Urania's Well: Astrology for Changing Times


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Diotima

Diotima

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

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

"b2ap3_thumbnail_Moon-over-sea.jpgI see skies of blue, and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world
."
What a Wonderful World ~ Thiele and Weiss

The whole-hearted optimism and idealism of this wildly popular song that Louis Armstrong pretty much owned would probably cause it to fall flat on its face were it released today. Cynicism, deep pessimism and hypocrisy are rampant. Just reading the news is an exercise in developing emotional resilience — assuming you can manage to avoid getting depressed.  But as we try to pull back from the edge of causing our own extinction, as we try to figure out how to deal with the obvious insanity of our culture (did you read the one about how they just restarted a nuclear reactor located two miles away from a highly active volcano that is close to erupting?), as we try to keep our own lives on track, it is important to remember that the simple joys, the sacred moments, the acts of blessing and being blessed are experiences inherent to our human consciousness, experiences that connect us with Spirit and bring healing. Nurturing those experiences is the work of the healers of the world -- and we are all healers, if we choose to be.

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” ~ Viktor E. Frankl (neurologist, psychiatrist, Holocaust survivor)

It is only by changing our consciousness as individuals that we can change the world we live in. This month’s Full Moon reminds us that we are being called to a level of transformation that requires leaving cynicism, pessimism and hypocrisy behind as we become more and more aware of the effects of consciousness on physical reality.  The ramifications of the choices we make every day about how we use our minds, thoughts and emotions reverberate through our lives in the same way a plucked string on a guitar sets the other strings vibrating, even though they are untouched.

Unless you are a complete materialist, and believe that there is no existence or awareness separate from what your brain generates, and that brain is no more than the result of a process that began with the entirely random knocking together of atoms in a primordial soup, then you know that consciousness extends not only within and throughout physical reality, but in a reality that exists beyond the borders of time and space. (I am not questioning the mechanisms of the evolutionary process here, BTW, just the “entirely random” part.)

We have considerable and accumulating evidence that consciousness does continue to exist after death, and between lives, and that consciousness — or perhaps I should refer to it as Consciousness — not only exists outside time and space, but is responsible for the creation of it. If you have experienced this reality — whether you believe in creator gods or a single God or simply the non-theistic existence of the Tao —  then you realize that Consciousness is primary, the Source. From there, it is an easy step to conclude that your own consciousness must also be creative and influential, since it is part of the greater Consciousness that is the force behind all creation.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Lion-love.png"The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.~ Thomas Merton

The August New Moon, in fun-loving, generous, heart- (and sometimes self-) centered Leo, forms a threesome with Venus, planet of relationships. This configuration tends to turn astrologer’s minds to hearts and flowers and “Love Is in the Air” . But a closer look at the chart reveals that you won’t be able to get away with a saccharine and shallow approach to relationships this month. (Though by all means, feel free to drag out the disco music. Someday I’ll do an astrological study of the disco scene in the 70s and will, I have no doubt, find a prominent Leo signature in the charts).

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b2ap3_thumbnail_sheriff-badge.jpgThis month’s New Moon chart has 4 planets in the “Mom and apple pie” sign of Cancer (and, yes, Cancer is the Sun sign of the USA). The questions we’ll be looking at closely this month include ones of hearth and home, family and tribe, our land resources, and how we feed ourselves. The challenges include major power struggles and a whole bunch of reality checks.
 
Cancer is ruled by Moon, so the Cancer New Moon is always a powerfully emotional and somewhat secretive one. This year, the New Moon (Sun-Moon conjunction) is  trine Saturn, the authority figure of the Zodiac, who is particularly taciturn right now in cloak-and-dagger Scorpio. This aspect immediately made me think of the highway signs that say, “If you see something, say something” with a phone number. While one would certainly hope that anyone who saw truly suspicious behavior —  like dropping a backpack on the street and walking away from it — would report it immediately, there are chilling comparisons that can be made to the propaganda and control techniques of the Third Reich. This kind of paranoid vigilance is much more likely to result in people being kicked off a plane for chanting prayers than it is to halt a terrorist attack, but it does a very good job of encouraging a climate of suspicion and fear.
 
