Dancing with Gods

Greetings, and welcome back to Journeys! This month we’re going to explore how to tackle some of the more challenging and traumatic transits that astrology can present us with.

for Shan

In modern astrology the most challenging planets that we must deal with are Saturn, Chiron, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, but we may have to add Eris to this list. Traditionally, that is before the discovery of the outer planets beginning with Uranus, the list of troublemakers was shorter, being limited to Mars and Saturn with some problematic situations also being connected to Mercury. The fast moving orbits of Mercury and Mars meant that most serious trouble-making sky stories were assigned to Saturn alone, making him the number one malefic. It is extremely telling that as our collective power grew with the creation of globalist technologies in the late 1700s that we started discovering even slower moving planets to keep track of our collective impact, since slow moving objects describe influences that hang around in time for much longer. The individuals karma or impact in terms of cause and effect has been massively amplified by the arrival of this kind of technology and every individual human being now has a footprint which impacts the entirety of life on Earth. This brings about greater need for individual humans to awaken so that their collective power does not behave unconsciously. For this reason encountering these new titans of the sky can have overpowering effects on our individual lives as we must now awaken to their immense power and their presence or be consumed by it.

The slow-moving nature of these planets means that they will have few opportunities to interact with us compared to fast moving planets, but (in transits at least) the frequency reduction increases the power exponentially. Saturn, the fastest moving of these objects, takes about 28 or 29 years to orbit the entire chart, thus meeting with every part of it three times over the course of a lifetime. Uranus on the other hand takes about 84 years to orbit the entire chart, thus meeting with every part of it once over the course of a lifetime, but on a scale of power that is approximately three times greater than that of Saturn. On the other end of the scale, Pluto takes about 240 years to orbit the entire chart and so it will not reach every single part of it, and will only make it a third of the way around the chart by the time we are around 80 years of age, placing it on a scale of power relative to Saturn that is approximately eight times more intense and overpowering.

However even though most of these planets won’t make it around the entire chart in one lifetime they don’t have to do that to stir up challenges for us. They can make contact with parts of a chart by square or opposition instead of by conjunction, so there is no avoiding the fact that we will encounter them many times during the course of our lifetime, often multiple times in different forms. It is even possible and actually common for entire decades of our lifetime to be dominated by challenges that are being issued by one or more of these planets because they can chain their influences into mammoth endurance tests.

This month’s article is about how the way we approach these experiences determines what we will experience and how we will experience it. As I’ve explained in detail in my book The 26 Keys there is a way to consciously engage with astrology that transforms the way we experience it. You can find the details of that approach in my article here, this month I’m instead going to talk more generally about the ways we can welcome these planetary challenges and benefit from them the most, and I will be speaking about every kind of aspect these planets make. What I share with you here comes in the form of 6 pointers drawn from my own direct experience of transits from these planets, mostly from my own personal experience but sometimes from the experience of people I have been close to while they were happening.

FIRST POINT: BEING PRESENT

The first point is that there are two broad problems with the way people approach astrology today. One is that they may not believe in it at all and consider it either entertainment or garbage. These people remain completely ignorant of astrology and the influences that it undoubtedly has on their lives. In fact their lack of awareness of what they are dealing with when they are dealing with it strongly inclines them to manifest some of the worst behaviour that these transits can produce in human beings. If you are an astrologer you will no doubt understand this. We have all seen what happens when someone is having Pluto opposite their Sun or Moon and they have no idea that they are supposed to go through a major transformation and shed off the skin of the past. They resist and deny the death process and thus block the rebirth, forcing Pluto to turn up the intensity until they crack. That is just the way he works and no human consciousness can control him. So the first problem is that if we don’t know about an astrological challenge we cannot be present to meet it, we will at least be taken by surprise when it arises and may not ever embrace the necessity it represents.

In this case the unconscious awareness of the person becomes part of the problem and they must first be made to awaken to the need for transformation in their life at that time. Otherwise what they will experience is an unpleasant sweeping away of things they are still attached to. The experience will be extremely traumatic in this case, but the real trauma will stem not from the need for transformation but from the resistance to that need.

The second problem however is less well acknowledged among the astrological community but just as trauma inducing and affects people with an awareness of astrology rather than people who have none or just a little. This is the problem of anticipation. Simply put, anticipation of an upcoming ‘bad transit’ leads to the consciousness suffering from that transit before it even begins, sometimes many years before it is even there. You can spend years in dread of a particular Pluto transit you know is coming, for example, thus greatly and unnecessarily extending the trauma that this transit produces, when it might not even produce any when it arrives. Additionally you can have a hard and negative attitude towards such transits going into them, something that makes it very difficult to accept what they are bringing when they do arrive. And then you might even spend years looking back on that transit, cursing it, thus extending its influence indefinitely. This would indicate that you have not properly processed what it has introduced into your life.

This second problem can gradually diminish through experience as you realise that not all of these transits that seem bad on the surface actually produce traumatic experiences, but sometimes they are actually extremely positive even when those aspects are squares and oppositions, and that there are certain attitudes you can take to troublesome planets that greatly reduce their need to be severe on you. I will give some examples of these later. The second problem then is that if we anticipate an experience in a way that alienates us against it, we will suffer more. Nothing is alien to the one self.

In both cases the problem solves itself if we are present in the moment, and this is the most important point in dealing with challenging experiences – staying in the moment reveals the path, step by step. The unconscious person with no knowledge of astrology will then find their own way to navigate through the experience without the guidance or framework of knowledge that astrology provides, while the student of astrology will avoid falling into the trap of anticipatory stress before the transit occurs and will be able to apply their astrological knowledge to the moment by moment emergence of the energy field in their lives – they will not be ‘swept away’ or ‘blown away’ by the force of the collective planet. It may still come with stress because all of these planets bring change, but that stress will remain in manageable levels.

SECOND POINT: KNOW YOURSELF

Knowing yourself means knowing how you behave and react in various situations. If you know, for example, that you have a short temper then you will be more prepared to deal with angry situations. If you then also know what kinds of situations tend to cause your short temper to evaporate (for example, a particular person saying a particular thing) then you have a further advantage over just knowing that you have a short temper. Finally, if you are able to recognise your own reactions as they arise, you can withdraw from them and then if you wish replace them with a consciously chosen reaction. When your reactions are unconscious, i.e. when you react without being in control of how you react, then you create further causation within the Akasha principle designed to teach you about your reaction. When you are in control of your reactions to things, however, you will learn far more quickly from the planetary intelligence interacting with you because you will not have to learn about how your own baggage is shaping the meaning of what you perceive is happening. Communication between you and the emissary of change will be clearer and more flowing.

Inner reflection is always the true way but astrology is of course our greatest asset in objectively symbolizing the self and its experience of life. You can gain a great deal of insight from astrology that will help you greatly in gaining knowledge of yourself. It is an incredibly complicated area of study, though, which can be very off-putting. Boiled down to its basics, however, it is about the Sun and the Moon. Understanding the positioning of these two objects in your natal astrology will greatly help you to understand how you will experience life changing challenges. This includes understanding the essence of meaning the Sun and Moon symbolize, the qualities that arise from their sign positions and aspects, with the houses or temples showing where these factors really come alive. Simply put the Sun is the essential self or the spark of consciousness, the experience of being alive in the present moment and the form in which the inner light of intuition (inner tuition) arises, while the Moon represents the way in which we react to everything that happens seemingly beyond the self and the ongoing narrative or story about ourselves and life that we create through those reactions.

So if you have an Aries Sun sign, which is a Fire Element sign, then intuition will arise as a need to act (Fire) without knowing why. However this intuition will mostly arise when you are present in the moment in a state of readiness (Aries) like a warrior waiting to strike or to fight in a battle. If you also have an Aries Moon and you are lost in the reaction of impatient thoughts about how great a warrior you will prove yourself to be, then you will not hear your intuition and will be governed by your thoughts and instincts instead. You will be drawn into the astral dramas of the soul and its story about who you are and you will not hear the whispering prompts from your true self, your Greater Self. As another example if you have a Taurus Sun sign, which is an Earth Element sign, then you may feel intuition as a bodily sensation, perhaps a fluttering in your solar plexus or heart, and if you have a Moon in Libra you may have the habit of reacting to that intuition by seeking contact with another person to seek their opinion on it, which will draw you into the classic way of reacting that Libra Moon has, that of endlessly weighing up different points of view seeking to arrive at an equal partition between them. The intuition supplied to the body by the intelligence of Taurus then becomes smothered in the intellectual reaction of Libra Moon.

Instead of having the Moon lead the way the natural light of the Sun must shine upon the face or surface of the Moon, illuminating it, just as it does in nature. This means that your solar nature must guide the reactions of your lunar nature and bring them to life without becoming lost in them. The qualities of your Sun sign nature and the qualities of your Moon sign nature must both be worked on and elevated so that you are fully conscious of them and express them at the highest level that you are able to, but ultimately you must use the energy of the Sun to bring life and meaning and commanding equilibrium to the energy of the Moon. What this means exactly varies from individual to individual and is very unique, and it is further shaped by the aspects that the Lights are involved in with other objects, but it always means being in control of your own reactions and for this you need to be in the present moment, as per point one.

THIRD POINT: KNOW YOUR DANCE PARTNER

This third point is spooky to some people, but its not really anything to be scared about, it is instead something sacred. The planets are alive, conscious entities just as we are, but on a vaster scale of physical form. The Earth is not the only living planet in the universe or even in the solar system, nor are any moons truly lifeless either. Everything is alive and aware of its aliveness in its own way, because everything is consciousness in a different form. Surface life in the form of biological organisms are just one form of expression of a universal consciousness of being that permeates all things equally.

This means that you have a dance partner that you need to know too – the emissary of the intelligence of the planet coming to visit your individual awareness. They will arrive with their own moves planned and in their own time. These moves, due to the overarching intelligence that these beings have (an intelligence which allows them to perceive the ways in which we need to change, when and how and so on) are to be trusted and responded to sincerely, not rejected. Their agenda is our awakening and our growth but they each use different methods to do so and sometimes those moves are very strong ones. We can only begin to sense what those moves are near to the time the transit begins, they begin to take shape in our lives and in our awareness and that is when we can begin to comprehend what is emerging.

Therefore, in the months and/or weeks leading up to such a challenging transit, it is wise to look deep into the eyes of the planet that is approaching and ask them what they are bringing to teach you. The heart must be open and it is also helpful if you prepare offerings in the form of loving words and thanks for the life changing opportunities that are set to emerge, but its not necessary, the only necessity is that you shift your consciousness to being aware of their approach in your realm. The signal you want to give is a receptive and co-operative one. You want to be ready to learn and to interact. They have come quite a long way to be with you 🙂 You would not dread the arrival of an old friend in your home, even though you might be concerned about the mess it is in. You would instead tidy up your space and make it a comfortable environment to stay in, looking forward to your time together with an open mind and heart. Do the same here.

If you are looking for them you will eventually see them coming down the road towards you and their aura will be very large. During this period (as the transit approaches and is in orb, but sometimes even before this if you are alert enough) you may well learn things from your upcoming partner about the agenda that is in focus. You might even be able to ask something of them and later receive it. This can happen in a number of ways, by intuition or hunches, in dreams, through synchronous messages and events, in signs and omens, psychic impressions and feelings, visitations by their helpers or by yours, serendipity, etc. The universe has so many ways of communicating to an open heart and mind that is in the present moment that there is really no way to predict how this contact and communication will occur. However many things can be said about the aura these planets bring and how human beings tend to react to these auras in ways which set them up for greater difficulty and trouble during the interaction period. Each of the slow moving planets under consideration has a specific quality in its aura that challenges human beings and this aura serves to prepare us for its arrival.

Saturn brings an aura of fear and of being gripped in a vice or cornered. We sense things not going so well or as easily, and we tend to tighten our energy field against him in response, hardening ourselves against life. It will only make our burden heavier, and so the appropriate response to this aura is to instead to be brave and open up and accept what is emerging without fear by welcoming it as an experience that will make us very rich come the end of life. He is the god of time and he often comes to mark the hour, to sever and to harvest, in other words to end things. He does not make mistakes, so the key is to bless him for this task and to stand aside as he gathers what has come due. He is patient and will wait for you to learn the lessons he brings, but eventually he will pressure you to make your moves. Remember that one day he will come for you, too, and you don’t want to be mad at or afraid of him when your hour comes around. Treat these experiences as rehearsals for that final one.

Chiron brings an aura of futility and of being split, divided or out of alignment. We sense all the ways in which we are not living in harmony with nature as an awareness of disorders and dysfunctional resonance (within us and also in the external world), and so we tend to respond to this aura by imagining all kinds of things being wrong with us or others. The key here is to understand that Chiron brings an awareness that is holistic and so we are being made aware of the way in which we operate as a whole, an integrated system, wherein problems in one area create problems for the whole. It is not that we have many things wrong with us or many potential problems to deal with, it is instead that Chiron is illuminating the ways in which we exist as parts of and expressions of the whole that is nature. The key is to get into alignment with the healing process that he is bringing, by which I mean more than just physical healing but also psychological and mental and the healing of the individual relationship with other beings and the world around them. If we are completely unconscious of the need to learn about these things then Chiron can introduce some kind of injury or breakdown in the system which creates the need for us to understand these things or to begin looking at them.

Uranus brings an aura of chaos and of having nothing to hold onto for very long, of impermanence. We can feel tremors in the ground and hear rumbles in the sky months before he arrives. We sense a wild lack of reliability and dependability in the external world, usually in other people, and we fall back on focusing upon ourselves and only ourselves so that we do not have to deal with them. We cannot keep up with the pace of life which has vastly quickened, and so we attempt to shut it down. It is a selfish response doomed to failure because by focusing only on ourselves we invite Uranus to teach us harsh and shocking lessons about our interdependence with others as part of a human species. Another reaction to the quickening that these challenges bring is to break down instead of shut down (you take too much on board instead of shutting it out to focus on yourself), while yet another is to be overexcited by all the possibilities that are apparently unfolding and thus be off balance when they do happen. Uranus is unpredictable and aloof, not revealing what is planned until the moment of its emergence and so there is not much you can prepare for except something novel and fresh, but during the dance itself there is an amazing level of interaction possible (see the fifth point). The key attitude to cultivate in the approach to a major Uranian transit is one of open minded, openhearted curiosity regarding both the self and others and an open embrace of the need to make radical change of some kind in order to experience something new. It may also help to consciously slow down.

Neptune brings an aura of confusion and doubt and of being haunted by something nebulous but pervasive that we cannot name or grasp at all. There is a feeling of dissolution and quicksand, of being cast adrift without an anchor, of surrealism. Consequently we tend to respond with dismissal or skepticism, a kind of mental and astral hand-waving away of something insubstantial and probably imagined, or we respond with paranoia and suspicion, with deepening detachment from reality and deeper immersion into the escapism of the imagination. Yet the aura of Neptune is meant to prime us for contact with the transcendent and otherworldly, with the dissolution of the ego self in a glimpse of something more universal, and so a more appropriate response is to seek contact with the invisible and the spiritual dimension of being, to invite Neptune to reveal the invisible world to us. We must signal that we are ready to make the sacrifice of the lower self (the making sacred of the personality and the individual self) in order to embrace the transcendent self. So a key attitude to adopt in the buildup to a Neptune transit occurring in your life is to begin seeking in the direction of the spiritual, opening your third eye, and to begin by anchoring yourself in the present moment of time because this is not only an insoluble anchor (unlike, say, a relationship or an ideal) but also the gateway to spiritual awareness. Put your awareness on awareness itself. This anchoring is extremely important in both Neptune and Pluto encounters. In the case of Pluto encounters, it might even save your life or prevent a major trauma.

Pluto transits come with an aura of catastrophe and heightened emotional intensity, sometimes a sense of being stalked by something predatory or even the notion of being cursed. We have the feeling of tension building which will explode violently like a volcano and we also experience a growing obsessiveness or fixation in some direction. Our sense of contact with safe reality is subverted. As a result we tend to react by putting up our guard and summoning our willpower, but this is inappropriate because there is no defence possible. Surrender is more profitable in this case. Pluto comes to remove those things which no longer serve us and he is ruthless about it. His compassion is extreme and it is this extreme compassion that inflames our emotional body. If our heart chakra and crown is open (i.e. we are in an empathic state of awareness that includes the realisation that each self is part of the one consciousness) we are able to receive this influx of compassion directly, understanding ahead of time what we must release, finding the inner strength to face it directly (the true will) and thus aligning with his purpose, otherwise this powerful lovingness is translated by our other chakras into intense desires and fixations for things, in particular for full control over what is emerging, a resistance to what is, or the taking of refuge in something that will be swept away. Ultimately we are destined to lose control over this gambit with Pluto, experiencing a death and rebirth as what we have become attached to we have strongly identified with and therefore it feels like death when Pluto ultimately claims it, which he will if it is necessary. However after the experience we are revealed to have survived somehow, awakening us to the indestructible nature of consciousness. This is true even after we actually die. Thus an appropriate attitude is to welcome him in allowing him to remove from you whatever he needs to remove, returning it to the Earth where it originated from, whatever it is, allowing him to keep it as one of the treasures he keeps in the underworld and trusting him with it. This will release the meaning that you have placed in it back to you without a struggle on your part, and you will only grow in power and awareness. He has much in common with Saturn in that he is continually preparing us for the death process in which we must let go of everything. As with Neptune transits we must remain centred in the present moment in order to stay in direct communication with him while the experience is occurring. This is especially important with Pluto because he can cause traumas to emerge both from this life and other lifetimes as well as within the collective experience which we encounter, and during such crises being present can mean the difference between life and death, both yours and others – more commonly it won’t but you will still need to be centred in the present if you are not to be overwhelmed by the transformation energy he delivers.

Powerful transits like the ones we are discussing can bring dramatic change of all kinds and orders, not just traumatic experiences but life changing events of all kinds. Falling helplessly in love, for example, is a common reaction to a strong Neptune transit, especially to Venus. One overriding feature of the planets from Uranus outward (i.e. not including Saturn or anything nearer to the Sun) is that we often experience them as matters over which we have no outer control, like the process of falling in love with someone or something, yet at some level we retain the ability to respond to it as we choose. The experience can pull us in and dictate our reactions very easily – such as when the object of our affection smiles at us – and we may then find that we react automatically – we can’t stop ourselves from smiling back, or even blushing – but we still have the choice of speaking or not speaking, acting or nor acting, and we get to choose what we do or say, most of the time. If the power of the experience overwhelms us, though, we may blurt out something we do not really mean or want to say, or behave in a way that we do not consciously choose. If we are in love we might just embarrass ourselves, but if instead we are enraged, we might do ourselves or others great harm. Pluto and Uranus both tend towards this kind of enraged and destructive kind of response to the overpowering events, but Saturn at high pressures can also lead us to be quite harsh and severe on others or ourselves.

FOURTH POINT: KNOW THE DANCE

Keeping this simple, there are 3 kinds of dance – the conjunction, the square and the opposition. They are like the difference between a waltz, a jitterbug and a dance-off. The dance is also affected by the signs and temples involved in the transit as well as by the nature of the partner, the transiting planet, but here I will focus on the basic 3 kinds of dancing, the aspects.

I have written extensively about the magic of interacting with conjunctions in my book, providing an entire system for dancing with this aspect. You can also find many posts about that topic here along with the free practice manual which provides you with all the material to begin practicing this magic. The essence of the conjunction is synthesis or alchemical fusion, a merging of self with the essence of the planetary visitor. The dance is intimate, close, eyes are locked together for the duration and you can feel one another’s heart beating and smell their skin. It’s often deeply personal and private, and you must learn to integrate the energy and message of the planet within your being. You might even miss them when they go.

