Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Outerplanetary (Extraordinary) People Part 1 of 5

Living with the Outer Planets Prominent

© 1996 - 2010 by Joyce Mason

Author’s Note: This is an update of a five-part series originally published in the 1990s in Mark Lerner’s astrology magazine, Welcome to Planet Earth. The Outerplanetary (OPP) People series has been a timeless favorite that has been housed on the wonderful Australian archive, A Place in Space, for most of the intervening years. I’m ever grateful to Candy Hillenbrand for making me such a vital part of her magical website. With the posting of the OPP articles, I will have completed the migration and update of all my articles to The Radical Virgo that still remain on A Place in Space in their original forms.

Extraordinary Times

We live in extraordinary times. I call them Outerplanetary Times, marked by the discovery in 1977 of a new outer planet, Chiron. Chiron is trans-Saturnian. It acts like any other outer planet with a similar level of impact.

Chiron’s discovery heralded a helping hand for human consciousness. (Hand is what the “chir” in Chiron means. I love that someone whose birth name is Hand introduced me to this fact. As Barbara Hand Clow declared in her book title, Chiron is the Rainbow Bridge Between the Inner and Outer Planets. [1] In its orbit between Saturn and Uranus, Chiron signifies transitions and the process of evolution, both as individuals and as a collective. The rainbow refers to the seven colors of our invisible energy centers or chakras. Evolution at the personal level takes place in the etheric or energy body. As the kundalini life force rises, it causes amplification of energy. As we grow, we literally get a "tune Up." We vibrate on a higher frequency. The goal, ultimately, is to be on the same frequency with All That Is—why people have chanted Om for millennia. Chiron’s discovery, complemented by other major planetary alignments in the years since, kicked off a major evolutionary cycle in human consciousness.

Chiron’s transitional role is marked further by a common thread in its mythology and astronomy. For years, astronomers could not definitively classify Chiron as either a comet or a small planet (asteroid/planetoid). They kept changing their minds. Eventually, Chiron was determined to be both. Like the mythical centaur after which it was named, Chiron the planet was half-comet and half-asteroid. This dual nature parallels mythical Chiron’s makeup as half-man and half-horse. During the what-is-it period, some of us used the composite term cometoid. Ultimately, the American Astronomical Union came up with a new classification for Chiron and objects like it. The AAU called them centaurs in mythical Chiron’s honor. (I call Chiron a planet when speaking of it in generic terms, since planet means wanderer.)

Astronomers subsequently discovered that Chiron is the first of perhaps thousands of similar centaurs beyond Neptune, previously unknown to us, thus the need for a completely new class of planetary objects. Clearly, Chiron became the precursor of what was beyond our grasp and astronomical knowledge at the time of its discovery. Chiron gave us a glimmer of deeper space, literally and metaphorically, in terms of our own capacity for inner growth and evolution.

Prophets like Nostradamus and Edgar Cayce foretold that the cusp of the Third Millennium would be a major turning point. Since the outer planets are traditionally linked with major cultural shifts, understanding the planets beyond Saturn has never been more important. As a huge hint of the important role Chiron would play in these turning-point times, there was an exact conjunction of Chiron and Pluto at the Turn of the Millennium. Symbols of pain, healing, death, and rebirth merged like conjoined twins at 11+ Sagittarius on January 1, 2000. The conjunction took place on the Sabian symbol for 12 Sag: A flag turns into an eagle, the eagle into a chanticleer saluting the dawn.

After much study of this Sabian, I feel the flag refers to our traditional allegiances to country and intimates, those people we’re willing to fight to defend. The eagle is known for its larger view, its ability to see the big picture from high up. The eagle expands the scope of our loyalty to all humanity. The chanticleer is a kind of medieval rooster whose loud cry heralds a new day. This Sabian and the powerful pair of Pluto and Chiron on it portended a new and larger perspective, the evolving Oneness consciousness. (For more on this planetary pair and their similarities, read Chiron and Pluto: The Comet Brothers)

Most recently in 2010 Pluto and Uranus have aligned in a T-square including Saturn. And outside the T-, Chiron and Neptune have been traveling as a pair, essentially making all the outer planets and their ambassador Chiron prominent in the sky shouting, Change!)

