Wisdom of the Zodiac: Gemini

The Sun traverses Gemini from May 21st to June 21st, joined in part by Mercury, Venus, and the Moon (new on June 3rd). Lessons and energies inherent to this season, and those born within it:

“Exuberance” by Leah Fargo

Opening up to: 

  • Earnestly studying yourself, and embracing your PLURALITY (a Gemini has way more than two sides)
  • Seeking your inner child
  • Spending time in reflection
  • Being an agent of connection between people and ideas
  • Engaging with mystery; wandering about in the mysterious spaces of your life narrative
  • Taking a class or learning about something you’re unfamiliar with
  • Divining: the Tarot, the I Ching, runes, consulting a diviner (hey there!)
  • Your capacity to consider a diversity of possibilities; the playful magic of uncertainty
  • Trying something new; now is the time for diversity
  • Being led by the winds or energies of the day
  • Approaching all with wonder; residing wide-eyed in wonderment
  • Reading, reading, writing, reading. BOOKS. Read a book!
“Ghosts os HFA” by Leah Fargo

Being mindful of:

  • The trickster within
  • Overbooking yourself
  • Exhausting your energy and not being able to fully attend to yourself or your commitments
  • Becoming overly focused on self
  • Getting lost in the library stacks
  • The breath, the lungs, the cheeks; breathwork provides great remediation for Gemini anxiety
  • Withholding information in a way that is deceitful or power-seeking
  • Using intentionally vague language to avoid responsibility, definitiveness, firmness. (Be noncommittal, and be up-front about it!)
  • Arrogance or self-imposed alienation due to your ability to observe truths that most cannot see.

These paintings are birthed from the being and brush of artist Leah Fargo, who has Sun conjunct Venus in Gemini.

Saturn Conjunct the South Node

Saturn and the South node conjoin on April 30, 2019, just as Saturn stations retrograde (the South Node’s primary direction). Usually, this once-per-twelve-year conjunction would only last about a week. But this time, they roll together in reverse, and Saturn is conjunct the South Node for six months! Thus, a short opportunity for karmic balancing becomes a major energetic influence.

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Saturn’s Role in the Divinities

I have been cooking up some longer-form writings that go along with Saturn’s conjunction with the South Node from now through October. Intuitively, I was led to focus on this extended conjunction, and I have found a whole lot of meaning and focus—and even a shimmer of light for the world in the midst of the anthropocene. What follows was written in a burst following the writing of my previous post inspired by the book Of Water and the Spirit. It concerns Saturn’s role in the protection of indigenous and magical traditions and truths.

Saturn’s Role in the Divinities

When I think of the sacred healing modalities in astrological terms, I see them reflected in the planets who orbit the Sun outside of Saturn. Uranus, the ruler of astrology; Neptune, a magnet of emotional and psychic insight; Chiron and soul-sprung healing; and Pluto of the underworld, where deep shifts and true transformation begin. These planets are invisible to the naked eye, and so were not discovered until thousands of years after astrology as we know it was first taking form. For these millenia, Saturn was known as the most distant planet in our solar system, and so it carried indications of endings, limits, boundaries, and borders.

The truth that revealed itself in time is that Saturn is a guardian of the magical outer planets, and so in order to properly harness and engage with their magic, a person must pass first through Saturn’s rites. Without enduring Saturn’s lessons, we cannot properly respect the power of the outer planets. In intact indigenous cultures, this equates to initiation. Of course, in dominant culture, we have nothing like initiation. But Saturn doesn’t care. Everyone who lives to see their thirties goes through a Saturn return, and this initiation is formed around the birth chart and life circumstances of each person.

Improper (and dangerous) practitioners of the divinities are those who lack a developed respect and reverence—Saturn lessons—for their tradition, be it astrology, tarot, shamanic journeying, energy work, etc. Saturn will always stand guard before the bridge that connects humankind with the magical practices and access to greater truth. In traditional cultures, rituals, initiations and tribal elders serve in this Saturnine role. In modern dominant culture, however, Saturn has become terribly polluted, and perhaps mortally injured, in its guardianship of the sacred.

For numerous off-base reasons, dominant culture teaches little-to-no respect for the aging population. Their wisdom is dismissed as out-of-touch with a rapidly-changing world with limited capacity for the creative reflection which would translate elders’ lessons into applicable teachings. Dominant culture has replaced elderhood with institutional, dueling authorities on Truth: science and religion. The integrity of these institutions is constantly derailed by their adherence to modern times’ hulkingest power and the most tragic manifestation of Saturn: capitalism, its foundation of false scarcity leading to greed and competition, and the cruelty inherent.

For the time over which these trends have developed, the divinities have been skillfully casted into irrelevance by manifestations of the polluted Saturn. Nonetheless, they still exist in some form, and are practiced and appreciated by a small portion of the population. Saturn’s 2020 conjunctions with Pluto will perhaps help heal dominant culture’s darkly mutated forms of the planet, and the journey toward a more healthy Saturn may indeed begin. But whether or not this occurs, spiritual practitioners have a duty to uphold their traditions, and to pass their ancient knowledge on to descending generations. Along with the world’s intact traditional cultures, these orphaned diviners—outside of the rare, misaligned practitioners—still have some semblance or variation of a properly functioning, spirit-protecting Saturn. And perhaps that will serve the world to come as our disconnected populations search for grounding.

