An Astrological Look at 9/11

Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 1.24.12 PM

NYC at 8:46 AM, 9/11/2001 (When the First Plane Hit the Towers)

Just like every person has his or her own birth chart, each event also has its own chart. The 9/11 chart paints a very specific portrait of what happened that morning.

Ketu and Mars are within a single degree of each other in Sagittarius, located in the 4th house, which is the portion of the zodiac that represents one’s innermost feelings and sense of home or belonging.

Every planet has the potential for a positive, life-affirming representation or a challenging, dark representation, and Mars directly connects to action, whether in the form of an athlete winning a gold medal, somebody committing a murder, or just a working man finding the energy to get through the day. Notably, Mars also represents soldiers, who at their best exemplify bravery and heroism, yet at their worst may follow destructive orders without questioning them.

Ketu, which is depicted without a head in Vedic mythology, represents the part of us that is pre-critical thought. That’s a beautiful thing when it relates to meditative states and the sort of spiritual understanding that goes beyond words, but not so great when it relates to primitive feelings and habits that remain unexamined. Ketu also specifically represents traditional cultures.

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Observations, Political Astrology

Trump Update: Moon to Mars

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.42.14 PM

In my original analysis of Trump, written about six weeks ago, I profiled him in a general sense and looked at his campaign somewhat briefly from an astrological perspective. Since Trump is still going strong as a candidate and the transits of Jupiter and Rahu, along with a shift in antardasha (sub-period) for Trump will affect his fortunes in the coming months, it seemed like time to write an update that’s more specifically focused on his Presidential run.

Trump officially shifts from Rahu mahadasha (major period)/Moon antardasha to Rahu mahadasha/Mars antardasha on October 28. However, the effects of dashas become noticeable for a while leading up to their “official” change-over date, so Trump’s Mars has likely already begun the process of “taking over” from his Moon. While Trump’s 10th-house Rahu has been his mahadasha planet for almost two decades now, coinciding with his period of greatest fame but also exacerbating egotism and obsessive desires, his recent Moon antardasha, which began in April, hasn’t been very helpful for him. In other words, Trump’s success the past few months has actually been in spite of some astrological difficulties that are beginning to fade away as time passes.

While Trump’s Rahu, located in the 10th House of status and career, is in close conjunction with the Sun, which represents authority and power, his Moon is debilitated and located in the challenging fourth pada of Jyestha nakshatra. Of course, nothing – in life or astrology – is ever that simple, and Trump’s Moon does benefit from a strong dispositor (i.e. it’s in a sign ruled by Mars, which is a good planet for Trump) and an opposition aspect to his powerful Rahu-Sun conjunction. Still, Trump’s Moon is one of his chart’s more difficult features.

However, Trump’s Mars is much more comfortable, so to speak, as it’s located in Magha nakshatra, which is symbolized by a throne. Located within three degrees of Trump’s Leo Ascendant, his Mars is prominently placed and connected, along with his Ascendant, to the nakshatra most symbolic of royalty and the ruling class. Not only that, but Magha specifically relates to the act of initially taking the throne and beginning one’s rule.

While many people have planets in Magha and, of course, don’t become kings (or Presidents), the symbolism often relates to some sort of increase in status and/or authority. When I first explored Trump’s Presidential chances, I felt he had a real shot as long as he could remain a relevant candidate until promising astrological factors such as the antardasha of his Mars in Magha and transits of Jupiter and Rahu over his 1st House kicked in. (Jupiter’s there now and Rahu’s a few months away.)

At this point, I think we’re almost through the most obvious “danger zone” period for Trump’s campaign and it looks like he’ll be in the running long enough to benefit from a promising astrological stretch leading up to and through the election.

Screen Shot 2015-09-04 at 6.01.06 PM

Trump Enters Rahu-Mars in October and Jupiter-Jupiter Election Month

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Celebrity Horoscopes, Observations, Political Astrology

A Quick Guide to the 12 Houses

I’ve been thinking about writing a series of posts exploring each of astrology’s 12 houses, one by one, using specific examples and going into some depth. With that in mind, it seemed reasonable to write a quick guide to what each house represents first. I’ve already written a similar article about what each planet represents (The Planets As People), so the idea is for the two articles to work together as a (very) basic reference.

For example, Taylor Swift has Venus in her 1st house. She appears and seems to the world (1st) as artistic, aesthetically pleasant and connected to romance (Venus). Jiddu Krishnamurti has Moon in his 12th house. He lost (12th) his mother (Moon) at a young age and his state of mind (Moon) was focused on enlightenment i.e. loss of self  (12th) which he spent much of his life discussing in foreign lands (12th).

