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The Alpha and Omega of the Zodiac

Malvin Artley
March 2007

Greetings Friends!
‘Tis the season of festivals here in Adelaide, the Festival City. In the New Year there is always a sense of excitement here as we gear up for the coming events—the Carnivale, the Glendi, the Fringe, Womadelaide, the Schutzenfest and many others. And then there is the one festival that as many people loathe as there are those who love it—the Clipsal 500 stock car race in the heart of the Adelaide CBD. As I sat writing this letter I could look off in the distance and see planes flying in formation over the city as the first day of the race was inaugurated. A large dirigible has been slowly flying over different areas of the city for days now announcing the coming event and giving a lucky few passengers a view of the city and surrounds that not many people would ordinarily see. Pisces and Aquarius are always festive times in Adelaide, not that the city council would take much notice, but it does something for the psyche of the populace to have so many events bunched so closely together. It gives everyone here a unique experience of many different cultures, for many of these festivals are ethnic. Still other festivals here have acts that bring presenters from the world over. And here is the point—all these festivals bring together a sea of humanity (relatively speaking) in a celebration of both uniqueness and common identity. They are a celebration of shared, yet different, lives and they take us out of ourselves and the cares of the mundane world, at least for a time. They unite us after a fashion and in that we can all share and experience a side of life that we ordinarily do not have for the remainder of the year. For a time, we are able to escape and to see life differently. The change does us good.
Who couldn’t use a bit of celebration after the year we just had? The Year of the Red Pig is set to be a better year than last year, we are told, but if the way it has started is any indication, there will be a little bit with which to contend until we get to the ‘better’ parts of this year. Energies have been particularly intense over this Mercury retrograde period (since Valentine’s Day). True to form, it has been great for my business. Machines are breaking down left and right. Some people seem to be following suit. Universally, people seem to be psychically knocked about a bit here in Australia. Perhaps the best way to describe what is happening is to call the feel of things unsettled, electric and expectant—like something is about to give way.  Such a dynamic creates a fair amount of fatigue. It will continue that way until the middle of this month. Then things should settle. We will see why in due course. The period of the Sun’s passage through Pisces always brings a sense of uncertainty or surrealism with it. People either just want to escape or there is a dream-like quality that sets in as we contemplate what is to come for the year. For those who know how to use the energy of this sign and who know its meaning, Pisces is a gateway—a pause and a period of shifting or culmination prior to moving into something new—much like the Year of the Pig, and it is this last sentence that bears the most relevance for the aspects of this sign to be activated in this period.
Pisces is the last sign of the zodiac, or the first, depending upon one’s orientation in a spiritual sense. It is Alpha and Omega, the first and the last and a culmination prior to our being liberated into a more effective expression of life. More than anything else, Pisces is known as a sign of culmination and completion—endings, in other words. It is the one sign of the zodiac that brings with it true liberation, which only comes for us when we have made sacrifices for others in the field of service. It is the sign of the World Savior, and many great Teachers and avatars have been born under its influence. Its symbol is the two bound fishes—spirit and persona united, or separated as the case may be. It is a sign of bondage, either enforced due to a materialistic lifestyle or chosen because the person has consciously entered a life consecrated to the liberation of others from suffering. So, we see that people either suffer or gain liberation from suffering under this sign, hence its associations with internment, institutions, bondage and freedom. Every time Pisces comes around in the calendar we are offered an opportunity to set ourselves free from something that has held us back in a spiritual sense. Escape or liberation (freedom)—these are the two poles in Pisces, and they always come up for examination during the Pisces solar festival. Where are we bound, why are we bound, what have we been avoiding and how do we institute change in order that we are no longer spiritually ‘stuck’? These are the questions to ourselves that we must answer in the Pisces interval.
Pisces has been called the ‘sign of mediatorship’. Ultimately, it indicates the blending of Soul/Sprit/higher Self with the persona—the union of higher and lower. It is the most psychically gifted sign of the zodiac for that reason. Thus, it is the sign most associated with mediums. It can give one the most sublime insight into the subtle realms because the boundaries between the higher and the lower become blurred. It is that psychic ability that is at one and the same time the sign’s greatest blessing and its worst curse. When a Piscean type is focused upon the more material side of life, there can be great confusion because the person never knows from where their perceptions originate, that is, whether they are simply seeing in the astral light or actually being given a vision from the realm of the Soul. On the other end of the scale, Pisces brings ‘The Light of the World’, and, as such it ends forever the sense of separation between the outer and the inner worlds. This Light of the World is the very light of Life itself and is the sea of energy in which the higher Self lives and from whence it draws its Being. The Light of the World for the individual is indeed the Light of the higher Self. Pisces is a sign that carries with it unique dichotomies of experience, and it can bring either complete confusion or absolute clarity of vision. When one is in complete alignment with the higher Self and at one with it, then there is absolute clarity of purpose in life and the persona then stands as a mediator between the spiritual realms and the outer world—a ‘medium’ of the highest order and, as such, stands in the capacity of a world savior in some measure and capacity. Ultimately, then, Pisces presents us with opportunities to sense a greater vision, to salvage our lives in some fashion and thus help in the work of others trying to do the same with their own, to liberate ourselves from restricting circumstances and to move through a doorway—figuratively speaking—into something new and better in life. With that, let us have a look at what is gong on around this Pisces Solar Festival for 2007.
