Hello, Chiron. Nice to Meet You.

February 13th, 2011

Hello, everyone.

Dhanvantari, the Hindu God associated with Ayurveda. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Today I want to share a recent experience I had which shows why I have such an abiding faith in astrology.  Last week I went to the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico for Panchakarma.  Panchakarma is an Ayurvedic program which involves special diet, herbs, oil massages, bathing the forehead in oil, rest, enemas, and various other therapies.  At the end of the week, we were given advice about diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes particularly suited to our constitution to support our continued healing.

I went to the Institute because I had gotten quite sick last fall.  Even though I never take antibiotics, I ended up taking two really intense prescriptions.  I decided to take the antibiotics because of the complications if my situation went on too long, but I also committed to myself that I would go to Panchakarma afterwards in order to flush and cleanse my system of any residual effects of the antibiotics.  As it turned out, I couldn’t even take the full round of the antibiotics because I had a fairly severe allergic reaction to them.  But I had taken them long enough to do the job.  Sure enough, the bacteria that was causing the problem was eradicated.

The Ayurvedic Institute is an intriguing place.  Not only is there a wonderful staff facilitating the Panchakarma , but the Master Teacher and Founder of the Institute, Dr. Vasant Lad, was on site and we were allowed to attend his lectures in the Ayurvedic Studies Level 1 class each evening.  We learned along with the students the stages of the progression of disease according to Ayurveda as well as chanted in Sanskrit and listened to marvelous stories from Dr. Lad’s many years as an Ayurvedic Physician.  To me, these lectures were the best part of the whole week.

I also volunteered myself as a subject for his Ayurvedic Studies Level 2 students.  Each Panchakarma client meets with Dr. Lad twice during the week, but as a subject in his class, I met with him and his students for a much longer time.  Jyotish, the Vedic form of astrology, is also a part of his knowledge and teaching and it was more than fascinating to see my Vedic chart on the board and discussed in medical terms with the students.  You can imagine how exciting it was for me to learn about my astrological chart and its medical strengths and weaknesses from such a Master.

All week long I was wondering, what is going on in my transits?  Why am I here at this time, exposed to all this knowledge, all this healing energy, all this wisdom rooted in scriptures which I have already studied fairly extensively but with an entirely different emphasis – a healing emphasis?

(By the way, he said my chart shows I am an excellent writer, that last sentence notwithstanding.  Or this one, for that matter.)

I’m writing this post on the evening of the fifth day.  Panchakarma is over and I can finally get my computer out again.  (We had signed a statement that we wouldn’t use computers or television for the five days.)

Chiron training Achilles by John Singer Sargent (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Chiron on the Scene

I haven’t emphasized Chiron in my study of astrology.  He wasn’t really highlighted when I first learned astrology, and although he is included with the planets by many astrologers, I hadn’t really let him join into my normal crew.  But I knew that since this was an issue around healing, I’d better check on him too.

I ran my transits for the month of February, checking all of the outer planets and whether they are affecting the planets in my natal chart.  I knew there had to be something, because this week felt so important on so many levels.

The only major transit I am having this month is transiting Chiron in square aspect to my natal Sun.  The Sun represents our essential Self.  What little I know about Chiron, I know in Greek mythology he was known as the wounded healer and the teacher of many of the Greek heroes and gods.  My astrology program, Solar Fire, offers interpretations for each transiting aspect.  This is the interpretation for Chiron square the Sun:

[This] is time to change the way you see and express yourself and allow your true light to shine. As a result you may discover hidden skills you never knew you possessed, sparking a whole new field of learning ultimately providing a great source of healing. You have the chance to heal wounds, physical and/or emotional, and realign your identity with your true purpose. In some cases it is possible that you suffer an illness which forces you to consider your lifestyle and make appropriate changes. If you are able to face this challenge and make the necessary changes, then you can approach life with renewed vigor and a new sense of purpose.

Isn’t that interesting?  I’ve never done this kind of program before in my life and I just happen to do it under this Chiron/Sun transit.  And I must admit, I was really fascinated by the whole field of knowledge.  With my past learning of Indian philosophy as a springboard I was able to dive into another stream of the wisdom I so respect.  I’m actually considering pursuing the Level 1 course as an adjunct to my astrology practice.  I haven’t made a decision yet, but when I read the above interpretation of the transit, it seemed a confirmation that this week may turn out to be bigger than I think.

And I certainly think Chiron deserves another look.  My natal Sun is in the house of healing and health and Chiron is the healer of the zodiac.  It’s kind of a wonder I’ve never delved into him before.  I’ve often observed that transiting planets show up in our lives in flesh and blood people who bring the experience of the planet.  I do think this experience brought me face to face with Chiron, don’t you?

Hello, Chiron.  Nice to finally meet you.


