by Robert Wilkinson
There seems to be quite a buzz about these two revelations now making the news. What they're not telling you is far more than what they are, so today I figured I'd combine these two topics to give you my take on these late breaking, somewhat bizarre stories.
First, the rumor going around that Mars is going to be as big as a Full Moon, super bright and all that other dramatic stuff we're told hasn't happened for a long time, and won't happen again for thousands of years. I'm sorry to shatter some illusions, since some of the pictures making the email circuit are very pretty, but this just isn't so. The Sun is approaching a conjunction to Mars, something that occurs every two years plus a few weeks, give or take.
When the Sun conjuncts Mars, we cannot see Mars. We would have to be able to look directly at the Sun, and distinguish a relatively tiny object just next to it. If you've tried this, you know a) it's impossible, and b) you probably went blind doing it, unless you were wearing welder's goggles. Even then, it's pretty risky business, even if Bruce Springsteen did sing, "...Mama always told me not to look into the sights of the sun, Oh but mama that's where the fun is..."
The Sun conjunct Mars occurs on October 23-24 at 30 Libra. The last time they conjuncted was in September 2004 at 25 Virgo. After the coming on, the next one will be in December 2008 at 15 Sagittarius. Right now you might be able to see Mars in the western sky just after the Sun sets, but soon it'll be too close to distinguish. So as much as we'd all like to see Mars appear the size of the Full Moon on Earth, that's not likely unless you're living on one of the Moons of Mars.
As for the recent news that Pluto has been dissed. Given the recent disruptive political battles among astronomers (yes, even they have turf battles!), it comes as no surprise that last week they named several other bodies as planets, and now that's been reversed and they've all been demoted to non-planetary status. This was decided on the votes of about 300 out of 2500 astronomers in attendance, so a relatively small number decided something. So much for "global consensus." I figure astronomers, being brainheads, can say whatever they want to promote their separate agendas, but they've defined planets in various ways throughout history.
Ceres, a huge asteroid well known in astrology to have significant effects where it falls in a map, used to be called a planet, until it was demoted some time ago. Does that mean it has no effect in a chart? They also had to make a determination about the distant rock UB313, aka Xena, as well as Charon, one of Pluto's Moons, which became planets not long ago until this latest development demoting them, along with Pluto. Now they're "dwarf" planets, whatever that's supposed to mean.
Pluto was well known to the ancients as part of the Invisible Triad of Transpersonal forces beyond the visible seven planets of antiquity. And anyone who has been touched by Pluto's purifying and transforming energies would never claim it has no existence or influence. So I suppose the astronomers will continue their eternal quibbling, much as did those who Gulliver met in his famous travels, particularly in Laputa. However, for us astrologers, Pluto will without doubt continue to exert a significant influence on us all. Any of us dealing with the Grand Irrationality anchored by Neptune and Pluto will concur.
Even if you agree with the astronomers, just wait till Pluto transits over a significant point in your chart. I guarantee you'll note some version of its astrological planetary influence. On a final note, I have found that as with Saturn, if you make Pluto, the "Lord of the Underworld," your friend, it's not as scary as it seems. Heavy and profound, life altering, Transformer of Worlds, but it does not have to induce fear. In fact, nothing should. To give Pluto his due, in the ancient Sanskrit words of India, Aum Namah Shivaya!