For the past several decades, there has been one agenda—rapid evolution. Chiron was discovered, and we became aware of it, when the time was ripe for us to see the personal influence of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, the outer planets for which Chiron is a go-between. Chiron came to our consciousness to give us the heads-up on how the outer planets will change us at a cellular level to become, quite literally, a new species. This is why I call Chiron the harbinger of homo improvement. The improvement we’re called to make is to mirror Chiron’s composite nature—to merge our intellect and instincts, which Chiron’s human and horse halves respectively symbolize.

Saturn is a heavy energy, and, therefore, represents dense substances, like the Earth and the physical body. If Chiron is the Bridge to the Beyond and its discovery heralded our readiness for change, the Neptune/Uranus conjunctions of the early 1990s further signaled the time for a quantum leap in consciousness, as the Earthbound crossed the Bridge to new dimensions.

While Neptune and Uranus were in Capricorn (1988-95), we were preparing for this change of consciousness in our institutions and day-to-day reality. When the Saturn/Pluto square overlapped during this period, added to Chiron’s decade-long dance of opposition with Saturn, this brought all the trans-Saturnian planets into some form of dialogue with Saturn, Capricorn, or Scorpio. Symbolically, structural transfiguration was being set up on a grand scale. When everything familiar is yanked out from underneath us (the economy, the American dream, the family as we’ve known it, old encrusted forms of government, the patriarchal health care system), at long last new paradigms have room to move in.

Next the energy shifted (1995-2004) with Uranus is in its home sign of Aquarius and Pluto in Sagittarius (1994-2009). Changes from the Saturn/Capricorn groundbreaking and the Pluto square Saturn ground shaking prepared the reconstruction site. (The metaphors of excavation and demolition teams are only too real, remembering the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995, when Pluto stationed before its retrograde dip back into Scorpio.) [2]

As individuals, we may have tense aspects to any one of the outer planets that make their meanings very personal to us, but being an "outerplanetary person” means much more than that to me. It means that through our individual struggles and victories with these archetypes, we experience microcosmically, usually just one step ahead of everyone else, what's coming in the macrocosm of changes in awareness. I call this "channeling the outer planets."

Extraordinary People

I finally realized "why I am the way I am" and the source of my own complexity the day I got the implications of having a close square between each of the outer planets and my Big Three: Pluto square Ascendant, Neptune square Moon, and Uranus square Sun. Add to the configuration Chiron’s sextile to my Moon and square to Pluto. In astrological circles, I am hardly alone with this type of contact with “outer space.” More likely than not, if you are reading this article, you have intimate natal chart contacts with these planets. We are what I call outerplanetary people. We channel change.

Not long after my own epiphany about the outer planets, I heard a woman with Uranus conjunct Ascendant say that the outer planets were personal to her. She couldn't understand her Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars until she studied Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. This makes sense, for people with these planets prominent are the ambassadors for the collective to these exotic places. (They go where others dare not tread.) Outerplanetary people are the ones who directly experience and take Chiron, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto personally. They are not only in constant change, unlike their “normal” change-resistant counterparts; they are also messengers, running ahead to get information. People with strong outerplanetary emphasis bring news from the fringe, back to the rest of the community. They also hold out their hand to others as they cross from Old to New over the deep abyss of the Unknown.

Being outerplanetary is not an easy job (it's lonely out-front), but someone has to do it. The good news for OPP types: Our time has come and our life’s purpose is to act now on the knowledge we have gained by constantly interacting with tomorrow. If we do, we will literally change the world.