To read the first post in this series, see Astrology, Ayurveda, and Elements

Check out my other blog for all things business, including weekly and monthly forecasts.
Astro4Business Intersections

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

Astrology, Ayurveda, and Elements

February 3rd, 2011

Hello everyone.

Today I’ve been reading up on Ayurveda in preparation for Panchakarma next week.  Foreign words to you?  They’re not exactly foreign to me in that I’ve been around related philosophies for many years, but I’ve never delved in to this extent before.

This post will tie in to astrology, I promise, but first some definitions.  Ayurveda is translated as the science of life, (ayur, life; veda, science.)  According to the publication, Your Panchakarma Experience, distributed by The Ayurvedic Institute, “Ayurveda is an ancient system of healing that focuses on the complete person inclusive of the body, mind, and spirit.”  Panchakarma means five actions, (pancha, five; karma, action.)  “Panchakarma is a cleansing and rejuvenating program for the body, mind, and consciousness.”

Ayurveda Elements

I have a reference work in my library on Ayurveda by Vasant Lad, the Doctor of Ayurvedic Medicine who founded and runs The Ayurvedic Institute.  Picking it up to browse, I run into astrology in the first chapter!  According to a philosophical system which originated thousands of years ago in India called Sankhya, there are 24 principles of creation, sort of like 24 steps Divinity takes to become our day-to-day experience.  And the very last five of these steps are Ether, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth.

The Elements

This is very close to Western Astrology.  In astrology, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth are seen as the basic elements of our solar system and they form the bedrock of all of the astrological signs.  I’m sure you’ve heard people say, oh, I’m a water sign, I’m very emotional.  And it’s true, water signs do tend to focus their energy on the emotional space, on giving and receiving, on nurturing and nourishing.

So Ayurveda has the same elements, with very similar meanings to how they are used in Western Astrology, except Ayurveda has an extra element, Ether.  Ether is not unfamiliar in western philosophy.  In Greek mythology, ether referred to the upper sky, space and heaven.  The alchemists and early physicists also considered ether to be a substance which filled all space and transmitted impulses across space.  Present day Western astrologers generally regard ether similarly to Ayurveda, as a pure essence out of which the material world of air, fire, water, and earth come.

Ayurveda maintains that the elements can get out of balance, causing problems in our mental, emotional, and physical health.  Western astrology maintains the same idea.  We are born with a certain balance as shown in our natal charts, certain proclivities to express ourselves in particular ways.  As time goes on, we build on our original balance and we learn to fill-in or compensate for elements which are lacking.  If we have an overabundance of a certain element, we learn over time to use it productively, to channel it well, and direct its flow.

Balancing the elements

I’ll give you an example of compensating for a missing element.  I was born with no planets in the Earth element.  And yet, I have always drawn to me people with an abundance of Earth in their natal chart, especially Taurus.  My sister is a Taurus; my partner of almost 30 years is a Taurus; my son is a Taurus; and often my closest friend is a Taurus.  These Taurus people add good earthy values to my life:  with them I eat regularly, the refrigerator is full, my house has furniture and appliances, I have clothing, a car, and a good rhythm and routine that I can use as a springboard for my many interests.  On my own I tend to be constantly on the move, with too many things happening at once.  With these steady, Eddies around me, my fire and air don’t have a chance to excite me into a whirlwind and then exhaustion.

Panchakarma in Goa, India. (Where I'll be in my imagination.)

How’s your balance?

Do you know the balance of your elements?  (If you don’t have your chart, use this link to go to my other blog and see the directions on the right to have me send one to you.)  Here is a way to see the relative balances in your chart.  Add up your chart points giving two points for having the Sun, Moon, or Ascendant in each of the elements below.  Give one point for all the other planets:  Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.  And add one point for the sign on the Midheaven (the cusp of the 10th house.)  If you’re not sure which symbols are which, send me your birth data at ellen@astro4business. com and I’ll do the math.

Air:  Gemini, Libra, Aquarius

Fire:  Aries, Leo, Sagittarius

Water:  Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces

Earth:  Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn

How did you do?  If you’d like to leave your findings in the comments, I’ll reply with a few lines about your relative strengths.  It may take me a few days though.  I’m heading for my week-long Panchakarma adventure in a couple of days.  I’ll let you know how it goes, and what else I learn about astrology and the elements while I’m there.

Check out my other blog for all things business, including weekly and monthly forecasts.
Astro4Business Intersections

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

Patterns in the Birthchart

February 1st, 2011

Hi, everyone.

Have you ever looked at your astrology chart and wondered, what does this mean?  Even if you’ve been to a professional astrologer, there is still a lot of knowledge to be gained by developing your own understanding of your birthchart.

