“I am working on a large composition. Don’t you know that this demands one’s whole personality, and that one is often so deeply immersed in it, that it is as if one were dead to the outside world? Now imagine a work of such scope that the whole world actually is reflected in it—one becomes, so to speak, only an instrument upon which the universe plays…”
The composer Gustav Mahler, letter to a friend describing his Third Symphony.
Four-and-a-half years. When was the last time you devoted this much blood, sweat, and tears of Time to a creative project? This does happen. And all of thosewho have seen the film Gravity can attest to Mahler’s statement of the universe “playing through the instruments” of its filmmakers.
The dynamics of the universe’s play can be studied through the lens of Archetypal Astrology. Through this lens, as well as esoteric studies, mystical thought, and transpersonal psychology, we can holistically investigate the technological prowess, thematic depth, and socio-cultural commentary of this monumental film.
The Birth Chart of Gravity
Anything which is born has a birth chart—human, animal, business, country, and work of art. But when is the appropriate time and date to attribute to a film, since it undergoes so many processes—the writing, the beginning of production, the release? Just as we look towards the first breath of life to calculate a birth chart, it is the film’s public release date which signifies its imprint into the collective consciousness.
That being said, since a film does take so much time to complete and ripples out for many years after its release, it is important to consider the longer term transits of the outer planets, which represent the unfolding development of the collective psyche. “Planets” represent god-like forces of consciousness or intelligence within all of us.
During the film’s release on October 4th, 2013, the planets we will address were in their following celestial positions.
Jupiter in Cancer
Neptune in Pisces
Chiron in Pisces
Saturn conjunct the North Node in Scorpio Uranus in Aries square Pluto in Capricorn
The Filmmaker’s Charts
Before fully probing the collective transits upon the film’s release, we can receive much astrological insight by first studying the charts of its filmmakers. Gravity was written by father and son team Alfonso and Jonas Cuaron. Alfonso has stated, “It was just two writers working together….” It is almost unheard of to have father and son produce a film together. In the initial outtakes of the film, Jonas shared that he was easily bored and pushed his dad to move the film’s action faster and let the audience connect emotionally through action. In this teamwork, we see some of the prominent themes of the Uranus-Pluto archetypal complex: notably, the empowerment of the youth, commonly experienced as revolutionary movements, which we’ve seen in the current cycle’s Mid-East and Wall Street protests, the 1960‘s riots and protests, and the French Revolution of the 1680‘s, all of which occurred during a hard aspect (0, 90, or 180 degree) angle between Uranus and Pluto.
At the time of the film’s release, Jonas was 30 years old and thus completing the Saturn Return. Through severe discipline and steady focus, the Saturn Return affords an opportunity to make a distinct statement to the world. The trials and tests of this initiation (28-30 years old) can solidify our identity in the outer world, as we define, carve out, and commit to our role in the collective. Oprah Winfrey began her Oprah Winfrey show at this age. Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony was performed during his Saturn Return, and Jack Kerouac’s seminal Beat classic On the Road went on to inspire multiple generations of vagabond spirits shortly after its completion during Kerouac’s Saturn Return. In addition, the Saturnian archetype of the elder and of society reflects the connection of Jonas to his father in helping him accomplish his newfound identity as a supreme filmmaker.
Additionally, Alfonso Cuaron began this project during his Chiron return, one of the most significant initiatory transits of life. This cycle unveils wounds in the soul which must be addressed in order to shift our life’s work to a higher octave of purpose. At this phase of life, we choose whether to identify more strongly as a victim or to realize the medicine in our wounds—the gifts which we may offer back to others in the very same arenas in which we felt pain. Michael Jackson was found dead during his Chiron return, while Eckhart Tolle released the classic statement on the gift of ultimate presence: The Power of Now.
Importantly, both filmmakers have stressed that adversity, and how we relate to it, is one of the primary themes of the film. Anyone above the age of 30 can attest to the initiatory challenges and frustrations which often accompany the Saturn Return, and the Chiron return’s awareness of the primal suffering of life compels us to learn the delicate art of mentorship and guidance for others.
Our relationship to technology—its advancement and its consequences for humanity—is a consistent theme that follows the dynamic aspects of Uranus and Pluto in the sky. Each time that the planet of innovation and invention, Uranus, blends with the planet of empowerment and the unconscious, Pluto, we witness works of art that specifically address changing technologies, while simultaneously utilizing paradigm shifting tools to tell their stories.
Under the last major Uranus-Pluto aspect, a conjunction during the 1960‘s, the age of space exploration was really just beginning. There was an excitement about what might be possible in our future amongst the stars. It was under this fervor for the potential discoveries of space that science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke and filmmaker Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey was conceived, created, and released. The film’s breathtaking and unprecedented photography of space, the interiors of spaceships, and overall theme of sentient and increasingly intelligent machines set a new paradigm for science-fiction storytelling.
If we return to a previous Uranus-Pluto cycle, we arrive at the late 20’s and early 30’s square between the two planets. Paradigm-shifting technology erupted from this age which we now take for granted, including the first sound films, the first animated films, and the first transnational flight, all of which have been necessary for space exploration and films about this concept.
Gravity uses the common effects of today’s films—3D and IMAX—in arguably one of the most appropriate uses—to simulate the experience of anti-gravity and space flight. But in order to do this, Alfonso Cuaron’s filmmaking team also had to follow the Uranus-Pluto theme of innovation, as new technology had to be invented to accomplish such mindblowing, unprecedented feats as a seventeen-minute opening shot and constant portrayal of zero-gravity.
It wasn’t only the new technology, but also the application of previous technology in unorthodox (Uranian) ways; this achieved an affect of titanic proportion and total immersion (Pluto) so that the audience feels themselves as just another one of the astronaut team.
To simulate flotation for the entire film, at various times, the actors found themselves in a small light box, attached to a clamp, strapped to an office chair on a hydraulic system, and suspended on bicycle seats. According to Bullock, it was more like being in a circus (crazy and bizarre Uranus territory) than a film. The Plutonian underworld of very uncomfortable environments, annoying gear, and incredibly long shots challenged the actors to their limits to perform in a completely different way with this new set of tools.
Another technological consideration is the actual subject of the film’s adversity—the space junk and debris created by humans. This demonstrates the possible destructive ramifications of irresponsible use of technology.
Even in terms of funding, huge risks (Uranus) had to be undertaken as Warner Bros. allowed the film’s budget to soar to $100 million without seeing a single frame until six months after filming was complete. It paid off as the film earned the most money ever on an opening weekend for an October release. We should consider the expansive effect of Jupiter’s opposition to Pluto and square to Uranus for both the size of the risks taken as well as the amount of money earned by the film
To Jupiter’s amplifying, spiritual, and ethical effects, we can also attribute the sheer grandeur, awe, and scope displayed in each scene, in the hyperbolic tension, in the magnification of earth as backdrop for many scenes, in the question of faith, and in the moral decisions by characters to sacrifice one life over another and to trust in a higher plan.
