Saturday, July 24, 2010

Full Moon + Jupiter/Pluto Square = Oy Vey Its Meir!

If you're overwhelmed, feeling funky in a bad way, being unreasonable, or are unable to tell your ass from your aspirations, relax, it's only the Jupiter/Pluto square (exact today at 9:51 p.m. EDT), a difficult aspect further complicated by the fact that it occurs within 24 hours of the the Full Moon (exact tomorrow at 9:37 p.m. EDT).

Since Jupiter and Pluto both operate on a mass level, I was not at all surprised to find in today's news that 15 people were trampled to death in a panicked stampede in an overcrowded entrance tunnel (Pluto) and 10 seriously injured at the Love Parade, an annual techno music festival in Duisburg, Germany.

Also, 241 teachers (Jupiter) in Washington, D.C., were fired because their students did not perform well on standardized tests (more Jupiter). I personally do not think it is fair for teachers, who often must take charge of overcrowded classrooms of unruly students (who often lack home environments that are conducive to studying), who have zero-to-no autonomy over their classroom's curriculum, to be held accountable.

Shirley Sherrod was, as New York Times columnist Bob Herbert put it, "thrown to the wolves" after a comment of hers about a white farmer was taken out of context about a much larger statement about racism and poverty cutting across color lines; she was fired by phone as she was driving home, and was forced to pull over and text in her resignation. Fortunately, the NAACP later recanted its incendiary remarks and President Obama called Ms. Sherrod to encourage the continuation of her good work in the U.S. Agriculture Dept., but this was a classic case of the injustice, dogmatism, and poor judgment that is the hallmark of a Jupiter/Pluto square. Ms. Sherrod was simply not given a chance to defend herself against the self-righteous, intransigent, impulsive powers that be.

North Korea is threatening to take action over the joint U.S.-South Korea naval exercises scheduled to take place tomorrow. The U.N. Security Council, thanks to China, has essentially passed the buck on censoring North Korea for sinking a South Korean warship a few months ago. What is particularly Plutonic about this situation is that the U.S. is imposing even more sanctions on nuclear-ready North Korea in the hope that China will finally decide to keep its neighbor in line.

I'm honestly not sure if the Jupiter/Pluto square is also responsible for the hottest recorded summer in NYC, but Jupiter will be retrograde in Aries, a fire sign, for the rest of the summer, so there might be something to it.

The Full Moon in Aquarius on the heels of the Jupiter/Pluto square councils all of us to avoid a black-and-white approach to solving problems. Reformist zeal is strong in the personal sphere, but if you try to "fix" your friends or lovers, you may soon find yourself all alone. On the positive side, this is an excellent time to embrace your own creativity and share your visions with others.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Happy Solar Return to Me

My Solar Return officially happened today at 2:58 a.m., and naturally as a Pluto-in-Virgo Rising native I had to not only see my 39th birthday in (for the second time), but also engage in a bit of ritual. I have a nice little collection of upscale candles, the subtly as opposed to overpoweringly scented kind that come in decorative tins, and I lit the pink magnolia one as I wrote in my journal.

How I wish I could share some choice profundities from that journal entry upon entering my 5th (!) decade in this life, a la F. Scott Fitzgerald in his "The Crack-Up" essay, which he wrote just days before turning the big 4-0. Yet I don't think I was waxing so wise late last night. It was more like I was in unexpected shock that the moment I'd been anticipating for the past 10 years, i.e., entering middle age, was finally happening. I was so reflective and conscious of passing time as a child and younger adult that I never actually felt young; now that I am definitely no longer young, I feel wistful at the same time I have zero nostalgia for it...

...except for isolated incidents, like walking on Lido Beach on the South Shore of Long Island with my grandparents' nearly untrained Lhasha Apso, feeling totally at peace with the world and with myself. Like believing with all my heart as an adolescent that I would grow up to be a SoHo artist and thus get my revenge on all my classmates who treated me like an alien or as if I didn't exist. Like having the energy and persistence to send out my short stories and novel on a regular basis despite the constant rejections because I believed so much in what I was doing...

Compared to most of the people of the world, especially in this worsening Global Recession-slash-Depression, I know how lucky I have it: an aesthetically pleasing roof over my gradually graying head in the so-hip-it-hurts borough of Kings; decent if not excellent health; work (albeit the kind that is erratic and not terribly lucrative, i.e., freelance editing, and all of the CVs I send out for salaried positions fall into a cybervoid); some real friends; a real love; family that no longer features the sort of drama that shredded my nerves on a regular basis; some validation for my creative work (today my audio book has been published on, a very cool manifestation of Moon in Leo in my Solar Return chart's 3rd house, and sextile the SR Ascendant). And this evening I'm going to dine in very good company in an iconic restaurant that is fortuitously taking part in NY Restaurant Week.

