In the last few decades, all the outer planets plus the Centaurs Chiron and Nessus have passed through the zone of the Galactic Centre, in late Sagittarius. Now it's the turn of
Pholus, Chariklo and Hylonome, picking up the trail and following ...
Click here to download their ephemeris (2013-2018, daily positions)
I think of the passing of the Sagittarian Olympic flame ....
Expect a major 'life-review' of a very particular kind. Density, opaqueness and blockages within the mind the soul are being spun off, as in a centrifuge. This is a perhaps useful image for the Galactic Centre - a centrifuge - where everything is spun away from the centre,
revealing an empty space.
This 'empty space' is where we are receptive to Grace, and also, like the black holes said to reside at the core of the galaxy, it generates the substance which will birth the new. Dane Rudhyar used the word 'plenum' to describe this. An emptiness which is also full ...
"He who would create the new
must endure the passing of the old
in full tranquillity"
Click here for the main information list,
and here for some suggestions about using it.
The Centaur connection
From March 2013 until the end of 2018, there is always at least one Centaur in the zone of the Galactic Centre. Currently, three Centaurs plus Saturn are there! Grateful thanks to Eric Francis for drawing my attention to this. They are Pholus, Chariklo and Hylonome, described in more detail further down this page, and the lower three lines of the graph ...
But first ... the Galactic Centre
The current position of the Galactic Centre, in zodiacal terms is 27°3' of Sagittarius, moving about 1° every 72 years. Allowing a small-ish orb, this means that anything passing through the last 5° of Sagittarius can be said to be 'aligned' with the Galactic Centre. However, when we look into the intricacies of any planet's true positionality, motion and velocity, it is immediately obvious that 'alignment' must be considered a relative term. To take the word more literally than warranted leads to misinformation, fabrication and mistaken certainty.
This article takes an imaginal and symbolic view of the Galactic Centre
and our relationship to it, laced with a few 'factoids'!
A 'factoid' is something which is stated as fact, and by virtue of collective acquiescence and repetition over time is considered to be true, regardless of merit.1 However, remember that the Earth was once widely believed to be flat, and that Galileo's discovery of craters on the Moon resulted in accusations of heresy. Today's prevailing view of 'how things are' will in the future also be superseded – being mindful of this can encourage us to hold lightly what we read or hear about. This allows the world of imagination to come forward, connected as it is to personal experience, to soul, and to our 'locus' on Earth at this time. The imagination can be highly specific without being tied to 'factoids', as long as we don't mistake the one for the other!
The heliocentric world view and its demise
Before the Copernican Revolution, it was believed that the Sun, Moon and planets orbited around the Earth. This gave way to the heliocentric view, where the Sun became the centre, with the planets revolving around it. Helios was a Sun-god, and the Sun has long been a symbol of royalty – the King, the ruler, the authority. Its colour and its metal is gold, it rules the sign of Leo the lion, king of beasts. The heraldic lion can be seen on royal insignia world-wide, even in countries where lions do not live in the wild. The equation is Sun = lion = king = centre = gold = individual. The institutions and dogmas which emanate from this view are theocratic and monotheistic, with a single ruler. Louis XIV, 'Le Roi Soleil', the 'Sun King' is an example, as are many of the crumbling tyrants of various countries today.
Pluto's discovery in 1930 was followed by events within the monetary world which had far-reaching effects. Many mythic 'Lords of the Underworld' were also known as 'Lords of Wealth', and Pluto is no exception. The Gold Standard was progressively abandoned in the U.S.A., Europe and the U.K., and by 1934 gold was being nationalised in the U.S.A. with the Gold Reserve Act. Now there is no country whose paper currency is backed by gold. The physical substance, gold, which 'stands for' the Sun no longer 'stands behind' our money. To follow the murky theme of who or what does stand behind our substitute 'fiat money', click here. As the heliocentric model is superseded, the 'Gold Standard' is abandoned. As above, so below ....