The full moon of Pisces for this year is an eclipse, and a “moon wobble” as well. “Moon wobble” is a term coined by the late American astrologer Carl Payne Toby. I described its effects in the Sagittarius letter of 2006. There is a very interesting sub-current—an inner script, if you want to call it such—that is playing out and about to end with this eclipse. I will describe that inner script in due course. This will be a full lunar South Node eclipse, which portends endings of emotional scenarios and closing the door on certain chapters of life, depending upon what is activated in a person’s chart. This particular eclipse belongs to a Saros series called ‘Nine New North’, and it is associated with accidents and sudden changes. It is said to be a particularly physical series of eclipses, but my experience has shown something more than that. In particular, from what I can see, this class of eclipses produces what may best be called ‘a state of precipitation’, and that particular dynamic was introduced by the Uranus transit over the eclipse point in the period from the 25th Mar-8 May 2006. Uranus is the ‘Lord’ of this particular eclipse and it thus produces what is known in occultism as a ‘dynamic point of tension’. On the whole—and people have been feeling this state of things building in recent days—this point of tension, as it is called, pushes people to the breaking point, hence the emphasis on physical accidents. If we do not pay close enough attention to our inner well-being, then inner tensions that remain unresolved can externalize in the form of physical accidents. In other words, change is upon us, and the force for that change is irresistible. No one resists Uranus. It brings us change, like it or not.
The full moon takes place at 10:17 AM AEDT (11:17 PM UT on 3 Mar 2007). The symbol for the degree for the Sun defines the tone for the full moon period and it reads thus:
“An ancient sword, used in many battles, is displayed in a museum.” 13 Pisces
This symbol denotes the use of the spiritual will in the resolution of life’s ‘battles’, or challenges. It is an admonition to stand courageously in the face of things and ‘do the right thing’ whether painful personally or not. What is implicated here is a Soul-faculty, built up through the course of many lives that enables us to wisely choose the proper course of events and to work for the greater good, for that is always the purpose of spiritual will. This is a degree that promotes self-empowerment. If there is something upon which you need to act, this eclipse shows that it is time to do so, or life will take care of it for you. It is of interest to note that the most potent time for acting has actually just passed, although there is still a window of opportunity. Uranus began to activate this eclipse point on the 14th of January, was exact on the 4th of February and just passed out of orb on the 22nd of Feb. Not to worry. The effects of this eclipse will be felt for some time to come and will ‘ripple through’.
The symbol for the degree of the Moon shows what is highlighted for us and that with which we must deal. It reads:
“A powerful statesman overcomes a state of political hysteria.” 13 Virgo
To what do we turn when it comes to the structure of our lives? Is it personal satisfaction, public need, spiritual inspiration, simple necessity—what is it that drives us to organize our lives? That is what is being confronted with this symbol. We have all been easily swayed in some way and at some point in our lives in times of crisis by people who have ‘it’—charisma, sex-appeal, raw power—any of a number of qualities. There is always some way in which we can be swayed. This is especially true when we are in a negative state. In a positive sense the dynamic of this symbol leads to organized and well-functioning societies. In the negative it leads to a populace that is easily seduced and manipulated. The same applies to personal life as well. What is implicated in the symbol is the emergence of powerful figures or forces in our lives in times of chaos and crisis. In the highest interpretation, the ‘statesman’ is one’s higher Self, with the ‘hysteria’ being the normally unruly and sometimes overly excited persona. In other instances the ‘statesman’ may very well be some figure who comes into our lives in times of crisis to restore order and to show us a better way. That person may or may not be the best thing for us. At any rate, the combination of these two symbols points to the need for us to ‘seize the day’ for ourselves and not to rely on someone else to bring restorative energy to us. This is the age-old battle between personal empowerment—which always comes from the higher Self—and looking for someone else to set things right for us. In short, this eclipse is about ending dependency upon others and fighting our own battles in life, but that does not mean we have to do it alone. This is about self-salvation and a more beneficent organization to our lives.
