Oh My Stars

Oh My Stars

Neptune In Pisces And Penguins In Sweaters

posted by Matthew Currie
beliefnet astrology matthew currie penguin sweater

Photograph: Christina Angourias/AAP

Among the many pressing questions that have been raised in The Internet Age… Is the government spying on me? Is my consumption of High Fructose Corn Syrup killing me? Is there GMO wheat in this sandwich, and will that make me grow a second head?… we can now add another: Should I be knitting a sweater for a penguin?

The Internet Age is the absolute pinnacle of human achievement as far as the exchange of information. Neptune is in the Sign that it rules, Pisces, and is the pinnacle of dreams and delusions. What do you get when you put the two together? You get the recurring story of Penguins in Sweaters.

Allow me to explain: when an oil spill happens, a large part of the harm it does to animals comes from how oil clings to them, and birds who dive for a living — like ducks or cormorants or seagulls or penguins — are particularly susceptible. It’s hard to avoid a layer of crude oil on top of the water when you’re diving in and out of the stuff all day long looking for lunch. An oil-soaked penguin is quite likely doomed, as the oil is hard for them to remove, potentially toxic, and messes with their temperature regulation. Fortunately, people have discovered that cleaning an oil-soaked penguin with a mild detergent can save them. The problem is: what do you do with a penguin who is already weakened and sick and can’t simply be scrubbed and set loose? As people discovered in January 2000 when an oil spill threatened the penguins of Phillips Island, Australia… you scrub the penguins and then you put little sweaters on them.

The Tasmanian Conservation Trust and State Library appealed to the public to knit and contribute penguin-sized sweaters to assist this cause, because as it turns out there aren’t a lot of penguin-sized sweaters you can buy off the rack. The Conservation Trust had initially hoped for a hundred or so… they ended up receiving thousands. And it turns out that few of them have actually ended up being used, because it seems that wearing a sweater isn’t a natural thing for a penguin, and in fact playing dress-up with one could cause an already stressed animal more harm. Besides… have you ever tried diving for fish in a sweater, and how did that work out for you?

So what started as a genuine plea for help and an attempt to raise public awareness got out of hand, and now almost a decade and a half later the story is back, with major news outlets like Time Magazine reporting this alleged need for penguin attire… and people are believing the story because, well… because penguins in sweaters, that’s why!

***

I like to think of myself as a rational, skeptical person. I’m the guy on your Facebook page who likes to point out that, for example, there have been many major studies that show there’s no connection between vaccinations and autism, or that Bill Gates does NOT want to give you his money, or that Facebook is NOT going to turn into a for-pay service by the end of the month, or that it’s easily demonstrated that there’s no such thing as “the planet Nibiru,” or whatever.

But yes: just like the people who want to ignore mainstream science because of some belief in a conspiracy, or anyone else you or I may think is a gullible fool who will simply leap at the first unsubstantiated whisper that fits their worldview, I too bought into the notion of Sweaters For Penguins.  And why wouldn’t I? Just look. LOOK I TELL YOU!!

beliefnet astrology matthew currie penguins sweaters

Photo: Toby Zerna/Newspix/Rex USA

You can’t argue with that.

Yes, I realize that there are people out there who point out that animals don’t naturally wear clothes, and will say that dressing up animals for our amusement is wrong and demeaning to the animal in question, and simply reduces the dignity of both animal and human. The people who say this probably have a good point, to which I can only respond “I agree, and I think — OMG look it’s a dachshund in a  Superman costume I want one I want one I want one RIGHT NOW!!!”  So on this point we will simply have to agree to disagree.

***

The Neptunian Beat goes on. Today, for example, people are spreading the story that the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is related to a shadowy Oil Company conspiracy because there were 20 people on the plane who worked for a company that made electronic components for electric cars… which completely ignores that the same company also makes components for washing machines and refrigerators. Why is no one blaming Big Laundry, I ask you? What about The Frozen Burrito Illuminati?

