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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

A Page From an Astrologer’s Diary: Progressed Moon Enters the First House

Back to back women An astrologer is always experiencing life on a couple of dimensions (pun intended!) On one hand, they're engaged in whatever is going on in their life at the moment like everyone else, and at the same time, they're wondering what this current event has to do with Mars trining their Midheaven or Pluto squaring their Ascendant. The good and humble astrologer is always taking notes from their life and the lives around them to see astrology in real life action, outside of the key words and fixed descriptions of what a certain astrological event is supposed to produce. Sometimes it takes a pretty horrific event to grab an astrologer's attention away from the analyzing dimension, but still; somewhere in our mind, we are thinking "wow, this is horrible and I'll probably be scarred for life, but what fascinating material for my astrology blog!"

Which is exactly what I have been thinking as I've been experiencing the rare event of my secondary progressed moon entering my first house.

I've been feeling it for about a month, and it's about a week or two away now from the actual crossing over. It's not uncommon to feel these shifts even two months before they happen. In my book, Astrology of the Moon, I compare a progressed moon shift to passing through a tunnel: 

BookcoversmallestImagine going through  a tunnel. You see it approaching ahead of you, even before you enter it. The change in the light and in the air becomes apparent soon after you enter the tunnel and may take a bit of an adjustment if it’s dark. As you continue to move through the tunnel, your eyes adjust and you get used to the new rhythm, the new environment. As you reach the end of the tunnel, you see it coming. The light is changing again, ahead of you. There is a natural anticipation of the shifts that happen as we see them coming. When it comes to the progressed moon, we may see a period of our life approaching. We often feel a change in the air. 

Developments in your chart, especially when it comes to the progressed planets, do not tend to happen overnight. While there are times when events in our lives are of such a magnitude that they can alter us forever in a moment, our general evolution is a slow progression. Awareness of new truths and changing attitudes tends to build in us over time, even if the realization of what’s been brewing in our subconscious happens suddenly. There will come a point, as each of these progression periods begin, where you start to notice the shift, notice that you’re feeling differently lately. For many people, this starts even a month or two before the actual progression period begins. Because we are always gradually developing, the shift from one progression to another is a slow build of the changing needs of the heart. But it may also take a month or so of sitting with the new energy to really notice that something has changed for you.

Here is a list (ah, my Virgo heart sings at the word), in no particular order, of the things I've noticed happening for me as I personally experience this shift.

  • I seem to be taking almost everything personally, which is not characteristic for me. While I have become more empathetic and sensitive over the years, I seem to regard every traffic slight and every external schedule delay or change personally. Heaven help you if it's my turn to merge and you speed ahead of me. I'll either curse you or cry about it! I've invited you over 3 times to my house for dinner and you can't get it on your schedule? How mean!
  • I seem to be focusing on drawing out my 'unlived lives', undeveloped parts of me that, due to focus on other things and other areas, haven't had much of an opportunity to surface, such as a sudden desire to purchase cookbooks and cook every night, or begin weight training at my local gym. I am curious to see if these desires continue and how linked they may be with the classic connection between the first house and the body.
  • My progressed moon has been in the sign of Capricorn for the last 2 years, and will remain there for another 5 months, so coupling that with the first house entry seems to have increased the hunger for The Next Big Thing. I'm not interested in little projects that may want to draw my attention. I'm looking for the next project that will really matter to me, that will define my life, that will light me up and Start My Life Anew. I'm wanting to launch. The trouble is, while I long for direction, I've got these first house butterfly wings that are still drying as I've only recently emerged (emerging) from the 12th house chrysalis and don't know what these wings can do or where I want them to take me yet.
  • Here's a fun one in that it seems so clearly correlated with its astrology: Uranus is square my Ascendant and Descendant, so naturally as my progressed moon crosses the Ascendant, it's squaring Uranus as well, and opposing my Descendant (did you catch all that, newbies? Sorry if you just choked on the jargon). Lately I have been recognizing how intense my frustration when anyone (including myself) attempts to identify or label me, even with 'good' labels. I am none of the things you think I am, or that I think I am, and as soon as you want to understand me, I cannot be understood, nor truly seen, and am resentful that I must define myself so that you (or I) can understand what I am as we have our casual conversation. Who are you talking to? I don't know, either. I feel keenly attuned to the idea that I am always in progress and process, therefore a slice of me in any moment will not tell you who I am in the whole. I think anyone could say that, but my awareness of it is intense these days.

