Saturday, November 3, 2007

Comet 17P/Holmes

I see myself as a huge fiery comet, a shooting star. Everyone stops, points up and gasps "Oh look at that!" Then- whoosh, and I'm gone...and they'll never see anything like it ever again... and they won't be able to forget me- ever. ~ Jim Morrison

When beggars die there are no comets seen; The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes. ~ Shakespeare, Julius Caesar II

Historically astrologers have described comets as evil omens, heralding cataclysmic events, sudden political upheaval, and even the death of kings. An astronomer would define the intermittent appearance of this phenomenon as a relatively small extraterrestrial body consisting of a frozen mass that travels around the sun in a highly elliptical orbit. The word comet stems from the Latin cometes meaning long-haired, describing the characteristic tail of a comet that develops the closer it gets to the Sun. So why would the ancients attribute the sudden appearance of a hairy ball of light with doom and gloom. Well history is filled with accounts of the observation of comets that occurred simultaneously with all sorts of upheavals, as well as births of kings and leaders. Any unusual light body would have been interpreted as a message from the heavens, and of course kings were seen as the expression of God on earth.

For the second time this year a comet has appeared in the night skies. Last winter Comet McNaught lit up the evening sky as it passed in front of the starry back drop of the constellation Aquila, the Eagle. I remember watching its light as it was revealed in the Western sky at sunset, and coincidently observed three eagles fly by my lakeside abode. At that time the synchronicity struck me as quite foreboding, and sure enough a few weeks later I experienced upheaval in my own life. But even more disturbing than my own drama, the world experienced the loss of three "kings": James Brown, Gerald Ford, and Sadam Hussein.

In late October, Comet 17P/Holmes appeared and astronomers focused their telescopes on the brightening space snowball. The comet was first discovered in 1892 by Edwin Holmes. While conducting regular observations of the Andromeda Galaxy (M31), Holmes observed similar outbursts and magnitude changes as are now occurring. (And once again on a personal level, I had just received information about Andromeda during an October meditation. Far out!) On October 24, 2007 Comet Holmes shocked sky watchers with a spectacular eruption, brightening almost a million-fold from 17th to 2.5th magnitude in a matter of hours.

Astrologically speaking Comet Holmes is transiting the constellation Perseus, currently near the fixed star Mirfak. Perseus and Andromeda were part of a group first written about by the ancient astronomer Aratus in his book Phaenomena circa 275 BCE. As part of a group of northern stars called the royal family, Perseus is the Prince, and Andromeda the Princess. The constellations are connected by stories about horses and heads (Medusa), slayings, and rescues (from dragons/reptiles). What could that mean for today's royals?

As you may see in the above image of the comet's projected path, Holmes loops around the stars of Perseus. It first encounters the fixed star Mirfak, which Brady's Book of Fixed Stars describes as representing young, male energy. Its expression could be one of increasing vitality, or inducing potential recklessness or rashness of action. In late January, Holmes meets up with the fixed star Algol, or Ras al-Ghul as it was known to the Arabs meaning Head of the Demon. It may be a reference to the Medusa's head which Perseus severed and used to slay the dragon as he rescued Andromeda. In any case,according to Brady ancient writers described it as "the most malefic star in the heavens, causing hangings, death by the loss of one's head, and any other foul, demonic deed that could befall the human race." Let's hope our young royals have a good astrologer handy to make sure they don't do something rash and lose their heads.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Astro Weather November 2007

November begins with the completion of the last Mercury retrograde cycle of 2007. Mercury makes its station today in Virgo at 3:59 pm PDT. Although Mercury began its retrograde in Libra, it fell back into the late of degrees of its sign of exhaltation, Virgo, on October 30th. In Vedic astrology, a retrograding exhalted planet brings a reversal of that exhaltation, and actually debilitates it (and when a debilitated planet is retrograde it becomes exhalted, called neecha banga raja yoga). This reversal of energy effects the things that Mercury rules, like the lungs, the nervous system, communication and commerce. Personally my lungs keep getting tested by the wide array of fall viruses, and the things I tried to ceremonially let go of on October 30th in a fire ceremony all came back to me the next day. Luckily I know that this set back is temporary and look forward to the reversal of the reversal this afternoon. When Mercury stations in Virgo it will be amped up on stellar steroids. Full speed ahead folks. It remains in Virgo until Monday, November 4th when it re-enters Libra and returns the point of initial retrograde on November 17th.

Venus in Virgo November 3 - November 30, 2007
Venus leaves the sign of Leo and goes into its sign of debilitation on Saturday, November 3. Fortunately it will be associated with an exhalted Mercury which assists in another neecha banga raja yoga-- reversal of debiliation. PLUS by the time Mercury changes signs again on Monday, the two inner planets will mutually exchange signs, Mercury in Venus' sign of Libra, and Venus in Mercury's sign of Virgo, stimulating yet another neecha banga raja yoga until November 27th. Venus will only spend three days in debilitation, which is great news after experiencing the intense energetic fluctuations during her long retrograde and participation in the eclipse cycle last September.

New Moon November 9th/Full Moon November 24
The New Moon occurs at 3:03 pm PST in the sign of Libra in the nakshatra Vishaka. Vishaka contains four stars which form the left half of the familiar Libran scales. In the Vedic tradition these star were described as forming the shape of forked branch and represent a large tree whose shade and branches provide protection for others. Other symbols associated with Vishaka are the triumphal arch decorated with leaves, a representation of marriage in India, and the potter's wheel. Both marriage and the fine arts are attributes of Libra. Vishaka's shakti power is to achieve many and various fruits in life, vyapani shaki. It is very fixated and goal oriented, and under its influence one must carefully choose the appropriate goal. The deity who is associated with Vishaka is the chief demi-God Indra, who is sometimes depicted in Puranic texts as determined, fixated, and offensive. He is a Dionysisan character who drowns himself in women, wine and pleasure and thus this moon can be associated with alcohol and intoxication. Although the energy of a new moon may be low, this new moon occur on Venus' day, Friday, and folks may be more sociable and drawn to pleasurable experiences.

The full moon on November 24th occurs in the nakshatra Krittika near its exhaltation point. Krittika is another determined nakshatra. Its symbols are the flame, axe or razor that have the power to burn or cut away negativity to get to the deepest truth, dahana shakti. The deities associated with Krittika are Karttikaya and Agni. In the Vedic tradition the six visible (seven with a telescope) stars of the Pleiades are associated with the nakshatra Krittika. According to one of the many legends, the seven wifes (how did the ancients "see" the seventh wife/star) of the ancient Seers hid Shiva's son Karttikaya, also called Skanda, from the demons and trained him in the various systems of knowledge. His destiny was to destroy the demons and return heaven to the Gods. Thus the Pleiades, or Krittika, is a celestial training ground where one receives instruction on one's life purpose. It is also a place of refuge. The chart for this full moon has a Libra ascendant with Venus placed in the 12th house and the moon placed in the 8th house. The 8th and 12th houses are moksha houses. Moksha means liberation, and in the Vedic tradition liberation of soul is often associated with the loss or retreat from the material world. I would use the energy of this full moon to seek refuge and instruction through meditation as it promises to give new insight and liberation for our souls.

Mars Retrograde November 15, 2007 - January 30, 2008
Mars entered Gemini on September 16, 2007 and will go retrograde on November 15th at 12:24 am PST opposite the moon in Sagittarius. In general Mars, or Mangala, rules our physical energy, what drives us, and how we go after we go after what we want. Originally its symbol was depicted the cross of matter above the circle of spirit by alchemists, but that cross has been pointed outward and upward into an arrow. Western and Vedic astrologers traditionally associate Mars with war and aggression. However there are Vedic traditions that indicate the arrow expresses the direction of contemplation towards the supreme goal. According to Gary Gomes, "one of the most overlooked roles of Mars is its role in spiritual development. Mars is the planet of those who avoid rebirth . . . it is rapidly acting, rather than violent. . . it is also in charge of logic, because logic is the intellectual weapon employed to win arguments. . . If it has a goal and a service to pursue, [Mars] is a truly wonderful planet, capable of delivering us from our worst enemies[or rebirth :)]." So whatever latent energy is inside the circle of spirit, it may be directed outward under the influence of Mars.

