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Keanu Reeves: The Man of the Hour

If you have eyes and wi-fi access, you are probably aware that Keanu Reeves is the talk of the internet these days. Whether he’s walking to music, avenging his dog or striking a pose on a chopper, Keanu is more popular than ever. We are living through a “Keanuissance” and I’m hopping on the I-heart-Keanu bandwagon by taking a look at his chart.

Keanu’s wealth of Virgo planets, including his Sun and Ascendant, reveals itself with his humble and sincere vibe. He tends to deflect rapidly when interviewers praise him or call attention to what a famously nice guy he is. When asked in an interview how he keeps his private life out of the press, he said, with a slight chuckle: “I have no life and I don’t answer personal questions. That’s kind of my modus operandi because … I mean … ‘who cares?’” Virgo likes to get on with things and doesn’t have a lot of ego invested in its own specialness.

Keanu Reeves Natal Chart
Keanu Reeves’ Natal Chart

What Virgo does invest in is serving a useful purpose and doing it to the very best of its ability. Keanu probably asks a lot of himself—more so than anyone else. According to several of his co-stars, Keanu is committed and focused at work. Chris Evans calls Keanu very focused, giving, and thorough, and Jennifer Connelly says he is disciplined, hard-working, conscientious, and incredibly kind. Most comment on his sweetness and humility, even after the stratospheric success of the Matrix. His intensity most likely comes not just from Virgo’s razor-sharp commitment to excellence but also Pluto parked right on top of his Virgo Ascendant, having risen just minutes before Keanu was born. With Pluto at the helm of his ship, Keanu takes life and work seriously, giving it everything to the point where it can consume him just as much as he consumes it. But just try and take a peek into his inner workings and you’ll get a dose of secretive Plutonian stonewalling.

His progressed moon is traveling through his 11th house for the next 18+ months, and Keanu’s well aware of the love and attention coming his way, humbly acknowledging it by saying he’s just “happy to be here.” The progressed moon is where our attention is often drawn, so he sees us seeing him! However, despite being an actor and in the public eye, he’s not likely to be one to enjoy the spotlight for it’s own sake with his Sun and other Virgo planets tucked away in the private 12th house. With his moon, Mars, and Venus in Cancer, he’s more likely to focus his energy through this very public house by sending the love out rather than wanting the public’s eye on him. Cancer has the urge to shelter, nourish, and protect, but typically while remaining protected itself. With all those Cancer planets in the 11th, his tendency toward philanthropy is not likely to be a gimmick and his good deeds are reportedly piling up. When his progressed moon moves into the 12th in 2021, he might find that the intensity of the Keanuissance has run its course and be relieved that he can just concentrate on doing his thing.

Uranus Opposition – Start a Revolution

Rose McGowan
Rose McGowan

The headline reads Rose McGowan is Starting a Revolution.

Indeed. And right on time.

After tweeting a photo of casting notes which instructed her to wear form-fitting and revealing clothing for an audition, instructions she said were “par for the course,” she woke to find her tweet had gone viral. That and another tweet a week later admonishing her agency for dropping her had her drawing support and encouragement to “fight on” when it comes to misogyny and Hollywood.

This may only be one of many culminating points in an ongoing awakening for Rose, which began, according to her, in the late 2000s when a lot of “Lemony Snicket” events (referring to his ‘a series of unfortunate events’ books) had her “dismantling.” The illness and death of her father and a car accident were just two of the intense happenings that kicked off this growth period (right around the time Pluto squared her own Pluto–but that’s another story).

“In the last seven years, without being totally aware of what I was doing, I was completely disengaging and separating.”

Uranus

Uranus represents the rod to which we must hold if we want to navigate the tricky terrain of the ever-developing self when the external environment presses us to conform. Whether it’s a well-meaning parent’s advice, a cultural paradigm, or an authority figure’s judgment, we are always under subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) pressures to fit in.

This cannot be reduced to the simple desire to want others to like us; it is more primal and subconscious and the stakes are higher than they seem on the surface. To truly be an outcast can threaten our very survival and if we don’t play by the rules of the powers that be, we can perish by them and not just metaphorically. There may be good reasons why we ignore Uranus’ whispers, or translate them into safer, less threatening ways to display our individuality because of this.

Uranus represents the urge to live and express yourself authentically, whether the stakes are large or small. The struggle for authenticity and the stress we experience when sacrificing or embracing it is real, whether we mask our true nature to avoid bullying at school or become a whistle-blower afraid for our very life. Uranus in our natal chart represents where and in what ways we not only think outside the box, but we often refuse, sometimes vehemently, to be boxed in or defined.

Why do we dare to break the mold or risk being shunned as an outcast? Freedom. The burden of a secret, of a false life on any level, can build up like a toxin. The safe but false feeling of acceptance may be of too little comfort, having us living in constant vigilance of our secret being exposed or simply suffering the exhaustion of keeping up a façade. When we are accepted for that which we are not, we may still feel just as alone as we fear we might be for revealing who we truly are. Pluto is often involved whenever dismantling, as Rose put it, is required, but Uranus is Pluto’s bedfellow when an old skin needs to be shed; it is The Liberator.

The Uranus Opposition: the Celestial Monkey Wrench

Into everyone’s life, a little Uranus must fall but not always at the same times in our lives or with the same intensity or sequence of events. A natal chart is essentially a map of the sky at the time of a birth, revealing the location of the planets and a few other heavenly favorites at that moment. Although the planets in our natal map are frozen in time, the movement of the planets from then on are not. Uranus’ orbit may be predictable (a word which Uranus would scowl about being associated with) but depending on the orientation of the planets in your natal chart, you may experience Uranus crossing over the position of your Sun, for example, at age 2 while your neighbor may not experience it until age 62. It all depends on the starting line: your birth moment.

