Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Nobody Moves, And Nobody Gets Hurt

I took a genetics class once, covering a lot of the many, many things that can go wrong when people reproduce. The instructor was thoughtful enough to provide statistics with each disorder... Cri du Chat Syndrome, 1 in 50,000 births. Klinefelter's Syndrome, 1 in 500 births. Turner's Syndrome, 1 in 2,500 births. And so on. The funny thing is: if you added up all the numbers, you'd only get a grand total of two or three percent of all births where there was a genetic problem involved.

Nonetheless, no one walked out of that class convinced they could ever have a "normal" child.

Astrology, and keeping an eye on one's transits and progressions, can be a little like that. It's hard to find a perfect time to do anything, and quite often the things we do, plan on doing, or that simply happen to us just plain happen when they happen, and are quite outside of reasonable human control. Just because next Tuesday would be the perfect day to get married doesn't mean you will get married next Tuesday. Or that anyone will be able to show up on a week day. Or, for that matter, that you'll be able to find anyone who wants to marry you next Tuesday. Or that if you do, it's someone you'll still want to be married to next week, or next year, or next decade...

So, to summarize: sometimes even astrologers have to move during a Mercury retrograde. Which is why my Internet access is incredibly screwed up.

See you all later this week...


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Thursday, September 25, 2008

An Open Letter To Mercury Retrograde


Dear Mercury:

I'd like to start out by quoting a previous blog entry of mine on the subject of your retrogrades:

"At most, I've found that Mercury going retrograde is just a matter of the straw that breaks the camel's back. Or the wrong word that sets off the brawl that had been building for months. Or the cheque being lost in the mail that should have paid the power bill three months ago. Or, in my case... waiting until today to install the new Vedic software I bought months ago that now, mysteriously, doesn't speak either English or Windows."

As you may recall, that retrograde of yours turned out to be... well, kind of crappy for Mercury-ruled matters for me. I found myself wondering about your possible role as a Trickster. After all, your placement in a birth chart is (forgive me) easy to ignore. You don't really have the sex, drugs, and rock and roll reputations that, say, Mars, Neptune, or Uranus have. Since you're never more than one sign away from the Sun, you tend to get drowned out. And I apologize for that. Especially given that perhaps the most important part of my job isn't to empathize or to espouse a point of view, so much as it is to communicate those things.

I think this is where your role in relationships is vastly underestimated. If you meet someone attractive in a bar where you can barely hear each other, that's one thing. It's the next morning when your ears are still ringing and you suddly can't quite remember the name of the person snoring next to you is that the real challenge kicks in.

That's metaphorically speaking, of course. I'm certain nothing like that has really happened to me or any of my fine, morally-upright readers.

So please, old friend... this time around I'm paying special attention to you. Don't screw up my software and my e-mail like you did last time. Besides... the Moon is also opposing Neptune right now, so I'm taking precautions. Rather than try to figure out this maddening business about Sarah Palin's time of birth, I'm going to do the astrologically sound thing... and take a nap.

Don't do anything crazy while I'm away. Please?

Your bestest best pal,

Matthew The Astrologer

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Is Your Birth Chart Gay? Clay Aiken Comes Out Of The Closet For His Saturn Return


"I don't think anyone cares. Let's face it: It's 2008. You know. Who cares?"
-Simon Cowell


Singer Clay Aiken (born November 30, 1978, time unknown, Raleigh, NC) is scheduled to publicly announce he is gay in People Magazine tomorrow.

Aiken has already fathered a child via a female friend, Jaymes Foster. That child appears to be a large part of the motivation for Aiken's going public. "I cannot raise a child to lie or to hide things," he says.

(The man has five planets in Sagittarius. What other reason would you expect?)

"Gay" is hard to spot in a birth chart. There's no one clear indicator... which lines up nicely with current theories about sexual orientation being an inherently complex matter. The closest I've ever seen to a "gay signature" in astrology is when there is tension between the rulers of the Fourth and Tenth Houses. Without a proper time of birth on record for Mr. Aiken, it's impossible to tell if he fits this pattern... but given the tight Moon-Saturn square in his birth chart, finding he has Cancer/Capricorn on the MC/IC axis would hardly be a surprise. 

I've yet to see anything definitive involving the Eighth House when it comes to sexual orientation... I strongly suspect the Eighth rules the sex drive, more than it rules what drives you, sexually.

Although I agree that honesty is usually the best policy, I'm concerned about the effect this announcement will have on his career. Normally I'd like to think we're all mature enough now to not be shocked at a celebrity admitting to being gay (thank you again, Ellen DeGeneres), but Clay's transits are worrisome.

First of all, Clay is right at the peak of his Saturn Return. Saturn Returns have a (sometimes unwarranted) reputation for bringing disaster. At the very least, they usually challenge the foundations you've built your life on during the preceding couple of decades or so. Clay's natal Saturn also squares his natal Moon (whose placement we can't be entirely sure of without a time of birth). In addition, transiting Uranus is squaring his natal Sun within less than a degree. That transit alone is bound to have some affect on his general happiness and well-being. It's interesting to think that Clay Aiken may have given this interview, agreed to it, or finally decided to "come out" on the very day of his exact Saturn Return.

