by Tony Howard
I’m writing you from the always beautiful Pacific NW, which is in the peak of Spring, abundant with green, awash in flowers, the air scented with lilacs. And lots of sun! Almost paradise… But kind of like the neighborhood I live in, it’s complicated to take in the beauty and be fully present to it with all of the simultaneous complexity going on in the world. The Uranus+Pluto square is still in full swing, and we’ll continue to get reminders of that until the orb between these two intense planetary bodies starts to widen.
I’d like to share a blog-style entry with you this time, rather than a cohesive work of writing, as a way to facilitate the beginning of a healing process. Take these words as food for further thought. Follow the trails that interest you. And let the rest go.
The Wisdom of the North Node in Scorpio
I’ve been working on a long piece about the Uranus+Pluto square, which also has me thinking about the recent bombings in Boston. As we start to integrate and process what happened there on April 15, we’re left with the aftermath of an experience that is more common in other parts of the world, but that we rarely experience first-hand in the US. The meaningless loss of life is overwhelming, and the permanent physical hardships that many of those affected will have to face are hard to imagine. But if we take that in, we can also take in the amount of pain and terror experienced more regularly in events like these in other parts of the world.
In his painful-to-read article 227 Million Boston Bombings, Robert Scheer reminds us that “the horror of two pressure cooker bombs in Boston that has so traumatized us should help us grasp the significance of the 1.8 million bomblets dropped in Iraq over a three-week period.” It seems that, for now, Pluto isn’t going to give us a break, and will continue to force us to take a look at that which we have a natural impulse to turn away from.
As astrologers we seek meaning in the symbols, which luckily point not only to the problem at hand, but also to the way out.
But before we take a look at that, it’s important to point out that when we’re this close to an event, it’s natural to want to find an answer too quickly, to resolve the complex feelings we have. With time, we find deeper answers, and usually come to a more complex view that can only be attained with distance and a bigger-picture view. So we could argue that it’s too soon to analyze the data. But time has another more questionable effect – it subjects us to the possibility of distorting the meaning we had in the original moment.
I find it useful to journal about feelings and events as they’re happening. Later I can apply that big-picture view, while referencing the “real” data, the recording of the experience as it occurred. If we do one part of the process without the other, we’re missing something. The astrological polarity teaches us that we need both Gemini – the observer and recorder of facts in the moment –and Sagittarius – the meaning-creating function, the broad view – equally. If we make too much of what we see in the moment, we’re missing something. If we get too big picture without bringing in the facts, there can be distortion and inflation.
So what follows is a first step. It’s more in the realm of Gemini, based on the raw data, the base feelings. It includes a dash of premature Sagittarius big-picture view. We can take another look once time has passed and healing has done its work.
It would be easy to look at the Boston bombings in the context of the Sun conjunct Mars in Aries, and Pluto stationing retrograde in Capricorn square Uranus, and say “I told you so.” And maybe we’d be right. Someone’s rash impulsive actions did indeed lead to an explosion that challenged the control of the status quo. But these events happened to real people, with real motivations. Whoever set off those bombs had feelings, families, and desires. Although clearly misguided, and without a doubt monstrous, we have to keep ourselves in check, and also remember their humanity. Because without compassion, none of us can truly heal.
I won’t do a full analysis here, I just want to point a few things out. As part of your own healing process, some of you may want to take this further and do a more in-depth analysis. I find myself still somewhat resistant to doing so, the feelings still a little too raw.
But to start, as I point out in the article I have in progress, Uranus in Aries is shaping up to be the season of the “lone shooter.” While many folks have been imagining the possibility of massive traumatic events, what reality is giving us is several smaller-scale deeply traumatic events. And most of them are transpiring at the hands of an individual. In the case of the recent bombings, we’re looking at two brothers as suspects (Mercury is in Aries, quincunx to the Ascendant, and in a wide trine to Saturn in the 3rd). But let’s be clear here, the facts around this case are murky, and these two are still legally just suspects. You may have seen the heartbreaking and passionate claim of their innocence given at a news conference by the suspects’ parents. With some luck, the truth will continue to unfold.
I was personally deeply disturbed by the brutality leveraged at these two suspects, one of whom is now dead. In the rage that follows a violent act, it’s easy for us to counter with violence. This is the unchecked Mars-Aries impulse. But a higher expression of Mars is that of the spiritual warrior. With Mars featuring so prominently in the bombing chart (April 15, 2013, 2:49 p.m., Boston), we’re called to respond fiercely to our challenges; with conviction, yes, but also with the right use of force. We’re meant to take difficult actions to protect the innocent, but without resorting to the same mindless brutality we’ve been subject to. This is the higher path, and it’s such a hard one, that it seems likely we’ll keep working on it until the end of time. It’s pretty clear that as a collective, we didn’t pass the test this time.
