The Astrology of Ecstasy

Readers of this blog often ask for ‘more’ on Chariklo and Okyrhoe, the kin of centaur Chiron. I point them to this or that article or bit of research, but nothing that integrates the whole centaur story. With this story of my personal journey with the Centaurs, I hope to remedy the association of Centaurs with suffering. Here is an astrology of ecstasy: one that explains how the most excellent things are told by the Centaurs, showing how transcendent moments come about in a person’s life.

When I learned that the workings of astrology could time the most unexpected happenings in my life, I started to pay attention to the cosmic art. When I realized it was the Centaurs (Chiron and his family) that were most immediate and specific in their machinations around my natal chart, I got hooked. Now, a quarter Saturn cycle has passed since I first learned the names of Chiron, Chariklo and Okyrhoe. The Centaur family and I walk hand in hand on earth, and across the zodiac.

Since that time of life-changing spiritual retreats and inspirations which took place under direct transits of these three small planets (along with their friend Pholus), I’ve become more certain of their role in human experience. By examining many of the most notable epiphanies, visions, and discoveries in recent history, I’ve seen just how active the centaurs are throughout these cases. This shows in simple astrological ways: the conjunction, mostly, to clear signifiers in the natal charts of people undergoing life-changing events.

So I started to write a book, based on the famed mystics of our times including dozens of Swamis, Lamas, Marian visionaries, physicists, channelers etc. A couple years later, I began to meet psychic after psychic, each one telling a consistent message: the Centaurs were trying to work with me, for people living now. Together we could do something great for the planet.

My own spiritual teachers frown on any kind of innovation on the well-trod path of the masters. Yet time and again I was shown I had to drop my resistance and let the good things roll through me. Dreams led to writings, sudden blisses led to unfolding meditation practices, and Full Moons brought circles of close star friends together to feel though what the Centaurs were showing me.

Best of all, these astrological healing groups that I initiated in Asheville, NC have included people who are even more receptive than I am to what the Centaurs are doing. I could see right away how deeply these processes led participants to insight and healing. Rather than trying to ‘convert’ anyone, I was being shown the light that sought to shine through us.

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

Pholus in the USA

The Centaurs visited in an unexpected way this week.
Waiting for an astrology lecture to begin, my eyes made contact with a client whose chart I had read last year, with prominent Pholus aspects and transits. We’d spoken of the ambrosia on his quest.
Minutes later my friend stopped by, unaware of the lecture. He has a strong personal affinity with Pholus and often chooses to anchor that energy in our group Centaur meditations.
During the excellent lecture on Mundane Astrology, I managed to keep my mouth shut about Centaurs though I did see that tomorrow’s Super Moon Eclipse will conjoin the discovery degree of Pholus, at 1° Leo. Transits to a discovery degree (the place on the Zodiac where we first noticed a new planet) kind of feel like transits of the planet itself. That degree symbol, for the place of discovery and of the Moon at eclipse, is “Not knowing what to say, a woman blushes,” which at first sounds like a funny way to start the dramatic sign of Leo the performer. Stage-fright, or drunken shyness? Drinking too much ambrosia in Pholus’ visionary cave, perhaps?

Pholus was also prominent on our recent “year chart”, the Capricorn Ingress 12/21/18, by virtue of its being at that first degree of Capricorn. Likewise, the Solar Eclipse in Capricorn earlier this month featured Mercury conjunct Pholus.
The heart of the talk was about the alignments between the USA’s natal chart (Sibley) and September 11, 2001. One thing I had never noticed about the astrology of this tragedy was due to the lecturer bringing up Solar Arc Directions in Mundane charts: the SA South Node approached the nation’s Neptune that year. This brings to mind karmic fruits of deception and illusions. That fact is coupled with a reciprocal transit: Neptune transiting the national South Node on that date. This pair of signifiers is quite extraordinary, as the one does not follow from the other.

