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The primordial standing pose in yoga, Tadasana or Mountain Pose, steadies the breath, assesses concentration and focus, supports awareness of where and how we stand in the world, and prepares us for action. Ask any serious yogi: to actively, intentionally stand in stillness like a mountain is not as easy as it looks.

To the untrained observer, Tadasana appears completely static, but nothing could be further from the truth. Properly executed, Mountain Pose activates every part of the body, as we consciously root to the Earth (reality) while opening to the sky (possibility). From this fulcrum is the potential to move in any direction. Qualified yoga instructors help us to practice this most basic yet difficult posture.

Why am I thinking of Tadasana now? On April 26,  two compelling forces meet in the zodiac: Mars and Pluto meet at 21 degrees Capricorn 17’. Warrior Mars is intent on climbing the proverbial mountain, while Powerbroker Pluto has just begun his retrograde descent. “Get out of my way, idiot,” is not the sort of comment either of these energies could let go unanswered. Tadasana represents a dynamic alternative: to stand in temporary stillness consciously acknowledging the presence of other. It’s a doing/non-doing posture that doesn’t provoke the reptilian brain’s fight-flight response but has the potential to foster a powerful union.

Each of us is experiencing this Mars-Pluto Rx conjunction somewhere in our lives. Those with natal planets or angles in cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn) near 21 degrees will feel Thursday’s energy most profoundly. Grappling with survival and how to muster strength and determination for the long road ahead, tensions in present time are high, making it easy for us to get triggered, Certainly the inclination to defend the ME over embracing the WE is more likely to occur when there’s a perceived threat.

Tadasana helps us to access a momentary state of neutrality. It’s NOT about falling asleep or checking out. Being fully awake and ready, yet able to stand open and strong through discomfort, is more life-affirming than invoking the damaging and extreme consequences of aggression, Mars-Pluto style. Huge potency is available when we harness the intrinsic life force of Mars and the profound alchemy of Pluto. If nothing else, standing in Tadasana is an opportunity to witness, learn, and heal inwardly, which incidentally will come in handy in late June when the Mars retrograde cycle commences.

So, about Mars and Pluto… they meet somewhere in the zodiac every two years, yet we must travel back in time 489 years to find the most recent example of a Mars-Pluto Retrograde conjunction in Capricorn, back in time to England and the reign of Henry VIII.

Henry will forever be remembered for the sadistic rampage he conducted in the years following the April 26, 1529, Mars-Pluto Rx conjunction in Capricorn, which destroyed many lives among those who served and loved him, and terminated the monarchy’s affiliation with the Catholic Church.  It’s a history lesson well worth reflecting upon now.

Educated, accomplished, with a preference for enjoyment over governing, Henry was also devoutly Catholic and author of a 30,000 word best-seller defending the supremacy of the papacy in response to the schism of Martin Luther. His marriage to his older brother’s widow, Catherine of Aragon, resulted in seven pregnancies, but only one surviving child, Mary. Henry’s desperation for a male heir (natal 1st house Mars in Virgo square 10th house Jupiter in Gemini: very sensitive about public perception of his virility) in addition to lusting after his wife’s lady-in-waiting (natal 11th house Cancer Sun square 8th house natal Aries Moon: a constant need to prove himself sexually and be known for his prowess) prompted him to seek an annulment from the Pope, on the grounds that Catherine was not a virgin when they married.

Henry VIII-Mars Pluto Rx

In early 1528, Henry dispatched his “Fixer” and Lord Chancellor, the powerful Cardinal Wolsey, to negotiate with the Pope to make the marriage disappear.

Annulment should have been a foregone conclusion – other monarchs had gotten them easily, and on much less legitimate grounds. The problem in this case was that Catherine’s nephew Charles V had just sacked Rome and therefore held the Pope essentially prisoner.

With the annulment now an international issue, Rome was between a rock and a hard place. As a concession to Henry, the Pope agreed to convene a legatine court in England to rule on the marriage’s legality, with the Fixer and Italian Cardinal Campeggio as papal Deciders. The Vatican orchestrated as many delays as possible both before and after Campeggio arrived in London at the end of 1528.

