Putting the Saturn back in Saturnalia

Our modern day Christmas celebration occurs around the same time as the ancient festival of Saturnalia, which, according to this website, became absorbed into the Christmas festivities about the fourth century AD.

According to the site:

In the Roman calendar, the Saturnalia was designated a holy day, or holiday, on which religious rites were performed. Saturn, himself, was identified with Kronos, and sacrificed to according to Greek ritual, with the head uncovered. The Temple of Saturn, the oldest temple recorded by the pontiffs, had been dedicated on the Saturnalia, and the woolen bonds which fettered the feet of the ivory cult statue within were loosened on that day to symbolize the liberation of the god. It also was a festival day. After sacrifice at the temple, there was a public banquet, which Livy says was introduced in 217 BC (there also may have been a lectisternium, a banquet for the god in which its image is placed in attendance, as if a guest). Afterwards, according to Macrobius (I.10.18), the celebrants shouted Io, Saturnalia at a riotous feast in the temple.

A couple paragraphs later we learn more about the festival:

During the holiday, restrictions were relaxed and the social order inverted. Gambling was allowed in public. Slaves were permitted to use dice and did not have to work. Instead of the toga, colorful dinner clothes (synthesis) were permitted in public—as was the pileus, a felt cap normally worn by the manumitted slave that symbolized the freedom of the season (Martial, Epigrams, XIV.1). Within the family, a Lord of Misrule was chosen. Slaves were treated as equals, allowed to wear their masters’ clothing, and be waited on at meal time in remembrance of an earlier golden age thought to have been ushered in by the god. In the Saturnalia, Lucian has the god’s priest declare that “During My week the serious is barred; no business allowed. Drinking, noise and games and dice, appointing of kings and feasting of slaves, singing naked, clapping of frenzied hands, an occasional ducking of corked faces in icy water—such are the functions over which I preside.”

As for the astrological Saturn, Café Astrology has a nice description:

In astrology, Saturn is associated with restriction and limitation. Where Jupiter expands, Saturn constricts. Although the themes of Saturn seem depressing, Saturn brings structure and meaning to our world. Saturn knows the limits of time and matter. Saturn reminds us of our boundaries, our responsibilities, and our commitments. It brings definition to our lives. Saturn makes us aware of the need for self-control and of boundaries and our limits.

It’s interesting that the festival of Saturnalia dismantles all that is Saturn – let’s forget our hierarchies (master/slave), our boundaries (clothing), our responsibilities (saving our money for necessities) and the drudgery of life on earth (work). In fact, Saturn talk (business) was completely banned.

Saturnalia is not about honoring Saturn but about putting Saturn in a closet for a good, solid week. Originally the festivities began on December 17 and lasted seven days. I suppose Saturnalia was the original vacation. Maybe we Americans are lucky to get two weeks now instead of just one.


Saturn Changes Signs

It seems quite relevant that on December 24, Christmas Eve, Saturn will change signs moving from the fixed water sign Scorpio to the mutable fire sign Sagittarius.

Two and half years of Scorpio meant Saturn focused on squeezing out every last bit of obsessive emotion from your being the way you squeeze every bit of water out of your wet bathing suit. We talked a lot about rape during this time as well. Rape is Scorpio in that it’s a crossing of the physical and emotional boundaries, but without consent. With consent, we call this intimacy.

The suit is dry, let’s move on.

If you’re a Sagittarius worried about this transit, here’s an FAQ for your reference. You might want to print it out and pin it to the wall since Saturn takes a couple years to move through a sign.

Sagittarius is about experience and finding meaning from those experiences. I’m wondering if December 24 this year won’t bring the Christians of the world a new religious experience. I sense a major shift, but don’t have any creative images on how that could manifest.

December 24 stands out as a meaningful day, more meaningful than normal. Saturn likes rules so maybe a new religious directive or proclamation from religious leaders will be issued.

Saturn is changing signs and it’s doing it on a holiday celebrated in the very beginning of Capricorn, the sign ruled by Saturn. Saturn is coming for Christmas.

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Your Horoscope: the Wheel of Fortune or The World?

The Rider Waite tarot cards The World and Wheel of Fortune are similar in their astrological symbolism. Both have the circle (or wheel in the center) and are surrounded by the four fixed signs. From upper left clockwise we have Aquarius (air), Scorpio (water), Leo (fire) and Taurus (earth). Aquarius and Leo are opposites as are Scorpio and Taurus.


In The World card, the fixed signs have their traditional symbolism of the human water bearer (Aquarius), eagle (Scorpio, which is also the Scorpion), lion (Leo) and bull (Taurus).

In Wheel of Fortune, our fixed signs have wings and each carries a book. According to Rachel Pollack in Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom, they are holding books because they are “identified with the four evangelists” of Christianity.

Pollack further describes the symbolism of the Wheel of Fortune’s letters (taro, rota, etc) and the animals riding on the outside of the wheel (snake, jackal Annubis and sphinx) which represent stages of life, death and rebirth.

Pollack goes into much greater detail. If you use tarot and don’t have her book, run, don’t walk, to your nearest Amazon.com.

In the Center or Hanging Off the Wheel?

Another important difference in these two cards is that the Wheel of Fortune has the sentient beings on the outside of the wheel while in The World card, the being is in the center. The being in the center looks quite balanced, connected and happy.

The eye of the storm is calm as it creates the force rotates around it. Possibly this is the same with the horoscope. By being in the center, we are not subject to the ups and downs of that rotating wheel which bring cycles of life, death and rebirth.

The cycle of life, death and rebirth seems beyond our individual life. Yet maybe it’s not. Maybe all of our “ups” and “downs” are merely this cycle which we simply don’t acknowledge.

For example, in this culture at this time, illness is viewed as a preventable aberration. No matter how many shots we get, how many vitamins we take, how many healthcare plans we have, the common cold prevails. When the common cold occurs, there is a strong resistance to allowing it to be what it is. If the body is simply seeking rest, why are we so resistant?

In the north, we get most of our colds during the late fall winter, as nature around us is dying. Nature is dying, the sunlight is lessened, so maybe it’s okay to crawl in bed for a few days. Why are we so resistant?

