No surprise that while walking in the park this morning, I had some astrological thoughts. Astrology is like a novel with no ending, where the characters continue to develop and transform until they are lifted from the story like chess pieces removed from a game but where new pieces are added.
There’s no beginning and no end.
Quite creative, isn’t it?
Today’s thoughts began with Virgo and ended, for the moment, at the mutable signs in general. Virgo is the mutable earth sign.
What does that mean?
There are four elements (fire, earth, air and water) and three modes (cardinal, fixed and mutable). Four times three equals the 12 signs of the zodiac. Your sign has an element and mode.
The elements and modes interact in geometric relationships that are, truly, any angle you want to measure. Astrological talk involves some of the more common angles – trines, sextiles, squares and oppositions.
When you understand element and mode, the relationships are really quite easy to find. Signs of a similar mode are either in square or opposition. Earth and water are compatible and create trines, sextiles and oppositions. Fire and air are compatible and form trines, sextiles and oppositions.
The opposition comes from a sign of the same mode, but compatible element. That opposition is really a polarity – you have a lot in common with those who seem opposite.
Opposites attract, right?
The modes are cardinal, fixed and mutable. Cardinal signs begin things, fixed signs create permanency and mutable signs change things.
If the world was run by cardinal signs we’d have a lot of projects started, but not many finished, with a basement full of boxes containing craft ideas found in a hundred magazine subscriptions.
If the world was run by fixed signs we’d have meatloaf for dinner every Tuesday (which sounds good to me) and other regularities that we’d do because we do them, because they were established at an indefinite time in the past.
If the world was run by mutable signs we’d make plans, change them, turn around, think of something more interesting and then find it was time for bed (if mutable signs do go to bed).
On the other side:
With no cardinal signs in your life you find you never try anything new. You aren’t curious about that new Albanian restaurant on the corner, afraid to try it lest you dinner be ruined (it’s meatloaf night).
With no fixed signs in your life you find you can’t ever seem to lose that weight, save for that house or change yourself in a permanent way. Your lover wants to be friends. Your job wants to make you contract.
With no mutable signs in your life you find you never relax into the moment and chase after a fast-moving cloud just to see where it will take you. You never turn down the wrong street simply because there is a beautiful sunset at the end.
Mutable as dissolving
While I’ve always considered mutable signs to be about change, today it occurred to me that they are the dissolving mode of any element.
I was thinking about Virgo being less body oriented than the other two earth signs – Taurus and Capricorn. While Taurus and Capricorn are physical, sensual and lusty, Virgo seems allergic to being in the body itself, hyper-sensitive to its surroundings.
While the order of the signs is Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn, it might be better to see them as Capricorn (beginning), Taurus (middle) and Virgo (end).
This reminds me of the story of the Three Little Pigs. If you are not familiar with the story, the three little pigs each build a house. A big bad wolf comes to blow down each house – two houses get blown down and one withstands the wolf’s heady breath.
The first house is made of straw, the second stick and the permanent, un-blow-down-able house is made of bricks.
Virgo would be the straw, Capricorn the sticks and Taurus the bricks.
Straw is the least stable of material to build a house. Sticks are better but vulnerable and bricks are so solid that the world outside disappears.
Virgo would be the dissolving of the physical body, the hypersensitivity to the physical environment which the body, like the house in our Three Little Pig story, should protect.
The wolf is a dangerous bellow of air, air being ideas that threaten our edifice, our shields.
The cardinal water sign is Cancer, the fixed is Scorpio and the mutable Pisces. The water signs deal with emotions and reactions.
The cardinal Cancer begins the spiritual union of individuals into what is commonly referred to as family. Family traditionally follows physical birthing and sometimes excludes people if the circumstances of their birthing are not deemed appropriate. Families often include those not of physical birth, a spiritual or emotional family.
The fixed sign Scorpio might be the creator of marriage and family trees. Making a spiritual union permanent is rather difficult as people often find many others attractive and sometimes like to physically interact with many people. In this 21st century AD, some still question whether monogamy is natural. Family trees make the relationships permanent and legal.
The mutable sign Pisces dissolves both family and sexual bonds and relates to humanity as a whole when they meet humanity on the local bus line. If we counted all the people that truly love us, we might be surprised the number is higher than we think and that those that are supposed to love us might not be the ones loving us the most. Pisces dissolves all structured ideas of union and is involved in unions of a type others do not even know exist.
The cardinal fire sign is Aries, the fixed is Leo and the mutable Sagittarius. The fire signs deal with spirit and intuition.
The cardinal Aries begins the assertion of the self – the “I,” the “me,” the identity. The US is a nation of Aries assertion which the current trends in marketing follow. I want this thing in blue right now. To fight with others is to assert self. Maybe that’s all we ever fight for?
The fixed Leo makes permanent the assertion of the self through creative efforts and children. Leo Andy Warhol’s work has lived long past the physical Andy Warhol. Those who worry that they will die without a statue being erected to their being are talking Leo. Leo also likes to be the hero, another way to embed the self’s image into another’s mind.
The mutable Sagittarius dissolves the self by contact with foreign selves, which shatter all we have learned from our culture. Sagittarius takes self-asserting to a cause and asserts on the behalf of others. Sagittarius melds into the assertion of others and often dons others’ clothes for experience, experience which challenges and changes ideas of self.
The cardinal air sign is Libra, the fixed is Aquarius and the mutable Gemini. The air signs deal with social interaction and intellect.
The cardinal Libra begins the social interaction by mating. This is different than the Scorpio intimate merging. The self is solo and Libra (as the opposite of Aries) now finds someone to play with, discovers that sharing toys brings others into the sandbox. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery which Libra understands and probably coined. The give and take (justice) of relationship was developed by Libra.
The fixed Aquarius is interested in making permanent ideas of social interaction. This is the urban planner, the social philosopher or the leader of the community coop who knows that joining forces creates a better whole, but the joining must be defined. If the community has no guiding principle, written on paper, it will be unfair to some.
The mutable Gemini dissolves social interaction by flying where it will and following no known rules about how interaction should occur. Like the bee, Gemini flies from flower to flower feeding its intellect, its drive for information, for interaction. Gemini dissolves interaction by rejecting partner and societal ideas of interaction. Interaction is for its own sake, not so that you will take care of me when I’m old or because there is a blueprint somewhere describing how we should behave.
Neptune is in year two or three of its 15-year transit of the mutable sign Pisces. Now that you’ve learned that elements of the same mode are in square, you know that if you are a Gemini, Virgo or Sagittarius, Neptune in Pisces will square your sun at some point in this cycle.
If you are a Pisces, Neptune will conjunct your sun. Neptune rules Pisces so it’s a double espresso of ethereal Pisces beans.
Because Neptune and Pisces carry the same energy, that dissolving feeling will affect the other mutable signs.
Gemini will be uncomfortable with the feeling nature of others as it prefers intellect. Virgo will also be uncomfortable with the feeling nature and will react to it physically through allergies and other weird illnesses. Sagittarius may find inspiration by Neptune which made lead it into experiences that are actually dishonest or delusional. Neptune will be an interesting scent from the kitchen that may lead mutable signs into some unusual situations.
Neptune will dissolve energy patterns that have exceeded their limits of a fixed and rigid nature.
Some like that dissolving feeling, some don’t. Dissolving is simply one way to change. There are others, like the rug being pulled out from under you or a house falling on your head.
Maybe it will be a relief, like the old Alka Seltzer commercial:
“Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is.”