Hi, my name's Kate, and I'm a student of astrology. Welcome to Kastalia!

I sit here at my desk, holding a small piece of raw rose quartz to the light. The color is faint, almost lavender, and with such clarity it's almost like a bit of wet half-cloudy ice. Hold its roughness to the light just-so and you can spy fleeting rainbows.

Those who understand energetics would say its pink is a soft, healing energy, related to the heart chakra, related to Venus. But it's also a rock. A jewel in Saturn's wheelhouse. A happy combination of these two gods, who very rarely get along.

But that's my hope for this blog. Slow, steady accrual of value as my studies deepen and mature (astrology is surely a lifetime study, and, well, I learned the hard way with an original recipes cocktail blog - thanks Neptune in Pisces!). Brick by brick, a home comes into being.

I have been studying astrology in one form or another for about 25 years, from when I first started constructing charts in my teenage years. I only dipped my toes into deeper waters within the last two and a half years, finding kindred spirits in local astrology groups (thanks Uranus in Aries!). This current year? Things are, um, quickening? (thanks Uranus in Taurus! I think?)

My interests are varied (asteroids, harmonics, degree symbols, precession, etc..), perhaps not as deep as could be yet, though. If I had an aim for what I hope to manifest through this blog, it would be the creation of an astrology of little things, towards a modality of an astrology of creativity.

Come walk with me on this journey, would you?

Why Kastalia?

What can I say? It was in the skies, and I am a complete asteroid and muse geek.

A few weeks back, at the balsamic moon, I received a little question/message from the cosmos: if you were to do anything with astrology in your own right, what would you call the endeavor? At which point my head explodes with too many random possibilities, causing my cheat-the-system/Kobayashi Maru backup system to kick in: check your stationary asteroids. The logic of stationary asteroids, as elucidated by Alex Miller (who will be speaking with better detail on the topic at the upcoming NCGR conference in Baltimore), is that they take on an outsized impact in a chart by virtue of their stationarity, as stationary planets do. With their specificity of naming, stationary asteroids provide precise glimpses into significant themes in a person or event's life. So, in my case, why not do some reverse engineering? If something is likely to be significant in my life, then there are better odds a pertinent detail may show up in the stationary asteroids.

Granted, this started as a mis-remembering on my part. There are both asteroids Castalia (4769) and Kastalia (646) in the current catalogue. I had thought both were stationary in my chart, but it was only Kastalia; however both hover within 7 degrees of one another on either side of my Neptune, trine my solar stellium, creating notable emphasis by virtue of the conjunction alone.

Going back to my teenage years, I've always had a moniker relating to the Muses in one form or another, Thalya being a favorite. The Kastalian Spring (and later fountain), in both mythology and reality, is a spring fed by the runoff waters of Mount Parnassus in the Phokis region of Greece, and runs adjacent to Delphi, home of the greatest oracle in the country from whence we derive the injunction "Know thyself." The waters of Kastalia were sacred to the Muses, as was Mt. Parnassus, and it was said the waters nursed prophecy in the Pythia herself.

Kastalia Astrology was just natural. But while getting to the point of a name was a major process in itself - one I was willing to let sit until I was more ready to take action - the stars had other ideas. A conference was coming up and I found myself with the need to have some home base for my astrological thoughts and a new research project (more detail in a couple posts). This past Thursday an urgency hit, and only upon checking the current transits, and, for grins, throwing in 646, did I find transit Kastalia a few minutes off my natal Moon and transit Jupiter in Sagittarius on the same degree of natal Kastalia. Folks, when the cosmos talks, you listen and take accordant action.

I figured an election for creating the blog and for first publishing (the true "Hello World!" inception, which I'll elaborate on below. And here we all are.

The Inception Election

Ah, so I am little practiced in elections, but here's my best stab for creating something meaningful in the 2 weeks between the "I gotta have it" moment and the conference I'm attending.

First of all, Venus, Libra and the 5th house have to be paramount for the emphasis on art. Second, bringing in Jupiter, Uranus, Aquarius and the 9th house would be good for the astrological basis. The 3rd house and notable Mercury/Gemini for words/blogging would also be nice. Finally, if we can keep close to the Kastalia placements from the "I gotta have it" moment, more the better. But what about creative *FIRE*? (and hey, Mercury and Mars will be in Leo shortly, so it's a fair point since there's so little fire in the sky for this chart) Well, in doing some spot research on elections, it's quickly pointed out that an election is only as strong as it relates to the person doing the electing - as in, their own chart. Well, baby, I bring 4 Aries planets, a Neptune in Sagittarius, and a Leo North Node to the mix. We're doing fine on the Fire front.

So let's hit the highlights of the chart, high level to the granular detail I so love, for why precisely 1:33pm EDT Thursday, June 20th, 2019 was the right moment. As I mature in my studies, I have a sneaking suspicion I may come back to this and shake my head a little, but it is what it is. You go to war with the chops you got at the moment.

