Blog Posts

Listen Up

by Marcia Buchart

Some of you who read the astrological press will have seen articles noting that Mercury, which has been retrograde since August 2nd, turned direct at 23+ degrees of the Sign Leo on Friday, August 26.  A bare ten days before, He had conjoined the Sun, being transformed from Administrator to Explorer/Ambassador. (For an explanation of what those terms could mean, see the Stealing Apollo’s Cattle post in this blog.)

Or…did He?


I had speculated in that blog post that while Mercury was invisible—hidden from our sight by the light of the Sun—He walks by the side of the King “at court ”, as it were.  What if He never actually leaves court during a particular direct or retrograde phase?  What?? How could that be so!? you might well ask.  It could be so if, during any given phase of His travels, whether direct or retrograde, Mercury never becomes visible!

On August 26th, Mercury turned direct while only 14 degrees 14 minutes of celestial longitude away from the Sun.  Unless you live on the ocean or desert, with an absolutely flat horizon and absolutely no clouds or pre-dawn fog, you might never see Him this time around, except perhaps for a blinking instant.  He was still “under the beams”, as older astrologers say—less than 17 degrees away from the Sun, the Sun too close to be seen except under perfect conditions.

Even though the distance between Mercury and Sun increases for a week after He turns direct (He’s still reeeelly slow, so the Sun appears to move relatively faster). He only gets to about 18 degrees 6 minutes away on September 2nd.  You’ll still have to be really lucky to see Him.

But wait! Can’t Mercury get up to 28 degrees away from the Sun at the extremes of His direct or retrograde phases?  Yes, He can, but He doesn’t always, or even very often.  In none of His cycles will He achieve maximum elongation (that 28 degrees) this year, for instance—although He gets pretty close in November when he stations on Thanksgiving at 25+ degrees away from the Sun.  Unlike Venus, whose cycles are so beautifully, dependably regular in their appearances, timing and distances from the Sun, not all Mercury cycles are created equal.

That damn Trickster!  Oy!  It would seem that we have yet another factor that can influence the dynamics of any given Mercury phase, and that is whether or not He can actually be seen during that phase, be He direct or retrograde.  Older astrological texts are not at all optimistic about the functioning ability of planets that cannot be seen; such planets were felt not to be able to function at their optimal capacity.

What might this mean for you, for us all in the collective?

Possibly that the amount of mental clarity or perspective that can be brought to bear in any given phase of Mercury, be He Explorer or Administrator, direct or retrograde, aspecting other planets or not, powerful or weak by sign placement, depends on whether He gets far enough away from the Sun to be seen.

Think back to this spring’s Explorer cycle, when retrograde-cum-Explorer Mercury got within 8 degrees of maximum possible elongation from the Sun—20+ degrees—before turning direct on March 30.  And what happened as He gathered direct motion speed a month later?

A magnificent wedding celebrated through Mercurial technology around the globe and a successful long-distance (and closely supervised from afar) military operation.

What have we had since August 2? 

A confusion of signals: the failure of the debt ceiling deal to prevent downgrading of the US bond value, the Mercurial market bouncing all over the place, and a plethora of Republican Presidential hopefuls, appearing to see who can whip up the most craziness in the populace and harness it.

And oh yes, a hurricane.

Irene descending on North Carolina Aug 27 2011 WILX-News mobile photo by Robt Travers posted on Facebook

I offer the idea that, with Mercury on such a short “leash”, as it were, our perspective and clarity of thought are in short supply.

Other authors have noted something like this.  The late Robert Blaschke, in his Astrology: A Language of Life, Vol. V – Holographic Transits, writes, “[Michael] Munkasey found that the more difficult retrograde Mercury periods are those that have the…least range of degree travel…”  But while Blaschke is focused on the issue of Mercury’s speed of travel, I am looking (pun intended) at the issue of His visibility.

 Conflicting stories are buzzing around the zeitgeist like radio signal hash during a solar storm and no one can get a clear “vision” of which one is the most likely to play out.  I let my imagination loose seeking ideas of storylines that might arise under this Explorer phase and frankly, the zeitgeist splatted me in the face with a pie.  Here is the picture of what the most recent Sun-Mercury conjunction looked like.  Whoa! Look at the Sun and Venus, hung like a jeweled pendant from the Lion’s neck, with Mercury under the Lion’s paw!  Surely there’s a story here—but which one?

Is it the goodwill (Venus) forged between Androcles (Mercury) and the Lion (Sun in Leo)? 

Is it Oedipus challenged by the Sphinx (Venus and Sun in Leo) to answer a (Mercurial) riddle? 

Is it Sekhmet, ancient Egypt’s lion-headed goddess (Sun and Venus in Leo), whose battle wrath (and potential destruction of the earth) was only averted by craftily (Mercury) getting her drunk?

Is it Dorothy [Venus] admonishing the Cowardly Lion [Sun in Leo] after he menaces Toto [Mercury]? 

Is it the perfection of the beautiful feline hunter (Sun and Venus in Leo) who too often preys on our songbirds (Mercury)?

Is it the anguished decision (Mercury) the haughty royal princess must make in the old fable of The Lady Or The Tiger, where she must decide her former lover’s fate: does she cede him to the jaws of a beast (Sun in Leo) or the arms of a beautiful hated rival (Venus)? 

Is it the protective Foo Lions, guardians at Chinese gates, the male with his paw on the pulse of the world, the female with hers protecting her offspring?

I sense that which of these stories rises to the surface of a culture—and there are more, I’ve only just scratched the surface, I promise you—depends on where in the world you are.  There is no such thing as a specific sky story that will hold true for every place on the globe.  Sekhmet’s energies would seem particularly pertinent to the savage unrest in Libya and Syria—or to the murderous heat wave gripping the south central US.  The financial and political communities in the US would seem to wish to play out the lose-lose dynamic of The Lady or The Tiger.  The destruction of the Mercurial helicopter carrying Navy SEALS responsible for bin Laden’s death seems to echo the feline hunter bringing down birds.

