The War of Earth and Sky

Saturn’s opposition to Uranus reaches its excruciating zenith any moment now and I for one will be delighted to have the tension past its peak: like an overtightened violin string, it is sounding more than a few screechy notes in life’s orchestra. Despite the inherent discomfort of this transit though, it can be leveraged, both as an excellent opportunity to realise personal growth and too, to fine-tune your connection with a metaphysical Universe. The opposition then is a lesson in disguise – and one that contains enormous potential benefits if you understand the harmonies of the planets – the first task for any aspiring metaphysician then, is to see the possibility that the echoes of those divine notes are manifest within the events, attitudes and situations which surround us every day of our lives. Once you have acknowledged this perspective, then you are on your way to a paradigm shift in consciousness. Skill simply grows with application and learning.

Saturn and Uranus have myriad correspondences, but they are profoundly antithetic, for this reason, any aspect between them is fraught with tension. It is an ancient battle; the elder Gods of earth and sky have been at war for as long as people have looked on and witnessed, with awe and consternation, the clash of elements. Everyday that same struggle is replayed in the clash of personalities and belief systems that is reenacted in homes, families, places of work and in the political and religious spheres of the entire planet. The opposition therefore offers a glimpse of that archetypal energy to be scryed in all of our relationships and struggles.

Fundamentally, the battle is between the old and the new and that is most likely to be expressed in the struggle to realise change in the face of resistance. On one level, this might mean that banking institutions are forced to reform their practices, accrued over centuries and reflecting a time where poverty was akin to criminality: the bankers were a wealthy elite who were able to manipulate the social clay into forms of their own choosing. The traditional banker is Saturn therefore, forced to contemplate radical reform – Uranus – in the guise of new charging structures, government bail-outs, and with the Saturn – Uranus opposition in square with Pluto in Capricorn, the transformation of old business models is the only way to balance the tension of these two ancient adversaries. At another level, you may be struggling with the same issues – writ small perhaps, but no less personally compelling for that fact – in your own life, where you are experiencing the same clash of old and new, traditional and avant-garde and one of the most interesting insights is to identify where you are involved in a power-struggle – because the squares to Pluto are manifesting the oppositional tension – and which side of the ancient divide you have fallen on.

In my own life I have become embroiled in a struggle between Catholicism and astrology: inevitably, my choice to fall on the side of Uranus was no choice (in the sense that I have never attacked Catholicism, but I have been attacked for being an astrologer by those with strongly held Catholic beliefs) but it is powerfully synchronous all the same to count the metaphysical correspondences. I have a Uranus-Pluto conjunction while my adversaries have Saturn conjunct Pluto, so the tee-square of Saturn and Uranus to Pluto is drawing out the powerful unconscious forces between us, casting us in the ancient mould of Saturn versus Uranus. Inevitably, I am cast as the breaker of the traditional and the wrecker of sensible good-order. This is yet another feature of the struggle: Saturn casts Uranus in his role – not as a necessary revolutionary agent – but as something sinister: his new way is denounced as irresponsible, anathema to Saturn of course, and it is often remarkable how one’s allegiance is projected in this way. In recent months I have witnessed the language of Saturn, a veritable list of Saturnine keywords in fact, repurposed, fashioned into barbs, and slung unceremoniously in my direction. Deeply uncomfortable of course, but at the same time fascinating to witness.

So where in your life has this battle been taking place? If there is a power-struggle in your life, it will probably have emerged into the open over the last few months as the tee-square took shape, although its genesis would have occurred in the latter part of 2008 when the first opposition between these two behemoths was formed (partile on 3rd November 2008, but palpable from September onward. As an aside, the last time these oppositions were in the heavens was between March 1965 and January 1967: in January 1967, the Human Be-In in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco popularized hippie culture, leading to the legendary Summer of Love on the West Coast of the United States, and the 1969 Woodstock Festival on the East Coast.) You will have found yourself on one side or the other: adopting the role of Saturn or Uranus and perhaps accusing or defending on the basis of one perspective or the other. Here’s how it works:

  • If you are defending on the basis of your being responsible, sensible, of good-standing, successful, burdened, restricted, unfairly weighed down with responsibility, and reliable, or if you are attacking on the basis of your opponent being unreliable, irresponsible, a loser, weird, a misfit, mad, bad or dangerous to know, then you are in the role of Saturn and you are opposing Uranus.
  • If you are defending on the basis of being carefree, exciting, original, different, inclusive, revolutionary, being a risk-taker, wanting freedom or advocating positive change or of you are attacking on the basis of your opponent being dull, over-cautious, staid, fearful, repressed, oppressive, authoritarian or status-obsessed, then you are in the role of Uranus and you are opposing Saturn.

