The Retrograde Side of Mercury

Explaining to a friend about sharing a room during a silent meditation retreat, she wondered how three people could share space together without talking.

Simple, I answered. We agreed in advance to cooperate and not invade each other’s space. No language is needed once you have that agreement. If I planned to shower and someone was in the shower, I simply showered at another time. No nasty looks. No snide comments. During a retreat, of course, you have this option. Daily life may not be so accommodating.

If I compare the cooperation during a silent retreat compared to, say, my current work environment, there is really no comparison. For me, talking situations are infinitely more complex. Of course, the work we do is more complex as well.

Talking is talking. Agreement is agreement. Cooperation is cooperation.

Talking is probably the greatest hustler that exists, camouflaging as so many modes and traits from communication itself to compromise, agreement, love, hate, sincerity and everything else we describe. Talking is simply the messenger confused as the message.

Astrological Mercury

Mercury is the planet closest to the sun and appears to travel “backward,” about three or four times a year. That means 17 – 23 percent of our year has Mercury at our backs.

Mercury represents communication so astrologers warn you (and this one too) that communication may be more difficult during this retrograde motion. Yet, Mercury retrograde is common. Rather than retrograde being Mercury gone bad, I think retrograde is part of the Mercury experience.

Mercury is “retrograde” anytime someone tells you something less than true or sincere in order to move you in a different direction than you were headed.

How often does that happen?

Is all marketing Mercury retrograde?

Mercury rules the sign of Gemini bringing this sign high intelligence, mental agility, flexibility, wit, charm and a host of other social gifts. Gemini is represented by the twins which are the male and female halves, the sun and moon or any other polarity.

“Retrograde” Gemini is associated with the con artist. But I don’t think Gemini is the con artist; I think language itself is the con artist.

The Imposter

In the movie, The Imposter, a French man pretends to be a missing Texas teenager. He’s so effective he makes it through the European court systems, FBI interrogations and into the US to live with the teenager’s family and attend his school. A Hard Copy reporter finally reveals his true nature as an imposter.

The man, Frédéric Bourdin, has sun in Mercury-ruled Gemini and moon/Jupiter in Neptune-ruled Pisces. Bourdin is interviewed in the movie and you learn much about his technique which is a combination of verbal (with French accent), visual and, ironically, silence. You learn later in the movie that he is practiced as well.

Visual comes first with Bourdin acting the part of a lonely and ostracized teenager. He is deliberately quiet allowing others to fill in the gaps of the story he has created through specific actions. When he speaks, he tells a horrific story of kidnapping and bondage which evokes compassion from his listeners.

How and why the Texas family believes this 23-year old man with an accent is their lost 16-year old brother is another, Neptunian part of the story. Does the family believe him due to intense grief and desire to believe? Or do they believe because it fits their own nebulous story?

Watching a movie of this sort, you wonder how anyone can believe such a thing. But it only takes a few minutes of reflection to think of situations where you believed someone entirely to find out the situation was a fabrication.

It’s easy to believe. We’re all believers of visual and auditory experience.

As the cover of The Imposter states, “There are two sides to every lie.”

Government Retrograde

On June 5, 2013, the first stories of secret NSA mass surveillance of US citizens were published in The Guardian. The sun, Mars and Jupiter were all in Gemini. The leaker of this information, Edward Snowden, has sun in 29 degrees Gemini. At the time, Jupiter was transiting his sun bringing Jupiter’s expansion to his Gemini nature.

While the opinions of Edward Snowden span from traitor to hero, the more I learn about the surveillance program the more I realize that without a little “Mercury retrograde,” we would never know that our basic civil rights were being trampled upon because the means to conceal it involved draconian threats to those that were forced to be involved (per Frontline series).

The cat’s been out of the bag for two Gemini sun cycles and on June 1 Congress will determine whether to continue this program as is or in some other fashion.

On June 1, Mercury will be retrograde in eight degrees of Gemini in a nice square to Neptune at nine degrees of Pisces. Sun and Mars will be close companions at 10 and 13 degrees Gemini respectively. That’s a little of the stuff that created the immense talent of Frédéric Bourdin.

What’s the retrograde in this Mercurial situation? Is the retrograde the fact the situation was hidden until revealed by a leaker? Is the retrograde the returning to possibly unconstitutional metadata collection with the approval of an unconcerned public? Is the retrograde the words used which may not represent what actually occurred in the past and may occur in the future?

Mercury is a “hall of mirrors” direct or retrograde. Too much information can be as confusing as too little.

If this program is extended until July 31, Mercury will be direct while Venus, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto will all be retrograde. That’s half of the astral bodies we use in a horoscope.

Saturn will be retrograde at 28 degrees of Scorpio which is about where it was on December 17, 2014 when the US announced normalization of relations with Cuba. There may be a “return” to that situation as well.

On June 1, Mercury retrograde will tell us what’s it’s decided to do. Ten days later, June 11, Mercury may burp up some different information as it goes “direct” (i.e., forward motion). We’ll watch both retrograde and direct Mercury through Mercury’s most amazing device – the television.

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The Virgo Political Tsunami

My comrade-in-astrology has been telling me that when Jupiter transits Virgo from August 2015 to September 2016, the Pluto/Uranus in Virgo generation is going to finally arrive on the public stage in a blaze of glory (or something like that). This is a generation born between 1957 and 1972. During that time Uranus tagged along for seven years and for a couple years Saturn opposed the conjunction in Pisces.

If you want to know what this represents, think “hippie counter culture” which was formed by Pluto in Leo (“Me Generation”) folk who were under the influence of Pluto/Uranus in Virgo opposing Saturn in Pisces. Under this influence youth gathered in parks, took psychotropic drugs and raged against the establishment. Some were born during this time ingesting this particular energy.

The Pluto in Leo generation is now aging away while the Pluto in Virgo and Libra generations take over the reins of power.

This week four individuals announced their candidacies for president of the United States – Ben Carson (Republican), Carly Fiorina (Republican), Mike Huckabee (Republican) and Bernie Sanders (Democrat).

All four candidates, my friends, are Virgo suns. Yet, none has Pluto or Uranus in Virgo. Possibly the generations haven’t yet shifted but Virgo energy is blowing in the wind as a harbinger of the Pluto in Virgo rise to the top to come at a future date . . .

It’s almost like some evil, political astrologer was out there whispering in the ears of ambitious Virgos, “Run for president now while Jupiter is transiting Virgo.”

Virgo Energy

There have been only two Virgo presidents – William Howard Taft and Lyndon B. Johnson. Each served one term. Taft lost re-election and Johnson chose not to run after becoming president through John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

As I’ve blogged often, Americans like their presidents to have fixed energy. Fixed signs are Taurus (earth), Leo (fire), Scorpio (water) and Aquarius (air). Virgo is a mutable earth sign. Mutable means changeable and flexible while earth is practical and concerned with health and work.

Here’s a nice write-up of Virgo from Café Astrology.

While it seems to have fallen off of the descriptions of Virgo, back in the day Virgo was associated with servitude. Virgo is a helping personality and to be of service, you have to put your ego aside. That’s what makes Virgo kind but also makes it less resilient in a fist-fight than some other signs, Aries for example, where the ego is always front and center.

Virgo is intellectually tough but can feel the sting of the slightest whiff of criticism due to its perfectionist nature. Virgo’s opposite sign Pisces is more known for imagination that can lead to fantasy and, worst case, delusion. But I’ve come to believe that obsession with “perfection” is equally as deluded as believing you are Napoleon Bonaparte. You aren’t Napoleon and there is no “perfect.” If you ever think you’ve achieved perfection, just check it out with your friends.

But I don’t suggest you tell this to one with Virgo energy as they will provide at least a thousand detailed reasons for every action that they take. Do you really have time for that?

In its love of work and desire for perfection, Virgo focuses extensively on detail which is its blessing and curse. Virgo catches what you fail to notice but can also be easily waylaid by others who throw detailed bread crumbs down a deliberately misleading path.

Should a president be detailed oriented? I’ve been somewhat shocked by how little detail some of our past presidents possessed on a number of issues. Yet how can one individual be an expert on every aspect of a society?

Virgo will certainly try.

A Four-Virgo Tsunami

As mentioned above, none of our four Virgos has Pluto or Uranus in Virgo. These are still the “Me Generation” having their last hurrah. Possibly Pluto/Uranus in Virgo is still maturing and will be in the next round of presidential hopefuls.

Here are some tidbits on our four Virgos. And by the way, transiting Neptune in Pisces will oppose Jupiter in Virgo at the beginning of its journey. This is like a high or drunk Virgo. Let’s not let them “Neptune and drive” during the opposition that occurs in their chart. Interesting foibles and Freudian slips await us.

Ben Carson – This Virgo has moon (probably) in fiery Sagittarius. That’s Virgo with some lip. Not only has Virgo noticed much that you missed (including the mayonnaise dripping from your chin), but you get to learn about it with blunt force. If moon is in Sagittarius, Carson then has a fire trine of moon, Pluto/Mars (in Leo) and Jupiter (in Aries). Saturn transiting Sagittarius will put control on the impulsive side while Uranus transiting Aries is lighting a match to the weakening flame. Carson will probably get very, very irritated with the entire process of running for president. Irritable moments are fun to watch. We can probably map this out with the moon. Transiting Pluto is opposed natal Uranus in Cancer. Who did Carson hang out with in his youth? Who is his family? These types of questions are on their way and should receive some erratic and unexpected responses.

Mike Huckabee – This Virgo has moon and Saturn in serious, intense (and fixed) Scorpio. This is a very fine detective chart with the analytical Virgo and intuitive Scorpio. Sniffing out your secrets is second nature to this studied observer. Huckabee has four planets in fixed Leo – Uranus, Jupiter, Pluto and Mars. If you’ve been counting, that’s six of ten astral bodies in a fixed sign. That bodes well for the ability to stay on course during a laborious process. Leo is also a bit more fun-loving than Virgo or Scorpio and can be quite playful. Leo can occasionally laugh at itself while neither Virgo nor Scorpio can. Jupiter is currently transiting Leo providing energy and charisma. On the other side of the fence Saturn is retrograde near Huckabee’s moon suggesting difficulty with emotions and the public. If he can tough it out until September of this year when Saturn goes back into Sagittarius and Jupiter passes into Virgo, things should ease up considerably.

Carly Fiorina – This Virgo may also have moon in fiery Sagittarius. It may be in Capricorn but in either sign is very near a Mars in Capricorn. Fiorina is demanding. Did you hear me? I said pay attention to this woman or your knuckles will be rapped with a ruler. Fiorina has an interesting square with Neptune/Venus in Libra and Jupiter/Uranus in Cancer (Mars is way out of orb in Capricorn). This generation (as described by Neptune in Libra, Pluto in Leo and Uranus in Cancer) redefined relationships and home life. When Fiorina was born, family life was ‘a changing. With Uranus and Jupiter in Cancer, I’d expect a large family with sudden extensions, possibly of neighbors and close friends. The social circle is tight and unusual. Saturn over there in Scorpio suggests she’s not as deeply connected to the gang as she appears. Take heed party liners! If her moon is in Capricorn, however, it will be conjunct Mars and the sense of duty will override any personal urges to go against the grain.

Bernie Sanders – This Virgo is the sole challenger to Hillary Clinton. Go Bernie! Let’s see where the “guts” are in your chart. Oh, I found it – moon in Aries conjunct Mars. That’s some powerful “Me. Now.” energy. There’s not a lot in the chart holding back the Aries energy except poor Venus in Libra, a wonderful placement of love and harmony, but fully overpowered by moon and Mars (if you’re a Freudian, look for mother here). Sanders has Uranus and Jupiter both in Gemini (but not conjunct). Jupiter squares the sun and Neptune is also hanging out in Virgo so this dude is more than a bit eccentric. Love eccentric but my fellow Americans tend to get turned off by it – we’re not British you know so there’s no place for the weird one that collects butterflies, wanders the garden in a bath robe and can recite the entire history of the Byzantine empire. It’s too bad, really. If we were British, we’d also give him a name like “Bernie the Peculiar” or something like that. Hopefully he’ll stay in the race while Jupiter transits Virgo so we can at least have a Democratic debate.

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Ted Cruz Version 2.0

Have you ever gone to a rock concert to see a super famous band in their prime? A concert where you spent half (or more) of your rent money and drove a gang of friends across the state? Gathering your friends, getting stuck in traffic, you were a bit late, missing the opening band.

Did you care?

You may have disregarded the opening band as you parked in the dirt lot a mile from the stadium, tucking your stadium contraband safely inside your sure-to-conceal special place.

But what if later you discover that opening band is rocking like the headliner, is minutes away from fame and you may have to spend another rent check to see them in the future? How would you feel knowing you could have seen them when they were just starting?

Last week and weekend brought a spring shower of announcements of presidential candidacies. Rand Paul, Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio all made the announcement. It was big news.

Reading the news today, I forgot we already had a candidate in the ring – Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Cruz made his announcement several weeks earlier, on March 23.

Looking at Cruz’s horoscope today, I got the strong sense this opening act will be more visible in the future. We might want to pay attention now.

Ted Cruz Version 2.0

Cruz has a fascinating horoscope (Astrotheme horoscope). Of the ten astral bodies in a horoscope (includes moon and Pluto), nine are clustered together with Pluto (in Virgo) at one end and Mercury (in Capricorn) at the other.

The only planet not in this cluster is Saturn (in Taurus) which creates several different types of aspects to the cluster of planets from the tense opposition to the pleasant trine.

Let’s start with Pluto. Pluto was at 29 degrees of Virgo when Cruz was born. Pluto is far away and often appears to make a backward (retrograde) motion. Pluto went forward and backward a bit after Cruz was born then in late summer 1972, Pluto stayed in Libra and headed on its way.

Pluto then visited by conjunction every one of those nine planets and in March 2014 finally visited Mercury at 13 degrees of Capricorn. As mentioned above, Pluto goes back and forth and will do the same over Cruz’ Mercury for the next year. This site describes how Pluto will go back and forth between 12 and 15 degrees of Capricorn until January 2016.

Pluto is the planet of transformation and evolution. Cruz’ lifetime until the present has been a process of evolution. He’s had few breaks from the intensity. The Cruz born in 1970 is not the Cruz who stands before you. He’s Cruz version 2.0 carved from the eroding and shape-shifting power of Pluto.

To have survived the skin-flaying experience of Pluto transiting your entire chart, you must have a very, very strong core. Pluto is insightful, profound, revealing, myth busting and intense. It is never easy.

With natal Mars, Venus and Jupiter in the sign of Scorpio (ruled by Pluto), the intensity is part of the personality. Transformation is a drive, a pleasure and part of the spiritual/religious social order.

Whatever Cruz receives from others during this election, he’s already experienced inside. If Cruz does rise, he will not fall easily.

The Personal Ted Cruz

Cruz has sun in Capricorn and moon and Uranus conjunct in Libra. Pluto transited Cruz’ sun at the beginning of 2008, at the time of the Economic Crisis. For Cruz, there very well may have been a loss of money (or substantial gain, I suppose), but he may have also experienced an internal crisis of identity around Capricorn themes of control, success, responsibility and authority. In his Wikipedia entry, it appears that he went into private practice about that time until 2013.

About a year after this, Saturn transiting Virgo began its trek through Cruz’ cluster of planets. I’m suspecting Cruz had a crisis that involved feelings of imperfection due to perceived lack of success in Capricorn endeavors (work, authority). Natal Pluto in 29 degrees of Virgo is relentless in its demand for perfection.

After Virgo, comes Libra where Saturn visited Uranus and the moon which represents some issues with women, sudden impulsive emotions and possibly an inappropriate attraction. Who is married who hasn’t had marital problems? I hope we skip this during the primary process.

Saturn then moved into Scorpio in late 2012 where the issues moved into the sexual and monetary realm and met with natal Mars, Venus and Jupiter. If the Astrotheme 1 a.m. chart is correct, there were some loans or excessive hedging going on at this time. That transit of Scorpio just ended last December although Saturn has decided to travel backward and visit Scorpio again for a few moments in time. Listening to Cruz’ campaign announcement speech, he made reference to having recently paid off some loans.

