The Moon is in Libra today, making a sextile to Saturn and then moving into the Uranus/Pluto square. Meanwhile Saturn has stationed and will turn retrograde by Saturday.
Every time the Moon passes through a cardinal sign and activates the Uranus/Pluto square I notice similar things happening. Often there is the feeling of getting overwhelmed by something, dark thoughts, a particularly chaotic day that seems chok full of deeper meaning or symbolism, synchronicities, freudian slips that hang in the air like mysterious jewels, or shocking news or information coming to light. I almost always forget that it's a Uranus/Pluto day, but when I finally remember I usually relax and recognize that something special has happened.
I sometimes joke with my students that the outer planets are like taking mushrooms, and there are a few things you generally want to avoid while in the midst of any strong plant medicine "journey." First, avoid mirrors. Second, don't try too hard to figure out the true nature of the plant while you're communing with the plant, like one of those annoying dates where two people try to know everything there is to know about one another, talking all night about themselves rather than doing something together and letting character emerge on its own. These ideas in my experience also apply to the outer planets. Having just finished a several year long Pluto/Moon conjunction I feel like I learned the same lessons. Don't look into the mirror with the outer planets, or at least don't stare into an outer planetary mirror for too long. In other words, be careful of thinking too much about yourself while under the invisible rays of an outer planet. These planets are naturally disruptive to the ego and can also greatly amplify the most destructive fantasies of the ego. They seem to do their best work for us when we live through the experiences and let the total process act as a medicine. And secondly, don't try to figure out the nature of the outer planets while anticipating or during the midst of an outer planetary experience. To me it's a mistake to try and neatly summarize the archetypal or mythic meaning of these distant planets, as I think part of what makes them special is their invisibility and their obscurity. Maybe the best way to get to know the outer planets is to live through their experiences, over and over, and slowly learn to put words around them that act in the same way the actual process of the planetary transit acts. So talking about Pluto or Uranus is less about the catch phrases and definitions and well known myths and more about the invisible interruption to a set of assumptions or a subversive gesture or a powerful but subtle revealing of something that's been hidden from plain view. The outer planets seem to show themselves most clearly when they obfuscate one thing while simultaneously revealing something else. They don't over announce themselves, and while many modern astrologers love to compare the outer planets in the positive to Saturn in the negative, as though their function is better or adds more intelligence to the astrological model (beyond Saturn = better), it's my feeling that too much talk about the outer planets in this way is ironically Saturnine and actually misses the kind of imaginative sophistication these planets bring to astrology.
At any rate, so put that into your your pipe and smoke it!
Prayer: Help us to feel and see the invisible, like wind across the water. Help us to learn its language rather than force our own words around it.
The Moon is in Cancer today, squaring the nodes of the Moon right now and then heading toward a trine with Neptune, and then conjunction with Mercury and Mars while opposing Pluto, and then finally making the square to Uranus and the new moon conjunction to the Sun by tomorrow morning.
Before looking at what to watch for today let's take a moment to reflect on NASA's first ever flyby of the planet Pluto, which is happening right now after nearly ten years of flight.
In addition to the beautiful photographs we can now see of Pluto up close, scientists are also still debating the status of many similarly sized objects/planets in the solar system. For example, the chief investigator for the Pluto mission, Alan Stern, recently said he disagrees with the downgrading of Pluto to a "dwarf planet,": "We're just learning that a lot of planets are small planets, and we didn't know that before. Fact is, in planetary science, objects such as Pluto and the other dwarf planets in the Kuiper Belt are considered planets and called planets in everyday discourse in scientific meetings."
As astrologers this might seem silly, because most of us know very well the powerful effects and archetypal/astrological reality of the planet Pluto. Downsize it, upgrade it, or supersize it...it won't change the fact that Pluto transits are powerful or that an angular Pluto in a birth chart has an undeniably real effect on a person's life, right?