Astrology can be complex, but it is built piece by piece.  We have the signs, indicating certain phases of development; the planets, the basic energies of life; the houses, the various areas of life; and the aspects, which link the pieces together.

I’ve always maintained that we don’t really have to learn astrology. We already know it in our bones.  We’ve been through these cycles so many times; we deeply understand astrology even if we don’t often articulate our knowledge.  Who couldn’t feel the difference between the Sun being in the top half of the chart, which means it was daytime when the person was born, as opposed being in the bottom half of the chart, a person born during the nighttime hours?  Who hasn’t felt the sliver of potential of the New Moon or the fulfillment of the Full Moon?  Who can’t visualize the morning star just rising before the sun or the evening star, beautiful and still before slipping below the horizon?

Let’s just look at the overall pattern of your birthchart.  For fun, you could gather a few other charts, too, or look at Astrodatabank and get a few charts of celebrities or historical figures you particularly relate to.

Michelangelo's Birthchart

Take a look at what you have in front of you.  Most western charts are constructed on a circle with 12 demarcations for each of the 12 houses.  At the beginning point of each house is a symbol representing a sign of the zodiac.  This is the actual degree of each sign of the zodiac at a particular point in the arc of the ecliptic.  Each house is influenced by the sign of the zodiac found at the beginning of the house, the cusp.

Now look into the interior of the circle to find the symbols for each planet.  Depending on the type of chart in front of you, you may also find lines connecting certain planets to certain others indicating the aspect relationships between the planets.  These are the key factors in chart interpretation:  the houses, the signs on the cusp of the houses, the planets in each house, and the aspects between the planets.

Find the beginning point of the first house and moving counterclockwise, follow the circle around glancing at each of the 12 houses.  What is the overall pattern of the distribution of the planets in the houses?  Are most of the planets in the bottom or top of the chart, or to the right or left of the midline?  Are there many houses with no planets at all, and a few that hold all of the planets?  Are the planets distributed across most of the houses?

Nothing at the top. A nightime chart.

The first sense you get of a chart comes from this first glance.  What could you intuit about a chart with five or six planets in one house?  What if someone had all of their planets in the nighttime part of the chart?  What if someone had most or all of the planets in the top half of the chart?

For a fun and more visceral feel for a chart, try this.  Working with a round table and gaffer’s tape or ribbon, construct a line from the top to the bottom of the table surface, representing the midheaven and fourth house cusp, and a perpendicular line across the table from the ascendant to the descendant.  You can also use a large circular piece of paper, at least three feet in diameter, drawn into four quarters.  Now collect nine objects from around your house and yard, objects about the same size.  Perhaps a pine cone, a bell, a small figurine, a small stuffy, a candle, a ball of twine…whatever you have around.  At this point you just want different objects, not ones with any particular meaning.

My cast of characters.

Stand at the bottom point of the table, and without reference to any chart, arrange your objects in different ways within the circle.  Put all of the objects in the bottom half of the chart, and let the arrangement tell you something about a person with this arrangement of planets.  Move the objects to the top of the chart, or scatter them evenly around the circle.  At each design, stop and look at your tabletop – what does that arrangement say to you?

I have several clients with this pattern. Focused? Narrow, perhaps?

Now take your own chart and arrange the objects on the table as they are in your chart.  Don’t worry about placing them exactly, just make sure you get the correct number of objects into the correct quadrants, or quarters, of the chart.  Now step back and take a look at the whole.  What immediately becomes apparent by seeing the objects displayed in the circle this way?  Are there one or two areas that really command your attention?  Why?  Are there areas full of planets or is there a whole area that is devoid of planets completely?

If you have other charts to work with, rearrange your objects according to the patterns in the other charts.  What is immediately apparent in the other charts?

Technical name for this is Seesaw. Issues of balance, maybe?

Don’t dismiss your hunches because you haven’t heard or read a “professional” explain them in that way.  Keeping it simple, what do the arrangements tell you?  You don’t need to be a musician to be moved by music.  Let the symbolic language of astrology speak to you.

Check out my other blog for all things business, including weekly and monthly forecasts.
Astro4Business Intersections

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

Excel and Astrology – Who Knew?

January 27th, 2011

Hi, everyone.

Today I spent the afternoon adding data to my astro-research database.  As I read magazines and newspapers, other bloggers, and listen to the radio I continually see or hear phrases that are great descriptions of various astrological configurations.  I keep a stack of these pages and notes and when I have time, I fill in my database.  I’ve gathered hundreds of these bits of data.  When it’s time to write or speak to someone about a particular configuration, I sort through these snippets.  I find it gives me a “real life” take on various parts of astrology, more telling   than formal study gives me.

