A Hazy Shade of Winter

Will Ceres Trump Trump's EPA Pick?

Astrologers are used to being annoyed by skeptics, but they’re not the only ones. Environmental scientists are (almost) unanimously agreed that the climate is changing, and human beings are contributing to that change. Yet in popular culture and politics, there remain a large number of ‘climate skeptics’ who either doubt that the earth is getting warmer and weather patterns are changing, or that humans are contributing to the change.

It is probably not surprising that Donald Trump has picked Scott Pruitt as the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt, Oklahoma’s Attorney General, is perceived as a champion of the fossil fuel industry and an outspoken climate change skeptic,
and has been involved in challenging EPA regulations.

Trump’s timing is astrologically significant: it comes between two important aspects to Ceres, the celestial body most closely associated with the Earth Mother archetype. Ceres is often involved when environmental, health care, and food supply issues are in the forefront of our collective consciousness.

On Wednesday, December 7th, Cosmic Warrior Mars - in idealistic Aquarius - made a constructive sextile to Ceres. Friday, Ceres ends several months of retrograde and stations to go direct in forceful Aries. On the face of it, we would expect Ceres to be very strong, joining forces with Mars to help the environment.

Yet there’s more to the story. Ceres’ station is at 21 degrees of Aries, nestled between Uranus at 20 degrees and Eris at 22 degrees. Eris is known to wreak havoc - more Pandora’s Box than Pandora. Uranus often brings about about reversals, and indeed it seems that we will be seeing a reversal of environmental priorities - Trump has already promised to scrap the Paris environmental agreement.

Trump’s strongest speech on the environment was made on May 28, 2016, as Uranus and Eris were meeting in Aries, and the dubious Saturn/Neptune square was in full effect. Ceres was rushing through Aries towards a meeting with the two in June, just after the Cancer solstice.

The skies are setting up a powerful contest. Ceres is in effect held prisoner (or does she have ‘Stockholm Syndrome?) between Uranus and Eris. The United States, still a powerful actor on the world stage, is reversing course on what is likely to be the defining issue for decades to come... apparently...

Yet Ceres is strong, stationing in independent Aries, and given a boost by Mars in Aquarius. The sign of the water bearer isn’t necessarily progressive - in fact it can be rather totalitarian - but it is rational. As Ceres goes direct and pulls away from Uranus and past Eris, it may be that we see substantial backlash to Trump’s environmental policy.

A possible hint - Pallas Athene, the sword-wielding goddess of wisdom and truth-speaker, will meet with Mars in Aquarius on December 14th. If there’s going to be a strong response to Trumps policy, look to it to come from women who are speaking in very direct, no-nonsense terms.

a-Voidance therapy

Long and Frequent Moon Voids Haunt Early December 2016

Today, the moon went void at 6:23a EST, and won't enter Pisces until 11:41p. That's more than 17 hours of void time, and here on the East Coast of the U.S., it pretty much swallows up the entire waking day (it gets all of our precious daylight, at any rate!).

So, what do you do and not do with a void moon?

It's better not to start new projects or make major purchases. Decisions reached with the moon void often fail to be carried out, and great ideas can fizzle. In both cases, the planned actions turn out to be 'yesterday's news' very fast, as we move on to new things when the moon enters the next sign.

It is a fine time to continue with projects and plans already underway. The moon void is great for sleeping and daydreaming, but if it comes during an active part of the lunar cycle (like today), we may not be inclined to take the time off.

Can you use a moon void to 'a-void' some consequences?

To an extent. It's said of actions taken on a moon void that 'nothing will come of it'. But that's a bit of a gamble, because another facet of the moon's void is that when major actions do occur, it is because they already have been decided.

So, for example, if you show up to court on a moon void, it could be that the judge is out sick and the case isn't heard, or it could be that she has already made her decision and there's nothing you can do about it.

It isn't a particularly bad time to deliver bad news, however. So, if you have a bomb to drop with someone - like quitting your job, being unable to finish a report on time, or expressing your feelings to your significant other - the moon void may be the time to do so.

Astrology consultations? Depends. It's actually a very good time to step back and get some perspective on life, and consider the recent past and future possibilities. What you can't do is to pick a date for an event or answer a horary question.

Just some random thoughts on the moon's void... I'm not really going anywhere with it... after all, the moon's void...


Apple is working on a self-driving car...

The technology news this week is that Apple is working on a self-driving car. The computer-phone-watch maker has been expanding its product line a great deal in recent years, but the move into the automotive industry is somewhat striking.

