TMA This Week

Robin WiIliams: Laughter Through Tears

By Alex Miller | August 18, 2014

On Monday August 11, 2014, the world was shocked and sorrowed to hear of the death of legendary comedian and actor Robin Williams. Williams’ personal assistant found him hanging from his bedroom closet door shortly before noon.

The breadth of Williams’ talent is hard to describe. A frenetic, super-charged, stand-up performer, his ability to ad-lib was unequaled. In 1992 the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ nomination committee refused to submit Disney’s animated film Aladdin for an Oscar (best-adapted screenplay) on the grounds that Williams, who voiced the genie, had ad-libbed so much that a large portion of the movie was essentially unscripted. In one brief extemporaneous speech, analysts chronicled more than 50 distinct characters, accents, and impressions in under two minutes, all done off the cuff. Williams’ comedy styling also graced such live action hits as Hook (1991), Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), and The Birdcage (1996).  

But it wasn’t just his comedic performances that drew audiences. The poignancy of his dramatic roles in such films as Dead Poets Society (1989), The Fisher King (1991), and Good Will Hunting (1997), for which he won a best supporting actor Oscar, established Williams as a serious actor. In total, the global box office take from his 80 films is in excess of $6 billion.

But, as is often the case with genius, there was a downside as well. Williams struggled with addiction all his life, and like any good artist, he used this pain in his work, regularly riffing on the life-altering effects of his substance abuse in stand-up routines. Depression was another frequently encountered demon, and in the end, it claimed his life. Some days after his death, his wife Susan Schneider revealed that Williams had recently received a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, which he was grappling with but had not yet made public.

Born at 1:34 p.m. CST on July 21, 1951 in Chicago, Illinois, Robin Williams’ birth chart reflects a life torn between comedy and tragedy. (1) His 28° Cancer Sun exactly conjoins a black hole, the source of the seemingly boundless energy animating his performances on stage and screen, but exacting the price of a private life saddled with addiction and two failed marriages. The black hole granted that chameleon-like ability to slip into any guise or character at whim, effortlessly and convincingly, but it also denoted a self-absorption that was crippling to the interpersonal relationships so critical to recovery from habitual substance abuse.

Mercury is the star of the chart; at 22° Leo it exactly conjoins the Midheaven, the point of highest elevation and the focus of all eyes. And indeed, it was Williams’ matchless vocal skills that drove his career (with Mercury just minutes into the 10th house). Slipping seamlessly from one persona to the next, Williams riffed off the male and female characters that seemed to explode from his mind with Gatling gun swiftness and force. A master of accents, he could be an old Yiddish grandpa one moment and an LA Valley Girl the next, with Russian, Indian, Brazilian, and Chinese characters in between. Mercury conjoins Pluto at 18° Leo, allowing Williams to manipulate the rich verbal skills he inherited, and empowering his career path in the process. But Mercury-Pluto carries its own demons, and can open the native to a dark and threatening underworld, depressing and bleak.

Williams’ big break came in a guest appearance as Mork the alien in a Happy Days episode in February 1978. The character was so wildly popular with fans that ABC added a spin-off, Mork and Mindy, to its fall line-up. The show ran four seasons, at the end of which Williams was an established film star.

But his early film roles garnered little critical acclaim, causing Williams to doubt his talent, and his retreat into drug and alcohol use began, reflected by the 12th-house placement of Neptune at 16° Libra. His cocaine addiction went largely undetected by him until the overdose death of friend and party companion John Belushi, in 1982. Williams described this event as “a wake-up call,” prompting his first visit to rehab. Neptunian overindulgence is foreshadowed by its opposition to expansive Jupiter at 13° Aries, which magnifies whatever it touches. The Jupiter-Neptune opposition becomes a t-square when we factor in a Mars-Uranus conjunction at 11° and 10° Cancer, making this a formative agent of his character. With his fame (Jupiter) based in an energetic, almost violent (Mars) quirkiness (Uranus), Williams was thrown back on his heels by a lack of faith (Neptune) and the need to escape when reality became too real (Neptune).  

A variety of mythic and personal-named asteroids flesh out the portrait. The pull toward intoxicants is shown clearly with two conjunctions to the 10° Virgo Venus, the thing we are attracted to, from Panacea (named for the Greek goddess of medicines and thus ruling all types of pharmaceuticals, legal or otherwise) at 3° Virgo, and Bacchus (named for the Roman god of wine and revels) at 13° Virgo. Additionally, the pairing of Dionysus (Greek god of wine and ecstatic trance) and Nemesis (undoing) at 29° and 24° Leo in the 10th house shows clearly the weak spot in his work life and the ding to his reputation from substance abuse.

Robin Williams is the first celebrity I have profiled who has an asteroid actually named for him — asteroid Robinwilliams (#12820). Astoundingly, although not discovered until 1996, when Williams was 45, this teeny bit of space debris falls at 11° Scorpio, just one degree from his natal 12° Scorpio Ascendant, the point where we present ourselves to the world. This example alone should be sufficient to testify to the power and impact these points have in our lives when they strongly resonate with us.

But the personal-named asteroids (PNA) story doesn’t end there. An asteroid named Robyn and another named Williams appear together, at 9° and 6° Leo, in the company of two mythic-named asteroids very key to his life path — Thalia and Melpomene, at 13° and 10° Leo, respectively. Individuals having both first and last name PNA referents conjunct in the birth chart tend toward very focused, directed, and driven lives, for good or ill; it represents an augmentation of energies where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Thalia is named for the muse of comedy and is itself exactly conjunct asteroid Circe, the enchantress. Williams certainly bewitched us all with his comedic turns, but Melpomene (named for the muse of tragedy) reflects his dramatic abilities, the darker path taken in his private life, and his tragic end.

Speaking of which, self-destruction is hinted at in several “suicide” asteroid placements in this birth chart: Ajax, Antigone, Arachne, and Phaedra, all classic Greek characters who killed themselves, and Ophelia, from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, who drowned herself in an excess of despair and insanity. Ajax at 10° Cancer falls exactly on the Mars-Uranus conjunction, further activating the Neptune-based t-square, while Ophelia at 15° Capricorn opposes Ajax, filling in the empty leg of that grand cross.  

Arachne at 26° Gemini is sextile the Sun and forms a t-square with the Saturn bundle and natal Chiron at 27° Sagittarius, a point which represents deep wounds that may never heal. This grouping also involves the Galactic Center at 26° Sagittarius, which grants global attention or notice. In this case, the contact proved powerful for Williams’ career (Saturn), but also for his death (Atropos), with his suicide (Antigone/Arachne) garnering immediate international attention. Phaedra conjoins Arachne from 21° Gemini, feeding into the same pattern and drawing the Antigone/Atropos element more strongly into it. Perhaps significantly, the method of suicide chosen by each of these Greek heroines was hanging.

Williams’ PNA contacts follow him throughout his life and career. His breakout performance in the Happy Days episode, “My Favorite Orkan,” aired on February 28, 1978, with the Sun at 9° Pisces exactly on his natal Moon — Williams was ready to shine (Sun) and the public (Moon) took notice and embraced him. Jupiter at 26° Gemini trined transit asteroid Robyn at 23° Aquarius and squared natal Saturn at 27° Virgo, providing a personal link (Robyn) to the expansion (Jupiter) of career (Saturn) the role would provide him. Transit asteroid Williams at 17° Libra was traveling with Pluto at 16° Libra, showcasing the huge transformation and empowerment that was to ensue (these conjoin natal Neptune, ruling TV). The Pluto conjunction is exact, showing the transformative agent the small screen would be for him. Transit Robinwilliams at 21° Pisces paired with Venus at 18°, indicating his immense popular appeal.

That strong Venus and Pluto emphasis holds for Mork and Mindy’s premiere on September 14, 1978, with asteroid Williams now in Venus’ tight embrace, from 5° and 6° Scorpio, aligning with Williams’ natal Ascendant. Transit asteroid Robyn at 19° Aries had recently conjoined his natal Jupiter at 13° Aries and opposed transit Pluto at 15° Libra, repeating the theme of transformation and empowerment. Transit Robinwilliams at 26° Taurus was trine the 21° Virgo Sun.

The winner of two Emmys, five Grammys, four Golden Globes, and two SAG awards, Williams was nominated for an Academy Award four times, winning Best Supporting Actor in 1998 for Good Will Hunting. When the awards were presented on March 23rd, transit Robinwilliams at 28° Pisces aligned with the 2° Aries Sun, marking him as central to the proceedings, and fell in an exact trine to his natal Sun, a karmic benefit long overdue. 

Married three times, all his wives appear in PNA form at appropriate points. First wife Valerie Velardi, whom he met while working as a bartender before finding fame, is represented by asteroid Valeria, which at 4° Capricorn opposes Mars at 10° Capricorn, suggesting a strong sexual attraction but some friction in the relationship as well; they have one son, Zachary, and divorced in 1988 after ten years of marriage. Within the year he had married Marsha Garces, his son’s nanny, already pregnant. Asteroid Marcia (phonetic match for Marsha) appears at 11° Scorpio, exactly conjunct natal Robinwilliams and on the Ascendant, suggesting a match of propinquity (the exact PNA conjunction), and a need to regularize their relationship in front of others (the Ascendant contact). They had two children, Zelda and Cody, and divorced in 2008 (the longevity of this match also reflects the Ascendant conjunction — she was the “public face” of his private life for two decades). Williams married graphic designer Susan Schneider in 2011; represented by asteroid Susanna, this point’s 6° Virgo conjunction with Venus at 10° Virgo suggests a love match at last.

When Williams died on August 11th, the transit Sun at 18° Leo had come to exactly conjoin natal Pluto.   Mercury at 21° Leo had crested his natal Midheaven and was about to return to its natal degree, culminating its final cycle for the man whose voice captivated millions across the globe. A combination of Jupiter, Requiem (named for the funeral mass for the dead), and Panacea at 5°, 6°, and 7° Leo straddles the natal Robyn/Williams conjunction and tells the guts of the story — a celebrity (Jupiter) death (Requiem) with drug use implications (Panacea — Williams had entered rehab again just weeks before his death, to “focus” on sobriety).

Transit Pluto, ruling suicide, at 11° Capricorn had been stressing the Mars-Uranus-Ajax combination all year, and now exactly opposed Mars. Transit Ajax at 23° Virgo was conjoined natal Antigone-Atropos and approaching Saturn, following close behind transit Atropos at 29° Virgo, which had recently made its natal return and passed over the triple conjunction. Transit Antigone at 15° Virgo was also nearing her return to her natal degree, while transit Ophelia at 15° Taurus conjoined the Descendant and opposed natal Robinwilliams.

