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    Retrograde Jamboree

    Retrograde Jamboree

    by Steven Forrest

    On July 1, Saturn retrogrades back into Capricorn, where it joins Pluto and Jupiter. Both of them are already retrograde too, and tightly conjunct. Meanwhile, Neptune is also retrograde, as is Mercury. Mercury stations and turns direct on the 12th – but the day before that happens, Chiron turns retrograde. On top of all that, Eris – so often under-estimated and ignored – makes its own station on the 19th, and goes retrograde too.

    If you like retrograde planets, July is the month for you, in other words. It’s as if the cosmic carousel has reversed its polarity.

    I wrote about the Pluto-Eris square in my March newsletter, which you can see here.

    I don’t want to repeat all of that material here, although it casts a penetrating light on what I want to explore in this piece. Suffice to say that the clash of Eris and Pluto is, to me at least, the heart of the matter when it comes to figuring out why the world feels so crazy now.

    What I want to do in this newsletter is to have a look at what it means to see all of this retrograde energy happening now. All of the planets from Jupiter on out, with the sole exception of Uranus, are going backwards all at once, with Chiron trading off a retrograde condition with Mercury toward the middle of the month. The situation is not unprecedented, but it does catch the eye – and as ever, at least from the philosophical perspective of evolutionary astrology, the planetary gods and goddesses are giving us a few tips about where to put our feet next.

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    Under One Sky

    Under One Sky

    We say “astrology” as if it were one unified entity, but of course it is not. How many house systems are there? Do we use asteroids or not? What about Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto? – many traditionalists prefer to ignore them. Meanwhile, Uranian astrologers use hypothetical planets that no one has ever seen – Poseidon, Zeus and so on –  and swear by them. I hear they get good results too. As an evolutionary astrologer, much of what I say revolves around the south node of the Moon – but most commercial astrology programs do not even show its position unless you ask them to.

    Even more fundamentally, is astrology about the stars or the seasons? To a Vedic astrologer, the sign Aries and the constellation Aries are the same thing – but not to a western “Tropical” astrologer, where Aries starts with the northern Vernal Equinox, which has actually drifted back into Pisces over the centuries.

    To put it charitably, astrology is a “big tent.” To put it more pointedly, the many different branches of astrology contradict each other in fundamental ways. Inevitably, this reality leads to the question of which form of astrology is “the right one” – and there begins a slippery slope.

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    Charts Never Die

    Charts Never Die

    On September 17, 1981, sexy Doors’ singer Jim Morrison’s bedroom eyes gazed out from the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. The caption read “He’s hot, he’s sexy and he’s dead.” It might not mark a milestone on the history of good taste, but astrologically, the event has always intrigued me. What was going on in his chart? Or more pressingly, would his chart still work “even though he was no longer in it?”

    Morrison had died, probably in a bathtub, probably as a result of a heroin overdose, in Paris ten years earlier. That had put an end to The Doors, which had formed six riotous years earlier in Los Angeles.

    Ten years gone, and yet Jim Morrison’s career was suddenly on a roll.

    Looking at 1980, sales of every single Doors’ album had doubled or tripled compared to 1979. Joe Smith, the chairman of Elektra Records, said “No group that isn’t around anymore has sold that well for us.” The Doors’ magnum opus, The End, had been featured in Francis Ford Coppola’s hit film, Apocalypse Now, in 1979. The following year, a Morrison biography, No One Gets Out of Here Alive, by Jerry Hopkins, sold unexpectedly well. 

    Jim Morrison was born in Melbourne, Florida at 11:55AM-EWT on December 8, 1943. Even though he exited that chart in 1971, it seems that it lived on, even without him.

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    Pluto, Eris, And The Evolutionary Meaning Of COVID-19

    Pluto, Eris, And The Evolutionary Meaning Of COVID-19

    As I write these words, I am in voluntary self-quarantine. I suspect that many of you are too.  It’s the right thing to do. A few of you have contacted me, wondering about the astrology behind the pandemic, how long it will last, and how bad it might get.  I don’t know the answers to the two latter questions, but let’s peer into the crystalline mirror of the heavens and see what we can learn about the first one: why Covid-19 is upon us right now. I do think that we can at least get some sense of its purpose.

