Full Moon in Libra tomorrow: A dance of opposites

Full MoonArt:  “Full Moon Love” by Shellie Mitchell

Tomorrow’s Full Moon takes place at 10:56 am EDT on April 9th in the sign of Libra, and will serve as a reminder to us that everything in life is a dance of polar opposites that need to be brought into balance.  Libra IS the sign of balance – of looking at both sides of the question, of bringing both sides of an argument into compromise.  We are well into the shadow now of the Full Moon as it moves into alignment to oppose the Aries Sun.

Balance and polar opposition is a key component to the astrological language.  The twelve zodiac signs are actually six pairs of polar opposites.  The need for peace and serenity of Taurus is balanced against the intensity and depth of Scorpio.  The craving for stimulation of Gemini is balanced against the Sagittarian need to find one truth rather than many. The Cancer need for a secure home life is balanced again the Capricornian striving for success in the world.   The development of the personal ego in Leo is balanced against the Aquarian desire to transcend the ego for the sake of community.  And the focus on mundane details of Virgo is balanced against the desire of Pisces to transcend such mundane details and instead experience the dissolving into an experience of divine majesty.

In the Full Moon, the Libra Moon is opposite the Aries Sun, creating a polarity that requires the balance between our ability to develop and fully a personal identity (Aries) with our ability to learn the compromises and adjustments that are required in order to forge successful relationships with others (Libra).  Individuals (like me) with a strong Libran component to their chart often feel that they are responsible for keeping the peace, and often give up their personal identity (Aries) in order to maintain relationships (Libra).  This kind of accommodation fails to bring about the balance that is required between the Self and the Other, and this is the test of this upcoming Full Moon.

But this is only one call to balance of this lunation (lunar event).  Venus, the planet that rules Libra and presides over relationships and issues of self-worth, is retrograding back to 0 degrees Aries.  While Venus has traveled through Aries it has brought up time and time again the necessity to balance our personal needs (Aries) with the need to compromise for our relationships (Venus).  In two days Venus will retrograde back into Pisces where it will temporarily release the call for better boundaries and encourage a creative flow in our lives instead.

In addition to relationships, Libra calls for a life of beauty that is free from the ugliness of suffering and darkness, and this is balanced by the courage of Aries to face the dim realities of life and do battle against injustice.  This Full Moon is also asking us to look within ourselves and learn to balance the emotional courage of Aries with the desire for peace and beauty of Libra.

We also have the opposition between Mars (our drive and desires) to Saturn (limits and restrictions) which culminated last Sunday and is now separating.  This opposition has put the brakes on progress and reminded us of the need to balance what we want (Mars) with what is practical and reasonable for the moment (Saturn).

When we are balancing oppositions, it’s important to remember that neither end of the polarity is the correct one.  Both sides of the equation are equally useful to us, and it is the balance between them that is important.

This Full Moon is particularly personal to me as it falls right on my Libra Sun which is nestled in a tight conjunction between Saturn and Neptune and squared by Uranus.  Under the Full Moon influence, the instinctive reality that the Moon provides has a stronger voice than the conscious solar influence which is usually predominant.

This is a time to listen to our instincts and our inner voice.  Traditionally the Full Moon has been a time for divination for this very reason.  So get out the Tarot cards and the Runes, and see what your inner self has to say!

We are in Deep Solar Minimum

Thanks to Astrococktail for this link to a NASA article on the Solar Minimum, the expected period of low sunspot activity.  The Solar Minimum came right on schedule back in 2006, as I reported in this earlier article.  But this Solar Minimum is setting all kinds of records.

In 2008 the Sun was completely blank of sunspots 73% of the time, the lowest activity since 1913.  As of March 31, according to the NASA article, the Sun has been free of sunspots 87% of the time in 2009.  This is a particularly deep solar minimum that follows a 50-year period of heightened sunspot activity.

The Solar Minimum could create cooler than usual weather conditions, just as the Maunder Minimum did between 1645-1715, coinciding what was called the “Little Ice Age.”  There is also a speculated connection between the Solar Minimum periods and increased earthquake activity.  USGS statistics that indicate that earthquake activity seems to have peaked in 2003-2006, so there appears to be some correlation since the Solar Minimum appears to have begun in 2004.

