New Trends in Cult Leadership: Keith Raniere

During the 2016 Presidential election, my astrological (though not political) bets were on Hillary Clinton (sun in Scorpio) over Donald Trump (sun in Gemini). An astrological analysis of past US presidents suggested that Americans preferred the fixed signs for this unique position: Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius. Clinton did win, but not in the way that gives you the key to the Oval Office.

Trump, in contrast, is a mutable (air) sign. Gemini sun has comprised a total of four years of US presidency (George H. W. Bush). With Trump, we’ve now accumulated another two years.

Fixed signs are strong in character, determined, forceful, energetic and confident. As such, they are often elevated to positions of leadership through the systems in which they operate. And, due to their natural energy which often is charismatic, they are also natural leaders outside of established systems such as with cults.

Leaders in associations and organizations are often developed through a process of working through the ranks and earning a position based on natural and learned skills. To be a cult leader is similar but relies much more on personal power and charisma. It takes quite extensive personal influence to convince others to drink poisoned Kool-Aid. It also takes insight into the trends of society and the weaknesses of other individuals.

The New Cult Leader

Reading about a new cult in the news was a surprise. It’s been a while since a group of people have crossed social and personal barriers to commit crimes for a charismatic leader (if you don’t consider politics and its own set of rules).

Keith Raniere is the leader and founder of an organization called NXIVM that offers “executive success programmes for personality development.” He also, it appears, likes to have sex with minors and dabble in sex trafficking. Following trends in sex trafficking, he likes to brand his victims.

Unlike cult leaders of the 20th century, Raniere is not a fixed sign but a mutable sign – Virgo (earth).

Where’s the fixed energy?

Raniere does have Uranus and Mercury conjunct in fixed Leo (fire) and Neptune in fixed Scorpio (water). But of the ten “planets,” six are in mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo and Sagittarius; Pisces is also mutable but there are no planets in this sign in his chart).

Like the US presidency, is the cult culture evolving into mutable energy? Why the change?

Pluto and Uranus in Virgo

From 1956-1972, the outer planet Pluto transited Virgo. From 1962-1968, Uranus also transited Virgo so Uranus and Pluto spent time in conjunction.

Pluto is the planet of destruction and transformation. Having it near another planet brings a compulsion and power-seeking to that energy. Uranus is the planet of enlightenment and having it near another planets brings sudden and unpredictable shifts to that energy.

As noted in the blog The Uranus Twist, the Virgos born during this time have a bit more intensity and eccentricity than your average quirky Virgo. Those born during the conjunction are now in the prime of life – in their 50s – and are influencing culture.

This generation was once described to me as the generation that would “clean the planet” as there is a natural interest in health and wellness with Virgo. Like many an astrological pipe dream, there are many other manifestations of this energy including the fear of germs and illness, the rise of pharmaceuticals for all and, also related, the quest for perfection.

American life is filled with work and schedules. There isn’t time for disruption or a day to malinger. There is work to do and steps to measure and calories to count so we must be constantly productive.

Virgo perfection is due to anxiety about pleasing others (in contrast to Aquarian perfection which is about ideals). While our pharmaceutical developments have helped a host of people in many ways, there are also more mind-altering and mood-enhancing drugs prescribed on a regular basis to bring us all to a certain social norm so that we can keep up with the demands of a Virgo-inspired culture.

Keith Raniere

Raniere has Pluto conjunct sun in Virgo which is a compulsive drive for perfection which matches a culture trend. Perfection is in the eyes of the beholder so properly speaking is a sort of delusion – your perfect will never be another’s perfect. To demand perfection from others is simply to force them into your worldview.

Raniere’s Moon in Libra and Mars in Gemini are looking for the other and are generally focused on partnership, whether of the committed or non-committed sort.

Mars (in Gemini) is opposite Jupiter (in Sagittarius) square Venus (in Virgo). This is where tension arises from the need to have perfection in love and pleasure (Virgo) with the desire for variety and stimulation (Mars in Gemini) and a tendency toward excess (Jupiter in Sagittarius).

From the articles I’ve read and his cult leadership methods, Raniere turned his bad habits into a sense of Virgo purity and perfection. We all have different ways of dealing with or explaining our bad habits. Raniere chose to rationalize his bad behavior as a bestowal of purity on others.

Through the guise of self-improvement which is a focus of our age, Raniere self-indulged at the expense of those around him.

