The Traveler's Well Astrology
January 2016
Dear Friends, like many of you, we are experiencing the extreme influence of El Nino on our weather patterns.  We were just in the mountains yesterday and there was a forest fire at a time when the mountains should be covered in snow.   This makes us more dedicated than ever to do what we can, to play our role in lessening greenhouse gases.

One of the most important days of the year for Sappho and I is New Year's Day.  This is the day that we consider to be our anniversary (26 years) and also the day when we feel so much enthusiasm for the year ahead as we prepare our slate for the year ahead!

Each new year begins as part history (the past), part mystery (the future) and the actions we plan to take in the year ahead (our vision).  In this newsletter, we will share how you can explore your myth, history and vision so you can move in greater harmony with the Sun, Moon and stars in 2016! 

Thank you for sharing this journey with us!

Blessings and peace,

Wolfram and Sappho
The Traveler's Well     

P.S.  If you are unable to see the images in this newsletter, there is a link at the top to active the images. 

Janus Meets Mercury Retrograde
Janus symbolizes the New Year with Old Janus looking to the past and New Janus looking to the future.
Another year over - a new one just begun. New Year's Eve itself is like the two sides of an astrological conjunction: the last moments of December are the balsamic conjunction and the first moments of January are the new phase conjunction. Both are conjunctions, but each has a slightly different quality and message for us. To visualize the difference, take a look at Janus, the god with two faces who symbolizes the turning of the year with one face looking to the year that has passed and the other looking to year yet to come.
Like the balsamic conjunction, the old face of Janus looks to the past and distinctly has an image of wisdom (and age) on his face. He has experienced each of the four seasons. He has felt the joy of the trees blossoming in spring. He has enjoyed the fragrance of flowers blooming in the summer sun. He has walked through the falling leaves of autumn and enjoyed the scent of wood burning with the first snowfall of winter. He has a treasure trove of experiences and memories.

By looking to the past, Old Janus finds meaning and
from this meaning wisdom is revealed.
Like the new phase conjunction, the young face of Janus is looking to the future with a look of renewed optimism and passion (and fewer wrinkles). As he looks to the year ahead, he feels vital and his vision reveals that there is something new to experience and something more to achieve. He sees the trees and flowers that will blossom anew. He knows that the autumn will bring a new harvest.

By looking to the future, Young Janus finds
renewed purpose in life and
all that CAN be brought into reality.  
At key turning points, like the New Year, it is important to look ahead and make plans and set goals. But, it is equally important to look back and take inventory. If we only look forward, we miss an opportunity to gain wisdom and to appreciate how much we have grown in the past year. Observing this growth provides an opportunity to update our own self-image so that we do not lose sight of how far we have come and where we belong.
At the New Year, we take inventory and identify the key moments in the year that has passed. Old Janus knows these moments hold kernels of wisdom that inform our vision for the future:
  • Moments that brought us joy and happiness inform us about the types of events, people and things that bring us a sense of satisfaction and fulfilment.
  • Moments of contentment instruct us about what we value most in life.
  • Moments of confusion remind us not to allow the external world to distract us from our path.
  • Moments of sadness or failure instruct us to the aspects of life we might change in the year ahead or things that we need to leave behind and not carry forward with us.
  • Moments of success help us to identify what is working so that we can determine the next steps on the soul's journey.
  • Moments of quiet and calm instruct us to make sure we plan time for our own inner journey.
  • Moments of personal struggle remind us to live in the present moment and enjoy each day.
When we bring the wisdom gained from this reflection into the present moment and turn to the inspiration of the New Janus, we can use this wisdom to prepare for the year ahead. We determine what we need to change in order to experience more joy and greater fulfillment, what we intend to keep the same, what we want to grow and what must be left behind leading to greater alignment in our life.

