Reflections on the FAA Conference Chart 2018

Roderick Kidston

the asteroid Australia, named for our country, is conjunct the Moon, too.
Well, it is an Australian Astrology conference after all…

2018 faa conference chart

Chart data: 18 January 2018 at 1.05pm AEDT, Melbourne, Australia
Placidus/True Node

Electing a horoscope is always tricky and never more so than when non-negotiable time constraints are involved. Basically, the formal opening of the 2018 FAA Conference needed to occur during the lunch break on Thursday, 18 January 2018. There’s not a lot of wriggle room with that… so the deciding factors were getting Venus out of Capricorn and into friendlier, more social Aquarius, and then aligning the Lot of Fortune with Venus as well – a partile square between these two seemed better than no connection at all. It also kept Uranus away from too close a conjunction with the Ascendant, which might have been a little hectic.

So what else can we glean from this chart, and its potential influence over the Conference as a whole event?

Sun in Capricorn, Moon in Aquarius

For years I have loved Grant Lewi’s interpretations of the Sun-Moon combinations, in his text Heaven Knows What. They can be toe-curling accurate. For this duo, Lewi was at his subtly acerbic best. From a traditional standpoint, both Lights are in the signs of Saturn, and Lewi gives a distinctly saturnine (if not Saturnian) reading:

‘hard determination… good healthy respect for yourself and your own talents demands the respect of others… [but] even your good business judgment may not keep you from living right up to the hilt of your income. … Intellectually you are practical… anything which is grist to your mill you will be interested in… Emotionally you can be intense, but your intensity is not likely to be directed to someone lower in the social or financial scale.’

This is all good from the point of view of good organisation and a good financial outcome. This event has backbone. Fortunately, there is a plus side socially with this pairing as well. This Sun-Moon blend is one of the more ideal for business networking.

Venus in Aquarius conjunct the Moon

This is a much happier proposition. The two most quintessentially feminine planetary symbols aligned together in outgoing, social, idealistic Aquarius break down some of the aloof Capricorn barriers and give a little touch of Hair. For this event the Moon is not in the seventh house (she’s in the tenth instead) but Jupiter does align with Mars under a separating but still strong, exuberant conjunction in Scorpio. Peace is unlikely to guide the planets just yet, much less will love rule all the stars, but something happy and convivial is dawning here. It may not be the Age of Aquarius but it has a strong, upbeat vibe.

The Moon has some other very important aspects, but I shall discuss them later.

Bacchus in Capricorn in partile conjunction with the Sun

Yes, the Sun is in serious Capricorn. (He almost always is with FAA conferences.) He’s descending from the ‘throne of Mars’, too, the traditional exaltation degree of the Lord of War. Yes, he is widely conjunct Pluto, which brings in another power surge – especially as Pluto is on the MC. But – Bacchus is with the Sun, in a partile conjunction which is therefore very powerful. Bacchus is one of the most subtle, various and variable of all the asteroids. Bacchus is the Roman Dionysos, that god of ancient Greece of ambiguous sexuality and multi-valent interests. Bacchus-Dionysos are traditional gods of drunkenness and revels, but they have an exalted and exalting side. Karl Kerenyi memorably sub-titled his splendid text on Dionysos ‘Archetypal Image of Indestructible Life’ which gives the essential clue. There is a magnificent life force manifesting here, along with the potential for lots of fun. Even Sun in Capricorn can let his hair down if Bacchus has spiked his soft drink and given him permission to let go of an inhibition or two. Bacchus has fun, is joyous and joy-making. He’s the life and soul of the party, and sometimes a bit crazy. Insofar as a Sun in Capricorn can be off the wall and on the lam, this is it… So there may be moments when the Conference has its moments!

Aries rising, with Uranus, Eris and Pallas

Aries rising is active, dynamic and purposeful, as we know. It gives lots of enthusiasm but can lack discipline and follow-through. The Sun in Capricorn provides some compensation, as does a strong Saturn (more on him later). But this is not just a standard-issue Aries Ascendant. With three great change agents rising too – Uranus, Eris and Pallas – this Ascendant belongs to an event chart which is all about great shifts, about working with major movements of consciousness. Well, that fits with the essential Conference theme, about honouring the best of astrology’s past whilst also focusing on the new and evolving, and finally looking at how to bring all that together. Uranus is the collective change agent with whom most astrologers are familiar. Eris and Pallas are less familiar archetypal symbols. But both of them are about ushering in the new. Pallas is, quite simply, a marker of consciousness-raising (some will remember when that was all the rage in the 1960s and 1970s), not only the Lady of Wisdom (and War, in a strategic sense) but also the Lady of Insight. Things become clear under the aegis of Pallas; fogs of ignorance and fear lift, the cool crystal air of pure and higher understanding take their place. Our astrological understanding of Eris is still evolving but she is fairly evidently one of the new symbols of a new shift in the evolution of consciousness, a process of profound and enduring importance. Somehow this Conference will help us track at least a little of what is going on. It’s a bit like that line from Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, where the fortune-teller offers simply, ‘In nature’s infinite book of secrecy, a little I can read’.