Raniere is not the only entity out there exploiting the positive trends of the age for negative outcomes. Charismatic cult leaders are very good at this. “Executive Success Programs” has the feel of all the business and leadership buzzwords out there today.

With Saturn in Capricorn, Raniere probably harbors a deep sense of failure. According to this CBS News Interactive site, Raniere’s father was quoted (second-hand):

James Raniere shared a remarkable story. When his son was seven or eight years old, he took an intelligence test that determined he was gifted. His father noticed a dramatic change in the boy’s character when he learned the results, Bouchey says.

“He said it was almost like a switch went off. And suddenly, overnight, he turned into, like, Jesus Christ. And that he was superior and better than everybody, like a deity.”

Learning he had high intelligence probably gave an insecure young boy a sense of personal success, one in which he exploited to gather people around him.

The article also describes Raniere as a “traumatizing narcissist:”

Another trait of a traumatizing narcissist, Shaw says, is that the need to constantly bolster their delusion of omnipotence inevitably leads to escalation. They must constantly ramp up their level of control.

Ramping up the level of control is definitely in the realm of Pluto. Pluto gains your intimacy and trust to encourage into activities which then bind you. If this doesn’t work, coercion is usually used.

Raniere, like all cult leaders, engages the energy of the times to parse out the weaknesses of others for exploitation. While we all think this won’t happen to us, we are affected in the same way by the marketing and social pressures around us. The stakes are simply much lower.

Today’s cult leader may not have the fixed nature of those of the 20th century with strong idealist messages. Today’s cult leader, like the times, will focus on health, wellness and personal development.

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The Uranus Twist

Last weekend during the Aries new moon and the beginning of spring weather, my male feline was active and crazy. He’ll calm down in a day or two, I surmised, when the moon moves into calm and steady Taurus.

Unfortunately, Taurus did not bring peace for my feline or the world around me as I think it’s now five fire engines that I’ve seen since the new moon.

What happened? Has astrological symbolism after decades of guidance failed me? Has the world gone mad? Have I awoken on another planet?

The Uranus Twist

When beginning my study of astrology, I noticed that the Virgos around me were similar to the Aquarians with quirky habits, a compulsion for perfection and ardent advocates when touched by a cause.

Those in my age range, I finally realized, were born with Uranus and Pluto conjunct in Virgo. That means the Virgos were asked by the gods to be not just Virgo, but Virgo extreme.

I still stand by my observation, however, that both Virgo and Aquarius are driven to perfection. Virgo to avoid criticism and Aquarius out of fixed beliefs. With Uranus conjunct sun in Virgo, there’s more idealism to the perfection which drives these Virgos past the fear of criticism. (When Pluto is conjunct Virgo (ala Lance Armstrong), perfection is a compulsion that never stops. So having both Uranus and Pluto conjunct one’s sun is pretty intense).

What does Uranus add to the sun?

Uranus is the planet of awareness, enlightenment, intuition, idealization, science and technology. Aquarius is pretty darn smart. They are the geniuses who think of things you can’t even conceptualize (for me, bitcoin no matter how hard I try).

For the past seven years, Uranus has been in Aries. Yes, it was Aries Gone Wild. But with Aries, you can’t always tell that Uranus is making the energy more extreme. Aries is the first sign of the zodiac, a fire sign and is generally rushing around trying to do anything and everything all the time.

As Uranus moves into Taurus, your Aries friends may slow down a bit. They don’t care for this, but loved ones might relish a night reading by the fire instead of running in circles.

Uranus takes about 84 years to revolve around the sun. That’s seven years in each of the 12 signs. Uranus is the “seven-year itch” you’ve heard-tell about. The Aries itching has ceased (as much as possible for Aries) and the Taurus itching has begun.

Uranus in Taurus

In May 2018, Uranus moved into Taurus. As planets as far away as Uranus often appear to us on earth to go backwards, Uranus went back into Aries before finally moving back into Taurus in March 2019 for the next seven years.

Now when the moon is in Taurus each month, it will be conjunct Uranus for a portion of the time. No more after-Aries calm driving, my friends.

The other thing to remember is that some children born today in Taurus will have Uranus directly conjunct the sun. New moms – read about both Taurus and Aquarius in your new-mom astrology reference books.

