10 Astrology Habits to Break

1. Using the Astrological Alphabet 

Whether you learned this from a teacher or read it in a book, please stop limiting yourself with the application of sign = planet = house style rulership. Indeed, Aries is the domain of Mars, and Taurus the domain of Venus (and on it goes), BUT that does not mean Aries/Mars is the same thing as the first house. It's simply not. A planet associated with war and separation does not equate to the house of Life, Body, and Spirit. And Taurus/Venus does not equal the second house of your income (Jupiter is the planet pertaining to wealth actually). 
Scorpio does not = the eighth, Aquarius does not = eleventh, Pisces does not = twelfth. 

Aries may be the first sign of the zodiac, if you work that way. But there are other ways to work, and other perspectives to take. For instance, Capricorn could be the first sign of the zodiac: when it is darkest in the northern hemisphere, think of a gestating seed. Or if that feels limited, when the sun has bottomed out and begins its travel upwards (from our perspective on earth) from its most southerly declination at the Tropic of Capricorn.

Or you might want to think of the sign Cancer as the first position. As it is the first house in the all-important Thema Mundi (see the diagram below). Vettius Valens, in his Anthology from the second century, writes: it is the house of the moon, feminine, solstitial, the Ascendant to the universe. . . With the Thema Mundi in mind, consider Jupiter's exaltation in Cancer (life giving and life promoting) versus Mars' exaltation in Capricorn (the seventh sign, and traditional house of death: the place of the setting sun). And Libra on the fourth, Saturn's place of exaltation: under ground, under earth, the crypt — also one's family, parents, origins, history, ancestors. Even Valens notes, a diminisher of estates, the Lower Midheaven of the universe . . . And Aries upon the tenth, where of course the Sun is exalted and shines maximally in its culmination: . . .the Midheaven of the universe and the cause of rank, writes Valens. Sexy Scorpio as the fifth sign; divinatory and dream-rich Pisces on the ninth; Aquarius, Saturn's domain (a planet of death) on the eighth; and so on.

Give it thought. Expand your vision, exercise your mind, and end the habit. 


2. Outer Planet Rulership 

In my view it's absurd to even think about ruining the perfection and intelligence of this cosmic symmetry (above). If you still think Aquarius is ruled by Uranus — why? Why the willfulness and defensiveness around it? Actually, that may provide a clue in itself. If you have Aquarius on an important angle in your chart, or your Sun or Moon is there, and you just can't see yourself as Saturnian, you may have a limited perspective on Saturn. See Joseph Crane's Liberating Uranus and Aquarius

As for Mars and Scorpio, do you think it's okay to strip Mars of its transformational qualities? I don't. I doubt Mars does either. Please participate in restoring Mars' wildly potent transmutational and revolutionary sides. Much of this quality comes in and through this planet's connection to the sign Scorpio. Pluto does its own thing; sometimes very unrelated to Scorpio. Think about it.  

Same goes with Pisces and Jupiter. This is the sign of arts and music and great love, precisely because it is the exaltation of VENUS. And it's the sign of spirituality and dreams and exploring the collective psyche and unconscious, because it is the domain of Jupiter. Neptune conveys a few things related, sure, like with film and projected images (tied to the timing of its discovery). But we all know Neptune can signify a lot more than that, sometimes quite troublesome, nebulous, deceitful and draining in nature (significations taken from Saturn, honestly). These are habits of correlation that Pisces and Jupiter (and I) would like to see end. 

Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto each mean so much more than what could possibly be derived from the zodiac signs. These are trans-personal, outer planets for a reason. They have more to offer, and to tell us, much like the asteroids actually. They govern over extremes and surprises, genius, and utter destruction, topics and areas that simply transcend the day to day experiences symbolized by the zodiac signs. Please liberate them from this treatment. 
 

3. Essentially Dignified Planets are always Awesome

So you have a planet in its own sign, huh? Before your ego expands to wild dimension, I'd just like to remind you, so did Jeffrey Dahmer, FOUR of them. 

We say a planet that is essentially dignified has the power to do what it wants. That may or may not be good for the native. And that may or may not be good for anyone else. A planet with power to do what it wants, does not equate to doing the right thing or being very conscious, aware, caring, or enlightened. And a planet in its own domicile is actually, in a way, limited, as it is focused on what it signifies (the planet/sign/house) sometimes to the exclusion of other topics (planets/signs/houses). And without -or depending on the type of- reception and aspects, these planets can sometimes signify a ruthless single-mindedness (and selfishness), and can lack communication with -or act supportive to- other areas or people as signified in the chart. 

Also, if you're examining one of those oh-so important planets in their sign of exaltation—please remember that its dispositor is incredibly important. It literally has the power to make or break whatever this lucky planet signifies. Sometimes with a lack of continued coherence and support (or when in bad company) you'll see an exalted planet (person signified) behave in bombastically arrogant and ignorant ways, depending on what it rules or where it's posited. Additionally, a planet's immediate sign and house position is thought to signify the way something starts out, and where it disposits shows how the matter evolves or ends. So exalted planets that lead to less 'dignified' places, or lack reception, tell us a lot about where this matter is going . . . maybe nowhere.

A kind of natural confidence is usually what I think when I see dignified or exalted planets, but arrogance can ensue, especially in our culture where narcissism is rampant and a lack of compassion and empathy is pretty much encouraged. Please check your feeling of superiority. No one is finished with their work on this planet, that's why we're here.
 

4. Final Dispositor FOLLY

A final or sole dispositor in the chart is not always helpful and it is certainly not necessarily nice. For instance, having a planet like Saturn in Capricorn or Mars in Aries as the one and only dispositor might require a bit (or a lot) of extra caution. These two especially seem to wreak havoc. Capricorn being the nocturnal sign for Saturn, a planet that prefers the light of day—and so the diurnal signs, to warm its cold dry bones; and Aries for Mars, a nocturnal planet which can use some cooling and grounding, provided by earthy or watery (yin) signs—can both be prone to a bit of bullying, cruelty, and power-plays if not mitigated and/or used consciously. 

It also helps to have reception, especially mutual, to break up the dispositing. Several dispositors are good, or loops between them. Unless a chart is working for a benefic (in an advantageous house), sometimes the focus of a final dispositor can bring one down or bulldoze over others with its nature and unlimited pursuit for power. Even a planet like Venus, as I've seen many times with charts of people with drug or food addictions, can cause a lot of trouble for the native. 
 

5. North Node is Karmic and MOST Important

Seriously, it's an eclipse point. And it is the head of the dragon, Rahu, for a reason. Look at Donald Drumpf. And the south node, Ketu, also an eclipse point, is the tail: a place of release, sure, a place of gifts and wisdom, and mysticism and spiritual liberation, too. Please do more research if you actually think the south node is just a useless point to be ignored and left behind, or that the north node is entirely holy and the only way to go. Maybe in a ruthless, obsessive, money-hungry, and addictive culture Rahu is king. But I'd like to think there is more to life. 

As for karma, if it exists as we think, it is represented by the whole chart—not just the nodes, not just Saturn, not just the twelfth house, and definitely not Pluto alone. 

6. Hard Aspects Are Bad

Squares are productive. Squares blend polarity, like antiscia does (and unlike oppositions actually). Blending polarities: yin/yang, feminine/masculine, can be wildly energetic, creative, and fruitful. It conveys an attempt to make something complete and whole, or brand new. We all know nothing happens without pressure, without attraction or repulsion, love and strife. Squares move us.

Of course this doesn't mean all squares are created equal. Like with oppositions, and especially those in close degree-based aspect with malefics (specifically three degrees or less in orb), they can indeed be crunchy and cruel —also notable here: their house rulership, and/or superior position, and other players. 

7. Easy Aspects Are Good, Especially Grand Trines

Smooth flowing aspects are comfortable, compatible, and can be very lazy. Yes, they can show natural talent and luck. They can also show being at ease, or being in a big rut. Especially with the grand trine, it is ideal to have one factor (at least) in square aspect to another planet. Thank the gods if you do. Here's someone who, sadly, did not
 

8. There is Only One Kind of Reception: Mutual 

Astrologers need to note all kinds of reception, including one-sided and mixed. I am personally a huge fan of mixed reception and even reception with minor dignities (i.e. Bounds, Decanates, etc.). And I think it is the key to practicing really good astrology. Reception between planets in aspect tell us how and where things are actually working and where there is likely disfunction. If a planet is compatible, comfortable, and supported in its contact with another planet it's like it is saying Yes, let's do this. And if it is uncomfortable within the contact and rejecting what is offered (for instance an aspect with a planet in the aspecting planet's place of fall or detriment) it's saying, No thanks, I don't want what you have to offer. Of course this can work for good or ill, in both cases. A malefic can be strengthened for instance receiving an aspect from a planet in the malefic's domicile or exaltation sign, and without a lot of awareness, that might not be a good thing at all!

