Monday, July 27, 2009

Chiron and Pluto: The Comet Brothers

© 1995-2009 by Joyce Mason

“...the runt planet Pluto is actually the king of the ice dwarfs, the leader of the cosmic centaurs...Some astronomers, only partly tongue in cheek, say we should regard Pluto not as the smallest of planets, but as a comet to end all comets.” —Nigel Henbest, The Planets: Portraits of New Worlds [1]

I am a Chironoholic [2]—a Chiron fanatic. For the first two decades after its 1977 discovery, it was amazing to me that the planet named after the wise centaur was still struggling to gain a little respect and hoof-hold in the astrological community. As one among a number of astrologers who regarded Chiron early-on as the missing link in chart interpretation, I often wondered where we went wrong in conveying the importance of this small-but-mighty “wanderer” to our more skeptical colleagues. Chiron is the key to an individual’s life purpose and wholemaking process, no puny role in a person’s life.

Some of the ads I used in the old Chironicles newsletter began, “Imagine a chart without Pluto... if you’re not using Chiron, you’re missing more than you can imagine.” The parallel I’m drawing isn’t overly dramatic. In fact, research indicates that Chiron and Pluto are more alike than most of us would have ever dreamed. If we put so much emphasis on Pluto, astrologically, it follows that we should regard Chiron as an equal. (Anyone who has ever experienced these two forces in a stressful aspect to each other, either in their natal chart or by transit, knows I’m not kidding.)

In the intervening years since this article was first written, now updated in this post, Pluto has been demoted from planetary status and Chiron has caught on. In an odd way, I guess they have more or less met in the middle. Surprisingly, astronomers were ahead of astrologers in giving Chiron the recognition it deserves.

Astronomers Jump on Chiron’s Bandwagon
Chiron is the first of many composite objects with the characteristics of both a planetoid and a comet called centaurs in honor of mythical Chiron. This dual nature is one of the first hints that “you can’t put Chiron in a box” and that duality has to be dealt with, in a figurative sense, when considering Chiron’s psycho-spiritual implications. The designation “centaur” was saved for other similar objects expected to be found in the same neighborhood of deep space. Indeed, they were. Between Chiron’s discovery in 1977 and 2002, these “
notable centaurs” joined the herd: Pholus (1992), Nessus (1993), Asbolus (1995), Chariklo (1997, named after mythical Chiron’s wife), Hylonome (1995) and Amycyus (2002).

Chiron actually has two astronomical designations, as a planetoid (2060 Chiron) and as a comet (45P Comet). Centaurs like Chiron were previously considered “refugees” from the Kuiper Disc, but a newer theory suggests they come from the Scattered Disc (see “Comets” header in this article), a distant region of the Solar System that is sparsely populated by icy minor planets known as scattered disc objects (SDOs), a subset of the broader family of trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs). The following update from this Wikipedia article highlights the unique origin of the composite centaurs (emphasis mine):

Comets are divided loosely into two categories: short-period and long period—the latter being believed to originate in the Oort cloud. There are two major categories of short-period comets: Jupiter-family comets and Halley-family comets. The latter group, which is named for its prototype, Halley's Comet, are believed to have emerged from the Oort cloud but to have been drawn into the inner Solar System by the gravity of the giant planets. The former type, the Jupiter family, are believed to have originated from the scattered disc. The centaurs are thought to be a dynamically intermediate stage between the scattered disc and the Jupiter family.

When the International Astronomical Union designated Chiron and the class of objects it represents as “centaurs” in Chiron’s honor [3], these scientists were onto the parallel between mythical Chiron’s composite form and the fact that the planetary object named after him also is a composite entity. [4] Here is but one example of how some astronomers showed Chiron more initial respect than some astrologers did. Not only has an entire new class of space objects been named after Chiron, but astronomers were so jazzed about Chiron’s perihelion in February 1996—their chance to view the centaur in rare position closest to the Sun—that about 50 of them formed a Chiron Perihelion Committee (CPC) and exchanged e-mails fast and furiously. They hoped to engage astronomers, both amateur and pro, in viewing Chiron, during this window that happens only once every 50 years, to compare notes. There were even some exchanges between astronomers and astrologers—as unlikely an alliance as the Sharks and the Jets becoming blood brothers in West Side Story. (Chiron and Pluto have much more affinity as comet brothers.)

As Chiron’s perihelion approached, Alan Stern, a planetary scientist who writes articles on Chiron’s latest astronomical developments, also advocated a trip past Chiron in a NASA fast fly-by. It is only through one of these unmanned reconnaissance missions that we will ever see Chiron’s surface features, measure its mass and density, probe its composition, and get photos of this prototype centaur.

