Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Blair vs Hitchens, Religion vs Science

Last Friday there was a debate in Toronto between Tony Blair and Christopher Hitchens. The motion was: "Be it resolved, religion is a force for good in the world". The hall was packed, and tickets had been selling at inflated prices. The theme obviously touched a popular nerve. And no prizes for guessing who was putting the case for each side.
Tony Blair is a well-known proponent of religion, while Christopher Hitchens is well-known for being part of the New Atheism movement, which believes it is now time for atheists to be far less accommodating about religion.

The debate, in effect, was religion versus science, and it obviously fascinates a lot of people – just as it did 150 years ago in Oxford, on 30 June 1860, when Huxley and Bishop Wilberforce had their famous debate about evolution to a packed hall of about 1000 people. In both cases there was a hard aspect between Mars and Jupiter: a fight (Mars) about beliefs (Jupiter).

Jupiter is where we look to see the nature of someone’s beliefs, and this planet figures strongly in the charts of both Hitchens and Blair. This is not surprising, as both men are known for having strong beliefs. This to some extent sets the lie to the atheistic crusade against religious belief, because the atheist position can be just as much a religious belief, in the sense of dogmatically held views about the nature of existence, as can the views of formally religious people.

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Tony Blair’s Jupiter is at the end of Taurus, conjunct Mars and the Asc in Gemini. So there is a strong Gemini/Mars influence to his beliefs: the battle (Mars) of good versus evil (Gemini/light and dark) about which he has talked quite explicitly. At the same time, Blair’s Jupiter is in an earth sign, so his beliefs are quite practical and in a way unsophisticated: he has set up a faith foundation to promote faith generally.

We don’t know Christopher Hitchens’ birth time, but he has Jupiter in Aquarius, square to his Sun and Moon. Much of his belief is influenced by the progress of science, which is very appropriate for Aquarius. At the same time, there is the square to his Sun and Moon, suggesting an ongoing inner struggle and evolution around his beliefs that is central to who he is. His beliefs are dynamic. This is in contrast to Blair, whose Jupiter has no hard aspects, suggesting that his beliefs are more of a given. Blair has a sense of certainty about God etc, and for him it’s simply a matter of putting that certainty into action.

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I think that Hitchens (who won the debate by a factor of two to one) can come across as more nihilistic than he is. I think that underneath the intellectualism he feels very deeply, and that the undeniable evils of religion upset him deeply – but he isn’t going to put it like that. Here is his concluding statement from the debate, which is anything but reductive and nihilistic:

“… the sense that there is something beyond the material, or if not beyond it, not entirely consistent materially with it, is, I think, a very important matter. What you could call the numinous or the transcendent, or at its best, I suppose, the ecstatic. I wouldn't trust anyone in this hall who didn't know what I was talking about. We know what we mean by it, when we think about certain kinds of music perhaps, certainly the relationship or the coincidence but sometimes very powerful between music and love. Landscape, certain kinds of artistic and creative work that appears not to have been done entirely by hand. Without this, we really would merely be primates.

I think it's very important to appreciate the finesse of that, and I think religion has done a very good job of enshrining it in music and architecture, not so much in painting in my opinion, and I think it's actually very important that we learn to distinguish the numinous in this way. I wrote a book about the Parthenon, I will mention it briefly. I couldn't live without the Parthenon, I don't believe every civilised person could, if it ... much worse than the first temple had occurred, it seems to me. And we would have lost an enormous amount besides by way of our knowledge of symmetry, grace and harmony.

I don't care about the cult of palace Athena, it's gone, and as far as I know ... the sacrifices, some of them human, that were made to those gods, are regrettable but have been blotted out and forgotten, and Athenian imperialism is also a thing of the past. What remains is the fantastic beauty ... the question is how to keep what is of value of this sort in art in our own emotions ... I will go as far as the ecstatic, and to distinguish it precisely from superstition and the supernatural which are designed to make us fearful and afraid and servile.”

As you have probably guessed, I am more sympathetic to Hitchens than I am to Blair. In a way, I don’t concentrate too much on what someone’s beliefs are: it’s how they come across as a human being that matters, and in that respect I find Hitchens much more impressive. Hitchens is humane (though I wouldn’t always agree with him) and still trying to work it all out, whereas Blair has found his answers and his certainty and identified himself firmly with what he sees as the good.

