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October 22, 2020, at 7:00pm EDT, marks the ingress of the Sun into the sign of Scorpio, and specifically Scorpio I which Austin Coppock called The Jawbone in his book 36 Faces. While it’s nominally a night chart, with the Sun just below the horizon and the Moon waxing toward fullness — it also starts with a terrible warning. Here, we see the Moon in its exile, besieged between Pluto and Saturn at 22° Capricorn 45′, the gifts of mind and heart and intuition already constrained, and further confined by exterior limitations and venomous fury. Nor is this the only indicator of turbulence: Mercury and Uranus, both retrograde, are in opposition across the chart at the seventh and first houses, warning of revolutionary actions and hidden communications. Warlike Mars and conspirators Saturn each have great power in this chart, while soothing Venus and generous Jupiter are both under house arrest in their respective locations; there is much to call us to enmity with one another, and little to hold us together. Tread carefully.
The ancient Greeks of Alexandria celebrated the Nymphai, or spirits of nature, during these ten days — genii loci of tree and forest, spring and brook, rock and boulder, hill and hidden vale. It’s difficult to look back through the mists of time and try to understand ancient attitudes toward nature, but the Romans had rituals for separating the human realms from the wild. A team of oxen, one white and one black, would cut a furrow around the edges of a human town or village, and the world beyond that trench (called a pomeranium) was the realm of bird and bear, wolf and wilderness. The separation of the present day between the human community and the wild is more difficult to judge. I must safeguard my trash cans against raccoons and bears alike; one morning I woke to find a young black bear gorging itself on windfall fruit from my apple tree, in the seven-yard-wide grassy plot between me and my neighbor’s house. The cries of foxes and owls are never far from my front porch at night. Though I live “in town”, the non-human realm intersects my human community in a regular way.
Pamela Colman Smith, in her illustrations for the pip cards of the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot deck, showed this relationship in the image of the six of cups: two children in the hard-packed surfaces of stone and timber, slate and tile roofs, sharing the sight and smell of asters growing in flower pots which are the cups of the card. Does it take a child-like wonder in the capacities of natural growth, a nostalgia for the smells and colors that only nature can produce with such delicacy and regularity, to encounter the genii loci, the nymphai of the natural world? Perhaps. Was Giordano Bruno hinting at this truth in his image for the first decan of Scorpio, a woman who is lovely and well-dressed, and two youths who have become angry at one another because of her, and fall to blows with each other until they are exhausted, suggestive of two kingdoms fighting with one another for natural resources and territory? The monkey mind seems remarkably well-adapted to screaming “mine! mine!” over things that we cannot actually own or control. Nature abides, and the spirit of any given location or place is damaged or destroyed the moment that we mortals try to possess and control it utterly. Perhaps that is the warning encoded in this decan — nature, in all its variety and adaptation, belongs to and becomes the place itself, and we cannot own it without unmaking it. The asters that come up between the cobblestones are only a sign to children of what has been lost, for the adult mind has forgotten due reverence.
The next eight days are ruled by Mars all the way down, with a tiny hint of reconciliative Venus on October 31 and November 1, when we may begin to find common ground instead of hacking and burning our way through our troubles. However, Venus will be seeking the dynamic of solitude, and peace and quiet in retreat from the world, or the work of quiet labors, rather than the marriage of true minds.
By the duodecimas, the twelfth-parts of the signs of the Zodiac (each 2° 30′ wide), we see these ten days flavored first by Scorpio, then Sagittarius, Capricorn and finally Aquarius — secrets exploding into the open, medicine applied to the wound, wild side effects and finally the restoration of natural balances and limits; the hot water delivers warning burns, encourages the application of cold compresses, and finally healing breath. In all, it’s a suitable ride for a time when we should be celebrating and acknowledging Nature’s role in our lives — going too far, pulling back, and accepting both limitations and rest as a natural part of time’s ebb and flow are an essential component of the next ten days. Don’t overdo anything in the week and a half ahead of you.
The Ascendant in this chart is found in Taurus’ third decan, called the Prayer Beads, where Saturn acts as Venus’s magistrate in the queen’s absence. Clicking off bead after bead in stately seriousness, the lord of responsibilities invites us to acts of deliberate prayer against folly, to marvel at the world’s great beauty, and to live more luxurious lives within narrower boundaries. “Respect what is wild,” the prince of ages decrees, “and honor the world’s natural but stark beauty.”
