WINGED PLANETS: PHOLUS

(Sulamith Wulfing)

   Pholus, with its very high eccentricity, has a very wide and open view of life, in Neptunian fashion. It is like a Neptunian intruder in the realms of Saturn and Uranus. He recognizes no walls or boundaries, and will always work against conditionings, so that the bounded planets are faced with a smile or with laughter. He is always "out", and considers himself unbounded by Saturn's conventions or by Uranus rejection of those conventions.

   The result of this attitude may be fragmentation, the loosening of all structure, a compulsion to "clash" with society's taboos and myths that, logically, translates into experiences that are overwhelming, overburdening, overshadowing, overflowing... which you cannot control, so that it is necessary to quit. This is the dynamics of the clash.

   On the other hand, this "loosening" of structure, this "getting out" produced and symbolized by laughter and by playing, acts as a cleansing and a renewal for the bounded planets, so that life can continue without ever becoming stalled.

   I see both in Pholus: the solar butterfly with its fairy-tale metamorphoses, and the foolish/blind lunar moth that confuses the lamp with light and life. We all have both aspects in ourselves, and to me both are "follows" (Pholus). This comes from a relationship Pholus has with Light and with blindness, like I learned from the life story of John Muir.

   The most persisting image that comes to me from Pholus is that of a big bird, but very stylized and thin, not flying but standing with wings folded. There is an image that --to me at least, since symbols talk differently to different people-- comes very close to this, and is in "The Never-Ending Story", where Atreyu is going through a pass in the rocks guarded by two standing Sphinxes. If he is not pure of heart, he will die right away, killed by the rays of light that come out of their eyes...

   There's something expansive in Pholus, that goes beyond in waves, hence our communion with other worlds (or cultures, or species, or our shadows), which doesn't happen all at once but in waves. The same with the "bliss", the rapture, the overflowing (like in the image of angels), the spreading of wings, or rapturous music. This is all Neptunian, but I feel that Pholus makes it poignant and gives it an impetus that is absent in Neptune, hence the "passion" not present in Neptune.

   Pholus is primal and dangerous, it is borne in pain --conscious or unconscious--. It is always in a compromising and unsettled situation. Thus, for example, playing for adults can be healthful and therapeutic, but if it is too much it becomes self-undoing and regressive. In this sense, Pholus is expansive in the opposite direction, in the direction of fragmentation.

   Pholus is like ET, or like any animal that comes into contact with us, or a person from a different culture, an "alien". We may commune with it, or be afraid of it, or try to put it away, or mock at it, or put it down and manipulate it, just as we do with animals, with pain, with our shadows, with foreigners, racial minorities, homosexuals, etc... or one may become more than oneself (this is the Neptune aspect again), expanding our identity horizontally. The Saturn part, to me, speaks of how Pholus brings this to our daily lives so that we are forced to face it. If we ignore it, it becomes very destructive.

   Pholus bridges us toward the light, which is a paradox because light is supposed to be in the Sun, but by being so "wild" and reaching so far away from the Sun it has a freedom that the other "solar" orbits don't have. And it is because of this freedom that its orbital flight resembles big birds, which are able to fly away to the heights where in freedom they are closer to the source of life.
 

   UGLY DUCKLING

   Hans Christian Andersen, the Dannish writer of fairy tales, was born April 2, 1805, at 12:42  a.m. in Odense (10E22/55n23). The data is quoted by Louis Rodden in "The American Book of Charts", from an article by C.V. Hansen in "American Astrology" of December 1949, who cites records in Odense.

   The complexity of Hans C. Andersen's personality and work, of course, cannot be reduced to his "books for children" side, since he had a strong Sun, very saturnian:

   Sun = 11,49 Aries
   Mercury = 13,11 Aries
   Saturn = 12,54 Libra Rx.
   Nessus = 15,02 Aries

   In real life he was enigmatic, not a charming person, and also wrote serious poetry, plays, and travel journals; however, it is his lunar side, his story-telling and imaginative power, what became an unforgettable legacy of genuine universal appeal. His father was a shoe-maker, and his biography looks as that of "Ugly Duckling" himself.

