Newtown Slaughter: Dire Aspects

December 15, 2012



Whatever the motives of Adam Lanza, the Newtown school mass-murderer, he certainly was acting under dire aspects. According to New Hampshire public records, he was born April 22, 1992, in Kingston, New Hampshire, and although his exact time is not yet public, even a noon chart looks sufficiently afflicted to make any 20-year-old feel less than stable the morning of December 14. His progressed Sun was opposite Pluto, and transiting Pluto was likely close to his Moon (exact in a noon chart) and it was likely his lunar return as well, adding to the intensity. Capping it, Uranus (square Pluto) had just made its station right on his Mercury the day before, so he was primed for a go on enacting rash plans, already pumped by Mars transiting his Uranus/Neptune the day before that.

The school shootings occurred at 9:40 AM with Mars, Moon, and Pluto already risen into the twelfth house, but the earlier shooting of his mother, beginning the morning’s rampage, probably happened right with that ensemble clustered the Ascendant. The Moon and Pluto were further a part of a yod with Saturn and Jupiter, which only raised the pressure level all around.

Worldwide, this wasn’t a good day or so for kids, as likely more died in Syria (where there are even more weapons in circulation than in America) that same day, and the day before, and the day before that. Even in China, there was a crazed attack on twenty-two schoolkids but the man who did it was only wielding a knife, not guns, so no one was killed, just badly cut up. But it’s been part of a recent pattern of cleaver attacks on schools there, so the government has actually temporarily regulated sale of large knives to discourage it, while gun sales still boom unchecked in the U.S. which is, however, still behind Syria in the speed of general armament…

Let us hope the coming Jupiter skies finally push past all this and deliver a more generous Yuletide to us all…in the meantime, hug your kids, and your parents, and check your own chart…and if you’re feeling the planetary pressure, better reach for the eggnog…!

All In: The Star and His Avatar

November 14, 2012

Although Susan and I don’t do too much scandal news astrology, after surviving the heart of hurricane Sandy here, the affair of Gen. David Petraeus with his devoted biographer Paula Broadwell has been too good to pass up.  They even physically look alike, so we had to make a closer inspection. Without astro-psychoanalyzing either one (there already has been too much of that), just from the point of view of fate, these lovers are truly star-crossed. There is so much overlap between them, starting with Suns/birthdays only two degrees apart, it is no wonder he called her his “avatar”, his substitute persona in female form. They are incredibly entangled astro-reflections of each other, starting with ordinary synastry (his to hers, by close conjunction alone):

Sun on Sun; Saturn-Neptune on Mars-Uranus; Venus on Moon (maybe, depending on exact time); Mars on N.Node; Mercury on Mercury-Neptune; Uranus on S. Node (maybe Moon as well, depending on time); Chiron on Jupiter.

Then there’s the composite, which features Venus conjunct Sun (cazimi, yet!) at 16 Scorpio, Mars/Mercury conjunction next to this month’s lunar eclipse degree at 7-8 Sagittarius (her Sun/Moon as well), and Pluto-Jupiter opposition at 11-13 Virgo-Pisces.

Quite astonishing, really. These folks are definitely soul mates wrought of the same threads of destiny, in a very volatile mix, and both are having Saturn sweeps that will keep them under duress for some time to come. Of course, America, just peeping out from its own Neptune fog of two years ago is momentarily fascinated with this fantasy debacle, a distraction from facing its own clarifying realities. Fortunately, Jupiter is smiling on the next four years, despite its risks, so maybe we will all soon find something more truly profitable with which to distract ourselves…

“Something Is Happening Here…”

October 10, 2012

Something is happening here/ But you don’t know what it is/ Do you, Mister Jones?

– Bob Dylan, “Ballad of a Thin Man”, 1965.