The Inner Sun
On a somatic level, the Sun rules the heart (via Leo) and the 'solar' plexus, both in the centre of the body. The Sun is like the nucleus of a cell, and its astrological symbol portrays the central importance of the relationship between CENTRE and PERIPHERY (see diagram). The astrological Sun refers to 'individuality', in the sense of 'ego', meaning the 'false self' which consists of personality structures formed by various kinds of conditioning from our ancestry, parents and other authority figures, as well as society in general and nowadays the mass media in particular.
However, the astrological Sun also focalises something deeper and more mysterious – the precious and heartful sense of inner radiance, light, joy and purpose. This sense of self is often capitalised as 'Self', to indicate something greater than personal egoic structures. When we are thus 'Self-centred', we are blessed with a subtle but powerful feeling experience not easy to describe in words – it is easier to say how we do not feel 'centred'! We suffer as we register feelings of fear, boredom, anxiety, anger or confusion because the soul longs to be in touch with its Source … you get the picture! This 'inner Sun' refers to the Self as a point of access to our true sense of individuality, and the process of connecting with that core is referred to by Carl Jung as 'individuation'. This in turn opens out to our re-cognition of the universal dimensions of existence.
In Esoteric Astrology, the work of Alice Bailey, the astrological Sun is sometimes described as having a hidden inner resonance with the planet Uranus. It was discovered by William Herschel in 1781, and his notebook, below, shows his amazingly accurate computation of the shape of our galaxy. Drawn on the same page is the ancient and well-known 'Flower of Life' diagram. This beautiful geometrical figure is like a prototype or container for many other 'maps of consciousness'. In recent years, there has been a series of discoveries, some highly speculative, concerning the nature of the Galactic Centre – its composition, features, distance from us, precise co-ordinates and so on. However, William Herschel and his sister Caroline must be credited with the 'first approach'.
Rudhyar, writing in The Galactic Dimension of Astrology: The Sun is Also a Star ...
'Man projects upon the outer world what he potentially is, in order to discover and actualize his innate potential of being … What man perceives in the universe, being a projection of his most characteristic need, is for this reason a symbol of what man is.'2
Thus, the knowledge that our entire Solar System revolves around a yet greater centre called the 'Galactic Centre', parallels an inner need within humanity to be released from the egoic 'false-self-hood' as represented by the (distorted) heliocentric world view. Trapped in this paradigm, human self-ish-ness engenders a narcissistic way of life fuelled by greed and consumerism – vested interests convince us that we have to get, buy, procure or achieve the true Self-hood for which we long. However, our innate true individuality, related to the symbolism of gold, as mentioned above, enables us to see through these delusions and to rest in the inner light, in the knowledge that it is not 'mine'. Our True Nature cannot be stolen, damaged, obscured or oppressed by anything external once we allow its presence to be quietly felt within.
Hercules and our home galaxy
The word 'galaxy' comes from the same root as the word for 'milk' or 'milky' [Greek: galaxias], and our home galaxy is called the Milky Way. Its origin is portrayed in the story of Hercules, the son of Zeus and famously hated by Hera who was the first wife of Zeus, but not the mother of Hercules. His name 'Herakles' is an ironical one, meaning 'the glory of Hera'. Zeus is said to have put Hercules to Hera's breast while she was asleep, so that the baby Hercules could be assured of immortality by drinking her milk. Hera awoke to find a suckling baby, not her own, at her breast. She withdrew her nipple, causing her milk to spray into the sky.
In this poignant story, we have a hint about the meaning of the 'Galactic Centre' … that which we seek, externally, to confirm our 'immortality', and from which we must be weaned in order that the natural inner connection with our own Deeper Self may be nourished by a 'higher voltage' energy. Hera's milk streams across the sky, forming the galaxy, the 'Milky Way' – symbolising our own 'way through the stars'.
When the Galactic Centre is activated, Hera's breast is withdrawn, metaphorically speaking. Meaning that the places, people, ideas, notions and events in our life where we have previously projected our own sense of 'Higher Self', or 'Deeper Centre' may collapse, let us down, crumble, or simply quietly depart. Our 'tribal' associations, national or racial identities, while valuable, are relinquished, not permitted to hold us back. Through these transitions or crises, our consciousness develops. This may require a great deal of psychological processing, coming to terms with things, allowing grief and confusion to give way to peace and clarity. Our physical bodies and subtle bodies too may need attention as toxins both emotional and environmental begin to be eliminated.
