Skywatch for May is posted!

SkywatchThe complete Skywatch article is posted here, but here is the introduction:

The big news in May is the triple conjunction of Jupiter, Chiron, and Neptune which culminates on the 26th and 27th of May. We have been building up to this for quite some time ? this is a tremendous force for healing and for realigning our inner sense of purpose to fit with our outer dharma and destiny. You can read more about this major cycle here, but essentially what we have with this combination is the longing of the soul to experience a life that has a deeper meaning (Neptune) combining with the necessity to work through any blocks and painful experiences that are standing in our way of that goal (Chiron). The expansion of this process in a way that can be beneficial or simply more painful is facilitated by Jupiter. Jupiter is usually considered a positive influence, and because it provides an expansive force when combined with Chiron it can be a wonderful aide to the healing process. But that healing process when Chiron is involved requires that we revisit our wounds, and this can be extremely difficult too, depending upon the experiences that are involved here.

As the month of May begins, we find only one planet representing the water element: Uranus which is in Pisces. Water is the element of the emotional realm, and when water is underrepresented it becomes more difficult to manage our emotions. Uranus is a dry planet, and in a water sign it does not provide the watery flow that assists in the processing of emotions. Other than the Moon (especially the Scorpio Full Moon on May 9th), we will not have any planets other than Uranus in water signs until the Sun enters Cancer in June. Until then we are living in a realm of ideas and action, with a predominance of air and fire.

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The Astrology of the State of Emergency

I hope this will be my last post on the swine flu!! Eric Francis has done a beautiful job of analyzing the chart (April 26, 2009, 12:34 pm, Washington DC) for the state of emergency that was announced Sunday and breaking down the climate of fear that surrounds this whole swine flu thing.

Eric writes (my comments are in brackets):

This chart reminds me of a Jaguar with someone riding the clutch. The engine is roaring and the power is not getting to the wheels. It’s an extraordinarily powerful chart — but the Moon is void of course. That is to say, the Moon has made its last aspect and is essentially drifting through Taurus at the time of the announcement.

Mars is square Pluto to one arc minute — 1/60th of a degree. This is just stunning. Check out the 9th house — that is the house of international things. We are likely to see a big response here. Mars is in the international house and Pluto is in the health house, the 6th. They are in a perfect square and that says action: international response.  [Also likely conflict between nations on how to handle the crisis.]

Mars, Venus and Pluto are all activating the Aries Point [0 degrees Aries] (the personal is political), so this is a chart with far-reaching public energy. Uranus is close behind, in Pisces, right on the 9th cusp, adding a sense of urgency, though it’s in Pisces — more emotional than mental. But the Moon void is the first factor that leads one to wonder where it’s all going. Generally, you need a strong Moon to have a strong chart. The activating agent in this horoscope is the very precise Mars square Pluto. [Pluto is associated with viruses as a rule but mysterious illness falls under Neptune’s purview.]

The second factor that raises doubts is that Mercury is in a tight square to Neptune. Actually this is Mercury square Neptune, Jupiter and Chiron. …  In a public chart, it warns us that what is being announced simply may not be true. I don’t doubt that there is a flu outbreak; I doubt the importance of the issue, and the relevance of the findings. I know I would look like an ass if the Mexican flu wiped out half the planet, but I don’t think it’s going to do anything of the kind. I have the luxury of talking about this as an astrologer and not a government official responsible for millions of lives. We do NOT know the truth here — the chart is warning this in spades. What is the source of the lie, or the motive? I am not getting data on that, but that group of Mercury aspects is sounding a loud warning. [Breaking it down, we have the Moon separating from a conjunction to Mercury by less than a degree, demonstrating the highly emotional context of the announcement, and this combination is being challenged by Pluto, which aggrandizes the emotion and makes it more important than perhaps it is.  Chiron brings up our fears, and Neptune clouds the issue and facilitates illusion and group-think.]

read more here…

That this issue is predominating the global consciousness is shown by Leo rising, and the ruler of the chart, the Sun, elevated in the 10th house at the top of the chart.  Mars, the ruler of the 10th, is square to Pluto which shows a great deal of fear and possibly death.  Eric says Pisces on the cusp of the 8th house of death denotes “death anxiety,” and this is also reflected by the combination of the confusion of the Neptune square with the intensity of the Mars/Pluto square.