The World card, with the being at the center, brings to mind the concept of meditation. Being centered doesn’t mean the external doesn’t cycle and rotate. Meditation tries (I think) to alter the relationship to that motion. In simple terms, you don’t have to react to every single stimulation.

In the eye of the horoscope, maybe you don’t have to worry about full moons and Saturn transits and someone’s Pluto on your Venus (although I’d still suggest running for the hills on this one). As an astrologer, horoscopes are accurate to me, which is bothersome. I’d much prefer they weren’t.

In the center of the horoscope, maybe we can surprise ourselves and others.

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Lois Duncan’s Charismatic Characters

While it’s been years since I’ve been a young adult or actively read young adult literature, one of my favorite young adult authors is still Lois Duncan.

Since I don’t have a young adult in my environment, I see the literature from afar and only get wind of the most popular and film-worthy– stories involving vampires, magical boarding schools and teenage death matches.

And astrologers are the weird ones?

Duncan’s Killing Mr. Griffin and The Daughters of Eve present the charismatic character that brings out both the good and bad in others. When these books were written, the late 1970s, we were closer to WWII and closer to cult murders (Manson killings) and cult suicides (Jamestown).

The message may have seemed more relevant then, but charismatic leaders certainly haven’t gone extinct.

In contrast to the charismatic character, Duncan’s novels include a counterpart – the intuitive. In The Daughters of Eve, the new art teacher is the charismatic leader who faces a group of naïve young girls and makes them more aware of the world.

As the art teacher’s energy begins to infuse the girls in her tutelage, the intuitive character sees ugly images in her mind’s eye and flees from the group. The intuitive is like the charismatic in the ability to perceive the energies of a situation. The charismatic channels the energy for various purposes; the intuitive is simply sensitive and vulnerable.

The art teacher’s influence at first is rather refreshing – she awakens young and naïve girls to their power and guides them to take control of their lives.

As with many a charismatic leader, it goes bad when the art teacher’s own hostilities and need for revenge filter through the tube that feeds her acolytes. In the epilogue we learn that some of the girls progressed unscathed and others did not. The experience, however, was transformative for each.

Lois Duncan

Astrotheme places Duncan’s moon in Libra, just a few degrees from the sign of Scorpio. Duncan’s intense, controlling, intelligent and charismatic characters ring an awful lot like Scorpio. Could she have been born just a couple hours later with the moon in Scorpio?

Pluto, the planet ruling Scorpio, is square the moon (in Libra). Maybe that’s the Scorpio influence?

Scorpio energy is fixed emotional energy – intense to obsession. It’s also extremely perceptive of the environment. The natural Scorpio desire for connection can lead to the boundary crossing with those of gentler or more confused mindset. For those not so intense, the energy is attractive and appealing. Scorpio is often viewed sexy.

Duncan’s Saturn in Aquarius is trine the moon and sextile an interesting Mercury/Uranus conjunction in Aries. That Saturn is also inconjunct Pluto in Cancer.

These aspects could have something to do with the focus on powerful individuals in group dynamics. Saturn in Aquarius with the trine to Uranus suggests unusual friends and not fitting in with the “normal” people. Pluto in the sign of Cancer wants to belong but Saturn says it’s never really going to happen because air Aquarius wants to connect mentally and Cancer just follows you around the house and wants you home for supper.

Uranus/Mercury in Aries is opposed to Jupiter/moon in Libra in the 9th/3rd house axis. The 9th represents the world view taught to us and how we respond. For Duncan, the worldview of her upbringing was unique, unusual and prone to change. It doesn’t have the Scorpio feeling of her novels.

Duncan’s sun and Mars are in earth-sign Taurus, a strong, fixed sign. Air-sign Aquarius is also a fixed sign, but Saturn is too far out in Aquarius to be at a square relationship. If Duncan’s ascendant is correct, it’s in another fixed sign – the fire sign Leo.

Taurus, Leo, Aquarius – that’s three of the four fixed signs. The only one missing is Scorpio. Possibly the interest in Scorpionic characters is due to this lack in the horoscope?

Is Scorpio the missing link?

In a quick glance at cult leaders, I noticed the predominance of fixed signs. Some of our most influential cult leaders were sun Taurus or its opposite Scorpio. Maybe this missing Scorpio energy what brings the attraction.

On Duncan’s website, I learned that she had a daughter murdered in the late 1980s, possibly by organized crime. This situation is also in the realm of Scorpio, which rules death. Pluto was in Duncan’s 4th house of emotions during that time. Currently Saturn is transiting Scorpio, very soon to move into Sagittarius. Possibly some closure of that situation has occurred for Duncan as Saturn passes where Pluto once traveled.

Somewhere, somehow Duncan is picking up on a Scorpio energy ley line – from charismatics, to intuitives, to secrets and deaths.

Where is the Scorpio hidden?

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The Unplanned

When a very busy colleague became ill this week, I provided my favorite mantra: “There’s never really a good time to be sick.”

Accidents and death are two other events in which there’s never a good time for them to occur.

I’ve always assumed that accidents, illness and death were events of scorn simply because they were physically and emotionally unpleasant. But now I’m wondering if they don’t have something else in common – they are the very few events that are unplanned.

Winning the lottery may also be unplanned but an event that we could absorb easily into the flow of our daily lives. While winning the lottery would radically change our lifestyle, we welcome it, unplanned.

Or is winning the lottery truly unplanned?

Ask someone who has played the lottery what he/she would do with the money. I suspect you will hear a long and detailed plan – probably more planning than you’d hear if you asked, “What do you expect to do in the next five years?”

Meditation teachers often suggest you notice and label your thoughts. Many thoughts, you may find, involve planning.

Why do our minds plan so much?

Searching on the “psychology of planning,” yielded few results that get to the core of why we plan. Planning clearly is as essential as breathing in that it’s not studied as something that could be unusual or aberrant.

Is it critical to survival to always think about what we’re going to do next?

