By Amanda Painter
Last week, two major volcanoes put on impressive shows with their eruptions: Mt. Etna in Sicily, which is regularly active, and Momotombo in Nicaragua (for the first time in 110 years). Unsurprisingly, they serve as fitting illustrations for this week’s astrology — and the way that creative and destructive forces coexist, even within the same event.
Astrologically, the volcanic eruptions are mirrored by Mars in Libra, which squared Pluto in Capricorn on Sunday and is opposing Uranus in Aries on Dec. 11. Friday also is the New Moon in Sagittarius, which I’ll address in greater depth later in the week.
Our ‘volcano’ aspect pattern is a mix of fire (Mars, and the sign Aries), earth (Capricorn, plus Pluto by way of the ‘underground’ underworld) and air (Libra, and Uranus — who was the original sky god in Greek mythology). In all three planets we have images of active force, whether passionate, violent, evolutionary, disruptive or liberating.
Yet at their most basic, physical level, the actual volcanic eruptions embody one of the planet’s most primordial processes: in response to the shifting of tectonic plates and the subsequent buildup of tension, these hotspots eject molten magma. While the magma destroys elements of surface life in its path, it also builds a new (or larger) mountain. Destruction and creation, all in one go. It’s pretty awesome if you can witness it from a safe distance.
So what do you do when volcanic processes take center stage in your life? Do you run for cover? Try to stop it? Bear witness to the transformation? Try to harness the energy and focus it in some kind of positive, creative way? Do you try to learn from the eruption so you can recognize and work with the forces involved better next time?
When faced with a literal volcano, the only sensible thing to do is to move to a safe distance. Metaphorical life-volcanoes might require similar strategies; it’s just as likely, however, that your conscious, aware participation (which is different from reaction) is being called for. If you’re seeing the metaphorical volcanoes in terms of current news events (such as last week’s shooting in San Bernardino, California), you might be feeling torn between the ‘escape to safety’ and ‘participate consciously’ options.
The right answer for you could change several times over the course of a day, depending on whether your focus is ‘out there’ or ‘in here’; or whether you can easily shift perspective from a big picture that is overwhelming to something more local and manageable, thereby transmuting fear or numbness into creative action.
At the same time, as painful as eruptions can be in our lives, they are unfailing red flags that we need to address something important. If it’s part of a repeating pattern, are you ready to see it for what it is, learn from it and allow yourself to heal and move on?
If that sounds very centaur-ish, you’re right: before we get to Friday’s New Moon (and Mars opposite Uranus, just two hours before that), on Wednesday the Sun in Sagittarius squares Chiron in Pisces. This aspect is exact at 5:03 am EST (10:04 UTC) Dec. 9.
In a comment to Thursday’s subscriber issue, in which Eric wove together themes of several recent violent and painful events, Planet Waves member Barbara Koehler wrote:
“This bears the signature of Chiron doesn’t it? With Chiron in lock-step with Uranus (who has been and will again return to be painfully close to Eris before they make an exact conjunction in May), the centaur’s trademark ‘repetitive pain’ is key to these tragic events. The repetitive pain is necessary to bring awareness to a situation which is not getting proper attention.”
I hesitated to quote it directly, because my intention is not to create fear in anyone that this week is going to involve nothing but repetitive pain. That is far from the case; in fact, the Sagittarius Sun is also trine Uranus in Aries — an aspect that offers originality, inventiveness, independence, heightened intuition and a draw toward progressive causes and ideals.
Keep those qualities in sight and at your fingertips this week (Mercury may help with that, as it aligns with the Galactic Center, our ‘cosmic homing signal’, today). Something is may be trying to get your attention in a way that looks familiar — because, in fact, it is familiar. And yes, it might be painful in some way; possibly just by virtue of the fact that you thought you had dealt with it for the last time already.
Pay particular attention if this matter of inner reckoning has something to do with your beliefs (whether religious, spiritual, philosophical, emotional). Riffing on recent events and themes, it could have to do with war, life and death, ‘the meaning of it all’, your ability to create your own reality (or the belief that you cannot). Depending on where Sagittarius and Pisces fall in your chart, the issue trying to get your attention so that you’ll address it could have any number of more tangible, mundane manifestations.
Keep your mind open, and watch for anything that fits a familiar pattern you’ve struggled with in the past. Whatever insights you discover will be carried straight into the Sagittarius New Moon at the end of the week. Sounds to me like the centaur is aiming his bow for a new beginning of some kind.