The Sun is now in Virgo, and after this week’s Full Moon in Pisces, we’ll be counting down to the third eclipse of 2015.
The Sun’s tour through Leo is vacation time for many in the Northern Hemisphere, with summer picnics, barbecues, and days spent at the beach. But there has been a decided lack in festiveness, in part due to the record-breaking heat. We’ve also been under a blanket of Venus retrograde in Leo. Venus in Leo normally is the party girl, but in reverse, she’s not in a partying mood. We’ve got two more weeks of this to go.
In the meantime, the Sun’s shift into Virgo signals the time to get back to work, focus on diet and health, and start thinking more critically about important issues rather than forming opinions based on something we read on Facebook or in the mainstream news.
I’m going to skip over a couple of aspects (I’ll come back to them later) and talk about the Full Moon on Saturday, August 29. Whereas Virgo and the sixth house are more about physical health, particularly diet and digestion, mental health is one the functions of Pisces and the twelfth house. Of course, they go hand in hand; poor physical health can contribute to one’s mental outlook, and it’s hard to maintain healthy habits when one is depressed or otherwise not in a good place mentally. This week’s Full Moon will highlight both in a big way, with the Sun and Jupiter conjunct in Virgo opposite the Moon and Neptune conjunct in Pisces. Neptune is the ruler of Pisces (in modern Western astrology), making this Full Moon even more potent.
Before I began writing this forecast, I looked back at what I wrote at last year’s Full Moon in Pisces. Mental health was one of the key subjects I touched on. I mentioned a recently released study by the World Health Organization showing that more people die by suicide every year than in all global conflicts and natural disasters combined. Some of the highest suicide rates are in the so-called “developed” world. What I wrote back then is still relevant:
“It’s not hard to imagine how hopelessness and despair can escalate in times of global economic crisis, especially given the widening gap between rich and poor. There are plenty of other factors, as well. WHO recommends that governments adopt a national suicide prevention strategy, which certainly seems like a priority over, say, bombing foreign countries back to the Stone Age. … [However] I doubt that any government in the world would address the key underlying issues such as income disparity, feelings of powerlessness to do anything about government corruption and the steady erosion of civil rights, and the sense of alienation in a system that encourages competition over cooperation. I’m sure you could add more to that list. Instead, they position the problem as one of individual mental health, divorced from any social, political, or economic context.”
Little has changed since last year. If anything, it has gotten worse. The past few weeks have been particularly tough. Venus began her retrograde period in a close square with Saturn. Both the Sun and Jupiter also squared Saturn right before entering Virgo. Squares to Saturn often are marked by alienation, a sense of isolation, disempowerment, and giving up. So it hasn’t been a big surprise to hear that many friends and readers are going through these feelings. Here is what one of my social media connections wrote:
For a long time now I have felt really disconnected from people and sad. I have always put my head down and gone through, but it hasn’t worked out this time around and I’m starting to feel disheartened.
I know how that person feels. I have struggled with depression all of my life. Most of the time, it was mild, a condition known as “dysthymia.” Like many people who suffer from dysthymia, I never recognized it as depression but just thought it was a something in my character. In fact, before the term was coined in the 1970s, the condition was called “depressive personality.” I often felt like I was limping through life but always hoped that somehow things would get better, if only I’d clean up my diet, eliminate allergy causing foods, go to the gym more often, “lighten up.”
People with dysthymia can develop what’s called “double depression.” For me, it happened with external circumstances beyond my control: the end of a relationship, the last in a string of repeated rejections of my writing, not being able to pay the rent. Poverty and depression often go hand in hand, which makes sense, and it can persist across generations, as it has for me. In 2008, I finally thought I’d found my calling, when I co-founded RealAstrologers. It was an exciting time, and energizing. I had a business plan for building it into a profitable enterprise, but knowing that businesses typically take five years to get off the ground, I took a mindless day job to have a financial cushion.
