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The Wheel of Light

Monthly Newsletter - November 2006

A few months ago astronomers announced new definitions for heavenly bodies in our solar system. If the body conformed to a certain standard it would be called a planet, if not it would be a dwarf planet or a pluton. According to these new stipulations, the one-time planet Pluto is now reduced to a pluton. Since that time I have been besieged by questions about this. Are astrologers no longer going to use Pluto in our calculations and interpretations? Are the horoscopes we've already done using Pluto no longer valid? To these and similar questions my answer is a resounding NO!

There are two ways that an astrologer can respond to this astronomical shift. One is to note the difference between astronomy and astrology. The former looks at the solar system (and ultimately the entire universe) as a physical manifestation only. Astronomers are concerned with how the physical structure of the universe began and the laws of its functionality. This is a fascinating study, one that can bring us closer to understanding the nature of the world around us. But there is also an underlying assumption in astronomy that what is happening in the big picture of the cosmos and what is happening in the small picture of the human experience are two entirely separate subjects. Metaphysically this reflects the duality that people in the Western world, or the "modern, industrialized world" define as reality. We are separate from each other, and collectively we are separate from that which is not us. This leads to the ultimate and obvious conclusion that God, or however one defines the Prime Deity, is separate; someone or something who has dominion over us and whom we must placate.

Astrologers define reality differently. We perceive life as being part of an integrated unity in which everything reflects and influences everything else. The Deity is not outside of us, it is everywhere and within everything. This leads to the realization that if we are not separate from the Divine, we must be divine. The question therefore becomes how to awaken to our divinity. This is a rather large question which goes beyond this column. The point is that astrologers recognize that the planets represent archetypes of energy and are reflective of human experience. If we understand the nature of those archetypes, and how they correlate to human activity, we can be more effective in creative happier, healthier lives and ultimately, reality on this plane. By seeing life this way we agree with the ancient idea that "as above, so below".

The second difference between the new categories of distinction that astronomers are positing and the way that astrologers relate to the bodies pertains to the discovery of the body itself. The astronomers have made an intellectual decision based on a desire to bring our understanding of the solar system into a neat and tidy package. Astrologers, again, look at planets differently. In a sense, astrology is the study of beginnings. We correlate the discovery of a new planet with events taking place on earth at that time. That correlation helps us to determine the nature of that planet's energy, or the archetype that that planet represents.

Pluto was discovered in 1930. One of the most profound things going on at that time was the cracking of the atom. We learning how to smash the smallest component of physical matter and in so doing releasing previously unimagined energy and power. Physicists were thus able to transform matter into energy. Hence Pluto is associated with transformation. This can be reflected in the human experience in several ways. Physically, major transits of Pluto can often indicate the onset of a life threatening disease that could significantly alter a person's quality of life. Shortly after the astronomer Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto, 12-step programs proliferated and became popular, as did psychotherapy, indicating that Pluto can also suggest psychological and behavioral transformation.

The name "Pluto" is also significant in determining its nature. Pluto is the name of the Roman god of the underworld (similar to the Greek god Hades). This implies that the heavenly body Pluto pertains to things that are under the surface and behind the scenes. Whether they are activities taking place in secret, emotions that are too sensitive to be revealed, or wisdom and states of consciousness that can be shared only with worthy seekers, Pluto pertains to things that prefer and deserve privacy.

The underworld can also imply death. Pluto is defined as the archetype of death, but in a metaphysical context that perceives life as a never ending cycle. All deaths are followed by a rebirth; all rebirths lead to a death. So Pluto, in another aspect of transformation, is the energy of death and rebirth. It provides us with the opportunity to look deeply within ourselves in order to discover aspects or elements of who we are, how we behave, what we value, believe or prioritize. Through this introspective self-analysis we can come to realize those parts of ourselves, our lives, even our relationships that are old and outmoded and which no longer serve our needs. With that clarity we can consciously and willingly let go of the old and make room for the new.

The concept and consciousness of this process is relatively new to the human experience. The beginnings of this coincided with the discovery of Pluto. Anyone who has taken advantage of the opportunity that the archetype "Pluto" provides knows that this process is very real and very valuable. And anyone who, in the face of a powerful Pluto transit, has failed to engage this process consciously, knows what it feels like to have their lives turned upside down and inside out for months, even years, at a time.