Spaceweather has a new calculator for the Solar Minimum and reports that while the typical Solar Minimum lasts 485 days, we have had 592 days of a blank Sun with no sunspots.

The Chiron/Neptune Conjunction of 2009-2010

Chiron NeptuneOne of the big astrological events for 2009 is the triple conjunction of Chiron and Neptune with Jupiter that will culminate at the end of May when all three planets are within 1 degree of each other in Aquarius.  Although the exact conjunction won’t occur until February 17, 2010, Chiron and Neptune are within a degree of a conjunction now, so this planetary event is definitely well underway.

So what will this mean for us?  Chiron teaches us to face the old wounds of our past and allow ourselves to be healed, opening us up to greater wisdom and understanding that we can then pass along to others.  Neptune inspires us towards a more transcendent experience of our lives that encourages us to recognize the impermanence of life’s mysteries.  However, each of those planets have a darker face as well that can arise.  If we resist the Chiron experience we can become stuck in our own wounds, unable to see that they are of our own making and unable to let go.  If we resist the Neptune experience we can feel confused or become deluded by our fantasies and illusions.

Both Chiron and Neptune pose difficulty for the expression of the ego.  Chiron requires that we process the wounds of the psyche before the ego can manifest in a truly healthy form, and Neptune calls for the transcendence of the ego into the divine unconscious: “from a drop of water to the endless sea.”  In Aquarius that transcendence of the ego is even more important as Aquarius is a transpersonal sign; the sign that loves mankind but isn’t so crazy about people as individuals.  The new “transhumanism” is a signature of Aquarius, in which technology and innovation are used to perfect the human being.

Because of this transpersonal nature of Aquarius, it is not the sign best suited to the kind of emotional processing that is required by Chiron.  Where Scorpio will delve deep into a rich depression and excavate the psychological wisdom that can be found there, Chiron in Aquarius may instead retreat into a world of technology where life is more easily managed and the emotional component is less compelling.  The result of this can be a core loneliness and isolation that is not easily rectified. On the other hand, there is also a brilliant innovation at work under the influence of Aquarius, and Chiron in Aquarius can bring about new and unique healing modalities that occur as conventional wisdom is rejected and new ideas brought forth.  Aquarius is doubly ruled by Saturn and Uranus, and Chiron is the bridge between them so with Chiron in Aquarius we have a linkage between form (Saturn) and trans-form (Uranus).

In the conjunction, we sometimes get the best of the planets involved and sometimes their more difficult faces, depending on how we approach them and how they affect the rest of our charts.  With Chiron and Neptune working in tandem, we are being called to deepen our spiritual experience of life in a body (Neptune) through feeling and releasing the pain of being human (Chiron).  Barbara Hand Clow, whose book Chiron: Rainbow Bridge Between the Inner & Outer Planets is a wonderful resource, says that Chiron and Neptune serve to “bring the higher self into space and time” where we can become both grounded into our true natures under Chiron’s influence, and fully aligned with our higher self (Neptune) at the same time.


When Chiron and Neptune are working together, they combine to assist with the work of the soul. The body, the mind, and the ego are all most interested in living a life well-grounded in the material world that offers the maximum of pleasure and the minimum of pain. The soul does not pursue pleasure and avoid pain; instead, there is an embrace of experiences that will assist us at the deepest level to completely learn the lessons that are presented to us so that we can release the past and move forward with greater wisdom.

Chiron facilitates this aspect of soul work by uncovering any wounded places that have been left unresolved so that we can be freed of the blocked energy that our unreleased wounds hold within the body/mind/spirit system. Neptune assists by reminding us that there is a world of experience that lies beyond the boundaries of the material world. Under the influence of Neptune we either open up to experiences of a powerful mystical nature, or else we become confused and deluded as the nature of our personal reality is blurred and we have nothing to replace it with. Neptune bestows creative genius and a spiritual connection to our Divine self as the physical world is transcended, or it can cause us to indulge in escapist and addictive behavior in an effort to escape the prison of our own mind.

As in everything else in the astrological language, there is a both a higher and lower manifestation of both Chiron and Neptune, so when they combine in a conjunction there is the potential to for a transcendent experience of healing spirituality, or a confusing descent into the hell of the unknown of the psyche.