Coming home from another fabulous NORWAC last night, I had this image relentless playing out in my head as all these thoughts was rising: I have just been thrust through the front door and onto the porch, rather abruptly, though not with rude intent. The door slams against my back. Palms and back against the door, heels still on the edge of the threshhold, I stand motionless as I face the world in front me.

Astrological Forecast for 2011: Vive la Révolution!

2011 calendarThe new year begins with Jupiter, planet of possibility, hope, and expansion, conjuncting Uranus, planet of change, innovation, and rebellion, on January 4th. There is a feeling of "new beginning" with this one, even thought it's at the end of the last sign of the zodiac, and it's compounded by the fact that the first (partial) solar eclipse of the year also occurs on this day (a new moon). Uranus and Jupiter together create a big leap toward freedom: Uranus wanting to crash through barriers and Jupiter wanting to climb higher and higher, neither one wanting to be confined, told no, or follow the rules. In Pisces, heart-centered knowing and intuitive response to life is highlighted. This is happening in 27 degrees of Pisces, so wherever you find this degree in your chart, a revisioning wants to take place.

This is not about picking apart your vision and disillusioning yourself, but actually becoming re-inspired, allowing yourself to hope again. With the first significant planetary meeting being these two 'freedom lovers', and the last year or two being very challenging for many people as the new Pluto in Capricorn energy forced us to deflate and deal with the real, Jupiter and Uranus in Pisces are encouraging you to unfurl from the fetal position. Come out from under that rock. Do you dare to look beyond the survivalism that has governed many of us in the past couple of years? What do you wish for the year? For your future? This is not the time for new year's resolutions (a Capricorn word), it's the time for new year's possibilities.

Fresh off the last Mercury retrograde which ended December 30th, every planet starts out the new year direct, a good feeling of forward motion. Jupiter steps on the gas when it enters Aries on January 22nd while Saturn's putting on the brakes on January 25th, stationing retrograde. Jupiter and Saturn are often considered 'planetary pairs', maintaining a natural yin-yang relationship with each other (Jupiter expanding and hopeful, Saturn contracting and realistic), but the difference between them becomes ever more apparent as they reside in opposing signs. Jupiter in Aries wants to thrust forward, staking its claim, while Saturn, retrograde in Libra, makes it even more challenging to do the Libran work of bridging the gap between people, ideas, systems. Polarities in every corner, from political, religious, business, and social environments are likely to become more apparent and problematic, as the emphasis seems to be tipping from Saturn's admonishment of 'let's all get along' to Jupiter fanning the flame of 'I deserve better and more.' And apparently this is just what we need.

Tug of war

Besides the obvious relationship-oriented Libran energy and the me-oriented Arien energy, a more subtle balancing act is at work. Saturn in Libra is about teamwork and getting sometimes opposing sides to find a compromise, but sometimes in the pursuit of the happy medium, stalemate occurs. Heads butt and no one wants to concede, so nothing gets done. The fire of Jupiter in Aries being direct while Saturn takes a back seat for a while can be used to break up stuck energies by getting us to reconnect with what we want and to act on it while too much vacillation in waiting for everyone to sign on or no one to be offended has been failing.

