Thursday, 30 April 2009

Lost characters and father issues - The Sun/Jupiter connection

I am a great fan of Lost and I consider it to be one of the most original TV shows ever. As a viewer, I, too, get exasperated sometimes wondering what on earth is going on, but I cannot rest until I find out exactly how it is all going to turn out. The storyline toys with philosophy, religion and destiny, which is hardly surprising considering that the three men primarily responsible for this (J.J. Abrams, Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof) all have Sun/Jupiter contacts. What is even more interesting, however, from an astrological point of view, is how father figures are portrayed in the series bearing in mind the Sun/Jupiter aspects. Naturally, we must allow for the fact that this is not "real" life and certain characteristics may be exaggerated for dramatic purposes, but still, it would be interesting to see what is the Sun/Jupiter person's idea of father.
J.J. Abrams has a Sun/Jupiter conjunction in Cancer, the sign of Jupiter's exaltation, Carlton Cuse has a Sun in Aries in an exact trine with Jupiter in Sagittarius, the sign Jupiter rules, (he also has, however, a Sun square Saturn in Capricorn with a 5o orb) and Damon Lindelof has a Sun/Venus conjunction in Taurus square Jupiter in Aquarius. One would mostly expect, therefore, a positive father image from these men. Far from it. I don't know what kind of a relationship they have or had with their own fathers, but the fathers in the series leave a lot to be desired.
The Jack Sheppard/John Locke relationship seems to reflect the dichotomy in Cuse's chart, with his Sun aspecting both a very strong Saturn and a very strong Jupiter. We have the man of science (Jack-Saturn) opposed to the man of faith (John-Jupiter). Both men however did not experience a loving father-son relationship. Jacks's father may be a well-respected doctor, but is an alcoholic, loses his job and has fathered an illegitimate child in Australia. John's father is the negative Jupiter taken to the extremes. A con man, who seduces women into giving him their money, who cons his own son into giving him his kidney and even tries to kill him by throwing him out of the window.
As for the rest of the male cast, Sawyer's father commits suicide after his wife was conned by John's father, Ben's dad is unable to cope with the upbringing of a child and blames his son for killing his mother during childbirth and Jin's father seems to be the only example of a loving and selfless father who takes Jin on without knowing if he is his son or not, yet he cannot be much help to Jin in his pursuit of a better life and slowly fades away in the background of his son's life.
So, in four out of five cases, we have the weak and ineffectual father who can't be of any real help to his son either due to social position (Jin) or his own vices (Jack) and his inability to deal with the hard facts of life (Sawyer, Ben). In John's case we have the seducer par excellence who tries to lead a comfortable life at the expense of others.
Not a very "benefic" planet when it comes to fatherhood, is it? Or rather, Jupiter's idea of fatherhood doesn't fit very well with our contemporary notion of how a proper father should behave. We believe that a father should be responsible and always be "there" for the child, we believe that he should be as nurturing as the mother and, in general, our sympathies lie with Saturn in so far as the father needs to provide the necessary structures for the healthy development of the child. But Jupiter isn't like that. In mythology, Zeus impregnates all those wonderful ladies and then leaves them pretty well alone to raise the child and suffer the wrath of Hera. It's the price they pay for giving birth to a demi-God.
Strongly Jupiterian people very often feel that life owes them something, that they are entitled to happiness and they can't be bothered with the daily and boring mundane tasks we all seem to be burdened with. It's not the same as Neptune, who wants to escape from it all. Jupiter doesn't want to escape from the saturnian elements of life, it's just that he feels they are beneath him and he wants somebody else to deal with them for him. Jupiter wants servants and he is lucky enough to find them in life pretty often. This is not a planet that likes responsibilities. So, if you have a Sun/Jupiter aspect, your father may be jovial, warm and affectionate but you get the feeling that this is because he loves life and not you in particular. And when push comes to shove, he doesn't seem to be the person that you can count on.
We may think, of course, that this is a bad thing, but is it? Jupiter is the planet connected with philosophy and religion and it is an inescapable fact that philosophy and everyday life are incompatible. If putting food on your plate is your primary concern, then meditating on the meaning of life is out of the question. You just don't have the time. Naturally, not all jupiterians become philosophers, but still they want as much free time as possible to experience life the way they see fit. Which means that they should indeed shy away from responsibility. The fewer everyday problems, the better. The mistake they very often make is that they try to play Saturn because everybody else does it. And of course, things go horribly wrong.
Another important aspect of the Sun/Jupiter connection when it comes to fathers is that, if you embody the Jupiter archetype, then you have to "kill" your father in order for you to claim your place in the world. The father must die in order for the son to rule. On Lost, Jack "dethrones" his father by telling the truth that his father was operating under the influence, Ben actually kills his father and insists that John do the same if he wants to be free but John, unable to do it himself, has Sawyer do it, taking revenge for his own father's death. It seems, therefore, that not all is fair in Jupiter land. In astrology, we usually search for Saturn or outer planet aspects to explain a difficult father/son relationship, but apparently we must not automatically assume that everything is fine with Jupiter.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Neptune transits - a different approach

