Mutable Madness! March & April 2018

Mutable Signs, it’s your turn to get that work!

Back in August 2017, in the midst of a deluge of transits in fixed signs, I was looking ahead to now, Spring 2018. It was clear to me then that while Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius where getting that work , the mutable signs would get their chance in due time.

What is mutable, anyway?

Mutable signs are also called bicorporeal—Gemini as the twins, Sagittarius half man and half centaur, and Pisces as two fish. Virgo is the only sign where the constellation for which it was named does not meet this qualification. Still, bicorporeal means taking two forms or having two bodies. Conceptually, this correlates to the theme of the mutable signs. Mutable signs are able to change form and adapt to new information. When your Sun is in a mutable sign your self concept changes based on information encounter and experiences you have.

Mercury and Jupiter as commanding authorities of the Mutable signs tells us much about what these signs mean. Essentially, Mercury is language, symbols, tools, and brotherhood; and Jupiter is meaning, myth, purpose, and friendship. Gemini and Virgo are under Mercury’s command, and Sagittarius and Pisces are under Jupiter.

Of the mutable signs we come to understand:

  • How one knows what they know;
  • What tools are used to complete tasks; and
  • How to interpret what is articulated via language and other symbols.

This is the realm of Mercury and Jupiter. Mercury as Gemini is information. Mercury as Virgo is provable facts. Jupiter as Sagittarius is kinesthetic experience. Jupiter as Pisces intuitive experience.

Do you have mutable signs prominent in your sidereal birth chart? Use this guide to cast your sidereal birth chart to find out.

A Bazi (Chinese Astrology) Primer

INTRO

Chinese cosmology is a cohesive philosophy that undergirds every aspect of Chinese culture and society. This primer is by no means meant to be a comprehensive treatment of Chinese cosmology. It is, however, meant to serve as an introductory guide to Bazi which is Chinese Astrology, or Four Pillars.

Bazi is Chinese Astrology, this is an introductory primer

Note: When casting your Bazi chart, you must convert your birth time to solar time. You can use this calculator to convert it. Here is a calculator you can use to plot your Bazi chart for you. It is very easy to make a mistake in this process. At some point I may create a guide on how to plot your Bazi chart. For now, you can use the tools I’ve linked above.

MING MEANS FATE, OR LUCK

Chinese cosmology has a holistic conception of “ming”, or fate/destiny. There are 3 kinds of fate of luck: heaven luck, earth luck, and man luck. These are hierarchical and define both the possibilities and  impossibilities in a person’s life.

All 3 notions of fate, or luck, are beholden to time:

  • Heaven luck is astrology, how celestial phenomena occurring at specified times correlate to affairs on earth and the lives of men;
  • Earth luck is feng shui, the art of scheduling and positioning. It is the orientation of one’s self and life in relationship to the flow of qi (life force or energy);
  • Man luck is how one understands, respects, and works with or against their heaven and earth luck.

WU XING: FIVE PHASES OF QI

Essential to each of these studies of fate is “wu xing” which is the five elements (stages, phases, etc). The five elements are:

  • Wood
  • Fire
  • Earth
  • Metal
  • Water

Each of the five elements takes to forms, a yin form and a yang form giving us 10 primary presentations of qi. Each of these yin/yang forms of qi governs a season. Each season is comprised of 3 animal signs which are earthly manifestations of the qi/element that governs each season. Earth governs the periods between each of the seasons. See figure 1.

Figure 1

5 Elements in Yin/Yang

 

Each element interacts with every other element in several defined relationships. But the most important interactions between elements are the production cycle and the controlling cycle. Be careful not to assume that relationships is better than the other. Context is everything. When we discover the flow of your chart we will come to understand which relationships are most important to support that flow.

 

Figure 2

The Productions & Controlling Cycle of the 5 Elements

ANATOMY OF A BAZI CHART

Bazi means eight characters. The eight characters in your Chinese astrology chart are divided into two groups. The Heavenly Stems and the Earthly Branches. The Heavenly Stems are the pure qi, the five elements in their yin or yang forms. The Earthly Branches are the 12 animals (see Figure 1).

