The January Effect

It is funny how we set up barriers in places that are really very arbitrary. I live in Queens, New York, very near the Throgs Neck Bridge, and I could be in the Bronx in 5 minutes. But I'd have to go over a bridge, and in my mind the Bronx is as far away as Cleveland (where I'll be in February, speaking at the International Academy of Astrology, by the way).

There are two times each year when I set up a similar barrier, but in time rather than space. One is September, the time of going back to school. Due to the whole process of education, I set that barrier up rather strongly as a kid, and now although it may be August 25th, in my mind September is still months in the future.

The other is January 1st, the beginning of the New Year. Intellectually, of course, I know it is days away, but my emotional understanding still makes January sometime next year. That doesn't affect the way I do astrology, I should emphasize, just the way I picture time in my mind.

This year, though, there are hot aspects that tie the end of December to the first couple of weeks in January. Beginning around the full moon/Uranus station on the 17th, and extending through Christmas Day and peaking right around New Year's Eve, we have very intense energy as Mars weighs in on the Uranus-Pluto square (which has become the Uranus-Pluto-Jupiter T-square and with Mars is now a Grand Cross). This otherwise quiet time of year, when Yin energy predominates and we are drawn inwards, is lit up by these intense aspects.

Pay attention to what happens around the 1st of the year. This next week is setting the table for the most intense week of the decade, which will be in late April of 2014. Issues that emerge now will be hot for some time, and/or will point to areas that are about to become hot. We're in a crucible of change where holding on is not an option and going with the flow may be very scary at times. And the astrology of late December and early January links things together in a way that is sure to be strong enough to make even me see it as one continuous time.


With Venus going retrograde last week, it's been a time to reassess and reevaluate. One of the most striking features of this process has been a series of pardons issued by various governments.

Vladimir Putin has been leading the pardon pack, closing the case against Greenpeace activists arrested in the arctic circle, letting political rival Mikhail Khodorkovsky out of jail, and also freeing the two Pussy Riot members who were still incarcerated (they warned that we shouldn't be lulled into any warm and fuzzy feelings for Putin). It may all be a strategy for cooling criticism as the Sochi Winter Olympics approach, but it does show that Putin recognizes where the criticism would fall.

President Obama commuted the sentence of 8 people convicted on federal cocaine charges. He did so two days before the retrograde, citing an unfair system.

Perhaps most significantly, there was some talk of amnesty for Edward Snowden. The consideration of amnesty may be more about shutting him up so that he doesn't release any more of the many documents it is assumed he still has in his possession. Yet as Mars opposed Uranus this Christmas Day, Snowden - clearly the poster child of Uranus in Aries - announced boldly that he has "already won" by making it clear just extensively the government is spying on its citizens.

Many people have mixed feeling or vilify Snowden, but he has unquestionably raised one of the most important issues of the Uranus-Pluto square. An individual who rebelled (Uranus is Aries) against excessive government power (Pluto in Capricorn) might otherwise be hailed as a hero and a patriot, but the other side of Pluto in Capricorn is fear, and we shouldn't forget that those extensive government powers were given by American people, even if rather passively.

Finally, in a classic case of a little too little, a little too late, Queen Elizabeth pardoned another spymaster, Alan Turing. But Turing didn't work against the government but for it. His was a more personal 'crime' - Turing committed suicide after being chemically castrated for having gay sex, which was a crime in Great Britain in 1952. A reminder that although we aren't sailing through easy times today, the good old days that people often pine for were bad, bad, bad.

Where on Earth?

The Capricorn Ingress and Venus Station

Ah, to be an old-timey astrologer. You only had to focus on your own city. That won’t do today in our interconnected world, so when we have significant astrological aspects, we have to look around the globe to see where the hot spots are...

This December 21st, we had two big events, the Capricorn ingress (Winter Solstice) and Venus stationing to retrograde. These two events happened within a few hours of each other, so the charts are similar - but because the Earth keeps spinning, they fall in different parts of the world.

At the ingress, Pluto lands right on Dublin, suggesting that we might keep our eyes on Ireland.

Jupiter is prominent in London and Seattle, but although that might be good news, we should keep in mind that the Greater Benefic is now knitted into the Uranus-Pluto square. Hot aspects during the first week in January will turn up the heat, and the results may be more excessive than helpful.

Mars makes an appearance in Santiago, Chile, so keep an eye on the news from this recently-pretty-quiet country.

I hate to sound New York-centric, but as with the recent solar eclipse, The Big Apple is once again highlighted, this time with Uranus rising and Mars on the midheaven.

At the eclipse, I suggested public transportation problems, and the crash of a Metronorth train a few weeks later seems to have fit the bill. The opposition of Uranus to NYC’s Jupiter suggested a turnaround, and Democrat Bill DeBlasio was elected to replace Jupitercrat Mike Bloomberg.

The cosmic weather from both the eclipse (which is still active) and the ingress suggest that even difficult events like the train crash are only one level of manifestation. Something is cooking beneath the surface...

At the Venus station, the goddess of love (and values) was on the midheaven just a little east (and south) of Los Angeles. It will be interesting to see what happens in film over the traditionally strong Christmas season.

There is a wide swath of southeastern Australia that is touched by both the ingress and the station.

Of course, to really get a sense of what and where, you need to look at the chart of the place, as well as when and where ‘trigger’ aspects like those from the moon take place. Remember, too, that the ingress sets the tone especially for the next three months, and then reverberates for the entire year. There’s sure to be a lot going on everywhere in 2014, but the places highlighted at the ingress may have key symbolic events that are worth noting.

Yin and Yang

It’s funny that we plan for the holidays when the sun is in bright, optimistic Sagittarius, but they arrive when Sol has moved into practical Capricorn.

I love Sagittarius. Not so much people who are born under that sign - although you all are great, too - but the time each year when the sun is in Sag. On the one hand, it really is the Yin time of year, when the days are shortest (in the Northern Hemisphere) and the light is ebbing.

Yet it is so easy to see why Sag is a bright Fire sign. There’s an optimism and hope associated with the sign. Sure, the days are dark, but we’ll make our own light! From Chanukah and Kwanza candles to Christmas lights adoring trees, houses, and streets, we kindle our own light at this time of the year, lighting the darkness. No doubt these festivals of light started as ways to both celebrate and encourage the return of the sun, who sinks southwards each day during Sag.

When the sun is in Sag, we lean in towards the holidays. We anticipate the New Year. We take a long view of the year that is ending, look forward to some (perhaps illusory) time off, and go inwards to regenerate. The earliest sunsets here in New York are right around the middle of Sagittarius, in the first week in December. After that, the light already begins to grow in the evenings, however slowly.

I always see Sag as a time to take account of things, to explore. I imagine myself sitting with a text of Neoplatonic philosophy, or maybe old astrological lore, or perhaps learning some esoteric musical scales. Many years, nothing like this actually happens, and great plans that never come to be are also Sagittarian. But Sag encourages us onwards and upwards. It is easy to see - to feel - why this sign rules higher learning, spiritual education, and gurus.

Venus retrogrades through the end of 2013 and January of 2014, coloring the holiday season. With the goddess in practical Capricorn, we may question the extent to which we are simply going through the motions of holiday festivities, whether it is office parties, family gatherings, or social meetings. In this era of Uranus-Pluto things are changing fast, and the traditions that have warmed us for so long may start to feel a little flat.

For those inclined to break the bank in order to buy gifts, Venus retrograde may help us to understand that what is a marvelous present today becomes just stuff tomorrow. The thrill of the new only lasts as long as something really is new. We love giving each other that thrill, yet we sometimes do so at a great cost for a very small payoff. Yet on another level Venus retrograde reminds us that if we don’t overspend during the holiday season, our entire economy suffers - what are we to make of that paradox?

Gemini Full Moon

The Gemini full moon challenges us to accept and integrate multiple perspectives, to hold more than one truth simultaneously. The sun in Sagittarius shoots the archer’s arrow upward on an ascent seeking truth: it is an energy that seeks union, to unite the parts in a whole. But Gemini is a dual sign, representing multiplicity.

The fiery spirit apprehends the truth in a flash of insight, but it is then expressed in words, where the unity must be broken into separate pieces and displayed sequentially. Intuition - fire, spirit - confronts thought - air and mind. Thoughts charged with emotion are beliefs, which function like idea genes that move through the collective, influencing our reality in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. At the reflective moment of this full moon, we can assess their value.

The full moon in Gemini encourages us to recognize that we swim in a sea of multiple truths about reality that are each as ‘real’ as the experience that supports them. Knowing how and when to shift among these realities is a great challenge, one we are collectively just beginning to understand.

Back in the day, we would express the full moon in Gemini along the lines of, “to each his own” or “live and let live” - benign acceptance of different viewpoints. Recently, we are coming to understand that reality itself is contextual, that reality looks different depending upon your viewpoint. Both Gemini and Sagittarius can appreciate this complexity: Gemini thrills to the diversity while Sagittarius wonders at the ever-changing relationships among ideas.

When the sun is in a Fire sign, the moon will always be full in an Air sign. The unity of Fire is challenged to express itself, to move from being a moment of illumination into new forms - inspiration becomes reality via expression. With the sun in Aries, the self encounters the other, in Libra. When the sun is in Leo, the individual confronts the collective. In the more transpersonal sign of Sagittarius, the idea, the insight, is detached from the ego and moves on its own, yet can only be expressed when transduced to words.