   Venus = 27,13 Pisces
   DW2 = 27,43 Pisces

   The fairy-tale aspect could be seen as Venusian/Piscean, with the fantasy part being the centaur. But it is fantasy of a special kind, always relating to the finding of something that is lost, and, particularly with transformation and power, with regaining wholeness, always dealing with moral issues, with poverty/royalty, with abandonment, etc.

   This lunar signature is evident in what the Britannica says of him: "part of what makes some of the tales so compelling is Andersen's identification with the unfortunate and the outcast. A strong autobiographical element runs through his sadder tales; throughout his life he perceived himself as an outsider, and, never satisfied that he was completely accepted, he suffered deeply in his closest personal relationships."

   This aspect of his personality is pholusian, and is shown by:

   Moon = 9,08 Taurus
   Pholus = 9,07 Taurus

   Normally, if one sees a conjunction like this in a chart, with 0,00 orb, one gets a very focused feeling, leaving no doubts or ambiguities about the intensity or the strength of such a configuration. The problem is that some people believe this to be something that is happening in the sky "out there", in the cosmos. These people like to think that astrology deals with our relationship to the cosmos or to the sky. This is a nice idea, but it is fallacious. Ecliptical aspects happen in the one-dimensional space of a line, as opposed to the two-dimensional "plane" or screen of the celestial sphere, so that, to me, it is obvious that they don't chart the circumstances of the sky as we perceive them. We are charting not the planets but their abstract coordinates, in what has the properties of a map of the flow of time, not a map of the heavens. In a chart, "before" and "after", past and future, have become distances in space, as in a calendar. We are not dealing with planets or with the "cosmos", but with space/time coordinates that have meaning.

   In this case the latitude of Pholus was at the moment 22s19, and that of the Moon was 4n47. Their angular separation in the sky was 27.1 degrees. To illustrate the possible meaning of this, let's compare with the data of David Berkowitz, the "Son of Sam" serial killer, which is found in Richard Nolle's site: he was born June 1, 1953 at 4:52 p.m.EDT:

   Moon = 3,32 Aquarius
   Pholus = 3,56 Aquarius

   but in this case, the 2 bodies were really close in the sky, only 1.7 degrees from each other! Normally, one would make no distinction between the 2 types of conjunctions. Because of his strong solar aspects, Hans Christian Andersen was probably much more "solar" than Berkowitz. Since I don't allow wide orbs in my practice, I don't find any strong aspect to Berskowitz' Sun, except the loose conjunction with Jupiter and a semi-sextile to DW2; other than this, the Sun has no tight or challenging aspects. The challenging aspects of HCA made his Sun stronger, while the "Son of Sam" was all lunar, all shadow with nobody inside, with no Sun or center, so he was a night stalker, a shadow "Son of Pholus"...

   Hans Christian Andersen's own words, taken from his most famous tale, "Ugly Duckling", serve as an illustration of positive pholusian qualities:

"Of course the swan who had been considered an ugly duckling was very happy. But he never became vain or conceited. He always remembered how it felt to be despised and teased, and he was very sorry for all the creatures who are so treated merely because they are different from the people around them."
   The titles of his better-known tales speak of Pholus by themselves: The Emperor's New Clothes, The Little Sea-Maid, The Elfin Mound, The Wild Swans, The Garden Of Paradise, The Constant Tin Soldier, The Daisy, The Storks, The Darning-Needle, The Shadow, The Red Shoes, Little Ida's Flowers, The Angel, The Flying Trunk, The Tinder-Box, The Buckwheat, The Bell....
 