Your Taurus children will not be textbook Taurus. They will be Taurus with a Uranus Twist, an eccentric twist.

What does eccentric Taurus look like?

Taurus rules tangible objects, assets, the body, food, money.

Taurus likes to accumulate so maybe these children will hoard unusual objects. Or maybe it’ll be the opposite – a desire to be free of all material objects (Uranus does like to do things backward).

Body images will be based on an unusual ideal. Houses will be shaped differently. Money will be shared in unusual ways.

Eating habits will not be as consistent for these Taurus children as they are for their older Taurus relatives. I’m imaging the habits are steady for certain periods of time then shift suddenly.

It’s still Taurus, just a more eccentric Taurus, more extreme. Taurus with a Uranus Twist. And that includes the stubbornness for which Taurus is renowned.

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Going with the flow, but which flow?

When you hear the saying “go with the flow,” it can mean several things. Someone can be suggesting you relax. Or maybe someone has plans they want you to follow without resistance. Or possibly you are whitewater rafting and going with the flow of the currents is imperative.

But flows can come in many flavors and frequencies. Is going with the flow always a good thing? What are the different kinds of flows?

Astrology, once again, provides the symbolism and energy behind the saying.

The Elements

There are four elements in astrology:

  1. Fire – Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
  2. Earth – Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
  3. Air – Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
  4. Water – Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces

To understand the flow of each element, you simply consider it in the natural world.

Going with the flow

Fire is a flow that moves quickly and leaves ashes in its wake. Fire is the spirit of things and those going with the flow of fire are drawn to the issues of the times and are its leaders or highly-active participants. Fire is active and involved, it is not an observer. Fire is strong and can overpower the other elements at times.

Earth is the element that doesn’t “flow,” except in very light form such as sand. Earth needs the other elements to flow as it’s grounded and steady. With fire, it becomes lava and flows after erupting. With air, it can be transported as sand or cause erosion. With water, it can become fluid as mud or detritus.

Air flow is constant and changing. Air is social and intellectual. Air moves with the energies of the day which has its own, natural flow. Air (like fire) can’t truly be contained and needs to move to be healthy and alive. Air, like water, can pick up the contaminants in the path of its flow.

Water flow is powerful as we see with the carving of the Grand Canyon and tsunamis that wipe out villages. Water flows naturally from high to low and like air is as pure and fresh as its surroundings. As such, it is highly-sensitive to the environment. Water, unlike fire and air, is more easily contained; but when contained, can become stagnant.

Go with the flow?

In the purest form, going with the flow of any element is the merging of self with life as it is. Each element represents an energy we direct toward life: the inspiration and “aliveness” of fire; the social and intellectual world of air; the shelter and security of earth; the emotional and imaginative connection of water.

Yet we share life with others and elements are exploited and tainted for control. Fire is directed toward negative causes; air is tainted with negative ideologies; earth is used to bind and control; water is used to sway and manipulate.

As with the natural elements, going with the flow is a good thing. But first, always check the purity of your elements!

Related blog: What’s the sign of zodiac most likely to go with the flow?

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Neptune with you or against you: McCabe and Cohen

Neptune is so soothing! You watch a movie and completely forget yourself, lost in the images of strong emotions playing on the screen. You’ve had a long week at work and go to happy hour and take that first a drink of alcohol that relaxes you and prepares you for the weekend. You lounge on the beach watching the waves of an ocean whose end you can’t see. You join a spiritual group and feel a loving connection to your fellow man. You hear a new musical band and develop an obsessive fascination with them.

Ah Neptune!

Neptune, which rules the water sign Pisces, represents a great many pleasures where our “self” becomes merged with others. Notice that lacking in the list is sex, which is ruled by water sign Scorpio. Here we merge physically; emotional merging doesn’t necessarily occur. Also absent from the list is food. Food can be a Neptune experience but food-as-comfort is ruled by water sign Cancer, which rules the stomach.

Neptune is so pleasurable that it is very tempting to take it to excess, to get lost in it. As such, it becomes escapism, delusion and emotionalism. The movie is not real so if you are saddened by it and stay saddened for the next six months, it is not a reflection of your true experience – it is not you.

When Neptune in its movement through the skies touches a place in your horoscope (called a transit), you can experience spiritual bliss or disheartening delusion. At an astrology conference, a speaker on Neptune described it as an evolutionary process of becoming something else and by that process you don’t know, can’t know, the end result.

