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August 9, 2011

Wisconsin’s Recall Election from an Astrological Angle

Two powerhouse planets are nearing an important turning point after completing about a quarter of their cycle of 115 (or so) years that began in the turbulent Sixties. Rebellious Uranus is approximately 90 degrees past plutocratic Pluto (in a relationship called a square, meaning at cross purposes). This relationship symbolizes well the current insanity in the markets (Uranus relates to volatility and Pluto to investments) and the special recall election in Wisconsin, a referendum on right wing warfare against the middle class (Uranus means “the people”) and a test of the influence of big money and power (Pluto again) to affect elections. This square was a weak 10 degrees from exact at the election in Nov. 2010 (and the population was not riled up at that point), then a stronger 8 degrees from exact the night the Wisconsin legislature shoved through its anti-union law on Feb. 25, 2011 (amidst massive demonstrations), and is a potent one degree from exact at the Aug. 9, 2011 recall election (expected to have record turnout despite efforts to make it harder to vote).

The dwarf planet Ceres was only 4 degrees from Pluto at the election in Nov. 2010 when the Republican Governor Scott Walker was elected. Ceres relates to protective agencies like the police and firefighters who are among the targets of his union-busting agenda. (Ceres also relates to commodities markets.) Nothing had been said in his campaign to indicate any problem for these groups. On August 9, 2011, Ceres is at 0 degrees Aries, the first degree of the zodiac, often associated with big news and events of far-reaching impact. This time, it’s only 4 degrees from Uranus, representing the masses, both in Aries, a sign of anger and action. As goddess of harvests, Ceres’ symbol is the sickle (picture angry masses of workers brandishing sickles – or maybe not since that sounds like Russian Communists but these are teachers and peaceful democratic middle class people). Together with Uranus, ruler of lightning and electricity, they are about to deliver a shock and make history. As the polls open for the recall election in the state’s capitol, Retrograde Mercury (the planet of communication in its phase of apparent backward motion) is rising in the chart (a position of emergence and visibility). Mercury Retrograde is perfect for a “do-over” and a step in the opposite direction.

Astrologers might argue this point, but I contend Saturn (planet of authority and elder status) represents conservatives and Jupiter (planet of open-mindedness and eternal learning) represents progressives. At the opening of the polls for the Nov. 2010 election as well as the night the anti-union law passed in Feb. 2011, Saturn was rising toward the upper reaches of the chart (gaining in power) while Jupiter was dropping lower in the chart (waning in influence). (In fact on the night the law passed, Jupiter and Saturn were 10 degrees from an exact stand-off opposite each other.) On Tuesday, August 9, 2011, as the recall election commences, the reverse is true: Jupiter is high in the sky and Saturn is low. This is another clue as to which way the wind will blow. I will be surprised if the Democrats don’t retake the state Senate. Even if it’s only “close but no cigar,” the solidarity of the middle class is sending a message to Republican governors across the nation that workers are “mad as hell and not going to take it any more.”

July 14, 2011

July 15 Full Moon – Peak of Political Power Plays?

News headlines frequently mirror simultaneous astrological occurrences. Current discussions about the US economy and its global impact, raising the national debt limit, tackling the deficit and addressing the gap between revenue and spending are all associated with the planet Pluto, which rules shared finances. Things are coming to a head around the July 2011 Full Moon. Full Moons are often a marker for a peak or culmination, sometimes a completion. The Moon at 22-1/2 degrees of Capricorn is opposite (by definition) the Sun at 22-1/2 degrees Cancer. The influence of a Full Moon stretches a few degrees before and after its point of exactness.

Looking at the USA chart for July 4, 1776 (no matter what birth time you use – and astrologers debate about that!), the country’s birth position for Pluto is at 27-1/2 degrees of Capricorn, while the Mercury position is around 24 degrees of Cancer. In addition, the USA Mercury is in the apparent backward motion called Retrograde, famous for re-visiting a topic. Mercury across from Pluto shows how the country frequently has opposing views on how to handle its finances and care for its people (nurturing is related to Cancer). The current Full Moon points right to this conflict and should mean some kind of conclusion, at least for this round of discussions, though the topic will arise again and again.

