Tuesday, December 31, 2013
2014 starts out with a bang (Moon-Uranus square, exact 2:40 a.m. ET) but the day continues with aspects that are more about plumbing the depths than explosions: the New Moon (i.e., Sun and Moon) conjuncting Pluto. With Mercury just past the Sun, this is an excellent time to make important New Year's resolutions that will truly stick. Just as a concerted weight-loss or quitting-smoking regimen will improve your outer appearance and health, other resolutions could lead to highly significant shifts within yourself. Others may not be able to see these changes, but such deep-rooted transformation will be all the more important to you. Never mind that Venus will stay retrograde till 1/31 -- Rome wasn't built in a day, and this stellium in Capricorn is in it for the long haul.
Sunday, December 29, 2013
If you don't have something nice to say today, it may be best not to say it, for we are on a Mercury-Uranus square (exact 3:48 p.m. ET). A friendly debate may well turn into a full-on fight; constructive criticism is more likely to be interpreted as just plain mean. Unfortunately, even after the square passes, we are just not getting much in the way of smooth, flowing aspects in the final few days of 2013: just after midnight ET the Sun squares Uranus, later on Monday Mars squares Pluto, and on the 31st Mercury conjuncts Pluto and squares Mars. Harmony must be somewhere out there, but it may not be so easy to find. Nerves are frayed. Patience has worn thin. Egos are bruised. Hissy fits are abounding. For 1.3 million Americans (plus who knows how many dependent family members), the cause of this distress is very simple: being cut off from EUC (extended unemployment compensation) today, just a few days after Christmas. Hel-lo, Scrooge! It is obvious to me that the White House does not have an astrologer on its staff; otherwise, this would never have happened -- not only is national unemployment still much higher than it was back in 2008, when EUC was first implemented (by then president Bush -- yes, United States of Amnesiacs, a Republican!), but we are only midway through the Uranus-Pluto square that astrologers have been ranting about since 2012 (or 2011 for the early birds). This is potentially a highly revolutionary aspect; the last Uranus-Pluto square happened in the early 1930s, and the New Deal (along with the associated and much-needed WPA) may have saved the United States from a truly ugly revolution. It is also worth keeping in mind that the depression that Germany went through during the same decade of the '30s triggered not a New Deal, but the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party and the exit of civilized law and order, which culminated in the Holocaust and World War II. As we still have 15 months of the Uranus-Pluto square to go, the jury is still out about which way the United States will go. With Mars tying into the Uranus-Pluto square, an increase in civilized protests may result -- Mars will be in Libra until late July, and retrograde for part of that time; Libra is not a sign noted for its bellicosity. I am all for civilized protests, yet at the same time, in this current climate, I do not know what, if anything, will change as a result of genteel protesting. It is certainly possible that the generation with Pluto in Libra (born 1971/72 - 1983/84) will not react in a genteel manner with Mars passing back and forth over its collective Pluto, but like a bunch of modern-day charming yet ruthless Bonnie and Clydes. Remember that the short-lived Occupy Wall Street movement of 2011, run mainly by the rising Millennial generation, generated a lot of "they're so entitled and unorganized" criticism before the protesters were forced out of Zuccotti Park. Any future protests will have to take a different tack in order to garner not only respect, but the "fear and awe" that may be necessary in the face of crushing, Scrooge-like meanness from the Right and "sorry, but we need to throw you under the bus" attitude from the Left. Stay tuned, and if anyone from the White House happens to be reading this, I am available for astrological consultation via Skype.
Saturday, December 21, 2013
Astrology maintains that there is no such thing as "coincidence"...it's more like synchronicity. Astrology is far more of an art than a science...yes, the science exists (astrologers use the exact same ephemeris as astronomers to check planets' positions; the key difference is that astronomers discard the meaning of each zodiac sign), but to attempt to understand the meaning of various changes that come on the heels of each other is to involve, and invoke, the same mind-set as poetry and intuition. The Winter Solstice occurred today at 12:11 p.m. ET,, when the Sun entered Capricorn. The holiday lights and the sociable celebrations to combat the long, cold nights are peaking -- and at this moment, the birth of winter, summer is also born, for even as the cold strengthens, the days will slowly begin to lengthen. This neatly illustrates a basic lesson of astrology: every sign, and therefore every season, contains a drop of its opposite. Just visualize the yin yang symbol. Less than five hours after the Solstice, Venus turned retrograde at the end of Capricorn (28 degrees and 59 minutes, to be exact). Venus will remain retrograde till January 31. Venus retrograde will strongly affect love, art (especially the established, validated sort that hangs in museums and can be auctioned off for millions of dollars), beauty, and finances. There may be second thoughts, delays, low energy, and downright problems in all of these areas. We will also revisit issues concerning love, money, and/or art dating from yesterday all the way back to November 21, though these issues may not be resolved in full till February or early March. The three biggest emotional dangers of Venus retrograde in Capricorn are depression, coldheartedness, and putting up unnecessary walls. However, when Venus backs over Mercury on January 7, this could result in an icebreaker in terms of communication -- and on January 11, when Venus backs over the Sun, perhaps things will thaw out even more. As Capricorn is the sign of government, I am hoping (though not hopeful) that Venus retrograde in Capricorn will undo the mean-spirited message to the long-term unemployed (cutting off EUC benefits just a few days after Christmas is pretty Scrooge-like) and not do further damage to the ACA rollout (enrollment numbers are up, but these last-minute exceptions and changes just keep coming, resulting in much confusion and frustration). Meanwhile, the Fed plans to scale back the stimulus by $10 billion, even though that austerity thing hasn't worked out too well in other countries. In short, Venus retrograde in Capricorn serves as a challenge to us all not to close our hearts or our wallets, not to be (un)comfortably numb or "penny wise, pound foolish."
Saturday, December 14, 2013
This post goes out to all of you lovelies and uglies who have thus far managed to evade a silent killer in a hockey mask...but there are still twenty-three minutes left of Friday the 13th, so don't relax just yet! When you meet the Buddha on the road, you are supposed to kill him. But what to do when you meet Mars in Libra? However you decide to react, you have to recognize him. Mars will be in Libra for what may feel like forever, because it turns retrograde on March 1, 2014, and will not exit Libra till July 26. In the past week alone I have seen (and heard) a few very apropros emissaries of this challenging placement: * a male burlesque performer * Woody Allen aping Blanche DuBois and Diane Keaton aping Marlon Brando playing Stanley Kowalksi in Sleeper * the voice-over at the beginning of Alice's Restaurant (the film, not the song): sounds like a man at the army induction center, but turns out to be a woman; a few scenes later, there is a voice-over that sounds like a woman dean, but turns out to be a man * a Congress that decided to throw the long-term unemployed under a bus and not pass the Farm Bill And this all happened on a waxing Moon and the Jupiter-Saturn trine -- the ultimate balancing act between expansion and contraction, optimism and pessimism, luck and hard work, hope and despair. I shudder to envision how Mars in Libra will behave (or misbehave) when it plays into the Uranus-Pluto square next year. T-squares can bring incredible tension. Especially in cardinal signs, much tension will need to be released. The "missing leg," the sign where this energy can be funneled, is Cancer: home, family, security, emotions. All will undergo major upheaval in the next several months, and if you happen to be a Cancer (like yours truly and the United States) or have important planets in Cancer, get ready for your world to be rocked -- or to rock the world. Last time Mars turned retrograde was in early 2012, in the sign of Virgo: work, health, service, pragmatism got bogged down for many of us. I am dearly hoping that Mars in Libra (both direct and retrograde) will be positive for unconventional relationships (think role reversal, if not literally cross dressing). Mars is not often thought of as a healer, as its energy is aggressive, even impulsive -- yet Mars is also the surgeon, capable of cutting away diseased flesh in order to save the rest of the organism. Mars in Libra is in its detriment, meaning that it is not comfortably placed in this sign -- yet at its best, I believe Mars in Libra can indicate important healing work in relationships. It is already happening in my world. If a Sir Tin Pie Seas is reading this post: I'm crossing the bridge and thinking of you, I'm sailing right behind, and I'm still next to you on that bus gazing at the snow.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Hello lovelies and uglies, Been disinclined to astrologize during the Sun-in-Scorpio period, not because there hasn't been anything going on, but the opposite. It's been an overwhelming month, especially with a Solar Eclipse in Scorpio, and Mercury retrograde in Scorpio till 11/10 only served to confuse matters. Here in the U.S., there has been a sizeable kerfuffle regarding the ACA (aka Obamacare) rollout and various presidentially applied "I promise that you can really, truly keep your insurance if you like it" Band-Aids and "it's about politics" votes by 39 House Democrats to extend substandard health insurances till the Sun goes supernova. Also this month, the new American Heart Association guidelines for diabetes and heart-disease risk are coming under fire -- even among doctors, not just the millions of patients who are now suddenly prime candidates for a statin prescription. Finally, it occurred to me to peruse the progressions in the U.S. chart to see what the hell was going on. To backtrack just a bit, it has always bothered me that the U.S. is so backward concerning health care for all its citizens, as the U.S. Sun is in Cancer, the most maternal sign of the zodiac! U.S. also has a truly beautiful Venus-Jupiter conjunction in Cancer, which is even more significant because the U.S. has Sagittarius Rising, which makes Jupiter its chart ruler, and Venus-ruled Taurus is on the U.S. 6th-House (work and health) cusp. However, the U.S. also has a prominent Mars-Neptune square from Gemini in the 7th House of relationships and contracts to Virgo (the sign of health and work) in the 9th House of philosophy and law. The U.S. may talk the talk (Gemini), but can't walk the walk, and this square gives an extremely inflated sense of its abilities and a distorted sense of self. Indeed, the U.S. is so "exceptional" that it still cannot manage to give every citizen national health care (in the form of public option or Medicare for all). Even now, with improvements made such as not turning away people with pre-existing conditions, it is still about health insurance, not real care as is the case for virtually every other first-world nation! Interestingly, Medicare was introduced in the mid-1960s, when the Uranus-Pluto conjunction in Virgo was sextile U.S. Sun (indicating a positive opportunity that ultimately succeeded because, unlike ACA, it was given a chance despite all the opposition). What stands out like a malignant tumor in U.S.'s progressed chart is the Moon-Saturn conjunction in early Scorpio -- it is exact at 3 Scorpio (considered to be the degree of the Moon's "fall," or worst possible placement) in approximately one week (Happy Thanksgiving!). Of extreme significance is the fact that Mercury turned direct earlier this month exactly on U.S. progressed Moon at 2 Scorpio, which is precisely when the floodgates opened on how horrible the ACA website is, and how millions of people were getting screwed over with health insurance cancellations, and how Obamacare is a disaster that will kill the spirit of the U.S., et cetera, ad nauseum. Obviously, this progressed Moon-Saturn conjunction trining Obama's Venus at 1 Cancer (yes, the president's Venus is very close to U.S. Venus!) and also trine transiting Neptune at 2 Pisces has just not been enough to override all the bad PR, nor has it somehow forced otherwise intelligent people to understand that in terms of health insurance, if everyone covers everyone else for everything, instead of only covering their own selfish, "I've got mine so screw you!" asses, everyone wins -- or at the very least, no one will lose their house over a serious illness or accident (both of which can strike anyone of any age at any time). And in this era of instant gratification, the glitches, snafus, and downright fuckups to be expected in a major plan like ACA are simply unforgivable. Just last month, transiting Saturn took a metaphoric poop on my natal Moon in Scorpio, which literally made me sick; now that this aspect has passed, and I have had altogether too many doctor appointments, I must start taking better care of myself if I want to keep ranting and raving. I would like to think that this aspect will also serve as a wake-up call for the U.S., and that as this rigid, black-and-white aspect passes, sanity will prevail. Perhaps next year, once individuals with their old health insurance see firsthand how little they're getting compared with those on the state exchanges, and people living in states that cruelly refused to expand Medicaid will get angry enough to vote accordingly in next year's midterm elections, this will all come out in the wash, and be a crucial first step toward true health care for all in the U.S., and the U.S. will finally live out its Venus-Jupiter conjunction beyond "Mom, apple pie, and the girl-next-door."