As October heats up thanks to Saturn and Mars both changing signs and eclipse season in the offing, times seem a little more nervous than usual, like something is happening here and we’re not quite sure what it is, like Dylan’s Mr. Jones.And worse, being astrologers, we ought to! Part of it is the approaching Presidential election on November 6, when Mercury will make its station on Election Day for only the second time in history…and we know what happened the last time, in 2000. Of course, it will be the eleventh Election Day with a Mercury retro (which happens in 20-year, progressive cycles), most of which have gone without incident, so maybe it’s the station itself, changing minds in the middle of it, that’s the problem. Or maybe 2000 was just a fluke. We’ll soon find out…

Prediction methods fail…

And with the approach of the election, various astrologers are making their quadrennial attempts to psych out the candidates and figure out who will win based on the transits and progressions of their various charts. Everybody has a favorite formula: some say benefic transits are the keys that shepherd in success, while others claim that hard Saturn influences indicate the winner who is undergoing a trial by fire to eventual victory. So far, no one has found a sure-fire key, or even has a track record much better than the average TV pundit without the help of the stars.

But maybe there’s another way to look at it. Maybe it’s got little to do with the candidates themselves, and mainly to do with the bigger picture. In 2000, Pluto was sitting right on the Ascendant of the U.S. chart (Sibly version) and it was clear something dire was in the wind, though nobody was thinking World Trade Center at the time. I had predicted a couple of years before that it would mean the end of solo superpower status and a painful introduction to becoming just another competing player on the world stage, inconceivable at the time to most, but I wasn’t going out on a limb about doom and disaster. And, looking at Gore and Bush, I couldn’t read a winner based on their charts alone.

A view from above…

But I should have taken a look from further back. If the country was headed for a disaster, who was most likely to cause/allow it to happen, even to pull defeat out of the jaws of possible victory? That’s who would be the likely winner, and it was, even though it had to be on a technicality, and the 2004 re-election later just reinforced it. Of course, Pluto would have been there, and it would have happened anyway, and whoever was in office would get the credit, or rather the blame.

We’re in a similar state right now. As we slowly drag ourselves out of the Great Recession, Jupiter skiesare ahead for the next four years, and we may be singing “Happy Days Are Here Again” sooner than we imagine, despite there being a risky, dark side to Jupiter’s opportunities. Indeed, it will be a matter of whether we take advantage of it to continue to rebuild or once more just turn over quick profits and cash in, with the lucky getting out before another disaster takes the less fortunate. That might be something to think about on your way to the polls.

The controlling skies…

But whoever wins, to that victor will go the spoils of taking credit for a recovered (however temporary) economy, and that party will use it to all possible political gain, actually believing in their own superior philosophy. But the victory and its later credit (or blame), however fleeting, will actually be Jupiter’s, just as the disaster in 2000 was actually Pluto’s (though feuding politicos long tried to decide if it was Clinton or Bush that was to blame). The “elected” winner just falls into place as the appropriate person/party to implement what was already to come. The right man for the right job, and like Mr. Jones, largely ignorant of what that job is actually going to turn out to be.

The final, disturbing issue is not that whom you elect has no effect (because clearly it does), but that you necessarily elect the one who is best designed to bring on the already in-place victory or disaster, and that the populus is unwarily complicit in simply conforming to the greater power of the planets involved. They/we are like sheep that are led, ballots in hand, to greener pastures – or like lemmings, over a cliff to perish – all the time believing we are doing it ourselves, exercising our own free will and the inspired wisdom of democracy, speaking with the voice of the people and the greatest form of government on earth.

Of course, regardless, you can always say later, “Hey, I didn’t vote for that guy!!!”

