Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Missive to Saturn in Scorpio

Dear Saturn in Scorpio,

This is not an epigraph to you, as much as I wish it were. I realize that your departure is more of a sabbatical than a death, and that we'll all be seeing you again next summer. Yes, between mid-June and mid-September 2015 you will once again remind us that we have some unfinished Scorpionic business to deal with.

Saturn in Scorpio, you are an impressive mo'fo. You are an ancient museum housing top-secret treasures. You have tantric and shamanic abilities. Your structure manifests as the three certainties of life: sex, death, and taxes. You live to control, and are the power behind the throne. You are the shadow government and the underworld. You are capable of unspeakable brutality. And you can be one rabid pitbull when it comes to protecting your fears, your hopes, and, y'know, your feelings. You think vulnerability is for suckahs. For you, no matter what side you're on -- sunny-side up or sunny-side down -- it's easy to be hard. You are certainly not over easy.

I can't say that I'll pine for you for the next six months, since I got pretty damned depressed when you passed over my Moon in the fall of 2013, when you also manifested in my body as recurring UTIs, which made me even more depressed. I have also felt old, fat, and unattractive, and have been gradually losing money -- and I don't mean dropping small change on the floor of my corner bodega at two a.m.

That said, I have to admit that when you passed over my Neptune earlier this month and trined my Mercury, I regained my creative discipline. It had been a pretty dry autumn. So sincerest thanks for that. Your dismount, as it were, has been a beautiful one. And I guess it's not how you start -- it's how you finish.

About that unfinished business next summer -- if I try my hardest to face it with dignity and respect, with an open mind and an open heart, will you consider playing fair?

In the meantime, I look forward to getting into Saturn in an entirely different sign, Sagittarius. The lessons of Saturn in Sagittarius will be very different, involving abstract stuff like philosophy, higher education, the higher mind. I am sure there will be long-distance travel for business, not pleasure. I am sure there will be sibling shit to work through. Saturn in any sign can be a pain in the ass, but in Sagittarius it simply won't wrench my heart, guts, and private parts the way you have, Saturn in Scorpio.

Goodnight and good luck. I'd say "See you next June," but you'll undoubtedly see me first and not play hard to get.

Love and kisses,

T.C.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Enough with This Uranus-Pluto Square, Already!

Being an astrologer, like being or doing anything else that is viewed by most as flaky or downright stupid, can sometimes be a real pain in the ass. This past weekend, being an astrologer was particularly frustrating, since I knew with absolute certainty that with the Uranus-Pluto square bearing down on us for the sixth time since June 2012, the media would bring news of another major-league disaster or three -- and there I was, unable to do a damned thing about it.

I knew that even after the Uranus-Pluto square ended at 1:14 a.m. ET Monday, the Moon in Libra would keep "translating the light" (i.e., strengthen the separating square) till the wee hours of Tuesday (later in the day in Europe, the Middle East, etc.), so that more extremely bad news was to come early this week. The recent rape allegations against Bill Cosby, U.S. protests over police exonerations for killing black men, the published CIA torture scandal (which will quite possibly become the U.S. equivalent of Germany during the 1930s -- not coincidentally the last Uranus-Pluto-square era), and unusually severe storms on the West Coast (plus a tornado in L.A.) were simply not enough to mark Uranus-Pluto Square Number Six. There would surely be more instability, violence, and death.

If ever there was a time when I wished astrology would prove itself to be meaningless bullshit, the past two and a half years have been it. But once again, astrology delivered the goods (or bads, in this case): on Monday, a fatal hostage crisis in a Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Sydney, Australia, courtesy of an Iranian-born Islamic gunman who had been arrested previously for extremist activity, charged with being an accessory to his ex-wife's murder, and was out on bail after being charged with sexual assault. On Tuesday, seven Pakastani Taliban gunmen stormed a military-run school in Peshawar and, in a siege that lasted for hours, slaughtered at least 145 innocent students and teachers and injured over 100 more, before the last gunman was killed.

Now, no one who "believes" in astrology truly expects astrologers to predict exactly where such large-scale disasters will occur, how exactly they will manifest, and exactly what kind of backups will be needed, much less be some invincible Superman type who can stop the world from spinning on its axis while battling evil in various corners of the globe. I myself think it's unrealistic at the same time I will sit and stew over inevitable Uranus-Pluto calamities. However, it's a thornier issue for me to deal with that in my own little world, where it was best to tread lightly, I could not quite manage that. In the face of continued work-related hit-and-misses as Saturn lingers in the final degree of Scorpio, I could not keep my hands off third-rail issues and come back another day.

Maybe by next March, when the Uranus-Pluto square returns for the seventh time before going on sabbatical for eighty-some-odd years, I will finally have learned to handle this fanatical, unstable, crisis-driven aspect. However, I am lucky that I am still here to fight this square at all; many others over the past two and a half years have died for it, or from it.

It can certainly help if you know which houses the Uranus-Pluto square falls in your own natal chart, so you can confirm what areas of your life have been quite reliably under siege since 2012 (or as far back as 2010 or '11, if you are highly attuned to the square's vibrations). Still, even if you are ultra astrologically conscious, it can remain a challenge for even relatively placid, patient souls to remain calm, cool, and collected. The Uranus-Pluto square can rage against the machine, but it is also the machine.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Sun-Neptune Square: Crappy Thanksgiving?

Please note that all times given for aspects are Eastern Standard Time.

Right now, if you are feeling sick, tired, disappointed, disillusioned, disoriented, sad, and/or stuck in bad weather on I-95, having to change or delay your Thanksgiving plans due to bad weather or badder vibes, this down-in-the-dumps mood should lift after the Sun-Neptune square passes at 11:20 p.m.

With the Moon in Aquarius this Thanksgiving, you may be best off celebrating in an unconventional way: with the friends who feel like your true family (what author Armistead Maupin refers to as "biologicals"), dining on anything other than the traditional Thanksgiving menu. Some unexpected opportunities could arise early tomorrow afternoon that, if taken, will more than make up for any upsetting change of holiday plans that occurred today.

Mercury leaves Scorpio tomorrow at 9:26 p.m. and enters Sagittarius, so the tone of communication will shift from intense and secretive to outspoken and expansive. However, with Mercury quickly moving into a square to Neptune over the weekend (exact Sunday, 11:27 p.m.), there could be a revisiting of today...at best, making sense of or talking through disappointments or maladies; at worst, overindulging in holiday cheer to the point of not remembering it the next day.

By the way, is anyone else's ass, health, ego, creativity, and checkbook being kicked by Saturn in late Scorpio? Mine sure is. I am hoping that the imminent trine to my Mars will help. For all I know, this trine has been helping me avert the worst-case Saturn-in-Scorpio scenarios. In fact, I do know that must be the case. Not everything has been awful, and what is good has never been better. I have plenty to give thanks to this Thanksgiving. As I always like to point out, this holiday falls on the first Thursday of Sagittarius so that we can all give thanks to getting through Scorpio, for better or for worse. As much as I personally dig the Sun-in-Scorpio period, it never seems to "go gentle into that good night" (as Scorpio poet Dylan Thomas put it), and that goes double when Saturn is in Scorpio.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Entering the Scorpio Zone

It happens every October 23nd (sometimes on the 22nd), but trust me, you ain't seen anything like this particular Sun-in-Scorpio ingress. If you are susceptible to motion sickness, grab the Dramamine; if you are susceptible to jet lag, break out them melatonin pills.

We're not talking about subtlety here. When you went to bed last night, the Sun, Moon, and Venus were all in Libra. As of this writing, the Sun has entered Scorpio, Venus is in the last gasp of Libra, and the Moon is just behind Venus in very late Libra. So right now, we are straddling the astrological equivalent of the International Date Line. Within three hours Venus and the Moon enter Scorpio, almost instantly come together in a conjunction (5:12 p.m. ET), and the Solar Eclipse occurs just before 6 p.m.

This very rare stellium at 0 degrees of Scorpio may serve as a much-needed renewal trigger for water-sign individuals (or those who have many planets in the water element), as Scorpio is all about transformation and regeneration, the phoenix rising from the ashes. Since Venus is involved (and catches up with the Sun this Saturday at 3:31 a.m.), this need for renewal specifically focuses on love and sex -- the latter, of course, is a Scorpio specialty, but the former can be tricky to handle in the sign of the Scorpion, as jealousy and possessiveness can get in the way. The main challenge is to allow yourself to love and desire intensely without trying to own or control the object of your love...if you freak out, your love is sure to object. However, this could be a great time to experiment with BDSM or roleplay in a safe, intimate environment.

Libra can never decide what it truly wants; it swings back and forth on its scales. Scorpio, by contrast, tends toward a starkly black-and-white philosophy and cranks its amp to 11 (that's a Spinal Tap reference, in case you didn't know). For Scorpio, it's yes or no -- "maybe" is for suckers. It's good or bad, right or wrong, stay or go, now or never -- not "it depends." It's all or nothing -- there are no half measures. As you might imagine, this attitude runs into a lot of trouble in situations where compromise and conflict resolution are called for (school, work, family, relationships, friendships, politics -- am I leaving anything out?) and just like shit, ambivalence happens.

Scorpio is a paradox in that it is so stealthy yet also tends to apply its desires with a Vulcan grip; it is perceptive and far more sensitive than its badass rep would suggest, yet its will to not merely survive, but to come out on top cannot be denied. However, the way Scorpio rolls can come in very handy in competition, war, and survival-oriented shit. Scorpio is indeed a survivor (as is the sign Cancer, albeit using a very different tactic).

