Sunday, 23 September 2012

The Problem With Algol

I've been fascinated with the fixed star Algol for years (with thanks to the late, great Diana Rosenberg, RIP). But the problem with being so attracted to the symbol of such intense female energy is that it can be a little hard to ignore. And so I see its influences everywhere.
Now I do regard myself as being a person who does not want to be exclusively associated with any group. And this is pretty true on a political score too. The times I have felt I've stuck my neck out and committed myself to a cause or to support a particular person or to declare my beliefs have resulted in feeling very let down.
This has never been the case with Algol. The severed head of the Gorgon always has a story to tell. Nonetheless, lest I be tagged with the label of "Algol Alex" forever, I try to keep my big mouth quiet.
And so, when I wrote the previous post about Harry Arsehole, I did notice that the South Node was in retrograde motion at 0 Gemini and would very shortly pass over Algol. I knew there would be a better story.
Lo and behold on the 14th September 2012 as the South Node is bang on Algol. the whole world discovers that Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, has breasts. Shock! Horror! We speculate all we like about when and if she gets pregnant but we're not supposed to think she has breasts. Not to mention Britain is completely over-exposed to naked breasts--but offended by the sight of a mother breast feeding her baby--and women who get paid well to get them out (but of course these aren't "royal" breasts. . .)!
And right on cue, with "a face like thunder" Prince William is suing the socks off of the French magazine that published the photos of his wife's breasts. Meanwhile, most of the rest of the country has split into two camps
1) Those who were offended that the same country in which Diana died would also publish photos of a member of the Royal family unclothed
2) Those who scratched their heads and thought how on earth could such a famous person actually believe anywhere in the world is private enough to run around naked
Way back in May 2011, I pointed out that Prince William, like his mother Diana, was born with Venus conjunct Algol. William has the added bonus of having Chiron conjunct this point as well. Here's the bi-wheel to prove it:
When William came of age and was ready to marry, he placed his dead mother's engagement ring on the finger of his beloved and promised her she would not suffer the indignities his mother had suffered at the hands of the paparazzi. I thought this was rather creepy.
Well unfortunately, Wills and Kate seemed to have been lulled into a false sense of privacy, perhaps not to the same stupidity level as Harry but one has to wonder why the government won't send Harry to fight in Afghanistan but Wills would think it's OK to allow his wife to walk around in the buff on holiday. I would have thought there would be some understanding that tracking devices of a 3rd world military would be somewhat second rate to the high tech gadgets the paparazzi have access to in a 1st world country.
But I digress. . .here are the transits for the day. Note the South Node on Algol (27 Taurus):

Of the event a BBC correspondent reported:
"The prince had a "look of absolute thunder" on his face as they left Kuala Lumpur - a stop on their nine-day tour - to travel to Sabah in north Borneo. Kate, meanwhile, "looked composed and was smiling"."
To me this comment says it all.
William, it would seem to some, has completely gotten it all wrong. He seemed to have flubbed it when he OK'd it for Kate to flick off her bikini top so she wouldn't have ugly tan lines on her creamy shoulders. He totally misunderstood the skills of the paparazzi and the efficiency of the world wide web. To top it off, Kate doesn't really seem that bothered about it. That's a big ouch from Chiron conjunct Algol.
Here's my advice to the Royals:
Stay indoors with the curtains drawn. All the time. Only come out when you're needed for pomp and circumstance. If you choose to come out and play with the rest of us commoners then it only gives us the chance to find more and more reasons why, big fat pay packet aside (courtesy of the very same commoners), you're no different to us.
A petrifying thought, eh Wills?

Friday, 24 August 2012

Harry Arsehole

Well, when Mars enters Scorpio, we always expect some sort of sexual innuendo. We've had Pussy Riot and now we have a Royal's hairy arsehole and barely covered crown jewels on the front page of the Sun. Turn the front page over and some desperate girl's tits will be poking your eye out. And guess what else? Today the Sun and Neptune are in opposition! Such a scandal! Happy Hangover Harry (or is that Henry?)!!

To celebrate scandals, here's a very special Mars' Ingress into Scorpio with a touch of Neptune joke for cheeky (geddit?) chappies everywhere:
It's the spring of 1957 and Bobby goes to pick up his date.