A trine aspect makes for an easy flow of energy, but not necessarily a desirable outcome. You might want to look at the secrets you are keeping in your own life, and consider what the ultimate outcome of that secrecy might be. Some secrets need to be kept — others must be exposed, especially when authority runs amok.
 
Mars and Mercury are also in Cancer, dancing cheek to cheek, with Pluto doing its best to stop the music. There will be emotional power struggles, communications blowups, and probably more cyber-security problems in the air. In our own lives, we are likely to come face-to-face with our personal insecurities and emotional vulnerabilities, and we’ll feel the need to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Hopefully, we can protect without resorting to violence, either verbal or physical, but I gotta say — this is not a peaceful chart. Think before you speak or act in anger — and remember Humpty Dumpty
 
The productive manifestation of this aspect would include impassioned and inspiring speech, taking a strong, protective stand against abuses of authority, acknowledging the importance of emotional realities in the conducting of business and government, as well as in our own lives. It’s important that we make an effort to live from a heart-centered and emotionally honest perspective if we want to avoid attracting manipulative behavior and explosive, emotional drama.
 
Venus and Jupiter are still dancing together in the heart-centered sign of lovers and leaders, Leo. This optimistic, expansive, and sociable aspect overlit President Obama’s “best week ever” and presaged the SCOTUS decisions on gay marriage and health care. The aspect will continue in orb for a while — because Venus is turning retrograde soon (more on that in my next post), the two planets will conjunct again in August, go off on their own for a while, then come back together briefly in October. But in this chart, they are in a difficult square aspect to Saturn (and to the MC when the chart is cast for the USA). This suggests, among other things, restriction on artistic expression, “coming down to earth with a thud” (Noel Tyl), dogmatism, and underhanded tactics that undermine creative endeavors and chosen leaders.
 
Before I look at some ramifications of this chart that are specific to the USA in the upcoming month, here is a paragraph for astrology students. Find the chart here. In addition to the aspects mentioned above, note the sixth house emphasis, Aquarius rising (giving Saturn and Uranus rulership of the chart), Saturn right on the 29 degree Scorpio MC, and Uranus in a separating, but still close square to Sun and Moon, and approaching square with Mercury and Mars. Mercury and Mars are conjunct the USA Sun, and Pluto is in opposition to it. (This opposition will be in orb for the rest of the year. We’ll see some massive transformations happening in the country — and not all of them will be immediately obvious). For those of you who work with midpoints, especially note Uranus is at the midpoint of the two Cancer conjunctions.
 
I titled this post “Protect and Serve” because the area of the chart that rules service, including civil service, police, and the military is emphasized in this chart, and I expect that we’ll see events that lead to strongly emotional reactions around those areas of our society. Corruption and power grabs are major themes here, and so are patriotism, taking care of our own, and corporate control of government. There will be explosive, possibly quite violent events that reflect this theme of control and freedom, the citizenry and civil servants. We may well find the country in a heated discussion about which of our public servants actually serve, and which sought their jobs in order to fill their own pockets or satisfy their need for power. Sudden financial ups and downs are likely, and we’ll probably see some major, sudden, and probably extreme news in agricultural sectors.
 
How these aspects will affect you depend, to a great extent, on where they fall in your chart. If you’re interested in learning more about astrology so you can make more informed decisions and take advantage of opportunities and challenges by learning more about your own chart, I’ll be offering a class called Chart and Soul: Astrology for Yourself starting October 12th. Sign up for my mailing list and I’ll let you know as soon as I open registration.
 

 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_summer-school.jpgThis is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.” ~ Walt Whitman

Astrologers call the chart of the Summer Solstice the “Cancer ingress chart”, and it is one of four cardinal ingress charts we look at every year. These charts mark powerful times in the turning of the cosmic wheel — when Sun enters zero degrees of one of the four signs in the cardinal modality  — and are considered predictive for anytime from 3 months to one year ahead, depending on technicalities I won’t bore you with. Personally, I see all these predictive charts as successive waves of influence, and so, for instance, the waves of the latest New Moon chart, of the last Lunar Eclipse, of the recent Solar Eclipse and Aries ingress chart, are all breaking on or close to shore right now, creating patterns in the shifting, tide-washed sands of our personal lives and our society.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_lioness-confronting-dog.jpg"Our truth is an ancient one: that love endures and overcomes; that hatred destroys; that what is obtained by love is retained, but what is obtained by hatred proves a burden. This truth, fundamental to the position which rejects reliance on the method of war, is ultimately a religious perception, a belief that stands outside of history.”
From “Speak Truth to Power” by the American Friends Service Committee, 1955