Such dramatic, whole-hog intensity can also shine through in the arts: think of Pablo Picasso and art nouveau master Theophile Steinlen (both Suns in Scorpio) and Rembrandt (Moon in Scorpio); Maya Plisetskaya, considered one of the best ballerinas of the 20th century; John Keats, Dylan Thomas, Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, Fydor Dostoyevsky, and Kurt Vonnegut. On a personal level, I credit William Steig (Scorpio, Moon in Pisces) perhaps most of all for my deciding at a very tender age to become a writer and artist. It reached me on that primal a level. (Primal is another Scorpio domain.) And the first time I heard Scorpio Grace Slick of the Jefferson Airplane sing in her piercing, challenging voice:

When the truth is found
To be lies
And all the joy
Within you dies
Don't you want somebody to love?
Don't you need somebody to love?
Wouldn't you love somebody to love?
You've got to find somebody to love...


It wormed its way inside my angst-filled, Moon-in-Scorpio teen soul and drowned out all the '80s pop pap that I had been ingesting every time I watched MTV or tuned my "box" to Z100 or WPLJ (including, sorry to say, recent offerings from the Jefferson Starship -- "We Built This City on Rock and Roll" and "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" both made me want to vomit). The late 1960s-era Jefferson Airplane was packed with talent, but it simply could not have flown so high, nor delved so deep, without Gracie.

Just to make life more interesting, the dramatic shift from Libra to Scorpio is occuring with Mercury stationing direct and Mars at the end of Sagittarius -- so two more shifts are in store for us. When Mercury appears from Earth's perspective to be stationery, this is an excellent time to meditate, focus, and also to find things, people, and feelings you'd lost over the past month, especially in mid-September. Don't overthink it -- chances are very likely these lost things will turn up unexpectedly.

As for Mars leaving Sagittarius and entering Capricorn in a few days -- stay tuned for that; I think I've given you Dear Readers quite enough food for thought for one post. Now go out and find somebody to love -- starting with yourself.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Sun-Uranus Opposition: Like Mairzey Doats, Jangly and Jivey

Though it was more of a gray night than a white night, as I managed to sleep a little bit here and there, it was such a restless, scattered night I might as well have not slept at all. This is pretty much to be expected on a Sun-Uranus opposition (exact today at 4:58 p.m. ET) on an upcoming Lunar Eclipse (exact at 6:51 a.m. tomorrow).

The signs involved in both oppositions are Libra and Aries, so we must all contemplate who we are in relation to others, especially significant others, while not shelving our individual selves. This challenge can result in a pretty heavy identity crisis, especially because Mercury is currently retrograde in Scorpio; it is hard to know exactly what to think, and neither Libra nor Aries is able to truly feel, albeit for very different reasons. As a sociable air sign, Libra's MO is communication, harmony, and partnership, yet is uncomfortable dealing with dark, messy intimacy and knowing what it truly wants; by contrast, as an aggressive fire sign, Aries knows exactly what it wants, must be the first in line (just as it is the first sign of the zodiac), and if that means stepping on others' toes, so be it. Aries personifies the rugged invidualist, the polar opposite of Libra's "you complete me" orientation.

Do keep in mind that I am not claiming all Libra Suns are pretty party people, nor are all Aries Suns pushy me-firsters; I am talking now about the purity of each sign's expression, not an entire chart that includes the Moon and all the other planets in our solar system. Depending on all these other planetary placements besides the Sun, it is entirely possible to be an antisocial Libra or a meek Aries.

Perhaps too much emphasis is given to eclipses, but if you know that the upcoming Lunar Eclipse falls near your Sun or Moon, other planets, or the angles of your chart, it will certainly be more significant than a regular Full Moon.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Pluto: Back by Popular Demand?

How on earth did I miss this particular news item? Apparently, on September 18 (with Pluto stationing direct and the Sun within a degree of my natal Pluto), the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics brought in three experts to debate the status of Pluto, which had been demoted as a planet by the International Astronomers Union in 2006 (but not by astrologers, many of whom felt, as I did, that dissing the likes of Pluto was not the wisest of ideas, akin to attempting to put the genie back in the bottle or locking a problem child in a closet).

The event, entitled "What Is a Planet?," was webcast. One expert, Gareth Williams, stuck with the IAU definition that booted Pluto out of planetdom (as it shares the far-off Kuiper Belt with other orbiting objects), while a second expert, Owen Gingerich, defined the term as continually shifting, one o' dem cultural constructs, which implies that Pluto at the very least should be put on planetary probation if not fully reinstated. But it was third expert Dimitar Sasselov's definition of planet that was voted by the vast majority of the audience in the auditorium as the way to go: "the smallest spherical lump of matter that formed around stars or stellar remnants."

Naturally, this most popular definition could open the planetary floodgates, as it is not limited to our our solar system. The Milky Way alone could account for a mind-boggling number of planets.

But far better to invite more celestial bodies to the planet party than ban Pluto. After all, any gathering that lacks a major-league badass is no party at all.

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Saturn Opposition; or, Trying NOT to Be "As a Dog Returns to His Own Vomit, so a Fool Repeats His Folly."

To my dear readers who have been waiting since late August for a new post:

In case you wondered where I've been for the past month, here is my answer: on the dark side of Saturn. All other transits and progressions have taken a backseat to the Harsh Taskmaster. My Saturn opposition was exact over the weekend, and now that it's over, I feel tired. And OLD. My lower back aches; it's high time for me to get back into my yoga routine -- not the fashionable kind in which one sweats like a pig in a room whose temperature rivals a summer day in Miami, or socializes after class with a glass of wine in the studio with fellow Lulumon-pants-wearing yoga students and enviably toned, toe-ringed instructor, but the kind in which one rolls out an old sticky mat on the living room store and goes through all the basic asanas -- Nag Champi incense optional. Ironically, the practice of yoga was a gift I gave to myself on my Saturn Return in the spring of 2000. I did it three or four times a week, sometimes more, sometimes less if I was under the weather or in the middle of relocating. But Saturn transiting through the opposite sign of Scorpio has nearly killed off this dedication. In fact, Saturn in Scorpio has been kicking my ass in many areas.

I don't want to fight Saturn in Scorpio, really I don't, but for nearly two years this transit has rejected my overtures of friendship. Feeling thusly dissed does not tickle, as I am a super-sensitive Cancer (with a stellium including the Sun, Mars, and Mercury) who also has a Scorpio Moon and Neptune in so-late-it's-last-call Scorpio. You would think Saturn in Scorpio would want to be not necessarily my BFF (since Saturn in any sign is no sign's BFF) but my stern yet fair mentor...someone who can truly show me the way to go home.

It could very well be that I am just a spoiled brat. Perhaps Saturn in Scorpio has been exactly what I'd wished for. After all, I managed to collect EUC through 2013 (when Congress cut it off for all longterm out-of-workers); hold on to my below-market-rate apartment; write approximately 250 pages of a children's book that shines with potential and, I daresay, timelessness; and maintain a relationship with one person who still seems to be, after many ups and downs and ins and outs, THE person for me. Though my health has not been great (Saturn in Scorpio has manifested in multiple UTIs -- since last November I've been taking prescription-strength cranberry pills as a preventive measure), it could be a lot worse. I know that I am hardly the only person in this "new normal" economy who has been jerked around with potential jobs that all came to naught; not the only not-funny real-life cartoon character known as the Floundering Freelancer. Hell, I understand that I am not the only writer-artist-mystic-astrologer who has been suffering from creative constipation. I get it.

On the other hand, maybe I don't really get it at all.

Saturn is not just about hard lessons, structure, limitations, depression, and "growing up," but also about parenting. I have so-late-it's-last-call Capricorn (the sign that is ruled by Saturn) on my 5th-house cusp of children, and exactly three weeks ago tonight I became the proud adopted mother of a young black cat (most likely a 2013 Scorpio with a Taurus or Cancer Moon, since he loves food and is extremely affectionate). His name is Little Franklin. His middle name is Coltrane. His last name, at least for now, is Gardstein. When he is being a total mental case, he is Franklinstein.

Some of you readers may recall the grief I recounted regarding Miss Meowsers, my boyfriend's darling gray tabby girl who died in May, an hour past Mother's Day. I miss her still; she will always be the Pioneer Cat in my heart, the amazing feline who turned me into a Crazy Cat Lady. But she was a preexisting condition; along with two daughters of the human persuasion, she came along with my boyfriend. Little Franklin is the Cat of Abundant Intentionality.

Unlike some of my friends, I was not nearly cool enough to have Little Franklin enter my life by lurking outside the front door of my building or following me home from the subway. No, LF did not drop into my lap. I spotted his photo among scores of other eligible kitties when I'd officially taken a break from cat cruising -- it was the last week of August, my boyfriend was going away for five days with his daughters, and we had been wrangling with the issue of cat adoption for the past few weeks without real solution, as we do not live together and would be unable to do so for almost another year. The possibility of adopting a pair of kittens and (temporarily) splitting them up so as to have a cat in each of our homes was discussed; I even came across a photo of two darling little kittens who might've fit that bill, except that they were adopted in a New York minute. My boyfriend met, in an impromptu manner, a pair of tuxedo kittens at an adoption van in his neighborhood one afternoon; he liked them, but was not magnetically drawn to them the way he'd been with Miss Meowsers a decade earlier. A calico cat I liked the looks of had similarly been spoken for, and there was a tabby tom whom I developed a crush on, but he was a senior citizen, and my boyfriend understandably did not want to go down that road. A day or two before his trip, I showed him the photo of Little Franklin, whose "rescue" name was Kew; the reception, from where I was sitting, fell on the cool side of neutral, so I decided not to push it.

