John McCain has just announced his choice for his Vice Presidential candidate. It's Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska. Prior to today, Sarah was best known as "the potential candidate for VP that McCain might go with to look hip and trendy," as if presidential politics was a game of poker in which a white female trumps a black guy, or something.
(Forgive my cynicism, but I don't think anyone observing American politics from the outside for as long as I have can avoid being cynical.)
There doesn't seem to be an official time of birth for Ms. Palin around anywhere yet. What we do know is that she was born February 11th, 1964 in Sandpoint, Idaho.
Although it's always dangerous to speculate about such things without an accurate time of birth, here's Sarah's major transits for Election Day.
Transiting Mars square natal Mars Transiting Jupiter square natal Jupiter Transiting Jupiter sextile natal Neptune Transiting Neptune square natal Sun-Mars-Saturn
(A natal Sun-Mars-Saturn conjunction? Sounds Republican to me!)
Admittedly, it doesn't look terribly happy for Ms. Palin.
The truth is though, I've been more or less deliberately avoiding doing too many calculations in an attempt to figure out who is going to win the upcoming election. And that's certainly not due to a lack of interest. That's not even due to the relative lack or reliable birth data.
I think astrology can tell us the outcome of the election, but not in the usual sense.
You see, transit-wise, the big news this upcoming First Tuesday In November this year is the exact Saturn/Uranus opposition in Virgo/Pisces, with Uranus retrograde. Transiting Venus is throwing in a square from Sagittarius to liven things up a little.
Uranus rules, among other things, electronics and relatively-novel technical processes. And this election, up to one-third of all ballots in the election are not going to be counted by squabbling bands of Democratic and Republican scrutineers, as the process has gone in past.
I've wanted to write more about compatibility here, but I haven't given in to the temptation to talk about my own experiences. That didn't seem right somehow, given that talking about old relationships naturally means talking about the other person... and this isn't one of those blogs where I'm going to go on about specifics, like how Heppa The Icelandic Stripper promised me the world and then broke my heart. It's not my style to wave other people's dirty laundry around in public.
I've found a solution. Below you will find snapshots presented in random order -- brief extracts from the birth charts of some Significant Others -- and how that part of them interacted with me both astrologically and observably.
Should any of the exes mentioned here come across this blog, they'll probably recognize themselves. So, for you: you've been immortalized, in public, yet anonymously.
Isn't that cunning of me? You always loved my brainpower...
Her Moon/Ascendant trines my Sun
Her Venus sextiles my Venus
Her Mars squares my Saturn
What fantastic buddies! What jolly partners in crime! Everything was great... but we fought. Neither of us wanted it, but the amazing energies released by Mars and Saturn always ended up coming out as anger and hostility in the end. We were like a nature film of two ants fighting, where one ant gets his head ripped off... but he keeps fighting anyway. Over and over and over...
Other than the frequent decapitations, it was great.
Her North Node conjuncts my Sun
Her Venus squares my Venus
Her Moon/Uranus conjunction squares my Moon/Mars opposition
I think you saw in me everything that you ultimately wanted in a man. What I don't think you saw... and what I didn't want to admit I saw... is that we started off in different directions and never really grew together. Which is a shame, because in a world full of crazy people, your craziness was kind and decent. May your Soul Mate Quest end as magically as you deserve.
Her Moon conjuncts my Moon (in Cancer)
Her Jupiter squares my Venus
Her Sun conjuncts my Uranus/Pluto conjunction
You're so sweet and so caring, and you love cookies as much as I do. And you are beautiful: beautiful enough to make a living from it, but too modest and shy to make a real go of it. Which is a shame, because that quality only makes you more beautiful. You wear it well, and it reflects what's inside you.
Too bad you thought I was completely nuts and unstable and I was completely NOT what your family wanted for you.
Her Mercury/Mars/Jupiter conjunction sextiles my Moon/trines my Mars
Her Pluto EXACTLY opposes my Saturn
Oh God! Everything about us was fantastic, from the bedroom where it started into the wild strange world we discovered together. But we were doomed and unstable together... as doomed and unstable as we were as individuals at that time. But, out of everyone listed here... I still empathize with you most of all. Shine on, you crazy diamond.
Her Sun squares my Moon and Mars
Her Neptune conjuncts my Sun
Her Saturn/South Node forms no aspects to anything in my chart
We certainly got each other's attention, and in many ways seemed to be the answer to each other's prayers. We were everything the other was looking for. And yet it had all the staying power of a house of cards in a hurricane, and the practical obstacles that could have been overcome looked like mountains, from my angle.
