Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Capricorn Super Full Moon July 2023: Human Evolutionary Acceleration

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."  Richard Buckminster Fuller - (1895-1983) American Architect, Inventor, Philosopher, and Futurist 

“Look around you. Everything changes. Everything on this earth is in a continuous state of evolving, refining, improving, adapting, enhancing, and changing. You were not put on this earth to remain stagnant.” Dr. Steve Maraboli (1975 - ) Author and Philanthropist 

Greetings from the Big Island of Hawaii

Full Moon plate by Joseph Mina
I'm taking a tropical break now from South Africa's winter. That means reorienting myself to a very different night sky, and an equally different seasonal vibration. Nonetheless, astrological themes, regardless of location and climate remain global in nature, applying their compelling themes across societies and cultures. And so we evolve. This Capricorn Full Moon is a vivid reminder of human society's quickening evolution.

Where and when: Capricorn Full Moon at 11° arrives today (July 3rd) across the globe. This is the very last Capricorn Full Moon that includes a Pluto transit in the sign of the goat. There won't be another such Capricorn Full Moon with Pluto in this astrological sign until 2254! While there will be two Capricorn Full Moon in July 2024, by then, Pluto will be in very early degrees of Aquarius. Symbolic? Indeed. Quite evolutionary, and given the historical context of Pluto's last passage over this late degree/early degree ground some 250 years ago in 1776-1778, perhaps revolutionary too.

This is the first of four successive Full Moons occurring close to the time of lunar perigee (closest to Earth), with the two August Full Moons closest of the four. A lunation close to perigee is considered a Super Moon, i.e. an amplified lunar vibration due to the symbolic nature of it being visually closer. This particular Moon is almost 30 hours before perigee. While one can make an argument about its "superness", it nonetheless is the least super of the group. Personally, sleep did not come easily last night. The intensity of the Full Moon in Hawaii was palpable.

Pluto entered Saturn-ruled Capricorn in 2008. And the Capricorn-fueled realms of politics, rules, law, business, and overall structural organizations have been rapidly transforming ever since. It's the age-old transformative process which fuels human evolution. When it comes to Pluto's transformative cycle, the astrological sign of Pluto's transit augurs a prolonged period of significant alterations, collapses, temporary expansions, and ultimately freedom from an outdated archetype. The ultimate rising from the ashes of the mystical phoenix is one of Pluto's hallmarks.

I arrived on the Big Island of Hawaii back on the evening of June 6th. Just 9 hours later, Kilauea volcano erupted for the second time in 2023, remaining active for 12 days. Quite exciting to witness the movement of lava in person (image below). Volcanic eruptions are vivid mirrors of archetypal Pluto's methodology. Pressure builds, energy expands, eruption occurs, transformation takes place, and new life eventually emerges.

Pele Dance by Joseph Mina
Overall themes of this 28-day lunar cycle: Restructuring reality - the way of the heart. Purging the unessential, while attuning to your heart's desires. The evolutionary flow aligning with your connection to  yourself, personal connections, and the greater collective of humanity becomes stronger now. 

Commencing with the second Aries New Moon back in April, the Full Moon became the primary theme setter for each 28-day lunation cycle. This flip of the astrological script continues through July 2024. Then, the lunar cycle will shift once again, back to the New Moon becoming the primary theme setter. This lunar shift occurs every 16 to 18 months.

Significant archetypal players over the next 28 days: Mercury in Cancer and later into Leo, Venus/Mars in Leo, then Mars in Virgo, Jupiter and Uranus in Taurus, Chiron in Aries, Saturn and Neptune in Pisces, and Pluto in Capricorn, all further amplified by the Super Moon effect.

Energetic patterns at play: Mercury has just completed its superior conjunction of the Sun, where the fleet-winged messenger is on the opposite side of the Sun from Earth's perspective. This phase of Mercury's transit has had all the makings of a Mercury Retrograde, albeit a very quick one. Recent communication and transportation snafus in the news during the last week of June through now underscore this effect. As Mercury has been transiting the sign of Cancer during this period, matters involving home, family and community vis-a-vis Capricorn's rules, laws, and business matters have been highlighted. Anyone who recently had their airline flight cancelled due to weather and understaffing issues will attest to this challenging theme. This is particularly amplified for anyone with placements in early to mid-degree cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn).

Meanwhile, Pluto's recent return to Capricorn on June 11th, after 80 days at 0° Aquarius, has further amplified the tumultuous nature of life-altering events since the onset of the 2020 pandemic. 

Synopsis: With Pluto in Capricorn now coming back into close aspect with Neptune in Pisces, this lunation reminds us that amplified physical and emotional fire and water related events through next January are going to be part of life's day-to-day occurrences. This includes matters driven by climate, politics, migrations, and business and finance. Particularly affected will be those with late degree placements in Cardinal and Mutable (Gemini/Virgo/Sagittarius/Pisces) signs.

What's easy:  Both the Moon in Capricorn and Jupiter in Taurus form a sextile (60° angle) with Saturn in Pisces, with a resulting trine (120° angle) connecting expansive Jupiter and the pragmatic Moon. This combination can somewhat soften the otherwise challenging components of this lunation if you partake in the natural world, stay grounded, and loosely plan your day-to-day focus and emphasis.

