Astrological Musings

Astronomers at IAU ignore Pluto once again

The International Astronomers’ Union met again this week and some star-watchers hoped that Pluto would be under consideration to regain planetary status.  Alas, it was not to be:

Neither the pro-Pluto nor the anti-Pluto adherents have any interest in reviving the debate over planethood in Rio – and it’ll likely be a long time before the IAU gets back into planetary politics.
“There’s no discussion of dwarf planets. That has subsided,” said Lars Lindberg Christensen, who served as the IAU’s spokesman during the 2006 assembly in Prague and is filling the same role in Rio. …

read more here…

Until a Pluto transit feels like any other day, for me Pluto will remain a planet and no one can convince me otherwise!!

By | 2009-08-10T06:24:32+00:00 August 10th, 2009|Astronomy|Comments Off on Astronomers at IAU ignore Pluto once again

Self-righteousness, ignorance and illusion in health care reform

Before a society can make intelligent choices about something that affects its citizenry, it must know the facts.  In the United States the debate over health care reform is degenerating into violence and at least one congressman (Brad Miller of North Carolina) has received a death threat for his support of Obama’s health care plan. There has been a carefully orchestrated misinformation campaign that has spread rumors that, among other things, Americans would be forced to give up their private insurance and that seniors would be euthanized.  Neither of these things are true.

Personally, I would rather see the government focus attention on ensuring that Americans can purchase their own health insurance no matter who they work for or what their pre-existing conditions are.  I also saw first-hand how medical centers give expensive tests to people (me) who don’t need them just because insurance will cover them.  (I went in to an emergency room needing pain medication and ended up with $8000 in Cat-scans and EKGs.)  Clearly an overhaul is needed.  But why not discuss the situation intelligently?  Why must the debate become violent?

Thanks to Jill, I found this commentary by Paul Krugman.  Krugman shares this interesting anecdote:

There was a telling incident at a town hall held by Representative Gene Green, D-Tex. An activist turned to his fellow attendees and asked if they “oppose any form of socialized or government-run health care.” Nearly all did. Then Representative Green asked how many of those present were on Medicare. Almost half raised their hands.

Obviously, Medicare IS government-run health care.  Krugman makes the point this commentary (an excellent read!) that if the citizenry that are so violently opposed to Obama’s health care reform don’t know what they are opposed to, then they are actually opposed to something else.

The group that stands to lose the most from a public health care option is the insurance companies themselves, and one group funding the battle for health care reform is called Conservatives for Patient’s Rights, or CPR.  CPR uses the same PR firm that devised the so-called Swift Boat attacks and is headed by Richard Scott, former head of the hospital chain HCA that was the subject of an FBI investigation resulting in 14 felony convictions and $1.7 billion in fees and fines for Medicare fraud.  As Krugman says, you can’t make this stuff up.

Some commentators are using racial bias to explain this dramatic resistance to Obama’s policies, but I feel that this can only go so far.  Certainly there is an element of that present, but the panic and anxiety that fuels this kind of intensity has its roots in a fear of change.

Astrologically we can tie this to a couple of different planetary cycles.  First is the opposition of Saturn to Uranus which I discussed on the radio show this morning (you can listen to the archived show here).   The first phase of this cycle occurred on election day and ushered in a five-part cycle of tension between the status quo (Saturn) and a radical change from what we know (Uranus).  We are seeing this in virtually every area of life and every political system around the world.  The second of course is Pluto having entered Capricorn in 2008 and setting off the destruction and renewal (Pluto) of the societal structures that are the foundation of society (Capricorn).

The Triple Conjunction of Jupiter, Chiron and Neptune have also had a significant effect here.  Chiron is the urge for healing, and Neptune brings illusion and a desire to transcend the limitations of the practical.  Jupiter in its role as King of the Gods can be arrogant and self-righteous as well as bountiful and expansive.  When three planets come together in a conjunction it can be either positive or negative, depending upon the individual and the situation.  This has been a very painful time for many people as the necessity for healing old wounds (Chiron) collides with their dreams and illusions (Neptune), and then the addition of Jupiter gives them the confidence they need to step out and aggressively defend their positions.

The opposition of Saturn and Uranus will make its third exact hit (out of five total) on September 15, and the two planets are in alignment now.  Jupiter, Chiron and Neptune will be traveling together into the late fall, so this panic and anxiety that we are seeing will not soon subside.

By | 2009-08-09T05:22:33+00:00 August 9th, 2009|Health & Healing, Planetary cycles, Politics|Comments Off on Self-righteousness, ignorance and illusion in health care reform

Astrology, the Kepler telescope, and extrasolar planets

The orbiting Kepler telescope has spotted a Jupiter-sized planet around another star — a sighting that demonstrates it can see Earth-like planets if they are out there, scientists reported on Thursday.

