It is time for a bit of grounding and re-orienting in concrete astrological cartography here after several entries of more generalized metaphysical journeys. I have chosen the configuration for dawn of the day after the prediction of our alleged end, presumably October 28, 2011. Many will have spent the prior evening at parties rivaling the revelries of New Years Eve celebrations in New York. Among the german people, the proper wish to make to someone on that final day of the year is “Schoene Ruetsch.” To “ruetsch” is to slide and the saying is meant to wish you a “happy slide” down into the new year. The image of children and adults climbing into red sleds in the dark, all bundled up in mittens and hats and sweaters, making the final run toward the hill and jumping in the back for the big ride down into an unseen, open expanse of whiteness, has always delighted my own senses. It takes the serious edge off the whole affair and I personally would rather travel through it with laughter and a light heart, rather than the usual anticipation of having to confront all of the puritanical plans and promises and unreasonable goals we made for ourselves that we are most likely to break and to fail.
On this day, after dawn has proved we have survived, some will still be sleeping off a hangover, some will bounce out of bed bright and chipper in anticipation of their celebratory afternoon hike, some will have remained awake all night, holding wide-eyed vigil against their own fears. And, still others, just like every other morning on our planet, won’t wake up again at all. No matter our personal orientations, the wheel of heaven continues to turn in her never-ending spiral, despite our best attempts to capture her undulations within the fragments of our science, man-made compasses, degrees of separation and loudly announced and highly anticipated nodal events.
Heaven Waves Her Wand
There is, indeed a cross, sitting up there above us as we awaken the morning after. Sun in Scorpio sitting across from Jupiter in Taurus forms the horizontal/material plane line of time and space at that hour. Mars in Leo in opposition to Neptune in Aquarius/Chiron in Pisces form the vertical, heavenly descending elements into whose energetics we can step and within which we can ground our mundane activities.
Whenever there is a cross at hand, I look first to its most vertical arm, as this is the cosmic, esoteric message that wants to channel down into our mundane plane: the “as above” part of Hermes’ famous quote. The horizontal arm provides the guideposts along the way as to how we might manifest that divine message: the “so below” part of the equation. Even within these different parts of the sphere, there is, yet again, an above and below, within and without conversation going on.
Reflecting on The Old
Mars in Leo in the heavens, Neptune (Aquarius)/Chiron (Pisces) camping out down by the home hearth, having a spirited argument across the large expanse of the cosmic poker table. Now, if we were to use the conventional astrological interpretation of Mars in Leo, we would naturally say that the great lion in his ermine cape wants to charge forward into glorious conflict and battle, shining the light of his mane in the realms of public and communal affairs. We might expect bold steps and likely conquests in these areas of activity or, possibly, the annoying cracklings of unanticipated consequences that accompany the overstepping of our bounds and the over-graspings of the burning , untamed ego (Sun/Lion). Caution would be advised here, as the potential for the king to firmly establish himself in these realms is quite possible, as is the possibility to offend and alienate if he is too rigorous in clearing the table and taking possession of the throne. The masculine Lion, accompanied by his masculine warrior, Mars, is asking us to pull the feminine attributes of emotion and woundedness (Neptune and Chiron on the earthly plane) into his ascendant position.
It is a reasonable interpretation of these symbols, if we satisfy ourselves with the vestigial symbols of what should be an extinct mind frame. If we want to continue to use the two-dimensional, cardboard cutout image of the soldier holding up the shield as he charges headlong into the slings and arrows of the enemy as our paradigm for Mars, or the archetypal imperial king of the forest as our model for the Sun, we simply participate in trying to resuscitate the archaic and adolescent values of a patriarchal system whose narrative should have died with its ancient writers.
If we truly want a new human paradigm of experience to emerge, we must actually do it. Our current archetypes were born out of a very specific culture with a very specific set of needs. Needs whose validity and morality were always morally and ethically suspect to begin with. Of course roman empire fell in a state of debauchery. So, too now, is our own. Archetypes are contextually bound, just like any marriage or life or theory of being. Our entire human paradigm is asking to change, and we must alter our language to meet its needs.
