Thursday, February 26, 2009

Nadya Suleman And Her Children, Part One: The Superfluous Six

This is the first of two blog entries about Nadya "Octomom" Suleman and her fourteen children. For those of you who don't have the time or patience for detailed astrological analysis, I present a brief astrological joke:

An Aries walks into a bar. You got a problem with that, pal?

Now, the analysis. For those of you who want to play along at home, complete birth data for Nadya and the kids is here.

If you want to see what a person's relationship with their parents is like in a birth chart, there are three places to start: the 4th House and 10th House (and the planets ruling them) and aspects from the mother's chart to the child's Moon. It might be a mistake in any individual case to read too much into any one placement or aspect, but Nadya Suleman gave us enough babies that we could start noticing some patterns... even before the octuplets. Since we don't have a time of birth for Nadya, I'm going to toss out any aspects to or from her natal Moon, which is somewhere in Leo (a noon birth would put the moon at 24 degrees).

Elijah:

4th/10 rulers: Mercury and Pluto

Elijah's chart has a debilitated Venus in Aries as the ruler of the Third House... speech and communications. That, plus a retrograde Neptune in the 12th near the Ascendant, and Mercury conjunct a debilitated Jupiter in Gemini (both closely opposed by Pluto) makes him the most likely candidate to be the "mildly autistic" child with a speech problem.

Mercury opposes Pluto, conjunct Jupiter, no other major aspects. Pluto is trined by Venus in Aries (debilitated). Surprisingly, no planets in Nadya's chart make any significant aspects at all to either Elijah's 4th or 10th rulers.

Nadya's Mars sextiles his moon, her Venus opposes it, and her Neptune squares it. Also noteworthy: Elijah has a prominent Moon-Saturn square.

Amerah:

4th/10 rulers: Moon and Saturn

Moon is trine the Sun and sextile the Midheaven, but is squared by Mercury and Pluto, which oppose each other and are conjunct the Nodal Axis. Saturn is conjunct Mercury, and thus is square Saturn, opposed by Pluto. So: some difficult 4/10 issues there.

As with Elijah, Mom's Venus weakly opposes Amerah's Moon, Mars gives a weak sextile, and Neptune squares it.

Joshua:

4th/10th rulers: Venus and Mars

Joshua has an interesting Venus: at 27 degrees Leo, it is conjunct both the natal Sun and Jupiter within a degree, which is pretty powerful. Also noteworthy: that pile-up is in the first house, and is not aspected by anything else in the birth chart. Combine this with Uranus and Mars at 1 and 7 degrees Pisces (conjunct the older siblings Moons, so undoubtedly they get on each others nerves a lot) in the 8th House, and it paints a very interesting picture of the parent-child relationship. Powerful? Yes. Stable? Nope.

The natal Moon at 1 degree Gemini only gets two aspects from Mom's chart: a conjunction with the South, a square from Venus, and a weak opposition from Mom's Neptune.

Aidan:

4th/10th rulers: Venus and Pluto

Aidan has a strong Venus at 22 Pisces, conjunct the Sun (which is iffy) and trine Saturn (which is solid, but Saturn is debilitated in Cancer). Unfortunately for Aidan, that fairly strong Venus is closely squared... by Pluto in the 12th House.

Natal Moon at 10 Gemini only receives two major aspects in the birth chart... a weak trine from Neptune in the 1st House, and a tighter square from Uranus at 7 degrees Pisces (note how that portion of Pisces keeps showing up in these charts). This can often result in digestive/dietary problems (a common issue with autistic children) and combined with a third house ruled by a void of course Mars in Capricorn, makes Aidan my educated guess to be the second autistic child of the lot.

How does Nadya's chart interact with Aidan's moon? One major aspect only... her Neptune opposes his moon.

Finally (whew!)... Calyssa and Caleb, born two minutes apart:

4th/10th rulers: Venus and Pluto.

At first glance, Venus and Pluto look strong in these charts. Venus is in Libra and Pluto is trine Saturn. But they do square each other... weakly, but it's there.

Also: I'm going to break one of my own rules about generalizing too much based on a single placement. These children have a 12th House void of course Moon in Capricorn receiving no aspects other than a square from Mercury, and is ruled by a debilitated Saturn in Leo. If that isn't a strong astrological signature for depression, I don't know what is.

...And speaking of depression, there are only two major aspects from Mom's chart to the twin's Moon -- an opposition from Mom's Sun and Saturn in Cancer (Saturn within five degrees, the Sun weak at almost ten degrees), and a close square from Mom's natal Uranus. All of which is very... depressing.

Ouch.

In all fairness, it would be wrong to look at any single mother/child astrological comparison and declare it to be a "bad" relationship based on one or two difficult factors. Lots of people have good mothers who still get on their nerves, and lots have difficult maternal relations with no immediately obvious reason. But when you have six charts to look at (or fourteen in this case) and you see the same sorts of things over and over again... it's hard not to leap to some less-than-flattering conclusions about the mother.

