Friday, November 20, 2015

Jupiter-Chiron and the extremist impulse

The dramatic chart for Black Friday in Paris, discussed here over the weekend and displayed below, featured not only Saturn square Neptune, but Jupiter-Chiron t-squaring the Moon. The Saturn-Neptune square has been discussed at length (more could be said, but one thing at a time), but this post focuses on Jupiter and Chiron in collaboration—a topic I believe deserves more attention when it comes to the extremist impulse and the path to healing that impulse.

The media is buzzing, of course, with journalists and scholars picking apart every aspect of the Paris attacks. One such scholar who describes himself as a “thinktanker” is William McCants of Johns Hopkins University. McCants directs the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World at the Brookings Institution, and his new, very well-timed study titled The ISIS Apocalypse: The History, Strategy and Doomsday Vision of the Islamic State had just come out online. In both the author’s interview and the introduction to the book, one question was key:

How did the Islamic State attract so many followers and conquer so much land? By being more ruthless, more apocalyptic, and more devoted to state-building than its competitors. The shrewd leaders of the Islamic State combined two of the most powerful yet contradictory ideas in Islam-the return of the Islamic Empire and the end of the world-into a mission and a message that shapes its strategy and inspires its army of zealous fighters. 

In mundane astrology, this lethal conflation of ideological extremism, empire building and apocalyptic thinking certainly implicates the outer planets—Uranus, Neptune and Pluto—but we ignore the contributions of Jupiter, Saturn and Chiron at our peril.

As the so-called “social” planets, Jupiter and Saturn channel the energies of the outer planets into our everyday lives as citizens, affecting our social/governmental structures, legal systems, higher education, business practices, relations between groups divided by class, religion and ethnicity, and so on. The enduring “security v. privacy” debate—not to mention the current xenophobia regarding immigrants—is certainly fueled by these social dynamics and, of course, personal experiences and biases. The personal planets and luminaries—Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars—impact the means by which individual/local events unfold, often implementing the priorities of other levels. On Black Friday, Mars (violent means) conjoined the North Node and opposed a belligerent Aries MC. The Mars-influenced Node sextiled the Cancer AS—together these aspects remind us that the angles of a chart create opportunities for events in time and space.

Chiron occupies a unique position in our solar system, bridging the social and collective levels as it orbits between Saturn and Uranus. Chiron expert Martin Lass describes Chiron and all that its 1977 discovery has meant for humanity as a “paradigm” that answers one fundamental question: “What if both mind and body were mirror reflections of one another and both were reflections of a consciousness that lies beyond both?” As with most Chiron scholars, he concurs that with Chiron, the path to Healing a wound (capitalization always indicates the broadest possible application) lies in returning mindfully to that wound, opening to and acting upon the solutions carried within the wound itself. There seems to be general agreement that Chiron’s paradigm thus underlies the physical, mental, spiritual and metaphysical healing disciplines, whether oriented towards individuals, families, societies or the world at large.

So, what can this tell us about the dynamics of terrorism?  One gruesome, but real consideration would be to examine why an individual would offer him/herself up as a suicide bomber. As reflections of ideological leanings and psychospiritual wounding, respectively, Jupiter and Chiron could certainly be involved in such a decision. This duo would likely be reinforced by Sun/Moon placement and perhaps by Mars, implicated in the choice of violent means. Personal planet connections to Neptune (martyrdom/victimization) may also be key. Those who make such fateful choices become tools for the ideological masterminds of the attack—strategic players who leverage the personal pathologies of their agents and embody the megalomania of toxic leadership—Jupiter-Pluto at its darkest. Jupiter and Pluto were trine on Black Friday.

Long story short, while the collusion of social and outer planets probably drives the manifestation of these horrific events, history seems to show that the desire to satisfy one perceived wound by inflicting another—the dark side of Chiron—underlies the entire terrorist enterprise. Let’s consider an historical example that’s still quite pertinent:

World Trade Center attacks on 9/11/2001

-       In December 1999, Chiron conjoined Pluto at 11°+ Sagittarius, laying the groundwork, I would argue, for the massive attacks of September 11, 2001. By the time of the event, Chiron had separated from Pluto to oppose the Gemini Moon, sextile Uranus, powerful in Aquarius, and trine Venus in Leo, denoting wounds inflicted on the finance industry that day. Chiron’s connectedness allowed the attackers a prime opportunity (Uranus sextile) for major destruction and maximum terrorizing (primal wounding) effect (Moon opposition).

