The new film Ad Astra stars Brad Pitt as an astronaut on a quest to find his father, extraterrestrial life, and a sense of meaning beyond duty. This essay focuses on how life and art not only mimic each other, but reflect the astrological charts of actors in their starring roles. Although heavy-handed at times […]
Just as August first cusps, we enter not only a New Moon Portal, but Mercury finally going direct. The New Moon occurs at 8 Leo July 31st 11:12 pm EST, and both god and goddess Venus and Mars celebrate a lot more as they occupy Leo. The Sabian Symbol for this New Moon at 9 […]
The 5 Types and their Strategies One of the foundations of Human Design is the component called “Type.” Depending on which centers are defined or not, a certain Type of energy emerges. Each of us is one of five possible types. These Types also have very specific Strategies for making decisions in life. The five […]
An understanding of the Nine Centers is essential to interpretation of a Human Design bodygraph. Similar to the chakras, these nine centers represent primary energetic matrices, which also include specific biological associations such as glands and organs, in addition to their more purely energetic symbolism. But why are there nine energy centers in Human Design […]
This week marks both the beginning of a 3 week Mercury Retrograde in Pisces, and Wednesday’s New Moon at 15 Pisces, conjunct Neptune, the ruler of Pisces—doubly emphasizing the theme of the mystic poet, dreaming monk, psychic channel, and ecstatic dancer. This cycle invites you to express divinely inspired creativity as well as to explore […]
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thepracticalesoteric/business_tips_from_scorpio_-_102318_3.54_PM.mp3 In this episode, we explore some of the best ways to harness the sign of Scorpio for business success. Whether you are a Sun Sign Scorpio, have other planets in Scorpio, or are just curious how this sign can support you in your professional and financial life, this episode details two empowering ways the […]
The new film Ad Astra stars Brad Pitt as an astronaut on a quest to find his father, extraterrestrial life, and a sense of meaning beyond duty. This essay focuses on how life and art not only mimic each other, but reflect the astrological charts of actors in their starring roles.
Although heavy-handed at times in its dialogue and symbolism, Ad Astra is a serious achievement in film, and will be appreciated by all those who love layers of archetypal symbolism. Pirates battle on the tourist trap of the Moon and man has colonized Mars. Astrologers will love seeing so many planets visited and their symbolism explored—I even wondered if astrologers were consulted during the making of the film.
Like Gravity and Interstellar, Ad Astra focuses on the theme of how space travel alienates one from the earth and human affairs, resulting in a severe disconnection from family members. Whereas Gravity reflected the Uranus-Pluto square that was just beginning to peak upon its release in 2013, Ad Astra reflects the positions of Saturn and Pluto near the Capricorn South Node during the Sept 21 release date, a transit which directly impacts lead actor Brad Pitt’s birth chart.
In studying astrology and film over the last 13 years, I hae found, as other astrologers, that actors tend to choose roles that reflect both their own innate astrological birth script as well as their cycles of forecasting.
Pitt is a Sagittarius Rising with his Sun also in Sagittarius—the sign of the vagabond philosopher on the adventure of seeking meaning in life. This Sagittarius Rising and Sun have been experiencing an expansive, inspiring, and joyous Jupiter transit through conjunction this year, which will peak with Jupiter on Pitt’s Sun in November, followed by 2020’s Jupiter transit on all of Pitt’s Capricorn grand stellium of five planets—Mars, South Node, Mercury, Moon, Venus. Perhaps with all this fortunate Jupiter energy, we will not only see an oscar nomination but a win.
However simultaneously, Pitt has been experiencing an ongoing intense and dramtic transformation from the planet of death and regeneration Pluto on his Mercury and South Node, thus marking his ugly 2016 divorce from Angelina Jolie, and deep journey into his soul and years of powerful personal therapy.
Currently, Saturn also initiates Pitt with his themes, since Saturn has hit all of the above planets in Capricorn. Upon release of the film Saturn had just changed direction (“stationing”) on his South Node in Capricorn, the symbolic point of the soul’s history, while Pitt is also experiencing the Nodal Return, which only occurs every 19 years. Thus, he is extremely sensitive to all of the Capricorn energy in his soul’s karma—this South Node can bring a heavy burden, a sense of overwhelming responsibility, a mandate to duty, themes of the father and genetic legacy, and a drive to success and ambition at the cost of all emotion.
