Saturday, December 18, 2010

A new blog project: The Neptune Cycle and Petroleum

First, a quick update on the winter solstice gruit- good carbonation, clean drinkability, but the wintergreen gave a flavor reminiscent of root beer or Robitussin. Juniper Berries next time I'm thinking- but still, a successful completion start-to-finish.

So, as we continue to discover more and more the affects of the Horizon oil spill on the Gulf, the topic of petroleum is of increasing interest. Not that it's been ignored over the past couple of years. The unique aspect of petroleum- as a substance, a movement, a resource- is that it has managed, over the past 150 years or so, to seamlessly work itself into the machinery of our society. The functioning of modern society as we know it is absolutely dependent on cheap, abundant oil. As we have come to depend upon oil, the range of technologies, of science and medicine, have expanded as if fueled by some magic power. The ability of modern society to move people and cargo, to grow more food, changes to our foreign policy- completely dissolved the old barriers of what humans thought possible, and the ideal of what we can expect of modern technology has blossomed into an ever-growing, ever-consuming engine of development.

These themes- magic, dissolving of boundaries, building an ideal not before thought possible that transcends our current world- are shared, in astrology, by the planet Neptune. Neptune, the god of the sea, represents the misty transcendence of physical limitation. Like ocean waves and churning currents, Neptune dissolves, mystifies, and opens up the idealistic and metaphysical senses. This paves the way to creativity, new ideas and understanding, spiritual development... as well as delusion, idealism, and the temptation of that which intoxicates further (such as alcohol and drugs). It's no coincidence that many critics of modern oil reliance use the phrase, "we're drunk on it". It is an intoxicating substance. In this series of posts, I hope to explain why in more detail. I'm also working to show the cyclical connection between oil and Neptune over the past few hundred years, and the current developments within the oil industry that reflect a new cycle of change.

Astrology helps us learn about ourselves. The outer generational planets often show us lessons on bigger scales. My belief is that the era of Petroleum is approaching a time of great change. I capitalized petroleum because it's more than just a substance- it's a phenomenon, a cultural mechanism, whose importance we may not really be able to comprehend until it's no longer available.

I know all of my posts are about the generational planets; I'm trying to work my way in. The hardest challenges in astrology for me are actually the cycles of the inner planets and their importance in individual charts. Hopefully some day soon I'll post about them too, however. 2011 should be an exciting year!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Uranus turns direct, Wikileaks explode

Over the past few days, Uranus has stationed direct. This means that it has slowed down after its lengthy stretch of going retrograde, ultimately coming to a very powerful stop before slowing speeding up again moving in a forward direction. These stations are powerful times in which the energy associated with the planet builds and intensifies, before it moves either forward or backward. Uranus is now moving forward again for the first time since this past July.

Meanwhile, on the off-chance you've missed the latest news, governments all over the world are in a bit of a tizzy over a very interesting website called Wikileaks. This website began in 2006, with a man named Julian Assange as its director. The website is sort of a service provider- it provides documents leaked by various individuals who provide these documents to the site. One of the most notable such leaks recently was that of airstrike footage in Baghdad, in which two Reuters journalists holding cameras were fired upon by U.S. helicopters (who mistook their cameras for guns). Further leaks about the Iraq War indicated that the U.S. had ignored reports of torture carried out by Iraqi authorities. Other documents have provided information about corrupt events hidden from the public in countries around the world.

Last month, Wikileaks appealed to the U.S. government for information on anyone who could be directly harmed by a new group of forthcoming documents. The government refused to discuss the matter. Several days later, on the 28th, Wikileaks released the first group of some 200,000 leaked documents consisting of diplomatic cables from officials all over the world. The relatively small portion of documents leaked so far has indicated distrust and suspicion amongst various countries, all of which are particularly stinging because they are in the original rhetoric of the diplomatic cable. The insults, jabs and reactions amongst officials from these countries are unedited and in some cases rather amusing.

The more dire implications, at least from the perspective of world governments, is that these are a threat to national security worldwide. The U.S. wants to extradite the leader of Wikileaks, Assange, for espionage. He's also wanted in Sweden for sex crime allegations. Assange is currently imprisoned in Britain.

Meanwhile, various supporters of Wikileaks (Paypal, Visa and Mastercard, etc) have discontinued services with the website at the behest of the U.S. government. This alone has ramifications for the government's concerns about these leaked cables. In response, a group of activist hackers ("hacktivists") have since attacked these former Wikileaks supporters by disruption-of-service type assaults (flooding the sites with traffic to cause them to crash).

