Aquarius, the Water Bearer. Aquarius is an air sign, but his vessel is made of clay and it contains water. Aquarius is a complex sign, with origins dating back to ancient Egypt where the Water Bearer was depicted with a ruler to measure the depth of the Nile.
THE SUN is currently in Capricorn for a few more days, but planets are gathering in Aquarius. It's a cool setup. Aquarius is a cool, airy sign associated with novelty, invention and themes of social acceptance, and this chart is wearing some fancy shades. As I begin writing just before noon eastern standard time Thursday (in Woodstock), there is a precise triple conjunction of Vesta, Chiron and Mercury on the 11th house cusp.
Mercury talks, if astrologers (or anyone) will listen. This aspect is a cue to give a voice
to that Vesta-Chiron conjunction, and I will do that in a few moments.
Also in Aquarius is Neptune. Mr. Blue has been there since the late 1990s, an artifact of the Clinton impeachment era -- the most impressive act of public deception leading up to the false flag attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. And there is the North Node, recently arrived in late Aquarius (its overall motion is retrograde, so it starts at the end of a sign and works its way to the beginning). The Moon's nodes tell you approximately where eclipses are going to happen, and we are indeed heading into an Aquarius solar eclipse, exact on Feb. 7. If you're reading any chart, remember: if you see the Sun anywhere near one of the Moon's nodes, an eclipse is in the immediate vicinity.
Somewhat off the charts is Nessus
in Aquarius. Nessus is one of the small worlds, the third Centaur planet discovered and the first planet ever to be named by the International Astronomical Union at the recommendation of astrologers. It is not displayed by most commercial astrology software (with the exception of Solar Fire
by Astrolabe). Nessus is an energy related to Chiron, which speaks to the theme of cause and effect. Nessus is like the point in a chart where we take responsibility for the actions of the past; we deal with the consequences; we see the results. Melanie Reinhart gives the key phrase, "The buck stops here."
One of the Aquarius keywords is interesting
, and this alignment qualifies, particularly with an eclipse zooming in and Mercury about to do its retrograde dance over the whole arrangement. Aquarius is the intersection of group consciousness and the quest for individuality. We all walk this line, or at least we talk it. We want to be unique, but we have a need to be acceptable to others. Which one wins out? Usually conformity.
Few people feel acceptable to others when they are actually being themselves. Indeed, few things in our society are more antithetical to the quest for group acceptance than expressing one's individuality. The result is that most groups cease to be groups -- they are more like swarms of robots. These swarms set a price for acceptance, they set rules for patterns of behavior, and most sickeningly, they tend to establish the value of self-esteem. In other words, within most groups, there is only so much you can love yourself, love your job, love your husband, and so on. If you're in a group of people who hate life, you cannot love yours. If you're in a group of women who resent their husband or partner, you cannot love yours.
I am wondering, then, how Aquarius came to be the sign of individuality. It may be the result of so many people who are born under the sign Aquarius being the ones who value the need to be an individual more than the need to submit to group values. Aquarians tend to be inventors, which means making something new or solving a problem nobody else bothered to address -- including inventing themselves, no matter what anyone thinks.
The Aquarius Alignment of February 1962
JFK inspects Mercury capsule with astronaut John Glenn to his right side, Feb. 23, 1962. Photo by Cecil Stoughton, the White House photographer, from Wikipedia
Before I get to the three immediate topics of this article -- the Chiron/Vesta conjunction in Aquarius, Mercury retrograde in Aquarius and a brief introduction to the Feb. 7 eclipse -- I would like to point out the chart that inspired this week's writing. That is a solar eclipse back in February 1962, during an equally impressive Aquarius stellium.
This is the chart that presaged the phenomenon we know of as The Sixties, which crystallized (another Aquarius keyword) with the Kennedy assassination and then when the Beatles touched down 12 weeks later at Idlewild Airport in New York City 12 weeks later -- notably, with the Sun in Aquarius.
Many astrology students go digging in the 1960s, in part because many of them were born there, and because it was one of the most distinctive phases of American social and political history. If you go poking around the Sixties, you're going to find this chart
and marvel. It feels like finding the secret engine room of all that happened during the decade that ensued.