My sense of humor revolves around word play. For years, I’ve was unable to resist calling myself and others who share a powerful and close relationship with the outer planets PUN people (Plutonian, Uranian, and Neptunian). Once I got into Chiron, outerplanetary people became PUNCs with both a healing and healer dimension. Considering how Saturnian fogeys often criticize “young punks” with their far-out ideas, and the PUNC pun has always seemed perfect to me.

Of course, evolutionary consciousness can happen for anyone who is one outer planet prominent, but my observation is that the PUNCs—people with close aspects to them all—are hanging off the leading edge— out on a limb.

PUNCs have the strong accent on change and an assignment to catalyze it.
Any close aspect to Uranus, Neptune, or Pluto could mean a tendency to sense the tide of the times. I am sure that trines, sextiles, and minor aspects "count," but the tension of squares, the awareness (like it or not) of oppositions, and the sometimes overwhelming power of a conjunction between the inner planets and the outers tend to produce the most extreme cases.

What's it like to live on the edge when the whole world's on edge and on the brink of change? Just what are we precursor types to homo improvement supposed to be doing to ease these transitional times and offer that helping hand?

The Job at Hand

Sorry, you can’t sit this one out. You’ve been groomed to share what you’ve learned from these outer planetary forces. If you think you're a little shook up these days with life’s uncertainties and scary news on every broadcast, imagine how those poor folks in the middle of the bell curve of consciousness feel who may be clueless about a larger plan. PUNC types are often light workers, as in enlightenment. Our work is to tell people what we’re learning about: how to become whole (Chiron) and free (Uranus) through networking, sharing information, and breaking out of the bonds of the old ways that no longer work (going beyond Saturn); how to be compassionate/One (Neptune); while cleansing and transforming (Pluto) ourselves and the Earth to the core.

The role of the PUNC or OPP is much like an adult who’s flying with a child. The flight attendants tell you to put on your oxygen mask first in case of emergency, then your child’s. Your life isn’t more important than the kid’s to save; you just have more experience with crisis and wherewithal in an emergency to deal with it.

Save yourself first. Then you can save others.
For me, the message of the outers has been dramatic: Get it or die, evolve or be destroyed. That sounds dismal at first like Luke Skywalker meeting the mega-Plutonian Emperor that Struck Back, but in retrospect, it actually has been an incredibly gratifying process to be forced to grow by these powers. After more than six decades on the planet, constant irritation by the PUNC planets has led me down a long path to a place where, now, I am finally beginning to reap the rewards of being astrologically unusual. This pain for gain feels somewhat akin to how oysters give birth to pearls. I hope that you will find some gems in these ideas. Perhaps they’ll provide comfort when we reread them during a phase when the more difficult aspects of the outerplanetary archetypes make tough demands on us, and we temporarily forget everything we know.

The Best of the Outer Planets: What We Can Learn and Share About Them?

Since Chiron, by its astronomical position, is a bridge between the inner and outer planets, let’s start on the Bridge—and come back to it later, in the concluding article in this series—full circle. As I share what I’ve learned from channeling the outer planets, I will focus on what I’ve found to be their most positive expression, while contrasting the pluses to the pitfalls, the pits being the part most of us know very well.

Chiron—Mentor, Wounded Healer, and a New Astrology

Many people stay stuck in the “wounded healer” dimension of the Chiron myth—as stuck as Chiron was by his wound itself. We forget that Chiron had a big job he continued to perform and take seriously, after and in spite of his lingering wound. Chiron was an astrologer who mentored countless heroes, among them Jason, Hercules, and Asclepius. His students included some of the strongest, most talented, and most altruistic human beings in Greek mythology.

We can reasonably assume that Chiron knew how to accomplish the formidable task of turning his “young punks” into heroes (presumably most of them came to him as adolescents) by casting their charts and creating the equivalent of individual development plans. As a mentor, Chiron is known for his well-rounded education—everything from the martial arts and warrior training to the fine arts, including music. (He mesmerized others by playing the kithara, an early lyre that is the predecessor to the guitar.) [3] In the gamut between the more Martian and Venusian pursuits, clearly encompassing the full range of what we consider yin and yang or masculine and feminine, the right “dose” of teaching had to match the talents and interests of each wound-be hero. The right blend of training was customized to round them out as individuals.