Though Catherine was able to procure the papal dispensation granted by Pope Julius II to permit her marriage to Henry, she was subjected to repeated pressure to enter a convent. Ultimately, her resistance provoked Henry and his “Fixer” to play dirty by threatening to separate Catherine from her only daughter. Here it becomes painfully obvious that standing in Tadasana was not in Henry’s repertoire.

The dirty tricks would’ve been initiated around the Mars-Pluto Rx conjunction of April 26, 1529, when Henry’s natal 5th house (children-romance) was activated by this powerful planetary duo. Henry’s 9th house (religion, legal systems) was receiving a barrage of stubborn Taurus transits: a Sun-Saturn conjunction along with Mercury Rx, suggesting delays, pessimistic legal outcomes, self-defeating beliefs and harsh, punishing behaviors. His 10th house (leadership-reputation) was receiving a Venus-Uranus transit which conjoined natal Jupiter in Gemini (in detriment) and squared natal Mars, indicating both Henry’s expectation of success in becoming free of Catherine as well as his wrath when that was legally denied. T. Neptune in Pisces was activating Henry’s 7th house (marriage). Henry needed to believe his marriage was never legal so that he could pursue his obsessions, securing a male heir and his making his mistress, Anne Boleyn, queen.

The legatine court did indeed convene at the end of May. On June 21, Catherine gave the speech of her life.  Testimony continued until July 13, when Campeggio summarily postponed proceedings to break for summer, resulting in no decision. At this point, Henry took matters into his own hands. Mars-Pluto’s influence would fuel the feeling of invulnerabilty. Deciding he didn’t need Rome’s permission, Henry established his own church, ostracized the failed “Fixer” and eventually charged him with treason, married Anne Boleyn, and when their child Elizabeth was born he declared his daughter Mary illegitimate.

King Henry VIII to six wives he was wed. One died, one survived, two divorced, two beheaded.

Boleyn was eventually beheaded by the paranoid, lust-driven, power-obsessed, vengeful monarch, supported by the parliament and clergy.  Violence and tragedy followed in Henry’s wake, as he destroyed his wives in succession, as well as anyone in the kingdom who dared to challenge his authority.

Fast forward to 2018. As mentioned earlier in this post, we’ve got a new Mars-Pluto Rx conjunction in Capricorn unfolding. Certain character traits of Henry VIII bear  similarities to a modern day would-be autocrat.

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Like Henry VIII, Trump will feel this Mars-Pluto Rx conjunction in Capricorn in his natal 5th, with the added difficulty posed by T Saturn Rx presence there. T. Mars-Pluto Rx is quincunx Trump’s natal 10th house Sun-North Node in Gemini, creating volcanic pressure and possible neurotic, obsessive or destructive decisions or speeches. T. Saturn is quincunx natal 12th house Pluto, exacerbating his deeply unconscious desire for power, control and the need to manipulate 5th house matters (children/mistresses). We might wonder if, like Henry, Trump is capable of using his children/mistresses as pawns in his insatiable need to amass power. Jupiter, 5th house ruler, is currently in a retrograde transit of Trump’s 3rd house. What kind of communication is happening among the children/mistresses and the President? With T. Jupiter quincunx Trump’s 10th house natal Sun-Uranus which oppose his natal Moon, it’s fair to surmise that communications are uneasy, full of secrets and/or undercurrents, challenging his ability to function well in public or feel comfortable in his own home.

Like Henry VIII, Trump’s 7th house is experiencing a Neptune in Pisces transit. Does Melania, dressed almost militantly in white, look ready to disappear? That decision would have financial implications one way or another, as T. Neptune is quincunx Trump’s natal Jupiter in Libra in his 2nd house (money). You stay and look the part, I pay you well. T. Sun and Uranus activate Trump’s 9th house (legal and foreign issues ) with T. Uranus trine natal Mars and Ascendant. The president may not be not sleeping well.

A healthy outlet for his restlessness could prevent his actions from becoming problematic. Are there any brave yoga practitioners available near the White House?

When in doubt?  T A D A S A N A

The primordial standing pose in yoga, Tadasana or Mountain Pose, steadies the breath, assesses concentration and focus, supports awareness of where and how we stand in the world, and prepares us for action.