There are four pillars in your Bazi chart. The year pillar, month pillar, day pillar, and hour pillar.

  • Year pillar is grandparents and extended family members, it is your family background and upbringing.
  • Month pillar represents the parents or siblings, employment.
  • Day pillar is the self, spouse, home.
  • Hour pillar is children, aspiration, career.

Each pillar has one heavenly stem at the top, and one earthly branch on the bottom. Each part of the chart is identified in terms of its pillar and whether it’s a stem or a branch. See figure 3.

Figure 3

Sample Bazi Chart

The two most important parts of a Bazi chart are the day stem and the month branch. The day stem is called the daymaster, and the month branch is the season of birth.

Once the daymaster is identified each of the other elements can be identified as well.

  • The daymaster (and its yin or yang counterpart) is the self (friends/enemies, peers, audience). It produces output.
  • The element that the daymaster produces is output (ideas, work ethic, talents, children in the chart of women). It produces wealth.
  • The element that output produces is wealth (assets, father, spouse or partner in the chart of men) it produces influence.
  • The element that wealth produces is officer (authority, superiors, spouse or partner in the chart of women, children in the chart of men). It produces resource.
  • The element that the officer produces is resource (mother, family support and upbringing, education, helpful people). It produces the self.

 

IDENTIFYING YOUR FLOW

The flow of a Bazi chart originates with the daymaster and the season. The daymaster can be rooted or not rooted in the season. That means the animal in the earthly branch of the month pillar can be the same as or produce the element in the heavenly stem of the day pillar.

For example, Yi (Yin Wood) daymaster born in Spring (Wood season) or Winter (Water season) is rooted because the element of the season in the month branch matches the element of the day stem. Yi is rooted in Winter because the Water of Winter produces Wood. Yi (Yin Wood). Yi (Yin Wood) born in any other season is not rooted.

Whether or not the daymaster is rooted in the month branch determines the flow of the chart. The flow defines which elements are favorable and which elements are unfavorable to a chart. This is a complicated task that requires an understanding of how the stems and branches interact with each other. That is beyond the scope of this primer.

LUCK PILLARS

The Bazi chart and its flow determine the heaven luck you were born with. The annual and 10 (personal) year luck pillars determines when that flow is supported, disrupted or blocked.

Every 10 years, your personal luck pillar changes. Then you enter a new time period with a different focus. See figure 4.

Figure 4

10 Year Luck Pillar for Yi Wood daymaster born Mao Spring

Each year the annual luck pillar changes. It interacts with both your Bazi chart and your personal luck pillar to support, disrupt, or block the flow that your personal luck pillar adjusts every 10 years.

It is this part we focus on in the Bazi – Chinese Astrology Reading.

Mercury Rx in Pisces 2018: Anchored at Sea

All transits calculated using the sidereal zodiac. Use this guide to cast your sidereal birth chart and see if any planets have changed sign. And if you’re ready to learn how to understand the changes, check out an Introduction to Sidereal Astrology.

Yes, you read that correctly. We’ve reached our 2nd of 4 Mercury retrogrades this year. Mercury takes a trip in reverse 3 or 4 times each year. This year we get 4 for our pleasure.

Mercury will travel from 10°-22° Pisces between March 8 and May 3. Mercury normally spends 3-4 weeks in each sign, but it will spend about 8 weeks in Pisces due to this retrograde.

Important dates to note for Mercury Retrograde during March and April 2018

PISCES

When planets are in Pisces they are under the command of Jupiter, they must undertake their tasks and execute their agendas with reverence to:

  • Escaping the confines of identity;
  • Transcending the awareness that defines the way one experiences and sees the world;
  • Shedding the uniquely identifying aspects of the persona
  • Disregarding the biases of perception in order to merge with something bigger and greater;
  • Surrendering one’s individual will to the Divine Will.

