New Methods For New Planets

Climbing up Mount Pelion to the Chironian cave, a seeker would find two very different kinds of teachers in residence there: half-brothers Zeus (the Sagittarian) and Chiron (the Virgoan). One more likely to dispense wisdom and grace from atop his lofty throne, the other to gallop down the hillside to teach a disciple with his own hands, hooves on the ground. His name means Skillful Hand, and as master of healing with herbs, he taught the biggest names in ancient medicine (such as Asclepius). As guide of the hunt, he prepared Hercules, Achilles, and Jason for their quests. Chiron was also the foremost of astrologers.

In my recent article in the Career Astrologer, I introduced the Centaur planets Chiron, Pholus and Chariklo. We saw how their themes of healing come into play during the transits of 2020. Lets deepen our understanding of how these Centaurs guide individual lives, by delving in to notable case studies (in next week’s blogs).

When inviting them into our charts, remember that they are visitors from the distant Kuiper belt. Imagine these planetoids swooping toward our region of space with their orbital lassos that weave outer-planet energies into familiar Saturnian turf. Although the outer planets’ transpersonal influences can be difficult to grasp, Centaurs mediate between inner and outer realms. As “rainbow bridges,” these planets provide a missing link for the counseling astrologer.

Since his discovery in 1977, Chiron has worked his humble way into the astrological mainstream. Many know him as a Wounded Healer, Maverick, and Mentor. Now that Chiron has moved into Aries for the first time since discovery, we may find ourselves in a new era of working with the Centaurs.

The other members of the Centaur’s family lend their names to lesser-known planets which may be equally important. I have found that the Centaurs’ power to describe a “journey to enlightenment” is seen most clearly when dealt with as one whole family. This includes wife Chariklo (energy healer), daughter Okyrhoe (oracle), and friend Pholus (diviner). Viewed together, this crew of maverick planets can enlighten any chart.

In addition to the tools I introduce here, we can get to know our astrological Centaurs by tracking their transits to our natal planets and watching their natal cycles (such as the Chiron square). Yet, in working with the charts of hundreds of visionary and mystical experiences, I’ve found three methods that clarify the messages of these galactic oracles. Here I will share these ways of  revealing a Centaur’s purpose in our charts. We will look into the stories of Carl Jung, Edgar Cayce, Allen Ginsberg, and Jim Carrey to see how, with the right tools, Centaurs alone can speak to our most profound moments.

My astrological method to understand our new galactic messengers is summarised by the use of:
•Discovery Degrees: The degree on the tropical zodiac transited when astronomers first identify a new planet, especially when described by the Pleiadian degree symbols, a version of the Sabians reworked by John Sandbach. (DD)
•Centauric Progression Charts: a half-life progression for half-human Centaurs. Inspired by Davison’s Relationship Charts, calculate a chart of the midpoint in time between a birth and key event. (CP)
•Reciprocal transits between any of these points: e.g. Okyrhoe’s Discovery Degree (a), and someone’s Centaur Progressed Chariklo (b); a-b, b-a. (DD-CP, CP-DD)

Considering discovery degrees (DD) is especially helpful to understand Centaurs in action. Does the discovery of a new planet affect our consciousness? Is there cosmic significance to the moment we find a new astrological planet? The degree transited when a new planet is first observed becomes a sensitive degree on the zodiac. It’s a placeholder for that planet: when traversed by another, it’s as if a ‘shadow transit’ to the discovered planet occurs. Even transits prior to discovery seem to reflect the planet’s essence.

The Centaurs weave connections between ethereal Neptune and the solid ground of Saturn. Melanie Reinhart finds that they “help us integrate the high voltage frequencies of the outer planets, which without mediation, may blow apart our Saturnian reality.”

GETTING IN THE CENTAUR’S SADDLE:
What does a Centaur feel like in our chart? How does it appear in our lives? We all know the feel of Saturn as we thud against its stone wall during a hard transit. It’s part of us: our bones, our time. Neptune, by contrast, is both dream and delusion, a misty lack of definition. Natal Chiron can appear first as the thorn in our side, the hurt which makes us seek help. If we find a spiritual friend to show the way, our hero’s journey takes shape. Chiron can represent each of these steps on the path.

As she weaves across the threshold between Saturn and Uranus, Chariklo connects our bodies with the beyond. She relates to our aura, the spirit around our form. This fits her planetary situation: Saturn is our skeleton, and Uranus sparkles through us as vibrating currents of kundalini. Though both Chiron and Chariklo travel near Uranus, Chariklo’s orbit – less eccentric than the others – resonates with Uranus. Chariklo thus activates our subtle bodies. She can appear as the grace of love’s healing power. At her more Saturnian side, she guides relationship boundaries, while her Uranian face is the thin veil between soul and cosmos.

Traveling beyond Saturn’s turf and crossing Neptune’s boundary to the Kuiper Belt, Pholus brings us closer to the realm of pure consciousness. We may find astrological Pholus deep within our personal caves, guarding goblets of potent brew.

As a planet, Okyrhoe’s reach is not quite as vast as that of her parents. She takes only 24 years to orbit, elliptically reaching out past Saturn in a cycle that puts her in 2:1 resonance with  uncle Jupiter. Orbiting in phase with Zeus/Jupiter grants her a direct line into the mind of the Gods. She is the uncanny voice within, our own inner oracle. If heeded, Okyrhoe flows to us the best cosmic information.

Up next: The Centaurs’ Mythic Zodiac, The Astrological Centaurs, and case studies galore! Then, Nessus.

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.