You get the idea. Saying the above method lacks nuance is putting it mildly 🙂 … so don’t go crazy with this, but hopefully it has some usefulness. I should note that I’m only including basic meanings here, so I’m not delving into concepts such as bhavat bhavam, for example, which is a valuable, but more complex method of finding further indications for each house.

1st House = You, as you appear and seem to the world.

2nd House = Your fixed assets, accumulated over time, including money, values/taste, family and close friends.

3rd House = Your peers and younger siblings, competition, talents, ambitions and achievements. Also short-distance journeys and publishing or production of the arts.

*Some astrologers feel the 2nd house involves writing and communication, while the 3rd only involves publishing. Other astrologers feel the 3rd involves writing and communication, as well as publishing.

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Basics

Charles Manson Horoscope Analysis

Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 9.20.53 PM

Until now, my horoscope analyses have focused on celebrities who interest me in an artistic or cultural sense.  Sure, they’re no strangers to controversy, but Donald Trump is a current news phenomenon, Woody Allen is one of my favorite filmmakers and he’s had a colorful life, to say the least; Taylor Swift is the world’s biggest pop star and a talented, interesting person; Ben Affleck is an accomplished actor, director and screenwriter who has been in the news recently. Those were “fun” profiles for me.

The subject of this profile, Charles Manson, is much darker and I was on the fence for a while about whether to publish it. My concern with profiling dictators, serial killers or other reviled figures is that it’s human nature for people to keep an eye out for astrological features they or those close to them share with the chart being discussed. It’s important to remember there are gentle, peaceful people who have conjunctions in common with Manson, idiots who share aspects with Einstein and introverts with placements similar to Trump. We study the specifics in charts so that we can better understand the puzzle of an entire human existence, but each chart is a single entity made up of innumerable factors combining in a unique manner. To understand the human body, doctors learn about all of its parts… but you only have a human being when those parts work together as a whole.

So, this profile is different from my past ones. It’s about a crazed cult leader and mass murderer who experienced bizarre delusions… someone who, at first glance, would seem far too unhinged, dangerous and disheveled to attract any sort of following or support. Yet, Charles Manson not only befriended Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys and other music industry figures, but also had an odd, almost hypnotic appeal to some disaffected young people, especially young women.

Venus, the planet of love, the arts and aesthetics, is in Manson’s 7th house of partnerships and relationships, in its own sign of Libra, contributing to his unlikely charisma. However, Manson’s Venus is deeply combust, as the Sun is barely a degree removed from it. I discussed the controversy and uncertainty surrounding combustion in my previous post, but in this instance, it certainly seems to fit, contributing to a significantly darker and more confused representation of Venusian qualities than usual.

Manson’s 7th house is actually quite crowded, with a four-planet stellium, including the aforementioned combust Venus, the Sun, which represents authority, power and dominance; Jupiter, which symbolizes his role as (false) guru; and Mercury, relating to communication and “getting the message out” about the cult’s deranged, homicidal vision. Mercury also has an important opposition aspect to Uranus, suggesting the strange and chaotic nature of Manson’s communication.

With a 7th house this impactful, it’s no surprise that its owner focused very seriously, in his own warped manner, on cultivating partnerships and relationships… in fact, this occurred to such an extent that, to this day, those who followed Manson while committing atrocities are generally referred to as “the Manson family.”

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Celebrity Horoscopes, Observations

A Close Look At Combustion

Combustion, which refers to a phenomenon that occurs when planets are considered too close to the Sun, is a topic that seems to be interpreted differently by many astrologers I’ve learned from and respect. Some say they’ve either never found it to be the case in their practical experience or, at least, that it’s not the case with Mercury (the most common planet to be located so close to the Sun) and/or has mixed results. Some astrologers also feel the Moon cannot become combust, while others list it along with the other planets. I’ve also heard more than one astrologer suggest combustion is very real but that the required orbs are just much tighter than indicated in classical texts.

Those texts state specific orbs of combustion for different planets – (although the orbs vary a bit depending on which text is referenced) – and generally take a very negative view of combust planets. James Braha mentioned in an ACVA (American College of Vedic Astrology) lecture that he feels combust planets have a multi-layered effect that both brightens and agitates, giving the example of models with a combust Venus, who, despite their beauty, often have difficult love lives. The late Narendra Desai mentioned in another ACVA lecture that he felt Mercury, being so used to closeness with the Sun, doesn’t actually become combust. Chakrapani Ullal’s ACVA lecture on the topic is informative but also interestingly ambivalent; he suggests his own observations regarding combustion have been mixed.

