The planets are forever having relationships with one another. Planetary archetypes in combination set up a third energy or an interwoven, resultant archetype, which works itself through in varying ways, according to the aspect which is operating. Here we shall look through the ways in which planetary energies combine, at the new issues they set up, pair by pair. By combining your understanding of the aspects with your gleanings from this chapter, you will get a reasonable idea of what to look for when observing an interplanetary aspect at work in real life. This chapter is one of those which you don't need to read through systematically: scan it and dip into it for stimuli or for reference.
Use these tips as guidelines of what to look for, rather than as narrow definitions of what will happen when....
Note that these planetary combinations represent different levels of issue, affecting different time-spans, largely according to the speed of the planets concerned. Thus, lunar-to-planet combinations will, on the whole, affect time-spans of hours or a day, while Saturn-Pluto ones can hang around for a year, and Uranus/Neptune/Pluto ones even for up to a decade.
Faster-moving combinations tend to bring things to the surface in more tangible terms than slower ones, although slower aspects can reveal all sorts of different facets of an issue or a gaggle of issues, surfacing over time as an ongoing process. How much surfaces depends on the openness or proneness we have to the surfacing of issues.
A lot could be said about every different planetary combination. These combinations modulate differently when two planets are in different aspects to one another. So take these brief guidelines – about which there could be a whole book – as a starter in your own ruminations and observations, and move on from there.
Moving around the zodiac and forming aspects to other planets, Sun injects life-energy into questions which are outlined by any other planet, and by the sign-positions of both Sun and planet. It makes the question important, pressing, actual, and commands energy to be put into it, stimulating our need to grow and truly live. With the slower planets, the solar cycle of aspects to them will tend to be just a little more than one year, bringing questions into life around the underlying issues these planets are digging up. Sun features other planetary energies and makes them grow outwards into expression.
* Sun-Mercury: Sun and Mercury form only one significant aspect to one another, , since Mercury never moves further from Sun than 28°. When they combine, thought-processes, nervous energy, linkages, travel, slotting-into-place and general buzzing prevail, and new connections are made in whatever field of life is important at the time. Intelligence, flexibility, mentality, and the capacity to make contact, stay calm and get there are in question. Rattling brains.
* Sun-Venus: Venus moves only 47° from Sun, such that there can be only a conjunction, semisextile or semisquare between them. This is about heart energy, oneness, loving and being loved, radiating and receiving warmth, caring, belonging and being open to feeling. Issues around closeness, attachment, value, appreciation and roundness prevail here.
* Sun-Mars: This is about assertiveness, action, energy, force, pushing things through, wanting and striving, 'going for it', and strong sexual impulses. Tact, patience, perseverance, skill and understanding can be issues here, together with the recognition of others' rights, sensitivities and even their very existence.
* Sun-Jupiter: This is about assertion of faith, investment, doing things in the belief that they will work and bear fruit, making steps, putting ourselves on the line, doing Big Things. Issues around mutual value, social power, influence, inter-relatedness, shared beliefs or differences of belief can arise here, as well as money and rights questions. These two energies combined encourage steps forward.
* Sun-Saturn: This is about focusing, accepting our lot, working hard, dealing with our failure syndromes, doubts and fears, fulfilling our obligations and facing the consequences of things we have done. Issues of accountability, responsibility, limits, sensibleness, structuring and hard realities can come up here. Faith and objectivity are necessary. Plus a wholehearted decision to be alive, have fun and succeed.
* Sun-Chiron: Here we are concerned with changing the way we look at things, such that problems transform into gateways to resolution. It is about miracles, using a deft hand, acting intuitively with regards to real-life issues, breaking of moulds and expectations, manifesting what is needed and overcoming victimhood. Magical work and uncanny situations. Flips and manoeuvres, knots and balancing acts.
* Sun-Uranus: Sudden changes, electric or charged atmospheres overcoming resistances, about-turns, holding an independent line, deviating from the norm, distancing ourselves, saying goodbye, allowing new influences into our lives, and accepting being stirred up by things beyond our control. Sometimes a shocker, sometimes thrilling.