Now, with that, get out there and make your vote count, if you can…!! 😉

Of Signs and Seasons

March 27, 2011

One of the many things that make astrology seem ridiculous to reasonable non-astrologers is the artificial justifications devised to make signs’ qualities seem to be somehow meaningfully associated with the names they bear. Not to mention that the constellations these signs are named after no longer share the same spots in space as their namesakes. Do people born in the teens of March (Pisces) really behave somewhat like fish while those born a few days later act more like male sheep (Aries)?  Is a crab (Cancer) fundamentally opposite in character to a mountain goat (Capricorn)? Are tropical arachnids (scorpions, Scorpio) sexy plotters whose passions run deep, and just across a thin border from adventurous horses with human torsos (centaur, Sagittarius)? Who came up with this horse hockey and who on earth would believe it or go out of their way to defend it?

The fact is, it’s pretty fringe stuff at best and astrologers would do well to rethink where it came from, where they’re really going with it, and how to bring it into the fold of a reasonable natural view of things. Of course, we all know that the signs are just twelve 30-degree segments of the ecliptic starting at the vernal equinox. And we know that they got labeled with names of constellations they roughly coincided with several thousand years ago made up by cultures that no longer exist. They didn’t apply well back then, as not every ancient culture back then agreed on the animals or mythological entities the constellations suggested, and disparate world cultures completely disagree about them now. So, they are not only useless, they just confuse things.

Various half-hearted attempts have been made to change names one at a time – like changing Cancer to Moon-Child to better reflect its apparent qualities – but to no avail. These aren’t ultimately animals, people, gods, or anything else cute or anthropomorphic – they’re divisions of the seasons of the year and as such may at best share some qualities thereof. Thus, you might better call them early, middle, and late spring, early, middle, and late summer, and so on. Certainly the summer signs seem to be “warmer” than the winter ones – ruled by Moon (Cancer), Sun (Leo), and Mercury (Virgo) as opposed to Saturn (Capricorn), Uranus (Aquarius), and Neptune (Pisces). Of course, that’s only for the Northern Hemisphere – but Aussie and Kiwi starcasters will tell you they don’t reverse down-under, so maybe it’s a set of world seasons at best. Perhaps not seasons at all, just projected segments of our orbit.

If you want to get all scientific about it, you’ll find a lot more support for tangible differences in seasonal births ranging from disease susceptibility to professional predilection and success than you will for Sun signs. But that only applies when you’re talking about where the Sun is. In real astrology the terms should also apply to planets as well: Jupiter at 15 degrees “mid-autumn” (15 Scorpio) or Mars at 23 “early spring” (23 Aries). Really, you might be better off just numbering them 1-12, so the above would appear as 15-8 and 23-1, but that would have about as much appeal as the metric system – and no doubt Europeans and Americans would insist on using them in different order like they do months and days, so we would probably get even more confusion from it. Yet, the next step of simply using degrees 1-360 (as one does when calculating midpoints) would eliminate the sign factor entirely, and we know signs do have real qualities and need to be considered.

What to do? Since several generations of pop Sun-sign astrology has got even the worst skeptics knowing their signs, probably we’re stuck with what we’ve got (if the Vedic folks will just come around to it). And perhaps it will be a lesson in interpretive humility to have to remember that the animals and demigods don’t quite fit – early summer doesn’t walk sideways and late summer isn’t always so virginal, and that late fall creature with six limbs, well, don’t even ask. We could use the humility, because we don’t yet even know why the segments of the earth’s tilted attitude, regardless of what season they might represent in one hemisphere or another, should qualitatively affect anything that passes through them at all. We just notice that they do – maybe when we find out why that is, we’ll come up with a more appropriate set of labels for the phenomena.