This variability applies to all the planets, except for one very predictable exception: a planet’s orientation to itself. Any planet will eventually return to its original location, for example. So while Uranus may cross your Sun’s position at age 2 but your neighbor’s Sun position at age 62, you and everyone who lives to be the ripe old age of 84 will experience Uranus’ return around that age. Halfway through that cycle, at about age 42, everyone experiences the Uranus opposition, the period of time when Uranus is opposite its original position in everyone’s own natal chart.*

Uranus represents things that happen suddenly and without warning, personal changes can take us by surprise just as much as they do to those around us. Uranus represents liberation via separation; the ability to see something or someone objectively is dependent on our distance from it. We may find that the idea, belief, relationship, job, or religion just does not have the same meaning or relevance in our life that it had just months before, maybe for no discernable reason.

It’s likely no accident that many of the obvious, disruptive events that take place during a classic mid-life crisis happen around this age. We may feel rebellious, angsty, or frustrated, often in response to a feeling of being trapped. These trappings may have been our own doing and even served us well once, but at the Uranus opposition, it’s time to re-authenticate and that may mean breaking up not just with a job or a partner, but our former self.

The Uranus opposition can bring about the awareness of a need to break away from something that you may have been previously in league with, even if only by default, in an effort to reveal and express something essential about your true self. “Be Yourself” is Uranus’ call to action but it’s not as easy as it sounds. Sometimes that which we were, thought we were, or thought we would always be turns out to be that which inhibits us from becoming who we are. Uranus’ opposition is the cosmic monkey wrench that stops the auto-pilot engine so we can really think about where we’re going and whether or not it’s a dead-end.

Rose’s Revolution Evolution

Rose’s own Uranus lies in a close conjunction with Venus in her natal chart, in the sign of Libra in her 5th house.

rose-mcgowan-triwheel

Rose’s Uranian individuality is expressed not only in her relationship needs and style, but also her creative and artistic inclinations, which can be especially revealing in a profession that revolves heavily around creativity, art, self-expression and/or performance, such as an actor and director like Rose. The expression of beauty and its manifestation through modeled gender roles is also a way Rose’s unique perspective will come through–bucking beauty standards and assumptions about women and relationships are just a few examples of something she’s born to do. To her, expression of one’s beauty may be simply about being who you are, not your gender identity. She has spoken several times about being raised in what she sees as a ‘gender-neutral’ environment. “I don’t remember ever seeing any mirrors,” she said in an interview. “I grew up without actually registering that I was a girl or a boy.”

Astrology is always understood and expressed through the lens of the current era. Traditionally, Venus has represented the feminine and this has been expressed in astrology literature and practice in the past; Venus in a woman’s chart represents the way she expresses her femininity and in a man’s chart, it represents what he wants in a woman, often with the assumption that not only does a man have any femininity to express and must project it onto an opposite gender, but that all men are heterosexual. In the current age, modern thought begins to offer us more complexity and nuance in how gender, sexuality, and femininity are expressed and understood. Indeed, this is a significant part of what has been incubating since the birth of the Uranus-in-Libra generation (those born roughly between late 1968 and late 1975) and blossoms as they hit the middle decades of life.

Although just shy of exact, Uranus has been opposing Rose’s own Uranus (and Venus) since mid-late spring. Although Rose’s tweet was self-initiated, the unanticipated reactions that resulted are right up Uranus’ alley. It’s no surprise that within the context of her life and her chart, the wake-up call comes in the form of authenticity (Uranus) and equality (Libra) in feminine and creative expression (Venus, 5th house).

Many probably hope she’s not just having a momentary rebellion but that she’s really going to spearhead change, or at least, join the cause in an active, visible way. Uranus sounds the alarm but there’s no guarantee that we won’t push the snooze button. The stamina and commitment to walk the unbeaten path is not easy and while we may be nod absently at the platitude, the magnitude of that truth isn’t always fully realized when we’re still running hot on a dose of reactionary indignation. It feels good to push back at what you feel has been oppressing you, even if (and sometimes especially if) it’s been you, yourself, in the form of internalized beliefs, judgmental voices, and so on. But the consequences, sometimes surprising, long-reaching and painful, of breaking with that ‘norm’ can be a hard burden to bear. So we won’t judge Rose too harshly if she doesn’t single-handedly change the world, or even Hollywood, will we?

Uranus breaks stuff so we can have a breakthrough. It’s up to us what we do with it from there, but our viewpoint can be forever changed, providing that ‘before and after’ perspective that is hard to forget or ignore. Even after the temporary upheaval of a Uranus opposition is over, the ripples go out to the edges.

This is the first of four passes Uranus will make to the opposing point of Rose’s Uranus-Venus conjunction. In 2016 and early 2017, Uranus will oppose this conjunction again, sending the ripple out further each time. For now, it looks like she’s taking it and running with it.

“For me, in my life, I’m just done ‘being allowed’ to be anything. I’m just no longer interested in people that will allow me to be anything because who are you to allow me to be anything? How dare you.”

Have you experienced a Uranian revolution? Please comment and share your story!