* Sun-Neptune: Weirdness, 'spacing out', not knowing what's what any more, fantasies, phantasms, phobias, revelations, and new inspirations arising. Issues can come up over disintegration of knowns, illusion-bubbles popping, inability to hold one's own and find space, or unclear agreements. Strangenesses!
* Sun-Pluto: Thunderous rumblings, 'time's up' time, confrontations, heaviness followed by breakthrough, raw honesty, 'stuff' coming up, unwanted rubbish, potent power, charged encounters, secrets uncovered, blood, workouts, clearing the air, do-or-die, transformation. No escape! Issues here often involve fear of the abyss and resistance to change, and fear of deeply powerful urges to really live and do it.
Lunar aspects form and pass rapidly, connecting us with the here-and-now of daily life. Here our responses to life situations are triggered, and we are given the choice to react mechanically, or to use daily normalities and moods and events as a gateway to awareness of how we meet and deal with life. Through Moon we seek and receive what we need, to nurture the life within us. It's about kids, distractions, things simply arising, daily life as is, and the use we make of each hour. And it is about conditioned memory, and the way we let it interfere with our lives. The profundity of this is startling when we become mindful of all the little programmed responses we use to get through life: try walking slowly and becoming totally aware of the movements in the muscles in your legs, for example!
* Moon-Sun: This is about the way we balance meeting each day, hour and situation with our sense of purpose and direction, the fulfilment we gain out of life by responding to it clearly, and the ripples we set up when we do not. How we meet the here-and-now, and connect with life on Earth, in all its changing phases. Sun brings conscious intentional action to meet with lunar semi-conscious responses.
* Moon-Mercury: How we get in touch with our needs, verbalise them, connect our thoughts with our umbilical feelings. Habits of thought and word, automatic thought-responses to life as it arises, repetitions. Feelings we need to express, unconscious messages behind words. Nuances.
* Moon-Venus: Feelings and sensitivities, capacity for loving-caring, warmth, softness, femininity, joining in, niceness, healing through rest and nurture, receptivity, belonging. Issues arise around needing to be liked, loved or needed, attachment and 'followership' (of leaders). Need for attention.
* Moon-Mars: Assertion to protect self, anticipation of attack or difficulty, defensiveness, stirring up trouble, vulnerabilities, close scrapes, fulfilment of desires, indulgence, sexuality/orgasm, sensationalism, argumentation, rivalry, jealousy, overreaction. Issues here involve fight or flight.
* Moon-Jupiter: Well-being, fun, ballyhooing, pleasure, cream-cakes, comforts, social warmth, forgiving, membership, 'in' groups, motherliness, generosity, anything goes, understanding, goodliness. Issues around attachment to 'goodies' and rewards, waste, overdoing it and habituated unawareness. Comfort and joy.
* Moon-Saturn: Doing without, solitude, foregoing needs, out of contact, social distance, sacrifice for future benefit, self-sufficiency, perseverance, aloneness, work, reliability, keeping commitments, doing it ('getting down on it'), hard facts of situation, forced releasing, subdued feeling, sublimation, patience and forbearance, deciding. Issues around coldness and unawareness of personal needs, depression, over-compensation, either resisting or indulging in neediness, fear of loss or loneliness. Immense strength when approached openly.
* Moon-Chiron: Communal super-mothering, miraculous fulfilment of needs, facilitation of security, manifestation of deeper requirements, caring, knack for helping others or being helped, calming magical or healing touch, appropriate response, godsends, 'as thou sowest so shall ye reap'. Issues around subservience, over-extending care for others and draining self of what one oneself needs.
* Moon-Uranus: Independence, moving on, having to accept changes, instability, vulnerability, stirrings, changes of course, unsettling moments, tense atmospheres, going away, things different from what is wanted, release. Issues around reliability, avoidance of realities, attachment/independence, trust, getting in contact with needs, withholding and alienation.
* Moon-Neptune: Flowingness, emptiness, music, subtle nuances, stillness, sensitivity, receptivity, uplift, insight, imagination/paranoia, strangeness, unearthly atmospheres. Issues around uncertainty, vagueness, self-forgetting, unconnectedness, unconsciousness.
