Thursday, September 27, 2012

Some Uranus-Pluto Pressure is Relieved With Many Gear Shifts to Navigate As We Enter October

Pluto is still kicking up the fun from early Capricorn, and Uranus and Pallas Athene are still singeing circuits in Aries, but the pressure slowly releases over the next ten days as Pluto re-gains speed direct and pulls out of the second exact Uranus-Pluto square.

The summer of 2012 was coloured by the first two Uranus-Pluto squares, and we could feel the vise grips tighten at various times between the first one June 24 and the second one September 17/18. Global pressures became local pressures became personal pressures and back again.

We've been flirting with the Plutonic intolerable at times around this fall equinox, and it has been a challenge to maintain our calm and collected Libran equilibrium under such tension and pressure.

But as Uranus continues retrograde and Pluto moves direct, we get a little separation between these two and a little breathing room - if we take it.

We don't experience the third Uranus-Pluto square until May 20, 2013 at 11 degrees of Aries/Capricorn.

Still, Pluto is heavy in the astro atmosphere until re-gaining full speed direct October 5/6. It will be full speed ahead as Saturn ingresses Scorpio, the sign it rules.

We have multiple other astrological gear shifts to navigate as we enter October, as well.

Venus enters Virgo October 3 at 1:00 a.m. CST and cools things off relationship-wise considerably. Love and relationship take on a practical, only-what's-necessary tone. Vanity, superfluous praise, and excess socializing are tightly curtailed. Lovers would rather you showed your affection by re-grouting the shower than by dropping $100 on flowers. But both would be nice.

Mercury enters Scorpio October 5 at 4:35 a.m., the same day Saturn ingresses the sign, and we're wrapping our minds around the new tone and challenges the Saturn in Scorpio transit will bring. We're thinking like Scorpio, we're talking like Scorpio, and this is helpful as we enter Saturn in Scorpio, as long as we don't go too deep, too dark, too soon. Pace yourselves.

Mars has been trailblazing in Scorpio and leaves the sign for Sagittarius October 6 at 9:21 p.m., just as Mercury and Saturn enter. Mars has catalyzed what it needed to catalyze in Scorpio and now moves on to more buoyant and exploratory pastures in Sagittarius. This adds a little excitement and inspiration to our step, but it also brings us head-on into religious, truth-based, and philosophical battles (just in time for the U.S. presidential election and its full-out sabre-rattling at Iran).

Jupiter has transited just over half of Gemini and stations retrograde at 16 degrees at 7:18 a.m. on October 4. Jupiter will now go back over the areas of our lives that have experienced grace and expansion since it entered Gemni this past June. This particularly relates to society, neighbourhoods, networking, social cross-pollination, and communication, and it particularly relates to the outgrowths we've seen since July 10, 2012.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Ceres in Gemini, Food Issues in the Media, and Unprecedented GM Feeding Trials Produce Horrifying (Though Unsurprising) Results

Asteroid of grains, cereals, and the fertility of the Earth, Ceres, is finishing its transit of Mercury-ruled Gemini, and information about food that could sway public opinion is potent. Ceres moves into Cancer September 26 but retrogrades back into Gemini December 4 until April 5, 2013.

An unprecedented animal feeding trial has found that lab rats fed genetically modified corn as well as glyphosate residue - the primary ingredient in Monsanto's herbicide Roundup - developed high incidences of tumours, multiple organ damage, and premature death.

The results of the GM feeding trial were published September 19, 2012 in the scientific journal "Food and Chemical Toxicology." The peer-reviewed study was conducted by a team of scientists led by biologist and endocrinologist Gilles-Eric Seralini of the University of Caen in France.

The trial studied the long-term effects of exposure to NK603 GM corn (Monsanto's Roundup Ready variety) and glyphosate - individually and combined - on the health of rats over two years. 

