Protest in the Middle East

The Tower of Babel - Bruegel

As anti-America protests continue to spread like wild fire through the Middle East, ignited by an Islam-mocking video produced by a group of Coptic Christians in California, I’d like to consider the event chart of the protests, set against the Uranus-Pluto square, and the Solar Eclipse of May 2012.

On Tuesday, September 11th, the American consulate in Benghazi was stormed, with US ambassador Christopher Stephens and three other staff members killed in the fray.  The violent protests swept through the Middle East to south-east Asia, the demonstrations claiming lives over the weekend. New outbreaks of violence have rocked Kabul, with rioters hurling rocks at officers, setting vehicles on fire, and carrying placards with slogans “America, Your Death Has Come”.  Militant Lebanese group Hezbollah has called for a week of protests, and as we swiftly approach the next Uranus-Pluto square, the conflagration in the Middle East demonstrates that the hope of a revolutionary spring is often followed by a brutish and bloody winter. 

The chart for Friday, September 14th, when the protests spread from Libya to encompass all of the Middle East, is brimming with tension. Two t-squares dominate the chart, and if you’ve been reading my blog you’ll recall that a T-square is an abrasive exchange of energy, like a kinked hose poised to explode. The T-square tends to operate through a feedback loop of crisis, catharsis, and healing; the end result is dynamic and transformational, but the process can be trying, even painful.

The first t-square comprises Neptune in Pisces, the Moon in Virgo, and Lilith with her toe just in Gemini. Formations involving planets on the house cusps tend to be even more dramatic, and this is what we have here, with Lilith and the Moon at zero degrees, and Neptune in the first degrees of Pisces. A mutable t-square is fluid, adaptable, and goes with the flow, which reflects the nebulous nature of the demonstrations as they spread across diverse nations, all united in their hatred of the decadence and imperialism of the West, particularly the USA. The dream of a peaceful Arab Spring has been dashed, and the Obama administration will be mired in diplomatic gymnastics, as they decide what sort of presence the USA can realistically maintain in the Middle East.

Lilith forms the Apex of the T-square, receiving pressure from Neptune on Fomalhaut and the Moon within range of Regulus. Because the Moon is involved, and moves quickly through the houses, this T-square would have disintegrated sometime on Sunday, when the Moon edged toward Libra; nevertheless, the T-square was operational for long enough to stir up fertile buried rage, and tip over the dominoes of reverberating protests. 

Lilith symbolizes our emotional limits and breaking points, as well as irrational and uncontrollable rage; whenever she comes up in a chart, events are pushing you toward an emotional impasse, when a scorched earth policy is more appealing than negotiating a compromise. When Lilith is pushed too far, she acts swiftly and with dire results, like a circus tiger turning on its master; Lilith can be domesticated, but only on her own terms. 

As the Jewish bible story goes, she was Adam’s first unwilling wife, who chose exile on the banks of the Red Sea, where she was doomed to spawn and eat her demon progeny, rather than lie beneath Adam while they had sex.

In the case of the Arab protests, Lilith represents the hatred that has festered within radical Islamic groups for decades, such as Al Qaeda and Hezbollah; the Innocence of Muslims video was merely a trigger, just as a Danish cartoon published a few years ago, depicting the prophet Mohammed in an unsavoury light, and the publishing of the Satanic Verses, have ignited similar protests. Nevertheless, Lilith’s sensitive position on the South Node, activated by the mutable T-square, turned what could have been isolated incidents in Libya and Cairo into a perfect storm; moreover, all of this tension is plugged into the Uranus-Pluto square that is forcing these pockets of hatred into crisis point.

The fixed star-planet connections paint a vivid picture. Lilith receives pressure from Neptune in Pisces, on Royal Archangel star Fomalhaut, a benefic star with connections to the occult and faith, but the star can also bring about undesirable associates – charlatans, scam artists, even criminals: some of the actors involved in Innocence of Muslims have spoken out against the film, saying that they’d been conned into thinking they were making an adventure romp set in Egypt, not a hate film funded by Coptic Christians.

Lilith also receives a harsh aspect from the Virgo Moon passing over another royal star, Regulus; in its lower vibration, “sudden downfall, accidents, violence” (Ebertin). Lilith sits on yet another royal star, Alcyone, the central star of the Pleiades, signalling “bereavement, loss, tears, and sudden sorrow” (Ebertin), thus activating the last solar eclipse (more on this later). In any event, the tears will continue to fall as the protests claim lives across the Middle East, not to mention the sorrow of Christopher Steven’s grieving relatives, as well as those of the other Americans who perished in the consulate.

To summarize: Neptune rules the cinema, and also religious faith, and with its square to Lilith we see a youtube broadcasted film provoking her unbridled rage. Neptune also connects to Saturn with a trine, which shows a dogmatic side to faith – the literal interpretation of the Quran, the Muslim Jihad, holy war. Neptune opposes the Moon, which also squares Lilith, completing the t-square; the Moon is said to represent the public, or the masses, and in Virgo the working class is highlighted: it’s a film (Neptune) that provokes the Muslim people (Moon) to collectively reach their breaking point (Lilith) and lash out with unimaginable hatred. The connections to major fixed stars show that the stakes were high indeed, and the protests will continue to send reverberations across the globe, and may even be a game-changer.

The other t-square once again features Lilith, on the nodal axis, and the Moon (the rioting public) as the point of release. The nodal axis represents karma, past lives, and unfinished work that’s been passed down through the blood lines. In some ways, the protests in the Middle East are part of a greater evolutionary project for these troubled nations, and with Lilith triggering the South Node, years of bloody conflict, senseless murder, and brutal repression of women is bubbling to the surface, requiring catharsis - the darker flip-side of the Arab Spring. There are demons that need airing out before the Middle East can entertain peaceful protest again, and with the Scorpio-Taurus axis highlighted, inherited trauma to do with sex, shared resources, oil (Scorpio rules subterranean riches), extreme ideology, possessiveness, dogma, and power exchange will top the agenda.

Fixed star connections to other planets complete the picture. The Sun and Mercury on Denebola, the star at the tuft of the lion’s tail, is said to trigger catastrophes, or at least very exciting events. Denebola also has its nonconformist side, and triggers action from groups on the fringes of society; with the influence of Mercury, these nonconformist views will be communicated fearlessly, and so it goes with placards proclaiming “Death to America”. Mars on Zuben Elgenubis, the brightest star in the scales, is said to cause “bitter quarrels, resulting in bloodshed”, according to Vivian Robson.

As mentioned before, the violence of the past weekend can’t only be attributed to the Uranus-Pluto square. On May 21, 2012, a solar eclipse in the rainy Pleiades, with their themes of bereavement and healing loss, played out in the form of a concentration of mass shootings in Canada and the States, and now that Lilith has activated the eclipse degree, and the Virgo moon squared it over the weekend, the process of crisis and healing has begun anew, this time in the Middle East.

The time between solar eclipses, which shape events in the political sphere (the lunar eclipses are more personal, rather than collective) is strangely fated, and events that occur in this bottleneck will reverberate for months, even years to come.

The Pleiades were the seven sisters sired by Atlas and sea nymph Pleione, born on Mount Cyllene, and were nursemaids and teachers to the infant Bacchus. According to Greek mythology, all seven sisters committed suicide, saddened by the loss of their other sisters, the Hyades, and Zeus immortalized them by turning them into stars. The constellation was said to herald periods of rain, and in ancient agriculture calendars they featured in the timing of growing crops. The Pleiades are also credited with ritualized dance and boozy festivals, so there is some ecstasy mixed in with the tears, reminding us of the healing that comes out of crisis.

A challenging full Moon on September 29th, and the next solar eclipse on November 13th , hot on the heels of the American presidential election, will continue to push the precarious Middle East situation into new territory, and I’ll be writing on these topics presently.

For now, batten the hatches, and surround yourself with the people, things, and rituals that keep you sane.

Editor´s note: I took a peek at Christopher Stevens´ chart, the brave American diplomat who was brutally slain at the embassy in Libya. I was shocked to see that His natal Lilith is at 1 degree Gemini, the trigger point of May´s sorrow-tinged solar eclipse. When transiting Lilith hit his own Lilith, already super-charged by the eclipse, an outbreak of senseless rage and brutality claimed his life. So tragic. May Christopher rest in peace.

 

The Second Pluto-Uranus Square

Hannah Hoch - Cut With a Kitchen Knife Dada

Well, the dregs of the dog days of summer, another Uranus-Pluto square, and so it goes. As British band XTC put it: drowning here in summer’s cauldron/ under mats of flower lava/ please don’t pull me out, this is how I’d want to go/ breathing in the boiling butter, fruit of sweating colden Inca/ please don’t heed my shout, I’m relaxing the undertow. 

Venus in Leo has kept the party going, but September brings with it a practical mood of efficiency and taking stock, as we prepare for the mellow evenings of harvest time when the Sun moves into Libra. Nevertheless, an escalation of violence and uncertainty on the world stage will pry us from our tranquil autumnal idylls. As the generational planets duke it out, the trickle down will affect our private lives, as we come to a critical impasse in a relationship, or familial crisis forces us to take some tough decisions. Emancipation from restricting family conditioning, or the negotiation of territory and limits in high-stakes romantic relationships, will be some of the themes as the planets change their seating plan, and urge us into foreign, though invigorating territory.  

A brief recap: the second exact Uranus-Pluto square, in a series of seven, tightens its vice grip on world affairs on September 19th, though we’ve felt the escalation in tension for some time now. With shootings in North America becoming common place (we experienced a ghastly concentration of them between the two squares), and the Arab Spring rearing its head again – no longer the peaceful protest that enamoured Westerners last year – we are forced to confront the ambivalent though inevitable upheaval that Pluto-Uranus wreaks in a process of global restructuring.

A recent protest at an American embassy in Libya, ignited by a vulgar and bigoted anti-Islamic video produced in California, resulted in the tragic death of an American ambassador, and three other staff members, as well as sparking dissent in Cairo: American diplomatic ties in the Middle East will be put to the test in the coming weeks.

Canada’s edged into the fray as well, recently closing its Embassy in Tehran, citing Iran’s nuclear program as an untenable roadblock to diplomacy. The recent Quebec election shooting has also rocked the country, hot on the heels of a shooting in a Toronto’s Eatons shopping center.  

Then we have the comeback of Occupy, with demonstrations planned on Monday in the States and Canada, to mark the anniversary of the amorphous and leaderless protest demanding radical reform in the financial system, and decrying inequalities in wages, and the corrupting influence of money in politics.

A recent separatist protest in Catalonia, attracting more than 1 million demonstrators, reflects the mounting frustration in Spain, as a grim economic situation brings a rise to nationalist sentiment; suddenly the possibility of separation, which for years percolated as harmless discussion over tapas and cervesa, and as a diversion for punky Catalan youth, could become a nasty spanner in the works as Mariano Rajoy scrambles to recover his party’s diminishing popularity.

Uranus in Aries is the radical and somewhat naïve reformer, plugged into the technologies of the day, lashing out against a political old boy’s club – Pluto in Capricorn – which will resort to increasingly subversive tactics (surveillance, manipulation of the media) as the implosion of the status quo causes those with power to cling ever more tightly, waging power with an iron fist. The next few years will be shaped by both agendas, the tension reaching fever pitch as these slow-moving outer planets swing back and forth, through retrograde movement, into the seven squares I mentioned.

The Uranus-Pluto squares brings myriad global hot spots to crisis point, sending a blitz of lightning bolts from above, and seismic tremors from below, forcing us to find the middle path, as both extremes are too hot too handle, the power simply too explosive for human hands. If Uranus in Aries is sending its shockwaves into our crown chakra, and Pluto in Capricorn to our root, the middle path seems to open through the heart – compassion, humility, and the intelligent, though peaceful protest, will allow us to harness these powerful external energies, and become the true game-changers.     

The last time we experienced these squares, Uranus was in Aries, and Pluto was in Cancer. in January, 1933, when the square peaked, Hitler was voted in democratically as the leader of Germany; soon after, the burning of the Reichstag allowed Hitler and his party to abolish the rights of the German people and consolidate power. Meanwhile, inflation was spiralling out of control, unemployment was rising, and the stock markets were ready to implode. Sound familiar?

With Pluto in Cancer, it was the horror of war and genocide that carried out the Plutonic dismantling of the family structure (Cancer rules our roots, heritage, and our emotional base). Husbands, lovers, brothers, and fathers were killed or horribly disfigured in combat, while women were pushed into greater roles of leadership, nursing wounded soldiers and essentially running the country while the men were away. Entire Jewish families were murdered in concentration camps, and with Pluto on fixed star Pollux, the wicked twin in the constellation of Gemini, the Plutonic destruction was especially brutal, violent, and cruel. Post-tramautic stress disorder waged a more insidious war on the family structure for years to come, as the ideal of the nucleur family masked the addictions and fear beneath the wholesome facade.

Pluto’s wrecking ball is poised to destroy our political and financial structures this time around, though the trickle down effect will of course send its shockwaves into the family structure, as Cancer-Capricorn are two faces of the same coin.

Taking a closer look at the chart for the second exact Uranus-Pluto square on September 19th, we see a t-square formation with Pluto-Uranus flanked by a Pluto-Mercury square, and an opposition between Uranus and Mercury forming the base of the triangle. Mercury is in Libra, on congenial fixed star Zaniah, and as Uranus and Pluto both bear down on Mercury, peace talks and diplomacy could be a possible outlet for the chaotic events unfolding on the world stage. Politicians will be fervently working out a negotiation that will diffuse the tension of the square.

When Mercury touches Zaniah, musical ability, short stories, and friendships of the opposite sex are highlighted. Perhaps the events brought upon by the Uranus-Pluto square will inspire creative and peaceful demonstrations, in which camaraderie, music and refinement in speech are highlighted. Pluto, furthermore, on Kaus Borealis, which espouses ¨idealistic and humane ideas, and promotes justice¨ (Ebertin) will aid in the search for peaceful and innovative solutions to crumbling economies, countries on the verge of bail-outs, and the instability in the Middle East.

As you can see, communication will be a major theme of the second square, though as Saturn treads its final degrees through the sign of the scales, to exit altogether in October, the idealistic compromise may not hold as much water in the future – the beautiful words on September 19th will be swept into the gutters, like so much party confetti. When Saturn’s tough lessons move into the realm of Scorpio, where hard-boiled and often gruesome truths are brought into the scalding light of morning, Libra´s silver tongue is no longer as effective; we’d rather cut through the bullshit, than mollify with flattery, and vague promises. Despite our adroit diplomat, speaking in measured tones about truth and justice – we’ll get a great deal of tongue-wagging from Obama and Mitt in the coming weeks – a societal sea change is pulling us into the metaphysical and sometimes gritty realm of the scorpion: the North Node is already there, and Mars, powerful indeed in the sign of its rulership.

Pluto itself hovers in direct station on September 17th, the day of the Occupy protest, and Plutonic energy will impregnate the atmosphere, making us feel world weary, full of toxicity, our bullshit detectors set to overdrive – enough is fucking enough. Though Pluto sits on a congenial star, and will be playing nicely (as Pluto can) the tone of next week will be dark, heavy, very film noir - though transformational. We will be especially tuned into that wolf in sheep’s clothing, however he or she manifests in our lives. If we’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop, now’s the time; and after four odd months of Pluto retrograde, during which we were given precious time to mull over the source of our personal power, while recognizing the people or situations that sap this power, we should be ready for September 19th and the weeks following.

This newfound source of inner mastery will help us circumvent Saturn’s transit through Scorpio, in which the Libran veneer of the relationship (or how society perceives and accepts the relationship) is husked open to relieve the deeper realities of co-dependency, shared resources, sexual intimacy, and power-exchange - all Scorpio issues. These sexual themes especially are being charged by the Uranus-Pluto square, as sexual revolution opens the doors to greater depths of intimacy and sexual freedom. Saturn in Libra forced us to make sure that our relationships were water-tight – built on the foundations of trust, equality and clear communication – and if we’ve dotted our i’s and crossed our t’s, the riches of Pluto’s underworld will be ripe for the plucking. Do you think it’s any coincidence that Fifty Shades of Grey, essentially Jane Austen with whips and nipple clamps, has been flying off the shelves?

Nevertheless, Saturn doesn’t award our hard work for free: the coming weeks, starting with Wednesday’s exact Pluto-Uranus square, will mean final exam time, and any passionless relationships that have been hanging by threads for the sake of the children, economic solvency, hot sex, or simply the fear of being alone, will be cut away by Saturn’s scythe – think of it as tough love from the Lord of Time.

The female asteroids are also out in full force, and I have a feeling that women’s issues will take centre stage during the events following the next Uranus-Pluto square.

