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Transits and Transformation: Turning Crisis into Healing

Art by Susan Seddon Boulet

Art by Susan Seddon Boulet

As humans, we tend to think that happiness is better than sadness, that good luck is better than bad. We may avoid difficult confrontations and pursue more comfortable situations. When tragedy strikes our well-protected lives, we shout out to our god of choice: “How could you do this to me??” We believe that our birthright is the pursuit of happiness, and we spend our lives trying to protect ourselves from sorrow.

The soul, however, has a different journey. The soul travels an ancient evolutionary path that seeks wisdom and connection with the divine. Often in our desire to defend ourselves from discomfort, we erect barriers within ourselves. Often we become so effective in compartmentalizing our emotions we become cut off from our very selves, our soul and our spirit.

In astrological terms, the orbiting planets form geometric angles to our birthchart planets, or “transits.” Each transiting planet has its own nature, its own personality and its own purpose-calling upon us as the ancient gods they represent to bring forth something in ourselves that has been lost. The inner planets move quickly: a transit of Venus will encourage relationships and creativity, a transit of Mars demands that we defend ourselves appropriately. Easy Jupiter transits can bring financial opportunity, or liberate us from difficult situations, whereas the challenging transits can cause reckless and risky behavior. The outer, or transpersonal planets, including Saturn which acts as the bridge between the personal planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter) and transpersonal (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto), take much longer to traverse the zodiac and therefore their effects are felt for a longer period of time.

The planets in our birthchart also “progress” through time, particularly the inner planets which move more quickly. The placement of the planets in our “progressed” chart offer additional information about the person that we have become; this serves as a transparent overlay that defines us at this moment in time. The relationship of the planets in our progressed chart to our birthchart offers additional information about our current situation.

These transits can initiate great opportunities and personal distress for us, but even in the most difficult of crises, hidden in the pain is a gift that opens the doorway into the realization and connection of the soul. Each planet can be identified as a god demanding us to delve deep within ourselves. Encounters with these gods through the challenging planetary transits (squares and oppositions) bring burdens, but also offer great gifts. In making an offering to these gods, we are better able to receive their gifts of transformation.

Saturn

The myth: Saturn was the son of Uranus (heaven) and Gaia (earth). During his rule he created the division of time and the seasons, establishing cosmic order and history. Saturn, fearing that his children would depose him, swallowed each child at birth. His last child, Zeus, eventually overpowered Saturn in a great war and imprisoned him in the Tartarus, a dark gloomy region at the ends of the earth.

The burden: Saturn places restrictions and obstacles before us, making it difficult to move forward in our desired direction. We may feel sad, lonely, and weighed down by an overwhelming sense of inertia. Saturn is the god of time, telling us that time is fleeting and we must take our lives seriously. He wants us to be responsible, to respect society’s structures. He is the difficult father that can instill insecurity and self-doubt. During a Saturn transit we often feel dark and lonely, mirroring Saturn’s gloomy imprisonment. The structures and rules that Saturn values so much can feel oppressive. We are likely to experience difficulties in our daily lives: back pain, dental problems, automobile breakdowns – events that limit our ability to move forward as we desire.

The gift: Saturn is like the Beast in old fairy tales; behind his ugly and fearful exterior lies the Handsome Prince. Herein lies the alchemy over which Saturn presides: the psychospiritual process in which pain and difficulty leads one to greater wholeness and integration. Saturn is not stingy in his rewards when we delve deep and obey his call for introspection and discipleship. The limitations and obstacles are simply tools to encourage us to look within and convert the lead of our existence into the gold of increased awareness.

The offering: When we enter into discipleship with Saturn, we discover the truth about ourselves and our nature. Saturn demands that we look deeply into our motivations, our desires, and our truths. Spend as much time alone as possible, journaling, examining the structures of your life and look at ways they can be improved. Offer up a plan for the future and Saturn will reward you with spiritual and material success. Open gently the doors to feelings of sadness and insecurity; this is the base material for the alchemical process. When you face your darkness with courage, you allow the light to enter and Saturn’s blessings will certainly follow.

Uranus

The myth: Uranus was the sky god married to Gaia, the earth mother-god. Uranus ruled the limitless space of the heavens. He and Gaia had many children, all of them odd and deformed: the giant Titans, the Cyclopses, and monsters with multiple limbs and heads. These children did not meet his ideals, and Uranus forced them back into Gaia’s womb (the earth). Ultimately his son Saturn castrated Uranus , symbolizing an archetypal battle between these two gods.

The burden: Uranus demands freedom of expression, revolution against repression, an idealistic utopia. Uranus rattles our cages, pressuring us to remember that we are creative and unique individuals. If we cling tooo tightly to Saturn’s structures and the security they bring, the challenging Uranus transits can increase anxiety and shake our very roots. We may suddenly crave changes in all structures of our life and experience insomnia and restlessness.

The gift: Uranus offers the gift of individual freedom and new beginnings. Uranus often provides brilliant insights and breakthroughs of awareness. A veil is lifted, and we are able to see past our fears to more freedom, an ideal life that better suits the person we have become.

The offering: Uranus requires us to let go of old habits, routines and structures that keep us from actualizing our potential. It demands that we open our minds to new ideas, new visions. It floods us with electrical energy and asks that we channel it into new pathways of thought, of feeling, and of living. Think outside the box; imagine new ways of structuring your life that serve your own unique potential.

Neptune

The myth: Neptune was the brother of Pluto and of Jupiter, and after the three brothers overthrew their father Saturn, Neptune received dominion over the seas. Neptune was known not only for his watery domain, but also for his legendary rage which caused him to create great storms with his trident and gave him control over earthquakes. Neptune had many lovers, but fell desperately in love with the water nymph Amphitrite who later became his wife.

The burden: Neptune commands the dissolution of ego and the yearning of the individual for a divine experience. During a challenging Neptune transit, the dissolving process can be confusing and disorienting and leave us vulnerable to fantasy and deception. In our search for the divine we may seek solace in drugs or lose ourselves in excessive media exposure. We are more likely to be deceived at these times due to a temporary inability to discriminate between fantasy and reality. We may be overly empathetic and lose our sense of self.

The gift: Neptune unites the soul and the self with the divine and facilitates the ascension process. During a transit of Neptune we have a direct doorway into the wisdom of the unconscious. Our dreams speak loudly to us if we listen, and provide information from the collective unconscious as well as our own subconscious mind. Neptune also offers the gift of empathy, psychic ability, artistic creation and music.

The offering: Neptune calls upon us to dissolve the boundaries of our individual ego and merge with the consciousness of the divine. We can honor Neptune by spending time in meditation and contemplation, and in body/mind/spirit activities such as yoga or tai chi that will unite and align us with the wisdom of our inner selves. We can ask to recognize where truth lies so that we can follow Neptune’s higher road of spiritual awareness. Neptune’s gift is none other than realization of the individual soul.

Pluto

The myth: Pluto is the god of the underworld, of death. Pluto owned a helmet that rendered him invisible, and he left no traces on the earth. Pluto is also the god of wealth and bestower of riches. He was often portrayed as being deaf to prayers and unappeased by sacrifices. He fell in love with Persephone and abducted her into the underworld, making her his queen and demonstrating that he wasn’t completely without heart.

The burden: In psychological astrology, Pluto represents the will of the higher self, the transpersonal self. Pluto’s realm is empowerment and transformation; he is unconcerned with our individual desires and plans. Transits of Pluto instigate death and rebirth, endings and beginnings. A Pluto transit can feel like a tornado in which one’s entire world is picked up, spun about, and dropped in a completely new and different place. Pluto takes us into the underworld and forces us to view emotions and qualities that have long been buried in the unconscious.

The gift: Pluto offers nothing less than complete spiritual evolution, the release of the caterpillar into the divine destiny of the butterfly. Pluto is the god of buried treasure – he reveals the ugliest aspects of our nature: jealousy, aggression and rage, revealing our true inner power that lies beneath. He forces us, often kicking and screaming, to let go of those aspects of our life that no longer serve our empowerment process, freeing us to realize our greatest potential.

The offering: Pluto insists that we step aside to let him facilitate our transformation. He demands that we trust the process, to let go of our own desires and plans for our future and allow the transformation to take place. Surrender is the key here, and a desire for wisdom. A Pluto transit may bring us the ultimate power struggle – that between the will of our higher self for transformation and our own individual desires.

The synchronicity inherent in the cycles life offers us many opportunities as well as challenges. Understanding the nature of these cycles provide insight that can assist us in our own evolutionary process.