The planet, called HAT-P-7b, was already among the 300 or so known so-called extrasolar planets, the team led by the U.S. space agency NASA reported. But measurements of its orbit by Kepler show the telescope will be able to see smaller planets, they reported in the journal Science.

“Kepler is operating at the level required to detect Earth-size planets,” the team, led by William Borucki of the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, reported.

read more here...

In the conversation with Steven Forrest that I taped for last week’s radio show I asked him his thoughts on adding new planets to the astrological repertoire.  Steven’s philosophy is “as above, so below,” the principle on which astrologers usually rely in explaining how astrology works, applies to most things in the sky.  Asteroids, Chiron (a sort of permanent comet), other bodies in the Kuiper Belt, all of these planetary bodies belong to our solar system and have some astrological effect for humans on planet Earth.

It seems to me, though, that astrology was given to us as a tool to observe planets in OUR solar system.  Once we begin talking about planets outside of our solar system I would make the assumption that there would be no astrological effect on Earth.

Eris, Sedna, and Quaoar are all “trans-Neptunians,” meaning they are located past Neptune but still within our solar system.  I have just started incorporating Eris into client charts, and some astrologers are looking at Sedna and Quaoar.  There are quite a few other trans-Neptunian bodies that are used by some astrologers, particularly those that call themselves “Uranian” astrologers.

Still – all of these are bodies within our solar system that are subject to the gravitational pull of our Sun.  With the rapidly accelerating progress of space exploration there are hundreds or maybe thousands of new planets ready to be discovered.  But does that mean they should all be incorporated into the birthchart?  In my view, it’s that gravitational pull to the Sun that defines whether or not a body in space has an astrological effect.  The Sun is to the Solar System as the heart is to the human being, and it’s that parallel that for me excludes any new exo-planet currently discovered.

By | 2009-08-05T07:20:14+00:00 August 5th, 2009|Astrology, Astronomy|Comments Off on Astrology, the Kepler telescope, and extrasolar planets

President Obama’s solar return

You can read my profile of Barack Obama here.

The Solar Return occurs at the moment that the Sun returns to its place in the birthchart.  That is often the birthday, but sometimes it is a day or two off.  More than just a time to celebrate the time of your birth, it’s actually a planetary cycle that begins a new when the Sun returns to its natal place.  The Sun illumines the Self and inspires us to fulfill the destiny that was given to us in the Sun sign, and the Solar Return shines a window into the manner in which that process might happen over the next year.

President Obama’s Solar Return occurred at 3:33 pm today (August 4).  This is an interesting number, but that’s for another story.  The Sun in the SR chart is in the Eighth House, the house of power, death, sexuality and taxes.  The President is clearly in charge of two of those aspects of the Eighth House, and I suspect that the other two will come into play at some point as well.  In the Eighth House we learn to read and understand the balances of power that pervade our every experience, but the Eighth House also calls on us to dive deep below the superficial.  Obama sailed into office on a sea of popularity which has been diminishing as the reality of the challenges the country face sets in.  This will be the year that tests his ability to hold and distribute the power of the Eighth House.

The only aspect to the Sun is a harmonious sextile from Mars that suggests that he will have a degree of success in achieving this.  Mars provides energy and passion to get things done, and Mars in the SR chart is in Gemini where much is achieved through discussion and the transmission of ideas.  That Mars is in the Seventh House of marriage and partnerships, so I suspect there will be fair amount of conflict in the White House and not just with Michelle.  If I were a predicting sort of astrologer I would predict that Obama becomes more independent (Mars) from the partnerships that he has made in his first year in office, particularly Rahm Emanuel and Lawrence Summers.  That Seventh House Mars is a team player mostly when the team is on his side.

Sagittarius is rising in the Solar Return chart, so optimism and faith will continue to be a big part of his message.  However, the Moon is in the last degree of Capricorn and it tightly conjoins the North Node, suggesting an almost desperate (last degree) effort to put the new structures (Capricorn) in motion that will support Obama’s sense of his destiny (North Node).

Saturn, the Celestial Taskmaster, sits prominently on the Virgo Midheaven of the Solar Return chart, revealing that either (a) the amount of work that Obama has to do this year will be overwhelming and he will be crushed under the pressure, or (b) Obama will persist and apply the creative power of discipline and hard work and will be fantastically successful in his endeavors.

The big challenge in this chart is the opposition of Pluto to Venus in Cancer in the Solar Return chart that echoes the square of transiting Pluto to Venus in the natal chart.  This astrological double whammy does not bode well for partnerships of any kind.  When Pluto hit Obama’s Venus for the first round his association with his pastor Jeremiah Wright came to an end.  Pluto rules nuclear power and destruction that precedes rebirth, and in connection with Venus it has a tendency to blow up relationships, particularly if they have outlived their purpose.  This will be an interesting year from that perspective.