The Zeus factor
The word 'galaxy' and its derivation reminds us that we cannot reach immortality through the machinations of Zeus, trying to force or trick his wife to give the elixir of her breast-milk to Hercules, in turn to force immortality upon him. She is not his 'real mother', and 'must' therefore reject him. We can perhaps understand this as a reminder that we cannot force the recognition of our own 'immortality' through deception and manipulation of ourselves or others, and that 'substitutes' will not work. However, the Milky Way also stands as a symbol of the path we travel to the beatitude of this re-cognition. Hercules is perhaps most famous for his 'Twelve Labours', reminding us of the 12-fold sequence of the zodiac, within which is encoded the never-ending story of the soul's progressive re-cognition of its origin in Spirit – the 'Real Mother'. And indeed, it was the centaur Nessus who was indirectly responsible for the death of Hercules, thus releasing him into immortality.
'Polarity Therapy' by Randolph Stone, Vol 1, Bk.1, Diagram No.5 Diagram created by M. Reinhart with Solar Fire v.8
But who or what does Zeus symbolise in this story? Zeus is astrological Jupiter, ruler of Sagittarius, and traditionally called the 'Great Benefic'. Astronomically, Jupiter is the largest planet in our Solar System, with many moons and an enormous magnetosphere which even takes in the orbit of Saturn, almost as if Jupiter was a 'Central Sun' in his own right! Astrological Jupiter is where we are invited to learn to receive Grace. Note that Jupiter is exalted in the receptive sign of Cancer. The 'curse of Zeus' was called Até, an affliction to which the rich and mighty were prone, and from which the poor and humble were spared. This is the 'curse of excess', for which the antidote is the practice of true generosity, in contrast to display or ostentation. Generosity, given and received, allows the circulation of beneficence, while recognising that we are not the source of this grace.
Back to the Galaxy ...
Our galaxy is a barred spiral galaxy, part of the Virgo super-cluster of galaxies, and believed to be 13-15 billion years old, containing 100 billion stars. It takes 225-250 million years for our Solar System to orbit around the Galactic Centre (GC). If the size of the galaxy were reduced to 100 metres, our Solar System would be the size of a grain of sand ...
"To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Flower
Hold Infinity in the Palm of your Hand
And Eternity in an Hour"
William Blake, Auguries of Innocence, 1803.
At the centre of the GC is there is a complex radio source called 'Sagittarius A'; at the centre of Sag A in turn is a bright radio source called (somewhat confusingly) Sagittarius A*, at the centre of which is thought to be a super-massive black hole. All galaxies are thought to have black holes at their centre, giving birth to numerous stars. Indeed, the 'Big Bang' theory of the origin of Creation
now has a rival ...
Above: Chandra Image of Sagittarius A
Maps of the arms of this spiral vary considerably, but our Solar System is usually considered to be about two-thirds of the way out (27,000 light years) from the GC, between the Perseus and the Sagittarius arms of the Galaxy.
Interestingly, the closest star to us is Alpha Centauri …
There's those centaurs again!!
Above: Artist's impression of the Milky Way
The Galactic Centre is partly obscured by a very large cloud of non-luminous stellar dust called the 'Dark Rift', stretching from the constellation of Cygnus, through Aquila, Ophiucus, Sagittarius, to Centaurus. This last one was said to be the constellation in which Chiron was immortalised – the far edge of the Dark Rift! What a wonderful symbolic picture. Perhaps this 'Dark Rift' refers to the 'astral debris' which we encounter on our own healing journey to the deeper centre … the psychological, familial, collective, historical, religious and political thought forms which magnetise and bind our awareness, and from which we must free ourselves in order to liberate our consciousness. We begin like children in the candy-store with these alluring phantoms, but eventually realise that they are like junk-food that does not nourish our True Nature.
