Friday, September 30, 2016

Astro Alert--Scorpio New Moon (October 30, 2016)

New Moon
Scorpio 7 degrees
October 30, 2016

As we prepare to celebrate Halloween, the Scorpio New Moon brings us passion and power, not to mention a bit of spookiness. The Sun, Moon, and Mercury join the asteroid Juno in the sign of the Scorpion/Eagle/Dove. We could be dealing with stubborn wills, especially from women at this time.

And we're still marching through the season of Cardinals with Jupiter pulling into a wide T-Cross with Uranus (and Ceres) and Pluto/Mars. Again, Mars and Pluto (just like with the Aries New Moon), provide the apex for this T-Cross and the Sign of Cancer provides the outlet even though we don't have any planets in Cancer at this time.

This means that political and other battles heat up as people clash wills and ideologies. We want to label everything and everyone while passing on generalizations off as facts, especially with Saturn in Sagittarius. We also see a lot of control and manipulation of information in the form of censorship. This could happen on the smaller individual level or on a larger national or international canvas. Don't believe the hype or hyperbole that surfaces around the Scorpio New Moon. People are acting rash and hasty or alternately, like warriors for truth. We get both mavericks and pioneers as well as, activists hogging the spotlight.

Or we could see a mass awakening of people seeing past delusional thinking fueled by fear. After all, we are out of the Saturn-Neptune Square and even the Cardinal T-Cross is on the wider side or we could say, the planets are spread out across the map.

Since Cancer provides the outlet for the T-Cross, it's time to turn our thoughts to mothering the planet and children. It's time to practice self-care, heal our stomachs, breasts, and emotions. While a bit of comfort food won't harm us, make sure that you're not stuffing yourself with macaroni and cheese as a substitute for facing your grief, anger, or fear. Binging is a possibility when stress levels reach the height associated with the October 2016 moons. Consequently, behavioral therapy works well for food disorders around this New Moon.

Cancer Sun and Moon are most vulnerable during full and new moons, not to mention eclipses, even if the moons aren't aspecting with other planets in the natal chart. This is because Cancer is the most sensitive Zodiac Sign. At least the Scorpio Moon, Sun, and Mercury trine planets in Cancer. So does Chiron and Neptune in Pisces, not to mention, Vesta, the asteroid of the hearth in Cancer. So it's a wonderful time for people with a lot of Water in their Birth Charts to clear, heal, and balance emotions. This healing resonates outward.

Jupiter in Libra and Venus in Sagittarius (October 19 to November 12) exchange mutual energies since Jupiter is in Venus' natural sign and Venus is in Jupiter's natural sign. Not only that, but Venus forms a sextile with Jupiter from the 27 through the 31st. Meanwhile, Jupiter also sextiles Saturn in Sagittarius the final week of the month. This is an auspicious time to launch new art projects, sign contracts, for pursuing real estate, launching a career in the areas that are ruled by Sagittarius and Libra. This is a good time to win lawsuits provided your lawyer has prominent planets in Sagittarius and or Libra. But hopefully, you already have this business underway having launched it around the Libra New Moon (a month earlier).

photo by Patricia Herlevi, All Rights Reserved
This also means we will gaze at and expand upon what we value. And I'm guessing we value peace between nations and harmony between ideologies. We could be feeling Libertarian at this time. We value taking care of the Earth Mother, represented by Venus in Sagittarius and Jupiter in Libra. We value a safe hearth and home. And Ceres in the late degrees of Aries tells us that these are values worth fighting for, especially since Ceres is conjunct Uranus. We'll see grassroots mothers out there fighting with both old and new school feminists. Oh, it's going to be an interesting time coming up closer to the US General Election.

The Scorpio Moon in general, asks us to probe deep within our subconscious minds. It asks us to look at the areas of our lives where we feel paranoid or distrusting. It asks us to uncover secrets within ourselves and in others. And if we take the Scorpio Dove approach we practice forgiveness, otherwise, some people will feel vengeful or in the least, we'll act petty. We'll soon learn what's really hiding behind those Halloween masks and dark projections. And once we sleuth out the culprits, we shine a healing spotlight on the wounds. Big healing can take place around the Scorpio New Moon. Bring it on.

Water Signs (Scorpio, Cancer, Pisces)--Life intensifies for you as you explore your deeper emotions. Pisces does this through performing arts and photography. Cancer does this through self-nurturing and setting boundaries with others. Scorpions look for unworkable psychological patterns and root them out.

Earth Signs (Capricorn, Taurus, Virgo)--You feel your life becoming more solid and grounded. Virgo is happy that Jupiter has moved onto Libra, but still feels nickpicky about being on a spiritual path. Focus on your own growth rather than criticizing others as they stumble upon their paths. Taurus experiences the moon/sun/Mercury opposing you and this might come across as dark energy. Make sure you are not projecting your own wounds on others. You communicate more deeply now and your psychic abilities come into play. Capricorn feels strong with Mars and Pluto in your Sign and the sun/moon/Mercury forming a sextile. You can get  lot of work done, but only if you cut out everything that is uncessary clutter.

