Archives for posts with tag: Horoscope

AngelicHierarchies_Fludd

A client recently asked if there was any relationship between astrology and religion. The short answer is, surprisingly: Yes. The relationship between astrology and religion – and I’m speaking here of the Western religions– is that they are based on a similar idea: there is no god, but God, the Unique, the One, the Source from which everything in the universe comes forth.

In ancient astrology, the universe was conceived to be a hierarchy. If we look at the famous hermetic illustration of Robert Fludd, we see God at the top and then a ring of concentric circles ending with Earth. Symbolically, the chart suggests a series of correspondences, of relationships, of gradations and refinements of Being. This isn’t as abstract as it sounds. Consider, for instance, the Catholic Church: it is headed by the Pope and underneath is a hierarchy: Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, Priests, Deacons and Laity. (The analogy breaks down, of course, as the Pope is considered infallible but that’s sheer sophistry and arrogance: only God is perfect.)

From the point of view of Fludd’s diagram, salvation, or grace, is accomplished through ascent: we must rise back to our common Source, God. To fall from our current position in the universe is dangerous: in one sense, we are already far away from God; to fall further is to flirt with non-existence.

Despite some similarity of conception, enormous differences exist between astrology and religion regarding the path back to God. Religion, at least as it’s currently practiced, requires believing and doing certain things for which the believer is rewarded. In contrast, the astrological approach requires that you Know Yourself. The chart, through the distribution and relationship of the planets, gives or should give insight into the basic nature of the individual. By knowing your nature, you have a perspective of your strengths and weaknesses, a perspective which can be used as a compass, so to speak, to guide you. To quote Fludd:

“As for man, there is such a wonderful treasure hidden in him that wise men have esteemed that the perfect wisdom of this world consisteth in knowledge of a man’s Self, namely to find out that secret mystery which doth lurk within him. For man is said to be the centre of every creature and for that cause he is called Microcosmos, centrum et miraculum mundi, containing in himself the properties of all creatures, as well celestial as terrestrial.”

Relationship Chart

Every relationship is a different reality. When two people come together, it’s almost as if a new universe is born. A relationship chart shows our connections and disconnections, where we fit and where we don’t, and gives perspective where there previously may have only been hurt, confusion or misunderstanding.

The chart shown below was requested  by a young woman in Singapore. If you look carefully, there are two charts: hers is on the inside and her boyfriend’s chart is on the outside.

With the Sun in Aries (in brackets) and the Moon, Mercury and Jupiter (also in brackets) in Pisces, her power is a little divided. While the Sun in Aries gives her some fire, she’s sensitive and intuitive underneath, largely due to all those planets in a water sign (Pisces).

On the other hand, he tends to run a little hot, with Sun, Moon and Venus (all circled) in fire signs. So to some extent they complement each other: he warms her up, she cools him down. But crucial to the relationship is the fact that both of their Suns are in fire signs: his in Leo and hers in Aries, and they are in a tight supportive relationship. Despite temperamental differences, there is a way where they get each other. This is again reinforced by the supporting aspect between his Moon and her Sun, both in fire signs.

But temperamental differences can also lead to conflict, or at the least misunderstanding. Saturn is problematic in both charts, as it falls on sensitive points. With his Saturn opposite her Venus, there is a danger of his becoming overly controlling or restrictive to her. This was a concern, as the young woman was an artist and she felt his restriction in the form of disapproval from him. In addition, his fiery temperament caused him to become impatient with her slower, more meditative way of doing things.

How big were these obstacles? Among other suggestions, I told her that she needed to talk to him about his impatience and his tendency to want to force her to do things how and when he wanted. For her part, she needed to take a stronger stand against his demands without becoming emotionally hurt through the interaction.  Last time I heard from her, she wrote “we’re still together, still growing, still working at it. But I feel like I understand him and myself a little better.”

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Saturday night I had cocktails and dinner with two of my favorite characters: my nephew and his girlfriend. At one point, the topic turned to the iconic Patti Smith and later on I was wondering what her chart might look like. She was born, of all places, in Chicago, which surprised me as I so associate her with New York City. The chart is below. Let’s walk through it a little bit.

Patti Smith

Before I start, I have to say that one of the things I’ve always found interesting about Smith is the odd blend of sensitivity with a very down-to earth sensibility. Reading her book, she is entirely, almost brutally forthright about her strengths and weaknesses.

