Monday, March 31, 2008
Marsha Garces Williams, wife of actor Robin Williams, filed for divorce last week citing "irreconciliable differences". Although Robin is best known for his comedic skills, he has a long history of drug and alcohol addiction and it is rumored that Marsha filed divorce papers after her ultimatum failed to wean him from his addictions.
The astrological chart of Robin Williams shows a fascinating blend of comic genius and tragic emotional pain, the combination of which appears to be essential in all of the great comic minds. Williams, with a Cancer Sun, also has a Pisces Moon and Scorpio rising. This heavy watery influence shows his intensely sensitive emotional nature, and a tendency to lose himself (Pisces Moon) into his environment. Mercury (mental function) in his chart is in the fun-loving sign of Leo, and Leo is the King of Comedy. That Mercury sits prominently on the Midheaven of his chart, demonstrating his ability to connect with the public (Midheaven) through his ability to express his thoughts and ideas (Mercury). Pluto (intensity and drama) conjoins his Mercury which suggests a powerful mind with an obsessive nature.
Williams has a wildly revolutionary conjunction of Mars (aggression) and Uranus (rebellion) which is tightly aspected to both Jupiter (expansion) and Neptune (fantasy), and it is this planetary system in his birthchart which describes his unique methodology when it comes to acting. WIlliams cannot be controlled and rarely sticks to the script. His strong Cancerian influence (with Sun, Mars and Uranus all in Cancer) reveals his intense attachment to family and his strong desire to nurture others; in fact, he has become a surrogate parent to the children of Christopher and Dana Reeve after their recent deaths.
Saturn (challenges and disappointments) in Williams' chart is in an exact challenging aspect (square) to Chiron (wounding and healing), indicating a psyche that is extremely sensitive with a tendency towards experiencing life in a way that brings up painful psychic and emotional wounds. Ideally an individual with this combination of planets will seek healing of these old wounds, but the easiest way to deal with them is to numb them with addictions. Transiting Saturn made a challenging aspect to the ascendant of Williams' chart (his "rising sign") back in late July of 2006 which resulted in his admitting himself to rehab in August of that year.
Williams experienced another difficult cycle when transiting Pluto made a pass over the Saturn/Chiron system in his chart back in January of 2007 and remained within one degree of that painful system throughout the year. Williams' older brother died in August of that year, but I suspect the entire year was extremely difficult for Williams as Pluto applied consistent pressure on any unhealed old wounds that remained in his psyche.
Williams' family-oriented nature has not kept him from infidelity in the past; his first marriage ended after an affair with his current wife who was at the time the nanny to his children and evidently this was not his first adulterous episode. Venus in Williams' chart is in Virgo, which often tends to be rather prudish and perfectionistic, and it opposes that Pisces Moon. Challenging aspects between Venus (love and beauty) and the Moon (nurturing and sensitivity) denote an individual who finds it difficult to reconcile their emotional needs (Moon) in their relationships (Venus), and the archetypes of the sexual goddess (Venus) with the maternal figure (Moon). This is the classic "madonna/whore" complex and while this is not universally true it does sometimes indicate a proclivity in a man's chart to separate the two. In December, transiting Saturn came very close to the Moon/Venus combination in his chart and doubtless intensified his depression.
Williams has a few other astrological things going on as well: in March of 2007 transiting Chiron began squaring Williams' ascendant and bringing up all of his issues around his ability to establish his own identity (ascendant) relative to his marriage (descendant), a cycle that concluded in December. And a transit of Neptune over his nadir (opposing his Midheaven, or career point) has likely created a great deal of confusion over his role in his personal life and family (nadir) relative to his career and public persona (Midheaven). This cycle began in May of 2007 and is just now in the second phase of a cycle that will conclude in January of 2009.
This is a difficult time for Robin Williams, and I hope that he will be able to resolve his demons that are the burden accompanying his tremendous gifts.
Photo by Jeff Vespa/WireImage.com
Sunday, March 30, 2008
I was reading my latest issue of The Mountain Astrologer and was surprised to see we have two Full Moons in Scorpio this year. The first is April 20th and is at 1° Scorpio and the second one is May 19/20 at 29° Scorpio. Anytime I see Scorpio I pay attention because Scorpio falls on the cusp of both my 12th house and Ascendant.
It would seem to be an opportunity to take a good review of the areas in our lives where the Taurus/Scorpio axis falls. In my case it’s primarily the 6th house/12th house axis with some carry over to the 1st and 7th houses. With Taurus on the cusp of the 6th, issues of health, daily work-related routines, dealing with co-workers are all important. If I look at those issues from a Taurus perspective things like taking time to smell the flowers and enjoy some downtime to reduce stress are highlighted. Take a bouquet of flowers to work to share with everyone. Most of us need to remember to slow down and walk through the park instead of driving everywhere! The New Moon in Taurus on May 5th will be the peak of this wonderful, life affirming energy.
Now Scorpio is about take a long and serious look at what is no longer working for us and doing some housecleaning to make way for new ideas and concepts. Keep in mind Pluto is continuing to add his two cents worth during this time period because the first Full Moon in Scorpio will be sextile to Pluto. Stephanie Austin has a great one liner for a bumper sticker for Pluto: “You can let go now, or have it ripped out of your hands later.” Words to live by during this particular Scorpio dominated lunar pattern. With my 12th house as the focus of these Full Moons, I need to take care to remember those who serve others must always serve themselves first . . . running on empty helps no one.
Another result of the this unusual incidence is the return a normal New Moon/Full Moon pattern of the sign of the New Moon opposing the sign of the Full Moon. It was in June and July of 2005 when we had two Full Moons in Capricorn in a row this pattern last shifted to one where the New Moon’s sign is inconjunct the following Full Moon. We will be returning to a pattern where the energy will flow more smoothly and naturally from New Moon to Full Moon, from Earth to Water instead of Fire to Water (New Moon in Aries to Full Moon in Scorpio).