Further, fascinating reading and viewing about Rose McGowan and her extraordinary life:

Rose McGowan: I Escaped a Cult

All quotes used here are directly from Rose McGowan in this interview: DP/30 2014 Interview with Rose McGowan

*There is a small variability in the length and age of exactness of a planet’s return to its natal position and its contacts to its natal position along the way. This is largely due to the apparent retrograde phenomenon, when a planet temporarily appears to travel backward across the backdrop of the sky. But the variability window caused by retrogradation is a matter of months, not years. No one experiences a Uranus opposing itself at age 34, for example. It will also be around age 42, sometimes slightly earlier, sometimes slightly later.

Image of Rose McGowan by gdcgraphics – licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
This piece was originally featured in The Mountain Astrologer’s blog, Sept 2015

Eddie Izzard

I just enjoyed watching Believe: the Eddie Izzard Story, and of course, less than half-way through I got curious about his chart. He's got a massive stellium in Aquarius with a Virgo Rising and Pluto right on the Ascendant.

Eddie-Izzard-chart The thing about Eddie that became apparent early on in the docu was not only how relentlessly he worked at his craft (6th house) but also how long it took him to receive any real praise for his work. He knew he wanted to be an actor and performer from age 16 and pressed on, constantly working and refining (Virgo Rising). Clearly it paid off but it was a long time in coming. That Mars/Saturn conjunction in the 5th house (performance) no doubt correlates with that stamina and commitment as well–believing in one's art and oneself.

Eddie Izzard is a transvestite and as that tends to not be the norm in social behavior, one might attribute that as the strongest trait of the 'rebel' Aquarius planets. But so much of Aquarius is being willing to believe in yourself even when no one else does. It's not just about confidence, but about knowing who you are, and Aquarius pursues that by stubbornly (a word many people, including Eddie, use to describe him) sticking to what they know to be true about themselves. They've got to, because so often they encounter situations when they are the only one that does believe in what they know about their true selves.

"It's what I call the madness. If you think you can perform and the whole world is saying that you can't perform then you're obviously mad. If you hold onto that madness and hold onto it and hold onto it and hold onto it for years and then later it comes good and you can actually perform, then it proves that you weren't mad. And you just have to surround that little bit of belief and hold onto it as long as you can."

His south node in Aquarius is conjunct the Sun, which rules his north node and, contrariwise, Uranus, which rules his south node, is in the same sign and house as his north node. With this unofficial 'mutual reception', there seems to be a theme of believing in yourself carried over from the past to the present and future, but moving from the Aquarian way of doing so, which can sometimes fall into the habit of expecting people to think you're a freak and you don't belong and using that as a reason to be on the fringe or not participate in society or show your stuff (except as a way to shock or rebel), to a Leonine way of doing so, which is very celebratory and inclusive, even if it doesn't put one on center stage (or even if it does as in this case!)

His biopic is called "Believe" because of something a friend said to him. During one of his street performances at Covent Garden, someone in the audience had tied him up quite tightly so he could do his escape artist bit, and he couldn't get out; he had to dismiss the audience and have someone else untie him. His friend said: "if you think you can't get out, you will not be able to get out. You have to believe you'll get out; it's psychological."

'You've got to believe you can be a stand up before you can be a stand up, you've got to believe you can be an actor before you can be an actor, you've got to believe you can be an astronaut before you can be an astronaut. You've got to believe; you've got to imagine yourself in that situation,' Eddie says.

Seems like a quintessential statement for a combination of things in his chart: the imagination and faith of a Pisces Moon, and the stubborn dedication of the 6th house planets and Mars/Saturn in Aquarius, surely.

What about his Virgo Ascendant? It certainly echoed the non-stop dedication to work, and it was clear that he was always working to perfecting his act, and he's also not lacking in humility when self-assessing. At one point in the film he's talking about developing his technique for shifting from street/acting performance to stand-up:

"So in the end I decided to just work on one show until it was good and then people would come, as opposed to write shoddy, quick stuff and then shove it in people's faces and say 'look, it's brilliant'. Cuz it wasn't."

With Pluto on the Ascendant in Virgo the dedication can turn into obsession, especially if there's a feeling of not being good enough (and let's face it, there always is when Virgo is present–that's the fuel it burns!). One might chalk his dedication and relentlessness up to the 6th house and Mars conjunct Saturn once again,but other people in his life realize and remark how he always seems to be running from or toward something or both with his relentless schedule (9 in the morning until 3 or 4 am every night, they say!). All of these factors might exhibit these behaviors, but where we find Pluto, we tend to find defense mechanisms and escapist techniques to outrun our fear and our deepest pain. Eddie's mother died when he was young and toward the end of the film when thinking of her, he realizes in an emotional moment: "everything I do in life is trying to get her back … I think if I do enough things that maybe she'll come back … yeah, I think that's what I'm doing."


Rethinking Venus: Venus Retrograde in Scorpio

As with any craft, the longer you're in it, the deeper you want to go into its components to get better and better at it overall. Most people understand that after you've been doing something a long time and can do it in your sleep, you can get bored with your craft. I've been doing astrology long enough to fall prey to the boredom, I'm sure, but I never get bored.

Instead, I get confused.

I know all the puzzle pieces in astrology. Insert planet A into sign B and all that. Some people might say I've even gotten pretty good at twisting those pieces around into little pockets of meaning (I did write a book and all, I suppose). While many people spend time trying to figure out the next new puzzle on their horizon such as midpoints or sesquiquadrates or the elusive triple-yod-summersault-dismount trickybob, I like to dig as deeply as I can into the elegance of the core components of astrology: the planets, signs, and houses; to re-enchant myself with the foundations themselves. I know it's time for another excavacation when suddenly everything I seem to know about one of these components simply dissolves when I try to pick it up. File empty. These days, ask me about Venus and I'll search my brain's database, only to find that the files have been stolen and a sticky note left in its place: "I.O.U."