The “you” that goes into the transit is not the “you” that comes out. When you are changing, it’s not the extreme uncomfortableness of a clearly-defined situation that forces change (such as a war or job layoff) but an unclear situation where you don’t know if you’re coming or going, like getting lost in fog.

Ah, Neptune!

Neptune Transits in the Political News

In the political news are two individuals who are undergoing major Neptune transits. Former FBI agent Andrew McCabe has sun in Pisces so Neptune will be conjunct (at the same place) as his sun. Former Trump attorney (and former attorney as he’s been disbarred) Michael Cohen has sun in Virgo so Neptune was opposing (180 degrees away) from his sun.

What’s the difference between a conjunction and opposition?

The conjunction merges the energy of the two planets and the energy appears to be coming from within. The opposition makes the energy seem like it’s coming from out there, often from a foe or enemy.

Andrew McCabe

McCabe, who recently published a “tell-all” book, has revealed secret and private conversations where others purportedly discussed removing President Trump using the 25th amendment or secretly recording conversations with him to entrap him in crime.

Is McCabe telling the truth or lying?

With Neptune in Pisces, it’s unclear. The world of “intelligence” has parts Scorpio and parts Pisces. Scorpio looks for the hidden motivations and Pisces represents secrets and illusions. Walking into the world of Pisces is walking into a hall of mirrors – images are broken and distorted.

Neptune won’t properly be conjunct McCabe’s sun until 2025. McCabe’s own personal hall of mirrors is a long and winding path. Moreover, McCabe’s natal Neptune is in Scorpio conjunct his moon. He also has Mercury and Venus in Pisces. In other words, this is one Neptunian guy.

How much of what McCabe says is empirical fact and how much is own perception? How do we ever, truly, know the difference?

We are all experiencing Neptune in Pisces so this question of “reality” has become common which is pretty scary if you think about it. The challenge here is to collectively share a sense of unity while at the same time agreeing on a shared reality. If there is no shared reality, we are truly in trouble.

McCabe was born when Pluto and Uranus were conjunct in Virgo. It’s a natal opposition to his sun in Pisces. The discriminating, critical mind is out there constantly waiting in judgment. It can provide a ballast to balance the imaginative mind of Pisces with the analytical mind of Virgo.

Neptune can be a bit like quicksand. McCabe may have spent a career in quicksand, but he’s not out quite yet. He’s got a deep, serious and penetrating mind but not much detachment. That may be what causes him problems.

Michael Cohen

For Cohen, Neptune is the opposing “other” and made a full opposition back in 2013. According this Cohen timeline, he joined the Trump organization in 2006, when Uranus was transiting Pisces.

In 2006, Trump was Uranus and now Trump is Neptune.

President Trump is very much Uranus with sun conjunct Uranus in Gemini. Pisces like Gemini is mutable so any planet transiting Pisces is in square (tense) aspect.

Uranus is the awakener and is sudden and inspiring. In opposition to his sun, Cohen might have felt like a guy stuck in Virgo routine who has met a fun, spontaneous friend who gets him to let his hair down to do silly things.

In the news, Cohen is presented as a lawyer who is a “fixer,” i.e., does anything you want. Virgo normally follows the rules. Cohen’s moon is either in Sagittarius or Capricorn. While Capricorn is more likely to follow the rules, we might say with moon in Sagittarius (which Trump has by the way) the “fixer” would be an exciting role due to the risk involved; with moon in Capricorn, the fixer would be trying to gain the respect and esteem of authorities.

Cohen, like McCabe, was born with the Pluto/Uranus conjunction in Virgo. He was born a couple years before McCabe so has Saturn in Pisces opposing. Ironically, Cohen’s Saturn is at the same degree (28) of McCabe’s sun. Possibly Cohen’s testimony will negatively affect McCabe as someone’s Saturn on your sun indicates that they are oppressive or heavy to you.

Cohen has Mars, Venus and Mercury in Leo, a fixed fire sign. If the moon is in Sagittarius, this adds more fire which supports his bravado fixer ways.

Neptune in opposition to the sun for Cohen means that the rules are nebulous and ambiguous which is disorienting to the Virgo mind. He may feel like he’s talking through one of those machines that distort your voice so you can’t be recognized.