Our Solar System weaves in and out of the plane of the galaxy, going 'above' and 'below' and through it. The much-discussed 'alignment' of 2012 refers to the fact(oid) that our Solar System is said to be moving through the galactic plane or 'equator'. However, according to some sources, it is currently about 50 light years above the mid-plane of the galaxy (which we crossed already, about two million years ago!) and moving further away.3
The Nodes of the galaxy recently entered 0° Capricorn, the yearly position of the Sun at the 21st December. Pundits vary in their opinion about the exact date of this Ingress, but to single out 2012 in this regard is misleading, as this point moves extremely slowly, and is within just a few arc minutes of 0° Capricorn for a period of about 35 years. Vast distances and long time-spans are involved, and variations are inevitable. In astrological terms, 'nodes' are located where a planet or other object crosses the Ecliptic, the plane in which all the planets orbit around the Sun. Furthermore, the notion of a 'plane' is not quite accurate, although convenient for depiction in two-dimensional diagrams on paper. The Solar System is actually a whirling helix, travelling around the GC at a speed of about 220 km per second!!
However, factoids, discrepancies and confusions need not spoil our appreciation of the instinctive and imaginal sense that our entire Solar System, along with everything it symbolises, is peripheral and beholden to a yet greater centre. Which in turn is peripheral to yet another, which is in turn peripheral to another …. and so on! We belong to and are part of an infinity of super-centres and multiverses. Indeed, our own physical life begins in the womb, where we are central to the surrounding periphery of our mother's womb.4 The same dynamic, that of the relationship between centre and periphery, resonates at every level of creation.
When the last 5° of Sagittarius are stimulated by transiting planets, a process of awakening from various layers of falsehood is initiated. The arrows of the centaur point to what is 'beyond' what we know now, and at the same refer us to what we have 'always known' in our inner depths. We are also put on notice that these intimations are not easily verbalised or quantified, and we risk creating more confusion and falsehood if we try too hard or feel the need to 'prove' what we are intuiting. By this token, when the Galactic Centre is in the cosmic 'viewfinder', a time of accelerated spiritual growth will occur, with its attendant life challenges which may include rapid change, separations, crisis, illness and stress. Outmoded ideas must be released. Phil Sedgwick likens this to a 'defragging' process of our mental 'hard drives'!
The Centaur connection
In the last few decades, all the outer planets have passed through this area, plus the Centaurs Chiron and Nessus. The Centaurs are said to have originated in the Kuiper Belt, a large disk of matter surrounding the Solar System, and they reflect within the psyche the crucial process of purifying, metabolising and integrating the results of this accelerated awareness. In short, they accompany our awakening.
The intensity of transits from the outer planets is such that the experiences they signify can rarely be integrated all at once. They are stored within the soul, awaiting suitable opportunities where they can be 'revisited', in order that the process can unroll further. Therefore, transits of the Centaurs are invaluable as they link us into these 'nether-regions' of the soul, the internal 'Underworld', and at the same time enable us to make contact with dimensions of awareness that have a freeing and healing effect. The result is a healing transition.
From March 2013 until the end of 2018, there is always at least one Centaur in the GC zone, and sometimes as many as three Centaurs are there! They are Pholus, Chariklo and Hylonome, about whom some brief notes follow.
Although you'll see alternative symbols, these are the ones I use.
Pholus – 'The Lid Comes Off'
Pholus has an orbit length of 91.85 years, and crosses the orbits of Neptune, Uranus and Saturn. Its themes include prenatal memories, ancestral references and healings (particular and specifically four generations back), the 'bardic spirit' or poetic capacity for story-telling, inspirational writing and speaking, the oracular utterance, being the 'custodian' of something precious, holding on to toxins which need to be eliminated. By transit, it signals powerful rushes of energy, circumstance or events which alter the trajectory of one's life. To quote Robert von Heeren 'Small cause, big effect'. Keywords: release, inspiration, un-blocking.5
Chariklo – wife of Chiron
Chariklo is the largest Centaur yet discovered, and her orbit is the most stable. Unlike the other Centaurs, she does not actually cross over the orbital paths of any outer planet; although she is considered to be a 'Uranus-crossing Minor Planet', she only grazes the inner side of its orbit.6 During the 20th Century, Chariklo and Chiron were conjunct three times in 1949, in early Sagittarius; her orbital period is 63.17 years, and Chiron's is 50.7.