Pacioli, the creator of double-entry bookkeeping. Doesn't it look like he's studying an astrology chart? (Source:Wikipedia)

For years I searched and searched for the right tool to capture this info and all along it was right under my nose.  As an accountant I’ve used Excel spreadsheets in my work forever.  I’m very comfortable with Excel but by no means am I a super-user – just competent.

Really it was a fortuitous disaster that got me into using Excel for astrology in the first place.  I was using an automated card index system called NDx but then all of a sudden I couldn’t access my hundreds of notecards anymore.  The company had apparently gone out of business.  I called, I wrote, I called again and wrote again, all the while panicking about the year of wasted work.  But then my genius son cracked the code and was able to download my data into an Excel sheet.  When I opened the spreadsheet to see what he’d been able to retrieve I was shocked.  There was all my research, spread out into the columns and rows I know so well!

I show an example of the spreadsheet below.  I’ve only shown two columns but each entry has many, including the source of the quote, the author’s name, the publication, the category of information, and many more.  This way if I want to use a quotation in the future, I’ve got the bibliography right there.  And with Excel’s ease of copying and pasting and other tools it doesn’t take long to enter many items in one short session.  It’s such a great system.

The sample below is based on an article in the New York Times Magazine about Lynn Redgrave, who died last year.  When I come across a descriptive article that interests me, the first thing I do is see if I can find out the person’s birthchart.  There’s a wonderful resource on the web called Astrodatabank.  They have, I believe, over 35,000 charts of the famous and semi-famous.  That’s always my first stop.  They also tell you how accurate they believe the information to be, whether they had a birth certificate in hand, or what other source of information they used.

If I have no luck there, I go to Wikipedia.  In most cases, if there’s an article on the person the birthday is listed and often the place of birth.  Even without the time of birth, there is a lot you can see about a person from the planetary placements and aspects alone.

In today’s case I was lucky.  Astrodatabank had Lynn Redgrave’s chart, with an A rating.  Reading through the article with her birthchart in front of me  I filled in my database as you see below.  As you read through it, see how it gives words to the various configurations in her chart.  Then next time I see a chart with Sun in the 12th house, for example, I can cull through all of my entries on that placement of the Sun for language that really describes the situation, in the words of someone who has lived it.

Here’s a sample of my spreadsheet:

Check out my other blog for all things business, including weekly and monthly forecasts.
Astro4Business Intersections

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

An Intro to Sun Signs and Leadership

January 24th, 2011

Hello everyone.

Ever since I first started writing my Astro4Business blog, I’ve been toying with the idea that the qualities of each astrological sign flavor the style of leadership a person displays when they are in a position of authority.  Every business owner, every executive, every team leader was born under one of twelve Sun signs.  I’ve wondered, can these Sun signs give hints about authentic styles of leadership for each sign?  Can the Sun signs lend an instant understanding of talents a person can rely upon, the purpose and values they bring to their work, and also raise flags to watch for that could derail their business success?

(From Wikimedia Commons)

Sun Sign astrology is criticized by many astrologers as way too general, and it’s true:  the Sun is only one of the major points in a chart.  Not only are there additional planets and the Moon, there is also the interrelationship between all these points. You can’t get the fine nuances about a person’s life with only the Sun sign.  Some people relate immediately to their Sun sign, recognizing themselves in the characteristics of the sign.  Other people think astrology is bunk because they feel themselves to be so different from their Sun signs.

Even some astrologers have gone so far as to dismiss the Sun’s sign completely from their astrology as well as the zodiac positions of the Moon and planets.  These astrologers use only the geometric angles between the planets for delineating charts and in some cases the stars or constellations.  (See Darkstar Astrology for an example.)

I was trained in the school of astrology that included the zodiac signs.  But the question still remains:  is it useful to study leadership styles based solely on the Sun sign?  Can we gain valuable guidance to share with leaders to help them be happier and more successful?

Here are my reasons for thinking it is valid to do so:

  • In mundane astrology, the most ancient form of astrology, the Sun represents the king, the president, people in authority, public heroes, and national champions.  The Sun in the chart of a country represents this leadership role, not the other chart points or planets.
  • Just as the sun is central to the solar system, the leader/owner is central to the business.  No matter what other dynamics occur in a company as shown by other planets and relationships among them, the leader is represented by the Sun.
  • In looking for leadership qualities, we are by definition looking at the public self.  The other planets and particularly the Moon primarily relate to more private expression.  We are looking at a slice of the person’s life in their role as leader of an organization, not the entire life.
  • If we want to look at anyone’s ability to lead, we would look first at the Sun in the chart.  A person’s qualities of leadership are shown by the Sun.
  • There are many different valid styles of leadership – perhaps they may be described by the different signs of the zodiac.
  • Many astrologers think that we grow into our Sun sign and begin to display its qualities in our mid-thirties, the same time many people step into positions of leadership.
  • Many astrologers think we grow more and more into the qualities of our Sun sign with the ultimate goal of authentic self-expression as shown by the sign of the Sun.  Some studies suggest that authentic self-expression is the most important requirement of successful leadership.
  • An astrologer once told me that she always looked at the sign of the Sun in any vocational reading no matter what sign was ruling any other point in the chart.  She said that if the Sun isn’t being expressed then the person could not be happy, no matter what other factors were fulfilled in the chart.