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!🔮🧿💙

Centaur Astrology: Supreme Court Edition

{Originally posted on Hominy Creek Horoscopy’s blog 10/05/18}
While I do not intend for this site to function politically per se, it turns out that this moment in American politics is well described by the movements of the Centaur planets. As such it is my duty to present to you, the reader, the information I find in the skies so that you can make your own conclusions about events on the ground. Yet it seems important to write the following without casting any blame, since we should not attempt to infer anything legal from the general implications of a few transits.

As far as Centaurs are concerned, we get to the interior content more often than the event level: how it feels to be on a journey, rather than where it leads. So in isolation, Centaurs don’t automatically lend themselves to catchy political commentary.

Regardless of one’s politics, the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court is a focalizing moment in American history. For some it is playing out as a macabre and over-the-top demonstration of white male privilege flying in the face of endless #MeToo revelations of systemic trauma. A peak example of believable women not being believed. Yet for others it is an equally peak display of partisan politics, of a conspiracy against conservatives (believed mostly by folks who forget this nominee’s role in a previous Presidential kangaroo court in the 1990s).

This judicial nomination has touched a nerve: it’s a watershed moment in the Trump presidency. So we can expect the natal chart of its central characters to be aligned closely with the world mind – the transits of the planets.

Transiting Okyrhoe is exactly square to Christine Blasey Ford’s Lunar Nodes. The will to speak the truth against the ire of the gods has reached an evolutionary crisis. Further, Ford was born with Mercury conjunct the South Node in Scorpio: she is an inveterate truth-seeker and speaker. She’s done this before (and her career as Professor of Psychology is almost a textbook example of this configuration). Transiting Okyrhoe squaring her natal Mercury-SN has pushed Ford into being a voice for a generation, and she is bearing the brunt of negativity from detractors on top of the trauma caused by reliving the alleged crimes against her.

 

Christine Blasey Ford (no birth time known) was born with a strong polarity of malefic planets in alignment with Chiron: Pluto-Uranus-Mars in late Virgo opposite Saturn-Chiron conjunct in Pisces. Perhaps Chiron can ameliorate some of this difficulty, over time, as the ‘inconvenient benefic’ it is. Not an easy path to tread.

Notably, she was born on the first Mars Return of Brett Kavanaugh: their natal Mars are within a half degree of each other, born in different years. Their only other close synastric conjunction is the centaur Pholus: the small cause with big effect. Pholus is also the drinker, or at least holder of the drink. He knows the dangers inherent in opening that cask of wine. (It cost him his life).

So Mars-Pholus synastry jumps out at the reader: it doesn’t look good, as such a combination certainly implies aggression under the influence. Their Mercuries are square, too. They are bound to voice different opinions and worldviews.

As a trigger to this synastry, Chiron moved in opposition to their shared Mars throughout much of 2018. It will station direct in late Pisces, opposite their Mars, again in December.

As for the transits du jour, the zeitgeist in the sky: Okyrhoe the truth-telling Oracle is prominent. She transits his Mercury and squares Ford’s, as mentioned.

Saturn and Vesta reached their perfection (actual joining in conjunction) the day before Ford testified at Kavanaugh’s Senate hearing (Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018). This combination of Saturn’s patriarchy with Vesta’s feminine flame can stand in for the whole movement to reclaim women’s power in the public sphere, as Tara Greene, astrologer at Infinity Now, has written.

This fitting pair can be seen as the raised fist of feminism against men in power. They are exactly aligned to Judge Kavanaugh’s natal Okyrhoe. This makes for a complex sign. Everyone has an Okyrhoe: a truth to tell, or a perspective to speak from. It was his that became the focus of scrutiny this month: what did he remember about his history, and how does it square with testimony of witnesses? His Okyrhoe would not stand a chance against the might of Saturn-Vesta, an iron hammer on fire.

Or is it that Okyrhoe’s truth is being voiced by means of his existence? That a natal placement can be a transpersonal signifier is quite centauric; maybe he is a pawn in a larger game of evolution.

Nessus was in gear driving against his natal Saturn throughout 2018, and remained within a degree this month. This Centaur is the most unsavory one, not a wise figure like Chiron, but a rapacious brute of an animal. So while Saturn crushes down against him, his own Saturn–sense of dignity and limits–is likewise trampled by Nessus.

Neptune applies to his natal Chiron, and he is forced to admit on the record to a history of heavy drinking, while being extra lo-fi-Neptunian about it and possibly lying to Congress about the extent of his underage intake of alcohol, which peers report being excessive.

Here the Centaurs’ tale is total: Okyrhoe has transited the Judge’s Pholus (19° Aqu 03) since this summer. Against the arc of 2018, all of this is sealed by that Aquarian degree: exactly opposite August’s Solar Eclipse at 19 Leo.

Thus his cork-popping centaur of intoxication had faced off against the summer’s Solar Eclipse, one which was configured with Okyrhoe. Eclipse Okyrhoe was at 19° Aqu 29, and remains near that point today in retrograde fashion. Okyrhoe would play a key role in the unfolding of the Eclipse’s drama for the months over which it held sway. We see this reaching a crisis point in both the nomination of Kavanaugh and in Blasey Ford’s central role in that process.

Now as it reaches some kind of conclusion [BK was confirmed 10/6 11pm], the present transit of Okyrhoe is 16° Aqu 15, close to the natal Mercury of Kavanaugh and thus square to Blasey Ford’s. [At the swearing in event, Okyrhoe was on the 9th house cusp of Law].

Regardless of what you think of Kavanaugh the man, it is clear he has acted as a lightning rod for these swirling energies of unrest and that these are astrologically mediated by the Centaur planets. Maybe we can gain some consolation in the fact that when prominent, Centaurs appear to help us on our journey back to wholeness. They can be uncomfortable mirrors, a band of inconvenient benefics, and require the active participation of the person in whose chart they appear. Evolution is a choice made individually and collectively.