A cyber-battle over the right to free speech? Governments and secret hacktivists battling it out on the internet in a struggle to maintain the right of citizens to know what secrets are being kept from us? A internet-based facilitation of heavily guarded information with potentially life-altering ramifications? That's right, it sounds like URANUS!

Uranus is the planet of electrically charged rebellion. Uranus rules technology, innovation, freedom, revolutions of all kinds, individuality, and challenges to the status quo. Uranus is sometimes associated with the Greek god Ouranos, other times with Prometheus. I prefer Prometheus- it's the perfect archetype for Uranus. He brings new, innovative technology with which to facilitate our freedom from ignorance and our development as a more creative, able species. As Uranus stationed, this information on Wikileaks was preparing for release. And, just as Uranus prepares to burst from the gates, the cables are released. In the days since Uranus has been direct, we've seen increased concern worldwide over the ramifications of these cables and the contents of those not yet leaked. We've also seen the group of hacktivists (under the name "Anonymous") take up the cause to rebel and retaliate against the groups that dropped Wikileaks through cyber attacks. Now, if that's not a Uranus scenario (technological rebellion for the sake of freedom of information), I don't know what is.

All systems are go, so to speak. Since the Cardinal Cross this past summer, in which all the major planets were retrograde except for Saturn and Mars, everything has stationed and gone direct except Uranus. Now that Uranus has gone direct, all of the energies associated with the Cardinal Square have gone from interiorization and reflection to expression and outward movement. Uranus is also conjunct Jupiter, expanding the influence of these Uranian energies and imbuing them with a sense of freedom, justice and knowledge. As faster-moving Jupiter chases Uranus in the zodiac, it will catch up to it on the 28th of December forming a tight conjunction, then passing by and moving onward. The application of Jupiter in the next couple weeks should further strengthen the action of these two planets- in short, things should only get more interesting.

All my details on the Wikileaks are taken from Wikipedia (the two are not associated, despite similar names). A final intriguing quote, from Wikipedia...

In December 2010, Assange's lawyer, Mark Stephens, told The Andrew Marr Show on the BBC, that WikiLeaks had information that it considers to be a "thermo-nuclear device" which it would release if the organisation needs to defend itself.[270]

What information could be forthcoming in these cables? And what information is Wikileaks considering to be its "last resort"? Personally, I'm thinking anything from wide-scale corruption, to undisclosed advanced technology, to proof of alien life- all favorites of our pal Uranus.

As Mercury goes retrograde tomorrow, remember to backup everything, check your batteries, keep an eye on your car keys, and watch your gadgets so you can keep up as this story unfolds!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Beer, Capricorn, Saturn, where's the connection?

Beer, Capricorn and Saturn are all well and good, you might say, but how are they connected?

Each sign is ruled by a particular planet (or the sun or moon), assigned in ancient times based on the seasons. While the moon (our closest planetary neighbor) rules Cancer (the summer solstice sign), Saturn (which was traditionally the coldest and farthest away) rules Capricorn (the winter solstice). The nature of the ruling planet reflects and affects the attributes of the sign. Capricorn, in this case, is often seen as being a sign of professionalism, determination, resolve, austerity, practicality and "coolness". It's a sign of no-frills, hard work accomplishment. Saturnalia, the celebration of Saturn, coincides with the Winter Solstice and the beginning of Capricorn.

In addition, astrological signs and planets have rulership over various herbs and plants. From Marcia Starck's Healing with Astrology: "Paracelsus, the father of modern medicine, said that for every star in the sky there is a flower in the meadow". That is, there's a connection between the plants here on earth and the planets and stars in the heavens. In the healing arts and herbalism, various herbs can be used in connection to how their ruling signs and planets appear in the horoscope. In the case of this month's Gruit Ale, it's not really intended for any specific healing purpose. I chose wintergreen to both reflect the energy of the season as we move into Capricorn- and because it adds a little extra flavor to the beer.

You could use the same logic to make a beer for wherever we happen to be in the zodiac- but solstices and equinoxes have long been seen as significant, powerful times of the year. People of all cultures have picked these points (or those in between, such as Beltane) as important times for any number of rituals- from dancing naked around a fire to brewing special beer. Plus, what's better on the shortest day of the year than a nice frosty brew?

Bottling the Gruit Ale

It's been two weeks since my last Gruit Ale update. The gruit got a short but reasonable 14 days to condition (beer styles that require conditioning can do so anywhere from two weeks to a year). This gave the herbs a chance to add their flavor and aroma to the beer, especially our Capricornian star- wintergreen.