Still, fear is always our own worst enemy.  Fear is the real virus: It’s useful to use caution and be smart, but leave the wolf of fear outside the door.

Ceres and the Swine Flu Connection

One of the interesting blogs you’ll find in my blogroll is Todd Chapman’s “Through the Looking Glass.”  Todd is an avid watcher of meaningful connections, and he has over time made an fascinating study of connections involving Ceres.  Todd writes,

Anyone familiar with my entire body of work will surely know that some of my earliest posts centered around the ancient mid-April festival of Cerealia, held in the honor of the Roman Goddess CERES. One of the “highlights” of the Cerealia was the porca pracidanea, the ritual sacrifice of a PIG. In previous articles over the past two years, I have attempted to exhibit some the “pork” related happenings which also seem to coincide with a bloodier human ritual which has become common place during approximately the same dates of mid-April [see Ok. City, Columbine, Virgina Tech]

The festival of Cerealia occurred around April 12 to April 19, although the exact timing is now unknown. The image of Ceres, like Aphrodite and the other goddesses of the ancient world, has been watered down over the years.  Rather than the benign earth mother guise in which she appears today, in ancient Rome and in Greece as Demeter she could be a rather frightening figure who had complete control over the survival of humanity.  Remember that when her daughter was lost in the underworld Ceres/Demeter in her grief allowed her people to starve to death.

Conspiracy theorists are having a field day with the connection of the mass shootings that occurred in mid-April this year to the Cerealia festival, and now the eruption of the swine flu at this time is certainly an interesting coincidence.  The predominance of mass murders in the month of April has caused more than a few raised eyebrows.  The siege in Waco occurred on April 19 1993.  The Oklahoma City bombings occurred on April 19 1995.  The Columbine murders occurred on April 20 1999.  The Virginia Tech murders took place on April 16 2007.

The fact that the swine flu erupted into the news at precisely the time of year as the Cerealia festival which centered around the sacrifice of a pig is an interesting coincidence.  But rather than being an Illuminati conspiracy of Satan worship and mind control, I believe that this type of coincidence programs us to pay attention to our place in the natural world.

Arlen Specter changes party affiliations: The astrological connection

Arlen Specter, a moderate Republican senator from Pennsylvania, has served five terms in the US Senate since he was elected in 1980 but today announced that he is switching to the Democratic party:

I have been a Republican since 1966. I have been working extremely hard for the Party, for its candidates and for the ideals of a Republican Party whose tent is big enough to welcome diverse points of view. While I have been comfortable being a Republican, my Party has not defined who I am. I have taken each issue one at a time and have exercised independent judgment to do what I thought was best for Pennsylvania and the nation.

Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans.

When I supported the stimulus package, I knew that it would not be popular with the Republican Party. But, I saw the stimulus as necessary to lessen the risk of a far more serious recession than we are now experiencing.

Since then, I have traveled the State, talked to Republican leaders and office-holders and my supporters and I have carefully examined public opinion. It has become clear to me that the stimulus vote caused a schism which makes our differences irreconcilable. On this state of the record, I am unwilling to have my twenty-nine year Senate record judged by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate. I have not represented the Republican Party. I have represented the people of Pennsylvania.

I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary.

Specter’s note that the schism in the Republican party began at the time of the vote for Obama’s stimulus package is interesting from an astrological perspective because it ties so neatly into the timing of the opposition between Saturn and Uranus that we have been discussing in great detail in this column.  Oppositions occur when two planets are 180 degrees from each other and exert a tension and a pull in each opposite direction.

With Saturn ruling conservatism and Uranus ruling progressive ideas, it’s not surprising that the schism between these two modes of thinking have come to such a frenzied peak.  We Saturn/Uranus opposition began on election day, coinciding with the taking over of the White House by Democrats.  The second phase of the cycle was building at the time of the stimulus vote and peaked just a few days later.