This is the time to start giving thought to where your life needs pruning and weeding done because we have a great opportunity to do this from mid-April to mid-May. It’s always easier to work with the prevailing winds and the currents than tack against them . . . :-)
Friday, March 28, 2008
This was in my inbox today. Those of us who follow astrology will not be surprised to read from the Motley Fool that the corporate culture is collapsing under the influence of Pluto (breakdown and transformation) in Capricorn (business, achievement, capitalism):
Half a decade ago, the entire nation was shocked when award-winning "innovator" Enron turned out to be little more than a cash-shredding pyramid scheme. The crucial failing for investors was Enron's use of opaque, "mark-to-market" accounting. The problem comes when the market is batty (or doesn't exist), so you instead mark your assets to a model, especially one that's wrong, either because you made an error or because you based it on exceedingly generous assumptions.read more...
In the end, we learned that Enron's accounting was pretty much mark-to-fairy-tale, with the company booking enormous gains from assumed future profits on schemes (like bandwidth trading) that sounded great, but had little chance of producing anything besides headlines.
You might think we'd learned our lessons about fantasy accounting after Enron, but you would be wrong. Things actually got worse. The infection moved to the comfy-sounding "homeownership" market. Against a star-spangled, feel-good backdrop touting the "American Dream," our recent mark-to-model mania tripped up a lot more than one big company. In fact, it swept through the entire banking world. (Bear Stearns (NYSE: BSC) is not the first to choke on lousy, poorly modeled mortgage-backed securities "income," and I'll eat a Miami condo if it's the last.)
I've been reading articles about the slowdown of big mega retailers, and I'm wondering if the coming transformation of the corporate world might bring about the return of independent business (when Uranus in Aries squares Pluto in Cap 2010-2013). Perhaps it's just wishful thinking, but it seems that this ever-expanding marketplace will have to burst its bubble at some point, leaving local mom and pop shops to fill in the gaps.
The Motley Fool does have some good news for investors, though:
I am certain that systemic failure has steered us into a terrifying run at the ditch, to be followed by a painful, protracted rough patch. It was all spawned by greed gone amok on Wall Street and Main Street. Yet I believe history will prove this to be one of the best times to have invested in stocks, especially attractive-priced small caps. Here's why:Sounds very Saturn in Virgo, but value investing is back, along with cautious spending and thrifty saving, all very nice Virgoan traits!
- The market is in panic mode, and when markets panic, no one's thinking.
- Small caps have been crushed more than the rest of the market, as investors seek "safe" large caps.
- Over time, value-priced small caps produce some of the most amazing returns in the market. Really.
- There are loads of small caps out there poised for years, if not decades, of fantastic growth, but the market is pricing them as if they are dead and buried.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
As a woman and an astrologer, I’m interested in exploring the elements in the natal chart showing us the type of man we are attracted to and Mars is the starting place in a woman’s chart. Because I’m essentially a heterosexual female, I’m working from that point of view because I could only guess at how this works in the chart of those drawn to their own sex.
How Mars operates in the chart can give us clues into understanding the type of man we are drawn to. The sign and aspects to Mars all factor in. I’m going to use my own chart as an example partly because it’s the chart I’m most familiar with and because Mars is my chart ruler. My Mars falls in Scorpio, one of the signs he rules (the other being Aries) and is conjunct my Ascendant and Mercury in Scorpio. Pluto, the other ruler of Scorpio, squares Mars and Uranus is inconjunct to him. What this says to me about the archetype most attractive to me is I find dark, brooding sorts with strong features and magnetic eyes (the classic Scorpio look) appealing. The Mercury and Uranus aspects to Mars point to intelligence and an independent attitude.
The sign on the cusp of the seventh house impacts the archetype represented by Mars too because it is always the complement of the Ascendant. In my chart Taurus rules my seventh house so we can add an Earthy element to the picture as in well grounded or someone who enjoys working with his hands and likes the simple life.
So the picture emerging is of a man who has a strong physical presence, operates independently, likes being out-of-doors close to Nature, has a sharp mind and is comfortable dealing with strong minded women. Now I’m married to a man with Aries Sun, Moon and Rising with Mars in Scorpio in his eighth house and whose Sun is square to Uranus. He has worked as a cowboy, farmed for a living and currently works as a carpenter. Even though he has a sharp mind he prefers to come across as down to earth and practical rather than intellectual and he’s damn independent!! He’s dark haired with strong features too.
As one who married in her early forties for the first time, I was rather taken aback when I realized how well my husband fit into my archetypal profile. It does demonstrate the power of the archetype and how when we run smack into someone who fits it well, we can find our lives forever changed. Of course, Pluto was also in the process of transiting my Juno in Scorpio in the 12th house at the time I starting dating him (Juno is often referred to as the “marriage” asteroid) . . . but that’s another story!
This is a photo of Sean Connery as James Bond in about 1965. Sean Connery has Scorpio on the Midheaven and many of his movie roles were Scorpio types and he presents the classic tall, dark and deadly archetype. I have always enjoyed watching him in whatever role he's playing on screen.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Most of you are probably aware by now of Senator Clinton's need to backpedal on some of the statements that she made about landing in the midst of sniper fire during her trip to Bosnia in 1996 which was first refuted by actor/comic Sinbad, who was along on that trip, and most recently exposed by CBS news who was also there.
While this story started leaking out in the middle of March it didn't start really erupting until Saturday morning, just hours after the Cardinal Grand Cross that included the Full Moon and the Equinox, the Washington Post confirmed Sinbad's version of the story that "the "scariest" part was deciding where to eat. As he told Mary Ann Akers of washingtonpost.com, "I think the only 'red phone' moment was 'Do we eat here or at the next place?' "
Senator Clinton's progressed Sun is at 3 degrees Capricorn and has been opposed by Mars since the beginning of the month, and since the Full Moon exactly squared Pluto and by reference Mars as well, the entire Grand Cross formed a tight aspect to Clinton's progressed Sun suggesting a major shift in her life path.
