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…

On the nature of astrology

Here is a little post with some reflections on why I do not think astrology is a science (as science is generally understood in our society).

I’ve been reading a lot of material in preparation for my dissertation’s proposal and I wanted to share some ideas from one in particular, a PHD thesis entitled ‘The Responsive Cosmos’ by James Brockbank. The author articulates very well something that I have struggled to understand in the past about the practice of astrology – why on earth we’ve never managed to prove empirically astrology working.

One of the main ideas he argues for is that astrology is a type of divination and it can never be proved to be a science as the empirical methodology fails to demonstrate how the discipline works. Brockbank uses a lot of Geoffrey Cornelius’ work and ideas from ‘The Moment of Astrology’, a book that blew my mind when I first read it.

Why empirical research, the scientific method which differs from what most astrologers call their “empirical research” (mostly their personal observations along the years), does not work is because astrology, as well as having a tradition with rules and meanings, depends heavily in context and interpretation. There is no way that we can come up with one general meaning and rule that works for every single context in astrology.

Simply put: empirical research looks for repetition and universal meaning while astrology is grounded in the individual case.

A Saturn transit to someone’s natal Moon can play out in so many different ways depending on age, background, life story, etc that we can never say for sure unless we have a conversation with the person having that transit.

This is such an important detail that always pops into my mind when in the social media astrological groups I see people asking questions requiring an absolute answer, like for example, ‘What configuration in the natal chart can be attributed to someone that is negative and always complains?’ or when someone says that Saturn in aspect to Venus will always translate as poverty.

It won’t. Astrological symbolism, as with most symbols, are multivalent, they do not simply translate to one thing.

This complexity, in my view, is also the beauty of astrology.

In Brockbank’s words:

‘There are twelve houses, twelve signs, a minimum of seven planets and no limit to the number of other points, real, constructed and hypothetical, that astrologers might use in their practice. Each of these hundreds of different meanings, making millions of combinations. It is inconceivable that all of these techniques, rules and procedures could be grounded in the empirical.’ (p. 30)

And he later concludes:

‘For the following reasons any analysis of astrology which follows the empirical approach will exclude them:  first, dialogue will be excluded because one will be following empirical rules which have been created without reference to the dialogue between astrologer and client; second, the particular will be excluded because one will be creating general rules which have universal application and may ignore the particular; third, ethnographic considerations will be excluded because what matters is not the individual case history but the general rule; and last, time is excluded because the rules used should apply to all cases at all times.’ (p. 37)

And these astrological rules and interpretations, most definitely, do not apply to ‘all cases at all times’.

Subjectivity is intrinsically involved in any astrological practice as it requires an astrologer to make an interpretation, and that astrologer in particular will not only have their favorite astrological techniques, but also have a certain perspective based on their unique life story, etc. (not to mention the particularities that that moment will also bring – the moment of interpreting something).

This awareness brings another question, is there such a thing as the ‘absolute truth’?

Brockbank argued that ‘the problem of assuming there is one superior truth is that there will be many different interpretations of that truth and it is possible that those who consider they are better astrologers or have more evolved souls may believe that they have privileged access to that truth.’ (pp. 300-301)

An interesting issue which I think to be very relevant for our current discussions while the transiting lunar nodes are in the Gemini/Sagittarius axis (with Gemini in the north node pointing at potential multiple truths as a way forward) and the general shift from Capricorn to Aquarius (reflected by Saturn and Jupiter currently in Aquarius, and Pluto joining it later on).

With all of that in mind, we would do well in asking ourselves: how gracefully can we accept and express uniqueness within diversity?!

Artwork by Karen Lynch

Progressions 3rd round

Here I am preparing a talk I will be giving tomorrow for an astrology group about astrological interpretation and still pretty impressed by the uncanny accuracy of Secondary Progressions.

Today I was taking a closer look to sign ingresses and etc in past progressions and how fascinating that was! When my Sun progressed to Libra I moved countries, and mind you  I have natal Moon in Libra ruling the 9th house of long journeys abroad… and just like this one there were many other examples…

Progressed Moon just about to move into the 3rd house when I applied to my masters…hitchhiking for 3 months when Progressed Moon was in Sag conjoined my natal Mars-Uranus in Sag… wow man… so many other examples.