Unfortunately, we don’t have a time of birth for Arlen Specter (2/12/1930, Wichita KS) but his birthchart shows his balance of progressive thinking and conservative values.  Saturn (responsibility and hard work) is in its own sign of Capricorn and therefore a doubly strong significator that these values are an important part of his nature.  Saturn also forms a stressful square to his Moon (emotional nature) which can add a touch of rigidity to the emotional nature.

On the other hand, Jupiter in the chart is in Gemini where it tends to be curious about many different ways of thinking, and we see this reflected in Specter’s desire to be part of the Republican Party when it had a “big tent” that permitted many different views.  Specter has the Sun conjunct Venus in Aquarius where it has been transited by the triple conjunction in the sky right now of Jupiter, Chiron and Neptune.  Jupiter is the planet of expansion and liberation, and when we have a transit of Jupiter we tend to want to be liberated from whatever is holding us back.  Specter suffered a recurrence of cancer last year as Chiron passed over his Leo Moon, and no doubt that caused him to think seriously about his life choices.

The transit of Neptune, planet of transcendence and compassion, across his Sun and Venus has no doubt created a desire within him to serve in a way that connects with him on a deeper and more meaningful level.  The transit of Chiron, the Wounded Healer, has brought him face to face with painful experiences that challenge his ability to realign his true Self (the Sun) in a way that supports his own personal evolution.

Specter’s announcement coincides with the exact transit of Jupiter over his Sun and Venus, suggesting that this change is a liberating event for him.  Michael Steele, chairman of the GOP, suggested that Specter merely changed party affiliations because it would be difficult for him to win the Republican nomination for his next term.  But the transits suggests otherwise – they suggest that this is a major event in Specter’s life that realigns him with his purpose in a way that will energize him for the future.

Jill has a different take on this conversion, as do many others.

The Moral Universes of Liberals and Conservatives

I’ve written before in these pages about the intensification of the struggle between the more liberal mindset (signified by Uranus) and a more conservative approach (represented by Saturn) as Saturn and Uranus face off in the sky, beginning in 2008 and continuing throughout 2010.

Sign of the Times has an article about social psychologist Jon Haidt who has quantified the differing moral universes of Democrats and Republicans in an effort to foster greater understanding between the two.  Haidt identified five moral impulses:

– Harm/care. It is wrong to hurt people; it is good to relieve suffering.

– Fairness/reciprocity. Justice and fairness are good; people have certain rights that need to be upheld in social interactions.

– In-group loyalty. People should be true to their group and be wary of threats from the outside. Allegiance, loyalty and patriotism are virtues; betrayal is bad.

– Authority/respect. People should respect social hierarchy; social order is necessary for human life.

– Purity/sanctity. The body and certain aspects of life are sacred. Cleanliness and health, as well as their derivatives of chastity and piety, are all good. Pollution, contamination and the associated character traits of lust and greed are all bad.

Democrats, he found, feel strongly about the first two but cared little about the second three.  Republicans valued the third, fourth and fifth value above the first two.  According to Haidt,

“I see liberalism and conservatism as opposing principles that work well when in balance,” he says, noting that authority needs to be both upheld (as conservatives insist) and challenged (as liberals maintain). “It’s a basic design principle: You get better responsiveness if you have two systems pushing against each other. As individuals, we are very bad at finding the flaws in our own arguments. We all have a distorted perception of reality.”

Most of us have a combination of conservative and liberal traits in our charts.  We all have Uranus, we all have Saturn.  Some, like my generation, have those two planets in square formation.  My Saturn/Uranus cohort has famously veered back and forth in crazy radical swings between the desire to stay the same and the need for change.  Part of me wants to live in the Lassie TV show, where mom stayed home and everyone knew their neighbors.  (Saturn) Part of me wants complete freedom from rules and regulations and a constant barrage of technological advances (Uranus). It is often the individuals with this kind of conflict who are the most polarized, such as the example of Rush Limbaugh which I wrote about last summer.

The more we understand the way those we don’t agree with think, the better able we will be to communicate with them.  This is one of the advantages to the wisdom that astrology provides!