Did the Millennium Aspect--Chiron conjunct Pluto at the Big Turn--herald the “second coming” of inner enlightenment?

How Pluto Is Like Chiron
Although it is at least ten times bigger than Chiron, Pluto is roughly 3-4 times further away from the Sun, depending on it’s location in its orbital path. Balancing distance and size factors, it is no more far-fetched to consider Chiron as a significant astrological influence than it is to use Pluto. Let’s look at their astronomical similarities:

~ Both have highly tilted, eccentric orbits

~ They share a blurred identity, i.e., both are so unusual, astronomers wondered if they should be called planets at all (opening quote)

~ Each is relatively tiny

* Pluto is 2,360 km in diameter, and it would take 25 Plutos to make up the mass of Mercury, the next smallest planet [5]

*Chiron is estimated to be 200 km in diameter, roughly the size of New Hampshire

~ Both are composed in large part of “ices” containing carbon monoxide, methane, and/or nitrogen

~ Each is believed to be a fragment of a larger mass

*Chiron is thought to be what remains of “the mother of all short period comets,” from which all others split off [6]

*One theory on Pluto is that it was originally bound to Neptune’s Moon Triton [7]

~ Each crosses the orbit, at some time during its own orbital path, of the planet next in toward the Sun (Chiron crosses Saturn’s path and Pluto crosses Neptune’s).

There are many more synchronistic and metaphorical similarities. For example, Pluto has a Moon (Charon) with an identical name to Chiron except for one letter (and the two are often confused); both were discovered this century; and as far as the slow waltz of planetary movements goes, their perihelia follow each other, like a two-step (Pluto’s in 1989, Chiron’s in 1996). From the standpoint of astrological application, their functions are so similar; people often confuse Plutonian and Chironic energy. Both involve, at least in part, issues of death and sexuality. Pluto transforms; Chiron transmutes. meaning “ have an identical event occur, but to have a different reaction to it...” [8] Soon after Chiron’s discovery, the late Tony Joseph noted the connection between Chiron transits and “...pregnancy and birth, sex, parenting, illness, and death” and suggested co-rulership of Chiron between Scorpio and Sagittarius. [9] Barbara Hand Clow distinguishes them this way: “Chiron is a master teacher of bravery...of clearing that which isn’t strong and healthy. Chiron deals with Pluto willingly instead of avoiding the Underworld till the very last second...It is hard to face Pluto without Chiron as a guide, and now we have the assistance.” [10]

Hot Chironic Events
When I originally wrote this article in 1995, there was a trio of events, about to occur for the first time in most of our lives. I hoped they’d rock Chiron out of relative obscurity and into its rightful place among the stars. First, Chiron’s ingress to Libra on September 9, 1995; second, its perihelion (its orbital pass closest to the Sun) on February 14, 1996; and third, it perigee (pass closest to the Earth) on April 1, 1996.

For one thing, with Chiron in the relationship sign, I trusted that anyone who hadn’t gotten Chiron in any other way would surely be awakened when the subject of healing relationships went global. Old wounds from the battle of the sexes [11] were up for lancing, and following this letting of bad blood, alternative ways to make modern relationships work became the opportunity of the hour. Chiron hit many of us where we live when it entered the sign that rules not only partnerships and our sense of peace and beauty, but social interaction, and the law. This was especially true for those of us lived in front of the tube at the O.J. Simpson trial, where the deep wounding around so many of these issues in modern American culture was painfully obvious.

Many of us, arguing only half-heartedly about Chiron’s rulership, [12] suspected to find associations between Chiron and Libra never before noticed during its shortest (15-month) sojourn in the Venus-ruled sign. I longed to uncover more about Chiron’s seemingly good relationship with his wife, the sea nymph Chariclo. I hoped Chiron in Libra would stimulate further insights about why Chiron received his incurable wound at a marriage ceremony. What I actually saw—just as good or better—was more astrologers and astrology students beginning, at last, to form a relationship with Chiron.

During this same 1996 timeframe, Chiron’s perihelion was followed closely by perigee. Chiron pioneer/astrologer Zane Stein pointed out Chiron’s interesting affinity for holidays that year. What a sense of humor in cosmic proportions to manifest these significant astronomical events on Valentine’s and April Fool’s Day—all the same for some of us! If anyone ever doubted that “laughter is the best medicine,” surely one of the great healers of all time—mythical Chiron—had the last laugh and the last word on Chiron in Libra!

