Saturday, 30 July 2011


Before this week, I have to admit that I usually don’t give a lot of thought to Norway. It always seemed to be such an innocuous country that it’s hard to believe such a terrible atrocity could have occurred there—it never would have even entered my imagination to look up its mundane chart.

According to Nicholas Campion’s “The Book of World Horoscopes,” Norway succeeded from Sweden at a session of the parliament (the “Storling”) on 7 June 1905 at the estimated time of 11am.

The chart of countries can be controversial because they represent a collective shift in public consciousness that completely ignores any dissent from those without power or voice. A good example of this is the constitution of the United States—if Native Americans had their voice, I’m pretty sure George Washington would have slipped into obscurity.

I digress. . .

The chart of the country is usually constructed from the time of huge collective shift usually heralded by a new constitution and a declaration of independence that is generally accepted by the majority. Thus, we have the time and date of Norway’s chart.

The chart shows Pluto in Gemini in conjunction with the Sun in the 11th house. Pluto had a bad reputation even though it lost its status as a planet—we can always smell him coming. But all charts have the rotten spot but does it always have to be so unpleasant?

Let's have a gander at the Pluto of Norway at 21 degrees of Gemini in the 11th house.

Generally, the 11th house is regarded as “friendly” and that it has something to do with the country’s long term hopes and wishes. I usually associate Pluto in Gemini with the yellow press that was prominent in the late 1800’s “To hell with Spain, remember the Maine” and all that you-can-crush-a-man-with-journailsm stuff of William Randolph Hearst (who had Uranus in Gemini). With Pluto in Gemini, a little rumour can be a dangerous thing. I think with Sun’s conjunction to Pluto, the people in power in Norway are not afraid to air their difficulties in public: Norway would seem to be a country that says “we’re not perfect but love us anyway”.

On the 22 July at about 3:30pm, Transit Mars hit the Pluto of Norway and all hell broke loose in the town centre of Oslo. Although Mars would transit Pluto every couple of years, it was the added whammy of the nodal axis that set the destiny of violence into motion. This combination would happen once in centuries. On top of this, Anders Breivik’s Neptune (remember the discussion about his Neptune in the previous post?) was on the North Node of the massacre. Breivik, with his Chiron on the Venus of Norway, sought to profoundly damage the country’s ability to enjoy their peaceful lives. With Venus in Taurus, an idyllic beauty spot was the metaphorically “perfect” setting for his terrible act when viewed astrologically.

It was profoundly touching to see the government’s response to the violence: there were no calls for violence or retaliation; instead there was the peaceful, dignified silence of acceptance. Norway's response reminded me of the myth of Hercules and the Hydra. Hercules had to antagonise the monster from her cave by shooting fiery arrows into where she was hiding (like Mars antagonised Pluto in Norway's chart). Of course, the monster emerges, raging and murderous. Hercules, being Hercules, tries to kill her by cutting off her heads (the hydra had three). But instead of dying, the Hydra just spouted new heads. To kill the beast, Hercules had to kneel in the smelly slime beneath the Hydra and lift her to the sun. In light of the sun, the Hydra withered, leaving behind a crystal. This was exactly what Norway has done, astrologically of course, and in doing so, a terrible tragedy was transformed into a collective message of human grace from which the entire world can learn. A glorious demonstration of what can happen if face our fears and bring them to the light.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Anders Breivik