911 to sibley pholus


But now I see: the USA’s own South Node is conjunct Pholus in the Sibley chart! The chain of significance is complete, as 9/11 was a completely Pholus-level event. “The lid comes off” and never-ending war is unleashed from a single event. A nation being conceived when Pholus was at the South Node in Aquarius can mean that the country itself grows quickly from a small seed (Manifest Destiny) and also that there are deep social, ancestral wounds (South Node in Aquarius). The silver lining of these times may be that our collective wounds are coming to the surface.

I’m grateful that Pholus made his presence known, though in that example we see its worst-case-scenario signification. We can choose to work with Pholus and use his powers of catharsis and divinatory power for healing and clarity, too.
On the eve of the Leo Eclipse in the early hours of 1/21/19, I invite you to welcome Pholus into any Full Moon rituals you may be doing, in whatever way you’d like. He’ll be waiting, flask of ambrosia in hand!🔮🧿💙

Chiron Rides a Bike

{This article originally published on my Hominy Creek Horoscopy Blog 4/19/17}

Bicycle Day… April 19, 1943: Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman takes the first intentional trip on LSD. 4:20 PM. Part of Fortune, 16° Pisces:
“A river of ideas and images entering our reality.”
 Pleiadian Degree SeriesHofmann
On that date, Chiron was moving especially slowly in the sky. The not-yet-discovered astral harbinger of new consciousness and healing was days away from ‘stationing direct’. That means, from the point of view of Earth, Chiron was hovering, nearly still, as if it were taking a moment of rest from its path around the Sun. The Wounded Healer held a message in his hooves.
But there’s more: Chiron was at the point in the zodiac where the Moon’s orbit would make its upward slice across the path of the sun, as viewed from Earth. This point, the North Node of the Moon, holds the place of our collective destiny, a blinking neon arrow pointing out the most beneficial path forward. That week of LSD’s foray into public life, Chiron pivoted into forward motion from that zodiacal place, 23° Leo. This is within a couple degrees of Albert Hofmann’s own North Node. Synchronicity. The message found its recipient.

Albert rode his bicycle home from the lab, publicly experiencing the world’s first LSD hallucinations. Traveling down a familiar road, he navigated new inner worlds while somehow maintaining balance on his bicycle.
On this eventful day, the scientist was undergoing a few curious astral influences from the Centaurs.

As mentioned, Chiron, leader of the wise Centaurs, was conjunct his natal North Node.
Okyrhoe, Chiron’s oracular daughter, was within a couple degrees of his Chiron.
Pholus, Chiron’s friend who held the corked bottle of the gods’ ambrosia, transited just past his Sun.
Three days before, when Albert touched his face after handling the chemical, thereby setting off the first (accidental) acid trip, Mercury the messenger transited his Okyrhoe, giver of visions.
The unintentional psychedelic explorer reported: “At home I lay down and sank into a not unpleasant intoxicated-like condition, characterized by an extremely stimulated imagination. In a dreamlike state, with eyes closed… I perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors.”
When Hofmann first synthesized the chemical, five years before, Chiron was transiting his own Neptune. The genesis of psychedelia is a perfect realm to witness how this pack of Centaurs activates our higher potentials!
Outer planets Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto were definitely pulling their psychedelic weight, too. The carriers of intuitive sparks (Uranus) and altered-perceptions (Neptune) were supporting his Moon (mental states) with equal aspects of 60° on either side, while Pluto was wrapping up a yearlong process of taking that mind down to its very depths… Like Chiron, Pluto also stationed direct later that week, slowing down with all its psychic weight to a few degrees of his Moon. Here the work of the slow planets point to the deeper architecture of the soul that Earth’s Moon regulates. Pluto-Moon contacts are psychic disruptors; with Chiron also at the Node of the Moon (his, and ours), the higher dimensions of this breakthrough led to universal effects well beyond the personal.
Hofmann was a buttoned-up man of research. Yet following this Pluto/Chiron transit and the discoveries they brought, he went on to research entheogens with indigenous shamans, cooperating in the extraction of the psilocybin mushroom’s active compound.
The Godfather of psychedelia remained serious about the Plutonic dangers of his “problem child”, and did not agree with the indulgences of Tim Leary or the Merry Pranksters. Nonetheless, he was instrumental in generations of psychonauts tuning in & turning on.

