Astrological Musings

The Death of Chris Penn


Being a participant in sibling rivalry in my own family, I found myself thinking immediately of suicide when I heard of Chris Penn’s death yesterday. Sean Penn is one of the noted actors of a generation and Michael Penn has received a fair amount of press as a musician, yet in researching Chris Penn’s life for this article I could find very little information on him other than news of his death in a Santa Monica apartment. No mansion, no wife. The little information that I could find appeared to suggest that he was single and had never married, and evidently his short tenure on Law and Order ended last year. I find myself wondering, what was Chris Penn really like, and how did he die? The latest press reports tell of “natural” causes, but what is a natural cause of death at age 43? I had to find out more about Chris’s life, and to wonder if he was stifled in the shadow of the brilliant light surrounding his brothers Sean and Michael.

Looking at his birthchart, I discovered that Chris was a Libra, the sign of balance and relationships. Libra is the peacemaker, the one who often sacrifices himself in order to achieve harmony in the relationships around him. Libras typically yearn to be in partnership with another, there is a strong desire to be married, to have a best friend, a one-on-one relationship in ones personal and business lives. His Moon, however, was in Aries, the sign ruled by Mars, showing us that in order to feel truly safe and secure emotionally (Moon) he had a strong need to express his own self and manifest his own will and desires (Aries). The tension between the desire to please others (Libra) and the need to put himself first (Aries) can be a difficult one and requires a great deal of awareness to balance.

Chris was born when the Uranus/Pluto conjunction of 1965 was exact within one minute. This was an incredibly powerful planetary event that fused the revolutionary fervor of Uranus with the upheaval and transformational urge of Pluto, and fostered the cultural revolution of the 1960s. Those who were born at this time carry that intensity within them and many have had a very difficult time coping with life. In Chris Penn’s chart the Uranus/Pluto conjunction opposed both Saturn and Chiron, both of which were retrograde. Saturn represents discipline, hard work and creates limitations for us that cause us to work harder and ultimately gain success. Saturn retrograde reveals an individual who was extremely self-critical, and combined with the wounding/healing of Chiron, also retrograde, this is a very difficult placement. Those psychic wounds are continually being exposed for healing, which is Chiron’s job, but Saturn’s negative self-talk makes that healing extremely difficult.

This conjunction of Saturn and Chiron were trine (harmonious aspect) to Neptune in Chris’s chart, facilitating his acting ability as Neptune brings creativity as well as a yearning for a connection with the spiritual side of life.

Chris would have had a very difficult time during 2004 and 2005 when transiting Pluto challenged the Uranus/Pluto oppositision to Saturn/Chiron, setting off all of his issues around failure (Saturn)/wounding (Chiron)/lack of power (Pluto)/need to break out and achieve a level of freedom (Uranus). However, his current planetary cycles seem relatively benign, including a large number of transits by Jupiter. We often see transits of Jupiter in a death chart, since Jupiter can free us from situations that are keeping us from achieving our dreams. Seeing this many Jupiter transits at the time of death brings to mind a sense of release, of liberation from a painful life. Chris Penn’s progressed Moon was conjunct his natal Sun and opposing his natal Moon over the two-day period preceding his death, suggesting an emotional (moon) catalyst of some sort.

Life and death are rarely truly what we imagine them to be. I’ll be updating this analysis as more details become available.

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By | 2006-01-25T16:10:00+00:00 January 25th, 2006|People|Comments Off on The Death of Chris Penn

Will Jupiter/Neptune Bring Another Stock Market Bubble?


Jupiter and Neptune have begun a battle which will continue until the end of March, at which point they will briefly separate and come together again in September. The cycle that we are currently in is similar to the period of “irrational exuberance” just before the stock market bubble popped in the first quarter of the year 2000. The conflict between Jupiter and Neptune in their square aspect creates an environment of optimism (Jupiter) that is largely based on fantasy (Neptune), and a sense of overconfidence (Jupiter) in one’s ability to transcend the boundaries that ordinary diligence requires (Neptune).