When someone blows up a city centre with a homemade fertiliser bomb and then dresses up as a policeman, grabs a machine gun and murders 70+ kids on a picturesque island, one doesn't need validation of that person's insanity.
What I do like doing though is showing how the astrology is working.
Anders Breivik was born on 13 February 1979 in London according to Wikipedia. Because the time is unknown, I'm using the time as noon. Without the angles nor exact position of the Moon, the information available is limited but not to the point where the astrology can't be seen.
Like Amy Winehouse, Breivik's chart contains a magic triangle. Whereas Amy had Saturn/Pluto as the tip, Breivik has Neptune. His focus was cloudier, flimsier and much, much harder to pin down (see previous entry on Amy's Pluto/Saturn for a contrast). Anyone can be a drug addict, a drunkard, a sympathiser or an idealist (all traits of Neptune) but Neptune's position and contacts to other planets show how a native embraces the nebulous attraction of Neptune. Think about the pull of the sea: to some of us the idea of swimming in the ocean a terrifying one (some of us grew up in the 70s when "Jaws" was popular!), some of us might find it exhilarating (like surfers), some might see it as something to be conquered (deep sea fisherman) and some of us might find it fascinating (like Jacques Cousteau). Breivik had a Sun/Mars conjunction in Aquarius trine to Pluto in Libra, all three planets pointing to his Neptune by sextile. With different lifestyle choices, Breivik could simply have ended up as the town drunk. Instead he became drunk on the idea of religious perfection (Neptune in Sagittarius). In Breivik’s case, “the pull of the sea” would have felt pretty irresistible--especially as North Node began transiting his Neptune earlier this year. With this, the attraction of Neptune became not only interesting but something that may have felt "fated" to him.
But there are other things happening too. . .
For the past couple of years, Neptune had been doing the boogie-woogie all over his natal Sun and Mercury. Perhaps the siren’s call to a perfection?
Transit Uranus began a long stretch going over and passing then retreating and re-passing (by retrograde motion) over his progressed Sun, destabilising an already eccentric centre-self (Sun and Mercury in Aquarius square to Uranus). Of course, not all Aquarians are unstable—but they do enjoying holding unique or even unpopular beliefs. Breivik goes way beyond simple eccentricity. Someone, somewhere probably tried to tell Breivik he was behaving oddly but he probably turned around and said “But I’m right.”
So far, no one has said much about Breivik’s love life but something unusual is here too and is worth a look.
Natally, he most likely had a Saturn/Moon conjunction in Virgo. He’d hardly be a fluffy bunny kind of boyfriend: he’d most likely fix that cold, icy stare on you if you were anything less than perfect. This is trine to Venus in Capricorn—again, hardly cosy. Venus in Capricorn is not known for its love of soft furnishings. This guy is about as comfortable as a bed of nails. Transit Pluto in Capricorn was slowly making its way to Natal Venus, thus setting off what may be construed as a very unpleasant love affair with cold discomfort and harsh reality—and complete unpredictability. The image of those poor teenagers rushing to the good-looking, heroic policeman for help only to be gunned down as they stood is a tragic metaphor for this.
Nope, still not up to jokes. . .

Monday, 25 July 2011

Amy Winehouse: Newest Member of the "Club of 27"

It doesn’t seem many people were surprised to hear of the news of the death of Amy Winehouse. For months, she had been tottering on the nebulous edge of reality, every moment of undignified escapism chronicled in the tabloids, held up for ridicule via sloppy double entendre (“Amy boo-zed in Belgrade”), making less hedonistic heads shake in wonder. What a waste of talent, we said.

Indeed. Hers was a voice we’re not going to see the likes of again for some time.

But we said the same about Janis Joplin.

Like Janis, Amy hardly lived up to the reputation of her star sign. A Virgo, Amy reeked of the messy addictions so often attributed to her Sun’s opposite sign, Pisces. Here she was falling out of yet another club, beehive comically askew, stilettos long abandoned, too scrawny, eyes rolling in her head, off her face on God knows what, her family and friends scratching their heads, horror-struck. Where did it all go wrong?
Amy was born to a Jewish family in Southgate London on 14 September 1983 at 10:25 pm (Source: Frank Clifford quotes Winehouse's mother to a mutual friend of astrologer Margaret Zelinski. RR: A). She began singing and playing the guitar shortly before her first Saturn opposition. By the age of 20, she had been signed to Simon Fuller’s record company and the rest, as we like to say, is history. She stormed into our cultural consciousness with “Valerie” and “Rehab”. Beehive blazing, she was a jazzy cross between Sarah Vaughan and Morticia from the Addams Family.