-       Between December 1999 and September 11, 2001, Saturn  (10°+ Taurus) moved from its waxing inconjunct phase with Pluto to just past exact opposition (14°+ Gemini) , a culmination point for the tense agenda seeded in this duo’s 1982 conjunction in late Libra. Chiron and Jupiter were widely opposed in that 1982 chart (see below), with Chiron forming the focal point of a tense yod with Neptune and Saturn-Pluto. As we’ve seen, these are the “usual suspects” with terrorist events and a yod fits the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” dynamics we’ve seen with the terrorist threat. With the 1982 chart set for Washington, D.C., Saturn and Pluto were beginning their new cycle in the 7th house of enemies.

Amazingly, the tense configurations of that pre-9/11 period set the stage for the ensuing years of war, in which the “enemy” has continued to be global terrorism, more than the specific nations of Iraq and Afghanistan. This stubborn challenge was reinforced by the 2009 Jupiter-Chiron-Neptune conjunction in late Aquarius (chart below), a seminal astrological moment coinciding with the shift of control from the Bush to the Obama administration, and the disappointing “end games” that followed for both the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. 

In Aquarius, the stunning Jupiter-Chiron-Neptune gathering was disposed by Uranus in Pisces, which—in mutual reception with Neptune—explains why our involvement in the Middle East is incoherent and scattered, often playing both sides against the middle. The horns of this dilemma are identified nicely in today’s New York Times Op-ed article, entitled “Saudi Arabia, an ISIS that has made it.” Author Kamel Daoud writes:

“Black Daesh, white Daesh. The former slits throats, kills, stones, cuts off hands, destroys humanity’s common heritage and despises archaeology, women and non-Muslims. The latter is better dressed and neater but does the same things. The Islamic State; Saudi Arabia. In its struggle against terrorism, the West wages war on one, but shakes hands with the other. This is a mechanism of denial, and denial has a price: preserving the famous strategic alliance with Saudi Arabia at the risk of forgetting that the kingdom also relies on an alliance with a religious clergy that produces, legitimizes, spreads, preaches and defends Wahhabism, the ultra-puritanical form of Islam that Daesh feeds on.”

Of Chiron conjunct Jupiter, Lass says, “Sensing the underlying plan and feeling innately that we are all destined to be free to shine, this aspect can confer a call to champion the cause of freedom in the world…on the other side, this aspect can confer issues and Wounds around justice, fairness, equality, morals and ethics.” Clearly, justice, fairness, morals and ethics are seen through the lens of cultural perspective and historical experience, but everyone responds on some level to these dynamics: the idealism that motivates U.S. soldiers to fight these wars also motivates those who consider themselves oppressed by Western ideals and practices.  

Even though nearly a millennium has past since those dark days, the Crusades waged by Christianity against Islam in the "Holy Land" is a deep cultural memory in the Middle East, a Wound that has been ripped open time and again, with no healing in sight.  It’s worth noting that just after Easter, 1096 A.D., when the first Crusaders left Europe for the Holy Land, Uranus and Neptune were tightly square (Aries-Cancer), with Chiron sandwiched in between Uranus and Pluto (both in Aries) and Jupiter sextile Uranus (and possibly Chiron) from Aquarius.  Perhaps today’s heavy focus on cardinal signs is a red flag that it’s time to resolve this “Us v. Them” Wound once and for all.

Chiron conjunct Neptune elevates this gnawing spiritual Wound, which fuels terrorism, to the level of a “Holy Grail”-type quest. According to Lass, “Depending on our level of Healing and evolution of consciousness, this can…disassociate us from reality and make it virtually impossible for us to touch the ground, so to speak…we would expect to see all manner of escapist behavior, from drugs to organized religion.” The “quest” of extremism is to recast reality in its own apocalyptic image, the most lethal form of escapism.

Taken together, the ideologically-charged Jupiter-Chiron-Neptune stellium, super-charged by Uranus, speaks to the chaos extremism is capable of producing in the name of God. But in Aquarius, it also speaks to the possibilities for a lighter, less fear-driven vision. It says we can do this, if our “better angels” prevail.

