What Service May Come

Posted by Len Wallick


Len Wallick muses on Mars ingressing Cancer and asteroid Vesta’s interaction with the lunar nodes, and comes to the conclusion that, “the sum of what Mars, Vesta, the Moon and its nodes are combining in precision to represent tomorrow has never been seen before. If that is not an occasion for you to serve as you have not done before, what is?”

Dearest Reader,
Each of my written offerings here at Planet Waves has, from the very first, signed off with my personal declaration, “Offered In Service.” Yet, that same signature (whether explicit or not) also distinguishes every person who participates to bring this subscriber-supported, advertisement-free, one-of-a-kind phenomenon of informed awareness and empowerment to you. Please consider this statement my request that you serve in turn at Planet Waves by becoming a financially supportive member in our community through one of these three membership options:

A 12-month Core Community Pass membership, on a sliding scale

A 6-month Core Community Pass membership, on a sliding scale

A regular-price Core Community Pass membership, through recurring monthly billing

Please take a moment to consider the optimum level of your own participation, and also to recommend membership in the Planet Waves community to others you care about and wish to serve in turn (or give them a membership as a gift).
With Sincere Gratitude,

— Len


I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.
— Rabindranath Tagore

It’s interesting how astrology always seems to know. Just as Planet Waves initiates a membership drive inspired by the art of service, Mars is about to ingress Cancer. Additionally, less than two hours after Mars enters Cancer shortly before 9:33 am EDT (13:32:52 UTC) tomorrow, asteroid 4 Vesta will align with the Moon and its nodes in a manner probably unprecedented.


Mars so closely following the Sun’s entrance into Cancer to precipitate a new season represents (as Eric has already noted) a second stage of this year’s June solstice, but also something more.

Upon entering Cancer, Mars will also be opposed to the sign of its exaltation — Capricorn. The ancient tradition of astrology considers any planet opposed to the sign of its exaltation to be ‘in fall’, and somehow debilitated.

Yet, if the ancients (and more recent astrologers who brought us ancient tradition, such as William Lilly) were alive to speak, it is reasonable to think that they would encourage us to see their doctrines as guidelines rather than gospel. After all, what responsible astrologer would arbitrarily write off anybody born with Mars in Cancer as somehow a less viable manifestation of Martian energetics than anybody else?

Astrology is not destiny. Everybody is born with Mars somewhere in the sky, and how it elaborates through you is a function of awareness and choice, not fate. It would be absurd and pernicious, for example, to say that anybody born with Mars in Cancer has no chance of becoming a great athlete. Regardless of the position of Mars in your personal astrology, it can be made to serve, and its principal service is to life.

For, as the outstanding contemporary astrologer Robert Hand has written of Mars, “…in fact its energies are a vital part of life.” Hence, Mars in Cancer can be made to serve in your life just as surely as fire (one of the manifestations of Mars on Earth) can be made to serve, rather than endanger life.

Indeed, as a member of the species that has discovered the utility as well as the danger of fire, you should be able to intuitively apply this year’s tenure of Mars in Cancer (until Aug. 8) to the principle of service as a human prerogative. Fire (as represented by Mars) and water (a distinguishing characteristic of Cancer’s unique identity) are not necessarily in conflict. Fire and water can, in your hands, be complementary.

Yes, fire can be extinguished by water, but that is not an inevitability. Fire can instead serve to warm and/or boil water in service of bathing, cooking and other life-sustaining purposes.

Interestingly, the principle of service, the purpose of sustenance and the subject of fire are contained in a single asteroid, 4 Vesta. Meaningfully on multiple levels, Vesta conjoins with the lunar south node in Aries shortly after 11:44 am (15:44:28 UTC) tomorrow, in precise opposition to Cancer’s ruling planet — the Moon. By that time, the Moon will have moved from Virgo (where it is today) to a Libra conjunction, to the degree, with the lunar north node.

