Continued from Part 2:
May 2009 Alignment: Chiron in Aquarius
(*Just a reminder that this article, while containing information that may be useful for everyone, is written specifically for those who have Pluto positioned between 25 and 27 degrees of Leo in their birth charts. This includes those born between Sep. 1954 and Feb. 1955, between July and Sept. 1955, and between Feb. and Aug. 1956. The Neptune-Chiron-Jupiter conjunction in May 2009 will be within 2 degrees of being exactly opposite these people's natal Pluto.)
Jupiter, the third participant in our May 2009 Alignment, is the largest known planet in our solar system. Astrologically, Jupiter's basic impact in any planetary alignment is in accordance with his size - that is, he usually serves to amplify whatever he touches.
Jupiter's involvement in the May 2009 alignment with Neptune and Chiron will at the very least increase our awareness of the energies and issues being stirred. It means that it will be that much more difficult for us to ignore the primary directives of the alignment, as already discussed in the first two parts of this article.
But we can also explore what Jupiter represents independent of the alignment, what his presence in Aquarius might indicate and how else this vast planet's involvement might add to the mix of energies.
Intentions of Hope and Faith
It is easy to grasp Jupiter's larger meanings when we look at the mythological source of his name. Jupiter, or Jove, was the Roman equivalent of the Grecian deity Zeus, the king of the gods. In this role, Jupiter had supreme power and the ability to bestow great gifts - and to mete out equally great punishments when he felt disrespected. But whatever Jupiter did, he did in grand style, personifying the impressive size of his planetary namesake.
When I think of this face of Jupiter, I think of the Ghost of Christmas Past in Dickens' story A Christmas Carol - especially as portrayed in the musical movie version with Albert Finney as Scrooge. The word "ghost" doesn't seem quite appropriate for this interpretation of the character, so in touch with physical pleasures and eager to enjoy the feasts of the holiday.
Astrological Jupiter, like this particular Ghost of Christmas Past, is bigger than life, generous, and hopeful about the future. The word "jovial" is derived from Jupiter's alternate name, and describes his influence well.
From this perspective, the addition of Jupiter to our May 2009 alignment could be very positive. With Jupiter's energetic contribution, we may expect for our overriding interpretation of whatever occurs at this time to be hopeful. Jupiter's involvement means that we will be enabled to feel more optimistic than usual about the potential outcomes.
Adding to this positive perspective on Jupiter is the fact that, as each planet is associated with at least one zodiac sign, Jupiter is known as the "ruler" of Sagittarius - easily the most fun-loving, carefree sign of the zodiac, and yet also known for its need to build a sense of faith and meaning in life.
Astrologer Clare Martin offers her perspective on this aspect of Jupiter's astrological profile:
"As the planet of faith, Jupiter describes our belief system, our philosophy and our sense of what makes life worth living, indicating where we seek to grow, to expand and find meaning in our lives. Jupiter describes our sense of abundance and our spiritual wellbeing."
This side of Jupiter's influence gives us reason to think that if this alignment truly does mark the beginning of a new direction and purpose - especially for those whose natal Pluto is involved - then this new mission is likely to be something we can truly and deeply believe in, feel inspired by, and happily devote significant attention and energy to.
The "Down" Side
There is, of course, a potential for the negative side of any energy to manifest, even when it is innately positive. It's hard to imagine a "bad" Santa Claus, and yet we are all aware of times when too much - even of a good thing - is just too much. We're all familiar with the queasy-stomach feeling of having eaten too many sweets or the discomfort with having spoken too freely.
Jupiter's possible "down" side is in not knowing when enough is enough, either in our energy expenditure or in the enthusiastic explanation of our beliefs. It may be harder than usual with this alignment to set limits on the sharing of what we know to be true, not realizing that to emphatically tell someone who holds conflicting beliefs that we "know" something is true can be the quickest road to relationship deterioration - and to the dismantling of the very community we are trying to create.
Because of his association with belief systems and religions, Jupiter can contribute judgmental attitudes just as easily as acceptance. This is another way that "too much is too much," and how we'll need to watch where we're stepping as this alignment strengthens. Another's toes may easily be right where we are about to tread.
For successful navigation of this alignment, we must learn to temper our enthusiasm with awareness and respect of another's perspective. Self confidence is a vital tool when in the position of guiding or coaching others, but self-observation is equally important to prevent ourselves from becoming patronizing, boastful, or arrogant.
At the same time, we must be careful not to become so flexible that we end up standing for nothing. Balance, awareness, and commitment are key.