The study found that even exposure to levels considered "safe" resulted in severe negative health effects in the animals:

Of the rats fed GM corn or glyphosate residue, 50% of males and 70% of females died prematurely. This was compared to 30% and 20% respectively in the control group. Female rats developed fatal mammary tumours and pituitary disorders. Males developed liver damage, kidney and skin tumours and had problems with their digestive systems. Rats fed GM corn or Roundup residues developed 2-3 times more tumours than the control group.

The study found that ingestion of GM corn and glyphosate caused similar damage in the rats whether consumed separately or together. Even the lowest doses of GM corn and glyphosate were associated with severe health problems.

Previous studies have produced similar findings, but this was the first ever feeding trial done over the course of the entire lifespan of a laboratory rat - two years.

Yes, folks. Despite the fact that lab rats live only two years, no genetically modified animal feeding trials have been done up to this point for longer than 90 days. Genetically modified seeds/foods have been rushed onto the market in Canada and the United States without any longer-term studies on potential effects. The majority of the tumours that developed on the rats were detected after 18 months, which means that prior GM testing done over 90 days would not have discovered them.

Monsanto's Roundup Ready corn (NK603 variety) has been genetically modified to withstand its glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup. You'll recall that Monsanto is the corporation that has also brought us such wondrous improvements to the human condition as: Agent Orange, DDT, saccharin, PCBs, bovine growth hormones, and Aspartame. Monsanto has bullied and sued farmers around the world over the use of its patented seeds. The corporation is directly responsible for suicides among hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers who went into debt to buy Monsanto seeds with the promise of magical yields that did not materialize.

The growth and sale of genetically modified corn, including Monsanto's Roundup Ready variety, were approved in Canada in 2001. People have been unknowingly ingesting genetically modified material in their corn products since then.

According to Patricia Reimer, a Manitoba organic inspector I spoke to for a story last year about genetically modified alfalfa, corn has become widely contaminated by genetically modified strains. There is no separation of GM and non-GM corn, soybeans, or canola in the food system, outside the organic system. What this means is that unless you are eating certified organic corn, soy, or canola, there is a high likelihood that you are eating at least some genetically modified material. Even organic products cannot be guaranteed 100% GM-free at this point.

Genetically modified sweet corn has now come onto grocery shelves in Canada and the U.S. in order to test the waters. Corn is also used in corn syrup - a product used in many processed foods.

Roundup is currently the world's most popular and widely-used herbicide, and its global usage is set to double by 2017, according to Global Industry Analysts of San Jose, California. 

How's that for a horrifying Pluto in Capricorn era fact?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Pallas Athene in Aries, Exposing Rape in the Military, and Control of Women's Sexuality in Mythology Connected to the Feminine Asteriods

The asteroid related to the female warrior, Pallas Athene, is currently very strong in the zodiac. It has been on Uranus in Aries like white on rice for a few months now, moving retrograde with it in tandem, and has played a prominent role in the first and now second Uranus-Pluto squares.

The female warrior asteroid is infused at this time with the energy of necessary, radical change and re-direction as we enter a new astrological era (Uranus in Aries), and it is coming into tense, clashing square contact with the patriarchal power structures as they exist (Pluto in Capricorn).

These symbols indicate a theme of women fighting for change in all aspects of society, coming into contact with corrupt, unjust, and downright abusive power structures - the Pluto in Capricorn "accepted way of things."

These symbols are also playing out very literally with female soldiers fighting for justice and change in relation to the male-dominated power structures of the United States Armed Forces.

The horrifyingly high incidence of rape among female soldiers by male soldiers in the United States Armed Forces is an issue gaining traction at this time, as are the cover-ups and miscarriages of justice associated with those crimes.

According to a study released on April 13, 2012 by the U.S. Department of Defense, 3,200 rapes are reported to the military annually.

Since an estimated 80 percent of rapes go unreported, the annual total is closer to 19,000.

Of the 3,200 rapes that are reported, only half are deemed worthy of pursuing in military courts, and of that half, only 6 percent result in a conviction. One out of three soldiers convicted of rape is retained by the military, keeping his job and his place on the payroll.

Many of the women who report being raped are then harassed by fellow soldiers.