* Moon-Pluto: Encounter, insecurity, confrontation with truths, harshness, underlying 'stuff', unconscious needs, loaded atmospheres, too-muchness, honesty and emergence, clear-outs. Trust issues, clinging-or-releasing, feeling wounded, big-dealing, manipulation or motherly domination.
Mercury activates connective nerve pulses, the information exchanges which go on within our brains and nervous systems, between these and our senses and body parts, between our senses and hands, our speech and hearing faculties and contact with people and the world around us. Thus, when Mercury energy is flying, the systems are whirring, and contacts are being made, within and between people, between places and parts. In the sphere of thought, ideas are buzzing. The Mercury functions within us, when activated, are energised into alertness, readiness, and our brains are activated in gathering data, forming associations, processing experience, and converting these into ideas and words which can be stored in memory or shared with others through talk and writing – and nowadays, through electronic media. When Mercury connects, journeys are straightforward, and A is linked to B.
* Mercury-Venus: Affability, friendship, association, liking and being liked, communication of love/caring, verbalised feelings, sensitised thoughts. Evaluation, value-judgement, measuring up and weighing, aesthetic thought, creative expression or craft or design. Issues around chatter, relating for the sake of it, and unclear mixing of thoughts and feelings.
* Mercury-Mars: Opinions and strong ideas, rhetoric, debate, argument, ideas vying against one another, verbalising wants; shooting, martial artistry, skill and accuracy, acting on ideas. Issues around competitiveness, interference, conflict-or-diplomacy, expression of anger and frustration, separative and divisive views.
* Mercury-Jupiter: Intellect, abstract ideas, philosophy, advanced thought; considered judgements, opinions and conclusions, negotiations and money transactions, big ideas, designs, donations, generalisations, -ologies, knowledge, meetings, conferences. Issues around busy brains, over-interpretation of significances, ivory-towerism, intellectualism, addiction to constant movement and activity.
* Mercury-Saturn: Careful thinking, scepticism, caution, logicality, statistics, concentration, study, mental work, agendas, recipe-following, reservations, organisational thinking. Issues around blockages on thought faculties, depressive or negative thought, doubt, text-bookish thinking, difficulty with words or speaking out, fear of relying on one's own ideas. Fear of astrological calculations and accounts!
* Mercury-Chiron: Problem-solving, investigation, genius and mental gifts, ability to shift contexts, lateral thinking, appropriate solutions, connections meant to be made, 'chance' meetings, ideas whose times have come. Issues around bewilderment, mental subservience, attachment to logic or illogic, inability to understand the a-logicalities or magical realities of life, difficulties or genius in solving problems.
* Mercury-Uranus: Excitement, thirst for 'buzzes', quick thinking, sudden changes of mind, ideologies, brightness, inspirations, genius, intuition. Issues around tension, scattered or wild thoughts, hyper-stimulation, racing, projection of ideas on others, consistency. Fast talk, electricity in air, sci-fi, a hundred answers at once.
* Mercury-Neptune: Visionary and idealistic thought, poetry, free-association of ideas, inspiration, psychic communication, fantasy, universal considerations. Issues around muddle-headedness, absent-mindedness, difficulty speaking for or expressing self, unclear agreements, 'spacing out'.
* Mercury-Pluto: Profound thought, research, undenying messages, raw honesty, secrets breaking, truth, mental breakthroughs, powerful ideas and forceful words, persuasion and persuasions, deep connections. Issues around mental domination/violence, con-tricks, trusting others' utterances, manipulation of ideas, mental breakdowns, blurting, flare-ups and cover-ups.
Through Venus, the world softens and finds its unity, and we draw unto us things and people we like and love. All things are rounded and agreeable, inclusive and satisfying, and warmth abounds and enjoyment is had. Venusian rain and cold is nevertheless soft and caressing! Through Venus we evaluate things, perceive music, colour, taste, feel, enjoyment, and we feel for others and the world, sensing our oneness with all. Through Venus we also hold on, overlook ugly truths, ruminate on what's not right and lose consciousness over having and keeping.
