There is a new player on the academic playing field. It is call New Materialism. New Materialism is basically a reworking of ancient animism. Animism is the worldview that non-human entities (animals, plants, and inanimate objects or phenomena), possess a spiritual essence or a soul. The revitalisation of animism has come about in part as a reaction to oppression of both women and nature resulting from the privilege of the rational mode of understanding the world. The rational mode of consciousness is also associated with the masculine or that of the more powerful arm of a dualism. What’s great for astrology, ecology, women and other oppressed entities is the ascription of ‘mind’ to things which were considered ‘mindless’ of less than that which was given privilege through virtue of association with the superior rational/masculine/master.
The theory of New Materialism means that the planets, the signs, the houses and aspects are alive and imbued with spirit, mind, soul – they are beings in their own right. Something astrology have always known.
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Regardless of the issue at hand, any astrological exploration always needs to begin with The Holy Trinity of Astrology. The Holy Trinity of Astrology is the sign of the Sun, the Moon and the Ascendant. Why these three? Very briefly because; the Sun represents where we feel our urge to shine, the Moon what makes us feel secure and the sign on the Ascendant represents our Life and our approach to Life.
In the chart under exploration we find the client has the Sun in Gemini, the Moon in Aries and the Ascendant sign is Libra. Instantly we are know, that this individual’s energy is very Yang. Yang is the ‘sunny side of the mountain’. What this means is that this is an active day-time energy as opposed to the ‘shady side of the mountain’ which is the Yin, night-time, restive and attracting energy.
The Yang energy urges the individual into action and given that the Sun is in intellectual Gemini a lot of this outward impulse of energy may be directed towards thinking and communicating as well as finding ways to connect with the world. This is even true of the reclusive Gemini sitting somewhere hidden away behind their computer. They will certainly be active in connecting with the world, be it through their stories, others’ stories, the internet or any other way that brings them into contact with the world.
The God who sits on the throne of Gemini is Mercury, the Messenger God. Mercury as the Messenger God is a crosser of boundaries as he carries communications between the gods of the various realms, from the heights of Olympus, to the depths of Neptune’s watery world and all the way to Hades, the Underworld of Pluto. This is a symbolic representation to illustrate Mercury’s ruler ship of the mind which contains aspects both known and unknown to us.
Combining a Gemini Sun with an Aries Moon, we can say that the individual has a need to shine in such areas as thinking, talking, communicating and connecting, new ideas, initiatives, or projects – Aries. The Gemini-Aries combination is great for coming up with and beginning new projects but the Earth and Fixed signs are needed to bring their ideas and initiated projects to fruition, along with a good strong Mars. While Aries may be considered ‘a doer’, this mainly relates to getting things started, it is the Earth signs that tend to do the ongoing ‘doing’ and the fixed signs that keep things going that have been begun under Aries and other Cardinal signs.
The Ascendant represents our Life and our approach to life. So the question becomes how will this individual apply their new and innovative ideas to their life? Once again we have a Yang outward moving energy, which like Gemini is an Air sign – the element of the mind and all relationships and like Aries is a Cardinal sign; great at initiating, especially initiating relationships . This person would therefore have an urge to form relationships and to put their ideas out there in the world. We find that the Queen of Libra, Venus is in Gemini along with Mercury the Lord of Gemini and that both are in the Eighth House of deep life issues, so there could be a strong urge to work in depth psychology or other deep explorations of the workings of the psyche and relationships.
With the Ascendant in Libra this individual approaches life with a need for peace and fairness. The challenge with a Libra Ascendant is how to balance personal Aries needs for independence and a certain amount of self-focus with Libra’s need for taking other people into account. Having two out of three aspects in the Air element focuses the interest on social matters. While there are many possible scenarios and individual reactions in how these aspects may play out the underlying themes remain the same.
The scenarios and individual reactions are indicators of how the individual has responded to these concerns. For instance if the individual feels unable to make a decision or take action without first taking into account every possible consideration about another person, it shows that the prospect of taking their own personal needs into consideration is absolutely terrifying to them. There are several issues that could result from this, firstly not getting their needs met, secondly feeling resentment at everyone in their life because their needs haven’t being met, or third expecting other people to meet their needs for them because they met their needs for them and again feeling that Mars anger and resentment that the ‘favour’ hasn’t been repaid back (I think that at just sounded like R.D. Laing’s book called Knots).
So let’s try to untangle it as much as possible; what we have here is a theme of tension between meeting personal needs for autonomy Moon in Aries and meeting the perceived needs of everyone else in their life – Ascendant in Libra, with the Sun in Gemini expressing supporting views for both positions. This all before we even look at the Houses of Work and Career.