Mercury Retrograde Meets Janus
Now for a bit of fun which of course means the entrance Mercury, the Trickster God. Mercury is a curious fellow and has fun because he likes to try things out. He is curious because he wants to learn things, many things and he tries things out because he wants to accomplish something. Mercury is not one to have an idea and then leave it scribbled on a piece of paper for someone else to find (or to simply lose and let it fade). Mercury never straps his legendary wings onto his ankles only to let someone else make the journey. He wants to do it - himself!
Mercury is a problem solver. Mercury is connected to the mutable signs of Gemini and Virgo. This means Mercury is the most likely of all the gods (and planets) to try things in new ways. For Mercury, if the last attempt to solve a problem or achieve success didn't work, then he will express his mutable qualities and search for a new approach that works better!
Mercury turns retrograde on January 5, 2016 at 1 Aquarius and traveling backwards for 20 days, turning direct on January 25, 2016 at 15 Capricorn. You could say that Mercury is teaming up with Janus because both the Old Janus and Mercury Retrograde find insight from looking to the past. While Janus evaluates the past, Mercury plays with the past as if it is a collection of puzzle pieces (or a string of words combined to create a sentence). While Janus sees the past as a source of wisdom, Mercury Retrograde sees the past as something that we can re-arrange for the future. The wisdom of Janus might just be what Mercury Retrograde needs to find a solution that seemed impossible in the past. Or, Mercury Retrograde might re-consider some aspect of the Young Janus' vision.  
Mercury Retrograde is a great time to find new solutions to life's problems
Chapters of Life
With Mercury Retrograde occurring so close to the New Year, this January just seems ripe for exploration of the journey of the soul in a broader perspective via the chapters of life. I have found it very helpful to identify the chapters of my life, which I write about below.
When we understand the chapters of our life, we receive clarity as to why we are where we are now. If you find yourself asking a lot of 'why' questions about your path, this perspective can be very beneficial to help answer these questions. Based on this knowing, we understand how to navigate the path ahead with more greater clarity.
There are a couple of astrological services that could benefit those wanting to take a dedicated look back before setting plans for the year ahead:
Identify the Chapters of Life - Chapters of Life often occur with key transits associated with the social and outer planets (from Jupiter to Pluto). By exploring the time of these transits against actual outcomes in life, the chapters of life unfold for us to clearly see. From this, we can identify when major turning points or key adjustments took place and at what point in the current chapter we are presently in. Many tools support our planning processes and I find this tool to be helpful additional to your toolkit. This gives us the Eagle's view of our soul's journey and provides perspective.
Chart Aspects - We often struggle consistently integrating certain aspects of our chart effectively. Or, we find that our path keeps leading us to evolution. Spiritual soul growth demands a lot of focused effort. As we evolve, like the layers of an onion, as we pull away one sheath, we hope to have clarity. But, often this clearing away simply reveals another sheath, another layer to understand. As a result, it can be helpful to have a targeted discussion these key aspects of your chart from where you stand today. Or, a complete review of your chart as the richness in the foundation of our birth chart keeps deepening over time as we evolve and grow. Deepening our understanding of our birth chart alongside our personal evolution, we add contours, accent colors, shadows and texture to our understanding of our soul's painting.
These services are very customized to specific needs and are an interactive exploration. The process of connecting our actual outcomes in life to chapters and transits bring clarity. These services are part of a larger service we are developing called Your Path To Purpose. Please send us a note if you wish to explore options.
Now, I wanted to share a bit about my journey and my understanding of the unfolding chapters in my life as it can be instructive to explore real life examples.

Becoming Simply "Wolfram"
December initiates a time of reflection, of looking back and taking stock. December 2015 was a particularly important time for reflection for me as I celebrated my second Saturn Return. I am embracing the next step of evolution on my path and changing my identity from Scott Wolfram to simply "Wolfram".
The most important transit is the one that is happening to you, right now.
Paying attention to your current transits is essential, but we must remember that our current transits unfold from the transits that have just occurred (and our chapters of life).   Transits represent a progressive cycle of growth on our unfolding journey and each transit on our journey helps to shape our future.
I hope that in reflecting on the events and astrology of my life, via some of my chapters of life, that you might find inspiration for reflecting on your soul's journey.
First Saturn Return (At Age 29)
You may wonder if I intentionally choose the word "celebrated" for my second Saturn Return. I did. Let me put it simply, my first Saturn Return was definitely not a celebration. Both personally and professionally, my first Saturn Return was a complete and utter disaster. As I "picked myself off the ground", I knew I had to make important changes to both what I did for work and how I lived my life.
Saturn reveals truth in our life. As I reflect on that first Saturn Return, which occurred at age 29 before I was an astrologer, it was the 'truth' that I needed to learn how to "make friends with Saturn". So, I decided to follow the example of the Third Little Pig who built his house and ultimately passed the test of the Big Bad Wolf, a.k.a. the Saturn Return. Like the Third Little Pig, I began refining my "blueprint" for life and then began patiently building one brick at a time becoming aware of what is important to the core of my identity and then doing the work day by day and from each step forward to the next.
First, I found a job that got me on my feet again. I was clear that this job was not my life's purpose, but it was a first necessary step to building of a new foundation for my personal life. One of the most important keys to this new foundation for me was being initiated into the meditative tradition Swami Rama of the Himalayas just 9 days after my first Saturn Return. While I began studying meditation (and astrology) in my teens, this initiation was the first concrete step to including meditation as a central part of my Third Little Pig's blueprint as I began my next 29 year chapter with Saturn.
Saturn Returns are like the Big Bad Wolf
attempting to blow down the Third Little Pigs house.
If you experience a setback or worse,
revisit your blueprint and
begin re-building one brick at a time.
An Unexpected Move
I had never considered living anywhere but Milwaukee where I was born. I don't think I traveled any further than Chicago (90 miles to the south) before I traveled to Los Angeles in 1991 for my work to give a workshop (the same job that got me back on my feet). The workshop was well received, but it was the unexpected offer I received to consider working there that was a life changing event.