The square is like the jitterbug – partners are joined but not close and the energy of the dance is dynamic and electric, not a fusion but a constant mutual action and reaction chain. It is an exhausting and sweat inducing interaction with the planetary visitor, a shaking of the body and a bringing of things to life. It has the energy of corners and edges, making the movements abrupt and spasmodic and leading to crisis (from the Greek for decision, or turning point). It generates a storm of energy that has to be given direction and leaves the atmosphere charged and the space around you alert. Squares also come in pairs, one where the transiting planet is ahead of the natal planet in the zodiac and one where it is behind. As a general rule squares which have the transiting planet ahead of the natal planet are about building something up, while those where it is behind are about the deconstruction of something, or letting it go.

The opposition is like a dance-off because it is a continual upping of the stakes and the amplitude of the interaction. There is a competitive edge to these encounters as the two partners try to impress themselves on the other or outdo or elaborate upon the moves their companion just made. Usually the planet makes the first move an impressive one and we are left feeling that we must respond, and so we are drawn into the dynamic. This first event is very much an invitation for us to give something our best shot. If we ignore the invitation or wait too long before taking our turn, they usually come and take us forcefully by the hand, drag us into the middle of the stage, and then leave us there alone. There is a balancing act in this interaction that gradually emerges as you start bringing out the best in one another, but it is a face-off and face-offs with these beings can be overwhelming.

FIFTH POINT: BE THE DANCE

Being the dance means that you engage with what is emerging as fully as possible. It means being witness to the energy moving through you and your life without losing your sense of being to that energy and is a delicate balance between a passive and open allowing of what emerges and an active response to it. You must know when the time comes to act, and when it is time to witness. I can only describe this moment to act as a pause in the music or an opening, a passing of the beat, or a pregnant breath held in silence. You must also know when you are done responding, when it is time to pass the beat over to the planetary partner so that they can react to you. All of this requires you to be paying close attention to what is going on. If you are too busy freaking out over that, you will be out of the flow.

If the transit brings great challenges into your life try to welcome them as a necessary growth experience. If these planets bring negative or painful karma then you must attempt to learn from that experience, while if the planets bring positive or joyous karma then you have to ask them where to direct it, where to share it, where it is needed most. Depending upon your relationship to the planet you may be able to perceive them in some way. This happened to me when my mother was dying during the period when Saturn was last in Scorpio. I have Capricorn rising and Saturn is the ruler of my chart but most of my planets are in Scorpio. I was able to learn from Saturn as he came into view that my mother’s time to pass from this world had arrived. He reminded me that the last time he was in Scorpio he took my father with him. When my mother’s illness was detected a few months later I became her primary carer and during this time Saturn was present with me at the start of every morning and throughout the day. He guided me, lifting his hand as a signal for when I should do nothing and nodding at me when I had the right idea but never speaking directly. He didn’t need to. In this way he navigated me through the maze of karmic entanglements surrounding my mother’s terminal illness and her eventual death. I did not navigate that maze perfectly well at all, but I did better than I would have done had I not been aware of the help he was giving me. This also happened to me when Pluto in Capricorn crossed over my ascendant and earlier in the 1980s and 90s when Pluto was in Scorpio, but with Pluto instead of Saturn as the one communicating with me. It’s impossible to prove but I believe that by taking a positive and openhearted approach to letting go of whatever Pluto was going to remove from my life I experienced his dramatic transformation mostly as a rebirth and less as a death and I believe that he revealed deep things to me that I would not have been able to comprehend otherwise.

While all of this may sound completely crazy to many people (understandably) I would argue that it is not where the craziness of these transits usually arises from. Usually that craziness arises from us denying, suppressing, blocking, rejecting and throwing tantrums because of what is emerging. It arises from us not taking responsibility in the true sense of responding maturely, of acting out because things are not the way we want them to be. Nor does spiritual maturity and spiritual awakening mean that we will necessarily handle these things better – I saw two people go through the same transit of Uranus conjunct their Sun while Pluto was square it, one of them a teacher of spiritual awakening and another who worked in an office, and the person who worked in an office went through enormous stress and pressure as one thing after another bombarded them and they were constantly saddled with multiple challenges but remained deeply involved in the lives of others that they cared about, while the spiritual teacher experienced a very similar overload but lost all interest in spiritual wisdom and behaved at a level of consciousness where they could only think of themselves. The office worker awakened through their transits but the spiritual teacher closed down completely. As I was witness to both of these things happening at the same time, I could see that the difference was in their attitude to what was emerging, not what was actually happening. One was ready to open deeper and wider to life, the other was not.

In another example earlier in my life (Spring 1989) I had both Saturn and Neptune hovering on my ascendant with Uranus very nearby at the same time someone else that I knew had the same configuration, and while I ended up with a broken heart writing poems about falling in love and finding spiritual awakening, they became involved in deceptive criminal activity and refused to look within, instead imagining things in the external world as the problem. The difference here was in the willingness to look within and examine the unconscious, the source of our inner wisdom. Again this is really about the attitude to what emerges and the way that consciousness responds to it, since we both experienced the visitation by Neptune but by embracing the need to focus my life in a spiritual direction and look inward for spiritual guidance I took a more helpful attitude towards what was emerging. It is the choosing to orient yourself a certain way that holds great power here.

With the correct orientation or proper attitude everything that transpires during the transit will be easier to deal with. Additionally, the spiritual laws involved tell us that in adjusting our approach we are actually transforming what will happen before it happens, in other words we have an even greater degree of control then we think we do and are actually able to shape not just the outcome but the kind of experience that emerges as well. Remember the example I gave about Chiron sometimes bringing about an injury or pain if we need to be opened to a healing journey of some kind. If we are already conscious of that need thanks to astrology and we elect to be on that path before Chiron arrives, he does not have a need to awaken us to the need to be on a healing path.

During the event the nature of the partner you are interacting with can determine a lot of the experience, especially it’s tempo. With Saturn and Neptune the pace is slower and more graceful, allowing us more time to process before we react. With Chiron the time we have to respond is relative to the urgency of the healing journey we are on. Uranus and Pluto have little patience in comparison, with Uranus being very active and attention grabbing while Pluto has an ability to wait a long time but will eventually come at you with an intense wave of energy and then will not stop until you react, often just increasing the volume or intensity of what you are dealing with. During interaction with Uranus, especially by square or opposition, he can throw multiple situations that you have to deal with simultaneously, and this can be deeply destabilising, throwing you off balance, as your mind races from one thing to another. The trick with this is to remember that you only have a single moment, always, and so you can only focus on what is present. Stop thinking about the other situations entirely when they are not in front of you. You have to learn how to react fluidly and spontaneously in order to stay in the rhythm with him. Otherwise you get burned out. This outcome forces you to turn your attention back upon yourself, but it doesn’t mean that you should leave that attention there and spurn the happenings beyond your skin. To avoid this, when there is a pause in the flurry of activity, treasure it. Go into yourself and make contact with how you are doing in coping with all of the external juggling, assess where the priorities are now (they are always shifting under strong Uranian activity) but most importantly take your time out. If you can stay in the groove during a strong Uranus interaction, meeting the challenges that he throws at you moment by moment and juggling them without losing your mind in them, then the quick and rapid rate of interaction that you have together with this planet makes these transits some of the most productive of all.

Essentially, being the dance means knowing when to act and when to listen or observe and learn, not getting in your own way when doing any of that, and seeing the entire process as a dialog that is occurring between you and an aspect of the universal consciousness. You may have been able to see the shape of what is emerging long before these events are transpiring but during the happening it is important that you keep an open mind for new things to emerge that you have not foreseen.

SIXTH POINT: ESCORT THEM HOME

This last point is about the winding down, the time after all the major activity fades out. The first thing that people usually do after a major transit has passed is try to figure out what it all meant and assess where you are now. This is very important but only part of the process and actually it should be the latter part of the process. The first part of the process is to give thanks to the partner for having danced with you and to show them safely home, even if they crushed your toes under their size 13s several times. There are many ways you can do this, I like some kind of unique ritual designed just for that experience and for that planet, perhaps including some of its incense or offerings that are sacred to its nature. In human etiquette it is customary to exchange gifts for many occasions and this is one such occasion in which we should apply this custom. Even if the planet has brought you trauma after trauma, broken your life into pieces or hospitalized you, you must have learned things from it that you can be grateful for knowing now. The experience of interacting with these beings is itself sacred, something that we come into physical incarnation seeking and yearning for, so giving thanks is always appropriate. This is not to say that we deserved everything. Sometimes these transits manifest themselves in the unconscious behaviour of the people around us.

The process of giving thanks to the planetary intelligences for being with you during this period of your life and for teaching you or providing you with benefits for your growth is also the way you escort the intelligence back to its own realm. It sends a loving signal into the universe which removes the attachment you have made to that planetary force while you were interacting with it. Otherwise remnants of the experience can hang around in your energy field causing you to think about it again and again. You can then develop all kinds of thought forms connected with that experience which prolong its effect unnecessarily. This is obviously not a good thing to do with a traumatic experience, which is why the giving of thanks after a traumatic experience is even more important.

Beyond this, there is the period of reflection after you get home, as you lay in bed still whirling around the dance floor in your head, your life now at rest but integrating everything that has happened. Things come up and we relive them naturally during this cool down but this time we get to review our own reactions. This can be a very telling process, more telling than the interaction itself. Additionally with some planets (Pluto and Neptune especially), the full meaning of the experience does not transpire until many months, even years or decades later. We might need to be patient with some enigmas of life.

This cool down period is the time for us to try to make sense of it all, to ask our questions and wonder what it all means. If we try doing that during the experience we risk not seeing all of it clearly and drawing the wrong conclusions, especially if we get drawn into a drama involving something that has also lived in our past. This is generally good advice for any kind of spiritual or magical encounter in life – don’t question it or try to figure it out while it is happening, experience it, and ask questions of it later.


That’s it for this months journey, I hope you enjoyed it, thank you for reading, and may you be the music!

The Sabian Symbols II

Greetings, and welcome back to Journeys! This month we will explore some of the ways in which the Sabian symbols can be used in magic and astrology. These symbols were presented last month.

Before we dive into some of the practical ways in which these symbols can be used we should consider what they are. They were delivered via clairvoyant transmission through a medium (Elsie Wheeler) and a mediator (Dr. Marc Jones). Their view was that the symbols were from an esoteric school of ancient Mesopotamia and that Elsie was receiving a modern transmission of this information from her spirit guides and from the Akasha. Yet this is an attempt to answer the question of where they arise from, not what they truly are. If we understand what they truly are we will understand what their purpose is, and if we understand what their purpose is we will also understand why they are being re-transmitted at this time.

Sabian symbols are the symbolic forms of the spirits of specific degrees of the zodiac or Earth Zone, the astral environment that lies adjacent to the physical Earth and its physical atmosphere. When we think of spirits we tend to think of ethereal beings without a physical form, but there is much more to the concept than this simple definition. Think of the ways in which the word spirit is used in the English language, for example. “In the spirit of fair play”, “in high spirits”, and “show some spirit” all point to a different way of thinking about spirits not as independent entities but as a state of consciousness. If we think for a moment about this, we can see that depicting these states of consciousness is a symbolic game – how does one portray the spirit of fair play so that it will be universally recognizable to everyone? What form would it take? Going further there are also deeper uses of the meaning of spirit in other languages and cultures – think for example of the way in which indigenous people view the concept. If a woman in such a culture fashions a beautifully smooth pounding stone through years of work with her own hands, she imbues part of her spirit into that object. If ignorant people later dig up that object and remove it, her spirit becomes restless until it is returned. The spirit of that land also mourns for her to be returned to it. The same idea about spirit being transferable, tied to objects or locations as well as to all things, is seen around the globe. In these animistic cultures literally everything is alive and has its own spirit. Spirits are also frequently seen as being parts of broods or families, for example each species of bird has its own spirit – hummingbird, crow, owl, etc., but there is also the spirit of Bird, which has a direct kinship with the spirit of Wind, thus also forming a kinship between all of the individual bird spirits and all of the individual spirits of the wind. None of these spirits have much kinship with the spirits that live under the ground, either – they are a different brood.

The analogy we need to make sense of all this and to see the pattern in it all is that what we call spirit is actually individualized consciousness in all of its infinite forms. The pounding stone carries the womans spirit because she shaped it with her consciousness – it is transferable because ultimately there is only one consciousness, indivisible and whole, which perceives itself in an infinite variety and scale of forms. By focusing our awareness on a thing our consciousness begins to entangle with it, and its with ours – when you bend down to enjoy the rose, it is also enjoying you.

The Sabian symbols depict the consciousness present in each degree of the zodiac, a consciousness which, like the native womans, can be transferred into pounding stones – human beings, for example. However because they are culturally filtered through the consciousness of modern Americans, they use symbolism which is innately modern American, even though it refers to other cultures like India or old Europe. When it comes to decoding the symbolism of the Sabians so that we can perceive the consciousness behind that symbolism we have to remember this. Similar problems exist for a European trying to decipher the I-Ching, for example. There are 360 Sabian symbols because that number has meaning (because of the circular design of the zodiac, 12 signs x 30 degrees), but there are 64 hexagrams in the I Ching, not 360, because the significance of number is interpreted differently where the hexagrams arose, and so they are based on 2 (Yin/Yang) and 6 (6 branches in each hexagram): 2 to the power of 6 is 64.

Bearing all this in mind, the symbols will sometimes have a literal power for people who are receptive to an American way seeing things, which is a lot of people right now. It is not uncommon for striking associations to emerge from them in these cases. I had regular dreams and meditations of looking into reflections of the sky in lakes, especially mountain lakes at night. Then one day I saw the Sabian symbol for my Sun: ‘a high mountain lake is bathed in the full moonlight’. I have lost track of the many other instances where the Sabians have had a striking, literal power to them, but they can’t be relied on for this. Instead, they are best used in understanding the consciousness being communicated and applying that to specific situations. In this respect they become very useful and powerful. This is their purpose, then, and the reason why they are emerging at this time – to remind us that the zodiac is a living continuum connected by symbolic threads that communicate energy and meaning. The signs are not mere archetypes, they are a fusion of different kinds of consciousness into a broader and more inclusive form, an arrangement and a transferring of consciousness. Each sign begins with highly Electric activity and ends with highly Magnetic activity, and the middle degree is the point of equipoise in the sign. This is a lower harmonic of the zodiac itself which starts with the most Electric sign (Aries) and ends with the most Magnetic (Pisces). This is why the symbolism of Libra 01° at the sequential centre of the zodiac is “pierced by a dart of light a butterfly is ‘made perfect’.”

EXPLORING THE SYMBOLS: NATAL CHARTS

Symbolic systems become more concrete to our minds when they are applied to practical matters, and these symbols are no different. To begin exploring the Sabians I recommend that you make a list of all of the symbols that are related to the planets and the 2 major angles from their positions in your birth chart. As an example I will use the birth chart of Marilyn Monroe. Remember that 0 to 1° is referred to as the 1st° degree of a sign in the Sabian symbols.

Symbols for Marilyn Monroe

Ascendant (13° Leo, or Leo 14): Cherub-like, a human soul whispers, seeking to manifest.
Midheaven (6° Taurus, or Taurus 07): A woman of Samaria comes to draw water from the well.
Sun (10° Gemini, or Gemini 11): Newly opened lands of virgin realms of experience.
Moon (19° Aquarius, or Aquarius 20): White dove circles overhead; descends, bearing a message.
Mercury (6° Gemini, or Gemini 07): An old well, filled with pure water, shaded by trees.
Venus (28° Aries, or Aries 29): Two garrulous old cobblers work seated on an old bench.
Mars (20° Pisces, or Pisces 21): Child watched by Chinese servant caresses a white lamb.
Jupiter (26° Aquarius, or Aquarius 27): Amid rare books, an old pottery bowl holds fresh violets.
Saturn (21° Scorpio, or Scorpio 22): Hunters shooting wild ducks walk through marsh.
Chiron (0° Taurus, or Taurus 01): A clear mountain stream flows through a rocky defile.
Uranus (28° Pisces, or Pisces 29): Scientist is making tests by means of spectrum analysis.
Neptune (22° Leo, or Leo 23): The bareback rider in a circus thrills excited crowds.
Pluto (13° Cancer, or Cancer 14): An old man, alone, faces the darkness in the north-east.
Eris (1° Aries, or Aries 02): A comedian entertaining a group of friends.

With this list you can now begin your exploration of the chart by focusing your awareness on the symbol and relating it to the specific part of the chart that it is connected to. For example the ascendant is related to outer identity, how people present themselves and the first impression that they make as well as their physical body shape and face, voice, garb, gait, posture, mannerisms and any distinguishing marks as well as the look or light in their eyes. Here we see a Leo ascendant (so bright, sunny, entertainer, skilled comedian and glamour immediately come to mind in describing her) that is being depicted as ‘cherub-like, human, whispering and seeking to manifest’. There is not only a literal representation here (cherub-like face, whispering voice) but also a far deeper evocation of her vulnerability and her struggle with outer identity (seeking to manifest), her search for self actualization. We perceive a consciousness seeking to be heard and realized. The symbol of the midheaven, the angle connected directly to her career and public persona, within hard-working and sensual Taurus, is described as ‘a woman of Samaria coming to draw water from the well’ – as any study of her life show, Norma Jean Mortensen constructed the persona of Marilyn Monroe as a shield to hide her extreme vulnerability (an impoverished woman, she spent her childhood in foster homes and orphanages) and her career is where she drew the most ‘pure water’ in her life, a genuine sense of power, fulfillment and satisfaction, but it didn’t last, the well ran dry and she was left thirsty. Note that the Mercury symbol also refers to a well containing pure water and that Mercury is located in her 10th temple. Her innate innocence, her child-like vulnerability and projected naivete are expressed in her Sun as ‘newly opened lands offering virgin realms of experience’, but this also describes her interest in learning new things and her intellectual side, which did not fit the projected image she created and so was sidelined in her profile. We see a number of motifs representing gentle or quiet things throughout the list – white doves, lonely old men, cherubs, untouched lands, white lambs, quiet old wells, fresh violets, clear mountain streams, children caressing – all of which are qualities we can identify in her consciousness, her spirit. While many of the symbols may appear to have no literal manifestation to us, the consciousness of Norma Jean may well have recognised literal manifestations of these symbols that we are not privy to. For example, it’s possible she had dreams of being in a circus, as depicted in her Neptune symbol or that she found something special in life at a particular spot that had a well. The literal manifestations are not very ‘giving’ though – they don’t help to illuminate consciousness much, and are little more than interesting anecdotes compared to the inner meanings of these symbols which offer a great deal that is worthy of deep reflection. For example the symbol attached to her Saturn evokes the spirit of hunting instincts dressed up in a cultural ritual, socially accepted hunting, so there is the challenge of being the prey to sanctioned forms of predation, in this case the (heavily Scorpio) sexual and occult kind. She is the wild duck in this symbol, and her hunters are powerful men (Saturnine presidents, star baseball players and Pulitzer Prize winning playwrights, no less). Yet this Saturn also brings her toughness, being in Scorpio, and was quite capable of turning the tables and becoming the predator. Her fragility was real, but she needed to be hard skinned to survive in Hollywood, especially as a female ‘sex symbol’. This is definitely a marshland. Placed in the context of her background in orphanages and foster care, we see the trauma and heartache of Saturn in Scorpio in the 4th leading her to hunt and seek out something, a characteristic commented on in many biographies.

As you can see in this example there is a great deal you can mine from these symbols, but you have to do some work that some people find to be stretching, and their imaginative muscles are not flexible enough to reach. With your own chart you will find the connections easier to identify, but some symbols will beckon you to look deeper to perceive their consciousness and how it speaks to you. In these cases try to allow the symbol room to breathe, don’t try to confine it by bringing your own assumptions and personal bias or by constraining it with the planetary influence it is connected to. Just picture, feel and listen to the symbol and let it guide you. One thing that can help when considering the meaning of an individual symbol is to consider the symbol that came before it and the one that came after it – the zodiac is a continuum with a flow and considering the symbols in threes can help to unlock this awareness. There are also many books offering various interpretations of what these symbols signify, and they can be helpful to you in coming to your own perspective, but ultimately they are not as meaningful as the connections you will find on your own. Some sources have been provided at the end of this article.