From Evolution to Rebirth
Actor George Clooney has stressed that the film focuses on a woman both coming to terms with her own death, as well as her own life. Over the course of the movie, we discover that there is a type of Uranian epiphany that can only truly happen when faced with our own Plutonian annihilation.
There is a riveting scene in which Bullock’s character, Dr. Ryan Stone barely avoids disaster and arrives at the space station. Upon entering the small capsule, she strips down from her bulky astronaut gear and floats weightless. Her position here is cradled, infantile, a fetus in the womb.
Suddenly, the cold mechanism of spacesuit and space itself gives way to the humanity pulsing just beneath. Behind her the capsule door’s shape and light insinuate an all-seeing eye. For a moment we can feel like we are floating in a gigantic replica of an eye’s interior, wires like nerves strewn everywhere.
Stone is now beginning to see the choice: by coming to terms with her own possible death, she can now truly choose her life, and thus initiate her own rebirth.
Our relationship to birth, death, the process of rebirth, and extraterrestrial life in the universe is one of the most powerful themes of our day. The conglomeration of outer planets in water signs has opened us up to the empathic field of spirit and soul, most recently awoken by the Grand Water Trine of Summer 2013 with Jupiter/Saturn/Neptune which gave way this fall to Jupiter in Cancer, Saturn in Scorpio, and Chiron in Pisces, all active during the film’s release.
The Grand Water Trine:
SATURN in SCORPIO, CHIRON in PISCES, and JUPITER in CANCER:
The Wounded Healer and The Orphaned Parent
In my book Aquarius Dawns, I explored the emerging archetype of the Wounded Healer in film, often depicted as an orphan, exile, or half-breed who transmutes his/her curses or challenges into magical gifts and superpowers. Films like Avatar, Harry Potter, the slew of superhero films like Iron Man and Spider Man, and many others reflect this theme.
A twist on this idea has been emerging in the films of the 2010’s, which signifies the loss of a child to a parent, thus the parent becoming orphan or wounded healer. 2013 Academy Award Best Picture Argo, contemplative science-fiction film Another Earth, riveting indie film about the woes of technology Disconnect, and Gravity all reflect this theme. It could be argued that films dealing with the motif of losing a child connect us with the horrifying tragedies of school and youth shootings in the last few years, especially in the United States.
Whether through the loss of a child in death or being sent away from a child via forced abandonment, these films demand that we heed Saturn and the North Node in Scorpio’s decree to confront both our own death and the mortality of those we care for.
By directly facing our primal fears, and perhaps the greatest of all in our culture—our eventual bodily death—we actually gain more power to live each breath with fullness and precious gratitude. In addition, our relationship to mortality is an alchemical cauldron where we choose to identify either as victim or as healer. We are realizing that the ultimate healing arises in the decision to fully embrace life and its shadow half—the mystery of death and the realization that energy (Spirit) can neither be destroyed nor created, but only shapeshift its form.
NEPTUNE IN PISCES – Alpha and Omega
Angelic Visitation: The Daimon and the Higher Self
A fundamental revelation of the emerging Aquarian Age, of Uranus in Aries, and of Neptune and Chiron in Pisces is that we are not alone.
The current scientific discoveries of thousands of exoplanets and the possibility of at least one orbiting planet for every one of the eight billion sun-like stars in just the Milky Way hints at the unfathomable Galactic family teeming all around us. In addition, in recent years, many medical doctors have joined the ranks of authors discussing the validity and specifics of the near-death experience and its series of light tunnels, life-reviews, visionary realms, and encounters with spirit guides.
In all of the most poetic and profound films, of which Gravity is one, no shot is left unattended to. Each frame reveals information and possible layers of meaning. If you notice the moment when Dr. Ryan Stone crawls into a space suit on one of the space stations, she puts on a uniform with the Russian name of Demidov on the name tag. If we break this name down into its parts, we see the prefix “demi” for demon or daimon, and the suffix “dov,” which can be interpreted as “of the….”, thus, “of the daimon.” We can also see the word “dove” connoting the Holy Spirit, the messenger of the Christian tradition.
As I spoke about in Aquarius Dawns, one of the facets of the Wounded Healer’s awakening process is to cultivate a necessary relationship to its higher self, which has been variously called the Guide, the Spirit Guide, the Daena, and the Daimon, the latter a term of common usage in Plato’s time. In fact, the word “demon,” came about as Christians tried to separate God and humans without any other intermediary forces. Thus the positive, pagan concept of the daimonic living spirit in many of nature’s forests, creatures, and synchronistic events, became relegated to “demonic” acts of the devil.
Amidst shots of an Orthodox Russian Christ and a Chinese Buddha, Dr. Stone confesses that she doesn’t know how to pray. Then, the visitation with the spirit of fellow astronaut Matt Kowalsky gives her the confidence and push she needs to not only choose her rebirth, but the vision itself is a message from her higher self on how to survive and why it is vital that she does. It is both a healing for her and a direct portal into the spirit world.
The Psychonaut and the Astronaut
The parallels between Dr. Ryan Stone’s journey as an astronaut in Gravity and the modern day psychedelic explorer, or psychonaut, are quite instructive on the emotional and psychospiritual processes unfolding in the collective. While the Aquarian Age promises more individual choice in our reality matrices, Neptune and Chiron in Pisces continues to blur realities, opening our consciousness to other dimensions, with the spread of indigenous plant-based shamanism, with the Amazonian Ayahuasca brew, Mushrooms, Peyote, and San Pedro cactus, as well as the increased ease of access to and actual experiences with a whole new pharmacopoeia of psychedelic compounds, including lab-produced disassociatives, tryptamines, cannabinoids, empathogenics, and phenylethylenes.
Likewise, with Chiron in Pisces sextile Pluto in Capricorn (2011-2015) and trine Saturn in Scorpio (2012-2013), the shamanic and psychedelic journey into the depths of our soul continues to be empowered by mentors, coaches, and guides to the Underworld. We are empowered (Pluto) by our commitment to dedicate and discipline (Saturn in Scorpio) our access to our unconscious and multidimensional selves.
With the Uranus-Pluto square (2010-2016), Uranus excites and awakens the Plutonian urge to lift the veil between ours and other worlds, while Pluto empowers the Uranian epiphanies, revelations, and insights which can occur if we boldly venture into the profound mystery of the unknown. As in the film, psychedelic and consciousness exploration requires us to not only take risks on our journey towards wholeness but to also make discoveries about our true nature, as we rebirth and transform into a completely new, unparalleled awareness.
A relentless faith emerges upon the willingness to undergo this harrowing process, hearkening to the connection of spiritual teacher Jupiter in Cancer in a T-square to Uranus and Pluto.
Dr. Stone is actually having a psychedelic or mind-manifesting experience. Her reality is being formed by the thoughts that she has about it, and she realizes this has been the case since her daughter’s unfortunate death. She is manifesting the contents of her living experience, just as a psychonaut or modern shaman who uses medicines to alter consciousness must realize the very Buddhist teaching that all visions are just extensions of our own minds, and nothing can truly harm us.