I like to take a "flat" taste of all the beers I'm making before bottling- just to see how they did in secondary conditioning. Especially with a sensitive beer like this one (no protection from hops!), I felt it'd be good to know if it tasted like cough syrup or bandaids before we continued. Fortunately, it wasn't half bad- a fruity, sweet quality mixed with the oddest menthol flavor. Sounds like the wintergreen did its job!

Spilled some herbs in there. Oops... the spout should filter them though

Siphoning the beer out of the gallon jug proved difficult- I had to actually suck the siphon like a straw to get it started. This is highly UNrecommended, as even the smallest bacteria or possibly even foreign yeast strain from a different beer you might be drinking at the time can contaminate the batch. I just did what I had to at the time- the same logic of which I applied to pouring the beer from the jug into the bottling bucket once the siphon failed entirely (again, unrecommended- extra oxygen can jack up the end flavor. Oh well...)
I pared down the bottling sugar for a 5 gallon batch (3/4 cup) to a scant two tablespoons. After boiling this in some water and adding to the beer, I bottled in the sanitized bottles, including a 750ml barleywine bottle. Sadly, my bottle capper wouldn't fit onto it. So, out come some more beer bottles, and finally, the finished product:

I marked each bottle with the glyph for Capricorn, just to complete the theme. Now, in 3 weeks these should be carbonated and ready for consumption- just in time for the Winter Solstice, and the yearly ingress (movement) of the sun from Sagittarius to Capricorn.

Look at the following post for a bit about how beer, Saturn and Capricorn are related!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The generational planets- history repeats itself

By and large, one of the driving themes of Astrology is the idea that life functions in cycles, and that through these cycles we learn and grow. The planets from Saturn inwards to the Sun tend to complete their cycles within our lifetimes- giving us the opportunity to experience how they effect all the parts of our lives as they pass through our individual charts, and what happens when the cycle starts over (the planet's "return").
"Don't make me repeat myself."

In contrast, the planets beyond Saturn (Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto) move so slowly that their effects tend to be felt by generations and societies, effecting long-term and widespread trends in how people react, relate and work with one another. A couple of my earlier posts were about the astrological trends that different generations share. In this post, I have a list of events happening in the next couple months dealing with Uranus, Neptune and Pluto- and what happened last time these planets were in this position.

They say history works in cycles- so does astrology. It's always surprising what themes you can learn from the past- and right now there's a ton:

Trans-Saturnian planets were unknown to ancient people, and were only discovered within the past few centuries. The time period of their discoveries tend to correspond to the attributes ruled by each planet, as has been determined in the time since their discovery.

Uranus (Gr: Prometheus, gave fire to humanity)- Discovered Mar 13, 1781

-Mar 12, 2011 – moves into Aries

- Uranus brings shocking, sometimes uncomfortable, but necessary change in an unpredictable way

- Uranus into Aries (the beginning of the Zodiac) brings a new cycle of “change” in the world. No coincidence that Obama’s campaign slogan was “Change”

- Uranus last entered Aries in 1928- just prior to the Great Depression (change) as well as the FDR’s “New Deal”, which was at the time controversially socialistic and unique. Around the world, technological revolutions and governmental changes began to take place. Revolutions in agriculture, society, etc. were commonplace. Then we had WWII- when the revolutionary changes at breakneck pace in disparate nations finally butted heads

What if… Revolutions in green agriculture? Do-it-yourself culture takes off in new way? Revolutions in society? Worker equality?

Neptune (Gr: Poseidon, God of the Sea)- Discovered Sep. 23, 1846

- April 4, 2011 – moves into Pisces.

- Neptune dissolves the physical world wherever it touches. It represents changes in consciousness, which can include idealism, spirituality, creativity, delusion, confusion, drugs and alcohol.

- Pisces is ruled by Neptune, and is a sign typically associated with empathy and compassion as well as confusion. Neptune last entered Pisces in 1847- A year later the Communist Manifesto (compassion and idealism) was published. Impressionist painters flourished (and drank a lot of Absinthe). Opium came into use, Darwin’s theories “dissolved” the old structure of Christian theological doctrine, and Anesthetic (compassion + drugs) began to be used in hospitals.

What if… Medical Marijuana? New philosophies about people and society? New drugs or vices? New discoveries in science that question religion (… or new discoveries in religion that question science?)

Pluto (Gr: Hades, God of the Underworld)- Discovered Feb 18, 1930

- Moved into Capricorn already

- Pluto is deep, underlying power struggle and change. While Uranus changes like a bolt of lightning, and Neptune dissolves like a wave, Pluto builds like an earthquake and breaks down structure to build new ones in its place. It rules necessary change and uncomfortable healing.

