The pace remains fairly low key this week, and yet our thoughts start racing in a struggle to make sense of the barrage of information we encounter daily.
Many people understand or are beginning to realize that much of the information we receive is meaningless. It’s like loading up on junk food, which is cheap and readily available. After living on a diet of this stuff for so long, one tends to develop a taste for it, and then it’s hard to appreciate healthy alternatives. In time, real food becomes a distant memory.
Likewise, many of those born since the 1980s don’t remember what real journalism was like. We had I.F. Stone, Seymour Hersh, George Seldes, Michael Herr, Frances FitzGerald, David Halberstam, Alexander Cockburn, Hunter S. Thompson, and several others. Of those still alive, Sy Hersh is the only one I know of who is still working. I don’t think I could name five other journalists in the entire world with their level of skill, commitment, and integrity. It’s telling that Hersh is an outcast among the mainstream media, some of whom accuse him of making up facts in his exposes of government lies and corruption.
Many people suspect that we’re not getting the truth, or we’re getting only half of it (goddess only knows which half). But there’s no consistently reliable information, and so we fill in the gap with what we think we know about “how things are.” Some just give up in frustration and even stop caring. This is the perfect environment for propaganda to proliferate, like germs in a school bus on a warm, wet day. This is going to change, though – and soon – as an increasing number of people wake up out of the collective trance. We’ll start noticing the shift after Saturn returns direct at the beginning of August and moves closer to a square with Neptune in November. Economic difficulties this summer will play a major role in the public’s new-found hunger for the truth.
I bring this up now, because this week we have a window on what’s ahead. On Thursday, Mercury enters his home sign of Gemini, the sign of communications, information, and knowledge. On Sunday, he opposes Saturn in Sagittarius, the sign of truth and truth-seekers. Ironically, Sagittarius also is the sign of beliefs, especially political and religious convictions, which are not always based on facts. At its worst, Saturn in Sagittarius represents an ossified belief structure that is not flexible enough to adapt to new information. When one is absolutely convinced that the planets revolve around Earth, he will not change his beliefs no matter how much new information is discovered proving that the Earth and planets revolve around the Sun. Even worse, if he’s in a position of authority, he’ll suppress the truth and have anyone who dares to speak of it thrown in jail.
Belief systems are structures of the mind. When an entire belief system is based on a factual error, correcting the fundamental mistake collapses the whole structure. Put another way, changing a rigid belief system usually can’t be done with a piece here and there. It needs to be knocked down and rebuilt from the ground up. That’s what we’ve been seeing in the collective conscious for the past four years under the Uranus-Pluto square, with Saturn and Pluto in a mutually supportive relationship. That relationship changed when Saturn entered Sagittarius in late December, but it will reconnect from mid-June to mid-September.
Alone, Sunday’s Mercury-Saturn opposition would be enough to kick a load-bearing beam in belief structures, but it gets help from th Full Moon in Scorpio, the sign of breaking down in order to rebuild, regenerate, and transform. New information that doesn’t fit with our belief system might be rejected out of hand as ridiculous, or it could create doubt. We think of doubt as a negative state, mostly because it’s uncomfortable. But it’s far better than rigidly clinging to erroneous beliefs. Change is uncomfortable, especially when we’re talking about breaking through mental and emotional defenses. We are in a vulnerable state, confused and disoriented.
The metaphor I always come back to is the caterpillar’s transformation into a butterfly. This isn’t a pretty New Age ugly duckling turning into a swan thing. It’s violent and dangerous. I can barely stand to watch those time-lapse videos of a caterpillar turning into a pupa. His whole body shakes and twists, and his head explodes, like the creature in the Alien movies popping out of the character’s stomach. Once inside, he digests himself with his own enzymes and melts into caterpillar soup. His tissues break down completely, and then, like magic, butterfly cells take over and start multiplying to form wings, legs, and antennae. When his new self is complete, he breaks out of his casing. This is not a happy moment. He’s totally disoriented. He’s got these things on his back that his DNA tells him are “wings,” but right now they’re crumpled, wet baggage. This is the most dangerous moment. While his wings are drying in the sun, he is free lunch for predators.
That’s the Pluto process. We may not digest ourselves into physical soup, but our minds can turn into complete mush. It’s no coincidence that many people become depressed during this time, to the extent that they may need medical treatment. And because we aren’t butterflies, the Pluto process takes longer than two weeks. It can take two decades, or two or two hundred lifetimes. So we have to just accept that and not try to hurry the process. Some of us might be drying our wings, but most of us are somewhere between half-digested caterpillar and almost-butterfly.