Yet I could not stop thinking about this little tom with the ebony coat as shiny and fluffy as mink and the soulful copper eyes. And two days later, when his photo link appeared on a paid-service buying-and-selling e-newsletter I subscribe to, I knew that I had to move fast and try to arrange a meet-and-see before someone else beat me to it, even if doing so would cause strife. I emailed my boyfriend expecting a response filled with brake slamming, but though he did respond, it was not to my sense of urgency concerning "Kew." I sent an email to the adoption shelter, and though I heard back a few hours later, it turned out that the foster mother as well as her housemate were out of town, so the meet-and-see was arranged for the following week, after Labor Day, when my boyfriend could come with me to meet the cat who had imprinted himself on my heart. The meeting, overseen by the housemate, went very well; Little Franklin almost immediately sat on my hand, displayed impressive conversational ability (I naturally meowed right back -- it was a real conversation), and much to my relief and joy, allowed my boyfriend to scoop him up in his arms, where he went blissed-out boneless.

It took four more days to officially clear the red tape of the adoption application and reference checking that I had already submitted in order to expedite the process (nothing was binding till the adoption fee was paid), plus the home visit to confirm I did not live in a crack den or was a cat hoarder (the latter of which had been Little Franklin's home environment until all the cats in that place had been removed and sent to death row, at which point the rescue agency stepped in), until Little Franklin came home with me. Just four days culminating in the Harvest Moon, but they felt like four months, and through all my amped-up anticipation I felt storm clouds gathering in the Boyfriend Zone.

You see, as unbelievable as it may sound, I had chosen not to list him as one of my three references. One reference had to be "professional," I assume to screen out the jobless or freelanceless, but as for the other two, I chose two good friends to vouch for my character...not my boyfriend. And why? Well, I told myself I was sparing him the ordeal when he had so many other things to attend to, so many figurative fires to put out. The hard, Saturnian (and Plutonian) truth was that I did not trust him to give me a good reference, because I had gone against our agreement to take a break from cat cruising until we figured out just how such an arrangement would work. True, on the surface all seemed smooth after the meeting in which cat charmed boyfriend: we both liked the name Franklin so the naming decision seemed fair enough, and I assured my boyfriend that Little Franklin would spend plenty of time at his place (which is fortunately just a few neighborhoods away) once LF had gotten his sea legs and felt he had a solid, secure nest in my home, but the storm broke just a few days after the adoption.

My boyfriend had been staying at my place with our new son; I suspected that it was mainly because of Little Franklin that he was there, as for nearly three years the vast majority of our get-togethers had been conducted at my boyfriend's. Part of it had to do with the fact that until Miss Meowsers died, she lived there, though she sometimes visited me (sometimes to mouse-hunt, other times just for a change of scenery, which she seemed to enjoy); part of it was because his daughters stay with him every other weekend; part of it was that although I have a cozy, albeit small apartment, he has cable and I do not; and part of it was that we tended to fight right before one of his "off" weekends when he could've come over, but did not because we were on the outs. Anyway, at bedtime I kept pressing him to tell me what was wrong, and the cat, so to speak, came out of the bag. I am sorry to say that Little Franklin witnessed the escalation from soft voices to shouting on both sides, my boyfriend nearly storming out, and my flood of tears. We made up, as we have always managed to do sooner or later, but...Saturn was clearly not handing me parenthood on a silver platter. I had, after all, decided that I wanted what I wanted, that I was not going to let this cat slip through my fingers, and that despite my reassurances to my boyfriend, they were perceived as Band-Aids at best, "fronting" at worst.

I had truly wanted a cat, but I had also wanted to right the gross imbalance of the relationship's dynamic. (I have Jupiter in Libra, in case you were curious.) I did not want to cause him pain, but I felt compelled to take definite action instead of waiting for who knew how long on a situation that I deeply desired. For about two weeks midway through this past summer, my boyfriend and I were not just on the outs, but no longer a couple. I had been the one to pull the plug. There were a number of problems, but one of them was that I could no longer take the horrible sensation of being pulled along on certain important decisions I did not agree with, while not truly being heard or taken seriously. My boyfriend has many more moving parts than I do, which can be tricky to deal with in the best of circumstances, but these circumstances were far from the best. I had never stopped loving him, but I no longer loved our increasingly joyless situation, and at that time I felt that I had no choice but to take drastic measures to save myself from being further drawn into something that felt like a combination of a roller coaster and a vat of quicksand.

Although Pluto is the planet that most obviously deals with the isuse of trust or lack thereof, Saturn has to do with commitment, structure, limitations, a willful deprivation of pleasure (aka anhedonia), and an inherent lack of faith (for that, one must turn to Jupiter), and therefore has quite a bit to do with trust. And though my boyfriend and I have several lovely interaspects -- more than enough to explain both our attraction and longevity -- both of our Saturns form challenging aspects with the other's planets: my Saturn in Taurus squares his loose Venus-Mars conjunction in Aquarius and his Uranus in Leo. In other words, my Saturn "locks in" his natal opposition between Venus-Mars and Uranus, turning it into a fixed-sign T-square. This is not a pretty interaspect, and also overshadows, at least in my opinion, his Saturn in Capricorn opposing my Sun in Cancer (thankfully it's a separating opposition, yet it's still close enough to exert a strong influence).

My Saturn sits right on the cusp of my 9th House, so it is safe to say that whatever faith I naturally lack (thanks to a wide but approaching Moon-Saturn opposition) is exaggerated by Saturn's placement in the House that is most associated with faith. My real religion (the domain of Jupiter / 9th House / Sagittarius) is art, astrology, and a pragmatic form of mysticism. Shamanism has appealed to me since reading Carlos Casteneda in my early 20s -- not wanting to go to a "Don Juan" to be healed, but to become a Don Juan in order to heal others as well as myself. It has never been enough for me to merely be; in order to be in good standing with myself, I must do. And what I have been doing for nearly two months is trying to give my relationship another chance while not wanting to slip back into the very patterns (Saturn) that caused so much hopelessness (Saturn again) and resentment (Pluto). Oh, and I have also been trying (and failing) to find gainful employment that will free me from my stagnating career as a freelancer.

I do not want to be the dog returning to his own vomit. I want to create real, positive change instead of only reacting to outer circumstances, and just as important, not to give up whatever hope I have managed to hold on to for 44 years.

Little Franklin is a cat. He is also a son to my boyfriend and me, our friend who exhibits more humanity than many people we know, and a desperately needed ray of hope. This may sound like a tall order for one little fellow who has not yet celebrated his first birthday -- but if anyone can pull it off, Little Franklin can.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Love on a Square and Soul Sickness on an Opposition

Did you get through Monday's Mars-Saturn conjunction in Scorpio without breaking anything, especially yours or somebody else's balls?

Did you get through yesterday's Venus-Saturn square without sinking into a dark depression in which the very concept of love seems a deeply unfunny joke?

Congratulations! Now all you have to do is clear the hurdle of today's Venus-Mars square (exact at 11:46 a.m. EDT) and not drown either literally or metaphorically during the Sun-Neptune opposition (exact Fri. 8/29 at 10:33 a.m.) and you can enjoy a potentially sexy, shamanic, Moon-in-Scorpio Labor Day weekend.

Venus in Leo and Mars in Scorpio could get along and get it on wonderfully if only they could lay down their fixed-sign stubbornness and pride and truly give without strings attached. Yet glamorpuss drama queen Venus in Leo is so hung up on being in the spotlight and worshipped as the center of the "loververse" that Mars in Scorpio is not likely to relinquish its relentless master-of-manipulation will to power...and will instead bruise the huge but secretly insecure ego of Venus in Leo just to prove a pointless point. It is a standoff in which neither will be caught blinking first, and both will wear sunglasses just in case that unthinkable event occurs. Neither one wins; both lose. If you are currently in a relationship, my advice is to call a truce and head to a rock concert or opera -- or, if you are a badass and want to play with fire, a sex club to blow off some steam. The idea is to lose yourself in a bigger drama than yourself. If you are single and looking for love in all the wrong places, however, you may want to sit the Venus-Mars square out, as this is not a dateworthy aspect...though attending a costume party or beach get-together could be interesting.

The Sun in Virgo's normally cool, collected, organized self is thrown off balance by Neptune in Pisces; it just can't remain in its usual locked, upright position in Neptune's pounding, swirling surf. That may not be such a bad thing in and of itself...except that Virgo is earthbound and may panic underwater, losing all sense of its reality. Opposition aspects always indicate relationship issues as well as projection; in this case, Virgo steps on Pisces' toes, accusing the Neptune-ruled Fish of being too dreamy, passive, escapist, and unrealistic -- traits that the typical Virgo readily disowns instead of incorporating into its high-strung, repressed nature. Pisces responds by washing away Virgo's intricate sand castles and detailed plans. If these two signs can join forces, great love and creativity can result -- but it means that both signs will need to step (or swim) out of their respective comfort zones and learn something from each other. A word of caution: drinking, drugging, and abusing various prescription meds can easily get out of hand during the Sun-Neptune opposition, as suffering physical and/or emotional pain are likely. "Binge viewing" various TV shows and ODing on popcorn may be a safer bet. Depending on your chart, you may want to drown your sorrows alone or with likeminded company; either way, however, you will need to find a way to deal with your suffering, as well as acknowledge that others are also having a hard time in this hardwood world. Far better to err on the side of compassion (the Neptune-in-Pisces end of the opposition) than hair-splitting criticism (Sun in Virgo).