Astrologically, Amy was a Mercurial character: her ascendant was in Gemini with its ruler in Virgo as well as a Mars-Venus conjunction in the 3rd house. Her career and public image were often described as “dichotomous” a handy synonym for Mercurial influences. However, the majority of planets are in the northern hemisphere, countering Mercury’s need to communicate and receive information openly. What we saw in Amy’s performances were pure, gut wrenching, honest emotions—when she sang about not wanting to go to rehab, she wasn’t kidding. No one with Moon conjunct Neptune would take well to keeping one’s feet on terra firma. And in the seventh house, this aspect manifested in her choice of men, none of whom were in any position to be a positive role model to sobriety. Added to this was a trine to the Venus-Mars conjunction in Leo. Nothing Leo energy does is quiet or subtle: we got the drunken lion’s roar with every snap shot of the paparazzi. As she publically fell apart earlier this year, Transit Pluto was beating on the threshold of the Moon-Neptune aspect, setting off the rapid destruction of this aspect. Her Progressed Moon's presence only seemed to signal sobriety was not in sight.

Like the other members of the Club of 27, Amy died as Transit Uranus was trine to her Natal Uranus. Perhaps the age of 27 is the soul's first opportunity for a shot at re-invention. I'll leave it to you to contemplate the other possible manifestations. As the first Uranus trine always occurs before the first Saturn return, the native may simply lack the experience and maturity to survive such a shake-up. We get another chance to re-invent ourselves at around 54 and a final attempt at 84.
Natal Pluto and Saturn, in disassociate conjunction (Pluto in Libra, Saturn in Scorpio) in the fifth house, formed the apex of a magic triangle configuration, also very much like the one prominent in the charts featured in the other members of the “Club of 27”. Any configuration of “easy” aspects produces an electrifying zing of never ending energy. Planets caught up in the configuration by transit or progression only serve as food to be consumed by the raging gods. A Saturn-Pluto conjunction as a focus for this configuration could have acted like a shield for Amy’s emotional turbulence. The need to party away the nerves of Neptune-Moon but yet have all the attention the Venus-Mars conjunction in Leo craves could have led to a much faster burn out had it not been for the steely reserve of Amy’s Pluto-Saturn conjunction. Without this aspect, in the fifth house, performing live may not have been possible for a vulnerable personality like her’s. No matter how much "talent" a person possesses, without nerves of steel (naturally occurring or otherwise), a performer is impotent on stage. And Amy performed live over and over and over again.

Generally speaking, squares usually add "grit" to a chart. They make a character, forcing it to do something to overcome limitations rather than passively wait for answers to arrive like a bolt from the blue. Sadly, Amy’s Sun-Mercury conjunction in 4th in Virgo needed emotional and mental precision as a way to express the anguish of living in an imperfect world. In a career where alcohol, fame and drugs are so readily available, Amy Winehouse fell into the abyss.

And no, I'm not ready to make a joke about that.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

The Newest Member of the Club of 27

I'm sorry to write that Amy Winehouse qualifies as the newest member of the "Club of 27".
Why Amy? I hear you ask. Does anyone who dies at the age of 27 qualify for the infamous "Club of 27"?
I'm afraid not.
The Club of 27 has had many potential members who have simply died at the age of 27. These include Pigpen of the Grateful Dead and Kirsten Pfaff of Hole and many other, rather obscure, yet semi-notable figures in the world of rock n roll. These folks had "fans" but not the fanatical followers of Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Brian Jones and Kurt Cobain. We're always sorry for those who die young but not just anyone can join the ranks of the exclusive Club of 27.
Amy Winehouse was notable because she was a talented, award winning lead singer. Her talent made her stand out, not just her hedonistic lifestyle, her recklessness or her need for attention. Most importantly, Amy Winehouse stood out on her own: she didn't need anyone to cling on to. She was a Grammy winning solo artist and had rightly won an inclusion in the "1001 Albums to Listen to Before you Die" book. Her voice was remarkable and life changing, her talent raw, evocative and we won't see the likes of it any time soon.
The Club of 27 is exclusive club and a very reluctant one: Welcome Amy Winehouse.
And no, no one wants any more members.
More on the Club of 27:
Or, perhaps we should just mourn the 90+ people who died in Norway. . .