Uranus retrograde occupies the last part of Taurus I, The Plough, where the revolutionary creates upheavals in the earth and identifies the renegade quest for food security and personal independence. The life of tilling the soil is, if you will, a different kind of freedom than we’re used to espousing: the freedom to do hard work, to be a little more independent, to be a little more standoffish from neighbors. A popular commercial asks us what’s in our wallet, but it’s worth remembering that a wallet started out to mean the sort of leather bag one carried traveler’s food in. We can just as easily ask, what’s in your pantry and larder, your freezer, your emergency ration box? It’s an odd kind of freedom to pursue, but for now it may be needed.
The North Node – South Node axis runs between Gemini and Sagittarius, and between the second house and the eighth. This is the “money and moveable property” axis, indicating challenging finances for ‘the others’ in your life: the government which provides services, the employer who provides you a paycheck, the client who buys your services or goods, the spouse or partner who shares your living quarters, the aging parents who may need new support. All of these issues just named may be longstanding problems given new legs, or rehashes of long-known issues. However, your own needs are likely to be just as significant, just as prominent, with an urgency to ‘execute’ or finalize more-informal arrangements. The rush may be illusory but the coherent worldview from which it arises is real, and there’s a balancing act to be managed there, between due diligence and speed on the one hand, and the need to retain that coherence.
The Imum Coeli is not a real object in the sky, but it is the marker of where it’s midnight at this moment, and where our most unconscious dreams and needs in the world arise from. In Leo’s first decan, The Spotlight falls on our houses and homes — as performance stages, and places where we are bound by certain limits, and as places where we are in sanctuary from the world. We’re invited to consider how home is a shelter from the present storm, but a prison as well as a refuge. Is this a knotty problem we want to untie, or a loose end that must be tied up?
Venus the adorable princess of night sits at 23° Virgo in The Sarcophagus, trine the Moon and soon approaching her own trine to limiting Saturn. Venus delights in the fifth house, but lives in fall in overly-analytical and precise Virgo, where her pleasures and enjoyments are too discriminating and her palate too sensitive. We are all learning to find better forms of entertainment in isolation from one another; or taking in our old pastimes with a renewed set of irrelevant protocols which diminish our enjoyment.
The Sun and Mercury both occupy the first decan of Scorpio called the Jawbone, as noted earlier. In this position, both planets call attention to hunger and to greediness, to poverty and paucity on one side and immense wealth and riches on the other. Mercury is approaching its retrograde conjunction with the Sun on 25-26 October, a condition called “cazimi”, when we may receive some contemplative insight about the nature of abundance and deprivation in some detail. The Descendant, indicating our relationship with romantic or business patterns, is in the third decan of Scorpio called The Crow and in the term of Saturn, suggesting a lack or limit on happiness in the days ahead for your spouse or statistically-significant other.
The stellium everyone’s been worrying about, Jupiter-Pluto-Saturn, is joined by The Moon at the inception of these next ten days. Jupiter’s recent square with Mars revealed a growing rift between the sources of moral authority and unleashed violence — but the worst has not yet appeared (when Mars goes direct again, he’ll be crossing over these same planets, albeit in a slightly different order). Pluto conjunct the Moon brings intense emotional experiences and challenges to relationships both with and about women, with women not always taking the better or fairer side of the argument. Bitter feeling and caustic arguments may punctuate the next few days, and it may be best to put off major decisions — this decan, called The Labyrinth, sees many planets wandering in futility, trying to find either their true center or the exit, and locating neither. The Moon’s hen-like roosting in amongst all these foxes is cause for concern: the chicken coop, as it were, is the Twenty-third Mansion by tropical terms, a location synonymous with wastage, destruction and diminishment. By the sidereal, background stars, the hen-house is in the Twenty-First mansion, a place of division, dissolution, and constant antagonism. A viciousness hangs over the next ten days, and the nastiness and hostility diminishes us all.
The Midheaven, like the Imum Coeli a theoretical noon-day point rather than a physical object, hangs just inside Aquarius’ first Decan, The Mark of Exile. Going back to your job site? Planning to get ahead in your career, or build a little bit of reputation-based capital? Those laurels now belong to outsider thinkers and more-curmudgeonly outcasts rather than to speakers and leaders who go with the flow. The useful critique gets listened to a little bit more reliably, at least for now.
In Pisces, we find The Lot of Fortune and the illusionist planet Neptune, both providing insight on our friends and professional relationships. First, more of us are likely believing false news or twisted information than we think; left or right, up or down, individual or community: we’re sharing wrong information and believing disinformation far more than we should. It’s not so much “the truth is out there” as “the truth and the falsehoods are so thoroughly intermingled that it’s difficult to distinguish one from another, or to convince others of what is true.” Moreover, truth and falsehood may be different in different places, which adds to the complexity of seeking clarity.