Commercial versions of this chart give you an alignment of Mars, Saturn, the Moon, the Sun, Mercury, Venus, the South Node and Jupiter. Try reading that out loud. If you switch to either Solar Fire or a non-commercial chart service, you'll discover two Centaurs (Pholus
), and something called 1992 QB1
. Chiron in Pisces has just covered the territory. A few years earlier when Chiron was in Aquarius, we experienced the Beat Generation, which opened the way for the social and creative experiments of the Sixties. The solar eclipse of Feb. 5, 1962 is a full activation of this alignment, just like the solar eclipse of Feb. 7, 2008 is the full activation of the current Aquarius alignment.
The two charts talk to one another; in other words, when you pile up a dozen or so planets in Aquarius now, you're also vibrating that chart from back in the day. Notably, the early 1960s, before the Kennedy assassination, were a moment when the American Dream perhaps had its most vivid potential. A young man was president, and even if you hadn't voted for him, you could still respect him. The civil rights movements of the 1950s were finally getting results. The economy was good and the horrors of the Vietnam War were still under the rug.
But the Aquarius alignment foretold, mainly, the social eruption that was imminent and which it seems only Bob Dylan saw coming. It was an extremely interesting in between moment when the ground was rumbling and there was something in the air.
It was quite a year, but it seems they all were in that era. All of the following facts are from the Wikipedia 1962 chronology.
Technology -- an Aquarian subject -- was astonishing news on many fronts. A couple of weeks after the eclipse, John Glenn, piloting the Friendship 7
spacecraft, became the first American to orbit the Earth. Twelve European countries formed the European Space Agency (ESA). It was a time of heightening tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union, which culminated in the Cuban Missile Crisis later that year. French President Charles de Gaulle called for Algeria to be granted independence, beginning to heal the vicious colonial war between the two countries. Telstar, the world's first commercial communication satellite, was launched into orbit and put into operation the next day.
President Kennedy in a crowded Cabinet Room during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Photo from Wikipedia
Marilyn Monroe was found dead in her Los Angeles home. Rachel Carson, a nurse and author, published the book Silent Spring
, spawning the modern environmentalist movement. The first black student, James Meredith, registered at the University of Mississippi, escorted by federal marshals. The term "personal computer" was first mentioned in the media. In a Nov. 3, 1962, New York Times
article reporting John W. Mauchly's vision of future computing was detailed at a meeting of the American Institute of Industrial Engineers. Mauchly stated, "There is no reason to suppose the average boy or girl cannot be master of a personal computer." On Dec. 14, the U.S. spacecraft Mariner 2
flew past Venus, becoming the first probe to successfully transmit data from another planet. By year end, the Vietnam War was beginning to seep out of the shadows. After a trip to Vietnam at the request of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield became the first American official not to make an optimistic public comment on the war's progress. Indeed, Mansfield became one of the war's most vocal critics and helped bring it to an end a decade later.
While We're Here: The 1962 Taurus Alignment
If you look at the 2/5/62 eclipse chart, you will see that there is a stellium (a row of planets) in Taurus as well. Vesta is in Taurus, square the whole Aquarius lineup. A square is not a conjunction, but it brings in the energy at pretty full strength and (more importantly) in a dynamic way. Squares stir the pot. Vesta was very much a question of that time: could we open up to all that energy and let it flow through us?
That is the theme song with Vesta. Think of the world vessel. Vesta will become a vessel for whatever we want, whatever we allow.
The image in the glyph is a chevron with a fire burning, which represents the core creative and sexual fire of humanity. Typically in the United States and the rest of the New World, Europe and Asia, we assign our fire primarily to what we term "work" -- something boring and obligatory. Some have noted that Vesta is associated with shame, which would explain why we avoid.
Imagine what it's like living in a time just before people decide -- in some numbers -- that they are tired of being oppressed by ideas, conventions and social norms. It's like this energy is surging upward, wanting to break free of the psychic prison it occupies. That prison is a function of society, but it's also within us. There must be some struggle between fear/apprehension and the need for release from long bondage.
Ceres is also present, conjunct Vesta in Taurus. So Ceres
squares the alignment as well. But in the background is (as yet undiscovered) Varuna
, an energy that specializes in coloring the whole landscape, magnifying results and accenting the consequences of misdeeds; and a conjunction of two Centaurs (both as yet undiscovered) Nessus
, a conjunction that I call the dark Sixties.
The result of all this was, apparently, explosive. It took about two years to go off, beginning Nov. 22, 1963 with the false-flag Kennedy assassination and then Feb. 7, 1964 with the arrival of the Beatles in New York. The Vesta channel opened up. It took time, grief, creative passion, the birth control pill, rock and roll and a few other notable planetary events -- but the channel opened.
The Taurus alignment points to the underlying crisis of values that existed beneath all the social and individual changes of the 1960s.