Having said that, transiting Jupiter is exactly trining Aiken's natal Saturn, and transiting Neptune is sextiling his natal Mars, so perhaps there is some publicity gold to be mined from all this after all.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Uranus And Pluto Conjunct, In Virgo, In The Third House: An Interview

" 'No reason to get excited,' the thief he kindly spoke. 'There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke. But you and I, we've been through that, and this is not our fate. So let us not talk falsely now -- the hour is getting late.' "
-All Along The Watchtower


(SCENE: The Interview Room. MATTHEW THE ASTROLOGER sits behind the desk. The overhead fluorescent lights blink and then go out, replaced by the dim and reddish emergency lights. The door to the room opens and URANUS IN VIRGO IN THE THIRD HOUSE enters. He makes tiny clanks and hydraulic hisses as he walks, being half human and half cybernetic being. His left eye has been replaced with some sort of laser imaging device, and his right forearm appears to have been replaced by a complex mechanical probe. He comes to a halt and stands to MTA's left.

Next, an enormous black Rottweiler the size of a small pony enters. It is PLUTO IN VIRGO IN THE THIRD HOUSE. He trots into the room and jumps into the seat in front of MTA's desk.)

P3H: Hello. I'm so glad you could make it.

MTA: What do you mean? I'm the one who invited you.

P3H: I mean "glad you're still alive," made it.

MTA: You didn't come on schedule.

U3H: Unpredictability, advantage gained. Interview is now in our control.

MTA: Oh. Um, nice touch.

P3H: The last thing we wanted from you was a rigged, pre-arranged interview where you made us look silly. (Lifts his leg and begins licking himself)

MTA: Right. So I guess you two have an effect on my style of communication, being in the Third House --

U3H: Insufficient! Parameter too small! Recalibrate!

P3H: What my friend is trying to say is that saying that the Third House is "communication" is far too limiting. The third house is how your mind works. How, in your case, you remember tiny trivial details for decades, even when your Mercury drops the ball and loses your keys. And how you can assemble those details to form a bigger picture than what was at first expected. 

U3H: Additional data: high affinity for metaphoric imagery.

MTA: You mean how I like to find oddball metaphors for things, like making my Uranus in Virgo a Borg... a weird species of alien who will go to unusual lengths to achieve what they see as perfection?

U3H: Affirmative.

MTA: (To P3H) And you are...?

P3H: The neighbor's dog that scared the hell out of you when you were six.

MTA: Ah. You know, you guys aspect most of the stuff in my chart. Pretty much everything except Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter. That makes you pretty significant.

P3H: Venus and Jupiter? A pushover and a clown. Not of any real significance. And your Mercury is scattered to near-uselessness.

U3H: They are irrelevant. We do not need them.

MTA: What are you talking about?

P3H: We're here to correct you. In past, you have said that strong placements in other signs can overwhelm a relatively weak or isolated Sun Sign. Like the Gemini you know with the stellium in Taurus. Or, in your case, the Moon in Cancer on the Ascendant. particularly in times of stress. Like you've experienced recently.

MTA: And you don't agree with that?

(U3H extends his metal probe-arm out to MTA. A pair of mechanical fangs shoot out, stabbing MTA's left shoulder, and withdraw.)

MTA: Ow! What was that for?

P3H: We agree with your theory, in principle.

MTA: (Absently scratching the back of his left hand) Then what are you trying to prove?

P3H: That the idea is right, but you got the placement wrong. In your case, it isn't sweet little Moon In Cancer. It's us. And we are taking over.

U3H: We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own.

(MTA scratches harder at the back of his left hand, then holds it up to examine the source of the itch. A rash has broken out, but no ordinary rash: it is composed of electronic components and wiring wrapped in thick black dog hairs. And it is slowly spreading up MTA's arm.)

MTA: This... this is... you can't...

(U3H begins to produce a quavering feedback sound, and P3H barks, and then begins to howl. Both the feedback and the howling soon mutate into maniacal laughter. The red emergency lights dim, then flicker out completely. The insane laughter continues.)

MTA: Oh. Shit.

(Part of the "Personal Planets" series. Click HERE to collect 'em all!)
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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sarah Palin's E-mail Hacked: Let The Saturn-Uranus Games Begin!

As I fretted about in my my first blog entry about Sarah Palin, technology seems to be playing an increasing role in the 2008 US Presidential elections. Gawker.com reports that Governor Palin has just recently had two of her Yahoo e-mail accounts hacked, and some of the contents thereof have been published online.

Gawker credits Anonymous, the online group determined to overthrow Scientology, with the hacking of Sarah's Yahoo accounts. Admittedly, this could be a hoax. However, if it is, it's a damned good one. I've been a big fan of Anonymous and the work they have done to spread the word about Scientology, but this leaves me a little uncertain about them. If it was Anonymous, I wish they would have left it alone. The screwing that Scientology puts people through is too important to have partisan politics, regardless of ones views, interfering with it. Besides, the last thing we need is a knee-jerk defense of Scientology by Rush Limbaugh.

(And yes, that was me bad-mouthing Scientology. Deal with it.)

Transiting Saturn is still bobbling around with the conjunction with Sarah's natal Uranus-Pluto, and that process won't be done with until well after the November elections. At the moment though, the biggest news is still, I believe, the transiting Neptune conjunction to her natal Sun. If there are more technologically-oriented news stories surfacing in the next couple of weeks in regard to the McCain/Palin campaign, I would take that as a proper clue to perform a rectification with. It also wouldn't bode well for the technologically-induced mayhem I'm still worried about in November.

And finally, a word about Governor Palin's time of birth: I still haven't seen anything official. A astrologer named "Madame Lichtenstein" claims to have received an e-mail telling her the time of birth was 4:40 PM. Sorry, but I just don't trust it, and won't trust ANY rectifications, guesses or rumours until I see proof. Besides, if I could trust everything I get in my e-mail, I'd be a Nigerian millionaire several times over by now. (And Madame Lichtenstein: next time you're talking to your inside source, could you please ask about that cheque I sent? I haven't spoken to Prince M'Beki in ages now, and I'm starting to worry...)

