Ceres & Pluto & The BP Oil Spill & This Summer’s Cardinal Climax by Joyce Levine

On August 24, 2006, astronomers upgraded Ceres to a dwarf planet and downgraded Pluto to a dwarf planet.  When a new planet is found (or in this case elevated), it generally signifies that major world changes are likely to come about. (Uranus heralded individual freedom and with it the American and French Revolutions; Pluto brought atomic energy).

In mythology, Ceres is the goddess of the harvest.  To me, Ceres represents Mother Nature, and I expected her upgrade to put environmental issues at the forefront of consciousness.  In the past four years, global warming has  pretty much become accepted as being a man-made problem.  Former Vice President Al Gore won the Nobel Prize for his environmental work, and the US elected a President who is concerned with climate control.

All of this makes the astrology of the BP oil spill particularly interesting.  The oil spill took place on April 20, 2010, at approximately 9:45 p.m. off the coast of Louisiana.  I have a chart drawn up for Venice, Louisiana, as it is the closest location I could find.

As you can see by looking at the chart, Ceres and Pluto are conjoined in Capricorn within less than 1 degree.  Ceres is direct in motion, but moving slowly as it is coming to a station.  Pluto is Retrograde, moving toward Ceres.  Ceres came to a station on April 28 at 4 degrees of Capricorn and turned Retrograde.  So, the two celestial bodies continued to move together.

As I’ve said, I see Ceres as a proxy for Mother Nature.   Pluto (as well as Neptune) rules oil.  Pluto also rules loss, death, and destruction.  It’s as if the two traveling together highlight the changes that must be made to ensure a safe environment.

To make matters more interesting, the chart also shows a tight T-square (within 1 degree) among Saturn in Virgo, Uranus in Pisces, and the Trans-Neptunian planet Hades in Gemini. Saturn signifies, among other things, blockage.  Virgo has to do with nature, Uranus with accidents and explosions; Pisces with water.

Mythologically Hades and Pluto are the Greek and Roman versions of the same god–the god of the underworld. The underworld is a dangerous and mysterious place, but one full of riches.  Astrologically Hades is much like Pluto. Hades is associated with disintegration, ruin, garbage, breakdowns, and predatory behavior.

So, we find the planets that represent stoppage, accidents, and breakdowns  all in aspect to one another with an orb of less than 1 degree at the time of the largest oil related environmental disaster in history.

Saturn has a 29-year cycle; Uranus, an 84-year cycle,  Hades, an approximate 360- year cycle, making this planetary combination extremely rare and not nearly over. It will continue as these planets enter the cardinal signs. Transiting Uranus entered Aries at the end May. Transiting Jupiter entered Aries in early June. Transiting Saturn enters Libra in July. Transiting Hades enters Cancer in August.  Transiting Pluto is already in Capricorn.

After the accident, Ceres, moving faster the Pluto in Retrograde motion, separated from Pluto.  Meanwhile, Jupiter, the planet of expansion, moved forward to join Uranus at 0 Aries.  0 of cardinal signs in Uranian astrology represents the “world point.”

In early June Ceres at 0 Capricorn formed squares to Jupiter and Uranus in early Aries.  Ceres continued Retrograde and subsequently formed an opposition to Hades in Gemini and a square to Saturn in Virgo.  In July Ceres in Sagittarius forms a square to Mars in Virgo.  Mars then proceeds forward.  In late July, early August, Mars at the end of Virgo and in early Libra, forms squares to Hades and Pluto and oppositions to Uranus and Jupiter.  Ceres turns Stationary Direct on August 9.  In September and October Ceres moves back into the X-cross with Hades, Pluto, Uranus, and Jupiter.

As of this writing, there is an expectation that BP will have the oil spill under control sometime in August.  BP, whose original estimates of the oil leak were 1,000 to 5,000 barrels a day, now estimates the leak at 45,000 to 60,000 barrels a day—an amount which seems incomprehensible to most of us.  Esteemed energy expert Matt Simmons refutes these numbers as still far too low. In a Bloomberg appearance on June 15, Simmons, quoting an estimate from the Thomas Jefferson research vessel, estimated the leak at 120,000 barrels a day.  The Thomas Jefferson also reported that the oil lake underneath the surface of the water could be covering up to 40% of the entire Gulf of Mexico.  Simmons has said the relief well will not work and has supported using a small nuclear explosion as the only solution to fix the problem.

We astrologers have been wondering what cataclysmic event will take place at the end of July – early August when an X-cross is formed among, Mars and Saturn in Libra, Jupiter and Uranus in Aries, Pluto in Capricorn, and Hades in Cancer.  While I wouldn’t bet that a more significant problem with this oil spill is the only candidate for this type of event, based on the planetary action it is certainly one that is in the running.

Joyce Levine is a full-time professional consulting astrologer with 30 years experience.  She serves as a catalyst for her clients to overcome astro/psychological obstacles so that they can achieve their full potential.  Joyce is available for consulting work with individuals, couples, families, and businesses.  Joyce is the Clerk of NCGR, the President of its Boston Chapter, and holds NCGR’s  Level IV Certification in Consulting.  She has been a certified professional member of the AFA since 1979.

Joyce is the author of Breakthrough Astrology, Transform Yourself and Your World; A Beginner’s Guide to Astrological Interpretation Transformational CDs:  Self-Help Series:  Meditation, Creative Visualization, Releasing Anger, and Contacting Your Guardian Angel; and Integrating Astrological Cycles Series:  Pluto, Neptune, Uranus, and Saturn, and Jupiter.

Joyce can be reached at joycel@joycelevine.com or 617-354-7075.

A Universe Within by Mark Wolz

Consider the universe as a vibrant, pulsating field of energy. Stars radiate light, planets rotate and revolve through their cycles, asteroids shuttle around in their orbits, comets streak along their paths. Now look into an electron microscope: Every molecule is a field of energy; the atoms are clusters of neutrons, protons and electrons swirling about. As above, so below.

Close your eyes, feel the warmth of your body, recognize the field of energy that animates your being. As within, so without. Our bodies, as collections of molecules, are no more solid than the universe, and no less solid either.

The Law of Correspondence is fundamental to astrology: As above, so below; as without, so within. We track the cycles of the planets and look for links between planetary alignments and our lives. No matter how we understand those links, we agree that a thread of meaning connects the energy of the planets with the dynamics of human life.

My body is a cluster of tissues and fluids assembled within a field of energy. My mind is a vibrating collection of thought and memory, perception and cognition, sensation and signal—all within this same field of energy. My spirit inhabits this field as long as I am alive.

Chakras are powerful energy centers in the mind/body continuum. We speak of seven major chakras aligned with the spine. Each is a vortex of energy that carries the life force to parts of the body. They can be likened to electrical transformers.

Just as astrology assigns each of the planets to particular organs and glands and bodily functions and then finds parallels to issues and areas in our lives, the study of chakras leads us to feel the flow of subtle energy that balances bodily functions along with life experience.

You recognize Mercury in the sky, you know its place in our solar system. You understand Mercury’s symbolism, you see how it fits into your chart. Can you find the energy of Mercury in your body? Yes, you can. Sitting right where you are in your chair, you can learn to feel Mercury’s pulse with your breath; you can sense Mercury’s vibration in the effect of a color, the sound of a mantram, the feel of a gemstone, the scent in a flower.

You are awakening an energy pathway and opening an intuitive channel that resonates with Mercury. Your body’s pathways give access to the energy field where the chakras function.

What if I’m told that transiting Saturn is coming to oppose my natal Mars? I can relate that condition to a need for discipline and responsibility in my actions. I’ll get that lesson in the environment where I’m expressing my Mars energy. I’ll feel that my will is being tested.