In a way, Gravity repeats 2001: A Space Odyseey, which may have subtly addressed the new frontiers of human consciousness probed by the 1960’s use of LSD and the concurrent forays into multidimensional self-awareness through Stanislav Grof’s LSD Psychotherapy and Holotropic Breathwork.
THE ESOTERIC LAYERS
Themes of the Piscean and Aquarian Ages
As the final sign of the zodiac, Pisces culminates all of the archetypal energies which have come before. It is the sign of the mythmaker and storyteller, and the sign we most associate with film.
With Neptune and Chiron in Pisces during this decade of the 2010’s , both our collective origins and potential catastrophic demise have become dominant arenas of film and video game story arcs. How we mentor, coach, and guide others through this collective process of death and rebirth has been one of the major themes of films since Neptune moved into Pisces in 2011. Consider the number of apocalyptic and dystopian releases: World War Z, Elysium, Hunger Games, Melancholia, After Earth, The Host, Oblivion, Ender’s Game, and many others, while 2012’s Prometheus considered the theme of both humanity’s origins and demise.
Gravity also tackles the possibility of catastrophic ends and enlightening awakenings through its images and themes, and thus subtly addresses the ending of the Piscean Age and beginning of the Aquarian Age.
There are distinctly Piscean images in the film—the earth as a unified whole and artistic masterpiece, the curled up, fetal position of Stone after she’s landed safe in the “womb” of the ship, and the submerging into earth’s nourishing water.
But there are also images and motifs that directly address the challenges of the emerging Aquarian Age—the remnants of technology’s debris catapulting towards the astronauts, the repeating sense of isolation and detachment experienced in the repeating phrase, “Houston in the Blind,” as well as the indelible images of alienation with Dr. Stone somersaulting backwards into space and astronaut Matt Kowalsky drifting into the eternal nothingness of the void.
And yet, a poignant scene involves Dr. Stone finding a radio frequency that connects her to another earthling, to the binding Aquarian quilt of humanity through Aquarian communications technology.
The Chakras, Kundalini, The Ascent of Spirit and Descent of Soul
In Gravity, the audience is repeatedly confronted with the primal energies of the elements. These symbols describe the descent of the Soul and the ascent of the Spirit—motifs found in Gnostic Christianity and in the awareness of kundalini, the chakras, and our elemental nature.
In the teachings of the chakras, there are dual kundalini serpents—the ida and pingala—constantly coiling and unfurling along the spine and the energetic pathway of the sushumna—our central channel of prana and life force energy. The dual serpents are depicted in the image of the caduceus and also signify the dual movement of the shaman—ascending into the upperworlds and descending into the lowerworlds.
The ascending, upward, and masculine movement–the pingala–is the embodied flesh aspect of ourselves choosing to return to our Source, to that which came before and is Beyond.
The descending serpent–the sanskrit ida–represents the desire to separate from Source, to discover individuality, to fulfill karmic necessity which is stored in the deep memory of the Soul. In esoteric traditions, this is the feminizing force of Matter, and this was known in Gnostic Christianity as the Sophia.
We know that Dr. Stone, who has never traveled to space before, has left the solid earth to travel to the ethers of outer space. She has come to apply new technology that will allow humanity to peer into the farthest edges of the Universe. In essence she seeks to expand our vision of the cosmos to gain knowledge of “all that exists.” Her journey begins as the rising ida serpent of the kundalini, the Spirit returning to its Source, which we could also say is “Apollonian” in nature.
Referring to the Greek god Apollo, Apollonian consciousness, as a philosophical or literary term, is directed towards accomplishment, achievement, reason, order, and nobility. The Apollonian is based on individuality, and the human form which is used to represent the individual and make one being distinct from all the others. It celebrates human creativity through reason and logical thinking. By contrast, the Dionysian is based on chaos and appeals to the emotions and instincts. Dionsyian experience and awareness pries open the irrational, the raw, and the sensual states of being as the barriers to individuality are broken down and beings submerge themselves in one whole.
This is the downward movement of the pingala serpent and this is the process that Stone will have to endure—the feminizing movement towards earth in an embrace of the sensual and emotional. One of the most interesting moments in the film literally depicts this when Dr. Stone shapeshifts like the shaman for a moment—she returns to her primal, animal self by howling like a wolf.
With the above understanding, we also receive clues into why the characters have the names they do. First, our protagonist is Ryan Stone, a bizarre name for a lead female character. Stone’s daughter, who dies in a freak accident years before, is named Sarah. Whether or not this was intended by the filmmakers, mother and daughter have royal names. Ryan is the Irish for “little king,” and Sarah, the Hebrew for Princess. Stone could be a triple entendre:
The “stone-cold” scientific approach she begins the film with and replacing her heart with a “stone” upon the death of her daughter.
Stone is also the gift of the weight of gravity.
The Philosopher’s Stone – This supreme goal of alchemy was sought after for centuries by alchemists and royalty throughout the world as a mythical substance that can turn base metals into gold, that could cure all diseases, and that could act as a secret elixir of immortality. In reality, the “stone” was never a physical substance, but actually a symbol for enlightenment and the merger of both Spirit and Soul.
Dr. Stone is an alchemist on the journey of self-realization, of acknowledging and honoring her “Soul.” This is the descent of the Creator into form and is symbolically depicted through the elements and the chakras.
The Five Elements
The Bible begins with this phrase: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was made flesh.” Gravity depicts the journey of incarnation as Dr. Stone is tossed about in the ETHERS of The Void, in the unfathomable realms of the Crown and Ajna chakras, as she must begin to use her intuition and synthesize it with her intellect.
Following this, the element of AIR becomes a dominant theme as the primal quality of life—breathing—is stressed again and again. Stone is told to breathe more slowly and nearly loses all oxygen. This recounts the healing modality of Rebirthing Breathwork, which opens us up to the primal wounds around our birth trauma and the moments of first breath.
Subsequently, Stone must ignite the machine and return to earth. We witness the scathing incandescence of the small capsule on FIRE, which she must guide back to earth. The “trial by fire” is described in all mystical, religious, and alchemical texts and shamanic traditions as fundamental to an initiation into spiritual experience. It also refers to the process of Calcination in alchemy, where all the unrefined elements of our humanity are burned down to ash so that only the pure essence remains.
Upon traversing the atmosphere, Stone lands in WATER, returning us to where life first emerged from: Fish, Amphibians, Reptiles. She is in the alchemical process of Dissolution—the return of consciousness to its total phylogenetic memory through all species and all of evolution. This kind of interspecies and epigenetic memory often occurs for those in deep holotropic breathwork states or in transformative psychedelic journeys.
The experience of evolution and incarnation culminates with the first feeble walk of feet upon solid ground as Stone sets her shaky limbs upon the EARTH. She is a young toddler or an animal freshly reborn, now learning how to walk on her own, digging down into Mother Earth through her Root chakra. She is the gnostic Sophia—the “wisdom of the Creator” spiraled down the kundalini serpent as the embodied Soul. She has chosen LIFE.
Instead of birthing the savior child as may be depicted in Piscean age stories, Ryan Stone must save herself through a self-initiated process of rebirth. This is the essence of gnostic teachings and the movement into the Aquarian Age—that the Christ-light is within each of us, that we must directly experience our own salvation and ascension. The preciousness of this human rebirth, stress Tibetan Buddhists, is the opportunity in this life to awaken. As Gravity reminds us, it is our profound test in life to seize this jeweled moment to enlighten ourselves, to merge Spirit and Soul, masculine and feminine, into that conjoined whole—the bodhisattva prepared to courageously serve all sentient beings.
As with the Boston bombings earlier this year, and due to the extreme intensity of the recent Colorado events, I once again considered the horoscopes for both the state of Colorado and the city of Boulder, the areas most affected in the state by the recent storms.
Grand Water Trine – Let the Floods Flow
The question I posed in my research is: Could a Grand Trine—as we had through the Summer of 2013—also mean a flowing ease of expression for the element in the physical form of natural disasters?
A Grand Trine always signifies an easily flowing expression of an element in an individual. For instance, those with Grand Air Trines can exhibit intellectual genius. Grand Water Trine individuals can be adept at healing, compassion, the imagination, and the arts. But what about Grand Trines in a collective experience?
There are some possible correspondences for earth’s natural disasters and Grand Trines:
Air Trine – Hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis
Water Trine – floods, tsunamis
Fire Trine – fires, droughts
Earth Trine – earthquakes
Although much research would have to be done to study catastrophes of climate and weather corresponding to Grand Trines, one of the assumptions would be that the chart of the Country, State, County, or City should be hit hard by the Grand Trine aspect in the sky, most notably by conjunctions.
Both the chart of Colorado and the chart for the city of Boulder reveal startling connections with the Grand Water Trine—trigger points that could help us understand the recent calamities.
It could be argued that the nature of a collective experience would really depend on the planets involved in the Grand Trine, e.g. We could easily think that traditional malefics like Mars and Saturn together with threatening dark lord of death Pluto, could create a serious catastrophe, but in our current line-up of trined planets, we have the great benefic Jupiter with Saturn and Neptune. This doesn’t initially sound like a formula for destruction.
Yet, the Grand Trine that many of us experienced as blissful moments of empathy, psychic openings, and imaginative downloads this summer was no longer close to exact during the recent floods. However, an archetypal teacher who was much more involved in the trine is the healer—and wounder—Chiron.
As I discussed in my book Aquarius Dawns, Chiron can operate at multiple levels—from appearing as the wounded one to the one who wounds to the one who heals. Chiron situations and aspects are delicate and require tender attention. With my ruling planet conjunct Chiron, I know this through life experience.
In my astrocartography and astrolocality research, I have witnessed that Chiron lines can be quite challenging—involving difficult illnesses, downward spirals of entrapped situations, confrontations with the soul, and identification as the victim. Of course, Chiron is a mentor, a tough and stern teacher, so these lessons are necessary for an overblown ego or for the moments when gratitude has been forgotten in our lives. Transits to or from Chiron can also bring innovative ways of working with energy and resources as Chiron consistently bridges the worlds between the known and the unknown.
The Grand Water Trine involving Jupiter in Cancer, Saturn in Scorpio, and Chiron in Pisces would have directly impacted the life-blood of the city of Boulder’s chart. Utilizing November 4, 1871 at 12:00pm for the chart, transiting Saturn is applying a quadruple conjunction, first to asteroid Pallas Athene (7 deg.), Sun (11 deg), Mercury (13 deg), and dwarf planet Ceres (15 deg). with both Jupiter in Cancer (15 deg) and Chiron in Pisces (10deg.) trining all these points.
In interpreting Saturn’s conjunction to the Sun, we find a serious evaluation of the life force of the city itself. Saturn pounded his heavy foot down to completely stop the businesses and schools (Mercury) of the city, creating a crisis centered around Time—the importance of rescuing and evacuating people, and sandbagging homes became the crucial and dominant themes.
On the physical plane, roadways combine the energy of both Saturn, the infrastructure, and Mercury, the need to move and travel, and these roadways were either completely destroyed or serious travel delays (Saturn) were accrued in the region universally. The inclusion of FEMA’s federal assistance also contributed to the Saturnian symbols of governmental institutional involvement. Lastly, the clean-up has consisted of volunteers and victims shoveling wheelbarrows of mud for days on end. Symbolically, what could be a more complete symbol of Saturn’s weighty workload in the raw, dark, detritus of muddy Scorpio?
If we integrate asteroid Pallas Athene, we see an acute sense of urgency in developing intelligent and efficient engineering strategies to navigate the evacuations and rescues. Complex problems of organization and implementation of order also relate to Pallas Athene’s governmental impulse and can be found in the need to set up shelters and integrate different expert teams and task forces around the Boulder County area.
With Saturn to Ceres—goddess of the harvest, abundance, and belonging— the theme of dislocation from home becomes emphasized. Ironically, the loss of individual physical homes opened many Boulderites to the larger Boulder County community of which they are a part, and now more interdependent upon. The compassionate service, opening of friends’ homes, and gifts of food and clothing, weave together Ceres’ all-nurturing maternal aspects with Chiron’s healing potential and Jupiter’s sense of faith—with that faith most likely fluctuating throughout the long days of downpour, and tumultuous uncertainty.
Chiron in Pisces can inflict a deep wound to the collective psyche, and yet offer the empathy of a unified experience of suffering, while Jupiter in Cancer highlights the theme of basic needs—food, clothing, shelter. In addition, Jupiter, acting as the great amplifier to Chiron’s wounding and healing, also exponentially expanded the Saturnian trials and tests to the identity, travel, business, and finance to the emergency levels which we all witnessed.
Grand Fire Trine – Drought and Fire
In studying the floods, one explanation for the unprecedented disaster is that much of Colorado and the Boulder County area has experienced ongoing drought for over a decade, and in recent years, fires have become more predominant and threatening. Fires remove vegetation that can slow down and trap rainfall. Thus, fires in one year can lead to severe flooding in the next.
In the Summer of 2012, Uranus hovered exactly at Boulder’s Chiron, between 7 and 9 degrees of Aries. This alone could trigger a lightning strike causing fires to erupt. But 2012’s Flagstaff and Ironing Board Fires in Boulder County were likely caused by an even more startling configuration: another Grand Trine, this time in the fire element.
During these same summer months the North Node moved between 5 and 3 degrees of Sagittarius, activating a Grand Fire Trine energy specifically in Boulder’s Chart, involving the Moon and Uranus in early Leo and Chiron in Aries.
On top of this, a year earlier, in the Summer of 2011, Uranus, applying at 4 degrees of Aries to Chiron, trined the Moon and Uranus for the first time. But more significantly, the June 15, 2011 Lunar Eclipse landed at 24 degrees of Sagittarius, creating Boulder’s Nodal Reversal (South node at 23 Sag.) and hitting the fiery warrior himself, Mars at 27 degrees Sagittarius. In Boulder, the Maxwell fire spread over 60 acres just days after the eclipse. If we look to a few months before this eclipse, on March 11, a massive evacuation of 200 homes took place, due to a 200 acre wildfire in Boulder. At this time, the North Node was within 1 degree of hitting Boulder’s Mars. Simultaneously, Jupiter, expanding and amplifying whatever he touches, exactly hit that Chiron in Aries. The trine to Boulder’s Moon and Uranus allowed the flames to grow to epic proportions.
In Part 2 of this study, I will look into Colorado’s chart to examine how the Grand Water and Fire trines may be facilitating some of the most transformational earth changes, as well as how these cataclysms can affect the people of a geographical region.
My prayers and blessings go out to all people affected by the recent floods.
In April, we explored the Uranus-Pluto square and Neptune in Pisces through the lens of the Boston Bombings. This month, I wanted to share some astrological insights into what looks to be the “Arab Spring” becoming the “Turkish Summer,” with riots and protests blanketing the country.
In summary, on May 28, Turkish protesters gathered in Istanbul’s Taksim Square, and specifically Gezi Park to prevent the demolition of trees through urban development.
Within a week, the non-violent demonstration shifted into sometimes violent skirmishes and nationwide gatherings, with tens of thousands of people from all four of Turkey’s biggest cities protesting, and more than 200 demonstrations in 67 cities.
Why should what started as a demonstration about public spaces so quickly erupt into such a violent and extensive scenario? As we saw with Boston’s chart, Turkey’s horoscope reveals why such extreme energy has been catalyzed in such a short period of time.
According to various websites, including astrotheme.com, Turkey’s birth chart is October 29, 1923 at 8:30 pm in Ankara, Turkey. When viewing this horoscope, we can see exactly why such intense events have been triggered at this potent time.
Most notable is the transformative upheaval of the Cardinal Fixed Cross formed by the current Uranus-Pluto alignment. Turkey has a 7 degree Cancer rising, but Pluto is also rising, just a few degrees away at 12 degrees. The Ascendant and Pluto are exactly squared by Mars at 7 Libra, and Chiron at 16 Aries, forming a wide T-square to Mars and Pluto, portending possible violent eruptions if this aspect gets triggered – which is now taking place.
This third exact Uranus-Pluto square at 11 Aries to 11 Capricorn has now created a “perfect storm” in Turkey. Transiting Pluto has been opposing the Ascendent for a few years and also squaring Mars. As we know with Pluto-Mars aspects, there can be a volcano seething for many years, that only needs a sudden, sweeping spark to unleash the wrath of fire and the suppressed rage of this aspect.
Transits from Uranus, representer of youth, freedom movements, and even anarchic activities, can act as a volatile catalyst to any protest. Because of the opposition to Mars and square to Pluto, use of extreme force by both protesters and police has been common, including tear gas. Post-apocalyptic Plutonian images of gas masked protesters or plastic-wrapped faces blanket the web.
The deeper one researches the layers at the heart of Turkish politics, the more murky, dingy, and dark the shadow of the nation seems. The image of peaceful and nurturing Cancer rising is now unveiling that Pluto presence, also rising. There is a lot more to Turkey than meets the eye
It would seem that given the waxing aspects from Uranus conjoining Turkey’s Chiron, and Pluto squaring the country’s Chiron, that Turkey is in a critical point of pivot as a nation.
With Saturn on Turkey’s Sun, we witness a major identity crisis for the nation. This is a time of Saturnian gravity, a pressure to mature what the country stands for. In a country’s chart the Sun specifically represents the leader of the country, who has been highlighted for his condescending statements about social media’s role, the youth themselves, and his conservative and unceasing (Saturn in Scorpio) application of totalitarian force with no compromise.
Most recently, the Prime Minister has impinged on the rights of citizens by outlawing certain public displays of affection and putting more restrictions on alcohol.
As we saw in the Boston bombings chart, a Chiron transit can also inflict a deep wound into the psyche of a nation. With Chiron on Turkey’s Uranus and approaching the midheaven next year, we sense that these protests are an epiphanous wake-up call for a country whose citizens may still feel themselves victimized, misunderstood, or ostracized. The next few years will be a big test for Turkey’s image as a nation of spiritual and artistic peacemakers, (Cancer rising, Pisces MC) or a nation wounded, divided, and harboring secrets (Chiron to the angle of career, and Pluto rising).
In the next newsletter, I will discuss the role of technology and the media in the protests, in light of Neptune’s transit through Pisces and the Uranus-Pluto square.
When tragedies occur, our collective soul cries out for answers. The last year has been filled with senseless violence, from the Aurora cinema shootings to Newtown, CT’s classrooms, to this last week’s Boston Marathon. Although little can truly explain the complexities of what is occurring in this madness, an astrological perspective may lend helpful insights.
With the Uranus-Pluto square, a 6 year long wave of upheaval, revolution, and surprise violence is upon us from 2010-2016. Uranus electrifies and stimulates the cavernous Plutonian unconscious, while the Pluto shadows empower the force of chaotic anxiety and narcissistic wildfire, unleashing a potent combination of dark forces that can unpredictably rattle the collective psyche.
Historically, this cycle correlates to some of the most violent periods in history, including the horrifying violence of the French and American Revolutions, the reign of terror with the rise of madmen dictators such as Stalin, Hitler, and Mussolini in the early 30’s, and the Vietnam war, coupled with the many assassinations of the 1960’s.
We must also remember that Pluto—the archetypal force of criminal, underworld, destructive energy was discovered in 1930, during the last Uranus-Pluto square. This was when the atomic bomb was created, ushering in the frightening awareness of our ability to instantly destroy ourselves. Now, increasingly in the Aquarian Age, and even more rapidly under this current Uranus-Pluto square, technology is allowing not only the easier dissemination of information and material for bomb-building, but also the ability to manufacture weapons more efficiently, such as with 3D-printed guns.
With Neptune in Pisces this decade, the individual self can be swept along into grandiose visions of messianic complexes, self-sacrificial kamikaze missions fueled by religious fervor, drug induced intoxication, and the urge for infamy through media exposure. The unstable individual loses any anchor or center and like tidal tsunamis, is washed away into the fantasies of insanity.
Ironically, the technology that increasingly allows the individual to more easily create weapons of mass destruction can also be used by law enforcement, as was implemented in Boston with the use of the infrared police helicopter. The madness that can ensue under the shadow of Neptune in Pisces can, in a spirituated consciousness, unite people in outpourings of empathy, compassion, and increased psychic sensitivity, where the best of humanity transcends together in the ugly face of the worst. Each of these victims is a martyr and savior-heroes erupt out of the violent womb of tragedy.
ECLIPSE TRANSITS and the BOSTON HOROSCOPE
Eclipses, even weeks before and after their exact occurrence, often affect world events, as Mundane astrologers have been studying for centuries. Often, countries, presidents, cities, and weather patterns are affected by the karmic triggers of eclipses. Thus, I was compelled to study Boston’s birth chart to discover more lessons of this tragic initiation.
One of the challenges of studying the horoscope of a city is to uncover exactly when the city was “born.” In the case of Boston, the city itself was founded on September 17, 1630 at 10:11am, but the city was incorporated February 23, 1822 with time uncertain. (The preceding time was obtained from astrotheme.com).
In studying the two Boston charts, the incorporation date did not leave many clues as to recent events. However, the city’s founding chart was incredibly revealing, especially regarding eclipses.
The Lunar Eclipse of April 25th lands on the 5th degree of Scorpio just 2 degrees from Boston’s Saturn, 4 degrees from Neptune, and 10 degrees from the ascendant. Simultaneously, the city is experiencing its Saturn Return, a once-in-thirty-years cycle. With Saturn at 3 degrees Scorpio, tightly conjunct Neptune and in the 12th house, this tragedy instantly unified the people of Boston. The city was shut down and went into hiding, with doors closed and locked, as if in a prison state, a poignant symbol of 12th house enclosure and imprisonment.
Neptune’s symbol shined through as the Boston Marathon was a very mediated event, and the early reports of catching suspects and of other possible explosions were deceiving, swirling like Neptunian fog.
Yet, the Saturn forces of authority pronounced themselves with honor and dignity in press conferences as the forces of FBI and police intelligence revered each other for the calculated, disciplined, strategic effort to kill and capture the supposed perpetrators of the heinous Boston tragedy.
Conspiracy websites such as infowars.com also claim that the whole event was a Neptunian charade, a confusing set-up, and a Saturnian test to strip away civil liberties with police state tactics.
Mars, the warrior planet of conflict and battle, often acts as a catalytic trigger for events, and was conjunct Boston’s Chiron, the symbol of collective wounding and healing.
Meanwhile, the Solar Eclipse of May 9th at 19 degrees Taurus is within just 4 degrees of the descendant and 3 degrees of Pluto in the Boston chart. We have spoken of Pluto as the lord of death, destruction, criminal activity, and the shadowy unconscious, but the Dark Lord is also a source of collective empowerment and penetrating investigation through blending of resources, which was necessary to the capture and discovery of the suspects. The Descendant is a more slippery symbol, as it could signify the witnessing of the events by the world at large, Americans, or even enemies of the state or city.
Lastly, the 3 degree Sagittarius Lunar Eclipse of May 25th actually triggers the South Node of Boston at 7 degrees of Sagittarius, signifying the possible completion of some kind of karmic cycle for the city. The symbol could also represent a test of faith, the possibility of religious motivation or involvement in the act, and ultimately some source of inspiration and righteous ethics and law deriving out of this tragedy.
I hope this has been a beacon of celestial light in an otherwise dark time for a country in the midst of trance-formation.
We will speak more about this in our upcoming teleclass. Hope to share with you all there. Details here
May peace be with you. May the stars shine their blessings upon you.
Before the God Eros was turned into a Hallmark cherub with a bow and arrow, Eros was perceived as one of the primordial forces of the cosmos, the raw life force, there from the beginning, the urge of the source to know itself.
As we enter another transformational eclipse window this week, the urge of the creator to know itself through our myriad soul contracts, beloveds, and intimates in our lives becomes our prevailing energy.
Eclipses are evolutionary phase shifts, massive initiation cycles, especially in the sign of psychological probing Scorpio, the position of the Lunar Eclipse this Thursday April 25th at 12:57 pacific.
This eclipse highlights the versions of Sacred Masculinity and Femininity, Mars and Venus, opposing the Full Moon. With Saturn opposing the God and Goddess and the Sun, and with all of them square Juno—asteroid of sacred relating, commitment, and equal partnership, this eclipse is forcing us to get real with our relationships.
What long-term goals do we have in relationship? What are my own Sex-pectationsfrom my partner? What conditions do I have on enduring and stable relating, whether in business, friendship, housemates, or my sexual partner? How do I feel most supported in relationship?
Expect the end of April and all of May to be a chaotic, cathartic, and crazy cycle of shapeshifting as this shamanic eclipse window will also reveal our resistances and holding patterns, and ask us to shed that which is no longer serving our evolution.
Due to this next month’s intensity, I invite you to join a special teleclass with my beloved Anna Loza to dialogue and discuss the collective’s relationship initiations, as the shadows dance through the dimensions, as our soul agreements come to their fruition. In this class, we will explore karma and the nodes of the moon in Taurus and Scorpio, navigating conscious polyamory, Tantra and sacred sexuality, sex magic techniques, the role of Mars, Venus, and the asteroids Eros and Juno in your chart.
For teleclass participants, personal interpretations of the eclipses in your chart or the asteroids Eros or Juno will be offered. We hope to journey through the eclipse portal with you.
For many of us, last week may have been a challenge to get our energies up off the ground with the Balsamic Moon, but last Friday’s New Moon in Capricorn will give us plenty of energy to move forward with our big 2013 plans and projects.
The busy-ness will increase with Mercury conjunct the Sun the next two weeks, an ideal transit for business strategies, long-term planning, and timemapping—increasingly where my personal coaching work with clientele is going.
By the end of the week, our Solar god and Mercury will enter experimental, quirky, and inventive Aquarius, a time when community involvement, visionary planning, and revolutionary ideals of freedom and the future we want begin to dominate our collective sphere.
But this week, the Goddesses take a bungee jump dive into the underworld, and reigns from the delicate precipice there. Venus, goddess of love, finance, and creativity will conjoin the honorable Juno, goddess of commitment, custom, and our sacred contracts. Both of them enter our dominant transit of global creative catharsis: the Uranus-Pluto square.
This transit may at times bring some irritation, combustibility, or paranoid psychologies into our connections. Think back to just before and after the New Year, when the Sun and Mercury butted up to the Uranus-Pluto square. Were you a bit more annoyed, depressed, or reactive during those times? What did you learn?
Looking ahead, this will be the last major trigger point release of these two planets until middle to end of March, when Mars, Venus, and the Sun enter Aries. This will be one of the most opportune times of 2013 to launch major projects and initiate revolutionary, pioneering work to the collective.
But here in mid January, we find Venus in Capricorn, the practical goddess, concerned with building solid and enduring foundations in her relationships, especially when she cozies up with Juno, always the one to ask what versions of relating could really endure for us or what kind of partnership ideals fit my soul’s intentions in this lifetime. Juno is one of the most important, but underrated of the astrological archetypes, but one’s personal Juno placement gives essential clues to fulfilling and enriching relationships.
One of the best questions to ask in your business and intimate relationships right now is: What structures are we building together? How will they sustain and thrive through time? You may become more necessarily sensitive your boundaries at this time. This may make our tone of voice or topic of conversation more serious, but we are asking what will mature with all of our relationships.
In astrology, we can use the composite chart—an exquisite and highly detailed expression of Venus in Capricorn’s urge for practical relating. The Composite Chart reveals the nature of the two-as-one. Who is the third energy pulsing between the two of us? The Composite invites a couple into their sacred work together, their paths of mastery, their shared purpose, how they serve the planet together. It is one of my favorite tools to use in counseling beloveds or instructing business partners or friends with specific vocabulary to apply in assisting each other’s self-realization.
A lot of questions I’ve been exploring in my recent and ongoing training in Tantra and intimacy coaching can be appreciated with a transit like this. For instance, when we bring in the Uranus square, now we ask: In what ways do I feel most liberated in relationship? And the conjunction to Pluto demands that we dance with shadows…. We can ask ourselves, in what ways do I empower my partner(s) and how would i like to be strengthened towards more positive and larger scale influence in the world through my relationships?
If we can release our control issues and power struggles, there are real potentials with this transit to awaken the depths and allow them to rise in glory. We must all act as shamans for each other at this time as old wounds or traumas around money or relationships surface to be transmuted.
If we do face tension, struggle, or the raw unconscious in our relationships or business this week, it’s important to realize that we have mentorship and guidance right around the corner waiting to support us, since Venus sextiles shamanic counselor Chiron this week.
Thus, in winter’s dark and often heavy cloak we may find pockets of luminous revelation, stairways to heaven in the soulgaze, the tender caress, and the practical, co-operative realization of our collective goals.
Onward, lovers, towards the snowy peak.
May you persevere on your way to the precious perch.
Then in Dissolutio, the initiate drowns in the all-consuming forces of the unconscious. In this stage, solid substances are ab- sorbed in liquids. The alchemist would take the ashes from the calci- nation and dissolve them in water or liquid chemicals. This act of wa- tery purification, such as the bap- tism and cleansing rituals of many religions and spiritual practices, re- turns a substance or an individual back to their original, undifferenti-
ated state, the primordial pools of the psyche.
What we thought was a solid self becomes flooded with archetyp-
al powers, gods, goddesses, forces beyond one’s control. Even the juices of lust and love, like sirens or mermaids, threaten to liquify the fixed and static aspects of the personality. Stages of psychologi- cal development can often not be accomplished until one is con- fronted by love’s vast and daunting ocean.
The flood myths from cultures around the world universally speak of a Divine Source sending the floods when humanity has be- come tainted and degenerate. The wicked are to be destroyed, and the righteous who have lived an authentic existence are to be saved. On a psychospiritual level, the negative detritus of the inflated ego must be dissolved away. Only those elements of the personal self willing to be encompassed and aligned with the Absolute Self will survive.
In Calcinatio, the individual’s belief systems and defense mechanisms are sacrificed in the purify- ing fire. The ego’s former authority begins to burn away as the soul realizes the material illusions it has embraced.
On the chemical level, calcination is the reduction of the substance by fire, heating it un- til it is reduced to ash. If we were to take an herb, the calcination would be the grinding and roasting of the herb. The evolutionary￼ lesson involved in Calcination is the realization that through the power of fire, we can destroy all things that are not essential.
On a psychological level, the destruction of the fixed patterns in the rational mind threatens all the ego holds dear, and the initiate at this stage often experiences depression, hopelessness, and defeat.
In calcinatio, we begin to shatter the crystallized elements of the personality and the attachments of the self to its limited belief systems. Every resistance surfaces as the ego battles ferociously to defend its role, its mask, its status quo of habitual patterning, to no avail against the onrushing flames of the transforming fires.
Ahoy friends, from the exhaustion and exhilaration of the Shamanic Artist tour, East Coast round! Wow—so much to share at this busy New Moon in Libra.
This newsletter will cover Monday’s New Moon in Libra, some comments and an upcoming telelcass on Saturn’s big move into Scorpio, and a link to an essay about Psychedemia, a monumental event I attended recently on the East Coast and a potent symbol of the explosive consciousness revolution of the Uranus-Pluto square. In this essay, you’ll learn about some of the latest research in psychedelics and about references for new media related to psychedelic culture.
Next week, I’ll be sending out an essay about another transformational event, Beyond the Bedroom, also highlighting the juicy sexual evolution of the Uranus-Pluto Square.
I’ve also linked some excerpts from my recent talks and performances on the East Coast, Autumn Ascension, in which I discussed the key transits of Fall 2012 and how they connect in to the larger Aquarian Age shift unfolding
Lastly, I know many of us are now planning the biggest ceremonial party of the last 5,120 years with the 12/21/12 Mayan Calendar end date. Global celebrations are occurring at pyramid and sacred sites around the world, such as the Great Convergence in Egypt, the Rainbow Gathering in Palenque, and the amazing Synthesis Festival in Chichen Itza, where I will be sharing teachings and music.
If you’d like to gaze into your power places for the portal to the New Sun, I’m offering more relocation readings these days to help you get aligned with the Great Alignment of our times. Check the FB link here
New Moon in Libra
As we all process the Great Unfolding, the Wild Rollercoastering of the second exact Uranus-Pluto square, we are being tested through a singular concept: integration, which summarizes our greatest challenge and most rewarding accomplishment at this time.
Under the Libra sun, we tend to be very busy with many social outings, but perhaps we can ask how our relationships can help our integration process. Can we truly listen to another, without our own agenda, without our distractions, as our friends, lovers, business partners share their heart’s yearnings, the tremendous revelations of this last summer, the excited inspirations for the year’s end?
Saturn in Scorpio
Saturn has forced us to solidify and stabilize our relationships, to choose those in which true growth and maturity are possible. Now that Saturn has left his duty in Libra, he takes the beloveds down into the depths, the Shaman’s journey betwixt the Under, Middle, and Upperworlds. For the next 2.5 years, with Saturn in Scorpio, we’ve entered Jedi Times, we’ve entered the era of the alchemist, the season of the shaman. We can guarantee that we will not like everything we see lurking in the shadows. We may even want to hide, like little kids excited, but afraid at those first moments on the ride through the Haunted House.
And yet, this is the whole reason Saturn has been reminding us of our values in relationships, and what it truly means to balance up in partnership, to support each other as our shadows contact dance with us. How will we lift their burdens, unveil the wounded stories, reveal their source, and dive into the alchemical fires of transmutation?
With Saturn in Scorpio, in our relationships, in our work, in our spiritual practice, we are going to learn how to transform the shadow into our power, to take the taboo and hidden and turn it into the exotic heart of tantric eros, to learn how to blend our resources to strengthen ourselves, like warriors in the swamps of the unconscious, building resilience one breakdown, and one breakthrough at a time.
Evolution is now taking precedence, and so we are compelled to destroy all which no longer serves our evolution—relationships, jobs, ideals, fantasies, projections.
To help with this process, I’m offering a very special journey into the depths on October 30th, a teleclass entitled Mastering the Shadow: The Alchemy of Saturn, the Scorpio Eclipse, and the Dark Goddess
We will discuss at length the meaning of Saturn in Scorpio. We will break down the archetypes of Saturn, Saturn’s return cycle, and Saturn’s role on our path to mastery.
We will explore the various masks of Scorpio, including alchemical stages of growth, power animals to assists us, and archetypes to embody at this time. In addition, we will focus on the huge Scorpionic initiation of November, preparing for the upcoming Solar Eclipse AND Mercury retrograde, both in Scorpio. We will also invoke and explore aspects of the Dark Goddess which can help guide us through the shadow transits ahead.
Part 2 will include brief chart interpretations for Saturn in your chart in the coming years, revealing your path of dedication, discipline, and accomplishment in the next two years.
Full details and registration can be found here. Part 2 will have limited spots, and will fill up quickly so register early.
Although my stay in Pennsylvania was brief, I was fortunate to attend Psychedemia, and felt blessed to participate in the highest expression of the current Uranus-Pluto square, the transit defining the 2010‘s. Read the full story here
In’Lakech – I am another you
Although my stay in Pennsylvania was brief, I was fortunate to attend Psychedemia, and felt blessed to participate in the highest expression of the current Uranus-Pluto square, the transit defining the 2010‘s. Psychedemia was a 3 day conference at the University of Pennsylvania. The subtitle for Psychedemia was “Integrating the psychedelic experience in academia.”
Now this is quite polarized to the 60’s psychedelic guru, Timothy Leary’s statement of “Tune in, turn on, drop out.” Instead of dropping out, Psychedemia was conceived and organized by a team of graduate and post graduate students, led by Nese Devenot, a fellow contributor to realitysandwich.com.
Psychedemia accomplished the bold task of bringing together academic researchers, authors, teachers, students, psychedelic explorers, and visionary artists all seeking to expand their awareness of the evolutionary potential present in the psychedelic experience.
Unfortunately, I did not get to attend Sunday or Friday’s amazing workshops and panels, such as the Visionary art symposium. or the Symposiums on Psychedelics and Ethics and on Psychedelics Innovation, although I did catch a bit of the brilliant Android Jones sharing some of his software techniques for creating psychedelic art masterpieces.
However, Saturday’s events were filled with insights and new connections, such as the psilocybin panel discussion. Psilocybin is the psychoactive component of mushrooms and is being studied by many academic researchers. Talks included
“Psilocybin treatment of cancer patients,” and “Psilocybin treatment of drug dependence: smoking cessation.”
Saturday also included poster sessions, an open hall display and discussion with many researchers sharing their findings in various psychedelic topics, such as David Nickles representing the online DMT Nexus and Peter Addy and other’s “Scientific Exploration of Subjective Experience: Salvia Divinorum.” Some of the research in the poster sessions seemed to have an overall theme of trying to gain some sense of objectivity to the sbujective, personal experience of psychedelic travelers.
Although I did not present a full poster session, I discussed with various individuals my own research and sentiments about the importance of timemapping our ceremonies and psychedelic experiences, utilizing one’s personal horoscope. Since I began studying astrology in 2004, I have been bringing an astrological approach towards understanding the most opportune times of the month and year for doing specific shamanic work. I also stress the importance of one’s Moon sign for the approach and style of integration with one’s journeys into altered states. In addition, the deeper one understands the various interplay and dance of the psychic elements, represented by the planets, and their initiatory experiences, represented by their transits, the more easily and efficiently can the psychedelic experience be integrated and reflected upon through the symbolic language of the stars.
Besides beautiful visionary art, authors and teachers were also highlighted at the conference. MAPS, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, was present with a table full of recent publications on psychedelics and consciousness, including titles such as Spiritual Growth with Entheogens, The New Science of Psychedelics, The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide, Visionary Plant Consciousness, and Psychedelic Healing.
Evolver editions, publisher of my book Codex of the Soul, was also present with a table and authors such as Charles Shaw, myself, and with a few presentations from Jonathan Talat Phillips, author of Electric Jesus, who spoke on Warrior Healing and the Santo Daime ayahuasca church.
For sheer inspiration, and for your own further research, I highly recommend visiting psychedemia.org to see the entire lineup of talks given at this monumental event. The organizers documented all of the lectures and plan to make them available in the near future.
Overall, there was a sense of camaraderie, curiosity, community, and discovery throughout Saturday, especially present at the day’s close, as we mingled, networked, and celebrated the abundance with drinks and delicious food.
Conversations were lively, and a fresh feeling of freedom to discuss, to probe, to wonder, to forge new synaptic comprehensions seemed to be the overarching vibe.
I watched as what had previously been hidden and separated by institutional dogma, fear of change, and controlling forces (Pluto in Capricorn) was being liberated at last, tickled by the wild urge to innovate and individuate (Uranus in Aries).
Saturday’s workshops and evening festivities were also marked by the presence of the Aries Full Moon. As the sign of the pioneer and brave explorer of the unknown, this was an ideal full moon under which to have this event.
In my new book, Aquarius Dawns, released last April, I noted that:
Uranus in Aries is consistently a restless, experimental, and culturally and scientifically exciting cycle of new discoveries. And importantly, Aries rules the head, and by extension the brain. Uranus is the planet of innovation and inventive thinking. It shocks us into the future. Thus, Uranus in Aries will invite more and more pioneers in the Piscean fields of the psyche and consciousness studies, and the role the brain plays as a receiver or antennae for consciousness. Those braving the cutting edge in these fields will ask what actually occurs in the brain as we dream, meditate, journey on psychedelics, etc. What chemicals are involved in what vision- ary experiences and what parallels can be found? We are now literally mapping the psyche: the cartography of the dreamspace, the experience of dying, of what occurs after we die, the womb state, our past lives, and the shamanic and visionary journey. Likewise, the “many-worlds” theory of physics, whereby each decision you make creates another universe and another and another, as overwhelming to consider as it may be, is becoming the most accepted theory on the nature of reality.
A friend at the conference turned me on to the podcasts of psychonaut Martin Ball. I highly recommend his fascinating discussion, “Organs of the Mind” with Thomas Ray, Ph.D. This subject deals specifically with my point above about revolutionary neurological research applied towards a holistic study of the psyche, as Ray breaks down the various organs of consciousness, their functions, and how they are stimulated by certain psychedelic compounds.
What I witnessed in the conference rooms, poster sessions, networking dialogues, and media which occurred at Psychedemia was the blossoming potential of the second exact Uranus-Pluto square, which took place the same week. This transformative power involves the collective will to liberate the veiled taboos, to dialogue openly about the previously hidden, and in the process excite and accelerate the process of evolution
I mentioned to organizer Nese Devenot that I felt this conference was a seed for many that should spread over the coming decade in different cities, that its documentation and dissemination were vital, and that the timing of it had been correlated exactly to the Uranus-Pluto square alignment. In the square, we take the more chaotic energies from the original conjunction, which took place in the 60’s, and we work on building more secure foundations and solid structures from which to build upon. Thus, our cultural revolution now is not a single moment, but a sustainable pulse.
I also found out that another conference sponsored by MAPS—Psychedelic Science 2013—is scheduled to occur April 18-22, 2013 in Oakland, CA, one month before the third exact square of Uranus-Pluto. As astrological researchers have found, when a major outer planetary transit occurs, artists and event organizers channel that quality.
Perhaps as we look ahead to May and to November 1 of 2013, the third and fourth exact squares of Uranus and Pluto, we can strategize our most catalytic and awakening events to harmonize with these r(evolutionary) peak moments.