Pallas Athene, the daughter of Zeus who sprang from his forehead fully kitted-out in chain mail and dungarees, the mistress of warfare, crafts, strategy, and pattern recognition, is sidled up against rebel-queen Uranus. The tech-savy femme hacker exposes some of the state’s dirty secrets? Her strategic thinking and prowess in dialectic will bring her voice to the fore, as events unfold. I have a feeling that we could see some new developments in terms of the incarceration of Pussy Riot, and the abortion debate will continue to shape the ideology of the American presidential race. In fact, with Mitt Romney’s taking up residence in his mouth, perhaps we’ll see uber-Aries Michelle Romney do some damage control, whilst attracting a passionate following of her own.

Soul mate asteroid Juno, symbolised by Zeus’s ever-suffering wife Hera, is dancing with the North Node, signalling a watershed moment in terms of fateful encounters with people who change our lives forever - people with a Scorpio bent (perhaps if I start biting my lower lip, a billionaire with a wry smile will sweep me off my feet and I can write poetry in the Red Room of Pain forever).

Perhaps it’s even time to rethink the patriarchal angle of our Ancient Greek myths, as they inform astrology and Jungian psychology: why does Hera have to sit at home, drinking the cooking Ambrosia, while her husband philanders with mortal maidens and goddesses alike, and dabbles in bestiality. It’s about time Hera got her own back!

Even Pallas Athene gets something of a bad rap: sure, she sprang from Zeus’ forehead, armed to the hilt, and ready to kick some ass, but in order to play with the big boys, she had to relinquish her sexuality entirely. She could be a warrior queen, but this power would never express itself sexually. The exposure of female rape in the US military (1/3 women are raped if they join the armed forces) is a modern expression of the Greek myth, and will continue to garner attention, as Pallas Athene is very powerful in Aries, and is not afraid to be a shit-disturber with the Uranian influence.

Finally, Lilith, is mired in the bog-lands of the South Node, forcing us to revisit childhood conditioning, in which bullying, over-authoritative parenting, even sexual abuse, caused us to feel victimized, and lash out like spitting panthers. What current events are triggering that part of you that refuses to submit?

Ceres on fixed star Betelgeuse - therefore quite powerful, even militant - trine Saturn in the last degrees of Libra, perhaps provides the anchor amidst the tumult of the coming weeks. Ceres is the mother, very much grounded in the earth, and trine to Saturn her influence will be even more solid. The Pluto-Uranus square is doing its best to dismantle many of the structures we thought were here to stay, but Ceres will guide us to the traditions and rites that we can hold on to, and be steadied by, during these testing times. Ceres is connected to organic food and living, so diet and nutrition – being prudent about what you put in your body – will take on particular importance.

 It should be an interesting week.

Pride (and Pussy Riot) Before the Fall

I’ve been on something of a hiatus from blogging, having survived the 12th house relatively unscathed—more on that in another blog post—and now with the Sun in Leo I’ve been imbibing cava in the plazas of Barcelona in all my best dresses.

Nevertheless, Uranus-Pluto grinds on, and I’ve found myself fascinated by the ongoing trial against Russian punk band Pussy Riot, both in its appalling disregard for democracy, truth, and decency; and its highlighting of the Uranus-Pluto square, which emerges as both a political and sexual revolution, as we begin to understand how intrinsically the two are linked: it’s my belief that we’re in the midst of a long overdue reclamation of feminine power against patriarchal forces that have brought the global economy into its perilous position today through greed, ethical insanity, and a rapacious quest for power by a handful of bankers, CEO’s and politicians.

The Pussy Riot trial, propelled by the entangled interests of the Orthodox Church and the State, brings Russia, and the Putin regime, to a critical juncture in a deeper process that will bring profound and perhaps violent change to the Russian Federation. Pussy Riot has garnered global attention, with the likes of Madonna, Yoko-Ono and Bjork expressing their support for the band members who have been jailed in a holding cell since February, after the staging of a ‘punk prayer’ in a Russian Orthodox Cathedral, during which they beseeched the Virgin Mary to banish Putin. The charge against them is ‘hooliganism’, and the three women could potentially face seven years in prison for a 1 minute and 35 seconds’ long performance—a peaceful protest against their government, for whom freedom of speech is clearly not a priority.

Whether or not the prison sentenced is passed, Nadezlda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, and Yekaterin Samutsevich will never be able to recover the seven months they’ve spent in a holding cell, separated from their spouses, family, and in some cases, children. The ongoing trial hearkens the Stalinist ‘troikas’, or show trials, in which intellectuals, poets, and artists were tarred black as destructive forces threatening the solvency of the State,  many of whom were murdered, or forced into exile. The charges that brought them to trial were exaggerated, doctored—if not completely fictitious—forming an atmosphere of intellectual terrorism that kept the Russians in lockstep under the Stalin regime. Though the threat of execution does not hang over this particular trial (yet), the vicious tone of the proceedings highlights a disturbing continuation of the repression and ideological circle-jerk that sent so many innocent and brilliant thinkers to early graves, only forty years ago.

Before I consider the astrology behind Pussy Riot, I’d like to consider the charts of Vladimir Putin and the critical role Lilith (appearing in the guise of Pussy Riot) has to play as his chart is battered by profound external forces.

Putin, like ex Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who has already had his fall from grace, is a Libra smack dab in cross-hairs of the Uranus-Pluto square, and one wonders how long he will be able to cling to power. All of the Cardinal signs should expect to shoulder the brunt of this powerful generational influence, which will dismantle the political, religious and corporate institutions as we know them, so we can pick up the pieces and hopefully create something more evolved from the detritus.

Putin’s chart reflects his enigmatic position on the world stage, a complex man with a deep lust for power, who has used his Libran charm to promote a public image that is moderate and benign, aside from occasional publicity stunts that highlight his machismo in hunting, firefighting and martial arts (the Scorpio ascendant has to be sublimated somehow): the former KGB agent is known for bringing political and economic stability back to Russia after the chaos of the 1990’s, and his approval ratings have been generally high. Nevertheless, a seedier reality came to light as Wikileaks (Uranus in Aries in action) began to uncover the corruption and hypocrisy behind the Kremlin, deeming it a ‘virtual mafia state’. Luke Harding, of The Guardian, describes the extent of the corruption: “Arms trafficking, money laundering, personal enrichment, protection for gangsters, extortion and kickbacks, suitcases full of money and secret offshore bank accounts in Cyprus: the cables paint a bleak picture of a political system in which bribery alone totals an estimated $300bn a year, and in which it is often hard to distinguish between the activities of the government and organised crime”.

I think Putin’s Sun in the 11th house of associates and organizations has permitted him to get away with the corruption thus far, as he’s well-connected and has friends in high places. Nevertheless, other red flags in his chart suggest that Putin won’t be able to get by “with a little help from his friends” much longer. First of all we have a tense T-square comprising Jupiter, the Nodal axis, and one hell of a Pluto-Lilith-MC conjunction. Pluto in Leo is indicative of the glam dictator, the ultimate Plutocrat, and with the square to Jupiter we see somebody who constantly takes this desire for power to excess, overestimating his abilities. With Pluto-Lilith-MC on the nodal axis, issues centering on power struggles with flamboyant and uncompromising women, within the realm of his career, have dogged him in past lives, and will continue to mire him in negative karmic territory if he follows the well-trodden path of power and control in public office.

This desire for power and public recognition is further undermined by a plethora of planets in his 12th house of secrets, mysteries, and self-undoing: any transit hits to Neptune, Mercury and Saturn will light up this sensitive area of his chart, and challenge his position through a combination of self-denial (Mercury-Neptune) and hard lessons/karma (Saturn), all taking place behind key and padlock. The Mercury-Neptune doesn’t have to mean delusion and mental dissipation, and is actually quite remarkable if channeled constructively: Vladimir has a near-mystical bent to his thinking: hunches and psychic flashes allow him to predict his opponent’s every move; he is the ultimate saboteur, a perfect match for his early career as head of the KGB. Nevertheless, this mysticism is stripped away by the somber Saturn influence: pragmatism rues the day, and cause Putin to put these extraordinary powers of perception to a more conservative use: he uses his hunches merely to propel his political ambitions and maintain law and order, rather than channelling this talent into more humanitarian efforts, as suggested by his Aquarius North Node. The square to Uranus in Cancer further exemplifies his suspicion of reformers or anarchists of any kind. Here is a man who could have been a true reformer himself, but instead fell back on that old South Node trip of political power-tripping and trouble with women. Putin’s Uranus in Cancer (think women marching with wooden spoons, knitted balaclavas) falls in his 9th house of higher education, and nothing irritates him more than liberal-artsy types with revolutionary ideals.

Putin’s Mars, on the other hand, is strongly positioned, with a trine to the Pluto-Lilith-MC conjunction, which explains his penchant for adventure sports and intense physical activity. Mars in Sagittarius gives him a great deal of energy in eschewing tiresome details in favor of the bigger picture, and he is able to apply this philosophical tone to his public image, perhaps detracting from the darker Plutonic energies.  

So what is happening with Putin transit-wise? We understand that Putin barely held onto his presidency, after an election plagued with protests, and dogged by rumors of corruption, and that his halcyon days of beloved Prime Minister are officially over. These blows to his reputation are explained by transiting Saturn, having finished an arduous transit through the 12th house Saturn, Neptune and Mercury; it’s surprised that he managed to be elected at all after such a depressing and restrictive influence. Putin is finally clear of Saturn upsetting his viper’s nest of planets in the 12th, but Saturn will hit his Scorpio ascendant in the coming months, which could be the nail in the coffin as far his the Putin regime is concerned.

The unsavoury exposure his party and the Orthodox Church have received as Pussy-Gate drags on is explained by transiting Lilith hitting his Jupiter and closing in on his Gemini Moon; what is more, the transiting Sun is gliding over his Pluto-Lilith-MC, activating his natal Lilith corridor. Not even Vlad will be able to batten the hatches of the 12th house, and escape the taunting Lilithian vixens that threaten to unravel what little credibility the Putin Regime retains as the Pluto-Uranus square wakes up the polis, and bubbles over with support for the punk rockers. Pussy Riot encapsulates the enraged females he will inevitably confront in his quest for absolute power and control.

Another factor to consider is transiting Pluto smack dab on Putin’s Chiron, the wounded healer. Pluto transits are nearly always intense: themes of death and resurrection come to mind, as something petrified must be destroyed to make way for something new. Chiron in the natal chart is point of our deepest wound, and Pluto forces us to examine this trauma with laser vision. With Putin’s Chiron in Capricorn, within range of fixed star Facies, Putin is being forced to confront trauma in his early development that forced him to use detachment, coldness, and combative energies as a defense mechanism. Facies is also the star of leadership, war, adventure and risk taking, and Pluto at this vulnerable point of the chart could cause Putin to question the personal, even subconscious motives behind his ascension to presidency, and his hunger for power. Or he could rebuke this opportunity for self knowledge entirely, and continue to spiral out of control. Chiron in the third house suggests wounds having to do with the intellect and communication: is Putin’s consolidation of power merely an attempt to compensate for a sense of intellectual inferiority, or a profound experience of being misunderstood as child?

In any case, it will be interesting to see what happens when transiting Black Moon Lilith hits Putin’s natal Moon in the coming weeks. Something to do with the trial will really hit home and shake Putin to the core emotionally.

Meanwhile, Godspeed to the Pussy Rioters.

Greece and Europa: The Calm Before the Storm

Greece’s election result last weekend allowed countries in the euro-zone to breathe a collective sigh of relief, as the pro-bailout New Democracy party, led by Anthony Samaras, conceded a majority over Alexis Tsiparas’ Syriza party; he vowed to tear up the austerity measures of Germany’s Angela Merkel, which would have undoubtedly precipitated Greece’s hasty exit from the EU.

Nevertheless, a man known by some as ‘sexy Alexy’, and by others as ‘the most dangerous man in Europe’—according to a recent German Financial Times article—had the Eurozone on tenterhooks, as his party surged ahead in the polls after the Greek election six weeks prior, his radicalism striking a cord with the under 25 set in particular, mired in an unemployment rate of 50 percent.

The April election was under the influence of a full moon in Scorpio, with a raging Lilith undercurrent, and it’s hardly surprising that the Greeks were unable to form a government: the battered Greek polis, having endured years of brutal cuts and austerity measures, brought on by a government corrupt to the core, lashed out election night like a wounded animal, voters casting arbitrary ballots on the far left and right, if they chose to vote at all.  The Neo-Nazi party the Golden Dawn received a disturbing 13 percent of the vote that night, highlighting the burgeoning popularity of nationalism and anti-immigration sentiments.

Though the ushering in of a pro-European conservative party will buy Greece some more time, their pain in nowhere close to being over, and the Eurozone itself hangs by a thread. Taking a look at the horary chart of the Euro, the upheaval is hardly surprising: with Pluto inching toward the Euro’s sun at 10 degrees Capricorn, the basic identity of the global endeavour is being rocked to the core through a series of deep seismic tremors. Nevertheless, as we rapidly approach the June 24th square of Pluto and Uranus, the Euro will be in the firing-zone, and what has so far played out as a slow though inexorable decomposition of the Euro’s architecture, could very well gain speed and momentum. Uranus is the lightning bolt striking the Tower in the major arcana, while Pluto destroys with calculating patience, through manipulation and subterfuge; the internal damage has already been done, and a single touch could set the dominoes to falling.

Looking at the transits for Greece around election time (I use the modern democracy chart of July 24th, 1974), we see that the dye had already been cast for last Sunday’s result: transiting Saturn on refined Spica has hit the country’s natal Uranus, quelling the atmosphere of rebellion, personified by the Syzira party, with a more tempered and diplomatic approach. Saturn is of course the austerity measures that have battered the country’s morale, and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s hard-line stance in terms of stimulus measures: Germany is loathe to lend to Greek again until the country gets serious about de-regulating its labour markets, getting citizens to pay taxes and removing barriers to competition. 

Transiting Saturn has also activated the natal Uranus and Chiron opposition, a generational influence, which lasted 50 years from 1940 to 1990. In some ways Greece has become the scapegoat for the angst of this aspect: with natal Chiron on Kurdah, the star nestled in the neck of the Ethiopian king Cepheus, we see the “cruel and severe trials” that Robson believes the star portends: Kurdah is the ancient establishment being challenged by rebellious Uranus, or the masses in Greece: this is an idol crushing aspect, echoed by the imagery of wounding Chiron in the neck of the old king. Greece’s natal Uranus connects to the MC as well, though through a nasty inconjunction: the desire for rebellious reform is strong, but implicating the country’s government in this struggle is difficult and awkward.

The other heavy weight, transiting Pluto, is also applying serious pressure to Greece’s natal chart, and due to the slow orbit of Pluto, the dismantling of power structures in Greece will be long and ardous. Pluto is opposite Greece’s natal Saturn, Mercury and Venus: the countries’ infrastructure (Saturn) and its people (Venus) have suffered the brunt of the Plutonic upheaval. Transiting Pluto also squares Greece’s natal Moon-Pluto conjunction, highlighting the deep transformation the modern republic will have to undergo to evolve, the masses bearing the brunt of this burden. While the Euro itself has come to wear the clothes of the greater Pluto agenda through conjunction, Greece has become the scapegoat through opposition—both will be in the middle of the fray as the titans clash on June 24th.

Alexy Tsiparas’ transits around election time did not foretell a smooth ride. Born only four days after the formation of the new Greek democracy, Tsiparas shares his country’s Chiron-Uranus opposition; in addition, the opposition spans Tsiparas’ Ascendant and Descendant axis, propelling Alexy into sudden fame as a poster boy for the wounding that has and will continue to befall Greece through austerity and the gutting of social services. The Descendant represents the type of people one attracts in their lifetime, and with Chiron on the descendant we see Alexy tapping into and championing the collective wound of the Greek people on a very personal level.

However, victory would elude the charismatic young party leader through the same Saturn bearing down on Greece’s Uranus. The Transiting North Node was within range of Tsiparas’ natal Neptune as well, casting a fog over his potential date with destiny. Conversely, this connection suggests possible deception taking place behind the scenes; did election fraud help to propel the New Democracy party to power, or was it a clean election? At any rate, a lot of Greeks were suspicious of Alexy’s motives, his lack of experience and his anti-European sentiments, and the presence of Neptune would have made him seem a slippery character: somebody with a hidden agenda. Despite his popularity among the more militant youth, the older generation would have opted for security and the tried tested and true during such uncertain times.

Anthony Samaris’ transits election day were, naturally, much more fortuitous: transiting Jupiter was smack dab on Samaris’ natal Sun, signalling a windfall that would benefit him on a very personal level; you couldn’t ask for a luckier transit, really, the one caveat being overconfidence and an inability to consider the fine-print could cause Samaris to fumble in the early days of his leadership.

