2015: Goodwill. Glamour’s Clamour. Leunig. Dean Potter.
“I recognise my other self and in the waning of that self I grow and glow.”
World Invocation Day
(Full Moon: June 2, 2015. 6.19 pm. GMT.)
Esoteric Astrologer Website Has a New Look
The Gemini Festival of Humanity, of Goodwill
Gemini, Third of Three Festivals – Dissemination
Glamour’s Clamour: Humanity’s Illusions in the World of Thought
Michael Leunig: Cartoonist, Writer, Activist, Painter, Philosopher and Poet
Dean Potter: Free Climber, Alpinist, Base Jumper, Wingsuit Pioneer
Esoteric Astrologer Website Has a New Look
After almost two years of work, www.esotericastrologer.org has now been converted into a more tablet/phone-friendly format, using WordPress. I mentioned this project last year in the Cancer newsletter and now it is finally coming to birth. You will now find surfing this website a much easier and aesthetically pleasing experience. With this regeneration after fourteen years, the user will find more consistency, better navigation and essentialised content.
The site is not completely finished yet, there are several more weeks of tweaking, but it is appropriate to “go live” now in Gemini, the sign of communications and distribution of the Wisdom Teachings. The horoscope of Esoteric Astrologer is Aquarius and Neptune rising; it has a watery Sun and Moon in Cancer and Pisces respectively, with a powerful Mercury-Jupiter conjunction in Gemini trine to Uranus in Aquarius. (There are five placements in Gemini.)
Please report any problems you might encounter as our team is focused on getting everything ship-shape. (Bear in mind that the site is being launched in the middle of Mercury retrograde!) The old website will still be operating as there are some pages that are not transferred yet, in particular foreign language newsletters for the last several years, plus some links in essays that have not been redirected to the new WordPress pages. Nevertheless, most of your access to Esoteric Astrologer will be in the new format.
Esoteric Astrologer was originally set up as a forum for other esoteric astrologers to share their work, and whilst several past commentators have been retained, others have been deleted. In their place, will be more quality essays from leading thinkers in the realm and to this end we will be accepting new submissions for publication.
Again, my gratitude to Mike and Emi Sewell for their tireless voluntary efforts to bring about this rebirth!1
The Festival of Humanity, of Goodwill
Gemini rules Humanity and through its esoteric ruler Venus, “… awakens the sense of duality which is the basic factor in the conflict between desire and spiritual will.”2 Gemini was also prominent at the time of human Individualisation in Lemurian times – that Third Rootrace has a correspondence to our third zodiac sign, representing transformation from “animal man” into “god-man”.
The Festival of Goodwill is the spirit of humanity that aspires toward, and ultimately aligns itself with the Divine. Gemini is also dedicated to right human relations, the successful outcome of the often duelling relationship between the two brothers. Venus is the planet of relationships and esoteric ruler of Gemini – it creates right relationship between the opposites upon the mental plane, the “brothers” of higher and lower mind.
Each year at this festival The Christ preaches the Last Sermon of the Buddha before all those assembled, creating, “… a festival of deep invocation and appeal, of a basic aspiration towards fellowship, of human and spiritual unity, and will represent the effect in the human consciousness of the work of the Buddha and of the Christ.” [The unification of East and West.]3 Gemini is related to speech and The Great Invocation is a potent, far-reaching mantram that can be used by individuals and groups:
“The result of this solemn three days of invocation will be followed by a climaxing day wherein the Hierarchy will unitedly, and led by the Christ, pronounce the entire Invocation, prefacing each stanza with its appropriate keynote, again sounded in unison. These notes you cannot know, but if, for instance, a very large number of the New Group of World Servers were brought together, their united OM might approximate the appropriate keynote.”4
World Invocation Day will be the date of the full moon, June 2, 2015.
Gemini, Third of Three Festivals – Dissemination
As the third sign of the spiritual new year, Gemini completes the triumvirate of Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The seed ideas germinated in Aries and nurtured in Taurus are now ready to disperse in Gemini. The word dissemination is, “a scattering of seed, a sowing”, also connected to semen, the male seed, symbolised by the twin brothers of Gemini. Paradoxically, Gemini is an androgynous sign (Hermes-Aphrodite) and at the time of Individualisation the race was hermaphrodite.
