Iconography and Astrology


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I was just out doing some yard work when the thought of icon and archetype came into my head. I am sure I am not the first to write about this, but being a child of the 1960’s growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area (which became Silicon Valley), I cannot help but look at the new Aquarian Age from the electronic view point. Since I am also an Aquarian, I like to bring in the history (Saturn) and then call forth the innovation (Uranus) in its current unfolding.

From Wikipedia.com we get the following two definitions of icon:

  1. a painting of Jesus Christ or another holy figure, typically in a traditional style on wood, venerated and used as an aid to devotion in the Byzantine and other Eastern Churches.
  2. a person or thing regarded as a representative symbol of something.

And of course there is the most current definition: a picture on an electronic screen that represents an application, program, disk drive, file, or instruction.

We humans are meaning seeking animals. While not all of the population on the planet is literate, most people on the planet have the ability to associate an image with a larger collection of thoughts, ideas, meanings, processes, instructions, and stories. The traditional meaning of the word “icon” is non-secular and dates sometime between the second and fourth centuries A.D. Icons were most often images of Jesus Christ, his mother Mary, saints and angels. This art form developed further and later, into the magnificent stained glass of the Gothic period in Europe. In both cases (and in many other ways to present iconography) we are talking about images which, when seen, give people a larger more complex story.

When we access our electronic devices, our screens are filled with a multitude of images -these are our modern day icons. We know when we click on the envelope we will be taken to our electronic mailbox(es) and we will be able to read current and past undeleted emails and be able to respond -all by just recognizing a simple “image” of an envelope.

Astrology is a study of images, icons, archetypes, and so much more. When we look at a symbol  or “glyph” for a planet or a glyph for a sign, we know that each one represents a width and breadth of not only key words and ideas, but also experiences, feelings and sometimes -critical life changing moments. If you are able to grasp the “greater meanings” of the icons on your electronic devices, you can grasp the glyphs and archetypal understanding of astrology.

As a practice, take a planet or a sign for a week and see all the ways it manifests itself in your consciousness. See how the archetypes, images, iconography and sensations appear in your environment and are reflected by the people you encounter and possibly even your own moods. We are surrounded by imagery. Give your meaning-seeking mind a playful experience in deepening your astrological experiences.


Be well,







Loving communication

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Out of many of the aspects in the chart, a common one is a Mercury Venus conjunction. A conjunction is when two planets are in the same place at the same time in the sky -from the perspective of the Earth. Just to clarify, they aren’t in the same actual space; otherwise, there would be, of course, a collision between the two planets!  In the sense of a collision, there is a coming together of two -think of two lovers coming together, for, just like the new Moon (aka Moon Dark) a “new birth” occurs with each conjunction. The “birth” is a new expression of the archetypes of the two or more planets involved, just as when a man and a woman form a union together, they birth a blend of the two in the form of their children. This is true of all conjunctions, not just about the one of which I am discussing today.

Why is the Mercury Venus conjunction common? First of all, these two planets are never more than 76 degrees apart in the horoscope, and, secondarily they are both closer to the Sun and therefore have the shortest planetary orbits (or “years”) of any other planet in the Solar System. Mercury returns to the same place in the sky about every 88 days and Venus returns to the same place in the sky about every 225 days.  It is interesting to watch their “dance” through the Zodiac if you use an animated astrological program. It looks as though Mercury is almost like a happy dog, running forward and then doubling back and going behind Venus as she makes her more deliberate, longer forward movement with fewer retrograde cycles than her eager friend Hermes (another name for Mercury).   The last conjunction between the two was 18 March 2017.

I know I gave it away with the title, but about what are we speaking when we find Mercury Venus conjunctions in a chart? Let’s breakdown the archetypes into a few simple key words:

Mercury: Communication, movement, travel -especially short trips

Venus: Love, beauty, unification, pleasure, values

Conjunction: new birth, new ways of doing things

If we play with these words, we get: A new way to lovingly communicate, pleasurable travel, beautiful movement, eloquence, unified movement, speaking one’s values.

Of course these will also be further flavored by the signs (Aries through Pisces) in which the planets are found as well as by their respective element (Fire, Earth, Air, Water) and modality (Cardinal, Fixed, Mutable). Taking into account these factors, you can get a vivid sense of the ways in which each of the combinations are likely to play out.