The blog The Perils of Plans: Why Creativity Requires Leaping into the Unknown from Brain Pickings has some interesting thoughts on the negative effects of planning including a quote from another work:

Allow yourself the uncomfortable luxury of changing your mind,” I offered in one of my 7 lessons from 7 years of Brain Pickings. Indeed, nothing stunts growth more powerfully than our attachment to the familiar, our blind adherence to predetermined plans, and our inability to, as Rilke famously put it, “live the questions.” Keats termed the willingness to embrace uncertainty, live with mystery, and make peace with ambiguity “negative capability” and argued that it’s essential to the creative process; Anaïs Nin believed that inviting the unknown helps us live more richly, and even psychologists confirm that embracing uncertainty is essential to creativity. And yet we cling so vigorously to our comfort zones, our plans, our knowns — why?

So planning might be an effort to ward off the unknown. Accidents, illness and death have a very strong component of the unknown.

We rarely “plan” our next accident or illness. We may prepare for death, but few (hopefully) plan it.

Does unplanned simply equal unknown? Is planning an effort to make the unknown into the known?

Energies from the Unknown: Uranus, Neptune and Pluto

The outer planets represent the energies of the environment and the times. These planets represent collective energies, not personal energies. They do not represent your personal likes, dislikes and moods. These planets are the collective uprisings, physical earthquakes, mass movements, mass hysteria and any energy that flows through humanity at large.

The energies are like wind. The wind has its own force, but what it carries comes from what lies in its path. Does it carry leaves, dust or radiation from distant shores?

The outer planets are a good representation of the unplanned and the unknown.

Uranus, the awakener, brings the accidents because of its nature to be sudden. Some accidents are bad, like tripping on the curb and falling down. Some accidents are good such as those that lead to discoveries.

Neptune, the dissolver, can bring illness. Neptune dissolves boundaries and alters perception which can make the known into the unknown with terrifying fuzziness. The experience can lead to fragility and vulnerability which is where the illness seems to attach. The positive side of the Neptunian experience is a connection with all-that-is.

Pluto, the transformer, can bring death among its many transformations. Does death always mean the big D or can it also be the little D? Transformation, of course, can be positive but is more scary than it sounds because often the identity shifts, which is unpleasant for the sense of self.

In Lois Duncan’s young adult novel Killing Mr. Griffin, there’s a poem that’s always stuck with me – the last two lines at least – which evokes thoughts of Pluto’s big and little Ds.

Yahoo! Answer seems to have the poem in its entirety:

Where the daisies laugh and blow,
Where the willow leaves hang down,
Nonny, nonny, I will go
There to weave my lord a crown.

Willow, willow, by the brook,
Trailing fingers green and long,
I will read my lord a book,
I will sing my lord a song.

Though he turn his face away,
Nonny, nonny, still I sing,
Ditties of a heart gone gray
And a hand that bears no ring.

Water, water, cold and deep,
Hold me fast that I may sleep.
Death with you is hardly more
Than the little deaths before.

Energies of the Known: Inner Planets

The energies of the known – sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn – represent our personal and social selves. These are the planets that represent what we think of as our identity.

These planets are the planners who create the continuity of our sense of self. The unplanned Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, are the disruptions in the sense of self that can occur during intense encounters, unusual situations, catastrophic events or just because it’s time.

Those that don’t lose a sense of self during these times probably have a lot of fixed signs or earth signs.

When Pluto entered Capricorn in 2008, the Capricorn banking and government structures experienced a strong disruption – unplanned, of course. It’s both scary to experience and interesting to watch as the world tries to return to the planned.

The world experienced an outer planet energy that created a crack in the egg of our system and quickly tried to recover the inner planet experience – a return to normal, the known, the expected.

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The Quality Formerly Known as Greed

A couple decades ago when vanity license plates surged in popularity here in central Ohio, a friend remarked, “Isn’t vanity supposed to be a bad thing?”

Recently while reading a book, the author commented upon greed. Like the word vanity, I haven’t heard of anyone calling another “greedy” in quite a while. Dictionary.com describes greed as “excessive or rapacious desire, especially for wealth or possessions.”

Has Ohio eradicated greed? Should Ohioans be promoting the non-greedy life among their fellow men?

Or is greed strong and healthy living an anonymous life under another, assumed name?

Greed in the Horoscope

The houses of the horoscope that rule money are Taurus (2nd house) and Scorpio (8th house) which I think of as “my money, your money.”

Looking for greed in the money houses is logical, but I don’t think it’s entirely accurate. Greed, like any quality, is separate from the object of desire. The object isn’t the greed; the energy is the greed.

While the earth-sign Taurus may like objects more than other signs, I think it tends less toward greed because of the fact it actually enjoys physical life. Greed, as this Psychology Today article describes, is more like an addiction. If you were gratified by something you built or bought, you wouldn’t need more and more and, therefore, wouldn’t be greedy.

Taurus, unlike other signs, can be quite content with what it has. Contentment, in fact, is a trait I associate with Taurus (especially moon in Taurus) which also lessens the tendency toward greed which is a seeking of something else.

When Taureans go bad, however, they do tend to focus their energies in the material realm such as with Bernard Madoff.

On the opposite pole of Taurus is water-sign Scorpio which wants connection through sharing a bed or a bank account – a physical merging. Because Scorpio, the fixed water sign, tends toward obsessiveness, I can see it being more prone to the energy of greediness, yet I don’t see it ultimately seeking the objects of the world that greedy wants. Scorpio ultimately wants emotional connection, not physical objects.

There are two other earth signs (besides Taurus) that seek fulfillment on the physical plane – Virgo (mutable) and Capricorn (cardinal).

In a Forbes article on billionaires’ horoscopes, it found Virgo as the prominent sign, although Scorpio Bill Gates was on the top of the list. We also must consider in that type of list that some have inherited their wealth and some earned it through creativity rather than pure desire for capital accumulation.

But that’s the interesting thing about wealth – it bestows power and control. Talking about power, we’re back in the realm of Scorpio which is ruled by Pluto. Control is Capricorn which is ruled by Saturn.

The last and cardinal earth sign, Capricorn, is not on the billionaire list but is well-known astrologically for its ambition and materialism. Capricorn is the mountain goat which climbs up, up, up. As they say about power, it’s lonely at the top. Capricorn gone bad can sacrifice a lot of personal relationships through drive for success.

If you find a Capricorn content with his/her position in life, please let me know.

