Urania's Well: Astrology for Changing Times

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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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b2ap3_thumbnail_Lion-love.jpgCourage. Generosity. Love. Creativity. Leadership. These are all attributes of Leo, and this month we have an opportunity to express these qualities ourselves and use them to change our lives, and — to whatever extent we can — to change our world.  

The Leo New Moon falls on August 2nd at 4:46 PM. and gives us a blueprint for the month ahead. Leo epitomizes the drive for self-expression and creativity, yet the sign is not as self-centered as many think. An artist must have an audience, and an awakened Leo deeply appreciates each member of that audience as a unique and treasured expression of the human spirit.

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Emotional Literacy: New Moon in Cancer

"Teachers need to be comfortable talking about feelings. This is part of teaching emotional literacy – a set of skills we can all develop, including the ability to read, understand, and respond appropriately to one’s own emotions and the emotions of others."—Daniel Goleman

This New Moon in Cancer brings a chart of deep emotion, with a strong undercurrent of power being used effectively in the material world. True power, like a sun, radiates outward from an inner core. Control that is seized or imposed is not power, though it is often mistaken for such. Control ties you to what you are controlling. Power lets you take action in freedom and create what you will.


We’ll see a lot of attempts at grabbing power this month, but hopefully we will also see people of wisdom stepping into their own power and making changes in the world. Like you, perhaps.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_fire-in-cauldron.jpgA life truly lived
burns away what is no longer relevant
gradually reveals our essence
until, at last, we are strong enough 
to stand in our naked truth

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  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    Imagine me shaking my fist at both Mars and Neptune. Thanks for the heads-up.
  • Tony Lima
    Tony Lima says #
    Great, yet a find a grain of salt in my observations due to how some humans delve in the Third Person, and also because it maybe a

Posted by on in Culture Blogs


b2ap3_thumbnail_rumi-dont-go-back-to-sleep.jpgThis is a powerful New Moon, with the two major configurations in our skies right now (the square between Uranus and Pluto, and the T-square of Jupiter-Neptune-Saturn-Mars ) emphasized and intertwined in profoundly transformative ways.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_castle-in-the-air.jpgThe New Moon in Pisces is an eclipse this year, which means that this chart will be in effect for a period of between 6 months and a year. (The influences of these charts are more like waves — rising and then ebbing with the tide — than a spigot that is turned on and off). It occurs on Tuesday, March 8, at 8:57 pm EST.
It’s a powerful chart that floods us with a tsunami of watery Pisces energy. The sensible response to a tsunami is to head for higher ground, but some people will try to control it. Nit-picking bureaucrats, bombastic preachers, media manipulators and other small minds with limited perspectives will be out in force, trying to divert or direct this emotional, spiritual deluge, but it will not be contained. 
It will severely challenge our ideas of what is and is not spiritual. We’ll be asked to understand that everything, every atom of our reality, is created from and a part of the greater reality of All That Is. This means not only every beautiful sunrise, pristine forest and happy ending, but also every cigarette butt in the road, every shantytown, every mass shooting situation, every leaking nuclear plant — it’s all spiritual.
The driving forces behind the Universe are creativity and love. Love demands that we have free will, and free will means we get to create some pretty unpleasant stuff, both individually and en masse. So we are challenged to create more consciously, and work in tandem to create with more awareness and compassion.
Finding the sacred, finding what we want to bring into being, finding what we love, is our job. We are individual creative forces, and each one of our choices matter. Even if we don’t know quite how to fix what is wrong and we find ourselves surrounded by the results of many negative choices — our own and others’ — knowing where we want to be, envisioning the reality that we desire, that we choose, is profoundly important.
It’s like voting. Voting is a magical act. Proportionately, your vote may seem insignificant given that well over a hundred million people vote in a USA election, but it is not. Voting strengthens the energetic, telepathic, magical connection between you and others whose dreams are at least partially in alignment with your own. That is true for everyone, but as a magical practitioner, you can consciously strengthen the connection, and so strengthen the dream when you record your ballot.
Just remember that you vote every day of your life. You vote by how you live your life, how you approach and deal with others, how you act and think in every minute of every day.
There is tremendous freedom and power in aligning our will and our actions, in making sure the practical details of our lives are in resonance with our mystical insights and personal values. Live your life on that level, and you can surf the tsunami. But if you let unintegrated, unconscious forces drive you, you’ll get tossed around like a piece of driftwood.
Yes, this is a powerful eclipse. You will be challenged to step into a more evolved, aware, and influential version of yourself. There is a potential for miracles as well. This quote from the last chapter of Thoreau’s “Walden” is good advice for these next few months.:
"I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings. In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them."