In astrological symbolism, Jupiter represents expansion, opportunity, optimism, and a sense of faith that life has meaning. Neptune as we have seen in other articles here, represents the blurring of ordinary reality for the purpose of exposing a greater sense of mystery and opening us up to higher realms of awareness.

The geometric angles that the planets make to each other describe the way they work together. If the planets are in “harmonious” aspect (the 60 degree sextiles and the 120 degree trines), the planets work well together and help each other to accomplish the goals of both planets. If the planets are in “challenging” aspect (the 90 degree square and the 180 degree opposition), the planets are in conflict with each other and we tend to see the negative or shadow manifestations of those planets. Hence, even though Jupiter is generally a positive influence we are likely to see its shadow side over the next few months.

The shadow side of Jupiter involves over-expansion of ego and self, so we tend to see self-righteousness, reckless overconfidence and extravagance, and a failure to take advantage of opportunities that are presented to us. The shadow side of Neptune involves the sinking into illusion and confusion, where we may be more likely to be deceived by others or by ourselves, or over-romanticize a situation.

Because Jupiter deals with issues of abundance and prosperity, it is often prominent in the ups and downs of the stock market. Jupiter is currently passing through Scorpio, which rules the stock market (other people’s money), so it is not surprising that since Jupiter entered Scorpio last October the stock market has been going up (Jupiter rules expansion), reaching 11,000 for the first time.

Back in 1999, stocks were rising during the dot com boom, and Fed chief Alan Greenspan warned of “irrational exuberance” in the market. This period coincided with a square of Jupiter to Neptune which began in the summer of 1999 and ended when Saturn (discipline and limitation) conjuncted Jupiter in the spring of 2000, when the stock market bubble burst, followed by the devastation in the dot com sector.

Saturn and Jupiter first drew swords in December, and re-enter the battle in June. Watch for the markets to crash somewhat at that time as Saturn’s stern demand for reality thinking bursts the bubbles of fantasy. But I predict the real crash will come in September as the clash between Jupiter’s optimism, Neptune’s fantasy and Saturn’s lessons come to a head. It will be useful to start watching over the summer for signs of expansion without sound fundamentals, and pull out of investments that appear unwise at that time.

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By | 2006-01-24T16:10:00+00:00 January 24th, 2006|Money and markets, Planetary cycles|Comments Off on Will Jupiter/Neptune Bring Another Stock Market Bubble?

Sun Entered Aquarius Yesterday


Aquarius is an air sign, dealing with the realm of the intellect. Aquarius is the “dryest” of the air signs, with the least amount of connection to the water element of emotions, so it is interesting that the symbol for Aquarius is the Water Bearer, who manipulates the emotional realms but remains dry and detached. Aquarius is primarily concerned with nothing less than the ultimate expression of the human destiny.

Aquarians (and this includes not only those with Sun in Aquarius but also those with other strong Aquarian influences in their chart) are the idealist of the zodiac – the brilliant thinkers who dance to the beat of their own drum. Aquarius is a fixed sign and can be stubborn and slow to change their mind, but they are also brilliantly intelligent and prone to blinding flashes of insight and innovative ideas. Hence they are the inventors, the wizards of technology, and the Utopian idealists.

This idealistic tendency of Aquarians can become somewhat problematic in personal relationships, where we don’t often see the highest expression of the human soul. Relationships can be messy and emotional, and Aquarius isn’t comfortable in those realms. Independent and loving freedom, they desire fairness and equality in all of their relationships and may find it easier to be friends than lovers.

With their love of humanity and ideals of human interaction, Aquarians can be impersonal and detached. They tend to be uncomfortable with strong emotions and may be prone to health problems such as migraine headaches from repressing emotions within themselves. They dislike following society’s rules and conventions, but are fair and loyal and relentlessly true to their own code of conduct. There is not a more interesting person in the world than an Aquarius, nor a better friend!

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By | 2006-01-22T22:35:00+00:00 January 22nd, 2006|Astrology|Comments Off on Sun Entered Aquarius Yesterday

Osama bin Laden – Out of Hiding?