Approximately half-way between the USA’s Mercury and Pluto, forming a tough pattern called a T-square with them is the USA’s Chiron. This asteroid, nicknamed the “wounded healer,” shows where difficulties arise and gives clues to resolving them. The USA Chiron in Aries points to selfishness as a sticking point. Everyone wants his slice of the American pie! The upside of Aries is being bold and fresh. New solutions are needed because what’s been tried isn’t working.

Adding a monkey wrench to the process is the very slow-moving newly discovered little planet, Eris (a troublemaker in mythology). It is now around 22 degrees of Aries, turning up the volume on arguments. At this Full Moon, the Moon and Sun are in a nearly exact T-square pattern with Eris. This Full Moon is the peak of a cycle that began at the July 1 New Moon at 9 degrees of Cancer, across from the USA birth position of Eris at 8 degrees of Capricorn, reinforcing the present Eris involvement. Eris also indicate strong, powerful (and perhaps angry) women. Will it be the women in the legislature who lead the way?

[A side note, nothing to do with economics or politics. This week’s highlights in my Janet’s Plan-its 2011 Celestial Planner says: “look for well-known women protesting as well as news about women in the military or leadership positions.” This described the July 11 entry of the woman-related dwarf planet, Ceres, into Aries, a sign associated with athletics and competitions. The USA women’s soccer team, on a roll since then, plays in the world final game July 17. Again, the news reflects the cosmic weather: “as above, so below.”]

Although this Full Moon is not an eclipse, it is the culmination of a cycle that began with a Solar Eclipse - and a rare type at that. It began a totally new Saros Cycle, which is a series of 72 related eclipses occurring every 18 years over a period of 1300 years. They spiral around the earth’s surface, each a third of the world’s circumference beyond the one before it. The cycle begins with partial eclipses near one pole that become total when occurring closer to the equator, then receding to partial eclipses as they approach the end of the cycle at the opposite pole. This entire new cycle will carry the flavor of the current astrological tides as a subtext to the evolving energies of future related eclipses.

The key feature at the July 1 eclipse was a pattern as formidable as a T-square and similar to it, with the empty spot across from the middle planet filled in to form a Grand Cross. Three heavy-duty slow planets are traveling in a T-square. They were roughly in this relationship a year ago, when many astrologers expected a market crash and economic downturn at the end of July 2010. It didn’t happen then, but we’re back to a tension level and situation where it’s threatened again. Uranus (famous for unpredictability and rebelliousness) and the financial planet, Pluto, are slowly heading for their exact stand-off, a friction-producing 90-degree square in 2012. (More on that in future blogs!) Meanwhile Saturn (planet of responsible maturity) is moving through Libra (and the empty spot of the USA T-square) creating a T-square that’s strong for several more weeks. The eclipse Sun and Moon filled in the empty spot of that T-square, at 9 degrees of Cancer (exactly 90 degrees from the USA Eris).

Saturn is a planet of karma, bringing rewards (or punishment) for behavior. It’s also the planet signaling definitions and regulations. Uranus rules the masses and humanitarian leanings. Pluto, like its name implies, is associated with plutocracy, control by those with assets and power. Here we have an indication of the conflicting interests between the masses and the ruling classes, what the media calls class warfare. The Cancer Moon and Sun indicate the caring role the government, as representatives of the people, plays for the collective. This is the time for that role to be defined.

One of the obstacles to finding common ground between the warring parties is the Republican party’s refusal to even consider any form of tax increase to bridge the revenue-spending gap. Almost to a man (or woman), Republicans in Congress have signed an anti-tax pledge foisted on them by someone who wields more influence than most elected officials: Grover Norquist. As head of a group called Americans for Tax Reform, he can dole out or withhold campaign contributions from the moneyed minority and corporations who stand to benefit from low taxes on them. Basically they are pledging allegiance to their contributors rather than their nation and constituents. Mr. Norquist’s Sun at 26 degrees of Libra forms a Grand Cross with the USA Mercury-Chiron-Pluto T-square. He stymies balancing the USA budget. Without ever increasing taxes, this can only be done at the (literal) expense of the vast majority of the non-rich. So we’ll see how America defines itself. Is it still a nation of majority rule?