What's challenging: a change in the lunar nodes is underway during this lunation from Taurus/Scorpio to Aries/Libra (nodes change from sign-to-sign every 18.6 months). The shift to Aries/Libra will immediately create a nodal square (90° angle) with Pluto in Capricorn, and a nodal semi-sextile (30° angle) with Neptune in Pisces. One's individuated desires vs the compromises of relationship will come under the spotlight in the coming months, particularly in the realms of Capricorn's rules, laws, politics, the courts, and business matters, and Pisces penchant for mystical, dream-like or even delusional perceptions of reality. Further, Chiron in Aries, and its focus on reclaiming one's individuated sense of self, will move retrograde through December, having a strong influence on matters of health, especially for those around 19, 27, 33, 50, 70, 78 and 83 years of age, or having cardinal-sign placements between 14° and 20° Aries/Cancer/Libra/Capricorn.

Meanwhile, Venus and Mars in Leo will continue in lock-step until mid-month, when Venus' movement slows as it nears its coming epic retrograde on the 23rd. Here, Mars continues its forward transit into health-conscious Virgo. This tight Leo combination poses strong challenges around emotional matters of the heart. The last time these two transited Leo together was in the summer of 2021, when the world was coping with pandemic fallout. Particularly affected are fixed sign placements from 12° to 29° in Taurus/Leo/Scorpio/Aquarius.

Venus Plate by Joseph Mina
Venus Retrograde: every 18 months or so, Venus moves in retrograde motion from Earth's perspective. Here, Venus moves between the Sun and Earth, shifting from the evening to the morning predawn sky. The previous Venus Retrograde was in January 2022, when Venus, and in conjunction to Pluto, remained in Capricorn for over 3 months. 

This particular retrograde is quite significant for several reasons:
- stations retrograde at the same Leo degree (29
°) as the grand total eclipse of August 2017, that bisected the United States. 
- Venus will create a yod configuration 
with Pluto in Capricorn and Neptune in Pisces at station retrograde. A yod is a paradoxical geometry, encouraging you to think/act differently in the realms of trust and unusual alliances. All late degree placements in Cardinal, Fixed and Mutual signs will be influenced by this configuration
- given the Pluto/Neptune outer planetary nature of this yod configuration, a stronger emphasis and encouragement is placed on soul searching relative to matters of the heart, what you value in your life, your sense of self-worth, and the balance of material possessions versus your actual, practical needs
- Venus retrogrades 5 times every 8 years, returning to its original placement 8 years earlier, but one degree offset. This configuration creates a star pentagram. At this retrograde, Venus begins a 100+ yr movement in its retrogrades through the sign of Leo. That's a significant shift in energy.
- this retrograde period is not a time to enter into a marriage commitment
- towards the latter stages of the retrograde, Mercury too will begin a retrograde on August 23rd (21°) through Sept 15 () in the sign of Virgo, adding matters of health and service to the overall Venus mix. That will include an opposition with Saturn in Pisces on August 1

- timings for this Venus retrograde: entered the retrograde shadow on June 18th at 12° Leo; stations retrograde on July 22/23 at 29° Leo; stations direct on Sept 3/4 at 12° Leo: leaves the retrograde shadow Oct 7 at 29° Leo 

Suggestions for this lunation:
- receive bodywork
- focus on physical exercise and matters of health
- avoid, or at the very least minimize, conflicting mental ad hominem debates
- attune to the natural world
- be creative either alone, or with others - dance, draw, create, play
- find quiet, daily reflective time - particularly true for nurturing the inner feminine parts of your psyche.

Suggested questions for reflection:
- What does it mean to me to follow the desires of my heart?
- Am I experiencing passion and expansion in my intimate relationships?
- What am I ready to restructure in my life to better align with my heart's desires?
- What am I ready to let go of?
- How can I better nurture myself?
- How do I perceive myself in an evolutionary sense as part of the evolving Aquarian mythos?

Hubble Deep Field via NASA
Planetary cycles are part of a web of experiences. No planetary cycle is island unto itself. While a cycle will eventually come to an end, its influence is woven into the evolutionary fabric of humanity, continuing its rippling effect in concert with all that has come before it.

As I shared in part this past April at the second Aries New Moon, "a prime opportunity exists to delve deeper, discover or reinvigorate your passion, and rededicate yourself to making a difference in this world of massive change and exponentially growing inter-connection and collaboration." This is particularly true during this building Venus retrograde phase. 

As I look ahead, the coming months augur a challenging time for humanity. Pluto will remain in late degrees of Capricorn in sextile to Neptune until January 20, 2024, and one last time between early September to mid-November 2024. Outer planetary transits at 0° or 29° of any sign amplify the transformative nature of that transit. 

We are just two years from July 2025, when Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto come into aspect to each other in early degrees of air and fire signs (Aquarius/Aries/Gemini). That's a significant shift from the current earth/water influences of Pluto in Capricorn, Saturn/Neptune in Pisces, and Uranus in Taurus. 

This now building two-year period will prove preparatory and challenging for a human society going through the throes of a massive evolutionary shift in connection and technology. Yet remember, diamonds and other similar crystals undergo enormous pressures to fashion their extraordinary beauty and grace. It's no different for humans. We are here to evolve, and in turn, support the evolution of humanity.

Such are the powerful, transformative times in which we live. May your evolving growth serve the greater good and evolution of humanity.