(painting by Werner Horvath.)

The recent release of an audiotape supposedly from Osama bin Laden brings up many interesting issues and ties in perfectly to the current planetary configuration with Mars opposing Jupiter, both squared by Neptune. Mars, the aggressive urge, is being expanded and aggrandized by Jupiter resulting in aggressive behavior and rhetoric across the globe. Neptune creates a veil of mystery and illusion, perfectly mirroring the disappearance of bin Laden, who threatens an increase (Jupiter) of attacks (Mars) from his hidden and undisclosed location (Neptune).

bin Laden is such an elusive character that even his birthdate is unknown, a source of much frustration among astrologers and rendering suspect any attempt at chart interpretation. The Interpol website gives a date of March 10, 1957, and this is the date most commonly used. However, it has been postulated (see discussion on the Astrodatabank website) that this date results from an incorrect transcription of the 3rd month 10th day from the Islamic calendar to ours. The mystery and illusion that surrounds bin Laden makes him the perfect representative for Neptune, especially as it ties into this configuration with Mars and Jupiter and its proponent for religious (Jupiter) warfare (Mars).

The very issue of his existence is shrouded in mystery. Is he really alive? Many sources reported him dead after the fight at Tora Bora, but then he resurfaced in a videotape in 2004. A journalist reported January 9 that bin Laden died in Iran in December. A terrorism expert in Australia reported that an Indian intelligence officer claimed bin Laden died in April of last year. If he is still alive, why has he not made a videotape? In the days of his full power before September 11, his frequent videotaped appearances created the impression of a man whose ego required constant public expression. And why has Zawahiri produced most of the tapes lately?

The role of Neptune in astrology is to create a yearning within us for an experience of what we often call the “divine.” This is not a religious experience, or a dogmatic philosophy – those fall under the realm of Jupiter. Neptune is the mystic – the gnostic who seeks to “know” and to have a true experience. Neptune is also the artist, the musician, the creative impulse that comes from both within and outside of ourselves. Neptune cycles such as the one we are currently in with Mars and Jupiter create confusion and illusion, but they also impel us in the midst of that confusion to seek an experience of something more real and more true than our day to day reality.

It’s unlikely that this mystery will be solved any time soon.

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By | 2006-01-21T11:54:00+00:00 January 21st, 2006|Politics|Comments Off on Osama bin Laden – Out of Hiding?

The Awakening of Beauty


(Photo from Andrea’s Photo Blog.)

I thought the quote below was perfectly appropriate as we continue our journey of Venus in retrograde motion (until February 3). Venus rules our sense of beauty as well as our ability to relate to others, and when retrograde we tend to RE-visit and RE-place some of our old ideas on how we relate and what we find to be beautiful. We also RE-examine our RE-lationship to our possessions and values, and we may RE-encounter people from our past with a new perspective.

Many astrologers warn that large purchases such as buying a home or investments (personal resources are ruled by Venus) when Venus is retrograde lead to disaster, but I haven’t seen that to necessarily be true. After all the stock market in the US and abroad continues to climb (except for Japan which had a strong correction yesterday), prices of gold continue to increase. Venus retrograde seeks to call our attention to that which we value, including our own resources as well as our relationships.

” Seeing beauty in a flower could awaken humans, however briefly, to the beauty that is an essential part of their own innermost being, their true nature. The first recognition of beauty was one of the most significant events in the evolution of human consciousness. The feelings of joy and love are intrinsically connected to that recognition. Without our fully realizing it, flowers become for us an expression in form of that which is most high, most sacred, and ultimately formless within ourselves. Flowers, more fleeting, more ethereal, and more delicate than the plants out of which they emerged, would become like messengers from another realm, like a bridge between the world of physical forms and the formless. They not only had a scent that was delicate and pleasing to humans, but also brought a fragrance from the realm of spirit.

from Eckart Tolle’s new book A New Earth ~ Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose ~

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By | 2006-01-19T04:41:00+00:00 January 19th, 2006|Planetary cycles|Comments Off on The Awakening of Beauty
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