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Staying with the building blocks of astrology we know that Taurus is an attracting Yin energy and her element is Earth. These two aspects of Taurus function through what is called in astrology a ‘Fixed’ quality. All Earth signs in astrology are of the Yin/attracting energy the difference is in how the quality of this combination functions. The other two Yin-Earth signs in astrology are Virgo and Capricorn. What makes them different from each other is the quality or nature of their function or purpose and their ruling deity.
The Yin energy is an attracting and persuasive energy. It draws its needs and desires towards itself. It could be likened to a flower that through its beauty as well as the resources it offers entices birds and insects to itself in order to do its bidding. Yin energy is similar to the Earth as it pulls what it needs to itself. With the help of gravity all Earth’s needs are pushed towards her – rain falls down on her as do the seeds which she nurtures to maturity.
Of all the Earth signs Taurus is the earthiest because it is also a fixed sign.
In the cycle of life, the sign of Aries represents the archetype of beginnings. The Aries drive provides the seed with the energy and urge needed for life – for the force that is essential for that first sprout of life to break through the hard protective casing of the seed to emerge. Once Aries has done its job and the seed has sprouted it becomes vital for the seed to find a safe and nurturing place in which to grow, this is the task of Taurus. Taurus as they say is the ‘salt of the Earth’ – it is that safe haven in which new growth or new ideas which have been formed and given life under Aries can now find a place to take hold and establish themselves. Without the ‘womb’ of the Earth as represented by Taurus that which Aries has begun would very quickly die. This is why Taurus is a fixed sign because it essentially fixes into place what Aries has begun.
Taurus is also a rich sign full of valuable resources which are buried in the earth or which grow out of the earth. But Taurus can also be good at burying what it doesn’t like deep into the bowels of the earth, for Taurus is ruled by Venus the Goddess of Love and where possible she prefers peace to battle. However, Venus is also the Goddess of Battle and if pushed too far there is little to rival the raging Bull which is the symbol of Taurus.
So begins Taurus’ heroic journey in search of what needs establishing and fixing into place in order that it may grow, survive and prosper. Some of the archetypal images for Taurus are the Great Earth Mother, the Master Builder or the Banker . These are just a few of the ways in which the Sun whose distinctive purpose is to shine finds fulfilment and expression when travelling through the sign of Taurus.
Taurus as the Banker in ‘to grow your money’ – anything that needs growing see Taurus.
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Using the building blocks of astrology we know that the story of Aries consists of an active Yang energy, the element of fire and that these two energies are expressed through the function of cardinality. We also know that the deity which is embodied in the Aries archetype is the Roman God of /Love/Lust/Desire and War. Beginning with the active Yang component of Aries we know that the Aries archetype is about going after what it wants in a direct and open fashion. Aries sees its target or object of desire and jumps on its ‘White Horse’ which today would most likely be a sporty red car and charges. Aries is a doer.
The next part of the Aries personality is made up of the Fire element. The element of Fire is as it implies, full of life, energy, passion, desire and is the spark which ignites the creative spirit – the urge to do, to be and to create. Next comes in the cardinal energy and describes for what purpose or function this passionate and active energy will be used for.
The cardinal energy is an energy of initiation therefore an important purpose or function of Aries is to use its powerhouse of, drive and passion to initiate and start new activities, projects, events and so on. Taking these three elements together it becomes clear that the Aries archetype is full of get up and go. Thus the purpose of the Aries energy is to ignite with fire and passion that which needs to be born, begun, commenced or started. So begins the Aries’ heroic journey in search of what needs igniting, initiating or instigating which is why this sign is often called the pioneer, the explorer, or the entrepreneur or the Crusader of old. These are the some of the ways in which the Sun whose distinctive purpose is to shine finds fulfilment and expression when travelling through the sign of Aries.
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An exploration of the Solar hero’s journey in search of identity as he/she travels through the twelve archetypal signs of the zodiac.
How does the Hero’s journey in search of self, play out through the different archetypes of the zodiac? Here we are looking at the sun signs of the zodiac and how the Sun symbolises the Heroic search in all of us for knowledge and self-recognition of our identity. Starting our journey with Aries as the first sign of the zodiac.
Aries the first sign of the zodiac is often identified with the energy of Spring. However as noted in earlier articles this analogy can become problematic in the Southern hemisphere where Spring coincides with Libra and Aries becomes an Autumn sign. Thus putting aside the seasonal analogies another way to begin an exploration of the Hero’s journey through the zodiac will be through the building blocks of the sun signs.