Virgo is the most passive of the earth signs, generally focused on practical aspects of life such as work, health and diet. While I don’t have time to trace the Virgo billionaires, I wonder if Virgo wealth doesn’t come from good old-fashioned penny-pinching. I’m guessing those Virgo billionaires may still clip coupons.

Virgo is more about efficiency than gain, but can get caught up in its own devices in what today is called obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Virgo, Capricorn and Scorpio, then, seem to have a tendency toward capital accumulation or material accumulation not for its own enjoyment, but as a type of addiction or compulsion.

The Roaring 90s

A couple years ago, the most popular post-graduate degree became the Masters of Business Administration – MBA (25.4%) surpassing education (23.6%). Education degrees, keep in mind, are often a requirement. While the years are spotty on this site (some years are not represented), the surge in business undergraduate degrees and graduate degrees came in the early to mid 1980s.

While business degrees increased in the 1980s, it wasn’t until the 1990s that the US had an economic boom. As this Economic Policy Institute site notes:

One of the big stories of the 1990s was the acceleration of productivity growth in the latter part of the decade. Productivity growth averaged 2.5% in the second, compared to 1.5% in the first part of the decade. This improvement primarily resulted from more investment in new technologies, mainly computers and software, and from a tightening labor market that forced firms to utilize their existing pool of workers better.

This resulted in the great increase in consumption as percent of GDP:

Consumption is both the largest component of GDP and a leading indicator for future investment. Consumption as a share of GDP grew steadily throughout the 1990s to more than 68% by 2000.

Is consumption just another word for greed?

The Socialization of Greed

At the beginning of the 1990s, Jupiter was in Cancer while Saturn, Uranus and Neptune were all transiting Capricorn. Pluto was in Scorpio.

By the mid 1990s, Saturn had moved to Aquarius. Jupiter changes signs every year so in the decade passed through 11 signs from Cancer to the beginning of Gemini.

The economic boom of the 1990s occurred with Saturn and two outer planets (Uranus and Neptune) in the Capricorn with Pluto in Scorpio.

What’s so fascinating here is that the economic boom occurred with three major planets in Capricorn. Come 2009 Pluto begins to transit Capricorn and a great portion of that gain of the 1990s was destroyed.

Let’s start with Saturn in Capricorn. Saturn rules Capricorn so Capricorn is very happy with this overseer. Saturn in Capricorn are the solid, practical messages sent by our traditions and elders to follow the rules, follow authority (true authority, not anyone that calls him/herself authority), be stable (like buy a house) and save your pennies for a planned future. Oh, and make sure you have insurance.

So far, so good.

Uranus in Capricorn says that conscious awareness and sudden shifts will occur through this same energy.

During the 1990s sophisticated and abstract trading began from individuals known as “quants.” Their trading took down a few corporations from Long-Term Capital Management to Lehman Brothers. The high mathematical and statistical nature of these business practices meant that the average person couldn’t understand them yet one day would find the price of their house had diminished and wouldn’t exactly know why. Electricity trading also rose in this period, as Uranus rules electricity. Enron’s paper financial gains occurred during this period and collapsed in 2001.

Let’s not forget all the technology developed during this time was part of the boom. This increase in technology has further increased our dependency on electricity, which began being traded during that same time (interest to speculate where this will lead).

All the while Saturn in Capricorn had been telling us, “What’s more unassailable as an investment than your home?”

Uranus made us aware of abstract practices that we average folk could never understand but that affected whether or not we had a job and a home.

That’s quite an awakening.

Which brings us to Neptune in Capricorn which “spiritualized” this same energy. Neptune is the glossy glow that is put around the lover’s face in the movies. This halo increased substantially around the individuals who brought us technology and economic growth (which at the time was believed to be a real thing).

The spiritualization of Capricorn seemed to create the belief that “if it’s good for the economy, do it.”

This Neptune in Capricorn energy (which moved to Aquarius and is now in Pisces) worshiped and admired anyone that made money through Capricorn endeavors. These became our new heroes.

The Capricorn and Scorpio (and Virgo) tendency toward greed does not appear to have been eradicated but transformed through the spiritualization and socialization of business.

If greed is consumption which is the basis for the US economy, greed, then, must be promoted for us to survive in this country as we do today.

What if the US economy wasn’t consumption (greed) based? Would we be forced to travel into our own greed to discover what this addiction is truly seeking?

I wonder what an economy of contented people who didn’t need much would look like.

Prone to Greed, Prone to Depression?

What’s interesting, too, about Capricorn and Scorpio energy, is that, according to astrologer Liz Greene, these two signs are also prone to depression (Dynamics of the Unconscious, p 95).

When our economy fails, we call it a Depression, although we’ve also decided to transform that term and instead call it a Recession. Pluto began transiting Capricorn in late 2008-early 2009 and, with it, came a depression of the financial and emotional kind.

Your house is gone, your job is gone so who are you? What is the point of this life? What was the point of all that striving? What was I truly striving for? Will I ever find a job? Will I lose my house?

For Americans, work is defining so loss of work can be extremely traumatic.

If Capricorn and Scorpio tend toward both greed and depression, is greed an attempt to alleviate depression?

An NCHS brief states that:

From 1988–1994 through 2005–2008, the rate of antidepressant use in the United States among all ages increased nearly 400%.

While our economy was booming, our spirits were falling.

Possibly instead of trying to fix the economy, should we try to understand and alleviate this collective depression? Maybe then we wouldn’t have to ever again worry about the economy because we would be happy with our material goods and not constantly seeking more and more.

Greed can then have its name back.

We can then spend some time searching under rocks to find where vanity is hiding.

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Personal and Social Consciousness

Personal consciousness in the horoscope is represented by the sign Cancer and the 4th house. Its opposite, social consciousness, is represented by the opposite sign Capricorn and opposite 10th house.

Personal and social consciousness is a polarity, one of the six polarities symbolized in the horoscope. In Alchemy of Nine Dimensions, Barbara Hand Clow describes this polarity as feeling (Cancer) and power (Capricorn).

While watching a documentary recently, I wondered again why we try to force beliefs on others. It works, but with the disastrous effects that the extremes of any polarity cause.