Q & A: Transits Applying to the Progressed Chart

I recently received an astrology question that I felt worthy of a fleshed-out answer. So, it’s time for another installment of the Q & A blog series.

Question: I’m not trained in astrology but I’m curious about why it is that astrologers seem to stay fixated on the natal chart? Wouldn’t that just be a snapshot of what you entered this plane of existence with? Or would the progressed chart be more of what you have the opportunity to develop internally?? I’m just thinking about how transit charts are usually drawn up in relation to the natal and not the progressed. You came to mind during these intuitions so I thought I’d ask what your reflections or thoughts are about that.

Answer: I appreciate your thoughtfulness and questioning of convention. The layers of your questions here beg for unpacking. In my astrological pursuits, I’m always trying out ideas to see how/if they work, and really I would recommend you do the same here. Try comparing transiting planets to your progressed chart, and see if something clicks. Certainly it won’t work the same as transiting planets around the natal chart. But perhaps something of value awaits you there.

I look at the progressed chart as an unfolding of a person’s greater life narrative. The energies presented there definitely touch on personal evolution sprung from within, but just like astrology as a whole, they also reflect one’s narrative outside of inner life. I’ve seen health issues culminate and relationships come in, as well as rises to prominence and shifts into hermitude in progressed charts. My main resource on how to approach progressed charts is Bernadette Brady’s amazing book on predictive astrology The Eagle and the Lark. She is so incredibly thorough and attentive. And I recall her asserting that one’s progressed chart does not receive energetic influence from transiting planets. I had the same curiosity as you, but I decided to blindly trust her. She is so convincing! Or perhaps to give myself some credit, my inner being knew she was right, as I had some feint recollection of experimenting with it myself. This doesn’t mean that you aren’t being pulled to look into this for some reason.

A tri-wheel of author’s chart. From outermost: current transits; progressions; natal chart.

Astrology was not always fixated on the natal chart. It developed very slowly, as the planets facillitated. And most astrologers/astronomers were concerned with the stars’ bearing on their collective/tribe/community moreso than on the individual (this is called “mundane astrology” in current language). I suppose times have changed! The first natal chart was drawn a little over two millenia ago, and now, natal astrology has taken over the entire field, aside from small interest in mundane, horary, and electional astrology. It makes sense, given all of the healing we need on the individual level at this time, perhaps in order to progress into some newly tinted ancient ways of living (it helps me to idealize the future). There is so much work to be done toward healing the planet, but I believe it has to start with the self, otherwise one’s work will be rendered ineffective by their unaddressed pain.

And yes, the natal chart is exactly a “snapshot of what you entered this plane of existence with.” A moment chosen by the higher self. We are born and develop into some version of the being reflected in that soul map, and the fully actualized self is the one who is most integrated with it. Why does it work when we compare transiting energies to this snapshot? Within the current knowledge paradigm, we can’t answer this with certainty. I started studying astrology as a doubter, but very quickly I grew comfortable with its built-in leaps of faith. So, generally, when I’m asked any number of questions about why astrology does this and that, instead of some other thing (and the debate goes on and on, even among astrologers’ nitpicking of techniques and house systems), I tend to encourage exploration. Because a lot of stuff works. And sometimes, a technique clicks and makes sense to one person, while to someone else it’s a jumbled mess. Astrology is a form of divination, and we ourselves are divine. There could be infinite applications! Just seek with reverence and the planets will respond.

Astrology and the Birth Chart Through the Lens of a Traditional Dagaran Teaching

I recently read the outstanding and revelatory book Of Water and the Spirit: Ritual, Magic, and Initiation in the Life of an African Shaman by Malidoma Patrice Some. The book is an autobiographical narrative which gives amazing details on Malidoma’s adolescence and initiation into adulthood in the Dagara tribe in Burkina Faso. As Malidoma begins his initiation, gathered around a fire with a group of other young tribesmen, a Dagaran elder offers the brilliant teachings of their tribal concept of the circle. 

As I read this, I was immediately struck by the insights provided into astrology’s layout of the birth chart, and specifically the four angles or pivots around which the birth chart is arranged (Ascendent, Midheaven, Descendent, and Anticulminate). The elder’s teaching is paraphrased by Malidoma and then translated from Dagaran into English—an amazing feat in itself—and was delivered to the Dagaran initiates seated around this fire in the mid-1970s.

But first, Malidoma Some introduces the teaching. “What he said was this: the place where he was standing was the center. Each one of us possessed a center that he had grown away from after birth. To be born was to lose contact with our center, and to grow from childhood to adulthood was to walk away from it.”

Roughly, the birth chart is a circular astronomical map capturing a moment in space and time, with the center of the circle being the native in their birthplace. Imagine the native lying on her back, feet facing south. If she rolls to her left, she will see the eastern horizon, or the ascending point. Rolling to her right, she will see the descending point. All that is below the native is shown in the lower half of the chart, and all that is in the sky is shown above the Ascendent/Descendent axis, or horizon. When interpreted, the chart’s tellings are a reflection of the native in the center.