Saturn is now moving to a transit of natal Neptune (in Sagittarius). This can bring the blues as Neptune wants to float in the atmosphere in a hot air balloon while Saturn keeps filling the balloon with sand bags. Some of what makes this serious man inspired may fail him at times.

Saturn is an important planet in the chart of a Capricorn sun as Capricorn is ruled by Saturn. For Cruz, Saturn has decided to oversee all other planets as it hangs out far from the others in Taurus. Cruz may also like to keep others at arm’s length.

Saturn in Taurus is also in the horoscope of contender Marco Rubio. I see this placement has having a sense of poverty regardless of the true financial situation. Saturn in Taurus may very well be poor and that’s why they want to borrow your vase and never return it.

But often for Saturn in Taurus, material accumulation provides a sense of self-worth. Loss of money or property damages the self. Normally this placement gives the appearance of living well regardless of the actual circumstances.

When first looking at Cruz’ chart, I got the sense of someone in indentured servitude. This exploitative situation occurs when others are offered work then trapped into endless work until a “debt” is repaid, often a debt for getting the employment.

While I don’t think that’s happened to Cruz, somewhere inside he may feel that way. He’s had to endure Pluto all his life with Saturn opposite pointing a finger at him telling him to put up with all the struggles. He may feel like he had no choice but to work, work, work until that debt was paid.

Cruz probably exists under the weight of an unusual sense of responsibility. Possible that’s what’s leading him to the presidency beyond the normal Capricorn desire for control and authority – the sense of being responsible for everything. If he’s president of the United States, he will be responsible for quite a lot of what occurs in the world’s political and economic spheres.

Pluto will soon move into the open space in Cruz’ chart leaving him to experience his inner self in a lighter way, if he chooses.

Becoming president doesn’t sync up with this opportunity for lightness, but Cruz is a Capricorn. When does a Capricorn stop being productive? Or maybe this is his last dip into the waters of collective responsibility and he will come out cleansed of the need to take control of everything.

The moon in Libra is the lightest area of Cruz’ chart and is a pleasure-driven placement. Cruz relaxes with his partner. Libra is also artistic and drawn to creativity. Libra is also interested in justice and fairness which Cruz has clearly followed with his law career.

During the election, transiting Saturn will also give Cruz a bit of a break. It will be mostly tucked between Neptune and the sun. Toward Election Day 2016, it will be closer to making squares to natal Pluto. He might make it in some form through the election process. If so, the last days will be tough, as they would be for any candidate.

Transiting Uranus in Aries is at play in his horoscope, opposing natal Uranus and moon. Uranus is trying to create a reaction with the unemotional Libra moon. Libra doesn’t like to express anger, but Uranus will try to provoke this reaction.

Ted Cruz Version 3.0?

From an astrological perspective, Cruz has “arrived.” He’s free to be a happy Capricorn (sort of an oxymoron). But Capricorn is one of the slower signs to accept that you can do nothing and still have intrinsic self-worth. Capricorn must prove, prove, prove.

I’m guessing someone suggested to Cruz that life as Supreme Court Justice would be a lot nicer and easier than being president of the United States. This role fits like a glove for a Capricorn sun / Libra moon. And you get to wear black, which goes with anything. And you probably get to spend more time with your kids.

Regardless of what path Cruz chooses, I suspect he’ll be an influence in our future in some way. Let’s forget about Dame Hillary for a moment and pay attention to the chorus line, those hard-working actors in the background. Some will one day make center stage.

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The Ohio-New Jersey Governor Swap

If sports teams can trade players and players can change teams, why can’t states trade politicians?

Take LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team. James played for the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2003-2010 when he became what Wikipedia tells me is called a “free agent.” He was then able to negotiate a contract with any team in any state.

Aren’t all basketball players free? Isn’t this the land of freedom? No time to study this right now, so let’s move on.

As a “free agent,” James did what many a northern climate resident does – he looked south. It’s warm there, there’s no snow, I won’t blow tires in potholes, etc., etc. I’m guessing he had some “sports related” reasons as well. He chose to play for the Miami Heat.

As a native of Cleveland, it’s no surprise that after four years in, I mean “with,” the Heat, James realized the true nature of Cleveland and begged for re-entry into the halo of lake (Erie) effect snow.

If James can do this, why not the Ohio Governor, John Kasich?

If we can trade Kasich, I’d like to swap him for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. They are both Republicans so we don’t need to worry about political party brouhaha. Christie, like Kasich, says obnoxious things but in a lovable way that endears him to certain segments of the public. Christie is unpredictable. Christie is fun. Christie makes you remember every morning as you wake that you do indeed have a governor.

Ohio is a swing state and earns great focus during national elections. Yet Ohioans have no fun with this. Let’s have some fun.

Chris Christie for Ohio Governor

You may wonder why I’d select a governor for Ohio that was recently the focus of a political scandal. You can find his scandal in this nice WBNS 10 list of New Jersey scandals (see 2014).

My response is that scandal arises for politicians only when they are a threat to other politicians or large corporate interests. Christie has toyed with running for president which brings the scandals. Had Christie been in the politically soporific Ohio, there would be no scandal.

If Kasich should choose to run for president, we will learn much more about his finances. If I were an evil astrologer, and I swear I’m not, that is the first place I’d look for “scandal” for this man with sun in material Taurus and moon in material and controlling Capricorn.

Back to my favorite politician, Christie.

As I blogged in the past, I don’t think Christie will be president. With Pluto and sun conjunct in detailed and organized Virgo, we definitely have the control indicators of a man who would want to be president.

What will preclude Christie from becoming president is the Sagittarius moon which probably squares Uranus (in Virgo) and might even be in square to Pluto and sun (my own mark of a politician).

While that square might be the very drive to run for president, the compulsive need for control, it’s also the “loose cannon” factor that appears to be highly unpalatable in a presidential candidate. The political observer in me would say that to be independent minded is definitely a liability in national politics.

Sagittarius and Virgo are mutable signs. They are flexible and adaptable and, often, eccentric. The combination probably leads to changes in behavior that more fixed or earth signs would label as hypocritical.

For example, Virgo is tight about the rules and order. Yet Sagittarius is not. I’m imagining a guy who would rake someone over the coals for being five minutes late but then show up half an hour late to the opera.

With Pluto on the sun, there is also the desire to control. If you came five minutes late, then I will be ten minutes late to your meeting. Unless, of course, I was waylaid by my Sagittarian desire for freedom of movement then I’ll be 20 minutes late but not for the same reason I planned to be ten minutes late.

Make sense?

That is astrology, the mixing and merging of energies into what we call a “self.” The self is not a rational creature, but a unique mixture of qualities.

Across from the Pluto-sun conjunction in Virgo is Jupiter in Pisces. Jupiter in Pisces is a very nice placement for compassion. Opposite one’s Pluto and sun, however, it can create a bit of inflated ego which moon in Sagittarius would support (which astrologically is a T-square). In this placement, Jupiter in Pisces would think that everything I do is good for you.

Mars in Cancer in Christie’s chart suggests a desire to belong while Saturn in Aquarius says he never feels he fits in with the thinking of the group.

Not a good indicator for the presidency.

This summer transiting Jupiter will enter Virgo for a year while Saturn moves back into Sagittarius for its two year journey. Virgo and Sagittarius are prominent in Christie’s chart so he will be ignited. The Jupiter provides self-deluding confidence while Saturn on one’s moon forces emotional confrontations and emotional control.

The moon traditionally represents women but for a public figure can also be “the public.” To run for president, Christies must clamp down on the Sagittarius moon.

Have you tried to stifle a Sagittarian moon?

You can try, but the Sagittarian archer has the ability to both shoot arrows and jump over fences.

John Kasich for President

Kasich, on the other hand, may very well have a personality fit for the presidency. Kasich’s sun (and Jupiter and Venus) is in fixed earth sign Taurus. The American electorate loves, loves, loves fixed signs. Fixed signs take a position and stick to it (they don’t “waffle”). Most of the US presidents have been fixed signs (including our current).

Moon in Capricorn controls its emotions. Always.