It’s the polarity’s extreme, not the particular beliefs, that cause the problem. As I was once taught about the tai chi symbol, the sigmoid curve represents this idea that anything in extreme becomes its opposite.

That any extreme becomes its opposite is visible in individuals detonating bombs to protest war; in individuals killing others to create a more pure moral environment; in individuals promoting hatred to produce love.

It’s the same pattern over and over. It seems to occur in just about any cause that exists in organizational form. Maybe the organizational form is the yeast that helps it rise.

Recently someone provided an image that has stuck with me – that of the pendulum. Extreme is a strong pendulum swing that sends the energy back in the opposite direction. As the pendulum slows, the swing is less extreme until it is balanced.

Our strong desire these last few thousand years to force others to believe what we believe is the pendulum of the 4th and 10th houses. The 4th develops a personal moral code. When others agree, we create a social moral code. For all the killing that exists in the world, it’s amazing that murder is the one activity most humans through time and space agree is immoral.

If we all agree on this one thing, why do we continue to kill each other?

When every belief I have must be shared by the entire world, then my 4th house has taken over my 10th house and now personal consciousness is deemed social consciousness. Believing the entire world must agree with me is a goal (delusion?) that will never occur.

Why do we want this?

In the documentary I watched, a group of young people (20s-early 30s) are in a van in a foreign place on their way to spread their message. In the van they are filled with the energy of their mission and are singing loud and joyfully.

That’s the Cancer experience, the sense of belonging, of being accepted, of being part of a family, clan or other close-knit community. Who would want to intrude upon a joy such as this?

To get Cancer energy, do we need to go to the extreme of Capricorn authority to create and enforce the sense of belonging? Possibly the promotion of individuality in the US culture creates more separation and, therefore, an extreme desire for belonging?

What’s in the US chart to signify this?

The sun in the US chart (July 4, 1776 – Sagittarius rising) is in the sign of belonging, Cancer. The moon, however, is in the hyper-rational air sign Aquarius and may explain why so much technology also is developed here.

In the US chart Saturn resides (in Libra) in the 10th house. The 4th house is then ruled by Aries but there are no planets in that house. Saturn in Libra in the 10th is a nice representation of the US desire to make the laws of the world, Saturn in Libra being exalted. This placement seeks fairness and justice.

Saturn in the air sign Libra is given additional energy by the moon in air sign Aquarius and Mars and Uranus in air sign Gemini. That’s a grand air trine and a lot of idealism and also a lot of talk that may or may not come to fruition.

Yet Saturn is Saturn and in Libra in the 10th, others may not feel the partnership and feel, instead, restrained by Saturn. Saturn also squares the sun in Cancer.

In the US chart, it’s actually the 2nd and 8th houses – my money and your money respectively – that are emphasized. Sun in Cancer in the 8th suggests material dependency and sense of belonging through that very dependency. Pluto in Capricorn in the 2nd is transformation through money and resources which ultimately lead to transformation of values.

A Sagittarius rising, that mutable fire sign, adds a crusading urge to the national psyche.

The US chart seems to reflect the Cancer desire to belong with the moon in Aquarius desire to remain separate and individual. That’s a conflict. We travel far to promote belief yet put fences up on our southern border to keep the neighbors out, neighbors who want to participate in our culture, who don’t need to be coerced.

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Interest and Awareness

We’re all familiar with the phenomenon of hearing a new word, discovering a new idea, seeing an icon and suddenly seeing it, hearing it everywhere.

Was it always out there and we didn’t notice? Or did our awareness of it create an attracting energy?

For most of us, empiricists as we are, it was always out there and we didn’t notice. Option two is more mystical and can lead to self-awareness but can also lead to self-absorption.

There is a third option that our mind takes when it has no out – coincidence.

Coincidence is a word in our lexicon, like déjà vu, that allows for itself without explanation. It’s like the “none of the above” option on a test or survey. It doesn’t provide an answer, but doesn’t accept the listed answers.

Why the ancient gods?

Recently while at a data visualization conference, Neil deGrasse Tyson spoke as one of the keynote speakers. While talking his trade, he noted how scientists in his field were logical so tended to describe things literally and logically such as (paraphrasing here because I can’t recall the exact example) calling a small, round-shaped galaxy “The Small Round-Shaped Galaxy.”

Yet later, while discussing an asteroid that may collide with the earth, we learned that scientists gave this asteroid a name – Apophis. To deGrasse’s credit, this asteroid was originally named, according to Wikipedia, 2004 MN4.

But the name changed to Apophis (also referred to in Egyptian mythology as Apep), an Egyptian god described in Ancient Egypt Online as:

…the ancient Egyptian spirit of evil, darkness and destruction who threatened to destroy the sun god Ra as he travelled though the underworld (or sky) at night. Originally Set and Mehen (the serpent headed man) were given the job of defending Ra and his solar barge. They would cut a hole in the belly of the snake to allow Ra to escape his clutches. If they failed, the world would be plunged into darkness. However, in later periods Apep was sometimes equated with Set who was after all a god of chaos. In this case a variety of major and minor gods and goddesses (including Isis, Neith, Serqet (Selket), Geb, Aker and the followers of Horus) protected Ra from this all consuming evil. The dead themselves (in the form of the god Shu) could also fight Apep to help maintain Ma´at (order).

The Astrophysicist Public Relations Department probably caught on to the fact that if you want the public to take seriously the threat of an earth-colliding asteroid, you do better with Egyptian gods of destruction than letters and numbers.

But why an Egyptian god? Why go back 5,000 years for an image?

We could have come closer in time and referenced a Greek or Roman god.

Astrologically, Pluto represents the destruction that precedes evolution. In mythology, Pluto rules the underworld. Possibly we rejected this choice since astronomers recently downgraded Pluto from planet-status.

It’s funny we diminished our own destroyer but picked up the Egyptian one on the way back from the incinerator.


Since a child, I’ve had a great interest in Egypt. When I heard of this asteroid named after an Egyptian god (not a closer-to-our times Greek or Roman god like Uranus, Neptune and Pluto all named in the 20th century), I wondered if I truly had an interest in Egypt or if I was simply aware of an Egyptian undercurrent in our culture.