The timing of all of this is quite interesting and it will be even more interesting to see how this event plays out in the long run. Transiting Saturn is trine the progressed Sun which adds an element of stability and strength and Clinton is known for her indefatigability so she will likely weather this storm as she has so many others! I myself lived through the Grand Cross which was in a tight aspect to my Capricorn Mars which is being hit by Pluto at the moment, and things that don't kill us, as we know, can make us much, much stronger.
Photo is of Mrs. Clinton being greeted in Bosnia.
The Kalachakra, or Wheel of Time.
In light of the current riots in Tibet I was looking online for a chart of Tibet since my Book of World Horoscopes does not contain one, and came across a wealth of material on Tibetan astrology. I confess I never realized that Tibet had its own branch of astrology that evidently is derived from a combination of Indian and Chinese methods and has its roots in Tibetan Tantric Buddhism. A site from the Tibetan Astrology network says:
In the Kalacakra Tantra as a whole, the subject matter is usually divided into three Wheels, or phases, known as the External, Internal and Alternative Wheels. The External wheel is the External Cosmos, with the cycles of the planets, constellations and stars, and this includes a system of astronomy and astrology. The Internal wheel is the internal Cosmos of chakras, channels and energies within the body, and their relation to the cycles of the External Cosmos. This section contains a basis for understanding how the planets effect us through the mechanism of the subtle body. The Alternative wheel is the yogic techniques for purifying and transforming the inner and outer to release our innate awareness and capacities. These are all depicted within the Kalacakra Mandala.I found myself being particularly interested in this idea of a three-wheel system and found this information on another site:
The Wheel of Time teachings on the universe reveals that our changing consciousness states are due to the changing circulations of these planetary winds though our energy body with its chakras and channels. In syncronicity with the motions of the external universe, the planetary winds cycle through the chakras and channels, and riding upon them is our original awareness, experiencing the multitude of cycles of consciousness states and resultant events. Mind, pranic winds and consciousness are inseparably connected with each other. ... This is therefore an astrology that incorporates the concepts of karma and reincarnation as episodes of the souls journey.This is exactly how I see the ultimate use of Western astrology as well, but without the use of specified tantric yoga methods and special amulets. In my view the power of the human soul to awaken transcends any specific path or religion and can be accomplished through the use of will and attention to the planetary cycles in which we find ourselves. Each planet vibrates at a different frequency, and as we go through a planetary cycle we ourselves become tuned to that frequency. I love this idea of an "accelerated pathway through time" and also the wisdom of this system that irrevocably intertwines astrology and medicine.
These circulations of the internal planetary winds in the chakras are not haphazard, but follow predictable cycles. Periodically, and for every individual, they arrive at points in the cycle where an internal equilibrium is reached, permitting the planetary winds to collect and enter the most important channel in the body, the central channel, the dragon, which runs through the very centre of all the major chakras, stimulating them from within. At these points in the cycle, with the application of yoga practice, an energy basis is created for the arisal of transformative states of consciousness and greatly expanded awareness and insight.
Alternatively, there are points of crisis, under and overactivation of energies, and periods of potential imbalance. The detailed knowledge of these circulations of the planetary winds within the body, what to do with them, and how, is an important function of the Wheel of Time Tantric Astrology. The circulations of planetary winds in the chakras, in the normal flow of time, reaches conscious equilibrium only on rare occasions, and these form the great insights we gain during the course of a normal lifetime. However, these planetary winds do not only move in synchronicity with the external planetary motions, but can be made to move through the highest yoga tantra practices.
The normal evolution of consciousness is said to take eons and eons of lives to effect the full awakening of the human awareness through the intermittent moments of insight produced through the cycle of externally effected equilibriums. ... Thus, this path can be considered to be an accelerated pathway through time, where states of expanded and clarified awareness and insight are induced in quicker succession, awakening all the chakras to their highest potentials. The highest insight said to be produced through these practices is the awakening to the interdependent nature of all manifestation, the interconnectedness of all that exists, and the union of Insight and Compassion. [ Paragraphs added for ease of reading.]
I know that DR has Buddhist leanings, and perhaps some in his Buddhist community can add some wisdom regarding this fascinating system.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
She was born Kathleen Solia on January 16 1947 in Palmdale, California, time unknown. She was involved with the Symbionese Liberation Army in the 1970s (as was the heiress Patty Hearst, after the SLA had kidnapped her). In April 1975, she was alleged to have been part of an armed robbery in which a bank customer was killed. And in August 1975 she was alleged to have planted a pipe bomb aimed at killing police officers.
In 1976 she was indicted by a Grand Jury in the bombing case. She went underground, changed her name and raised a family in Minnesota. She was active there in community issues and human rights campaigns. She was finally discovered and arrested in 1999, and was eventually convicted of charges relating to both the bank robbery and explosive cases.
It’s a strange story, and at no point does she seem to have expressed remorse for her earlier actions. It also seems that her earlier life, in its own warped way, was an expression of the same idealism that informed her later life.
What is remarkable about Sara Jane Olson’s chart is that there are no squares or oppositions. It is a very nice chart: Sun, Mars, Mercury conjunct in Capricorn, sextile to Jupiter and possibly Moon; Venus sextile Neptune sextile Saturn-Pluto trine Venus.
Normally in the chart of a violent activist you would see squares and oppositions; in fact it is rare in any chart to find no such aspects. It is said that you often find Grand Trines in the charts of serial killers, it’s as if they expect everything to go their way. And it’s as if compassion for others comes out of our own inner struggles and the realisation of our own limitations: this is part of the function of squares and oppositions.
So it is as if the lack of challenging aspects, and Sun conjunct an exalted Mars, made it easy for her to commit violence as a young person. But this would also have made it natural for her to be a campaigner for human rights as she got older, as there is a lot of good feeling and idealism to the chart. But somewhere she hasn’t joined the dots, as her lack of remorse shows.
It may be that she has, say, Pluto Rising, which we cannot know due to the lack of birth time. But even then it is nicely aspected to Venus and Neptune. There is one odd factor in the chart, though: her Uranus is unaspected. An unaspected planet can operate in isolation from the rest of the personality, and the person is not necessarily aware of the inconsistency that can lead to. Like Eliot Spitzer, the scourge of prostitution in New York State who also used prostitutes: he has unaspected Sun in Gemini. George Bush, who has unaspected Mars, is a devout Christian who has no problem, even a zeal, for going to war.