Samaris certainly has his work cut out for him, and after the last of the champagne is quaffed, he will have to soberly assess what to do with a country that’s falling apart at the seams, and with people who don’t have enough to eat. His Natal Sun-Mars conjunction falls between Alcyone, the brilliant fixed star in the middle of the Pleides, or the weeping sisters, and Mifrak, a star that is said to signal events affecting mass amounts of people, as well as having the reputation of being dishonest. With the election win—symbolized by Jupiter—activating this area of his chart, I would surmise that electoral decisions made by the New Democracy party could trigger the “bereavement, loss and sudden sorrow” of Alcyone, perhaps through a governmental crack down on the youth protests that the Uranus-Pluto square is undoubtedly going to heat up. The Sun-Mars can be an aggressive placement, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Samaris resorted to police brutality and even military power to contain the masses. His Sun-Mars makes an inconjunction to his natal Moon-Chiron conjunction as well, in the sign of Capricorn—government and the status quo. Will his parties’ policies catalyze a wounding (Chiron) of the masses (the Moon)?

The Synastry between the event chart of the Euro currency, and Greece’s modern chart shows how the fate of the two is so inextricably tangled: the first thing I noticed was the Euro’s Capricorn Sun in exact conjunct with Greece’s Moon, the classic placement of star-struck lovers; Greece’s controversial entry into the Euro was an emotional decision; the wooed eachother. The Euro’s Jupiter is also conjunct Greece’s Saturn-Mercury: to me this symbolizes the blind eye the Euro turned to Greece’s distortion of their bank books, which allowed the nation to be admitted into the Euro, even though their economy probably wasn’t strong enough.

The Euro’s Sun-Venus conjunction is also opposite Greece’s Mercury-Saturn: on top of an over-confident relationship between the two, a great deal of Venusian charm was oiling the diplomatic wheels as well. The synastry here is the equivalent of a red wine fueled one-night stand, but now we’ve officially entered ‘the morning after’ phase, as Greece lingers in the Euros’ kitchen, hoping for cuddles and pancakes (I.E. blank checks from Germany); obviously the two are no longer on the same page.

The fly in the ointment is capricious Neptune, up to his usual mischief, dumping fairy dust by the bucket load, and turning what should have been a sensible decision not to admit Greece until they balanced their books into a massive oversight on part of the Euro: Greece’s Neptune in the speculative fifth house (gambles made through wishful thinking, in this case glossing over their finances to join the Euro) opposes the Euro’s Saturn in the international 9th, foreshadowing the inevitable unraveling of this ‘match made in heaven’, and the hard line the Euro would take with Greece in their moment of need. 

The final key element in synastry is the Euro’s Pluto, which conjuncts Greece’s North Node, and squares Greece’s Ceres-Mars conjunction. With the Euro’s Pluto in contact with Greece’s North Node, we see that the destiny of Greece depends on the destruction of the currency—only then can both parties move forward and evolve. The square to Greece’s Ceres-Jupiter in interesting as well: will the seemingly inevitable ousting of Greece from the Euro—last weekend’s election result notwithstanding—spur raging mothers (Ceres) into rebellious action, like tigresses protecting their young? Could the true revolution in Greece begin in the kitchens of wives and mothers? With the last New Moon semi-sextile Ceres, within range of Algol, a wooden spoon revolution for the summer doesn’t sound unreasonable. People become desperate and unpredictable, after all, when there’s not enough food on the table.

It’s well to remember that in the 1930’s, during the last Pluto-Uranus square, the Nazi Party was voted in democratically, as Hitler was able to promise stability to a nation suffering massive food shortages, inflation, political anarchy, and financial ruin. Astrology and history, on a basic level, is the study of cycles, and as we return, astrologically, to the same energy that precipitated the stock market crash and propelled the Nazi’s to power in the 1930’s, it becomes clear that the election of a conservative pro-Europa party in Greece is rather incidental in the grander scheme of things: Greece’s true destruction and transformation is yet to come, and with a growing trend toward nationalism and Neo-Nazism the international community would do well to watch future developments carefully. Greece natal Moon-Pluto and the Uranus-Chiron opposition shows the potential for shocking and violent events to happen out of the blue.

To be honest, I think the Eurozone has been lulled into a false sense of hope, and I don’t say this as a prophet or doom and gloom, but simply as somebody reading the patterns in the stars as objectively as I can: as soon as Saturn ploughs out of the safe zone of stars Spica and Arcturus, within the Via Combusta, or the fiery way, things could start to get hairy again. With the first Uranus-Pluto square almost exact, it will soon be time for Greece, the Eurozone, and the international community at large to make some pretty tough decisions. Saturn, the planet of karma and hard lessons, is currently protected by the two loveliest stars in the heavens, but the peaceful idyll will not last for long.

To take a quick look at the Euro’s transits on the eve of the first Uranus-Pluto square, we have transiting Pluto in between the Euro’s Sun and Venus, activating the inconjunction to Natal Saturn, a most depressing influence: austerity simply won’t be enough to save the Euro from flopping, and will inevitably backfire. Aside from Pluto’s demolition crew slow chipping away at the Euro’s Sun (the conjunction will be exact in 2013, and if the Euro manages to hang on until then this transit will finish it off for good) we also have a challenging natal t-sqaure, comprising an opposition between the MC and Chiron: a push-pull between the societal face of the Euro—the grand Utopian ideal—and the wounding that would befall families in Spain, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, and of course Greece, represented by Chiron close to the IC, the domestic foundation of the chart. Both of these planets square the ascendant at 29 degrees Virgo. The position the Euro would assume in world politics and society (the MC in finger in every pie Gemini), and the mask it wears (the AC, quite critical and detail-oriented in Virgo), would be at odds with the wounding-healing agenda of Chiron in Capricorn, the sign of the government.

To expect such diverse nations, with distinct cultures and heritage, to place nicely together in the sandbox, without resentment and jealousy arising, is frankly ridiculous. The concept of protecting sovereignty was nice on paper, but to try and funnel a single currency through a labyrinth of different banking systems, not to mention vastly different attitudes towards fiscal discipline, is like throwing a bunch of 5 dollar notes into said elementary school sandbox, and expecting the little cretins to divide the money equally and go make reasonable choices at the cafeteria.

Pluto’s already moved past the Chiron of Euro’s t-square, and the wounding has clearly already taken place, but now with Pluto sandwiched between the Euro’s Sun-Venus, which truth to be told is something of a soft touch and will do anything to avoid rocking the boat, the Euro is losing time through countless summits and an alarming lack of leadership, and Pluto is happy to continue breaking down the walls, one by one.

With a t-square, astrologers prescribe looking at the house directly opposite the apex of the triangle, and any planets of stars within that house, as a solution to the seemingly irreconcilable clash of energies: for Euro, the missing leg of the table is the Pisces descendent on fixed star Scheat, which has something of a notorious reputation: at its worst, imprisonment, murder, suicide and drowning, but it also represents independent thought, and breaks from conventional philosophy or dogma. Pisces is all about faith and self-sacrifice, and concerns itself with the language of symbol and archetypal patterns, rather than nitty-gritty details; the combing of fiscal figures by economists is all well and good, but we shouldn’t make the mistake of turning these people into oracles of the future.

Basically, for the Euro to save itself, a profound and even eccentric restructuring must take place, which takes into account the heterogeneous nature of the nations in the club: a United States of Europe, perhaps? If the Euro is willing to ‘go with the flow’ and bend when the wind blows, a solution to their problems may yet be found, but with Germany in the driver’s seat, thus far rigid and unwilling to compromise, destruction is inevitable; the Euro won’t hang on any later than 2013.

Meanwhile, with transiting Mars on Greece’s IC of the home and hearth, I think we could see the beginning of a pots and pans revolution in Greece.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkRIbUT6u7Q

Lilith on the South Node and the Hubris of Luka Rocco Magnotta

The Sun, Black Moon Lilith, and South Node met in a conjunction in Gemini on May 25th, squaring Neptune in Pisces, and forming a sextile with Uranus: this schizophrenic energy opened a Pandora’s Box of disturbing mental images and heated words, as we plumbed the depths of collective and personal wounds, our methods of repression shattering. Gemini rules all platforms of social networking, and with the conjunction to Dark Goddess Lilith, the internet and media outlets have become flooded with an unprecedented deluge of disturbing images and news. Making matters worse, Jupiter is also within range of dreaded Algol, “the most evil star in the sky’, a blinking light in the center of Medusa’s severed head, highlighting the violence of the past few days. Genocide continues in Syria as the West remains apathetic. A shooting in Toronto’s Eaton’s Centre left one dead and many more injured, sparking panic within the city. There was also the highly disturbing story of a naked man eating another man’s face in Miami, a student in Maryland admitting to eating his recent victim’s brain and heart, not to mention another incident of cannibalism (albeit consensual), in which a Japanese man offered up his member to be fried and eaten by a panel of volunteers. The latter incident was caught on tape, and splashed all over the internet, highlighting the darker side of the internet age. There is such a thing as ‘too much information’.

Nevertheless, one news story in particular has caused a perfect media storm, and encapsulates the dark side of the current planetary configurations: between the hours of May 24th and 25th, Luka Rocca Magnotta, a self-professed bisexual porn star, slew a young Asian computer science student with an ice pick, and engaged in necrophilia and cannibalism with the corpse, before dismembering the body. Later the body parts of the murdered man, now identified as Corncordia exchange-student Jun Lin, were sent through the Canadian post, a severed foot ending up at the Conservative headquarters, where Stephen Harper’s secretary opened the blood-stained and malodorous package; a hand was also mailed, destined for the Liberals.

Gemini rules the postal system, and with Mercury in Gemini conjunct Lilith—her raging murderous side, that is, when she plotted revenge in her exile from the garden—the expression of this energy became tragically literal. Jun Lin’s decomposing torso was later discovered in a suitcase left by the garbage bins of Magnotta’s Montreal apartment building, which was bizarrely left untouched for a few days. The craven murder was captured on a camcorder and uploaded to a website specializing in violent acts, the video shared by an alarming amount of people. When Lilith connects with Mercury, the intellect, we are often forced to confront painful truths: although psychopaths like Magnotta are one in a million, the fact that his depravity found a considerable online audience, suggests that the psychopathic personality is perhaps not as rare as we think.

As the man hunt for the murderer gathers momentum, the European Interpol on high alert as Luka is believed to have fled to France, I’m left to wonder what effect the recent Solar Eclipse had on Magnotta’s actions, as it triggered high-pressure angles in his natal chart, in particular his Chiron conjunction with the Lilith star Algol. Here is his chart:

My investigative instinct was piqued when I read about his alleged connection to school girl killer, Karla Homolka, as the two were rumored to be dating several years ago. Though the rumor was likely spread by Magnotta himself, as part of his obsessive desire to mythologize and launch himself into internet fame, I suspect that her reappearance in the news, and the ghastly murder itself, has everything to do with Lilith’s influence of the Moon’s nodes. Karla Homolka, Paul Bernado, and Luka Magnotta, all share a natal opposition of the North Node to Black Moon Lilith. As if that wasn’t uncanny enough, the young victims of the serial killers, Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy, also contain the opposition in their natal charts: the hunters and the hunted were linked in a tragically fated way. Lilith on the South Node, climaxing in early June, has forced Canadians to relive the terror and aguish that Bernardo and Homolka afflicted on our country.

The South Node represents past lives and the karmic baggage you’ve brought from one world to the next: in aspect, sign and house, it articulates what the soul has already learned and assimilated in past incarnations, and misfortune inevitably befalls those who refuse to leave its stagnant waters, or who abuse its gifts. The South Node, if exploited, tends to bring out the negative qualities of the house, sign or celestial body connected to it. Black Moon Lilith’s shadow side is violent, sadistic, and sexually perverse. They didn’t call her the baby killer for nothing. I think she can go both ways as well: the victim or the killer, or even the therapist who helps people overcome Lilith issues.

Astrology is, if anything, a study of cycles—what Plato described as the ‘music’of the forms—and I’m left to wonder if Lilith’s conjunction of the karmic South Node can trigger patterns of violence. Even if Homolka and Magnotta never dated, I think they share a karmic contract of unspeakable evil, something that has taken them many life-times to address.

Returning to Magnotta’s natal chart, the potential for eccentric and flamboyant violence was waiting to be unleashed, like a ticking time-bomb. Unfortunately, I don’t have a time of birth, but there is still plenty to unpack with fixed stars and aspects.

Magnotta is a proud Leo with a critical Virgo moon: his ego (the Leo Sun) requires adoration, and a platform from which to shine; nevertheless, Virgo is much more shy and retiring, busying itself with everyday tasks and service to other people. The star quality of Leo would have been constantly undermined by Virgoan self-criticism and self-effacement: beneath Luka’s bravado and aggressive sexual promiscuity, we find a rather timid man, though Virgo is not without its calculating side as well. The meticulous sign of the Virgin would have assisted Magnotta in carrying out his crimes, no detail overlooked. Furthermore, the Moon sits on Coma Berenices, a star in the constellation of the queen’s hair, bringing “a suave manner with great personal charm, but also idleness and dissipation” (Astro on the Web). Psychopaths often achieve their objectives through charm and charisma, and with Magnotta’s emotional nature connected to such a refined star, he is probably capable of endearing people to him quite effortlessly. The conjunction of his Sun to Mercury bolsters his smooth manner, lending him a silver tongue and quick wits. His victim has been described as a gentle soul, ‘looking for love’, and I have no doubt that Luka was able to draw him in with pretty words and false promises.

The Sun-Mercury receives a trine to Uranus as well, giving Luka eccentric and unorthodox ideas around how to express his identity, as well as the ability to disconnect from his emotions: his bi-sexuality and gender-bending fits in well with this: he has a penchant for wearing lipstick, eye-liner and drag. Orginally known as Eric Clinton Newman, and with another alias, Vladimir Romanov, the killer, now dubbed as the Canadian Psycho, obviously has no problem sealing away his emotions into tidy little boxes: the constant reinvention suggests that he’s not only a fugitive to the police, but a man on the run from the wounded little boy he clearly loathes and left behind in Ontario. The Moon’s square to Neptune heightens his slippery character: an aura of glamour and charisma would have thrown potential victims off his scent, writing off his violent obsessions as quirks, or eccentricities. The interplay of Mercury, Uranus, Neptune and his camp Leo Sun suggest a trickster, a dilettante, and somebody who delights in obfuscating his true personality, drawing his victims into a miasma of fantasy and kinky sex.

Leo is ever the performer, and with the carefully orchestrated sequence of events leading up to and following the murder, we see a killer who likens cold-blooded murder to Duchamp-esque performance art. The appalling Youtube video he created in 2007 of kittens being suffocated by a vacuum cleaner was merely the first act, a prelude to the murder and dismemberment of Jun Lin, which would ensure his position in the pantheon of the serial killers he so admired. Luka tapped into the post-modern mood of the day, and the rampant narcissism fueling social networks, and in a single heinous act—caught on film of course—revealed the rot beneath the sleek patina of our Twitter accounts and Facebook avatars. Neptune rules the film industry, Uranus the internet, and Mercury the social networking side, so it’s hardly surprising that Magnotta would choose to stream his murder live, as an internet spectacle. A recent National Post article by Adrian Humphreys picks up on the similarity of the murder to one depicted in the Hollywood film Basic Instinct, in which the victim is tied to a bed and impaled by an ice pick, which is exactly what happened to Lin. In the infamous kitten video, the killing apparently takes place in front of a Casablanca film poster, and in the Lin’s murder video a New Order song plays in the background—the same featured in the film American Psycho (I hate to think of the pleasure Magnotta derived from his being referred to as the ’Canadian Psycho’).

The interaction of Neptune, Uranus, and Mercury in Magnotta’s chart only tells one side of the story, however: the lascivious porn star was the mask he wore to help him achieve the objectives of a blood-lusting Mars-Pluto conjunction, very tight with a 19-second orb. Mars-Pluto people have a great deal of aggression and a compulsive desire for power; if channeled effectively, their stamina can move mountains, but when it goes the other way the aggression of Mars, reinforced by the calculating stratagems of Pluto, makes these people violent, highly-sexed and incredibly dangerous. Necrophilia is one of the ways Mars-Pluto can go, with Mars ruling the sex-drive and Pluto, death. Of course not everybody with Mars-Pluto will end up being a cannibalistic serial killer, but with the hints of an abusive childhood, and Magnotta’s sexually-charged internet persona, I see a man who has failed at every juncture in his young life to integrate this unbridled passion in a constructive way.    

The Pluto-Mars in Libra is troubling to begin with, as Mars is in its detriment in the house of the scales, and therefore highly debilitated. Basically, Mars and Libra find it difficult to play nicely with each other, and with the Pluto influence Magnotta’s Martian qualities will refuse to work with the Libran themes of compromise, justice, and turning the other cheek. This danger zone in Magnotta’s chart is exacerbated by a square to his Mercury-Sun, and a nasty inconjunction to Chrion, the wounded healer in Taurus, which forms the crucial Yod configuration (more on that later).

