The human brain and robotics: One step closer to Transhumanism

Researchers from Honda Motor Company have developed a new way to analyze human brain patterns and translate them into commands for their new generation of robots.  Several years ago I predicted that in the Age of Aquarius, at which we are on the brink, the distinction between the human brain and technology will be blurred, and computers will plug into our brains directly and pick up our thoughts.

Other research is beginning to show that the use of technology is changing the human brain as we adapt to the new demands of our changing world. As I wrote in this earlier article:

Since Neptune entered Aquarius in the late 1990s following the Uranus/Neptune conjunction of 1992-1995, the boundaries between humans and technology (Uranus/Aquarius) have blurred (Neptune).  When Uranus entered Pisces in 2003, instigating the mutual reception that has been in place since then with Uranus in the sign ruled by Neptune and Neptune in the sign ruled by Uranus, this blurring has increased exponentially.  So really, for the last 15 years we have been wandering into uncharted technological territory.  This period saw the explosion of the internet and the wiring of nearly every human being on the planet into the World Wide Web.

This hard-wiring of technology into our brains comes easier for those of us who are already rather electric in nature, with Uranus strong in our charts.  For others it’s a more difficult

Modern Piracy during the Saturn/Uranus opposition

modern piratesphoto from Nick Ryan’s website. When I first heard about the new epidemic of piracy in Somalia I confess I thought it was a joke. Pirates, I thought, were the legendary ruffians that terrorized the Caribbean hundreds of years ago.  It turns out I was wrong, and piracy is alive and well and has been for years, particularly off the Somali coast and other areas including Indonesia, Bangladesh and Brazil.

Modern piracy evidently thrives on political unrest, and political unrest is often seen when Saturn is in a stressful aspect with Uranus.  Saturn represents established governments and the status quo, and Uranus is the revolutionary, the oddball, the eccentric.  Pirates act outside of any governmental system, and seek to undermine the conventional structure through acts of rebellion and violence for financial gain.

The last peak of piracy incidents occurred in the first half of 2003, the worst 6-month period on record according to Wikipedia.  This coincides with the opening square in the Saturn/Uranus cycle, when Saturn in Cancer formed a square to Uranus in Pisces.  The entry of Pluto into Capricorn in 2008 witnessed another uptick in incidents of attacks by pirates, accelerating as Saturn moved into position to oppose Uranus in the sky.  By September and October and into November and December, when Saturn and Uranus were within five degrees of their exact opposition, the incidents of pirate attacks had accelerated steeply, reflecting the intensification of the conflict between the radical behavior of Uranus, which seeks to break up the power structure, and the suppressive factor of Saturn.

The second phase of the Saturn/Uranus opposition occurred in early February and seems to have coincided with increased publicity for the piracy incidents.  Saturn and Uranus will face off an unusual five times before completing the cycle in July of 2010, and by then Uranus and Pluto will be preparing for their own battle which will create its own intensity of radical behavior.

Saturn is responding to the Uranian behavior by sending more ships into these waters to suppress (Saturn) the rebellious activity of the pirates (Uranus).  The question remains whether the nations currently in power have sufficient resources to quell these microrebellions as they spread to follow governmental instability.

Happy Resurrection Holiday! The Origins of Easter

EasterArt by Diane Clancy I have always found it interesting that the timing Christian holiday of Easter is based on the lunar cycle and the Spring Equinox.  The holiday that the Christian world celebrates as Easter retains much of its pagan roots as a fertility festival and a time of balance as the days and nights (in the northern hemispheres) are of equal length. Even the name “Easter” is taken from the Saxon fertility goddess Ostara or Eostre, who is related to Astarte in ancient Babylon and Ashtoreth in ancient Israel.  And the Easter bunny is, of course, an old pagan symbol of fertility.

The resurrection story of Jesus is virtually identical to the tale of the resurrection of the Phrygian god Attis who preceded him:  According to Gerald Berry’s Religions of the World: The Record of Man’s Religious Faiths Primitive rites, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Christianity and others written in 1965, “About 200 B.C. mystery cults began to appear in Rome just as they had earlier in Greece. Most notable was the Cybele cult centered on Vatican hill …Associated with the Cybele cult was that of her lover, Attis (the older Tammuz, Osiris, Dionysus, or Orpheus under a new name). He was a god of ever-reviving vegetation. Born of a virgin, he died and was reborn annually. The festival began as a day of blood on Black Friday and culminated after three days in a day of rejoicing over the resurrection.”

Another interesting aspect to the timing of Easter is its combination of the solar and lunar calendar, taking place as it does on the first Sunday following the 14th day of the lunar month following the Equinox.  The Jewish festival of Passover, which was certainly celebrated by Jesus and his followers, takes place on the 15th day of the month of Nisan in the lunar calendar, which is the first Full Moon after the Equinox.  The ancient Christian leaders, probably wanting to differentiate their Easter holiday, uses an “ecclesiastical” full moon rather than the actual lunar event.  (Passover, however, is not a resurrection festival.)