Kasich does have his moments of irritability which may be caused by his Uranus in Cancer opposing the moon as well as Mercury in outspoken Aries. Irritability is a problem for Capricorn moon so Kasich’s presidential challenge is to look happy and content. Capricorn moon doesn’t laugh at itself much so that will also be a challenge, but one the strong Capricorn can handle.

Four planets in earth can make for a good soldier, one who tows the line, one who both believes in and respects authority. This is good stuff for the presidency.

Transiting Pluto is Kasich’s greatest astrological challenge right now. Pluto on the moon is transforming those authoritarian tendencies. Not sure exactly where Kasich’s moon is in degree, Pluto might be well on its way for the 2016 election.

Pluto on the moon for a politician also suggests the “powerful” public making its demands. Again, Kasich is a person who respects authority so he may simply be spending his quiet time in Ohio learning the new rules for his next political venture.

The Swap

You might be wondering why I’d trade a potential presidential candidate. It’s truly for the betterment of both men, and for the country.

Kasich in New Jersey will have the challenge of scandals. This might sound bad but it’s a necessary rite of passage for a presidential run, a rite which won’t happen in pastoral Ohio. It’s better to get prepared in New Jersey than to sit in Ohio procrastinating the inevitable.

Christie, on the other hand, could accept he’s too independent for the presidency and come to Ohio to shake things up and enjoy some fresh air. Christie’s Sagittarian moon would be free to wander (Ohio is closer to Las Vegas which Sagittarian moons sometimes love) without the glare of the Eastern media. We here in Ohio are far, far away from Eastern media. Christie shouldn’t forget that Ohio was once the Wild West (before we went west-er).

Christie can then toy with presidential candidates as they crisscross Ohio like ancient Indian paths during the 2016 election. During the last months of the 2012 election, Kasich made a funny (keep it going!) comment about wanting to tax them during their visits.

Since governor swaps are new, there should be no paperwork (ergo no fees). And I believe governors are “free agents.” Aren’t they?

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Disillusionment by Telly

Disillusionment is rising within me like the high tide of an ocean. The bubble has burst. My eyes are clearing. As it passes, I begin the process of acceptance. All is not what is seems.

Buddhism speaks of disillusionment as a good thing, seeing through the veil of illusion. According to the Art of Dharma site:

This whole world is a trick. It’s a fantasy land, a place to get lost in and a place where there are tricks within tricks. Beings get fooled by these tricks all the time.

If the world is a trick, what is the world’s greatest method to convey this trick but television? It’s visual, one is easily fooled, easily tricked.

A fan of British comedy, I happened upon the series The IT Crowd and watched season 1, which was aired in 2006.

The seeds are there – it’s undeniable. This show continually reminds me in character and some story line of The Big Bang Theory (TBBT) which aired in 2007. TBBT is not the original comedy I once believed it was.

It’s disillusioning.

The IT Crowd

The IT Crowd starts with a woman, Jen, applying for a job as head of the IT Department. The skills that she presents as her fit for this role are the ability to open, send and delete emails. She’s hired.

Her two male employees, Roy and Maurice, reside in a man-cave in the basement of a high-rise. Both are socially inept in different ways.

Roy is horny and obnoxious and treats his callers with disdain. When answering the phone is first question is, “Have you tried turning off and on the computer?” His next question is usually, “Is it plugged in.” Often, we find, the computer isn’t plugged in suggesting Ross’ irritability with his colleagues has some grounds.

Maurice, in contrast, is unable to read social cues. He doesn’t understand sarcasm, is unable to lie and has flat emotional responses such as when in response to a raging fire a few feet away simply emails the fire department.

Sound familiar?

Into this situation walks the flighty female boss with no qualifications for the job. Her role is more clearly defined when Roy is being beaten with a shoe by a female employee who didn’t care for his snarky manner. Diffusing the situation, Jen sees that she can provide the relationship management her socially inept colleagues need to survive.

Sound familiar?

In the very first episode the similarities to TBBT are discernable. In the next few episodes similar story lines and characters began to emerge.

In his inability to lie effectively for his boss, Maurice tells his colleagues the boss has died (TBBT – Sheldon can’t lie for Leonard and makes up a ridiculous story about a drug-addicted cousin). The company then sends Maurice to a psychologist whom he ends up sleeping with. Roy sees her in the office and mistakes her for his own mother (TBBT – Leonard’s mother is a psychologist and connects with Sheldon).

There are definitely some places that The IT Crowd goes that US comedy won’t touch such as death and suicide. With a Goth locked in a room behind the red door (TBBT – similar to Howard’s never-seen mother?) how could we not touch on a few dark subjects?

The IT Crowd Astrology

My TBBT blog labelled Sheldon an Aquarius, Leonard a Cancer, Howard a Leo, Raj a Pisces and Penny a Gemini.

Roy seems to have been split into TBBT‘s Howard and Leonard with a bit of Howard’s Leo ostentatiousness combined with Leonard’s strong Cancer need to connect. In the episode where Jen’s PMT (known as PMS here in the States), Roy explains that he’s feeling “delicate.”

Roy’s constant, humiliating rejection by females doesn’t stop his pursuits. Very Howard. He’s got mother issues too as when he mistakes the company psychologist for his mother. His mother seems to call him quite often as well. Very, very Howard.

Maurice seems to have been split into TBBT‘s Sheldon and Raj. The Sheldon obsessive-compulsive characteristics are definitely there (he makes two cups of tea each morning because he often accidentally drops one), but he has interest in sexual, if not emotional, relationships – a bit like Raj. Like Raj, he is shy as he explains during a story about picking up prostitutes with Roy. Unable to perform, they take the prostitutes to the fair.

Oh, Maurice wasn’t supposed to tell that story. Very Sheldon.

Oh, and Maurice has an obnoxious knock when he knocks on the bosses door. One of Sheldon’s unique characteristics is the three knocks on the door.

Is Maurice a mixture of Sheldon’s Aquarius and Raj’s Pisces? Pisces at first glance seems inappropriate for someone with stunted emotional responses. But consider that when water is overwhelmed, it shuts down in anxiety. For Pisces and other water signs, daily life can be enough stimuli to dam up the waters and the emotional responses.

The boss Jen I’ll assign the same sign as Penny from TBBT – Gemini. Talking your way into (or out of) a situation is very Gemini as Jen demonstrates by getting a job as Manager of IT (with no IT skills) and by keeping her job after swearing profusely at the Japanese visitor (who takes his gift sword back in response).

Also Jen clearly describes herself to literal Maurice by saying, “I lie, l lie, I lie.” While we all lie, what’s she’s really telling Maurice is that life demands agility like when you say, “She’s not here” and she really is.

Very Gemini.

Chuck Lorre

The creator of TBBT as well as many other comedies is Chuck Lorre. I’m not familiar with a lot of his creations, but some of his recent shows have focused around a pair of characters with opposite traits (a la Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple and Barefoot in the Park):

  • Two and a Half Men with the wild and crazy brother providing shelter to the neurotic and compulsive brother.
  • Mike & Molly with gender providing the opposite characteristics.
  • Dharma & Greg which I haven’t seen but is described on IMDB as an “odd match” of a “successful businessman” and an “unconventional free spirit.”

According to Astrotheme, Lorre has both sun and moon in Libra with some extra kick from Saturn and Neptune in Libra as well. Libra is about relationships and with sun and moon in that sign, that’s the primary theme of one’s life. Libra tends to hook up young and really can’t get on in life until the other half is found.

It’s no wonder many of his written creations are couples.

Libra-other as opposite of Aries-self tends to reflect off of others to define the self. Thinking about the elements (earth, air, fire and water), only earth has natural boundaries (mountains, for example) while the other elements can’t be controlled or contained so easily.

Water crosses boundaries emotionally. Fire crosses boundaries spiritually. Air crosses boundaries mentally and often crosses boundaries to gain identity. Earth creates boundaries.

That The IT Crowd and TBBT have the same seeds is the very quality of air. Was one idea first and the other second? Was the idea in seed in many places at the same time? With the rise of technology was it just a matter of time before techies and nerds rose in the visual media? How do writers tap into the energies of the workplace when they are not there?