Friday, Jan. 18, 2008: Vesta conjunct Chiron
The Vesta-Chiron conjunction is exact today, and Mercury is still right nearby, exactly one degree away. Let's briefly go over these energies in a paragraph or two each.
Vesta is an impersonal energy that is the core creative and erotic human fire. Most people crave and are terrified by this energy. We dance around it like a moth before a flame. If we submit, we must give ourselves over
. To what? To what we must do: create, serve, fuck, celebrate, teach, learn. Vesta is about total commitment to our most inherent humanity. When we approach this energy, it can seem like too much -- and we must be shorn of who and what we were previously.
Vesta is the energy of the sacred prostitute. She gives her sex for the benefit of the Goddess and humanity. She allows herself to be a vessel for her core creativity, which will usually be a hybrid of sex, art and service. It's not about her, personally; but of course, she can benefit. Most people, unable to admit that kind of scenario, will take the default position, toil. If you resentfully consider yourself a whore to your work, you have Vesta issues and you are probably in denial of what your core creative energy is telling you to do. Ditto if you carry shame about your sexuality.
Vesta calls on us to open up and allow that core fire to burn hot and come through us.
Chiron, for its part, acts as a focal point of awareness. Since we humans usually require pain to be aware, Chiron typically manifests as a wound that calls us to get help with something else, an injury that causes us to focus power, or a debility that helps us find some inner strength. Very simply, by whatever mechanism it works, Chiron helps us raise awareness, whether we like it or not.
Chiron conjunct Vesta is saying: are you aware of the extent to which your sexuality and your creativity are inherently linked? Do you see the ways in which you sublimate -- that is, direct sexual energy into work or supposedly creative endeavors, because it's "more socially acceptable" to do so?
Looked at another way, the conjunction is asking: do we allow our Vestal channel to open up to the healing energy of Chiron? Do we see that our ability to be in accord with our core creative/erotic fire is the main element of being able to inspire, share with and assist others?
Mercury in Aquarius: Discussing the Social Standard
Photo in Arles, France by Eric Francis.
We may not be admitting the extent to which social norms cause us to deny our strength on all these accounts. People tend to act like prudes because they are expected to, and/or because they expect to be shunned if they don't. Chiron always wants to stand out. Vesta wants us to bring our fire through. Why would we not
do these things? Fear of being judged, of course. Shame is a form of internalized self-judgment.
Guilt is internalized resentment of others who hold us down, usually people we threatened with how alive we were as kids. Both involve sex, and both involve the fear of being alive.
Chiron is saying: these are the injuries we need not only to deal with, but to use as a source of strength, and as a means to set ourselves free.
Mercury in Aquarius is set up for an exciting retrograde across all these points. Mercury entered the degrees where it will be retrograde this week (called by some the shadow phase, and which I call the echo phase). The actual retrograde is from Jan. 28 through Feb. 18. The discussion can happen three times -- direct through the middle degrees of Aquarius (as in right now); retrograde over them again (Jan. 28 through Feb 18); and direct for a second time (Feb. 18 through March 10).
Here is the theme, as I see it: are we willing to challenge social norms, among the people closest to us, by having an open discussion about those social rules? Or are we so terrified that we think that people will judge us merely for thinking a thought or challenging an idea we notice is holding us down?
If you want to have a discussion, you need the words to have it. I am certain that approximately half the reason conversation of these themes does not occur is that we lack the language to speak about our feelings and desires. Maybe you want to read and learn some words, or maybe you want to use the ones you have, being blatantly simple and descriptive about yourself.
Using traditional astrology keys (term and face), Mercury is strongly dignified in the middle degrees of Aquarius. Now is a good time to open up and start talking, and start listening. It's time to own up to the past and tell the people supposedly important to us what really makes us who we actually are. What challenges social norms that are the things to bring up first: the things that make us fear rejection. If you're trying to have a safe discussion where in you shelter yourself from saying anything that risks rejection, you're not really doing it. Now, take a chance. Go deeper and try again.
The Aquarius Eclipse: From Idea to Reality
The Feb. 7 eclipse in Aquarius will magnify your personal efforts and call your attention to how many people are feeling the same thing you are feeing.
Here, we have a chance to get some relief from the paradox of shame. If everyone is ashamed of nearly the same thing, why are we all bothering?
Well, we may have similar unresolved injuries that we're afraid to talk about. Sometimes there is something holding us down from below, and to unhook that thing, we need to get down there. But both Chiron and the eclipse are saying that while discussion is important, there is no substitute for experience.