© Raye Robertson 2015. All rights reserved. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Nous sommes Paris! - "Black Friday" in Paris and the Saturn-Neptune Cycle

Of all the outer planet cycles that make our solar system such a lively place, the Saturn-Neptune cycle is perhaps the most puzzling—and worrisome, as there always seems to be a crisis of some kind brewing. Saturn and Neptune represent quite contrary impulses—one likes to separate (as in the “real” from the “imaginary”) and one likes to confuse the differences between such categories (is it “real,” or is it “Memorex?”). Saturn contains and limits; Neptune undermines and erodes all limits. The only thing Saturn and Neptune can agree upon is their perpetual disagreement.

In fact, the Saturn-Neptune cycle is all about manifesting a collective vision. Since the present cycle now entering its final quarter began in November 1989, the visions on the world scene have hit manic highs—such as the end of the Cold War and all that marked that passage—and horrific lows—the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks in 2001, and now “Black Friday” in Paris on November 13, 2015 (more on that below). In retrospect, it seems that these alternating waves of collective euphoria and near-apocalyptic anxiety are Neptune-Saturn’s forté—especially forceful since Neptune entered its home sign of Pisces, the sign of victimization, in 2011-12.  

Rewinding to where it all began…
Before we consider the most recent event in Paris, however, let’s consider where the present cycle began, in November 1989 (chart below).  Interestingly, just that August, the space probe Voyager II had passed by and photographed Neptune and its Moon, and in retrospect, I have to wonder if we weren’t being cued to pay special attention to Neptune in the period that followed, as Neptune was joining forces with Saturn at 10°+Capricorn to undermine all types of structures—physical, social, economic, ideological.

George H.W. Bush was finishing his first year as U.S. president and would soon be sending U.S. troops to the Persian Gulf War (August 1990-January 1991), but perhaps most dramatically, between 1989 and 1992, Communist governments (Saturn-Neptune rule) in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union were “washed away” (Neptune) in waves of mass protests, and the Berlin Wall was reduced to rubble with great jubilation; the Cold War (begun under the 1952 Saturn-Neptune cycle) “dissolved” like a spoonful of sugar in hot tea.

By the time Saturn squared Neptune (in 1998), the newly-democratic Eastern bloc countries were caught in a global recession. Interestingly, the International Monetary Fund, which played a role in this crisis, was founded under the Saturn-Neptune square of 1944. Russia’s economy, for instance, took a serious blow in 1998, triggered by a sharp decline (Saturn) in the price of oil (Neptune), which produced a disastrous fall in the value of the ruble.

During the years preceding that Saturn-Neptune square, the U.S. began experiencing major terrorist events. After 1998, of course, the situation only worsened. Although major terrorist events usually feature powerful collusions between all of the outer planets (we’ll consider examples ahead), I would argue that the Saturn-Neptune cycle plays a key role in terrorism—especially in cultivating the twisted mindset characteristic of this phenomenon. With this duo it’s easy to get caught up in the hermetically-sealed cycle of victimization, blame and retribution—and the poles of good and evil are infinitely reversible.

Saturn brings a judgmental “separating the wheat from the chaff” mentality to bear; Neptune applies its sleight-of-hand until the opposite poles are indistinguishable, and that’s how seemingly well-intentioned, well-justified people end up doing horrendous things at times.

Our Middle East politics has been rife with such ironies: in trying to support Iraqi forces with weapons in recent years, the U.S. inadvertently provided weapons to fighters with the Islamic State; in trying to avoid policing every Middle East conflict, we facilitated the terrorist side effects of the Syrian civil war. And so on…the lines between defense and offense become blurred, and with Neptune casting its spell on Saturn, the Lord of Karma falls down the proverbial “rabbit hole,” and everyone is responsible—to the terrorist mindset, at least—for  the actions of a few. The relationship between actions and consequences becomes distorted: we’re all victims and—on the flipside—we’re all victimizers.

This, it would seem, is what guarantees that terrorism will not be defeated with additional violence; as with the Hydra, the mythical water monster (one of Neptune’s worst “baddies” and a frequently-used symbol of “feminine rage”), cutting off one “tentacle” of terrorism merely results in two more springing forth. Suicide bombers know full well the power of victimization and so-called “martyrdom” (also ruled by Neptune).

At the square and opposition…
Let’s briefly consider some examples and then give more careful consideration to yesterday’s Black Friday tragedy.