Mars goes retrograde every two years when it is closest to earth and opposite the Sun. Here we we have Mars, the planet of desire, opposite the Sun, the planet representing ego. And as retrograde planets are more powerful, our desires may outweigh the wisdom of a healthy ego. When Mars turns retrograde things may happen to show you that you need to put the breaks on and take a closer look at what you are doing. Re-examine your inner motives regarding why you are acting in a certain way. Are you functioning consciously or are you letting primitive impulses dominate your life? If you have overworked yourself, let frustration and anger build up, or denied your desires in any way, these may all surface during Mars retrograde to be confronted, integrated or released. Thus Mars retrograde time to reassess how we operate in the world, and to design a plan of how to carry it all out once it goes direct. It is not a time to start new projects, but finish and revamp old ones.

During this Mars retrograde period, the red planet is transiting Mercury's mutable sign of Gemini. As Gemini rules communication, the thinking mind and nervous system, we can expect a lot of changes in how we communicate our desires and how we spend our mental energy. There is an interesting synchronicity and alignment with the lunation symbolism of determination, fixation on goals, and cutting away of negativity. When Mars stations it will be in the nakshatra Ardra, ruled by the planet of obsession, Rahu. The primary motivation is kama, desire, and its power is yatna shakti,or effort. In particular it is the power of making gains in life through greater effort and struggle. It will require all the determination we observe during the lunation cycle to carry us through the unusually long Mars retrograde period. The presiding deity of Ardra is Rudra, the fierce form of Shiva. Rudra is associated with thunder and rainstorms. Ardra is connected with intense activity, passionate thinking, enthusiasm and an urge for expansion. So how will those drives be effected when Mars reverses. As "Ardra" means "moist" and is depicted as a teardrop, will we be crying tears of frustration? Or will these tears clear away the stale energy, like a rainstorm clears the air, leaving us with a renewed sense of clarity?

Physically Gemini rules the lungs, and Mars rules the blood, inflammation, and fevers; so this combination may indicate a surge in virulent colds and flus this holiday season. In particular we may see lingering respiratory pathogens, like coughs, that may last for months. I would advise everyone to re-enforce your cellular fortress, the immune system. The best way for you to protect yourself is to avoid sugar, which takes down the immune system for hours. In addition you may strengthen cellular walls to block out pathogens by taking essential fatty acids like fish oils, vitamin C, immune supplements, natural anti-virals like garlic. Learn how to preserve your energy and get plenty of rest. (And remember if you do get sick do not take iron --Mars' metal-- as it will only strengthen the wee beasties.) Don't let your desire (Mars) to be part of all the festivities make you sick.

Jupiter in Sagittarius November 21, 2007
As Jupiter completes its journey through Scorpio it starts its karmic unwinding of the Gandantic knots between November 8 - December 5, 2007. (For more on Gandanta see previous posts.) The great benefic, Jupiter is a significator of happiness, knowledge, learning and expansion. When it changes signs from Scorpio into its own sign of Sagittarius on November 21, 2007, it promises to bring hope and quest for the truth. In its home/ohm sign Jupiter becomes more powerful and is able to express theses innate qualities. But in the nakshatras of Jyestra and Mula it may have a little bite. Jytestha is ruled by the deity Indra, the dragon slayer, whom we discussed above influencing the new moon. Under this nakshatra the chief motivation is to conquer and to gain supremacy. The presiding deity of the following nakshatra, Mula, is Nritti – the goddess of destruction. Nritti is one aspect of Kali, the destroyer of illusions, and her purpose here is to help us break apart and destroy things, making room for a new creation based on a new foundation. Mula may inflict pain, but it is intended to keep us on the right track to God-realization.

Jupiter conjoins Pluto on December 11, 2007. By the winter solstice Jupiter, Pluto, Mercury and the Sun will be drawing down energy from the Galactic Center, enhanced two days later when a full moon conjoins Mars in Gemini. This powerful alignment may present political or fanatical religious conflict destroying things that aren't working. At the same time it may indicate a window of opportunity when we may be more open to receiving and understanding the messages from the source of life, the Mula or root of the galaxy, the Galactic Center.