Yet Pitt also experiences his North Node Return in Cancer, and in the film, as in life, we see an emotional breakthrough. Pitt is a father of 6, and has just begun a new relationship with a Cancer figure, a holistic healer and jewelry designer, who also follows the Sikh path, named Sat Hari Khalsa.
With all these cycles simultaneously, we watch Pitt portray stoicism (Saturn) with the undercurrents of unexpressed, pent up emotion (Pluto), Neptunian disillusionment, and the spiritual quest for truth, faith, and meaning (Jupiter). As an astrologer, I love that we see Pitt’s character in Ad Astra literally traveling to the Moon and Mars just as Saturn in the sky is transiting over Pitt’s astrological Moon and Mars!!
The opening scene shows Pitt’s Roy McBride, an astronaut receiving a psychological test, determining his inner stability for space travel. Legendeary for never letting his BPM rise above 80, even when he’s plummeting to Earth, Roy refers to sober, Saturnian states of mind—being “calm, steady, and without bad dreams” and proclaims the cold precision and high standard of Saturn in the opening scene: “I will not let my mind be vulnerable to mistakes.”
Yet, McBride then shares that the face of his successful astronaut is always a facade, something he’s been trying to get out of for a long time, yet he has been called to this since being a young boy by his father, tuning us into the Saturnian themes of paternal legacy, but also the Neptunian themes of camouflage, projection, and the false image or mirage appearance.
Ironically, McBride is commissioned to go to Neptune, where gamma ray bursts from an anti-matter device are causing power surges killing thousands, including astronauts and earthlings. And Neptune was where we last heard from McBride’s father, the respected pioneer of space travel whose entire mission was to “find our brothers in exaltation—” an alien kindred which he hopes will extend the family of God’s creation. Yet the theme of an ‘absent creator’—the weighty 3D world of law, order, body, and bone as harsh reality—reflect the Saturn vs. Neptune archetypal dynamic.
These words are taken from McBride’s father, who combines the Saturnian and Neptunian archetypes—he is deeply religious and believes in a “manifest destiny” of humans to colonize space. And he is literally found on a space station outside of Neptune.
As we lead to the encounter between father and son, we sense that father has gone a bit insane (Neptune’s shadow) in his pursuits for ET life, and has lost all contact with reality or with earth, both literally and in his soul. He even admists that he was never really meant to have a family or to be on the earth. This all reflects the Neptunian themes of a desire for transcendence, for opening to the Spirit world / altered consciousness, and for a psychotic break that can lead one to delusions of messianic grandeur. In addition, Neptune’s ethereal, spiritual, and generally nebulous nature reflects the anti-matter device which seems to cause the power surges.
Images of Saturn or Capricorn appear repeatedly and these obvious appearances as well as lines of dialogue leave little subtlety—they directly reflect the themes of alienation, fatherhood legacy, and a search for God. These lines include: “In the end, the Son suffers the sins of the father.”
Fatherhood is an especially important theme for Brad Pitt personally. About his own father, Pitt has said “My dad always said he wanted to give me a better life than he had coming from extreme poverty, and he did it. And it makes me think, as a dad, what do I have to offer that’s better than I had, to my kids?” Again, this connects to theme of Capricorn legacy – an archetype whose highest expression may be the Native American adage to make decisions in a way so that the next Seven Generations will be positively impacted.
Pitt also has 6 children with Angelina Jolie, some adopted, some his own, and he was estranged from them for much of the last few years during his divorce proceedings, just as Roy McBride is estranged from a father he thought was dead, but is still alive near Neptune.
Other archetypally resonant lines include when McBride states “So many times I’ve screwed up,” guilt and impossible standards being extremely Saturnian / Capricornian as well as putting labels, definitions, and boxes on and around everything suggested by the statement “I’ve been trained to compartmentalize.”