When I arrived in Ohio’s capital city for college, I brought with me a deck of Tarot cards. I’d been exposed to them just a few weeks earlier by a Scorpio relative. I thought they were fun and interesting!

My experience with those cards and the unintended accuracy scared me for a number of years. Astrology replaced it (not intentionally), a discipline more analytical and left-brain and, therefore, safe.

My deck was the classic Rider-Waite deck and one of my first perceptions was that there was some medieval soul lurking in the depths of the freedom-seeking American. The images in this deck are medieval with kings, queens, knights, hanging martyrs, people falling from towers and magicians. People responded quite strongly to those images.

It took years to understand those images outside of the cultural and historical context, but back then I was amazed at our medieval fears.


These perceptions and many others accompanied my new life. Only later, when fully understanding astrology, did I understand that the very month I arrived in college, Uranus, the great awakener, was transiting my first house.

Astrology was also an interest brought from childhood but began flowering at this time. This is when a friend very casually asked if I’d ever cast a natal horoscope. What was that?

Uranus is sudden, electric – a bolt of lightening as it were. This is a known image and a very good one for the Uranus experience. But who, really, wants to be struck by lightening?

The excitement comes from a sudden understanding or connecting of the dots. A world opens, fresh, clear and vivid. The shock comes from the changing of perception, of ideas. With Uranus, the challenge is whether the awe can outweigh the shock. A well-functioning nervous system is essential for this experience.

What comes after Uranus, Neptune, is more scary because after the awareness comes the dissolving of old identity and beliefs. If this occurs while young, it’s easier because there is less to dissolve. At an older age, you’ve got lots more stuff in the closets, attic and basement and when dissolution arrives, it’s much more difficult to let go of all that stuff.

Interest or awareness?

Am I interested in Egypt or am I picking up on the underlying Egyptian energy in the environment? Are we technological creatures with ancient psyches?

If science is enlightenment and the way out of superstitious thinking, why does science continue to reference mythology of the most ancient kind?

To create concern about the total destruction of our planet, why do rational beings need ancient myths rather than simple facts?

The need for ancient myth seems to relate to the human need to see things visually in story form – when a Hollywood movie is made about Apophis destroying earth, when we go through the visual-feeling experience, only then will we worry.

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The Mozart-Salieri Complex

Amadeus, a movie released in 1984, tells the story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s musical genius through the eyes of an envious peer Antonio Salieri. Salieri is both in awe of Mozart’s genius and also self-loathing of his own perceived “mediocrity.”

Years after this movie was released, I saw its affects around me from people speaking of mediocrity to others professing to compose music in their heads (where else would you compose it?).

It ties in to something I perceive in the American identity – seeing ourselves as unique. Yet if that is a cultural characteristic, it’s an irony because a group of people professing to be unique hardly makes the individuals within the group unique. Yet at the same time, we are truly individual and, therefore, unique.

Where this Amadeus becomes a complex is when we cut off our creativity because we don’t think we are “genius.” In other words, if I’m not the best-of-the-best, then I won’t do it at all. This happens all the time.

While discussing creativity recently with a colleague, he pointed out that when we are children, we are all artists. We stick our hands in the paint, put it on paper, make a big heart, write we love mommy and take it home as a precious gift to the one we love.

We didn’t consider it genius or mediocrity. We just expressed it and gave it away.

When did we lose this ability to create so easily?

When we began comparing.

Once we compare, we react. Our reactions can be positive or negative, but either way they cut us off from the child that painted the picture from the heart. Now my picture is “good” or “bad” or “genius” or “mediocrity.”

Why do we begin comparing?

Astrologically the first and seventh houses of the horoscope represent the polarity of self and other. The signs that rule these houses are Aries and Libra. Look for these houses and signs in your own horoscope to see how you compare yourself to others.

Of course we must do this. It’s part of the whole personality. But just one part.

When did we begin comparing?

As I’m not an educator or parent, I’m not sure exactly when children lose the “child” and begin comparing. From my distant view, it seems around the age of 8-10. Teenager-hood, that dreaded time in a parent’s life, is when comparing takes full force, when the individuality is at its lowest point but the teenage host thinks it’s at its peak.

In astrology, the personal planets are sun, moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars. These planets represent all of your daily characteristics, your likes and dislikes, comforts and pleasures, methods and modes.

After the personal planets come Jupiter and Saturn – the social planets. Jupiter is your school, social, religious and civic organizations. Jupiter is the social self.

Saturn is the police station, the bank, the principal’s office, the curfew. Saturn rules the structures of society. Saturn is the law-abiding self.

Jupiter has a 12-year cycle so spends a year in each sign. In six years, Jupiter is 180 degrees from where it was when you were born (an opposition). This is the time that children enter school and is the first round of what’s called socialization. At some time during your first year or two of school, you are made VERY aware of the others out there which can make the experience traumatic.

In another six years, Jupiter has returned to the place where it was when you were born. By age 12, you are aware of the social environment or never will be. This is the age, to my perception, when the ability to create is threatened by the hyper-awareness and adaption to the social environment.

As a traveler, I’m always on the lookout for key phrases. Phrases that no matter age, gender, race everyone uses to talk about a particular topic.

One of my favorites in this country is the topic of home schooling. Years ago while studying this topic, I mentioned it to a number of people in all areas of my life (few being educators). The response was exactly the same in the exact same words each time – “What about socialization?”


Where did we learn to say this? I said the same thing – where did I learn it? I have no idea to this day.

What’s fascinating here is that the socialization process itself created its own defense of the process. If you think of the applications of this method, it is astounding.

My own awareness of my lack of awareness made me re-think what’s going on both in the school system and outside of it. Those that do homeschool are very protective and now I understand why. The force against them is very, very strong.

While Jupiter is seen as an ancient benevolent in that it’s expansive (who doesn’t want more of everything?), expansion isn’t always “good.” At age 12, Jupiter expands the awareness of the social environment.

Saturn has a 29-year cycle so the socialization that occurs here is when we “settle down.” If you are not married and thinking about house and children and steady employment by age 30, society may consider you odd. The female body does appear to do best in childbearing before this age. Physically, it makes sense.