So all in all I do think it’s valid to undertake the study.  It will unfold on my other blog, Astro4Business, because it will be primarily about leadership in the business setting.  But the qualities we discover will surely apply to anyone with the Sun in that particular sign.

During each zodiac month I’ll post one or more articles in which we discuss leaders born during that month.  This month we’re looking at Sun in Aquarius and we’ll start with Yoko Ono and Betty Friedan.  Look for that post on Astro4Business Intersections later this week.

This is going to be fun!

UPDATE: See the first post in the series – Aquarius Leadership – Yoko Ono

See the second post in the series – Aquarius Leadership – Franklin D. Roosevelt

The Ascendant – Your “First Life” Avatar

January 22nd, 2011

It took me a long time to really understand the Ascendant in the natal chart.  The Ascendant, or the Rising Sign, is the sign on the eastern horizon at the moment of your birth.  The astronomy of it was clear to me; the meaning wasn’t.

The reason I couldn’t understand it is because my own Ascendant is a little complicated.  When I was born the Moon was almost exactly on my Gemini Ascendant, as was the ruler of my Sun, Jupiter.  They were so melded into each other it took years before I could untangle whether I was experiencing my Moon or my Sun or my Ascendant.

What's your rising sign? (Xbox NXE avatar. Source: Wikipedia)

Did you ever play in the online world Second Life?  I never explored it much but I did create an avatar. (That’s not her to the right!)  I love her – she is a lot younger looking than me and she dresses really cool.  She has great hair and is friendly and outgoing.  Actually, she’s a lot like my rising sign, Gemini.  She has Gemini flair, a bounce in her step, and as I said, really cool clothes.

One way I now think of the Ascendant is as an avatar in “First Life,” this life, the one we live in now.  The Ascendant can be understood as a persona you create and send forth to interact with the other avatars in First Life.

Another example may make it more clear.  I remember when I was a teen I would drive around in my parents’ car with the windows down and the radio or tape deck up loud.  When I saw someone I knew, I would leave the music on or even turn it up, transmitting the music as a stand-in for me.  The music was my attempt to create an impression.  It was a persona I projected, even unconsciously at the time; it was a slice of me I sent forth to represent me.

The Ascendant in the chart can be understood as an avatar, or a rock and roll song, or a style of dress, or a part of a personality, or a role.  We are constantly sending out these personas, and masking them according to how we want others to perceive us.  It is a most natural skill of a human being.  It’s like using shorthand for a certain situation:  the whole self does not need to step forward, so we send out an abbreviation instead.

One of my teachers says to imagine the Ascendant as how you behave when you go to a party and you don’t know anyone there.  As you interact with others, what side of you do they see?  Are you chatty, reserved, bashful, boastful, serious, the life of the party?  This is the face of your Ascendant.

Our physical bodies are also described by the Ascendant in the sense that they are costumes donned by our whole being to operate in this physical realm.  It’s like the body is our sensing instrument, conveying information back to central command.  It’s also a space suit, or rather, an earth suit that is able to act and interact with the earth environment.  Most people perceive each other through the Ascendant, through the body.  It is a rare person who can immediately see through the apparent figure to the powerful energies that are working inside the whole being.

It’s not a matter of the Ascendant being a dishonest representation of ourselves.   On the contrary, it is the tool that our whole self uses to experience and interact with this world.  As we recognize the difference between the Ascendant and the energies of our whole self, symbolized by the Sun and Moon and planets in a chart, we can become more careful about using the Ascendant to convey a conscious expression of ourselves rather than an unconscious mask or costume.

How well does your avatar, your Ascendant, express what’s inside you?  That depends on the compatibility of the sign on your Ascendant with the other factors in your astrology chart, especially the Sun and the Moon.  If the Sun and Moon are in signs compatible with your Ascendant, then the Ascendant serves more naturally as a doorway to your true inner being.  If your Sun and/or Moon is in a conflicting sign with your Ascendant, then people can receive a very different impression of you than who you really are.  This can lead to the feeling that others don’t understand you, when actually you are misrepresenting yourself through your body, your posture, your dress, or your mannerisms.

Just by becoming more aware of our Ascendant, we not only express a more authentic face to the world, but we also can attain a much deeper understanding of others.  Just by remembering, as we view the person in front of us, that we are seeing only a costume and not the whole person, we can experience a radical shift in our perception of other people.