So I choked.
Her Ascendant conjuncts my Sun
Her Mercury opposes my Saturn
Her Sun squares my Mercury/Nodes
Everything about us had a feeling of Destiny. When we first met, casual though it was, time stopped, like a flashback scene from Highlander. We had known each other before, and would know each other again. And on top of that, we both seemed to be exactly what the other needed, even if we could never really define it. But when you told me you loved me... it felt forced. And I needed that from you, more than anything. More than with anyone else.
Of course, what I really needed was a mother, and what you really needed was a husband.
(Today's entry is more of a philosophical digression than an astrology lecture. How shocking... a philosophical digression from a Sagittarius astrologer! Tomorrow on AMAZING YET TRUE: A Capricorn accountant itemizes invoices!)
A young man leaves his little village in Russia to attend University. He comes back the following summer on vacation and speaks to his Rabbi.
"Rabbi," the student says, "I've lost faith in God."
"And why is that?" the Rabbi asks.
The student explained. "I learned in University that all things are the way they are because that is how I perceive them. Everything exists to me only because I have a vague and inaccurate image of it in my mind. And, really... if I can't even believe in you or your desk or the soil in my yard... how can I possibly believe in something as abstract as God?"
"So," the Rabbi says, "you can't even really know that, say, your own nose exists?"
"Exactly!" the student answered. "Not even my own nose."
The Rabbi pauses thoughtfully, rubbing his chin. After a moment, the Rabbi turns to the student and punches him. Hard. In the nose.
The Rabbi then leans over the student, crumpled on the ground, holding his bloody nose and moaning.
"So, my boy," the Rabbi says, "what hurts?"
I've been thinking about Paula Abdul a lot today -- specifically, about the pain she says she is in because of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome (RSDS). It is, in some ways, much like fibromyalgia... a little-understood syndrome that causes pain for barely-understood reasons, which happens more to women than to men, and is often dismissed as being "all in the head" of the sufferer.
I still stand by what I said yesterday: a tough Saturn-Neptune aspect brings with it a risk of alcoholism or drug addiction, whether one starts on that path because of physical pain or for other reasons. But the more I poured over Paula's birth chart, the further I seem to get from what I was looking for.
I can see vertigo, diabetes, insomnia, infertility, arthritis, gout and acne in a birth chart... but damned if I can see any pain. There are no planetary rulers for "pain." And before any of you start waving Chiron at me, I have a stack of charts here from people in pain with no Chiron involvement at all.
I think this is really the central issue that any doctor, counselor, or astrologer faces. We are fighting ghosts -- intangible things that can barely be defined and are impossible to capture and identify... and yet are very real. And an astrologer deals with pain all the time -- more often than not, emotional pain... but pain nonetheless. I can help find the cause. I can help suggest a treatment. I can get results. But when you get right down to it, I can't kill the beast with a single blow any better than you or anyone else can.
But I try. That's what I'm here for... and not just because that's what my birth chart says.
After all, as I once told my astrology class: "If a nurse was in the room making a sandwich while you were being born, and finished it the moment you came out... you and that sandwich would have the same birth chart. But, hopefully, different futures."
One of you will experience a lot of pain over the course of your existence. The other one will just get eaten.
(Thank you, Anonymous, for prompting this line of thought in your comment on yesterday's blog entry)
Is she really thrilled? Or rather... should she be?
I've never been a regular viewer of American Idol, but I've seen enough of it to know where the rumours come from that Paula often shows up drunk and/or stoned. Her comments and observations are often of the fuzzy, affectionate, incoherent kind one expects to hear from someone who enjoyed a Scotch and Oxycontin cocktail or two before showing up at the party. And it's more than a little suspicious that the Idol format everywhere else in the world seems to consist of three judges, not four. What will they do if there's a split decision?
I could see it if Kara DioGuardi were a major star before this... ratings are what drives this thing, after all... but seriously: did YOU have a Kara DioGuardi poster in your locker in high school? Had you even heard of her before this?
The new season of American Idol will begin in mid-January, when the transiting Sun will be squaring Paula's ascendant (public appearance), Mars will be approaching the opposition to her Midheaven (career), Jupiter will be opposing her Venus (which often stimulates the urge to drink and/or do drugs), and Saturn will be freshly entering the psychological funhouse of the 12th House (and rolling into square range of her natal Sun). For bonus points, the transiting North Node will be conjuncting her natal Saturn/South Node conjunction and squaring her natal Neptune. Note that natal Saturn-Neptune square: it's one of the things to watch out for in the chart of a drunk/addict.