Not surprisingly, the chart is loaded with interesting placements. In the brackets on the left side, we see the Sun and Mars conjunct in Capricorn. That’s about as down-to-earth as you can get: there’s a practicality with Capricorn, as well as a high potential for self-discipline and ambition. With Mars in Capricorn – which Smith shares with Lady Gaga along with the Sagittarius ascendant – the energy will be bold, forceful, self-reliant and so on. It’s sometimes said about Capricorn that work is the most important thing in their lives and one might say that Patti Smith has worked very hard at being Patti Smith.

But what about the sensitivity? The Moon in Pisces (bottom of the chart in brackets) is highly sensitive, perceptive and intuitive. That Moon makes a very strong aspect to both Venus & Jupiter (both circled in the upper left of the chart) in Scorpio, which lends a passionate, aggressive quality to her emotional nature. And then of course, the Moon is also in touch with Mercury – communication, thinking – in prophetic Sagittarius on the Ascendant. With this placement, we might say: “Smith sees and reaches for things that others don’t know are there”.

Certainly there’s more, but much of it is nuance and largely repeats the main themes: the balance of the practical and the poetic. Or as Smith herself has said: “In art and dream may you proceed with abandon. In life may you proceed with balance and stealth.”

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With his orange face, orange hair and smokin’  tagline – YOU’RE FIRED! – I wondered how much elemental fire we would actually find in the chart of “The Donald.” Turns out, there’s quite a bit, but also a great deal more, which is why we’re going to take a look at the natal chart of America’s most visible and ridiculous tycoon. Here’s the chart, followed by a quick read.

Donald Trump

If you’ve been reading the newsletter over the past couple of years, you’ll recall the importance of temperament. It is considered to be a permanent and largely unchangeable aspect of ourselves. The best description I’ve ever heard of it is also the simplest: temperament is the cloth from which we’re cut. Think of the essential difference between a silk skirt and a wool skirt. They have a different essence, a different materiality.

In Trump’s chart, the main temperament is choleric (hot & dry), thus: controlling, dictating, forceful. But there is a secondary temperament, which is sanguine (hot & wet), thus: persuasive, energetic, engaging.

While most of us associate Trump more with the choleric characteristics, it’s undeniable that he can talk up a storm. And it makes sense that there would be a sanguine side to a person who’s written a book called “The Art of the Deal”. Fact is, you can’t make a deal without being able to talk a good game.

Next, the Ascendant and its ruler. Here we see Leo rising. Leo: the lion, the king, royalty, the person who wants attention. And before we even look at the Ascendant ruler, which is the Sun, check out what’s right on the Ascendant: Mars, planet of war, of action (right side, marked with an exclamation point).  A critical placement – and one he shares with Beyonce – fiery Mars right on fiery Ascendant suggests someone who burns with a lot of passion.

Moving to the Sun (ruler of the Ascendant and marked at the top of the chart) and the Moon in Sagittarius (another fire sign, marked at the bottom of the chart), we have a combination that suggests a drive to be influential, to make their opinions and ideas known.

Strongest planet in the chart? Without a doubt, it’s Mars, whose placement on the Ascendant gives it a lot of force and suggests someone who is ready for a challenge. But that Ascendant becomes even more important and powerful when we realize it is conjunct the fixed star, Regulus.  What does Regulus symbolize? Named by Copernicus (yes, that old guy Copernicus!) it means “little king” and is associated with ambition. When well-aspected as it is, it will “raise the person to high positions in life and denotes successful activity, prominence and wealth”. Maybe it’s not surprise that when he was a kid, his brothers and sisters called Trump “the Great I Am”!

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Epic tales, sagas, yarns: narratives are nearly as old as humanity, but what’s interesting is that despite massive cultural and technological changes over many centuries, the hunger and popularity of such stories remains undiminished. At this point, so much has been written about the importance of narratives that there seems like little to add. I will, however, share an idea I’ve been thinking about for a while and of course it concerns astrology.

While all of us typically like or dislike one character or group of characters, it seems to me that on some level ALL the characters of these stories are within us.  Whether it’s a wise king or a weak king, a righteous warrior or a cowardly one, the clever brother or a dull-witted one, all these characters are symbolic of qualities within us. Narratives dramatize those qualities and the better the dramatization the greater our involvement. If you take the seven traditional planets – Sun through Saturn – you can apply a few simple adjectives and create a fantasy world of your own:

Sun: Leadership (strong or weak) The King

Moon: Emotion (deep or shallow) The Queen

Mercury: Wisdom or Cunning The Scribe

Venus: Beauty or Avarice The Young Woman

Mars: Courage, Cruelty or Cowardice The Young Man

Jupiter: Discovery, Journey The Judge, The Diplomat

Saturn: Strategy, Control The Priest, The Parent

Now, the moment we start putting these planets in signs, things get interesting and much more interesting. If we place Mars (the Warrior) in Aries it will produce “right action” while Mars in Libra might produce indecision OR a willingness to put away the sword and negotiate. And you can do this with all 7 planets in all 12 signs to create a very nuanced and complicated world. Much like the one we live in every day.