Chiron refers to the area in our life where we’ve been emotionally wounded, usually in early childhood, and reveals that Magnota’s violent tendencies are entrenched in repressed trauma. Friends of Magnota recall him hinting at a childhood in which ‘something horrible happened.’ While it’s impossible to take anything that such a chronic liar says at face value, the square of the Moon (mother) to Neptune is revealing; did Magnotta’s mother struggle with substance abuse, and withdraw from him emotionally? Neptune suggests that the borders were blurred between the roles of mother and son, so I wouldn’t actually rule out incest, or something else equally odd, whether initiated by the mother or Luka himself.

Editor’s note: After I posted the blog, I stumbled upon another tidbit in The National Post, which mentioned a blog post Magnotto wrote in 2008, which begins with ”My name is Luka Magnotta and this is my nightmare…” In the post he claims that he and his stepmother would watch films like Basic Instinct late into the night, as she plied him with alcohol and eventually seduced him (or raped him?); the two emabrked on an affair thereafter. Despite Magnotta’s compulsive attention-seeking, I’m inclined to believe this, with Luka’s Moon (the mother) square to Neptune, representing film and substance abuse, among other things. Was the murder-hommage to Sharon Stone’s sexy serial killer a misplaced attempt at dealing with this bizarre relationship he had with his stepmother, which possibly left him traumatized?

His debilitated Mars echoes the fundamental weakness in his chart, which is the tricky Sun and Moon combination. Statistics have shown that serial killers often have a powerful Sun and a more retiring Moon, or vice versa: these people find it difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile their ego with their emotional nature. The two, therefore, between petrified and separated from each other, allowing these monsters to commit gristly murders without a shred of remorse (the Mercury-Uranus sextile would have aided in thehis mental compartmentalization). I suspect this is the case with Magnotta: his Leonine desire for fame, and his highly misguided quest for power, simply aren’t in line with the Virgoan desire to serve others selflessly behind the scenes. The Moon’s square to Neptune confuses matters more, and I wonder if Magnota’s meticulous creation of the bi-sexual porn star, and his escape into the world of avatars and cyber glamour, is his way of coping with his petrified emotional nature. To commit the acts of violence that Mars-Pluto craves, Magnotta used his considerable intelligence and social savvy to create a monster. And then he began to believe in that monster. Magnotta took the gestalt of the day, in which anybody have their fifteen seconds of Youtube fame, and pushed it to nightmarish levels.

As a clearer picture begins to emerge, we move to the most revealing natal configuration: Neptune in Sagittarius forms a sextile to the cruel Mars-Pluto, both inconjunct Chiron in Taurus, forming a relatively rare Yod aspect, otherwise known as “the finger of God”. Though the planets in sextile are complimentary, and bled well together, the apex of the triangle, where the ‘finger’ is pointing, is in an element incompatible to the planets in sextile, which makes the energy between these planets difficult to reconcile. “The Yod is believed by many astrologers to be a karmic configuration, and it suggests that there is a compulsive “debt” repayment associated with the area of the chart pointed out” (Astrotribe). Jamie Patridge’s take on the Yod is slightly different: This pattern creates a particular and strong energy, much stronger than you would get by these aspects on their own. I like to use the analogy of a crystal here, a very definite and unique structure which holds a special type of energy which took a long time to create. A person with a Yod will have a difficult time with this frazzling and neurotic energy, especially earlier in life” (Darkstar Astrology). As if the Mars-Pluto stick of dynamite wasn’t enough, Magnotta also has a sense of mission, a feeling of leading a fated life: he believes that it was his destiny to achieve global infamy as a serial killer. Chiron is of course associated with healing and wounding, and with Luka’s inability to address and heal childhood abuse, the wounding side of Chiron has been allowed to run rampant.

Things get even more interesting when you consider the fixed stars that these three planets fall on: first we have the Mars-Pluto on Spica, the sheaf of wheat in the arms of the Virgin, which is considered one of the luckiest stars in the sky. Has Spica allowed Magnotta to get away with his crimes? Spica certainly would have aided Magnotta in concealing his perversity with social charm, like his Moon nestled in Bernidices’ lovely hair. Neptune, however, is placed on a most unfortunate star, Shaula, in the stinger of the constellation Scorpius.  Vivean Robson states, “It gives danger, desperation, immorality and malevolence, and is connected with acid poisons.” (Constellation of Words). This suggests somebody able to mesmerize their victims before the deadly sting and injection of poison. Chiron, however, tells the most interesting story of all: it is within orb of Algol, the star of primitive sexuality, mass murder, and decapitation. Robson asserts that if the star is opposite Mars the native will be be-headed, mangled, or even torn to pieces alive (Constellation of Words). Or perhaps the person will take it upon themselves to channel the energy of Algol on their own terms. The Yod shows us that Magnotta felt it was his calling to dismember a man and send the body parts in the post; sometimes the astrology stares you right in the face, like Medusa’s pulsating eye. One has to wonder if the killing and defilement of the corpse was some sort of weird Neptunian merging ritual for Magnotta, whose true self had been shattered a long time ago, only to be put back together, piece by piece, in the loneliness of cyberspace. Interestingly, Ted Bundy shares the combination of Mars, Pluto and Neptune, albeit in a mini-grand trine, the only blue lines in a very angry chart. Bundy slew 26 women, and often returned to the murder site to have sex with the corpse, sometimes for hours at a time.

Though the potential for gruesome violence was always locked away in Luka Magnotta’s chart, another interesting picture emerges as we consider the transits in play on the day of the May 21st Solar Eclipse, the murder on the 24th, and tomorrow’s Lunar Eclipse, which I think has the potential of unraveling the mystery of Magnotta’s disappearance.

However, before I begin to untangle the transits, I’ve had the fortune of finding Jun Lin’s date of birth in a Globe and Mail article, though no time of birth. As one would expect, Black Moon Lilith (mean) has an important role to play in the victim’s chart: in Lin’s case, we see a nasty inconjuction of Black Moon Lilith with a tight Moon-Mars conjunction; asteroid Lilith opposes his Moon as well. The Moon itself is debilitated, like Magnotta’s Mars: Capricorn is the sign of the Moon’s detriment, and any transits triggering this sensitive point could unleash the fury of the Liliths that afflict his moon so heavily. Lin’s Black Moon Lilith sits on star South Asellus, denoting “mass murder and horrors” (Astro on the Web). To make matters worse, the Moon-Mars is squared by Pluto; perhaps Lin was seduced by Magnotta’s darkness and extreme political views. Though their relationship continues to be shrouded in mystery, a recent Globe and Mail article reveals that the openly gay Lin may have had a darker side than earlier reports let on. The cat lover, ‘looking for love’ in Canada, posted a photo-shopped image of himself with a cracking face and missing teeth, titled ‘My Self Portrait’ (Globe and Mail). Other online posts reveal that Lin found life in Montreal to be rather lonely, making him easy prey for somebody with such manipulative charm as Luka Magnotta. Here is Lin’s chart:

Let’s take a look at some of Magnotta’s transits on the day of the murder, as well as the Solar Eclipse: On May 21st, Jupiter was conjunct his Chiron on Algol, activating the violent Yod and magnifying its powers. Jupiter’s boundless confidence would have given Magnotta the hubris to take a gamble and fulfill the destiny of his Yod; it was now or never. Transiting Saturn on the Pluto-Mars conjunction, on lucky Spica, heightened this feeling of destiny: the stars were quite literally aligning for Magnotta. Nevetheless, Saturn also represents trials and difficult lessons: I believe that the Lord of Karma will apprehend Magnotta eventually, when Saturn moves off of Spica, if not before. Transiting Pluto now opposes Magnotta’s North Node, within range of his tight Lilith corridor, showing the price he will have to pay for following the path of evil in his chart. Transiting Neptune opposes Magnota’s moon as well, suggesting that his plans will unravel as he loses control of his emotions; he won’t be thinking clearly and will make silly mistakes, aiding in his arrest.

We see that the dye was cast on the day of the solar eclipse, Jupiter giving him confidence and luck, and Magnotta had only to wait for the perfect moment to strike. The night of the murder, May 24th, the Moon crept into Cancer, to conjunct Magnotta’s Venus, giving him immense charm and appeal: he would have been able to talk Lin into almost anything. The final clue is mean Lilith creeping into a conjunction of Chiron too: Lilith here is Magnotta’s victim, Jun Lin. His victim’s Sun, Moon and Mars are within range of Magnotta’s South Node and Liliths: these two would have been drawn together like magnets, and likely shared past live connections.

Now onto Lin’s transits: on the day of the murder, transiting Pluto, the planet of death, was conjunct Lin’s already weak Capricorn moon, triggering the wrath of the Liliths. Mars was within orb of his Saturn too, activating the square to Neptune: Lin would have been especially vulnerable to manipulation at this time. Finally, transiting Chiron was on Lin’s South Node the night of the killing, the wounding afflicted, all too literally by Magnota’s evil Yod, with the Algol-Chiron on the tip of the triangle: Lin was stabbed to death by an ice pick. He was ripped to pieces. His severed head could be anywhere.

For now, Saturn on Spica, the peaceful oasis in the heat of the Via Combusta, is sheltering Magnotta from the repercussions of the heinous murder, but when Saturn moves off Spica, I suspect the net will close and this monster will be brought to justice. Nevertheless, with transiting Pluto opposing his North Node, transiting Uranus opposing his Pluto-Mars, and transiting Neptune opposite his Moon, I don’t think even Spica will be enough to shelter the Canadian Psycho from all the heavy hitting outer planets putting considering stress on almost all of his personal planets. Neptune is the key here: he simply won’t be thinking clearly, intoxicated by his sudden fame.

Meanwhile, I believe tomorrow’s Lunar Eclipse will bring some critical information to light as the man hunt continues, which will help the police close in on Magnotta. May Jun Lin rest in peace.

Editors note: As predicted, today’s Lunar Eclipse brought numerous eye-witness accounts and other leads of Magnotta’s movements across Europe, from Paris to Berlin. He  was arrested this afternoon in Berlin at an internet cafe searching for stories about himself—poetic justice, I suppose.

Lilith Part I: Of Vixens and Blood-suckers

Lilith on my Mind

The passionate full moon in Scorpio last month, opposite a Sun-Lilith conjunction, offered us the chance to trawl the stranger banks of our psyches, engaging in shadow work, or simply surrendering to the undertow of the alchemical waters. Since then I’ve been preoccupied anew with the riddle of Lilith: is she the dreaded she-demon and killers of babies, or a modern feminist icon? She is both somehow, and her power lies in her paradoxical nature. She is difficult to pinpoint mentally and emotionally—more difficult still to put into words.

As we enter into June the focus shifts to the Dark Goddess again, as Mercury has crept into a conjunction with Black Moon Lilith, smack dab on the karmic South Node. The conjunction receives a square from Neptune, suggesting that considerable hot air and mental activity, of a possibly self-deceptive nature, will center on issues of sexual power, or lack thereof, triggering inherited patterns of how we react to attacks on our sexual values—or any area of our lives where we refuse to compromise. It could be that circumstances will see our shadow sides brusting from the wings, demanding the spot light and a soliloquy. With the South Node influence, and the Gemini propensity for verbosity, the wounded conversations will run deep, baggage dredged up all the way from the bottom of the sea.

Channeled constructively, we could see chatty role playing in the bedroom: think The Secretary, tight pencil skirts, and that red pen. Nevertheless, the square from nebulous Neptune suggests that many will play the victim card, rather than air out their demons in a safe and healthy way. Hell hath no fury like Lilith scorned, and with a sextile from Uranus to the Sun in strong effect into the beginning of June, I think we could see electrical bursts of female rage that come out of nowhere.
 
The High Priestess

Whereas Ceres is all curves, bare feet and bread baking in the oven, Lilith is a more complicated feminine archetype, the dark goddess with myriad faces who weaves sinuously between our attempts at classification.

If Ceres is the Tarot’s Empress, oozing fecundity and practical magic, Lilith is the High Priestess before her: the second card in the Major Arcana after The Magician, representing stillness, dreams, the unconscious, and the germination phase of creation, a direct counterpart to the loquacious Magician, and a necessary prelude to the creative fruition of The Empress. While the Empress is depicted in a lush landscape, resplendent in flowing robes—often depicted as pregnant—the High Priestess exudes a cold a-sexuality. She is seated between two columns, one black and the other white, representing the principal of duality and the tension of opposites in the Universe. She holds the sacred scroll, the Hebrew Torah, representing her duty in upholding the divine laws of the natural world. A curtain adorned with pomegranates, Hades’ preferred fruit, hangs between the columns, symbolising the High Priestesses’ guardianship of liminal realms: the place where the screw turns, and what was once empowering becomes bitter poison, or where poison is transformed into wine: when does erotica become porn, sadomasochism appalling abuse, a loyal father and pillar of the community a cheating bastard?   She is seated on the threshold between the dead and living: she understands the rites of death, and she behooves us to observe ritual in our lives, so that we may empty ourselves and listen to the whispered voice urging us through the pillars of seemingly irreconcilable paradox.

Chance Encounter

Her earliest incarnation, however, dates back to the origins of agricultural-based society. I remember stumbling across the Burney Relief more than a year ago in London’s British Museum, when I first began flirting with the idea of including Lilith in my studies of natal charts. I didn’t know the relief before me, of a winged woman with talons standing astride two lions and flanked by owls, was, in fact, a depiction of the Goddess I had become so obsessed with; nevertheless, she drew me to her like a magnet, and twenty minutes must have passed as I gazed at the relief in something I can only describe as a trance.

The relief was discovered in Iraq and dates between 1800 and 1750 BCE, from the ancient Babylonian civilization. It may be the oldest depiction of Lilith existing today, and reminds us that despite her relatively recent introduction to the astrological pantheon, her roots are ancient, and she has undergone many evolutions, managing to survive the rise and fall of Empires. Note the duality of the imagery: the relief reminds me of the High Priestess card.

Demetra George has this to say about Lilith’s origins, in her book Finding our Way Through the Darkeness.

“The mythical biography of Lilith places her earliest origins in ancient Sumeria as handmaiden of the Great Goddess Innana. It was Lilith who brought the people in from the fields to Innanan’s holy temple at Erech for the sacred sexual rites. She represented an aspect of feminine sexuality that is free, unfettered, instinctive, animating, ecstatic, healing and sacred. In order to suppress the worship of the Goddess, whose sexual rites lay at the core of her mysteries, the Babylonian solar hero Gilgamesh destroyed Lilith’s home and cast her out into the desolate wilderness” (George, 89).

Exile, revenge, sexual autonomy, ecstasy: these are some of the themes I’d like to explore as I unpack Lilith in an ongoing series of the essays. This is a work in progress, and it will likely always feel frustratingly incomplete.

The Other

After years of courting Lilith in my dreams, whether she came to me as an enormous black snake, an owl, or a woman with ebony flesh and a breast plate studded in garnets, it hardly came as a surprise when I discovered that the dark Goddess dominates my chart. I have a Sun-Black Moon Lilith conjunction, osculating Lilith in tight conjunction of my Venus, my Lilith corridor spanning the 2nd and 3rd houses, and the Sun-Lilith trine my North Node, or path of destiny. Asteroid Lilith is there as well, conjunct my Mercury and trine Pluto (all of this Lilith jargon will be explained presently).

In any case, I’m just beginning to unravel her mysterious influence on my own life, following the rustle of her owl wings towards the borderlands of knowledge and all numinous realms, where they seem to be more questions than answers. I’ve felt Lilith’s presence all my life, but who is she, really? The succubus, the vampiress, Adam’s first wife who refused to lie beneath him, the baby slayer, the demon fornicator, Ishtar’s sacred prostitute, or Marlene Dietrich staring impassively through rings of melting smoke? Her splintered light seduces and ensnares, until she turns her face—the shattered looking glass—and we are forced to confront the Self, divided into districts: schema-less, myth-less, barely holding itself together. She saunters toward us, wearing aesthetic pleasure like drag, holding the gazers’ heart under her boot heel, just long enough for us to realize how futile the gesture of possession was in the first place.

Whatever her guise it’s clear to me that her archetype persists, though she seems to mutate if we get too close. She is, perhaps, Emanuel Levinas’ description of ‘The Other,’ or the first experience of the Other in the plasticity of the face: “The way in which the other presents himself, exceeding the idea of the other in me, we here name face… The face of the Other at each moment destroys and overflows the plastic image it leaves me, the idea existing to my own measure… (Levinas, 50-51). Lilith is the face that “…resists possession, resists my powers” (Levinas, 197).

She seduces and hypnotizes with artifice, Marilyn Monroe’s bedroom eyes and oscillating hips (she had mean Lilith conjunct her Ascendant), too obscenely feminine to be anything but a mask. Her magnetic appeal lies in the fear of chaos, castration, death, and the void made all the more frightening behind the veil of a beautiful face.  And that’s the point: it’s not the horror at death per say, but the experience of its concealment—and the possibility of being bewitched by this concealment, even falling in love with the mask.

