Overview of the Solar System

This is an overview of the Solar system from an astrological perspective. I only intend to touch on each planet briefly, to acquaint you with them if you aren’t already, and possibly to give a new perspective or fresh insight if you are. My main contribution is providing a perspective on the “dwarf planets” Ceres and Eris, who, as I see it, are poorly understood.

The Sun

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The Sun, as we know, is the center of the Solar system. He is its core essence. All things revolve about him, all things are illuminated by him. The Solar system exists only because of the Sun. In a very real way, the Solar system is the Sun. The rest of the planets, then, are merely different aspects of him, smaller pieces within him, about him, reflected back to him and to each other.

The Sun is the authority — that which allows things to be. The Sun makes the final decision, calls the shots, draws the conclusion. The Sun built the city everyone else is walking through. The Sun decides whether it is day or night, autumn or spring.

The Sun is the primary generative force, the yang principle, the ego, and the king.

The Moon

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The Moon is our satellite, and her significance is her proximity. She is ours, or, we could say, we belong to her. Being the closest to us and the fastest, she brings the message of the sky down to Earth. What happens here happens through her.

This makes the most sense if we view the sky geocentrically. Simply look up and watch the planets as they move across the sky. Each planet is speaking, moving at different rates of speed. The Moon is the planet — or, more accurately, the luminary — who moves at a roughly continuous speed about the entire ecliptic in the span of twenty-seven days, crossing roughly thirteen degrees each day. The Moon is not only experiencing the whole of the ecliptic much more quickly and more frequently, but is making aspects to the other planets much more quickly and more frequently.

An astrological concept called “translation of light” is like a way that planets communicate with each other through a third planet. For example, if Planet B separates from an aspect to Planet A, who is “heavier”, and applies to a third planet C, while still within orb of Planet A, Planet B is said to have translated light from A to C. A second method is for a lighter Planet A to join with a heavier Planet B, who then joins with a yet heavier Planet C. Planet B translates light from A to C.

The first type of translation of light is the type the Moon excels at. The second type she simply can not do. But we can see by this that the messenger of the sky is the Moon and why she is the messenger of the sky. We’ll get to Mercury about that in a moment. Consider, from a heliocentric view, the Moon’s relation to the orbit of the Earth about the Sun. She is sometimes nearer the Sun and sometimes further from the Sun. The Moon, in a way, is a bridge between the inner planets and the outer planets, a bridge between the primary generative force and the rest of the Universe.

What is most significant about the Moon, however, is her clear yin nature, her cycle from new to full and back, which is the prototype for understanding relationships among the other planets, who make waxing and waning trine, square, and sextile aspects to each other. The Moon signifies change, growth, decay, birth, and death.

The Moon is very heavily associated with emotions, the subconscious, and instincts. Consider her phases, the speed at which she moves, and her proximity. Emotions are very close to us, rapidly shifting, arising from somewhere poorly illuminated within us. Our emotions are fluid and heavily dependent upon other things, to include our intentions, our habits, and other emotions.

The Moon is often associated with women and motherhood in particular. As such, we are metaphorically her child. If the Sun gets the title of king the Moon gets the title of mother. Think about that comparison. Who really matters more to you personally? Your mother or (use your imagination here) your king? Now who is more important if you consider it impersonally? There we have an important distinction between the Sun and Moon, another aspect of yang and yin.

Mercury

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Except for the Moon, who is best referred to as a luminary along with the Sun, Mercury is the fastest of the planets, orbiting the Sun in eighty-eight days, and going retrograde as he passes us three times a year.

Mercury is the liminal state. Mercury is neither male nor female, neither day nor night, neither up nor down, but somewhere between all of the things. Given that Mercury is that which goes between, it is not incorrect to associate the planet with messages.

Mercury takes that special seventh spot as the planets are paired up. Sun and Moon, Venus and Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, or, if you prefer, we could pair them up Jupiter and Venus, Mars and Saturn. Do Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, or Eris pair with Mercury? No.

Mercury is often associated with the mind. The word “mind” in this context is usually meant to refer to the thoughts, images, and symbols that run through our minds. These constantly running thoughts can easily be likened to the substance named for Mercury, which has no definite shape. We can see why Mercury has these associations. He is the planet closest the Sun and always very near, seen only during and immediately after sunset, or before sunrise, switching between the two and changing direction every four months. Neither here nor there, neither this nor that, but both at once.

From a heliocentric view, as the first planet out from the Sun, we can view Mercury as the principle through which the primary generative force that is the Sun will act. Mercury grants the Sun’s power potential to be any of many things. Mercury gives the primal impulse words, symbols, and images.

Venus

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Every discussion of Venus seems to mention that she is the brightest object in the sky after the Sun and Moon, and for good reason. It is striking and it is significant. Venus is called the lesser benefic, which means she is considered to behave in a positive manner, to do good things wherever she goes so far as she is able. Much of this is due to the fact that she is the brightest star in the sky. Why should that be? Why does that matter? When you can, go out and look at the night sky yourself. Look at Venus. Feel what she is saying. More importantly, notice how she is saying it. Sometimes the communication is clearest when you’re out for a walk or driving and she pops out from behind a hill or a cluster of trees or a house. Bam! She is the lesser benefic for a reason.

More broadly, she is also associated with the yin principle. Venus is receptive. Venus attracts. Venus is lovely, pleasing, beautiful. Venus is the aesthetic sense.

I should say now that I do not believe that any of the planets are really inherently masculine or feminine, but that the labels were useful throughout history when people had very definite conceptions of how people should behave, which are foreign to us now. Stated in an oversimplified way, women are not the only ones who are meant to be attractive anymore, nor are men the only pursuers. Venus’s qualities caused her to be conceived as feminine, not the other way around.

From a heliocentric view, Venus takes the potential Mercury brought forth from the Sun and seeks out what part of that potential is wanted. This is not what she does, but how she is — the way in which she exists. Through her, it is made beautiful and desirable.