Of course, eventually the cause of the crash will be determined, but enough of the memory of the possible conspiracy will linger that it will feed into the same mindset that insists that everything is part of The Big Conspiracy, and proof be damned, and the next time something tragic happens that is somehow distantly related to electric cars, the mis-remembered story will be invoked again, and someone will write a blog entry about it, and other blog entries will link to that blog as “proof,” and so on and so on.

And as surely as messages spread around the world at light speed, our delusions spread because they were there in our heads all along. Nobody knows everything, and we all like to have neat solutions that fit our own world-view, whether it’s sweaters for penguins or mysterious Oil Company Conspiracies making planes crash or The James Randi Educational Foundation conning you that astrologers are conning you. Wait, conning or genuinely misled by their worldview? They haven’t accepted my challenge yet, so your guess is s good s mine.

Creativity and the ability to imagine new and wonderful things? That too is the domain of Neptune, and because of those functions in our minds we are all more imaginative and creative than carpenter ants… probably. But when the imaginative function overwhelms the more logical functions of, say, Mercury? That’s where we can get into trouble. With The Internet not going away any time soon, and with Neptune not leaving the Sign it rules for more than a decade yet, we’ll all have plenty of opportunities to see how far our creativity takes us… and how far astray it can lead us, too.

As for me, your lone voice of reason and sanity in this world? Will I be suckered again? Of course!

 

Questions about your birth chart, or astrology in general? Write me… I’ve got answers!

CLICK HERE to join the Oh My Stars Facebook Fan Page, and get exclusive content, a discount on a reading,additional material on each blog entry as it comes out, AND a free e-book!

Want to learn the mysteries of Vedic Astrology is an easy, fun way for one low price? Join VEDIC ASTROLOGY WITHOUT TEARS now for a free preview!

Electional Astrology, Part Two: Bad Idea, Good Timing – Tommy Wiseau’s “The Room”

posted by Matthew Currie

beliefnet astrology matthew currie tommy wiseau the room“I think The Room is something magnetic, a certain magnetism in The Room that is related to human behavior, and that’s why people relate to it”

-Tommy Wiseau

(In Part One, which you can read HERE, I demonstrated how a potentially good and popular idea — Bitcoin — can be undone by a bad birth chart. In Part Two, I’ll demonstrate how the opposite can also be true.)

 

Many people have referred to Tommy Wiseau’s The Room as “the worst film ever made.” This may be accurate, and yet completely misses the point. Sure, you’ve seen bad movies before — whether it’s the terrible production values of Plan Nine From Outer Space or the awful cheese of Showgirls or the pure wrong-headedness of Freddy Got Fingered, and yes, those titles all deserve consideration when it comes to the bottom of the cinematic barrel. But The Room stands out above all of these. It’s my contention that The Room doesn’t merely break the rules of Good Film-Making… it attempts to follow those rules while reading them through a window smeared with Vasoline. The Room isn’t just badit’s so bad that, like a concentrated black hole of awfulness, it bends space-time around itself and punches a hole into an alternate universe and comes out the other side as something resembling Great Art.

Tommy Wiseau speaks the lines he himself wrote as if he doesn’t understand them, and he speaks them in an accent even linguists can’t identify. Characters change their motivations within the course of a single scene. An entire character disappears and is replaced without explanation. People play football in a back alley dressed in tuxedos for no reason. One of the least erotic loves scenes ever filmed gets shown TWICE… or is it two different scenes shot almost identically, and I can’t really tell they’re different because they’re both so awful I can’t watch them? The focus is off. People wander in and out of a private home for no reason like it’s a public park, contribute little or nothing to the story, and then wander off.

Despite this… or more accurately because of this… I love The Room. You’ve seen or heard of dogs that are so ugly they’re cute, or relationships so wrong that their right? That’s what The Room is. Further, I insist that it qualifies as Great Art because of the profound emotional effect it has on people, whether that effect is howls of derisive laughter or simply the uncomprehending awe and confusion you’d feel at seeing a UFO casually parked in the middle of a used car lot.

But enough about my love for The Roomyou’ll just have to see it for yourself, and you can either thank or condemn me for it later. The real question I’m attempting to answer here is: in a world full of bad movies, why does The Room continue to fascinate… and why does it continue to make money? The answer is in The Room’s birth chart.