Here is Hitchens early in the debate:

Once you assume a creator and a plan, it makes us objects, in a cruel experiment, whereby we are created sick, and commanded to be well. I'll repeat that. Created sick, and then ordered to be well.
And over us, to supervise this, is installed a celestial dictatorship, a kind of divine North Korea. Greedy, exigent, greedy for uncritical phrase from dawn until dusk and swift to punish the original sins with which it so tenderly gifted us in the very first place.

However, let no one say there's no cure, salvation is offered, redemption, indeed, is promised, at the low price of the surrender of your critical faculties. Religion, it might be said, it must be said, would have to admit it makes extraordinary claims, but though I would maintain that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, rather daringly provides not even ordinary evidence for its extraordinary supernatural claims."

Hitchens’ 2007 book God is Not Great is an all-out attack on religion. He thinks that science and reason are what should guide us. But then there is his statement at the end of the debate, starting: ”the sense that there is something beyond the material, or if not beyond it, not entirely consistent materially with it, is, I think, a very important matter.” This seems to contradict the trend towards scientific materialism in his thought. Sure, science can find places in the brain for wonder, awe, love etc, and one of its strengths lies in demanding evidence for claims. But the sense of something beyond the material, or not entirely consistent with it?

I think he’s probably in a bit of a fix that a lot of us find ourselves in. You can’t deny the claims of science, and its increasing ability to find a biochemical source in the brain for every human faculty and experience. I think that is to be welcomed, because it constitutes an increase in knowledge and understanding of ourselves. And yet, some of the time at least, we feel there is something else.

Hitchens is dying of cancer. Maybe that is why he allowed himself that extraordinary and unscientific claim at the end of the debate.

But maybe it’s a fix we’ve always been in, because organised religion is just as good at killing off the sense of wonder and openness and transcendence, through its insistence on a fixed and narrow and authoritarian metaphysic, as is science.

I think the real issue is authoritarian belief systems. We have known nothing else in the West for at least 1000 years. First it was Christianity, now it is Science. It is their intolerance that shuts out the magic and transcendence, rather than the systems of belief in themselves. Science can be every bit as intolerant to its rivals as Christianity can be. And Science has the power of the state behind it when it needs to enforce its claims, just as Christianity had.

But even without that, the exclusive claims of Science get into our heads from an early age, just like those of Christianity used to, and it can take a lifetime to get them out again. And ultimately it is not an evil system that is out to get us: science as an authoritarian belief system is simply a reflection of a collective need for certainty. It is because people en masse need simple certainties that we have these systems.

So I think it misses the point to argue about whether Science can explain everything, and where is the room for magic and transcendence in that? It is motive that needs to be looked at. Once you recognise the authoritarian nature of science as a collective endeavour, and take back the power it wants to have over you, then there is plenty of room for everything.

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Friday, November 26, 2010

The Hunting of the Snark and the Quest for Certainty

Scientists get very attached to the accepted theories about how the universe works, to the extent that the theories get treated as immutable laws, in effect as facts; and reality – the place of real facts – is contorted to fit around the theories. This is the Sagittarius-Gemini axis: faith versus fact/information. Religion functions in the same sort of way.

The Great Modern Example of this sort of contortion is the theory of Dark Matter. It was first noticed in the 1930s that galaxies do not rotate around their centres according to Newton’s Law of Gravitation, and evidence for this built in the ensuing decades.

The conclusion that was increasingly drawn was not, as you might expect, that we do not understand gravity. That would be too simple. No, the conclusion that was drawn was that there must be large amounts of matter out there in a form that we cannot see or detect that is distorting the picture.

Decades on, the hunt for dark matter continues, and we still haven’t found any.

Gravity as we understand it is full of anomalies. The clockwork universe as described by Newton and modified by Einstein no longer seems to hold up very well.

Firstly, there are the galaxies. According to Newton’s Laws, they should rotate around their centres much as the planets do around the Sun, which obey the inverse square law: the further you are from the Sun, the slower you go, according to the square of your distance. So you really do slow down as you get a long way away. But galaxies, unlike planets, do not behave like this. The outer arms of the galaxies all seem to rotate at about the same speed, regardless of their distances from the centre.

We are dealing with huge distances here – light years – in which gravity is infinitesimally weak. Obvious conclusion: just as the laws of matter change when we get down to the quantum level, so do the laws of gravitation change when it becomes extremely weak.

To give science some credit, there are modified theories of gravitation out there, such as scalar-tensor-vector gravity (STVG), (or MOdified Gravity (MOG)), which deals with the galaxy rotation problem. But the generally accepted theory is that the universe must be 80% undetectable, transparent dark matter. The hunt for it is a bit like the hunt for WMDs in Iraq. The difference being that with the WMDs, they were eventually forced to admit they weren’t there. If what you are looking for is invisible, such logical constraints do not apply. You couldn’t make it up!

And so we come to our title: The Hunting of the Snark is a nonsense poem by Lewis Carroll that “describes with infinite humour the impossible voyage of an improbable crew to find an inconceivable creature".

Other gravitational anomalies include:

The two Pioneer spacecraft (which are currently leaving the solar system) seem to be slowing down in a way which has yet to be explained.

Various spacecraft have experienced greater accelerations during slingshot manoeuvres than expected.

The expansion of space seems to be speeding up.

Recent measurements indicate that planetary orbits are widening faster than if this was solely through the sun losing mass by radiating energy.

The behaviour of photons travelling through galaxy clusters indicates that gravity may fall off faster than inverse-squared at certain distance scales.

Surveys of galaxy motions have detected a mystery dark flow towards an unseen mass. Such a large mass is too large to have accumulated since the Big Bang using current models and may indicate that gravity falls off slower than inverse-squared at certain distance scales.

Hydrogen clouds are more clumped together at certain scales than expected and, like dark flow, may indicate that gravity falls off slower than inverse-squared at certain distance scales.

So there you have it. Gravity, which was always the awkward squad when it came to developing the theory of everything (the Unified Field Theory, for which 11 dimensional M-Theory seems the most promising candidate), ain’t quite what it seems to be.

One of the big problems when it comes to science or religion or metaphysics is people’s need for certainty. This is where it all goes wonky and where you can end up with one system of belief attacking another. I don’t think it matters too much what you believe, because you can generally make a case for the opposite anyway. What matters is the ability to dwell happily in not knowing and to be able to see the unknowability of things. In this lies awe and freedom. But this is too difficult for many people, even very clever people, maybe especially them. It is subtle, and requires psychological security. It is ‘negative capability.’

This is why the Buddhists continually set up teachings about the nature of existence only to refute them a few steps down the line. I don’t know how effective it is as a method, for it can seem a bit abstract and clumsy, but you can see the point.

So the need for certainty gets in the way of the progress of science, just as it does with any other system of knowledge. Old truths automatically become deeper truths, instead of what they might well be, which is old mistakes.

One certainty a lot of people have concerns what will happen after we die: after we die, that is it, finish. Now they may well be right, but the way they think it makes them wrong, because they are so certain of it. It is very common nowadays for people to be certain that when we die, then that is the end in all senses. Even though it is ostensibly an anti-religious belief, it is in fact a religious belief – religion in the worst sense – because of the dogmatism.

Death is unknowable, so any belief about it – if you wish to have one – needs to be provisional to have any kind of sense to it. Death is something we get a feeling, an intuition about, like all ‘deeper’ realities. That feeling/intuition develops and becomes more subtle over time. That is how a human progresses metaphysically. Any belief held too firmly impedes this progress.

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Pluto's Tomb and the Great Recession

I don’t think I’ve ever been so ill as I was last week. Flu or something. Must be Neptune turning direct to leave my 6th House of Health. I was in bed for the whole week, and I was hardly present to the outside world. But I was fully present inwardly, I was dragged inwards and downwards to a more image-based place than I am used to, and stuff was happening. Must have been Neptune.

Turns out our new neighbour is a homeopath, and things began to turn round straight after she prescribed me bryonia on the Wednesday. All the same, unreasonable doubt that the homeopathy was doing anything crept in after a day or so. I have the same thing with astrology: reasonable doubt and unreasonable doubt, and I’m not sure I can always tell the difference. Unreasonable doubt is a cultural demon that knocks the life out of anything ‘unscientific’. Probably more of a male thing.

The Pluto-Node conjunction in Capricorn, which peaks on 27th November, has been working itself out very literally over the last 3 months, as we have seen a series of miners trapped underground around the world. The first 2, in Chile then China, resulted in the miners being saved. The 3rd incident in New Zealand ended yesterday with all the miners being killed in a series of underground explosions – if the gases had not killed them before that.