Please leave any comments below (moderated before appearing)

Aloha from Big Island, Hawaii
Starman, Joseph Mina
July 3, 2023

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Aries New Moon April 20: Endings and Beginnings

“Never underestimate the power you have to take your life in a new direction.”
Germany Kent (1975- ) Author and Journalist

“When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.” — Chinese Proverb

Winds of change, indeed!
Greetings from the Western Cape of South Africa

Aries New Moon theme
plate creation by Joseph Mina
In this blog, I will cover the coming Eclipsed New Moon in Aries, and its implications. This is a north node eclipse, which augurs a period of growth, stretching, or a building energy. Something wants to emerge for all to see. And that includes a few images of mine, with their backstory. These images will speak to the eclipse theme of Endings and Beginnings. Also, I'll offer some suggestions for reflection and meditation at this powerful New Moon window.

About this New Moon:

We arrive at the most potent of New Moon's. This one at the very end degrees of Aries (29.5°) and eclipsed too. That's quite a rare combo. A solar eclipse in Aries stirs inner courage and passion for life, or brings to awareness where such is lacking or deficient. It implies something new wants to emerge, which also means something may need to end in order to make space for the new.

Both solar and lunar eclipses are inward, reflective periods, whose chart dynamics are expressed through the coming six months. Solar eclipses point to a time of transition. Lunar eclipses point to breakdowns or breakthroughs. This particular New Moon in Aries strongly points to a time of "Endings and Beginnings". It transits my 9th astrological house of the higher mind, self discovery, and long distance travels (I'm off to the USA for a visit in early May). Which astrological house does this New Moon transit in your natal chart? 

If you have late degree natal planetary placements in a cardinal sign (Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn), or early degree fixed sign placements (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius), you will be especially in the thick of these shifting New Moon transformational currents.

First about the eclipse itself:

New Moon timing occurs on the 20th just after midnight from the East Coast, United States, then on the same day east to the International Date Line. Universal Time is 04:12. Here in South Africa at 06:12a, And going in the other direction, from the Central USA, New Moon is just after 11 pm on the 19th, then an hour earlier for each time zone west to the International Date Line.

Eclipsed New Moon
courtesy of Guy Otwell

At New Moon, Luna will pass directly in front of the Sun as seen from the southeastern Indian Ocean. This passage will initially create an annular eclipse (ring of fire). Then as it approaches Australia, the eclipse will shift into a total eclipse of only a minute or so. That's quick, and quite Aries like. 

First landfall in Australia falls upon a very small sliver of land in the northwest, west of the fabled Kimberly Mountains. That sparsely populated area just last week endured a category 5 cyclone with winds in excess of 150 mph or 240 km/h!. And today (19th) Papua New Guinea recorded a 6.3 earthquake, which also happens to be quite close to the eclipse path. Talk about sweeping the front porch for an eclipse! Uncanny how a building or waning eclipse energy triggers geophysical and weather events, Scientist have learned an enormous amount about our Day Star, yet there remains much that is not scientifically understood about the Sun's energetic influence on the Earth's atmosphere and inner structure.

Once clear of Australia, the Moon's shadow sweeps near East Timor, onto eastern Indonesia, and lastly moves across the vast stretches of the southern Pacific Ocean. At this stage, the Moon's shadow will shift back to its annular phase just before sunset local time. 

Astrological significance of this eclipsed Moon:

Here's the annotated chart:

That large circle points to an abundance of Aries energy (1), the Mercury/Uranus connection (2) and Mars/Chiron square (3). 

This New Moon's late degree position is of particular importance. The last degree of any zodiac sign is its most intense expression (also referred to a the "anaretic degree"). Since Feb 11, when transformational Pluto moved to 29° Capricorn, the full effect of this 29° placement was set in motion for the ensuing 600 days, or until later November, 2024. This  period marks Pluto's crossing back and forth across the threshold between the signs of Capricorn and Aquarius. My last blog highlighted this contrast.

At the same time, dream-like Neptune is edging ever nearer to 29° Pisces and its own transition to a new sign.That shift occurs between Pisces and Aries from May, 2024 to January, 2026. And ever quick, out-of-the-blue Uranus, transitions from Taurus to Gemini between June, 2025 and April, 2026. 

Combined, that's a rather extraordinary shift in generationally-triggered outer planetary energy. This is a rarity to have major planetary archetypes shifting energy around the same time from one sign to the next. 

Nonetheless, remember these outer planetary shifts are slow in their unfolding. Outer planetary transitions between signs are inevitably strong. The slow shift from one elemental vibration to another has broad implications for our societal flow. Yet, faster moving transitions, such as this New Moon, serve a purpose too. Straddling the Aries/Taurus boundary, twelve minutes after New Moon, Luna enters body-centric, value-driven Taurus, creating a square angle with Pluto in Aquarius at 0°. The Sun follows four hours later to create that same angle. 

A square or 90° angle implies challenges ahead. Taurus points to possessions, money, values, self-esteem and the strength of the body. The Moon/Sun square with Pluto at an eclipse asks the question "how do my lifestyle choices and values align with the progressively-driven values of Aquarius?" That question pertains to both external (Sun) and internal (Moon) reflections. 

Taurus likes stability and certainty. Beauty fills it field. Aquarius desires progressive change, social equality and interaction, and social justice. It points to the future, where technology becomes even more integrated in societal functions and behaviors. This contrast in energy between stability and change will be particularly vivid during July's Venus Retrograde in Leo. (more on that in a bit).