In the picture above, the kouri twins are the dioscuri – the “divine boys”, symbol of the dual human, mortal and immortal, human and god merged. These twins are also the two stars of Gemini, Castor and Pollux – the mortal and immortal brothers respectively. The immortal brother’s light waxes stronger, indicating the increasing control of the soul, whilst the mortal brother’s light is fading, acquiescing to soul control; they are the “quarrelling brothers” – the resistant personality struggling with the will of the soul. The Angel and the Dweller. The personality must die so that the soul can live:
“Once the disciple has taken the necessary steps and moved irrevocably forward, the response of the Angel [soul] is sure, automatic and all-enveloping. Complete obliteration of the personal self in three successive stages is the immediate and normal result. It was to this that John the Baptist referred when he said “He shall increase but I must decrease.” When he spoke these words, he spoke as a disciple, prior to the second initiation of the threshold.
This occult waxing and waning is portrayed for us in the phases of the moon and, for the planet as a whole, in the sign Gemini, where the light of one of the twins is slowly dimming and the light of the other is gaining in intensity. When this “occult obliteration” has taken place, what then is the destiny of the disciple? It is complete control by the soul and this, in practice, connotes group realisation, group work, group service and eventually group initiation.”5
The Moon has an ancient association with this sign due to Gemini’s “pulsating power”:
“The waxing and the waning light which distinguishes soul experience from the first faint move towards incarnation and Earth experience, the rise and fall of civilisations and the growth and unfoldment of all cyclic manifestations are produced by the “interplay between the two brothers” … ”6
During the first three festivals of the year, some individuals and groups are impressed very specifically in relation to their service within the greater milieu. Gemini is the enunciation of a new idea via speech, word or some kind of creative expression. Gemini also offers the opportunity to re-define and re-affirm one’s purpose, with more refinement and understanding. Participating in the ritual of The Great Invocation meditation is one of the best contributions anyone can make during this time or in any other full moon period.
Most of the world is deeply immersed in astral glamour but increasingly in mental illusion, with a broad overlap in both areas. As a mental air sign, Gemini is closely associated with thought – for undeveloped humanity the lower concrete mind and for awakening humanity, the higher mind as a conduit of intuition.
Mercury as ruler of Gemini is the conveyer of ideas via the spoken and written word, the arts and sciences, economics, religion and politics. Humanity has a long way to go in achieving right thought – the accurate transmission of ideas from their divine source. On our return journey, ideas have become distorted and coloured by the illusions and glamours that enshroud the planet. Hence, “the clamour of glamour” – (the noise, the din) of erring, clashing ideas has created a cacophony in this Fifth Rootrace – where the perfection of the mental principle is the goal – only to be subjugated eventually to the intuition:
“The intuition is a higher power than is the mind … it is the power of pure reason, an expression of the buddhic principle, and lies beyond the world of the ego and of form.”7
The world is currently swarming with ideas that range from the sublime and creative to the destructive and ridiculous. This latter expression is like a plague that has polluted the mental body of the planet – reflected on the internet, movies, books, magazines and media – all of which are ruled by Gemini. The physical pollution of the planet – air, land and oceans is the outer evidence that Humanity has not achieved alignment with the Divine Plan.
More and more people are increasingly learning independent thought, hence emerging from mass consciousness which has hitherto controlled them. But Humanity, either those still deeply slumbering and even those partially awakened, still has many stages of development to progress – uninfluenced by inherited and wrong ideas, the lower mind and the emotional nature.
Gemini is unique in that it expresses a synthesis of Love-Wisdom, the only ray which passes through this sign. Gemini is also associated with the thymus, the endocrine gland associated with the heart chakra. Through the influence of Gemini’s esoteric ruler Venus (also the goddess of love), arises an opportunity to balance the pairs of opposites upon the mental plane, bringing harmony and balance. Let us consider what defines Illusion, whose “antidote” is Intuition:
“Illusion is the power of some mental thought-form, of some ideal or concept—sensed, grasped and interpreted in mental form—to dominate the mental processes of the individual or of the race – and consequently to produce the limitation of the individual or group expression. Such ideas and concepts can be of three kinds, as explained in the following passage:
“1. Inherited ideas – Those who find it difficult to adjust themselves to a new vision of world life and of social order, as expressed in the newer ideologies. They are powerfully conditioned by cast, tradition and background.