Fire Signs (Aries, Sagittarius. Leo)--Aries, Uranus is still in your Sign stirring the embers for change. Go with the changes coming into your life and when the time is right, implement your own changes. That is true leadership. Leo benefits from Saturn and Uranus in brother signs as well as, Jupiter in Libra. However, as you're building new structure with Saturn, you often find another side of you rebelling. Find balance between extremes. And finally, Sagittarius with Saturn in your sign, it's still time to build new structure based on your transformed ideologies. You need to curb hotheaded tendencies when other people oppose your ideologies.

Air Signs (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius)--With Jupiter in Libra it's full-sail ahead for all the Air Signs. Libra finds him or herself winning legal actions or bringing harmony into relationships. Diplomatic measures go well until October 2017. Time to sign those long-term contracts. Gemini finds he or she has greater balance and feels more like a Sagittarius with Jupiter in an Air Sign. Finally, Aquarius acts as the mediator with political and religious debates. To each his own is the Aquarius motto, especially with Jupiter in Libra.

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Monday, September 26, 2016

The Libra Post--(Balance in Everything)

I'm updating this Libra post from October 2015. This year, Jupiter transits in Libra (transit ends in October of 2017). And in October, Mercury transits in Libra from the 8th until the 24th so communication will have a balanced approach with an eye on justice. Watch out for Mars transiting in Capricorn, especially around the 16th of October when it couples with Pluto.

The Libra New Moon on September 30 brings harmony and a warm feeling in most relationships. However, the Aries Full Moon on October 16, tells a different story and is more eruptive and volatile. All and all Libra, you have an active autumn with T-Crosses occurring once again in the Cardinal Signs (Libra, Aries, and Capricorn). Look for dramatic and subtle changes happening in the areas where Libra, Aries, and Capricorn are on the cusps of your Natal houses.

Just like the previous autumn/spring, Libras, it's time to stop playing nice for the sake of other people liking you. It's time to stop putting other people's needs before your own like you're some kind of hostess or flight attendant on steroids. I say this because people have been stomping all over your refined ego and dumping all their emotional garbage on you because you're too sweet to say, "NO!"

And I want you to take a scene out of that movie Network, open your bedroom or kitchen window and shout, "I'm not going to take this anymore!" Borrow some strength from your Zodiac neighbor Scorpio or just trot off into the great unknown like you Sagittarius friends. Or get on a plane and go some place that will pamper you so that you can find yourself. You know exactly what I'm talking about because you have to stop putting your dreams on hold to please other people. Did you know that people see you as weak and even boring when you don't pursue your dreams and interests whether that's a class you want to take, job you want to apply for, person you'd like to date or even marry, or place you would like to visit? Why is it that you keep saying "yes" to the people who keep telling you "no."

Now, the opposite sign of Libra is the warrior spirit, Aries. While Aries requires a lesson in playing nice in the sandbox and is as unrefined as they come (as far as civilities and manners). But Aries doesn't have a problem with trying something new and they don't have a problem with placing themselves first in their lives or even saying no to things they don't want to do. Think of the toddler going through his or her "terrible twos." With Uranus in Aries opposing you year after year, the message is about setting boundaries and speaking your truth. And if someone is taking advantage of you legally get a lawyer and seek justice.

Venus, Wikipedia
If none of the above messages applies to you then some other area of your life is out of balance. It could be your diet for instance. Are you eating too many carbs or sweets to curb the stress that you feel because you don't want to confront someone or a situation? Remember that Libra rules the kidneys and pancreas so that sugar you're eating isn't doing you any favors and saying no to sugar is a good start. (I have a sweet tooth too and I don't even have any planets in Libra so I can't even imagine your struggle with sweets). Perhaps you have done too much social drinking as you skirt about to all the charity events or political campaigns. Alcohol is not doing you any favors.

Libras, I'm telling you all this because this is your life lesson at this time. You deserve to pursue your dreams as well as the next person. And it's true that some people aren't going to like you doing that. And it's frightening for you that these people will confront you with you own anger (which is your shadow you suppress). But once you figure that out, that other people are mirroring your suppressed anger or needs, you free yourself. Since you're an Air Sign you require that freedom to flit or soar through your life. You get to choose your thoughts (and yes, optimistic thoughts bring better results), and the people you associate with. You can even choose your family by creating one from scratch that doesn't ruffle your feathers.

One of the best examples of a Libra in balance is Louise Hay and learning her life story will benefit you now. I understand that marriage and partnership is most important to Libras, but you will feel miserable in a marriage or partnership that doesn't treat you like an equal, and which the partner doesn't care what you think. After all you are a brilliant Air Sign and a true leader, if you choose. So what is it Libra that you would like to change in your life or transform in the world? Allow that to be your focus now. Go boldly where you've never gone before like a Star Trek character.

If you require inspiration, here's a list of famous Libras: Louise Hay, John Lennon, Gandhi, Saint Francis of Assisi, Glenn Gould, Will Smith, Johnny Appleseed, Maria Von Trapp, Julie Andrews, Jimmy Carter, Sean Lennon, Tim Robbins, Lenny Bruce, Arthur Miller and Linda McCartney.