Pluto is Lord of the Underworld, and Capricorn adds a sense of constriction and confinement. In the case of the Chilean miners, the entombment was long and they were eventually freed. Ceres was moving in to conjoin Pluto and the Node during their incarceration. Mythologically, Ceres’ daughter was abducted by Pluto but eventually freed (sort of) from the Underworld. She subsequently had to spend six months a year there. This shows how this sort of experience changes us, just as it will have changed the Chilean miners. They will never be entirely the same after their experience.

In the case of the New Zealanders, the experience was short and sharp. Ceres was moving away from Pluto and the Node, so her redemptive presence was no longer there. In addition, Mars was moving into a square with Jupiter and Uranus (which it was not during the Chilean crisis), making a sudden, violent ending more likely.

Jupiter and Uranus are back in applying conjunction yet again, and the applying square to Mars makes sudden, violent crises likely. So North Korea has been shelling a South Korean island, provoking an international crisis, as well as revealing the much greater extent of its nuclear reprocessing facilities than we knew about. A stampede on a bridge in Cambodia has killed 450 people. And Europe, and the world economy, has gone into the jitters as the debt crisis has reared its head again in some of the countries that are part of the Euro. This time Ireland needed bailing out. Portugal, Greece and Spain remain unstable due to their banking debts. On the other hand, we have seen the sudden release of Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma, showing that these sudden Mars events (she was released by the military/Mars) do not always have to be destructive.

This theme of miners and entombment has gripped the world, on and off, since August. Before that it was the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, that went on for months. Pluto’s realm again: a raw, destructive, uncontainable force from the depths that we seemed to be able to do very little about. All these events triggered off by man as he sought to exploit the earth’s natural resources.

There is nothing wrong with using the earth’s resources. But it needs to be give-and-take, there needs to be a sense of gratitude and of being part of a renewable cycle. Our westernised culture continues to accelerate away from such an attitude. We are offending the gods as never before. There has never been a culture so out of balance, so full of hubris at its own god-like powers.

So it is not surprising there is the odd kick back, particularly when Pluto conjoins the Node. What do we need to learn collectively, what karmic debt are we building up (Node) by not honouring the forces of nature (Pluto)? Pluto will always prevail. He is the dragon guarding the earth’s resources, and this summer he breathed out some fire – casually, in his sleep, irritated, a warning.

Maybe the mining incidents have also come to our notice because they describe how we feel collectively: trapped. We are in the midst of the Great Recession, and we cannot see our way out. It has been going on since Pluto entered Capricorn in early 2008 and the stock market began bucking and lunging. Sure, the US has just released better than expected growth figures, but then unemployment refuses to do down. The UK is also reporting growth figures, but then the Euro again threatens to go into meltdown.

So we are like the miners, in a pit of our own making. The ‘toxic’ debt of the banks is very like the toxic, explosive gases in the mines, threatening everything. There are still high levels of unstable gases in the mine shafts called Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Greece, which could shut down the whole mine if we don’t attend to them. We don’t want to seal them off because there are people trapped inside.

The reason this recession is so protracted is because, despite our best efforts, the outcome will not be a return to economics as we know it. We are on the brink of a square from Uranus to Pluto. They will come within one degree of an exact square next summer. Such outer planet hard aspects only occur occasionally, and they take us from one age to the next, as Uranus-Neptune did in the early 90s, and Uranus-Pluto did before that in the sixties.

So that is why the recession won’t budge. It is because we are on the brink of something new. With Uranus now starting to station before changing direction and making a 6 month run-in to an almost exact square to Pluto, now is the time when, at last, we may start to get some indication of the new world order that is coming into being. One thing we can be sure of is that it will be a world in which the West is less wealthy and powerful in relation the East, particularly China – maybe even less wealthy in absolute terms. And probably less confident in its ability to contain its new enemy, militant Islam, which is spreading worldwide. For the West, a keyword for Uranus-Pluto will probably be ‘humility’, just as for China it will probably be ‘hubris’.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

William and Not-So-Innocent Kate

I'm down with the lurg at the moment, but I can just about bring myself to comment briefly on the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton. He gave her Princess Diana's engagement ring. Bad move, and perhaps it would have seemed churlish to Kate to have said, "Very sweet of you, but no thanks, I'd like my own engagement ring. I don't want there to be 3 people in this marriage." (As Diana said about her marriage.)

As his Mum died while he was still young, no doubt William is seeking a mother figure, and that's OK because people bring all sorts of stuff to their marriages. Kate has Moon in Cancer so will be able to supply that need. What she doesn't need is to be carrying, through the ring, everything Diana stood for.

