Aquarian Cycles and Centaurs

With the Great Conjunction and its changing elemental setting this year, the Chronocrators – as they used to refer to Jupiter and Saturn – fall in the Air sign of the Water Bearer. Aquarius is strange: a sign known by the name of an element it is not. Dare we say that sounds Uranian? The origins of this sign are fascinating (and for another time), mythically connected to the divine cupbearers, Ganymede and Hebe.

Aquarius is a rich setting, as far as Centaurs are concerned, because of its affinity for two very contradictory planets: Saturn and Uranus. Saturn rules the sign according to the thema mundi, and the modern planet Uranus has found the fixed air sign to be its temporal home as well. The basic thing centaurs do, astrologically, is to bridge these two planetary lords of Aquarian stock (Saturn and Uranus). 

Holding both of these planetary archetypes, the Aquarian has a demanding sense of social justice that makes her seem fixated on ideas, but only in the service of moving us onward. A concern for high standards (Saturn) in tension with a desire to bring the world up to that ideal level: the taciturn eccentric.

The Uranian as a type is one who has one ear tuned to the heavens at all times. For an Aquarian, with the basic Saturnine nature, this can provide a revolutionary bent: like the Centaur, head in clouds, hooves on earth, the Peak Aquarian wants us all to abide by the rules, just a newly written set, a bespoke social contract, always set in the future. What does it mean when two planets of social justice converge in this sign?

With the meeting of Jupiter and Saturn this Solstice, many cycles fall into alignment. Firstly, the coincidence of Solstice marks the Sun’s moment when it reaches peak southern declination and pauses before returning to northern climes – or, at the midpoint along the arc of where its Ecliptic path intersects our own equatorial plane, tropically speaking. The Cardinal Signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn) mark a kind of Earth-Node. 

Likewise, the place where this Great Conjunction occurs – in the first degree of Aquarius – marks a Nodal place for the centaurs. Chariklo, divine healer and partner of Chiron, as a planetary body in our solar system is the largest and also most orbitally round (and one of the least eccentric) Centaur. Her range is similar to Chiron’s, traveling between the boundaries of Saturn and Uranus. Presently in late Capricorn, and a veteran of the Cap’n Crunch of 2020, Chariklo will enter Aquarius after January 2021. When she does, she will cross her own North Node – the place where her inclined orbit trends upward and crosses the ecliptic, before coasting down toward the opposing, South Node. 

At its own North Node, applying the logic of planetary nodes from Dane Rudhyar and Mark Jones, a planet expresses its full evolutionary zeal – what it has to offer us at its utmost purpose. 

Chariklo in Aquarius then, fresh from her conjunction with Saturn and Pluto (witnessing an epoch of destruction), will sweep into the recently constructed edifices of Jupiter and Saturn’s 200 Year Airy Age. A watery nymph Goddess in the Men’s club. (And her father- and brother- in law, no less!). Yet, fortunately, her family extends into other helpful dimensions. 

Daughter Okyrhoe, a water nymph (like Mom) who takes after Dad (and his divine stock), is equally of the Air element. As fate will have it, on the day of Solstice, the Moon in Pisces will conjoin Okyrhoe – translating her wisdom into the sublunary sphere, our world. More, she will be in harmonious 60° aspect to her partner in divination, Centaur Pholus over in early Capricorn. 

Okyrhoe and her waveform of orbit in phase with Saturn (graph via R von Heeren’s kentauren.info)

Two interlocked Centaurs, with shared skill and astrological offerings (helping us access our mantic wisdom, understanding signs and divination) camped out in Pisces and Capricorn: ruled then by the meeting Gods Jupiter (Pisces) and Saturn (Capricorn). 

The union of their dispositing planets, then, augurs an alignment of the aspecting centaurs at just the same time as the Moon agrees, and as the dispositing giants inhabit a Centauric Nodal degree. Just before escaping Capricorn, however, they also transit the South Node of centaur Pholus. A planetary descending Node transited by his current ruler (Saturn, now in the last degree of Capricorn) closes a chapter of karma, or shows us the worst in a planet’s nature – which for Pholus is a Neptunian overindulgence in escapism and our “ambrosia” of choice. 