Other ancient cultures celebrated the resurrection of their dying gods:  Osiris, Tammuz, Dionysus – all are gods who died and were reborn anew. In the Spring, when life springs forth anew from every tree and flower, there is a sense of resurrection and rebirth and an opportunity for a fresh new start. Even in Islam there are some stories (not universally accepted) that Mohammed ascended to heaven on a a white horse, although no effort is made to connect this phenomenon to the Spring resurrection festival.

Let us celebrate this renewal, no matter what our faith, and the beginnings of Spring!

Kal Penn – the astrology of his sudden life change

Kal PennKal Penn, born Kalpen Modi April 23 1977 (time unknown), has been acting since the age of 21.  After a successful film career (he is best known for his role as Kumar in the Harold and Kumar movies) he landed a regular television gig on the program “House” where he has been a regular cast member since the fall of 2007.

Recently Kal made news when his character on House, Dr. Lawrence Kutner, committed suicide.  He immediately announced that he was taking on the role of Associate Director of the office of Public Liaison in the Obama administration.

Penn’s astrological chart (also known as the birthchart, or horoscope) shows that he was born with the Sun in Taurus, which was in close proximity (conjunct) Chiron, which is also known as the Wounded Healer.  This planetary combination shows that Penn is a person who cherishes stability in life and doesn’t like change (Taurus), but that he has had difficulty establishing a sense of his own identity (Chiron conjunct the Sun).  With the Sun conjunct Mercury (which with its mercurial nature lends itself to taking on other roles) he has a natural facility for acting, but he has an extremely serious side as well.

Saturn, the planet of hard work and discipline, forms a challenging aspect to Penn’s Sun which suggests that he puts a great deal of pressure on himself to be successful.  Saturn is in Leo, which reveals that he is uncomfortable with attention and fame, despite the news reports that claim that Penn quit the House gig out of an attack of egomania.

The Taurus Sun desires a comfortable life that is stable and secure, and acting certainly provides a good income when one has a steady television career. But the serious side of Penn has always reached for something deeper and more meaningful.  In 2007 it was announced that Penn would be teaching undergraduate courses at the University of Pennsylvania.  It was around this time that his Moon progressed into Virgo which has a longing to be of service and to do meaningful work.  At the same time, transiting Pluto has been forming a trine to his Sun which is encouraging him to transform his life in order to better reflect his true self.

The Chiron/Neptune conjunction: Part II

When Chiron and Neptune are working together, they combine to assist with the work of the soul.  The body,, the mind, and the ego are all most interested in living a life well-grounded in the material world that offers the maximum of pleasure and the minimum of pain.  The soul does not pursue pleasure and avoid pain; instead, there is an embrace of experiences that will assist us at the deepest level to completely learn the lessons that are presented to us so that we can release the past and move forward with greater wisdom.

Chiron facilitates this aspect of soul work by uncovering any wounded places that have been left unresolved so that we can be freed of the blocked energy that our unreleased wounds hold within the body/mind/spirit system.  Neptune assists by reminding us that there is a world of experience that lies beyond the boundaries of the material world.  Under the influence of Neptune we either open up to experiences of a powerful mystical nature, or else we become confused and deluded as the nature of our personal reality is blurred and we have nothing to replace it with.  Neptune bestows creative genius and a spiritual connection to our Divine self as the physical world is transcended, or it can cause us to indulge in escapist and addictive behavior in an effort to escape the prison of our own mind.

As in everything else in the astrological language, there is a both a higher and lower manifestation of both Chiron and Neptune, so when they combine in a conjunction there is the potential to for a transcendent experience of healing spirituality, or a confusing descent into the hell of the unknown of the psyche.

I suspect that the epidemic of mass shootings we have seen over the past few months as Chiron and Neptune approach their exact conjunction is the result of the conjunction taking a darker turn in the personal lives of many people  Chiron can intensify any wounds that are already challenging, and Neptune can make it difficult to evaluate those experiences with any kind of rational thought.  We like to think of Jupiter as being a “benefic” planet, but it is also the great liberator and expands whatever it comes into contact with, so when Jupiter hooks up with Chiron the process of exposing the wounds for greater healing potential can create an abundance of sensitivity that under Neptune’s influence has no real outlet without a conscious application.

There is also an opportunity here for tremendous spiritual growth and insight if we look within for the wisdom that awaits there.  The process of spiritual evolution does often require that we step confidently through a dark night of the soul or two, and this may be a necessity over the next couple of months.  Jupiter and Neptune expand the potential for creativity as the inspiration of the divine showers easily through the veil of the mind, and the voice of our guidance and the divinity of our choice can be clearly heard now.  Jupiter in Aquarius is humanistic and altruistic, and there is a strong focus on the call for change, both within ourselves and in the world in which we live as well!