Ephemeris information for Chariklo is limited,
but Solar Fire v.8 shows these positions for the last conjunctions.
From 2050, there is a long series of 17 oppositions between them.
14 Nov 1511
4 Mar 1714
26 Sep 1714
23 Nov 1714
23 Jul 1721
20 Sep 1721
17 Nov 1721
17 May 1742
12 Feb 1949
1 Jun 1949
2 Sep 1949
In the Greek mythology, Chariklo was the devoted wife of Chiron, and her qualities and themes include a particular capacity for silent witness and reflection which can be an essential part of healing. To 'hold the space', serve receptively the healing process on a practical level, to bear with, abide with, persist and endure. The patience of the Earth, radical acceptance, kindly awareness, trust, loyalty to the ways of spirit, the power of quiet courage. Interestingly, she was not born a centaur, but took this form when she fell in love with Chiron. Before, she had been a companion and devotee of the goddess Athena.
Hylonome – love and loss
The length of Hylonome's orbit is 126 years; she crosses Neptune's orbit and grazes the outer edge of the orbit of Uranus. In the mythology, the story of Hylonome is a tragic one. She was the lover of Cyllarus, who was unexpectedly killed by a spear while they were attending a wedding. So stricken with grief was Hylonome at witnessing the last mortal breath of her beloved Cyllarus that she seized the spear which had killed him and fell upon it herself, committing suicide in order to join him in the afterworld.
The themes of Hylonome include the process of grieving after a major and unexpected loss, and healing the wheel-spinning cycle of destructiveness and retribution which can result from this shock. When a person, thing, or situation we feel we cannot live without is stripped from us, a particularly extreme kind of grief may be felt, connected as it is with our survival sense, physically or spiritually. Grief has many faces, many phases … this is an extreme and abreactive one. So with Hylonome, we see kindness, understanding and forbearance as bringing healing to the uncompromising and reactive attitudes resulting from unprocessed shock. In my astrological practice, I have had a number of conversations with people, mostly Anglo-Indian, who have past life memories or actual ancestral stories and recollections of suttee, or sati, a traditional Hindu practice by which a widow may choose, is expected, or sometimes coerced, to kill herself by being burned or buried alive with her dead husband's corpse.7
We think that 'dying of a broken heart' is a metaphor, but it is sometimes absolutely real. It may not be our physical heart which fails, but wounds to the heart in the form of a grief we feel we cannot bear take their toll on the body, and may lead to illness. Hylonome brings awareness to this, and offers an alternative, if that be appropriate to the soul's agenda. Like all the Centaurs, Hylonome represents healing through an expansion of consciousness. When we have lost that which we feel we cannot live without, our only reference thenceforward can be the Grace of our Source in Spirit.
Pholus and Chariklo were exactly conjunct on January 1st 2014, at 03.10 GMT, 22°12' Sagittarius ... did you feel this, perhaps? The release into consciousness (Pholus) of the receptive strength and devotional steadfastness of Chariklo? Their conjunction lasted from early 2012 until mid-2016, with two further exact points in 2014 – July 4th and October 21st. Tune in again to follow this thread onwards ....
- Reflect on the time-periods of your life which correspond with the dates mentioned. Give yourself time, and proceed in a way which is easy and relaxed. Trust that you will be shown what you need to see and know.
- What happened?
- What did you learn?
- And looking back now … what do you see and understand?
- If you know your horoscope, check where this axis falls (the last 5° of Sagittarius and its opposite sign of Gemini)
- What houses of your horoscope include these degree areas?
- What experiences do they signify for you?
- Do these time-periods link up in any way?
- Are there recurring themes?
- Looking forward … how might you engage with these energies now?
- Your daily routines?
- Life choices?
1. See Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Factoid
3. For some interesting factoids: see http://solar-center.stanford.edu/FAQ/Qsolsysspeed.html
4. See the seminal work of Francis J. Mott on this theme. Published by Starwalker Press.