Saturday, January 28, 2012

Neptune, Uranus, and the rise of the Internet

Photo by Callum Black.

Last April, we toasted the return of Neptune to its home sign of Pisces with a few glasses of absinthe, the drink of choice for Neptune's previous swim through Piscean waters in the 1800's. Artists, intellectuals, dreamers, and drunken folk chased the green fairy of inspiration in surprising and unexplored directions; with Neptune in Pisces, the limitations to our creativity seem to melt away. You certainly don't hear the word "inhibition" quite as often. Boundaries dissolve, for good or ill, and our conception of reality changes. (Check out my article from last march about Neptune in Pisces)

Before Neptune's current plunge into Pisces, it was making its way through Aquarius (from 1998 to 2011). In Aquarius, Neptune dissolves boundaries between individuals and groups, connecting our society. Unique technology combines with a mixture of logic and intuition. Anything new, unique, and preferably group-oriented that questions the status quo begins to take on a gossamer finish.

This begins to ring a bell if you think back to 1998, 1999...

"hmm... '' is SURELY my ticket to fame and fortune!"

The burst of the "dot com bubble" was a prime example of the difficulties Neptune can bring during a transit. During a short period of techno-economic intoxication, the novelty of new technology and individual initiative (Aquarius) in the exciting new internet realm led to speculation (Neptune) in the marketplace. Many were so enchanted by the internet that success seemed guaranteed for any business start-up with a ".com" at the end. Neptune always challenges us by dissolving the boundaries between fantasy and reality. When the .com fantasy met the economic reality, the speculative bubble burst, causing great financial issues, unemployment, and many furrowed brows. Lessons learned, the internet continued to develop and grow.

During the dot com bubble, Uranus, like Neptune, was in Aquarius. Busy adding innovation and an electrical jolt of new and unique ideas, Uranus in Aquarius did not do much to foster an emotional connection to the internet. In 2003, however, Uranus moved into Pisces. Pisces is ruled by Neptune, and Aquarius is ruled by Uranus. With Neptune in the sign ruled by Uranus, and Uranus in the sign ruled by Neptune, these two planets were in an astrological configuration called mutual reception. The connection between the two planets is strengthened, and they work together with enhanced effects.

A year after this configuration began, Facebook was founded, in 2004. Neptune in Aquarius fueled the dissolution of boundaries in technology, groups and individuality; Uranus in Pisces brought technology and individuality into a more sensitive, intuitive realm with mass appeal. This was the beginning of social networking, as well as an unprecedented period of developing something never before seen in history- an internet-based identity. With Uranus and Neptune working together, our social lives, our interests, to a great extent our consciousness were all drawn to the internet like never before.

Wikimedia commons

The last time this mutual reception between Uranus and Neptune occurred was the late 1830's into the early 1840's. Nothing back then could compare to the internet, but sure enough, the world was changing. This period of time saw the first of the Opium Wars in China, a time of dissolving boundaries and an increasing global awareness. Transcendentalism, a pioneering new intellectual movement in the U.S. spearheaded by writers such as Henry David Thoreau, challenged the structure of organized religion in favor of a spirituality based on each individual's connection to nature and spirit. Most importantly, perhaps, was the development of the telegraph by Samuel Morse. First used in 1938, the telegraph brought electricity and code into use for communication. This would, in a few short decades, create the beginning of a global information network that has only continued to develop since.

Now, with Uranus moving into pioneering Aries, the technology and internet identities that we've cultivated are helping to spur revolutionary change in countries around the world. At the same time, Neptune is completing its final pass through Aquarius, after dipping into Pisces last year before returning for a short retrograde period. Neptune will leave Aquarius for the last time this century on February 3rd, and the mysterious and deeply emotional period of Neptune in Pisces will last until 2024. There may be great uncertainty ahead, but you can be sure of one thing- the internet has changed our world unlike anything in history. As Uranus hightails it through Aries, let's give a nod to Neptune finishing its run in Aquarius over the next few days- if not for Neptune in Aquarius, you probably wouldn't even be reading this...

Readers: how do you feel about the internet? Are there big changes ahead for our online world? Leave a comment!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Celebrity Sun Sign Series- Morgan Freeman and Mercury

"I gravitate towards gravitas."- Morgan Freeman. Sounds like Mercury in Taurus sure enough! Photo by Alan Light.

Throughout history, there have been many actors and orators who move us when they speak, and have a comforting presence that can't be denied. A few rouse us to action, striking our hearts with joy or sadness. Fewer still have had such presence that they could portray God himself. The man capable of such a feat, and our topic for today's Celebrity Sun Sign Series, is Morgan Freeman.

Morgan Joseph Freeman was born on June 1st, 1937, in Memphis, Tennessee. This gives Morgan Freeman the sun sign of Gemini, the twins. Ruled by the planet Mercury, Gemini is the sign of communication, mental acuity, diversity and duality. Geminis are quick-witted and curious. They also embody the philosophy that "variety is the spice of life."