The degrees in question show up in the charts of other key players in the debate: House Majority Leader, Rep. Eric Cantor (R, VA), Lunar Nodes at 22 Cancer/Capricorn; John Boehner, Speaker of the House (R, OH), Jupiter 27 Capricorn; Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader (R, NV), Saturn at 25 Aries; Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader (D, CA), North Node at 21 Libra; Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke, Lunar Nodes at 25 Capricorn/Cancer, Uranus at 22 Cancer, Mars and Neptune at 25 Libra; and both President Barack Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (born 2 weeks after Obama) with Saturn at 25 Capricorn. Will Rand Paul (R, KY) call for a filibuster in the Senate? Probably not. He has no planets in the 22-27 degree range of the pertinent signs.

The debt ceiling date of August 2 is the day Mercury begins another backward jaunt. The US has been dumb before. Will going into default by failure to quit bickering be the latest and greatest mistake? Doesn’t look likely. Fortunately, the degree range for this retrograde doesn’t poke at the zodiacal trouble spots for the US economy. But you can’t bank on that.

May 6, 2011

Potent Planetary Combination Brings Big News

A rare and formidable team-up of three powerful planets, called a triple conjunction, occurred over a three-day period from April 29 to May 1 (May 2 in Europe and east of there). I wrote about it in my Janet’s Plan-its 2011 astrological calendar and then anxiously awaited what would transpire then that would pack a punch. The deadly devastating tornado outbreaks in southeastern USA just days before that time didn’t really match the associations of the planets involved, but the demise of our nation’s biggest enemy on May 1-2 sure did! And in a way, even the Royal wedding on April 29 fit the bill.

Jupiter spends about a year in a sign, usually. This year, it speeds through the zodiac’s first sign, Aries (famous for quickness), in record time from late January to early June (after a brief foray into Aries 6/6 - 9/9 last year). It spent much of 2010 buddied up with wildcard Uranus zigzagging the border between the first and last degrees of the zodiac circle. This is the point the Sun traverses each year at the vernal equinox, ending winter and rebirthing toward the summer solstice. Get the feeling of the close of one era and the start of another? As the biggest planet in our solar system, Jupiter expands or exaggerates whatever it contacts. Uranus is the planet of revolution and the populace at large. So Jupiter was revved up to spur large protests, which began as soon as it entered Aries (a sign of impatience and anger) the second time on January 22. It didn’t take long for the Egyptian President Mubarak to succumb to the rising tide of change, resigning on Feb. 11 after just 18 days of huge demonstrations.

The grand finale of Uranus in the last sign of Pisces came March 11 when the earthquake and resulting tsunami hit Japan. I had correctly predicted “ocean-related news” and “suffering of the masses” then but I hadn’t anticipated anything like the ensuing fires, explosions and meltdowns in the nuclear reactors that added awful insult to the horrendous injury immediately upon as Uranus’s entry into Aries. It should have been easy enough to guess: Uranus is the planet related to electricity, explosions and surprises, including catastrophes, while Aries signifies fire.

By the time Uranus strode into Aries March 11 to settle in for a seven-year stay, unrest across the Middle East was well underway. On April Fool’s Day (in some US time zones; April 2nd in the east), Mars stormed into the sign it “rules” (a term denoting a strong association between a planet and a sign) for a five-week visit. By the end of the month, it would pass Jupiter, which had by then caught up to the newest planet, slow Eris, named for Mars’s bitchy sister and thought to represent strife. This is the triple conjunction I had circled on my calendar and worried that some tragedy would ensue. Historically it’s been affiliated with war and turmoil, though not exclusively. For instance, at its last occurrence (in January 1940), it coincided with the first demonstration of FM radio to the FCC (Jupiter rules all forms of long distance communication and Mars relates to newness). But a Mars-Jupiter combo can spell a big conflict or attack, and blended with Eris, it certainly looked like trouble, at least for someone. As we came closer to May Day, I began to wonder if the big news would involve taking out Ghadafi. But a different prey was being sniffed down. By the weekend, the Mars’ relation to leadership and decisiveness showed itself as what’s been called a “gutsy decision” on the part of President Obama in ordering the attack on Osama bin Laden.

