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The Wounded Planet

jupiter-wound On the day Jupiter’s conjunction to Chiron was exact, amateur astronomer Anthony Wesley discovered a dark scar in Jupiter’s clouds. NASA confirmed that something, perhaps a comet, had hit the planet and exploded. Astronomers are delighted with this visual treat–and so are astrologers. Once again the play between life and myth does not disappoint. Mythological Chiron is the wounded healer and many of us on the day of a personal Chiron transit will receive a wound. We’ll cut ourselves while chopping the vegetables, we’ll trip and skin our knees or simply suffer a paper cut. Injuries call us to attention. Have we been unconscious and now snapped awake? The wounded body part may be symbolic too (for example, a jammed toe can suggest fear of stepping into the future). Wounds can also represent a deeper mystery, as in the case of Chiron, a sacrifice to placate more powerful forces. What the wound implies for the planet Jupiter I cannot say. For us below, the symbolism is no doubt varied and wide, but given Chiron is a medical healer and Jupiter signifies optimism, at least one possibility is that Jupiter’s scar depicts the injured hopes of those in the US who’ve been praying for health care reform. The media reports that the “public option” is off the table. I’m glad Obama has finally come out fighting.

Neptune is just a degree away from the Jupiter Chiron conjunction and couldn’t help getting itself into the news this week as well: those weird electric-blue clouds over Europe, like an ocean in the sky, reminding us of this beautiful god who rules the sea and dreams.


It should also be noted that it is one day after the eclipse and the violence and mayhem predicted by the most dire astrologers did not occur. I found the eclipse quite energizing and, judging from those around me, it did indeed seem to coincide with a desire to make sudden reforms (as Bernadette Brady suggested in her book Eagle and the Lark ). Speaking of reforms… US health care, anyone?

Eclipse feng shui magic

bagua-feng-shui-colors I’m familiar with the feng shui principles of clearing clutter and beautifying my home to improve my good fortune. So it was a “duh!” moment when I realized that for months it’s seemed like my money has been rolling out the door–and sure enough, in the wealth quadrant of my house, the patio door no longer automatically swings shut. Not only is it letting in flies, it’s presumably letting out all my wealth! In the relationship quadrant, a fence board has lost its mooring and left a small gap. At the same time, I’ve been complaining about the gaps in my relationship with Robert, feeling that we’re as disconnected as my fence. It’s not that the patio door or fence are causing my troubles. Rather, everything is connected, so fixing one can help shift the energy of the other. Getting the fence re-nailed, for example, might be easier and more beneficial to my love life than one more “relationship” conversation!

I am grateful to MoonCircles ally Simone Butler for her timely (very Cancer New Moon-ey) suggestion to combine feng shui principles with new moons. Simone conducted a one-year research study with 30 people who agreed to perform the appropriate feng shui aspirations and rituals at each new moon–connecting the house activated by the new moon in their chart with the corresponding sector of their home. Eclipses, Simone discovered, brought the most potent effects. So I encourage you during this month’s solar eclipse to try a little feng shui magic–especially since Cancer rules “home.”

First: find the house in your chart where 29 degrees of Cancer falls. You need to know the basic meanings of the houses in order to discern which area of your life this house rules. Next, identify the corresponding room or rooms in your home, using the feng shui bagua (click to see). Superimpose it over a real or imagined map of your home, by lining up sectors 8, 1, and 6 with the wall containing your home’s front door. Once you’ve identified the appropriate room, assess the quality of the energy there. Clean and reorganize whatever feels most congested. What are your aspirations for this part of your life? Add some new beauty to this room as you meditate on your aspirations. If you’re confused about which house in your chart or room in your home is relevant this month, you can order Simone’s lovely feng shui report or check out her article in the latest issue of The Mountain Astrologer. As for me, the eclipse activates the 11th house of my chart, which corresponds to the “helpful people” sector in my home. That’s my office, which I’ll be diligently cleaning so it sings with new energy when the new moon arrives!

What price life?

monkeys1 It’s another Cancer New Moon. “Be nourished” is a favorite slogan of my Cancer rising friend Rebecca, who has introduced me to so many delightfully healthy foods that often in my kitchen I sing impromptu prayers of gratitude. I thought of Rebecca this week when I read Roger Cohen’s excellent NYT Op Ed about a longevity study done with rhesus monkeys. Apparently, the 27-year-old monkey on the left (see photo above) has spent his life on a restricted calorie diet–which means he’ll live longer than the 29-year-old monkey on the right, who’s spent his life feasting on whatever he wants. Peer into the monkey’s faces (“Canto” on the left and “Owen” on the right) and you can’t help but agree with Roger Cohen:

Canto looks drawn, weary, ashen and miserable in his thinness, mouth slightly agape, features pinched, eyes blank, his expression screaming, “Please, no, not another plateful of seeds!” Well-fed Owen, by contrast, is a happy camper with a wry smile, every inch the laid-back simian, plump, eyes twinkling, full mouth relaxed, skin glowing, exuding wisdom as if he’s just read Kierkegaard and concluded that “Life must be lived forward, but can only be understood backward.”

Is a life without chocolate or prime rib worth living? What price are you willing to pay for more years? Another NYT article posed the same question in a different context: What if you’re unlucky enough to have advanced kidney cancer? The drug Sutent might add six months to your one or two remaining years, but it would cost you $54,000. If you had the money, you would probably pay it. But if it bankrupted your family, would you still do it? Or if a hundred strangers in your health insurance pool took Sutent and their extra six months meant your premiums would keep rising, would you consider this money well spent? These are difficult questions–how much is life worth? I don’t have an easy answer. But I am bothered by what seems like the unquestioned assumption of our heroes in lab coats–that having a longer life is the greatest prize.

I think again of my friend Rebecca, with Ascendant, Moon, and Saturn in Cancer. One day I watched her preparing a delicious treat for a dying client. With such care she ensured that each fork-full would be nutritious and tasty. This is Cancer at its best, not just protecting life, but making sure it’s worth living. And so at this 29 degree Cancer New Moon, knowing we are not immortal, let’s commit to living what’s left of our lives well. That means truly nourishing ourselves–the dreamer, the poet, the lover–and of course the monkey–in us all. May you be well.

Newsflash: A Gemini Can’t Shut Up

mark-sanfordIt’s ironic that the 24-hour-news pundits think Gov. Mark Sanford talks too much, as I’ve had the same thought about them many times. I’m not nearly as interested in politicians’ love lives as the news outlets think I am. Even so, I find it refreshing that Sanford–a chatty Gemini Sun with an emotional Cancer Moon–keeps talking about his feelings, how he’s met his soulmate, that he’s crossed the line before, that he hopes to fall back in love again with his wife. Sanford also has Mercury and Venus in Gemini. He reminds me of a few Venus-in-Geminis I know. Each has confessed with endearing honesty how difficult it is to settle their fluttering hearts on just one partner. This is a Venus who loves to love. She’s curious, flirtatious, and drawn to shiny new experiences. Why trap her in the cage everyone else lives in? Why insist that a Mercury in Gemini shut up and be dishonest like the rest of the politicians? Oh to live in a world that delighted in the varied flavors of the zodiac instead of condemning them!