Astrology News with Steven Forrest
I’m writing you from the always beautiful Pacific NW, which is in the peak of Spring, abundant with green, awash in flowers, the air scented with lilacs. And lots of sun! Almost paradise… But kind of like the neighborhood I live in, it’s complicated to take in the beauty and be fully present to it with all of the simultaneous complexity going on in the world. The Uranus+Pluto square is still in full swing, and we’ll continue to get reminders of that until the orb between these two intense planetary bodies starts to widen.
I’d like to share a blog-style entry with you this time, rather than a cohesive work of writing, as a way to facilitate the beginning of a healing process. Take these words as food for further thought. Follow the trails that interest you. And let the rest go.
The Ascendant (your rising sign) is one of the most important symbols in the birth chart, making up one third of the "Primal Triad" that also includes the Sun and Moon. The ruling planet of the Ascendant is referred to as your chart's ruler, which sounds kind of important, right? And yet we often gloss over it, or refer to it in a surface kind of manner. This is easy to do given the complexity to unravel in any birthchart. But we should always be careful to give the Ascendant the amount of attention it deserves.
This month, we'll do just that by featuring the Ascendant on the site. We've just re-released Jodie Forrest's book The Ascendant: Your Rising Sign in print and eBook format. And all audio downloads on the topic will be 20% off for the month of April. If you haven't done so already, why not spend a little extra time with this important symbol this month?
Hello Everyone! Steven is in the midst of a busy month of travel, and as I write this, we've already been fully initiated into the current Mercury retrograde cycle, which began on February 23, 2013. And something tells me you've noticed this one, even if you weren't forewarned.
That's because this Mercury retrograde cycle has an especially discombobulated quality since it's taking place in the sign of dreamy, subjective Pisces. When adrift in the sea of Pisces, Mercury isn't transmitting from its clearest channel. This isn't to say that Mercury in Pisces is "bad." Every planet/sign combination has a divine reason and place. But some combinations are certainly less complicated than others. In Pisces, Mercury is swimming through uncomfortably murky waters , and those cute little wings on his feet and hat get a bit soggy. Mercury likes the kind of knowing that results from a clear train of thought. Pisces represents the subjective knowing that we might get from dreams or or non-linear experience. So already, retrograde or not, in Pisces, Mercury 's usual speedy disposition and sharp cognitive process is altered. Add the retrograde piece and poor Mercury appears to have fallen down the rabbit hole.
And as usual, that's not the end of the story, because the sky is always more complex... From the end of February throughout most of March, we're all awash in a sea of Piscean energy, with the Sun also in Pisces (since February 18), Mars in Pisces (through March 11), and Neptune in Pisces. And Venus would never be left out of the party by choice. She dives into Pisces during the wee hours of February 25th, giving us 5 planets in Pisces at once!
Saturn is the planet that helps us grow up. Failing that, it just helps us get old. Neptune is our guide when it comes to the most bedrock issue of all—what we take with us out of this world, and that boils down to consciousness itself. “Wisdom” might be a good word for it, although that has nothing to do with passing any posthumous “multiple choice tests.” Neptune is that depth you see in some people’s eyes. Saturn is the quality of maturity. Both of them are constantly moving around everyone’s chart, stepping into the spotlight and back out of it. We grow with them in pulses.
For everyone, Neptune is extra-powerful lately. It’s in Pisces, the sign it rules, and it will be there for another dozen years. That’s universal, affecting everybody. But Neptune affects each person in a unique way depending on where it falls in his or her individual chart. That kind of astrological thinking quickly gets complicated, but one of its most critical elements is simply knowing the HOUSE of the chart through which Neptune is currently passing. There’s the key to your best spiritual practice. I use “spiritual practice” here as a huge term embracing many possibilities, from meditating in a Tibetan cave through random acts of charity in the funky streets of the world. What practice is most effective for you? Which one generates wisdom most effectively and quickly? The House through which Neptune is currently traveling casts a bright light on that question.
Bono and the boys sang, “Nothing changes on New Year’s Day” and that’s usually about right. There is nothing astrologically significant about the first day of January. Calling January 1st “the beginning of the year” is a Roman invention without any real basis in any natural cycle. The only astrological argument for it is that the date lies close to the northern Winter Solstice, which falls at the end of the third week of December. That Solstice—the longest night of the year—could naturally be a candidate for a true nature-based New Year’s since it marks the beginning of the return of the light. But the day we celebrate is off by ten days, and there are other equally compelling calendrical possibilities.