Well...yes and no. Believe it or not there are a large amount of astrologers who don't recognize the outer planets (beyond Saturn) specifically because they aren't visible to the naked eye and because they are somewhat challenging to the ancient system and it's tightly organized vision. We might scoff at this or consider it a kind of fundamentalism or antiquated ignorance, but it's actually not so different from the scientists who want to keep the solar system free from the ambiguity of the thousands of other objects we're discovering all the time. We have to ask ourselves, what is at stake for us that so many astrologers and astronomers alike want to keep a huge variety and abundance of planetary objects out of our awareness? Why is there such resistance to recognizing objects beyond our line of literal sight? Why are we afraid of increasing complexity?
The obvious answer is that complexity and ambiguity threaten our sense of safety, order, predictability, precision, harmony, and rationality. They threaten the idea that God is a tidy creator who made a neat looking solar system. They threaten the idea that astrology is a divine and orderly science or system, with a long standing history that is still valid today. They threaten our philosophies about ourselves, about reality, about truth, about divinity, and they introduce a gigantic sense of the unknown coming closer and closer...it's presence as ominous as ever.
If we sit back and simply deny the existence of what our solar system is really like...if we say, "well it's not visible to the naked eye, or it's not the right size," the reality of these planets will collect our projections and our denial and it's likely that they will become emissaries of all that we fear (at least initially). Like the explorers to the west who projected their fears onto the native people they met when they arrived, we are capable of alienating new planetary life forms as much as people or animals or ecosystems.
If we can simply remember that what we're discovering isn't just "stuff out there," but that it's actual life.
This morning my wife came inside and said "look at this!" She was holding a butterfly who had just come out of its cocoon, literally within minutes, inside of our mailbox. It was learning to walk and move its wings for the first time. After she took it outside I looked at the first picture of Pluto, and I heard a small voice saying, "this is just as precious."
It's easy to think of planets as gods or archetypes or powers or signs or significations of the divine mind, or whatever else, but sometimes it helps to just step back and remember that planets are organized systems of life. And just because they are different from ourselves, doesn't mean we can flippantly objectify them.
This debate about planetary classification. This debate among astrologers as to whether or not these planets have any real "effect." We miss the butterfly coming out of its cocoon. Interestingly enough, the Greeks frequently compared the psyche or soul to a moth or butterfly...and Hades/Pluto was the lord of souls.
It may take a long time to integrate or synthesize older astrological teachings with newer planetary discoveries, but these planets aren't just orphans landing on a royal family's doorstep. Invisible or not, they've been here all along, and we would be wise to honor the divine force and life they bring us.
Now, what to watch for given today's astrology:
* A pivotal moment, the feeling of being at a crossroads, about to receive the news or a decision, about to make a choice (Moon square the nodes, applying to conjoin Mercury and make the new Moon)
* Moody, emotional, familial, private, internal, home bound (Moon in Cancer)
* Fantasies, longings, needs and wish fulfillment, relying on something or someone greater to pull us through, losing ourselves, weepy, depleted, drained, hopeful, romantic (Moon trine Neptune)
* A transformational moment, a powerful surge of unexpected emotion, something relating to home, family, the past, ancestry, genetics, etc (Moon opposite Pluto)
* Hardship, sobriety, difficulty, maturity, focus, commitment in love (Venus square Saturn)
* A new start, a fresh beginning, one that revolves around living situation, family, the past, home or tribe, babies or children, mothering or parenting, land or property, etc (New Moon in Cancer)
Since this new moon is also square to Uranus in Aries, it's possible that this new moon will mark not only a new beginning but also a departure from something old or outdated in sake of something totally fresh. We might find ourselves needing to completely revamp or restructure certain elements of our lives during the next moon cycle, especially as Jupiter and Saturn will be square and presenting us with a generational challenge...the old versus the new, or the traditional versus the innovative.
Prayer: There are so many things we can't see with our naked eyes...sometimes they come into view anyway.