Noting these kinds of connections, and rejection, lends a lot of refinement to your chart reading. There is a specificity and nuance that comes alive when you spend time with it. A deep study and consideration of this is well worth your time and effort.  

A good article on this is at the Gryphon Astrology site.
 

9. Peregrine Planets are Useless 

LOL. As I've already stated in several points above, so much depends on how planets disposit, and how (and by whom) they are received. A planet without essential dignity can be mightily supported with the right kind of reception and connection through aspects (by degree and whole sign!). A 'wandering' (peregrine) planet may even be more integrated in the chart as it communicates with several areas and topics if it is well received by several planets. This sort of thing could prove fruitful and unifying for several areas of the life! Too many planets that are essentially dignified, and not in reception, are not communicating with one another. These cases naturally lead me to wonder about a kind of fragmentation in the chart (and personality). Parts not conversant are indeed telling us something.
 

10. Debilitated Planets are Ineffective

It is my working/learning opinion that a planet not 'well-placed' by sign (including being in its detriment or fall) can have much influence and power to protect and foster the topics for houses it sees that are under its domain. Additionally, as my colleague Charlie Obert wrote about recently, there is a very real, tangible effect that comes with time and effort spent learning to be effective in realms these planets signify. All is not lost. 

You'll want to take note, as iterated many times above, the ways in which these planets disposit and are received. These are not minor details. In fact, especially note their so-called minor dignities. You'll see a planet in its own bound, decante, etc., can and does equate to a lot more than minor efficacy and power in actual practice. Well supported debilitated planets, imo, may point out more than just issues to work on, they are likely the path, the life's work, the point. Bless them. 

Be well. 

p.s. the notion of sex and the eighth house isn't entirely accurate . . . more on this at another time 

reclaiming the apocalypse

Antoni Tapies, Grey and Green Painting 1957 © Foundation Antoni Tapies, Barcelona/ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2002

The meaning of the word apocalypse has been unfairly disfigured. It has been hijacked by monotheistic religions, with their linear constructs and notions of time. Most people have come to think of End Times when they hear the term. This is quite unfortunate, because I think much of what is in the news right now is incredibly apocalyptic, and that is not a bad thing, but (from my perspective) quite a good thing in many ways. Certainly it is worth observing. 

From wikipedia:  "An apocalypse (ἀποκάλυψις, meaning 'un-covering'), translated literally from Greek, is a disclosure of knowledge, i.e., a lifting of the veil or revelation..."

However, if you look up apocalypse in most dictionaries you will find: 

  noun 

  • 1 (often the Apocalypse) the complete final destruction of the world, especially as described in the biblical book of Revelation. See also Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
  • (the Apocalypse) (especially in the Vulgate Bible) the book of Revelation.
  • an event involving destruction or damage on an awesome or catastrophic scale: a stock market apocalypsean era of ecological apocalypse

   Origin:

        Old English, via Old French and ecclesiastical Latin from Greek apokalupsis
         from apokaluptein 'uncover, reveal', from apo- 'un-' + kaluptein 'to cover'
 

Noteworthy BBC radio program:  In Our Time, The Apocalypse. Melvyn Bragg examines how a powerful narrative of judgement and retribution evolved.

I don't think many would disagree, given the original meaning of the word, that we are swimming in apocalyptic revelations this season. My friend and fellow astrologer Frederick Woodruff teases me with the phrase Apocalyptic Chic, to describe this time and I a bit of an obsession noting all of its seemingly related unfoldments. If you're interested in the astrology of it, I have a few observations to share below. Last month, I wrote a brief piece when I was feeling the deep rumblings, or rather this thing emerging with a striking yet essential quality about it, via current affairs. The post was titled Truth

Everywhere I turn, every morning I wake, it seems there's another big, strange announcement in the news. This morning the radio woke me with the FDA finally taking seriously the disease producing reality of trans-fats, declaring these partially hydrogenated oils to be no longer 'generally recognized as safe.' Did it need to take this long? I guess so. You can't rush the unfolding I suppose. (I have always avoided these and had a very bad feeling about how much more harmful they are than was admitted.) Fukushima, another obviously hot topic (literally) - and likely still hotter than many will admit, seems to be taken a bit more seriously now. Emerging on BBC, CNN, and the other main news sources, it is at least accepted that this "disaster remains a giant, unresolved mess." Still, some want to minimize it. On Tuesday, I-522, a bill for labeling GMOs, was not passed here in my home state. But as a friend and nutritionist Stephanie Gailing points out, the fact that it didn't pass may bring even greater attention to it at this time. And then there is the Comet ISON; Meteors falling from the sky; jellyfish taking over the oceans; major solar flares and threat of a blackout; and now a super typhoon. What next? 