As much as many parts of the body politic seem bent on playing out some of the grimmer stories, is there a way for individuals to seek to manifest Androcles and the Lion, or the Gift of the Lyre, or Dorothy helping the Cowardly Lion?   Both Cayelin Castell of the Shamanic Astrology Mystery School and Bernadette Brady in her Visual Astrology course speak of the time of a planet’s invisibility as it being in an enchanted place whose manifestations are mysterious, not at all straightforward.  You can’t “see” what’s happening.

But might you be able to “hear” it?  After all, “enchant” is derived from an old Latin word—“incantare”—meaning to sing.

Singing might have more to do with Mercury than you might think.  Mercury invented the lyre (a Venusian artistic item), which he gave to his half-brother, Apollo—a solar god associated with music—to soften his anger after the little bugger stole Apollo’s sacred cattle.  Might Mercury, when invisible, be able to function as a sort-of radio transmitter for the songs of the God of Prophecy?  If so the recommended meditation practices, the asking for answers in dreams, the cultivating of quiet stillness that I’ve often heard prescribed as a helpful antidote for Mercury retrograde phases are perhaps more properly applied to the period of His invisibility, so you can “hear” what He has to say…like Pete Townsend did.

“There once was a note, pure and easy / Playing so free like a breath rippling by / The note is eternal, I hear it, it sees me / Forever we blend and forever we die…”

Hey– I been good!

Hey—why me?  I’ve been good!

I said that to my friend and colleague, Margaret Gray, yesterday while bemoaning the transits of our times and the fact that even though I’m doing all the right things, I haven’t lost a pound (and yes I’m working on that) in two months.  Plus the economy is whako and…and… I said—out loud.  Why me?  I mean—I’ve been good.  Actually I was impersonating Bill Cosby impersonating Noah and God.

–Call me intuitive or smart or in touch with the divine, but I just know Noah had to have been born near the constellation Capricornus carrying the story of the Sea Goat–that ever so practical animal in the night sky who would tell the people how to handle hard times like floods and such. Or maybe Noah had some planet in the mid degrees of Taurus and heard a voice from the deep. Maybe Noah was being stared at by the monster from the black lagoon—the leviathan—the whale who ate Jonah—that whale (not Free Willy). That whale called Cetus.   Ahhhhhh maybe that is it.

Is that you, Cetus? Collage C.Johnson 2010

Bernadette Brady describes Cetus in the Starlight Program as:

According to the Greeks, Cetus is the sea monster who was sent to devour Andromeda. Perseus, however, saved her by using the severed head of Medusa which turned the sea monster to stone. But the stories of this whale in the sky seem to predate the Greek version. It has had various forms but it is always some aquatic beast that blows water from a blow hole. Cetus has been illustrated at times with a dog’s head and forelegs and with a mermaid-like tail. It would seem that this creature is more like the fresh water mythic creature the Loch Ness monster than a marine whale in that it represents an unknown beast from the depths rather than what we know as a gentle giant of the sea. Aratus in the 4th century B.C.E., referred to the constellation as: “the hateful Monster Cetus”. And Jobes referred to it as representing a monster “that rises from the dark nether sea with a ravenous appetite for humans”. Christian mythology saw this as the whale that swallowed Jonah, whereas the Arabs broke it into three separate constellations: The Hand, the Ostrich and the Necklace.

The Brightest star is Menkar, the nose or jaw of the whale.

Like all of us, I am trying to figure out how to maneuver through these times and how to assist my clients as the waters appear to be rising (think the new phrase referring to mortgages~ “my house is under water”.)   And these times do indeed call for something akin to the building of an ark.

I mean when you look at the news or the transits — say Pluto squaring Uranus or Saturn squaring Uranus or Pluto opposing Saturn or…take your pick–I feel like Noah being given a job–build an ark!  “Get the animals on board and stay on top of the waters and I ain’t just whistlin’ Dixie sayeth the Lord!”  (well I don’t know if that is biblical but it feels right)

I also identify with Noah’s disbelief that this could be happening–oh say with the economy or with riots or with the clear and present revolutions occurring–and I can feel as Noah did that he was being “put upon” — he was tired and frankly pissed that he has to “do something”.  Remember this one?

Ri-i-ight–this isn’t a shower.  It isn’t even personal.  We are watching the earth and the structures that we might have thought stable tumble and wobble; people that we expected to bring wisdom and sanity scratch their heads in amazement at their inability to do so. And– Like Noah, I protest—hey I’m retired!  I should be able to kick back and enjoy my golden years and not have to think about arks.


Noah says to God—and what about that mess down there in the ark?! Who’s gonna clean that up?   awwwwwww man.

Heading to Starlight to see just what might be happening in the watery part of the heavens, I find Jupiter right smack dab in what Darrelyn Gunzberg has named: The Stare of Cetus.  Hmmmmmm

Awhile ago, Bernadette Brady wrote in the Visual Astrology Newsletter a piece called “Saviors Need Not Apply” . The title alone caught my eye. (and that piece was about Jupiter in the sky stories). I was reminded then of that other eye –the eye of Cetus.  Darrelyn Gunzberg has brought that one to the surface with her eloquent writing and fascinating inquiry into what that whale means for people and “the” people.

She says of Cetus the whale in the April 2008 Visual Astrology Newsletter:

The ram of Aries shares his glory with no one and Cetus the Sea Monster is the unknown beast from the depths which can erupt bearing with it moments of great insight or chaos. When a planet/luminary passes through this area of the sky, then, depending on which planet/luminary that is, whilst it may imply independence or supremacy of an individual or a concept (in Aries, the Ram), it comes at a price, for it is trapped in the stare of the sea monster and there will be hidden issues which sit beneath it.

and more about Cetus in the May2008 VAN

(does Bill Cosby have anything connected to that whale and were those riffs “messages” as only great comedians can impart?)

