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Planetary Glyphs

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Have you ever wondered about the symbols astrologers and astronomers use to represent the planets of our solar system? The shapes of the symbols we use aren’t random. In today’s post, we’ll look at the meaning contained in each of the planetary glyphs. Most of the glyphs are composed from the three basic shapes of a circle, a plus sign (or cross), and a crescent. The circle represents an unbroken, self-contained system of wholeness. It is Spirit, eternal, unified, balanced, self-replicating and ever-lasting. The circle divides the unseen and the seen with its boundary.

The cross, or plus sign, is the symbol of matter. It indicates the four directions, the four elements, the fact of duality, time and space. On the wheel, these four cardinal points are indicators of Spirit entering Matter (left to right) and of Order being made out of Chaos (top to bottom). The plus sign reminds us of the cross that all things enshrined in matter must bear, mortality. In the center where the lines meet is a meeting place that suggests presence, in which the sum is greater than the individual parts. In the center is the balance point which reminds us that spirit is within everything manifest.

The crescent is the shape of attention in motion. As the Moon shows us her changing face every night, glyphs that include the crescent shape indicate an archetype in which there is movement of and a connection to greater sources of information. The crescent facing upwards is open to information originating from the soul, while downward-facing crescents receive information from the subconscious. Crescents facing left indicate growth and left-brain perception, while those facing right indicate forces of decay and right-brain understanding. The crescent shape itself suggests a light side and a dark side. The light, visible side shows ones ability to become aware of their needs, thoughts, feelings, and memories, while the dark, invisible side is that of instinct, imagination, raw emotion and the cycles of life. The pulsation and movement between these forces, like the waxing and waning of the Moon, is what gives us a sense of time.

Let’s examine each planetary glyph for more information. The Sun’s symbol is of the circle of Spirit with a dot in the center. The dot specifies self-mastery, it shows that one’s core, the spiritual center, is known. It is the symbol of the self-realized individual, one who knows that their creativity, their spark of life, comes from Spirit and is shining through the individual from their own center, the solar plexus. As the Sun is the central organizing principle in the solar system, the Sun in one’s chart shows the way we organize the various aspects of our psyche.

The Moon’s glyph is of a crescent facing to the left. Facing in this direction, the Moon’s symbol indicates that she is a force of growth, open to and gestating new possibilities. The glyph of the Moon reminds us how our ego, our concept of self, is like the lenses in a pair of glasses which the soul takes off when the life is over, and which affects the way we perceive reality while we have them on. The fact that the ego is constantly in motion, expanding and decaying yet reliable all through the life, is shown by the cyclic nature of the Moon in the sky.

Mercury’s symbol includes all three of the basic shapes. The cross under the circle of spirit shows a connection between knowledge of a spiritual nature and knowledge of a pragmatic nature, and suggests that Mercury has a knowingness of the practical matters of life. Indeed, Mercury is the ruler of commerce, measurement and deductive reasoning. The crescent above the circle suggests the movement of ideas that are perceived from the soul (or superconscious) and made conscious in their grounding in the material world. The crescent shape is also indicative of the horns on the helmet of the Greek god Mercury, who was the only god in the pantheon who was allowed to freely come and go, without consequence, from both heaven and hell. Mercury moved ideas from the sacred to the profane and back again. The upward-pointing crescent on the circle of spirit suggests that thoughts, ideas, language and speech are not truly our own but are brought down from higher levels of organization.

The meeting of the two realms of heaven and Earth, spirit and matter, with Spirit dominating. This symbol suggests the reproductive organs of a woman which are capable of bringing the unseen in the seen. Indeed, Venus rules talent, which is the ability to bring and share something from the unseen. The arrangement of Spirit resting in balance on the cross of matter suggests the nature of the feminine principle which is attracting, magnetic, persuading and connecting.

The glyph of Mars is pretty easy to read. It is the force of willpower, the separating desires, pulling one away from Spirit. Mars’ glyph, which looks like the reproductive organ of the male, shows us that it is instinctual and primal in nature. Indeed, Mars/Ares is the warrior, the raw power and outgoing force of the masculine. The fact that it follows its own subjective needs is shown in the arrow extending from the source of its power. It is a symbol of going out into the world and getting the object of one’s desire, with force if necessary.