An opposition aspect consisting of two conjunctions on opposite sides of the sky and zodiac is admittedly complex. Too complex to plumb to exhaustion here. But this particular opposition of two conjunctions clearly reinforces the message that Mars in Cancer represents the potential of service, and that the form it takes is a choice rather than an inevitability. 

Vesta’s name is reminiscent of the vestal virgins in ancient Rome who served to sustain an eternal flame, which in turn was thought to sustain the civilization itself. For as brutal and unconscionable as the political and military conduct of the Roman empire was, the Roman civilization served to sustain literacy, architecture and astrology among other worthy human pursuits. Hence, modern astrology’s glyph representing Vesta as a votive flame, and the implicit interpretation of Vesta as representing (among other things) the art of service.

In opposition to the Moon tomorrow, Vesta will serve (among other things) to remind us that, like the relationship between fire and water, opposition aspects do not represent a conflict by default.

Rather, just as with the perpetually opposing lunar nodes, the implicit emphasis of all opposition aspects is complementary. Hence, Vesta’s conjunction with the lunar south node (which represents, among other things, the past) in opposition to the Libra Moon’s merger with the lunar north node (representing what the future might be), supports and reinforces the potential of what service may yet come while Mars traverses Cancer.

Indeed, how could a holistic interpretation of tomorrow’s astrology serve any other purpose than to support this as a time to practice the art of service, when you consider how unlikely the combination really is? Mars tours Cancer for only about two months out of every two years. Vesta takes more than three years to move through all 12 signs, spending only a handful of days in conjunction with either of the lunar nodes during each circuit. The Moon, for its part, spends only a handful of hours each month in conjunction with the nodal points where it intersects with Earth’s orbit around the Sun.

Hence, it’s reasonable to say that the sum of what Mars, Vesta, the Moon and its nodes are combining in precision to represent tomorrow has never been seen before. If that is not an occasion for you to serve as you have not done before, what is?  

Reinforced by the occasion is the fact that brutality need not be served. Reiterated by the whole of tomorrow’s astrology is the notion that service to civilization’s highest principles may yet bring harmony between people and with the Earth itself. But only if you free yourself from all forms of doctrine as gospel, and bring your conscience to the table set by the solar system.

For while we may dream of life as joy, it is not that way by default. You must serve to make life joy for it to be so. Just as surely, you must serve the solar system of which you are a part by making astrology actually happen to its highest potential here on Earth. So, what are you going to do?

Offered In Service    

Len is available for astrology readings. You can contact him at lenwallick [at] gmail [dot] com.

Posted in Columnist, Welcome on | 15 comments
Len Wallick

About Len Wallick

Besides endeavoring to be of service to all of you here at Planet Waves, Len strives to live in Seattle while working as a professional astrologer. To contact him for an astrology reading you can send an e-mail to: lenwallick@gmail.com. His telephone number is 206-356-5467. In addition to his profession, Len contributes to the Seattle community without monetary compensation by serving as a Reiki practitioner and teacher through classes and outreach offered by the Seattle Reiki Mastery Series modality.

15 thoughts on “What Service May Come

  1. Bette

    Wow, Len! I’ve read through your post today, but I’ve been focused thus far primarily on your opening quote. It’s the first time I had encountered the direct quote from Tagore. Let me explain.

    I grew up hearing my father say, “I dreamed and I dreamed that life was beauty. I awoke and found that life was duty.” Somehow, I internalized the message that this was an either/or proposition, & my experience of “duty” was what both my Earth sign parents did: work phenomenally hard to build material security for their family – but at the price of not much much time or affection for their children. There was not much fun or laughter. I guess I came to believe that the pursuit of “beauty” (which came so naturally to an artistic, excruciatingly sensitive child) meant living a frivolous life, & my passionate desire to be an artist seemed to be my parents’ worst nightmare.

    I’ve been looking back in my reflecting upon this, & finding some memories of times where I do believe they found joy amidst/perhaps because of their devotion to duty. It’s a whole different look at my history, & it is proving to be useful. Naturally, I’m also assessing my own handling of “duty” – or service – & I can see why I often felt such ambivalence.