In general terms, with the opposition falling across the Libra – Aries axis and tee-squaring Pluto in Capricorn (thus disposited by Saturn), the weight is with Saturn, so the Saturnine types are much more likely to be those with the power agenda (because Pluto is Saturn’s servant). This doesn’t mean that Saturn will win, as we will see later, the only winners are going to be those who can keep themselves in check. With Aries-Libra configured the battleground will be over themes of relating, and it may well be disguised as what is best for the other person (that is the struggle between the rulers of Aries and Libra, Mars and Venus otherwise known as I know what’s best for you. The Aries – Libra opposition disguises its own agenda in concern for someone else and because Mars is selfish and Venus is cooperative, the opposition is experienced as one person trying to force the other to compromise, using Saturn and Uranus as the chief protagonists. Look to the house positions of the opposition to gauge its nuances. In my own case the opposition falls across the 6th and 12th: I have been accused (for example) of doing the “work of the devil” in recent weeks. Work is the 6th, and the devil is clearly Uranus cast in the role of mad, bad and dangerous to know with 12th house – religious – overtones. Uranus rules astrology, and Saturn conventional religious perspectives (like Catholicism), so it is simply the old battle being manifest. Awful to experience but fascinating to witness as I have said.

Understanding and identifying the effects of the opposition in your own nativity are quite straightforward, and there are many benefits to doing so; not the least of which is through gaining an appreciation that transits, especially when forming intense configurations, always have a profound influence on our life direction and situation, even if only through the medium of related natal placements. You are much more likely to be affected by these dynamics if you have planets in the Aries’ Points, or at the middle of the fixed signs. People born in 1972 for example, are likely to be seriously pressured under these transits because of the presence of Pluto in the first degree of Libra. Similarly, those born between 1946 and 1949, where Pluto transited the midpoint degrees of Leo, will be drawn in to these power-struggles. Anyone born between 1990 and 1993 also, with Pluto in the middle degrees of Scorpio. Bizarrely (or not actually), everyone that I know born in these years has been drawn into an intense and destructive power-struggle at this time.

The same dynamic will manifest according to the nature of the aspecting point in the nativity, so, if your Moon aspects the Aries’ Points – as Mel Gibson’s does at 00Li00 – then expect power struggles with families, mothers, wives and women in general. If Neptune is involved, as it is for anyone born in 1942 and 1963-4, then deceptions, confusion, dissolution and escapism all feature in the power-struggle dynamic, difficult dreams are a feature for these people. Consider too those children born in 2004 with Neptune at the midpoint degree of Aquarius, who may be struggling with nightmares at this time as the power-struggle emanates into the Neptunian subconscious realms.

Today, and in previous days, there have been numerous stories in the news of ambushes and knife attacks. The most celebrated is the story of Raoul Moat who ambushed a policeman and his ex-girlfriend and her new lover, the latter who died. He became, in the public consciousness Uranus and some applauded him as a kind of misunderstood misfit and potential folk-hero (Uranus/11th house) while others, especially establishment figures like the British Prime Minister were moved to condemn him and his supporters as irresponsible. Ambushes, knife attacks and prejudice are themes commonly associated with the asteroid Hopi which is currently configured with Uranus at 00Ar07, bound up irredeemably with the power-struggle dynamic. Knife attacks have been ten to the penny in the news over the last few days after a groom slashed his bride’s throat ,a man stabbed his new stepmother to death and a paramedic ambushed and stabbed a nurse in the car park of the hospital where they both worked. These are just a few of the more prominent ambush and stabbing stories of recent days.

And, in each of these cases, they are people who, unaware of the metaphysical Universe in which they live, have lost all perspective in the struggle between the old ways and the new and – determined to prevail at all costs – have simply eliminated the opposition. One of the key problems with the Saturn – Pluto energy in particular is that, when under duress, it becomes extremely authoritarian, judgmental and incompassionate and it fixes on a position until the point where Uranus does what Uranus does best: he rebels. Then everyone is cast in their familiar old roles: the responsible versus the irresponsible or the oppressive against the liberating, depending on your perspective.

Make no mistake though, the opposition itself is a front. The opposition is where all the action is taking place, but the presence of Pluto at the squaring point – around 0° of Capricorn, is the real agenda, but because Pluto is receiving the tense energy, he is simply doing what Pluto always does, and keeping himself hidden.