With Pisces somewhere in all of our charts, we each have an urge to give ourselves over to an experience that overrides our own will and desires. We want our feelings to have purpose greater than self gratification and emotional satisfaction. We want our actions to further a cause larger than what can be encompassed within our own lives and lifespan. And so, we craft narratives that contextualize our feelings and give them the power to devour our self serving predilections. We make our feelings holy, our desires sacred.

MERCURY IN PISCES

In Pisces, Mercury is a land bound creature anchored at sea. It prefers the evidential and predictable paths of Virgo, or the height and breadth of airy Gemini’s way. Instead, words swim like jellyfish shifting in and out of schools when they’d rather come together like a gaggle of geese and take flight.

Language is a tool meant to confer meaning. Words are ideas, symbols in place of the object or person to which it’s meant to refer. And symbols are tangible in the sense that we can grasp onto them (their function and meaning) in predictable ways. Yet, in Pisces these symbols can be a confining prison to the meaning one intends to convey in their use. They can also be an exercise in improvisation and possibility as we fashion a variety of ways to use them.

Those are excellent concepts to consider during this retrograde—improvisation and possibility. How shall you re-fashion the tools you possess in order to work with the medium at hand? You must improvise and explore the possibilities.

Of course, with everything in life, nothing is simple or straightforward. So, it is here where we meet the complexity of this Mercury retrograde.

PISCES SQUARE SAGITTARIUS

The most recent Mercury retrograde was also in a Jupiter commanded sign, but it was fiery rather than wet. During that retrograde, Mercury in Sagittarius made 3 separate conjunctions with Saturn in Sagittarius.

Now, Mercury in Pisces will make 3 separate squares with Saturn in Sagittarius.

  1. 13° Pisces/Sagittarius – March 11
  2. 15° Pisces/Sagittarius – April 4
  3. 15° Pisces/Sagittarius – April 25

How do water and fire coexist without destroying each other? Fire is kept in check by water, and water is warmed, inspired, by the heat of fire. Action is checked by consequences, and feelings are aroused by passion.

Still, this is a square. And squares bring conflict. Pisces insists that knowledge needs no evidence and wisdom needs no experience. But Sagittarius thrives on action. Knowledge comes by doing, and wisdom is a process of distillation. Mercury in Pisces via its multiple squares to Saturn in Sagittarius magnifies this conflict.

How shall we articulate the embodied, intuitive knowings of Mercury in Pisces when Saturn in Sagittarius demands we make our lives a living testimony of what we say we believe? It’s not enough to feel it, we must do it. And if you say it, does that mean it’s true? Compassion will help manage the compulsion to do. Sometimes, you’ve got to let that compulsion pass.

But yes, improvise with the possibilities. The convictions we swear to demand our time, energy, money, and other resources. Of all the possibilities and forms circumstances can take, which ones allow us to make our lives a living testimony of what we believe?

Both Mercury and Saturn will be under the command of Jupiter in Libra. And so their agendas are secondary to that which Jupiter in Libra says they must undertake.

UNDER THE COMMAND OF JUPITER IN LIBRA

Jupiter in Libra has been crystal clear about its focus. Libra’s rationality, nuance, and objectivity can find the common ground between even the most disparate people and things. It enforces reconciliation. And so equality, fairness, and justice are shining emblems of Jupiter’s transit through the sign. Additionally, Jupiter being in a Venus commanded sign means that this trend is under the command of women, as Venus is a general significator for women.

It seems that despite Mercury and Saturn’s differences they both are working for the equality, justice, and fairness that Jupiter has commanded since September 11, 2017. Mercury articulates knowings that need no evidence to be true for the sake of justice, fairness, and equality. And Saturn works within the confines of social, political, and moral convictions for that same cause. It’s time to get righteous!

Schedule a tarot or astrology reading.