- Pluto was last in Capricorn from 1762 to 1779- A time of tumultuous breaking down of power structures (British rule over the colonies) to make necessary change. Pluto in Capricorn will be a time of power struggle.

What if… Poor countries fight back against rich countries? Changes to corporate society? Great changes in culture, society… re-opening old injuries to heal correctly?

That about covers a lot of the major themes. I know "times they are a'changing" is a slight cliche these days, but it really holds true. Get ready for an eventful 2011...

Gruit Ale update

Hello everyone- time for a quick update on the Gruit Ale process. I brewed the Gruit Ale several days ago, using dark dry malt extract, rehydrated dry brewer's yeast, and these herbs:
Sweet Gale (2 grams)
Mugwort (1/5 oz)
Yarrow (1/5 oz)
- to make a gallon size batch.
And after 5 days of fermenting, it stabilized at about 6% alcohol content. Time to transfer over to the gallon jug to dry "hop" ("dry hopping" is the term for letting hops sit in the beer as it ages, before bottling, to provide aroma and richness without adding bitterness). Here's a picture of the
primary fermenter next to the herbs sitting in the jug. I used a little bit of mugwort and yarrow, along with a hefty scoop of our Saturnian herb, Wintergreen:

After getting the herbs in there, I slowly transferred the beer into the jug. Now the herbs will steep while the beer ages and gets nice and rich- a few weeks.

Assuming nothing gets contaminated, the beer should mature into a rich, malty concoction with unique herbal notes and a slightly minty aroma. Expect an update when it's time to bottle!

Monday, November 8, 2010

A winter solstice project: Gruit Ale

I've fallen a bit behind in my Celebrity Sun Sign Series the past month or so. I've stayed busy with alot of other pursuits- both practicing and discussing friends and coworkers' natal charts, and trying to study more myself (to avoid making any foot-in-mouth statements on here, I hope!). I've also studied more about the history of beer.

Did you know that beer wasn't always made with hops? Prior to 1400 AD or so, hops were relatively uncommon in beer, or if present were often part of a widely-varied herbal mixture known as Gruit.
Hops, in beer, provides three important components: Aroma (nice, but not necessary), Flavor (more important), and preservation (essential in the grimy, fridge-less middle ages). In modern, pasteurized beer, hops is really only essential for aroma and flavor. Back in the day, however (and in the present amongst home-brewers and unpasteurized beers), hops and the essential oils contained therein help preserve beer and protect it from contamination. Hops contain alpha acids, which help combat microbial development and deter wild yeast formation. Hops also have a sedative effect.

Brewers before 1400 desired these same 3 qualities that hops provide today. They sought this combination through a mixture of herbs, some of which are still quite common today (while some of which you'd have to drive to Quebec or Scotland to get a hold of). This mixture varied from area to area, but traditionally contained:

Bog Myrtle (aka Sweet Gale)- a bittering, antiseptic herb with a mild narcotic effect
Wild Rosemary - an aromatic, antiseptic herb with therapeutic aspects
Yarrow- a sweet, aromatic herb with stimulant and healing properties, used in traditional medicine globally

Other common additions:
Mugwort- a sweet, slightly bittering herb known for promoting restful sleep and intense dreams
Wormwood- a profoundly bitter, antiseptic herb best known as a component of Absinth
Heather- An herb used in ale by the Celts since antiquity
and whatever other astringent green things happened to be lying around (from spruce branches to bacteria)

(Keira Knightley as a Woad. As in "Woadude, what is she wearing?" The Picts (proto-scots) were known to paint themselves with woad, and use heather in their ale)

As my Belgian Dubbel nears completion of its bottling phase, I figure there's enough warm weather this week to squeeze in one last brew for the year- a Winter Solstice Ale made without hops, using a traditional gruit combination.

I thought about how to link it with astrology. Well, the winter solstice is on the 21st, the day before the sun enters Capricorn. This time is also the traditional week of celebration of the Greco-Roman Saturnalia. And what other planet/God happens to be the rule of Capricorn then- Saturn?
Saturn is associated with control, the lessons of time, ambition and karma. Interestingly enough, in ancient celebrations of Saturnalia, roman slaves and their masters were said to trade places temporarily (a very poignant twist of Saturn's theme of control...). Throughout the northern hemisphere, the shortest day of the year has social and spiritual importance in many areas of life. To celebrate, I decided to add one of the herbs ruled by Saturn to the gruit shopping list:

Just kidding. Henbane, though used to make a probably quite dangerously narcotic beer in the middle ages, is exceptionally poisonous and should not be ingested.
I'm gonna try Wintergreen. A small amount of this should just add a little excitement to the flavor of the gruit and pay a little homage to Saturn in the process.

