Considering Leaves


April 10-11, 2017 at 11:08pm PDT / 6:08am UT (11th)

Sun and Moon opposed at 21°32' Aries/Libra

picIn just a few hours, the Sun and Moon will perfect their monthly opposition: a bright, full Luna will reflect the light of an Aries Sun through the Venus-ruled sign of Libra.

When the Full Moon falls in harmonious Libra, relationships take center stage, whether we are in happy ones, ones that make us crazy, or we are currently out of one, longing to be in one, better than that last one. Symbolized by those balanced scales of justice, Libra seeks that elusive fulcrum point of blissful communion — somewhere between complete autonomy and "alien takeover" by our partner. Yet, in a larger sense, Libra, and her 7th house of the chart, also represent how we handle the "social" realm of life in general, our "social skills" as our elementary school teacher put it. How we connect with everyone, and what we tend to do too, that undermines happy connections, usually having to do with something being off-kilter. Balance. It is always an issue of balance with Libra.

Ruled by the Goddess of Love, Libra sees cooperation, consideration and graciousness as mandatory, and she's right. They are important qualities found among those most capable of successful relating. But there is another side to the Full Moon equation here, and that's Libra's opposite sign Aries. Aries, a fiery yang sign, is focused on the needs of the individual self, and for Aries it is the quest for independence, the ability to exercise and express the individual will, that is paramount. Aries can err on the side of being a tad selfish, while Libra wants to commingle so much, her own life is neglected, and a central part of the self begins to lose its color and fade away. Venus and Mars represent that need for cooperation, not just literally in our own intimate relationships, but also within our own selves as well: the need for a healthy balance of these very different, yin and yang, "self and other" impulses.

So the Libra Full Moon, this once a year event, asks us: How do we maintain personal freedom and autonomy, while preserving needed intimacy in our lives? How can we better balance this important social give and take of life? To be truly happy requires at least some amount of emotional support, companionship and appreciation, all of which are found in healthy alliances. But if we choose to live the Libra extreme, that is solely through our partnerships, we can end up bitter and resentful, having sacrificed too much of what WE need. With Aries unchecked — the other side of the coin — we become the lone wolf and can be too independent and self-centered, so fearful of losing ourselves, losing freedom, we cannot make the necessary compromises essential for trust to develop, and true partnerships, and true friendships, to bloom.

Aries and Libra, ruled by Mars and Venus, together are the archetypal Lovers, but they are also antagonists as well. The astrological significance of Libra's 7th house parallels this as the house of not only marriage, but open enemies. Adversaries who test us, people we despise, yet make us face ourselves in often painful and unwanted ways, are equally symbolized by Venus's social air sign. The people who annoy us the most are often our best teachers, because they so often reveal what we deny in ourselves. Lovers and adversaries both reflect important knowledge back to us, but to gain this wisdom, we must first have the courage to peer into these brightly lit, often unflattering mirrors. Yes, even the most lovely among us can be very very ugly and small. Saying that isn't possible is the first step towards becoming that.

There is no better time for this kind of peering into the truth of how we are really operating in the world than at the Libra Full Moon. Especially this year with ruler, Venus, in reflective retrograde in sensitive, intuitive Pisces. Moreover, another retrograde began just yesterday. Mercury, which represents how we think, connect, communicate, and make sense of the world around us, is at station standstill in Venus-ruled Taurus. So the "Messenger God" is adding even more emphasis to this Venus-flavored introspection project underway now for the past month.

Three or four times a year Mercury retrogrades, each time for three weeks, and the sign in which it stops and retraces its steps provides clues as to the particular mercurial review that is set in (backwards) motion; and Mercury in earthy Taurus is a sensualist indeed, taking inspiration from beauty, from the natural world. Mercury in Taurus is a lover of the finer pleasures of life: good food shared with special friends with whom one can relax and just be — still that crazy, overworked, too-busy mind. Mr. "Be Here Now" himself, Ram Dass, has natal Mercury in Taurus for example.

Jupiter, Uranus, Pluto, Mars, Chiron and Ceres

This Full Moon also connects powerfully with that transiting t-square, and so the tension and lightning-strike realizations (Jupiter opposite Uranus) that are no doubt popping up, relates to this potent Full Moon activation of this potentially transformative, major configuration for the year. I wrote about the t-square last December when Jupiter and Uranus perfected their first opposition. Essentially discussing all the major breakthroughs, many of which have been technological/scientific, that have happened historically when these two faced off in the past.

Is there is no better example of collective insanity than this? (Incidentally the notion of "collective insanity" is archetypally Uranian, its long dark shadow.)Over the course of the last few months, I've gone through a major rethinking of what this t-square really does represent, paying attention to synchronous events, mostly other writers' insights, that have helped me gain a deeper understanding. In particular, how much my philosophy and position on technology and science has been limited by a major bias emphasized in these times in which I have grown up and evolved. I am seeing more and more, since December, how this unquestioned hope I've been hanging onto, pretty much all my life, that somehow, someone brilliant will come up with that mother of all technological fixes for our current ecological fixes — well I am seeing now what a fool's gold that really is.

It's becoming clearer and clearer that the way out of this collective mess we are in, isn't to add more technology to our, already overly complicated lives. Ironically Einstein himself touched on this truth when he stated that problems cannot be solved at the level at which they were created. Our love of technology, the way in which we have turned our lives over to it to a truly inhuman extent, the way in which, too, we often select the most complicated option among many choices, thinking that the more complicated or engineered something is, the better it is — IS THE PROBLEM.