A person with a Mercury Venus conjunction in Scorpio is going to have a fixed depth and intensity to the manner in which they speak and would differ greatly from the light and airy way in which a Mercury Venus conjunction in Gemini person would move and communicate.

For those of you born without a Mercury/Venus conjunction -don’t worry! Thanks to Mercury’s quick run around the Sun, you are able to experience this combination about 4.14 times a year when Mercury, by transit, conjuncts your personal or natal Venus -and, you will experience Venus making a conjunction with your Mercury, by transit, about 1.6 times a year. When you experience these transits, look for a more of rich expression of your natal Mercury or Venus, as these two are good friends in-deed.

Wishing you all more beautiful communication with everyone in your life and especially with yourself!


Many blessings,



A Busy, Busy time

Guan Yin, Goddess of Mercy at the Nelson Atkins Museum, Kansas City, MO


Whew what a time this has been! We had a lovely period in January when all of the planets were going direct and then, one by one, like a series of clocks striking the hour, they started going retrograde: First Jupiter, then Venus then Saturn, Mercury and then Pluto . . .. This is like taking a speeding train and then one by one making each of its wheels and then its engine go in reverse. Many of us have felt like this great meme:



I have taken advantage of some of this retrograde motion to get things done that have been needed my attention for some time, for example, I was fortunate to have Marcelo Schenberg (I highly recommend this web mage: vesta.websites@gmail.com) redo my website.

And here are a few things that are going on in my life. I was recently invited to speak on Sheri Horn Hasan’s Karmic Evolution’s Astrologically Speaking internet radio show. Her website is: http://ctrnetwork.com/profile/karmicevolutions We spoke about my work in Core Energetics. If you would like to listen to the interview, please go here: http://www.contacttalkradio.net/CTR/sherihornhasan042717.mp3  Sheri is a gifted astrologer and talk show host. We enjoyed our chat and I hope you will too.

May is soon upon us and that means another year of The Northwest Astrological Conference, aka: NORWAC http://norwac.net/  YAY! This year I will be speaking about  planets on the angles: http://norwac.net/speakers/  Hopefully I will see you there Memorial Day weekend.

In June, I will be offering a four part webinar series called Keywords: Your Key to Communicating Astrologically https://www.alanoken.com/current-events/  This is a great class for beginner to intermediate astrology students who are interested in expanding upon their astrological vocabulary.

I wish each and everyone of you who reads this and everyone on this planet blessings of patience, compassion and greater understandings during these challenging times,




Familiar images in surprising places

I was recently in Chicago to meet with Laura Nalbandian and others to work on the logistics of UAC 2018. As many of you know, Chicago has a wealth of beautiful architecture, public in door and out-of-doors art, well-kept grounds, museums, private estates, and, and, and. Of course while I was there I took advantage of the many visual delights Chicago has to offer.
One spot, in particular, stood out for me on this trip: The old Chicago Public Library which has morphed into the Chicago Cultural Center. While the whole of the interior is finished in a truly beautifully rendered mosaic tile effect, the space is well known for its exquisite Tiffany stained glass dome with around 30,000 pieces of glass covering more than 1,000 square feet.
Other than mentioning UAC, you may well be asking right now, “What does any of this have to do with Astrology?”
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A study in astro-logic or, how the inception of a group was ascertained . . .

When Jason Holley and I connected in Seattle at NORWAC 2016, we discussed starting a local NCGR (National Council for Geocosmic Research https://geocosmic.org) chapter in Santa Fe where we both live.
Groups in Santa Fe are not an easy thing to start and maintain, by the way. We sent out emails and made phone calls and were able to gather a group of about 15 people on Tuesday 2 August 2016 at 6:30 pm.
During the course of the evening we discussed the benefits and requirements of being a local chapter and at some point in the evening we called for a vote of commitment to start the new group.
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NCGR Santa Fe

NCGR Santa Fe group meeting
Tuesday 2 August 2016 — 6:30 pm until 8 pm.

