Patty Hearst – 45 Years Later

On February 4, 1974 Patty Hearst, granddaughter of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst, was kidnapped by a small, cult-like group calling themselves the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) which was led by an ex-con and consisted of a band of late-Hippie era eccentrics.

Like many cults, the beliefs and goals are strongly held but rarely logically consistent. While the term “symbionese” claimed to encompass many left-wing beliefs, one of the first (violent) acts of the group was to kill an African-American school superintendent, clearly in contrast to its supposed anti-racist mantra.

In another high-profile act, Patty Hearst was kidnapped also with unclear goals and undefined exit strategy. That presented no problem because during Hearst’s confinement, she merged with the group. In American Heiress, author Jeffrey Toobin details Hearst’s kidnapping to her parole from prison five years later.

During her time with the SLA, Hearst participated in a bank robbery, a hardware store shooting, escape from the law and a couple love affairs. On the news in those days (which I do remember) was an image of Hearst with rifle in hand and the question: Was she brainwashed or was she a willing participant?

Cults and culture

In the 1970s, cults and brainwashing were much in the news, especially after the Manson Family murders of 1969. Today we don’t hear these terms much. Have cults been eradicated?

Always interested in cults, it was many years before I realized “cult” was simply part of the word “culture.” Are you brainwashed by your culture? Is a “cult” simply a competing culture?

What is fascinating about Hearst’s story as laid out in Toobin’s book is how quickly she merged with the environment, how rapidly she adopted their beliefs, how easily she fell in love (although engaged) twice during this period and how abruptly she returned to her rich heiress lifestyle.

If kidnapped by a militant cult, we think we would not change so quickly, so radically. But in a sense, when we are born into a culture, don’t we do just that? Don’t we adopt its beliefs, or at least what it presents as the options for beliefs? Don’t we fall in love with someone in the environment, no matter where we’re born?

Was the 20-year old Hearst still a babe in the woods of a larger culture and simply adapting? Or was she particularly prone to merging her identity with others?

Patty Hearst

While we all adapt to our culture, Hearst’s horoscope does have quite a few planets in signs that are known for merging with others and taking on their identities: Libra and Pisces.

Hearst’s sun, Venus and Mercury are in Pisces a mutable water sign that desires emotional merging with others. It’s an emotional, empathetic sign often finding itself as savior or victim. Pisces does not have strong boundaries because it doesn’t want them.

Hearst’s moon and Neptune are in Libra, a cardinal air sign that is the sign of “the other” and motivated by partnership. Libra often finds its identity through others as it forms a reaction to those others.

Hearst’s Jupiter (in Gemini) and Mars (in Sagittarius) are also in mutable signs forming a square to the sun. Mars in Sagittarius would be passionate about causes. With the sun in Pisces and moon in Libra, it’s not a surprise that someone else provided the causes. The speed at which Hearst adopted those causes is what’s shocking.

With Uranus in Cancer squaring moon/Neptune, the unusual family into which she was born appears to have blocked her finding the ideal partner. As Toobin explores, maybe Hearst felt this longing toward radicalism (or some type of extreme behavior) but never found the partner to help her express these longings.

When she was kidnapped in 1974, transiting Pluto was conjunct her moon (in Libra) and transiting Uranus was conjunct her Neptune (in Libra) – Uranus being in square to natal Uranus (in Cancer). This was certainly a time of transformative (Pluto) and sudden (Uranus) partnerships (Libra). Hearst clearly did not choose this – she was taken against her will. That’s Pluto in action – you have no choice in the matter. Some feel like this when falling in love with the “wrong” person.

While adapting to the environment may have kept her safe, after she became an active member of the group, Hearst had plenty of opportunity for escape. When most of the group was killed in a standoff, Hearst and the remaining members of the group fled and hid for several months.

45 years later

Tomorrow is the 45th anniversary of Hearst’s kidnapping. In the current astrological configuration, transiting Pluto (in Capricorn) is now opposing Hearst’s natal Uranus (in Cancer).

Is it time for changes in the family dynamics? Possibly a Capricorn transfer of power and wealth?

Transiting Neptune has been in Pisces since 2011. Tomorrow it will be almost conjunct Hearst’s Mercury in Pisces. This transit squares natal Jupiter (in Gemini) and transiting Jupiter (in Sagittarius).

Will this Neptune transit with Jupiter aspects inspire Hearst to tell us more about her feelings and motivations during that time?

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Neptune in Pisces Update

Have you been busy for the past eight years? Are the kids’ schedules more packed than a CEO’s? Are you trying to keep an eye on a collapsing government and volatile stock market while you work more hours? Has your employment shifted and changed like a melting glacier? Has the world of bickering politics invaded your personal life?

If you’ve experienced any of this, you’ve probably been distracted by transiting Pluto in Capricorn making a square aspect to transiting Uranus in Aries. The good news is that Uranus will be moving into Taurus in March 2019 and will get along better with Pluto which stays in Capricorn for a few more years.

If there is a break in the icebergs through which we’re traveling, it might be a good time to look into the fog and pay attention to Neptune in Pisces.


Mythological Neptune is the God of freshwater and the sea. Astrological Neptune rules the sign of Pisces so Neptune is floating in its home waters.

Neptune is an outer planet relating to the spiritual zeitgeist of a generation. The sign in which Neptune is traveling is what that generation tends to worship, outside of the regular gods of worship. Neptune is the “buzz” of the times, the craze of youth, and the halo around the person or object of mass desire.

Yesterday’s craze appears irrational to today’s mood. Did millions of girls really go mad over four men in black suits singing the simple “Love me do?” During the time of the Beatles as a band, Neptune was transiting Scorpio, the sign of death, sex, taxes and regeneration.

This was a time of Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n Roll. During this period, the sexual mores shifted radically with much more openness, more partners and more experimentation. Some, like Scorpio sun Charles Manson, took advantage of the times by using sex and drugs to break through barriers for manipulation.

In the 1970s and early 1980s, Neptune in Sagittarius brought us increased activism and the interdependence of nations. From 1985-1998 Neptune in Capricorn brought us an idealization of business. In 1998, the shift to idealization of technology occurred. In 2011, Neptune then went into Pisces and will be there until 2025.

What do we idealize with Pisces?

Neptune in Pisces

Pisces as the last sign of the zodiac is water and mutable and seeks spiritual merging. Because of that, the boundaries are not strong and the empathy is high. As a mutable sign, it is changeable and adaptable and when too much of these traits, malleable.

Pisces doesn’t often know where “me” ends and “you” begins. This can lead to the desire to rescue others which is good when the “other” is able and willing to be rescued. When the “other” is in a state of self-destruction or addiction, then Pisces can become enmeshed in emotionally destructive situations.

The savior and the scapegoat are two sides of the Pisces energy as we see with its image of two fish swimming in opposite directions. You may have heard of the “Age of Aquarius.” The prior Age was in Pisces (the Ages move backwards through the signs) and we see a great deal Pisces imagery in Christianity (fishes, feet, sacrifice, healing and compassion).