It’s been my own observation that an unusual percentage of highly intelligent people have a very combust Mercury… and also that an unusual percentage of these people are anxious and neurotic. Possible anxiety and neurosis aside, it would be difficult for anybody to convince me that a combust Mercury makes one more likely to be intellectually slow or have trouble communicating, which I’ve heard from other astrologers whom I respect (but disagree with on this account). Even in regard to anxiety and neurosis, correlation doesn’t necessarily mean much; highly intelligent people may just be more likely to be anxious or neurotic. Similarly, without considering astrological factors, there’s plenty about modeling that seems as if it could make one’s love life more difficult. The number of variables involved in life is enough to make pinning down the facts about certain topics problematic at times… and that applies to most fields, not just astrology.

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Basics

Evaluating Transits: Ascendant or Moon?

Jupiter recently transited into Leo, using Vedic Astrology’s sidereal zodiac. Since Jupiter is the greatest natural benefic and only changes signs about once a year, many people are discussing the transit and what it means for each sign. However, some astrologers discuss transits based on the Ascendant, while others focus on the Moon sign.

Here’s a quick guide to the difference:

The Ascendant represents what’s actually happening. So looking at houses/signs from the Ascendant is probably the most fundamental way to judge a transit, and certainly the most accurate predictive method.

The Moon represents how we feel about what happens. So looking at house/signs from the Moon is important in its own way and shouldn’t be ignored. For example, if you get into a romantic relationship, what really matters is how you feel about it, not that it occurred. It’s not like you’re going to date an asshole, have your self-esteem plummet, become a nervous wreck and then look back on the time fondly, thinking, “Well, who cares how I felt – the important thing is I was in a relationship!”

Other situations are more matter-of-fact, such as predictions about finances or what a transit may be like for your children, if you have any. The simple reason for this is that people are usually happy to make more money or see their children thrive, but dislike losing money or seeing their children suffer.

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Basics

Jupiter & Donald Trump’s Future

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.42.14 PM

Donald Trump is out to an early lead in polling for the Republican Presidential nomination, and just about everywhere one turns people from either major party (or neither major party, for that matter) seem worked up about it and insistent he’s a joke candidate with no real chance; yet, he’s not just ahead, but way ahead of any other Republican candidate, as of the timing of this article. To be fair, Trump’s disapproval ratings are far higher than the other candidates, too. He’s a big personality who often evokes “love him or hate him” reactions, but he’s already affected the race and proven to be more than a sideshow.

What makes Trump’s Presidential aspirations interesting from an astrological perspective is that a study of his chart strongly suggests the best is yet to come for him and – wait for it – that period of his life is scheduled to begin in November, 2016. That’s election month. Of course, that doesn’t mean he’ll win – for one thing, he has to remain a viable candidate for more than a year just to have a shot – but it’s certainly an interesting coincidence.

Trump’s strongest planet is a near-stationary Jupiter, which was moving at less than 1% relative speed at his time of birth. (Near-stationary planets in one’s natal chart are often extremely important and powerful.) His Mercury in its own sign of Gemini, located in the 11th house of fulfillment of desires, social circle and networking, has surely played a major role in his success, as well.

However, Trump’s overall life-path may be most defined by his 4th house-10th house axis, which includes both luminaries (i.e. the Moon and the Sun, which is also his Ascendant lord) in a tight opposition orb to each other and in close conjunction with Ketu and Rahu, respectively. This indicates Trump’s career in real estate, as the 4th house represents the home environment (including homes, in general, not just one’s own living space) and the 10th house represents career and status. However, Trump’s near-stationary Jupiter suggests that he was destined to be “larger than life” in some way or another, even if his other planets were in different locations. The role of his 4th house-10th house axis wasn’t to ensure his success (which his Jupiter and Mercury had already heavily weighted the deck in favor of), but instead to point to the area where he would apply most of his energy and resources.