I suspect that the epidemic of mass shootings we have seen in the spring of 2009 as Chiron and Neptune approach their exact conjunction is the result of the conjunction taking a darker turn in the personal lives of many people. Chiron can intensify any wounds that are already challenging, and Neptune can make it difficult to evaluate those experiences with any kind of rational thought. We like to think of Jupiter as being a “benefic” planet, but it is also the great liberator and expands whatever it comes into contact with, so when Jupiter hooks up with Chiron the process of exposing the wounds for greater healing potential can create an abundance of sensitivity that under Neptune’s influence has no real outlet without a conscious application.

There is also an opportunity here for tremendous spiritual growth and insight if we look within for the wisdom that awaits there. The process of spiritual evolution does often require that we step confidently through a dark night of the soul or two, and this may be a necessity over the next couple of months. Jupiter and Neptune expand the potential for creativity as the inspiration of the divine showers easily through the veil of the mind, and the voice of our guidance and the divinity of our choice can be clearly heard now. Jupiter in Aquarius is humanistic and altruistic, and there is a strong focus on the call for change, both within ourselves and in the world in which we live as well!

I recently did a reading for a brand new baby whose chart includes the approaching conjunction of Jupiter to Chiron and Neptune. This triple conjunction has been building for quite some time and will culminate within a half a degree on May 26. All children born at this time have this conjunction in their charts, and in fact all children born between around March 2008, when Chiron and Neptune first entered the orb of their conjunction, and around April of 2011 when they meet for the last time, will be the “Chiron Neptune” generation.

Neptune is the planet that drives us to fulfill our spiritual longing. Every individual has in their nature a longing for an experience that will provide us with a connection to our inner Self. For some of us this manifests in a desire for the perfect bowling score. For some it is an experience of God in a Church. For some it is a few beers when we get home from work, or losing ourself in a beautiful piece of music. The experience is different – the motivation is the same.

When we add the experience of Chiron, the Wounded Healer, it becomes necessary to process any psychological and emotional blocks in order to gain that Neptunian experience. Chiron doesn’t just invite us to enter the inner world of our abandoned psychic debris – it throws that stuff up in our face where we have to face it. Our emotions can run wild, feeling out of control, as any old undigested memories or emotional angst surfaces so that it can be dealt with. This process can be exhilarating if we surrender to it and treat it just like cleaning out the basement. It’s a painful process to go down there and see all of the crap that has accumulated, but a thrilling feeling to be rid of it once and for all. The Chironic process helps to open the heart more and more fully, and in this process we gain greater wisdom and a phenomenal sense of peace.

The addition of Jupiter here is a two-edged sword. On the one hand the conjunction of Jupiter to Neptune expands (Jupiter) the longing for spiritual redemption and renewal (Neptune) which can lead us to incredible experiences of spiritual advancement now. On the other hand, Jupiter can lead to excesses of escapist behavior and flights of fantasy, both of which fall under the dark side of Neptune’s domain.

The generation that embodies this planetary combination will, I feel, be extremely sensitive and easily wounded. But they will also possess the tools to process their wounds quickly and emerge as deeply human but also amazing spiritual beings.

Sunday Poetry for Poetry Month

Beliefnet ran a feature for Poetry Month and asked us to do a post on our favorite poem.  I wondered how I would be able to choose, and then remembered an old poem I wrote back in 1976 that I really love, so this is my poem for Poetry Month.

Lynn HayesPraise Song

Oh, glory to the stars that shine

In everlasting splendor,

their sparkling dust of joy to fall

upon the blossoming heart, the tender rose

that smiles here below the sky.

Wisps of harmonies catch the strings within the spirit

and dancing gently round them,

bring them laughing into play, to sing

love’s cosmic melody, its touch

upon the lute within

begins to weave resounding

trails of voices singing,

ringing to the sky with joy

the praises of this life.

Art by Gaelyn Larrick

Thoughts on Pluto as it retrogrades today

Willow ArleneaArt by Willow Arlenea. Pluto has been slowing down for the past month or so in preparation for making its station, and we have seen a dramatic increase of violent acts including several mass murders during that period, particularly around the time of the New Moon in Aries.  Planets don’t actually move backwards, but because in astrology we look at the movement of the planets from car it is not astronomically correct.  Astrology places the human being at the center of the universe and analyzes planetary motion from that perspective.

When a planet is preparing to change direction it slows down, just as a car must slow down before it makes a U-turn.  At a certain point it is said to be “stationary”, and it is most stationary on the day that it changes direction, which in Pluto’s case is today.

Pluto, despite its small size, is dramatically powerful in astrological terms and it’s easy to become afraid of its usually intense effects.  But if we take a longer view of the planetary influence Pluto doesn’t have to be frightening.  Pluto seeks nothing less than total transformation and the elimination of anything that is no longer serving us, and the changes that occur under Pluto events, even though they may be very difficult, always change us for the better.  It was Pluto who wrote the old adage, “That which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.”

When Pluto is powerful in our life, either in our natal chart or when Pluto is affecting one of the planets in our chart by transit, we have lost control.  There is no solution but to let go.  I always tell the story (and forgive me if you’ve heard this one before) of the first time I went tubing when I lived in Colorado.  The guide said to keep all of your limbs inside the tube and let the water carry you, but I was too frightened so I kept trying to reach out for the rocks, trying to slow down my travels, which resulted in the tube being smashed against the rocks.  When I finally did let go, the tube was able to travel the path of least resistance through the water and I had a glorious ride.

But Pluto also requires that we become empowered.  It’s not enough just to let go if we allow ourselves to be weakened.  Pluto often pits us in circumstances where we must fight – for our money, for our job, for our family, for our life sometimes. There are often power struggles and battles for dominance.  We can’t control the circumstances, but we can control our choices and how we will react to those circumstances.  Pluto asks, where in your life have you allowed yourself to be diminished?  What in your life isn’t working for you?

Pluto also can bring out our compulsive and hidden behaviors, and dredge up old memories to be processed and released.  Unlike Chiron, which reveals the actual emotional experience, Pluto sometimes goes into the depth of the soul and forces us to confront the original source.  Repressed memories, sexual compulsions – during Pluto cycles we may find ourselves facing a dark side of ourselves that we prefer to keep safely in the basement.  Pluto demands nothing less than the absolute Truth.

When Pluto entered Capricorn last year it was a bit of a psychic shock after the glee of the Sagittarius cycle (1995-2008).  It has taken a while for the general population to get used to this new and more contracted experience, but gradually we are starting to see an adjustment.  The retrograde passage of Pluto will slow down this adjustment as Pluto completes its work through the early degrees of Capricorn.  Capricorn is the reality check – which structures in our life are solid, and which are based on whimsy?  Anything built on shifting sands will not survive the Pluto in Capricorn period.

Venus is tightly involved with Pluto this year as well as she squares Pluto three times during the retrograde cycles of both planets.  Venus presides over the way we relate to others as well as our personal values and how well we value ourselves.  Over the past few weeks since Venus began her retrograde cycle I’ve been seeing more clients dealing with relationship issues.  Some have been avoiding relationships – others have marriages that have been failing for years and need resuscitation.  Relationships are a critical part of our spiritual growth – they are often the crucible in which our spiritual evolution is processed. In the mirror of the Other, we see ourselves more clearly.  This kind of soul work does not require a husband or a wife; the intimate interaction between souls can occur between any humans on any level.

Venus made the first square to Pluto in early February at 2 degrees Aries/Capricorn.  The second square to Pluto occurred yesterday (Friday) at 3 degrees, and the final square in the cycle will take place in early May at 3 degrees.  There’s no question that this Venus/Pluto cycle will challenge relationships, but there is a purpose behind the challenge – anything that is not working in our relationships will be brought to the forefront.  There are likely to be power struggles, and the need to accept that which is behind us and that which is lost.

There is also the need to balance the needs of the Self relative to the needs of the Other, and this will be highlighted at the Full Moon in Libra on April 9th.  Over the next week this need for balance will become more obvious as we enter the shadow of the Full Moon.  It’s a delicate balancing act, but one worth mastering as we work with the shamanic process of Pluto to strengthen and empower our souls as they learn the dance of partnership.