• Master Astrologer, Poet, Author, Artist, and Teacher


About Planets

The Asteroid Juno

I was first introduced to Ellias Lonsdales work on asteroids through his book “Inside Planets,” published in 1995 by North Atlantic Books. His interpretation of asteroids is different from most other astrologers — not that it disagrees with what they have to say, but that it adds to, expands and enhances their work.

In Ellias Lonsdale’s system, the asteroid Juno becomes a co-ruler of Aquarius. The negative energy of Juno represses all aspects of the mind except the rational, so that it can be in charge. This inevitably leads to negative thinking, cynicism, and closes us off from access to the realities which are intuition could potential tap into.

To cleanse Juno of negativity we must become aware of our biases, our taken-for-granted beliefs that we are limited, and erase, gradually the negative mindsets and frustration loops in which we are caught. These can be very subtle and elusive, but through mindfulness we can tune into these and melt them, thereby clearing and opening our true vision.

In your own natal chart, Juno will show where you have biases and limiting beliefs, where you tend to want everything to be neat and clear, problem-free, but where things could be messy, uncertain, difficult. If you will embrace this uncertainty let go of pre-conceptions, and allow your intuition to guide you, the area signified by Juno’s house can thrive and bring fulfillment.

Another way to think of Juno is that it operates like a machine, applying itself to situations in a formulaic manner. For instance, Juno in 9th house might enforce an ideology or dogma, maybe, or adopt a neat, clean philosophy that ignores or avoids difficult moral questions, or which gives pat answers to them.

My own Juno is in seventh, and I will say that I have often been handicapped in my relating by having rigid notions of what a relationship should be. And, as Ellias points out in his book I have at times in the past suffered from loneliness due to not being able to get close to people because I feared doing so.

Fear is at the basis of Juno’s worship of rationalism and denying of the psychic self. In fact, Ellias says that fear is the basis of all the asteroid energies, the key asteroid of them all being Pallas, which I’ll speak of in another posting.

I’m seeing the energy of the asteroid Juno everywhere. I went last night to see the movie “Avatar.”

In it, humans are portrayed as having rigid notions of how things should be — this is one quite realistic aspect of the movie.

Humans have come to a new planet with this money-making agenda with which they are bulldozing, literally, the denizens of another planet. Humans have decided that the people of the planet are less developed than they, and so they conclude from this that they must be lesser beings

The rigidity of mind that is the energy of Juno is the generator of racism. Its force, manifesting through the American people, made a concerted effort to destroy the Native Peoples of North America, which remind me of the Na’vi, the race of creatures portrayed in the movie.

It is mentioned offhandedly in the movie that humans have rendered their own planet uninhabitable. Now they are working on doing the same to another planet.

The antidote to Juno is openmindedness — the ability to allow new ideas and concepts in, the ability to listen to the universe, which is always speaking to you, if you willing to hear it.

Many people think they are being openminded, in fact I would say that most people see themselves as being so. The problem is, they are openminded, so long as every incoming idea conforms to their pre-conceived notions of reality. It’s these preconceived notions that are the very thing that create the illusion of a closed mind being an open mind.

The movie has a lot to do with the difference between science and rationality on the one hand, and intuition on the other. To be intuitive one has to be open. Juno rejects openness because it is threatening to Juno’s primary urge: the control of everything.

Another way of expressing the antidote to Juno is that it is simply letting everything flow, seeing what arises out of the sea of one’s consciousness, and out of the ever-changing circumstances of outer reality as they unfold through time. Go with the energy of the moment, keep tracking it, cease applying your stale mechanical formulae to it, take off your mind filters, SEE EVERYTHING AS NEW ALL THE TIME EVERY MOMENT. THAT IS THE WAY TO OVERCOME THE NIGHTMARE OF JUNO. (And check out the Bach Flower Remedy called Rock Water, which, vibrationally is a healer of the Juno energy).

That place they went to in the movie where all the rocks were hanging — it went through my mind that those rocks were asteroids, but now, instead of moving in an orbital path, they had come to rest, hanging there, motionless, in the sky.

Ellias Lonsdale says the asteroids represent stumbling blocks. The Na’vi, those blue creatures in the movie, had, through their alignment with their spiritual selves, overcome the stumbling blocks to their spiritual development, hence the asteroids had become de-activated, transmuted into floating mountains.

It’s what we’re all in the process of doing.


