A few years ago, Sarahluna made me this shelf for astrological work. Various beads and stones reside in various compartments on the shelves, and represent the planets in their current signs. When I remember, I look at the chart first thing in the morning, and slot the stones into the correct chambers, and try to understand what it is that I’m looking at.
Today, a good deal of energy is piled up in Virgo, under the heading of mutable Earth. A lot of things are finishing and ending, a lot of things are changing. Venus is in Leo — show off your creativity, pay attention to the beautiful love of your life. Jupiter is in Libra — look for balance in legal affairs and government matters. Saturn is in Sagittarius, the leaden planet looking to launch something new…?
It’s not a perfect system. I can see that things are heavy right now, with changeable Earth ruling over far too much. I can also see that the shelves should have been set up with Earth signs along the bottom, then Water signs, then Fire, then Air at the top. I can also see that a lot of energy is fixed or changing, rather than initiating, at the moment — that things are in a state of flux and shift, rather than in a state of stability, but that the moment for new beginnings has not yet arrived.
But the idea of compartments is helpful, nonetheless. A huge percentage of astrology seems to revolve around what is in which compartment. And there are not just the signs of the Zodiac to consider; there’s the shifting compartments of the Houses, which represent what’s going on, on Earth. There’s the successively-smaller compartments of the Decans, which I learned about from Austin Coppock’s book; and the compartments of the Mansions of the Moon, which I learned about from Chris Warnock’s book. There are the terms, too, and the Sabian Images of the Degrees. And there are alignments with fixed stars, too — tiny alignments of planet and fixed star, like standing in the shower in a tiny bathroom in the smallest bedroom of a four-bedroom suite on the seventh floor of a New York City hotel. Count the layers: Earth, North America, U.S.A., New York State, New York City, Manhattan Borough, hotel, suite 76B, fourth bedroom, bathroom off fourth bedroom, shower. And yet, those eleven layers are almost mirrored by the sky: sky, zodiac sign, house, decan, term, Mansion (for the Moon, anyway), Sabian image, degree, minute, alignment with fixed star, aspect to other planet(s)… In some ways it’s a stretch, and in other ways completely reasonable. An astrological event fits into many, many compartments, and the game (in utter seriousness) is to figure out which compartments are relevant to the story and to speak those relevancies to the people who ask. The more compartments you know and understand, the more likely it is that you can say the right thing at the right time. In theory.
This idea of compartments isn’t a perfect metaphor. What metaphor is? But as a way of understanding time — as a series of deeper and deeper compartments, each representative of smaller and smaller chunks of meaning and transformation? That seems to be a workable idea.