A sad end to one of the most unique and irreplaceable performers the world has ever seen.  

Reference: 
(1) Birth data obtained from Lois Rodden’s AstroDataBank, rated AA.

Bio: Alex Miller is a professional writer and astrologer, author of The Black Hole Book and The Urban Wicca, former editor of “The Galactic Calendar,” and past president of The Philadelphia Astrological Society. His pioneering work with Black Holes in astrological interpretation began in 1991, when his progressed Sun unwittingly fell into one. His work with deep space points and asteroids appears monthly at DayKeeper Journal. Alex can be reached for comment or services at glaktix@verizon.net

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Some thoughts on the Jupiter Cycle

By Anne Whitaker | August 11, 2014

Optimistic, expansive, and meaning-seeking Jupiter is now in the sign of Leo, where it will remain until August 11, 2015. Excitement is already high; try googling “Jupiter’s shift into Leo” and you’ll see what I mean. My impression from talking to people, and dipping into social media, is that we are all looking for a bit of light relief from what has been a pretty bad news year thus far.

So what is this shift likely to mean for you and me? In this article, I will introduce the Jupiter cycle.

What is the Jupiter Cycle?

As ever, it is important at the outset of a general article to stress that one can only really judge in detail what the essence of any planetary shift is likely to be from consideration of the whole horoscope or birth chart. However, it is certainly possible to sketch out a broad picture that can offer some perspective: both to readers with some astrological knowledge and to those of you with none who are curious to know more.

Each of the planets, travelling through the twelve signs of the zodiac as viewed from Earth, has a cycle of differing length. Pluto, currently in Capricorn, will take 248 years to traverse the 360 zodiacal degrees, returning to that sign long after we are all dead and gone! Saturn’s cycle, on the other hand, is a much shorter 29/30 years. Currently in Scorpio, dredging up all kinds of sexual scandal from its previous traverse of that sign in the 1980s, it is offering the collective the famous Saturn Return experience, when Saturn returns to the place it occupied at our birth when we are 29/30 years of age and again at 59/60, inviting us all to grow up.

Jupiter and Saturn together form a symbolic, complementary whole: as its cycle unfolds, Saturn helps us to be realistic and to set limits without which no maturation or growth can take place. Jupiter creates contrast and balance to this. It energises that optimistic, expansive part of us that reaches out to the pleasure of new experience, new learning and understanding. Its natural exuberance can make life a fun, joyful experience.

It can also cause us to over-reach our limits and expect more than life can realistically deliver. That facet needs to be watched carefully when Jupiter is very active in our lives.
Jupiter’s cycle is 11-12 years: 11.6 years to be exact. It’s an easy one to track, being accessible both to those of you who know some astrology and those of you who don’t. Everyone can track through their lives, measuring the Jupiter cycles: Jupiter returns to its location in your birth horoscope at 11/12 years of age, 23/24, 35/36, 47/48, 59/60, 71/72, 83/84 in a currently average lifetime.
What do we look for in the Jupiter cycle? In essence, the start of each cycle represents the opening out of a whole new learning period, whose archetypal purpose is to expose us to new experience and new learning, and to all kinds of travelling within both inner and outer life.

Real life flesh on symbolic bones….

These experiences vary hugely from one person to another, taking their flavour from the zodiacal sign and house in which Jupiter was located at birth.

At 23/24 (Jupiter in Sagittarius in the 9th house), you might take off to Australia to do a postgraduate Diploma in Adult Education. Your friend (Jupiter in Capricorn in the 6th house) might not travel anywhere, but concentrate on mastering a new skill like carpentry, which enables him, after a few years’ apprenticeship, to set up his own business. In the meantime, my neighbour down the street (Jupiter in Cancer in the 5th house) might marry at 23/24 and have three children in rapid succession before the age of 30. In a real-life example, Alexa said: “My second Jupiter return, at age 24. coincided with me buying a house. Natal Jupiter was in Cancer, which is appropriate, of course, and the house was bigger (Jupiter) than we needed for just the two of us, so we could have space for lodgers.”

These are very different branches of experience based on Jupiter being in different signs and houses of the zodiac at birth, but they have the same underlying principle of expansion, and the growth of experience, understanding, and (hopefully!) some wisdom shines through them all.

You can also detect the archetypal lifelong themes provided via Jupiter’s placement by sign and house in your personal horoscope, as you follow the Jupiter cycle unfolding throughout your lifetime. For example, I have natal Jupiter in Scorpio in the 3rd house. It’s not hard to work out from this (and Jupiter’s strong links to most of the planets in that horoscope!) that an intense preoccupation with gathering and sharing all kinds of information, while placing it in contexts that expand one’s understanding of life’s deeper meanings, might be rather important to me.

The Jupiter cycle: unfolding in one lifetime

At 11-12, I passed the “Quali” (the long defunct Scottish entrance exam to determine one’s level of entry to secondary education). At 23-24, I completed a post-graduate Diploma in Education, having already been an adult education teacher for two years. At 35-36, I studied for and passed my first astrology qualification, the Certificate of the Faculty of Astrological Studies (UK), prior to beginning a career as an astrologer.

At 47-48, I began the Diploma in Psychological Astrology, studying with Liz Greene and the late Charles Harvey at the Centre for Psychological Astrology in London. In completing this course, I commuted by plane for three years, earning myself the nickname of “The Flying Scot.” The year after the 59-60 Jupiter Return, I stepped into cyberspace via my main blog, “Writing from the Twelfth House.” My first book, a research study called “Jupiter Meets Uranus,” was published the following year.

Perhaps this personal account will encourage you to track through your Jupiter cycles and see that there is indeed a thematic unfolding of a specific kind of experience.

Fate, free will……or what?

The question of what the balance is between fate and free will has preoccupied humans for millennia and remains unresolved. However, as an astrologer, it is important to have a viewpoint regarding this ageless question. Decades of astrological practice, combined with much reading that has included what I can grasp of probability theory and chaos theory, and my own efforts to become a more conscious person have led me to the view (not original at all — many astrologers take this standpoint!) that there are certain givens in this life, as shown by the characters standing on a person’s life stage when the horoscope is drawn up. Those characters i.e, the planets, shown in the horoscope’s symbolic, archetypal patterns, are ours for life.

However, the evidence of observation and experience appears to suggest this vital point: the more conscious we become of our motivations and drives, and how they impact our inner and external life, the wider becomes the range of possible avenues of expression to which we can have access while choosing how to make our particular life’s drama as positive and creative as possible.

Bearing this in mind, let’s return to the Jupiter cycle and see how we might work creatively and consciously with its 11-12 year periods.

Working with cycles

All life cycles, whether we are looking at a gnat, a human, or a galaxy, go through the same process: seeding, germinating, sprouting, flowering, ripening, harvesting, and dying back in preparation for the new. So it is with the planetary cycles.

Think of the tiny monthly cycle of the Sun and Moon. The New Moon takes place in darkness. Only when that first magical waxing crescent appears after 2-3 days does the energy of the cycle begin to build. After a week, at the First Quarter Moon, things are taking shape. At the Full Moon, the cycle’s energy is in full light, at its most obvious. A week later, on the waning square, the Moon is shrinking, the month’s energy on the wane. Then the last, waning crescent precedes Moondark (i.e. balsamic), those 2-3 days in which the energy of the completed cycle sinks back into the Void, waiting for the energy of the next New Moon to arise.

Applying the same template to the 11-12 year cycle of Jupiter, it takes about a year or more for the initial upsurge of desire for new expansive challenges to stabilise and take definite form.

Jupiter in action: a real-life example

Let’s use the person with Jupiter in Sagittarius in the 9th House as our example. At the age of 23, off she goes to Australia, completes her Diploma, and obtains a good teaching job in Melbourne. She works there for a couple of years, then relocates to Sydney (first quarter phase, Jupiter now in Pisces), since she wants to take up sailing and she has a friend there who runs a sailing school.

Three years later (full moon phase, Jupiter in Gemini) she agrees to take on a teaching job at the sailing school where she has been a student. Another three years go by and she begins to feel dissatisfied and critical (last quarter phase, Jupiter now in Virgo). She has become bogged down in admin and paperwork. Not her style!

She puts less and less commitment into her job, and after over ten years in Australia, she has itchy feet again (Moondark). Nearly twelve years after arriving, full of enthusiasm, she is off to work in the Greek Islands. She has fallen in love with a Greek Australian and decides to return with him to his home island of Rhodes. She is nearly thirty-six years old. A new Jupiter cycle is about to begin.

Working with our Jupiter cycles

I’ve always found that astrology students and clients are fascinated when I unfold their major cycles with them; they find it so helpful in understanding the unfolding pattern of their lives. The Jupiter cycle is a particularly easy one to which to connect. The rhythm of the cycle, looking back, can usually be tracked. In the last year or two before a new 11-12 year period begins, one can generally perceive a certain dissatisfaction, boredom, loss of any great interest, and desire for a new challenge in the sphere of life indicated by the sign and house placement of natal Jupiter. (If Jupiter is a very strongly placed and emphasised “character on the stage,” the overall effect is, of course, amplified.) With Jupiter in Scorpio in the 3rd house, I clearly recall my boredom, restlessness, and desire for a new educational project towards the end of my fourth Jupiter cycle when I was 46 or 47. Alexa, with her Jupiter in Cancer, bought a house at the start of the second Jupiter cycle when she was twenty-four, “…. bigger (Jupiter) than we needed for just the two of us, so we could have space for lodgers.”

Are you a year or two into a new Jupiter cycle? Or three years into it? After five or six years, the cycle is at its Full Moon phase, its peak of energy. By nine years, impetus generally is on the wane, and restlessness is setting in. By the Moondark phase of the cycle, it really feels like time for a new project, a new venture. But you know — if you become familiar with this cycle’s rhythm — that it will probably be another couple of years before the new idea has taken shape and translated itself into a fresh, exciting direction.

One of the great gifts of astrological knowledge is the help it offers in setting our sails, metaphorically speaking, to the prevailing winds of our lives. It is useful to get to know your Jupiter cycle, in planning those times in life when your Spirit is calling you to open up your life to new experience. I do hope this introductory article has given you some useful food for reflection and an impetus to action!

It would be helpful if readers feel like sharing their experiences of Jupiter cycles. In this way, we all expand our understanding. Thanks!