Are you interested in learning about astrology, talking astrologically with others and/or want to share your astrological wisdom?
We welcome dedicated astrologically minded and hearted individuals to create a local NCGR chapter here in Santa Fe.
For location and more information please contact:

Jason Holley Jason@JasonHolley.net 505.603.0705
Michael Bartlett Michael@CoreMichael.com 505.690.3860

Come join us for our first meeting and help guide the path NCGR Santa Fe will take.
We look forward to hearing from you



Intro to Astrology

moon_taurus - CopyHello Friends and Followers of Astrology.
I am excited to announce I will be offering an Astrology 101 class starting  Monday 11 July for four weeks. Using visual imagery from AstroTheatre AstroCards and in-depth explanations, we will explore the Who, What and Where of Astrology:
1. The Signs
2.  The Planets
3. The Houses or rooms, elements and modalities
4. Putting it all together – Looking at a chart
Each class will begin at 6:00 pm Mountain Time (here in Santa Fe, NM) which is 5:00 pm on the west coast and 8:00 pm on the east coast of the US.
Cost is $120 for four classes of two hours each. Each session will be recorded and sent to you, so if you are unable to attend a session live, you will still receive all of the material presented. Class sessions will include Q&A time.

The Dual ruled signs, Scorpio, Aquarius and Pisces

There used to be a graceful, simple way to keep track of the ruling planets for all of the signs.
There was a simple elegance to the 12 signs and the five planets, Moon and Sun which ruled them.
See how they line up. Saturn and Saturn at the top, then Jupiter on each side, then Mars, then Venus, then Mercury and Sun and Moon at the bottom.


Traditional rulers

Then the outer planets had to come about and shake things up! Each of the three were discovered at times in which human consciousness had the ability to grok their respective archetypal influences.
The discovery of Uranus in 1781, Neptune in 1846 and Pluto in 1930 each played a significant part not only human development and understanding, but more importantly on the course of astrology as a whole.
Vedic astrology continues to use the original seven or classic planets, whereas western astrology has welcomed and made space for and relationship to these three outer planets.

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A series of transits to awaken a generation

Those of us born in the mid 60s, are in for an interesting treat over the next few months.
Starting in October we have Venus, Jupiter and Mars in Virgo activating our natal Uranus and Pluto opposite our natal Saturn and Chiron.
In addition Pluto will be trining our natal Pluto/Uranus conjunction and sextiling Chiron and Saturn.
Chiron is in our natal Chiron’s sign of Pisces (with many of us already having gone through and others about to go through the Chiron return).
Then those of us born from November 1964 through April 1965 will be experience a Mars return.
And, if that isn’t enough, Saturn’s entry into Sagittarius will activate the third quarter square to our natal Saturn (Crisis in Consciousness!)and starting in January 2016, Saturn will be squaring our collective Uranus/Pluto opposition Chiron.
Is this a Yikes or a collective call for significant change?
This will be a very fascinating and exciting time for each of us, but what does it all mean?
Virgo is the sign of service, resources, discrimination, daily routines and our work and most of us have the Chiron opposition from Pisces as well as Saturn in the mix which has affected many of us in the sense that we have a feeling that our feelings aren’t right or trying to create sandcastles on the beach -they do not last.
Many of our generation have sought work that provides for us financially, while shying away from service oriented positions.
The Virgo/Pisces axis is one which, on an esoteric level, is about sacrificing of and devotion to serving the higher good, but with these four figures (Pluto, Uranus, Chiron and Saturn), we have not done it in the regular way because many of us have been burned (sometimes literally at the stake!) for trying to make the world a better place for humanity and we have that feeling, and cellular memory, in the back of our consciousness.
There is so much to write here, so please bear with me.
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Between a rock and a soft place – Saturn conjunct the Moon

If you have been looking at the moon over the last few nights, you have probably noticed that Saturn is right next to it (last night Saturn was just to the right of the Moon).
Maybe you have also noticed some disturbances in your relationships –from your primary relationship, to friends to family (especially mom)? Or the desire for more clear boundaries in your relationships?
This may be what happens when these two antithetical energies interact: Saturn wants to structure, limit, create boundaries, has hard edges, seeks to discipline (or be the authority) and often uses the word No; whereas the Moon wants to feel nurtured (whether that is through food, love, closeness, and surroundings), supported, loved and wants to say yes.
The Moon often represents your experience of your mother in your chart and Saturn can represent the way you experience your father.
Since the Moon and Saturn are conjunct right now, meaning they are right next to one another like a pair of conjoined twins, we are all having to deal with finding a way to blend these seemingly opposite energies.
On the hard side, maybe it is an argument with a loved one, but on the upside it results in you setting boundaries which give you a healthier way for you to relate to others.
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