After moving several times as a child, Freeman began acting at age 9. Although offered a drama scholarship after graduating high school, he joined the US Air force. His career as an Actor began in the 60's, with the typical Gemini love for variety in his roles (everything from Hello Dolly to soap opera's to children's television on PBS.)

Freeman has had a prolific acting career in many genres of film, but his most memorable roles exemplify his calm, authoritative demeanor and way of speaking. He has a commanding presence that has allowed him to play roles such as Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding in The Shawshank Redemption, the U.S. President in Deep Impact, and Lucius Fox in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy. It takes an awful lot of charisma to play Nelson Mandela, as he did in 2009's critically-acclaimed Invictus.

Then, of course, there's Freeman's role as God in the movie Bruce Almighty. Though not one of his more critically-acclaimed movies, Freeman certainly shows his prowess by taking on the somewhat daunting role of playing God in film.

It comes as little surprise that Morgan Freeman's birth chart packs a one-two punch of charismatic charm and speaking ability. Below is Freeman's birth chart. Though birth time is unknown, it is set as a noon chart (placing his sun on the MC at the top of the chart, an appropriate placement for such a public individual).

While the focus of the Celebrity Sun Sign Series is, of course, the sun sign and how those attributes show up in the lives of famous people, there are several key aspects of Morgan Freeman's birth chart that distinguish his Gemini Sun. Freeman's Sun in Gemini is circled in green at the top of the chart. Gemini is ruled by the planet Mercury, which in Freeman's chart is in Taurus (circled in green as well). This Mercury in Taurus gives Freeman's Gemini Sun a strong dose of down-to-earth stable. Taurus is known for practicality and security, and Mercury in Taurus provides concentration and a thorough, deliberate style of thinking. As you can see in the red square at the top of the chart, Mercury in Taurus is also conjunct Uranus in Taurus. Uranus, the planet of electrically-charged change and innovation, takes a major chill pill in Uranus. Uranus in Taurus provides the innovative spark of creativity Uranus is known for in a practical, concrete way.

Freeman's Mercury and Uranus are also trine his Neptune in Virgo (the red box on the left side of the chart), which in his noon-based chart is on his ascendant. Neptune, the planet of imagination and illusion, is commonly associated with the film industry. In Virgo, the creative muse of Neptune manifests in a more calculated, cautious way. Freeman's Neptune supports his Mercury and Uranus with careful, reserved charismatic charm.

These aspects in Freeman's chart seem to paint a fairly accurate picture of reserved charm, careful and deliberate speech, and a powerful presence, grounded by the gravity of so many planets in earth signs. Freeman's career continues, both in acting roles and narration for shows and charitable organizations.

Italic"But..." you may ask, "Morgan Freeman doesn't sound like a stereotypical Gemini... does he?" Sure enough, there are some aspects of the "typical" Gemini personality that Morgan Freeman does not seem to exemplify as strongly. A Gemini sun sign is often associated with a youthful personality, an affinity for the lighter side of life, and a versatile and ever-changing mentality. This is one of the limitations of "Sun Sign Astrology." The energy, the personality and the underlying themes of an individual's life are often most strongly exemplified by their sun sign (which is part of the fun in our Celebrity Sun Sign Series), but more often than not, the identity of the sun sign is conditioned by the other aspects of the chart. Morgan Freeman has the communication and mental focus of Gemini, but having Gemini's ruling planet Mercury located in and supported by earth signs provides that double scoop of gravitas that distinguishes his personality.

Morgan Freeman's chart shows the many layers of astrological interpretation, and how important it is for us to penetrate the surface of the chart and appreciate the complexity within!

How about you, readers? How do you feel about your sun sign? Are you a Morgan Freeman fan? Leave a comment!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Saturn in Libra pays us all a visit

Saturn says that if you don't share those brownies, you don't get any at all.

The planet Saturn is not known for having fun. If Jupiter is that awesome night of getting drunk and watching cat videos on the internet, Saturn is the hangover the next morning and the call from your boss asking why you're not at work. When Saturn comes to visit (and he visits everybody!), it's usually to teach us "hard lessons".

When we consider the birth chart, the sign and house position of Saturn show us how these "hard lessons" manifest throughout our lives. In whichever area Saturn may be, we face challenges, austerity, a need to build structure and long-term development through hard work. This struggle, however, helps us shape who we are.

In present time, the current position of Saturn in the zodiac is shared by everyone. Saturn is currently in the sign of Libra, the scales. This calls everyone to consider the structure and responsibility we have with each other, in partnerships of all kinds, and in our sense of justice and equality in general. It challenges us to improve our relationships. Transiting Saturn's position in Libra also indicates that the challenges it brings are likely to involve other people in some way. We all experience Saturn in Libra in a unique way depending on which of the 12 houses of our chart it happens to be passing through.

