Making the Heart Visible
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Down with the Ship
For those eight musicians, it must have seemed like the job of a lifetime. They had been hired as the orchestra for the maiden voyage of the world’s nautical wonder: the RMS Titanic.
After the Titanic hit an iceberg and started its descent into the Atlantic, they instinctively began playing music to soothe the passengers as lifeboats were loaded. It’s said by survivors that they played literally until they went down with the ship.
Violinist John Law Hume, was only 21 years old, a kittenish-looking Leo born on Aug. 9, 1890 in Dumfries, Scotland. It was the allure of the world’s most famous and largest ship that led him to accept the offer. He didn’t know, as he boarded the Titanic on April 10, that his fiancée was pregnant with their child.
There are two stories to tell about Mercury in Leo square Uranus (Aug. 10, 2020, 5:51 am PDT). One is about how the allure of prestige and glamor can sometimes put us in disaster’s way. But the other one is about the valor of those musicians, giving their best gift in an awful moment. That is the coeur of Leo. This week, as Mercury in Leo squares Uranus, we make sense of the swirling chaos of these unsettling times through storytelling and the warming act of creation. That’s how Leo makes sense of the world, and how it makes the heart visible.
In a movie, time-lapse photography moves huge white clouds rapidly across a desert landscape to demonstrate the passage of time. Beneath their changing shadows, a group of native people perform a ritual dance to the Sun as it appears and disappears through the clouds.
At the Last Quarter Moon (Aug. 11, 2020, 9:45 am PDT), we’re always reminded of the passage of time. When we’re children eager for Christmas morning, or grownups waiting for the end of a long day at the office, it moves with excruciating slowness. But as we get older, milestones like birthdays come so quickly that they overlap altogether.
There are those unchanging touchstones, though, that we can hold onto. The outer matrix of the Sun, Moon, sky, stars, and planets reflects the solid little nut of authenticity at the core of who we are, just above the naval at the Solar Plexus. The wind may try to blow us down at this Last Quarter Moon in Taurus conjoined Uranus, but if we keep close to who we are, nothing can keep us down forever.
The Last Quarter Moon blows us straight into this week’s Mars/Pluto square (Aug. 13, 2020, 0:05 am PDT). Mars is insistent and impatient in Aries. It’s the big, bad wolf from the Three Little Pigs fairy tale, determined to have what it wants – and that’s pork barbeque for dinner. The pigs build houses to protect themselves from the wolf. The first pig builds his from straw; the wolf huffs and puffs and blows it down. The second builds a house of sticks, and the wolf makes short work of that one, too. But the third pig builds a house made solidly of bricks, and the wolf is out of luck.
Pluto is a pig that builds from bricks. There is no penetrating its house. The harder we push and the stronger we blow, the less impressed is Pluto. We forget sometimes, in a year when Pluto feels like an external, punishing force, that we own Pluto in our charts. It’s the fortress, the power place.
This is the first of three squares between Mars and Pluto in these signs; the next two are on Oct. 9 and Dec. 23. At this square, Mars blows at a house made of straw, and on Oct. 9 it will blow at a house made of twigs. By Christmas, we’ll have figured out how to build ourselves a cool, quiet monastery of brick to protect us from the most ferocious of wolves.
Since Uranus entered Taurus in May 2018, it’s as though bulls have been running wild through the streets. As Uranus turns retrograde (beginning Aug. 15, 2020, 7:26 am PDT), the streets seem a little quieter… for the moment.
But inside of you, those hoofbeats are still pounding away, restless. It’s as though you’ve internalized those stampeding hoofs. In the quiet of a summer afternoon, maybe working in your garden, you begin to wax philosophical. Could it be that all the tumult of 2020 has had its origins not just in the world outside of you – but at that point where they world’s stillness and stagnation met with your desire for change?
Astrology works, we assume, because of some mysterious connection between all things. The sky reflects the quality of that connection – it doesn’t create it. And Uranus turns retrograde, it doesn’t stop being the God of Chaos. It just means we turn away from outer chaos long enough to find those thundering hoofbeats inside ourselves.
In a week when Mars in Aries steps ever deeply into Capricorn ooze and finds it hard to move forward, the Sun and Mercury cluster around to lend positive reinforcement and moral support. It’s not that you’re doing the wrong things, exactly, but rather that the timing is wrong. You’re trying to behave normally at a moment when the world is anything but normal.
The Sabian symbol for the Sun and Mercury as they make their supportive trine aspects to Mars (Aug. 16, 2020, at 7:03 am and 10:30 pm PDT, respectively) is 25 Leo: A large camel crossing the desert. Mars is on 25 Aries: A double promise. One thing I know about camels is that they aren’t the smoothest vehicle to ride. It will take time to cross this desert, say the Sun and Mercury. But they promise that when you get to the other side, it will be worth it.
These are slow, smelly camel times in a parched desert. But we have to trust there’s a reason for the delays, frustrations, and discomfort, that these times will produce exactly the outcome we need. As Gilbert K. Chesterton once wrote, “Do not free a camel of the burden of his hump you may be freeing him from being a camel.” Change one piece of the equation, and you change everything.
Writing and collages © 2020 April Elliott Kent
Jen and I explore all the week’s highlights in our latest podcast episode,
38 | Taurus Last Quarter Moon…But wait, there’s S’more!