The exact moment his death has not been disclosed but it’s safe to say that the final hours of the decision-making do align with the Moon’s quick passage over the triple conjunction midday on Sunday, May 1. By the time of the mission that night, the Moon (which moves about a degree every two hours) was about three degrees past Eris, Jupiter and Mars. As the heavenly body that moves fastest around the zodiac, the Moon is the ultimate timer for events and showed its thrust once again.

When I think of all the disasters I had worried about prior to this big planetary line-up, I am grateful that the main manifestation was the culmination of a decade-long manhunt. BUT – and this is a big but – it remains to be seen if Eris’s association with chaos will bring unintended and unwanted repercussions in the future. A time to keep your eye on will be around May 9, when Mercury and Venus, currently traveling closely together, pass Eris (forming another triple conjunction, though a less volatile one) at the same degree of the May Day weekend triple conjunction. Mercury signals news. Venus is generally peaceful and benign. Considering they’re in Aries, there could be aggression in an attempt at balance (which Venus also rules). Already we’re seeing adversarial discussions domestically about the potential role of “enhanced interrogation” in obtaining the information to track down bin Laden and heated political disagreements about whether to release the photographic evidence of the deed. Did I mention that Jupiter is related to philosophy and politics?

Another key astrological feature present at the time of the bin Laden operation was a precise Mercury-Neptune connection, indicative of hidden information and clandestine activities, as well as the “treasure trove” of al Qaeda data procured in the process. (Nearby Venus, the planet related to worth and assets, hints that there will be much of value here.)

As the weekend commenced, all the world watched the royal wedding in London between Prince William, likely a future king, and the regal commoner, Kate Middleton. Though I wouldn’t have pegged the date as particularly auspicious astrologically on its own, it turns out to be quite good for their charts, fortunately. When combining their individual birth charts into a blended chart (called a composite), we find that Venus, the love planet, was visiting exactly at their Sun degree, the key indicator for them as a couple. At the moment they were declared “husband and wife” (11:20 AM), the Mercury-Venus combination (literally meaning “words of love and marriage”) straddled the exact top of the chart, the point indicating status, thus their status changed with the pronouncement. In the wedding chart’s top sector, related to public standing and reputation, was the Mars-Jupiter-Eris trio, representing the enormity (Jupiter) of the event, which represented a new era (Mars) for British royalty welcoming a strong non-royal woman (Eris) into their ranks. Kate, now titled the Duchess of Cambridge, really does embody the best side of Eris and in her chart, we see Eris at the eastern horizon, the area showing one’s persona and individuality.

Between these two important news events, the Mars-Jupiter-Eris conjunction turned out not to be so bad after all – well, except for al Qaeda.

The May 2011 episode of my astrology show, Looking Up, discusses these topics further. It should be available in the archive for viewing by May 13 or shortly thereafter.

March 4, 2011

March Forth

March Fourth – the only day of the year that is a command: “march forth.” I remember this from a riddle book from my youth. Each year, I like to celebrate this day with a step forward toward a goal. In 2011, we’re lucky to have a New Moon on March Fourth as an impetus to pursue our dreams. The New Moon in Pisces is time for a new vision of where you want to head in the coming astrological year (which begins on the first day of Aries at the spring equinox). This is a good time to listen to your inner voice as well as your guides from other realms to form ideas for your future.

There is a very strong dose of Pisces at this New Moon (exact at 3:47 pm EST) thanks to five planets and a major asteroid in the signs of the fishes. Like the cold-blooded animal symbolizing this sign, we take on the temperature of the waters through which we swim at this time of year, sponging up the emotions and vibrations of those close to us. Remember that as you take a look at the school you're swimming in.