Bio: Anne Whitaker is a writer and astrologer based in Glasgow, Scotland. She holds the Diploma from the Centre for Psychological Astrology in London, UK. Anne blogs at Writing from the Twelfth House at Anne-Whitaker and Astrology Questions and Answers. Her ebook, “Wisps from the Dazzling Darkness” — an open-minded take on paranormal experience — is available from her blog, price $10.

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The Seven Pillars of the Matrix

By Robert Bonomo | July 28, 2014

“No one is more of a slave than he who thinks himself free without being so.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The gorgeously rich period in Alexandria during which Ptolemy wrote the Tetrabiblos and Gnosticism, Neo-Platonism, and Hermeticism were all blossoming was surely the golden age of esoteric thought. Astrology as we know it was coming together as a fusion of the Babylonian, Egyptian, and Greek traditions. Classical antiquity was coming to an end with a flourish of brilliant emperors such as Hadrian and the philosopher Marcus Aurelius. Mystery schools still dotted the eastern Mediterranean in the days before Yahweh plastered the western world with his megalomania.

From this period’s spiritual stew emerged two ideas that are very important for astrology: first, that the world was ruled by a demiurge who was at best incompetent and more often malevolent, and second, that the descent of one’s soul through the sphere of the fixed stars and the seven planets impregnated it with the attributes of each of those planets. Beyond the seven classical planets and the zodiac, the soul was one with the source, the true essence of being. The journey to earth carried with it an incremental separation from that oneness as it moved step-by-step down through the planets towards earth, with each planet applying an additional veil of separation.

The Gnostic Sophia lost herself in the material plane, as did every soul imprisoned in it. Only by transcending one’s fate, or one’s chart, could the original unity be regained. Just as the alchemists tried to separate the elixir from the massa confusa, so the Gnostic Jesus came to rescue his other half, Sophia, the divine spark separated from the Pleroma.  For the Gnostics, the end of a successful spiritual journey meant meeting Sophia and Jesus beyond the seven planets and the zodiac, not within them. This idea might seem archaic in our world of material reductionist dogma, where people pray to the brand Gods while worshiping bodies and bank accounts, but it’s important to keep in mind that astrology came of age at a time of much spiritual hostility toward the material world. For modern Gnostics, Yahweh and his Arcon henchman have much in common with our bankers and their corporate media lackeys.

What would the journey of a modern soul through the planets entail? Let’s first investigate the product of the descent.  

Homo Domesticus

Delusion Dwellers by Laurie Lipton 2010 (1) Laurie Lipton

Contemporary baptized, corporatized, and sanitized people rarely have the occasion to question their identity, and when they do a typical response might be, “I am product manager for a large retail chain, married to Joe, mother of Johnny, a Democrat, Steelers fan and a Lutheran.”

Their answers imply not only their beliefs but also the many responsibilities, rules, and restrictions to which they are subjected. Few if any of these were ever negotiated — rather they were imposed on the individual — yet people still consider themselves to be free.

But is free the right adjective for these people, or would modern domesticated simians be a better description? They have been told what to do, believe, think, and feel since they can remember. A very clever rancher has bred billions of these creatures around the globe and created the most profitable livestock imaginable. They work for him, fight for him, die for him, believe his wildest tales, laugh at his jokes, and rarely get out of line. When domesticated man does break one of the rules, there are armies, jailers, and bureaucrats prepared to kill, incarcerate, or hound the transgressor into submission.

One of the most fascinating aspects of domesticated man’s predicament is that he never looks at the cattle, sheep, and pigs who wind up on his plate and make the very simple deduction that he is just a talking version of them, corralled and shepherded through his entire life. How is this accomplished? Only animals that live in hierarchical groups can be dominated by man. The trick is to fool the animal into believing that the leader of the pack or herd is the person who is domesticating them. Once this is accomplished, the animal is under full control of its homo sapien master. The domesticated man is no different, as they were originally organized in groups with a clear hierarchy and maximum size of 150, making it easy to replace the leader of these smaller groups with one overarching figure such as God, King, President, CEO, etc.  (2)

The methodology for creating this exceptionally loyal and obedient modern breed, homo domesticus, can be described as having seven pillars from which an immense matrix captures the talking simians and their conscious minds and hooks them into a complex mesh from which few ever escape. The system is so advanced that those who do untangle themselves and cut their way out of the net are immediately branded as mentally ill, anti-social, or simply losers who can’t accept the “complexity of modern life,” i.e. conspiracy nuts.

Plato described this brilliantly in his Allegory of the Cave, where people only see man-made shadows of objects, institutions, Gods, and ideas:

“- Behold! Human beings living in an underground cave…here they have been from their childhood…necks chained so that they cannot move, and can only see before them. Above and behind them a fire is blazing at a distance…the screen which marionette players have in front of them, over which they show the puppets… and they see only their own shadows, or the shadows of one another, which the fire throws on the opposite wall…”

It began with the word, which forever changed the ability of men to manipulate each other. Before language, every sensation was directly felt through the senses without the filter of language. But somewhere around 50,000 years ago words began to replace reality and the first pieces of code were put in place for the creation of the Matrix. (3) As soon as the words began to flow, the world was split, and from that fracturing was born man’s angst and slavery. The words separated us from who we really were, creating the first screen onto which the images from Plato’s cave were cast. Gurdjieff said it well: “Identifying is the chief obstacle to self-remembering. A man who identifies with anything is unable to remember himself.”

It’s no accident that in Hesiod’s ages of man the Golden Age knew no agriculture, which appeared in the Silver Age, and by the time we reach the Bronze Age, the dominant theme is toil and strife. The two key elements to the enslavement of man were clearly language and agriculture. In the hunter-gatherer society, taking out the boss was no more complicated than landing a well-placed fastball to the head. Only since the advent of farming was the possibility of creating full time enforcers and propagandists made possible, and hence enslavement inevitable.

The search for enlightenment rarely, if ever, bears fruits in those temples of words, our schools and universities. Almost all traditions point to isolation and silence as the only paths to awakening; they are the true antidotes to modern slavery. As Aristotle wrote, “Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god.”

So, from the institution from which we are mercilessly bombarded with words and enslaved to time, we begin our descent through the seven planets and into the Matrix.

Time  (Saturn)
There are things we are born able to do, like eating, laughing, and crying, and others we pick up without much of an effort, such as walking, speaking, and fighting, but without strict institutional education, there is no way we can ever become a functioning member of the Matrix. We must be indoctrinated, sent to Matrix boot camp, which, of course, is school. How else could you take a hunter and turn him into a corporate slave, submissive to clocks, countless bosses, monotony, and uniformity.

Children naturally know who they are, and they have no existential angst, but schools immediately begin driving home the point of schedules, countries, professions, and money, which inevitably lead the students to the concept of who they aren’t. We drill the little ones until they learn to count money, tell time, measure progress, stand in line, keep silent, and endure submission. They learn they aren’t free and they are separated from everyone else and the world itself by a myriad of divides, names, and languages.

It can’t be stressed enough how much education is simply inculcating people with the clock and the idea of a forced identity. What child, when she first goes to school, isn’t taken aback to hear herself referred to by her full name?

It’s not as if language itself isn’t sufficiently abstract, but nothing must be left without a category. Suzy can’t just be Suzy — she is a citizen of a country and a state, a member of a religion, and a product of a civilization, many of which have flags, mascots, armies, uniforms, currencies, and languages. Once all the mascots, tag lines, and corporate creeds are learned, then history can begin to be taught. The great epic myths invented and conveniently woven into the archetypes that have come down through the ages cement this matrix into the child’s mind.

Even the language that she speaks without effort must be deconstructed for her. An apple will never again be just an apple; it will become a noun, a subject, or an object.  Nothing will be left untouched, all must be ripped apart and explained back to the child in Matrixese.

We are taught almost nothing useful during the twelve or so years that we are institutionalized and conditioned for slavery — not how to cook, farm, hunt, build, gather, laugh, or play. We are only taught how to live by a clock and conform to institutionalized behaviors that make for solid careers as slaveocrats. 

Law   (Jupiter)
In the countries that claim to be democratic, the concept of a government created to serve the people is often espoused. Government, and the laws it creates and enforces, is institutionalized social control for the benefit of those who have seized power. This has always been the case and always will be. In the pre-democratic era, it was much easier to recognize who had power, but the genius of massive democratic states are the layers upon layers of corporatocracy and special interests that so brilliantly conceal the identity of those who really manage the massive apparatus of control.

The functions of the state are so well esconded in dogmatic versions of history taught in schools that almost no one questions why we need anything beyond the bare essentials of government to maintain order in the post-industrial age. The history classes never point the finger at the governments themselves as the propagators and instigators of war, genocide, starvation, and corruption. Hollywood’s version of history, the one most people absorb, always portrays “good” governments against “bad” ones. We have yet to see a film where all the people on both sides simply disengage from their governments and ignore the calls to violence.

The state apparatus is based on law, which is a contract between the people and an organism created to administer common necessities — an exchange of sovereignty between the people and the state. This sounds reasonable, but when one looks at the mass slaughters of the 20th century, almost without exception, the perpetrators are the states themselves.

The loss of human freedom is the only birthright offered to the citizens of the modern nation. There is never a choice. It is spun as a freedom and a privilege when it is in fact indentured servitude to the state apparatus and the corporatocracy that controls it.

Tribalism  (Mars)
Patriotism is pure abstraction, a completely artificial mechanism of social control. People are taught to value their compatriots above and beyond those of their own ethnic background, race, or religion. The organic bonds are to be shed in favor of the great corporate state. From infancy, children are indoctrinated like Pavlov’s dogs to worship the paraphernalia of the state and see it as a mystical demigod.

What is a country? Using the United States as an example, what actually is this entity? Is it the USPS, the FDA, or the CIA?  Does loving one’s country mean one should love the IRS and the NSA? Should we feel differently about someone if they are from Vancouver instead of Seattle? Loving a state is the same as loving a corporation, except with the corporations there is still no stigma attached to not showing overt sentimental devotion to their brands, and fortunately, at least for the moment, we are not obligated at birth to pay them for a lifetime of services most of which we neither need nor want.

Flags, the Hollywood version of history, and presidential worship are drilled into us to maintain the illusion of the “other” and force the “foreigner/terrorist/extremist” to wear the stigma of our projections. The archaic tribal energy that united small bands and helped them to fend off wild beasts and hungry hoards has been converted into a magic wand for the masters of the matrix. Flags are waved and we respond like hungry Labradors jumping at a juicy prime rib swinging before our noses. Sentimental statist propaganda is simply the mouth guard used to soften the jolt of our collective electroshock therapy. 