Cardinal, Fixed, and Mutable

A good way to understand the difference between cardinal, fixed, and mutable energies is to think of them as equating with three different aspect of fictional literature: cardinal in this context would be the plot of a narrative, that is the action – what happens. Fixed would be the ideas and concepts that the work is expressing, in other words, the theme(s), whereas mutable signifies the characters.

Some works of fiction function more on plot and action – such as James Patterson books. Adventure stories carry a cardinal vibe. Now this may sound strange at first, but most horror novels carry the energy of the fixed signs, because fixed signifies moral issues – the question of good and evil, right and wrong, and most works of horror fiction are about this moral question, and the attempt to overcome evil. I’m thinking here more of the old style horror novels like “Dracula” and not the gratuitous violence/extreme grotesquery type.

Some books focus mainly on characters, and the more unique and vivid those characters are, the more they are like the mutable signs. I’m thinking here of romance novels, for certainly the plots are baed on formulas – mainly based on misunderstanding that get cleared up, and there is no real message. The focus is usually on the characters and their unique traits.

The way to tell whether an astrological chart is dominated more by cardinal, fixed, or mutable energies is to consider the oppositions. If there is a single opposition in the chart, then one has only to look at the signs in which the planets in opposition are in to tell whether its cardinal, fixed or mutable. Of course sometimes one can have an opposition where the planets are near the beginning or end of the sign and so even though the planets are in opposition the signs are not. For instance, Mars in 28 degrees Gemini opposition Venus in 2 degrees Capricorn. In this case the opposition cannot be used to tell whether the chart as a whole is primarily cardinal, fixed or mutable.

Sometimes the chart has more than one opposition, and if these oppositions are not both cardinal, fixed or mutable but different in modality from each other then oddly enough THE DOMINATING MODALITY WILL BE THE MISSING ONE. For instance, an opposition of planet in cardinal signs and an opposition of planet in fixed signs in the same chart will mean that the mutable modality predominates in a person’s character. This happens because the conflict between the cardinal and fixed is most easily resolved through the missing term.

If there are no oppositions then one may count up the number of planets in cardinal signs, fixed signs, and mutable signs, and see which has the most. Sometimes one sees a chart that has oppositions in cardinal signs and fixed signs and mutable signs. This signifies a person who can see things from many different directions, but who may have a hard time figuring out how to enter into experience and/or what to do exactly, because the consciousness tends to jump around a lot and want to change their approach to situations.

Also, if one has no planets in one of these modalities it is quite significant. No planet in cardinal means the individual is unruffled by what happens, can kind of overlook events, easily get beyond them. No planets in fixed means that the person is freed from moral conflicts and doesn’t worry much about having to justify themselves. As you may imagine, this can be a very good thing, or a dangerous thing if the person chooses to use it in a pathological way.

No planets in mutable signs mean that the person can overlook people as individuals, is freed from issues of character. I did the chart of a woman who worked for a large wine company. She said very many people had quit working there because they couldn’t stand the boss. I said, “how can you stay there?” She said, “I just ignore his viciousness and lying and his other bad qualities and carry on with my job.” She had not a single planet in mutable signs.

Although a lack of something in a chart – a lack of cardinal planets, mutable ones, fixed ones, a lack of water, fire, earth, or air planets, a lack of squares or other aspects, etc. can show a deficiency, the lack can also create a special power, and/or function as a freeing influence.

Marc Jones gave the three concepts “situations” (cardinal) “ideas” (fixed) and “people” (mutable) to help to explain these different modalities. The cardinal likes to be in the thick of things, where the action is, and to be confronted with challenges. The fixed operates at the greatest remove from experience, for its focus is on the future, where things are headed, and why. These are the most difficult to understand, for their motives tend to be the most complicated of the three. They are also the best at holding fast under pressure.

The mutable type is the friendliest of the three, and the most compromising. They excel when they are with people they like and can relate to. They are supportive in nature and are the ones of the three most likely to get walked on and taken for granted.