    I’ll be reviewing the rest of your post today – as Mars crosses my 12th house North Node. I don’t recall where Vesta is in my natal chart, but she’s an archetype to whom I’ve always felt deeply connected. I tend to be a hearth-keeper, albeit one who rarely has companions around her hearth these days.

    All wonderful, useful ideas you’ve offered today, Len. Thank-you!

  2. Len WallickLen Wallick Post author

    Bette: It seems as though you and i had a a similar upbringing. i’m sure we are in the company of millions, if not billions. With parents who endured worldwide economic depression and world war, one might expect something along those lines. Given this unprecedented alignment of Vesta, the Moon and its nodes just as Mars crosses into Cancer, a new sense of service is called for. Instead of fighting and dying for one’s country (or religion, or tribe, et al), how about loving and living for one’s highest principles, free of the need to brutalize and filled with the desire (which Mars also can be said to represent) for a new, holistic way of being wherein nobody is considered to be in detriment simply because of where, or where they were born or what they were born into. May you not go long without loving company by your hearth (i know how that feels too), and may that company serve you well.

    1. Geoff Marsh

      You and I also share similar backgrounds by the seem of it, Len. My parents’ lives (born 1896 and 1902) were what I’ve come to call “a depression sandwich” – two slices of world war on either side of 20 years of economic deprivation. It fostered a stoic resignation which they sublimated into the hope for a better future for their children. As a result, my life could not have been more different.

      My mother was “in service,” the term used in Britain for those who skivvied for the wealthy. At the age of 12, she passed the necessary examination to show that she could read, write and add up the grocery bill, showing that no further education was necessary for her station in life.

      From then on it was 18 hours a day of full-on service beginning with grate-blacking at 6am. All this for a society that would go to war because two royal cousins argued over which one had the bigger navy (think toys and prams), then get over the tragic loss of so many young lives by dancing the Charleston ’til dawn (time to wake up, America). Meanwhile, mother kept their home fires burning while probably overhearing music hall entertainer and male impersonator Vesta Tilley singing on that new-fangled gramophone thing.

      Of course, her “service” was never good enough – you need to keep a servant on their toes with the threat of dismissal without references – and it pretty much destroyed her self-esteem.

      So I say, thank you for your service, Len. Thank you to Eric and all the PWers who continue to surprise and delight with their insights as I stumble along my often angry path, vowing all the while not to go gentle into that good night …

  3. Barbara Koehler

    Hello Len, I’m glad you noted the synchronicity of Mars moving into Cancer with Vesta opposite Moon tied to the Moon’s nodes. In fact, Vesta’s hearths were found in individual homes as well as community centers, and we know the Moon symbolizes home and so does the sign Cancer. I sense this as a period of time to reflect on ways to serve (and nurture) one’s closest kin in these troubled times.

    My father had Mars in Cancer and although it’s true he wasn’t an athlete, he was a photo journalist who took superb pictures of athletes in action. He had a feel for it you might say. With a 12th house (Gemini) Sun he was not only the greatest father in the world, he knew what moved emotions and was capable of capturing it on film. And not just in sports but in politics (believe it or not!) or a dispute between minors and mine owners and so much more.

    A dear friend who was a pharmacist had her Mars in Cancer and all her customers were made to feel like family. She would call them at home (she lived in a small, almost rural community) to check on their well-being and if they couldn’t come in to get their rx refilled or didn’t have the money for it, she would always help them find a solution to these temporary problems.

    So, here we have this emphasis on Mars (action) in Cancer (sensitivity), as the Moon (feeling) conjuncts the North Node (path forward) in Libra (sharing), opposing Vesta (service and work) conjunct the South Node (past success) in Aries (independence). Perhaps this could apply generally to the young graduate leaving home to go to college or seek work, armed (Mars) with lessons learned from dedicated (Vesta) efforts and his youth (SN), which should help him maintain balance with any new (NN) emotional (Moon) experiences he may have among his peers (Libra). Just another big step in the process of living life. Sigh.

