Posts filed under lyrics

Venus Retrograde in Capricorn - Going Back to the Sea

“I’ve got thick skin and an elastic heart.” – Sia

The Winter Solstice on December 21 finds Venus going retrograde (backwards) in Capricorn, until February 1, 2014.

The planet Venus is named after the goddess of love and beauty. Noted mythologist Karl Kerényi says about Venus, as she emerged from the ocean, “From her very beginning she was awarded charge and office, amongst both gods and men, over the following: the whispering of maidens, laughter and hoaxes, sweet lust, love and loving kindness.” Likewise, in astrology Venus has her Joy in the 5th House of love, playfulness, creativity, sex and romance.

Capricorn is the serious, goal-oriented sign of responsibility, duty, obligation, and authority. Capricorn sits opposite the home-oriented sign of Cancer, and as such Capricorn takes us away from home, up and out into the world and into society. Symbolized by the goat climbing to the top of the mountain, one step at a time, Capricorn is resonant with the “upward mobility” of the structures of our society. Sometimes our professional and other obligations take us quite far from our home base.

When moving through Capricorn, Venus’ more playful, bubbly and frothy nature can get a bit serious, rigid and heavy-handed. It’s not necessarily an easy combination. In Capricorn, Venus can feel a bit like Atlas, carrying the world – the symbolism, perhaps, of the huge shoulder pads of the 1980s, when women began climbing to higher positions in the professional world and in modern society. Responsibility before fun, work before play. Venus’ true nature gets a little shut out when she’s over-burdened by the tight and busy schedules and responsibilities of modern society. Keep going, says Capricorn, and you’ll make it to the top.


When a planet moves retrograde, it slows down and stops completely before beginning its backward motion. Venus retrograde in Capricorn is a time to slow down, stop, and look back, something the goat is naturally designed to do atop the rocky mountains of its tough terrain.

Curiously, if we look back to the original symbol of Capricorn, we see that it’s not actually a goat climbing a mountain, but rather a mer-goat, a goat with the tail of a fish, a sea creature. And if we look back to Venus’ origins, she is the goddess who emerged from the sea. Venus and Capricorn have something in common after all, and it’s pretty extraordinary.

“Mer” means ocean, or sea. From “mer” we get words like merge (to dip in, immerse, dive under), merit (worthiness, value, excellence), and mermaid (maid of the sea). The mermaid is the mythic siren, luring mortals out to the sea, and has been an iconic image on tavern signs since the Renaissance. Strangely, the modern world seems to totally misunderstand this while staying true to it at the same time, by tagging Happy Hour to the tail-end of each work day.

The mer-goat comes from a time when Time was not a straight line moving forward, and life was not a frantic race to the top. Time was understood within the greater context of Eternity, and the past was understood as a foundation underneath us as much as something behind us. We see this latter notion in the image of Janus, the two-headed god of Time who looks both forward and backward simultaneously. From Janus we get January, the Capricorn time when “last year” and “next year” sit back to back. Ends and beginnings exist side-by-side. One year ends, a new year begins, and we can look at both at the same time. It’s a time of renewal.

Walt Disney had Venus in Capricorn (at 29 degrees, the tail-end of the sign, no less) and made his career by dipping into the imagination of fairy tales. His company released “The Little Mermaid” in 1989, when Venus, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune were all conjunct in Capricorn. Interestingly, “The Little Mermaid is given credit for breathing life back into the art of Disney animated feature films after a string of critical or commercial failures produced by Disney that dated back to the early 1970s. It also marked the start of the era known as the Disney Renaissance.” It was the first time Disney had animated a fairy tale since “Sleeping Beauty” in 1959. Returning to its roots, Disney found renewal (the meaning of “renaissance”). The sea that washes things away is the same sea that brings things back.

Frank Sinatra also had Venus in Capricorn, and when his career was in serious decline he was cast in the movie “From Here to Eternity,” which began the climb of his career again to new heights. Though he is not pictured in its iconic image of two lovers passionately making love as waves wash ashore all around them, the image speaks for itself.

Venus brings things together, and Venus in Capricorn suggests that what you love and what you do best go together, and that there is great merit (and great beauty) in this connection. It’s what might be called a “calling.” When Venus is retrograde in Capricorn, it’s like Venus is being called back to the sea as a reminder of this connection. Rather than being caught up in the external rules, roles and responsibilities of society, there is always a deeper dream shimmering within each of us. The mer-goat keeps its tail in that ocean of dreams, and the path it climbs in life stays true to that dream. As bizarre as it might sound, during this Venus retrograde in Capricorn your greatest advocate might just be the voice of a little mermaid that beckons to be part of your world.

Posted on December 13, 2013 and filed under astrology, Capricorn, lyrics, retrograde, symbolism, Venus.