Coming soon: we'll have a look to see if throwing an additional eight babies into the mix helps things or not.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ruled By Venus

Just because Taurus and Libra are both ruled by Venus, don't assume they have the same approach to dating...

(Click it. It gets bigger!)




Now, today's choice reruns:

Your Attention Please: The Capricorn Guide To Compatibility

The Radical Astrological Liberation Front (RALF) Guide To Uranus Through The Houses

Friday, February 20, 2009

Aries Woman Lays The Smackdown On Gemini Man

Today's choice reruns:

Continuing the Compatibility series, here's They're Off And Running! The Sagittarius Guide To Compatibility.

Second: if you are an Aries woman, you've undoubtedly read all about how you and Gemini are compatible. Here, courtesy of the BBC miniseries "Jekyll," is a practical guide to how the typical Aries woman can keep a Gemini man focused and attentive.

A warning: as with all such relationships in real life... there's plenty of swearing.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Uranus Vs. The Tolstoy Effect

"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof."

-Carl Sagan


"I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives."

-Leo Tolstoy


I gave up on being able to wear a watch a long time ago. It's a common enough phenomenon: you probably know (or know of) someone like that. It's one of those strange things that everyone has heard of, or is familiar with, and yet nothing (so far as I can tell) has ever been done to dig further into the matter, scientifically.

We are all prone to The Tolstoy Effect. We expect to see things work a certain way, therefore we do see things work a certain way. The most intellectually dishonest skeptic and the most rigorously scientific astrologer have that in common. This doesn't just apply to what we call "the paranormal" either.

Consider the phenomenon of "spontaneous remission." Almost no research has been done into it. Logically, it's easiest to assume that if a diagnosed incurable illness goes away on its own, the diagnosis is wrong. So perhaps we shouldn't be surprised if (as one study discovered) only about one in ten cases of spontaneous remission are even reported in the first place. After all, if you were a doctor, would you want to report you may have given a patient a death sentence by accident?

And yet, damned near every doctor out there has seen it happen. "The other doctors may have bungled their diagnoses, but not me. I went over the test results repeatedly, and yet..."

In my case, I've spent most of my life expecting electronics to fail at a higher rate than they appear to for the average person. Clocks, microwaves, computers, telephones... they all have an unfortunate tendency to not merely break down, but screw up around me spontaneously. They do so more than they should... and when I am under stress, the phenomenon (string of coincidences?) is dramatically amplified.

As a long-term chronic insomniac, I've had the opportunity to have more than one CAT scan and EEG done on myself. If you've never had either, let me tell you: they are more uncomfortable than they look on TV. And every time I've had one of those tests done, I've gotten stressed out. And every time, I get to hear some variation on those magic words: "Um, sorry, we're having some trouble with the equipment...."

If I was going to blame this on something in my birth chart, I'd blame it on my strongly aspected natal Uranus-Pluto conjunction. All I can tell you for sure is that the ongoing Saturn-Uranus opposition has been twanging on my Uranus-Pluto conjunction (and squaring my natal Sun) for months now, and the problem has been more pronounced the whole time. And yesterday, as the transiting Moon squared the conjunction, this blog vanished for a while. And both my computers developed debilitating issues. And my internet connection slowed to a crawl. And my cordless phone setup stopped working properly.

And (coincidentally, I'm sure) my records have vanished from the Government's systems.

This is by no means a new thing with me. Inconvenient electromagnetic phenomena have been following me most of my life. It's only now that I am reluctantly coming to terms with it.

So remember: the next time you think you see a ghost, or a UFO, or have a sudden precognitive flash that something is going to happen (and then it does)... remember: the simplest solution to any given situation is usually the best.

The problem with that, of course, is that sometimes the simplest explanation is just plain crazy.

That, and if there really is such a thing as "mutant super-powers"... why the hell couldn't I have at least gotten a useful one?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Economics: Saturn And Uranus Separate The Wheat From Donald Trump's Chaff

First, today's choice reruns... um, I mean, "MTA Classics!"

True Tales Of Teen Heartbreak: The Libra Guide To Compatibility

CSI: Romance - The Scorpio Guide To Compatibility

Second, a word on the current "economic crisis":

Donald Trump's (born June 14, 1946, 9:51 AM, Queens, New York) three Atlantic City casinos are filing for bankruptcy. And what's more... this is the third time his casinos have filed for bankruptcy. That's right: the third time. Anyone who knows anything about probability and statistics will tell you that it takes a special kind of short-sightedness for a casino to go broke even once. But three times?