Finally, Mars in Aries occupies the twelfth house, the place of dreams and personal visions, as well as the challenges of secret enemies and open rivals. In a separating square to Jupiter, Mars indicates violence divorced from judicial restraint, militancy unrestrained by community. The twelfth house is a place of limited strength, so there’s no guarantee or promise here of actual violence, but the threat of it lingers in visible ways all through the next ten days.
Horoscopes by Rising Sign
Taurus: The ways you comfort yourself aren’t working, at least for now, or aren’t working at their best. A few disruptions of routines may be in order, and a little regular meditation would be beneficial, too. Re-set your goals toward long-range joy rather than short-term satisfaction. Your allies may be keeping secrets from you, but it’s just as possible that they’re saying openly what’s on their minds, but you’re not listening as closely as you should be. If you ask a question, be open for the answer. You also have some responsibility to learn some new skills that you find difficult or frightening… and widening your taste to include new options formerly reviled would be of use to you.
Gemini: Sit back for a moment, and think about your desires. What do you really want? Do you find yourself dreaming about having more stuff? A house, a boat, a larger or better wardrobe? A fashionable bag? Stuff is going to be projecting its urgency at you, to be owned by you — but just because these things want you as their owner, doesn’t mean you have to own them, or be owned by them. A novel approach would be to retreat from the urge to own more, and instead to cut off consumptive relationships. Look around at what you already have, express gratitude for that, and figure out ways to turn that material substance into wealth you genuinely appreciate.
Cancer: You may be feeling exposed in front of your family or neighborhood, with raw nerves and your emotional baggage open to inspection in the next ten days. Try responding to this by analyzing the ways you spend your time, and devoting energy to creative work that makes you happy; if you’re feeling dead to the world, making something (or taking something apart and making it new) may bring you a new sense of purposeful joy. Likewise, doing something creative with your partner or a close friend may be equally rewarding, and carry new fortunate power into the larger community of your acquaintances and allies.
Leo: Spending a lot of time on Zoom? give some attention to your background: is it your (messy) bedroom? Your dark old kitchen? Your Covid-overworked living room? Set aside time for cleaning and re-setting your house, and thinking of it as a stage for your online performances in front of co-workers and friends. Take care not to get drawn into arguments with your partner about rearranging furniture, though more attention to light and air would be beneficial to you both. Some upheaval that affects you personally at work may be coming, and it would be best to put on a better show during your business meetings.
Virgo: You may sense that your creative efforts have died a little in the coming week or so, as responsibilities and challenges in learning new expectations at work eat into your free time (and maybe just a bit in your soul, too). Consider whether members of your partner’s or ex’s family could have useful advice at this time, or whether advice that they’ve given in the past is relevant. Failing that, go for as long a walk in your neighborhood as you can manage — and learn a new skill that you’ve always thought would bring you some happiness. There’s someone who’s behaving like an open foe to you, at least a rival — untying the threads that bind you together in a dynamic system has some benefit to both of you. And if you know any Aquariuses, check in with them after the 28th; they could use a little of your analytical creativity.
Libra: Some monetary issues should be discussed in more detail either with your business partner(s), or with your romantic partner or spouse; and this may involve the ways in which the work environment has intruded upon home or vice versa. If you don’t have a partner, some shake-up in how you communicate may still be necessary: try journaling or speaking into a voice-recorder to get the words out. There’s a sense in which your hobby or pastime may be intruding on professional time — or maybe someone at work has their nose out of joint about your kids on a Zoom call? The thing that’s probably hardest to bear is the way that your private life winds up on public view every time there’s a video-conference, and the way that your public actions are scrutinized in such depth. Consider establishing a “corner office” where as little of your private life can be on camera as possible.
Scorpio: You have some ‘otherness’ in yourself these next ten days. Speaking that otherness aloud, even if only to yourself, will give it a chance to escape, take wing and be free from you. Some of this may involve the challenges of your neighborhood, or your partner’s family; some may be the sense that your friends are giving into radical and dangerous delusions fed to them by a confusing internet culture. The labors of the present hour probably involve more cutting and burning than is usual for you: is the paper shredder working overtime at the office? What about the furnace? It’s going to be hard to fulfill your dreams based on the current costs your experiencing; the temptation is going to be to raid someone else’s piggybank, but there’s always the possibility that you could find an executive’s style of labor more enjoyable than you think.