How to use Phase Analysis to Interpret a Transit

I’m going to show you a highly interesting technique, and I’m going to use Tyler’s chart to explain it. Tyler is having, in December, Pluto square his Mars. To get a deeper idea of the effect this will have on him we can go to his natal chart and look at the relationship between Pluto and Mars there. What we find is that they are 155 degrees and 55 minutes apart. This means that they are not in aspect, or, at least, in no major, or even minor aspect that we know of. But we can go to the 156th degree of the zodiac to find out the inner significance of the relationship of these two planets in his chart. Degree 156 in the zodiac is the 6th degree of Virgo. Looking at his chart we see that his Nadir is 6 degree and 6 minutes of Virgo, so this transit of Pluto to Mars, even though it falls in his 10th house has a deep connection with his Nadir. The Nadir always signifies FOUNDATION, that is, finding the basis of life, finding our true security. So the transit is to Mars in his 10th house meaning that the powerful, transformative energy of Pluto is trying to perfect his ability to assert himself (Mars), so that he may find his most rightful career (10th house), and that career must be born of his hearts desire (“heart’s desire=Nadir=foundation). Pluto, also, is in the 7th house at the time of the transit, so their could be a very big change in the way he relates to EVERYTHING, a change that could be extremely empowering.

The Omega Symbol for the 156th degree of the zodiac, that is Virgo 6 is “Talismans buried here and there along a road so that travelers will be protected.” This degree is about facilitating process, about supporting forward movement, not in just Tyler, but in all the people who he contacts.

The Chandra Symbol for this degree is “A banyan tree that creates an entire forest.” signifying knowledge proliferating and giving birth to more knowledge. This degree is aware of the connectedness of knowledge and the way it spawns more of itself infinitely. I have written in my book “The Circular Temple” that the person with this degree must not be overwhelmed by this vast forest of knowledge, or try to assimilate all of it – to do so would be impossible. It is enough to know that it is there when you need it, and like the crystals of the Omega Symbol can protect and guide you as you make your way toward the Palace of Wisdom.

The main thing I would suggest to Tyler is that Pluto through this transit is trying to help him become more creative and constructive, as well as destructive where he needs to be that way, that is, where destructiveness will serve the purpose of evolution. The challenge with Mars is always how to harness and direct its energy without repressing it.


Memorizing Signs, Planets, and Aspects

Here is a really great method for learning the signs in order together with their planetary rulerships plus which ones are in sextile, square, trine and opposition to each other. I learned this memory technique from a book I found when I was in grade school, and it has stuck with me for many years. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is.

First of all, we’re going to create file, and its going to be based on two things: (1) a file you already have in your mind, which is simply the numbers one through twelve, and (2) rhymes. Here is a list of the numbers together with specific words that rhyme with each one:

1 is RUN
2 is ZOO
3 is TREE
4 is DOOR
5 is HIVE
6 is STICK
8 is GATE
9 is WINE
10 is DEN
11 is LEAVEN
12 is SHELF


Memorize these words and their corresponding numbers. It’s easy because the words rhyme with the numbers. The only confusion you might have is between seven and eleven, which already rhyme with each other. The way around this difficulty is to remember that the word going with eleven, LEAVEN, is almost identical to the sound of the number itself. (Leaven is a noun and means a substance, typically yeast, that is added to dough to make it ferment and rise).

Practice these numbers. Have someone name numbers at random between one and twelve and see if you can think of the word which corresponds. If you can, you’re ready to go on to step two.


In this step you’re going to invent a personal picture – one to go with each one of the twelve numbers. It is very important to make this picture vivid and as specific as possible. I’m going to relate to you my own personal pictures. You can use them, if you’d like, or you can make up your own. The purpose of this step is to learn the signs in order.

The first sign of the zodiac is Aries, and as you see from the list, the word for the number 1 is RUN. In my picture, I am at the University of Kansas City outdoor track, which is right by the gym. I am furiously RUNNING around the track because I’m being chased by a RAM (Aries). This ram is trying to butt me! He has his head down, and big curly horns, and I can barely keep ahead of him.

If you use this image, imagine your own place where it is happening, somewhere you are familiar with. It may be in a park where you like to go, or the woods in back of your house, etc. The point is, you’re RUNNING and your being chased by a RAM.

The number two goes with the word ZOO. The second sign of the zodiac is Taurus. I see myself at the Kansas City ZOO, and there in a cage, in the big cat house is a BULL (Taurus). Why in the cat house? Who knows? I put the bull here in my imagination because the more strange and inexplicable you make these pictures in your mind the more vivid they are to you, and hence the easier to remember.