Mars

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Mars is the pursuer. Mars is aggressive. Mars is those emotions that burst outward — rage, jealousy, resentment, ambition, covetousness, envy. Mars and Venus are the same essential principle inverted, as we might expect, viewing the system structurally, Mars being first planet out, Venus the first planet in. The two are not, however, exactly, perfectly inverted versions of the same principle. Being in the orbit just beyond and the orbit just within are not as symmetrically comparable as it might sound at first.

Earth is the third planet from the Sun. Venus is the second planet from the Sun. Mars is the fourth. This alone creates the dynamic that characterizes Mars and Venus. The two are heavily personal, emotional, full of desire, each of a different kind. Venus says, “I want you to want me.” Mars is more direct and says, “I want you.” He then asserts, “I will have you.”

Venus and Mars are the closest planets to Earth — after the Moon. The Moon, as we know, rules emotions. Venus and Mars do so also, but in very different ways. Venus, the brighter one, the planet who follows the Sun around, in general, holds lighter emotions, the more submissive ones. Mars, in general, holds heavier, more intense, dominating emotions. Mars is dimmer in the sky and red.

Ptolemy said that Mars was hot based on his cosmological system, which he inherited from Aristotle. Ptolemy said that Mars was hot because Mars was so close to the Sun — If we view from a geocentric perspective, the Sun takes the Earth’s place in the order of things. That heat is what was supposed to have made Mars the lesser malefic, but why was Venus not afflicted with the same nature? Was Venus not also very close to the Sun? I know it’s because, he said, Venus is moist due to her proximity to Earth, but that’s not my point. I’m not here to argue with Ptolemy, which would be silly. I aim to show that Ptolemy inherited an understanding of the nature of Mars and then superimposed his system on top of that. Mars is not angry because he is hot. Rather, Mars was thought to be hot because he is angry.

From that heliocentric view, Mars picks up the football of Mercury’s conceiving and Venus’s choosing, and runs with it. But where?

Ceres

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Between Mars and Jupiter lies the asteroid belt. I have been fascinated with the asteroid belt since I first learned about the Solar system in, I think, second grade. I, as had every kid, imagined it to be just like it was pictured in every single totally false depiction of the Solar system children are ever allowed to see — one of them showed Pluto’s eccentric orbit cross all they way through Mars’ I assume out of sheer laziness in construction. In every depiction, the asteroid belt was densely populated with great big rocks, kind of like you sometimes see in science fiction movies. But the asteroid belt, we know, is rather sparse.

One third of the asteroid belt is Ceres and she is quite small. All of the asteroid belt together holds a little more than one fifth the mass of Pluto, thus Pluto is fifteen times more massive than Ceres. It is sparse, yes, but not negligible, and Ceres is its queen.

From my perspective, astrologically speaking, Ceres is the asteroid belt. If there is any point that is a clear symbol of the belt, it is Ceres, no question. The second largest object in the asteroid belt is much smaller and everything in the belt shares the same basic orbit — the belt. I regard all of the little asteroids as I regard the moons of Mars or Neptune. They have relevance, maybe, but not really to us. The purpose of our study of the Solar system as astrologers is to unravel the language contained within its structure. Ceres holds the orbit of fifth planet from the Sun at two and three quarters AU’s, between Mars at one and a half AU’s and Jupiter at five AU’s.

Ceres lies within the orbit of Saturn but Ceres is not one of the original seven planets because she is too dim to see without a telescope, except under extraordinary circumstances, if you know where to look — just like Uranus. She is positioned exactly between what are often called the personal planets — Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars — and the social planets — Saturn and Jupiter. Ceres is like a bridge, yes, but she is more similar to the personal planets than to the social planets, who are much further from the Sun.

The seven classical planets project themselves into our consciousness when we look up at the sky. Ceres we have to search for with telescopes. I believe this is important for understanding what she says to us. Ceres is not silent, but her messages are subliminal. She speaks to our subconscious, personally. Remember that Mercury was thoughts, Venus was desire, and Mars was anger? Ceres is nothing of the sort.

Ceres is the asteroid belt. Ceres is here, but also there and there and there. By my view, Ceres is a bit like Mercury and a bit like the Moon in nature. Rather, Ceres’ partial similarity with Mercury is more like the principle shared, inverted between Venus and Mars. Mercury’s way of being in between is through itself; his own nature evades categories. Ceres’ way is to be cast out among many hundreds of thousands of pieces of herself. She is like the Moon not only by name but by her constantly shifting nature and her connection to the subconscious.

Within the heliocentric image we’ve been creating, Mars runs with that football and Ceres presents him with the many directions he could run, presenting them individually but simultaneously.

Jupiter

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Jupiter is the fourth brightest object in the sky after the Sun, Moon, and Venus and is called the greater benefic. I think we can see a pattern. But again I tell you, walk out and take a look when the planet is visible. Feel it.

Jupiter is said to be expansive. Jupiter takes the wide view, the high road, sees the big picture, aims for the stars. Jupiter is optimism.

Jupiter is by a very wide margin the largest planet in the Solar system. You’ve probably heard that the sum of the volumes of every other planet is less than the volume of Jupiter and that Jupiter’s diameter is one tenth the diameter of the Sun. Very impressive numbers. Jupiter relates to philosophy, religion, historically to the monarchy, and education. Why is that, and what do these things have in common?

It all comes to two things: Jupiter’s speed and Jupiter’s appearance, by which I mean brightness and color. I’ll get to why this is so in another post. For now, the what. Jupiter is bright and moves slowly, but not nearly as slowly as Saturn. Jupiter, thus, is steady, yet potent, unlike Saturn, who is often dim and very slow by standards of a person who stands on a hilltop and watches the sky every night for years. In my entire life Saturn has just barely completed a single lap around the ecliptic. Jupiter has done it a little more than two and a half times.