So, Paula: things aren't looking all that brilliant for your future on American Idol. Sorry about that. It's a shame, really... I've always been a huge sucker for you. Drop by some time for a drink and we can discuss this.
(SCENE: The conference room at Princeton-Plainsboro Hospital. DR. GREGORY HOUSE stands leaning on his cane at the whiteboard at the front of the room. He addresses his assistants: DRS. FOREMAN, CAMERON, and CHASE.)
HOUSE: Patient is a 42 year old male. Was admitted yesterday complaining of short-temperedness, lack of direction, diminished self-confidence, and ennui. He's unresponsive to the usual stimuli.
FOREMAN: Easy. Saturn opposition.
HOUSE: C'mon Foreman... if it was really that straightforward, would it be our Case Of The Week?
CAMERON: The test results indicate that transiting Uranus is also squaring his Sun, and conjuncting his Midheaven. There's probably a lot of stress around his career and vision of himself in life.
HOUSE: True. But let's not get all psychological about this. I hate that sort of thing.
CHASE: But sometimes these things are psychological! Besides, he's having his Neptune square now.
FOREMAN: Natal Neptune in the Fifth House, Transiting Neptune edging into his Ninth. That's got "philosophical crisis" written all over it.
CAMERON: Plus depression. Let's not forget that transiting Pluto is opposing his natal Jupiter.
CHASE: Treatment should be obvious then.
HOUSE: Right. Put him in a freezer for another six months, thaw him out when the transits are over, and he can get on with his life. Okay, next case --
CHASE: You can't do that!
CAMERON: He needs to work through these things!
FOREMAN: It's obvious. The patient is undergoing a number of bad transits, Uranus is conjuncting his natal Chiron... a planet the patient himself admits he often neglects in his own chart. He could work through this by understanding his basic internal symbolic composition.
HOUSE: I hate that Jungian crap!
CAMERON: But if the patient is able to find philosophical meaning in it, that will keep him alive until these transits pass. It's a lot better than freezing him, anyway.
CHASE: Maybe some form of creative outlet would help.
FOREMAN: Maybe... writing a blog entry about it!
CAMERON: That's brilliant!
CHASE: Chiron really can be useful in a practical way, you know.
HOUSE: (Waving his cane angrily) You give me that "wounded healer" crap one more time and I swear I'll use this thing on you!
MODERATOR: Thank you for joining us for the first in a series of debates for the leadership of the Zodiac. Tonight, Gemini and Sagittarius will discuss the issues. Sagittarius has won the coin toss --
SAGITTARIUS: Well, I do have the reputation for being lucky...
MOD: -- and will go first. Sag?
SAG: Thanks. A lot of people have complained that there is no real choice in this election. I'd like to take the time now to point out the many significant differences between myself and my opposing sign. First of all --
SAG: Beg your pardon?
GEM: You know, supposedly I have the reputation for being the yappy one. Two to one though says you've got ten minutes of material there about how you're all philosophical and stuff, and how I'm just "flighty."
SAG: Have you been reading my notes?
GEM: No, I just know you. I know how you can take one philosophical stance... whether you've really thought it through or not... and spin it into a long tale that sounds like it's all well thought out. But sometimes it isn't. And I'm calling you on it.
SAG: Listen, scatterbrain: you haven't thought out your positions well enough to call anyone on anything. I say you just catalogue data and then use that to argue against anyone who thinks differently from you.
GEM: And that's so different from you how, exactly?
SAG: I... you suck!
GEM: Yeah, well YOU suck!
MOD: Please, could we return to the debate please?
SAG: Who's the nimrod who hired Virgo to moderate this thing anyway?
GEM: Yeah. Virgo's kind of like us in a way, but they're so... Virgo-ish.
SAG: Yeah. They're that thing, that Virgo thing. They're so... they're like the intellectual hallway monitors of the Zodiac.
Okay, I admit it: I picked the title for this entry because it's a lot more exciting sounding than "Derivative Houses: An Under-appreciated Astrological Technique." But if you are learning astrology, the Derivative Houses Technique really is a great way to bring depth to your understanding of a birth chart.
"Derivative Houses" is a technique primarily used in horary astrology -- the art of interpreting a "birth chart" for the moment a question is asked in order to determine the answer. It's also useful in natal astrology.