I hope the bull isn’t here in the cat house becuase they are going to feed him to a tiger or other cat! There he is, just chewing his cud. Spend enough time making the picture vivid enough in your mind that you remember it, and when you feel it’s strong enough that you won’t forget it, go on to the next one.

The number three goes with TREE. I see a big oak tree and there, on the lowest branch are two monkey’s. They look identical! They must be TWINS (Gemini). They are chattering at me and jumping up and down. They’re afraid I might climb the TREE. They’re very territorial. “This is our TREE” they seem to be saying.

The number four goes with DOOR. I see myself late at night lying in bed. The curtain is open and I see a full moon. I hear a strange noise — it sounds like something is scraping the door. I get up, my heart is going fast. What could it be? I listen. The noise doesn’t stop. Finally I get up the courage to open the door and…look!…there is a giant CRAB (Cancer) that’s been scratching at the door. Is it really a crab, or a space alien? Is it the product of some genetic experiment gone awry? My little dog is barking furiously at it.

The number five goes with HIVE. Sitting under a tree I see a bee hive. I know I’m in Africa. Here comes a hungry LION (Leo). He is starving. He looks so thin. He can smell the honey in the HIVE. He puts his paw in it and all the bees come swarming out. He runs away, a swarm of bees chasing after him.

The number six goes with STICK. I see a magician with a wand. The wand is very simple. It looks like the branch of a tree. It is beautiful, though, for it has on it several blossoms that never fade. He says, “I have something to show you. Watch carefully!” He then intones a magical incantation and waves the STICK (wand), and there in a beautiful cloud of light an image of the VIRGIN (Virgo) Mary appears. She is making the sign of benediction toward me. She then disappears. I feel wonderful! “Thank you” I say to the magician. (By the way, if you don’t like combining Christian imagery with something as pagan as a magician, you can use the goddess Athena, if you can remember that she was supposed to be a virgin).

For the number seven I see a long flight of steps going up into the clouds – into HEAVEN. I ascend them, climbing and climbing until I see in the distance a gigantic angel standing there. It’s St. Peter. He’s holding in his right hand an immense BALANCE SCALES (Libra). As I approach I see that in the left hand pan of the BALANCE SCALE are all the bad deeds I’ve done in my life, and in the right hand pan are all my good deeds. Luckily, I see, the right hand pan is heavier (of course!), and so I know I’m going to heaven! “Welcome,” says St. Peter.

For the number eight I see I’m standing in front of a beautiful garden gate. It is made of wrought iron and ornamented with depictions of all sorts of birds and flowers. I open the gate, it squeaks loudly, and just as I’m about to step into the beautiful garden I happen to look down and see there right in front of me on the ground a huge black SCORPION (Scorpio). It is black, just like the gate. Carefully I walk around it as it lifts and flexes the stinger on its tail, warning me to stay away.

For the number 9 I imagine that as I am walking through the forest I come upon a staggering CENTAUR (Sagittarius). “Are you all right?” I ask. “Yeah,” he slurs, “Just a little tipsy. Think I had a little too much WINE (wine=nine). “Can I help you?” I ask. “No,” he says, “ I’m just on the way home. Say, you don’t happen to have a breath mint on you, do you? Uh, I promised the missus I’d lay off the hootch…but Chiron just brewed a new batch – couldn’t resist.” Reaching into my pocket I hand him a box of tic-tacs.

For the number 10 I imagine that I see a den of hungry panthers. It’s in a cave. For a few days they’ve had no luck hunting, and they’re famished. As they lay there resting a stray GOAT (Capricorn) wanders into their midst. They all jump up at once, ready to pounce, but rear back in surprise – because the goat smells SO BAD. I mean, goats are usually stinky, but this goat just REEKS. Seeing that he has wandered into a den of panthers, the goat bolts out of the DEN (den=ten).

Are you still with me? We have only two more to go! For the number 11 I see a medieval bakery in Paris. Its all made of stone. The baker is a jolly fat man. He wants to make more bread but he’s out of water. He’s waiting for the water carrier (AQUARIUS) to deliver some. The water bearer knocks at the door and comes in carrying a large ceramic urn full of water. This guy is notoriously clumsy, and soon after he’s entered the bakery he stumbles and drops the jug on a table. It smashes into a large jar which holds all the bakers LEAVEN (eleven) and gets it all wet. “You big lummox!” Shouts the baker, “Now you’ve RUINED all my LEAVEN!” (leaven=eleven).

