Mercurial Wanderings under Venus Retrograde…

Venus has turned retrograde with the last full moon in Gemini and has been hovering around Pluto for quite some time now and this post is a reflexive product of it somehow. As usual a mix of personal experience and food for thought which I hope you might find useful, or inspiring, or at least entertaining. 

Mercurial wanderings…

I sometimes find it amusing the way that our society works. Not that I am completely outside of it, of course not. But with the strong Aquarian, Uranian, 11th house and out of bounds emphasis in my natal chart, I confess that it feels like I am ‘out of bounds’ myself most of the time. I don’t think I always fully understand the logic behind some of our taken for granted agreements. 

I see a powerfully strong Capricorn theme when it comes to work ethics, productivity, goals, and visions of success. Ambition is very high rated, material gratification too. But I am also especially thinking about the idea of ‘professionalism’ here. 

When did we stop valuing humanness and buying into this concept that absolute detachment equals a more ‘professional’ and capable approach? Don’t get me wrong, I understand the need for ethics, in a deeper sense, I would say. But the coldness that usually accompanies the generally accepted ‘professionalism’ really hugs me, no, I mean bugs me. 

Another thing that comes to mind is how value is attributed to money and how much not having money has a detrimental effect on self-esteem. It is difficult to value yourself if not having enough money prevents you from having a voice, from making choices and being considered important by other members of society. 

As my secondary progressed ascendant slowly transitions from Sagittarius into Capricorn (it has already made the shift in Solar Arc direction last year), the more I see myself valuing professionalism and the material realm without losing sight of some of the questions stated above. I have most of the time considered myself a freedom loving and informal type of person – always hated the hypocrisy that sometimes being ‘professional’ makes you comply with.

But now I see myself getting increasingly tired of the hippish approach to life and really feeling the need to gather all my professional experience (which by now is kind of considerable as I’m no spring chick anymore…) and put it into one place. Have a brand – (did I really say that?!) – and make a proper income (whatever that means) solo from astrology work. Get myself deeply involved with the potential productivity, which is quite vast considering the possibilities that the internet and digital era offers us.   

You see, these words seem like a great example of what we could be doing during this cycle of retrogradation from Venus in Capricorn. Ask ourselves where we are going and if that place is truly aligned with our core values. I would also say, as I think about the shift that my progressed ascendant seems to be reflecting, this could be a great time for catching up with your shifting values too. What important and major themes in your life are slowly fading and losing their grip on you now? How aligned are you with your natural changes and the resulting new-born values within it? 

Recently, while I was trying to relax and enjoy the holiday season, I decided to reread my last journal – another great thing to do during one of the fast-moving planets’ cycles of retrogradation. It can be wonderfully insightful to be able to see your process and how (surprisingly) congruent it usually is with how you intuitively feel from moment to moment. 

This time I was surprised to see how much had been written about my search for a fulfilling relationship (another relevant topic for this Venus retrograde period) and how to get there by being clear about what I really want – my natal Venus/Neptune square has been transited by Pluto, whilst progressed Venus conjoined natal Saturn.

There is no healthy relationship without healthy boundaries. 

I can’t remember where I read this, or who mentioned it to me, but it is so true. 

In one entry from my journal, I wrote: 

‘Is this what self-worth looks like? Making difficult choices that puts your mental/emotional/physical wellbeing first? I guess so. His love life is a mess that I don’t want to be part of – There is no role for me there, at least, there isn’t a role that I am willing to play.’    

And later I wrote:

‘It is exciting to be able to be more myself and less of what people want me to be’, with the conclusion that more validation coming from within gives space for authenticity to be truly expressed out there. 

If you don’t feel comfortable being yourself around someone, or if that person does not support your authenticity and shows no appreciation for who you are, always making demeaning comments or trying to change you into what they want you to be, it is a sign that this might not be the right relationship for you. 

Remember, you are nobody else’s dream! (that used to be a little note to myself, natal Venus-Neptune’s things…) 

And these thoughts also remind me of psychotherapist Mark Vernon’s great article ‘What is Love?’ where, amongst other things, the author discuss the idea that love grows through conflict – and that in fact, the secret of a successful relationship many times is in our capacity to deal with disagreement and not necessarily in our capacity to love. In his words ‘an inability to handle conflict is a good predictor of divorce’.