Lorre has all elements in his chart with Uranus, Mercury and Venus in water, Pluto in fire and Jupiter and Mars in earth and the aforementioned air (Libra).

Mars is in Capricorn, an ambitious and driven placement. By degree, this Mars doesn’t square any of the planets in Libra. It’s in the early degree of Capricorn and only makes a wide trine to Mercury. Mars in Capricorn may be the loose cannon in the chart – ambition not acknowledged by the Libra sense of fairness and beauty.

We know, of course, that Lorre has been Capricorn successful through Libra creative pursuits. It’s always enjoyable as an astrologer to see an individual happily living out his/her energies.

Yet, I think there may still be a “me-other” issue here with the IT Crowd and TBBT. We broke with Britain for a reason and this isn’t the first show where we’ve imported the premise from across the pond (The Office).

If we did import The IT Crowd from across the pond, let’s bring Richmond (the Goth who lives behind the red door in the basement). Stuart of TBBT‘s comic book store isn’t quite enough to match the emotional intensity of Richmond. (Oh yeah, Roy reads comic books instead of answering the phone after his tapes his standard replies to phone calls.)

Although in some ways The IT Crowd is ruined for me (disillusionment hits hard), I’m still eager to watch a few more seasons. British comedy seems more edgy, more willing to cast its characters in the light of their true selves – both pretty and ugly.

Libra is a sign associated with pleasure and beauty and, for me, can have difficultly in life with what I think of as “ugly” situations. For example, getting on a public bus with a cross-section of humanity and its concomitant sounds and smells can be a very distasteful experience for Libra energy. That pimple on your nose is also bothersome to Libra (and Virgo). Regular daily “ugly” stuff like that.

Take Charlie Sheen in Two and Half Men. His character was a raging alcoholic who regularly made reference to throwing up over the toilet. Yet he still always came out on top of his neurotic brother. His character never suffered for his behavior. It’s interesting that in real life Sheen has similar behavior which made him look quite pathetic and caused him to suffer; but on TV with the same behavior, he was cool (no wonder he wanted back on so badly).

Roy in The IT Crowd is not spared with his unkempt appearance and unwashed t-shirts matching his obnoxious personality. Possibly his redeeming qualities, if any, will appear in subsequent episodes.

If we imported The Office, I don’t see why we can’t import The IT Crowd. The Brits created the English language first, why not series on the telly?

Moreover, don’t they say that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?”

Who said that?

Oh, that was a Brit too.

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Pisces Moon – Why So Secretive?

This week politician Hillary Clinton was under fire for using personal email while Secretary of State. In addition to legal issues this may cause such as important emails being lost to posterity, this also reveals Clinton as secretive. Secretive implies one is hiding for a specific reason, one has done something wrong.

What wasn’t covered in the news was that Clinton has a sensitive Pisces moon. Café Astrology says this about Pisces moon:

Lunar Pisceans are known to be dreamy and not always in touch with reality. However, though these people may not always show real-world savvy in day-to-day, practical affairs, they make up for this with remarkable intuition. They can put themselves in anybody’s shoes with extreme ease. On the plus side, this endows them with remarkable compassion and love. The down side with this apparent ability to break down boundaries is that these people can easily lose themselves in the suffering of others.

After more description of Pisces intuitive and creative abilities, the description ends with:

Though some are doormats, most Pisces Moon people instinctively know when they’re due for a much-needed recharge. It’s at these times that they retreat from the world (and its harsh realities) if only to gather strength to face everything and everyone again. Solitude is important to them, but they also need people, so their retreats will usually be short-lived. Pisces Moon individuals believe; and, let’s face it, the world needs Piscean leaps of faith.

This last paragraph provides some idea of why Pisces moon is or can seem secretive to others. The great sensitivity of this placement involves a great loss of energy when interacting with others. The etheric system needs to be recharged and that comes through solitude or spiritual practices.

Because of this propensity to lose energy through people encounters, Pisces may simply hide what it’s doing in avoidance of these encounters. Pisces is a mutable water sign and mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces) in general tend to avoid confrontation and seek a back door for escape when the pressure is high.

Another aspect of Pisces in general not covered in Café Astrology is the great ability to manipulate or be manipulated. Pisces is ruled by Neptune and when some new trend, fashion, term or zeitgeist emerges, that is the wind of Neptune. Neptune has no beginning or end; it arises. Because of this quality, it can arise with great force and great irrationality.

Without doing it consciously, Pisces can manipulate through the very empathic abilities that make it tend toward spirituality. In a world that seeks civility and fairness, it can be easy to disengage with our lesser emotions in an effort to adapt. If you’re not completely in tune with your own emotional landscape, beware the manipulative Pisces that understands them fully; understanding that comes from the emotions themselves and not the intellect.

For example, if you’ve suppressed feelings of unfairness and anger, Pisces moon can consciously or unconsciously know and could either help you understand and process these feelings or manipulate them into aggressive actions.

If Pisces is so sensitive, why would it ever enter the public stage?

Pisces moon sits inside the charts of those with the public needs to be recognized, famous or in control. As with all horoscopes, the moon is only one piece, but a very important piece.

Pisces also tends toward spiritual and may have a spiritual sense of mission. The famous character Don Quixote definitely has a strong Neptune or Pisces indicator in his personality. Political office is a means to promote one’s mission.

That sense of mission can also create an emotional sense of persecution. Pisces is both emotional and imaginative; just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean you don’t have enemies. Yet Pisces is so unable to close off the broadcast with its emotional antenna that it may be picking up the wrong signals.

Three Politicians

When opening up to answer questions from the public, it may have been Clinton’s Pisces moon that described her feelings by answering a question in this way:

My sense of privacy — because I do feel like I’ve always been a fairly private person leading a public life — led me to perhaps be less understanding than I needed to of both the press and the public’s interest as well as right to know things about my husband and me.

Clinton’s Pisces moon is accompanied by a secretive Scorpio sun and what I call “the mark of a politician” which is Pluto square sun or moon. In Clinton’s case, it is a wide square to the sun. However, she also has a Mars/Pluto/Saturn conjunction which is about the strongest need for power and control I can think of. Clinton most likely ruled the playground.

If Clinton didn’t have a Pisces moon, she might have wielded power much earlier and with much more violent force. Thank god for Pisces.

Clinton’s Pisces moon is at 22 degrees. Interestingly enough, another politician known for secrecy also has moon at 22 degrees of Pisces – former Vice President Dick Cheney. What a coincidence!

Twenty-two degrees of Pisces clearly doesn’t honor party lines.

Cheney avoided the spotlight by taking the most shadow role in all of politics – Vice President. Cheney appears never to have run for the presidency.

Cheney’s Pluto is opposite sun in Aquarius with a T-square to Saturn in Taurus. That provides a great deal of intensity and drive.

While Clinton has a secretive Scorpio sun, Cheney has a rational Aquarius sun. Both Scorpio and Aquarius are fixed signs – one in the realm of emotion (water sign Scorpio) and one in the realm of idea (air sign Aquarius).

While Clinton may be protecting personal emotions, Cheney was also protecting an idea. Aquarius seeks the perfect society (and perfect everything) so Cheney’s control mechanisms and secrecy were a desire to create a perfect situation. The perfect situation can be for society as a whole or specific brotherhoods, sisterhoods or organizations.

Our most top secret secretive politician was former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. Hoover doesn’t have the Pluto square (or other hard aspect like opposition). Possibly that’s why Hoover stayed out of elected political office entirely.

Hoover had sun (and Mercury and Venus) in controlling Capricorn. Hoover’s desire for secrecy stemmed from a possible homosexual orientation which in his time was quite frowned upon if not illegal. Keeping secrets on others may simply been a protective mechanism for keeping his own life secret and, therefore, safe.

Two Kings

Another interesting Pisces moon “coincidence” has two kings of rock with moon in Pisces – Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley.

The craze over each of these men stems not just from his natural talents, but the Pisces ability to have others project their hopes, dream and emotions onto the masses. The reverse also can happen – the masses can project onto a Pisces-type creating a scapegoat.

Millions of people projecting their passion onto your being might sound delightful. However, looking at the fate of our two kings, the pressure of that projection is too much for an individual to bear.

