The Planets of Generation X

The rhythms of Astrology have always fascinated me. The “personal planets” like the Sun, the Moon, Venus, Mercury and Mars zip around the zodiac at a relatively rapid pace, and so the transits of these planets happen fast and tend to be short lived. On the other hand the outer planets, Jupiter, Saturn, Chiron, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto move very slowly, so their transits develop over years and affect entire generations. The energy we feel on any given day can be a combination of these short term personal transits and the longer term generational transits.

For those of us who remember Billy Idol, that is, we members of Generation X, the defining transit of our birth was the conjunction of Pluto and Uranus that started in about 1965. Those born before this conjunction are baby boomers and those born after are Generation X.

Have you ever noticed that there was no Generation W? Generation X was not so named because of who we followed, but because we were largely invisible. We are wedged in between the baby boom and the millennial generations who take up all the space in the press. We are hard working and honest. We were born before cable TV, before the home answering machine, before cellular phones. We remember Smoky and the Bandit and we were amazed by CB Radios, which were all the rage in the late 1970s. I remember when we got our first VHS machine. It was before you could even rent movies and there were only a few that you could buy. My Mom invested in Flashdance. I saw it once and then figured the VHS machine was largely useless if you had to pay $75 for a movie. At the $2.00 per hour that I earned baby sitting, it was better for me and my friends to just ride our bikes to the theater, which we did about nine times to watch Star Wars.

Do you remember the phrase “ok boomer” which was a dismissive phrase hurled by Millennials at their Baby Boomer parents? Back before COVID, when the Millennials were taking their Lattes to offices with ping pong tables and basketball hoops in them, they would dismiss the views of members of their parents generation saying “ok Boomer.” Sometimes they would try to aim this phrase at me, but it would never stick, because I am generally not old enough to be their parents. But the Millennials could not seem to get that. Who was this person who is older than me, yet younger than my parents?

Well we are Generation X and we are very quietly coming into our time right now. And there are some major astrological events that are heralding our generational awakening. Most of Generation X will feel two major transits of outer planets in the next several years. The first is likely to be the transiting Neptune in opposition to our Natal Pluto. The second is likely to be transiting Neptune in opposition to our Natal Uranus.

Because we were born under and after the conjunction of Pluto and Uranus, these two planets are very close together in all of our birth charts, and the very slow moving Neptune is now coming into opposition with these planets. Neptune represents our deep spirituality. It is the subtle energy of music, it is our divine connection, and it is our soul contract with our life here on earth. Neptune is the farthest true planet from the Sun and represents our deepest waters. It is sandwiched between the major disruptors of Uranus and Pluto.

Neptune transited in opposition to my Natal Pluto a few years ago, and it came into opposition to my natal Uranus the day before yesterday. This was exactly the day after I had surgery on my vocal cords, and so I have had several days of forced silence to sit with the energy.

I admire those who have deep study of astrology, but I am not one of them. I like to ponder the planets and to see them in the sky, but my understanding of astrology is much more personal and intuitive. When I feel something strong in my life, I often go look at my Time Passages application on my phone to see what is occurring in the sky. And when I see something occurring in the sky, I like to sit with it and feel how the energy is affecting me.

The energy of this one is very clear and obvious to me. If you look at my current chart, which I posted above, you see that it is full of red conflicting aspects. Most of the time we think of these conflicts as difficulties, but they are much more than that. They are also the energy that creates transformation. I personally am experiencing a literal transformation of my voice. My vocal cords are resting for four to five days after surgery, and the image that keeps coming to me is that of an insect in its chrysalis, while in pupates from larvae to adult.

I also feel a new level of maturity and acceptance arising. This process started for me about ten days ago when a close friend of mine shared a hypnotic meditation about patience which brought to my awareness the energy I have of being driven. I have always had inside me an energy of pushing, that is often counterproductive to my happiness. An example of this would be a car ride. Say I’m in the car and I need to be somewhere in 30 minutes, but it’s only 20 minutes away. Why do I grip the steering wheel and take all the short cuts? So I can be there ten minutes early? Why do I not instead take the time to start something interesting on the audio and then take the easy route with few turns even if it’s a little slower? Where is this pushing energy coming from? Not from the outside…it’s coming from within me.

This hypnotic meditation on patience really brought this into my consciousness. And while my surgery was only a few days ago, my ability to speak has been seriously impaired since early January. There have been many instances where I have just decided that it’s not worth arguing or debating with someone. Or not worth talking about some item of the news or some other scandal. Not speaking has been calming my mind.