At age 30, most of us have given up our youthful pretenses. Children and home often require practical action and responses.

While socialization is necessary to get along in the world, is there a way we can keep our creative child and socialize?

The Mozart-Salieri Complex is destructive because it cuts us off from our creative self through comparison with the highest point of creative endeavor – genius. When you don’t honor whatever it is you create in whatever form, you’ve left yourself to wander in the world of socialization that will tell you many different things based on time and culture.

If your creative genius was like Mozart’s, it wouldn’t be yours. Cancel out the comparison because it doesn’t make any sense.

Your mom didn’t put that painting on the refrigerator because it was genius. She put it on the refrigerator because you created it with sincerity and love.

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Ohio Political Fight Club: Ohio Attorney General

Ohioans are now well aware that an election is just one week away – our television shows are peppered with political ads. Don’t bother watching your favorite shows next Monday – they will probably be abridged due to the need to run as many political ads as possible.

In today’s astrological political coverage, we’ll look at the Ohio Attorney General race. Ohio Attorney General incumbent and Republican Mike DeWine is facing Democrat challenger David Pepper.

My, oh my, did it take a while to find Pepper’s date of birth. The Ohio Democratic candidates have been very hush hush about birthdays and birth places which is the true scandal-that-never-was. Where was gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald born? Where was Ohio Treasurer Connie Pillich born?

Blue-blood Ohioans want to know.

In true political fashion, the focus goes to more banal concerns such as not having a driver’s license for ten years (FitzGerald) or having hundreds of parking tickets (Pepper).

Mike DeWine

DeWine is an interesting blend of rationality and shrewdness with Mercury, sun and Mars in Capricorn with Uranus and moon in Gemini. This is a man of habit who becomes, suddenly, unpredictable.

Capricorn and the Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Leo have the entire environment monitored. Uranus conjunct moon in Gemini now picks up any change in that environment, no matter how small, fleeting or Freudian.

Jupiter and Venus in Scorpio lend to having some emotional life, but unfortunately of the obsessive sort (especially with the square to Saturn-Pluto). So when DeWine’s not entirely rational, DeWine is entirely emotional. But mostly he’s removed from his feelings and uses a laser to cut through the machinations of others.

This is one smart man. He’s got you coming and going with practical knowledge and the ability to see what you’re doing with your hands at the same time.

I’d say you can’t beat this guy at chess.

Capricorn is a grudge holder so if you get on DeWine’s bad side, expect to be ostracized. If you think he’s giving you the cold shoulder, he probably is although with Capricorn and Gemini energy combined, coldness has its nuances so it might take a while to see the cold coming from the shoulder rather than from other parts.

If I were an evil astrologer, and I swear I’m not, I’d say the key to dismantling this clever cookie is to ask an emotionally-based question like, “If you discovered your grandmother was spying for the Russians, would you fry her in the electric chair?”

DeWine knows how to answer but may have a slight pause as the rational, rule-following side reacts with, “Of course, she broke the law.”

DeWine would be savvy enough, of course, to answer more rationally and diplomatically in a way that you’re sure means he wouldn’t fry grandma. But then later, when you’re doing the dishes and reflecting on his words, you’re not quite sure that’s what he said.

Gemini is great with words. DeWine is a debater and he has his note cards in his pocket, although he probably has a great memory and doesn’t need them. DeWine is always prepared.

David Pepper

Let’s begin with the easy parts of this complicated horoscope. Pepper has Mercury and sun in Gemini with the sun in a wide air trine with Uranus in Libra and Mars in Aquarius. This is a fun, intellectually-stimulating trine that seeks social interaction from the personal kind to the group and public kind.

He’s witty, conversant, challenging, intelligent, quirky and always coming up with the new idea. If you want to drive left, he’ll suggest right. And if you suggest right, he’ll suggest forward or backward. If you buy a fancy new car, he will show up next week with something bigger and brighter. But I get ahead of myself.

Like finding his date of birth, finding Pepper’s moon sign is equally challenging. The moon is either in late Scorpio or early Sagittarius, very different energies and signs often are when placed next to each other. Regardless of the sign placement, the moon is making soup with Jupiter in the last degree (anaretic) of Scorpio and Neptune in the first degree of Sagittarius.

The moon in this case seems to represent these two different energies sitting together on the bus. They accept their companion but don’t really talk with them much. With a grand air trine to boot, I’d suggest that Mr. Pepper has more than one personality.

Complicating this further is a conjunction of Saturn and Venus in Taurus opposing Jupiter (and probably the moon) and Neptune, in or out of sign.

Saturn in Taurus represents the sense of physical lack. Whether growing up rich or poor, for some reason there is a feeling that I don’t have what others have. Their “stuff” is bigger and better. With Venus tagging along in this, the great pleasure that comes from material life, the enjoyment of the senses, is restricted because the stuff that gives pleasure is just out of reach.

And air trines are looking for the next thing so there’s a carrot dangling in front of Pepper at all times, a carrot he’s always trying to get (good luck).

The moon mixed with Jupiter and Neptune provides a gregarious and giving nature that knows no self-control. Opposing the Saturn-Venus, there might be excessive indulgence that leads to great debt to others. Gambling (which to me includes socially-accepted activities such as playing stocks) might be the physical response to the lack which then creates more lack when great losses occur.

If I were an evil astrologer, which I mentioned I’m not, I’d suggest that opponents follow the money (not the parking tickets which suggest moon in Sagittarius) on this one. With Venus in Taurus next to Saturn, women are involved in the money stuff.

The Election Aspects

DeWine has transiting Pluto conjunct natal sun and Mars which suggests transformation of his ambitions and public self. Transiting Jupiter in Leo and transiting Saturn in Scorpio are in square aspect and are activating DeWine’s natal square (Jupiter-Venus in Scorpio and Saturn-Pluto in Leo). This indicates great changes in sense of self and self-worth. Those emotionally attached to DeWine are challenging him personally.

Pepper has transiting Saturn conjunct Jupiter as well, both men having Jupiter in Scorpio. Both men are going to owe some money after the election – no surprise here. Pepper will probably be in worse shape as he may have borrowed money from that Saturn-Venus conjunction (property or female).