Incorporating the shapes of the cross and the crescent, Jupiter’s glyph reminds us of its expansive, optimistic nature. The crescent on the left side of the cross indicates that the expansion of horizons has brought something new into being. Because the crescent is above the horizontal line it signifies that the forms being brought into matter are in the growing part of their cycle. Jupiter provides a joyful connection to Natural Law, ensuring that forms, ideas and circumstances are brought to their highest potential.

Originally, Saturn’s glyph was the exact opposite of Jupiter’s but, over time, has become stylized. In Saturn’s symbol, the crescent hangs downward, below the horizon on the right side, below the cross of matter. The cross as the primary shape, above the crescent, makes it clear that Saturn oversees the realm of 3-dimensions where achievement and materialism reign. The curl at the bottom end suggests that the movement endemic to the crescent shape is being cut off and trapped in the dirt. Saturn’s glyph indicates that the form is decaying and dying, that a cap has been put upon the creation which deprives it of access to Spirit. Indeed, Saturn rules death and the endings of things. Some have suggested that the crescent of Saturn is a scythe which is used to cut things down at the end of their cycle, as the grim reaper does.

The most complex symbol is that of Uranus which incorporates all three shapes in a unique configuration. The circle of spirit below the cross of matter creates an upended reality in which ideas are brought from the collective unconscious into personal, conscious awareness in jolts, like lightening strikes. The channel that is created between the outward-turned crescents can be likened to the two hemispheres of the brain being held apart to allow new ideas and images to enter. The symbolism here is reflected in the archetype of Uranus, the force of Liberation, which moves us beyond the consensus status quo toward the unconditioned unknown, and which frees us from the rules and expectations of the past and future.

This is the symbol of turning dreams into reality. The glyph of Neptune shows that the realm of the soul reigns above material existence. The upward-facing crescent receives images, sounds, information of all kinds, from the soul and, as long as it isn’t hindered by delusions and addictions, brings the unseen into the seen (as symbolized by the cross). The symbol of Neptune is also a reminder that the material world penetrates Spirit and vice versa. The similarities between the glyphs of Neptune and Venus show that one is the higher expression, of the other.

Pluto has more than one glyph associated to it but all of them (except the one which uses the initials of its discoverer, PL) speak to its psychologically-oriented and transformative nature. The upward-turned crescent below the smaller circle shows its receptivity to stellar energies which are then brought down into matter through a succession of lifetimes in which we attempt to balance the hemispheres of the brain and tame the primal energies toward conscious, reasoned action.


Now that you understand the basic shapes used in glyphs, you have the knowledge to interpret other astronomical, astrological and alchemical symbols for yourself. Cheers.

Current Events: finally moving forward

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This has been an exceptional year for retrogrades. It doesn’t happen every year, but in 2020, every single planet went retrograde. When planets are retrograde, things don’t slow down, they speed up. The reason why details go missing, devices act strange, and travel gets disturbed during a Mercury retrograde isn’t because the flow of information is going slower – it’s because information is moving faster than normal. 

While Mars has been retrograde (September 9 – November 14, 2020) it has been much easier to get angry and frustrated, especially about things not moving forward as fast as we would like or about things not going our way. This has been especially true because Mars is in his home sign of Aries. During this time, you probably had to ask yourself if the thing you’re pushing along is worth it. You probably also looked at different ways to go about getting what you want. 

When Mars stations direct late this week and begins to move forward, our projects will finally get off the ground or get back on track, obstacles that seemed impossible to deal with will shift or dissolve, and new solutions will be easier to see. In about a week, life will return to its normal speed. Hang in there. 2020 is almost over. 

Sun into Scorpio

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Continuing its retreat into the barren cold of winter, the Sun moved into Scorpio on October 23rd, 2020. Back when we lived closer to the land, this month of the year correlated to a time when gardens were put to bed and animals who would not live through the winter were culled. The shriveling and falling of the leaves and the increasing cold brought to mind the possibility of death for those who were unprepared for the long winter months ahead.