This full moon closely aligns with the station of the planet Uranus in Aries. A little more than eight hours after the full moon, the planet of rapid insight, revolution, and individuality moves direct after its retrograde period. Uranus stations are edgy: patience is in short supply and the new and exciting takes precedence over the traditional. Combined with the Gemini full moon, we are getting ready to overturn values that hold us back, individually and collectively.

We are at the start of a three week period when the cosmic energy will pull us strongly towards the changes that we need to make (whether or not we want them). It’s going to be life in the fast lane, and we’ll need to stay alert and make rapid adjustments. It may feel like driving too fast on the highway in rainy weather - we realize it’s dangerous, but stopping is not an option.

Astrology Forecasts

What do you do with an astrology forecast?

It’s snowing today in New York. But that doesn’t mean that all New Yorkers are going to be out in the cold. Lots of us will be inside, whether that means being cold or comfy. And some of us will be out of town, missing the storm entirely. For those of us who do trudge around in the snow, some will be shoveling their cars out of or into parking spaces, while others will be sloshing through the subways. Clearly, we will have many different experiences of the day’s weather.

Astrology forecasts, whether written for the day, month, or year, describe the overall mood or feeling-tone of the time. They are most relevant for all of us collectively, and describes the sort of emotional weather we will be moving through. It helps to back away from your personal experiences just a bit in order to see how the cosmic symbols are manifesting.

What each of us is experiencing, however, may be very different from the overall trend, just as some people will sleep in on this snowy day while others will barrel ahead with business as usual. We may describe the waning, void, Pisces moon as a time to go inward and meditate, but if it is opposing your Uranus-Pluto-Mars in Virgo, you may feel very differently about it. The personal transits that we experience are more powerful to us on an individual level than the overall cosmic weather. Still, it helps to know the kind of collective mood you’ll be operating within.

Use the forecasts to time your actions when working with others, and to help understand why things may seem to be moving quickly - or slowly. Astrological forecasts aren’t meant to slow you down or stop you from pursuing your goals, but to add an additional layer of information.

Looking for a Job?

5 ways astrology can help

1) Personalize your resume so that it matches your astrological profile. Stock catch phrases may work, but why not use key words that resonate with your chart? People will respond better to messages that are genuine.

2) Schedule your interview at a good time. Oh... your big interview is on a void moon? You sent out your resume with Mercury retrograde? Here's a better option: pick days and times that are astrologically in tune with your purpose.

3) Timing career decisions. Big changes can happen from out of the blue, but if you're feeling restless and wanting a career transition, it can be helpful to know whether to wait a bit or jump now.

4) Location, location, location. If you're ready to go mobile, astrology can be extraordinarily helpful in finding places where you shine.

5) Dress for success. I'm no fashionisto, but wearing clothes that harmonize with your sun sign and other career factors in the chart helps to convey who you are professionally.

Click here for more information on vocational consultations.

Was That Intentional?

You’ve set your intention. You know you have. You’ve heard about it long enough, and at some point or another, you’ve given it a try. Wayne Dyer wrote a book on it. Deepak talks about it. The Secret is all about it.
Maybe you light a few candles, go into a quiet place, meditate a bit, and perhaps you invoke helpful spirits. Then you set about setting your intention. You connect with your purpose. You affirm what it is you want to create. Then you send it out to The Universe and wait.

And wait.

Most likely, the results of your intention-setting have been less than spectacular, and there are three reasons for this we should explore.

First, if you set your intention to something that is purely for your own ego-satisfaction rather than a really deep soul-level purpose, The Universe is less than likely to cooperate. God, or the gods, or the planets, and even your guardian angels, are not really interested in getting you into new Acura. So go deep: Think beyond yourself, for the greater good of your loved ones, your area, all beings.

Second, if you are very specific about what you want, you’re putting extra demands on the cosmic system. Intentions should be broad enough to allow for a variety of possible manifestations. If you’d like a wonderful relationship, that’s great. If you need to have a fireman, over six feet tall, blond with blue eyes, the cosmos is going to roll its eyes at you.

Finally, do something. Setting intentions is great as an internal preparation, but The Universe seems to like it when you meet it half way. Or at least a little part of the way. So, if you’d like a new job, set your intentions, and send out a resume. Sometimes, simply expressing what you are seeking to another person is enough, but some real concrete step in the direction you want to go is invaluable in making it happen. If you’re looking for a new relationship, you might want to get a nice haircut - feeling attractive to yourself is a good way to, well, to attract someone.

Astrology is all about timing, and knowing when to go forward and when to wait is one of the great benefits of using astrology. At another level, though, astrology can be helpful for recognizing what it really is that we need. Sometimes, we get stuck on a particular outcome without realizing the deeper issue. For example, it may be that we think we need more money, when what we really need is more fulfilling work.

Use the new moon to set intentions. Before and during the new moon is a good time to clear out the clutter of the past and focus on what you need to go forward. After the new moon (at least 12 hours after is a good rule of thumb) is a good time to make some symbolic action. Spend a little money or time - make it clear that you are invested in the outcome.

You may need to wait a little to see results, and the larger the goal the more time may be needed. But keep active, drawing your attention more and more in line with your intention. At the full moon, assess where things are and where you need to put more effort. From the last quarter to the new moon, you can back off a bit with new efforts, but follow up on any results you see. At the following new moon, it’s again time to assess, renew the intention, and begin to add more effort.

One final point - fewer intentions yield the best results. The more energy you put into each, the better the outcome usually is, but we each have limited energy so too many goals tend to water down the results.

We Have Never Been Innocent

“I shouted out, ‘Who killed the Kennedy’s?’
when after all, it was you and me...”

- The Rolling Stones, Sympathy for the Devil

As we approached the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, I did some searching to find out what that day was like. I even found the original CBS episode of As the World Turns, complete with the news bulletins and commercials, on YouTube. In the comments section was written, “That was the day we lost our innocence.”

I thought about that. I recognized the words from the more recent descriptions of 9/11. That, too, was the day we lost our innocence. Going back a bit, I read what some people said years later about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 - sure enough, Americans lost their innocence then as well.

Americans might like to think they are innocent, and with Sagittarius rising in the U.S. chart, they can probably maintain the illusion. Much of the rest of the world sees the citizens of the U.S. as naive, as though being set apart from most of the conflicts of history by immense oceans has sheltered the country from the realities of life. After all, apart from Pearl Harbor, two world wars were fought entirely in other parts of the world. Many Americans died in those - and other - wars, but the country only sees images of these things, not face-to-face realities.

A lot could be said about the charts of the U.S., JFK, the assassination, and the subsequent changes in the United States. Much of the history of the U.S. presidency in the last 53 years can be traced back to the pivotal 1960 election. But I want to focus on the infamous cycle of presidents dying in office when elected on the 20 year Jupiter-Saturn conjunction. That began with Lincoln and ended with Kennedy. Or did it?

Ronald Reagan was shot in March of 1981, shortly after taking office. Of course, he survived the shooting, and seemingly broke the cycle. Astrologers pointed out that the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction that year was in an Air sign, Libra, rather than an Earth sign, as had been the case since 1860.

Yet there was an assassination in the U.S. in 1980: John Lennon. The former Beatle had been keen to live in the U.S., and especially New York, drawn to the place that would eventually kill him. In a radio interview on his last day alive, Lennon said, “The 70’s were something of a drag, and maybe we can make the 80’s better.” It did not work out that way.

While he wielded negligible political power in comparison to a U.S. president, Lennon had perhaps more social and soul power than any political leader. Many feel that he spoke for a generation (Pluto in Leo) that lost their innocence the day he was shot, as they had lost it at Altamont, and many times before.

It is significant, I think, that not only political leaders but also social and spiritual leaders are drawn into the cycle that seems so deadly in the U.S.. It is almost as though we are being told that we cannot have leaders, that we need to go it on our own. Perhaps that is the Aquarian message - one which began to be voiced when Kennedy was elected in 1960 and Uranus was in Leo.

At the 2000 conjunction in Gemini, there was no assassination. But more than 3,000 people lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks as the grim cycle touched the average person, and once again Americans lost their innocence.

As we rocket through the Uranus-Pluto squares of 2012 to 2015, many people look back to the 1960s for their inspiration. This decade would be like the ‘60s, we said. And in terms of political upheaval, war, revolution, and transformation, we certainly have strong parallels. But, we notice, we have no real leaders. There is no great surge of collective creativity (although I would argue that there is an immense surge in individual creativity). There are no focal points that inspire. Edward Snowden may be the central figure of the last two hits of the square, but we have only still photographs of him.

The coming Uranus-Pluto square will land directly on the U.S. sun, and will do so on a week in April that even mainstream media has noted as being a difficult one in the U.S.. Hopefully, we will manifest that energy consciously and compassionately, but failing that, we may find that there is still some innocence to lose.

The Big Apple


Keep your eyes open for the November 3rd solar eclipse, at least if you live in New York City and environs. The eclipse is in Scorpio, very close to Saturn, suggesting financial problems (and maybe some sewer issues). It lands in the city’s second house of finances, and Scorpio has to do with banks and finance (Wall Street).

But there’s more than that: Uranus is conjunct the city’s descendant, and in partile opposition to the city’s Jupiter, ruler of the third house (communication and transportation). With Mercury already retrograde, it doesn’t look particularly good for the city’s already challenged infrastructure.

But wait! There’s more. Mars, the red planet, the Cosmic Warrior, is on the midheaven in the chart for the eclipse when set for New York City.