So of these, Chariklo is the more poised for inspiration ahead. But at the moment of gaseous syzygy, Moon sextiles Pholus and welcomes his insight as mediator of the Neptunian (both mythically and astronomically, as traveler to there and back). With Moon conjoining Okyrhoe, she is highlighted most strongly in the sky – and so we can draw upon her nature as one who bridges the very planets in question: Jupiter and Saturn. 

It’s a very humble sounding task for a Centaur – who usually brave trans-Uranian climes to return to the 3D world of Saturn with something psychedelic or transcendent, Okyrhoe’s orbit between the two ancient gods makes her just the person to seek guidance from in times like these. What does their blend do? It is her duty to know, and offer the nectar of that knowledge to us as inspiration. Saturn as time is lord of Fate, while Jupiter as spirit is lord of Grace, or release from fate.

As Centaurs do, stepping information down into palatable, intelligible, vibrations for our intra-Saturnine minds to pick up on, is here made most approachable by Okyrhoe: she governs divine visions that take place within space and time, the Jupiter within the Saturn. What will she now show us for the age ahead?

Chiron will also sextile the big duo in Aquarius (they apply toward sextile of him), bringing the other Uranian ranger into the picture too.

If we look at our system from the outside in (rather than from here on out as we are accustomed) the alignments that take place on Dec 21, 2020 really do some multidimensional sky weaving. As the ancient concept of spheres leads us, we can layer beyond the Saturnian (but before the Firmament and Fixed Stars) the extra dimensions of at least the Uranian, Neptunian, and Plutonian (which could be synonymous with trans-Neptunian). Between these outer three and the cusp of the inner world (Saturn, traditionally the slowest and most distant known planet), the Centaurs weave like Daliesque spiders on giant stilts – imagine their hooves prancing upon two of these disparate rings at once. Chiron and Chariklo’s steps between the ring of Saturn and of Uranus, Pholus’s between Saturn/Neptune, Nessus’ between Saturn/Pluto, and little Okyrhoe plucking the bounds of Saturn and Jupiter like the strings of a harp — or to extend the metaphor to her cognate goddess of spontaneous flow – the strings of Saraswati’s Veena.

This Aquarian Conjunction brings in the interstellar vibrations, too. The Fixed Star Altair the Eagle sits upon this degree of the ecliptic. In our spherical model then, this is a very distant point yet in alignment from the point of view of Earth – geocentric astrology.

Altair the Eagle is instantly a Jupiterian motif – the Eagle of Zeus who plucks the liver of Prometheus, and the Eagle who sips the ambrosia held by Ganymede the cupbearer (an Aquarian archetype). 

Further ‘out there’ is a guide to the stars that always hits as wisdom to me, a channeled or “spiritually collaborative” compendium of star civilizations (Starlight Elixirs and Cosmic Vibrational Healing by Smulkis and Rubenfeld). This detailed exploration of the beings of various friendly stars mentions only one astrological planet, once – and that is Saturn, in the section on Altair. How curious! They describe how this star helps us “saturn” up and “understand resistance to flow” “overcome obstacles and have courage to move forward.”

And while we are out here in the stellar regions, Okyrhoe’s union with the Moon occurs conjunct the bright, lonely star Fomalhaut, watcher of Autumn. This point is the “mouth of the fish” constellation, Pisces Austrinus, which according to Eratosthenes “swallows the water being poured by the water bearer,” Aquarius.

Combining these motifs we have the starry Eagle (symbol of Jupiter and his sacred waterboy), and the thirsty fish whose Mouth receives the Aquarian ambrosia. With Okyrhoe as bridge between the realms of the planets forming the Great Conjunction, herself conjoining this spiritual star as the Moon brings the whole spectre into earthly reach, this Oracular Nymph is bearing lots of astrological weight for us.

Moon will conjoin Okyrhoe just before the Great Conjunction, but after Jupiter has already joined Saturn in the sign of Aquarius. At the conjunction itself, Moon will be 27° 57 Pisces, just past Okyrhoe’s Discovery Degree and also Venus’ Degree of Exaltation. To seal the trend, the Great Conjunction happens to be conjunct the North Geocentric Node of Venus (thanks to @EmpressAtlantis (empressatlantis.com) for this insight!). The Goddesses at least seem to be conspiring as usual, bless them to bless us!

