Bi-Polar Part 1

Bi-Polar Part 1

Barbara Noble

Within each gap is an equipoise, a standstill, where lead may be transmuted to gold
From compression at the lodestar to the outreach of universal crossings
One quiver of the dragon's wing and it all begins to unfold.

hat gives rise to bi-polar? To extreme states of mind?
To emotion? Anguish of the soul? Joy? Grief? Rage?
The ability to catapult into the rarefied air of vertigo-inducing heights and plunge into the depths of despair? From hot to cold and back again.

Can we find clues to this in astrology? Of course.

But not if we're looking for the panacea in single planet form.

Bipolar has a rhythm. It involves flexibility, dexterity, ingenuity and creativity to swing between experiential extremes along with velocity (speed). Acuity, heightened sensitivity, a burning intensity, desire for perfection. Empathy. Emotional intelligence. Marked periods of expansion and contraction. Whereas uni-polar is a focal point, a concentration and consolidation of energy at one end.

In a world twirling off kilter, rockin' and rollin' in the grip of raging oxymora (sharp/dull) - eg. wars against terror, wars against drugs etc, wars that are fighting shadows of fear, and corporate/industrial ethos of divide, isolate (outsource) and conquer - is it really any wonder the cohesive threads get stretched to the max and then snap.
There are limits to the corrosiveness (irritation, stress) and burdens people can bear.
Oxymora (sharp/dull) inverted becomes passive/aggressive ie. "moros oxy" or, to look at it another way "feel pressure building & powerless - let me breathe!"

There is a general trend in modern astrology to reach for the outer planets first by way of explanation for ailments, ie. Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.

This is a bit like pointing to your great, great grandparent and the broader collective to find a reason for what's going on closer to home, personally. Our genetic legacy, inheritance, etc., plays a role. So does the broader collective. But here's the rub.

Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are slow moving planets. What we ascribe to them extends beyond the personal to larger cycles in the scheme of things. Larger cycles equate to the cumulative processes over longer spans of time. They amplify personal dimensions in a chart, but first I think it's important we make some effort to try and figure out just what it is, personally, that's being amplified.

Melancholia, mania, the sacred disease (epilepsy), etc., were around long before official discoveries of Uranus, Neptune or Pluto. And these various mental states which, classically, were also connected with the state of one's soul were addressed in astrology, starting with the condition of Moon and Mercury.

Let's see if we can get a sense of our collective bearings in relation to these pole swings.

At present we have Polaris, once known as "Cynosura" - the tail of the dog - marking our North Celestial Pole.

As Ursa Minor is seen to rotate the "tail wags the dog".

Namely, a situation currently prevails where a small part has been, and still is, controlling the whole. Or, that an item of minor importance is dominating a situation.

The North Pole and by extension the North Celestial Pole (NCP) provides the foundation for determining the other directions (cardinal points), ie. East, South and West.

In astrology charts where East is situated on your left, the North Pole (NCP) aligns with the North angle of your chart which is the IC/4th house - a foundation upon which life turns.

Our alignment to Polaris will continue to draw closer for about another 100 years (apparent 24 March, 2100, actual in February 2102) after which we start pulling away from this star, changing orientation. Until then, any collective pressures accumulating at the "foundations" will continue to increase.

Turning now to the ecliptic. Uranus was discovered near fixed star Zeta Tauri, which marks the southern tip of the Bull's horn in constellation Taurus. This pointy (sharp) tip is attributed qualities of Mars.

In 1989 the Northern Hemisphere's Summer Solstice point transitioned into constellation Taurus within range of this fixed star.

This transition is indicative of several things, such as:
  • that which was seeded during the Bronze Age reaching a culmination in the north, and continuing to do so for quite some time;
  • in 1054 a star exploded in the vicinity of Zeta Tauri, recorded by Chinese and Arab astronomers, and was bright enough to be seen during the day for three weeks. This explosion resulted in the Crab Nebula situated 1.5 degrees away from the ecliptic. The Moon passes in front of this point, and so does the Sun's corona every June. The brilliant illumination and extinguishing that occurred here is indicative of it being a light sensitive point as well as a blind spot. Supernova's can transmute gold into lead (old plumbum, Saturn).
  • The 1781 official discovery of Uranus in this area again illuminated this point, heralding a collective wake-up call. This at a time commensurate with the industrial revolution which generated dramatic increases of toxins in the environment, eg. lead poisoning which accumulates in soft tissue (Moon) and is a neurotoxin (Mercury-Mars);
  • Then the Summer Solstice point (culmination - stand still - turning point) transitioned into Taurus within range of this point 20 years ago.
So, on the one hand (the left when facing east) we have the dog by the tail, and in the other, the right, we have the bull by a horn - the pointy end.

Consequently, the high point of the northern hemisphere's Summer Solstice is presently infused with qualities of Mars. Issues such as raging against environmental toxins, and rages induced because of toxic environments.

Mars is significant when it comes to "mania", "rage" or "manic breaks". Also fight/flight mechanisms and defences, eg. our immune systems.

The power of the Sun combined with qualities of Mars oriental (rising) increases the power surge of vital forces, core physical strength - this relationship is a dignified one. However, Mars to Moon evokes an entirely different dynamic.

Now before we go off pointing fingers at Mars as inducing testosterone driven mania - keep in mind that LOW testosterone in men is a catalyst for aggressive behaviour. So, pumping iron (Mars) - resistance training - is beneficial to balancing mood as is walking to get the lymphatic (Moon) system going.