And now the last one. I seen myself coming into my kitchen, and I notice this awful smell. What could it be? There are no dirty dishes, and I just cleaned out the refrigerator. Is it the trash that smells so bad? I look under the sink. Nope. I just emptied it yesterday. I start searching. Standing on a chair I open a cupboard and look on the top SHELF (twelve), which is high up close to the ceiling. There is a plate. I take it down and what do I find on it? TWO FISH (Pisces) that are rotting. How in the world did they get there? Oh yes, now I remember. Gracie, the cleaning lady who is very lazy doesn’t like to do dishes. We had these trout two weeks ago for dinner, and she must have hid them on the top shelf so she wouldn’t have to wash the dish. I decide that this is it, I’m definitely going to have to fire Gracie.

You have now completed Step Two. Test yourself by having someone name numbers at random between one and twelve. Can you name the sign corresponding to it? If not, then either you have gone through the list in step two too fast, or have not made the pictures vivid enough in your mind. Go back over them again and have your friend test you again. Make sure you cover all the numbers, and if you miss any this time, jot the missed ones down and go back and find a way of making the picture corresponding to them even more vivid.

Once you have completed Step two successfully, you can say the signs in order both forward and backward.

And now for step three. To figure out which signs are opposite each other, all you have to do is add or subtract 6 from any number in question. For instance, if you want to know what is the opposite of 3=TREE=TWINS=GEMINI all you have to do is add 6 to it and you get 3 plus 6 equals 9=WINE=SAGITTARIUS. If you want to know the sign opposite SCORPIO=GATE=EIGHT all you have to do is subtract 6 from it and you get 8 minus 6 equals 2=ZOO=TAURUS.

To know which signs are in square to each other, you just need to add three to any given number to get one of the squares, and then subtract three from it to get the other square, since each sign has two other signs which are in square to it. If the number in question is less than three, just add a full circle to it, which is 12. For instance the square to TAURUS=TWO=ZOO is found by adding 12 to 2, obtaining 14. (We had to add the 12 because we can’t subtract three from two). Now that we have the 14 we can subtract three from it and we get 14 minus 3 equals 11=LEAVEN=AQUARIUS. If the sum you obtain after adding 3 to any number is over 12, then just take 12 away from it to arrive at the answer. For instance, if you want to know the square to CAPRICORN=DEN=TEN, add 3 to the 10 to obtain 13, then subtract 12 from it, obtaining 1=RUN=ARIES.

Sextiles are both plus and minus two, since there are two of them also. Trines are plus and minus 4. If you want to be a really good astrologer, keep practicing these until you get to the point you just know them and don’t have to do the adding and subtracting.

And now for Step 4. Let’s go back to your original list and we’re going to add something.

Remember that picture of you running from the RAM (Aries) that’s chasing you? Well, you know, you’re getting very tired of running, in fact, your running out of energy, and you’re feeling hungry. Look down into your hand, and there you see a MARS candy bar. (Mars rules Aries).

In the Picture of you at the zoo (=2)where you see the BULL (TAURUS) you see a beautiful woman enter the cage. She is radiant – she must be a goddess! She is! She’s VENUS, and she’s laying a garland of flowers around the Bull’s neck. It’s to protect him from the big cats.

In the picture of the twin monkeys in the TREE (=3) as you stand there gazing up at them you feel a tap on your shoulder. Turning around you see it is the god MERCURY (Ruling planet of Gemini). He’s wearing a helmet with wings on it, and looking down, you see that he also has wings on the back of his feet. He says “I have a message for you. Here!” and he hands you an envelope. You open it – I don’t know what’s in it – that’s up to you!

In the picture of the DOOR (=4) with the large CRAB scratching on it, remember how bright that MOONlight was coming through the open curtain (Cancer is ruled by the Moon). Maybe it was that Full Moon that called up that CRAB from the depths of some Stygian cave.

In the picture of the HIVE (=5) Imagine that the time of day is noon, and the SUN (Ruling planet of LEO) is blazing high in the sky.

In the picture of the STICK (=6)– the blossoming wand that conjures up a picture of the VIRGIN — imagine that after he has conjured her up he then re=energizes his wand by dipping it in a bowl of liquid MERCURY (Mercury rules Virgo).

In the picture of the steps going up to HEAVEN (=7) imagine that the time of this event as early evening, and there in the sky hanging over the shoulder of St. Peter is the EVENING STAR, which is VENUS (ruling planet of Libra, the balance scales).