Think about this as that person who stands on the hilltop every night with no prior knowledge, merely observing. You have five wanderers in the sky and the Sun and the Moon. Two of those wanderers obviously follow the Sun around and one of them is quite flashy about it all. Three wanderers do not follow the Sun around. They are by this measure independent. One of them is reddish, and of mediocre brightness, relatively speaking, moving on average at about half the speed of the Sun. Another is often dim, yellowish, and moves very slowly. You get the sense this one is far away. The third moves clearly, obviously, neither very quickly nor exceptionally slowly. In the span of four years, for example, it has moved through a third of the sky. What are we thinking about Jupiter, given the context of the whole sky? Jupiter is friendly or at least respectable. Independent. Maybe we’ll say he has potency. We could say any number of things. Jupiter is the bright one who holds the mean of the outer planets.

The Earth orbits the Sun twelve times for every time Jupiter orbits the Sun once. Jupiter’s orbit is to Earth’s what Earth’s orbit is to the month, which is determined by the motion of the Moon. The Moon does orbit slightly more than twelve times in a year, but the comparison is not harmed by the fact.

The number twelve is significant. There is nothing arbitrary about the fact that there are twelve signs of the zodiac. Twelve is the smallest composite number that can handle both a square and a triangle, both the number three and the number four. The prime factorization of twelve is [3, 2, 2]. That is the same as six and two and three and four. It is twelve.

Two, as we know, is heavily ingrained into the nature of how things are, as symbolized by the yin and the yang. The fewest points necessary for creating a two-dimensional figure is three — the triangle. Also, consider the value of beginning, middle, and end even for a one-dimensional figure. The number three has long been considered a mystical number for very good reason. The Christians even have the Holy Trinity. Hindus talk about the three gunas: sattva, rajas, and tamas. The list of significant things that come in threes is endless. Four is implied by the shape of what we are measuring — the ecliptic — at the two equinox points and the solstice points. Six and twelve arise from consideration of the triangle and the square.

To be complete, consider, for example, the sign Pisces. Pisces shares a relationship by trine, by the number three, with two other signs: Cancer and Scorpio. It also shares a relationship by square, by the number four, with the two signs Gemini and Sagittarius, or three, depending on how you’re counting, as a third, Virgo, relates to the sign by opposition, by the number two, which is contained in four. We have two things here, given any point: a square and a triangle, and from those two alone we have twelve points.

If you’ve stopped to think, maybe you wonder how I got that, given that I’ve only provided six points. The others are implied, if you fill the circle in with more points, evenly spaced. More specifically, and more meaningfully, do the same thing to all of the other points. At each point place a triangle and a square, then fill in the gaps between, label them, and you have regions. This is why we have twelve signs.

There’s more to say about this, but that’s best left for my next post. I feel that recognizing Jupiter’s relationship to us by way of the number twelve may provide some insight to his nature.

Jupiter is generous and wants only your gratitude.

From that heliocentric view, Jupiter grabs the ball, sees the full picture, puts all of Ceres’ little insights into place and expands upon the purpose. Jupiter knows the plan and can act upon it, not with force but with sincere enthusiasm. Before the primary impulse got to Jupiter it was as though there had been no plan from the start, and, really, there wasn’t. Ceres almost got us there, but Ceres’ purpose was not to put things together.

Saturn

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Saturn is that slow planet I had mentioned, yellowish and far away. Saturn, as we all know, is the one with the rings with whom astronomers are so apparently obsessed. Also, everyone else. Saturn has come to be the symbol of planet in general: a circle with a ring around it.

A ring around it. Saturn sits at the very edge of observable planets. Saturn is the furthest of the classical septenary of planets. The light stops at Saturn. I imagine there is a giant sphere of light within the Solar system, an invisible boundary beyond which the light does not return without special tools, and Saturn sits just within it. Planets beyond Saturn are in a completely different sort of territory.

Seeing our sky symbolically, as is an astrologer’s purpose, this is very highly significant. It really, really matters that Neptune can not be seen without a telescope. Saturn is the end.

Even though Saturn has the lowest density of the planets, Saturn is the heavy one, the slow one, by a wide margin. Saturn was named for the god who was overthrown and cast out to the outer regions of the cosmos, and, by the perspective of that guy standing on the hill and looking up every night, it is very much as though he was. Saturn is the boundary. In older texts he’s often described as a bitter old man, resentful even.

Saturn is sturdy, steady. He has structure. He is thus associated with tradition, but not necessarily the following of tradition — that belongs to Jupiter. Saturn is also associated with weighty, tangible, material things. That is why I find it fascinating that the scientific community seems to be so in love with the image of Saturn — material tradition. But not only, of course. Not only.

Saturn demands that you work for what you want, and then probably doesn’t let you have it even then. (Saturn is a Republican)

Saturn picks up Jupiter’s plan, holds on to it, gives it form, tangible reality, and brings it “down to Earth” in a useful, practical, functional, durable form. And then guards it like Gollum.

Uranus

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Uranus sits on the other side of that boundary, but not always. Occasionally, and usually unnoticed, Uranus does pop in to the sphere of visibility. This is significant.

Much has been said about Uranus’ discovery, and I do believe this is so for good reason. It was how Uranus entered our collective psyches. I’ll not recount the story, but the discovery of Uranus is responsible for a massive shift in the way we view our cosmos, akin to the Copernican revolution. We saw that Uranus is clearly, undeniably a planet, but our cosmos had been complete with a beautiful system of rulerships, exaltations, planetary joys, triplicities, terms, faces, firdaria, sects, and so on. We had our seven planets. There could be no eighth planet.

Everything seemed to be accounted for. If Uranus was an eighth planet, what role could he have? What new thing could be had? In a flash, popping suddenly, unexpectedly into awareness, Uranus tore a part of the human psyche asunder. Two hundred thirty-five years later we are still arguing about it, aren’t we? Then again, we’ve been arguing about everything.