I’m no doom-and-gloom astrologer, and I’m not inclined to start speculating about how this will play out. Hopefully, we will see some enlightened action that shakes the power structures gently but just enough to get some movement.

Yet I can’t help but feel that it could play out in a less positive way, too. Protests could start our peaceful but get very heated, for example. The Scorpio-Capricorn mutual reception of Saturn and Pluto is joined by the eclipse, suggesting consolidation among the power brokers, who are likely to close ranks as they are challenged by the Uranus-Pluto square on November 1st. The opposition of Uranus to the city’s Fat Cat Jupiter suggests New York will be a focal point for the titanic energies playing out in the world.

Keep an eye on the period from October 27th through November 8th, although triggers could emerge before or after. This solar eclipse also comes just two days after the fourth of seven exact hits of the Uranus-Pluto square. Just as the April 2014 aspect lands on the U.S. chart, this one lands heavily in New York, because of the eclipse, and also because the moon is only two degrees off the NYC ascendant when the square is exact.

Other places to watch include Mumbai, Houston, Baghdad (I know, but Pluto in angular), and, of all places, Iceland.

Mars in Virgo

Mars, the Cosmic Warrior, has entered Virgo, the sign of the harvest. The symbol of Virgo is a goddess holding a shaft of wheat, an image that resonates with the Roman goddess Ceres (in Greek, Demeter).

What does it mean when Mars moves into Virgo? Many things, of course. But right now, we are most likely to see it play out in terms of our food supply. While Mars is in Virgo, look for controversies around the areas of food production and environmental sustainability. Monsanto is very likely to be a focus of concern for many people, as it has been for a while. With Ceres in Virgo, we had a series of protests against Monsanto in the United States and across the world on October 12th, although the protests are part of an ongoing response to the aggressive agrigiant's increasing control over our food supply.

Look for a spike in news about celiac disease and gluten intolerance. In fact, allergies of all kinds may be news with Mars in Virgo (October 15 to December 7, 2013). Keep an eye out for ties between allergic reactions, food intolerance, and the quality of the food supply. We'll be seeing concerns about the effects of mass-produced food on our health. We may also see serious questions raised about vaccines, medicines, and - from the powers-that-be - attempts to tighten the reigns on the food supply, for example by regulating sales of supplements.

We'll be seeing more about the foods we eat and the potential harm they cause, and with the Uranus-Pluto square transforming power structures we will question the corporate and governmental institutions that allow and promote unhealthy foods. Monsanto's growth hormone for milk may cause cancer, and trying to report about it may have gotten two Fox News reporters fired.

Interestingly, Mars is angular at the ingress largely over the world's oceans. Look for stories about the health of the seas, including fish and seaweed that we harvest for consumption.

Mars in Virgo will tightly aspect the November 3rd eclipse and the Uranus-Pluto square on November 1st. As we come to realize how manipulated we've become around food and health and discover the depths of the problem, many people will fight back: through legal means, via protests, and by choosing their foods and medicines more carefully. Expect back-blow from the powers that be, and perhaps some nasty confrontations.

Speaking of nasty confrontations, on October 19th we will have Mars return of the clearing of Zuccotti Park and the end of the Occupy movement. We'll be seeing and hearing some resonance with that event over the next few days. It is particularly significant to note the extent to which our police (Mars) have become the enforcers of corporate policy - something both liberals and conservatives voice concern over.

In a world of budget battles, real battles, terrorist attacks, government spying, and economic woe, food may seem like a simple, almost unimportant issue. But nothing happens if we don't eat - everything else depends on the food supply. Mars in Virgo and Pluto in Capricorn (the sign of the farmer) are going to remind us of this, probably in some very graphic ways, over the next few months.


Pluto stations to move direct today, with the moon in Aries as an edgy backdrop.

We're pushed to move forward, perhaps with a take-no-prisoners attitude that could lead to some significant tensions. But Pluto stations are a big deal on the world stage, where power plays reach a peak, and the news surrounding this station is already very telling...

The U.S. House of Representatives has contentiously added a measure that would defund Obamacare, the nation's first and only attempt at comprehensive health care legislation, to the bill that would keep the government funded. Essentially, they are suggesting they will shut down Obamacare or the government. See - take no prisoners, scorched earth. President Obama has said he would veto any such bill, reflecting his own Plutonian determination (which isn't necessarily a bad thing).

Oh, and the House also voted to cut $4 billion from food stamp programs. That news is strangely parallel to a report from the I.R.S. that showed that the disparity of incomes in the U.S. is at an all-time high, with the top 1% earning more than 19% of all income.

J.P. Morgan Chase was fined $920 million and admitted wrongdoing in last year's London Whale scandal. It is significant that this ruling by the Securities and Exchange Commission comes on the 5th anniversary of the collapse that started the Great Recession - which occurred on Pluto's station in 2008. By the way, $920 million is about 13 day's profits for the bank.

Pope Francis joined in the Plutonian news, as an interview he did last month was published this week. In the interview the pope said that the church is "obsessed" (Pluto) with issues of abortion, gay marriage, and birth control, and was leaning too heavily on dogma and not enough on the message of love. That is Plutonian (as some of the response has also been), although we can perhaps see more of the compassion of the Pisces full moon shining through.

Texas overturned Tom DeLay's conviction... 13 people were shot in a park in Chicago... A Goldman-Sachs banker is arraigned on rape charges... a chemical plant in Oklahoma has exploded... the Middle East... the Plutonian news goes on and on...

Finally, or not finally... someone in South Carolina has won $400 million dollars in the lottery. And what lottery would that be? Powerball.

Cyrus the Great

When I returned from Uruguay yesterday, I discovered that Miley Cyrus, of all people, was all over the news. Really, all over it.

It turns out that Ms. Cyrus gave a provocative performance on the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, during which she wore devil horns, demonstrated the truly impressive size of her tongue, gyrated suggestively, sorta-kinda pretended the microphone was her penis, and twerked with Juicy J (hey, I learned a new word!). As we would expect, reaction ran between incensed ("My kids were watching that!") and sadness ("She's got problems and someone should have stopped her").

It doesn't take much to impress a country that freaked out for a week over the micro-second view of Janet Jackson's nipple, and Cyrus surely shocked people. No wonder, with Venus - goddess of love and a general symbol of the feminine - opposite independent and shocking Uranus. Venus is in conservative Libra, where more traditional approaches to aesthetics prevail, while Uranus is in individualistic Aries. Reaction to the performance clearly shows the conservative side of the equation.

But Miley Cyrus sided with Uranus in Aries. We shouldn't be surprised - her name, Cyrus, is also the name of the ancient Persian king, who was known as Cyrus the Great. Cyrus ruled around 600 B.C.E., at the very end of the Age of Aries, where kings were kings and the very embodiment of ego. These heroic egos were determined to make their mark on the world, as Miley also was, in her own way.

Cyrus the great was known for his progressive values and something like tolerance of other peoples. He had a strong influence on the Greeks and Jews. He was thus a kind of transitional figure, moving between the Age of Heroes (with their Terrible Twos attitudes) and The Age of Law.

Our Cyrus won't leave such a legacy. It was just a one-day thing, and it will be gone in a week. Yet she pushed the limits (however close-in they are) of sexuality, if just a bit. Her performance was no coy "come and get me" passive sexuality, as it would have been 50 or 60 years ago. It showed her as overtly horny (Aries) and empowered. No wonder people are saying that she was desperate for attention - we tend to try to "protect" women who are openly sexual.

The moon was in sensual Taurus at the time of the performance, opposite Saturn, who was sitting in judgement of sexuality in Scorpio. It's a minor moment in an ongoing process of the power shift towards the feminine, but the symbolism should get out attention.

Someone call an astrologer!

In a week, Jupiter will be squaring Uranus.

Aspects between these two planets are typically associated with technological innovation. For example, their conjunction in 1969 coincided with the first moon landing very closely, and also with the introduction of the 747 jumbo jet (an oft-overlooked major event in connecting our world).

With that in mind, it is not surprising that we have some news of new technology. Yesterday, August 12th, entrepreneur and innovator Elon Musk introduced plans for a new form of transportation, a kind of pneumatic tube that could whisk passengers between cities at about 800 miles per hour. That's San Francisco to LA in about 45 minutes (but you probably still have to get to the station 2 hours before departure).

Anyway, while the overall timing vis-a-vis Jupiter and Uranus is spot on, Musk announced his plans with the moon void of course. Already, we can see that major hurdles are in the way. Summing up an exciting new idea in a jiffy, USA Today titled it's story, "Why Elon Musk's "Hyperloop" Transport Won't Work." Bloomberg was more measured in its approach, and in fact the experts they consulted suggested the plan might just work after all. Musk is apparently ready to pony up $6 billion to build a prototype.

There are many moments in any project. There is the decision to start work, there is the run of the first test model, and most importantly there is the opening for the public. But the announcement is a key step in the process, and doing so with the moon void is far from ideal. It won't jam up the project itself, but the attention the hyperloop gets is likely to be less than stunning.

It's the sort of thing an astrologer could help with...

Take a Leak...

Follow this story...

The Uranus-Pluto square is active from at least 2012 through 2015, although most astrologers give a year or two on either side. So, no one story is going to sum up the entire process. But this one is worth following, as the timing is playing out so precisely.

We first heard Edward Snowden’s name in the last week of May 2013, coinciding very exactly with the third in a series of seven exact aspects between the two outer planets over the course of three years.