Thursday, October 17, 2013
They say if it ain't broke, don't fix it but what if all the gears are jammed? How do I start rebuilding my psyche when I am sitting at my own desk and feel a million miles away from home? Fever brings clarity, Kindness feels like charity, Politeness a formality, My libido beaten by austerity. I needed my mother. I just spoke to her on the phone and now I feel like one of those lab monkeys trying to get nurturing from a pile of twisted wire rigged with electroshocks. Fever brings clarity, Kindness feels like charity, Politeness a formality, By now I should be used to my unpopularity. There's a weight pressing down on my soul that's giving me a major headache. Getting sick can force one to stop and rest, but watching DVDs only offer temporary escape; then all I can do is worry. Fever brings clarity, Kindness feels like charity, Politeness a formality, On sabbatical's my hilarity. The child I could've had ten years ago visited me today while I was shivering on my sofa. She was lovely, with long brown hair. She said she forgave me. She looked almost exactly like me. Fever brings clarity, Kindness feels like charity, Politeness a formality, Will I create something brilliant for posterity?
Monday, September 30, 2013
May I propose this epitaph for Walter White's gravestone? “I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And I was really...I was alive.” While I normally pride myself on being somewhat detached from U.S. pop culture (I couldn't identify any of the Kardashians in a line-up and have not seen a single episode of American Idol), and normally refuse to allow myself to be manipulated by the machinations of art in any medium, I had to surrender to Breaking Bad like any self-respecting meth-head would surrender to Heisenberg's finest. And now that "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue," I decided that while Walter White's corpse was still warm, I would attempt to rectify his birth chart based on the September 7, 1959, date given in the divorce papers -- and also examine how it lines up with the chart of actor Bryan Cranston, who has acknowledged that playing this character was "the role of a lifetime." Small surprise that no matter what time of day Walter White was born, he had a Scorpio Moon. And hell hath no fury like a Scorpio Moon scorned, for the Moon represents one's deepest emotions and truest feelings and needs; in Scorpio, the need is for validation of its stunning perception and absolute, unlimited power both at home and in the world. Jupiter is also placed in Scorpio, which magnifies the effect of the Moon. When we first meet Mr. White, he's what his student/partner/stand-in son/enemy/fellow soldier Jesse Pinkman would term a total "bee-yatch" -- at everyone's beck and call except his own, someone who never even attained has-been status, because he took himself out of the big time so soon with Gray Matter Technologies that he was herewith reduced to an also-ran. Whatever time of day Walter White took his first breath, it was only a matter of time before he "broke bad," for his Moon, in the sign of its fall, was within range of squaring Uranus in Leo, also placed in the sign of its fall, representing the last of the baby boomers (born 1955 - 1961), also called "Generation Jones," a group known for its high rate of crime and addictive behavior. I like to think of Pluto Rising as the Superman/Clark Kent position, for no one seems to notice that Clark Kent is Superman. It seems that if you put on a pair of dorky glasses and act like a hopelessly unhip egghead, people do not see you as someone who is capable of doing anything spectacularly good or bad; you are reduced to a worker bee who doesn't get no respect. I believe this is particularly the case when Pluto Rises in Virgo (1957 - 1972), for Virgo is considered an "omega" sign compared with the likes of, say, Leo or Aries. Virgo is given short shrift in astrology; its characteristics sound pretty dreary (organized, clean, detail oriented, service oriented, finicky). Therefore, I believe that Walter White was born at about 6 a.m. (most likely in L.A., as that is where his mother lives) with Pluto just behind the Ascendant, conjunct from the 12th house (to better conceal his disguise) and also exactly conjunct Venus and Mercury at 4 Virgo, a critical degree. This critical-degree stellium defines Walter White's complexity, intelligence, and multiple personas. Venus-Pluto points to Walter White's attraction (Venus) to the underworld (Pluto) as well as the sexual charge he receives from it, plus his simmering resentment in his marriage (Venus) that periodically blows up, though despite all the shit that hits the fan, he and Skyler never make a clean, definite break. It is worth keeping in mind that Walt's Venus is in the sign of its fall, and Skyler (represented by Venus) briefly becomes "Mrs. Heisenberg." Mercury-Pluto highlights Walt's ability to use his mind (Mercury) and extensive knowledge of chemistry to make the purest meth on the planet (Virgo strives for purity) and get out of tight spots through ingenuity, and murder (Pluto) anyone standing in his way, most impressively via ricin -- poison being represented by Walt's strongly aspected Neptune in Scorpio. "Say my name," he says menacingly to some badass cartel hombres while rocking the now-iconic black wide-brimmed porkpie hat in season 5A. Names are ruled by Mercury; take a Mercury-Pluto conjunction exactly sextile Pluto's despositor, Neptune in Scorpio (drugs) in the 3rd house (also ruling names), and voila: we have Heisenberg, a persona that was brought out by Walt's death sentence of cancer (Pluto) at the beginning of season 1. Walter White's Virgo stellium exactly squares his Midheaven (MC) at 4 Gemini (also a critical degree). The MC indicates one's career path, and in the mutuable sign Gemini it's not a surprise that when we meet Walter White, he has two jobs: high school chemistry teacher and area carwash drudge. Pluto square MC indicates trouble with authority; Mercury square MC points to poor communication skills with the powers that be and poor judgment concerning public standing; Venus square MC shows Walt's ability to put up a supposedly benign front -- he successfully hides his Heisenberg identity from his wife and family, most notably his macho DEA brother-in-law, for an impressively long time. Interestingly, Hank finds the incriminating evidence in the form of poet Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass in Walt's bathroom (Pluto) while taking a shit (more Pluto) -- and the original "WW" himself had Pluto Rising! Pluto can manifest in self-sabotage; Walter White left the inscribed volume of verse for Hank to find instead of sensibly stashing it in his bookcase or burning the damned thing altogether. "Say my name," indeed. In a deep-rooted Plutonian way, Walt wanted to be found out -- and no matter what pain resulted, as least Hank would never again view his brother-in-law as an insignificant, nerdy milquetoast. Walt's 5th-house cusp is 7 Capricorn; the ruler, Saturn, is in the 4th house at 0 Capricorn -- another critical degree. Such a placement indicates challenges and downright disappointments concerning children; Walt's oldest child, named after him, has CP and ultimately rejects his father, calling the cops on him and asking, in their last heartrending phone conversation, why he is even still alive when Walt tries to arrange to send him money from his hideout. (If you're reading this and haven't yet seen the series finale, please stop!) Still, Walt perseveres (Saturn) and manages to arrange an eventual trust for his son (symbolized by Jupiter in Scorpio) via his former business partners from Gray Matter who have publicly distanced themselves from him on Charlie Rose, using some classically Heisenberg ingenuity and intimidation without actually resorting to violence. As for baby Holly, whose name has Christmastime (early Capricorn) overtones, she will never know her father as anything but a criminal mastermind. At least Walt got to bid her, and his wife, a tender farewell before going off to the neo-Nazi compound to finish some unfinished business -- and "accidentally on purpose" finish himself off as well. I count myself among the relatively few who were still rooting for Walt despite all the death and destruction he unleashed; as reprehensible and unforgivable as his actions were, he refused to lie down and die without trying to leave behind a legacy, albeit a dubious, death-filled one. Even though at the eleventh hour he admits to his wife (and to the vast TV audience who were glued to their sets) that he truly did it for himself, if he had not had a family (symbolized by Sagittarius at the IC exactly squaring his Virgo stellium), he might not have had the literal spur digging into his side to do it at all. Actor Bryan Cranston's exact chart is unknown, but his Pisces Sun falls in Walter White's 7th house of partnership, his exalted Mercury in Aquarius (which lends itself well to science) in Walt's 6th house of work, and his Saturn falls at the bottom of Walt's chart, acting at the IC as a solid anchor and foundation for his character. Arguably, the only Moon sign that rivals Scorpio in its will to power is Capricorn -- which Cranston has, placed in Walter White's 5th house of creativity. Interestingly, Cranston's Jupiter-Pluto conjunction in late Leo is placed in Walt's 12th house -- there was much gold (Leo) to mine on an unconscious, collective level, and with outer planets acting so strongly in the 12th house, Cranston's portrayal of Walter White is truly iconic, providing a perfect catharsis for our Uranus-Pluto square era, a time of massive collective crisis, a time when so many of us Waltesque "losers" have been squashed down and hemmed in by a few bad choices plus a huge dose of bad luck. And I firmly believe that long after the last Uranus-Pluto square occurs in 2015, Breaking Bad will continue to inspire obsessive, Pluto-driven passion in viewers -- the same planet that drove Walter White to break bad, transform his self-identity, rise from his own ashes, and irretrievably change his world as well as the worlds of everyone who came into contact with him.