Neptune transits are very much feared by modern astrologers, much more so than those of Uranus and Pluto. Even though contemporary astrology doesn't believe in "benefic" and "malefic" planets, Neptune seems to be the exception to that rule. To be fair, astrologers do mention words like inspiration, imagination, artistic inclinations and so forth, but never fail to stress how everything connected to Neptune seems to be an illusion. Neptune is foggy, makes you weak and dependent and also unable to see clearly. In a nutshell, Neptune's world is not real. But what if, viewed from another perspective, this Neptunian world is COMPLETELY and UTTERLY real?
When we are born, we see the world as an extension of ourselves. We want to have everything and what's more, we believe we DESERVE to have everything. Very soon, however, we realize that we have entered a world of deprivation. There are limits to what we can have and we are told we are being selfish if we want our every whim to be satisfied. And that is because we are not alone and there are other individuals whose wishes clash with our own. We may want our mother constantly on our side, but our mother is also an individual and has her own needs and no matter how much she loves us, we are a burden for her sometimes. We may want to have every toy in the toy store, but our parents can't afford it, so we settle for less. We may want unconditional love from everybody in our environment, but we very rarely get it, if at all. In short, we enter Saturn's world and, if we want to survive, we have to adapt to it. This is of course a necessary process, because this world, which is a world of separateness, is ruled by Saturn and we must pay our dues since we are a part of it. What we seem to forget by struggling hard to survive however, is that saturnian values are not NATURAL. We are not predisposed to liking them and, at best, they are an acquired taste.
So what happens when we are under a heavy Neptune transit or progression? The newborn baby in us wakes up and reclaims what is rightfully its' own. Which is nothing other than ecstasy on a 24-hour basis. We look at our lives and the saturnian structures that took us so long to build and we are horrified at the outcome. No, this is not a time of illusion as the modern textbooks would have you believe. Instead, we are violently DISILLUSIONED with our so-called "accomplishments". Suddenly, our job, our relationships, our friendships, everything that our life is built on leaves a lot to be desired. It's not the same as Uranus and Pluto. With Uranus, there is still hope that if we make some changes, things will start to look up and with Pluto we believe that our unhappiness is due to unintegrated aspects of ourselves. With Neptune, however, we finally come face to face with the horrible truth that life on earth (Saturn) and ecstasy are incompatible.
This is a very painful moment. Everything becomes meaningless and we realize that no matter what we do, we will never become happy. That's why we mess up during these transits. We are so desperate to cling to our saturnian selves, to our old view of reality, that we are willing to do anything to deaden the pain. We find a new job, we form new relationships, we take up the use of substances, but everything fails. And it fails, not because of Neptune, but because we tried to respond to a Neptune transit in a saturnian way. We search in the saturnian world for something to fulfil the neptunian longing. But no such thing exists. And we finally begin to feel compassion for alcoholics and drug users because they are no longer weak. They are simply SANE. They are embracing a reality that we've been busy avoiding for so long.
But then we reach a dead end. We realize that we can't go over to Neptune completely, because then we will cease to function in the saturnian world, as is the case with substance abusers. Whether we like it or not, Saturn doesn't go away and even though fake, we are forced to experience his fake reality. What we should do during a Neptune transit is actually NOTHING. Neptune is not about action, it's about inertia. We must limit our external responsibilities as much as possible and allow ourselves time for self-pity and depression. Yes, why not? We must face the pain of being incarnate. We must give ourselves time to grieve over our lost paradise. We have earned it after worshipping at Saturn's altar for the best part of our lives. And when, inevitably, we return to our saturnian lives, we will hopefully have a different attitude towards it. We may still go after our ego desires, but with a spirit of NON-ATTACHMENT. Since nothing is capable of bringing us eternal bliss, we should stop investing ourselves emotionally in the outcome. This is not the same as apathy. We will still feel pain for our losses, but we will not suffer interminably because of them, as if our whole lives depended on our winning.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Psychological astrology - An outer planet astrology?