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Oh, Shazbot...!

Last night, upon returning to my blissfully private lair after a heavy Full Moon weekend of out-of-town socializing, I ordered in some mediocre Chinese food and ate it while watching a documentary about Sunset Strip that had been on my "Nestflix" queue for months. While it suffered for glossing over too many interesting stories in its 72-minute running time (doubling the length would've more than doubled its quality), I still enjoyed it. And during the all-too-brief segment on Sunset Strip's comedy clubs of the 1970s, a fresh young face shone out of the scruffy footage: an up-and-coming Robin Williams, who despite his forays into "serious" dramatic roles in such films as Good Morning, Vietnam and Dead Poets Society, always remained Mork from Ork to me. I had not thought of him in years, even decades.

As footage played of a young Robin Williams toasting Richard Pryor's genius at some "roast" or other, I thought something along the lines of, "It's amazing that Mork survived that era." The tragic element of the comedy section of Sunset Strip belonged to John Belushi, who OD'd at the Chateau Marmont in March 1982. Dark hints weighing about two tons were dropped that Pryor might have also died that night had his promoter not ordered him to go home (and hence stay on the wagon) after performing.

Attempting to interpret a celebrity's death, especially one whose likely cause was suicide, in light of that person's chart seems misguided in the sense that it gives fodder to the criticism leveled at astrology -- that it is all about hindsight. What if Robin Williams had lived to 93 instead of 63 and had died peacefully in his sleep? Would such a scenario transform the storm clouds in his chart into a mere drizzle?

Unfunnily enough, I was thinking along similar lines last week after watching the John Lennon documentary Imagine. Had this iconoclastic genius not been gunned down on December 8, 1980, I concluded that he might not have survived Pluto's transit of Scorpio opposing his Uranus-Saturn conjunction in Taurus -- he might've died of AIDS or even by his own hands.

Perhaps it is only human for astrologers to look for "reasons" after the fact. Always under pressure from skeptics and believers alike to accurately predict future events, looking back in an attempt to understand why something happened can be oddly comforting (to me, at least) as well as a key to considering the manifestations of what has not yet happened.

Is it coincidence that the birthday I selected for Blossom, my fictitious work-in-progress penguin, happens to be that of Robin Williams's? Yes -- but only because July 21 works out to be 28 degrees of Cancer, the degree of my Mercury (writing) and also exactly trine my Neptune (imagination). I realize now that Blossom is Mork: although not literally an alien, she does not fit into her harsh environment. Though she has friends and loving parents, her personality is a quirky, contradictory bundle, and her unusual needs and talents will take her far from home. Mork was also supremely unsuited to his environment; banished from Ork and transported to Earth via egg (an apt symbol of the sign Cancer) ostensibly to gather intel about humans (which he dispensed to Orson, his offstage leader, in wise end-of-show tidbits) but actually because his planet did not allow humor, in which Mork had to engage the way we must engage in breathing.

Interestingly, just a few weeks ago I read a wonderfully insightful blog post on Darkstar Astrology on the meaning of the third decanate of Cancer; as someone with three planets including the Sun there, I kept saying yes! aloud...even when it was not about the fabulousness of this decanate's creativity ("As artists they throw themselves right into their work, there is no holding back. The feelings flood out onto the canvas and touch the public profoundly") but the mood swings ("Sometimes these people can seem like the classic bi-polar. When they are up they are flying, exuberant, charming, fun and playful. When they are down though, it can actually be quite scary and it is often a shock to those who have only seen their sunny side").

Plenty of bad shit has been written about the perils of a Pisces Moon -- its hypersensitivity, its inability to cope with the "real world," its addictive, escapist tendencies besmirching its inspired genius. Robin Williams not only had a Pisces Moon, but a Pisces Moon conjunct the North Node and opposing Venus in Virgo (which, in turn, was conjunct the South Node). This suggests that he was lonely and anxious from birth -- born into privilege, he was a classic Poor Little Rich Boy, playing with thousands of toy soldiers all by himself in a mansion -- and had Major League Mother Issues even beyond that of most Cancerian men. Whether his mother put him on a pedestal or he put her there, whether or not religion was involved (one manifestation of Virgo is the Virgin Mary; one manifestation of Pisces is Jesus, which literally means "Little Fish"), the thing about pedestals is that there is inevitably a fall from such a lofty height. Crushing disappointment (Virgo) follows on the heels of awestruck wonder and love (Pisces). Relentless perfectionism (Virgo) paralyzes stream-of-consciousness inspiration (Pisces).

Robin Williams's fame and manic, eccentric persona seemed directly tied to Uranus's transit of Scorpio crossing his Ascendant and into his 1st House of self-identity in the late '70s. (Please note that although he was born in summertime, Chicago did not follow Daylight Savings Time -- which makes Williams's Ascendant 12 degrees of Scorpio, not 0.) By contrast, the current transit of Saturn in Scorpio in Williams's 1st House, going back and forth on a square to his Pluto in Leo (which is his ruling planet), which in fixed signs can seem like it will last forever (not that depression is easy to "snap out of" for any sign). His progressed Sun passed over his natal Saturn in Virgo just over a year ago, another marker of depression. And if that were not enough, the Uranus-Pluto square had been afflicting his Mars-Uranus conjunction at 10-11 degrees of Cancer -- certainly outweighing his beneficial natal trine between Moon-North Node and Mars-Uranus, which might have saved him back in the '70s, when L.A. was blanketed by a cocaine blizzard.

It is hard to believe that someone would decide to end his own life with Venus on his Sun, but yesterday's Full Moon, our second "supermoon" in a row due to its being at the perihelion to Earth, pulled in his Pluto to the mix. The Sun passing over his Pluto with the Moon opposing it must've outweighed any feelings of needing to live for the sake of family love (Venus in Cancer). Since an elevated Pluto in Leo is so wrapped up in yet conflicted about fame, it might not be too much of an exaggeration to say that Robin Williams's celebrity contributed to his death. That said, had this man not become a household name, he might've been known as a narcissistic addict or bipolar egomaniac, and he might've died tragically anyway. Had Williams hung on another year, long enough for his progressed Sun to have entered Libra, perhaps love and some semblance of balance or moderation would have saved him after all -- but now that he is gone, we will never know for sure.

This is your sad, tired astrologer signing off. Na-nu, na-nu.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Saturn-Uranus Inconjunct: "There Is No Closure." Mars-Jupiter Square: "Of Course, You Know This Means War!"

If you've been feeling bludgeoned by the pile-up of seemingly unusually bad news for the past week or two (escalating violence with civilian casualties in Israeli-Hamas conflict; Malaysian Airline plane shot down in Ukraine; more airline fatalities; "poor door" for token affordable-apartment renters in a posh building on Upper West Side of Manhattan where buyer-dwellers are rumored to urinate gold and shit chocolate), I have six words for you: Saturn inconjunct Uranus; Mars square Jupiter.

To be nitpickingly hair-splitting (as is in my contract as a Virgo Rising), the inconjunct (aka quincux) between Uranus at 16 degrees of Aries and Saturn in 16 degrees Scorpio stopped nine minutes short of exact, at which point Saturn turned direct (7/20) and Uranus turned retrograde (7/21). These shifting of gears in a very inharmonious aspect was akin to motion sickness on a global level. I'm not saying everyone felt ill, though I myself came down with a bad summer cold that I had been fighting off (and eventually lost to) for the past few weeks, but certainly, with Mars still badly placed in Libra, it's safe to say many of us were off balance.

It has been noted by astrologers that the Israeli people are ruled by Aries, while Arabs are ruled by Scorpio. This may well be true as both Aries and Scorpio are ruled by Mars, planet of war and the military; and in an inconjunct aspect to each other, no matter how many cease-fires there have been, just like the inconjunct aspect, there is never any real resolution -- only irritation and resentment that periodically flair into violence. Interestingly, an inconjunct has both a Virgo and Scorpio flavor; just count five signs ahead of (and behind) Aries, the natural starting point of the zodiac, and you land on Virgo and Scorpio. Inconjuncts seem to bring out the worst in the respective signs involved; in this case, the natural Aries-Scorpio flavor is amplified by Uranus and Aries literally placed in these signs. Furthermore, this is a "closing" (Scorpio) inconjunct due to Saturn's being the faster-moving planet and turning direct. In other words, Aries's worst tendencies (hotheadedness, short fuse, excessive aggression, me-first-ism) have been butting heads (and butts) with Scorpio's worst tendencies (spitefulness, grudge-holding, power-tripping, subterfuge). With this bad attitude, no one wins and everyone loses -- and innocent civilians on both sides have been losing their lives over this.

Admittedly, I was not unhappy to see Mars in Libra finally depart last Friday night, as it wore out its welcome with me around the time it turned retrograde back in February -- ensuring that this transit of Mars in Libra would be like that clueless party guest who refuses to leave in the last wave of leavers and instead lolls around drinking, scattering cracker crumbs on your sofa, and talking pointless drivel while you, the worn-out host, are pointedly collecting empty glasses and other party deitrus, hoping this asshat will get the hint. Mars in Scorpio should be much better for me on a personal level as well as in general, as Mars is dignified in the sign of the scorpion, whereas in the sign of the scales Mars is in its detriment. However, we are not seeing any improvement as there is a Mars-Jupiter square (exact 8/1). This may be the aspect of war, especially with Mars in a sign that does not shy away from confrontation. At the very least, the Mars-Jupiter square denotes poor judgment (which can, of course, lead to war, or at least take a sad song and make it even sadder).