A Veterans Affairs Administration study found that nearly 1 in 3 female U.S. soldiers is raped during her service, more than double the (also horrifying) 15-percent risk of rape for civilian women. This means nearly 500,000 military women have been raped since the U.S. Armed Forces first began accepting female soldiers in 1948.

The fact that the military investigates and prosecutes itself has long been problematic, but an attorney named Susan Burke is hoping to get around this by suing the Unites States military on constitutional grounds. The claim is that the military violated her clients' constitutional rights to due process, equal protection under the Fifth Amendment, and First Amendment free-speech rights to report sexual assault without retaliation. Three lawsuits involving multiple women in each suit are either in progress or are soon to be launched against the U.S. military.

These women are truly the embodiment of Pallas Athene in Aries in action.

Source for statistics: "Court-Martialing the Military" by Molly M. Ginty from Ms. magazine Spring/Summer 2012 issue

Saturn moving into Scorpio this October indicates the beginning of a time period of increased responsibility (Saturn) in sexual matters (Scorpio).

Sexual energy is being horrifically misused and abused on this planet, and we can no longer turn a blind eye to it.

Asteroid of erotic love, Eros, comes together with soul mate asteroid, Juno, at 29 degrees Scorpio today, also conjunct the North Node. This conjunction sets a tone for the North Node's transit through Scorpio and also for the upcoming Saturn in Scorpio transit.

With the concentration in Scorpio, breaking cycles of abuse, suppression, and control related to human sexuality - gradually, responsibly, as a grand-scale collective change - is possible, but only if we demand it and then work for it.

This goes beyond the false, "free love" ethic of the 1960s, working with the serious realities and consequences of sexual energy exchange in the 2000s.

Ain't nothing free on this planet, least of all sex.

The transits through Scorpio indicate a deep, relentless, and hard-won effort over the next years to change the dynamics that are keeping institutional/systemic sexual abuse under wraps, unaddressed, and unresolved. We're turning the rocks over, and turning them over, and turning them over again, until we've outed the people, the power dynamics, and the Old Boys Clubs allowing these crimes to continue on cyclical repeat.

Sex crimes committed by priests in the Catholic church and then covered up by that hierarchy is another area where people will be digging and working for change and justice over the next years.

Abuse and violence through sexual means is certainly not an issue limited to women, but sexual abuse of women is by far the most common form.

The North Node and Saturn in Scorpio also indicate a time when astrological symbolism can be slowly transformed, the suppressed feminine within those astrological symbols can be gradually liberated, and the themes can be advanced beyond the male-dominated perspectives of the Greeks and Romans.

Threads of sexual violence against women as well as the suppression and control of female sexuality run through a lot of mythology, reflecting the violent, patriarchal societies from which the stories came. (Haven't we come so far?) Some of this mythology is connected to the astrological symbols we use today. 

From Persephone being forcefully dragged off to the Underworld by Pluto to be his wife to Lilith being shut out of society for demanding equality in her primary relationship, many of the feminine asteroids are connected to mythological themes of control, suppression, violence, and abuse of women, often along sexual lines. 

Pallas Athene was a woman who, according to the mythology, was born from the forehead of Zeus wearing a full set of armour. There could be no doubt that she was a born warrior, and her skills in strategy, crafts, and combat were so impressive that she was accepted into the fold by the male warriors. There was just one hitch: In order to be accepted as an equal, she had to give up her sexuality and remain celibate, something that was not required of the male warriors.

The mythology of Pallas Athene involves an element of female sexuality suppressed in order to be accepted amongst the boys. There is a theme of women having their sexuality controlled by the established order, and of women having to remain celibate in order not to threaten that established order.

This theme of women having to give up their sexuality (Scorpio) in order to hold positions of authority and responsibility (Saturn) continues in the mythology related to asteroid Vesta.