The first terrorist attack on the ill-fated World Trade Center towers happened on February 26, 1993, just days after the new Uranus-Neptune cycle began at 19°+Capricorn, with Saturn semi-sextile Neptune and square Pluto. In Capricorn, Uranus and Neptune are infused with Saturn’s predilection for structure, only Uranus likes to blow up structures, and Neptune facilitates with the requisite deceit and subterfuge. Saturn square Pluto marked this as a major transformative moment, ushering society into the apocalyptic feeling end of the 20th century.

On September 11, 2001, the chart for the first World Trade Center attack features Saturn in Gemini trine the Uranus-Neptune midpoint in Aquarius and opposed to Pluto in Sagittarius. This attack completed what the 1993 attack sought to do and the depth of depravity represented by the attack on innocent lives was countered by incredible heroism (both covered by this tense Saturn-Pluto moment). This opposition also set the stage for the coming years of warfare in the Middle East and everything this has meant for American society. Interestingly, Mars in Capricorn conjoined the South Node that day (fitting for such collective violence) and beyond that formed only minor aspects—most notably a septile with Uranus. This fits if we consider the U.S. financial system (Capricorn) was the symbolic target for the attack’s violence and chaos.

In both the above instances, Saturn appears to relay and implement the less grounded energies of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, directing their manifestation in the days’ events.
This remains true with the Paris attack chart (below).

Saturn in Sagittarius squares Neptune in Pisces (5th-8th house) and sextiles the North Node (Virgo) Mars-Venus (Libra) conjunction, reflecting the psychological dynamics and deception underlying the terrorist enterprise, and the extent to which it depends upon the agents’ (suicide bombers, shooters, etc.) outraged sense of justice (Libra). The involvement of the Node suggests the terrorists seized a fated moment in time—and as Theodore White points out, the migration of the Node (retrograde) into Virgo supports belligerent actions on the part of people who consider themselves “victims” (Virgo-Pisces axis).

Jupiter in Virgo opposes Chiron in Pisces. Military and police forces tend to build-up when Jupiter falls in Virgo; terrorist attacks, of course, only promote greater build up, as security concerns escalate. Of Jupiter opposite Chiron, Martin Lass writes: “The initial reaction to this aspect is to assert that there is something ‘wrong’ with the world that has dealt us our Wounds. We feel things should have been different and could be different now, if only…”. Those who lost loved ones in Paris will certainly relate to this, but we will probably miss the greater point of this aspect if we ignore that those driven to terrorism are probably feeling the same—wounded and alienated from a world that doesn’t make sense to them. With nothing to lose, they become horrifically powerful agents of change.

Uranus in Aries squares Pluto in Capricorn; Uranus inconjuncts Jupiter and trines the Moon in Sagittarius. We’ve lived with the pressures of a cardinal Uranus-Pluto square for more than five years now, so the aspect has become an annoying cosmic background “hum” of sorts—until the social and personal planets call down the energies of that cardinal duo and deploy them in targeted directions. Here, Uranus super-charges Jupiter’s militant leanings in Virgo and suggests that technology was instrumental in the coordination of the attack. In so doing, Uranus inflicts great shock and trauma on the people (represented by the Moon). The collectivization of this trauma—expressed in the global outcry of support and messages such as “Nous sommes Paris!” also speaks to Uranus.  

Jupiter squares the Moon and trines Pluto. These aspects amplify the trauma experienced by the people of Paris and probably also reflect the mass audience type venues that were attacked, between the Paris soccer stadium (first attack) and the Bataclan concert hall. They also reflect the mass casualties inflicted and the grave importance of the event for French society going forward. We know in the U.S. how the 9/11 attacks impacted our public consciousness and policies—up to and including assaults on our traditional constitutional rights.

The "usual suspects" 
Even before the Paris attacks, Saturn and Neptune were the “usual suspects” in a steady stream of fearsome effects around the world: between wars, drought, epidemics, oppression, terrorist attacks, poverty and global warming, a lot of people on this planet are suffering their own personal apocalypses right now, and one way or another, we’re in this collective vision together. What needs to change—if we are going to live out the higher, rather than the lower possibilities of this cycle—is the vision itself.  Not surprisingly—visions (Neptune) become reality (Saturn)!

Approaching the cycle actively, rather than passively, would help. The antidote to panic and fear is critical analysis (Saturn)—a little Saturn applied to media illusions and misinformation can bust Neptune’s Orwellian bubble. It is also possible to use Neptune’s intuitive powers to discern, rather than confuse the truth. In fact, Neptune’s higher manifestations can be glorious, but we need to actively employ Saturn to make them happen: Compassion (active caring requires effort); Healing (a discipline must be learned and applied); Wisdom (personal ego must be set aside to view situations from a collective or spiritual focus) and Vision (active imagining of an ideal, so that it can manifest) are all the better fruits of this cycle. 