And then, like a good little Virgo with Capricorn Rising, I panic and fret while all the while trying to fake it so I can keep my reputation in good standing. Yes, yes, Venus, yes. Be right with you. Just, um, gathering my thoughts and opening up my programs. Wait, where's my laser pointer and my headset?!

Venus de milo It's not that I've forgotten the keywords. I can recite them just as well as the next good little astrological monkey. Venus: Relationships, Charm, Beauty, Creativity, Art, and so on. But it's not enough to parrot the words inherited from every beginning astrology book one's read. This 8th house girl has to know WHY? What are the roots that have birthed these branches? It's come time for me to dig into the very soil from which our modern understanding of the Venus archetype has grown. So I'm dutifully going about it in Gemini south node fashion: a stack of books and a list of mp3 workshop recordings, and back to the myths themselves to do my own distillation process. Hopefully when I stir them all in the 8th-house pot, the themes, truths, and patterns will rise to the Neptune-in-Sagittarius-conjunct-my-north-node frothy top.

Is it a coincidence that I've got the Venus Research bug as it retrogrades in Scorpio, the sign of research and mysteries, over my Midheaven? Goddess, I hope not!

I hope to have more to offer in the future, but my preliminary findings (one with Cap Rising must talk like that to sound official, you do understand) have drawn my attention to the trouble with the white-washed Venus that has been most celebrated. Venus wants to make everything 'pretty', just like herself, right? She wants us all to get along and play nice, or at least pretend to play nice. I'm not interested in standing on a feminism soapbox here as much as I'm interested in wholeness, as in, don't just show me the pretty parts, show me all of it (even you, Venus). It's not about finding the tabloid dirt on Venus to prove how ugly she really is. What really intrigues me is the definition of beauty itself, beyond the symmetry of faces or the argument of pastels over fluorescents. I found this paragraph from Anne Massey's book Venus: Her Cycles, Symbols & Myths to be particularly provocative:

Our view of Venus has become sanitized over the centuries, removing whatever we as a society are not comfortable accepting. This would naturally account for the fact that we still like to place women on pedestals where we can admire their beauty (and no doubt lament the lack of our own in some way by comparison, I'd like to add). Fashion magazines are a prime example. The faces of women who grace the pages have been airbrushed to the extent that there appear to be no lines, creases, or imperfections, let alone a wrinkle or a laugh line. With each brush stroke, a part of the woman's personality has been erased. (italics mine, bold added)

Venus is retrograding through Scorpio right now (I think I mentioned that!), creating a seemingly perfect time for us all to ask questions about the raw truth that lies beneath any image of beauty or any bonds of love. In marital love, for example, we recognize the lines from the age-old vow: "for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part." Well. We can certainly recognize Saturn's stamp on all of that. After all, until death do us part is pretty committed and serious. But we can recognize Venus in it too, I hope (especially in Scorpio). The depth of the passion in a commitment like that has to be profound.

We don't like to think about it, but Scorpio knows the frightening truth of love in the face of poorer, sickness, and death. As Venus retrogrades through this sign, perhaps we are being shown what is terribly beautiful in its power and horror, not just pretty or easy. Singer Lily Allen (May 2 1985) has just lost her baby at 6 months pregnant, while Venus in Scorpio retrograded right over her Pluto. Love meets horror and loss? You betcha.

So what is my point, that Venus, and especially Venus in Scorpio, is actually ugly, frightening, painful and ultimately ends in death? No, it's even worse. That the face of Venus that is love, human love, contains all those things, Scorpio or not. Retrograde or not. It also contains timelessness, ascension, safety through the howling winds that life blows at us sometimes, vulnerability in the best sense, and every love song you've ever heard. Let's honor its raw and provocative power that isn't always pretty, but supersedes prettiness with its elegance and flawed purity.

This is one of the best Venus in Scorpio photos I know, and surprise, surprise, it has nothing to do with leather, vampires, or heavy eye makeup:

Elderlylove
photo credit: unknown. Do you know? Please comment and let me in on it!

So how does the chart reveal the similarities but the differences alike? There are a few theories, such as the idea that twins 'split up' the chart's energies and express some traits stronger than their twin or that environmental factors make up the other half of the astrological picture, that external stimulus and life events dictate how each twin uses their chart to respond to life. Or is it the core of modern astrology and the belief in free will: that no one can predict what an individual soul's choices will be, only their lessons, struggles, and strengths?

Project Runway Season 8: Gretchen Jones, Master Manipulator or Misjudged?

Though it is my favorite show on television no matter what the season, season 8 of Project Runway hasn't exactly been the most scintillating of all the seasons (I still miss season 4's Christian Siriano, what can I say!?) but it did get somewhat more interesting when Tim dressed down designer Gretchen Jones for "manipulating, controlling and bullying" her team members in episode 5.

Gretchen said she was hurt by what Tim said. In her after show video blog, she said she was trying to be a cheerleader, not a leader. She said she didn't try to tell people what to make but just went around making sure people finished what they'd committed to.

Gretchen-jonesGretchen has a Capricorn Sun, as well as Mercury in Capricorn conjunct her south node, so she comes with a wealth of instinctual knowledge about how to get things done. She is practical and has a good sense of how to manage time and materials in general, but also an inherent ability to strategize. Not only does Capricorn provide that ability, but Mercury so close to her south node means she inherently comes with a strong and logical mind. When she focuses on a goal, she immediately starts working out the steps to get there.

