Thursday, May 30, 2013

Planetary Fishing: Pluto

© 2013 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

This is our last planetary fishing trip. See May Planetary Fishing Expedition for background. This is a self-paced learning experience. You can copy and paste the posts into a document and take this learning trip about the planets in your chart at any time. It’s never too late to catch new insights in your net!

OK, I’ll admit … I understand why you might not be thrilled to go to a planet named after a guy  whose other name is Hades. (Could Go to Pluto become the new astrological curse?) But I also guarantee: Before we’re through with this final planet on our journey to astrological self-understanding, you’ll learn some things about the old boy that are worth wanting, even loving.

Pluto was the god of the underworld in classic mythology. I suppose that makes him the devil on one hand. He’s the devil you don’t want to know but, alas, are  forced to confront at certain junctures in life. So let’s just get out his ickier qualities so we can get past them onto this fish of another color’s more amazing side. Pluto is connected with sex, destruction, revenge, death and taxes, obsession and power—power for better or for worse.

Now let’s talk about power for the better. Pluto is the King of Fundamental Transformation. Without him, the alchemical miracles that truly change people to their core would not exist. The world would be an uglier place. Pluto helps us eliminate from ourselves whatever is toxic or destructive. It gives us sexual ecstasy, as well as other forms of energy release. It proffers psychic powers and is the seat of our will. Pluto is the source of our personal power, including harnessing the power of our subconscious. It’s a planet of collective destiny, and while it may rule spies and criminals, it also rules midwives and is the bringer of new beginnings, rebirth and regeneration.

Unfortunately, we often have to walk through hell to get to the upside of Pluto, but as the wonderful title of a book by Douglas Bloch states, When Going Through Hell … Don’t Stop! [1]

Pluto Fishing Instructions

1.   Pluto is something small that packs a lot of wallop. Write about things in your own life that have seemed small at first but were actually very powerful forces in your life.

Now harness the small but powerful resource of your computer. Search for god Pluto or Pluto mythology.

a.   What do you find both distasteful and likable about Pluto’s story?

b.   What do you think about his abduction of Persephone, if you read about it? 

3.   About your Pluto and its sign:

a.   Pluto stays in the same sign for at least a generation. You will know a lot of people “your vintage” who share your orientation to Pluto. What makes Pluto in your sign unique in terms of your generation’s contribution to the world? Think of both pluses and minuses. Lastly, how does your generation differ from the one who’s Pluto is in the sign before and after yours? This can be very revealing.

b.   What’s the element of your Pluto? (Earth, Air, Fire or Water) Does that element help you navigate the underworld where Pluto reigns? Or not?

c.    What’s the relationship of Pluto to your other planets? Mostly compatible or challenging?

d.   How many planets make a major aspect to Pluto? [2]

e.   How many of the planets are in close aspect, within 3 degrees or less?

f.    Do these aspects make it easier or more challenging to make your way through the hellish parts of Pluto and get to his alchemical gold? What gold have you discovered in some of your most Plutonian encounters? (Example: I learned from a betrayal how important it is to be upfront about my feelings and to risk sharing them, as this painful experience stemmed from my boyfriend’s uncertainty about my love and the status of our relationship.) Where was Pluto in your chart at the time? (Conjunct Sun for me. Ouch. Gold came later.)

 4.   Who in your life was powerful and a force to be reckoned with? Think of what you’ve learned from this individual about the use and abuse of power—and if he or she is one of those people who has harnessed power for good, what you learned about the ultimate power—the power of love.

Extra Experience: This final experience is designed to be one that lingers and one that can be spread over time. It’s great that Pluto is the last major planet in our solar system, because it’s an awesome energy on which to end this series. Pluto holds the vibrations of end/beginnings, a wonderful term I read years ago in an article in Yoga Journal. For every death, there is a resurrection and rebirth. As we meet Pluto’s ultimate requirement—letting go—in this case of our learning experience together, I hope this will both help you say goodbye to our time together and hello to continuing renewal and insights.

Comb the qualities of Pluto you have uncovered, both difficult and life affirming. Choose at least 2-3 from each column. For instance, my challenging column would contain the qualities obsession, compulsion and the most negative expressions of “the dark side.” My plus column would contain rebirth, positive personal power, and my ability to regenerate.

Once you’ve found your qualities, search Amazon or your local library website for books or movies that have themes along these lines. Over the next few months, read or watch and after you’ve digested several, come back and look at these Pluto exercises again. What’s different? Is Pluto more integrated or have more questions and feelings been aroused?