If you have your birth chart handy, you can find where Libra starts and see what house (or houses) Saturn has been passing through. If you don't have a chart, but you do know your Ascendant, find the sign of your Ascendant and read that description. If you don't know your Ascendant, find your Sun sign and read that description- this will be based on your "solar" houses, which though not based on your actual chart, should still resonate thematically. (A natal interpretation can help you get to know your Ascendant and houses a little more intimately!)

For Saturn in Libra, it doesn't matter if the glass is half full OR half empty- you're gonna have to share it either way.

Aries Ascendant (Saturn in the 7th house):
Less time going to the club, more time focused on loved ones, and your responsibility to maintain the relationships you already have. Highlighted responsibility to long-term partners or spouse.
"I know I've been stressed and distant, but I'm going to put more work into our relationship. Let's go do a puzzle together."

Taurus Ascendant (Saturn in the 6th house):
Easy to overwork, but a good time for building a balanced routine in work and developing healthy habits. Exercise routines are good here. Highlighted responsibility for pets.
"I could probably start taking power walks with the dogs to help with the stress of my 60 hour work week."

Gemini Ascendant (Saturn in the 5th house):
Not a good time for gambling. Leisure and fun suddenly may seem more elusive, but there's also the chance to work on long-lasting creative projects. Highlighted responsibility for children.
"Playing XBox for hours just doesn't feel right. Maybe building that tree house for the kids would be a fulfilling project..."

Cancer Ascendant (Saturn in the 4th house):
The home demands extra work and attention, but also provides the potential to get things organized and stabilized (repairs maybe...) Highlighted responsibility related to a parent.
"I need to weatherproof the house. I guess I should probably weatherproof my parents' house too."

Leo Ascendant (Saturn in the 3rd house):
Vehicle challenges, difficult commutes, how we communicate requires attention. Potential for maturing thoughts and shoring up daily routines. Highlighted responsibility related to siblings.
"I have to start getting up earlier so I can fix my scooter while my brother borrows my car."

Virgo Ascendant (Saturn in the 2nd house):
Time to save those pennies. Budgeting can become an issue, with potential to increase structure and stability in spending habits. Highlighted responsibility for how you value things and people.
"This new budget is hard to get used to, but it does feel good that I'm spending less on beer and saving more for a house."

Libra Ascendant (Saturn in the 1st house):
Here Saturn may inhibit expression and possibly energy as it encourages structure and maturity in our physical selves. Highlighted responsibility for our individual roles and our affects on others.
"I've felt inhibited and self conscious lately, but people tell me they appreciate the mature, stable presence I have."

Scorpio Ascendant (Saturn in the 12th house):
Unease about our spirituality, our connection to the infinite. Potential for feeling isolated, but good time to meditate. Highlighted responsibility in sacrificing self to others in some way.
"Sometimes I feel like I'm disconnected from the universe, but I know I can help myself if I help others."

Sagittarius Ascendant (Saturn in the 11th house):
Time spent with groups may be more aloof and less fun than usual, but there's a good chance to mature in how we network and connect to others. Highlighted responsibility for friends.
"Poker night didn't feel quite the same without gin, but everyone seemed really interested in my ideas for non-profit organizations."

Capricorn Ascendant (Saturn in the 10th house):
Work or career can be particularly challenging, but there's the potential to mature and stabilize your professional self long-term. Highlighted responsibility for a parent or in leading others.
"Funds sure have been tight here at work, but we all cooperated on this new business plan that should help in the long run."

Aquarius Ascendant (Saturn in the 9th house):
Difficult questions arise in philosophy, religion and ethics. This can lead to assessing your values and maturing in your world view. Highlighted responsibility in connection to other cultures.
"I got so frustrated with religion that I gave up and became an atheist, but the Tibetan Buddhist in my French class showed me a belief system I appreciate."

Pisces Ascendant (Saturn in the 8th house):
Inhibition in relation to others, challenges in sexuality or beliefs about death. A good time to build trust and emotional stability, however. Highlighted responsibility for others' money or values.
"Our discussion about writing wills with my partner really made me think about my fear of death. But I overcame my fear, feel more emotionally stable, and damn that sex was good."

As usual, there may be many more ways that Saturn's challenges manifest. The important thing is to be patient and learn as much as you can from the hard lessons that Saturn in Libra teaches us. Saturn is nearing the end of Libra, and soon we'll experience the hard lessons of Saturn in Scorpio (which is not merely a different astrological classroom, but probably more like a different campus altogether). Let's focus on the positive and build the structures that will support us in the future!

Readers: Which house is Saturn in Libra visiting in your chart? What lessons do you feel you're being forced to learn? Leave a comment!