2. Modern ideas – the reaction of modern thought to world conditions and situations, and to these many aspirants are prone and naturally so, especially if living in the vortex of force which we call modern Europe. Such modern ideas are construed today into major currents and dominating ideologies, and to these every intelligent person must inevitably react, though they forget that that reaction is based on tradition, or upon national or international predisposition.
3. Newer dimly sensed ideas – The power to condition the future and lead the modern generation out of darkness into light. None of you as yet really sense these new ideas, though in moments of high meditation and spiritual achievement, you may vaguely and briefly react to them. That reaction may be real just in so far that it conditions, with definiteness, your service to your fellowmen. You can react correctly and can do so increasingly if you preserve your soul’s integrity and are not overcome by the battle and the fever of your surroundings within your chosen field of service.
A mental illusion might perhaps be described as an idea, embodied in an ideal form, which permits no room or scope for any other form of ideal. It precludes an ability, therefore, to contact ideas. The [hu]-man is tied to the world of ideals and of idealism. He cannot move away from it. This mental illusion ties, limits and imprisons the man. A good idea may consequently become an illusion with great facility and prove a disastrous conditioning factor in the life of the man who registers it.
An illusion can, therefore, be defined as the consequence of an idea (translated into ideal) being regarded as the entire presentation, as the complete story or solution and as being separated from and visioned independently of all other ideas—both religious in nature or apparently completely unrelated to religion. In this statement lies the story of separation and of man’s inability to relate the various implications of a divine idea with each other.
When visioned and grasped in a narrow and separative manner, there is necessarily a distortion of the truth, and the disciple or aspirant inevitably pledges themself to a partial aspect of reality or of the Plan – and not to the truth as far as it can be revealed – or to the Plan as the Members of the Hierarchy know it.
This illusion evokes in the disciple or idealist an emotional reaction which immediately feeds desire and consequently shifts off the mental plane onto the astral; a desire is thus evoked for a partial and inadequate ideal and thus the idea cannot arrive at full expression, because its exponent sees only this partial ideal as the whole truth and cannot, therefore, grasp its social and planetary and its cosmic implications.”8
Here is a brief glimpse into the world of illusion – which we all inhabit! When illusion is combined with glamour, the idea becomes an ideal. The ideal subsequently becomes the idol that is worshipped, often without any connection to the original idea. Hence, the three levels of glamour,
Therefore, we witness the burden of false ideologies that Humanity drags along like a long, heavy, rusty chain. This has occurred especially in organised religion where there has been failure to recognise the unity of all traditions; but also in many other fields of human expression such as politics and business, where ideas and ethics related to power and money have been perverted through human greed and ambition. Ideas have been fed from the astral level of desire and justified at the mental level – shifted off the mental plane onto the astral. These kind of distortions constitute some of the heads of the Scorpio hydra – desire for power, pride and separativeness, plus factors of tradition and entitlement, inbred into the status quo.
Hence the challenge every year in Gemini – for individuals and groups consciously upon The Way, is to direct right thought, free of all these factors. Practically an impossibility but a worthy goal! A group for instance, only needs the wayward, skewed thinking and idealism of one leader that can wreck an entire “ship of fools” upon the rocks; this can be seen in the world of fundamentalist religion and cults, all the way through to esoteric groups who have tuned into the same glamours and illusions. Glamour begets glamour and illusion breeds deeper illusion. To try and maintain right thinking and the correct transmission of divine ideas means employing the filters of discrimination, intuition and humility, plus staying detached from disturbing thoughtforms that clamour for attention.
Right thought and right speech are two injunctions of the Buddha’s noble eight-fold path and are particularly pertinent to Gemini because of its association with both thought and speech – one follows after the other!
“Right Thought or Intention, means clear vision leading to clear thinking. Right thought leads to the elimination of harmful thoughts and developing such positive states of mind such as metta (loving-kindness), which is opposed to hatred, ill-will or aversion and developing thoughts of harmlessness or compassion which are opposed to cruelty and callousness.