If the opposition falls across the 1st and 7th then ostensibly there is opposition between yourself and your most intimate partner because one of you wants more freedom and the other wants more security, but the hidden agenda is about how things appear (10th) or about family or property or some problem located in the distant past (4th).

If the 2nd and 8th are involved in the opposition then the outward manifestation of that tension is to do with money, debt, inheritance or self-esteem but the true agenda is children, the way you express yourself or what you want to do for enjoyment (including love affairs) – 5th house, or its politics, at whatever level (11th).

These examples should give you some idea how the tee-square might be affecting you. If you see that happening then you gain a real insight into the metaphysical Universe and how it really does affect us in our everyday endeavours: and in seeing that you are given the opportunity to realise that you are not compelled to act upon the pressures of the planets. If we understand that here is a subtle but very powerful pressure to pit Saturn against Uranus and to adopt one stance or the other, then we can determine to resist that pernicious energy, let it wash over us instead of weighing us down. And this is no idle ideal either: because we have to be careful not to allow ourselves to be cornered by the dictates of the aspectual tension. Consider the case of the groom who tried to murder his fiancée when she called off the wedding: clearly, the impetus existed to formalise and traditionalise their relationship (Saturn), she wanted out and called off the marriage (Uranus), so he attempted to kill her (Pluto). It is without doubt a very extreme example, but it illustrates very neatly the conceptual exchange of energies.

As explained earlier, there is particular danger in adopting the Saturn position, because Saturn has rulership of Pluto within the aspect pattern, so the urge to control, overpower and destroy the Uranian rebels will come naturally and unquestioned at this time, but it will almost certainly backfire in the long-term. Similarly, in following the chain of rulerships we see that Uranus rules Neptune, so victimisation comes into play here too. Uranus will utilise evasion to attempt to escape from Saturn’s strictures. Victimisation (real or imagined) may become a theme, and much of the negative energy for the Uranian will be channeled into wishing that things were different: Neptune really doesn’t enjoy brutality and bullying.

Of course, it’s not over yet. August will be a tough month as Jupiter first squares Pluto on the 3rd, which will up the ante for sure in any power struggle and then opposes Saturn on the 16th; then old Pain and Torment get together for a last-ditch oppressfest on the 21st, when Saturn squares Pluto at 3 Libra and Capricorn respectively. That will be the final salvo in the war between earth and sky, thankfully, but the devastation left might be more than anyone bargained for.

(How have you experienced the old battle? All war-stories gratefully received!)

Pluto tee-square: Secrets Revealed

Another of the intriguing possibilities of the upcoming tee-square is that of “secrets revealed.” This is already under way, and within the next few months I believe that conspiracy theorists (itself a pejorative label designed to discredit an idea before it has a chance to be examined without prejudice) will have, not so much a field day as a field year in 2010.

America is especially vulnerable, and I have reasons for saying this that are entirely astrological. I will write that up too if I get the chance.

It is already quite self-evident to anyone who examines the evidence on its own merits that the 9/11 attacks cannot have been orchestrated without – at best- considerable assistance from government. This story will probably gain wider acceptance over the coming days and weeks, with the Tower Seven controversy gradually being unravelled, and of course the Pentagon farce (watch the short film clip above) is pretty much an open and shut case for anyone who wants to investigate the matter even half-heartedly.I would say this too: if you’re struggling to believe that the American government perpetrated the 9/11 attacks then investigate the theories yourself. I did, and I was amazed at what I learned.

You put all this together and what you have is clearly a conspiracy, and no less real than the theory of gravity. The American government itself perpetrated the attacks on 9/11 as a justification for the War on Terror which itself is simply an expedience for removing civil liberties in anticipation of the soon to be revealed financial collapse when the banks suspend specie payments (as they did in 1929). This is reflected in my own understanding of the astrology: I predicted that there would be broken contracts thus: “The Hadean mistake that opposes this is in Cancer, so the problem relates to property, and with Pluto, property loans, mortgages, credit obtained against the value of real-estate. We’ve seen this dynamic over the last couple of years plain as day in the so called credit (Pluto) crunch (square Saturn), but this Cardinal Cross is the crisis point because the financial experts (Kronos) made a big mistake (Hades) and now the piper has to be paid. Jupiter is retrograde and opposed by Saturn/Lilith, I’d say this means that the ordinary people are the ones that lose out; contracts get broken, confidence collapses and everyone starts to realise just how big (Jupiter) the mistake (Hades) is.

