Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Long Void-of-Course Moon Periods Provide a Break in the Intensity

Photo: Willow

The Moon went void-of-course in late Libra at 10:22 a.m. Central this morning (July 25) after a conjunction to Saturn.

The Moon remains void-of-course all day until entering Scorpio at 9:29 p.m. tonight. We then have a scant 13 hours of lunar activity before the Moon goes void-of-course yet again after a square to Mercury in Leo at 10:38 a.m. tomorrow morning.

The Moon won't leave its void-of-course period at that point until just after midnight on Saturday, July 28, making for a 38-hour void-of-course Moon period in deep, dark Scorpio.

This means we're under a void-of-course Moon the majority of the time during July 25, 26, and 27, which provides a break in the summer of 2012 emotional intensity.

The Moon is considered to be void-of-course between the time it makes its last major aspect from one sign and the time of its ingress of (entry into) the next sign. At the point that it goes void-of-course, the Moon has cleared all major aspects, has completed all major contacts to other bodies, and is just sort of coasting. This creates a time period that is, well, void. It is an emotionally still period of time when things coast along but nothing much of note happens.

If you are hoping to make a big splash or to create a big effect, you wouldn't attempt it during a void-of-course Moon. This is traditionally not the best time to start something new, unless you really don't want much to happen with it.

In some cases, the lack of activity is actually a boon. The Moon in Scorpio, for example, with its potentially difficult and incendiary emotional states, is one placement where a void-of-course Moon can keep things mellow and less emotionally inflammatory than usual. A lack of events stirring things up in this sign can be very nice. Things will still be alchemically bubbling away beneath the surface, but we can expect fewer emotional upsets and eruptions, so enjoy this less feisty and intense lunar period in the sign. If you have something unpleasant to deal with, getting it done under the void-of-course Moon in Scorpio could mean a mellower reaction from all involved.

The trickiness of the void-of-course period - especially long ones like those we're experiencing - is that it can make people antsy. Trying to make things happen during this period is an exercise in frustration. There just isn't much action going on, and attempting to buck the trend can be draining. Those who feel they have to be constantly on the go can find this period very uncomfortable, indeed.

If you're having a hard time finding initiative as the week comes to a close, this Moon is part of the explanation.

The Moon enters Sagittarius just after midnight on July 28, and the void-of-course lull is broken in time for the weekend. In fact, this fiery Moon in Sagittarius has more than enough action going on, forming a grand fire trine with Uranus in Aries and the Sun conjunct Mercury Rx in Leo on Saturday. On Sunday, it will sextile both Mars and Saturn in Libra while opposing Venus in Gemini.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Venus Leaves its Retrograde Shadow at 23 Gemini

Photo: Willow

New Relationship Territory August 1

Love, money, and relationship planet Venus clears its retrograde shadow at 23 degrees Gemini on July 31, and as it does, it makes an exact trine to Saturn at 23 degrees Libra, in the final leg of its 2.5-year transit through the sign of the scales.

This has a very nice completion feel to it. Things are being capped off gently with this flowing air trine, and we're made aware of how far we've come in matters of love, relating, and partnership since Saturn first began its relationship overhaul and renovations in October 2009.

If we've done the work, we're in stronger relational position now than we've ever been.

Chapters end, cycles close, and we officially move out of the Venus retrograde period in Gemini which included the Venus Transit June 5, putting that momentous event behind us. Venus has been in Gemini for about four months. You can read more about the transit here: Venus Enters Gemini, A New Relationship Cycle Begins, and Mutable Madness Permeates the Skies.

As of August 1, Venus clears the last of the retrograde degrees, and we're officially in new territory on relationship fronts - just in time for the Full Moon in Aquarius that night. According to certain astrological indicators, we've officially entered the first relationship cycle of the astrological Aquarian era, making the new relationship cycle opening more far-reaching and all-encompassing than usual. New relational rules, standards, and responsibilities apply.

Saturn in Libra Check-List

Coming to the end of the Saturn in Libra transit:

"There's a solid groundwork that should have been built by now - new relational rules and standards, a heightened command of social responsibility, the ability to maintain equilibrium under pressure, as well as a new maturity in the tone of our relationships, especially between the sexes. At this point, people either have it or they don't...

This far into Saturn's transit of Libra, we start to see the social and professional results of having put this groundwork in. We also see the results of not having put it in, as well as the areas that contain hazardous holes and breaks in structure. This is especially apparent when we relate with those who have shirked the full effort.

Under Saturn in Libra, we've determined who makes for a favourable partner and who doesn't, and now these standards must be applied across the board...

We're looking for long-term pay-off in relationship here and nothing less than that is worth the time or energy. Those who prove they cannot be responsible toward us, in relation to us, are not worth the time or energy.

Only take on the responsibility toward others that feels absolutely right to take on, and don't give anyone a level of responsibility in relation to you that he or she is not meant (or equipped) to take on...

[I]t's a person with solid integrity, with some financial savvy, with a nose for legitimate advancement, with expertly handled personal responsibilities, and with the ability to dig in and get the job done even if it means deferring personal pleasures who is most attractive under these astro energies.

[Saturn in Libra] is seeking partners with strong shoulders who bear their burdens well, partners who act their age (even older than their chronological age). [It's] seeking a partner who understands the full realities of life, including the difficult, sombre, or "unfun" aspects, who understood them early on, and who worked with them pretty much from the get-go rather than sloughing them off...

People who are obviously playing catch-up on this front are not going to hold as much appeal. We're looking for the results of long-term efforts - what a person has built and what progress has been made over the course of the lifetime.

Charm is a quality with a decreasing amount of value the closer Saturn gets to Scorpio if it is not also attached to absolute integrity and authenticity. Those are the qualities that make bank under Saturn in Scorpio. People who have skated by on looks, charm, charisma, or social prowess and facade are going to find these qualities don't get them nearly as far as they used to.

Playboys (or girls), those who refuse to grow up, the skittish, the cheaters, the fibbers, the non-committal, those who can't manage limitations, restrictions, or adult responsibilities - these people become less and less attractive."

Venus in Cardinal T-Square, Mars-Saturn Conjunct in Libra: Relationships Tested Under Intense Pressure

Let's hope we're quick on the uptake with the new relational rules, standards, and responsibilities worked out through Saturn in Libra because they're being put immediately to the test.

We have exactly one week to enjoy the new Venus in Gemini territory and the Venus-Saturn trine before Venus enters cardinal water sign Cancer August 7, moving straight away into tense cardinal t-square formation with Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn.

That cardinal t-square is exact August 15 and occurs on the same day as Mars in Libra forms a difficult, constricting, even at times desperate conjunction to Saturn in Libra. The constriction of will, energy, and personal direction indicated by this conjunction of the malefics will be difficult to endure during the second week of August, particularly for males and for females who are used to unfettered energy and movement.

Venus in Cancer within cardinal t-square formation is the dispositor of both Mars and Saturn in Libra, and tense, challenging relations under a whole heap of pressure are the dominating theme August 7-17.

We're grinding out progress, but it's hard-won, to say the least.