  4. Bette

    Thank-you, Len – yes, the Great Depression marked a generation (& the next…). Yesterday, among old clippings, I ran across a newspaper page of recipes & household hints dated February 1, 1936. My parents were newlyweds then, & the story was that they began with $5.00 to their name. Times were hard – but although I resisted some of the constant scrimp-/save I was raised with, my parents taught me how to survive hard times, skills which have served me well. In our unstable & unpredictable present world, I expect those skills may become even more necessary.

  5. Len WallickLen Wallick Post author

    Barbara (be): Please be not moved to sigh. Rather, know how grateful i am to receive your erudite and perceptive analysis of the unique whole that accompanies this year’s Martian ingress into Cancer. Thank you especially for noting Vesta’s connection with the ancient home hearth (and hence the sign Cancer and it’s ruler, the Moon). Thanks to you, we can enter the Martian traversal of Cancer with a much deeper appreciation of its holistic implications for each of us, and all of us, especially at Planet Waves.

    Bette: Speaking of which, that clipping from 1936 (and your parents getting married that year) has a striking connection with this year’s astrology. For in 1936 the Mercury retrogrades were almost precisely the same (same signs, same degrees and same dates) as the 2015 Mercury retrogrades. Like i wrote in the first sentence of my offering today: astrology always seems to know.

  6. Holaday Mason

    What a fine and useful article Len. As you know it will be a help to me. And thank everyone else here for their depth-full comments. Truly food to nourish. Jai. h

  7. Bette

    The planetary pattern similarities to 1936 are interesting! I hadn’t thought to look into the astrology of that time. Finding that old newspaper page, together with today’s post & subsequent reflections comprise something beyond “coincidence” (if there were such things as coincidences anyway) – yes, the astrology always seems to know.

    Re: Mars in Cancer – one of the most kind, competent people I know has Mars in Cancer conjunct Saturn, square Venus in Aries. Aries sun/Mercury, Pisces moon. Big heart, but tough & resilient when it’s necessary, & a wonderful longtime friend.

    1. Amanda PainterAmanda Painter

      Bette — although my other planetary placements are different, I also have Mars and Saturn in Cancer; not quite conjunct, but close enough that both are square my Venus in Aries. Whether I am also “kind and competent” I’ll let others decide. :)

      But I do find that my Mars in Cancer, when provoked, tends to aim any anger or similar forceful emotional reaction at those I am closest to. So family and close intimate partners tend to see the worst of it. Not something I’m proud of, but at least now I understand it better. I think there’s something about the close familiarity that removes some of the filters and perspective that regulate how my reactions get expressed toward those I do not know well.

      That, and I find my Mars in Cancer is an indicator of how I respond to physical pain: with anger. I always thought it odd that I would react that way, when my mother reacts with sadness to physical pain. But not me — I get pissed off.

      Speaking of physical: while I may not consider myself an “athlete” in terms of my level of physical activity (I’m no pro, and never really got into playing sports in school), I am *very* active and find it to be an absolutely *crucial* facet of who I am and how I feel good. I’m guessing that has to do with the house placement of my Cancer Mars.

      But I find that if I go a couple days without some kind of yoga/running/skiing/swimming (oh, especially swimming! definitely a hallmark of Mars in Cancer)/hiking/weights/dancing (dancing!)/kayaking/very brisk walking/etc, I start to get physically antsy in a way that can start to morph into anger; it’s like my legs get angry or something. I *have* to move — and move in a way that is physically intensive to be satisfying.

      So — while team sports never held any interest for me (I tried field hockey once in middle school because all my friends were doing it, but the next year tried out for the school musical instead), solo athletic pursuits (with the exception of dance) make me happy. Although, it can often be fun to engage in those solo activities with a partner who’s also pretty athletic. :)

      …Just couldn’t resist chiming in!

