Jupiter: Heads up, readers! Jupiter is going to start into a retrograde cycle on the 4th of March. Those of you who are strong in the water signs have probably been enjoying the transit of Jupiter through Scorpio, since he's making either a trine or a conjunction with whatever you have got going....
...But with this apparent reversal of Jupiter’s course between March 4th and July 6, with final catch-up date of mid-September, (all between the degrees of 19 and 8 of Scorpio), the content of these lovely, deep and fortunate watery events is likely to get murky and difficult for awhile. The waters might become tinged with the muck from the bottom of the pond, or blood from a necessary sacrifice, or toxic wastes from a heedless neighbor. Just look at the simple handwriting on the wall -- Jupiter, the planet of multiplication, abundance, excess and aggrandizement, is in the sign of Scorpio, symbolized by the alchemical still, the digestion process, and the need to separate the living waters from the toxic wastes. On a good day, Jupiter brings good fortune to whatever he touches. But since Scorpio is the waste-treatment-plant of the Zodiac just like the bowels are for the body, what is Jupiter going to multiply when he's retrograde here?
The best response to this situation is to scrub, scrub, and scrub. Let Jupiter strengthen your will, your imagination and your hands for wiping out the creeping molds, germs, and fungi that are always invisibly trying to take over. Ask for an abundance of energy with which to attack the poisons that accumulate in our lives, whether it's accumulations of old messes or self-destructive interior dialogue. Accept that the essence of the job is that of "mucking out the barn". Only with back labor and organized effort can one turn a stable full of manure into rich nourishment for the fields, and that's exactly what this Jupiter retrograde is suggesting. Really, this is a perfect time of year for such a project to commence, isn't it? If you go with the flow here, you'll be heading into fall with a new layer of the best soil built up and ready to plant your long-term crops in.
And by the way, those of you with strong placements in the fixed signs can use the square or opposition they will be feeling with Jupiter to increase their willingness to take action on those stubborn old accretions from the past. You will probably not enjoy the inundating feelings involved as much as the watery folk do, but if the cycle manages to harden your heart to that critical degree against old offenses you ought not to allow, well, that's just fine. There's no need to be nice about things that are hurting you. If outrage or rejection come into the mix, that's just a clue that you have already tolerated the intolerable too long. Let Jupiter retrograde in Scorpio help you make the necessary changes right at the root of the problem. Your good will towards the world will no doubt return as this cleansing process completes itself.
Saturn: As I said in last month's NewMoon Notes, Saturn has been "looking to the past to consolidate his accomplishments" since he went retrograde in late November of last year. The territory he's reiterating is between four and eleven degrees of Leo. Considering that one of the characteristics that seems most universal for retrogrades is a generalized grouchiness about everything the afflicted planet rules, this retrograde seems prototypical. It has been very difficult for nearly everybody I'm conversing with to get traction on his or her "shoulds;" meanwhile it seems that indignity and loss of face are the name of the game. The tendency is to shrug it off, think "what's up with that?" and blame the system. However, this is an important time for people to sober up about the upcoming trends in the economy and the world, and trim their expectations to size.
In particular, any grandiosity we might be harboring in our appetites for "more and better" needs to be fiercely critiqued while this retrograde is still in play. Give Saturn some space to shine the fierce light of reality onto your sense of entitlement. Question why you "should" automatically expect that the system will carry you in the future, even as much as it has in the past. What if our habitual pattern of rolling a larger and larger ball of debt ahead of us like dung beetles is really is a bad strategy rather than "the American way"? What to do once we realize that allowing our health insurance company to determine when we get care and from whom, and depending on our local emergency room and dumb luck rather than changing our self-destructive consumption patterns, is not really a viable path to health after all? How will we actually keep our businesses and private lives afloat if we don't have the Internet on hand 24/7 to respond to our every impulse?
It's all a mystery until we learn to kiss Saturn's ring and accept personal responsibility for every situation we find ourselves in now, and might find ourselves in down the line. There's nowhere to run to escape this reckoning, not even after the 5th of April, the day when the optical illusion ends and Saturn appears to plow forward again. Because, remember, he won't truly have recovered until he gets into the degrees after 11. It's about the 9th of July before Saturn is out of the sticky part of Leo and truly breaking new ground. So my advice is, befriend Saturn in his retrograde state, interview him deeply regarding any issue that he seems to be bringing up, and think yourself all the way through for a change. It may feel like an extended session with an insurance agent, but remember, when you have made your accounting and developed the necessary plan to adjust your actions and expectations, you will be standing on firm ground instead of shifting sand. When Saturn is free and clear to go forward come mid-summer, you will have a huge head start and will be relatively clear about what has to happen next. You'll be thanking Saturn then!
Uranus: This is the transit that is going to set the people with lots of mutable signs throbbing. From June 19th through November 20th (and stretching to include a hangover that lasts till early March 2007), Uranus will throw lightning, static and white noise all over everything he touches, squares and opposes. This event covers between the 15th and the 21st degrees of Pisces, and it will probably be accompanied by thunder and earthquake weather as well.