Transiting Saturn and Uranus have been squaring Donald Trump's natal Sun, North Node, and Uranus for some time now, so in some ways we should probably be mildly surprised things haven't been worse. The Sun is the ruler of his Ascendant (public image), and Uranus is the ruler of Trump's Seventh House, so I'm willing to bet things stink on the domestic front for him of late as well. Wait... is Donald Trump married this week? I can never keep track.

Donald Trump is, in many ways, the living symbol of how Western Capitalism has operated for the last 20 years. For those of you without a degree in Economics, let me save you a couple of years worth of studying:

1) Find a farmer who's in economic trouble.
2) Wait until he's desperate and buy his cow at a discount.
3) Grind the cow into hot dogs
4) Stamp your brand name on the hot dogs and resell them for ten times the price per pound of an actual cow.
5) Retire and/or get fired, take a huge "golden parachute" settlement, and skip town before the salmonella and malnutrition breaks out.

About ten percent of the United States GDP is in Banking and Economic Services. In other words, one tenth of the beans go to bean counters, who eat half and then plant the other half. And the last few years the banks have overeaten, and planted what was left over in the sand. Much of the rest of the economy is a matter of buying and reselling, and nothing of real value is actually produced. The bean counters have done well by it, though.

Of course, you and I are stuck cleaning up the mess. We can't get angry with Trump and Company any more than we can truly be angry with the rabbits who discovered a biological niche and spread all over Australia. Australia, of course, has a different opinion on the matter.

So, in light of current trends and fears (which I don't think will turn out as badly as many think), I've tinkered with my own price structure. I am now making detailed six-month personal economic and romantic forecasts available at a discount... all of the detail of a regular full-blown consultation, but focused on the area you need it most. Write me for more details.

And I'll put my track record up against Donald Trump's, or any economists, any day.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Classic MTA - The Virgo Guide To Compatibility, Within A Tolerance Of ±0.2 Millimeters


INITIAL CONDITIONS:

Humans are driven by biosocial factors to pair-bonding. Further, the efficiency of each bond ("compatibility") is variable with each individual involved, in part due to personality-based initial conditions ("Sun Sign"). Virgo attempts to place this within a rational context and draw accurate conclusions.

HYPOTHESIS:

Virgo can find true love within the confines of an imperfect world. Based on broad personality data gathered by Sun Sign. it is projected that the relative probability of success in a pair-bond can thus be projected on an a priori basis. Each potential partner is evaluated on a scale of 0 to 1 as a function of probable incidence of harmony (on a per incidence basis).

DATA:

Taurus and Capricorn (0.8/1): Perform well under stress; high tensile shear resistance. Partner malleability is occasionally impaired when reconfiguration is required. Reconfiguration will likely be proposed based on their data set, not yours. With practice, excellent subject conformity to relationship guidelines.

Cancer and Scorpio (0.75/1): Both require some cleaning. Generally sound emotional depth, but both filter their data via emotional factors more than Virgo, and can be resistant to probing. Hardened shells may be difficult to open, but can reward the effort. Emotional slipperiness can occur. Wear rubber gloves.

Pisces (0.7): Highly sensitive to contamination, like yourself. Highly suggestible, unlike yourself. A lack of detail and definition can be frustrating to the researcher; however, emotional appeal can be highly catalytic. A great deal of net-casting is often needed to collect accurate emotional data.

Sagittarius and Virgo (0.65/1): Both signs demonstrate a sympathetic knowledge for further life data, but are likely to use entirely different experimental models than the researcher, making for potential translation problems. Theoretically shouldn't work, but often does anyway. This requires further research.

Aries and Aquarius (0.6/1): Difficult, volatile substances which come with certain containment hazards. One is highly explosive, the other is often too neutral to form a reaction. However, once proper procedures are in place, this can (paradoxically) make long term bonding possible. Not what you expected... but possible.

Leo and Libra (0.5/1): Constantly changing emotional states lead to initial exhilaration, often followed by exhaustion on the researcher's part. Lack of stability is made up for by shininess and willingness. Outcome of experiment difficult to predict, therefore the researcher may wish for more stable materials to work with.

Gemini (0.4/1): Comparable to positronium, an exotic matter-antimatter combination. Appealing as a potential source of tremendous energy, but likely to become explosively unstable under extensive probing. Wear safety goggles.

CONCLUSION:

Nothing in life is perfect, not even Love. Nonetheless, this knowledge does not make the issue go away. It is recommended that Virgos collect further data and reach their own conclusions in this regard.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

An Astrologer's Karma Runs Over A Skeptic's Dogma

First of all, I urge you to take nine and a half minutes out of your life to watch this video:

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My comments:

0:45 - Vedic astrology is "far more accurate." I don't want to start any brawls here between Western and Vedic Astrologers (they can do that fine on their own, thank you). But, speaking as someone who uses both Western and Vedic techniques, I understand where the occasional smugness of the Vedic crowd comes from. It's downright spooky the stuff a decent Vedic astrologer can spot in a birth chart.