Vesta is connected to the story of the vestal virgins, another group of (mostly) women who were de-sexed in order to be accepted in positions of authority. In this case, the positions of authority were spiritually-based, as keepers of the hearth and sacred fire. The vestal virgins were entrusted with the responsibility of keeping the fire going for all members of the community, but in order to hold that position, they, too, were required to give up their sexuality, remaining celibate and unmarried.

The messages underlying this mythology are: You can be a warrior woman fighting the battles of the established order, but you can't exert yourself in ways that threaten the boys club.

You can be aggressive in ways that benefit the structures as they exist, but not sexually confident or assertive.

You can play a spiritual role in society, but you will have to purify yourself of your sexuality and your desire for love and companionship to maintain it.

You can achieve alongside the guys, but you'd better let them make the rules for you sexually.

On the other side of that coin is asteroid Juno. Juno is the soul mate asteroid related to marriage and soul-bonded relationship, and it is associated with the mythology of Hera. That mythology involves  strong themes of sexual violence and manipulation as well as the heinous misuse of sexual energy between a married couple.

Hera's story involves a whole lot of sex, but it's mostly her husband who's having it - with females who aren't her.

Hera, once an all-powerful Goddess in her own right, was raped by Zeus so as to shame her into marrying him. Once she became "Zeus' wife," she was dragged through affair after affair, tied to a man who used his position of authority as King of the Gods (pfft) to screw and philander to his heart's content.

The threads of misogyny in symbols and myths reflect current-day societies and structures where underlying hatred of and violence against women are woven into the fabric. They simmer and poison, a little flicker visible here and there, until they are full-on confronted - repeatedly - and made wholly unacceptable by both men and women.

Instead of carrying the sexual violence of this mythology forward - even a little - in the underlying astrological symbolism of the feminine asteroids, it's time to consciously address it, working the feminine energy free from the karmic weight of these myths.

We can use these myths to understand the historical context within which we're working, but it's time to advance the stories. It's time to re-tell these tales from the female point-of-view and to stand up to an established order that involves pigeonholed roles for women: as de-sexed, as sexual object ideal for men, or as unprotected victims of systemic rape, sexual brutality, and control.

It's time to demand structural set-ups where women can be powerful and authoritative without depriving themselves of a private sexual life. Where female soldiers can do their jobs without being "put in their places" by sexual assaults committed by supposed comrades.

By exposing and working through the mythological threads, by adding a stronger and more fully-developed female perspective, and by calling those old "Gods" on their shit, we move beyond the old stories and the old dynamics, advancing an astrology that is more balanced, humane, just, and true-to-life.

These feminine asteroids will have their redemption, and there's no better time to start than the present.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Moon Square Saturn All Day

The Cancer Moon squares Saturn in Libra today (exact at 3:58 p.m. CST), making for a bit of a dreary feel to the day. We're wiggling our way through a number of emotional challenges that can make us feel confined or trapped in emotional states or physical circumstances. Pathos, self-pity, and gritted-teeth frustration could be on tap with this aspect colouring our whole day.

Add to this the fact that Pluto is currently stationing in Capricorn square Uranus-Pallas Athene in Aries, and we're under some pretty major pressure, both macro and micro.

Mercury is just pulling out of its exterior (direct) conjunction to the Sun in Virgo, and this adds to the possibility of little irritations stirring much bigger reactions than they warrant. Take breaks from the hypercritical intensity in order to ward off ugly interactions.

The Moon's square to Saturn is the last aspect it makes before going void-of-course late this afternoon, and we're kept under the Saturnine thumb, in a sombre mood and sometimes struggling for self-control, until 9:00 p.m. tonight when the Moon enters Leo.

Easing this load is the fact that the Moon is functional and at home in Cancer, and Saturn is very strong in the last degrees of Libra. The emotional challenges we move through today have an air of finality about them.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Pluto Stationing Direct, the Second Uranus-Pluto Square, and Pallas Athene Still Kicking a Little Butt in Aries

Pluto is currently slowing in the zodiac to station direct at 6 degrees Capricorn September 17, and as it does, it permeates the astro atmosphere with its deep, dark, raw intensity. Feeling nauseated, greasy, triggered, paranoid, exhausted, poisoned, irritable, low on tolerance, ready to blow, and as if you are energetically moulting are all par for the course during a Pluto station.

