Pluto Square Uranus: Notes from a Fire

Jemez Fire 2013

Jemez Fire 2013

Here is a beautiful example of how the macrocosmic celestial relationships, whose symbolic meanings often feel so ungraspable, translate into our daily lives at the microcosmic level.  This is what the delivery of the Thunderbolt (Uranus) of Destruction (Pluto) in square actually looks and feels like right here on terra firma.  As many of you know, I do live in the Jemez Mountains and this fire did start just a mile from my home.  Fortunately for me and my small neighborhood, it began east of us, with winds blowing east.  However, it’s presence has been huge and overwhelming and, though I am safe here to the West of it, I know so many flora dying and ache for the fauna (including humans) that are threatened and struggling in its path.  What I am including here is a series of “reports” I wrote to friends in Santa Fe and some of their responses which, as a whole, I believe can illuminate the deep feelings held by so many on this planet as we traverse the series of Squares between these two planets through 2015.  They are, indeed, “sparking” destructive changes, the opening of old and buried wounds, and the transformation of them into something larger than our personal circumstances.  It’s about personally and universally connecting to events that effect us all, though in our individual ways.  In addition to these written exchanges, I have had many calls from clients, as well as conversations with village friends, regarding the welling up of sorrows and fears, intensive periods of overwhelming fatigue to an almost narcoleptic degree, as well as sudden personal crises whose end appears in doubt.  This is exactly what this epoch is all about and, as these exchanges reveal, the deep and abiding drive to heal.

If you are willing to make your way through them, it is my hope that the progression in the “calls and responses” between myself and friends will elucidate the natural progression from the first “numb and dumb” recognition of a new reality and it’s often concomitant attention to “facts” (a good way to find control in uncontrollable circumstances) toward a more full and contemplative reflection on the symbolism of events, which is what astrology, life, transition and death are all about.  It is also the core of what will be required of us through the Uranus/Pluto squares and klieg lights of sudden changes through the next few years.  They will bring the destruction and, which will then open the way for the “something new.”  But we have to extend our horizons and think long-term, just as the twists and turns of this fire have required those of us in its immediate vicinity to do.  This requires endurance and courage and the simple ability to sometimes just sit with ourselves and cry.  It, like aging, is definitely not for the faint of heart.

Before you continue, please do pardon the rather interesting formatting throughout.  These exerpts are directly taken out of e-mails and, given all the various fonts and compatibilities of the digital world, I have not been able to format it all here in any uniform manner.  Perhaps another metaphor for our confusing and disconnected world at the moment.  Though that is a vestige of a past structure now falling down.

05/31/13  5:30PM

Hi everyone:
Yes, the fire you can see over there that is here is right near my house.  I passed it just 20 minutes after it started on my way home.  The Firefighters were so already on it (love those men and women, many of whom are volunteers).

The fire is less than a mile East of my house, though the prevailing winds are ESE and so it is blowing away from here.

Packed my car right after arriving for evacuation just in case, though, because of the prevailing winds, I doubt that will be necessary.  Also taking care of SM’s (our HD friend, my friend and my landlady/bodyworker/ generous benefactress extraordinaire) requests for special things she would want rescued should the worst happen.  Like the choices I and most of my friends would make, those things of most value to us are art pieces.

Right now, just spending my time watering all of the grass around the house (which is all still green – a very good thing), just in case.

There is a large pond just 100 yards from my  house with a body of water, so am in the thick of all of the activity with helicopters coming and going, filling up and dumping H20 on the fire.  They’ve got at least 3 of the supertankers going, arriving and leaving every 5 minutes or so.  Big, huge, wasp-like things that swoop down and fly off.

Gee, well, what a surprise to arrive home with this on my doorstep after a seemingly ordinary day at work.  You just never know what’s going to come up and, as the Taoists know, adaptability, discernment and equipoise are the order of the day.  I am, indeed, fine.  I have myself set up, very easily, to walk out at a moment’s notice.