Friday, September 27, 2013
"An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics." -- Plutarch, AD 1 "Jesse, you asked me if I was in the meth business or the money business. Neither. I'm in the empire business." -- Walter White, Breaking Bad, 2012 Sometimes I get political in my posts. Some readers don't like that and have let me know in no uncertain terms that I should stick to astrology and leave politics out of it. But astrology does not exist in a vacuum, and neither do I. And since Pluto entered Capricorn in 2008 (not coincidentally ushering in our most recent so-called recession from which most of us "little people" aka "takers" have not recovered) and the modern-day Plutocrats have gotten ever more out of control, like a rabid pit bull on a fraying leash, I find myself increasingly preoccupied with how the United States of America is increasingly resembling the ancien régime (you know, the one that ended with the storming of the Guillotine and the rolling of lots of filthy-rich heads, including Marie "Let Them Eat Cake" Antoinette's). The U.S. government may shut down on October 1 due to being held hostage by a minority of Plutopathological public officials in bed with various too-big-to-fail entities. We are truly in trouble if Marie Antoinette's frivolous cluelessness looks almost compassionate compared with the likes of Robert Benmosche, Top Pit Bull at AIG (the ginormous insurance company that played an equally girnormous role in launching a global economic crisis and was given a huge bailout by the federal government). This week, he compared the understandable public uproar over AIG's continued hefty bonuses being paid to its execs to lynchings in the Deep South -- literally, not figuratively -- declaring that the bonus backlash was “just as bad and just as wrong.” This is even more outrageous than his comment made last year from his seaside villa in Croatia about how the European debt crisis combined with increased life expectancy should push up the age of retirement all around the world to eighty. Sounds fair to me, especially since we all know there are so many job opportunities for the laid-off post-fifty crowd and no one's body or mind ever starts to wear out till eighty-five or so. But Mr. Benmosche has some competition for the title of Prickiest Postmodern Plutocrat. Back in 2010, Stephen Schwarzman, Head Cheese of the Blackstone Group (one of the world’s largest private-equity firms), compared proposals to close the carried-interest loophole -- which ensures that the incomes of executives at firms like Blackstone are taxed at a gobsmackingly low 15 percent -- to World War II: “like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.” Also in the running is Harry Binswanger, who wrote just last week that the 99% should gift the 1% with obscene tax breaks and engage in some serious ass kissing: "Here’s a modest proposal. Anyone who earns a million dollars or more should be exempt from all income taxes. Yes, it’s too little. And the real issue is not financial, but moral. So to augment the tax exemption, in an annual public ceremony, the year’s top earner should be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor." I'd be tempted to call this satire, but it appeared in Forbes, not the Onion. Paul Krugman, my favorite columnist in the New York Times, describes our current crop of Plutocrats as sociopathic. I agree with him in the sense that sociopaths first and foremost do not feel any compassion or empathy toward others, but I feel he doesn't go nearly far enough. Plutocrats aka the 1% are addicts. Allowing them to control the distribution of wealth is like allowing a junkie to stand guard over a hospital's methadone supply or a warehouse full of confiscated smack. Yet this is exactly what has happened with Pluto in Capricorn. Corporations (not coincidentally ruled by Capricorn) have the same rights as people, though the reverse does not hold true (except, of course, if you're a 1%er), and thanks to the outcome of the United Citizens case of 2010, we can now get the best elected officials that money can buy. To quote Mark Twain, "If voting made any difference, they wouldn't let us do it." Today's Plutocrats, like their counterparts throughout the ages, are the very embodiment of greed run rampant and having to win at all costs -- and they, and I, do mean at all costs. No matter if America's economy, ideals, education, and very infrastructure falls apart -- no matter that there are people going hungry and homeless through no fault of their own. If the Plutocrats' gated communities are no longer safe enough, they can fly in their private plane to one of the many islands they bought for a song. What's the difference between having $900 million or $1 billion? Nothing -- it's not about the money per se, it's about keeping score and always wanting more. Oh, but I'm not being fair to 1%ers like Bill Gates. Look at his Gates Foundation...working to privatize the U.S. public school system. Okay, so as I was saying... The Pluto-in-Capricorn era did not invent Plutocrats, but especially in the midst of the Uranus-Pluto square era, these greedy, sociopathic addicts sure are giving my favorite planet a bad name. Pluto unhinged is indeed greedy, sadistic, power-mad, and must win at all costs, which means it does not fight fair. Of course, all planets have a dark side -- for example, Jupiter unhinged is a gambling addict; Mars unhinged is a bloodthirsty soldier; the dark side of the Moon languishes in self-pity and torpor; Mercury's evil twin lies and kleptos everything. Yet Pluto is so intense on its best of days that its dark side is way darker than any other planet in our solar system. The last Uranus-Pluto square back in the early 1930s gave the United States a Great Depression but also a New Deal; Pluto's placement in Cancer (U.S.'s Sun sign) might have helped America transform in a more positive way concerning wealth distribution and the creation of such safety nets as social security and unemployment insurance. Now with Pluto in Capricorn literally opposing the U.S.'s Sun, these safety nets are in danger of being shredded into handkerchiefs at the same time that 95 percent of the post-recession gains have gone to the 1%, and especially to the .001%. This year's sequester, which was never intended to go through because its terms were so ludicrous and unjust, did not touch the salaries and cushy benefits of our elected officials -- just the well-being of the long-time unemployed and those who were hapless enough to work at jobs that were "furloughed." According to Dr. Lawrence Britt, one of the consistent characteristics of fascism throughout history is the protection of coporate power: "The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite." You might have noticed that thus far, I have refrained from savaging those evil, no-account "Republicons" and massaging those angelic, no-fault Democrats. This is because I am so cynical about politics that although I admit to being relieved that Mutt Rummy did not clinch the U.S. presidency, and although I freely acknowledge that President Obama has had to deal with an unconscionable amount of Far Right obstruction for the past five years, I do not think at this point it's about the conflict between our two major parties; besides, Wall Street loves Obama so much they sold a lot of Girl Scout cookies for his 2008 campaign. What this is about is class war, and to make matters worse, the 99% is not fighting back -- at least, not yet. The widely ridiculed Occupy Wall Street movement two autumns ago was a blip on the radar screen, and in each of the three national elections that have taken place since Pluto entered Capricorn (2008, 2010, 2012), far too many of the have-nots have continued to protect and enable the have-everythings against their own best interests. Sad to say, this is mostly because so many of the "working poor" (a nice euphemism for the Pluto-in-Capricorn era) plan to win the lottery or invent something useful like air, and thus be able to ascend Capricorn Goat Mountain and join the 1%... at which time they will not want to deal with the lazy, inferior, mooching 99%. No wonder I am a self-identified misanthrope. There has been a bit of recent grumbling in the media about the increasingly entitled, insufferable attitude of "kids today"; how the spawn of the Boomers and Gen X are hurtling unchecked through college and Kindergarten, restaurants and other public places, like little dictators who cannot and will not be polite, share, or work for good grades, and how especially the younger ones, the so-called Precious Snowflakes or Homeland Security Generation, cannot be expected to be held accountable for any of their bad behavior lest their feelings be hurt. Instead, they are all awarded participation trophies and told how "special" and "unique" they are -- and more for their parents' benefit than the kids', since losing at anything, no matter how minor, is something to be avoided like the Black Death, and so many parents these days treat their little geniuses as extensions of themselves. True dat, so why can't the media, and the rest of us for that matter, stop worshipping the Precious Snowflake Plutocrats, who make those little brats screaming their heads off at the local multiplex or slugging their mothers in supermarkets for failing to add Frosted ADD Flakes to the shopping cart look like saints, and start holding these 1%ers accountable for their increasingly bad behavior instead of constantly making excuses for them and bailing out their sorry asses? It is no longer enough for the Plutocrats to have everything; they want the rest of us to bow down before them, too (especially the ones born between 1937 and 1957 with Pluto in autocratic Leo). What if the 99% walked away from them, instead? I realize how unrealistic and naive I must sound, for as of 2013, Americans are either too scared of losing their livelihoods or too tired and beaten down to fight. But history has a way of rhyming, if not exactly repeating itself. The American Revolution occurred with Pluto in late Capricorn; Bastille Day, July 14, 1789, occurred with Pluto in Aquarius. We can only go on for so much longer living this gross imbalance of power before something snaps on a collective level. And the longer we wait, the more carnage and devastation there will be on both sides.