With news like this, I can't help but think of my friend and teacher, Gary Christen, who is quite fond of the quote: 

"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."
    --Arthur Schopenhauer, philosopher (1788 - 1860) 


The astrology certainly speaks to the time; as does the astronomy, for that matter (as you can see in heliocentric maps, from the sun's perspective, below). We are living in a very interesting cycle or transitional time. I think more than anything I find some comfort in the fact that much can be observed through the language of the stars. Whether we can make an absolutely accurate prediction about some matter is less important to me. What is important is context, and we're being given a lot of context right now. From here we can work out or imagine potential interpretations and scenarios, or we can simply observe. 

So now I'll barrage you with technical info. For those as nerdy as me, I've included many charts, beginning with the next lunation chart, followed by the chart for the original Fukushima Nuclear Disaster. On another page, you can find charts for the recent eclipse, as well as antiscia for November which includes Mars Uranus, and Saturn arriving on the cardinal axis (15 fixed/Scorpio is the midpoint of the start of two cardinal signs). I welcome others' comments and reflections below!

Note the degree of Algol (25/26 Taurus) emphasized in the upcoming lunation: a Full Moon on November 17th at 25°26 Taurus. Neptune sets with Chiron in both Japan's lunation chart and the 2011 disaster chart, interesting given the subject matter and the lack of transparency around it. 
 

   
     Full Moon runs with Algol - Saturn on cardinal axis 

 

 

 

 


Full Moon in Washington DC - Uranus Pluto emphasized again as it was at eclipse  +  as is Mercury Node (more revealed)


Mars Saturn antiscia + Uranus on Aries point


Note the degree of the Midheaven. By secondary progression it has moved to 24'06 Taurus.

Polar Azimuthal map of world at time of incident. 

 
Mars Saturn antiscia and Uranus came to zero Aries on the day of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
(The Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami occurred the day before; Uranus was at 29°58 Pisces.)

The Polar Azimuthal map on the right shows the world from a pole view at the time of the incident. It also allows us to see what planets will be in paran for the day. This map is a dynamic feature of Nova Chartwheels, and can't be properly conveyed through a snapshot. The blue arrow points to the star Algol (shown by the second little black dot), and it indicates Algol was pretty much directly overhead at the time of the disaster. The declination for Algol is +40.57' which is the latitude for northern parts of Japan (as well as many other countries). Importantly however, Uranus, which was sitting directly on the Aries point that day (world axis point), was in paran with Algol; when Algol set, Uranus was angular on the Nadir. I find this interesting given the upcoming lunation occurs at the projected ecliptic degree of Algol. Maybe it simply underscores that this event and situation has come to light in a powerful way, and is of huge concern globally. I do find it interesting that the planned start for the decommissioning process is mid-November around the time of the Full Moon. 

Another thing brought to my attention via Gary Christen and Arch Crawford is the heliocentric perspective of planetary confluences for the month. Astrologers have been quite focused on the Uranus Pluto squares (we've just passed the 4th of 7), and yes ! they are a very big deal for everyone. When we observe astrological phenomena we are taking it in through the earth's perspective (geocentrically). We look at the transits, noting events and mundane affairs, and interpret planetary compositions in personal ways or on a psychological level through our own charts. The Mercury retrograde cycle joining Saturn and the Node, and the Sun and Moon at the eclipse, for instance has been quite profound. It speaks to these themes of knowledge revealed, uncovering, and revelations in undeniable ways. 

The heliocentric perspective offers another layer maybe. One that is off planet; possibly, and probably, at least it feels this way, totally out of our control. In Christen's words, helio "becomes important for large scale changes on the earth, kind of like the cardinal axis in so far as larger events that go on. . . it will reflect large scale changes in and dispositions of the markets." Because from the sun's point of view planets are always moving forward, never turning retrograde, when an aspect perfects, it only does so once. The upcoming one heliocentric Uranus Pluto square (on November 23) then seems something exceptional to note.  