Just letting reception know I may have to alter/cancel plans for tomorrow, though I really do not think this will be necessary.  Just a head’s up that stuff is up.   As the fire is just off my drive on route 4, could be I cannot make it through.  Just so you know.

What I ask at the moment is just that we all think/pray/hope/ask (whatever your ilk) that  the g–d–n winds die down.

 05/31/13 7:30PM

Hi friends:
No danger to me or the house.  Winds are blowing east, away from here.  My world is clean and clear, though I know from friends in SF your world is smoky at the moment.

The fire does still rage, whipped by heavy winds, and I am watching Redondito (“little round/excellent” in Spanish) being consumed by flames.  I only think of the animals/birds that are fleeing from it and my heart breaks. As some of you may know, I volunteer at Wildlife Rescue in Albuquerque on a weekly basis and so, having held those vulnerables in my own hands and fed and tried to nurture them toward life, I know their suffering and fear at the moment.

Redondito, where the fire now rages, sits next to Redonodo Mountain, known by our indigenous peoples here in the Jemez Valley as Eagle Mountain.  No one is allowed to walk upon it, except for the Jemez folk.  I am hoping the winds do not take the fire there.  I am fortunate to look out upon it from my kitchen window every day.

A bit weird, here, now as the big TV stations have arrived.  Walked into our teeny weeny local store to find big, huge TV cameras all over the place.  Fortunately, I had my sunglasses on and simply turned my back to those intrusive camera googly/goober thingies.  Exchanged info with the local owner (whom I know well) and walked out, backwards, around those cams.

I feel a bit surreal at the moment.  Fire, helicopters, cameras and flashing (URANUS) “lights/action” are a strange combination and a bit much at the moment.  Normally, I am just out here in silence digging in my garden.  Right now, with all the hub bub, I prefer to just sit on my porch and watch in quiet, while the undisturbed broad-tailed and black-chinned hummingbirds go about their evening feeding as though nothing at all is happening around them to disturb their singular focus.  Wish I could be like them more often.  Now that’s superior meditation, in my humble opinion.

So, assume I will be in on Saturday, desk staff.  However, given the direction of the fire, I could be blocked from Route 4.  I will call in early to let you know.
Again, let those winds STOP, please.  Oh, please, do stop.



Saturday evening and we’re all okay up here.  Winds low to day and those that there were would go one way, spreading the fire, then turn another way, turning it back in on itself. Now 10% contained.

A bit scarey last night after dark watching the high winds pushing spot fires to just below the ridge into the Valles Caldera (that’s when LA folk start getting nervous), but they finally died dramatically around 8pm.

We got lucky this time.  Though the fire is only a mile from my house and lots of smoke in the air, it’s all going east, to you all.  Sorry about that . . .


06/02/13 3:30PM

Hi everyone:
First, I just really want to thank all of you who have sent me e-mails and spoken to me personally about what is going on up here.  THAT has been a wonderful show of support and concern that is greatly appreciated.  Those of us who live remotely can often feel the isolation and stress of dealing with this kind of thing on our own and, from all of your well wishes, I know I am not.  Before I went to Ecuador (Fall 2011), I lived far down the valley, where fires just weren’t that common (sparse juniper/pinon amongst lots of rocks).  Since I have returned, I have lived “up top” in the valley, smack in the midst of these dry, ponderosa pine forests and, so, the “threats” of fire are so much more near and dear in their meaning and impacts on daily life.

I can give you an update (if any of you do not want to receive them, just say so, that’s fine).  They’ve set up a Fire information truck right around the corner from my house, where we can congregate, share news and share in a community feeling for our distant, though shared, “event” (dwellings here are few and far between each other, except for our little “neighborhoods” of, perhaps a dozen houses or so).  I am giving this to you as, when I turned on the TV (there is one here, but I turn it on perhaps every few months or so), yesterday, I was surprised by the mis-information the newscasters were giving.  Ah, well, headlines before facts, as per usual.