Both men died trying to escape from the very Neptunian wave he created.

Jackson’s chart has not only Pisces moon, but equally sensitive Virgo sun. Virgo sun is conjunct Pluto.

Virgo tries to organize while Pisces tries to disintegrate. Virgo / Pisces in combination creates worry, anxiety, allergy and confusion. It’s no wonder that Jackson had to go to extreme lengths to turn off his mind to relax.

Like Hoover, Presley had sun in Capricorn and moon in Pisces. Capricorn sun is surely less sensitive than Jackson’s Virgo sun. Presley had Pluto opposite sun so there is need for power and control beyond the normal need embedded in Capricorn.

Interestingly, Presley doesn’t have a lot of fire in his chart. He did have Sagittarius rising and Uranus in Aries (in the 5th house of self expression). Possibly that Sagittarius rising drew him out of his shell; without it, Presley may have kept his singing to his family and his career closer to home. If he had, maybe he’d be alive today.

Or maybe Elvis Presley is still alive?

That brings up a couple other words you can use to describe Pisces – otherworldly and mysterious.

Who doesn’t love a good mystery?

Keep in mind that secrets are the food of mystery. No secrets, no mystery.

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Boy Scout Cookies

It’s that time of year again – time to purchase boxes of Girl Scout Cookies. It’s time again, too, to wonder why Girl Scouts sell cookies and Boy Scouts don’t.

Maybe it’s because little girls are made of:

Sugar and spice,
And everything nice,
That’s what little girls are made of.

Sugar and spice – add flour and butter and you’ve got a cookie!

Little boys, on the other hand, are made of cutting tools and animals,

Snips and snails,
And puppy dog tails,
That’s what little boys are made of.

In researching Boy Scouts, I saw that they do sell food – popcorn. I’m not sure if the popcorn sales are as prevalent as the Girl Scout Cookie sales. Cookie sales get pretty aggressive and demanding – I have stories. But in reflecting on it, I realize that may be because the sellers of the cookies are often the mothers.

Maybe my experience of Girl Scout Cookies is the result of female selling tactics. In addition to pushing Girl Scout Cookies, women also host shopping parties where they sell candles, jewelry, makeup, cooking products and clothing products.

Are there male shopping parties?

This study of shopping parties (To Buy or Not to Buy? That is Not the Question: Female Ritual in Home Shopping Parties) explains the mechanics of shopping parties and also explains why shopping parties are predominantly female. Toward the end of the study, the researchers explain,

While perhaps not so rigid, gender-role differentiation is still prevalent in contemporary society, and we suggest that home shopping parties constitute another particularly female ritual of the twentieth century in which women gather to celebrate and cooperate in the traditional female task of shopping. Interestingly, the shopping party seems to transcend the divisions of social class, education and ethnicity: they appear to have become a ritual female activity in North America used in the social construction of femininity itself.

Girl Scout Cookie selling seems to fall under this dynamic of the shopping party. Like shopping parties the purchasing of cookies isn’t about whether you want them or not (although you probably do), but about nurturing social relationships. You buy them to support your (mostly) female friends.

Looking at the 2013 financial statements of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts have 18% more youth members (2.6 million) than Girl Scouts (2.2 million). Yet total net assets for Boy Scouts are over seven times the total assets of the Girl Scouts.

While selling cookies is, according to the financial statement, an $800 million dollar business, Girl Scouts are still having financial troubles.

Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts

Or maybe . . . the difference in revenue generation between the genders is because Boy Scouts are Aquarius and Girl Scouts are Pisces.

The Boy Scouts were formed on February 8, 1910. The Girl Scouts were formed March 12, 1912. Five years after the founding of the girl scouts (1917), they began selling cookies.

The Girls Scouts have Saturn in Taurus, a placement I always associate with the feeling of material lack. Saturn in Taurus is focused on materialism either due to true lack or because of undue focus on material goods. You can grow up wealthy with Saturn in Taurus and still feel you don’t have what others have.

Possibly that Saturn in Taurus created the strong business drive which resulted in national cookie campaign. The Girl Scouts also have moon in Capricorn, an industrious, hard-working sign that must achieve through its own efforts. Moon in Capricorn dislikes charity in general – it hurts the pride. Moon in Capricorn wants to earn your respect and your dollars.

Sun in Pisces is the warmth you feel from both Girl Scouts and their cookies. Water signs are more nurturing, a quality associated traditionally with females. Buying Girl Scout Cookies feels good in so many ways – you get to eat cookies, girls get funding for activities and girls learn about commerce.

The Boy Scouts, in contrast, have sun, moon and Venus in Aquarius, the fixed air sign. Aquarius is rational and intelligent associated with genius, futuristic thinking and the desire to form perfect, ideal societies and associations. Aquarius is the energy behind scouting organizations or any other civic type organization.

The Boy Scouts have all three air signs present from Pluto in Gemini to Jupiter in Libra to moon, sun and Venus in Aquarius. That preponderance of air is perfect for creating social networks. Air is also intelligent, inquisitive and adaptable.

Both Boy and Girl Scouts were formed while Pluto was in the air sign Gemini (1882-1914). During this period we took great leaps in communication including the formation of large newspapers, compulsory education and development of telephone and radio.

It’s no surprise, then, that both the Boy and Girl Scouts created a magazine – Boy’s Life, which is still in publication and The American Girl (not to be confused with today’s American Girl), which folded in 1979.

Pluto and Uranus Calling

Transiting Pluto in Capricorn will transit the Girl Scout’s moon in Capricorn potentially transforming this cookie-selling effort and other business efforts where the girls take on heavy responsibility. In the article about its financial troubles, transformation is mentioned:

Since 2003, the Girl Scouts have undergone what they describe as a “complete transformation” aimed at making their programs and image more relevant to a diverse population of girls and parents. Changes have affected uniforms, handbooks, merit badges, program materials, even the logo and the fine print on the boxes of Girl Scout cookies.

In 2003 Pluto had not even begun its transit of the moon. Transformation now may be even more extreme and focused on the business aspects of the Girl Scouts.

The major transit for the Boy Scouts is Uranus in Aries which is now transiting the organization’s Saturn in Aries. Saturn in Aries is lack of confidence, inability to project the self outward. From the news, I would say Uranus is forcing out (with Uranus erratic unpredictability) deeper identity issues within the organization.

Will the Uranus transit, a planet that likes to turn the world upside down, lead the boys to sell cookies?

If cookie selling is like home shopping party selling, the boys will probably avoid it as shopping party selling bonds females, not males.

With Pluto in Capricorn transiting the moon, it may be time, however, for the Girl Scouts to take a peek into the boys’ financial statement to see how the boys’ membership is about 400,000 members higher but assets are over seven higher. Does it help that the Boy Scouts receive donations from 14% of America’s Top 500 companies?

Under Pluto in Capricorn, it may be time for the Girl Scouts to transform their business model.

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Conspiracy Theory: The Virtue

In the mid 1990s I had a male boss who was neat and tidy. I asked him if he was always that way.

“Yes,” he replied. “My mom raised me right.”

While I had meant it as a compliment, I was still struck by his comment that his mom “raised him right.” That meant that being neat and tidy was a virtue.

By the mid 1990s, being neat and tidy had transformed from a virtue into a negative quality called “anal retentive.” What was a virtue was now a flaw in one’s personality.

I didn’t tell my boss.

Today this man might have even been treated for obsessive compulsive disorder!

So how do parents today raise their children? “Pick up your jacket from the floor. Hang it up, but not too straight.”

When blogging recently about greed, I came to realize that a quality once a vice was now socially sanctioned under consumerism and transformed into a virtue by a society that bases its economy on consumption.

Economy, thrift, frugality and resourcefulness are defunct virtues now that greed is elevated. None of these moribund virtues are good for the US economy.

Is it Freaky Friday? Have our virtues become vices and vices virtues?

Conspiracy Theory

As President Dwight D. Eisenhower left office in 1961, part of his farewell speech included a warning against “the military industrial complex.”

The entire farewell speech is both beautiful and prescient. A five-star general, Eisenhower certainly understood the need for security but also spoke toward the need for balance. Balance – that’s a Libra keyword and Astrotheme shows Eisenhower to have both sun and moon in Libra.