Astronomers can define heavenly bodies anyway they choose. They can change the criterion based on whatever variables are popular at that time. But astrologers will continue to note the position of Pluto in the natal chart, and follow the transits of Pluto, in order to be aware of when, how and where a person is being challenged to transform. This experience is highly significant to the process of personal growth and consciousness development, regardless of the intention and intellectual description given by astronomers.

Aries (March 21-April 20
This is a good time to deepen your self-awareness as well as your insights into life. There is a lot of passion and emotional intensity as well, so use the emerging self-awareness to direct those feelings in deliberate and conscious ways. Growth comes from using this energy as a vehicle for transformation, especially in personal relationships. Otherwise things could get volatile.

Taurus (April 21-May 21)
The full Moon in Taurus on the 5th could bring emotions that are otherwise deep and unconscious up to the surface. Use this as a time to become more emotionally self-aware. Growth comes from redirecting the energy you may usually direct outward to being supportive to others and to become more emotionally self-nurturing. By extension this also can include being more emotionally open with others.

Gemini (May 22-June 21)
The month begins with possible contentiousness and confusion, especially between you and a partner. Growth, and a way out, comes from looking within first. There is an opportunity to become more aware of deeper levels of emotion than may usually be present. With the clarity emerging from your internal research, you can approach the relationship in a new way, with a new attitude and perspective.

Cancer (June 22-July 22)
The full Moon in Taurus on the 5th and the new Moon in Scorpio on the 20th provide opportunities to get clarity about values and priorities, especially in areas that pertain to children, lovers and friends. You could also feel a strong urge for both individuation around the full Moon and creative expression around the new Moon. Growth comes from deepening your self-awareness as well as connections to others.

Leo (July 23-August 23)
The push-pulls that you may have been experiencing for about a year, may intensify this month. From this point on the energy should lighten up. Growth this month comes from willingly looking within yourself to discover ways you have been blocking yourself. This could pertain to things of which you have unaware, or that you have been ignoring or denying. You will find that this research can be done with confidence and lead to great liberation and joy.

Virgo (August 24-Sept 22)
This month continues a pattern begun in October that challenges you to do some self-evaluation. This could pertain to anything from becoming aware of deep feelings, to ways of communicating them to others. It could also pertain to getting clear with neighbors or relatives about issues you have been carrying around for a long time. Growth comes from diving into the discomfort of emotion, and sharing with others what you discover.

Libra (Sept 23-Oct 23)
Financial concerns give way to social and academic interests and activities around mid-month. Your artistic energies and opportunities for positive social situations are strong, especially early-mid month. Growth for you comes from developing the self-discipline and clarity of goal in order to benefit from these potentials.

Scorpio (Oct 24-Nov 22)
Focus on yourself this month. In general this has been a year when we all need to work on centering and individuation. This is especially important for you right now. Two things to emphasize are physical activity and creative expression. There is a lot of passion and drive available and these are two of the best ways to utilize them. Growth comes from functioning within your limits, yet not holding yourself back.

Sagittarius (Nov 23-Dec 21)
Your ruling planet Jupiter leaves Scorpio, after having been there for a year, and enters Sagittarius on the 23rd. This transit could bring powerful feelings of renewal, joy and confidence. But you might also realize that a lot of the inner work you have been doing is going to start paying off in terms of self-awareness and personal growth as well as in your relationships.

Capricorn (Dec 22-Jan 20)
Some of the conflicts, both internal and interactive, that you have been experiencing this year may feel more immediate this month. This is when you respond to these challenges by acting on the new values and behaviors you have been contemplating or experimenting with. This could involve everything from finance to play to intimacy to friendship. Growth comes from having faith in the work you have already done, and in the support available from the universe to do what feels right.

Aquarius (Jan 21 to Feb 19)
This is a good time for you to function more in the mainstream. Growth comes from integrating the personal changes you have experienced in the past few months within a public or social context. The idea is to inspire others through your actions and behaviors.

Pisces (Feb 20-March 20)
Even though there may be personal challenges this month, you may also notice that professional opportunities, or at least expansion of reputation and recognition are starting to open up. This public pattern could continue for about a year. On the personal level, keep doing your inner work. The more centered you are the more desirable the professional situations will be, and the more you will be aware of them.

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