So this is my theory: Olson’s radicalism (Uranus) doesn’t fully connect with the rest of her personality. So that on the one hand she can be involved with a pipe bomb (Uranus again) as an act of revenge against the police; and on the other hand she can be a loving mum who does campaigning work for the community (also Uranus). She doesn’t appear to see a contradiction, and perhaps the lack of squares and oppositions in her chart means that in some ways she hasn’t learned to work on herself and understand herself. As one (supportive) profile says, she is the same person now as she was then.
Neither the 1975 violence nor the arrest in 1999 involved outer planet transits to her Sun or Moon, suggesting that these were not major personal transformative events for her, that what she considers to have been the formative events of her life may have little to do with what she did in her twenties, and her imprisonment and notoriety all those years later.
What she did have was Neptune conjoining her Sagittarian Venus in 1975, and Pluto conjoining it in 1999. Sagittarius, the archer on horseback, was the most feared warrior in ancient times. Venus is also associated with warriors, and is said to be frequently prominent in the charts of army generals (along with Mars in Capricorn, which Olson also has).
Her North Node at 9 Gemini is almost exactly opposite Venus (OK this is an opposition, but the Node is not a planet). So we could read this as the need to move from militant fundamentalism (Venus conjunct South Node in Sag) to the use of reason and dialogue (North Node Gemini). Neptune and Pluto of course opposed her Node in 1975 and 1999, suggesting there has been an important karmic lesson for her in these events, even though she appears to have no regrets.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Health officials in the Philippines have issued a warning to people taking part in Easter crucifixion rituals. (Note the Moon and Saturn will be in Virgo.) They have urged them to get tetanus vaccinations [they probably won't - Neptune is unaspected] before they flagellate themselves and are nailed to crosses, and to practise good hygiene.
On Good Friday dozens of very devout Catholics in the Philippines re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It is something that has become a huge tourist attraction, although the Church frowns on the practice.
The health department has strongly advised penitents to check the condition of the whips they plan to use to lash their backs, the Manila Times newspaper reports. They want people to have what they call "well-maintained" whips [Now that's Pluto in Capricorn for you.] In the hot and dusty atmosphere, officials warn, using unhygienic whips to make deep cuts in the body could lead to tetanus and other infections. And they advise that the nails used to fix people to crosses must be properly disinfected first. Often people soak the nails in alcohol throughout the year.
Every Good Friday, in towns across the Philippines, people atone for sins or give thanks for an answered prayer by re-enacting the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. In the northern city of San Fernando alone there will be three separate improvised Golgothas - the biblical name for the hill where Jesus was crucified. Four people there have pledged to have their feet and hands nailed to wooden crosses, while others will flog themselves while walking barefoot through villages.
Sometimes people repeat the penance year after year, like the fish vendor who will be nailed to the cross for the 15th and last time on Friday to give thanks for his mother's recovery from tuberculosis [Mars (nails) in Cancer (mother) opposite Pluto (she could have died)]. With long hair and a beard, wearing sandals and a crown of thorns, he is tied with cloth to the cross but also has nails driven through the flesh of his hands and feet, avoiding the bones.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
What happened was that a video was released of the pastor of Obama’s home church, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, saying the following regarding 9/11:
“We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York, and we never batted an eye. We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is brought right back in our own front yards.”
Obama responded in the Huffington Post:
"Let me say at the outset that I vehemently disagree and strongly condemn the statements that have been the subject of this controversy. I categorically denounce any statement that disparages our great country or serves to divide us from our allies. I also believe that words that degrade individuals have no place in our public dialogue, whether it's on the campaign stump or in the pulpit. In sum, I reject outright the statements by Rev. Wright that are at issue.
With Rev. Wright's retirement and the ascension of my new pastor, Rev. Otis Moss, III, Michelle and I look forward to continuing a relationship with a church that has done so much good. And while Rev. Wright's statements have pained and angered me, I believe that Americans will judge me not on the basis of what someone else said, but on the basis of who I am and what I believe in; on my values, judgment and experience to be President of the United States.”
So there we have it. The man who voted against invading Iraq because he does not believe in “dumb wars”, at the same time seems to believe that prior to Iraq the USA never did anything dumb, and that to say so “degrades individuals.” Of course, to stay in the Presidential race he had to denounce what Wright said. But it also shows us that he is prepared for political reasons to denounce in the strongest terms a statement that any reasonable person can see contains an important and self-evident truth, and in so doing to also betray a close personal relationship.
I was disappointed by Obama’s action, because it reveals that he is essentially a politician, and that when push comes to shove, his political position is far more important than the ideals he claims to espouse or his personal relationships. I had hoped that his idealism had more substance than this. At the same time I am relieved, because it begins to burst the huge bubble of projection that has been surrounding him - the ‘Obamania’, the new dawn for America, the talk of Destiny and all that. It may have been fun to indulge in for a while, but things are now getting more real.
This does not mean that Obama might not on balance make a good President. Kennedy had all sorts of murky stuff about him, but he still managed to get the Civil Rights laws underway before he died.
Venus is the planet of relationship, how we reach out to and attract – or repel – others. In a politician it therefore has to do with popular appeal. And with Obama we find that he has an unaspected Venus at 1.29 Cancer (conjunct the US Venus). This suggests to me that his ability to appeal to people is not necessarily tied in very well with the rest of his personality: at worst it could mean that he will do or say anything to get elected. And remarkably he may be unaware that he is being inconsistent, because his Venus is autonomous. (cf Eliot Spitzer with his unaspected Gemini Sun: he was the scourge of prostitution in New York State, while at the same time availing himself of its services). So as far as he is concerned, he remains Obama the articulate idealist. His Sun in Leo square to Neptune, with its capacity for self-deception, lends support to this possibility. And with his Venus conjunct the US Venus, he knows very well how to appeal to the US electorate.