Pisces and Neptune are also prone to what’s called escapism. Being so sensitive, the world is harsh so there is a need to refresh and sometimes for great lengths of time. Escapism Neptune style includes many of our current pleasures – alcohol, drugs and moving pictures.

Update on Neptune in Pisces

With the societal transformations occurring as Pluto transits Capricorn, it’s easy to ignore the diaphanous Neptune. Neptune rules fog which is something not quite there but also quite treacherous. Don’t underestimate fog – put your lights on.


Since Neptune has gone into Pisces, we’ve seen unprecedented storms, flooding and tsunamis. So it seems we have more and more water. But do we?

Actually, we have a clean water crisis. We’ve seen contaminated water (Michigan and West Virginia), drought (US Southwest, South Africa) and compromised water (fracking areas). According to this article, by 2025 (as Neptune moves into Aries), half of the world’s population will be in water-stressed areas.

Remember Michael Burry from The Big Short who analyzed mortgage data and determined that a financial collapse would occur in 2007? He’s investing in water.

Sea control is another aspect of water control. China has now control over the South China Sea. Since most of the earth (71%) is water, Neptune in Pisces may bring us more issues with international water boundaries. Neptune doesn’t like boundaries.


The last time Neptune was in Pisces (1847 to 1862) Western nations including France, Great Britain and the United States started an “Opium War” with China to force the opium market on China due to trade imbalances where foreign nations wanted Chinese goods but China didn’t purchase enough in return except for opium. The Chinese government didn’t want a nation of addicts so tried to ban opium sales.

In an interesting bit of political karma, the United States now has its own opiate crisis. This may not have stemmed from China, but definitely stemmed from economics from the pharmaceutical push toward opiates combined with changing local economies.

This is one Neptune-in-Pisces transit that receives some attention within our busy Uranus in Aries lives. We are aware of this one.


Alcoholism hasn’t been eradicated yet you might believe so here in the US as most events now involve wine or beer and a Neptunian “culture” around them. People in the US are drinking more according to this article. As shopping shifts to online, stores are increasingly converted to food and beverage. In my neck of the woods, it’s common for new restaurants to have a menu consisting of one page of food and ten pages of alcoholic beverages.

This Neptune-in-Pisces effect is still in the fog. I’m expecting soon to see in the news that there has been a rise in the rate of alcoholism. Or maybe opiate addiction has overridden alcoholism for the moment.

Moving pictures

Neptune rules moving film. Film has an incredible ability to influence us, even when we think we’re immune. It’s my own pet theory that the powers-that-be want to introduce a concept to the masses, they make a Hollywood film.

UFOs are the best example. In the 1970s and 1980s those claiming to see UFOs were considered wackos. Bring on the TV series the X-Files and now it’s okay to have a belief in UFOs (sort of).

Today the moving picture industry has grown to include instant access series leading to a “binge watching” craze. According to the Binge Clock, it takes over nine days to watch the entire X-Files series.

Nine days. Americans rarely take nine days of vacation in a row.

If there’s a binge, is there a purge?

Mystery and secrecy

Neptune and Pisces are nothing if not secretive and mysterious. What fun is life without some mystery? If you love spy novels or are wondering if US President Trump is truly a Russian operative, then Neptune in Pisces is for you.

For all of the religion in the world, there’s still mystery about the post-body experience. We want it, but we don’t.

Neptune dissolves and no matter how much fun heaven may be, the thought of our selves dissolving is threatening. In the original Star Trek series, to beam down to a planet meant that your entire body was dissembled then re-assembled. Looks cool but would you ever choose to travel by having your body disintegrated then re-constructed? Who would you trust to do that besides Star Trek’s Mr. Spock, and he’s not real.

Don’t Ignore Neptune

Neptune is like water. The earth is 71% water and the human body 55% – 60%. We are water beings who live in a water place. We are Neptune.

Go to a body of water and move your hand through it. It’s so soft, so easy to move your hand. Now try to swim in in. That’s much tougher and you have to learn to “let go” and allow the water to lift your body (easier for women with more body fat than men). If there are waves, it’s even tougher to navigate water. Water can be gentle or fierce.

Neptune can be easy to ignore especially with Uranus in Aries making loud noises and Pluto in Capricorn taking your house away.

But Neptune and Pisces are all-that-is. Some of what is passing with Pluto and Uranus transits are not truly critical to a life on earth. Water is. Think Neptune.

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Uranus in Taurus – The Political Promise Collateral System

This Sunday on one of the political news shows, a Republican politician was asked about the counterintelligence investigation being conducted on President Trump. According to the panelists afterwards, the politician was “careful with his words.”


Do words have any meaning today? If you change your words, are there any repercussions?

In all presidential elections, we see candidates change political positions. In a certain way, it makes sense. In your current role you are representing hundreds of thousands or maybe several million people. As president, you will be representing the entire nation of hundreds of millions and need to protect the varying interests of all those people. Altering your position makes sense. Journalists, of course, will ask about those changes and the experienced and savvy politician provides a long-winded, obtuse response that bridges the gap, sometimes effectively, sometimes not.

That’s the baseline.

Some level of egotism is also needed to believe you are strong and worthy enough to lead a nation of people, a nation with a very powerful place in today’s global politics where your decisions can actually affect billions. If you didn’t think super-highly of yourself and have the energy and mettle to survive the rigorous and at times humiliating process of a presidential campaign, you couldn’t survive but a few minutes.

That’s the baseline.

Watching elections for years, the 2016 election went far and above baselines with true challenges to candidates’ underlying moral and ethical positions. More than anything, it revealed how far individuals will go in a quest for power.

The words used during the campaign, like our social media world, had a very, very short shelf life. For those most successful during the 2016 election, the words shifted continually to the point where there was no practical use in following them.

Today words are simply sounds made to create various reactions in the listeners. When “a word” meant a promise as in “you have my word,” there weren’t so many words about vying for our attention.

Possibly words are now like the objects in the US consumer culture. There are so many goods available, we don’t cherish our possessions. Objects are meant to be consumed and replaced – planned obsolescence it was initially branded.

Words, too, are plentiful and become obsolete much faster than your plastic bags.

As we need to clean the world of plastic bag refuse, let’s clean the world of useless words. Let’s focus on the money.

Uranus in Taurus

Transiting Uranus will enter Taurus in March 2019 (it actually first went into Taurus in May 2018 then went retrograde into Aries in August 2018). At this time, we should see Uranus “enlightenment” in the areas of physical reality including the body, property, earth and other objects.

Uranus is the sudden enlightener so often creates situations with no warning – think the Indonesian tsunamis (however, the first, I believe, was recognized by indigenous folks). Recently there was seismic activity from a volcano which didn’t register on earthquake instruments and suddenly there was water-a tsunami.

This is Uranus.