Can this passion be overdone? Most certainly. With Uranus joining the fray and entering Aries on March 11th, the push for the 'don't-fence-me-in-I'm-gonna-do-what-I-want-with-or-without-your-agreement' is gigantic, and Jupiter's capacity for overdoing things can get the better of us. It's quite possible to use all the rebellious, entitled, impulsiveness to wreck what we've achieved so far. Oppositions are about a balance of energies. We're being given a chance to remember that compromise and sharing doesn't mean the loss of our will or our passion (Aries) and flatlining with a plastic smile on our faces. It means finding a way, finding common ground. From their meeting in Pisces (re-visioning) to Aries (action), we are being urged not necessarily to trample others, but not to hesitate or hold back our desires, either.

'Moderation in all things,' Libra would remind us. 'Including moderation,' Aries would add.

Where Aries begins in your natal chart is where you're being urged to begin a revolution, or continue the one that began last summer when they joined up in Aries in 2010. Jupiter and Uranus will both come within range of squaring Pluto in Capricorn (although Uranus will never be exactly square Pluto–it will get closest around the end of July). Part of the transformative power of Pluto in the sign of Capricorn is to strip away all the dead cells of systems, governments, rules, and structures that don't work and have already begun to decay.

Condemned It's not about being opposed to systems, rules, and structures but about creating BETTER systems, rules, and structures that ARE supportive and DO what they are supposed to do. A good visual might be to imagine a building that appears to be in good order simply because it's still standing, but should actually be condemned and demolished because its insides have become completely unsafe and crumbling and its now a fire hazard. Jupiter and Uranus entering Aries and squaring Pluto in Capricorn can be the kind of purging, demolishing fire to create regrowth, but it can be a powerful and destructive force to be caught up in. During the summer months (June-August), each of the personal planets will trigger the energy of this square 2 or 3 times, provoking it and INvoking it, causing this period of time to seem the most volatile and create the most events to manifest. Chaos may seem to reign but creation is always messy.

 

"Today many things indicate that we are going through a transitional period. When it seems that something is on the way out, and something else is painfully being born. It is as if something were crumbling, decaying, and exhausting itself while something else, still indistinct, were arising from the rubble."Vaclav Havel

 

The 'revolution' each of us may have on a personal level is, at its heart, about freedom, and not the kind of passive "I'm grateful to live in a free country" mantra we say when we speak in school about freedom. Whether it's the freedom to discover who you really are, the freedom to speak your mind, the freedom to love who you want to love, the freedom to perform the mission you were meant for in this world, it's about passion, not passivity. It's not about what you have the 'right' to do or be–that almost comes second to the force of doing or being itself. Something is being born and it needs to force of life and the desire for it to do it. This is not about counting your blessings, this is about Seizing The Day.

This is also a time of deconditioning ourselves–not just large systems, but our own internal response to it. We ingest what we are fed by the 'system'  and then it regulates us from the inside. Capricorn is about what is considered socially respectable and Capricorn's ruling planet, is in Libra, a sign that knows how to fit in. With Pluto in Capricorn, the it's the deconstruction of what's been conditioned in us as right, appropriate, and the unquestioned traditions of what you're supposed to do to be an upright citizen, a good man/woman/homeowner/parent/you-name-it. Jupiter and Uranus in Aries can speed that deconstruction along, but our personal Pluto-in-Capricorn journey has to start with us recognizing what we've agreed to because that's just the way it's done.

Butterfly with chain handsTotal anarchy and rebellion isn't necessarily required (frankly, I'm thankful for traffic laws and schools and other things societal regulations have benefitted us) but it's time for these things to be looked at more suspiciously to clear out the cobwebs. Planets or angles in your natal chart between 3-8 degrees of cardinal signs, especially, are being affected deeply by this Pluto deconstruction. What are the 'laws' you have internalized? What have you chained yourself to voluntarily? We are invited to look closely at those handcuffs and see whether or not the key to them doesn't just happen to be in OUR pocket and not the guard's pocket.