The chart of the Gemini New Moon offers us many wonderful chances to communicate clearly with each other, and to speak our personal truths to whoever needs to hear them, but people aren’t going to be pulling their punches this month, so be ready to hear the truth as well. People will be expressing their thoughts with passion and intensity. It’s a great time to set intentions and do magical work around communication, and also to look closely at any beliefs and ideas that might be holding you back. It’s also worth taking a close look at what triggers anger in you, and why.

For astrology students: Sun, Moon and Mars are in a huddle in Mercury’s sign of Gemini, and Mercury is hanging out a little apart, having just turned direct a few days ago, at a pinnacle of strength in its own sign, staring down Saturn in Scorpio and challenging Neptune, also in its own sign of Pisces. This is a powerful combination. I’ve written in more detail about the effects of the Mercury-Neptune aspect here. Now let’s look at how it plays out with Saturn having moved back into Scorpio (in mutual reception and a tight semi-square with Pluto), and Uranus, Venus and Jupiter playing together enthusiastically in a Fire trine.

We have our work cut out for us — how do we communicate clearly, speak forcefully enough to initiate change without driving others back into the defensive emotional postures of Saturn in Scorpio or into Neptune’s realm of escapist fantasy? We will likely be faced with powerful, repressed ideas and emotions that get blurted out in often painful ways.  We’ll see this in ourselves, in our relationships, and in the world around us. Reacting with compassion to social blunders, verbal faux pas, and unintentional insults will be a challenging but necessary response to Mercury and Saturn’s game of truth and consequences.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Diotima
    Diotima says #
    Honestly, I think you are trying to run before you can walk with astrology. :-) It's rather more complicated than I can explain he
  • Diotima
    Diotima says #
    Moon in America's natal chart is in Aquarius. But Moon in any mundane chart (meaning a chart for an event like a New Moon, that is
  • m
    m says #
    So are you doing a Mundane Chart on America? What is the Moon sign on the Mundane Chart?
  • Diotima
    Diotima says #
    Yes. Definitely.
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    As always, a profound and yet understandable guide to the path ahead. Let's both hold a place for new leadership to arise.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_door-into-space.jpg

A book I’m reading got me thinking recently about some of the deeper issues of the current, ongoing Mercury-Neptune square, as Mercury has been retrograding over the degrees of the aspect, dragging out what is usually a very short encounter.  The square aspect generally presents as what a friend of mine called A FOG — Another Freakin’ Opportunity for Growth. (It’s never easy, might be painful.) Both arms of the square have ideas and approaches to problems that must be brought together into a workable synthesis, ‘cause nobody’s backing out of this fight.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_twitterphoto.jpgFull Moons always set the stage for the next couple of weeks, and in upcoming Full Moon chart (June 2, 12:20 PM ET) Mercury, the planet of the Trickster God, rules from a throne sitting right at the top of the chart cast for Washington DC (predictive for the entire US) Yes, Mercury is retrograde, too, making the Trickster even trickier to handle, bringing out his sense of slapstick humor (we don’t always find it funny) and offering us some clever puzzles to work on in the first half of June.

Looking Within

The first puzzle that we are presented with is the enigma of ego. As individual nodes of creative life force currently functioning from the home base of a body, we develop an ego as part of the maturation process. We identify with something we call me, myself or I. It’s a necessary and — if properly nurtured and balanced — healthy part of the human psyche. But many religions and spiritual philosophies tell us to renounce, or at least keep a tight rein on our egos — and their definitions of just what the ego is vary.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Diotima
    Diotima says #
    ...like a bird that flew. Tangled up in blue. You are very welcome. And I thought of you when I was writing the astrology paragra
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    And so we keep on keeping on....thanks, dear one!

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