Probably most devasting of all, is the way in which we have turned our back on these basic natural systems that support life on our planet, as if we can somehow get by without them; and to the current, crazy extent that we are now spending money and resources investigating potential outer space solutions to support life, rather than using those same resources to heal the planet already conveniently under our feet. Is there is no better example of collective insanity than this? (Incidentally the notion of "collective insanity" is archetypally Uranian, its long dark shadow.)

The core alignment for this fruition point of the cycle, this Full Libra Moon, is Uranus in opposition to "consider the bigger picture" Jupiter — so its message of "rethinking technology," honestly examining our dark and undermining relationship with it, our addiction to it, our reliance on the "miracles" technology seems to offer, with a troubling, concurrent lack of reverence for the miracles of nature provided daily, is the key. Ben Weaver addresses this need for serious attitude adjustment squarely in one of his poems (full poem shared below), when he wrote that we need to remember Both poems struck me recently in the best kind of Jupiter-Uranus "flash of insight" way, but with that important Pluto "bite" of truth: helping us see just how far we have lost our way, stumbling blindly into this hell of our own making."the millions of invisible miracles which must occur within the sky so that a blizzard can become a blizzard."

So my hope now, dim as it is to be honest, for our future, for what good change can come from this powerful alignment, this final blast of Uranus-Pluto bolstered so powerfully this year by Jupiter, is no longer that some miracle-working techie will emerge to save us from our own destructive selves, but instead that we just simply stop being so destructive, so greedy and lazy, put own lives in better order, and consign technology to a much more realistic place. If we can do this, begin to more humbly live within the real limits of this natural world of ours, to respect and honor this planet, then possibly, through our own redirection and re-VALUATION, we can at least BEGIN to reverse the damage we are wrecking all over hill and dale.

So on that note, here's two poems for you, both struck me recently in that best kind of Jupiter-Uranus "flash of insight" way, but with that important Pluto "bite" of truth: helping us see just how far we have lost our way, stumbling blindly into this hell of our own making. One poem is short the other long, both reflect the message of this Full Moon "pause-for-insight" — with Mercury at station retrograde in earthy Taurus, Jupiter, the philosopher king and seeker of truth, conjunct a Venus-ruled Full Moon, which in turn opposes the Aries Sun conjunct technological Uranus, and all four squaring transformational, diver of depths Pluto, with the ruler of the Aries Sun, passionate Mars, conjunct Ceres, Mother Nature herself, both in that Venus-ruled, "sign of the "Hobbit," Taurus. As Tolkien himself wrote: "If more of us valued food and cheer above hoarded gold, it would be a much merrier world."


You could rake leaves while the glaciers melt
and horses stand somewhere in a field
with the sound of wind blowing rain into their manes
you could go to a job you don't love
and live in a house you don't want
and sit in traffic and feel trapped watching
the eagles dive above the light posts and power lines
or you could stop raking and lay down in the dirt
with the leaves scattering around you
smelling like the coming snow
and the rattling ghosts of summer lightning
you could pick up a river and hold it to your eye
watch a turtle crawl through it
the light turbulent out of the sky beyond the bluffs.

Instead of serving these mad corporations and law makers
oblivious to the dew on the pigs hindquarters at morning
or the effort it takes ducks to find food after such a wet summer
you could sit round a fire next to the lake and
listen as the water carries voices from a canoe
out somewhere near the middle
back to your camp along the stony shore
and as the fire licks at the red pines
you could uncover a memory that
smells like moose hooves and orchids
wild rice hulls and trumpeter swans
and helps you to remember the millions
of invisible miracles which must occur within the sky
so that a blizzard can become a blizzard.

This memory is what the mad kings and architects
of the anthropomorphic rivers want you to forget
because if you do not remember the smell or feel of the land
then you will believe anything they tell you about it
including that it is just another body to exploit.

But if you remember the sound of waves
pulling back through the hair of beaches
or the ring of wind among icicles and sparrow caves
you have not forfeited all of your freedom and power
to the ruthlessness of modern convenience
and if you remember otters sliding across the lake at dusk
or a bear rushing back into the alder
then you also remember
that you are among the millions of tiny miracles within the sky
that allow a blizzard to become a blizzard
and if you can remember this
then you can speak sing and dream loud as thunder
for every quiet piece of land and water on this earth
because you have not forgotten
that you
not the mad kings
are the one with power.

— Ben Weaver, from the Dark Mountain Project


I leave behind even
my walking stick. My knife
is in my pocket, but that
I have forgot. I bring
no car, no cell phone,
no computer, no camera,
no CD player, no fax, no
TV, not even a book. I go
into the woods. I sit on
a log provided at no cost.
It is the earth I've come to,
the earth itself, sadly
abused by the stupidity
only humans are capable of
but, as ever, itself. Free.
A bargain! Get it while it lasts.

— Wendell Berry, from Leavings: Poems



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"Look it Over" is from Berry's collection of poetry, Leavings (Berkeley: Counterpoint, 2010).

The painting of the pensive angel, La Pensée, is the work of Alexandre Séon, French Symbolist artist, illustrator and decorator.

Ben Weaver is a songwriter and poet. His website is benweaver.net

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