The word balance occurs ten times in the speech. This paragraph contains the most uses:

But each proposal must be weighed in light of a broader consideration; the need to maintain balance in and among national programs – balance between the private and the public economy, balance between the cost and hoped for advantages – balance between the clearly necessary and the comfortably desirable; balance between our essential requirements as a nation and the duties imposed by the nation upon the individual; balance between the actions of the moment and the national welfare of the future. Good judgment seeks balance and progress; lack of it eventually finds imbalance and frustration.

Later in his speech, he portends the future (“the element of time”):

Another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. As we peer into society’s future, we – you and I, and our government – must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without asking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.

What’s a citizen to do? Eisenhower advises:

Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Is it a virtue or vice to “compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery?”

Today challenges to the establishment – government and business – can earn one the label “conspiracy theorist.” Challenging large, complicated power structures is not a virtue.

Wikipedia says that the term conspiracy theory has been around since the early 1900s but became popular in usage as an “alert and knowledgeable citizenry” tried to understand how John F. Kennedy came to be assassinated.

Analysts look for patterns and spend a lot of time trying to verify those patterns. Sometimes the interpretation of those patterns is correct, sometimes it is not. Part of the analytical personality is the desire to be right which can result in the defense of ideas that are ready for new information. Yet in learning, being wrong is part of the process just as failure is a part of success.

Not all theories are conspiracy. However, power is a complicated matrix of relationships and when looking into power structures, there are bound to be dependencies. The dependencies don’t create conspiracy but suggest complicity arising from those dependencies.

Maybe “conspiracy theory” should be renamed “complicity theories.” Looking into our own shopping and investing habits may reveal our own complicity.

Outer Planets in Capricorn

The three outer planets – Uranus, Neptune and Pluto – have gone through the authoritarian sign of Capricorn in the last 30 years.

Neptune spent 15 years in Capricorn from early 1984 – early 1998. Uranus spent 7 years in Capricorn from late 1984 until early 1996. Pluto began transiting Capricorn in January 2008 and will end this transit in late 2023 – early 2024. Saturn also spent a couple years (1988-1990) in Capricorn adding its own energy to Uranus and Neptune.

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, I believe, came the idealization and spiritualization of business which is where greed transformed into consumerism. Astrologically, this fits with Capricorn which supports authority and structure. Authority said it was okay to spend every penny we have and then borrow some more. We trusted authority.

During this same time there was a rise in the study of business, which helps to idealize it. Business grew into large conglomerates. With big comes power. Today no individual can compete with or win a fight with a large New York banking house or Walmart.

Is business the new government? Should an “alert and knowledgeable citizenry” take a deeper look into the mechanics of big business?

In the concluding chapter of Russ Baker’s book about the Bush Family called Family of Secrets he explains that in trying to understand how a man like George W. Bush became president has “. . . inadvertently, invited us to examine anew many things we have long taken for granted. He enabled me, for instance, to gain a whole new understanding of how power works in America.”

Russ Baker admits that his fear of being labeled a conspiracy theorist created an internal censor that he had to “resist again and again.”

Time and again, there has been a rush to bury inquiries into the most perplexing events of our time, along with a determination to subject dissenting views to ridicule. And the media weren’t just enabling these efforts; they were complicit in them – not least by labeling anyone who dared to subject conventional views to a fresh and quizzical eye as a conspiracy theorist.

Pluto in Capricorn

Capricorn, ruled by Saturn, is authority and structure. Authority and structure are elements of life, but not necessarily the most fun elements. Yet, they are critical to the smooth functioning of any society.

Like all qualities, authority and structure need to maintain balance. Transiting Pluto in Capricorn (beginning in 2008) has revealed some areas of authoritarianism in our society such as universal surveillance, universal health care and the right of the government to label you a terrorist (an undefined term) and imprison you forever.

Russ Baker explains that his friends dissuaded him from publishing his information in Family of Secrets, although they found it both “credible and highly disturbing,”

I began to realize I was experiencing the very thing the process is designed to induce. The boundaries of permissible thought are staked out and enforced. We accept the conventional narratives because they are repeated and approved, while conflicting ones are scorned. Isn’t this how authoritarian regimes work? They get inside your mind so that overt repression becomes less necessary.

Baker then asks who this serves.

As this book demonstrates, the deck has long been, and continues to be, stacked on behalf of big-money players, especially those in the commodities and natural resources – from gold to oil – and those who finance the extraction of those materials.

During Pluto in Capricorn it might be time to transform those ideas mislabeled conspiracy theory into a virtue, the virtue of alert knowledge seeking.

As in any analytical pursuit, you will chase false leads, make mistakes in reasoning and sometimes come up with crap that you later discard with the advent of new information. With more and more information available through the Internet, sorting out the accurate and relevant information becomes a greater challenge every day.

Next time you chat up your local conspiracy theorist at the corner coffee shop, consider that while you may not agree with all her theories, her mom definitely raised her right.

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Lost Causes with Saturn in Sagittarius

Just a week before Saturn transited from Scorpio into Sagittarius last December, President Obama announced the normalization of relations with Cuba. Fidel Castro took power in Cuba in 1959 and in 1961, the US ceased relations. That was over 53 years ago. Castro is still alive (I think) and has lived through 11 presidents.

For those on a mission to end Communism in Cuba and see Fidel Castro’s humiliation and demise, the cause is officially over (although normalizing relations may have just that effect).

If you spent 53 years on a mission to overthrow Castro, what do you do now?

In her article, How to Walk Away, Heidi Grant Halvorson states that we often don’t walk away from lost causes due to “sunk costs.” Sunk costs she describes as:

…the investments that you’ve put into something that you can’t get back out. They are the years you spent training for a profession you hate, or waiting for your commitment-phobic boyfriend to propose. They are the thousands of dollars you spent on redecorating your living room, only to find that you hate living in it.

Halvorson states that people are “loss averse” and, therefore,

We worry far too much about what we’ll lose if we just move on, instead of focusing on the costs of not moving on: more wasted time and effort, more unhappiness, and more missed opportunities.

Hippie Lost Cause

In a literary example of a lost cause, Tales of the City, main character Mary Ann is talking to a desperate Vincent. She finds out that his problem is “his Old Lady.” We learn that Vincent and his Old Lady had “fought for peace, forging their love in the fires of zealotry.”

The peace they were fighting for was an end to the Vietnam War. And then the war ended.

When Mary Ann asked what happened to his Old Lady, she learns that it was “the war.” Vincent explains “it was the biggest thing in her life, Mary Ann, and nothing after that quite fulfilled her. She tried Indians for a while, then oil spills and PG&E, but it wasn’t the same. It just wasn’t the same.”

Later in the story his Old Lady leaves him to join the Israeli Army. Vincent tells her that he feels like “the Last Hippie,” but his Old Lady tells him “You’re only seven eights of the Last Hippie.”

Not able to deal with being the last Hippie, Vincent commits suicide at his office – the Bay Area Crisis Switchboard, which helps suicidal callers.

New Deal Lost Cause

A real life example of a lost cause comes from Carlos Castaneda in A Separate Reality. Castaneda shares the story of a friend who was a “very wealthy, conservative lawyer who lived his life convinced that he upheld the truth.”

In the early thirties, with the advent of the New Deal, he found himself passionately involved in the political drama of that time. He was categorically sure that change was deleterious to the country, and out of devotion to his way of life and the conviction that he was right, he vowed to fight what he thought to be a political evil. But the tide of the time was too strong; it overpowered him. He struggled for ten years against it in the political arena and in the realm of his personal life; then the Second World War sealed his efforts into total defeat. His political and ideological downfall resulted in a profound bitterness; he became a self-exile for 25 years.

When talking to the man in his last years, the man tells Castaneda:

I have had time to turn around and examine my life. The issues of my time are today only a story; not even an interesting one. Perhaps I threw away years of my life chasing something that never existed. I’ve had the feeling lately that I believed in something farcical. It wasn’t worth my while. I think I know that. However, I can’t retrieve the forty years I’ve lost.

If our friend hadn’t “threw away years of his life chasing something that never existed,” what would he have been doing?