God   (Sun)
As powerful as the patriotic sects are, there has always been a need for something higher. Religion comes from the Latin re-ligare and it means to reconnect. But reconnect to what? The question before all religions is, what have we been disconnected from? The indoctrination and alienation of becoming a card-carrying slave has a cost; the level of abstraction and the disconnect from any semblance of humanity converts people into nihilistic robots. No amount of patriotic fervor can replace having a soul. The flags and history lessons can only give a momentary reprieve to the emptiness of the Matrix, and that’s why the priests are needed.

The original spiritual connection man had with the universe began to dissolve into duality with the onset of language, and by the time cities and standing armies arrived he was in need of a reconnection, and thus we get our faith-based religions — faith in the religious experiences of sages, or as William James put it, faith in someone else’s ability to connect. Of course, the liturgies of our mainstream religions offer some solace and connection, but in general they simply provide the glue for the Matrix. The Neo-Platonists described in great detail the world soul, Anima Mundi, and our connection to her was one of the keystones of their thought, but the Matrix drags us down to the most base material level, disconnecting us from the universal soul. A brief perusal of the news will clearly show that their “God” seems most comfortable amidst the killing fields. 

If we focus on the Abrahamic religions, we have a god much like the state, one who needs to be loved. He is also jealous of the other supposedly non-existent gods and is as sociopathic as the governments who adore him. He wipes out his enemies with floods and angels of death just as the governments who pander to him annihilate us with cultural revolutions, atom bombs, television, and napalm. Their anthem is, “Love your country, its flag, its history, and the God who created it all” — an ethos forcefed to each new generation. 

Beauty  (Venus)
The sad thing about the bread and circus is that it’s generally not even entertaining. The slaves are told it’s time for some fun and they move in hordes to stare at their electrical devices, believing that they are watching something of value when it’s generally nothing more than vulgar propaganda.

As long as homo domesticus goes into the appropriate corral, jumps when she is told to, and agrees wholeheartedly that she is having fun, then she’s a good slave worthy of her two days off a week and fifteen days vacation at the designated farm where she is milked of any excess gold she might have accumulated during the year. Once she is too old to work and put to pasture, holes are strategically placed in her vicinity so she and her husband can spend their last few dollars trying to get a small white ball into them.

On a daily basis, after the caffeinated maximum effort has been squeezed out of her, she is placed in front of a screen, given the Matrix approved beverage (alcohol), and re-indoctrinated for several hours before starting the whole cycle over again. God forbid that anyone should ever take a hallucinogen and have an original thought. We are, thankfully, protected from any substances that might actually wake us up and are encouraged to stick to the booze.  The Matrix loves coffee in the morning, alcohol in the evening, and never an authentic thought in between.

On a more primal level we are entranced with the contours of the perfect body and dream of “perfect love,” where our days will be filled with soft caresses, sweet words, and Hollywood drama. This is perhaps the most sublime of the Matrix’s snares, as Venus’s charms can be so convincing that one willingly abandons all for her devious promises.  Romantic love is dangled like bait, selling us down the path of sentimentally-coated lies and mindless consumerism.

Money (Mercury)
Money is their most brilliant accomplishment. Billions of people spend most of their waking lives either acquiring it or spending it without ever understanding what it actually is.  In this hologram of a world, the only thing one can do without money is breathe. For almost every other human activity they want currency, from eating and drinking to clothing oneself and finding a partner. While religion came from innate spirituality and patriotism from the tribe, money they invented themselves — the most fantastic and effective of all their tools of domestication.

They have convinced the slaves that money actually has some intrinsic value, since at some point in the past it actually did. Once they were finally able to disconnect money completely from anything other than their computers, they finally took complete control, locked the last gate, and electrified all the fences. They ingeniously print it up out of nothing and loan it with interest so that 18-year-olds can spend four years drinking and memorizing propaganda while incurring a financial indebtedness that will most likely never end.  

By the time typical Americans are thirty, their debt is so high that they abandon any hope of ever being free of it and embrace their mortgages, credit cards, student loans, and car loans as gifts from a sugar daddy. What they rarely ask themselves is why they must work to make money while banks can simply create it with a few keystrokes. If they printed out notes on their HP’s and loaned them with interest to their neighbors, they would wind up in a penitentiary, but not our friends on Wall Street — they do just that and wind up pulling the strings in the White House. The genius of the money scam is how obvious it is. When people are told that banks create money out of nothing and are paid interest for it, the good folks are left incredulous — “It can’t be that simple!” And therein lies the rub  because no one wants to believe that they have been so easily enslaved.
 
Culture (Moon)
“Culture is the effort to hold back the mystery and replace it with a mythology.”
– Terence McKenna

As Terence loved to say, “Culture is not your friend.” It exists as a buffer to authentic experience. As they created larger and larger communities, they replaced the direct spiritual experience of the shaman with priestly religion. Drumbeats and sweat were exchanged for digitized, corporatized noise. Local tales got replaced by Hollywood blockbusters, critical thinking with academic dogma.

If money is the shackles of the matrix, culture is its operating system. Filtered, centralized, incredibly manipulative, it glues all their myths together into one massive narrative of social control from which only the bravest of souls ever tries to escape. It’s relatively simple to see the manipulation when one looks at patriotism, religion, or money. But when taken as a whole it seems as natural and timeless as the air we breathe, so intertwined with our self-conception that it is often hard to see where we individually finish and our culture begins.

Escaping the Grip of Control


The Astronomer, Albrecht Durer, 1500

Some might ask why this all-pervasive network of control isn’t talked about or discussed by our “great minds.” Pre-Socratic scholar Peter Kingsley explains it well:

“Everything becomes clear once we accept the fact that scholarship as a whole is not concerned with finding, or even looking for, the truth. That’s just a decorative appearance.  It’s simply concerned with protecting us from truths that might endanger our security; and it does so by perpetuating our collective illusions on a much deeper level than individual scholars are aware of.” (4)

Whoever discovered water, it certainly wasn’t a fish. To leave the “water” or Plato’s cave takes courage and the knowledge (gnosis), not the belief, that there is something beyond the web of control. The path out of the Matrix is not for everyone because it requires dangerous unlearning, unbelieving, disconnecting, and unplugging. No stone can be left unturned within the soul of the seeker, but the reward is beyond anything words and culture could possibly offer.

Astrology can be a great help because it describes the forces that rule this realm while refraining from passing judgement on them. There is no good and bad in astrology, only archetypes driving the powers that shape our existence. Unlike almost any other worldviews, astrology simply aims to find equilibrium between a wide array of equally valued forces.

Plato described the process of leaving the Matrix over 2300 hundred years ago in the Allegory of the Cave:

“…if the prisoners are released and disabused of their error. At first, when any of them is liberated and compelled… to look towards the light, he will suffer sharp pains; the glare will distress him, and he will be unable to see the realities of which in his former state he had seen the shadows…will he not be perplexed? Will he not fancy that the shadows which he formerly saw are truer than the objects which are now shown to him?

He will… grow accustomed to upper world…first he will see the shadows best, next the reflections…in the water…then he will gaze upon the light of the moon and the stars and the spangled heavens…Last he will see himself in his own proper place, and not in another; and he will contemplate himself as he is.”


Footnotes:

(1) Used with permission of the artist.

(2) The Guardian

(3) NY Times

(4) Quest

Bio: Robert Bonomo is a novelist, blogger, and astrologer. He created a unique blend of anarcho-capatalism and esotericism in his latest novel, Your Love Incomplete, available as a free download. He blogs at The Cactus Land.

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The Venus Songbird?

By Frank Clifford | July 14, 2014

About a year ago, I wrote a Horoscope Detective column for TMA (Feb/Mar 2013) on Planetary Types. The gist was that it’s all well and good to make a direct correspondence in astrology (X planet or sign “rules” music, or Y “rules” the law) if we consider these as umbrella terms that link a planet to a field of work or the temperament that ideally suits that work. But all planets (and signs) are represented in every profession; areas of life are too broad to assign to one planet only, and there are people of “planetary types” in every area of life.

I would argue that it’s more important why we do something (for a living, for instance) than what we actually do, because the horoscope shows our motivations, passions, and personal qualities that shine through whatever work or life situation we pursue. Put another way, some astrologers are from Venus, some from Saturn, some from Jupiter, and so on. There is variance in every profession (the Gauquelins understood this when moving from statistical results linking planets to professional eminence to their later studies of keyword traits). Birth charts of those in any field are as varied as the motives, styles, and skills of their owners.

In the recent Music Issue of TMA, I wrote about the charts of 15 vocalists — each a unique song stylist — providing snapshots into some themes of their horoscopes and key aspects of their lives and work. In my research into what represents the voice, I found that Mercury and the Moon spoke most directly about a vocalist’s delivery and interpretation:

“Where is the “voice” in the chart? The first stop is Mercury (its sign position and aspects), which reveals how we compose and arrange both words and sounds. But really, the whole chart — in particular, its major aspects and the Sun, Moon, and Ascendant signs — reveals the vocal style, interpretive qualities, and “personality” of a singer.

If Mercury links to a singer’s physical, technical voice and left-brain analytic functions, the Moon (right brain) reveals how a singer interprets the lyrics and phrases a song. Both planets have specific “connect and communicate” roles, but the Moon conveys a mood to the audience. (“Iconic Vocalists of the 20th Century, Their Music, Their Lives, Their Charts,” TMA, April/May 2014)”

Later I received an email from someone, incredulous that I’d not spoken about Venus. How could I have left it out? Did I not know the links to Taurus and the throat?!

Venus appears to be strong in the charts of manufactured pop stars and MOR (middle of the road) entertainers, and it speaks of “harmony” and “popularity,” but does it say much about the type of singing voice we have? I try to keep an open mind about astrological factors — otherwise, what we expect to see is what we then find in a chart. I research from the outside-in: I like to discover as much as I can about the life and character of a public figure (in this case, their vocal style and interpretation, their musical interests and vocal qualities) and then look for these things in the horoscope.

By approaching research in this way, I’ve found that I’ve broadened my understanding of the nature of the planets and signs. We learn more when we study people who share a set of traits (or life experiences) and then look for common astrological links. And it stops us from simply thinking, for instance, that Mercury (or Jupiter or Uranus, etc.) equals astrology and astrologers, and then making a judgement about its position in charts (and its owner!) accordingly. As we learn (and keep learning), I think we must often resist the need to apply our preconceptions of “what constitutes X” to then rubber-stamp a chart. A narrow frame of reference will only result in narrow interpretations.