The watery people might find something to love in this atmosphere of chaos and drama, because their inner lives will be all lit up with visions, ideas, and inventions. The mutable folk, on the other hand, might feel more like they have stuck their fingers into an electric socket! Everybody who is sensitive needs to put themselves on notice -- build up your protections as best you can between now and June. Every measure you take to get out of the path of the coming sneaker shock wave will be a help to you.
For example, I lived in the town of Eugene, in Oregon's central valley, (known far and wide as a location where people suffer from allergies) between 1986 and 2004. Eugene sits at the center of a perfect bowl formation that creates long spells without wind to sweep out the atmosphere and cleanse the air. The boggy ground and wet climate encourages lush crops of mold and moss through the winter, and in spring and summer there's every kind of tree and grass pollen. Even the First Nations people who lived there before the white settlers made sure to clear out every summer. They called it the "valley of little diseases", and only camped there when the camas was blooming, to harvest the bulbs. Present use adds intensive grass farming with its attendant field burning in the summer, industrial pollution that just hangs in the air whenever it's not raining, plus the late-summer and fall forest fires all through the timber country surrounding the metropolitan area. It only gets worse every year, so what in the world made me think I could live there forever and be healthy?
For years I was fine, it never seemed to bother me. But just as Uranus approached the first degree of Pisces in February 2003, the late-winter mold, moss, filbert and cedar bloom completely wiped out the part of my immune system that was holding all that at bay, and I began to have dreadful symptoms from it all. By the time I moved away from Eugene in the middle of 2004, I was a miserable mess! I mean, starting in February and running right into summer of 04, I was unable to go more than an hour through the day without deploying another and another of a long arsenal of remedies, treatments, and get-by's (including $100-per-teaspoon prescription eye drops) just so I could open my eyes and breathe. I had seen this happen to others around me through the years, but now I was the victim, and boy was I wailing to the skies about it! The funny thing is, when I finally accepted my fate and moved to a location with better ventilation, all of that stopped abruptly. Why, why did I wait so long? I know I'm a sensitive in many areas of my life, what made me think I could just "tough it out" regarding the molds and pollens and wood smoke and air pollution? In the course of "being strong", I was actually setting myself up for a major crash, and that is the moral of this story, dear reader.
Quit pretending that you are immortal and impervious. Name the stresses in your life and be honest with yourself about what has to be let go of before summer starts. De-escalate as a conscious act of will; don't wait till you are fried like a crispy critter with bits of you falling off as desiccated ash! Just take it as a given that modern life is now officially out of control, and you cannot afford to sacrifice your well-being to the overstimulation of this nervous-breakdown culture we live in. I use drastic images here because Uranus events generally appear to strike out of the blue, as if from one's blind side, even though in truth the problems were often years in the making. Uranus, being a slow moving planet, sneaks up on you right in plain sight, using the camouflage of normalcy to disguise his undermining ways.
This planet represents an accident waiting to happen, like that convenient "cement bag just a-droopin on down", in the song Mac the Knife. Like a fungus that spreads underground all year around, Uranus suddenly "blooms" and appears across the landscape all at once when the conditions are just right. One strike of lightning on a pile of duff wood that's been quietly rotting for years, and you've got a forest fire. So my advice is, look around in the next few months. There are places in your life where the next development could prove to be "last straw" and break your camel's back. See if there's something you can do to diminish the ambient stress you are always exposed to, so you can climb down off the razor's edge before you are tested in real time.
Neptune: On the 22nd of May, at 20 degrees of Aquarius, Neptune will appear to swing around and head backwards till Oct 29. After restating his path back to the 17th degree, it will take him till mid-February of '07 to regain the lost ground. This is going to present all of us who have philosophical tendencies a chance to look back over assumptions made, positions taken, and worldviews subscribed to. Think about this -- what makes you believe what you do? What happens to you when your trust, faith and confidence are not met by events on the ground? Neptune is often associated with magical thinking and rosy, new-age visions, so this retrograde has a high potential for symbolizing disillusionment and disappointment that is deeply-rooted and will not be abated with superficial measures. There is a chance that a long-held dream will fall apart, a multigenerational social contract could be ruptured, and certainly everybody's faith will be tested.
I fear for the disappointment that will ensue at the national level as a result of this transit. The current administration is fast losing the admiration of the American people on both sides of the aisle, and they have taken us so far down a non-sustainable path that the options for remediation are in some ways no better than staying the course. People who were bullish on America right up to the last election are changing their minds in great numbers as they witness our collective well being bought and sold in the political/economic marketplace. The dream of a "better future for all" has been the sustaining myth of America's self-esteem as a nation, and we don't take well to having that dream tarnished and our vision of the future dimmed. I fear that our national need for optimistic news is going to suffer a deficit through this retrograde, as the cherished illusions of the national psyche are unmasked as the opiates of the people.