Here’s how to perceive it:  On Friday the fire was 635 acres, by end of Saturday, though, it had grown to 1792 acres (despite my own ideas {and some less than reliable info from a friendly ranger } that it was more contained than that).  Sunday had high humidity (excellent) and the fire only grew by 500 more acres.  Today the fire threat went from moderate to extreme as drier weather and higher winds started impacting the situation.  The fire over the past two days has gone North and East and more away from my house, though I can see it very clearly.  They now have a 5 day plan and hope to have southerly firelines in before tomorrow, when the weather is supposed to be even drier and winds are expected to shift moving toward the south.  Good news with that is that the northern boundary will likely turn back on itself and burn itself out.  Possible concern is that the fire could spread dramatically south.  Still, no threat to me and our westerly neighborhood at the moment.  No evacuation notices at the beginning nor now, though still have my car packed just in case.

The lesson is, yes, “Mother Nature is always last at bat – and she always wins.”

Not above getting on my knees and praying, though I prefer putting on the music, getting out my drum and dancing.  Think I’ll spend the next few days doing the latter.

Again, thanks all for your kindnesses and concerns.  Can’t express how much they’ve made a difference in my outlook and attitude way out here yonder.


06/03/13 9:30PM

Oh, no, not this.

Funny, you know, how culture moves to protect its own culture.  While all of the men have made man-made structures “safe” in their work against this fire, they forgot to protect our sacred mother mountain here, Redondo/Eagle.  Until now, she was safe, somehow distant from the the doings down in her base meadow (very near my house).

But now, in the late twilight/early darkness, I say, “Oh, no, please, not this.”  At this moment, I am watching flames race up her naked, vulnerable body.  So sacred to our Jemez people and full of so many ancient ruins and ritual sites.

The flames are engulfing her.  Right now, as I write.

In my former profession as psychotherapist/forensic evaluator/expert witness testifier, I saw and heard far too many things  listening to children tell me of the horrors they had endured at the hands of others, as well as the admissions of perpetrators of such abuse without remorse nor conscience nor compassion for those who had suffered at their hands.  That was a mind-altering experience.   Many times, I had to step back and re-group, knowing that what I was hearing and receiving just went so out of bounds with what was right in the world.  Sorrow always is a part of such processes.  And I remain very sensitive to the sorrows of wrongnesses in the world, which are far more vast and deep than most of us would like to admit.

I haven’t done that work in 14 years (lots of healing and restoration in faith of humanity ensued after my leaving that work) yet, tonight, I recall it viscerally.  Some things are just so not right it is hard to look at and witness.  Yet, in our humanity, we are required to witness and take in the atrocities that life delivers to us to deal with.

Tonight is the first time since leaving that professional place so long ago that I have had a similar feeling.  So awful I cannot look at it yet, as a human being, I am drawn to lift my head and witness it’s reality.  I want to look away, go to my bed and forget it. Yet, (drawing upon all of our communal feelings of compassion), I find myself unable to turn away and resume some ignorant, comfortable state of being.  This is a thing one must look at in the eye.  This is atrocious, this real burning of this sacred place.  And my heart just weeps.  No more and no less so than witnessing the loss of innocence in the children I knew back then.

I do and do not accept it, all at once, at the same time, in this moment.  Right now, I just feel so sad.

At the same time, burning and destruction gives rise to renewal and, in that, I place my heart and faith.  I know these things are true.  The immediacy of a death, however, is one to sit with and honor (not trying to “fix” or “alter” it from anything other than what it is at the moment).  Just a profound sense of loss and wounding right now. Though I am the one, by chance and circumstance, observing this wounding and loss, it belongs to all of us.

Don’t know what the TV set/news anchors are going to say to you.  This is just what it is for me, right here in silence, on this ground, seeing it.

Lots and lots of busy movement with fire trucks out here as I was observing all of this.  I do think that, perhaps, this fire may have gotten out of their abilities to handle.  I KNOW it has tonight and we shall see what tomorrow’s dawn will bring.

