The last time I stared at the WordPress editor, it was the end of February. I was finishing up a big two–part series about the intentionality of healing wounded ancestral and familiar patterns during my progressed lunar return.
Not long after, I vanish. I recognize all things have their cycle — my ability to sit down in front of the editor and hash out 3k research-heavy articles became complicated by the virtue of just living. In six months, I got married to the most wonderful being in my life. I took on a role that involves a great deal of relationship building with the community, a wonderful thing after months of (partially) self-imposed isolation for fear that I was not “ready” to do any of this work. I am also, in true Jasmine fashion, bouncing excitedly from project to project, seeing the grand vision coalesce in my mind’s eye but not before being buried in a slew of Word documents to get there.
As I get older, I recognize the limits of what I can do as one person. I know, spoken like a true Saturn-dominant. But these limits are not depressing so much as they are a reminder to me that I want to start learning how to move with it. I may not be able to hash out an article in a week or two because of a busier life now, but I need not abandon it either (nor do I want to). On the contrary, I’m learning how to take a perverse joy in stealing minutes for myself before the thrilling chaos of the day imposes itself on me.
Better still, I am learning how to let go of this need to present polished posts. Great astrologers and writers like alicesparklykat remind me of the importance of saying what I have to say over the need to make it presentable all the time. Writing without total certainty of topic, not worrying if the next post is a deeply researched thesis — though I’m sure there’s appreciation from my community of readers when I do that (who by the way, you guys have pushed me to almost 8k views despite my lack of posting so thank you bunches!).
What I think you value just a little bit more than my super-polished, well-articulated posts on natal charts and astrological trends is what I have to say beneath all of that. This is not to say I will never do those kind of posts again; I’m already bouncing between several topics like Saturn Returns, Saturn-Pluto cycles, Neptune and its cultural impact, etc. that I want to vomit out on the page all at once. Eventually.
Rather, I am looking to be more expansive on what I do here. Things like trying to offer readings again (a calling I shelved due to my then not-knowing how to promote them well), studying broader topics that have to do with religion and spirituality . . . in the long term, I feel called to make divinity my focus. I have gotten very intimate with God during this last year and have felt called to deepen myself in this path. It’d be fun, for example, to go back to school to get a Master’s in Divinity and start my own school of religion. You know, kind of like Alistair Crowley but without becoming too difficult to understand towards the end.
My goal in the shorter-term is to get back into rhythm. It does not mean my rhythm will be regular, just that I want to get back into practice and post all those things I’ve been dying to write about over time. Somewhere in the mix, I want to figure out how to put my readings out there again as a service you can sign up for.
Above all else, I want to connect with you more deliberately. Let’s get to know each other, you and I, reader an author. It will be madness. It will be fun.
Summary: This is a follow-up to a two-part series. The series is told as personal, multi-genre essay where I compare my personal experiences to varying astrological phenomena (namely the Progressed Lunar Return and the Reverse Nodal Return). For Part Two, I open up commentary on the subject of fate and free will as it pertains to the Reverse Nodal Return. See Part 1 here.
I wanted to be a beautician when I was four. The stereotypical appeal of beautifying something appealed to me — I’d get an excuse to play in hair and scrunch it up, color it, cut it. And I had said as much when the thought came to me, announcing it to my dad while I sat on the living room floor.
“If that’s what you wanna be.” He would say with a non-committal shrug, turning the stereo’s big volume knob with his headphones askew.
The lack of drama the answer provided was satisfying to girl-me, even assumed; I took the phase ‘you can be anything you put your mindto’ quite literal. Had there been any classmate or teacher or random cousin I saw only once a year were waiting in the wings to tell me otherwise, I would insist upon this and then skip away with a big smile on my face. It wouldn’t have made sense, after all, for the adults in my life to tell me such things if it was just empty words.
To get a child to step on the hamster wheel of “What Am I Going To Be When I Grow Up” requires careful conditioning. To get them to believe the idea that a career is the height of aspiration before they can say who they are, or like, spell P-I-Z-Z-A is an act of subversion, and the trick lay in confusing potential for identity.
In this instance of subversion, I changed my mind from beautician to doctor when I was seven thinking it was my idea to do so. Of course I would become a doctor because my guardians say doctors are smart — they say I am smart, too. But they did not say the same thing about being a beautician. Actually, they didn’t say anything about being a beautician. I don’t think they had to: In the lapse of silence where no real logic was provided, girl-me could only use my lack of permanence in yes or no, red or blue. If doctors were smart, then it had to be that beauticians were not.
On the very first page of Google, fate is described as “the development of events beyond a person’s control, regarded as determined by a supernatural power.” Further down, the search term “fate” also pulls up: brands, an anime called Fate/Stay Night, FATE the game, and the city of Fate, TX.
I find it easier to think of fate as an exercise in surrender. At birth we are christened like trees, vessels of infinite potential with every branch, twig, and leaf available to us. We can be anything we want; the amount of choice is nauseating.
Then you are pruned. The glimpse of every possible life path is brief — fresh from the dark of the womb, who you are born to can cull many wooden limbs. Be born poor or visibly marginalized and already you are condemned. Contract a fatal illness and the branch you climb can collapse. Many trees have wilted to dust before they could even grow their first leaf.
The rest of us clamor up the bark one stumbling, kid-drunk decision at a time. Most trees, with their multi-pronged limbs stretching toward the sky, promise the sun, but never from the same direction. Eventually, we must decide which view of the world we want to take, which branch to climb up next knowing that it will break and that we can’t go back down after. This, I believe, is fate.
Once upon a time I was sixteen and still undecided about my career (a fact that is fine and even perfectly normal for most sixteen-year-olds but was unacceptable to me). I was a few years removed from the death of my father and only months from my grandfather; the single shelter available to me was to take up residency with my older cousin, a choice I didn’t get to have and a choice I’m not sure I would have taken had I been presented with one.
One day, I remember watching a commercial advertising a trade school with a “fantastic opportunity” to become a welder. I knew how much I was enjoying my manufacturing class at school and so I allowed myself, however briefly, the luxury of fantasy. I relished in the abstract, filling in the blanks of what being a welder is like by visualizing the strike of the metal stick and all the sparks that would fly from it.
“I think it’d be fun to weld.” I announced to my older cousin when she strode into the room. She responded, with a wrinkling brow and worried expression, that “welding doesn’t make a lot of money. . . you should get a job where you can use your smarts more.”
I don’t know if I would have developed more interest in welding had my cousin not said that. I could have. I continued to enjoy the practiced art of joining metal for the remainder of the class, my hand a conductor, the metal, my baton. But once I passed with flying colors, I never took a class like that again, nor did I keep “welder” in my mind as a career path I could take.
Sometimes, I wonder. Was it because my cousin’s discouragement of avoiding poor people professions — to avoid my family’s “fate” of being poor — that the branch was clipped before I could grab it? Or was she just another agent acting through fate that was keeping me on a path I could not yet see?
There’s a wildly adorable cartoon series named Scissor Seven out on Netflix right now, a wuxia that delivers with equal parts comedy, action, and tragedy. In the season two finale, the protagonist Seven is locked in a deadly fight with a high ranking assassin, Redtooth. Their paths, in theory, never had to cross: Redtooth didn’t come invading Seven’s home (Chicken Island) because he has it out for Seven, nor was Seven even on his radar — Redtooth was there to get his seal removed from another island member (Chairman Jiang), and Seven was trying to chill out and serve up his delicious beef offal. Priorities, priorities!
Their paths cross anyway. Because Chairman Jiang and Redtooth take their fight to the park, and because Seven happens to be there, “circumstance” becomes “fate” when Redtooth starts brutalizing every islander who tries to stand up and fight against him. If Seven doesn’t want his friends to die, then he must intervene.
Seven isn’t the best fighter. This is not to say he’s a “bad” fighter, just one that is less practiced like Redtooth, creating a disparity that he finds himself unable to overcome. His efforts to stand up to Redtooth are met with a swift beating; Redtooth then valiantly holds Seven up by the neck and warns Jiang that if she doesn’t lift the seal he will “suck [Seven] dry of his blood.” Just beyond them, Seven sees his fallen comrades, despair spiraling in his eyes until his subconscious self emerges.
“You’re feeling helpless right now, aren’t you?”
The vision Seven’s mind conjures is another him, his “true” self. This is the Seven that is not a goof-off just trying to serve some beef offal, but the Seven who used to be the world’s most feared assassin before his amnesic spell two years prior.
Seven refutes when his subconscious declares that retrieving him will reinstate Seven’s full capabilities as a fighter (“I don’t want to be an assassin.”) Disappointed, the subconscious says simply that he can’t “because I am you.”
Yet Seven tries to resist again. He wants to know why he can’t just forsake his past and embrace a new future (“don’t I get a chance to choose?”) He, like many of us clamoring up our tree, wants to have some say in the trajectory of his life.