Saturn and Neptune also battle it out thematically here and in Pitt’s own life. We addressed the many transits of Saturn in Pitt’s life, but should add that Saturn is a sobering planet, a reality check which distinctly showed up as Saturn crossed Pitt’s Ascendant and Sun during his divorce with Angelina Jolie. Ironically, Pitt also has had Neptune squaring his Sagittarian Ascendant adding an invitation for spiritual growth and prowess in his creative work as an actor.
Pitt, who recently became sober, also opened up about his divorce and former relationship with alcohol to CNN. “What I realized is that I was running to avoid tough feelings, painful feelings….” And continuing the positive Saturn and Neptune transits, “I want to sit in it, I want to feel it, I want to get through the rough night. I found in doing so, you come out the other side with a more profound understanding, of yourself and a greater gratefulness of those in your life.”
One of the relatively contrived images that still retains poignancy juxtaposes Saturn’s sense of entrapment with Neptune’s return to innocence. It features a bird cage next to a teddy bear and doll as McBride discusses his father’s mission with another female astronaut who becomes key to his odyssey to Neptune.
There is a particular shot in the film where the overhead door and its crossbars are the exact shape of a Hexagram. Is it a wild coincidence that if you study the North Pole of Saturn, you will find that the direction of the gases form a heaxagram, once again suggesting the geoemetric order, symmetry, and structure of Saturn’s archetypal symbolism?
McBride’s father first left on his mission as part of the Lima Project when he was 29—the exact year that each individual experiences their Saturn Return, when Saturn comes back to the position of one’s birth and brings up every theme we’ve thus far discussed.
There are moments of Neptunian altered consciousness aboard a spaceship as characters consume something that appears to be like laughing gas. Behind McBride, we also see images of the ocean (Neptune) in the “Comfort Rooms,” places that are supposed to calm and tranquilize and nearly sedate the anxiety of astronauts and required in order to pass the psychological tests.
Additionally, the Lima Project—the name for the mission to find ET life out to Neptune and beyond—suggests Peru and the plant medicine spiritual traditions of the Amazon.
As we can see, Saturn and Neptune symbolism appear strongly throughout the entire film, extending as well into the realm of relationship even as the film mimics Pitt’s real life.
One cannot ignore the fact that actress Liv Tyler, McBride’s wife, looks almost identical to Pitt’s real word ex wife Angelina Jolie. He only hears from her and her disappointments in their relationship through a screen (Neptune’s long-distance relational theme and Saturn’s harsh professional duty that requires a choice of work over family.)
As the tagline to the film states, “The answers we seek are just outside our reach.” The layers of archetypal symbolism throughout the film are seeminglye endless, so it’s best for you to go experience it in IMAX and receive their magic yourself.
Ad Astra: To the stars and beyond.
The 5 Types and their Strategies
One of the foundations of Human Design is the component called “Type.” Depending on which centers are defined or not, a certain Type of energy emerges. Each of us is one of five possible types. These Types also have very specific Strategies for making decisions in life. The five Types are broken up into the following: Manifestor, Generator, Manifesting Generator, Projector, and Reflector.
Before exploring the five Types in detail, I would like to explain some hesitancies which may naturally arise when using words such as “type” to describe people. When I first came across Type, I felt sceptikal because of the tendency for people to label and try to box themselves or others. Astrologers see this constantly when people refer to themselves as “a Gemini” or “a Leo” and believe their Sun sign is their identity. Yet, we all began astrology with the intrigue of Sun signs, and as we studied more, we realized the elegant complexity of astrology. Human Design works similarly. Types, although more insightful and instructive than Sun signs, are a necessary starting point to begin one’s experiment with living one’s design. Type, Strategy, and Authority are the reference points for all other factors in one’s bodygraph.
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Projectors represent about %20 of the population. Projectors do not have any motor centers defined, nor do they have the Sacral Center defined. Thus, access to the life force energy is really determined by a Projector’s engagement with Generators and Manifesting Generators. Since they do not have the Sacral fuel, Projectors are not designed to “work” at the same pace or consistency as the generating types. Rather, Projectors are built to study, be informed, and create, which gives them the tools and intelligence to guide and direct the generating types.
The Projector strategy is “to wait to be invited” in order to make key decisions in life, such as choices referring to career, relationship, or locations in which to live. When they are invited, then Projectors will be given access to their necessary energetic resources from those who invite them.