I don’t know why it has taken me so long to give the attention that I feel Secondary Progression deserves as a technique!

Not to mention the big questions that are naturally brought up by this symbolic and most impressive astrological practice; what is behind everything? How come we live in a compressed format everything that we will live during our lifetime (the so called ‘one day-per year’ of life formula)? Why these patterns seem to repeat themselves in different vibrations and contexts? What about the invisible thread connecting it all? Is there such a thing? …

A note on progressions

Have you experimented with secondary progressions much?

I have been observing it for a few years now, a few times that my progressed moon has shifted signs for example, and watched how that manifested in my life. But it was only today, whilst preparing one of my webinars on prognostication, that it actually clearly dawned on me how much progressions relates to internal transitions and our inner reality.

Currently my progressed Moon is just about to conjoin my natal IC, which in a few months will then be transited by Jupiter and Saturn; followed by Pluto a few years down the line. Whatever is brewing within myself regarding belonging, home, family, and a reconnection with my roots will have a long lasting effect, it seems.

For the last 12 years I have been living in the UK and travelling around, I have been living a very nomad life style, always on the go without allowing any roots to become too strong and prevent me from experiencing what it seemed like ‘freedom’. My relocated chart in England has Sagittarius rising, with my Mars-Uranus quite close to it, and exactly conjoined my South Node in Sag. I feel free around here…

But it turns out that I am not sure this is what I want anymore, and when I check my progressed chart I see my p. ASC just about to move from Sagittarius to Capricorn, there is a huge shift happening within myself. It is really baffling to be able to see them so clearly reflected on my progressed chart!

Since my Moon progressed to Aquarius I have been thinking about home a lot, about Brazil, about my cultural heritage. I’ve been missing to speak my language and the small silent understanding that talking with someone from where you come from brings you.

I never thought this would happen! But as my progressed Moon moves closer and closer to my natal IC, these issues are becoming greater and greater. And I wonder what is the point on keeping the so called ‘freedom’ in detriment to human connection? As humans, do we all need to have and develop a sense of belonging and being accepted?

I also think about the easiness, the recognition, the familiarity which is calling me louder and louder from within. This is the progressed chart manifesting in a very obvious way in my life…

Celebrating some achievements

The last month and a half have been so incredibly busy for me: taking up my two final modules for the masters (that in itself is so much work already!), doing three talks in the month of June, also started teaching astrology webinars and have over 10 students waiting for me to come up with the second series, not to mention the other more humble life tasks which are equally important (even if it doesn’t seem like).

After all, where would I be without my routine? Without my ‘healthy-ish’ meals? Without my long walks after lunch and long baths listening to Billie Holiday? I honestly think that I could only manage the amount of things I had to do because I kept track of my basic routine as well. Without that I wouldn’t have made it!

Interestingly, Uranus is transiting my 6th house, and work is somehow embedded in my daily rituals and routine. There isn’t one without the other.

Two out of the three talks are done already, and I think they went very well. I have a real passion for teaching. This week I will be finally giving my talk at the Astrological Association’s conference on the astrology of the Handmaid’s Tale. Such an interesting novel, with an amazing tv production and not to mention, Margaret Atwood herself, a figure that I deeply admire and researching about her was a real joy.

Atwood’s natal Sun is very close to my ASC, so I guess the commonality speaks for itself. I somehow feel a sense of closeness when I watch her speak and I wish I could meet her in person one day and have a cup of coffee.

How did I manage to get through the most difficult challenges of this month, in special my fear of coming out professionally in the astrological community and my inner critic’s strength and power over me sometimes? I guess that I have used a few different tools in the process, but specially reminding me of the joy I feel when I talk about astrology and when I share ideas in general (which helped me with the masters as well) was a huge part.

Passion and joy seems to be a great guidance force in life… at least sometimes… or maybe most of the time…

What is your passion and what brings joy into your life?!        😀

 

 

Reflections in the darkness

(Written last night)

There was a thunderstorm here earlier today and we are still out of electricity, it has probably been around 5 hours and a half already (already?) and time moves very slow. These words just made me think about the energy reflected by the symbolism of Uranus, which is usually linked to electricity and lightning bolt speed insights.