Well lookie here—Bill Cosby does have the brightest star in the whale in paran with Jupiter. Quoting from the report that Starlight can generate for one’s sky story:

Menkar-The Whale, with Jupiter in Foundation

Feast or famine, the fickleness of life

Menkar is the alpha star of Cetus the whale, and this whale represents the human collective unconscious, that can erupt like a beast from the deep bearing, with equal probability, moments of great collective insight, or chaos and mayhem. Symbolic of these unconscious forces, Menkar’s effect on your life, via its paran to Jupiter, can be difficult. However, the collective unconscious is not always evil or dark, it can also be great and glorious. Jupiter will soften the impact of this star, and indicates that if you follow your intuition and reach for the big picture your success can be based on popular support. This can result in many different expressions. The record breaking and successful sports person, the gifted teacher, or perhaps the lawyer who represents a large collective issue. This really is a stellar combination of feast or famine. If you aim high some of your ideas and plans will definitely become popular, but at other times you will fall from grace. Learn to ride the waves and the valleys. 

And Cetus is staring at the wandering star Uranus in Bill Cosby’s sky story as well. As with many comedians — as with the Jester — the truth get told.  Think the current Jon Stewart show where many of us now go for our news :)–and I’m not kidding.

There is revolution in the air. And Arks to be built. Yup.  But as Noah says:  um….what’s an ark?

Since I’m identifying with Noah today.  This is getting interesting.

Another twist is that in the night sky story’s cast of characters — Jupiter is considered the Crown Prince. That is the part he plays on the silver screen. And as we said above, currently (like right now) Jupiter is “in the stare of Cetus”.  So um…. Speaking of “crown princes” wonder who else in on “ark-duty”.  Note to God:  Call Barack.  Tell him about the ark thing and that there is no compromise.

About an hour ago, I heard about a friend of ours who for the umpteenth time is in hospital–a broken bone–now needing Physical Therapy–(she is in good hands and will be ok)–and–She is Mega Taurus–with Cetus staring at her Moon, Uranus and Venus!!

This woman is amazing—she just takes the pain and inconvenience and suffering and transforms it into smiles and love for all–and I do mean ALL.  She turns what is tough and chaotic into music and gratitude and courage.  Frankly she is quite impressive and a grand example of how to manage that stare from the deep.

Plus she attracts the greats. 

Recently we were all together at Teatro Zinzani’s celebrating Elaine’s 75th birthday and enjoying a grand evening

Elaine, Rhoberta, Claudia and Susan June2011

—seeing her chart, one is not surprised when Joan Baez picks her out of the crowd, walks over, takes her hand and sings to her. (now Elaine will be the first to tell you that that had happened before—with Joan herself at another event–yes–Joan Baez loves Elaine Levine.  It is on a tree somewhere in the forrest.with a heart around it–carved. ).

Good work with that whale, girl.  This song’s for you.

Ok…gang—-let’s go build some ark’s.

PS–Darrelyn recently wrote a very moving piece about Amy Winehouse and her life lived in the stare of Cetus in the July VAN  (You can sign up to receive these newsletters at–well worth it!)

She writes: The eastern horizon 

Additionally, rising in the east and lying above that eastern horizon and along it at the time of her birth was Cetus, the Sea Monster, carrying hidden issues from deep within the collective. Those issues found a ready voice in Winehouse. Lyrics that were intensely autobiographical, a voice that was suffused with gritty realism, the more complicated her personal life became, the more successful she became as an artist.[8]



A Tale of Two Mercuries by Marcia Buchart

On August 2 Mercury, which had been at a virtual standstill for nearly a week, turned retrograde—just as the U.S. legislative arm finally agreed on a deal about raising the debt ceiling.  If you remember the Apollo’s Cattle post of May 1 2011, I dubbed a Mercury which is direct and has hurried ahead of the Sun in celestial longitude Governmental Mercury.  And what a time we’ve had in the U.S. with that Mercury!

On June 25 Mercury emerged from “under the beams” of the Sun (the King) and everyone has watched, somewhat slack-jawed, the knock-down, drag-out fight in the Congress over the debt-ceiling-budget brouhaha.  Even though an agreement of sorts seems to have been hammered out, commentators are unsure how, exactly, to evaluate it: is it a real agreement?  What really happened here?  Does it mean anything?  Who was betrayed?  Who won? Etc., etc., etc.  Not surprising, according to Rick Levine and Jeff Jawer, since as He stations, Mercury is opposing Neptune, which some astrologers feel will make the issues much harder to reach clarity on (see for Jeff & Rick’s lecture held in Redmond WA).

This would seem to be Governmental Mercury Behaving Badly with a vengeance.  But if, as I argued in the earlier post, such a Mercury is essentially carrying out the King’s policy, what the heck was going on?

Let’s see if we can unpack this.

Although Mercury is only one planet, He behaves almost like two, depending on whether He’s a morning star (explorer) or evening star (governmental).  So does Venus, in astrological legend (particularly Meso-American); She shares, with Mercury, a common pattern of visibility, one very different from the Moon and the planets from Mars on out.  All the planets from Mars on out always make their first appearance after a conjunction with the Sun in the morning, visible before the dawn; the Moon, after Her conjunction always makes her first appearance in the evening, just after sunset.  What does Mercury do?  After a conjunction with the Sun, Mercury appears (when retrograde) in the morning—before dawn; then He stops, turns direct, re-conjoins the Sun and appears in the evening—after sunset; then he speeds ahead of the Sun, then stops, turns retrograde, and heads back for the next conjunction with the Sun.  He and Venus seesaw back and forth in this pattern from a visual perspective.

Well, that’s cool, you say, but what does it have to do with anything?

Simply this: the way Mercury—or any planet—behaves in the different phases of any given cycle is possibly formed by the energies in play when it last conjoined the Sun.  You can pick up hints of this philosophy when reading interpretive ideas about the Moon’s phases; the Zodiac sign in which they conjoined (the New Moon) is felt to color the whole monthly cycle.  Current astrological literature extrapolates this idea to all planetary cycles vis-à-vis each other.  For instance, the transiting Uranus-Pluto square is sometimes interpreted with reference back to the sign in which they last conjoined—Virgo—to begin their current cycle.

So: following this line of reasoning, the Mercurial hornet’s nest we’ve been dumbfounded to witness has not all that much to do with Mercury turning retrograde on August 2.  It has its roots in the energies in play during Mercury’s most recent conjunction with the Sun, which took place on June 12 at 21° Gemini 39′.