And here we have the essence of Uranus. Uranus is he who roams about the periphery, popping very infrequently into the enclosed territory, sudden, unexpected, disruptive, presenting an apparent impossibility all at once. Uranus is responsible for those flashes of insight that seem to come from elsewhere, as though they dropped upon a person from another universe entirely, as though the thoughts were not the person’s own. Uranus does not govern art, but Uranus is responsible for the flash, the revelation, the lifting of the artist’s block. Uranus pulls back the curtains of the psyche to show what had always been there, or opens the door to allow something new to come crashing into our pre-existing structures —

— but not merely to destroy them. Uranus has a vision. Uranus knows what’s on the other side. Uranus has been associated with Prometheus for being the one to introduce something new that changes everything — the fire from Mount Olympus. As with Ceres, I don’t think the name is wrong entirely. Uranus is also the sky, that apparent boundary, the aspiration, the object of inspiration. Uranus is above, away, untouchable. Uranus is the flash of lightning, even the sudden burst of wind. Uranus has his hands in the weather, which is unpredictable by its very nature — but don’t take this to mean he has full control of it. He does not.

Uranus takes Saturn’s rigid, black and white plan and adds some color to it, dresses it in tights and a cape and sends it off, optimistically, enthusiastically, forward-thinking.

Neptune

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Neptune was discovered by observing perturbations in Uranus’ orbit and calculating the position where a planet should be. And there it was.

We have several differences between Neptune and Uranus already. Neptune is the first planet so far who is completely in the dark. Neptune was not discovered by accident. Neptune’s discovery is not something that happened to us, but something we created, a direct pursuit for this thing which we had never seen, but about which we had an idea.

Neptune is in the dark, hidden, but does have an influence on Uranus and certainly the many, many objects in the Kuiper belt.

Neptune is the end of the structure of the Solar system we’ve known so far, with the exception of Ceres and the asteroid belt, but with no boundary, entirely unlike Saturn; it is no end at all. Neptune is the edge of the region of the Solar system recognizable as what we understand the Solar system to be so far as we conceive of it as being composed of planets in orbits about a star.

Neptune’s discovery did not disturb anyone, at least not anyone’s conception of the cosmos or anything of the sort, and more or less quietly slipped into our growing picture of the Solar system. Neptune’s discovery, rather, was eventually responsible for Percival Lowell’s search for “Planet X”. It was never found, but Clyde Tombaugh found Pluto instead.

Neptune is associated with nebulousness, uncertainty, delusion, ideals, boundlessness, formlessness, and obscurity.

Neptune is associated with art, but not in particular. That part does still belong to Venus — the aesthetic sense as personally experienced. Neptune is, rather, associated with art as a phenomenon, as a human activity, not any particular human’s activity. Neptune is also associated with religion, but not the particulars of religion, such as personal piety, virtuousness, theology, or cosmogony. That belongs to Jupiter. Neptune relates to the religious impulse as a property of the human being, of being human. Neptune is the awareness that there is something more to reality than what is contained within the bounds of Saturn — this physical world, consensus reality, this illusion.

Uranus, Neptune, and further planets are what we call transpersonal. Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, and Eris take such a long time to orbit the Sun relative to human lifespans and the pace of human activity that they are best understood within a historical context.

Neptune casts Uranus’ idea into utter doubt, forcing it to slow down and search for its initial inspiration. Uranus had pulled the idea out of potential stagnation and struck it with a flash of inspiration. Neptune rather lifts it up and exposes it to the unknown, to a vague but potentially powerful awareness of the ideal lying behind this plan, this idea, this thing, whatever it is, that has been constructed in this metaphor.

This metaphor has been fine up until now, but let’s revisit it. Jupiter expands and explores within the confines of Saturn. Uranus breaks open those confines and in a flash of insight gives view to Neptune’s ideals. Jupiter seeks what Neptune contains; Saturn and Uranus are the gatekeepers between the two.

Pluto

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Pluto is considered and will continue to be considered a planet in the astrological sense because he is the object in the Kuiper belt who entered our collective consciousness as a planet in a powerful way. He is very much like a planet and with a small exception he behaves exactly like one. It is fascinating that so many people were so distraught by Pluto’s “demotion” to the status of dwarf planet. The simple fact that he was demoted to dwarf planet status is also fascinating. The entire story is fascinating.

Pluto is a small world with an eccentric orbit in 2:3 resonance with Neptune, meaning that for every three orbits Neptune makes, Pluto makes two. Pluto reaches far deeper into the outer reaches of the solar system, from thirty AU’s, the same as Neptune, to forty-nine AU’s. This distance from the Sun is the inspiration for the name as the outer reaches can understandably be related to the Underworld. As Richard Tarnas explains in Cosmos and Psyche, Pluto is also closely associated with Dionysus. Heraclitus and Euripides, he points out, identified Hades and Dionysus as one and the same deity.

Pluto was probably named well. Pluto is a prominent portion of the depths of the collective unconscious beyond the sphere of Saturn and within the Kuiper belt. Pluto has a highly eccentric orbit. Uranus may create rebels, but is not rebellious itself, I will argue. Pluto is rebellious. Pluto is determined. Pluto is heavier than Saturn, even more paradoxically, and is the Kuiper belt object to make his presence known, long before any other.

You know what happened in the 1930’s and the following decade, so we’ll not go there.

The discovery, very simply. Uranus was found by accident, by surprise. Neptune was found by math, by the idea of a planet and is the only planet to have been discovered theoretically before being discovered empirically. Pluto’s discovery, on the other hand, was the result of obsession. The process Clyde Tombaugh had to go through was excruciating and required extreme amounts of dedication and focus. He wasn’t even looking for Pluto specifically, or anything like Pluto, but he was looking for something. And Pluto is what he found. This is how Pluto presented himself to the collective human psyche.

Pluto is associated with powerful drive, intense motivation, extremes — both high and low — upheaval, death, destruction, regeneration, rebirth, sex as a phenomenon and one of the primary motivating forces of mankind, power, control, purification, and pulling up from the depths. The list of course goes on.

Pluto takes Neptune’s inspired idea and gives it an irresistible drive to control and overpower, or, more likely, pulls it inside-out or turns it on its head, exposing its underside, its depths, possibly transforming it into something new, pulling out newly-revealed potential.

Neptune’s ideal, revealed by Uranus, meets Pluto and is buried, to grow later as something new.

Eris

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I won’t recount the story, but Eris was named thoughtfully by someone with a mind for astrology. I do trust Eris’ characterization as indicating chaos. Eris’ strong entrance and continued presence in the human psyche, unlike Quaoar, Haumea, and Makemake, gives her a place in my charts and consideration among the other planets. Also, this gives me twelve planets, which is nice. We’ll see how long that lasts and what will come of it.

Eris is associated with discord, chaos, confusion. However, I believe she shares in some of the forceful impulse Pluto possesses, which is a blown-up version of Mars’ drive to do and to dominate.

It is said that Uranus is the higher octave of Mercury, Neptune is the higher octave of Venus, and Pluto is the higher octave of Mars. Eris is not the higher octave of Jupiter. Eris is, rather, also the higher octave of Mars. I do not know what to make of that. It frustrates my sense of symmetry. Eris cannot be the higher octave of Ceres for the sole reason that Ceres is not one of the classical planets. Whatever the case may be, I generally do not consider the idea that the outer planets are higher octaves of the inner planets. However, I do wonder whether it would help with determining essential dignities for the outer planets. I tend to feel that Eris is strong in Aries right now. I do also realize that much confusion and flared tempers could arise if I begin to say that Uranus is the co-ruler of Gemini and Virgo and Neptune co-ruler of Taurus and Libra. Eris, Pluto, and Mars would then be co-rulers of Aries and Scorpio. What comes of that? I will leave it a question.

Eris not only has an eccentric orbit, but her orbit is tilted at forty-four degrees. Compare to Pluto’s seventeen degrees and Ceres’ ten and a half degrees.

Eris is not only about chaos and discord. The rolling of the apple is an excellent example of the Erisian principle and is the reason it is the story everyone thinks about when it comes to Eris. She had a deep understanding of human nature — shared even by the gods — and utilized it expertly for the creation of discord. Eris requires order for the chaos she generates to be meaningful. Eris is chaos first, certainly, and insightful discord, but she is also a deep understanding of structure, order, and how things work. She knows what the rest of the planets are up to, how, why, and how to undo it, ideally.

Pluto’s irresistibly driven idea to control in pursuit of power, or Neptune’s idea turned upside-down or inside out is taken apart, smashed to pieces, or merely tinkered with in such a way that it behaves in no way it had been intended to behave, but exactly as it would behave.

The image, by the way, is the symbol for Eris used by the Discordians, which they call the five-fingered hand of Eris.

The Solar System

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This image is my primary inspiration for writing this post.

Imagine that all of the planets had begun their orbits in alignment, say, at zero degrees of Libra. What happens?

Relative to the rest of the system, the Sun stands perfectly still, immobile, shining. Mercury speeds around, setting up thoughts, ideas, images, and notions. Venus moves more slowly, following those ideas and brightening them, identifying the parts of them that are pleasing and worth retaining. We skip Earth because all of this really only has meaning from a geocentric perspective. Mars gives the beautiful ideas, images, and notions motivation and desire to act. By the time Mars has completed an orbit, keep in mind, Mercury has almost completed his eighth. Ceres picks the idea apart and gives it direction. Jupiter fills the idea out and explores its potential. Saturn gives the idea place, structure, and prevents it from over-extending itself. Uranus pops in and shakes the idea up, opening it to a view of the vast, unfathomable complex of ideals — Neptune — it had all this time been approximating. Pluto drops in and says, “Okay, start over (And this time do it my way).” Eris most of the time follows closely behind, causing trouble… laughing at the rest of the system’s attempts to create.

This follows a steady progression.

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And a statement of the futility of it all.

The Difference between Uranus and Eris

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One day this past October, my partner had described a crazy day he’d had. Eventually, I said, “That’s what we might call Uranian.”

His first assumption was that I was referring to Eris, as he was more acquainted with Eris by way of the Pricipia Discordia than he was with Uranus in astrology — he insists that he doesn’t understand astrology, and I take that sometimes as a hint not to talk about it and sometimes as a challenge to get him to understand it.

When he realized what I had actually said he asked what Uranus was about and I tried to explain with emphasis on the differences between Uranus and Eris. I struggled. What were the differences between Uranus and Eris and why had his day been Uranian rather than Erisian?

My first thought was that I had said his day had been Uranian because I am more acquainted with Uranus than Eris, thus Uranus comes readily to mind while Eris does not. However, I did continue to wonder. I needed to sort this out.

Eris, I believe, does indeed signify chaos, though, of course, not only. Uranus signifies disruption of old patterns. Often, Uranus is associated with what is referred to as the “Promethean principle,” that is, to liberation, surprises, flashes of insight, and the like.

Now the question. If a pattern is given and it is interrupted, is this due to the principle of chaos or to a principle of “liberation” from the old pattern? Is this due to a disruption of the old pattern or to the introduction of chaos?

Let me rephrase that last question. If a pattern is given and it is interrupted, is this due to the introduction of chaos or to a disruption of the old pattern… making way for the new?

Let’s consider this with a few examples. Note the differences.

Example 1

1: YDYDYDYBYBYBY

2: YDYDYDXETJARW

Which of these is Uranian and which is Erisian? Okay, now I’ll show it in a different way with another example.

Example 2

1: YHRYHRYHRY4529703845

2: YHRYHRYHRYRYYRRHHHYR

One more, just to confuse you a bit.

