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Mars Square Pluto…Again

June 14, 2014

I’m going to ask some questions flat out. I invite you to consider (and maybe jot down) your own answers.

  1. Are you angry? Think about it. Is there something in your life that’s got your goat? Maybe you don’t even know what you’re mad about. If your answer is no, take a moment to feel into yourself and see if there’s just a bit of steam in there that you haven’t exactly noticed.
  2. Does life feel unfair? Maybe something is happening (or not happening) and this has you feeling a sense of injustice. Maybe it’s not about something that is happening or not happening to you, but in witnessing injustice out there, you’re angry about an old or active injustice that you’ve experienced.
  3. Did you have a fight or an argument with someone in the latter half of December? Was it your spouse or a family member? Did tempers fly? Were words exchanged? Maybe you wanted to have a fight, but didn’t?
  4. Do you feel frustrated? You know, the kind of frustration where you want to do something (like express that anger perhaps), but you can’t. Maybe you feel like a teakettle—two degrees from boiling, but your whistle is plugged?
  5. If I gave you a sledgehammer and a clunker and set you free, do you think you’d enjoy smashing windows, headlights, and denting a fender or two? Would that make you feel better?

Today, right now in fact, Mars is making his third square to Pluto since late December. All of the frustration built up when Mars was moving backward wants to come out now. All of the frustration the Pluto-Uranus square has been activating for years wants to come out too. Trust me, it’s not all going to come out, but it wants to.

If you’re one who likes tracking specific dates, here’s the time line:

  • 12/30/2013: Mars exactly squared Pluto the first time. Both the sun and Mercury were applying conjunct to Pluto, which means that Mars squared them just before.
  • 3/1/2013: Mars stationed retrograde beginning months of backward motion in Libra.
  • 4/23/2014: Mars retrograde squares Pluto a second time. With Uranus and Jupiter, he forms a complete Grand Cross.
  • 6/14/2014: Mars, forward once more, squares Pluto again. The moon is conjunct Pluto (in Capricorn) and Mercury Retrograde is about to re-enter Gemini.
  • 7/13/2014: Mars (moving forward) meets and crosses over the North Node of the moon (moving backward).
  • 7/21/2014: Mars passes the point where he stopped in March, entering new territory…at last.
  • 7/25/2014: Mars leaves Libra (his Detriment) and enters Scorpio, which he (co)rules.

Libra is not a place Mars loves. It is hard to be dominant when paired with an equal partner. It is hard to dominate others when your sense of social justice says that no one should be subservient. If you are going to be fair, you have to share; you have to get along with others.

And Pluto is the most formidable opponent. Pluto may be the smallest planet (or no longer a planet), but Pluto’s astrological energy is very powerful. That is because Pluto operates on our innermost places. We are Mars on the outside, but Pluto on the inside. We want to be young and strong and exert our will outward, but when we realize that we only fight ourselves, what then? Do we destroy ourselves because we are the enemy? Do we split into two factions and have each half fight the other? (We are in Gemini after all.) Or do we simply give up?

[If you're fighting with others, that's the Mars part. The inner conflict is the Pluto part. That's the area we really need to explore.]

And Mercury Retrograde has not be helping…oh no. Have you had anything go as planned since it started? I have not! Forget relying on electronic communication too. All this energy with no constructive place to put it—I can’t think of any situation more frustrating to a Capricorn moon than that!

I extended the timeline through July 25th, when relief comes for Mars. On top of that, just days earlier, the sun conjuncts Jupiter in the second degree of Leo. I’m sure that’s gonna feel good too.

I think the best I can do to wrap this up is to validate your anger and frustration, and to assure you that this too shall pass.

Conceptually Relating

May 31, 2014

Mars is moving forward, although not quite up to his average speed. I, nevertheless, can feel the movement.

Mars is in Libra…and is thus relational. For me personally, it is transiting my third house…and is thus conceptual. [This applies to those with sun in Leo and/or Leo rising.] That is not to say that everything happening is merely in my head—quite the contrary. For a change, there is more real-life exchange going on.

And yet the lessons are close to home. Mars is moving forward, but within territory he has traipsed twice already. I, too, am walking through dirt where I’ve left footprints before.