In my experience, pinpointing the key players in a chart can help us identify so much about a person’s motivations, choices, needs, lifestyle, and experiences. And key players appear to be planets that are: positioned around the angles; in aspect to (or ruling/dispositing) many other horoscope points (or unaspected); or singled out by being the handle of a chart shape or the apex of a T-square. When researching vocalists, Mercury and the Moon kept describing their vocal style and delivery, and Venus didn’t appear to be a major player in the charts of the hundreds of songbirds I examined.

So, how do YOU think Venus is related to music — not just by association but in actual charts and lives? I’ve posted six of the charts from my Music Issue article and invite you to add your own observations and research about their voices, musical styles, and charts. Please feel welcome to use any planet/sign/house in the chart — not just Venus — and to present other vocalists charts, too.

Data and Sources included with all charts. Charts: Tropical, Placidus, Mean Node

Frank Sinatra, December 12, 1915; 3:00 a.m. EST; Hoboken, NJ, USA (40°N45’, 74°W02’); A: Lynne Palmer quotes Sinatra’s father.
Frank Sinatra, natal

Nina Simone, February 21, 1933; 6:00 a.m. EST; Tryon, NC, USA (35°N12’, 82°W14’); AA: from birth certificate, as quoted in The Gauquelin Book of American Charts.
Nina Simone, natal

Roy Orbison, April 23, 1936; 3:50 p.m. CST; Vernon, TX, USA (34°N09’, 99°W16’); AA: note from birth registry obtained by Edwin Steinbrecher; FCC has a copy on file.
Roy Orbison, natal

Aretha Franklin, March 25 1942; 10:30 p.m. CWT; Memphis, TN, USA (35°N09’, 90°W03’); AA: from birth certificate obtained by Edwin Steinbrecher; FCC has a copy on file.
Aretha Franklin, natal

Bono (Paul David Hewson), May 10, 1960; 2:00 a.m. GDT; Dublin, Ireland (53°N20’, 06°W15’); A: Edwin Steinbrecher quotes a mutual friend, from Bono, “two on the dot.”
Bono, natal

Janis Joplin, January 19, 1943; 9:45 a.m. CWT; Port Arthur, TX, USA (29°N54’, 93°W56’); AA: from birth certificate (Janis Lyn Joplin) obtained by FCC, copy on file.
Janis Joplin, natal

Bio: Frank Clifford writes the Horoscope Detective column in The Mountain Astrologer and recently acted as Guest Editor for its Interpretation issue (June-July 2013) and The Music Issue (April-May 2014). Frank’s dozen books include Getting to the Heart of Your Chart (on chart synthesis and interpretation). A data collector and researcher, he compiled the Clifford Data Compendium for Solar Fire in 1997. His websites are FlareUk.com and London School of Astrology

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A sun sign column (by a pro)

By Kate Plumb | June 30, 2014

Mary’s note: Some of you know my sister, Kate Plumb. She is an experienced, well-trained astrologer who has recently started writing a sun sign column for her local newspaper, The Independent in Sag Harbor, N.Y. I think she is doing a very nice job and thought it would be fun to include her column along with some notes about how she does it, i.e., a method for how a serious and thoughtful astrologer can write an informative and easy-to-read column for the public.

Firstly, she is using whole-sign houses, which places 0° of the sign as the first-house cusp, and the signs follow around in their natural order. She looks at the traditional ruler of the sign to see if it is making any major aspects or changing direction within the week. She also considers where in the lunation cycle we are, with strong note of New and Full Moons. The lunations are placed in their solar houses from the Ascendant for each sign (i.e., the New Moon in Cancer is in the 7th house for all sun sign Capricorns, in the 5th house for sun sign Pisces, the 12th for Leo, etc.). The same is true for stationing planets, i.e., Mercury going direct in Gemini is in the 4th house for sun sign Pisces, in the 10th for Virgo, etc. Although this sounds simplistic, it is a method that continues to show accurate and surprising results.

That’s the basic approach. Kate adds quite a bit of nuance, including weaving a hint of mundane astrology into the mix.

When reading Kate’s column (and teasing out more of her method), please note that the week under consideration takes into account the paper’s publishing schedule — the week starts on Wednesday, Mercury’s day.

Have fun, enjoy yourselves. Thank you, Kate. (She was happy for me to write about her method — no secrets revealed.)

Week of Wednesday the 2nd of July – Tuesday the 8th of July
by Kate Plumb

Read your rising sign too if you know it…

Aries (Mar 21-Apr 20) With the New Moon last Friday in your fourth house of home, father, and real estate matters and Mercury’s station to move ahead last night in your third house of siblings, neighbors, and mental activity, the focus this week is close to home. Mars, your ruler, is finally picking up speed in your relationship sector. Issues that first arose in January might begin to have some resolution. You have been going back and forth long enough. Listen to your heart.

Taurus (Apr 20-May 21) Your ruler Venus is in Gemini this week and is very busy interacting with many planets: Jupiter and Pluto on Thursday the 3rd, and Uranus and Saturn on Monday the 7th. First you are giving yourself away to excess, coupled with power struggles and perhaps jealousy; then a sudden spark appears coupled with the necessity of adjusting to reality. Gemini is a light-hearted sign; stay buoyant and use the situations encountered as material for your next creative project.

Gemini (May 21-Jun 21) Your ruler Mercury is now slowly beginning to move ahead as of yesterday. Mercury takes this backward sojourn to sift the wheat from the chaff. If you have used the time wisely by not pushing the new perceptions, concepts, and mental images into reality, you can begin to now. As Plato said, thoughts create our reality. It takes awhile to figure out what thoughts or ideas are worthwhile to put into action. Use the New Moon from Friday in your 2nd house of income and talents to begin forging ahead. One of these ideas might make you some money.

Cancer (Jun 21-Jul 22) If you were born this week you are/will be in the hot seat, as the Sun encounters Pluto on the 4th and Uranus and Saturn on the 8th. If your life purpose is symbolized by the Sun, then encountering the gods Pluto and Uranus will put you on a life-altering course that they dictate — we only respond. The U.S. birthday is this week and it does not bode well for the next year being tranquil, but instead filled with power struggles. The dire circumstances on the global front do not manifest in the same way as they do in our personal lives, but the year for you will be very different at the end than the beginning.

Leo (Jul 22-Aug 23) Your ruler the Sun is meeting some larger-than-life planets this week and sudden eruptions are possible. The Full Moon, when things come to a head, is not until next week, but because your ruler is involved this week expect to experience some bumps. It is all for evolutionary progress, which is not something that gets talked about over the water cooler; however, it may be that that is the whole purpose -— to confirm the importance of that which we cannot see.

Virgo (Aug 23-Sep 21) The week starts out with the Moon in your sign, which happens once a month for 2 -1/2 days. It is always a time of empowerment, when you feel an urge to express yourself. As your ruler just went forward last night, you are emerging from a place of inner reflection (since around Memorial Day) and are now ready to put thoughts into action. Focus on your hopes and wishes, what would be for your highest good. If you deserve a raise or promotion, ask for it. All systems are go in your career now.

Libra (Sep 21-Oct 21) Venus, the goddess of love, beauty, affections, and values, is busy this week. As Mars is still in your sign too, this can make for a very lively time. The North Node is also in your sign, so have faith that whatever is happening in your career, on the home front, in relationships and self-image is for your growth. The focus has to be with what you need, contrary to the way you like to operate — focusing on the other person. Allow what you think is fair to prevail.

Scorpio (Oct 21-Nov 22) Saturn is stuck in the middle degrees of Scorpio all month. This is the place that is the most resistant to change. Saturn sitting there will make you deal with that which you are most attached to. Scorpios develop through tumultuous crisis. You are made of sterner stuff. This station of Saturn means you are on the downward slope of the 2-1/2 year passage of the “Grim Reaper” in your sign. There will be fireworks this week, but the outcome towards the end of the week will leave you feeling stable, although with more responsibility.

Sagittarius (Nov 22-Dec 21) Venus and Jupiter form a pleasant aspect as the week begins, so overindulgence is a possibility. You are known to expand both the pleasant and the unpleasant, or the pleasant so that it becomes the unpleasant. You are finishing up a year with your ruler Jupiter in your 8th house of money that is shared with other people (marriage or business partners), everything to do with finances and investments, creation of wills, debts, bank loans, inheritances, taxes and dealings with the government, business matters, and issues related to the dying. It also speaks to the manner of your death and your level of interest in metaphysics, the afterlife, and in the psychological processes that we undergo with a therapist. The last time this happened was July 2001 – August 2002. Affairs in these departments should have increased in the positive way should your natal Jupiter be in a good state, and less so if not. Look back on the year and on the previous time for clarification. You are the sign of wisdom.

Capricorn (Dec 21-Jan 21) The New Moon being in Cancer sets your 7th house as the focus this week and this month. Last week brought a new beginning with the New Moon, and that will culminate next week with the Full Moon. There are fireworks this week, as the Sun sets off the Uranus-Pluto square that has been igniting the planet since the Tunisian fruit vendor, Mohammed Bouazizi, lit himself on fire in December 2010. All areas of your life will have been altered by the time the aspect fades next March. This week is intense regarding partnerships, especially for those born on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th of January (of any year).

Aquarius (Jan 21-Feb 20) Your two planetary rulers, Saturn and Uranus are making a moderately difficult aspect all month. They get to within minutes of each other but never form an exact aspect, each changing course mid month. When aspects become exact there is resolution, and a new cycle can begin. But that is not the case here. There is no solution just attempted adjustments between conservative and liberal, staying the course or moving ahead, consolidation and progressive. Some of you have the more conservative side strong, some the more progressive. Notice the tension Saturday afternoon and Monday night.

Pisces (Feb 20-Mar 21) The New Moon in your 5th house of pleasures and children makes the month a potentially happy one; graduation parties and vacations come to mind. We are midway to the Full Moon next week when matters come to a head. This week begins with clarification coming in your home and relationship affairs, as Mercury is moving slowly forward as of last night. Matters clear up when that happens; things do not stay confusing forever, unless it is you who are making it that way.