Example 3

1: ARARARAARARARA

2:ARARARA#+.!Xx7

Okay, let’s unpack this. In each example the first item is Uranian and the second is Erisian. Example 1 should be easy to understand. Uranus changed the pattern to another pattern while Eris changed the pattern to chaos. Eris obliterated the pattern entirely. Uranus merely introduced a new one to replace the prior one.

Example 2 I hear is a bit trickier. Uranus does more than merely switch one pattern to another. Uranus switches categories entirely from letters to numbers. Notice that there is no pattern in the second category. There is no pattern to the numbers, but the category remains thereafter. Eris obliterates the pattern without introducing anything new.

I think Example 3 should be easier to understand. Uranus simply reverses the pattern. You see the sudden shift there in the center without introducing anything new. Eris, however, didn’t simply remove the pattern from existing elements as in Example 2, but introduced total chaos. Any given character might have been included, but without a pattern.

So what do we learn here?

Eris obliterates patterns. I highlighted a few of the many ways that could be done. Uranus obliterates patterns, too, but the similarity with Eris ends there. What I show is that Uranus introduces something new. In the first example it was a new letter while maintaining the overall structure. In the second example it was simply a new category — numbers — and in the third it was the direction of the pattern. Neither Uranus nor Eris imply a pattern, however, a pattern may be found after a Uranian event, but almost never after an Erisian event — such is the nature of chaos.

The essence of Uranus is not inherently creative, but revealing. Uranus pulls the rug out from under you, flips the light switch, opens the trap door, drops the lightning bolt, blows up the volcano, lifts that writer’s block, and meows pitifully at your door in the cold to change your life forever. Uranus releases, surprises, and brings in the new. Uranus is freedom in the form of lifted restraint.

Eris is chaos, yes. Gleeful destruction. But not only. Eris is freedom. Eris is freedom in its truest, fullest, most complete form. Eris is absence of bounds, completely, a failure to comprehend restraint altogether, but Eris is not content merely to sit in the midst of formlessness like Neptune. Eris needs a new thing to destroy, and here is the great paradox of the Erisian impulse. Eris needs restraint. Eris needs to walk within a world of order if she is to have any fun, if she is to have any meaning. Eris must understand order if she is to smash it to pieces. Eris must be insightful. This is why Eris would choose to do such a thing as toss an apple.

Eris revealed herself to the human psyche after New Horizons was launched, before it arrived, and after astronomers had grown uncomfortable with such an odd thing as Pluto being a planet. Eris upstaged Pluto, with Mike Brown’s help “killed” him, and attempted to pull him out of our collective psyche, overturning our deepest, most intense motives and… generating discord about it. Eris rolled the apple and caused us to turn away from our shadows, from our psychic underworlds, from our deepest fears and desires. Turning away from our fears doesn’t make them go away. If we bury an impulse it invariably sprouts somewhere else. These are the seeds sown of chaos.

Ten years later, here they come. Have you seen the fear in the news?

The point of confusion, I find, is a tendency to associate Uranus with disorder, which I believe is incorrect. When Uranus drops a flash of insight, disorder may result, but the Uranian part of it — the sudden insight — is not an act of disorder of itself. Nor is it an ordered act. It is a flash, and order may be contained within the insight, but the content of the insight is not necessarily the Uranian aspect of it.

If you need a bit more convincing, please consider this: Uranus is associated with such things as the Copernican revolution. Did Uranus create the entire new world, the entire new way of seeing our place in the Universe, or did Uranus simply open our eyes to it?

To finish. Eris: insightful discord. Uranus: a flash and a new thing.

On Bernie: Countering Common Criticism

I’m going to address some common criticism from Hillary supporters.

Hillary supporter says, “You mustn’t vote for Bernie because he isn’t electable.”

First, I think this is flat-out false. Second, it’s poor reasoning. Think about this for a moment.

Person A wants to vote for Person D, but thinks Person B will vote for Person C, so Person A votes for Person C instead. Person B wants to vote for Person D, but thinks Person A will vote for Person C, so Person B votes for Person C instead.

Did that work out for anyone? Yes. Only Person C. Because of a lie.

That’s oversimplified, I get it. Really, they’re afraid that Person D can not defeat Person E or F, which is the real goal, but the problem is the same: voting on the basis of what you think others will vote.

Ignoring all of the poor logic of it, what we wind up with is the “lesser of two evils” argument. It’s been useful in the past, but it doesn’t work here. It doesn’t work now. Hillary would be the lesser of two evils, sure. Bernie would not. Bernie is that rare precious, decent politician one would actively want to vote for, not one to use to vote against someone else, though that will be a very important side effect. Look at it this way. Bernie can’t be allowed to not be elected. This is too important, and too rare of an opportunity.

Still there remains the fear that Bernie can’t defeat the Republican candidate and Hillary can.

First, I believe that’s just wrong. Those on the right may disagree with some of Bernie’s methods more than Hillary’s, but they tend to hate her more, personally. Isn’t that right? Hillary has decades of dislike piled upon her, and Bernie’s already proving himself to exceed expectations — don’t believe everything you think. Further, if the “millennials” get out to vote, Bernie will win, no contest. The question is whether they will or not.

Second. This is another instance of poor reasoning. Here’s an analogy to help. You’ve noticed that an apple has fallen from a tree and you’re really hungry. You’d really like to eat this apple. You go after it, but see that a rock is closer and there might possibly be an obstacle to getting the apple — a boulder or a tree root; use  your imagination. So you pick up the rock because it’s more obtainable.

Did that work out for you? Let me know how that rock tastes. Like sweet, sweet victory, right? Right?

Bernie is the only candidate who has not been bought out. He refuses money from super PAC’s and the big corporations. This is the primary reason I took interest in him, and then everything else became a reason to take interest in him. Roughly everything that comes out of his mouth is almost exactly what I would want a candidate to say. He’s direct and clear in his meaning. He is genuine.

Hillary, on the other hand, speaks in buzzwords and frequently all of her words put together don’t mean much of anything. This is standard speech from a politician, and I think we all have very good reason not to trust it. You never get that from Bernie.