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Mars Out of Bounds

If the declination of Mars in a chart is greater than 23 degrees and 27 minutes north or south, this is considered Mars out of bounds. So what can this tell us about a person?

Mars in Astrology

In astrology, we understand Mars as a representative of energies that are associated with modern masculinity, whether tainted or divine. In Mars we see the light and dark sides of ambition, desire, action, confidence, raw energy, conflict, the assertiveness/aggression spectrum, speed, leadership, advocacy, selfishness, fear/fear-mongering…

The Out of Bounds Mars

When Mars is out of bounds in a birth chart, the martial energies can appear quite evolved if Mars has been properly worked with. Or, when left unaddressed, these energies can appear rather depraved. For better or worse, Mars out of bounds is very empowered by its positioning outside of the ecliptic’s borders.

When Mars out of bounds is further bolstered by a strong placement in the birth chart—on the ascendant, midheaven, or descendent, in a dignified (Capricorn, Aries, Scorpio) sign, or in positive angular relationship to another strong planet—well, watch out, world.

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The Out of Bounds Astrology of Chiron

plus Chiron spirit channelings from Sacha Louise of BareRootAwakenings.com

Notes from the video:

  • Tied to trauma which is often associated with early life or past lives.
  • Sign placement is indicative of collective trauma that you are a part of.
  • Chiron’s relationship with other planets represents your personal traumas.
  • Chiron is NOT YOUR FAULT.
    • Trauma has been shown to affect your actual DNA.
    • Trauma could be ancestral or from past lives.
  • Chiron shows chronic pain! Emotional, physical, spiritual expressions
    • Chiron calls for action from the person or collective. Otherwise, chronic pain.
    • Moving with Chiron energy means engaging the parts of you that your trauma touched/weakened.
      • these parts indicated by the chart
      • Chiron asks us to work toward the position of inspirer for others to make similar steps.
  • The healing journey is neverending.

Messages from the Chiron spirits channeled by Sacha Louise:

– “How do you heal a wound you yourself have not felt?”

– “Wounds do not come without healing and healing does not come without wounds.”

– “Medicine for the humble and the joyful, to be humble and joyful.”

– “Go offer a giggle and laugh to the next wound you see, knowing the only place to go from here is healing. Because it has been done before and it will happen again.”

– “This is the presence of sanity.”

Q & A: Astrology and Free Will

I received an e-mail question from a client recently that I found myself answering very thoroughly. Ever since I have been “out” as an astrologer, people have expressed their reservations about an inherent lack of Free Will in astrology. This is part of a bigger problem of astrologers presenting the planets as causing events or feelings, rather than reflecting what is occurring. I could go on about the root of this instinct being lip service to the current patriarchical scientific paradigm of “knowledge”, but let’s just talk about free will, determinism, and astrology for now.

I paraphrase the e-mail quandary regarding astrology and free will:

Sometimes I have a perception of astrology as foretelling things that have already been written with little room for free will. This just isn’t actually very helpful or empowering for me. I’m curious about your approach to a life overview reading, and what your thoughts on free will vs. determinism are.

First off, let me say that I love receiving e-mails like this. E-mail me about your issues or questions with astrology!

And here are my thoughts in response:

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Is Santa Claus Out of Bounds?

I know out-of-bounders are often not so keen on big consumer-driven holidays. But when I think about it, even without seeing a birth chart, I am pretty sure Santa Claus has some out of bounds planets.

  • He lives way, way outside of normal society.
  • He’s probably an alien.
  • Nobody dressed like him, until him. Now, imitators everywhere.
  • Santa has created his own form of economy, where he only accepts milk and cookies.
  • Santa Claus is not straight, and there’s a song about it.

Venus Out of Bounds

If the declination of Venus in a chart is greater than 23 degrees and 27 minutes north or south, this is considered Venus out of bounds. So what can this tell us about a person?

The Symbology of Venus

In astrology, Venus works as a symbol for a myriad of concepts: personal values, aesthetic tastes, patterns in relating both romantically and in friendship, the divine feminine, nature, women’s rights, financial standing… the list goes on. In the physical realm, Venus can represent women, cats, the kidneys, the arts, sweet foods, parties, certain crystals and flowers. Venus is a benefic planet, and generally brings in positive energies. But Venusian influences can often be over-indulged. Cue Libra, a Venus-ruled sign known for its fixation on balance and harmony. The spoils of Venus are best enjoyed in moderation.

Venus also makes an incredibly beautiful pattern in our sky:

from James Ferguson’s Astronomy Explained Upon Sir Isaac Newton’s Principles, 1799 ed., plate III, opp. p. 67.

The Out of Bounds Signature

So if Venus can show up in so many different avenues of our lives, how can we pinpoint and illustrate the Venus out of bounds signature? Well, to begin, Venus out of bounds simply does not operate within cultural norms surrounding relationship, art (creation of and taste in), or pleasure.

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