More detail on the subject at Zodiac Signs: Foreground or Background?…

Playing In Tune…

June 24, 2010

By happenstance, most of my friends on Facebook happen to be musicians, not astrologers, but here’s something musical that connects. First, rhythm and harmony. Did you know that if you take two beats, like one at 60 beats-per-minute (bpm) and another at 80 bpm, basically a 3 against 4 syncopation, and double it (like you would octaves) until it rises into the tonal range, you get a perfect fifth? Other common beat combinations create harmonies as well. And if you raise the frequency/wavelength all the way up until the single octave of visible light, something similar happens. Proportions that sound good lower down look good higher up. If you do the opposite, and start halving frequencies to way down below bpm all the way to beats per day, month, or year, or century, you get the frequencies of the earth’s rotation and planetary revolutions, all of which tug on us en masse in exactly the same set of proportions. It’s like the rhythm of the planets’ push and pull are the deep, bass and rhythm track of our entire existence, echoed in ever higher sets as we reach sound and finally light. Although we seem to perceive and experience each set separately, they are all integrally part of the same stack, like nested matryoshka dolls.

Further, in each separately-perceived set, we assign the same qualities to that particular spectrum. Slow rhythms and deep tones feel more worrisome and ominous, fast and high seem more playful and less threatening. The same goes for colors, with the lower-frequency red end more hostile and threatening, the higher blue and violet happier and lighter in tone. And way down below, as any astrologer can tell you, it’s the slow, long-period outer planets that are the darker movers of difficulties (like Saturn on out), and the faster ones more positive, uplifting, and accessible (from Jupiter inward).

If there is any “physical basis” to astrology, it is the gravitational entrainment of Earth itself and our environmental rhythms that we then experience as individuals – not a direct link from above to any one of us, but from below and around, up through our feet and in from all around us, keeping us in tune (if we let it) or fighting it (if we insist on not listening).

And that’s where we could apply what we learn from music and art. In music, we deliberately attempt to let the music entrain us, to carry us along, to sing in tune with the song and let it uplift us. We are consciously aware of doing this, and it is what makes music and art intentionally unifying. Here, we knowingly seek to be entrained, to get in tune with the tune so we enjoy it. If we paid a bit more attention to those lower, deep bass rhythms that describe the larger picture (and us inside it), we might be better off, better in tune. That’s particularly important, because unlike music, it’s not a real choice for us. If you don’t like the rhythms of the planets (and Earth), you can’t change stations, switch your playlist, and try another song. We’re stuck with the cosmic music that’s currently on tap, and if we want a better experience in life, there is no real choice but to go with the flow. That’s what real astrology (not the newspaper Sun-sign variety) is all about, so it’s worth a second look for everyone…When you know the dance, you can join it, even lead it. If you fight the beat, you’re a lot more likely to get beaten back, without ever knowing why. So look up, listen in, and join the band…

For more details on this, see both Windowpanes and Many Rainbows…   

When Jupiter Meets Uranus

May 3, 2010

Speculation is all the rage among astrologers as the great shootout in the sky is about to commence this summer, marking the last opposition of Saturn and Uranus (begun on American election day 2008) swelled by the mutual square to Pluto in Capricorn and conjunction of Jupiter to Uranus just entering Aries. By August 7, it will be a monster cardinal grand cross with Venus, Mars, and the Moon all joining Saturn in Libra. It does look rather horrendous, and of late has even the usually droll Michael Lutin freaking out with metaphors he previously avoided.

So what is so special, that makes this more than just another middle and outer planetary tangle? The usual glance rearward at planetary cycles helps. The Jupiter/Uranus synodic cycle is only about fourteen years – but the planets’ tight orbital resonance of 7:1 (seven orbits of Jupiter equals one of Uranus) puts them back together entering the same sign, in the same year, every 84 years, taking 400 years (and five joint entries) to move it along a sign. In recent history they’ve been jumping into Gemini and Leo together as well, but when that sign is Aries, the result is really aggressive and you tend to notice it a lot. The last three times were 1762, 1845, and 1927. Now this, and then again in 2094.

1762 was perhaps the most special, as it was marked by Saturn added to the conjunction, modifying the sometimes explosive and uncontrolled expansion this combination otherwise engenders. It also was followed by the only grand trine of the outer planets in modern history, and with it the writings and movements marking what was to be the Enlightenment founding of modern democratic government in the West. Original ideas and ways of thinking that were perfectly in tune to grow through the ages were born forcefully but gracefully, though it would take a series of revolutions, political, social, and scientific, to finally bring it all into place.