Expect pictures and updates in the days ahead!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Celebrity Sun Sign Series: Mohandas Gandhi

Well, after a short hiatus (thanks in part to working, beer-making and being sick), I'm sorry to say we've missed the chance to discuss our second famous Virgo- Sean Connery. Ah well. It's October, and the sun is currently in the sign of Libra. Libra is the first sign on the southern side of the zodiac (which, a little counter-intuitively, is the top half)- as the opposite of Aries (which pioneers Self), Libra pioneers Others, and traditionally rules the 7th house (the descendant in the chart, the beginning of the southern side). Each zodiac sign has a "traditional" rulership over one of the 12 houses, helping to shape the significance of the houses (though this rulership changes in individual charts).

Libra is represented by the Scales. This sign is associated with cooperation, equality, popularity, compromise and charm. It is an air sign, making it mental and social, ruled by the planet Venus- which gives the sign a pleasant, harmonious demeanor (maybe even a hint of glamor?). It is more easy-going than our previous sign, Virgo.

(Case in point: notice the crossed legs and dangling footwear)

Possibly one of the greatest embodiments of Libra's strongest virtues is the late and beloved Mohandas Gandhi. Gandhi channeled the socially conscious, diplomatic and conciliatory aspects of his Libra sun into one of the greatest examples of non-violent civil disobedience in history, which led to the independence of India from the British.

Gandhi studied law in London as a young man (one of several careers well-suited to the Libran's disposition towards justice and advocacy). Shortly after returning to India, he moved to South Africa to continue working as a Lawyer. He helped to advocate for the rights of Indians living in the country, who were harshly persecuted by the ruling white class. During this struggle, he developed his ideals of satyagraha, or non-violent protest (a perfect Libra effort- showing the action-taking nature of Libra's Cardinal placement in the zodiac combined with its penchant for non-violence and resolution).

In 1919, as the British colonial government pressured Indian citizens with taxes and conscription for World War I, the city of Amritsar was placed under martial law as people began to gather in protest. During one such gathering, which drew many Indians who were not aware of the martial law in place, British soldiers fired upon a group of men, women and children, killing nearly 400 people. Gandhi, in response, implored his fellow Indians to maintain peaceful non-violent protest (not easy to do when your occupiers are slaughtering your fellow countrymen- and, indeed, violent resistance was beginning to develop). He was always stuck in the middle, yet unyielding in his impartiality. When faced with deadlocks in his campaign for peaceful protest, he would turn his action inward upon himself through refusing to eat until resolution was reached. Even in the face of great challenges, Gandhi stayed, I daresay, steadfast to his principles...

Libras have a tendency to take on responsibilities on many sides, and this can present a challenge if certain parties feel betrayed by anything less than one-sided support. Gandhi, unfortunately, was no exception. In spite of his opposition, the Muslims and Hindus in the Indian subcontinent split in 1947, leading to mass migrations between India and Pakistan- as well as brutally violent rioting and bloodshed. Gandhi himself did the best he could to intervene and prevent bloodshed, as well as advocating financial support for Pakistan. This angered the Hindu Mahasabha, a group of Hindu extremist nationalists who saw Gandhi's efforts in this support as detrimental. In 1948, Gandhi was shot in the chest on his way to speak at a prayer meeting by a Nathuram Godse, who had ties to this group. After working so hard to please both Hindus and Muslims, Gandhi was killed by one of the very ones for which he advocated.

Gandhi represented Libra at its best- a steadfast policy of truth, justice and service to others, coupled with impartiality and a commitment to peace. This great man would continue to inspire non-violent protest in the years to come.

Unfortunately for us, Gandhi didn't really "get his drink on", as it were. The closest thing to Gandhi's "adult beverage of choice" would probably have to be goat's milk- as humble as the man himself.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Famous Sun Sign Series: Ivan the Terrible

"Enjoy yoor oopertunity to paint me. Ven yoo are feenished, I pluck out yoor eyeballs."

Ivan the Terrible is the first in the Famous Sun Sign Series, as the sun is currently in the sign of Virgo.

A little about Virgo: The "virgin" of the Zodiac, Virgo is very practical, detail-oriented and discriminate. Virgos tend to be steadfast in their work and very particular. They have a strong caring side, as well as a very critical side. Virgos can also be self-deprecating in their need for perfection.