The Three Faces of Lilith

I didn’t say Lilith would ever make it easy. As if her mutations through history and mythology weren’t convoluted enough, she reveals herself in the heavens, and the natal chart, in three different guises: one is an asteroid, the other is a mathematical point in space, and the third is even more exasperating: a mysterious dust cloud, or counter moon, whizzing around the earth like an old crone on her broom, which has confounded astronomers and astrologers alike for the last four centuries.

The Black Moon Lilith is perhaps her most potent incarnation of the three, as she represents a culmination of all the stages in Lilith’s mythical journey. Black Moon Lilith, to complicate things further, includes a true and mean node, to account for her oscillation, like the nodes of the moon. Black Moon Lilith is the moon’s apogee, or the furthest point that the moon gets from the earth (remember the recent ‘Super Moon’ cum meme? Lilith made an exact conjunction with the Sun, just as the Moon came beautifully close to the earth). Between the true and mean Black Moon Lilith, we have the ‘Lilith corridor’, which Marina Curoso of Darkstar Astrology describes as the chart’s womb: a highly charged zone. Any planets that fall within this zone will bear the mark of Black Moon Lilith, strengthened if the corridor falls on one of the chart’s angles, or in the first house.

Demetra George unpacks the Triple Moon Goddess theme further, attributing the three Lilith’s to different stages Jewish folkloric alternative to the Adam and Eve story we all know, documented in The Alphabet of Ben Sira, wherein Adam’s first wife refused to lie beneath him because they were equal, both being made of the same earth. When Adam refuses to accommodate her desire for sexual equality, she utters ‘the ineffable name’ (of God) and flees from the garden to the red sea to have sex with demons and spawn scores of demon children. She eventually brokers a deal with the angels to allow 100 of her babies to die each day, if they promise not to return her to Adam; she also vows to have revenge on Adam’s progeny, and somewhere along the lines morphs into the she-demon, succubus and baby-killer so dreaded in antiquity, who was warded off with circumcision and sacred amulets (RIKB, 2-3).

“The Asteroid Lilith describes the first stage in the mythical journey where she is suppressed, humiliated and flees in a fiery rage to the desolate wilderness. The Dark Moon Lilith depicts the pain of her exile where she plots and executes revenge. The Black Moon Lilith shows how she transmutes her distorted image back into its natural healthy expression” (George, 90).

The Anima

I’d also argue that the three stages of the Triple Moon Goddess, as echoed in the lesser known prelude of the Adam and Eve story, arises in Jung’s theory of the Anima, in which the male explores his feminine inner personality.

“Because a man’s sensitivity must often be repressed, the anima is one of the most significant autonomous complexes of all. It is said to manifest itself by appearing in dreams. It also influences a man’s interactions with women and his attitudes toward them and vice versa for females and the animus. Jung said that “the encounter with the shadow is the ‘apprentice-piece’ in the individual’s development…that with the anima is the ‘masterpiece’”. Jung viewed the anima process as being one of the sources of creative ability” (Wikipedia).

The Triple Moon Goddess theory fits seamlessly with the first three stages of Jung’s Anima: Eve, Helen and Mary, while the final stage of feminine integration, Sophia—the Greek word for ‘wisdom—requires an acceptance of the first three stages, as they are part of a continuum.

The Femme Fatale

Though there is much to say about Lilith’s incarnations in art, literature, and popular culture, I’d like to focus this essay on the world of film, particularly the phenomena of the Femme Fatale, literally ‘Fatal Female’, who reached her apotheosis in the film noir of the dirty thirties and 1940’s, before post-war film reverted back to depictions of the nuclear family and doting wife. The Femme Fatale, on a basic level, is a vamp who is willing to use her feminine whiles to bewitch and ensnare hapless men into doing her bidding, usually involving a murder; we think of Double Indemnity, The Big Sleep, or The Postman Always Rings Twice, classic of the pre-war ‘genre of anxiety.’  John Blaser has this to say of the Femme Fatale:

“Of the three types of noir women, the femme fatale represents the most direct attack on traditional womanhood and the nuclear family. She refuses to play the role of devoted wife and loving mother that mainstream society prescribes for women. She finds marriage to be confining, loveless, sexless, and dull, and she uses all of her cunning and sexual attractiveness to gain her independence. As Janey Place points out, “She is not often won over and pacified by love for the hero, as is the strong heroine of the forties who is significantly less sexual than the film noir woman.” She remains fiercely independent even when faced with her own destruction. And in spite of her inevitable death, she leaves behind the image of a strong, exciting, and unrepentant woman who defies the control of men and rejects the institution of the family” (Blaser).

As I did an inventory of the prominent Femme Fatale actresses, those who touched the collective imagination the most profoundly, almost all of them had signifgant Lilith signatures, that is contact of Lilith through conjunction with luminaries (Sun and Moon), Lilith on one of the angles, or a Lilith contact to the North Node. I use an orb of 2.5 degrees and discount Lilith connections to the impersonal outer planets, so as not to dilute her influence over the chart. I’d like to focus on three actresses in particular: Gloria Holden, Marlene Dietrich, and Bette Davis, as their roles in Dracula’s Daughter, Witness to the Prosecution, and All About Eve respectively encompass the three transformations Lilith undertakes to become a Triple Moon Goddess.


Asteroid Lilith and Dracula’s Daughter: She Gives You that ‘Weird’ Feeling

To explore the concept of Carl Jung’s Eve, which corresponds to the asteroid Lilith, and the first stage of the Triple Moon Goddess, I have chosen the film Dracula’s Daughter, a 1936 American vampire movie produced by Universal Studies. My boyfriend insisted that we watch it together when I first arrived in Barcelona, and I fell under the spell of the film’s moody chiaroscuro, inspired, no doubt, by Fritz Lang and the Lumiere Brothers, and it’s surprisingly profound philosophical undertones. 

The film picks up after the death of Dracula, as his daughter, Mayra Zaleska, played by Gloria Holden, attempts to burn her father’s body in a ritualistic manner, hoping that this will break the curse of vampirism that has sent her into spiral of desperation. When the ceremony fails, she enlists the help of handsome psychologist, Dr. Jeffery Garth, who attempts to ‘cure her’ by appealing to her will and rationality: “Your power lies within yourself”, he says. Nevertheless, Mayra’s craving for blood cannot be quenched, and she begins roaming the London streets again, mesmerizing her victims with an exotic ring.  All of her victims are women, curiously, and it soon becomes clear that the seemingly straightforward vampire film was ahead of its time, with its lesbian undercurrent. Mayra’s desire to be cured by psychiatry falls in with the queer angle as well, a practice that was all too common when homosexuality was pathalogized, even appearing in the diagnostic manual of mental illnesses. Mayra’s roaming the streets of London for victims could also be seen as a metaphor for ‘cruising’, though this cliché was usually reserved for gay men. (Wikiepdia). 

In Imps of the Perverse: Gay Monsters in Film, Michael William Saunders argues that the thinly veiled lesbian angle passed the censors because it fit the criteria of pleasurable fodder for the heterosexual male gaze; lesbianism could be presented in a safe and acceptable way, because the woman was a monster, rather than a flesh and blood human being.

“…Because, as Laura Mulvey has pointed out, films have so consistently been constructed from the point of the male gaze, and because lesbian desire has typically been both devalued as female desire and co-opted as serving male desire, it should be no wonder that lesbian characters would be allowed to be presented in horror films at least somewhat more frequently than is true for gay male characters. Saying this is not inconsistent with noting that lesbian horror-film monsters typically appear more powerful than do gay male monsters.” (Imps of the Perverse: Gay Monsters in Film, 12).

One lesbian-tinged scene stands out in particular in which Mayra’s manservant procures a sylph-like teenager, Lili, for the Vampiress to paint. This puts her in a position of traditionally male power, as she maneuvers the half-clad woman toward the wall, plying her with wine and complimenting her alabaster flesh: the scene is more suggestive of rape than vampire attack; what is more, in earlier versions of the scene Lili was naked, but the producers thought it wouldn’t get past the censors, and that they would have to avoid any “questionable flavor” (Wikipedia). Mayra later kidnaps Dr. Jeffery Garth’s materialistic fiancée, Janet, in a desperate attempt to lure the doctor to Transylvania so that they may be eternally bound in the afterlife. Another scene of lesbian desire plays out as Mayra hovers over the sleeping body of Janet, their faces nearly touching—’the longest kiss that never was’—but the Doctor arrives in the nick of time and brokers a deal with Mayra to offer his life in place of Janet’s, the woman he loves. Before this can happen Mayra’s embittered manservant shoots her with an arrow, allowing Dr. Jeffery Garth and Janet to escape the ordeal unscathed.

Daughter of Dracula, despite its hints of the avant garde, is a Hollywood blockbuster at the end of the day, and Mayra can’t very well select Janet, or Lili for that matter, as her everlasting bride, and her true sexual desire is left to smolder under the façade of conventional plot devices.  Nevertheless, the lesbian angle was exploited in the marketing of the film, with tag-lines “She gives you that weird feeling!”, and “Save the women of London from Dracula’s Daughter!” (Wikipedia).

Asteroid Lilith: Wild Child

So how does Lilith factor into all of this? First of all, I believe that part of the asteroid Lilith signature is a flatness, a stylized quality, that beguiles and bewitches, while the interior landscape remains under wraps. Marina Curuso asserts that “…asteroid Lilith subjects are a prime target for projection”. Hence the lesbian innuendo that Mayra Holden was forced to wear throughout the film, whether complicity or not. 

It should be noted that Gloria Holden’s Lilith dominates her chart: the Lilith corridor contains her Sun, Mars, and Jupiter: Osculating Lilith conjuncts her Virgo Sun, and True Lilith conjuncts her Leo Jupiter, with Mars sandwiched in between. Frater RIKB argues that contacts between Lilith and Mars add urgency and energy in expressing the Lilith qualities. Lilith contacts to the Moon or Venus could be more subtle, appearing in a woman’s private emotional nature, or her romantic relationships respectively, but Lilith spurred on by the aggression of Mars could externalize her expression: “…a woman’s independence and sovereignty will more often meet opposition by men, or by male hegemony” (RIKB, 5).

This theme certainly plays out in Dracula’s Daughter. The contact to expansive Jupiter in the sign of the film star, Leo, surely helped Holden to bring her Lilithian qualities to the silver screen; moreover, with the contact to the Sun, Lilith was tied into Gloria’s very identity. Finally, it’s Gloria’s asteroid Lilith that clinches the deal, and sure enough I discovered that it trines Gloria’s Moon, as well as her North Node: it was her destiny to tell the story of Lilith’s raging flight from the garden, and to let us glimpse her emotional landscape.

As mentioned earlier, in the first stage of the bible story Lilith refuses to lie beneath Adam because they are equal; God created them of the same earth. When he refuses to listen to her reasonable argument, she pronounces the ‘ineffable name’, turns into a demon and flies away to sire the hoards of demon children she will have to sacrifice to God for her impudence. Lucky for Adam, God fashions a new wife from his rib who is humble and subservient—who won’t have any funny ideas about sex.

But how does this narrative fit into Dracula’s Daughter? How does the critical refusal to submit manifest? The answer isn’t obvious: Dr. Jeffery doesn’t force Mayra into sex; he doesn’t even seem to desire her, as she is purely an object of his scientific method and curiosity. His initial attitude toward her is avuncular, and not a little bit condescending. Nevertheless, she comes to him in a position of vulnerability: only he, a man of “strength and courage”, can release her form the binds that entrap her from beyond the grave. She brings all the darkness of the subconscious mind to his table; she speaks of forces beyond the understanding of man: forces of chaos that Western empiricism cannot comprehend, or has overlooked (she doesn’t state outright that her dark urges are vampiritic). But Doctor Jeffery Garth is a man of science: “a doctor of minds and souls”.  She approaches him as her equal, hoping to be taken seriously and with compassion; this ‘man of science’ is her last chance—but Doctor Garth dismisses her occult paranoia as female hysteria: “You must control yourself”, he says, “if you expect me to understand what you’re talking about.” He proposes the faddish cure of hypnosis to explore the origins of her hysteria, revealing a machine with revolving mirrors that Mayra, as a vampire, naturally recoils from. He then tells her to buck up, to effectively face down her urges as a man: “Your strength lies within yourself; put it to the test.” He then leaves the stricken Mayra prematurely: she is humiliated in the darkest hour of the soul. She came to him hoping to be treated as his equal, just as Lilith attempted to bring equality into her lovemaking with Adam, and she was dismissed as a paranoid hysteric.

Later that night she asks her manservant to look into her eyes: “What do you see?” she asks, to which he replies, “only death.”

Mayra comes to the conclusion that she cannot submit to the doctor’s scientific method, being a woman of ‘deeper forces’, estranged from the hegemony: an outcast. When she kidnaps Janet and flees from London to Transylvania, we see the parallel’s to Lilith’s fleeing the garden: Mayra leaves the rationality and safety of the industrial city to a medieval land still under the sway of paganism.

In certain versions of the Adam and Eve story it is a vengeful Lilith, disguised as the serpent, who returns to tempt Eve with the apple, and thus ensures the eternal sin of man. Likewise, Mayra seduces Janet with her ‘exotic ring,’ luring the doctor back to her in her castle in Transylvania so that he can rescue Janet and fulfill his role of ‘hero’, in counterpoint to Mayra’s tragic foil. “None of your science came save you here”, she says. Nevertheless, this being a Hollywood movie, the ‘bad guys’ are inevitably vanquished and good triumphs over evil; however, one wonders if Janet and Jeffery’s relationship will ever be the same, their English idyll, their biblical garden, where nothing goes terribly wrong, tainted by their brush with subterranean forces that Western science cannot quantify or comprehend.

Dr. Jeffery Garth’s treatment of women in the film fits in perfectly with the first stage of Anima development in Carl Jung’s model, in which women are treated as siren-like creatures of instinct and malevolent appetite. This attitude arises as the man struggles to move beyond the stage of eroticism tied in with the image of woman as mother. According to Jung, “The first stage—Hawwah, Eve, earth—is purely biological; woman is equated with the mother and only represents something to be fertilized” (Wikipedia). Whether literally fertilized by Adam’s seed, or the doctor’s patriarchal ideology, she is something to be tamed and made to submit, on the man’s own terms. Though the doctor claims to love his fiancée, and goes so far as to sacrifice his life for her own, his treatment of Janet throughout the film verges on the misogynistic: he threatens to spank her, chastises her prank calls, and in a moment of frustration threatens to lock her in a cage, like a wild animal. The Third Eve , a wonderful blog, has this to say about the first stage of Anima integration:

“In the first stage, Eve, the man’s anima is completely tied up with the mother–not necessarily his personal mother, but the image of woman as faithful provider of nourishment, security, and love. The first Eve represents all that is natural, instinctual, and biological. The man with an anima of this type cannot function well without a vital connection to a woman and is easy prey to being controlled by her. He frequently suffers impotence or has no sexual desire at all. Other ways in which this type of anima possession manifests are through fear of accidents or disease, or in a sort of dullness of personality. The Greek Sirens or the German Lorelei personify this dangerous aspect of the anima, which may even lead a man to his death. This illustrates what is true of other psychological content, namely that it has two aspects, benevolent and malefic” (The Third Eve).

Though dismissive and patronising toward his darkly beautiful would be patient, the doctor is nonetheless intrigued by Mayra for long enough to become tangled in her web; she manipulates him easily, and does indeed come close to leading the doctor to death in Transylvania.

Marina Curuso, who has compiled a wealth of Lilith material, sees the asteroid Lilith having the influence of Uranus, the ‘gay planet’, who was castrated by Cronus (Saturn), just as Mayra is driven to death by the empirical mood of the day, psychiatry being a male-dominated field in the thirties, instead of receiving a more humanistic treatment that may have allowed her to accept her homosexuality, rather than reject it as ‘evil’—a curse passed through the bloodlines. For some asteroid Lilith people, homosexuality could be as much a rejection of the patriarchy, as a sexual orientation.

The Mask

One more idea I’d like to explore stems from the etymology of ‘archetype’, which comes from the Ancient Greek ‘arkhetupon’, or ‘pattern, model’, the neuter form being ‘arkhetupos’, or ‘first moulded’, while ‘type’ corresponds to ‘typos’, meaning ‘meaning sort, type or press.’

In Jungian psychology, the archetype is any universal pattern of thought, existing in the unconscious, and inherited from a collective experience of humanity. He borrowed this idea from Plato who attested that the ‘ideas’ were pure mental forms branded onto the soul a-priori, or before they were born. What could be a more powerful imprint than that of the mother’s face as a baby begins to imprint?