Uranus and boredom don’t go very well, in my vision.

Interesting to see myself without all of these gadgets that electric power enables us to have on our daily life, our daily routines. How much of my experience of reality changes, how much more presence can I feel versus how much more boredom? Or do I feel as much boredom in my daily life but just have a myriad of different options of gadgets that serves best as a distraction for myself and, at the same time, a distraction from myself?

For now, I still have my laptop, though with only 20 per cent of battery, so a few more ‘not sure how many minutes’ moments for me, and I just caught myself writing this and moving my thoughts again to ‘when will the electricity finally come back’?

It’s helpless.

But another interesting idea that just came to my mind is observing how much more limited having a laptop without wifi is. What really is the internet? This blob of connections with a massive capacity for keeping information, sort of like a giant invisible brain that forms and keeps connections. Infinite connections. Infinite combinations and possibilities?

And then there is me here, disconnected. But I somehow hear the sounds of my neighbours more clearly, and the children laughing at a distance, I think they might be playing on the street? Sounds like they’re having fun. There is electricity on that side though and I wonder if the laughter is caused by a distraction or by more presence in playful games. Sounds like they’re running.

And I listen. And I also hear my thoughts, and my feelings seem to be a little louder by candlelight. I’m not really sure.

Coming back to what perhaps my first idea in writing this piece was on and the relationship to astrology and some material that I’ve been recently reading on ‘Deep Ecology’. I read a very interesting paper where the author critically discusses the relationship between ‘Social justice’, ‘Mysticism’ and ‘Deep Ecology’ and different possible combinations between the three. For example, sometimes criticising mysticism and at other times arguing that the feeling underlining mystical experiences is the same feeling described by Deep Ecology and is a requirement for a change of paradigm powerful enough to promote the social changes we are so much in need for. (or is this the idealism of Uranus speaking through me here?)

I excitedly ask myself if astrology can promote a mystical experience by reconnecting us with the cosmos and the sense of unity which always seems to be importantly present in the description of these kinds of experiences. Maybe I will pursue this question in my dissertation.

Anyway, my insight is that this year of 2020 seems to be an important one regarding ecology and collective change especially reflected by Saturn and Jupiter conjunction in Aquarius that will happen later on this year. And how can we make these necessary changes without changing ourselves first? Impossible I believe.

How can we become greener in our psyches? And I don’t mean here becoming greener by only cutting down your consume of meat or plastic, although these changes on routine and priorities are also an important part of the process. I mean doing the inner work at the same time. Changing our old patterns of thinking and behaviour, becoming more conscious and elevated in our self-awareness and relationship to each other and to the world around us.

And how is that process going for you?

Only 15 per cent of battery left for me and still no sign of electricity. Dogs are now barking in the background. And I listen.

This week’s powerful astrology…

I feel the need to write something about this powerful week that it’s about to start. Not only we are still full on in a super Capricorn season, with lots of planets and points in the sky in Capricorn, but we are also just about to have another eclipse, a full moon in Cancer this time, and the much talked about conjunction between Saturn and Pluto will be exact on the 12th.

I don’t think that the exactitude of this encounter between Saturn and Pluto will necessarily create something that we haven’t been feeling all along, probably especially since last year already. But when aspects get exact, in my experience, there is usually something big that happens which symbolises the changes that have been brewing underneath. Many astrologers are talking about this in relation to Trump and what is happening between the USA and Iran.

Im not much of a mundane astrologer myself so I’d rather write about personal processes and what this configuration might be reflecting about our individual journey.

A full moon is usually considered a culmination, with an eclipse symbolising a kind of ‘rebooting the system’ energy. With many planets in Capricorn, including the South Node, one of the things that I feel will become clear is connected with ambitions versus how we treat ourselves and each other. The old ‘self care’ theme which I feel belongs to the Moon and naturally resonates with Cancer will come out strongly again. In this context I also think that much on how we care for the planet and nature in general will also be under the spotlight here.

Our survival as a species sort of depends on that! And with this in mind, I think that the encounter between Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn will be reflecting a fundamental and necessary change regarding the structures of our society and how power is distributed (or rather how it is not distributed).