According to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry ‘experience shows us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking together in the same direction’, and for that to happen, we have the obligation (with ourselves, more than anyone else) to know our values! To be (absolutely) aware of the importance and urgency of asking ourselves: what do I value the most in life, partnerships, career, daily choices, etc?! With Venus retrograde this is the perfect time for you to seriously (Capricorn) and deeply (conjoined Pluto) ask yourself these questions, get to the bottom-line of your core values and how much they might be changing. Cath up with them, ponder on them. Befriend them, for in a way, your values define who you are.

Rules with no absolutes

I thought that with the approaching retrogradation of Venus (December 19, the same day of the full moon), I could write a little about planetary dignities and relationships.

As usual, I can’t help but observe astrology playing out through my life and perspective. In fact, one of the things that excites me most about the subject is this: being a kind of lens which enables the extraction of meaning.

Some kind of mining meaning?!

Anyway,

It is commonly said that planets in the opposite sign of its rulership or exaltation are in a sort of ‘bad’ placement (for example when the Moon is in Scorpio or Mars in Taurus etc). I have been reflecting on that these days, particularly on how much I disagree with this idea.

I always go on and on about this with my students and fellow astrologers, that you can never tell how an astrology chart will be played out by its owner.

(I was going to write ‘until you meet them’, but not even then I don’t think.)

Human beings are complex creatures, and we might express the inherent symbolism in our charts differently at different times, or in different ways with different people, etc. There is no absolutes and no way to tell anything ‘for sure’ really.

I believe that astrological symbols are best used (when reading a person’s chart) as a way to brainstorm potential meaning rather than narrowing down into absolutes.

So here is an example from my experience to express my point.

Not long ago I was going out with someone who had natal Mars in Scorpio, a planet considered very powerfully placed in the sign of its rulership. That Mars did conjoin Pluto, that is true, but other than that, it only aspected Venus and Sun by sextile, so not massively debilitated.

Anyway, the individual in question did not have an ‘accomplished life’ in a traditional sense, did not harness his discipline (although being a Capricorn Sun as well!) and his trajectory was also somewhat chaotic (perhaps having his chart ruler conjoined Neptune had its influence here too).

The second individual I would like to mention had natal Mars in Cancer, the sign of its fall. This position has a bad rap and there is usually plenty of stories about passive aggression, drama, lack of direction in life, etc. Well, well, well, the man in question happens to have a lot of drive and ambition, had actually accomplished a lot professionally and, on top of that, had a very assertive and direct energy about him.

I truly admired and enjoyed the energy of that Mars in Cancer – assertive in a sensitive and receptive way rather than the coarseness and explosive anger I saw in the Mars in Scorpio person. Would that be true of every Mars in Scorpio or Mars in Cancer individuals? Obviously not.

Personal responsibility and accountability, when it comes to growth and emotional intelligence, still the main thing – much more than planets in exaltation or rulership or detriment.

This is just a simple and small example of how we are better off not making assumptions based on certain placements – the chart and the person that holds it need to be seen in its totality as much as possible. Even through our inevitably limited eyesight… if at least we can be aware of it…

Saturn and Inner Wisdom

Ok, so this writing just happened to me.

I was listening to music and having a cry when these words just started coming to me, so here they are.

But before that, just an astrological note. I see my Saturn in Scorpio being reflected in the text below, and when I recently found out (or maybe realised) that this planet sits exactly in the midpoint between my natal Venus square Neptune, I am convinced of its importance. Getting to know this Saturn and daring to integrate it a bit further seems to hold an important key for me and the potential success of my relationships. I think that the text below encapsulate a bit of it, a bit of my Saturn in Scorpio in the 12th at best.

Feeling things intensely isn’t the issue, the real issue is how we manage and work with the powerful energy that gets released/triggered with powerful emotions. Having someone that supports this process is of utter importance to me, for my growth and self-understanding. It is also paramount to not project and blame another for those feelings, either when they’re pleasant or unpleasant. Either way, we need taking a position of ownership rather than victimhood and to not act out onto another. 

The respect has to be mutual. 

It is clear to me that I cannot be with someone that cuts off emotions, or that find it all a bit too much. People that shy away from tears as if they’ve seen the antichrist disturbs me. Emotions are just that, something in motion, changeable. It is just a powerfully healing and transformative force. And I do not take the power of emotions for granted. This is why it is necessary to be like some sort of samurai, some kind of martial art master – to be brave enough to master your emotions. To ride them and see where the destination is, at least in that moment, for it changes from moment to moment. 