Back In The U.S.A.

When the eclipse chart is cast for Washington, DC, it is predictive for the country. This is not an easy chart. A friend of mine used to describe certain experiences as A FOG — Another F&*%ing Opportunity for Growth, and I think we will all have plenty of opportunities for growth over the next few months. The point to remember is that they *are* opportunities, and it is often true — particularly when Saturn and Jupiter are involved, as they are in this chart — that the harder the challenge, the greater the opportunity, and the more room there is for growth and eventual beneficial outcomes.
(A couple of paragraphs for astrology students: Find the chart here. Yes, I know there are two powerful trines, but recall that trines simply mean an easy flow of energy. They are not necessarily beneficial, or at least, beneficial to us in a way we can currently appreciate, especially when the social and transpersonal planets are involved. Nor is Jupiter invariably a bringer of good news — the only thing Jupiter can really promise is expansion and growth, but it will often help us expand lemons into lemonade.
An individual can take the powerful energy in this chart and run with it, turn it into growth and opportunities realized. But on a national stage, we are more likely to see problematic manifestations, especially with the Uranus-Pluto square still within 2 degrees, and the tight T-square from Saturn to the Jupiter-New Moon opposition. Note also Jupiter’s influence on this chart — it co-rules Pisces and rules Sagittarius, and so it is the ultimate dispositor of every planet in this chart — except Neptune, Pisces co-ruler, and Mercury. It’s in mutual reception with Mercury and both planets are in the signs of their detriment. The Jupiter-Saturn interaction is also highly influential — Sagittarian issues will loom large in the upcoming months, Also notice that only Uranus and Pluto are not in mutable signs. Then, of course, you’ll want to look at the rulerships of the angles, and the 5th house focus, as well as Mars still square to Mercury.)
There are several major wake up calls indicated. More than one will be in areas ruled by the fifth house; children, schools, stock markets, sports and entertainment, creativity, royalty (read: political/business leaders and celebrities) and so-called “high-society” (read: extremely wealthy people whose wealth and privilege turn their b2ap3_thumbnail_shenanigans.jpgshenanigans into news)
Pisces is a sign that brings together, coalesces, merges, reminds us that we are all inextricably connected — to each other, to the planet and its web of life, and to the universe. We will be inescapably — and probably forcibly — reminded of these deep connections in many fifth house areas, all of which naturally tend towards individuation, not merging.
This combination could get interesting, and will doubtlessly play out clearly in the political arena through release of previously secret material, scandals and conflicts between authoritarian ideas and democratic ideals.  I expect emotional upheavals relating to political figures, with religion and spirituality being dragged into the mix in a big way. This election season will clearly illustrate that if we wish to manifest our ideas and ideals we must understand and work with the power of the emotions and the collective unconscious. We are challenged to expand out of our comfort zones, learn to listen to each other, and seek out points of agreement as a foundation for a cooperative, democratic society.
There will be environmental wake up calls as well, both in the form of geological upheavals (earthquakes, underground explosions, severe storms) and pollution, particularly water pollution. (This will be global, not just the USA) The Flint water crisis will continue to unfold, other problems with water will be exposed, and public health issues will be of increasing concern. Whatever your personal wake up calls may be over the next few months, make careful, informed choices, because they will have long-term consequences.
Fear (Saturn) is strong in this chart, and when fear sends its tendrils into the collective unconscious (Neptune, Pisces) the reaction is often mindless destruction. (I highly recommend this article on authoritarian ideation and fear, and how that is playing into Trump’s popularity and the current political climate in general.)
Like anger, fear has its uses. It helps us react appropriately to dangerous situations. But — also like anger —  when we cling to it, we have a large and deadly tiger by the tail. Learning to release our fears, to live our lives with courage and commitment, is the work of a lifetime. We get lots of opportunities for practice over the next 6 months or so. 
Most spiritual traditions offer a way to understand the world that gives those who follow its ways a sense of underlying safety. But I believe it is the mystical and experiential paths that give us a truly solid sense of security, of belonging, of how our individuality is cherished within the entirety of All That Is, and how we can use that as a source of courage and power in our lives. These next few months will be an excellent time to drag your fears into the light of your spiritual beliefs and experiences as well as your reasoning mind, and release those that do not serve you, but simply constrict your life force and your magic.
If you’d like to learn more about the personal wake up calls that are in store for you, contact me for a consultation