But to finish my idea: the appeal of these series is that on some level all the characters are within us:  the good and the bad, the noble and the shifty, the cruel and the kind. And they all exist in us as uneasily as they do in the characters of the narratives that we love.

As a tiny example, take Adam in the HBO series, “Girls”. Has there ever been a more Mars-like character in a contemporary show? Adam can be direct, unfiltered, raw and noble – sometimes in a span of two or three minutes. Mars in action!

the-sisters Stanley Spencer

A few months ago, I wrote about certain themes running through families. At the time, a number of people asked me to elaborate, so here you go.

In the case of astrological themes, we’re usually thinking in terms of signs, although it can also be extended to planets. It’s certainly not unusual to find families that are Saturn or Jupiter-like in terms of their sensibilities. Where astrology can be helpful regarding families is that it can identify the black sheep, the person who was working on a different theme from most of the other family members. Because it’s important to remember that parents and siblings and all the rest of the clan are, on some level, simply other people. They may be much more, of course, but astrologically they can be wildly different, with a different purpose, a different purpose, a different sensibility and so on.

By saying that, I’m not diminishing the ties of family but simply pointing out that there can be essential and painful differences between people who share the same blood. “Is it wrong not to like my sister?” a client once asked.  “If it helps,” I told her, “she probably doesn’t like you either. There’s simply no compatibility between your charts. Stop worrying about it.”

In some astrological circles, it’s believed that people choose their families on some mystical/psychic/soul level. I’m not much a believer in that idea and certainly over the years my clients seem to absolutely hate it. “Trust me, of all the parents on earth, I wouldn’t have chosen those two,” is how a woman put it to me once.

Having said all of the above, it would be a mistake to think that looking at the charts of family members, siblings for instance, is an exercise in searching for the negative. Below are the charts of two well-known brothers: Ben and Casey Affleck. They have worked together often, and have done so in an industry that could easily set siblings at odds (think of Eric and Julia Roberts, or Warren Beatty and Shirley Maclaine). We’ll look at them first through the planetary connections and then through the connections of temperament, though in practice the process would be reversed. Ben’s chart is on the inside, while Casey’s is on the outside.

The Affleck Brothers

While born three years apart, the brothers have some unusual connections. Starting with the Sun (marked with an arrow at the bottom left of the charts) and moving counterclockwise, we see that their Suns are conjunct, Casey’s Mars is conjunct Ben’s Mercury and that their Moon’s are conjunct. AND both those Moons are favorably supportive to the Ben’s Ascendant and Venus (marked on the left side with a couple of rectangles). Is it any wonder they work together and work well?

Going further, let’s look at the temperaments: Ben is primarily phlegmatic (cold & wet) in nature, with a sub temperament of choleric (hot & dry), while Casey is primarily melancholic (cold & dry). What does that mean? They connect through the cold element, but balance each through the Ben’s preponderance of wet and Casey’s preponderance of dry. In other words, there’s a lot, in terms of both temperament and planets that make them well suited to working together.

2. Wild Grape_41_61 (JLT)

In regards to your chart, one idea that is worth thinking about is the difference between growth and development. The reason I bring this up is that some people have the idea that they have qualities within them that will naturally grow, but that’s only true up to a point and in a certain way.

From my own perspective, growth is a process that more or less happens by itself. Beginning with our physical bodies, all kinds of changes take place in the first 17 or 18 years of life that are not willed by us in anyway. The same can be said of adulthood: we take jobs, find partners, grow old but in certain ways it just happens, it’s part of the flow of our lives.

Development, to me suggests, something entirely different, something conscious, and in readings I try to bring this idea forward. If, just for a broad example, you suffer from difficulty in relating to others, then you have to see that in yourself consistently and from a bunch of different perspectives and try to change. A person’s chart for the upcoming year can be helpful in that regard because it can suggest an opportunity or a need to change. Take the well-known and often dreaded Saturn return.

Saturn Example

By any standard of assessment, this is a difficult chart. Both the Sun and Venus are in opposition to Saturn and the Moon is square to it. Making matters worse, both Venus and the Moon are poorly placed by sign. I can pretty much close my eyes, grab a book from my library and find interpretations of these aspects that will make your hair turn white:

* Sun/Saturn: lack of self-confidence, fear of failure

* Moon/Saturn: emotionally withdrawn, lonely

* Venus/Saturn: difficulty making contact, relationships with a large age difference

So, a Saturn return in this case has the potential to set all of this dark material into motion. UNLESS, the individual can acknowledge and recognize these feelings, has not surrendered to them and is willing to do the hard work of actively working

against them. In the present example, I saw the client at their Saturn return and she was a mess. Most of the consultation revolved around the issues I just mentioned. Seven years later, when Saturn moved to a conjunction with the Moon and a square to the Sun and Venus (all difficult aspects) things were better. She had come out of some of the awful restriction that was making her life difficult.

When I saw her recently, with Saturn halfway through the return cycle, she had achieved a fair portion of happiness. She was still weighed down, but there was some release from her burdens. And in large part, it was due to the fact that 14 years ago, she could accept the difficult situation that she was in and was willing to work on herself.

Now, I’m using an extreme example here, but the lesson I’m trying to get across is simple. Development, while difficult, is very worthwhile. And to do it, You have to take the long view of yourself. And to take the long view, you have to see yourself, the good and the bad, the positive and the negative and be willing and flexible enough to change.

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Kate-Roiphe

Limbaugh

Recently, I’ve been coming across articles about two very different social figures: right-wing talk show host, Rush Limbaugh, and literary/cultural critic, Katie Roiphe. They are, to most appearances, very different in their sensibilities. Limbaugh needs no introduction, while Roiphe inspires admiration as well as a lot of venom for her outspoken explorations of sexuality. So the question that crossed my mind was: do their charts have anything in common?

In situations like this, the planet we’re first interested in is Mercury. Why? Because it is the planet that rules communication, thought, speech, expression. In mythology, of course, it is the “winged messenger”. How Mercury is placed in a chart, by sign, by house and by aspect, will typically give us some idea of how the person thinks. With Mercury in Aries we can expect an individual who will likely be rash in thought and speech, perhaps aggressive either overtly or covertly. By house, Mercury can show the areas of life that are of concern: Mercury in the 1st gives a “me first” quality, while Mercury in the 12th house may speak for others, or at least appears to. Finally, the aspects to Mercury add further nuance and detail. But let’s quickly look at a couple of charts. We’ll do Rush first:

Rush Limbaugh

In Limbaugh’s chart, Mercury – marked on the left – is in an opposition with Uranus, which is marked on the lower right. So we know that Mercury symbolizes “thinking”; what does Uranus mean? In a word: deviant, but not in the sexual sense, but as the tendency to deviate from the mainstream. It is the planet of the iconoclast, the free thinker, the provacateur. The hard aspect suggests a sense of force, anger, a roiling quality to it. Now let’s check out Roiphe’s chart.

Katie RoipheThis time we see Mercury, again marked on the left of the chart, squared to Uranus marked on the bottom left. Again: Uranus is a very reliable predictor of unusual speech when it is in contact with Mercury. What’s further interesting about the charts is that both personalities have Sun in the 12th, which can suggest a private search for self-protection, or taking on causes as a protection or projection of the Self. In fact, Roiphe has stated in her most recent book: “In life I will go very far out of my way to avoid any possible conflict or argument, so it is a little surprising that in my essays I often seem to pick fights, and to offend or otherwise enrage people.” What better description of a person with three planets in Cancer (a tendency to withdraw, to be timid with others) but Mercury in contact with contrarian Uranus?

What I find interesting here is the possibility that while the Mercury/Uranus energy suggests “unconventional thinking,” the outward manifestation of it is different, although somewhat reactionary in both cases. I’m not sure most people would link Limbaugh and Roiphe, but, astrologically at least, they appear to be working out a similar need.

This was further brought home to me the other day in an article I came across. It was about a priest who had given up his beliefs and joined a group of atheists. After joining the atheists, he formed his own group in which he “ministered” to other priests like himself. Which raises the question: maybe ministering is what he’s most passionate about and the cause is secondary – beliefe in the existence of God or disbelief in the existence of God – is largely secondary.

As I’ve written in previous issues of the newsletter, astrology is not only applied to individuals, but has a long history of being used to understand the fate of nations as well. As you might imagine, this is not an easy area of study. Looking at the charts of nations typically involves examining many charts, for we are looking at are large planetary cycles.

As we get closer to the election, I’ll go over this in greater detail, but consider the following: the best way to determine the outcome of the forthcoming election is probably not by comparing the charts of Obama and Romney. Why? Because no matter how much the media or partisans on either side try to frame it, this is not a boxing match between the two men. Nations are comprised of many forces, so when we look at the chart for the election in a few weeks, it will not likely mean that we look at the charts of the candidates.

So what are we looking at today? Below is the chart for the Libra ingress set for Washington, DC. An ingress chart marks the entry of the Sun into zero degrees of one of the season’s signs, in this case, autumn. That chart is then used to examine or understand what forces are at work over the next three months – until the entry of the Sun into zero degrees of Capricorn, marking the beginning of winter.

As I’ve been writing about this off and on for several months, it should come as no surpise that in the above chart, our old friends Uranus and Pluto – both circled – are in conflict. Over the past hundred and fifty years, contacts between these two planets have reliably corresponded with social upheaval. The best way to understand this is to break both planets in their signs down into essential meanings.

Uranus is linked to the principle of change, rebellion, reform, disruption and revolution. Placed in the sign of Aries, it introduces concepts of individuality and expanded personal freedoms.

In contrast, Pluto emphasizes death and rebirth, breakdown and violent struggles over power. Placed in the sign of Capricorn, these struggles will take place over the established order, as Capricorn rules what might best be called “the status quo”

If we look at our culture over the past few years, we can examples of reform, power struggles and breakdown on both sides of the political spectrum. In recent months, philosopher Ayn Rand’s extreme form of individualism has been highly featured through Paul Ryan’s interest in her. And of course, we see similar themes in the sudden rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Extending this even further, we can see evidence of extreme forms of thought even in places where you would least expect it. For instance, Hanna Rosin’s recent book, “The End of Men and the Rise of Women,” makes astonishing claims such as “Many of us hold out the hope that there is a utopia in our future run by women”. That statement, as well as the title of the book, is perfectly reflective of the battle over power that Uranus square Pluto brings.

So, the chart above is a reflection of the next three months. What does it show? Conflict. With Scorpio, the ruler of debt, on the Ascendant, this will continue to play a large issue in the campaign over the next three months. But what will also be significant during this time is foreign affairs. Venus, ruling the 7th house of enemies, is in conflict with Mars, ruler of the nation, in the first. We may very well see a resurfacing of racial and ethnic tensions both within and abroad. The financial markets are likely to be highly volatile – Jupiter ruler of the economy in this chart – placed in changeable Gemini.

While this may come as no surpise, the election is likely to be even nastier than 2008’s. The wild card here is that Mercury will go retrograde on election day. The last two times Mercury was retrograde on the day of the presidential election was 2000 – the Bush/Gore debacle, and 1960, when Kennedy squeaked by Nixon, receiving only 113,000 more votes out of the 68 million that were cast.

What is most distressing here is that this conflict will not end with the election. For the next eight years, Uranus and Pluto will be moving back and forth against each other. On the positive side, these conflicts are inevitable – or at least they are by the astrological perspective – but they also can result in significant discoveries and changes. How that might play out will be touched upon in future issues of the newsletter.

“He/she is so complicated” is a statement I’ve heard a number of times while doing relationship readings, but as I pointed out last week, we’re all complex – in our needs, our reactions, our expectations and our assumptions. To take that even further, we are very often mysteries: even to ourselves. That wouldn’t be the worst state of existence except that our lack of knowledge of ourselves will, sooner or later, interfere or unravel nearly any relationship.

This is most easily glimpsed in extreme charts.  For instance, an abundance of fire in the chart will often result in a person who has a checklist when it comes to relationships. Everything has to be done at their speed or by the clock. An absence of fire can show up in a chart as a lack of drive. Motivation may be low, or the ability to bring force into a situation is missing. This can be particularly true if there is little fire in the chart and Mars is weak.

An over-abundance of earth in the chart can lead to a person getting bogged down, or to becoming narrow or too cautious. If unbalanced, the need for acquisition can take over. The absence of earth can result in a person who is “out of their body” on some level. Or, on a larger level, a person who is simply ungrounded, for whom building a structure of some kind is immensely challenging.

An excess of air in the chart will sometimes lead to someone who is overly rational or theoretical. There can be a sense of abstraction around such individuals. The lack of air, on the other hand, suggests an inability to see the bigger picture (an aerial view, so to speak) or unable to see themselves objectively. Perspective can suffer.

When water is the predominant element there is a strong need for emotional security as well as high sensitivity. There can be a feeling of vulnerability, as well as the desire to withdraw or be secretive. The lack of water can show up as the inability to empathise, to know how others may be feeling. It also can lead to a person who doesn’t know what their feelings are.

Bringing this back to relationships, it’s easy to see how an excess or lack of elements can lead to imbalance, not only within the individual, but in their relationships.  Even without a chart, much can be gained by looking at the above descriptions and thinking about how they may relate either to yourself or your partner.  Relationships begin with you.