Jupiter in Aquarius
Just like Neptune and Chiron, Jupiter will of course be in the sign of Aquarius at the time of the May 2009 alignment. Jupiter spends about 12 months in each sign, and last visited Aquarius from January 21, 1997 to February 4, 1998. This time around, Jupiter will enter Aquarius on January 5, 2009.
(Note: Jupiter was in Aquarius in 1961, when John Kennedy became U.S. president and Barack Obama was born. Obama's Jupiter Return is exact on January 9, 2009.)
As we discussed previously, Aquarius is a known for its humanitarian perspective, and at its best always sees that "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts." When Jupiter in Aquarius is at work, we see an increased belief in community and participation, an enthusiasm for reform and technological advancement, and an inspired vision and faith in the future.
Weaving these qualities of Jupiter in Aquarius into the tapestry of the Neptune-Chiron alignment indicates that our desire to make a positive difference in the world will be amplified throughout 2009 - and that this inspiration will be based in our individual spiritual experience (Neptune in Aquarius) and focused with the intention of healing the wounds of separation (Chiron in Aquarius).
While we will certainly benefit from Jupiter's ability to amplify our ability to conceptualize an ideal, we are cautioned not to get so caught up in the vision that we neglect to take care of practicalities. We've all seen people, ourselves included, who have incredible dreams that never quite manifest. Since Aquarius is an air sign, our ideas may tend to stay in the mental plane instead of making it to physical form. This lack of grounding may be one of the more difficult hurdles of this alignment.
It is no doubt fortunate that Saturn will still be in Virgo, a practical, reality-based earth sign, throughout much of 2009. We'll all need to draw on Saturn aspects to our charts to help us create the forms that embody our ideals.
It's time now to explore the individual components of Jupiter's involvement in the May 2009 alignment. As before, I will include interpretations from other astrologers of various planetary combinations, in search of insights that might inform us of the possibilities contained in the alignment.
Transiting Jupiter conjunct Transiting Neptune
Since Jupiter amplifies the energies of other planets, we can assume that as Jupiter and Neptune conjoin, the spiritual, transcendental effects of Neptune will be enhanced. Neptune in Aquarius is dissolving the boundaries between peoples, as well as lifting the veil between dimensions. Neptune also represents the energy of the high heart, which is the link of compassion that connects us to one another. It will be intriguing to see just how far we can take these possibilities, especially under the expansive influence of Jupiter and the healing directive of Chiron.
Astrologer Robert Hand writes about a natal Neptune-Jupiter conjunction in his book Planets in Youth:
"Your ideals are very high, and you are a bit of a dreamer who sees visions of a more pleasant and beautiful world than this one. Also you are an optimist, believing that somehow everything in your life will work out just fine. In fact, no matter how often matters go badly, it does not seem to disturb you. This has the positive value of helping you stay cheerful in the face of adversity, but it can also result in being blind to the need for change in your life. You may delude yourself that a situation is marvelous, when actually it is not.
"On a higher level, this aspect can indicate a strong concern with spirituality and religion. You need to believe in some higher power in the universe that relates to your live and gives it meaning... this belief can blossom into quite a beautiful trait of being very loving, generous and compassionate to everyone. Also you may have a strong mystical streak, a desire to be personally close to God."
While these paragraphs are describing an individual who has a Neptune-Jupiter conjunction in their natal chart, it gives us a good idea of what traits the combination of these two planets can emphasize: idealism, compassion, spirituality - but perhaps not a great deal of grounded realism.
Transiting Jupiter conjunct Transiting Chiron
Jupiter's alignment with Chiron will have a similar effect of amplification, but this combination means we are likely to be increasingly aware of both the "gift of connection" and the "gift of aloneness" that astrologer Martin Lass describes in his interpretation of Chiron in Aquarius. This conjunction holds the potential for an enhanced understanding of the wounds that keep us separate from each other - and as we embrace that understanding, we may also take major steps in healing our separation from Spirit.
Here in his words are some thoughts about the possibilities of a Jupiter-Chiron conjunction:
"The healing path [of Chiron-Jupiter] reawakens us to the innocence and childlike wisdom of the Inner Child. It takes us back to the joie de vivre that we tend to lose as we grow up. It reminds us that life is an adventure, full of magic, mystery, and magnificence... Chiron-Jupiter aspects are extremely powerful in their potential to awaken us to our wounds and to reveal our wounds' inner wisdom. In this way, Jupiter gives us our first glimpse of the guiding hand in our lives.
"This aspect represents the potential marriage of healing and wisdom acquired by delving into our wounds and issues and seeing the hidden plan that lies behind them... With this aspect, the adventure of our lives is the journey of healing and evolution of consciousness, whichever form that adventure may take. That journey will tend to be larger than life and rich in content, with our gifts on display to the world as an inspiration and testament to the possibility of healing and evolution of consciousness."
The duality of any Chiron experience is clear in this interpretation, where we simultaneously "awaken to our wounds and reveal our wounds' inner wisdom." To have this energy amplified through Jupiter's influence means that both sides of the equation - the wound and the healing - are likely to be very apparent. Keeping in mind that the purpose of all this is "the journey of healing and evolution of consciousness" will be a helpful means of staying on track.
Astrologer Rob Hand shares another perspective of how Jupiter-Chiron energies combine:
"This influence will enable you to reach a deeper understanding of illness and health, as well as the process of division and becoming whole again. If your work involves helping others, you will have new opportunities to get a sense of that which lies behind human suffering. It is important when dealing with incurable diseases to see them within a wider context, which can help us accept them and cope with greater dignity. Don't allow chances to slip by which could deepen your education on these issues.
"That which applies to the physical also applies to the psychological, where long-standing pain can continue to influence us, causing us to feel insecure, fearful, inadequate, ashamed or vulnerable. The deeper purpose underlying such forms of suffering can be understood only on an individual level. This is a particularly good time to start a course or begin some kind of training concerned with such issues, or to undergo an appropriate form of therapy.
"It is important to understand that you will only be able to help yourself and others if you can admit that you also need help. Try not to fall into the trap of feeling superior if others confide in you - even if you are making great strides in your personal development. It is only by not losing sight of your own need for help that you will truly be able to help others to understand and accept themselves."
Astrologer Melanie Reinhart offers additional insights and cautions:
"With Jupiter in aspect to Chiron, we could experience quests, journeys, and pilgrimages that are immensely productive of healing and inner growth. The crucial factor is our willingness to reflect deeply on our experiences, to balance our expansion with enough stillness and introversion where some inner synthesis can be reached. If we let Chiron/Jupiter run away with us, we are in danger of leaving a trail of unprocessed life-experience behind us, becoming ungrounded and losing our humanity.
"With Chiron/Jupiter, we have an astonishing ability to bounce back from illnesses, personal tragedies and crises of faith. We tend to overdo things and to experience the extraordinary. We are very alive to the archetypal level of life in these areas, but sometimes also prone to excess, fanaticism and messianism...
"Our intuition is strong, and we may have intimations of the future but also have difficulty bringing these possibilities or lofty ideas into form... Through acknowledging our deep need for an inner source of wisdom and guidance for ourselves, we can perhaps eventually relinquish these extremes and find the Inner Teacher speaking quietly within."
It is clear that with Jupiter and Chiron aligned, there are tremendous opportunities for us both to develop our healing gifts and to make significant progress on our personal spiritual path - but along the way, we must also take care of our own wounds and fears as they arise, and not allow the hubris of Jupiter or the illusory influence of Neptune to inhibit our efforts.
Transiting Jupiter opposite Natal Pluto
Now we turn to the aspect that pertains specifically to those whose birthdates are listed at the beginning of this article, who have Pluto positioned between 25 and 27 degrees of Leo in their birth charts. This includes most of those born in the two-year period from late summer 1954 to late summer 1956.
Because Jupiter repeats transits every 12 years, we can review times when Jupiter already opposed our natal Pluto, to find events that are similarly a part of the Jupiter cycle in our charts. For those of us in this group, those oppositions occurred in the springs of 1997, 1985, 1973 and 1961.
In theory, Jupiter opposite Pluto would amplify, through our experiences with others, our current level of empowerment and moral maturity, as well as how comfortable or uncomfortable we are with the role of leader. In your own memories of these dates, see where and how you made changes in how you pursued your goals and dreams, and how those changes then contributed to the ongoing expansion of your personal power and understanding of your life mission.
One more quote from Rob Hand, this time describing transiting Jupiter opposite natal Pluto:
"This transit can represent the culmination of a long drive for success or power. However, it is very important that you proceed with caution, because the forces opposing you are likely to be strong, unless you make a special effort to placate them. This can be a time when you get a promotion in your work or gain power in some other way to change and affect the lives of those around you. But it can also be a time when all your efforts come to nothing, and you find yourself losing out in a perpetual war with people in power.
"Sometimes this transit can stimulate a rather ruthless desire to get ahead. Most of us are tempted to cut corners, but that can have very unfortunate consequences. In fact you should do as little as possible to arouse the authorities against you, because this transit is so likely to create just that problem.