With so many heavenly bodies in one sign, you might guess that there are some important pair-ups but other than the Sun and Moon sharing the same degree (which happens by definition at any New Moon), oddly there are no other duos. (Perhaps it's more like many voices of a choir joining in the same song.) There is however a lot of action from the midpoints between planets, though, and they act a lot like teams. For instance, the Sun and Moon are halfway between Mercury and Mars, which brings enlivened speech, even angry words. The luminaries are also midway between Neptune and Uranus, blending their weird other-worldly energies. This is the last New Moon during the seven-year exchange of their rulerships, called a mutual reception, and thus the end of an important era.

Uranus rules Aquarius and has been traveling through Pisces since 2003, which is ruled by Neptune. Meanwhile Neptune has been hanging out in Aquarius since 1998, picking up Uranian vibes. The interplay brings religious revolutions or at least unrest among the pious, and has also brought a lot of advances in technology, especially in the medical and communications fields. A strong belief in freedom has helped fuel the recent riots in the Middle East along with the protests in our Mid-west. Mars traveling close to the Sun, in Aquarius last month and now in Pisces, has added to people's impatience to see change and freedom.

The slow-moving outer planets are said to make more of an impact on the collective than on individuals’ personal lives. Yet we know that the macro affects the micro and sometimes vice versa, as in the case of a person who touches the masses deeply like a Martin Luther King, Jr. (Chances are that such a person has the outer planets configured in an important way in his/her chart.) So we look to the sign and interplanetary connections of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto for indications of what we’re experiencing as a people. When outer planets change signs, the zeitgeist shifts, old fads fade away and new trends develop. In 2011-2012, two of these three planets enter new signs for long stays and fresh imprints on the collective mind and behavior.

Uranus stepped briefly into Aries in 2010 and settles in to this active fire sign on March 11. As I wrote for the 2011 Janet’s Plan-its Celestial Planner, “this is the planet of unpredictability, rapid evolution (even revolution) and technology. As it shifts into the sign related to conflict and weaponry, there may be new high-tech armaments unveiled or rebels who strike a blow. Aries is also the sign for sports and anything competitive, so this could manifest in a safer way, such as an invention of a type of exercise equipment or a craze of a new popular computer game. There’s likely to be unrest or anxiety among groups of people and on an individual level. Personally, this is the starting gun for turning over a big new leaf and reinventing yourself to be more authentic or true to your originality. You’ll have to work to stifle spontaneous outbursts if you have chronic anger issues or a strong temper, and patience will be challenging to achieve.”

Jupiter, a mid-range planet affecting both the greater populace and individuals in about an equal strength, hung out with Uranus for most of 2010, expanding its influence, and this year will speed ahead of the slower planet. It’s already in Aries, and its presence there correlates with international volatility and a willingness on the part of people to fight for freedom or what they perceive to be their rights. In the next couple of months, quick-moving Mars and the Sun will also be in Aries, so don’t expect tempers to cool off any time soon.

For now, it’s time to bid farewell to Uranus’s visit to Pisces and the special energetic interchange that has been in place for its entire visit there. This mixture of planets each in the sign that the other rules has brought a lot of wet ‘n’ wild weather, intense hurricanes, ice storms and flooding, as well as a shift in the jet stream responsible for lots of snow in the southern US this winter. These are the most “unreal” signs and planets, so this interaction can bring out the kooks or seem to make sane people act crazy. Together, they signaled a time to gain a deeper understanding of unseen (microscopic, ethereal, psychic) forces. Their humanitarian and charitable combination solidified our interconnectedness and sense of belonging to a global village, whether that was responding to a tsunami or the many strong and devastating earthquakes of late. As the planet of belief (Neptune) and the planet of knowledge (Uranus) swapped influences, competition increased between religion and science for power in politics (controversies about global warming and education about evolution).