In regard to the preceding, I mentioned that there is a subscript that is playing out through this eclipse, and that has to do directly with the action of the planet Uranus. In the orbital pattern of every planet in the solar system there are periods of time when a planet appears to move backward in the sky. These periods are known as the planet’s retrograde phase, and they offer up unique opportunities for experiencing life in a different way than is experienced under the planet’s normal influence. There are distinct phases to this retrograde cycle, something which I have never addressed in these letters. As the planet begins the retrograde phase it appears to stop moving in the sky. This marks what is known as the ‘retrograde station’—‘station’ meaning that the planet appears to stand still (retrograde station meaning the standstill before it turns retrograde). Then, it slowly begins to move backwards. The important thing to note here is that the planet only appears to move backward, meaning that it is our perception with regard to the dynamics of the planet involved that is altered somehow, and not the actual order of things. Next, the planet will move backward for a time and then reach a station at the other end, known as the ‘direct station’ (stationary prior to moving direct). The entire sector of the zodiac in which the retrograde motion occurs is what is known as the ‘shadow area’ of the planet’s movement through the zodiac, and that is activated as the planet approaches its retrograde phase, as well as after it turns direct. In other words, if Uranus (since we are talking about Uranus in relation to this eclipse) stations retrograde at 15 Pisces, as it did, and stations direct at 11 Pisces, then the shadow area is 11-15 Pisces. That was activated on March 4th last year when Uranus wandered into its shadow area and the entire cycle will finish on March 7th this year. So, what does this mean to us?
The shadow area, as the name implies, is a unique experience with regard to consciousness. In psychological terms, it defines exactly what the name suggests—unresolved areas of our life or psyche that need to be addressed. So, when a planet enters its shadow area by transit or progression during the initial approach to the retrograde station we get either the vague or distinct impression that something is amiss with life. Indeed, outer circumstances may actually indicate to us that our lives are somehow out of order, but it might be something upon which we cannot quite place a finger. With our present Uranus consideration, that first shadow phase was from Mar 4th to 19 Jun 2006. We were then given a glimpse of where we were not moving forward with our lives nor instituting those ‘better conditions’ and needed changes for our spiritual progress in life which Uranus ultimately represents. To put it another way, we were given ‘warning shots across the bow’ and told that we needed to change and if we did not, then we would be given the ‘opportunity’ to take a closer look at things during the retrograde phase. Check your diaries, then, and look back at your life in that period.
During the retrograde period of any planet we are, in a sense, thrown back upon ourselves in some way. With Uranus retrograde we often feel that we have somehow taken a step backward and done the very opposite of what Uranus represents—movement into the future. Uranus turning retrograde can indicate sudden reversals of fortune. Uranus direct can appear to do that, too, when it activates certain sensitive areas in a chart. The difference between the retrograde and the direct action of Uranus is distinct, however, even though it may appear the same on the surface of things. Changes in fortune under Uranus direct will somehow always lead us into a better future with greater clarity of vision, even though the circumstances around it may be very unsettling in our personal lives. Changes under Uranus retrograde force a different dynamic upon us. During that period, in a sense we are shown those areas of our lives where we have missed opportunities for growth and we enter a cycle wherein we feel confused, disoriented, and unable to move forward and often have a strong inner sense of shock. When Uranus turns direct again we are given the opportunity for self-correction and, when Uranus leaves the shadow area, we should find ourselves on the right track again, all being well. Uranus leaves its current shadow area on the 8th of this month and enters its next shadow area the day after, culminating the current Moon Wobble, setting the stage for the next phase of Soul work and finishing the Mercury retrograde period. We can all breathe a sigh of relief then and get about the work of the next stage of our growth. Let us be clear: There is a big piece of work and clearing that is about to be completed and this eclipse will ‘seal it off’, in a sense.
There is one more area to be addressed with this eclipse and with what is happening in the world. We should keep in mind that eclipses always come in pairs. After the first one of the pair takes place the next one occurs roughly two weeks after. The next one will be a partial solar eclipse close to a 0-Aries point, which can often bring major world events when they are triggered. Both of these eclipses will be short-lived, the one on the 4th being ‘finished’ by Saturn (Saturn bringing completion, culmination and fulfillment) in Sept 2008 and the second in Oct 2009. Major world events are coming in the next couple of years and we will have a look at all that in future letters. Suffice it to say that we are all being set up to be where we need to be and doing what we need to be doing when that period is finally upon us. Most of us have probably seen a lot of emails about energy shifts, world upheaval, catastrophes, financial collapse and the like. The eclipse triggers to come will usher in some of that. A lot of what has gone around is nonsense, in my opinion, but we can look for some big changes in the world stage over the next few years. There is no real need for concern if we can see the larger picture, but change is certainly upon us, whatever that might mean. On a final note, the current eclipse has been triggered by Uranus from 14 Jan-22 Feb this year, so what it will bring for us has already been revealed. It is just a matter of seeing things through if there is something upon which we need to act. With that, let us have a look at the planetary dynamics of this current figure.