Outside of money losses, an election loss wouldn’t affect Pepper on a personal level as it would DeWine. While Pepper is seeking political office and has some need for power, his horoscope doesn’t seem to depend on it. He may simply want to play in a larger, better playground. If he doesn’t get this job, there are probably ten other roles he’d take instead.

DeWine would be devastated by an election loss because he would lose the Capricorn sense of self that derives from one’s standing in society. The loss of power and control which stems from Capricorn but also his Saturn, Pluto, Jupiter and Venus, would be like losing air to breathe. DeWine probably doesn’t know how to live in a simple, personal environment.

While polls show DeWine winning in a landslide, horoscope aspects suggest that in some way, DeWine’s relationship with politics and power is going to change soon.

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Feel the Scorpio

If you don’t like the energy of the fixed, water sign Scorpio, I’d like to suggest you take a vacation – to another planet (I have a few I could recommend).

A few days ago, the sun, moon (which has moved on) and Venus all moved into Scorpio. Later in the month, the sun and Venus will meet up with Saturn whose been hanging out in Scorpio for a couple years.

The images of Halloween are Scorpionic as they involve death, a subject we avoid for the other eleven months of the year. All cultures seem to have a month to honor the dead and in our western world, we chose Scorpio (end of October through mid November). Scorpio is willing to talk about death and any other subject that needs discussing, subjects others would like to avoid.

Scorpio is known for its emotional intensity and desire to connect which leads to sexual desire. In a larger sense, I think of Scorpio as interested in penetration – of body and emotion.

With so many planets in Scorpio right now, it’s an awful good time to penetrate those emotions and when you’re down there, possibly throw a few out. Emotions come in all flavors and Scorpio will traverse them all while others prefer staying in the pastel colors of a Disney experience.

I suggest throwing a few emotions out because that is one of Scorpio’s difficulties – letting go. Scorpio is a fixed sign which applies itself to the water energy creating intense, penetrating and obsessive thoughts. And we know what thoughts do . . .

Personally, I find the sign of Scorpio to be a delight for its intelligence and emotional honesty. Don’t bother lying to this sign, not that you’d want to since you can be completely honest in return. Whew, isn’t that a relief? (Pisces is great this way too).

If you decide to stay on Earth this November to experience Extreme Scorpio, here are some ways to engage and enjoy the energy:

Scorpio Movies

Many of our famous directors have Scorpio energy so finding intense emotional energy on the big screen (or little screen) should be easy.

Anything directed by Scorpio Martin Scorsese should do the trick from old, intense classics like Raging Bull and Taxi Driver (with Scorpio Jodi Foster taking on a difficult and taboo role) to more modern intensity such as The Wolf of Wall Street (with Scorpio Leonardo DiCaprio as lead).

One of my Scorpio favorites is Jaws, directed by Scorpio moon Steven Spielberg and featuring two Scorpio suns, Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfuss, in the deep water searching for a killer shark. If you don’t like Scorpio men after this one, you might want to have your blood checked.

A different kind of Scorpio energy – that of the taboo – can be found in the movies of Hanif Kureishi (who has Saturn conjunct Venus in Scorpio). Remember that My Beautiful Laundrette came out in 1985 while its subject may seem commonplace today. The Mother, which deals with mom’s sexuality, will probably always have a bit of the taboo. No one wants to discuss this.

Scorpio Actors

A personal favorite, Toni Collette conveys emotion like no other. Astrotheme says her moon is in Virgo which tends to think about its emotions rather than expressing them. However, the Pluto conjunct Venus in Collette’s chart seems to give her an added Scorpio boost.

Tilda Swinton has taken on some very interesting roles in her career, my favorite the classic Caravaggio. That’s a Scorpio movie to so add it to the list. Caravaggio’s emotions are raw – art, love, sexuality, betrayal. Good stuff with no parent filters, no romance filters.

Matthew McConaughey wears his Scorpio sexual charisma like a loose shirt. Wait, he does that too! This man loves being a Scorpio and you can love it too! Enjoy. You don’t even need to listen to what he says.

Ryan GoslingI’ve blogged about the stare, very Scorpio. A bit annoying too, really.

Scorpio Authors

For classic Scorpio check out Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Scorpio in the northern hemisphere is cold and rainy so you should have time to make it through a work or two this late fall and winter.

Scorpio Margaret Atwood was described in a review once as like cilantro – you either love or hate her. Scorpio’s intensity creates equally strong reactions as we see with Atwood’s reviewer. One of her famous novels The Handmaid’s Tale has been described as a “feminist dystopia.” Say it can’t happen here?

I’ve got to add Neil Gaiman in here for Coraline, so wonderfully Scorpio! Lonely child Coraline discovers a perfect mother living next door! And she can stay forever if . . . she removes her eyes and replaces them with buttons. A high price to pay for perfect love!

Scorpio Musicians

Lying in bed the other night I thought I’d like to hear some Adam Ant. The universe, as usual, provided and at the coffee shop a week later I heard Ant Music.

Adam Ant was aware of his Scorpio-ness, even putting the signs of the zodiac for his musicians on the album cover (back in the day, you had “records” in big, square cardboard containers). Ant sings in Friend or Foe, “I want those who get to know me to become admirers or my enemies.” Open, obvious Scorpio here.

Scorpio Diana Krall is my pick for these upcoming cold, November nights. Her voice will melt the ice, heat the logs and warm the cider. Peel me a grape . . .

Scorpio Politician

In the US, Scorpio is also the time of politics. It’s interesting that we have our voting during a time of emotional intensity rather than a time of intellectual curiosity (such as in June in Gemini).

Well, let’s take a look around and see what Scorpio politicians linger about . . . Oh, here’s one.

Hillary Clinton. Although it looks like she’s going to run for president and many think she will win, I wonder if that will happen. From a purely political standpoint, Clinton divides people. Wait, that’s an astrological standpoint as well as people love or hate Scorpio.

Saturn will be transiting Clinton’s first house the entire election cycle. Saturn in the first might be seen as bestowing that great responsibility she is seeking, but it’s also a great burden to carry a heavy stick on your back for two years. It might hurt and make her ill. Saturn, I mean time, will tell.

Feel the Scorpio!

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