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  • Diotima
    Diotima says #
    There will be, Anthony, and I'm glad to know you are taking some action!
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I've signed several online petitions to stop water privatization schemes by the world bank in Africa and India. I suspect there w

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b2ap3_thumbnail_fire-coals.jpgHolding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” Gautama Buddha

There’s a lot of change in the air with Monday’s New Moon in Aquarius — Mars, the planet of action and confrontation, has a tight hold on the reins of this chart, with stern Saturn and unpredictable Uranus as the co-pilots. There is tremendous potential for effective action, but also for conflict and even violence, as Mars is strong in its own sign of Scorpio and challenging the Aquarius New Moon.

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 "This way or no way 
You know, I’ll be free
Just like that bluebird
Now ain’t that just like me"
~ David Bowie, from “Lazarus”
Astrologers always find it interesting to look at the charts of extraordinary people, and David Bowie’s chart is, unsurprisingly, quite remarkable. Most people repress at least some of the promises inherent in their charts, and it is always refreshing to see someone living — and dying — in a way that is fully engaged with their soul’s blueprint for this lifetime. I decided to write this post because Bowie did just that, and I hope it will be of interest to both astrologers and fans.
(I’ll put the more abstruse technical details in parentheses and italics so they can be easily skipped. Astrologers can find the chart here.)
I believe a person’s chart gives the blueprint of not only this lifetime, but  insights into other incarnations that are tied to this one by the goals and desires of the soul/spirit/oversoul (whatever you choose to call that eternal part of us that takes on multiple incarnations). Some of those goals and desires take multiple lifetimes to fulfill. Your mileage may vary, but this is the perspective I’ll be taking in this interpretation. And, no, I don’t believe the life is entirely mapped out in the chart. It’s only an itinerary, and we get plenty of free will — but we don’t always claim our power to use it well.
(Astrologers who do look at reincarnational issues generally look at the Moon’s nodal axis, at Saturn, Moon, and Pluto and at the Water Houses — the fourth, eighth and twelfth as indicators of past lives.)
Mortality wasn’t something David discussed, but he sang about it a lot. I think he saw the pain and felt the suffering in life more than most. Many of us put up filters and go into denial. I don’t think he ever did that, and that came out in his music.”
Mike Garson interview in The Guardian
Unfiltered truth about reality is Saturn’s trademark, and for all Bowie’s emphasis on Uranian freedom and self-expression, Saturn rules this chart with its iron hand.
(Astrologers: it co-rules the Ascendant, disposits 2 planets and is in mutual reception with Sun, and is strongly placed and aspected)
Without Saturn’s steadying influence and emphasis on discipline and hard work, all of Bowie’s brilliant artistry would have gone nowhere — he’d have been trapped in his head. His Capricorn Sun, Mars, and Mercury gave him tremendous physical energy and mental strength as well as a grounding on the Earth plane that kept him creating and performing even when his art had shot him far out into space.
He had Aquarius rising, and Bowie was seen as the quintessential Aquarian — a bleeding-edge iconoclast who flouted convention and challenged societal taboos. (His song “Changes” could be a theme song for Aquarius’ co-ruler, Uranus). But the chart indicates that there was a part of him that kept close track of social mores and public opinion, and welcomed at least some rules and organization. The raw strength and ambition inherent in this chart can hardly be overstated.
(Note that Uranus, in communicative Gemini, makes no Ptolemaic aspects, indicating that it tends to run wild in the chart, and is quindecile [165 degree aspect] both Venus, the ruler of artistic expression, and the MC indicating an almost obsessive need to be “free to be me”, which is exacerbated by a Leo Moon. But he has three personal planets in Capricorn and the Sun is very powerful, in mutual reception with Saturn, and conjunct Mars, itself exalted in Capricorn. )