Sagittarius: Allow your ego to take a back seat to your customers’ needs, and you may find that your list of appointments and return customers grows. Your money and personal property is under some strain — try not to be avoidant, but learn from this experience as it’s almost over; you may even get some professional growth from the experience, especially if you treat this learning opportunity as a long-standing dream finally fulfilled. Good fortune results from sharing your hobbies and pastimes with friends and acquaintances, but you may encounter people who seem far-gone in their delusions. Some of your work commitments need to be cut back or reshaped, but you can get a little more creative in how you approach your career goals.
Capricorn: There’s a natural connection these days between how you want to present yourself, what you want to learn, and how you want to have fun. Some of this is going to mean deciding, at last, what sort of self-image you want to present to the world, and then figuring out what it will take to make that self-image stick; some of it will also involve letting go of an ugly habit or two. Letting go and taking on are two sides of the same coin; you may have to let go of some cash you’ve been holding onto, in order to tie yourself to this new image. You could afford, as well, to engage with the neighbors a little more, and to communicate more clearly about what you want for your street. A plumbing problem may shed a little light on the subjects you should discuss.
Aquarius: Your strongly-held and honest opinion may get you into significant trouble this week, and put you in the isolation tank, or worse. There may be some financial reward for saying it, but recognize that you may be playing into some mistaken ideas about the economy, your wealth, or both. I’m not promising you’ll lose friends over this, but I’m warning you that the possibility is real. Could you lose a business partner? Maybe. An honest discussion may be needed, but stick to the shiny bits rather than the darker part of the undertow. Alternatively, you can remain at home and focus on working one project after another: stick to small things, and cross a bunch of stuff off your to-dolist. Not a time for grand pronouncements or deep philosophical musings, unless you’re trying to start an argument among your closest friends and allies. Maybe a little more love for your children in a dark time would be best.
Pisces: There’s a big chance coming for you, and I hope you’ll take it. It does require opening up about some of your secret processes, and sharing your inspired wisdom with others. The hard part is that you’re going to have to relate your stories in words, and not just in emotion. And you’re going to have to make peace with a cut-off of a reliable source of income. You might not lose it, but you have to make peace with the possibility of that loss. Just know that you may find a new community of friends in that independence; you may find a new love of home; and you may find that it creates the kind of order and artistry in your partnerships that you’ve longed for years to discover.
Aries: In this present moment, alone, you have a sword. This sword can cut through all your problems, slice every obstacle in half, and cut through every excuse or opposition to you getting what you want. And you can have anything you want, if you will just pick up the sword and draw it from its scabbard. There’s just one problem: the scabbard is named “It’s my fault,” and its name must be uttered before the sword will come loose from its sheath. Before you can cut down any obstacle, you must admit to your own part in erecting that obstacle. Before destroying your opponent, you must admit to your share in their creation. Before you can chop up any of your problems into bite-sized pieces, you must own that you baked this particularly vile cake. Job, career, relationships, pastimes, lack of money, current health challenges… whatever they are — own your part of making them, and then you can cut through them and move on. By the way, this is metaphor — if you perceive one of your obstacles to be your boss or spouse or significant friend, it’s ok to talk to them with sharp words, not actual knives. You still have to own your part of making the mess in the first place.
I now have a Patreon account for those who want to support this column as it continues its second year. I use Patreon funds (as well as my own funds) to support artists and artisans and thinkers that I regard as contributing to the well-being of the world. You can also schedule an appointment with me using Accuity Scheduling, for a natal or solar return consultation.
I use iPhemeris for my charting software, and screenshot it to make charts. I want to thank the team that develops iPhemeris for the addition of Terms and Decans to their charts, appearing here for the first time!
I use Christopher Warnock‘s The Mansions of the Moon as the basis of my Moon placement delineations, and Austin Coppock‘s 36 Faces as the basis of much of my planetary delineations. Neither gentleman endorses me. My own book, A Full Volume of Splendour and Starlight, is now available as PDF download from my Etsy website.
Any errors in these columns are my own.
If you’d like to schedule a consultation with me, you can find additional information on the Services and Classes page.
If you want to read some of my other astrologically-oriented poetry, To the Mansions of the Moon is a collection of hymns to the angels of the Mansions mentioned in these columns. For the Behenian Stars is a collection of hymns to the first/brightest sixteen stars. The Sun’s Paces are hymns to the thirty-six Hellenistic-era deities and ascended souls of the Greco-Egyptian Decans-calendar. While not astrological, Festae contains hymns to some of the older Roman gods and spirits from the calendar created by Numa Pompilius, the second ancient King of Rome.