 

JUSTICE: Wu Xu – Year of the Yang Earth Dog & Jupiter in Libra 2018

This piece is an excerpt from my September 29, 2017 published long read on Jupiter in Libra

While the 2nd New Moon after the Winter Solstice marks the celebration of the Chinese New Year, the solar calendar changes over in early February. This year it changed on February 4, 2018 in the US.

The 12 year cycle of the Chinese zodiac is roughly congruent with the 12 year cycle of the planet Jupiter. Every 12 years the same Chinese zodiac sign is present in the branch of the annual pillar (the element and animal combination used to define each successive year, ie. Wu Xu is yang earth dog for 2018). And every 12 years Jupiter returns to the same zodiac sign in the western zodiac.

Because of this approximate congruence, we can find similar interpretations of the Chinese zodiac sign (animal) in any given year branch and the western zodiac sign where Jupiter is in the sidereal zodiac at the same time.

For February 2018 through February 2018, this means that the Dog (Xu) can be interpreted similarly to Jupiter in sidereal Libra.

Lady Justitia, Jupiter in Libra by Dayna Lynn Nuckolls

The root of the word justice is ‘jus’ which means law. The word law comes from ‘lag’ which means for something to be laid down or fixed. From this we get phrases like “lay down the law” which is actually closest to the meaning of root of the term justice. Justice comes from ‘justus‘ which means the administration of the law. From this etymology can be understood some of the cultural connotations of justice.

First, the idea of justice implies that there is law, rules that we collectively agree to follow regarding our actions and behaviors, with clear guidelines for what should happen to a person who fails to follow those rules. Justice, then, is what must happen in order to make sure that individuals
abide by the law.

There are more nuanced interpretations of justice as well. Most frequently we think of justice as something being made right or righteous, someone getting what they deserve (karma), or fairness. These definitions are a bit more complicated in that definitions of righteousness and fairness are difficult to codify, so they tend to be unspoken and implicit. The idea that someone gets what they deserve is less clear and consistent.

This is why law is necessary. Law articulates in particular terms what the the rules are and what should happen to someone who acts contrary to the law. The issues that we face regarding justice in America is threefold:

  1. We conflate law with morality;
  2. We believe that no matter what people will get what’s coming to them;
  3. The administration of the law is mostly based upon precedent.

In America, we wrongly assume that laws are inherently moral. As long as biased humans are defining the laws, they will be flawed and reflect
the bias of those who determine (legislate) and administer (adjudicate) the law. Jupiter in Libra reminds us that no one is completely above bias.

We idealize justice as blind and impartial. You see the way we personify justice? As Justitia, a woman wearing a blindfold while holding scales and a sword. Justice is hardly blind.

In some cases, we seek to totally circumvent the necessity of man made law by believing that justice is a universal law that is enacted with or without direct action by humans. This is partially true in that there are consequences to certain actions that don’t require humans. And those consequences often aren’t of a moral nature. But more often than not, those we define as wrongdoers don’t always get their comeuppance without human intervention. This is another important lesson of Jupiter in Libra.

That same bias that determines what is wrong or criminal (against the law) determines who is criminal and who is wrong. In America, law has historically been used to abdicate the white ruling class from the legal consequences of immoral actions like slavery, lynching, extrajudicial killings or state sanctioned murder, or leaving an entire city of people without safe drinking water.

Justice does not equate to morality: it stratifies classes of people into those with power and those without power or agency, those who make and enforce the laws and those who are disproportionately targeted by laws.

Finally, because the administration of the law is based upon precedent, it’s difficult to administer laws in ways that may be more fair despite the precedent set by earlier cases. This is why new laws are made—to override precedent with new rules. But if the new laws are made in a way that gives
undue influence to personal bias, we are back at square one.

Jupiter in Libra demands that we honestly assess our cultural notions of justice. Now, Jupiter transits the same sign every 12 years or so, but this time that Jupiter is in Libra there will be other astrologicalconfigurations occurring simultaneously that directly challenge and illuminate problems that need solutions.