Unfiltered truth is also what Sagittarius and its ruler, Jupiter, seek. Sagittarius is the sign on his Midheaven (MC), the indicator of a person’s public presentation and career. Venus, the planet of art, especially singing, is also in Sagittarius, right on the MC. The glittery, “look at me” flashiness of his Leo Moon notwithstanding, his art had to reflect Truth (always with the capital T), and a larger vision of the world that drew on a depth of understanding rooted in the collective unconscious.
(Astrologers also note that Jupiter not only rules the MC and disposits Venus, it is strong in its own 9th house, and, like Uranus, it makes no Ptolemaic aspects. In Scorpio, disposited by (essentially “working for”) both Mars and Pluto, Jupiter guides and directs his artistic self-expression in a visionary direction.)
He was deeply tied into the collective unconscious, channeling it through artistic expression, particularly acting. He took on roles (Ziggy Stardust, Thin White Duke, etc) even as a musician, and, of course, acted in a number of films. He kept a part of himself private — very private, especially his family life — but he gave freely of himself to his audience. His role-playing would have been, in part, an effort to keep his inner self at least somewhat shielded from the public eye, but was also probably part of his search for a Truth that could not be expressed through only one character.
(Astrologers note the extreme Southern Hemisphere emphasis, with nine planets above the horizon, Moon exactly on the Descendant conjunct Saturn and Pluto, all in artistic, self-expressive Leo. The twelfth house Sun-Mars conjunction suggests the need for privacy, along with the placement of Ascendant-ruler Uranus in the fourth house with the North Node.)
His chart indicates a generosity of spirit that expanded as he aged and came to a deeper understanding of and ability to cope with his own pain and that of others. He almost certainly did, as Mr. Gerson suggested above, have an exquisite awareness of life’s pain and suffering. Those who are Saturn-ruled almost always do, and the lack of emphasis on Water in his chart only made it more difficult for him to process and express some of his deepest emotional realities.
But the karmic keys in this chart are what I find particularly fascinating. The conjunction of three karmic planets on the Descendant and in Leo is an extraordinary knot of creative power rooted in past lives. Saturn’s involvement, ruling as it does both Sun and Ascendant, puts almost the entire chart in service to his creative side.
And yet, the creative road was a relatively easy one for him to follow. The chart indicates that he had done art before. He had even done fame and social prominence before (South Node in Sagittarius in the tenth house conjunct Venus and the MC. ). Creating came naturally to him, and had probably been a big part of several past lifetimes.
The more difficult lesson he chose to focus on this time around was to find and live from the core Self, that inner certainty of personal identity. Another part of that lesson revolved around having — and needing — roots. His spiritual discoveries would be made particularly through unusual but close family and tribal connections, not so much through his artistic expression, satisfying though that may have been for him on many levels. He had deep spiritual work to do this time around, and he did it mostly in private.
(The North Node and Ascendant ruler Uranus in the fourth. Twelfth house Sun-Mars and Mercury [it’s so close to the cusp I give it to the twelfth]. Mercury rules the NN, Uranus and the fourth house)
Fame, puts you there where things are hollow
Fame, it's not your brain, it's just the flame
That burns your change to keep you insane
~ David Bowie, from "Fame"
He was aided in his spiritual search as well as his creative escapades by Mercury, as well as Sun and Mars, in a square aspect to Neptune. This indicates a tremendous imagination, strengthens his spiritual interests, and connects him to the collective unconscious. Here is where those hard-to-express emotional realities often played out — in the realm of the mind and fantasy, including an interest in the occult and spirituality.