Here's how it works:
The Third House of a birth chart represents siblings (among other things), the Seventh House represents your partner (among other things), and the Ninth House represents Higher Education (among other things). So... to oversimplify... someone with Uranus in the Third House, Mars in the Seventh, and Saturn in the Ninth might have an eccentric sister, athletic (or cranky) spouse, and trouble paying for (or completing) college.
Derivative Houses is a technique where the birth chart is "turned" so that the house ruling the subject in question becomes the First House. So, we turn the chart so that the Third House becomes the "First House."
Now, re-count those House numbers, starting with the new First House as "one." What used to be the Seventh House now becomes the Fifth House (the Seventh being five Houses away from the Third). There's Mars... and there's your eccentric sister's athletic son and/or romantic taste for jerks. Saturn, which was in your Ninth, is now your sister's Seventh... and sure enough, she ended up marrying one of those jerks she was attracted to and can't get rid of the guy.
Oh well. At least she got a future Olympian out of the deal.
Try playing with the concept yourself, with your own birth chart and those of people you know well. You may find that the Sixth House Neptune that's always messing with your immune system also explains why your sister (Third House) had a weirder relationship with your Mom than you did... the Sixth House being the Fourth House from the Third.
Your Third House Uranus is six houses (Sixth House: daily details and work habits) from your Tenth... which might explain why you're always having trouble with the software and procedures at work. And that Ninth House Saturn is the Twelfth House from the Tenth... so you might have a hard time getting work with the government.
Derivative Houses can add real depth to the interpretation of a birth chart, making you a better astrologer. Which, if you think about it, might be even better than being a Kung Fu master.
My opposing sign, Taurus, has been slinging the bull around about my reputation. Dirty campaign tactics like that are uncalled for, and leave it to Taurus to fight dirty and come across all sweet and sunshiny about it.
Leadership requires an ability to take action. When that red phone rings at three AM, you'll want to have someone in charge who is willing to make the tough decisions. Heck, you might even want someone in charge who enjoys the thought of blasting an opponent... especially one who really really deserves it.
I do not, as you may have been told, sit back and fume over things and slowly plot my horrifying revenge. I act on those impulses as soon as I can and get it done, so I can move on to other matters.
You know who you are, people.
In addition to my willingness to take bold action, you'll find that I am as kind, compassionate, caring, and even-handed as any other sign. I believe that if you take an honest objective look at my record, you'll see that too.
Thank you for your time, and for listening patiently. I'll untie you from that chair now.
My opposing sign, Scorpio, would have you believe that my stability is merely a mask for passivity. That I would rather sit back and watch things develop than take an active role.
Well... says you.
It takes a certain degree of intelligence and experience to recognize when you are the center of the universe, and when you aren't. Now, I'm not bragging... I'll leave that for Leo... and I'm not saying that I'm the center of the universe. But if you're familiar with my record, you'll have noticed that I've found that I can often get things done by waiting until circumstances fall into place. Why rail against the inflexible? I'm more than willing to make the effort... but effort for its own sake is wasted. My energies are more managed than that.
I call it my "Taurus Energy Conservation Policy."
Besides, hard work is one thing. Sweetness, charm, likability, and cooking skills are another. And I've got those in spades, babe.
So please, this election day... vote Taurus. Free pies for everyone if I win!
My opposing sign, Aries, has made some damaging accusations that I would like to address.
The Aries style of leadership has alienated many allies and has been called "ram headed." Aries has clearly lost track of how fair debate works, in it's all-consuming rush to be first. Is that the kind of leadership our Zodiac deserves?
I have a twelve point plan for leading The Zodiac, with your role in each step clearly delineated. Drop by my place and we'll talk about it some time. I just re-decorated... you'll love it!
It's only through co-operation that we'll every get anywhere in this life, and I am, after all... the partnership sign. And since when has a willingness to hear another person's viewpoint been a sign of weakness? It takes real strength to overcome your own opinions to hear the other guy's side. Jeez, Aries... back off on the caffeine already.
My opposing sign, Libra, would have you believe certain things about me that aren't true.
First of all, I am not "insensitive." I'm effective. Libra's approach is all peaceful and gentle and "whadda you think?" Well, let me tell you: that is no way to get things done. The world we live in today will leave that kind of thinking in the dust. Sitting around and fretting about things that could go wrong never solved anything, and waiting to reach a consensus about things that have gone wrong simply delays finding a solution.
Secondly, I may be "The Ram" but that doesn't mean I don't think things through. Not at all.