Believe me, dear readers, I know whereof I speak; I myself have a separating but extremely close Mars-Jupiter square, with Mars placed in its fall (Cancer) and Jupiter in a critical degree of Libra (critical degrees are the equivalent of supersizing whatever sign is involved). I can never decide whether this is my chart's worst apect or if it's my Moon-Saturn opposition; they are so different from each other, and in both cases these gnarly aspects are helped by wonderful aspects from other planets. Still, I am very much aware that it's my Mars-Jupiter square that has gotten me into the worst scrapes. Sometimes I feel like a cat, as I have used up a handful of lives on ill-considered risks, followed someone else even if I knew s/he was going to get me lost, engaged in unnecessary and unwinnable wars, and burned many bridges.

I made an important and long-overdue decision just over a week ago that I know in my mind is right, yet my heart is doubting it. Hence, no resolution in either mind or heart, and my soul is so fed up it's gone on summer vacation without letting me know its itinerary. I'd tell this Saturn-Uranus inconjunct and Mars-Jupiter square to go to hell, except that is where I am right now.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Independence Day?

In recent years, let's say since Pluto entered Capricorn, I have made a point of reminding myself on a regular basis that as a woman, I am extremely lucky to be an American and not a citizen of a country where women are routinely abused, treated as chattel and as perpetual baby containers, must cover up most of their bodies so as not to incite the beastly lust of men who are not compelled to go around with lampshades on their heads, and/or must rely on the kindness of their male relatives or husbands to survive, if not thrive.

As an American woman, I still have a very high degree of autonomy; I can live on my own if I choose, at least in theory work in any field I desire, and manage my own finances. I also have the right to make decisions that pertain to my health and overall well-being. This includes birth control and abortion.

For the past week, however, I and many of my fellow American women have been feeling considerably less lucky. Two decisions reached by the Supreme Court on June 26 and July 1 have made it very clear that while corporations and unimplanted zygotes are people, women do not quite make that grade. I could make an unfunny joke about how this nation should rename itself the United States of Islam, but that would be doing a great disservice to Islamics who do not pervert the Quran to their own twisted ends. Perhaps the United States of Christian Fundamentalism would be more appropriate.

I am still perplexed as to the unanimous verdict of June 26 that struck down as unconsitutional the 35-foot "buffer zone" Massachussetts State law that protects women who are entering and leaving sexual and reproductive health-care facilities (and I feel compelled to emphasize here that women go to Planned Parenthood and other such clinics for checkups, not just pregnancy termination). I understand the concept of our First Amendment, i.e., free speech, and that sidewalks and the like belong to "We the People." Yet the Supreme Court building itself has an extremely generous buffer zone of 252 feet -- for the purpose, according to the regulations, of maintaining "suitable order and decorum" on the property. "We the People" are not allowed to congregate or protest anywhere near federal buildings, and remember what happened with Occupy Wall Street? Granted, there is a legitimate fear of political assassination -- but what about the safety of women and their health-care providers? What about the fact that there are lunatics out there whose God-ordained mission is to kill "baby killers"? My own father, a retired OB-GYN, had to deal with these nutjobs back in the 1980s when he volunteered at a nearby clinic on Saturday mornings. Police became a constant and necessary presence in the parking lot. And let's just cut the crap: "pro-lifers" do NOT want to conduct quiet, respectful discourse with women entering clinics. If they did, they would not be carrying bullhorns and signs depicting mangled fetuses. If they were truly respectful, they would understand that no woman wants to be badgered about a decision this personal and this upsetting, and also realize that no woman is unaware at this point of her other "options." And again, they never seem to take into account that a woman might be entering the clinic for a PAP smear or pelvic exam.

The Hobby Lobby case decision, coming on the heels of the buffer-zone smackdown, is even more upsetting, as it shows that the laws of the USA are basically in the hands of five old, white, conservative Roman Catholic men who may hang around another couple of decades to erode even more rights for women (and maybe some other "less than" groups -- but racism, anti-Semitism, even homophobia are simply not as tolerated in the US as antipathy toward women and poor people of both genders). The backup for this travesty is not to be found in the Constitution, but the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. The RFRA was to apply to people; now that corporations are people (per the Citizens United case of 2010), the 5-4 Hobby Lobby decision states that RFRA applies to regulations that govern the activities of "closely held" for-profit corporations, and therefore such companies cannot be required to cover birth control and contraceptives.

Never mind that Hobby Lobby is hardly a "closely held" enterprise, with nearly 600 stores in the US; never mind that a corporation cannot attend church, temple, or a shamanistic peyote ritual; never mind that birth control is not the equivalent of abortion and is also used to treat such conditions as endometriosis; never mind that many of Hobby Lobby's wares are made in China, where contraceptives and abortions are necessary to maintain its "one child per family" policy; never mind that Hobby Lobby covers Viagra and vasectomies; never mind that pre-ACA (aka Obamacare), Holly Lobby apparently had no problem with covering women's health-care needs. Never mind any of that. Floodgates for futher indignities that will hurt REAL, ACTUAL people who have to work for a living, please open now.

You may be wondering when I'll start astrologizing. Okay, here goes: both of these Supreme Court decisions occurred with Mercury still retrograde in Gemini, which personally gives me some hope for a double overturn. (Gemini in general is adept at "flipping," and Mercury in Gemini in particular is an expert.) What's particularly troubling is that these decisions were made on an approaching opposition between the Sun in Cancer and Pluto in Capricorn (exact today at 4 a.m. ET) and even more ominously, the opposition between Jupiter in late Cancer and US Pluto in 27 Capricorn (exact early tomorrow a.m. ET -- should make for some interesting fireworks and possible protests). Cancer is THE female de tutti females of the zodiac; Jupiter is law and religion (as well as philosophy, long-distance travel, gambling, and higher education). Pluto in Capricorn represents the conservative, status quo power, often winning by dubious, unscrupulous means. I do worry that things will get darker before they get lighter; we have another decade of Pluto in Capricorn, and almost that long until the first US Pluto Return (Pluto takes about 248 years to make just one orbit around the Sun). Pluto eventually kills off the compulsive, destructive side of whatever sign it transits; Capricorn is the domain of banks, CEOs, corporations, and government. The last time Pluto was in Capricorn, we had a little something called the American Revolution, which culminated in the Declaration of Independence of July 4, 1776.

Our Founding Fathers may be rolling over in their graves today, but all the same...Happy Birthday, America. The US Solar Return chart has Cancer Rising, Jupiter in Cancer exactly opposing US Pluto, and Moon and Mars in Libra in the 4th House, indicating that most of the harm done during the next year will be at home, and in the home. Mercury and Sun in 12th House indicate plenty of behind-the-scenes action and secrecy. I guess that means that whatever the public hears about, there's plenty more that's not being shared...but then, what else is new?

Saturday, May 24, 2014

THIS is the Jupiter-Saturn Trine?!

Such a beautiful, stabilizing aspect between two planets that are polar opposites. (Jupiter: expansion, "luck," faith, travel, religion, philosophy. Saturn: contraction, limitations, hard work, crystallization, pragmatism.) Given the signs involved, this should be especially beneficial for a Cancer-Scorpio type like me. And yet the only way I think I'd feel worse right now is if I got run over by a bus or a meteor fell on my head. Hey, lightbulb moment: the Jupiter-Saturn trine is protecting me from total disaster, leaving me free to obsess over various shitty "first world" problems. Though come to think of it, don't people all over the planet (and probably the entire universe) want to feel wanted, loved, understood, part of something authentic and meaningful, and content, if not ecstatic, to be alive? What's the point of survival if you don't have those things...or am I just being a disingenuous idealist again?

By the way, I'm still doing private consultations via Skype or phone. I may an unhappy camper, but I'm one hell of an insightful astrologer. Read my testimonials. Email me for my rates. Peace out.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Mars Finally Turns Direct

Mars is all about action, so it seems apropos that with Mars finally turning direct after over three months of being retrograde in the sign of its detriment (Libra, in case you haven't been reading my blog lately), I would finally be moved to update my astrology site.

Not that I'm feeling all that energetic. Indeed, I am so tired I can barely keep my head up. It's been a hard day's night for the past few months. The hardest thing to deal with has not been my business-as-usual problems, but losing Miss Meowsers, my sweetie's darling gray tabby whom I was lucky enough to know and love for the past two years, to chronic kidney failure (diagnosed in late March, Miss M. declined considerably after the Grand Cross passed in late April; we put her to sleep at home, a few days before the Full Moon, at the tail end of last weekend, just past Mother's Day). I feel that I've lost a dear friend, guru, and child. Miss Meowsers was a true inspiration and proof that miracles exist in this world -- just for starters, when I met her, I was allergic to, and did not especially care for, cats. I have a great imagination, yet could never have imagined the bond that would begin developing between us in six months' time and deepen up till the very last moment she looked into my eyes.



Mars turned retrograde in my 2nd house and although I was lucky enough not to go broke, my finances did not remain stable, as my job situation ended soon after Mars backed over my critical-degree Jupiter (interestingly, the job began soon before Mars, still direct, passed over my Jupiter; it was good and unexpected fortune, as I'd been found for it instead of applying to it). In early April, Mars retrograded into my 1st house and I became increasingly dissatisfied with my appearance (a 1st-house concern), lack of creative motivation, and listlessness. I can only hope that as Mars moves beyond its stationary direct phase and begins to pick up speed and purpose, so will I.