Some time ago I wrote a piece on conviction politicians, and the main point I wanted to make was that these people are able to be passionate and total in their conviction – which is very appealing to an electorate – because they are good at deceiving themselves, they see no awkward inconsistencies to take into account. With a lot of politicians, we know and they know that they are playing a game, not a very satisfactory one, but at least we all know the rules, and when they say x they really mean y and we all know that.
With a conviction politician, the game changes, and it becomes far more dangerous, because these people really do believe their own spin. Tony Blair is like this. With his unaspected Venus and Sun square to Neptune, it is quite possible that Obama, in his own articulate and considered way, will also prove to be this type of politician. With that challenging Neptune, he is not what he seems, though what he actually is, is not yet clear. In the case of the hugely popular Tony Blair in the UK, it was not until the Iraq War that we began to see who he really was. So I think Obama needs watching. Pluto is opposing his Venus this year (and next), so the electorate should be able to take a good look at this side of him before deciding who to vote for in November (assuming he is the Democratic candidate). Unfortunately, electorates tend to be too fond of this sort of politician.
This Pluto-Venus transit also reflects his betrayal of his relationship with the Rev Wright - though no doubt he sees the betrayal as the other way round, which to some extent it was.
Monday, March 17, 2008
I’ll start again. You can really see the cultural difference between the USA and the UK in America’s response to the imminent collapse of one of its biggest banks, Bear Sterns: within a day another bank, JP Morgan, had bought it up at a knock down price, with all the mortgage liability guaranteed by the Fed. In this way confidence in the banking system could be maintained more easily.
In the UK, by contrast, Northern Rock threatened to collapse last September, and the government moved quickly to guarantee people’s savings, but apart from that there has been a long saga, with no-one quite knowing what to do with Northern Rock, until a few weeks ago the government eventually nationalised it, with the intention of one day de-nationalising it.
I admire the American ability to respond fast and decisively. In World War II, it took them 90 days to get from a fighter plane blueprint to having it rolling off the production line. But I think this ability also has a human cost, and I'd rather live in laid-back Europe.
Cultural differences apart, all this is a manifestation of Pluto’s move into Capricorn: if you like, fundamental change (Pluto) in the banking system (Capricorn); or a new financial era (Pluto changing sign, and Pluto rules wealth) characterised by restraint and coming down to earth (Capricorn).
As Pluto moved into Capricorn in January, the markets went into turmoil; as Pluto has begun standing still (stationing) this month, ready to change direction, its influence has become stronger, the pressure for necessary change has become ever more intense, and a major US bank has collapsed. It has been like clockwork.
Because we are dealing with Pluto, it means the ‘problems’ have hardly started. Pluto does not tinker around, he wants full-scale change with nothing left over; no remnant of the old binge era of Pluto in Sag will remain by the time he has finished. What we are seeing now in the markets can only deepen until a new paradigm begins to emerge. Pluto’s coming retrograde motion will, I think, start to address these issues: but because Pluto also goes back into Sag, there may also be a lot of clinging to the old paradigm, an attempt to get back to the years of easy credit and reckless consumer borrowing, which have in fact ended for good.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
'Fairies born in the last eight centuries or so – sophisticated, literate and consorting all their lives with Christians – have no more difficulty than Christians themselves in distinguishing between the animate and the inanimate. But to members of older generations the distinction is quite unintelligible.
Several magical theorists and commentators have noted that fairies who retain this old belief in the souls of stones, doors, trees, fire, clouds etc., are more adept at magic than the younger generation and their magic is generally much stronger.
The following incident clearly shews how, given the right circumstances, fairies come to regard perfectly ordinary objects with a strange awe. In 1697 an attempt was made to kill the Old Man of the White Tower, one of the lesser princes of Faerie. The would-be assassin was a fairy called Broc (he had stripes of black and white fur upon his face). Broc had been greatly impressed by what he had heard of a wonderful new weapon which Christians had invented to kill each other. Consequently he forsook all magical means of killing the Old Man of the White Tower (which had some chance of success) and purchased instead a pistol and some shot (which had none).
Poor Broc made his attempt, was captured and the Old Man of the White Tower locked him up in a windowless stone room deep in the earth. In the next room the Old Man imprisoned the pistol, and in a third room the shot. Broc died some time around the beginning of the twentieth century (after three centuries without a bite to eat, a drop to drink or a sight of the sun, even fairies grow weaker).
The pistol and the shot, on the other hand, are still there, still considered by the Old Man as equally culpable, still deserving punishment for their wickedness. Several other fairies who wished to kill the Old Man of the White Tower have begun by devising elaborate plans to steal the pistol and the shot, which have attained a strange significance in the minds of the Old Man’s enemies. It is well known to fairies that metal, stone and wood have stubborn natures; the gun and shot were set upon killing the Old Man in 1697 and it is quite inconceivable to the fairy mind that they could have wavered in the intervening centuries. To the Old Man’s enemies it is quite clear that one day the gun and the shot will achieve their purpose.'
Susanna Clarke's novel 'Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell' is required reading if you like this sort of thing. As is Neil Gaiman's novel 'Stardust'. For the last couple of years I've been lending these books to whoever I think will read them.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
So I’ve had a request to do Sagittarius next in this series. Relief – I’m putting off Libra, the sign I feel (probably wrongly) I know least about. So this series is not about whether you’ll meet a tall, dark stranger and win the lottery – though I’ve nothing against that sort of prediction, providing you’re good at it. It’s about what the outer planets will be doing to you, what transformational currents from the wider cosmos will be seeking you out. There, I’ve got you Sagittarians interested.
So for Sagittarius, Pluto is this year entering your Solar 2nd House, while Neptune and Uranus will continue to pass through your Solar 3rd and 4th Houses respectively. Saturn is in your 10th House.
The big thing with Sagittarians is coming down to earth, making the vision and the cosmic intuition real, overcoming the fear that if you engage with ordinary life, the vision will be killed off. This is why the Earth herself is the so-called esoteric ruler of Sagittarius: she is the energy of the sign functioning at its best.