Part of the Lilith signature I’ve been struck by is the mask-like quality that some of the women exhibit: their beauty is so extreme that it verges on stylized, the ‘idea’ of beauty rather than beauty itself (Andy Warhol exploited this idea with his iconic Marilyn Monroe prints; Monroe, as we know, had a Lilith contact to her ascendant). Bright Lights Film Journal asserts that Holden transcends the cliché of the lesbian as a sociopathic predator (think Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct), through the sheer force of her face alone: “Holden’s striking, masklike face and haunting, luminous eyes [are] the intoxicating essence of transgressive lesbian power” (Wikipedia). Or perhaps female power in general.

Studies have shown that babies are hard-wired to recognize facial features, an evolutionary imperative so that the baby can imprint more quickly to the mother; what is more, recent studies have shown that babies actually prefer to gaze at beautiful faces, even more so at high-contrast images of beautiful faces, which suggests that they not only carry an archetype of ‘face’, but that of ‘beautiful face”. When thousands of images are compiled in a computer program and averaged out, both babies and adults prefer the average and symmetrical faces, as pretty people actually have the prototype of the human face: the archetype, or the “first molding” that we are hard-wired to respond to  (New Scientist).

Could a man’s difficulty in integrating the earliest stage of Lilith, and the Anima, point to a failure in imprinting as an infant, or not a failure to imprint per say, but traumatic associations with the mother that was imprinted upon: perhaps the mother was neglectful and cold, prompting a desire to wipe the slate clean and imprint anew, which causes certain men to become hypnotized by prototypically female faces, whilst unconsciously disgusted by the desire to experience mother again. This disgust is sublimated into misogyny and inappropriate fantasies of sexual conquest, a defense mechanism against the shame of this fundamental rejection. Asteroid Lilith subjects, whether consciously or not, seem to become vessels for this sort of projection.

Working with Asteroid Lilith

When exploring Asteroid Lilith in the natal chart, she is our point of no return: the area in our lives where we refuse to compromise—where we would rather face humility, ostracism, emotional trauma, even physical harm, than concede an inch to the person/system/ideology that’s forcing us to conform and deny an essential truth about ourselves. Asteroid Lilith in the natal chart is where we must speak our truth, or risk being poisoned by the bitterness of self-denial, just as Mayra chose exile and death in Transylvania rather than come to terms with her true nature and sexual orientation. When we externalize her, or experience her in another person, her haunting mask-like face reminds us of the ’petite mort’ that occurs when we try to possess the Other. Perhaps this trauma stems from the emotional flight of a mother who was distant, “who resisted possession, resisted my powers”.

I’d like to finish this section with a passage on Asteroid Lilith by Demetra George, which encapsulates the emotional drama of Dracula’s Daughter.

“The asteroid Lilith describes how we find ourselves in repressive situations where we are not free to express ourselves and not valued and accepted for who intrinsically are. We are prevented from acting, moving, choosing, and determining our life circumstances. We may feel forced to obey others against our better judgment, and pressured to suppress the qualities that others find unacceptable and threatening, especially the sexual, independent, and rebellious parts of our personality. Experiences of humiliation and denial also contribute to the build-up of smoldering resentment.

The inner pressure that accumulates when any energy is confined and constricted eventually precipitates a violent explosion. In the forceful expression of our repressed anger, we have the capacity to see and speak our truth…”

To be continued…

Bibliography:

1) Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burney_Relief
2) Demetra George: Finding Our Way Through the Dark, American Federation of Astrologers, 1994.
3) Darkstar Astrology: http://darkstarastrology.com/triple-moon-goddess-lilith-astrology/
4) Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anima_and_animus
5) The Third Eve: “The Anima”: http://eve3.wordpress.com/2007/11/01/the-anima/
6) Emmanuel Levinas: Totality and Infinity, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1991.
7) John Blaser: “No Place for a Woman: The Family in Film Noir”, 1994-1999 http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC/noir/np05ff.html
8) Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dracula’s_Daughter
9) Frater RIKB: “The Black Moon Lilith: http://www.horusset.com/RIKB/Lillith.pdf
10) William Michael Saunders: Imps of the Perverse: Gay Monsters in Film, Praeger Publishers, 2000.
11) Anne Gosline: “Babies Prefer to Gaze Upon Beautiful Faces”, September 2004: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn6355-babies-prefer-to-gaze-upon-beautiful-faces.html


 

Los Indignados y 15M

Last Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary of the 15-M Spanish movement in which thousands of ‘Indignados’—or the enraged—took to the streets and plazas of cities throughout Spain under the motto “we are not goods in the hands of bankers” to protest corruption in the Spanish banking and political systems, cuts in social programs, and a growing unemployment rate, which now hovers at 25 percent, 50 percent among Spaniards under 25.

Like the Arab Spring before it the movement was spearheaded by a digital platform, Democracia Real Ya, which used social networking websites to organize the nation-wide marches and protests down the elegant passeigs, which over the course of the past year have involved more than 3 million Spaniards. It all began on May 15th 2011, when 100 Indiganados began camping in Madrid’s Puerta de Sol, setting the template for the Occupy protests that continue to proliferate cities across the world, with Barcelonans following suite on May16th, erecting their first tents and hammocks amongst the neo-classical statues and London plane trees of Plaza Cataluña.

I can remember the electricity in the air, when I arrived in Barcelona on May 18th     2011, having returned to the Old World for love, exhilarated and scared shitless by the risk I’d taken, my jet-lagged meanderings up and down the Ramblas leading me to the Plaza Catalunya camp, which was comprised of only a couple dozen tents, though the square would grow into a veritable city within the city, with its own library, vegetable gardens, computer stations, elaborate tree houses and even an artist’s studio. In its early days there were make-shift stalls stacked with pamphlets, volumes of Karl Marx, cans of Estrella and potted herbs—a woman spinning fire here, a clutch of Catalans locked in heated debate there, and some youngsters seated under the ass of an iron horse, passing a joint around. What I won’t forget, however, is how later that night, as my lover and I were sipping cava together in the Gotico, the Barcelonans suddenly flooded the terraces and balconies of the narrow streets, and the muggy summer night erupted into a din of clanging pots and pans and howling dogs, a ritual that would continue at the appointed evening hour, primal and eerie at once.

In order to commemorate the 15-M movement, I’m going to look at the event chart for May 15th 2011, to glean some insight into the nucleus of the first of the Occupy protests that has sent its reverberations across the globe, but first I’d like to consider the modern national chart for Spain, set on the date that King Carlos took the throne and following the demise of the Franco dictatorship on November 11th, 1975.

Spain has an intense Scorpio sun and a clannish Cancer moon, giving the country a surfeit of creativity, passion, and emotional intelligence. The Scorpio sun also promises a nation of extremes, as its deep Catholic roots clash with a technologically savvy and urbane youth culture. Nevertheless, Scorpio flourishes in the alchemical soup of such seemingly irreconcilable contradictions, and a large part Spain’s charm lies in watching the sacred rub shoulders with the profane: black market Gucci bags being pedalled in front of majestic Gothic cathedrals, or the tranquil garden hidden away in the seedy Ravel district. Perhaps the keyword for Scorpio is transformation, and Spain has certainly weathered its share of historical storms, battered by plague, invasions, occupations, religious schism, civil war, fascist dictatorships, and economic recession, whilst retaining its grandeur and magnetism on the world stage. Spain’s North Node is in Scorpio as well, so the pattern of destruction leading to transformation is part of Spain’s destiny as a nation, and a foreshadowing of events to come.

The Cancer moon softens some of Spain’s grittier Plutonic edges, the crab excelling in the domicile, cooking and everything cozy: Spain, of course, is renowned for its tapas, wine, leisurely dining and afternoon siestas, the rituals around eating inextricably tied into the deeply bonded family structure. Cancer is a homebody at heart, and generations of Spaniards tend to stay in the country, even in the same village, with children living at home well into their twenties, even their thirties: why leave, they say, when paradise is here—and considering the sheer variety of geographical delights, between balmy Mediterranean coast, the snowy Pyrenees, and the lush rolling hills of Galicia, it’s difficult to argue this point.

The Cancer moon also reflects Spain’s cutting-edge position in fertility technologies, and the influence of the Mother archetype is omnipresent: Spanish men give you the impression that they’ve been treated like little princes by their doting moms, and they in turn treat their mother like a queen as she ages with magisterial grace: it’s not uncommon to see middle-aged men walking arm-in-arm with a Spanish Abeula in her purple rinse and leather loafers, off to have a cafe con leche and croissant.

Spain’s Cancer moon forms the apex of the first of two significant t-squares, squaring the Jupiter-Pluto opposition, a link that can attract enormous wealth, and equally dramatic economic meltdowns. With Jupiter in the 2nd house and Pluto in the 8th, we see a push and pull relationship between the debt/shared resources of the 8th and the accruement of individual possessions of the 2nd. Signifiers of wealth and status, from designer clothing and plastic surgery, to luxury cars and the latest gadgets, are important to the Spaniards, and with Jupiter in the 2nd house of home and material possessions, this desire to keep up the Jones’ in terms of consumer goods will be insatiable: Jupiter expands whatever it touches. 

Another prime example of the influence is the sheer ostentation of the Modernista and Spanish baroque architecture, where in Barcelona you can find entire districts of apartment buildings festooned with sinuous moldings, grand carriage-sized entry ways, and intricate tiled floors. At the height of Spain’s cultural renaissance in the late 19th century, a single family would occupy one of the Eixmple apartment buildings in the lavish ‘Principal’ apartment, outfitted with chandeliers, high ceilings, with the servants living in the more modest flats above—Jupiter’s Midas touch on the 2nd house of home turned Spanish homes into veritable palaces. Furthermore, with Jupiter in Aries, ever the avant-garde, Barcelona’s explosion of Modernista architecture, spearheaded by the surreal masterpieces of Antoni Gaudi, would always be seen as cutting-edge and pioneering, and Barcelona remains the capital of architectonic innovation.

The darker side of Jupiter in the 2nd house, however, was seen in 2008 with the real-estate bubble and collapse, as Jupiter speculation and over-confidence in the housing market ushered Spain into the economic crisis. Nowadays lower-income families, having been seduced into buying properties they couldn’t afford by real-estate speculation—a classic example of Jupiter excess—are being evicted from their homes, chained to massive amounts of debt, though the Indignados have been protesting the evictions, staging blockades at entrance of the targeted apartment buildings. This is but one manifestation of the tense t-square energy wherein speculation in real estate and general material excess (Jupiter in the 2nd house), leads to Plutonic upheaval of the Spanish people in the form of debt and homelessness (Pluto-Venus conjunction in the 8th), hitting the country to the core emotionally, and causing families to rally even closer together, something that comes naturally to Spaniards with the Cancer moon.

Pluto conjunct Venus in the 8th is also indicative of the black market and the massive illegal immigrant work force. Down the main artery of the Ramblas, and the medieval streets fanning from it, every manner of scam imaginable is being pulled on the dafter tourists, from the ‘shell game’ to ‘dancing’ paper dolls operated by invisible strings. Theft is an all too common occurrence in Spain as well, and almost everybody I know in Barcelona has the obligatory story of being robbed (myself included). The illegal immigration reflects the influence of the Pluto-Venus conjunction as well, the influx seemingly boundless with the Jupiter opposition: thousands of South Americans, Moroccans, Pakistanis, and Chinese are labouring in the service industry and driving the cabs—working the jobs the Catalan middle and upper classes prefer not to do, which of course is a familiar story in any capitalist society, in which an upper class relies on the cheap labour of a lower class to support a certain quality of lifestyle. Nevertheless, with the Spanish economy going the way of Greece, one has to stop and wonder how much the unbridled wave of immigration, reflecting the excess of the Jupiter-Pluto opposition, as well as the connections to nebulous Neptune, is hurting the Spanish economy in terms of taxes not being paid. The moon inconjunct Neptune in multi-cultural Sagittarius also hints at illusion and disintegration when it comes to maintaining such a diverse culture.

On the other hand, the vastness of the black market means that the 25 percent unemployment rate could be an exaggeration, and that more people are working than the government thinks, albeit under the table. A recent article in the International Herald Tribune confirmed my suspicions, quoting Robert Tornabell, a professor at the Escade business school in Barcelona: “Without the underground economy, we would be in a situation of probably violent unrest. A lot of people are now staying afloat only thanks to the underground economy, as well as the support of their family network.”

Despite being blighted by financial problems, Spain’s other t-square reveals a dynamic approach to politics, with individual states working more like committees, and retaining a great deal of political autonomy: living in Spain feels more like living within a patchwork of loosely connected countries, each with their own distinct cultures. This second t-square comprises Saturn in Leo opposite the Aquarian ascendant (revolutionary activities, with a creative spirit, focused on the state); both squaring Uranus in Scorpio (extremes in social rebellion), which reflects Spain’s history of anarchism, libertarian trade unions and grassroots movements, from peasant anarchism in Andalusia, to anarcho-syndicalism in Catalonia and Barcelona, which seeks to abolish the wage system and state ownership of means of production. For the Spaniards protesting is a birthright, almost a form of weekend entertainment, the marches replete with drums, samba, happy families, Estrella and gigantic puppets—more like a carnival than political action, which reflects the Leo influence on the T-square, though a core group of anarchists take a more serious approach, recently smashing store windows and setting the Starbucks down my street on fire during the last Huelga Generale. The Uranus in Scorpio focus point of the T-square perhaps reached its darkest expression with the terrorist group ETA, a Basque separatist and nationalist organization, active between July 1959 and October 2011, responsible for killing 859 people and injuring thousands more. Another separatist movement, albeit non-violent, flourishes in Catalonia as well, based around preservation of the Catalan language, which was suppressed during the Franco regime.

Perhaps this spirit of creative anarchy has come full circle with the current debt crisis, protests in Spain becoming almost a daily occurrence, and reaching a critical mass with the 15m movement, which I’d now like to unpack in an event chart.

Once again we’re dealing with a dynamic t-square, with a Saturn in Libra and Uranus in Aries opposition focused on Pluto in Capricorn in the 5th house. Uranus in Aries in the 9th shows a brash and bawdy approach to revolution, with the possibility of militancy, as Aries rules all forms of combat: Aries is the fool rushing in where angels fear to tread, intoxicated by the sweep of the heroic gesture, and not terribly concerned about the end result. The Occupy movement has been derided by conservative politicians and outposts of the media for lacking a clear agenda, which is reflected in the Arian expression of Uranian rebellion. Slavog Zizek, an Aries himself, and a supporter of the Wall Street protests, offers this caveat: “One of the great dangers the protesters face is that they will fall in love with themselves… Carnivals come cheap – the true test of their worth is what remains the day after, how our normal daily life will be changed. The protesters should fall in love with hard and patient work – they are the beginning, not the end. Their basic message is: the taboo is broken; we do not live in the best possible world; we are allowed, obliged even, to think about alternatives.” With 15m’s Sun and Mars is Taurus, I think the hard and patient work will be possible, if the protestors avoid the intoxication of the idol crushing.  

15M’s Uranus in Aries was in the 9th house of religion, ideology, and world affairs: the revolutionary call to action would indeed send its reverberations across the globe, and was destined to receive world wide exposure, bolstered by the North Node in Sagittarius. People in London, Paris, Istanbul, and New York occupied the streets and squares of their own cities to demonstrate their solidarity with the Indignados; by the end of the year Time Magazine would choose “The Protestor” as the person of the year. Uranus in Aries in the 9th sets out to shatter something ineffable, the ideological scaffolding that underpins the decaying Capitalist system, which perhaps makes the nebulous nature of the protest completely logical: the medium here is indeed the message. Occupy is the first hysterical outburst before a shift in consciousness: we find ourselves wading through the dregs of the Piscean age, in a wild state of mourning for what is passing, and not a little bit afraid of what is to come. To quote Zizek again, from “Shoplifter of the World Unite”: “…they fit much better the Hegelian notion of the ‘rabble’, those outside organised social space, who can express their discontent only through ‘irrational’ outbursts of destructive violence – what Hegel called ‘abstract negativity’.” I think Moon quindicile Pluto is the key aspect here: the quindicile creates an obsessive and relentless connection between planets—like the force necessary to create a diamond. On May 15th 2011 the Moon, or the masses in Spain, were overcome by the insatiable urge to express the Pluto in Capricorn generational influence with passion, rage and ecstasy. As the first Uranus-Pluto square approaches this June, the effects of Pluto in Capricorn will become less and less subliminal.