Sunday, September 22, 2013
It's nearly fall: the Sun enters relationship-oriented Libra at 4:44 p.m. ET. The Sun's ruling planet, Venus, will be transiting deep, intense, passionate Scorpio till 10/7. In honor of the Autumnal Equinox and this highly romantic Sun-Venus combination, during this two-week window I am offering a special hour-long love reading via Skype at a 20% discount. Whether you are single and looking or attached, let's explore the ins and outs of your love life, your style of romance. Let's also discuss your definition of beauty and art and how you can increase your own attractiveness by trying a new look and/or attitude. If you are interested, please email me at email@example.com for details. (Please note that this discount applies to orders placed from 9/22-10/6; your actual reading may take place after 10/6. Also, at this time I only accept monies via PayPal.)
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
This morning, I woke from a sleep so filled with Plutonian dreams I felt that I hadn't slept at all. And the lyrics from one of my favorite Beatles songs, "She Said She Said," have been ringing through my head all day: "She said, 'I know what it's like to be dead, I know what it is to be sad,' and she's making me feel like I've never been born." The amusing-to-me thing is, I am the "she" in this morbid scenario. Yes, it's that time of year again: summer's almost gone, and the Sun is conjunct my Pluto. Metaphorically speaking, I died this afternoon, and feel like just a shell of myself. However, I anticipate a real sense of rebirth in approximately 10 hours, when the Sun conjuncts my Ascendant and enters my 1st house. If you are born with a planet rising in your chart, the nature of that planet -- more so than the sign it tenants -- imprints itself on your self-identity and self-consciousness to such an extent that it claims you as its own (and vice versa). Lucky ducks born with the Sun, Venus, and Jupiter Rising tend to view the world as a positive, beneficial place full of possibilities, and greet the world with vitality (Sun), beauty (Venus), and faith (Jupiter) -- unless, of course, said Rising Planet is seriously debilitated through multiple shitty aspects with other planets. I am not about to claim that Pluto Rising is the hardest or "heaviest" of all planets to be placed on the Ascendant -- though fellow Pluto-Rising Kurt Cobain, had he been big into astrology, could've written the ultimate grunge-rock song about it -- but Pluto Rising could probably win a pissing contest against Saturn Rising, and as Saturn walked away shaking piss off its shoes, it would probably accuse Pluto of having a bad attitude. The three outer planets are impersonal, "generational," dealing with the desires, dreams, and fears of hundreds of millions of people, and for one person to come into such immediate contact with a "collective" planet almost guarantees alien status, as well as feeling compelled toward a highly unusual destiny that does not always translate into owning an impeccable curriculum vitae and enjoying good, clean fun with your family and a bunch of swell, upstanding folks. If you who are reading this happened to be born with Uranus, Neptune, or Pluto Rising, chances are that your biggest goal in life is not to be CEO, have a sexy yet reliable spouse and 2.3 kids, or win the lottery in order to take early retirement and spend the rest of your life shopping. Your wants and needs are far bigger: fame. Brilliant bursts of creativity leading to breakthroughs in the arts or sciences. Shamanistic visions. Taboo or "alternative" practices that can estrange you from friends and family. Especially in the case of Neptune Rising, your desires are often inchoate: you may not always know what you want, just what you don't want -- at least, not on alternate Thursdays. Pluto Rising people long for power and control, yet are often considered too dominating (or, paradoxically, too vulnerable), too sexed-up, or too dubious to attain it through normal channels. Not all Pluto Risings are self-destructive scofflaws, but if you are looking for a wholesome boy- or girl-next-door, it's best to look elsewhere. Pluto Rising, despite its deadly serious rep, does not lack a sense of humor -- but unlike Mercury and Jupiter types, Pluto Rising uses humor as a defense mechanism, as well as to "get in there" before going for the jugular. Aside from Kurt Cobain, Pluto Risings include Judy Garland, Issac Mizrahi, Emperor Nero, Ted Bundy, Madonna, Keanu Reeves, Steve Martin, Muhammad Ali, Donna Cunningham (an astrologer who is responsible for the many hits my "'We' Regeneration" post has received -- thanks, Donna!), Walt Whitman (whose "Song of Myself" declares that he is "large and contain[s] multitudes"), Al Pacino (only someone with a powerhouse-Pluto placement could've portrayed mobster "godfather" Michael Corleone so effectively), and Glenn Close (whose depictions of scorned "bunny boiler" Alex Forrest in Fatal Attraction and, over 20 years later, ruthless, unscrupulous lawyer Patty Hewes in the TV drama Damages brilliantly demonstrates what happens when Pluto goes unhinged and off the deep end). Pluto Rising natives do not only long to soar high -- they desire to plumb the depths. Call a Pluto Rising person anything you want -- he or she has probably heard it before. But one adjective that can never be applied to someone with this placement is "shallow."
Saturday, September 7, 2013
Today my progressed Moon is officially conjunct my Midheaven at 24'48" Gemini. The last time this happened was in the late spring of 1986, when I was in high school and couldn't really do much with this most public, career-oriented, sitting-on-top-of-the-roller-coaster aspect except ace some Regents exams, write a lot of angsty poetry, and act in a community play. But oh, was I ambitious...not in the "normal" sense of the word in my high school, i.e., being Ms. Extracurricular or pulling down straight A's, but in the sense of longing to make my mark in the world of the arts. I dreamed of living in a Soho loft and writing and drawing my aching heart out. Of course I dreamed of finding soul mate, too -- but even at that tender age, I wanted validation, and the freedom that comes with that validation, more. And now, like that Carly Simon song from the mid-1980s, it's "coming around again" and I still haven't made my mark. It's more like a faint scribbling in the sand that could easily be washed away by the incoming tide. None of my publications in various genres have enabled me to quit copyediting and proofreading other authors' books for a barely eked-out living. I couldn't even make the Labor Day deadline for the children's chapter book that I am both writing and illustrating. It's progressing (if you'll pardon my pun) fairly well, mind you -- but it's nowhere close to being finished. While my progressed Moon was in my 9th house, I had many adventures, inner and outer travel, ups and downs, moved twice (i.e., two times too many for a Cancer Sun), and garnered enough material in general to fill a Proustian-length body of work. I even found my soul mate, or should I say, he re-found me, and because of him, my world expanded to include two adolescent girls and a gray tabby cat who is petite and contains multitudes. Now, with my progressed Moon entering my 10th house, I feel in a mad rush to finish sowing in order that I may reap. (On that note, I do not feel it is a coincidence that the Harvest Moon is coming up on the 19th, and falls pretty much on my Asc./Desc. axis.) Yet I also realize that I am at the very beginning of an important progression that will last for nearly three years. I have known for at least half of my life that I have not chosen an easy path. The paradox is that I have been given much without "earning" it -- or if I did, it was in a previous incarnation. But I am very much aware that with this privilege comes an even greater responsibility. I have a whole slew of "first world" worries that sometimes fill me with shame whenever I am objective enough to have some perspective. I am far from starving and for now, at least, have a place to call home in one of our planet's epicenters of culture and cool. And I really have no excuse not to make it -- despite some aspects that I would not wish on my worst enemy, my 2nd-house Jupiter trines my MC. Yes, far from starving, indeed -- but still very, very hungry. The night before last, something occurred that perfectly symbolizes my progressed Moon changing houses in late Gemini. It was the first night I'd slept in my own bed in over a week; in fact, I'd slept in four different beds due to travel. I woke up sometime in the wee hours, needing to pee, and though my eyes were wide open, I had no idea where I was. I might have still been dreaming, for I could see unfamiliar furniture and got the distinct feeling that I was in a strange house. I pulled on a shirt because I was not not certain where the bathroom was and equally unsure whom I was going to run into en route, in the almost otherworldly darkness. About halfway there, I finally realized that I was home.