It's bad science to base anything on a highly questionable "accurate" time of birth. Think of all the astrologers out there who made asses of themselves over Princess Diana's wrong time of birth...

I don't mistrust technology: not at all. It is, as always, what the humans do with it where things go wrong.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Weird Science: Saturn-Uranus And Morgellon's Disease



One feature of the ongoing Saturn-Uranus opposition is that one can expect weird things to come hatching out... and in one case that's in the news: literally hatching out. Of your skin.

The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) are finally investigating a weird phenomenon I've kept an eye on for some time: Morgellon's Disease, a medical condition which a lot of doctors don't even believe exists.

Morgellon's comes with an interesting collection of symptoms. Often sufferers report confusion, joint pain, and memory problems. But that's not the weird part. The primary symptom is a sense of crawling under the skin, like bugs are burrowing through you. And then the rash breaks out.

And then tiny, mysterious coloured fibres hatch out of you. Sometimes white, black, red or blue.

Another mysterious thing about Morgellon's: most doctors treat it as "hysterical parasitosis:" in other words... "you're crazy because you think you've got bugs inside you." This, despite the very weird but very obvious fibers involved.

There is another Saturn-Uranus possibility that has been mentioned: that Morgellon's is caused by Agrobacterium, a common bacterium used in various genetic-engineering projects. One of the reasons Agrobacterium is used for this is that it was believed, at first, that it did not infect humans or animals.

Oops.

So it's possible... just possible... that we are now, for the first time, seeing one of the stranger unintended consequences of modern genetic engineering technology.

Mainstream science... though I have a great love and admiration for it... doesn't really want to admit that things it doesn't believe in are real. Like, you know... astrology, for example. Scientists are human, and part of being human is the ability to deny the obvious. But science... True Science... is the practice of accepting observations as they are, and attempting to make sense of them. The Saturn-Uranus opposition is giving us all the opportunity to be scientists with our own lives. It's just a matter of reading the data.

Saturn rules skin, among other things. This opposition may not manifest itself in your life by you getting some strange new skin disorder. But Saturn also rules your sense of order: how life is, or how it's supposed to be. And Uranus rules the strange and unexpected. Odds are good you are feeling the changes brought by the Saturn-Uranus opposition in some department of your life.

So: what's come hatching out of your life lately?

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The Amazing Surprise Economic Turnaround Astrology Experiment continues! Click here to read more, and to join in!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Jupiter In Gemini In The Twelfth, Retrograde: An Interview (Sort Of)

"Pinky, are you pondering what I'm pondering?

I think so, Brain, but this time, you put the trousers on the chimp."

-Pinky And The Brain

(SCENE: The Interview Room. MATTHEW THE ASTROLOGER sits behind the desk. There is a knock at the door.)

MTA: Come in.

(The door opens and a Marching Band files into the room. Instead of the usual brass instruments, woodwinds, and drums, they are equipped with harmonicas, kazoos, and washboards. They are followed by a Chorus of singers, dressed as fast food restaurant employees. Finally, JUPITER IN GEMINI IN THE TWELFTH enters, dressed in an improbably garish costume and carrying a wombat under his arm. J12H clears his throat and gestures to the band. They begin to play "The Major-General's Song" from Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Pirates Of Penzance." J12H sets the wombat down, which then stands on its hind legs, holding sparklers in its forepaws, and dances.)

J12H (singing):

I am your Twelfth House retrograded Jupiter in Gemini
I thought I'd take the time out just to drop in then I'd say "hi"
I'm complex to communicate but I will give it all a try
Here's hoping that you find it educational but not too dry
Although it is my job to be the king of Sagittarius
With Gemini results are often scattered and ridiculous
I have the attention span of approximately a tsetse fly
And it is my job to rule your Sun, South Node, and Mercur-eye!

CHORUS:

And it is his job to rule your Sun, South Node, and Mercur-eye!
And it is his job to rule your Sun, South Node, and Mercur-eye!
And it is his job to rule your Sun, South Node, and Mercur-ercur-eye!

J12H:

In your birth chart you will note that that I am quite unaspected
Scattering my thoughts about and common sense, it gets deflected
My zest for life I find it often outstrips all my cash supply
I am your Twelfth House retrograded Jupiter in Gemini!

CHORUS:

His zest for life, he finds it often outstrips all his cash supply!
He is your Twelfth House retrograded Jupiter in Gemini!

J12H:

You'll find I'm well versed in most matters that are zodiacal
Tropical, sidereal and sometimes heliocentrical
In rulership I command your liver, thighs and pituitary
All three of which you'll find are things that can get hairy
Your Mercury and I, we are in a mutual reception
And we rule each other, fuel each other, that isn't a deception
Amplifying each other's functionalities, we often say
I'm not sure what that means but we can talk about it all the day!

CHORUS:

He's not sure what that means but he can talk about it all the day!
He's not sure what that means but he can talk about it all the day!
He's not sure what that means but he can talk about it all the live long day!

(The Marching Band continues, but J12H gestures for them to stop, which they do. MTA stares disapprovingly at J12H.)

J12H: (Unimpressed) Well, you aren't much of an audience today, are you? I may not be the best-placed planet in your chart, but at least I have style. Hmph.

(The Marching Band files out of the room, followed by the Chorus. J12H bows theatrically, and also leaves. The Wombat tosses the burned-out sparklers aside and returns to all fours.)

MTA: That was just silly and scattered.

WOMBAT: I quite agree.