So what can we envision as the personal ramifications of this event? For one thing, rely less on vague, undifferentiated "outside energies" to be benign, and turn more to your own reality-tested gritty and unglamorous past experiences to guide you. Some people think that "positive thinking" is the remedy for everything, but this transit will show us ways in which it is as much the problem as the solution. The latest psychological studies have begun to show the positive side of negative thinking, in that it's a way to catalogue and design solutions to anticipated problems, thus allowing the worrier to go forward with some contingency options in their head in case something goes wrong. I think this Neptune transit will fully justify any "what if" thinking undertaken before it commences. What if, for example, the spiritual beliefs you have been cultivating don't offer any refuge from the horrors of current events? What would happen to your motivation if your idea of God were tossed aside by a historic event so chilling that it wipes out your previous platform for belief? How can we rationalize our participation and place in the "greatest nation on Earth" when our government is currently behaving like a rogue elephant abroad and bankrupting future generations at home? What is to be done with the idealism of our own youth, and that of the currently young and the young-at-heart, during a time when cynicism and depravity seem to rule the roost?
This is a period when authority-figures reveal themselves to be something other than wise, protective and benign. Whether that's a parent or a spouse or a boss or a teacher, when Neptune is retrograde, the feet of clay holding up the appearance of power are going to show through. Nobody's got a hand on the wheel but Fate, and Fate is no respecter of individuals. From President to peon, everybody will have one or more opportunities to watch their castles in the clouds blow away. It is therefore incumbent upon each of us to know how we will motivate ourselves, orient ourselves, and ground ourselves when our convenient fictions have evaporated and we are looking at the raw facts.
In August and September, Saturn will be so kind as to oppose this retrograde Neptune from Leo, and Jupiter will square the Neptune in the second half of September as well. At this point we should see some spectacular falls from grace in the headlines, but the same potential is there for people at every rung of the food chain. Do what you can to bring all of your dealings into the right action voluntarily, clean up and terminate anything that can't bear the light of day, and resist all further temptations to get involved with shady, sketchy, short-cut situations that put personal selfishness ahead of doing the right thing. The time for getting away with things is going to soon be over, and frankly, it will be better when those with real ethics have outgrown that kind of thinking anyway.
Pluto: Come the 29th of March, Pluto will begin his recapitulation of the degrees between 27 and 25 of Sagittarius. It will take Pluto till the 4th of September to get going forward again, and till the last day of the year to get free of the undertow and win his way clear again. It seems really agonizing that all that time will be taken up with Pluto harassing a mere three degrees of the zodiac, but that's the way things go with this very slow-moving outer planet. (Some even debate whether Pluto is really a planet, since we found an asteroid outside Pluto's orbit that's actually bigger....) Whatever else he is or isn't like, Pluto acts like a magnifying glass in the hands of curious kid, intensifying the light source and focusing it on a tiny spot that then heats up so much it spontaneously combusts.
What can we do for ourselves if the beam falls on us? The bug on the sidewalk tries to run and hide, but that's not really an option for people who are embedded in their roles, duties, and identities and have a lot to lose. My advice is, make like a Phoenix or a burning bush and get into self-immolation! There are some situations, some circumstances, wherein all resistance is futile. (I'm saying this from the perspective of Pluto's very slow crossing of my Midheaven/Mars conjunction. This has been going on for several years already for me -- my Mars at 26 degrees follows my 19-degree Sagittarius midheaven, hence it's my third over-and-back in this neighborhood since early in 2003! Am I dead yet? No! Am I getting better at self-resurrecting? Darn tootin' I am!)
The main issue for those people who have to take a Pluto transit personally is to quit resisting. Really, that's it. Change is inevitable, change is the healer, and change is the only thing that's real. Melt down, mutate, do what you have to do, but don't even begin to think you can escape the process. Pluto can find you wherever you hide. The thing that Pluto does for us is to show us what's permanent by vaporizing anything that's insubstantial. Just like the cold of winter in northern latitudes ruptures the cells the annual plants when the water inside them freezes, Pluto simply atomizes those things that aren't sturdy enough to hold up under his beam. Consider it a mercy that he can do that, because we mere humans are often so attached, so sentimental and unreasonable, so stubbornly unrealistic that we too often haven't got a clue when to keep hold and when to let go. Pluto solves that problem for us, so we can move on and really be "in the now" for a change.
Nobody likes this process, and most people twist and bite on the hook, blaming everything in the world for their suffering. But this is a totally non-personal process, and the faster you can move away from outrage and survival fear, the quicker you can learn to enjoy the view from your own other side. There's no telling where the ending will be, but that actually increases our fascination with life when we can get over our insistence on consistency. The truth is, you don' t know what is going to happen when Pluto hits you upside one of your planets, so quite pretending that you do. Just surrender, and then rise again. I guarantee that your habitual fears will shrink down into vapor and the way will be opened for developments you would never have thought possible. Abandon all preconceptions, ye who enter here!
Research: Esoteric Tarot, Literature and Practice;
Publisher, The Tarot Arkletters
Bishop, Gnostic Church of St. Mary Magdalene
Founder: Tarot University;
Author: The Underground Stream;
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The Tarot ArkLetters are a publication of Christine Payne-Towler, founder of Tarot University Online. Christine offers classes, readings, and private sessions.
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