Right Speech is refraining from false speech or lying, slandering and harsh speech such as hurling abuse, insulting and being sarcastic. Such a person will see the good in others instead of deceiving or denouncing them. Along with Right Action and Right Livelihood, Right Speech promotes ethical conduct, which is the foundation for the purification of the mind. A clear mind, without defilements such as anger, lust, etc. is an absolute necessity for the development of insight wisdom which enables one to realise the true nature of things.”9
Michael Leunig: Cartoonist, Writer, Activist, Painter, Philosopher and Poet
“Leunig was declared one of Australian Living Treasures by the National Trust of Australia in 1999. Melbourne, his hometown, has taken him into their hearts. Not only has there been a Leunig tram but Leunig featured strongly in the opening ceremony of the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games. In this performance, the philosophical and mystical nature of his work was on display. It featured a “boy and his duck” and the boy’s dreams and visions.”10
Michael Leunig is a great example of multi-talented Gemini but also someone who has a greater awareness than the average, combined with a deep compassion. His work has also frequently explored spiritual and religious themes. He has a somewhat unconventional and original Sun-Uranus conjunction in Gemini with a compassionate Aquarian moon. His birth time is unknown but it is possible, judging by his looks and sensitivity, that he is Cancer or Pisces rising, both watery signs associated with strong empathy and deep feelings. Yet his Mars and Venus in Aries will “take no prisoners” when it comes to confronting injustices:
“Leunig has frequently satirised concepts such as Americanisation, greed, consumerism, corporations and warmongering, in a personal proclamation against the War on Terror. Of particular note were his parodies of political matters, especially those concerning former Australian Prime Minister John Howard and former American president George W. Bush. This has earned Leunig the description of “political cartoonist”, though this is misleading as only some of his works are political in nature or reference.”11
Leunig’s Sun-Uranus conjunction in Gemini is naturally radical, seeking liberation for self and others. This is further reflected in his Uranus-ruled Aquarian moon, the ruler of the speculative Cancer ascendant. If Cancer is rising, then Neptune is the esoteric ruler. Neptune is the mystic and visionary, playing also an important role in the visual arts. Neptune may well be Leunig’s muse and like other artists, he has played a role in provoking the conscience of Australia with a simple and somewhat whimsical approach that belies the depth of his work. All elements are well balanced in this chart – water, air, earth and fire – the latter particularly, through combative and confrontational Mars in Aries.
In 2008, Leunig wrote that “Artists must never shrink from a confrontation with society or the state.” His cartoons have occasionally been a source of controversy. “I have a Jewish friend, a Holocaust survivor, who says that she never could have lived in Israel because in her view it is a totalitarian state …. I believe that something fundamental and vital, not just to Israel but to the entire world, has been gravely mishandled by the present Israeli administration and it bothers me deeply. It is my right to express it.”12
|L: Summer Song. R: Leunig’s little journeyman, Vascoe Pajama, reminiscent of The Fool tarot card. Leunig traced his family back to the Hartz Mountains in 16th-century Germany where the Brothers Grimm set their tales – and the birthplace of the German mythology of the saviour duck. “I never understood the origin of my name,” Leunig says. “But the duck in the mural led me to discovering my ancestry … all because of one little duck.”|
WHEN THE HEART
When the heart
Is cut or cracked or broken,
Do not clutch it;
Let the wound lie open.
Let the wind
From the good old sea blow in
To bathe the wound with salt,
And let it sting.
Let a stray dog lick it,
Let a bird lean in the hole and sing
A simple song like a tiny bell,
And let it ring.
One of the traits of Gemini is its childlike naivety and innocence, present in much of Leunig’s work, endearing him universally. Leunig has often explored the idea of an innocent and sacred personal world; the fragile eco-system of human nature and its relationship to the wider natural world is a related and recurrent theme.
A lot of Leunig’s cartoons also depict melancholy and depression – which may be attributable to Cancer rising and the empathy felt for the pain and melancholy in society at large. In an ABC Radio interview13 the host states, “Freud notes in his essay on mourning and melancholia that a depressed person can see into the truth of things in a way that others cannot.” Part of Leunig’s reply runs thus,
“My work is to look at society and see what’s going on. I noticed there’s a lot of repressed melancholy; hidden, people ashamed of it.