The NSA’s spying on Americans is just one aspect of government control that is intensify during the square. The final outcome is unknown and unknowable at this point (because we are creating it), but the immediate effect is a strong polarization in the United States. Many people feel Snowden is a hero, many feel he is a traitor.

This past week, Mars, planet of war, got into the act, aspecting Pluto on July 27th and Uranus on July 31st. As the first aspect was building, the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly approved continued funding for the NSA program. At the same time, Republican presidential potential-hopefuls Chris Christie and Rand Paul got into a sparring contest about the value of the program. Clearly, this is a polarizing issue.

Mars in Cancer is protective, and tends towards the clannish. Jupiter is also in Cancer and can also be rather clannish (Christie, a big man, could well be the national symbol for Jupiter in Cancer... Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system and symbolically indicates expansion). The aspect to Pluto touched off the ideological debate around the power of the government.

Uranus in Aries is the rebel, whether an individual or a group (think Occupy and Tea Party). When Mars aspected Uranus on July 31st, Snowden (the rebel) was granted a year’s asylum in Russia, bringing U.S.-Russian relations to a Cold War-level chill.

At the same time, Bradley Manning, who gave documents to Wikileaks was found guilty on a slew of charges. Chalk one up for the Cancerian side of things. With so many planets in Cancer (and Pluto in Capricorn) aspecting stern Saturn in security-conscious Scorpio, we can’t expect the rebels to win them all... or even very many.

We can see Neptune's Piscean fingerprints (or maybe we can't...) on these issues in the extremes of polarization, as well as the deception, the leaking of information, and the covert nature of the spying.

Throw into the mix the U.S. decision to close Mid East embassies and consulates for an indefinite time this week (an action followed by Great Britain and France), pushing the security concerns to a higher level, and we can see further fuel for polarization.

Not to be U.S.-centric, but we can also read Mars-Uranus-Pluto into the Alex Rodriguez story, and the outbreak of a stomach virus tied to fast food restaurants (Mars in Cancer would be a good image for a food-borne bug, and the Warrior planet was aspecting the U.S. sun this week).

You Gonna Eat That?

Venus has moved into Virgo as of July 22nd, 2013. The Goddess of Love will be in the sign of the virgin until August 16th. Traditionally, Venus in Virgo is not considered to be a load of fun - especially compared to her party-friendly placement in Leo - but don’t let that discourage you.

Virgo is the sign of the harvest, the image is of the goddess holding a shaft of wheat. There are many signs that we associate with agriculture, given that at one level the zodiac describes the cycle of planting, growing, harvesting, and storing food. Of course, these images refer back to a time when farming was a more down-to-earth process.

Regulus, the Royal Star, progressed from Leo into Virgo over the past few years, a major astrological shift that has corresponded with growing concern about our food supply. We perhaps see this most obviously in the controversy over genetically modified foods (GMOs) and Monsanto, although the issue extends far beyond this one issue.

As we face the need to feed more than 7 billion people - double the population of 50 years ago - questions about how to grow food and what to eat are bound to arise. Vegetarianism, Veganism, and organic foods are growing trends, at the same time we realize the problems associated with processed foods and additives.

The sudden prevalence of gluten intolerance points directly to Virgo, a sensitive sign known for a certain pickiness. Think of it: Wheat, and bread, the “staff of life” is now suspect as a disease causing agent. Something seems very wrong. People are becoming (or realizing that they are) sensitive to one of the key ingredients in the human food supply for millennia. As the image of Virgo shows, it was the cultivation of wheat that was initially the solution to feeding a growing population - now we think it may be the problem. Perhaps we are moving to a post-grain diet, although we’ve made only modest progress moving to post-meat.

With Venus in Virgo, expect to see an amplification of issues around food, food intolerance, and the food supply. And as Venus transitions out of Virgo in August, she’ll be followed two of the goddess asteroids. Ceres - associated with grain - will be in Virgo from August 28 to November 3rd. Vesta, associated with Virgo (Vesta = Vestal Virgin = Virgo) is in the sign from September 10 to November 15th. We will be hearing about these issues at a very charged level through the autumn - although with Regulus in Virgo, this issue is here to stay.

Heat Wave

There are several reasons for concern about tomorrow's (Saturday, July 20) plans for nationwide Justice For Trayvon rallies. One is that much of the country is embroiled in the kind of heat wave that is legendary for shortening tempers. But the astrology mirrors the meteorology.

Mars is edging into the grand trine in water, conjuncting Jupiter in Cancer. Mars in Cancer has some strong potentials - it is protective and loyal. But Mars in Cancer is also the image of the Bad Cop - think of the bloated Southern sheriff who puts a klan sheet on over his uniform, one who uses his office to enforce the status quo.

Clan is not an inappropriate word to use. Mars in Cancer can be protective of the clan, the "way we do things around here," a far cry from ideals and principles, or even simply law. Think of police officers with water canons during the Civil Rights Movement, or police in riot gear clubbing kids during the Occupy Movement. Whatever is necessary to keep "the peace."

Of course, Mars and Jupiter in Cancer also oppose Pluto in Capricorn, a reminder that the planets don't take sides. A Sagittarian moon will be stoking up the rhetoric on both sides of the issue, and Mercury stationing to move direct will add a dose of confusion. It's likely the demonstrators will also be under the sway of a kind of clan mentality, and perhaps susceptible to some dubious rhetoric.

Mars is a planet associated with action, too, and Mercury stations are a good time to back away from immediate action, for there is the danger of moving forward on misinformation.

We're likely to see some examples of unconscious mass action tomorrow, from both (or is it every ?) side of the issue. Try to bring as much consciousness and compassion as you can to this difficult time.

Go Fly a Kite

You’ve heard about the Grand Trine in Water (GTW), of course. Jupiter in Cancer, Saturn in Scorpio, and Neptune in Pisces form a trine between July 17th and 19th, although it is in orb for some time on either side of those dates. The sun and Mars have or will also step in to activate the trine, so we can see that late June through early August is really trine time.

If you were expecting lots of harmony and good feelings, odds are you were disappointed...

Jupiter in Cancer tends towards the protective. The benevolent leader who knows what’s best is a typical manifestation (here’s an article on Jupiter in Cancer). Saturn in Scorpio is also rather protective. Neither Saturn nor Scorpio (the fixed water sign) is prone to movement, and there is a tendency towards security and even some suspicion with these two symbols mixed. Sure, Saturn will ultimately prune down our economic and sexual collective mindset to the essentials, but that pruning process gets messy.

Neptune in his home sign of Pisces can go either way, as long as it goes a long way. Neptune in Pisces is everything from a collective recognition of our oneness with nature and even the Cosmos, when taken on a spiritual level. On a more material plane, it can be obsessive adherence to an ideology that will save us all - think Communism and many other -isms that got started the last time Neptune was at home.

Taken together, the GTW does suggest the possibility of letting go on an emotional level. Trines often signify releases, after all. On a collective level, however, this configuration looks very much like an easy relationship among those in power. That becomes especially likely when we consider that the GTW is really a kite.

A kite formation occurs with a grand trine has a planet sitting midway between two points. The GTW has that - and the planet sitting in at the base of the kite is Pluto in Capricorn, who is in mutual reception with Saturn (they are in each other’s signs). These two have been working to consolidate power for some time, since last fall when they first came into a sextile with each other. It is most clearly seen in the powers of government, big business, and particularly in finance.

It’s true that Pluto in Capricorn is in the business of transforming the power structures of government and business, but Pluto works by intensify existing structures, in order to polarize the opposition and thus create more powerful change. Uranus, square to Pluto, has also been affecting the kite formation, and we can see that in all manner of opposition forming and erupting. Uranus has been standing off to the side, needling the coziness of the kite with impertinent questions and angry responses.

With Pluto at the base of the kite, we can see that the news in the past few days has indeed demonstrated a consolidation of power. Both Goldman-Sachs and Bank of American announced strong revenues in the second quarter of the year. These two financial firms were at the center of controversy about banking practices that led to the collapse in 2008 and the subsequent recession. That they are doing well seems to stand in direct opposition to consideration of reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 (passed at the closing square of the Uranus-Pluto cycle). Senators McCain and Warren are acting in uncharacteristically Uranian fashion, challenging the harmony of the kite.

The ACLU took up the Uranian challenge, issuing a report that details how police departments are collecting and keeping data on the travel habits of millions of Americans, including those not under suspicion for any crime. The Orwellian image of the state having knowledge of your every move via your cell phone was not enough - now we find that we are being tracked in our cars. Once again, the consolidation of power comes to light as Uranus breaks the story. The Edward Snowden story is probably the drama of May's Uranus-Pluto square, and this information is the latest installment of just how much a police state the U.S. has become.

All week, we’ve been buzzing with the fallout of the George Zimmerman trial. Although it is harder to see, there seems to be some collusion (on an unconscious level) among those in power, including the not-too-aggressive prosecution and not-too-clear judge. The questions of race that came up during and after the trial seem to obscure (Neptune) deeper issues, such as those of class and the conditions of our cities, where the need for an armed Neighborhood Watch seems reasonable in the first place. Yet Uranus has not been quiet on this one, and a series of protests has erupted throughout the country, with more to come.

The United States isn’t alone in exemplifying the powers of the kite, nor in challenging it in a Uranian fashion. A Russian judge has sentenced Alexei Navalny, a vocal critic of Vladimir Putin, to five years in jail. Pluto and Saturn in an apparently cozy relationship, with some help from Judge Jupiter. Navalny certainly won’t be able to run for office from jail, but he is acting with Uranian finger-at-the-man in telling his followers, “don’t be idle.”