The battle between traditional astrology and modern psychological astrology continues and it seems that in the last few years traditionalists have gained the upper hand. Many astrologers who started out as modern, engage themselves in ancient text studies and have considerably changed their interpretations. Modern astrology can be vague, inarticulate and unclear, says Robert Hand in an article published in the Astrodienst website. But why did he, and various others, get involved with it in the first place? They must have found some element of truth in it. Robert Hand, at least, admits it.
No matter how much traditional astrologers scream and shout that people haven't essentially changed over the years, the fact remains that a modern person growing up in the west is more scientifically inclined than his/her ancestors. Which means that we cannot easily accept the "brutality" of traditional astrology. We may face more or less the same problems, but our mentality has indeed changed and it's difficult for us not to reject statements like: "Oh my God, Venus is your 7th house ruler and it's retrogade, in Aries, conjunct Saturn in the 6th house! This is disastrous for your relationships!" It may very well be so, but we need a different kind of initiation into this kind of thinking. Psychological astrology provides just that. Because it is, loosely or not, based on a science and it presents its' "truths" with a grain of salt, it enables us to become familiar with astrological terminology and not fly away in horror from an apparently "fatalistic"world view, which may be denied by traditional astrologers, but, despite their sincere efforts, haven't been able yet to convince us otherwise . Psychological astrology, therefore, has provided a great service to humanity. It facilitated the transition from a scientific mentality to a more inclusive one.
What's more, Alan Leo or Dane Rudhyar did not just wake up one morning and decided to revise astrology in order for it to suit the needs of modern man, as traditionalists would have us believe. An astrological revolution of some sorts was inevitable because of an undisputed fact: the discovery of the outer planets. This is where traditional astrologers are incoherent, inconsistent and unconvincing. One thing's for sure: they hate them. They can laugh about the asteroids, the centaurs, the trans-neptunians, the mathematical points and everything else modern astrologers seem to be quite fond of, but when it comes to Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, they are baffled. They would much rather they disappeared, because no matter how hard they try to forget all about them, the outer planets have a tendency to make their presence felt at the most inopportune times. Some of them, like Olivia Barclay and Lee Lehman, use them sometimes in their readings, which of course makes no sense, because it implies that the traditional methods are incomplete, doesn't it? Even John Frawley, possibly the most traditional of all astrologers, shifts from "they are not visible from Earth and so they have no meaning whatsoever" to "Well, OK, they may have some kind of meaning, but the same thing can be deduced from other factors in the chart". I'm sorry, but either they have a meaning or they don't.
On the other hand, modern astrologers fell completely in love with the outer planets and they seem to practise, what I call, an outer planet astrology. The outer planets seem to work regardless of the sign they are in. Their signs show where the changes are happening on a global scale, but it really makes no difference on a personal level whether your Moon opposes Uranus in Libra or Uranus in Scorpio. The only change in the interpretation would depend on the Moon sign and not on the Uranus sign. The outer planets seem to impose their presence on the sign they are in, rather than be affected by it. They don't appear to be weak or debilitated no matter what their sign is. As a result, modern astrologers tried to apply the same principles to the personal planets, ignoring essential dignities and debilities. There is no such thing as a weak or debilitated Venus, it's just "different", they say, whatever that means. Even so, and in spite of the fact that they are psychologically-oriented, I fear that modern astrologers, with a notable few exceptions, don't adequately stress the pain involved in being "different". Even if contemporary society has become more tolerant towards "being different", people who deviate from the norm can still experience excruciating pain and have to learn to live with it. Some of them manage to do so quite successfully, but this doesn't alter the fact that it's terribly unfair to have to go to such lengths in order to ensure your survival, which for others is a given. So when you see in a chart a Moon in Scorpio, I don't know if you are doing your client justice by only focusing on his passionate temperament and neglecting to mention what hell life can be sometimes. Or even think the unthinkable, that, judging their whole chart, you may have an evil person staring you at the face, whether it's possible to change that or not. Even for Jung, evil is a necessity.
On a final note, the outer planets seem to fit very well with their modern depictions. They appear to be connected with the psychological transformations a lot of modern writers talk about in depth, Liz Greene in particular. But as it is unsafe to ignore a progressed Sun conjunct natal Pluto, with transiting Pluto squaring at the same time this progressed aspect (an upcoming reality for some of the people belonging to the Pluto in Libra generation), it is equally unsafe to completely ignore tradition because we run the risk of our interpretations coming up short. It seems imperative that the two opposing schools of thought find a way to blend. The sooner the better.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Princess Diana's death and the multi-composite chart