He's a pretty hip guy with his own car. When he goes to the front door, the girl father answers and invites him in.
"Carrie's not ready yet, so sit down for a mo?" he says. "That's really cool,” says Bobby.
Carrie's father asks Bobby what they are planning to do. Bobby replies politely that they may go to the soda shop or a movie.
Carrie's father responds, "Why don't you two go out and screw? I hear all the kids are doing it." Naturally this comes as quite a surprise to Bobby, so he asks Carrie's Dad to repeat it.
"Yeah," says Carrie's father, "Carrie really likes to screw, she'll screw all night if she gets a chance!"
Well this made Bobby's eyes light up, and he immediately revised his plans for the evening. A few minutes later, Carrie comes downstairs in her little poodle skirt and announces that she's ready to go. Almost breathless with anticipation, Bobby escorts his date out of the front door.
About 20 minutes later, a thoroughly disheveled Carrie rushes back into the house, slams the door behind her, and screams at her father,"DAMMIT DADDY! THE TWIST!! IT'S CALLED THE TWIST!!!!"

Friday, 17 August 2012

Free Pussy Riot!!

Just as Jupiter is conjunct Vesta in Gemini, three members of the punk band "Pussy Riot" have been  found guilty of "hooliganism". Back in February, they had been accused of being motivated by religious hatred for imploring the Virgin Mary to get rid of President Vladamir Putin in a Russion church.

A few months ago, I had written about the newly reclassified planet, Vesta here. I had associated Vesta with female power and in particular virginity. We are only just starting to comprehend how Vesta can manifest in our charts so incidents like the Pussy Riot case can aid our understanding.

Jupiter, of course, describes our religious views, our quest for freedom and our political stance. Along with the loaded sexual innuendo of their band name, Vesta brings an element of "girl power" to the cosmic mix. The women of the group have been campaigning for women's rights, political freedom and reformation of the political system.

At the announcement of their guilt, Saturn and Mars in Libra make an uncomfortable sesquiquadrate aspect to Jupiter and Vesta. In her book, "The Eagle and the Lark," Bernadette Brady describes the sesquiquadrate aspect as "frustration of action that eventually leads to a delayed achievement". Pussy Riot have had support from several big names in the music world and I think I can safely predict we have not heard the last of these strong young women! 

Today I also found out my Australian astro buddy Jessica Adams will feature my article on Vesta on The Astrology Show! And just when I was about to re-adjust my Solar Fire settings so Vesta was no longer in the charts I was calculating. I think I'll leave things alone for awhile. . .

Go Vesta!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Heart of the Ocean

People often ask me what I do with astrology if I refuse to write star sign columns (as if there wasn’t anything else to do with astrology!). I usually tell them I write articles, I edit the Quarterly, I see clients, I educate. But I often forget to say that I love to look for patterns between people and events. In particular, I like to see how an actor can tap into the personality of a real life character or to see the synastry between actors.

Inspired by a spontaneous visit to Westfield shopping centre and impulsively buying a ticket to see Titanic in 3D, I can indulge in my passion.
Of course, it has been noted long ago that the movie was made a full Uranus cycle following the real tragedy of the Titanic. The re-release of the film in 3D was a Uranus sextile following the original release. Clever stuff, Uranus.

We hear so much about Kate and Leonardo in Titanic that the real star of the show, Gloria Stuart is overlooked.
In case the name isn’t familiar, Gloria played Rose as an old woman. It is her story, her romantic liaison with a poor boy from a different social class to hers that we are listening to when we watch the film. Gloria was a classic actress of the silver screen. Born 4 July 1910, she was of the right age and physical beauty to be involved in the so called Golden age of Hollywood. From 1932-1946, she acted in some 46 films before retiring from the acting. Between 1946 and 1982, she pursued other interests including screen printing and bonsai art. Yes, bonsai art! Titanic came along in 1996 (released at the end of 1997) when Gloria was 87 years old, an age when a lot of folks tend to believe their best days are behind them. Jupiter was transiting her natal Uranus as Titanic was being filmed so she was quite in the mood to turn convention on its ear.

Gloria took the part of Rose with relish. Her eyes sparkle when she talks about her life as a young woman in love with Jack Dawson. When we see Kate Winslet portraying Rose as a young woman, there is no trouble believing they are the same character at different stages in their lives.
So let’s look at the charts.

Gloria’s chart shows a stellium in Gemini, a pretty good significator for someone who has been an actress, artists and bonsai aficionado. This stellium also makes a good story teller and with Mercury conjunct Pluto, there is something mesmerising about her delivery. Indeed, in the film, everyone listens to every word she says.