EXPLORING THE SYMBOLS: ASPECTS

You can also explore or interprete the symbols in relationship to one another instead of in isolation, which will help you to perceive larger patterns within them. Two major ways of doing this are by studying the symbol set in its entirety or by applying the symbols to astrological aspects, either those that are transpiring in the sky presently or those embedded in the natal chart.

In the first case, studying the entire symbol set, you look at all the exact astrological aspects between the symbols. For example, Aries 1 is exactly opposite Libra 1, exactly square Cancer 1 and Capricorn 1, exactly trine Leo 1 and Sagittarius 1 and exactly sextile Gemini 1 and Aquarius 1. Now you can begin to see how the symbol resonates with other symbols within the symbol set:

Aries 1: A woman has risen out of the ocean; a seal embraces her.
Libra 1: Pierced by a dart of light a butterfly is “made perfect”.
Cancer 1: Sailor ready to hoist a new flag to replace old one.
Capricorn 1: Indian chief claims power from the assembled tribe.
Leo 1: Under emotional stress blood rushes to a man’s head.
Sagittarius 1: Retired army veterans gathered to reawaken old memories.
Gemini 1: A glass-bottomed drifts over undersea wonders.
Aquarius 1: An old adobe mission nestles in California’s brown hills.

1) Aries 1 and Libra 1 symbols polarized with one another, they balance one another but can ‘pull’ consciousness in opposite directions without this balance.
2) Aries 1 is in a square relationship with both Cancer 1 and Capricorn 1, so that its symbol is in a mutually conflicting and dynamically charged resonance with theirs. In each case the Elements of the signs involved provide clues as to where the conflict lies and what the potential energy being released could be. Taken together with the symbol for Libra 1, these four symbols communicate to consciousness something about the Active/Cardinal modality (which signifies beginning, onset and the initiatory, active behaviour of the Element). We are shown a primordial woman rising from the ocean for Fire, a perfect butterfly pierced by light for Air, a sailor ready to hoist a new flag for Water and an Indian chief claiming power from their tribe.
3) Aries 1 is in a trine relationship with both Leo and Sagittarius 1, so that its symbol is in a mutually harmonizing and open gated resonance with theirs. Taken together all three of these symbols teach us something about the nature of the Fire Element. We are shown the primordial woman rising from the ocean, blood rushing to a man’s head under stress and retired army veterans sharing their memories of war.
4) Aries 1 is in a sextile relationship with both Gemini and Aquarius 1, so that its symbol is in an invigorating and arousing resonance with each of theirs. Here the primordial woman is shown alongside a glass bottomed boat drifting over undersea wonders and an old mission amidst the dried, brown hills of California.

There is clearly a great deal we can learn from regarding the symbols in this way, with 360° to consider and four major categories to look at and meditate upon. The insight we gain from this method however, while extremely informative and meaningful, lacks the significance of practical application and so the second method of exploring the symbols in relationship to one another is to return to your list of which symbols are connected to which planets in your natal chart and begin to analyze the aspects in your birth chart. For example returning to Marilyn Monroe we note that in her natal chart there are the following aspects:

Ascendant: opposition Moon, sextile Sun, square midheaven
Midheaven: conjunction Venus and Chiron, square ascendant
Sun: conjunction Mercury
Moon: conjunction Jupiter, square Saturn, Opposition Neptune, opposition ascendant
Mercury: conjunction Sun, sextile Eris
Venus: conjunction Chiron and midheaven, sextile Jupiter, trine Neptune
Mars: trine Saturn, Pluto and the Dragons Head
Jupiter: sextile Venus and Chiron, opposition Neptune, square Saturn, conjunction Moon
Saturn: square Moon, Jupiter and Neptune, trine Mars, Uranus and the Dragons Head
Chiron: conjunction Venus and midheaven, sextile Jupiter
Uranus: conjunction Eris, trine Saturn
Neptune: square Saturn, opposition Moon and Jupiter, trine Venus
Pluto: conjunction Dragons Head, trine Mars
Eris: conjunction Uranus, sextile Mercury

Now you can begin to interpret the aspects in her birth chart from a new symbolic level, one that not only involves the meaning of the planets and the signs as well as the aspects but also the more qualitative information given by the symbols. For example, look at the symbols associated with her natal Moon in Aquarius square Saturn in Scorpio:

White dove circles overhead; descends, bearing a message. (Moon)
Hunters shooting wild ducks walk through marsh. (Saturn)

The contrast here could not be clearer – this square is about the conflict concerning the birds, the conflict in her mind, driven by irrational fear (Moon/Saturn) and the sense of peace and calm being stalked. The placement of Moon in Aquarius helps us to confirm this, and she was indeed plagued by negative voices and doubts about her safety and sanity. The opposition that the Moon has with Neptune also disturbs its sense of peace:

The bareback rider in a circus thrills excited crowds. (Neptune)

With Neptune being strongly associated with film and photography we are strongly reminded of the media circus that she lived under at an intense level, breaking ground as the first “blonde bombshell”, a role that later turned into a straitjacket of tearful madness, confusion and drug addiction. The square between Saturn and Neptune that completes the pattern (a T-square) has symbolism that evokes danger and high tension but also a conflict between creeping silence and loud crowds.

One interesting feature that emerges from looking at a natal chart with the symbols in this way is what happens with the conjunctions greater than 1° apart. For example in Marilyn Monroe’s chart the Sun and Mercury are in a conjunction in Gemini. Normally what we would say about this is that she is intelligent and witty, quick thinking and curious, friendly and sociable as well as talkative or ‘thinkative’, but that she is also prone to changing her mind, nervous behaviour, mental overload, gossiping, paranoia, chaos and split thinking. However we gain new insight when we place the two symbols for these planets in a conjunction relationship:

Newly opened lands of virgin realms of experience; an old well, filled with pure water, shaded by trees.

This really communicates consciousness that voyages forth into new territory finding refreshment and shade, so her Sun/Mercury in Gemini finds information that nourishes and invigorates her spirit, she is depicted in an environment in which intellectual learning and discovery bring shelter and revival. She loved to learn, because it restored her spirit to her. This way of looking at conjunctions really helps us to see the zodiac integrally, as a continuum. It is especially helpful in charts where there are major stelliums because the clusters of planets can be individually analyzed using the symbols, a feature that helps to differentiate one planet from another.

EXPLORING THE SYMBOLS: MEDITATION & MAGIC

There are many ways in which you can use this symbol set in meditation work. I will describe only a few of them here.

Firstly, when you come to work with one of these symbols I recommend that you imagine it taking form before you as a scene beyond a window. Take your time to pay attention to every detail and don’t be afraid if there is the suggestion to elaborate, but try not to elaborate too far in the beginning, just stay as close to the original picture as you can. When you have created a strong sensation that the scene beyond the window you are looking through is complete, open the window and float your awareness through it. Let your awareness take in the scene from within it, open your senses and feel it as if it were happening around you or to you. Move your perspective around inside the symbol, taking it in from a 360° perspective with all of your senses. When you are ready float back through the window, close it, dissolve the scene into the universe and come out of your meditation. Take a few moments to reflect upon what you have experienced, then record it.

You can use this method in magical initiation as a framework for meditations aimed at gaining or adjusting your magical equilibrium. Simply apply the analogies of the four Elements in meditation and creative imagination to work with the symbols:

Fire: Visual, sight – the imagination of seeing
Air: Olfactory, smell – the imagination of scent
Water: Auditory, hearing – the imagination of sound
Earth: Gustatory, taste – the imagination of flavor
Akasha: Feeling, sensation – the imagination of being or touching

Simply pick one of the symbols and construct a meditation in which you involve a perception of all of these senses (this will powerfully bring the symbol to life for you), or choose a sense to focus on (for example, if you perceive a need for you to work on the Air Element to gain your equilibrium, focus on how the symbol smells to you). A method that I have found useful in my own practice is to concentrate on the Element that the symbol belongs to in the creative imagination exercise, for example if the symbol belongs to Scorpio of the Water Element then I will focus on imagination of sound. Some symbols make this easier than others, but the resonance that they have with that Element will always have a natural fit, you may just need to search to find it. These are voyages of the imagination, so exercise it. When you do find the connection this way it is often very illuminating and enlightening, it can provide a way to really connect with the essence of the spirit of that degree, like a key in a lock. The Akasha exercise, of course, always does this, so if you add the sensation of feeling to whatever sense you are training it can be especially powerful.

If you wish you can create guided explorations of these symbols in a number of ways. You could for example follow the position of the Sun as it moves through all 360°, one per day, over the course of a year. Begin the day with your meditation on the symbol the Sun rises with that morning (which can be affected by your location), then throughout the day return your awareness to that meditation and consider what is going on around you seeking to perceive the spirit of the symbol in the days activities and events, but also in your own consciousness and the consciousness of people and things around you. If the Sun changes to a different degree at a particular hour, try to observe any shift that resonates with the new symbol. In the evening, do your meditation again in light of what you have perceived throughout the day, then record your findings in your magical diary. You can do the same thing with the Moon over the course of about a month, but because the Moon moves around about 1° every two hours you will have to be more alert throughout the waking hours for the Moon changing to a new degree and there will be several degrees during the night time during which you will be asleep. This means that you should record your dreams during such an exploration and you may well find that some of that dream symbolism matches the symbolism of the Moon in one of the Sabians for that night. You can also explore both ways (Sun or Moon) using the decans as a framework rather than the degrees, an approach that will teach you a great deal about the community of 10 spirits that make up each of the astrological decans and the planetary meaning that connects them. Terms or bounds can also be explored and investigated in this way. The first degree in every decan (so the 1st, 11th, and 21st symbol of each sign in the Sabian symbols list) or the first degree in a term (see the table last month) carries the planetary energy strongly. You can find an article on decans and terms here.

You can also integrate the symbols into a magical pathworking of your chart, as I have described in my article Happy Tracks. You simply add the Sabian symbolism of the degree to your path, encountering it as you journey. The temple cusps can have their guardian spirits or passwords connected to the Sabian symbol, or be decorated with their motif. The beings of the planets encountered on the path can be situated within or seen to be interacting with the symbolism of the degree, or sending messages to other planets they are in aspect with via that symbolism. The path of the zodiac that leads from one temple to another can also have encounters placed upon it which relate to the relevant Sabian symbols. I find this most useful in the exploration of current transits of the slow moving planets, the activators. For example Saturn is currently at 11° of Aquarius, or Aquarius 12, the symbol for which is “Life’s broad stairway: each landing, a new grade of life.” For this I might imagine an old woman (Saturn) climbing up this broad stairway to distant stars (Aquarius) when I explore this part of Aquarius. I will perhaps conjure a smell (Air) that for me signifies the concept of slowly rising up the stairwell of life. This part will be very personal, it will stem from my personal experience and make complete sense to me but not necessarily to others. I will do meditation beforehand to uncover this analogy, perhaps considering the scents or plants of Saturn in this inner reflection, and I will never reveal it to others.

Notice that in the above example, the movement up a stair is resonant with the fact that Aquarius 12 is a Mercury decan (in both the descending and triplicity order), while it is the terms of Venus (Egyptian terms), which is why I made Saturn an old woman and not an old man, but the Venus terms are also reflected in the emotional feeling this symbol brings of being uplifted spiritually, gently but firmly. The broad steps of the grades of life leading upwards are also pure Saturn in Aquarius.

In evocation the spirits of the Earth Zone will often but by no means always first choose to show themselves in the magic mirror in the form of the Sabian symbol of that degree or some part of it, or something very similar, so if I want to work with the more magical intelligence of a degree I will include the main magical purpose of that degree in any creative imagination with it, for example with Aquarius 12 (Quabbalistic magic) I will perceive the old woman making magical utterances as she rises up the stairwell, or there will be formulae on her robes, the stairs, in the heavens, or some other feature. In short I will perceive that magical activity taking place in that degree and being performed by or involving the symbolism of that degree. By mental transference I will then connect my mental body with that of the imagined scene and commune with it. This is not an evocation but instead a simple form of empathic mental magic so the communication is not externalized in a face to face or self to self relationship, but it is still a useful form of communication that can teach a great deal about a particular degree and your relationship to it. If you fashion talismans of the Earth Zone spirits (which you can do at step 9 of Initiation into Hermetics, but it really requires work in evocation with the spirit beforehand through the Practice of Magical Evocation) you can use the symbolism of the relevant Sabian degree in its design, for example a stairway for Aquarius 12.

Finally, you can explore the Sabian symbols artistically. An artist working with any visual medium (paint, sketching, sculpting, film, etc.) can find ways to depict entire birth charts, transits or the synastry between two beings this way, creatively blending the symbolism from different Sabian symbols, different planets, signs and temples into a work of art. A magician trained up to Step 7 of Initiation into Hermetics can animate these pictures as elementaries. Musicians and dancers can also draw inspiration from the symbols, bringing them to life in movement and sound. The symbols can be used by writers to serve as the seed of a story or by poets as the seed of a song. The application of the symbols in art are so broad that they could inspire an entire movement of astrologically inspired art.

I hope this brief discussion has inspired you to work with these symbols in your own way and that you will find as much treasure within your exploration as I have. Below you will find a few books by writers on my bookshelf that have interpretations of the Sabian symbols as their focus, and the source for the magical analogies I provided in the first part of this post last month. See you next month!


Bibliography

The Sabian Symbols in Astrology, by Dr. Marc Edmund Jones.
An Astrological Mandala, by Dane Rudhyar
360 Degrees of Wisdom, by Lynda Hill (includes cards for random selection)
The Sabian Symbols & Astrological Analysis, by Blain Bovee
The Practice of Magical Evocation, by Franz Bardon

The Sabian Symbols I

Greetings, and welcome back to Journeys! This month I’m presenting you with the first part of a two-part examination of the Sabian symbols. This first part presents the symbols and discusses their background, next month we will dive into their application in astrology and magic.

BACKGROUND

The Sabian symbols (named after a mysterious hermetic culture mentioned three times in the Quran) are 360 symbols, one for each degree of the zodiac, symbolically depicting the essential meaning and energy of that degree. In essence these 360 symbols express the consciousness that is immanent within that degree, the intelligence that is present within it. In this way they are similar to the signs to which they belong, but with a magnification effect that focuses on only 1° rather than 30°.

While named after an ancient and mysterious culture the symbols we have today are a modern arrival delivered by two people in Balboa Park, San Diego sometime in 1925 – the date was not recorded. These two people were Marc Edmund Jones, an astrologer, and Elsie Wheeler, a clairvoyant medium. Marc devised an interesting method for midwifing the symbols that was a mix of randomness and order – he brought with him 360 white cards with a tiny almost illegible notation in one corner denoting which degree of the zodiac it belonged to, and he presented these cards to Elsie in a random order without either of them knowing which degree it was for. Since Elsie was in a wheelchair they had to do this inside the car and they finished all 360° in a single day over two sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Mathematically this means that if the total time involved was 8 hours Elsie was delivering an average of one symbol every 90 seconds. Since then Marc, Dane Rudhyar and many other astrologers have written interpretations of the symbols and there are many books and web resources available on the topic.

What Elsie did was deliver from the intelligences of the zodiac a modern form, one that is accessible to and expressive of modern American culture. The zodiac is a living entity imbued with a holistic consciousness, as I wrote in The 26 Keys:

“The seven traditional, visible planets of astrology – the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn – express the Electric and Magnetic Fluids as Elemental planetary intelligences which organize themselves into a single entity, the zodiac. To put this another way, it is a magical universe wherein everything is alive and this includes the planets and the signs of the zodiac, which are Elemental beings generated by the Electric and Magnetic expressions of the 7 traditional planets. The origin of the form and the essential meaning given to these intelligences is stellar i.e. drawn from constellations of stars, but their substance and quality arises from the Fluids expressing through the Lights and visible planets. These beings are given a shape and a form by human consciousness and have become the 12 signs of the tropical zodiac.

So the signs are living beings or rather an assembly of them. Their essential meaning was evoked from constellations of stars – those which are close to the ecliptic through which the solar family were seen to move – and was then given a symbolic form through our tales, myths and cultures. This meaning then attached itself to the essential meaning of the visible planets and was reflected back to us – as we observed the patterns of the sky a bond of significance was created, layer upon layer…the essential meaning provided by the stars and planets was adorned with human significance, giving us the symbolic essential meaning of earthly consciousness encoded in the zodiac.

In essence the zodiac is a living astra-mental prism through which the Light of essential meaning (consciousness) shines upon the Earth through the loci of the planets. It is a self aware multidimensional lattice of symbolic essential meaning specific to the Earth and the present habitation of the Earth by human beings, because it is a co-creation of human and astra-mental beings. The Elemental beings of Fire, Air, Water and Earth have created it between us and the visible planets as a means of communication, the communication of the complex pattern we call astrology.”

The zodiac is thus a continuum of earthly consciousness expressed symbolically, and it can be seen as being composed of a spectrum of 12 parts (signs), with each of the 12 parts having certain sections (the 3 decanates and 5 terms), and each of the 30° degrees representing a different combination of Fluids, Elements, and planetary consciousness. The Sabian images incorporate all of these factors into a single symbolic form. For example, the 1st and 2nd degree of any sign is always positively Electric in nature, while the boundaries between the decanates (the 9th, 10th, 19th, 20th, 29th and 30th degree) are always powerfully Magnetic. The 1st degree of Fire sign Aries (a Mars ruled sign) is in a decan of Mars and the terms of Jupiter (in the Egyptian system). The symbol for Aries 1° is therefore a blend of the qualities of the Electric Fluid, the Fire Element, Aries, Mars and Jupiter, along with its overall position as the first degree of 360: “A woman has risen out of the ocean; a seal embraces her.” The seal embracing the fertile consciousness newly emerging from the ocean of being represents the ties this degree has with its neighbour, the last degree of Pisces, communicating the fact that the zodiac is a continuum. Because the seal is a creature that made an evolutionary move to the land but returned to the sea the symbol speaks about emergence and retreat embracing one another. We are being told of a cyclical process in which consciousness emerges from and returns to the ocean. Most of the Sabian symbols, like this one, can be arcane and require inner reflection and meditation to see through, but doing so reveals many interior petals like a secret flower. This is especially true with the symbols that appear to be negative, like that for Cancer 05. However, they also have a literal power that can at times be very striking.

One important point is that in the list for the symbols the 1st symbol is actually the degree from 0° to 1°, and the 30th degree is therefore the zodiac from 29° of a sign to the beginning of the next sign. Thus, if your Sun sign is located at 11° of Leo, the symbol for it is Leo 12, not Leo 11. However, because the zodiac is a continuum the symbol before and the symbol after any one symbol are connected and the symbolism for neighboring degrees can therefore also be significant. The sequence as a whole shows a journey that consciousness makes, and a journey is about where you have come and where you are headed as much as where you are now. Another important point is that there is a relationship between these symbols and the spirits of the Earth Zone described by Franz Bardon in the Practice of Magical Evocation, and that each sign can be split into two halves or spans which inform the overall arc of that phase. .