Natually, we've all been in some holding pattern or other these past few months, but depending on the house or houses in which Mars turned retrograde in your own chart, its effects have been felt in strikingly different ways. For example, if Mars turned retrograde in your 3rd house, you might have found it increasingly frustrating to communicate, particularly with neighbors or siblings; if Mars turned retrograde in your 12th house, you might have been plagued with nightmares, developed hard-to-diagnose health problems that might have landed you in the hospital, or even been unjustly incarcerated.

Although Mars direct is generally worlds better than Mars retrograde, Mars is still in indecisive Libra and will be until late July; it will also need to repeat the square to Pluto and opposition to Uranus (though interestingly, Jupiter leaves Cancer before Mars can square it again). In other words, we are not in smooth sailing by a long shot -- but at least we won't be in the hellish, boxed-in limbo known as Mars retrograde.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Let's Do the Uranus-Pluto Square Again! First, a Jump to the Left...

...and then another jump to the left. Very good! Now keep on jumping to the left, at least until we reach the center. That's right -- or should I say, correct. Personally, I'd go farther than that, but the center would be a good place to start having a real conversation about the deep shit we are all in -- including those unrepentant 1%ers, though it is hard to call up much sympathy for them, as their heads are still firmly attached to their necks, 95 percent of financial gains since the recession supposedly ended have gone to them, and they still have tucked into their back pockets all of our politicians who are supposed to be working for us.

For the past two years I've written about the Uranus-Pluto square, as has every single astrologer in the world. Honestly, I'm sick of it -- both writing about it and the actual aspect. It is one frightening mo'fo, and fear seems to paralyze the nicest, most intelligent and refined people while encouraging itchy trigger fingers to the impulsive, bloodthirsty, and sociopathic. However, I'm one of those oddballs who can frequently, if not always, understand something (or someone) better by writing about it. I think it comes from having a Mercury-Mars conjunction that squares my Jupiter and trines my Neptune.

Anyway, today is yet another Uranus-Pluto square. Five down since the party officially started in June 2012 (though early birds, the canaries in the coal mine, felt it a year or two early), two to go till last call next March. Are more of us finally "getting" that this square is all about societal and global crisis? We have an increasingly shameless plutocracy intent on buying the whole planet by distracting the populace with divide-and-conquer tactics. It is indeed such good, clean fun to blame the victims, then sit back and watch the victims blame one another! Young vs. old; haves vs. have-nots; middle class vs. rich and poor; men vs. women; blue states vs. red states; conservatives vs. radicals. We also have save-the-planeters in one corner, climate-change deniers in another. Freedom fighters vs. oppression makers. And fill-in-the-blank "ism" vs. polar opposite ism. And so on, and. So. On.

Are you feeling overwhelmed, overheated, or chilled to the bone? Are you standing blindfolded at the edge of a precipice that is giving way under your feet, yet you don't know which way to jump? Are you bobbing along in a barrel that is nailed shut and meandering toward Niagra Falls? Are you losing your livelihood, your home, your roots, your nerve, and/or your mind? Just remember that this is the most intense Uranus-Pluto square of 2012-15, as it is part of a very rare Grand Cross that is peaking this week (please check my last few posts for more detail). I'm not going to offer up such platitudes as "whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger," because damn it, it's just not always true. Whatever doesn't kill you too often warps you and embitters you and makes you hell to be around. I ought to know; I've been guilty of it. I have no solutions other than this: try to remember to breathe, and try not to take out your rage, which may be perfectly justifiable, on those whom you love. Save it for writing a nasty short story about your boss, or a cosmic manifesto. Or if you are, unlike me, a "people person," band together with likeminded malcontents and come up with something with a longer shelf life than Occupy Wall Street.

And if you no longer have love in your heart for anyone or anything, try to find something that makes you glad to be alive even if it's only for a few minutes, like watching a cute cat clip on YouTube, standing under a blossoming cherry tree, or listening to "Fight the Power" by Public Enemy.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Your Dogma Is Chasing My Karma

Earlier this month (April 9th, to be precise), I attempted to write about the Grand Cross (aka Double Square or Perfect Shit Storm) in a unique, witty, literary way -- by creating a little dialogue among the four principal players: Jupiter, exalted in Cancer; Mars, retrograde and in its detriment in Libra; Pluto in Capricorn, and Uranus in Aries.

However, I think there is still room for a ymore traditional approach insofar as explaining the specific aspects and planets involved. We have officially entered the peak of the Grand Cross, with one doozy of an aspect after another from today through Wednesday. I will attempt to break it down without having a nervous breakdown in the process -- and please understand that because these aspects are all happening on the heels of one another, we really won't have any breathing time to "process" any of them until next week at the earliest.

Please also note that all times given are EDT.

Easter Sunday began with a bang: the Jupiter-Uranus square (exact 3:25 a.m.). I can tell you exactly where I was: waking up with a stiff neck on my sofa, having fallen asleep a couple of hours earlier while watching 54, an almost laughably bad (except that it wasn't funny) so-called drama about a young man's rise (and probable fall, though I missed that part) at disco mecca Studio 54, where owner and tax-evading sleazemeister extraordinaire Steve Rubell "discovered" this cute-but-naive-and-kinda-stupid 19-year-old (barely played, with a bad "Joy-zee" accent, by Ryan Phillipe) and made him a busboy-slash-boy toy, then bartender-slash-boy toy. Neve Campbell, playing a soap-opera goddess, shows up at one point, then wisely disappears -- unlike poor coat-check girl disco-diva-wannabe Salma Hayek. There was a method to my madness for streaming this inane piece of dreck after my best friend departed: first of all, we'd watched Blue Valentine, which left me with such a bad taste in my mouth that no amount of wine guzzling or tooth brushing would fix it, and second of all, I figured a movie like 54 would be perfect to watch under a Jupiter-Uranus square: the excess! The unwise gambling! The lack of impulse control in general! The disco-as-church theme! Was I ever mistaken. I would've been better off engaging in potentially pleasurable excess than watching a pale, paint-by-the-numbers rendition of it. However, if any of you spent the Jupiter-Uranus square losing your life savings in Vegas or AC, putting expensive, poisonous substances up your nose or into your veins, or attending a condomless orgy, you may be wishing right about now that you'd spent a low-key evening at home.

We are now working up to the Jupiter-Pluto opposition (exact this evening at 7:05 p.m.). Religious dogma, anyone? I wonder how many people today are deciding it would be a swell gesture, in honor of Easter, to revive the old-school punishment called crucifixion. I wonder how many government officials are scaring the bejeezus out of their citizens, or are posing as officials, per last Tuesday's debacle involving leaflets in eastern Ukraine addressed to "Jews of Donetsk," ordering them to pay the new pro-Russian revolutionary authorities $50 apiece for individual registration, or else face property confiscation and deportation. It was signed "Independent Donetsk Republic" and an identical flyer was signed "Your People’s Governor Denis Pushilin." But wait! It was apparently a belated April Fools' Day prank, delayed till Passover when the joke would be even funnier, for Pushilin denies any involvement in this notification. Yet the local Jews are, understandably, not amused -- and as Ukraine desires more than ever to join the West, I wonder what the cost in terms of human lives and nerve-induced puke will come to.

Not that the Jupiter-Pluto opposition only has to do with religious fanaticism and war; one has only to look at an article in today's New York Times (preferably the online version, so you can eyeball the comments section) to realize it also includes the cost of illegal immigration. It seems that last month, a 12-year-old girl from southern Ecuador hung herself in a children's shelter after Mexican authorities (that's right; Mexican, not U.S.) busted her in the company of a "coyote" (a person paid a pretty penny to shepherd others across various borders -- in other words, a Jupiter-Pluto opposition personified). The girl did not want to leave her grandparents; she'd attempted the long trip before and failed. And the grandparents did not want to lose their granddaughter, whom they'd taken care of since she was a baby, after her parents immigrated (illegally) to the U.S., settling in Queens, NYC. But in the end, the $20K the parents gave to various coyotes trumped everything else, and as a result, Noemi Álvarez Quillay died.

Who knows what physical and psychological traumas this girl (along with thousands of other minors every year) endured while making this treachorous trip in the company of coyotes and then questioned (probably harshly) by authorities. She probably felt that it was her fault she'd gotten caught a second time. Perhaps it was a murder made to look like a suicide. Noemi's parents did not even go down to Mexico to identify their child, for if they left the U.S., they certainly wouldn't have been able to reenter. As you might expect, the comments on this tragic story run the gamut from "it's a crime against humanity not to have an open-border policy" to "it's the parents' fault and they should be deported and charged with child abuse" to "we in the US have to take care of our own before taking care of the rest of the world." One person invoked the inscription on the Statue of Liberty; another reminded this poster that it applied only to legal tired, poor, huddled masses willing to go through Lady Liberty's home base of Ellis Island.

