3866 hits to my website in one week. It's a record!
The majority of hits come via my blog. Usually, my post Losing my virginity is what draws the crowd in. This week, though, it's my untitled post about Quaoar, which tells me that some astrological people out there are looking for information. So here's my take on the news about new planets or demoted ones, as it relates to astrology:
First of all, my stance is that one should first understand traditional astrology, with the original seven rulers (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn) since they aid in understanding the signs and houses, and vice-versa. You can get a depth in understanding Mars when you know it rules both a cardinal (pioneering) Fire (spirit) sign and a fixed (steadfast) Water (emotion) sign (Aries and Scorpio, respectively). Likewise, knowing that stodgy Saturn rules Aquarius can clue you in on that sign's true nature rather than going by revolutionary Uranus alone. (When Uranus, Neptune and Pluto were discovered, they were assigned (co-)rulerships of Aquarius, Pisces and Scorpio, respectively, making many modern astrologers ignore the connections of Saturn, Jupiter and Mars to those signs.)
Now, I can honestly say that I have felt the influence of a Pluto transit (I enjoyed it; yes, it was Pluto). Do I think something will be amiss if Pluto gets demoted as a planet and therefore no longer should feature in the basic birth chart? Astrologers have discussed this. I have astrology books published in the 1930's and 1940's that do not mention Pluto at all, and traditionalists would rather focus on the traditional rulerships first and foremost, anyway. But some astrologers say that all new discoveries are significant and relevant to the times in which the discovery happens (Pluto rules nuclear power and bombs because it showed up while research into such things was starting) and to people born during those times. So, anyone born after 1930 belongs to a Pluto generation of people. Likewise, Chiron would feature in all the charts of people born after 1977.
But now our skies, thanks to modern technology, are littered with all kinds of heavenly bodies, some of which are found within our own solar system, and some of these bodies are on the verge of a status change (like Ceres, going from asteroid to planet), depending on the voting of the IAU on August 25. This reminds me of today's world, actually: There are so many sources of information and ways of connecting with people, that sometimes it feels overwhelming. It must be overwhelming. What's important? What matters, whether it be messages at the office or celestial points in a birth chart?
I like simplicity, and it works. Instead of the RSS feed and constant reminders of e-mail via your cell phone, you can go back to basics. Answer e-mail only certain times of the day. Turn off instant messaging. In astrology, remove all the outer stuff and see first what the seven original rulers say in your chart.
The thing about astrology is that it has a lot of failsafes. There's an overall theme to a chart. Start focusing on house cusps and the theme is echoed. Dig a little deeper, and the aspect between two particular planets also echo that theme. The number of dynamic vs. calm aspects echo. The house placement of planets echo. It's a repeating pattern that helps you understand the chart, and it's there whether or not you throw in the asteroids or newer discoveries.
Would I add Ceres to my chart? Or Xena? It might tell me something about my role in the times in which we live. However, so does my 12th house Sun. I'd just be having fun with fractals - seeing the same pattern over and over, fascinating as that is. I am curious about Ceres, since it hits a part of my chart that is also otherwise energized, so perhaps poking around with transits from Ceres would be enlightening. (My experience is that attention-getting planets in a chart are also attention-getting by transit.) I also find some astrologers argument for Ceres as a Virgo ruler to have merit. But I doubt it will replace Virgo's original ruler, Mercury.
So don't sweat the small stuff; have fun with it or not.
UPDATE August 24: The IAU have voted, and Pluto is no longer officially a planet due to its orbit crossing Neptune's.