Look at the horoscope for that conjunction, set for Washington D.C: 

  • The first startling thing about this conjunction is that it doesn’t make any aspects to any other planets!  It’s operating all by itself.  Whatever transpires between the Executive and Legislative/Judicial branches feels unconnected to anything else going on and no one else can really get in effective input.  Most importantly, it isn’t connected to the Moon, the heavenly body who symbolizes the common populace in a “mundane” chart.
  • The next thing to notice is that Mercury is in Gemini, a sign He rules.  This makes Mercury powerful.  Since Mercury has more power than the Sun in Gemini, this perhaps says that the arms of the government other than executive are going to be the ones forcing policy, not the other way around.
  • The next rather delightful tidbit gave me my “Aha!” moment about the conjunction: if you could have seen it in the sky, the Sun and Mercury lay smack in between the Horns in the constellation of the Great Bull of Heaven.
Sun and Mercury in the horns of the bull (using Starlight
  •   A charging bull, at that!


  • All kinds of images spring to mind, don’t they?  “On the horns of a dilemma”…”taking the bull by the horns”…”between a rock and a hard place”…”when the rock falls on the egg, alas for the egg, but! if the egg falls on the rock, alas for the egg”…okay, I’ll stop.No wonder there was such a fight, especially since by July 21 Mars —always spoiling for a fight—had moved forward to the degree of the Sun-Mercury conjunction.  And Mars’ scrappy presence (“Words are weapons / Sharper than knives / Makes you wonder how the other half died”) was only intensifying…
  • …the final thing, which is exceedingly subtle (and probably only “visible” to an astrology wonk (a technical term)—guilty as charged).  The degree of this conjunction has a special relationship with the degree of the July 1 “mass molt” solar eclipse, called an antiscial relationship.  Antiscia, also known as solstice points, are like ‘mirror degrees’ arranged around the 0 Cancer-0 Capricorn solstice axis of the zodiac.  Planets in antiscial degrees don’t function as direct aspects tend to; they are not “interacting” with each other.  They more often resonate to each other, as a crystal goblet will “sing” when a note is played that matches the harmonic frequency in the glass.

 So when the eclipse occurred on the solstice point of the Sun-Mercury conjunction, and Mars joined the party three weeks later, the heat was on: molt (raise the debt ceiling) or die.

Now, Governmental Mercury is heading (staggering?) back to the King.  It will be really interesting to see what happens on August 16, 2011, when the Sun and Mercury conjoin again at 23° Leo 49′.  Because now, the Sun—who rules Leo—will have the upper hand.

Stay tuned…and be in touch  

Mass Molt – The July 1st Eclipse

by Marcia Buchart

Surely by now many of you have read many interpretations on possible manifestations of the solar eclipse of July 1, 2011.  Not only does this eclipse at 9 Cancer 12 create a grand cross configuration with Pluto in Capricorn, Saturn in Libra and Uranus in Aries, it begins a new Saros Series of eclipses, known as New South 13

(when seen from earth the eclipse occurs in the deep southern hemisphere, near Antarctica).

Bernadette Brady wrote extensively about the Saros Series in Chapter 5 of The Eagle and the Lark, her first major book on astrological forecasting:

“Each Saros Series produced a solar eclipse every 18 years plus 9-to-11 days…each one being a half to a full degree closer to, or further from, the nodal axis…Each Series starts as a tiny partial eclipse at either the North or South Pole…an orb of between 15° to 18° in front of the nodal axis.”

She argued that the initiating eclipse of the series could be judged like a natal chart whose energies would influence all the other eclipses in the series—and each series can last for over 1000 years.

We are seeing, on Friday, July 1, 2011 1:53 PDT, the birth of a new series with all the (understandable) anxiety attendant upon any important birth. 

Chart for Eclipse July 1, 2011 Nehalem, Oregon

Brady offers the following interpretive ideas in her latest Visual Astrology Newsletter about the characteristics of this new series:

This theme of this entire series will be about undertaking and or completing large endeavors. At a personal level hard struggles begin to resolve, old thorny issues begin to untangle and the too-hard problems start to become clear.

Added to this Grand Cross is the energy of the tightest midpoints and these are Pluto to Mars/Jupiter (the midpoint between Mars and Jupiter) which suggests extraordinary effort and achievement PLUS Jupiter to New Moon/Neptune (Jupiter to the midpoint of the New Moon and Neptune ©) which brings long and difficult issues to gentle conclusions through inspiration or the insight of a bright idea.

So if you are stuck or jammed on an issue at the moment, apply your mind and give yourself permission to ‘think outside the box’ or do a little active imagination to help find solutions. Old problems can be solved in this period.

 This eclipse is also happening amongst the stars of Gemini which, within the Assyrian astrologer/priests’ letters to their kings, usually indicates the death of a king or the ending of an issue. So endings… but endings of problems, the ending of ‘old’ things which then allows a fresh approach to life.” 

Zodiac Window Chartes Cathedral (c.1220): May and Gemini

How might this happen?  I’m going to take a clue from the sign in which the eclipse occurs, Cancer.

Cancer is a remarkably complex energy, according to Steven Forrest, in The Inner Sky:

“The Crab. A vulnerable creature. A succulent piece of meat.

The food of gulls. How can he survive? What hope is there for him? He is only a morsel awaiting the predator’s mouth.

To live, the Crab must grow a shell. He must grow a wall between himself and nature. He is too delicate to protect himself in any other way.

With this armor, the Crab endures. He is at peace with his environment. But that success holds the seeds of a perilous transformation. The Crab eats. He matures. And soon he outgrows his shell. It must be shed [emphasis mine]. If he is cunning and lucky, he may live to grow another one. One that is larger, more suited to his expanded state. But only if he is cunning and lucky.”

Watch the moulting--Click on Picture

My take: with this eclipse series, get ready for the molt.

The surprise: it need not be a trauma.

Instead of it being a desperate, painful endeavor, you may find it astonishingly easy. 

All the heavens are now conspiring to loosen your shell and allow it to drop away.