The building blocks of the sun signs can be briefly divided into four aspects. These are called the principle cosmic energies, the four elements in nature, and the three qualities of function. The principle cosmic energies are divided into attractive and active energies often referred to as masculine and feminine, Yin and Yang, day and night and all forms of dualism in nature and the cosmos. The elements of nature consist of fire, earth, air and water.
The qualities are functions or ways of using the elements and the principle cosmic energies – of these there are three; cardinal, fixed and mutable. The fourth major building block of understanding sun signs is through the God or Goddess who presides over, or who in psychological parlance is the embodiment of that sun sign. Western Astrology uses the names of the Roman pantheon of Gods and Goddesses as well as the stories from Greek mythology. The qualities, elements and principle cosmic energies will be further explained as we continue our search and exploration of self through the sun’s journey against the background of the zodiac.
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Life is not about ’recapturing’ but moving forward as archetypal Pluto will have us know. And anything we don’t deal with at a given time lies in wait for the next round. The next round is often retirement – a time when society strips away external forms of identification such as our job. Often prior to retirement our job is a necessary part of life. However in retirement this is not the case and individuals are free to pursue their dreams if only they could remember what they were. In the past retirement has often been a difficult time for men who based a large part of their identity on their job leading to amongst other things depression, or a loss of meaning in life. This is perhaps changing somewhat as more people try to live their dreams before retirement. Interestingly and perhaps as a result of this the retirement age in Australia has been pushed up by several years. On a final note; women in the past have had to deal with the ‘Empty Nest Syndrome’ and the more they locked themselves into a ridge identity of wife and mother the harder this syndrome would have hit. Possibly as a response to this (along with numerous other issues and reasons) woman are now in a better place to combine their dreams, wishes, and vocational choices with those of wife and mother so that when the kids move out of home they don’t take the woman’s identity with them.
Retirement is a great time to do the things we love, to create for the sheer pleasure of creating, to do the ‘good works’ we may have dreamed of doing as children but got up in life and making a living, to give at the level where our soul touches and is touched by another. One of the hardest things to overcome in living and expressing our creativity is the need for it to be ‘good’, useful, productive and perhaps even bring in some money so indicate its value. These are deadly and dangerous blocks to creativity and living a meaningfully rich inner life. Children never dream about fame and fortune as the sit down to create; they just do it for the fun of it. A fantastic book for overcoming these blocks and living a creative and soulful life is Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way.
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Some of the well know developmental milestones in identity discovery are called; the ‘Rebellious Teens’ and the ‘Mid-Life Crisis’. During the Rebellious Teens individuals mark out a clear quest for who they are. These are the young years and are aligned with the youthful Hero archetype as it sets out in search of Self. During these years the Hero is busy slaying external dragons and developing an identity through outside conquests. It is during this stage of development that individuals identify who they are with external sources of identification such as their job, friends, family, partner and so on. Many years can be spent very happily here; identifying who we are with what we have externally in our life. If nothing rocks the boat our life goes on quite happily until the aptly named ‘Mid-Life Crisis’.
The Mid-Life Crisis signals that not all is as rosy in the Garden of the settled Hero as may appear at first glance. Under the content exterior there are rumblings – the Hero begins to quest for the Holy Grail. This is a time of questioning and looking inwards. The Hero wants to know; what is it all about? If I am who I am; why am I here? What is the meaning of my life? Is this truly who and what I am? This is a time of internal questing and taking the time to assess the path one is on and make any necessary changes for the next half of life.
The problem arises if these rumblings are squashed through the tried and tested methods of knowing who we are through continuing to identify with the external things that surround us. So instead of questing for inner meaning, through soul or the spiritual side of life, some individuals continue to surround themselves with newer and shiner objects, trying to capture their sparkle and have it shine and reflect on them as if this is who they are – I think this is what is meant through the negative connation of trying to ‘recapture one’s youth’. It’s like Narcissus falling in love with his reflection; in this case we are trying to fall in love with the image of our reflection of how we imagine our reflection to be reflected in some new and shining object.
To give a well-known example; the Little Red Sports Car – the love of the Little Red Sports Car does not solely lie in the Little Red Sports Car – but in the imaged self-reflection of the Little Red Sports Car. If it was truly and solely the love of the Little Red Sports Car that was behind its purchase then all the other added extras would not necessarily be part of the adventure. If it is just the Little Red Sports Car we truly want why ‘update’ our partner, our wardrobe and the rest of our life – is it because these things and people no longer reflect back to us our imagined nice new shiny identity.
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