Nous sommes Paris!

© Raye Robertson 2015. All rights reserved. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

On order v. disorder and rivers of humanity: a Uranus-Pluto, Saturn-Neptune saga

Those of us watching both the news and the cosmos these past few years knew the cardinal Uranus-Pluto square was going to be a rough ride, but then Neptune quietly moved into its home sign of Pisces in 2011-12 and the upheavals triggered by that square escalated unimaginably, unleashing, among other things, the deadliest form of ideological extremism we’ve seen since World War II. As we hear almost daily in the news, this development has also unleashed rivers of humanity, seeking refuge—a trend that will likely reach a crescendo during Saturn’s square to Neptune from expansive Sagittarius, the sign of hopeful travelers and religious pilgrims.

A recent BBC News report on the so-called European migrant crisis estimates that in excess of 500,000 people have arrived on the shores of southern Europe during 2015, seeking asylum from desperate conditions in war-torn and chaotic and/or failed nations. Updated projections estimate that another 3 million are expected to follow suit in 2016—not coincidentally, I would argue, as Saturn and Neptune progress through the exact hits of their square and finally separate late that year. See the first exact hit of this square in the chart below:

Neptune t-squares Saturn-Mercury (conjunct) opposite the Moon (Sag-Gemini). The erosion of borders and the “flooding” that results—both literal and figurative—is Neptune’s modus operandi, so Neptune’s position in the 3rd house of transportation as the square begins makes perfect sense in the ongoing current migration crisis. The fatal undermining of people’s local livelihoods, villages, cities and social infrastructures is also covered by 3rd house Neptune.

The Saturn-Mercury (12th house) opposition to the Moon reflects the pressure for people/workers (Moon in 6th ) to flee oppressive, marginalizing situations where they have no voice (Saturn-Mercury 12th house). With Sagittarius we can also see the hope that keeps people moving, despite the obstacles.

1st house Pluto t-squares 4th house Uranus opposite 10th house Mars-Venus midpoint in Libra, perpetuating the aggressive economic and resource-driven power dynamics underlying the migrants’ desperation. Perhaps from Libra, Venus will promote more peaceful, negotiated resolutions to the crisis—especially among the nations of the European Union. As the Uranus-Pluto square separates in late 2017, the violence and social upheaval will hopefully ease.

Doing what the birds, whales and butterflies do... 
Humans migrate for the very same reasons birds, whales and butterflies do--survival. As economist Thomas Friedman puts it, “Some very big tectonic plates are moving, and people feel it under their feet. The world is being re-divided into regions of ‘order’ and ‘disorder,’ and for the first time in a long time, we don’t have an answer for all the people flocking to get out of the world of disorder and into the world of order.” This generalized desperation—and the massive, collective scale of the migrations—points to Neptune/Pluto collusion, redefining geopolitical realities on that broadest possible scale.

What does it mean, though, to redefine geopolitical realities? I was reminded of this question today, listening to an NPR discussion between Tom Ashcroft and journalist Attosa Araxia Abrahamian that explored her startling new study entitled Cosmopolites: the Coming of the Global Citizen. The discussion focused largely on how citizenship in a growing number of nations has become a commodity that is no longer attached to nationality or identity; in fact, among the wealthy, building a “portfolio” of passports (the most coveted perk of citizenship, apparently) is routine, and as with all things commercial, the wealthy take priority.

Abrahamian also pointed out how nearly a million children are born every year into nations that refuse to recognize them as citizens, either for religious, ethnic or gender-biased reasons. This renders these people virtually “stateless,” with no access to government health programs, education, and so on. Not surprisingly, many of these stateless people are among the flood of refugees.

Wealthy people moving their money abroad to avoid taxation is nothing new, but Saturn (ever the bureaucrat) squaring Neptune in these mutable, border-challenging signs seems bent on a whole new level of mobility and governmental treatment. According to the NPR discussion, many individuals who seek out multiple citizenships consider life without citizenship-determined borders to be the “new freedom”—the most liberating way to go. 