Of course if you are an Australian, even that is all backwards. For the Aussies, that bright summer day in December marks the outset of a descent into darkness, and who would want to celebrate that day as a new beginning?
Astrologers generally view Aries as the first sign of the zodiac, and so timing the year’s start to coincide with the Vernal Equinox would make good organic sense—but again, all that is reversed in the southern hemisphere. And who needs another lost cause anyway? Just try to get people to celebrate the New Year on March 21st. Astrologers have tried to get the world to call that day “International Astrology Day.” And . . . well, it’s not exactly on postage stamps yet. (By the way, one of my Mexican friends lamented that US astrologers chose March 21 for International Astrology Day when the entire post-Catholic world already celebrates astrologers in the form of the Three Wise Men on January 6th, which would have been a choice that already had a big head start.)
In the modern system of rulerships, Pluto rules my own Scorpio Ascendant from the ninth house and Leo. Thus it is the ruler of my chart, and has left a very obvious mark on the outward shape of my life: I travel all over the planet teaching metaphysics and often getting treated like a king. That sounds a lot like Leo and the ninth house to me.
Closer to the heart of my methods, Pluto also rules my Scorpio south node of the Moon, so I have also wrestled with Pluto’s dark side in this lifetime and in others. I wrote confessionally about some of that in the final chapter of Yesterday’s Sky.
Back in the early 1990s, with Pluto transiting over my Ascendant, my publisher commissioned me to add a volume to a series they were doing about each of the planets. The Book of Pluto was the result. After being unavailable for a year or two, I am delighted to see the book coming back into print this month. I knew while writing that the ideas it contained would create strong reactions in people—that is very much the definition of Pluto. Sitting with a client experiencing a Plutonian time, I often say that, “if I am not making you uncomfortable, I am missing the point.” This is not about sadism! It is about the fact the during Plutonian times, material emerges from the world of the Shadow. It does so because we are ready—sometimes just barely ready.
Steven just returned from another momentous trip to China and shares his story about his journey below. Meanwhile I've been making the usual Mercury retrograde preparations - backing up hard drives and website data, and figuring out which old projects to focus on finishing up (Mercury stations retrograde November 6). I look forward to Mercury retrograde because regardless of what's happening, I set those three weeks aside to slow down the pace, accept whatever shenanigans present themselves, and go with the flow. And this cycle is sure to be full of shenanigans, with Mercury stationing on Election Day, and squaring Neptune. Oh boy.
We could get stressed out over the increased potential for voting confusion (remember the last time Mercury stationed retrograde on Election Day in 2000?) and other mishaps. But instead how about trying my approach, which is to put my trust in the presence of some divine plan and do my best to take care of business in my own small realm of influence, striving to determine fact from falsehood, and to communicate clearly and wisely.
During Mercury retrograde I always manage to get caught up with old things on my to do lists, and to finish one or two of the many half-open books on my nightstand. And both of those things feel great. If you start to feel frustrated moving forward during this cycle, join me and try moving backwards! It works like a charm every time.
Evolutionary Astrology in the Movies?
Have you seen Cloud Atlas yet? If you get a chance, it's worth the trek to the theater. This epic adventure through time deals with the deep topics of reincarnation and free will and is one of the most dynamically creative and provocative films to come out this year. While I was piecing the story together (it's challenging at times) my jaw nearly dropped when one of the characters actually used the word "astrology"! Though Cloud Atlas doesn't directly tackle the subject of evolutionary astrology, it sure is a nice companion piece. The film follows several characters over the course of time, with souls intertwining from life to life, in a display that focuses both on the consequences of our actions as well as the redemptive and revolutionary power of love. Check it out and let me know what you think. If nothing else, go for the rich visual experience and makeup wonders, which include Tom Hanks as you've never seen him before...
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The Lunar Phases
The lunar phases are curiously marginalized in astrological practice. How is a Full Moon in Gemini different from a crescent Moon in the same sign? What about waxing versus waning? Based on The Book of the Moon, this lecture introduces an eight-phase interpretation of the lunar cycle based on the Pagan calendar of solstices, equinoxes, and cross-quarter days. Post Conference Workshop UAC 2012. 3 hours 40 min. Buy Now.