This entire campaign has been riddled with half-truths from the other side, and I say it's time to put that to rest. I've been leading this Zodiac since the beginning, and I've earned your vote to keep it that way. So vote for me and make it snappy: I'm in a hurry to win this thing and get on with business.
(Click here for my original article on the Beijing Olympics chart and article)
I normally try not to comment on my personal state in this blog. But my transits today (Mars and Pluto messing with my Jupiter, the Moon entering my 8th House, Uranus opposing my natal Uranus, the Sun and Neptune both squaring my natal Neptune, and transiting Jupiter sneaking up on my natal Mars) have me feeling like an angry jerk. Allow me to demonstrate, for educational purposes...
Astrologers, in my experience, can be just a little more self-satisfied than the average person when they're right about something, and today I am no exception.
In my first article on the subject I said "So, my prediction? These Olympic Games could be the most entertaining yet. Not in the way sports fans would like it to be, though. But for jerks like me with a burn-on for totalitarian regimes? Oh yeah. There will be entertainment aplenty."
-Fake crowds (Think about that for a second. A fake crowd. In Beijing.)
-Fake dates of birth (apparently the Chinese Women's Gymnastics team fibbed about the age of at least one competitor to get an edge in the event. Glad I didn't bet any money based on those birth charts...)
I mention these things only because I can't think of anything else to write, and I'm not sleeping worth a damn because transiting Mars is squaring my natal 12th House Jupiter (while Pluto opposes it)... and I'm trying to take some comfort in the thought that if I can't have what I want... I can at least be right about things.
Time to roll up our sleeves and dig into a little tabloid gossip.
It's no secret that President George W. Bush (Born July 6, 1946, 7:26 AM, New Haven, Connecticut) used to have a drinking problem (and an alleged cocaine issue as well) up until 1986. And of late, there have been reports in the tabloids around an alleged return to the bottle.
Tabloid journalism may not have a great reputation, but tabloids also don't like being sued, even unsuccessfully. And after all, they were the most reliable source of public information around such ugly matters as the Monica Lewinsky affair, Rudy Giuliani's fling, and (more recently) John Edward's extramarital shenanigans before those stories hit the mainstream.
Astrologically, can we tell how likely it is that the President was sloshed at the time? Maybe not definitively: after all, the planets are where they are, but there is still a small matter of free will. But were the conditions for being drunk... very publicly, at that... in place?
Alcoholism and/or drug abuse is frequently associated with the 12th House of a birth chart, and the condition of Neptune. Further: although not a sure-fire indicator, such issues are also often associated with a "wounded ego"... difficult aspects to the natal Sun.
George W. Bush has his Sun in the 12th House, being (weakly) squared by Neptune in the 3rd House (which represents, among other things, the everyday mundane workings of the mind). Right there a consulting astrologer should be keeping an eye out for drug and alcohol issues. But we already know Bush has had his issues in past. What about recent conditions?
Looking at the transits during the big Michael Phelps win, we see the following;
-The transiting Sun and South Node were conjunct natal Venus in the First House. This can be interpreted as a temporary tendency to outgoing public behaviour (1st House) involving "pleasurable consumption" (Venus), with an involvement of deep psychological processes from the past (South Node). And transiting Neptune was opposite this Sun/Venus/North Node pileup. Once again, this would be a factor pointing towards neurochemical excess.
-The transiting Moon was opposite the natal Uranus/North Node conjunction. If there was ever a time a person is going to rebel against what the public hopes and expects of them... that's the day it's going to happen.
-Transiting Jupiter is exactly opposite natal Jupiter. Jupiter (from whence we originally get the word "jovial"). Think of it as a person's natural tendency to excess being amplified by a general mood of excess.
Although there's no way to tell for sure via astrology that The President was publicly drunk at that time, it would seem that all the factors for it were in place. Now, here's a picture of Bush, at that time, stumbling to get out of his seat:
Note the reddened, flushed features in both pictures of Bush accompanying this post.
Of course, if I were the President of The United States... there'd be no hiding my bad behaviour. Thank God I was quietly drunk by myself at home that day!
The quincunx is an aspect between two planets of 150 degrees, connecting bodies that are in signs that have absolutely nothing in common. It's a difficult aspect to really get a handle on: sometimes it's a "minor" aspect, sometimes it's a major one. In fact, the more you study the quincunx, the less sense it makes, sometimes. Often an astrologer may be tempted to ignore it and focus on those nice, easy-to-grasp trines and squares.
Some of us, however, have a harder time avoiding that paradox than others might...