And finally - not really finally, but for now - the Catholic Church has offered time off in Purgatory for devotees who follow the Pope’s upcoming trip on Twitter. It shows a belief system that reflects a profoundly unspiritual approach to the deeper questions of existence, but which demonstrates in bold GWT colors the awesome control the Powers That Be think they have.


From an astrological perspective, there could have been only one outcome to the trial of George Zimmerman: increased polarization of the United States. Had he been found guilty, an equally outraged segment of the population would have cried foul. Uranus and Pluto are working the deep alchemy of transformation, and some stages are painful and tragic.

The Zimmerman trial was a symbolic event onto which the country projected issues about gun violence and racism, among others. At a deeper level, beneath the collective discourse, the U.S. is asking itself questions about what it wants to be: questions about divisions by race and class; questions about community and individual rights; questions about the kind of place it has become when a neighborhood watch patrol turns deadly.

Deep questions won’t help either Martin or Zimmerman, of course. In fact, nothing will help Martin. Neither of the two has been particularly lionized - even their supporters have been rather half-hearted about both of them. The pundits who followed the trial like Super Bowl oddsmakers were fond of trashing both Martin and Zimmerman, pretty much ensuring that although there would surely be a victim, it was unlikely that there would be a hero.

The Uranus-Pluto square is bearing down on the U.S. sun. Perhaps it is also significant that Pluto squared the sun of the OJ Simpson verdict less than a day before the Zimmerman verdict. It is also significant that the Uranus-sun square on July 4th passed right through the part of Florida where the trial took place.

In any event, the clear message was bound to be that things are going to get worse before they get better. Deep transformation is not accomplished by resolving issues, but by drawing attention to the impossibility of doing so at our current level of understanding.

Telling the Universe "No!"

A Short Missive on Astrology and the Power of Intention

A few months ago, a client asked me to find a good time for her to submit a loan application for a new business. She asked that the time be within the next few weeks. I got on it right away, and within a few days I had found a good time about three weeks in the future.

About three days after the time I had chosen (elected in astrologese), I got an email from the client. She had decided to wait until she had an additional piece of information to round out the application. It wasn’t crucial, but she thought it would make the application stronger. Could I find a date in the next week that would be good to submit the completed form to the bank? I found a date about a week later, and although it wasn’t as great as the first date, I thought it was fine for the purpose.

A day before the second elected date, I got another email. The client had been very busy in the past week and had not had time to complete the application. What would be a good time in the next week? By this time, Mercury was going to enter the shadow of its retrograde, and a number of challenging aspects were forming in the sky. I did the best I could.

A month later, I got another email from the client, who was somewhat nonplussed that her loan application had been denied. Maybe, she wondered, I should have advised her to wait a little longer, until Mercury had gone retrograde and was moving direct again...

My client was inclined to see this as an example of failed astrology, but my take is a bit different. By continually delaying action, it became apparent that she was deferring the decision to move forward. Her initial enthusiasm was tempered by an attempt to make her application better, and then delayed again as other things took priority.

Whether we think of the power of intention as residing in our own psyches, with the gods, or in the Universe (the catchall name for whatever is running the show), we have to consider that even at this deeper (higher?) level, patience must have some limits.

Looking back at our initial talk on the matter, I recognized that my client presented the decision to apply for the loan as something she had already decided upon. There was little room for discussion about whether the project was going to go forward, the only question was when.

What I think happened was that my client had not fully committed to starting the business or getting a loan to do so. The protracted application process was really her acting out the decision-making, going back-and-forth in her own mind, and in a very real sense saying to the Universe that she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do.

There’s nothing wrong with taking time to make a decision, of course. My client may have had any number of valid reasons to hesitate before committing to a serious financial obligation. She may have simply been stymied by her fears, but she may also have unconsciously recognized dangers with the project.

Once we decide what to do, making things happen is surprisingly easy. It’s knowing what we really want that is the hard part (click here for a short article on this topic). The point is that it is fine to take some time to decide what to do, but once we make a decision it doesn’t help to step on the accelerator and the brakes at the same time. If our intention is focused, mountains can be moved, but if we act before we are sure we what we want, we tend to wind up with results that show our attention was half-hearted (that is, results that are half-assed).

In other words: astrology can help you to get clarity about what you want to do, and it can help you plan to do it.

But you have to get the two in the right order.

Where on Earth, redux

Last week, in anticipation of hot sun-Uranus and sun-Pluto aspects, I pointed out a few places that were likely to get extra attention based on the astrolocality at the time those aspects were exact (see below for the full post, "Where on Earth?"). It seems the astrolocality worked pretty well, although the news is disturbing and I'm not celebrating...

I pointed out that San Francisco was in the crosshairs of two Neptune lines, and related it to the transportation strike in that city. However, the July 6th crash of Flight 214 shows that more than the strike was going on. Neptune involves water, and the plane crashed just at the point where the bay meets the airport. While the cause is unclear, the plane was apparently flying lower and slower than it should have been - by quite a bit - and the attempt to correct these was made too late, and may have contributed to the crash. With Mercury retrograde and Neptune involved, it may be some time before it becomes clear what happened.

An astrolocality map for the time of the crash (which is not specified as of yet - very Neptunian) with local space lines extended from the airport shows something remarkable: the Jupiter line extends across the Pacific, crossing both Seoul, the plane's last stop before San Francisco, and Shanghai, the origin of the flight. Perhaps the helpful influence of Jupiter helps explain why things did not turn out worse than they did. The Saturn station on July 8th has Venus, Uranus, and once again Neptune, near San Francisco, but not directly on the city.

I also drew attention to a Uranus line (at the Uranus-sun aspect) through eastern India (Uranus square to the MC), and this line crossed right through Bodh Gaya, a Buddhist holy place in India that Sunday was the site of deadly bombings. The moons nodes were trine to Bodh Gaya at the Pluto station last Monday.

An almost stationary Saturn was square to the midheaven on Thursday's Uranus-sun aspect in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, the site of a deadly train derailment and fire - the train was carrying crude oil.

Perhaps fortunately for Egypt, the Venus-Uranus trine is powerfully aspected down almost the entire length of the Nile - where almost the entire population lives.

Back in the day, astrologers made great predictions for their cities - think of William Lilly and the Great Fire of London. But then again, they only had one place to work with - today we have to take into account the entire planet. Then, too, the variety of things that could happen and how they would be received was pretty limited, also - there weren't going to be any plane crashes or transit strikes. Still, I have to say that the astrolocality worked pretty well for this turbulent week.

Where on Earth?

This week's hot aspects include an opposition of the sun to Pluto on Monday, followed by the sun squaring Uranus early Thursday morning. In other words, the sun is elbowing the powerful Uranus-Pluto square. We're sure to see effects in our personal lives, but it should be most obvious in the collective.

We should recognize that July 4th is the birthday of the United States, and with Uranus-Pluto closely approaching the U.S. sun and the sun-Uranus aspect exact on the 4th, we'd expect the country to be in the spotlight. The sun-Pluto aspect certainly seems to be having an effect, as the NSA spying exposure (Pluto often exposes things that were intended to be kept hidden) has been found to include the U.S. spying on European governments. The backlash against the U.S. is likely to be substantial, and the rest of the world is likely to take a much more considerate view of Edward Snowden now that the scope of U.S. spying is known.

This week is also the anniversary of a new government, Egypt's President Morsi took office a year ago, making this a kind of new birthday for that ancient land. And the sun's aspects to Pluto and Uranus are certainly making things hot there, as protestors swell the streets.

If we look at the astrolocality maps for the two aspects, we can get a bit of insight into what areas are most likely to be affected, because the sun, Uranus, and Pluto are in prominent positions in certain places when the aspects are exact. Keep in mind that major aspects often "cast their shadow before them" and events take place before or after (within a reasonable window of time) the exact point. The sun/Pluto aspect has a line that goes just off the U.S. East Coast, intersecting Miami and Boston, two cities where legal proceedings are underway: George Zimmerman's trial and the Boston Marathon bombings.

The sun-Uranus aspect has a hot Mars line that moves through Arizona near where a wildfire tragically killed 19 firefighters on Sunday. The paralyzing heat wave that is covering much of the Western U.S. could also be seen as a reflection of this week's aspects, stoked by the hot moon in Aries over the weekend. Neptune lines cross near or on San Francisco for both of this week's aspects, and that city is beginning a transit strike. Throw in Mercury retrograde, and commuting in the city could be like slogging through Neptunian fog.

Hot spots for Monday's sun-Pluto aspect include London, as well as always unsettled Lahore. Eastern India is also affected. A strong line cuts through Spain, a bit to the west of Madrid.

Nepal is in the crosshairs of two significant sun-Uranus-Pluto lines for the July 4th aspect. Mexico City and major U.S. Gulf Coast cities are just outside of exact lines. Dublin is directly under sun-Uranus lines.

Keep an eye on these places, and listen for news. Of course, anyplace and anyone with planets around 10 - 12 degrees of cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn) is likely to feel this energy. And while the moon in Aries from June 29 to July 1st helped to trigger aspects, look to the Cancer moon, July 6 - 8 to bring additional manifestations - the new moon on the 8th is accompanied by a Saturn station.

Civil Rights

As Jupiter transitions from Gemini to Cancer, it's easy to see how civil rights issues are coming to a head, in a number of ways. Jupiter in Cancer helps knit together the grand trine in Water signs, with Saturn providing structure in Scorpio, and Neptune working to dissolve boundaries in Pisces.