* Venus-Mars: Sexuality, push-pull in relationship, intense feeling and passion, demonstrative love, wanting and choosing, making love. Issues around love-hate, discomfort and demandingness in relationship, depravity, over-sexuality or, conversely, being out of touch with our bodies, even ascetic, conflicts between heart and genitals.
* Venus-Jupiter: This is about wellbeing, chocolate, socialising, amicability, companionship, trustingness, faith in people, good times, caring and welfare, giving, prosperity, partying. Issues around waste, decadence, attachment to wealth, obesity, good-lifing, ingenuine smiles and being used – nice-guy behaviour.
* Venus-Saturn: Solitude, emotional self-sufficiency, learning to feel feelings, leanness, commitment to relationship, appreciation of tradition and old things, calmness. Issues around fear of feeling, inability to be close or make relationships last, coldness, isolationism, loneliness/clinging, emotional shut-offs, trust in love, closedness, perversion, poverty-consciousness.
* Venus-Chiron: Knack for caring, learning relation ships, empathy, social skills, `chance' meetings, soul links, knowingness, feminine power. Issues around fraught relationships and getting tied, victimhood to others' or own feelings, emotional space, attachment. Learning adepthood will deepen feelings and their mystery.
* Venus-Uranus: Independence, love-affairs, dilettantism, changeable feelings and relationships, need for heart stimulation, bounciness, attractiveness, valuing of freedom. Issues around fear of dependence, distrust, emotional consistency, getting close, sensuality without feeling, alienation, separativeness, avoidance of owning feelings.
* Venus-Neptune: Ideals and romance, 'perfect' love, questing for soul-mates, compassion (with-feeling), rose-tinted glasses, creative imagination, music and artistry. Issues around fear of personalised affection, unrealism in relationship, impracticality, impossible relationships, delusions, disappointment in love, offering or seeking (burdensome) caring, indefiniteness of feelings, emotional confusion, susceptibility to domination.
* Venus-Pluto: Transformation in love, love-power issues, intensity and closeness, emotional obsession, sensuality, total bliss-seeking, closeness, absorption in relationship. Issues around loss of selfhood, fear of punishment or laying oneself open, fear of loss or abandonment, power struggles in relationship, demandingness, over-sexuality.
Mars energy is about getting things going, getting what we want, asserting our own way, battling with life, engaging with the world, using our muscle and clout and making things work. Its root lies in sexuality and self-gratification, roaring life-energy which wants immediate results. But assertion involves tact, skill and direct dealings rather than force or competitiveness, otherwise rebounds are created which do not lead to the desired outcome. Go for it, intentionally but not wildly!
* Mars-Jupiter: Assertion of power, making big things happen, overcoming resistance and inertia, pushingness, strength, athletic ability, achievement, impacting on the world, outward expression. Issues around bombast, force, rivalry, insensitivity, excess, creating rebounds and dissention, expectation of success, overlooking details and small things.
* Mars-Saturn: Capacity for hard work and perseverance, concentration of power, discipline and exertion, painstaking one-pointedness, skill, application of technique. Issues around repressed wants, fear of asserting self, sexual blockages, held-down anger, self-punishment, over-strain, self-denial, violence, conflicts between work and fun, difficulties with father or with those 'above' oneself.
* Mars-Chiron: Remarkable physical skills, ability to work miracles and get what is wanted, healings, hidden strength, engineering, warrior archetypes, ability to do right thing from many viewpoints. Issues around victimisation and force, exclusion, 'black magic', connivance, sexual domination.
* Mars-Uranus: Freedom-fighting, independence, rebelliousness, impulse, eccentricity, mutation, suddenness, zap, striking out, striking. Issues around violence, projection, inconsistency, impatience, speed, difficulties with elders and authority, non-involvement, outsideness, distrust of men or personal strength.
* Mars-Neptune: Elevation of will to universal service, transcendence of desire, idealised sexuality and masculinity, healing/channelling ability in action, 'will of the gods'. Issues around weakness, susceptibility, machoism, transference of power onto symbols, idealisation of sex, glamour and appearances, domination by others, inability to fend for self.