Our bullshit detectors are more highly-tuned than usual when Pluto hangs heavy in the atmosphere, as it does this September, and listening to anything dishonest or lacking in integrity can actually make one feel physically ill. (I would suggest skipping the phoniness of the United States' presidential politics at this time if you’re particularly sensitive, or you may find yourself gripping a toilet bowl.)

Add to this Pluto direct station (late on September 17) the fact that we experience the second Uranus in Aries - Pluto in Capricorn square the very next day (late on September 18) and we have an extremely intense fall equinox going down.
Uranus and Pluto are moving back and forth, back and forth, in a series of seven squares between 2012 and 2015. The last time we experienced a square series between these two was 1932 – 1934 during The Great Depression.
Uranus and Pluto are outer/transpersonal planets, and their movements indicate global seismic shifts that trickle down into the personal life.
This second square, with both bodies retrograde, picks up where we left off at the first Uranus-Pluto square June 24. We drop into new gears here under pressure and friction that create (or force) movement into new territory. The entire structural reality is in a state of morph, being shaped by global power structures of nefarious motivation, and we’re challenged to keep our balance throughout the process.
We’re seeing orchestrated movements from Global Governors worldwide under this square series and a state of corruption and inhumanity that is truly mind-boggling as it goes on under the noses of the populace.
The tension purposefully being created by macro power moves is immense, and we're seeing people crack under the pressure.

Intense hatred is being stirred intentionally on this planet, and the coping skills necessary to deal with it are being withheld, particularly for men.
Mass shootings have become somewhat commonplace in the United States, with a major one occurring every year or two, but we saw a horrific concentration of them between the first Uranus-Pluto square June 24 and the second September 18.
There was the Aurora, Colorado theatre shooting July 20 that killed 12 and wounded scores more. Then there was the mass shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin August 5, committed by an ex-U.S. Army member and white supremacist, that left six people dead and four wounded. A gunman opened fire at Texas A&M University August 13, killing two people and wounding three more before he was shot dead. And a mass shooting outside the Empire State Building in New York City on August 24 by a man who had recently been fired left two dead (including the shooter) and six wounded.
The election of the separatist Parti Quebecois in French-speaking province Quebec on September 4 re-opened old fault lines in Canada, as well. A gunman opened fire at the celebration party for the PQ win in Montreal, killing one and critically wounding another. The man reportedly shouted, "English are waking up! English are waking up!" as police took him into custody. You’ll recall that Canada’s Sun-Uranus at 8 degrees Cancer was locked into exact cardinal t-square by the first Uranus - Pluto square in June, and it is within tight orb again during the second.
All this violence might seem to be coming out of the blue (Uranus in Aries), but if we look at the violence being brought down around the world by both the United States and its trusty sidekick Canada, we understand that these seemingly random acts of violence are occurring fully within their context (Pluto).
Female warrior Pallas Athene continues to be a major player in the Uranus-Pluto squares. This asteroid is on Uranus like a second skin as the planet cries out for women and the feminine to step it up, speak out, and exert themselves at the threshold of this new astrological era.
“This feminine warrior asteroid is absolutely potent at this important time on the planet and will not be shuffled to the side. Pallas Athene was right up front in the proceedings, exactly conjunct Uranus in Aries and square Pluto in Capricorn, during the first of the seven Uranus-Pluto squares on June 24, 2012, and it has stayed there ever since. This asteroid holds crucial position for women and for the feminine, in general. It simply won't back down. Like a dog on a bone, it moves retrograde, step-for-step, in tight conjunction with Uranus into the second Uranus-Pluto square September 18/19.”
Both Mercury and the Sun in Libra move into cardinal t-square position this September, and social dynamics – with Saturn transiting the final degrees of Libra – are, at times, tense, stressed, and highly-charged.
September is the last full month of the Saturn in Libra transit – Saturn enters Scorpio October 5 – and our social lessons and maturity in relationship are certainly being put to the test under these configurations. We are proving or disproving our ability to hold social position, authority, and responsibility under this pressure.
Mercury enters Libra September 16, and our state of ongoing cardinal t-square is triggered yet again as it moves into position opposite Pallas Athene-Uranus in Aries and square Pluto in Capricorn. The t-square configuration is exact September 20.
Our communications with others are taut, to say the least. People are wound tightly here, and things are simmering beneath the social interactions. Words are highly-charged and potentially incendiary with Mercury squaring volcanic Pluto and opposing unpredictably inflammatory Uranus and Pallas Athene.
Mercury in Libra does its best to keep things socially smooth and congenial - often the domain of women.
Pallas Athene, working on the astrological Aquarian vibe in conjunction to Uranus, is fighting to break us out of stifling, control-based social roles, particularly for women.
You see the tension of this opposition.
Playing social roles and maintaining the comfort of a position within polite society is the domain of Mercury in Libra. But…
“In Aries, Pallas Athene is fighting for the rights of women as self-sovereign individuals, outside roles and identities as wives, sexual partners, mothers, daughters, sisters, workers, or domestic labour."
With Saturn cementing our relational position in the last degrees of Libra, we have to maintain social standards here, but this is very tough to do when we feel like snarling Plutonic beasts with an overwhelming Uranian-Pallas Athenian urge to annihilate every social more in existence.
The sweet, social Libra tongue holds everything in the balance. We keep it congenial – unless, that is, it becomes oh-so-necessary to fight a lightning-flash verbal battle. The feminine perspective is particularly at the breaking point here. It’s put up with all it is humanly possible to put up with, and speaking up on inflammatory issues when necessary becomes just as important as maintaining social decorum – probably more so.
The Sun enters Libra September 22, and our state of ongoing cardinal t-square keeps right on trucking as we head through fall equinox in the northern hemisphere.