Do you know the sign on your Ascendant?  How well does it represent who you truly are?  If you have your chart, your Ascendant is the sign between house 12 and house 1 to the very left of your chart.  If you’d like to leave in the comments your Ascendant, Sun Sign, and Moon Sign, I’ll respond with a few words about how they all fit, or don’t fit, together. 

If you don’t have your chart, go to my other site, Astro4Business Intersections, and look in the side bar to request a free copy of your chart.  One caveat:  you have to know your exact time of birth to get an accurate Ascendant, as the degree on the horizon changes every 4 minutes.

The Birth Chart: The Sacred Moment

January 19th, 2011

Hello everyone.

Today I thought I’d step back to absolute fundamentals and share a tool I use when examining natal charts and transits.  These are my personal guidelines for my astrology work.

Every astrologer understands the field according to their own background, spiritual beliefs, education, and astrological system they practice.  There are probably as many takes on astrology as there are astrologers.

(Source: Wikipedia)

Master Astrologer Dane Rudhyar used a term I really like when talking about astrology.  He called a chart interpretation, a “life interpretation.” Yet in order to interpret a life one has to question, what is life, why are we alive, does life have meaning?  An astrologer dives deeply into these issues throughout their study and our answers to these questions completely inform our astrological interpretations.  To me, this is what makes the practice of astrology so compelling.

Here are the principles I use in my astrology practice.

  • My spiritual master calls life the “gateway to enlightenment.”  This resonates with me.  If life is the gateway to enlightenment, then life is an opportunity and the natal chart is a snapshot of the moment that opportunity was taken.
  • Every moment is auspicious.  Each birth moment is auspicious because Life has decided to enact a certain play, beginning at a certain moment in this space and time.  The moment of the birthchart is a translation of the infinite Life into everyday life in this realm.  So the study of the birthchart is the study of a sacred moment.
  • This moment of birth was chosen.  The incarnating soul chose a certain destiny, a certain birthchart, and this birthchart brings the right experiences to the person in order to fulfill their destiny.
  • The birthchart shows what can be attained here which cannot be attained anywhere else.  Each of us incarnated on this plane to achieve something.  What is it?
  • Each person has something to learn and something to offer.  We ask of the chart:  what is this person learning; what is this person offering?
  • During an astrology session the client’s frame of reference is altered from day to day matters to their life as a whole.  It is a consideration of the whole life and its purpose.  Therefore the session is worthy of careful preparation and deepest respect.
  • There are no bad aspects, no bad placement of planets in signs.  The chart shows where a person is challenging themselves so they can grow in understanding and virtues.
  • There are no bad transits.  Some transits are more challenging than others, but these call on our strengths and impel us to put them into action.
  • In the first Saturn cycle, from age 0 to about 29, a person is growing into their capacity to offer to the world; in the second Saturn cycle, about 29 to about 58, a person offers and learns from their offering; in the third Saturn cycle about 58 to 88 a person is ready to pass on their knowledge.  The fourth cycle?  I’m not sure.  Perhaps just silence.
  • There are always new levels to discover in astrology.  We can always go deeper.  We will never uncover the whole key because what we are studying are the ways of the universe and they are vast and ever-new; patterned yet each moment completely unique.
  • There will always be mystery in astrology; that’s part of the fun of it.

To other astrologers out there:  any points you’d like to add to the list?

Check out my other blog for all things business, including weekly and monthly forecasts.
Astro4Business Intersections

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

Mercury/Pluto – Reclaim the Power of your Words Today

January 17th, 2011

Hi, everyone.

All day long today we are approaching a Mercury/Pluto conjunction, which will be exact at about 11:00 PM MST.  At first I was going to write about how in ancient mythology, Mercury is the only soul allowed to visit the underworld and return to the land of the living at will.  In other words, our thinking, analyzing, and discriminating function can be infused with wisdom from our unconscious and put that wisdom to use in the world.  I still think there is a lot of truth to mine in this take on today’s conjunction, but I’m going to leave it to another time.  The Mercury/Pluto conjunction has its own message to convey.

Last night I was having a conversation with someone who is experiencing a fairly treacherous Pluto transit in her life:  transiting Pluto is aspecting her natal Moon, Ascendant, Mars, Sun, Pluto, and Jupiter.  That’s a lot of Pluto.  This transit has been slowly contacting all of these various points in her chart over the last couple of years and this year it continues.

Needless to say she has been experiencing the typical kinds of issues a strong Pluto transit tends to bring:  rehashing her childhood, questioning her beliefs, working like hell to protect herself against difficult authority figures, intense and unforeseen contact with family, even clashes with criminals.  She has had to look deeper and deeper into her own psyche in order to sort this out, and she has become committed to rooting out the last drop of these ancient patterns so she can be free forever.