Pluto is entering the first earth house, the house of MONEY, filthy lucre. It is also a house of talents, the abilities we have which make us worth something in the eyes of the world. So Pluto is saying it is no longer enough to be talented, to be larger than life, to have this deep sense of the profounder mysteries of life, which mere worldlings do not have. You developed all this in the last 13 years as Pluto passed through your solar 1st. It is now time to join the worldlings in the marketplace, to see what they are prepared to pay in hard cash for your services (the Biblical unit of currency was a talent, which I’m sure is relevant here).
In a way, this is putting it in black and white to make the point. You may not have the sort of talents which will ever make a living, and there is nothing wrong with that. You did not choose your talents. The point is that it is easy for you to think and talk expansively and philosophically, but it is time to do more with it, to enact it in specific situations, through e.g. a teaching job with ordinary kids, which to you may initially seem like a dumbing down or a compromise, but which will eventually show you the real worth of what you have to say. This will offer you a level of satisfaction that you had never imagined.
So Pluto is saying discover the power of your talents and your understanding of why we are here through engagement with ordinary life. This is where real purpose, which is so important to you, can be found. If you do not do this, if you hang on to your youthful way of being – the puer/puella aeternus – you will feel increasingly thin, like you no longer have a life.
Neptune is in your 3rd House, which is interesting, because it is opposite Sagittarius’ natural House, the 9th. So we are bringing in the faith (9th) versus reason (3rd) dichotomy, and the need to unite them. Neptune has been telling you for 10 years now that it is not enough to have all these great ideas you have read about from Plato onwards: it is time to let these teachers speak to you directly, to have a sense of these ‘authorities’, these gods, as humans of their time struggling to make sense of their existence, and to let them touch your soul. One Sagittarian I know has the experience of channelling the great philosophers when he teaches, they take him over, he comes out with what they had to say without having read it, and the kids all speak warmly about him for years afterwards as one of those teachers you will always remember. This is unusual, but it makes the point about Neptune in the 3rd.
Uranus is in your 4th House. This is watery Cancer’s House, it is about personal emotion, family, origins, roots, parents. As a Sagittarian this is a good place for you to be, for it is too easy for you to identify with your impersonal, philosophical ideals and not quite realise that you also have the same motivations as the rest of us, you get hurt just the same as the rest of us, you have a need to belong, you have a desire to be loved and accepted, that is just as intense as the rest of us. Uranus has for the last 5 years been wrong-footing you, to bounce you into this sort of awareness: you have been discovering that your real emotions, behind the philosophical justifications, are embarrassingly human.
Finally we have Saturn entering your 10th House since last September. This is Saturn’s favourite House, a place of vocation and worldly achievement. In a way the 3 outer planets are about inner transformation, while Saturn is very concrete, he is telling you how you can pull all these different currents together. He is saying it can all come together if you put yourself out there in the world. This is not just in the more superficial Saturn sense of rising higher in your profession – nothing wrong with that – but also through giving shape to what you know is your calling. Saturn will obstruct your career if you try to dodge this.
So through Pluto entering an earth house, and earthy Saturn also entering an earth house since last September, the overall theme for Sagittarians over the next 2 years is concrete action: putting your abilities and ideals into practice, seeing how they measure up in real life, and taking your place in the world, discovering the real authority that you carry, and the responsibility that comes with it.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
But if you do want to take part in this undignified scramble, and you are female, here is some advice by Frans de Waal in New Scientist magazine, entitled ‘Midnight Tips for the Clinton Camp’. The author has spent many years observing chimpanzees, and after telling us about their hierarchies, she continues:
'Here are three lessons for alpha females in human politics. First, age helps a female more than a male. Since physical strength and stamina are largely irrelevant in the female, becoming older, experienced and better connected offers an advantage. I have never seen a middle-aged female at the top of a hierarchy if older females were present. In human politics, too, a typical alpha female is post-reproductive, such as Indira Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher and Angela Merkel.
‘Second, since males respect power more than age or personality, the alpha female must head a large coalition to handle them effectively. Tight control of her political party might provide this in human politics, but it is unlikely any female could have a stable top role without support from her sex. This can only be secured by being sexually non-threatening and championing female causes.
And third, an alpha female needs to rise above the parties. Older female primates often head large families, and have a natural tendency to be loyal and committed to their kin. The effective alpha female needs to be able to reach beyond her inner circle, build bridges, groom rivals, all of which comes harder to females than males, because males lead more opportunistic political lives and therefore have shorter memories for perceived slights. So impartiality may be the greatest challenge for any female politician.
That the rules of the game are different for both sexes seems ‘unfair’, but is simply how evolution works. Male reproductive success depends on access to females, and one way to achieve this is to hold power over other males. A connection between sex and power is well-known in human politics. For females, things don’t work the same for the simple reason that increased access to mates doesn’t help them reproduce one bit. Instead of serving reproduction via sex, female power serves reproduction via access to resources.
This is important, too, which is why an interest in power is not limited to male primates. Yet the reasons are not the same, and the interplay with sex is so different that advising Clinton to act more ‘feminine’ is misguided. When Clinton shed one tear during an interview, everyone was moved and the media said that finally we saw the real person behind the candidate. But when she went on to shed more tears during a second interview, the headline read: “Again?”, while her opponents countered that Barack Obama “doesn’t go on television and have crying fits.”
Another miscalculation, this time in her favour, came when sexist hecklers in New Hampshire shouted at Clinton: “Iron my shirt! Iron my shirt!” which galvanised the female vote in her favour. Of the three lessons, then, my money says any alpha female’s ticket to success is solidarity with her own gender.
Monday, March 10, 2008
This is not a response I have to that other hard-man of politics, Dame Margaret "What did feminism ever do for me?" Thatcher. I do not like her, she is dogmatic and narrow and brutal, but she is who she is. And in certain respects she successfully did a job that needed doing.