It was all moving along as planned until I was injured on the job in 2009. After several months of intense physical therapy and learning how to walk again, I fell into a deep depression. I have never fully recovered. Because of changes in insurance, I’ve had to switch doctors several times. Each one wanted to put me on a different medication. I have been on just about every antidepressant on the market. Some of them gave me vile headaches. Some of them put me to sleep. Some turned me into a zombie, while others caused panic attacks. As anyone who has gone through this knows, it takes two to three weeks to determine whether a new medication is working, and then it can take several more weeks to refine the dose. If it doesn’t work, you have to spend a week or so tapering off before starting a different drug. Each change came with a week-long headache.
It was a couple of years ago, during an eclipse that made intense transits to my natal chart, that I suddenly recognized the toll that depression had taken on my life. I was very fortunate to have found a gifted counselor, or maybe it wasn’t “luck” but synchronicity. We talked about how I could put my life back together. Initially, though, the sobering reality threw me into an even deeper rut that I almost didn’t make it out of. I felt like a total failure. Having close to 1,000 weekly readers of my blog didn’t soften the blow. There are a lot of astrologers on the Internet, some with thousands of readers a day. Nothing I write is all that significant. In practical terms, the Virgo accountant says the business is a failure, and I am broke.
That has pretty much been my life for the past five years. And still, I managed to write a forecast every week, some better than others. A couple of years ago, it started taking me twice as long to write forecasts and reports. Then three times as long. Always, I held out hope that things would get better. But they haven’t. The past year has been extremely tough. The weekly forecast was about all I was able to write. It took a month to finish a report, for which I charge $89. Then it started taking two months. I still owe a report to a client in London who placed the order a year ago. Astrology requires an ability to synthesize, and to do that, you need a good memory and the ability to hold an enormous amount of information in your head, with instant recall. I was always able to do that, but now it is a struggle. On some days, I just can’t.
The thing is, I know that I am not alone in this regard. I have some severe transits to my natal chart (and even more-intense ones on the way), but I also am part of the broader trends affecting the entire planet. Ironically, one of the most intense transits is Neptune conjunct my Moon. Neptune turned retrograde in mid-June at the exact degree of my Moon, and he was stationed at that degree for 17 weeks. Planets express themselves most powerfully when they are stationed. Among other things, Neptune represents the collective unconscious. During a Neptune-Moon transit, one is able to tap into the group mind. Which may be part of the problem. Right now, the group mind is breaking down and in total chaos.
I imagine that all of you have heard by now about the protesters from the #BlackLivesMatter movement who jumped the stage and verbally assaulted Bernie Sanders at a rally for Social Security in Seattle. Three days later, BLM protesters in Boston showed up at an event for Hillary Clinton, but rather than disrupting her speech, they politely waited to meet her in private. There’s something fishy here, with potentially frightening implications. I’ll have to save that story for another time, though. The reason I mention BLM is that while the news media finally are paying attention to the disproportional number of blacks being shot by the police, no one is paying attention to the ongoing suicide epidemic. According to BLM’s website, a black man, woman, or child is killed by police every 28 hours. Using statistics from the Centers for Disease Control, I calculated that in that time, 92 white men will commit suicide, 53 with guns. Twenty-six white women, six black men, one black woman, and two Native Americans also will take their own lives. Think about that. For every African American shot by police, 53 white men will blow their brains out. And while the suicide rate in the United States remains by far the highest among white men, the greatest increase has been among middle-aged white women. That’s me.
I’ve written a lot about the collapse of social structures under the Uranus-Pluto square. The structures we create – social, political, economic – are patterned on the structure of the collective mind, and our mental structures develop within the larger framework, so it’s self-perpetuating. At least, it was. New ways of thinking and being that flourished in the 1960s, when the current Uranus-Pluto cycle began, have finally gained critical mass. In the years before Uranus and Pluto moved toward the first square in the cycle, Pluto crossed the Galactic Center (2006 and 2007). The galactic alignment occurred some years before, in 1998. We don’t know a whole lot about the center of our galaxy, but we do know that there’s a supermassive black hole that emits concentrated radio waves. Some astrologers have postulated that these radio waves contain information that is relayed to Earth when planets align with it. Pluto is associated with evolution, and so when Pluto conjoined the GC, we got a huge information download.