The Full Moon in Scorpio on May 3 (Monday, May 4 in the Eastern Hemisphere) is in a harmonious aspect to Pluto, Scorpio’s ruling planet in modern astrology. If you’re at a critical stage in your personal transformation process, you get an extra push to break through now. How much of a push and how hard it is to move forward depends on where the Full Moon lands in your chart, and we also need to look at Jupiter, as he’s in a T-square with the Sun and Moon by exact degree. It’s easy to see in the chart to the right.
You’ll feel this influence the most if you have planets or key chart points at 11-15 degrees of the fixed signs – Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius. Planets in Aquarius will get the strongest charge, as they are the outlet for the tension inherent in the T-square. However, there is possible opportunity here, with Jupiter the position directly opposite. Jupiter is usually a positive influence, even in oppositions and squares. The challenge is that opportunities require action, and to get the most out of whatever is being offered to you, you’ll have to stretch beyond your current limitations.
Planets in mid-Leo have a conjunction by transiting Jupiter, so there is opportunity here as well, and with fewer challenges. Taurus and Scorpio planets represent something reaching a culmination or resolution. For example, if you have Venus at 11-15 Scorpio, a relationship challenge presents an opportunity to get beyond obsession, jealousy, or a need for control. If your birthday is between May 1 and May 5, this is a high energy transit for you, with the potential to meet someone new or to develop a deeper relationship with a current partner.
Mercury’s opposition to Saturn acts as an additional catalyst for transformation, especially if either planet is making a challenging aspect to a key chart point or planet in your natal chart. Something – a news article, a piece of information, a cautionary tale from a friend – causes you to doubt long-held beliefs. You may not give it much thought, but a process will start in the background of your mind. If Mercury and Saturn are making easier aspects to your natal planets, messages or information you receive support a new direction in your thinking about serious matters. For example, if, like many people, you are questioning why the United States is so interested in Ukraine or whether Islam is an inherently violent religion, you will stumble upon information you need. Sometimes when I’m focused on a topic, I’ll run across a vital piece of information in an archived magazine or newspaper article or a footnote in an online book. I’ve also started translating keywords so that I can conduct searches in foreign languages. As commonplace as this is, it stills seems like magic to me.
There are a few other aspects this week worth mentioning. On Tuesday, Mars sextiles Chiron, followed by a Venus-Chiron square on Wednesday. The way to handle both of these aspects is by putting yourself in the other person’s shoes. Yeah, it’s cliché, but there’s no better way to say it. When people do or say things we find hurtful or irksome, it’s an almost automatic response to think of them as selfish, ignorant, or insensitive. Yet, if we really try to understand where they’re coming from, if we listen with the intent to hear rather than using what they say to reinforce our negative opinion of them, we often find that they didn’t do anything we wouldn’t have done in similar circumstances. It doesn’t mean we have to agree with them or excuse bad behavior, but we can show them the respect of hearing them out, and we’ll come away with a more accurate read of the situation. Things are not always as simple as they look from the outside.
Also on Wednesday, there’s an easygoing sextile from the Sun to Neptune. We’re better able to sense what others are thinking and feeling and to make nonverbal connections. If you think of it, try a little experiment. While you’re talking to someone, see if you can “hear” the deeper conversation going on beneath the surface. I’m not talking about subtext or body language, although you might pick up on that more under this aspect. Sometimes there are what I call “energy exchanges,” subconscious communications that may have nothing to do with the verbal discussion. It’s something like telepathy.
Lastly, I imagine some of you want to know whether there was an astrological “cause” for Saturday’s deadly earthquake in Nepal. The short answer is “no.” I know there are some who believe it’s possible to predict earthquakes using astrology, but I haven’t yet seen a systematic approach tested and proven with statistically meaningful data. Some earthquakes do occur under planetary configurations consistent with earth or weather events – this one does – but but many don’t. And even though there are some markers in this chart for movements in the Earth’s crust, I doubt that anyone looking at it six months ago would have predicted a massive earthquake in the Himalayas.
The closest I’ve seen to a method that could be valid is to track the paths of eclipses. The difficulty is that eclipses can occur months in advance or months after an earthquake, so it’s not a reliable forecasting tool. There are four or more eclipses every year, some of them more remarkable than others. The most we can do is to look at their paths over Earth and identify a general region where there might be corresponding earthquakes up to six months before or after. Of course, there are several powerful earthquakes every week, especially around the Pacific “Rim of Fire,” so it’s easy to say, “Hey, I was right.” I don’t count the high average. It’s the ones like Saturday’s tragedy that we need to be able to predict accurately, and so far, I haven’t seen any evidence we can do that. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not possible with more research.
In the meantime, our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones.
Wishing you all much love and courage,
© Pat Paquette, RealAstrologers.com, 2014.