Again, I am FINE.  The fire has moved east a good 5 mile distant now from me, so I am not in any danger at all.  Life does, however, give us the experiences we need to deepen ourselves and grow into something different than we knew/were before.  A spiral we re-vist and re-aquaint ourselves with, over and over again throughout a life time. This fire has given me all of those gifts, ten-fold.  My guts and feelings are intact, alive and healthy and that is a reason to rejoice.

thanks again for your e-mails.  So thoughtful of you all, well and thankfully received, each and every one.

06/04/13  12:16AM

Dear Amelia,

I am so sorry for the devastation and sadness for the sacred mountain, for your sensitivity in seeing/feeling it is a great gift and a deep loss. So life goes as you have said. In my own development lately, I am coming to terms, of a sort, with how to live compassionately amidst all the horror that exists perpetrated by human beings. It is a challenge and a necessity for me. It seems the only way for humans to proceed with any hope for recovery here on earth. Onward.


06/04/13  7:25AM

Well this writing leaves me a bit speechless and teary eyed. It is sad. And likely there is more of this to come…..

I bow my head…..


06/04/13 9:15AM


My HEART is with you… the implication of your 2nd email that the sacred mountain was intentionally allowed to burn??? and/or the fire got “out of control” & the firefighters couldn’t keep up?

Do you know how our Native brothers & sisters are understanding this time & this “destruction” of their sacred places??

Try to go somewhere AWAY from the smoke if you can for a day if there is such a place.



06/04/13  10:46AM

 Good question.  No, the implication isn’t that people are intentionally allowing something to burn – I just reflect on how we inadvertantly neglect nature to focus on our small possessions and needs at times.  Most of the “work” being done was creating firelines for the HOMES there, while a larger issue (at least for me in value) is that Redondo is now charred.  No, there was no purposeful intent at all, just a metaphor for how our LACK of intention toward Nature has brought us to this place.

I do not know how the Jemez are taking this.  There are a lot of ruins up there and sacred ritual places.  I do know, however, that NA, by and large, are much more accepting and expectant of the normal cycles of life and death and that they DO NOT support a lot of the “preservation” efforts that anglos do regarding ruins.  The Navajo and Hopi are examples of that philosophy.

Thanks for the support and, yes, oh, well, no – I was going to go Down the valley for some respite from the smoke, but that’s the way the winds are blowing now.  Oh, well, I’ll just get my housecleaning done.

 06/04/13  6:58PM


Thank you so much for writing about your observations of the fire and how it is affecting you and others. I have felt significant grief (gut wrenching, in fact) the past few days with no particular reason. I feel that those of us that are “in tune” with the environment are so very affected when a death (many deaths) happens such as this. There is so much grief in the world- I used to feel it all of the time when I wasn’t self medicating… I have felt the grief, this time, so deeply that it has brought up personal grief I have not looked at in years, maybe never. Now, I can re-examine past wounds and relationship to the world and those wounds. Thank you, again, so much for sharing. And please do keep us updated. 


06/05/13  06:20AM

Thank you for your lovely note, K.  Yes, nature reflects us and we her when we are able to be “with it.”  And, yes, I so know about the desire and sometimes actual, “self-medicating” aspect of life.  It takes many forms, though the core issue is the same:  avoidance.  During my time with the Sexual Abuse Team in Boston, I was the biggest “gym rat” you’ve ever seen.  3-hour, 4am start time, full on workouts before I went to deal with the world of Trauma every day.  Super buff, super-ripped and . . . disconnected as hell. 

Years later, at H., during a bodywork session with a friend, she listened to that story and commented, “Well, you know, obsessively working out is one way to deal with depression.  So true.  Some of us drink up and some of us “armor up” with over-exercise.  That state of depression is part and parcel of the lives of those of us who are awake at all in this world and it comes and goes.  I just think it gives us the counterpoint to re-finding and renewing our sense of hope and courage to keep going even though things appear to be going down in flames all around us.

Glad the missives have opened up wounds in you that are ready to come forth and of which it has come time to let go.  I’ve had a lot of friends over here reporting the same thing – doing meditations and finding themselves in tears for no reason.  And/or coming under immediate, overwhelming states of fatigue whereby they sit down in a chair to read and wake up several hours later from a deep, “knockout” sleep.