Capricorn has been called the sign of the 'manager' because of these traits of know-how coupled with an ability to see how the bigger picture needs to shape up. When Gretchen was "making sure people finished what they'd committed to," she was in prime Capricorn form. Capricorn is not known for it's compassion or sensitivity, mostly because of another saying that we find in the astrological literature of Capricorn frequently which is the phrase "ends justify the means." Capricorn is more concerned with getting to the goal than how it gets there. A Capricorn ideally wants to live with integrity and be thought of well, but it's often not about being liked rather than being respected. Getting what they set out to do done and being a person of their word is a Capricorn intention.

However, the excesses of Capricorn's fixation on the end goal can end up manipulative. While Capricorn isn't sneaky in the same way that maybe Scorpio or Gemini might be, they can be quite hungry for accomplishment and prestige. Gretchen seemed to suffer from hubris after her first two wins right out of the gate which probably fueled her solar ego and allowed The Boss to come out, steering others, however indirectly or unintentionally, toward the ends she wanted.

Her seeming backpedaling (according to the judges, not her) on her opinion of Team Luxe's collection (first she seems proud of it, then she's calling it garbage that she had to salvage) can be attributed to her Mars in Libra. For Libra, everything is relative, and her desire for approval (Libra) clashes in her chart with her desire for respect (Capricorn) in sometimes incongruous ways, like it did in this example. We defend ourselves with our Mars too, so her style of defending herself (in Libra) is likely to be in almost siding with the opposing opinion to diffuse the confrontation. Once her Capricorn Sun was sure she wasn't aligned with a success, her Mars in Libra took over to agree and diffuse, hence the backpedaling.

Was she truly hurt by Tim's remarks? Her Pisces moon suggests she was. With Pluto conjunct Saturn in Libra, squaring her nodes, her interactions with other people are probably often the trickiest spot in her life. She probably has difficulty trusting others and sharing space with others, not out of a lack of desire, but with Capricorn being more comfortable for her (south node), the challenge of softening and sharing clashes with her independent and self-sufficient nature, so it's easier to just get things done rather than bringing people's feelings and ideas into the mix and letting it complicate things.

Her Pisces moon, though, suggests she does have a very tender heart and doesn't want to hurt others. But even her Venus in detached Aquarius makes it difficult to see her soft side until you've gained her trust. We can probably expect her to keep trooping on and getting the job done on Project Runway.

Ricky Martin’s Reveal: Why Now is the Time for him to Come out of the Closet

Ricky Martin 'came out of the closet' today by revealing that he was gay in a blog entry on his website.

Ricky-martin-natal-prog-tra The chart has so many indicators about the timing of his reveal.

Progressed Mercury is closing in on a conjunction of his Venus in Aquarius in the 8th house. This is 2 years away or so from becoming exact, but it's warming up. Progressed Mercury: one's evolving voice and truth, coming to Venus, the way we relate and connect to others. In Aquarius, 8th house, there's a desire to be true to oneself, even if it's difficult, vulnerable, or raw truth.

Venus is part of a grand trine to Saturn in Gemini and Pluto in Libra. Transiting Mars in Leo has just stationed direct this month, which would have shaken this entire configuration, triggering each planet in the matrix: Venus in Aquarius in the 8th: one's personal relationship & sexual truth; Pluto in Libra in the 4th house: facing one's fears about the core of oneself; and Saturn in Gemini in the 12th: the 'hard work' of speaking one's spiritual truth but also confronting one's fixed beliefs and having the courage to challenge and rework them. All these planets are in the hidden water houses, which triggers inner work, but Mars in Leo pushes them forward to express as it forms the top of a kite configuration.

One of my favorites, because I'm such a fan of the progressed moon, is the fact that his progressed moon just moved into Virgo last month. The progressed moon is where our emotional attention is, what our heart needs and is ready for. It usually is where a lot of the activity in our lives can be traced back to, since what we put our attention on is what we notice manifesting and what we bring about. In the third house of communication, information, and perception, just entering Virgo, it's about being tired of the B.S., tired of game playing or worrying about what others think of you, and just wanting to cut to the chase and consider the facts. It's also squaring Saturn in Gemini, another trigger for that grand trine to activate.

A few other notables:

  • His progressed Venus is within orb of a square to his Ascendant/Descendant – self and other.
  • Transiting Uranus is conjuncting his Moon & Mars in the 10th house in Pisces – visible (10th) truth (Pisces)
  • Saturn just ran over his Pluto in the 4th house, also part of that grand trine

What do you see?

Astro Vignette: Who Do You Think You Are, Lisa Kudrow?

Lisa_Kudrow_at_TIFF_2009Lisa Kudrow is the executive producer for the American version of the UK television show Who Do You Think You are? A celebrity stars in each episode, tracing back through their family tree and usually centering on one ancestor as they follow the clues and records to find out who they were. Sarah Jessica Parker starred in the first episode, tracing her ancestor, Esther Elwell, back to the times of the Salem Witch Trials.

In a recent Entertainment Tonight interview, Lisa said:

"The one thing I realize with this show is you see the
person that's gonna be taking this journey and then not long after that it's
really the story of their long-since-dead relative and then you start getting
invested in those people and that story…"

When asked if she sensed a surge of people wanted to go back in time:

"Absolutely… [NBC executives] were logging on to find out about their own family because it's very compelling… you find out even more, that you are actually very connected to some major events in world history that you thought happened to strangers."

