The Moon is in Leo today, the sign of the heart. The Moon is heading toward lunar eclipse next week in the sign of the scales (Libra). Let's look into the heart and the scales.
The heart is weighed on the scales against a feather. We jump past the obvious contradiction because we're impatient for the punchline. "The heart SHOULD BE a light as a feather," we rush to say, and then that's it. The idea becomes like so many kids on the playground chanting a beat up rhyme scheme, both proud and jaded, seesawing our brains. But if we look deeper and "stick with the image," as archetypalists say, what do we see? The heart is an organ whose weight is clearly heavier than any feather. The heart is heavy. The feather is light. Yet the two are shown balancing each other in mythic images. Could it be that the heart's true mass and the feather's lightness reveal a certain form of understanding or perception? A way to find balance despite the common appearances of imbalance or inequality?
Could it be that the heart's way of knowing is different than the mind's way of knowing? And yet for the Taoists the mind and the heart were the same thing. So what kind of knowledge does the mind of the heart hold? And why is the picture of Libran judgment one of an obviously uneven weight distribution yet balanced perfectly?
Let's take the example of an oath...a promise or commitment. The heart loves its loyalty. We are kept alive by an unqualified support...a self beating, self perpetuating loyalty. Similarly, relationships or commitments we make though based upon ideas, words, and principles, are kept alive by the self perpetuating and unqualified beat at the heart of any bond. We are bonded to our hearts like each commitment is a heart bonded to itself. However, for our commitments and contracts to remain sacred they must acknowledge or carry the wisdom of things like betrayal or distrust. We hardly recognize the life support of anything until it palpitates, skips a beat, or threatens to stop or give out behind our back.
What do attacks of the heart or back stabs do for us? Not how should we avoid them, why do they come, from what 'darkness' do they arise and how to take said darkness to proverbial "light," but rather, "what does it do for us?" And the answer is that this dark shadow of the heart is also the lightness of the feather. The vulture's talismanic wisdom waiting in the shadows of our sunshine loyalty. Without the possibility of betrayal, even without the act of betrayal itself, we cannot know the unconditional nature of the heart's commitments...we can't recall that the heart's commitment is unconditional before and after we make all the various commitments we make. So it's the dark body within the heart that gives to the substance of our contracts its paradoxical lightness of being.
This is something we are dealing with right now. The feeling of obligation or betrayal, the keeping of contracts and the disappointment of commitments alike. Oaths and promises have been newly made and also broken. And yet the task is not to ferret out who did what and why, what "should" or "shouldn't have" happened, and instead to be reconciled to the dark body of the heart...its secret lightness...a wisdom that reconciles us to the events of disappointment, disillusionment, distrust or the negation of an old commitment or focus.
If we haven't been living with distrust, if we aren't friends and allies with betrayal, disillusionment, and disappointment, then the heart will remain most obviously an organ of disproportionate weight to the feather of truth...and all we'll be able to do is chant like children the worn out nursery rhymes about "lightening the heart," and "making the unconscious conscious," as though the heart needs an operation (performed by the separative mind). No. This won't do. Because the heart and the mind are the same. Let's consider that. And let's consider that every oath is as true or superficial as our ability to recognize the unconditional heart beating within the principles we lay on it..the unconditional heart is the one who circulates the lightening potential for the failure of our commitments, not only the pride we take in their upholding or "keeping."
When things don't work out as we'd like, when we fail, when someone fails us, there is a secret magic presenting itself. Becoming reconciled to this failure of contract is the beginning of the wisdom that levels the scales between the seemingly heavier heart and the feather. We aren't here to get it right or to experience truth and honor at the cost of betrayal. This would damning Judas over and over to insure the Christ of his royalty. This kind of honor is Leonic arrogance or Libran vanity. No. Again no. We are here to become reconciled in the heart to everything that crosses our path, each contract we make as well as those that break.
The word "reconcile" has an etymological history that includes the root for the word "counsel" and our modern idea of "counseling," where counseling is seen as the ability to take seemingly disparate events...disproportionate looking phenomenon and learn to see their hidden meanings or secret equivalencies. Right now we have an opportunity to make the kind of meaning that the superficial heart wants to reject...the situation may clearly look like something the heart "should" feel heavy about. But so many shoulds become like a misfiring pace maker...an artificial life support, or an unimaginative imagination. Again. This isn't it. We can find the secret lightness of the heart...we can do the work together to become creatively reconciled to what has happened, or what is happening..finding in the shades of the heavy heart its eternal wings.
Prayer: No bi-pass surgery is necessary when we understand the feathers of necessity blooming out from the willing heart...could it be an other way? The question, not its answer, is our lightness.
The Moon is in Cancer today, just finishing its intense first quarter phase and now moving into the waxing gibbous.
A meditation on the Pluto/Uranus square and the subject of "individuation."
We often think about individuation in purely solar terms. Who am I and what am I becoming? What is my mission? My journey? My quest? My purpose? My intention? All of these phrases have an upward aspiring quality...a hand reaching or prayer petitioning the gods, specifically the "One" most mirrored by the "One" asking: the self. Even though we might want to ban some of these cliches from the temple, like Jesus driving out the money changers with a whip, they aren't mistaken or misplaced mythic images. We don't solve the cliche problems by banishing these spirited players. What's needed to counter their monopoly in our consciousness is the reminding words and mythos of the soul...
Hades/Pluto is good for this. A god who was often imaged like his brother Zeus, as an eagle, and yet whose dominion was the opposite underworld to Zeus' overworld. Not a literal "below," given to Pluto, but an invisible "below" or imaginal "within," a secretive depth and an unfathomable timeless perspective flowing through time. The immemorial memorial of each event in time, always an end in itself because of the limitless soulfulness given to each event by Pluto's perspective. The word "Hades" in fact means "riches." So from the perspective of death, from the perspective of the eternal soul, each event is an "end" unto itself. Pluto is a planet of endings...where endings means the capacity to see the UNending in each thing...where each moment is already eternal by its nature in death.
This view should feel difficult to understand because it is an upside down kind of view. It is a "going down to go up" kind of philosophy, we might say. For example, take the idea of enlightenment. Take the idea of individuation. Take the idea of the evolution of human consciousness, or even evolutionary biology. What happens when we see these ideas in terms of the "riches" of Pluto's perspective? They each become the living dead. They each become unending caverns of fathomless eternity. They are ALREADY this way, before we've put them into action or realized their intended goals in any literal or "real" or "metaphysical" or "spiritual" or "earthly" sense. So while we are on our "journey" through lower levels of consciousness toward higher realms (soaring with Pluto's brother Zeus), the journey has already also been outside of time, incapable of accomplishing anything literal, invaluably rich, lit by the flames of an eternally animating and polymorphous perspective, but also empty, void, dead, cold and killer clear as ice.
No offerings were given to Hades in the Greek imagination. His face was rarely shown. He was not to be persuaded. He was not to be convinced. He had nothing to give by petition because his perspective afforded EVERYTHING its already limitless wealth.
So when we talk about individuation, what are we talking about? In one sense, nothing. It's an idea, a myth, an imaginal realm that is one of an unending amount of imaginal realms, all of which are eternally wealthy, eternally rich. But on the other hand, we are talking about the 'depth and death of literalized riches' toward which our particular idea of ourselves, our particular gold coin of ego, is motivated to enact for the sake of the growth of its own soulfulness.
In evolutionary astrology, Pluto is rightly imagined (in my opinion) as the deepest motivation, "end," or telos of the soul. When we live in the direction of our Pluto placement we find the perspective of the soul, which is the upside down, already wealthy kingdom. When we find the territory of Pluto in our lives, we find that point of view where each marginalized event in and of itself is understood as beyond time while within it.
The place we might consider diverging with evolutionary or karmic astrology's core philosophy (again, just my opinion) comes when considering the greater metaphysical "goals," which in and of themselves are ironically not taken from the viewpoint of Pluto, or not well enough distinguished from Pluto's brotherhood with Zeus. When we view the "journey of the soul," as a literal journey through progressive reincarnating states of consciousness toward fusion with a godhead or some kind of enlightenment, then we read the soul, we read the wealth of hades, like its a zeus colored coin purse funding our road trip to the Taj Mahal. We don't step back to consider that every "journey" to enlightenment is secretly and invisibly the road back down to death, where again the already limitless wealth of eternity swallows us. Pluto's position in our birth chart, or in the sky, isn't therefore about the evolution of the soul in any literal sense but rather about its "already eternal" nature, seizing us invisibly, potentially violating our egos (seizing back our stolen coins but replacing them with a treasure chest).
Because from Pluto's perspective, whatever journey we take, however fixated on our intentions, on higher realms, love, utopia, or enlightenment, or if it's simply about mastering video games in the basement and writing dungeons and dragons fantasy novels, or if its about religious holy war, or liberal media protesting or conservative bible backlashing and rifle waving...all of it is already unendingly rich, eventually dead, already dead, and more alive than we tend to recognize. More alive than we tend to recognize because invisibility is essential to Pluto's nature.
How does this apply to our current Uranus/Pluto square and this current eclipse cycle?
Well...individuation (Uranus) is happening in some super "conscious" looking ways. The journey, the development, the progress, the feelings of fate and karma...all of these purposeful Zeus like qualities are very strong right now...we're breaking ground, the past is coming to get us, we're finding new courage and the wisdom to face it all in a different way. Course corrections are coming left and right for many of us..and it's all very liberating and exciting even if its scary. And yet..at the same time, with Pluto in the mix, we are being asked to consider the upside down point of view.
We are moving forward in a way that might be shattering to our notions of progress, our ideas of who we are or what's right or what we deserve or desire. We are being disillusioned, like Pluto has grabbed a little miniature doll version of each of us and shook us upside down until the coins we stole from him are shaken out of our pockets and we can see clearly again the mountains of gold below each and every last moment of our lives.
If we don't go through the experience of our dreams and goals being annihilated from time to time..if our plans don't fail, our vision of the cosmos doesn't get shattered, our psyche's exploded by confusing insights in the opposite direction of whatever we hold most dear, and the rug pulled out from underneath us, then we will forget the realest riches...the invisible lord of soul that has no need for singular meaning or ultimate purpose because there are too many meanings and ultimate purposes to count...so much wealth its turns to a pile of shit if you try to count it! smile emoticon
Prayer for the day (an imaginary conversation with Pluto):
Hero: "So what's the point of anything then?"
Pluto: "Look around you! The idea of a 'point' has it's own cave down here, filled with gold just down that corridor to the right. Everything here has its own limitless storehouse of wealth and value."
Hero: "But that makes me feel like life isn't worth living. If everything is equal."
Pluto: "That's greed speaking. Equality can be a very greedy idea."
Hero: "But it's not just greed...in my world some things are noble and true and others are not. Surely your perspective isn't the only one? Wouldn't that be a different kind of greed?"
Pluto: "That's wise. But it's also true that you never would have asked that question without coming here."
Hero: "So you're not trying to monopolize. That's relieving."
Pluto: "The idea of monopoly is somewhat trivial to my world."
Hero: "I don't know what to do with all of this..."
Pluto: "That's why all heroes come here for perspective as well as the conquering..."
Hero: "Yes, I've fought dragons down here before. I've had great victories and accomplishments down here in the past."
Pluto: "Yes but you should realize that these kinds of achievements are unlimited, as are the failures. All share in my wealth."
Hero: "It still feels like a pointless perspective."
Pluto: "That's because it's hard to imagine ourselves without a hero."
Hero: "Is this my death?"
Pluto: "Not literally."
Hero: "Will I be reborn after this?"
Pluto: "The concept of rebirth in your world right now is too much jingling coins in the coat pockets of hidden agendas and lusty architects."
Hero: "Well if it isn't rebirth, then what is it?"
Pluto: "If we keep talking like this you won't want to leave. So now it's time for you to go."
image courtesy of creative commons: https://www.flickr.com/photos/paullew/
The Moon is in Cancer today, squaring the nodal axis of the Moon before moving into an opposition to Pluto and square to Uranus.
What to watch for:
* Concerns over beauty, spending, finances
* The heart reluctantly opening, then pouring and pouring
* A cross roads, hard decision, emotionally difficult choices
* Planning for the future, trying to make wise decisions
* Family/children/marriage wrapped up in difficult choices and patterns that need cleansing or healing
* The feeling of emotional fatigue or excitement, alternating
* Seeds planted in the past finally coming to fruition
* A cycle coming full circle
* Budgeting, structuring, supporting an idea or vision
* Moodiness and worry without clarity as to what's causing it
* Separating ourselves from something creates a new beginning
* What we know we must do..the hand of fate making itself undeniably clear
* Rapid and powerful transformation across the board
* Negotiation or compromise at the outset of something
* Emotional rebirth
* A penetrating emotional experience, news, or insight
* Feeling afraid, incapable, worried we don't have the strength for something
It's the halfway point in our eclipse cycle, and with the Moon in the cardinal water sign of Cancer we are being asked to include our emotional needs, or the needs of our family or close relationships, the "nesting" places in our lives, in the new directions taking shape. If we imagine that something is being born right now, then a simple question to ask ourselves is, "Am I carefully nurturing this process? Am I allowing myself to be the gentle animal presence, or the quiet shepherd watching the flock of these many vulnerable concerns?"
Prayer: Little lamb, who made thee? Dost thou know, who made thee? (William Blake)
image courtesy of creative commons: https://www.flickr.com/photos/essjay/
The Moon is void of course in Gemini this morning but will soon enter Cancer and then immediately apply to make the first quarter Moon. Our halfway point between eclipses.
Let's meditate for a moment today on the themes of birth and death, and the passage of the soul from one phase to another.
As the Moon enters Cancer to make her first quarter today, we are entering a crossroads moment in our current eclipse cycle. We are somewhere exactly between the past and the future. Something is being born, but its health will depend on the lightness of the soul, the lightness of the heart, being weighed now against the feather on the Libran scales of the north node. A powerful new beginning at the new moon has led us to a moment of truth and now we face a test. We aren't ever tested because there is some grand school master in the sky who wants to punish or judge us in some absolute or eternal sense. Judgment is part of the process of how the evolution of the soul unfolds...these moments of testing are part of how the shape of our destiny molds itself.
In the Egyptian pantheon the dog god, Anubis, led souls into the halls of judgment after death, where the soul (depicted by the heart) would be weighed against a feather. The smooth transition of the soul depended upon its being light as a feather.
But this isn't just a story about literal death. Since there is no such thing as literal death, the myth serves as a reminder that lightness of the heart is crucial for all important transitional phases.
Maybe there is no such thing as a perfectly level balance between the heart and the feather. Feathers are aerodynamic, after all, and they are hardly in their natural habitat resting on any kind of plate. And the heart too...the heart loves uneven ground, and its habitat is wild, unpredictable, uneven, and not meant to be entirely "level" or "even keeled."
Still the lightness of the feather, the winged quality of the heart...these are images calling to us right now. Calling to us to trust deeply that the transitions happening are purposeful even when they are painful or unknown...liberating even when they sometimes seem imprisoning or limiting. The heart is the imagination, and its freedom soars unbounded. The lightness of the heart in this transitional moment is therefore not about moving through this change unscathed or perfect....the heart wouldn't be the heart if that were the case. Instead it's about learning to open our imagination, the wings that bloom from the valley'd ventricles of the open heart.
The destiny of our soul is to learn how to live. This means we have to learn how to die good deaths. Deaths never being literal, and life having no opposite, just as the imagination has no opposite, the importance of dying lightly is unqualified. Any death can be winged...just as the custodians of death circle on high...not predatorial but janitorial...sweeping us along the imaginal path of liberated liberation.
This moment is precious. And even if we fail, even if it's scary, even if we do it wrong or incur the strangest features of fate, the vision of the winged heart is calling for our full faith and confidence.
Saying "yes," can be a deceptive way of putting it. The dog god, Anubis, is a keeper of oaths and loyalty. He's a watch dog as much as a lap dog. The first oath we always take is to keep our hearts as light as a feather, no matter what we commit to contractually, even when we are in the heaviest and most serious places. This is a strange paradox, but it's important. As the underworld itself is the place of planets like Mars and Pluto, and just like Hades had a watch dog, Cerberus, the lightness of the heart is not merely an affair of innocence or blind goodness. The lightness of the heart is also the animal instinct...the fast ruffling of feathers and the sudden flash of wings in the trees. We aren't meant to soar away or above troubles by an Icarus lightness of the heart, but rather to see the winged mountains as integral to the valley...part of the same landscape, inescapably bound together by love, friendship, territory, and strife alike. Our work is to remain loyal to all aspects of the work, because the work is the soul's work, the soul's "good death," and its judgments are always among us, shaping the path of fate and remaining true to us despite any failings of our own loyalty. The dog-god is loyal to us and teaches us loyalty by both her friendly kisses and snarling watchfulness. Both by his affinity for the moon dark night and the gnawing of death's bones, but also his snoring nightmares and pack minded stubbornness.
When we look back on this moment, in ten years, will we say to ourselves, "that was an epic, beautiful, confusing, dark, deep, and amazing time?" Or will we say, "I wish I would have opened up to that moment..." Either way, in ten more years, there will still be a loyal dog sitting next to us...or asleep at our feet, or listening without any of the understanding we call understanding...content unto death...a winged sun dog lying in the shadows of the valley.
Prayer: help us to pass through this critical moment by the lightness of our hearts...may we stay loyal to all elements of the work.
Creative commons image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/liberato/
The Moon is in Gemini today, applying to sextile Uranus in Aries before squaring Chiron and Mercury in Pisces. Meanwhile the Sun in Aries trines Saturn in Sagittarius today and Venus in Taurus is moving into a square with Jupiter in Leo. And of course Uranus and Pluto are still square!