(Part of the "Personal Planets" series. Click HERE to collect 'em all!)
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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Venus In Aquarius In The Seventh: An Interview

"The world is so full of people, so crowded with these miracles that they become commonplace and we forget... We gaze continually at the world and it grows dull in our perceptions. Yet seen from another's vantage point, as if new, it may still take our breath away."
-Alan Moore


(SCENE: MATTHEW THE ASTROLOGER'S bedroom. MTA is asleep, hidden under a quilt. A grey cat sleeps curled in a ball on top of the quilt, next to him. Hovering in mid-air over the bed is VENUS IN AQUARIUS IN THE SEVENTH, sitting in a lotus position, wearing a handmade Peruvian hemp poncho and faded, tattered jeans. The cat awakes, sees V7H, and runs away panicked. )

V7H: Hey brother!

MTA: (Waking up suddenly) What the hell are you doing here? It's Sunday morning!

V7H: I heard about the bad trip you had with Neptune and thought I'd check in on you.

MTA: Well, um.... thanks. Your timing is a little peculiar though, isn't it?

V7H: I don't follow the usual rules.

MTA: I guess, being Venus, the bedroom is a natural too.

V7H: Don't get any ideas. Besides, that whole part of my role is waaaay overstated.

MTA: Love and affection aren't a part of what Venus does?

V7H: Of course. But there's all kinds of love.

MTA: I guess I could make some kind of hippie love commune joke here. I shouldn't, though.

V7H: If it feels good, do it. Everyone should be free to follow their bliss as they see fit, barring harm to another of course. Love comes in many forms, and moves us in different ways, and all of it adds to the Greater Good. No... it multiplies. Love, in its truest form, is so much more than just physically and mentally bonding with someone for the endorphin rush that produces. That's great... don't get me wrong... but ultimately, that's just mistaking the evidence of Love for Love Itself. I think that's where a lot of people get tripped up by their Venus.

MTA: So how does the experience of "love" feel for you?

V7H: I prefer not to feel it so much as to do it. Love is many things. It's a noun and a verb. It's the kind word at a difficult time. It's the change landing in a panhandler's cap. It's putting things back so others can use them. It's standing up to tyranny. And yes, it is also the embrace of a loved one. In the context of romantic love... the same things apply. Except in that case, you are simply applying the general principle to the specific person.

MTA: You're kind of in an interesting place. I don't mean my bedroom, I mean in Aquarius... which has a reputation for being cool and stand-offish. Universal, but not personal. But you're also in my Seventh House, which is considered to be a very good place for you. At least, as far as all the traditional love and romance associations Venus has.

V7H: I find it makes it easier to express my higher ideals to others, especially within the context of a relationship. And when you share a house with Mars In Capricorn your whole life, you learn a few things about "getting along." There are worse things than having high ideals towards someone you love, isn't there?

MTA: I suppose so.

V7H: People are inherently worthy of love, merely for being people. It's too easy to forget that. And it's too easy to forget that romantic love comes with responsibility as well as pleasure. People treat it like it's a trip to Candyland... and then they crash after the sugar runs out. Or when the object of that love... who is worthy of love simply because they are human... turns out to be human. So many people grasp for Love, because it will do something for them. Like it's a pill that will compensate for the pain. But it's not about you. It's about the other. That's the easiest thing in the world to understand about Love. And, sometimes, it's the hardest thing to act on. It's less like Romeo and Juliet than most people realize... and more like Kirk and Spock. (Drifting towards the door) Gotta go... glad you're doing better...

MTA: Wait! Why not stick around a while?

V7H: I'm needed somewhere else.

MTA: You're such a humanitarian.

V7H: Not today, Brother. I've got a Star Trek convention to get to... (leaves)

(Part of the "Personal Planets" series. Click HERE to collect 'em all!)

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The Amazing Surprise Economic Turnaround Astrology Experiment continues! Click here to read more, and to join in!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Neptune In Scorpio In The Fifth: An Interview

"And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
-Friedrich Nietzsche



(Scene: An enormous, dimly lit warehouse filled with badly-arranged shelves stacked with a bizarre assortment of DVDs, books, and trinkets. At one end is a door, and at the other is a battered metal vault, held shut by a heavy iron bar. The smaller door opens and MATTHEW THE ASTROLOGER enters, carrying a note pad. At the centre of it all, in an arm chair, sits NEPTUNE IN SCORPIO IN THE FIFTH, glassy-eyed as he smokes from a bong, surrounded by a mound of clutter. He is on the phone, and talks loudly in order to be heard over a Warner Brothers cartoon which plays on an enormous television screen in front of him. He doesn't notice MTA entering.)

N5H: Bummer, dude. No, seriously. There's no way anyone should treat you like that. You were just -- (notices MTA has arrived) Whoa, gotta go. Astrologer dude is here. (N5H hangs up, and shouts to MTA.) Sorry I didn't hear you dude. That was Moon In Cancer. We trine each other almost exactly. That comes with free long distance.

MTA: I had to drop by. You keep missing your appointment. (glaring at the giant TV) Does that thing have to be on so damned loud?

N5H: Yeah, sorry about that. Have a look around, dude. Ask your questions... I'm not real good with answers though.

MTA: (Writing in his notepad) This place is a mess. Kind of interesting though. (Sees something on the floor) Hey! I haven't seen that since I was seven!

N5H: "The How And Why Wonder Book Of Dinosaurs"? Yeah. I've got it all here. Let Mercury and The Moon fight over who rules memory... I got your nostalgia right here, dude.

(There is a distant thumping sound)

MTA: What was that?

N5H: Nothing to worry about. (Turns the volume up on the cartoon a little) That'll take care of it.