(To the tune of "I Touch Myself" by The Divinyls)
Was born like this, I often confuse me Take care of myself, and then I abuse me My Sun is in Sag, my Moon is in Cancer Feel like a quiz show without any right answer!
Could have been born somebody else The day I was born, I quincunxed myself! It'd be easy if I was just someone else Oh no, oh no, oh no!
It's the aspect that leaves me confounded Sure as hell, it ain't no trine Solid one minute, and then I'm ungrounded And no, I don't feel fine!
I push myself to an unclear ending Half me can't hear what the other half's sending Can't make plans for that vacation I need now Should I go skydiving, or just read a book now?
I could have been born somebody else The day that I was born, I quincunxed myself! I could have been born somebody else Oh no, oh no, oh no!
I love myself Except I detest me I'm on top of myself Except when I best me
I ask myself If I understand me See the answer so clear And then it all blinds me!
Could have been born somebody else The day that I was born, I quincunxed myself! I could have been born somebody else Oh no, oh no, oh no!
I was born I'm not anyone else From the day I showed up I quincunxed myself! Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! Aiiiieeee!!
I could have been born somebody else The day that I was born, I quincunxed myself! Could have been born somebody else The day that I was born, I quincunxed myself!
I quincunx myself I quincunx myself I quincunx myself I quincunx myself I quincunx myself I honestly do!...
A man returns home from a weekend trip to hear his phone ringing. He answers it. It's his doctor calling.
"I hope you're sitting down," the doctor says, "because I have bad news, and worse news."
"Okay," the man says, "what's the bad news?"
"I have your test results here. They say you only have 24 hours to live."
"Oh my God!" The man says. "What news could be worse than that?"
The doctor answers: "I've been trying to get a hold of you since yesterday."
Academy-award winning singer and composer Isaac Hayes (August 20, 1942 at 4:00 AM in Covington, KY) died Sunday at the age of 65. I'd like to take this opportunity to touch on a particularly taboo subject among many astrologers and their clients: death.
A lot of astrologers won't discuss the timing of a death, or will only do so hesitantly. I can certainly understand that: it's not a pleasant subject, and tends to clash with the "love and light" glamour that many of us (myself included) want to cast all over a consultation. And no one wants to be accused of encouraging morbid thoughts, or of putting those thoughts into some one's head. But still... if astrology really can predict major life events, shouldn't we be able to predict this one? Isn't death a major life event?
Well... it is.
I've been waiting a while for a famous death with a confirmed time of birth to show how predicting death works, but the truth is that the techniques are far too complex to fit into a blog entry. I'd have to write a book. If I wrote a book, I'd have to call it "The Astrology Of Death." And then I'd have to change my name to Richard Houck. And then it would look totally self-serving when I tell you that "The Astrology Of Death" by Richard Houck (although not designed for those who are afraid of hard work and a lot of calculations) is the best damned astrology book you've never read and you should buy it right away.
For those of you familiar with the techniques Houck described, the death of Isaac Hayes is a classic. All the tertiary progressions and Vedic dasas are right where you would expect them to be. As a matter of fact, I'm going to go out on a bit of a limb and predict that the cause of death will be listed as pulmonary failure. But I have my fingers crossed when I say that.
Had Mr. Hayes been in contact with an astrologer keeping an eye out for these things, maybe... maybe... he would still be alive. After all, what's the point in knowing bad news is on the way if you can't do anything about it?
And how good was Richard Houck, and his techniques for predicting death? I know from personal experience and years or reading, re-reading, and then applying his techniques. Or finally: consider this from the very last page of the Second Edition of The Astrology Of Death: "Around 2002-2003 Richard Houck plans to relocate to Pensacola, FL. As necessary, call information there for his personal listed phone number. April Fool."
Not having a time of birth limits what an astrologer can tell you. But even without one, there are a lot of things an astrologer can see. Like for example: the truckload of hurt currently being dropped on Morgan Freeman by the planet Saturn.
If you have a look at the birth chart above, you'll probably notice two things. First of all, Pluto isn't really doing much to be the bad guy in this situation. In fact, given that the only major aspect it's performing on his birth chart now is a trine to his natal Venus, the divorce might in fact be a positive thing, ultimately. And Uranus and Neptune don't seem to be all that involved in the current mess either.
Secondly, Saturn is squaring Morgan's natal sun. This would be a vital clue in rectifying the birth chart. Given that, and the relatively weak opposition Saturn is making to the Moon, and an astrologer could easily start looking at a birth later in the evening, with a strong house placement for the Sun.
