August 25, 2016

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Gridlock and Forge


Alexander Baker

Gridlock and Forge

"The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way." —Marcus Aurelius

"The obstacle in the path becomes the path." —Zen proverb

This morning the Moon is in the first several degrees of Gemini, squaring the Sun in early Virgo since late last night on the east coast.  Luna also applies to an opposition with Mars and Saturn, whose conjunction in Sagittarius perfected yesterday.  Energetic exposure of 'the way.'

Yet the classical malefics Mars and Saturn square Neptune in Pisces, and so Luna simultaneously applies to a square with that watery ego-dissolver so slowly drifting through the sign it co-rules with Jupiter.  (In traditional astrology, not only Sagittarius but Pisces too was ruled by Jupiter, opposing the Mercury-ruled signs Gemini and Virgo — this was before the discovery of trans-Saturnian planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.)

It seems a major emotional theme of the past year or so has been the whole Saturn in Sagittarius 'be disciplined and hit the high target' vibe, square to Neptune in Pisces 'you're going to die anyway so fuck it.'  To say either of these quips come close to representing the endless symbolic scope of each planet-in-sign confluence would be reductive and silly, but it's something I have felt in my own life and witnessed in others' nonetheless.

"Even if I have big plans, am making footwork and 'know' where I'm going, why does it not feel like it!?!"  Topsy turvy, mix of progress and setbacks kind of 2016... of course modified by how these squares and oppositions hit your individual chart.  Inspiration, inundation and existential angst all run high.

While the past year is no stranger to slow-moving and longstanding activity in Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces, the Moon's movement through Gemini over the next couple days means that all four signs of the mutable mode will be active.

'Mutable' comes off as a slightly misleading word in astrology.  Do these four signs in particular, and of course they're each a part of us all, need a mute button?  Well... nah, so in this context the word generally means adaptive, just as cardinal suggests 'instigating' and fixed suggests 'focused.'  Mutable signs represent the culmination and synthesis of a season's lessons.  They are often restless, movement oriented and feel a strong urge to communicate, often regardless of their outward or inward polarity.

I'm fond of saying that cardinal signs hold generation on the left and preparation on the right... fixed signs transformation on the left and concentration on the right... and mutable signs reintegration on the left and dissemination on the right.

Of the latter modality, I emphasize the conjunction of Mars and Saturn in Sagittarius.  Curiously, this aspect's perfection yesterday fell on Woden's day, or dies Mercurii, "day of Mercury."  I enjoy that contrast, especially given that from an east coast vantage point the Moon entered Gemini just before it became Thursday — Thor's day, derivation from Germanic god of thunder Thunraz, equivalent to Jupiter.

Sagittarius represents the culmination of autumn, the season whose commencement Virgo stretches to the cusp of.  It is the last fire sign of the zodiac, the last outward gasp of idealizing vision before winter's equilibrium in the northern hemisphere.  So what are Mars and Saturn like together in the sign of the Archer?  What are Mars and Saturn like together wherever they collide?

Mars is a dynamic force of will.  Keyword: action.  Think Aries, the Ram, and all things martial.  Rearrange the letters in Mars and you get 'rams' or a call to 'arms.'  I love the way letters work.

Saturn is a multivalent force of contraction.  The stone you swing your blade against.  Think Capricorn, the slow ascent, the inseparability of the will from that which sharpens it.

If Mars is an unstoppable force, Saturn is an immovable object.  Together they can bring potent, disciplined efforts and forge fiery figures like rock cooling from lava to last for aeons... but they can also be like flooring the gas and slamming the brakes at the same time.

Ha... it just so happens there is a person very close to me over the past several years, with a late Aries  (28°) Sun in the 2nd house, squared by Saturn at 25° and the Moon at 28° Capricorn in the 12th house.  I playfully call her a fairy caught between the brakes and the gas pedal, if not a bit chidingly when she's definitely overthinking rather than doing.  Same though, sometimes.  Hey, we're all guilty of everything.

So when it comes to that 'path', or perhaps the Sagittarian 'high road'... remember that the obstacle (hey Saturn) becomes the way — and where there's a will (Mars), there is one.  All-ways.

Let Virgo work her magic, helping to trim what unnecessary things are also being burned from our behaviors and back-and-forth lilts — even if it doesn't seem like Saturn needs any help.  To refine is not to clip wings.  Refinement simply oils the engine and details the body at the same time.


​[ Artwork by Augustine Dunn ]

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