This has helped me to not take in personally when other people have emotional reactions or if they are disappointed in my reaction to them. I am letting go of the need to talk a lot to fix things. I no longer need to spend a lot of energy trying to explain myself or things to other people. Let them figure it out for themselves a little more. In our spiritual doctrine there is a beautiful hymn that says “you don’t need to give counsel to those who don’t want to listen to you”. And in Portuguese, when they say “you don’t need to” it has a little stronger sense of “you need to not.” Like really, don’t waste your breath on those who do not want to listen. Having this impairment in my voice has helped me a lot with this.

And since these transits I am experiencing are generational, I feel they apply to my peers. We were the first generation coming to disrupt the old order of the industrial world. We were here to lay the ground work for Gen Y (millennials) and Gen Z and to take the reigns from the baby boomers. But really, we can keep our counsel to ourselves when it is not appreciated, and we can share it with those who want to listen. We can walk through life with our divine connection and we can act in integrity. And we can continue to stay out of the news. And we can continue to listen to Billy Idol.


Spring brings all of the planets to the dawn sky

As I have mentioned before, I am a big fan of Astrology, and my favorite part of the study of Astrology is the connection it brings me to actually going outside to view the planets. They are the path of brilliant shining stones, the universal treasure, the light of the firmament, and they will all be there in all their glory for us to see this Spring. You may have felt the powerful energy of the recent conjunctions of Mars and Venus with Pluto, and for those of you who are waking up before sunrise with daylight savings time, Mars and Venus have been putting on a spectacular show with the dimmer Saturn just below them. All you have to do is look to the eastern sky before dawn and Venus will immediately catch your attention.

But this is just the beginning of an amazing spectacle that continues throughout the year, as if we are being rewarded for the passages we have all gone through in the last couple of years. And so here I would like to outline some things you can easily observe in the sky to help you feel connected to the rhythms of the celestial clock.

My favorite aspect of this is Jupiters path through the zodiac over its twelve year “synodic orbital period” (the time it takes for Jupiter to go all the way around the zodiac from our perspective on earth, as opposed to from the perspective of the Sun). I remember I was in the middle of the Amazon Rain Forest in the spiritual community of Céu do Mapia with my son in late June and early July of 2019. During that year, Jupiter was at opposition to the sun during this exact period. I took the photograph that you see above simply by placing my camera on the ground facing straight up into the sky at midnight. Because Jupiter goes all the way around the zodiac almost exactly every 12 years, it reaches opposition one month later from one year to the next. So in 2020, Jupiter was opposite the Sun in late July and early August. In 2021, Jupiter was in opposition in early September, and in 2022, Jupiter will be there again in October.

So if we watch Jupiter in the night sky, we can see the passage of years. I always remember my trip to Mapia was with Jupiter in this position in late June during the festivities surrounding the Summer Solstice.

As I said up above, the planetary show for the spring of 2022 is already underway in the pre dawn sky, with Venus, Mars and Saturn being the main attractions. But Jupiter is right there in the glow of the rising Sun. The Sun goes through the zodiac 12 times faster than Jupiter from our perspective, so every day at dawn, Jupiter will be a little higher. Soon it will start to be visible through the glare of the morning Sun, and then every month it will rise about one hour earlier, and therefore be about 30 degrees higher in the sky each month. I love to watch the advance of Jupiter across the sky, so I will be out there in the morning when I walk the dog looking for it.

Venus, on the other hand, travels through the Zodiac faster than the Sun. It happens to be at about the point where it is highest in the morning sky. One really interesting fact about Venus, is that it’s never visible at midnight. Think about it. Venus is closer to the Sun than the Earth, so it can never be on the opposite side of Earth from the Sun. Instead, Venus oscillates in a beautiful pattern between being the morning star and the evening star. Right now, Venus is as high in the sky as it can get, and now it will start diving back into the sun, until it goes behind the Sun and reappears as the evening star.

But first, it will pass both Jupiter and Saturn. So we have these conjunctions to look forward too. First Venus will pass Saturn, and then it will pass Jupiter. It already passed Mars and Pluto. All you have to do is go outside before dawn and you can see this for yourself!

Something extraordinary is about to happen, and that is that in early June, all nine planets will be present in the morning sky. Of course, only five of them are visible to the naked eye, but they will all be there. You can try to find them with a telescope (I’m not sure if this is possible with Pluto and Neptune, but it is possible with Uranus), but for me, I am satisfied just using a Star Gazer app on my phone to locate them. Then I just ponder the sky and it’s not hard for me to imagine the presence of the planet there. I’m quite sure I can feel the energy of it. Even if you could see it with a telescope, these far outer planets would be simply dim points of light.

But Jupiter and Venus have much more to offer with a telescope. Jupiter will offer up its Moons to a casual observer. I remember the first time I saw the four principle Moons of Jupiter through a telescope. It was on a field of icy snow in the dead of winter in Sun Valley, Idaho. I was astounded and humbled. What a beautiful and profound hidden treasure. I remember the four Moons were all lined up on one side of Jupiter, and I was surprised at how far their orbits took them from the planet. I remember a couple weeks later taking my sons outside to repeat the observation, and was so surprised to see two Moons on either side of the planet. It had never occurred to me that they would change their orientation like this, but they did sure enough. Again I was astounded.

Most recently, I set up a telescope to observe the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in December of 2020. This was on our chocolate farm in Bahia Brazil, that offers and amazing view of the night sky. There again were the Moons of Jupiter, and within the arc of their orbit, was Saturn. Just by putting my eye on a simple telescope I was able to directly observe Saturn so close to Jupiter that it was encompassed by the orbit of Jupiter’s Moons. I will never again see that in this lifetime, unless I travel through the solar system on something other than Earth!

Venus (and Mercury) also offer some grand spectacles to an observer with a telescope. These two planets, because they are closer to the Sun than the Earth, have phases like our Moon. So when you look at Venus, it can appear as a bright crescent. The same is true for Mercury, but be very careful not to let the morning Sun get into the view of your telescope our you can really fry your retina. Best only do this before dawn.

So in early June, all nine planets will be in the sky before dawn at the same time. I don’t remember the last time this happened. But this is not the end of the show! Saturn and Jupiter will continue their path toward opposition. Saturn, with its slower orbit, will reach opposition sooner than Jupiter. Without looking, I was say this will happen in late July. Then, Jupiter will reach its opposition in late summer, which will be the best time to see its Moons with a telescope.

And Mars, don’t forget Mars!, will be putting on a show too. Mars will reach its opposition in early December and it will be huge and bright and red and also fun to look at with your telescope.

You can read all about the energies of all these events in a good blog. I recommend Astrobutterfly on this platform. But I find sometimes that I just need to sit in the quite while I gaze upon these shining stones, and the energy speaks to me directly. I think you will find you can feel in your heart the power of our celestial neighbors.

Enjoy the brilliant spring. Pray for Peace. Show gratitude. Love your neighbor, and enjoy the celestial beauty, the universal gift of the firmament.


Venus, Mars and the Butterfly Effect

It’s amazing how fast the days go by. It’s been quite some time since I last sat down to write, and there are a few topics that come to mind. The first is the array of planets visible in the morning sky on the eastern horizon, which I had the fortune of seeing this morning. Frankie (our dog) woke up about an hour before dawn, and I had already been lying awake in bed, so when he asked to go out, I put the leash on him and walked down to Biscayne Bay to see Venus in the morning sky.

Venus made its transit of the Sun sometime back in January I think it was, and thus it switched it’s role from the evening star to the morning star. I had brought my telescope with me to Telluride so I could look at the Mars transit that occurred on about March 6th, but alas, Telluride is in a box canyon that opens to the west. On the east side is Ajax Mountain, and Venus, at least from our perspective, does not clear the mountain ridge before the sun comes up. I was not able to see it while we were in Colorado.

But this morning I did get to see Venus, still pretty close to Mars. It was so bright like a diamond. Mars was down and to the right a little bit, and then Saturn was closer to the horizon. It’s so pretty when we can see several planets in one view. Pluto was also there, but not visible to the naked eye. Jupiter, in Pisces, was still below the horizon, and I was cold and wanted to go get back in bed, and did not wait to see it rise. But Jupiter will start gaining prominence as the year progresses, until it reaches opposition, I think in September this year.

Have you already started to feel the shift in energy after the conjunctions of Mars and Venus and Pluto? Remember COVID, which suddenly left our headlines to be replaced by constant news about the war in Ukraine? Finally we are through with this pandemic it seems. Funny that the only exception to this is China, where they struggled so hard for years to prevent the pandemic from landing there. But all they succeeded in doing was to delay the inevitable. For the rest of the world, we now have some immune protection and the pandemic will go the way of all pandemics, all the way back to the plague of 1655, which tend to last about two years.

For all the ineffective and pointless reactions we had to the pandemic, we succeeded in shortening it’s duration by about exactly zero. Sometimes I think we would all have been much better off had they never identified COVID as a novel virus and had just written it off as an unusually harsh flu season. If that sounds cold hearted, it’s really not. People who get sick and die from the flu are just as deserving of compassion as those who got sick and died from COVID. The recognition that our responses were ineffective does not reflect a failure of compassion. When you compare the response in Florida, which is led by a regrettably pro-Trump governor, to that of California, you can really see how ineffective all the responses were. Florida eliminated mask mandates and lock downs state wide, while California leaned into every available restriction on liberty, and California fared no better than Florida. Futility of the fight against nature.

Another concept I wanted to touch on is the butterfly effect. I was talking to Stephanie the other day about the war in Ukraine and about how the USA did exactly the same thing in Iraq. Also, in the 1980s it was Russia that invaded Afghanistan and fought for twenty years while the USA supplied stinger missles and other weapons to the “freedom fighters,” but then these same people that we supported in their opposition to the Russian invasion became our enemies, and so we invaded their country, and faced people we had trained and armed. But now they were not freedom fighters anymore, they were terrorists. Same guys. Same pile of rocks.

Of course all war is barbaric, and if you follow the dollars, who is making money off the war, it’s always the same oil and gas companies, arms suppliers and corrupt security firms like Haliburton and Blackwater who make the billions of dollars. Another war drives the price of oil above $100 per barrel, and suddenly talk of the Keystone Pipeline and shale oil are back on the table.

So Stephanie told me to write a post about it, and I commented that while I do really appreciate that there are a few people who read this blog, I suggested that my audience was not wide enough to have a material effect. I said I can blog about it but it won’t change anything.

And then she made a point that really stuck with me. She said… but remember the butterfly effect. I loved the book “Chaos” which describes in detail how sensitivity to initial conditions can give a small input great power over time. There is a point to writing some of these things down, because even affecting the consciousness of one other person in a positive way can be like the effect of a butterfly flapping its wings and changing the weather.

I hope we can all “change our weather” by awakening our consciousness. Every email I send out has the signature “The expansion of the consciousness will be able to save the Earth”. As my beloved God Mother teaches in a hymn that she received… “we must pass through the suffering and aggression that humanity is suffering without the least bit of need.” All this suffering is actually not necessary. We have everything we need in the material world to take care of everyone alive on this planet and to take care of the planet too. But instead we have wars and all this suffering and aggression. It is only a small shift in the consciousness that is necessary and we can all wake up from this bad dream. Flap your wings butterflies. Let’s change the world.


If you see the moon in mid afternoon, how do you know if it’s waxing or waning?

I have long enjoyed the study of astrology and the visible astronomy that goes along with it. In our modern lives, we often read about the astrology of the day, but with our busy schedules and city lights, we can lose touch with the natural rhythms of the Sun, the Moon and planets. Astrology can be a cerebral or theoretical exercise when we lose connection to the power of these astronomical events playing out in the sky. The Moon in particular has a powerful rhythm that we can connect with through some simple observations, and from there we can start to enjoy the even more subtle rhythms of the planets. Then the answers to questions like the one above become a matter of experience.

My wife and I and our family are fortunate that we had a chance to acquire a cacão farm on the coast in Bahia Brazil about six years ago. It is an extraordinarily beautiful place, with frequent power outages and internet failures, and almost no light pollution. Our house sits up on a ridge overlooking the ocean as you can see in this picture, and we have spectacular views of the Moon and the stars and the planets. The monthly course of the Moon is so present with us when we are there in Bahia, and we return to Miami, it’s easy to lose this divine connection to the Moon.

The Moon repeats a beautiful journey on the stage of the sky every month on our farm. The best way to describe this monthly cycle of the Moon is to start with the waning crescent moon, which is rarely seen. We very rarely see a waning crescent Moon because it is visible in sky only briefly right before sunrise, and by the time the Sun wakes us in the morning, the waning crescent moon is already lost in the morning glare. So our story of the Moon will start with the dark moonless nights of the waning crescent.

Let me describe a little bit about the farm to set the stage for you. The coastline there runs basically north and south, and it lies to the east of our farm. So we have a perfect view of the eastern horizon, and we see the Sun, the Moon, the planets and the stars rising over the water to our east. To the west of us are some low hills, and there is a long field that used to be a one hole golf course. At the end of this field we can see the sun setting over the hills, and we often walk the dogs there and watch the colors unfold in the evening sky. This is where we saw the great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn after sunset in December of 2020.

This evening walk brings us to the true beginning of the Moon’s journey, which is the appearance in the evening sky of the new Moon, which occurs suddenly every lunar month in the western sky in the twilight. The day before the New Moon, it’s not there to see, but the day after the new Moon, there she is, a crescent hanging in the sky for about an hour after sunset before she dips below the horizon. Over the next couple days, if we take the same walk, she appears a little higher and a little larger, still in the western sky and above the setting sun.