Yet there is so much more I could be if only I could harness my willpower the way I used to be able to do. With my progressed Moon in Taurus, I've grown soft. Just as I predicted a year ago, I've gained weight (about 10 lbs., which is like 20 lbs. on a small frame) and creatively speaking, have been reaping more than sowing (the poems in my eBook and audio book are new to readers, but they are old hat to me...I feel like the Beatles must've felt doing "Twist and Shout" in 1965, but without the fame and fortune).

And just as I could not enjoy my youth when I had it, I worry that what I do have will be swept away in next year's Uranus/Pluto square. At least if such loss comes to pass, I will have plenty of company. I can't predict whether the U.S. is going to have a Civil War or a decade or so of uncivil scrounging, but with my progressed Mercury conjunct my natal Pluto/Asc., I doubt I'll be sitting quietly by the sidelines. I suppose that getting assassinated (a Plutonian activity) would do wonders for my career, since having a shady reputation (also Plutonian) hasn't done the job.

Interestingly, I learned last night that Julius "Et tu, Brute?" Caesar was born on July 13, not July 12 as is commonly thought. Apparently his birthday was celebrated a day early so as to avoid conflict with an ancient Roman festival, the Ludi Apollinares (the games that celebrated the Sun god, Apollo). You'd think that Julius, who basically made the Roman Empire, could've moved the festival to suit his schedule, but maybe he didn't want to press his luck. (Or maybe he just liked festivals. I wonder if he'd have enjoyed the one I went to over July 4 weekend? I can just see him cannonballing into the swimming pool wearing an LED-light-enhanced toga....)

Anyway, this bit of knowledge I just acquired gives me even more of a reason (as if sharing a birthday with Harrison Ford, Cheech Marin, and Cameron Crowe weren't enough) to refuse to rest on my laurels.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Show Me the Way to Go Home: Solar Eclipse in Cancer

Have you recovered from the Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn about 2 weeks back? Good, because we are about to have the Solar Eclipse in Cancer (exact July 11, 3:40 p.m. EDT).

"There's no place like home."
--Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz

"I'm wasted and I can't find my way home."
--Blind Faith, "Can't Find My Way Home"

"Home is where the heart is."
--Old proverb, often found needlepointed onto a pillow at your great-aunt Gertrude's.

What does home mean to you right now? Are you content in your current domicile? Do you have a yen to renovate or redecorate or visit yard sales? Are you feeling more domestic, intuitive, downright psychic? Do you long for the shore, sand between your toes, listening to music in a shell, diving through the waves?

How do you feel about your family?

This is a great time to allow yourself to feel intensely about home and family, and an equally fortuitous time to begin a new cycle in terms of these issues. Follow your instincts as long as you can be objective about your subjectivity. Connect with water, even if it is the form of a long bath with sea salts. You may need to reenter your shell when you are out in the world--but at home, let yourself open to receive something truly wonderful from the past in order to live fully in this present moment.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Pluto Rising Goes to a Festival

You know you're a Plutonian when you're at a 3-day festival of the Burning Man school (though not technically Burning Man) and the best part of it for you was getting about 15 or 20 minutes of unexpected, total privacy. (There was another unexpectedly satisfying Plutonian moment, but as Plutonians do value their privacy, I ain't getting into specifics.)

Pluto is the outermost of the outer planets, and as such, those who have Pluto strong in their charts can feel far more alienated or lonely when in a crowd than when they are alone.

Last year at the same festival, my 1st-house Uranus trumped my 1st-house Pluto; I met new people, got to know some other recently made friends better, and generally got into the groove. This time around, though I had someone very special with me, connections with others, both known and unknown, were not so easily made.

During last year's festival the Moon was mostly in expansive, adventurous Sagittarius; this time, it was mostly in aggressive, self-focused Aries (along with Uranus and Jupiter in Aries, another change from last year), squaring the Sun and Mercury in sensitive, moody Cancer.

This time around, I ate too much (highly uncharacteristic behavior considering the heat wave), the constant throbbing techno music gave me a headache (downside of Aries), and I felt too out of sorts after no one attended my writing workshop to go with the flow.

Fortunately on the last day of the festival I was able to connect with some friends at the very popular pool, and the open mic I MC'd on the last night of the festival had a decent turnout; there were some strong performers, someone in the audience asked me if she could have a signed copy of the poem I read to close out the show, and someone else who came to the open mic sent me a friend request on Facebook. With Mercury conjunct my Sun that night, I was finally able to add my voice to the festival--though it was by holding a mic and standing apart.

Can we say "Plutonian" again?

Stay tuned for my 2 cents about the upcoming Solar Eclipse in Cancer.