Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Dark Side of Pluto in Capricorn

I can’t find this news item now, but I read the case on Monday of a pensioner in the UK who recently attended a demonstration. It turned out his car number plate was recorded by a CCTV camera and passed on to the police. At a later date, because of his number plate, he was stopped by the police and questioned under the anti- terrorism laws, and told that if he did not answer all the questions they asked him, he would be arrested. He asked himself “What sort of country am I living in?”

So it seems clear that the police are quite prepared to use the anti-terrorism laws to intimidate people engaged in valid protests. There have been fears of this for some time, and it has been hard to know how much of it is paranoia by people who dislike authority, full stop. So it is interesting to see a concrete case of this sort of abuse, a case that suggests that it is becoming widespread.

It turned out also that there is a body to make sure that information like this is not misused, but that they have very limited powers when it comes to dealing with the police.

I am more sympathetic now to David Davis, the Tory MP who resigned last year in protest against the gradual erosion of our civil liberties. It is interesting that it should be a Tory who made this protest, and that it has been Labour who have overseen these developments. You would have thought it would be the other way round.

Britain has Sun in Capricorn square to Uranus. I think that Uranus will protect us from the extremes of Pluto in Capricorn, for the people will rebel if things go too far. Davis himself has Sun in Capricorn opposite Uranus, so he is well-tuned in to this characteristic of the British. We want an orderly, lawful society, but only up to a point.

Pluto in Capricorn describes an age of state control, and these days it is through information. The main manifestation I have seen of it so far has been the government’s incompetence at controlling the information it has about us. There has been another wave of information loss over the last week. 140,000 medical records have gone missing from the NHS, and the RAF has lost a ‘dirty’ file on some of its personnel.

One way or another, information about us is passing into the wrong hands, and Pluto is only starting its journey through Capricorn. I think it’s important to remember, however, that it is not all bad, it is not all evil authority out to get us. This information also serves some good purposes, like tracking down dangerous drivers, and arresting criminals.


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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pluto in Capricorn and the rise of Christianity

I’m away at the Sunrise Celebration in the South of England, so I’ve pre-published one or two blogs. I’m doing Astrology and Tarot readings. It’s the first time for about 5 years that I’ve been to Festivals, having been needed for some years to take Vajramala out to her horses every day. But I’m free of that now, and in a few weeks I’m off to Glastonbury Festival as well.

So here is a piece by Ed Tamplin that gives us historical perspective on Pluto in Capricorn:

When Pluto moved through Capricorn from the first century 42 AD, St. Paul had experienced his own “plutonic transformation” on the road to Damascus. It set him on a new path of missionary zeal. Meanwhile the Romans at the height of their empire began building Londinium. But their pagan gods were about to fall. Over the next millennium the face of Europe changed under the new banner of the cross. Each time Pluto accessed Capricorn the rate of Christian influence multiplied.

Christianity was a perfect vehicle for Pluto. Here was a religion whose foundations were built on death and resurrection. Jesus taught the resurrection as a Doctrine of Rebirth. One must be willing to die to their former selves to access the true kingdom of heaven. And the martyrdom of the early saints was a physical embodiment of the same principle.

The Roman hierarchy’s suppression of the seeds of change greatly empowered the process. During Pluto’s return to Capricorn in 287 AD, Emperor Diocletian, presiding over a then divided empire, instituted mass Christian executions to stem the religious tide. These mass killings were famous for their failure, and during the same period Constantine the Great was declared the new Emperor. Constantine’s baptism into the new faith would elevate Christianity to the religion of the state, and assist him to reunite the empire.

The following entry of Pluto into Capricorn witnessed the material phase—temple building. It came in the form of the grandiose reconstruction of the most famous church outside the Vatican—the magnificent Hagia Sophia of Byzantium. Dedicating the new building, (which utilized columns from the wondrous Temple of Artemis), Emperor Justinian declared, “Solomon I have exceeded thee.” By Pluto’s fourth and final cycle of the first millennium the devout Frankish King Charlemagne had subjugated the Saxons to Catholicism, in establishing his vast European Empire. The religion and the state were now united across the majority of mediaeval Europe and Eurasia.

The universal church had grown from the true believers to an institution, with its attendant hierarchal corruptions. In doing so it had inadvertently made itself a target for Pluto’s major charter of Reformation midway through the following millennium. On 31 October 1517, with Pluto back in Capricorn, Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church. It led to a new divided Christianity rising like a Phoenix from the old. (more…)


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Monday, May 18, 2009

Why Astrology Works

Astrology divides me. On the one hand I am awed and enchanted by the fact that it works. On the other hand, I can see no reason why it should work, and this gnaws away at me. And I do not know to what extent this is a creative opposition within me, that keeps me on my toes; and to what extent it is my cultural conditioning, an over-emphasis on rationality that leaves no room for an ultimately unknowable universe.

Anyway, here is a contribution to this conundrum (which I don't think has a definitive answer), called Why Astrology Works by Brad Kochunas:

I recently read two marvelous articles written by Ivan Kelly, a professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Saskatchewan, appearing in Psychological Reports, a respected journal in the field of professional psychology. (1) In them, Kelly quite astutely, I believe, dismantles modern astrology with the assurance of a seasoned academician. He notes a wide variety of claims made by astrologers and, to my mind, convincingly raises arguments that are perhaps unassailable by those practicing and believing in astrology as a discipline that literally and accurately describes and predicts human personality. I submit that it would be folly to attempt a point-by-point rebuttal to his arguments. He has us; the jig is up for an astrology conceived as an empirical discipline. (more...)


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Friday, May 15, 2009

Bilbo and Frodo: Virgos on their Chiron Return

Bilbo and Frodo Baggins share a birthday: 22nd September. This much is clear from ‘A Long Expected Party’, the 1st Chapter of ‘The Lord of the Rings’. That is all the birth data we have.

The Lord of the Rings is not set within our historical time period. It is in a sense outside of time. Middle Earth itself, while described in great detail, is imaginary, even though we kind of feel we know it. (This is because Tolkien’s creation is rooted in a lifetime of study of European myth.)


Google Middle Earth

At the same time, Middle Earth is described through reference to our world. I therefore feel free to take the position of the Sun on 22nd Sept as an astrological pointer to the characters of both Bilbo and Frodo.

Between 1931 and 1972, which more than covers the time of the writing of The Lord of the Rings, the Sun on 22nd Sept was always at 29 point something Virgo. Since then, due to precession, it has started to appear in Libra. And before 1931 you could find it at 28 point something Virgo. So Bilbo and Frodo have their Suns at 29 Virgo.

Now Virgo isn’t a general description of the character of hobbits, but rather these 2 particular hobbits. For the general nature of hobbits, I’d probably say Capricorn (respectable and cautious), Taurus (they like their food – remember second breakfast!) and Virgo (clever with their fingers and unobtrusive). Very earthy creatures!

Bilbo and Frodo, due to their Took ancestry, had something else going on. It was rumoured that there was fairy-blood in the Took line, and occasionally a Took would take off and have an adventure, though this was always hushed up by the family.

But adventures are not what you think of when you think ‘Virgo’. Being Virgo does help, however, if you are a burglar like Bilbo: unobtrusive and observant. And if you are on an adventure, Virgos are likely to do so in the service of something, rather than just self-gratification, which was certainly the case with Bilbo and Frodo, who both found themselves heading off into the unknown rather reluctantly. As for the invisibility which the ring bestowed, here we see the 2 hobbits encountering the opposite sign of Pisces.

Using the Sabian Symbols for Virgo 30 we read: Having an Urgent Task to Complete, a Man doesn’t Look to any Distractions. Well that just about sums up the quests that these 2 hobbits were on.

There is, however, another astrological pointer we can look to: Bilbo was about 50 when he set off, and Frodo was 51. In both cases we have the Chiron Return. Dennis Elwell has this to say about Chiron: “On the subject of Chiron, it is as significant as any planet, but I do not go along with the 'woundedness' interpretation… when you are dealing with Chiron in practical work it is better to remember that his mythological namesake conducted a school for heroes…. As old Chiron trains us up towards accomplishments we never thought we could achieve, we need to be able to take the dare, to have an irreverent disrespect for the wise ones who say this or that can't be done. Chiron's style borders on cocky impudence, but perhaps its basic function is to persuade us that nothing is impossible.”

So there it is. The Chiron Return is a time for achieving what we thought impossible, which is exactly what Bilbo and Frodo did at that age.

In the 2 of Wands of the Mythic Tarot deck, we see Jason stepping out on his quest, with his teacher Chiron behind him in a cave. Jason’s quest is to recover the Golden Fleece, which is being guarded by a Dragon. Bilbo’s quest is to recover gold from a Dragon, and he did this on his Chiron Return. I said that Tolkien knew his mythology!

Chiron takes us to the point where we are on our own, where, if you like, we need to discover our own inner teacher. We tend to associate heroic quests with youth; but the real quest is to find the deeper independence of spirit, the gold in our souls, that usually requires age and years of testing. It is in the nature of human consciousness to be collective, to gain its security (unconsciously) from thinking the same as others. Chiron takes us out of that, and this is why there is often an ‘outsider’ quality to those with a marked Chiron. This ‘outsider’ quality, which is also their ‘wound’, forces the issue, as psychological security cannot be found in acceptance from the collective.

Frodo and Bilbo were never the same again after their adventures. Bilbo returned to Hobbiton, but he never fully belonged. He was viewed with suspicion by the more conventional hobbits, even though they appreciated his money. Frodo was so stricken, so marked by his ordeal that he never returned, but went on to the next stage across the ocean with the elves.


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Sunday, May 03, 2009

The Astrology of Sex-Strikes; the 3-month Mars-Venus Conjunction

On Wednesday, thousands of Kenyan women went on a week-long sex-strike in protest at the government’s internal squabbling. The wife of the Prime Minister is supporting the strike, though she refuses to comment on her husband’s opinion of the matter. It is his dispute with the President that is at the centre of the impasse.

The PM’s wife, Ida Odinga, ‘refused to be drawn on whether the fiery wife of President Mwai Kibaki would join the movement. Questioned whether she would ask Mrs Kibaki to join her in the strike, she replied: "Please let me not answer that question, you can ask her." Lucy Kibaki has a notoriously fiery temper.’

It’s fun, but the women are in earnest. They fear that the row could lead to further unrest: after disputed elections in Dec 2007, 1500 people died and 300,000 were forced from their homes. Ida Odinga points out that this tactic worked in Liberia when it was at war. Sex is not talked about in public in Kenya, so the issue is deeply embarrassing for Kenyans.

The strike began on Wednesday, time unknown.


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As you can see, there was a Mars-Venus-Moon-Pluto t-square. So the women of Kenya (Venus) are taking action (Aries) through sex (Mars). They are very angry (Venus conjunct Mars in Aries) on behalf of the people (Moon) and are engaged in a power-struggle (Venus square Pluto) with the government (Pluto in Capricorn), who they do not see as serving the needs of the people (Pluto in Cap opposite Moon). The resolution of this t-square lies in the missing sign, Libra, which is a workable peace between the Presidential and Prime Ministerial factions.


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Kenya has Sun in Sagittarius square to Pluto, so the country naturally tends towards power struggles (Pluto) around its leaders (Sun), and probably eventually it will be a dictatorship, which Sun in hard aspect to Pluto often indicates: misuse (square/opposition) of power (Pluto) by the leader (Sun). Russia, Iran, South Africa and Zimbabwe all have Sun in hard aspect to Pluto.

Kenya also has Mars at 5 Capricorn, which is closely aspected by this week’s Moon-Mars-Venus-Pluto t-square. So the Kenyan men (Mars) are under attack (square Mars) from angry women (Venus in Aries conjunct Mars).

As the strike ends, so on that exact day will transiting Venus move out of an applying square to the Kenyan natal Mars.

Sex-strikes by women have a long history. At the end of last year, the women of Naples threatened a strike unless something was done about illegal fireworks on New Year's Eve. They were inspired by the ancient Greek play Lysistrata by Aristophanes, in which the women of Athens refuse to have sex unless their men folk forge a truce with their rivals from Sparta. The recent Naples strike would have taken place under a Mars-Pluto conjunction. The campaign began some time before in a town called Lettere, possibly around the Venus-Pluto conjunction in November 2008.

In October 1997, the chief of the Military of Colombia, General MaƱuel Bonnet publicly called for a sex strike among the wives and girlfriends of the Colombian left-wing guerrillas, drug traffickers, and paramilitaries as part of a strategy — along with diplomacy — to achieve a cease fire. At the start of that month, there was a Mars-Pluto conjunction, and a week later there was a Venus-Pluto conjunction.

In 2003 there was a 2 month sex-strike by Cameroonian women over the destruction of crops by cattle. During that time, Mars squared Pluto and Venus conjoined Pluto.

In September 2006, wives and girlfriends of Colombian gangsters called for a sex-strike to curb gang violence. At the beginning of that month there was a square from Mars to Pluto, and at the end a square from Venus to Pluto.

So in all cases we hard aspects between Mars (men and sex) and Pluto (power struggle), and Venus (the women) and Pluto. In some cases Saturn (abstinence) is involved, and even then not necessarily as a hard-aspect. This suggests that the real issue is the power struggle, rather than the forced abstinence. And the tactic often works!

It is an interesting time for relations between men and women, because Mars and Venus are undergoing a 3 month conjunction – mid-April to mid-July – which is very rare. I can’t find another example of it. It is happening because Venus, which usually moves much faster than Mars, went retrograde for a while recently, and as she backed into a standstill in April, so Mars came up to join her. After a planet has stood still, it only picks up speed again slowly, slowly enough in this case for Mars to be able to keep up with Venus for a while before she finally leaves him behind in July.

For a short time in April, Mars was conjunct Venus and Uranus in Pisces. Then there was a 2 day period where Venus was exalted at the end of Pisces conjunct Mars in early Aries, the sign it rules. This was the time to hit the bedroom, and if you didn’t, I can only offer my condolences, because you are unlikely to see this aspect again in your lifetime. You just missed out on the best sex you are ever going to have.

Until the end of May we have Mars conjunct Venus in Aries. It’s an excellent time for starting relationships, for hot sex and for plain-speaking. But that can so easily turn into a fight, with neither person able to see the other’s point of view. From early June to early July, Mars will be conjunct Venus in Taurus. This will be a lot easier, and a time to focus on pleasurable activities together. After that, Venus will start to move away from Mars, and the 3 month focus on relationships will draw to an end.

The US Progressed Chart (Sibly) has an exact opposition from Mars to Venus at the end of May, and a one degree orb for a year either side of that.


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With Prog Mars in Libra and Prog Venus in Aries, each in the other’s sign, issues of war versus diplomacy are being strongly raised. It is fascinating that this opposition should be exact in the middle of a very rare 3-month conjunction of Mars and Venus. There has been a new approach to foreign diplomacy under the Obama administration, and this coincidence of transiting planets and progressions suggest the intensity and urgency with which negotiations are being conducted, whether or not we hear about it in the news.

The Prog opposition is in the 4th-10th house axis of the US natal chart, indicating that America’s standing in the world, and the perception of that at home, are involved; and this opposition is also in the 2nd-8th house axis of the prog chart, indicating that the weak economy (2nd) and reliance on foreign resources (8th) are also factors behind the new diplomatic strategy. But you didn’t need astrology to tell you all that!

Progressed Chiron is just over a degree from Prog Venus in Aries, and this suggests to me obstacles that will not easily be overcome due to America seeing things too much from its own point of view (Aries). This chimes well, for example, with Obama's outraged denunciation last year of the idea that 9/11 was in any sense 'chickens coming home to roost'. If you cannot understand why your enemies would want to attack you, then you are only going to have limited success in negotiating a peace.


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