Bravery to be an observer of the change.

I see emotions like a powerful chariot, like the one in the Tarot, with a white and black horse pulling it around. Happy or sad, emotions drag us around, it pushes us to do things, to take chances, to cry in the bathroom when no one is looking. One thing is for sure, emotion is what heals, inflames, possess us at all times, so getting to know them, making them your acquaintance is, in my view, a positive way of relating with it. It is a powerfully transformative way of relating with your deepest and authentic self, of getting to know you…    

Aquarius and the solar principle

It has been an interesting couple of weeks for me. I have some friends visiting and staying with me in the flat, including my brother, so the house is full. From the incredible quiet and self exploring vibes, which was also very melancholic at times, I now barely have time for checking in with myself so I am sort of allowing this time to be some sort of holidays. (haven’t had one of those in ages!)

Being a Virgo myself, it is pretty difficult not to do things that are practical in some way and so I recently delved into some of the Astrological Association’s old recordings of lectures. I found a few of Liz Greene’s talks, which I already bought and heard almost all of them, but there are plenty of historical (like for example a Gauquelin’s lecture on their research) and other important talks available for very affordable prices. (I recommend if you haven’t checked it yet).

One of the lectures I heard was about Apollo’s chariot and the solar principle in response to collective cycles given by Liz Greene, a wonderful (as I would expect) and enlightening lecture that resonates with what we are about to go through with a strong emphasis on Aquarius.

In about a month we will witness a cluster of planets in Aquarius which includes the Sun, Venus, Saturn, Jupiter and Mercury (which will, by the way, be moving retrograde at that time), and Aquarius speaks about the collective well fare. As Greene has pointed out in her lecture, Scorpio is concerned with depth but Aquarius is concerned with breadth (one of the dangers, she claimed, is loosing sight of excellence when there is too much emphasis on this sign as it focus on getting the ‘common denominator’).

According to Liz Greene, ‘where there is aquarian energy, the sun is invoked’ as it is its complement and opposite and I really like this idea. I feel that with such a strong aquarian energy, including the Saturn-Uranus Square that will be happening throughout 2021, we will do well in connecting with our solar energies.

The Sun is what gives us our sense of personal meaning, destiny and purpose. It is the point in the chart where we potentially feel unique and with a special reason to be alive. Liz Greene pointed out how we are under the risk of loosing the will to be ourselves when we identify entirely with a group (which is one of the reasons why the Sun is in detriment in Aquarius), and she also spoke about the dangers that throwing responsibility away from the individual can cause, when the group, ‘the great WE who have rights’, is actually made of individuals.

My conclusion here is that we will do very well in taping into our solar energies as we see the aquarian energy increase, this will be a way of avoiding darker scenarios where individuality is sacrificed completely to the ‘benefit of the group’ (in authoritarian regimes for example). So have a look at your chart, where is the Sun placed, what sign, what house? What can be the unique gifts that you can contribute with?

As Greene claimed, if we are willing ‘to be somebody who has something to contribute with the group then we will see a group that truly transforms the individual’. And let the Aquarian season begin!

A note on astrology and responsibility

How did the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction go for you?

I was checking my social media stuff today and had a thought that seemed to be fiercely expressed by Charles E. Carter when he claimed that it could be ‘criminal to introduce astrology’ to some, as he believed only ‘people with moral courage should study their own maps, and only those endowed with more than average common sense and sense of responsibility should study others’ . Obviously the next question to be asked is who is to decide when someone has enough common sense or moral courage, which is another very pertinent question, especially during the beginning of a collective cycle with such an aquarian overtone like the one we are currently heading towards to.

But I did feel slightly overwhelmed, for the first time, with the thought of how the quick spread of information (and in many cases, misinformation) can affect the practice and role of astrology. I used to feel excited regarding some predictions about astrology’s rise as a subject of knowledge, thinking that my profession would somehow become more respectable socially, but there is a very shadowy potential for astrology becoming popular again and taught by very unexperienced people. There seems to be many charismatic young people out there eager to accumulate a whole legion of followers no matter what kind of information they are helping to spread.