The dark moon is in Capricorn today and will square the nodal axis this morning before squaring Uranus and then conjoining Pluto. Recently I’ve gotten a handful of people emailing me with the request that I write more in depth about the Pluto/Uranus square, so let’s have a look at it today.
First, both Uranus and Pluto are called “outer” planets, or “transpersonal” planets. These names come from the fact that they were discovered more recently as well as the fact that they are beyond the planet Saturn in our solar system (who up until the outer planets discovery was the farthest planet out in the solar system). The “transpersonal” name given to these planets also implies their archetypal significations. The outer planetary archetypes are generally thought of as more complicated, historical, and collective forces. Forces that can be felt personally but whose fields also tend to dissolve, radicalize, deepen, and overpower “normal” modes of being, especially those that center around the dayworld or solar consciousness and the ego (our normal sense of a stable “me”).
Uranus is a planet whose most often been compared to the titan Prometheus who stole the fire from the gods and was perpetually punished as a result of both his courage and his hubris. Uranus is the firebrand, the bolt of lightning, the glass breaking revelation, and the swift surge of inspiration that cannot be contained. Uranus as the co-ruler of Aquarius is a planet, not unlike Saturn, who works through negation. Even though we constantly want to compare the two planets in polarized ways (this is actually Saturn dominating the conversation!), both planets are good at breaking away from the hold of certainty. Whereas Saturn will break from something old by negating and polarizing itself against something (say the ego through hard, disciplined fasting, prayer, and spiritual removal from the world, etc), Uranus will negate the hold of the ego through a swift bolt of lightning (suddenly losing your job, suddenly getting in an accident, suddenly getting promoted). Familiar structures are struck down more instantaneously with Uranus and often as a result there is a kind of manic excitation, quickening, and spirited or fiery period of liberation, enthusiasm, self righteousness, and rapid inventiveness that follows in the wake of the sudden changes. Uranus starts a fast domino burst of change after it’s done its initial tearing down, whereas, again, Saturn’s method of making changes tends to be more focused in time, process, patience, and hard methodical opposition over long periods of committed focus to change. Both, we might, say, are faces of how the genie guides us away from the familiar and into something new.
Perhaps up until the outer planetary discoveries, Saturn had to carry all the outer planets in their negating, destroying, deepening, overpowering ways? Maybe this is also what creates such a haze or fog of admiration and apocalyptic revelry around the sign of Aquarius and the dawning “age of Aquarius?” The age of Aquarius has simply come to mean that the unusual, the transpersonal, the historical, the vast and sweeping forms of negation and transformation (death and change) are becoming more recognized in our daily lives…hence the endless streaming facebook images we see every day about words like love, existence, death, liberation and change.
Pluto, compared to Uranus, is about the deepening and empowering of whatever it touches. Pluto turns what it touches from something ordinary, static, and relatively simple into something vast, overwhelming, mysterious, and dangerously powerful. As Hades and the underworld, Pluto is about the hidden wealth that resides below surface appearances and solar certainties. Pluto is also about the burn, the decay, and the expulsion, purgation, or eruption of things kept from sight. Pluto burns awake and alive that which is hidden, deadened, or secretly smoldering. Pluto’s negation is a kind of redirection…showing us hidden power sources, hidden motivations, and hidden desires.
So when the two planets come into hard alignment with each other over a long period of time, we see both the mutual inflection of the archetypes upon each other as well as their struggle. For example, what is deep and hidden that suddenly erupts also carries an electric and creative quality. It both comes from “deep within” but also “out of nowhere like lightning.” A great image for this would be the various acts of police brutality whose heavy, dark qualities erupt powerfully from below the surface and reveal the lingering (still down there) face of racism or prejudice (Pluto), while the rapid spreading of these images and their liberating, revolutionary effects (the creation of marches, movements, protests, etc) catalyze a kind of manic demand for new ideas (Uranus). This would be an example of the two planets dynamic inflection upon one another.