The U.S. Supreme Court decisions on the Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8 certainly seem to help to dissolve the boundaries between people. On the other hand, the decision striking down the key parts of the Voting Rights Act seems ready to set the stage for a resurgence of Jim Crow laws in the South. Conservatives are applauding the decision, promising that Jim Crow is dead.

At the same time, however, Food Network host Paula Deen of Savannah, Georgia, lost her job over her use of racist language. It's hardly anything more than a symbolic question mark, of course, but Georgia was one of the states covered by the Voting Rights Act. Deen is a cook (Cancer) with a penchant for rich (Jupiter) foods, and apparently some very clan-based (Cancer) thinking.

The U.S. Senate may be ready to compromise on immigration reform, but the House of Representatives is not.

Nelson Mandela, the 94 year old civil rights leader, has apparently made a turn for the better, raising hopes that he will make it to his 8th Jupiter return this coming Sunday.

Jupiter signifies foreigners, justices, and long-distance travel. As he travelled through the last degrees of Gemini, a movement towards inclusiveness could be expected. In Cancer, a more xenophobic vibe could predominate, although the grand trine could mitigate things a bit. What seems to be sure is that everyone on every side of every issue will want things to go their way, "for the good of everyone", of course.

Click here for a short article on Jupiter in Cancer.

The First Degree

Jupiter dives into Cancer at 9:40p EDT tonight, returning after an eleven year absence. Jupiter is said to be very well placed in Cancer, and you can read more about it in this short article. Jupiter is about expansion and growth, and is associated with higher levels of the law, as well as foreign cultures. Cancer is about home, kinship, and clan. Gemini is about almost everything, but peers and local issues are prominent with this sign.

In the news recently, we can see a number of issues that relate to Jupiter transitioning from Gemini to Cancer. Jupiter is associated with judges, and the Supreme Court in the United States has been very active on issues like voting rights and affirmative action, and just today issued a ruling on a very Cancerian topic, saying that a Native American child did not have to be returned to her biological parent.

Perhaps the most compelling Jupiter transition is the immigration reform bill that will be passed by the U.S. Senate, an agreement hammered out with Jupiter in the last degree of Gemini. However, the bill is doomed to failure when it arrives in the House of Representatives, when Jupiter will be in the more xenophobic sign of Cancer.

And sadly, Nelson Mandela appears to be on the verge of passing out of this world, just days shy of his 8th Jupiter return, at age 94. Mandela has Jupiter at one degree of Cancer, and his sun is also in the sign. Ninety-four is a ripe old age, and on a personal level it is sad but not a tragedy. Yet we recognize that Mandela stands for something beyond his personal self, and we find too few leaders with his courage and determination. His passing reminds us that such leaders will become increasingly rare as time goes on - and more of the responsibility falls to us as individuals.


Many of Barrack Obama’s enthusiastic supporters in 2008 grudgingly voted for him in 2012 as that ever-present candidate in American politics, “the lesser of two evils.” The hope that he would truly represent change in America now seems rather naïve, a simple or simplistic belief that Uranus and Pluto would turn the tide with one decisive swing of the political pendulum. (Disillusioned Obamists: Please forgive my detached tone – I went through the same thing in 1992 with the election of Bill Clinton.)

On so many issues – surveillance of American citizens, cannabis reform, support of large corporations like Monsanto, intimidation of the press – the Obama administration looks remarkably like that of his predecessor. If I were a Republican, I would be making the case that President Obama has in many ways validated the decisions of President Bush.

The effect extends far beyond the immediate decisions of the President. For example, the Justice Department seems to remain hell-bent on persecuting and prosecuting people who are growing, distributing, or using medical marijuana, despite the fact that a majority of Americans support the legalization of cannabis in one way or another. Seriously, what argument against it remains? Can anyone say with a straight face that it leads to serious cognitive loss or that it is a “gateway drug” to harder substances?

The Food and Drug Administration appears little more than the enforcement arm of the pharmaceutical industry. The Department of Agriculture is remarkably silent on the issue of genetically modified food, even when there is strong evidence that it could be problematic, and it is banned (or at least labeled) in just about every other country. All in all, the status quo may seem quite static.

But back away from the idea that change is simple, and take another look. Barrack Obama isn’t much in the way of a direct agent of change, but his indirect effect has been fairly remarkable. Remember that we aren’t just talking about the sudden, revolutionary effects of Uranus, but also the slow, erosive power of Pluto, and things become a little clearer.

First, Obama’s election more or less paralyzed Washington. The explicit determination to make everything he attempted fail has led to an almost complete stalemate on even the most basic issues. Compromise has become a bad word among legislators, which can only have a disastrous effect, given that compromise is what they do. Second, the Obama administration’s determination to play to power interests like oil companies and agri-giant Monsanto has left a very sour taste in the mouths of many people.

You see, though, this is how Pluto works. He doesn’t topple the power structures with the election of an unusual candidate – that’s Uranus’ department. Pluto is working to erode the structures of government and industry. A casual look at your Facebook feed will show you just how little faith people have in their institutions (and it doesn’t matter what side of the political spectrum you reside upon – the message is the same despite different flavors. In fact, the “Fourth Estate,” the press, is just as suspect as any government agency). Plutocrats do well in Plutonian times, at least for a while. But as they push their agenda farther and farther, they find that their legitimacy is being questioned by everyone. The use of force is a clear sign that legitimate power is being drained.

I’ve focused on the U.S. for this post, but we can see the same thing at work in Turkey, and of course throughout the Middle East (Egypt’s new government is a stunning example of Uranian revolution giving way to Plutonian transformation). Those places that have pushed themselves farthest towards humanitarian and progressive values will have the least amount of Plutonian turmoil, while those where the traditional, conservative approach reigns will have the most difficulty. Don't expect the Netherlands to erupt like Turkey or Sweden to resemble Syria.

Soft Touch

A major astrological aspect is forming in the skies this summer - but it’s what we call a soft aspect, meaning that it doesn’t push into our consciousness with quite the brute force of a hard aspect. Saturn’s trine to Neptune is a pretty big deal - a cosmic release of tension - although you’ll have to look a closely to see it in action.

This past weekend, the Cancer moon stitched together the Saturn-Neptune trine (Saturn is in Scorpio and Neptune in his home sign of Pisces - both Water signs) even as it elbowed the Uranus-Pluto square. The combination of water with the more explosive Uranus-Pluto aspect synchs perfectly with the flooding in Europe (including the breaking of a dam).

As of today, Saturn-Neptune news includes the story of Ed Snowden, who leaked (Neptune) information about the U.S. government’s surveillance program on its citizens. The trial of Wikileaks source Bradley Manning is also underway. Neptune can signify martyrs, and those who risk exposing the government's truth may well have to pay a very high price for their service. Turkey’s prime minister, upset by recent uprisings, is being Saturnian (or Saturnine) about alcohol (Neptune) in the country, blaming recent problems on its increasing use.

Saturn-Neptune is about changes to the structures of society. Saturn represents the status quo, entrenched interests, and a conservative, slow-moving approach. Neptune represents other worlds and alternative realities, the blurring or dissolving of boundaries. When Saturn and Neptune get together, existing power structures are changed, modified, or dissolved, usually in favor of less rigid boundaries (although Neptune can also be an ideologue and help to replace existing dogma with new).

In 1989, Saturn and Neptune joined together in Capricorn, the sign of government and institutions. That year saw significant transformations in Eastern Europe, including the reunification of Germany and the fall of the Berlin Wall. It also signaled the end of Soviet Union, and it was the time of the decidedly less successful protests in China’s Tiananmen Square. The conjunction was the beginning of the cycle that is two-thirds completed with this summer’s trine.

What starts at the beginning of a cycle is modified throughout that cycle and into succeeding ones. With this summer’s aspect, we are inclined to review the changes that have been made in the past 25 years. The idealistic hope that the closing of the Cold War era brought has been replaced by a whole new set of concerns, equally menacing but also vague by comparison to the threat of global nuclear war.

Astrologers and the astrologically inclined should pay close attention to the Saturn-Neptune trine, which began last October and will be exact on June 11 and July 19. A Neptune station on June 7 and the Saturn station on July 8 are also key dates in this compacted Saturn-Neptune period. Significantly, the Uranus-Pluto square on May 20 occurred only one minute of arc away from the Saturn-Neptune conjunction in June of 1989. We are being reminded of past changes as we make our way to the future.

There will be more - much more - Saturn-Neptune news in the coming month. In general, we would expect a trine to be about the easy transition from one condition to another, and generally about the easing of rigidity in the structures of government and business. But in the era of Uranus-Pluto, change doesn’t come easily. Saturn’s sextile to Pluto strengthens the status quo, at least temporarily. Although the Saturn-Neptune trine represents a release, there is still more tension building.

Goddess of the Wheat

No one familiar with astrology will be surprised that Virgo doesn't get that much attention. Nestled between bold Leo and sociable Libra, two outgoing, yang signs, the mutable Earth sign can get kind of lost. Even when it is brought to prominence - say by the Uranus/Pluto conjunction in the 1960s or Saturn's passage through the sign a few years ago - we tend to downplay or just miss the Virgoan side of what's going on.

If you look, though, Virgo is all over the news these days. Astrologers aren't making the connection to the sign of the virgin all that often, but there some prominent Virgo themes in the news, and none is more obvious than the ongoing and bitter battle over genetically modified (GMO) foods. Monsanto, the St. Louis company that is the owner/manufacturer of many GMO crops has been - with justification, in my opinion, - been cast in the role of dark Sith Lord in the evil Empire. But we can step aside from the politics and look at the astrology to try to gain a wider perspective on what's going on.

First, in 2011 or thereabouts (for such things are never entirely clear), the fixed star Regulus precessed into Virgo. Regulus is the royal star, and it had been in Leo for thousands of years (we're talking tropical zodiac, by the way - the star is more or less "fixed" with regard to the constellations). This is a major symbolic shift that will take a while to really integrate into our consciousness, but the idea is that star that symbolizes royalty and all the regality that goes with it has moved from a Fire (spirit) sign into an Earth (material) sign, from a masculine sign to a feminine sign, and into a sign that is symbolized by a goddess holding a shaft of wheat (agriculture).

The transition works on many levels, but we need symbolic events to tune us into the shift in energy. Environmental degradation and our detachment from the physical world is a major theme we need to work out if we are going to survive on an increasingly crowded planet. In a planet that has topped 7 billion people, nothing can be more of an Earth issue than our food supply. Concerns about toxins like pesticides in our food have been prominent for a while, but GMOs represent a whole new level of difficulty as the actual genetic material of the food is changed.

Now, to the astrology. The environmental movement really took off during the passage of Uranus and Pluto through Virgo in the 1960s. The issues have never really gone away, but they came roaring back to prominence with Saturn's passage through Virgo, beginning in 2007 (e.g., the fallout from the 2006 film An Inconvenient Truth). With Pluto's move into Capricorn in 2008, it's no surprise that the focus in on the role of corporations and the government in manipulating Virgoan issues around food and the environment (the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is another side to the story).

From late 2012 though the fall of 2013, Saturn has been sextiling Pluto. On one level, this is the transformation of power structures, but in the short term it is the consolidation of power. Saturn and Pluto are in each others' signs, making for a very cooperative relationship, which can be seen for example in the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in favor of Monsanto. For many, it appears that the United States has become a Plutocracy, with the wealthy and powerful interests running the show.

At the same time, the Uranus/Pluto square truly is challenging existing power structures. Just last week, South Korea put a temporary block on U.S. wheat after detecting GMO wheat in its imports. Some people, companies, and countries are going to dig in to hold the status quo, others are going to mount an overt challenge. The outcome is likely to be different than either side would expect or like.

One last consideration - the backlash against GMO food and Monsanto is being led largely by the hitherto quiet Pluto-in-Virgo generation that was born during the 1960s. We might have expected this generation to continue the revolutionary spirit of the era they were born into, but in general this generation has been very subdued. With Regulus now in Virgo and Uranus and Pluto again in hard aspect, this cosmic sleeper cell is waking up.

The Weekly World Astrologer

Astrologer Discovers Day is Missing Each Week!

You’ve been told all your life - and odds are you’ve believed - that there are seven days in a week. But have you ever stopped to count?

That’s what astrologer Artie Jessup did a few months ago while working an overnight shift as a
reception clerk at a local Hampton Inn - with stunning results: Jessup discovered that there are in fact only six days in the week. Now, after exhaustive mathematical tests by NASA scientists, the astounding discovery has been confirmed.

“This changes everything,” said NASA Public Relations Director, Pinky Bluemon, in a telephone interview. “We had no idea that there were any more discoveries of this magnitude to be made,” he added, “and frankly we’re a little embarrassed that it was an astrologer and not one of our astronomers who made the discovery.”

According to Jessup, the insight came in a flash, after months of calculations and long hours pondering time. “You see,” he said, “I work an eight hour shift every day, but for the life of me I could never account for more than five hours. So where did the other 15 hours go each week?” With such a large chunk of time missing, Jessup wondered if other pieces of the week might be missing, and sure enough, they were.

“We all know how weekends just fly by,” Jessup explained, “and I calculated that we lose about four and half hours out of both Saturday and Sunday. Now, add that nine hours to the fifteen from the week, and what do you have? A full day!”

Not everyone is happy about the discovery. The National Retailers Association has complained that the government should have issued a warning to employers before publishing the results of their study, afraid that they will wind up paying for an extra day off for workers each week. At the same time, union organizers are also concerned that their members have been cheated out of weekend time. One union executive who wished to remain anonymous said that he believed that U.S. workers are now owed a total of six hundred million days off. The four major television networks in the U.S. also have their hands full, trying to adjust their schedules, and ESPN has learned that “Sunday Night Baseball” has never actually existed.

A Roar of Energy

If the Libra full moon conjures up images of balance and harmony, you may be surprised by this year's model.

Libra is about balance and harmony, of course, and at the full moon the sun and moon sit opposite each other, perched like two orbs of equal size on each of the zodiac. At sunset, you can see them balancing on the Western and Eastern horizons. But let's not forget that the sun is actually millions of times larger than the moon, and is in fact providing not only its own light, but the light we see reflected from the moon as well. In other words, the balance we see is an optical illusion. (For more on this, pick up Eric Meyers' excellent book The Astrology of Awakening).

On many Libra full moons, however, the illusion is maintained, and balance and order prevail. The individualistic, independent power of Aries is reflected back by our societal norms and conventions, as well as consideration of our friends, family, and partners. Independence is tempered by consideration. If we've been too selfish, the Libra full moon can shine the light on the mess we've made. If we've been too humble, the scales are balanced in the other direction and we are encouraged to assert more individuality. That's why we say that the Libra moon throws light on relationships.

This year, however, the scales are likely to be found way out of balance, or be pushed over entirely. We come into this full moon shaking off long moon voids (and we'll go into them again, too). Under the surface of the moon's void fiery hot aspects have been forming all week (extending from Friday the 22nd all the way through the end of the month). Mars has been aspecting not only the revolutionary energy of the Uranus-Pluto square, but also the awkward Jupiter-Saturn-Pluto yod.

Lots has been said about the Uranus-Pluto square (click here for my video, for example). The yod is shorter acting, but not without significance. Saturn and Pluto have been cooperating to keep the status quo, favoring the powerful and well-connected, at least for a time. Jupiter, looking from across the zodiac in Gemini, stirs up tensions by representing a more progressive, democratic energy.

We can see that progressive social and political causes have a great deal of energy, but are not finding a lot of expression. Perhaps the best example - appropriately an issue with the moon in Virgo - is about Monsanto being protected from litigation in the U.S., but many news stories show the tension. In our personal lives, too, we can feel a building tension that affects our relationships with others - not just our partners - and which also exists as a psychic tension within ourselves.

This full moon is an opportunity for the pent-up energy of the past few weeks and months to come roaring out. Rather than being considerate of the other person, we're likely to take aim at them, making them the target of our anger. The restrictions others have placed on us, no matter how benignly, are likely to be fought off during the last week in March. Expect another peak of energy on the 29th, as the sun aspects these same points. Venus gets into the act after the full moon, so we may see that personal partnerships (and finances) are indeed part of the picture.

So, don't expect a placid full moon on any level. This is an opportunity to express ourselves, and the frenetic energy of the full moon will be evident. But while this is an opportunity for expression, don't expect everything to come out now - that will have to wait until Jupiter is more overtly in the picture, beginning in August.

If I had a hammer...

If you would have a thing shrink, first you must stretch it
If you would have a thing weakened, first you must strengthen it
If you would have a thing put aside, first you must set it up
If you would take from a thing, first you must give to it

-Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

You may have noticed how well things are going this week.

Depending on who you are, that is. There's an awful lot of agreement in the air, and if you happen to be a power broker, things are generally on the uptick. Saturn and Pluto have your back.

The stock ticker, for example. The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit an all-time high this week, closing at record levels two days in a row - despite some rather glum economic news and worries about how the U.S. "sequester" may affect the economy in the future. Although there is always both encouraging and discouraging news that moves the markets, this week's push upward seems to come from a belief that the status quo will be maintained.

Maintaining the status quo is also the theme in Rome (or at least part of it), as the College of Cardinals has decided that a media blackout is necessary for their conclave to pick the next pope. The cardinals had to enter their deliberations earlier this week under the shadow of Scottish Cardinal O'Brien saying he had engaged in sexual misconduct. Secrecy must seem like a good idea to the red hats, considering.

Taking a cue from Venus and Mercury, who have been in easy aspect to Saturn and Pluto, President Obama has decided to take the Senate and Congress out to dinner. Finesse may work better than threats when challenging entrenched positions - a lesson we may all want to keep in mind this week.

There are more stories that speak of consolidation of power, on many levels. It doesn't go well for everyone, of course. Former Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi is going to jail for a year, and Microsoft was fined a record amount for not living up to their agreement to offer a choice of web browsers on Windows systems in Europe.

Yes, Saturn and Pluto may have the back or the rich and powerful, but with those two behind you, you may feel a sharp pain between the shoulder blades. Ultimately, these two outer planets are working to transform our economic and political systems, but change happens through a process.

The two outer planets are in each others' signs, Saturn in Scorpio and Pluto in Capricorn, and the planets themselves are in exact sextile (an easy, cooperative aspect) on Friday March 8th. Things couldn't look more chummy between these two very different planets, and they seem to be very much favoring the status quo. Scorpio and Capricorn are the signs most associated with government, power, and money.

Yet we frequently see that change comes about through more of the same. Pluto, especially, often works through inflating a bubble until it bursts, rather than taking the air out slowly (that's more Saturn's style). So the status quo may not last that long, after all. But don't expect change to look the way you expect - or want - it to look.