Interestingly, the Universe has been very communicative lately. Music has been speaking to me in literal and lyrical ways. And symbolism abounds. For example, on my walk today, I kept seeing squirrels do that thing where they freeze in the middle of the road. I kept thinking—if you don’t move, you’re going to get run over. After the third time, I got the message. I’m the one who needs to get out of the road. I’m the one who needs to get out of harms way. Yes, gathering information requires crossing the road, but I needn’t sit in the middle of it to contemplate what I am learning. I can take my acorns home and chew on them later.

Mars has given us fuel, but we have to push the pedal on the right and pull on the wheel.

Mars stationed retrograde on 3/1/2014 at 27 Libra 32. He will not cross that point again until July 21st. So while there’s plenty of progress going on, it can feel like you’ve done this before. Maybe this time we can get it right!

But don’t forget that Mars has to walk through the T-Square with Pluto and Uranus again. He will square Pluto on 6/14/2014 and then oppose Uranus on 6/24/2014. The T-Square, being much less exact, should be much less intense.

Enjoy this last day of May and do take inventory of how far you’ve traveled in the past three months. It may have been in a direction far beyond your intention, but I’m sure it has shown you plenty.

You are NOT your Rising Sign

May 23, 2014

More and more, I find myself saying to friends, clients, and myself: “You are not your rising sign.” You are not your progressed rising sign either.

In the past, I have described the rising sign using these visuals:

  • A shell
  • A sword
  • A shield

Whether we use the rising sign for protection or to cope or get out of a sticky situation, it does come in handy. The rising sign is possibly the tool in our belt that is easiest to wield.

And yet, I feel compelled to convey the message again: “You are NOT your rising sign.” So what’s the big deal and why is it important to remember this?

The most significant reason is self-awareness. The rising sign is something you have access to, but is not who you really are. If you feel threatened, it is the best tool for the job, but just like a sword or a shield, it can get cumbersome if you constantly have it in hand.

Your happiest times will come when you can express your sun sign freely, supported by your rising sign, but not hindered by it.

Let’s discuss a few examples…

1. Cancer with Virgo Rising

Cancer values home more than any other. Their home is their castle. They want their home to be warm and dry, safe and secure, but also inviting. Yes, the crab shell is a great retreat, but a Cancer is happiest when they can cuddle at home with friends, family, and/or the significant other.

Now Virgo’s priorities are a bit different. They are driven to improve anything they value. Yes, a Virgo can overlook clutter—if it doesn’t matter to them—but if they love something, they are going to expend a little elbow grease to luster the shine.

If you are a Cancer with Virgo on the ascendant, you might at times find yourself being very picky about your house. You might have little tolerance for messiness. You might find yourself cleaning almost obsessively. You might look around and see your home as not good enough for company…and uncomfortable for yourself.

A crab can retreat into its shell when it feels threatened, but a Cancer with Virgo rising might not retreat so easily. Or maybe retreating isn’t an option given the situation at home. The basic point is: when this Cancer is unhappy at home, he or she may overly rely on the Virgo rising in an effort to clean it all up.

“You are not a Virgo,” spirit says to you. If you’re obsessing, you might be missing the point of what’s really wrong. Maybe the condition of the house is not the problem. Maybe there is an emotional issue that needs to be addressed, discussed, and brought out from an uncomfortable, dark place to a light, safe, and secure one.

For the record, my progressed sun is in Cancer and my progressed ascendant is in Virgo. I have become neater and cleaner at home these years, but when I find myself getting tweaked about it, I now know to look more closely at how I’m feeling and why.

Yes, cleaning my house feels good—it’s productive. It gives me something to focus on and allows me to expend some energy. But it also diverts my attention from what I am feeling. Sometimes, I just need to admit that I feel what I feel, and then take it from there.

2. Leo with Gemini Rising

A true Gemini likes to roam and wander freely. They are like humming birds seeking out the next beautiful and fragrant flower. And like humming birds, when a threat comes near…they’re outta there! Geminis are more apt to flee than confront. And Geminis are quite logical too. Because they value freedom highly, they apply that standard to others: need space…give space.