Ivan the Terrible was born on August 25th, 1530. He lost both of his parents at a young age, and was abused and humiliated by the Boyars (high members of the Eastern European aristocracy) who raised him until his coronation as Tsar at age 16. When he took power, he ousted the Boyars who had been in control (including having the last of them fed to the dogs...). That same year he married his first wife, Anastasia. A few years later, in 1550, he organized the first Zemsky Sobor- a sort of National Assembly outlying- in typical Virgo detail- his vision for improving the state of Russia. His Virgo energy was apparent in his need for particularity in choosing the men and the methods necessary to build an improved Russian state. This period of his reign was considered more positive and constructive. As a Virgo, Ivan the Terrible worked effortlessly in particular details to serve the greater good of Russia. The first printing press was introduced during his reign. He opened up trade connections with Western Europe, and helped develop new systems of government.

He seems to have broken the Virgo mold somewhat in conquering the Muslim Tatar- populated Kazan Khanate in 1552 and the Astrakhan Khanate in 1556. Virgos, traditionally, are not the most aggressive signs of the Zodiac. But, as I hypothesize is the case with many of the world's leaders, Ivan the Terrible identified as much with his country as with himself. He sought the typical Virgo perfection for Russia, not just himself, and was just as equally critical about any shortcomings in the young country. So, conquering the tattered remnants of the Golden Horde of Genghis Khan from decades earlier seems all too appropriate.

Ivan's unpleasant childhood contributed to something of a repressed insanity that began to show itself as the years went by. Upon the completion of St. Basil's Cathedral (to celebrate the conquest of the Kazan Khanate), Ivan had the architect, Postnik Yakovlev, blinded to prevent him from ever designing another building as wondrous. Virgo caution with a sociopathic twist?

"It vas so byooteeful when I feenished it. I veesh I could remember what color it was."

Ivan's need for control, critical nature and almost neurotic concern and distrust began to take a hold of him during this later part of his reign. Ivan the Terrible worked effortlessly to expand Russia into a true empire- which got him into serious trouble with Sweden, Poland, the Hanseatic league (which ran along the coastal countries of Northern Europe), the Ottoman Empire, the Crimean Khanate, and of course the Boyars at home in Russia. He bit off more than he could chew in the long run, and years of war, plagues and pressure from hostile neighbors devastated Russia. Eventually, Ivan degraded so badly that he killed his son with his walking staff during an argument over his daugher-in-law's choice of clothes, and shortly after died while setting up a chessboard. A few somber, though appropriate, examples of the Virgo concern in down-to-earth, day to day details.

Plus he was completely insane, which crosses all Zodiac boundaries.

Ivan the Terrible's probable drink of choice:
Kvass- a slightly alcoholic beverage made of fermented bread, common throughout Eastern Europe since even before the Middle Ages. A couple hundred years after Ivan's death, Russia would begin to receive British-exported Imperial Stout, a dark and highly-alcoholic (and therefore more stable) beer that could withstand the long sea voyage to the courts of Catherine II without freezing or spoiling.

Ivan doesn't know what he was missing!

General Sources:

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Introducing the Famous Sun Sign Series

So I was looking up a few of my favorite historical figures, and I noticed that tons of these famous people were Cancers. We're talking an improportionately large quantity. Well, we'll have to wait until next year to discuss that, because this month I'm starting a year of famous people from the current sun sign. Here's the list I picked out- you may be surprised at who you share your sun sign with.

Virgo (starting this month), 08/23 - 09/23 - Ivan the Terrible and Sean Connery
Libra, 09/23 - 10/23 - Mohandas Gandhi, Vladamir Putin
Scorpio, 10/23 - 11/22 - Kurt Vonnegut, the Baha'u'llah
Sagittarius, 11/22 - 12/22 - Andrew Carnegie, Jimi Hendrix
Capricorn, 12/22 - 01/20 - Martin Luther King Jr, Mao Zedong
Aquarius, 01/20 - 02/18 - Grigori Rasputin, Charles Lindbergh
Pisces, 02/18 - 03/20 - Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Edgar Cayce
Aries, 03/20 - 04/20 - Thomas Jefferson, Harry Houdini
Taurus, 04/20 - 05/21 - Sigmund Freud, Karl Marx
Gemini, 05/21 - 06/21 - Queen Victoria, Marilyn Monroe
Cancer, 06/21 - 07/22 - Alexander the Great, Nikola Tesla
Leo, 07/22 - 08/23 - Carl Jung, Fidel Castro

With each post I'll have a few details about the typical characteristics of each sign, and the ways that they show up in the lives of these people (in sometimes unconventional ways...)