I do not trust Hillary. It is the case that Hilary is old-school. Hilary is “establishment”. Hilary is a part of the problem that Bernie seeks to solve. You’ve probably heard these arguments before. You’re welcome for hearing them again.

So this is what you do. You climb over that boulder and get the apple. If it has rolled away or been carried off by a raccoon before you could get to it, that’s unfortunate, but the only correct course of action is to climb over the boulder and look. You have to try.

Not climbing over the boulder and picking up the rock instead is a complete waste of your time. Hillary is not an apple.

I distrust every part of the political process as we know it. I have felt nothing but complete apathy regarding politics my entire life until Bernie showed up. Now I feel a strong compulsion to pour everything I have into supporting him, which, so far, isn’t much, but isn’t nothing.

Now here is another thing commonly said of Bernie: “He’ll never actually get done all the things he claims he’ll get done.”

Response: Yeah. I know. So what?

The thing is that Bernie knows there are apples on the other side of the boulder. What is he going to do? Climb over it and look. I expect Hillary to chip a tooth in the name of victory for the Democratic party.

An Astrologer Begins to Look at the Election

I came across this in the Guardian.

I am only an amateur astrologer, but this analysis seemed especially amateurish itself. First reason: Sun Signs. Typically I write someone off right there, but I’ve learned not to do that, just to be nice and for the sake of curiosity. Then I hit ctrl+f and typed in “Moon”. Nothing. Thus, what we are looking at is an attempt at mundane astrology without a single mention of the Moon. Strikes me as odd.

The image is that the Moon draws down to Earth what happens above. The Moon is taken as a bridge. It is the nearest and the fastest. Electional and mundane astrology, as I understand, can not be done without reference to the moon. It seems what we have here is a case of the modern astrologer looking for any kind of connection whatsoever and running with it.

The third reason and the strongest: the astrologer in the article claims that Mars will be in Aquarius on Election Day. That’s not entirely false, but very nearly. Mars does move into Aquarius on November 8th, but not until 9 minutes to midnight. Christopher Renstrom gets an extra hour for being in Salt Lake City, sure, but most people will not be voting at that time. 10:51 pm is not the time we should be looking at.

The moment the results are announced are not the proper moment to be looking at anyway, symbolically speaking, though I doubt Mr. Renstrom even considered that. The moment the results are announced is the symbolic moment for the people’s relationship to the announcement of the next president. It is nearly a symbolic moment for the presidency, but the inauguration is much more useful for that.

My point just now is that Mr. Renstrom shamelessly moved the data to fit his theory. He practically lied when he said Mars will be in Aquarius on Election Day.

Now that I’ve spent all of this time talking about it, what time do we look at? Given that there is no one time that everyone will be voting, unless we have a good guess about when most of them will, which may not be useful anyway, probably the most fruitful thing to do would be to take a look at a Sunrise chart. If you need an explanation for that, the Sunrise chart is like the natal chart for the whole day. The houses are like a symbolic imprint of the Sunrise upon the sky. Think about that for a moment. I hope it becomes clear. If not, just recognize that it’s standard procedure when there is no exact time for an event. I do assert again that there is no exact time for this event.

Okay. Sunrise over where? The proper symbolic location would be Washington, D.C., would it not?

Here it is.

 

Presidential Election 2016 - 2

I’ll first just give a quick overview of my method and what I’m showing you, as this is my first post on the subject. Keep in mind that I am 100% self taught.

On the outside of the big wheel are the twelve sections of the ecliptic named for constellations and created by the seasons. This is the tropical zodiac. Cancer is the summer solstice. Capricorn is the winter solstice. Aries and Libra the equinoxes, spring and autumn respectively.

Just inside that is another ring. Those are the terms. I won’t explain them here. We can also see the wheel is divided by twelve in another way. The lines radiating from the center of the circle demarcate the houses. The zodiac relates to the year just as the houses relate to the day. The houses are like the zodiac of the day, and they are the reason it is so important for an astrologer to have an exact time for the event he or she is looking at, in most cases the time of birth.

Within the houses are the planets. I primarily use the traditional septenary of planets — everything up to Saturn, which can be seen without a telescope — but I think it’s a huge mistake to disregard the others entirely. Ceres and Eris are in here as well simply because I feel that they are significant, even though I don’t quite know what to make of them yet. I do feel that most astrologers who have used Ceres in their charts have done so incorrectly; they just fail to understand her. Sedna is in there just for kicks. I usually never include Sedna and you will hear nothing about her here.

I do use only the five Ptolemaic aspects. What David Cochrane gets from his efforts, if anything, will not be what he set out to find.

One last thing, just to give you a look. These are most of the other pieces of information I look to when interpreting a chart:

Election Data

Very quickly. Planets and houses, positions, non-Ptolemaic essential dignities, planets’ distances from the ecliptic, planets’ speeds relative to average, and antiscia. Chain of disposition and chain of detriment are a bit like the chain of command among the planets, which changes continually. These charts given by the program are simplified but definitely useful.

Okay. Now, let’s do what Mr. Renstrom did and look at the chart for New Hampshire for today, the Primary.

New Hampshire Primary 2016

Here, the Sun is in very poor condition and afflicted by a strong Mars. A very strong Mars. Second, I’ll point out that the Moon is just barely past new, but essentially lost, and applying to Neptune by way of Ceres, weakened by proximity to the Sun.

Mars is in charge in this chart, in the ninth house, the house of philosophy, lording over Mercury, Venus, and Pluto. Mercury, in turn, rules over a Jupiter in very poor condition, except for his conjunction with the north node, and his strong placement in an angular house.

The Uranus-Pluto square continues on top of Mercury and Venus.

Now, let’s return to election day. This is examining the claim that whoever wins New Hampshire wins the election.

Presidential Election 2

The first thing to look at is the Moon. She is just past waxing quarter at the Immum Coeli, in friendly aspect to Venus, Uranus, Ceres, and Eris. Uranus, Ceres, and Eris are united just there. Make of it what you will because I won’t.