Transits (Outer Wheel) to Hofmann’s natal (Inner Wheel: January 11, 1906, 3 PM Basel, Switzerland)Hofmann Albert Bicycle Day

An Astral Traveler in the Centaur’s Realm: Carl Jung

jung in space

In the later part of his life, depth psychologist Carl Jung slipped through Chariklo’s veil during a Near Death Experience. After a heart attack, and following a fall that required hospitalization, he drifted into a coma (February 21, 1944) in which he astral-traveled into space, looked down at the earth, and found his way to a dream-asteroid which housed a temple meant entirely for his spiritual enlightenment.

Carl Jung’s NDE took place against the backdrop of a deeply evolutionary world transit: Pluto retrograde crossed the North Node of the Moon. This key transit was exact throughout the month of Jung’s ordeal. Transiting Pluto at the North Node would have made death the topic du jour. For Dr. Jung, Pluto-Node aligned within a few degrees of his natal Sun (born July 26, 1875), so the collective trend became personal as he experienced a classic Near Death Experience.

Now we can see how the event was completely Centauric, both archetypally and astrologically. The Centaur’s realm includes NDE phenomena like this one. Hooves on the Earth, head in the clouds of Olympus, the Centaur’s existence is half-in/half-out. This is the primal ‘wound’ the Centaur heals: learning to enjoy complete embodiment on Earth in alignment with one’s highest spiritual principles.

Astrologically, the evolutionary dyad of Pluto-Node joined in a precise opposition to transiting Centaur Okyrhoe: visions (Okyrhoe) of near-death (Pluto) experience (Node). Yet even more to the point, Pluto and the Node were found exactly at the future discovery degree of Chiron’s partner (and Okyrhoe’s mother) Chariklo. The astrological functions of Chariklo, according to Philip Sedgwick, include ‘boundaries’ and ‘energy healing’. I gloss these as the ‘energy body’, the subtle body that is the site of healing.

Seen in the life of Jung, this planetary formation gives new meaning to the Pleiadian symbol of Chariklo’s discovery degree, “A man’s astral body travels into the sky to see the stars more closely.” We can see how evocative this symbol becomes in light of Jung’s report when he awoke: “It seems to me that I was high up in space. Far below I saw the globe of the earth, bathed in a gloriously blue light.” (Memories, Dreams, Reflections)

(Here is also a fine example of how the Sabian symbols’ often bare descriptions can become more specifically meaningful after receiving further Pleiadian detail. Compare Sabian Leo 7: “The constellations in the sky” with Pleiadian, “A man’s astral body travels into the sky to see the stars more closely.”) Thanks to John Sandbach, channeler of the Pleiadian Degree Symbols.

From this degree of shamanic Chariklo, the Node of the Moon (and Pluto) reigned over Carl Jung’s transformative NDE. The astral body, as the form of subtle body that leaves the physical boundary of flesh, was the vehicle for Jung’s spiritual adventure. Chariklo embodies this archetype in both her astral activity and discovery degree symbolism. In his brilliant retelling of the NDE vision, Jung recalls:

“As I approached the temple I had the certainty that I was about to enter an illuminated room and would meet there all those people to whom I belong in reality. There I would at last understand – this too was a certainty – what historical nexus I or my life fitted into. I would know what had been before me, why I had come into being, and where my life was flowing.”

Could we hope to read a more clear description of the astrological North Node than this? The natal North Node is considered by evolutionary astrologers to hold the key to fulfilling one’s destiny or purpose. Carl Jung’s Node at 11 Aries, symbolized as “A flickering fire creates the illusion of laughter as it reflects off a golden effigy.” The astral traveller came to visit a large stone asteroid which was the site of his spiritual inheritance, and sure fits this description: He saw a

“Hindu… in lotus posture upon a stone bench. He wore a white gown, and I knew that he expected me. Two steps led up to this antechamber, and inside, on the left, was the gate to the temple. Innumerable tiny niches, each with a saucer-like concavity filled with coconut oil and small burning wicks, surrounded the door with a wreath of bright flames.”