Literally, a few months later, Sappho and I were living and working in Los Angeles. We just picked up and moved! Not only did I learn important lessons as a trainer and consultant, but I discovered a much larger world than existed in Milwaukee. I became a citizen of the world with this move.
I was not an astrologer at the time, but I have looked into the astrology of this move in 1991:
  • First, as I negotiated my new role, transiting Jupiter was conjunct my Uranus and Ascendant, energizing opportunity and a new chapter of life.
  • Second, transiting Uranus opposed my Sun, shocking me with an opportunity that would awaken new potentials and change my life. Since my Astro*Carto*Graphy Sun Ascendant passes directly over Los Angeles, that opportunity was energized in Los Angeles.
Key Transits of Jupiter often coincide with
inspirations than play a defining role in your blueprint.
Together, key Transits of Jupiter and Uranus sometimes
energize a new chapter of life.
Locations with supportive Astro*Carto*Graphy or Geodetic energiesare often awakened during inspiring Jupiter transits.
The Travelers Well and "Discovery" in Bavaria
The summer of 2001 marked another major new chapter of my life. If you are a fan of The Hobbit, this chapter of life began much like Bilbo Baggins "Unexpected Journey". Like Bilbo, I "signed the contract", which means I resigned from my job at American Express and began working to develop myself as an astrologer. This was quite a leap indeed! Moments of synchronicity in life sometimes brings multiple surprising events. So, while I was unpacking my desk at American Express, I was also packing my bags for a vacation in Bavaria. While taking a vacation was planned, the destination was not of my choice. Just as I had no interest in Los Angeles prior to giving that fateful workshop, I had never given any thought to traveling to Munich (where I would be living a few years later).
Astrologically, the summer of 2001 had two powerful transits that suggested it would not be just about changing jobs, but a major change of direction in life. Transiting Jupiter was conjunct my Sun, bringing the inspiration that would energize my next chapter of life. Jupiter was accompanied by a powerful Solar Arc involving the Midheaven and Saturn, which suggested that this summer would be about more than changing jobs, but energizing the change of my identity.
When particularly important Solar Arcs
coincide with important transits of Jupiter,
the next chapter of life can feel like a new book of life.
Becoming Wolfram
Between 2001 and 2007, I deepened my astrological perspective and we were drawn back to Europe and specifically Bavaria again and again. While I took the Astro*Carto*Graphy exam with Continuum during one of these trips in 2003, it became clear that our Astro*Carto*Graphy and Geodetic maps noted that Bavaria was a place to discover our deeper heritage. Bavaria found us so to speak.
The most important discovery took place in March of 2003 in the town of Wolframs-Eschenbach, about 85 miles north of Munich. This is the birth place of Wolfram von Eschenbach, the knight, minstral and author of the book Parzival. Also an astrologer, Wolfram wove astrology and the journey of the soul into the story of the Holy Grail. When I walked into the town square, my connection to Wolfram von Eschenbach changed my life and would ultimately lead to changing my name. Wolfgram, my birth surname, and Wolfram both essentially mean "wolf" and "raven" in German at the root level. On December 18, 2006, Sappho and I filed the papers to change our surname from Wolfgram to Wolfram.
On the day that my Progressed Sun was exactly conjunct natal Pluto, the transiting Sun and Pluto were also conjunct. Together, these two combinations of the Sun and Pluto created a Grand Fire Trine to my Midheaven. Via Apollo, the Sun says "Know Thyself", Pluto says "Transform Thyself" and the Midheaven says "share it with society".   We choose the day with the most potent astrological transits to energize the transformation we were seeking.
Saturn Return at age 58
The Second Saturn Return is a test of both how much you have learned since age 29 and the degree to which you are ready for the next chapter of life. As I note in transit forecasts, When Saturn cannot blow down your house, you have passed his test. Fast forward to 2015 and, for me, my Second Saturn Return is a confirmation that I truly am making friends with Saturn, which I have been attempting to do for the past 29 years.
The Second Saturn Return is a threshold,
the gateway to the unfolding of wisdom.
Making Saturn your friend is a good idea - every day!
This article began as a time of reflection for me. It has been twelve years since I came across Wolfram von Eschenbach and nine years after changing our names to Wolfram. After reflecting my Second Saturn Return, I will be referring to myself as simply "Wolfram". You may call me Scott or Wolfram as you wish! Wolfram is a very common first name in Germany, but I realize it is not so common in the United States.
If you have experienced a powerful astrological event, like a Saturn Return, or the howl of "the Wookie" (transiting Uranus and Pluto), or the disorienting rip-tide of a Neptune transit, or simply one of Saturn's tests or Jupiter's inspirations, I hope that you will take the time to reflect on your journey in life, who you want to become and the path to achieving joy and fulfillment.
Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your journey in life!


Bavarian Updates
As you know, each year, we post photos of our Two Island Swans and their swanlings for the year.  This year, it was a bumper crop of 8 swanlings, which means a very busy summer for our Two Island Swans.

Unlike other water fowl, swans mature very slowly and are their wings are not strong enough to fly until about January, which is about the same time they get kicked out of the house.  Swan children are forced out each year because they become a territorial threat to the new offspring arriving in a couple of months.

Six swanlings survived the summer and have just about shed their grey feathers.  We have not yet seen them fly.

Finally, from our favorite alphorn band to sharing a bit of laughter, each December is a time of celebration in Bavaria.  


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