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Today is International Left-Handers' Day, which first celebrated approximately 10 percent of the human population on August 13, 1976. In a decade that brought us many wacky crazes, like mood rings, disco, and the pet rock, Left-Handers' Day proved to have staying power -- although it is one of the lesser-known holidays, the Internet has certainly increased its visibility. (I myself, who was old enough to remember the Bicentennial, was unaware of this holiday till I started going online.) Being a lefty, I have only one minor bone to pick with whomever decided the date of Lefty Day: it should fall on March 13, not August 13. This is because Neptune is the planet that is most associated with left-handedness, and rules the sign Pisces (and the Sun transits the Pisces zone of the zodiac from February 19 to March 21). However, I am fine with this holiday's falling on the 13th day of the month, because even though the number 13 is a Pluto/Scorpio number, not a Neptune number (that would be 7), 13 is a transgressive, subversive, taboo-oriented number, and many people still look upon lefties with suspicion and superstition (e.g., the devil is said to lurk on the left). If you don't believe me about the Neptune thing, go on eBay or to an astrologer's yard sale and score a copy of the Oct./Nov. 1999 issue of The Mountain Astrologer, which features an "article particle" by yours truly, titled "Neptune: The Left-Handed Planet." I'd reprint it here, but this interface doesn't seem to handle text-oriented scans very well, and I'm not in the mood to transcribe the whole article. (It's copyrighted, by the way, so keep that in mind if you're a plagiarist.) In a nutshell, back in the day when I was but a pre-Saturn Return but oh-so-serious sprout, I did enough research on the natal charts of famous and not-famous lefties to make a case that Neptune and/or its corresponding sign Pisces are unusually strong. Aspects between Mercury (which rules the hands) and Neptune are also common in lefties -- it doesn't seem to matter what the aspect is, as long as it is tight. This does not, of course, mean that everyone with a strong Neptune (i.e., Neptune conjunct Ascendant or Midheaven and/or making many aspects to other planets) or Pisces stellium (i.e., three or more planets conjunct in Pisces) is left-handed -- my Pisces bestie, for example, has more Pisces planets (some of which, including her Mercury, trine her Neptune) than anyone I've ever met, yet she is right-handed. However, she exemplifies many traits of lefties: creative, artistic, sensitive, quirky. I would say that makes her an honorary southpaw. However, southpaws including Marilyn Monroe, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Babe Ruth, Judy Garland, Rembrandt, Queen Victoria (who passed down her "birth-left" to subsequent generations of Brit royals including King George VI and Prince Charles), and Paul McCartney all have kick-ass Neptunes and/or strong Pisces placements. Not surprisingly, as Neptune/Pisces rules the arts, a staggeringly high percentage of notable lefties can be found there; two stunning examples of southpawhood, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, defined the Renaissance. Unfortunately, a high percentage of lefties can be found just plain staggering, as lefties tend to hit the bottle and other party favors harder than their righteous pals, and also tend to be clumsier and more inept due to living in a world designed for righteous consumers (from scissors to can openers to handshakes to door knobs to power tools to Western-style writing and driving). Neurologists and psychologists have determined that lefties are not just more creative, juiced-up, and accident-prone than righties, but are also more stubborn, emotional, and angrier than righties, more prone to bedwetting, schizophrenia, and ADHD -- ooh, my neighbor's cooking something yummy, think I'll raid my fridge for a snack -- so Twinkies etc. are back but I can't keep 'em around, I'm on a diet, I'll have to eat some peanut butter instead -- wait, what was I saying...? Um, so I'm almost positive that author Ellen Gilchrist is left-handed; not only is she a Pisces, not only is her alter ego Rhoda Manning a Pisces, she makes a point of identifying several of her characters as left-handed. I'd ask Ms. Gilchrist, but I wrote her a fan letter back in the pre-Internet '90s and she never wrote back, and I'm just too damned sensitive to be ignored by this great writer a second time.... My own chart is a practically a calling card that announces my left-handedness: Neptune in the 3rd (Mercury-ruled) house trine Sun, Mars, and Mercury (the latter within a quarter of a degree), sextile my Rising Pluto, separating from a square to Venus in the (Neptune-ruled) 12th house, and widely opposing Saturn. Interestingly, my father, who is also left-handed, also has strong Neptune aspects -- but they are squares, not trines, and he did not flow into the arts as I did. He also had an undiagnosed case of dyslexia (far more common among lefties in Western culture due to conflicting orientation), whereas I was reading at a high-school level by age 6 -- yet my 3rd-house Neptune does mark me as a daydreamer who can easily get disoriented in my local environment. I can also sense funny vibes really fast, and have learned to exit venues and cross the street instead of scoffing at my spidey sense. Happy Left-Handers' Day! If you are left-handed, I'd love to hear from you about your chart, if you are in the arts, and any other observations you may care to share about living life as a lefty. If you are not a lefty but are romantically involved with one or are the parent of southpaw spawn, I'd also love to hear from you.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
If you're feeling more rebellious, independent, and pugnacious than usual, congratulations...you're right on schedule with the Mars-Uranus square (exact 11:08 p.m. ET). Personally, I have not been able to settle down to much of anything today. I hung out on Facebook (something I rarely do for more than 10-15 min. at a time, but today I felt like spending time in my Moon in Scorpio group), did a little work but not much, and was grateful that my period left me feeling merely fatigued instead of horribly cramped or incapacitated with a migraine (both strong possibilities under a Mars-Uranus square). Mars is not well placed in Cancer under the best of circumstances, and square Uranus in Aries, this is not the best aspect under which to butt heads concerning domestic arrangements or living conditions. Depending on your own chart, you may be tempted to set aside your sentimentality and pitch out possessions. You may also feel like breaking something of sentimental value. Fortunately, we are also coming into a Venus-Mars sextile (exact on Friday), so any damage done in relationships could be mended within the next two days -- but any abuse that occurs under this square should be taken seriously. People who already have bad tempers or difficulty managing their anger and/or alcohol intake could blow up in a highly destructive way, but even normally mild-mannered souls may feel like physically lashing out. If you can't do some kick-boxing, consider watching Rocky, Rebel without a Cause, or throw on some hardcore death metal and headbang to your heart's content. PS: If you find most "New Age" types annoying, with their floaty, flaky, feel-good philosophy, and would prefer to have your chart read by astrologer who is equal parts rebellious, intelligent, articulate, pragmatic, and compassionate, please get in touch with me for my special "Dog Days" rates, good for the entire month of August.
Thursday, July 18, 2013
With all the talk over the past year or so about the fearsome and feared Uranus-Pluto square, an equally important, powerful, and rare "good witch" aspect was ignored: a Grand Trine in the Water element involving Mars conjunct Jupiter in Cancer, Moon (plus North Node) and Saturn in Scorpio, and Neptune in Pisces. As if this was not already enough Water, the Sun and Mercury are also in Cancer, bringing us to a total of seven planets in Water. Although the Moon in Scorpio triggered this Grand Trine on Tuesday evening, even after the Moon leaves Scorpio at 1:54 p.m. (ET), the Grand Trine will still be in effect, as Mars has yet to trine Neptune and Saturn on Saturday (3:53 p.m. and 5:34 p.m., respectively) and will then conjunct Jupiter at 3:35 a.m. on Monday, with the Sun in the last few hours of Cancer. What this Grand Trine is about includes mastery of the emotions, as this is the domain of the Water element. Expansion, faith, and risk taking are in tune with contraction, structure, and hard work, which in turn supports dreams, inspiration, and intuition. This could be a watershed moment for popular (or unpopular culture) and the collective unconscious, but the Moon in Scorpio has made this Grand Trine highly personal -- and what is continuing to energize the Grand Trine is the red planet, motor of our the solar system. Mars is said to be in its "fall" in Cancer, yet Jupiter is said to be "exalted" in this sign -- so this conjunction could go one of three ways: Mars could dominate (bringing much energy but possible conflict into the home and family), Jupiter could dominate (bringing blessings and bounty into the home), or Mars and Jupiter will manage to cancel out each other's worst and best qualities. However this conjunction plays out for you personally, there will be a magnification (Jupiter) of the emotions (Cancer), a spotlight on home and family (Cancer), and a DIY spirit toward home improvement (Mars in Cancer). Discretion is the better part of valor (or is it velour?) so I cannot go into detail about how I managed to snap out of my Mercury Retrograde funk and dive headfirst into the waves of this extremely rare Grand Trine, but it was possibly the best post-birthday gift I ever gave to myself. Among many other things, I learned how to breathe.
Saturday, July 13, 2013
Summer rain may be the most evocative phrase in the English language (along with melted chocolate parted lips, total eclipse eyes). Solar Return #42, 8:30 p.m., just after sunset-- how on earth did I get to this point? I am still just a kid, though when I was just a kid, I was old as a prewar building. Lost on Mercury Retrograde Lane I come back to myself in the summer rain and an equally delicious shot of St. Germain poured into cheap champagne, sipped in a cool bath fragrant with "mermaid" bath salts saved for a special occasion... I let all tension and regrets spiral down the drain.