Those astrologers who still use the myths of the old boy patriarchy in our linguistic road maps are, in fact, the very ones who are blocking the door to the potential new horizons of perception the end of the Mayan Calendar may offer us. By continually rehashing these images in their old forms, using the same well-worn language, such modern soothsayers simply re-inforce and support the same structures from which they claim to want to free our imaginations. As we all know with Pluto stationed in Capricorn, the old structures are falling. The grammar and symbology of our description of ourselves must fall as well. Besides, after thousands of years of using the old models, what do we have here? Increasing injustice, increasing poverty and inequality, increasing domestic and public violence, increasing use of ever more deadly weapons and a burgeoning population of obese americans and northern hemisphereans who sit on their sofas watching the modern day version of the roman games: football. Keeping score on the political reds versus the blues doesn’t further the new paradigm, either.
If we let go of these truncated, worn out and flat stereotypes, a more interesting and subtle ability to feel into the dynamics of the heavens can emerge. Let’s just dive in and start.
Mars as Androgyne: Reviving the Feminine Face of the Warrior
In the Chinese/Taoist tradition, the true warrior (our Mars) is the one who carries and is trained in the differential use of both the sword and the shield. And, as it’s ancient saying goes, “one cannot use the sword and the shield at the same time.” This saying means that conscious and definitive choices must be made in determining whether to use the yang warrior element (the sword) or the yin warrior element (the shield) in any given moment. Every adult and integrated warrior, no matter the sex, must know and bring to bear to every situation the discernment and skill, acquired through years of practice, necessary to wield either one of these energies effectively. Making the serious mistake of trying to use both at the same time leads to hesitation, confusion, unnecessary errors in judgement and wasted energy and bloodshed.
If one has discerned that the use of the sword is necessary (and in eastern traditions it is the choice of last resort), the warrior takes time to scan the field and find her mark. Once correctly identified, she moves in with quickness and surety, and swiftly and precisely cuts off the opponent’s head; it is an action taken without emotion or attachment to the ego. It is done cleanly and clearly, though it is never done, however, casually nor thoughtlessly. Warriorship is a serious and solemn art, and is undertaken always with sobriety and complete self-awareness. None of this infantile and medieval screaming and slashing and hacking in blind, uncontrolled rage and stupidity, nor rubbing others’ noses in your triumph just to gloat.
If the shield is the weapon of choice, it is wielded with the grace of the pirouetting ballerina or the circling matador; the adept knows how to use the cover of trees, billowing laundry on a line or the intricate pathways through a night time meadow to move, conceal and protect the integrity of her warrior journey. She dips and bows, recedes and disappears, traveling the circular road to her goal. She is like the mother bear, leading the intruder away from her cubs. Cowering and mewling under the weight of the shield while the enemy bashes your brains in isn’t The Way here. Neither are manipulations and gossip and the deliberate plantings of secrets and lies, as is common in western cultures.
As life is in a constant state of change and motion, the mature and clear use of the masculine and feminine elements involves engaging in an intimate dance, a constant exchange between the ever-shifting reality of yin turning into yang, turning into yin, turning into yang . . . turning, turning and turning again. The practice of push hands in taoist martial arts is designed to entrain this kinesthetic/energetic knowledge into the sensient body/mind organism. We always hope that organism is human. This exercise captures and transmits to the student the non-mental sensing into the external and internal chi forces moving into and out of our field of experience, encouraging responsiveness, flexibility and adaptability within the cosmic and relational environment.
On one level, it is the way to learn to finesse our relationship with our very real and physical partner, on another it is the esoteric doorway into metaphysical understanding of the rich wisdom and suppleness of the heavens. It is only when we let go of our fears (and we have so many hidden in every joint, in every organ and in every laugh line etched upon our faces), that we learn to move with our partner and the universe, summoning the courage to remain in contact with whatever movements and gyrations they may try to throw our way. Ultimately, once the stiffness of fear is finally dissipated (and it does take many years to find all the little places it is hiding in us) it becomes fun and wicked and juicy to let go into that place of pure feeling and sensing. Any great dojo should be filled with the sounds of laughter. This is the true heart and soul of Tantra. It is also the heart and soul of Neptune, that flowing beauty that plunges and purls, ripples and falls, winds and gurgles her way through the undertow of our lives.
No matter the object of its application, the art of the warrior requires the ability to shape shift at will, to master the feminine and masculine faces of the divine.
