by Steven Forrest
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...
Steven is back this month with a well-rounded look at the often dread-inducing transit of Saturn in Scorpio. Just in time for Halloween, Saturn's ingress into Scorpio conjures up images of the Grim Reaper. My favorite re-imagining of everyone's least favorite dinner guest appears in this image of the woman on the left, as the character Death from Neil Gaiman's comic book series The Sandman.
But as Steven points out below, it doesn't pay to get scared when it comes to Saturn. Rather, if we work with the image of Father Time as a metaphor, we can see Saturn in Scorpio heralding our need to go through the process of weeding out the dead growth that Mr. Reaper's scythe brings to mind, before we can plant new seeds again when Spring comes around. In the end, this is just another natural cycle of life, to be accepted and even celebrated for what it is. For more, see Steven's note below.
With that "back to school" feeling in the air, it seems appropriate that in this month's newsletter, we'll be sharing the latest updates to Steven's 2013 calendar.
Over the next year you'll have the opportunity to study with Steven in exotic locations like China and Italy, as well as his mainstays in California and North Carolina. See the online schedule for details.
I've spent the last few weeks putting the final touches on the newest printing of The Inner Sky. Although the content inside is the same, we've given the book a new cover, and new layout for the interior. This month I'll be getting it ready for the Kindle and Nook. And then I'll be doing the same with Yesterday's Sky,The Book of Pluto, Skymates IIand Jodie's bookThe Ascendant. It will be great to eventually have all of Steven's books available in digital formats.
Steven has fast at work writing a long monograph on "Creating The Past Life Story" for his apprenticeship programs this year. He wishes he'd written it as an appendix toYesterday's Sky, but better late than never! This writing will provide the foundations for creating the metaphorical past life story, which is an invaluable tool for communicating this dynamic to clients, or even when looking at our own charts. This writing will be made available in both upcoming California programs, in Calistoga September 28th, and in Alpine November 8, 2012.
We're now in the home stretch of Mercury Retrograde. Mercury stations direct early in the morning of August 8.
There plenty of levity to appreciate in today's Aquarius full moon energy, which is much needed after last month's challenging Mars aspects. Just as the moon is full, it will trine Jupiter, which will in turn form a sextile to the sun. The Sun and Mercury will trine Uranus, and even Saturn is feeling friendly with a sweet trine to Venus. If you're reading this, make the most of these positive energies while they're at hand.
Steven caught just enough of a breather between teaching events to write a wonderful bit about Venus in Cancer below. He's just now beginning his annual AP program in Australia. Then he heads home for a short break before the next program which starts September 28 in Calistoga, CA. He'll be sharing the very special program topic "Creating the Actual Nodal Story." We've been asked if this is a repeat of the workshops taught in conjunction with Yesterday's Sky. The official word is that this is not a repeat, and that he'll be taking students down a deeper road of exploration into working with the nodes, as he teaches us how to create a nodal story that is both resonant and transformative. If you're not enrolled in the Calistoga retreat, you'll have another chance to hear this material in November at Blue Sky Ranch.
As always, I leave you with good wishes for your well-being and happiness,
If you're reading this, you know that for the most part, we survived the first pass of Uranus square Pluto relatively in tact. I know some of you out there were a little worried... While many headlines last week had a distinctly Uranus square Pluto signature (we'll look at a couple below), it's times like this that remind us that our fears sometimes get the best of us. And also that the world keeps on turning.
There were some dramatic headlines last week. Sadly, the fires in Colorado are being dubbed "the most destructive in state history." The supreme court let out a couple of very Pluto in Capricorn style decisions. And the Egyptian elections carried the flavor of both the Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn archetypal fields. They elected an Islamist president who pleases the conservatives. But in a surprising (Uranus, anyone?) turn, the new president announced that he'll appoint two vice presidents: a woman, and a Christian! The real-life expression of the planetary energies is always more wonderfully complex than we could have imagined beforehand.