The Astrological Centaurs


OKYRHOE: FLOWING WATERS OF PROPHECY
Okyrhoe’s character is revealed in notable births and events that involve transits to her Discovery Degree (25° Pisces), reflecting an astrological function of prophecy.

Occult luminaries Nostradamus, Edgar Cayce, and Manly P. Hall each were born with Okyrhoe conjunct 25° Pisces. When Edgar Cayce the Sleeping Prophet gave his first reading under hypnosis, it was during his first “Okyrhoe return”, with the centaur nymph again at 25° Pisces. That same week Manly P. Hall, prodigious author of the encyclopedic Secret Teachings of All the Ages, was born, with Okyrhoe there as well.

Birth Chart of Edgar Cayce with Transits to First Reading – note transit of Chariklo to natal Pholus

PHOLUS: POPPING THE CORK OF AMBROSIA:
Pholus is the bridge between the orbits of Saturn and Neptune. If Saturn is the boundary or vessel, and Neptune is the oceanic drink, it is fitting that Pholus, as a blend of these two, can represent the “grail” full of potency and life essence.

Allen Ginsberg might not be remembered for being a visionary, yet it was a vision of his muse William Blake that launched his poetic quest. His entire career was an attempt to express the essence of that visionary moment. His natal Ascendant at 25° Pisces marks him as an embodiment of Okyrhoe’s vision. One summer afternoon as a bohemian student in Harlem in 1948, Ginsberg relaxed on a couch after reading William Blake’s poem “The Sunflower”. Looking out the window, he heard the voice of Blake, as if “God had a human voice, with all the …gravity of a living Creator speaking to his son.”

Allen Ginsberg Birth Chart

The Centaur Progressed Chart for Ginsberg throughout all of August 1948 gives us Pholus at 13° Capricorn: “A flame talking to a poet,” conjuring biblical scenes of prophecy. Blake’s own Pholus? Also at 13° Capricorn. When we chart Centaurs, the visionary marbles roll down deep grooves in zodiacal space.

Centaur Progressed Chart for Allen Ginsberg, Summer 1948

A CENTAUR STELLIUM: JIM CARREY
Actor Jim Carrey is quite the centauric person. Half-man half-something, Carrey’s early comedic film roles made his malleable face famous. In recent years he’s morphed into a new kind of hero for his renunciation of Hollywood’s cult of personality. As he found himself spiritually, his priorities changed.

His transformation began when filming his Andy Kaufman biopic, Man on the Moon. The actor embodied this character to such a total degree that all sense of Jim was lost. He made everyone on set call him Andy. Did Jim master method acting, or did he channel his subject? Let’s see what kind of light the Centaurs can provide.

Jim was born with an Aquarian stellium of Jupiter and Mercury conjunct Pholus and Chariklo (2° orb). These Centaurs add something psychic to a classic signature of humor (Mercury-Jupiter). They also trine his Gemini Moon. A second visionary pair is Neptune, blended with Okyrhoe’s ‘mystic mood’, rising in Scorpio. These paint a clear picture of an oracle. With a chart that blends the slower cycles of the Centaurs with faster, personal points (Ascendant, Moon, Mercury), Jim is uniquely able to embody centauric qualities.

Andy Kaufman and Jim Carrey share a birthday, in different years. Conjunct Capricorn Suns are an ideal basis of synastry for an actor and his muse. Yet their Aquarian Mercuries are also conjunct within 1.5 degrees. Thus Kaufman’s Mercury – the mind Jim attuned to – was plugged into Jim’s Centaur stellium, too.

Jim Carrey Birth Chart with transits, late 1989

During the four month process of making Moon in late 1989, he experienced a key transit: Chiron crossed Jim’s Ascendant at 15° Scorpio, and with it, his Neptune-Okyrhoe conjunction. By transit, Chiron was squaring the Mercuries of both actor and muse. Chiron  transforms anyone willing to ‘let go and let the gods’. And, at the same time, Chariklo (subtle body) transited his North Node, and he was able to mediumistically channel someone else’s energy.