Pluto is related to power; all the textbooks say so.  It is strong in charts of people who are “into power.”  I always thought of this in terms of external power:  the power of the mighty against the weak, the power of society to overwhelm the individual, the grabbing after fame or financial fortune, the lust for the corner office or for absolute authority over others.

But as we spoke last night, aided by the Mercury/Pluto transit today no doubt, I finally understood a much more potent type of power, the power (Pluto) of thoughts and words (Mercury) to either free us or bind us.  This is a power we either wield ourselves or let others wield it instead.

At some deep and fundamental level we decide whether we hold the authority and power in our lives, or whether other people do.  When my friend reacts to the scathing critical words of her boss, she allows his negative state to become hers.  If she continues to think about them and then speak about the situation with others, she further transmits his dark impulse out into the world.  Thoughts and words have a powerful transforming alchemy; they may be the most powerful energies operating in our day to day lives.

We hand over power to others to the extent we allow their words to impact us.  We are either open to their words or not.  We acquiesce, we grab them, we take them personally or we let them just linger in the ethers until they dissipate, unclaimed.  I think we are vulnerable to others’ words to the extent we think our survival depends on the good opinions of our boss or our parents or our spouse or our government.

I believe this all gets set up in childhood or even before, and those with strong Pluto influences in their chart usually had a power figure crashing through their household, insisting on absolute authority and creating the belief that everyone else was powerless and inconsequential.    If there was Mercury/Pluto influence in the early life, often the child was raised being told in no uncertain terms, “you’re useless; you’re as dumb as the day is long; I don’t care what you think, just do what I say.”  Having had this influence myself, I fully commiserate with you if you had it too.

It reminds me of the movie of King George VI that I’ve just seen twice, The King’s Speech.  Liz Greene states in her wonderful book, Saturn, that there is evidence that stammering is associated with Mercury/Saturn contacts in a chart, but in King George’s case it was Mercury/Pluto – issues of power.  If you see the movie you will recognize the constant battle he faced regarding power and whether he was entitled to wield it.  In his case it was an opposition between the two planets:  the power was undoubtedly in someone else’s hands and cut off from his own will or determination.

No matter how these things get set up, or how long we have been victims of other people, the day comes when we take back our power – and today can be such a day.  Today’s conjunction of Mercury and Pluto provides an environment, either external or internal, in which we can decide who will create our experience of life, whose words we will allow to influence us.  The conjunction gives us the insight as to where we have surrendered our power to others and it also gives us the will to reclaim our birthright.

Today is the day we can meld our thoughts and words with our inner authority, truth, and power.  Today is the day we can recognize the impact of others’ words on our happiness and the impact of our words on others.  Today we can choose to dip down into the source of inner authority and come back into the world with our minds infused with our own deep knowledge, the knowledge to create the life we desire through claiming the power in our own thoughts and words.

Today is the day!

Check out my other blog for all things business, including weekly and monthly forecasts.
Astro4Business Intersections

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

Synchronicity #1

January 14th, 2011

Hi, everyone.

Just a quick post to share one of those moments in astrology which is beyond explanation.

I just sat down to write a post for my Astro4Business blog about Uranus and its travels through the zodiac in 2011.  In the back of my mind was that I needed to be sure to look at Uranus in connection with Neptune because although they are traveling through different signs this year, the degrees they will cover in the respective signs are about the same.

The impact of this is that if someone has chart points in those degrees, they will have a double-whammy this year:  both Uranus and Neptune will aspect the same points.  The geometric angles will be different but the points affected will be the same.  I wanted to be sure to give my readers some information about how this might impact them.

I opened my astrology program, Solar Fire, to look at the transits of Uranus for 2011.  Whenever I open my program the first image that comes up is the chart for the sky at the exact moment I open the program.  Using the filtering function, I often will ask the program to show me only those aspects between the bodies which are within 1 degree of exactitude.  That way I can see if I can sense the impact of the most prominent aspects of the moment.

This is what I got:

The sky at the moment I'm writing this post.

Neptune is the trident symbol at the left of the chart in house 12.  Uranus is the antenna-like symbol in house 1.  I don’t know if you can see it, but there is a dotted line connecting these two planets.  At this very moment, Uranus and Neptune are forming an aspect called a semi-sextile, a 30 degree aspect, exact within 10 minutes of each other.  (These minutes are not time-related but degree-related.)

I’m about to write about Uranus and Neptune together, and they are forming the closest aspect of all the planets in the sky right now! 

The aspect is called a waxing semi-sextile, so I went to my database to see the definition I have collected over time for the waxing semi-sextile.  It is:

Vague hint of what the planets may achieve at fullness; enticing promise of fulfillment to come; feeling that we need to grow and develop in a new direction; must overcome resistance, inertia, hesitation.

