Monday, March 29, 2010

Under a Pesach Moon

As we've moved toward the Full Moon in Libra these past two weeks, things have been more than a little hectic (but mainly in a positive way) for this Pluto Rising astrologer. I am writing this on the fly from my mishpoka's place on Lawn Guyland (aka Wrong Island) before the Seder to wish my slightly increased readership a very Happy Full Moon, exact tonight at 10 something EDT. Whether or not you celebrate Passover, use today and tonight to concentrate on your most important relationships. If you manage to balance your independence (Aries) with diplomacy, (Libra) you as well as your relationship will experience a growth spurt. If you are not romantically involved with anyone, you could focus on improving matters with your boss, your business partner, your landlord, or anyone with whom you have a contractual relationship.

The Jewish calendar is a lunar one, and Passover, which always falls on the Full Moon, marks the spring in Judaic tradition in not just a literal way: although the days are indeed getting longer and warmer in the Northern Hemisphere, this holiday marks the springing as in liberation, of when the Jewish God acted in a particularly Mars-like manner to loose his worshippers from 430 years of slavery in Egypt. A host of troublesome and downright violent plagues were visited upon the Jews' Egyptian oppressors, and the Jews were free to wander the desert for 40 years (almost 10% of their slavery years...was this their Freedom Tax?). The pascal lamb that is featured at the Seder is an apt symbol of sacrifice, rebirth...and also Aries!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ides of March: Pile-Up in Pisces

We're still in the midst of a major pile-up in Pisces, and I figured I should stop daydreaming for a moment and try to write about this very special stellium (in astrology, this means three or more planets piled up on top of one another). We are in the New Moon period (exact today at 5:01 p.m. EDT), Mercury and Uranus were conjunct earlier this evening, the Sun/Mercury conjunction happened yesterday, and the Sun/Uranus conjunction is yet to come on the 17th (2:51 a.m. EDT). Yes, it sure smells like a Pisces in here!

Pisces is not only the last sign of winter, but the last sign of the zodiac. It is represented by two fish: one looking up toward the light sparkling on the water's surface, the other looking down into the murky depths. Pisces dreams with eyes wide shut (fish lack eyelids) and seems to have bits and pieces of every other sign in its complex, contradictory nature. Pisces rules the feet, and has karmically walked that mile in every other sign's shoes. Pisces can be the most lost of all the signs, and also the most found--and it's not uncommon for someone born under Pisces to vacillate between these two states. The same goes for the Piscean ability to empathize and then suddenly shut off that compassion and be a cold-blooded fish.

And how many types of fish there are: to list just a handful off the top of my head, there are angelfish, goldfish, catfish, koi, bottom feeders, minnows, salmon, sharks. (Shellfish, by the way, fall under the rulership of fellow water sign Cancer, which literally means "crab.")

Pisces is famous for being "psychic," but just as infamous for being self-destructive--in a more passive, victim-of-circumstance way than its fellow water sign Scorpio, who is more apt to go out and find trouble than sit back and wait for it to rain down on its head.

With the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Jupiter, and Uranus all in Pisces, it may be hard to focus on any one thing, especially if it is "practical." But this is a wonderful window of opportunity to create, invent, come up with new ways to communicate, have visions, and solve long-standing problems in a highly unorthodox, illogical way. This past weekend, about thirteen hours before the Sun/Mercury conjunction, I was fortunate enough to perform as a featured poet at Madame X, a rosy-hued downtown venue, and I believe it was the best performance I ever gave. Pisces is not about performance per se--that's more Leo's specialty--but Pisces has the ability to mirror whatever the audience desires and be a living, breathing fantasy.

Let yourself dream and fantasize without censorship over the next few days. Once Mercury and the Sun join Venus in fiery, headstrong Aries, you will be more likely to "just do it." Yet the seeding process of Pisces is necessary for Aries action.

After all, if you don't know what you want, how will you go after it when the time comes to act upon your truest desire and carpe diem?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Signs of Spring: Welcome Venus in Aries!

I can't speak for the rest of the world, but this past weekend certainly felt like spring in New York City.

Unless you happen to be a fan of the N.Y. winter that began with a deep freeze and continued with ever-deeper snow, you may tip your hat in the direction of Venus in Aries, the first harbinger of spring. Aries is the first sign of the zodiac, the beginning of which marks the vernal equinox, which happens this year on March 20, 1:32 p.m. EDT. Venus shows what is loved and valued. Although Venus is about the passive or receptive side of love, Aries is far too headstrong to cool its heels and wait for a suitor to come a-callin'. Hence, Venus in Aries is said to be in its "detriment," as it is a challenge for the aggressive sign of Aries to express itself effectively via the refined rays of Venus. Think of a high-spirited, profanity-spouting teenager tracking mud into a pristine, dainty living room and that's Venus in Aries for you. Nothing subtle, yet such energy can be refreshing, especially if you don't mind getting a little down and dirty and are not shy about setting boundaries (actually, make that not shy, period).

Yesterday featured a beneficial trine aspect between Venus and Mars (which is finally about to turn direct at 0 degrees of fiery Leo this Wednesday), so if you were feeling neither romantic nor randy, neither creative nor in the mood to carpe diem, I'm going to bet that you reside on a planet other than Earth...or that you are extremely sensitive to the fact that Mars is still Retrograde. If the latter is the case, in less than 48 hours you should begin to thaw out and embrace some early spring fever.

I can't comment on The Hurt Locker's sweep of the Oscars last night because I haven't seen the film, yet I am pleased as punch that Avatar (see my 12/28/09 post-viewing rant for more details) did not walk away with all those golden statuettes. I would also like to humbly thank the Academy Awards committee for scheduling, since 2004, the ultimate celebration of our most Piscean art form during the Sun in Pisces period. I wonder if the Oscars planning committee finally got around to consulting an astrologer? One aspect of last night I did not predict was the short-lived but highly dramatic war between Cablevision and ABC, which ended 20 minutes or so into the Oscars ceremony, yet it certainly had the mark of Venus in Aries.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The "We" Regeneration: The Pluto-in-Libra Group Faces the Pluto-in-Capricorn Challenge

Pluto’s energy is primal, compulsive, and willful—it deals with both eros (sexual desire, which ensures the survival of a species) and thanatos (the death wish). People tend to obsess over and repress Pluto issues; a few years ago the International Astronomers Union literally demoted Pluto to the status of “dwarf planet.” Yet Pluto’s power refuses to be diminished.

Pluto calls upon us during crises to evolve and survive, or die. Due to Pluto’s eccentric orbit, different generations experience transiting Pluto’s square to their natal Pluto position at varying stages of life—or not at all, when Pluto passes through the slower-moving signs. The square is an aspect of inner conflict. As Pluto passes through Capricorn (2008/09–2023/24), the group that will have the most challenges to face during this very challenging era is Pluto in Libra (1971/72–1983/84; please consult’s free ephemeris for exact dates), the younger half of Generation X (born 1961–1981, according to highly regarded social historians Neil Howe and William Strauss).

Most who have Pluto in Libra will have similar timing with their square as the Pluto-in-Virgo group (born 1957/58–1971/72), and be in their mid- to late 30s—but to different effect, due to the different signs involved. The Virgo/Sagittarius Pluto square was about health, work, and obligations (Virgo issues) conflicting with sky’s-the-limit expansion, ethics, and globalization (Sagittarius issues)—which resulted by 2008 in too many obese, sick, unemployed, outsourced adults in their late 30s to early 50s with ruined credit and foreclosures.

The Libra/Capricorn Pluto square features relationships (particularly contractual ones) challenging institutions and structures. Because Pluto is slowing down in its orbit, the last of the Pluto-in-Libra group (1982–1984) will be in their early 40s when their Pluto square occurs—signifying a generational shift that will give them something in common with their Pluto-in-Leo Baby Boomer parents, whose Pluto square also coincided with the early 40s “midlife crisis” aspect: Uranus opposing Uranus.

Yet for the majority of Pluto-in-Libra individuals, the Pluto square occurs before the Uranus opposition. The Pluto square is such an intense aspect that it could make the potentially explosive Uranus opposition a half decade later somewhat anticlimactic. My take on this: Gen X, from front to back, had to grow up fast in an increasingly fragmented, R-rated, accelerated culture, and is now entering its prime earning years during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Many soon-to-be forty-somethings will not have the luxury of experiencing the type of midlife crisis in which the Silent and Baby Boomer generations often participated.

Now that Pluto is in Capricorn, trading in your reliable but boring wheels at midlife for a hot sports car, your reliable but humdrum job for something more exciting, and your reliable but sagging spouse for a younger trophy wife (or the buff UPS guy) seem like relics from a bygone era. Perhaps as Pluto passes through Capricorn, it will be more common to see the Pluto-in-Libra group shun cars that utilize fossil fuels (Capricorn) in favor of “green machines,” and respond to chronic unemployment by finding something beautiful (Libra) to craft or build (Capricorn), which will result in more indie arts & crafts sites like

I predict that even well-off Pluto-in-Libra individuals will choose not to flaunt it if they got it—especially if the growing numbers of desperate have-nots transform from frightened, fragmented individuals to angry, mobilized mobs. We may see quite a few “Bonnie and Clyde” couples (Libra) who rob banks (Capricorn) while minding their manners (Libra again!). And they will be seen as figures of romance, now that almost everyone on Main St. loves to hate Wall St. Marriage is likely to be an all-or-nothing proposition for the Pluto-in-Libra group; many will create an entirely new set of vows, and advocate for same-sex marriage. Since Libra rules the arts, there may soon be more depictions onstage and in the movies of gay couples that are more about love and relating, less about activism and AIDS.