Series Wrap-Up.  For our own end/beginning, I want to say how much I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this fishing expedition with you. I’ve been delighted with your reception of the experience and with your comments on individual planets. If you want to Comment on Pluto and any of the preceding planets and have your Comments count for the free e-book drawing, please do so by May 31.  I will be doing the drawing on June 1.

Lastly, I’d love to hear your comments on the series in general. This will help me know whether to move onto a similar series with the signs. If you prefer to give feedback one-on-one, don’t hesitate to email me: joyce [at]

Thank you for your companionship on this odyssey of Astro-regeneration!

Photo Credits:
Pluto and His Cerberus/Three-Headed Dog, Public Domain. Unknown artist, 16th Century.


[1] This book on the author’s personal journey through depression has been a godsend to a loved one of mine while he was experiencing the same kind of hell. If you or someone you love is dealing with this issue, Douglas Bloch’s book is worth your consideration.

[2] This is often easiest to find and view in summary in a matrix on the chart wheel page or in one of the “reports” offered, if you have astrology software.

Every person who comments on any of the fishing posts in this series by May 31 will be entered into a drawing for a free copy of Joyce's Chart Interpretation 101 e-book. The winner will be drawn and announced on or about June 1.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Planetary Fishing: Mars

 © 2013 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

Missing Mars Restored! Thanks to reader Maureen who noticed I had inadvertently omitted the Mars post from our Planetary Fishing trips. I must have figured, unconsciously, that he was already with as us as our fish hooks (Mars rulership over sharp objects). Apologies! Even if today’s post on Mars is out of order for replicating the sequential planetary line-up in the sky, here it is. Maybe this delay was no mistake, as you’ll go to Mars and then Pluto right behind each other. That’ll be interesting in light of their co-rulership of Scorpio, an opportunity to compare and contrast the original and modern ruler of that water sign as we leave shore one last time tomorrow for Pluto.

Mars is more than the God of War. This planet’s realms are energy, impulse, fire, drive, masculinity and sexuality. Also attributed to Mars are desire, courage, aggression, impatience and ego. Mars is an initiator, leader, innovator and extrovert.

The planet Mars has the distinction of ruling the first sign of the zodiac, Aries. Therefore, Mars is closely associated with the beginning of the Natural New Year, Spring Equinox. Spring is the time when tree sap rises and people’s fire does, too. It’s the best time of year to be that Martian initiator, to go out and do new things.

Mars has enjoyed a lot of interesting cultural associations over the years. Most of us are familiar with Dr. John Gray’s, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. Thanks to that book, many people with no interest or prior experience in astrology know that Mars is associated with the masculine archetype and Venus with the feminine. John Gray has done wonders in helping both genders understand their differences in communication styles, and I’m sure, to translate the unique languages “Mars” and “Venus” speak.

When I was growing up in the 1950s, we imagined that people from outer space were from Mars. The common image was a green guy with antennae, who landed in a flying saucer and talked a kind of weird, robotic-sounding gobbledygook. This image, spruced up with a little more sophistication, was brought home on our tiny black-and-white TV screens in the show, My Favorite Martian, starring Ray Walston. Few “mere mortals” realized then how far outer space really extends. For others, Mars was the name of a favorite candy bar.

Finally on this trip down my Martian Memory Lane (Mars in Cancer, can’t help myself): There’s a book that had a lot of personal significance for me that I’ve mentioned in other posts, Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein. This classic, 1961 science fiction odyssey tells about Valentine Michael Smith, a human who comes to Earth as a young adult after being born on the planet Mars and raised by Martians. It has bold themes, ahead of its time, and Smith as the Man from Mars evolves into a messiah as he explores Earth from an innocent’s eyes and beginner’s mind, not having been raised in these here parts. Morality, religion and psychic skills are just some of the fare in a work many people consider the best sci-fi novel ever published. It even brought a new word into our language, “grok.”

Grok  (Slang)

verb (used with object)
1. to understand thoroughly and intuitively.
verb (used without object)
2. to communicate sympathetically.

It’s ironic, the elements of communication that seem to be connected with Mars in these cultural flashbacks. You’d think we were talking about Mercury, but my hunch is that the ego, impatience and extroversion of Mars often get in the way of one of the most important aspects and at least half of communication—listening. 

Now onto casting your line for Mars in the here and now.

Mars Fishing Instructions

What do you make of our past cultural impressions of Mars, described above, especially compared to some of the current facts from our Mars space missions?

2.   Now explore your own Mars by describing one or more of these: your drive, your vitality or energy level, and your relationship to courage. What do these things tell you about Mars in your life and chart?

