By Pam Younghans
IT’S BEEN an exciting week for astronomers and astrologers alike, as we’ve seen the first “up-close” photos of Pluto, taken by the New Horizons spacecraft from 476,000 miles away. It’s amazing to me how scientists can glean so many details about a planet from images, especially taken from that distance.
I’ve received more than a few emails from clients and readers this week, wondering how all of this relates to the practice of astrology — and noting with interest that the first photos arrived the same day that Pluto opposed Mercury and Mars last week.
ASTROLOGY is both a science and an art. The practice of interpreting the meanings of the planets begins with mathematical calculations and scientific data, but also involves understanding symbolism and synchronicity. When a “new” planet is discovered by science, or we gain new information about an established celestial body, it represents our collective readiness to become more conscious with respect to what that celestial body means in our experience.
For instance, in the years following the discovery of “the Wounded Healer” Chiron in 1977, there was a dramatic increase in the number of people who became aware of traumatic childhood memories that had been repressed, who began working for the first time on healing their core wounds. Before Chiron came into our awareness, therapy was commonly seen as something needed by only someone with mental illness. By the mid-1980s, seeing a therapist for personal issues was much more widely accepted, and by the mid-1990s, information gained through accessing repressed memories was allowed as evidence in criminal trials. Today, seeing a counselor is accepted as commonplace.
Synchronistically, the movie “Annie Hall” came to theaters the same year that Chiron was discovered. If you’re not familiar with the Woody Allen film, its main characters spend a great deal of time in psychoanalysis, trying to understand the childhood issues that have affected their ability to form healthy relationships. “Lah-dee-dah.”
AS WE CONSIDER what these “close-ups” of Pluto may mean symbolically, it is interesting to read the headlines penned for various online articles. I like two that I saw in particular: “Pluto Is an Icy Planet with a Heart” and “Pluto Fly-by Is a Journey of Self-Discovery.”
Anyone who has worked closely with a Pluto transit can verify that it does indeed take us on a powerful “journey of self-discovery.” We are also aware that at times the planet can seem “icy” — ruthless and uncaring. And yet, by the time a Pluto transit is completed, we are usually aware of the “heart” behind the experience, the benefits ultimately gained.
MORE INFORMATION about Pluto will become public knowledge as scientists explore the images and share their observations over the weeks, months, and even years ahead. Correspondingly, we may experience a deepening of our understanding about many of the themes that Pluto represents astrologically: death and the afterlife, the process of emotional catharsis and transmutation, the use and abuse of power, and psychic development and the occult.
Or, as I responded to one person who emailed me this week, “Seeing Pluto up close as a collective is a powerful concept. There are so many things that Pluto represents, each of us can take the new consciousness to whatever level we choose. I especially like that Pluto, as the higher octave of Mars, represents Higher Will. Perhaps we are ready to connect more consciously with Higher Will than we’ve ever been before.”
OUR NEW WEEK begins with a bit of uncertainty on Monday, as Mercury and Neptune form a minor aspect that can fog our thinking and make it difficult to see facts clearly. But a stabilizing trine between Saturn and the Sun and Mercury carries us through Tuesday and Wednesday, helping us gain clarity about our situation, and providing a foundation for new decisions to be made.
Venus begins its retrograde (backward) phase on Saturday. This occurs every 18 months, and lasts for about 6 weeks. In general, when a planet goes retrograde, it represents a time for review rather than forward motion in the area of life represented by the planet. Since Venus represents both relationships and finances, it is said the when Venus is retrograde, we will benefit from not making commitments or important decisions in these areas.
URANUS also goes retrograde this week, stationing early Sunday morning just about 24 hours after forming a square aspect with Mars. Both of these events emphasize Uranus’ tendency to bring about change through either breakthroughs or breakdowns.
For each of us individually, the area of life most affected is shown by the house that Uranus is transiting in our birth chart. If you have a copy of your chart, look for the house that contains 20 degrees of Aries (where Uranus is currently). And, if you need a refresher on the meanings of the different houses, check out the “Houses” page of my website at http://www.northpointastrology.com/houses.html.
AS A SLOWER-MOVING PLANET, Uranus’ retrograde phase occurs for several months every year. This year, it will be retrograde from July 26 until December 25.
Here is an insightful quote (abridged but still lengthy!) from astrologer Bil Tierney about Uranus retrograde, from his book Dynamics of Aspect Analysis:
“Because most of humanity are not able to easily manage Uranian principles, its effect is most often experienced as the disruption of the accustomed flow of affairs. Situations can defy all logic and reason. Usually, this is all for our benefit, soul-wise. We are being conditioned to attune ourselves with universal will.
“[Uranus retrograde] can help put us in touch with needs for personal freedom or self-expression that may have been previously unrealized. With Uranus turning its intuitive impulses inwardly, we may be better able to stumble upon new avenues of expression that could result in greater self-illumination. New insights gained suggest that we may reform our attitudes and never see things quite the same again [in the area of life represented by the house location].
“Uranus retrograde prompts us to look below the surface of matters to discover deeper, hidden causes previously ignored, and to view such matters in the light of pure truth and objectivity. Whatever is suddenly brought to our attention represents what we must reform to help us better integrate a past cycle, left unresolved, before we can be free to forge ahead into the future. We are to focus upon such matters with great clarity.”
WE’LL BE WORKING with retrograde Uranus for virtually the rest of 2015. When a planet is retrograde, it is actually closer to the Earth than at other times — so we’ll want to take full advantage of Uranus’ “proximity” over the next five months (everything is relative!).
Remember that Uranus is the “higher octave” of Mercury, with Mercury representing rational thought and Uranus representing intuition and higher consciousness. While Uranus is retrograde, we will have important opportunities to access the aspect of ourselves that resides in the realms of expanded awareness. As we make that connection with Divine Intelligence, we will gain new insights and guidance for our lives — guidance that may have been obscured by our conscious mind’s need to rule by logic and reason.
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