Soft, comfortable places we're used to falling with Venus in Cancer can prove poisonous under opposition from Lord of the Underworld Pluto in Capricorn. The familiar can become suffocating quagmire, with the Venus square to Uranus in Aries forcing us to go beyond relational comfort zones, beyond usual faces and dynamics. This cardinal t-square forces us to shed prior safe havens in search of something more dynamic as people and relationships morph and change before our eyes.

Relationship structures new and old are being tested on all fronts this August. Every joint, every weld, every bolt and screw are being given the no-nonsense go-over. Anything that cannot withstand the pressure now will crumble ahead of Saturn's transit of Scorpio and the 2013-2014 cardinal Grand Crosses. Shoddy workmanship will not stand.

Weaknesses in our relationship foundations and structures being drawn to our attention now are blessings in disguise, however, as we will have some time to rework things and fortify ahead of Saturn's ingress of deeper, darker, more potentially ass-biting Scorpio October 5.

Structural relationship weaknesses or issues left unresolved will certainly start kicking up the angst once Saturn enters Scorpio, so dig in now wherever you find a fatal flaw. Long-standing issues, hurt, and resentments that have been buried or denied will surface, resurface, and then surface again under Saturn in Scorpio, so make sure your relational frameworks are as sound as they can be ahead of those challenges.

Make sure the people in your life will hold under pressure, that they are solid, and that they can be counted on. Make decisions about who you have in your life now, with Saturn in notoriously indecisive Libra, or the decisions will be made for you.

Giving the wrong person the wrong position in your life at this point creates very sticky and protracted problems later.

Saturn is currently conjunct highly fortunate fixed stars Spica and Arcturus, making relationship challenges a little easier to manage until August 17. You can read more about that here: Saturn Re-Enters a Fixed Star Safe Haven From the Heat of the Via Combusta

Because of Saturn's (relatively) beneficial position, the best time to address relational weaknesses is as soon as they come up this August.

Resolve all you can in relationships past and present. Move into and solidify new social position. Finalize decisions around relationships and social scenarios.

The North Node moves from Sagittarius into Scorpio August 30 just ahead of Saturn entering the sign of sex, death, regenerative healing, x-ray vision, and hardcore soul drive this October. Clearing slates before then is very much in our best interests.

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Black Moon Makes For a Dark Night in Colorado

An individual believed to be 24-year-old James Holmes threw a tear gas cannister into a theatre in Aurora, Colorado just after midnight this morning. When the people started streaming out, the individual started shooting, killing 12 people and wounding at least 38 more.

The theatre was screening the new Batman movie titled The Dark Knight Rises, making for more of that creepy Hollywood symbolism to which we've become accustomed.

The Batman film franchise has a history of tragic events associated with it, as does that area of Colorado.

Heath Ledger, an actor in the previous Batman installment, The Dark Knight, died suddenly at the age of 28 a few months prior to the release of the film in 2008. An effects technician also died performing a stunt while filming. Morgan Freeman, another actor in The Dark Knight, flipped his car a month after the release of the film and had to be operated on, and "Batman" himself Christian Bale was arrested that same month for allegedly assaulting his mother and sister.

Aurora, Colorado - where the shootings occured at the Century 16 movie theatre early this morning -  is 30 kilometres from Littleton, Colorado where the Columbine school shootings happened in 1999.

According to the Huffington Post, James Holmes was a PhD student in neuroscience but was in the process of withdrawing from classes. His birthdate is listed as December 13, 1987.

Using that birth date, Holmes would have a tight Mars-Pluto conjunction in Scorpio (within one degree) in his natal chart. He would have Uranus, Saturn, and the Sun conjunct in late Sagittarius with Mercury in mid-Sagittarius. Venus would be at 19/20 degrees Capricorn square Jupiter at 19 degrees Aries. Holmes' North Node would be in Pisces with a Moon in Virgo conjunct his Virgo South Node (unless born later than 10:40 p.m., in which case his Moon would be in Libra, also conjunct the South Node). Neptune would be in Capricorn.

Natal Black Moon Lilith Square Mars-Pluto in Scorpio Heavily Activated by Transiting Moon-Mercury

Holmes has Vesta-Black Moon Lilith in Leo square Mars-Pluto in Scorpio in his natal chart. This square was highly activated at the time of the shooting, and one can certainly see the involvement of this combination of energies.

Astronomically, Black Moon Lilith is the point of lunar apogee - the point where the Moon is furthest away from Earth in its orbit. Astrologically, it relates to a point of deep, dark feminine awareness and life experience, as well as marginalization from the mainstream.

This point involves a theme of being put out of society, being put out in the cold, being isolated, alone, forced to fight for bare survival. It relates to a society that would prefer an individual dead rather than accept what he or she represents into its folds. As part of that, Black Moon Lilith can be a raw, potentially volatile point, with sudden, extreme, and even violent trigger points.

Pluto is the dwarf planet named for the Lord of the Underworld and involves a state of living beneath the surface, seeing in the dark, being aware of what others who live above ground are not. Pluto involves a process of bringing up to the surface issues which remain detrimentally denied and suppressed in the collective. It is related to Hades (hell), death, and destruction and can also be volatile, highly-triggered, and violent.

Both Black Moon Lilith and Pluto involve extremes - emotional and psychological extremes as well as life-and-death scenarios. Both placements indicate depth and "dark" awareness, involving the seeing and experiencing of things the mainstream does not see or experience.

Both placements can indicate a level of marginalization and forced isolation from mainstream society. This can be for legitimate reasons or it can be simply because the mainstream society cannot face or accept what the individuals know or represent. The disruption to consensus reality is too great.

Due to the forced isolation/marginalization of those with strong Pluto or Black Moon Lilith placements - either physical or emotional/psychological/psychic - both placements can indicate the development of a level of misanthropy or hatred of mainstream society. These are not often taken to the extremes to which they were taken by the Century 16 shooter - thought to be James Holmes - but it would be rare to find these feelings completely absent in individuals with highly activated and influential Pluto or Black Moon Lilith placements.

Often individuals with these strong placements natally would wish to remove themselves from society or from the planet altogether as a reaction to levels of corruption, dishonesty, denial, injustice, or suffering intolerable to them - less commonly would they turn those feelings outward in a shooting spree like this one.

An individual with a tight square between Black Moon Lilith and Mars-Pluto, as Holmes' has, could expect more frustration and misery than usual along related themes. Being highly intelligent as Holmes ostensibly was could further exacerbate the problems.

Transiting Mercury has just stationed retrograde at 12 degrees Leo (July 14) trine Uranus in Aries (sudden violence). The retrograde station fell within one degree of Holmes' mean Black Moon Lilith placement (13 degrees Leo) and within two or three degrees of his true BML placement (14 or 15 degrees Leo), concentrating the energy heavily.

Due to the tight BML in Leo square to his natal Mars and Pluto in Scorpio, Mars and Pluto were also highly activated by the square from Mercury in Leo.

Mars is a planet associated with war, violence, and aggression, and you see this element involved clearly. Mars and Pluto are both in signs of their domicile in Holmes' chart - Scorpio - and this intensifies the potency of their conjunction and, in this case, its violent themes.