And people being ostracised because they might be a bit miserable or have been drugged away … what is this melancholy state? What’s the problem with going into the darkness, you’ve got to be a bit gutsy, to go in there and look at it and turn it over and stay with it … from the darkness one can see astonishing things, feel profound things and awaken to things. And one can be really crushed by it, but in those times of being crushed and hovering in nowhere, in a place, you know, in a terrible dark place, comes some change and you’ll seek and grow in that darkness, I think. And it often is a turning point in a person’s life and it’s often a very tragic turning point, but it’s often the awakening time as well. So it’s just the human condition.”14
Leunig also comments on the Gemini duality mentioned earlier, the Dweller and the Angel, or the beast and angel, characterised as man and woman:
“I would like to think the angel and the beast could get together and hold hands. And I think it misses the work of integration, that there are the beasts and the angels. And I would like to think that every beast has a bit of angel in him and the angel has a bit of beast. I mean, it’s nice to have a bit of beast. There’s a kind of a creaturely person in us all … we’re living in pretty dark times where greed is rampant and corruption is kind of ignorant. The war impulse seems to be strong, the militarisation of culture is gradually happening around the world and there’s a dark kind of beast … And what is angelic is not there … it’s in exile …”15
“Dean Potter has been a visionary influence in climbing for 20 years. I grew up hearing about what he was climbing. He sort of shaped the direction of climbing for this generation. He was a very creative influence on climbing — never the best climber, but he took it in all these different directions.”— Alex Honnold (Climber)
“Whether it’s death or mangling myself, free-climbing [i.e. no safety equipment] puts me in a hyper-aware state.” Dean Potter.
The death of legendary climber Dean Potter in a recent accident – while wingsuit-flying through a canyon with a friend – has focused the spotlight upon the extraordinary life of this “extreme sportsman”:
“He was noted for hard first ascents, free solo ascents, speed ascents, and enchainments in Yosemite National Park and Patagonia. He completed many solo ascents in Yosemite and Patagonia and free-solo climbed a small part of El Capitan in Yosemite, where he pioneered a route he called “Easy Rider” … This was the first
major section of El Capitan to be free soloed … In July 2006, Potter climbed The Reticent Wall, one of the hardest routes on El Capitan, in 34 hours and 57 minutes with Ammon McNeely and Ivo Ninov, shaving five days off the existing time. Potter and Sean Leary set a new speed record for climbing up The Nose of Yosemite Valley’s El Capitan in November 2010. They ran up the 31-pitch route in 2 hours, 36 minutes, 45 seconds.
Potter was known for his exploits in high-lining and BASE jumping … he completed a variety of highline crossings without benefit of a safety lanyard, backup line or BASE-jumping parachute. Some of these crossings included lines suspended as much as 3,000 feet (910 m) above the ground in Yosemite National Park. In 2014 he released the 22-minute long film When Dogs Fly that chronicled the extreme adventures of his dog Whisper. The film became a viral phenomenon, but also attracted criticism from animal rights activists.”16
Dean Potter’s Horoscope
Dean Potter was a daring Aries – Sun, Chiron and Mercury tenant this sign. There are also three significant planets in Gemini, activated at the time of his death – Mars, Venus and Saturn. No birth time is currently available but the chart below has been rectified by an American astrologer to Virgo rising. There is alot about Potter that could easily be interpreted as Sagittarius rising – the adventurer, the one-pointed focus upon the goal etc. Neptune is in Sagittarius, also prominently activated at the time of death, as will be explored later.
Potter’s Aries personality was one of the main motivating factors for pushing limits and pioneering the new. Aries is often willing to “rush in where angels fear to tread” but Potter was no fool, paying meticulous attention to personal preparation and gear, reflective of his Virgo rising. For the path Potter chose as an Aries adventurer, Virgo rising was an excellent counter-balance of taking care to his Aries risk-taking – at least up to May 16.
Mercury in Aries is very fast in its mental processes; it is the soul ruler of Aries (“I come forth and from the plane of mind, I rule”) – and the personality ruler of Virgo rising, his soul purpose. Hence his Mercurial nature, amplified and exaggerated by the square of Mercury to Jupiter in Capricorn.
All of Potter’s Aries planets are in the eighth house of death, a theme he deliberately wrestled with on a regular basis; he said he did it to overcome a childhood fear of falling to his death – a past life hangover perhaps? The eighth house is also the area of emotional transformation – transmuting fear into courage – the journey from the solar plexus to the heart.