***

A complex endeavor like a film can be maddeningly difficult to find a “date of birth” for. Does a film “begin” with the first idea a screenwriter has, the first contract someone signs to work on the film, the date a studio agrees to distrube it, or something else? In my experience, the “birth chart” that works best for a business is the date and time the first customer walks in the door, and for a TV show or film, it’s when the Premiere happens (For another example, see my article HERE on the BBC series Doctor Who).

Assuming that The Universe doesn’t care about my opinions on Art, how does the Premiere Chart for The Room indicate success? Certainly, Neptune in the Third House and a weakly-aspected Mercury reflect its general incomprehensibility, but Art is ultimately a matter of personal taste. Let’s talk about money instead.

When we’re looking at success in business, we are primarily concerned with the Second House (money), the Eighth House (other people’s money), and the Tenth (business/career) and the Eleventh (money made from business/career) Houses. Saturn ruling the Second may sound like bad news… and in fact it took a while for The Room to start bringing in money, unlike most films that make the majority of their cash in the first few weeks at the box office. Saturn is in a diffcult Sign for it (Cancer) and is conjunct the Sun. Although that again certainly sounds like bad news (and again, it took an unusually long time for this film to make money) that Sun is the ruler of an elevated Jupiter, which is the general ruler of “good fortune.” Jupiter is also the Ascendant ruler. Sun conjunct Saturn in a birth chart can indicate an existence that starts out at a disadvantage but that can improve over time. It wasn’t until word of mouth got out (Eleventh House – socializing, groups, and “word of mouth”) about The Room that it really started to take off (Eleventh House ruler Venus is opposite Pluto in the First House, and Venus is also the ruler of the Midheaven, which is in the Eleventh House).

(Note to the Astrologers out there: yeah, you heard me… I said the Midheaven is in the Eleventh House. I’m using Whole Sign Houses, and they work, so there.)

Taken as a whole, these aspects all indicate that The Worst Movie Ever Made has a successful “birth chart”… in fact, it is a chart that shows unusual long-term success for a film. If you don’t believe me, look at some of the more conventionally successful films of 2003. When’s the last time you heard someone ranting about their new Blu-Ray of 2003 Best Film winner Chicago? Have any of your friends raved about Gangs of New York lately? Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor that year went to Adrien Brody and Chris Cooper… and where are they now? You know where Tommy Wiseau is, right now? He’s probably getting ready to address a crowd of adoring fans of The Room somewhere, which still shows in theaters all over North America, still delighting fans and engaging them in a way few films other than perhaps “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” ever have.

In 2003 James Franco was just starting to hit his stride as a superstar. Now, as Jupiter rolls through The Room Premiere’s Eighth House, he’s planning on making a film of The Disaster Artist… the book written by Room co-star Greg Sestero about his experience making The Room. Top THAT for “long-term success,” Bruce Almighty!

So: next time you want to start a business or a project that you really want to succeed, consult an astrologer about what the best timing is. No matter how much you may believe in your idea, a good idea can be made more successful by the right timing. And, it seems, even a terrible idea can work if the timing is right.

Questions about your birth chart, or astrology in general? Write me… I’ve got answers!

CLICK HERE to join the Oh My Stars Facebook Fan Page, and get exclusive content, a discount on a reading,additional material on each blog entry as it comes out, AND a free e-book!

Want to learn the mysteries of Vedic Astrology is an easy, fun way for one low price? Join VEDIC ASTROLOGY WITHOUT TEARS now for a free preview!

Electional Astrology, Part One: Good Idea, Bad Timing – Bitcoin

posted by Matthew Currie

beliefnet astrology matthew currie bitcoin(WARNING: Since the following subject requires a lot of technical explanations, both financially and astrologically, it’s going to be fairly long-winded. I’ll throw in as many jokes as I can to lighten the burden.)

You have a beginning, and thus you have a birth chart. What’s more, every venture that has a beginning also has a birth chart. The art of finding the right time to start on something new… a business, an investment, a marriage… is called Electional Astrology. “What’s well begun is half done” as the old saying goes. This is the first of a two-part series which demonstrates the power of the inception chart for any venture. Let’s begin by looking at what seems like a good idea but which has recently been exposed as (possibly) a terrible one: Bitcoin.