Mercury in Leo (theatre and arts) had retrograded into an exact - almost to the minute - square to Holmes' Pluto at 11 degrees Scorpio (death) at the time of the shooting.

The Moon was also in Leo at the time, conjuncting transiting Mercury and Holmes' natal Black Moon Lilith placement. The Moon-Mercury conjunction in Leo formed a tight square to his natal Mars-Pluto in Scorpio placements.

Both Moon-Mars and Moon-Pluto squares are considered emotionally difficult if not hellish and can involve violence. Here, due to his natal placements, Holmes had both squares happening at once.

Mars-Pluto contacts can be highly volatile, particularly when stressed in the form of square, quincunx, or opposition.

Pluto involves emotional and psychological unrest, turmoil, and upset that can simmer beneath the surface until erupting to the surface like a volcano. There is personal violence possible when Mars is involved, and the shooter had the will and took the action to express this simmering Plutonic emotion and awareness. It needed only the match to light the fuse, represented by the Moon-Mercury square from fiery Leo.

With Pluto so heavily involved, there is a strong collective element here. This shooting took place in a Cancer Sun nation that is, en masse, accepting of the campaigns of violence, murder, and destruction unleashed around the world (and on its own citizens) by officials and armed forces but is horrified and mystified when the underlying culture of violence finds expression at home.

Sun-Saturn and Sun-Uranus Conjunctions in Sagittarius

Holmes has both Sun conjunct Saturn and Sun conjunct Uranus in Sagittarius, indicating further stressors to his personality and self-expression.

Uranus conjunct the Sun indicates the possibility of personal brilliance or genius, but also a sort of "oddball" status that sets one apart sometimes painfully. The combined placement of Saturn conjunct the Sun indicates difficulties fitting into the structures as they exist and finding a meaningful channel for that brilliance. Saturn conjunct the Sun can involve depression and heaviness in the personality, a person who might recover slower than others from setbacks, taking them harder and more to heart. As Sagittarius is a sign associated with higher education, these challenges could be expected within university settings and their current structural set-ups, and it has been reported that Holmes was withdrawing from a PhD program in neuroscience.

Sun-Saturn aspects require that challenges be met and tests be passed slowly, gradually, over the course of time so that a firm foundation of self-esteem can be built along with a stable and mature personality able to successfully deal with setbacks and obstacles. But the effects of erratic, electric, sometimes manic Uranus would make it difficult for the individual to patiently see these challenges through.

These placements indicate the possibility of stifling challenges to the self-esteem and to the expression of what he knows (Sun-Saturn) with an ability to detach entirely, dissociate, from his own personality and sense of himself as a human being (Sun-Uranus). Sun-Uranus contacts can create personality "breaks" - a lack of continuity with extreme, unpredictable, and erratic personality changes. They can also indicate a sort of "wired" quality to the personality, involving an individual who is more succeptible than most to electromagnetic frequency.

Pluto Conjunct Neptune: Removing All Illusion

Transiting Pluto in Capricorn is forming an exact conjunction to Holmes' natal Neptune in Capricorn at 7 degrees, and this is being squared by transiting Uranus in Aries.

Pluto aspecting Neptune has a tendency to rip the blinders off, removing every last comforting illusion. Under this conjunction by Pluto, squared by Uranus in Aries (sudden violence), there was nowhere for Holmes to run, nowhere for him to hide - not even at the movies, a Neptunian-ruled fantasy world.

It is fitting, then, that Holmes decided to commit these acts of heinous violence at a movie theatre with people settling in to their two-hour escape from reality.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

July 17/18 Mars-Uranus-Pluto Cardinal T-Square Officially Loosening

Summertime and the living's easy. Ha.
Photo: Willow

Mars in Libra completed the exact aspects in the cardinal t-square with Uranus and Pluto yesterday, and that tense, frictional configuration is now officially loosening. If you were ready to blow over the past couple days during that Dark of the Moon in Cancer square Saturn, here's a bit of a reprieve.

The Moon entered Leo early this morning, Mars has shifted just beyond the exact cardinal t-square, and tensions have reached a peak - for now.

They're still simmering, however. The points of acute cardinal square tension are happening in waves. One wave has just reached a peak and broken, but we are building toward another by mid-August.

Remember that Mars is now heading to a conjunction with Saturn August 15, at which point Venus in Cancer will be forming yet another exact cardinal t-square with Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Carpicorn. The Moon will be back in Cancer at that time, as well, squaring Mars and Saturn in Libra.

That one is very tight, very tense, with very little room to manoeuvre. There is a strong emphasis on relationships at that time. We're going to be boxed in and held in some difficult positions in relation to others, and we're going to have to draw on every last one of our Saturn in Libra lessons to get through.

The Mars-Saturn conjunction coming up is a major placement test, and you'd better believe the challenges it throws our way are epic.

We also have the second Uranus-Pluto square forming, with Uranus and Pluto both retrograde and within one degree of each other. The second square of the seven-square series will be exact September 19.

Mercury in Libra will be forming an exact cardinal t-square with Uranus and Pluto at that time (September 20), and we don't get much relief as the Sun in Libra then moves into t-square position September 29, intensifying the themes. Venus in Libra gets in on the t-square action a bit later on November 3.

We're all operating under pressure and will be for a while. Get used to the tension and uncertainty, shoulder and balance what you can, but don't focus too far ahead.

We still have a good chunk of Saturn in Libra to complete, and it's a challenging course, to say the least.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Ceres in Gemini, the Heat Wave, and Media Manipulation of Grain Futures

Ceres, the dwarf planet associated with grains, cereals, and the fertility of the Earth, is transiting Gemini (media), and news stories about food and agriculture need to be on our radar screens.

With Ceres currently conjunct Jupiter and the South Node of the Moon in Gemini, understanding the ways in which these news stories are shaping, directing, and manipulating public opinion is important throughout the transit. Ceres entered Gemini June 24 where it will remain until September 26. It will retrograde back into Gemini December 4 until April 25, 2013.

With the current nodal axis, manipulated news stories (Gemini South Node) can too easily become truth (Sagittarius North Node).
The media campaign pushing for public acceptance of genetically modified alfalfa is currently underway, as is a series of heat wave-related crop failure/food price increase stories.
A record heat wave swept across most of the United States and Canada from the end of June through the first week of July, continuing in Canada to mid-July. This has resulted in widespread speculation on crop failures in the U.S. Midwest, particularly of corn and soybean crops.
The United States is the world's primary producer of corn, and it's big business, used in many different food products, for livestock feed, and for ethanol production for which there are mandatory quotas that must be filled. 

It is estimated that one-third of the corn crop has been damaged or destroyed in 18 U.S. states by the June/July heat wave and a lack of precipitation at pollination time, a crucial point in the corn's development.


