Even astrologers need a break from the mundane. So when a dear friend and colleague, recently back from overseas and in delicate health, explained that she needed to get herself and her car from Santa Fe to Northern California on time for her nephew’s equinox nuptials, I did some quick math.
My work calendar had me in Dallas just before she needed to leave New Mexico; my astro calendar showed transiting Mars and the Moon’s south node practically on top of my natal Sun-Venus. A road trip across territory frequented in days gone by seemed an appropriate experience of the transit. I proposed flying from Dallas to Santa Fe to help my friend get to the wedding on time.
The chart below marked my arrival to Santa Fe. Its Virgo Sun and Mercury in the 11th house of friendship described the purpose: a courier mission helping out a friend with a car. The chart’s Sun conjoined my natal IC, as if to shine a light on my roots: exactly 38 years beforehand I’d given birth for the first time (Happy solar return, Jamie Starr) in neighboring Colorado, my home from 1978-1998. The Moon and Jupiter in the chart’s 1st house offered a chance to expand and deepen connection to the landscape of my past in the company of a friend (who also has a Scorpio Moon). Both the traditional (Mars) and modern (Pluto) rulers of the chart’s Scorpio Ascendant are in the transportation-related 3rd house. The chart’s T-square [Mars and south node at its apex in the 3rd house at 90 degree angles to a Venus-Uranus opposition along the horizon] showed the promise for an adventure free from normal responsibilities and the gift of solitude in desolate landscapes with their big, beautiful skies. The chart’s Mercury-Neptune opposition across the 5-11 [creativity and self-expression] axis promised inspiration and far horizons. Last but never least, Saturn in Capricorn in the value-oriented 2nd house limited my possessions and costs and would keep my attitude sober and responsible at the wheel.
Two Jupiter cycles (24 years) had passed since my last visit to the Land of Enchantment. While Santa Fe’s borders have expanded significantly since then, somehow the nation’s oldest capital city (1610 AD) continues to captivate residents and visitors with its arts, culture, and pueblo style architecture. Artists, writers, and retirees aren’t the only folks who gravitate to Santa Fe! The city draws people of all ilk into its historic confines.
With the car packed to the gills, I selected a shamanic astrology card from my friend’s deck (Aries– perfect for the driver) and we set out Sunday morning heading northwest towards Pagosa Springs, Colorado, having cast a departure chart graced with the Moon in optimistic, expansive Sagittarius.
We stopped very briefly at the roadside in Abiquiu, 53 miles north of Santa Fe, to honor the last home place of renown painter, Georgia O’Keeffe. Quite a few movies were filmed nearby including one of the Indiana Jones, the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, as well as Cowboys & Aliens, City Slickers, Red Dawn, Wyatt Earp, The Last Outlaw, and the TV series Earth 2. The topography definitely fits. A visit to Ghost Ranch, the Georgia O’Keefe Museum, and the Poshuouinge Ruins would have to wait. We had many miles awaiting us.
Our next stop was seven miles south of the Colorado border. Chama, NM is known for its 130-year-old narrow gauge steam train. Too bad the rails only go for 64 miles, not far enough for our transportation needs. The sign below grabbed my attention though, and I pulled over and parked out front.
Curtis, the blacksmith and proprietor, was sitting next to his ex-wife in his open air workspace. They waved us inside and introductions were made. We’ve been divorced a while, but we can seem to part, she explained. Oh, you’ve got karma in Chama, I teased. That drew laughter all around. Curtis arrived in Chama 41 years ago, half a Uranus cycle. We astrologers understand that change is ahead for this small town artisan. His ex, Cathy, a Chama native, added a few pertinent details. Curtis has had a number of back surgeries and is looking at another very soon. His bones may be crumbling, but Curtis shows up every day and keeps on smiling. I could have stayed all day listening to these two, but we had many miles to cover before nightfall.
In the blink of an eye we reached Pagosa Springs, CO where our western trajectory began in earnest.
Where ever we find light there’s also shadow, and Colorado has a lot of both. It’s not a singular place. I learned much about duality there, about self and other, over two decades in two mountain towns through two marriages and the births of two children, two career paths, and two political trajectories. Now revisiting the contrast of its high peaks and deep valleys recalled the elation and emotional depths experienced there, as well as the resilience I cultivated as a result. Colorado continues to be a land of extremes. During our drive from Pagosa to Cortez we witnessed wealth and stunning beauty as well as a toxic waste site and the sad, addicted poverty of Four Corners, the junction of New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Arizona, and home to the Navajo, Hopi, Ute, and Zuni tribal lands.
One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do
Two can be as bad as one
It’s the loneliest number since the number one
Three Dog Night
Onwards to Utah. The 45th state and I enjoyed a beautiful relationship that began in the 1980’s. The red rock of Canyonlands and Arches National Monument outside of Moab thawed my frozen winter body faithfully for seven consecutive springs on hikes and mountain biking trips, around campfires, in tents, and along muddy rivers. Approaching it again after the passage of an entire Saturn cycle (28 yrs) was thrilling. The Sun was low in the sky, lighting up the canyon rock so magnificently that awed travelers couldn’t help but pull to the side of the highway to breathe in the glowing light. Two vans filled with yogis emptied and did sun salutations on the road’s shoulder. The wide-eyed German couple ahead of us blissfully related highlights of their extensive road trip through the Southwest. Today’s view of Utah’s canyon country wasn’t just another roadside attraction, it was a sacred experience. I thought of my son, daughter-in-law, and grand baby who relocated a week before to Park City, four hours to the north, and allowed myself to dream about returning here someday with them.
We drove right through Moab, no longer a sleepy tiny town, hoping to make it to our final destination by nightfall. The Green River sunset did not disappoint!
Stay tuned for Installment 2 of the “Past meets present, Earth meets sky” road trip