Mercury is also opposite Pluto, the Lord of Death, creating a high tension – not unlike the slackline – for balancing opposites on the mental plane and transformation of the mind. Potter said that he feels misunderstood when his spirituality is considered as sport,
“These mountain arts bring me peace, and I play in the void and come closer to understanding interdependence. Death Consequence reduces lesser motivations to the necessity, breath.”17
When he is not climbing Potter says he spends alot of time by himself, “more than the average person”. He was reclusive and would meditate alot during his stays at Yosemite, in his words, “soul-searching”. These factors point to Virgo rising but also the first ray of will or power (tends to isolation) that may have been in his ray structure; at least it was latent in Aries to be evoked and drawn upon.
Mercury has added importance because of its rulership of Potter’s Gemini planets – Mars, Venus and Saturn. Gemini is a sign of great dexterity and maneuverability, often prominent in the horoscopes of sports people who are quick with their hands and feet – boxers, runners etc. Mars rules sports and in Gemini is particularly adroit at these skills, whether walking the tightrope without a safety line thousands of feet above Yosemite, or free-climbing the 3,000 foot sheer rock face of El Capitan. The process of finding all the holding points for hands and feet is certainly in the realm of Virgo – the meticulous.
“I am uncontrollably drawn to climb. I follow my intuition.
Slacklining is the closest I feel to human flying.
When I am out on the line, I am pressing against the air,
I can feel it, in my heightened states I think I can “see” the air a little bit.”
Perhaps this last sentence alludes to the fact that through his yogic practices or awakened siddhis, Potter may have had a bit of etheric vision. The stunning landscape of Yosemite, with the nature devas and rich foilage guarantee a saturation of rich etheric forces. His Taurus Moon must have revelled in the great beauty of these surroundings – but also provided the physical endurance and persistent will to draw upon. Tennis player Andre Agassi comes to mind here – Sun and several planets in Taurus, with Mars in Gemini like Potter.
Potter’s Moon in Taurus is the esoteric ruler of Virgo rising, inclining him toward an incredible fitness and perfection of the form, with which both Virgo and Taurus earth signs are associated. The most likely presence of the seventh ray (Ceremonial Order, Magic) in his make-up and the amazing feats achieved, might even have earnt him the name of ‘the Harry Potter of rock-climbing’. It has been said that “hard work, artistry and innovation have taken each of his disciplines beyond convention to the realm of art.”18
Transits on Potter’s Last Flight
This capacity for hard work and discipline is reflected by the presence of Saturn in Gemini on his midheaven (career). Saturn is in its “accidental dignity” in this position and opposes his idealistic, visionary Neptune in Sagittarius. Saturn is also the Lord of Karma and it is interesting to note that this Saturn-Neptune opposition was strongly aspected at the time of his death with fellow climber Graham Hunt.
The time for their jump was 7.30 pm, half an hour before sunset, so the transit chart has been set for that time. (As the co-ordinates of Potter’s birth place differ from California, it means that the moon was at 11 Taurus 14, not 10 Taurus 28 as depicted in the chart here.) Nevertheless, Potter jumped on his lunar return (monthly return of the Moon to its natal position), which occurred at 4.05 pm that afternoon, hence is highly significant. There were other extraordinary line-ups in Potter’s chart:
1. Transiting Mars conjunct Saturn in Gemini. As noted earlier, Mars is a very important planet in his chart, placed in Gemini and ruler of his Aries Sun. Mars was close to its two-yearly Mars return and within half a degree applying to karmic Saturn. Saturn concerns the boundaries or the “ring pass not” that everyone has to establish in order for their lives to work properly. With Neptune opposite in Sagittarius, Potter always had a yearning to go beyond those boundaries, also a theme of his Aries placements.
2. Transiting Saturn conjunct Neptune. Transiting Saturn was not only conjunct Neptune but also opposite transiting Mars and natal Saturn, hence his natal Saturn-Neptune opposition was somewhat “besieged” by transiting Mars-Saturn. Notable also is the progressed Sun in close proximity in Gemini and his midheaven (career).
3. Transiting Mercury conjunct Mars in Gemini. The power of both Mercury and Mars has already been stated, plus they are in “mutual reception” (Mercury in Mars-ruled Aries and Mars in Mercury-ruled Gemini), creating a greater potency for both these planets in the natal chart. Transiting Mercury was stationary, about to go retrograde three days later, moving back to a conjunction with natal Mars. This is a highly significant transit and was most likely the main “trigger” for the accident.