Leo is a different animal, however. What a Leo values more than anything is loyalty. Leo is fixed fire; one way to think of that is constant connection. Leos radiate their love, and want to feel the love of others that same way…even if at a distance. Leos are here to shine. Do they like the attention that follows? Sure.

Let’s say a Leo with Gemini rising is abandoned or betrayed by a loved one. Will they roar like the lion? Probably not. A Leo with Gemini on the ascendant is more likely to detach…from the situation, but also from their hurt feelings. They will use logic to lessen the betrayal…or they may possibly tell themselves that the other person didn’t really abandon them at all—they just needed space and what’s wrong in that?

The thing with Gemini is this: their logic is sound. So the Leo, when in their head, might find no fault done and thus be at a loss to justify their feelings. They might even talk themselves out of their pain altogether. But I ask you this: if they feel hurt, are they not still hurt? This person might end up repressing their pain rather than releasing it.

Logic is great, but it does not rule everything. Feelings count a TON, even if they don’t make sense. Instead of wondering whether it is logical to feel what we feel, it is better to accept the feelings and allow them to be, which then also allows them to pass.

3. Gemini with Leo Rising

Unlike the previous example, I am the opposite: a Gemini with Leo rising. What I have noticed about myself is that, when I am most unhappy, I tend to exhibit negative Leo traits. My air gets consumed with fire. My mutability gets squashed—rooted into stubborn fixity. I start feeling and acting like I’m better than those around me: “How dare they treat ME like this!” My concern about appearances and what other people think can stunt my freedom of expression.

My Leo rising does support me at times too. When I’m being my Gemini self in a public setting, my Leo rising helps me shine. It allows me be more extroverted than I am naturally. Leo on the ascendant strengthens the sun sign. It is supposed to help me be more Gemini…not more Leo.


There are 144 combinations of sun sign and rising. Even when both are the same, we typically express them differently. Add in your progressed sun and rising, and you have a complex picture indeed.

The point of this article is not to weigh signs against each other or claim that any one way of being is better than any other way. The point is, we are NOT our rising sign, and when we find ourselves exhibiting the personality of our rising sign too much, then it is valuable to recognize that something is wrong. We resort to our rising sign when we feel uncomfortable, hurt, insecure, and/or threatened. Maybe what’s really wrong is just beyond our notice.

Our rising sign can help us avoid our unwanted feelings, but it is not likely the best way to resolve them.

If you are not sure what your rising sign is, or if you’re struggling with something, an Astrology reading just might be convalescent. We are in the sign of Gemini now, and a Gemini would say, “Knowledge is power!”

One Day Later

May 18, 2014

In yesterday’s post, I focused on an image created primarily from four planets occupying 17 degrees of their respective signs. Mercury has already moved a full degree since then, but thanks to the moon, we have four planets at 17 degrees again. Yet look at how different the image appears:2014-05-18

In this chart, we now see a kite and a T-Square. [Mercury is still within orb, but I have erase those aspect lines for the diagram above.]

The T-Square resembles 3/4 of the Grand Cross, except two of the points are different. The moon exactly squares Venus just degrees off of the square between Pluto and Uranus, which is weakening at present.

Today’s kite has a lot in common with yesterday’s visual. Kites fly—as do spaceships—however, they glide. They are not powered internally. Instead, they float on the breeze.

As if on cue, I made a decision last night. I decided that I needed to let go of the steering-wheel and ease off of the gas some. When I returned from California, I was gung ho to (re)start my life in Austin. In looking back, the energy most resembled what January used to feel like for me. After the long holiday break, I would always find nearly a full month of productivity and forward progress.

Now that’s easy to do in the office, but not necessarily so with life in general. After two weeks of pushing forward, I have discovered that I am, in fact, dragging a bunch of the past along.

When you look at the image above, as drawn, you will notice that the kite leans to the left. It looks tethered to the earth by the T-Square. And that’s why I am making an effort to let go of the wheel. A kite floats on the wind. It has to ride the currents—in other words, it has to stay on top of them.

The visual of the T-Square is an anchor—pulling back toward old habits, perhaps?

As you take inventory, you will likely find plenty of energy: drive and ambition. That is the good part! Obstacles and problems to be solved are apparent. That is also good—much better the devil you know…so to speak. The piece that is the bridge spanning the two is the new approach to life you have already been working on. At this point, it isn’t exactly new any longer. You have sought it, discovered it, contemplated it, and have intended to use it. All that remains is to apply it.