Lisa's Chart: Cancer Rising

Lisa-kudrow Lisa's Ascendant is in Cancer, along with her north node and Venus in the first house. This combination produces a desire to know one's self (first house) via an understanding of one's place within the family (Cancer), whether it's the immediate family of one's early childhood upbringing or beyond, such as physical or emotional traits passed down through one's ancestral lineage.

It can be quite eye opening for her to see how her understanding of her origins colors the way she perceives the world (Ascendant). Her south node in Capricorn, although in the 7th house of partnerships, can indicate a tendency toward personal emotional withdrawal even as she takes care of others she feels obligated to. Moving toward her north node in Cancer can mean learning to embrace self-nurture, since Cancer is a sign that's built to nurture
whatever it chooses to give its heart to (in this case, it needs to be the self  due to its placement in her first house). However, how we nurture and how we
have been nurtured create a full circle, so
Lisa is finding out who she is through where she comes from.

Venus plays an interesting role here and speaks the loudest when it comes to understanding Lisa's interest in the show. Venus is about feeling connected by being able to relate to someone, so it's no surprise that the show is not a dry, 'just the facts' kind of show with an impersonal narration, but has a very personal feel and is more
about the story of the ancestor. Lisa reveals it above in her interview when she talks about feeling connected to something that you thought happened to a stranger, implying that once you realize your connection to your ancestor, their humanness and what you share between you (albeit over a distance of time), they are no longer a stranger, but truly family.

The Astrology of Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook

Facebook celebrated it's 6th birthday on February 4th and it got me curious about its chart and the chart of its founder, Mark Zuckerberg. I still get a huge thrill when the astrology chart of a person, event, or company so compellingly represents the essence of its owner, especially at first glance. Facebook's chart is seems to be no exception.

Facebook's mission statFacebookement is: "Facebook's mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected." While it's evolved over time, it's always seemed to include the idea of connectivity and people coming together, over the Internet, of course. How perfect, then, that its birth happened under a Sun Neptune conjunction in Aquarius. The Sun in a person's chart represents their core identity, and the sign, house, and planets involved with the Sun show how to keep that core warm and able to sustain the person's life. The Sun in a company's chart is no different.

The core identity of Facebook's natal Sun is about Individuals (Aquarius) uniting (Neptune). Individuals are sharing the things that make them individuals: photos, thoughts, experiences, in a seamless way, with no apparent boundary (Neptune) between them and everyone else in the collective community. The Internet itself is an Aquarian dream, technology enabling community, so it's a perfect medium for this kind of mission. Neptune also adds a fluidity to the identity: constantly evolving and morphing, although Neptune's presence on the Sun can indicate a vulnerability to shifting and adapting to its environment so much that it's hard to tell what it really IS. Neptune can add a nebulous quality that can make it difficult for even Facebook to know itself clearly.

I always look at the chart not as a manufacturer of what is, but a guide to what can be. Like a car's user manual gives tips for best performance and has  a recommended maintenance schedule, a natal chart holds the clues for how a person, or even a company, can live its life to the fullest, by remaining true to itself. Facebook's Aquarius Sun reveals that not only does it need to continue to serve the needs of the individual rather than the status quo, but it also needs to remain true to walking its own path – which will often be off the beaten trail, as is sometimes typical and needful with Aquarius. A great example of this is when Facebook got big enough to start collecting serious offers to purchase it, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's creator, turned down the offers. In a 2007 interview with Time Magazine, Zuckerberg said: 

 "We're not really
looking to sell the company. We're not looking to IPO anytime soon. It's
just not the core focus of the company."

Why didn't he sell? Ideals? Or did he sense he could get more money? Who can say what the motivation was, but if it had anything to do with the reason he gave in the Time interview, it can certainly make that Aquarian Sun happy. Unfortunately,
without a time of birth to narrow it down (a common problem with
business and mundane charts) we cannot pin down the moon sign, nor the
rising sign, and obviously no house placements are available. So my eye wanders next to the Jupiter, Venus, Pluto configuration.

Jupiter in Virgo illustrates that their best method for growth is a steady, humble, and accountable one, where it does not rely on anything but it's own willingness to work hard. Opposite Venus in Pisces, they will have to choose partners carefully, and would do well with an even balance of the visionaries (Pisces) and the pencil pushers (Virgo sorry Virgo, but I love ya!) Oppositions, especially with Venus, are where we often find people outside of us to help us manage an imbalance inside of us. There is a need for balance between practical growth and the vision. This sounds pretty obvious; one could argue that its something every company needs, but its of particular importance in Facebook's chart, not to mention there's Pluto up there, one's potential unconscious agenda, having the potential to drive a wedge in the balance when not managed with integrity (and sometimes even then).

A house placement for Pluto would be greatly helpful, but it looks like difficulties involving the issue of partnership can reveal (and/or create) skeletons in the Facebook closet. The management of existing and potential partners then becomes a more significant issue (and potential source of landmines) than it already would be for any company. In the absence of house placements such as planets in the first house (the face of the company) or the 10th house (the reputation of the company) as well as the very important moon sign which would represent its customers, I would look to Venus primarily for insight on how best to manage public relations. Venus rules connections and Facebook, as a company and a product, is very much invested in connections, so it can be quite relevant here.

