Urania's Well: Astrology for Changing Times

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Scylla and Charybdis: Navigating Narrow Straits

Do you remember the story of Odysseus, who had to navigate his ship between the six-headed sea monster, Scylla, and the whirlpool Charybdis? I suspect quite a few of us will be feeling that energy in our lives soon, if we aren’t already, and, as with Odysseus, the only option is to make a choice. Figuring out what action to take means we need to take time to reflect — but not too much time, because events will call us to take action. You’ll need to steer a careful, attentive course through the choices that are presented to you in the upcoming weeks.

The planetary alignment that is energizing these navigational hazards is the station of Saturn and Uranus within less than half a degree of an inconjunct (150 degree) aspect with each other, July 20-21. Saturn in Scorpio is stationing direct, Uranus in Aries, retrograde. The inconjunct is not one of the most powerful aspects, but it packs a punch, and this close, with these two powerful planets almost motionless in the sky and in tight aspect for over a month, I expect it to shake things up a bit. Jupiter will also have moved into Leo a few days before the planetary stations, and Mercury will be out of its shadow from the last retrograde, joined by Venus in Cancer.  So the overall energy is going to change fairly dramatically in mid-July.

 There is tremendous power in these Saturn-Uranus stations — both Aries and Scorpio are Mars-ruled signs, and Saturn rules the creation of form. Uranus in Aries encourages us to break rules, break ground, break through — break something! Saturn is Scorpio tells us to be savvy, know the rules, and play our cards close to the vest. The commonality is Mars, which tends to take what it wants, but also gives tremendous energy and will to action. Mars will gain in strength toward the end of the month, as it joins Saturn in Scorpio, and you'll want to take a close look at how you claim personal power, give it away, or misuse it.

In addition to power, what are the main issues being emphasized? How can you stay on course and navigate these straits? The call of Uranus is one of liberation and change, and is irresistible. The demands of Saturn are those of time and space and are unavoidable. Much depends on which areas of your own natal chart are being activated, but in general there is likely to be a need to identify personal inner blockages that are keeping you stuck in patterns of thought and behavior that are painful and destructive, and break through them to a whole new perspective on your life.

What keeps us on course in our lives are our values and beliefs. If we hold conflicting values or beliefs tucked away in our subconscious, we have a navigation problem, an uncertainty or conflict about how to act that usually involves repressed thoughts and emotions. Then we react in ways that are probably not in line with our deepest values or, often, our conscious choices. We take the easy path, the one that let us avoid the wrestling match with the painful beliefs that are causing the conflict.

For instance, let’s say your teenage daughter has a fender-bender in your new car while she is out past the time you told her to be home. You experience a lot of inner turmoil while you are busy getting the practicalities of the situation sorted out — feelings of fear, relief, anger, perhaps self-blame (feeling that you could have prevented this somehow), worry (the car insurance will go up!), self-pity (why me, why now?), blame. Some of these feelings are in direct response to the situation at hand — fear, relief. Others, usually not as conscious, are mental tape loops that often date back to your own childhood — “Everything’s my fault”, “Daddy will be mad” — or are beliefs and fears you’ve been carrying around a long time that you stuff down, because you don’t want to look at them too closely. “I”m a failure as a parent”, for instance, or “Every time we get a little extra money, something happens”.  Your conscious beliefs may be completely in opposition to those that are operating below a conscious level. Your conscious belief may be “I work hard to be the a great parent”, and you may repeat a “Money flows to me easily” affirmation with all the dedication of a yogi with a mantra, but until you do the work to dredge up, confront, and release or integrate opposing beliefs, your life will reflect uncertainty and conflict.

How you act towards your daughter that evening will depend a lot on how well you can sort out the inner turmoil and get clear on what actions your values and beliefs call for, instead of reacting in a way you know will block those painful tape loops, but may damage your relationship with your child. Making the kind of changes that help you instinctively act and react in a way that reflects your most deeply held beliefs and values requires time set aside for intense inner work, and this is a good way to interact with the planetary energies of the weeks ahead.

One of the possible pitfalls, particularly with the current astrological Scylla and Charybdis, is that you may not approach your inner mental and emotional landscape with open curiosity, compassion, and forgiveness. Stomping around carrying flags of judgement, shame, and feelings of futility will send all the little unconscious beliefs and unexamined values you want to find scurrying for cover. Fortunately, Neptune’s transit through Pisces, along with Mercury and Venus moving into Cancer mid-month, make it easier to find some compassion and forgiveness (for both self and others) if you go looking for them — and I hope you do. The world needs a lot more of both. As Desmond Tutu said in The Book of Forgiving:

“When we forgive, we take back control of our own fate and feelings. We become our own liberators. We don’t forgive to help the other person. We don’t forgive for others. We forgive for ourselves. Forgiveness, in other words, is the best form of self-interest. This is true both spiritually and scientifically…As modern forgiveness research evolves, the findings clearly show that forgiving transforms people mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and even physically.”

This kind of inner work literally shifts the resonance of your personal energy field, and gives your affirmations — and all your magic — the necessary fuel. But the work requires courage, because change almost always does. Courage, and the willingness to live with uncertainty. We are each the heroes of our own life’s myth and our daily choices determine our story. How will the story of your encounter with Scylla and Charybdis read?

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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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