WILLIAM BLAKE

     Another exact Moon/Pholus contact is found the chart of William Blake. The source of his birth data (11/28/1757) is his close friend the astrologer John Varley, and it can be read in most of his biographies; for example,  in a note p.7 of "William Blake; Painter and Poet" by Richard Garnett, London: The Portfolio (1895):

"November 20 has been stated as the date, but the above is shown to be correct by the horoscope drawn for Nov.28, 7:45 p.m. in URANIA, OR THE ASTROLOGER'S CHRONICLE, 1825, published therefore in Blake's lifetime, and undoubtedly derived from Varley".
   The Moon in 12,03 Cancer is in exact opposition to Pholus in 12,08 Capricorn. The Capricorn placements are: Nessus 6.47,  Pholus 12.08, Venus 19.04, Chiron 22.13. The Venus/Nessus midpoint is 12,55, exactly the axis of the Moon/Pholus opposition. Therefore his art is "centaurean". Pluto in Saggitarius is not prominent in the chart, but there is a strong Saggitarius influence: 

   Sun = 6,51 Sagittarius (15 Scorpio in the sidereal zodiac)
   Pholus at death = 4,03 Sag Rx.
   Jupiter = 0,58 Sagittarius

   He died, August 12, 1827, (the same year as Beethoven), at 18h in London:

   Moon = 28,27 Aries
   Chiron = 28,13 Aries Rx.

   Sun = 18,12 Leo
   1995GO = 17,30 Leo

   The Ascendant at death was 18 Capricorn, on his natal Venus, flanked by Uranus and Neptune. Neptune's position was 12,56 Capricorn (Rx), in exact conjunction with the Pholus/Moon axis.

   There is no doubt that the centaurs are the key to his work and personality, and that he is a good representative of the "centaur" type in astrology. Here are a few quotes from the Encyclopedia Britannica about Blake, which I think are reflections of how the centaurs manifest themselves:

   his production is "one of the most strikingly original and independent bodies of work in the Western cultural tradition" (=centaurean)

-  "...he was ignored by the public of his day and was called mad because he was single-minded and unworldly; he lived on the edge of poverty and died in neglect." (=Pholus)

-  he "later described the visionary experiences he had as a child in the surrounding countryside, when he saw angels in a tree at Peckham Rye and the prophet Ezekiel in a field."(=Pholus)

-  in 'Songs of Innocence', "Blake took as his models the popular street ballads and rhymes for children of his own time, transmuting these forms by his genius into some of the purest lyric poetry of the English language". (=Moon in Cancer opposition Pholus to Venus/Nessus)

-  'Tyger! Tyger! burning bright - in the forest of the night...': "The Tyger in this poem is the incarnation of energy, strength, lust, and cruelty, and the tragic dilemma of mankind is poignantly summarized in the final question, 'Did he who made the Lamb make thee?' (=Moon opposed the centaur!)

-  "In 'The Marriage of Heaven and Hell' satire, prophecy, humour, poetry and philosophy are mingled in a way that has few parallels... it may be described as a satire on institutional religion and conventional morality." (=Sun/Jupiter conjunct in Sagittarius in the 5th, conjunction Pholus at death).

-  'If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite' (=Pholus)

-  "The 'Marriage' culminates in the 'Song of Liberty', a hymn of faith in revolution..." (=centaurean)

-  "A principal symbolic figure in these books is Urizen, a spurned and outcast immortal (=centaur!) who embodies both Jehovah and the forces of reason and law that Blake viewed as restricting and supressing the natural energies of the human soul" (=Venus/Nessus joined by the Pholus/Moon axis)

-  from 'Auguries of Innocence': 'To see a World in a Grain of Sand - And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, - Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand - and Eternity in an hour.' (=Chironian Kayros!)
 

   DOSTOYEVSKY

   Fyodor Dostoyevsky was born November 11 [October 30, old style] 1821, and died February 9 [January 28, O.S.] 1881. My encyclopedia mentions his "psychological penetration into the darkest recesses of the human heart, together with his unsurpassed moments of illumination..."