Apple joins Google and Ford - to say nothing of Tesla - in automobile innovation that may change driving in a way that matches the introduction of automatic transmission - or even motorized engines.

That technology is in the news is hardly surprising right now. We're heading into March, 2017's Jupiter-Uranus opposition, always big for technology.

This weekend finds the moon in Aquarius, making it's last aspect to innovative Uranus in Aries. This month's full moon is in Gemini, and is preceded a day earlier by the Sun's trine to Uranus. Even Saturn offers a supportive trine to Uranus on the 24th. And Uranus himself stations to go direct on the 29th - it's a very Uranian month!

"But Mercury is going to go retrograde!" you say?

No worries. That Apple has sent a memo to the federal government about self-driving cars is not exactly introducing a new product, but then again, Apple has a long history of successful product launches with Mercury retrograde, including the Power Mac 6200, the iMac, iBook, iPod (one day after Mercury went direct), iPod Mini, and iMac G5.

So what could go wrong?

We Called It - Wrong!

Astrologers and the Election 2016

Prior to Election Day, the overwhelming majority of astrologers agreed that Hillary Clinton would be elected president of the United States. They got their predictions very, very wrong.

Astrologers are not alone in failing to predict that Donald Trump would win the presidency. The press, pundits, and pollsters all expected a Clinton win. But aren’t astrologers supposed to have some infallible insight into the Cosmos that others don’t?

If only! In reality, astrology is ultimately like any other tool that people use to make sense of the world. For one thing, it is vulnerable to subtle biases on the part of its practitioners, and any assessment of astrologers would show that a great many were rooting for Clinton. Astrology is also enormously complex, and an incredible number of factors need to be taken into account in assessing anything that affects an entire society - even the most competent astrologer might have bitten off more than they could chew in trying to predict the results.

The bias of the astrologer seems rather damning, given there overall performance with the election (a few got it right, including Smiljana Gavranic of Serbia, who called it for Trump
before he got the nomination). I wouldn’t say that bias was the determining factor in all or even most of the predictions, but it’s hard to look at a unanimous conclusion and not think that bias had some effect.

Remember that astrologers generally work independently, without any formal peer review process to check that techniques are being applied appropriately and consistently. Astrologers have to be their own authors and editors. Subtle bias slips into even the most carefully controlled scientific research, something that has been demonstrated time and again. It’s no consolation at a time like this, but astrologers and scientists are human, just like everyone else.

Complexity limits any kind of prediction. A dozen meteorologists can expect a hurricane to track northwest, then it suddenly turns due west. It’s not that meteorologists are incompetent, but that weather patterns are subject to an enormous number of greater and lesser influences, and a relatively small shift in any of these can produce dramatic differences from predicted outcomes. Predicting elections is on a similar scale of complexity to that of hurricanes, perhaps even more so because they involve assessing human motivations.

And here we come to a critical point. I believe that astrologers shouldn’t try to predict elections, because, ultimately, if elections have any validity
they must be unpredictable. If a democratically held election were truly predictable through astrology, then the outcome would already be determined before the first ballot was cast. If that were the case, there is no free will in the electorate, and democracy itself is a (rather elaborate) sham that we are perpetrating on ourselves.

Many astrologers applied traditional techniques in their election forecasts. For example, they assessed charts to see if the ruling party would stay in power. Those techniques might work for traditional societies - cultures that operate with relatively static ethics and belief systems. But they can’t work in societies that have moved into the modern era, or beyond it towards a postmodern, pluralistic viewpoint. These societies are -
need to be - composed of individuals who have transcended the traditional viewpoint. It is an evolutionary step, and with each step in the evolution of consciousness comes a greater degree of free will.

Traditional societies can’t sustain democracy (the Middle East provides some glaring recent examples), and modern societies cannot be judged by traditional means. Over the past year, many astrologers insightfully assessed the condition of the candidates in terms of strengths and weaknesses that they were taking into Election Day. Within reason, this could give an indication of a relative advantage or disadvantage for the candidate. Yet like any strength or liability, it is up to the candidate to capitalize or compensate for the situation that is handed to them [him/her?]. That’s exactly what most astrologers offer to individual clients: a set of prevailing conditions within which they can make their own choices.

Astrologers did notice that during this year’s election cycle there were two prominent aspects that would affect the world in many ways. The planets Saturn and Neptune formed a square for the entire year, creating a great deal of uncertainty and challenges to our belief systems. Uranus, an erratic, revolutionary energy, pulled away from Pluto to go off on his own in the very independent sign of Aries. In the midst of the Saturn/Neptune uncertainty, Uranus signaled a
Year of the Outsider. Even the Chicago Cubs won the World Series, and if that isn’t “outsider” success, what is?