This Saskatchewan corn survived the heat.
Photos: Willow


News stories across mainstream and alternative media are declaring that these crop failures will result in already-inflated food prices rising even higher.
The truth is, the media is manufacturing cause and effect.
Crop failures of this magnitude will not create an immediate rise in the price of food and groceries. The world has grain and food stores in reserve. No matter how devastating the current corn crop loss in the U.S., no matter how the reserves may potentially take a hit, the early failure of a crop - long before it is time to harvest and sell - will not cause an immediate rise in food prices. As far as the physical supply is concerned, it would require a longer-term trickle-down effect.
What a major crop failure will create, with the media's help, is an immediate psychological state among the public and among those playing the stock market that will create higher prices. This is a psychological bubble, an expectation that prices will rise, which creates that very effect.
The primary driver in stock markets around the world these days is not the supply and demand of physical commodities. It is mass psychology and the manipulation of that mass psychology, often through media. If people believe the price of something is going to go up - due, in this case, to media reports of heat and drought causing crop failures in the U.S. Midwest - they will be primed for price increases. They will act as if the price is going to go up, buying and selling accordingly, and this activity will then drive the prices up, no matter if the physical supply is in imminent danger of being decreased substantially or not.
In fact, despite the heat wave, the drought, and the reports of catastrophic corn crop loss, the United States is still set to produce 9.5% more corn than it produced last year due to farmers seeding a larger number of acres than usual to corn. This according to Bloomberg article “U.S. Corn Growers Farming in Hell as Midwest Heat Spreads” by Jeff Wilson.
Due to the larger than usual number of acres seeded to corn, corn futures fell drastically in September 2011 in expectation of a surplus, but, not coincidentally, have surged 41% since news of the crop failures hit the media, reaching a nine-month high on July 9, 2012.
Here, we start getting into the real story around these crop failures: grain futures contracts in the highly-deregulated derivatives markets.
From the Johann Hari article "How Goldman Sachs gambled on starving the world's poor - and won"

"In 2006, financial speculators like Goldman's pulled out of the collapsing US real estate market, and they were looking for somewhere else to make their stash of cash swell. They started to buy massive amounts of derivatives based on food: they reckoned that food prices would stay steady or rise while the rest of the economy tanked. Suddenly, the world's frightened investors stampeded onto this ground and decided to buy, buy, buy.

So while the supply and demand of food stayed pretty much the same, the supply and demand for contracts based on food massively rose - which meant the all-rolled-into-one price for food on people's plates massively rose. The starvation began.

The food price was now being set by speculation, rather than by real food. The hedge fund manager Michael Masters estimated that even on the regulated exchanges in the US - which take up a small part of the business - 64 percent of all wheat contracts were held by speculators with no interest whatever in real wheat. They owned it solely to inflate the price and sell it on."


There are two major groups using grain futures contracts: hedgers and speculators.
Hedgers are people or groups involved in the actual physical product - farmers, grain processors, elevators, grain handlers, etc. Hedgers are protecting themselves from adverse price fluctuations in a physical product they deal in. In other words, their business is the buying and selling of actual grain, at whatever level.

Speculators, on the other hand, have no use for the commodities in which they trade. Their business is in the buying and selling of futures contracts themselves. Speculators bet on the price of grain rising and falling and hope to make a profit on short-term movements in the prices. Day trader speculators may flip-flop their positions between buyer and seller of futures contracts several times per day. Scalper speculators may change positions every 10 to 15 seconds. None of these people has any connection to or interest in food, grain, or agriculture.
The original idea behind a futures market for crops was for hedgers - a hedging of investment for farmers and others directly involved in agricultural production.
As part of that, a farmer could agree to sell his crop in a future month at a certain price, thus locking in a price. If the prices dropped before he sold his crop, the contract ensured he would still earn the agreed upon price, thus hedging his investment of time, money, and energy. If the prices rose before he sold his crop, however, he may take a loss. Farmers, unlike speculators, cannot get out of futures contracts once they have agreed to deliver their physical product on a certain date for a certain price.
Grain processors who make major purchasers of grain, unlike farmers who are selling their grain, would hedge their purchases against price increases rather than price drops, also locking purchases in in a futures contract.
Because of a fairly criminal level of deregulation in the derivatives markets, kicked into high gear under the presidency of Bill Clinton in the late 1990s, people who have no stake in agriculture at all - Wall Street suits who have never gotten a speck of dirt under their manicured fingers - can now buy and sell grain futures contracts with few rules, upselling them to someone else who then upsells them to someone else who them upsells them to someone else, etc. 

Due to this deregulation, paving the way for the entry of scores of speculators, only about two percent of commodities futures now end with a real exchange of goods. 
Speculators are able to play around in these futures contracts by paying a small fraction of the total value of the physical product, called a margin. In comparison to other markets, grains have a lower margin, making them more easily accessible to speculators. In other words, it requires less money to get into the grain futures market and represents a lower risk than other commodities markets.
The speculation is fairly simple. A speculator who has purchased a futures contract on corn for $2.50/bushel but then sells it at $2.60/bushel will make a profit.

If there is a great deal of speculation going on and grain futures contracts become the hot ticket (ie. because people have stampeded into that market and there is certainty that the price will rise due to heat wave-related crop losses), the prices are driven up through demand for those contracts, not in any real relation to physical product.
Wheat has traditionally been a volatile commodity with big daily ranges because it is a staple and, therefore, there is a lot of it entering and exiting the market.  
From Investopedia.com:
“In fact, it is not uncommon to have one piece of news move this market limit up or down in a hurry.”
There's the key.

Media reports of the corn crop failures in the U.S. Midwest and the erroneous understanding of an immediate cause-and-effect price increase in food and fuel have brought corn futures from a bear market in September 2011 to a nine-month high by July 9, 2012.

The next time you hear or read a related agricultural story on either mainstream or alternative media, understand the underlying messaged being put forth. Understand the context being set up to create public acceptance of higher food and fuel prices as well as the avoidable starvation of the world's people through artificial food prices.

"Alternative” media sources, with their “the sky is falling; we're all going to starve” stories, also further this manipulation of the public mind without providing any deeper analysis of the underlying dynamics at play. They, too, set people up to accept what is going on.
From “Grow Your Finances in the Grain Market” at Investopedia.com:

“The fundamentals in the grains are fairly straightforward: like most tangible commodities, supply and demand will determine the price. Weather factors will also have an effect.”
Partly true: the perception of supply and demand, manipulated through the media, and the resulting speculation in the derivatives markets will, primarily, determine the price.

As one can see, this rapid increase in the price of corn, based on stock market- and media-manufactured mass psychology, is in the best interests of speculators - particularly if they bought low in September. It means their bets on corn futures will pay off through upselling, as long as the futures contracts change hands in the right directions at the right times.

Weather and growing conditions are the biggest factors in the growing of grain - and in the perception of supply and demand. As one can also see, adverse weather conditions resulting in crop failures and the expectation of shortages and price hikes are also of benefit to speculators in the current market.
Floods, droughts, excess heat or cold, and hailed-out crops create some decrease in supply, there's no doubt about it. But, again, it is the perception fed through media that grain prices are going to go up or down, more so than increases and decreases in physical supply, that drives the market.

For the past three years, we have seen crop failures around the world via intense coverage in global media.
In 2010, under a Grand Cross involving Jupiter-Uranus in Aries, personal planets in Cancer, Pluto in Capricorn, and Saturn in late Virgo, Pakistan's breadbasket was absolutely devastated by flooding. The Canadian grain- and livestock-producing prairies experienced wind storms, hail, and flooding, resulting in crop damage and failures. And severe drought and wildfires in Russia destroyed half its wheat crop.
In 2011, under a Cardinal Grand Cross involving Uranus in Aries, Pluto in Capricorn, Saturn in Libra and personal planets in Cancer, parts of the Canadian prairie provinces were flooded again, resulting in more crop failures. The U.S. state of Texas experienced severe drought that damaged two-thirds of the state’s wheat crop and resulted in a mass selloff of cattle due to lack of feed.
This year, just as the first Uranus in Aries - Pluto in Capricorn square became exact June 24, the heat wave swept in across most of Canada and the United States, creating crop damage and failures.
Still, these failures were and are the exception rather than the rule. The world is still producing massive amounts of grain and food. These failures would not create the types of immediate price spikes we saw in wheat prices in 2010-11, for example, unless media-driven psychology were affecting the markets.

Though crop-destroying (un)natural disasters are often blamed solely on global warming, we are experiencing a grand-scale programme of weather modification via HAARP apparatuses, chemtrail spraying, cloud seeding, and other methods. 

In 1977, a treaty prohibiting the use of weather warfare was opened for signature, coming into effect in October 1978. This treaty was brought about in Geneva during a United Nations General Assembly at the Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques. Weather modification techniques and their use in warfare were on the global radar screen in full force by the late 1970s. To doubt the availability and use of these techniques at this point would be na├»ve.

Unnatural disasters create shortages, and the media coverage of them creates the perception of many more.

The weather modification, violent weather, and unnatural disasters resulting in crop failures work to benefit agribusiness corporations and their shareholders, as well. Genetically modified seeds are now being marketed aggressively as producing greatly higher yields (untrue) with the ability to withstand the extreme weather blamed on global warming but more directly linked to ongoing weather modification.

Corn is a primary feed for cattle and other livestock, and the failure of crops means some small, independent ranchers - unable to buy or access overpriced feed for their animals - go out of business, eliminating both the competition for corporate agribusiness and alternatives to corporate food for consumers.

All this is going on against the backdrop of the Uranus in Aries - Pluto in Capricorn square series, the first time Uranus and Pluto have squared each other since the Great Depression.

Independent farmers and ranchers are being set up to fail throughout the cardinal squares in 2010 - 2015 in the same way homeowners were set up to fail in the United States between 2005 and 2009 - with speculators and financiers set to hit the jackpot via the orchestrated failure.

In the same way that speculators and credit-default swaps in the U.S. mortgage industry led to an inflation bubble (with predatory mortgages and an eventual timed collapse), speculation in grain derivatives is creating a scenario of inflated prices with little-to-no connection to the physical products. This creates a wildly unstable marketplace. And the same phenomenon that has people paying $300,000 for houses with a real value closer to $100,000 in oil activity-rich small town Saskatchewan has the majority of farmers growing cash crops like canola and flax, rather than food staples like wheat and oats.

As sticker shock at the grocery store increases, un- and under-employed people in the United States and Canada struggle to put food on their tables. Sticker shock in Canada and the U.S., however, means people cannot afford food at all in other areas of the world and are starving. This was a major underlying trigger of the 2011 “Arab Spring.” (Jupiter-Uranus in Aries square Pluto in Capricorn)
People are already being under-nourished and even poisoned via widespread genetically modified foods, chemicals and artificial colorants, pesticides and herbicides. Non-organic corn, soybeans, and canola have already been widely contaminated by genetically modified organisms.
Now the screws are being tightened further by artificial price jumps.
With Ceres, Jupiter, the South Node, and Vesta currently conjunct in Gemini, perception is everything, and the manipulation and control of public perception via media is a strong theme.

Hone, define, and guard your own perspectives carefully.

Ceres, Jupiter, and Vesta in Gemini pull away from the South Node of the Moon by the end of July. The conjunction of Ceres, Jupiter, and Vesta in Gemini remains strongly influential until Ceres moves temporarily into Cancer in late September.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Sugar and Spice and All Things Nice Cancer New Moon With Puppy Dog Tails Brought To You By Juno Direct in Scorpio

Soul mate asteroid Juno goes direct at 21 degrees Scorpio on July 16 after a 3.5-month retrograde period in Scorpio and Sagittarius.

Juno first entered Scorpio October 24, 2011, entering Sagittarius January 29, 2012, and retrograding back into Scorpio May 17, where it has been kicking up the subterranean spice ever since.

In Scorpio, our soul mates are the people doing the same undercover, stealth energy work that we are - or the people who are making the work necessary.

Scorpio-flavoured soul mate connections can be pretty hardcore. They kick up a locked-in working out of thorny underlying issues, often hidden, and often with long, ancestral histories. These soul bonds can relate to the trauma and damage done by abusive domination/subjugation dynamics on Planet Earth and the hidden stealing/using/usurping of other's resources.

Scorpio involves figure-eight energy exchanges, and these can often be unequal or coerced. Due to their underlying, hidden nature, they are easily misused and abused, with Scorpio's role undervalued and denigrated in comparison to other signs. I wrote a bit about that last October: The Bodies in Scorpio Oppose Jupiter Rx in Taurus: A Conscious Re-Valuing of Soul Energy and Scorpio's Mad Skillz in the Nether-Realms

At its best, Scorpio wants things to be energetically right, and it peels the layers that aren't. As part of getting to bottom-line reality, it identifies, examines, and eliminates dishonesty and corrupt motivations. It digs in and gets hands dirty on emotional, psychological, and metaphysical levels, dealing with underlying issues most would prefer to keep firmly under rug. This often means annihilating denial and blinders via confrontations with the "dark," the uncomfortable, the brutally honest, and the squirm-inducing.

The common soul thread here is the belief that you go deep, you go to the root, or you get the hell out of the way so someone else can.

Juno in Scorpio understands the fuzzy end of the lollipop, and it understands how our soul-level connections and commitments can often dish them out.

Not necessarily your standard lovey dovey take on the soul mate, is it?

These Juno themes have been percolating beneath throughout the retrograde period and are now drawn to the surface as Juno goes direct. Their coming to the surface is of particular value with the New Moon in Cancer coming up July 18.

The New Moon at 26 degrees Cancer is square Saturn at 23 degrees Libra. The Sun and Moon in Cancer will also be trine Juno at 21 degrees Scorpio, and the influence of Juno in Scorpio is going to help this Cancer-Libra square get real.

Cancer-Libra can be a tricky combination as far as the "getting real" goes.

You have the mother (Cancer) and the diplomat (Libra), and both are invested in being nice - or at the very least, in appearing nice. Both these signs like to be seen as giving, congenial, and self-sacrificing for the happiness and betterment of others.

Both Cancer and Libra have a tendency to deny any characteristics - in themselves or in the people around them - that would show them in a different light. This is particularly prevalent when bodies in the signs are being squared, as they are now.

The truth is, both these signs have "dark" characteristics (as all the signs of the zodiac do) that they like to keep off the radar screen, and as far as signs of the zodiac go, there is very little discussion of these.

(Compare that to Scorpio, which is always having its "darkness" outed.)