For instance, in the realms of work, Projectors often make wonderful counselors, coaches, or teachers because the Projectors knows that they have studied, that they are equipped to guide others. There is a certain ambition in Projectors to be seen for their gifts, not necessarily for their own ego fulfillment, but because their wisdom will actually aid the efficient and appropriate use of energy in those around them. Thus, the Projector may wish to travel and teach or lecture on their given area of expertise. But if they try to force their counsel or even their creative gifts onto a group of people or individual, it will often be rejected or ignored. Projector advice must be requested in order to actually be received by the other. Projector art must be appreciated in order to be recognized by a community or audience.
Thus, Projectors must patiently learn, study, and create in an unconditional way, doing what they love without huge expectations. They can let people know about what they are studying, teaching, or creating, and then naturally, the wise and focused aura of the Projector will become obvious and attractive to the Generators and Manifesting Generators seeking guidance. In this way, projectors are designed to get noticed.
Growing up, projectors need to be recognized as having special gifts and talents. These can be offered through special artistic education and through a keen and consistent sense of acknowledgment from parents and educators.
In relationships, projectors often approach relationships though the lense of a spiritual language, such as astrology. They are not designed to go out and “make” a relationship happen or try to continuously date. They live by the motto of following their own passions and heart, and that the “right person will come along if I continue to follow my own bliss.”
Rest and recuperation is essential for Projectors. They can not function at the same pace as the generating types and can be overwhelmed at times if living with a generating type or spending excessive amounts of time in highly energized environments, such as group housing or in the downtowns of cities.
What makes Projectors even more unique and helpful as counselors, coaches, managers, and guides for others, is that they have the widest range of possible authority. There can be Projectors who have Emotional, Splenic, Ego, or Self Authority. This means that this population empathically connects with many segments of society, which assists Projectors in guiding the other types into deeper self-awareness and healthier decision-making.
Barack Obama, seen above, is an Emotional Projector with only two centers defined. Thus, he is a very open and permeable being, who must get away from his cabinet members, his wife, and all other stresses to allow his emotions enough time to settle and find clarity before making a key decision.
He can not only be influenced and conditioned by others but he is easily projected upon by others, as the voice of a community, or as a scapegoat. This is perhaps why he does not take a rigid stand on too many issues. If he did, it would likely due to the conditioning of others around him. Politicians who are more obstinate in their opinions and perspectives often have much more definition in their chart.
Other Projectors include J. Krishnamurti (Emotional) actor Brad Pitt (Splenic), psychological astrologer Liz Greene (Mental), singer Peter Gabriel (Mental), and Bob Marley (Self/G-Center)
An understanding of the Nine Centers is essential to interpretation of a Human Design bodygraph. Similar to the chakras, these nine centers represent primary energetic matrices, which also include specific biological associations such as glands and organs, in addition to their more purely energetic symbolism.
But why are there nine energy centers in Human Design instead of seven chakras? Ra describes this as the Aquarian mutation in our energy bodies, which began around the Industrial Age. Astrologers know that this was the time when Uranus was discovered, the first planet discovered with the aid of a telescope. This momentous experience began a new cycle in our consciousness, an awakening to the global village, and an emergence into an Aquarian Age, which is now reaching a new peak in the Information Age on the other side of the Mayan Calendar end date of December 21, 2012. Undoubtedly, we are wired different now, as are the new children, in the Internet Age, our consciousness has become more collectively self-aware, much more accelerated and interconnect, and these nine centers represent this evolving human paradigm.
A Summary of the Centers follows:
Motor Centers – energy for life
Sacral – energy to do, generate, procreative, work-oriented
Solar Plexus– emotional highs and lows, intimacy, desire, creativity
Heart/Ego – will, drive, promise, follow thru, defense
Root – accomplishment, timing, momentum, stamina, stress
Manifestation Center – express and bring forth energy
Throat – all energy from other eight centers moves toward here;
Pressure Centers – pressure to do/know
Root – Pressure to survive, accomplish, do, adrenaline
Head – Inspiration and Vision; Pressure to know, create, channel
Awareness Centers – body, mind, spirit consciousness
Spleen – sensual, immediate environment, health, instinct, intuition, primal, animal
Solar Plexus – emotional spectrum
Mental – ideas, concepts, knowledge, thoughts, beliefs
Self / Identity Center (G Center)
– sense of direction in life, how we feel guided, love, agendas or flows
*Learn more about what it means when Centers are Defined, Undefined, or Open in this article about Oprah Winfrey.