MTA: You've got an amazing collection here. (Flipping through a few DVDs on a shelf) An awful lot of porn too. (excitedly) You've got this too? Man, those were good times!

N5H: Yeah. The relationship didn't work out, but it sure had it moments.

MTA: You've made me pretty unrealistic about those... relationships and romance and such. Always chasing after the wrong woman, or chasing after the right woman the wrong way, or -- (grabs another DVD off the shelf. A bag of pills falls to the floor) I'd completely forgotten about this one!

N5H: Yeah, that was quite the Salma Hayek phase you went through. See? I've even got your nostalgia for things that never really happened!

MTA: You know, I'm just not getting any work done here.

N5H: Work is for chumps, dude. Chumps! (Holds out the bong to MTA) Want some?

MTA: (Reaches for the bong, then stops himself) Nah. I've got a blog to write. (Accidentally knocks over a half-full bottle of Sambuca on the floor, which spills onto a stack of old comic books) This place is a disaster. But it's tempting to stay and hang out a while.

N5H: Pull up a chair! And about the cleaning: who do I look like to you, Saturn? If it feels good do it, I say. Cleaning? Doesn't feel good, so I don't do it.

MTA: I wanted to ask you about my ongoing insomnia issues. Normally a strongly-aspected Neptune would indicate too much sleep, if anything. But why --

(The distant thumping returns, a little louder. It appears to be coming from the vault door. The bar holding it shut jumps a little.)

MTA: Is there something you aren't telling me?

N5H: Yeah... I know why you don't sleep. (Looking at the television) The cartoon's over. (The enormous television falls silent, and it becomes apparent why it was on so loud. The metal vault door is being pounded on from the inside. A cacophony of sound issues from behind the battered vault door. Satan growls blasphemies. An air raid siren wails. The clown from Stephen King's "It" laughs menacingly. An angry Rottweiler snarls. Darth Vader's breath rasps. A bullying child taunts. Glass shatters as a head goes through it. A mocking SS officer shouts "Herzlich willkommen in Buchenwald, Zigeuner!" Each sound is distinct, yet melds into a whole: a sound like the hoarse shrieking of a baby left in a car with the windows rolled up on a hot summer day.)

MTA: What the hell...?

N5H: The Bad Things are here too. It's almost midnight. Time for them to come out. (N5H walks towards the vault and reaches for the bar holding it shut) Okay, okay, I know... you've been locked up for hours now. Hey Matt, you want to put another DVD in? I've got -- (N5H turns to where MTA was standing a moment before. He is gone, having run out the door he entered by. The notebook is abandoned on the floor.)

(Part of the "Personal Planets" series. Click HERE to collect 'em all!)

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Mars In Capricorn In The Seventh: An Interview

"Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us."
-H.G. Wells




(SCENE: The Interview Room. MATTHEW THE ASTROLOGER sits behind the desk. The door bursts open and MARS IN CAPRICORN IN THE SEVENTH enters, dressed in battered leather and sporting three days growth of stubble, giving off a very Mad Max air. MARS sits down at the chair in front of MATTHEW, parking his biker-boot shod feet on the desk)

MTA: Well... you're exactly on time.

M7H: I plan ahead. Let's get this candy-ass interview over with.

MTA: Ooookay. Are you usually this, um, charming?

M7H: I'm incredibly well behaved, usually. I'm just keeping an eye on you. Don't want you pulling a hatchet job on me.

MTA: Now why would I do that?

M7H: You might have your reasons. (Removes a serrated hunting knife from his belt, and shoves it point first in the desk) See? I'm not armed now. No need to be afraid, Nancy Boy. Go ahead, ask your questions.

MTA: Mars in Capricorn is generally considered to be an "exalted" placement... the most effective sign you can be in. And you're very strongly aspected in my chart.

M7H: Yeah, and exactly opposite Moon in Cancer. That's caused a few ulcers in my time, believe me.

MTA: But you're in the Seventh House, which is an awkward placement to say the least.

M7H: I admit it made the first marriage difficult. Also: I seem to like 'em a little feisty.

MTA: "First" marriage?

M7H: I haven't given up on a second one. (Pauses) It's a security issue.

MTA: Ah. You've certainly caused a few brawls in your time.

M7H: Verbal ones, mostly. The use of actual physical violence is a sign that you didn't plan ahead... that your opponent got the best of you. But a good verbal fight, if someone has it coming to them and your cause is just? Oh yeah. "To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

MTA: You've read "The Art Of War" by Sun Tzu then?

M7H: When I was twelve.

MTA: It's certainly a good thing you've got all that energy under control.

M7H: I've actually put it to good use. I was a shop steward once, you know. And that's not the only good use I've put it to over the years.

MTA: Really? What else?

M7H: (Standing up, removing his knife from the desk, and turning to leave) Haven't really got time to talk. But look up "The Multi-Orgasmic Man" sometime. It's another classic that's made my life a better place. (Pauses) I know you don't really want to mention that on your blog. But you got your little interview out of the deal, and I got a little advertising for myself out of it. Leave it in. Show some balls... or I will mess you up in ways you can't imagine, when you least expect it.

MTA: Hey.. what the hell? Are you looking for a fight?

M7H: No. Just looking to win. (Turning back before leaving) Besides, it's good for you too. Most of your clients are women, right? And who are most of their complaints about?

MTA: Men.

M7H: (Winks) See? When I'm plugged in, I'm good for business. Takes a thief to catch a thief, right? (Leaves, grinning)

(Part of the "Personal Planets" series. Click HERE to collect 'em all!)

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

An Astrologer Gets You Pregnant!