The planets and signs of the angles

First, for an emphasis on benefic Venus, having her as chart ruler sure would be nice, so putting artistic wordy Libra on the AC is the best start. Not only that, but Venus is in Gemini, so she falls into the 9th house of astrology while trining the AC by element. And if we can do the election earlier rather than later, we can give the blog a wordy Hermetic Gemini Sun, co-present with Venus in the house of its joy.

Initially I thought setting the election for last Saturday would be best, since the Sun would be partile sextile my own Sun and aspect patterns, but, as Twitter reminded me, transit Eris is nestled between my Sun and Mars at the moment. We can dial her influence down a bit - that's not an attribute I want to play up in the blog's character. Sober, cerebral - yet also warlike - Pallas, a notable Mousagetes in mythology, on the AC opposite my Mercury, plus transit Mercury conjunct Mars, we can work with. Besides, taking the Sun a few days/degrees later puts it half a degree off my own Sun/Moon midpoint - and makes me a *lot* less frazzled pulling this all together at the last minute.

So drilling down to the precise day brings in Luna, whom I'll address in just a moment. I do want to note with the ascendant, and therefore house placements, set, we get lucky Jupiter in the 3rd house of writing interacting with Venus in the house of publishing and long distances. The oppositions along the lunar nodal axis for this limited time frame can't be avoided, only mitigated. I like having Mercury-Mars high in the sky with the North Node: the intent of the blog is for thought and creative drive to extend to the greater world. There's no especially good placement for Saturn/Pluto/South Node, but, along with Neptune in the 6th, I'm accustomed to Saturn & Pluto in the 4th from my own chart. I'd like to think I'm handling this transit well, so perhaps Saturn/Pluto will serve as a marker for the new foundation I'm building in my life and so imprint in the blog's character.

Now to Moon placement, and how she'll apply her light. With the initial idea of a Saturday chart, with the same choice of AC, this would give us a pre-Full Moon Luna applying to an opposition to chart ruler Venus. The next applying Lunar aspect is what it is, but immediately after she touches Jupiter and culminates opposite the Sun, she drifts into rocky Capricorn, something which would still play out in the inception chart's progressions. Let's leapfrog over the Moon's fall and detriment entirely and go to Aquarius instead. With the AC choice, this gives us a (roughly) 5th house of creativity Moon next applying to a trine with our lovely chart ruler in the 9th. C'est vrai belle! As a bonus, she situates on my Aquarius South Node, so the blog starts from an emotional comfort zone for me.

Additionally, this comes after a slew of heavy aspects earlier in the week, most of which are now separating, though the energy they provide is still nice, since new applying aspects are thin. A lunar sextile to Jupiter perfects next, then the Moon goes void of course (later trining the Sun post-Solstice and sextiling Uranus). Hitting both benefics with easy aspects is a great way for the blog to start life. In starting several days later, we also move away from some (ahem) less sedate fixed stars - all the better.

We have our date! Dreamy Midsummer's Eve! Now to the granularity for choosing precise degrees.

Interceptions, Fixed Stars, Degree Symbols, Asteroids, Harmonics and the Future

I admit, I started greedy: wouldn't it be great to have your own Jupiter partile conjunct the ascendant?

Alas, this was not to be. There are a few problems with this at the granular level with the degree symbols and house cusps, which is to say there are some notable interceptions at work and need to be cleared. I examined a time frame of roughly 1:19pm-1:33pm. 17-13 minutes earlier and we pull the Sun out of his joy and turn Mercury into the chart ruler. Much later and the Moon strays from being on the 5th house cusp. Whole sign house adherents and Gauquelin afficianados might disregard the latter issue, since all Aquarius would be Whole Sign 5th and the cusp effect rises from approximately 7 degrees prior to cusp to a peak at the cusp so that many astrologers would put objects in the late degrees of a house into the ensuing house. What can I say? *points to her profile in the sidebar* Chart ruler Virgo Moon - always and ever, it will be chart ruler Virgo Moon! It likes to be precise. Besides, I lose out on getting my Jupiter or Saturn on the AC, then.

So I'm working with a 14 minutes of time window - a lot can happen in there. The degrees on the angles increment every 4 minutes of time, so we're looking at 3-5 potential degree symbols each for AC and MC and potentially moving in or out of orb of fixed stars (typically about 2 degrees of orb, maximum), to say nothing about how quadrant-based houses shift.

To start at 1:19pm, the first problem I see is that Gemini and Sagittarius are intercepted signs in the 3rd and 9th, meaning Sun, Venus and Jupiter are also intercepted. Speaking as a person with far too much interception in her own chart, containing the benefics, the Sun and the chart ruler like that defeats the chart entirely. With an emphasis on Aries/Libra, 1st House/7th House, relational Venus and dialectical Gemini, the blog is nothing without its readers and the I-Thou dialogue created. Walling-off major components of the blog's identity and beneficence stymies its success. To remedy, moving backwards in time does not work because this results in a Virgo AC. We can move forwards, though.