Pisces was once “Uranus exciting” and it’s now become “Neptune murky.” Oh well, play with Neptune and this can happen. If you play with fire, you get burned. If you play with Neptune, you discover one day that things aren’t as they seem. You aren’t burned, you’re confused.

Neptune with you or against you

At the aforementioned astrology conference, the speaker said that there’s not much you can do to affect a Neptune transit. He recommends letting go in the situations it creates. Probably, I suspect, that is because you can’t hold on to Neptune any more than you can grab the fog.

Neptune isn’t really “with” you or “against” you. It actually affects the “you” that appears to be separate from others.

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Ron Howard’s Retirement

Watching an early 1959 episode of The Twilight Zone, I was surprised to see a five-year old Ron Howard on the screen. I know he was young on The Andy Griffith Show, but did he start acting right out of the birth canal? According to Biography.com, his first role occurred at the age of two.

Sixty years after The Twilight Zone first aired children are filmed in utero (ultrasound) and upon birth live a life of social media exposure. Children today are on more visual images in a day than I believe my generation were on in their entire childhoods. But in Howard’s day, this was something new.

How did Ron Howard become such a young actor? Now that Ron Howard is 65, will he retire after 60 years of work?

Ron Howard

Researching Howard online, there is not much information about how he launched into acting. Amazon.com shows one biography in print, an unusually low volume for someone with such a long career. Clearly at age two you don’t decide to drive to the studio to audition for acting roles.

This means in looking at Howard’s horoscope we’ll want to look at the parental relationships. The sun and Saturn can represent the father; the moon and Venus, the mother. These early role models also represent the types we are drawn to throughout the rest of our lives.

According to the Astrotheme horoscope, Howard has sun in Pisces, moon in Capricorn and an Aries rising. The sun is cushioned by Mercury and Venus, both in Pisces.

The sun in Pisces and moon in Capricorn suggest the father was more of the nurturer than the mother, if we are considering traditional roles. The mother is represented by moon in Capricorn which suggests she was either emotionally remote or so emotionally demanding that Howard restrained his own emotions in response.

Moon in Capricorn can be a difficult position because the moon reacts and responds; in Capricorn, the responses are reserved or even repressed. This seems an odd placement for a young actor but if we consider that most children at age two or age five can’t sit still let alone remember and respond to acting dialogue delivered by adult actors. This takes a great deal of discipline for a young child.

Moon in Capricorn can be adult and for Howard that meant being around adults and interacting with adults in adult ways much more than other children of his age. Moon in Capricorn had to grow up quickly.

The moon has some hard aspects from cardinal signs with Neptune in Libra (square) and Uranus in Cancer (opposite). If we relate this to the mother (and females, for Howard), they vacillate between emotionally nurturing (Cancer), socially dependent (Libra) and practical and undemonstrative (Capricorn).

Hard aspects to the sun come from Jupiter in Gemini opposite Mars in Sagittarius. These are mutable signs and without the Capricorn moon, would probably be undisciplined and involved with ideas, socializing, entertainment and wandering after causes. Mutable is fun while Capricorn is serious.

If the parents are represented accurately in his horoscope, they are of two types with the father more playful and imaginative and the mother struggling with the best way to interact with her husband, friends and family. Women in those times were beginning to question female roles and Howard’s mother may have been one of those women seeking something beyond a traditional homemaker existence.

For Howard, the Pisces and Capricorn energy, which is truly introverted, may be why he’s been in public life so long but appears to have a great deal of privacy. Possibly starting as a child actor at the beginning of television precluded him falling into the traps that other child actors experienced from fame which brings many enablers into the environment. The adults around him appear to have protected him.

Major Transits for Howard

While Howard lives a quiet life of success (very Capricorn), he is actually experiencing some major transits right now. Pluto is currently transiting close to his moon and Neptune very close to his sun. If the parents are still alive, his relationship with them will be changing.

Neptune rules Pisces and conjunct the sun brings more of the qualities of Pisces – empathy, compassion, escapism, sacrifice, merging of boundaries and inspiration. For a man with moon in Capricorn, it might be that he relaxes more, lets down his guard and allows some unusual spontaneity into his life.

Pluto on the moon is bit more intense. While Neptune wants to chill, Pluto is compulsive. Pluto is challenging the moon in Capricorn so possibly those around him, especially woman, are saying he is too controlling.

Uranus which has been transiting Aries and will soon be moving into Taurus is near Howard’s ascendant which is the last degrees of Aries. Uranus in the first house (the ascendant is the beginning of the first house) brings a new awareness and often a new “you” to others.

Howard’s ascendant is in the late degrees of Aries; Uranus will remain in his first house for several years but will mostly be in the sign of Taurus. This is new body, possessions, assets. In a few years, it will oppose natal Saturn in Scorpio so there may be a release of assets to others.

Retirement for Howard?

Since Howard has always worked, this concept of “retirement” may be foreign to him. Yet with Pluto transforming his emotional responses and Neptune mellowing his sun, he may have a new type of vision for his retirement-age years.

While he may not be retiring in a career sense, he may be “retiring” inside from a sense of duty and obligation. With Uranus in the first house, he may feel “free” in a way unlike the past.

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What Does Jupiter Transiting Your Sun Feel Like? Ask Comey.

While browsing through a copy of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN) there he was again – former FBI Director James Comey. It’s true that the FBI is everywhere.

Former FBI director Comey, it appears, was a Chemistry major in college. And, alas, after being fired by the narcissistic and capricious President Trump, Comey is now showing up in the most unlikely of places. I’m expecting to see him on the cover of Vogue soon. Comey is now a rock star.

In what universe does the man who oversaw our mass surveillance become our hero?

I’m not suggesting that’s all the FBI does or that an FBI is not needed. It is strange, however, to have such an authority figure as hero.

This is a good lesson for Americans as we watch our fellow earthlings join what we consider fundamentalist and/or militant groups. Trump as President is authoritarian and extreme: our current allies are somehow his enemies and our current enemies are somehow his trusted advisors.

Ultimately Trump is a supporter of pure, raw authoritarianism and in response those humiliated and purged by this despot are receiving our compassion and admiration. Boiled down it’s the “enemy of my enemy” syndrome.

It’s a simple formula that plays out continually on the world stage. Possibly Americans can now understand our fundamentalist foes; they are responding to external authoritarianism (often by the US) by closing the gates and developing a more protective, internal authoritarianism.

Rock Star Comey

Comey’s trajectory from beleaguered bureaucrat to sympathetic victim-hero follows some astrological patterns. Comey is a Sagittarius sun.

Your Sagittarius sun friends have been through a lot in the past couple decades. From 1995 to 2008 Pluto, the planet of transformation, was transiting Sagittarius. Pluto pulls the rug out from under you (unless you have great awareness and have stepped off the rug) and when you get up off the floor, you are a new person.

The 2016 election was brought to you by Saturn in Sagittarius (late December 2014 to September 2015). Saturn is the planet of contraction and provides discipline, caution, and limitation. In Sagittarius, Saturn brought us a contracting fear of some things typically associated with Sagittarius such as foreigners, philosophical thought and travel. Our worldview contracted.

Pluto and Saturn transits tend to be tough, especially if you are a fire or air sign which are more naturally extroverted and adventuresome. Sagittarius is the mutable fire sign.

The universe can plan rewards for struggles and since November 2018 Jupiter has been transiting Sagittarius. Jupiter rules Sagittarius so allows Sagittarius to be its expansive, adventuresome, headstrong self. The gates have been opened and this centaur is now running free. Sagittarius is outspoken about its causes and is talking.

Do you want to know what it feels like? Ask Comey.

Hopefully Comey will enjoy this one year of Jupiter in Sagittarius as he is vindicated and supported by those left in the FBI who are willing to speak on his behalf. The most recent is Andrew McCabe who has written a book suggesting the FBI wanted to secretly record the president and possibly invoke the 25th amendment to remove him.

McCabe, unfortunately for him, is not experiencing a lovely Jupiter/sun transit. McCabe in under the influence of Neptune and must tread very carefully as Neptune creates fog and often you’ve walked toward a cliff and have not known it.

If you want to learn about Pluto, Saturn and Jupiter transits, you’d better talk to Comey before December 2019. At the beginning of December, Jupiter will transit into Capricorn where it will join Saturn and Pluto. Since authoritarianism appears to be increasing in the US (call a national emergency/override a national emergency/veto an override of a national emergency/ban the ability to call a national emergency, etc.), expect Jupiter to bring questions of authority to a crisis level.

Hopefully Comey’s personal astrologer is recommending he find other employment by that time. According to Wikipedia, Comey may have decided to be a professor, a very fine career choice for a Sagittarius sun.

By the end of the year, with Uranus also having changed signs (into Taurus, for seven years), it’s going to be a very earthy earth as astrologically we have a preponderance of earth energy. Fire and air signs may feel restricted, that the fun has been taken away.

So Comey might want to do all his lectures, photo shoots and magazine interviews by the end of the fall. He can then frame a few photos for the wall of his (in my imagination) oak-paneled office. Sagittarians may want to stick to the broader world of education rather than the narrower, tightening world of politics until Pluto moves into Aquarius in 2023.

Related: What Does Saturn Transiting Your Sun Feel Like? Ask Comey.

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An Earthy Earthly Easter

This year’s Western Easter occurs late in the season: on April 21, in the sign of Taurus.

Easter falls on a Sunday in the month of March or April, often in the signs of Pisces or Aries. These two signs are the energetic manifestation of the holiday. Pisces, the last sign of the zodiac and represented by two fishes swimming in opposite directions, is the merging of self with others or the dissolution of self into the source. Aries, the first sign of the zodiac represented by the ram, is the self manifesting, springing forth with energy of life.

Pisces is the loss of self and Aries the emergence of self. Very Easter.

Taurus, in contrast, is a fixed earth sign that represents the physical body, tangible assets, and material goods. These physical manifestations on a deeper level are about values and worth, including self-worth.

This year’s Easter energy may be more about tangible, earthly matters rather than the traditional death and rebirth energy. Heaven may be on the earth this day.

Earth

In addition to the sun in Taurus, on Easter Uranus will have just moved back into Taurus and will be two degrees from the sun.

Uranus is the planet of sudden changes that brings immediate awareness. It can be shocking or enlightening. It can be disillusionment which always sounds unpleasant but ultimately removes “illusion.” We don’t want illusion except in Las Vegas, right?

Uranus in Taurus can provide insights into our sense of self worth. Does Easter make us feel worthy or unworthy?

Meanwhile Pluto and Saturn are both transiting the earth sign Capricorn which has brought the transformation of social structures including banking and government.

In the US, Capricorn corporations and Capricorn government have finally merged completely after having done the tango for many decades. Capricorn and Taurus get along, both being earth signs. Uranus in Taurus may bring more of the structural changes we’ve seen since Pluto entered Capricorn in 2008, including changes to the earth itself. This Easter may be less about spiritual rebirth and more about physical rebirth.

Other Elements

In addition to earth energy, there is fire energy on Easter with Venus & Mercury in Aries and Jupiter in Sagittarius. Earth and fire geologically equals volcanoes. Mount Etna in Sicily erupted late last year, is still undergoing activity and may be making additional Easter flare-ups.

Fire is spirit. Fire erupting from the earth is spirit erupting from the body. Spirit comes out as angry lava when we’ve been repressing our true selves.

Neptune in Pisces and the moon in Scorpio provide water energy on Easter. Neptune rules Pisces so is dissolving many a person into the next world, sometimes into the fog of irrationality. Neptune and Pisces have brought us water, lots of water, except where there’s drought. Water is unevenly distributed and much of it is being made unclean due to the Capricorn compulsion to use all resources until they no longer exist. Let’s see how Pluto in Capricorn handles the earth changes that are occurring.

Mars in Gemini provides a bit of air energy on Easter. It’s not quite opposite Jupiter in Sagittarius but should provide a bit of tension between “my beliefs” and “your beliefs.” When Pluto was in Sagittarius and Saturn in Gemini back in 2001, that tension was particularly strong. This Easter Mars and Jupiter is a minor tension in comparison and considering the last couple millennia have brought us the battle of beliefs, this is nothing beyond the norm.

US President Trump has sun/Uranus in Gemini opposite moon in Sagittarius. Easter energy will ignite his impulsive nature. Since Trump follows impulses at about the same pace as his heart beats, Easter may simply be more of the same as this boy cries wolf once again. The need to be the center of attention may prompt some ridiculous tweet, but this too is the new norm.

Happy Taurus

As Easter falls within Taurus, one of the strongest, sturdiest signs, expect that all of your chocolate bunnies will be solid this year, not hollow. Don’t eat too much as Taurus rules the neck where our thyroid lives. We don’t want to throw off its functioning.

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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.

Neptune

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.

Water

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.

Opiates

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

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.”

Why?

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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