I've received an unusually large number of enquiries lately about fertility issues. Having trouble getting pregnant is not the exclusive domain of any one placement or planet in the birth chart.

Traditionally, one looks at planets in the Fifth House. Generally, having the Moon there is good for making babies. Saturn or Uranus, not so much. But of course one must also factor in house placements, difficult or supportive aspects to planets in the Fifth, the condition of the ruler of the Fifth House, and so on.

As with so many things in life, pinning these things down to one or two simple rules is difficult to do. And whenever I find an exception to that, I'm grateful. Here's one of those times:

Fertility appears to follow two cycles. One is the obvious one: your monthly cycle. If you're trying to conceive and haven't been able to for a while, you've likely gone through the whole procedure of charting your fertile days, making your man wear boxer shorts, and on and on. Astrologically, it appears there is a second cycle to be aware of.

Have a look at your own birth chart. Note the angle between the Sun and Moon, regardless of the signs involved. If you have Sun opposition Moon, you were born on a Full Moon. If you have Sun Conjunct Moon, you were born on the New Moon. If you have Sun square Moon, you were born on the half Moon, and so on.

Take that calendar you've got with the red check marks on your fertile days and look at the Moon phase... again, regardless of sign placement. When the Sun and Moon are about the same distance apart in the sky as they were when you were born, all else being equal, you are more likely to conceive. So if you have Sun sextile Moon in your birth chart, you are most likely to get pregnant if you have sex on a "fertile" day (according to your measurements) which falls four or five days before OR after the Full Moon.

Now: have fun making a baby. And if my advice works for you... Matthew isn't a bad name for a boy, is it?

Saturn In Pisces In The Ninth: An Interview

"Listen up, maggots. You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You're the same decaying organic matter as everything else."

-Fight Club


(SCENE: The Interview Room. MATTHEW THE ASTROLOGER sits behind the desk. There is a knock at the door and it opens slowly, making a long creaking noise. SATURN IN THE NINTH HOUSE enters, dressed in long black robes, and walks slowly and deliberately to the desk and sits down. He produces an hourglass and places it on the desk.)

S9H: Hello.

MTA: Oh, ah, hello. I wasn't expecting you.

S9H: It's strange how no one ever does, isn't it?

MTA: I have to be honest with you: I don't quite know how to approach you. I mean we all know what you represent --

S9H: Limitations, structure, order, boundaries, bones and teeth, and so on. Yes. It's not the most exciting job in the Zodiac, being the designated driver.

MTA: Yes. In my birth chart you're in Pisces... with its reputation for dreamy spirituality, and you're in the Ninth House, representing the higher mind, philosophy, religion...

S9H: Don't forget Higher Education. Remember that screw-up that kept you out of USC Film School?

MTA: Yeah. I'd rather not be reminded of that.

S9H: There are many things your lot don't want to be reminded of.

MTA: What's that supposed to mean?

S9H: You lot. Spiritual people who like to think that everything is always nice and glowy and that all of life is hot and cold running Good Karma on demand, like we live in heaven all the time except when we go on vacation to a spa.

MTA: I'd like to think I'm not quite like that.

S9H: You'd like to think a lot of things about yourself. And when there's a disconnect between what we think and what really is -- (reaches out and taps the hourglass) like when you wake up in the morning and the wrinkles are deeper than you expected -- you all act so afraid. And when things get tight and they hurt, you all call your priest or rabbi or astrologer or doctor or psychic healer or Dr. Phil as if they can somehow barter with Fate for you. Hmph. Wishful thinking at its finest.

MTA: Man, that's harsh. And why did you call me "you all?" There's only one of me.

S9H: Because everyone feels me personally, but what I represent is far more universal than the taste in movies you get from Neptune, or how well you do at trivia quizzes because of your Mercury. I am The Material World. I am the things you are here to adapt to, to learn from, and to overcome.

MTA: But in the Ninth House, representing religion and spirituality --

S9H: Yes. And you are the most skeptical astrologer I've ever met. And for good reason... 90% of the astrology out there is crap.

MTA: I'm not sure the people reading my blog will be happy to hear that.

S9H: Maybe they will be when they realize that 90% of everything is crap. Everything. Medicine. Science. Religion. Food. Television. Relationships. That doesn't mean it doesn't work, though. And that doesn't mean you aren't a spiritual person. It makes you --

MTA: Practical? Grounded?

S9H: I was going to say "More like Dr. House than the average astrologer."

MTA: Thanks, I think. That's kind of a depressing view of life, isn't it?

S9H: Only at first. If you ever want to get to The Truth, you have to peel away the crap. Sometimes that hurts. It's all necessary though, if you ever want to be anything other than useless to yourself or anyone else. That's the way The Universe is, and always will be until -- (looks at hourglass, taps the last few grains out, and puts the hourglass back into his robes) -- your time runs out. (S9H rises and walks towards the door)

MTA: Wait! I didn't get a chance to ask any of the questions I wanted to!

S9H: (Without looking back) That's how I work. I don't answer questions... I present the circumstances that make you question. (The door slowly creaks shut behind S9H as he leaves)

(Part of the "Personal Planets" series. Click HERE to collect 'em all!)

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Sunday, September 7, 2008

Mercury In Sagittarius In The Fifth, Retrograde, Conjunct South Node: An Interview

Do I contradict myself?
Very well, then I contradict myself,
I am large, I contain multitudes.


-Walt Whitman


(SCENE: The Interview Room. MATTHEW THE ASTROLOGER sits behind the desk. There is a knock at the door and it opens. MERCURY IN THE FIFTH enters the room at a brisk pace and sits down in front of the desk.)

M5H: Hey! Yo! Guten Tag! Whassup?