I am not very old myself, but I feel that I have always been aware of the necessary hard work, time and dedication when it comes to learning something as powerful as astrology. How can we make sure, as a community of professionals, that there is some kind of rigorous process when it comes to teaching and practicing astrology? Would the benefits that the digital era has and is bringing to astrology be greater than the potential pitfalls?

Saturn’s shift to Aquarius

In order to celebrate the last few days of Saturn in Capricorn I decided to come here and try to write something.

The first thing that comes to mind is the idea that Saturn represents the principle of giving birth to ourselves. Becoming more solid as an individual requires a close relationship, and an authentic one, with what Saturn represents: (especially) taking responsibility for ourselves. I feel that whilst Saturn was in Capricorn the theme of authorities, including becoming one, was emphasised.

Capricorn talks about ambitions, our ambitions and those of the people in power positions have been under the spotlight. With the lunar nodes being in the axis of Cancer-Capricorn in the last year as well, many questions surrounding self-care, personal and family (inherited) values, career and personal life unbalance were under scrutiny. The pandemic has forced people to stay home, to rethink their work-personal life dynamics, to review values and goals.

With the nodes shifting to the Gemini-Sagittarius axis the theme of information, sharing ideas, reviewing belief systems is becoming more and more important. I feel that Saturn moving on to Aquarius has a resonance with this process.

Aquarius is an air sign, mostly concerned with abstract thinking, humanitarian causes and ideals. Perhaps now with Saturn’s shift to this sign, we are called to be more serious and cautious regarding our ideas and how we express them. It feels like somehow our ambitions and skills will have to be aligned with serving the group rather than having only personal gain as the ultimate goal.

Wherever the conjunction between Saturn and Jupiter at zero degrees Aquarius falls in your chart, reflects the potential area where you can offer something to the human family/community. With Saturn in Aquarius personal responsibility takes another dimension, the dimension of personal contribution to the whole.

We are individual cells of the collective, a change within can have the power of positive impact in a larger scale.

Where is Aquarius in your chart?!

A little on midpoints

Astrology as a subject for research never ceases to amaze me.

I have currently been looking into midpoints a bit more and what a fascinating topic. My Moon in Libra, ultra sensitive towards symmetry and beauty, really seems to love the idea of a midpoint being a place where integration can happen.

For the ones reading this and thinking ‘what the hell are midpoints?’, it is a very simple concept, for instance every single point or planet in the horoscope, in relation to another, will have a half way – if mars in your chart is at 6 degrees Sag and your Venus is 26 Virgo the middle between the two is 1 Scorpio. Does that make sense? It is a simple mathematical calculation really. (there will be a further midpoint and a closer one, the closer is the most commonly used including to cast composite charts – another fascinating use of midpoints!)

In the astro.com website they say: ‘A midpoint marks the focal point at which the energies of two planets meet. If a third planet is conjunct this point it receives these energies and to a certain degree acts as a channel for them.’

Exactly!

It is very interesting, if you have a planet in the midpoint of two planets in an opposition (that would be a T square) or in between two planets forming a square, it could act not only as a ‘channel’ but also it could reflect a possible way out from the dichotomy and towards more inner integration.

I love how we can potentially discover new things as we continue our astrological learning journey, including discovering new placements and things about our own astrology chart that we did not notice before.

I have written about my currently progressed Venus forming a conjunction to natal Saturn and roughly how serious I have been feeling regarding love relationships and personal boundaries – well, as I researched the midpoints in my chart I realised that Saturn sits right in the midpoint of my natal square between Neptune and Venus!

How interesting! To me this placement is somehow quite hopeful. The more I work on my Saturn in order to integrate it further in my psyche, the more I can potentially become more solid and realistic in how I deal with others… I feel that my natal Saturn holds a potential key for practicing boundaries and realism when my Venus-Neptune combo gets too dreamy.

Has any of you found an important planet in between a natal square like this? Do you feel that that planet can help you out with the conundrum?

Grand Cardinal Cross

As I organise myself to send my boxes to Brazil, I think about the current energies and the full moon in Pisces.

At the exact moment of the full moon there was a grand cross in the sky involving Mars in Aries, Saturn/Pluto/Jupiter in Capricorn, Venus in Cancer and Juno in Libra. What do we commit to, how, and the motivation behind it, might be the theme of this intense month. The grand cross is in cardinal signs and I can imagine plenty of energy being available for us to tap into and problem solve.