Bio: Kate Plumb, “cycles scientist,” is a certified NCGR counseling astrologer who teaches monthly at Joshua’s Place in Southampton and sees clients in her home office. She is also certified in Astro*Carto*Graphy. Website: kateplumbastrology.com. Kate can be reached at kplumb@optonline.net or (631) 725-9133.

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Franz & Sophie: A Tragic Love Story

By Alex Miller | June 23, 2014

June 28, 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of one of the seminal moments of the 20th Century — the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his morganatic wife Sophie, an event which precipitated the First World War. (1) Heir to the aging Austro-Hungarian empire, Franz and Sophie were shot and killed by Gavrilio Princip, a 19-year-old Serbian student and anarchist, while on a formal visit to Sarajevo, regional capital of the provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, recently annexed by Austria from the moribund Ottoman Empire.

Franz was the nephew of the reigning emperor, Franz Josef, and became his heir when the latter’s son shot himself in 1889. Five years later Franz met Sophie, a lady-in-waiting to a cousin’s wife, at a ball in Prague — it was love at first sight.

But the trip down the aisle was a long one; although of aristocratic blood, Sophie was not royal, and the imperial rules regarding marriage with the Habsburg family were very strict. Particularly as heir to the throne, the marriage was deemed unacceptable, but Franz refused to consider any other match, and he and Sophie began a clandestine affair, mostly via letters and stolen moments together. He and his uncle clashed frequently over this issue, until at last in 1900, Franz Josef agreed to allow the marriage to take place, although Sophie would have to be Franz’ morganatic wife, meaning (as noted) that she could never share her husband’s rank or status, even after he became emperor, and their children could not succeed to the throne. Granted the rank of Furstin, or Princess, Sophie’s social status improved considerably over the title of countess she was born with, but she still ranked below even the lowliest, or youngest, Archduchess. At court functions, Franz and Sophie were separated from one another, with Sophie trailing far down the reception line.

But the couple were happy and had three children, two boys and a girl, though the constant social snubs chafed Franz’ pride quite a bit. Born on December 18, 1863 (7:15 a.m. local time, Graz, Austria), Franz’ attraction for Sophie was written in the stars. His Venus at 9° Scorpio, ruling romance and partnership, closely trined his natal asteroid Sophia at 10° Pisces, indicating an ease of interaction and a potential for romantic attraction between himself and someone of that name. In effect, asteroid Sophia is acting as a “placeholder” for a potential mate, and when Sophie Chotek, born on March 1, 1868, met Franz, her natal Sun at 11° Pisces walked right into that potential, making her the right “fit” for the energy. Conjoining Sophia in Franz’ birth chart are further descriptors of their union and fate, with asteroids Habsburg, the name of his royal house, and Atropos, named for mythic Greek Fate who severs the thread of life at death, conjunct from 5° and 8° Pisces.

Franz’ Venus further opposes Sophie’s natal Pluto at 14° Taurus, suggesting a deeply transformative love, but also the potential for death and destruction from their union. An early intimation of their tragic end may be seen in the archduke’s Venus conjunction with an exact natal pairing of his Jupiter and Osiris at 17° Scorpio — this prefigures a famous (Jupiter) death (Osiris, named for the ancient Egyptian god of the dead) , involving a partner (Venus).

Sophie’s own Venus at 18° Aries is exactly trined Franz’ natal Ascendant at 18° Sagittarius, and more broadly trine his Sun at 25° Sagittarius, as well as opposing his natal Saturn at 16° Libra, signifier both of him as her spouse and also the obstacles they overcame to express their love. Her Venus is also conjunct asteroid Pandora at 19° Aries, denoting the unleashing of unexpected consequences from their love (not the least of which was a global war).

Sophie also has a grouping of Uranus, asteroid Anubis, TNO Ixion, and asteroid Habsburg natally, at 8°, 10°, and 11° Cancer (Anubis and Ixion together at 10°), which tells the tale of their disaster –— Uranus rules shootings, Anubis is named for an Egyptian deity associated with funerary rites, Ixion is named for the first murderer in Greek myth, and Habsburg indicates the familial connection that would drive the potential of the other three into manifestation.

(See graph below for the connections in this article)

Their killer and the place they died are also reflected in their birth charts and the skies on the day they died. Asteroid Sarajevo falls at 22° Pisces in Franz’ nativity, conjoined asteroid Lachesis at 27° Pisces, named for the Greek Fate who determines the span of life, and squared the Sun, suggesting that this city would be instrumental in the ending of his life. Sophie’s natal Sarajevo at 14° Aquarius is exactly conjunct natal asteroid Principia (for Gavrilo Princip, her assassin) and also conjoined asteroid Franzia (for Franz) at 16° Aquarius, bringing together her husband and their assassin with the venue for their deaths. Together these exactly square a pairing of Pluto, ruling death, at 14° Taurus, and Aphrodite, ruling affairs of the heart, at 16° Taurus, another indicator that their love could lead to disaster. Principia at 0° Capricorn in Franz’ chart conjoins the Sun at 25° Sagittarius, denoting his importance in the archduke’s biography, and also Mercury, ruling youths and students, at 4° Capricorn, while squared Franz’ natal Moon, his physical body, at 5° Aries.

Franz’ natal chart also sports a conjunction of asteroid Gavrilov (for Gavrilo) at 11° Leo with asteroid Requiem, named for the funeral mass for the dead, at 9° Leo, uniting a major death indicator with the name of the man who killed him. Amazingly, on the day he died, transit Requiem had exactly returned to its natal degree, bringing transit Gavrilov in its wake at 5° Leo! Sophie’s natal Gavrilov at 9° Aries squares the Cancer stellium describing her potential murder.

Two attempts were made on their lives that sunny June morning in Sarajevo. The first was a small bomb thrown at the procession from the railway station, which missed its target and killed no one, but injured several. After the formal reception, Franz insisted on a detour to the hospital to visit the wounded, but no one told his driver. As the vehicle made a turn to follow the route of the official itinerary, the head of security stopped the driver and informed him of the change in destination. As the driver backed to make the turn, he brought the car to within mere feet of Gavrilo Princip, waiting for lunch outside a deli, who simply pulled out the revolver concealed in his jacket pocket and shot both Franz and Sophie at point blank range. Franz was hit in the neck and bled out within minutes; Sophie was shot in the abdomen and died instantly. Franz’ last words were an impassioned plea to the love of his life: “Sophie! Don’t die! Stay alive for our children!”

The Sun at 5° Cancer that day was conjunct both Pluto, ruling death, at 0° Cancer, and asteroid Sarajevo, the town they died in, at 1° Cancer. The Sun was exactly squared by transit asteroid Principia, representing their killer, at 5° Aries, resting exactly atop Franz’ natal Moon. Transit Sophia at 20° Cancer aligned with asteroid Nemesis at 17° Cancer, and transit asteroid Francis (also for Franz) at 7° Aquarius aligned with transit Damocles at 6° Aquarius and Uranus at 10° Aquarius. Transit asteroid Habsburg at 5° Virgo combined with Mars (violent death, attacks) at 1° Virgo, TNO Ixion (murder) at 8° Virgo, and the Moon at 11° Virgo. Jupiter and Osiris were once more conjoined, as in Franz’ birth chart, now at 21° and 27° Aquarius, with Osiris exactly conjoined Sophie’s natal Mars and Franz’ natal Damocles, that doom hanging unseen overhead.

A month after their deaths, Austria attempted to impose harsh conditions on Serbia’s government in retaliation for the attack, issuing an ultimatum that would have required Serbia to accept Austrian secret police into their country to suppress anarchists, and control of their press, conditions which were generally considered so extreme that no sovereign government could accept them. When Serbia refused the ultimatum, Austria-Hungary declared war, and a series of complex alliances and agreements went into effect, whereby Germany and Italy mobilized in support of Austria, while Russia came to the defense of its fellow Slavic nation Serbia, backed up by England and France.

The ensuing conflagration spread across Europe and the globe, eventually drawing in America on the side of the Allies, costing some 16 million lives and toppling monarchs from their thrones across the continent. The conflict led directly to the establishment of a communist government in Russia, and the fragile peace four years later sowed the seeds of World War II.

But for Franz and Sophie, the story ends on June 28th, 1914, in sleepy Sarajevo. The date was also their 14th wedding anniversary, and they died as they had lived — together and united.

Franz and Sophie

Note:

(1) morganatic: adjective used to describe a marriage in which neither the spouse of lower social rank nor any children of the marriage may inherit the title or possessions of the higher-ranking spouse.

Bio: Alex Miller is a professional writer and astrologer, author of The Black Hole Book and The Urban Wicca, former editor of “The Galactic Calendar,” and past president of The Philadelphia Astrological Society. His pioneering work with Black Holes in astrological interpretation began in 1991, when his progressed Sun unwittingly fell into one. His work with deep space points and asteroids appears monthly at DayKeeper Journal. Alex can be reached for comment or services at glaktix@verizon.net

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Elizabeth Warren

By Mary Plumb | May 26, 2014

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren was born on June 22, 1949 in Oklahoma City, OK (1).

If you don’t know much about her, the Wikipedia entry is a place to start, which includes her famous remarks at the 2012 Democratic Convention: “People feel like the system is rigged against them. And here’s the painful part: They’re right. The system is rigged.”

I haven’t followed many politicians lately but Elizabeth Warren has stood out. Thanks to Kate Petty, who used Warren’s chart in her demonstration of solstice points in her recent, wonderful talk to our local NCGR chapter.

Warren’s birth time is unknown but there are some things we can see by using a sunrise chart. (The Moon was in Taurus all day.)

Elizabeth Warren, sunrise chart

I am going to note some midpoints in her sunrise horoscope; since the time is unknown, I’ll just point out a few midpoints that would have been in effect all day — no angles or the Moon are used. The quotes are all from Reinhold Ebertin’s The Combination of Stellar Influences. (These midpoints are visible on the 90° or 45° dial.)

Jupiter/Saturn = Pluto. “A person unafraid of any trouble or work in order to attain the desired aims slowly but surely, the demonstration of immense effort.”

Sun/Uranus  = Pluto. “A radical reformer, the desire to rearrange things.”

Uranus/Pluto = NN. “An untiring colleague, a continually active partner. The desire to accomplish immense tasks in team-work with others, the experience of sharing upsets or excitement with others.”

Sun/Pluto = Mars. “The desire to perform record achievements, over-exertion or overtaxing one’s powers, ruthlessness. The tendency to work to the point of a physical breakdown.”

Mars = NN (i.e., Mars is 45° from the North Node). “The desire to cooperate with others, comradeship and team spirit, a social conscience….Associations of people working together to a common end or purpose.”