A long-standing client consulted me a few days ago, one whose (extremely problematic) natal Saturn in Cancer is only a degree away from this eclipse degree.  As the reading proceeded, I was privileged to witness a stunning transformation; a major theme of the reading was allowing energies to flow without having pre-defined what form they should take.  This was not about having a mold to pour molten metal into; what was more appropriate was much more like allowing the fantastic forms molten lava assumes as it emerges from the womb of the earth into the air and sunlight.  And, under the energetics of this impending eclipse, (along with a personally important Uranus transit) the client’s shell fell away. It’s the only way I can describe what happened.  But instead of immediately wanting the shell back, the person expressed great delight at a new sense of freedom, a joy that in going with whatever flowed, of allowing the possibility of “chaotic” creation (as opposed to pre-ordered, “cosmic” creation) meant that one was on the right path.

[NB: “cosmos” is originally a Greek word that means “beautiful order.”  Cosmic creation might be likened to the creation story from Genesis, with a Master Artisan directing endeavors in line with his 7-Day Plan.]

Remember in the previous post about “loony” eclipses I opined that possibly solar eclipses are centering, allowing one to get a sense of being on the right path even if the final destination has yet to be seen?

So have faith when the shell falls off; you’re doing what must be done.

Okay, everybody…one…two…three…MOLT!    

Lunar Eclipses and Nutsoidness (a technical term)

By Marcia Buchart

It always feels, to me, as if the lunar eclipses are more conducive to feeling nutsoid than the solar eclipses.  In solar eclipses a magical thing happens: at totality, one can look directly at the sun.  In Egyptian and Hellenistic cultures, the Sun was associated with Divinity and Divine Purpose.  Following this line of tradition the Sun, more than Jupiter, Neptune, Pluto or the Nodes, has to do with one’s spiritual purpose, the spark of divinity within.  And when is the best time to get a glimpse of that?  When the Moon, our nearest celestial neighbor, has protected us, when She has shielded our eyes sufficiently that we can gaze upon the Source of our magnificence without damage.  Before the era of satellites and Hubble telescopes, astronomers eagerly awaited eclipses because it was then that they could learn the most about the sun.  In the darkened sky during totality, one can get a visual handle on divine purpose.

It can be quite centering, as I learned when I witnessed my first eclipse in Hawaii in 1991.  I had just abandoned Corporate America and was still quaking within, wondering what in heck I could possibly thinking of, to leave without the pension, the gold watch…but during the trip, gazing on the spectacle above I was spellbound.  I could see solar prominences—93,000,000 miles away!—with my naked eye.  And, upon returning from the trip, I suddenly found myself inwardly centered, still unsure how the rest of my life would unfold, but sure that I had done the right thing.

I married on a solar eclipse (one that occurred only 4 degrees away from where the sun will be when a lunar eclipse occurs on June 15!).  Any electional astrologer would shudder with horror at such a thing, as I was to find out decades later.  However, our marriage is now in its 37th year.  Our first year together was extremely difficult, materially and emotionally, yet it never entered my head to abandon the course on which we had embarked.  Again, I knew not what I was doing, really, or how it would turn out, only that I was somehow on the right path.

Ah, but lunar eclipses…may be very different animals altogether. 

Even though Bernadette Brady’s first book to look at them extensively, The Eagle and the Lark, pairs lunar eclipses with the Saros Series numbers of nearby solar eclipses, she recently told me of an alternate measuring scheme for them.  The first solar eclipse of any Saros series begins near either the north or south pole.  However, while astronomers use this same method for organizing solar eclipse series that astrologers do, they treat lunar eclipses on their own terms.  To astronomers, the first lunar eclipse of a given series begins with a lunar eclipse near the equator.  Think about it: the initiation point of any solar eclipse series begins near an axis, a stable point, an anchor, as it were, around which the earth spins.  But lunar eclipse series, under this definition, begin at a geophysical point of maximum centrifugal force, which, if not withstood by competing forces (Goddess bless gravity), will fling things far and wide into the great beyond. 

Feel flung around a bit? Scattered to the four winds?  Running in circles?  Maybe the centrifugal force of an upcoming lunar eclipse is in play. 

But wait—there’s more! 

 How many of you have watched a lunar eclipse? 

You watch the moon slowly vanish from full to a tiny crescent to “new”, then to a waxing crescent and back to full.  It’s as if a whole month had passed within a single night.  Any month with a lunar eclipse in it has, symbolically, 60 days! 

Feeling that your plate is a bit full?  That all of a sudden there is far too much to accomplish in a standard 24-hour day?  Well, no wonder!  And you thought it was only because Uranus is in Aries…

As I write these words, I am preparing for an anniversary trip which will begin on the day of the lunar eclipse (in which the Sun is close to the degree of our marriage eclipse).  And in the middle of typing this up, the phone rings.  My spouse’s new boss demands that he be in Massachusetts for their first face-to-face the day after we are supposed to return from our vacation.  Since we live in Washington state…okay, quick phone call to the ferry to reschedule our return sailing from Victoria, BC; mad dashing around on his part to get travel arrangements into place; I’ll have to drive him from Anacortes to SeaTac to hop a red-eye for Boston.  Lunacy!

But! not everybody will be dashing to and fro.  The reason this eclipse is affecting us is because the degree affects our marriage chart and both our birth charts.  If you don’t have planets or chart angles in hard aspect to 24 Sagittarius/Gemini, sit back with your popcorn and giggle while you watch the rest of us fly around like bats out of wherever.


The Moon and Sun, in the eclipse chart, are both in paran to Ras Alhague, the head of the Great Healer, that infamous “13th Sign”, Ophiuchus.  If you look at the Starlight map, you’ll see the Moon down near his foot. 

And since these parans are Foundational (they are tied to the IC) a lasting effect of the eclipse may involve a breakthrough in mending things—what things to be mended?  Whatever is relevant to the individual depending on where the eclipse falls in her/his chart.  What houses do the signs Sagittarius and Gemini occupy?  A balance point may be able to be struck that brings order back to one’s life, possibly not before things come apart, so to speak; after all, if you have too many things in the air, how long will it be before at least one goes crunch on the ground?  The solution when the straw breaks the camel’s back is not to blame the camel, but to lighten its load—after you take the poor beast to the vet and get it well again.eclipse camel china

Do you really need to have your own back broken before you say, “No more”?