In the picture of the garden GATE (=8), you may think to yourself, you know, I really wanted to enjoy this beautiful garden. It’s the loveliest one I’ve ever seen, but that big ugly Scorpion MARS the whole experience! (Mars rules Scorpio).

In the picture of the WINE (=9) which got the Centaur drunk, watch the Centaur as he leaves you to find his way home. Oops! He got lost – he’s drunker than he thought, but the king of the gods, JUPITER, appears to him to show him the way.

In the picture of the DEN (=10) see the goat bolting out of the panthers’ den and running home to a little thatched hut in the forest. There lives an old man with a long gray beard carrying a Scythe. He’s the god Saturn, and Cappy (that’s the goats name, is his favorite goat. How glad Saturn is that Cappy’s returned safe and sound!

In the picture of the LEAVEN (=11) the baker is so upset by the loss of his LEAVEN, when the water bearer spill his whole jug of water on it, that after the water bearer leaves he pour himself a nice big glass of SAUTURN wine to calm himself down (Saturn rules Aquarius).

In the picture of the SHELF (=12) imagine you are scraping the two stinky trout into the garbage disposal, and as you do you uncover the picture of the king of the gods JUPITER(ruler of the sign Pisces) on the plate. He’s wearing a crown and carrying a scepter. You truly hope he will not send a curse to you for allowing his image to be defiled by two dead fish. Just in case, you light candles to him, say a prayer, and make an offering of fruit and flowers.

So now, if you’ve installed these pictures vividly enough in your mind, you not only know the signs in order, both forward and backward, but also which are in opposition, square, sexile and trine to each other, and also the planetary rulers of each. Not bad for a day’s work!

Here’s the trick: Once you’ve learned these, you need to go over them at least once a day for awhile, then you can do every other day, then every three days, then once a week for awhile. That’s how to make them stick. I hope you enjoyed this memory game! Talk to you again soon!


Neptune Opposing Mars

During the next couple of years I will be having Neptune opposing my natal Mars five times. Such an event being generated by one of the outer planets is an energy that comes to dominate the life for awhile, and which can teach one vast and profound things.

This transit is complicated by, and I would also say enriched by my having Neptune conjunct Mars in my 9th harmonic — so this is an energy I am moving toward, that I am developing inevitably.

One major area which Neptune/Mars addresses is subtle energy, and for most of my adult life I have been interested in energy therapy. I am a Reiki master. I have taught flower essence therapy, gem and mineral therapy, and several other forms of energy therapy. I will say, though, that my involvement with these things has been strongly theoretical and abstract, that is, I think about them, collect information about them, and know much about them. I am now strongly feeling that what Neptune/Mars is to bring me over these next two years is a more pure, direct, experiential involvement in these therapies.

Astrology is said to be Uranian. I say “said to be” because there are many different forms and styles of astrology. The Uranian type of astrology has much to do with intellectualizing and the mind. What I have always been more drawn to is what I would call “Neptunian” astrology, and that is why I have been so focused on the use of degree symbols when interpreting charts. Uranian astrology attempts to see the uniqueness (Uranus) of each chart. Neptunian astrology is more interested in using the chart as a doorway or portal into the deeper and hidden realms of the psyche, which ultimately means using the chart as a lens through which to focus the intuition. Uranian astrology is more about inventing mental constructs to explain the chart. Neptunian astrology is more about feeling into the chart, about the chart as poetry. And here I am not referring to superficial poetry, whose only goal is beauty and pleasantness, but the ancient poetry, whose purpose was magical evocation, poetry which is talismanic and carries the energy of healing.

My Mars is in the 1st degree of Virgo, and the Chandra symbol for that degree is “A volcano erupting at night.” The Omega symbol for that same degree is “Late at night someone comes home and slowly ascends the stairs.” What I get out of this is that the volcano is about a natural, primal releasing — an effortless pouring forth of something which is a combination of fire and earth (lava) meaning a combination of that which is spiritual (fire) and yet practical. The person coming home and slowly ascending the stairs is about a retreat from the world and a return to the deep inner self. In a sense the two images seem diametrically opposed, but both are about release — a letting go.

The man climbing the stairs is being slow — He is working to elevate himself — the stairs take him upward into a place of privacy. And yes, as I am now under the first of these Neptune opposing Mars transits I feel both that I am in the process of spewing forth my contents like the volcano while yet also coming back to personal center.


The Planets and Asteroids

In ancient astrology only 7 planets were used, because that was how many they could see in the sky without the aid of a telescope. These seven planets are a complete system — meaning that everything you can think of falls under the rulership of one of them.

In India the astrologers still only use 7 planets, but in Western astrology the planets Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto have been added to the original 7. Uranus is a freeing influence that can break us out of limitations, especially the limitations of our perceptions and biased notions. Neptune is a refining influence that can dissolve old states of being and make us more and more aware of spiritual realities. And Pluto actually has no energy of its own, really, but intensifies anything it comes into contact with for the purpose of strengthening and empowering it, or destroying it so that a new form can emerge that is closer to spiritual reality.

Recently one of the followers of my blog wrote a comment in which she said she felt these “outer planets” (Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto) were often thought of as too universal to have a personal effect, but that she felt they most certainly do have a personal effect in one’s chart. She is absolutely right, and I would also say that the more we become aware of these subtle and spiritualizing energies the more we are able to allow them to enhance our evolution — for that is exactly what they are there to do for us.

When I do a chart I also use the four major asteroids. Each one of these signifies a different type of illusion that retards our growth and hence signifies challenges which, as we work to overcome them enhance our spiritual growth.

There is a German astrologer named Alfred Witte who psychically discovered 8 other planets which he called the Transneptunians. Each one of these rules a different subtle energy. I don’t use these in my astrological interpretations. I feel they are highly valid, but I only have so much time, and I’m already looking at a lot.

Many astrologers interpret more asteroids than just the 4 major ones, in fact the astrology program I use can actually calculate the positions of 10,000 asteroids!

This all just goes to show you, once again, that astrology is a wonderfully open-ended art that many people are exploring in a tremendously wide variety of ways.


Planets: The Core of Astrology

A school of astrology known as cosmobiology arose in the 20th century in Germany. This school focused on the use of midpoints, and de-emphasized signs and houses to the point that they were used little by some practitioners, and not at all by others.

There has never, though, been a school of astrology that did not use planets, because planets are the most essential, most indispensable part of astrology. The planets MOVE and create CHANGE. The houses and signs, by comparison, are static. They do not move in relationship to each other. They are the receptacles for the energy of the planets.

Each planet, except for two of them has a polar opposite, and one of the best ways to study astrology is to know these polar opposite pairs, to contrast them with each other, and to always think of their energy as being in dynamic balance to each other. Here is a list of the pairs. I have designated a yin or feminine component, and a yang, or masculine component in each pair:

Sun (yang) and Moon (yin)
Mars (yang) and Venus (yin)
Jupiter (yang) and Saturn (yin)
Uranus (yang) and Neptune (yin)

Mercury and Pluto are not a pair — each one stands alone. Pluto has no energy of its own — it takes on and intensifies the energy of whatever it comes in contact with. Mercury is a connecting energy, flexible, both masculine and feminine.

Marc Jones designates the Sun/Moon pair as signifying VITALITY, THE Mars/Venus pair as signifying EFFICIENCY, the Jupiter/Saturn pair as signifying MOTIVATION, and the Uranus/Neptune pair as signifying SIGNIFICANCE.

In a later posting I will talk further about the meaning of each one of these pairs as well as the meaning of various aspects between them.


Sun/Moon Aspects: The Department of Vitality

The Sun/Moon pair is the first of four planetary “departments,” as described in the work of Marc Jones. The aspect between the Sun and Moon is of great significance in the chart, for it set the tone for how the individual’s energy is used in the world. In Jones’ system, there are six possibilities of aspect: conjunct, sextile, square, trine, opposition, and no aspect. When it comes to looking at planetary departments, no aspect between the two planets has a definite significance, which I will speak of in each of these four essays on the departments.

Sun/Moon conjunction: This has an all or nothing feel to it. The person plunges into experience with the whole of his being, focusing on the moment rather than thinking much about how his or her acts will affect the future. The individual tends to feel vitally connected to activity, or rather completely disconnected.

What is needed to fulfill the potential of this aspect is for the individual to become aware of his/her own energy flow, then to go with it, working when the mood strikes him/her, or waiting for the right time when his/her energy is down or out of sync.

