our charts not from the fatalistic stance of “What’s going to happen to me?”, but from the more creative stance of “How can I work with the current energies to move my life in the direction I want to go?” Using Secretary Clinton’s chart as an example, let's explore how to determine the influences of an eclipse on an individual’s chart.

If you want to follow along, download the Clinton chart here, the chart of the Full Moon here, and the chart of the two in a bi-wheel, here. You might also want to grab a copy of your own chart, and note down the positions of the planets of the transiting planets around your wheel, or create a bi-wheel in your astrology software, with your chart in the center, and the Full Moon chart, cast for your location, around the outside.

Remember that the effects of any eclipse, solar or lunar, are similar to a New or Full Moon, but much longer lasting, and are triggered by subsequent planetary transits to the same point. Opinions on this vary, but counting on effects that last for about a year for a solar eclipse and 6 months for a lunar is a pretty safe bet. A lunar eclipse — always at a Full Moon — tends to bring emotions to the surface. It also brings awareness, shifts in perspective and issues of relationship. The first thing you want to determine is in which house the eclipse falls in your chart, because the affairs of that house will be emphasized. At a Full Moon, of course, the house that holds the Sun will also be highlighted.  For Clinton, relationship issues are doubly-sensitized now, because the eclipse happens across her first/seventh house axis of self and others, with the Moon in Gemini in the seventh.

The seventh house emphasizes one-on-one relationships of all kinds. It indicates business partnerships, open enemies and antagonists, opponents and competitors, and, of course, marriage partners. Decisions Clinton is making now will affect all her relationships, and with the Gemini Moon, open, emotional communication will be a key factor in determining how both her personal and public relationships will fare. Open, spontaneous communication is not easy for a woman with the Sun, Venus, and Mercury in Scorpio in the twelfth house, Scorpio rising, and the Moon in Pisces in the fourth. Despite her very public life, she is a private person who, I suspect, carefully considers and strategizes before speaking — unless, of course, she loses her temper. Scorpios always have a temper, especially when both ruling planets are conjunct in Leo, but self-control is important to her. So this Gemini Full Moon in her house of relationships suggests that she’ll be receiving a great deal of impulsive, even impetuous, communications from others, and will be challenged to respond with a light touch and with emotional and verbal agility.

The next thing to consider when assessing and eclipse chart over a natal chart is to note any aspects from the Sun and Moon to the angles of the natal chart, and to any natal planets, particularly the planet(s) that rule the house of the eclipse. For this eclipse, we also want to consider the aspects to and positions of Mercury, both natal and transiting, for, as the ruler of Gemini, the sign the eclipse falls in, it is considered the Lord of the Eclipse — a rather medieval way of saying that it’s really important in interpreting this chart.

So, let’s look at the major points of this eclipse vis a vis Clinton’s chart: (abbreviations: T = transiting [in other words, the eclipse chart] N= natal [Clinton’s birth chart])

  • First, the eclipse is in Gemini, ruled by Mercury, making Mercury Lord of the Eclipse.
  • The T Sun-Moon opposition squares Clinton’s N Midheaven — which is also ruled by Mercury. This suggests big changes in her career, which we know will be happening, as well as the need to balance self-care and relationships with career, letting go of old patterns (Mercury) to do this. Are any of your chart’s angles in the early degrees (say, between three and nine degrees) of mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces)? If so, this eclipse will have a strong effect for you personally.
  • The ruler of the seventh house, Venus, is in Scorpio both natally and in transit in her twelfth house. The relationship issues that are being brought up are probably lifelong ones, and may trigger considerable introspection on her part. 
  • Note that, like Venus, T Mercury is within orb of a conjunction to Clinton’s N Mercury, in Scorpio, right on her Ascendent. If you’ve been following this blog, you may also realize that the solar eclipse of two weeks ago was almost exactly conjunct her N Ascendent and Mercury. Wow! Natally, Mercury is very influential for her — conjunct her Ascendent and ruling her Midheaven — and the Mercury vibe is being ramped up by T Mercury and both of this month’s eclipses. So we can assume that the houses that Mercury rules in her chart will be emphasized — Gemini is on the cusp of the eighth house of transformation, regeneration, of the exchange or sharing of resources with others (particularly financial resources), and Virgo is on the tenth house of career and one’s public presentation. Let’s not forget, either, that Mercury is the Trickster God, and, with all this Mercury energy surrounding her, she’s going to need to stay flexible, and think fast on her feet, because there are likely to be quite a few surprises in store for her.