What I feel with Hillary is that she is not who she is, because there is a big bit of her repressed. This is why she comes across as calculating and lacking in passion. In astrological terms, the problem is her Moon in Pisces, which is a potentially wonderful place to have the Moon, and which has found partial expression throughout her adult life in her ongoing work on behalf of children (which she seems to keep quiet about). But Moon in Pisces is also easily crushed, and in this case it does not stand a chance against the ambition and ruthlessness of her Scorpio-Leo configuration.
We do not know her birthtime, and if she was born after 9.30pm her Moon would be in Aries. But I don’t read her that way: if she was Moon in Aries, she would be right up front about how she felt, you wouldn’t have had, for example, such a big deal about the ‘emotional moment’ in New Hampshire. Which was in any case too little, too late.
So this is the difference between Margaret Thatcher and Hillary. Thatcher is who she is, a Caliban-like creature that needs exposure to culture. She has Sun in Libra, the politician who wanted to set the country to rights, the iron fist in the not-so-velvet glove; Saturn Rising in Scorpio gave her determination and lack of compassion; and Moon conjunct Neptune in Leo reflected her ability (at one point) to connect with the public and her eventual royal airs.
Thatcher was firing on all cylinders, her Sun, Moon and Saturn Rising were all fully functional: it wasn’t very pleasant in many ways, but she was all there. Hillary is not all there, the woman in her is missing, and we can all feel that - maybe that's why we call her Hillary? Obama’s aide reminded us of this. What she needs is healing. She does not need to be President, and the US does not need her as President. She needs to have her ambitions foiled so that she can find another way of being.
Fortunately for her, she does not have that indefinable quality, that Zang, that you need to be a leader. If you’ve got Zang versus no-Zang, the Zang wins every time. Take, for example, Bill Clinton versus Bush senior (who used to scratch his head over ‘the vision thing’); or Bush junior versus both Gore and Kerry; or, in the UK, Tony Blair versus John Major, William Hague and then Michael Howard. In each case it was the one with the Zang who won – the ability to connect with people, to know instinctively what the people want, and to communicate a sense of passion and vision.
This ability doesn’t make you a good guy or a bad guy, and in itself it doesn’t make you a good leader. But it does win you elections, and we all recognise it when we see it, even though we might not vote for it. In the case of the Democratic nomination, Obama has buckets of Zang, Hillary has very little, and we can all see that. For that reason alone, it seems certain to me that Obama will eventually win the nomination.
In the UK, David Cameron, the leader of the Tory Party, has much more Zang than Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister. I think Brown has more depth and experience than Cameron, but that's not the point. Cameron will probably win the next election. (Like Thatcher, he has Sun in Libra and Moon in Leo: there has to be something in this.)
As for Obama versus John McCain, I haven’t seen enough of McCain to know. But a man who sets himself against popular feeling so readily and strongly, whether in the country over the Iraq War, or within his own party over social policy, doesn’t look like a winner to me, whatever the merits of his positions.
Saturday, March 08, 2008
'The world's most powerful optical telescope has opened both of its eyes. Astronomers at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona have released the first images taken using its two giant 8m diameter mirrors.
The detailed pictures show a spiral galaxy located 102 million light-years away from the Milky Way. The $120m (£60m) telescope uses two mirrors in tandem to maximise the amount of light it gathers, which allows astronomers to look deep into the Universe.
The resolution is 10 times greater than the space-based Hubble telescope. "The images that this telescope will produce will be like none seen before," said Professor Peter Strittmatter of the University of Arizona.'
The telescope has been 20 years in the planning. It has a lot of Pluto momentum behind it: actual construction began in 1997, 2 years after Pluto entered the very appropriate sign of Sagittarius, and it has begun functioning just as Pluto is leaving the sign.
Friday, March 07, 2008
'Italy's highest appeal court has ruled that married Italian women who commit adultery are entitled to lie about it to protect their honour. The court gave its landmark ruling after hearing the case of a 48-year-old woman, convicted of giving false testimony to police by denying she had lent her mobile phone to her lover.
The appeal court did not agree that she had broken the law. It said bending the truth was justified to conceal extra-marital relationships. In a predominantly Catholic country you might expect the courts to take a dim view of lying and adultery. But not in this case. It said bending the truth was justified to conceal extra-marital relationships.
The woman, Carla, who brought the appeal had lent her telephone to her secret lover, Giovanni, who then used it to call her estranged husband, Vincenzo, and insult him. Giovanni, the lover, was convicted of abusive behaviour in a local court, and Carla convicted as an accessory.
But the Court found that having a lover was a circumstance that damaged the honour of the person among family and friends. Lying about it, therefore, was permitted, even in a judicial investigation.'
What is it about these Catholic countries, who are technically the most repressive about sex - you can't even use condoms - yet in practice go to the other extreme in making allowances for it? Look at the way France has recently been celebrating their leader's affair with a supermodel, Carla Bruni.
And what is it about these Protestant countries where the US President gets impeached for covering up the fact that he had a blow-job off his secretary? And where, in the UK, you lose your job as a government minister if you get caught having an affair?
We have a new Puritanism. 49 years ago Nixon and Kennedy were visiting the same whorehouse while they campaigned to be President, and the press kept quiet. Roosevelt had a mistress. (These events preceded the so-called 'sexual revolution' of the 60s.) I'm not saying I'm at entirely at ease with this, but also things have changed, probably since Pluto passed through Scorpio from the mid 80s to mid 90s.
I have been reading your Descartes.
Very interesting. 'I think, therefore I am.'
He forgot to mention the other part.
I'm sure he knew, he just forgot:
I think, therefore I'm not.
I am sure that, with natal Sun trine to Neptune, it was indeed an oversight.
Venus shining in my window awakens me early these mornings. Jupiter is nearby. It is breathtaking to be awake at the end of night, hours before dawn. Venus and Jupiter, the feminine and expansive benefics are in the sign of Capricorn. I make no claims to astro-wisdom though for many years I have been exploring the subject. Capricorn is a feminine sign and yet it covers corporations, big business and banking things we think of as the masculine world. As i lay in bed this morning watching the stars, I was contemplating the feminine nature that might belong to Capricorn.