As without, so within. The third chakra, called Manipura, with its locus at the solar plexus, is associated with vitality, willpower, intention and outward action. It resonates with Mars. It affects the adrenal cortex and the pancreas. How will I feel that Saturn transit in the energy of my being?

As within, so without. When someone steps into my day and delivers a Saturn challenge to my Mars, how can I use a third-chakra awareness to center myself as I answer to that challenge? I can move the diaphragm very deliberately as I breathe; I can envision the color of gold; I can repeat an affirmation that boosts my Mars energy.

If in my natal chart Mars is in a trine with Venus, I might be able to pull in some support from the heart chakra. I can recruit a sense of compassion to temper my impulse to react when I find Saturn’s rules have set up a roadblock.

Overall, the condition of Mars in my natal chart—the sign it’s in, aspects it forms, its house placement—informs me of how my energy flows through the third chakra and how I can use that factor in expressing my will and carrying out my intentions. Think of the difference between Mars in Cancer and Mars in Taurus in the way the pancreas functions or how the body responds to stress.

We have within us the whole universe, all of its energy. The movement of planets in the sky gives us excellent clues about how the energy is moving within us. If, on the stage called life, astrology gives us a script, the chakras animate the voice and movement through which we play our part. Awareness of the chakras helps us direct the flow of vital energy as we work with the cycles of the planets.

Mark Wolz is a certified astrologer (CA-NCGR) and yoga teacher based in New York.

Astrology and Relationships By Pat Taglilatelo

Can you relate to these scenarios?  You meet a potential love interest and immediately begin counting the ways your charts interact. “Your Moon makes a trine to my Ascendant; my Moon conjoins your Venus.  And your Ascendant forms a sextile to my Midheaven.” You look forward to getting to know this person better.

Or perhaps it’s the other way around.  You meet someone and realize that your chart forms many squares and challenging aspects with the other’s chart.  Your Ascendants are not in aspect; your Venus is square to his moon; his Sun squares yours.  Uh-oh; you think this relationship will go nowhere and maybe it’s best to move on.

If you have experienced these situations, has either resulted in a positive and long-lived relationship?  Is it possible that the first meeting resulted in no more than a 15-minute conversation while the second meeting resulted in another get-together and then another?  Of course.  It’s equally possible that neither relationship took off or that both did or that both worked for a while and then fizzled.

You may wonder why comparing aspects doesn’t work more successfully.  In my opinion, it’s not because analyzing aspects isn’t helpful.  But we are neglecting the rest of the chart.   Perhaps we don’t fully comprehend all the permutations of any given symbol or aspect. And even more to the point, we’re neglecting the whole person by taking the chart out of context. To be sure, these aspects between charts are important—but they do not tell the whole story.

What if I show you six charts of people without telling you anything about the people behind the charts, except to say that two of the folks have been married to each other for a long and relatively happy time, and two have been married a long time but not on good terms.  The remaining two do not have a relationship to anyone else in the group. Could you pick out the happy couple, the miserable couple or the two who are unrelated by looking at the aspects between the charts? It’s not so easy, is it?

We know that looking at a chart on a piece of paper reveals little unless we can put it in some kind of context. Even if we are sure that the chart is that of a person, there are so many considerations: is the person male or female and how does gender make a difference in expectations and behaviors?  What is the person’s socio-economic group, education level, birth order?  What family, cultural and generational themes does the person echo or reject?  Does the person exhibit aberrant behavior?  These considerations have a bearing on our attitudes toward others, our relationship needs, our expectations of marriage/partnership but they may not be so evident in the chart.  In addition, the chart does not necessarily indicate the lessons the person has already learned or the kinds of conscious decisions the person makes that can counteract a challenging aspect or placement. Furthermore, the person’s world view colors their approach to relationships. For example, if you believe in karmic relationships, does your definition include the idea that you might need to stay in an unhappy relationship because of the lessons you think you need to learn in this lifetime?  If you believe in fate, do you wait for “the universe to provide”? Our beliefs and our heritage greatly influence our expectations and what we bring to the relationship.