This aspect also points to his addictions and drug use. He needed an escape valve from the emotional pressures so strongly indicated in this chart, that were exacerbated by his fame. It’s clear from his work as well as his chart that he had an insatiable curiosity about the human mind and its limits. He was a psychonaut, a sailor of the soul. 
Eventually, as he matured (Capricorns almost always improve with age) he was able to let go of the drugs and addictions. Those three planets in Capricorn and their strong ruler helped him stay anchored and sane. Tough aspects between Mercury and Neptune can signify mental health problems, and while he may have worried about his sanity sometimes (Capricorn loves to worry), he stayed firmly tethered to the mothership. Most Capricorns have a head for business, and Bowie was no exception. Though his artistic pursuits always took precedence, he learned from his business mistakes and ended up a wealthy man who, unlike many artists, regained and then retained control over his oeuvre.
I believe that we all come into any given incarnation with at least some co-creative agreements with others, those with whom we intend to interact in this lifetime to see what we can create together. Life is, after all, nothing if not creative. Those who become famous agree to carry the dreams of many, while they work within the challenges and blessings of fame for their own growth.
One of fame's major challenges is dealing with the psychic projections of millions of people. I’m convinced this is why celebrities often have such profound substance abuse and relationship problems. Bowie seems to have dealt with this, at least partially, through creating the various characters he played, both as a musician and an actor — though he discovered that taking on these created identities could be dangerous as well.
David Bowie: ...So  I found it quite easy to write for the artists I would create, because I did find it much easier having created a Ziggy, to then write for him. Even though it was me doing it. I was able to sort of distance myself from the whole… yeah, well it can become very complicated.
Joe Smith: There is a psychological name for that.
David Bowie: Yes. It is. Fucking with the fabric of time there. It did bring a whole sackful of its own inherent problems with it.
I find it interesting that one of his favorite occult books was Dion Fortune’s “Psychic Self-Defense”. I would not be at all surprised to find that some of the techniques in there — not to mention her warnings about drugs — helped him get free of the cocaine, because he would have learned to protect himself from the destabilizing influence of the projections of millions of strangers.
What struck me about the pictures I have seen of him in the last decade of his life, including the ones taken just days before his death, is that they show a remarkable combination of joie de vivre, contentment, and kindness in his expressions. David Bowie, for all that his passing may have seemed untimely to those of us left here on Earth, appears to have lived a full, rich life that made the best of the opportunities inherent in his chart. I like to think that he is looking back on it with the satisfaction of a job well done, in knowledge of the spirit eternal, in peace, and freedom, and reunion with those who have gone before. Blessed be, David.


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  • Diotima
    Diotima says #
    Yes, you can find me at www.uraniaswell.com
  • Diotima
    Diotima says #
    Hi Elizabeth, Thanks for your kind words. If Mercury was on the MC, this would be a completely different chart! Mercury is given a
  • Elizabeth Rose
    Elizabeth Rose says #
    Interesting!! Thanks so much for your feedback! Do you have a site that lists your prices for a reading??
  • Elizabeth Rose
    Elizabeth Rose says #
    Hi Diotima! I LOVE your interpretation of David's chart!!! I'm curious to ask you, what would be the difference if Mercury was on

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