Below you will find a full list of the symbols with the decanates for each sign in brackets, the span, and the Intelligence from PME in brackets after the symbol. I have not included the Egyptian (Al-Biruni) terms for each degree, but you can see them from the table below:

copied from Astrowiki by Astrodienst

Aries Sabian Symbols: (Mars Sun Venus)
Realisation
1 A woman has risen out of the ocean; a seal embraces her. (Fire Magic, electricity, invention)
2 A comedian entertaining a group of friends. (Fire magic, alchemical dry process)
3 A man’s profile suggests the outlines of his country. (Magic of love, charging of magic mirrors, evocation)
4 Two lovers strolling through a secluded park lane.(Magic of love and protection)
5 A white triangle with golden wings on its upper sides. (Luck in games, dexterity)
​6 A black square brightly illumined in red on one side. (Writing, literature)
7 A man expressing himself in two realms at once. (Mental magic of the Moon sphere)
8 A womans hat with streamers blown by the east wind. (Ritual and magical formalae)
9 A seer gazes with concentration into a crystal sphere. (Electromagnetic Fluid, volts)
10 A scholar creates new forms for old symbols. (Secrets of the Water Element)
11 The ruler of a country is being officially introduced. (Power over people/animals, dynamic magical formulae)
12 A flock of white geese flies overhead across clear skies. (Medical authority, transformation of base metals into pure metals, magic of the Sun sphere)
13 A bomb which failed to explode is now safely concealed. (Physical sciences and knowledges)
14 A serpent encircles a man and woman in close embrace. (Eloquence, sharp wit, physical assistance)
Examination
15 An Indian weaving a basket in the golden light of sunset. (Science, philosophy)
16 Brightly clad brownies dancing in a warm dying light. (Love and friendship)
17 Two prim spinsters are sitting together in silence. (Magic of sympathy and love, music)
18 An empty hammock is hanging between two lovely trees. (Languages, Magnetic power)
19 A magic carpet hovering over an ugly industrial suburb. (Water magic, Magnetic Fluid, Undines)
20 A young girl feeding swans in a park on a wintry day. (Water magic, liquid Fluid condensers, Undines)
21 A pugilist, flushed with strength, enters the ring. (Laws and powers of the zone girdling the Earth)
22 Gateway opening to the garden of all desired things. (Knowledge and wisdom of the zone girdling the Earth, justice and harmony, Electrical and Elemental effects within the Fire region of the Earth Zone)
23 A woman in summer dress carries a precious veiled burden. (Wisdom, sagacity, laws of the Earth Zone)
24 A window curtain blows inward, shaped as a cornucopia. (Medical Magnetism, curing of disease, Gnomes)
25 A double promise reveals its inner and outer meanings. (Plant alchemy, Gnomes)
26 A man bursting with the wealth of what he has to give. (Mental and astral magic of extra planetary powers)
27 A lost opportunity is regained through imagination. (Synthetic astrology)
28 A crowd applauds a man who shattered a dear illusion. (Talismanology, magical symbolism)
29 A celestial choir has arisen to sing cosmic harmonies. (Magnetic Fluid, scent and aromas, plant medicine)
30 Young ducklings desport themselves merrily upon a pond. (Treatment of disease through Water magic, hydrotherapy, naturopathy).

Taurus Sabian Symbols: (Mercury Moon Saturn)
Experience
1 A clear mountain stream flows through a rocky defile. (Magic of sympathy realised by the Element of Fire)
2 An electrical storm brilliantly illumines the skies. (Mysteries of sexual life, magic of the Electric Fluid and Fire)
3 Natural terraces lead up to a lawn of clover in bloom. (Magical knowledge of plants)
4 The rainbow’s pot of gold glows amidst the sparkling rain. (Wealth, plant medicine)
5 A young woman, transfigured by grief, kneels at a grave. (Income, pleasure, earthly happiness)
6 A cantilever bridge in construction across a deep canyon. (Mathematics, numbers, astro-quabbalah)
7 A woman of Samaria comes to draw water from the well. (Writing, fantasy inspiration)
8 A sleigh speeds over ground as yet uncovered by snow. (Occult writing)
9 A Christmas tree loaded with gifts and lighted candles. (Occult aids, rites, gestures, formulae)
10 A pretty Red Cross nurse hurries on an errand of mercy. (Moon magic, lunar mansions)
11 A woman watering rows of flowers in full bloom. (occultism, hypnotism, medical Magnetism)
12 Young couple walks down main street, window shopping. (Aura magic)
13 A porter is cheerfully balancing a mountain of baggage. (Magic of nature)
14 Children splash in receding tide amid groping shellfish. (Professional assistance, politeness, Gnomes)
15 Man with rakish silk hat, muffled, braves the storm. (Money gained through speculation, wins, hidden treasures or betting)
Enjoyment
16 An old man tries hard to impart hidden truths to a crowd. (Awakening of talent)
17 A symbolical battle between ‘swords’ and ‘torches’. (Amulets of love or friendship, charging up or igniting through love).
18 A woman is airing a linen bag through a sunny window. (Air and Water magic)
19 A newly formed continent, fresh and green, rises out of the ocean. (Agriculture, farming)
20 Wisps of clouds, like wings, are streaming across the sky. (Agricultural and forestry technology)
21 Moving finger points to significant passages in a book. (Polarisation and the Electric Fluid, rapid acceleration of plant growth)
22 A white homing pigeon flies straight over stormy waters. (Clarity of mind, judgment, cleverness through intuition and inspiration)
23 A jewellery shop filled with the most magnificent jewels. (Food and the harmony of the body)
24 Indian, human scalps hanging at his belt, rides proudly. (Magic of minerals and metals, solid Fluid condensers)
25 Vast public park displays glorious and inspiring vistas. (Mines, Gnomes, ores, volcanoes)
26 A Spanish serenader at the window grille of his beloved. (Cosmic language, magical utterance)
27 A withered old squaw, smiling brightly, sells trinkets. (Philosophy, discerning the universal laws in any religious system)
28 Mature woman reawakened to romance admires herself. (Cosmic physics, cosmic powers, metaphysical secrets)
29 Two garrulous old cobblers work seated on an old bench. (Grafting of plants, aquatic life and the sea, Undines)
30 Peacock displays his plumage on lawn of old estate. (Magic of Water, sea salt in alchemy and magic)

Gemini Sabian Symbols: (Jupiter Mars Sun)
Zeal
1 A glass-bottomed boat drifts over undersea wonders. (Electric Fluid, electricity, inventions connected to electricity)
2 Santa Claus is furtively filling Christmas stockings. (Technical invention, future technology)
3 Louis XIV’s court in the gardens of the Tuileries. (Physical sciences and their relation to metaphysics, alternative healing methods)
4 Holly and mistletoe bring Christmas spirit to a home. (Painters and painting)
5 A radical magazine displays a sensational front page. (Knowledge of birth and death, mysteries of sex, conception and the womb)
6 Night workmen drill for oil amidst noise and confusion. (Animals and mental transference into the animal realm)
7 An old well, filled with pure water, shaded by trees. (Symbolism, analogy)
8 Around a closed down factory strikers mill defiantly. (Occult philosophy, intellectual expression of metaphysics, memory)
9 A medieval archer, with bow and arrows, ready to fight. (Laws of harmony and equilibrium)
10 Aeroplane, after a nosedive, rights itself gracefully. (Laws of analogy, classification and identification of any being)
11 Newly opened lands of virgin realms of experience. (Magic of the brain and intellect)
12 A black slave girl demands her rights of her mistress. (Telepathy, astral character magic)
13 World-famous pianist begins to play to a huge audience. (Diplomacy)
14 Two people, living far apart, in telepathic communication. (Philosophical literature, books)
15 Two Dutch children are studying their lessons together. (Poetry and writing)
Restlessness
16 Woman agitator makes an impassioned plea to a crowd. (Beauty and harmony)
17 Head of a youth changes into that of a mature thinker. (Charisma, gaining the favour of important people)
18 Two Chinese men talking Chinese in an occidental crowd. (Secrets of love)
19 Large archaic volume on display in the museum’s archives. (Gesticulation, ritual)
20 A self-service restaurant displays an abundance of food. (Dancing magic)
21 A labour demonstration throngs a large city square. (The law and legal matters)
22 Dancing couples crowd the barn in a harvest festival. (Prophecy, prediction)
23 Three fledglings look out proudly from their high nest. (Professional artists)
24 Carefree children skate over a smoothly frozen pond. (Causes and causation, fate)
25 A gardener trims beautiful palm trees with utmost care. (History of religion)
26 Frost covered trees, lace like, against winter skies. (Magic and mystical associations and groups)
27 Young gypsy emerging from the woods gazes at far cities. (Teaching and instruction through both books and masters)
28 Bankruptcy granted to him, a man leaves the court. (Laws of analogy)
29 The first mockingbird of spring sings from the treetop. (Connection and analogy)
30 A parade of bathing beauties before large beach crowds. (Watersports)

Cancer Sabian Symbols: (Venus Mercury Moon)
Expansion
1 Sailor ready to hoist a new flag to replace old one. (Alchemy of the Fire Element)
2 A man on a magic carpet observes vast vistas below him. (Volcanoes and earthquakes, telluric energy, pyrotechnics)
3 An Arctic explorer leads a reindeer through icy canyons. (Erotic secrets)
4 A hungry cat argues with a mouse before eating her. (Sympathetic mummial magic)
5 Automobilist, racing madly with a fast train, is killed. (Health and constitution, youthfulness, magical plant elixirs)
6 Innumerable birds are busy feathering their nests. (Distant communication through the Air Element)
7 In a moonlit fairy glade two little elves are dancing. (Ancient religion, levitation)
8 Rabbits in faultless human attire parade with dignity. (Rhythm and vibration)
9 Naked little miss leans over a pond to catch a goldfish. (Clairvoyance, clairaudience, clair-feeling, psychometry, magic mirrors)
10 A wonderful diamond is being cut to a perfect shape. (Weather and the magic of Water)
11 A clown caricatures merrily all kinds of human traits. (Mysteries of wisdom, magical enlightenment)
12 A Chinese woman nursing a baby haloed by divine light. (Transmutation, alchemy)
13 A hand with prominent thumb is held up receptively. (Spirit communication, language)
14 An old man, alone, faces the darkness in the north-east. (Magical sciences, invisibility)
15 Merry and sluggish people resting after a huge feast. (De-materialization, materialization, apportation)
Ingenuousness
16 A man holds a scroll, before him a square is outlined. (Cosmic law and Divine virtues)
17 The archetypal soul becomes filled with life contents. (Divine love and mercy)
18 In a crowded barnyard a hen clucks among her chickens. (Evolution, Divine creation)
19 An aristocratic and frail girl weds a proletarian youth. (Magic formalae)
20 A group of serenader’s make merry in a Venetian gondola. (Evocation within the zone girdling the Earth)
21 An operatic primadonna sings to a glittering audience. (The wisdom, cause, purpose and effect of universal laws)
22 A young woman dreamily awaits a sailboat approaching. (Divine Emanation in the Earth Zone)
23 A group of intellectual individuals meet for discussion. (Magic of space and time)
24 Woman and two men castaways on a South Sea island. (Emanation of the Divine virtues)
25 Leader of men wrapped in an invisible mantle of power. (Correlation between the Akasha and the Divine Light)
26 Guests are reading in the library of a luxurious home. (Cosmic alliances with interplanetary spheres)
27 A furious storm rages through a residential canyon. (Sphere magic)
28 Indian girl introduces college boyfriend to her tribe. (Theurgy and Divine Emanation, quabbalah)
29 A Greek muse weighs in golden scales just born twins. (Wisdom and the various systems that lead to it)
30 A lady of aristocratic descent proudly addresses a club. (Akasha principle, karma)

Leo Sabian Symbols: (Saturn Jupiter Mars)
Assurance
1 Under emotional stress blood rushes to a man’s head. (Fire magic in the Earth Zone)
2 The school closed by an epidemic, children play together. (Magic of the Sun)
3 Mature woman, her hair just bobbed, looks into mirror. (Passions and the astral body)
4 Elderly man gazes at moosehead on clubrooms wall. (Magic of the Elements and nature)
5 Suggesting figures, granite masses overhang a canyon. (Magic of the four Elements in nature)
​6 Old-fashioned belle and flapper admire each other. (Propagation, creation of life and growth by the Fluids)
7 The constellations glow in the darkness of desert skies. (Air Element and its role as a mediator)
8 Proletarian, burning with social passion, stirs up a crowd. (Secrets of Air magic, breathing techniques)
9 Glass blowers shape with their breath glowing forms. (Mysticism, love, holiness)
10 Early morning dew sparkles as the Sun floods the fields. (Resistance against Fire)
​11 Children at play beneath huge oak, shelter from the Sun. (Ecstasy, trance, consciousness)
12 A garden party is in full swing under Japanese lanterns. (Spiritual maturity through application of Divine virtues)
13 Old sea captain rests in neat little cottage by the sea. (The way to perfection in accordance with the laws of creation)
14 Cherub-like, a human soul whispers, seeking to manifest. (Synthesis of all religious systems and philosophies)
15 The Mardi Gras carnival crowds New Orleans streets. (Connection between the mental, astral and physical worlds)
Interpretation
​16 Refreshed by a storm, fields and gardens bask in the Sun. (Omniscience and Divine intuition, enlightenment of the intellect)
17 Volunteer church choir make social event of rehearsal. (Cosmic love)
18 Chemist conducts an experiment for his students. (Occult anatomy, magical medical treatments)
19 A barge made into a clubhouse is crowded with revelers. (Talismanic magic)
20 American Indians perform a majestic ritual to the Sun. (Metallurgy and the alchemy of metals)
​21 Intoxicated domestic birds fly around in dizzy attempts. (Prophecy)
22 A carrier pigeon alights at dawn before his owners. (Gaining of esteem, power and wealth in the physical world)
23 The bareback rider in a circus thrills excited crowds. (Yoga, tantra, religious systems)
24 A yogi with transcendent powers, yet untidy, unkempt. (Magic of the Akasha and the causal principle)
25 A man, alone, daringly crosses the desert on camelback. (Refinement of the consciousness through contact with the spheres without separation of the mental body)
​26 Light breaks through clouds, a perfect rainbow forms. (Mediumship, de-materialization and re-materialization)
27 In the East, light slowly increases, wiping out the stars. (Wish magic)
28 Myriads of birds, perched upon a big tree, chirp happily. (Water and Air Element magic)
29 Mermaid awaits prince who will make her immortal. (Water Element magic)
30 An unsealed letter full of vital and confidential news. (Protection from thunderstorms, rough seas, heavy rains etc.)

Virgo Sabian Symbols: (Sun Venus Mercury)
Idealization
1 In a portrait the best of a man’s traits are idealized. (Politics and political events)
2 Large white cross stands alone on top of a high hill. (Inventions in the Akasha principle)
3 Two angels bring protection to a family in the wilderness. (Art and artistry)
4 Negro child plays with white boys unaware of race line. (Flowers and their magic)
5 Irishman dreams of “little people” beneath a tree. (Protection of love, harmony and beauty)
6 Excited children ride on a blatant, gaudy merry-go-round. (Teaching)
7 In a palatial harem bright-eyed women laugh happily. (Speech and writing)
8 Aristocratic five-year-old girl takes first dancing lesson. (Protection of the poor and suppressed)
9 A modern expressionistic artist paints a strange canvas. (Alchemical magic, magic of the mental matrix and astral matrix)
10 A man with two heads is seen looking out to the beyond. (Alchemical secrets)
11 A typical boy, yet moulded by his mother’s aspirations. (Skill in trade or profession, honour and riches in business, trade involving metals)
12 A bride, laughing, scolds the groom who lifted her veil. (Relics, holy places, temples, spiritual icons)
13 A powerful statesman wins to his cause an hysterical mob. (Spiritual rites, rituals and ceremonies)
14 Splendid family tree engraved on a sheet of parchment. (Medical doctors, chemical and pharmacy production)
15 Old lace handkerchief; some rare perfume; a mirror. (Business matters, papers and textiles, furs and skins)
Experimentation
16 Children crowd around the orangutan cage in the zoo. (Forests, vegetation and plant consciousness)
17 A volcanic eruption releases powerful telluric energies. (Fantasy and visionary imagination)
18 Two excited young girls experiment with a Ouija board. (Architecture and structural engineering)
19 Swimming race nears completion before a large crowd. (Magic of scents, aromatherapy, incense)
20 A group of settlers start on their journey in old cars. (Water and its relation to humanity, ships and submarines, diving)
21 Two teams of girls engaged in a contest of basketball. (Fortune, luck in speculation)
22 A jewel set royal coat of arms is displayed in a museum (Material law and justice)
23 A lion tamer rushes fearlessly into the circus arena. (Fortune telling and divination)
24 A book for children pictures little Mary and her lamb. (Property, protection against theft, recovery of lost goods)
25 A flag at half mast in front of large public building. (Vehicles and transportation over dry ground)
26 Rapt eyed, a boy serves in a mass read by automatons. (Human consciousness, psychological health)
27 Elderly ladies drinking afternoon tea in a wealthy home. (Animals of the air)
28 Bald-headed man dominates gathering of national figures. (Aeronautics, secrets of gravity and space travel)
29 Archaic manuscript discloses to scholar the old mysteries. (Intellect and knowledge of human beings)
30 An emergency call frees householder from routine duty. (Custodian and gatekeeper of mysteries and wisdom)

Libra Sabian Symbols: (Moon Saturn Jupiter)
Expectation
1 Pierced by a dart of light a butterfly is “made perfect”. (Sexuality and sex, prenatal magic)
2 A symphony is played dramatizing man’s heroic ascent. (Working with metals)
3 A new day dawns, revealing a world utterly transformed. (Cooking of meat)
4 Pilgrims gather round campfire in silent communion. (Fertility, sexual potency, sexual propagation)
5 Inspired disciples listen to the words of their teacher. (Feeding habits, diet)
6 In a trance, a pilgrim beholds his ideals made concrete. (Laughter and comedy)
7 A witch feeds chickens frightened by a hawk she had tamed. (Wood and its working)
8 Fireplace blazes mysteriously in a deserted farmhouse. (Musical instrumentation and composition)
9 Three “old masters” hang alone in an art gallery. (Clothing and headgear, fashions)
10 A canoe leaving narrow rapids reaches calm waters. (Hair)
11 Kindly old professor is teaching a class of youngsters. (Charisma, gaining favour)
12 Miners are emerging from a deep well into the sunlight. (High magic of love and mercy)
13 Children are blowing soap bubbles at youngsters party. (Flirting and wooing, seduction)
14 Rich landowner takes a siesta in his tropical gardens. (Singing)
15 A stack of machinery parts; all are new and all circular. (Arts, decoration, embellishment and ornamentation)
Revelation
16 A happy crew is restoring beach piers wrecked by storms. (Health and duration of life of all animals, instinct, Zoology, vets, wild animal tamers)
17 Retired sea captain in uniform watches ships sail away. (Intoxicating drinks)
18 Two men placed under arrest are being brought to court. (Secrets of human and animal blood)
19 Robbers are hiding, ready to attack heavily armed caravan. (Women during pregnancy and the delivery of babies, midwifery, gynaecology)
20 Old rabbi sits contentedly in room crowded with books. (Electrochemistry, galvanic electricity, batteries)
21 Hot Sunday crowds delight in the cool sea breeze. (Mathematics)
22 Child laughs as birds perch on an old fountain and drink. (Physiology)
23 Chanticleer salutes the rising sun with exuberant tones. (Physics)
24 A butterfly spreads its wings, showing an extra left one. (Loyalty)
25 Falling golden leaf teachers life to a rebellious schoolboy. (Sexual transmutation, hormones)
26 An eagle and a white dove swiftly turning one into the other. (Jewellery and jewel work)
27 A spot of light in clear skies, and aeroplane sails calmly. (Milk)
28 A man in deep gloom, unnoticed, angels come to his help. (Aquatic animals, fishermen and fishing)
29 Vast masses of men push forward reaching for knowledge. (Orderliness and cleanness, hygiene)
30 A phrenologist discovers mounds of knowledge on a head (Medicinal springs and waters, hydrotherapy)