Having said that: I think the biggest (and most accurate) criticisms of Western Astrology that the jyotishis have is based on...

0:59 "I got out of astrology because I realized that what I was really doing was practicing psychology without a license."

Bingo. One of my biggest problems with how astrology is practiced... particularly of the Western variety... is that it's more psychology than astrology. My own educational background is in psychology, so I'm not knocking that. And of course, as an astrologer, I'm not knocking astrology. The problem with a lot of astrological consultations is that psychology is a vital part of a consultation, and too many are practicing it without a decent grasp of psychology and counseling techniques.

Of course, my own background may bias my opinion. And God knows there are plenty of valid criticisms of modern psychology. How many Universities have a Department of Psychology? And is there a consistently effective treatment for chronic depression out there yet? Say what you will about astrology, it stands up nicely to Freudian or Behavioral or Humanistic views of how the mind works... without nearly the same amount of research funding.

Put another way: if you stopped being an astrologer because you realized that you were "practicing psychology without a license," the problem isn't astrology... it's that you aren't a psychologist. Regardless of one's level of astrological skill, mucking about with people's thoughts and feelings and past and future demands a lot of knowledge, wisdom, and self-discipline. If you haven't got that... please, find another job.

1:45 "This is a woman who probably plucks her eyebrows." Well, um... duh. We're told this woman is a business executive, so maintaining a crisp, clean appearance is going to be important. But the point here is that if I doubt she'd say "wow" to this observation unless (left to their own devices) her brows really were on the bushy side. And honestly... anyone who thinks this astrologer could "bond" with a woman over pointing out her bushy eyebrows obviously knows very little about women... let alone astrology or psychology.

Besides... whether they "bonded" or not... the astrologer was right.

3:05-9:28 - As a lawyer would say, res ipsa loquitur... "the thing speaks for itself." A cumulative result of 77% effectiveness? Booyah!

Pick any currently available antidepressant... each one the result of years of scientific research and millions of dollars of laboratory time... and you tell me if it works 77% percent of the time. Go ahead, look it up. I dare you.

Now... where's MY lab coat, tenure, and corner office, dammit?

And finally... thanks to both Michael Schermer for allowing this to surface in the first place... and to Jeffrey Armstrong, for kicking ass.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Classic MTA - Overture, Curtain Lights: The Leo Guide To Romantic Compatibility


Welcome to the twelve-screen multiplex of Love. Today we're going to see if we can successfully hook our friend Leo up with the man/woman/movie of his/her/its dreams. And if you're a true movie fan, you know that the right review from the right critic can improve your chance of being really entertained... despite the sticky floor and overpriced popcorn. Of course, even your favorite film critic can get it wrong once in a while... and what's more fun than uncovering an under appreciated cinematic gem?

Tickets, please...

NOW SHOWING:

Blaze Of Love (Aries and Sagittarius): Action! Suspense! Romance! This one has it all. Aries can't help but overact a little, and Sagittarius is all exhuberance and no technique, but with a little editing this one could have been perfect. Big thumbs up! FIVE STARS.

C'est Moi, Mon Amour (Leo): An intense and compelling tale with few flaws. The main flaw here is that the romantic leads keep acting like it's just their movie. A bit sappy for some people's tastes. FOUR STARS.

The Mirror Has Two Faces (Gemini and Libra): Playful and romantic. The fast-paced but occasionally erratic screenplay keeps things moving at a furious clip. The perfect way to while away an evening. Occasionally thin characterization leaves some doubt as to whether or not the energy can be maintained for the planned sequels. THREE AND A HALF STARS.

I Married A Martian (Aquarius): An obscure yet compelling opening leads the audience into a wonderland of surprises, romance, and culture clashes. The director's detached approach can be frustrating for the summer-romance-movie crowd. The special effects are amazing, but at times you'll crave the human element more. THREE AND A HALF STARS.

Pinchy And The Drain (Cancer): This fish-out-of-water comedy/romance/buddy movie works better than you might expect. The film bogs down at about the two-thirds point in maudlin sentimentality. Affectionate, wants to reach out to the audience, but at times you'll wonder about character motivation, and not necessarily in a good way. THREE STARS.

The Sting III - Ouch! (Scorpio):A confused tale of a carefree organ-grinder's monkey and the researcher who loves it, yet wants to dissect it. The two are strangely compelled to each other, and it all plays out in a painfully predictable ending. PETA protested on opening night, and you may too before it's over. Warning: extreme gore. TWO AND A HALF STARS.

Warm Heart, Clean Fish (Virgo And Pisces): This tale of an obsessive-compulsive fishmonger and an alcoholic marine biologist starts out promising. Sometimes when a director juxtaposes two incompatible characters it's a classic buddy movie; this one's just all wet. Sweet, but never seems to really gel into a coherent storyline. TWO AND A HALF STARS.