Both men and women produce testosterone (Mars) and estrogen (Venus). In men, it's actually estrogen/estradiol (Venus) that masculinizes the brain (Sun). Venus oriental is a masculine influence.

Whereas women are by nature generally more sensitive to testosterone (Mars) owing in part to their usually smaller physiques, therefore too much testosterone can result in things such as polycystic ovary syndrome.

So while a well-fortified Mars can give a "competitive" edge and balance, too much or too little can compromise our health, stability and well-being. This is also worth considering in context of the competitive environments we find ourselves in.

A little bit of salt (Mars) goes a long way while sugar (Venus) is naturally acidic. Everything in balance.

This is where understanding the classical and traditional attributions of the masculinizing influence of the orient (eastern quarter, rising) and the feminizing influences of the occident (western quarter, descending) becomes important.

The Spring-Summer months in the northern hemisphere coincide with reported increases of manic episodes.

This is when Sun is gaining the fullness of its force, ascending to the Mars infused tip of its solstitial alignment, and the series of Full Moons ride lower and lower - in addition, Moon changes directions more swiftly than the Sun. Something to keep in mind when considering the changing energy dynamics of our leading lights over the course of the year.

Swinging between these two poles - the North Celestial Pole and the Summer Solstice - invites questions about what it is that we're hanging on to, and what it is we're being prodded to wake up to - to realize and materialize?

The culmination being close to the border, conditions are in a state of flux.

This may hold special significance for you if you have a planet placed within range of 25 degrees of the Mutable signs in the Tropical Zodiac (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces) which is equivalent to the 29/30 degree point of the fixed signs of the constellations in sidereal.

This 25 degree point of the Mutable signs (in Tropical zodiac) is also a place - a pole - to keep in mind when considering Bipolar.

If we're looking at swings between polar extremes then the first natural and logical consideration is the poles, ie:

- the poles of the year;
  • the poles of the month;
  • the poles of the day, of our local horizon, zenith and foundations, at the hour we were born.
Earth's orbit around the Sun establishes the poles of our year, the two solstices and equinoxes. This orbit is an ellipse. As it makes its way around the Sun its speed (velocity) changes.

Like the swing of a pendulum, as we approach the December solstice (standstill) from September's equinox (an equipoise) Earth is speeding up its pace and drawing closer to the Sun (perihelion, early Jan.) - this quarter is the fast track and embraces the "burning way".

As we approach the June solstice (standstill) from the equipoise of the March equinox Earth's pace starts slowing down to reach its furthest point from the Sun (aphelion, early July).

Rapid cycling in bi-polar is defined by four or more major episodes (changes in pace) per year.


Apparent motion2

the Moon... should she be in the bends of her southern or northern boundary, she will render the properties of the mind more various, more versatile in art, and more susceptible of change: if she be in her nodes, she will make them more acute, more practical, and more active. Also, when in the ascendant, and during the increase of her illumination, she augments their ingenuity, perspicuity, firmness and expansion; but, when found in her decrease, or in occultation, she renders them more heavy, more obtuse, more variable of purpose, more timid, and more obscure. ~ Ptolemy

Before the solar polarization of the western calendar through Gregorian reform which had a flow on effect to western astrology (ie. solar years, solar months, solar days, solar hours), the first month of the year was determined by and measured from the appearance of the New Moon over the Western horizon.

The Moon was primary lord of the West, the Sun of the East.

How astrologers of old oriented themselves on Earth in relation to the sky, the orient (east) and the occident (west), and the poles relative to the tilt of the ecliptic at different times of the year also gave rise to the rulers of the different sides and parts of the body.
For example, West = Left = Moon; East = Right = Sun.

The astrology that was practiced was topocentric, geocentric - logical, cohesive, observational and relevant to the respective climes.

The Moon was considered the source of our natural power whereas the Sun was the source of our vital forces (vitality).

The Moon was crucial to considerations involving state of mind, soul.

The 'poles' of the month were indicated via the phases of the Moon. Chief amongst these being New Moon, Waxing Quarter Moon, Full Moon, Waning Quarter back to New.

Elevation was also a consideration. For example, when Full Moon is low in the sky in the month of June in the Northern Hemisphere, the Sun is riding high.

lunar motion1

lunar motion2

The direction of Moon's monthly and Sun's annular motion form part of the 2nd Movement observed.

The first, primary motion and the one considered the most powerful of all was that of the rotation of Earth - Diurnal motion.

The direction of this primary motion is opposite to that of the 2nd movement.

It's this 1st Movement which was considered to bring into manifestation upon Earth that which was gestating behind the scenes over the larger circuits of time.

diurnal motion


A definition of ultra-ultra rapid cycling in bi-polar is defining distinct shifts in mood within a 24-48-hour period.

The time-frame for this ultra-ultra rapid cycling is suggestive of an amplified sensitivity (Venus and/or Moon) to the rotation of earth. The sign rising over the eastern horizon changes every 2 hours and the Moon changes signs (completes 30 degrees) in approximately 2.5 days.

To briefly recap preliminary considerations when it comes to swings in mood & changes of tempo:
  1. 25 degree point of Mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces) in the Tropical Zodiac;
  2. The solstitial & equinoctial changes of pace (especially with regard to placements in Libra/Scorpio - the fast track, "burning way");
  3. The ebb & flow of the lunar cycle;
  4. Angular placements (angles of the chart for moment born)
  5. Mercury-Moon
  6. Venus-Mars
In the parts that follow we'll take a look at how planets relate to the body, stress and hormonal balances/imbalances which are also major catalysts for mood swings - the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.

Barbara Noble

Part 2 >