The three most prominent candidates were all outsiders. Hillary Clinton perhaps only because she is a woman. Bernie Sanders was long an independent and was ideologically far from the middle in U.S. politics (although his ideas would not be so radical in Europe and parts of South America). And of course, Donald Trump always seemed like a long shot, for so many reasons.

To step back and see that no matter who won the election, it would be someone who represented an outside influence and a break from the status quo may not be as satisfying as calling the winner (or as deflating as being wrong about it), but it is rich in symbolic meaning - and that is what astrology is truly great at doing at the level of the collective consciousness.

Astrologers work with symbols, and symbols always have a range of interwoven meanings. I often think of the story of King Croesus, who asked the oracle at Delphi if he should attack Persia. “If you do,” the priestess replied, speaking for the god Apollo, “a great kingdom will fall.” Enthused, Croesus attacked, and indeed a great kingdom fell – his own. I take that story as a reminder that there is always something mysterious and unknowable, a trickster’s play, running through the Cosmos, an interpretation of symbols that is beyond even the most insightful astrologer’s horizon.

X-File: Saturn and Neptune

The major astrological event of 2016 may well be the square between Saturn and Neptune, an aspect that can create an air of nebulousness around our reality. Just what is real comes into question, and answers are hard to find. Thus it’s synchronistically fitting that The X-Files have returned to the Fox network for a mini-season this year.

The X-Files ran from 1993 to 2002, with FBI agents Mulder and Scully working on cases that appeared to have a paranormal dimension. Fox Mulder is Neptunian: his two mottos are “the truth is out there” and “I want to believe.” Dana Scully is his devoutly skeptical (to use Gary Schwartz’s term) Saturnian counterpart who hewed to a materialistic perspective despite nine seasons of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The ongoing theme of the show was that a government conspiracy was covering up the existence of UFOs, and The X-Files drew heavily on actual UFO information, from sightings by government officials to alien abduction cases.

With the return of the series, a new twist is apparent, although we aren’t far enough in to know where the show is headed. Early in this mini-season, Mulder becomes convinced that the entire conspiracy to cover up the existence of UFOs is in fact a falsehood generated to distract from a larger conspiracy: to use alien technology recovered at Roswell in 1951 as part of a military-industrial takeover of the United States and then the world. The show has ventured into some surprising territory, talking about government spying on citizens, the maintenance of (currently empty) prison camps by FEMA, the militarization of local police forces, and other issues usually too sensitive for mainstream media, including of course the ongoing dismissal of any reports of UFOs.

Yet the conspiracy behind the conspiracy does not stop at the television show. The troubling evidence of how the government is manipulating our information, and speculation as to what end they are doing so, hits a chord with many people. It does indeed seem surprising that a very popular television show would present these issues so boldly, even if the ultimate purpose were entertainment.

But is it?

Not everyone believes that the new season of The X-Files is for our viewing pleasure. Some folks have suggested that the show is in fact telling us what will happen, and how it will go down, in advance. But rather than a heroic hollering of the truth, the show is actually part of the conspiracy. In this version of things, those who are in control always say what will happen beforehand – it’s part of their strategy for one reason or another. Indeed, if there is any reality at all behind The X-Files, and factually there is, it seems strange that it is being broadcast on one of the most powerful media networks in the world. If the conspiracy-to-take-over-the-world hypothesis is correct (and I, personally, doubt it), then it seems almost certain that Fox, and The X-Files, are in on it – otherwise, it would never be broadcast. A recent special edition of Time devoted to conspiracy theories can be taken in the same vein. Even the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency got in on the game last week by releasing some declassified documents on UFOs from the 1940s and 1950s, either displaying rare candor, or...

To most people, however, the idea of such a massive conspiracy will seem outrageous, and the conspiracy theorists, as they are dismissively known, appear kind of kooky. But perhaps that is also part of the conspiracy – make the people who tell the truth appear to be crazy, and place what they say outside of the realm of possibility. Maybe even create a few conspiracy theorists, armed with insightful truth, but make them seem unstable or otherwise untrustworthy. Maybe that’s what The X-Files is... maybe that’s what the people who think that’s what The X-Files is are.


If so, you’re getting the idea. Saturn helps us to see concrete reality, Neptune incites us to go beyond it. When we can see through concrete, we gain insight but lose certainty, we answer one question with a dozen more. The more we want to know what’s real, the more we discover that nothing is. Conspiracies recede in endless regression through a hall of mirrors. As soon as you think you’ve found the truth, another layer of reality is seen behind it. The media answers to the government, the government to the Illuminati, they to the Pope, the Pope to aliens, aliens to...? God? (And who is He working for?).

