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Since the vast majority of recent searches have something to do with the current eclipse cycle, there wasn’t nearly the variety of queries from which to choose as I usually find, but of course, I did find some interesting questions worth addressing.

What is the meaning of natal Chiron retrograde?

There are a great many astrologers who put much interpretive stock in a planet or asteroid’s retrograde status, but I’m not one of them. I respect their reasoning; if it works in their interpretive picture, who am I to say otherwise? For myself, I’ve come to believe that, with retrogradation as an apparent, rather than a physical, phenomenon, it does have a meaning within our symbolic system, it’s just that, rather than giving the state of retrogradation its own meaning, I see the meaning as coming from the planet or point’s aspect picture to the other bodies, and particularly to the Sun. Each of the bodies that retrogrades does so in relation to the Sun, and so the meaning, for me, is held in the aspect picture, in the relationship, rather than in a simple direct or retrograde assessment. For instance, Uranus is always retrograde when it is opposed the Sun; this, then, has its own meaning, and keeps the focus on the relationship between the two bodies. Uranus will never ever ever be direct when opposing the Sun–and the parsing out of Uranian energies to Soul energies will reflect this dissonance, this oppositional stance–we don’t need to label Uranus as anything but what it is essentially, in that sign and House; understanding comes of the way it works, of its attitude, as it does for each of us in learning about ourselves, in our relationships to one another and the world that surrounds us.

The one exception I make to this is in Secondary Progression. I think its most useful function is to alert us to the fundamental change in energy that a body undergoes on changing direction. When a planet that has been direct all one’s life goes retrograde by Secondary Progression, the internal form of the energy seems to be drawn back in upon itself; these periods almost always insist on a long, slow mulling of the forms the energy takes in the life, and, eventually, modifications that bring it forward once more. The opposite is also true: when a planet goes direct by Secondary Progression we typically see leaps forward in either the understanding of or in dealing with the energy.

What does the natal chart of a rapist look like?

I’ve never had a client who was a rapist (that I know of!), so I have no first hand knowledge, but my interest in this was piqued about ten years ago, when my daughter Alex first became actively interested in boys and dating, but would on occasion comment, “I don’t like that guy; he’s got a rapist vibe.” Well of course she was joking and exaggerating, but conveying an essential truth at the same time: to her senses, this individual would not recognize another person’s autonomy, would not respect their boundaries, physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental, and so was not a good person with whom to interact. She felt that, eventually, someone like that would ‘rape’ all they contacted, one way or another.

I began, then, to think of rape in terms that perhaps would show some or all of these characteristics in the personality, and thus in the chart. We know that rape is not a crime of sex or desire but a crime of aggression and violence. Some possibilities (and naturally, many will have some of these placements and they will not be rapists–or, they may be the kind of rapists society condones, those who harm mentally or emotionally, and thus are hard to recognize or pin down, or whose aggressive tendencies are funneled into professions where it’s very difficult to pick the healthy person from the rapist, until they are put under pressure–and we’re including those who rape the spirit, as well–the military, the clergy, the prosecutorial, the protective, or any line of work that puts others at one’s mercy or under one’s authority, even parents–so nearly everyone, in one role or another): a sociopathic unconcern with the feelings or welfare of others is a main feature (Venus, Moon, and/ or the Sun wounded by Chiron, Pluto, or Saturn); aggression that may have a ‘back door’ into many life areas, such as a lot of placements in Aries or Scorpio, a strong Pluto, and almost any ego or Self-related energy that is somehow trapped, possibly by interception, posited in the 12th, or with few or no aspects–you may be wondering why I don’t list Mars, and the fact is that it’s such a fundamental expression of ego and action that it tends to be able to find its way ‘out’ no matter what! Classics include Mars/ Pluto contacts, but I find that they must be involved in some other precipitating factors before they are actually volatile, and if either or both are configured with Saturn they can be harnessed for good, with 50/50 chances of positive expression in cases where, for example, they are configured with Jupiter (big exaggeration OR society provides the standards and restraints). Neptune is also often a strong factor, either by matching their own behavior to unrealistic ideals and expectations (which are often imposed upon others–‘Carrie”s mother is a perfect example!) or through a twisted use of the Neptunian charm, ability to obscure, to delude, to present an illusory image to others. Of course there are as many possibilities as there are people; it all comes down to choices about how we use the energies that we have. See the works of Caroline Myss for more on the ways that we can suffer (and inflict) an energy of rape without ever laying a hand on another. THE GIFT OF FEAR by Gavin de Becker is essential reading for all women in our society, and gives excellent descriptions that will help your instincts overcome your programming.

What is the meaning of Psyche and Eros conjunct?

First, you know I use Arcturus as the planet Psyche, not the designated asteroid, based on Michael Munkasey’s work, and I do this because it works. You don’t say whether this is a synastric aspect between charts or in a single natal chart, so, synastry first: since Eros and Psyche were happily married, this could be one interpretive suggestion, though beware jealous and possessive mothers-in-law, catty sisters, and hot oil lamps. If this is in a natal chart, it could suggest a high degree of Self-satisfaction and a feeling of Self-completion, good for confidence but unlikely to support positive relationship interaction, simply because one may lack a driving need for another–look at the state of Venus and Mars, the state of the 7th of all others, as well as the overall Sun picture, to determine the possible impact.

What is the meaning of quincunx Ceres?

There is no meaning to this phrase, and here’s why: aspects are relative, and bodies gain their meaning in connection to points or bodies, so this is like saying, “A cookie is better.” Better than what? There is an implied comparative here, and without it, the phrase on its own is meaningless. We can’t even say, ‘in aspect Ceres acts like this’ because she will act differently with different energies–quincunx a partner’s Mars, perhaps, she may come across as motherly, and if she doesn’t adjust (quincunx) she’ll quash any potential romance; quincunx one’s own Pluto, one may be drawn to gardening, nature conservancy, baking, basket weaving, or negotiating quite early in life. So, like everything else, context is all–sit back, have a cookie, and don’t worry about it.