Jupiter is now conjunct U.S.'s Sun at 13 Cancer, which would be great except that Pluto is also opposing U.S.'s Sun. I can only barely comprehend how comparatively lucky I am to be a white American citizen and not, say, a woman in a third-world country who feels that her home brings her nothing but poverty, disease, and various forms of sanctioned abuse. And the U.S. government relishes the role of being not only the world's cop (military-industrial complex, anyone?) but the world's savior. I'm not talking about a genuine sense of compassion here, but the inflated, Jupiterian sense of U.S. exceptionalism, of knowing better, and being better, than the rest of the world. The mixed message that the U.S. sends -- that there are indeed immigration laws, and you should absolutely abide by them, but if you're willing to risk life and limb to get in, if you successfully cross the border and settle in a city where there is plenty of under-the-table, under-minimum-wage work to be found, you will most likely not be kicked out -- is probably not the best solution. It certainly didn't turn out so well for young Noemi or her family.

By now you're probably not in the mood to read about Monday's Uranus-Pluto square (number 5 of 7); I'm certainly not in the mood to write anymore about it right now -- I've written about this aspect too many times already over the past two years. I also currently lack the energy and fortitude to get into Tuesday's Mars-Jupiter square or Wednesday's Mars-Uranus opposition and Mars-Pluto square. I'll try to post again tomorrow, but for now, I'll just say that all of these Mars aspects really, really suck, and I recommend avoiding all manners of machinery if at all possible.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Ode to the Lunar Eclipse

No matter how tired I am tonight
No matter how weary my bones
No matter how heavy in the heart
I will wait up for you
To watch the reddish bronze creep across your pale lunar face
And upon completion, admire your tan as if you'd spent a week in the Caribbean.
It is high time for me to shake off the polar vortex
Time for renewal that charges me up without charging my credit card
Time to thumb my nose at the fearsome Grand Cross that falls on Easter
Time to gaze up at you with matching bloodshot eyes
Time to remember what it takes to make two burning souls lovers
And ace the heavy winter bed covers.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Grand Cross: The Way Things Are Going, We're All Going to Be Crucified

Uranus squares Pluto for the 555th (oops, I meant 5th time) on April 21st, just as Jupiter squares Mars and Uranus and opposes Pluto, Mars squares Pluto and opposes Uranus, and have I left anything out of this cacaphonous clustercuss of Cardinal signs? Should we be relieved that Mars is not only in Libra (talk about hamstrung placements), but RETROGRADE, so that some of us may in fact survive World War III and/or a natural (or unnatural) disaster?

Uranus in Aries to Pluto in Capricorn: Off with your head!

Pluto in Capricorn to Uranus in Aries: Oh, you don't want to eat cake? To the poorhouse (or even better, newfangled Auschwitz) with you!

Jupiter in Cancer to Pluto in Capricorn: Tsk-tsk, what would your mother say?

Pluto in Capricorn to Jupiter in Cancer: Who knows? I've been far too busy dividing and conquering to give a damn about her opinion.

Uranus in Aries to Jupiter in Cancer: Back off, sweetie, it's far too hot in here for a big softie like you...though maybe, if you really want to help, you could write a patriotic song for the revolution.

Mars retrograde in Libra to Uranus in Aries: Why can't we all just get along?

Uranus in Aries to Mars rx in Libra: Wimp.

Pluto in Capricorn to Mars rx in Libra: I feel the sudden urge to tie you up and beat you senseless, but I won't do it because you'd like it too much.

Mars rx in Libra to Jupiter in Cancer: I feel the sudden urge to run off to Las Vegas with you and elope and gamble...but I think I'm already married.

I am offering a special this month on Grand Cross readings. Even though this rarer-than-rare aspect is challenging all of us, it affects all of us differently depending on where it falls in your chart and if it contacts any of your natal planets. Please email me at plutorisingastrologer@gmail com for my rates. Please note that all readings will be via Skype.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Mars Retrograde to Me: You're Fired. Me to Mars Retrograde: Up Your Nose with a Rubber Hose.

Okay, so Mars is retrograde in Libra and I really shouldn't have been shocked by what happened right after I got to work on Tuesday, on the approaching Moon-Mars conjunction.

But what the hell, the Sun was also exactly trining my Neptune and Mercury (forming a grand trine in water). I thought that would be more than sufficient protection. In fact, I was no longer waiting for the other shoe to drop; I was plenty tense the day before, figuring if there was gonna be any blowback from the events of last Friday night, it would happen on Monday.

I couldn't have been wronger. It was on Monday that my fate was sealed via an upper-management meeting. The so-called team with whom there was some unpleasantness on Friday night (which was not my fault -- it was a design issue, not my department) turned out to be a bunch of turncoats. This Gang of Four apparently didn't complain to my mild-mannered, lower-than-low-key Libra supervisor (who hadn't been there on Friday night when the team gang-up occurred, though the other evening-shift person had been, and she claimed without my asking her that she'd never seen anything like the shit that happened, shit that involved my methods and my competency being called into question, so I'm not crazy). No, the team went straight to upper management to get rid of my troublemaking ass. I even know which one of them was the instigator to throw me under the bus: she was the classic down-masquerading-as-an-up with tacky dyed blond hair and a face that only a Mack truck would love. This was the charmer who had never bothered to learn how to spell my name correctly even though it was right on my work email.

Fittingly, my Libra supervisor was the henchman on Tuesday. Due to some typical snafu my name was not in the corporate reimbusement system, so my supervisor paid me in cash for the cabs I'd had to take home two nights in a row from staying at the office till 1 a.m. to get the tons of absolutely necessary work done, then he wanted to know if we could talk for a minute. I felt like a regularly scheduled prostitute being given the boot after above-and-beyond services rendered.

I was never even given an opportunity to defend myself. That hardly seems fair -- especially since if anyone should've been fired, it shouldn't have been me.

But fairness seems to be in rather limited supply these days. My oldest friend, who shuffled off this mortal coil nearly seven years ago, had some old-school astrology book that claimed when Mars was retrograde, "bullies prevail." That's it in a nutshell.

So much for snitches winding up in ditches. In this case, it's the rats that ratted me out for the heinous crime of wanting to do my job correctly that won. Last Friday night, the Sun was within half a degree of opposing my Pluto -- I was right to be paranoid, but never dreamed I'd get fired over the kerfuffle, and never figured my best defense would be to go on the offensive and complain to my supervisor over what had transpired. The other evening-shifter told me on the phone on Wednesday that Libra Supervisor was "a nice guy, but won't stand up for us when there's a problem." As a result, I am back to square one, where I was in January, newly cut off from EUC, not making enough coin as a full-time freelancer, raising worrying to an art form.

So much for thinking that I wasn't going to have to deal with the fearsome-sounding Cardinal Cross in April, starring Uranus, Pluto, Jupiter, and...oh yes...Mars. Stay tuned (as opposed out out of tune).

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Transiting Sun Opposing My Natal Pluto: The Whole World's Out to Get Me

...or is it that I'm out to get the whole world? This topsy-turvy logic may make more sense, and it may not even be that weird; after all, Pluto Rising, c'est moi.

First of all, has anyone out there in astrology-lovin' cyberspace missed me? It's been something like five weeks since my last post. What's changed in those five weeks? Simple, really: I got a part-time (technically freelance) job that feels like a full-time one due to a long commute and fine print attached ("You must demonstrate the same degree of commitment and general gung-ho-osity as this company's full-timers, including but not limited to checking work email early on weekend mornings in order that you may resolve the sphincter-spasming issue of a PM's not receiving a file you sent late last night in order to meet a crucial deadline. Oh, and if you are not a technical wizard, you had better either become one or pray that nothing seriously goes awry after our tech ninjas leave the building for the day. And did we mention you will need to stay late again tonight?")

This is what I wanted, even prayed and burned candles for: steady work. Now I've got it and while there are some definite positives (a steady paycheck that will launch me a notch or two above what NYC considers piss-poor; a cool, laid-back supervisor who answers my many questions with amazing patience; a very nice fellow evening-shift colleague), I am also stressed-out, constantly tired yet too wired to relax, and perhaps most upsetting of all, supremely uncreative. It wasn't too long ago that I was that magic combination of imagination and discipline. Now...fuggedaboutit.

I was really hoping that today would be different; that I'd be able to get some Creative Time in. But with the Sun opposing my Pluto (and, by the way, poised to enter my 7th House later this evening), my laptop became infected with a virus that somehow infiltrated my trusty (Ed) Norton Internet Security, and had to be fixed via remote technician to the tune of $89.98.

And somehow, it's gotten to be almost five o'clock Brooklyn Time. Fuck. If I manage to put away all the laundry I did yesterday before work and get to the grocery store to pick up a few staples, I may still have a chance.

And maybe once the Sun leaves my 6th House and begins to trine my Mars, Mercury, and Neptune from my 7th House over the next few days, life won't seem as bleak, and the Cult of Work that's been up in my grille for the past month or so will ebb at least somewhat.

I can only hope.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Progressed Moon in Cancer: A Poem

Poised in the 10th house of the public eye
My pearly ambition will strike crabwise--
Indirect, subtle, soft as moonlight.
The world won't know what hit it
Or pinched it
But I will feel in my stomach
What the world needs
Before it does.
I will make it at long last, on my own terms;
I will finally make the kind of home I need;
I will cook more;
And I will probably wear more push-up bras.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Lennon-McCartney and Harrison: In the Crow's Nest of the Sixties

(This article appears in abbreviated form in Eric Francis's Planet Waves newsletter: today's special issue, "Yesterday and Today," commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Beatles landing in America. Yeah, yeah, yeah!)

