Tools and Trappings
On a recent trip to Los Angeles, I stumbled across an expansive shop entirely devoted to tarot cards, filled wall-to-wall, pillar to post, with hundreds of unique and beautiful decks. It was everything beautiful, gracious, and delicious.
I’m not particularly adept at tarot, but I couldn’t resist picking up an interesting deck and had to restrain myself from collecting more. When it comes to tarot, I’m a lot like a fledgling guitarist who hopes a new guitar will improve their playing, or a nascent writer who hopes brilliance is just one laptop upgrade away. I somehow always feel that just the right tarot deck with imbue me with powers of prognostication – when really, I probably just need to devote myself to actually learning tarot!
Venus, the planet of acquisition, trines Pluto (Nov. 6, 2023, 6:38 am PST) at 28º03’ Virgo and Capricorn on two intriguing Sabian symbols – 29 Virgo: Man gaining secret knowledge and 29 Capricorn: Woman reading tea leaves. If we’ve been seeking the outward trappings that we think will impart some secret, mystical knowledge, here’s an aspect that offers something better: the love and passion to immerse ourselves in their seductive secrets and earn some measure of their power.
What if you could read people’s minds? It’s a common fantasy, often cited when people are asked what superpower they would love to possess. As Mercury trines Neptune (Nov. 6, 2023, 5:36 pm PST), you can’t actually read people’s minds – but you may find that you’re more intuitive than usual, more perceptive to nonverbal cues.
This is an excellent transit for sensitive conversations, and in particular for articulating feelings that are difficult to put into words, perhaps through music, photography, painting, poetry, or dance. And it’s custom-made for letting your rational mind take a nap while you indulge in a bit of daydreaming.
My husband, a wonderful cook, studied at the culinary school of “if a little bit of an ingredient is good, then certainly a lot more must be better.” And usually, the results are stupendous. But now and then, things go a bit sideways and the vegetable and rice dish has too little rice, or a pasta salad is so lemony that it’s difficult to eat it through puckered lips.
Balance is best in cooking and in most things. But is that also true of love, ruled by Venus? And can one ever have too much money or beauty, also the purview of Venus?
Well, yes, actually. And while Venus is in Libra (Nov. 8, 2023, 1:30 am PST through Dec. 4), it’s important to seek balance in even those things. In any relationship, one person may love more deeply, be vastly more beautiful, or bring far more wealth to the table than the other. But it’s not necessary for two people to bring the same qualities to a relationship, just as long as the sides of the scale balance out in the end.
As it prepares to conclude its latest transit through Scorpio, Mercury makes a sextile aspect to powerful Pluto (Nov. 8, 2023, 4:17 pm PST, 28º05’ Scorpio/Capricorn). Mercury’s Sabian symbol at this aspect is vivid and intense, 29 Scorpio, An Indian woman pleads to the chief for the lives of her children. And in Pluto’s symbol, 29 Capricorn, A woman is reading tea leaves to intuit messages from unseen forces.
If there is something that you want very much or feel very strongly about, this sextile offers the opportunity to appeal to powerful forces and persuade them to grant your wish. This will almost certainly not be something as intense as pleading to the chief of the tribe for the lives of your children. But then again, tragic things are happening to people’s children all over the world. This fleeting, seemingly light aspect finds Pluto on a symbol that’s about pleading, sometimes to forces beyond this realm, for intercession. Take this opportunity to ask for something, whether explicitly or through ritual.
At first glance, Mercury entering Sagittarius (Nov. 9, 2023, 10:25 pm PST through Dec. 1) doesn’t seem like a bad fit. Both planet and sign are talkative, interested in the world and in ideas and communication. So why is Mercury traditionally considered to be in his detriment in Sagittarius?
Because it’s Mercury’s job to gather information, which requires being open to new ideas, but it’s Sagittarius’ job to make sense of information and formulate opinions. The Masters candidate has to stop researching (Mercury) at some point and present her thesis (Sagittarius). The author has to surrender the manuscript to his publisher. The employer, having interviewed the best candidates, has to decide which one is the right fit.
Mercury is happy to adopt Sagittarius’ vivid, enthusiastic, jovial communication style for a few weeks. But secretly, he may feel sidelined as a jester in Sagittarius’ court, where the king has made up his mind and is not inviting fresh input.
Excitable Puppies and Gritty Determination
Mercury, having just entered enthusiastic Sagittarius, is as wriggly and excitable as an energetic puppy. So if you have important work to complete and need some focus and discipline, be grateful for Mercury’s square to Saturn (Nov. 10, 2023, 7:07 am PST). Nothing will focus a scattered Mercury quite like a hard aspect to Saturn, the planet that keeps us on task with our eyes on our own work.
So, if there’s something you’ve been putting off for a long time, maybe tackling some paperwork in your office, perhaps a significant writing project (NaNoWriMo?), these would all be excellent to tackle this week. If you should find that inspiration isn’t flowing, no matter; what the muse doesn’t deliver, Saturn will accomplish through sheer grit and determination. It may not be easy, but don’t misinterpret that as a sign that you’re on the wrong track.
Mars and Uranus are an explosive and unpredictable combo, particularly when they are in a challenging aspect like an opposition (Nov. 11, 2023, 1:11 pm PST) and in the stubborn, inflexible signs of Scorpio and Taurus. Mars’ Sabian symbol, 22 Scorpio: Hunters starting out for ducks, suggests we may have reached a point when we feel justified in using force to get what we want or to defend ourselves.
And yet… Uranus is on the Sabian Symbol 22 Taurus, White dove over troubled waters. Even within the tension of powerful, stubborn planets in challenging aspect, there’s the potential for a peaceful outcome.
This is the midpoint in a Mars-Uranus cycle that began at their conjunction on Aug. 1, 2022 at 18º42′ Taurus, on the Sabian symbol, A newly formed continent. It takes an enormous amount of power to raise a continent, a boundless supply of determination to create something new, an inexhaustible wellspring of courage to step outside the conventional and move in a bold, innovative direction. Here is where we stand back and survey the continent that’s risen, and calibrate the instinct to fight for more against the need to coexist peacefully with others.
Writing and images © 2017-23 by April Elliott Kent
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