In particular, I’m looking forward to the summer of 2018 when Mars has an extended transit through Capricorn while the eclipses are in Cancer and Capricorn. I especially have my eye on the July 29, 2018 eclipse. I will be talking more about that eclipse as we get closer. Capricorn square Libra requires that we analyze the practical implications of our idealism around justice. Justice for some is not justice at all.

In the meantime, you can get a head start on this by assessing your personal relationship with justice. Are there relationships or circumstances in your life that linger unresolved because you have not made things right?

This piece is an excerpt from my September 29, 2017 published long read on Jupiter in Libra. You can purchase the entire 4,000 words here.

Right Relationship: Embracing a solid, yet flexible spiritual doctrine

As Christianity and the other theologies that have dominated the past several centuries wane in their dominance–while also engaging in a messy separation from the culture with which they have merged–people are craving something to fill the hole of meaning left by the absence of the myths of their former spiritual lives. And for those who never had a well articulated spirituality to begin with, the times in which we all find ourselves beg new stories to explain the what, the why, and the how.

In Twitter threads and Facebook groups people are finding resonance with those who share their history, their story of spiritual becoming. No longer is connection to meaningful stories and community confined to churches, mosques, and temples. Many have traded in their Imams, Pastors, and Rabbis for thought leaders who stand at the helm of a more loosely defined community of believers.

Having been raised in a Pentecostal church, I spent some years sitting in the in between space of having discarded the need for Christianity’s unsolicited salvation and the nihilism of agnosticism. I never really rejected either. But, it took time to unpack what was of value in the doctrine I was brought up on.

Right relationship means to find the appropriate context, outlet for, and perspective on a particular aspect of life. This is what all spiritual and religious doctrines seek to do; provide a framework within which you can understand your life experiences and the world you live in.

The challenge, however, is that we change, our lives change, and the world changes. We tend to value things that stand the test of time, even when they don’t support us in the work of living. At certain points in our lives we inevitably have experiences that don’t fit in the framework that has been established. This can be due to crisis, supernatural phenomena, or some other perspective altering experience.

Rather than grounding our spirituality solely in the rigidity of inert truth, what kinds of ideologies can we adopt that encourage right relationship, a solid, yet flexible relationship with:

  • Personal power – providing perspective and an honest appraisal of what is and is not in our control
  • Community – embracing justice and accountability as a means to an enduring happiness
  • Desire – reckoning with human desire and emboldening the discovery of one’s purpose and its fulfillment

RIGHT RELATIONSHIP WITH PERSONAL POWER

There are many doctrines promising prosperity and happiness. Perhaps if you give a certain amount of money, or maintain effortless control of your thoughts God will bless you with money or you will attract and create the reality you desire. But there are some serious problems with this way of seeing the world. Doctrines that focus on escaping rather than managing and coping with the common fate of humanity are deeply disempowering.

Death, illness, sadness, and the existential reality of loneliness are our common fate. At many points in our lives we each find ourselves wrestling and reckoning with our mortality. No one, no matter their station in life, escapes death and the reality of separateness and solitude. But this is not something we must succumb to, neither is it something we can or should seek to escape.

Prosperity doctrine and the Law of Attraction dogma purported by books like The Secret and the author Abraham Hicks place blame squarely on the individual, effectively divorcing her from the reality of her economic, political, social, and familial station in life, none of which she has control.

There are things that happen to us that are outside of our control. And reckoning with that powerlessness requires a humility that bootstrap notions of success and happiness gleefully reject. To preach that salvation lies in the hands of a grifter preacher who stands as the gateway to prosperity, or that our thoughts are solely responsible for the reality of our lives—even for the tragedy and good times that befalls us—is spiritual violence.

Where are the doctrines that empower the individual and provide tools for coping with life’s difficulties without spiritual bypassing? Where are the ways of understanding the world that provide language to articulate our powerlessness to the uncertainties of life? How can we accept and intimately explore our loneliness as a means to embrace our humanness?