It’s not that conspiracy theories are necessarily groundless, but that the ground itself keeps shifting. The more power attributed to the conspirators, the higher up we must go to find the real source. And that, ultimately, is the problem. For who can really be in control? Who really knows enough, or has enough power, to pull all the strings? The ego finds a hopeful message hiding within even the darkest conspiracy theory – that someone or something is in control. That’s just what your ego wants to hear.

Saturn leads us on a quest to find that ultimate source of power, Neptune reminds us that it doesn’t really exist. Saturn wants an ego to be in charge – modern conspiracies come from the same impulse that led us to anthropomorphize the divine into a god that looked like us. Neptune reminds us that the ego is a little wavelet existing for a moment on a vast ocean of being. With Saturn square Neptune, we can tilt towards Saturn and generate conspiracies (true or not), or we can tilt towards Neptune and stare into an egoless void. The latter alternative may be spiritually liberating, if you’re ready for it, but it’s terrifying in any event. Or we can watch The X-Files, and convince ourselves that “the truth is out there.”

Is it?

And the winner isn't... Black

Spike Lee announced on Martin Luther King’s birthday anniversary last week that he wouldn’t be attending this year’s Academy Awards ceremonies on February 28th, in protest of the sad fact that none of the nominees for a major award were black. An outpouring of encouragement for Lee’s position, including Jada Pinkett Smith also not attending and George Clooney offering support, has put the spirit of the event in jeopardy.

This isn’t the first year that the monochromatic hue of the Oscars has been called into question - it was also an issue last year - but things seem to be getting more serious as criticism mounts about the lack of African-American presence in Hollywood generally, not only at its most overtly dramatic event.

Saturn is in Sagittarius, where he is likely to bring up issues of ethnicity (or, to be more astrologically precise and semantically nebulous, foreigners). He has been doing so on a global scale, with immigration a hot topic in both the United States and Europe. With Neptune in Pisces sending refugees to the Western world, the response has been polarized between compassion and anxieties.

While Saturn in Sagittarius brings up the topic of ethnicity everywhere, it is especially salient in the U.S., and particularly at this time, as Saturn sails over the ascendant of the country (Sibley chart). Polarization is becoming more extreme, and on matters far more important than the Oscars - the ongoing cascade of police shootings of black people and the lack of prosecution for them, and the question of accepting Syrian refugees into the country are just two prominent themes. And of course, Donald Trump wants to build a wall to keep Mexicans south of the border.

Yet we shouldn’t dismiss the significance of the Academy Awards. Besides media being one of our most highly developed economic products and chief exports to the world (Neptune is the most elevated planet, in the 9th house), it is an American cultural institution, a centerpiece on the table of our diverse society. The Oscars are a celebration of that institution, and they have become a tradition, a rite - almost a holiday. They stand back-to-back with the Superbowl, another annual celebration of American culture. Yes, they are commercial and over-hyped, always trying to go beyond themselves, but we shouldn’t hesitate to consider them American cultural ceremonies on that account - on the contrary, with a Sagittarius ascendant we would expect the U.S. to have spectacular sacraments.

This year’s Academy Awards ceremony is scheduled for February 28th at 5:30 p.m., in Hollywood, California. The sun is setting in partile conjunction with Neptune, just three degrees off of the descendant, in Pisces. Chiron conjuncts the south node, opposed by Jupiter in Virgo. With Jupiter as co-ruler of the 7th house, this Oscar ceremony seems to be very much about the other, and with a Pisces/Neptune theme, the other may not be visible.

It is significant that transiting Jupiter and the north node of the moon are less than one degree away from the Pluto’s position at the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King - there is a strong resonance with this point in the American psyche. The ascendant is also in Virgo, the sign that Pluto transited throughout the bulk of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. The moon is in Scorpio, a placement that can dig for truth and act from raw emotions, not necessarily the easiest placement for a celebration.

The chart of this year’s Oscars has the north node/Jupiter combination less than a degree from the U.S. Neptune, in Virgo. However, it may be that Saturn has crossed the U.S. ascendant that is most significant. The Oscars aren’t the only thing in America squeezed by Saturn (with Pluto entering the 2nd house at the same time, the economy is certainly at risk), but we can learn a lot by watching how the Academy Awards react to Saturnian pressures. The themes of inclusion and exclusion, who is ‘in’ and who is ‘out’, has always been contentious in a nation of immigrants. They will certainly be at the Oscars - in part because Spike Lee won’t be there.