And, of course, to the best of my ability I will hypothesize what their adult beverage of choice may have been (those who drank, anyway. Some on this list did not, some did way to much...)

Look for the next post, on Ivan the Terrible, in a few short days!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Generational Astrology- Gen X

Do we really even need a post about this? I mean, Billy Idol. 'Nuff said.

Howdy folks. After a nice cappuccino (and while I battle the temptation to get another one) I am, per my sister's request doing a little post about generational astrology, or specifically generation - x (or, in astrological terms, the Pluto in Libra generation).

Back in ancient times, most of the planets people knew about were fairly personal because of how quickly they moved. Even in the rather shortened life expectancy of the old days, you could reasonably assume you'd make it to 30 (around which age you would encounter what's called your Saturn Return, a beast of a topic that I'm not gonna try to tackle until I understand it better). After people started to discover the outer planets of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, it became clear that they had a much longer orbit around the sun (and, therefore, around the zodiac) and that large groups of people would be born during the years that these planets would spend in just one sign of the zodiac. As such, these planets (though intensely important in the personal chart of course) came to signify generational tendencies. Often the significance of the planet will play out in very overt ways depending on which sign it's in. In general, Uranus is connected to creativity, expression, rebellion- where the generation seeks and expresses its unique and creative side. Neptune is connected to spiritual understanding, ideals, areas where reality is less strict (which can provide creative insight as well as delusive misunderstanding). Finally, Pluto is connected to the dynamics of power, of change (as we discussed in the last post). I think a good place to start is the comparison between the Baby Boomers and Gen-X. - This link has a little more information on generational tendencies over the past few hundred years. I've sort of consolidated some of their info and added my interpretation

The baby boomers were born with Uranus in late Gemini/early Cancer square Neptune in Libra, and Pluto in Leo. This is a fairly clear picture of the hippie movement- Search for uniqueness in terms of mentality and family/roots (communes, etc), which was at uncomfortable odds with their social ideals/development (Neptune in Libra). Finally there was the Pluto in Leo aspect- revolutions in Creative expression (just think about the music of the late 60's), Fun (*coughacid*) and the role of the self in society and at large.

In the 70's, those born into Generation - X had Neptune moving into Sagitarrius (creativity and idealism in the search for meaning and truth, as well as confusion and uncertainty). Uranus in Libra (early 70's) and Scorpio (Later 70's) brought changes and uniqueness in social understanding and sex, Pluto in Libra helped lend a transformative quality to social consciousness, an increased concern for the well-being of others, a desire for social cooperation, but in some cases without a clear focus. Libra is the Scales of the zodiac, the sign of relationships, marriage, cooperation and concern for others (and pleasing others, being popular). While an extremely important turning point for the mentality of people in a rapidly changing world, this generation (at least astrologically) did not have the same fire as the Baby Boomers, or the discipline of later generations. In addition, I think it's interesting that the Baby Boomers had Neptune in Libra- an idealism and slight vagueness in terms of the relationship aspects of Libra- while Generation X had Pluto in this sign, bringing a much harder, transformative slap in the face of reality about social understanding. This, in my opinion, is very telling about the differences in the Baby-Boomer generation and Generation X.

I believe each generation has stereotypes born of their innate tendencies that just happened to fall in a certain pattern (the self-expression of the Pluto in Leo's became "Baby boomers are selfish". The cooperative, social understanding of Pluto in Libra became "Generation X is lazy". The inquisitive, deeper understanding of Pluto in Scorpio became "Millenials are dark and emotional". But we all contribute to the whole in myriad ways, and each generation brings an understanding of a new part of the zodiac- each of which is essential as we grow and develop as a society.

Generation X'ers have alot of potential in creativity and expression as a group to other people, and while they faced the difficulty of searching for meaning and an understanding that seemed to come naturally to older generations, they were also some of the first people who had to face the challenge of finding meaning and understanding in a world of rapid social change, a world in which self-expression was not effective enough to provide meaning, a world in which communes just weren't an option anymore. I think Fight Club is the quintessential Gen-X movie- living in the creative wake of a generation of self-expression, with expectations of greatness but a strong sense of disillusionment. So what can we do? Work together, express our frustration with society by making soap and beating the sh!t out of each other, and ultimately learning about ourselves and finding love.

Tyler Durden: Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.

While I think this is one of the greatest movie quotes of all time and has been pretty applicable to anyone born after 1950, Gen X in particular resonates with this statement.

Well guys, I got that second cappuccino, and this is all I got for today. Cheers!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pluto and You

Hades/Pluto. Probably didn't have many parties at his place...