I’ll send you the update with the e-mail to everyone else at HD.
again, thank you for telling of your co-/parallel experiences over there (oh, well, Down there in Alb).  They highlight the interconnectedness of us, despite seeming distance.

 06/05/13  7:33AM

“Of Fire and Eggs”

Hi everyone:

No writing yesterday as I was quite sick of the fire and it’s consuming presence, both physically and psychically.  After spending the morning being a mirror for the fire:  hot, sweaty, oppressive, took a shower and went down to the village to get away from it up top here.

I love how synchronicities pop up automatically once we simply walk out of our isolation and into community and how they show up in small ways. which then lead to bigger things.  My personal serendipity focused on eggs.  Yeah, just eggs.  I forgot to buy some Monday before I left SF for home and, there are no stores out here.  SM was supposed to come out on Wednesday to visit and I asked her to bring some.  She had to cancel as she’d forgotten an appointment she had already scheduled.  DARN, no eggs for the week.  So, I am down visiting a friend who is the court clerk (believe it or not, we do have a “courthouse” here in the village and it is held Tuesday evenings – the woman who runs the electric coop is “the judge” and this esteemed institution is held in a trailer).  As I am standing there, a woman walks in and hands my friend, P., to whom I am talking, a 2-dozen carton of eggs.  P. tells me this woman, S., is known as “the egg lady.”  Really? She just so happens to have an extra dozen and, instead of taking them to the post office as she usually does, she’s willing to give them to me.

S. invites me to her house to pick them up on my way back up the mountain.  When I ask her how much she charges, she just smiles as though I am being entirely silly.  I go there and end out playing with her dog, admiring her finches, the quilts she makes, and just chatting.  We throw greens off the porch down to her chickens and laugh as they scramble for them, clucking joyously.  S. had made a few comments in the “courthouse” earlier where I discerned she is totally, well, not on my end of political philosophy (P. filled me in after S. left about her leanings and not to even say the name of our current president, nor talk about anything “spiritual”) so I know to just not visit those kinds of places at all when I go to S.’s house.  She packs a snub-nosed smith and wesson revolver, too boot.  Teeny, tiny woman who, as P. says, “would have made a great cop.”  A fair and decent one, in fact.  In her presence, I know she knows what she’s doing and, in an emergency, I would not hesitate in taking orders from her if she were in charge.  She often waves her index finger in my face when she’s making a point.  Not intrusive, just very, very sure of her convictions.  And, with regard to practical survival issues, she does know what she’s about.  Okay, all righty then.

Small towns and small interactions have done more for me realizing that those you might think you’d never be able to relate to are more open and giving than you’d think at first glance.  And, that, one has to rise above those divisions because we are a small community and need to show up for each other when the going gets rough.  And we do.  Turns out, S. has few egg cartons and I have tons (save them all and use them for kindling in winter) and so I’ll take a dozen or so cartons  to her next time I get eggs.  And, she’s up my alley with regard to the act of giving:  “If I’ve got ’em, you can have ’em, If I don’t, I don’t – just call.”

Arriving home, hungry, I take out and admire these gorgeous, large, fresh eggs (symbol of fertility and re-birth) in my hand, enjoying the feel of them rolling in my open palm.  Their shape and weight feel like jewels. I crack them open and make a beautiful, satisfying meal.  In the end, quite a startling antidote to the overwhelming feeling of death and destruction I had had when I left my house just hours earlier.  The most profound gifts can come from the oddest and seemingly smallest places.

The Fire:  as it was so close (though blowing east, away from me), watching it since friday was just feeling so “up in my face.”  Having seen the flames racing up the mountain Tuesday night, I dreaded the vision Wednesday would bring.  As the sun rises behind the mountain, it remained in dark silhouette all day.  Cannot really see it’s full face until late in the afternoon.  The billowing smoke was all about her all day and I could see spot fire smoke on her flanks. Finally, the setting sun revealed her true face. The sight proved more than a bit of a relief for me.