* Mars-Pluto: Deep libidinous power, primal sexuality, taking on big challenges, hard work, total dedication, drive, relentless activity, high goals, self-control and ability to go against the odds. Issues around power battles, pain in sexual encounters, exploitation, brutality, hidden motivations, fear of power or total assertion.
If we believe in something, we create it as a reality – a reality within us or, if we move power strongly enough, a reality in the world around. We pick up many of our beliefs in later childhood and adolescence, and run them quite mechanically unless they are questioned by awareness or by circumstances. Self-validating, life-affirming thoughts are not as common now as they could be, and thus saturnine self-limiting beliefs often have the upper hand: yet the way through saturnine questions is pointed at by Jupiter, for if we have faith and a positive solidity, then anything we wish for, if it is well conceived and worked for, can become reality. Jupiter helps us go out and take on the world, go in and develop our own personal inner world, and in time, unite the two. It brings benefit, growth, extension, consequence, power to create, knowledge and conviction.
* Jupiter-Saturn: This is about getting organised, making commitments in order to progress, balancing optimism with caution, committees and structuring, planned growth, urge to 'make it', make a lasting mark on the world or leave a legacy, and encourages a strong social-mindedness and sense of standing. Arouses issues around faith-as-escape or depression-as-self-undoing, or oscillation between them, treading sharp edges, risk-taking, assuming positions of influence, and either self-restraint or courage. This combination engages gears.
* Jupiter-Chiron: About being of service, resolving schisms, peace-building, consultation, finding or giving help, changing viewpoints, counsel/counselling, magical touch, ability to manifest apparently impossible new initiatives. Issues around being a victim of others' advice or pressures, non-understanding of unusual things, either unbelief in deeper currents or questions of how to work with them, intellectual uncertainty or difficulty realising one's beliefs.
* Jupiter-Uranus: About freedom and challenging authority or conformity, changeable fortunes, high-risk living, adventure, big schemes and leaps in the dark, eccentricity, 'I'll do it my way'. Issues around restriction/imprisonment, commitment, perseverance and consistency, difficulty settling into regular patterns.
* Jupiter-Neptune: About idealism, visions, spiritual aspirations, dreams and speculations, high times, sense of inner freedom, working for the benefit of all beings. Vivid imaginal times or abilities. Issues around groundedness and practicality, precision, esoteric realism, spreading self too wide, omitting to look after own interests, making goals realisable, focusing on committed activity.
* Jupiter-Pluto: Deep drives to succeed, to overcome limitations, take on causes, challenge the known and the regular, bring benefits to many, achieve for posterity, and to help. Issues around conflicts of power, excessive force, insensitivity, relentlessness or ruthlessness, overexertion, non-acceptance of the status quo, inability to let up.
Through Saturn things become grounded, specified, formed and made acceptable. It works through social consciousness and our sense of responsibility toward others and all. If we own the consequences of our acts, Saturn becomes a creative force, leading to inner freedom through commitment, but if we allow others (parents, authority figures, social pressures and laws) to dictate to us through guilt and fear of implied threatened consequences, then Saturn becomes a force which deflects us from realisation of our purpose, compromising with what is demanded of us.
Saturn faces us with hard facts: if we run from them, it cuts us down. If we accept them, they become a positive learning experience and an avenue for progress. Saturn leads us to the Path, the turning in the deepest seat of consciousness which arises when we grasp that all the concerns of our life limit us, and that there is something greater and deeper to be found. Thus Saturn's blockages, fears, no-goes, guilt-complexes and self-obstructing beliefs can be transformed into a sense of substance, purpose, direction, identity and service if we face up to things.
* Saturn-Chiron: Learning deep, non-obvious lessons from life-situations, so as not to repeat mistakes, unconscious creation of learning experiences which both define limits and unveil new ways through, under high pressure. Factual, functional questions, questioning of purposes, tight scrapes and fine lines, finding needles in haystacks, scapegoating and being the 'fall-guy'. Challenging and difficult, yet the makings of great teachers.