***

There is a fascinating concept out there called “cryptocurrency,” and the best known example of that is Bitcoin, which has recently burst into the mainstream consciousness, but not for particularly good reasons. Bitcoin too has an inception chart, just like any other human endeavor, and it explains a lot about the troubles it has faced lately.

Before I explain what Bitcoin is, I’d better explain what “currency” is.  Currency is, at its most basic form, simply a magic token that means something to the people who possess it and those who want it. Take a bill out of your wallet and look at it. Despite all the fancy printing and symbols and pictures on it, it’s really just a piece of paper. However, because of the psychological and symbolic value we place on it, if you have enough of them you can use them to acquire a pizza or a car or the services of a lawyer to defend you when you get caught stealing someone else’s Magical Pieces Of Paper.

The only thing that makes currency work is the belief that it works… plus the resources and enforcement ability of the country that produces it.

To a certain extent, ride tickets from the County Fair are a sort of currency too: two of them will get you on the merry-go-round, five will get you on the roller coaster, and so on. A coupon for ten cents off a bottle of Pepsi is a sort of currency too, but good luck buying a pizza with it. In theory, I could issue “Oh My Stars Matthewbucks” and attempt to purchase a pizza with it, but for more or less obvious reasons the delivery guy gets pretty upset with me whenever I try to pull that one on him… despite my insistence that they are a fantastic investment.

Currency also derives its value from the fact that it is hard to fake, or “counterfeit.” If I could produce passable US Dollars with a color photocopier, the US Dollar would quickly lose all its value, because then everyone could make their own and the value of the “real” US Dollars would diminish to zero as everyone paid for their pizzas with fakes.

Bitcoin is a “cryptocurrency”: an entirely electronic currency which bases its security against counterfeiting on electronic encryption instead of watermarks or fancy artwork or hard-to-duplicate printing. The value of a Bitcoin fluctuates, just as international currencies do. If the Government of Venezuela suddenly appears to be unstable, the value of the Venezuelan Bolivar will go down relative to the US Dollar or the Japanese Yen.

Cryptocurrency represents a sort of Libertarian Ideal in economics: it’s a means to establish value and exchange for goods and services without the market manipulation governments often perform to prop up their currencies. However, the Venezuelan Bolivar is still issued by a real government in a real place that has real authority. If the Bolivar crashes, your wallet full of them is still worth something, somewhere, to someone. No matter how bad things get there, a 15 year old hacker in South Korea can’t make Venezuela or your Bolivars simply vanish.

In February 2014, the online Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox shut down after somewhere around $350 million US Dollars worth of Bitcoins simply vanished. Or, perhaps it would be more accurate to simply say that in February 2014 it became obvious that had happened. Or maybe it would be more accurate to say that word finally got out at that point about a theft that may have happened a long time ago. If you thought it was mysterious how some people can become Internet Millionaires, apparently it’s pretty mysterious how some people can get seriously fleeced on the Internet too. Bitcoins may not be “real,” but in the world of the Internet, they’re real enough to steal, and on February 28th… as the transiting Uranus-Pluto square was conjunct/square Bitcoin’s Sun, Mars squared Bitcoin’s Jupiter, and the transiting Moon was exactly conjunct Bitcoin’s Neptune, Mt. Gox filed for bankruptcy. In essence, the ultimate Libertarian dream of a government-free currency had to run to the Government for protection. Everyone’s a Libertarian until the house catches fire.

Mt. Gox isn’t named after a mountain, by the way. It’s short for “‘Magic The Gathering Online’ eXchange,” where online role-players could trade game cards like they were stocks. See? You can make a currency out of anything if you (and enough others) just believe hard enough in it!

Although the February transits don’t represent when the actual theft happened, they represent when the matter made headlines, and when it comes to a lot of things on the Internet (and in Real Life, like “currency”) perception is everything.