Mars is emphasized by being connected to so many midpoints. It is also conjunct the fixed star Aldebaran, one of the four Royal Stars of Persia. Bernadette Brady has connected Aldebaran to success reliant on one’s integrity. She quotes Ebertin as saying the star  “gives great energy and that the person influenced by it can achieve many things but will make enemies.” (Anyone following her career will know this to be true.)  (2)

Of further note in terms of Warren’s popular appeal: the Sun and Venus are exactly parallel, increasing their connection. Uranus and Pluto are very close to exactly parallel as well, though this was an aspect that occurred for a longer time in the sky. (The Sun and Venus 23N26; Uranus is 23N39 and Pluto is 23N40.) As Kate demonstrated in her talk, the Sun and Uranus being precisely on the solstice point (i.e., Aries Point) brings this whole combination of influences strongly into the public eye.

The Full Moon eclipses in October 2013 and April 2014 have triggered her natal nodal axis. Her newest book, A Fighting Chance, was published a few days after the April 15 lunar eclipse.

Here are a few reviews which include discussion of her policy ideas.
The New York Review of Books

The New Yorker

May she be well and prosper.

Footnotes:
(1) Wikipedia

(2) Bernadette Brady, The Book of Fixed Stars, Samuel Weiser, Inc., 1998,  pg. 231.

Note: For anyone interested in midpoints, here is an article I wrote last year on Oscar Pistorius.

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Where is Russia Headed?

By Gary P. Caton | April 28, 2014

Due to the presence of the t-square between Jupiter, Uranus, and Pluto, astrologers had been worrying about the 2014 chart of the Aries Ingress for some time, long before the calendar year began. On March 3, 2014, Robert Hand gave form to these concerns by noting the correspondence of the angularity of these planets at the time of the Ingress, and the geographical regions where socio-political unrest was already brewing. At the time of the Ingress, Jupiter and Pluto were rising and setting near Washington, and on the MC and IC near Kiev, and Uranus was setting over Moscow. In summary, Hand wrote: “this coinciding of Jupiter-Pluto lines with both Washington and Kiev links the two places and, since Uranus is involved as well, makes the entire t-square active in both regions.” (1) Now, with retrograde Mars having joined the trio, and the Cardinal Grand Cross event behind us, we are left to wonder what exactly will become of the escalating tensions between these countries. A full-scale military confrontation is the worst-case scenario; the main question on many people’s minds is whether Russia will invade Ukraine any time soon.

I use a chart for Russia similar to one used by Adrian Ross Duncan, but set for December 25, 1991 at 7:35 p.m., the moment the CIA tells us the new flag was raised over the Kremlin in Moscow. (2) The following chart shows this horoscope on the inner wheel with transits for April 25, 2014 on the outside.

Inner wheel: Dec. 25, 1991; 7:35 p.m.; Moscow, Russia
Outer wheel: transits April 25, 2014

We can see that the April 25 superior conjunction of Mercury and the Sun at 5° Taurus occurred right near the MC of this chart — and in a very close square to Saturn at 5° Aquarius. This time frame also correlates to a complete breakdown in diplomatic communications between the U.S. and Russia, as well as a decision by the G7 countries to pursue more sanctions against Russian interests. (3) Since the MC symbolizes leaders and national reputation and the 7th house is both business partners and “open enemies,” it appears, from the quick moving trigger of the superior conjunction of Mercury with the Sun, that this chart for Russia so far works well.

Since my last blog for TMA was about the roles of Mercury and Pallas Athene in the Cardinal Grand Cross, it didn’t escape my attention that Pallas stationed direct at 25° Leo on April 7, in conjunction to the Ascendant of this chart for Russia. (4) I find it extremely symbolically apropos that we have a supposedly “minor” astrological archetype associated with the strategic aspects of war (asteroid Pallas Athene) activating the Ascendant of the Russian chart at the same time that they are involved in a series of highly complex machinations regarding the seemingly “minor” country of Ukraine. Some see Ukraine as a pawn in the “New Great Game” — a competition between the U.S. and NATO against Russia for influence in central Asia. (5) It is precisely the complex nature of such a political chess game that makes some see it unlikely for Russia to launch a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. (6) It may be that all this bluster from Russia is simply a blocking and/or a delaying tactic designed to keep the scheduled elections for May 25 from happening and thus continuing to deny legitimacy to the Ukraine government in Kiev. (7)

On that note it is interesting to consider another seemingly minor astrological factor that is creeping into a stationary conjunction with the Leo Ascendant for this chart of Russia. On April 27 the True Black Moon Lilith will station retrograde at 22° Leo. Since the chart we are using for Russia contains a conjunction between the Sun and the True Black Moon, this may not be a minor factor at all, and may go a long way toward explaining what is going on here. Kelley Hunter describes Black Moon Lilith as “an emotional intelligence informed by the wisdom of earthy instinct.” (8) It seems that Putin views the expansion of NATO into former Warsaw Pact nations as a broken promise, and is determined that it will proceed no further. (9)

In the short term, the final thing to note is one other station. The direct station of Mars, at 9° Libra on May 19, is very closely square to the Nodes in this Russian chart, at the South Bending. This could represent a re-connection with one’s deep ancestral roots, making this a very formative time in the evolution of this country. However, as it is the point where the Moon dives its deepest below the ecliptic, the South Bending is not strongly indicative of major outward manifestations. In my view, transit Mars stationing direct at the South Bending does not portend a major military event, such as an invasion.

In the long term, as Uranus forms the opening square to the Uranus-Neptune conjunction of the national chart, we definitely see a nation at an important crossroads. It seems to some that perhaps Putin feels Russia needs to break free of identities imposed from the outside, to find its own true identity and move toward a Eurasian Union. (10) But since illusory Neptune is transiting the 8th house and the midpoint between the natal Sun/Black Moon Lilith/North Node conjunction and the MC, we may not be able to pin down the ideology that is behind these radical movements for some time to come.

References & recommended reading:

(1) Robert Hand’s public Facebook page

(2) World of Wisdom
and
“On Christmas Day 1991, at 7:35 p.m., the Soviet flag flying over the Kremlin was lowered and replaced by the new Russian banner.”
CIA Library

(3) The Daily Beast
and
Washington Post

(4) The Roles of Pallas Athene and Mercury in the Cardinal Grand Cross by Gary P. Caton

(5) Business Week
and
Wikipedia: The New Great Game

(6) Slate

(7) BBC

(8) The Dark Goddess Lilith by M. Kelly Hunter

(9) NY Times

(10) Foreign Affairs

Bio: Gary P. Caton is an eclectic Astrologer who embraces an organic, process-oriented approach of spiritual exploration via the Living Sky. Gary has studied Spirituality for over 24 years. After exploring Shamanism and the Tarot, in 1993 his life was changed by a magnificent Dream where he was shown planetary alignments and became an Astrologer. Gary earned a degree in Counseling with highest honors and has developed a unique multi-discipline path to practicing Astrology over 20 years. Visit Gary at his website: Dream Astrologer

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2014 and beyond

By Louis Acker | April 14, 2014

(Editor’s note: Astrologers from the old school will remember the enormous addition to our studies encountered in 1973 with the appearance of The Astrologer’s Handbook, by Frances Sakoian and Louis Acker. The book — and others that followed — are true and beloved classics. Reprinted in 1989, The Astrologer’s Handbook is considered one of the very best introductions to serious astrology ever published.

I was delighted to be directed to Louis Acker’s current work by a student of his. This is an edited section of an article that appeared on his web site on March 3, 2014. TMA will include further sections of the original article in this blog in coming weeks.)

As of January 2014, we are approximately halfway through the five-year Uranus in Aries square Pluto in Capricorn transit. This dramatic cardinal sign square is the dominating outer-planet aspect between 2011 and 2016. There will be seven exact Uranus-Pluto squares. The fourth exact Uranus-Pluto square took place on November 1, 2013.

The fifth one will be on April 22, 2014, at 13°34’ of Aries and Capricorn. This fifth exact Uranus-Pluto square is part of the exact 13° cardinal grand cross that includes Mars in Libra and Jupiter in Cancer.

The sixth exact Uranus-Pluto square is at 12°35’ of Aries and Capricorn on December 15, 2014. It is activated by Venus in Capricorn conjunct Pluto and square Uranus from December 20th through 23rd. This will involve aberrant sexual perversions in high places. Transiting Mercury in Capricorn also is conjunct Pluto and square Uranus on December 24, 2014. Leaked information from within the establishment — probably involving a whistleblower — will become a shocking major news story.

The seventh and last Uranus-Pluto square will be March 17, 2015. Mars in Aries conjunct Uranus and square Pluto between March 8 and 15, 2015 activates this last Uranus-Pluto square. This is an explosive, highly dangerous combination that could precipitate assassinations, riots, revolution, war, bombings, and industrial accidents.

For a swath of time from mid January through July of 2014, Uranus square Pluto is continuously activated, triggered by other planets transiting cardinal signs, thus forming t-squares and grand squares with Uranus and Pluto. This is largely because Mars in Libra and Jupiter in Cancer both have stations. while turning from retrograde to direct, that are in square or opposition to Uranus and Pluto. Jupiter is in opposition to Pluto and square to Uranus continuously from mid January to mid May of 2014.

Mars is in opposition to Uranus and square to Pluto between mid April and the end of June 2014. These Mars aspects have the potential to produce revolutionary uprisings throughout the world, as marginalized populations struggle to barely survive. Issues of social justice will be of overriding concern.

What is needed is for the masses to be educated as to what and who is controlling the major economic structures of the world, the banking empires that control the bought out and blackmailed economic and political systems in every country. Until the people of every country, race, religion, and cultural background understand that they have a common enemy in the globalist banking empire and the trans-national mega corporations controlled by the elitists, the people of the world will be divided and conquered as usual. The proliferation of electronic communications technology is spreading the knowledge of what is really going on even as the elitists are doing everything they can to dumb down the masses and spread confusion and disinformation. This process is spreading and increasing exponentially through alternative media as the controlled corporate media becomes increasingly discredited and unpopular. As this process reaches critical mass, it will be unstoppable.

The transiting Sun in Aries was conjunct Uranus and square Pluto between March 30 and April 7, 2014. This aspect suggests abuse of power by politicians and other important people that will fuel revolutionary sentiment. We have already noted the armed standoff that occurred in Nevada between a family of ranchers who had public grazing rights for over a century and the fascist BLM agents who tried to kick them off the land.