In essence, this second Aries New Moon since the March Equinox reminds us change is in the air, whether we welcome it or not. And to have a solar eclipse occurring at such a late degree in Mars-ruled Aries is quite the exclamation point

Two other significant placements occur at this Aries lunation.
(you mean there's even more??? 😱).

Mercury Retrograde
The day after New Moon, Mercury now transiting Taurus, moves (you guessed it!) retrograde. We have just crossed the "now, that's just plain piling on!" portion of this lunation.😉 At that station retrograde point, Mercury is almost at the same degree as Uranus in Taurus. That means Mercury, ruler of information exchanges, movement, ideas, and communication channels, will bring Uranus' unpredictable vibration into this coming retrograde period. In other words, "expect nothing, be prepared for anything."

By May 15th, Mercury positions at 6° of Taurus, stationing direct at that degree for a few days, and almost at the same degree as the lunar north node. Such placement indicates potential turmoil during this retrograde in financial markets, including crypto currency. It also further highlights issues coming to the fore now involving societal values, i.e. what is valuable, acceptable, or has no further redeeming value to society. Also, look for unexpected events or breakthroughs involving the Earth's climate, as Taurus reflects the power and beauty of nature. 

The other chart dynamic getting attention is Mars, ruler of Aries in square to Chiron (wounding) in Aries. First, no Aries new or full Moon conversation would be meaningful without including this planetary ruler into the exchange. 

As you may recall, Mars retrograde in Aries between September and early November 2020, was quite the intense period of time. Pandemic was on no one's 2020 bingo card. Continued lockdowns, turmoil in schools, social disruptions, US Presidential election, rebellion in Europe, and unrest in many other places around the world marked this very intense retrograde cycle.. 

Well, that Mars retrograde began at 28° Aries (essentially the same degree as this lunation), and created challenging angles with Saturn, Pluto and Jupiter in Capricorn. So that establishes linkage between these two cycles. More so, back in 2020, the North Lunar Node positioned at 25° Gemini when Mars stationed retrograde. So energetically, a good dose of Capricorn's rigid structure, Aries spontaneous fire, and Gemini's unpredictable behavior prevailed. That's a formula for societal chaos. And it did not disappoint.. 

Mars' most recent retrograde cycle, just completed in early January of this year, began in October, 2022 at 25° Gemini. That linkage with 2020 is important to note also, as Gemini adds a strong air of unpredictability to this current mix, courtesy of Venus in Gemini. At 9° Gemini at this lunation, Venus will cross over 25° Gemini on May 3rd. Mark that week in your calendars as a time for heightened awareness, especially with Mercury in retrograde and Mars in square to Chiron (see below, last paragraph in this section). 

To summarize: add Mars' 2020 influence into this New Moon theme, plus a good dash of Mercury Retrograde, and a quick dash of Gemini, and voila, a cosmic soup for the ages. Honestly, there is no telling how this mix is going to spin. It seems rather chaotic to me. Yet, in such chaos, there is opportunity. Also, heightened creativity. Where the attention goes, so does the energy.  Nonetheless,, this unusual period will be noted by many astrologers for future reference. We are on some very new ground here.. 

Lastly, As briefly mentioned above, Mars position at this lunation is 13° Cancer, which creates a building challenge with Chiron in Mars' home sign of Aries The most intense phase will be between April 26th to May 4th. Mars in Cancer can be quite protective and insular. Its square angle to Aries/Chiron highlights where such behavior diminishes or impinges on one's individuation and sense of self. Also, depending where transiting Mars positions relative to your natal chart, it can highlight instances where your individuation ran counter to Cancer's family or community oriented tribal values. The remedy here is to nurture your mind, body, and spirit in the coming months. Be proactive.Take the time now to strengthen yourself for the days ahead.

Suggested reflections for this New Moon period:

What wants to end, or begin in my life? Am I resisting or supporting this flow?
What does stability mean to me? Is it more important than freedom? How do I find balance?
How can I create greater internal strength in the coming days?
And a special one for those with Aries placements in their natal chart: Do I follow the impulses that come to me, or do I hesitate? How does that behavior affect my choices?

Endings and Beginnings

Imagery can be an evocative catalyst. Its development can even prove quite cathartic. Such was the case during a two-week landscape photography workshop in Africa's Namibia. During the workshop, we traveled to the now-deserted German diamond mining town of Kolmanskop near the coastal city of Luderitz. Our photography lesson: reflect on times life was falling apart. Convey that feeling through imagery.


This first image shows the entire town, which I photographed from our plane as we were landing. Each of these buildings is in a state of significant disrepair, which makes for a evocative photography lesson. The relentless drift of sand dunes in the area has filled its many buildings over the past 75 years.

(if on a computer or tablet, click or tap on the image to see a larger version)

The ghost town of Kolmanskop, Namibia
   The now deserted mining town of Kolmanskop, near Luderitz, Namibia

This now deserted mining town was built in the early 1900's to create a secure location for the processing of plentiful diamonds found in the area. No one entered or left without passing through the first metal detector brought to Africa's south. By 1930, a significantly larger cache of diamonds was discovered hundreds of kilometers to the south. This led to the town's German workers deserting this once thriving town, literally overnight . Since that fated day, the relentless drift of the nearby Namib desert, second largest in the world, has turned this once bustling mining town into a very sandy grave. The relentless decaying cycle of the natural world is a vivid reminder of endings. 

As I walked from building to building, I reflected on how my life had seemingly imploded at significant points of my life journey. This second image is the interior of a home, now claimed by the forces of nature. The play of sunlight streaming through the ceiling of the buildings I explored (there were way too many to see in just one afternoon) made for compelling perspectives, each requiring time to simply process the inevitability of a structure falling apart. It was also a poignant reminder that life always follows death. 

This particular scene I found both disconcerting and fascinating. To think, a thriving community filled with workers once existed here. But no more. The song "Dust In The Wind" by the group Kansas started playing in my head after a few hours at this mining town.

The Sands Of Time

The third image, a self-portrait, was taken when I simply stopped and reflected on the endings of my two marriages. Little did I realize in that moment that cathartic, internal forces within me had already awakened, setting the stage for the next 24 hours.

Reflective endings at Kolmanskop
Reflective Endings

At first, my throat felt raspy. By the time we reached our hotel later that afternoon, I was feeling quite feverish. Instead of joining the group for a celebration dinner, I spent the entire night into the next morning bed ridden with chills, muscle ache, a 103°F (39.5°c) fever, and a pounding headache. I thought this might be the unexpected end of my trip. Some in the group thought a doctor ought to be called. Yet, I knew from other inner work I've done, my body was purging quite a bit of sorrow from my depths. By the next afternoon I felt different and much more alive. Others in the group were astonished at the quick turnaround. The downside: I missed a great dinner party, plus a morning trip back to the mining town. The upside: I felt so much lighter and energized.


Here, my thoughts turn to Zimbabwe. As part of another photography group, this time touring Botswana and Zimbabwe, we were invited as guests to a large celebration gathering (over 600 people) from four local villages in Zimbabwe's southeast corner, which borders western Mozambique and northeastern South Africa. This area includes the massive national park of Gonarezhou. 

The festive celebration was a year in the making. The day included demonstrations of dance, gardening, medicine, basket weaving, food preparation, and archery. By western standards, the lifestyle here might be considered "primitive". As I would learn from these lovely people, the qualities of faith, simplicity, efficiency, connection to nature, cooperation and collaboration serve as the foundational pillars of their village life. It was akin to watching the book The Continuum Concept come to life. The joy on young and older faces alike reflected the beauty of this existence.

Our group of eleven had such an enjoyable and inspiring time. Everyone felt welcomed and embraced by everyone there. Through many demonstrations, I learned how the various village life creates a sustainable existence. Touring a bountiful community garden, which thrived despite an intense drought at the time, was eye-opening. The most memorable highlight was witnessing how the children played together in joyful, respectful and engaging and creative ways. 

Unquenchable Curiosity

At one point, my friend Jonatas from Brazil took a picture of these children in the above image. This was the first time they saw a picture of themselves taken with a digital camera. Their eyes say it all. The wonder, the mystery, the unquenchable curiosity and enthusiasm, and their kindness was startling, refreshing and inspiring to witness.

This trip followed the ending of a meaningful relationship in South Africa a few months earlier. At that juncture I thought I was finished with Africa. Yet this trip, which I learned about rather serendipitously while in Philadelphia that August, was filled with the energy of massive animals, heart-felt people, joyful children, starry nights, and soulful connections. Four years later, I realize Africa was just beginning with me back then. And it simply will not let me go.

Beginnings do not need to start with fanfare. In the Aries mold of beginnings, courage to face fears, and determination to pursue a path, opens one to life's spontaneity,  serendipity, and beauty. Inevitably one door leads to another, then another etc. And to quote Tolkien's character Bilbo in the Hobbit, "and wither then, I cannot say."


During a recent astrological consultation, a client marveled I was able to interpret his chart in such a vivid fashion. "You bring this information to life", he told me. 

Astrological charts reveal energetic cycles in a myriad of ways. Interpreting such is an art form requiring insight, imagination, persistence and child-like curiosity. 

Today, I find it heartening to witness so many people not only discovering the depth of astrology for the first time, but looking for ways to use its guidance in their life.  As I have shared with clients, the quality, intensity and uniqueness of any natal or event chart is quite the guide for deeper knowing, soul growth, and heightened, conscious participation in life. That process embraces the past for its connections, lessons, and understanding; welcomes the present for invention, creativity, opportunity and collaboration; and looks to the future for inspiration, vision, and greater service.

Over time, many people in the field of Astronomy have come to consider astrology as flawed or woo-woo for a variety of misaligned or misunderstood reasons. Nonetheless, the study of astrology is a vastly different understanding than astronomy's quest. While both use the same cosmic pallet, Astrology adds significant depth, archetypal understanding, and spiritual connection for those who gaze skyward at our home galaxy and beyond for greater soul understanding, growth and integration. I'm glad I can bridge both of these worlds, Both fields of discovery and learning are so valuable.

Annular eclipse image
On a personal level, I've been fortunate to view four total and three annular eclipses during the last 30 years, a host of total and partial lunar eclipses, and many other celestial events. These experiences fill my soul like no other. I'm vividly reminded at times such as these, the human race is on an evolutionary track, guided by forces beyond our human comprehension. 

"Sky Church" is the ultimate cathedral for me. Yet, the pervasive glow of the heavens touches everyone indiscriminately. This highly-energized Aries New Moon is a powerful moment in time to receive from these Universal forces via whatever spiritual practice is meaningful to you. A prime opportunity exists to delve deeper, discover or reinvigorate your passion, and rededicate yourself to making a difference in this world of massive change and exponentially growing inter-connection and collaboration.