Saturday, June 29, 2013
Greetings, lovelies and uglies and all mixed star-gazing bags: Last night it occurred to me that Pluto was backing over another square to my natal Chiron in Aries. I was not consciously aware of the first square at the end of January, but it. Explains. So. Much. Even more than that helter-skelter aspect that has us all in its collective grip for another couple of years, the Uranus-Pluto square, about which I have pondered and written in this blog extensively. I don't normally pay much attention to my 7th-house Chiron. It is the lone wolf, the odd duck of my chart: the only planet (more accurately, planetoid) in the fire element, and the only one not involved in my bowl-shaped configuration (which starts with Saturn in Taurus in the 9th house and ends with Neptune in Scorpio in the 3rd house). I run a tight ship, it seems -- but Chiron slipped through its tightly woven sails. Also, except for Neptune, it is my only retrograde point. Hence, ever since water-and-earth me first began studying my own chart over twenty years ago, I have never been able to make head or tail of my poor, retrograde-in-Aries, 7th-house Chiron. Pluto squaring my Chiron has been one hell of a wake-up call, though I slept through the first alarm on January 31. If Chiron is about healing and self-actualization (interestingly, Chiron was discovered in 1977, the peak of the "human potential movement"), I apparently need to heal my relationships (Chiron in my 7th house) in a major way. Pluto's energy is deep and transformative, and it doesn't always tickle -- in fact it can be fucking painful. And one of the lessons of Pluto is that if you hold on too tightly, even more may be taken away from you. Pluto has been transiting my 4th house for about seven years now so I should be used to its energy, but it was undeniably "kinder" when still in Sagittarius. It seems that Pluto in Capricorn in my 4th house has increased my fear that due to my unstable financial situation, I will lose my home (in fact, I've moved twice since Pluto entered Capricorn) and that I am generally running out of time (Capricorn) to "prove" myself (Capricorn again) to my family (4th house), to the world (10th house), and to myself (1st house). My time-management skills are being put to the test and it seems they are not at the correct end of the bell curve. My chronic insomnia and freelancer's schedule certainly haven't helped. Up till now, I have attributed this anxiety-producing state of mind to the classic "midlife crisis" aspect -- the Uranus opposition, which fell in my 1st and 7th houses -- but now I realize that Pluto squaring my Chiron plays an equally important role in this disturbing development. Perhaps my Chiron's placement is why I have always been a "relationship person" despite also being a classic Pluto Rising loner. This is not to say that I have always been in a relationship, though since my late 20s, I have been in a relationship more often than not. It just means that I would make a great hermit as long as I didn't have to do it alone. (Two shows a night, people. Two shows a night.) Seriously, that does not mean I want a crowd; I often feel that I just don't have time for most people, even ones whom I mostly like. I keep thinking that I should be working on my children's book, which I am both writing and illustrating, and which may be my only ticket out of my current existence. I also have my "nothing" quota to fulfill, because doing nothing is doing something. Then, of course, I have to stumble across an article about how having friends is good for one's health and can even prolong one's life. To which I find myself having a particularly Plutonian response: that I'm not all that sure I want to live a long life -- I'm more about quality than quantity, and although things could be much, much worse, I do not look forward to more of the same when my teeth fall out (see more on this very real worry a little ways down if you have the strength to read on). By most accounts, growing old (i.e., reaching 75, 80) sucks unless you have won both the genetic and financial lotteries, or you don't mind spending most of your waking hours sitting in a doctor's waiting room. Though I suppose all this can be somewhat offset if you're lucky enough to have grandkids (though my relatively recently deceased granny did not give two figs about my little sister and me, she was truly pathological). But I will never fall into that sick-and-poor-yet-still-lucky category; although there are kids in my life, they are not mine. Sometimes, I do not even feel that my relationship is mine -- that it is "living on borrowed time," to quote from the late great John Lennon, and that it is running a course all its own. This might not be such a bad realization, but the moderate middle path between control-freakdom and devil-may-caredom seems to be eluding me these days. Hello, Pluto-squaring-my-Chiron. I got the memo. I am awake. What to do now? Okay, so, teeth. Capricorn rules bones and teeth and just a few weeks ago, when I went to my dentist for my six-month cleaning, she informed me that based on my most recent set of X-rays from last December, I have appreciable bone loss and not only had to start flossing religiously, but must return for deep cleanings every three or four months for the rest of my life. I am not sure why my dentist didn't tell me about this bone loss six months ago -- perhaps she was distracted by the presence of my cute little cavity, my first in nearly twenty years and fourth one ever. Of course I was upset to hear this news, and when I thought about how I hadn't been to the dentist in over two years because I tend not to get cavities and much prefer spending money on anything other than a visit to the dentist, I got even more upset. My bone loss was my own damned fault. Sure, if my Freelancers Union insurance covered dental care, I would have gone like clockwork -- and if my old dentist hadn't moved to Florida, I might also not have let so much time elapse between visits -- but it was still my responsibility. I could go on for another several paragraphs about Pluto-in-the-4th-house family issues, but I am worn out, and if you are still reading this post, I would bet that you are, too. Trying to end this post on a relatively positive note, I would like to think that time (Capricorn) eventually does heal (Chiron) all wounds (Pluto/Scorpio, Mars/Aries), even though time does not seem to wound all heels.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
The Sun-Neptune trine only happens twice a year, so don't let this one slide or you'll have to wait till October 25. Visualize your ideal self, no matter how ludicrous or unrealistic. This is not a "practical" aspect, so don't lowball yourself. Besides, your dreams are no one's business to judge, unless you are one sick, twisted puppy. Are you a shaman? A star? A latter-day Lancelot? A mad scientist? An unstoppable wheeler-dealer? A hermit? The best and most intriguing lover in the world? Once you have something (or more than one thing, as there is no reason why your dream self can't be large and contain multitudes), meditate on it. Watch your ideal self in action -- doing -- and at rest -- being. Good. Now, meditate on this question: Why aren't you that person in "real life"? This is not a trick question, and your answer can be complicated or simple or perhaps both. It might boil down to: "I don't have the money," "It's not legal," "It's not physically possible," "My (sweetie/boss/mother) would kill me," or "I don't have the (talent/luck/ambition) and it's too late for me to be that person now." Well, maybe all true dat. But just for today, the cosmos is encouraging you to fantasize. Let yourself become that poet or hero while languishing in your cubicle, taking pointless orders, giving pointless orders, hustling for chump change, or washing endless dishes. Your soul will thank you for it, and perhaps this little excursion will bring you an inch or two closer toward integrating your dream self into your real-life self. After all, it is your dream.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Now that summertime has officially arrived, and we finally had a Full Moon that was not a Lunar Eclipse (albeit one that appeared bigger and brighter than usual because it was closer to the earth than all other Full Moons for 2013), we are about to experience some major changes: Jupiter departs Gemini and enters Cancer at 9:40pm ET, and less than twelve hours later Mercury turns retrograde in Cancer. Venus is also in Cancer, although not for much longer; it enters fun-loving, party-animal Leo on Thursday. But there is still a lot of Cancerian energy out there, especially since Jupiter magnifies whatever sign it's in. If you are a Cancer, you will definitely be feeling it -- and if you are someone who keeps company with a Cancer, you will definitely be feeling it by proxy. Cancerian energy is paradoxical in nature: Cancer is a cardinal sign, meaning it likes to lead and excels at getting whatever ball rolling. Yet Cancer is also of the water element, so it is introverted and reflective, and needs a lot of downtime. Cancer could never be mistaken for the premier cardinal sign Aries: while pioneering, hotheaded Aries must be at the front of the line at all times and at all costs (and fellow cardinal sign Libra is so other-directed it can only define itself by its relationship to others, and cardinal sign Capricorn's natural place is at the top of the literal or figurative mountain), sensitive Cancer prefers to rule the roost. And the roast. This does not mean there are no famous Cancers -- far from it. Many Cancerians have the uncanny knack of intuiting what the public wants before the public is aware of those wants, and can embody lunar magic at its finest, weaving a spell on hundreds of thousands of earthlings. This is because Cancer's ruling planet is the Moon -- which rules the public. That said, it's also common for Cancerian celebrities to have a strong 10th house, or planets in Leo (increasing the desire for attention and glamour), or a strong Jupiter (increasing the likelihood of luck). A "pure" Cancer with Sun, Moon, and Rising Sign in Cancer, or a heavy emphasis on the 4th house, is more likely to want to be a homemaker, or if this is not possible, then work from home and be a confirmed homebody, the unofficial mother (regardless of the native's gender) of the neighborhood. Of course, a stable home can be a space in which Cancer's natural creativity and imagination can blossom -- so even a "pure" Cancer could wind up becoming a celebrated writer or artist. Jupiter is said to be exalted in Cancer. On the surface, this seems odd; Jupiter is the ruling planet of Sagittarius, which has literally nothing in common with Cancer. However, before Neptune was discovered, Jupiter co-ruled Pisces, a sign that is extremely compatible with Cancer. For the next year, as Jupiter traverses Cancer, the urge to expand and the occurrence of good luck will be concentrated on the home, family, memory, imagination, intuition, collecting, antiques, nostalgia, women's issues, travel by sea, the sea itself, and recycling (Cancer is extremely environmentally aware). On July 17, we get two potentially magical Jupiter trines: Jupiter will trine Saturn in Scorpio immediately followed by a trine to Neptune in Pisces, just two days before the trine between Saturn and Neptune. This configuration is called a Grand Trine, in which three planets of different signs, but of the same element, are in perfect tune with one another. In the water element, this Grand Trine will encourage emotional depth. You may feel, however briefly, that you can achieve a balance between risk taking (Jupiter) and hard work (Saturn) -- and you can safely follow your dreams (Neptune) because both luck (Jupiter) and structure (Saturn) are in rare agreement with each other. True, Mercury will be Retrograde for the next three weeks -- so yes, there will be delays, second thoughts, and secrets. But Mercury in Cancer is reflective and likes to take its time hatching its plans anyway. Mars's entry into Cancer on July 13 (my birthday!) should add some interesting heat and spice to this current crustacean-filled brew.
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Hell hath no fury as a Pluto Rising, Moon-in-Scorpio native who realizes she's been scammed by a tech support site that has willfully misrepresented itself and parted her from a nice chunk of change. I really should've seen it coming. Late last night, I realized that I could not open my trusty Norton, nor my IE browser. AOHell browser was (in the irony of ironies) just fine, and with the help of Goo-Goo-Ga-Google I found the contact number for Norton Symantec tech support. Actually, it was not THE number, just a number...which my spidey sense desperately tried to tell me as I conversed with Swami Scammer. But my tired, scared, left-brain self was having none of it. All I knew was that for only $180.99, my problems would fly away as ducks at the end of the summer. I paid no attention to the fact that Venus (money, among other things) had finished trining Neptune and was now approaching a square to Uranus (technology). I also failed to take into account that the Moon was void of course at the end of Cancer. I was the one who was void of course, apparently. Fuck the Venus-Uranus square. Oh, and if you feel like breaking up with your sweetie, or fucking with his or her head, this is a great aspect for any and all heartbreaking activities...but you may really regret it once the square is over. You have been duly warned. And for god's sake, don't call tech support unless you are doubly, triply, quadruply sure you have The Official Contact Number. Better yet, turn off all of your electronic devices for the next few hours. And try not to get electrocuted.
Saturday, June 8, 2013
At the time I wrote yesterday's post, I was unaware that a gunman had shot and killed seven people in Santa Monica...so I would like to apologize if my "fun time for snipers and vipers" comment sounded too flippant. The New Moon in Gemini occurred just before noon ET, and was followed just a few hours later by the Mercury-Uranus square. If you made the mistake of not only writing but sending an incendiary e-mail, it is too late to take it back -- but on the bright side, we are free of squares till the Moon squares Uranus on Monday at 12:33 p.m. ET, and tomorrow we will get a preview of the Saturn-Neptune trine with the moon's trines to Saturn and Neptune (exact at 11:10 p.m. and 11:19 p.m., respectively). What this grand trine in water (Moon in Cancer, Saturn in Scorpio, Neptune in Pisces) is all about it stabilizing, not suppressing, the emotions, and using them in a constructive, creative way. It is a good time to address family problems; although the Moon in Cancer is extremely sensitive and prone to withdrawing when threatened, Saturn's influence will encourage meeting challenges halfway while Neptune's influence will soften jagged edges and encourage imaginative solutions. It is also an optimal time to work on confronting your emotions, your deepest needs and fears. You may even be able to begin reshaping your instincts and intuition if you have not been able to rely on them. Your environment will be more important than usual at this time, and you may feel the urge to improve your home or go to the seashore.
Friday, June 7, 2013
We are approaching two challenging aspects that already have manifested in a political scandal that could be called "Big Brother Is Watching You, Part XLIV." I am referring, of course to the phone companies in bed with the Obama administration, since apparently everyone is a potential terrorist. Yet we should all be comforted to learn that, unlike various invasions of privacy during the Bush II regime, this one has been sanctioned by the courts. There, don't you feel much better about it now? The Mercury-Pluto opposition (exact 6:01pm ET) cautions us that communications are neither open nor transparent at the moment. You may be keeping a huge secret, or you may be deliberately kept in the dark about something important. Either circumstance will lead to paranoia and an imbalance of power. It is also possible that you will blow the lid off very sensitive information if the price is right or the pressure to spill the beans is too intense. If you run with a particular type of crowd, you may find yourself at the bottom of the bay, feeding the fish. Even if you run with no crowd at all, you may have an unpleasant interaction with a neighbor or sibling. Even if you are alone, you may wind up arguing with yourself. This will be a fun time for snipers and vipers. The Mars-Neptune square (exact 7:58pm ET) unfortunately will not assist you in terms of intuition and timing. Self-deception is very likely, as is the desire to tie one on. If you insist on hitting the bars, try to wait till after the square -- Happy Hour will be more like Crappy Hour. If you have another type of poison, you may not react well to it. This is definitely not the right evening to go out for sushi and sake.
Monday, May 20, 2013
Yesterday I posted about the Uranus-Pluto square; unfortunately but unsurprisingly, this intense outer-planet aspect has manifested in extreme weather patterns. At least two dozen tornadoes occurred in Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, and Illinois, and today, a severe tornado touched down south of Oklahoma City, resulting in two fatalities and over a dozen injuries. Also, musician Ray Manzarek of the seminal '60s rock band the Doors died today. Interestingly, he was a Sun in Aquarius (ruled by Uranus). Manzarek formed the Doors with Jim Morrison in 1965, during the Uranus-Pluto conjunction; their first single was, apropos of this conjunction, "Break on Through (to the Other Side)."
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Plenty has already been written about the implications and manifestations of the notorious Uranus square Pluto in effect between June 2012 and March 2015, including on my own blog (check my June 2012 archives): the wars, the various collapses and brutalities, the global economy and climate in a tailspin. Well, it's back again on May 20, for the second of seven exact squares. The last era we experienced this square was back in the early 1930s, the peak of the Great Depression and birth of the "New Deal," the rise of fascism in Germany, and -- on a more positive note in the United States -- exciting new developments in architecture, automobiles, home furnishings, and everyday objects that we now call "art deco" but back then signified a conscious move away from the more ornamental French deco style of the '20s in favor of a sleeker, more streamlined, "modern" look. This may sound frivolous in the context of such harsh realities as the Depression, soup lines, and dust bowls, but it was inarguable that the "look" of things changed beyond mere necessity. (There was also the WPA, which merged pragmatism and technology with aesthetics.) Radio (Uranus) came into its own during the '30s, and "talkies" as well as the implementation of the Hays Code (basically a refutation of the decadent Jazz Age) transformed the cinema from their silent, morally ambiguous days. Interestingly, this code was broken about thirty years later, during the mid-1960s conjunction between Uranus and Pluto; one of the first films to flaut the code was appropriately entitled Blow-Up. Today's cultural markers include the Internet, but I believe that we are now on the verge of important breakthroughs in this medium. Television has entered a new Golden Age, with articles being published in such serious publications as the New York Times about binge viewing, "Netflix infidelity" (i.e., watching a TV series behind your SO's back), and how a show like Breaking Bad has for many bookworms become the equivalent of Great Literature -- in some cases supplanting the act of reading books altogether (you know, those square things with pages that kill forests). Just like the Depression, people are in need of escape -- but unlike the Depression, this escape can be indulged in without ever leaving home or seeing friends face-to-face. (Who needs to, when we've got Skype?) Also, such seemingly everyday things as smartphones, iPads, and Kindles are not nearly as affordable as other "modern" things, relative to inflation, of the 1930s. What is pretty much a "want to have" is now considered a "have to have" -- otherwise, you'll be out in the figurative cold and unlikely to keep up with the middle class (whatever that means -- someone making only half a mil a year?). Just like today, in the early 1930s, Uranus was in hotheaded Aries -- but the square was to Pluto in Cancer, so the emphasis really was on survival, on having a home and food (both Cancerian concerns). Now Uranus squares Pluto in Capricorn, which emphasizes authority, power, and status. As a Sun in Cancer, this not surprisingly rubs me the wrong way. The second Uranus-Pluto square falls on the Sun's entrance into Gemini and the Mercury-Uranus sextile. This means we have a wonderful window in which we can communicate with our siblings, neighbors, and friends -- with potentially far-reaching positive effects in the very high numbers, the cosmic equivalent of chain mail in which no one breaks the chain because it is important enough to keep alive. In other words, May 20 would be wasted on binge-viewing five episodes of Mad Men.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Mercury ingresses into Taurus at 11:37 a.m. EDT, just two hours before the Sun trines Pluto. When two astrological events occur in tandem, it's definitely time to pay attention. So what kind of song is about to be sung? Possibly an intensely beautiful, cathartic one. Although Mercury is not particularly well placed in Taurus, neither is it debilitated. Thoughts and communications will definitely turn toward money, honey, sensual love, beauty, and art -- perhaps clarifying the preoccupations of the three other planets currently transiting Taurus: Sun, Venus, and Mars. That's certainly a lot of earth energy. If you happen to have the Sun in Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn, Cancer, or Pisces (or have an emphasis on one or more of those signs in your chart), you will feel right at home. Some people would rather die than change, but today I would advise even the most stubborn of you (which would likely include a high percentage of Tauruses) to give reinvention a wholehearted shot. Pluto energy is never "easy," but a trine is the best possible aspect to ride it, not fight it; Pluto may bare its teeth on a trine, but in a smile -- not as a prelude to a bite. Envision yourself becoming the person of your very best dreams. If no one is handing you the keys to unlock all those obstacles, become your own locksmith. Do not wait for anyone's permission; grant yourself power, creativity, mystery, sex appeal -- any positive trait that will bring a smile to your own face. Do it even against all so-called evidence that you are a nobody. Your newfound self will then radiate like a newly charged sun. You may prefer to enjoy it in private (depending on whether your Sun or your Pluto is stronger in your own chart), but if you are out in the field, others will bask in your glow and become inspired to remake themselves. If enough collective momentum is generated, the chain reaction will continue even after the Sun finishes trining Pluto.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