When i was young (1950s) I was surrounded by powerful older women.
Read more here
‘It's 30 years since Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy made its debut on BBC radio, but its most famous mystery is still waiting to be resolved. Possibly the most famous line in the whole book is the "answer to life, the universe, and everything" given by the supercomputer, Deep Thought.
For seven and a half million years, this stupendously powerful, office-block of a machine had whirred. When it came to announcing what it had discovered, crowds had quite understandably gathered. "You aren't going to like it," Deep Thought warned. "Forty-two," it said, with infinite majesty and calm.
Ever since, speculation has been rife as to what Adams meant. Tragically, Douglas Adams died in 2001. So what does Stephen Fry, a close friend, voice of the audiobook, and possibly one of the most intelligent admirers of The Hitchhiker's Guide think?
"Of course, it would be unfair for me to comment," he confides. "Douglas told me in the strictest confidence exactly why 42. The answer is fascinating, extraordinary and, when you think hard about it, completely obvious. Nonetheless amazing for that. Remarkable really. But sadly I cannot share it with anyone and the secret must go with me to the grave. Pity, because it explains so much beyond the books. It really does explain the secret of life, the universe, and everything."
Stephen Fry’s reticence is, I am sure, nothing that a bit of water-boarding wouldn’t sort. But then again, Mr Bush would need an interest in the question, and he already has his own answers.
As astrologers, we are aware that Uranus takes 84 years to go round the Sun: 42 is therefore the average age of the Uranus opposition, the astrological mid-life crisis, a time of sudden insights when you start to recognise your youthful follies. So perhaps some of us know the answer as well.
The first episode of the Hitchhikers Guide was broadcast at 10.30pm in London on 8 March 1978. There was a New Moon at 16-18 Pisces (the Mind of God) closely trine to Uranus (not what you thought it was).
Adams (born 11 March 1952) was a Pisces, but also, as you might expect, he had Mercury square to Uranus and Venus-Node in Aquarius.
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Pluto is currently entering your solar 1st House. If you are the sort of Capricorn who is seamlessly and one-sidedly materialistic, then yes, Pluto may well raise you even higher in your profession and give you pots more money. But then you probably won’t be reading this blog. If you’ve also got something transformational going on in you, then Pluto will make it all go horribly wrong when you try to take the next step up the tree. Pluto gets a bad press, but his real nature is evolutionary, and he doesn’t mind the price tag. If he spots a fissure in you, he will exploit it, he will destroy your career if necessary – if you’re still not listening – to get you to look at what is real power, what are real riches.
Real power and wealth lies within. Pluto wants you to build a solid basis within yourself, where you know who you are and what are your values, and where you feel this deeply so that it cannot be shaken by the good or bad opinion of others (flattery can knock us off-centre just as much as destructive criticism can.) Pluto wants you to stare at that insecurity in yourself, that void, that fear that if you relax you will be found wanting. Because it’s not as bad as you think. Then you will have real power, and a sense of fulfilment from within.
As a Capricorn you will still be good at whatever you do, because you are talented and sure-footed, and you take the time to learn things thoroughly. In fact, you will become even better at what you do, because you will have more power, a stronger foundation within yourself. You may or may not continue to win the applause of the crowd. But that will no longer be the point. The point is that by facing your own insecurities, instead of compensating for them, you will experience that solid foundation and sense of authority that is your life goal as a Capricorn, and because it is within it can never be taken away, unlike the outer achievement.
This Pluto theme will continue for the next 15 years, and will be particularly intense when Pluto hits the relevant degree of Capricorn in your chart.
Neptune is in your 2nd House of money, values and talents. Neptune is not materialistic at all, and that is not to praise him, because the material realm is part of life. But he is getting you to look at your values, what you feel to be important: as a Capricorn, this will probably include wealth and status. Neptune doesn’t necessarily work like Pluto (though he can do). What you may have been noticing over the last 10 years (since Neptune entered your solar 2nd House) is that your compulsive ambition has been easing and dissolving, that the things you wanted so desperately to achieve when you were younger are not so important any more. This means you can’t achieve those things any more, in those circles you are now a loser!
Rip Van Winkle
But within yourself you are becoming more human, and it is like gradually waking up from a dream (Neptune). What were those youthful follies, how could those things have seemed so important to you?
As a Capricorn it is second-nature to fit in with convention, to dress like those around you, to hold the same sorts of opinions. It is not that you are consciously conforming: what is around you genuinely seems right and proper and sensible. But this is changing as Uranus passes through your 3rd House of rational thought. Uranus thinks originally, but not in the sense of being wilfully different. Originality happens when you look at things as if for the first time, without your own preconceptions and without fear of others thinking you strange. So Uranus has for some years been breaking up the easy lines of thought that you have been following, the unconsciously derivative views of the world that you have held.This is a bit threatening to a Capricorn – what would your boss think if he knew the strange way your mind works – but dammit, your career is falling apart anyway, so you may as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb, or should I say goat?
Saturn, your ruling planet, is in your solar 9th. This is a house of philosophy, of religion, of whatever it is that takes us out of the humdrum and into questions of purpose and meaning. For a Capricorn, this is two-sided. For one sort of Capricorn, they need to get out of the everyday and the material, because that tends to define them and, successful as they might be, they also become very narrow and boring people. Saturn in the 9th is saying you are going to be feeling this narrowness unless you also have something bigger going on in your life, you will feel down and depressed unless you find a concrete activity that expresses some sort of wider purpose to your life. For another sort of Capricorn, let’s say the transformationally-oriented sort, Saturn in the 9th is helping them know the accumulated wisdom of their lifetime, the hard-won self-knowledge, and to communicate it to others, to teach it. For a Capricorn, this wisdom is essentially practical and down-to-earth. This is the Capricorn worldliness at its best: it knows that wisdom is not to be found somewhere else, like in a book, or from a priest. Everything there is to be known is in our ordinary daily lives if you look hard enough and for long enough and if you learn from your experience.