And in November, 2016, Trump’s Jupiter mahadasha (major period) begins. Jupiter is likely Trump’s most important planet, but he hasn’t even experienced its mahadasha yet. This mahadasha should be highly positive and benefit him in a number of ways, no matter what happens in his current campaign; however, he’ll have to remain a relevant Presidential candidate long enough for Jupiter’s energy to kick in or the timing will be too late to help his chances in the 2016 election. In the meantime, upcoming transits of a number of important planets and a change in antardasha (minor period) from Moon to Mars all seem lined up to benefit Trump in the near future.

Yet, Trump may still encounter obstacles relating to much of the populace, as a substantial part of his personality seems driven by a need for expansion and power. While Trump’s Jupiterian strengths have led to positive relationships with his grown children, given him an instinctive sense of generosity at times, and helped him to employ thousands of people, some of the less desirable manifestations of that Jupiterian energy, as channeled through his current Rahu mahadasha – such as potentially harmful expansion, over-the-top self-promotion and a bombastic attitude – have also played a role in defining his identity to the American public.

However, he’s just finishing up his Rahu mahadasha, which began all the way back in 1998… and that’s the sort of thing Rahu can do to people, especially if they’re prone to such tendencies before entering its mahadasha. Rahu, the north node of the moon, focuses on more, more, more; it represents insatiable desires and, in Hindu mythology, is depicted as a head without a body. Picture that image for a moment – it’s always hungry, not equipped to digest experiences or process them, only to continue craving them. As that sort of craving is quite a motivator, (albeit an inherently unsatisfying one), Rahu plays a substantial role in the lives of many people who are famous and/or achieve worldly success. Rahu’s also hell on impulse-control, which fits with Trump’s tendency to speak first and think later. And if he seems obsessed with status and career, well, he has Rahu in his 10th house, which represents those very things.

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Celebrity Horoscopes, Political Astrology

Ben Affleck & Rahu’s Rollercoaster

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 10.38.09 AM

At first glance, Ben Affleck’s chart looks like a dream come true. Venus is right on the ascendant in the intelligent, creative sign of Gemini, opposite Jupiter in its own sign of Sagittarius and trining a 5th-house Moon in Venus’s own sign of Libra (in the nakshatra of Svati, which is often associated with the wealthy and socially adept). Mars is located in his 3rd house, which has a strong connection to the arts, and is in the sign of its great friend, Leo (which, once again, represents the arts). In other words, it’s a fitting chart for a multimillionaire movie star who is also sharp enough to become an elite screenwriter and film director.

Most movie fans are familiar with “Good Will Hunting,” which Affleck and Matt Damon famously wrote together and starred in, jumpstarting their careers. However, in my view, Affleck’s career artistic peak and one of the best movies of the new millennium is “Gone Baby Gone,” which was co-written (adapted from a novel by Dennis Lehane) and directed by Affleck. I can’t remember a movie in the past few years that likely resulted in more couples arguing as they left the theater… and that’s a compliment, if it wasn’t clear 🙂

Then there’s Affleck’s substantial humanitarian efforts, which he’s kept rather low-key compared to the amount of effort and attention he gives them. Considering the lifestyles of some movie stars, it’s a bit ironic that a clearly talented artist who invests much of his time on charity work to help the Democratic Republic of the Congo, (which constitutes way more personal attention than writing some checks or showing up at a few banquets), seems to trigger intuitive suspicion and negativity among much of the general public. Affleck clearly understands how he’s often seen and even incorporated this view of himself into his art when he starred as a philandering husband framed for murder in the recent blockbuster “Gone Girl.”

He’s also had one of the most unlikely career trajectories in film history. He was celebrated as a screenwriter in his 20s, unfairly mocked as a tabloid headline for years, reemerged as one of the world’s top directors (and, suddenly, a respected actor), won an Oscar and now his pending divorce is all over the news, with most accounts essentially blaming him for drinking and gambling away his marriage. Of course, who knows if that’s true? However, the point is that it’s on every supermarket shelf, and while it’s likely especially personally painful for Affleck, it’s really just a dip on the Rahu-driven rollercoaster he’s been riding for a long time.

Rahu is the north node of the Moon and considered especially troublesome in Vedic Astrology. It represents our insatiable desires – the areas of life we are relentlessly compelled to experience but must eventually realize are maya (illusion) to continue on our spiritual path. Rahu is specifically responsible for all forms of mass hysteria, which include both fame and public derision. So far, I’ve done celebrity profiles on Woody Allen, Taylor Swift and Affleck and I’ve ended up writing about Rahu extensively in each one. None of these people were originally chosen to profile with the idea of focusing on Rahu, but it turned out to play a huge role in all of their lives.