Pluto talks a lot about survival, and in Capricorn is survival by the death of what does not work anymore regarding all of the known Capricorn themes of ambition, authorities, organisational structures like for instance big corporations etc… What feels like a cancer will have to go. And bringing this theme back to the individual, celular level, we have to reassess where in our lives there is an unhealthy pattern connected with the archetype of Capricorn.

Are we taking on too much? In what area of our lives are we prioritising activities that does not promote well being and true fulfilment? What beliefs regarding commitment, ambition (also reconsidering our ambitions!) and material success are we holding dear to us? Are there any misplaced values in need for reviewing so we can let go of the ‘rat race’?

Fear is also another common theme connected with both Saturn and Pluto, so being in touch with our fears wherever these planets are falling in your chart and whichever aspects is doing to our natal chart, it is symbolising this huge, and much needed, detoxing in this more specific area/dimension of life reflected in the astrology map.

Saturn and Pluto conjunction is falling in my third house and I feel that ideas and communication was taken to a whole new level since I started my MA in 2018. Regarding aspects, it is only forming a trine to my DSC, sextile my ASC, and a wider trine to my Venus. This is also feeling like the journey to me is very much connected with self worth and personal values, big time!

With a Venus Square Neptune in my natal chart (Neptune in the 2nd house!) my life has been this huge lack of clear self image and boundaries, with a tendency to just give myself away really cheaply. These two heavy planets, Saturn and Pluto, about to aspect my Venus is reflecting a process where it seems like I can see myself a little clearer and I am resolute! I won’t be repeating those patterns anymore by making sure that I take my time regarding relationships, flings, romance, etc. More solidity is needed in this area of my life and I want to dedicate my energy to consciously and slowly building a solid foundation within myself…

Also regarding the third house I am feeling more and more compelled to writing and public speaking, to perhaps finally leaving my shell and coming out into the world professionally speaking. And I know how much this MA is playing an important part in building up my confidence and clarity of mind.

What about you? How are you all feeling regarding this powerful process that we are going to witness the astrological culmination of this week? Where is the Saturn Pluto conjunction falling in your chart and how do you feel about that?

Mercury Retrograde in the underworld…

Mercury is stationing at 27 degrees Scorpio today and will be moving backwards for the next 3 weeks.

Im feeling an introverted energy in the air compelling to reevaluate and revisit values regarding relationships, sharing and love in general. I think that last week’s new moon in Scorpio opposing Uranus was already calling us to do this work during this lunation, and Mercury retrograde seems to be reinforcing it.

Mercury is stationing conjunct Venus, reflecting the Venusian tone of this cycle of retrogradation.

With Venus and the Sun also in Scorpio I think that we will be able to get in touch with subterraneous intense emotions giving us clues about hidden patterns of behaviour that might be hindering real intimacy and connection with others, and ultimately, with ourselves.

For Scorpio the process of maintaining or reclaiming power is of paramount importance, and a very common tactic for preventing loss of power and vulnerability is by, willingly or unwillingly, stepping into psychological games with others. Manipulative techniques might be necessary in order to get what one wants, but at the same time, is a huge obstacle for what Scorpio mostly craves and needs: deep connections where one is able to be truly seen.

At the time of my Saturn return, my progressed Moon entered Scorpio, making a conjunction to my ASC, and that was the first time that I became consciously aware of these games we play with people in order to hide our heart and true motives.

I suddenly began asking myself what was the point on doing that, on saying no when you really mean yes, and that kind of stuff. I realised that we must make an effort in order to be real so people can also have a chance to be themselves, and as a result, a genuine relationship might be born…

Now with Mercury retrograde in Scorpio I feel the echoes of that time coming back, slightly different, but bringing up a similar theme nevertheless. I am a different person, in a different situation, living a distinct phase of my life, but Im a witness of the fascinating spiral cycles of growth reflected by astrological symbolism.

It never fails to amuse me!

The astrologer Steven Forrest in one of his books, or maybe in an article I can’t fully remember, wrote that Scorpio stands for (radical) psychological honesty. I think that keeping this idea in mind, just like a mantra, during this Mercury retrograde could be of great help to us all…

Scorpio New Moon trick or treat!