Scorpio Sabian Symbols: (Mars Sun Venus)
Retention
1 Sightseers in a bus strain to see crowds and buildings. (Fire magic and inventions connected with fire)
2 From a broken bottle traces of perfume still emanate. (Electricity and electrical inventions)
3 Happy house raising party among western pioneers. (Self-preservation and the desire to live, animal instinct)
4 Youth carries a lit candle in his first church service. (Love within a family)
5 A massive rocky shore unchanged by centuries of storms. (Mammals and milk)
6 Californian hills: the “gold rush” shatters their peace. (Human ideals and their realisation)
7 Divers of the deep sea are being lowered into the waters. (Intellect of humanity, knowledge, memory)
8 A high mountain lake is bathed in the full moonlight. (Protection against infectious disease)
9 A dentist is repairing teeth ruined by civilized habits. (Communication with the unseen, protection of those seeking spiritual knowledge)
10 A fellowship supper reawakens unforgettable inner ties. (Protector of those working in magical medicine)
11 A drowning man is rescued, brought back to the crowd. (Preparation of the philosopher’s stone, transmutation of metals using dry procedure)
12 High officials are gathered at an important embassy ball. (Magical initiation)
13 In an improvised laboratory an inventor is near success. (Technical inventions related to the Sun)
14 Workers push a telephone line across forbidding ranges. (Imitation)
15 Laughing children play upon five mounds of white sand. (Games of entertainment, toys)
Appreciation
​16 A girl with aristocratic features smiles entrancingly. (Bees and honey, sugar, sweetener)
17 Woman, fecundated by her spirit, is “great with child”. (Processing of fruit, cooking and baking)
18 A winding road leads through glorious autumnal woods. (Erotic love, sympathetic feeling, peace)
19 A wise old parrot repeats the conversation he overheard. (Metallurgic chemistry)
20 Woman flings open dark curtains closing sacred pathway. (Medicine of metals and minerals)
​21 Soldier ready to face charges of desertion for love’s sake. (Betterment of living standards, contentment)
22 Hunters shooting wild ducks walk through marsh. (Remedies for difficult life situations)
23 Placid white rabbit metamorphoses into a dancing elf. (Power of faith and conviction)
24 Crowds, stirred by a great message, return home. (Diagnosis, causes of disease and treatment)
25 Thanks to a fine x-ray diagnosis, a man’s life is saved. (Natural medicine, care of the body)
​26 Swiftly, Indians erect their teepees – camp is being made. (Healing of severe disease)
27 A military band, flashy and noisy, marches on pompously. (Astronomy, orientation, constellations)
28 The king of fairyland is solemnly welcomed to his realm. (Hydrotherapy, magic of Water)
29 Princess pleads before Inca king for her captured sons. (Artificial regulation of water)
30 Halloween gives social release to youthful impishness. (Aquatic life, fishing)

Sagittarius Sabian Symbols: (Mercury Moon Saturn)
Receptiveness
1 Retired army veterans gathered to reawaken old memories. (Working of metals with fire and water)
2 White capped waves dance rhythmically under the winds. (Steam, vaporisation of liquid)
3 Two sedate men, smoking pipes in comfort, play chess. (Fruits)
4 Watched by happy parents, a child takes his first steps. (Earthly peace)
5 High on an old tree, a solitary owl is gravely perched. (Good fortune)
​6 A cricket game is being watched by a colourful crowd. (Morality, secrets of the magical equilibrium, introspection)
7 Cupid knocks smilingly at the door of the human heart. (Picture making, whether through drawing, photography, sewing, film, television, etc.)
8 In the cauldron of the universe the metals are forming. (Magic of the 28 lunar mansions, rhythm and periodicity)
9 A mother is leading her children up a broad stairway. (Protection of those with mental or nervous illness)
10 A stage symbolization of the “goddess of opportunity”. (Protection while travelling)
11 An ever burning lamp throws light upon an archaic idol. (Evocation)
12 A flag becomes an eagle; the eagle a proud chanticleer. (High magic and high wisdom of the spheres)
13 A young widow surprised into a new birth of love. (Realisation of ideals)
14 Sphinx and pyramids stand, remains of a glorious past. (Trade and monetary matters, coins)
15 Groundhog, out of its winter sleep, looks for its shadow. (Education and the upbringing of children)
Detachment
​16 A calm ocean; a motionless ship; lazily soaring seagulls. (Customs and rites)
17 People gather before dawn for an outdoor Easter service. (Protection of orphans and the abandoned)
18 On the hot beach children play, protected by sunbonnets. (Hunting and hunters)
19 Pelicans, disturbed by men, move to places unknown. (Astronomy, astrology and the starry sky)
20 Men cutting the ice of a frozen pond for summer use. (Assistance for incurable disease or mysterious ailments)
​21 Child and dog play gravely, with eyeglasses on their noses. (Bliss, peace, pleasure and delight)
22 The shop closed, Chinese laundry men revert to race type. (Justice in judicial matters)
23 In New York, Ellis Island welcomes the immigrants. (Colour, painting, inks)
24 The symbolical “blue bird” alights upon a little cottage. (Mysteries of the magical equilibrium, introspection)
25 Rich little boy rides upon his bright coloured horse. (Magic of silence)
26 Flag bearer distinguishes himself in hand-to-hand battle. (Arousal of human conscience)
27 The sculptor’s vision is taking form under his hands. (Magical apparati, invention of technologies that imitate occult phenomena)
28 Ancient bridge witnesses to the skill of forgotten men. (Fate in human beings)
29 Perspiring fat boy, eager to reduce, is mowing a lawn. (Charging through accumulation)
30 The Pope is holding audience in a hall of the Vatican. (Water situated beneath the surface of the Earth)

Capricorn Sabian Symbols: (Jupiter Mars Sun)
Illusiveness
1 Indian chief claims power from the assembled tribe. (Magic of the Akasha)
2 Rose windows in a Gothic cathedral; one, damaged by war. (Elevation of personality)
3 The soul, as a hovering spirit eager to gain experience. (Sympathy and its magic)
4 Merrymakers embark on a big canoe on lantern lit lake. (Fortitude and the ability to weather the blows of fate and disappointments)
5 An American Indian camp; a fierce war dance begins. (Reincarnation, pre-birth existence in the Earth Zone)
6 Ten logs lie under archway leading to darker woods. (Transposition of the Mercury sphere to the physical world)
7 A heavily veiled hierophant leads a ritual of power. (Theatrical arts, drama)
8 In a big living room flooded with sunlight canaries sing. (Earthly radiation, geomancy, ley lines)
9 An angel carrying a harp comes through a heavenly lane. (Astral anatomy)
10 On a sailboat the seamen are feeding a tame albatross. (Cognition and learning)
11 Peasants display their brilliant colours on a vast lawn. (Incarnation)
12 Natural wonders are depicted in a lecture on science. (High astral magic)
13 Beneath snowclad peaks a fire worshipper is meditating. (Television, clairvoyance and the ability to see regardless of time and space)
14 In dense jungle, a perfectly preserved Mayan bas-relief. (Physics and chemistry, production of gases)
15 In a hospital, a children’s ward filled with playthings. (Earth energies, divining rods)
Dependence
16 School grounds filled with youths in gymnasium suits. (Frugality, rationing and economical planning)
17 Repressed woman finds a psychological release in nudism. (Botany)
18 The Union Jack flag flies from a new British destroyer. (Crystallisation on and under the Earth, Gnomes)
19 Five-year-old girl proudly does her mother’s shopping. (Ores and coal mines)
20 Through the empty church, the choir is heard rehearsing. (Herbalism)
21 A relay race. Each runner springs eagerly into place. (Sports)
22 Defeated general yields up his sword with noble dignity. (Divine Justice and harmony, control over negative powers)
23 A soldier receives decorously two awards for bravery. (Prevention of suicide, holiness of life)
24 A woman walking to the sure haven of a convent. (Physical atmosphere of the planet)
25 Little boys frolic upon soft rugs in an oriental store. (Chemical and physical secrets of matter)
26 Radiant sprite dances upon the mist of a waterfall. (Guardianship of magical keys and secrets)
27 Men climb a sacred peak; below, the world – above, peace. (Relief from distress and danger)
28 The aviary of a rural mansion, filled with singing birds. (Acoustics and sound)
29 Gypsy reads fortunes in the teacups of society ladies. (Shaping of Earth into clay)
30 The directors of a large firm meet in secret conference. (Control of the fish trade)

Aquarius Sabian Symbols: (Venus Mercury Moon)
Defensiveness
1 An old adobe mission nestles in California’s brown hills. (Sharpening of objects)
2 Unexpected thunderstorm brings relief to parched fields. (War strategy, peacemaking)
3 A deserter suddenly realizes the fallacy of his conduct. (Creative imagination)
4 Hindu pundit reveals himself suddenly a great healer. (Poetry and verse)
5 A world leader is seen being guided by his ancestor spirits. (Divine Mercy)
6 In an allegorical mystery ritual a man officiates alone. (Cosmic philosophy)
7 Out of the cosmic egg, life is born fresh and virginal. (Mummification, arrested decay)
8 Wax figures display beautiful gowns in store windows. (Manual skill)
9 In meditation, a flag is seen, which turns into an eagle. (Seeking of truth, finding of true teachers)
10 Unspoiled by popularity now waning a man plans anew. (Spiritual development)
11 Artist, away from the world, receives a new inspiration. (Radiation and emanation)
12 Life’s broad stairway: each landing, a new grade of life. (Quabbalistic magic)
13 A barometer hangs under the porch of a quiet rural inn. (Exploration of nature, natural sciences)
14 On a steep climb, a tunnel offers shortcut to a train. (Expression of occult, mystical or spiritual science in writing, poetry, plays)
15 Two lovebirds on a fence sing out their pure happiness. (Astrophysics and astronomy, inhabitants of other planets)
Perspective
16 Business manager at his desk studies a complex project. (Wealth, riches and reputation, treasures under the Earth and precious stones)
17 Watchdog on guard, a gold-miner sleeps near his strike. (Quabbalistic mysticism)
18 A masquerade, the last man unmasks, urged by the girls. (Fluid condensers and magical alchemy)
19 A forest fire subdued, the weary fighters feel jubilant. (Alchemy and electrophysics)
20 White dove circles overhead; descends, bearing a message. (Treatment of incurable disease)
21 A woman is disappointed as a man leaves her boudoir. (Protection from negative influences)
22 Children revel upon a soft new carpet in the nursery. (Justice and consolation of the persecuted and innocently imprisoned)
23 A big trained bear performs, sitting on a huge chair. (Mysteries of Creation and the Akasha principle)
24 Now freed from passion, a man teaches deep wisdom. (Music of the spheres, musical expression)
25 A butterfly emerges from its chrysalis, right-wing first. (Oaths)
26 A garage man is seen ready to test the battery of a car. (Ritual magic)
27 Amid rare books, an old pottery bowl holds fresh violets. (Astral and mental wandering)
28 Huge pile of sawed up wood ensures heat for the winter. (Magic of the spheres)
29 Metamorphosis completed, a butterfly spreads its wings. (Laws of analogy)
30 Moonlit fields, once Babylon, blooming white. (High mysteries of alchemy)

Pisces Sabian Symbols: (Saturn Jupiter Mars)
Innocence
​1 Late Saturday afternoon: crowds fill the public market. (Creative magical powers)
2 Squirrel, showing human acumen, hides from hunter. (Assistance in mundane tasks)
3 A petrified forest: permanent record of ancient lives. (Agricultural technology)
4 Cars crowd a narrow isthmus between two resorts. (Karma-Yoga, the doings of human beings on Earth)
5 A warmhearted crowd gathers at a church bazaar. (Arts, entertainments and light-hearted pleasures)
6 A parade of west point cadets is held as the Sun sets. (Professional success, arts and crafts)
7 Fog hides the shore; but on a clear rock a cross rests. (Good luck in science, success in intellectual work by private study)
8 Girl Scout, in camp, blows her bugle triumphantly. (Gaining of knowledge by schooling)
9 The race begins: a jockey spurs his horse to great speed. (Traveling)
10 The aviator sails across the sky, master of high realms. (Happiness, wealth, honour and respect without incurring negative Karma)
11 Seekers for illumination are guided into the sanctuary. (Subtle mysteries of light and consciousness)
12 Candidates are being examined by the lodge of initiates. (Mental wandering in the spheres)
13 Old weapons in a museum; in a glass case, a sacred sword. (Occult philosophy and acquisition of occult truth)
14 A young lady, wrapped in furs, displays supreme elegance. (Art and artists)
15 An officer in unkempt campaign uniform drills his men. (Sign language, Braille and other forms of special language and communication)
Protection
16 In a quiet museum, an art student drinks in inspiration. (Peace)
17 Easter: rich and poor alike display the best they own. (Fertility and sexual potency)
18 In a huge tent a famous revivalist conducts his meeting. (Amulets and talismans of love, marriage and friendship)
19 Master and pupil commune in strength on a long walk. (Chemical and pharmaceutical invention, dental medicine)
20 In the quiet of evening a farmers supper awaits him. (Intellectual development, memory, wit)
21 Child watched by Chinese servant caresses a white lamb. (Fortune and happiness)
22 Down a symbolic mountain of industry comes a new Moses. (Enlightenment transposed to uninitiated people)
23 A “materialising medium” summons weird ghostly shapes. (Laws of nature)
24 In a tiny lost island men build happily their own world. (Meditation)
25 After drastic reforms a purified clergy officiates anew. (Karma)
​26 Two rapt lovers and a philosopher watch the New Moon. (Evocation)
27 The harvest Moon rises in translucent autumnal skies. (Mysteries of the macrocosm and microcosm, Divine cognition)
28 Under the Full Moon the fields seems strangely alive. (Mysticism and spiritual development, magical expression of Divine consciousness)
29 Scientist is making tests by means of spectrum analysis. (Divine love)
30 A seers dream now lives: a face carved into huge rocks. (Correlative effects of Elements and Fluids throughout the entire microcosm and macrocosm)

———————–

Spend some time studying this, meditating upon the symbols that are expressed in your natal astrology. You may be surprised by the striking form of some of these symbols in connection with your personal experience. They also have an oracular power and can reveal many things. Don’t get hung up on the connections these degrees have to the spirits listed in PME, they are only the major magical faculties in the consciousness of that degree and do not cover its astrological meaning although in some cases there is a direct line of connection to the magical consciousness of the degree. I will share some further thoughts on all of this next month along with some examples of the symbols in use and some practical advice on how to integrate this into both your astrological and magical understanding and practice.

Dragonriding

Greetings and welcome back to Journeys! For the first month of 2021 we will be exploring the Dragon, otherwise known as the North and South Nodes of the Moon.

For Valentina & all the Critters

I have previously written about the Dragon in my book and in this journal. In this article I will be explaining some of my thinking when it comes to interpreting the Dragon within the context of the chart as a whole, including its signs and rulers, its temples and its aspects.

THE LIGHT EATER

The nodes are a twinned pair of points in the zodiac usually represented by two symbols resembling a pair of headphones:

These two points are always exactly opposite one another in the zodiac and move in a retrograde motion backwards through the signs, sometimes turning to direct motion for a short while. They take about 18 years to traverse all 12 signs, meaning they take about 1.5 years to move through each sign. For those interested, this 18 year cycle is around the same time it takes Jupiter to oppose itself twice and for the progressed Moon to move 2/3 of the way around the zodiac, placing it in the same Element as the one our Moon was in when we were born, connecting our awareness of the nodes to our teens as we become aware of our personality and our Jupiter traits through puberty, adolescence and early adulthood.

As I have written before, the simplest way to understand the nodes is that they are where an eclipse would occur if both Sun and Moon were at those places (meaning if both Sun and Moon are near the nodes you were born near or during a solar or lunar eclipse, but not necessarily one that was visible where you were born). They represent a place in the sky where an alignment of Sun, Moon and Earth can produce an eclipse. However the nodes are a pair, always opposite one another in the zodiac, and thus represent polarisation as well as a blending of the Sun, Moon and Earth.

As a product, then, of the Lights and the Earth, both of the nodes have something to say about our earthly consciousness, about the integration of spirit, soul and body, the mental, astral and physical awareness, and the overall agenda we have in coming to a physical form. In astrology this gives them a broad symbolic meaning which is a blend of all three and which connects with how earthly perspective can eclipse awareness of living an illuminated life, as well as the process we have to go through to ground the magic of the eclipse, bringing the power of our own inner light of being into perfect alignment with the now moment. We enter into existence with an intention to fully share our inner light, to ground it in the material and physical universe, but a churning entanglement with physical experience can and indeed does overshadow our awareness of this inner light. This is the wisdom of the Dragon.

The Dragon overall is a nexus in which the matrix of our being encounters the flow of meaning and significance. Yet as a polarized being with a Head and Tail that are separated the Dragon calls for integration and balance of some kind. The Head must be connected to the Tail via a stomach, an organ capable of digesting what is consumed and turning it into raw fuel. This stomach is us, or more accurately the entity at the centre of the chart. We are tasked with the challenge of becoming the critical third point in the Dragons existence, that which gives it a specific meaning and significance, the observer who witnesses the eclipse. The Dragon is therefore one of the keys astrology offers us in terms of the magical equilibrium and the resolution of what we can call karma, the ongoing drama of cause and effect. With the South Node or Dragons Tail we are dealing with things that are deeply significant and with which we have a profound psychological identification complex, with the sum of the causes we are dealing with in this lifetime, the things we must move away from, while with the North Node or Dragons Head we are dealing with things that are profoundly meaningful for our psychological growth, the things we must move towards, the effects we are better off cultivating and generating.

In practical terms the astrology surrounding the Tail is an abundance of experience but this abundance has led to dependence and an imbalance towards seeing life in a particular way that is now confining (the Tail is a constrictor). For example if the Tail is in an Earth sign it indicates that we come in with a significant Earth connection of some kind which now limits us. We will therefore have a great deal of connection to that way of being, but in ways that have become or will show themselves to be problematic. For example the aforementioned person with the Tail in an Earth sign may be too conventional or rely too heavily upon the status quo and will therefore tend to have issues getting stuck, being left behind, etc. The issue is essentially that we have become too used to that way of doing things and now have to move on. Of course, we get to keep all of that experience and knowledge, but we don’t actually get a benefit from it in the same way anymore. Usually we will benefit from it more when we give it away to others and not when we use it to move forward with our own goals or situations. However this is generally not easy because we are so comfortable living in that space and being that way, so comfortable in fact that we may not even notice that it is a problem, and we incarnate without an awareness that we have chosen to break these particular habits. It is invisible. We bump into it all the time, but we never see its face so it remains ambiguous and spectral, unlike the presence of Saturn which is always concrete and up front about the discipline it wants to instill. Saturn is a wall, but the Tail disappears into rabbit holes and is only rarely seen sliding around the corner from the edge of vision. Its cloak of invisibility (you only see the Dragon during an eclipse) lends it a Neptunian edge.

The Head on the other hand is the way out of that situation for us, the kind of attitude and experience we must seek in order to break out of the rut we have blindly fallen into. However we won’t have the same kind of experience in this area and therefore it will not feel as comfortable and we will have to make more of an effort to try things that way. The invisibility of the Dragon translates here as our blindness or ignorance of the nutritional astral benefits of a particular approach. The Head is something we have to chew over. It is hungry for more and its belly is us, but we lack the appetite for it while in the coils of the Tail.

LEVELS OF SYMMETRY

Here is where the symmetry of the Dragon starts to reveal its design. The person with the Tail in an Earth sign will have the Head in a Water sign, showing that the way out is to connect with the world of feelings and emotions, probably because all that focus on the material world has cut us off from them. A Water Tail will always have an Earth Head to guide it out of the emotional complexities it has become drowned in. Fire and Air pair the same way, representing a pattern of impulsiveness and spontaneity versus a pattern of calculated planning and thought. These represent the binary/primary karmic patterns being dealt with by the Dragon:

Elemental/Fluid Polarities

Electric Dragon, or Fire/Air Head & Tail: This Dragon focuses on the balance between development of the will vs. development of the intellect, impulse vs. calculation, self vs. society.
Magnetic Dragon, or Water/Earth Head & Tail: This Dragon focuses on the balance between development of the feelings vs. development of practicality, emotion vs. pragmatism, complexity vs. simplicity.

If Saturn (another universal indicator of karma) then finds itself in a sign that has the same Element as the Head or Tail, indications are very clear about where the soul is in hard labour. Conjunctions of Saturn with the nodal axis are therefore indicators of people who have chosen to deal with a lot of heavy baggage and who may have to work much harder to attain a healthy relationship with the Element – but the rewards are greater. In the aforementioned example of the Tail in Taurus, a conjunction with Saturn could well indicate someone who has become severely and chronically entrenched in materialism and conservative values, for example.