The extremes of this aspect can manifest as extreme mood swings. These can be minimized if the person will not try to push themself, not try to go against their own energy. Joy of being comes to the person when they wholeheartedly go with their own energy surges, and when their energy is at a low, allow themselves to rest or float free until the next wave of energy comes to them.

Sun/Moon sextile: This individual is highly affected by whatever they are exposed to, in terms of either positive or negative reinforcement, and so they need to find people who will bring out the best in them, and encourage them to rise to their highest potential. Without having this, it can be difficult for them to grow and unfold. They are natural assisters — helping and benefiting the process of whoever they come in contact with.

My friend Sandra has a Sun/Moon sextile, and she has assisted me tremendously in being more focused and productive. I want to emphasize here that its not just what she says to me, or the way she encourages me, but the very energy she emanates that I pick up on that automatically motivates me. Our Sun/Moon aspect is a force we radiate, not just the acts we perform or words that we say.

Sun/Moon square: This person has a tremendous amount of energy that spills out of them. If they don’t guide it, it manifests haphazardly, causing all sorts of problems. If this person is not in attunement with their spiritual core, they can be a trouble maker and a source of discord to the life around them. With some meaningful structure to follow, and just the right sort and amount of discipline, they can be real power houses, using their energy constructively and stimulating all those around them to higher accomplishment.

Sun/Moon trine: This individual easily falls into patterns, structures, and routines. They are a creature of habit. They can become so entrenched in the momentum of their everyday life that they fail to ever look deeper or go further. At worst, life for them can become merely a quest for comfort, a well-lubricated machine that, in the end, takes them nowhere.

Of course, the habits they adopt could be bad ones, and in that case they can also become quite comfortable with those, and have a great deal of difficulty ever overcoming them.

Sun/Moon trines need to get outside themselves. If they think of doing something, but it seems like a lot of trouble and inconvenience to do it, they need to overlook the hassle, and JUST DO IT! Jump in there and let your life become messy and chaotic for awhile — it will do you good, it can teach you new ways of looking at things!

Whenever structure and regularity are needed — say, in the setting up or maintaining of a business, for instance — the Sun/Moon trine people are great at doing so. They just need to beware of becoming imprisoned by their own ruts.

Sun/Moon opposition: One of the most basic theories of astrology is that we want to GO WITH THE ENERGY in our chart, for through flowing with it we learn from it, and become increasingly more in harmony with the universe. The opposition is the greatest separation between two planets, so this person’s job, if they are going to go with their chart, is to keep their Sun and Moon energy apart from each other.

What does this mean? It means: don’t let the conscious and rational part of your self (your Sun) inhibit or repress your emotions. Let your enjoyment of the moment (your Moon) be free and full, rather than dampened by considerations about the future (your Sun). By the same token, when you are taking care of business (Sun), don’t allow intrusions by your private life (Moon) or personal feelings (Moon) or distractions of the moment (Moon). In other words, when you are taking care of business, take care of business, and when you are indulging in pleasure, keep business out of the way.

Marc Jones’ keyword for the opposition is AWARENESS. The Sun/Moon opposition is certainly aware of much, but YOU CAN ONLY DO ONE THING AT ONE TIME. IF YOU TRY TO DO EVERYTHING AT ONCE, YOU WON’T GET ANYTHING DONE, YOU WILL BECOME STUCK. So go ahead and be aware, but then go from thing to thing as needing, focusing on the activity at hand, rather than allowing yourself to be pulled apart by all the conflicting needs of life.

Sun/Moon no aspect: When one gives a 17 degree orb to the Sun, which one should do when employing this technique, there are actually more people with a Sun/Moon aspect than with no aspect. The Sun/Moon aspect is psychologically free to use their energy any way they want to. How they interact with the world is up for grabs — they are a free agent. The problem is, are they going to just float around aimlessly and randomly, or are they going to anchor and focus themselves enough to be able to make a significant and viable contribution to life?

The Sun/Moon no aspect can make tremendous strides in life, accomplishing a tremendous amount, but first they have go get all their horses galloping in the same direction, rather than just being a roaming herd. And of course, even when they do coordinate their efforts, there is always the potential of reverting to a state of randomness.

I have Sun/Moon no aspect. People are often surprised about how much I get done, but can be equally surprised when suddenly my current effort stops and once again I’m floating free, or off to another thing.

In later postings we will look at the other three planetary “departments,” and then I will tell you of the technique with which to synthesize them.

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