  8. GwenGwen

    By JOVE, Len you’ve done it again! Your words have struck THE CHORD that is now resonating with me! I am heading towards the BIG 60 next weekend, and was wondering what the theme of my next chapter will be…SERVICE it is! Synchronistic Evolutionary Rennaissance Via Increasing Collaborative Endeavors…I can commit to that!

    1. Geoff Marsh

      Fabulous acronym, Gwen. I’m having it inscribed over the serving hatch between kitchen and dining room. Loosely translated, it means: “Now come and help with the washing-up, you lazy bastards.”

  9. P. SophiaP. Sophia

    Thank you Len! Love to have your insights.. Do you believe this opposition of the North Node and Vesta will assist, and also further amplifiy moving across these very powerful and highly spiritual early Libran Degrees crossing over this wide orb of the Super-Galactic Center?  There are different views, but seems to me spanning anywhere from Virgo 28, to Libra 5+ degrees.
    This is one big, black hole in the universe! Such a void may be felt. Yet, also offers the incredible ‘seed’ potential for energy transmutation, and ourcaccessing the deep, inner healing and truth we ALL continue to seek.

  10. P. SophiaP. Sophia

    “Hence, modern astrology’s glyph representing Vesta as a votive flame, and the implicit interpretation of Vesta as representing (among other things) the art of service”.

    Thank you again Len. This article just brought new meaning to my understanding and the potentional of my Natal Vesta and Chiron offer, which are in 6th conjunct at 17-18+ Pisces degrees. Also in looking at the chart, I just noticed the trans Vesta and Moon’s Node in opposition is on my AC – DC Axis also activating MC – IC Cross at 4+ and 5+ degrees. Mars today moves into Cancer as you say, which is likewise crossing my personal natal North Node at 0+ Cancer Degrees.

    I will continue to look out to that big sky, and also intently pay attention to what is right in front of me. My beautiful Son is the greatest of attention to me. We have been enjoying some very precious moments together at the start of this Summer. He is almost 15 now, so as you may imagine every, (every!) second of service he is OK in allowing of me, always, but especially at this point, is truly a gift for me to recieve.!

    I am really interested in and looking forward to your comments on the Super Galactic degrees. BTW, my Son’s DC is 1+ Libra and is MC – IC Axis is at my same North Node degree, 0+ Cancer. Guess the Pee Wee Golf Competition we have planned is a good one for us to play today. ;)

  11. Len WallickLen Wallick Post author

    Gwen: Happy impending birthday (and, following Geoff) thank you for the amazingly appropriate acronym!

    Geoff: Thank you for sharing a bit of your family history so generously and compassionately. May it provide incentive for all of us to create a better history with our own lives. May every person’s life serve to bring about a more equitable, well balanced, and blessed share of earthly life for each and every one of us who passes through henceforth.

    Holaday: Please accept my sincere gratitude in turn for allowing me the honor and privilege of being in your service.

    Bette: Thank you for providing an additional (highly instructive) Mars-in-natal-Cancer profile. And yes, that resonance you discovered with 1936 still rings in my innermost ear.

    P. Sophia: Thank you for your question. Because the Super Galactic Center (as i believe Phil Sedgwick named that part of the sky and zodiac) is something we have only recently become consciously aware of, we will probably have to experience some of what Eric calls “proving moments” before we can answer your question. As if to reinforce that point, electional astrology (as i understand it) considers the very late and early degrees surrounding any sign cusp to be somewhat of an indeterminate zone. Nonetheless, the timing of the Martian ingress to Cancer combined with the alignment of Vesta, the lunar nodes and the Moon today would appear to serve us all with a bit of a collective “proving moment” from which we would be wise take note. Also, thank you for sharing how the ambient astrology is transiting your personal astrology. It appears as if your entire nativity is being lit up, as it were. Finally, may this precious and important time in your and your son’s life serve to bless you both with an abundance of continued gratification and love.

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