Of course its not just the Elements that the Head and Tail are in that polarize, it’s also the signs (Aries is always opposed by Libra), the houses or temples (the 1st is always opposite the 7th, etc) and the aspects of the Dragon too (trines to one part of the Dragon make sextiles to the other part, squares make squares to both ends, and conjunctions to one part are always oppositions to the other half of the Dragon), and in addition to this the rulers of the Head and Tail become involved, which is where the elegant complexity of the nodal tree really expresses itself. For example, someone with the Tail in Taurus might have a pattern with being highly acquisitive (perhaps a hoarder, for example), the Tail might also be in the 6th temple (so now the hoarding becomes about pills and things in the medical cabinet, again for example), it might also be in a square with Mercury in Aquarius (so now they are maybe a hypochondriac thinking there are all kinds of weird things wrong with them), and the ruler of Taurus, Venus, might be in Capricorn (so now everything is super organised) and in a trine with Jupiter in Virgo (so now its all bigger, they know all about the side effects in the fine print, have memorized the safe dosage levels and also probably give large parts of it away). It could manifest in any number of ways, yet this whole complex will still be problematic, it will represent a blockage for that persons psychological growth.

In terms of the karmic factors they signify the difference between Saturn and the Dragon is subtle. With Saturn we are presented with the lessons of time, maturity and responsibility – ultimately it represents a concrete blockage in our psyche of the titanic awareness of our own eternal nature and the journey we make to reclaim that awareness. Its lessons are hard but concrete. It tasks us with the construction of something, be it a material thing, an understanding of the soul, an ability to communicate, a healthy relationship, etc. We first become aware of Saturn at the first Saturn square, at age 7, albeit in an immature form. From that point on we can easily recognise the limitations of Saturn, especially when it is powerfully placed. The focus of the Dragon, however, is on the more ephemeral baggage we come in with and the way we deal with that, having less to do with the slowly growing awareness concerning our mortality as we get older (as the time left in the hourglass shrinks the intention of Saturn is that we focus more and more on what truly matters) and being far less concrete. Its lessons are equally hard but more phantasmal and insubstantial, less amenable to identification (our past lives obscure specifics). It tasks us less with building something and more with shifting our attitude. There is an extensive area of overlap between the two, however, as there are in many things in astrology. A more complete picture of karma comes from studying both together as well as all of the major dynamics in the chart, but focusing on these two parts of it gets to the meat of the matter quickly.

TRUE or MEAN?

Calculation of the nodes is complicated by a controversy over which of two calculations to use (and there is that binary nature again). One method, technically the more accurate method, calculates the nodes using the truer centre of gravity that exists between the Moon and the Earth, which is a non-fixed (drifting) centre about a quarter of the way in (990 miles) towards the centre of Earth. It takes account of the gravitational influence of the Sun and the wobble exerted upon the Earth by the pull of the Moon but it is still a fuzzy or slightly fudged calculation that does not result in a completely ‘true node’, despite the name. The mean node takes a simpler approach of placing the centre of gravity between Moon and Earth at the centre of the Earth itself. The end difference between these two methods of calculation in a chart is only about 1-2°, meaning that it is not usually significant, but at the sign boundaries (29°-0° of the next sign) it makes a giant difference because it changes the sign of the nodes. This means that these people are actually the ones who help us determine which calculation is working. The best case studies are those where the rulers of the possible signs of the Dragon are in very different places (it can be hard to tell the difference between a Tail in Virgo and a Tail in Libra when Mercury and Venus are conjunct in the same sign, for instance). It is often the position of the Tail that is the bigger giveaway here, and in my clients and friends I have found the true node to be the more reliable method. This is also my direct and personal experience as I was born with the Tail at the sign boundary between Leo and Virgo. The key takeaway here though is that unless the nodal axis is at a sign boundary, you don’t really need to worry about which method of calculation you use. Differences in the degree that results are so slight that it only really matters for things like aspects which are in a wide orb (in which case it’s best to focus on those aspects to the nodes that are closer) and the sign position when the nodal axis is at the sign boundary.

POLARISATION, SYMMETRY & KARMA

In the section on the Dragon in The 26 Keys I wrote about its connection to the concept of polarity as expressed through the signs of the zodiac. This is really just the next level up from the Elemental polarisation I described above with Fire/Air and Water/Earth. The binary nature of the Dragon and the zodiac splits the spectrum of the 12 signs into six pairs of signs, each polarity being made of an internalised (energy flows in to the awareness) and externalized expression (out from the awareness), but both signs having a particular theme that expresses both stark differences and uniting principles. I gave these 6 polarities names which describe, for me, the essence of their processes. Below I present some further notes on these polarities:

Zodiac Polarities

Aries/Libra: the creative processes, with Aries representing externalization and Libra internalization. The generation and sharing of beauty and power, the relationship of the self with all other forces in the universe. Fighting vs. cooperating, doing it my way vs. following polite social norms, vengeance vs. justice, engaging threat vs. defusing danger. For more on Aries, navigate here, and for Libra, here
Taurus/Scorpio: the binding processes, with Taurus as the externalization and Scorpio as the internalization. The acquisition and control of things, the forming of deep connection through desire, vow and oath. Safety vs. temptation, status quo vs. transformation, simplicity vs. complexity. For more on Taurus see here, and for Scorpio here
Gemini/Sagittarius: the informative processes, with Gemini as their internalization and Sagittarius as their externalization. The investigation and exploration of things, the motive power of the universe. Knowledge vs. wisdom, facts vs. ethical and moral considerations, reason vs. intuition, specific vs. general. To read more on Gemini navigate here, and for Sagittarius here.
Cancer/Capricorn: the constructive processes, with Cancer as their internalization and Capricorn as their externalization. The preservation of things for posterity, the building of nests or domains. Indulgence vs. discipline, comfort vs. austerity, nurture vs. nature. More on Cancer can be found here, and on Capricorn over here
Leo/Aquarius: the emanatory processes, with Leo as their externalization and Aquarius as their internalization. The brilliance of the uniqueness of things, the exploration of the individuals role within the community. Art vs. science, self generated creativity vs. direct inspiration, individualism vs. collectivity, leadership vs. freedom, fame vs. iconoclasm. I have more on Leo over here, and more on Aquarius here
Virgo/Pisces: the refining processes, with Virgo as their externalization and Pisces as their internalization. The bringing of things to perfection, the sifting of the gross from the subtle. Order vs. chaos, mundane vs. spiritual, proof vs. trust, nobody is perfect vs. unconditional love. Virgo gets more coverage here and there is a deep dive into Pisces here

It is also worth pointing out here that there is a symmetrical planetary level layered in here too, but only if we ignore the modern planets. Signs ruled by Venus and Mars (Aries/Libra and Taurus/Scorpio) are always polar opposites for reasons that should be fairly clear, Venus being a feminine and Mars being a masculine archetype. Similarly, signs ruled by Mercury and signs ruled by Jupiter are always opposite (Gemini/Sagittarius and Virgo/Pisces) and signs ruled by one of the Lights and Saturn are always opposite (Cancer/Capricorn and Leo/Aquarius). Thus at the planetary level the Dragons principle of polarity describes our karmic situation thusly:

Planetary Polarities

Venus and Mars – the need to strike balance between the feminine and the masculine, or reaction and action, desiring and being desired.
Mercury and Jupiter – the need to strike balance between the mind and the spirit, or reason/intellect and faith/intuition.
The Lights and Saturn – the need to bring balance between the awareness (consciousness) and the universal laws, or self and experience, being and time, life and death.

These are the basic building blocks of karmic experience on the Earth as the Dragon of western astrology sees them, the 2 Elementally based paths, the 3 planetary paths, the 6 archetypal polarities delineated by the signs of our zodiac, which are themselves 12 individual archetypal paths for experience. We can also add the 12 houses, which are divided into 6 polarized pairs like the signs, as the top level. These polarities are focused on twinned experiences available to all beings. For example, the 1st house or temple is about the identity we express when acting alone, while the 7th is about the identity we express when in a partnership or our ability to empathize with other identities, but both the 1st and the 7th are essentially about the experience of identity.

Temple Polarities

1st/7th temple: Polarity of identification, you/me, controls the experience of identification with things, controls the stability of the identity and the balance between partnering and self sufficiency. For more on the 1st temple navigate here, for the 7th temple see here.
2nd/8th temple: the sensual polarity, holding/releasing, gain and loss, controls the security of the soul and body and the balance between nurturing the physical and the astral. For more on the 2nd temple, navigate here and for the 8th temple see here.
3rd/9th temple: the cognitive polarity, learning/trusting, perspective and truth, controls the ability to process experience into models and patterns and the balance or exchange of concepts between the individual and the universe. For more on the 3rd temple navigate here, and for the 9th temple here.
4th/10th temple: the temporal polarity, past/future, private/public life, background and aspiration, controls our orientation in time and the balance between being grounded and rising to the peak. For more on the 4th temple navigate here and for the 10th temple go here.
5th/11th temple: the artistry (or co-creative) polarity, self satisfaction with creativity/audience appreciation, creation/sharing, controls ability to enrich life and society and the balance between what we have to contribute and the purpose we seek to attain in contributing it. For more on the 5th temple navigate here and for the 11th temple here.
6th/12th temple: the servicing (or essential, as in essence) polarity, civil service/hermits retreat, mundane life/inner life, assisting others through physical acts/praying for others, controls ability to draw essential lessons from life experience and the balance between being here now and transcendent bliss. For more on the 6th temple go here and for the 12th temple navigate here.

At each rising level, from the core Elementally based paths to the experiential polarities of the houses, the complexity, specificity and detail increases:

Fundamental level: Dragon is Magnetic or Electric and expresses polarity and karma in Sun/Moon, North/South, also Fire/Air and Water/Earth.
Planetary path: Dragon expresses polarity and karma in 3 pairs, Lights/Saturn (life/death, being/experience), Mercury/Jupiter (reason/faith, mind/spirit), Venus/Mars (feeling/acting, male/female, desiring/being desired).
Zodiacal Path: Dragon expresses polarity and karma in 6 pairs: Aries/Libra (creative polarity), Taurus/Scorpio (binding polarity), Gemini/Sagittarius (informative polarity), Cancer/Capricorn (constructive polarity), Leo/Aquarius (emanatory polarity), Virgo/Pisces (servicing polarity).
Temple Path: Dragon expresses polarity and karma in 6 pairs: 1st/7th temple (identification experience), 2nd/8th temple (sensual experience), 3rd/9th temple (cognitive experience), 4th/10th temple (temporal or chronological experience), 5th/11th temple (experience of life as artistry), 6th/12th temple (experience of life as service).

Additionally if there are aspects to the Dragon or the rulers of the Dragon these will add further details. However because the Dragon is a binary entity any aspect will be made to both parts of the Dragon and not just one side, even if the orbs are too wide on one side while being narrower on the other. There will be a leaning more towards the more exact aspect, but both aspects will be present at the same time.

Polarities in the aspects of the Dragon

Conjunctions are always paired with oppositions. These aspects are about polarisation and balance and are often therefore more powerful because they are in a resonance with the nature of the Dragon itself.
Squares are always made to both sides of the Dragon. These aspects are about something being held in the balance, something that could go either way, something that has been wagered in life and is potentially at risk but also potentially at a turning point.
Sextiles and trines are always paired, but the trine being a stronger aspect would tend to favour one side more than the other. These aspects are about situations and forces (including people) whose help comes with a price we do not acknowledge or perceive. Some things seem like they are good for us, but they are part of the rot. That rich relative who makes your drug habit easy, for example. These aspects are about uncovering those things and re-purposing them.

If the ruler of the Dragon, a Light or the ruling planet of the ascendant makes an aspect to the Dragon it usually represents ways in which we can be our own worst enemies, but conversely it also offers a way for us to be our own best friend, if we embrace the Dragons Head.

USE IN INTERPRETATION

Why is all this important? Well, first because it shows us what the Dragon is representative of – it’s representative of this polarisation that is expressed throughout all of the astrology in a single chart, it symbolically encapsulates that polarisation at a granular level where we can more easily operate with it in practice. It takes all of the above and distills it into two places in the zodiac, places which represent the Gordian knot where all of the above gathers and is focused. The nexus of the Dragon in a chart is like the naval in the middle of your body, it marks a place in your astral body where you inherit the power to be your own person, to bring your life into balance by gathering it into a focal point that will empower you.

The Dragon is a powerful tool that helps you to contextualize the chart and to sharpen your focus, eliminating some of the fuzziness that comes when playing with a symbolic system. You use it in the beginning for this reason, as a kind of focusing tool before diving in. Here is how you do that.

First, take note of the position of the Dragon, noting its signs. Have a way to make some notes as you go. Start with the Tail and follow all the steps through to the end, then start over with the Head. Normally there is a golden rule in astrology – never overemphasise the negative, always focus on the positive potential. With the Tail, however, we need to break this golden rule as the qualities connected to it are things that are problematic by nature, even though they probably do not feel like it. They represent a stock or abundance of something (causes) that karmically speaking we have brought with us to give away, not to profit from. So when running through the list below, bear this in mind and feel free to walk a little bit more on the dark side. On the other hand, do the exact opposite with the Head, focusing heavily on its positive potentials and traits (as effects and attitudes to strive for).

1) Note the Element. Refer to the Elemental/Fluid Polarities section, above. Make a note about where the emphasis lies e.g. “Tail is Electric/Fire, emphasis is on development of the will and acting on impulse”. This is the fundamental level.
2) Note the planet that rules the sign. Refer to the Planetary Polarities summary, above. Make a note about where the emphasis lies at the planetary level e.g. “ruled by Mars, emphasis on masculinity, male approach and desiring, everything connected with Mars in the chart”. Here you can also make a note about the position of that planet in the chart, e.g. “Mars is in Virgo in the 1st”. This can help you add more detail if you wish.
3) Note the sign. Refer to Zodiacal Polarities, above, and make a note about the emphasis. For example, “Aries, the creative polarity, emphasis on external expression, generation of power, confrontational or direct relationship of the self with all other forces in the universe, especially adverse ones. Aggressive, bullish or warrior like energy”. If you added the extra level of detail in the previous step, do so again here, for example “Virgo, the refining processes, with emphasis on externalization, the bringing of things to perfection, the sifting of the gross from the subtle, analysis paralysis, skepticism, criticism, support/assistance, purity or quality control”.
4) Note the temple. Refer to Temple Polarities, above, and make a note about the emphasis. For example “8th temple, the sensual polarity, holding/releasing, gain and loss, balance between nurturing the physical and the astral, 8th emphasises debt, legacy, taxation, the transformative power and flow of energy, relationship between astral and physical security”. Again, if you added the extra level in the previous steps do so again here, for example “1st temple, identification polarity, emphasis is on the self (1st) instead of the other (7th). Direct, pushy, in your face Mars in Virgo energy, shrewd sharpness, hypercritical/fussy, interfering, forcefulness, strong identity”.
5) Review your material. Then go back to the chart and apply your notes to your initial assessment of the chart, i.e. evaluate the Sun and Moon and ascendant (and then the rest) in the context of what you have been told by the Dragon. Take note of the astrological aspects of the part of the Dragon you just reviewed and the aspects of its ruler. Write these details down with some notes. For example, “Aries Tail (in early Aries) is in an ‘out of sign’ sextile with Sun and Midheaven in late Taurus. Gives strong acquisitive and material ambitions. Mars in Virgo is trine the Sun and Midheaven, giving even more emphasis towards the ambitions and material goals”.

Look for patterns and reinforcements of themes. The patterns that repeat at different levels using different symbols are like neon signposts alerting you to the importance of those factors. Thats really all you need to do, just keep all your notes handy when you interpret the chart and use them to sharpen and focus that interpretation, remembering that everything connected with the Tail is about things we need to outgrow and just give away to others while everything connected to the Head is about things we need to lean into and focus on if we want to see more success in life. Sometimes you will find there is an overlap between things connected to the Tail and things connected to the Head and you will have to unpick that with your subject matter in order to unravel the details (usually it means something need to be regenerated or transformed), but more often there is a clear difference between the two. By the way, the example I used above was from a real chart for the New York Stock Exchange:

The Head in Libra indicates it must strive for fairness, an equitable balance, a weighing of things, but can you imagine what a powerful and positive force the NYSE would be if it had a social conscience (having leaned into a chivalrous and empathetic but still pragmatic and grounded Libra Head ruled by Venus exalted in Taurus)? Such a meditation is a good illustration of what the Head offers and also of the scale and scope of the difficulties faced when dealing with it.

It is a Dragon, after all.

The Astrology of 2021

Greetings, and welcome back to Journeys! After such a calamitous year everyone wants to move on so my final post of 2020 is a look ahead at the major astrological patterns of 2021. So, let’s get on with scouting the path ahead!

For this analysis I am going to present the information in two parts, the first part discussing each planet in turn with overall trends and the second part will look at each month. The planets that will be considered in this analysis are Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Chiron, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and Eris, in transit. I also kept in mind the posiiton of the Sun when writing the monthly analysis. The first part will be helpful to people working with activations and conduction (see the archives for more on these topics) as well as providing a general overview of the influences each planet brings us this year. The second part is more of a weather map which shows a chronological sequence in which those influences emerge. Both parts of this message are drawn from the following graphic ephemeris, below:

Reading the graph is easier than it might seem at first. Read it left to right and notice the months along the top first. The wavy lines are the movements of the slowest moving planets, and their lines are labelled and show which sign they are in. When the line is going from top to bottom in the graph (moving down) the planet is moving forwards, when it is rising from the bottom to the top it is instead retrograde, and the points at which the curve turns the line one way or another are the planets stations when it is motionless. When planets reach the top or bottom of the graph they move into a different sign. When one or more of the lines cross over there is the potential for a major aspect. It will depend on what sign each planet is in. That’s it. You don’t need to understand the graph thoough, I try to do that for you here.

JUPITER & SATURN

It is appropriate to consider these two planets together for this year as they begin the year separating from a conjunction in early Aquarius. This means they bring similar themes but do so according to their own planetary principle. I wrote last month about the greater significance of this conjunction – this year we will be dealing with more temporary effects that are directly related to that larger picture. However as the graph shows Jupiter (the blue line) speeds through Aquarius, leaving it in mid May (as noted above, when a planets line reaches the bottom of the graph and returns to the top, or vice versa, it means it has entered a different sign), in comparison to the lingering curve of Saturn (the black line), which stays there all year. Yet Jupiter does not remain in the new sign of Pisces for very long, turning retrograde and returning to Aquarius for the rest of the year at the end of July. Therefore, there is an “island” between mid-May and the end of July in which the themes of Aquarius are less intense, but most of the year sees both of these planets in Aquarius. Jupiter enters Pisces again at the end of December 2021, marking its full entrance into that sign.

One important thing to note here is that these are signs which both of these planets rule (Saturn is the diurnal/Electric ruler of Aquarius and Jupiter is the nocturnal/Magnetic ruler of Pisces). It’s rare that both of these planets are in rulership at the same time, as they will be between mid-May and the end of July and for the last days of December 2021. For magicians, especially those involved in making talismans, opportunities to work with Jupiter and Saturn in rulership are rare, happening twice every 12 years (totaling about a year each time) with Jupiter, and once every 28 years for Saturn but in an extended period of about five years duration. So all of 2020 and all of 2021 are ideal times to make Saturn talismans or to work with Saturn in a magical context, and peeking slightly ahead he will stay in Aquarius until the first two months of 2023. In the case of Jupiter, there is an ideal period this year between mid-May and the end of July and one brief period at the end of December which flows over into 2022 and lasts until around mid-May of that year. Of course, you still have to choose the day and the hour in which Jupiter or Saturn are unimpeded and in commanding sky positions, as per the guidelines I have written about elsewhere. Some good places to look are in the sections below showing the months in which various influences arise.