When Pluto passes through a sign, everything concerning that sign is brought to the surface, obsessed about on a mass level, and transformed—or killed. Looking back to Pluto’s transit of Libra, “the term ‘relationship,’” as Jim Ryan puts it in his hilarious cartoon book The ’70s: Life in a Dumb Decade, “came from the ’70s need to categorize what Joni Mitchell was having. [Relationships] were thought about…talked about… discussed… worked out…opened up…taken on the Donahue Show.”

As many states implemented “no fault” divorce laws, divorce rates in the U.S. skyrocketed, finally peaking in 1980; many of those born with Pluto in Libra were young children of divorce. Libra is ruled by Venus, the planet women are said to be from; “women’s lib” during the 1970s resulted in more women entering the workforce and fighting for equality (Libra) with men. Although the Pluto-in-Libra group may take equal rights for granted because they were born into an era of feminism (and Mattel’s “We Girls Can Do Anything” ad campaign of the ’80s endeared the Barbie doll to young Pluto-in-Libra girls), there are deeper, more disturbing currents afoot that could potentially result in a new battle of the sexes.

Because the U.S. has lost much of its manufacturing and IT base, and its infrastructure has been allowed to crumble, more men have lost their jobs recently than women—to the extent that this recession has been called a “man-cession.” Men also have fallen behind women in educational achievement. Although the dual-income household has been the norm in the U.S. ever since Pluto transited Libra, the concept of the husband as main breadwinner is currently being turned on its head. Perhaps one challenge the Pluto-in-Libra group faces as Pluto passes through Capricorn is how to navigate marriages that feature more involuntary “househusbands.”

Look back at an earlier ’60s and ’70s era in America: the 1760s and ’70s, which just happened to be the last time Pluto passed through Capricorn. As hard as it might be to believe this early on in the transit, another revolution is coming. This revolution may gain momentum on and social network sites like Facebook and Twitter (which certainly reflect the Pluto-in-Libra style), but it will need to move into the material world in order to take root (Capricorn).

Interestingly, George Washington was born with Pluto in Libra—which exactly squared his Moon in Capricorn! I for one hope that our next George Washington, regardless of gender or political affiliation, will soon come forward and play a huge role in saving our nation from its own corrupt government, poisonous pollutants, and out-of-whack institutions—including the Tea Party movement that many alienated Pluto-in-Libra extremists will be tempted to join.

The concept of depression as a psychological state, as well as its treatments, will undergo a transformation as Pluto transits Capricorn. Due to the Pluto square I described earlier, this will be especially relevant for the Pluto-in-Libra group, who came of age during a time when antidepressant drugs were not only being prescribed, but overprescribed. Long-term users of various mood elevators are becoming worried by the tolls these drugs may take on their physical health; combine this concern with the escalating costs of prescription drugs in general, and we may be looking at an era of mass withdrawal from the antidepressants that were so widespread when Pluto transited Sagittarius (tellingly, a sign that does not tolerate depression). Talk therapy will make a comeback, and there is also a growing belief in evolutionary psychology that depression serves a purpose, that “sadder but wiser” has the ring of truth.

Over the next dozen years, the Pluto-in-Libra group is most likely to take the hardest knocks from Pluto in Capricorn. Yet this group is also the best situated to transform itself by not only thinking of itself—and in so doing, just might go down in history as the “We Generation.”

T. C. Gardstein is a Brooklyn-based astrologer and writer. She is especially pleased that this article is included in the 2010 International Astrology Day Blog-a-thon (March 19-21) because her favorite planet is Pluto. T.C. has published articles in Dell Horoscope and Mountain Astrologer, and created and managed an astrology website,, for the now-defunct dot-com company Webseed. Her novel, Circuit, is available for purchase on Amazon and Xlibris, and her eBook of erotic verse, The Poetry Prostitute, has been published by Paper Bag Press (audio book forthcoming). T.C. is available for private astrological consultation as well as parties. Contact her at

Generations, Neil Howe and William Strauss
The ’70s: Life in a Dumb Decade, Jim Ryan
“The Axis of the Obsessed and Deranged,” Frank Rich, 2/27/10,
“Depression’s Upside,” Jonah Lehrer, 2/25/10,