Pamplona Or Bust (Taurus): Slow-paced and frustrating, yet packed with explosions and car chases. This film knows what it wants right from the opening credits and won't let go, which is not necessarily a good thing. You'll wonder what karma made you pick this instead of one of the comedies. A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury; signifying nothing. TWO STARS.

Death On A Glacier (Capricorn): Challenging and surprisingly complex. Not for the faint of heart. This one is a tough climb right from the start. The director seems unsympathetic to his characters, yet there is a point to it all. You just may have a hard time sitting through 90 minutes of frozen wasteland and flat dialogue to get to it. ONE STAR.

Of course, all decent movies have a character overcoming some challenge or another. And this cineplex offers twelve screens full of challenges, each different. Besides, you love movies. Even the bad ones, sometimes...


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Monday, February 9, 2009

Classic MTA - Miss Crabtree's Old-Fashioned Grade Six Schoolmarm Guide To Cancer Compatibility


(Re-runs are a vital part of the television tradition... not welcome, not well-loved, but apparently an important part of the process. In that spirit, here`s my compatibility series again. Don't worry, the new stuff is coming.)

Hello, children, I'm Miss Crabtree, your Compatibility teacher this semester. We're going to do things a little differently this year. I'm going to be handing out your grades at the start of the class, based on how easy or difficult it's going to be for me to get along with you. Stop fidgeting, Leo! You can bring your mark up with hard work. I'm not going to just hand any of you a passing grade. Okay... I just did that with most of you. Spit that gum out, Capricorn! I'm sure I'll enjoy this experience with all of you though, and so will you. Otherwise, you can take your sass to the Principal's office.

Scorpio and Pisces: You pay attention in class and work well with me. Scorpio, you have a real tenacity that I appreciate, especially when it comes to me. Excellent note-taking. Watch the frustration with the tougher tests, though. And Pisces, you are just so sweet! Always a joy to have in class. Try to borrow some of Scorpio's focus though, would you? Your attention is drifting too much. A+

Taurus and Virgo: You're both solid, determined and reliable. You always get to class on time. Taurus, I really like your affection and sensuality, but your stubborn resistance to learning new material lost you a mark. Try harder. Virgo: nice job of showing all your work on the test papers. But could you please try to look like you're enjoying being here more than you do? More enthusiasm, please. A

Capricorn: You're a good solid student. My only problem is that this is Relationship class. Close your History text... I know there's a test in an hour, but your eyes are supposed to be on me now. Me. Less seriousness, more involvement here please. B+

Leo: Honestly, I don't understand why you're here at all. You never focus, you're always clowning around, and it's very distracting. Good thing for you we find each other inexplicably adorable. Should I spell "inexplicable" for you? Your spelling is criminally sloppy. B

Gemini: Improvement needed. Your brightness always contributes to the class, but I have this strange insecure feeling you're always looking out the window at the playground when my back is turned. And sit up straight! And turn off the IPod when I'm talking to you! C+

Sagittarius: You walk in here like you're the teacher. Well... you aren't. I am. Quit grinning at me like that! Are you taking this seriously? You're always fun to have around at recess, though. It's too bad that "recess" doesn't count for any of your final mark. C-

Aquarius: Listen, Aquarius. This is an elective course. Quit acting like you're here because of a court order! You look like you're taking notes, but with that shiny new laptop of yours, you could just as easily be playing games on there. Have you heard a single thing I've said here? C-

Cancer: I'm too defensive? No, you're too defensive! I feel like I'm talking to a brick wall with you sometimes. What do you mean, "I'm the brick wall?" That does it. Go to the Principal's office. There's only room enough here for my crabbiness. D

Aries: Aries? Aries? Has anyone here seen Aries today? Oh, there you are out on the playground. Aries, get in here!! Yes, it's time for Relationship class. No, you're watch isn't right, mine is. It's not time for PE. What? What did you just call me, you little...? D

Libra: You're so sweet, and you normally excel at this class. Bringing me the apple was a nice touch. But when I correct you, that's no excuse for a crying jag that disrupts the entire class. And no I'm not an "insensitive jerk" with you, Libra. Yes, I saw that note you passed Aquarius! You're normally so good at this class, but I'm not seeing any proof of effort on your part at all. I require effort! F

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Friday, February 6, 2009

THIS JUST IN: A Male Astrologer Finds Jessica Simpson Attractive (Also: Weight-Loss Tips)

I was in the middle of my usual exercise routine (which consists of surfing the Net while lifting a slice of pizza) when I came upon this article about how the "fashionistas" are picking on Jessica Simpson because of her recent weight gain.

(Fashionistas, for the record, are apparently citizens of the country of Fashionistan, where no one is allowed to look at real women, ever.)