1:22pm breaks the Gemini/Sag interception, but instead intercepts Taurus/Scorpio. Not bad, it puts my Jupiter on the AC. However, it contains Uranus in the 8th. Thaaaat….reeks of potential technical difficulties. Let's break that interception.

1:25pm - interceptions broken for the foreseeable future. AC at 3+ Libra, MC at 4+ Cancer. For the remainder of the examination, the AC remains in orb of fixed star Zaniah and MC drifts from in orb between fixed stars Tejat Prior and Tejat Posterior, the feet of Gemini, to within orb of the latter only. All three stars are of a nature of Mercury and Venus.

Which brings us to the final layer, degree symbols:

Breaking the interceptions pulls away from a MC of pioneering trailblazing and Entrusting (3 Cancer) to a train wrecking an automobile and Pitfalls (5 Cancer). ….we can do better. 6 Cancer yields potential for full expression of self (or idle dreams) and Wastefulness. 7 Cancer (ah!) now this is favorable. The Sabian symbol is "Two fairies (nature spirits) dancing on a moonlit night." Rudhyar's interpretation: Man's recognition of the elusive play of underlying forces in nature. Cooperation with the invisible. Unusual good luck. The Kozminsky symbol is "An antique, gold-capped Corinthian column of white marble, slightly crumbling at its base." A symbol of Gracefulness, part of the interpretation reads "True faith is knowledge absolute, and what knowledge so perfect as the consciousness in man of his own strength?" Both are more auspicious symbols. T'was lucky I was listening to New Order this morning.

For the AC, breaking the interceptions takes us from symbols for 3 Libra (an auspicious Sabian and a Kozminsky warning against the occult), to 4 Libra and beyond. 4 Libra to 7 Libra are all favorable Sabian symbols, but getting to 7 Libra pulls the Moon too far into the 4th House for my liking. The Kozminsky symbols for 4 and 5 Libra are Isolation and martial Encroachment, neither of which favors the Venus of relating and lover of pleasing things. 6 Libra, the degree of my Saturn, is favorable in both sets and coincides just as the midheaven gets to 7 Cancer at 1:33pm.
Sabian: A man watches his ideals taking a concrete form before his inner vision.
Kozminsky: A traction engine traveling along a newly made road in very charming country. (a symbol of Pioneering)

For my degree symbol references, I typically check the Sabian and Kozminsky symbols over at Cornerstone Astrology, and that's what I primarily use for analysis here. I did pull out my copy of The Degrees of the Zodiac Symbolized, which compiles the Charubel and Sepharial/La Volasfera symbols to confirm the final AC/MC degrees. The MC yields promise of reward after long labor, while the AC emphasizes the same with a Saturnian focus. I couldn't ask for better, but (tongue-cheek) do you think this might run antithetical to the internet and its rewards systems?

Some other minutiae which further confirm the election:

The Sun conjoins fixed stars Betelgeuse and Polaris (the pole star). Astrology King notes Betelgeuse rules the navel; in this instance, it might bear some relation to the Omphalos or navel-stone found at Delphi. The glyph for the Sun also does resemble a belly-button in a way. For the center of our solar system on top of pole star Polaris, moreover, the metaphor redounds.

Venus conjoins fixed star Cursa (Beta Eridani, in Eridanus the River), which Astrology King notes "The traditional name Cursa comes from the Arabic phrase Al Kursiyy al Jauzah which means the Chair (or Footstool) of the Central One" and "is the most northerly star in the river and effectively its source spring". Chart ruler as Pythia sitting on her tripod, next to her Kastalian Spring. Confirmation that today was the better date than Saturday when Venus was at 7 Gemini.

Gemini themes reemerge in Cancer, with the Mercury/Mars/North Node conjunction on fixed stars Castor and Pollux.

Asteroid Kastalia in the community-minded 11th house and asteroid Castalia mediating the MC and North Node bode well. With asteroid Thalia (23), 1 degree off my AC, she returns to my natal position today! And finally, asteroid Urania (30) conjoining the Sun makes today an especially good day for astrology and having an astrological identity. It bodes fruitful for tomorrow's solstice as well. Further, Chiron at 5 Aries, on the descendent, is on my natal Musa (600). Everyone always thinks of Chiron as the "wounded healer", but he's also a teacher (and astrologer, and herbalist, and on and on); auspicious for starting on the path.

Though the aspect slowly wanes, the biseptile between slow-movers Uranus and Pluto is still very much in effect. A portal between worlds with astrological qualities and (I hope) something profound to offer.

Finally, a thought on immediate transits. I expect to be conferring in Ann Arbor, MI next Thursday. Transit Sun will conjoin the chart midheaven that evening. See you there?