For everyone else, a strong Saturn means that we all required to exercise patience, discipline, maturity, understanding and wisdom as well as long-term planning and hard work in order to move up some steep and tiring paths. We are halfway through an endurance marathon of Saturn in rulership, the first half being when Saturn was in Capricorn, and we now enter the second phase of the long, exhausting journey. However this one will be different to what we have just been through, as now new structures will begin to emerge as well as new ways of thinking and new rules to guide human interaction. The strong Jupiter that we get in the middle of the year brings a wave of compassion, empathy and much-needed Water to the picture, but we have to watch out for things like rising sea levels and melting ice being in the news. Sometimes the bounty of Jupiter is a deluge of the kind that is not welcome. However, the opportunity is there for us to reconnect with the spiritual and with deeper levels of feeling. There is a cool, distant, scientific detachment to Aquarius that can be aloof and alienating with extended exposure, and this dose of Pisces is a perfect remedy. We will feel things again very deeply after a long drought.

What this appears to be saying is that mass vaccinations (Aquarius) will lead to an outpouring of emotions (Pisces) that are most visible between mid-May and August. You can see this as indicating a level of protest, but Pisces is not an angry sign. On balance, it seems to me that Jupiter is finally gaining strength enough to match the strength of Saturn after a year in poor dignity in Capricorn (everyone poorer except the super rich). Jupiter in Aquarius lets us breath again, brings a sense of liberation, freedom and release that indicates places opening up, and this leads to the period of Jupiter in Pisces that releases a torrent of pent up emotions as people finally hug one another again without fear. In many ways it is the most beautiful moment that we can see symbolically reflected in the sky this year but it is definitely overshadowed by suspicions about the circumstances that make it permissible again. Pisces is also a supremely sensitive sign able to pick up psychic skill with ease, so this island of Jupiter in Pisces is ideal for that too, as well as for anything related to Jupiter or Pisces.

Over the course of the year Jupiter and Saturn form the following aspects with other major planets, the details of which are discussed in the month by month section:

Jupiter makes

a square with Uranus in Taurus in January (trouble when pushing your luck, ill-advised gambling or risk-taking, false projections, excessive idealism and impracticality, awakenings or mass movements, multiple choice moments, inflation/debt, ideological clashes, both secular and clergical)

a sextile with Chiron in Aries in January (healing, growth through integration, talk of fixing things)

three sextiles with Eris in Aries (opportunity or growth through discord, or possible escalations of discord?) in April, September and November

Saturn makes

a square with Mars in Taurus in January (putting the brakes on things, feelings of exhaustion or lack of energy, willpower being tested, the need for persistence in order to bite through things)

three sextiles with Chiron in Aries in February, June and November (slow and steady healing potential for chronic conditions, application of remedies which prove to be permanent, closing of open wounds, agreements to act as a collective)

three squares with Uranus in Taurus in February, June and December (restructuring, destabilising, revolutionary forces, paradigm emergence, reordering, new rules or laws, financial instability)

CHIRON

Chiron remains in Aries all year, beginning its journey into the second decan of the sign. You can find an extensive article about the meaning of Chiron in Aries here. Chiron brings teaching, healing/wounding, repair, integration and bridging. In Aries this is being applied to our use of willpower and courage, our warrior spirit and our ability to launch new enterprises.

One of the great blessings of 2020 is that Chiron was only in the early degrees of a Cardinal/Active sign and therefore remote from the troubles in the later degrees of those signs. A lot of things would have gone wrong and a lot more things would have been broken had Chiron been just a little ahead on his path. His big date with Eris in Aries is still a ways off as well.

Chiron in Aries combines well with Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius (as shown by the sextiles in the section above) and it stays far enough away from Pluto in Capricorn that the square between the two is not an issue for now. Additionally it makes no major aspects to Uranus in Taurus or Neptune in Pisces. Therefore the overall territory traversed by Chiron this year is easy to manage and so the year provides strong potential for any healing journey. However it is interesting to note that between mid-March and mid-May Chiron and Uranus remain in a close semi-sextile, keeping pace with one another throughout April. Such an extended interaction may have unusual effects for semi-sextile aspects. Normally, interactions between Chiron and Uranus are not terribly easy to handle, even when they are sextiles or trines. The difficulties are usually that there are many jigsaw pieces laid before us and we have to puzzle over how they fit together without looking at the box lid.

Chiron’s journey

– a sextile with Jupiter in Aquarius in January (healing, growth through integration, talk of fixing things)

– three sextiles with Saturn in Aquarius in February, June and November (slow and steady healing potential for chronic conditions, application of remedies which prove to be permanent, closing of open wounds, agreements to act as a collective)

URANUS

Uranus journeys through the second decan of Taurus all year. It is one of the major players in astrological activity since it will form three squares with Saturn (first described above). Uranus in Taurus brings a great deal of earthly, physical change including financial disruption. A detailed article on its meaning can be found here. There is also the aforementioned article on the Saturn square Uranus aspect.

One of the major repeating themes of Uranus in Taurus, sadly, is famine or food shortage, and from current reports it looks like this could be a big problem in 2021. Trade agreements are also a theme, but the squares with Saturn do not help them stick. This square can bring wrangling and disagreements about quotas, tariffs, payouts and territorial claims alongside rebellions and kickback against material powers such as the state, economic hardship, crackdowns, surveillance, new laws and rules and struggles for freedom. This is a tough square with a powerful Saturn and a tense Uranus with both in stubborn posture due to Fixed/Stable signs. It’s explosive, dynamite type material and what gets blown up looks like normal life, normal routine, normal expectations. Conflicting new paradigms are struggling for future dominance, and its far more complex than a polarisation because it occurs on multiple levels. Its a confusing and disorienting part of the ride ahead, and people need to stay centred and grounded to navigate it safely.

Uranus in 2021 makes

– a square with Jupiter in Aquarius in January (trouble when pushing your luck, ill-advised gambling or risk-taking, false projections, excessive idealism and impracticality, awakenings or mass movements, multiple choice moments, inflation/debt, ideological clashes, both secular and clergical)

– three squares with Saturn in Aquarius in February, June and December (restructuring, destabilising, revolutionary forces, paradigm emergence, reordering, new rules or laws, financial instability)

NEPTUNE

Neptune finishes drifting through the second decan of Pisces and begins entering the third decan for the final (slow) leg of its journey through the sign. This transition occurs in January. This last decan is very much about the ending and dissolution of things as it is the last decan of the zodiac. Since Pisces is a Water sign, this year offers us the chance to resolve emotional things, essentially by letting them go or through forgiveness, but this is a theme that we will have until 2025/6, when Neptune enters Aries.

Neptune in Pisces is surreal, dreamlike, unearthly and calls for sacrifices. If you have been feeling that reality is not quite what it appears to be, or that life has taken on a super surreal tone, you are responding to Neptune in Pisces. If you have put the mask on and kept it on out of empathy, you are responding to Neptune in Pisces. If you are marveling at the way people have sacrificed their personal liberty, staying home and losing their jobs, you are also responding to Neptune in Pisces. If you think the election result is fake, or you can’t believe the gall of those bringing that accusation without evidence, the same. The point is that Neptune in Pisces transcends boundaries, it saturates everything with the same level of unearthly surrealism.

For those looking within, these are miraculous times. Deep inner reflection leads to catching whales rather than fish. Meditation with Neptune in Pisces brings an abundance of tranquility and peace, but also a more vivid life to the subtle senses, both visually and emotionally. Many people are having their clairsentience and other psychic abilities activated or developed.

Neptune in 2021

– Neptune makes no major aspects to any slow moving planets this year. As far as Neptune in Pisces is concerned, it is a quiet year.

PLUTO

Compared to 2020 the astrological energy of Pluto is greatly cooled off, but there is still an ongoing square with Eris in Aries that reaches another exact point in October that we have to be very careful about. Since Pluto entered Capricorn in 2008 we have been going through a series of financial collapses and apocalypses, and we are entering the final sequence of this theme as Pluto prepares to leave for Aquarius in 2024. The next four years are due to bring all of the financial meltdowns of the last decade to a culmination of some kind. This looks more dire for us in the latter half of the year from July onward as the square between Pluto and Eris remains tight for that entire time, culminating in October. What we are seeing here are actually the fourth and fifth squares in a sequence of five, packed tightly together in the last six months of the year. The first square between Pluto and Eris took place in January 2020, just as the coronavirus was beginning to transmit itself globally. The second and third squares then followed in June (as protests against totalitarian measures were increasing) and in this month, December (as numbers skyrocket with the mutated strain breaking out everywhere). The story of the pandemic is not over according to the story of this square. The final chapter will occur in the latter half of this year and it may bring the most extended disruption so far, because the Pluto/Eris square will be around in an almost exact aspect from the middle of August to the middle of October, as Pluto is at station. On the one hand what makes this less worrying is that Jupiter and Saturn are no longer in Capricorn and Saturn is about 6° away from squaring Uranus at the time. What makes this more worrying is this extended duration with two exact squares just weeks apart as Pluto is motionless and turning direct, while the Sun aided by Mars in Libra (from mid-September to the end of October) interact with both Pluto and Eris at just the wrong moment in just the wrong way. We receive a blessing in that Jupiter moves back into Aquarius out of Pisces and helps by giving a sextile to Eris and a trine to Mars, but this may just enlarge or expand upon the trouble instead of alleviating it. This is where we have to be careful of both financial disruption and the probability of war increasing as well as more from the pandemic. It is easily the most troubling feature of the year, with Saturn square Uranus as the next most troubling. We can draw some comfort from the fact that Chiron in Aries is nowhere near this square. However, we are still learning about Eris and her contributions, so it is possible this has nothing to do with the virus. It will be fairly telling what happens in this period as far as our understanding of Eris is concerned.

Pluto in 2021

– two exact squares with Eris in Aries, one in early September and one in early October, the last two squares of a sequence of five which began in January 2020. However these last two squares do not have the additional factors of Jupiter and Saturn in Capricorn to make them worse.

ERIS

Our newest neighbour Eris continues to transit through the last decan of Aries, interacting with Pluto as described above but also having three sextile interactions with Jupiter in Aquarius that either serve to exaggerate and expand upon the discord of Eris in Aries or to cause opportunity and growth to arise from it. It will be interesting to see if this triple sextile with Jupiter brings help or an escalation. If it brings help Jupiter will be acting in accordance with its traditional nature, but if instead it brings a problematic escalation it may be because that is what is truly needed for our continued growth. Or it could just be because Eris cannot be pacified by Jupiter, which seems quite likely to me. Regardless, there are opportunities for anybody looking to really really shake up (or blow up) the way they express their Aries qualities such as their willpower or their bravery. I’ve also noticed that Eris in Aries seems to be bringing discord through disruption of gender norms as the trans community finally feels safe enough to come out into the open. Some of the kickback against this definitely reminds me of the way that gay and lesbian people were treated when they first decided that they were ready to seek acknowledgment and fair representation decades ago. The way these changes challenge our concept of identity and masculinity and the millennia of toxicity attached to that is very Eris in Aries. In this way we can see that Eris is actually a peacekeeper of sorts, striking at the poisons that have threatened us with war for so long, it’s just that unlike her sister Venus she uses no soft tactics to persuade men, and she is not actually interested in peace, she is interested in getting kicks out of creating discord by messing with the status quo. She doesn’t care about organising things into larger collectives or individual liberty and freedom like Uranus. She sees things in much broader terms even than Pluto, and so her ultimate motives are truly beyond our comprehension.

Eris in 2021

– two exact squares with Pluto in Capricorn, one in early September and one in early October, the last two squares of a sequence of five which began in January 2020. However these last two squares do not have the additional factors of Jupiter and Saturn in Capricorn to make them worse.

– three sextiles with Jupiter in Aquarius (opportunity or growth through discord, or possible escalations of discord?) in April, September and November

THE OVERALL TERRITORY

There is no doubt that everyone with a heavy emphasis on Active or Cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra or Capricorn) and especially the latter part of those signs can breathe a sigh of relief this year – while the pattern of 2020 overall has been ‘trouble whenever the Moon or Sun (or Mars) enters a Cardinal sign’ the pattern of 2021 is different. There is still a lot of trouble in the late Cardinal/Active signs with Pluto in Eris still in square, so the bumpy ride there is not over yet and the problems for these signs are not over, but the spotlight of challenges is now shifting onto the Fixed/Stable signs of Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius. In general, the overall territory of 2021 is instead ‘trouble whenever the Sun or Moon or Mars enters a Fixed/Stable sign’. This becomes less of a problem when Jupiter is in Pisces from mid-May until the end of July.

However although 2021 will undoubtedly be dominated by the squares between Saturn and Uranus, the underlying tension of a double Pluto square Eris will erupt in the later part of the year. We could say then that in the first part of the year it is the Fixed/Stable signs that produce most of the tension while in the latter part of the year both Fixed/Stable signs and Cardinal/Active signs are generating challenges for everyone. Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces – the Reactive/Mutable signs – are relatively quiet.

MONTH BY MONTH

What follows is a month by month arrangement of this information including transits of Mars which often acts as a trigger for slow moving planets.

January

The two or three major features of this month are the square between Saturn in Aquarius and Mars in Taurus (Jan 13) and the squares between Jupiter in Aquarius and Uranus/Mars conjunct in Taurus (Jan 17 and 23). The conjunction of Mars with Uranus in Taurus in the middle of these squares (Jan 20) points to aggressive market activity and a desire for a rapid increase in the pace of life. The latter half of the month is the most challenging part of the month because the Sun will enter Aquarius and add a great deal of raw energy to the Saturn and Jupiter squares. The square interaction between Mars and Saturn suggests everything beginning very slow and sluggish (possibly this is a reflection of continued lockdowns beginning to wear on people) – the energy of Mars square Saturn is like the wheels of a car stuck in mud spinning extremely fast but going nowhere – while there is a feeling of impatience, frustration, restlessness and edginess coming from Jupiter. Tensions are very high this month. The best strategy is perhaps to proceed cautiously so as not to be taken by surprise when unexpected events disrupt plans or expectations. The energy this month is good for making breakthroughs if you can be patient, disciplined and persistent in your actions. Being pushy, obstinate or stubborn in your ways will only generate pressure and stress as well as drawing heat. It feels like the Jupiter in Aquarius and Mars/Uranus mood is to get out and break free of all the horrible restrictions that people have been living under, but the block from Mars square Saturn looks like the strong hand of authority preventing them from doing so. It also seems reasonable to assume that Jupiter in Aquarius square Uranus and Mars in Taurus is about the angry tension surrounding vaccination, which is likely to be an ongoing activity of this month. With Mars in Taurus the financial recovery will likely be beginning and people will probably want to be busy and get to work in need of money, but that square with Saturn makes it slow and confronts it with serious obstacles this month. This month also sees the first and only sextile of Jupiter in Aquarius with Chiron in Aries (Jan 11), which is a wonderful aspect for investigating alternative therapy and healing methods or just for venturing into a completely new direction with a bold spirit. Saturn square Mars is still holding things back, meaning that slow and steady progress is the optimal strategy, but this energy from Jupiter helps us to carry on despite any burdens and to endure and persist in a healing path.

February

Saturn is the major astrological factor of this month as it comes to make its first square with Uranus in Taurus (Feb 17) as well as the first of three sextiles with Chiron in Aries (Feb 9). Mars in Taurus is in a more stable mood this month forming a sextile with Neptune in Pisces on Valentine’s Day (Feb 14) and a trine with Pluto in Capricorn (Feb 25). From this activity of Mars alone it would seem that February sees things gathering pace and momentum, freed more to move forwards, but the square between Saturn and Uranus denotes conflict between taking the tried and tested route or trying something innovative. This conflict must be confronted and at least partly resolved before things can move forwards this month. The presence of the Sun in Aquarius energises Saturn and gives him a greater degree of power in this first act. Whatever occurs in your life in February it is important to understand that it is the first act of three, with the other two acts emerging from the narrative in June and December. The same also applies to events that we see happening in the world during February. Whatever this first act sets up is important because it becomes the overall theme of the square between these two major planets, a theme that will be revisited in the course of the year. The first square between these two objects is significant because it sets the agenda for the next two. This is important for us to understand – whoever gets to set the agenda in February gets to set the agenda for most of the year.

Within our own personal and individual lives this square challenges us to put effort into some major restructuring or face the consequences of old ways failing as they meet new and unexpected challenges. During this time we may experience tension between a need to experiment and a need to conserve, and depending upon our personal circumstances we may need to make an adjustment there one way or another. Certain rules probably need to be rewritten at this point. Playing it entirely safe is not advisable, but neither is playing it without serious regard for unforeseen consequences. Something is happening to the irons that have already been placed in the fire, something unplanned, and we will need to adapt our long-term outlook around this turning point. It may take us in an entirely new direction, or it may force an adjustment of the course we are on at multiple levels. It is important for us to embrace this change as necessary but to take control over it. At the same time, our need for change has to be tempered by increased discipline and patience. It is a balancing act between our dependence upon stability/rule and our thirst for innovation/freedom. In June we face the first real test, as the first act is really an introduction and a roll-out of the agenda/s, so take note of what comes up and where possible do not allow the agenda to be framed for you. If you get locked in to something you will regret later, June will be a time in which you have to break free instead of a time in which you can overcome obstacles to actually make progress.

The first of three sextiles between Saturn and Chiron (Feb 9) serves as a follow-up to the previous months interaction between Jupiter and Chiron, implying that any healing path that was embraced in January now begins to make slow but steady progress and can be applied to chronic conditions. Healing work begun in January can now become grounded in reality and physical experience. At later stages in the year (see June and November) further progress can be made in these areas. Also, given that during February Mars in Taurus is providing metaphysical energy through an amorous and productive sextile with Neptune on Valentine’s Day and boosting the power and flow of the Earth Element on the 25th via a trine with Pluto in Capricorn, February is a month in which a lot can get done despite the challenges.

March

This looks set to be a faster paced, smoother month than the previous two with the arrival of Mars in Gemini bringing a trine to Saturn (Mar 22) and a sextile to Chiron (Mar 18), with no major aspects between the slow moving planets. The square between Saturn and Uranus is still active, however, as the planets are only about 1 to 2° apart. Whatever we were dealing with in February is still around, however the assistance of Mars brings fresh ideas and a new approach as well as an invigorating breeze of mental energy that helps to dislodge any impasse or blockage we are encountering, especially around the equinox week. Things get moving this month, and travel restrictions start to look less likely.

One interesting feature of this month is that an exact semisextile begins between Chiron and Uranus, one that will stay exact all through April and half of May. This gives us an extended period in which to observe the influence of this ‘minor’ aspect between a relatively new object and an extremely new one. It seems likely to me given my understanding at this time (which you can read more about in my numerous articles on Chiron and Uranus) that this period brings us an opportunity to integrate new ways of being and new ways of evolving if we can venture off of any predetermined pathways and explore the wilderness of ideas and methods. It may be significant in helping us to resolve the crisis represented by Saturn square Uranus as it may help us to integrate new methodologies and innovations in ways which do not bring painful consequences.

There is bountiful energy being supplied by Mars (especially for Gemini activities like writing, communicating or traveling) which gives us reason to believe that some places will see restrictions being lifted, or at least plans to (which may then come to fruition when Mars trines Jupiter next month). It is a good month to forge ahead and to make progress towards long-term goals after having to deal with the problems of the previous months. People are ready to look ahead, to actually make plans again, and those who keep busy will find the wind firmly in their sails. There is a sense of greater stability and a greater degree of confidence to the energy of this month thanks to this Mars and (after the equinox) the help of the Sun in Aries, which interacts with both Mars and Chiron in ways that also help to improve things.

April

Again, the outlook here is less troubled than in the first two months of the year, basically April looks like a continuation of March. There are a couple of new things to watch for, however.