MTA: Hello. You're a bit late.

M5H: Sorry, I couldn't find my keys.

MTA: I'm sorry, aren't you closely conjunct South Node? You came by yourself.

M5H: (Cocks his ear as if listening to something sitting on his left shoulder, then responds) South Node says he's a "shadow planet" in Vedic astrology and doesn't operate quite like the other guys.

MTA: Ah, I see. I'd like to ask you a few questions about your experience.

M5H: Certainement! I love a good question and answer session.

MTA: First of all, you're in the Fifth House. How do you feel this affects your self expression?

M5H: Oh, lots and lots of ways! Like for example, I can write Haiku at the drop of a hat:

Google hits are down
Blog written Sunday morning
Untalented hack.

See? I just made that up right now!

MTA: (clears throat) All right, then. I've noticed your placement, especially with the South Node, sometimes favours excessive drinking. Or drug use.

M5H: (Listening to the invisible presence on his shoulder again, then leans in and speaks quietly to MTA) Why? Whaddaya got?

MTA: Never mind. You know, Mercury in Sagittarius, being opposite Gemini which it rules, is generally considered to be a "debilitated" placement. Kind of scattered and imprecise. It has certain gifts though, like a talent for languages...

M5H: I disagree. My extensive search of the Rodden astrological database shows many important scientists, researchers, and writers have that placement. (searching through pockets) ¡Hijo de puta! Where did I leave those keys?

MTA: I'm sorry, I don't think this is getting me anywhere. You've been pretty scattered and unfocused.

M5H: (Listening to South Node again) We have an excellent collection of love letters we've written, you know. Would you like to see some?

MTA: Right... Fifth House. No thank you. You can go now.

M5H: (leaving angrily) Stinking gadjo!

(MTA returns to writing his notes. After a couple of minutes, the door opens again and M5H pokes his head in)

M5H: Umm... did I leave my keys in here...?

(Part of the "Personal Planets" series. Click HERE to collect 'em all!)
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Friday, September 5, 2008

Moon In Cancer On The Ascendant: An Interview

"It's a little Anxious," he said to himself, "to be a Very Small Animal Entirely Surrounded by Water."
-Piglet, Winnie The Pooh


(SCENE: The Interview Room. MATTHEW THE ASTROLOGER sits behind the desk. There is a knock at the door and it opens just enough for MOON IN CANCER to stick its head in and look around furtively)

MIC: Am I next?

MTA: Yes. Actually, you're first. Come in.

(MIC enters and hesitantly takes a seat) First? Why's that?

MTA: Well, you are on my Ascendant.

MIC: (Smiles) Yeah, ask me how that feels sometime.

MTA: Actually that was my first question. How does that feel?

MIC: I... I don't like it. Not a very safe place to be. I'm not comfortable with it.

MTA: I wouldn't have guessed that from casual observation. Moon on the Ascendant has a reputation for being personable. Kind of outgoing.

MIC: (Excitedly) That's a huge scam, actually.

MTA: Really? I would have never guessed that. You seem cheerful and outgoing. You've probably had a lot of people suggest you should go into sales or something like that.

MIC: It's a cover. A huge one. You know... Cancer rules "coverings," medically speaking... like the sheath around the brain.

MTA: I knew that. I asked you here today to discuss your personal experience, and even this early into it, it's been very revealing.

MIC: (Checking to see if its fly is done up, nervously) Revealing? How? I don't like the sound of that.

MTA: It's interesting. Like, for example, the way you walk. It's kind of like...

MIC: Like Charlie Chaplin, six months pregnant? I know. I've been working on that my entire life. My parents were very critical of that. There were also critical of that nasal whiny five-year-old voice of mine... which again, I've struggled hard to overcome.

MTA: Ah, the parents. Bet there are some issues there.

MIC: I'd rather not talk about it.

MTA: But parenting is always an influence, and especially with Moon in Cancer. You mother, for example --

MIC: I said I'd rather not talk about it.

MTA: Okay. Cancer does have a reputation for defensiveness --

MIC: Part of that comes from childhood. I was a huge kid... at times approaching three hundred pounds.

MTA: Wow, that's... well, you don't look like that now.

MIC: I know. Four months of nonstop prescription speed and self-deprivation when I was fifteen. Somehow, I think I permanently re-wired my metabolism.

MTA: That's interesting. Why do you think your weight was like that?

MIC: The classic. Emotional issues. Of course that all stems from my upbringing.

MTA: Which of course you don't want to talk about.

MIC: Right. I actually have a tremendous memory for things in general, usually. And for emotional slights, real or imagined, most of all. And I'm willing to admit that sometimes they're imagined. (Looking around to see if anyone else is listening in) Truthfully, it's caused me a lot of pain over the years. I feel EVERYTHING.

MTA: That sounds terrible. How do you cope with that?

MIC: Through a rich fantasy life... and by empathizing with everyone to the point where their pain trumps mine. And I cry a lot. Sometimes I make myself cry. NEVER with anyone watching though. Movies usually do it. Do you have any idea how many times I've watched the last 15 minutes of Magnolia or Kundun? Or Silent Running?

MTA: The 70s sci-fi movie with Bruce Dern? The one with the three little robots?

MIC: Yeah. Works every time. "When I was a kid, I put a note into a bottle, and it had my name and address on it. And then I threw the bottle into the ocean. And I never knew if anyone ever found it..." And then that damned Joan Baez song. Works every time. (sniffling) Excuse me.

It's a handy trick really... provoking sadness when no one is around. It's like relieving pressure from a boil. I learned it at a young age.

MTA: I'll bet that has something to do with --

MIC: I don't want to talk about it!