It is hard to believe that this is the solar/lunar anniversary of finding my current home. That is to say, it was during the Full Moon in Scorpio, in early May 2012, that I managed to use astrology to my advantage. It's not all that easy to pull off, because astrology is not this abstract concept, but life itself, and life tends to be pretty unpredictable and messy. Understanding the meaning of an aspect (e.g., Full Moon in Scorpio) does not automatically lead to understanding how the aspect will manifest. You might know what chord will be played, but not how loud it will sound or how long it will reverberate. I always think of Siddhartha, aka Buddha, during this Sun/Moon combination. Specifically, I wonder how the hell anyone born with the Sun in Taurus and Moon in Scorpio could be detached or calm about anything, much less found a religion (which many prefer to label a philosophy) that most assuredly does not have to do with accumulating material goods and various sensual pleasures (Taurus). As for that Scorpio Moon... Well, the Moon in Scorpio is often misunderstood, even by those of us born with this Moon placement. In its "fall" (according to traditional astrology), it tends toward extremes, with an aura of danger and a natural inclination to provoke (in a far more unsavory way than rebellious Aquarius). The sexual wattage and seething intensity often eclipse this placement's mystical, sensitive qualities. Just off the top of my head, the Lunar Scorpion Pantheon includes James Dean, Edie Sedgwick, George Harrison, Charlie Chaplin, Warren Beatty, Pat Benetar, Alfred Hitchcock, Elizabeth Taylor, Scarlett Johansson, Bjork, Miles Davis, and Isadora Duncan. The only one on this abbreviated list who might not be considered a sex symbol is Hitchcock -- but his writing was certainly not for the faint of heart, and his name was worthy of an A-1 porn star! One of the dicier qualities of a Scorpio Moon is its tendency to test people. As a lunar Scorpion, I can attest to this and roll out the excuses while gloomy-doomy music plays in the background: we do it because we don't trust easily; we were betrayed early and repeatedly by the very people who were supposed to love and protect us; we need to know if you'll still love us after we usher you inside our darkness and explosive sensitivity, and one declaration or "proof" of fealty probably won't be enough. It can get pretty tiresome and crazy-making, but we do try to make up for it in other ways that you probably won't find in other, more genteel and balanced Moon signs. To repeat: we are not for the faint of heart. Perhaps ol' Siddhartha might have been the most evolved type of Scorpio Moon by testing himself above all else. By breaking through all the taboos and don't-go-theres of his comfortable Taurus background, he lived out his Full Moon with great intensity and consciousness. And only a Head Cheese of the Scorpio Moon variety could inspire this Zen koan: "If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him." Like practically everything else about the Moon in Scorpio, this instruction is not meant to be taken at face value. But the imagery is pure Full Moon in Scorpio: enlightenment may not come from letting go, but from killing your know-it-all-ism before it makes you insufferable. On this imaginative, spiritually oriented Moon-Neptune trine shortly before the Full Moon and Lunar Eclipse, try to take a brief break from the mundane, and stretch out that minute or hour as long as you can.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
One thing you can pretty much count on not receiving from modern-day astrologers is a hand-drawn chart suitable for display; if you're lucky, you get a computer printout that may be useful, but won't win any awards from the Dept. of Aesthetics. I am now offering this hand-drawn chart absolutely gratis for new astrology clients, and just $29.95 (free shipping within the U.S.) for those of you who may not want an in-depth astrology reading, but do want something appealingly unique to display in your home. Drawn by yours truly on heavy gray stock paper measuring an easy-to-frame 8.5" x 11", this personalized birth chart will fit in with pretty much every type of decor while also managing to stand out. This hand-drawn chart also makes a thoughtful, unusual birthday or housewarming gift -- that is, if you can manage to find out your intended giftee's exact birth information (day/month/year/time/ birth city) without blowing your cover! Officially intrigued? Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your information (once again: day/month/year/time/birth city) plus your mailing address. I will then direct you to my PayPal account. (If for some reason you do not wish to go through PayPal, I also accept money orders.)
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Warning: This post is intended only for adult readers who are not prudes. This morning, just a few hours before the Sun-Venus conjunction in Aries became exact, I had a dream that I believe perfectly captures the meaning of this conjunction, in fact the entire stellium of Sun-Venus-Uranus: self-love via onanism, and how frustrating yet necessary it can be to find that private moment for yourself amidst all the chaos and demands on your time. You know, what Cyndi Lauper sang about nearly two decades ago in "She Bop." Still in the dark? Be a perv with an impressive vocabulary and knowledge of '80s pop music. You have the technology; look it up. Particularly in the aftermath of the Full Moon, the Sun-Venus conjunction heightens love relationships and the pleasure principle -- but placed in Aries, that love has to come from loving yourself, and not in the abstract, but in a fiery, ultra-personalized way. And although the orgasm is most associated with the planet Pluto (as it rules the sex organs and all kinds of seeds), spasms of all kinds fall under the jurisdiction of Uranus. This Full Moon week, the headlines have been filled with the Supreme Court's back-and-forth regarding benefits for gay married couples (that is, in the nine states plus DC that allow gay couples to get married) and the discrimation inherent in the Marriage Protection Act of 1996. Certainly, the Full Moon in Libra (the "marriage" sign) as well as the revolutionary impact of Uranus acting on Venus (the "marriage" planet) speak to this spotlighting of equal rights (more Libra, anyone?) for all couples. And I believe that my sub-generation, born in the late '60s to mid-'70s with Uranus in Libra (an era of Women's Lib, gay rights, and rising divorce rates) will ultimately leave behind a legacy of overturning many laws we deem to be unfair or unequal. But no relationship, whatever its sexual orientation, stands a chance unless each partner is capable of self-love. This may sound like a cliche, but at least some cliches come about because they contain a whole lot of truth. And no, I do not think it's okay to engage the sort of selfish behavior that is ruthless and causes others pain...only pleasure.
Friday, March 8, 2013
It all seemed so promising, this flock (or school) of Pisces planets, the likes of which haven't been seen in so many moons I hadn't even been born yet: Sun, Mercury, Venus, Mars, all desposited by Neptune in its ruling sign of the Fishies, and all in harmony with Saturn in the fellow water sign Scorpio. If only Mercury hadn't turned retrograde on 2/22, perhaps all would be going swimmingly (pun intended). Mercury retrograde is tough all by itself, but in Pisces, the sign of Mercury's detriment, it is even more of a challenge. As much as this placement can inspire, particularly for creative types, it can also sink even the most forward-thinking person into a quagmire of sadness and "mighta-coulda-shoulda-beens." Not a great time to focus or to be able to remember your keys, your 17 case-sensitive passwords, or your own name. I myself was out earlier today to pick up a nice loaf of Italian bread for tonight, which I managed to forget at the counter; when I ran back out into the snowy, sleety mess to get it, the mirror in my building's lobby confirmed that I'd put on my World War I Flying Ace hat backward. Right after Mercury turned retrograde in my 6th house of health, I came down with a bug accompanied by a low-grade but debilitating fever that has only now begun to dissipate. Said bug served as a nifty wet blanket during the romantic weekend getaway I'd planned a month ago for my sweetie and me. I also shot myself in the foot (Mars in Pisces in my 6th) during an important job interview this week (which I'd had to reschedule -- another signature of Mercury retrograde -- as last week I was way too sick to come in) by failing to present myself with enough confidence. (Pisces is many things -- visionary, inspiring, paradoxical, magical, mysterious, wistful, dreamy, intuitive -- but rarely take-charge confident.) However, there was one bright spot: a rewarding chart reading with a new client. Mercury turns direct on 3/17; between now and then we will have the New Moon (3/11), which I hope will give me (and everyone else) more hope in the face of various personal and societal disturbances (e.g., the sequester and the restrictive abortion law passed this week in Arkansas -- especially ironic, given that today is Inernational Women's Day). Pee Ess: If a Certain Pisces is reading this post, Happy Birthday and I hope you're getting ready to celebrate!
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Greetings and salutations, my astrologically inclined lovelies...I'm back after over a month of absence. I was not away, just uninspired. My January was marked (or overshadowed) by a double whammy: Uranus opposing my Uranus for the third and final time and Neptune opposing my Venus, also for the final time. I am still recovering from all the confusion, restlessness, and spaz-outs. I still don't know what to "do." My creativity, which had been on the wane since very late 2012, is still MIA. I have forgotten what it feels like to wake up in the morning and feel that I am on the right path. Anxiety has become my middle name, though Ambivalence, Doubt, and Jarred are all in the running. I am hoping that Jupiter turning direct in Gemini will be akin to the winds shifting in such a way so that I may be better able to trim my sails and steer my ship in some coherent direction. I have been feeling pretty rudderless and scattered recently...capable only of imagining a better life, not being able to actually test out my ideas because it all seems so daunting. However, today is the Sun-Saturn square (exact 5:49pm ET), and has it ever been a bitch. Anyone else out there experiencing frustrating clashes with authority, endless red tape, excercises in futility with TPTB (the powers that be), unconscionable delays...an overall surplus of bullying and lack of humanity? Particularly with Saturn in Scorpio, I see a lot of power-tripping and clashes with the Sun in Aquarius, which is all about freedom, reform, and eccentricity. Then again, perhaps I am having an unusually bad time of it since Saturn is within 1 degree of conjuncting my Moon. Oddly, Saturn retrogrades next month half a degree shy of the exact conjunction...perhaps the Big Bad Wolf will retreat till mid-October. Also, today Mars at 28 Aqarius is exactly square my Neptune in Scorpio. That is hardly a recipe for optimism. Combined with the Moon transiting Virgo, all the bullshit is making me sick. Still, it would make me feel much better to know I'm not the only one fantasizing about going postal on (fill in the blank: big mean boss, Thyme Wormer, Dept. of Casually Cruel Inefficiency, you get the picture). Please vent all you like in the comments section. It might even make you feel better.