What we do -- not what we say or think -- is what turns the ignition key to life. Words are critical factors, and the ideas they convey even more so: but what we do around the time of an eclipse helps set the pattern for the life we're going to be living. The pattern is set by actual physical movement; by making choices and acting on them. Aquarius in the current day, particularly with Neptune there in the background, presents an overwhelming temptation to work it all out in virtual reality and wash it down with a Starbucks.
Reading something on the Internet is not enough. It's too damned safe. You don't even need to walk into a bookstore and be seen buying something that could besmirch your reputation. You don't need to be seen reading it in the employee break room, and you can delete it if you want.
Therefore, this eclipse says take a chance. When you're done with that, take another chance. Regardless of how that one works out, go for it again. Just remember, if you're not taking an actual social risk of some kind, you're just pretending -- and we've all had more than enough of that lately. You're not pretending if you dare to get your biology involved; your body; your home; your friends; the world in which you live.
IT'S ALMOST TIME -- Mars has gone nearly as far as it's going to go backwards in Gemini, and is about to station direct. It will station direct overnight from Jan. 30 to Jan. 31 (we incorrectly reported early February in Tuesday's edition -- it's a little difficult to discern in Raphael's Ephemeris
). In any event, the energy of the station direct is all around us. Combining Mars, Gemini and a planetary station, it's all about the other side of desire.
And what side would that be? But of course -- the one that we deny. I'll have more to say about it next week, but for starters, the entire above article could easily be themed on Mars stationing, particularly the theme of communicating about desire.
Fortuitously, Mars trines the Aquarius alignment. It will open the valve to something. As well, the station occurs opposite the Galactic Core. Finally, Mars will cross back over the Aries Point
(that is, the first degree of Cancer, referred to as the Aries Point because it's exactly 90-degrees from the Aries Point) and then make its third exact opposition to Pluto -- across the very first degrees of Cancer-Capricorn. All very exciting. Something is definitely in the air and the water, and for a big change it ain't Prozac.
By Judith Gayle | Political Waves
Photo by Danielle Voirin.
THE NEXT iteration of life on this planet is being configured now. Our nation is preparing itself to release America 4.0 -- or 5.0 or 6.0; we've rewritten ourselves several times, so it's hard to be exact. This time, though, we're not going for a zippy new format or the newest batch of bells and whistles -- we're nervously anticipating learning an entirely new operating system. And true to these events, it will likely come to us full of possibilities and problems, with a good many early flaws, bugs to patch and work through.
Other nations around the world are struggling with their new versions, as well. Countries we thought stable are showing themselves riddled with problems. Pakistan and Burma are wobbling, both of them dictatorships propped up by American collusion and indifference; Kenya, previously the most peaceful democracy in Africa, has become a battleground due to its recent skewed election. In the old application, America would ride to the rescue, install a military presence, bend the government to its will; the new version will discontinue the 'rescue for self-interest' feature.
As with all new programs, this next one will have been developed to suit the needs of its users and we have a lot of needs; these next critical years will bring us into a new awareness of what they are. A large number of files and folders will no longer be necessary, many of them appended with .war, and the first release may look a little lean, a bit spare, remarkably scaled down. New beginnings take time to flesh out.
By Kirsti Melto and Eric Francis | Lunations
Full Moon in Leo -- January 22, 2008, 13:35 UT. Chart by Solar Fire.
THE MOON AND SUN will soon oppose each other in the early degrees of Leo and Aquarius, respectively. This is the Full Moon. It always happens with the two lights, or luminaries, in opposing signs, activating a full polarity. Leo and Aquarius deal with self-consciousness and group-consciousness. The Moon in Leo can have a dramatizing feeling in it.
This is the last Full Moon before Pluto ingresses Capricorn, the sign that represents corporations, government and the structure of society. It is also the last Full Moon before a series of eclipses. Pluto then aligns with the position of the winter solstice Sun, which brings in something called the Aries Point. In other words, we are about to experience a Full Moon on the brink of both eclipses and Aries Point events, and the total result may be dramatic or precipitous.
In the Full Moon chart, Pluto is in the challenging last degree of Sagittarius (the last degree of any sign is transitional, and humans tend to have difficulty adapting to change). But this degree has an interesting Sabian symbol, apropos of Sagittarius: The Pope blessing the faithful. It's as if we made it this far on this seemingly endless Sagittarian journey, we get to experience some reward or blessing for our sustained faith and conscious effort.