Engineering is applied science. Building a bridge does not require the creation of new technology; it simply calls for using what is already known and then applying it to physical world.

Untether your kite by allowing your new approaches to gain precedence over your old habits. By leveraging your assets, you will make more progress with less effort.


May 17, 2014

Today is May 17th. (Happy Birthday, Mom!) We also happen to have four planets in four different signs each at 17 degrees. As a result, the four planets aspect each other and form an interesting visual.

Consider the following chart:2014-05-17

In addition to the four planets at 17 degrees, I added Saturn at 19 Scorpio, since it completes the visual—symmetrically and aesthetically.

Squares provide fuel and Trines allow movement. When drawn this way (with Pisces in the first house), we see a spaceship blasting off. [Notice that it is flying directly away from Taurus, the most earthy of earth signs.]

There is more going on than I have drawn. The Grand Cross continues to unwind, but with legs that are still within orb.

Taking inventory of life around me, there is still tension and obstacle challenging us to improve our creating. It’s as if everything comes at a price and mistakes are especially costly.

Days ago, the opposition of sun and moon we call the Full Moon occurred nearly along the mid-line of the above image. The moon sat just degrees away from Saturn. This is the last time in nearly 30 years the Full Moon in Scorpio will sit adjacent to Saturn in Scorpio. This time next year, Saturn will occupy the earliest degrees of Sagittarius.

Saturn in Scorpio has been a season akin to this past winter: long, cold, and painful. It is not over yet, but it’s getting there. Today’s configuration seems to channel energy toward Saturn as if further encouraging us to complete what this past 2 1/2-year season has been about.

For a rocket to reach space, it must exhaust and expel a lot of energy, but once it crosses the threshold, it’s smooth sailing from there.


May Showers

May 13, 2014

The Astrology

Over the next 24 hours, all aspects of a Grand Water Trine are applying. That is to say that the three trines contained within it are all moving toward exactness. Jupiter will exactly trine Chiron tomorrow morning, then split the difference between Chiron and Saturn until making an exact trine to Saturn on May 24th. Retrograde Saturn will not exactly trine Chiron until June 13th, just over a month before he stations direct. This means that Saturn will trine Chiron again on August 5th.

[In early July (the 8th and 9th), we'll have another Grand Trine. At that time the sun will trine both Chiron and Saturn.]

The Interpretation

If you live along the diagonal line between Austin, TX and Chicago, IL, you know that a formidable cold front is moving across the country creating quite a down pour in some areas. Many of the places getting hit now need the rain, but some places might be getting a bit too much all at once.

And these storms didn’t just drop rain. Here, we had significant thunder and lightning.

If you think about it, the weather is matching the Astrology. A Grand Cardinal Cross is definitely like a rough storm. Energy builds and builds and builds, and is then released all at once. Storms like this can definitely do some damage and require action on our part (before, during, and after).

And then there’s the water. Despite the risks, I am thinking that both California and Texas would continue to tell Mother Nature to, “Bring it on!” Both of these states still need lots of water.

The storms brought the water. Jupiter, which first helped form the Grand Cross, is now forming the Grand Trine. Jupiter in Cancer can definitely be thought of as a downpour.

Cancer is the sign of mother. As Cardinal Water, it is emotionally expressive. As ruler of the 4th house, it is about nurturing, supporting, creating security, and providing (or building) foundations. Consider this: if a person is adequately nurtured and supported, they will have a strong foundation of self-esteem to build on.

In other words:

When our foundations are strong, we can weather the storms.

The Pluto-Uranus square is like the Big Red Spot on Jupiter. It is a generational storm lasting years and years. Some day, we’ll look back and see all that it has done.

Jupiter in Cancer forming a T-Square to it (and with Mars in Libra, forming the Grand Cross) played its part. It reminds us that:

When you get knocked down, that is an opportune time to check your foundation before getting back up.

There is no such thing as an ideal foundation. It all depends on what you intend to build upon it. A slab could be perfectly adequate until you want a skyscraper.

How many archetypal stories exist where someone built something too high too fast only to have it eventually topple over. Does this mean we should never test our limits?