1845 was nowhere near so controlled an expression. Right after Jupiter hit Uranus, it went on to hit Pluto, and following that, Uranus itself moved to hit Pluto, in America marking the Mexican War and huge, uncontrolled expansion into Texas and California, the Gold Rush, and the intractable issues defining the Civil War. In Europe the destabilizing Irish famine followed, and after that the great revolutionary uprisings of the late 1840s in nearly every country in Europe.

1927 was even worse. The explosive new idea that hit society was national socialism and “socialist” dictatorship solutions to a failing world economy. That year, in Germany the speaking ban on Hitler was lifted, in Italy fascist extremists were “normalized” by Mussolini, and in the Soviet Union moderate Trotsky was expelled as Stalin seized power. And, with Saturn opposite the bowl of the outer planets in a grand trine with Neptune and Uranus, appealingly convenient evil was an easy sell, meeting little resistance on earth or above for some years after, at great price. 

Socially and politically, what seems to make the difference between a positive/creative and negative/destructive outcome of this explosive, expansive, instant-action conjunction is its contemporary and follow-up contexts. The one we’re going into is dreadful while it’s happening, being part of a huge T-square and series of grand crosses. But most of that passes almost immediately after this summer’s blowup, as Saturn flees and dutifully tucks itself inside the bowl of the outer planets, a reliable but overlooked indicator of stabilizing government, crisis resolution, and social progress.

So this time the chances are, on the world stage at least, we may get off with a near-miss and recovery after some explosive confrontations that could actually lead to better (though perhaps bitter) solutions. How each of our lives is affected by this rough ride is another matter, but there’s already a really good book out on that subject. By Scots astrologer Anne Whitaker, it’s called, not surprisingly, Jupiter Meets Uranus. So, go read it…

The Hand In The Sky

April 6, 2010


One of the obviously wonderful things computers have done for astrology is to enable us to cast a lot of charts for every conceivable moment, speeding our learning process as we compare hundreds of charts with their owners (natal) or moments (horary and events) and see what patterns emerge. It wasn’t so long ago that it took poring over ephemerides and house tables, adding up columns of adjustments for longitude, sidereal time, elapsed time, and lots more just to get a single handwritten chart. But the advantage was, of course, you had to learn all about planetary speeds and motions in the process, the critical groundwork too many astrologers these days do without.

But what the computer takes away in that respect, it gives back double, because you can now also animate the sky and watch all those relative movements of faster and slower planets cross and pass each other, forming evolving patterns like the fingers of a giant hand flexing itself across the sky. You can do it at any time frame – from the expansions and contractions of a single month or year to the broad outer planetary patters of the ages. I do it with one of the features of Matrix’s Winstar (or earlier, Winstar Express), but I suppose there are other programs that do it as well.

The evolution of 2010 is actually one of the more picturesque years to look at, as we’re watching the giant T-square of Saturn opposite Uranus square Pluto in its final stages before it breaks up at the end of the year, with Jupiter and Mars joining the fray in the middle and the rest of the planets filling out the rest, with some dramatic lockups in late spring and late summer. You can see the whole thing as a video here (best download it right off for later replay, as it’s a 14meg file, a bit time-consuming to bring up every time), and it’s worth a look. The year rolls through almost all of the classic “Jones patterns” (except for a true bundle) starting out as an opposing-fingers see-saw in winter, expanding into a wide-open palm with spread fingers by late spring, and then as the fall wears on gradually withdraws well inside a single hemisphere until it’s almost a clenched fist by the New Year. It’s like a continual set of celestial mudras, the hand of Brahma outstretched and communicating abstract visions to the rest of us here below, whose fortunes open and close accordingly, with each new nativity carrying its own metaphorical message to which an entire life will be devoted, like each of our own…