On a more serious note, I do believe that perihelion began to bring new insights about Chiron’s meaning to us, including new information about his astrological significance. If Chiron is the bridge between Heaven and Earth, perihelion is the time to walk across it and get the best view of the other side (lit up by all that sunshine). At perigee, the insights could come “down to earth” for our practical implementation.

Dramatic Illustrations of Chiron
Naturally, not everyone has Chiron highly aspected. Not everyone is Plutonian, and not everyone is Chironic. However, if you’re an astrologer (as was mythical Chiron), chances are you are Chiron-prominent. Astrology and the healing arts are one of the most positive expressions of Chiron.

Not everyone plays good Chiron, either (think good cop/bad cop)—same with Pluto, who can be the Darth Vader of the zodiac in the wrong mask or mindset. To give two dramatic examples from the ‘90s when this article was originally written (and since this article is about Chiron and Pluto), I would like to illustrate with the charts of
David Koresh and Timothy McVeigh and the event charts of the Branch Davidian Fire and Oklahoma City Bombing. The comparison seems especially relevant, since the bombing in Oklahoma was an alleged act of retribution for Waco.

David Koresh had a close natal Sun in Leo/Chiron in Aquarius opposition (Birth data: 8/17/59, 8:49 AM, Houston, TX). Without considering Chiron in his chart, you’d miss the tense T-Square focal to Jupiter conjunct Ceres in Scorpio in the 2nd house. This suggests a religious zealot who would give total sustenance and offer to meet all the physical and material needs of his followers; and to defend what he felt belong to him with the fixed intensity of a scorpion throwing thunderbolts. As Chiron foster-parented so many young boys and trained them as warriors, Koresh’s Chiron gone awry adds to our understanding of the infamous tragedy. The real drama comes from the transits of Chiron, Pluto, and Saturn to his T-Square. At the moment of the fire (4/19/93, 12:15 PM, Waco, TX), Pluto conjoined focal Jupiter, and Saturn was conjunct natal Chiron. But what really tells the story is the exact conjunction of transiting Chiron to his natal Uranus at 18 Leo, on the Sabian symbol, A Chemistry Teacher Conducts an Experiment for His Students (and the “lab” blew up). [13]

In Timothy McVeigh’s chart (4/23/68, 8:19 am, Lockport, NY), natal Chiron stands 16-degrees away from the rest of an Aries stellium including Saturn, North Node, and Venus. Used negatively, Chiron would contribute to his role as an anti-hero. Chiron in Aries can have issues with principles of anger, aggression, and war. As Chiron trained heroes in the martial arts, the militia movement can be seen as a negative use of the Chiron principle. Blending the planets involved, it is not difficult to understand McVeigh’s misguided mission to bring death and destruction by fire in a disordered quest for justice. The Sabian symbol on his Chiron, A Comedian, is not funny in context when considering some of its key phrases—"puncturing illusions" (of safety and security) and “being a trickster” (sneaking in bombs).[14]

McVeigh’s chart also gives us a chance to rethink sextiles as a “good” aspect or the positive/negative designations we tend to give angular relationships. Consider his tight natal Chiron/Mercury sextile, with Sun only 2-degrees away from Mercury. At the bombing, T-Mercury was conjunct the natal Chiron/Mercury pair. His anti-heroic thinking had ease and unencumbered opportunity to express itself–not exactly a plus in this case. (Back to “context is everything.”)

McVeigh’s natal Chiron opposes N-Uranus and quincunxes the asteroid Ceres. In the Ceres myth, Pluto abducts innocent Persephone, grabs her from her mother and drags her to the underworld. McVeigh ripped many innocents from their mothers and absconded with them to Pluto’s realm on April 19, 1995 (9:02 AM). This is echoed by transiting Ceres within a degree conjunction of his natal Chiron at the time of the bombing. Of course, the most dramatic aspects are the exact transits of Chiron conjunct and Saturn opposite his natal Pluto; and transiting Pluto in Sagittarius trine natal Chiron, adding fire to the fuel, as Pluto stationed before its retrograde dip back into Scorpio the next day.

A New Breed of People
Despite these sad stories, as a whole, we are mutating into a better species of human being. I call Chiron the harbinger of homo improvement. Chiron represents our cultural wound—the split between intellect and instinct. We are beginning to bridge that chasm, the split between left and right brain, masculine and feminine, yin and yang, light and dark. Once these forces ebb and flow in harmony within us, whatever comes up, we will know instinctively what to do, when and how to do it. Instinct integrates knowledge, wisdom, and those signals from the pit of your stomach. If you could trust you’d always know just what to do in any given circumstance, what would there be to fear? If, truly, as
A Course in Miracles and other spiritual materials advocate, the absence of fear is love, the eventual result is Peace on Earth.