Indeed, death is the theme, and several cultures celebrate their dead at this time of the year (Halloween, el Dia de los Muertos, All Hallows Eve, All Saints Day, Hungry Ghost Festival, etc.). Communication between the seen and unseen is easier now. Scorpio is ruled by Pluto, Lord of the Underworld, and is associated with, in addition to death, other ‘inevitable’ things like taxes and sex. Inevitable also are the effects of Pluto transits which are often extreme as they strip away anything extraneous and leave things forever changed, deepened by the experience. By mode and element, Scorpio is fixed water, which is reflected in it’s emotional stubbornness.

If you were born between November 5, 1983 and May 18, 1984, August 27, 1984 and January 17, 1995, or April 21, 1995 and November 10, 1995, you have Pluto in Scorpio. With Pluto in Scorpio, the underlying bass tone of your life is extreme emotional experiences. You are wanting to root out that which has been preventing your evolution. 

Those with Pluto in Scorpio have come into this life seeking to experience the limits of who they are/aren’t, and of what they can/can’t do. There will be an emphasis on power in all its forms – empowerment, disempowerment, overpowering, absolute power, powerlessness, etc. – as the person seeks out people, experiences or bodies of knowledge that challenge the person’s fears and emotional blockages. Taboos (especially sexual), resistance, emotional complexes, and phobias are magnets for these people and they will align themselves to whatever they’ve deemed powerful in an effort to merge with it. 

People with Pluto in Scorpio (with the Sun in Scorpio, with the Sun in the 8th house or with a Scorpio Ascendant) are deeply introspective and psychological. Their past-life experiences with the various permutations of power/powerlessness carries into this life as an innate understanding of people and what motivates them, and also in the underlying feeling that they’ve been betrayed or had the rug pulled out from underneath them in the past. For some Scorpios, it’s very difficult to not use their psychological understanding of people to their advantage, which is why Scorpio has a reputation for being compulsive and manipulative. 

The highest path for the Pluto in Scorpio person is in self-sufficiency, ceasing to create and benefit from sexual and emotional dependencies, and a willingness to risk what to them constitutes security. 

If you’d like more personalized information, please do take a look at the Readings page of my website. I’d love to hear from you. Also, please do Like or share this with your friends if you enjoyed it. Grazie.

Current Events: Retrogrades

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We are two-and-a-half weeks into the two-month Mars retrograde. Are you noticing that your momentum has slowed down and that, in some area of your life, frustration, anger and/or fear are mounting? The best way to work with Mars retrograde is to examine how you go about getting what you want, what makes you angry and why, and what makes you fearful and why. Examining our motivations – why we do the things we do – is excellent use of Mars retrograde. When we understand our motivations, we understand ourselves and others much more deeply.

Other Retrogrades

This Mars retrograde period (from September 10 to November 14, 2020) encompasses the changing of directions of several other planets. On September 13, Jupiter stationed direct, and September 29, Saturn will also begin moving in a forward motion. Normally, when these heavy-hitting planets finish their yearly retrograde period (usually, near the end of summer), we feel the forward-moving energy. The beginning of September often feels like the beginning of a new year. Not this year. 

While Jupiter was retrograde, we spent some weeks reviewing our personal philosophy,  we re-organized the way we have been seeing the Big Picture of our lives, perhaps in light of recently unearthed truths we hadn’t been aware of previously. While Saturn has been retrograde, we have had the opportunity to examine our relationship to authority, and ourselves as the authority figure in our own lives. We probably saw painfully clearly where we need to take more responsibility for things. If you are self-employed or run a business, you probably re-organized the way you do things, perhaps making things legal, adding or letting go of co-workers, putting some structure in place to ensure smoother sailing in the upcoming months. 

Even with these two giant planets moving forward, life won’t seem to get back to normal until mid-November when both Mars and Mercury will have finished their retrogrades.

Mercury will be retrograde from October 14 to November 4, 2020. Between now and October 14, use the time to make plans, back up your data, organize any travel (if you must travel), and to clarify and communicate the details of your projects in the clearest language possible.

Use the month from mid-October mid-November to rest. As mentioned previously, don’t push things while Mars is retrograde. Rather, step back and allow the pieces to change positions before falling into place on their own. When Mars begins moving forward mid-November, there will be a tremendous release of energy.

Sun into Libra

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Continuing around the wheel, the point at which there is an awareness of someone/something opposite, the halfway point, is the beginning of Libra. Most people assume Libras are balanced but balance is being sought in Libra. The halfway point is the most extreme spot on the wheel. It is the place of the initial awareness of polarity and relativity.

If you were born between October 5, 1971 and April 17, 1972, July 30, 1972 and November 5, 1983, or between May 18, 1984 and August 27 or 1984, you have Pluto in Libra. With Pluto in Libra, the resounding bass undertone of life, the same undertone that defines your generation, is all about relationships.

Those with Pluto in Libra have come into this life with pre-existing imbalances in relationships. In this life, they want to try again, to ‘get it right’, and, in most cases, step away from the relationship at the right time and in the right way. So, for people with Pluto (or the South Node or the ruler of the South Node) in Libra, hooking up with people (maybe a lot of people) is of evolutionary importance.

Libras learn by mirroring others to discover who they are and who they are not. When out of balance, it’s very easy for Pluto in Libra people to lose sighting of their individuality and become overly absorbed in the reality of their partner. Co-dependency, needing to be needed, and damaged trust are all part of this archetype as ones experience with the other will, eventually, lead to objective awareness of the needs of self vs. the needs of the other. Libras are learning to listen objectively and to give what the other person needs (rather than what they want or is easy to give).

The higher tones of the Libran archetype are expressions of relationships in which both partners are secure in themselves and in which each person encourages the other to shine and follow their dreams.

Autumnal equinox

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Today is the Autumnal equinox. Astronomically, the equinoxes are when Earth’s equatorial axis is perpendicular to the Sun. From our perspective, it is when the hours of day of night are (theoretically, at least) equal.

The first, waxing half of the wheel (from Aries in March through Virgo in September) is when the energy pushes outward to reach its fullness. The second, waning half of the wheel (from Libra in September through Pisces in March) is one of involution and introspection, when the energy is turned inward. Indeed, ‘fall’ is related to the period when the ebbing of the Sun (which began back in June at the summer solstice) becomes noticeable.

For people connected to nature, this time of year, when the Sun rises from the same place on the horizon for three days, is the time to begin the harvest – of food and of animals. Not only would the food, grains and wood get cut, dried and put up for winter. Too, those animals which could not be fed over the winter (based on the success of the harvest and the age and health of the animal) would be culled. It’s a hard truth but the outcome was that the family would be fed over the winter and the remaining animals would also have what they needed to survive the cold months.

With the Autumnal equinox, we are entering the third-quarter of the wheel. The first quarter (from the left edge to the bottom) shows the time from conception to birth. The second quarter is indicative of the time we learn of ourself as a unique person in a certain family. The third quarter of the wheel shows the time we begin to interact with others on a one-to-one basis.

The third quarter of the wheel is trans-personal, it’s when we move beyond the self and begin learning how to interact with others in an equal way (giving/receiving, listening/speaking, etc.). In the third quarter we experience the power of love, how it taps into energy that can lead to a reality that is greater than the sum of its individual parts. There is an intense, do-or-die quality to the third quarter which is sometimes referred to as the Quadrant of Manifestation.

[Image from sharethyknowledge.quora.com]

Architects of many ancient cultures built special features into their buildings that only showed themselves twice a year. The location, shape and details of many important buildings synchronized with the Spring and Autumnal equinoxes.

The Great Pyramid in Egypt was built so that, at midnight on the Autumn equinox, certain alpha stars of specific constellations shone straight down a specific narrow descending passageway. (In 3350BC and 2170BC, it was Thuban, alpha star of the constellation Draco, and in 2004AD, it was Polaris, alpha star of Ursa Minor.)

