Sometime around Easter, I had promised someone I’d write about the Pluto Retrograde that took place on Thursday the 20th of April. But as the saying goes, the best laid plans of mice and men–or, as Robert Burns wrote in “To A Mouse”… While the narration may seem a bit convoluted, there is method to the madness–and I promise this is about Pluto’s station to Retrograde and a bit more. In fact, you can chalk up any confusion to that potentially convoluted narration to dear old Neptune!
“To A Mouse, On Turning up in Her Nest with the Plough“
Robert Burns, November, 1785
Wee, sleeket, cowran, tim’rous beastie,
O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi’ bickerin brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee
Wi’ murd’ring pattle!
I’m truly sorry Man’s dominion
Has broken Nature’s social union,
An’ justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle,
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen-icker in a thrave
’S a sma’ request:
I’ll get a blessin wi’ the lave,
An’ never miss ’t!
Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!
It’s silly wa’s the win’s are strewin!
An’ naething, now, to big a new ane,
O’ foggage green!
An’ bleak December’s winds ensuin,
Baith snell an’ keen!
Thou saw the fields laid bare an’ waste,
An’ weary Winter comin fast,
An’ cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro’ thy cell.
That wee-bit heap o’ leaves an’ stibble
Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
Now thou’s turn’d out, for a’ thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the Winter’s sleety dribble,
An’ cranreuch cauld!
But Mousie, thou art no thy-lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!
Still, thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But Och! I backward cast my e’e,
On prospects drear!
An’ forward tho’ I canna see,
I guess an’ fear!
I headed to New York City for the day on Wednesday the 19th of April, the day before Pluto’s retrograde. The last time I’d been there was on my return from India in 2013–and now it’s the last time I’ll be there before I leave for India again.
This was a pretty special occasion since I had three reasons–all “firsts”–for this trip: I hadn’t seen a dear friend from Argentina since we graduated high school (mumble mumble years ago!), and we were about to have coffee together! It was also the first time I would meet one of my best friends face to face. Dr. Salil Kulkarni and I met online through Orkut several years ago when he was still in India, and we became steadfast friends. I was also bringing a 16-year-old member of my family with me on her first trip to New York. Little did either of us know the day would be even more eventful than we expected!
It was near lunch time as the bus pulled into Port of Authority so we made our way to 8th Avenue and grabbed a cab to Chinatown. What a change in the prices!!! They’d risen 250% since the last time I was there! After a nice meal at a favorite always jam-packed restaurant (even if it’s 2 AM), Wo Hop on Mott Street (to those of you in NYC, there are two versions of Wo Hop: go to the one downstairs for authentic, unAmericanized cuisine), we headed to my brother’s place. We had already become accustomed to the spring-like weather at home for the last week since the snow had melted about two or three weeks ago. With New York not terribly far from home (about 3.5 hours by bus–or 2 hours if you can bypass speeding tickets and your vehicle grows wings), we figured we’d be warm in the City too. New York, in fact, is usually warmer than it is at home. Ummm. no! lol
About an hour or so later, we headed uptown toward Columbus Circle. (For those who don’t know, this is around where the old FAO Schwartz toy store had been–on the street between the famous Plaza Hotel [where Eloise of children’s literature lived] and Central Park where the hansom cabs can usually be found.
As we neared a curve to move onto the highway leading uptown, the turn required a nearly perpendicular curve (curve, not a full sharp angle) bordered by a 4-foot concrete wall. The driver never saw it even though the wall was on the same side of the car as he and I were sitting; he was too busy looking at his phone! Thankfully, we were okay, but I was pretty shaken. It definitely was my first time crashing nearly fully head-on (the driver’s and seat behind him, where I was sitting) into a concrete wall!
I felt disoriented for several days after the crash and couldn’t quite figure out why until I saw the chart itself. It made a world of sense since Neptune–forming a 1°01 orb to the transiting chart’s Descendant at the time of the crash–is dancing to music with a fast beat and my Mercury as its partner. We actually were having a wonderful time until this moment–and that too showed with Venus in the 7th house in Pisces. But remember, Venus was still in the midst of a 22-minute partile orb of the square to Saturn Rx. Because of the presence of the Saturn retrograde, the partile was considered approaching. Incredibly, the accident took place a mere 22 minutes after the 16-year-old seated next to me in the cab had moved into her new Lunar Return. Boy, what timing!
Now there were a couple of undecaquartisextile (165°) patterns that certainly lent to the situation being far more serious than my writing style might lead you to believe. The Sun-Venus semisextile (30°) resolves at a Resonant Blooming Undecaquartisextile in the second house at 13 Libra 37. In the midst of a marvelous trip, the accident was jarring, to say the least, and yes, it could have been more serious, given the wall and its height. The difference, of course, was the rate of speed–and plenty of gratitude that there apparently wasn’t anyone behind us. There was also a Sun-Mars semisextile resolving to 14 Scorpio 25 in yet one more Resonant Blooming Undecaquartisextile in the third house. Here we can see the accident itself. But talk about uncanny! While the 13 Libra 37 resonant placement in the first undecaquartisextile pattern seemed to be a bit too wide for what’s already fine tuning here, take note that the placement itself forms a 13-minute quincunx (150°) to Neptune in addition to Jupiter’s sitting at the 9-minute partile conjunction to the antiscion for Neptune! Here, we clearly see how the 13 Libra 37 Resonant Blooming Undecaquartisextile is indeed relevant to that placement of Jupiter because of the antiscion to Neptune and because of the 13 Libra 37 resonant placement itself!
