Urania's Well: Astrology for Changing Times
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The New Moon eclipse coming up on November 3rd is profound and transformative. The effects of a solar eclipse are more far-reaching and longer lasting than a regular New Moon, beginning a month or so before the actual event, and lasting for up to 18 months. This one will have us digging deeply into our psyches or projecting our shadows for some time to come. As I mentioned in my last post, there is an ongoing gathering of planets in Scorpio, the sign of transformation and secrets, sex and death, power and wealth, and they are all tied into the dramatic and revolutionary Uranus-Pluto square. The eclipse chart takes a picture right at the height of this wild party. There are some observations and cautions to be drawn from the chart from a national point of view — when cast for Washington, DC, the chart has the Scorpio stellium in the twelfth house, with Mars and Neptune in a wide opposition across the MC/IC axis — and I’ll discuss those, but the chart also offers considerable insight on a more personal level.
One of the first things that jumps out of this chart is a complete lack of planets in Air, and a considerable emphasis on Water. Mercury is also retrograde, and in a Water sign. This subdues communication, information exchange, and the open and rational discussion of ideas, while giving free rein to the expression of emotion and the imposition of material authority through the close cooperation of the three authoritarian planets, Mars, Saturn and Pluto. Saturn and Pluto relate to karmic issues in a chart, as does the sign of Scorpio, which is ruled by Mars and Pluto. A lot of us are going to be looking at karmic issues coming home to roost, and struggles on an emotional level that can be exhausting because they are rooted in childhood or past life experiences. We may feel like we’ve been thrown overboard into the waters of deep feeling, and can’t find an island of logic and perspective on which to rest.
“What on Earth you tryna do?
It's up to you, yeah, you”
John Lennon - Instant Karma
Don’t try to just skim the surface of whatever issues repeatedly present themselves for your attention now and over the next few months. There are karmic lessons to be learned from them, and avoidance simply won’t work. The meaning of “karma” can be somewhat elusive to those not steeped in a religious tradition that espouses it, and it’s defined rather differently across different religions, so I’ll give my personal definition here, both to clarify my approach to this chart, and also, perhaps, to encourage you to consider or re-consider your own beliefs on the subject.
My own understanding of karma was born in Hinduism, refined through Buddhist thought and personal meditative and trance experiences, and currently has come to rest somewhere in the general vicinity of the Jain point of view. Karma is accumulated patterns of energy that travel with us through lifetimes and helps us grasp principles of causality. But it is not an imposed morality — it is an experiential, energetic and natural cycle that seeks harmony and yields a greater understanding of our motivations on a soul level. It springs from our soul’s creative expression. Karma is a tapestry we have woven over lifetimes, often unconsciously. Learning to discern the pattern and so to weave our lives with greater awareness, helps us create the world we want to live in, to manifest from the heart.
"Why in the world are we here?
Surely not to live in pain and fear"
John Lennon — Instant Karma
It’s a good time to think deeply about our personal beliefs about the nature of cause and effect, determine if those beliefs hold up under scrutiny and how — or if — they support our transformation and growth. Sometimes we build up our perception of reality from outdated and conflicting beliefs that do not serve us. This is creating karma. The more closely our beliefs about and perceptions of reality align with the reality of our shared manifest world, the more effective we can be in that world, so checking our perceptions against shared reality is a good place to start when we are looking at how to change our karma.
Here’s an example: Let’s say your boss comes into work every day for a week and barely speaks to you. She’s demanding, and you sense hostility from her. This triggers long-standing issues of self-doubt within you, and soon your thoughts and beliefs have created a reality in which she is getting ready to fire you for your multiple inadequacies. Except she’s not. What’s really going on is that her husband told her last weekend he’d been having an affair for the past year, and she is furious, hurt, and considering divorce. You had little to do with her mood or her treatment of you, though at this point you’ve got yourself in such a tizzy that you probably are screwing up on the job. But the fears and emotional pain you were living with were built entirely within your own mind and heart, and were based in beliefs and emotional training that was laid down in your past. You assumed causes that were imaginary, yet the effects of those imaginary causes might well have manifested anyway — you probably had a miserable week, and it’s possible you could get yourself fired.
Well, it’s time to shake it up and re-program the worn neural pathways of imprinted emotional reactions. The eclipse can help us begin to develop new responses, to choose, affirm and nurture the emotions that we want to feel instead of running on the treadmill of the past. This is also creating karma. Our choices, based on how we think, feel and respond, activate patterns of cause and effect.
“Who on Earth do you think you are?
A superstar? Well, right you are”
John Lennon - Instant Karma
Observing your thoughts and beliefs can lead to greater clarity, insight and perception of reality that is built on expanded awareness instead of conflict and denial. But the logical, rational, standing-above-the-fray kind of observation is not well-supported by this earthy and watery chart. This is a chart that supports feeling your way through to new insights and awareness.
When looking for emotional insights, we might want to specifically look at what we desire. Desire is a powerful emotion, and Mars, the classical ruler of Scorpio, is the planet that, along with Venus, rules desire. Desire often gets a bad rap, but our best option for dealing with it is to learn to refine our desires, not eliminate them. Mars in discriminating Virgo in this chart helps us learn to replace mental and emotional junk food with delicious, healthy fare, and Venus in Jupiter’s sign of Sagittarius at the powerful Galactic Center offers us an important tool for changing what we desire — forgiveness, particularly self forgiveness. Don’t castigate yourself for craving what’s not good for you, because then you’ll instinctively try to suppress and avoid dealing with it. Learn from your mistakes, and move on. Many of our desires are learned — coffee and wine come immediately to my mind. :-) So it is possible to learn new desires, and to let go of those that do not serve us. Mercury and the North Node in Scorpio trining Neptune in PIsces, suggests that imagination will be a useful tool during this time to help us change. Imagine the outcomes you desire — as astrologer Caroline Casey is fond of saying “Imagination lays the tracks for the Reality Train to follow.”
"And we all shine on
Like the moon and the stars and the sun"
John Lennon - Instant Karma
Handling this eclipse in a positive way will involve diving deeply into our hearts, learning what we desire, and focusing on the practical, earthly tasks of living our lives. While the lack of Air and preponderance of Water in the chart suggests a focus on emotions, it is important to be conscious of the missing element. Bring Air into your life through meditation and conscious breathing. Communicate with care and empathy. Do whatever you do in your tradition to invoke this element, just don’t get stuck in intellectual ivory towers. We’re in the trenches now, and the Uranus-Pluto square, within minutes of exactitude in this chart, will continue to bring change and even upheaval into our lives. Remember that destruction is a necessary prelude to change, and Tower Time will affect us all.
There’s still much to discuss in this chart from a mundane (political and social) aspect, and I’ll try to get a post up about that before the eclipse.
Samhain blessings to you.
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