Do you see the repeating patterns that emphasize communication, mindset, and all things Mercury-related, working through the depth, secrecy, power and intensity of Scorpio, with an emphasis on relationships, playing out in a very public forum? I’m not looking at any political angles here (that would be a whole ‘nother post), just at how this is likely to affect her on a more personal level, as an example of how this kind of interpretation can work.

Now, try this with your own chart, checking:

  • Which houses the eclipse falls in
  • The houses ruled by Mercury (Lord of the Eclipse) These will be the houses with Gemini and Virgo on the cusp.
  • The aspects made by the eclipse to natal planets or angles. If there are none, this eclipse probably won't have much of an effect on you.
  • The rulers of the houses in which the eclipse falls, and how they are aspected, both natally, and by transit. (Note that, as with Clinton's chart, the fact that the eclipse is in Gemini/Sagittarius does not mean that Mecury/Jupiter rule the houses it falls in. The eclipse happens early in the sign, so for many of you, the rulers of the houses the eclipse falls in will be Venus (Taurus) and Pluto and Mars (Scorpio)

The houses will tell you which areas of your life are likely to be highlighted in the coming weeks and particularly when the eclipse point is transited by other planets over the next few months -- particularly Jupiter from mid-January through mid-February, when Mars will also transit the eclipse point.. The planets or points aspected will tell you where you are being challenged to change, and the kind of energy that needs to be invoked to help you manage the issues of the houses that are being affected so you can move into a new phase of your life.

Secretary Clinton is an old hand at strategic communication, and probably thrives on emotional intensity,  yet it appears that she will be deeply challenged over the next few months to find her emotional balance and restructure her life. I expect there will be one or more personal crises that will require all her considerable skills and abilities to manage. She is a powerful woman in a powerful position who is about to relinquish some of that power, and that will require considerable emotional and mental adjustments on her part -- and Mercury is all about adjustments. There are almost certainly major spiritual lessons for her revolving around how she fulfills her needs and desires, how she shares power in relationship, and -- that very difficult and omnipresent lesson for people with a strong Scorpio emphasis -- how to let go.

There are a couple of other things that jump out from Clinton’s chart that more advanced astrologers might want to consider. If this was the chart of a friend or client, how would you advise them? Note that the eclipse Sun is in Sagittarius, and the eclipse Moon is in a wide conjunction with T Jupiter in Gemini, trine Clinton’s natal Neptune, the ruler of her fourth house, and dispositor of her fourth house Moon (home and family). Natally, Jupiter rises in Clinton’s chart, strong in Sagittarius. Her N Jupiter is currently being squared by T Neptune, which will advance to oppose her Midheaven next year. Also note that T Jupiter will station exactly at the degree of this eclipse at the end of January. Jupiter rules her second house of values and self-worth. Whew! That’s a lot going on, and a lot of Jupiter and Neptune. The rulers of the first house (Ascendent) are Pluto and Mars. These two planets are conjunct in her natal chart in Leo, conjunct N Saturn as well. Transiting Pluto and Mars are also conjunct in the Full Moon chart, and in Saturn’s sign. The combination of Pluto and Mars is implacable, and can presage violence (emotional or physical, as victim or perpetrator). What are your thoughts on how these aspects might manifest for her? Leave them in the comments if you want to discuss...

Also, a few points on the lunar eclipse chart for the more advanced astrologers: Note that we have two yods here, both involving the Moon, Saturn, and an arm of the Uranus-Pluto square. Mercury makes no Ptolemaic aspects, and its only aspect with another planet is a tense sesquiquadrate with unpredictable Uranus, and the eclipse is conjunct the USA Uranus. The Trickster is riding high in the sky over Washington, DC at the Full Moon, and is taking no prisoners. We can expect not only sudden and unexpected events in the arena of the government, but an effort at keeping information secret. The two yods give this chart a restless energy, seeking change, but encountering resistance (Saturn), hidden forces, and possibly violence (Pluto and Mars rule the MC and the Scorpio stellium in the tenth with Scorpio’s two rulers conjunct in Capricorn in the twelfth house.) Scorpio also brings up issues of sex and espionage, so it is quite possible we’ll be seeing more about the Petraeus scandal, or another, similar one. The eclipse falls in the fifth house of children, education, entertainment, and stock market speculation.

OK, that’s about all I have time for right now. Questions? Feel free to ask in the comments section.

Next week, I’ll post the second lesson of the beginning astrology course. Have you studied the first one yet? If not, you'll find it here.

Until next time!

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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 www.uraniaswell.com

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