Neptune, strong in its home sign of Pisces, would totally agree, but Saturn in Sagittarius would be less comfortable with this idea. Saturn (not particularly potent in Sag) promotes responsibility, structure and regulations, but Sagittarius would prefer freedom with fewer strings attached. Ruled by Jupiter, Sagittarius is not the strongest administrative sign, but Saturn in this sign could be enticed to ease up on regulations for the sake of profit, which seems to be happening in many cash-strapped countries, willing to sell their citizenships.

The question is, how will this quest for profit and “freedom” ultimately affect the integrity of nation states and all that they represent for the masses of people on this planet? Are such states likely to become a thing of the past (for all practical purposes, anyway) as the priorities of the wealthy and the globalized economy take precedence? Alternatively, will the challenges of combating climate change and its consequences force national governments to cede control to a central, world-wide governing body? In Pisces, Neptune promotes the most borderless, collective vision of humanity and its needs and priorities; in Sagittarius, Saturn challenges this borderless view with a drive to impose order of some kind—preferably religion- or ideology-driven order. We can certainly see the poles of our current U.S. political discourse laid out here.

Migrations in history…
Returning to Neptune in Pisces and its role in the migration issue, we can see that today’s world is the product of numerous massive migrations over time, and the passages have never been easy. One significant period in history that echoes today’s astrological situation is 1845-1852 in Ireland, where more than 1 million people died from the tragic Potato Famine, and a million more fled the country, many to the United States, where they weren’t always welcome or treated kindly. Though we can’t pinpoint an exact inception date for the famine, the chart below shows the planetary picture leading into it in 1845. To appreciate the parallels between that period and today’s migration crisis, we have to consider the transits that unfolded during that 1845-1852 period.

During the Potato Famine, the Saturn-Neptune cycle was also quite active: Neptune crossed from late Aquarius into its home sign of Pisces in 4/1847, where it would be accompanied by Saturn for approximately 3 years (the new cycle between them began in 4/1846 at 27°+ Aquarius). Uranus and Pluto were about to close out their 1710 cycle (which had begun at 29°+Leo) and to begin their new cycle at 29°+Aries in June 1850, marking the end of a roughly 150-year period during which, according to Prof. Patrick Manning’s Migrations in World History (2nd ed., 2013), massive migrations were purposely set in motion around the globe for the sake of industry and empire-building. As Manning puts it, “The changing world economy of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries brought an expansion in migration for economic purposes: first the forced migration of slaves, then the migration of agricultural and industrial workers with varying degrees of free will.” The Irish were among those with little "free will" at the time.

Perhaps reflecting the earthy nature of famine crises and economy-building, Saturn, Uranus and Pluto would converge within a 4 degree orb from 0°+ to 4°+Taurus in 8/1851. Pluto had entered Taurus just three months prior. 

The parallels with today’s desperate migration situation not only include Neptune’s presence in Pisces, but the involvement of a key moment in both the Saturn-Neptune and the Uranus-Pluto cycles, and a convergence of social/outer planets in earth signs (Jupiter in Virgo, Pluto in Capricorn, with Saturn entering Capricorn in 2017 and moving towards a new earth cycle with Pluto beginning in 2020). Without doubt, the world economy is again shifting beneath our feet, in tandem with the displaced populations.

The current Saturn-Neptune square also speaks to the overwhelmingly insecure conditions faced by the migrants. Unfortunately, fear and xenophobia often reign during stressful Saturn-Neptune and Uranus-Pluto transits —for instance, Saturn and Neptune were in and out of conjunction during the Potato Famine (above) and, when Hitler took over the German government with his hateful agenda in March, 1933, they were inconjunct (Aquarius-Virgo). An even more disturbing parallel, Uranus and Pluto were also square in Aries-Cancer at that time.

Neptune—for better or worse—has no patience with walls and borders, literal or figurative, and Saturn tests the quality of our characters. Along these lines, we witnessed the dark side of this duo in Pisces and Sagittarius in our local news this week: it featured a story about a fast-food worker luring (Sag can be very enticing) an elderly homeless man to the restaurant’s take-out window with a sandwich, only to throw water (Pisces) in the man’s face when he reached out to take the food. Thankfully, the video a callous bystander posted (while laughing at the situation) went viral (also Pisces) and the worker was fired.  

Bottom line, we can hope that the Saturn-Neptune square will inspire better in humanity: building reasonable, structured compassion into public policies, perhaps?  Whether or not compassion is a quality that can be taught (Saturn in Sag might try) is a story for another day.

Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and former university English instructor. A graduate of the Faculty of Astrological Studies (U.K.), Raye focuses on mundane, collective-oriented astrology, with a particular interest in current affairs, culture and media, the astrology of generations, and public concerns such as education and health. Several of her articles on these topics have been featured in The Mountain Astrologer and other publications over the years. Raye can be contacted by comment here, or at:

© Raye Robertson 2015. All rights reserved. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

More Astrology for Film Buffs: Saturn and Neptune in the Director’s Chair

As Astro-Director of the film making process, Saturn corrals the energies of the entire collaborative universe of Film and shapes them into a coherent form that serves the artistic, technical, storytelling and business needs of the medium.

Saturn rules the structural issues in film making, but we shouldn’t overlook the importance of Neptune in this art form. Saturn and Neptune don’t really like each other, but they need to hold their proverbial noses and agree to collaborate before creative work such as films can take shape.

For instance, film making styles often vary around the issue of structure, with a continuum of styles that range from tight, Saturnian order (rigid linear chronology, exacting use of the Classical Paradigm structure) to extreme Neptunian fluidity (playing around with temporal frameworks to create an interplay between past, present and future actions).

In the case of the Star Wars saga (now 7-episodes), creator George Lucas rolled the series out over four decades by using very creative temporal engineering, with sequels and prequels filling in narrative gaps and moving the epic tale along. Importantly, this Saturn-Neptune fluidity always allowed Lucas to plan for the next thing, past or future. More on Lucas and the Star Wars franchise to come in a future post (see my “prequel” post on October 29th)!

Even on the Neptunian extreme of the structure continuum, however, Saturn’s initial framework and planning are essential. The films of director Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction, Django Unchained, etc., and in January, The Hateful 8) are good examples of this: his films are notable not just for their controversy (he’s in the news again today), but their non-linear timelines. In these cases viewers use their “internal” Saturn to mentally construct the story’s beginning, middle and end, and to literally piece together what happened. This makes for a very active viewing experience.

Interestingly, Saturn and Neptune are square in Tarantino’s natal chart (no time available, so noon chart, below), which speaks to his unorthodox approach to film making, as well as his fluid temporal “engineering” abilities. Tarantino’s Uranus-Pluto conjunction in Virgo—with Uranus opposite and in mutual reception with Venus in Aquarius—speaks to both his technical virtuosity and his highly-charged, controversial film themes.

With transiting Saturn and Neptune within orb of their Sagittarius-Pisces square at this time, and the Uranus-Pluto cycle Tarantino was born into still in its square, Aries-Capricorn phase, the recent controversy over his “anti-cop” comments in the media are not surpising. A long list of boycott pledges has amassed for his new film, The Hateful 8, two months before its January 8th release. The noon chart for this release reveals a lot, including the volatile reception the film is likely to receive (see below):

The media website has posted the following plot summary for Tarantino's film: “In post-Civil War Wyoming, bounty hunters try to find shelter during a blizzard but get involved in a plot of betrayal and deception. Will they survive?” The release chart (above) certainly speaks to this theme:

The Sun conjoins Pluto, which perfectly suits the survival and betrayal theme; Saturn square Neptune (Sag-Pisces) injects fateful obstacles, deception and most likely, madness. Even without seeing the film, we can imagine how the whole premise of bounty hunting—literally stalking and destroying other human beings for the sake of money—leads to madness and betrayal.

Uranus and Pluto remain in their volatile Aries-Capricorn square phase here, and with Uranus’s “sidekick” Mercury in Aquarius square Mars in Scorpio, we can expect over-the-top violence, blood and gore, not to mention the “shock” factor we’ve come to expect in Tarantino films. Venus-conjunct-Saturn trines Uranus in Sagittarius, suggesting at least a few steamy, sexually-charged scenes, perhaps laced with socially-conscious elements.

Such elements appear woven into the fabric of this narrative: Saturn disposes Capricorn Sun-Pluto and Moon (assuming the film is first seen after noon, EST) and Aquarius Mercury (disposed by Aries Uranus), so we can expect messages about authority, raw power-over vs. power-for and—depending upon how the bounty hunting premise unfolds—excesses in military justice (Jupiter in Virgo trines Sun-Pluto and disposes Venus-Saturn in Sag). With all the harsh, hard-nosed energy in this chart, we can expect this film to continue being controversial (and probably thought-provoking) long after its release.

© Raye Robertson 2015. All rights reserved.