Grand Trine in Water - Memory of the Future, Part 2

The Grand Trine in water is winding down, yet Jupiter will be in Cancer for another year, Saturn will remain in Scorpio for two more years, and Neptune has over a decade left in Pisces. Water remains abundant for quite some time.

As noted in Part 1 (which is good to read before reading Part 2), water brings us into a more timeless way of being, where memory and imagination are not radically different from one another. Memory, reflection and imagination add presence to the present.

What follows are a number of various musings on the different pieces of the Grand Trine in water. For starters, check out ATB’s beautiful and evocative song “Moving Backwards.”


Jupiter, the great sky god, is the grand Adventurer of the planets, the Storyteller and Visionary. Stories bring meaning to life. Cancer connects us with feelings of belonging, of home, of family and what is familiar. Cancer holds on to very personal memories by saving letters, photographs, voicemail messages, mementos, souvenirs. With Jupiter in Cancer, meaning and memory come together. They tell a story. Memories mean something. Our personal histories resonate with meaning.

In “The Muppet Movie” Kermit the frog sets off on a cross-country adventure, heading from his Florida swamp all the way to Hollywood. Along the way he is joined by Fozzie Bear, Rowlf the dog, Miss Piggy, Gonzo and others. They become family. At one point, Gonzo is lifted into the sky while holding a bunch of helium balloons. Later in the movie, when the group is stranded and sitting around a campfire feeling lost—a moment with resonance to this Grand Trine, not to mention a fine example of how memory and musing work together—Gonzo sings the poignantly nostalgic yet forward-looking song “I’m Going To Go Back There Someday,” reflecting on what it was like to fly and his longing to return to the sky.

The United States of America has Jupiter in Cancer. This can be seen in the adventurous spirit of the early settlers crossing the country to claim land to call home (though it doesn’t account at all for the horrific actions toward the native people already here first). We can see Jupiter in Cancer too in the gathering of different cultures together, all bringing with them different pasts and different stories and different beliefs, attempting to build a united shelter for all (though we can see more and more in 2013 how wildly complicated such a vision actually is at the ground level).

There is also something of Jupiter in Cancer in universities, with their annual Homecoming events, and in how you remember your “alma mater” (“nourishing mother”). Jupiter’s higher knowledge nourishes the soul.

And perhaps it was Orville Wright’s Jupiter in Cancer that helped make the first airplane flight a family affair with his brother Wilbur.

MEMENTO MORI (Saturn in Scorpio)

Saturn in Scorpio is arguably the most difficult and trying part of the Grand Trine, because Scorpio delves into the deep end. Saturn in Scorpio lingers in the swamps, marshes, bogs and billibongs of the psyche and of the world. These are strange yet fascinating places we’d rather not hang around for too long, if we can avoid it. Mosquitos breed easily in the musty air, and strange creatures can hide out in the shadows. Where to step? Is this even safe? What lurks in the stagnant waters? Perhaps there really is a serpentine monster in Loch Ness! Saturn in Scorpio can arrest all forward motion, in the interests of going deeper into difficult and challenging emotional terrain, the monsters in our own lochs. Yet, still waters are nature’s mirror. Reflection is natural, and reflections in the Saturn in Scorpio mirror can be quite profound.  They draw you down into your core.

Consider Luke Skywalker's experiences on the swamp planet Dagobah, and the rigor and intensity of his training to become a Jedi under the guidance of Yoda, and you get an idea of the challenge as well as the potential.

Closer to home, in a galaxy not so far away... In the aftermath of the recent verdict in the murder of Trayvon Martin trial, this powerful and bold piece depicts one way Saturn in Scorpio works, in its potent and brutal honesty in the face of injustice and death:

To White Folks: The Collective Lament of Trayvon Martin is Not Your Anti-Racist Political Platform

Posted on the day the aspects of the Grand Trine in water were tightest, the author writes, “Here I sit. I don’t have much to say. I only have ways of feeling.” And, “I am at the bottom of the sea, with no surface in sight.”

Battered and war-torn ships sink to the bottom of the sea, but so do their treasures, which lay waiting indefinitely to be discovered or remembered if we are willing to explore these murky depths. You can’t find the sunken treasures if you resist going to the bottom and spending some time there.

There’s a lot more to Saturn in Scorpio, which you can listen to in my recording “Saturn in Scorpio – In Search of Buried Treasure.”

And, before moving on, there is this news item, today: Package sent to Globe brings end to long mystery (wow!)

EXPLORING THE BLUE (Neptune in Pisces)

“Haunted by your grace  /  The beauty of falling… falling…  /  It echoes through my days  /  I still hear you calling  /  You’re calling me…  /  The calling is taking over, it’s taking over…”—Dash Berlin & Emma Hewitt

["Ocean, Stars, Sky and You" by mudmelly]

Neptune in Pisces calls with oceans of possibility.  Before I launch into the longer musings for Neptune in Pisces, if you want an immersion in Neptune in Pisces consider checking out Neil Gaiman’s brilliant new book “The Ocean at the End of the Lane.”

