Tag Archives: asteroids

Weekly Forecast September 3: Mars Sextile Pluto, Venus enters Leo

Angels with a vengeance. Double-teaming goddesses Themis and Nemesis work to keep the world free of scumbags. Pierre-Paul Prud’hon, 1806.

In many ways, this week continues themes of last Friday’s Full Moon in Pisces. So even though the normal period of influence for the Full Moon is plus or minus three days, events continue to unfold through the last quarter Moon on September 8.

Due to his recent retrograde, Mercury is following the Sun until the two conjoin next week. In the meantime, the Messenger is revisiting the aspects in the Full Moon chart between the Sun, Uranus, and Pluto. Whereas the Sun’s aspects may have been related to new developments in your life, the same aspects with Mercury correspond to working out the details. Put another way, a deal isn’t done until the contract is signed and the check is in hand. Mars aspects the same set of planets on Monday, and then Mercury and Mars from a sextile on Wednesday.

I don’t think you’d find it useful for me to break these aspects down individually, since they all tie in together and act in synergy. And while it’s hard to say precisely how a multiple-planet configuration such as this will manifest, I do see some major themes.

Underlying the entire set of aspects is the Uranus-Pluto square. Uranus represents revolution, while Pluto represents evolution. Put them together, and you have chaos preceding a new order. Mars in Scorpio adds activating energy into the mix, while Mercury represents insight into the process and the emergence of new information and ideas, as if out of thin air.

We are indeed asking the “big questions” right now, as Pip noted in her second comment to last week’s forecast. How much is “fate,” and how much control do we have over the direction of our lives individually and as the collective human species on earth? These are questions that philosophers have been asking for millennia.

A couple of days ago, I decided to look at the lesser asteroids in my chart. I knew I had Hygeia at a critical point and that there was likely some significance to this placement, especially since I wrote about the mythological Hygeia in my long article on Ophiuchus that appeared in the December/January issue of The Mountain Astrologer. My astrology software has a listing of nearly 50 additional asteroids, few of which I’ve heard of and none of which I’ve ever worked with in a chart. In addition to Hygeia, I discovered that I have Nemesis within a degree of my lunar North Node, which itself is very close to the Ascendant.

Most people know the word “nemesis” and consider it to be a very bad thing. The few astrological references to Nemesis indeed consider it to be a bad omen of sorts. I don’t buy it. First, we haven’t had even remotely enough experience with any of these minor asteroids to start making proclamations of their significance in a chart. Second, the use of minor asteroids isn’t itself a technique that has been put to the test and validated. From what I’ve seen, most of the astrological work has been intuitive free-associating, and not with any standard interpretation of what these bodies represent. That alone is grounds for caution. That said, having one of the “scary” asteroids on the North Node was a bit disconcerting, so I set out to learn more about Nemesis.

Nemesis is commonly called the goddess of retribution or revenge. According to some of the Greek philosophers, she stepped in to check excessive pride, undeserved happiness, and unearned good fortune. Clearly, this was an attempt by the ancients to explain fate. Put in modern terms, why do bad things happen to good people, and vice versa?

Digging a little deeper, we find that Nemesis actually was the remnant of a much older goddess – older than Zeus and the Olympians – who dates back into prehistoric times (remember, history began when writing was invented around 3,000 B.C.), when people first began asking the big questions. One of the biggest mysteries concerned fate. What was it? How did it work? Could you escape it? The concept of fate was assigned to a goddess, who was neither good nor bad. She just apportioned lots.

When I did a search for Nemesis, I discovered that she often was paired with Themis, a goddess representing divine law – the natural order of things. When someone disturbed the natural order, thereby creating an imbalance, Nemesis restored the equilibrium. I suppose that if you were on the receiving end of such an action, you might consider it negative (ask Bernie Madoff). And to anyone else, it would have appeared as divine retribution for arrogance.

Themis and Nemesis were two sides of divine justice, and the Greeks also saw Themis as an oracle who could predict the future. According to some myths, Themis was Zeus’s wife before Hera. It’s not hard to understand how this story came about; it gave legitimacy to the Father God (that is what “Zeus” means). Zeus, ever the philanderer, also was said to have raped Nemesis. The child of the union was Helen of Troy. Talk about revenge!

I’m fascinated by how human thought over the millennia shaped and distorted fundamental truths. Once writing was invented, the distortions literally became “written in stone,” to the point that humanity has lost touch with natural law. Understanding natural law is a prerequisite to any meaningful discussion of fate and free will.

Now, here comes the really interesting part. After looking up the asteroids in my own chart, I did an asteroid chart for Friday’s Full Moon in Pisces. Asteroid Nemesis was at 12 degrees Sagittarius (conjunct my natal Saturn), directly opposite asteroid Themis at 11 degrees Gemini! Jupiter was at 14 Gemini. It’s hard not to jump to a conclusion that the minor asteroids just might have some significance in astrological analysis. It’s certainly something I’ll be looking at from now on.