Libras excel at the following careers: Law, diplomacy, activism, architecture, beauty industry, makeup artist, fashion designer, interior designer, animator, music, and culinary arts. You also do well in the travel industry as far as running bed and breakfasts or performing the role of concierge for a posh hotel. You bring balance, justice, peace and harmony to the world, but first you must find those qualities in yourself and polish them. Your verbs are to beautify and to balance. Your symbol is the set of scales.Your planet is Venus.

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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Aries Full Moon for October 16, 2016---Taking No Prisoners or Spiritual Ascension?

I'm thankful for the relaxing Libra New Moon that falls on September 30 since the Aries Full Moon which lands (like a thud) on October 16, 2016, reminds me of a raging dragon. It's a fiery beast that could easily get out of control as it will be a challenge to contain the Cardinal Energy that erupts around the Full Moon.

First, let's look at what an Aries Full Moon in itself represents. The Sign Aries represents spring, new beginnings, starting fresh, green sprouts, children, and our child self. Aries want to play in a competitive way and they need to come first. The negative side of Aries is rash behavior, people throwing tantrums, the terrible twos, fevers, tempers, fire starters, police action, youth riots, and selfishness. But on the other hand, some Aries are courageous and have the energy of Archangel Micahel. Some Aries come in the form of emergency response workers, others as pioneers and others as fools for love.

People with a lot of fire element in their chart have an easier time handling this explosive energy, but not always. Sometimes, Fire Signs instigate trouble, but really they are feeling restless and want change to happen or for life forces to flow their way (forget the general populace). And given the state of affairs in the world (which has gone overboard with hedonism and narcissism), the Aries Full Moon in mid-October suggests a time with adults acting like children and children taking care of adults.

Sadly, much child abuse will take place during this time and hopefully, this leads to healing as we awaken from denial. We could also see children exploding in anger or a pandemic involving a fever arriving around this time. But don't panic.

For those folks who have been fervently on a spiritual path, this could mark a time of shifting from 3D and its selfishness to higher dimensions representing Unity Consciousness. I know I've been ready to shift into higher gears for at least a decade. Bring it on.What about you? If you're reading astrology blogs like this one, you're obviously on a spiritual path and heading towards a Grand Shift.

The Ruler of this chart is Mars because of the Aries Full Moon and because the moon forms a triple conjunction with Uranus and Ceres while opposing Jupiter/Mercury/Sun also in the form of a Triple Conjunction. So this means that we have two focalizers opposing each other. Libra brings in the Venusian energy of harmony, peace, and justice while Aries plans war strategies or at least wants to shake things up at the grassroots level.

And then we have Mars again at the apex with Pluto (both planets in Capricorn). So this gets confusing. Pluto could represent authority figures getting situations under control with martial law (hopefully not) with Mars conjunct and in the Sign of Capricorn (authority). But on the other hand, depending on whether you plan on shifting to a higher dimension or not, Pluto represents reclaiming personal and spiritual power from the depths of our souls. Are we going to act childish or are we going to practice nonviolent communication and diplomacy as we work out differences with others? Since Japan is ruled by Aries, I'm wondering what will transpire in this country? I believe that the Ukraine is also ruled by Aries (Sun) so that will be another interesting country to watch around this Full Moon.

With all this male energy you're wondering if there's any Divine Feminine present. Ceres in Aries represents the female warrior and grassroots leader. I'm even thinking about women like Jill Stein who is running for US President. Her Taurus Sun gives her a Venus signature and with all those planets transiting in Libra (Mercury, Jupiter and the Sun), women do have a say in how this energy plays out. In fact, women now have the opportunity to balance out their male and female sides so they can stop playing passive-aggressive games. And men who claim that they are sensitive learn that sensitivity does not revolve around acting like a weak woman. Meaning, not being able to make decisions or act on them is not related to a real woman, but a stereotype invented by the patriarchs.

See, I actually feel insulted by men who say that they're getting in touch with their feminine side and their feminine side hails back to the 1950s model of a woman in an apron slaving away in a kitchen. Sure, it's confusing guys because you have no idea what women are asking from you. We're not looking for a macho male to boss us around and we're not looking for a "sensitive" male who acts passive-aggressive and really believes deep down that women are weak. These are the types of themes that surface around the Aries Full Moon. We all must claim our masculine and feminine sides, but only after we have positive role models for feminine and masculine energy instead of working off stereotypes. Harsh, I know.

Venus in Scorpio trines Chiron which brings healing to our childhood wounds. However, Saturn squares Chiron which means that we must let go of the hurts we experienced from our parents as our role models embodying feminine and masculine energies. We also must bring discipline to healing ourselves so that we can mature into adults. For some people, this is about healing arrested development. And this work is done through the brain and cognitive therapies that unfreeze us from past trauma. I have been doing this work on my own traumas and I'm feeling like I'm released from a proverbial prison.

Finally, we're still in the shadow of the Saturn-Neptune Square so this means we're gaining more clarity and insights as Saturn moves forward. We dig through the rubble and see which parts of our dreams are worth reviving. We feel as if the veil has been lifted and we have a greater understanding of authentic spirituality. We might have abandoned old religious ideas or reached a place of awakening where we don't require religion at all. Or we might feel disillusioned by spiritual teachers or teachings. But ride through this period as it will lead you to a spiritual path that's not based on idealism but on your true calling.