Jim’s Centaur transits blend into a chart with Centaur Progressed Chariklo at 5° Taurus 38’, conjunct Chiron’s DD. This demonstrates the third principle of Centauric astrology, when a transit of one centaur to a natal chart occurs alongside a CP Progressed conjunction of one centaur to the DD of another.

Jim Carrey’s subsequent transformation in the public eye is the fruit of his Chiron transit. At a fashion event in 2017, like Hercules killing the Erimanthian Boar, Jim slayed the mighty bull of celebrity by telling the cameras: “I don’t believe in personalities… There is no me.”

Bridging from the space beyond Neptune, where time doesn’t exist, to Saturn’s familiar dimension, the Centaurs are here to help us make the leap. As seen in these examples, the new planetary archetypes they embody let us learn concretely from our visionary moments in the beyond: dreams, visions, and anything we might call a peak experience.
Imagine: medicine administered in alignment with Chiron, meditation retreats scheduled with Chariklo, dream journeys explored under Okyrhoe, and ritual healing made along with Pholus.

NOTES & DATA:

Allen Ginsberg: June 3, 1926 at 02:00, Newark NJ. Rating A: From Memory (AstroDatabank)

Manly P Hall: March 18, 1901 at 05:00 (A: From Memory, AstroDatabank)

Edgar Cayce: March 18, 1877 (X: Birth Record); First reading: March 31, 1901 (There is a River, Sugrue, Thomas)

Nostradamus: Approx December 24, 1503 (Gregorian) (DD, Astrodatabank, via epitaph as per Starkman, Guinard.; range of Dec 21-24 = same Okyrhoe of 23 Pisces 14)

Jim Carrey: January 17, 1962 2:30 AM, Newmarket Ontario, Canada (A: Scholfield collection)

Sources: Bahr, “The Sensational Ginsberg of Howl and Kaddish” (Allen Ginsberg in Harlem, summer 1948)

“Jim Carrey to Play Andy Kaufman in Man on the Moon”, https://ew.com/article/1998/03/13/jim-carrey-play-andy-kaufman-man-moon/

E! Red Carpet, September 9, 2017, accessed on Youtube: “Jim Carrey sounds off on Icons”

The Astrology of Ecstasy, Pt. 2

My own path of astrology is inseparable from Chiron: since that day I fired up my first chart on Astro.com, back in 2010, I was captivated by the key-shaped glyph at the edge of the zodiac circle. And it made sense: those early days coincided with a Chiron-Neptune conjunction a few degrees shy of my Pisces ascendant. What an omen for the start of my life with the planets!

Tumburu, chief of the Indian celestials called Gandharvas.

My work with astrology does align with that symbolism of Chiron-Neptune: as a healer (Chiron) in the realm of spirit (Neptune). I work with these archetypes as if they were real: Centaurs as planetary spirits, guides, and healing energies. The Centaurs are here to help: I’ve learned that we can communicate with them and receive guidance, in many ways.

I had just rented a small cabin in a Berkeley backyard, moving in under an eclipsing Full Moon, as Jupiter and Uranus conjoined at my Natal Moon (though I didn’t know that yet). I knew my Saturn Return approached, and this meant I should get serious with my “life goals,” somehow.

It was a fresh start after a blessed year and a half on work retreat at a Buddhist charity. I had given myself over to a worthy cause (during the Chiron square to my natal Chiron). In India, I worked 100 days without a day off. It was intense, but for a purpose. Reading my Astro.com daily horoscope, Rob Hand’s words were prescient as he described a feeling– my feeling –of losing your boundaries as you sacrifice to something greater. So that’s a Chiron aspect you say… It sure made astrology feel legit.

The Centaurs were up to the task of describing what I was going through; the shadow part at least. What about the light? Chiron is infamous as a sign of where we hurt. Perhaps his centauric kin can show us where it feels really good? Those months of sacred labors were some of the best in my life – maybe in any life. Could the stars catch those waves too? The events in question were so subtle, so interior. Were they even in the vocabulary book of a Valens or Kepler?

In brief, I was on a tantric pilgrimage through India, backed by a lineage of ancient siddhas and their spiritual offspring. What began in a yurt in Northern California culminated at an alpine lake in the Himalayas. Visionary experience, yogic knowledge, gnostic wisdom…. where do these appear in a chart?