    Many astrologers have been pointing an accusing finger at the current planetary traffic jam in Capricorn, with the Saturn-Pluto conjunction as the main culprit, and Mars currently helping it along. Neptune in Pisces has a correlation with contagion too, as Maurice Fernandez has emphasized. All that is solid astrology, but it leaves out an important piece of the puzzle – one whose significance has been banging us over the head since 2005, but which astrologers still tend to ignore. That is the planet Eris, which is currently squaring the Pluto-Saturn conjunction, and doing so from the edgy sign Aries. That is what I want to explore with you in this newsletter. I believe the Eris-Pluto square is actually the heart of the matter.

    Many of you are probably only dimly aware of Eris. It still has not gotten the press it deserves in the astrological community.  Let me be the first to admit that I have not integrated it properly into my own teaching and counseling myself yet. That’s a big mistake, as I believe we will see clearly in the light of Eris’s unmistakable fingerprints in the current viral situation. 

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    SIX QUICK TRANSITS

    SIX QUICK TRANSITS

    Exciting, busy times here – with Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto all in Capricorn, and with my having my natal Sun and two planets there, I am feeling alive, engaged . . . and also run pretty ragged. Along with my usual client work, we are in the late stages of pre-production on The Book of Air, which should be out very soon. I’m also diving into writing The Book of Water, which will be the last volume of my Elements Series . . . whereupon I hope to finally get time for a vacation!

    In these four Elements books, my essential aim is to write down “everything I have learned” in half a century of astrological practice. (Saturn is especially fond of impossible aims.) Put any of the planets in any of the signs, houses, or any aspects to each other, whether natally or in motion somehow, and I have an instantaneous first impression of the core issues involved. All of that has to be put in the context of the rest of the chart, and that’s where the deeper arts of interpretation come into play. No book would be fat enough to include all of those integrative perspectives – but in these four Elements books, I at least want to record my “instantaneous take on those core issues.” It’s all “cookbook” astrology with its inherent limitations – but I remember how helpful those kinds of thumbnail sketches were to me when I was learning the craft. I spent a lot of time looking up configurations in Robert Hand’s Planets in Transit or the books of Charles E.O. Carter, Dane Rudhyar, or Ronald C. Davison.

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    Close Encounters of the Astrological Kind

    Close Encounters of the Astrological Kind
    Astrologer: Pluto is creeping toward your 7th house cusp.

    Client: Is that ... bad?

    Astrologer: Well, let’s just say that the God of Hell is entering your House of Marriage.

    Client: What can I do ...?

    Astrologer: Let me recommend an attorney and a psychiatrist.

    The dialog above is exaggerated, I hope. But maybe not. I know that I have dealt with its apparent aftermath in the counseling room many times. What is the impact upon a client of such a bleak prognosis? After hearing such dispiriting words, he or she may cringe before Pluto as if frozen in place before an oncoming train. An astrologer speaking this way might unwittingly poison a decent relationship with fear or suspicion — and do so right at a time when what is really needed is emotional courage.

    Let’s insert a second imaginary dialog, substituting Jupiter for Pluto. Here, the same fatalistic astrologer might paint a rosier picture. There is a new sweetheart on your horizon, one who resembles all the romantic films currently playing in your psychic Cineplex. A star! An angel! Generous — and probably wealthy enough to put a little muscle behind that generosity.

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    The Capricorn Great Work - Dr. King and the USA in Synastry

    The Capricorn Great Work - Dr. King and the USA in Synastry

    This post is the result of some research from an earlier paper I presented at the Queer Astrology Conference (QAC) in 2018 on Bayard Rustin. During my research on Mr. Rustin, I noticed that Dr. King’s chart and the US Chart (Sibly) had Sun/Pluto conjunctions on both sides of the synastry, which is significant.  When I mentioned this to Steven he was quite interested and asked if I would do a paper for his blog for Black History Month.