The first thing that stands out is the t-square with Jupiter squaring of the full moon axis. Freedom is the catch-cry here. Jupiter wants to expand. Uranus wants to be free. The square, however, makes people want to do things out of timing unless the course of action is clearly thought through. However, Jupiter is in a Grand Trine with Saturn and Venus. Now, this is a ‘money trine’ as well as a marital trine. This full moon will see the course of relationships of all types decided for a long time to come—at least until 2008 when Saturn finalizes this eclipse. There are many beneficial changes that will come of this for people, as well as a lot of healing since Venus is also in trine to Chiron.
For those readers who have planets or angles at 20 degrees of fixed signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio or Aquarius), the Saturn Neptune opposition has just completed its exact degree. It has brought major changes in beliefs and personal relations. What we would like to fondly imagine about people and life in general and the cold reality of situations has come into focus and some big adjustments have had to be made. Saturn tries to structure and Neptune defies being structured. At the same time there is an opportunity with this opposition to set up new structures for life on more realistic foundations. Saturn and Neptune together, regardless of the aspect, are about giving form to one’s visions or dreams.
The Moon is the apex of a yod with the Venus/Chiron sextile at the base. What is highlighted in the yod is the need for emotional security, but since this is a lunar, South Node eclipse, such security may seem fleeting at the moment. If one is willing to be open to new connections with others, healing in an emotional context can come and some brilliant things can appear from the eclipse. If emotions are wasted upon trying to stick with old patterns then the yod will work against a person and strong, compulsive patterns will come to the surface for reckoning. Other than that, there are no other significant aspects to cover other than the Mercury sextile to Pluto which will greatly aid in communications after Mercury goes direct on the 7th. On the whole, then, we will need to wait and see what we have in the middle of March after the dust has settled from all the changes taking place due to this eclipse and the Moon Wobble.
This has been an interesting letter to write, meaning the experience of it. A week ago in my mind I thought it should go out, but every time I would sit down to write it there was no inspiration and I would often have to lay down and sleep. What we think as far as schedules and traditions is sometimes not the best approach. Sometimes events conspire to give us just what we need—not necessarily what we want. This has happened with me a couple of times in the course of writing these letters. Perhaps it is Pisces escapism for this one. Perhaps it is my own higher Self taking me out of body because I have had to delay sending them at other times. One thing that has come clear to me this week is that there are forces afoot that are not giving people answers right now until the last minute. Uranus is like that. We don’t know what will happen when Uranus is active until it happens. Whatever the case, now I have been able to complete it and we will see what comes of what has been outlined in the preceding paragraphs.
I was out for a walk a while ago and I was taking in the night sky. Late-night walks are common for me. The stars beckon at such times when sleep is not always a constant thing. Sleep has been difficult for many people of late. The Moon is full now and I was immediately struck by something that has been elusive of late as I looked at my constant and eternal muse—stillness. Calmness is perhaps a better term. There is something about this full moon, regardless of Uranus being Lord over it that carries a quality of calmness. Is it the ‘calm before the storm’? I think not. It is more a calmness borne of being in the right frame of mind—of knowing that one is on the right path and that life will work out as it needs to be. That calmness and stillness is what comes over us when we have found the right path. That state of being is how the higher Self or Soul is at all times. It is eternal, ageless, infinitely old, yet forever evolving. Though outer life may roar away around us, the Soul is ever the silent and constant Watcher and Guide in life. When we enter that calmness and silence, we know. As we look at what lies ahead for us, then, do we feel calm or do we feel the roar of a life that keeps going around the same track and never resolves? Do we feel a need to escape from what confronts us or do we move with surety and calmness into a future that we know is correct? There is no winning or losing in life. There is only a path to follow that takes us to our proper destination. As is always the case at key times in life, all we need do is to take enough time to sit in silence and commune with the highest to which we can attain within. The answers always come. May it be so with you all. Life is a festival of the Soul, at least it should be. May this solar festival give us all cause for celebration and a much brighter future, no matter how it might seem in the immediate moment.
Blessings, everyone!
4 Mar 2007

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