* Saturn-Uranus: Rebelliousness, changes of rules, questioning norms, reform-or-revolution? Sudden breaks and separations, or ability to stick with extremely trying circumstances, whether inside or outside acceptable norms. Issues around conventionality, perpetual dissatisfaction, needs for change, fear, social castigation, guilt for past assertions, or running away from realities and consequences of acts, dualism or schizoid behaviour.
* Saturn-Neptune: Bringing ideals/visions into concrete form, discrimination between 'reality' and 'illusion', applied arts, skill in expressing dreams, sense of service to the whole. Unclear boundaries. Issues around paranoia, fear of loss of self, inability to distinguish facts from imaginings, self-denial, sublimation, sense of unworthiness, separation of spirit from body, lack of resistance to disease or confrontation, transference of own illusions onto others, unclear boundaries around self, fear of insanity.
* Saturn-Pluto: Tests of capacities to deal with immense difficulty, shouldering of burdens, suffering, forced acceptance of restrictions, making it in the end, survival against all odds, facing up to raw truths, guilt and deep pain. Issues around self-punishment, withholding of own power, violence, inner darkness or hopelessness, total resistance to change, ultimate inner truth, fear of death or the abyss, fear of being called on to succeed in life. Fear of social chaos.
All the planets below form aspects occasionally only, lasting sometimes years, and affecting history, the group psyche, and impersonal longterm developments or 'dispensations' from deeper origins.
Through Chiron we shift our standpoint, and thereby we can perceive the way through often ridiculous situations, outwitting normality and expectation, finding solutions which are appropriate from multiple viewpoints. Chiron gives access to our magical selves, our ability to learn from life's symbolism and deeper meanings, and to act from our centre in the effecting of integrated personal and universal ends. Maverick qualities, skills, concrete ways of expressing our spirit. Activities which access our spirit. Healing (in the widest sense), bridging and resolution. Being in the right place at the right time. Or, chronically missing the point of it all.
* Chiron-Uranus: The bringing into the world of deep impulses for change and innovation, realisation of visions, invention, initiatives taken on transpersonal issues, unforeseen yet appropriate and apt developments, idealistic movements offering appropriate solutions. Brings up issues of faith in the power of the Unknown to resolve issues, difficulties in adjusting to changing times, rejection or welcoming of anything new.
* Chiron-Neptune: The channelling of insight and revelation, accessing of spiritual resources, spiritual healing, sense of the Beyond, deep sense of service, 'will of the gods'. Issues around over-sensitivity, self-defence, trust in inner truth, psychic discernment and inner objectivity and proportion.
* Chiron-Pluto: Capacity to jump over the abyss, make quantum leaps, navigate troubled waters in a poised, alert intuitive way (when on form), and face the lessons of the times, and to bring to pass what is long overdue. Issues around fear of the Great Unknown and the power of the moment, distrust of deeper urges or imperatives, resistance against the inevitable.
Uranus brings radical changes and shifts, new ideologies, mutations and innovations, breaks with the past, releasing of old hangups or restrictions, breakouts and individual initiatives toward a collective end. It works by impulse, flashes and spurts, often announcing itself through dissension, alienation, divergence, protest or revolt. It prefers to avoid confrontation with hard facts or practicalities, and it either evades and by-passes resistance or inertia, or seeks to take them by storm. Uranus stirs things up and makes them wobble vulnerably, making them more flexible and receptive, or breaking their backs. But it can also build deceptive habits of perpetually changing and staying on the move in order simply to remain, when all is said and done, the same! Wheel-reinvention – habitual restlessness does not facilitate true change. Yet true change begins with Uranian quickening, with its seeking and ideological guidance.
* Uranus-Neptune: Open inner channels, inherent sensing of the beyond, deep questioning or quest, illusion-breaking, revelation, change of levels of consciousness, new insights dawning, historical perspective. Issues around inner dissatisfaction and spiritual discomfort, seeking for new horizons, perpetual searching, 'not this, not that', phobias.
* Uranus-Pluto: New seeds of change, visionary outbreaks, rebirth on collective dream level, deep rumblings in group psyche, strong interventions from collective unconscious, or divine intervention. Issues around polarisation, schizophrenia, insanity, fear of the mysterious, repression of the new, resistance to change.