When I moved out of my apartment and crossed the country in search of illumination, I did so with the two hundred dollars I inherited from my aged refugee of a dear and recently departed Grandmother. I was traveling on a wing and a prayer. What did the sagely Centaurs have to contribute to that prayer?

Centaur Pholus with Herakles

Centaur Pholus, holder of the hero’s prized ambrosia, trotted over to my Midheaven for the first time in my life: a great cork was about to be popped open. Precious elixir would pour through my life-stream. The Centaur Chiron’s daughter Okyrhoe, an oracle, skipped across my natal Sun: an initiation underway! By noting only these two placements we can locate a very precise kind of moment in time. Despite my outwardly rough situation, the guides were brewing up something delicious.

There are so many ways to do astrology. Maybe some progression, time lord, or dasha might show it. A pure expression of Mercury or Jupiter in just the right alignment could express these sort of things. That can feel to me like a massaged message, selectively choosing from a list of planetary attributes.

True, though: by transit (one of only several ways of noting the passing of astrologic time) an eventual Jupiter-Uranus conjunction to my natal Moon, under an Eclipse when I returned to California, marked a fitting culmination to the journey. I was at last spiritually (Jupiter) on my own (Uranus) in a way that felt right (natal Moon). Can’t beat that. But that’s the end of the story. How had it begun?

The Wisdom Dakini Mandarava

I remained near the woodsy yurt for six months, collecting what Buddhists call merit by working on an assembly line creating Tibetan sacred texts by day, and meditating by evening. That very first night, a bubble burst: a fairy godmother of the Indo-Tibetan variety visited me in a waking dream state. I felt true healing, deep in my physical cells, through the energetic body, and into my heart.

In addition to the movements of Pholus and Okyrhoe, the Centaur’s Consort, Chariklo, “spinner of grace”, was approaching a key point in my chart: the Ascendant of my Draconic chart (also a few of my planetary midpoints, including Saturn-Neptune). This transit happened twice. First, when I arrived for work under the Bodhi tree in India, and second, during a visionary moment that sealed my term with the Buddhist group.

That first transit of Chariklo to my karmic sweet spot found me cast as a fortunate emissary of the dharma printers, in a stint abroad on sacred ground. One full season into that intensive self-sacrifice, my spiritual reward was granted by another visit from the same fairy godmother. When I took a short vacation at a sacred lake (not just any lake, but the mythic home of that dakini – wise woman), the energetic cork popped. Kundalini awakened in a powerful new experience.

I know the date exactly (February 7, 2010). This day marks a Venus-Chiron-Neptune conjunction at 26° Aquarius. That degree is meaningful, in part because it sextiles my Neptune and trines my Pluto. Further, it’s the discovery degree of Neptune! This planet is the boundary of our solar system, the way-station between the transpersonal (Uranus) and spiritual realm (Pluto)… and beyond! It is Neptune’s orbit that the Centaurs weave in and out of, drawing down ethereal light to the world of Saturn’s three dimensions.

(In fact, this was Neptune’s first post-discovery return to its discovery degree (25 Aqu 53)—while conjunct Chiron! Venus lit up this pairing. It was a notable moment in time, full of blessings which I gathered by being at the right place at the right time.)

Then once more, by retrograde motion, Chariklo returned to my Draconic Asc. This time she marked a transformative Dream experience back in California. In the twilight between dreaming and waking, a blissful vision showed me the empirical reality of the Buddhist teachings. What happens after a mind leaves a body, such as in death, was revealed in what William James might have called a “conversion experience”. And with it, I could pack up my bags and move to that cabin, where I’d study astrology and try to live up to Saturn’s hope for a stable life.

In the chart of this Dream, a culmination of one quest, the Centaurs make analysis simple. They are very specific signifiers, and do precise things in this chart. These four Centaur planets are each found near key points. Chiron the guide approaches my Ascendant, Okyrhoe the oracle transits my Pluto, Chariklo the healer is at my Draconic Ascendant, and Pholus the catalyst is once again at my Midheaven.

Empowered by this case study, I turned my zodiacal buddies loose to explore the lives of my teachers and dozens of inspiring figures in world history. Together the results comprise an astrology of ecstasy.