On the other hand the planets can also struggle with each other’s patterns. For example, during the Occupy Wall Street movement a powerful surge of Uranian protest swept the nation (even the globe), but despite its lightning like surges, an equal sense of distrust emerged (even within highly progressive communities) as a kind of Plutonian response. Many people saw the Uranian black t-shirts as not a true black. Getting too rigidly identified with the metaphor of change means fundamentalism, not revolution. Change without depth, without nuance, without substance, all horizontal with no vertical, is nothing more than a demolition team too hungry for rigging the next vertical structure with explosives.
James Hillman once wrote that while black’s function (as a metaphor, not a race) is to dissolve, putrefy, or mortify certainties, it’s not a paradigm itself. Or at the very least, for it to become a paradigm, for us to become “black suns,” we have to deepen and make reflexive our understanding of our black as a particular shade of black. Hillman, whose early body of work was formed in a somewhat distance Europe during the 60’s, had the archetypal eye for the diversities of the outer planets (we might say). We have to be able to see that different forms of negation (let’s stick with the idea that the outer planets create changes through exposure to NON-ordinary states of consciousness) need to have diversified understandings of each other. Not all negation is the same. There are many “blacks,” and not all that is being negated is “white,” either. Negations will challenge and negate other forms of negation, in other words, and these outer planetary dynamics help us to deepen and complexify not only our sense of what we “are” through various deaths, transformations, overwhelms, purgations, and revolutions, but also what we are not, through the comparisons of different styles of change (there are many different “blacks” and this also challenges our notion of white in a radically different way…radical because the primary lens of change is no longer a simple binary).
Consider for example the complexity of racial issues at the current moment. Is the “Black Lives Matter” movement an ironically isolating and whitening of the black kind of movement, or are we being asked to see that the focusing of a particular black within a particular issue is a deepening, a commitment to a particular kind of negation, a particular kind of revolution? I have no answer, but we’re naive if we think this conversation hasn’t been both present and deeply challenging for many “good” people.
So what happens when these cycles continue unfolding in our psychic understanding? I think one promising idea is that we begin to recognize that not all radical change is deep or diverse, and not all that is diverse or deep is radical or progressive. They don’t need to be both. We don’t need some perfect algebra equation unless we believe in one common, universal good or universal goal. When we vision in this way it tends to create the whitening of the black, which in turn creates the need for more radical differentiating.
Part of this issue, in my opinion, stems from our tendency to see all change through the lens of Saturn, which is most prone to getting stuck in the simplicity of the opposites and the problem of the opposites. Once we go beyond the opposites as a problem, then we can start to recognize the huge spectrum of inter-penetrating dynamics that opens up within any debate, dialogue, or subject. This is what the outer planetary cycles are doing for us. Diversifying our notions of diversity.
Practically, in our everyday lives, this might mean that we are forced to look at a range of highly complex ideas about who we are, why we’re here, what we like and don’t like, what we fear, what our gifts are, where we come from, and what we’re being asked to work toward. These planetary cycles diversify and particularize us because our simple and polaric struggles are shattered and complexified many times over. So that our whites and blacks become many shaded and uniquely shaped. Doing that work, on days like today, means working into the edges that are being pushed back or urged forward. Like a dream..rather than searching for the golden interpretation, we search for the voice of the dream itself…so we can continue to be dreamed by it.
A simple question for today might be, “Where is something saying no to me right now, and how can I connect with what’s saying no in order to see what else it has to say?” Then we might look at a different area of our lives where something else is saying “no.” Talking to another no we might discover that not all the “no’s” have or want the same things for us.
Prayer: Which “no”? And what else do you have to say?
Image by courtesy of Glvara 13, at creative commons image licensing
ENJOY READING THESE DAILY FORECASTS?
Adam Elenbaas is a professional astrologer and the founder of the Nightlight Astrology School. Adam holds an MA and MFA in English and Creative Writing and is one of the founding writers at RealitySandwich. To learn more about Adam, click here.