Taurus is the fixed earth sign and accumulates objects for the pleasure of having them and for a sense of security. Capricorn, the cardinal earth sign, in contrast accumulates objects for respect and social status. Taurus and Libra, both ruled by Venus, are two of the signs that generally enjoy material life for its own sake. Taurus will preserve objects while Libra may not, Libra being an air sign that would look forward to the next pleasure.

Money isn’t truly a tangible item but is represented by Taurus because ultimately money represents values. Where you place your money indicates your value system.

The Political Promise Collateral System (TPPCS)

While blogging about politicians in the news the last couple weeks, I noticed a lot of Taurus energy in the charts of Mitch McConnell, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and Elizabeth Warren. All should experience changes to body, property and ultimately a sense of security.

Noting the Taurus energy both in the skies and on the ground, there may be a more efficient way to generate honesty in politicians.

Here’s the plan:

When Uranus is in Taurus, instead of politicians making promises with words, all political promises should be backed with financial collateral – The Political Promise Collateral System (TPPCS).

For example, if a politician promises something, say to sign a bill, collateral money should be held until that promise is kept. The amount of money made for a promise needs to represent how important that promise is to the politician.

If, for example, a politician promises to sign a bill, maybe that promise is worth $100,000. But building a border wall might be more valuable to the politician so $1 million is held as collateral. If the bill isn’t signed, $100,000 is lost. If the wall isn’t built, $1 million is lost.

In the spirit of Taurus, other assets are also allowed as collateral based on current market value. With Uranus transiting Taurus, asset values will most likely continue the volatility we’ve seen recently with the stock market so we may need to stick to cash and property.

With TPPCS, we, the constituents, know exactly the values of those we elect. There will be no more need for words or confusion. Hypocrisy will no longer exist as a concept. Money doesn’t lie so we will know the absolute truth.

In addition to holding our politicians accountable for their promises, TPPCS will also create jobs, another Taurus-energy win. We’ll need finance managers, accountants, collection window agents, appraisers, collateral foreclosure agents and a host of other positions.

There are no losers in the TPPCS.

TPPCS will launch when Uranus goes direct in Taurus on March 6, 2019.

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Astrological Insight into Political News (1/11/2019)

Chuck Schumer

Senator and Republican foe Chuck Schumer is already experiencing transiting Jupiter conjunct his natal Sagittarius sun, Venus and Mercury. Jupiter rules Sagittarius so is happy to expand influence, energy, arrogance and the waistline. Jupiter can provide “luck” but also accidents due to carelessness and foot-in-the-mouth disease.

Be careful Chuck.

As with his political companion Nancy Pelosi, Schumer has Taurus energy with moon in Taurus. Uranus is soon to transit Taurus (March 2019) so his own material well-being will be undergoing changes. As Uranus begins this transit, OHA is finding Taurus prominent in the horoscopes of those in the news as the Fates are having them step up to to the plate of self-awareness.

For Schumer, it will take a few years for this transit to fully activate, but I expect that financial attacks will become more frequent in general, not just for Schumer. But the more assets you have the more chance of being targeted.

Transiting Jupiter is making a nice trine to Schumer’s natal Pluto in Leo and sextile to natal Neptune in Libra which brings cooperative relationships with those in power.

When transiting Jupiter moves into Capricorn next year and transits his natal Mars in Capricorn, Schumer may embark on a new business venture with a partner (natal Neptune in Libra) who isn’t so reliable and may put the family assets (natal Uranus in Cancer).

Be careful Chuck.

Jeff Bezos

While not technically political news, when you shake up the entire retail industry as Jeff Bezos has done, you deserve to be considered a political player. As government in the United States increasingly becomes a business venture, business moguls are intrinsically politicians.

This week Jeff Bezos and his wife announced they were divorcing. With Pluto transiting Capricorn (2008-2023), those with sun in Capricorn like Bezos will have transformation in their basic sense of self. Capricorn being a cardinal sign, the other cardinal signs will also feel tension (Aries, Cancer and Libra) because at some point in the transit Pluto will square the sun.

Aries, by the way, has had a double-whammy shake up with Pluto in Capricorn making squares for the last seven years to the soon-to-be-completed transit of Uranus in Aries.

While both Bezos horoscopes indicate change, Bezos’ wife MacKenzie with sun in Aries and moon either in Aries or Taurus appears to be the shaker-upper in this situation. Transiting Uranus is conjunct her moon in either sign. M. Bezos’ natal Mercury, Venus, Mars and Saturn are all in Taurus. Natal Jupiter is in Scorpio.

Don’t think money and material security doesn’t matter here to M. Bezos. It may matter more to her than J. Bezos, in fact.

For J. Bezos, money is success. For his wife, money is security. When one has Saturn in Taurus, there is a sense of lack no matter how much wealth is in the environment. There’s an inner sense of poverty which can, if one is not self-aware, lead to greed. With self-awareness, there is much gratitude and appreciation of the material world.

J. Bezos later in the year will have transiting Jupiter conjunct the moon. This suggests indulgence so possibly J. Bezos has some bad habits of which we’re unaware. Jupiter transiting one’s moon in Sagittarius, especially if you are a man as is J. Bezos, usually bodes well for attracting women. By the end of the year we may see a new Mrs. Bezos.

Elizabeth Warren

Speaking of Taurus appearing prominently in the horoscopes of those in the political news right now, Taurus moon Senator Elizabeth Warren has announced an exploratory committee for a presidential run in 2020.

Is it that time already?

Warren has what OHA calls the “mark of a politician” which is moon in square to Pluto (in Taurus and Leo respectively for Warren). Pluto in hard aspect to one’s moon suggests unwanted psychic or physical penetration that results in a strong need to control the environment.

The Pluto in Leo “Me” Generation also can’t seem to retire. This generation focused on self and brought us much of the individuality of today. Possibly there are so many Pluto in Leo folk still climbing the ladder because the next generation, Pluto in Virgo, is too nervous and anxious for such ambitions. Or maybe the Pluto in Virgo generation are just busy cleaning the kitchen.

Warren’s sun is in sensitive, water-sign Cancer conjunct Uranus. In 2008 she had transiting Pluto in Capricorn opposing which is when she began her political life as Chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel. Usually with Pluto opposing the sun there are political problems; as Chair she was entrenched in politics but possibly the politics of her law professorship turned her to traditional politics.

Transiting Pluto is now opposing natal Venus in Capricorn which suggests additional power struggles with friends and family. Warren’s family might not be so keen on her decision to run for president.

Warren has an interesting horoscope that combines agility and speed with method and focus. Taurus moon is nothing if not steady and methodical. Yet, Mars conjunct Mercury in Gemini and Uranus conjunct sun in Cancer creates both strong and speedy mental and emotional reactions. While Warren may appear calm on the outside, she most likely has nerve problems and stomach problems.