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By | 2013-08-16T14:05:46+00:00 August 16th, 2013|Consciousness, Favorite posts, Lessons|5 Comments

Creating Intention: An Act of Prayer

prayerThe efficacy of prayer has been proven recently in the scientific arena. Dr. Larry Dossey is well-known for his studies demonstrating that prayer has a healing effect even when performed from a distance and without the patient knowing that prayer is occurring. The National Institute for Health Care Research found that out of 158 professional studies, 75% demonstrated that a religious commitment translated into benefits in psychological well-being, overall survival rates, or quality of life for everyone from cancer patients to drug abusers. Research is now being conducted at major universities all over the country to determine the connection between prayer and healing. Is this the intervention of a divine entity? Or is it that when we create an intention we focus our mind to align with the divine within ourselves, thereby harnessing an enormous creative force of manifestation?

It is tempting to relinquish our personal power to the will of the divine and give up our own will in the name of humility. Often there is a deep spiritual experience that results from sublimating one’s personal desires; however, a deep transformational empowerment can result from creating strong intentions for one’s life experiences that brings us closer to fulfilling our soul’s purpose and to becoming the amazing beings that we truly are. In order to do so, it is crucial to honor the divine within ourselves that deserves to live a beautiful and abundant life.

Often we may find ourselves stuck in patterns of negative thought that prevent us from realizing most fully the power of our creative intention. Perhaps we inherited these thought patterns and scripts from our families. Perhaps difficult life experiences have made it difficult for us to believe in our own soul’s beauty and power. Or perhaps we fear that in acknowledging our power to create the life we want, we are bound to fail. No matter what our negative conditioning has been, we have the power at every moment to completely transform our lives by directing our energy and focus for change, healing, and transformation.

When creating an intention or a vision for our life, it is crucial to begin by asking that our goal be answered in a way that harms none and is for the highest good of all. Paramhansa Yogananda has said, “Words are vibrations of thought,” and the words that we utter have a powerful effect on our consciousness. Carefully consider the options that you want to bring into your life. Do not focus on the negative that you would like to release, as this will only energize the negative. Your intentions will be more effective if they are worded in positive, evocative and inspiring language, and in the present tense. You will want to be as specific as possible in your intentions, but leave room for divine intervention and inspiration. Use words such as “exactly the right.” or “the best possible.” Speak the words aloud, and use all of your senses to make your vision real. Hear the sounds, feel the textures, see your life unfold as you desire it to be.

When we align the words that we speak with a clear intention, and we include in that intention the desire to follow the will of our higher self and guidance, we become able to manifest our soul’s purpose and manifest our highest ideals. Behavior patterns that interfere with our purpose become transformed as our entire being fills with the light of the divine will. We become more strongly linked to our soul’s creative intelligence, open to its guidance, and receptive to the many gifts of a life of transformation.

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By | 2013-08-11T06:03:19+00:00 August 11th, 2013|Consciousness, Favorite posts, Inspiration|2 Comments

Chiron is different from anything else in the Universe

Chiron astrology .  The mythological Chiron was a creature that was half man and half horse, so he is often lumped together with other Centaurs who share those physical attributes.  Astrologers sometimes classify him as an asteroid (his original astronomical classification), and astronomers sometimes describe him as a comet because he exhibits comet-like behavior.  You can read more about Chiron’s classification here in this earlier post.

The Centaurs of Greek mythology were actually tribes of beast-like men who roamed through Thessaly and the Pelopenessian peninsula in ancient times.  Although Chiron was similar in appearance, because he was half horse half man, he was of a different lineage entirely.  His father was Cronos (Saturn) and his mother was the nymph Philyra.  Chiron’s bestial shape was due to Cronos having shapeshifted into a stallion in order to overtake and mate with Philyra, the object of his great desire.   So while Chiron shares a similar imagery to the race of Centaurs, he is completely unrelated.

In the same way, Chiron is very different from the other astronomically classified Centaurs. Most important is the location of his orbit which generally lies between Saturn and Uranus although that orbit is elliptical and peculiar.  Barbara Hand Clow has called Chiron the “Rainbow Bridge” between the personal planets (the visible planets through Saturn) and the transpersonal planets (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto).  The personal planets represent personality, and the outer planets are transformational forces.  Chiron serves the role of facilitating transformation through the healing of problems in the personality.

In mythology Chiron is often described as the wisest of the Centaurs, but in my mind this is erroneous on many levels.  Since he was not one of the Centaur race, his wisdom is in a category unto itself and unrelated to the Centaurs.  He was fostered by the god Apollo and became a mentor to the ancient Greek heroes and the tutor to Asclepius, god of medicine. He inspires the kind of wisdom that only life experience and conscious understanding of our inner wounds can reveal.

There are not many astrologers who work with the other astronomically classified Centaurs, and we are just beginning to learn what significance they offer to the astrological chart.  Pholus and Nessus seem to be the major Centaurs that are in use at the moment, although with new planetary bodies being discovered every day the landscape of potential symbolism is virtually unlimited.

Still, there is no doubt in my mind that Chiron is a unique key to understanding the challenges that we face today, in the twenty-first century, to grow and evolve beyond the limits of our past and move with greater freedom  into a new and unique future.

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By | 2013-04-30T07:01:06+00:00 April 30th, 2013|Astrology, Favorite posts|9 Comments

Catastrophe and transformation

catastrophe Tower TarotI was browsing around for something when I came across a of the word “catastrophe”:

catastrophe (plural catastrophes)
1. Any large and disastrous event of great significance.
2. (insurance) A disaster beyond expectations
3. (narratology) The dramatic event that initiates the resolution of the plot in a tragedy.
4. (mathematics) A type of bifurcation, where a system shifts between two stable states.

As an astrologer, I am always curious about catastrophes in a person’s life, because there is nearly always something of great significance astrologically that provides clues to the nature of this apparent disaster.  I believe that when we are ignoring our lives or unable to face certain truths, the Universe will present us with a catastrophe to get our attention and create the change and transformation that is required.

In order to get there, though, we have to completely suspend our usual ideas of what is good and bad, life and death.  A horrible childhood event can serve as the tool to foster a lifetime of introspection and self-discovery.  A terrible accident can create a lifetime of pain, but also shock us into realizing that a change in our life is needed.  A natural disaster can wipe away a family, but allow us to put our grief to work in helping others.  A terminal illness will end a life, but can bring great richness and transformation to an entire family as well as the patient.

All of these events could be considered catastrophes in definition #1 described above: “a large and disastrous event of great significance.”  And certainly a disaster beyond expectations (#2), because most of us don’t expect to encounter these disasters – they sneak up on us and shock us into an altered state.

#3 is one of the most interesting, and it comes to us from the elements of Greek drama: The dramatic event that initiates the resolution of the plot.  Many of us become stuck in patterns and situations that we know are limiting us but we stay there out of fear or inertia.  A catastrophe can indeed be the dramatic event that initiates a type of resolution.

theory in mathematics is a little more obtuse but it still has an interesting connection to this discussion: “Small changes in certain parameters of a nonlinear system can cause equilibria to appear or disappear, or to change from attracting to repelling and vice versa, leading to large and sudden changes of the behaviour of the system.”  Here again we see the idea that a catastrophe plants the seeds of change.

The Tower card in the Tarot is a significator of this kind of catastrophe.  The Tower card is represented by the planet Pluto which presides over death and rebirth – destruction and regeneration.  In this card we see the Tower of the material world, representing all that we have accomplished, but which rests precariously on a craggy mountain which represents a supremely difficult spiritual challenge.  In order to accomplish the spiritual work, the Tower of materialism must fall.

The crown is falling from the Tower, showing that we must let go of our arrogance and righteousness during this process.  A bolt of lightning (Uranus – sudden and shocking experience) comes out of the blue to destroy all that we have built. In order to escape the destruction, a change of perspective (the people falling upside down from the Tower) is required.

To me, the biggest challenge in life is to face the reality of its tenuousness without fear and with trust in the Universal laws of consciousness and fate.  Astrology helps with this, because it can provide a context within which these supposedly meaningless events occur and offers a framework for understanding.

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By | 2013-04-26T07:11:08+00:00 April 26th, 2013|Fate, Favorite posts, Inspiration|8 Comments