The Uranus-Aries enthusiasm is opposite the much more sobering Saturn in Libra influence: carnivals are all well and good, but at the end of the day if we want to understand the fundamental structural problems causing capitalism to collapse from within, we have to think seriously about our own personal relationships (Libra), as the worldly is inextricably tied in with the secular: we interact with our political systems as from a miniscule grain of inter-personal relationships. Saturn in Libra has given us a generous three years to get real about our one-to-one relationships, to separate the wheat from the chaff, forcing us to ask some difficult questions about why we’re in the relationships that we are, and the whether these relationships are enabling our development, or hindering it. Saturn will leave Libra and creep into Scorpio this October, by which time any relationships built on false or superficial pretenses will have a date with the Saturnine guillotine. Saturn in Libra behooves us to make sure that our personal network is strong enough to withstand the inevitable financial and societal storms that will begin this summer with the first of seven Uranus-Pluto squares. We’re not going to get through this time without the support of friends and family.

The t-square focus point is on the Pluto in Capricorn generational influence that promises slow though inexorable disintegration of the rotting ideologies and status quo, however the rebellion-carnival of Uranus in Aries pans out. To rectify the abrasive exchange of energy in a t-square, astrologers look at the house directly opposite the apex of the triangle for an appropriate release of energy, which in this case is the 12th in Cancer, affirming the behind the scenes relationship activity that will be necessary before the revolution can begin in earnest. Infidelities will come to light, and toxic friendships will become intolerable. Families and lovers will break apart and some will discover hidden bonds that will pull them closer together. Whatever happens, the Saturnine reality check with our relationships will proceed in a clandestine matter, behind closed doors. This suggests that the Saturn work will be deep, and will rock families to their core.  

The 15M chart also shows a heavily afflicted Moon opposite the packed 9th and 10th houses, with a gaggle of planets clustered around the Midheaven: a date with destiny. The Moon is sometimes representative of the masses, and with personal planets Mars, Mercury, Venus, as well as internationally-minded Jupiter opposite the Moon, we see the frustration of the Spanish people reaching a critical juncture: the disenchantment with the alienating political system could no longer be contained—the floodgates were opened on 15th May.

Mercury and Venus were on fixed star Alrisha, the knot in the cord binding the Piscean fish together, which bestows a unifying influence to groups: the Occupy movements may well come to bridge the decaying Piscean age with the dawning age of Aquarius—the imagery of the knot reminds me of a hinge between worlds.

The conjunction of Jupiter and black moon Lilith sidled against the Midheaven is telling as well: the wounded animal cry of Lilith—or Zizek’s rabble—issued from a place deeper than language and rhetoric, primal and ugly and impossible to ignore, is heard across the world due to the Jupiter connection. Lilith was on fixed star Al Pherg, promising preparedness, steadiness, and success through determination. Mars, Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter-Lilith also received a sextile from Neptune and a trine to Pluto, the slowly moving societal planets that set the stage for the political influences of the day. Neptune brings imagination, idealism, music and poetry to the cause, which was apparent as the Plaza Cataluña tent city grew to include make-shift artist studios, drum circles, and spoken word poetry, the banners of propaganda creatively rendered, and the neo-classical statues mutating into fantastic creatures, with the addition of wigs, lingerie, spray paint and feathered boas. The trine to Pluto confirms that the 15M movement, which would grow into the Occupy phenomena, was keeping in with Pluto’s larger project, the wrecking ball swinging away at the existing political structures, as the 99 percent wakes up to its power and autonomy.

Despite the fiery conflagration of Venus, Mercury, Lilith, Jupiter and Uranus in Aries, the Sun as the fundamental identity of the moment was in Taurus, as well as Mars, another indication that Occupy, however it evolves, is here to stay. Aries does well to have the stability and pragmatism of Taurus to anchor its enthusiasm and tendency to get carried away in the heat of the moment. In fact, the concept of camping in the city squares is very Taurian to my mind: the protest itself manifests in a peaceful, though obstinate refusal to leave the pseudo anti-political space. As the Plaza Cataluña camp evolved, herb and vegetable gardens were created, and the campers rallied together to cover the basics of living in ingenious ways. Taurus has the patience and consistency to see whatever it undertakes through to the end, and though riot police eventually removed the campers from the square by force, using rubberized bullets and tear gas, prompting outrage across Spain, this movement will proved to be more than a flash in the pan; the derision of the opposition in particular, their attacks bordering on the hysterical, merely confirms the thinly veiled fear of those in power realizing that the chickens have indeed come back to roost. The Taurean Sun was also conjunct fixed star Capulus, a star in the sword hand of the champion, which, according to Ptolemy, is indicative of events effecting mass amounts of people. According to Kabbalists, Capulus is associated with major arcane Tarot card, The Hanged Man, which reflects the mysterious development of the Occupy movement: its leaderless nature and universal appeal. The Hanged Man presents the action of paradox in our lives, and reminds us that the best solution to a problem is not always the most obvious: a period of suspension is sometimes necessary before the revelation of truth. The influence of paradox is implicit in the awkward Sun and Moon inconjunction, which could prove to be an obstacle, as the subterranean emotions driving the cause—the more general and impersonal Pluto Capricorn influence—will be difficult to articulate and to implement into a clear program of action. Nevertheless, I think that time will bring greater clarity to Occupy, and the upcoming Pluto-Uranus squares could very well be the crisis that ‘the enraged’ will rally around, in Spain and around the globe.

 

The Rape of Europa: Sun-Ceres Conjunction in Taurus

A few days ago, on April 26th, a conjunction of the Sun and Ceres was exact at 6 degrees Taurus, forming one of the points in the lovely grand earth trine that heralded last weekend’s new moon. I had a wonderful new moon weekend, drifting through the artisan stalls in the Parc de Citudella, during one of the largest open markets in Spain, pleased with my purchases of dark organic chocolate with chile, and a handsome obsidian ring from Mexico. The next day I was potting herbs and flowers on the terrace, sipping tempranillo as I worked, dirt under my nails and sun on the back of my neck. With very little earth in my chart, the sun’s transits of the earth signs, particularly Taurus, is always a relief and cause for celebration. The conjunction with Ceres made these simple pleasures all the richer.

However, Ceres has her darker side, and with disturbing attacks on women’s reproductive rights in both Canada and the United States, we’ve been feeling the slice of her sickle, and the power of her rage. The conjunction of April 26th, coincided with MP Stephen Woodworth’s attempt to put forward a motion in the House of Commons, which could have resulted in re-criminalization of abortion, even in cases of rape, and incest. I promptly signed the petition on Facebook, aghast that this issue could rear its head in Canada, though I shouldn’t have been surprised with Christian fundamentalism spreading like wildfire, and pressure building as we inch closer to the Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries exact square this June.

Pluto, as a higher vibration of militant Mars, is a subtler, but no less dangerous drive for power and control: Pluto is wire-tapping, subterfuge, ambitious civil servants pulling the strings of a political figure head; control insinuating itself into the matrix like poison. With Capricorn the subterranean complex of control is entrenched in our political and ideological structures, and though the end of result of a Pluto transit is destruction, so that something better can be constructed from the debris, Capricorn will not go out without a fight, and will attempt to harness this Plutonic power through cloak and dagger machinations behind the ideological facades of nation states, religion, the pharmaceutical industry, big government, the patriarch… With Pluto in Capricorn we see the fertility themes of the asteroid Ceres perverted into the government seizure of a woman’s right to control what happens inside her body. And we thought the Handmaiden’s Tale was dystopian fiction…

I’ll return to the attacks on reproductive rights in Canada and the States, but first some background on Ceres. As mentioned in my previous post, Ceres is associated with the goddess Demeter, the mother of Persephone and mistress of wheat, who allowed the crops to go follow as she grieved her daughter’s abduction to the underworld by Lord Hades. She erected a temple in Eluesis where she could sorrow for her daughter, which later became the site of the first Elusian mysteries, which centered around the myth’s themes of subterrenean descent.  Fertility rituals were  undertaken between a hierophant and a priestess, possibly under the influence of psychedelic agents, though no written accounts remain as the mysteries were shrouded in secrecy. It’s believed, however, that a woman’s menstrual cycles factored into the symbolism of the mysteries.

Initiates believed that their participation in the rites would have a reward in the afterlife, and the popularity of the cult demonstrates a spirituality rooted in the cyclical patterns of the earth, before the Romans co-opted the powerful feminine principal, relegating Demeter to the fluffy Goddess of love, Aphrodite, who would be further watered-down by the Christians into the Virgin Mary, disconnected from the menstrual cycles that were so revered in the ages of Goddess worship.

Christianity was untangled from the earth and its cycles as well, as the teleology of mortal life as a dress rehearsal for judgement day, followed by an eternity of redemption in heaven or damnation in the flames of hell, did away with the themes of descent and ascension: lower Chakra spiritual work undergone in our bodies, as a necessary step toward enlightenment, the process repeating itself through a lifetime. The door to the unconscious and secular spirituality was effectively bolted close, and the road to salvation was put under the discretion of priests, ascension as a one-off at the end if you lived as a good and humble Christian, relinquishing spiritual autonomy to the Vatican and the State.  The Roman Emperor Theodosius closed the last of the sanctuaries by decree in 392 AD, and the surviving remnants of the cult of Demeter were wiped out by the invading Christian army led by Alaric, the king of the Goths.   

In 1801, however, Ceres exploded onto the scene with a vengeance, when the dwarf planet Ceres was discovered by astronomer Giuseppe Piazza, the long lauded ‘mystery planet’ conjectured to exist between Mars and Jupiter. Piazza suggested naming the planet after the Goddess of agriculture, and thus the Demeter-Persephone myth was kindled again in the collective unconscious. Nevertheless, she was demoted to the status of asteroid in 1802, after the other goddess asteroids Pallas, Juno, and Vesta—the other Olympian Goddesses—were discovered around her, and it wasn’t until 2006, during the controversy over whether or not Pluto was a planet, that the redefinition of the term ‘planet’ as a celestial object that has sufficient mass for self-gravity, dominating the other satellites in its field, allowed Ceres to be reclassified as a dwarf planet.

Finally, she was up there with Pluto himself, her Margarita to his Master, a feminine Plutonic principal and the ultimate Mother archetype (some believe Ceres is the higher vibration of the Moon). She has come to represent Mother Nature, growth, grieving, and mothers and daughters. She arises out of the light of birth as well as the darkness of death. Demeter is usually depicted with wheat and a sickle, and the glyph for Ceres features the sickle as well: the gifts that she gives will be taken away tenfold. Basically, she’s not somebody you want to cross, as her rage can have implications for all of mankind, as when she refused to uphold the cycles of agriculture.

I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the debate around abortion and a woman’s right to choose has become cannon fodder for neo-cons in Canada and the States in 2011 and 2012. Ceres was in Aries for much of 2011, adding heat to the debate, and the recent conjunction with the Taurus sun forced the issue on the political stage. Since 2011 our neighbors down south have issued sonogram laws in Florida, Texas, North Carolina and Arizona, which force women seeking an abortion to undergo a transvaginal sonogram, so that doctors can describe characteristics of the fetus to the patient, and request that the woman hear an audio recording of the fetus’ heart. The woman can refuse listening to the audio, but she can’t refuse the operation itself, which involves non-consensual penetration of the vagina by the phallus-camera, which, last time I checked, fits in pretty nicely with the legal definition of rape. Women are also forced to wait 24 hours after the sonogram to get an abortion, making the operation much more difficult to achieve for women living in rural areas or in a certain economic bracket, for whom the difference between spending a night in a hotel or not could decide whether or not she terminates the pregnancy.

This is but one example of Pluto in Capricorn’s insidious means of maintaining the increasingly faith-based status quo. To me, it also represents a perversion of the Mars in Virgo energy that has been with us since last October, as Mars rules surgical instruments, and Virgo, the virgin, represents our health and physical bodies; Virgo also corresponds to shame, and with the sonogram law in the States we see the Plutocracy puffed up with Sagittarius South Node religious fervour, using woman’s bodies as ideological dumping grounds. for collective moral guilt. For certain pro-life republicans a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy must be preceded by a symbolic rape, which in many cases will force a woman to relive the trauma of the conception in the first place. I suppose we’ll all be stocking up on coat hangers now?

Out of curiosity, I took a look at Stephen Woodworth’s chart, and wasn’t at all surprised to find an icy stellium of personal planets in Capricorn (the status quo), opposed to Uranus in Cancer (an extreme and rebellious attitude toward upholding or rejecting the nuclear family), both square to Neptune in Libra (high ideals of faith connected to the public) completing the ambitious, though possibly self-destructive t-square configuration. The t-square seems problematic enough, however, what really caught my interest was the asteroid Chrion, the wounded healer, tightly conjunct his North Node and his Moon, the Uranus in Cancer smack dab on his south node of karmic ties—we’re talking mommy issues. I would hazard the guess that his childhood was erratic and unstable, with a mother who was detached, or at least hot and cold with her affections. The conjunction of Chrion (childhood wounds) with the Moon (mother) brings a personal dimension to the more generational Uranus in Cancer influence, when the nuclear family actually began to fragment, in the lead up to the sixties. Perhaps this disintegration was personally wounding for Woodworth, who simply cannot accept any family model aside from a mommy and daddy and 2.5 kids, saying grace over mashed potatoes and roast beef. A person with a strong Chiron influence can be one of the most compassionate people around, as they’ve walked through the fire and have lived to tell the tale; however, if the childhood wounds continue to fester in the unconscious, the desire to heal will be overridden by a need to externalize the initial wounding—pregnant women become the scapegoat. All of this is speculation of course, but Woodworth’s chart makes a strong case for his pro-life stance as a personal vendetta connected to the childhood trauma of an absent or erratic mother—possibly fond of her drink, with the strong Neptune influence in his chart. Furthermore, Woodworth’s Mars-Saturn conjunction in subtle Scorpio will add a ruthlessness and cruelty in sticking to his guns, and explains his sneaky manoeuvres behind the scenes to get the motion passed in the first place, apparently under Stephen Harper’s nose.

Stephen Harper, to his credit (and it pains me to write those words) dismissed the motion as ‘unfortunate’, so the debate will not be reopened in the house of commons, but the attack on women’s rights will continue to reverberate, and for certain women in the United States, this flagrant misogyny is their reality. Stephen Woodworth may be only one voice, but his Saturn-Mars in Scorpio and plethora of Capricorn planets echoes the overarching Pluto in Capricorn influence that will continue to flow through certain individuals in public office, and at the head of corporations and banks, and I’m frankly disturbed by what I’ve seen of this transit so far.

Stephen Woodworth’s chart reminded me of another vehement pro-lifer, Sarah I-can-clean-a-moose-in-Loubotins Palin, surely one of the more sinister people to be dug out of the collective unconscious in recent years. Sarah’s chart has a void of water, and is dominated by masculine (yin) energy, which is echoed by her Capricorn south node; in past lives Sarah has wielded a great deal of political, and possibly military power, and feels very much at home in public office. Nevertheless, the South Node is the path of least resistance: it represents what the soul has already learned and assimilated in past lives, and to lapse back into these stagnant karmic waters brings the soul into a tail spin—a state of atrophy. Misfortune and disgrace often befalls people eventually who exploit the gifts of the South Node—in Sarah’s case, influence and masculine power. If we consider her North Node in family-oriented Cancer, which is all about selfless nurturing behind the scenes, Sarah’s resistance to her true path has already brought difficulties into her life: a child born with down syndrome, and the highly-publicized teenage pregnancy of her daughter Bristol (it’s said that Sarah knew about the pregnancy before she ran for the vice presidential ticket, but chose to abandon a family in crisis for the glamour of the presidential race)—these are Cancer-Capricorn issues.

Though we haven’t heard much of Sarah lately, My dad thinks that La Palin is simply biding her time in Alaska, waiting for the republicans to destroy themselves, so she can swoop in there at the last minute, and run against Obama, which sounds so crazy it’s probably true. In any case, Palin’s inability to rectify the Cancer-Capricorn nodal axis, sublimated into a vehement stance against abortion, among other things, echoes Woodworth’s own Cancer issues, and taps into the collective unconcious. Ironically, both of these people contain, in their charts, the potential for enormous healing and compassion when it comes to issues of child rearing, and balancing family with career and personal ambitions. No chart is ever ‘evil’ per say, though some charts are more challenging than others, and that’s where free will comes in—we choose how to harness and express the myriad possibilities of our charts.

At any rate, I hope the Sun-Ceres conjunction in Taurus has brought all women a little closer to the miraculous architecture of our physical bodies, and the mysteries of our menstrual cycles, which, at one time, were actually worshipped and regarded with awe, rather than sanitized in sassy Tampax commercials, or reduced to the cliché of bitchy women on the rag. Most importantly, whether or not men regard a woman bleeding with awe or disgust, I think we can all agree that what happens in a woman’s body is sacred: we understand from a place beyond language or dialectic whether or not it´s the right time to welcome another soul in the world, just as Ceres was willing to experience the eternal loss and return of her beloved daughter. We will continue to fight against the dehumanization of women into vessels for the ideological agendas of certain emotionally-stunted politicians. Ceres is here, she´s a tough old braud, and her temper is legendary—Pluto in Capricorn neo-cons beware!