(Part of the "Personal Planets" series. Click HERE to collect 'em all!)
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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sarah Palin, Astrology, And The Art Of Public Speaking

Like many, I have just finished watching the biggest and most important speech of Sarah Palin's political career. I'm making an effort to weed out my political opinions here, so bear with me. I want to have a look at the actual astrological transits she was having at the time, and comparing them to what appears to be the initial reaction across the Internet... again, attempting to filter out political bias.

Part of the problem with this subject is that we still do not have a time of birth for Ms. Palin. It was announced only last Friday that she would be John McCain's running mate in the 2008 Presidential Election (more on the strange astrology of Election Day here), and since then it's been pretty much non-stop shenanigans around Sarah Palin. The issue of the parentage of her son/grandson Trig Palin still hasn't gotten any closer to resolution (my astrological comments here.)

(Strange thing: you'd think that producing birth records would clear up the motherhood issue fairly quickly. Why hasn't that happened yet?)

Since then, there has been even more craziness, including an investigation into a misuse of her powers to get her former brother-in-law fired, and allegations of a connection between Ms. Palin and/or her husband and the Alaska Independence Party, which promotes secession from the country Ms. Palin wants to be Vice President of now.

Talk about pressure!

Even though we do not yet have a time of birth for Sarah Palin, it's always possible to do a rectification. It would be a mistake to do this based on just one event... tonight's speech included... but her performance could give us some vital clues.

Here were the transits as of speech time (9:30 PM, St. Paul MN):

Transiting Sun and Saturn are conjunct Sarah's natal Uranus-Pluto conjunction
Transiting Moon square natal Mercury and quincunxing natal Venus
Transiting Jupiter trining natal Uranus-Pluto, but squaring natal Jupiter
Transiting Uranus is weakly trining natal Neptune
Transiting Neptune (retrograde) conjunct natal Sun almost exactly
Transiting Pluto square natal Venus

Interesting note: Transiting Venus-Mercury-Mars at 5-10 degrees Libra aren't aspecting anything in her chart, other than a very weak opposition to her natal Venus. But without a proper time of birth we can't be sure they weren't doing something to her Ascendant and/or Midheaven, or Moon for that matter. Either way, it's quite a heady mix of transits, as one might expect.

In addition, the transiting Ascendant was at 3 Taurus (squaring natal Mercury) at the beginning of the speech, and the transiting Midheaven was at 16 Capricorn (squaring natal Jupiter).

AFTER THE SPEECH:

The expected digs at Obama were delivered as anticipated, as was the cheerleading for John McCain. And Palin's speechwriters don't seem to have heeded Democrat criticism that the Republicans have had nothing much to say about the economy so far. Initial response on the Internet seems mostly divided along partisan lines, which to me indicates neither great success or failure.

I know that if I express any personal opinion on her performance, I'll be criticized for my political viewpoints... whatever those may be. Here goes anyway: I think Palin generally acquitted herself well, but still needed to make a stronger impression than she did. There were no major stumbles or screw-ups, though.

Based on the transits happening at the time, I would hazard that Palin has a Aquarius/Leo Midheaven/IC. The squares to the natal Mercury didn't help any, and under the circumstances she could very well have done worse. But given the Jupiter support to Uranus (ruler of Aquarius)... that's another vote for an Aquarius Midheaven.

So, my educated guess? I suspect a morning birth for Sarah Palin, giving her moon in late Capricorn. Quite possibly Taurus rising, which would move Saturn into a nice place house-wise, in Vedic terms. And whether you like her politics or not, you have to admit she's got nice skin and cheekbones, implying a well-placed Saturn.

There. Was any of that too political for you...?



Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Trouble At Work: Dr. Phil Feels The Saturn Pinch

There's a bad vibe going around the set of The Dr. Phil Show these days. In the last three months, two members of the show's staff have died and two others have had medical emergencies... including the sudden and unexpected death of a young intern from a strep infection. All of this is happening during a "re-tooling" process to boost ratings, which have undergone a slow but steady decline from their peak a few years ago.

Not surprisingly, Phil McGraw's transits (September 1, 1950, 7:15 PM, Vinita, Oklahoma) reflect this. His Midheaven (public image and perception) is at 24 degrees Sagittarius, and is only now pulling out of a merciless four year off-and-on conjunction with Pluto. Transiting Uranus is currently conjuncting his Ascendant at 21 Pisces, and will be squaring the Midheaven off and on throughout the upcoming season. As for the most recent spate of unexpected deaths in the studio itself: these have all taken place while transiting Saturn has been conjuncting his natal Sun at 9 degrees Virgo. The Sun is the ruler of his Sixth House (work and daily details) and is also in the Sixth.

Furthermore, as the beginning of the new TV season approaches, Neptune is conjuncting the secondary progressed Midheaven. All of these bad transits appear to be piling up to make it a very difficult Fall season for Dr. Phil.

Two bits of good news for Dr. Phil: One, Pluto... which has caused so much trouble for him in past... is rolling into a sextile with natal Jupiter, the Midheaven ruler, and will over the course of the next few years trine his natal Sun and Moon. So, although things certainly won't be easy for him in the next few months, the long-term prognosis is good.

Secondly: you know if things go terribly wrong for him, he'll get a best-selling self-help book out of the trouble he's survived. He does, after all, have Moon in Taurus in the Second House... and if there's any placement that can find a way to turn a buck off of a crisis, that's it.

One more thing: Phil has Saturn smack on his Seventh House (marriage and partnerships) cusp. And who is that stern little gimlet-eyed woman staring at him from the audience all the time? Yup. That's Mrs. McGraw.