Urania's Well: Astrology for Changing Times

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Hanging with Ferdinand: New Moon in Taurus

b2ap3_thumbnail_ferdinand.jpg"Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence." Max Ehrmann

This month’s New Moon features some intense aspects and planetary placements, including a station of Mercury as it prepares to go retrograde. It occurs just a few minutes after midnight on Monday, May 18th (all times EDT, find the chart here) at 27 degrees of Taurus, so anyone with placements in 23-30 degrees of the fixed signs will  have some extra energy to play with this month. Opportunities and pitfalls both abound — let’s take a look at how we might chart a course towards the former and avoid the latter.

What Would Ferdinand Do?

Taurus is the sign of the bull, and with Moon and Venus in mutual reception, the bull in question is undoubtedly Ferdinand, the flower- and peace-loving bovine of the children’s tale. But the New Moon is oppose Saturn, and Venus is opposed Pluto, so there is work that needs to be done, and done with emotional power and commitment.  Think of it as the necessary labor of gardening that keeps the food and flowers growing. Where this need for extra work shows up in your life depends on where these transits fall in the houses of your personal chart. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty, whether the “garden” is in your backyard, your workplace, or the twists and turns of your own mind and heart. With these planetary placements, you’ll need to do the work to get the reward.

(If you don’t know how to find the houses where transits fall in your chart, you may want to consider taking my upcoming online class, “Chart and Soul: Astrology for Yourself” — more info at the end of the post)

How we approach our work is also critical to skillfully navigating the month. The dull, plodding, just-get-it-done style is not going to work well this month. (Does it ever?) It’s important to allow yourself some fun, and create fun in your work as much as you can. You might even want to re-think what fun is for you now (if you haven't done that since college, it's time) 

Now, take a look at the puritanical beliefs creeping in as you read that last paragraph, whispering that fun is a sin, or at the least, highly suspect. Yeah, I know, you’re Pagan, you don’t believe in sin. But our culture as a whole takes the concept of sin as a major truth — and we were influenced by those beliefs long before we were capable of the kind of discernment that allows us to reject the concept of sin. Explore your beliefs, look under the mental furniture, and see if there are any unhealthy beliefs about sin and fun lurking around. Since our culture still affects us, they can be like little dust bunnies, cropping up repeatedly.

Find something that brings you joy, and make it a touchstone in your life. Bring some art into your surroundings — or, even better, bring an artist’s awareness to what’s already there. We all have an “inner artist” — let yours show you different ways of seeing and thinking. Hang out with Ferdinand, stop to smell the flowers, and let yourself be inspired.

Mercury Does It Again!

The Gemini placements of a stationary Mercury and Mars in opposition to Saturn suggest that we can use discipline to get out of any ruts we may be stuck in as this month begins. Gemini likes variety, and it may be time to mix it up a bit in your life, to allow the inner artist have a say. There are patterns in our lives we’d be better off if we changed, but we need to see them first. If you keep an altar, use it to work new patterns and release old ones by shifting the arrangement of objects on the altar itself.

Mercury goes retrograde (again!) within hours of this New Moon, strong in its own sign of Gemini — but take a deep breath before you panic, OK? Mercury Rx is a natural cycle of life, like the seasons. Approach it with attention (back up your computer just as you would winterize your home in October), and enjoy the gifts it brings. I look at Mercury Rx as a great opportunity to practice mindfulness, and to rethink and reconsider what’s going on in my life. Especially with the New Moon in Taurus, this is a fine time to begin, renew, or ramp up a meditation practice. You could try new ways of meditating — if you’ve been doing concentrative meditation, try working with mindfulness during the day, or meditative breathwork in the morning to wake yourself up, for instance. Daily practice is not a chore, or a habit like brushing your teeth, it’s a regular re-connection with Self and Spirit, and if it doesn’t bring you joy — then find a different way. People with a lot of Earth and Water in their charts often prefer a very regular style of practice. Fire and Air emphasis brings a need for variety, and new experiences. Balance, of course, is a good concept to explore. This is a good time to think about what practices work for you right now. Your practice should change as you do.

Out in the World

Looking at the patterns in the world over the next month through the lens of this chart, we’ll want to be aware of attempts at emotional manipulation and control, particularly under the guise of faux patriotism and flag-waving. In our personal lives, it’s more likely to manifest as proclamations that “this is for your own good”. Is it? You’ll want to question authority, in whatever guise it appears. 

There is also a suggestion of financial underhandedness and/or scandal here in the USA. With Mars and Mercury in the sign of commerce, and Saturn in the sign of foreign trade, international business is likely to be highlighted. (Astrology students: Also note Neptune ruling and in the 2nd with the South Node, Mercury ruling the big business and government 8th from the 5th house of speculation and stock markets, and Pluto opposing Venus, planet of money, from the 12th. Jupiter, co-ruler of the 2nd, squares the MC and trines Uranus, planet of sudden revelations. Yes, there are other ways that could play out, but this seems most likely.)

I’ve been saying for many moons now that the ongoing square of Saturn to Neptune will bring issues of infectious disease front and center, especially when it is triggered by Mars, and so it has been. Since the square began forming last fall, we’ve seen the Ebola panic, a measles outbreak and the accompanying “vaccine war” a record-breaking flu season, the “worst whooping cough outbreak in 60 years,”  an outbreak of bird flu, and a global outbreak of drug-resistant typhoid. There’s even a recent discovery of a medieval mass grave of patients who died of infectious disease. (And that’s not even all of the stories in my files). While the square is wide in this New Moon chart, Mars is triggering it, and I suggest doing whatever you can to keep your immune system strong.

A trine between Jupiter and Uranus brings inspired leadership and sudden breakthroughs, and we’ll need both those things, as the likelihood of major religious and legal conflicts — verbal or physical — is high. We’ll also be hearing a lot about homeland security and resources — such as what this article calls security psychosis”  Nationally, communications are likely to be electrifying, and there may be some startling revelations. Gossip will be an even larger problem than usual. Transportation and infrastructure challenges are likely, and so are strong storms and other environmental mishaps. Hopefully, we’ll see some intelligent, inspirational discussions around paths to environmental healing, as well. Consider this an invitation to start one.

Now you might want to take a look at your altar, and consider what magical work you’ll choose to do this weekend during the Dark and New Moon in the strong, sensual, and artistic sign of Taurus. But before you go, let me know if you are interested in taking my upcoming “Chart and Soul: Astrology for Yourself” online class by signing up for my mailing list, here, and/or liking my Facebook page (if you “Like” the page, be sure to click “Get Notifications” as well, so you don’t miss anything.). I'll be sending out announcements about registration soon, and I’ll have some thoughts on the upcoming Full Moon in Sagittarius in my next post!

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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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