Back to this week, the configuration of Mercury, Mars, and the outer planets also includes Chiron, who currently is sitting at about 7 degrees Pisces, putting him in a close sextile with Pluto. My take on this is that the breakdowns and breakthroughs occurring under the Uranus-Pluto square also have a healing element to them. Healing in and of itself can trigger major changes in one’s life. As you heal old wounds, your energy changes, which in turn may attract different kinds of people and experiences in to your life.

Also this week, Venus squares Saturn on Monday and then enters Leo on Thursday. On Friday, the Sun squares Jupiter, followed by a Mercury-Jupiter square on Saturday.

The most recent contact between Venus and Saturn was barely a month ago, when they formed a trine on July 31. In general, trines are easier than squares. The conventional interpretation of a Venus-Saturn square is a lack of connection, feelings of loneliness and isolation, or difficult commitments. Some or all of that could be true this week, but with Saturn still in Venus-ruled Libra, “difficult” may be relative, and it’s not “impossible.” If you run up against an inability to get through to someone or to make the connection you’re looking for, try not to be dismayed. This really is transitory.

Venus in Leo is the party girl with golden hair and loads of bling. She needs to be seen, and she thrives on compliments and positive strokes. Her first order of business is a quincunx on Friday with Neptune, her Higher Self. Friday dates may go awry when selfish desires get in the way of compassion and understanding. You’ll fare best if you can fight the urge for instant gratification.

The Sun-Jupiter square, with Mercury and Jupiter in a square the next day, could turn out to be quite helpful, as these energies can work well together even in a square, which we normally consider as conflict. This is a strong aspect for getting a lot of work done – indeed, for moving mountains. The pitfalls are biting off more than you can chew and getting bogged down in details. Here is one instance where free will definitely can come into play. Do your best to stay on task, and resist getting in a pissing contest. Arguing over details is a risk, especially if you’re negotiating a contract. It will help if you know in advance what you’re willing to compromise on and what’s non-negotiable.

I’ll be working this week on the StarGuide Fall 2012 forecasts and will post a notice when they’re available. I also owe some of you reports and follow-up e-mails. Rest assured that I haven’t forgotten you.

Much love and courage to all,
Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

Weekly Forecast August 8: Mars Square Uranus, Opposite Pluto

© Imrich Farkas for Dreamstime.com

I sure have felt the angriness floating around this past week. Have you?

With Mercury retrograde and Mars moving through the T-square degrees, rush hour traffic on Friday was hell. People were doing crazy things, cutting in front of each other without signaling, flipping each other off, and yelling obscenities out the window. A pedestrian who witnessed one of these maneuvers yelled out, “Idiots!” Seattle isn’t particularly known for road rage, so I can only imagine how it was in other locales, especially since many of you also are still suffering under intense heat waves.

The dreams are weird, too. Friends who normally don’t even remember their dreams are commenting on it. Mine have been schizophrenic, to say the least. For that, we can look to Mercury’s continuing opposition to Neptune, planet of sleep and dreams. The two make another exact contact on Monday, right after Mercury re-enters Leo on his retrograde path. If you can steal away for a vacation, do it now!

The rough sailing has already started, but the waves get higher on Tuesday, when Mars squares Uranus in Aries. This is an extremely volatile combination that calls to mind the scene from the 1976 film Network in which masses of people shout out their windows, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” If you don’t know what I’m referring to, check out the clip on YouTube. It’s eerily relevant for our current economic crisis and especially relevant this week.

The Mars-Uranus square is amplified by the Moon in early Capricorn, which squares Uranus, opposes Mars, conjoins Pluto and squares Saturn – all in less than 24 hours on Tuesday and Wednesday. Although the Moon is a fleeting influence, her journey through these degrees and contacts with the T-square planets provide a strong reminder of where we’ve been since last summer and how our lives changed as a result. It may not be all bad, but most of us likely will be unsettled in some way.

Peter Finch is 'mad as hell' in Network. © MGM.

On Wednesday and Thursday, depending on where you are, Mars opposes Pluto in the big standoff. Staying out of the crossfire may not be possible, but at least don’t go looking for trouble. It’s one thing to protest corruption and injustice, quite another to do so in an area where security forces are armed and waiting for any excuse to fire into the crowd.

The Moon enters Aquarius on Friday, and then we have the Full Moon on Saturday. The Full Moon typically brings results to projects or situations that began at the New Moon, but we’ll probably experience delays and possibly setbacks due to Mercury’s retrograde phase and the challenges represented by Mars in conflicting aspect. If you feel like you’re losing ground, hang in there and try not to get too discouraged. The New Moon on August 28 is brilliant, and the new territory indicated by the New Moon in Leo on July 30 will come into view as well. If you want to know where these lunations fall in your chart, you’ll find it your Starguide Monthly Forecast for August.

Now, there is something really exciting happening this week. NASA’s Dawn mission is scheduled to go into orbit around Vesta, one of the so-called “asteroid goddesses.” Photos already are streaming back of Vesta’s pockmarked surface.