When interfacing with the public, again in the absence of other public relation chart clues, Venus in Pisces would indicate the necessity of maintaining the appearance of openness, non-aggression, and always a sense that it's not about a hierarchy of power as much as a collective, participatory effort. As all businesses tend to want to do, painting an optimistic picture of itself will be a good thing in some ways, but tricky. 'Less is more' might be a useful adage here, since overwhelming the public with 'hard core realism' can send a wave of paranoia and backlash, and with 400 million users,1 that's a wave big enough to drown anything. There's that tricky Neptunian/Piscean influence again; while there is such a thing as vision, optimism, and one's best intention, Venus in Pisces here has a vulnerability to going down the dark road of white-washing and manipulation of the 'spin' it puts on its activities when communicating with the public. Whether it's right, wrong, or simply the best means to an end, Pluto and Jupiter in this configuration say to me that there's huge potential for something to go boom if those skeletons come out of that closet. If they do have any (um, yeah) they'll be very big (Jupiter), very scary (Pluto), and very devious although they may try to appear innocent and have been created out of naivete (Pisces).

Another important issue to manage will be the 'truth-lite' public relations need  (Venus in Pisces) and the fact that Mercury is in Capricorn and conjunct Chiron. Mercury in Capricorn is about direct, down to business type of communication, although it can lean to the side of information being delivered on a "need-to-know" basis in order to get one's message across with the most effective outcome. Chiron feels like an Achilles' heel to me here, where it's vulnerable to shooting itself in the foot (forgive me for the hopefully amusing and playful reference to the Chiron myth). So, communicating as clearly and efficiently as possible, but not without strategy, is needful. Giving the appearance of connecting in an open way (Venus in Pisces) and doing so by communicating matter-of-factly (Mercury in Capricorn) might be a good balance.

Back to the idea of Jupiter and sustainable growth, Mars in Taurus supports the Jupiter agenda of sustainable growth (which so far has not exactly been the case as it's growth is so rapid its head is probably spinning!). However, Mars at 0 degrees Taurus is a double-edged sword: on one hand, it's direct and in stable Taurus, so there's a sense of the possibility of staying power. However, it's in what some consider a critical degree,2 which can be an indicator of instability. Again, because I see the chart as a prescription, not a promise of glory or doom, the key would be for Facebook to govern itself with slow, steady growth. It will also need to be especially humble, careful, and vigilant when it reaches the inevitable breaking point that any company does, where the skeletal structure that has supported it is now becoming brittle and needs to be repaired or cave in entirely, usually due to rigid and eventually outdated processes and policies.3

Congratulations, you made it to the end of this very long entry. There is no way this would fit into a Facebook status update!

1 http://blog.facebook.com/blog.php?blog_id=company&blogger=4

2 Critical degrees vary for different signs. In Taurus, it's said to be 9 and 21 degrees, but many astrologers consider 0 and 29 of any sign to be critical because it is on the threshold of the change from one sign to the other and can often indicate instability.

3 The Tower card in the Tarot always comes to mind for me in these cases. It does not necessarily have to be that the tower was flawed and therefore could not stand, but that everything inevitably decays, especially if it is not continually renewed and reinvented. Sustainability has nothing to do with stasis, but with measured growth.

How to Interpret a Natal Chart Using the Evolutionary Astrology Method

When a student begins studying astrology, the basic components can be easily learned from a book and memorized, to a certain extent. Putting puzzle piece A together with piece B can also be done rather efficiently. But when it comes to putting the puzzle of an entire chart (and therefore an entire person) together, it can be easily overwhelming. A natal chart isn't just the sum of its parts, and must be understood on a foundational level to see how all the parts really fit together. Once the foundation is understood, themes start to emerge and you can transcend the parts and understand the whole. This is the holy grail for any student!

There are many ways to start dissecting the puzzle of a natal chart. Many people start to dive into a chart by starting with the Sun, Moon, and Rising sign so as to understand a sort of basic vignette, and then add the rest of the planets in one by one to that foundational understanding. Many people assess the bigger picture by analyzing a sort of hierarchy of planetary 'weight', such as which planets are stronger or weaker because of their dignity or debilitation (fall, exaltation, rulership, or detriment). Still others will look at groupings of planets, to determine which elements or modalities are strongest, or the Jones' patterns such as the Bucket or the See Saw. All of these are fine ways to begin, and all are an attempt to get a sense of the foundation of a chart, an understanding of the primary cornerstones of a chart on top of which everything else in the chart can rest. I'm going to illustrate a different way of discovering the foundation of a chart using the nodes.

The Chart Behind the Chart

I look at the foundation of a chart as well, but because I am an evolutionary astrologer,* I use the nodes of the moon to understand a person and a chart's foundation. I ask two questions of the chart; first, rather than trying to understand or predict what this person will do, how they will behave or what good or bad luck will befall them based on their planetary placements, I ask the chart 'Why is this person here?' Before I try to understand what someone with a Sun in Aries IS, or how they'll behave, I try and understand why that soul needs their Sun in Aries to begin with. To do that, I first start with understanding the north and south nodes of the moon: why they're here, and where they came from – the orientation they entered this life with, respectively.

Second, rather than assuming someone will epitomize all expressions of their natal chart placements as if they were a walking astrological stereotype, I assume that the chart tells me not what that person IS, but what they are becoming. Therefore, I ask the chart, 'What is this person trying to learn?' Having a birth chart represents the tool box they were given when they were born, but they still need to learn to use each tool (planet in sign and house) effectively. Once I understand the nodes, I can look at the rest of the planets in their signs and houses in the chart and understand why this person has the toolbox they do.

Mystery ActressMystery-actress-natal-chart

It's with these two things in mind that I interpret any chart, and I'll demonstrate the resulting techniques here. This
is the chart of a mystery actress. I chose a famous person because
while a famous person's life is not revealed only through what the
public knows about them, it at least gives some ability to place
biography with astrology. I will reveal her name at the end of this
interpretation. Be good! Don't skip to the end.