I'm not looking forward to this year's Aries Full Moon. I have experienced more bombastic Cardinal transits and they have usually left me with emotional wounding, as they have for other Cardinal Sign Sun, Moon, and Ascendant people. However, this full moon is going to make us stronger and demand courage from us that can only take us to the next level on this journey.

However, if you have anger management issues or know of others who do, now is the time to seek therapy (before this full moon). Remember to breathe and if you don't need to socialize during this time, retreat. Pluto and Mars in Capricorn also represents spending time alone in contemplation. Why hang around people during a time of volatile energies if you can avoid it? Certainly, don't party or engage in drinking, smoking, and other destructive behaviors. Stay away from situations that can erupt in anger or temper tantrums. We all want to get our way during this moon, but some folks will just find their way to prison because they don't know when to stop.

I think the answer lies with the Sign Cancer. Time to step back from the fray and practice some self-care. You might find yourself nurturing children or other people. Practice tenderness and compassion. And if you feel like you're playing the role of a nursemaid for grown children, this will pass. Eat comfort foods, go for long walks, swim if you can or spend time near water. Watch the tides go in and out and know that this moon energy shall pass. In the meantime, keep yourself safe.

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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Whole Astrology Spotlight on French Pianist Helene Grimaud (Part Two)--Capricorn and the Depression Years

For intermediate astrology students and astrology professionals.

In part two in the fascinating astrological gaze at French Pianist Helene Grimaud, we delve into the Capricorn years which span from 1988 to 1990 when Uranus, Saturn, and Neptune transited in Capricorn and formed a Triple Conjunction in Helene's Natal First House. She was between 18 and 20 years of age, while just emerging onto the symphonic concert stage.

Quotes from Wild Harmonies (A Life of Music and Wolves) by Helene Grimaud, Riverhead Books, New York, 2006.

We'll be looking at several charts ranging from July 1988 when Neptune moved into Capricorn and crossed Grimaud's Ascendant (Uranus and Saturn were in the last degrees of Sagittarius) to August 7, 1989 when Uranus, Saturn and Neptune had all transited into Grimaud's First House in Capricorn. Her Ascendant is at 4 degrees Capricorn.

Since I'm also a musician (five years older than Helene) and have my Capricorn Ascendant at 6 degrees, I too endured three years of depression as I launched a career as a folk-rock musician in Seattle. Similar to Helene, I battled with depression--alternately conforming and rebelling against employers and the music industry (as would be expected with Saturn and Uranus conjunct in both Sagittarius and then, Capricorn).

Please note, that as I'm writing this post (which I researched in 2014), I'm listening to Grimaud perform Maurice Ravel's Piano Concerto in G Major. She performs with the Berliner Philharmoniker. I love this piece of music and I enjoy Grimaud's wild interpretation of it. By the way, Maurice Ravel was a Pisces with a rebellious streak which turned him into an iconic performer-composer. I can see why Helene, with her astrological aspects would enjoy Ravel's spirit.

Getting back to the themes of this advance astrology student post, I believe that having Saturn and Uranus in the last degrees of Sagittarius and first degrees of Capricorn in the 12th House with Neptune on the Capricorn Ascendant would cause mental depression. Then this depression would intensify as Uranus and Saturn (conjunct in Sagittarius) transited into Capricorn within weeks of each other. While I'm unable to find an exact Triple Conjunction that includes Neptune, Saturn, and Uranus, Saturn and Neptune align exact several times starting February 22, 1989 and ending on November 20, 1989 (at least in Europe).

So this means that the Ruler of Grimaud's chart, Saturn first pairs up with Uranus in Sagittarius and then in Capricorn as they crossed the Ascendant together. Then later Saturn pairs up with the music planet, Neptune (which can also contribute to emotional imbalance and delusional thinking, especially when transiting in through the First House of identity. Grimaud even mentions in her memoir, Wild Harmonies that she suffered from arrogance due to her musical genius or precociousness.

On the other hand, having Neptune transiting in through the First House brings glamour, a glamour time in the spotlight (depressed or not), and brings stellar heights through musical expression. Saturn would bring discipline in the First House, if not also aches in the bones and exhaustion. And Uranus in Capricorn can bring a feeling of suffocation and want to rebel, even if through an illness or condition that causes the artist to retreat.

In her memoir, Grimaud describes her experiences of around August 1989 when she was invited to perform at a piano festival at La Roque d' Antheron.

"I was experiencing something like an acute loss of self. The abandonment of the self by the self, after being completely forsaken. At the festival in La Roque d'Antheron in 1989, where I had been invited the third time, I was in a deep depression. I really thought I would never come out of it, wrote Grimaud.

Without reading her progressed planets, we can look at the August 7, 1989 chart and then we'll look at the charts that led up to the depression, starting with a chart from November 1988 when Saturn and Uranus were still in Grimaud's 12th House (ruled by Neptune and Neptune was transiting in her First House, not far from the Ascendant). I imagine the depression started when Neptune was approaching the Capricorn Ascendant as early as November of 1986 or there might have been delusions of grandeur at that time (Grimaud was 17 years old at that time).