Mars is again in good strength but essentially impotent. He’s shouting and boasting but no one hears him. No one cares. It is notable that he characterizes matters of communication in this chart.

The most interesting thing here is the mutual reception between Jupiter and Saturn. Jupiter is Saturn’s supporter and doesn’t understand it but moves along joyfully anyway:

Tradition walks through growth, which enthusiastically, if clumsily, works on behalf of this tradition and the greater public.

Mercury is in poor condition, at odds with the Moon, who is only accidentally in a strong position.

The Moon seeks to bring the conversation to foundations, families, wealth that doesn’t come in the form of coins or numbers in the computer, however, those are not necessarily things to be absent — this very probably is still referring to material wealth.

The conversation is brought to an understanding of the difficult, ugly, uncomfortable things that need to be done — that need to be done — and the many changes of many kinds required of them. Uranus is exactly on the cusp of the house that rules manual labor as well as illness. As I see it, the sixth house in the context of mundane astrology is always a good indicator of the working class. It is an indication of those who work hard in poor conditions doing things no one else would like to do.

The Sun, the central figure of the whole ordeal, is regarded positively by forces of upheaval.

Back to the primary. A short, simple analysis:

Enemies of the authority work openly and in secret to forcefully confront it with powerful ideas in cooperation with the forces that have already long been in play to disrupt and overturn. The election characterizes the working class as weakened, but with greater than expected strength, moving by necessity toward a nebulous ideal.

Condense the message of Election Day:

Tradition walks through growth, which enthusiastically, if clumsily, works on behalf of this tradition and the greater public. The conversation is brought to families and material wealth as it relates to difficult, ugly, uncomfortable things that must be done and the many changes required of them, with an emphasis on the needs of working class. That which is in power has potential to be overturned easily, or possibly will easily overturn.

These were the two messages I was able to interpret the charts. I don’t see a clear connection, not only in the messages, but in the structure of the charts themselves, which Renstrom pretended to have done. Really, Renstrom was just bullshitting everything, so far as I can tell.

 

Iowa Caucuses 2016

Now for the caucuses, for completeness.

The biggest difference here is the Moon, as it’s a difference of only a few days. A powerful idea was felt, as according to the last analysis, though it was poorly expressed, lacking coordination. Here is an indication of having acted immaturely.

I don’t want this post to be too much longer. Later I’ll post charts for each of the candidates as I’m able to find them.

Now, to end, to wrap up this analysis of this article, let’s look at each of Mr. Renstrom’s claims, one by one.

For the New Hampshire primary and election night, “the planets mirror each other, which is really quite surprising,” said Renstrom.

This is the basis for his entire claim. I don’t think he says any other thing but this. Do they mirror each other? For the primary, Mars is in the twentieth degree of Scorpio and the Sun is in the twenty first degree of Aquarius. In November the Sun is in the seventeenth degree of Scorpio and Mars is in the thirtieth degree of Capricorn. That’s a difference of three degrees, and a whopping twenty-two degrees. This is not all that remarkable. I had complained earlier that he hadn’t mentioned the Moon. Yet further, he might have found the Moon’s position in Aquarius, much closer to the Sun’s today, also significant. Not a word of it.

Next: People with a really strong Mars signature will do well.

Hillary very much is not one of them, nor is Rubio. Saying that Rubio’s Mars in Aquarius is astrologically significant is bullshit. Straight up. Mars is strong with Bernie and Cruz, but for neither of them so much as Jeb (but we can’t be sure without Bernie’s birthtime). Trump’s Mars is very weak. But there’s no point to considering any of this in this context because the first claim, that the Sun and Mars mirror each other, is wrong and would not be particularly important if it were true. Remember, Mars is unaspected on Election Day. Mars will not be calling the shots then.

Now my favorite. That Jupiter moving through Virgo is good for Bernie because he’s a Virgo.

First, he is not a Virgo. His Sun is in Virgo. Here’s another way of looking at it, assuming that the birth time guess I got from astrodienst is correct (It’s probably not): Jupiter has moved through his ninth house, emphasizing his philosophy and extending his reach and his voice. Then it moves on to the midheaven and his north node, with the north node during a nodal return, during the New Hampshire primary. It only gets better from there as Jupiter even touches on the significator for his career, and then does the exact same thing into his eleventh house when Jupiter takes a special focus on the wider population. How about that?

The only thing Renstrom really gets right, though, is Cruz’s strong birth potential for economic disaster, and not just for himself. It seems clear enough to me.

Okay. Last but not least. Prepare yourself. This one is really bad.

Seriously, it will hurt if you know anything about astrology. So brace yourself for the stupid.

‘Who’s going to win come November? The planets vote Clinton.’

Because…

“The presidential election takes place when the sun is in Scorpio.”

W. T. F…

It hurts. It hurts so much.

Renstrom is so full of shit.

2016 Election Season Kraken Analogy

I am going to use an analogy to explain why I am so excited about Bernie Sanders.

 

This is what the election season looks like to me so far:

kraken

We are on a ship being attacked by the Kraken.

Hillary says, “Hey, I have another boat. Let’s all get on it.”

Bernie says, “How about we get away from the great big monster? I propose we use my helicopter. Let’s all get on that.”

Some guys off to the right are shouting, “Yeah, go, Kraken!” There is no use even listening to them. They just think the giant tentacles are neat or something.

If it were any of Team Kraken versus Hillary, I might vote. And if I did it would be against team Kraken. I would still expect us to go down.

If it were any of Team Kraken versus Bernie, I would vote enthusiastically for Bernie. We might still go down, but there is at least a sliver of hope that we won’t.

Plan A is not an option; we’re sinking. We have been sinking for a long while. Plan A assures that we are destroyed. Playing it safe assures destruction, slowly but certainly. Who is proposing a plan B? Anyone?

#feelthebern