Nighttime always meant stars in Central Oregon, where I am from, and I have always loved them, embracing the darkness. When the sun sinks below the horizon, and the story of Light and Day sets, if we cannot look up and let the awesome magic of Darkness fill our Soul, we are missing half of the story.
And as Li says, "... it's actually a lot more than half."
Separation of these roles partially took form during what Li calls the "Dude Standardization Project" 2000 years ago, when astrology began to derive its meaning from calling the Spring Equinox "0° Aries" with no regard as to what is actually happening in the sky. The constellations found on the path the planets moved through in the night sky were given an equal 30° pie slices in a perfect 360° circle of time. This is what we call the "Western Tropical Zodiac", and what most western astrologers (including me) use as a standard for drawing and interpreting astrological charts.
The problem with this now, 2000 years later, is that outside of our charts, books, papers, and perfect circles, we've been living on a planet with a wobble in its tilt, in a solar system that's moving through the galaxy, in a galaxy moving through the universe. The Sun does not move into 0° Aries in perfect mark each year throughout infinity, but, in fact, every century the Sun has moved "backward" through the zodiac another 1.4arc° bringing the Equinox in 2014 at the front end of Pisces. Ever heard we're moving into "the age of Aquarius"? This is the same thing. The equinox will shine in the constellation of Aquarius in the year 2597. We're in the transition period between Pisces and Aquarius. You can read more about the procession of the equinoxes here.
To further this point of the visible night sky being different than the western astrological chart, not only is the Sun's placement "off" compared to the night sky, but all the other planets.
While this is no news to most astrologers, I did have one question I've never found a satisfying answer for. I asked Li, "So why does western Astrology still work?"
We are a culture that embraces the philosophy of "the perfect complete circle", compressing our lives into equal compartments, organizing our most important physical structures on paper without regard to the landscape, missing the necessity of collaborative human-scale social systems, and minimizing our contact and connection with nature as much as possible. As was forced in all colonized places, we built our society around becoming "higher" beings by distinguishing ourselves as separate and individual. Western Astrology works for us, who have decided to create these systems of dis-integration, because it helps us get in touch with who we've become within these very systems. In the context of a culture that would do such a thing as turn our spiraling universe into a perfect circle.
When, in fact, nature never makes perfect circles.
No system by itself has the complete picture, and there's no need to throw out astrological charts, commit to Vedic astrology, or mount a telescope to your alter for some sidereal direction. All of these systems have a place, and the combination of them is what can be really cool.
Astrologically (chart), Jupiter is in Cancer the Crab. Jupiter - expanding, Cancer - the home/family.
Astronomically (sky), Jupiter is clearly right in the middle of the Gemini twins. Jupiter - still expanding. Gemini - friendships, brotherhood/sisterhood.
See how these work together? Isn't that cool?
Astrologically, Mars is retrograding (moving backwards) in Libra Scales. Mars - initiation, the warrior. Libra - in partnership, relationship.
Astronomically, Mars is retrograding through Virgo the Goddess, toward her Heart. Mars - still the warrior. Virgo - reapproaching the heart of the Goddess.
Don't worry, everyone has been feeling this Mars-Libra tension. :) How do we be strong individuals in relationship? How do I be fully individually Me, without being an asshole? How do I take care of the 'other' and myself? What is the role of willpower in Relationship? ...And at the same time incorporate the energy above, of Jupiter in Cancer/Gemini - expanding our sense of family, home, friendships... in the middle of a global revolution and dismantle of the present structure of society and power as a whole (Pluto in Capricorn square Uranus in Aries). Our hearts, our families, our culture are all undergoing extreme transformation.
The beautiful thing about being about to look up at the night sky is you can develop your own relationship to how you see the planets move. Without knowing anything about astrology, you can literally watch Mars fly through Virgo and then backtrack to her Heart, reconsidering the situation. The moon makes its way through every constellation in the zodiac in just 28 days, each night, changing shape. Not only do you not need to know anything about astrology, you don't even need to know where your lost keys are, if you'll make rent this month, if you'll ever fall in love, make amends with your old co-workeror, the next step of your grand 10-year project, or if you left the irrigation on. You can just Look up. And how do you remember feeling in that moment?
This is a visible story we are completely allowed to participate in.
And it is breathtaking!