“We were all on this ship in the sixties, our generation, a ship going to discover the New World. And the Beatles were in the crow’s nest of that ship.” --John Lennon

So much has been written about the significance of the Uranus-Pluto conjunction of the mid-1960s that it has overshadowed the meaning of Neptune in Scorpio (1956–70). If Neptune rules music, drugs, mystery, and the collective imagination, and Scorpio immediately brings to mind sex, power, and the underworld, put the two together and what do you get? Sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll.

And if the Beatles were situated in “the crow’s nest,” they did not all see, or report, identical findings to their youthful baby boomer generation.

The songwriting team of Lennon-McCartney was a formidable force. John Lennon’s and Paul McCartney’s Suns were both in the communicative air element (John’s in Libra, Paul’s in Gemini). The trine between the two musicians’ Suns manifested in mutual inspiration and what Beatles producer George Martin deemed “a healthy competition.” John and Paul rarely wrote songs together—but often wrote in each other’s presence, sought out each other’s feedback, and helped each other with lyrics. Their mutual agreement was that whoever wrote most of a song sang the lead (with the exceptions of songs expressly written for their band mates). The finest Lennon-McCartney composition, “A Day in the Life,” was the result of two separate, unfinished songs grafted together into pure genius. This song also perfectly symbolizes the opposition between their Moons: John, the explosive “teddy boy” and drug-oriented, intellectual iconoclast, had an Aquarius Moon; Paul, the magnanimous, regal, pop-oriented showman, had a Leo Moon. This lunar opposition magnetized John and Paul to each other from the day they met and formed the duo’s backbone--first in a positive way (riding to what John called “the toppermost of the poppermost” together) and later in bitter, backbiting enmity.

George Harrison was also in the crow’s nest--but he was in his own private corner, as one might expect from a Pisces Sun and Scorpio Moon. On Beatles albums George was a hapless victim of what John referred to as “the Lennon-McCartney carve-up.” In the early days of the Beatles success, when the rest of the band was able to tolerate Beatlemania, George hated it--and wrote the sulky “Don’t Bother Me” to underline his repulsion. In 1965, during the Uranus-Pluto conjunction, George first came across the sitar. Through his subsequent study of this difficult instrument and Eastern philosophy, was responsible for bringing the East to the attention of the “new world” of hip sixties Western culture—-and he continued to support the Maharishi even after his band mates became disenchanted with the yogi. Apropos of his Scorpio Moon, George was also the first Beatle to explicitly reference sex in a song: on Revolver’s “Love You To” (1966). He and John bonded over many LSD trips when Paul abstained, yet this bond did not translate into a Lennon-Harrison songwriting team. George’s water-sign vision, which ranged from cynical (“Taxman”; “Piggies”) to mystical to just plain beautiful (“Something”), continued to be overshadowed by the Lennon-McCartney duo. When the Beatles began to bicker during the White Album sessions, George brought in a fellow Moon in Scorpio, Eric Clapton, to play on his impressive "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." However, George and Ringo, the two sensitive water signs, both took turns walking out of an increasingly tense studio atmosphere dominated by Paul's perfectionism and John's growing heroin addiction and his insisting on keeping Yoko not just in the studio, but next to him at all times. To the rest of the world in 1968, the Beatles were still together, but the rot was setting in. As George's songwriting efforts grew more confident and prolific, he felt so stymied by the Lennon-McCartney fortress that his first solo effort, All Things Must Pass, was a triple album.

It is no coincidence that the Beatles tenure in the crow’s nest ended in 1970, the same year Neptune left Scorpio. There was no longer a deep, unfathomable ocean to traverse; Neptune in Sagittarius was more akin to a spaceship.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Sometimes We Have to Go Backward in Order to Go Forward

...so sayeth New York City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority, but it's very true on a cosmic, astrological level as well -- though just like the MTA, major delays are small consolation when you need to get someplace right now.

As we enter the final week of Venus retrograde in Deep Freeze Capricorn, my head's-up advice (which I hope that I myself will be able to follow) is to make the first five days of February count -- and I mean really, really count. This is because we will have barely recovered from six weeks' worth of Venus retrograde when Mercury turns retrograde, ensuring that communications, plans, travel, and contracts will face delays and get snagged on snafus for the remainder of the month (for those of you who want exact dates, Mercury retrogrades on 2/6 at 4:43 p.m. ET and turns direct 2/28 at 9 a.m. ET).

And PS, the day after Mercury turns direct, Mars stations retrograde for nearly three months. That is a shit sandwich I'll describe in a future posting, but in case you are wondering, no, it is not at all common to have three inner planets turning retrograde within a three-month period. Right now, all you need to know is that you have five full days in which Mercury, Venus, and Mars are all direct. Five full days in which to move forward, even if it turns out to be baby steps.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Venus Retrograde in Capricorn: The Winter of Our Discontent / Mars in Libra: It's Just Not Fair!

Greetings, my lovelies and uglies. If you are not having a Happy New Year so far, relax. You happen to be in tune with various planetary factors that are combining to mitigate against the bluebird of happiness.

For starters, Venus is retrograde in Capricorn, and will remain retrograde till January 31. I am no meterologist, but the extreme weather conditions throughout much of the U.S. (a shit load of snow and record-breaking low temperatures rapidly followed by unseasonably mild air, then seesawing back to deep freeze) seem to reflect this particular planetary affliction.

Also, the government (symbolized by Capricorn) seems rather retrograde these days, in both senses of the word. Venus has as much to do with money as it does with relationships (due to its being ruled by Taurus as well as Libra), and the jury is still out on whether or not EUC (extended unemployment compensation) will be reinstated for over 1 million long-term unemployed individuals -- the Senate will vote on it this coming Monday. The official December jobs report is grim, but given the current chilly, uncompassionate, downright cruel climate, I am not at all optimistic that the EUC will be reinstated -- and if it is, it will surely come with a slew of grim Terms & Conditions.

I am the furthest thing from a Republican, yet I have become increasingly disenchanted with the Democrats, who did not include this crucially needed extension in budget deals last month before the long winter recess, despite their knowing that the Republicans would stonewall their asses off on agreeing to this extension unless other painful cuts were made to "pay for it" (unlike, say, the recent government shutdown or endless wars). People often speak of President Obama's excessive compromising with the Republicans, and how it reflects the challenge of Obama's being our first black president who cannot ever appear to be an Angry Young Black Man. However true this may be, this does not let off the hook all the other Democrats who are supposedly serving their constituents (i.e., We the People). Now, I am not by any means claiming that all Democrats are rat finks -- that would be like claiming that all baby boomers are evil narcissists, that all Gen-Xers are whiny cynics, and that all Millennials are entitled, selfie-and-social-media-crazed nitwits. But as a group, the Democratic Party has made a conscious choice to throw We the People under the bus. And why? 1. Because in this Pluto-in-Capricorn era, so many of them are in the 1% club and are in no danger of ever becoming unemployed. 2. Because they all depend on the same endorsements from the Big Bad Wolf of Wall Street that the Repubs also depend upon to get their fat-cat asses into power.

Ain't Pluto in Capricorn grand? Except for window-dressing issues that can turn on a dime or be compromised out of existence, and with the understanding that Democrats are more "Centrist" while the GOP has moved slightly to the right of Nero, are we in fact being served by the government we elected, or are we being perpetually bitch-slapped?

Which brings me to the fruitless lament of Mars in Libra: "It's just not fair!" It's fruitless because Mars is hamstrung in the sign of Libra. Mars in Libra is obsessed with the concept of fairness, but doesn't know the first thing about how to fight fair. Mars in Libra is a paradox: it is a trussed-up chicken ready to be thrust into a hot oven and basted with sweet-smelling compromises, but it is also a butcher. Mars squared (squore?) Pluto on December 30, will repeat this square with Mars retrograde on April 23, and happen a third time with Mars direct on June 14 (which happens to be Flag Day -- I wonder if this will translate into many flags being burned in protest?). To further complicate matters, Uranus in headstrong Aries is also involved with Mars and Pluto, resulting in a T-square. We have been dealing with the Uranus-Pluto square since June 2012, but I am very much concerned that this T-square will translate into escalating cruelty and outbursts of protest by increasing numbers of the desperately disenfranchised that may be squashed by Big Brother-style surveillance.

For the most part, Pluto in Capricorn has been a thorn in the sides of people who are not 1%-ers, at the tippy-top of the mountain (did you know that mountains are ruled by Capricorn?). It is small solace that eventually, Pluto in Capricorn will be the ultimate undoing of Big Business and corrupt governments -- just as Pluto going through any sign ultimately transforms or destroys all things associated with that particular sign -- because we are here now, and it fucking hurts. The gap between the haves and the have-nots has reached canyon-width proportions, and as of yet, there has been no WPA-style program to help the millions of so-called takers and moochers who are too goshdarned lazy or stupid to pull themselves up by their bootstraps to become successful entrepreneurs (aka job creators, the geniuses who are sitting on record-breaking profits while refusing to hire, offshoring like crazy, and overworking and/or underpaying their current employees). I don't know if there ever was a time in U.S. history when the almighty dollar was not valued above all else -- but with Pluto in Capricorn, there seems to be zero pretense of anything else being of value. All that puritanical, no-pain-no-gain, I've-got-mine-so-screw-you nastiness is hiding, all right -- in plain sight, in plain business-speak. And perhaps saddest of all, the very people who are getting screwed over the most are the ones who are most likely to vote for Far Right puppets who would rather step in dog shit than consider the most basic needs of the neediest.

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. How quaint, and how out of date. Far more accurate would be Right to Life Until You Are Born, Liberty Savings Bank, and Happiness Is a Warm Gun.