Posts filed under popular culture

Scorpio - Masquerade!

The Doctor: “Can I trust you, River Song?”

River Song: “If you like! But where’s the fun in that?”



The Sun has moved into Scorpio.

I like to understand the nature of this time of year through the Celtic celebration of Samhain, because the Celtic tradition first and foremost acknowledges that the entire realm of the supernatural is real-but-not-real, here-but-not-here, there-but-not-there. In this regard, Scorpio is the intriguing sign through which we navigate our relationship between that which is visible and that which is invisible, that which is apparent and that which is apparition.

Danu by Thalia Took
Danu by Thalia Took

In Celtic lore, the Tuatha Dé Danann are a mythic race of supernatural beings who live inside the earth. At the time of Samhain they emerge from the Underworld to collect their dues for having provided a good harvest earlier in the year.

Six months ago the Sun was in Taurus, the sign opposite Scorpio. In the northern hemisphere, the world flourished with life abundant in rich, exuberant color and a wild diversity of creativity and design in the form of flowers of all kinds, plants, trees and lush sensual gardens of earthly delights. Now, with the Sun in Scorpio, as these riches turn back toward the Underworld and the Tuatha Dé Danann emerge on Samhain, it’s a time to give something back for everything you enjoyed in the six months prior.

This might be the true meaning of “letting go” when it comes to Scorpio. Rather than a last-minute faux-“release” of something gross and nasty you discovered in a recent therapy session—something you didn’t really want anyway and can’t wait to get rid of—Scorpio is the release of something more valuable, perhaps something creative, something truer that comes from the inner depths (preferably from the deepest supernatural depths which touch the timeless), perhaps something that can be a resource for others.

The autumn season in western culture sees an onslaught of “new releases” in stores every year in advance of the Christmas money-making season. Perhaps the meaning of Samhain can shed a bit of new light on why so many artists release new music and new books at this time of year, and why movie studios often wait until autumn to give us the best of what they’ve got. Maybe it’s not just the commercialization and commoditization of the holiday.

See, the creative Sun in Scorpio goes into stealth mode and dons some kind of mask when presenting the deeper self on the stage of the world (not unlike the Sun conjunct Pluto, which I recently wrote about). Pablo Picasso, born with the Sun in Scorpio, knew all about this. He said, “Good artists copy—great artists steal.” Life is a masquerade! And masks come in many forms. Masks have been part of culture for thousands of years. There is a lot of talk these days of authenticity and the removing of masks in order to reveal one’s true self. Yet, the tradition of putting on masks isn’t to hide the truth at all—rather, the tradition of masks is to present the complex truth in its deepest form. Masks cover up what is on the literal surface, allowing us to reveal something deeper about human nature without getting it confused with the actual person presenting it. With a mask on, one can present something more truthful, more powerful, more lasting, and even more troubling. Scorpio gets down to those depths.

The facts of life never present the whole truth of life. Facts are merely facts, and facts have expiration dates. Facts die, as people do. To present one’s more authentic self and the deeper aspects of human nature beyond the facts requires a mask, to show the archetypal truth, the truth that lasts through time and appeals to far more people than do the facts of your life. The truth wears many masks and comes in many forms and guises. That’s what keeps Scorpio true to its own nature. And it’s what keeps life exciting! And mysterious! Of course, the mask used to reveal the deeper self can also be used, as the Phantom sings in Phantom of the Opera, to “hide your face so the world will never find you.” Once a mask is donned, how do you know what is real and what is not real? What is true and what is a lie? Who can you trust? We can get quite lost in the dark, twisted every way in the labyrinthine lairs of life. Herein lies the real complexity of Scorpio. Yet, truth is reliable, like the thin thread tying Theseus to Ariadne as he entered the labyrinth to slay the Minotaur. Follow the thread—trust your instincts—and the truth will out.

Posted on October 23, 2013 and filed under archetypes, astrology, popular culture, symbolism.

Yes, the Illusion is Remarkable

For no other reason than that I find this fascinating, here is a little post about Sun conjunct Pluto. The Sun conjunct Pluto in a natal chart is a particularly difficult aspect, because the Sun is what shines, illuminates and is visible, while Pluto is dark, unseen and invisible. What a combination! While there are many ways to talk about this, I want to use Gwyneth Paltrow as an example.

Gwyneth Paltrow was born with Sun in Libra closely conjunct Pluto in Libra. She won the 1998 Best Actress Academy Award for her starring role(s) in “Shakespeare in Love.” And this is where I turn to see Sun conjunct Pluto.

In the movie, Gwyneth plays Viola de Lesseps, who in turn disguises herself as Thomas Kent, who in turn ends up cast in the premiere performance of “Romeo & Juliet” alongside none other than William Shakespeare himself. The performance brings down the house.

Viola de Lesseps had to disguise herself as Thomas Kent, a male actor, because at that time in history women were not allowed to be on stage. Only men were allowed to play female roles, and Viola de Lesseps was in love with poetry, theatre, the stage, and particularly William Shakespeare. Nothing could stop her. As the performance commenced, word of the disguise trick made its way to the officials, and after the performance the officials marched in and put everyone under arrest under charges of public indecency.

Little did anyone know Queen Elizabeth herself was in attendance! The Queen emerged from the crowd to take charge, telling the officials they must surely be mistaken, because the Queen “does not attend exhibitions of public lewdness.” Yet, we already know from previous scenes that Queen Elizabeth has a razor-sharp eye for seeing the invisible reality hidden underneath the surface. She calls Master Kent forth, looks “him” over, and says, “Yes, the illusion is remarkable” before dismissing all charges.

This is where Sun conjunct Pluto comes in.

In playing Viola de Lesseps, disguised as Thomas Kent, cast as Juliet, Gwyneth Paltrow was never more luminous. Hidden under layer upon layer upon layer, we could clearly see Gwyneth Paltrow’s brilliant genius better than ever. She glowed from within. The more hidden she was, the more she could shine, working with the remarkable truth of illusion—which is precisely what Sun conjunct Pluto does best. We saw this clearly, and gave Gwyneth the highest honor we could give her for it.

Posted on October 2, 2013 and filed under astrology, popular culture, symbolism.