Our modern day grapplings in the mud pits and boxing rings of our politics and class issues, our football fields and community council meetings, our executive boardrooms and private bedrooms are, well, the culmination of our crude and barbarian stories told over centuries, full of lots of drama, yes, but effecting mostly nothing. Certainly not change of any sort. Certainly not anything close to grace.
Reviewing Mars in Leo
So, now we have our fully integrated warrior, Mars, walking along in the heavens with the current energy of a lion, wanting to go about things in a particularly leonine way. But, just as Mars now has two faces, so does our wild animal. What kind of tone does this lion have? Is it the energy of the singular rogue male seeking or sitting on the throne, or is it the female one, the leader of the pride, the one who establishes complex social networks among her charges, the other pride females, and their progeny? Is she organizing her women to go out on a night time hunt, or circling the pack to fend off a marauding gang of hyenas? Is she watching with sorrow the new male kill her young cubs sired by the old king? Is this a warrior grieving the loss of her comrades, is it one searching for similar souls in order to approach a new found treasure? What kind of warrior lion do we have here, really?
Well, we don’t know. Until we begin the process of creative conversation born out of contextual relationships. That would be the process at which western civilization has entirely failed, In so doing, it has also failed its people in preparing for a truly new paradigm, one which we can only dive into ourselves and begin speaking through new mythologies and new structures of perceiving our archetypes. Perhaps that is the end we are to experience, and the new to which we will awaken.
It requires the capacity to move slowly through complexities, conducted within intimate communities and to await the signals that allow us to see into the truth of a situation and to come to know the wise way to act in accordance with its demands, not ours.
Our Mars in our story here is in the later stages of Leo (23 degrees) and is an older warrior now on this particular path. This is the Queen Elizabeth I type, or perhaps the aging actor, who’s patience for the grandiosities and intrigues of the court and stage are waning. At this stage in life, such warriors and nobles become the sages and tradition-holders for the next generation. As those also old enough to know the ingress into this part of human experience, the pretenses of appearance give way to the development of depth within and the review of the crusades we once lead.
Answering the call for internal meaning in this chart, are Neptune and Chiron anchoring the warrior monarch into the realms of emotional meaning and the reflection upon old wounds by the home fires. Chiron is still right at the surface (0 degrees Pisces) and is still gazing at her own reflection. That is fine, as we all have plenty of time for the thorough exploration of the undersea world of full of sunken ships and treasures. We will, indeed, have to fully immerse ourselves in the long-buried hurts and unfulfilled needs suffered at the hands of a culture drunk with centuries of its desire for power, leaving pillaging and plunder and rape in its wake (those would be Chiron’s brothers, the Centaurs). There are a lot of bodies down there in those maritime wrecks and ours is to understand them both at our personal, microcosmic level and our collective, macrocosmic one as well. Our very own is one of the bodies, floating in the dark. The day we come upon her is a shocking one and it is helpful to know this in advance. Where we are right now is just dipping our toes in the water.
Chiron is also the representative of Karmic Law. She knows all of our wounds intimately and writes them in the book of days. No story is lost, not a single scar forgotten. Part of her job is to take us all into Davy’s Locker, to find the many debts we have accumulated, the hearts we have ripped out and left wanting and oppressed over eons of our piracies. That task can be overwhelming and it is best to simply start with a review of how we have hurt and wounded others, mild ones for now, for they are inextricably linked to our own. We can learn over time through the exercise that the driving of the sword through another’s heart ultimately pierces our own. Karma is not just a ledger, it is also a mirror. Ours is to develop reflexive recognition and compassion for our collective dilemma.
Neptune is on a reflective retrograde of thoughtfulness in Aquarius, readying herself to plunge more deeply into the waters of emotion and spirit over the next seven years. Right now, Neptune asks us to begin the process of turning over the effects and consequences of actions formulated in the mental realms and asserted through the will (Aquarius). The awakening of the brain to its own machinations, however distorted we will certainly find them to be, is the first step in achieving mental clarity. They are, in fact, extremely distorted and artificial machinations. Because we are a society addicted to seeking refuge and safety from fear in our brain functions to such a high degree, it is here that Neptune is exerting her powers at dissolving and washing away the defensive mechanisms we have so cleverly constructed there. Remember that Neptune is also the ruler of addictions and it is the addiction to our brains we must give up. That can be very scary business and it is important to remind ourselves that we are not becoming psychotic. We are, in fact, recovering from our cultural psychotic thought processes. Finding a new way of functioning inside of such a culture can, indeed, make us feel personally crazy. This feeling, however, is nothing more than the normal symptoms of a necessary detoxification process.