With the south node in Taurus in the bombing chart, one thing that can be said is that our view of things is too simple. We need to bring in some deeper, some more uncomfortable and complex truths in order to evolve. The North Node in Scorpio alerts us that we can’t stick our heads in the sand any longer. We long to return to safe, peaceful green fields, but we’re not able to find solace there anymore. Something in this chart needs to move into Scorpio territory, to take in the kind of truths that we’ve deliberately turned away from.
With the south node in the 9th house, we also need to see how our attachment to a worn-out belief system is no longer serving us. The north node is in the 3rd house. We need new ideas, new facts. We need to take in the news. We need more conversations and less preaching. For all of us, it means that we need to take uncomfortable facts, such as the one Robert Scheer points out – that these kinds of bombings are happening in other parts of the world, at a much greater magnitude. And that our government is also responsible for unleashing “terror” on the world. And so are the tormented souls responsible for the Boston bombing. We kill. They kill. The motives are different. But in both cases innocents are caught in the crossfire. Those are the facts.
Scorpio truths, Pluto truths, are hard to stomach. They literally make us feel sick. We naturally want to turn away. If you’re feeling angry about what I just pointed out, remember that this isn’t a political rant. I’m doing my best not to move too quickly towards creating meaning. These are facts I’m pointing to. We’re in third house territory. With Scorpio there, we may not like them. But there they are. Our government is using drones that kill civilians. We can rationalize that, but then we’re not in the 3rd house anymore. The bombing chart is asking us to look at the facts, which will uncomfortably complicate our current world view. The 9th house south node there tells us that whatever view that is, it no longer serves us. But we can’t jump back to meaning too quickly. We need to take in more information first.
This chart reminds me just how hard evolution really is, and how painful. Events like this shock us. We find our attention stripped away from pursuits of joy and pleasure. And we have to trust the process without getting stuck there. It’s an uncomfortable integration, but a necessary one.
In the spirit of Spring, and the life that blooms all around me, even in the face of the chaos and pain in the world, I’ll leave you with the Buddhist prayer, known as the Four Immeasurables:
May all sentient beings have happiness and its causes,
May all sentient beings be free of suffering and its causes,
May all sentient beings never be separated from bliss without suffering,
May all sentient beings be in equanimity, free of bias, attachment and anger.
And I’ll add a wish that we all find the means and way to achieve such a state with a willingness to look at the truth when needed, to channel our anger into right action, and to face life’s complexity with compassion.
– Tony Howard
The Book of the Moon eBook Release!
The Book of the Moon was just released in ebook format. You can now enjoy this wonderful turn through some of the less celebrated components of moon theory including the out of bounds moon and the lunation cycle.
Humans have been meditating on the Moon since the beginning of our time on earth. As long as there has been anything we could call astrology, it has been central to all theories of celestial influence. But why do astrologers pay so little attention to its phases? In these pages, Steven shows how we have been blinded to the lunar phases by a set of cultural attitudes now drifting into extinction. Our Celtic ancestors held the key to understanding lunar phase and Steven skillfully, clearly, and eloquently turns the key in that lock for us.
Along the way, he also presents the latest research on the powerful but little used tools: the Out of Bounds Moon, lunar speed, and lunar parallax. You’ll also find rare descriptions of the progressed lunation cycle, planetary phase angles and nodal phase. Discover the soul of the moon in this lucid explanation of the Moon’s place in modern humanistic astrological counseling.
MAY LUNAR NODES SPECIAL
Save 20% off the following titles
Explore the meaning of planets conjunct the south node in the birth chart. Any planet within ten degrees or so on either side of the Moon’s south node has about as much impact on our characters as does our Sun sign. And yet such planets are often ignored since Western Astrology in general is so often in the dark about the deeper meaning of the Lunar Nodes. Do they represent treasures—or soul-cages? As always in evolutionary astrology, the answer depends on the choices we make. MP3 Audio Download
The Moon’s Nodes. Look into a newborn baby’s eyes. Someone’s home. How did that person get in there? Heredity? Reincarnation? Astrology can’t really answer, but the Moon’s South Node shows energies present at birth–and the North Node shows where they’re heading. MP3 Audio Download
A look at the nodes provides one with a sort of “chart within the chart.” Like extreme experiences in childhood, that inner chart, which represents past-life experience, impacts our current lives in powerful ways. Sometimes, the prior-life story is so utterly different from the present nature of the individual that only through understanding it can we accurately foresee the issues and evolutionary dynamics of the present life. Under those circumstances, the Nodes of the Moon provide a missing link in the interpretive chain–and can save an astrologer from catastrophic errors in chart analysis. MP3 Audio Download