We often refer to the current system as patriarchal, but we don’t make the connection with the “patriarchal” structure of the Western mind. Regardless of what we believe about reason and intuition, most people still give more credence to reason, with intuition playing a secondary or supporting role. We can trust our reason, but we can’t trust our intuition. The value we place on intuition began to change with the New Age movement in the 1970s, which actually can be traced back to the spiritual and metaphysical movements that emerged following the discovery of Neptune in 1846. Nonetheless, we think about intuition, the way some people think that talking about feelings is the same as feeling. If we truly are going to begin functioning with reason and intuition as integrated equals, then our current mental structures need to break down, and it appears that that’s what happening. How we perceive the world and how we process that information is changing, and those who are changing the fastest are having serious difficulty functioning in a system still following the old model.
That old model is also what allows 1 percent of the population to control 99 percent of the wealth. When people are denied basic needs and have no say in how to redress the imbalance, something has to give. I’ve always thought it was interesting, by the way, that a period of extreme economic downturn is called a depression.
I don’t know whether any of this has to do with my current condition. Maybe it’s just a matter of depression getting worse with age, compounded by financial difficulties. Impaired concentration also is associated with menopause. But knowing that I’ve had strong connections with the collective mind in the past, I think it’s also possible that I’m absorbing the mass confusion. And I’m not the only one. I expect that we’ll hear more about this theme the closer we get to Saturday’s Full Moon.
Although the Sun and Jupiter are conjunct at the Full Moon, the conjunction is exact on Wednesday. Look for news related to health and diet, global health efforts, volunteer groups such as the Red Cross, service groups such as firefighters, other rescue teams, and trade unions. Perhaps one of the political candidates will get another big endorsement (Bernie Sanders, a Virgo, recently was endorsed by the national nurses union).
Also on Wednesday, Mercury in Virgo forms a sextile with Saturn in late Scorpio, which is excellent for concentration and the ability to focus on details. If you’ve got tedious projects you need to wrap up, Thursday could be a satisfying, productive day. On Thursday, Mercury enters Libra. Because Libra is ruled by Venus, and Venus is retrograde, don’t be surprised if it feels like Mercury is retrograde, too. And anyway, he will be soon. Shortly after changing signs, he enters his pre-retrograde “shadow” as he slows to station on September 17.
In world affairs, a lot has happened in the three weeks since my last forecast. We just had the hottest month on record for all time, and there are 160 wildfires burning up hundreds of thousands of acres in the West. Donald Trump has been blowing enough hot air to melt what’s left of the polar icecap. Joe Biden apparently is going to enter the presidential race. Hillary Clinton remains the “presumed frontrunner” but is plagued by an e-mail scandal that won’t go away, and she’s dropping in the polls while Sanders continues to draw record crowds. In the U.K., elusive street artist Banksy has opened “Dismaland,” a dystopian theme park satirizing consumerist, Disney-fied Western culture. Oh, and we may be on the verge of a global financial meltdown.
The next few weeks are going to be tense, financially and politically. By the time Mercury comes out of retrograde on October 9, we’ll have been through two eclipses, one of which also is the Supermoon of the year, and Saturn will have re-entered Sagittarius. I’ve always said that I’m not good at astrological weather prediction, but it seems to me that we’re in for at least one big earth event – not that such a vague, general statement qualifies as a “prediction,” but we’ll see. As the Sun and Jupiter in turn oppose Neptune, we’ll also get a taste of what’s coming with the Saturn-Neptune square of 2015-2016. That’s the next big outer planetary transit, the one I’ve been saying would bring a hard reality check and shake up our beliefs.
I leave you with a link that came into my Facebook page today. The book being reviewed has been out for a couple of years, but this is the first I’ve heard of it. Isn’t that how it goes? When you’re ready to hear the message, it comes. (Thanks to Shavawn for the link.)
Wishing you all much love and courage,
© Pat Paquette, RealAstrologers.com, 2015.