"Another problem can be obsessive or fanatical behavior, feeling that you alone are right about some matter to the point that you are unwilling to hear any other point of view. Avoid becoming totally convinced of your own righteousness, and do not try to force your own views upon others. Your ideas may in fact be quite good, but your problem comes from the style you would be likely to use. You must try to be open to other points of view and be able to compromise.
"You can avoid the negative side of this transit if you have built up your affairs carefully and enlisted the aid of others in your efforts, making them understand that you are also working for their interest. And even if you are encountering the negative effects, it is not too late to enlist other people's aid. You may have to enlarge your personal goals to encompass a group's goals, but it can be done."
My inspiration for these articles began as I was reviewing my personal transits for 2009 and saw the grouping of Neptune, Chiron and Jupiter at a time when their influence was already strong (being close to their retrograde dates), and when all three were opposing my natal Pluto. I started to ponder the fact that there would be a sizable group of those who would be experiencing this influence at the same time, since we have Pluto at just about the same degree of Leo in our birth charts. The potential impact seemed worth exploring, especially in light of the energetic shifts occurring on the planet, which are already pushing us to expand our awareness and fulfill our higher purpose.
What stands out to me as I consider this alignment, and its influence on our natal Pluto, is the imperative for those with awareness both to attend to their own healing and to develop their healing abilities, allowing them to be known to others. The potential exists for a major spiritual shift to occur during 2009 - and for those of us with natal Pluto from 24 to 28 degrees Leo, there is the added pressure on us to claim or expand our life's mission. The directive seems to be that it is time to become the empowered healers we are meant to be - for ourselves, for others and for the planet.
In astrological prediction, the actual experience is usually similar to, but also different from the anticipated, especially when the outer planets are involved. The intention of the transpersonal planets (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto) is always to expand our awareness and to move us beyond what we have already known - so by definition we cannot know for sure what their influence will bring.
The essence of the lesson and potential growth is where we focus most successfully, and we gain that knowledge through exploring the meanings of the signs and planets involved. It will no doubt be helpful to keep in mind that since the alignment we've been discussing is in Aquarius - the sign associated with cutting-edge philosophies and mind-expanding experiences - we will need to be flexible and openminded as we head into the energies of this planetary combination.
As always, there will be a broad range of responses to the energetic vortex created through this alignment. Some will utilize the influence well, others will flounder and be confused, still others will seemingly not be affected. The individual's choice is foremost and not to be judged, and no one's future is written in stone.
We also need to keep in mind that this alignment is not the only important influence in 2009. All of us will be affected at the same time by the Saturn-Uranus opposition (exact five times: November 4, 2008; February 5 and September 15, 2009; and April 26 and July 26, 2010). Depending on the placement of planets in our individual charts, this alternate influence may change our experience and redirect our attention, and even seem to negate the influence of the alignment we've been discussing. Or, we may be affected by a transit from Pluto as he treks through the first degrees of Capricorn - again depending on where our natal planets are located.
Variations on the themes considered in these articles will also depend on where Pluto is by house in our individual birth charts. For instance, if Pluto is in the natal tenth house, we would expect more visible, career-oriented effects; if Pluto is in the natal seventh house, the effect might be felt most tangibly within committed relationships such as marriage; and so on. (Please see the "Houses" page on my Web site for an explanation of house meanings.)
As we look forward and move into the energies of this alignment, it is most important that we realize that with each day, we are becoming more than we were the day before. Time is moving more quickly, and we are packing incredible growth into every minute. However the energies manifest, we will have the skills and insights to utilize them to their best effect.
We are poised for important spiritual and social advancements through this alignment of Neptune, Chiron and Jupiter - and those of us with natal Pluto affected have even greater responsibility to use these energies consciously and wisely.
Pam Younghans, September 2008
Robert Hand, Astrodienst Web Site (www.astro.com).
Robert Hand, Planets in Transit (Para Research, Inc., 1976).
Robert Hand, Planets in Youth (Para Research, Inc., 1977).
Martin Lass, Chiron: Healing Body & Soul (Llewellyn Publications, 2005).
Melanie Reinhart, Chiron and the Healing Journey: An Astrological and Psychological Perspective (Arkana Penguin Books USA Inc., 1976).
Stepping Into the New Reality by Karen Bishop.
About the Author
Pam Younghans lives near Seattle, Washington with her husband and their two dogs. She has been interpreting charts professionally for over 20 years. If you have comments or questions about this Journal or are interested in an astrology reading, visit Pam's Web site at http://www.northpointastrology.com. or call 425-445-3775.
Pam is the author of the weekly astrology journal in InnerSelf.