Mars conjunct Jupiter across the Vertex

Although these days I don’t worry much about traditional rulerships or dignities – for me a full cast of planets, dwarf planets, asteroids et al working together with a proper consideration of all the harmonic wavelengths connecting them, all the angles (not just Asc and MC, and especially including the Polar Ascendant), and a careful nod to the influences of the fixed stars gives all the most essential information in a chart; but for the sake of honouring the tradition, Mars is the chart ruler. He is strong in Scorpio and even stronger sitting on the fateful angle of the Vertex and stronger yet again because he is in a separating but still potent conjunction with strong Jupiter. Mars and Jupiter together have energy to burn. This is switched on, vibrant, a bit over the top sometimes, sexy as hell (in a natal chart for a human being this raises the libido!) and able to rise above adversity. Mars in the eighth house is in the house of death, so there are things to be faced without flinching, endings to consider, to comprehend and to deal with. But Jupiter suggests the resurgence of resurrection, too. This is a blending of a malefic and a benefic in a malefic house. The implications of that from a traditional perspective would be better offered by someone who thinks along these lines. I see here a need to face the dark but also the strength to do it. Death is a necessary process of nature and it occurs all the time, allowing new life to emerge and flourish. Jupiter in expansive mode, and as an archetypal image of the sky father and protection, is all about flourishing. There are themes here about understanding and accepting what has finished its life cycle and what needs to arise from the ashes.

Capricorn Midheaven with Pluto, Urania and Eros

The Aries Ascendant links to a Midheaven or MC in Capricorn. The Sun and Bacchus are also conjunct the MC from the tenth house side; in the ninth house we find Pluto, Urania and Eros. Capricorn culminating always puts a focus on the right management of resources and on right management more generally. The MC is always powerful as the symbol of high noon in the horoscope, a highly individualised solar point of creative potential and evolutionary purpose. The great question, ‘Where am I going in life?’ is answered substantially (though not wholly) by the MC and any planets with it. In an event chart like this, it’s all about how the event will play out in the world, its fulfilment and its reputation. This event is Plutonian… it’s focused on great forces of transformation and renewal. This again goes to the core theme – astrology through the ages, evolving, changing, yet also in touch with its foundations (Capricorn) and using those as a sure base for moving forward and onward. It is particularly interesting that for this Conference, with this theme, the asteroid Urania is with Pluto. Urania honours the Muse of Astronomy (which means astrology in antiquity as well) and has been described as ‘the astrologers’ asteroid’. Urania takes accurate measures, whether these are mathematical and scientific, or the more subtle measures of psychology or the fusion of maths and mysticism which is practical astrology. Urania-Pluto is all about the great changes occurring in our astrological measures… how appropriate! Eros here brings a lot of passion, zeal, fervour, even insistence. The challenge will be to avoid clashing over trivialities. Live and let live is a hidden message here. There are other important planetary symbols in the ninth house, including Mercury, but I am working towards them later.

Polar Ascendant in Scorpio, opposite Iris in Taurus and Hephaistos and Herculina in Taurus

For years I have proposed that the Polar Ascendant (PoA) is often (maybe even always) the most powerful angle in the horoscope, representing an extraordinary feedback loop with the world which carries a galvanic charge. Planets aligned here (meaning Lights, planets, dwarf planets, asteroids and any other wacky term astronomers or astrologers care to use or misuse) have a way of dominating the horoscope. On this occasion I take personal delight that this gives high sway to Iris, perhaps the loveliest of the heavenly bodies in astrology, the asteroid of the ancient messenger of the gods (till Hermes/Mercury gazumped her) and symbol of truth, intuition, imagination, vivid persuasiveness and the highest illumination. The idea that the rainbow rays of truth-telling Iris are kind of running the show at this FAA Conference is something for which every presenter and every delegate should be deeply grateful. The discussions at this event are genuinely significant and have the potential to resonate for a long time.

Also linked to the PoA and Iris – and making a T-square of sorts (traditionally angles don’t create aspect patterns) – is the Moon in Aquarius, square both Iris and the PoA. There’s certainly a big midpoint structure here for anyone who likes Cosmobiology techniques! This Moon-Iris-PoA planetary picture really creates a strong emotional impact on a lot of people. There’s a lot of feeling sloshing around here, despite the frequent chilliness of an Aquarian Moon. At least Moon in Aquarius has ways of containing emotions and not running amok with them… most of the time. But when the ice of the Aquarius Moon melts, it can create a flooding river!