Through Neptune higher consciousness percolates into us, sideways, mysteriously, through loosening up the old, melting it, sifting it and causing new states and awarenesses to enter in. It must be grounded to work through, otherwise the higher self cannot reach through to personality: otherwise higher self can take over the personality, possessing people and causing them to lose track. While it allows the flow to move, it can also land us up in a fog, and while it can attune us, its imaginal stimulation can also cause us to hang on to illusions, glamours and glosses. Neptune stimulates inner vision and the deep sources of spiritual, psychic, imaginative and creative inspiration and inner contact. It opens up the vast unknown – and occasionally dunks us in it to open us up!
* Neptune-Pluto: The destruction of illusions, rebirth of new visions, realities and outlooks, cleaning of the historic slate, investigation of the mysterious or of the infinite, the opening of new thresholds. Awareness of the Dream. Issues around the dark night of the soul, haunting by ghosts of the psyche, unsubstantiated fears, deep resignation or profound acceptance.
Pluto drives through inevitable destruction and renewal, burning and crushing all that is no longer useful, yet vivifying all things through the freeing-up of life-energy and the unclogging of structure. It has a soul-quaking transformative influence, and it forces confrontation. It has deep libidinous power, stimulating unconscious urges for life or urges for death, whichever prevail, and breaking through blocks and resistances to life-energy. Yet, it challenges our fear of these things too, and can feed that fear to strengthen repression, reflecting in obsessive, self-destructive and fetishistic behaviour. Through resisting change we ultimately discover the true need for it – thus resistance, fascism, violence are a part of change, not a final blockage of it. Plutonic power and life-urges always win through.
The above interplanetary relationships represent a hierarchy of different cyclical significances, largely related to the speeds of the planets involved. Any cycles or aspects formed by the Moon to another planet is a short-lived affair, albeit significant, even on occasion crucial, in the moment it happens. Cycles involving Sun, Mercury, Venus or Mars brew energies which have significance on more of a week-by-week basis. Jupiter, Saturn and the outer planets raise bigger and deeper questions. None are more important than any other, for each level of cyclicity is relevant in its own context of reality: the atmosphere on the evening of Wednesday 25th April is relevant around that time, but loses significance from the longer memory-perspective of what has gone on during the course of a year or a decade. Conversely, a longterm perspective is relevant for providing a sense of overall context in our lives, but the application of it in its nitty-gritty details – catching a train, meeting people or dealing with an immediate crisis – requires an awareness of more immediate time-factors.
Once, I ran a series of two week-long groups in a house in the mountains. I planned to drive there on the Thursday, when there happened to be a Mars conjunct Jupiter in Pisces. The fullmoon on the Tuesday preceding had been a very strong one, for Sun in Sagittarius had been conjuncting Uranus, Moon in Gemini had been conjuncting Chiron, and the whole lot had been squared by this Mars-Jupiter conjunction. It had been an its-all-too-much fullmoon, but there was an underlying tone to it of seeking to forgive others' transgressions, to wipe the slate clean and look at things afresh, and to release, understand and let the flow of things go as they will.
On that fullmoon I happened to ring one of the participants in the group to offer her a lift, for the journey was long. When we started out on the Thursday, it turned out that this was a very significant quirk of fate – here comes the Mars-Jupiter conjunction in Pisces – for both she and I had a lot of releasing and forgiving to do, and both being in the same boat was helpful to both of us. The Pisces bit was that, while a Mars conjunct Jupiter is usually a go-for-it, strong-willed and usually outwardly-assertive kind of aspect, we were both electing to process our pent-up energies internally, by departing from the scene and journeying toward a place where a deeper releasing would be possible.
Another quirk of fate, however, was that we stopped to visit a friend halfway on our journey, who, it turned out, seemed really meant to meet both me and my passenger, at that very moment: the three of us connected on a deeper, wordless level in a way which was encouraging and strengthening for all of us. In other words, the mysterious element of Pisces had modified the Mars-Jupiter energy, making it into a set of connections which had not then seemed important but which, from another, wider perspective, was very significant.
We continued on our journey on the Friday, on the buildup to a Mercury conjunct Saturn in Sagittarius that evening. I deliberately put myself into a patient mode, which proved to be useful, for all the way along the winding roads of Wales we were manifesting tractors, slow trucks, wandering sheep and dozy drivers in front of us, and a wind blowing against us, making the journey something of a test. Nevertheless we got there – but the conscious patience was worth it, for we arrived tired but happy, un-frayed by potential frustrations. At the exact moment of the Mercury conjunct Saturn, Jessica, my passenger, had me down on the floor while she was manipulating my back and cracking my bones – a very relieving bit of saturnine therapy!
The next day there was a Sagittarius Mercury square Jupiter at 6.45pm. All of the people coming for the group arrived within one hour after that! It's amazing how people fit in with astrological realities even if they do not know they are doing so! This double aspect also activated an inaccurate Jupiter (Pisces) square Saturn (Sagittarius), which itself was activating important factors in my own chart: the significance of this for me was that this event was the first manifestation of an entirely new chapter of work which involved getting myself organised and making my work better. So here we have an example of how a shorter-term cycle (Mercury-Jupiter/Saturn) interweaves with a longer-term one (Jupiter-Saturn).
So the group went on. Late on the Sunday there was a Mercury square Mars, when some honest truths in the group had to be faced, and one of the participants chose to go home because of difficulties he was encountering. Things brightened up in the evening of the Monday, however, in connection with a Venus trine Jupiter, at which time everyone started mixing freely and in a friendly way, and the energy of the group lifted off. On the Thursday, there was a Mercury conjunct Uranus, around which time I was expecting an outburst of genius and excited prattling amongst the group but, interestingly, this did not happen.
What did happen though, was that, internally, several of the participants came to conclusions about the questions they individually were working with – conclusions which, while not greatly exciting, were relieving to each of those individuals. On the Friday a combination of Sun semisquare Venus and Mercury semisquare Pluto forced everyone to face up to the fact (Mercury-Pluto) that the group was ending, and that we would all soon be parting company (Sun-Venus). Which duly took place the next day. On that day was a Sun-Neptune conjunction: I learned that, in future, I would time groups not to end on such an aspect, for it leaves everyone somewhat unfinished and unready to leave! Such an aspect, bringing up a generally spacey, indefinite atmosphere, is best for the middle of a group rather than its end. You live and learn!
In fact, another group of people was to arrive that day, to start a new week-long session: in classic Neptunian style, many of them were unable to come (despite prior arrangements) at that time – they all arrived two days later on a Mars square Uranus, which brought enough zap and initiative and drive to get everyone there. Yet, again, all of the people arriving got there within one hour after the aspect at 5pm. Sometimes it's uncanny tracing these astrological movements of energy!
Experiencing it all
The trouble with giving potted descriptions of astrological concepts is that they can seem to oversimplify things and restrict possibilities for wider understanding. While these brief paragraphs will hopefully give you ways of tuning into tones of energy, their scope is not limited by what is stated. We can all experience the liberating and fulfilling sides of a planet one day, and then the restricting and unwholesome sides the next, for our mode of consciousness makes the difference.
Growth is a path of liberating energy, getting it to move naturally and easily through our being yet, paradoxically, our increased awareness of the issues underlying our thoughts, words and deeds can make it feel as if our difficulties are increasing rather than working themselves out. This is in fact due to a growth of consciousness: hangups were there all the time, but unwittingly lived out. When awareness comes along, hangups seem to grow larger. In truth, they're shrinking.
Observe time as it moves, and you will gain a feel for the workings of the planets together. When, later, you involve yourself with transits to natal positions (later in the book), you will have more material with which to gain a direct experience of what we are talking about, in your own life and through observing those around you. Piece together the jigsaw bit by bit. Don't give up: when you feel it is all getting laborious, try less hard, and let your deeper self lead you to what you need to find out. When you feel at a loss, as if you will never fully understand astrology, you're on the edge of something: let it come. You have your own way of seeing things and working with astrology: let it speak.