I have revised this understanding upon further study. Hades in this guise does not represent so much of a mistake as a deliberately invidious policy, one designed to manipulatively undermine. Of course Hades does also represent a past condition which causes a difficulty in the present. Pluto is in Capricorn, thus government and the means of enforcing control is entirely financial. The suspension of specie payments is the mechanism whereby the central bank (of any nation, the Fed, the Bank of England, the Deutschebank whatever) can decide, in an emergency, that they don’t have to honour their debts, but you, who have loans and mortgages and so forth, do. This means that they can call in your mortgage and if you can’t pay it there and then, they repossess your property. You’re destitute. If you think it can’t happen: wake up. It’s exactly what happened in 1929, go and look it up for yourself if you don’t believe me: just Google “suspension of specie payments. It essentially means that when the financial collapse does occur, the banks don’t have to honour the value of your money (their debt), but you do have to honour yours.

For all these reasons and more I think we are in the endgame of a global conspiracy and it will all become clear this year.

Now I am not going to recommend that you sell your house: I have some tricky Neptune transits just now so I cannot be entirely sure that my perspective is clear, but I am already making plans to secure my position before the summer of this year.

I still have a long article to post – perhaps later today – it is already written but I need to tidy up a few references. Other than that I am giving serious consideration to suspending the taking on of any further clients for nativity readings and so forth  in the near future because I want to concentrate on working out what is going on and preparing for the coming upheavals.

If you’re interested in having your astrology looked at by me therefore, then I suggest you get your order in soon.

Pluto tee square: sell, sell, sell!

I (still) have a new article on the way, but I have had some family dramas over the last few days and work is pressing, here is another quick update on the upcoming tee-square.

The last time that Uranus made partile square to Pluto was in 1932, approximately two and a bit years after the great stock market collapse of October 1929. In 1930 there was a tee-square involving Saturn Uranus and Pluto. There are a number of other correlations too: that was also the last time that Uranus was in Aries (suddenly going back to basics), the tee-square was cardinal, but more toward the middle degrees of the signs, and the reason that I think that this affected the USA most specifically is because the tee-square had Uranus as the apex planet which was opposing the USA’s Saturn. The USA’s Sun squares Saturn from its position applying to the cusp of the 8th house of credit, stock markets and so forth, thus this is a threat to the nation’s health (Sun-Saturn). The presence of Sun-Saturn represents an innate problem, a birth defect if you like, which weakens the overall constitution of the native. This is a congenital weakness for the US: if anything is going to kill the patient (square Pluto) then it will be due to this hereditary problem: an over-reliance on credit, on get-rich quick schemes, on living large: Jupiter rules the chart, applying to the 8th too. Excess, (Sun + Jup vs. Sat) is the congenital weakness.

I’ve already stated how, in a previous article (a little further down this page) the upcoming cardinal tee-square seems to indicate the possibility of a major financial collapse because of the as yet unrevealed scope of the property bubble being burst. This time however, the Aries’ Points are involved, and that seems to suggest that the whole world will be affected. It’s a global financial collapse this time.

My problem lies in convincing people that this needs to be taken seriously, (and actually in convincing myself naturellement) we all need to start getting acclimatised to living more sustainable lives, because very soon there will be too few resources to go around. I take no comfort from the symptoms either. If we count back the same length of time from the last time Uranus and Pluto was in partile square from the next time it is (June 2012) then we arrive at 2010.

In 1929 the stock market crash occurred as a direct result of the Roaring Twenties, and it was the excess of that decade which is widely blamed for the subsequent collapse. Does that seem at all familiar?

And then there’s the archetypal nature of the squaring planets to consider too: Uranus (sudden) square (breakdowns) Pluto (of financial systems).

It just doesn’t look good, people.

Pluto tee-square: move to defcon 3!

Later on today, I will be posting an extensive article, primarily about Mercury and Saturn, but before that happens, I have been extremely intrigued by the sheer number of astrological pointers that are cropping up in the news just now that specifically reference the Saturn-Uranus-Pluto tee-square across the cardinal points.

  • Bill Clinton is undergoing heart surgery (and has radix Saturn and Pluto in Leo, with Hygeia on the Aries Point) / (Transiting: Saturn-Uranus, inhibitions of rhythm, heart-block). This is a genuinely dangerous time for the Pluto in Leo generation who have Saturn conjoined, they definitely need to be transcending their control needs just now.
  • Two premiership footballers (soccer players) have suffered broken bones this week (Ashley Cole, Ryan Giggs), and I fully expect there to be more in the coming weeks. (Saturn – bones/ Uranus – sudden breaks).
  • Alexander McQueen, the celebrated fashion designer apparently committed suicide yesterday, he was a typical Uranian in the sense that he was avant-garde, shocking and relentlessly unconventional in his approach; these were, if you like, his USP’s. Yesterday Uranus was within a degree (applying) of conjunction with radix Sun and within a degree (separating) of opposing radix Pluto, thus effectively giving Ur=Su/Pl. At the same time Saturn was transiting his natal Jupiter/Uranus conunction and opposing Chiron (Ur opp. Ch being his closest aspect!) Sudden feelings of loss and isolation therefore, precipitating a crisis. His mother died a few days ago as Saturn transited quincunx his natal Moon (loss of the mother).

For all of these reasons (and many more that I am witnessing in the people around me) it is becoming increasingly evident that the process is gearing up right now. I intend to write another article exploring the mundane effects of the tee-square to Pluto in the next few days, but (and here is the point), this is a period of immense pressure: have a care people! Try and maintain some perspective because it’s going to get worse before it gets better!

Remember, the more rigidly we cling to structures of control, the harder the Gods laugh. Hubris is a very pertinent word at this time, keep it at the forefront of your vocabulary.

Relationships and the Davison Composite

Today I would like to revisit the theme of relationship astrology, and explore another method of determining compatibility between two individuals by the analysis of their astrological combination. Typically this is achieved through synastry: the application of one nativity to another wherein the aspects between each party’s placements are studied. Of course, even before any synastry is considered, a study of the individuals’ horoscopes will expose considerable insight, about the conditions of the marriage, the probability of marital breakdown and the manner of it, clues about the character and disposition of the marriage partner and so forth. I discussed this method previously in my article on the astrology of marriage. Another approach is to use a midpoint calculator and to combine the mundane placements of every discrete shared point in the respective nativities to produce a third nativity. This is an interesting and insightful method that I have discussed before, however, it fails in one very key context which in some ways is difficult to reconcile with the underpinning theory of the stars: namely that the mundane midpoint composite is an entirely academic horoscope: it simply cannot exist in nature. That is to say it is a mathematical construct and is not therefore a nativity that has ever existed in time and space.

This does not discount its relevance and valuable insights can be gleaned from the midpoint composite. What might be more intriguing however is to take an absolute midpoint of two nativities in time and space: thus by finding the exact point in time between two births and the exact geographical location which lies at the midpoint of the two individuals and from that point create an entirely new astrology; and crucially one that does exist in space and time. This is a complex method of combination known as the Davison Composite and named after its creator Ronald Davison.

Therefore, and to utilise a simple example, if you were born at midday on the 1st of January in London and your partner at midday on the 3rd of January in Glasgow, then you would create a nativity for January 2nd at midday, somewhere near Manchester to realise the Davison composite.

Previously I used the example of Prince Charles and Princess Diana as a midpoint combination to study the extant themes. Here then is the Davison Composite for their partnership:

Davison Composite

Charles and Diana: Davison Composite

This chart is not nearly so comfortable and easy as the mundane midpoint combination. There is of course a wonderful emotional power in the grand water trine, an easy sense of outward responsibility across the earth houses. This evidently creates a sense of emotional security derived from those themes of status, easy living and easy money. Jupiter on the midheaven and in Cancer, the sign of tradition, family and all matters clannish really tells a story of royal good fortune and benefit. The good news is decidedly thin on the ground after this point however.

The chart ruler is profoundly stressed most distressingly from Mars and if you consider this in tandem with Saturn in Scorpio, tee-squared from inflexibly autocratic Pluto in Leo and abruptly plain-spoken Mercury in Aquarius then you have a genuine difficulty that will no doubt manifest most especially in the bedroom. Saturn in Scorpio creates an early sexual difficulty: eventually there might be respite, but the lifetime arc of relationships creates pressure to normalise relations early on: a theme of discomfort or dissatisfaction in the sex-life will not long be tolerated in a marriage, at best it will become a major theme of anguish for both parties. Mars in Taurus too creates an astoundingly slow-fuse, here anger and resentment can build over months and that slow-pressure manifests out into the 8th: where sex is a matter of biological necessity.

Therefore, in outward appearance, with Libra rising and a grand trine in water, Charles and Diana would have appeared to be blissfully content, but with the passage of time and the pressure of so much unusual public scrutiny, the lack of any real chemistry and passion would eventually take its toll. Venus conjunct Chiron is very much the pain of love, and in the 4th and Aquarius, it is a behind-closed-doors woundedness that comes of feeling the pressure of convention and expectation; the expectation of needing to be exceptionally in love.

Venus, the ruler, squared (albeit widely) to Neptune rising, most especially speaks to this difficulty. Here is a longing for purity and refinement in the love experience but one that cannot be realised and thus grates and wears down the optimism. The dreamy perfection of matrimonial appearance that is hinted at by Neptune rising in Libra cannot live up to expectations and like a piece of grit in the shoe it niggles.

Another intriguing aspect not included in the chart depiction is Venus quindecile Jupiter. Venus Jupiter always denotes the joy of love, expanding and improving the underpinning themes of relationship; however, with the quindecile it becomes an obsession, and invariably a difficulty is realised as a result. It is of course difficult to derive too much darkness from any combination of Venus and Jupiter, most likely the problem is one of too much of a good thing rather than any constriction or agony, but here the obsession might manifest as an expectation of love that becomes a compulsion of simply having to look good for the cameras.

Lastly, Pluto is supremely difficult. In Leo, he is not an easy power to transform and again the idea that all must appear perfect even when there are severe difficulties in the foundations is mooted. Mercury – Pluto creates a very peculiar communicative tendency within the relationship where what is not said becomes more important than what is said. There is always a sense between these two people that something is being hidden and that more than any other factor is creating the sexual tension as evinced by the Me/Pl tee square to Saturn in Scorpio. Mercury squared to Saturn is the closest major aspect in the chart too, so here is a real brake on easy communication, Saturn in Scorpio creates a test of secrecy among other things and the square creates distrust and too much conservatism, especially for Mercury in Aquarius which really wants to be a little provocative and outrageous at times.

In summation, had I been consulted about this particular relationship, I would have been concerned that whilst there was much potential for an outwardly successful partnership, the appearance of happiness and contentment would very quickly belie a deeper malaise. A very real incompatibility in sexual relations would need some committed work and profound honesty to overcome in the longer term and the tendency for resentment to fester would eventually poison the initial ease inherent in the union. This was a relationship, that according to the Davison composite at least, was always going to struggle.

The Astrology of Byronic Unhappiness

almost extinct...

The Byronic Man: almost extinct...

There is a consistent thread running through much of the new age spiritualism of our times, it is most easily rendered apparent through the understanding of the dichotomy between the head and the heart, the measurable of rational science and the immeasurable of non-rational wisdom; I have more than a passing familiarity with both; and I know in which direction I find the greater value. The debate polarises even the lowliest and most benighted thinkers, so of course it became especially interesting to me after reading Bertrand Russell’s classic of philosophical thinking: “The Conquest of Happiness”, because he makes a direct reference – albeit unintentionally – when he deconstructs the concept of Byronic Unhappiness. Ironically, Russell argues entirely from the head against the Byronic heart. When I first read the discussion – which I will summarise forthwith – I was initially sympathetic to Russell’s argument; but then, after walking ten miles by the sea and thinking it through, I am far less enamoured and I feel quite comfortable with declaring for Byron at this point.

Here is the argument. Russell claims that Byronic Unhappiness is propounded in the great man’s poetry, in the underlying angst of it which seems to suggest that “all is futility”, in the sense that people toil throughout the long days of their lives and in the end, it all comes to nought; thus – according to Byron, implicitly at least – the enlightened man understands this futility innately and is thus filled with a great yearning discontent, a void that cannot be filled – and here I am adding, because I feel that Byron would have understood this – by normal means. Russell argues though that this in itself does not make life an exercise in futility (and again, I don’t believe that even Byron would have drawn this conclusion, I actually think that Russell’s argument was based upon a false, or at least somewhat shaky premise) because there is still a practical point to things, yes, you may toil your whole life to procure material gain and then you can pass those results of your toil onto your children; the world goes on, all is as it should be and (crucially) there is no requirement to feel this existential angst as a result.

I think though that Russell has missed the point. Byron, surpassing the limiting strictures of the logical mind has entered into the numinous state; his angst is an end in itself, it is a feeling-toned experience of life that is its own justification; Byron lived (and died) in a near ongoing state of reverential ecstasy; he was the world’s first, and the archetypal birthing point of the rock star.

There is a story that tells of how Byron with the poet Shelley (and Shelley’s future wife Mary), spent a “wet, ungenial summer” at the home of his personal physician, John William Polidori in Switzerland, at the Villa Diodati by Lake Geneva. In that short, difficult time, Polidori wrote The Vampyre after being inspired by a tale of Byron’s making, the first example of the entire vampire genre; while Mary Shelley began the story that was eventually to become Frankenstein, while Byron himself composed the first fleeting thoughts which were to become his never fully-realised magnum opus: Don Juan.

Quite frankly, when one reads of such moments in time, Russell, and his theories, can get stuffed. Bertrand Russell for his own part is probably best known for his collaboration with Alfred Whitehead on Principia Mathematica (which has an alarmingly Newtonian ring to it), an attempt to prove that rational logic could answer the profound; I have not read it (nor shall I, I am no great mathematician), but detractors will tell you that it presupposes a prosaic universe, one that is intrinsically passionless and therefore by definition, does not require any grand Byronic tradition. Put simply, it appears that Russell, through a trick of fate that divested him of subjectively experiencing any great and raging emotional force, did not need to answer to such a condition. Russell went on to achieve another form of immortality, and it seems that each of these men became figureheads for their respective movements, Byron for the feeling man, and Russell for the thinking one, Russell, very much a man of his time has won out, and we live in a singularly rational age, and are undoubtedly the poorer for it. A pox on his philosophy (I say with only the gentlest malice), because neither he nor Byron for that matter, can escape the damning indictment of their individual astrologies. This (of course) is why there is an inevitable and inescapable realisation awaiting any person who has a view to discover meaning in this life; it is the blind watchmaker in reverse…

40)

Lord Byron, poet: January 22 1788, 14:00 London (+00:40)

Byron, mad, bad and dangerous to know (but quite cool with it probably)

Byron, mad, bad and dangerous to know (but quite cool with it probably)

Byron then evinces an astrology with one very clear defining feature; a Neptune that is the focal planet of a tee-square and tightly configured into a grand trine with Jupiter and Pluto; a true leader then, driven to express his dominance through Neptunian ideals, poetry, music, sensitivity. The Byronic hero of course does evince more than a dash of Pluto and some Jupiter as well, he is dashing, brave, tortured by God and his fellow man alike, and through it all he is unrepentant, and unbowed. This latter is contained in the tee-square, wilful and emotionally driven (Mo/Ur) and he communicates his indomitable discontent (me/Cap/8th by square). Neptune in Libra in the 5th, is dreamily romantic of course, but that is too the attracting principle; his 7th is ruled by Saturn which itself applies hard to the midheaven; thus a career marriage, and Byron certainly evinced that quality, marrying women until their money ran out and finding a new ‘sponsor’ accordingly. Mars rising in Cancer seems to suggest someone who is willing to fight for his homeland, and he was adopted by the Greeks in his latter days and actually died, if not in battle, at least due to the peculiar fatigue and tension that derived from a battle fought far from the usual domain of poets and dreamers: some say that had he lived, he might even have been made king of Greece, so esteemed was Lord Byron by that people.

56)

Bertrand Russell: mathematician, philosopher: 18 May 1872, 17:45 Trellech, Wales (+00:10:56)

How ironic then that the major feature of Russell’s own chart is a tee square to Neptune! Here though there is no grand trine to create an intrinsic sense of ease and enjoyment, it is just grating, hard and uncomfortable, and he is forced to address it; here in the 6th, it is almost trivial, and he makes it his life’s work of course. Feeding tension into that focal point however, is Saturn, in its domicile, in the 3rd of communication and writing, so he feels a need to structure Neptune; to rein it in and systematise it, he places a yoke about it, and decries the soft abandon of Neptune’s gently lapping tides that Byron felt so keenly in his soul. Russell’s rationality, and his denouncement of Byronic Unhappiness, is just a function of an overly comfortable Saturn in a not easily impressed Capricorn; and in the third, there is something of a ‘pull your socks up, stop pansying about and let me tell it like it is’ quality that is rather hard to deny.

Thus Russell, brilliant but dull. Byron, brilliant but mad. Both having lived their astrology like there was no tomorrow.

Denzel Washington: Gravitas personified

his stars outshine even Crowe...

Denzel: his stars outshine even Crowe...

One of my favourite pastimes as an astrologer is to take a look at the astrology of celebrities and notables that I like and try to discover whether or not my impression of them is at all justified. I used this method to determine which of Federer or Nadal I would support in the Wimbledon final (I wasn’t particularly bothered, but any game is improved with a sprinkling of zeal – and I went for Federer by the way) and I would quite happily use the same approach to determine the probable sincerity of a politician. As any good astrologer knows though, a study of any human being’s astrology makes them much more interesting to observe; I liken meeting a client post-interpretation to watching the film of a book you may have particularly enjoyed, and usually the big-screen version is rewarding. Studying the astrology of actors, performers and other public notables has led me to take in a great deal of culture that would not normally have intrigued me overmuch. I became distinctly enamoured of Annie Lennox’s music after looking at her astrology, so too with Edith Piaf and Nina Simone, my respect for Liz Greene actually increased post-study, so too with Germaine Greer (who is undoubtedly brilliant), not to mention Sylvia Plath, and then there are those empathic moments too, as with the astrology of Lady Jane Grey, which left me – quite frankly – anguished for several hours.

On a lighter note then, I intend today to make a brief foray into the astrology of Denzel Washington, whom for me can almost do no wrong and I fully expect him to improve as an actor considerably with age: and not just because he is a Capricorn either. He is, astrologically, the genuine article.

I will personalise this just a little by saying that I have always felt a natural liking for the sign Capricorn, I love the dry humour, the deadpan observational style, the sheer toughness and resilience of it and wherever it is found it creates a wonderful wry, self-deprecating and pleasantly implacable ambience in the character. When I was a young man, my sidekick Tich, an accomplished Jazz musician and troubadour, was almost 100% Capricorn and we travelled the length and breadth of the British Isles together with guitars, ephemerides and wacky haircuts and it was entirely down to his uncomplaining determination that we ended up belting out Dylan numbers to a crowd of enraptured fishermen on a beach at dusk in Lindisfarne, or getting through three festivals in a week as far apart as Stonehenge and Wales with no car.

00) Mount Vernon, NY

Denzel Washington, actor. 28 Dec 1954, 00:09 (+5:00) Mount Vernon, NY

Denzel has this same quietly implacable quality and how much?! His astrology is a textbook case and almost impossible to misinterpret in its single pointed foci. Note all the indicators of drive, brilliance, outstanding talent and in particular determination in the astrology, here are my delineations, in a vague order of precedence:

  1. Sun is near Cazimi with North Node, conjunct Mercury and all three elements together are Peregrine. This then is Capricorn unalloyed, the purest distillation of Capricorn in self-awareness, in a sense of destiny and in manner of speech. This would give phenomenal gravitas even if ptolemaically aspected, but here that sense of weight is off the charts.
  2. But look! Peregrine Moon in Aquarius as well! So whilst he may have a serious demeanour, he gets to be cool with it too. Moon in Aquarius is sometimes just too detached though, and where the Sun is in Air, it can make the native almost unengagable, but this dissociative note (peregrine Moon is always dissociative) is probably countered by the Capricorn impetus to mean something. The only fly in the ointment here is the concern that for all his presence and detachment, he might be unable to convey much humanity, but then…
  3. Mars trine Saturn not only gives enormous self-control, it gives incredible emotional power as well; especially with the Scorpio influence and a mutual reception between Moon and Uranus gives a near-genius for expressing the personal needs and inner life.
  4. The tee-square to Neptune provides the drive to be seen as “the actor” and creates a rather tense need to be perceived as sensitive; this, combined with Saturn would in my view, provide the undercurrent of slightly stressed sympathy that adds the essential dash of humanity to his controlled exterior. The tee square is especially intriguing, a close conjunction of Jupiter and Uranus for a start creates a likely ongoing increase in individuation, trine to Venus provides his film-star mannerisms, opposite Chiron in Capricorn – thus a feeling of not being taken seriously enough, in the 4th, probably stemming from childhood. Denzel was sent away to boarding school while his parents divorced, and Chiron in Capricorn creates a real need to be heard, one that is often thwarted, setting up a life that attempts to redeem itself through being given respect; of course that too is unbalanced with Jupiter/Uranus, so his deep sensitivity is difficult to reconcile with his outgoing, powerful individuality and all of that tension gets fed into his acting (Neptune), and this configuration really adds the drive so typical of the tee-square to the whole mix. Interesting to note that Denzel’s first movie was released within a month of Chiron’s discovery in 1977.
  5. The only dark note is suggested by Venus square Pluto which would have been applying genuine formative pressure by Solar Arc at age 3. It is in that light no surprise then that Moon is peregrine and that his parents divorced fairly early in his life. There is a rift here with the mother and that sense of emotional isolation that accompanies peregrination of the Moon is here underpinned. Saturn too applies to square Pluto by SA at age 9, and I would bet good money that this was when the divorce was decided, even though the disintegration of the relationship started some 6 years beforehand. Wherever Saturn is configured with Pluto the outcome is usually hard-work, and across the Leo – Scorpio quarter it is especially rigid, inflexible and uncompromising.

Put it all together and you begin to perceive the underlying quality of the entire persona; the key experiential statement then for me is one of great power, gravitas and expressive potency, fuelled by intensely controlled emotions, a need to be heard and taken seriously and a drive to let go of a difficult and uncomfortable sensitivity, itself the legacy of an unhappy and isolated childhood, but with an overall impetus to gradual self-exaltation. Denzel will only get better.