Mercury has been in its “shadow retrograde” phase for the previous two weeks, so its stationary position was very powerful. Mercury rules travel of all kinds, especially air travel, as Gemini is an air sign. Potter was Mercurial and embodied to some degree Mercury’s “trickster”, having achieved a legendary status amongst generations of climbers. Transiting Sun in Taurus was also coming into a close conjunction to his progressed Mercury.
4. Lunar return in Taurus. As an earth sign, Taurus rules mother nature, so abundantly on display at Yosemite. Taurus rules the earth and rocks and Potter was brought down to earth in a high-speed collision with the rocky cliffs. The transiting moon at 11 Taurus 14 was precisely opposite solar arc-directed Pluto in Scorpio – the lord of death in the sign of death. Also in the picture, in an exact line-up with Pluto, was natal Hygeia in Scorpio and secondary progressed Black Moon Lilith in Scorpio. These opposing planets in Taurus-Scorpio form a T-square to Jupiter in Leo, perhaps indicating that an element of over-confidence or uncharacteristic carelessness contributed to his demise. Jupiter was also making its third of three hits on Dubhe, a fixed star related to the lower will.
The Asteroid Icarus
The story of Icarus is well known – flying too close to Sun and as a result, falling out of the sky. Asteroids have an uncannily potent symbolism and the asteroid Icarus was powerfully placed in Potter’s horoscope at 25 Aquarius 17′. Aquarius is the sign of aviation and one of those pioneers, Howard Hughes, had Mars and Saturn in Aquarius. Leonardo da Vinci, who designed many prototypes for flying machines, also had Mars in Aquarius. Orville Wright, one of the Wright brothers, had Mercury and the Sun in Aries like Potter.
Potter’s Icarus was exactly sextile his Aries Sun – this harmonious aspect made flying a natural part of his pioneering work. On the day of his death, transiting Icarus was at 1 Gemini 31, in the same aforementioned line-up with transiting Mars, natal Saturn and transiting Saturn opposite in Gemini-Sagittarius. In fact, transiting karmic lord Saturn was very closely opposing natal Icarus, retrograding to within one half of a degree opposite – a very significant transit!
The symbolism of Potter’s love of flying is a great metaphor of humanity reaching for the stars, who like Prometheus “stole fire” from the gods, in its bid to becoming god-human. There have been many wingsuit and base-jumping deaths recently in the USA, perhaps reflecting this nation’s great idealism and pioneering spirit, but also a deep need for many of its citizens to radically reach beyond the social, moral, political and spiritual paralysis that grips so much of American life today.
Extreme Sports and Initiation
In Soul Cycles of the Seven Rays I, this author discusses sports in relation to the Gemini-Sagittarius axis:
“The meditative disciplines of sport – particularly concentration in the earlier stages. In the later stages, the semi-blissful state of heightened awareness – ‘sunyata’ or ‘suntori’; the sense of time being slowed down and slow-motion-like perception.”
Climbers and extreme sports people frequently discuss this “Zen” experience that results from this kind of concentration. Of course there is also a purely physical aspect that feeds the “adrenaline junky”. Recall also that Potter was a meditator, an indispensable discipline that kept him alert and alive for many death-defying years. A life of mediocrity was not for him! His example of pushing boundaries has inspired thousands of others to challenge themselves, yet his death is a cautionary tale. Elsewhere in the same book, Leo is mentioned in relation to sports and initiation,
“Leo is a sign associated with the (worldwide) phenomenon of extreme sports at the turn of the century. Leo is a sign of ‘play and recreation’, the lion-heart developing courage, will and endurance – qualities that sports demand. Sports ‘stars’ emerge everyday. Leo also rules over the First Initiation, having a correspondence to the physical body and hatha yoga. Many of humanity are taking the First Initiation at this time, as we enter the Age of Aquarius – where the Leo polarity is activated and the individual emerges from the masses.”
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- Wikipedia. [↩]
- Wikipedia. [↩]
- ABC Radio Australia. [↩]
- ABC Radio Australia. [↩]
- ABC Radio Australia. [↩]
- ABC Radio Australia. [↩]
- Wikipedia [↩]
- http://deanspotter.com/biography/ [↩]
- http://deanspotter.com/biography/ [↩]