Sagittarius Need for Meaning

Sagittarius is the mutable fire sign involved in experience and search for meaning. With fire as its element, Sagittarius can turn the quest into a cause and be quite fiery about it. Vincent and his Old Lady “forging their love in the fires of zealotry” is very, very Sagittarian.

Due to the need for meaning, Sagittarians are known to seek higher education and are the textbook philosophers of the zodiac. Search for meaning makes things “foreign” both interesting and appealing; coupled with a need for freedom of movement, Sagittarius is fond of travel, especially foreign or long-distance travel.

While some fear “different,” Sagittarius seeks different the way earth signs seek habit. Sagittarius often comes back from “different” wearing the clothes, eating the food and taking on the mannerisms of those it wants to understand.

The flip side of this motivation is a need to escape boredom and the humdrum of daily living. If long-distance travel and understanding the philosophies of other cultures isn’t enough or satisfying, Sagittarius can take the path of stimulating bad habits that bring on heightened sensations and sense of wonder.

The sign opposite Sagittarius is Gemini which also seeks experience and stimulation to feed the mental processes. Think about Gemini as the stimulation a young child needs to learn and grow. We put mobiles over baby’s cribs to encourage interaction with the external world and mental development.

The Sagittarius experience comes later and today may be different than in times past before the advent of the Internet and knowledge at our fingertips (fingers are ruled by Gemini). As a baby we learn to interact with the environment. Maybe by the age of ten we experience something new – boredom. Babies and toddlers don’t seem to exhibit the traits of boredom (but I’m not around these age groups much so maybe they do).

With boredom comes the need for new stimulation. The farther you stray from home base, the more new stimulation you will find.

The mobile is to the Gemini baby as foreign travel is to the Sagittarian adult. Both are stimulants that help us engage with the world, develop mentally and form new perceptions.

Saturn in Sagittarius

With Saturn, the planet of structure, contraction, limitation and responsibility, transiting Sagittarius, Sagittarius is asked to restrain its natural tendencies to roam freely in search of meaning.

Saturn may take away the passport and ask Sagittarius to sit in a cubicle all day doing the same task over and over. This is killer for Sagittarius.

Why does Saturn do this?

Saturn’s ultimate goal is manifestation which can occur only with focus and discipline. Saturn is saying to Sagittarius that to manifest that “cause,” you may need to sit in a cube for a couple years (the time it takes Saturn to transit a sign) to make it happen.

You can’t manifest “the cause,” Saturn is saying, while you’re also climbing Mount Everest, writing a book of poetry, building a house in the woods, raising six children and running for Congress. Saturn is asking Sagittarius to look its cause in the eye and focus on what it takes to manifest that cause.

At the same time, Saturn might do what he’s done to Vincent in Tales of the City or the wealthy lawyer described in A Separate Reality. Saturn might also tell you that your cause is lost, your mission passed or accomplished. It’s time to move on.

For Sagittarius energy, the end of the mission, the finished novel or returning home from a world-tour can be a tremendous let down.

Neither of these Saturn messages is pleasant for Sagittarius. Whoever came up with the term “harsh reality” may have had natal Saturn in Sagittarius.

Challenging Saturn

Many of the conflicts of my time have had racial, ideological or religious overtones. What’s interesting to me is that these are all taught (there is no such thing as race). What’s forced on you by your environment is Saturn.

Must we believe all that our environment teaches?

Sagittarius tends to look past what the environment teaches which is why it becomes the philosopher (and why it can seem divorced from reality). Saturn transiting this sign is providing opportunity to examine what we are being taught from a racial, ideological and religious perspective.

If none of this appeals to you and you still want to pursue a lost cause, you can always send your petition to St. Jude, the patron saint of “hope and impossible causes.”

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Alexis Tsipras’ Saturn Victory

When my cat learned that Alexis Tsipras’ Syriza Party was winning the Greek elections, she was quite ecstatic. Confounded once again by feline behavior, I asked how a politically-conservative cat with a Rick Santorum poster over her litter box could support a left-leaning radical.

“He’s so handsome,” she replied.

“You would support a political candidate simply because of his looks?” I asked, stunned.

“He’s in Greece, so who cares,” was the reply.

We then had one of our lengthy discussions on why she should care about world politics. While her litter may come from Wyoming and her food from Arizona, I told her, all those toys, litter boxes, food packaging and litter scoops are probably manufactured abroad.

“No country is an island,” I told her, “even if it is an island like Greece.”

“Is my litter box made in Greece?” she asked.

Trapped again! However, when she learned that almost all of her (and my) ancillary life products were made in China, she did agree to pay a little more attention to Chinese politics.

Alexis Tsipras

About two and a half years ago, Tsipras rose as a viable challenger in Greek politics but did not succeed in bringing his party to the forefront and becoming Prime Minister.

Astrologically, the timing of his rise is a bit unusual. Tsipras’ moon is either in late Scorpio or early Sagittarius. Either way, Saturn has been passing over the moon. I’m guessing his moon is in late Scorpio and the move to Sagittarius provided the release that is represented by his current political success. Also, Tsipras’ economic position is to end “austerity” measures in Greek which is aligned with generous Sagittarius.

While I hate to be the bearer of astrological bad news, truly, Tsipras needs to know that while Saturn has moved onto Sagittarius, it will go retrograde in May, pass back into Scorpio, turn direct in August, then take another contracting pass over Tsipras’ moon.

In addition to the moon (possibly), Tsipras has Neptune in Sagittarius and Saturn will be passing over that as well.

Saturn in Sagittarius is already bringing world struggles with conflicting beliefs, as Sagittarius is seeking meaning and is a fire sign so wants to share with you whether you want it or not. Saturn in this sign wants us to develop the discipline to live our beliefs so that they become part of our reality rather than simply a bumper sticker or flag that we wave around for others to notice. Saturn truly isn’t the bad guy here. Our own internal inconsistencies are what create the contention.

Saturn stomping back and forth over Tsipras’ moon and Neptune mean that from now until the end of the year the emotional responses (his own and from the public) will be fluctuating between enthusiasm and brooding emotionalism. It’s going to be confusing time for Tsipras to understand what the public truly wants. I’m guessing the Saturn/moon conjunction will also bring awareness of previously unknown barriers.

Even though the heavy Saturn is making some serious aspects to Tsipras’ chart, Jupiter is transiting Leo which expands Tsipras’ charismatic Leo energy, although Jupiter is well past his sun and won’t make a direct hit on his sun even while going backward-retrograde (maybe the retrograde explains it – another look?).

Tsipras has the chart of a dreamer and idealist, especially if moon is in Sagittarius. Neptune in Sagittarius, sun in Leo, Jupiter in Pisces and Pluto and Uranus in Libra provide idealism coupled with inspiration and a drive to put one’s ideas into play.

Mars changed signs on the day Tsipras’ was born moving into workaholic perfectionist Virgo. This forms a square to the moon, possibly out of sign depending on where the moon is. It’s also a wide square to Neptune. Virgo is the detail that Sagittarius needs to fulfill its mission but also can create a nagging external world that cramps one’s style. When Jupiter transits this Mars late August 2015, the external nagging will get louder.

Another concentration in Tsipras’ chart is Venus/Saturn/Mercury in the water and family-oriented sign of Cancer. While Venus in this sign suggests that pleasure is found in family life — the smells of the kitchen, mom coming home with some candy and a nice snuggly bed. However, Saturn is involved suggesting that when dad came home some of this pleasure was compromised. The square to Pluto intensifies this.

We all have a Saturn in our chart (much to the dismay of my astrology group members), so we all have an Achilles Heel. For Tsipras, there is a sense of not belonging. That sense may be what drives his beliefs around society.

Pluto is currently transiting Capricorn which opposes all of that Cancer energy. To belong in politics, Tsipras may have to sacrifice some of his more personal “belonging” and distance himself from people who in the past provided comfort. He may even be distancing himself from family.

It’s interesting that austere Saturn brought Tsipras to power on an anti-austerity message. It will be interesting to watch Tsipras struggle with Saturn from now until the end of 2015. Saturn is a tough task-master. Saturn doesn’t give up until he’s taught you a lesson.

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