Jessica has apparently "ballooned" all the way up to a size twelve, from her size one a few years ago. For those of you unfamiliar with how American dress sizes work, it's like this: an average healthy adult woman is usually anywhere from a size five to a size sixteen. By way of comparison, if you visit your nearest Chinatown, you'll probably find a shop where the ducks have been hanging in the window too long, until they've become an orange jerky-like substance. Those ducks are a size one.

Just as astrology can be applied to almost everything in life, it can be of tremendous use when trying to lose weight. I've never had a client come to me exclusively for help with this, but the matter comes up surprisingly often in consultations. Although the details will be individual to every person, there are a number of astrological guidelines that generally apply.

First of all, forget about your Sun Sign. Although it can be an influence, I've seen too many chubby Aries and slim Tauruses and such to know that the Sun Sign should be, if not the last place to look, then low on the list. Unless, of course, you have Leo Rising or Leo on the sixth house cusp, which your Sun would rule.

Your Moon is a much more reliable indicator as to body weight. Even so, one should be cautious of too many generalizations. In other words, if you have Moon in Pisces (for example) you aren't automatically prone to emotional overeating. Depending on the aspects to your moon, that placement could just as easily lead to emotional under-eating.

A more reliable indicator of weight is the Ascendant: its sign placement, planets aspecting it, and the condition and placement of the planet ruling it. The Ascendant also rules your general appearance, posture, coloring, and a lot of other things people don't like about themselves that they can't change.

The most important thing to keep in mind when trying to lose weight with astrology is not so much the birth chart, as the planetary transits happening to it at any given time. Even a perfect diet and exercise routine (if there were such things) could go wrong if you started them at the wrong time.

The best time to start a weight loss routine is when Mars is transiting either the First or Sixth House of your birth chart. The First House starts at your Ascendant, and the Sixth House (which rules diet, health, and routines) is almost on the opposite side of your chart from the First House. Since Mars makes it around the Zodiac in about 18 months, this means that, most of the time, your "diet transits" can last for at least a month and a half. For most people's purposes, that's more than enough time to get a new habit ingrained.

Weight loss is also often the surprisingly good side of a Saturn transit. A supportive aspect to the Ascendant and/or Sixth House ruler can be of tremendous help when it comes to applying self discipline, and an aspect to your natal Venus or Jupiter can curb impulsive eating, overeating, or your fondness for snacks.

An astrologer who knows what they're doing can help you time when to commence a new diet and/or exercise regimen, and can help you understand what factors in your birth chart are helping or hurting the situation.

Perhaps the single most important thing to keep in mind is this: On the one hand, the fashion industry has dictated for about the last fifty years or so that "underfed" is a good look. On the other hand, biology has dictated for about the last million years that having a little "excess" weight is an attractive thing. It indicates good health, a plentiful supply of resources, and the means to bear and raise children (in the area of extra boob and bum matter).

And besides, if most straight males are honest with you about it, they'd prefer a woman with a little excess weight over one who's underweight. Unless of course you're trying to catch a man who takes all his advice from fashion magazines... in which case, your relationship may have much larger problems than just your dress size...

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Classic MTA - Should I Stay Or Should I Go? The Gemini Guide To Compatibility


(Re-runs are a vital part of the television tradition... not welcome, not well-loved, but apparently an important part of the process. In that spirit, here`s my compatibility series again. Don't worry, the new stuff is coming.)

Welcome back to the exciting final round of "Should I Stay, Or Should I Go?"

Today's contestant, Gemini, is on the verge of walking away with the Grand Prize... true love! Now Gemini, all you have to do is answer one question correctly. The cash value of the question represents the degree of difficulty involved. Naturally, you might want to pick an easier Sign... but playing it safe all the time didn't get you as far as it has.

LIBRA ($200): If someone wants to go the same direction you want to go, but you're always going in two different directions at once, can they keep up?

AQUARIUS ($200): There's no question that you can be cool and dispassionate when you want to, knowing your partner will appreciate the affection when it comes later. But what if your partner has a chill schedule of his/her own?

ARIES ($400): If a train leaves Chicago traveling east at 50 miles per hours, and you want to go west, are you going to end up under this train instead of on it?

LEO ($400): If fun and passionate meet materialistic and possessive in a dark back alley, who will win the knife fight? And are you the darkened back alley?

SAGITTARIUS ($400): If two freedom fighters team up, and one of them changes flags every other day, how long until the two freedom fighters end up shooting each other, even by accident?

GEMINI ($600): If two people manage to travel in four directions at once, will either of them end up getting anywhere together, or everywhere?

VIRGO ($600): Emotionally, is X greater than Y, if Y equals Virgo? Solve for X. Having fun yet? Didn't think so. It's supposed to be a romance, not a math problem.

TAURUS ($800): If slow and steady wins the race, will you get tired of the prize and want to take up poker before you get to the finish line if you're riding a Bull?

