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!

Paulo Coelho’s Lost Love

The natal chart of best-selling novelist Paulo Coelho features Chiron the healing centaur conjunct the Discovery Degree of Nessus in Scorpio. This implies a fruitful synastry between him and the centaur of purification: having a natal planet at another’s DD is similar to having the second conjunct the first. Any natal planet at one of these Centauric power spots draws some power from that Centaur.

Paulo Coelho: August 24, 1947 12:05 am Rio de Janeiro (A: Borges Collection)

Coelho’s spiritual memoir Aleph relates his real-life journey with Hilal, an obsessed fan who finds a way to join him on a trans-Siberian train adventure.

Spontaneously immersed in a dimension that he names the Aleph (after poet Jorge Luis Borges’ word for a universal power-spot), Paulo and Hilal find themselves healing a tortured love. Their Aleph-visions eventually culminate with a past life they shared during the Inquisition. The date of their healing experience happened to be recorded by the Russian press, since it took place the evening before the celebrity met with his fan, President Putin.

The chart of May 31, 2006 features a precise kite of Pholus-Vesta-Nodes. An Aleph of its own, this kite slingshots memories of the past (South Node) through potent (Pholus) adventures in relationship (Vesta). Nessus and Chiron conjoined at 8-10° Aquarius, t-squaring their own DDs (at 5 Scorpio and 4 Taurus). This transit offered a rare challenge to those able to listen to healing guidance.

Paulo’s Aleph experience: 5/31/2006, evening

Nessus is the centauric significator for the thread of karma between Paulo and Hilal, which leads to their mutual redemption. Coelho’s Centaur-Progressed Nessus lands at 5° Cancer: “Coming to a fork in the road a man has a surprising realization,” aptly divining a vision quest on a Siberian train. This symbol reveals how the writer’s natal promise of karmic redemption (Chiron at Nessus’ future DD) blossomed precisely at the time of his fateful journey with Halal.

Nodal Notes: Aquarian Entrances

In a recent post, which I expanded in an article published in the OPA and on Astro.com, I introduced the current transits of Chiron, Pholus and Chariklo with respect to their planetary nodes. That article took a wide view, back from the 1950s into the 2040s. Here we can focus on the present year: 2020. What a year it is. What perspective can Centaurs add?

As I’ve mentioned, the Nodal Axis of both Chariklo and Pholus span the zodiac in oppositions within a degree of each other. That is, Centaurs Pholus and Chariklo happen to share opposing nodal placements. 

From this we can infer an interchange of astrological function: a shared evolutionary axis points to a link in their planetary biographies, past and future. We can think of nodes as indicators of the planet’s purpose as a member of our astrological solar system. Like the Moon’s Nodes, planetary Nodes mark where a planet’s orbit crosses the ecliptic plane. Here we look at the nodes of planets heliocentrically, from the perspective of the Sun.

In early Leo/Aquarius, Chariklo’s nodes fall just beyond the Cancer/Capricorn boundary, where we find the Nodes of many planets including Saturn. Pholus, who travels between the known (Saturn) and unknown (Neptune), has nodal crossings at the end of the Cancer/Cap zodiacal axis. Chiron’s transit to this axis, in two decades hence (2041), will activate both additional Centaurs by means of their nodes. 

Mark Jones paraphrases Dane Rudhyar: “Nodes refer to the complete evolutionary arc of that planet and the archetype that it represents. The planetary nodes, then, refer to the meaning of the entire orbital cycle of that planet. This can include the whole history of that archetype as it operates on an individual and collective level.”

The Nodal Situation 2020 and 2041

Conjunction of one planet to another’s North Node represents a time of checking in with how the transited one is getting on with its mission. As the most Uranian of Centaurs, Chiron the maverick has nodes in late Libra/Aries, which make a cross to the other centaur nodes. 

This gets touched off when our Chiron-Pholus cycle culminates in 2041, at the opposition phase of the 360 degree journey around the Sun. That future opposition aligns with the Nodes of both Pholus and Chariklo, which straddle the Capricorn-Aquarius cusp (and its opposite). At that time (in August 2041) Chiron in late Cancer will conjoin Pholus’ North Node, and Pholus will inhabit his own South Node. Three Centaurs will link together in the transits of two: Chiron will land on Chariklo’s South Node, Pholus on Chariklo’s North Node. This rare occurrence befits our first ‘conscious’ iteration of their cycle, post-discovery.

Remember that this year (one long quarter through already) began with the Saturn-Pluto-Chariklo stellium, at Pholus’ degree of aphelion. The structures have fallen in pathetic clockwork, leaving us exposed, unhoused, unprotected by the crumbled edifice of previous cycles. Chariklo hovers, whispering the trans-Uranian-new… yet now is no time for romance. “Social Distance”, utterly base-level Chariklo, can at best provide us collective healing through enforced personal space.

