First Man, the feature film by Damien Chazelle about Neil Armstrong’s Moon landing, succeeds as a biopic where others fail by showing us a vulnerable human being rather than a larger-than-life hero. Normally in a film about someone so iconic, we’re presented with an amalgamation of ideals about that person that coalesce into an unrealistic but often entertaining one-dimensional portrait. I’m not faulting Hollywood. The format itself is limiting. I mean, just how do you convey something complexly human about a life in the span of two hours?
Some succeed by by focusing on a moment of time - a key transition or transformation the character undergoes during a crisis point. But director Damien Chazelle masterfully works his magic by showing us a series of human moments over time, conveyed with the seriousness and reverence its subject deserves. The result is a film that leaves the viewer with nail-biting anticipation even though we already know the ending.
Watching the films, and indeed, Chazelle’s entire filmography, the Saturn archetype stands out - from the dark father theme that fuels his stunning debut Whiplash, to this wounded but stoic, serious and responsible version of Armstrong. Chazelle’s second film, La La Land, brings sober Saturnian reality to the Hollywood musical romance with an uncharacteristic bittersweet ending.
This week I got an email that made me smile because it had Jupiter in Sagittarius written all over it. Here’s an excerpt:
“As I reflect on 2018 and the goals I set, one thing stood out to me as something I have to change going into 2019 goals. I didn’t aim high enough.
I want to be real clear about one thing up front. I did not hit ALL my goals for end of the year, and that’s OK. But what is most important are the goals I did hit, and even some of the ones I didn’t. What would have happened if I set them HIGHER?
You see, the lesson I learned this year that I wanted to share with you is that goal setting isn’t about checking things off a list. Goal setting is about aiming so high that even when you come up way short, the results are amazing!!”
Jupiter in Sagittarius unthrottled is like Tigger in full form - exuberant, positive, and resilient. We all have access to some of that optimism right now. You can hear it in Kenny’s words with the idea that if we believe “the sky is the limit” we might miss out on the getting the stars too. So why not aim for the stars and then be thrilled when we get the sky?!
That’s a great Jupitarian sentiment, but there’s an obvious reason this isn’t always the best advice: sometimes when we aim to high, the disappointment of not even coming close to our goal is disenchanting and discouraging.
You may have heard that Mercury goes retrograde this month (November 2018). But did you know that this cycle is one of the most unique in years? This time Mercury will be out of bounds, squaring Neptune, and in Sagittarius - the sign of its detriment - all at the same time. This isn’t your grandmother’s Mercury retrograde!
Here are the key dates to note:
Mercury in Sagittarius - November 1 through December 1, 2018; December 13 through January 5, 2019
Mercury out of bounds - November 3 through 20, 2018
Mercury Retrograde - November 16 through December 6, 2018
Mercury square Neptune (3° orb) - November 9 through November 22, 2018 (exact square Nov. 16, the day of the station retrograde).
Venus started its retrograde cycle on October 5, signalling a shift in energy for the next few weeks, as Venus takes us on a metaphorical underworld journey. This is true of every Venus retrograde cycle, but this time, the journey takes on an especially intense tone, with Venus and 3 other planets hanging out in Scorpio. It’s the season for facing realities we don’t dare to speak about; to give space for the pressing awareness of dark energetic undercurrents that might be polluting our psyche or undermining our relationships.
You can pick up on the Scorpio vibe swirling about us right now by noting two films released the day Venus went retrograde, taking the box office by storm: Venom and A Star is Born. Venom is a modern superhero hybrid of the Jekyll and Hyde theme, in which the main character, Eddie Brock, wrestles with the sentient alien being called Venom that uses him as a host body. Unlike Jekyll and Hyde, the two have to find a way to work together while sharing the same body and consciousness. Venom gives Brock super-human abilities but they come with the price of a violent alter-ego.
As we do our Scorpio work, we come face-to-face with the truth of our nature, whether we want to see it or not. People with the Sun or Moon in Scorpio often find themselves “deep in the mess” at various junctures. A Scorpio mess is complex, intense, and difficult to wade through. It’s in these moments that we’re really tested - will we face the challenge (or our shadow side) with eyes open, or shut our eyes in willful defiance?
In late June of 2018 Mars begins its retrograde cycle, characteristically a time of slow downs, disruptions or changes in plans, and an increase in frustration or lack of energy. Mars has to do with your personal will, your ego drives (not a bad thing!), and your wants or desires. When Mars is in forward motion, you work towards what you want, fight your way through the obstacles in our path, and aim for victory in your pursuits.
But when Mars is in retrograde motion, that forward-moving energy and speed isn’t as readily available. You might feel tired, a lack of motivation or drive, or an increase in irritation and frustration. But during Mars retrograde, don’t immediately think of these experiences as negative. These can all be signals that you need to take a closer look at what you want, and perhaps to reassess your plans.
Conflicts, blocks and frustrations can show you where your plan isn’t optimized, or reveal that you aren’t as invested as you once were. Think of Mars retrograde as a helpful and necessary process, and you’ll be well on your way towards successfully navigating it.