If you still doubt the inter-relationship and equal importance of the Comet Brothers, consider their conjunction within minutes on January 1, 2000. I call this the Millennium Aspect. Blend just two of their key words—transform evolution. While there could be a less optimistic interpretation of this conjunction, the Sabian symbol for 12 Sag, where the brothers met at the Big Turn, further supports homo improvement: It is on the degree symbol, A Flag That Turns Into An Eagle; the Eagle Into a Chanticleer Saluting the Dawn.

The bird is the first to see the sun rising, so he believes his cry made the new day dawn. It reminds us of the power of the mind and synchronicity, i.e., what we see (believe and declare) is what we get. Our highest ideals can be asserted proudly...there is a bursting forth of higher self. Dane Rudhyar’s keyword for this degree is annunciation—evocative, because in a Christian context, the Annunciation refers to the day when an angel announced to Mary that she would become the mother of the Christ.

Did the Millennium Aspect herald the “second coming” of inner enlightenment? Astrologers, the Magi, following a star often depicted in art as a comet, attended the First Coming. Even though we now believe the Bethlehem Star was a grand conjunction, the collective consciousness saw it as a comet. How ironic that at the turn-of-the millennium two bodies conjoined that can be considered comets—Chiron and Pluto—carrying a similar signature as the birth of Jesus—a comet and conjunction.

Another synchronicity—the eagle in the Sabian symbol— is also a symbol for Pluto. To pair other key words and emphasize the large number of parallels between Christ and Chiron, the Chiron/Pluto conjunction is pregnant with healing. But there is no doubt that healing will only come by way of a showdown between Good (Chiron as the Christ figure) and Evil (Pluto as Hades). The Sabian is an omen—that we have the choice, if we have the vision, to transform and transmute our deepest wounds into a blessing.

Some people laughed at those of us who meditated on mountaintops at the
Harmonic Convergence in 1987. Holding that vision of a healed world is about to pay off. The doomsayers are right, but for the wrong reason. The world did end in the year 2000—the world as we knew it. While it is a world I don’t mind leaving behind, it will be “the end of the world” to many who have benefited from its inequities, where greed and other abuses of power are a way of life. The Internet and worldwide media 24/7 mean we can no longer view ourselves as separate from the global community. This new reality is taking hold. We are starting to get that we are one another.

To bring these thoughts up to date, I’d like to comment on what the Comet Brothers are up to nowadays. Pluto in Capricorn is forcing us to rethink our institutions in a do-or-die way. Deep change rarely happens until the need for it hits home in our wallets. The global financial crisis is a blessing in disguise, our only hope that a prevalence of people and institutions will hurt enough to jump on a bandwagon that transforms the way we handle resources. Chiron is tight with Jupiter and Neptune in a trio conjunction in Aquarius as of this writing (July 2009). This tells us that the cure (Chiron) and new frontiers (Jupiter) come from sticking to our ideals (Neptune). But we have to do all this in an Aquarian way, as a world community. To quote the lyrics from The Age of Aquarius in “Hair,” which I just heard again this week in a local production, we need “harmony and understanding, sympathy and trust.” I maintain that the grassroots connections we are making every day on the Internet are evidence of the barriers we are breaking down between Us and Them. (Read more of my thoughts about the triple conjunction in
The University of Pelion Online.)

The closeness of Comet Brothers at the Big Turn surely hinted at this evolving brotherhood. Comets have been seen as omens throughout history—for good or evil, depending on cultural context. If Chiron is the harbinger of homo improvement, there is no mistake that astronomical Chiron is the forerunner of something brand new going on “out there”— and that the “something” is “far out.” The Comet Brothers at best are about rebirth and healing. Conjoined like a Siamese twin with Pluto in Sag during the Big Millennial Turn, Chiron, the mythical half-breed, joined transformational Pluto as a precursor of mutations yet to come. The mutations are both literal and figurative—contact with other planets and species is a wild possibility. (One of my friends is an
animal communicator. It’s already real to me.)

But whether or not Star Trek is on the horizon, despite any current chaos, I have to report what I see growing every day on Facebook, Twitter, and in my face-to-face contacts. We are slowly but surely evolving into the characteristics of Chiron’s namesake—gentle, well-rounded people, keepers of the ecology, who coach others, despite our own wounds and woes, to live life heroically.