On New Moon day, Elon Musk's Space Exploration Technologies Corp plans to launch the largest rocket ever. This launch is a precursor for future lunar landings, and even eventually a manned transport to Mars. Launch was planned for this past Monday, but was scrubbed due to an equipment malfunction. Seems symbolic that this first of its kind rocket will launch on this potent Aries day. Beginnings!

And, in two weeks time, the Full Moon in Scorpio will be a partial eclipse, and almost opposite to Uranus in Taurus. This will be the precursor for Jupiter's entrance into Taurus on May 19th (last there in 2011-12). Jupiter's expansiveness will get a good dose of Taurus' practical nature during its year's journey in Taurus. Perhaps a good dose of grounding would benefit everyone.

Lastly, this past Saturday, I co-hosted a 90-minute astrology presentation about the coming eclipses and Venus Retrograde with astrologer Maurice Fernandez of Sedona, Arizona. This was the first time we worked together, despite knowing each other for the past 10 years.. We did this through the technological wonder called Zoom. It was quite the energizing event connecting people from many parts of the world. Over 30 attended. Others who could not make it, registered nonetheless for later viewing. If you would like a video recording of the presentation ($20 USD), please contact Maurice. A lot to be gleaned from our back and forth exchange.

As always, your comments below are most welcomed.

Many blessings for this New Moon day from the Autumn grace of the Western Cape.

Sat Nam
Starman, Joseph Mina
Stellenbosch, South Africa
April 19, 2023

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Collective Ignition 2023: Equinox, Aries New Moon and Pluto into Aquarius

 “Humanity faces…the deepest social upheaval and creative restructuring of all time. Without clearly recognizing it, we are engaged in building a remarkable new civilization from the ground up. This is the meaning of the Third Wave.” 
Alvin Toffler, author of Future Shock. (1931-2018)

“History doesn't repeat Itself, but It often rhymes” – Mark Twain

Aries New Moon plate
Creative Design by Joseph Mina

So true, the succinct words of Mark Twain. 

Greetings Lovers of the Cosmos,

The Autumn vibe now builds in these South African parts while the northern hemisphere awakens to the warmth of spring and its vast potential.

This week, an “Astrological Trifecta” (my term) takes place featuring the Equinox today (20th), a very engaging/potent New Moon on the 21st, just 20 hours later at that, and the first of three ingresses of Pluto into progressive Aquarius, this one lasting 80 days. 

Quite the lineup, each of which will be the primary focus of this blog. In my last (January) blog about the Cycles of 2023, I mentioned my next entry would feature some of my more recent photography. I’ll send out another blog soon doing just that. Given their historical and energetic implications, these cycles are first in line. 

Astrological Trifecta:

Vernal Equinox - whether you live in the northern or southern hemisphere, the astrological significance of the March/Aries equinox is the same, i.e. creating/starting something new. Aries vibe exudes novelty. Highly creative. Boundless energy measured paradoxically in short measures. Fearless and courageous. Each quality exemplifies what makes Aries so individuated and unique.  

At this solar alignment point, you can prepare for the coming 3-months by reinvigorating, realigning, and/or rebalancing priorities. That includes, if you haven't done so, setting in motion an intention for where you want to place your focus in the coming season. To help you in that regard, each Equinox or Solstice lays out a specific theme based on chart dynamics for the coming season. Such is described below.

Balance Pose
Significant to this Equinox timing:

Equinox occurs later today at 23:24 in South Africa, and to all points west, while it all be the 21st for Eastern Europe east to the International Date Line. For specific time zone conversion, Universal Time is 21:24. 

Below is the astrology chart for the Equinox for those interested in its construction, or are drawn by its inherent mandala-like geometry. It is unusual, yet certainly indicative of these times, for such a strong compression of various archetypes to appear in one quadrant of the chart (lower right). Resembles an arrow ready to launch.

In that regard, imagine you are pulling back on a bow. Here, the direction of the arrow points towards 11 o'clock and the asteroid Ceres at 0° Libra. Ceres placement in your natal chart highlights the importance of nurturing yourself. In Libra, this feeling of being nurtured pertains to friends, co-workers, as well as how you value and nurture yourself. See my previous blog for a more comprehensive understanding of Ceres in 2023.

Equinox Theme - strong elements of completion (Pisces), beginnings (Aries), and grounding (Taurus), dominate this day’s vibration, along with a very strong transformational vibe courtesy of Pluto at 29 Capricorn, just about to enter Aquarius on the 23rd. 

Mars still navigating unpredictable Gemini (3 o'clock on chart), now in its late degrees, imbues this theme with a strong sense of unpredictable, seemingly random, spontaneous events, including weather and geological influences. 

Further, with a waning Moon in Pisces today, close to late degree Neptune, a soulful component is added to the overall seasonal theme ahead. This represents a time to sow new initiatives borne out of your life purpose (soul essence reflected in your natal chart), and further strengthen your desires for living a fruitful life in service to the human family’s evolution (so many possibilities in that realm). Acts of meaningful kindness, compassion and empathy will be integral to this seasonal expression.

Sky At Dusk March 22 - 24
Courtesy of Sky & Telescope
Aries New Moon
Each year has an Aries New Moon, in either later March, or sometimes April. This particular New Moon happens to station at the 0
° mark, which is a very strong exclamation point for something new. As I mentioned, this timing is just 20 hours after the equinox. An Aries New Moon further reinforces the previously described equinox theme.