What to watch for:
* The cutting, separating, and dividing necessary for a new beginning
* Vacillating between several options, an underlying feeling of ambivalence, even boredom
* Revisioning our philosophical position or spiritual/religious outlook, maybe around a particular issue
* Love drugs, the feeling of desirous intoxication
* Excessive love, praise, confidence, adoration, pride, and even worship
* Spending, fashion, big purchases, bling, glamour and wealth
* Gathering facts, organizing plans, but feeling somewhat foggy mentally
* The voice of the healer...
* Listening, really hearing someone
* Rejecting a hard truth
* Something that looks like a proud new beginning is slowly showing itself to have its selfish side too
* Impulsive or reckless impatience
* A deeper understanding of our core calling...its history...its demands at this time in our lives
This Moon cycle is deceptively strong. "Deceptively strong" because it's hard for us to get a clear picture right now of where things are heading. Mercury in Pisces suggests that our minds are in something like labor right now. We are looking for a clear, rational grasp on what's happening, where things are going, or how things are shaping up, but that understanding will remain elusive until right around our full moon eclipse this month. Until then you might swear that things are just business as usual. Right up until yet another bizarre synchronicity, dejavu, dream, or blip on the radar shows up again and once more we just "know" something is happening.
Though there are new beginnings taking shape right now (look especially to the Aries portion of your birth chart), these new beginnings are also swirling around something from the past that will need to be dealt with..potentially some old patterns that will need rooting out. The temptation for decisions to be so individualistic right now that they aren't properly judged or balanced against a variety of equally important factors is strong, so we should be very careful to consider all the circumstances that play a part in our lives as we move forward.
There's a powerful theme at play in the stars right now about abdicating some element of our self-interest, and it's going to play a strong part in how this cycle's next eclipse unfolds. Compromises will likely play a role in some big changes that happen between now and the end of this moon cycle. Can we imagine success, dignity, and victory in a different style? Can we dismount from our high horses to find an even greater degree of satisfaction?
The Sun in Aries is considered "exalted," which means that the fiery drive to place ourselves first is very strong and effective at the moment. Yet the Sun in Aries will conjoin the south node of the Moon at the full moon while it opposes the Moon in Libra at the north node (destiny, evolution, and growth symbolized by compromise, discernment, wise judgments, harmony in relationships, etc).
When something doesn't work out solely in our favor, or we are deeply disappointed by something not turning out as we hoped it would, it might be a humbling experience, but it will also show us the face of what needs cultivating in our lives, and what relationships need deeper cultivation.
Prayer: clarity rising...help us to see the truth of what's brought us to this moment and how to move forward with wiser judgments this time around.
Image courtesy of creative commons: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dionnehartnett/
The Moon is in Gemini today, applying to sextile the Sun and oppose Saturn in Sagittarius early this afternoon before squaring Neptune. Meanwhile Mercury is separating from Chiron in Pisces and Venus in Taurus is entering into a square with Jupiter in Leo.
What to watch for:
* Arguments about beliefs, points of view, philosophical ideas
* Different forms of perceiving a situation, at odds
* Seeing both sides of a situation, an underlying ambivalence
* Strong forms of communication, aggressive exchanges
* Spending, saving, and investing conversations
* Lifestyle differences, clashing values about money
* Feeling as valuable as our assets
* Martyrs and victims, scapegoats and blame or projection
* Sex on the brain
* Over the top attraction to something we desire
* Miscommunications, deception, lies
* Shiny, sparkly things, pride and flattery
* Jealousy and superficial comparisons
* Stand offs
* Holding out or withholding communication or compromise with someone
* Skin deep beauty or soul deep beauty
* Money making scams versus innovative marketing ideas
* The feeling of being at a crossroads
* The sense that something big is coming, some point of contention is building
* Having to make wise judgments or difficult decisions
* Women eyeing each other in a clothing store
* A teacher suddenly loses his train of thought
* A man saying, "I have no sympathy for him. He deserved it."
* A fist fight in a locker room
* A heretic holding a burning piece of paper
* A young woman crying in the bathtub
* An expensive piece of jewelry
* A man sorting piles of money
* A young couple signing a contract
* A woman says, "Take it, you can have it all."
* A man says, "I don't want this life anymore."
* A woman says, "I don't want what I used to want. It feels so good and so much simpler."
* A boy staring in the mirror, knows he's different looking, wondering what to do about it
* A slip of the tongue leads to an insight for the person listening
* A white rhinoceros standing in a living room
* An owl judging the situation
* A man who doesn't believe in much has a troubling premonition
* A man who doesn't know how to apologize gives it a try...makes it worse
Prayer: Guide us through this new beginning, and help us to get there without any cheap shortcuts
Image courtesy of creative commons:
Adam Elenbaas is the director 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.