Iris’s rainbow colours are intensified and darkened by her conjunctions to asteroids Hephaistos and Herculina. Both symbolise passions; those of Hephaistos are often tinged with sorrow and a sense of rejection, while those of Herculina are pumped and hot and letting it all hang out. The essential gift of Hephaistos, though, is work which is undertaken with zealous commitment and completed to the highest possible standard, while Herculina offers Herculean strength and stamina coupled with total commitment to excellence in another way, the excellence of being – and being seen to be – the best possible. So another facet of the Iris-Polar Ascendant synergy is given by these workhorse contributors, also linked to the Polar Ascendant, suggesting that there is a huge fund of energy and a lot of hard work going on before, during and even after the event.

Mercury in Capricorn conjunct Saturn and Black Moon Lilith

Having broken with tradition and put Iris ahead of Mercury as a symbol of communication, it is now time to give the masculine messenger his due. Mercury is potent in this chart, even though Capricorn is not one of his traditionally happier zodiac signs. He might be cadent in the ninth house but he is also in the traditional ‘House of God’, related to spiritual teachings, religion, philosophy and also by association soothsayers – astrologers! Mercury with Saturn brings a lot of seriousness to the event, perhaps spasms of anxiety linked to perfectionism, but also the results of hard work and deep research. The link to Lilith adds an even darker shade of black. Lilith energies are militantly individualistic and implacably uncompromising, which entangled with negotiator Mercury as go-between and severely uncompromising rule-upholding Saturn makes for moments of great intensity and potential conflict. This resonates with an earlier ‘live and let live’ theme. Outbreaks of righteousness will not help anyone. This trio will make Iris work extra hard to bring the love back into the room(s), but she’s used to that sort of thing.

Moon conjunct Astraea, Hygiea, Juno, the South Node and Amor (and lots of other asteroids)

With the communications warning signal emanating from Mercury-Saturn-Lilith, we need to look again at the Moon and her other synergies to get a sense of the collective emotions sloshing around at the FAA Conference. At least the Moon aligned with Amor, numen of spiritual love, brings the love into the room in a steady stream (as long as Mercury-Saturn-Lilith don’t turn a tantrum), aided and abetted by integrating and problem-solving Astraea, healing Hygiea, talent-revealing and empowering Juno, and the movement towards spiritual surrender and the purging of unskilful attachments symbolised by the South Node of the Moon. There are several other important asteroids hanging around the Moon as well: aesthetic Sappho and graciously helpful Hebe chief amongst them. All of these are found in the tenth house; unless you want to use whole-sign houses in which case they’re in the eleventh. It is all very focused on the external world, one way or another. For a final bit of asteroid fun – the asteroid Australia, named for our country, is conjunct the Moon, too. Well, it is an Australian astrology conference…

Ceres partile conjunction the North Node in Leo opposite the Moon

Since a major aspect of an astrology conference is education – it isn’t only about networking and socialising – the contribution of Ceres, so often a symbol of education and mentoring, has to be given at least some attention. Ceres is powerful in this chart, very closely conjunct the North Node of the Moon which brings in collective influences and attachments, and both are within harmonic orb of opposition the Moon. They also oppose Astraea, Amor and Hebe. Ceres and the North Node are in Leo in the fourth house (fifth with whole-sign houses) which brings Leo pizzazz and a fourth house awareness of the home base, the origins, into the mix.

Vesta in Sagittarius in the Eighth House

One important facet of the Vesta numen is the honouring of tradition and the desire to preserve the best of the past and hand it on to posterity. (This sort of thing links Vesta to Saturn, and is why I feel Vesta is the yin polarity partner or shakti of yang Saturn.) Vesta is kind of all by herself in this chart; she has a wide out-of-sign (but applying) conjunction to hot-blooded, full-on Mars, and a wide conjunction to moaning, full-on Amphitrite, asteroid of the original sea goddess and symbol of deep emotions and flooding (metaphorical and even literal), but no close oppositions, no squares, and only an out-of-element trine to ‘magical’ Hekate and a partile sextile to shape-shifting Midas to provide support. But Vesta will still do what she does, fired up by the confidence of her Sagittarius costume, focused on the best messages she has and on her duty to the sacred flame of life in all its forms. It is interesting to note that on 19 January, the first day of actual Conference presentations, the emphasis is on the ancient tradition; and on that day Vesta will sit exactly in the antiscion degree of the Sun. (This Sun-Vesta connection is close in the Conference opening chart, but still applying to perfection.) Come 19 January, everything old is new again.