This continues until the first quarter one week after the new moon. Then she appears directly overhead at sunset as a half moon, and we tend to forget about it. The sunset draws our attention with it’s soft inland colors, but the Moon high over head and half full, does not make a strong demand on our senses. This reduced energy is manifested physically in very real ways. Consider the tides for example. The largest tides occur with the new Moon and the full Moon. The quarter Moons have what are called “nip” tides. And interestingly, nip tides occur when the Moon is square to the Sun, which means their energies cancel each other out a bit. We often read in Astrology about the Moon being square the Sun, and we read that the energies conflict. This physically is a very powerful phenomenon in the real world. Yes, the wisdom of astrology relates to very real physical forces we can measure in the world.

After the first quarter moon, the real show starts. About four days before the full Moon, we see a waxing gibbous Moon high above the eastern horizon at Sunset, and the waxing gibbous Moon stays bright in the sky all the way until the wee hours of the morning. Over the next days, we see the Moon a little larger and a little lower in the eastern sky every evening before sunset.

Then comes the big night of the Full Moon. Everyone knows it is coming, because we all see the waxing Gibbous growing every evening before she is full, and this fills our hearts with anticipation. The evening before the full Moon, she is just above the horizon when the Sun sets, and that is the most spectacular view. It is the view you see in the photograph above. We often have our spiritual works on these nights.

The next night, when the sun sets, there is no Moon in the sky at all, but she puts on quite a show as she rises above the ocean in the twilight, still almost full, within an hour of sunset. Everyone’s gaze is fixed on the eastern horizon waiting for the Moon to appear, and we see the glow and then she breaks above the horizon. The next night, the sky gets completely dark, and still no Moon, and then she rises still almost full, bright and white in the dark night sky. The next night, she rises a couple hours after sunset, and the phase of the waning gibbous Moon is with us, and she is now rising late at night around 10:30 or 11:00 pm.

When we have a waning gibbous Moon, we often wake up in the middle of the night because of the bright Moon shining in our window at 3:00 am. From about 4 to 7 days after the Full Moon, everyone seems to stir in these wee hours before the morning as this bright light comes from the east much like a sunrise. It was under a waning Moon that Mary Madeline woke up before dawn and visited the empty tomb of Christ. This waning Moon energy makes us stir and has since the ancient times.

Finally, after a full week or so, we get to the third quarter Moon, where she rises at midnight and is small enough not to wake us up. The nights are inky black until very late, and zillions of stars are visible. This is the best time to point a telescope at Jupiter to see the Moons of Jupiter. And then we get back to the waning crescent Moon again. Only the owls see her rise above the horizon. And then a few days later, she appears again after sunset in the western sky, and the entire cycle starts again.

These events have profound effects on our energy and our attention. Everyone looks with anticipation for the New Moon…will she appear tonight? When will this new cycle start? This is why in Astrology we say the New Moon is the start of our monthly cycle. It’s because for time immemorial humans have gazed to the west anticipating the appearance of the new Moon. Similarly, since the deep time past, all humans and animals have stirred late at night with the waning gibbous Moon. And everyone sees the powerful waxing Gibbous Moon and anticipates the splendor of the full Moon. We grasp at this memory for a few days as the full Moon wanes, until she rises so late that we are already in bed, but with fitful sleep.

And so, the answer to the question, if you see the Moon in the afternoon, it is always a waxing Moon. Usually you see it after the first quarter when it is more than 90 degrees from the Sun. So if you see a Moon after noon, you know it is waxing. If you see the Moon rise after sunset, you know that it is waning. If you see it high overhead at midnight, then it’s a waxing quarter Moon, and if you see a crescent after sunset, you know it is a new Moon.

If you feel you have lost touch with this, that’s ok, because it happens every night. You can go out and see for yourself! You can keep a Moon journal for a month and write your observations. If you have a window in the east in your bedroom, leave the shade up and see if the waning Gibbous wakes you up in the middle of the night. We do not see this show every month like we used to, because we get busy, and we are inside making our dinner with electric lights, and we don’t always have a good view. We may see the Moon from time to time, and be happy or surprised. We may even look on the internet to see the date of the next full Moon and joyfully observe it. But if you spend a month to observe the Moon, you will really feel the power.

When we sit on the ridge line in the evening and watch the full Moon rise, we are doing the same thing in the same spot that people have done for centuries, back to the dawn of time with the Indigenous people of the area. For thousands and thousands of years, humans have shared this common experience of watching this cycle of the Moon, and when we get in touch with it ourselves, we can really feel the power of it.