It just isn't right that Cancer and Libra should get off lily white, squeaky clean in the standard astrology of the day while other signs are dragged through the muck. And with the long Dark of the Moon period in Cancer (7:30 p.m. Central on July 16 until the New Moon at 11:24 p.m. on July 18), during which the Moon trines Juno, Juno in Scorpio is asking for a little energetic justice. This is the fairly quick and painless variety within easy trine aspect - it's really just a matter of owning up to it. But if it isn't owned up to now, the Saturn/North Node in Scorpio transits coming up very soon will start holding noses in it.

Both Cancer and Libra, particularly when in square formation, are prone to denial, phoniness, avoidance of uncomfortable issues, blaming others for their own disappointed expectations, underhanded social or familial power plays, and guilt-tripping. All stuff for which Scorpio has little tolerance.

It's the "I bend over backwards for people, and this is how they treat me" syndrome. The "I give and give and give, and this is the thanks I get" thing where people are held hostage by all that selfless giving and concern.

Because these are two signs that will go to great lengths to keep up the nice, self-sacrificing image and because both like to avoid conflict at almost all cost, they'll agree to do things they don't really want to do but then rebel by acting out in passive aggressive (yet still, on the surface, "nice") ways.

Both signs have a tendency, unless overcome, to pass the buck rather than standing their ground in an honest and upfront manner. 'Selfless' becomes 'complete loss of self,' and chaos follows. At a certain point, it becomes impossible to know where these signs really stand, and their word becomes very slippery.

Both signs love to be needed by others, but there is a tendency to overestimate how much they give altruistically and how much is given with an already-expected return. 

Cancer is certainly warm, cosy, and sweet, but it will bitch and moan to anyone who will listen about everything it does for you if it doesn't find an expected level of gratitude coming its way.

Libra is lovely and socially-welcoming, but be careful accepting its graces, as it will often be looking for a tit-for-tat reward. It'll wag tongue about you, too, if that reward is not forthcoming or if it does not meet preconceived expectations.

Both signs will give too much (their own issue) and then become resentful when they do not receive what they believe is their just desserts, placing blame on others.

Both Cancer and Libra are highly attuned to what the other person is feeling or thinking and strive to maintain harmony and emotional comfort - even to a fault. It's true they put a great deal of effort in to keep people happy, but it's often as much for their own comfort as anything, as both like to avoid distasteful "negative" emotions and realities.

In order to avoid these scenarios, Cancer will hide in its family unit or home. Libra will hide in its social scene.

Juno in Scorpio knows that every soul expressing through a human form has its foibles, it's darkness. It isn't pointing this stuff out to vilify Cancer and Libra or those who have strong placements there - we all have Cancer and Libra in our astrological charts somewhere, regardless of whether any bodies or points fall there. Juno is just leveling the playing field here after having its own stuff laid bare so many times in the astrological discourse of the day.

A New Moon indicates a new layer of expression emerging in the sign in which it falls. Squares provide challenges that strengthen weak links. With this New Moon in Cancer, squared by Saturn and trined by Juno, we have the opportunity to dig into this Cancer-Libra square, dropping the denial and the insistence on the nicey nice in favour of something more true to reality.

Juno re-enters Sagittarius September 16.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Trines and Sextiles Galore: Potentially Too Much of a Good Thing

We have two trines dominating the astro atmosphere currently, an air trine and a fire trine, along with multiple sextiles. This is a combination of creative/inspirational and social/communicative.

Almost every planet and body is connecting to another planet or body at the moment, and with this many contacts going on in the zodiac, we have an equally complex number of contacts going on in our lives and societies.

Things are busy, particularly on the mental, communicative fronts, and this can be challenging, even when easy, flowing aspects like sextiles and trines are involved.

Fire Trine: Mercury in Leo and Uranus in Aries

The fire trine we're experiencing involves Mercury in Leo and Uranus in Aries. These two formed their first exact trine July 4 and are currently stationing retrograde together, still in trine formation.

Uranus stations in the early morning of July 13 and will be retrograde until December 12, 2012. Mercury stations on the night of July 14 and will be retrograde until August 8. Mercury will remain within range of the trine to Uranus into late August with a second exact trine July 25, and the final one August 18.

This is great, right? An easy, flowing trine between the planet of brilliant, lightning-fast insight and vision (Uranus) and the planet that rules the conscious human mind, intellect, and communication (Mercury). The genius is going to be flowing!

There's such thing as too much brilliance, too much insight, and too many ideas popping around in our brains like popcorn kernels, however, and an almost six-week Mercury-Uranus contact, colouring the entire Mercury retrograde process, could prove too much unless we're careful.

Mercury-Uranus contacts can be a challenge, even with genial aspects.

The dual retrograde stations add to that challenge, creating an intense concentration of focus and insight that can leave our mental circuitry overwhelmed.

Uranus adds an excitable, edgy, electric, and even manic charge to anything it touches. In this case, it is our mental function, thought processes, and communication patterns that are being so touched.

Uranus has a tendency to run us - even to overrun us - with its electric, hypercharged current, and we will need to periodically wrestle ourselves away from whatever holds our mental focus in order to cool things off.

With both planets in fire signs, this is a hot brain, a hot mind. Sizzling circuitry. Blinding flashes of insight that leave you frazzled and on edge. Racing minds and erratic thought processes leading to mental fatigue, headaches, stiff necks, and burnout.

Mental exhaustion is a definite possibility with this long-term contact, and awareness during the tight and concentrated points can help to avoid any electrical fires over the next month.

We have to be firm in our refusal to push things too far, even when we feel we're on a roll. This is an intensely creative, charged, and exciting fire trine, and with all the easy aspects supporting each other in the zodiac over the next weeks, we will certainly be on a roll at times.

Remember though: Mercury retrogrades require that we slow things down, that we become a little more pensive, that we listen a little more carefully, that we think before we speak, and that we choose just the right moment to interact.

Uranus would pump things up to the manic, electrified point if it had its druthers, so it will take a conscious awareness of the dynamics, and continual reminders to take a time-out, to slow things down.

Air Trine: Mars in Libra and Jupiter in Gemini

The second trine formation we're experiencing is an air trine involving Mars in Libra and Jupiter in Gemini, and this increases even further the social, communicative themes. The Mars-Jupiter trine is exact July 17 and loosens in influence from there.

This genial contact with the planet of luck and expansion provides a much-needed boost to a beleaguered and pressurized Mars. Mars, in detriment in Libra, simultaneously moves into tense cardinal t-square formation with Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn July 17/18 on its way to a stern and restricting conjunction to Saturn August 15.

Considering how important this transit of Mars in Libra is - setting us up for success or failure during the Cardinal Grand Crosses of 2013-14 - a little help from our networks, our associations, our neighborhoods, and our siblings (soul or physical) is coming our way via the trine to Jupiter in Gemini. Social cross-pollination is beneficial now, and we will particularly be assisted in achieving goals with long-range view and social relevance.

Mars-Jupiter trines have the possbility of being a little too easy, leading to laziness, recklessness, overindulgence, and resting on one's laurels, but with the pressure of the cardinal t-square and mid-August conjunction to Saturn, there will be little tolerance of those things.

