I was privileged yesterday to be able to sit in on a Memorial for someone I didn’t know, a young man who had been a paratrooper in Afghanistan, and died in May from a freak accident that occurred during a PTSD flashback of his war experience. It was a profound ceremony, with a lot of emphasis on the young man’s lifelong character as an archetypal Warrior for Integrity – that is, a self-committed defender of Justice and Truth, not just somebody who fights for the sake of fighting. Meanwhile, my internal skeptic was understanding that it was an eulogy, so a grain of salt was appropriate.
But when I got home I looked at his chart, and it’s all there – he was indeed a remarkable person, as they described. The primacy of Integrity in his life is shown by his stationary (strong) Uranus (Soul Chord) – over the years I’ve known enough people with strong Soul Chords, that I know quite well what that’s like. It’s not someone you waste time arguing with – they know exactly what they’re doing, and it’s not an intellectual endeavor for them.
And his Warrior Spirit is crystal clear – Vesta (that which is Sacred) conjunct (indistinguishable from) Pluto (that which must be done) opposite Mars (Action) in a T-Square (see below) with Jupiter (the Great Amplifier) at the apex, all in the first decan (first ten degrees) of the Fixed Signs (creative certainty, creative efforts to create security). In English that comes out as an irrepressible need to defend at all costs what is Sacred. Not just personally, because with Pluto involved there’s always an element of History, as if his Actions aren’t even “his own,” but dictated by an Energy larger than we can easily conceive.
But it’s a T-Square. We’ve been talking a lot about the Grand Cross, because we’ve been living with a lot of them lately. A Grand Cross is four planets evenly spaced around the Zodiacal circumference. A T-Square is half of that – two planets at opposite points on the Wheel, with a third planet halfway between them. When you draw lines to connect the planets, you get a “right triangle” – a triangle with one “square” or ninety-degree corner. When you put the third planet at the bottom and draw lines to connect the planets to the center of the circle, you get a “T” with a long top – that’s where the name comes from.
In both configurations, Grand Cross and T-Square, all the planets are related in the Fourth Harmonic – the energy of Dominion through Challenge. We’ve talked about that quite a bit, but to summarize, Dominion is to the Whole Body as Wisdom is to the Mind. Dominion is Mastery. It’s not Mastery honed by learning all the rules, it’s Mastery discovered by thoroughly exploring what works and what doesn’t, circumstantially.
With a T-Square it’s critical to understand that Life is an Experience, not a Test. It’s not about Right and Wrong or Good and Bad, or even Better or Worse. It’s about Will this work?. You recall the Quincunx, which is about Hmm, I wonder if this’ll work. The T-Square is more like (when lived as a Victim, which it the normal course for a T-Square) Damn it, will this work? or often even Why doesn’t anything ever work?. Or (when lived as a Master) What will happen if I do this in these circumstances?. The Spiritual Function of a T-Square is to teach us not to be attached to Outcomes. A T-Square with an attachment to Outcomes is a recipe for Frustration.
The programming that a child with a T-Square receives is formative. If a T-Square child receives a strong dose of Right and Wrong, the result will probably be lifelong unhappiness, because a T-Square never gets it “Right.” This young man chose parents who understood this. A T-Square just constantly provides more information about how internal and external circumstances might influence Outcomes. Not as a tool for ultimately achieving the desired Outcome, but as a tool for releasing the Need for the desired Outcome. It’s like differential equations – there are no Right Answers, only Approximations. Or quantum mechanics – there are no Discrete Outcomes, only Frozen Potentials. T-Squares are about the process, not the Outcome.
I know, releasing the Need for The One Thing We Live For can feel like Death, or like we might as well be. But that’s precisely the point – a necessary Ego Death that liberates us to manifest Other Outcomes that may be far more fulfilling than the Unitary Concept we were focusing on. It’s partly a matter of dimensionality – an Attachment is ultimately one-dimensional, while Reality is gloriously multivariate. Dimensions are multiplicative – satisfaction in three dimensions (say, emotional/physical/spiritual) is nine times as fulfilling as satisfaction in one dimension. Remember, Juno (Identity, Ego Death) is the crux of the Solstice and Eclipse charts that dominate our Sixth Night.
Now, we could see a Grand Cross as two T-Squares back to back, or, if we spin the wheel ninety degrees, as four interlocking T-Squares! And yes, there’s an element of that kind of ultimate frustration in a Grand Cross. But the Grand Cross is in balance – there are too many angles and points for a single Outcome to dominate, so under a Grand Cross we’re quite satisfied to be moving in the right direction. With a T-Square, it’s too easy to become single-minded in pursuit of the ever-elusive Outcome, dooming us to perpetual Frustration.