And Saturn enters Aquarius, the social sign. Arbiter of worldly boundaries, Saturn transits the North Node of Chariklo throughout 2020, even stationing retrograde conjunct that point. The Senex travels close all year, passing back over the South Node of Pholus, approaching the Aphelion of Pholus as it stations direct in September.

Late March was marked by the reboot energy of Mars-Saturn in the first degree of Aquarius, and something bright hovers on the horizon as Winter Solstice hosts a Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in the same degree.

Pleiadian Symbol for Aquarius 1: In the desert a way station to comfort travelers.

On the Discovery & Pre-covery of the Outer Planets

The three outer planets of our solar system were discovered. That is, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto were not basic facts of night-time existence observable by humans since the dawn of time. Their discoveries marked crucial moments in astrological time. When looked at side by side, these events are linked together in a meaningful weave: a story told by the planets as they took birth into our awareness. Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, as well as newcomer Chiron, each function as part of our Solar system’s wider aura of information. Together they step down and transmit cosmic wavelengths of starlight from the ethers at the edge of our orbital egg to the intra-Saturnian layer of reality we call 3D.

Let’s turn to the fascinating synastry the planets have with themselves: through their discovery charts, which reveal what Mike Harding calls the zodiac’s “infinite synastry with creation.”

By now, the historical record shows that it was Galileo who first sighted Neptune, as early as 1612. He mistook the distant giant for a star (conjunct Jupiter in his telescope). In 1795, French astronomer Joseph J. Lalande also pre-discovered (May 10) what would be Neptune. This fact itself was discovered by the team of researchers who collaborated to find Neptune in 1846. In between these precoveries, Uranus was found by Herschel.

Astronomical Synastry in brief: 26° Aquarius

  • Precovery Neptune-2 had Pluto near where Neptune was later found, conjunct Saturn in late Aquarius.
  • At the same degree of the Saturn-Neptune synod of 1846, Chiron lay in waiting at Pluto’s precovery in 1909.
  • There, too, was Chiron’s unknown daughter Okyrhoe (conjunct Mom’s friend Pallas Athena), when Herschel found Uranus in 1781.

When Pluto was discovered in 1930, Chiron was conjunct the North Lunar Node. When Chiron was discovered in 1977, Pluto was conjunct the North Lunar Node.

At Pluto’s earliest precovery in 1909, Neptune transited exactly 18° Cancer 19′ (8/21/09, photographed by Edward Barnard at Yerkes Observatory). When Pluto was actual-pre-discovered, by means of the photographic plates taken by Clyde Tombaugh at Lowell Observatory prior to his ‘discovery’ of the results (1/22/30), Pluto inhabited 18° Cancer 15′. Thus Neptune presaged its outer planet brother exactly.

Then, and maybe less significantly, trans-Neptunian object Borasisi was discovered at the same magic degree of 26° Aquarius in 1999. It’s not just a random space rock though: Borasisi shows up big time in a Neptunian-Uranian way. It’s the planet of ‘mad science’ or tech without a conscience.

A Pleiadian Interlude

 Neptune’s pre-discovery pair of future Piscean co-rulers Jupiter and Neptune (at 26.5 Virgo) coincided with one of the two degrees that the Pleiadian Degree Symbols* depict with a ‘tea ceremony’. At Neptune’s actual discovery in 1846, it was adjacent to the next of those degrees of ceremony. In 1612, at Galileo’s viewing, at 27° Virgo Neptune-Jupiter announce “A famous geisha performing the tea ceremony.” Here is a clear resonance with its future discovery at 26° Aquarius, adjacent to the symbol of 27°: “During a tea ceremony a man briskly mixing tea with a whisk.” I view Neptune’s birth degree with some orb due to the triple conjunction that year which formed with Saturn across both degrees.

Neptune in both its pre- and actual discovery is symbolized by a tea ceremony: the ritualized, conscious merger of the physical with the fluid. This imagery is appropriate for Neptune in Aquarius, a true bearer of water. The Pleiadian symbols for these two Aquarian degrees are remarkably evocative of the relationship between Saturn and Neptune, which govern ‘containers’ and ‘fluids’, respectively. Next to the “tea ceremony” degree lies Aquarius 26°: “A scientist measuring the mineral levels in a sample of water.”

These symbols appear to serve as ideal imagery for Neptune’s watery world as seen from within the boundary of our system: a Saturnian container for Neptunian spirit. Not only are both images of a liquid contained (Saturn-Neptune), but the acts of measuring minerals and brewing tea each invoke the relationship between solute (Saturn) and solvent (Neptune). This chemistry is the inevitable result of the Saturn-Neptune process: absorption and dissolution. 

*Pleiadian Degree Symbols are an updated series of Sabian Symbols by John Sandbach