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To the Edge and Beyond


  • Eric Francis Coppolino

In late April, the planets aligned in a grand cross pattern. Mars retrograde, Jupiter, Uranus, and Pluto came into perfect focus, an X pattern with the Earth in the middle. This was a peak moment of the Uranus-Pluto square—our era-defining aspect, the one that spans from 2012 through 2015 with several years tacked onto either side. Fast-moving, personality-driven planets like Mars getting mixed up with slow movers such as Uranus and Pluto can bring otherwise hidden events associated with the main aspect out to the forefront of our awareness.

So with some hindsight, the question is, what did you notice? The grand cross was followed by an eclipse of the Sun on April 29. Mars retrograde will end May 19, when Mars stations direct. Then Mars will take another two months to work its way across Libra and ingress Scorpio.

You could call this a "get serious" moment. Getting serious, however, is usually the thing we like to do the very least, dreaming away here in our la-la land of adventure films, foamy-milky-sugar-fluff beverages, iPods, and iPhones, dreaming away and where even "progressive" television programs consist of one-third commercials that verge on psychotic fantasies.

Americans live in a country where adults are fed dietary fiber in "yummy delicious" gumdrops, and where 4.5 million guns are purchased every year.

In the United States there are 90 guns for every 100 people and no obvious connection between that and the more than 33,000 Americans killed by people using guns (including homicide, suicide, and accidental death) in the first year after the Newtown mass shooting. Only a third of them were reported by the media.

I've said a few times that one of the most serious problems of Western civilization is our seeming inability to connect cause and effect. Cause and effect is the Law of Karma, and the failure to make the connection can breed karma rapidly. And that is exactly—exactly, precisely—what our society does. We breed karma faster than it's possible to get out of it, by any normal means not requiring a profound spiritual connection or help from friendly extraterrestrials good at cleaning up nuclear waste.

Meanwhile, many people want to wake up, and try to do so diligently. Yet the first thing anyone on a path of awakening is likely to discover is just how twisted their society is, and how driven by dark motives. That fact is not exactly encouragement for becoming conscious. Anyone with a shred of intelligence knows that to approach any aspect of the global crisis, more is demanded than their personal purity; we have to do more than what we deem to be "our part."

Solving problems, whether personal or on a scale larger than one's own immediate situation, involves becoming aware of the nature of the issue. This alone seems to be an obstacle—many global problems are extremely complex, or they seem that way. Meanwhile, one's personal circumstances can be more than enough to bear. For anyone sensitive who feels the pull toward considering what we must solve to protect future generations, the pressure can be overwhelming.

Even trying to approach or resolve a relatively simple problem within a community can lead to total frustration. This is often connected to the personalities who are invested in the dysfunction, the underlying politics, or encountering those who are committed to things staying the way they are—often for reasons that are entirely opaque.

On a larger scale, a 10-minute discussion of an actual global problem or the motives driving it can be enough to leave someone sobbing. For many, denial seems to be an essential survival tool. But denial doesn't do anything, and its effectiveness as a hedge wears off quickly.

The astrology we're experiencing looks like it could push anyone to the edge. That might be a psychological or an emotional edge, a limit on tolerance of a situation. This could also represent a trip to the edge of one's intelligence—that is often productive, because the edge is where you can go beyond what you knew or thought of before. It's the place to take the leap. Yet everything about the current astrology says this must be done with precision.

The Sun in the Chiron Discovery Degree

Speaking of precision, there was an unusual feature in the April 23 grand cross. Chiron is a small planet orbiting our Sun that was discovered in 1977. My impression after watching the world go by is that Chiron has been the most influential planet in shaping the ethos of modern professional astrology.

At the moment of the alignment, the Sun was in the exact degree where Chiron was discovered. This is one of those connections that's so strange and interesting and vibrating with meaning that I keep looking at it wondering how it's even possible. We could translate this into "Whatever the grand cross is about, it has something to do with the discovery of Chiron."

Chiron is the planet that represents holistic consciousness. One of the first modern holistic healers, D. D. Palmer, discovered "chiropractic" and did the first adjustment in 1895, the year that the first photograph was (unwittingly) taken of Chiron. Called a prediscovery photo, it sat in the files till astronomers dug it out in 1977 to confirm the orbit of the new object; its discoverer, Charles Kowal, named it Chiron after the famous healer of Greek mythology. Most astronomers don't believe in astrology, but those who discover and name planets are often very good at it. Kowal gave Chiron its first keyword, "maverick"—one who stands away from the crowd.

Chiron, the first centaur, was half-man, half-horse, and was abandoned as a child and raised by the god Apollo, who taught him medicine and surgery. Chiron then passed his skills to Asclepius, who became the god of medicine. Chiron is a healer but also a teacher of those on the stature of a god; he was also mentor to a generation of Greek heroes, including Heracles, Jason, and Achilles.

So with Chiron, we get the theme of holistic consciousness, healing, and also the vital theme of mentorship. There are many ways to learn things: books, classes, seminars, and YouTube videos among them. But for serious, grounded, and careful learning, there may be no better way than mentorship.

Chiron itself is prominent in the grand cross chart, part of a grouping of objects in Pisces that includes Neptune, Venus, and two other useful minor planets, Nessus (another centaur) and Borasisi (similar to Pluto but a bit further from the Sun). None of these are asteroids; later in Pisces there is a rather phenomenal grouping of those.

Yet Chiron's discovery degree, 3+ Taurus, can function in many ways like Chiron itself. It is a reminder that relates directly to the moment of discovery, and the era of discovery, when the new planet manifested.

The 1970s were an exciting time, a dawning of the era of hands-on healing, the early acceptance of naturopathic medicine, and awareness of the mind-body connection, and when actual therapy as opposed to meds was something that had respect.

Notably, chiropractors were entering the struggle for their existence, and did battle with the official medical establishment, which was trying to destroy their profession.

In 1976, a year before Chiron's discovery, a chiropractor named Dr. Chester Wilk brought a federal antitrust lawsuit against the American Medical Association (AMA) and numerous other allopathic medical organizations. The federal court ruled that doctors had waged a "lengthy, systematic, successful and unlawful boycott" designed to restrict cooperation between chiropractors and MDs, all in an effort to eliminate the chiropractic profession as a competitor in the United States health-care system.

More interesting, though they had repeatedly attacked chiropractic medicine through something called the "Committee on Quackery," testimony at the trial demonstrated that medical doctors leading the attack did not even know what chiropractic was or how it worked. After 14 years, Wilk and his attorney Mick Andrews won a substantial settlement that included direct admission of wrongdoing by the AMA and other organizations.

Today, we take for granted that chiropractic, massage therapy, acupuncture, homeopathy, and naturopathy are legal, legitimate, and available in nearly any city and many smaller towns. It is true that the AMA and the drug companies attempt to crush anything that might compete with them, but it's worth noticing that they have not succeeded.

It was not long ago that the word "massage" meant going to a prostitute, and that people bandied around the term "psychosomatic illness" as an insult, translating loosely to "It's all in your head."

The time of Chiron's discovery was a time of the roots of the holistic movement reaching deep into the culture. We might lament that the medical establishment and GMO foods and Big Pharma have way too much power—but imagine a world with no alternatives, with no options.

Let's consider the relationship of the Sun conjunct the discovery degree. The Sun is the astrological equivalent of the healthy ego. You can describe it as the place people want to shine in life, and seek success and glory. It's one of the most powerful identity factors in astrology—often, the seat of the idea "I am."

But the Sun can be a baby, seeking attention and wanting something for nothing. Other factors in the chart will describe how the person is willing to work or not work for their success (and potentially, glory); the person's ability to actually be an adult.

In this chart, the Sun is making contact with the emergence of Chiron as an idea and as a reality. It's as if the Sun has found its mentor, or connected to a source of higher knowledge.

To me, this placement is symbolic of the kind of growing up that we will need to embark upon in order to participate in solving the global crisis. The first step in that is individuals paying attention to their own personal healing, working with role models and becoming functioning adults. We have seen, in the past, many problems with immature people ending up in positions of power—we see the kinds of power games for which the world is so famous.

Grounded, healthy leadership requires individuals who are aware of themselves and of their relationship to their environment. It also requires people who have an actual spiritual connection, that is, whose perception does not end on the physical plane but who have the capacity to think and be sensitive on several layers of consciousness.

Yet this goes beyond the concept of "self-help" or being a better person. It goes entirely beyond the notion of what is self-serving, and beyond the idea of doing one's bit. Inherent in Chiron is the drive for service, a passion and devotion to humanity that you really can't fake.

There is one other thing. Chiron represents processing some of the darkest emotions and experiences that humans are capable of. Everyone has a little piece of this, and some people have quite a lot. On one level, I'm talking about normal emotions, but these emotions can, if ignored, get blown out of proportion or acted out in extremely toxic ways. The denial of shadow material—emotions associated with fear, shame, guilt, abandonment, and aggression—has led to more war and mayhem than perhaps any other factor, including greed (which is fed by all of the above). The holistic process described by Chiron demands honest awareness of these aspects of consciousness, if only so they can be brought to the light of healing.

Without the Sun in the Chiron discovery degree, this chart would indicate a frightening turn of history, indicative of all kinds of mayhem and violence ,with no way out. With a bold reminder of Chiron and what it represents, the scenario makes a lot more sense. We have a chart that reveals the problem, and it reveals the way to many potential solutions.

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