Just a couple of weeks after Uranus enters Aries, Jupiter in Aries opposes Saturn in Libra on March 28th, again bringing a confrontation between the work of creating true harmony and real, fair, balanced structures (Saturn in Libra) in a way that isn't so crippling that it debilitates our individual will and growth potential as a force of our own (Jupiter in Aries).There may be an effect where things in our individual lives (and the larger story of the world around us) explode from the pressure of 'revolution meets regulation' and come to a head while these squares are in effect. However, Jupiter will enter Taurus on June 4th and shortly follow it's square up with a trine to Pluto on July 7th, almost as if to say 'now that I've kicked up a fuss and gained a little elbow room for myself, I can play a bit nicer, just so long as I've made my point.' It can also be about stabilizing what has just been 'painfully born.'

Neptune takes its first step into Pisces in over a century, dipping its toe in its own sign from April 4th to August 4th before retreating back to Aquarius until 2012. So far we've seen Neptune in Aquarius, closely aligned with Chiron in the last couple of years, making us aware of our humanity, connecting us, many times through our own woundedness, unifying us THROUGH and BECAUSE OF our humanity. Equal rights become the focus as we are made conscious of the real pain NOT having equal rights creates in the lives of all those people who are considered to stand out in some way because they are not normal (Aquarius: the outcast). Neptune in Pisces takes us further into that, dissolving more boundaries between us, maybe even prompting us to unite in a collective mythology as human beings a la "We Are The World." In Aquarius, we should all, as individuals, have equal rights. In Pisces, we simply are One.
 
The big paradox here, then, seems to be us figuring out how to be individuals as well as part of a global community. Aries, the beginning sign of the zodiac, the power of the will and life itself, and Pisces, the ending sign of the zodiac, the merge into the great ocean, the dissolving of boundaries–this paradox has our sense of the world and ourselves constantly changing sizes like Alice in Wonderland: Are we one or are we many?

 

"The single planetary civilization to which we all belong confronts us with global challenges. We stand helpless before them because our civilization has essentially globalized only the surfaces of our lives. But our inner self continues to have a life of its own."–Vaclav Havel

Uniting the best of Aries and Pisces seems to urge us to bring our best selves to the table–not our most behaved selves or our most perfect selves, but our most passionate selves, and contribute that to the global comunity. "Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."–Harold Whitman

Speculations on the Astrology of Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter

In the popular series of novels Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter, written by Laurell Hamilton, Anita is a gun-toting animator (she raises zombies for a living), necromancer, vampire hunter & executioner, who frequently works with the local police to help solve supernatural crimes. Oh, and she's a master vampire's human servant and sleeps with a werewolf or two on the side. She's a complicated lady and I started to wonder what this complicated lady's astrology chart would look like.

I compiled a list of Anita Blake's traits, such as: loyal, competent, 'shoots first and asks questions later', mistrustful, doesn't like to compromise, requires truth above any comforting lies, keeps her word, protective of her people, talks a lot of smack with bad guys (hiding behind sarcasm), surprisingly sensitive (hates to see others cry, protects the weak, has a stuffed penguin collection), surprisingly naive and idealistic, and of course, a powerful necromancer and eventually, succubus.

Arguments can always still be made to forever tweak the chart in different directions (many of which I made repeatedly with myself), but here is the proposed astrological chart of Anita Blake (click to enlarge).

Anita-blake-natal-chartAries Rising represents her overall outlook and approach to life: come in guns blazing, don't hesitate, and don't let fear stop you from anything. She's direct and she doesn't let anyone push her around, almost to a fault. Her south node is in the first house in Aries with Mars conjunct, which demonstrates that while she feels most comfortable presenting the Aries face to the world (her Rising sign), she needs to leave behind some of the overactive, 'negative' traits of Aries as she matures over her lifetime, such as the 'my way or the highway' tendency that comes with an overactive first house (first house of Self), or the 'shoot first and ask questions later'–often resorting to violence and extreme self-defense (Mars/Aries) before diplomacy.

The south node often represents the past life orientation of a soul, as well as early life experiences that can leave their mark. Her Pluto in the 8th house as well as Mars on the south node leave a sort of wounded mark on her early life (her mother died when she was 8 in a car accident-Mars-, and death marks her very identity, for better and worse–Pluto on the Sun in the 8th house).