It is traditional to use the grandmother's, not the mother's, engagement ring, and you can see the sense in that, because it gives a sense of family and continuity in a much less loaded way.

Here's some of what I wrote 3 years ago when William and Kate had just split up (for 3 months, as it turned out):

People in the UK are divided about the monarchy, but perhaps less than they think they are, because the attachment to it runs deep. I’m in favour of the monarchy, not because I ‘believe’ in it, but because I think it takes some of the weight of projection off the Prime Minister. It seems to be part of human nature that we collectively assign semi-divine qualities to certain people and then worship them – and celebrities catch a lot of this, which many of them are only too happy to do – so the more we can take this off our political leaders so that they can get on with the job of running the country, the better. Though the USA broke with Britain and its monarchy 234 years ago, some of its roots are still here, and we can see that in the ongoing level of interest in Princess Diana – and even in ‘Fergie’, the ex-wife of Prince Andrew, who managed to get her own TV show in the USA.

Prince William is 24 years old and currently in the army, with which the Royal family has strong links. Before that he was at university for 4 years, where in 2003 he began a relationship with Kate Middleton, that lasted until a few weeks ago. It seems to have been him that ended the relationship. She was always portrayed as this straightforward middle-class girl who just happened to have met up with William at university, and for the last year or two the media had been endlessly predicting an engagement.

About a month ago I read a magazine article about her background. It wasn’t a critical article, but I found it revealing. Her family are well-off and live in Berkshire, near London. They have a mail order business. It turns out that her younger sister has been going out with a ‘wealthy aristocrat’ and shares a flat with a son of the Duke of Northumberland and a son of the Duke of Roxburghe. The Middleton family are also applying to have a coat of arms. In this light, Kate’s involvement with Prince William doesn’t look so innocent. Nor does her decision to attend far off St Andrew’s University, which no one from England usually attends, but where Prince William just happened to be going. Her previous relationship also just happened to end at a point where William was single, and it was probably a case of “He chased her until she caught him.”

Not that any of this was probably very conscious in her, young as she was. Kate Middleton was born on 9 January 1982 (no birth time), and what stands out very strongly in the chart is Sun in Capricorn square to Saturn-Pluto and quite possibly making a t-square to Moon in Cancer. This woman thinks hierarchically through and through, a high social position is very important to her. And important to her family. She didn’t want to marry William, she wanted to marry a Prince, and she thought she’d landed one. Not that she would have seen it like that. She was also no doubt doing exactly what her family wanted and expected her to do, without anything needing to be said.
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Since university she seems to have fiddled around in London, having recently taken up a pseudo-job through family connections, but in reality waiting for her real goal to unfold: marriage to the Prince. Kate's chart also suggests the possibility of real achievement, rather than the mere pursuit of status, so you never know, this knock-back might change something for her.

Now 3 years later it turns out that they are engaged, I don't think that the power-seeking and status-seeking that is so clear in the chart will serve her well in the long term. It didn't serve Fergie well (Prince Andrew's ex), but she seems to have learnt something from it. The Royal Family is a particular tribe that, for better or for worse, is comfortable with what it is, and would not respond well to those who are there for 'aspirational' reasons. All the same, Kate will not yield now she is in there, and her chart suggests she will be the most powerful member of the Royal Family once she is Queen.

The word 'aspirational' has become a bit of a ghastly euphemism. By the way, the Navajo word for ambition means 'crazy about being rich.'

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Thursday, November 04, 2010

Barack Obama, Tony Blair and transiting Neptune

The newspapers have been full of how awful for Barack Obama the US mid-term elections were. I think he hasn’t done too badly, when you look at Bill Clinton and GW Bush, who ended up losing control of both Houses of Congress. Obama has only lost control of one of them, the House of Representatives, so I call that a good result, given that Presidents expect to lose ground in mid-term elections.

On the other hand, the results were also the biggest swing to the Republicans since 1948. But again, that has to be expected when a President is elected on such an unrealistic wave of hope. You get a backlash. This is Neptune’s realm: hope and disillusionment, usually na├»ve in the way that collectives tend to be. Tony Blair in the UK had the same thing, and when the backlash came it was, and still is, vicious. Blair’s time in power was characterised by major Neptune transits.

Next year Obama will have an exact square from Neptune to his MC at 29 Scorpio. During 2008, the year of his election, Neptune reached 24 Aquarius, 5 degrees off the exact square, but I think we have to see the transit as having been strongly operative then, as he was elected on such a wave of hope.

The MC is our place in the world, how the world sees us, so the transit was perfect for someone to be elected to public office on a wave of hope: the hope that Obama’s new ideas (Neptune in Aquarius) would bring transformation and healing (Scorpio MC). When he came to power, Tony Blair had Neptune conjoining his MC.

The time when a planet is standing still before changing direction is often a time when telling events occur, or a process moves into a new phase. Neptune was (and is) standing still during the mid-term elections, a time when the disillusionment setting in around Obama was given concrete expression.

As Neptune finishes squaring Obama’s MC in a couple of years, so will it have started squaring his Moon at 3 Gemini. Obama’s natal Moon is opposite his MC, showing his ability to emotionally engage (Moon) the public (MC) through words (Gemini).

So the transiting Neptune square to Obama’s MC is by no means the end of the story. In about 2003 I made a prediction about Tony Blair, saying that it was Neptune that had put him in power, and that as long as he had major Neptune transits, he would remain in power. I turned out to be right within about 6 months.

To me it looks the same for Obama. Sure, there will be waves of disillusionment along the way, but he will not lose power until Neptune has finished with him. Obama has natal Moon square to Pluto at 6 Virgo. So his Neptune-Moon transit will not really be over until Neptune has also finished with Pluto – which, if you like, is simply power. That transit will be exact in 2014, half way through his second term as President, which is about the time that Presidents inevitably become ‘lame ducks’, because they are on their way out. That is when we will see a dissolution (Neptune) of his power (Pluto.)

So it is an uncannily similar trajectory, astrologically, to Tony Blair, who was a similar type of leader (though less thoughtful and reasonable.) Blair has natal Sun square to Pluto, and it was as Neptune opposed his Pluto, having squared his Sun, that he finally lost power.

Obama is thoughtful and reasonable, and this is his Aquarius Rising, how we personally present and express ourselves. A lot of Americans experience him as a bit cool, a bit unengaged with people. I do not agree with this, and as one ordinary American said, he’s just thoughtful, he thinks about things, and Americans aren’t used to this in their leaders. George W Bush, with his Leo Rising, could present himself as the life and soul of the party, as warm and engaging. But in reality was he more connected to people than Obama, did he care more about people? I think not, it was show. You need to take into account the Rising Sign, but you also have to look beyond it.

And one thing we see if we look beyond Obama’s Rising Sign is a Moon that is hidden near the IC at the bottom of the chart, and square to Pluto in the seventh. It is Angular and powerful and not at all obvious, partly because that is the Moon’s nature, partly because of where it is in the chart, and partly because of the challenging aspect to secretive Pluto. In a successful politician, this clearly points to a strong need (Moon) for power (Pluto). Which is kind of what you’d expect in a leader, how else would they have the motivation to get there? But I think Obama is very good at hiding that side of his Moon. What you see is the reasonable Aquarian and the visionary, inspirational Sun in Leo square to 9th House Neptune. And the powerful way with words of Gemini and Pluto.

I’ve always suspected, mainly from the astrology, that there is another side to Obama that we do not see. The sign of his Moon is Gemini, which is good for articulating (Gemini) what the people are feeling (Moon opposite MC). But Gemini is a tricksy sign, it has light and dark (Tony Blair has Gemini Rising.) So I suspect we will start to see a different Obama, one who is less reasonable and tolerant, as Neptune moves into Pisces next year and begins its square to his Moon. With Tony Blair, it was as Neptune began to make an exact conjunction to his Moon in 2002/3, and the run-up to the Iraq War began, that he definitively changed from people-pleaser to intolerant ideologue. It will be at the next Presidential election in 2012 that Neptune will start to exactly square Obama’s Moon: so we can expect to see another instalment of Obama the visionary redeemer, but in a different way. And the world will be changing in a deep way at that election, due to the exact square in 2012 from transiting Uranus to transiting Pluto, which is a bit mega.

The planet Mercury, which rules Gemini, takes 176 earth days to rotate on its own axis. This is quite interesting, because it means the planet is divided into light and dark in a fairly fixed way. Any one place on the planet experiences about 3 earth-months of light followed by 3 months of dark. And this corresponds to the division of Gemini into light and dark.

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