The cardinal t-square involving the Sun is exact September 29, and it is the dominant configuration involved in the Aries Full Moon that night. The Aries Full Moon falls tightly within t-square configuration, conjunct Uranus and Pallas Athene, opposite the Sun in Libra, and square Pluto.
All I can say is: yowtch. These configurations are too hot to touch, almost too intense to handle, but we're going to have to keep our balance and our social graces about us with the strong Libra influence. With Saturn completing its transit, it’s final exam time in the realm of relationship, both personal and professional.
It’s easy to be nice and socially congenial when things are going smoothly. But toss this level of friction, intensity, and potentially volatile energy into the mix, and let’s see who can maintain their Saturnine stiff upper lips.
The structural work we’ve done in relationships so far is put practically to the test, with every bolt and screw challenged under intense, real-life pressure. As with the Mars in Libra conjunction to Saturn mid-August, how we perform now determines whether we cement new social position and authority or whether we’re unceremoniously demoted. Skimmed-over weaknesses or skipped steps from the Saturn in Libra transit will be apparent now.
Earlier this summer, we had an emphasis on the Cancer-Libra square. Now, with Mercury and the Sun squaring Pluto, the emphasis shifts to the Libra-Capricorn square.
This is the dynamic friction between “all-business” Capricorn and “life-work balance” Libra. Capricorn can’t see any goals other than getting the job done, achieving, and advancing. Libra sees that there are issues of human relationship, beauty, fairness, and social justice that must come into play.
The Libra-Capricorn square holds within it the tension related to maintaining right human relations within an increasingly ruthless business world.
The social role of women in business, in particular, comes under intense scrutiny here. There are aspects of the expected female role in the workplace that are stultifying, oppressive, and just plain unfair. Women are held back from achieving and from holding positions of recognized power due to social conditioning and the expectations that they will stay within that conditioning.
Again, the energy of Pallas Athene conjunct Uranus in Aries is highlighted here, with a do-or-die, now-or-never effort on the part of women and the feminine to bust out of the social roles, conditioning, and expectations that have kept them so unhappily confined.