Mars in Libra is also within range of a trine to the South Node in Gemini for the next week. The wrong track is definitely available and potentially attractive at points of acute stress. Gossip, talking crap, duplicity, choosing social acceptance over what is morally right, "small-town" mentality and ignorance of anything beyond the local realm, dealing too superficially or glibly with the issues at hand, and talking out of both sides of one's mouth in order to keep things socially smooth are all detrimental South Node possibilities here.

Luckily, retrograding Mercury in Leo will sextile both Mars in Libra (July 22) and Jupiter in Gemini (July 24), providing a sort of anchoring foothold that can keep things productive and on-course.

Multiple Sextiles Make for Snap, Crackle, Pop - Air to Fire, Fire to Air

Adding to all the mental/communicative focus is a conglomeration of energy in Gemini, falling smack dab in the middle of Mercury in Leo and Uranus in Aries. Both Uranus and Mercury are sextile Venus, Jupiter, Ceres, the North Node, and Vesta in Gemini, and these sextiles remain influential throughout the Mercury retrograde.

This increases the complexity of the connections going on exponentially as well as the potential "smoke coming out of ears" effect. A lot of juggling.

The air-fire sextiles provide the friction and reaction necessary to make the Mercury-Uranus trine highly productive, particularly as it relates to creative communication and networking. Air feeds fire, and fire reacts with air, keeping things crackling into late August.

But, again, all this sextile stimulation (that sort of sounds sexual, but isn't) increases the possibility of overloaded circuitry that much more. This much air interacting with this much fire can create supercharged interactions that turn into out-of-control brushfires.

Enjoy the bright, creative energy and eased retrograde communications and use them to your benefit, but keep things balanced with a tight rein on the fuel.

With Mercury retrograding in Leo trine Uranus in Aries, our creative contributions are on our minds. Mercury stations retrograde exactly sextile Venus in Gemini, adding to the artful vibe, just as Venus moves over the degree of the Venus Transit July 18/19. Social cross-pollination is potent.

The directions things are taking, the connections happening, and the networks forming have broader-reaching effects than we can imagine, and this increases the complexity we are required to process and communicate.

New networks are being put in place under these aspects, with creative pathways finding their routes.

Aquarian Era Social Organization - New Rules Apply

The most dynamic and influential creative networks coming onto the grid now are organizing according to stronger Aquarian principles.

Aquarius is the egalitarian win-win, and if associations and social arrangements don't benefit mutually - with no strings attached or hidden clauses - they aren't right. If people are having to fundamentally compromise who they are, what they think, and how they feel in order to fit into a group, they aren't in the right group. Plain and simple.

People are looking to involve themselves in groups where they can be soul-sovereign and independent, where their creative contributions can be freely offered.

Most power structures on Planet Earth have been set up as pyramid schemes with energy, effort, work, talent, skills, money, and time drawn up from the majority on the bottom rungs in order to support and reinforce the privilege and status of the few on the upper rungs.

With the help of all the trines and sextiles over the next six weeks, a levelling of the pyramid scheme power structure paradigm can be undertaken by those who desire it.

Set the vision, and move toward it.

With Uranus in Aries colouring the Aquarian era themes for the next six years, we're working with new rules for social organizations. Aries is a sign that breaks trail, and Uranus is a planet related to following a vision of the future not yet in existence. As a result, the new rules for social organization are a constantly updating work-in-progress.

Rather than the same-old structural hierarchies, positions of leadership and authority will be filled naturally, freely, according to proven areas of skill, talent, and responsibility.

Continuing to set social or professional organizations up according to your standard President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer isn't really going to cut it, particularly when all the top spots are held by dudes with the females stuck taking the minutes of their meetings.

An ever-adjusting, ever-equalizing, ever-checking balance of power between men and women and masculine and feminine is mandatory.

The structures of groups need to be fluid enough to comfortably contain the individuals within them, but we must also be crystal clear about the true identity and motivations of the group before becoming deeply involved.

Interactions among groups of differing identities follow the detached, Aquarian win-win model rather than the "we are one," boundary-less Piscean model.  

The real players on this planet will continue to shift power structures to egalitarianism, meaning positions of authority and responsibility still exist, but each individual successfully fulfilling his or her place counts as much as any other. There is no low man/woman on the totem pole because there is no totem pole. Anyone who believes he/she is above the fray can be mocked and laughed at relentlessly.

The days of supporting bloated personalities and egos in positions of crystallized pseudo-authority are over - if we make it so.

With Mercury retrograding in Leo, whatever we're involved in, wherever we're directing our creative energy, our hearts have to be in it. There's a lot going on on this planet and will be for the foreseeable future, and there isn't time or energy to devote to anything we're only half interested in.

If our hearts aren't in it, this is the time to make a break. With the flowing trine between Mercury Rx in Leo and Uranus Rx in Aries, people will be supported to make these moves with a minimum of disturbance.

People who find they've been supporting something they can no longer get behind can make the shift now - at least by inner principle. We will be supported to make heart-guided moves, as long as we have the courage to move in new directions, into still-developing places.

Jupiter Enters its Retrograde Shadow in Gemini

Jupiter entered its retrograde shadow July 10 at 6 degrees Gemini. What this means is that the planet of expansion, enlargement, benefits, luck, and cosmic grace will be returning to this point at the end of its retrograde period in January/February 2013, stationing there January 30.

There is some buzz on this particular degree, to be sure.

A complex expansion is going on in our lives, a broadening of horizons in creative communication, perspective, networks, local society and neighbourhoods, and relationships with siblings and soul brothers and sisters.

Perspective is absolutely key to successfully navigating the accelerated changes we are going through in our bodies and on our planet, but we will not gain full perspective on this highly complex summer until the first quarter of 2013. At that point, Jupiter will have backtracked, going over it all again so that we can fully comprehend and reap the benefits of what is opening now in our lives.

Whatever house Jupiter is currently transiting in your natal chart is the area experiencing this broadening and expansion.

We're looking off into the horizon at this potent degree - 6 degrees Gemini - excited about the possibilities we believe are there, but it will take until early 2013 to reach the point we now hold in our mind's eyes.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Handy Guide To Plutonic Punk DIY Freestyle Gardening Under the Uranus-Pluto Square


The Garden Patch
Photos: Willow



Organic vegetable gardens are ideally planted in idyllic natural settings surrounded by trees, flowers, and perhaps a babbling brook.

But if you haven’t noticed, we’re working with far from the ideal here, people.

Tip #1: If the only available spot for your organic vegetable garden is, in actuality, down a prairie trail within sight of a pumpjack and oil flare, amuse yourself with the irony of the situation. As a useful philosophical exercise, spend time contemplating the symbolism involved as it relates to the state of today’s unsustainable, oil-dependent agriculture.


Pumpjack and oil flare

Tip #2: The concern may cross your mind that chemical spray drift from neighbouring fields could find its way onto your organic produce, but again, a make-do situation on Planet Earth is a make-do situation on Planet Earth. Try to suck it up. Under the intensity of the Uranus in Aries – Pluto in Capricorn squares, there’s really no pretending. We're doing the best we can, and the planting of an organic vegetable garden under such conditions is a true attempt at survival between the cracks.
Tip #3: Most gardeners will use a motorized garden tiller specially designed to work the soil of their garden spot in preparation for planting. If you don’t have access to such a machine, a disker hooked to a full-size tractor will work in a pinch. If you know or are related to a farmer or rancher who can assist on this front, you're in business.
Tip #4: If you find you don’t have a hoe because you left it at an aborted strawberry picking job years ago, just dig your row with the edge of a spade.