So in the August 1989 chart, Saturn and Neptune occupy Helene's First House, while Uranus RX has crossed Helene's Ascendant and headed back into the 12th House (which can rule an emotional and mental state). Meanwhile, Neptune and Saturn oppose transiting Chiron in Cancer in the 7th House so she might have been dealing with issues revolving around an intimate partnership too or this could be how she saw herself in partnership with her profession, but that would be more aligned with 6th House themes or 10th House themes.

Jupiter in the 6th House would bring more work than the musician could handle or a huge sense of responsibility since Jupiter expands upon the 6th House work environment. Meanwhile, Pluto in Scorpio transforms the career and public sector as it transited through the 10th House. And the transiting Natal Moon at 14 degrees Libra hooked up with Helene's Stellium of Libra planets and then when it moved into Scorpio (as it would do every month), it passed over her Triple Conjunction in Scorpio that include her Sun/Mercury/Neptune.

So what you have is someone undergoing enormous transformation in three angular houses (First, Seventh and Tenth) expected to perform at a high level when she felt paralyzed by the outer planets transiting in her 12th and First Houses. Anytime an outer planet crosses the Ascendant, it's a time of grand shifts in the personality. But we feel embryonic, and unformed like bread baking in the oven. We don't feel ready to be pushed out in the world and there's a sense of childlike abandonment with Uranus crossing and recrossing the Ascendant.

Let's go back and look at the first chart I pulled for July 1988. As we can see Uranus and Saturn are still in Sagittarius.

Chiron transits at 2 degrees Cancer approaching the Descendant (7th House Cusp), transiting Mars at 0 degrees Aries pulls into a T-Cross with Chiron and Mercury in Cancer, and Neptune in Capricorn.

Meanwhile, Saturn and Uranus form a duet (one degree orb) in Sagittarius as they prepare to changed signs and eventually cross the Ascendant. Grimaud would have anticipated a rite of passage or rebirth, at least on a subconscious level. She would have been in her late teens, an age where it's much harder to control depression. And she would have wanted to rebel against adults and adult responsibilities, while alternately taking on her fair share of responsibilities.

She would rebel against authority figures such as the stuffy professors at the music conservatory or perhaps, even the country of her birth as she began shaping her own identity or giving birth to her authentic self. But with all those Natal Planets in Libra she would have also wanted to be fair and strike a balance in her life, but balancing her emotions was taking some efforts.

On page 181 of her memoir, Wild Harmonies, she reflects about her emotional state in the late 1980s. "As a child, I had wanted to grow up because I imagined age (Capricorn theme) as an obstacle to flight and childhood as a purgatory."

Down further on the same page she reflects, "My suffering was an action (Uranus in Capricorn), and that contemplation of that suffering was an abyss (Neptune and Saturn in Capricorn). A huge black hole dug itself into my chest (Saturn in Capricorn in the First House). It communicated not with infinite space or the cosmos (Neptune), or the dizzying architecture of music, but instead--like a hole in the bottom of a boat (Neptune)--with the murky waters of the ocean depths, swallowing even the shadows there."

Then Saturn crossed Grimaud's Ascendant on December 19, 1988. So now we have Neptune, Saturn, and Mercury in Capricorn, not to mention that when planets transited in Capricorn they squared her Libra Stellium (includes Natal Uranus) and formed sextiles with her Triple Conjunction in Scorpio (which also involves Natal Neptune).

Mars transiting through the Third House would bring a bombastic personality style, but the Taurus Moon transiting to her Natal Saturn in the Fourth would have her contemplating building stable structure and dealing with familial issues. Saturn crossing the Ascendant could have brought on illness or exhaustion (depression). And this depression would last until a new identity was carved out.

Now, we're going to take a look at my final chart for this post, which is for February 12, 1989, the day, Uranus crossed Helene's Ascendant at 4 degrees Capricorn. When Uranus crosses an Ascendant, there is usually shocking news or a sudden event that occurs, if not, at least a shocking revelation. It's a time of breaking away from routine or an old way of thinking. It could even bring spiritual awakening. It could have, and thankfully it did not, bring on suicide attempts or a sudden death. Of course, other planetary transits would have to support this.

In this chart, Mercury, Neptune, Saturn and Uranus are all in Capricorn. Mars and the Moon couple in Taurus in the Fourth House, which could bring up repressed anger. But I'm guessing the overall feeling was aligned with Existentialism and even having the artist question about God and her role on the planet. "Why did I come here?" would be the type of question asked.

Others around her would have seen her as gloomy and want her to snap out of it. Meanwhile, the Sun and Venus transited in Aquarius in her Second House so she at least valued her eccentricities and unique musical gifts. She would have delved into works by iconic musicians and composers. There's a need to rebel but confusion about what to rebel against.

On one hand, Grimaud was definitely emerging and establishing herself as a musician and prodigy. She would have appeared shocking to some, even if that shock came from her unique beauty as well as, her talent as a pianist. She had mentioned in her memoir that she never went for the fashionable look and wasn't going to use her looks as part of the package of her success (if I can remember correctly). This makes sense with the Capricorn Ascendant squaring Uranus in Libra (not to mention the Libra Stellium which also includes the Moon, Venus, and Jupiter).