Here’s Lookin’ at you through Crazy Eyes!

but seriously folks…

Astrology is an ancient and intriguing discipline. I take it very seriously.  One can learn about oneself, the cycles of one’s life, current events, history, cosmology, relationships. We can get all worked up over eclipses, transits and things that go bump in the night.

As an astrologer–it is my job to empower you as you explore possibilities, what to do at certain times or how to look forward and make responsible plans or look back at your life and make meaning out of the past. I think it is the astrologer’s job to offer assistance as you wander through life’s peaks and valleys.  It is also my job (as I see it) to do my homework, work with integrity, study my craft, all the while weaving together the disciplines and research that allow us to experience aliveness, empowerment and an understanding of what it means to be human.

So–this week (upon returning from NORWAC–the Northwest Astrology Conference held in Seattle every year)—I am charged with the rather daunting task of sharing the wisdom I gained while studying my craft –


Question: What is the proper way to begin a conference and serious course of study?

Answer:  by laughing your head off… 

On Friday, Rick Tarnas conducted a seminar titled—The Comic Genius: An Archetypal Perspective

Tarnas on numbers of occasions joins John Cleese for what must be wonderful ways to spend a life!  Tarnas and Cleese at California Institute of Integral Studies

We spent the day watching various clips from Cleese’s Monty Python series and other comedians and entertainers.  We looked at their charts–and frankly in this day and age of rather serious events and transits that indicate a momentous time in our history—-laughing and remembering the healing power of laughter was a gift from the Celestial Comedy Gods.

Tarnas pointed out Mercury and Mars contacts in Cleese’s chart speaking to the notion that the mind takes in information (I’m not quoting him exactly – just from my memory and notes) and then one must defend the ideas. Cleese thrives on the thrust and counter thrust—Tarnas noted that he generally begins his pieces with an argument—a contest.

 Argument Clinic


Cleese also has a T-Square to Uranus and Tarnas points out thatbest humorists—have a high Uranian component”—the trickster (Mercury ) saying that which is taboo (Uranus). Think about some of your Aquarian friends—they are often the ones who at some point in the meeting–point at the elephant in the room with an innocent expression—stopping us in our tracks, so to speak. Tricksters indeed.  

And talk about talking about that which is taboo!  

John Cleese delivered a memorable memorial speech for Graham Chapman at a memorial service held two months later in the Great Hall at St Bartholomew’s Hospital. Cleese delivered a humorous eulogy for his friend Chapman and took advantage of “this glorious opportunity to shock you all on his behalf,” which he then went on to do.

Part of the speech is included below:

Video of Eulogy for Graham

Graham Chapman, co-author of the ‘Parrot Sketch,’ is no more.

He has ceased to be, bereft of life, he rests in peace, he has kicked the bucket, hopped the twig, bit the dust, snuffed it, breathed his last, and gone to meet the Great Head of Light Entertainment in the sky.

And I guess that we’re all thinking how sad it is that a man of such talent, of such capability for kindness, for such unusual intelligence, a man who could overcome his alcoholism with such truly admirable single-mindedness, should now so suddenly be spirited away at the age of only forty-eight before he’d achieved many of the things in which he was capable, and before he’d had enough fun.

Well, I feel that I should say, ‘Nonsense! Good riddance to him, the freeloading bastard. I hope he fries.’ And the reason I feel I should say this is he would never forgive me if I didn’t. If I threw away this glorious opportunity to shock you all on his behalf. It’s not a funeral, I grant you, but a memorial service is still pretty good.

It is magnificent, isn’t it? You see, the thing about shock . . . is not that it upsets some people, I think; I think that it gives others a momentary joy of liberation, as we realized in that instant that the social rules that constrict our lives so terribly are not actually very important.

Well, Gray can’t do that for us anymore. He’s gone. He is an ex-Chapman. All we have of him now is our memories. But it will be some time before they fade.
Cheer up—you know what they say:

Always look on the bright side of life…

Tarnas pointed out that great comics have strong Sun / Saturn components in their charts. That is to say that the Sun and Saturn are in some aspect to each other or prominent by house or sign—they are, if you will, in ‘conversation’ and depending on the nature of the relationship it becomes apparent how the comedic archetype takes hold in their manner of delivery.

One example a classic Sun/Saturn comedian is Woody Allen  who also has Jupiter in the mix such that even the expanding universe is cause for worry.

Woody Allen’s chart

 He said among many things:  I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying. 

Colbert at Rally to restore sanity and/or fear 2010

Steven Colbert was born with the Saturn opposing Pluto conjoining Uranus era in 1964. This funny progressive liberal (Uranus) is a trickster cloaked as a conservative Fox News Commentator. He pretends to be the opposite of what he really thinks and says of himself. It is the only way he can stay sane—to laugh. He says if he didn’t – he’d cry. Did you see him at the Correspondent’s Dinner in 2006? Actually the clip watching Bush’s face is equally as interesting as the court jester speaks and shocks and gets away with it as only the court jester can do.  (you can click on the chart for an enlarged image)

Only the best comics (Court Jesters) can pull it off. Tarnas played the clip of Colbert interviewing the head of Ploughshares (an anti-nuclear organization) — the interview itself is a poignant example of the current SaturnUranus-Pluto catastrophe. Colbert begins the interview and with a serious face asks if the head of Ploughshares will “at least admit that a nuclear explosion is awesome”


And I cannot forget my favorite Ernestine aka Lily Tomlin. Able to transform into character after character—the characters are real and have a structured presence as well as that Uranian shock effect. Tomlin was born under the 1939 Saturn Pluto square, has Mercury squaring Uranus and her Virgo Sun opposing Saturn. She can make us laugh at ourselves as she becomes aspects that we often want to hide, but never fail to recognize.