Autism: The astrological connection

autismRecently I did a reading for a woman who was born under the Aquarius Stellium of 1962 who was dealing with neurological issues, something that is not uncommon with people who have a strong Uranian component in their chart, and the modern ruler of Aquarius is Uranus. I have long believed that the autism phenomenon, rather than a disorder to be treated, marks a significant shift in genetic patterning of the human race. The statistics are staggering:  1 in 150 American children are now diagnosed to be somewhere on the autism spectrum. There appear to be many different statistical correlations that suggest connections to possible causes: mercury in vaccines, genetic history of families, and even the.  All provide reasonable arguments, yet no single cause stands out.  After mercury was removed from vaccines in 1999, he autism rate continued to climb making this a less convincing cause.  There is no doubt that autism spectrum disorders (ADS) are diagnosed more frequently now than in years past, but this increase in diagnosis does not reasonably explain the 800% and more increase in autism rates. I have long felt that there is a Uranian component to the autism spectrum of disorders.  Astrological Uranus rules technology and all things geeky – it is the planet of innovation, of invention, of reason and new ways of thinking.  It is Uranus which opens the doorway to “Eureka” type experiences, that seem to come from nowhere in a blinding flash of insight.  Uranus is not concerned with emotion – it remains detached and focused on order. The astonishing rise of the prevalence of autism since the early 1990s suggests a link to the Uranus-Neptune conjunction that began in 1991 and continued through 1994.  The combination of Uranus to Neptune opened all kinds of doorways and dissolved the boundaries of reason and old paradigms of thinking.  The children that were born during this period carry this archetype within them, and they are a new breed entirely.  It is during this time that the concept of the “Indigo Children” began, as it was apparent that these new children were very different than the generations that preceded them, and it is in these children that we see the dramatic increase in autism rates. But the astrological connection actually goes further and is closely tied to the Saturn/Uranus cycle. Saturn rules order and structure and Uranus is the rebel and radical influence that destroys the status quo, so the cycle of Saturn and Uranus is often found during periods of radical change.  Many of the baby boomers who were active during the cultural upheaval of the 1960s have Saturn squared to Uranus in their charts. Autism was first described in 1910 by Swiss psychiatrist Eugene Bleuler as he was defining symptoms of schizophrenia.  At the time, Saturn in Aries was exactly square to Uranus in Capricorn. The term “autism” was first used in its modern sense in 1943 by a child psychiatrist named Leo Kanner at Johns Hopkins Institute, and one year later by Hans Asperger in Vienna.  During this time Saturn and Uranus had both just entered and conjoined in Gemini, the sign that rules communication and the mental process. Despite this early discovery of the autism phenomenon, it wasn’t until  that the autism rate began to increase dramatically.  During this time, Saturn and Uranus were conjunct in Sagittarius and both planets were opposed by Chiron, the wounded healer, which was in Gemini at the time. Ever since the conjunction of Uranus and Neptune in the early 1990s Uranus and Aquarius has been very active astrologically.  Uranus entered its own sign of Aquarius in 1995, marking the explosion of the technological revolution.  Neptune followed shortly thereafter, entering Aquarius (ruled by Uranus) in 1999 and blurring the boundaries (Neptune) between technology and reality in an explosion of virtual reality software and games such as SimWorld in which participants create an online world of their own. Wired Magazine has a fascinating article about “,” postulating that what we call Aspergers is closely tied to the Geek personality found in Silicon Valley, home to one of the fastest increasing rates of autism spectrum diagnoses, and perhaps due to the self-selection of geeks who marry other geeks which intensifies the geeky qualities in their offspring.  In this article Hans Asperger, one of the first to diagnose the autism phenomenon, writes that one of his subjects: “came to be preoccupied with fantastic inventions, such as spaceships and the like.” Here he added, “one observes how remote from reality autistic interests really are” – a comment he qualified years later, when spaceships were no longer remote or fantastic, by joking that the inventors of spaceships might themselves be autistic. So are these children autistic, or are they a new breed of human with a mind that operates differently?  I have a strong Uranian component in my chart (most astrologers do – Uranus rules astrology and any kind of thinking that breaks free of the “normal” paradigms), and Saturn squares Uranus in my chart as well.  I have long noticed that I exhibit some of the common traits attributed to the autistic spectrum such as a discomfort with being touched.  I also have a memory for phone numbers that puts me in the idiot savant category.  So I was very interested in the “” test offered by Wired Magazine, and my score was 24 (normal is 16, with autistism beginning at 32). At the current time, Chiron is approaching a conjunction to Neptune in Aquarius, and Jupiter has just entered Aquarius making this an extremely Uranian time (because Uranus rules Aquarius).  We are on the threshold of the Age of Aquarius and I have written often in these pages about the transformation of the human being into what is now being called “transhuman” in the mainstream press. If the autism rate continues to increase beyond the current rate of 1 in 150, we will need to change our thinking about what we are now calling a psychiatric disorder and expand our minds to accommodate the possibility that as humans we are entering a new age where technology and humanity are merging into a new life form.  This possibility is a frightening one for many of us, but it is quite likely that the trend cannot be stopped in which case we would be better off learning to adapt our civilizations to accommodate the new breed of human rather than continue to try to sequester them away from the mainstream.

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By | 2012-09-25T19:04:41+00:00 September 25th, 2012|Favorite posts, Psychology|1 Comment
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