Although it conflicts with a late evening birth, I've always thought Morgan Freeman had a vaguely Leo-rising look. But it's always a mistake to base a rectification on just one or two bits of data.
As of yet, there is no word as to whether it was Morgan or Myrna who initiated the divorce action. Maybe Morgan took advantage of the recent Venus-Pluto trine to take out the trash in his love life. Or maybe Myrna has the same sense of public relations that that Hasbro has had of late. Either way, it hasn't been a good time in The House Of Freeman.
Morgan, if you're out there... I'd love to help. Unfortunately, I only have one celebrity freebie to give out, and it is still reserved for Kat Von D, who is currently dating Nikki Sixx from Motley Crue.
Nikki, by the way, is a Sagittarius like me. It's a step in the right direction, Kat, but I'm still waiting for your call...
It's funny: all those sun-sign romance guides there seem to think that an Aries and a Scorpio together will eventually lead to something blowing up. I've seen this combination in the real world over and over again... despite advice from well-meaning paperbacks and columnists. It seems that the key to making this relationship work is finding something to blow up together.
Traditionally, they are both Mars-ruled signs. Find something to do with that energy... other than just sex, Scorpio, that can get old eventually too... and it can work.
And for all you Aries guys out there? If you think that Scorpio woman you're after wasn't all that impressed the first time... well, you're probably right. But Scorpios don't like quitters, and that just isn't your style. And for you Scorpio women with an eye on an Aries man... well, be patient. He's bound to get tired of all that running around eventually...
As I wrote here a few days ago, I'm not terribly optimistic about the upcoming Beijing Olympics working out all that well for China, based on astrological transits to the country's birth chart. But I find it amusing how The People's Republic Of China is dealing with some of the issues arising in the days before the Games open... as if the country/government itself had a personality, based on its date of birth.
Case in point: Beijing is a terribly polluted city. And the world's TV cameras will be there to capture it all. This, of course, isn't going to look good.
Suppose that you (like China) were a Libra with your Sun in the Eighth House, and with Moon in Aquarius in the Twelfth House. And you have a Mars/Pluto conjunction. Company is coming over, and you want your home to look its best. It's too late to make the long-term changes needed. This problem has to be solved now. And you aren't afreaid to take unusual or extreme measures to fix it.
The problem, of course, is that your home is filled with a thick haze of intractable smog. So, given your birth chart and your personal proclivities... how do you solve this problem?
According to many, the world is going to end on December 21, 2012. This is when the Mayan calendar comes to an end. Personally, I always thought the Mayan Calendar came to an end at that point because the Mayans weren't planning on going to anyone's birthday party or attending any business meetings hundreds of years after the collapse of their society, but I could be wrong. And many New Age-y types have decided that this is when civilization is going to collapse, because that's when Nibiru comes back.
"Nibiru comes back?" The miniskirt making a comeback, sure. But what the hell is "Nibiru"?
According to Zecharia Sitchin, who claims to be an expert in Ancient Sumerian studies (but got his degree in Economic History), Nibiru is a giant planet, the size of Jupiter or larger, on an eccentric orbit that brings it into the inner Solar System about once every 3600 years or so. His decoding of ancient Sumerian and Mayan texts apparently confirm this. The story is that Nibiru will be returning soon... making its closest approach to Earth on December 21, 2012.
Those ancient Sumerians and Mayans... they couldn't hold their empires together, but apparently they were waaaay better astronomers than we are.
I'm not fluent in Mayan or Sumerian, so I have no place criticizing Sitchin's archaeology. But others have, and there is a fairly exhaustive rundown of Sitchin's errors here. But astronomy and astrophysics? Those are subjects I do know a little about. And I can tell you with great confidence that THERE ARE NO GIANT RAMPAGING PLANETS OUT THERE COMING TO EAT YOU. Honest.
Consider this: everything with mass in the universe has a gravitational field. The greater the mass, the stronger the field. That's why apples fall to Earth, and why the Earth doesn't fall towards apples. The Earth orbits the Sun. If the Earth were travelling faster, it would achieve "escape velocity": the speed needed to fly away from the Sun and off into the Cosmos. If the earth were to slow down, it would fall into the Sun. Every planet in the solar system has a gravitational effect on every other planet, though (relative to the huge mass of the Sun) the pull that, say, Neptune has on Venus is pretty weak.
Put another way: when you were born, the mass of the obstetrician had slightly more influence on you than the planet Mars did... but slightly less than that of Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system.
If two bodies of sufficient mass pass close enough to each other, they will have an effect on each others orbits around the Sun. Many asteroids have had their orbits affected by the occasional(relatively) close brush with Jupiter: picking up speed and moving out into more distant, less circular orbits around the Sun as a result.
Even though Niburu has such a long orbit, given the age of the Solar System (about 4.5 billion years), it would have passed by Earth (and all the other planets) about one and a quarter million times in the life of the Solar System. And yet despite all these close brushes with a giant planet, Mercury through Neptune remain in relatively stable, circular orbits. The odds of that being the case with a Niburu whipping through the neighborhood that many times is comparable to the odds of making your first break in a game of pool by throwing a bowling ball onto the table... and having all the pool balls drift elegantly back into their original triangular configuration. Try it sometime... with someone else's pool table, ideally.
Furthermore... you'd think that with something that big in our own Solar System, there would be some kind of observational clues... after all, we found Pluto, and it's a tiny, insignificant little thing compared to Uranus and Neptune. Uranus, in turn, is much smaller than Nibiru allegedly is; and Uranus was discovered in the 1700s. As far as observational data for Nibiru: there was a misidentified sighting of a distant galaxy by the IRAS satellite in 1984 that has gotten a lot of coverage as being "Nibiru," and the occasional misidentified sun dog.
The primary reason all of this bothers me... other than it being a sign of how damned bad public education really is these days... is that there seem to be a lot of people out there exploiting the fear of Nibiru Doom for profit.
I'm not normally a big sports fan. Whenever I pay attention to these things, it's usually because of a scandal, or (as so many fans of auto racing are accused of) I'm just waiting to see if something disastrous happens.
That's why I'm going to be paying close attention to the upcoming Beijing Olympics.
The People's Republic Of China was born October 1, 1949 in a ceremony (according to Nick Campion) at 3:15 PM. Although these things are often tricky to determine, my reading and photos of the event seem to back that time of day. The Beijing Olympics are scheduled to begin with a ceremony scheduled for 8/08/2008 at 8:08 PM local time (any numerologists out there?).
In my time as an astrologer I've often been asked for the best date and time to commence an important venture. And, had China walked into a consultation with me a few years ago (which would require a much larger office on my part) about the timing of the Olympics... well, China has a reputation for volatile, so I would have quietly suggested going for another Olympics (2016 could be great!) and then subtly changed the subject to how great China was looking that day.
The chart for the opening ceremony, which according to astrological theory will set the tone for the entire Games, is a mess. A Mars/Uranus opposition in the 7th and 1st houses respectively, and Saturn smack on the 7th House cusp, ruling relationships (that is, with other countries), are not happy placements. On the other hand, an okay-aspected Jupiter in the 11th is good for Love Received. But with the Sun, Mercury, nodes, and Neptune all in the 6th and 12th Houses, I'm not optimistic about the overall outcome.
Consider, for example, the Sun, Mercury and Nodes in the 6th. The Sixth House is associated with health, the Sun and Nodes are malefics (at least in the Vedic system, and often pan out that way from the Western perspective too), and Mercury rules (among other things) respiration.
And the skies over Beijing are hot and dirty, and not the usual kind of "hot and dirty" I usually look for on the Internet either.
Furthermore, the chart for the Olympic Games doesn't work very well with China's birth chart either. A transiting Sun/South Node conjunction in China's 7th House is conjuncting China's natal Mars/Pluto conjunction there. The Seventh House usually represents marriages or major partnerships. In the birth chart of a nation, it means relations with the neighbors and with other nations.
Ask a Tibetan some time about how much fun it is to be "married" to the People's Republic Of China.
Also, transiting Jupiter is quincunxing that conjunction, and Neptune is opposing it. And China's natal Moon is untouched by any transits, except for a weak quincunx from Saturn.
So, my prediction? These Olympic Games could be the most entertaining yet. Not in the way sports fans would like it to be, though. But for jerks like me with a burn-on for totalitarian regimes? Oh yeah. There will be entertainment aplenty.
NEXT TIME: I confidently announce the date that the world DEFINITELY WON'T end on. Again.
Hello everyone. I'm Matthew the Astrologer, and I'm back.
I won't bore you with the details, but the planetary transits I've gone through the last few months have been... well, certainly no worse than some you may have seen in past. The point here is that I survived them, just like you survived. Or might be surviving bad times right now. As a professional astrologer I'm no more immune to these things than anyone else.
Today's astrology lesson: I made it. You'll make it too.