3.   Mars loves adventure! Jump on your keyboard steed and type in god Mars. What do you like about this god? Dislike?

4.   What words pop out to you as both affinities and antipathies as you’ve read about Mars in the post or in your Mars research above? For instance, I have much affinity to the vitality aspect of Mars, not so much to competition, and almost none to force. What are yours?

5.   About your Mars and its sign:

a.   Does your Mars sign, in your opinion, make the concepts Mars governs easy or more challenging to navigate? Why?
b.   Identify one aspect of Mars you need to work on.
c.    What’s the element of your Mars? (Earth, Air, Fire or Water) Is it simple or challenging to do Martian things with this element?
d.   How many planets make a major aspect to your Mars? [1]
e.   How many of the planets are in close aspect, within 3 degrees or less?
f.    Do these aspects make “doing Marsy things” easier or more challenging?

Extra Experience:  Today’s experiential suggestions involve a spontaneous Martian experience. Take an aspect of Mars and do it today. Something impetuous. Something innovative or pioneering. Something to do with your head, that Mars rules—like buying a new hat, getting a new hair-do or a new headache medication. Go on an adventure of some kind. As the Nike commercial says, one of the greatest Martian affirmations ever, Just do it!

One last launch to Pluto tomorrow …


Photo Credit: Mars wearing a breastplate, Ancient Roman bronze figurine, 1st–2nd centuries AD. © Marie-Lan Nguyen (2010) Wikimedia Commons.


[1] This is often easiest to find and view in summary in a matrix on the chart wheel page or in one of the “reports” offered, if you have astrology software.

Don’t forget to Comment and let us know what insights you catch. Only a couple of more days to be included in the Comment contest for a free e-book!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Planetary Fishing: Neptune

© 2013 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

     Just joining our fishing party? See May Planetary Fishing Expedition for background. This is a self-paced learning experience. You can copy and paste the posts into a document and take this learning trip any time, though it’s lots of fun to do it together and share Comments.

Neptune was the god of the sea and the counterpart of the Greek god Poseidon in the Roman religion. Today we take our figurative fishing boat back to his realm to learn more about the planet named after him. Our planetary learning experience here on The Radical Virgo has been undertaken with a Neptunian metaphor. That makes this penultimate fishing trip extra meaningful as we consider a subtext: What aspects of Neptune like intuition, dreams and psychology have helped us throughout our weeks of reeling in more information about our astrology charts?

Neptune rules Pisces, one of the four mutable signs. Each of these signs has some element of duality. [1] I think of the three prongs of Neptune’s trident as representing one of two natures on either side with the center prong being the middle ground where we synthesize the two.

The extremes of Neptune can accurately be called the agony and the ecstasy. On the ecstatic side we have inspiration, imagination, compassion, universal love, sensitivity, hunches, spiritual highs and a lot of fun stuff many of us enjoy like film, fiction, art and music. On the side that can bring us grief, there are illusions, impracticality, substance abuse and all things “underground” from manipulation to crime and a lot of other misdemeanors committed unconsciously. In other words, if we wanted to personify the extremes of Neptune’s full gamut, its poster boys would be the Dalai Lama and Tony Soprano. Could we really expect anything less encompassing from something as big as an ocean?

It’s Neptune’s ocean full of possibilities that make exploring this planet both a little daunting and very rewarding as we contemplate the full range of these energies and how we can catch the best fish or qualities in our net and throw back what doesn’t work for us.

Neptune Fishing Instructions

Let’s start again with a question, and since Neptune rules one of the dual signs, you can choose one of two:

a.   How far will you go to avoid clarity about something, whether it’s the true nature of a relationship or an honest look at yourself?

b.   How far will you go for a high?

Of course, you can write about both, if you’ve got time. We’re opening with the murkier side of Neptune because it’s hard to catch its true gifts while being dragged into its undertow. This means an honest look at any potential self-deceptions. A little bit of heaven—maybe a lot—is bound to show itself in the rest of the exercises.

2. Time to steer your boat onto the oceanic counterpart of the Information Highway.  Climb into your search engine boat and look for god Neptune.

a.   What are your favorite and least favorite characteristics of the god of the underworld? (Don’t hesitate to search for Poseidon, too, as it’s the same archetype, different nationality.)

b.   What symbols of Neptune, his relationship to others or bits of history stand out for you?

Synthesis: How do you think your favorite aspects of Neptune and the other things you find out about him relate to your impression of astrological Neptune?