One implication to us as human beings and astrologers is that we are to mentor the hero, within others and ourselves. Heroism is not a selfish role, although heroes obviously become heroes doing what they love and do best. My definition:

A hero is someone who acts unselfishly from his or her Higher Self in urgent circumstances.

Today, everything is urgent. Time is running out to heal our ecological crisis. The New American Heritage Dictionary defines mentor as a wise and trusted counselor or teacher. Our job is to bring out the best in people. Here are some examples of how to do it —and how not to do it.

Positive Chiron: This person gives to the collective (helps others) despite his or her own pain. By being vulnerable and serving others despite “lingering wounds,” the Chironic individual demonstrates, by example, that healing comes first from acknowledging pain and offering up to the community both the suffering and the learning that comes from it.

This is one meaning of Chiron’s offer in the myth to trade places with Prometheus, who represents Uranus or the collective. Without being egocentric or an emotional exhibitionist, the most positive expression of Chiron is to admit openly to being “a work in progress” and to help others on their own quest for self-fulfillment. They say the best teachers are just a few steps ahead of their students in their learning. Positive Chiron represents the epitome of this nonhierarchical way of helping others. In her book, Chiron and the Healing Journey, Melanie Reinhart conveys the concept that a shaman is not a really a shaman unless the community accepts that s/he has gone to the underworld and survived. [4] Unless a Chironic healer, the modern-day version of a tribal shaman archetype, can overtly convey to others having “been there,” he or she will not be well accepted in this role. This also has to be done in a way that doesn’t focus too much on the personal drama of the astrologer or healer, taking the spotlight off the client’s concerns. Chironic astrologers recognize this healing, process-oriented, eye-to-eye, mentoring style of helping others.

Chironic astrologers realize that astrology is simply a head-trip unless intuition and practical application is part of their practice. Chart reading is customized and in the moment with the real person behind the chart.

The Chironic astrologer not only empowers but also offers tools and teachings, so that in any of life’s emergencies, the skills to handle them have been fostered. Finally, this breed of astrologer has little ego. S/he thinks of him/ herself more as a midwife than an authority (a position that slips so easily into know-it-all). This astrologer knows s/he’s as much a learner as a teacher in a privileged position—sharing another’s intimate struggles with being successfully human. By their very nature, astrology consultations give entrée to a tremendous amount of intimacy. The Chironic astrologer handles this emotional intimacy as gently as tenderly as his or her first time with a new lover.

Negative Chiron. Gail Fairfield does a wonderful job of describing the other side of Chiron in her book, Choice Centered Astrology. [5] She says Chiron likes to fix things and people, and negative Chiron fixes people and things that aren’t really broken. For negative Chiron, the need to fix-it is so strong; they create dramas or dilemmas to keep themselves in the repair business. Negative Chiron applies Band-Aids or administers major surgery, often without permission and/or welcome. (If you are a positive Chiron type now, you can probably remember a time in your life when it felt like your phone number was 911.)

Perhaps better named, not just for political correctness but also for leaving a metaphysical opening for improvement, “evolving” Chiron stays stuck in woundedness and “woe is me” to the point of near nausea. Those around him start avoiding him—or they just don’t call her anymore.

There is another important cue for spotting a negative use of Chiron in the anti-hero. This person can assemble a group of misfits and put them up to no good, like the militia movement or other anti-social “heroes.” (In the ‘90s, both Timothy McVeigh, accused in the Oklahoma City bombing, and David Koresh, leader of the Branch Davidians, had prominent Chirons.)

Synthesis: On balance, the greatest thing we can hope to achieve as astrologers is to give our clients a different perspective on their lives, a Chironic key phrase, and to help them learn how to express and clear feelings rather then suppress them, since the latter can lead to pain, illness, and disempowerment.