A Scorpio Sun conjunct Pluto in the 8th house represents many
things: her intensity, her frequent black & white thinking, her
loyalty, her ability to handle dark truths and taboo issues, as well as
her ability as a necromancer and animator. Pluto (death and rebirth) fused to her Sun (the core of who you ARE, your identity) in the 8th house of all things hidden. This is an intense mark of transformation (to name only one, her ability to "transform" the dead). She's also got an out-of-sign trine to Neptune in the 12th house, which connects her ability with the dead to the spirit world, magic, and psychic qualities.

Mercury is conjunct her Midheaven in Capricorn. She's got a level head and has the ability to think strategically and recognize what must be done without getting overly emotional about it, in many circumstances. Yet it's opposed her Cancer Moon (which we'll get to in a moment), so her emotions can still cloud her judgment, especially since her moon is squaring her Aries Ascendant and sextiling her Mars/South Node in Aries, which encourages her emotional loyalties and protectiveness to jump straight to action, in 'opposition' to what's sensible just as often as she's able to think about the overall goal and leave sentiment behind. Mercury, not just our thought processes but also our voice, rests on the Midheaven, and she is often the spokesperson, the 'voice' for the monsters both officially in the press and unofficially, such as in her duties as Jean-Claude's human servant. Mercury squares her Ascendant (and Descendant) and opposite her moon, both influences represent her tendency to not know when to quit when she's trading insults with bad guys or making threats.

Throughout the first 8 books, give or take, Anita really struggles with her changing philosophy on her stance on monsters. Are they good guys or bad guys? While Mercury is conjunct her Midheaven, the beginning of the 10th house, it's technically in the 9th, and opposed the Moon in the 3rd house. This sets up a tug of war internally with hard rules of her moral philosophy (Capricorn/9th house) and her subjective, emotional everyday experiences that tell her a different story (Cancer, 3rd house). The 3rd house, being the opposite of the 9th house of philosophy/religion, represents the process of being open to whatever the facts are in front of us and letting ourselves be flexible enough to respond to whatever we are experiencing moment to moment, rather than the fixed, established nature of 9th house truths.

Onto her love life: her Moon is in Cancer which is yet another indicator of her loyalty and also protectiveness. It also explains why she tends to have this secret, mushy side: romantic notions of Sundays watching musicals on the couch with Richard and getting married while her brain (Mercury/mind opposed Moon/heart) argues with her heart about the unlikelihood of that succeeding in reality. Her Cancer Moon also speaks a little to the traditional girl in her (prudeishness, a trait which also comes from her desire for privacy & self-protection of Cancer–the crab shell).

Her Moon is technically in the 3rd house, but conjunct the Nadir, the 4th house cusp, which emphasizes a desire for clan and a protected, sheltered home, but with Saturn also in Cancer and the 4th house, this represents one of the most desired (Moon), but most difficult (Saturn) things for her to do: allow herself some softness, her desire to nurture others to come through, and share enough of herself to build a 'family' that can support and nurture her and vice versa.

Venus is in Leo in the 5th house, representing her tendency to be especially attracted to men like Richard who has that larger-than-life, warm and generous dynamic about them (she notices consistently how his golden hair falls in waves on his shoulders, the strength in his body, and his light-up-the-room smile). It's opposed Neptune, which brings on a tug of war between opening to others and following her own agenda (coupled with the rest of her chart which is geared toward an orientation on the self), which represents the tension in the developing storyline of Anita having many lovers due to the ardeur, represented by the 5th house. Venus and Neptune are also both square Mars, so there's a friction there that both heats up the issue for her and has her fighting herself.

The Mars, Neptune, Venus trio is involved in tension with her north node is in Libra in the 7th house, which represents the ultimate lesson she needs to learn: how to compromise with others and allow herself to have true partnership. Over time she's recognizing more and more that she's not free to do just whatever she wants, whenever she wants, without serious consequences in the lives of those who love her, such as in book 9, Obsidian Butterfly, when she leaves Richard and Jean-Claude to get a grip on herself and move toward a more comfortable dynamic: only herself to worry about and answer to.