Here she is as Tommy Velour w/ Michael Jackson & Elizabeth Taylor 2009  

And on the Johnny Carson show–she talks about all her characters–Johnny Carson was my dad’s favorite comic.  I’ll bet my dad has some similar planets in his chart–he was one funny guy. (gotta go look)

Spent time today going off on my own for a while, looking at charts of people/friends I think are funny. I am seeing how Mercury and Uranus and Saturnine flavors are present in their charts.  I see how those archetypes come alive when laughter just erupts around the dinner table.

Just think about when you are watching Jon Stewart (I don’t have his chart) or laughing with your friends as you or one of them says something that just has you almost on the floor. It is generally unexpected, taking you over and  — then it begins to take hold and even if you wanted it to end…you just can’t stop——Laughing.

Laughter loosens up the body, the heart and the mind and I’ll bet we can find all kinds of medical reasons for it being a healthy thing to do – and do a lot. One of the people I laugh with on a regular basis is my sister, Peggy. We just think about each other and the jokes start coming. Sister jokes. My favorite kind! Best friend uncontrollable laughter often accompanied with trips down memory lane (Saturn) when something erupted and took over and we had to pull over to the side of the road if driving. Those times make life worth living, the comedic archetype and the astrological signatures worth looking at. A hell of a homework assignment for this student!

In honor of my Gemini sister and Gemini friends with whom I have shared a world of laughter here is a clip from Victor Borge. He was our grandmother Peggy’s favorite comedian—and since my funny sis, Peggy, has a birthday this month, I chose Borge to honor her and our Nanny Peggy. Borge was a Capricorn, a classical musician with his Sun conjoining Uranus, Mercury opposing Neptune.  


Borge famously said: “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people”.

Here’s laughin’ with you kids…


Birthday Song performed 2007         Victor Borge

Heads up–there is a Taurus in your chart

It is May isn’t it?

I was all ready to go out tonight hoping to spot some delicious night sky stories taking place right here on the Oregon coast–but alas–the fog has rolled in and I doubt I’ll see much tonight.  BUT— I can maybe–just maybe see the moon near Saturn who has and will be walking along side the Goddess of the Harvest-the maiden (also called Virgo after the zodiacal sign). And I wanted to see Spica–the brightest star in the constellation Virgo.  She is located in the wheat sheaf that the Goddess holds in her left hand and is the gift of bounty and food and good things.

It has been said that when the Moon is under a star or a planet visually, that star or planet is honored and supported in its appointed task.  Spica is honored–bounty is supported tonight.

–Bernadette Brady speaks about Spica in her epic work (The Fixed Stars) regarding the earliest meanings with the stars and the night sky.

She says:

 Spica:  A gift, being gifted
	As the star is seen as the wheat sheaf in the hand of the goddess, Spica was
 considered a symbol of her gifts to humankind. These gifts were originally of harvest
 and bountifulness. The wheat sheaf, therefore, symbolised human knowledge of
 cultivation, a gift from the goddess. In present times this type of knowledge is not
 venerated, so if Virgo was created in the 20th century, she might well be holding a
 silicon chip. Spica, the wheat sheaf, is the symbol of knowledge and insights which
 are respected. Spica is, therefore, not connected with any particular field or
 profession but rather shows the potential for brilliance in whatever it touches in your
	Spica is a gift of brilliance, a hidden or obvious talent, skill or ability which is out of
 the ordinary. The word 'gifted' applies to strong Spica people and whatever this star
 touches, it will illuminate in some way. With Spica in your chart, consider the planet
 with which it is involved as this planet will indicate the style of the brilliance or gift
 that Spica holds in your chart.
 (by the way--we will find out in August if you have Spica prominent in your story.)

I’m taking this as a sign that the birthday party for some fine Taurus folks tomorrow will be supported and lovely.  Oh and that there are gifts available perhaps in the news as well?  It could happen!  Some gift of good news — I’ll bet the priest/astrologer would be telling the Ruler that there are presents under the tree for him or her these days.  She has only to look.  And with Saturn in the arms of the beautiful gift giver–the Goddess of the Harvest, the gifts will be delicious and gratefully received in a structured manner–like a birthday party.

There are other things happening in May that are of note–say for example a lineup of planets that hasn’t happened for 30 years and won’t happen again for another 32 years.  Yes–right here in the merry month of May, Mercury, Venus, Mars and recently Jupiter have been having a little conference of their own in the sign Aries and by the end of the month they will all be in Taurus.  Not only that–but this confab is very very important–it carries messages and paradigms and inventions and revelations from unseen places.  Cetus the whale (the monster–not the friendly whale that the children rescue)–this image requires us to address that which is dark and deep and important and could alter reality and he is staring (or glaring?) at these planets who have gathered at this time in our history.  

There are messages to listen for and we can almost ‘feel’ or hear these planets asking for our attention  — they are the inner planets (Venus, Mars, Mercury). They are not the big guys like Neptune, Uranus or Pluto.  These are more familiar players on our stage.  They are ‘closer’ to us and it would behoove us to turn our good ear upward especially in the early morning hours which is when they will be rising.

If you look to your chart and find the houses with Aries and Taurus on the cusps–that is where you want to take advantage of this moment.  If, say, you have Taurus on the 7th house–then those planets are going to move into that house and you will — no kidding — want to “carpe diem”–yep seize the time to provide comfort and beauty and strength in all your relationships…all of them — including your relationship with yourself.  Find the folks with whom you feel your best–in whose presence you are admired and respected.  And do this intentionally in May.  The lusty month of May.  You will want to stand in that bullish strength for a long long time.

The same holds true for whatever house these personal planets will be visiting in your charts in May.  Seize the time and strengthen your life in those areas like you are the Bull.  Like you ARE big and powerful and were once worshipped as a God.  Astrology is good for this—for allowing us to be aware of when it is a good time to grab the golden ring of meaning and stand tall in the mere knowledge that perhaps, if you are conscious, you can declare into existence something that was not there before. Something good— hey something good just might come of it.

In the foggy night–here is a great little movie for the starry skies in May.  You’ll see some of what I’m talking about as you watch and listen pretending to be outside all warm and enchanted by the show on the big silver screen.