Remarkably, Kate (5 Oct 1974, 7:17, reading UK) has her Mars conjunct Gloria’s Pluto/Mercury. Remember, Gloria talks and Kate acts. Poor Kate was the one who had to stand in ice cold water up to her neck for days at a time. But she did get to snog Leonardo (so I guess it also balances itself out). Kate acts the sexual elements of Rose’s memories. Gloria’s Sun is also on Kate’s MC: both woman are like binary stars of the show. It’s also apt that they have a nodal connection with Kate’s North Node on Gloria’s South Node and vice versa. Destiny anyone?

The other character that fascinated me was the “Unsinkable Molly Brown” played by the divine Kathy Bates (28 June 1948, 11:12, Memphis Tennessee). Kathy defies convention. In the right makeup and with the right lighting, she is a passably attractive woman. But one can’t get away from the fact that she is just not the Barbie doll type. She’s a real woman—and thank the great goddess for her all natural Virgo rising with Mars in conjunction to her ascendant. Mars forms part of grand cross with Uranus conjunct her MC, the Moon in Pisces conjunct her descendant and Jupiter in Sagittarius conjunct her IC. This is sheer determination to overcome obstacles in her path.

We don’t have Molly Brown’s time of birth but from the noon chart, we can see that she too has a grand cross but in fixed signs. It was this character that stood up in the lifeboat as the screams of the dying could be heard and said: “I don’t know what’s wrong with any of you! That’s your men out there!” In real life, Molly did persuade her lifeboat to go back to help. (Below is a photo of her receiving an award for her bravery from the captain of the ship that rescued the survivors from their lifeboats).
Molly’s Chiron in Pisces is exactly conjunct Kathy’s Moon. Kathy has an understanding of Molly’s pain and she taps into the emotions of her real life character. Kathy’s Chiron is conjunct Molly’s Saturn in Scorpio which in turns triggers the grand cross in fixed signs. There is an understanding between these two that life is not going to be easy or uncomplicated. In the movie, Molly was disregarded as “new money” but re-watching the film, I think one is never convinced the character is particularly bothered about this.

The real Molly Brown always wanted to marry rich. However, she married JJ Brown for love. He became a rich man due to his engineering efforts and so, in the end she got her rich man. Although the couple separated, Molly used her fame as a Titanic survivor to promote the causes close to heart: the rights of workers and women, education and literacy for children, historic preservation, and commemoration of the bravery and chivalry displayed by the men aboard the Titanic. Kathy’s Pluto/Saturn conjunction on Molly’s Mercury gives Molly Brown a voice so many years after his death.
But I suppose the big story is Kate and Leo. The best way to get the details out is to use a tri wheel with Kate and Leonardo (11 November 1974, 2:47 Los Angeles CA) and the sinking of the Titanic. After all, that is the real story and, as they were both going through a Uranus square during filming, the movie changed their lives.
The movie starts off with the ship leaving Southampton. In real life, this was on 10 April 1912 at about 12:15. Aries and the North Node are in the 9th house and so describe the voyage of the Titanic itself. Aries is impulsive and in a hurry. Translated to Titanic speak and it’s “full speed ahead” and straight into an iceberg a few nights later. Both Kate and Leo have Chiron conjunct the Sun of the voyage. They are re-enacting the terrible pain of this tragedy. Additionally both actors have Mercury/Uranus contacts to the Mercury of the voyage. They are the means for telling the story to an audience that may be unfamiliar with the human suffering of the event. Interestingly, Celine “My Heart Goes On” Dion has her North Node at 19 degrees Aries, conjunct the Sun of the voyage.

The Venus of the voyage is square to Gloria’s Pluto/Mercury conjunction and, as she was born just under two years before the Titanic set off, her Neptune and Pluto are the same as the Titanic’s. Although Kate and Leonardo were the best known actors of the film, I think the Heart of the Ocean belongs to Gloria Stuart.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012


Whitney Houston’s slow slide into oblivion was hardly a shock despite the media hype surrounding her death. The actress/singer had been a known hard drug user for over a decade and her gaunt, spaced-out appearance regularly made the evening news.

Whitney began her brilliant career at around the time transit Jupiter crossed over her ascendant at the age of 11 when she sang in her local gospel choir with her mother Cissy. Her first solo performance was entitled “Guide me, O Thou Great Jehovah,” a suitable choice for Jupiter in Pisces. Whitney’s mother, like her cousin Dianne Warwick and godmother Aretha Franklin, had already made her name in the Music industry. Whitney was pure music pedigree and it wasn’t long before her crystal clear voice attracted attention.