Which is why we speak of the Vacancy for a T-Square. The Vacancy is the point on the Wheel opposite the third or right-angle planet of the T-Square. If there was a planet at the Vacancy, the configuration would be a Grand Cross rather than a T-Square. That would make things a lot more complicated, but a lot less frustrating, because the temptation to lock onto one ephemeral Outcome would be lacking. In the case of this young man, the apex of his Mars-Pluto-Vesta T-Square was Jupiter in early Aquarius – so his temptation would be to lock onto an Outcome of Expanding (Jupiter) Social Harmony (Aquarius). Given the apparent state of “Human Nature,” that’s a Biggie.
The “Sabian” reading for the degree of the Vacancy for this T-Square is “Constellations of Stars shine brilliantly in the night sky.” And from the testimonials at his Memorial, this young man, consciously or otherwise, was acutely aware of his Vacancy, and lived it very well. Every person there talked about how bright a Light he had been in their lives.
The key here is “consciously or otherwise.” Consciousness allows Choice. Karma is Inertia, and it is Choice that allows us to liberate ourselves from Karma. Consciousness is a moving target. No one can judge how Conscious another person is, or judge how appropriate it is for that other person to be Conscious or Unconscious in any given circumstance. The Ego’s job is to keep us Alive, and Denial is one of the Ego’s most powerful tools. Our greatest skills, by far, are those which we perform Unconsciously. And very little of our internal processes are actually communicated, so there’s no way to know when another person is Conscious, and when they’re just not communicating.
In this young man’s case, with Uranus stationary, and Vesta-Pluto in Scorpio, I’m guessing he was a lot more Conscious than most people knew. Scorpio is Fearlessness, the knowledge that the way out is through, and the willingness to follow a glowing thread into any quagmire. Scorpio learns very early that talking about it scares the biscuits out of most everybody else, so Scorpio learns very early that it’s not safe to talk about it. Scorpio just makes a safe, and if necessary secret, space to just do it. Scorpio’s reputation for Secrecy isn’t about Secrecy at all, it’s about other people’s Fear.
Consciousness matters because the eulogizers made a big deal out of the young man’s entanglement with the Archetype of the Warrior. In the Jungian view, an Archetype is a kind of Karmic capture, an extrapersonal energy that takes a person over, and prevents them from living their own life and seeking their own fulfillment, because they’re overfocused on acting out the Archetype’s rituals. Of course it’s all relative, and we could postulate an infinite range of Archetypes, to fit any situation. It’s easy to put a positive judgment on Consciousness, and use an Archetype as a criticism, but that would totally miss the point.
Archetype is a constructive concept only when someone expresses a desire to break free of a Karmic loop. It’s a concept that allows us to depersonalize a portion of our Ego, to create a healthy Separation between Self and Archetype, in order to learn to distinguish between those elements of the personality that are rooted in the Archetype, and those which are rooted in the Soul Chord. I didn’t know this young man, so it’s a guess, but I’m guessing that his Soul Chord was strong enough and present enough that he was quite aware of the difference between his Essence and his Warrior.
This long story is of course related to what’s going on in the sky today – Juno, Identity. One of the most powerful types of charts a person can have, is one that combines a Grand Cross or a T-Square with a Grand Trine. The Grand Trine, as we’ve said, is three planets equally spaced around the Zodiac, and this Third Harmonic carries the energy of the Empress, or Love with Wisdom. This young man also had a Grand Trine in his birth chart, with our friend Jupiter as one corner – the same Jupiter that’s the apex of his Mars-Pluto-Vesta T-Square. The other two corners of his Grand Trine were Juno (Identity) and Chiron (Healing and Miracles).
A Juno-Jupiter Grand Trine is a ready source for the kind of apparently-unconscious, and un-self-conscious, self-confidence this young man presented to the World and inspired in others, according to the testimonials at the Memorial. Chiron on the other corner gives this a profound Healing quality, with a flavor of the superhuman – he would have accomplished many things which most people wouldn’t even think were possible. This young man was a Natural Healer – probably unconsciously, since it usually takes longer to become Conscious of a Grand Trine than it does to become Conscious of a T-Square, and this was a relatively short lifetime, by modern standards, for him. By Warrior standards, it wasn’t a short lifetime at all. When I was sixteen, we used to talk about making “Alexander’s Choice” – living life to the fullest and flaming out by 30. And we weren’t even Warriors, we were just Teenagers.
Chiron was also the apex of a Finger of God (Pay Attention!), with Pluto-Vesta (uninterruptible attention to the Sacred) and Neptune (Spiritual Clarity) at the other corners. A Pluto-Neptune Finger of God doesn’t give a person much latitude for personal Choice – it represents a life directed by sources far larger than the Self, and would suggest that the whole Warrior persona was more about teaching others than about fulfilling personal needs. The whole question of Consciousness becomes kind of irrelevant, because this young man was Guided constantly by Angels. And the Finger of God, representing as it does Curiosity, would have had him constantly, internally (probably “secretly”), questioning and wondering and learning exactly which pieces fit where to make sense out of it all, circumstantially.
Then there’s Neptune. Neptune is at the apex of a second T-Square, this one with Juno (Identity) and The Sun (Essence) at the other corners, in the early degrees of the Cardinal Signs. The early degrees of the Cardinal Signs are about laying eggs – creating foundations for buildings that won’t be built for many years hence. While stationary Uranus indicates a person who knows exactly what they’re doing, the early degrees of Cardinal Signs indicate someone who’s acting at the behest of a New Energy that isn’t Conscious yet, a Wave that’s just beginning to move onto the Planet. In other words, someone who knows exactly what they’re doing, even though why they’re doing it won’t become clear for many years.
Juno (unconscious Identity) was at the beginning of Libra (service to Harmony with Other), while The Sun (Essence) was at the beginning of Aries (service to a New Energy), with Neptune (service to the culture’s concept of God) in Capricorn (pragmatism) between them. While Neptune represents Spiritual Clarity, it also represents Material Confusion. It’s the ancient Lemurian dilemma – how to enjoy the glories of physical manifestation without getting our feet stuck in the tar. The Vacancy for this T-Square is “A Cat arguing with a Mouse.” There were probably some very sophisticated theological seminars going on in this young man’s head, which, with Scorpio Pluto, he may never have talked about out loud. The two T-Squares are intimately intertwined, and connected by the Finger of God. The tight interconnection would have contributed to his self-confidence.
The planets in this young man’s birth chart clustered into two configurations – the T-Squares in the early degrees, and the stationary Uranus in the middle degrees, the latter joined by a Moon-Mercury-Venus-Pallas Stellium in Aries, and the Axis of the Lunar Nodes in Scorpio-Taurus. The Stellium would have given him the Wisdom that the testimonials attributed to him, but would also have made the kind of reductive thinking that modern schools propagate relatively unnatural for him. He operated by instinct, not ideals or ideas, and his instincts would have been perfect. His mind was fast, very tuned to emotional realities, and quick to identify edges. The Lunar Axis would pull him toward the Castle, even though he was comfortable in the Swamps. The Lunar Nodes were not closely connected to the Pluto-Vesta-Mars-Jupiter T-Square, which tells us that his Warrior persona was not Karmic.
The two clusters were joined by the Eighth Harmonic – balance, alignment, negotiation, truth. The Eighth is our introductory course for the more difficult Fourth Harmonic. He was drawn into his military career when the two clusters crossed – when Pluto in the sky moved across the position of his natal Uranus, and Uranus in the sky moved across his natal Jupiter. He would have felt a major sense of integration at that time in his life, and might have used that to lock onto an idea that his Ultimate Goal of Social Harmony might be achieved through using his Warrior skills in service to the State.
The Memorial included an Honor Guard Ceremony, where two soldiers unfold a triangle-folded Flag, bounce it once like a trampoline to release the devotee’s soul, then carefully refold it into a tight Third-Harmonic (Love with Wisdom again) triangle. There was real magic in this ritual – the Energy shift was palpable when they bounced the open flag. The Chaplain who presented this part of the Memorial was an impressively alive and present person, but his assertion that the Flag was parallel to the Shroud of Turin was a stretch.
The asteroid Vesta, which is indistinguishable from this young man’s Pluto, was the Roman version of the Greek Goddess Hestia, Goddess of the Hearth. The Greeks started and ended every ritual with a toast to Hestia, She who provided warmth and sustenance. The Romans knew a good thing when they saw it, and made their Vesta the Goddess of the State, perpetrating the notion that it’s the State that provides warmth and sustenance, not Nature and Spirit. Confounding the role of the State with the role of Nature and Spirit has been a curse that Western Civilization has endured ever since.