[Image from landlopers.com]

The stepped pyramids of Chich’en Itza, Mexico are another astronomical wonder. The pyramids, which are dedicated to Kukulcan, the feathered serpent, have snakes running down the steps that appear to undulate with the sun of the Autumnal equinox. (They appear to undulate back up the pyramid with the sun of the Spring equinox.)

At the equinox, when the Sun moves into Libra, we have an opportunity to synchronize ourselves with Nature, ourselves, and our life. If this is important to you, reserve some time this afternoon (at 3:30pm or anytime of the day and night of September 22 or 23) to meditate. Balance and harmony are the themes.

Current Events: Mars Retrograde

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Wednesday, September 9, 2020, Mars will station retrograde at 28º of Aries. For two months he will appear to travel backwards (from our perspective on Earth) until he stations direct, November 13, 2020 at 15º Aries.

Mars retrograde from Earth’s perspective

Like with every other planet, when Mars goes retrograde, it’s energy is felt especially strongly. Mars will be nearer to us than usual and on the same side of the Sun as we are, and so it’s unmitigated influence will be especially loud for us here on Earth. 

Mars is happy in it’s home sign of Aries. It gets things done, it moves in total freedom according to it’s own desires, it is passionate and subjective, and it does start fights – but only when it feels bound or restricted. The placement of Mars in your chart shows how you go about getting what you want, what makes you angry, what makes you fearful, and where you are especially courageous. Where Aries is in your chart shows where you need to let go of the past and where you are needing to gather up your courage to face your fears. 

While Mars is retrograde, you can expect that things will not move forward very easily in the area of life ruled by Aries in your chart. (You are welcome to share your chart on the Quality Astrology FB page and ask a question about Mars retrograde in your chart; I’d be happy to answer it). Even if you don’t know where Mars is traveling in your chart, you can expect that excitement and enthusiasm for the projects in your life will wane in September and October. You may feel tired or burned-out. Don’t push. And don’t lean on yourself, on others, nor on the project. Down-shift. And, if it’s possible, don’t launch anything new in those two months. It’s better to continue plugging away on your current projects instead. 

Adding to the intensity of this particular Mars retrograde are the three hard angles (squares) Mars will make to Saturn in the late degrees of Capricorn. Frustration will most certainly boil over (especially around September 28-30) as the forces of change engage in potentially bloody conflict with the forces that be. Think of this time as a battle (not a war) in which retreating to reorganize is the smartest move. Mars doesn’t have the weight to win a fight with Saturn in Capricorn (forces which are represented in our lives by authority figures, parents, governments, police, world leaders, etc.), so it’s best to make sure you have a way of letting off steam during this time (exercise and laughter are excellent). 

The take-home message of Mars Retrograde in 2020 is: slow down, slow way down. Sometimes the way forward is by taking a step back. This is one of those times. 

Mars Approaching

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Let’s talk about Mars for a moment. Between now and October 6, 2020, Mars will become increasingly brighter in the night sky. He is lining up for his annual opposition to the Sun (from our perspective) which means that you can find him in the night and early-morning sky by looking at the point that is opposite the Sun. (For example, at midnight, he’d be at his highest point in the southern sky.) 

If Mars is under pressure in your Natal or Transit charts, or you simply have a desire to synchronize with its energy, for the next few weeks you might do these things: guided meditations related to owning your inner spiritual warrior, journaling about the deeper motivations for why you do the things you do, actively practicing turning anger and fear into excitement and a beginner’s mind. 

For the next 34 days, the energy of Mars will be increasing for everyone here on Earth. Let’s choose to embody the higher tones of the archetype so we can have less conflict with others and more fun with the energy as it rises. The higher tones include: returning to an innocent and childlike wonder, being an inspiration to others by being a pioneer (in the area of life where Aries is in your chart), gathering the courage to face fears, and letting go of the past.

Sun into Virgo

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Saturday, the 22nd of August, 2020, the Sun moved into the constellation of Virgo. This month is about making adjustments and preparations. We will organize our days for the coming months and we’ll streamline the daily routines.

The planets that orbit the Sun within Earth’s orbit, Venus and Mercury, have phases, from our perspective. In the zodiac, they each have two expressions, one inward-turned and one outward-turned. Mercury’s outward-turned, masculine expression, rules Gemini. Mercury’s inward turned, feminine expression rules Virgo.


People with Pluto in the 6th house, their Sun in Virgo, or Pluto in Virgo (born between 1958 and 1971 or between April and July of 1972) are learning humility and discrimination byway of intense self-analysis, purification, self-doubt, and by cultivating a relationship with Source. We are dissolving inferiority/superiority complexes, purging all traces of self-glorification and delusions of grandeur, and releasing the domination/submission paradigm from our psychic structure. These complexes are the residue from many lifetimes of experience with organized religion.

Indeed, the Virgo Generation is seen as the wave of people who will transition humanity out the monotheistic Piscean age to the Age of hive-mind of Aquarius. We are the ones who will witness the change of humanity from analog to digital, from binary to full spectrum, from one’s sense of belonging coming from the family and church to a sense of belonging coming from technologically-connected groups of like-minded individuals.

[from https://perceptionflow.files.wordpress.com]

In Evolutionary Astrology, there is a common teaching about Virgo. It begins with a recap of the archetype that comes just prior to Virgo, Leo. Leo sees itself as the apex of a pyramid. Everyone and everything, in a Leonian reality, is assessed by their/it’s ability to assist the apex person in being their best self, in shaping their reality with the force of their creative willpower. In Virgo, the pyramid is inverted. The person must now learn humility. If they refuse to learn it, they will experience humiliation instead.

An important piece of information for Virgos or those with their Pluto in Virgo or in the 6th house, is to beware of fixating too much on what you think isn’t working or isn’t good enough. Too much left-brain, critical thought will decrease your ability to express your deepest creativity. Too, don’t waste too much time or energy in procrastination, guilt, or compulsively examining the past. Assuage those feelings of deep aloneness and align your thought waves with meditation and music. Be of service by noticing what needs to be done and then being the person who does it. Respond to crisis by adjusting what isn’t working with self-improvement. And recognize that you are no less important nor more important than anyone else.

Current Events: 5 planets retrograde

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There are a number of the reasons why 2020 is an exceptional year, astrologically-speaking. One of those reasons is that every single planet will turn retrograde this year. The outer planets, Pluto, Neptune, Uranus, and Saturn, turn retrograde every year for a few months, but the other planets change direction less frequently. Jupiter goes retrograde every thirteen months. Mars goes retrograde every two years. Venus goes retrograde about every year and a half. And Mercury goes retrograde three times a year.

It’s mid-June and already five of the eight planets are retrograde. Wednesday, June 18, Mercury will station retrograde at 14º Cancer, and June 23, Neptune will station retrograde at 20º Pisces. Confusion, delusion, and a sense of uncertainty will prevail for the next three weeks, although things will slowly begin getting clearer when Venus turns direct Thursday, June 25, and Mars moves into Aries Sunday, June 28. Towards the end of the month we will begin to feel some wind behind us. Until then, creating forward momentum in your life might seem impossible. Instead, this is the time to turn the attention and energy inward. With so many planets retrograde, this is the time to roll up your sleeves and clean up the inner workings of your website, update the internal documentation that makes your company run smoothly, clean out your closets, gather your resources, or re-organize your life. Retrogrades are an excellent time to close projects and to make changes, but they’re not a great time to begin new things. Wait until July 13 if you can, when Mercury stations direct, to put new procedures and ideas into practice.

Later this week, just hours after the Sun moves into Cancer and we celebrate the Summer Solstice, Sunday, June 21, we will experience a total, annular Solar eclipse (visible only in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa). An annual eclipse is one in which the Moon is too close to Earth to cover the face of the Sun completely. This event won’t bring us any clarity but it will give us some great pictures of a blazing ‘ring of fire’.