You will survive the shakes and quakes and breakdowns it entails. And it does entail those very things. It is critically important to have trustworthy friends who can simply sit and listen to where you are within the process, preferably ones who have already freed themselves from it. Do not spend time with people still actively involved in that cultural psychosis. Getting on the mental clarity wagon, as in freeing ourselves from any cycle of addiction, is critical. Unlike alcohol or another external object, however, this one isn’t a “thing” somewhere “out there.” This one is in you, in all of us, culturally infused and re-inforced at the cellular level, and so the journey out of it is far more difficult. So is finding others who are not infected with this deeply entrenched disease. We will all spend the rest of our lifetimes ridding it from ourselves. I do assure you, however, that you will find yourself at some point, laughing at your own previous, insane behaviors and be able to say, “Oh my, what was I thinking.” Not much. But now you are.
As Neptune moves into Pisces, we will all have a similar feeling of fear and loss of control and emotional psychosis as we confront the feeling level machinations we invented and complicated our lives with at the direction of our toxic mental faculties. If we have gone through the work of breaking down the structures of our culturally-induced mental illness during the Neptune Aquarian phase, we will be much more prepared and able to work through the breakdown and reformulation of our emotional structures through the Neptune Piscean phase. Pluto (structure/secrets) trine Jupiter (benevolence) is currently in attendance here and this aspect lends itself well to rolling up our sleeves, digging in and pulling down those old scaffoldings ourselves. With abundant Jupiter in this mix, we have a far greater than average possibility of success in these endeavors.
The Sun/Jupiter Axis of the Cross
Here is our Lion again, now fully formed as the object, The Sun. And she’s in Scorpio, the sign of sexual desires, the occult and our hidden terrain. This Lion wants to sneak around in the dark, on the hunt for prey. That can make for lots of trouble, if the heart isn’t grounded and motivated by nobler causes. Fortunately, opposing Jupiter provides the voice of such nobler motivations. Our benevolent planet of abundance and luck is here rooted in the vibrations of Taurus, which will place a softer, more nurturing and slower spin on our slinking felines nocturnal activities. This lion could be any kind from a rutting male looking for a quickie to a female planning a raid on a warthog’s nest. The itch for intrigue, however, will be high. The ploughing docility of the ox, however, will prevent Jupiter, which can have a tendency to go over the top in exuberance, from taking anything here too far.
This axis asks us to balance out our ego needs for fulfillment of desire with the careful planning of how to spread the seeds of Jupiter’s gifts over a wider land. The personal identity is locked in conflict with the ecological body of the mother here, and our particular times, as we all know, demand we begin to collectively bow to the needs of the latter. Here, the Lion may find expression in her female manifestation, lending her care and royalty to the preservation of our lands. The Sun trine Neptune/Chiron is also lending support for the Lion to shine his or her light upon the greater good of the whole and engaging in the work of healing, rather than focussing on the material and psychic baubles we may secretly lust after. Jupiter sextile Neptune/Chiron further anchors the argument in bending to the needs of the collective as the Lion’s way to greatness. Jupiter is lending his beneficial influences to exploring the watery depths of our collective unconscious, which is in dire need of a paradigm shift. Yielding to the watery and earth elementals is the Lion’s path right now. The Moon in Sagittarius also gives the chart a lift in setting the sights of our most heartfelt desires on the higher plane of spiritual goals and attainment.
Finally, there is the Pluto/Uranus square, demanding discontentments and shake ups in our underworld. Uranus in Aries usually gives rise to quite fiery uprisings, whether in the personal or global arena. This is the necessary tremors of stirring the necessary ingredients for the change we are all asking for. The ground does need to shift under our feet in order for our planet to give us a new landscape within which to fulfill ourselves. I nice practice place is a subway or commuter train. Practice standing and moving to its motions without hold on. At first, it is tough, but after awhile one learns how to feel into the ground below and simply ride the train like a surfboard.
Good morning, then, in advance. And I hope all of you had a lovely evening last night.