Hekate in Cancer in the Fourth House opposite Sun-Bacchus, with Pallas in square

Hekate is one of the most subtle and potent astrological forces, so subtle she often glides past people and appears to be a dumb note in the chart. My take on Hekate is a little different from some of the other interpretations kicking around. For me she isn’t so much about moments of crisis and the sense of standing at the crossroads as she is about pointing to deep inner springs of power which we don’t always know how to activate, or if we do set them working, the power can be more than we can handle. Hekate is about magic – the kind of super intelligence and super capacity which is so far beyond the known norm it appears supernatural when it actually isn’t – and her full expression is often denied because it is muted or hidden, or simply because most people have no idea how to be truly magical. Hekate is also about money, especially money as the symbolic currency of power, the ability to make choices and do whatever one wants. Our Hekate capacities are stupendous but still emerging; I don’t think the human race is quite ready yet to ‘do’ Hekate in a skilful and benign way. (This is not unlike how I feel about Juno, and there are many similarities between these two ‘asteroid goddesses’.) So rather than cause us to screw up horribly, Hekate stands back. Because she is about power, pure and simple, her energies are very easily distorted by silly limited human beings.

That all said – when Hekate does step forward and tears away the veil of separation, she is magnificent in action. I am not sure how much Hekate will contribute to this FAA Conference, though since astrology is a sort of magic, the consciousness-force which stands behind the symbol and numen we label ‘Hekate’ will be interested in what is going on in Melbourne over those few days. In Cancer in the fourth house, Hekate is certainly going back to the fundamental things which apply as time goes by. What may bring her subtle magic to the fore is the way her strongest links are to the Sun – the Conference’s life force – and to another asteroid which is magical in its own style, hippy-trippy Bacchus. The way Hekate opposes this vital Sun-Bacchus pair gives a whole special extra zing, bang or even boom to the basic energies in play.

The wildcard with all this is the way the Sun-Bacchus-Hekate oppositions resolve into t-squares when we bring in Pallas in the last degree of Aries, making a partile square to Hekate in the last degree of Cancer, and Pallas is also square Sun-Bacchus. Surprising and sometimes shocking Pallas could do anything with this seesawing trio. At best, it is truly brilliant – there is an opportunity for this Conference to really push the envelope of astrological understanding and pull together an extraordinary result. There could be something dazzlingly inspired and inspiring about what happens here. But if these energies go haywire, they could create flares of stress and ego-charged power tripping. That little warning puts both presenters and delegates on notice. Make it clever by all means, but keep it nice!

Neptune in Pisces in the Eleventh House, semisquare the Sun and Bacchus

The collective planet Neptune is strong in this chart primarily because he is linked to the Sun and Bacchus by a manifesting semisquare aspect, which does scatter some star dust about, or magic mushrooms, or something mind-altering and maybe a bit chaotic at times. Neptune’s presence in the eleventh house of friends and groups seems reasonable for a conference dedicated to mysteries; but by whole-sign houses he is tucked away in the twelfth. For me the other point worth noticing about Neptune is that he conjoins the asteroid Hidalgo. Hidalgo can represent a fiery revolutionary energy but he is most often about either strutting one’s stuff or about proving one’s excellence, perhaps in less aggressively preening ways. One of these seems to be education – Hidalgo like Sappho (and both of them like Ceres) seems to be one of the asteroids which have a teaching or learning side, something about self-improvement. With Hidalgo and Sappho it isn’t so much about teaching as a process for imparting or gaining knowledge as it is about following the refined Confucian maxim that everyone should ‘cultivate the person’. So Neptune is adding his glamour to what the FAA Conference is most fundamentally about.

Lot of Fortune in Taurus in the First House, square Venus, conjunct Pallas

Last but not least, let us consider the Lot of Fortune. This symbolic synergy of the Sun-Moon-Ascendant is just across into Taurus from Aries, a more stable and comfortable zodiac sign for this Lot, and in partile square to Venus which also disposits the Lot. This looks like a happier and more helpful arrangement than having the Lot of Fortune in Aries entangled with all those antsy change agents, especially Uranus-Eris. Instead, there is something calm and peaceable at work with this alignment, and Venus could provide some additional benefits socially. The Lot of Fortune is still in an out-of-sign conjunction with Pallas, so the ideas and ideals of wisdom-seeking and consciousness-raising still hold good and show an aspect of the core good of the Conference as a whole. This Conference’s material fortunes are underpinned by the Pallas gifts of mind and discovery, and the Venus gifts of harmony and goodwill. These qualities are also integral to its deeper spiritual well-being, and as such impact upon its emerging ‘fate’. But for an astrology conference, a mix of Pallas and Venus working with the Lot of Fortune, that symbolic point which shows the Sun-Moon relationship via the precise Ascending degree, seems like a very good synergy, well oriented, able to yield the kind of results everyone involved would want.

Let’s participate with the possibilities to make this a truly memorable conference! Look forward to seeing you there,