As we harness the energy of transition this week (three planets changing signs!) I feel it’s important to talk about the role that free will and agency has in astrology. My astrologer friend Bairavee Balasubramaniam recently wrote an article about outgrowing one’s natal chart that I feel is particularly relevant as we move into a new (Gregorian) calendar year. She writes “Astrology is still useful as a tool of self-understanding, spiritual awakening and re-cognition – if only to ultimately make itself obsolete.” Astrology is not destiny by any means. The planets, stars and asteroids are as much mirrors through which you can affect your surroundings as influences on your personality. The goal of evolution is not to reach a point of stasis in perfection, but to move beyond barriers and into new territory. This shifts our approach to the old teachings from that of a student to that of a master while simultaneously becoming a student of the new teachings. Our surroundings shift in accordance with our internal changes. So why continue to do a report like this if the knowledge is eventually useless? Because it is important NOW. We have to learn to sacrifice our despair that things will change and adapt to shifting ground. I feel that astrology will always be an important marker of the celestial movements and energies, but my attachment to the idea of an ever-fixed diagram of the elements of my personality has waned. We can enter into relationship with the stars and planets, but we must accept that to stay healthy, the relationship must grow and shift with us.
Today, Tuesday the 29th, is the only day we have major aspects between planetary bodies. The Sun is sextile to Neptune and Mercury squares Mars, providing the backdrop for Venus’ ingress into Sagittarius. As Venus moves through Sagittarius, She becomes the Torchbearer, throwing our shadows into sharp relief after the shamanic initiation of Scorpio. Mercury in Capricorn in challenging aspect to Mars in Libra means questioning the mechanisms we have in place for executing justice, both as an individual and as a society. Venus wants to bring us to center on love as enlightenment, especially as it concerns our ideas of what justice is. Astrologers often focus on Venus as the embodiment of relationships between people, but Venus rules all kinds of connections, including our connections with our own ideals. All this in combination with the Sun sextile Neptune brings us to the place where we can discern the point of harmony between spiritual laws and human laws, determining our own agency therein. The revolution is not just about mass demonstrations or uprisings, it’s about the small ways in which we can improve living and increase the availability of loving to all. Venus will remind us again and again over the next month that freedom taken at the expense of someone else’s self-determination is not freedom at all.
New Year’s Day, Mercury moves into Aquarius as He slows down in preparation for His retrograde next week. There has been some debate about what exactly retrograde energy means, some seeing it as an unlucky influence while others take it to signify a time of introspection and still others don’t see any difference between retrograde and forward motion. I personally view all retrogrades as a planet’s bleeding time, a time of surrender to natural rhythms and renewal. It is a perfect time to reframe a planet’s archetypal influence while old forms are shed and new patterns come in with the changing tide, not to mention it is a convenient time to focus on self-care in in the area of that body’s rulership. Mercury retrogrades are particularly interesting to me because of Mercury’s mythological function as psychopomp, the messenger who can travel between the realms of living and dead, conscious awareness and unconscious operation. Mercury travels back and forth over Pluto this retrograde cycle as well, squaring Uranus a few times to unearth some hidden treasure in our psyches. This window of opportunity allows us to access the intelligence of the Void if we are daring enough to let go of some of the artifice of everyday life. Mercury is our passport and guide across state lines, transporting us from the safety of human constructs to direct contact with the Unknowable. Obviously, I cannot tell you what you may find there, but I will elaborate on important signs and markers along the path next week when we get closer to the date and the focus becomes more clear.
On Sunday, Mars also changes signs from Libra into Scorpio, making this transition almost simultaneously with the Moon. The feeling I get is that Mars’ journey through Scorpio will be to help us get in touch with the wildness we have sacrificed at the altar of civility. Mars goes retrograde from April to the last day of June, crossing from early Sagittarius to late Scorpio, so we’ll see the Scorpionic flavor pervading Mars until August at least. The Moon’s touch will resonate throughout, providing a rhythmic background that helps us both to orient ourselves in time and to lose ourselves in the quest. The essence of Scorpio is inevitability, what remains when all forms and defenses break down. This is part of the reason for its mystique and reputation as an unlucky/cursed sign. As humans, we are instinctively repulsed by anything so stark and non-negotiable as Scorpio’s energy. Scorpio is where the individual ego-self goes to die. However, Mars is at home there, giving up thought for pure impulse and reminding us of the true self, the fire that underlies and survives a million ego deaths. Mars stimulates the instinctual drives, including the one that recoils from the necessary relinquishment of identity. Fear and death can both be powerful doorways to integrating more truth into one’s being. This is the wildness that we have worked so hard to distance ourselves from in day to day life. We have created an interface with reality based on risk management rather than full experience. Mars’ wants to close that gap that we have created and will have about eight months to do just that if you are willing to work with Him.
This week sees us in motion between thresholds and definitions. We gather the momentum to create spaces for ourselves that cannot be prevailed upon by dying paradigms, seeking out expressions that reflect the change we are undergoing more and more rapidly. As we release the energy stored in archetypes that no longer serve us, we are dreaming concurrently with creation and producing solutions as they are needed. We can gain entry to places we were previously afraid to tread, giving recourse to the voices untouched by humanity, the voices of wind and wolves, forest and cave that speak for the heart of the planet.
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Blessed Be ❤