Diana's death sent astrologers all over the world into a frenzy. How could it not be so when she was such a prominent figure and much-loved by millions? The usual questions regarding such matters arose: Can death be astrologically predicted? Whether it can or not, is it ethically correct? Does the natal chart provide detailed information or, as Sue Thompkins put it, death is often shown in the charts of the ones close to the deceased? Whatever the case, astrologers examined Diana's chart thoroughly as well as her composite with Charles, but even though some more than interesting remarks were made, it seemed that astrology came up a little short. Nothing spectacular was found that could blow your mind away.
Diana, of course, had a full 8th house, which is the most obvious indication. But why did she die at that particular moment and shouldn't this be shown in her natal chart? Some people mentioned the eclipse that occurred the day following her death, others her progressed 8th house cusp, Joseph Crane used traditional methods to estimate her time of death based on the natal chart and ended up with the year 2000, three years, that is, after her actual death and, in general, a lot of useful ideas were put forward, but the vast majority of them could apply to any number of people without the same tragic consequences. It became clear that we needed something that would stand out, something strong enough that could not be easily disputed. I believe that one technique, capable of producing such amazing results in this case, is the multi-composite chart.
At the Astrodienst website they explain this technique in depth and, simply put, it's nothing more than a composite chart for more than two people. What one has to consider before he casts a multi-composite chart is what people to include in the chart and how many, depending on what one is trying to find out. I think in Diana's case, we should restrict ourselves to her nuclear family, that is, Charles and her two chidren, besides herself naturally, because in my mind those were the ones who were most affected by her loss. Her children lost their mother and Charles's marital situation changed forever. If it hadn't been for her death he would probably never have been able to marry Camilla, not to mention his personal feelings for the woman he once supposedly loved and had two children with. Here is the chart:

This chart has a Leo Sun conjunct Regulus, the most royal fixed star of all, trine Jupiter in its' own sign, Sagittarius, in the 10th house. You can't get more royal than that. This is a family that shines (Leo), unfortunately not for itself but for others (Sun in the 7th) in the most public way (Jupiter in the 10th). However, Jupiter forms a T-square with Pluto and Chiron, implying that there is a dark side lurking underneath this glamorous public image, an image that will be wounded in some time or other. The same goes for the Moon, very strong in Taurus, seeking stability and security, but its' efforts are constantly undermined by the Mars/Saturn conjunction in Scorpio, directly opposite. We've all heard the stories about Charles's love for Camilla, Diana's affairs with other people, her bulimia and so on. The Sun also squares Neptune in Scorpio, indicating that some sort of sacrifice has to be made and, again, that this family must serve the collective, something which has undoubtedly put some strain on it. Finally, and on the subject of Diana's death, Uranus (one of the chart rulers) is conjunct the cusp of the 8th house of death, meaning that something sudden and unexpected regarding literal or metaphorical death is bound to happen, especially when the 8th house ruler (Venus) is very weak and possibly dangerous (peregrine, in the 6th house, in a T-square with the Moon and Mars/Saturn). Saturn, the other chart ruler, is not in a very good condition either, close to the cusp of the 9th but in the 8th house and totally overpowered by Mars. A very strong chart indeed, with some very powerful aspects.
Diana died on the 31st of August, 1997, a little after midnight. At the time of death, transiting Uranus, that signifies death in this chart by being on the 8th house cusp, was making an exact square to the Moon, thereby triggering the very difficult T-square the Moon is making with Venus, the 8th house ruler, and Mars/Saturn and forming a grand cross with all these planets. This should be enough and we need not look any further, but bearing in mind that, however dramatic, this is only a transit and such heavy transits are not a rarity, we have no option but to go even deeper. By casting the progressed chart (made up of the four individual progressed charts) everything becomes clear.

At the time of death, the progressed Sun was conjunct natal Pluto. This is the sort of configuration that we would have expected to see in Diana's chart, but was lacking. Remember, Pluto is making a T-square with Chiron and Jupiter in the natal chart, which by progression had become even tighter, and this progressed aspect was happening right on the natal nodes. This, combined with the very important Uranus transit, which in the progressed chart had returned to its' natal position, would have made any astrologer advise extreme cautiousness, to say the least. Something was bound to happen to that family, something quite scary which would mark them for life. The chart, unfortunately, left little room for doubt.
I am most impressed by the accuracy of the multi-composite chart and I think it's evident what a powerful tool it can be, especially when you want to examine family demons and how they haunt each member by comparing it to the individual charts. It seems that it can bring to light things that appear vague in nativities. Give it a try.