Towards the end of 1976, transit Saturn made a series of three contacts by conjunction to her natal Sun in Leo in the 6th house. Saturn demands hard work and this contact heralded Whitney’s first taste of the discipline required in the music industry. Her skills as a back-up singer eventually led to an offer of a recording contract. At 14, Cissy felt her daughter should finish her education and declined the offer. A year later, at 15, Whitney was backing up the well established Chaka Khan on the track, “I’m Every Woman,” a song she would make her own in 1992 a half Saturn cycle later.

Between 1978 and 1983, Whitney worked as a fashion model and became the first Black woman to appear on the front cover of Seventeen magazine. In 1983, she was signed to Arista records and released her debut album, Whitney Houston, in February 1985 just before Jupiter transited her natal Sun by conjunction. Although other singles from the album were released before it, the track “How Will I know?” shattered the MTV video scene and catapulted Whitney into what had been an all white market. In January 1986, transit Jupiter was conjunct her natal Saturn. After a slow start, Whitney’s debut album had secured its place in music history. The album topped the Billboard 200 chart and stayed at the top for 14 weeks. “The Greatest Love of All” was the final tracked released. As they say, the best is kept for last. This track made her the first female to have 3 number 1 hits. The video was released in April 1986 and featured Whitney’s mother Cissy a complete Jupiter return after Whitney’s solo debut, “Guide me, O Thou Great Jehovah,” again a fitting tribute to Jupiter in Pisces transiting her ascendant. Later that year, she won her first Grammy for “Saving All My Love For You,” which she performed at the awards show. She would eventually win 7 American Music Awards.

From the beginning of 1987, transiting Saturn made a series of three conjunctions to Whitney’s MC. It is often difficult to replicate such high success and indeed Whitney’s follow up album endured criticism for being too much like her debut. Still, she won a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and several other awards.

In the late 1980s, Whitney was involved with several charitable campaigns and joined with other celebrities to wish Nelson Mandela a happy 70th birthday. But the support from the Black community that had helped her reach the top of her game had started to wane. In April 1989, as Jupiter squared her ascendant, then later Mercury, Pluto and Chiron, she was jeered at an awards show for “selling out” as a Black performer. We can hear the echo of Saturn’s influences when she said: “If you're gonna have a long career, there's a certain way to do it, and I did it that way. I'm not ashamed of it.” This show was also where she met fellow singer, Bobby Brown, the bad boy of the pop world who had been kicked out of his band “New Edition” for poor behaviour.

Whitney’s 3rd album was released in November 1990, just after Saturn had made a series of three conjunctions to her South Node in Capricorn. The album was credited for having a more urban feel though this was equally criticised for being superficial. Later this year, as Jupiter was in the middle of a series of 3 hits to her natal Venus and as her romance with Bobby Brown was heating up, she sang the Star Spangled Banner at the Super Bowl XXV. Whitney became the first person in history to turn a patriotic anthem into a pop hit.

Whitney’s descendant is in Virgo with Uranus, Mercury and Pluto in conjunction to it. As she recited her marriage vows with Bobby on 18 July 1992, Jupiter had made its final conjunction to her descendant and the planets conjunct to it. Although it is unfair to blame Bobby for Whitney’s downfall, the astrological significance of the opportunism associated with Jupiter’s transits is hard to look at. Bobby’s Saturn is conjunct Whitney’s Jupiter/Moon in Aries. For the rest of her life, his short comings would taint her successes.

Transit Saturn was also in the middle of 3 oppositions to her natal Sun. Arguably, this was the biggest year of her life. In November 1992, a Jupiter was conjunct her Mars in Libra, the film, The Bodyguard, was released to much commercial success. Whilst Whitney was singing “Guide me, O Thou Great Jehovah” in 1974, Dolly Parton had released “I Will Always Love You” in the country/western scene. Dolly’s Neptune in Libra is conjunct Whitney’s Mars in Libra and so with Jupiter transiting this point, it is no surprise Whitney’s rendition of the song put both women into the spotlight.

In 2000, as Jupiter and Saturn were both in conjunction in Taurus, the two planets made a series of squares to Whitney’s natal Saturn. During this time, she and Bobby were caught with cannabis in their luggage and shortly after, Whitney was fired from her performance spot at the Academy Awards. Her erratic behaviour was a sad giveaway of her addiction and not even her protests that “Crack is whack” could persuade her fans that all was well.


Whitney Houston: 9 August 1963, 20:55, Newark NK

Death: 11 February 2012, 15:55, LA

Bobby Brown: 5 Feb 1969, 5:21, Boston, Mass

Dolly Parton: 19 Jan 1946, 20:25, Locust Ridge, KT

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Everything You've Always Wanted to Know About Virgins. . .