Personally, in my own life, I remember how I felt during the late 1980s as my own career as a musician (though not as a virtuoso) was beginning to form. I recall battling with depression, quitting or getting fired from jobs because of my rebellious nature. I recall thumbing my nose at authority figures and rebelling against the country of my birth. And it was a challenge and a hindrance to have Neptune, Uranus, and Saturn transiting through my First House as I can imagine Grimaud struggling with similar themes, though in a different language and in a far-off country, and at a younger age.

I hope you have enjoyed this advance study of astrological transits of a renowned artist. This post also acts as a live example of the Triple Conjunction in Capricorn (a rare event) with Neptune, Uranus, and Saturn in the same sign.

And if you would like to learn more about your own chart, especially if you were born from 1988-90, sign up for a personal reading.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Whole Astrology Spotlight on French Pianist Helene Grimaud--Playing with Wolves (Part One)

The last thought that comes into our minds while we sit in a concert hall watching a virtuoso pianist are wolves. Unless we are watching a production of Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf. Yet, even the late Canadian pianist Glenn Gould sported a love for animals. 

I once read that he dreamed of buying an island to house unwanted animals. And he was a vegetarian. So why was so I delightfully surprised when I learned that French pianist Helene Grimaud founded a wolf conservation center in New York?

Originally, I pitched an article on Grimaud to Mountain Astrologer and the editor rejected my pitch. So I stuffed my research notes and charts into a folder and tried to forget about it. Only I found my research compelling enough to revisit it during this Mercury Retrograde (Virgo which rules details and research, along with Scorpio). And Grimaud just happens to have her Jupiter in Libra along with her Natal Venus, Uranus, and Moon. So it will be interesting to see what 'refinement" and "harmony" she brings to the world between now and next October when Jupiter moves into Scorpio, her Sun Sign (her Natal Mercury and Neptune are also in Scorpio).

So let's look at the planetary placements by sign and house in her Natal Chart. Helene Grimaud was born on November 7, 1969, just as that powerful decade was ending. Her outer planets Neptune and Pluto are at the last degrees of Scorpio and Virgo. Uranus was at 6 degrees Libra, Saturn was in the first degrees of Taurus and Jupiter was at 22 degrees Libra.

While she has no Singleton's in her chart, she does have two focalizers in the form of a Triple Conjunction that includes her Sun/Mercury/Neptune and a Stellium which includes her moon conjunct Uranus along with Jupiter conjunct Venus (an illustrious career/good fortune). Pluto in Virgo is a stone's throw from the Libra Stellium. And all of this falls in the 8th to 11th Houses, with most of the planets landing in the 9th and 10th houses.

Mars in Aquarius (iconic) falls late in the First House and Saturn in Taurus is on the Cusps of the Fourth House (home, country of birth, and even Provence where she was born, has a Taurus feel to it. Her North Node in Pisces (which rules music and spirituality) falls in her Second House of values, gifts, and resources.

As part of my research, I watched several performances as well as, documentaries and interviews of Grimaud. I also read her memoir, Wild Harmonies where she reflects on her childhood in Provence, her early acceptance into a music conservatory in Paris, and her passion for wolves. I also brought in my research of a similar singular musician, Glenn Gould who had his Sun in Libra and his Saturn in an Earth Sign, Capricorn. His North Node also fell in Pisces (which brings in the compassion for animals and a career in music). He also had a Triple Conjunction in a Fixed Sign, but in this case, Leo which would have given him a propensity for showmanship. Though I wonder why this Leo Triple Conjunction played out more like a Triple Conjunction in Aquarius as Gould was iconoclastic and eccentric. Still, even in his most hermit phase, he still grabbed the media spotlight.

When I read about Grimaud's childhood in Provence that revolved her finding her calling with music and her primal nature, this brought her Triple Conjunction in Scorpio to my mind. This Triple Conjunction that falls in her 10 and 11th House cusp, shapes the way the public eye views her. And she does project a primal energy while she performs with that Scorpionic glacial expression in her wolf-like eyes.

In her memoir, Wild Harmonies (A Life of Music and Wolves), the pianist describes her bond with nature as a child growing up in Provence. "I loved dissolving into the landscape. Crouch down, all ears. Waiting for who knows what, amid the screeching of cicadas." She mentions her intrigue about rabbits, donkeys, and goats. And according to her early childhood memories, she spent a great deal of time in the wilds of her French home.

She also gives a description in her memoir that reveals how her Libra Stellium played out in her childhood. She talks about symmetry when she cut one of her legs and then created a matching wound in her other leg. The Scorpio Triple Conjunction also came into play.

"I don't know anymore if it was out of a desire for symmetry or from the need to re-create--with the same intensity and pleasure--the wonderful pain of the needles that stitched me up, but I ended up feeling the need to wound the other side of my body..."

Now, it's interesting to have someone's natal chart handy while I read their memoir. It's as if the Natal Chart comes alive for me and I'm dealing with a flesh and blood person. It also helped me to watch her performances and her interpretation of mostly the Romantic composers she admired. She has a passion for Russian composers which makes sense in a way given the nature of her Natal Chart.

Even though she has Saturn in an Earth Sign on the cusps of the Fourth House, she has a propensity for foreign lands. Saturn opposes the Scorpio MC and 9th House of the foreigner. While Uranus, Jupiter, Moon, and Venus occupy the 9th House in Libra (diplomacy, world travel, iconoclast).  Saturn also forms stressful aspect with Chiron in Aries (so there are wounds associated with the childhood home or childhood).

She also has a Capricorn Ascendant which forms a square with Uranus. This suggests a person who is willing to work hard and take a slower route to fulfilling a mission. But since the square is with Uranus in Libra, Helene would also not be a stranger to upsetting the proverbial apple cart. Her chart is wired for rebelling against tradition, whether that's the traditions she grew up with in France or traditions with symphonic music.

In the relationship and partnership realm, she would not act as a typical Libra (I'm referring to her four planets in Libra, even though she has a Scorpio Sun), who is bent on marriage and forming partnerships. Uranus in Libra suggests that she prefers her independence and with Jupiter also in Libra she's not someone who wants to stay put in one place. Exploration and travel give her a sense of peace. Every other situation would feel like confinement and this would cause her to rebel at some point. Yet, that Capricorn Ascendant and Saturn in Taurus in the Fourth House wants a stable home life so this sets up a real challenging conflict in which Helene would strive constantly for balance. She most likely finds this balance in Venus themes mainly with nature and animals, as in large animals represented by Taurus.

I also would like to mention one last thing about a person with Saturn in Taurus in the Fourth House and that is she came from a traditional background. Her parents represented Corsica (rebellious and traditional) and Provence (probably your most conservative and traditional region of France). Both Corsicans and people of Provence rigidly hold on to traditions, language, and rebel against the established order. This defiance also comes out in Grimaud, especially in her relationship with wolves.

An added note, Grimaud also mentions that she was hyperactive as a child and had problems with school. This is represented by Mars in the rebellious and genius sign Aquarius falling in the First House which is naturally ruled by Aries which rules childhood and children. It also rules child prodigies in which Grimaud fits wonderfully. After she began taking piano lessons (after trying a series of other ventures), her genius was discovered. She quickly outgrew her teachers' expertise and was only 13 when she entered the conservatory in Paris.

This ends Part One of my astrological exploration of Pianist Helene Grimaud. In the subsequent article, I will explore her depression years and her life with wolves.

Quotes from Wild Harmonies (A Life of Music and Wolves) by Helene Grimaud, Riverhead Books, New York, 2006.

Event Related to the Season of Mutable Transits and Eclipses

I heard about the Standing Rock Protests which are Native American tribes gathering to fight the building of the oil (tar sands) pipeline across the United States near the Missouri River. I'm posting this video here because it is directly related to the Pisces Lunar Eclipse coming up on September 16, 2016. Watch this one heat up. Hopefully, Jupiter in Libra brings social justice and environmental justice. I am, for the record, against this pipeline and I promote alternative energy and sustainable lifestyles.

The Saturn-Neptune Square plays a role here too. I see the Native American people represented by Sagittarius and with Saturn in Sagittarius are placing restrictions on the oil pipeline and the fossil fuels industries. Neptune rules oil and fossil fuels. This should get real interesting.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

New Moon #2 for September (9-30-16): The New Moon That Tried to Sneak Past Me

photo by Patricia Herlevi
If I hadn't grabbed my Planetary Guide I would not have noticed the Libra New Moon that falls on September 30, 2016. For some people this new moon falls on October 1st (it all depends where you are in the world).

I will say that as an astrologer I am having a challenging time keeping up with the planets this year. Every year grows more challenging than the previous one. The moons alone keep me on my toes, but fortunately, this Libra New Moon is tame in comparison to what we have experienced earlier this year. So let's take a glance at the chart for the Libra New Moon for 2016. And for whatever reason I see Louise Hay in my mind's eye since she represents the quintessential Libra to me. She's also the Queen of Affirmations which gives us an indication of the energies of this new moon.

Before I get started with the chart, let's remember that Jupiter has moved into Libra by the time of this new moon. That means the moon will connect with Jupiter before conjuncting the Libra Sun. On this day balance, harmony, social justice and beauty as well as, the arts will play large roles in our lives.

Some of you Venus Types and Jupiter Types will feel lucky despite any challenging aspects in the chart. This especially includes Libra Sun/Moon/Ascendant as well as, Sagittarius Sun/Moon/Ascendant. But for everyone, look at where Libra and Sagittarius fall in your Natal chart because that's where you will experience a bounty of one kind or another. If anything you will feel lighter and more carefree. Just don't overextend yourself.

I'm still seeing a Mutable T-Cross with Neptune, Saturn, and Mercury/North Node. However, I think this is about us cleaning up the mess that the Season of Mutables left in its wake. The changes in our lives are fated and we get a sense that it's time to move forward with new plans. Yet, our egos are hung up on old plans or acting in the world. We release this tension by embracing the new and freeing ourselves from any guilt we experience by cutting cords and moving on without baggage. It's even a good time to clean out closets and examine our beliefs. Do they still hold water?