Now, in chart readings lately I have been exploring with people the nature of Neptune and enchantment. This is tricky territory, considering Neptune’s reputation for illusion, confusion, escapism and addiction. How do you fit enchantment and addiction together? What’s real and what’s an illusion? While I’m not all that qualified to talk about what’s “real” with any authority whatsoever, I want to offer a perspective to consider.

If you keep in mind the difference between spirit and soul, the spirit is what seeks clarity, a clear vision. The spirit is interested in Truth with a capital T. The spirit wants the Truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the Truth. Honesty is its best policy. The spirit is quick to call “illusion” anything that does not fit its understanding of the literal, actual Truth.

The soul, however, works Truth through story, art and myth. For the soul, truth is a heart-felt song. For the soul, truth is in imagination. What is considered a fabrication to the spirit becomes the fabric of life for the soul. Imagination reigns supreme. We see this resoundingly in the movie Big Fish: “This is a Southern story, full of lies and fabrications, but truer for their inclusion.” Without enchantment, we're missing a huge part of the story! From this perspective, perhaps there is more truth about Van Gogh in his “Starry Night” than in the huge biographies written about the man and his life (as interesting as those are). Perhaps we can find out more about Charles Dickens by reading “A Tale of Two Cities” or “Bleak House” than we can by investigating only the facts of his life. When we tell stories, or tell our lives as stories, the poetic truth inside these stories reverberates deeply with the soul. To poeticize means “to make.” Poets thrive on imagination, and from the perspective of soul, imagination is not something made up; rather, imagination is what makes up the entire world around us.

This is where enchantment comes in. See, Neptune gets associated mainly with escapism, addictions, confusion and illusion when viewed through the perspective of a disenchanted universe, which is the worldview western culture locked in during the Enlightenment and the Age of Reason in the 18th century and has never really shaken. When the universe is viewed as a machine, turning its planetary gears and galaxies around and around and around with mechanical precision—a scientific universe in which reason and order prevail—the longings of Neptune take on a heightened urgency. This is where addiction comes in. The need for escape becomes paramount—and rightly so! Who would want to live in that kind of universe? Longing for something better becomes a necessity, because most of the astounding wonder and majesty and mystery of the world and the universe is reduced to what can be rationally understood and reasoned with. Get me out! Addiction becomes a way out—and a huge problem—mostly in lieu of any other options (for example, the option that we live in an enchanted universe and what that means).

Consider: from the perspective of most indigenous cultures and wisdom traditions that dominate world and human history, the world in one way or another is enchanted from the get-go. The soul comes first, not last. Souls, not babies, are born into the world. These cultures pass on unique stories, legends and myths from generation to generation, carrying the combined sense of memory and imagination with them.

Recently, Merida in “Brave” displays this sensibility when she follows a trail of will-o’-the-wisps, the spirits of her ancestors. Somehow, they know the way better than Merida.  In this regard, mystery is not an inconvenience, full of obnoxious detours and annoying setbacks in what should otherwise be a more secure, straight-forward, practical, productive and predictable experience of life. No. Mystery is not something to be understood narrowly through a microscope, but rather imagined archetypally through a horoscope. From the perspective of so many indigenous cultures, in one way or another enchantment is the way of the world. It’s what we’re made of. Neptune is the stuff we’re made of. The enchanted, wondrous, magical world of the soul is present in everything, everywhere. Said best by the ghost-spirit of Merlin’s father to his son, in the television series Merlin, “Magic is the fabric of this world, and you were born of that magic. You are magic itself.”


The Wikipedia entry for “decompression sickness” (also known as “the bends”—think: reflection and water) includes a section called “Leaving a high-pressure environment.” In the high-pressure environment of today's world, experiencing this Grand Trine in water might feel a bit like the bends: Woah! Too much! Give me something to hold onto!

Immersion in water is a very different experience than standing on top of the grounded and practical productivity many have grown accustomed to or try to keep up with. That way of life no longer works. It’s not enough, not by a long shot. If it’s hard to keep up, slow down. With this Grand Trine in water, and three major planet in water for quite a while to come, we would do well to loosen the more rigid structures we cling to for security and understanding, and spend time reflecting, telling stories, reading myth, wondering and imagining.

Water is the source of all life, and not just literal life. The imaginative life that emerges from the element of water is more vital than ever. With this Grand Trine in water, Jupiter in Cancer nourishes the imagination, Saturn in Scorpio deepens and strengthens our most essential core images, and Neptune in Pisces places in our hands the fabric from which we can weave a more cohesive and inclusive world of soul.  Time to get wet!

Posted on July 22, 2013 and filed under archetypes, astrology, lyrics, popular culture, symbolism.