Happy Birthday Taureans!

…a word about the Jester

Jester: The fourteenth century was a time of “noble” extravagance. The high courts, surrounded by poverty, encouraged comedy. It was out of this thirst for amusement the Court Jester was born. Some Jesters were dwarves, others were idiots, and most were treated as pets. From these early court “fools” developed the official position of Court Jester. As the position gained recognition, many bright and talented actors stepped into entertain the court with their comedy and satire. Often the satire was political, and many walked a fine line between speaking the thoughts of the people and offending their masters.

The Jester’s costume was called a “Motley,” receiving its name from the dyed multicolored wool from which it was made. The costumes differed with the imagination of each Jester, but essential ingredients were often part of the clothing. Triangular hemlines were seen with arrays of bells hung all around. Headgear became popular in the shape of a conical cap featuring donkey’s ears, a cock’s comb, or woven triangles with bells. These hats were the early prototypes of many hats worn by clowns today. Jesters grew in popularity and soon became a necessary part of every nobleman’s court. Henry VIII’s best friend was said to be his Jester.

Richard Tarleton, a famous Jester of British history, was known to keep Queen Elizabeth in stitches. The relationship between Jester and royalty allowed freedom of opinion (guised in whit) shared by few. The Jester’s place in the history of the clown is one of courage and sacrifice. As a forerunner of public opinion and a friend to kings he is immortalized forever a major contributor to court and clown.

A Comment of Sorts……on the Mass and the Center post

2011 Worlds Davis and White free dance from Universal Sports Apr30 2011

from Astrologer, Marcia Buchart

This symbolizes, to me, a staggeringly virtuosic display of the celestial picture right now.

~and the reason I loved this as a visual of the current celestial situation was because of the use of GRAVITY (Saturn opposing all that Aries/Pisces energy) to create ART.  (Gravity is your friend?  Who knew?)

The Mass and the Center – The 2011 Pisces/Aries Stellium and Uranus in Aries

by Carol Ferris

For thousands of years, we humans thought the Earth was the center of the universe — until we discovered we weren’t the center, and made the Sun our center, with our visible planets orbiting circularly around the Sun in a more or less flat plane.

Then we located the “outer planets”. Then we discovered that, in fact, we were one of a number of centers and satellites, or galaxies.

It took us a long time to discover all this, first by eye, then by telescope, but always by conjecture and theory.

As our understanding of the nature of our system took shape, our social structures evolved parallel to that understanding: centers with satellites translated into chiefs and subjects, popes and congregations, presidents and employees.

As our view expanded telescopically, we quested for the ultimate center, and we arrived at — emptiness, and the systems moving equidistantly from each other.

Pine Mountain Observatory Oregon
Robert Jastrow, space scientist and author of Until the Sun Dies notes:

“. . . if you were sitting on a planet in one of the other galaxies in the Universe, you would observe the galaxies around you receding in exactly the same way that an observer in our galaxy sees our neighbors moving away. Your galaxy would seem to be at the center of the expansion, and so would every other galaxy; but, in fact, there is no center.”

“To understand this statement more clearly, imagine a very large, unbaked loaf of raisin bread. Each raisin is a galaxy.

Now place the unbaked loaf in the oven; as the dough rises, the interior of the loaf expands uniformly, and all the raisins move apart from one another.

The loaf of bread is like our expanding Universe. Every raisin sees its neighbors receding from it; every raisin seems to be at the center of the expansion; but there is no center” (Jastrow 8-9).

Additionally, we have learned something else about the nature of centers and satellites.

When we think of the center of something, we often think of the dead center of it — e.g., that the center of the solar system is the center of the Sun.

“The mass of the planets is about 1/750th the mass of the Sun and the center of mass of the solar system can move from close to the center of the Sun to up to one solar radius outside the surface of the Sun! Where the solar system barycenter is at any given moment is determine by the configuration of planets as they revolve around the Sun” (Michelsen in Tables of Planetary Phenomena 16).

Motion of Barycenter of the solar system relative to the Sun


This represents a paradigm shift in both scientific and social thinking — from universe as dependent functions of an ultimate center, to the universe as relational; from the atom to un-seeable space, everything is a center in relation to everything else, or omnicentricity. The internet is a concrete manifestation of the omnicentric principle — each a center connected to all centers, potentially, by volition and capability.

But our social systems have been slow to reflect our new understanding of the cosmos, and governance at all levels — nation, state and local — and social and family life continue to insist on a center around which everything satellites and from which the satellites derive their power.

In astrological symbolism, the planet Uranus represents the desire for freedom as an outcome of enlightenment: as such, it is associated archetypally with such mythic figures as Prometheus, the Greek titan who brought fire to humanity. Historically, Uranian cycles can be shown to indicate periods of human revolution, when the collective desire for freedom outweighs historically confining governance structures. Astrologer Lynn Bell, in her address to the astrological conference in Seattle in 2010, traced radical events when Uranus has previously entered and transited in the hot, fiery sign of Aries:

  • 1258: the fall of Baghdad to Genghis Khan
  • 1675: tax revolts in France against Louis XVI, Indian Wars in the colonies
  • 1765: stamp tax revolt in the US
  • 1848: revolutions across Europe
  • 1927: Wall Street, mobsters, flappers, Gandhi and the Indian resistance

At the time of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami localized in Japan, 7 of our system’s 10 planets

were concentrated within 60 degrees of longitude of each other, with Uranus in Aries in the heart of the mass.

We are seeing in our time graphic expressions of our evolving consciousness about the relation of the mass to the center, and the power of the mass to move the center, with far reaching consequences for systems of governance and relationship.

Over 1 Million in Tahrir Square demanding the removal of the regime and for Mubarak to step down February 9, 2011 6 46 PM

In our own lives, expressed in the symbolism of the horoscope.

Looking for the house and planets in which these Pisces/Aries transits are moving will show us where we are experiencing our own paradigm shift away from an historical center to a radicalized, potentially more democratic, omnicentric inner system.

fractal strings from omnicentric universe

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: