Thursday, June 26, 2008

Astrology of Minneapolis Bridge Collapse 2007

The 35W highway bridge over the Mississippi River near downtown Minneapolis suddenly collapsed about 6:05 pm on Wednesday, August 1, 2007. Loss of life was surprisingly light considering there were at least 50 cars on the bridge at the time. One school bus carrying children and adult chaperones from a field trip had to be evacuated when it came to rest on the edge of a length of concrete; miraculously all escaped without serious injury.

The astrological chart for this event features not one but two Yods, and also a square between Mars and Saturn. Mars is often active in accidents, and Saturn is structure, and by extension infrastructure such as bridges. Jupiter (retrograde) is square the nodes of the Moon, and trining the Sun - Part of Fortune conjunction.

Looking at an astrological chart of the collapse, it features Pluto within minutes of the 27degree, 43 minute ascendant in Sagittarius. It is the point of a Yod, an isosceles triangle with 150 degrees between planets on the long sides, and 60 degrees between planets on the short side. The other planets forming this Yod are Mars at 26 degrees Taurus in the fifth house, and Mercury at 24 degrees of Cancer in the seventh house.

Pluto is the wipeout planet, and it sure proved it Wednesday, collapsing the entire bridge in minutes. The exact placement on the ascendant gives it great force and prominence, and with Mercury in the public seventh house, it became the lead story in the news everywhere. Even the online version of Time Magazine had features on it in their Thursday edition. Mars of course is accidents, and health. It is in a tight square to Saturn (exact on Tuesday). Mars is near the dreaded fixed star Algol; although the death toll is still not final, it appears to be light. Saturn in Leo is approached by Venus in Virgo, backing toward him as if to lay a restraining hand on Saturn’s scythe.

Another ameliorating factor is the exact trine between Jupiter at 9 degrees Sagittarius to the Sun , in Leo, strong in the sign it rules, and conjunct the Part of Fortune at five degrees Leo. The Sun and the Part of Fortune straddle the cusp of the 7th to 8th Houses. Jupiter was in the 12th House, the realm of hospitals, and the local hospitals were prepared for the worst. They had operating rooms ready to receive the wounded, that never arrived -- as again, casualties and serious injuries were surprisingly light.

The other Yod involves Juno (19 degrees) at the MC in Libra, in conjunct Ceres at 17 degrees in Taurus in the 4th House on one side, and a stellium of the Moon, Pallas, and Uranus at 17 and 18 degrees Pisces in the 2nd House. I interpret Juno to refer to the new Minnesota representative to Congress, Amy Klobuchar, who quickly spoke up on the tragedy and helped obtain cleanup funds. She fits the Juno-Pallas archetype as a housewife and dedicated mom who ran for Congress; I predict this will be a challenge that helps her to grow into her new Pallas identity. The public (Moon) and engineers (Uranus) also will have a lot to say in the coming weeks. I predict that the engineers will advise changes in how bridges are rated for safety and scored for priority in rebuilding. Ceres looks after the small and weak, including children, and I see the need for psychological (Uranus) and spiritual counseling for the children, especially, who were caught on that bridge as it went down.

It may be interesting to compare and contrast briefly with a similar bridge accident. The Hoan Bridge in Milwaukee suddenly buckled at 7 am Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2000. A lone car was on the bridge at the time, with a married couple inside. The husband made a 911 call to a skeptical police department. But sure enough, there was a buckle and also a large chunk had fallen off the edge of the bridge. The freeway was closed before rush hour traffic appeared, preventing untold losses of life and property.

This Milwaukee chart has a stellium in Sagittarius on the ascendant. Ceres is at 8 degrees, Pluto at 13, Mercury at 15, the Ascendant at 17, then Chiron at 20 and the Sun at almost 22. Mars at 24 degrees Libra in the 10th House is inconjunct Saturn at 25 degrees Taurus in the 6th House. Saturn is retrograde, as is Jupiter hovering nearby at 4 degrees Gemini in the same house. Possibly the retrograde near the Algol degree in Taurus kept it from claiming any lives (? - your thoughts, anyone?) Possibly it was too far from the exact degree to take effect.

Recall that Mars and Saturn were in a tight square in the Minneapolis collapse, and here they are inconjunct. To me, the inconjunct is adjustment -- the pressures on the bridge beams were relieved by adjusting the angles and levels (buckling)…((this is greatly simplifying but you get the idea)…whereas the more direct stress of the square brought the Minneapolis bridge to complete failure.
I notice there is a Yod in this chart also, with the Part of Fortune-Moon-North Node at the point and Mercury and Uranus at the legs. I interpret that as Mercury keeping the problem relatively small, Uranus representing the engineers who figured out where the error was in the original bridge, and the North Node representing the new bridge (which was rushed to completion as a high priority project).

In the Milwaukee chart, Pluto and Mercury were inconjunct the North Node, Part of Fortune, and Moon in Cancer. Pluto is a wipeout planet, again, but Mercury makes the area affected smaller. In the end, only about a half mile was surgically demolished and rebuilt.
In these two bridge failures, we see a few features in common. They are: Yods, a tight Mars-Saturn aspect, Pluto, Mercury, and sometimes the Moon, Uranus, and Part of Fortune. It would be interesting to pull up data about other well-known bridge failures to see if they share any of these aspects.

What Kind of Pope Will Benedict Be?

The current Pope was recently in the United States on an official visit. I had hoped to post this article before he arrived, but such is life. I want to take this opportunity to illustrate the effects of transits on a natal chart.

Fortunately, we have his birth data. He was born Joseph Ratzinger in Marktl, Germany on April 16, 1927 at 4:15 am. If you have some astrological software you can print out your own chart to follow along. Otherwise, the data yields a chart with 19 degrees Pisces rising and 25 degrees Sagittarius on the Midheaven. The first house is quite crowded with Jupiter, Mercury, Uranus, Sun and Chiron all occupying that sector. Venus at 29 Taurus is in the 2nd House, and Mars, North Node, and Pluto in the 4th House. Neptune in Leo is in the sixth, and the Moon in Libra is in the seventh, with Saturn high in the ninth in Sag.

The most striking thing about the chart is the Jupiter-Mercury conjunction in late Pisces, plus Uranus in the first degree of Aries. Jupiter is the natural ruler of Sag and ninth-house matters, which include publishing, higher education, religion and law. With Sag in the tenth house of career, it is interesting that Ratzinger has pursued a career that has spanned all four areas.

We will get to more about his career arc in a moment, but first let me show a couple more aspects. Another prominent item is the Mercury (with Uranus) square Mars in Gemini. This is a person who loves to argue, sometimes someone who flies off the handle over little things. But with a trained intellect, this can be channeled into a person who is skilled in the art of debate, which is really arguing but with rules. The Mars energy is energetic and vociferous in stating the rightness of his position, and is no doubt the driver behind his nickname, “God’s Rottweiler”.
His Moon at 14 Libra in the seventh House squares his Pluto at 13 Cancer. This angular placement in cardinal signs makes for a very energetic and dynamic personality. His is both intensely emotional and deeply analytical. When set to a task, he acts like a good detective in gathering his data and then breaking it down to analyze it.

As we said, Jupiter rules religion, and so it was very convenient for us astrologers that he chose to enter the priesthood and so validate that traditional assigning of that area to that planet. He was ordained in Germany on June 29, 1951. Many of these dates, by the way, were found in Wikipedia and other places on the internet, so that is always a good place to start if researching a famous person. By 1959, he also entered higher education as a career, when he became a professor in Bonn, then in Munster, then in Tubingen. In 1972 he also founded a theological journal called ‘Communio’ -- all of these activities are also Jupiter-ruled.

In March, 1977, Ratzinger was named archbishop, and in June was made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II. This period is influenced by the transit of Jupiter over his natal Venus in Taurus. So his chart ruler, Jupiter -- on his ascendant at birth, in the traditional sign it ruled, Pisces, transits over the lesser benefic, Venus in the second house, bringing a type of gift and lifts him to another level of influence. We might note also, that Pope John Paul II was a native Taurus, so the Venus also points to the source of his good fortune. In the same period, Ratzinger also benefited from Mars trining natal Mars and his North Node (significant growth towards one’s destiny) AND Saturn enters his sixth house (denoting a period of greater responsibility and hard work in his job).

In late November 1981, the next click of the celestial gears is heard when Ratzinger was named by John Paul II to head the organization that he has become most identified with, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. This occurred almost exactly when transiting Saturn conjuncted his natal Moon in Libra in the seventh house. This appointment brought him much greater prominence, thrust him into the public eye -- the Moon also denotes the public, and the placement above the horizon puts him in a very public life. The appointment gave full vent to his talents as a vociferous and no-nonsense ‘enforcer’ of canonical law. He muzzled those who did not toe the ‘party line’ and ventured rather too far afield in the speculative or political arenas. Among those who were affected were: some outspoken liberation theologians in Latin America (condemning liberation theology twice in, 1984 and 1986), Leonardo Boff was suspended, while others were reputedly reduced to silence. Eleven years after his death, the writings of Jesuit priest Anthony de Mello were the subject of a "notification". U.S. Father Charles Curran, who questioned church teaching against artificial birth control, was removed from his teaching position at The Catholic University of America in Washington in 1987. Recently, Pope Benedict made a similar judgment about Jesuit Father Roger Haight, who was banned from teaching Catholic theology over his book touching on the divinity and salvific mediation of Jesus.
Now you know why he was called “God’s Rottweiler”.

But we continue. Transiting Saturn continued to loop the zodiac, till it entered Cancer in June 2003. (Remember his North Node is at 0 degree Cancer and his Pluto at 13 degrees Cancer.)I believe that it was about that time that most analysts felt he was most likely to succeed John Paul II, whose health was seriously deteriorating with the progression of Parkinson’s disease. Ratzinger was not elected till April 2005, and by that time Saturn, the bestower of honors and high rank (if you have been working hard and diligently) was past an exact conjunction to those natal placements. But it was trine his natal Jupiter in Pisces -- Jupiter, again! Transiting Jupiter was also close to his natal Moon (squaring his natal Pluto also), a transiting North Node was at 22 Aries near his Sun, transiting Sun on his Mercury -- so you can see that the sentiments of the College of Cardinal were most likely to swing his way.

A chart for the date of his election, April 19, 2005, has 5 degrees Libra rising with Jupiter at 11 degrees, and Saturn high at 21 degrees Cancer, for those who want to reconstruct a chart for that event. Let me add that Pluto also figures in here as an influence when death is a necessary event for other things to happen; ie a new Pope cannot be named till the previous one dies. The same is true in cases of royal ascension, or in matters of estates and wills.

There has been much speculation over how long Pope Benedict will serve. And I regret that I cannot offer too much to resolve that point. He has a natal Sun trine Neptune which often denotes a long life, even if the person has to conserve his or her energies. But he has already reached his eighties, and has fulfilled that potential in his chart. The election chart’s ruler, Venus, is in Taurus, a fixed sign -- and this seems to point to him being in office a number of years, probably at least five, possibly seven when a progressed Venus will aspect the chart Jupiter.
Only time will tell just how many years Pope Benedict will have the opportunity to affect the Catholic Church’s direction, but I feel it is clear from the many cardinal planets, that he will be a surprisingly active. Maybe he feels the years slipping away from him, but he will not let any grass grow under his feet while in office. He feels there is so much in his in-box, and will push himself to clear as much as possible while he can.

Oh, a trivia note: the meeting between Pope Benedict and George W Bush was the 25th between a pope and president. There have been five pontiffs and 11 American leaders involved.

Stars Over Angelina Jolie -- Death and Life and Motherhood

Happy Birthday to Angelina Jolie, who turns 33 this year!

The number one actress over the past decade has been Angelina Jolie, who is known only by her first and middle names. She has fascinated all audiences, not just men, and it is interesting to follow her life arc from a gothic wannabe to a wife, mom, and globetrotting representative for the United Nations (as well as Oscar-winning actress).

Angelina was born in Los Angeles on June 4, 1975 at 9:09 am. Her ascendant is 29 degrees Cancer. Let me give her planet placements in case the chart does not load on this platform correctly. The Sun is at 13 degrees Gemini, Moon 13 degrees Aries, Jupiter 17 Aries at Midheaven (in 9th House), Mercury 22 Gemini, Venus 28 Cancer (just above Ascendant), Mars 10 Aries, Saturn 17 Cancer, Uranus 28 Libra in the 4th House, Neptune 10 Sagittarius retrograde in 5th House, Pluto 6 Libra in 4th House, the Midheaven is at 17 Aries.

From first glance, it is clear her chart is dominated by the stellium of planets in Gemini-Cancer around her Ascendant, with Venus most closely conjunct and just above the horizon. Venus or Moon on the angles are commonly found among actresses who become sex symbols, and natives with those placements are successful at embodying, portraying, and expressing the most feminine archetypes. Her chart is doubly activated in this regard (befitting a Gemini) because not only is Venus on her Ascendant, but the Moon is at her Midheaven in Aries.

A Cancer rising with an angular Moon (ruler of Cancer) gives her a face that is a photographer’s dream. Several famous actresses have had a Cancer Sun or Moon -- such as Greta Garbo and Meryl Streep. Their faces express their feelings without any script necessary, and are often lit by an inner luminosity. Stop and notice her face’s rounded outlines sometime.

This stellium is further activated by a Moon-Mars-Jupiter placements in Aries, squaring her Saturn in Cancer. From all I have read about astrology and about Angelina Jolie, I feel this is the key driving force behind her personality and her professional ambition. Saturn squaring these personal planets gives an unusual somberness to her as a young person, as she suffered through a youth without a father -- (her parents separated when she was only a year old) -- but it also gives her the discipline to achieve her career goals. Her Saturn in Cancer shows the emotional wounding and rejection that she felt deeply growing up without a father at home, and possibly made her emotionally needy in her youth. It also tends to make one feel like an alien in one’s own family, and to create a new family based on one’s personal connection to others rather than a blood relationship.

A Mars in Aries is extremely high energy, extremely independent, refuses demands put on her by others, and can be abrasive if not raised to practice normal social etiquette. A Moon in Aries is also very independent, to the point where the native might prefer living alone rather than risk stating one’s needs and try to work out one’s differences. This Moon also is not very comfortable expressing emotion unless in control of the situation -- a dynamic that fits perfectly with expressing only as much emotion as is called for in a script, in a film where she gets no rude surprises from others’ emotional outbursts. Her Jupiter (ruler of actors) in Aries in the tenth house of career expresses perfectly her great luck as an actress, especially considering that Sagittarius, ruled by Jupiter, is her fifth house of creativity and rules the stage, acting -- and children.

One factor that jumps out at me is that her Moon is her ruling sign, due to her Cancer ascendant, it is not only placed near the Midheaven, but it is at a critical degree -- 13 degrees of Aries, a cardinal sign. [I will have to write an article on critical degrees sometime soon to explain more about this, but the critical degrees are: zero, 13 and 26 of the Cardinal signs (Aries Cancer Libra and Capricorn), 8-9 and 21-22 degrees of the Fixed signs (Taurus Leo Scorpio Aquarius) and 4 and 17 degrees of the Mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo Sagittarius Pisces)]

This puts an great emphasis on the things ruled by that planet in her life and career. Her acting career utilizes her feelings and memories, and what is unusual in a female sex symbol is that many of her roles have been action oriented, befitting an Aries placement.

Look at some details of her teen years, look at some of the roles in her career, that seem tailored to express a Moon-Mars in Aries square the Saturn in Cancer -- at 14 she wore black, adored the gothic look, and considered a career as funeral director; a criminal’s moll in ‘Playing God’, a dying drug addict in ‘Gia’, a police officer coping with her father’s suicide in ‘The Bone Collector’, a sociopath free-spirited friend in ‘Girl, Interrupted’, another criminal’s moll in ‘Gone in 60 Seconds’, the action hero of ‘Lara Croft’, a mail-order bride in the thriller ‘Original Sin’, a dying TV reporter in ‘Life or Something Like It’, another thriller role in ‘Taking Lives’, an adventure role in the sci-fi film ‘Sky Captain’, an ACTION-comedy film ‘Mr & Mrs Smith’ where she plays a hit-woman, a CIA wife in ‘The Good Shepherd’, the wife of a kidnapped and murdered reporter in ‘Mighty Heart’. I mean, these are not your typical frothy sex symbol roles.

Is it any wonder that she at one time had a tattoo of the Chinese character for death? In keeping with her transformation into a mother figure, having adopted children from every continent and about to give birth to twins, she has had that tattoo removed. As an archetype, she has gone from being a 'Tomb Raider' to being 'The Cradle of Life'.

As her progressed Sun moved thru her chart, it eventually entered the sign of her Ascendant, Cancer. When it hit 6 degrees Cancer, it triggered a square to her natal Pluto at 6 degrees Libra. Pluto is concerned with death, it’s true, but it is also part of the intergenerational legacy bequeathed by one generation to the next, whether it is property or DNA. Pluto is evolution and survival of the species. Pluto in Libra in particular is convinced that it can transform the world and bring about greater cooperation between nations. She is building her own little United Nations in her growing brood, with children representing every continent. Her personal progression to Pluto must have spawned the desire to leave a personal legacy that meant something to her. Not only does she work as a U.N. ambassador, but she also leaves her DNA encoded in her daughter Shiloh and the twins expected any day now.

Pluto was further activated by her filming of the first Lara Croft film in Cambodia; ‘Lara Croft: Tomb Raider’ was released in 2001 -- in August of that year, Maddox (the child she would later adopt in March of 2002) was born and she was also named a U.N. Ambassador. She willingly ditched hubby Billy Bob Thornton, whom she had married May 5, 2000, when he preferred a life unencumbered with babies. In 2005, she both released a big hit co-starring Brad Pitt with ‘Mr & Mrs Smith’ and adopted Zahara. She and Brad have obviously been an item ever since, and gave birth to their biological child Shiloh, another Gemini, born in Namibia on May 27, 2006. Her brood grew again when she adopted Pax from Vietnam in 2007.

What is it about all these foreign babies that struck the motherhood chord in her heart? Her Moon is in the ninth house of long trips and world affairs. And Aries’ ruler Mars is there, too. Her fifth house of children is Sagittarius, the ruler of that ninth house; Sag’s ruler Jupiter is at the top of the chart in the tenth, suggesting that children are her second career.

Let’s back up a bit and look at her marriages. Not everyone knows that Jolie first married on March 28, 1996 to J Lee (Lonny) Miller in Los Angeles. What stands out about that chart? It has a lot of Aries energy with Mars, the Sun, and Mercury there. They trine Pluto in Sagittarius, and sextile Uranus in Aquarius. They also trine her North Node and Neptune in Sagittarius. Venus trines Neptune in earth signs, but this does not resonate with Jolie’s chart as her chart is a bit unusual in that it HAS NO EARTH PLACEMENTS. The wedding’s Moon is in Cancer, which ought to have helped her feel nurtured and nurturing, but they divorced three years later. The Moon was applying to a trine to Saturn in Pisces, as well as an opposition to Neptune; progressions to an event Saturn can predict the end of the situation, so it did not take long for the Moon to progress to an exact aspect and end it.

Next up, the aforementioned celebrity wedding to Billy Bob Thornton on May 5, 2000 in Los Angeles. This one is interesting because of some Pluto-Neptune aspects. Her natal Sun was opposite event Pluto as well as natal Neptune; the event Pluto trined her Aries stellium, and event Neptune trined her natal Pluto. She may have had some kind of Gothic romantic idea about theirs being a fated love, involving a romantic notion (Neptune) of transformational alchemy (Pluto).

At any rate, the wedding had a stellium in Taurus, with Venus, Mercury, Sun, Jupiter and Saturn in the sign of the bull. All that fixity was just not Angelina’s thing. Having no earth placements in her own natal chart, I don’t see how she could adapt to living in just one place and putting down any roots. And with the Sun applying to a conjunction to Saturn, it could not have lasted more than four years and in fact it began to splinter under these heavy-duty energies very quickly. They were divorced in May of 2003.

What’s in the stars for Angelina Jolie this year? The New Moon in Gemini the day before her birthday puts a lot of energy into the Gemini energies of her chart. This Moon is also sextile Mars in Leo, which in turn is trining her natal Aries planets. I see a happy and healthy addition to her family; she is reportedly carrying twins which is befitting a Gemini New Moon. One twin should be a boon companion to the little Leo member of the brood, Maddox, and also to the Arian, Pax. These twins will I predict grow up to be more like friends to Angelina than children.
The New Moon Saturn in Virgo will square Angelina’s Nodes, so the babies may be more of a burden or may require closer attention than the other kids for awhile. Angelina’s progressed Mars entered Taurus a couple years ago, which is probably also a factor in making her more nurturing and stable, and that Mars is trining transiting Saturn in Virgo. This enhances her discipline and ability to work hard and attend to detail this year. It also gives her a tie between her natal chart and some earth planets, so I look to hear something about her and Brad establishing a main home base or tying the knot.

The lunation Neptune is trining her progressed Mercury (and possible Moon), making her feel that her ideals and daydreams are being realized at last. It also enhances her ability to empathize and understand others, and aids in any form of communication. The lunation Jupiter is squaring the progressed Jupiter, so I expect her year will be pretty hectic and she will spread herself too thin with too many commitments.

Happy birthday, Angelina Jolie, and Best Wishes for a great solar return!

Our Sun to Shed Light on Dark Matter of the Universe

The CERN Solar Telescope project in Geneva has built a superconducting magnet, which they hope will convert the ethereal solar axions back into detectable flashes of X-Rays. A Berkeley team is instead counting on the coronal magnetic field of the sun itself, using satellite imaging to map the photons from this intense field. This might allow them to find the signature variations of axion-photon conversion, though considering the sun is a vast fusion reactor for producing light, it'll be a case of finding the Nobel-prizewinning needle in the luminescent haystack.

Celestial Clues Support Story of Homer’s Odyssey

Homer wrote two classic works, the Iliad and the Odyssey. The Odyssey was probably written towards the end of the eighth century, and follows the the Greek hero Odysseus (aka Ulysses) on his long journey home after the fall of Troy. The text states that there was a lunar eclipse upon the hero's return to his homeland. From a press release from the Laboratory of Mathematical Physics at Rockefeller and the Proyecto Observatorio at the Observatorio Astronómico in La Plata, Argentina.

The day of the slaughter is, as Homer writes more than once, also a new moon (something that's also a prerequisite for a total eclipse). Six days before the slaughter, Venus is visible and high in the sky. Twenty-nine days before, two constellations -- the Pleiades and Boötes -- are simultaneously visible at sunset. And 33 days before, Homer may be suggesting that Mercury is high at dawn and near the western end of its trajectory.

Now Magnasco and Baikouzis are assuming that the reference to Mercury is in fact a reference to the planet, and not the mythical god, who also went by the Greek name Hermes, which was who Homer would have written about. What they found was, when they limited their search to within a hundred years of the fall of Troy, there was only one point in time where all four celestial events lined up as described in the Odyseey: April 16, 1178 BC.

Viva la Astronomie! Viva la Astrologie! Viva la Odyssey!