Tip #5: Usually, gardeners will use a string tied to two stakes stuck in the ground to ensure their rows are made in straight lines. If you are a DIY freestyle variety of gardener, though, and don’t have string or stakes or really even the inclination to use them, you can dispose of this step as a finicky aesthetic quibble.

Tip #6: If you find you have a surplus of seeds after you’ve planted your row, just add a bit of length to the end with the trusty spade. This will obviously create rows of differing lengths, but diversity makes the world go round, right?

Tip #7: If your garden stubbornly refuses to come up, resulting in a (premature) declaration of its failure by those who observe it, comfort yourself with the Plutonic principle that spontaneous, against-all-odds growth is not only possible but probable. This is a Plutonic punk DIY freestyle garden, after all. There’s no counting it out early. The phoenix shall rise.

Cucumber plant

Tip #8: Due to multiple factors, you may find that not all your garden comes up. In fact, only two of your ten potato plants may come up due to the use of regular, rather than seed potatoes. Again, as a DIY freestyle gardener, accept that improvisation sometimes comes with drawbacks. As a true Plutonic punk gardener, however, immediately shed concern about or attachment to the dead zones, focusing only on what has survived. Applaud the survival of the plants that have showed themselves, growing under these inhospitable Uranus square Pluto conditions. Love and tend to the plants that have courageously burst forth, and think of the meals you will enjoy.
Tip #9: People will generally maintain a weed-free garden patch, but when your garden has been disked with a full-size disker and tractor, you are going to end up with a lot more ground than you need. Keeping weeds at bay will mean removing them from your rows and from the surrounding area, but leaving a perimeter of weeds to do their thing. The weed patch will, of course, be much more green, full, and lush than anything you planted, but just ignore this taunting from the natural world.


Raggedy-ass DIY freestyle garden



It’s true that these crooked, raggedy-ass rows of arbitrary length and spotty growth would scandalize the old folks. They would continue to scandalize anyone with more usual ideas about gardening. Luckily, this garden spot is out in the country, down a prairie trail no one uses, hidden by a jungle-like patch of weeds around its perimeter and will escape most notice and critique. 


Hidden down a prairie trail

Under the attempted corporate, agribusiness monopoly by genetically modified and chemically-treated seeds and food, growing and eating organic or non-GMO is a revolutionary act.
If you do not have the space, the time, or the inclination to do your own DIY freestyle gardening, please visit your local farmers market and load up for the year.

Many vegetables – spinach, chard, beets, beet greens, kale – can be quickly blanched and frozen and will keep all year round. Having local garden produce at your disposal through the winter months is a wonderful thing.


Potato plant

Ceres in Gemini: Information and Disinformation about Genetically Modified Seeds
Dwarf planet Ceres (grains, cereals, and the fertility of the Earth) entered Gemini (media) June 24 where it will stay until September 26. It will retrograde back into Gemini December 4 until April 25, 2013.

Issues related to food and agriculture are going to be talked about, thought about, and covered in the media during this time, and there will be ongoing releases of information designed to sway public perspective.

Soon after the ingress, I heard a “news story” on a local radio station involving an interview with a shill for the genetically modified seed industry. This individual was talking up the benefits of genetically modified alfalfa, using the standard argument that we need to move to GM seeds in order to produce more food for a growing  global population.
In actuality, genetically modified seeds have not proven to produce much higher yields at all. This is just one of the common faulty arguments used to promote insanely dangerous, untested, and unproven genetically modified seeds.

The push for the widespread introduction of genetically modified alfalfa is on, with multiple GM corporations trying to get in on the game, but the introduction of GM alfalfa would be devastating for the organics industry and for all non-GMO crops and livestock.

In Canada, a proposed moratorium on the sale and planting of genetically modified alfalfa was blocked in March, 2011 by the Harper Conservatives. The pro-GMO Conservatives now have a majority in Canadian Parliament, and allowing the widespread sale and growth of genetically modified seeds in this country is on the agenda.
With Ceres in Gemini for the next while, the organized and monied media push for the widespread use and acceptance of genetically modified seeds/foods will be heating up. Pro-GMO propaganda will be flying fast and furious, and the opposition to GM seeds and foods needs to match it step-by-step.
Please vocally oppose genetically modified alfalfa and all genetically modified seeds and crops, and support a moratorium on their sale and planting. Talk about the issues, and keep them on the public radar screen when you can. Support and buy food from local, non-GMO farmers whenever possible.


For more Willow's Web background on GM alfalfa:

- All WWA articles on GM alfalfa

Monday, July 2, 2012

This Full Moon Kind of Sucks

Sorry to be the bearer of angsty astro news, but the upcoming Capricorn Full Moon conjunct Pluto (July 3) is a bit of an asshole.

We start with the lead-up to it today with a long, bitchy square all day from the Moon in late Sagittarius to Mars on the final degree of Virgo (exact 5:21 p.m. Central).

This Sagittarius Moon square Mars at anaretic Virgo is not exactly jovial.

Mars has been in Virgo almost eight months. Virgo is an exhaustive, picky, perfectionist, digging into the dirty work no one else wants to do sign, but we're officially at the "I've had enough" point as Mars grinds out the 29th degree. One more detail we've overlooked or nook we've neglected to make spotless is going to push us over the edge, but doing things half-assed at this point has the potential to enrage those who have to fix or clean up after.

The Moon enters Capricorn, the sign of its detriment, at 5:51 p.m. this afternoon. The news doesn't get much better as it moves into cardinal t-square position conjunct Pluto and square Uranus in Aries by early tomorrow morning.

Moon-Pluto contacts have the potential to take us to some very dark, praying-for-sweet-sweet-death places emotionally. Add to that the square to Uranus, and people are on the edge. It will take very little to push people to their emotional eruption points.

This is a lot of pressure with people being backed into corners emotionally.

The Full Moon is exact tomorrow afternoon at 1:52 p.m., with the Moon appearing at its fullest points both tonight and tomorrow night.

This isn't exactly a Full Moon to bask in. It's sombre, on edge, grumpy, at its limit, and not willing to put up with any bullshit.

By July 4, the Capricorn Moon has peaked, alleviating a bit of the over-the-top Plutonic lunacy, but it will square both Eris in Aries and Saturn in Libra before going void of course at 7:25 a.m.

The squares to Eris and Saturn infuse the 4th of July holiday in the United States with a pervading sense of emotional heaviness, constriction, friction, and pressure, along with an unpredictable and upsetting shit disturber element coming from Eris.

The Full Moon edginess is not really going anywhere. It's just shifting flavours.

There is some listlessness under the heavy, all-day void-of-course Moon on July 4 until the Moon enters Aquarius at 7:26 p.m. 

The Moon entering Aquarius should bring some much-needed detachment and emotional distance from this 'too incendiary to handle' Full Moon phase.