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Business and Career Success with Human Design Training – May 14 – June 18, 2019
This week marks both the beginning of a 3 week Mercury Retrograde in Pisces, and Wednesday’s New Moon at 15 Pisces, conjunct Neptune, the ruler of Pisces—doubly emphasizing the theme of the mystic poet, dreaming monk, psychic channel, and ecstatic dancer. This cycle invites you to express divinely inspired creativity as well as to explore your ability to give and receive compassion and unconditional love. Synchroncities should increase, tarot cards should unveil the mysteries, mythical, archetypal, and transpersonal studies will connect the soul to the core patterns of the collective unconscious.
Mercury Retrograde begins on the last degree of the zodiac, 29 Pisces Tuesday, and he turns direct on March 28th at 16 Pisces. With Mercury conjunct worldbridging shaman and wounded healer Chiron, this cycle asks us to consider the thresholds in our lives we are currently crossing. Like the end of any season, a season of our lives may be torn open now, a wound may have ruptured, to birth a new desire and find our original voice—our own unique path of repair.
March represents old man Winter, whose thin belly masks a hidden pregnancy, fertile with Persephone’s promise of floral return in Spring. Changes are fermenting. Some part of us is thinning, shedding, making space for a mysterious fruit to ripen. Piscean Mercury conjunct Chiron asks us to journal, to memoir, to collect the medicinal insight of the last few months, and even the whole last astrological year. We can also Vision Board the Spring Season or the remainder of the year and use principles of the Law of Attraction to magnetize an emergent reality we desire.
We all need to give ourselves what Julia Cameron describers in her book, The Right to Write. We need the time to go within and excavate, In your journal, ask:
At which threshold am I now standing? At this time in my life, what am I leaving and Where am I about to enter?
What is preventing me from crossing my next threshold? What gift or blessing would help carry me across this threshold? Ask your dreams and the Spirit -world for they will reveal the treasure you seek.
With Pisces/Neptune we have to watch the tendency to be distracted by fantasy, to swirl about aimlessly, to give in to apathy and nebulous confusion. We have to raise awareness regarding these shadows as well as excessive escapism or oversaturation in media.
Yet the right media in the right proportion can elevate our consciousness so has there been spiritual film, fiction, or poetry calling your soul?
One of the best ways of ritualizing this New Moon and Mercury Retrograde is to commit strongly to your meditation practice, since Vesta, archetype of devotion to the sacred, is also conjunct Neptune and the New Moon.
1. Imagine the body as completely hollow, a totally empty space, the void, able to receive all. Breathe deeply into this shunyata / void and experience the fullness within the emptiness
2. In Japanese Shintoism, all of nature is imbued with Kami – indwelling spirits. Recognize that Shiva – the Awareness in you – is the same Awareness in every being you perceive. Move through your day acknowledging the pulse of consciousness, the Kami, and divine spark in every thing, even those things, people, events your ego may find repulsive. Look with equanimity, with no preference, with acceptance and embrace of all as the same vibrating Awareness.
3. Deity Yoga – Envision a deity or Ascended Master that you connect with at this time. Picture every element of them as clearly as possible in your mind and begin to breathe with their body. If you know the mantra for the deity, then repeat this mantra and allow yourself to completely dissolve in the deity.
Meditation music for your journeys:
my albums –Samavesa, Sustain, and Islands, in Digital Mist
Talks by Zen Master DT Suzuki
Inspirations form Mythologists and Poets:
The works of Michael Meade; John O Donohue, David Whyte
“May the one you long for long for you. May your dreams gradually reveal the destination of your desire. May a secret Providence guide your thought and nurture your feeling. May your mind inhabit your life with the sureness with which your body inhabits the world. May your heart never be haunted by ghoststructures of old damage. May you come to accept your longing as divine urgency. May you know the urgency with which God longs for you.”