First I take stock of the south node, including it's sign and house, and any planets in association with it, through rulership or aspect.  What I try and do is create a metaphor from the symbols that gives a sense of where this soul's orientation was as she entered this life, and so sometimes it can be helpful to think of the south node and it's condition as giving clues to the past life of the soul that show us the attitude they may have been used to as they entered this chart and this life.

The South Node

So in this chart I'm considering Aquarius, 11th house, Saturn conjunct and ruled by Uranus in the 6th house. While many metaphors could be created from this chart's south node situation, this speaks to me of someone who felt like she was under constant restraint, (Saturn) that things were difficult or her outlook always seemed limited. With the ruler of Aquarius in the 6th house in Virgo, that emphasizes a possibility of feeling crushed under a sense of duty or too much responsibility, like the older child having to take care of the younger children if the parents are unable or unwilling to. Because of the Aquarius element, and in the 11th house, there might have also been a feeling of feeling like an odd man out, like she either only fit in with the misfits or didn't fit in at all, probably because of limited resources and maybe even poor social standing.

So this soul enters this world and probably experiences circumstances in early childhood that reinforce this orientation, sort of reliving or recreating what one is used to which lays a foundation for the soul to realize what it wants to grow out of or away from, and into the north node. The qualities of Aquarius can lend a strong sense of individuality and also detachment from others, especially in the 11th house of 'the public' or one's peers, but with Saturn there, it further emphasizes a feeling of being restrained, always having to hold in what one really is perhaps, or feeling limited because of what she is, like how class, race, or education can set one apart from a community that has a majority in a different class, race, or education level, for example.

The North Node

Moving toward the north node, we see that what this woman has come to do is get in touch with Leo, 5th house energy. Since Saturn is conjunct the south node, it is opposite the north node, and for he to be able to bring her Saturn energy forward into good use for this life, she'll need to let go of some of the old ways she may have responded to Saturn, like letting go of a habitual tendency to do things the hard way, or to hold back what she really is out of a misguided sense of individualism or out of a fear of feeling like an outcast. Leo and the 5th house experiences will help her reinforce a sense of it "being ok to be you and me," helping her be present in the moment instead of pulling away from the drama of a moment out of a fear of getting swept up, being exposed, or letting go. People and experiences that help her learn how to play, and how to let go of systematic or objective thought in situations where a more spontaneous and organic response would be better, will help her learn to trust herself and therefore enjoy herself and life more. This soul has come to feel the warmth of those who love her for who she is, and the more she is comfortable with herself, relaxes and trusts life, the more enriched she will feel.

The Toolbox

The ruler of her north node can assist her in living the soul's north node intention. The ruler of Leo, of course, is the Sun, and her Sun is in Scorpio in the 8th house. She needs to build a sense of identity which is based on a more whole and deep view of herself – not just the easy or good parts, but taking her to the depth of herself. The 8th house has been called the house of "Sex and Death," which sounds a bit strange but really, 8th house activities are anything that take us to our edges, have us braving the skeletons in our closet or our deepest fears, which is where we can also find our deepest strength and courage. In Scorpio, she does this by embracing intensity and a sort of 'all or nothing' attitude at times, as well as being willing to penetrate the pretty stories that we tell ourselves to escape from life's hard parts and really look what's beneath the surface – of life and herself.

At this point, we can start making our way around the rest of the chart to think about each placement in light of this soul's past and intent. Obviously the stellium of planets in Scorpio and the 8th house we've discussed above with the Sun, but how about the fact that Venus and Neptune and even Mercury are all in a conjunction? Venus conjunct that Sun reveals how relationships and connections with others will help her clarify her identity, and the fact that it's in Scorpio and the 8th house shows the kind of relationship she needs: one that is deep enough to say the true things and reveal the raw truths of ourselves. What an effective urge for this soul to use to break through old patterns of feeling distanced from others. With Neptune conjunct her Sun, also in Scorpio and the 8th, it is also a fundamental desire in her consciousness to open up to spiritual priorities, helping her develop a sense of strength that is based on the softness and opening effect of Neptune rather than the hardening of boundaries and closed habits of Saturn on her south node. Mercury in this house and close to Neptune has her more likely to think with fluidity and on a more intuitive level rather than strictly the objective and factual.

We can simply continue the rest of this way throughout the chart. Mars in Leo in the 5th but bridging into the 6th shows a passion for self-expression and to bring it into her work, to live her daily life with that passion and learn to surrender to the joy of a moment and the drama of a moment by letting creative ecstasy overtake her at times – in fact, much of this chart is in the fire or water element, including the ascendant, which helps to soften and open. Her Taurus Moon is like an anchor that roots her, giving her a steady heart which can help her stay solid in her own values through a basic building of her own self-esteem (2nd house), perhaps helping her let go of any shame she might have left over, perhaps even inexplicably, from the feeling of being an outsider and the more comfortable she gets with herself, the less she'll feel she has something to prove.

Everything I've discussed here can be taken deeper, but this has been an overview of how this technique works. If you're interested in learning more about the nodes in this light or seeing another example, visit my website to purchase a 4 hour video I did on the nodes: "The Chart Behind the Chart." In this video, I go into each step to analyze the nodes in detail and go through another couple of examples more thoroughly than I've done here.

This chart belongs to the actress Demi Moore.

*There are two common 'branches' of evolutionary astrology. While I am familiar with the techniques of both, and often use some of both, I am primarily trained by Steven Forrest and fall more along the lines of his interpretation of the nodes.

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