First is that the energy of Mars will go through a degradation. The momentum of things in March will be stifled by a square with Neptune in Pisces (April 9) and then by its entry into Cancer at the end of the month. This means that April is clouded by confusion or doubt over actions and courses, that what we imagine (Neptune) is inclined to disrupt our own intent (Mars). The meddling of the unconscious is very strong as a result. Discernment is a key quality that we are challenged to develop in this time. Without it our aims and our actions will be undermined or made invalid by our own assumptions and projections. It is time to be clear about your intent, about what you are manifesting, and this calls for greater clarity on what is driving you as an individual. This aspect punishes fudging, vagueness and poorly conceived visions. Other problems to watch for in yourself or others are increased paranoia, addictions/cravings, martyrdom, nervousness, tumultuous dreams, insomnia, passive aggressive behaviour, pedantic argument (hair splitting), playing devils advocate for kicks and zealous extremism. The positive potential is in overcoming these challenges and also in meeting spiritual challenges in general head on.

The trine of Jupiter and Mars in Air signs (Apr 17) opens things up a lot. Given that these two Air signs (Gemini and Aquarius) are the two signs of the zodiac most concerned with freedom of movement, freedom of speech and freedom in general, the likelihood is that this month people will actually be able to move around and interact with one another in a socially dynamic way again. If lockdown is still in place they will probably just do so anyway, since Mars is such a defiant actor. Regardless, this month is excellent for any work with the Air Element.

Of greater significance to the rest of the year than all of this, however, is the interaction between Jupiter and Eris (Apr 5), the first of 3 sextiles that will also happen in September and November. We really don’t know enough about Eris to be able to accurately forecast what this will bring, earlier I said it may bring an escalation of the things that Eris in Aries is connected to, or it may help to bring some kind of benefit out of that or to that. It’s possible this represents the introduction of some new kind of technology or discovery, since new technologies and discoveries always have a disruptive effect while also bringing expansion. It’s possible given the nature of Jupiter in Aquarius and Aries that we will make some discovery connected with outer space or with human consciousness. By being attentive at these times and mindful of this aspect we could learn a lot about how new planet Eris interacts with human behaviour, because the generosity of Jupiter is legendary. On the personal level this seems to indicate a fortunate outcome when acting to bring discord as a positive force. It may also bring out fresh and radical opportunities we had never even considered before, or new developments to discarded paths which now seem viable or productive.

May

The big story this month is the shift towards the Water Element with the entrance of Jupiter into Pisces (May 13), with Mars in Cancer providing strong support all month. After what will seem like a long drought two things will happen – people will be able to express their feelings and let out a lot of emotions in tears (Jupiter in Pisces) while at the same time a long period of Jupiter being weakened (first by being in Capricorn all throughout 2020 and then by being inhibited by Saturn while in Aquarius) will come to a brief end. I say brief because he will retrograde back into Aquarius before the end of the year, reversing his motion next month, meaning that this year he will only be in Pisces from mid-May until the end of July as previously explained. A strong Jupiter brings a surge in confidence and optimism, but it will still be tempered by the equally strong Saturn around us which does the opposite. Nevertheless the net effect will be noticeable, and so this month is a month in which we will really begin to feel what we have all been going through. This is good evidence that things like weddings and funerals will finally be able to take place, as well as that things like parties, cinemas and gatherings will also be returning.

Even if this forecast turns out to not be the case it won’t change the fact that during this period people will really be feeling a lot more than they have done previously for quite some time. Pisces is very dreamlike and fantasy prone, and Jupiter definitely tends towards the idealistic and hopeful, so one thing to be on guard against here is that these things will get overblown and that we will begin taking a view of things which is far too romantic, and not see the thorns in the roses. Jupiter in Pisces offers delightful and enchanting escapism from reality, which will be welcome, but it is not until 2022 that this becomes a dominant theme, it is merely being introduced now. On the positive side this kind of Jupiter is an extremely powerful influence for anyone seeking mystical experiences or for meditation, and for creating talismans with the power to bring enlightenment and mystical states of consciousness to those who carry them.

Mars in Cancer is about taking defensive or evasive actions, reinforcing protective barriers and so forth. It is the ultimate gaming defence turtle, adept at secreting things away and gradually building a castle without drawing any attention to itself in the process. During the course of the month it runs into a problematic encounter with both Chiron and Uranus (May 12), forming a square with Chiron in Aries at the same time as it forms a sextile with Uranus in Taurus. We have to be careful at this time that any actions we do take do not cause unintended harm to ourself or others. There may be a trap laid for us around this time, like a bear trap laid down in the forest, something that would cause great pain if we inadvertently stepped on it. Of the many options that are before us thanks to Mars sextile Uranus some or all of those options may be painful ones (Mars square with Chiron). In such a situation it is wise to assess the relative pain each course of action will take and then to proceed with heightened awareness looking for where the trap may lie. At the very end of the month, just as Mars is about to leave Cancer, it makes a trine with Neptune in Pisces (May 31) which brings the height of the Water Element to a near flood. This trine is about empathy in action, empathy towards oneself, and empathy powered by imagination and spiritual awareness. So while the early part of the month mainly present us with difficult choices, the end of the month brings a sense of relief. People may well remember this month as the month in which they could cry and laugh with one another again.

June

The turning point. This month sees the second of the three squares between Saturn and Uranus (June 14) and thus the second act of the drama which began in February. The second square is either about breaking free of something that was adopted during the first square or pushing forward with the agenda set during that time. It represents the first real challenge beyond setting the agenda itself. This time, the Sun is throwing its weight behind Uranus instead of Saturn, as it will be in Cancer making a sextile to Uranus Taurus.

As I’ve written about in a previous article, this square is about the creation of a new rulebook as a new paradigm emerges. It is about a direct conflict between the way things have always been and where they are going now and in the future. This applies to both the individual and the collective. Squares are turning points and 2021 is about turning points that decide what the new rules are going to be and who the players are, both in our personal lives and on the global stage. Economic restructure is coming, and along with it a reset of the socio-cultural norms. If you think for a moment as a corporate entity, one that employs a large manual labour force, it may be that you decide that given the way the virus has affected your bottom line in 2020 you are no longer interested in re-employing those people because you can program something robotic to do their job. These are the kinds of turning points we seem to be reaching, there are many more especially in relation to the environment, and this month is a critical juncture in that path for some reason.

These squares are not easy, but there are two things helping us at this time. The first is that shortly after the second square with Uranus, Saturn will make its second sextile with Chiron in Aries (Jun 24). It’s almost like there is an opportunity to fix or rebuild things immediately after or during breaking them. This sextile is also the point at which any healing activity begun under the first Saturn sextile Chiron in February can proceed even further. The second thing helping is that Mars will be leaving Cancer (where he is not empowered) for Leo (Jun 11) and so we will be feeling a lot more driven by our will and confidence in many people will be returning.

However, the course of Mars in Cancer in the early part of the month brings it into conflict with Eris in Aries via a square (June 2) and then with Pluto in Capricorn via an opposition (June 5). This means that the first week of this month is somewhat of a minefield. Again with things connected to Eris we are very much in the dark – it’s reasonable to assume that there will be aggressive and warlike behaviour in the air, but it will be difficult to separate this from the same energy that arises from Mars opposite Pluto. In essence the early part of June is potentially violent, but the weakness of the position of Mars points to a more defensive passive-aggressive escalation of tension. In our personal lives it’s important again to be careful that our actions do not cause unintended harm to ourselves or others, to back away from power struggles and temptations and to show that we are willing to have our will transformed and purified. This could be a good training period for people trying to control their temper, but is helpful for all of us because it will often show us where the way we are impressing our will on the world leads to our own downfall, the way we can all become the villain or our own worst enemy.

July

The story of July is of the Water Element supply being turned off and the return of tension and pressure mounting. This situation arises first from Mars opposite Saturn (July 1) followed by Mars square Uranus (July 4) at the start of the month, and then is concluded by Jupiter leaving Pisces for Aquarius with Mars opposite Jupiter at the end of Leo as it enters Virgo (July 28/29). It’s an explosive month as a Fiery Mars makes an opposition to Saturn and to Jupiter, one at each end of the month, with a Uranus square and an Eris trine (Jul 21) in-between. Mars trine Chiron (July 2) offers some comfort in the form of reconciliation and healing, but overall this month is packed with action.

The first situation in the early part of the month with Mars in opposition to Saturn and square with Uranus is dangerously stubborn and fixated, sure of its will and obstinate when meeting any opposition to its path. It has the energy of a juggernaut pushing things out of its way, so if this energy can be utilized in a positive form it can be extremely helpful. Usually, however it is not utilized in a helpful form that takes manifestation instead as an attack, struggle or conflict. The danger of tyranny and of ruthless action is very strong here. It is mercifully countered by the trine with Chiron in Aries, so that the energy of Mars is far less inclined to do damage, but this is still a tricky period. It enables us to test whether or not the course that we have set ourselves upon in relation to the Saturn/Uranus squares is a desirable one, and to forcefully correct it if it is not, but in either case there will be considerable resistance in some form. Mars opposite Saturn brings efforts at control, the need for uncomfortable restraint, blocking or the denial of aggressive instincts, heightened frustration, bitter anger, tests of self-control and the necessity to solve problems before they do serious harm. Mars square Uranus on the other hand emphasises rugged individualism, the will to fight for one’s freedom, inner tension and stress, the impulse to take sudden highly risky actions, accidental conflicts of interest, mob action and the power of demagogues and propaganda. You can see why this is such a heavy mix. Navigating through it properly is a complex process of looking at how one’s own desires impact the lives of others and vice versa and making many adjustments in the way we go after what we want and express who we are and what makes us unique.

The situation in the latter part of the month is different. Two things happen at once – Jupiter retreats back out of Pisces into the end of Aquarius just as at the same time Mars reaches the end of Leo and goes into Virgo. As the Water is turned off the opposition between Mars and Jupiter brings a fighting spirit fit for a moral or ethical cause. There is over-excitement, overconfidence, lack of moderation, inclination to hasty actions and opinions, competitive reactions, clashes of philosophy or principles and potentially also significant lawsuits. The Mars/Jupiter opposition in Virgo/Aquarius is not as stubborn and obstinate as the Mars/Saturn/Uranus situation at the beginning of the month, being more willing to compromise, but it is still very fixated and may be driven towards action which is not constructive. The key with dealing with Mars/Jupiter overload like this is to consciously slow yourself down and take stock of how you are spending your energy and your action economy, i.e. how you are going after your grand plan and what you might be wasting in the process that could best be used elsewhere.

It’s also important to point out here that with the shift from Jupiter in Pisces to Jupiter in Aquarius and the shift from Mars into Virgo, the ambient empathy evaporates at the end of this month. We are left with a much drier and rational astrological environment for now, but the empathy will return just before New Year and will be a major feature of early 2022. What we have this year is a preview that enables us to get in touch with what we are feeling and to take a deep breath, filling our lungs with air as next year we will be plunged into a deeper realm of feeling.

August

Aside from the exact square between Pluto and Eris at the end of the month (August 28) which will probably be more a feature of September, this month is comparatively quiet astrologically. Mars advances through Virgo to make a trine with Uranus in Taurus (August 22), which allows us to make progress in various ways and increases the supply of the Earth Element just as the Sun is doing the same from entering Virgo. Saturn and Uranus are nearing their maximum degree of separation from one another, so the tension between them is at the least it will be all year, so that August may bring good opportunities to really progress towards the things we want to achieve this year. So long as the square between Pluto and Eris does not present too many difficulties the end of this month is one of the more productive periods we have ahead of us.

Mars trine Uranus highlights the effectiveness of individual commitment and decision making (especially by delegation of various actions within a group), revolutionary ideas, the display of an iron will, accelerated activity, engineering and the desire to force changes. It encourages dynamic and responsive, adaptable leadership and decision making and stimulates our desire to be unique, different, stand-out or distinct within a crowd. The strong Earth Element supplied by this trine and the backing off of the Saturn/Uranus square implies that business and industry will be experiencing a more bullish and predictable period, but with Uranus this can never be stable. For the most part it is best to use this month to work hard consistently. In doing so by the end of the month you will find that multiple tasks have been completed in unexpectedly rapid time.

September

The major new feature this month is that there is a second sextile between Jupiter and Eris (Sep 10, see February for the first) but as I said there we do not know if this will cause an escalation or a benefit of some kind. However the ongoing square between Pluto and Eris, as Pluto approaches a station and turns direct is likely to be more significant in terms of what’s happening. We will have to see how active Eris is during September since there are no other major aspects in the sky this month. Mars does enter Libra (September 15) and loses some of the recent strength he has had in pushing things forward, but his path through the sign puts him on course to trine first Saturn (Sep 25) and then Jupiter (next month), giving momentum a lot of support. The kind of effort that Mars in Libra is good at, however, is diplomatic and cooperative, actions with a partner rather than solo. The opposition with Neptune in Pisces before he leaves Virgo (September 2) is tricky because it is delusional and self deceptive, descriptive of actions we put our will behind which are obscured by murky reasoning or false assumptions and the influence of the subconscious, it is effectively an opportunity to purge the willpower of these elements. This is especially true given that he will quickly make a trine with Pluto in Capricorn (September 6) which helps us to do so. So if we can rid ourselves of unrealistic pursuits at the beginning of this month there is real potential around the end of the month to make some kind of progress that we will consider a level up when the trine with Saturn takes place. Virgo and the Earth and Air Elements are dominating the Elemental balance at this time, with the Sun in Virgo and Libra this month. Earth is very strong until mid month when Mars enters Libra and then the Sun, after which the balance is shifting more to Air. You want to be busily getting things done in the first half, and looking for a partner to do them with after. However the things you get done under Virgo are more the things that help others rather than the things that help you. This is a great month for making repairs, tidying up or bringing order to something.

October

Trouble. We get the 5th and final Pluto/Eris square (Oct 9) while Mars in Libra opposes Chiron (Oct 1), then Eris (Oct 21), before squaring Pluto (Oct 22) and entering Scorpio (Oct 30) with the Sun. Tensions are just going up. This is clearly a worrying time but Jupiter in Aquarius comes to something of a rescue (perhaps) with a trine to Mars (Oct 19) as he stations and turns direct. This may of course just inflame or ignite things, we will have to see. At a guess months away, I would say it looks from here that Jupiter in Aquarius is about more vaccinations being rolled out as the viral numbers go up again, or that this is the narrative. And this is likely the trouble, because people are going to be forced into doing it, and that is unacceptable because it represents a lurch towards totalitarian control. With Mars in Libra, outrageous laws may be being passed, leading to civil unrest.

This is speculation. To navigate this minefield we have to understand the situation, and it is too far away to see what the specific circumstances might be. In general, however, the overarching theme of Pluto/Eris is of things that are being torn down, destroyed, or obliterated, never to return. This question has been hanging over cinema releases of films, for example, but it is everywhere now. We need first to understand that things are going to get hit by a wrecking ball, and make sure that what it hits is something that really needs to be demolished. The great danger is that without our actions, without our guidance, the wrecking ball will just run amok.

This understood, the rest of the challenges this month come from Mars in Libra, and they are all reminiscent of the sequence he put out in 2020 whenever he was in a Cardinal sign, the implication being that this is indeed about the numbers connected to the virus as it was then. Regardless, individuals must proceed with greater care this month. Actions may have very destructive consequences beyond what was intended. Being considerate of others will go a long way, especially around the 19th. The trine between Mars and Jupiter on that day brings confidence and mental energy, it increases the likelihood that positive and successful attitudes will lead into winning situations and stimulates healthy competitive urges and a spirit of enterprise. It is excellent for mind/body training such as athletics or competitive sports and can help inform us as to the direction in which our own unique philosophy lies. In general it speaks of doing it with a partner (Libra), and keeping an open mind (Aquarius), so that the potential for positive reinforcement multiples for everyone.

November

The first half of this month is much bumpier than the last half. This is because in the first half of the month Mars in Scorpio triggers both Saturn by square and Uranus by opposition (11th and 17th), acting to bring the tensions of the ongoing square between them to the surface more forcibly. This is the inverse of the pattern we saw in July when he was opposing Saturn and squaring Uranus, so it is feasible to expect some kind of development of events that stem from July during this period, events that are likely to be confrontational and somewhat aggressive in nature as Mars calls upon us to confront things that need confronting. The Sun in Scorpio is also outlining a similar theme. In the latter part of the month however we get the third sextile between Jupiter and Eris (Nov 18), the third sextile between Saturn and Chiron (Nov 27), and a trine between Mars and Neptune (Nov 29). These are iterations of previous aspects I have described and simply bring those influences to a conclusion so I will not go further on them here except to talk about the trine between Mars and Neptune. There was a previous Mars/Neptune trine at the end of May and this one will be little different except for the fact that Mars in Scorpio is very strong and the empathy is more passionately driven.

The overall trend for the month seems to be connected to things ending, since the square between Pluto and Eris is winding up, so are the sextiles between Saturn and Chiron (see Feb and Jun) and Jupiter and Eris (see Apr and Sep), Jupiter is finding its way out of Aquarius and the theme of Scorpio (a sign of endings) is written large. Additionally, Mars is again challenging us to reassess whether what is being built up with the Saturn/Uranus squares is really something that we want to see built up, and he is producing tests and challenges that are designed to increase our power and our determination. As many of the ongoing narratives wrap up this month we head into the third and final Saturn/Uranus square at the end of the year, which fully resets things so that next year we have a significantly different set of astrological factors to live with.

December

As noted above, December is the last square between Saturn and Uranus (Dec 24) – they will come to about a degree apart in October 2022 when Saturn turns retrograde, but they will not complete the aspect again. The narrative of this square is concluding, and this is really the last chance to make an impact on how it will all pan out in the end. The advantage of the third square is that we have had two previous ones and now know something of what to expect. In 2021 you have either been busy with restructuring your reality to incorporate new methodologies and ideas, or you have been really struggling to keep up with the pace of change and stubbornly resisting to let go of your attachment to the way things have always been. This doesn’t mean that you have to accept every change that is being forced upon you, only that you have to accept a serious measure of change is absolutely necessary and very timely.

If you have embraced this aspect as a positive force that can help you to change your paradigm and introduce you to new ways of understanding, this final square is like your final exam. It will establish whether you have grasped what you need to have grasped. If you have, a significant breakthrough is due if it hasn’t already happened. If instead, like many people, you have not really been aware of this need at this time, you will have found it forced upon you in all kinds of unpalatable and unacceptable ways and this is the point at which you will find your lid blowing off. The path that navigates through 2021 successfully is one that understands this. Busy yourself in grasping the lessons that this square presents you with in February, June and December and you will breakthrough into a new level of some kind. This applies to the individual and collective of course.

Mars leaves Scorpio and enters Sagittarius (December 13) but not before making a sextile with Pluto in Capricorn (December 6) and a square with Jupiter in Aquarius (December 8). This final sequence of Mars in Scorpio therefore brings a boost in confidence that may be overblown, and there is certainly an increase in the hunger of the desire nature. The Mars/Jupiter square may be about consumer spending in the run-up to Christmas, as people run up debts. Mars/Jupiter squares are often dangerous because they imbue us with a false sense of optimism and overconfidence that becomes somewhat embarrassing in many cases later down the line. Once in Sagittarius, Mars makes a trine with Chiron on Christmas day and a sextile with Saturn (Dec 30), showing a somewhat more active and exuberant end to the year than the sluggish beginning was. The true climax of the year is when Jupiter fully enters Pisces (Dec 29), just before the New Year, perhaps, just perhaps, indicating that people will be able to release their pent up emotions and actually celebrate together again. Yet in the background of Pisces there is always the notion of sacrifice, a notion that seems to dovetail with the theme of freedom vs control described by Saturn square Uranus, and so there will likely be strong feelings about the heavy price that people have had to give up in order to regain what they once freely had. Regardless of whether or not authorities allow people to congregate during this time, emotions will be running high and they will stay at high tide throughout the first quarter of 2022. But we will come to that further on down the road.

I want to thank all my readers for joining me on my journeys this year, especially my magnificent patrons, and wish you and your loved ones all the best for the coming year. Bon voyage!

The Arrival of a New Era

In what has already been a tumultuous year, this December the last grain of sand runs out in an hourglass that has been running the show for the last 200 years, and on the solstice we enter fully into a new paradigm. This year was the end, next year is the fallout of that end and the beginning of what comes next for generations to come. Find out more in this months journey.

journey deeper…