[1] Henbest, Nigel, The Planets: Portraits of New Worlds, Penguin Books (1994), p. 186.
[2] I am indebted to Elaine McCollough for coining this wonderful term.
[3] Stern, S. Alan, "The Chiron Perihelion Campaign," (March 1995) Sky and Telescope, p. 34.
[4] Stern, Alan, "Chiron: Interloper from the Kuiper Disk?", Astronomy, August 1984, pp. 28-33.
[5] Henbest, p. 173.
[6] "The mother of all short period comets," Discover, February 1991, p. 9.
[7] Henbest, p. 178.
[8] Riddle, T. Stan, "Chiron’s Secret Identity and Association with Virgo," Chironicles, April 1995, p. 10.
[9] Lantero, Erminie, The Continuing Discovery of Chiron, Samuel Weiser (York Beach, ME: 1983), p. 50.
[10] Clow, Barbara Hand, Chiron: Rainbow Bridge Between the Inner and Outer Planets, Llewellyn (St. Paul, MN: 1987), p. 8.
[11] I use this phrase in its most generic sense, referring to the anima/animus within anyone, despite gender or sexual orientation.
[12] I am aware of five theories about Chiron’s rulership: (1) Sagittarius; (2) Virgo; (3) Co-rules Scorpio and Sag; (4) No rulership — not consistent with Chiron’s nature as a humble teacher who was not a god; and (5) The Virgo-to-Sagittarius sector of the zodiac,
The Chiron Sector. While #5 is my own theory, I think of Chiron as having a strong affinity for this sector of the zodiac, rather than ruling it. I am not convinced that rulership is a useful concept when working with Chiron. Chiron represents a very personalized and experiential path to individuation. How can wholeness be just one thing (sign)?
[13] and [14] Klimczak, Rick, Degree Symbols of the Zodiac: The Sabian Symbols, Arachni Press (Silver Spring, MD: 1989).

This article was first published in “Welcome to Planet Earth” (Libra/Scorpio '95)


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Who Would Play Your Planets?

© 2009 by Joyce Mason

I’ve been having fun with my friend and fellow astrologer Claudia from
Starcats Astrology. We both love the program House and Hugh Laurie (swoon!). We pretend we’re scriptwriters for the show and keep coming up with plot ideas for next season, complete with guest actors we think would best play the parts.

I have a theory about ideas. As the saying goes, there’s nothing new under the Sun. I think scraps of ideas are like colorful bits in a kaleidoscope. Our ideas are like the glass pieces and with a twist of the wrist—actually some kind of brain mechanism that scrambles them, maybe like Bingo balls—a whole new picture comes into view. Sometimes it spells Bingo, another name for “got it.” Ideas are a new throw of the mental dice.

When I was driving home today, I was trying to imagine new ways to make my astrology chart come alive for me. That’s when it hit me: I could choose an actor or celebrity I like to play each of my planets. It must have emerged out of my conversations with Claudia “playing House.”

Let’s Try It, I’ll Go First

Since I have been so moved by doing
Soul Collage work, my first thought was to identify these characters, then find photos of them and create a giant poster of my chart displaying the actors, singers, or other celebrities playing my planets. I decided it wouldn’t be important that they actually have my own “assignment.” In other words, the person who plays my Sun doesn’t have to be a Sun Virgo, although she could be; something in him or her or a role s/he plays would simply remind me of how I express my Sun. I figured after following my instincts to a particular character, it would be interesting—only afterwards— to see if they actually have a planet in that sign or an affinity to other parts of my chart.

I knew I wouldn’t come up with my cast of planetary characters in a heartbeat. I change; so will my players over time. Here is my first draft with some examples of the Joyce Mason Chart Players, subject to further edit. (I didn’t want to bore you with my whole chart, although I ended up doing almost the whole thing.)

Taurus Ascendant - I was looking for a pretty, pudgy earth mother with a lot of stick-to-itiveness who had the gift of voice in some form. The late, great Mama
Cass Elliott fits the bill. Saturn is in Taurus in her chart within two degrees of her early Gemini Ascendant. We also share our Suns in late Virgo. I was surprised to see so many chart contacts between us, and I particularly remember her unrequited love for band mate, Denny Doherty. I also was hung up on someone in my distant past that took me years to get over. Some of the worst of my pain in that relationship was during the heyday of The Mamas & Papas. My Venus-ruled chart, however, forces me to note; I’m skinny compared to Cass whose weight topped out at 300 lbs. I have also, so far, lived nearly twice as long as she did—thank God.

Uranus in Gemini, 2nd House:
Rosalind Russell as Auntie Mame. Mame’s my heroine and role model. I value everything about her, especially her “live, live, live!” approach to life, her progressive thinking, and the way she values friendship and family. Her near nightly cocktail parties were the 1920s version of the bar scene in the original Star Wars—one character after another. Of course, Roz could just as easily be my Chiron, Mame was so one-of-a-kind. I looked at Rosalind’s chart and discovered her Ascendant is exactly conjunct my Chiron—for Chiron out loud!

Mars in Cancer, 4th House Cusp:
Sally Field as Nora Walker in Brothers & Sisters. Sally’s Sun may be in Scorpio, but Nora is a cub-clutching, interfering Cancer mother to the core. She’s vulnerable, but her power lies in her vulnerability and oozing feelings. Nora is a force to be reckoned with, a matriarch and mother hen who quite simply runs the Walker family show.

Virgo Sun - You wouldn’t think The Radical Virgo would have such a hard time assigning the role of her Sun. Truth to be told, I wasn’t sure just one character could do it. I’m part Mary Tyler Moore as Mary Richards—unsure of myself at times, too wed to routine and a writer by trade. I’m Hercule Poirot for my overly busy “little gray cells” and passion for mystery—which also makes me part Miss Marple, so observant my eyeballs ache. OK, throw in Angela Lansbury (who also played Mame on stage) in Murder She Wrote. Last but not least, it would have to be someone who had all kinds of fun and pun with language. That would be Richard Lederer, who writes books with titles like “Anguished English,” “Get Thee to a Punnery,” and “The Cunning Linguist.”

In the end, I decided that if my Mercury in Libra really must make just one choice, it’d have to be
Lily Tomlin. I see a little bit of myself, past or present, in every character she’s ever played from Ernestine the snorting telephone operator, to bratty Edith Anne, and the entire entourage of her one-woman show, The Search for Intelligent Life in the Universe. Read the original Radical Virgo article for more reasons why she belongs in the Virgo Hall of Fame and why I’d be lucky to emulate such a funny, bright, and witty woman with a pulse on all of life’s real issues. As I say on my other blog, Hot Flashbacks, Cool Insights, Lily “insights a riot.”

Venus in Libra ­–
Kyra Sedgwick as Brenda Leigh Johnson in The Closer. How this woman can be so polite, pretty, and ditzy while running a Special Crimes Unit in LA with the fierceness of a warrior puzzles and entertains me week after week. On the other hand, I think Brenda’s husband, FBI agent Fritz Howard, may express my Venus in Libra even more than Brenda does. My husband thinks Fritz is a saint and has no idea how he puts up with Brenda. Why would I be surprised that my Venus in Libra would be a couple? Or that in real life, Kyra and I have Venus within a few degrees? Besides, she loves (Kevin) Bacon—and so do I!

Chiron in Scorpio
Hillary Rodham Clinton, a Scorpio Sun in real life and a person who has dealt with both pain and power, I greatly admire Hillary as a First Lady, Presidential candidate, and Secretary of State. We were both born in Chicago a little more than a month apart, so our Chirons are conjunct in Scorpio. She knows the power of forgiveness (Bill’s affairs) and played her Chiron as healer role in her bid to reform health care, an issue of great passion and importance to me.

Jupiter in Scorpio
The Naked Archeologist, Simcha Jacobovici, is a Canadian who travels the world and “strips away the myths and exposes Biblical history.” The series sadly ended in January 2009; we love it so much at our house, we watch reruns. The show is described on its website as “fast, funny and irreverent (think Ali G. meets Indiana Jones).” Every word of it is true. While Simcha is an Israeli-born Jew, I love the fact that his show is religiously neutral and gives equal press to the New and Old Testaments and explores thorny religious questions regardless of creed. Could this guy be any more Jupiter in Scorpio?

Moon in Capricorn
Dolly Parton. A Sun Capricorn, Dolly weighs everything she does and has that delightful Capricornball sense of humor. A walking, talking parody of herself, over-the-top and over-done: I should only live so long to have half of her business moxie and talent in my own field. Big surprise—more chart contacts! Her Moon is in my Sun sign and mine in hers; our planets Mars are conjunct in Cancer.

Come On, You Can Do It!

I won’t lie to you; this exercise was challenging. Hard, but fun—and worth it. Now I have a whole new angle on my chart through Central Casting. I can go onto imagine how my aspects work—with a lot of humor.

For example, with my Venus square Moon, I can just imagine Brenda Leigh Johnson (Venus) getting into Dolly Parton’s face, Dolly representing my Moon. Brenda tries to get Dolly to confess to some dalliance in her private life, wrenching confessions being Brenda’s specialty. Dolly has been known to keep her personal affairs under lock and swallowed key. Dolly tells Brenda where to go in such a fluffy-nice way; she enjoys the trip to the hot place. However, Brenda’s in trouble, because she’ll be eating a lot of chocolate over the stress of an unextracted confession. It’ll be melting all over her. She goos to hell more than goes there.