Cardinality asks for action; so one way of channeling the intensity is exercising a bit more than usual.

Another thing I was thinking about is the challenge regarding compromise; do we know when to compromise and when not? With Mars stationing to move retrograde soon, we better revisit how we assert ourselves and where resentment might still be present, even without our conscious awareness. Buried anger is another one that might come up in the next few months.  How have you been using your libido? How do you get what you want? Do you know what you want or do you get confused in the middle of everybody else’s wishes? These are some of the questions worth asking ourselves now.

Cardinality also speaks of taking initiative, so I can imagine this grand cross reflecting a big amount of energy compelling us to get out of whichever stagnant situation we’ve got ourselves involved in. The important thing to remember though, with Mars just about to go retrograde, is to rethink our strategies rather than just impulsively create more conflict. Rationality goes a long way with so many tense astrological aspects.

Wishing you all a happy full moon!

On the current Mars’ transits

The last few days have been mental and beyond intense. Somehow I got dragged into a drama that does not have much to do with me, apart from being the friend of one of the persons involved. I don’t really want to get into the details of everything as it isn’t worth it, but I was locked out from my house at 10 in the evening and the shock and absurdity of that situation for me was absolutely maddening. It was traumatising, to say the least, and it made me think about all of the people out there suffering in abusive relationships.

My heart is with you and I hope that you can heal and manage to break out from whichever pattern of hurt and suffering you feel you’re stuck in.

Astrologers know and have been talking about the myriad of challenging astrological transits for 2020 for quite sometime already, and we are currently navigating the energies reflected by Mars in Aries in square to Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn in Capricorn.

They manifested in quite a real way in my case, with a touch of physical violence included, but it doesn’t have to be that way. What I think is that whatever intensity and anger that came up to us now is pointing out to the changes that we are contemplating and aware of their need for quite sometime already.

We have to be brave to be the best we can be, to leave behind whatever, or whoever, feels familiar but does not embrace and support this best version of ourselves.

Raise up to the challenge!

Use the current energies to embrace courage (Mars in Aries) and to take constructive action towards a better life. Learn about healthy boundaries, and about not blaming other people for your shortcomings. Take responsibility for your process, and your process only. You can’t take anyone else with you, you can’t change anyone or ‘make’ them behave in one way or another. It’s about you and what you want in your life.

May we all find creative and constructive ways of working with the challenging changes ahead!

Full Moon in Aquarius and Authenticity

Im not sure how I missed out the fact that the coming full moon will be exactly conjoined my natal IC in Aquarius this coming Monday.

I guess that when you start studying astrology you become so keen that you never miss something like that, but once you have been studying it consistently for a few years, you then start to take the fast moving transits a bit for granted. Or maybe you just realise that every month there will be a new moon, and a full moon, etc…

But lunations do trigger long lasting transits, solar arc directions and secondary progressions. They have a way of emotionally intensifying whatever it is that you are going through.

I am working on my last assignment before my masters’ thesis and it happens to be a sky journal, a piece of phenomenological research on my observations of how the weather affects me emotionally. One of the themes that came up from the exercise is the awareness of a strong connection between weather x culture, home and belonging.

Lots of food for thought and it amazes me that for my last essay I am doing such a personal piece of work which enables me to explore an issue that feels so urgent to me right now. What and where is home? All of the internal work that took place during the transit from Pluto to my natal Moon still hasn’t given me the answer. I feel closer to finding it out maybe, but the concept of home still eludes me…

Back to the full moon though.

I have the feeling that this full moon will be triggering and challenging to reveal the amount of authenticity in our lives at the moment. Are we really in the right place? Are we really being ourselves in whatever situation that we are going through?

The full moon will be square to Uranus in Taurus and Venus (ruler of Taurus) might have some clues on how to solve the dilemma represented by this t square. Venus is in Gemini and very close to the North Node, so allowing people the space needed to find out what they need to find out, rationality and open communication afterwards might be what we need. Perhaps there is something that we will need to communicate regarding the process that Venus retrograde was reflecting earlier this year as well. Also these days Venus formed the last of 3 squares to Neptune (which started in May), and some resolutions regarding previous confusion might be a possibility with this full moon as well.

What are your values, what is important to you in order to feel loved? Are you happy with the flow of give and take in your relationships or are you giving more than receiving? And if that’s the case, why? These are some of the questions worth asking ourselves now..