Human beings are complicated, full of contradictory needs, complete with experience, beliefs, behaviors and memories. We carry those from our own lives as well as many that are passed to us through our immediate family, our ancestors and our peers.  We bring everything we are to our relationships.  And “everything we are” is not necessarily so clearly shown in our charts.

Some of the happiest couples I know have many challenging aspects between their charts.  And some of the most miserable have rather pleasant trines and sextiles in the inter-chart analysis.  To assess which relationships will take root, which will flourish and which will wither from a few aspects or from a few compatible astrological placements between charts is an iffy proposition.  In my view it is far better to use astrology to understand ourselves, our attitudes toward relationships and our partners.  Astrology can be very useful in helping us through rough patches in our relationships.  It can help us with our sense of timing both in readiness for a relationship and our ability to cope with the changes that come with the passing years.

“Well, this is all well and good,” some of you may be thinking.  “But I know I’ll never have a long and fulfilling relationship because I have Neptune in my 7th house and Venus conjunct Uranus.”   Let me assure you that if you want a relationship, difficult placements or aspects will not necessarily keep you from having one.

First, don’t overlook the fact that these symbols have many meanings. In addition or in place of a need for freedom, Venus-Uranus aspects can also suggest the need to keep things exciting, the penchant for unconventional relationships, or an ability to maintain freedom within the relationship….and more. Neptune in the 7th house can suggest, among other interpretations, idealization of the partner but surely this isn’t always such a bad thing!  There are over 600 people in AstroDatabank with AA-rated birth data (from birth certificate or birth record) who have Uranus, Neptune or Pluto in the 7th house. Queen Victoria of England, long-married to her beloved Prince Albert, had Uranus AND Neptune in her 7th house (in Koch and whole sign systems). Several people listed in AstroDatabank have Venus conjunct Uranus, considered a challenging aspect by many writers. Those with this aspect who have had long-term marriages include writer/humorist Erma Bombeck, actress/photographer Candice Bergen and skater Peggy Fleming.  Surely we all know people with these “difficult” aspects or positions who have had similarly long relationships.

Second, we can all change the way we cope with our challenges and expectations represented in those difficult aspects or positions. In August 2006, Rob Hand was interviewed on Pluto’s demotion as a planet on “All Things Considered,” an NPR broadcast. The interviewer commented that a friend had his chart done several years ago and was told that the position of Pluto in his chart indicated that he would never get married. Rob responded wisely:

“No planet is capable of indicating absolutely that a person can’t get married. All a planet can do is indicate what a person has to do in order to get married. Sometimes that requires so much work on behalf of the person that they’re not likely to do it. But it’s not the planet that preventing it; it’s the person’s own inclinations.”

So look around you at some of the long-lasting relationships you know.  Notice how many have challenging planetary relationships to their beloved’s chart.  Aquarians can and do marry Virgos; Capricorn moons and Aries Suns can have a long committed relationship and your Mercury in Gemini can have great conversations with your loved one’s Mercury in Pisces. People with Uranus or Neptune or Pluto in their 7th house can and do commit.  And just because your Jupiter is on the other person’s Sun and that person’s Jupiter is conjunct your Sun doesn’t guarantee that you’ll even like each other, never mind that you’ll begin a long and fulfilling relationship.

In the workshop on April 17th, we’ll talk more about relationships and relationship timing. Although our session is short and the subject matter quite complex, I hope to give you something to chew on as you meet potential partners or use astrology to gain better understanding of yourself and your significant other, both individually and in tandem.

Pat Taglilatelo holds NCGR-PAA Level IV and ISAR CAP certifications. She sees clients, teaches, and is Editor of AstroDatabank (see the collection online at http://www.astrodatabank.com). Active in the Boston Chapter for many years, she currently serves as Education Director; formerly she was Editor of the Chapter’s newsletter. You can reach her at pmtag@comcast.net or at 781-395-6509.