Now just for the “fun” of it, I got curious about the heartbeat of the chart. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been, but it offers one more explanation about why I felt so disoriented after the accident: Neptune is the sole heartbeat of the chart–or, if you prefer–the shared rulership of traditional Jupiter and modern Neptune. Either way, both form the same patterns to show the dynamics of the accident. With the Western 3rd quadrant dominance and the Northern and Southern hemispheres evenly divided in this chart, looking back, I have to wonder now whether the cabbie expected us to drive ourselves while he continued to look at the cell phone–or perhaps he expected the car to turn into one of those new driverless cars. Of course, it could have been a lot worse, and at least we got out unharmed except for the jarring experience.
Moving on now…
No apologies offered, the cabbie continued to drive past the United Nations buildings, past the 59th Street Bridge and finally to our exit back into the busy streets now increasing in traffic as the end of the work day drew near. We passed the hansom cabs in fresh spring paint, horses well groomed, often sporting lovely flowers to create a romantic effect, and impeccably clad coach men. The effect was tantalizing, needless to say, enough to take at least some of the edge off the crash a few minutes before.
We reached our destination–a place I hadn’t seen before; but then I’ve only been downstate twice in the last 6 years (I suppose I could say three times since I passed through the City a second time on my return from India three years ago, but I was too busy rushing to get home for the holidays back then. My high school friend suggested we meet her inside a wonderful place called the Europa Cafe. I didn’t hesitate. Midtown Manhattan really felt like we were back in the midst of winter, and I was dressed for a spring transitioning to summer day! The cafe was a welcome and warm place with tables for people with reservations for dinner–and high tables and stools where we sat to chat until Salil arrived sometime after. More hugs all the way around, of course!
The timing was perfect. My friend had to meet up with her family for dinner, and Salil steered us to an incredible Indian restaurant called Benares. Now at this point I have to tell you I’m now convinced everyone in NYC is taller than I–including that 16-yo family member! I had all I could do to keep up with those long strides the two of them had! (The chill was enough to keep me at a near jog the entire way. I was frozen to the bone by now!) On the way, we passed a young woman with a very short pleated skirt, like the kind cheerleaders wear. Her legs were completely bare. Muttering half to myself and half to Salil after I noticed the goosebumps on her legs (the chill, remember!), I said in Hindi (I practice my lessons as much as I can), “Show me how smart you are!” It warmed me a bit to hear Salil laugh in understanding what I said! We left for home on the Greyhound after dinner with Salil, holding up traffic for a minute while we gave long overdue hugs. It was so good to see him at last!
We arrived back in town five minutes earlier than scheduled, and I called the usual cab company I use, and we waited behind the terminal. Some minutes passed, and we had seen two cabs–one maroon, one yellow van–driving past the front of the building and we decided to walk up to the front. From there, we called the cab dispatch again, and sure enough we apparently had missed the cab. Dispatch promised to send another immediately, and a few minutes later, the maroon and yellow vans sped to where we were standing.
The maroon van parked some feet behind the yellow one as it moved directly in front of us. The driver got out and insisted he came to get us, that the other company wouldn’t be coming. He was quite persistent about it, and my family member moved into the cab. Naturally, I followed, but I have to explain I wasn’t at my most “red light” alert, obviously.
We got in and he said he’d be right back and walked to the other cab behind us. On his return, he hopped in and started talking very quickly. It never dawned on me until much later that he never called dispatch–yet he spoke to me in Italian at one point with a distinctly accurate pronunciation. He slipped up with me when he then told me he was sorry about the other cab company (my preferred one), that they were unreliable and “we have a lot of complaints all the time about them! We are under new ownership with new personnel.” I didn’t tell him that the cab company he was driving for was owned by my cousin and that I hadn’t planned to use them again (and that’s even more strongly in my mind now!). I did tell him the company he was calling unreliable had always been reliable. By now, of course, that red alarm button in my head was going off but it was too late.
The second alarm in my head went off even louder since I live on a very small street with only one building like mine on the street. He didn’t know the building or the number of my building and asked me to tell him when we were there. This was highly unusual since my particular building is an obvious apartment building–the only obvious one on the street!
Next, he double charged me. I paid the rate and then walked upstairs and immediately called the dispatch again to tell her what happened, called the police because I realized with rogue cabs in our city and wondered whether it was possible that these cabs had somehow broken into my usual cab company’s phone system. Whether or not that was a paranoid thought these two cabs traveling in tandem simply returned far too quickly–and impossibly faster than the cab company I had been expecting. Such an act could actually endanger anyone who made the mistake of getting into one of those cars. In the morning, I called the County Executive’s office, and they got County Security involved.