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Oh My Stars

...at least he died doing what he loved.

…at least he died doing what he loved.

I seem to recall hearing during my medical education (which I gained entirely from watching TV) that there is a common phenomenon among med students, where at one point or another almost all of them become convinced they have some disease or syndrome that they don’t actually have. That’s perfectly understandable, given how med students spend their days studying what can go wrong with the human body. I myself took a genetics course in college, and after about three weeks became convinced that no one could have a “normal, healthy” baby anywhere, any time.

I’m sure that accountants see negative numbers more than other people, that chefs smell oregano where others don’t, and that music teachers sometimes think the sound of a malfunctioning washing machine is actually playing a five note ostinato. Our perceptions often shape our experiences (and not just the other way around), and astrologers are no different. I mention this not only as a caution to my fellow astrologers, but also to reassure myself that I’m not going to die in the next few days (probably).

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As the entire Universe knows by now, David Bowie died a few days ago. When I wrote about him, I discussed the details of his birth chart and how it made him who he was, but I didn’t get into the details of how the astrology reflected his death (a controversial subject I’ve covered here before). The only thing about his transits when he died that I noted is that it came shortly after the last New Moon… Sun, Moon and Pluto conjunct in Capricorn, all closely conjunct Bowie’s natal Sun-Mars conjunction. Interesting to be sure, but hardly a cosmic death-knell.

Then, shortly thereafter, another famous person died… Alan Rickman (it seems God is adding to his collection of great English-speaking voices). I had a casual glance at his birth chart this morning when I heard the news, and there it was — that last New Moon was closely opposite his Mars-Saturn conjunction. Statistically speaking, that’s interesting — but not more than noteworthy. If predicting death with astrology was that easy, I’d be a senior executive at a life insurance company by now.

But then it hit me: that New Moon was also closely conjunct my natal Mars and opposite my Moon and Ascendant.

(Pause)

I have recently recovered from a fairly serious cold. That’s all — just a cold. But for kicks, I went to The WebMD Symptom Checker (home page for hypochondriacs everywhere!) and entered my symptoms. And sure enough — it was a cold. Probably. Of course it could also have been tuberculosis, lung cancer, sarcoidosis, atrial fibrillation, dementia due to head injury, glomerulonephritis, mesenteric lymphadenitis, radiation sickness, ricin poisoning, plague…

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My main point here is that with astrology (as with most other things in life) it’s best not to jump to any conclusions. If you’ve read a lot of astrology in your time, you’ve probably experienced something like this at some point (Sun square Mars? I’m a monster!). I have this theory that with some astrology writers you can tell what the Sun Sign their last major break-up was with.

ARIES: Energetic and enthusiastic.
TAURUS: Stable and nurturing.
GEMINI: Intelligent and communicative.
CANCER: Psychotic control freak!!
LEO: Fun-loving and romantic…

If you’ve ever found an astrologer who particularly seems to pick on your Sign, it’s the astrologer’s ex’s fault, not yours.

My point here is twofold: first, astrological generalizations can often be useful… but can also do great harm. Second: this is the secret reason why so much astrology on the Internet sucks.

More details next time (unless I’m invited to that exclusive Bowie concert).

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