Transiting Jupiter in Sagittarius opposes Gemini which can expand and exaggerate the speech which we’ve seen as Warren has had to explain her claims to Native American heritage. Jupiter in Sagittarius opposing Gemini generates impulsive speech, distraction and tangents which can throw off the Taurus moon which can respond to a precise, congruent argument but may have difficulty with the empty rhetoric of politics.

As noted above, transiting Uranus will be in Taurus in March 2019. For Warren, the steady becomes unsteady and the traditional method just won’t work. Warren has enough flexibility in her horoscope to overcome this, but will she like it?

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Astrological Insight into Political News (1/4/2019)

Nancy Pelosi

United States House member Nancy Pelosi has just been elected for her second run as Speaker of the House, the last occurring from 2003-2007. Astrologically this is a bit odd.

Aries-sun Pelosi has spent the seven years of Uranus’ transit of Aries as House Minority Leader, in political terms a lesser position (although dependent upon electoral outcomes) than Speaker of the House. Uranus is the planet of enlightenment so Pelosi may have learned and accomplished more as Minority Leader than majority leader.

During her term as Speaker of the House from 2003-2007, Uranus was in Pisces. Pelosi’s natal Mercury is in Pisces opposing natal Neptune in Virgo (called mutual reception because Mercury rules Virgo and Neptune rules Pisces).

With Neptune opposing one’s Mercury and Mercury in Pisces, the more literal signs (like earth signs) may consider Pelosi’s words to be less than factual, imaginative, and emotional. The energy of her first Speakership involves communication and ideals of perfection. Perfection, a word different in the eyes of each of us, is a Neptunian delusion.

Pelosi’s second Speakership will occur under very different Uranus energy – Uranus will move into Taurus in March 2019 for the next seven years. Pelosi has Saturn, Uranus, Venus and Mars all in Taurus opposing (not all exactly but by sign) moon in Scorpio. Do not be surprised if Pelosi’s personal finances come under a great deal of scrutiny, especially in March 2019. All that Taurus is probably what earned her the moniker “limousine Liberal.”

Pelosi will need to be literal while Uranus transits Taurus for the next seven years. Can she put aside her imaginative Mercury in Pisces?

Mitch McConnell

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, while on the other side of the aisle from Nancy Pelosi, will experience similar challenges as Uranus transits Taurus beginning March 2019.

Just two years younger than Pelosi, McConnell has moon, Mars, Saturn and Uranus in Taurus. Saturn and Uranus are conjunct which in general represents difficulty with authority, especially when authority wants to touch your Taurus tangible stuff (like with taxes and right-of-way).

McConnell’s sun in one degree of Pisces does not make a lot of aspects inside the chart suggesting his imaginative, sensitive, psychic and potentially manipulative sun is on its own making him at times dreamy and “somewhere else,” while at other times the Taurus in his chart is on the front porch with a gun trying to defend his property.

Jupiter’s transit of Sagittarius opposes his natal Jupiter suggesting the social crowd with which he’s been a part no longer accepts him in the same way. Jupiter in Sagittarius wants exotic and foreign energy to challenge the status quo. McConnell’s natal Jupiter in Gemini is more interested in the local happenings and immediate friends and neighbors.

With a Pisces sun, McConnell can be different every day, if he chooses. It’s the Taurus energy that demands regularity, the same lunch every day. However, when Uranus shakes up Taurus energy, McConnell won’t be allowed his routines or his daily cappucino so he may don his chameleon Pisces nature and ride the waves.

Or he may simply retire from the Senate to become a banker or real estate agent.

Justin Trudeau

According to the news, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been facing challenges:

His government has kept some promises since it overhauled the child benefits scheme, legalised recreational cannabis, and gave parents the option of taking an extended parental leave.

But there were fumbles along the way: a disastrous overseas trip to India, broken promises on electoral reform and on short-term deficits.

Trudeau was born on Christmas Day which should carry enough imagery to expect a challenging life. Astrologically, he is a Capricorn sun with moon square in Aries. The combination is a forceful, competitive, ambitious individual who has to learn to respect others as he desires to be respected. There’s quite a bit of unawareness of others’ needs, or at least a lack of empathy.

Pluto has been transiting Capricorn since 2008 and Uranus Aries since 2011; this square aspect has caused irritable tension on the globe. It affects our individual charts as well especially for those with cardinal signs in the chart (Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn). In addition, in December 2017 Saturn entered Capricorn transiting Trudeau’s sun which usually means restriction or limitation to the self (like “shut up and do your job”).

All of the cardinal signs are having challenging times getting along with others, which cardinal signs always struggle with even in the best of astrological aspects. Cardinal is the initiator, one who likes to take charge and start projects. For the fixed and mutable signs, it can be plain bossiness.

The good news for Trudeau is that transiting Pluto is out of aspect to his sun and Uranus will move from Aries to Taurus in March 2019. Saturn also is now out of the orb of his sun. The worst is technically over.

However, Capricorn tends to take the path of most resistance so what’s around the bend may not be challenging enough for the competitive, responsibility-seeking Trudeau.

In November 2018, transiting Jupiter entered Sagittarius where it will transit for a year and pass over Trudeau’s natal Neptune, Mercury and Jupiter and oppose his natal Saturn in Gemini. For Trudeau, this means the expansive, excessive and addictive part of his personality will arise.

If there is no challenge, Trudeau will get bored and indulge in his favorite Sagittarius excess. Some traditional excesses for this sign include travel, reading history, learning a new philosophy, gambling and intoxicants.

Or maybe like the satirical parodies indicate, he’ll indulge in a little legal marijuana.

David Brooks and The Morality of Selfism

Today New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote a scathing opinion piece on self-centeredness.

You probably want to be a good person. But you may also be completely self-absorbed. So you may be thinking, “There is no way I can be good if I’m also a narcissist. Isn’t being good all about caring about other people?”

But how wrong you are!

We live in a culture of selfism — a culture that puts tremendous emphasis on self, on self-care and self-display. And one of the things we’ve discovered is that you can be a very good person while thinking only about yourself!

As noted in the OHA blog My Uranus in Aries, this transit brought not only the rise of selfies but the rise of individual-directed marketing which is good for business but bad for the personal worldview. Too much targeted information can create a very self-absorbed lens. As Brooks points out sarcastically in his piece, the rise of social media allows us to express ourselves continually which can lead to confusion about expression versus action.

While the article definitely provides food for self-reflective thought, astrologically I chuckle a bit when a person with Mercury, sun, moon and Uranus in the fiery, expressive, center-of-attention Leo tells me I’m too self-absorbed.

Brooks also has Saturn in Capricorn and will be experiencing his second Saturn return by the end of 2019. Saturn has a 29-year cycle that represents stages of maturity. What might be difficult for Brooks isn’t just the self-centeredness of our times, but also his own waning influence upon a culture that is increasingly bestowing authority on those who can shout the loudest.

It’s a sad time both for Brooks and this blogger as an informed, well-constructed opinion is much more enjoyable as intellectual aerobics than the slew of articles with teaser headlines about trivial and insignificant events. However, as Uranus moves into Taurus in March 2019, Brooks will continue to experience irritation and tension as Taurus is in square to Leo.