CAPRICORN ($800): If a hot air balloon has a relative weight of -50 pounds, how many boulders will a Capricorn pile on to ground it until the balloon turns into just an empty bag that doesn't fly?

CANCER ($800): Which lasts longer: Cancer's ability to dive deep into the dark waters of over-emotionality, or your ability to hold your breath while they drag you down with them?

SCORPIO ($1000): How many times per day do you need to be told to mentally and verbally "get to the point" before you trade in your honeymoon tickets to Hawaii for a bus ticket to Anywhere But Here?

PISCES ($1000): (Two part question) 1) A bird may love a fish, but where would they live? 2) How long will it take two birds to either eat two fish, or drown?

Go ahead, Gemini... pick a Grand Prize question. Or. if you prefer, just spin the wheel. That approach seems to work for you too...

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Classic MTA - Sowing The Seeds Of Love: The Taurus Guide To Compatibility


(Re-runs are a vital part of the television tradition... not welcome, not well-loved, but apparently an important part of the process. In that spirit, here`s my compatibility series again. Don't worry, the new stuff is coming.)

A Taurus, whether a man or a woman, has a reputation for not rushing into things. Of course when the heart calls, a Taurus responds just as quickly as anyone else. But how to nurture that relationship properly, and how to tell what kind of an emotional investment you've made? Will it be delicious, beautiful... or just a weed?

Here's a handy guide to your relationships, Taurus, based on how much work you'll have to put into them. Even the hardiest perrenials need some tending, and even the most difficult patch of soil can be made to sprout something beautiful. But some of those patches of soil are a lot easier to work than others...

RICH, DARK SOIL: The other Earth signs (Virgo and Capricorn), Cancer, and Pisces. These spots in the garden aren't going to need a lot of tending. Rich in emotion, yet cautious like yourself. A good long-term investment of your time and energy. Virgo may not always show as much blossom as you like, Capricorn sometimes has trouble taking root deeply, and Pisces tends to wander all over like a vine. Cancer has good tenacity, but needs encouragement to sprout.

FERTILE, BUT REQUIRES A LOT OF TENDING: Another Taurus or Scorpio. You'll probably have fun with these, but they're going to take more work than the average. Another Taurus may sound like a natural, but they can be as stubborn as you, and do you need more of that? Scorpio brings some dynamic blooms, but you may find it leeches too many nutrients from your soil.

SHADY, REQUIRES EXTRA FERTILIZER: Libra and Sagittarius. Like you, Libra is a Venus-ruled sign. This should make the two of you perfect, but Libra needs more attention than you might be ready to give it. As for Sagittarius: it's not the sort of thing you'd ever actually plan on planting, on the face of it... but it seems to work anyway. Bright foliage makes up for all the weeding and wandering into the neighbor's plot.

REQUIRES INTENSIVE WATERING: Aries and Gemini. These astrological neighbors can be appealing, but take a lot more work than most for you to maintain. Aries is always looking for a hotter climate to sprout in, and Gemini puts down its roots where you want them to go... and everywhere else, too. Neither one takes well to being pruned.

A TOUGH ROW TO HOE: Leo and Aquarius. Leo can make a flamboyant centerpiece to any garden. It's just that their wild impulsive growth spurts make them hard to manage, and the huge blooms distract from why you wanted a garden in the first place. Aquarius, like you, grows at its own pace, but you may end up accidentally fertilizing it to death trying to make it grow your way... something Aquarius just won't do.

No matter what relationship you find yourself in, there will be work. And there will be rewards. And as these things go, Taurus, some clich├ęs are true. In romance, you really do have a green thumb!

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Classic MTA - Love Is A Battlefield: The Aries Guide To Compatibility

(Re-runs are a vital part of the television tradition... not welcome, not well-loved, but apparently an important part of the process. In that spirit, here`s my compatibility series again. Don't worry, the new stuff is coming.)

As much as a cliche as it might be, I still find that when an Aries approaches me about their love life, the question may be "Is so-and-so my soul mate?" or "Should I continue to pursue whatshisface?"... but the real question is "how much of a fight am I going to have to put up to get things right?" But you want romance, and whether you're a man or a woman, you love the challenge.

I've decided to demonstrate Aries compatibility by showing you how easy or hard the planned Aries invasion of Love Island will be, based on the sign of the partner.

THE BEACH: The Fire signs, Aries, Leo and Sagittarius. Flat, level terrain here with little resistance. Another Aries might seem like the logical place to start. Trouble probably will set in when your next planned combat action isn't on the same path as your partner's. Leo is comfortable, but they can be less goal-oriented than you. That can be frustrating. Sagittarius is a pleasant fit, but you may have this nagging feeling they aren't taking you seriously enough. And you're probably right.