Then there’s my tight Chiron/Moon sextile, an aspect of opportunity. I can see Hillary developing Dolly (though she’s already well developed enough) into America’s new goodwill ambassador. With missiles like hers and always a well-belted song in her heart, she’s bound to either blonde bombshell ‘em or love ‘em to death! Be our friend—or enemy beware!

Lastly, I can’t help but wonder about my Mars trine Jupiter. What would Nora Walker (Mars) do with Naked Archeologist Simcha Jacobovici (Jupiter) on one of his trips to the Holy Land? Besides insisting on running the expedition? (Can she bring her five grown children?) It’s a natural (trine). Nora’s literally a Jewish mother, and he gets so much dust on his boots in all those caves and ruins. Oy!

I Showed Mine, You Show Yours?

If you conjure up even one or two of your cast of characters, I’m sure the Radical Virgo readers would love to hear about it as much as The Radical Virgo herself. Please comment—and tell us what you think of this new Astrodrama game, Home Version.



Monday, July 13, 2009

The Depths of Change: A Cup of Courage in Times of Tough Transits

© By Joyce Mason, 1996-2009

(Author's Note: This article was written in 1988 during my transiting Pluto conjunct natal Chiron transit.)

Change is the story of my life—one of deep and ongoing transformation. As I'm sure is true for many people on the spiritual path, that constant death-and-rebirth process is the very turbulence that brought me to my knees and the heart of my inner journey. It takes most of us many years to learn that change is our friend, not our enemy. It takes some of us even longer to learn to enjoy the trip. When the outer planets are involved—Chiron, Uranus, Neptune, or Pluto—and when they are ravishing us where we live (making stressful aspects to our personal or most pivotal planets), the trip can feel like a Blind Journey through Hell.

One day, when I was feeling particularly frustrated and depressed, my best friend remarked, "I worry about you sometimes. Change comes from such a deep part of your being, I'm afraid you don't see it for a long time."

That transformational nearsightedness is probably the most difficult aspect of our evolution, the heart of faith that requires us to believe in things unseen. Recently, I remarked to my mother, "Who ever said metamorphosis would be easy? Pushing and shoving through that cocoon of hardened ideas is exhausting to say the least, but flying like a butterfly—there's the fun!"

She reminded me, however, that while the butterfly flutters freely and his flight is exhilarating, his life is short-lived. She added, "That's what life is—constant birth, death, and rebirth."

In the depths of change, which is a sort of dying, we are least aware of our flight, our freedom, and our direction. When we're changing, we're letting go. Most of all, we're letting go of those hardened ideas that constitute the cocoon of "who we have become." You can't see yourself letting go of ideas, and neither can anyone else see it. Yet it's nonetheless happening, and it's the prerequisite for the subsequent joy of being unfettered, able to "fly free," becoming all we are.

As I write this, I am personally climbing out of the deepest, hardest cocoon I ever built. This metamorphosis began when I took six months off work to write my autobiography, about my own inner healing. Few people have the opportunity to look at themselves as candidly as I did in outlining my story. Every pattern in my relationships and my own self-undoing came jumping off the manuscript pages in flashing neon lights. I have looked my baseline devils square in the eye: I have had an exorcism from the bottom of my being. My very foundations have been shaken. I had to see what I believed and challenge it. Some of the things I saw were not pretty.

I saw the beliefs that have been woven into my cocoon, such as:

"I am not enough."
"If I really love someone, I must let them go."
"It's always my fault."
"Closeness always ends in abandonment."

It was hard enough to find some of these foundational beliefs, they were so deeply buried, much less to face them squarely and be willing to give them up. In fact, the process was so painful, even for an eternal optimist, that I fully understand why some people spend their entire lives running from themselves and this very healing. At times, it feels like a bitter pill.

No wonder, lately, I've felt a sense of depression and grieving. "Joy cometh in the morning," we are told. Not only that, but, "Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted."

When we've spent our entire lives supporting beliefs, healthy or otherwise, they served us at some level, if for no other reason that to reinforce a false sense of safety. To give up the shelter of our cocoon is an act of faith, to say the least, with nothing left surrounding us for protection except the hope that joy will eventually come.

Perhaps I have felt most blocked, lately, because I am the closest to pushing out of the cocoon. I beat and beat on the walls, but until I weaken the structure enough to push through, I am still blocked and still frustrated. Perhaps that angry push of frustration is the very thing that's needed for breakthrough. From this side of the cocoon, I don't see the progress I'm making. I still see darkness and a wall with no exit.

Just like Jesus, we must die for our beliefs, in a figurative sense. The person who believed all those unloving things about herself must let go of life as that kind of person. We sometimes wonder if our whole life has been for naught, as we face what feels like a crucifixion—no matter how much we hear it will lead to resurrection and transformation to a higher form of life. We must not worship the dying, but learn to see it as a passage and a pathway to new life—an initiation.

I'm not sure who I am anymore. I know my best friend is right. I don't yet see the totality of my own transfiguration, but I cling to my trust in the process of life, no matter how shaky. Winter always turns into spring.

Recently, I had an opportunity to explain to someone very different from me what it's like to be a deep person: If there are potentially a dozen layers of psychological being, many people live on Layer 1 and 2. They're not very aware of themselves, and many repressed feelings are pushed down into the deeper layers. If they're not willing to know those deeper layers, they will remain unconscious of them. That's what the subconscious is. You are not aware of what's in it and the many ideas, hurts, and experiences that rule your life from this unknown power center.

Some of us old souls seem to have been born with a willingness to live life from the deepest levels of our being, and to know the depths of Self. If most people live their lives on Layers 1 and 2 and there are 12 possible layers, I feel like I live on Layer 14. It is unique and unusual to live like this, and, obviously, most people drawn to astrology or spirituality are "deep ones."

I sometimes envy Layer 1's and 2's. To me, their lives look simple, viewing them from out here on Layer 14 where it's difficult to find someone to talk to. Few of them can relate to the deep inner healing I am talking about.

Yet, bottom line, you can only heal from the inside out. Until you're ready to plunge the depths of your psyche and spirit, it's like putting band-aids on cancer. As Louise Hay said of her own cancer in her book,
You Can Heal Your Life: they could keep cutting off pieces of Louise or she could change the thoughts that made her sick. In a figurative sense, this is true of our dis-eases, whatever they are, and and regardless of form.

It's worth it. Even funerals are a celebration of life, and it's in dying that we are reborn. Dare to plunge the depths, and honor yourself and your feelings when you don't feel like dancing on your own grave until the healing is done.

I fear, sometimes, that in our commitment to "positive thinking" we sometimes do not allow ourselves the tears that cleanse. Sometimes the path from here to the spiritual ideal requires many detours and considerable travel on rough roads. One must keep the ideal/target clearly in mind to hope for a bull's eye. Like the sign in my office says, "If you aim at nothing, you will hit it."

However, in aiming at joy, we must sometimes walk knee deep in sorrow to get there. It doesn't seem like we're making progress at all. Yet when change comes from the deepest part of ourselves, and in partnership with Spirit it is only a matter of time before we burst forth from pupa to perfection. Even (especially!) when we're dealing with Pluto...

Marianne Williamson, my favorite teacher of A Course in Miracles says, "Are you going to believe in what the ego says, in its need to see something, now, or are you going to believe in the same force that turns seedlings into flowers and acorns into mighty oaks?"

From the deepest depths within me, my decision was made a long time ago: the exotic flower of a human being in full bloom has got to be worth watering with tears.


Photo Credit: CHRYSALIDES ©

Monday, July 6, 2009

Humor: Quotes for the Signs #2

Aries: He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Taurus: To succeed in life in today's world, you must have the will and tenacity to finish the job. ~ Chin-Ning Chu

Gemini: No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself, and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true. ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

Cancer: Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do so, you apologize for the truth. ~ Benjamin Disraeli

Leo: I think of life itself now as a wonderful play that I've written for myself, and so my purpose is to have the utmost fun playing my part. ~ Shirley MacLaine

Virgo: The aim of life is self development. To realize one's nature perfectly--that is what each of us is here for. -- Oscar Wilde

Want More Quotes? See
Quotes for the Signs #1

Libra: When I eventually met Mr. Right I had no idea that his first name was Always. ~ Rita Rudner

Scorpio: First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. ~ Mohandas Gandhi

Sagittarius: Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom. ~ Buddha

Capricorn: The world is more malleable than you think and it's waiting for you to hammer it into shape. ~ Bono

Aquarius: You were born an original. Don't die a copy. ~John Mason

Pisces: There are only two words that will always lead you to success. Those words are yes and no. Undoubtedly, you’ve mastered saying yes. So start practicing saying no. Your goals depend on it! ~ Jack Canfield


Photo Credit: AND I QUOTE ©

Quote Note: All quotes on this feature are researched by The Radical Virgo with TLC especially for you, her readers. Contributions welcome! Got a favorite quote you think has the name of a certain sign written on it?
E-mail Joyce. All contributors used will be acknowledged in the post where their quote is featured.

Read More Quotes for the Signs: Quotes #1 and Quotes #3.