RIGHT RELATIONSHIP WITH COMMUNITY

I use the term sin to define anything that demonizes isolation and reinforces separateness from others while disregarding the need for community, a sense of belonging, and validation from others.

Solipsism is sin; it serves to isolate and estrange the individual from the community and the accountability and interdependency that is responsible for creating a legacy of joy.

Modern spiritualities, like the ones preached on social media and in the teachings of many contemporary thought leaders, reinforce the loneliness that the rise of social media has seemed to both augment and remedy.

To say that happiness is an inside job is saying that if you cannot find happiness in your loneliness, then there is something wrong with you. Your loneliness is a malady of your own making; your happiness is to be self generated. This is another form of spiritual violence.

Contrary to the self generated happiness promulgated by bootstrap spiritualities, right relationship with community teaches us that happiness is a byproduct of a collective effort to convict systems of oppression. It is something available to us through the process of dismantling the systems that block our access community.

Justice is essential to right relationship with community. Justice in this context is speaking truth to power, accountability towards the poor and disenfranchised, and demanding righteousness from the institutions that govern us.

In community we learn that our struggles are not unique identifying factors, causes for self loathing, or an illness for which we must find a cure. In community we learn to discern the difference between those struggles born from our own poor judgement and those struggles that are burdened on us by inequality entrenched in the systems that uphold our society.

RIGHT RELATIONSHIP WITH DESIRE

Desire is an itch that begs to be scratched, a hunger that begs to be satiated. Satisfaction quenches desire, it extinguishes it. But purpose and fulfillment are a circular dependency. Fulfillment fuels the fire of purpose, and purpose craves the fuel of fulfillment. When we journey to discover and maintain the fire of purpose we begin to develop right relationship with desire.

Purpose and fulfillment are terms generally used to describe one’s vocation. Rarely are they used to describe one’s character development and path of growth. Instead, purpose is something we seek in what we do. We seek to satisfy desire through an externally defined and lived purpose.

When journeying to define a spiritual doctrine that encourages a solid yet flexible relationship with desire, we must understand purpose as the internal journey towards greater self knowledge. It is the work of bringing our underlying motivations into conscious awareness. Knowing what drives us is the essential work of unearthing fulfillment fueled purpose.

Giving word to the motivations silently undergirding not only our desires, but also the ways in which we choose to satisfy them, is deeply empowering. The Law of Attraction doesn’t encourage the questioning of desire. And the dominate institutionalized religions tell us things like “desire is the root of all suffering” (Buddhism) or that it’s the cravings of our flesh that are at war with the Holy Spirit that lives in us (Christianity). Both lack a nuanced approach to understanding human desire.

These doctrines don’t empower us to contextualize our desires within our individual lives. They provide the motivation for us, effectively silencing the kind of self-awareness that right relationship with desire can provide us.

Purpose is a fire that requires tending. The circumstances we encounter in life and the experiences we have can lead us to greater awareness of self. We generate a dynamism that leads us to that self awareness when we work to put those experiences into perspective, interpret them, and then craft a narrative about what they all mean together.

This is something that we do as a matter of human nature. You come into the house and see the bread bag on the floor, ripped to shreds and the dog hiding his face beneath his paws. You then believe that the dog jumped on the counter, pulled the bag down, ate the bread, then felt ashamed when you found the evidence of his mid-afternoon snack. You didn’t see it happen. But the evidence for the story is there

Neither you nor I are not omniscient. But we make do with what we know. We gather the information we perceive and have language to articulate, then we either consciously or unconsciously write a story. We use that story to not only interpret future experiences, but we also use that story to define the parameters of what we believe is possible.

For the first parts of our lives that story is given to use. We adopt the stories of our caregivers and our religious doctrines. We embrace the legacies of our mothers and fathers. But at some point we must become the authors of our own stories.

Our purpose is the story that defines our becoming. Rather than a meaning that we find in doing, purpose is the meaning we find in being. When we are present to the stories that define the possibilities of who we can be, then we become dynamic participants in our lives and our stories. We become the scribe of our own personal scripture.