    I will present the basics of the US Chart and Dr. King’s chart using the Triad analysis (Sun, Moon, Ascendant) and Nodal Axis analysis including the rulers of the North and South Nodes. Then I’ll look at each chart from a synastry perspective, to examine the impact of each one on the other. 

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    The Awkward but Fruitful Marriage of Houses Three and Six

    The Awkward but Fruitful Marriage of Houses Three and Six

    We astrologers take the universe and all its possibilities that have ever existed or ever will exist, then we divide that huge pie into twelve slices. Each house of the horoscope represents an archetypal field of such epic proportions that it would require an infinite number of astrologers writing an infinite number of articles in an infinite number of Mountain Astrologer magazines to thoroughly explore any one of them. When Tem Tarriktar invited me to write an article about houses three and six, I breathed a sigh of relief — ah, only 1/6th of all infinity!

    My aim here in this brief article is not to offer an exhaustive analysis of these two vast subjects. Instead, I aim to explore the curious, awkward linkages between the two of them. Underlying everything is the fundamental paradox that both merges and divides houses three and six: They are forever joined at the hip by their common association with Mercury, while they are simultaneously forever at loggerheads via the fact that they square each other.

    “Rulership” is a fraught question in the modern astrological world, with many arguments about modern versus classical rulerships. Some astrologers object to the notion of specific planets intrinsically ruling specific houses. To my way of thinking, rulership is essentially about an energetic affinity. In my own practice and teaching, I employ (for example) the notion of Mars being the natural ruler of both Aries and the 1st house; Venus, of Taurus and the 2nd house; and so on. From this perspective, Mercury, as the ruler of Gemini and Virgo, also “rules” houses three and six. Semantic arguments aside, the foundation of what I want to present here is that there is an underlying pattern of common astrological DNA linking the 3rd house to the 6th via their shared symbolic association with Mercury.

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    Astrology And The Twelve Steps Programs

    Astrology And The Twelve Steps Programs

    Throughout the centuries, many people have been brought to their knees by addictions of various sorts. Many of them have found healing in twelve step programs based on the model of Alcoholics Anonymous. As most of us know, these programs of recovery are not limited to alcohol issues. They have spun off similar programs for drug dependencies. With only a few modifications, there are also twelve step programs for food addiction, sexual addiction, and codependent behavior. In a similar vein, there are the ancillary programs called Al-Anon and Alateen for people who have been in intimate involvements with friends, lovers, or family members who have suffered from such addictions. Those programs are based on the same twelve steps too.

    No surprise: many people engaged in recovery have also turned to astrological counsel for support. Over the years, many such souls have found their way to my office. As a group, they are impressive. I have learned a lot from them. To overcome a disease such as alcoholism requires two virtues in abundance: first, courage – and, second, enough humility to recognize and admit the existence of the problem.

    Inevitably, as an astrologer, I’ve often wondered about why there are twelves steps, not ten, or some other round number. Could there be some interlock between astrology and these life-saving systems? At one level, I’m confident simply saying “of course there is a connection.” No one needs to believe in astrology for it to work. Twelve is an organic, magic number, woven into all archetypal processes, not just astrology. That’s enough evidence for me right there.

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    Jupiter Enters Capricorn - What Does it Mean for You?

    Jupiter Enters Capricorn - What Does it Mean for You?

    by Steven Forrest

    Jupiter dominates the astrological headlines this month. As most of you probably know, it crosses out of Sagittarius and into Capricorn on December 2nd. The old astrologers called Jupiter the "Greater Benefic." One piece of corroborating evidence lies in how nicely it cooperates with astrologers, taking about twelve years to get around the Zodiac – and thus conveniently spending about one year, give or take a little bit, in each sign. This passage is no exception – Jupiter remains in Capricorn until December 19, 2020, when it crosses into Aquarius.

    When Jupiter does that, Saturn will have already been kept waiting for it there for three days. The two heavyweight planets of the solar system form their every-two-decade conjunction in very early Aquarius on December 21, 2020. 

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