   What is his solar signature? (positions for 12 GMT:)

   Sun = 18,49 Scorpio
   Pholus = 17,51 Scorpio
   When he died:

   Sun = 20,06 Aquarius
   Pholus = 28,53 Aquarius

   The conjunction at death is wide, but they were "con-joined" by Pluto in 25,34 Taurus and DW2 in 25,22 Scorpio. So it seems that Dostoyevsky is a formidable example of creative Pholus...

"My brother used to ask the birds to forgive him; that sounds senseless but it is right; for all is like the ocean, all things flow and touch each other; a disturbance in one place is felt at the other end of the world. It may be folly to beg forgiveness of the birds, but the birds would be happier at your side- a little happier anyway and children and all animals. If yourself were nobler than you are now. It is all like an ocean.  I tell you.  Then you would pray to the birds too, consumed by an all embracing love in a sort of transport and pray that they will forgive your sin. Prize this ecstasy, however senseless it may seem to men." [excerpt from 'The Brothers Karamazov'.]


   A SONG FOR PHOLUS

   The orbital motion of objects like Pholus (and Nessus) is like a telescope, or a funnel, very wide and "open" in the slow end and more focalized in the other, faster extreme; like a big bird flying at high altitude, the aphelion being the nesting place above in the mountains, and the perihelion when it comes to rest for brief moments nearer to the ground or to the abodes of men...

   A very intriguing fact is that from September 24, 1991, the exact date of Pholus perihelion, to February 21, 1999, Pholus and Saturn haven't ceased to be in opposition, and they have made exact aspect 16 times. There have been about 2 oppositions every year from 1991 to 1999 (see the Pholus/Saturn cycle).

   Poor Pholus!  He has been "captive" for too long, as if from the time of its discovery he was "locked" by Saturn this way; but now is released from the long bondage. Since the opposition happens in 29,18 of Libra/Aries, there is an inkling as to the meaning of the end of a century. Now Pholus will be free, and will be opening for us the doors to the  next century, as it crosses the orbit of Uranus in his flight back by December 17, 2005.

   Soon Pholus will open its wings and fly away in freedom --forever in our lifetimes--, away from Saturn (and Mars) and back to his nesting place in the heights of Uranus and Neptune, where he will reach Aphelion near the year 2037. So he is about to endure his imprisonment for the last time and begin to spread his wings once again toward the light...

   The "shift" from one level of reality or of consciousness to another is a very centaurean thing. This is what they represent, and the reason why death and dying are related to them, in the modern sense of facing those realities and the beginnings of a new "culture about death" in the good sense, a culture that has been denied as taboo in the past. Centaurs always deal with taboo, trying to break it, for good or evil.

   It is with this in mind, added to the association with angels, light, and with primal innocence and transcendence,  that I feel very strongly that this sad and unforgetable song by Celine Dione is very pholusian. The complete song (mp3, 2.73Mb) can be downloaded here. It is in the "Falling into you" cd. The lyrics are by Jean-Jacques Goldman and Phil Galdston:
 


FLY

Fly, fly little wing
Fly beyond imagining
The softest cloud, the whitest dove
Upon the wind of heaven's love
Past the planets and the stars
Leave this lonely world of ours
Escape the sorrow and the pain
And fly again

Fly, fly precious one
Your endless journey has begun
Take your gentle happiness
Far too beautiful for this
Cross over to the other shore
There is peace forevermore
But hold this mem'ry
bittersweet
Until we meet

Fly, fly do not fear
Don't waste a breath, don't shed a tear
Your heart is pure, your soul is free
Be on your way, don't wait for me
Above the universe you'll climb
On beyond the hands of time
The moon will rise, the sun will set
But I won't forget

Fly, fly little wing
Fly where only angels sing
Fly away, the time is right
Go now, find the light
 

Track Time: 2:58
Written By: Jean-Jacques Goldman and Phil Galdston
Produced By: Jean-Jacques Goldman and Humberto Gatica
Published By: 1996 Les Editions
JRG/CR Music Publishing
(SOCAN)





Juan Antonio Revilla
San José, Costa Rica, July-October 1999.
 


 
 
 
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