Here on my deck on this nice Wednesday evening, I'm enjoying a nice bottle of dark ale, and that got me thinking about something else that's dark, mysterious and slightly intoxicating- the planet Pluto.

Now, you may have heard rumors around the scientific community that Pluto is not, in fact, a planet. Well, that's fine and dandy for the scientific community. To me, and from my understanding the majority of the astrological community, Pluto is alive and well, as much a planet as it always has been.

This past Saturday, Saturn and Pluto formed a square, in the cardinal signs of Libra and Capricorn, respectively. This is a rather big deal astrologically, even more so because it took place within a couple degrees of the exact angles of the horoscope- 0 degrees of the cardinal signs (Aries, Libra, Capricorn and Cancer). This adds to the strength of the event

Let's get some quick background info on Pluto. Discovered in 1930 by Percival Lowell, and named by an 11-year old girl from Oxford, England, Pluto entered the world at a time in which there was great change and upheaval. Pluto is associated with transformation, power struggle, depth and difficult, sometimes painful changes. The discovery of a planet tends to coincide with appropriate developments here on Earth- evidence, perhaps, that we tend to find what we search for- and, I would add, we search for things when we're ready for them.

Pluto is a very slow-moving planet, and as such is a generational aspect in the personal chart. If you were born between 1984 to 1995, the Pluto in your chart should be located in Scorpio. Back in the days before anybody knew about planets beyond Saturn, the sign Scorpio was ruled by Mars. After the discovery and assimilation of Pluto into astrological practice decades ago, Pluto became the ruler of Scorpio. Scorpio is a very dynamic, somewhat dark sign, and is a good match with Pluto, sharing features such as power through knowledge, transformation, perhaps even subversion. Pluto in Scorpio is in the sign it rules, and therefore at its strongest as it treks slowly around the zodiac. Those of us born during this time have a stronger Pluto in our charts, and this informs our generation in a strong way.

This, I feel, is pretty easy to see. Our generation has a deep, unsettled awareness of the balance of power in the world, along with a need to change and transform. There is a deep-rooted dissatisfaction with the way things are, along with a passion and depth that expresses itself in many different ways, depending on our circumstances. (More Gothic people, too? The Goth aesthetic screams Pluto in Scorpio to me) We also have a relationship to our sexuality that is notably different than other generations, and Scorpio is a very sexual sign. Pluto is no longer in Scorpio- it passed through Scorpio to Sagittarius, and just now on to Capricorn, where it is now squaring Saturn.

Saturn in Libra square Pluto in Capricorn is a very intense aspect in the world at large. Capricorn is often associated in astrology with the professional business realm- Capricorn tends to indicate cool, collected action, practicality, stubbornness mixed with confidence and the ability to get things done. I doubt its any coincidence that the transformative power of Pluto as it moves through Capricorn has begun to drastically change our understanding and relationship with business, money and resources. At the same time, Saturn is now in a square aspect with Pluto- a challenge between old and conservative structure (Saturn) and transformative, subversive power changes (Pluto). The last time this sort of aspect occurred was the 1970's, an era in which there were clear examples of old versus new- student uprisings, Kent state, protests, etc.

This is a tense time anyway, I'm sure most would agree- and all of us know that things need to change. My generation, with Pluto in Scorpio, feels that perhaps on an even more dire, intrinsic level. But armed with that knowledge, we can use it to our advantage. Our relentless desire for change, our connection to our subconscious and our need for peeling back the layers to find the hidden truth may help propel the great changes society needs.

Yessir, good times indeed.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A little something for the Harry Potter fans

Okay guys, I'll admit I've gotten a little extreme in where I've thought about applying astrology lately. So on a whim, Margaret and I organized the signs of the Zodiac into the Houses of Hogwarts. Now, don't be offended, it was just for fun. Some examples that helped along the way: Tom Riddle was a Capricorn, Harry Potter was a Leo, and Hermione was a Virgo (which isn't in Gryffindor, but let's face it, she could have been Ravenclaw anyway).
Cheers folks,

P.S. Message me with your sign if you want a more detailed explanation of why I shtuck it in which house...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Let the Drunken Astrology commence!

Hello everyone,

My name is Beau, and my comrade Talan and I were discussing Astrology recently over a few beers. Over a few rounds we realized the ingenuity of Astrological discourse with a glass of beer in hand. By suggestion of our bartenders Mike and Dylan, I started this blog to share our thoughts about Astrology, Life, Society, Mysteries of the Ancient and Modern World, and of course coffee and beer suggestions.

Only time will tell what crazy insights await, though we were considering T-Shirts for a start...
Cheers All,