At nearly the same time (within a week+) Jupiter joins the picture (Nov 12/13), making an opposition to Pluto and square to Uranus - and so creates a T-square - which occurs when UR PL are within only 03 minutes (not degrees!) of exactitude.  Jupiter Pluto = Uranus  
Meanwhile, on the same day Mars perfects in square with Saturn.

Christen emphasizes the rarity of this alignment, saying "there is no precedent for this in history. . .You cannot find anything heliocentrically that has a T-square within 5 minutes of arc of perfection. . ." Crawford says the same in a video post. Both think it has to do with solar flares: "a mammoth disturbance in the solar system," potentially frying our electric grid, leading to big big problems that would not be quick to fix. Or, as Christen suggests, because on the 13th the Earth (brown globe) is not involved, it could be "a mammoth flare that may graze the earth, but probably will do other damage in the solar system that will be observable. . . we'll see." I think the timing given other factors I've been examining is mind-boggling.

Track solar flares in real time @ NOAA here.  
 


HELIO Jupiter Pluto opposition + Uranus square -- at the same time: Mars Saturn perfect in square


On 90 degree dial - emphasis on exactitude of aspectual connection 

 

Whatever might happen I recommend being prepared as you would for an earthquake, just in case: extra water, food, warmth, and cash in your home.

 

HELIOCENTRIC 

NOV 9
Venus comes to Uranus, Nov 9, around 10pm est 
(Ve joins the t-square before Ju Ur Pl perfects) 

CHARTS ABOVE
NOV 12/13
Jupiter comes to Uranus, Nov 12, 10:30pm est
(Mars is applying by 27 min to Saturn) 
+
Jupiter comes to Pluto, Nov 13, 3:20pm est
(Ma app 09 min to Sa) 
+
Mars comes to Saturn, Nov 13, 11:59pm est
(Ju+Ur=Pl picture: 02/03 min exact) 

NOV 23
Uranus perfects square to Pluto, Nov 23, 7am est
(Ju is less than 1 deg (45min arc) out of T-square)
+
Also, per Arch Crawford, Mars/Earth = Pl [Ur]

 

Be well. 
And be in touch! 
 

 

'Critical degree'

'Critical degree'

Equinox is right around the corner, but first...

What the heck is going on? 

A lot

A lot around the world and a lot astrologically. Of course the two are the same. That is the point. Especially when you focus on the Cardinal Axis - also known as the solstice points - the cardinal axis is the world's stage.

Ur to Ar.jpg

So what is up?

Uranus makes its ingress into Aries tomorrow. Which means it is very directly on the cardinal axis now. Recently the nodes and Mercury have been involved---causing stormy weather most likely, and a lot of excitement in the news and communication generally. The Sun and Jupiter are involved today (so things kinda feel ok, good even, under the circumstances). But Jupiter is also good at expanding and enlarging things, making things bigger.  From now through the weekend the energy will be Mars and Saturn, aligning on the axis and pointed at Uranus---which might not feel so good. In fact, Mars Saturn can be quite a tough combo to deal with, as it is sometimes associated with harmful or destructive energy. However, it can also give endurance. If we stay in reality, and do the hard work, Mars Saturn can pay off in spades.  

It is typical, as the days go by, that things come into and go out of alignment on the cardinal axis, world's stage, and we witness and experience their effects. But it isn't everyday that Uranus is sitting right there too---in fact, that only happens roughly every 20 years (when it moves from the end of a mutable sign into the beginning of a cardinal sign). And it takes Uranus 84 years to move through all of the signs---which means it hasn't made an entrance into Aries since the late 1920's!

So with Uranus on the Aries point, it also becomes the midpoint of each of these energies as they align on the world's stage. Sorry if I sound repetitive here, but having Uranus as the midpoint of all these changing energies tends to make everything a little (or a lot) more exciting. Uranus rules innovation, surprises, sudden events, accidents, wildness, wierdness, non-conformity, breakthroughs (or breakdowns), and a lot more...  

It's kind of like everything has been plugged into a live outlet. 

Lets hope the "extraordinariness and unusualness" of this time equates to our having amazing fortitude under whatever stressful circumstances we come to face.

Use the time as wisely as you do wildly.  

And, Please be safe.