Affleck’s Moon nakshatra of Svati and his Ascendant and Venus nakshatra of Ardra are all ruled by Rahu, so it’s bound to be a substantial influence throughout his entire life. As it’s placed in his 8th house, it represents sudden ups and downs, secrets and the esoteric or occult. Since the Moon nakshatra determines which mahadasha (major period) one experiences first in life, Affleck grew up during a Rahu mahadasha; then he initially became famous during the mahadasha of his strong 7th-house Jupiter in Sagittarius and antardasha (sub-period) of Rahu. In this instance, Jupiter, which is generally considered the planet best able to work with Rahu’s energy, was able to channel the more positive elements of Rahu into a sudden rise.

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Celebrity Horoscopes

Getting to Know Pluto

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Generated by IJG JPEG Library

Pluto’s in the news these days, as recent NASA photos provide us with the clearest images of the planet (or whatever you want to call it) in our history.

This is especially intriguing to me since Pluto plays a prominent role in my own natal chart, yet I must admit that I know relatively little about it compared to most of the other planets, which are closer to Earth and more commonly referenced in astrology.

On January 24, 1980 at 8:09 AM Pacific Time, Pluto was exactly stationary. My birth certificate reads: January 24, 1980 at 8:27 AM Pacific Time. Retrograde Pluto’s relative speed at the time of my birth was 0.15% (i.e. 15% of 1%).

Stationary or near-stationary planets are often tremendously important and tend to point to the area of one’s life direction and/or greatest potential. For example, Donald Trump has an almost exactly stationary Jupiter (with a relative speed of 0.52% i.e. 52% of 1%) placed in his 2nd house, which represents finances. The late musician Amy Winehouse’s chart features a near-stationary retrograde Venus (moving at a relative speed of 3.32%), which certainly hints at both her immense artistic talent and inability to act with moderation regarding the Venusian elements of life.

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Observations

Is It Your Karma to Change Your Karma?

Karma probably confuses people from Western and Judeo-Christian cultures more than any other Eastern spiritual or philosophical concept. Most just seem to dismiss it as the simplistic idea of “what comes around goes around.” I remember a friend – a loyal, well-intentioned guy who could, nonetheless, get quite worked up when he felt somebody had taken advantage of him or personally wronged him – exclaiming about the downfall of a man he felt had cheated him in some way, “That’s karma! Karma will always get you!”

I almost brought up holocaust victims or school shootings, but decided I could get across the same general point without creating such an awkward mood. Making it into a bit of a joke, I asked, “What happened? Was this guy mean to you, so he got eaten by a tiger?” My friend knew I was teasing him – and probably also knew I was trying to get him to think more deeply about what he’d said. His reply was something along the lines of, “Come on… of course he didn’t get eaten by a tiger, but he screwed me over, and now it’s his turn. What do you think karma is?”

The problem with many people’s conception of karma is that “bad things” happening to “good people” seems unfair to them (and “fairness” is a modern cultural ideal), so some just dismiss the idea of karma completely because they see “unfairness” happen too often throughout the world; others, perhaps even more misguided, figure there must be reasons that fit their limited frame of reference. (e.g. “That baby must have really been an asshole in a past life to end up with spina bifida!”) The concept of some sort of inevitable “punitive” karma destined to smite evildoers is also used as a comforting mechanism by many who feel bitter and/or vengeful.

However, what we think of as “good” and “bad” is actually quite subjective. Most people have no problem eating animals kept in horrible conditions and slaughtered for (unhealthy, unnecessary, environmentally problematic) food or with buying products made by child slave laborers. If you want full disclosure, I’m quite careful not to do the former and pay very little attention to the latter. Maybe a tiger will only eat half of me?

A hundred years ago, a doctor willingly performing an abortion would be seen as an evil act by most people, but now the majority of developed nations feel abortion should be a woman’s personal choice. Blasphemy is considered a serious crime by most Muslims, yet perceived as an indispensable element of free speech by most Westerners. Social programs Americans and Europeans currently take for granted, such as emergency medical care and public schools, used to sincerely worry well-meaning traditional capitalists.

Still, you may ask, what about more “basic” morals, such as not killing, stealing or committing adultery? Well, what about other old standbys involving specific rules for how to sell one’s daughter into slavery or the correct way to torture witches to death? Stuff changes. And we have far more trouble predicting what will change, why and when than most people like to admit.

In other words, the world is in flux. Constantly. And that’s okay.

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Observations