“No one can break away from their past.” The subconscious insists. “No one can break away from their fate. ”
Here’s what astrology has to do with fate: The Lunar Nodes are two mathematical points in the sky, a calculation of the Moon’s orbit when it crosses the ecliptic (the 2D plane of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun). The point on the Northern hemisphere (above) becomes the North Node, and the point on the Southern hemisphere (below) becomes the South Node.
And here are some common keywords the astrology community (generally) agree on:
North NodeAssociations: Your present lifetime, future goals, where you desire to grow, unfamiliar territory, insight into soul self
South NodeAssociations: Your previous lifetime(s), familiar talents, “been there, done that,” comfortable but predictable territory, skills you accumulate without much effort
Watching Seven struggle, and then give in, to his fate is how it feels to be pulled compulsively by the nodes, back and forth and back again. It’s more pleasant for him to be ignorant and serve beef offal because the alternative is accepting the tragedy that comes with being a Shadow Killer. But he gives in anyway, a seeming inevitability because who can resist the call when it’s time to jump?
Astrology itself is mythology; metaphor. It has meaning to us because we create meaning for it and get meaning from it. That doesn’t mean you should give in, embrace total fatalism, and blame the bad things you do on a transit or placement without a willingness to examine your own culpability in the matter. I just think it’s funny to laugh at coincidence sometimes. Like it’s weird that I can, if I want to, explain away my cross-country move after high school to go to some hippy-dippy liberal arts college as me “living through my Sagittarius north node.” Or that I can justify my extreme obsession with career as a shadowed manifestation of my “8th house Capricorn stellium.”
All I mean to say is: if astrology is not real, then at least the idea of it is.
If fate is not real, then at least the idea of it is.
The technicalities of a Nodal Return can be explained but are best understood when felt. Think about it. What happened to you when you were eighteen that made you realize you could not undo the way you stumbled forward into adulthood? What moment do you think about taking back before realizing that you can’t imagine life without it?
When I was eighteen, it was the leap of faith to leave home for college. I think we all take those but I only emphasize it here because I felt so laughably unfit to take that leap, having been more of a ghost than a girl as a teenager. I hated being perceived when all I had so often wanted was to just exist inside my head.
My head. It became an endless sprawl of thought subsumed by binge-watching anime and reading fanfiction on the internet late at night. I did this because puberty, duh, but also as a defense mechanism from my older cousin’s abuse. To disappear inside my head was the greatest vanishing act I could perform; it was a feat meant to leave my corporeal form in the living room/bedroom/kitchen/wherever I was getting yelled while my spirit hid behind my soundproof barrier.
The idea of leaving the state once it was presented to me meant that I would have to leave my head. My Gemini South node made me hesitant. What if I couldn’t survive “out there?” So many unknowns in buying plane tickets and taxi rides, in charting land I’d never tread and meeting people I wasn’t sure I wanted to be around. The doubt, at times, was more frightening than the misery — I suppose that was just a consequence of having no self-confidence.
But that is the miracle of the Universe and, to me, of God. Even I, the lamb-legged, confidence lacking girl who was learning to believe what others had said about me more than of myself, had decided that I would go no matter what. And when I had booked that one-way plane ticket to the middle of nowhere, Ohio, my bank account flatlining near zero after I hit purchase, I only now realize that it was always going to happen. The doubt was for nothing.
“The problem is choice.”
In the 2003 movie Matrix: Reloaded, the now-famous scene in which protagonist Neo confronts the maker of the matrix (The Architect) to save his comrades on Zion leaps out as a perfect example of fate, free will, and how much we have of either. As The Architect answers Neo’s probing questions, myriad more versions of him appear around them on old computer monitors. Sometimes, these versions all coalesce into agreement over an answer, no one Neo distinguishable from one another. Other times, they can be seen shouting and twitching and shaking their heads in response — a show of free will.
Then Neo is confronted with a more difficult decision. He is prompted by The Architect to either surrender himself to The Source and save a designated fraction of people on Zion, or he can go back to The Matrix and try to save his lover, Trinity, from dying in combat.
“As you adequately put, the problem is choice.” The Architect goads, watching all the Neos’ expressions turn to steel. “But we already know what you’re going to do, don’t we?”
Neo chooses the left door that leads back to The Matrix. There is not a single version of him that chooses different.
When I turned twenty-seven last January, I moved to Seattle. There were a lot of reasons — the scene in Ann Arbor was boring me, I’d probably “find my people” if I go to a city that fits my personality better, my life felt like it was going to waste and the pandemic was triggering an existential crisis — but none on my mind as much as getting my business off the ground.
Long-time readers of this site might recall such a time. Vaingloriously, I had tried to be both an intimacy coach and an MFA student after convincing myself that I still had to work while finishing school. Sure, most students do, but why this instead of a regular job leaves a lot of asking room. Like, why was I forcing myself to pick up extra credentials like a whole ass master’s degree wasn’t enough? Or, why I am I in a business where I pose in lingerie and throw out tips on how to masturbate if I hate making my sexuality public?
If your first nodal return is about stumbling forward toward fate, then the reverse nodal return is tripping backwards into it. For myself, I had tried like a car trapped in mud to keep spin-spin-spinning my wheels toward what I thought would advance my career quicker, fuck all that patience shit. If I could become a renowned author with a successful coaching business by myself, I wouldn’t have to keep grinding my ass off with “nothing” to show for it. Finally, said my ego, I will benefit from my hard work.
The problem is choice.
Fatalism sounds like a tragic word. In The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, fatalism is defined as a “what will be will be” state of mind, a philosophical bent that says with a casual shrug ‘you can’t change what will happen to you.’ To embrace the idea that some higher power beyond us determines what happens next, always — could it be anything else if not tragic?
The Encyclopedia of Ethics resists this take, reframing fatalism as the following:
“Fatalism can be understood as the doctrine that it is a logical or conceptual truth that agents are never free to do other than what they actually do.”
The Encyclopedia of Ethics, entry by John Martin Fischer
It may not seem so at first blush. Look closer: the idea that being fatalistic is not a condemnation of our inability to change what will happen, but a celebration of our will to try, anyway, regardless of whether or not we know we will succeed. And it is not as if we never succeed when you look at the arc of Earth’s history. Who else if not us razes the forests and poisons the ocean? Who, if not us, has turned the proverbial heater up on the world and raised it 2°C over the last century? We are so powerful, scientists have named our current geological era the Anthropocene.
Perhaps the absurdity is knowing that all we do here doesn’t even register as a grain of sand on the universe’s scale. That’s the point: real fatalism is not embracing nothingness as a response to living. Real fatalism is knowing that we get to bask in the glory of our finiteness and still make choices, no matter how insignificant that choice ends up being in the grand sprawl of the cosmos.
A good case study offers up evidence after making claims, so here’s a few of my reverse nodal return/”I climbed the branch” moments:
In May, I signed up to take a teaching course for my graduating residency figuring it’d be good to know the basics (“just in case.”) After I had presented my lesson, my students — three classmates and my professor — told me that I was great teacher with a “natural knack” for assessing student’s needs. It had felt like coming home after a long, long journey.
Over the summer, I was emerging from a dark night of the soul. I destroyed the business like I was trying to set a house on fire, wanting all the rot I had felt to disappear into the smoke. I also updated my websites, my resume; travelled to reconnect with old friends; broke up with my ex; threw out every last app and appliance and one-sided connection I had felt could not come with.
Late August. As all good Seattlites are want to do, I went to down to a lake to swim. My friend would introduce me to her friend who had just moved back after a long stint in California; he approached me from the shore, waving at me in his grey cotton shorts and open-chested hakama. This is now my fiancé’-to-be.
I can say many things about these moments — that they were insightful, moving, a profound reminder from God to be in tune with my own divinity. But even after all this talk of fate and choice, I can only say this: belief begets belief. This does not exclude poor odds and the slew of obstacles we face, only that sometimes the only way to change is to make a choice. It is both that easy and that difficult.
About The Author
Jasmine Lomax (she/her) is a poet, aspiring educator, and events organizer who currently resides in Seattle, Washington. When Jasmine isn’t busy ticking away at the computer, she enjoys reading, swimming, tending to her spiritual studies, and the occasional bout of crying over fictional characters.
Summary: This article is a deconstruction of Venus’ 584-day cycle around the Sun as seen from our perspective. In it, I will go over the two distinct phases of Venus (Morning Star and Evening Star), then wrap up with an examination of Venus Rx and how to work through the upcoming transit. For source material, please see footnotes and references section for additional information on this phenomenon.
Because it has been a while since I’ve posted, I thought it would be fun to return with a namesake post, which is to say I haven’t talked about Venus nearly as much as I should be on my blog (you can blame the Saturn Return brainrot I’ve been having for that). I also wanted to take advantage of the timing: Venus ends her 18-month cycle and stations retrograde on December 19th at 26° Capricorn. As with the other inner planet retrogrades, this infrequent transit is prone to cause a bit of a fuss in the astrology community. But is this occasional backstep that our Lady of Love makes in the sky truly one to fear?
I think instead it’s more useful to reframe Venus retrograde not as a temporary banishment of anything fun or light, but as a time to practice loving yourself through discipline. What I mean by that is, is that it’s important to abstain from a vice, habit, or person that causes you harm. All three, if you find that necessary. And should you remain skeptical, consider Buddha’s fasting, Jesus’ wanderings in the desert, and Inana’s descent into the underworld. In the same 40-day window that Venus finds herself wandering, all have chosen to abandon their worldly wants at the gate in order to turn inward. Isn’t it amazing that we are able to mirror the universe’s rhythm even when we aren’t conscious of it?
Of course, these 40 days are just the end of what I previously mentioned was an 18-month cycle, which is itself part of an 8-year cycle. During Venus’ 18-month journey, the concluding Retrograde phase is an ideal time to practice a form of abstinence; put another way, Venus retrograde is asking us how we can find the source from within. To make the upcoming retrograde easier to process, it might help to first understand how Venus dances in the sky(1).
Lucifer Venus, The Morning Star
Venus’ cycle begins at inferior conjunction, the point at which she folds herself in between the Earth and the Sun. In this phase of her journey, she is hidden from view for about two weeks due to the Sun’s rays blotting her out. Thereafter, she then becomes visible in the pre-dawn sky, rising before the Sun as the brilliant morning star. 36 days later — roughly 5 weeks — Venus’ light is at its peak, marking her as the brightest celestial body of the morning.
The obvious draw to make is that this part of Venus’ cycle is named after Lucifer, the Morning Star. In theory, this would solve our association of her to all things indulgent and excessive. After all, is it not Luicifer — often equated in modern pop-culture as Satan — who tries to tempt us into straying from the path by entertaining distraction? Not to mention the timing of her cycles (all multiples of 6) coincide with blanket association of “666” to mean all things devil worship. Clearly the Greeks were like, so ahead of the Bible.
We will say here then that it isn’t Lucifer which inspired the traits of Venus but the opposite. Closer examination of Lucifer’s appearance in the Bible confirms this; as it follows in the King James Version, Isaiah 14:12 proclaims:
On an allegorical level, the idea of Lucifer the Morning Star rebelling against God and the established order is presumed arrogance on the angel’s part, for they believed they deserved to rule over man. The historical context around this scripture is more straightforward: around 740 B.C., the prophet Isaiah was predicting Babylon’s end at the hands of an invading army for its purported wickedness. These scriptures warn of a city gone astray from its roots, a city whose prosperity would not last for they turned their allegiance away from God. Wouldn’t it be, then, that the Babylonians’ prosperous reign gave too much credence to excess, a notorious “shadow” trait that Venus is known for in astrology?(2)
More recent attempts to decode this Morning Star/Evening Star concept comes from astrologer Michael Meyer. In his series “Venus Morning Star, Venus Evening Star,” he deconstructs Venus’ phases by prescribing some of the above associations to add more layers of meaning. For Lucifer Venus, Meyer describes those born during this phase as “direct and demonstrative with regard to feeling, and they tend to have an open and optimistic approach to life and relationships.” He goes on to suggest that Lucifer Venus types can endure social rejection with more grace (depending on how fresh out of the retrograde phase this Venusian type is), and that it is preferred to “fit in” in order to make it easier to contribute to great social causes. There is good reason to believe that Lucifer’s ability to sweet-talk angels into rebellion with them and rally others around a “good faith” cause is more intimately connected to our Lady of Love than what first seems!
If you want to test out the energy of differing Venus phases, begin documenting some observations of people’s behavior once this Venus Rx ends in January. Do you feel the people around you are more generous with their time or finances? Willing to help you when you need it? In yourself, do you notice it a lot easier to socialize with others?
Hesperus Venus, the Evening Star
Halfway through Venus’ travels in the sky (which is 9 months, or 216 days), she meets up with the Sun again in superior conjunction, thusly granting her maxium distance from the Earth. It is this distance, combined with her hiding behind the Sun’s rays, that Venus keeps hidden for two whole months. Afterwards, she appears once more, this time dressed for us as Hesperus Venus. It should be worth noting here how remarkably symmetrical Venus’ cycle is — compared to her early start in her Lucifer phase, she waits near to the end in her Hesperus phase to peak, her body most brilliant in the sky around day 540 (which is 36 days before the cycle resets again at inferior conjunction). Talk about consistent!
As for the myth: before it was known that Venus the Morning Star and Venus the Evening star were one in the same, the name Hesperus was granted to Evening Venus. Of himself, he is a minor god, oft celebrated by ancient Greek poets and sailors for being “the fairest star in the heavens.” It would seem that, unlike the easy-to-make associations the name “Lucifer” grants us with our modern-day view of Venus, the most interesting thing about “Hesperus” is just the drama of figuring out to which set of gods he was born to, no further depth involved.
(Just kidding. Let’s try again.)
It’d be a better use of time to ignore the direct convention of naming for this second, instead focusing on what happened after the Greeks accepted the Babylonian theory that Venus was just one planet. The deities Eosphoros and Hesperus were combined into Aphrodite, whose tale is most famously documented by the poet Hesiod in his work Theogony: two generations before Zeus’ birth, the titan Ouranos kept his children stuffed inside the earth for he was full of hatred for them. These actions angered Gaia to the point of desiring revenge, and so recruited her son Kronos to castrate his father when he came to lay down with her. The viscera that fell from the sky that night disappeared into the sea, the foam enveloping the gutted pieces until from it emerged the fully-grown Goddess.
Hesiod later notes her afterbirth as follows:
It seems it was important in this version of Aphrodite’s origin story to emphasize her lustful nature. This makes sense considering Aphrodite’s enduring symbolism; however, our favorite poet Homer would decide not to be outdone by this singular origin story and would instead immortalize an alternative. It goes something like this: Aphrodite is born to Zeus and his mate Dione. Dione herself has a few “claim to fame” moments, most notably in Homer’s epic Illiad for healing Aphrodite after she was wounded by Diomedes at Troy.
Beyond this, we don’t know much about Dione and there isn’t much else that compels this origin story in and of itself. Nonetheless, the introduction of a second origin story made its way down to later Greeks and Romans, where the two tales would confuse future readers as to which one was “real.” Plato’s proposed a fix in his symposium that would distinguish the two: for Hesiod, Aphrodite would be thought of as Aphrodite Urania, for she was born from the heavens and therefore thought to hold a universal love that was all-encompassing. Homer’s Aphrodite then becomes Aphrodite Pandemos (“common Aphrodite”), wherein she becomes affiliated with love of a more primal, tangible nature.
Let’s assume that Aphrodite Pandemos more aptly fits the Lucifer Venus archetype. That would leave Aphrodite Urania to Hesperus Venus; therefore let us suggest that those born during this part of Venus’ cycle are oriented towards a more introspective and withdrawn nature based on what Aphrodite Urania represents (a detached, spiritual love). This is not to suggest that Evening Star Venus can’t party — she is the host who puts on her silk gown and dazzles, the more analytical and presentation-conscious version of Venus that we associate with the zodiac sign Libra — just that she takes more time in this part of her journey to integrate experiences.
Meyer elaborates on this notion by describing Hesperus Venus as ones who “evaluate and react to situations after they take place. . .[whose] strong sense of values and ideals” temper immediate reactions in favor of judging the situation as objectively as they can. Once they’ve processed what they need to, however, the Hesperus Venusian is described as being intense, for they’ve had time to tease apart their feelings and describe with great accuracy what is in their heart.
For this portion of Venus’ cycle (starting September 2022), see if you notice the behavior of your loved ones change. Does it seem like people prefer to hang out with select loved ones more or hang in smaller groups? Is there more precaution in the things those around you purchase? In yourself, do you feel like you need more time to think about an experience you had before sharing how you feel?
Venus Retrograde, and How to Prepare for the Upcoming Transit in Capricorn
Venus’ intricate back-and-forth dance between us and the Sun can be hard to visualize, so let’s do a quick recap:
Venus begins at Inferior Conjunction, triggering her Morning Star phase (Day 0)
Venus is the brightest celestial object in the morning (Day 36)
Venus comes to Superior Conjunction, triggering the Evening Star phase (Day 288)
Venus reaches her furthest distance from the Sun again (Day 504)
Venus becomes the brightest celestial object in the evening (Day 540)
Around day 554, Venus stations retrograde, her presence a wink in the sky before she disappears behind the Sun. Partway through, she will meet both us and the Sun again in inferior conjunction, resetting the cycle in the middle of her pause(3).
We can reframe Venus retrograde by looking again at one of the famous 40-day journeys I described at the start, and who better than her Middle Eastern predecesor Inana? Famously captured in the Sumerian poem The Descent of Inana*, the Goddess tasks herself with paying her recently widowed sister Ereshkegal a visit. Her journey (starting at the first gate) goes a little something like this:
Inana’s descent through the other six gates follows a similar pattern, her every precious item stripped away from her until she is bare before Ereshkegal. She is then imprisoned in the Land of the Dead, left to hang as another corpse in her sister’s collection until her servants (as instructed prior to her descent) go to free her. Of course there is more to this myth, but the core idea is one that makes us blanch: the suggestion of us volunteering to “go to Hell” with little chance of returning doesn’t seem worth it! Why give up our worldly pleasures, our finest goods, to pay respect to a vengeful being with no guarantee of success?
One common interpretation of this myth that stands out to me is the idea of leaving something behind. Material goods are the first to go; physical comfort is not allowed when we turn inwards. Then we are stripped of our vanity, our ego — we feel humiliated as Inana did when all that marked her power was stripped away. What awaits us at the end is our own Ereshkegal; before the object of our judgement we will be naked and prostrating for a mercy that won’t come. Then again, that is the point — we can only reach the heart of our seedy underbelly when we ditch our worldly baggage.
Now, about that upcoming transit . . .some of the first things I think when I hear “Venus Retrograde in Capricorn” are: RE-EXAMINE WHAT YOU VALUE; ARE YOU FEELING NURTURED BY WHAT SURROUNDS YOU; HOW ARE YOU SABOTAGING YOUR PROGRESS; STOP BEING AFRAID OF YOUR WORTH; THE BEST FORM OF SELF-CARE IS SHOWING UP FOR YOURSELF. In this version of our descent, some of the things we must leave behind on our way through the door are things like the compulsive want for luxury goods, the angst of not having the “status” we think our hard work should have brought us by now, and the weight of expectation. When you no longer swallow the “shoulds” of life, either from yourself or from others, you will find pockets of opportunity to make decisions for yourself.
Venus will linger around Pluto once her retrograde begins and (December stay fixed to Hades’ side for about two weeks. The cosmos encourages some much needed purging to be done over the holiday season; throw away old things that take up space and have no value. Question where your trust issues came from and if they’re still helping you. The extended contact of these two planets is ideal for popping that proverbial pimple; healing is impossible if the wound is infected. If you find you need some extra help articulating those wounds, the swift-footed Mercury will join up on December 29th to boost your vocal power. Past the New year, look to the auspicious Venus/Neptune sextile on the 5th and the Venus/Sun conjunction on the 8th for inspiration on how to embrace a more authentic life. Towards the end of Venus’ Rx, there may be a bit of a bucking from the cosmos when Mercury joins the retrograde party on the 14th. This could be a sign you need to unplug or take a breather from your current projects to finish processing the emotional journey you’ve been working on.
On January 29th Venus stations direct at 11°, where she cozies up right next to her lover Mars and her friend The Moon. If this retrograde transit encouraged you to be still with yourself, a fresh burst of energy will motivate you to follow-through on unfinished goals, or even start the ones you were drafting up.
P.S. I want to address one more thing about Venus Rx, and it is this: DO NOT BE AFRAID OF YOUR EX(ES). Yes, it’s possible that they might contact you. But you hear that a lot during Mercury Rx too, don’t you? And even if they do, why do you feel like you have to respond? “Closing the chapter” does not necessarily mean that you must be available to do the labor of “wrapping something up.” Sometimes, the message Venus Rx is trying to send is one you already know.
(1) Just in case a primer is needed: Venus in astrology is about the (material and emotional) things we value, our love language, and vice(s) we struggle to resist. Venus also describes how we go about getting these things – is it with tact and diplomacy, or more direct and unabashed?
(2) Ironically enough, the Babylonians did worship a version of her they called Nana (who, like Venus, was derived from Ishtar) but as Irene Toye says best, “her cult (in Babylon) was generally of a debasing nature…her worship far from elevating.”
(3) For the sake of brevity, I did not include Meyer’s research on Lucifer Venus Rx and Hesperus Venus Rx, but he does note that even within the brief window that Venus retrogrades, there are still distinguishable traits between the two.
About The Author
Jasmine Lomax (she/her) is a freelance content creator, educator, and poet who currently resides in Seattle, Washington. When Jasmine isn’t busy ticking away at the computer, she enjoys reading, swimming, tending to her spiritual studies, and the occasional bout of crying over fictional characters.
Oh, youth. I remember the sweet, swan-song days of yore — it almost feels like yesterday that my only concerns were somewhere along the lines of being mad at how early I had to get up for school and not wanting to wear that one ugly hand-me-down sweater my mom got at the Mormon-run thrift shop. For somebody who couldn’t even brush my own teeth without being told to because I didn’t understand the merits of a cavity-free mouth, I definitely peaked when I was 9.
It’s hard to keep track of what I should and should not be doing at this age since I’m in a weird “in-between” right now. I am no longer young enough to hold capital in industries who love drooling over teenage girls, but not old enough to be told I need to go get some Botox injections before I wrinkle worse than a Shar-pei. And until I actually turn 30, I can’t even be won over by those little Hallmark cards telling me I should go live it up like an extra in Sex In the City.
All said, I guess that means there’s only one thing left for me to do: bitch about it while getting astrology involved.
First, a Primer
Believe it or not, I didn’t choose to talk about my 27th birthday just because I feel left out of celebrating a big milestone (although I do think it’s totally bogus how Western culture makes you feel like there’s not much left after turning 21). Nor did I choose to talk about it as an Angel Number or a numerological concept – if I had wanted to do that, I could find a reason to talk about every single year.
Instead, I want to talk about turning 27 because I think it’s quite magical from a starry-eyed standpoint.
Consider: if you’re at least somewhat familiar with astrology, then you might recognize 27 as being the precursor to the ever-dreaded “Saturn Return.” There’s no doubt that you’re starting to feel Cronus’ breath on your neck as he asks you if you’re finally ready to live up to your worldly duties, tick-tock-tick-tock. You’re on the cusp of self-actualization and you want to be prepared.
So prepare you do. Or don’t. Saturn doesn’t care either way. What I mean by that is Saturn will force your hand toward your duties whether you’re being good about it or not, and you’ll know if you’re not because the things you’ve been getting away with up to this point will fall apart. Steadfast friends will suddenly fall to the wayside, that partner you think is the one will no longer be, the job you’re working at will feel more like a cage – you get the idea. At some point, you’ve got to “adult up” if you don’t want an unhappy Cronus tearing apart your structures.
But okay. You know that’s still a year or two off. And my preamble into this article was about turning 27, not 30, so what gives?
What gives is that in order to be ready for your Saturn Return, you need to be in the headspace to do it. You have to take what you’ve been learning up to this point if you want to be capable of handling what Saturn throws at you.
It is based on my observation and experience that you first undergo two things to help you prepare:
Understanding what you feel “called” to do (or your Soul Mission)
Today, we’re going to talk about the first one and what astrological phenomenon that correlates to. Enter:
Secondary Progressions and The Progressed Lunar Return
Progressions are just one of many ways we can expand upon astrology’s interpretive power. Though I talk here today about one type, there are other methods of playing with the natal chart to get different results, all of which are based on how one decides to mathematically move (“progress”) the horoscope.
Let’s think about this from a 3D perspective for a second. When we are studying natal charts we are doing so from the Earth’s perspective, and the Earth – that big, blue, beautiful planet of ours – is a sphere. I know, duh. But this is where the zodiac wheel comes into play: we flatten the 12 zodiac constellations into a 360 degree circle and divide them up accordingly. This means that, from the start of one zodiac sign to the next, there are 30 degrees (360 / 12 = 30).
Still confused? Let’s zoom in a little and use the Sun as an example. If you were to track the transiting Sun throughout the zodiac, starting at 0 degrees Aries (which is considered the “real” start of the year because of the Spring Equinox) you would notice that it moved about one degree every day. After about 365ish days, you would notice the Sun back roughly in the same spot, 0 degrees Aries. This is astrology in real-time.
Progressions work a little differently here.
In the case of secondary progressions (the type we’re discussing today) the rule of thumb is “one day for a year.” Going back to our lovely little Sun example, that means we would stretch out the progression of the Sun through the zodiac to one degree per year. Put another way, the Sun would take 365 YEARS to make a full rotation around your progressed chart, a fact that sadly none of us will live to see!
The same rule applies to all the other planets based on their rate of movement. As you might imagine, slower moving planets like Jupiter and Saturn would be stretched out to a timeframe so long that, when using this method, we don’t tend to consider them for this type of progression.
So what about what’s left then?
Well, between the luminaries and the inner planets, the VIP of this type of progression is the Moon. In real-time, the moon takes roughly 2 ½ days to go through a zodiac sign so once again we apply the “one day to a year” rule here and stretch it out. Now it takes about 2 ½ to 3 years to make it through a single sign, the likes of which cumulates into your Progressed Lunar Return when it crosses over your natal Moon after ~27 years. Isn’t math fun?
You’ve endured my primer and toughed out the wibbly-wobbly math. Now you probably want to know why that wibbly-wobbly math even matters and what it says about your emotional maturation.
Here it is: the Moon in astrology is about security and emotional comforts. She also deals with our base instincts and represents our Mother, both our literal mother and the ways we want to be mothered by others. What a progressed chart then does for you is it helps you articulate those needs as you age; as the progressed Moon travels throughout each sign/house in your chart, it illuminates that part of your life for a good 2-3 years and exposes you to experiences that (hopefully) add understanding to your own innate needs. Eventually, this accumulates into your Progressed Lunar Return.
Think of it like a pilgrimage, or a hero’s journey. Before you leave, you make sure to pack your creature comforts (your natal Moon) so that the trip is easier. As you travel, however, you encounter things that can expand, challenge, destroy, and renew your idea of “comfort,” forcing you to adapt to different circumstances. Once you’ve returned home (your Progressed Moon travelling back over your natal Moon), you not only have exposed yourself to new things, but you’ve also learned more about what really makes you tick on a primal level. You are more appreciative of those homely comforts and know how to seek them out regardless of where you are in the world.
Then you do it all over again. Your second (and maybe) third go-around will continue to illuminate different parts of your life and ask you to expand your understanding on what makes you feel secure; safe. But it is in that first pilgrimage that you get to experience the world raw and undiluted.
You learn how to mother yourself.
You learn what you need to surround yourself with and what comforts you when you are distressed.
You learn, above all else, what brings you peace.
Coming Home: A Progressed Lunar Return Story
I grew up poor and spoiled. Whenever possible, my father would bring back treats from his day job as a dishwasher; how much of my daughterly affections were given was gauged by what he had in tow. If I saw a white Styrofoam box, I leapt (El Matador enchiladas were my ultimate comfort food). If it were a toy – a remote controlled car or a doll or even a hand-held radio – I would stare from my seat in the old, oval chair and wait. I wanted to know what the occasion was and if I could play with it now or if he was going to make me wait.
My mother, meanwhile, was doling out a constant helping of Whatever-I-Want so long as it was the start of the month. The regularity of her Social Security benefits combined with the fact that she didn’t work meant I could be spoiled at any time. On a perfect day, I would head to Shopko with mom, pick up a new Bratz doll, and then be back in time for dad to come home with something twinkling in his hand, no strings attached. At least none that I could see.
So goes the tale of a girl whose natal moon is in Virgo.
In astrology, Virgo symbolizes service. Service to ourselves, to others, and to the Earth. We are duty-bound creatures who want to care for all living things if we can help them because we are in tune with the rhythm of the soil. That does not, however, mean that that service is all we are, or all we do. It’s important that this placement has the chance to explore our curious impulses without being shamed if we “fall short” the first time. More than that, it’s important that we are shown affection without the caveat of needing to “perform” for that affection. That means love is given not just when we get good grades or do all our chores.
I remember the first time I did not come home from school with good results. I was in 5th grade and our homework assignment was to do a state report – easy enough. I chose New York and, with a little web searching and borrowing of my grandparent’s printer, was able to cobble together a serviceable presentation. What I hadn’t realized was that there were multiple things we were supposed to research about the state; I had only done the bare minimum. The result was a not-so-satisfying D.
Dad was the unhappiest that I had seen him. He overheard what happened while I was talking to mom as we got out of the car. The gift of the day – a white teddy bear with a big, red heart – fell limp in his hand as his shoulders slumped over. Where he was about to greet me with a smile, he frowned, staring at me with disbelief for so long that I wanted to vanish on the spot. I still got the gift, but it was on the condition that I would have to listen to him rant on-and-off about how disappointed he was and that he expected me to do better, be better.
Eventually, I was given a chance to fix the grade in the easiest fashion possible: bring something to the class that comes from the state. Since Coca-Cola was made in New York in the late 19th century, all I had to do was bring in a few 12-packs to appease both my fellow classmates and the teacher. This brought my grade up to a meddling C.
The good news is, is that this particular type of incident didn’t happen again. It didn’t have a chance to; dad passed away part-way through 7th grade. The people I lived with afterwards were not as insistent that the occasional C would spell my doom.
But I was. That day had cemented itself into memory, an instinct I called mine despite it not being born from me. I did not need to be pressured to do good in school because I pressured myself. I could live with a B and make peace with a B- but spirits willing, never a C. A C meant disappointment. A C meant I would not succeed.
It sounds absurd, doesn’t it? Yet this – among other toxic, even abusive conditions – sharpened me into my own worst enemy. Though I summoned the strength of my Virgo moon to work my way to an out-of-state college, I carried in my body these untruths. Anything not up to my own implanted standards sent me into a downward spiral, the likes of which I could only crawl my way back from once I had recognized these beliefs as a foreign object lodged in my cells.
After years of therapy and unlearning, I can now emerge from the other side of my Progressed Lunar Return some the wiser. In order to claim myself again, I was called to cleanse that which Virgo rules: I had let go of the need to equate affection with productivity. I had to (re)learn what love without expectation meant. I want to serve but only when I am called to do so by joy, not exchange.
About the Author
Jasmine Lomax (she/her) is a freelance content creator, educator, and poet who currently resides in Seattle, Washington. When Jasmine isn’t busy ticking away at the computer, she enjoys reading, swimming, tending to her spiritual studies, and the occasional bout of crying over fictional characters
I LOVE(D) the 90s. Mind you, I was only 5-6 years old at the turn of the new millennium, so my memory of things is warped by things a 5-6 year old would concern themselves with: the latest toys, not going to bed when I’m told, and trying my damndest to make some friends in kindergarten.
Nonetheless, I remember just enough of the 90s that I more or less miss everything about it. Yeah, most of that might have to do with the blissful innocence that being a young kid can bring, but the gift of retrospect helps me realize that I got to grow up during an era that feels like lightning-in-a-bottle. Being on the youngest end of the millennial spectrum, I was one of the last to remember a time where the Internet wasn’t breathing down my neck at every turn.
I remember when there was still a delineation between “online” and “offline.”
I remember when climate change — though we knew of its existence for decades before it hit “crisis” levels — still seemed like a faraway conclusion that could wait.
I remember when a subculture was just that: a subculture.
But I’m not here to wax poetic all-post-long about how the 90s rocked and everything since “hasn’t been the same.” The occasional pang of nostalgia isn’t harmful, of course — I experience it myself in waves — we just have to take caution that our longing for days past doesn’t blind us from creating a better present. Change is also natural; inevitable. To pretend that it’s not is how we get into situations like these, where reactionary politics and societal decay take over.
And that’s one of the primary missions I think we, the children of late 1990 to early 1994 have to learn. We have to learn this because we are the torch-bearers of change. As one of my favorite astrologers (Alice Sparkly Kat) says about the current Saturn in Aquarius generation: “we are no longer young and, being no longer young, we cannot think of ourselves as subcultural and naïve anymore.”
What a loaded statement I just put out there! It’s easier said than done to enact change when we know the powers that be want to cling to the status quo.
That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, though. And before you think this is going to be a long list of things you can do now to help (i.e. being on the ground protesting, calling your representative, etc.), I want to say that, while all those actions are important and very much necessary, those are not the ONLY ways you can enact the change you want to see in the world. The change, as a cheesy, age-old adage goes, starts from within.
Saturn in Aquarius: To Break the Rules, You Must First Know Them
One of the very first things you’ll ever learn if you’ve done any kind of art is the rules. If it’s music, you learn how notes work. If it’s poetry, you learn different techniques to elevate the reading. So on and so forth. The idea is supposed to be that you can’t really call yourself an “expert” in a given practice if you decide to say “fuck it” and break the rules of your craft without having bothered to at least try learning them first!
The same logic applies when your natal Saturn is in Aquarius. Aquarius, the egalitarian, community-loving Water Bearer, pours what it knows from its container so the people have the knowledge to challenge our current understanding of things. When you understand the game our politicians are playing — when you understand how companies try to get you to divest your sweet time from enacting change by strong-arming you into buying their latest product — then you understand the “rules” they are playing by. By that I mean they aren’t really playing by any in the first place. Sure there are laws that protect us, limits imposed on policymakers and CEOs that inhibit them from doing shit like putting lead in our gasoline, but for every rule that pops up is another rule that is in desperate need of writing.
Yet here you are, a common everyperson who knows that you are required to follow them! They told you to do good in school and get a Bachelor’s degree so you could be competitive in the job market and grind the good ol’ career ladder like everybody else. Unfortunately for you, whether or not you chose to do that didn’t really matter: you were doomed before you could even start.
Worse still, I bet you, you fellow Saturn-in-Aquarius bearer, noticed that you felt like you didn’t fit in regardless of which path you chose. You could have been a standout, straight-A student who made it all the way to Harvard, or a “I’m-trying-out-community-college” after being out of school for five years student, and you probably felt like you an outcast either way.
This is why I mentioned subcultures earlier. And it’ll all tie in together in a second, but you gotta walk with me here for a sec.
First, let’s add one more association to Saturn: our “authority” wound. Everybody has one no matter where your natal Saturn is, but what sign/house its in will tell you how the authority wound manifests in your life.
To keep this short and sweet, in the case that you have Saturn in Aquarius, your authority wound has to deal with the fact that you KNEW the rules don’t really matter because they weren’t enforced equally. Yet any effort you made to disobey or rebel was met with harsh punishment. This punishment may have been quite literal, like losing recess because you tried to cheat on a test. But it can also be more subtle, like getting rejected from a group of friends because you weren’t able to intuit the unspoken rules of interacting with each other.
Subcultures in the 90s and early 00s were a refuge from all of that. I know I loved the young, wild west of the internet as a kid because I could come up with a ridiculous ass username, shout some inflammatory shit about a fictional character I didn’t like, then log off and go play outside without ever once thinking some rando dudebro was going to doxx me for it.
Again, however, this is now a bygone era. We the children of Saturn in Aquarius are now hitting an age where we must accept that there’s nowhere left to hide. Now you are being called on by your Saturn Return to accept the truth: you’re kinda fucking weird and you might’ve been a victim at one point but now’s your chance to BE the weirdness you want to see in the world.
Saturn Return In Aquarius: Fuck the Rules, I’ll Make My Own
Well that sounds nice and poetic, doesn’t it. If I could have said “fuck the rules” already, I would have tossed all my stuff into the trash, booked it into the woods, and started a commune of fellow witches where we drag each other via tarot all day long.
Now I’d like it to go on record that not everybody has the ability to do that. Our current system kicks some of us down more than others and for some, being alive is your biggest achievement right now (which by the way is a form of rule breaking since our system would rather see you dead, in which case, you’re already doing the damn thing ♥)
There are plenty of other ways to break rules, though. Example: I joined a Buy Nothing group for my area and have already done a couple of exchanges with people. I’ve also participated in donation-based yoga sessions and have been a part of a virtual art community despite having never met these people face to face before. In a time where isolation is necessary and buying goods can be difficult because of our shit economy, being able to build community (how very Aquarian) can become a lifeline. And it’s something your fair-weather capitalist is never going to tell you because it benefits them more when you compete AGAINST each other instead of work TOGETHER.
As transiting Saturn begins to roll over (or has already rolled over) your natal Saturn, think about all the ways you break the rules in your life. Also think about how your weirdness (which might have gotten you ostracized as a child/teenager) is seen as more acceptable now since the dissolution of subcultures. Are you still ashamed to be who you are? Are you shutting other people out because you don’t trust you can be your authentic self and make a difference?
Today — as in, right now — you can be the difference you want to be. It can be as elaborate as starting your own community garden or as simple as taking a stance against bigotry and calling out that Karen when she makes a backhanded statement on your friend’s Facebook post. Instead of waiting to find the right community for you, make your own. Start a Discord server, a Tumblr chat, a Telegram. Honestly, I don’t care how you do it but one of the most important things Saturn in Aquarius asks is that you SHOW UP for your community. Not your boss, not your government, but the people who live next to you.
You can also get a clearer idea of what ways that needs to show up in your life depending on what time of day you were born. As I mentioned in my previous post, Saturn is considered the dinural (daytime) malefic planet. How you’ll experience your Saturn Return will depend on if this maleific is happier (day) in his position or not (night).
If you were born during the day: How have those with perceived authority made you feel powerless? How have you made yourself feel powerless when you had the chance to claim your authority again? Why are you afraid to deviate?
If you were born during the night: Think about the next time where you had a chance to be an authority on something but weren’t taken seriously. On whose merit are you looking to be accepted by? In what ways are you still looking for authority to rescue you? Do you still trust you know yourself without the validation of an authority figure?
The influence of your Saturn Return further varies depending on what house it’s in and what aspects it’s making. You may also experience it differently if you are Saturn-dominant (meaning Saturn is the strongest or one of the strongest influences in your chart) because you are a child of Chronos and are used to way he tests you. To find out where you fall, you can book a chart reading with me and take 15% off if you’re one of the first 10 to do it.
Listen, nobody is pretending that being an adult is easy. . . except for Boomers who can’t let go of a past that no longer exists. Which is exactly what I’m warning you against, my fellow millennials! Mainstream media will gush about how Gen Z are doing all the heavy lifting when that’s just not true at all. We have reached a fever pitch in a time of unyielding crisis — you are watching, in real-time, what happens when those who make the rules but don’t listen themselves.
Is it so bad now to be weird in a time where “normal” is failing?
Saturn in Aquarius is asking you to find comfort in your weirdness.
Saturn in Aquarius is telling you to use your weirdness and create a new normal that centers on those around you.
Saturn in Aquarius is demanding that you finally recognize that you really do know yourself. Stop looking for authority to validate if you’re doing it right.
Jasmine Lomax (she/her) is a freelance content creator, educator, and poet who currently resides in Seattle, Washington. When Jasmine isn’t busy ticking away at the computer, she enjoys reading, swimming, tending to her spiritual studies, and the occasional bout of crying over fictional characters.
If you read my previous post about the astrological marker that Vaporwave has left in the music world, then this post likely comes as no surprise to you. Nonetheless, this post is overdue for me as I’ve been itching to talk about it for a while.
And there’s much I can say about it — about Kurt Cobain — without even touching the natal chart. We are talking about a person whose fame has seemingly transcended time, his memory still a fresh imprint now two generations removed; their most popular song broke one billion views on Youtube — a rarity shared only by 178 other videos since its inception in 2005. The acoustic guitar he played at the now iconic 1993 MTV Unplugged Show has also recently sold for $6 million, making it the most expensive one to ever sell at an auction.
On and on I can go. My own bias aside, there is a clear, measurable impact that Kurt continues to leave decades after he took his exit from Earth. After all, it’s hard not to be inspired by the electric genius that was his music, or by his rage against the bullshit treatment marginalized identities get. “Grunge” may be the genre, but “punk” was his spirit.
Of course, the astrology in this man’s natal chart has also been turned and spun a decent amount of times. I’ve read excellent breakdowns about just how influential the Grand Water Trine in his chart and his ability to make his art flow like water. I’ve also read about the drowning influence of Neptune (due to the fact that five planets were located in watery Pisces) and how it came to create a person whose compassion for the masses’ suffering, and his sensitivity to the constant limelight, made him feel as if he was constantly drowning.
All this is to say I agree with it. None of those feats would be possible without the dream-like dissolution Neptune brings. Or the fact that the concentration of planets in Pisces wouldn’t create anything less of a person who is constantly aching to merge with all of humanity.
I’m writing this, however, because I want to see more love letters to the potency that is his Grand Kite formation.
Let’s start with a quick refresher on what a Grand Trine is. If you are still newer to the language of astrology, a Grand Trine is a configuration of 3 (or more) planets that all reside in signs of the same element. In Kurt’s instance, the afromentioned pattern occurs because Neptune in Scorpio chats with Jupiter in Cancer, who then have a three-way conversation with the Mercury-Venus-Saturn configuration going on in Pisces.
As wonderful as this all sounds, no position, aspect, or pattern is without its shadow side. Trines are generally considered positive because the communication between planets simply flows without resistance, which is why the trine aspect requires that planets be in the same element — who else could understand the plight of an element’s fundamental nature better than itself? But the lack of tension present here means sometimes that it’s easy to ignore your hidden potential. Talent may come so naturally that working hard seems pointless. You can just do it.
The difference between a Grand Trine and a Grand Kite is the introduction of at least two sextiles and at an opposition; it’s fun little astrological pattern that shows a burgeoning karmic potential. Consider: before Nevermind, Nirvana was a band that could only afford one $600 session to record their album. The sudden shoot to the top of charts after years of grinding behind the scenes has Jupiter being in the 10th house written all over it, thanks to the expansive nature of the planet in its sign of domicile. And keep in mind that Neptune, Pisces’ modern planetary ruler, is off being the other sextile in this configuration in the chatty 3rd house. This only doubles down on the elusive nature of Kurt’s lyrics, considering the way he chose to express himself and communicate was rarely straightforward.
Now consider the crown of this pattern: the opposition. As Lynn Koiner writes, “the key to understanding the dilemma of the Kite is in understanding the influence of the opposition.” Oppositions in a natal chart indicate a conflict of energies that the individual is constantly battling; this configuration can make one teeter back and forth between two split impulses, their frustrations with integrating these contradictions projected both out and in. Even without considering the planetary bodies spearheading this Grand Kite, oppositions can be the source of great tension.
But consider them we should. Every astrologer who uses the modern system will tell you Pluto is no joke. This is the planet that causes the deepest disruptions in our psyche, both personal and collective. Power is everything to this planet; it is an all-consuming and all-or-nothing energy that leaves no room for moderation. When you pair it off with an eccentric, marches-to-its-own-beat kind energy like Uranus, you’re going to get a revolutionary who craves constant, enduring change.
The Pluto-Uranus conjunction pinned so neatly to Kurt’s ascendant is reflective of the era he was born in. I don’t think we need to take much of a history lesson here; the 1960s stands out in our mind as one of the most iconic eras for the Civil Rights Movement, a time fraught with constant violence and the emergence of radical schools of thought a la Malcom X. There was also manifestation of things like second-wave feminism, the Free Love Movement, and a renown urge to explore radical, out-there drugs like LSD — all expressions of a potent conjunction that wanted to tell the system to fuck off in every way possible. Since planetary configurations like this come only every so often (in this case, anywhere from 111 – 146ish years), having one so powerful sit on the ascendant means his very being felt compelled to push boundaries constantly, and at any cost.
This is why that, despite how “quick” Nirvana’s success seemed, it was anything but. The Grand Kite pattern can supersede a Grand Trine when it can be realized because the opposition often compels the individual to put their potential out in the world. Before and during the band’s “official” inception in 1988, Kurt was filling notebooks with fake interviews that he came up with, constantly thinking about how he wanted to respond to potential questions he might receive about his music. He would also fill his journals with mock-ups for his music videos, and was known to be finicky about who he worked with to make sure the creative direction was honored. It’s on record that when the director for “Heart Shaped Box” declined to do any more music videos in fear that he couldn’t live up to Kurt’s expectations, Kurt said he would never make another music video again (and he didn’t — “You Know You’re Right” is a posthumous release.)
In finances too does this impulse show up: regarding the infamous 1992 dispute over Nevermind’s royalties, Nick Soulsby states that “Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl receive[d] a cut on only eleven Nirvana songs including 12.5% each on Smells Like Teen Spirit, [with] Kurt receiving the remaining 75% on those songs.” Put simply, the control of finances and the conscious manipulation of the band’s image is nothing short of the Plutonian impulse for power (the added layer of a Pluto-Saturn opposition going on his chart would have only stressed his rigid discipline and issues with control).
None of this is to discredit the power of Uranus here either. To sent trends, thinking outside of the box is crucial; how else to do it than through the flashy, lighting-bolt inspiration that Uranus gifts us? Such futuristic insight often means that the ingenuity isn’t understood until years — sometimes decades — after. However, the beneficial aspects the Pluto-Uranus conjunction was receiving from a happy Jupiter and a content Neptune I believe offset the lag time that sometimes comes with these heavy configurations. Not to mention that there was already momentum from the Seattle sound (“grunge”) pushing Kurt along. It just so happens that in activating this pattern, he was able to articulate most clearly the collective’s trauma by channeling his razor sharp awareness (Uranus) through his Piscean energy, creating a sound that is equal parts harrowed and melodic. Talk about seeing into the year 3000.
This configuration is not without its downsides. The constant tension that demands resolution in the opposition can be stressful. Being that Pluto (who also rules death) and Uranus (which can herald sudden endings) lead the way, we recall all the near-death instances Kurt had towards the later part of his career — he nearly overdosed during promotion of In Utero in July of 1993, and then again in March of 1994. There’s also the matter of his stomach issues, which he has been quoted saying were so bad that it made him consider suicide. Since Uranus is the modern co-ruler of Aquarius, which in turn rules the 6th house cusp, the erratic nature of this planet has caused many fits and starts with the stability of Kurt’s health. The fact that his Sun is tied up here means the chronic illness he experienced often weakened his vitality; the experience was very personal.
There was also the on-again, off-again nature of his heroin addiction. The Pluto-Uranus conjunction is on his ascendant, yes, but hiding just behind it, which puts it in the 12th house of subconscious matters. It seems he would have these Uranian flashes of insight now and again that made him aware of his self-destruction, but Pluto here can make it hard to access (and heal) up the traumas that compel one into addictive behaviors. It felt like a black hole in his life that he could not fix; being that the conjunction opposes Venus in the 7th, it could have been that, when he felt he was not receiving the assurance and love he so deeply craved, he would turn back to his old tricks in an effort to salve the wound (and this is only emphasized by the fact that the conjunction is also opposing his Chiron, which is the asteroid that symbolizes the ‘wound we cannot heal’). Such wounds are left to fester when they cannot be dredged up into the light.
I’m not going to re-hash the events of his death because I feel that is territory too well tread, and I want this to be more of a love letter than I do an eulogy. With that being said, I will briefly point out that Pluto, being in the lower degree of the conjunction, is firmly in control of the chart, to the point that I would argue it is 2nd only to Neptune. Think about it: we’ve discussed how Pluto oversees death and wealth. How is it that the Cobain estate was able to balloon from a modest $50 million at the time of his death to the $450 million empire it is today? We are still talking about the man whose guitar was the most expensive to ever be sold off at an auction, after all. It helps that his North Node is off in 8H Taurus (which if you recall from my previous article on Surviving an 8th House transit, is the house that pertains to, you guessed it, death and other’s resources). Taurus is not a fan of being in the 8th because it wants to hold on to what it possesses, but the karmic trigger to share his material abundance is already set. Not to mention it can overlook “letting go” in this instance because Taurus here is providing for those it loves. Think about it: he has been able to ensure that both his wife and his daughter, Frances, can live comfortably for the rest of their lives should they choose to never work again.
Revisiting what Lynn Koiner has wrote about the Grand Kite formation and how the opposition is the crux that makes the wheels turn, “the opposition requires much self-examination to utilize effectively, to resolve the conflict and harness its power. ” Compromise was necessary to utilize the natural talents inherit in his Grand Water Trine, but the compromise was that he had to trade his comfort for anonymity by accepting his status as a superstar. It may seem that he couldn’t do it (considering he’s no longer walks with us on this plane), but I would argue that he has fulfilled his destiny by living on decades after the fact. Not to say that we don’t want him here with us (I would always want that!); but rather, that we should do well to appreciate his transformative insights on what it is to hurt, to love, to rebel, and to live through the power of his music.
Vaporwave. You might have seen it around if you’ve ever had a Tumblr, or frequent the underground music scene for the latest experimental trends. The name itself eludes a singular definition; it is instead stitched together from disparate parts of 80s and 90s pop, smooth jazz, funk, and chillwave — just to name a few. Album covers evoke aesthetics of diffuse, neon-lit malls; palm trees swaying against a technicolor sky; anime characters and the Japanese written language system; Greek statues; glitch art; and if one is daring, all of these things at once.
Vaporwave appeals to me as a millennial living in the aftermath of a globalist movement where both our planet and the economy are threatening to collapse. When I need a moment of escapism, I can open my Spotify and listen to some Com Truise, immediately comforted by the serenade of re-verbed pop singers and synth beats filtering through my headphones. I don’t need to have been alive in 1985 to get a sense of what it was like to believe in the dying promise of post-modern prosperity before I knew it was already over. The lush, resonate synth waves a song like Open cracks a window open into the past for those who didn’t experience it, while still structuring it in a way that echoes the current decay rampant consumerism has wrought.
And what would this blog post be without some astrological analysis as well? Vaporwave has the mark of the Uranus-Neptune conjunction written all over it. Consider: A decent swath of artists (i.e. Saint Pepsi, Vektroid) were born while the conjunction was within a 10° orb, infusing their impulse to look at things from a new perspective into the art they create. As for the “movement” itself, Vaporwave is post-music if there’s ever been such a thing as post-music, having been conceived exclusively on the internet (Uranus) and thus, enabling it to bleed into every corner of the globe with no boundaries (Neptune).
The Neptunian impulse to wax nostalgic over an era perceived as simpler clashes against the Uranian desire to critique the institutions that have gotten us here now, and I don’t think it’s going away any time soon. Vaporwave continues to evolve into the present day in its efforts to understand where we’re heading when nothing seems certain. But In order to see where it’s heading, we first need to visit where it began.
The “Birth” Of Vaporwave: Chuck Person’s Eccojams, Volume 1
Because Vaporwave is one of, if not, the first internet-exclusive genre of music, it’s hard to pin down a precise date that Vaporwave began. We could take into consideration the “forefathers” of the forefathers (think: chillwave), but having dug around, most Vaporwave fans agree that artist Daniel Lopatin’s (a.k.a Oneohtrix Point Never) release Chuck Person’s Eccojams, Volume 1 was the definitive starting point for this new genre.
Right away, you’ll notice the Moon is in Domicile (being in Cancer) AND is conjunct the Midheaven — very apt, considering the album uses reverb and distortion to create an “underwater” effect as you listen.
What’s interesting to note is the positions of Saturn and Mars. Both are in Libra — Saturn here is exalted and is hanging on to the edge of the 11th house, signifying to me that, while Saturn limited this album’s ability to spread widely between groups of people, its reception was received fairly at the time of its release. This also ensures the album’s longevity; to this day, Eccojams Vol. 1 serves as inspiration to Vaporwave artists both new and old, oft cited in Reddit forums and Youtube comments by fans as a timeless classic.
Another reason I think this album had a limited reach at the time of its release is due to Mars being off in 12th house Libra. Mars, the planet of forward movement and drive, hates both of these places quite deeply. In Libra, it is in its fall, and in the 12th house — the house of introspection and subconscious motives, of isolation and soul searching — Mars is trapped, stuck putting its aggressive energy back into itself. The result is an album that is subtle in its violence — yes, Eccojams Vol. 1 is soft and shapeless in nature, one song flowing into the next without boundary, but the layering of sampled music and distorted noises become erratic white noise that could have, at the time, washed over a listener in a way that disoriented them deeply!
Then there’s a matter of looking where the 12th house ruler is — Venus. Like the Moon, Venus is having a great time being here (its place of Domicile), but its conjunction to Saturn put stipulations and boundaries around this album receiving the love it deserved at its release. Experimental music fans and niche genre hunters were applauding this piece without hesitation, but were not able to convince the mainstream that it was worth its critical appraise (which could also be why it took so long before it got more widespread acclaim). Not to mention that Neptune, which shares some of its themes with the 12th house, is tucked away in the private 4th house, limiting its dissemination to that of unconventional methods. Considering this was out in 2010, an era where social media was still learning how to crawl, being able to hit the mainstream in the absence of major record labels was still a nigh-impossible feat.
There are other factors that might have limited Eccojams Vol. 1‘s ability to become a national sweetheart right away, but the astrological footprint this album has created a supportive energy that sets us up for the real “boom” of the Vaporwave movement: MacIntosh Plus’ Floral Shoppe.
Rising to Fame: Macintosh Plus and the Advent of Floral Shoppe
If Vaporwave was still a bit of a “joke” between its underground artists and ironic appreciators, then the laughing stopped when the artist Vektroid (known also by her one-time monkier, Macintosh Plus) dropped Floral Shoppe.
Before I even began thinking about tackling Vaporwave with an astrological bent, one of my first impulses was that this movement is drenched with Neptunian energy — and I have to admit, I’m pretty tickled to see I had the right idea. Right away, we note that at the time of release, Neptune was wrapping up its transit in Aquarius (where it was from 1998 to 2012) and sitting just behind the event’s ascendant, which cuts through the early degrees of Pisces. The fact that it trines an exalted Saturn in Libra means it was given an extra push to ground its seemingly “erratic” and “alien” sounds in a way that was more digestible. It was strange, yes, but it could now resonate with a larger audience because the audience could more readily contextualize the samples in the album. Diana Ross’ chopped up vocals over jazzy snares was some of the first music to really articulate that an era is dead and gone (Saturn in the 8th.) The oldest millennials were now old enough to grapple with the weight of nostalgia. Not bad for an artist who wasn’t even alive in the 80s.
Another big boost to helping get this album out into the world is the fact that Sagittarius rules the MC, helped along by a Sun/North Node conjunction. Furthermore, Sagittarius’ ruler, Jupiter, is off relaxing in the 2nd house, sextiling Neptune and trining an 11th house Pluto. These energies show that the album was able to truly go global — the Sun/NN conjunction makes this piece feel like it was “destined” to happen. Jupiter expands the album’s touch — the artist has proven her “worth” because she has permanently cemented herself in the conversation about Vaporwave. And Pluto came in and made sure that it mystified its audiences, compelling them to dig deeper and deeper for more works like this.
BONUS: For an added layer of analysis, I took a quick look at the synastry between the two albums. The fact that Eccojams‘ Jupiter is conjunct Floral Shoppe‘s Uranus at zero degrees Aries is a Hail Mary for sudden fame. Eccojams’ NN also sits snugly between Floral Shoppe’s Venus and Pluto, prompting a sense of “destined” love and long-lasting critical acclaim (as I stated before, Eccojams Volume 1 not having “mainstream” success doesn’t mean its astrological footprint didn’t lay down the foundation that Floral Shoppe needed to push this genre forward!)
Vaporwave is(n’t) Dead: A New Nostalgia for a New Decade
This is the part in my article where we take a huge leap forward, the reason being that there are so many other artists and albums to cover that I don’t think this “brief” overview can truly do it justice. OG artists like Blank Banshee, Luxury Elite, Windows 96, and Saint Pepsi push(ed) the narrative of what Vaporwave means in forward-thinking ways. Newly inspired artists come in and experiment, experiment, experiment, such to the point that “Vaporwave” is now really an amalgamation of multiple sub-genres. Is that release you’re listening to Future Funk, or Mall Soft? How do you feel about “Oceanpunk?”
But there’s always a shadow side to things, and this is no exception. In my hunt for “The History” of Vaporwave, I kept running into a cliff: as early as 2013, people were claiming that Vaporwave was “dead.” Yes, things were still being released, but whatever gems were in there were being overshadowed by a wash of repetitive, uninspired content. This is to say, there are other “hallmarks” in the genre to go back and listen to, but it seems none hit the same magnitude the same way Floral Shoppe did.
I may revisit this in the future by digging deeper, but for the sake of keeping this essay a manageable read, I decided to fast-forward to present day. Instead of Googling “the history,” I looked for “latest releases,” and one caught my eye that might indicate the way Vaporwave is choosing to go. Enter: Building a Better World.
While Vaporwave has been busy splintering off into multiple sub-genres, I’ve seen fans and critics alike referring to this piece as a “back to basics” with a fresh twist. Building a Better World is an album that opts to lean more into the “future” part of the “past-and-future” themes that often prevail. It uses real instruments and samples nature sounds to create a washed-out, dreamy feeling. Now that we’ve had more time to process the rapid changes in our world, the time to keep dwelling on how much better we had it in the past is coming to an end. We can’t keep waiting for the future because the future is here, and, as noted here by the grim Saturn-Pluto-South Node conjunction going in this chart, the future is a real dark place.
Don’t despair! The beauty of this album for fans (and even a more casual listener like myself) lies in the fact that it combines the grimdark reality of our today with a glimmer of hope for tomorrow. The fact that we hear rain means the planet still goes on. Technological glitches wrap around the sound of chimes, giving faith that civilization can be built anew.
The dire Saturn-Pluto-SN triple whammy in the chart’s 4th house — the house of ancestry, the past, and our childhood homes — promises there will be a breakdown in structures we once relied on. This is true even without the event chart, of course: look no further than outside, and you can see the rot settle in all of our institutions. Lord Hades and Lord Chronos shook hands back in January and now the world is trembling.
But we also look for the promise sitting in the 10th house, the fact that again, the NN is in the 10th house and this time it is in Cancer. This album and the story it paints is one that again feels like it’s “destined” to happen, that though there may be death, new life can be built from the ashes and we can be born again. Mercury and Venus are also here, indicating that this album is here to speak of compassion and spread the love.
And love it is. The Sun is Domicile in Leo, meaning Building a Better World is getting the attention it knows it deserves. Mars in Leo is off trining with Jupiter in 3rd house Sagittarius (who is also in its Domicile), promising that it will be disseminated widely. Last but not least, we can see Neptune (who surprise, is Domicile in Pisces) sextiling the gritty Saturn-Pluto-SN trio, suggesting that it’s okay to allow these barriers to dissolve. The past holds us back, but by tapping into our sense of the divine, we are imagining both a new sound of Vaporwave, AND a future that is better for the survivors. Considering it’s in the practical, hands-on 6th house, the idea that we can work this belief into our daily lives is of spiritual necessity.
About the Author
Jasmine Lomax (she/her) is a freelance content creator, educator, and poet who currently resides in Seattle, Washington. When Jasmine isn’t busy ticking away at the computer, she enjoys reading, swimming, tending to her spiritual studies, and the occasional bout of crying over fictional characters.
If you’re new to astrology and you’re doing your due diligence to learn about what each of the 12 houses mean, then no doubt your initial encounters when studying the 8th house have been met with dread. It’s just one of those things in our current astrological climate that get a lot of flak, much like the 12th house (the house of your subconscious and ergo, your undoings) and the South Node (your “past life” karma). Of course, if you haven’t reached this point in your study yet, or don’t study astrology at all, then you’re likely asking what the hell an 8th house is in the first place and if you should bother to care!
Before we go further, I want to start saying that, even if you don’t study astrology, you can still benefit from this knowledge. Leave behind the terminology that doesn’t make sense and focus more on what you can gain by understanding the themes of the 8th house as they apply to your life. After all, we will all one day die, and no doubt (almost) all of us must pay taxes — whether you believe in astrology or not, the 8th house hangs over us for the entirety of our lives.