In the long run, Saturn and Pluto aren't taking sides.

I Wanna Rock!

Of course, you know by now that an asteroid "the size of a football field" (are we talking American football or European? Soccer pitches are way larger, I believe) will graze by the Earth today. But we were surprised when another bit of celestial debris crashed through the atmosphere earlier today - a meteorite exploded over Russia, injuring more than 500 people.

Like most contemporary astrologers, I don't really know what to say about comets, crashing meteorites, and such. I take it that back in the day they were considered omens, and it seems like they were not especially good omens, at that.

I checked the chart for the 1908 Tunguska Meteor Event, and found no real correspondence with today's charts. Tunguska is an interesting chart, though, with an incredible stellium in Cancer, just past of solar eclipse.

Perhaps we can relate today's small hit and near-miss in the context of the upcoming Saturn station to retrograde, this Monday, the 18th. Saturn has been rocking through Scorpio, making it all the way up to 11 and half degrees of the sign since October. Among his activities has been a constructive sextile to Pluto in Capricorn, helping to transform (and consolidate) power. Capricorn is the sign of structure and institutions, and Scorpio is associated with transformation and -eventually - healing.

It could be that we should indeed see today's celestial events as warnings: to do so resonates nicely with the Saturn/Scorpio theme. We're being reminded of the fragility of our planet, and the tenuousness of life on our own small rock. We have yet to really accept the massive environmental problems we face, and have done very little to address them seriously. No doubt Saturn in Scorpio will remind us that we need to see life with the awareness of death, and to recognize the cost of what we create in our limited environment.

How'd he do?

Ed Koch, perhaps New York's most New York Mayor, died yesterday at the age of 88, just shy of his third Saturn return. Stories about the Mayor and his popularity are all over the news, and an in-depth analysis of his relationship to New York City would take longer than any decent blog post ought to be (I will point out that he lost his bid for a fourth term for Mayor as Pluto crossed over his Saturn in Scorpio back in 1989).

But it is interesting that he died on the very day that a movie about him was released. Koch premiered last October, but it's date for general release was February 1, 2013. Now that's doing up your third Saturn return - you check out and let the film carry your legacy forward. (Oh, and the bridge - a couple of years ago the 59th Street - or Queensboro - Bridge was renamed for him).

Beatrix and Between

To me, it all looks pretty complex... there are several different charts for the Netherlands, which after all has a long history. But the abdication of Queen Beatrix on January 28th has some interesting resonances with the chart for the coronation of King William I in 1815, which Nicholas Campion says is the chart many Dutch astrologers use.

Most prominent for me is that the sun on January 28th was at 8 degrees of Aquarius, conjunct the coronation chart's Saturn. Now, what really grabs me about that is the Queen - royalty, a Leonine quality - abdicated at a time when the sun is in the progressive, democratic sign of Aquarius, which is in many ways the antithesis of Leo (it certainly is opposite in the zodiac!).

It makes sense that the Netherland's Saturn is in the sign of the Water Bearer. The country is known for being tolerant (generally) and politically progressive. It's appropriate that the Queen would publicly call it quits when the sun was in a sign associated with democracy, and as it passed over the government-oriented Saturn. It's a way of royalty bowing to the people - and royalty is not famous for bowing to anyone.

The abdication also comes just days after the full moon at 7+ degrees of Leo, essentially conjunct the country's Saturn. And Saturn now stands in Scorpio, square to that full moon (the square to the sun is exact on January 30th). In other words, the full moon "lit up" the country's Saturn, and placed pressure on royalty. And at the time of her speech, the moon was on the IC (opposite the midheaven) of the country's chart.

All in all, it looks like a tough week for Dutch royalty. But the Queen made the best of the pressures - it must be bittersweet to abdicate the throne, but Beatrix made the most of it. We'll have to see what the new King's coronation chart looks like.

But hey, it's the Netherlands, and I bet it's all good.


When we look through a chart, astrologers tend to put what we call generational aspects into the background. Generational aspects are aspects of slow-moving outer planets to each other - they move so slowly that an entire generation (or at least everyone born for a few years) will have the same aspect at the same time.

No big deal for any one individual, right? Everybody in your third grade class has the same aspect by transit, so it can't be too important.

Well, yes and no. Aaron Swartz, the 26 year old web developer that killed himself of Friday, would seem to suggest a different story. Although I don't know his birth time, the major planetary transits he was experiencing are really very much generational.

Okay, he had a Pluto transit to his Venus, too. But there is no indication that he killed himself over a love interest.

And he has a Scorpio sun, so even if he wasn't in the midst of an exact aspect, he was feeling that, too, as Saturn is now in his sign. Many Scorpios are having a hard time of it to one extent or another.

But what really seems to describe his relevant transits at this time is a conjunction of transiting Saturn to his natal Pluto in Scorpio. Now again, everyone born in 1986 has more or less the same position of Pluto, so they'll all be undergoing this transit this year. Not everyone is going to have such a rough time of it. Yet we can look a little deeper and see why Aaron may have been in the crosshairs of this transit.

Saturn is the planet we associate with authority, rules, and regulation. Pluto is power and power structures. Saturn is the Cosmic Cop, Pluto is the Celestial Power Broker. When transiting Saturn aspects Pluto, the "book" says that it's a bad time to try to get away with something that breaks the rules. No judgement implied - it's just that you're likely to get called out on your violation. It's not a good time to pad your tax return with fake deductions, for example.

Swartz was in real trouble, facing prosecution for illegally downloading academic journal documents from MIT. He was facing trial this week, and was apparently looking at six months of jail time. However, even the database that he stole from didn't want to prosecute, and it seems odd that the government was going after him on such serious charges when he essentially snuck into the library.

But that's Saturn and Pluto. The Plutonian energy is no-holds-barred and Saturn is a stickler for the rules. And Aaron Swartz was a smart, inventive, creative, Scorpionic iconoclast. A danger, some might perceive.

Because he was well-known, Swartz didn't get to hide his Pluto the way many others can. Being in the public eye can take those generational planets and make them very personal. That's especially true if you use your Plutonian energy to transform the way people relate via the internet, as Swartz did.

Then there is the question of suicide. It seems an extreme response. On this we'll have to wait and see, because the Pluto-in-Scorpio generation is young and just coming under such pressures. There does seem to be a kind of nihilism that runs through this astrological cohort, a group that finds vampires (dead people) sexy and seems ready to accept death as part of life at a very early age. For better or worse, the group that was born in the era of AIDS and Chernobyl doesn't seem ready to buy into the idea that everything will be okay, and may be quick to reach for the Escape button.

All Ashore

This probably won't interest nonastrologers, but the moon is void, so why not?

The Seastreak Ferry crash in lower Manhattan this morning has interesting resonances with the 2003 crash of the Staten Island Ferry as it approached the dock on Staten Island.

The ascendant degree and midheaven are virtually the same (2 Sag 06 MC in 2003, 3 Sag 15 MC today). In 2003, Neptune was in the 12th house, just two degrees off the ascendant, while today's Mars is within a degree of the 2003 ascendant (and hence conjunct the 2003 Neptune. Neptune today is at 1 Pisces 19, just a bit more than a degree away from the 2003 Mars.

The moon of today's crash is just a smidgeon past the 2003 Pluto. Mercury was square Saturn in the 2003 crash, and it is opposite Saturn today. There are also interesting correlates to the May 2010 crash of the same ferry boat as the 2003 crash, available in this archived Astroblog.


Speaking Truth to Power

The Uranus-Pluto square that dominates the years 2012 - 2015 gets aspected strongly from late December 2012 through the first week in January 2013. While holiday spirit was not entirely dampened, there has been enough going on in our personal and collective lives to keep an anxious eye on tense matters even as we celebrate the New Year.

The sun and Saturn both got into the mix in late December, heating up power issues. The wrangling over the Fiscal Cliff deal and gun control in the U.S. was prominent, but Russia's decision to ban U.S. adoptions and Egypt's adoption of an Islamic constitution were also signs of the times: the need for change countered by consolidation of power.

As we race through the first week of January, the feel becomes more erratic and electric. Now it's time for Mercury, the Cosmic Messenger, to stir up the Uranus-Pluto square. Although Saturn continues to help the powers-that-be maintain a lockdown on the status quo, Mercury pushes us to express the truth (at least as we see it). And sure enough, we can see some significant examples of speaking the truth to power:

In an almost amazingly Uranian rupture of the powerful Republican Party in the U.S., New Jersey Governor Chris Christie openly blamed the Republican-led Congress and (Republican) House Speaker John Boehner for failing to bring to a vote an aid package for Hurricane Sandy. New York Congressperson Peter King said that Republicans from around the country who come to New York to raise funds for their campaigns should stay home: "Anyone who donates one cent to the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee should have their head examined," King, a staunch conservative and Republican congressman for 10 years, told CNN.

Other Mercury-Uranus news includes the sale of liberal Current TV (a U.S. television station) to Al-Jazeera.

The erratic world of Mercury-Uranus-Pluto also includes the arrest of a Brooklyn man who was arrested for being naked in front of a Connecticut church on Wednesday (and hey, he went all the way to Connecticut - Brooklyn is known as "the Borough of Churches").

And finally, French actor Gerard Depardieu was granted Russian citizenship - he has been protesting a tax on millionaires in France. Everyone's gotta have a cause.

For those of you with a real head for astrology, Argentina is honoring the Saturn return of the Falklands War by asking Britain to return the islands.