Chiron teaches us to go on despite our pain, to keep working on healing it, and ultimately, to realize that a certain measure of pain goes with the territory of bringing our spirits into a body. To be human is to run the full gamut of experience that Chiron tapped when mentoring his students. We have to expect a little pain mixed in with pleasure here.

It takes all the heroism and guts we can muster to deal with the emotional trauma of bringing our spirit into this dense dimension and living here, with all the ongoing challenges of our hybrid lives, carrying our soul in body.
Imagine the loss of freedom (to float around, for one thing) and why freeing Prometheus Bound is a key part of the Chiron story. Chiron was relieved from his immortality and got to die and go back to pure spirit only after this altruistic act. The Chiron for Prometheus exchange implies that as long as we are here, we must serve humanity, for Prometheus/Uranus represents society, the collective or the tribe. This is the price we pay to come to a place where we can grow so fully. (If you can be spiritual on Earth, you can be spiritual anywhere.) We can learn to release pain—a glorious goal—but to eliminate it completely is incongruous with being human, which is to feel. Feeling badly is the appropriate reaction to many things that happen here on Earth, especially lately.

When we can’t do something, when we are the most immobilized, we say, “I just don’t feel like it.” Doing it, whatever “it” is, doesn’t feel good. Often, the blockage is from old feelings never released that the current event activates—our Chironic wound. Unless we learn the technique of releasing emotions and emotional blockages, we are as stuck as Chiron was by that arrow and just as helpless, short of dying, to do anything about it.

On the other hand, when we’re willing to let that helpless part of us die, to offer our pain and suffering to others for what we can all learn from it, the gods are impressed. We are released.

Then we get our first glimmer that the door Chiron’s skeleton key glyph opens is the home away from Home.

Om sweet Om.


Photo Credit: Cosmic Cool © PopArtDiva. Pop Art Diva is the graphic artist who created our amazing masthead on The Radical Virgo. Learn more about her services on Graphica Studios. Visit her delightful blogs, starting with Pop Art Diva, where her all her other blogs are linked, including the popular The Martini Diva.


[1] This subtitle was subsequently updated to Transformative Bridge Between the Inner and Outer Planets in newer editions.

[2 ] The Oklahoma City Bombing claimed 168 lives, including 19 children under the age of 6. Six hundred and eighty-six people were injured.

[3] O’Brien, Dale, The Myth of Chiron, audiotape, recorded at The Mountain Astrologer’s Planet Camp (1991), Contact: Dale O’Brien.

[4] Reinhart, Melanie, Chiron and the Healing Journey, Arkana (1989), p. 17.

[5] Fairfield, Gail, Choice Centered Astrology (Smithville, IN: Ramp Creek Press, 1990), p. 209.

Next: Part 2 of 5, Outerplanetary (Extraordinary) People: Uranians Fire Up the Brotherhood Network


Lise said...

Joyce this is a great article. Its so nice to meet PUNC family! I think I remember years ago Erin Sullivan talking about this effect of people with strong contacts of the outer planets and sorta connected as to why I always felt different from everyone else around me, including my family.

A Sun Scorpio conj Neptune, Moon Gemini square Chiron, Uranus & Pluto, Chiron conj Asc (12th house) and Pluto & Uranus opp Ascendant my life has been one of change, movement, chaos, depth, & catharsis.

Learned astrology at 19 & life path has been unusual ever since! I pretty much cause change wherever I go, I can't seem to help it! Smile xxx

Joyce Mason said...

Wow, Lise, you've got complete outerplanetary credentials. Welcome to the Radical Virgo PUNC rock band! :) You've done a great job in your comment of capturing our usual sense of feeling different and finding the beat of our own drummer. How awesome that you found astrology so young! Glad you enjoyed PUNCs 1. Stay tuned. There are 4 more articles in the series, and they examine each of the PUNC planets. Thanks for your wonderful sharing and observations!