The Uranus-Neptune mutual reception opened technology to the masses more. We now watch TV shows on our computers and glamorize everyday people through the (totally unreal) “reality” shows. We have seen the rise of You Tube, where anyone can be a star (of sorts), and Facebook with cyber-relationships between people who are not friends in the traditional sense and may never meet in the brick-and-mortar world. Though we may not have noticed it a lot (and this will probably catch up with us), during this time the air has become more polluted with chemicals (such as those dispersed in chemtrails) and the water more infused with drugs (discarded pharmaceuticals).

Both Uranus and Aquarius relate to revolution and rebellion, while both Neptune and Pisces are associated with oppression and suffering. At the tail end of this mutual reception, we’re seeing waves of uprising that are not likely to be finished before the mutual reception ends when Uranus enters Aries and will continue with the strong warrior energy of that Mars-ruled sign. You can take this as a symbol of the greater freedom to express your own individuality that you may want to fight for in the coming weeks, months or years.

Meanwhile, on a more mellow note (which we could surely use now), I want to share with you a poem I wrote March 13, 1981 (and which is posted on my website) about Pisces.

SWIMMING (In The Sea of Life)
by Janet Booth

Neptune, wizened old man of the sea,
Do you see you are connected to me?
A1ma Mater's the ocean--we're of the same school
Chasing our tails, Playing The Fool.
Through seasonal cycles, both up- and down-stream
Like lemmings, we follow the call of The Dream.
Reflective of spirit, we circle around,
Learning to swim only to drown
Only to rise again up to the sky,
To turn into raindrops and down again fly.

January 15, 2011

Re-ASSigning the Signs

When has an astronomer ever written a horoscope? So why would you want to believe one about your sign?!?

When an astronomer states that the zodiac signs as we have known them are incorrect, astrologers must respond! This view is based on the sidereal (star-based) zodiac, which is the literal measurement of the Sun against the backdrop of the constellations along the path of its annual apparent journey. The astronomer is right that we have known a long time about the change in the calendar dates related to the movement of the Sun through the zodiac stars. What this astronomer does not mention is the more common, though more abstract, method of measuring the movement of the Sun through the zodiac constellations based on the seasons. This is known as the tropical zodiac (think Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn and how these are the signs of the solstices, at the extremes of the earth’s tilt). In referring to the slow wobble of the earth, he is acknowledging the "precession of the equinox." This phenomenon accounts for the changing of the Great Ages and how we are currently entering the Age of Aquarius. Simply put, the location among the stars where the Sun appears at the spring equinox continually precedes the prior year's starting point. The backward shift amounts to one degree (of the circle's 360 degrees) every 72 years, taking approximately 26,000 years to go around the whole zodiac. When neatly measuring the twelve signs as thirty-degree sectors in relation to the spring equinox, no one is changing signs. This is a convenient protocol and maintains a lot of merit in interpreting personality traits and conditions associated with the signs. To adopt the perspective of Minnesota astronomer Parke Kunkle, the dates he lists need to be altered every 72 years to be accurate. (Years are always 365-1/4 days long and days are 24 hours; pretty consistent). Aligning with the seasons, variation is minimal, just a quarter of a day per year due to the man-made insertion of Leap Year. So if you assign the signs to periods of the year, you can use the seasonal system and enjoy your sign as you have always thought it to be OR if you want to go backwards, follow this guy. And if you want to know your REAL horoscope, find out your real birth time and learn your “rising sign” (the sign coming up over the eastern horizon at your birth). That is the sign for which you should read astrological forecasts. It lines the signs up with the departments of your life according to the order considered by astrologers in writing horoscopes. If you must change signs, find out your rising sign and adopt it.

As for a thirteenth sign, yes for years we have also known that a constellation Ophiuchus in the neighborhood of Libra and Scorpio intersects the path of the Sun (and other planets). This is true no matter which way you measure the zodiac. But in both zodiac systems, there are four seasons, each associated with three signs. Although astronomers (who in general have no love for astrologers) might like to stick a new sign into the nice, neat twelve-sign system (which would throw astrologers for a loop), do not hold your breath for any astrologers, sidereal or tropical, to rush to embrace Ophiuchus as a sign and assign it a ruling planet and affiliated behavior and associations. The system is not broken. We do not need to fix it.