Once more trying to keep up with information on lunations…

Truth is that because it’s so cyclical it somehow bores me to write about full moon-new moon stuff.

But never mind that, because I do understand the importance of cycles (I feel that a huge part of astrology’s benefit is enhancing awareness on life’s cycles!) and I also understand how much easier is for us, in general, to connect meaning with the lunar cycles rather than the other planetary ones.

So here it goes…

This month’s new moon (which happens in the early hours of the 28th of October) resonates a little with my restless tendencies of natal Uranus in the first house (hence the boredom I talked earlier…) as the sun and the moon in Scorpio will be forming an exact opposition with Uranus in Taurus.

As I stare into the astrological map of this new moon I realise how much Mars and Venus are prominent in each other’s rulership sign: Venus in Scorpio (the sign ruled by Mars) and Mars in Libra (the sign ruled by Venus).

Traditionally they both are in fall, which would be interpreted by some people as an unfavourable position. Venus, which talks about our values and capacity for sharing and loving would feel uncomfortable in suspicious and protective Scorpio. At the same time, Mars which is about how we fight for what we want is less direct in Libra, the sign associated with relationships and sharing.

The way I see this interesting mutual reception between these planets during the new moon, is reflecting a need to work creatively within our capacity to relate and relationships themselves.

An echo of this idea is the axis of Scorpio (Moon and Sun) and Taurus (Uranus) which talks about, amongst other things, intensity and attachment (either emotional or physical/material), and with Uranus making its presence in the mix, I feel that challenges on letting go will feature strongly here.

Possessiveness or impulsiveness on breaking loose from someone could be part of the drama during this month (lunation). The old conflict, which I have written about in here a few times, between freedom and commitment.

A few years ago, during a very challenging time in my Saturn Return (which by the way is in Scorpio!), I read the book ‘Eastern body, Western Mind’ by Anodea Judith and had a great insight into the theme I believe this new moon to be about. The author linked this split with the second chakra and she talked about how the soul needs commitment and the spirit needs space and freedom. According to her the secret is in balancing these two needs because if we identify with only one side then the other person naturally compensates by playing the opposite. So, the more I want someone to commit to me the more the other person craves his freedom.

During this new moon I have the feeling that it is a great time for setting intentions for healing and balancing our two needs, being conscious of them both and not fully projecting one side of it into our significant other in order to avoid extreme situations.

Libra New Moon intentions soon

This is my last day in Rio de Janeiro before going to São Paulo and Im contemplating many things. I’ve been back in Brazil since the 23rd of September and for the first time since I left the country I came back more open to seeing what my place of birth can reveal about my identity. I am more open to staying for a little longer than usual.

As I contemplate my feelings of nostalgia and wonder about life’s ways, I thought I’d have a go on interpreting the energies reflected in the cosmos for this new lunar cycle.

This new moon will be taking place at 5 degrees Libra and one of its main aspects is an opposition to Chiron in Aries. I feel the symbolism to be strongly pointing out to issues of equality in relationships rising to the surface through acknowledging the pain connected with expressing our individuality.

How comfortable do you feel stating your individual needs to your partner and other people in general? And how about compromising, does that feel like a major challenge to you?

Any issues that we might have connected with the process of giving and taking in relationships will be featuring here. Another thing will be how much time we spend on our own versus how much we are willing to spend in the company of others.

Reflected by the equinox that happened a week ago, light and darkness are balanced again, and I feel that we as well should follow these steps and try to find as much balance as possible within ourselves.

With Mercury, Venus, Sun and Moon in Libra, and Mars in Virgo, there seems to be an emphasis on thinking about the other and serving. Chiron in Aries reflects a need to not forget who you are as an individual, your free will and independent spirit. But the emphasis on Libra, Virgo and Capricorn (with Saturn, the South Node and Pluto) in the sky seems to be stating that compromising and taking action that will benefit others as well is paramount during this lunar cycle.

I believe that this needs to come from a place of fullness provided by practicing healthy self-care, reflected by the North Node in Cancer. This is an important aspect to keep in mind while we walk this tightrope in search for more equilibrium in our lives and relationships.