Brooks, like others on the planet in 2019, will most likely need to focus on the health of the personal body, personal assets and the earth itself. Brooks may want to spend his Saturn return writing about the breakdown of authority, including his own, as Pluto transits Capricorn.

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What’s “New” This Year?

Once again a great number of earthlings have decided to celebrate the “new” year in the middle of winter, very close to the shortest, darkest day of the year – ten degrees of Capricorn on my portion of the planet.

Spring, clearly, is when the “new” occurs in the northern hemisphere. Spring is when the buds push through the earth to become flowers, animals wake from hibernation to eat and make babies, and the Ohio cardinals sit in the trees and sing to lure a mate.

So why not celebrate a “new” year each spring? Why do we start a new year in the winter?

In October 1582, the Gregorian calendar, which has a January 1 start date, was in the beginning stages of adoption as Pluto, the planet of destruction, evolution and transformation, was in four degrees of Aries (the first sign of the zodiac that brings us spring). Pluto brought us a new, standard calendar that accounted for the fraction of a day that makes an annual period so difficult to calculate so that we could all celebrate the same holidays at the same time, bill each other accurately and make sure the anything “annual” (like your annual review at work) had a consistent cadence.

Life is certainly much easier when we can plan a dinner date on say, October 15, 1582, and arrive in the same place at the same time as our companion. If we had planned, say, October 9, 1582, we might have had trouble meeting our companion since that date did not occur as the new calendar was implemented and ten days were skipped to reconcile dates.

While the ten days were considered “lost” by some, like the shift to daylight savings time and back to standard time, time is not truly “lost.” The sun rises and sets as usual. Human routines are shifted creating the sense of time “gained” or “lost.”

Linear calendars and linear time bring us beginnings, middles and endings. Winter is an “ending” of sorts so is another explanation for making it a “beginning.”

Astrology, in contrast, like your old hand-motion clocks, works in cycles. The moon is a daily (changing signs) or monthly (full revolution) cycle, one that women in particular are familiar with as are those that live by oceans. The sun changes signs monthly and revolves around the sun annually. With eight other planetary bodies, there are eight more cycles long and longer representing our changing yet cyclical existence.

A conscientious astrologer shouldn’t talk about beginnings and endings since cycles are shifts in and out of energy patterns that will one day cycle again. Like laundry, the cycles do not “end.”

What’s new in 2019?

If January 1, 2019 is the “new” year, let’s see what’s different from the “last” year.

The sun, moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars change signs many times during a given 365-day period. If a year has something new, it’s more noticeable through changes in Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.

The “inner planets” of sun through Mars certainly play into the energies of a given year. However, if we look deeply, many events that seem to occur suddenly are actually the result of past decisions and behaviors as represented by the outer planets.

We reap what we sow.

The financial crisis of 2008, for example, wasn’t a sudden event but the result of past practices, some beginning decades earlier. Other events, of course, are sudden and random such as winning the lottery or being struck by lightning. Astrological Uranus symbolizes these types of events that you truly have not set in motion, but that have the power to change your life.

This year beginning January 1, 2019 there are two changes from last year – Jupiter is now transiting its ruling fire-sign Sagittarius and Uranus will go direct in March 2019 and continue through earth-sign Taurus for the next seven years. Uranus actually went into Taurus in May 2018 but then went retrograde back into Aries.

Saturn deserves a mention as it went into its ruling sign earth-sign Capricorn right around the new year last year (December 20, 2017) and was within a couple degrees of the sun on January 1, 2019.

Jupiter in Sagittarius and Saturn in Capricorn are pure but contrasting energies. Jupiter is expansion and Saturn is contraction. In their ruling signs, there is purity in that Saturn will contract what it needs to contract (authority, structure, government) and Jupiter will expand what it needs to expand (social institutions, education, travel).

The US stock market volatility may be just this interplay of Jupiter and Saturn. In December 2019, Jupiter will move into Capricorn joining Saturn and Pluto so contraction may win by the end of the year.

Uranus in Taurus will affect property, assets and the physical body. Taurus is the earth itself. Earth changes are not new but expect more as Uranus enlightens us to Taurus reality which is reality itself. Uranus is stimulating so possibly there will be more enjoyment of the earth rather than enjoyment of virtual realities that are increasing and distracting us both from our bodies and the earth.

By the end of this year, there will be a lot of earth energy. With earth, there’s always the risk of, how shall we say it, a little bit of greed. But we will also be learning some lessons about greed, accumulation and the hoarding of assets.

Happy earth year!

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The Age of Mickey in Aquarius

During this tumultuous time of Pluto in Capricorn with the housing market, financial institutions and government going through dismantling and transformation, Pluto’s transit into Aquarius in January 2024 seems like the light at the end of a long, challenging tunnel.

Aquarius is the “water bearer” but is not a water sign, it is an air sign. As such, it’s interested in shared ideas, not shared emotions. As the water bearer, it brings the ideas and inspirations from above to below and consequently is associated with genius and being ahead of its time. Aquarius is androgynous and represents individuality, until recent history an unrecognized concept.

When you accept the beliefs into which you are born, you are Capricorn. When you join a group of your own free will because you share its ideals, you are Aquarius. When you choose beliefs to merge with others and forget the self, you are Pisces. Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces are the last three signs of the zodiac and are where we connect with the group consciousness.

Glimpses of Aquarius have already appeared as energies are constantly in flux and one day you wake to realize that things have changed. Noticing the change is represented by the planet changing signs.

Hints of Aquarius include social media, group funding, block chain and micro-living. The Internet at launch was Aquarian in that it made us equal as individuals who could express freely and openly. Ahead of its time, the Internet rose during outer planet transits of Capricorn energy (Uranus was in Capricorn 1988-1996, Neptune 1984-1993, and now Pluto from 2008-2024).

Aquarian technology arose during a great transformation of Capricorn energy. This Capricorn energy is about social institutions including financial institutions, government and other forms of authority. Aquarius, ahead of its time, rose during a time of traditional, hierarchical authority and sprouted a new form of individuality is forcing us to examine a new level of human rights.

Mickey is Free

Humanity may still be grappling with Capricorn authority when Pluto enters Aquarius in 2024. Disney’s Mickey Mouse, in contrast, will not.

As Ars Technica reports, Steamboat Willie is set to enter the public domain in 2024, and unlike in previous years, there have been no moves from Congress to stop that from happening. Once it does, in theory, anyone could use Mickey’s image for free.

Mickey Mouse will be free. It will be Mickey’s “Age of Aquarius.”

Aquarius is ruled by Uranus which was discovered in 1781 a period called the Age of Reason. Around this time, the United States broke from England demanding individual rights. Over in France, the Bastille was stormed in 1789 when Pluto was in 17 degrees of Aquarius with the demand for “liberty, fraternity and equality.”

In 2024, the global population is expected to be 8.1 billion. Eight-point-one billion people will be able to cut Mickey Mouse images from magazines, paste them onto paper bags, fill them with popcorn and sell them at any price they want – without paying royalties.

Mickey will be free.

Mickey’s Evolution

As noted in the blog Does Mickey Mouse Have a Personality? Mickey Mouse was “born” in 1928. In the year of his birth, Pluto was in 16-18 degrees of Cancer.

Today, my friends, Pluto is in 20 degrees of Capricorn, opposite Mickey’s natal Pluto. This is Mickey’s half-life when his copyright is being challenged. Mickey’s copyright was originally to expire in 1979 with Pluto in 19 degrees of Libra, square to Mickey’s natal Pluto. The next extension took the copyright to 1998 when Pluto was in six degrees of Sagittarius not making an aspect to natal Pluto but in square to Mickey’s natal Neptune in Virgo.

In 2024, Pluto in the early degrees of Aquarius will square Mickey’s natal Jupiter in Taurus. This Jupiter in Taurus is good luck regarding money, property and assets. Clearly Mickey has enjoyed this material abundance but will now be challenged by community rights.

The good news is that Pluto in Aquarius will be trine Mickey’s natal Uranus in Aries which is a maverick and will most likely find another way to manifest natal Jupiter in Taurus prosperity for his owners. In other words, Mickey will find the new opportunity in the circumstances, potentially converting the (natal) Pluto in Cancer sense of family and belonging into the (transiting) Pluto in Aquarius desire for ideal community.

Possibly instead of Disney World and Disney Land, Mickey’s clan villages, Aquarian communities will arise that are founded on Disney and Mickey concepts. No longer will we need to go to Mickey; Mickey can be part of our community.

Evolution or Copyright Extension?

Maybe Mickey will be off copyright in 2024 and we will embrace the royalty-free Mickey in our newly-formed Aquarian idealistic communities.

Or maybe the copyright will be extended once again.

Copyright is increasingly difficult to protect in our global village. Possibly in the 2020’s when Pluto is in Aquarius the technology generation will find new, unique (Aquarius is nothing if not unique) ways to protect innovation and invention.

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Happy Pluto Return, USA!

During his presidential campaign, President Donald Trump promised to “drain the swamp.” As he didn’t specify exactly how he was going to do the draining, it’s possible he’s living up to his promise. It’s possible he meant to appoint swamp-dwellers to White House and Cabinet positions and then humiliate them into resignation or unemployment.

According to the count in this Business Insider article, including recently-resigned Secretary of Defense James Mattis, there are 29 “casualties” of the Trump Administration.

Or were they 29 “swamp dwellers?”

One man’s swamp dweller is another man’s Attorney General so I don’t think there is any way to argue this one.

Purge and propaganda

Growing up during the Reagan Presidency and the Cold War when the greatest enemy of the United States was Communism as promoted primarily by the USSR (and secondarily by China), there was occasionally news of Communist party “purges.”

Purging isn’t just for Communists. Maybe Trump’s revolving-door Administration is just the capitalist way of purging and cleansing toxins of the state.

“Propaganda” is another interesting word that was used during Reagan’s times to describe any public relations or philosophy espoused by the Communists. Our own narrative, of course, was viewed as true and accurate.

Because “propaganda” is what others do and not us (in the United States), it’s taken the citizens of my homeland quite a while to recognize it at home. Propaganda has recently been acknowledged and is referred to as “fake news.”


To those in countries with longer continuous histories, the United State is seen as a “young” country, immature in its understanding of world history and global politics.

No longer!

The United States now has purges and propaganda and leaders with almost tyrannical power. We have arrived.

When the United States was “born” in 1776, Pluto the planet of evolution (through the paths of destruction and transformation, in that order), was in 27 degrees of Capricorn. Pluto will return to that exact degree in February 2022.

While humans like to celebrate birthdays in tens and hundreds, astrologers have different ways and look at cycles based on the planetary revolutions. The 246th birthday of the United States is the “first” birthday in evolutionary terms.

By February 2022, the United States will have evolved in the sign of Capricorn which rules society’s structures, government, law and order. Since 2008 when Pluto entered Capricorn, societal infrastructure has been shaken and broken, starting with the financial structure. Eight years in, government began imploding.

I’ve written much of this Pluto return including America’s Material Evolution and Pluto’s Return to Capricorn, among others.

Draining the Swamp

While President Trump appears both corporeally and astrologically to be the opposite of Capricorn (respect for authority, structure, laws and maturity), he was brought to power and represents the “Pluto” in Pluto in Capricorn. Trump’s immaturity as puer (in contrast to the Capricorn mature senex) is inadvertently taking us into political maturity.

In a PBS roundtable in 2017 columnist David Brooks commented that “we used to have a better class of criminals.” Now the line between “business mogul” and “criminal” is a thin one. Government and business have been converging and now are one.

Pluto as king of the underworld has taken the country to the bowels of politics, that which has always existed but remained hidden under ground. Based on your political perspective, “the swamp” may or may not be undergoing drainage. The swamp, however, is much closer to each of our neighborhoods.

“News” is now understood to be a combination of traditional reporting, commentary and public relations. Pluto in Capricorn has risen our degree of maturity in understanding the political manipulations that occur in a society, any society. The citizens of older nations already have a basic understanding of this reality having gone through many, many Pluto returns.

Pluto Evolution

If Pluto is evolving the United States into political maturity, what’s next?

After Capricorn comes Aquarius. Like Capricorn, Aquarius is interested in society, structure and organization. The difference is that Aquarius develops such things based on ideals, the very way in which this country was developed (the moon is in Aquarius in the United States’ 1776 horoscope).

The ideals of a perfect society are based upon the consciousness of those involved. In 1776, during the Age of Reason, the basic rights of a person were identified and acknowledged (if not completely honored). If Pluto in Capricorn evolved the nation politically, Aquarius should evolve us socially.

President Trump is clearly destroying the institutions of government. If I had a nickel for everyone who said they dislike government I would be rich; if we truly dislike government, we should be happy.

Yet when traditional government dismantles, other power (Pluto) structures tend to fill the void. If as a nation we are not conscious and willing participants in the dismantling, we may find the Aquarian evolution to begin with disparate “ideal” societies.

If we consciously dismantle the government structure, possibly we can re-think some outdated concepts and continue what was intended in 1776 to bring it to full realization.

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James Mattis – Too Much Neptune?

With the weed-like growth of advertised pharmaceuticals that promise relief from emotional ailments to illnesses with long Latin names, you’d think there was a pill for my current problem.

“Can you say that again, please,” the doctor asked after I explained my condition.

“I said I want former Ohio governor John Kasich to be president. This thought won’t leave my mind.”

Giving me a quizzical and concerned look, she asked why that was an ailment.

“Because I’m quite liberal,” I replied. “This is aberrant thinking.”

Her concerned look changed into one of irritated indifference that indicated I was wasting her time.

“You’re simply looking for stability in a chaotic world,” she stated flatly. “Having a president who can keep his word for at least 24 hours probably seems soothing right now. I recommend you stop watching the news.”

If restless leg syndrome can be cured, so could this, I thought. I wasn’t going to give in so easily. I’m quite sure the pharmaceutical industry has developed something that wipes contradictory political thoughts from your mind.

I pressed on. “I shed a tear when former FBI director James Comey was fired,” I said. “And now the Secretary of Defense James Mattis has resigned and I want to write him a letter telling him I loved him. And if you had asked me a week ago the name of the Secretary of Defense I couldn’t even had told you.”

The doctor appeared more concerned now.

“You cried over James Comey?” she said.

I nodded.

“What about former Attorney General Jeff Sessions? Did you cry when he resigned?” she probed.

“Heck no,” I said.

“You’re fine then. Just stop watching the news.”

The Safety of Unpredictability

The Trump Administration is truly a political astrologer’s dream – a constantly changing staff, some with negative tenure, constant raw material for a political blog. The problem is that there are simply not enough hours in the day to keep track. High school students in Civics class must have a difficult time on tests – information probably changes from the time they studied to the time of the test.

No matter how unpredictable a person may be, there are always patterns. Meditation has taught me that we are generally trying to remain safe, no matter how unusual or “unsafe” our actions appear.

The safety of constant change and unpredictability is that the world will always be at a distance, never too close. By keeping others off-balance, they can’t get close enough to overtake you.

This strategy of instability is the foundation of US foreign policy developed by Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon. These two encouraged tense global situations such as that between Pakistan and India because when others fight each other, they do not have the energy or resources to gang up against you. Most of our foes today were once our allies against other, distant foes.

President Trump’s unpredictability described astrologically arises from a Uranus/sun conjunction in Gemini opposing the moon in Sagittarius. Gemini and Sagittarius are “mutable” – fluid, flexible and adaptable signs. Uranus also creates unpredictability in a sign (Gemini) that is already is constantly changing. Uranus is also the planet of enlightenment and inspiration; Uranus is what is both liked and disliked about Trump.

In a sense, Trump is “enlightening” a populace that normally pays a minimum of attention to the underlying realities of politics. Trump both enjoys and seeks safety in a constantly-changing environment.

Power and control

This week Secretary of Defense James Mattis wrote a resignation letter that according to some journalists is a “rebuke” of President Trump’s recent foreign policy decision to withdraw troops from Syria. In typical Trump Uranus/sun fashion, the promise to leave Syria was done suddenly without thought or consultation.

Each political exit has its own characteristics, but there are some common themes in the last few exits (former FBI Director James Comey, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions) that include Saturn and Pluto.

Saturn is the planet of contraction and rules “rules,” law, authority, structure and government. Pluto is the planet of transformation (often destroying first) and is powerful, destructive and regenerative.

When Pluto entered Capricorn (which itself is ruled by Saturn) in 2008, it began destroying Capricorn structures including the housing market, banking and government. In December 2017, Saturn entered Capricorn for a two-year transit and in 2020 will be conjoined with Pluto.

Saturn and Pluto together create intense situations of struggle for power and control. This is a pivotal time in US politics as the US was “born” with Pluto in 27 degrees of Capricorn so the US is collectively learning some painful and deep lessons on the use of power and control.

For seven years from 2011 to present, Uranus was in Aries creating a square to Pluto. Arab Spring began in 2011 and some countries, including Syria, are still involved in war resulting from that time.

The transits symbolize the energies we all experience. Public figures merely provide a glimpse of what it feels like for many people.

James Mattis

Soon-to-be-former Secretary of Defense Mattis has natal Saturn conjunct sun in Virgo. The moon is either in Cancer or Leo but I would suspect Leo which provides the fortitude needed in politics. Pluto and Venus are conjunct in Leo and square to Mars in Scorpio.

The “rebuke” resignation letter is very Virgo in that it’s critical and detailed (versus “I’m retiring to spend more time with my cat.”) Saturn conjunct one’s sun tends to repress some of the characteristics of the sun and basic, conscious personality. In Virgo, there’s an extremely perfectionist nature that also demands “perfection” from others. I’m guessing Mattis is never (ever) late to a meeting and edits all missives in great detail before release.

Virgo in combination with Leo is probably what aided Mattis in his life as a Marine. He has both the earth-sign Virgo attention to detail and the moon/Pluto/Venus in fire-sign Leo sense of self. He is both disciplined and presentable.

The fixed square between Leo and Scorpio provides drive that is not always in Virgo nature. Virgo is definitely busy, consumed with millions of daily tasks with no end to the to-do list. But busyness is not truly drive – it’s being on the hamster wheel with no true purpose; the fixed signs provide Mattis with the purpose and focus to become a cabinet member.

While there are Saturn and Pluto aspects that are probably affecting Mattis’ decision to resign, I suspect it’s Neptune that’s really what Mattis can no longer tolerate.

First, Saturn in the early degrees of Saturn is opposing Mattis’ natal Uranus in Cancer and recently square Mercury in Libra and currently square Neptune in Libra. Pluto in Capricorn opposed natal Uranus in Cancer in late 2012 and early 2013 which is when he retired from the Marine Corps after being fired by President Obama as head of the Central Command.

Surviving a Pluto transit usually makes one stronger. If you’ve survived Pluto’s pulling the rug of all that you know and have known from under you, you’re usually one more step up the evolutionary ladder and ready for what comes next.

Neptune in Pisces

In the world of military, power and politics, Saturnine and Plutonian types are the norm. With Saturn conjunct sun and Pluto conjunct Venus, Mattis is right at home with these types. He chose a path – the Marines – that meets his own standards of discipline and dignity.

The current aspect that Mattis probably most dislikes is transiting Neptune in Pisces which opposes his sun and Saturn conjunction. On the day of his resignation, Mars was also in Pisces (and still is) and opposing Saturn in Virgo. This is what probably the straw that broke the camel’s back and led him to part with the Trump Administration at this time.

Virgo is analysis and detail; its opposite, Pisces, is synthesis and big picture. Virgo thinks; Pisces feels. Virgo is clear; Pisces is foggy. Virgo has a schedule; Pisces may have a schedule but has trouble following it. Virgo disciplines; Pisces empathizes.

In a world of Virgo detail, Saturnine discipline and Plutonian power structures, Neptune is not welcome. If Mattis’ horoscope is akin to the Marines, Neptune is the CIA, murky and mysterious. If military is about following orders, CIA is about breaking the rules and creating a constant hall of mirrors where image may not be reality.

Virgo hates that.

For Mattis, Trump may appear less Uranian (inspired and unpredictable) and more Neptunian (foggy with unclear motives driven by emotion).

Mattis has natal Jupiter in Pisces in zero degrees retrograde. Mattis has some awareness of the disorder that lies within order. Neptune entered Pisces in spring 2011 (Arab Spring) and transited this point in Mattis’ horoscope. I’m guessing that at that time Mattis’ disciplined world began to first unfold which was just before the advent of the Obama Administration.

I’m guessing that for Mattis’ in 2011 all the rules changed. For a Virgo or anyone with a lot of earth signs (Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn), changing rules are very disruptive to the psyche.

Neptune in Pisces continues

Neptune will be opposing Mattis’ sun then Saturn until about 2023. At that time, Saturn will enter Pisces adding a new type of emotional challenge to a restrained personality. By that time, Mattis will hopefully have embraced confusion and ambiguity as the new norm. His natal Saturn may realize, too, that we collectively shoulder the responsibility for defining and support an evolving society. It is not his burden alone.

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Left Brain Overload, Right Brain Takeover

While reading a biography of late war correspondent Marie Colvin who was killed in 2012 by a targeted explosive device in Syria while covering the early days of the war, I wondered if more journalists are being assassinated. As I often wonder in this world of too-much information, are more journalists being killed or am I just hearing about it more?

According to this Reuters article, it’s true that more journalists are being deliberately killed.

Next question – are journalists being increasingly reviled? Or has that been happening and now I notice? I’m a news junkie and am certainly aware that presidents normally dislike journalists because they are trying to reveal secrets, some which possibly shouldn’t be revealed but many which should. Presidents from Nixon to the current one have either been outspoken in dislike of media (i.e., Presidents Nixon and Trump) or have silently prosecuted them (i.e., President Obama).

Presidents and politicos have reason to dislike journalists, but the average citizen?

While I found several surveys the most recent by the The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the American Press Institute revealed something interesting:

The surveys found about 3 in 4 journalists believe the public’s level of trust in the news media has decreased in the past year. Yet only 44 percent of American adults actually say their level of trust has decreased.

The survey results also indicate:

There’s some good news about journalism. When Americans are asked about their favorite news organization, a third of them say they trust it more than they did a year ago, while only about 1 in 10 say their level of trust has declined.


Journalism is about communication and is ruled by the planet Mercury. Mercury rules the signs of Gemini and Virgo. Mercury is the mythological messenger of the gods. We are often told not to “kill the messenger” when the message is unpleasant.

Air-sign Gemini is known for its intelligence, articulation and mental agility. The opposite sign, fire-sign Sagittarius, is also interested in information and deriving meaning from the facts. Where Gemini is the journalist, Sagittarius is the philosopher and historian. Gemini reports the facts of the Middle East conflict going on today and Sagittarius writes the opinion piece or history book that explains that the conflict has been continuous for two thousand years.

Earth-sign Virgo is the other sign ruled by Mercury known for analysis and discrimination in earthly matters such as work, health and diet. Its opposite is Pisces known for synthesis and compassion.

Gemini, Sagittarius, Virgo and Pisces are the four mutable signs. Mutable signs are adaptable, flexible and able to change more quickly than the other two modes (cardinal and fixed).

Pluto in Gemini

When Pluto, the planet of destruction and transformation, was in Gemini in 1882-1914, mass communication was developed which included radio, newspapers and public schooling. While radio might seem like a trinket in comparison to today’s technology, radio allowed for the first time masses of people to hear the same message at the same time without being in the same location.

After the ability to communicate with the masses came taxes, monetary systems and world wars. There can’t be a “world” war without a world.

Pluto in Gemini was the time of the “muckraker” who was:

… any of a group of American writers identified with pre-World War I reform and exposé literature. The muckrakers provided detailed, accurate journalistic accounts of the political and economic corruption and social hardships caused by the power of big business in a rapidly industrializing United States. The name muckraker was pejorative when used by U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt in his speech of April 14, 1906; he borrowed a passage from John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress, which referred to “the Man with the Muckrake…who could look no way but downward.” But muckraker also came to take on favourable connotations of social concern and courageous exposition.

One of the most famous Gilded Age muckrakers was Ida Tarbell who investigated and reported on Standard Oil decrying its monopoly powers which lead to the breakup of the company into several smaller companies.

Pluto in Sagittarius

If Pluto in Gemini heralded a time of communication breakthrough, 180 degrees later (opposite) it begins to look for meaning. Pluto was in Sagittarius from 1995-2008. This period began the rise of smart phones, social media and a host of other communication and financial technologies.

While it’s difficult to find when public security cameras hit the streets, it appears to be the late 1980s with proliferation in the 1990s. When the United States was attacked by a terrorist group on 9/11/2001 laws were loosened on surveillance of citizens leading to degradation of civil rights. At that time, Pluto in Sagittarius was opposed by Saturn in Gemini.

Pluto in Gemini in the early 20th century was the beginning of mass communication and personal power through communication. In Sagittarius in the late 20th century, personal power increased to such an extent that Pluto cast a wide control net in order to limit the power of those that would do harm through communication and other acts.

The Left Brain and the Right Brain

Although science has questioned the absoluteness of this claim, in general the left brain is commonly associated with analytical reasoning and the right brain with creativity and synthesis.

We might say the left brain is Gemini/Virgo because they are analytical and the right brain Sagittarius/Pisces because they are more prone to philosophize and synthesize. Gemini and Virgo are ruled by Mercury and Sagittarius by Jupiter and Pisces by Neptune (and Jupiter to the ancient astrologers).

What’s fascinating today is that 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are produced each day. Only machines can process this much information, not humans. Our left brains are overwhelmed.

Possibly due to the overload to the left brain, the right brain seems to have developed an independent life. If Mercury is the left brain, Jupiter and Neptune (which rules film and photography) are the right and are responding with images – visualization, photos, memes, emojis, gaming, film and binge “watching.” Video games and TV series are especially designed to be addictive.

In direct response to the technology evolution over the past decade, audiences are consuming information in new ways, from smaller, more portable screens on mobile devices to third-party apps and discovery platforms. The result has been a shift in content consumption preferences, and 91% of consumers now prefer interactive and visual content over traditional, text-based or static media. To stay current, businesses in every industry are striving to meet the mounting demand for visual content as they revise their multichannel content strategies.

Ninety-one percent prefer visual and interactive! What will happen to the word? How can complex concepts be communicated? What does this mean for journalists?

Right Brain Takover

War correspondent Marie Colvin died while presenting the world not just with words but with images of the cruelty of war:

Syria “killed the messenger” who took extreme risk in entering a war zone that described by Colvin herself was simply the slaughter of innocent and unarmed civilians.

Colvin took these risks in order to “bear witness” to the atrocities of mankind and seek the attention and assistance of the wider world.

A picture is worth a thousand words, it is said. However, pictures don’t truly tell stories. Words tell stories and pictures demonstrate the story. Pictures without words are interpreted in many ways.

Hopefully as Pluto has destroyed and transformed our communications we can balance the inner journalist with the inner philosopher and synthesizer to understand our world using both pictures and words. A picture is worth a thousand words but trusted, worthy journalism can ensure we have the accurate thousand words.

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