In Honour of Mars in Virgo. . .

The NASA spacecraft Dawn entered the asteroid Vesta’s orbit on 16 July 2011. The brightest asteroid visible from earth, Vesta is the second largest object in the asteroid belt although once her neighbour Pallas is explored, this ranking may change.

Vesta was discovered by Heinrich Willhelm Olbers on 29 March 1807. Just a few years earlier, Olbers had also discovered Pallas. “Coincidentally,” as astronomers like to say, Pallas, Ceres and Vesta were discovered in the constellation of Virgo and along with Juno, were all discovered within a decade. As the word “asteroid” had not yet been invented, these celestial objects were referred to as planets in their own right in the literature of that time.

Because Olbers had already named Pallas, he bequeathed the honour of naming the newly discovered object to Carl Freidrich Gauss who promptly named the planet after the Roman goddess of hearth and home. For several years, she was known as 4 Vesta because she was the fourth object discovered in what we now know as the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

Mythologically, Vesta was the daughter of Cronus and Rhea, the last child born before her brother Zeus embarked on his rebellious streak and disembowelled his father in order to free his siblings from his father’s stomach. Vesta refused to marry and chose instead to remain a virgin.

Vesta’s importance was so great that she was seen as a symbol of earth, the place that made life possible. According to the poet Ovid: "Vesta is the Earth itself, both have the perennial fire, the Earth and the sacred Fire show their see."

To the Greeks, fire was sacred and every city had a hearth dedicated to the goddess Vesta. If a Greek was to visit a foreign land, he or she would bring some of the embers of their home fire with them. When women married, they took some of the embers of their mother’s fire to their new home.

Although the Greeks called the women who kept the fires “virgins” it is clear they participated in sexual rituals and so were not virgins in our sense of the word. They were unmarried and belonged to no man and so were free to spread the fire of passion.

To an extent, the Romans had a similar view—with a crucial difference. They too kept a sacred fire and appointed six beautiful and noble maidens to serve as vestal virgins whose duties were simply to remain virgins—in our sense of the word—until they had served thirty years of keeping the home fires burning. If the fire went out, they were whipped. If they lost their virginity, they were entombed alive. After they served their thirty years, they were free to marry but many simply chose to enjoy the luxury of being one the most respected women in the city—and one of the few women who could actually own property.

Marie Stopes, one of Britiain’s greatest campaigners for women’s rights and a pioneer in the field of birth control was born with Vesta conjunct her North Node in Capricorn. She had written a sex manual entitled “Married Love” which she claimed to have written when she was still a virgin. She opened the UK’s first family planning clinic on 17 March 1921 in London, just as Vesta in Pisces was in opposition to Saturn in Virgo. Stopes, in her book, Radiant Motherhood, argued in favour of the eugenics programme which called for the sterilisation of anyone unfit for parenthood.

Queen Elizabeth I, known as “The Virgin Queen” had no children and although it might be disputed that she was an actual virgin, used her status as a virgin to her political advantageHer reputation as a virgin inspired a cult of virginity and exalted her to a goddess-like status. She was born with Vesta in Gemini opposing Jupiter in Sagittarius.

Britney Spears was a pop star who capitalised on her status as a virgin early in her career. She was born with Vesta conjunct her natal Uranus in Sagittarius.

Whilst it’s always nice to find astrology signatures that match the Vesta theme, it is even more satisfying when the scientists sing from the same cosmic hymnbook. NASA scientists have recently discovered that Vesta shares crucial similarities to earth.

Dawn’s data shows that roughly half of Vesta is expected to be so cold and to receive so little sunlight that water ice could have survived there for billions of years. The data collected from Dawn is seen as crucial to understanding how our solar system was formed. Scientists have now surmised that due to the tilt of the asteroid on its axis—similar to the earth’s— Vesta has variable seasons just like the earth.

"On average, it's colder at Vesta's poles than near its equator, so in that sense, they are good places to sustain water ice," says Timothy Stubbs of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. "But they also see sunlight for long periods of time during the summer seasons, which isn't so good for sustaining ice. So if water ice exists in those regions, it may be buried beneath a relatively deep layer of dry regolith."

Although the asteroid Vesta is extremely unlikely to be able to sustain life, it is amazing that it has patterns on its surface that are so familiar to us earth dwellers. The Dawn cameras have captured what appears to be the shape of a snowman on its surface: