Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mars in Virgo and your Dharma Checklist

There's no shortage of activity in the news these days. Financial crises, global protests, political strife and more seem to inspire us to consider the major thematic shifts in world consciousness, while simultaneously urging us to grab a six pack and run for it.

Well, running away does have its place. So does taking a stand and changing the world. But, as the planet Mars moves into the sign of Virgo, we are reminded of a third option (and, perhaps, a good starting place): our dharma.

Dharma is one of the most important components of Hindu philosophy. In basic terms, it is comprised of our individual duties, obligations, and the manner in which we are called to serve. In the caste system, one's dharma is dictated by their societal position. We don't need to belong to a caste to consider our dharma, however. Instead, we need only consider fulfilling the duties that all of us have, particular to our own circumstances. We must take action in the practical, immediate circumstances in which we live. As Gandhi famously said, "You must be the change you want to see in the world."

The planet Mars represents how we take action, our motivation, our drive. Also, depending on how that action is taken, Mars rules conflict. Mars has recently moved out of the sign Leo which, though not a conflict driven sign, is certainly a passionate and dramatic one. Mars in Leo urges us to take action in a grand way, with confidence (and a healthy dose of ego).

Mars in Virgo, on the other hand, is practical, analytical, hard-working. Virgo doesn't share the need for limelight that Leo aches for, and therefore can quietly, at times painstakingly, sort out the details and get to work. Does this sound exciting? Perhaps not. But Virgo as a sign isn't really about excitement. It's about precision, practicality, and dependability, and hard work. Mars in Virgo urges us to put our noses to the grindstone and work on the practical duties that we're all faced with- or, in other words, our dharma.

Like any placement, there are challenges to Mars in Virgo. There's the potential for tension, for worry, for over-critical analysis. When you're paying attention to every single detail, it's easy to get a little stressed out. But with Mars in Virgo, we can really get down to business on our individual dharma and the tasks we have at hand. We can finish our checklist of household chores before we, say, sell our possessions and join Greenpeace (wait a few years till Mars moves into Sagittarius and this won't sound quite as crazy). In so doing, we can get a foothold on the role we have to play in the big picture of our world. Mars in Virgo gives us the opportunity to start small, to work in our individual roles (in our families, our jobs, our communities) towards bigger changes and bigger accomplishments. Once we finish our own dharma checklists, we can play a bigger, more meaningful role in the world's checklist (and that's a particularly long list...)

So, without letting yourself worry too much... start checking off those boxes!

Readers, do you feel the urge to be practical now that Mars is in Virgo? Or, if you have access to your natal chart, where does transiting Mars in Virgo fall? What's on your "dharma checklist"? Leave a comment!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Occupy Wall Street and the North Node


If there's one thing in the news lately that has taken a dramatic turn, it's definitely Occupy Wall Street. After weeks of general acceptance, many cities have decided that the Occupy camps have outstayed their welcome, and have begun to crack down on the 24-hour presence of the protesters. Some of the protests have turned violent, on both the sides of the protesters and the sides of the police.

At about 1:00 AM Tuesday morning, the New York City police raided Zuccotti park, where the protesters had been camped, and cleared most of the protesters out, arresting 200 others. As the volatility of the Occupy movement grows, the astrological indicators don't disappoint. The interesting focus in the events of recent days is the Nodal axis.

The Nodal Axis is the intersection between the path of the sun (ecliptic) and path of the moon across the sky. The point where the moon's path rises above the path of the ecliptic is called the North Node, and represents a focused area of difficult development ("that looks new and challenging. Do I have to do it?"). The opposite point, where the moon crosses back underneath the ecliptic, is called the South Node, and represents a place of natural ability or old habits ("I'm good at Angry Birds. Maybe I could just do that?"). Together, these two points form a potent axis or path that draws attention to development and potential in these areas. It's almost a kind of duty or mission, a path of development that we are called to follow.

The Nodal Axis is currently in the signs of Gemini and Sagittarius, with the North Node at 15 degrees of Sagittarius and the South Node at 15 Gemini. Gemini and Sagittarius, though opposing each other, share themes of communication- Gemini expressing the variety of daily communication, Sagittarius expressing enduring truth. This week, Mercury and Venus are conjunct the North Node in Sagittarius, which connects our personal mentality and love nature to this point.

What's really crazy about this particular placement of the North Node, however, is that it is conjunct an object at 14 Sagittarius called the Great Attractor. Gary P Caton discusses this odd anomaly in a post on The Mountain Astrologer website. The Great Attractor is an incredibly huge collection of mass far out in space, with an immense gravitational pull. Astrologer Philip Sedgwick, well known for his work in the astrological significance of deep space objects, gives the Great Attractor a great deal of importance. Astrologically, it's like a giant galactic weight, an area of energetic pull. Conjunct the North Node, it amplifies the significance of the North Node as a "call of duty". The Great Attractor is also associated with impressions of the future. Our current North Node "mission" is certainly a doozy.

On the Planet Waves blog, New York City astrologer Eric Francis discusses the significance of the chart for the time of the NYPD's raid on the Occupy Wall Street camp. Conjunct the Nodal Axis within just a couple degrees was the MC/IC axis at 12 Gemini/Sagittarius. The MC/IC axis, the spine of the chart, shows the foundations and the public expression of the chart's energies. According to Francis, the 12 Gemini/Sagittarius line has itself played an important role in historic New York events, including 9/11.

So, that leaves us with a lineup of the 12 Gemini/Sagittarius line (highlighting major events in New York history), the Nodal Axis (our collective mission), the Great Attractor (adding "weight" and foresight) AND the personal planets of Mercury and Venus, activating our mentality and our interests. With this lineup in Sagittarius, which always focuses on the search for truth, my analysis is that the crackdown on protesters is not the end of Occupy Wall Street. Quite simply, with this lineup... now it's personal.

There's still quite a bit of uncertainty about the future of the Occupy movement, but it continues to catalyze thousands, in the U.S. and in other countries. Now's a good time to tap into our own personal "mission", and to consider the work we have to do... it should be an interesting couple of weeks.

Readers: What do you think about Occupy Wall Street? What's the future of the protests? What are some parts of the "mission" that we are collectively called for? Leave a comment!