As seen in the above illustration from a Northern Hemisphere perspective, on the 22nd, be sure to look westward for the thinest of waxing lunar crescents. It will be positioned about 10 degrees (a fist held at arm’s length) above the horizon point where the Sun disappeared, approximately 40 minutes or so earlier at sunset. You may need binoculars. You will definitely need a clear horizon. Jupiter will be immediately below the Moon. This is a great opportunity to reinforce and anchor the "as above, so below" experience. Some sort of related ritual adds even more meaning to the experience.

Given the astrological year begins at 0° Aries, a strong lunar placement at 0 degrees points to Aries raw emotional power of novelty, impulsive actions, creative juices flowing, and some sort of demonstrative action. 

Having an Aries New Moon coinciding with the Vernal Equinox has only happened twice in the last hundred or so years (1909 and 1985). There have been six other near occurrences, but on the other side of the equinox fence at 29° Pisces in 1920, 1939, 1958,1977,1996, and 2015 for a very late degree Pisces New Moon. The 2015 event included a total solar eclipse over the north pole and northern Europe. How special, yet challenging too. 

Eclipses, most especially those occurring at an equinox or solstice point, augur strong waves ahead in the coming months. For example, 2015's New Moon solar eclipse underscored the societal tumult that ultimately evolved into 2020's chaos and its ongoing globally-spread rippling effects. 

Given this current lunation is only 20 hours after the Equinox, the aforementioned equinox theme continues, with the Moon, now in Aries, bringing a strong emotional "I'm ready" component into this quick changing and very fluid energetic landscape. 

Flower Of Life
More so, the alignment of the solar (Equinox) and lunar (New Moon) cycles blends the archetypal power of these two occurrences at a time when the directed solar energy shifts its emphasis from water (Pisces) to fire (Aries). In that regard, on the external, our day star has been very active of late as it nears its solar maximum in 2025. Space Weather website can provide you the specifics. 

An active Sun translates into very active weather patterns and geophysical reactions, such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. There's been quite a few strong earthquakes of late around the Pacific ring of fire (strong one in northern Peru/southern Ecuador the other day) and the massive one in Turkey in early February.. 

The solar wind moves the atmosphere. It pulses its solar intensity in a variety of ways, further amplifying its interaction with everything in the solar system. And sometimes with much more strength than expected. 

While Uranus continues its 8-year transit across Earth-like Taurus, these type of stronger weather events may persist through 2026.  For example, the longer than expected la Nina weather pattern, that brought copious amounts of rain to Australia and eastern South Africa over the last 3 summers, recently abated, only to be replaced by enormous weather systems crossing the northern Pacific, bringing record levels of rainfall into what had been a very drought-stricken California.

Here in the Western Cape, a very changeable, turbulent weather system arrived overnight for this equinox, filling the morning with intense 30 minute or shorter showers, very gusty winds, and brilliant sunshine dancing in and out of the clouds. Quite the Aries start. i'll share more about the equinox magic here in my concluding remarks near the end of this blog. And now....

Pluto Ingress into Aquarius:

Pluto's first Aquarius ingress since 1778, when a fledgling United States battled England for its sovereign rights as a nation, will be just 80 days (March 23 - June 11) while remaining n at the 0° mark. This is the exact degree where Jupiter and Saturn positioned at the 2020 December solstice. Placements at the 0 or 29° of a sign, amplify all expressions of that sign. So expect a noticeable start to this epic change in sign and related elements (Earth to Air). 

Further, this short 80-day period will create context for what to expect from Pluto during its 20-year transit in Aquarius. Children born during this transit will have a heightened desire to associate with others at a group level, especially as adults. Technology and the cosmos will excite and influence their social choices and engagements. And social justice/equality initiatives will be their fuel and power.

Pluto-cycle transitional years from one sign to the next have historically proven to be quite intense over the course of this transition, but transformative too. At a minimum, shifting from a Capricorn to an Aquarian vibration will signal the beginnings of a significant realignment of social, governmental and corporate power structures around the world.  Already there's evidence of such a shift from recent mass protests in France, Peru, and a number of other countries, including the United States over the past two years.

Also, it will be a time where technology becomes a more integrated and influential aspect of our reality. For example, the now rapid rise of artificial intelligence (AI) is proving a highly disruptive force to the older Capricorn structured ways of creating informational content. The sudden emergence of ChatGPT and other similar AI tools are forcing schools to reevaluate how pupils create content through their writing, as well as the structure of their learning processes. It's also being discussed in conversations across all aspects of society. Three years ago, discussion of such in most social circles was rare. No longer.

Other Aquarian effects will include producing more advanced/sophisticated technological products, designed to expand our awareness of each other and the Cosmos. The James Webb Space telescope (JWST) is a prime example. This image taken of a vast star nursery dubbed "Tarantula Nebula" for its spider like features, is found in a neighboring galaxy some 165,000 light years away. The level of detail here is far beyond anything previously seen.

James Webb Telescope Tarantula Nebula
James Webb Space Telescope Tarantula Nebula

Back to this Pluto cycle, this transformative transit will also possibly evoke a more progressive approach toward societal challenges around the globe, which would include addressing and seeking resolution for issues such as homelessness, forced migrations, income disparity, and human trafficking.