Okay, well, yes, the mountain is scarred, but not nakedly, laid out charred.  In fact, if you were a visitor standing on my porch, you might not even notice the areas that have been burned.  Because I knew where to look (the flames the night before showed me the path), I could scan with my binocs and see them clearly.  Still, from this distance, one would really have to look to find them.

The fire has now gone around the north and south sides of Redondo and away from me.  The smoke does settle in the valleys and, when I get up, it is mostly low down by the creek about 200 yards from my house.  As the sun rises, the smoke does spread out from there toward me and it gets a bit thick and heavy mid-morning, though lifts off into the air as the sun gets higher and is usually cleared out (from me) by noon.  I am well aware, however, that the fire is now more “up in someone else’s face” and I think of those people/animals/birds and the stress of potential or real flight.

Fire grew by 3,000 acres yesterday, up to 7400 from 4400 the day before.  They have already put in a “boundary” line around it but, because the terrain within it is so steep, they cannot get in to stop it before it reaches their boundary.  So, pretty much, they will drop water and “retardant” (ooh, great, chemicals), on it from above, and, otherwise, let it burn to the boundary they have set, which is still quite a distance from where it is now.  So, more acreage will be consumed and, hopefully, it won’t jump their “fence” when it arrives there.

And that’s all the news that’s fit to print.  Time for breakfast . . . and eggs.


I will stop there as, as I have said, this is the kind of situation that will require a long bit of endurance to play out and work our way through.  Again, it is presented as metaphor for the tumultuous dance going on above our heads which IS indeed, transmitting itself down to and through us.  Despair can and will settle in throughout but, just as the smoke lifts out of the valley’s, so also will that despair lift.  Our work is the kind that can be play if we approach it like an enthusiastic surfer heading out into the first waves at dawn.  It does require strength to ride that board, but any who participate in that activity know the thrill of skimming over and through sometimes treacherous terrain.

It is about the planets and heavens right now, not you, though you are the individual antennas that pick up its signals.

Do “tune in and turn on” to those things.  But, heavens, no, DO NOT DROP OUT.  Do remember that where we are now is in the Pluto/Uranus Square.  During the mid-1960’s, our last revolutionary time of intensity, Pluto and Uranus were in conjunction.

And, we all know how that movement mostly fizzled and lost it’s power under the heavy clouds of way too many mind-altering drugs and experiences.  That was an initially vibrant, strong boat that went way off course and ran into the shoals.  The survivors simply jumped ship and ran for the safety of main stream culture – the boomers, whose financial excesses (which followed their drug excesses) are crashing us yet onto another shore.

Those past and continued errors on their part are  the ones we are unfortunately having face now.  It is disturbing that most of them, still, so well-ensconced in their personal worlds of abundance and safety, still have not awakened to their serious responsibilities here.  Very few have bothered to contemplate the consequences of their past and couldn’t be further bothered with rolling up their sleeves and helping to clean up the mess created for future generations.  Despite the fact that so many smugly sit on their zafus and in meditation halls, delusionally believing in their “enlightened” state of being.  That’s a tough one for the younger generations to have to take.

TUNE IN, TURN ON AND SHOW UP is the order of this day.  And it is going to take an enormous amount of sobriety and steadiness to make it through.  This is about doing, not thinking or meditating our problems away.  Would be nice to see those boomers getting their butts up off their yoga mats and starting to do their part.



























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  1. #1 by Neil Gordon on June 5, 2013 - 12:53 PM

    Your right on target as usual sister;keep the archetypes coming!!!!!

  2. #2 by sistertongue on June 5, 2013 - 1:04 PM

    Thank you. After several months of quiet and contemplation, suddenly found my writing wanting to light itself up again. One never knows how the lightning of passion/creativity is going to show up. I guess, in this case, I wasn’t paying attention, so it needed to be big. Hopefully, this event will evoke a much larger sparking of need to wake up and pay attention on the part of us all as to exactly where we are right now on the planet.

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