There are also countless other dynamics and connections in the chart, but you don't have all day to read this, so get back to work!

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.

Jupiter in Astrology: Looking Beyond Luck

Jupiter isolatedMany think of Jupiter as the planet of luck. This is true, but the word 'luck' sells Jupiter short, telling only half of the story. Luck is defined as something desirable that just happens to a person by chance, out of their control, fated. It is true that where Jupiter lies in our chart might be an area of our life where we might find a sort of guardian angel at work, or where we may be able to narrowly slip out of scrapes more easily than some people. But the things we attribute to luck, good or bad, can often be more attributed to what we said yes or no to, the potential we allowed ourselves to see and hope for, in ourselves and in life's ability to bring good things our way.

Psychologist Richard Wiseman has been investigating luck for a decade: who thinks they've got it (or doesn't) and why? Over the years he interviewed 400 different people from both camps, lucky and unlucky, and asked them to try different experiments and report their results. He found themes among the lucky and the unlucky, and not only that; he was able to use what he discovered in the attitudes and behaviors of the lucky to help the unlucky camp become luckier. In his recent article posted on the GoodNewsNetwork, he outlined some of his cases and what we found, stating three similarities he found in the lucky vs. the unlucky. They were:

  1. Unlucky people often fail to follow their intuition
  2. Unlucky people tend to be creatures of routine
  3. Lucky people tend to see the positive side of their ill fortune

Let's look at these ideas. First, following one's intuition. While Neptune or the Moon tend to be thought of as the planets that have the market on intuition, Jupiter is the ancient ruler of Pisces, a sign which has very much to do with intuition and believing in things that can only be seen through the eyes of spirit. Jupiter plays a special role, too, because of the faith it takes to trust one's intuition and even to act on it. Faith in this context is believing in things unseen or unproven, and that's where the Jupiterian principle of hope can come in, or a word I like to use, potential. This is not just faith in a higher power, but faith in ourselves as in confidence, or faith in life as in hope.

Door with clouds How about the pitfalls of becoming too reliant on a routine? We may think of Uranus as the planet that likes to shake things up, but Jupiter is about looking for opportunity. Jupiter is the ancient and modern ruler of Sagittarius, embodying the Saggittarian desire to expand its horizons by experiencing the broad world around it. When we are so deeply invested in our routine and our own comfort zone, we are reluctant to upset it, and therefore unwilling to take the inherent risks always involved in saying yes to something new. In addition, routine has us focusing so intently on carrying out our expectations that we may only see what we expect to see, rather than opportunities that may have always been present but are not in our narrow line of sight.

Last, seeing the positive side of one's ill fortune was the third factor Dr. Wiseman listed as present in 'lucky' people. This speaks to Jupiter's alignment with optimism. It's the classic question: is the glass half full or half empty? Either answer is true, but much is revealed in which answer a person most resonates with. Luck and whether or not a person feels lucky is rather subjective, so this is point is less about the objective measurement of how lucky someone is, but almost a measure of happiness. It's human nature to look for evidence that confirms our existing beliefs and ignore evidence that does not. So if one holds a belief that they are (or can be) lucky, openness to opportunity and gratitude for what one already has seems to follow.

The Big Leap is a book that focuses on overcoming your limitations by addressing  the attitudes and beliefs you may hold that keep you from expanding into your potential. The author, Gay Hendricks, speaks about his mentor who said something that really impacted him (paraphrasing): when we are afraid, we hold our breath. The most important thing to do when you are afraid is breathe. When you hold your breath, it's like you're bracing for impact. When you breathe into your fear, it becomes excitement. Next time Jupiter comes your way, take a breath and take a leap!

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.

The “Wrinkle” in Applying Ancient Astrology to Modern Thinking

A wrinkle in time I began and finished re-reading my 23 year old paperback copy of Madeline L'Engle's A Wrinkle In Time this week. The cover is worn and taped to the book itself, the pages discolored on the edges from so much page turning. In the story, three children, along with three supernatural creatures, travel to several planets in order to fight The Black Thing, to save other worlds, and their own, from it's grip. One of the planets they visit is called Camazotz, a planet that has already given into The Black Thing. The planet's inhabitants have all submitted to something called IT, which causes them all to do everything according to the same protocol and even in the same rhythm, denying basic freedoms and creativity but eradicating disease and the worry caused by bearing the burden of making decisions.

On two different occasions, the children visit a seer called the Happy Medium, who looks into her crystal ball to show them a better look at the Black Thing. One of the children asks if she can see what happens in the following excerpt:

"Can't she see what's going to happen?" Calvin asked.

"Oh, not in this kind of thing." Mrs. Whatsit sounded surprised at his question. "If we knew ahead of time what was going to happen we'd be–we'd be like the people on Camazotz, with no lives of our own, with everything all planned and done for us. How can I explain it to you? Oh, I know. In your language you have a form of poetry called the sonnet."

"Yes, yes," Calvin said impatiently.

"It is a strict form of poetry, is it not?"

"Yes."

"There are fourteen lines, I believe, all in iambic pentameter. That's a very strict rhythm or meter, yes?"

"Yes." Calvin nodded.

"And each line has to end with a rigid rhyme pattern. And if the poet does not do it exactly this way, it is not a sonnet, is it?"

"No."

"But within this strict form the poet has complete freedom to say whatever he wants, doesn't he?"

"Yes." Calvin nodded again. "You mean you're comparing our lives to a sonnet? A strict form, but freedom within it?"

"Yes." Mrs. Whatsit said. "You're given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself. What you say is completely up to you."

I love me a good metaphor, so this one struck me in particular when I realized how much it speaks to my (and many others') views of astrology and the birth chart. It is a sonnet, a plan, a form; the container that provides us with the structure in which to create the life we want. I enjoy the predictive quality of astrology and my eyes still get wide when I see it's power demonstrated in our personal and shared lives, but to me, the magic of astrology lies in the way it can reveal ourselves to ourselves, without taking away the mystery of it as if skipping to the end of a good book because you just want to know how it turns out.

One of my favorite sayings is "Know Thyself." It has been repeated everywhere for ages and seems to speak to the wisdom of uncovering and utilizing one's self-awareness. If you know yourself, perhaps you are less likely to get into situations that are not productive for you, or make unhealthy decisions (at least, I think that's the theory!) With an 8th house stellium, I'm very motivated to Know Myself as I dig through the depths of my psychological processes, fears, and strengths. But I don't think the wisdom of knowing yourself comes from categorizing your personality traits. I think respecting yourself is vital too, respecting the mystery that you are and the spark of the divine that you are carry. I think to know yourself you must keep becoming and recognize what you don't yet know, but will create tomorrow.

When most people first begin learning astrology, they are not always lucky enough to pick up a really great and thoughtful book. They may attempt to memorize keywords and plug them into each other  in an A+B+C=whoknows sort of fashion. We've all got to start somewhere, but the "wrinkle" in that plan comes from carrying that sort of definitive, keyword oriented kind of thinking into trying to make sense of an entire human being's personality, life, and soul. When we look at the birth chart as not what we already are but as what we are becoming, then we can turn astrology around. A very simplistic but effective way to begin transforming the way we use the old stereotypes of astrology into this "new age" is to start by changing our wording, which can begin to change our thought process.

When we say "Aries is brave," for instance, we give a definitive statement, a black and white, right or wrong statement. We imply that if you are an Aries, you must be brave. Therefore, if you are not, you must not really be an Aries, or astrology must be wrong, or perhaps it's one of your other signs "canceling it out." However, when we say something like "the intention of Aries is to learn courage," then we imply action, something that can be worked on, practiced, grown into. This simple change can get us thinking in a direction that is more reflective of an attitude of choice within structure, freedom within the plan, to pick up the pen and write our own sonnets.

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