New Moon in Taurus: Blood and Roses

 In Catalonia April the 23rd   marks the celebration of Sant Jordi, the proverbial dragon slayer and the patron saint of Catalonia. The holiday has little to do with the English Saint George’s day, and is in fact the Catalan equivalent of Valentine’s Day, but with dragons, damsels in distress, chivalry, and books—yes, books! Barcelona is the publishing capital of Spain, and from the turn of the century publishers began to hold enormous sales to coincide with the hundreds of rose stalls that will pave the Ramblas and Passeig de Gracia in yellow and red rose petals, matching the stripes of the Catalan flag.

Traditionally, the men bought roses for their sweethearts, symbols of the shed dragon blood killed by Saint George to rescue the princess. The women were supposed to give the men books in turn, but nowadays the exchange of books and roses is exclusive to both genders. Having witnessed the avenues of Barcelona littered with burning clods of rubbish, political pamphlets, and the cadavers of melting dumpsters during the general strike of three weeks ago, the sight of thousands of books and roses, and lovers sipping pink cava together on the Ramblas will be refreshing, frankly—and fits in perfectly with a gorgeous New Moon this weekend.

On Saturday the New Moon in Taurus will be conjunct the asteroid Ceres, the ultimate earth mother, forming a grand earth trine and giving us all some much needed grounding: a perfect configuration for Earth Day. In mythology Ceres is also known as Demeter, Goddess of wheat and mother of Persephone who was abducted by Hades and forced to become his bride in the underworld. Demeter’s grief was so profound that she let the crops of the mortal realm whither and go fallow, forcing the Gods broker a deal in which Persephone was allowed to live with her mother in the summer, but had to return to Hades in the winter. The myth describes the passing of the seasons, as well as the cyclical nature of life and death; Demeter was also connected to the Elusion mysteries, in which one of her symbols, an ear of corn, describes the stages of life: the seed as maiden (Persephone), the ear of corn as mother (Ceres), and the withered husk as old crone, rattling with the seeds of new life.

On DarkStarAstrology, Marina does a bang up job of describing Ceres’ Plutonic influences, imbedded like springs of oil in the fecund earth mother archetype: a natal yod is found in the asteroid’s birth chart, comprising a sextile between the moon and Uranus, directing is laser focus at Pluto, which perfectly describes the disastrous (Uranus) effects of Demeter’s grief (the Moon), at the abduction of her daughter to the Underworld (Pluto), resulting in barren lands and the threat of starvation to human kind, until the Gods intervened, of course.

In the Elusian mysteries death is seen as an initiation, and with the recent dark of the Moon, as well as Mars and Mercury creaking into forward motion at last, we should all be feeling a sense of renewal after the descent underground of the past weeks, during which relationships and important projects were forced into a state of crisis. Though the sun’s transit of Aries marks the new astrological year, with all the retrograde activity and the sense of emergency brought on by mid-April’s t-square, this new moon brings a true sense of fresh beginnings, giving us the chance to heal, and reflect on the treasure we recovered from our journey into the underworld.

Interestingly, the myth of Saint George echoes that of Demeter and Persephone: instead of a grief-stricken mother bargaining with the Gods, however, we have a dragon demanding lambs to munch on every day, as a bribe to keep him from wreaking havoc in the city. Unfortunately, the farmer ran out of lambs, and the city decided to start holding a lottery to select humans for the satiation of the dragon’s appetite. Eventually, the king’s daughter was chosen herself, and in a sort of reversal of the myth of Persophone, a chivalrous knight kills the dragon and saves the princess—a much less complicated ending. In fact, the damsel in distress theme is echoed yet again with this heavily aspected new moon falling on fixed star Mirach, nestled in the girdle of Andromeda, whom, according to Greek mythology, was chained to a rock as a sacrifice to a sea monster to mollify the Gods, as Andromeda’s mother was shooting off her mouth about her beauty surpassing that of the sea-nymphs (the hubris, the gall!). I can’t help but think of the Eight of Swords, as a blindfolded woman is bound, albeit loosely, to eight swords plunged in the stone of a barren, wind-swept landscape. The swords are the suit of strife and intellect, and though we can see that the woman has only to walk away out of her binds, she is blind to her own autonomy in escaping the moral dilemma, and chooses to remain in a posture of victimdom, literally frozen by her own fear and indecision.

Fortunately, Andromeda, like Saint Georges’ princess, was saved in the nick of time by her future husband Perseus, and they ended up having nine children together, laying down the foundation for the Mycean lineage and living happily ever after. The saviour-victim complex is a classic Neptunian delusion, and though Neptune in Pisces is connected to the new moon by a sextile, Taurus and tough love Ceres encourage a more pragmatic approach: it’s up to us to tear the blindfold from our eyes.

The mythological thread of negotiation with the Gods fits in nicely with the aftermath of the mutable t-square, and explosive full moon in Libra, that may have brought our relationships into a state of a emergency a couple weeks ago. In the Kubler-Ross model, more famously known as the “five stages of grieving,” bargaining appears as an unsustainable though necessary period in grieving the death of a loved one (Persephone’s abduction was of course a metaphor for the unthinkable tragedy of a mother outliving her child).

“The third stage involves the hope that the individual can somehow postpone or delay death. Usually, the negotiation for an extended life is made with a higher power in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. Psychologically, the individual is saying, “I understand I will die, but if I could just do something to buy more time…” People facing less serious trauma can bargain or seek to negotiate a compromise. For example “Can we still be friends?..” when facing a break-up. Bargaining rarely provides a sustainable solution, especially if it’s a matter of life or death” (Wikipedia).

Whether or not relationships have terminated in the past month, or have merely buckled under the pressure of Saturn in Libra growing pains, Venus in Gemini on the South Node (past lives, childhood trauma, emotional baggage) squaring a critical Mars in Virgo, highlighted mercurial bargaining as a way out of the entanglement, as we were confronted by the very real possibility of having to cut karmic (South Node) ties with another person. The bargaining phase followed the Piscean denial of the Mercury retrograde phase, when we weren’t thinking clearly at all, and moreover lacked the gumption to act (Mars retrograde).

Despite the darker implications of these myths, this new moon is an auspicious one, heralding the renewal of the ‘acceptance phase’, as we come to terms with our own mortality, the end of a relationship, or the necessary, and often painful adjustment that Saturn in Libra behooves us to make if we want to carry on with a relationship. With an abundance of sensual Taurus energy, amplified by the conjunction with the earth mama Ceres, it’s time to move from crisis to a slower and more receptive pace, luxuriating in simple pleasures. Mirach itself is a fortunate star of Venus quality, demonstrating the New Moon’s ability to heal our broken relationships. According to Ptolemy Mirach is “Good fortune through marriage, beauty, love, talent; intuition, brilliance, creativity, generosity; inspires others, loves home (Astrology on the Web).

The beneficent earth energy, urging us all to stop and smell the roses (quite literally in Barcelona), is intensified by a grand trine configuration flooding this new moon with healing energy, a needed respite after the dire straits of Mercury and Mars retrograde. A grand trine comprises planets in the same element, and unlike the abrasive t-square, presents a smooth exchange of energy in an equalateral triangle; the shadow side of any grade trine is passivity and abuse of talent, though I don’t think this will be the case with the planets involved: the Sun, Pluto, and Mars, all in earth signs, could manifest in some heady action between the sheets (think really hot make-up sex): Mars is the libido, Pluto is whips and chains, and with the Sun-Moon-Ceres conjunction, a dash of theatre: Ceres certainly has her dominatrix side.

The energy is perfect for communing with nature as well: on Sunday I’m considering taking one of my friends on a hike through the Catalan forest, rounded off with the Taurean pleasures of a rustic bodego in the middle of the woods serving the last of the charred calsots of spring, washed down with vino tinto. On Saturday Barcelona holds an enormous market in the citudella park, with jewelers, gurus, bakers, and butchers selling their wares amongst the cherry blossoms and sticky spring leaves—you couldn’t ask for a more Taurean day! With Earth Day coinciding with such a bountiful new moon, it would be a shame to stay shut indoors, unless you do indeed find yourself tied up in the boudoir, ahem!

A sextile between the moon and Neptune connects the passionate and grounding energy of the grand earth trine with the savior-martyr theme of the past full moon, and I believe we’ll be able to approach these wounds from a more stable perspective. Neptune’s smoke machine is still pumping away, but with the sensible Taurean energy we’re more likely to be impressed by practical demonstrations of love, and a bit turned off, frankly, by the douche bag in faux-Dickensian attire, who is, like, totally into your aura, and wants to know if you’d like to drop acid with him and listen to the Dirty Projectors; a thermos of tea and a foot massage by the sea, followed by sensible solutions to the past week’s romantic entanglements is a constructive way to use the Moon-Neptune influence.

With an opposition between Neptune in Pisces and Mars in Virgo, anything that smacks of martyrdom, evasiveness, victimization, or downright lying (bitch, please, you are not more beautiful than a sea nymph) will be met with withering Mars is Virgo disdain—so best not to even go there: a wide conjunct of Chiron to Neptune, which factored so powerfully in the t-square, shows the possibility of further wounding if we start picking away at last full moon’s scabs. Let bygones be bygones and move on, already! Mars in Virgo doesn’t wait for their knight in shining armour to save the day, but promises potent healing energy if you approach your problems energetically and methodically, balancing mind and body, and most importantly, being realistic about your limits and needs in a relationship. Mars is Virgo has given us the tools and intelligence to make good of the hard work that Saturn is forcing us to address in our relationships, and the relationships that don’t rise to the challenge will inevitably be cut away by Saturn’s sickle.

As mentioned before, Venus is still on the South Node of karma, trauma, and past lives, and though the temptation to flog a dead horse in terms of relationship baggage, painful issues of child custody (Ceres) or that conniving ex wife will be hard to resist, the emphasis is on sustainable solutions and fresh ways forward (the Uranus-Mercury conjunctions adds a dash of genius to problem solving as well, when it’s not wreaking havoc on our computers or plumbing): new moons are all about new beginnings, and in Taurus our value system—what makes us feel safe and secure, alone and in relationships—will be given a positive boost for the next six weeks at least. We have an opportunity to envision our lives as a garden, dig our hands in cool soil, and plant new seeds. Happy Earth Day!

Haste, Flight, the Arrows of Love—

The week of April 6th – 13th

I don’t know about you guys, but the latest astrological aspects have been doing my head in: with Mercury still lingering in the last degrees of the fish, ever so slowly gathering momentum after its retrograde period last month, a lot of gunk and cobwebs remain, as we scrape out the last of the rotting leaves from our psychic eaves troughs (and perhaps pickup our busted computers from internet helpdesks the world over).

This latest Mercury retrograde period has been especially goofy, in my experience, anyway. With my passport on the brink of expiration, and travel plans on the horizon, it was quite exasperating to discover that the Canadian consulate in Barcelona was closed due to renovations—the secretary shouting cryptic non-instructions to me over the sounds of drilling inside. I would of course have to wait until the day after Mercury direct station for the consulate to be in working order again, to be given a form I could have printed off from the internet in the first place. Go figure. In the end, it looks like I’m going to have to send more paper work anyway, as Madrid just informed me that my signature was touching the edge of the grey box ever so slightly. Typical blunder of doing red-tape stuff during Mercury Retrograde. Will I ever learn?

Barcelona itself has had its share of Mercury retrograde oddness, with the Hulega Generale (General Strike) taking place a couple weeks ago during the waxing gibbous moon, in response to changes in the unemployment program, and cuts to funding in the public sector as Spain spirals furthers in debt, hot on the heels of Greece.

The strike saw rubbish set alight by anarchists garbed in black hoodies and Guy Fawkes masks, the flaming dumpsters dragged into the middle of the main intersections, causing transportation pandemonium, which of course resulted in the cancellation of all my classes that day. Apart from a few skirmishes with the police who fired rubber bullets, and a Starbucks lit on fire in Plaza Urquionoana, the atmosphere was rather nebulous and Neptunian, with a lack of agenda or clear call to action: there was revelry, confusion, dancing and samba in the street, drunkards having a go at the riot police, Zizek’s ‘rabble’ lashing out with unarticulated emotion—the city  itself on the brink of climax, but not quite achieving the catharsis that I think the ‘Indignados’ need, with a 25 percent unemployment rate, 50 percent among the city’s youth.   

Stepping home through the stately Eximple promenades, which were larded in rubbish, fliers, and crushed Estrella cans, I couldn’t have asked for a clearer visual metaphor of the Piscean tide pools, long gone rotten in the retrograde phase. 

However, the winds of change blow fair and fleet, hastening us from tentacle-grip of toxic patterns and relationships, with Mars finally in forward motion (as of yesterday) still in its lengthy sojourn of meticulous Virgo, and with Venus now in the cerebral sign of Gemini, giving murky issues of love and partnership some welcome objectivity and levity. Moreover, Pluto recently went into retrograde, in counterpoint to the forward motion of personal planets Mars and Mercury, which will set the stage for the inexorable march towards the summer’s first of seven exact squares between Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries, a historic transit mirroring the stock market crash and rise of Fascism in the dirty thirties, when these planets last faced off with each other.  

Firstly, I’m sure we’re all still hung over from the full moon last Friday, with an opposition between the Aries sun and Libra moon, as well as an abrasive square to Lord Hades himself, which added power struggles and themes of resurrection to an important relationship that was likely highlighted, and perhaps forced into a state of crisis (not to go into too much detail, but my full moon started and ended in blood, with much quaffing of Spanish cava in between, and a significant turning point in a relationship). The relationship theme was already in the affect with a mutable t-square involving Venus, Neptune, and Mars, firmly in place during the full moon, which should just be drifting apart as I write this. Though the full moon often brings matters into fruition, and that hairy eyeball from Pluto added some edge, I think it’s the t-square that’s been to blame for any oddness, tension, or a sense of things coming to a fore in our relationships as of late.

A t-square is formed by the opposition between two planets, which are both in square aspect to a third, completing the isosceles triangle. Usually, a t-square is comprised of one modality as well, and with this week’s t-square comprising the mutable planets, issues of flexibility (or lack thereof), servitude, sacrifice, and denial have been throwing a spanner into our relationships, underlining the lengths to which we go (or don’t go) for another partner. Many astrologers consider the t-square to be a particularly tense relationship between planets, none of the guests at the dinner table really seeing eye to eye, the whole thing ending with a shrimp fork in somebody’s neck, or a ménage a trios in the hotel bathtub, depending on how the complex energy is sublimated. My view on the t-square is perhaps more positive, because however the chips fall, we have a dynamic exchange of energy—an opportunity for regeneration after crisis.

The emphasis on love with this week’s t-square becomes obvious as we consider the dinner guests involved: Neptune in Pisces, looking soft-focused indeed, conjunct Chiron, the wounded healer, which suggests sudden pain, or a purging of toxicity, due to self-denial or the lies we tell others (Neptune in Pisces is incredibly compassionate, but its shadow side is duplicity). If you’ve been leading a lover down the garden path in the past couple months, or have been hopelessly in denial about a lover’s philandering ways, something is going to give; Saturn in retrograde is giving us once last go to toughen up when it comes to relationships, and part of this reality check may involve parsing Karmic past-life connections from relationships that actually have a stable and loving foundation in this world.

Returning to the t-square, when we add the opposition to Mars in Virgo, lacerating criticism injected like poison, we see the brutal reality check clearing the mists of our Neptune in Pisces, and with Chiron involved, a wound exposed—but will the scene end in healing tears, or those of the crocodile variety? Whatever happens, it’s almost impossible to pull the wool over Mars in Virgo’s eyes, and prostrations of Piscean martyrdom will likely get us nowhere.

Completing the triangle, and signaling that the drama is very much about relationships, we have Venus in Gemini squaring both Mars and Neptune, nestled in the south node, which is suggestive again of relationship karma; I think we’re all feeling our baggage right now, whether from this life, or lives before it. Venus is Gemini will be adept at smoothing over any edges with boundless communication, but with the south node influence too much talk will likely only compound the wounding, dredging up all manner of childhood and past-life sludge. The square between Mars and Venus, with the Neptunian tendency to sacrafice for love (or really hot sex), will have inevitably come to some sort of culmination. I think the key last weekend was balancing the Mars in Virgo tough love when it comes to relationships, with the Neptune-Chiron cleansing that comes out of the experience of vulnerability: a relationship that doesn’t accommodate another person’s wounds will not make the cut as Saturn retrograde’s scythe continues to separate the wheat from the chaff this year.

The theme continues this weekend with the annual opposition of Saturn and the Sun this Sunday, a sobering influence that can invite feelings of guilt and depression, wherever these planets fall in our chart. With Saturn retrograde in Libra opposing the righteous Aries sun, as well as a Vesta-Black moon Lilith conjunction, the Self (Aries) refuses to submit (Lilith), to a relationship that will not accept the other person battle scars and all, down to every last jagged edge.