The shadow element here is equally daunting, and one requiring heightened awareness as to its implications. Its extreme shadow includes efforts to effect dark governmental control (dystopia) over the masses. Books/movies such as The Hunger Games and The Handmaid's Tale are two of many media examples of a potential dark future; Aldous Huxley's renowned 1932 literary work Brave New World, is another."

Energy Grid
Next year, Pluto will reenter Aquarius on January 24 for 8 months, with one last Capricorn transit (the culmination of Pluto's Capricorn transits since 2008) for approximately 2 months, before returning to Aquarius, where it remains for the next 19 years.

Yet, an abrupt, massive change from Capricorn’s steadiness/reliability to Aquarius progressive initiatives will likely not take place during the first 80 days, but become more evident as this Pluto transition matures through November of next year. Akin to a pot of water being heated, the temperature will rise slowly at first, but by 2025, the more dynamic effects of this 20-year transit will be much more evident. 

The fixed signs of Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius will undergo a Plutonian transformation during this 20-year period. For now, any significant placements in your natal chart that fall in the 0 to 5 degree range of these fix signs will start to feel this building pressure on and off until late 2024. Thereafter with more intensity as Pluto remains in Aquarius.

And one more:

Action-oriented Mars, and ruler of Aries, and co-ruler of Scorpio, will finally enter the sign of Cancer on March 25th. This follows a rather protracted time in Gemini courtesy of the recent Mars retrograde, which commenced last October. Its transit in Cancer concludes May 20th. 

In Cancer, Mars focus will be family/community oriented, perhaps offering a softer or more sensitive expression towards others struggling, or in need of support. Internally, a feeling of caution and safety may be prevalent during this time as family and community-related issues dominate. This is particularly true for anyone having strong natal placements in the cardinal signs of Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn. More to come….

Reflections for this new season:

To what pursuits do I now feel drawn and why?

What is my current soul vision for this life path I walk? 

How can I integrate/ground that vision in a meaningful way?

What steps are necessary to create a more meaningful connection to the natural world?

How can I strengthen and express my core values in an affirming, inclusive fashion?

Concluding Thoughts:

Dean Liprini Whale Meditation Circle
Whale Meditation Circle by Joseph Mina
To celebrate my recent birthday, I joined Sacred Sites researcher and geomancer Dean Liprini and a group of 15 on a day journey to the quartz caves along the upper mountain slopes above Kalk Bay, which is near Simon Town on False Bay. Near the top, (about 700 meters or 2,000 ft), the landscape is an amazing pharmacy of native, medicinal plants, caves, and stunning rock formations. 

Eons ago, when sea levels were much higher on the planet, this mountain area bordered an inland sea navigated by whales and other sea life. Whale bones have been unearthed in this area. Sea sand can be seen throughout the upper slopes. So remarkable.

At the top, a very large, tripod-like rock was somehow placed there long, long ago by bushmen tribes, who thrived in these mountainous areas. The openings of this tripod-like rock structure aligns with the Solstice and Equinox points. Below, and circling the mountain slopes, you'll find quartz cave-like shelters offering protection from the elements. At one of these caves, Dean led us in a whale meditation (image above). 

This was my 2nd trip to that location. And as with the first time, the experience was quite profound and inspiring. My inner Aquarius thrives in these type of experiences. This and a solo mushroom journey I did on my birthday two days later were the perfect combination for expanding awareness, and attuning to the current vibrations emanating from the Earth at this most sacred and profound times of change we now experience. 

Like a teapot in the early stages of boiling, the ethers in which we live are now exhibiting new pressures. It was just 38 days ago Pluto moved to 29 degrees of Capricorn: its most intense placement in that earthly sign. Capricorn-driven financial markets since have been quite unpredictable. Only last week, 3 significant bank failures occurred in rapid order, reminiscent of the early days of 2008 when Pluto first entered Capricorn. As witnessed and experienced over the past three years, the very structural components of how nations are organized on a national and international basis are seemingly falling apart in the Capricorn areas of rules, laws, business, politics and organizations. Life can appear quite fragmented and chaotic at times like these, especially when it is quite a challenge to discern what's on the other side of this massive energetic shift. 

World View
Structural aspects of a more egalitarian, interconnected world society are pervasively replacing these “old ways” of the 20th and prior centuries.This shift offers us an opportunity to pen a new chapter in humanity’s annals based on societal rules that are significantly more equitable and inclusive.

As I have shared in other blogs, this accelerated shift in consciousness, awareness, and humanitarian pursuits comes imbued with great responsibility, calling for meaningful, collaborative actions amongst people, regardless of national origin or societal status. At the same time, it is important to remember such progressive actions require accessing a higher frequency of energy to effectively function on all levels of consciousness.

Recent astrology consultations have each highlighted the importance of congruency, developing a stronger inner core, and employing greater self-awareness to navigate these profound cycles. We are moving across virgin ground here. One step at a time, yet full speed ahead too. Potent Aries would not have it any other way. A collective ignition has begun.

Comment section below is available for feedback and insights. 

Next blog - my evolving photography.

Coming events this new season: Mercury Retrograde in Taurus - April 21; Solar eclipse at the very end degrees of Aries - April 20; Scorpio lunar eclipse May 5; and Jupiter enters Taurus May 16; Quite a lineup. The education continues.

Sat Nam

Starman, Joseph Mina

Stellenbosch, South Africa

March 20, 2023