Sounds like a good time to write about the year ahead, doesn’t it?  And yet, I didn’t write that post first but was inspired to write this one instead.  Hmmmm.  Is that a hint about Uranus and Neptune this year?  Will resistance, inertia, or hesitation be a factor?

Just the last thing I noticed:  the sign on the Ascendant is Pisces.  The Ascendant contains the general tenor of the moment and Pisces is the sign most favored by Neptune and currently contains Uranus.  So all in all, it seems like the perfect moment to write the post.

Astrology is so cool, isn’t it?

Check out my other blog for all things business, including weekly and monthly forecasts.
Astro4Business Intersections

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

Notes on the Nodes

January 13th, 2011

Hi, everyone.

Have you ever noticed that when something comes to your attention, then it begins to vie for your attention?  It seems like everywhere you turn, there it is, like it’s been under your nose all the time just waiting for you to notice it.  A simple example is a new car.  In the wake of my car having been stolen in November (see this link for a bit of an astrological discussion of the event), I’ve recently bought a new silver crossover.  I didn’t pick the color, and wouldn’t have chosen it, but it was what was available so we took it.  Now all I see are silver crossovers; it’s like everyone is driving one!  (Watch.  Now you’ll see them everywhere too.)

This used to happen to me with my accounting work.  I’d accidentally run across an article on some obscure topic, and then the next day a client would call wanting to know whether I knew anything about the very same subject.  The article would have provided enough bits and pieces to at least sound credible, and then I’d thoroughly research the topic before the client meeting.  And then, more often than not, another client would call with the same issue, and on it would go from there.  Does that happen in your work?

Example: North Node in 8th House; South Node in 2nd House

In astrology it happens all the time and it’s happening now with me and the Nodes.  Last year I took a workshop on the Lunar Nodes with Steven Forrest, an excellent astrologer.  That workshop went right over my head.  I understood everything he said at the time, but I had zero retention of the information.  And so it lay dormant until I heard from AstroLogos that they were offering their AstroLogos Tutorial on The Nodes,  “Two Views of the Astrological Nodes:  Humanistic and Medieval.”  The time was right.  I was in England and assumed that when I came back home I’d begin the series.

I finally received the materials earlier this week.  I’ve barely dipped my toe into the waters and I’m receiving inquiry after inquiry about the Nodes.  On my Astro4Business site I offer a Straight to the Point Response Service where people can ask a specific question and I audio-tape an answer for them within a week.  And for each inquiry I’ve looked at this week the answer seems to lie in the Nodes.

Just to take a break and keep up with my fellow bloggers I looked in on Donna Cunningham’s blog, Sky Writer.  What did I find?    An article titled, “Readers Ask: Q&A about the Moon’s Nodes by Donna Van Toen.”  Okay, okay, I get the message!

The Nodes are not planets; they are points in the sky where two planes intersect.  For example, the Moon’s Nodes, which are by far the most commonly explored by astrologers, are the two points where the orbit of the Moon around the Earth intersects the orbit of the Earth around the Sun.

Why these points in space carry so much significance is a mystery to me but they have been known and followed since at least 1000 BC.  They have been considered important by the Western astrology traditions and the Vedic system.  Some astrologers give them primary importance in delineating a horoscope, even more importance than the planets or the Sun or Moon.

Apparently there are many different ways to interpret the Nodes and even in the materials I’ve read this week, one astrologer said we “shy away from” our North Node and another said we “run towards” our North Node.  So there’s still a lot to uncover here.  Is it possible to do both?  Or does it depend on other factors in the chart: perhaps more aggressive types go for it, while more reticent types shy away?

Here are a few clear points I’ve learned so far:

  • Since there are always two nodes, and they are always exactly opposite each other, they will involve two opposing houses in the horoscope and two opposite signs.
  • There will be an emphasis in the person’s life according to which two houses the Nodes straddle.  The issues in this house will probably be out of balance and will need extra attention to balance them.
  • There seems to be a karmic thread that runs through all of the interpretations, in that the South Node is seen as skills or attitudes you have already developed, in the tool box so to speak, and the North Node is an area to develop with effort in this lifetime.
  • When planets form an aspect to the Nodes it is significant.  (Sorry, that’s as much as I can say about this one so far.)
  • When comparing two charts for the purpose of understanding a relationship, the Nodes play a vital role.

So that’s about it.  A lot more to learn!

Where are your Nodes?  Do you know how to interpret them?  If you understand the Nodes, or can answer any of the questions above, please leave some points in the comments.  I can use all the help I can get!

Check out my other blog for all things business, including weekly and monthly forecasts.
Astro4Business Intersections

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.