The transits and progressions for the next year are fairly positive for President Obama.  He has numerous Jupiter transits which tend to bring luck and good fortune, particularly the continuing transit of Jupiter over the Ascendant of his natal chart (personal identity) which began in April.  This bodes well for his confidence and ability to inspire confidence and others which is critical in a leader.

Saturn trines his natal Saturn in September which is another portent of success that rewards hard work, but it will then go on to conjunct the Sun in his progressed chart, revealing that challenges await in October.  November will be particularly difficult for him as Saturn becomes locked in a square to Pluto that aspects Venus in the natal chart.  This again suggests shakeups in partnerships of all kinds.  Watch for changes in the White House staff as a result.

All in all though, it looks like a fairly positive year for Obama and while there are some stressful planetary cycles, the large number of Jupiter events should carry him through with a strong degree of success.

Update: 8/5 am. I’m on vacation and missed the publication of a supposed Kenyan birth certificate for Obama that was just released before the Full Moon minor eclipse today.  The Full Moon opposes Obama’s Sun, so the timing of this is interesting.  This website has an interesting discussion on the various points surrounding the Kenyan birth certificate.

By | 2009-08-05T06:16:04+00:00 August 5th, 2009|Politics|Comments Off on President Obama’s solar return

Pluto: A Case Study

I’m out of town this week so I’ll be reposting some of the more interesting articles in the archives.  I hope you will like this one!

Last week I saw a client (let’s call her Sylvia) whose birthchart demonstrates the power of Pluto. Sylvia’s Sun is in the hard-working sign of Capricorn: Capricorns typically have a difficult life when they’re young but because they’re such hard workers (ruled by the Celestial Taskmaster himself, Saturn) they can be quite powerful as they age and incorporate life’s lessons. She also has a Grand Trine including Mars, Jupiter and her Moon, bestowing a sense of inner trust (Jupiter/Moon) that life has meaning as well as a dynamic will (Mars/Jupiter) for self-preservation (Mars/Moon). These are the tools that have helped her to navigate a difficult life that has been Pluto’s gift to her. Note to astrologers: to protect her privacy I will not be posting her chart.

Pluto in the astrological chart shows where we come face to face with the underworld of our emotions: fear, compulsion, obsession. Pluto often shows where we face the cold reality of death in order to come to a greater understanding of life. Astrologer Liz Greene says that Pluto represents the essential life force in nature that often must destroy in order to survive. The power of Pluto is that basic, and that intense. When we’re in the middle of a Plutonic disaster (our spouse leaves us, we lose our job, our house burns down, our cat dies) we are lost in the underworld of our fear and the pain of loss that is Pluto’s realm. But once the storm has passed we find ourselves rebuilding the wreckage of our lives with a new sense of empowerment that comes from having faced our fears and survived.

Pluto is conjunct Sylvia’s ascendant (persona and identity) within one degree, exactly opposite Venus (relating to others and love of self) which is therefore conjunct the descendant (cusp of the seventh house of partnership). Any planet on the ascendant (rising) expresses itself through the personality, and Pluto rising often is a person who is intimidating and can be a bit of a bully. However, when two planets are opposite (180 degrees) each other, often the individual will express the energy of the planet at one end but project the other planet onto others in her life. This is particularly true when we are dealing with two planets in opposition that fall on the ascendant/descendant axis of personal identity/relationship identity.

Sylvia was born into a family of violence. Her father beat her on a regular basis, blaming her for deserving it. She grew up in fear for her life as her father, embodying Pluto on the identity axis, annhilated her sense of Self. Her Venus is on the cusp of the seventh house, making her extremely attractive and desirable and she easily escaped her home life by marrying at a very young age. Unfortunately, she attracted the exact dynamic to her and the beatings continued, this time from her husband. She escaped again from this marriage and since then has worked hard to learn from her experiences and make choices that will empower her in ways that she never knew.

Saturn, that Celestial Taskmaster, squares Chiron (wounding and healing) in her chart which has throughout her life forced her to confront her pain and learn its lessons and the Grand Trine in air signs (the ultimate harmonious chart dynamic) has been a tool through which she can process her experiences and learn from them. (Oprah Winfrey also has a Grand Trine in air signs.)

Now, in midlife, Sylvia is a woman with a strong resolve and a great deal of personal power, although she is still working on facing her fears. Her chart is a good representation for the Plutonic dynamics of fear, violence and ultimate empowerment. It also demonstrates how powerfully Pluto operates in the birthchart.

By | 2009-08-03T06:14:54+00:00 August 3rd, 2009|Astrology|Comments Off on Pluto: A Case Study