The Triple Conjunction of the Sun/Moon/Jupiter in Libra challenge Pluto and eventually Uranus. These energies prepare us for the Aries Full Moon in October that pulls in virtually every planet but Neptune and Saturn into a Cardinal T-Cross. But we'll get to that in another post. The Libra Triple Conjunction play nicely with Saturn which brings structure to our new way of being in the world. But with Saturn we take the time to create the structure by first changing our beliefs to align with new ways of thinking and feeling.

We experience an opposition with Chiron and Mercury/North Node so we are going to communicate our wounds and pain to others. This is fine as we do need to acknowledge and release this pain. However, let's not join a party of commiserating. This reminds me of a Monty Python skit where the players are sitting on a stage comparing their "my story is worst" childhoods. The actors stifle laughs as they improvise their routine. So maybe Mercury in Virgo can bring in a sense of humor for us. It helps in dealing with Chiron.

So let's break it down by signs:

Cardinals (Libra, Cancer, Capricorn and Aries)--This is a pushy time for you. Just make sure you focus on the changes you need to make and not try to force changes on others. I'm a Cancerian with a Capricorn Ascendant and I own my pushiness. We want to control others and manipulate our surroundings now but this won't bring peace, harmony or balance. So work with Saturn in Sagittarius to expand consciousness and have a sense of humor. Also with Jupiter in Libra allow social justice to come into your life or take up a cause in your local community.

Mutables (Gemini, Sagittarius, Virgo and Pisces)--You want to lay low and rest will heal your restless nerves. You have been through the ringer during the past year and even previous year with so many planets in Mutable Signs drawing swords. In fact, you feel like you have just returned home from a war of sorts, or at least a battle of wills. Your job is always in initiate change or to bring movement to the changes the Cardinal Signs initiate, but you experience resistance. And this places pressure on your nerves. So take a breather and tune into Neptune for inspiration. Take time to daydream. 

Fixed (Taurus, Leo, Aquarius and Scorpio)--With Venus in Scorpio you're in a sensual mood. Sex is on your brain and passion in your hearts. You are the most solid of signs at the time of the Libra New Moon and people are leaning on you for support. Allow others to cry on your shoulders and share a few kind words. Then breakaway and pursue your passions. Once the Sun and other planets move into Scorpio, life grows in intensity like a raging sea. Take the time around the Libra New Moon for a respite to recharge your batteries.

Sign up for a personal reading. I'll be offering Skype sessions after the Equinox. All the information you require to get started is on my Services page.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Pisces Lunar Eclipse--Now You See It, Now You Don't (Disappearing Act)

I'm sitting here feeling the effects of the Virgo Solar Eclipse while I write the post for the Pisces Lunar Eclipse for September 16, 2016. I just returned to Bellingham from a holiday in Seattle and I just moved into a house (after searching for a permanent home for 12 months). 

The Saturn-Neptune Square and Mercury retrograde expressed itself through disorientation and confusion while I tried to make myself across a city I once knew for 21 years. Oh, how times have changed!

And that's what we can expect from this upcoming Lunar Eclipse in Pisces--a dissolution of matter, experiences, and a feeling of times changing forever. Now you see it, now you don't has been the biggest message of the Saturn Neptune Square which we have experienced during this year. I keep mentioning the Season of Mutables too and I can't emphasize the importance of the transformation these transits bring us.

Now, I felt incredibly sad as I traveled around Seattle and wondered where my old haunts went? I wasn't too happy to see glitzy buildings rising out of blocks that once boasted turn-of-the-last-century architecture. And it's hard to get used to entire blocks disappearing to make room for the new subway system tunnels. Mai c'est la vie. We're all experiencing drastic changes that leave us standing on shaky ground. It feels like a hurricane coming through for some of us, and for others, it feels like an earthquake and for others, it's more of that "Same as it never was," to quote the Talking Heads again.

I'm posting the Lunar Eclipse chart here again so you can view the confusing transits which remind me of a Spiral Graph. I'm thankful we're not dealing with a Grand Mutable Square. However, Venus in Libra pulls Pluto and Uranus into another Cardinal T-Cross and we experience a ball of confusion with the Mutable T-Cross since many planets lock into it.

Mars and Saturn provide the Apex and they fall in Sagittarius, a sign that acts us to expand and in this case, to expand our spiritual consciousness and our willingness to serve our communities or the planet. Jupiter has moved into Libra, but is still close enough to the Sun, Mercury and the North Node to provide us with an out-of-sign Stellium. Is it possible that Jupiter brings us a breath of air and enough distance that we can solve problems? Certainly, Jupiter in Libra wants to resolve social justice issues and usher in a time of balance.

Jupiter in Libra when it locks into Pluto and Uranus later this fall, again asks us to restore balance. I think we'll bring in the big legal system. Contract law plays a big role and we question laws in place. We also get involved with scandals or notice them on the periphery playing out. Oh, it's an interesting time.

Feel free to leave comments of your experiences below. And sign up for a personal reading. I'll be offering Skype sessions after the Fall/Spring Equinox on September 21/22.