Currently, YOLO has become mod. It stands for, “You Only Live Once.” I happen to disagree with that sentiment, having remembered a number of my past lives. However, it’s intention is good. It encourages people to live now and not wait, and to push past apparent limits.

The phrase I would use is this: “You Only Live Now (but now lasts forever).”

In Journey to the Temple of Ra, a phrase shows up in a couple of places:

“You have all of the time in the world, yet there is no reason for you to wait.”

In reality, there are times we find it easier to wait…and then there are times when we are not allowed to. Sometimes our blocks are strong, other times doors are unlocked or wide open. Sometimes, we can’t tell the difference.

With a Grand Water Trine in the works, now is a good time to test the waters.


Saturn in the Spotlight

May 9, 2014

Early, early this morning, I woke feeling a bit of trepidation. After managing to regain sleep, I fell into a dream that stayed with me after I woke for good.

In the dream, I was driving down a four or five-lane highway. At first, there was no one on the road. But then there was a car up ahead and heading toward me! I was startled and pulled at the wheel. Thankfully, the car moved over to the right and out of my way.

A moment later, another car appeared, and then another. In each case, the cars were traveling toward me. In my mind, I could not understand why so many people were traveling the wrong way. Was everyone going crazy?

And then it hit me. I was the one going the wrong way! As soon as I realized this, I turned my car around and took the first exit to the right. That road or bridge was narrow and curved…so I slowed way down. It then became a hallway and ended with a door. My car became a convertible and was small enough to fit through the doorway, which I found quite intriguing because the door was a normal sized door.

At this point, I was standing next to my car. I opened the door and walked through it and found something quite beautiful on the other side. The beauty so struck me, it quite literally knocked me out of the dream.

The Astrology

In two hours, we’ll reach the chart I posted yesterday. However, based on everything I’ve experienced since, I think we’re already feeling the next big thing…and that is sun opposite Saturn, exact tomorrow afternoon.

If you were born within weeks or even months of 11/19/1984 or possible around late July 1985, pay special attention because right now you are in the stronger part of your Saturn Return. With the sun opposing Saturn, the heat is higher than normal for you and you might be feeling especially challenged by life.

The Interpretation

The sun represents our will. The key phrase is “I will…” This statement is not so much about a future action, but about the determination one feels in the moment.

Saturn is about responsibility. If I were to give it a phrase, I would use, “I must…”

With sun opposite Saturn, these two statements pull at us in seemingly opposite directions:

  • I am determined to do _this_, however,
  • I am required to do _that_.

It can feel like there are only two solutions:

  1. My determination must be so strong as to outweigh any and all opposition.
  2. I must tend to my responsibilities first, and only after that can I get where I want to go.

If you find yourself feeling this way, you might be precisely where I was in the beginning of my dream. You are determined to get somewhere. You believe you are going the right way. You are shocked and appalled that everyone else is going the wrong way. You might even blame or get mad at the other drivers for getting in your way.

Or, you might realize that you are fighting against yourself.

If you are one who follows the teachings of Abraham-Hicks, you might have already figured out that my dream was simply showing me that I was rowing upstream, to use their vernacular.

Notice that in my dream, I start out driving. The sun, our will, is a car…and one with a full tank of gas. Our will and determination are tools for getting somewhere.

Saturn is the one that paints the lines on the roads and installs the traffic lights and signs. Does he do this because he’s an authoritarian control freak that likes enslaving us and getting in our way? Or is he a caring father figure that wants us to get where we are going safely?

Recall that once I corrected the direction I was headed, I quickly arrived at the door. Also recall that I was standing beside my car when I walked through it.

This week, Saturn rises when the sun sets and vise versa. Instead of thinking that one is pulling you one way, and the other is pulling you another way, think of it like this:

The sun is guiding you forward, and Saturn is pushing you from behind.

Being pulled is fun. We feel secure because we can always let go.

Being pushed is not fun. We don’t feel in control and cannot easily see the forces acting upon us.

To revisit Abraham-Hicks vernacular and mix it with Astrology: the sun represents our oars and Saturn represents the current. You can fight Saturn…and can even move against him, but is that really the direction you want to go in?



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