What can we read into a spacecraft called Dawn orbiting an asteroid named after a Roman goddess? It’s no accident that Vesta, like Ceres before her, has entered the collective consciousness – or, I should say, re-entered, as both goddesses were revered in various forms in ancient times and then forgotten, swallowed by time. As usual, we can turn to mythology for possible clues about the greater significance in this event.

The planets are named after Roman deities, most of which were adapted from the Greeks. Vesta, goddess of hearth and home, was highly revered. Her symbol was an eternal flame, which was kept burning in the holiest ground of ancient Rome and in every home. Among other things, it was a reminder that community is extended family. As it turns out, Vesta currently is in Aquarius, the sign of community and the “family of man.” If nothing else, the global debt crisis is hammering home the reality that we’re all connected, and in the most personal way.

Vesta’s Greek counterpart, Hestia, was one of the 12 Olympians, the most important of the gods and goddesses in ancient Greece. She was the first child of Cronus (Roman Saturn) and Rhea, who were Titans – the elder gods. Cronus, who himself had led the overthrow of the first generation of Titans, ate his children to prevent them from doing the same to him. However, Rhea plotted to save Zeus, who in turn instigated the overthrow of the Titans and forced Cronus to spit out his older siblings. As the eldest, Hestia was the first to be swallowed and the last to be disgorged; thus, she was said to be both the oldest and the youngest of the new race of gods that replaced the old cosmic order.

The War of the Titans lasted 10 years and ended the Golden Age, a period of peace and abundance, when manmade law was unnecessary because everyone lived in their integrity. This notion of a celestial war didn’t originate with the Greeks but also can be found in older cultures. There’s even a version in the Christian Bible. Likewise, the story of an earthly paradise is found in many ancient traditions.

I’ve often mentioned a planetary energy shift, which is just another way of describing this war. It’s common to believe that our ancient ancestors were superstitious, because they believed in gods, demons, and other human-like entities. However, I see their belief system as an ingenious way of putting a human face on disembodied energies, taking them out of the abstract so they could be understood by the human mind.

In that vein, Hestia represents initiating fire or spirit, an attribute astrologers assign to Aries, the first of the four cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn). The cardinal T-square, which at times has formed into a grand cross, was the astrological configuration that led to predictions that great change would occur from 2010 to 2012, with political upheaval continuing into 2015, as indicated by the long-term square between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn. It’s no accident, then, that we’re visiting Vesta in the midst of this cardinal buildup.

Dawn will spend a year observing Vesta and then will head toward Ceres, with a scheduled arrival date of 2015. The Greek counterpart of Ceres was Demeter, Hestia’s sister, who also was among the Olympians. I’ve written a lot about Ceres, who came back into the collective awareness when she was “promoted” to dwarf planet in 2006.

At the very least, the mission to find out more about celestial objects named after goddesses tells us that the planetary energy shift is restoring the balance between masculine and feminine energies. Of course, this isn’t news, but just confirms what many of us have felt intuitively for several years.

As an addendum, I’d like to mention Juno, NASA’s new mission to Jupiter. Juno was launched into space last Friday, August 5, and is scheduled to arrive at Jupiter in July 2016. In Roman mythology, Juno was Jupiter’s wife and queen of the gods. Asteroid Juno currently is at 4 degrees Libra, directly opposite Uranus, which means that she is intimately involved in this week’s cardinal configuration.

How’s that for synchronicity?

I leave you with this awe-inspiring full rotation of Vesta, courtesy NASA/JPL.

Wishing you all an abundance of love and courage,
Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

Exploring Ceres and Vesta

Dawn on Ceres

Artist's concept of the Dawn spacecraft orbiting Ceres. Credit: McREL

While preparing this week’s forecast, I noted that the Sun sextiles Ceres on Sunday. I will admit to you that I have no idea what this means.

Many astrologers use the asteroids named for goddesses — Ceres, Vesta, Juno, and Pallas — in their consultation work with clients. For me, the jury is still out. I have never been satisfied with the explanations of their function, either in birth charts or transit readings. Since 2006, when the International Astronomical Union declared Ceres a “dwarf planet,” the same status they gave Pluto, I’ve been in quiet observation mode.

I’ve made a case for Ceres as the modern ruler of Virgo. The mythology fits. But a planet’s function in astrology also is based on its physical characteristics. For example, Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system, and it appears that he may protect the inner planets to some degree. In astrology, Jupiter rules the “big picture” and represents expansion. His presence in certain areas of the chart by transit can indicate where we’re being protected.

NASA’s Dawn Mission, which was launched in September 2007, is scheduled to fly by Vesta in 2010 and 2011, and it will reach Ceres in 2015. Researchers hope to understand more about how the solar system was formed by exploring these protoplanets. I’m excited by this news and believe that the information beamed back from the Dawn spacecraft will change our concept of how astrologers can use the asteroid goddesses to interpret personal charts and the charts for world events. With the Dawn Mission, awareness of these bodies will permeate the collective mind, and as that happens, our understanding of their function in astrology will continue to evolve.

Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat