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The Luck of the Irish

By Malvin Artley
March 2006

Greetings, my Friends!

And a very happy St. Patrick's Day to you as well on the 17th! Music has always been a big part of my life. I played guitar in bands throughout my university years and loved it. Time moves on, though, and I was taken away from that life, virtually as soon as I graduated. Besides, I'd had enough of life on the road and I realized early on that the life of a professional musician was not the one I was meant to lead. Even so, I was out late one boy's night recently walking through one of the club districts of Adelaide when I chanced to hear a band playing in one of the local pubs. I felt the old stirrings from a Saturn cycle ago. The music just happened to be coming from an Irish pub, too, although I have never played any Celtic music-and this band wasn't either. Creedence Clearwater is more my speed (I do really date myself here) and this particular cover band was playing just the sort of thing I wanted to hear. So, in I went, grabbed myself a pint and joined the noisy throng, reveling in the sound, the noise, the people, the smoke and the nostalgia of days gone by. The band was a bit rough around the edges and the drummer was late for the set. It didn't matter, though. The music was good, full of the happiness of life, and the crowd loved it. I felt myself immersed in the scene and the energy of the people, which was full of fun and laughter. Strangely, or perhaps not, I felt a oneness with the people there and the simple joy of living, all their cares for the moment fading to insignificance.

We live and exist eternally in an infinite sea of bliss-of pure energy, which is love. The only problem is that we do not recognize life as such. Our heads get in the way. In other words, our minds betray us into believing that life is objective, solid, separate and that we are all individuals and thus important, at least to ourselves. We separate ourselves from the true essence of life and we suffer as a result, because we feel only limitation when things do not go as we would like. Pisces represents this boundless sea of life and love. It also represents our path to freedom from limitation, to which Neptune and Pluto hold the keys in any horoscope, hence the name of its festival-The Festival of Salvation. We have spoken before in a past letter of the relationship between Neptune and Pluto as to how those two planets govern the path to liberation for humanity. * In their interaction and the timing in any chart as indicated by their movement through the chart one can see both the terror of ego dissolution and the absolute bliss of liberation, in relative terms of course. Pluto paves the way to liberation through the burning ground. Then, Neptune grants the most sublime grace through its vision and dissolution of the barriers that prevent the ego from knowing the One Life. One can then (hopefully) merge into the Sea of Life in full consciousness.

Both Neptune and Pluto govern the sign Pisces-Neptune at the orthodox level and Pluto at the esoteric level. In the esoteric literature we know that Pluto works primarily with the lower or reasoning mind, breaking down the barriers to full Soul-consciousness, which allows us to access the Sea. The mind has been called 'the slayer of the real'. This breaking down of barriers is often a very painful experience because the basic structures of the ego are torn down in the more extreme cases of Pluto's action, as in solar arc directions to angles in the chart and the like. Pluto has been called the great Healer of the zodiac for the very reason just outlined. There is really no other way to salvation for humanity than for the reasoning mind to let go its grip and to allow the full alignment of a person's energy fields to take place. There is a universal feeling among people I talk with that such a thing is happening on a planetary scale right now. The great majority of people I have spoken to recently have had some experience of this sort of thing in the last six months or so-since Saturn has been opposing Chiron. Pluto has been working behind the scenes. The fear and panic that is induced in a person when Pluto takes a strong action in the life is in direct proportion to the hold that the mind has in a person's life. The stronger the mind, the greater the pain in the experience of the burning ground of Pluto. Yet, all that has to happen is that we give up resistance to what is actually a beneficent process and allow ourselves the 'luxury of full dishevelment' in the mind and emotions as the Soul seeks a greater expression through the personal life. That is all we are talking about here, really.

At the end of the experience, when the pain, anxiety, fear and nerves subside, there is a much clearer vision of life and of what needs to be done. Neptune brings that phase of things. We are then bathed somewhat, if not totally, in the healing Sea of Life and we are thus touched by the grace of the higher Self. We are changed, and for the better, even though the outer experience may seem a cruel joke of nature or a bitter pill to swallow while it is happening. In periods of intense spiritual striving, meditation and prayer we can pierce through the veil of the mind and the Sea appears. It might be but a fleeting glimpse, but it is often enough to leave such an indelible impression that life in the outer world is never again enough. Thus the true path to salvation is undertaken and there is no looking back. Pisces is the 'Light of the World'-the Light that ends darkness forever. The confusion that people often feel around Pisces, the 12th house in a chart or Neptune is but the kiss of the higher Self beckoning us to let go of the fears that hold us, the control we think we have and the thousands of reasons we can seem to find for doing the things we do. So, when confusion reigns, when anxiety holds us and when fear keeps us bound to the comfort of our old pain, come to see the experience as a healer bearing a gift-freedom from our past , but more so, from our own minds.

The preceding is a very brief synopsis of what Pisces is all about. All the great Teachers throughout history have taught the same thing-give up personal control in order to end one's suffering and thus attain true enlightenment. That the message has been oft misconstrued is true. It is often taken to mean that we have to give over control of our lives to a Teacher or elder of some sort. That is never the case. The control we have to relinquish is the control our own minds have over others, ourselves and circumstances. Liberation is only painful so long as we hold on to our control of those things, and the more we do so, the worse it gets. It is our own minds that are the burning ground, and it is as quicksand under our feet most of the time. To put it another way, we often have to walk across hot sand to take a cool dip in the sea.

So, why talk of all this now and with such an emphasis upon the experience of the burning ground?-because it is topical, because this is what people are reporting and because this solar festival will give us many keys to the resolution of the difficulties we have put before ourselves at present-which is exactly what we have done as humanity. What we really want to speak of here is not the Pluto side of things, however, but the Neptunian side of Pisces. Joy and bliss are much more pleasing topics of discussion than suffering. In a strange sort of way, the esoteric ruler of the sign leads to the manifestation of the highest quality of Pisces in the orthodox-the manifestation on Spirit upon earth and in our daily lives. Pluto will be very active in this festival, as we shall see, but there will be many gifts to come from it, freedom being one of the biggest. Neptune will surely bestow peace and Light upon us all when the present period has ended, whatever length of time that means for us as individuals. With that, let us move on to a discussion of the full moon for Pisces in 2006.

This solar festival takes place on the 14th of March at 11:35 PM GMT, 10:35 AM AEDT in Australia on the 15th. The full moon will be a lunar appulse eclipse, meaning the moon is not actually occulted by the Earth. It is thus not as strong as a 'regular' eclipse would be, but it is one just the same. There are some key features to this eclipse which will illustrate the points that have just been made about Pluto and the burning ground, and they will set the tone for the Festival of Salvation this year. On the whole, this will be a very clarifying energy, but there will be some 'casualties' along the way as the following points will illustrate. This series of eclipses is said to bring great flashes of insight and inventiveness of a high order. There will be many great intuitive insights and leaps, but these tend to cause strain in the private life. People will absolutely need their space over the next weeks in order for things to effectively sink into the psyche the way that is needed. Make no mistake about it-this will be a powerful eclipse, it will open people's eyes, there might be some discomfort along with the process, but things will be much better afterwards.

The eclipse forms a t-square with Pluto as the apex planet. Since Pluto co-rules Pisces, this adds to the power of the eclipse. The general meaning of the configuration is that a complete metamorphosis or a sudden ending of existing relationships will ensue or is necessary under this influence. The undercurrents of all situations will be drawn to the surface and seen in the clear light of day. Any obsessions will rear their heads and there will be a general tendency for some parties to force issues here, at least over the next few weeks. Pluto is said to be the most difficult planet to have as an apex in a t-square, and we are about to see why for those people who are not self-aware, especially for those who have strong mutable-sign energy in latter degrees their charts (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces). In fact, all the mutable signs will see a lot of stimulation under the impact of this full moon. There will be a great liberating influence with it, as well as some new starts because Mars is also square to Uranus in Gemini and Pisces. Uranus is also coming to a station at 14 Pisces in May/June, which will bring quite a few surprises of its own.

The symbol for the Sun in this figure indicates the basic undercurrent for the festival, and it reads thus:

"A religious organization succeeds in overcoming the corrupting influence of perverted practices and materialized ideals." 25 Pisces

The basic quality here is one of purification. All issues that have lurked beneath the surface in situations for people will come up for reckoning. For most people this will mean that certain crises will manifest, but it does not have to be so if all parties are willing to take circumstances on board and respond a step at a time as things come up. As I say with clients under strong Pluto influence, "A little 'yard work' every day keeps catharses at bay." That basically means that the next few weeks should see us all apply ourselves to put our inner temple in order, keep the drains of the mind unplugged and make certain that nothing is allowed to build too much pressure. It is also an admonition to make certain one's intentions are quite pure in any given circumstance. There is a further admonition here from another set of symbols that I have found to be quite descriptive and accurate: Guard well one's reputation and honor, for failure to live according to one's highest ideals attracts 'enemies' who work amongst the shadows, those enemies being our own and other's unresolved darkness.

The symbol for the degree of the Moon indicates what is being brought to the surface in this eclipse, and it reads thus:

"A flag at half-mast in front of a public building" 25 Virgo

This points to the ability to carry any task to its ultimate fulfillment and to give recognition where it is due-whether it is recognition of an issue that has been blocking the way in a relationship or a situation or the full recognition due to a job well-done or a life well-lived. The key word here is recognition. Be prepared to see things as they are, not as we would like to see them, for there will be a temptation to do that with the energies in this full moon. Also be prepared to be simple and direct, just and even-handed. The symbol for Pluto's degree bears a mention here as well. It reads thus:

"A sculptor at his work". 27 Sagittarius

There are forces at work in the world right now that are shaping the destinies of people for a long time to come. This degree is conjunct the galactic center and there is a very strong onus here upon direction, and of the corrective action needed to ensure that the proper direction is taken in life. If one is on the right path, then no corrective action is needed and this degree only adds strength. For others, it can mean a complete change of direction. If there is corrective action needed, we should do our best to accept that it is needed rather than rebelling. Life is hard enough without adding to one's troubles.

Mars is square to Uranus, though separating. Tensions have been high lately and there has been quite a frustrating energy around, especially with Saturn retrograde. People have also felt like caged tigers, as a loved one recently stated the matter. People should avoid strong reactions to things and each other and take time when doing things, being careful not to over-exert, overreact or to push things out of timing. Mars/Uranus together is the great dare-devil and the 'accident waiting to happen'. Be careful around speed, transport, electricity, machinery (I need to take my own advice on this one!) and sharp objects. Mercury is sextile to Jupiter, both of which are retrograde at the moment. The possibility of miscommunication and misunderstandings is high, exacerbated by the fact that Mars is in an applying square to Mercury, although some good outcomes can be had if people are willing to look at things laterally. Lastly, Mars is in an applying trine to Neptune. It is a passive aspect by itself, but it gives sharpness to the perception and magnetism. Jupiter is in a tight square to Neptune, giving high idealism and a mystical bent, but it also gives people over to playing hunches and to belief in things that simply are not there or true. The Pluto t-square will insure against that sort of thing, though.

As we can see, this will be a very dynamic period in people's lives, but there is a lot of good that will come of it, as well as much-needed Light in dark corners.

I feel the call of my old life every now and then. My guitar still sits in the lounge room and beckons at times. I pick it up every so often and pull the music from the strings and my heart, giving me cause to remember that music has the power to move people and to bring them together in ways that nothing else can. Harmony, joy, freedom, laughter, fullness of heart and deep emotion-all these things are exemplified in music, as well as transcendence from worldly affairs, if only for a few moments. It unites people and fills them immediately with common memory, common purpose and a love of life-which is no small feat. The energy of life itself is like music. Energy pulsates, has rhythm, vibrates to every conceivable measure, and resonates in tune with the great Universal Life that has called us all into being. When we are opened to the great Sea of Life, then we hear the most sublime music-the Music of the Spheres and of Creation itself. Now, that's a tune I would love to hear! In the days to come, know that whatever presents itself is meant to put us back in tune and tempo with the music and rhythm of Life. The Way is not so hard. All we have to do is make our old baggage let go of us. What could be easier? May your visions be sublime and the music of your life be joyful!

A Guinness on St. Pat's Day would go down a treat, too.