THE GRASSLANDS: The Air signs, Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius. A little more work to empathize with, but still relatively easy to reach. Only the occasionally spear is thrown at you as you approach. Gemini can be a little more scattered and indecisive than you. Aquarius can be similarly passionate about things, yet strangely dispassionate about them too, and that can be frustrating. Libra is a little further inland and hilly, but worth the extra travel. You may find the natives here react to your every strategic move, making them surprisingly hard to catch off guard for such nice people.

MOUNT BULLMORE: Taurus. Lush fields protected by stubborn thick jungle and a steep climb. This one will take some time to achieve, but may well be worth it as a stabilizing influence. Watch out for the vines: they cling. Hard.

DREAMY VALLEY: Pisces. Gentle, restful, green and luscious. It's a shame you have to go through so much damned work just to find a place to rest. And the terrain here can be confusing and unclear. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? You decide.

FLINTY RIDGE: Virgo. On the face of it, you two have neither nothing in common nor any reason for conflict. This can actually be a great place for you to camp out. All you'll have to do is convince the natives it's okay. And do it in their language, not yours. Good luck with that.

SCORPION PASS: Remember that great scene in "The Fellowship Of The Ring" where Gandalf held off the giant Balrog in a spectacular battle, only for both of them to plunge to their deaths? Yes, one of them did come back for the next movie. You think that's you, or Scorpio? It's a coin toss. You like those odds?

THE DEFENSIVE MOUNTAINS: Cancer and Capricorn. You wouldn't leave your valuables in the driveway and lock up your old newspapers, would you? These two are emotionally defensive because they have a lot going on inside, and they are the most reactive to a sudden jab. The problem here is that "sudden jab" is your style, whether you like it or not.

So why even bother? I don't have to tell you. You're an Aries. It's all about the victory, baby... glorious, glorious victory.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Gentle Charms Of Mars In Taurus: A Conversation With Christian Bale

(Scheduling note: I had originally intended this blog entry to feature a discussion about the nature of Mars in Taurus with actor Christian Bale (born January 30th 1974, time unknown, in Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK). His recent successes have brought new found attention to him, and his Mars in Taurus is fairly strongly plugged in.

I thought he'd be the ideal choice to discuss this placement with.
Unfortunately, Chris was unable to attend in person, so I have had to substitute remarks he made on the set of his upcoming film "Terminator: Salvation" to Director of Photography Shane Hurlbut. I'm sure Mr. Bale won't mind. He seems like a sweetheart.)


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MTA: Mars in Taurus has an unfortunate reputation. Being opposite one of the signs it traditionally rules (Scorpio), it is considered to be "debilitated." Personally, I don't believe this is an entirely fair characterization.

CB: What the f--k is it with you? What don't you f--king understand?

MTA: Mars in Taurus can be a very sensual, affectionate placement -- always ready to heap plenty of attention on friends, loved ones, and co-workers. I've learned this through years of observation.

CB: Well, somebody should be f--king watching and keeping an eye on him.

MTA: Mars in Taurus also has a reputation for a "slow and steady" approach to work and to difficult tasks.

CB: Let's not take a f--king minute, let's go again.

MTA: These people are hard-working, determined, and often excel in whatever career path they find themselves on... whether self-employed or working with others.

CB: Am I going to walk around and rip your f--king lights down, in the middle of a scene? Then why the f--k are you walking right through? Ah-da-da-dah, like this in the background. What the f--k is it with you? What don't you f--king understand? You got any f--king idea about... hey, it's f--king distracting having somebody walking up behind Bryce in the middle of the f--king scene? Give me a f--king answer! What don't you get about it?

MTA: Although generally slow to anger, people with Mars in Taurus --

CB: I'm going to go... Do you want me to f--king go trash your lights? Do you want me to f--king trash 'em? Then why are you trashing my scene?

MTA: -- do have a temper, and when provoked it can be --

CB: Stay off the f--king set man. For f--k's sake.

MTA: -- difficult for others --

CB: I'm going to f--king kick your f--king ass if you don't shut up for a second! All right?

MTA: -- to manage. Fortunately, it usually takes a lot to bring this out of them.

CB: Seriously, man: you and me, we're f--king done, professionally.

MTA: When it comes to their love lives, people with Mars in Taurus can be deeply caring and affectionate, with a strong sex drive.

CB: Ohhhhh, goooood for you. And how was it? I hope it was f--king good, because it's useless now, isn't it?

MTA: In conclusion, it's unfair to characterize Mars in Taurus as a "difficult" placement. As will all astrological factors, it comes with good and bad. properly managed, a relationship of any kind with a person who has Mars in Taurus can be a rewarding, satisfying experience. And thank you for joining us today, Mr. Bale.

CB: You do it one more f--king time and I ain't walking on this set if you're still hired. I'm f--king serious. You're a nice guy. You're a nice guy, but that don't f--king cut it when you're f--king around like this.

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