In my research of well over one hundred visionary and mystical experiences, I have found a simple method to chart these peak events in relation to the people who undergo them. In Jung’s case, this method again highlights the role of Chariklo as the centaur of energy bodies. In the style of Davison’s Relationship Charts, we can check the mid-point in time and space between the visionary’s birth and major life event. This chart is a kind of Centauric Progression, the half-time date between birth and peak. To continue with the Jung example, which has already shown so much resonance with the Lady Centaurs: we find mid-life point Chariklo exactly at 25° 00’ Pisces. This is the degree at which (in 1998) Okyrhoe, oracular daughter of Chiron and Chariklo, was discovered.

To recap: transiting Okyrhoe was exactly opposite Chariklo’s discovery degree, and “Centaur-progressed” Chariklo was exactly at Okyrhoe’s discovery degree. Yet of course, neither of these planets had even been discovered yet when this event transpired. Could it be that Jung’s life story itself fits into our history as an archetypal case of the Chariklo-Okyrhoe experience?

In his Hymns to the Ancient Gods Michael Harding suggests that by imagining some kind of a primal zodiac, “we could visualize that on this collective chart is described the psychic history of our planet.” Actually, Harding’s purpose in that book is to interrogate some of Carl Jung’s most famous ideas.

To Harding, what Jung called archetypes are actually just the planets, encoded in memory on a ‘primal zodiac’. His argument suggests that as astrologers, there is no need for us to draw on some difficult-to-define collective unconscious: such a thing exists, in real space and time, in our experience of the planets traversing the zodiac. A primal zodiac could make sense in light of this kind of investigation into discovery degrees. We can see how this kind of cosmic background could serve as “an image of an infinite synastry with our total history.” (Hymns to the Ancient Gods)

It is fitting that the person who gave us the terms ‘collective unconscious’ and  ‘archetypes’ serves by example of his life story to ground our application of the astrological planets in the place of these concepts. As Harding concluded,

“Such a collective zodiac, on which we originally might draw all our initial energies and to which our subsequent expression of their principles ultimately returns, presents a psychic equivalent to the genetic pool in which we might create our collective and individual destinies.” (Hymns 106)

Newton

Isaac Newton believed the stars were delineated into distinct constellations by the sage Chiron. Now that we have discovered planets the dominion of which we grant to Chiron and kin, we are able to track such movements  against a map of Chiron’s own devising, the signs of the zodiac.

A putative primal zodiac does not need to exist anywhere in reality for it to have symbolic power. And it is not made of the stars that have shifted from their once-aligned geocentric view (via precession). After all, whether wrought by God or by diverse human imaginations, constellations are shapes we impute from our perspective in space and time. The energy fields of the zodiac of signs exist as the psychic reality that relates the spiritual world with our embodied experience of life on planet Earth. Although the zodiac abides nowhere really, the real planets reveal its meaning.

NATAL PLANETS AT FUTURE DISCOVERY DEGREES

Jung’s own chart finds synastry with the discovery degrees, past and future, of four additional new planets:

  • Natal Venus at 18 Cancer (Discovery of Pluto)
  • Saturn at 25 Aquarius (conjunct Neptune) (~Saturn Return of Neptune discovery)
  • Neptune at 4 Taurus (Chiron)
  • Pluto at 24 Taurus (Ceres)

If we view the discovery degree as a planet’s holographic point of zodiacal potency, conjunctions to these show affinity not unlike conjunction to the actual planet in a chart. At least it imbues some of the discovered planet’s flavor to the natal planet. Maybe it remembers, or predicts, how the natal planet will act in the life of the native.

In the example of Jung’s birth, the conjunction of Neptune to Chiron’s future place of discovery can indicate how his own spiritual ideals intuitively connected him to the role of healing mentor; or, at another Chiron-level, indicating his own unconscious (Neptune) wounds (Chiron).