3.   About your Neptune and its sign:

a.   What does your Neptune sign say about your attraction to certain Neptunian qualities? For instance, Neptune in Virgo may struggle with Neptune’s lack of practicality but share its characteristic self-sacrifice. Neptune in Libra may love its merging qualities since it’s relationship oriented. Neptune in Scorpio may share its attraction to the mystical, psychological and things hidden.

b.   What’s the element of your Neptune? (Earth, Air, Fire or Water) Does that element help you navigate in the watery realm of Neptune? If yes, how? If not, why not?

c.    What’s the relationship of Neptune to your other planets? Mostly compatible or challenging?

d.   How many planets make a major aspect to Neptune? [2]

e.   How many of the planets are in close aspect, within 3 degrees or less?

f.    Do these aspects make it easier or more challenging to catch the best of Neptune? Within this question is another question, what to you consider Neptune’s greatest gifts?

Who in your life was compassionate, spiritual, artistically talented and/or creative? How did he or she inspire you? If you can, find a picture of this individual. Commune awhile today with your Neptune figure’s spirit. What do you learn?

Extra Experience: Do something on the delicious side of Neptune today. See a movie. Write down a dream. Write about your dreams of what you want to manifest or simply daydream about them. Swim in your emotions. One of the consummate lessons of mastering Neptune is knowing when to come out of its deep waters before you drown.

Pay special attention to what it feels like when you have to get out of the water and “come back to.” Your emotional reaction will be a big hint about how to handle your Neptune in a way that you can have plenty of trips to ecstatic states without going down three times and only coming up two. Knowing how you get back to shore is your personal trident's middle prong and mastery of Neptune.

Next up is our final planet on our May Fishing Expedition, Pluto. Are you as sorry as I am that our planetary fishing expedition is almost over?

Photo Credits: The god Neptune © Avilog |


[1] Gemini has a pair of twins. Sagittarius has a dual being for its symbol, a centaur that’s half-man and half-horse. Pisces has two fish. While more subtle, Virgo’s duality comes from the original depiction of the sign as a winged Virgin. This reflects her dual connection to Heaven and Earth.

[2] This is often easiest to find and view in summary in a matrix on the chart wheel page or in one of the “reports” offered, if you have astrology software.

Every person who comments on these May fishing posts will be entered into a drawing for a free copy of Joyce's Chart Interpretation 101 e-book.

Monday, May 27, 2013

“Cruel Embroidery” by Joyce Mason and More Golden Nuggets of Prose and Poetry

Golden Prose & Poetry: A Collection of Short Stories, Essays and Verse from Writers in Northern California

Dear Radical Readers,

I’m taking a brief break from the last pair of Planetary Fishing posts and a lot of hard work wrapping up Keywords to Unlock Chiron for this announcement. My short story, “Cruel Embroidery,” is part of a new literary collection I believe you’ll truly enjoy.

Twenty writers have teamed up to create a Northern California anthology of fine writing that puts readers through a rush of emotion from laughter to tears and from joy to regrets. I’m proud to be part of this quality volume!

The authors deliver a rush of emotion in a new book, Golden Prose & Poetry.

Golden Prose & Poetry is published by Pretty Road Press in association with Northern California Publishers & Authors. Folsom-based publisher, Ted Witt, describes the book as delivering “bold, imaginative short stories alongside true tales, travelogues and sentimental verse from writers in the Golden State.” The 165-page  book highlights the work of several award-winning writers alongside new talent showcasing their work for the first time. The content is diverse, but unified in delivering a rush of emotion.

My story, “Cruel Embroidery,” exposes  a community without compassion and is a study of what happens when light and dark meet. Imagine the most innocent young Virgo meeting a reclusive old Scorpio whose life has been derailed by a seriously damaged self-image. “Cruel Embroidery” contains court scenes tantamount to a modern-day Salem witch trial. It has a surprise ending that startled the author herself.

My story is just one of the fascinating ensemble. The anthology is now available on Amazon. Click the link or graphic to take a peek inside. It's a great summer read, perfect for the busy person who can read an entire story, essay or poem in a few spare minutes.

Golden Prose & Poetry is $11.97 and will be available in print and in e-book format. Print copies will also be available at the Purple Place book release celebration in El Dorado Hills, which will feature author signings, prizes and happy hour prices on food and beverages on Tuesday, May 28. If you're local to the Sacramento Area, please join us from 6-8:30 PM for golden fun at the Purple Place the evening after Memorial Day.  Details on Facebook.

All contributing writers to Golden Prose and Poetry are members of Northern California Publishers & Authors, an independent alliance of authors and publishing professionals whose website is

It’s a literary gold rush!