A total lunar eclipse takes place on April 15, 2014 (at 25° Libra), with Mercury conjunct Uranus at 13° Aries activating the forming exact grand square at 12°-13° of the cardinal signs. As the transiting Moon in Libra approaches the exact eclipse degree, it will also activate the coming grand square. The Moon will be at 13° Libra at 2:03 a.m. PT (5:03 a.m. ET) on April 14, 2014.

With transiting Mercury in Aries conjunct Uranus and square Pluto between April 12 and April 16, there could be a dramatic news story involving misuse of power and betrayal of the public trust that will inflame public anger against the corrupt economic–political power structure and fuel revolutionary sentiment. Such a breaking news story could trigger the crisis associated with the cardinal grand square in the second half of April.

Hard-angle aspects (conjunction, square, opposition), angular houses, and cardinal Signs (including Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn) have a quality of immediacy about them. They indicate crisis situations that cannot be put off and require immediate attention. Failure to take timely, responsible action has undesirable, if not disastrous, consequences. A grand square indicates a condition in which attempts to solve problems in one area aggravate problems in other areas.

Decades of economic mismanagement and parasitical manipulation of markets by the elitist cabal of central bankers will result in worldwide economic paralysis. It will take years, probably decades, to sort out this mess and, in the process, many governments and major corporations will fall by the wayside. The elitists think that they can manage this chaos, come out on top, and set up their one-world currency, dictatorship, and military. This delusional thinking will bring about their downfall and demise.

For the first time in history, a large and growing percentage of the world population is starting to understand who the real perpetrators of economic collapse and social chaos are. The old methods of divide and conquer — including false flag attacks and problem-reaction-solution manipulation of public opinion that served the elitist agenda so well in the past — will no longer work and will, in many cases, backfire. Once 5% to 10% of the population understands what is really going on, the rest of the population has to encounter the newly (to them) revealed information. Even if they reject these ideas, in time, they will have to accept them as more and more truth is revealed and becomes obvious as current historic events unfold. We are on the cusp of a huge change in mass awareness. Everything that is created by human civilization, good or bad, is first thought of and motivated within human awareness. Whatever is created in this process is a reflection of the level of consciousness of the person or people who created it. Significant advances are usually conceptualized by a small group of more intellectually advanced and intuitive individuals, and then put into action by larger collectives of people. To significantly change mass consciousness is to change everything.

This process has greatly accelerated in modern times as a result of an enormous intensification of the cosmic energies that affect human awareness and all life throughout our solar system. This change is in progress now and will continue to intensify.

NASA probes — sent to other planets and their moons in our solar system over the last 30 years — reveal massive changes in brightness, magnetic field strength, atmospheric weather features, and other scientifically measurable phenomena. Massive changes are happening on the Sun and throughout the solar system, and not just on Earth. This has to do with our solar system crossing the plane of the galaxy. On a more subtle level, these same cosmic energetic shifts are bringing about a massive change in human consciousness on planet Earth.

© 2014 Louis Acker

Bio: Louis Acker is the author of The Astrologer’s Handbook, Predictive Astrology, The Astrology of Human Relationships, and many other books. He has studied astrology for over 55 years and is available for consultations and private instruction.

Please visit his website LouisAcker.com for details on his services. He lives in Crestone, Colorado and can be reached at: (719) 256-4057; email: louissa1111@fairpoint.net

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The Roles of Pallas Athene and Mercury in the Cardinal Grand Cross

By Gary P. Caton | March 31, 2014

“Be realistic, demand the impossible.”

Anonymous graffiti, Paris, May 1968 (1)

April 21, 2014 will be the fifth of seven squares between Uranus and Pluto during the current decade. Because Mars and Jupiter are joining the action and creating a “cardinal grand cross,” a lot of people in the astrology world seem to think that this square (i.e., the fifth in the series) is going to be different, perhaps more like what we were expecting — a return of the widespread revolutionary fervor of the 1960s. I happen to agree, but for different, additional reasons.

Chart: April 21, 2014, Washington, D.C., 2:15:28 p.m.  Geocentric, tropical, whole sign houses

The first reason I see this square as potentially more active than the first four is that the asteroid Pallas Athene has recently stationed near the far midpoint of Uranus-Pluto. I wrote an article for the print edition of TMA in 2012 about the historical impact of this asteroid stationing on each side of the separating Uranus-Pluto conjunction in the cultural revolutions of May 1968, in France and elsewhere around the world. (2) It seems obvious to this astrologer that the nature of this asteroid had a re-vivifying effect upon this conjunction that was beginning to separate significantly. In a word, the nature of Pallas Athene is hot — in the sense of the Aristotelian qualities.

Because of this hot or active nature, I believe that Pallas can be seen as an octave transformer between Mercury, Jupiter, and Uranus. Also, all these archetypes are associated with somewhat unbounded mental creative principles, so we could say that these four bodies constitute a sort of “archetypal complex.” Since Air is a volatile, yang element, the phenomenology of the experiences related to all these archetypes is likely to be characterized by the experience of release, creative breakthrough, and unexpected emergence into new possibilities. We can see in the horoscope for the fifth Uranus-Pluto square (above), that Pallas Athene is making a trine to Mercury, a semisquare to Jupiter, and a sesquisquare to Uranus. So these archetypally-related bodies are also related via aspect. This chart appears to have the potential for a tremendous release of pent-up mental or social energy.

Along with the connection between Pallas Athene and Uranus-Pluto, there is another interesting tie to the year 1968 that is active throughout 2014. This is related to a phenomenon I call the Mercury Elemental Year. All three of the Mercury retrogrades in 2014 will happen in Air signs, just as they did in 1968. Furthermore, because it has been 46 years, Mercury will trace almost exactly the same path through the sky as in 1968. (3) Every single Mercury synodic event — be it his stations, conjunctions with the Sun, or elongations — will happen within a degree of where it did in 1968.

The preceding tables are from a 51-page report I compiled in the winter of 2012. This e-book report contains 125 years of ephemerides for the Mercury Elemental Year, along with theory and instructions on how to use these cycles for personal transformation. (The report is for sale via my website for ten dollars.) (4)

The basic idea is that since, each year, Mercury spends about as much time in one single Elemental triplicity as the other three elements combined, this single element represents themes that reverberate and echo most deeply throughout the collective discourse. Thus, this year, the most profound themes communicated socially will be Airy ones. In addition, we have a series of aspects between three or four Airy planets in the chart for the fifth Uranus-Pluto square. So, what can we expect all this Airy energy to look like?

First, let’s go back a few years to see how this pattern has played out recently. Just before the first exact Uranus-Pluto square, we were under a Mercury Elemental Year of Fire, and within one day of an inferior conjunction of Mercury Rx, with the Sun at 29° Sagittarius, a street vendor in Tunisia practiced self immolation, setting himself on fire in protest and beginning what became known as the Arab Spring.

In late 2012, as the Mercury Elemental Year was about to move into Water, I wrote a blog for TMA suggesting that in 2013 a protest movement could gain the kind of mass cohesion (water) we saw via the Summer of Love movement in 1967, 46 years earlier. (5) Sure enough, in Brazil that year, we saw a mass movement, with not just hundreds of thousands but millions of people taking to the streets; there were an estimated one million people out in the streets of various cities on June 20 alone. (6) These were not only the biggest, but also the most successful protests — from the point of view of the protesters — thus far in the current Epoch of Revolution, with many protester demands being met by the government. (7)

So now we have a worldwide protest movement that is maturing and gaining cohesion. It is time for the protesters to get smart and use what they have learned. Looking back, we can see that the May 1968 movement in France was in large part an intellectual revolution, as it was inspired by the artistic sensibilities of groups like the Situationists. (8) An important event leading up to May 1968 was the Strasbourg scandal. (9) A group of students managed to use public funds to publish a pamphlet, which circulated thousands of copies and helped to make the Situationists well known throughout the non-communist left. (10) Although it is thought that some of the core revolutionary events of 1968 may have been the brainchildren of as few as one or two dozen people,  ultimately the general strike would involve 11 million — more than 20% of the population of France. (11) (12)

In 2014 we have another chance to see a repeat of the energy of the fabled 1960s. Just like the Mercury Elemental Year of Water in 2013 helped to bring and hold millions of people together in Brazil, the Mercury Elemental Year of Air should find the People united and activated around powerful ideas. The alchemical symbol for Air involves an upward-pointing triangle, symbolizing volatility. As a yang or masculine element, it is the nature of air to move up and out. And the lessons of Mercury and Pallas seem clear — small planets and small people matter. Sometimes they seem to make all the difference.

References & Recommended reading:

(1) Books.google

(2) “The Synergy of Pallas Athene with Uranus-Pluto,” TMA June/July 2012 issue. Online readers can find a link to the article here.

(3) Mercury synodic events (Stations, Maximum Elongations from and Conjunctions with the Sun) recur near or in the same zodiacal degree every 46, 79, or 125 years.
MAA.org
The planetary synodic periods were well known to Mesopotamian astrologers and indeed made possible the birth of ephemerides and horoscopic astrology. Later, Ptolemy used them in his Almagest. The modern astrologers Ruperti, Munkasey, and Blaschke have done in-depth research on these cycles.

Alexander Ruperti, Cycles of Becoming: The Planetary Pattern of Growth. Previously published in 1978 by CRCS Vancouver, WA. Re-published 2005 by EarthWalk School of Astrology Publishing, Port Townsend, WA.
Michael Munkasey, “Station Cycles” — an as yet unpublished research article shared with interested members of the community.
Robert P. Blaschke, Astrology: A Language of Life: Volume 5 – Holographic Transits, EarthWalk School of Astrology Publishing, Port Townsend, WA, 2006.

(4) Dream Astrologer

(5) The Mercury Elemental Year 2013

(6) Wikipedia and Reuters

(7) Wikipedia

(8) Wikipedia

(9) Wikipedia

(10) Library Nothingness

(11) Wikipedia

(12) Wikipedia

Bio: Gary P. Caton is an eclectic Astrologer who embraces an organic process-oriented approach of spiritual exploration, personal growth, and transformation via the Living Sky. Gary has studied and practiced Spirituality for over 24 years. After exploring Shamanism and the Tarot, in 1993 his life was changed by a magnificent Dream where he was shown planetary alignments and became an Astrologer. Gary earned a degree in Counseling with highest honors and has developed a unique multi-discipline Astrology practice over the last 20 years. Visit Gary at his website Dream Astrologer

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