***

The first block of code for Bitcoin was created on January 3, 2009 at 18:15:05 UT. It’s a peculiarity of life in the Internet Age that we can know a “date of birth” so precisely but not know the place of birth, but the few charts out there for Bitcoin seem to agree on somewhere in the Greenwich time zone. I initially started with that, but see below for an explanation based on new information. None of this article was based on the House placements anyway. North and South locations for a birth make a bit of difference in Rising Sign and House placements, but even without knowing those for sure, we can look at the basic meanings of the planets in a chart.

When we’re looking at money and value in a birth chart, we’re mostly talking about Venus and Jupiter, and the “master clock” of any birth chart is The Moonwhich also has an association with material resources. And even without the place of “birth” for Bitcoin, this birth chart was a financial train wreck waiting to happen. Jupiter was not only in the Sign of its debility (Capricorn), not only was it unaspected (other than an out-of-quality conjunction to Mercury), it would change Sign before completing an aspect to any other planet.  Thus, if anything other than The Moon could be said to be “Void of Course,” we could likely say that about Jupiter that day. The Moon was at 4 degrees Aries at Bitcoin’s birth, and Jupiter actually entered the next Sign over before The Moon got a chance to move into Taurus.

As for that Moon: the next aspects it performed as it passed through Aries were a square to Mars and a square to the Sun before making it to the sextile with Neptune… but even that aspect is almost ruined by a quincunx to Saturn. And speaking of Saturn… a Saturn-Uranus opposition is rarely good for long-term stability.

And Venus? Although Venus makes a sextile to Pluto and is in the Sign of its exaltation, its ruler is in the 12th House from it… in other words, Venus has its ruler in its “blind spot.” Vedic Astrology tends to frown upon such things, and so do I.

By the way, there is one astrologer out there (no names!) who claims that Bitcoin has “the perfect Libertarian chart” because of the placement of the asteroid Pallas… the goddess of Wisdom. To this I can only reply that Jupiter in Bitcoin’s chart is exactly conjunct Tisiphone, named for one of the Furies, who was in charge of punishing murderers at Pallas’ command. Furthermore, it was exactly opposite the asteroid Benda, which sounds like “Bender,” the criminally-inclined robot from Futurama. Ha! Take that, asteroids! (A tip to all you astrologers out there: don’t go flipping through your listing of 10,000 asteroids looking for the one that tells you what you want to hear. The Major Planets will always win.)

Bitcoin isn’t out of business yet, but the outrage of those investors is still real, and people’s memories are sometimes painfully short… especially when it comes to the Magical Thinking that comes with trading in your security for the bright shiny hope of beating the system. Don’t get me wrong: the notion of a nationless currency is in many ways a good one, and the idea is unlikely to vanish any time soon. The idea is still appealing to many, and there are other electronic currencies out there waiting to take up the slack, like Dogecoin and Peercoin and Primecoin and for a while (no, I’m not making this up) Coinye West.

Bitcoin may well recover, but for the moment hindsight has many wondering how it could have been taken so seriously in the first place. Maybe it’s simply a matter of human ingenuity leading to new things of value, which naturally leads to new ways to steal those things of value. At the moment, though, the notion of Bitcoin as a safe, reliable and innovative way to do business is as passé as an old Internet meme.

Play Bitcoin off, Keyboard Cat.

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UPDATE: Time Magazine claims to have found Bitcoin’s creator in Temple City California. If this is the case, the relocated chart to that location (which I have posted here) goes from “not great” to “a dog’s breakfast”: the Saturn-Uranus opposition moves to the Ascendant-Descendant axis, and both are square the Midheaven. Yeesh.

NEXT TIME: Bad Idea, Good Timing: How the “worst film ever made” — Tommy Wiseau’s The Room — became a huge success, in part because of a fortunate premiere date.  Oh hi, Electional Astrology!

 

Questions about your birth chart, or astrology in general? Write me… I’ve got answers!

CLICK HERE to join the Oh My Stars Facebook Fan Page, and get exclusive content, a discount on a reading,additional material on each blog entry as it comes out, AND a free e-book!

Want to learn the mysteries of Vedic Astrology is an easy, fun way for one low price? Join VEDIC ASTROLOGY WITHOUT TEARS now for a free preview!

Saturn Retrograde In Scorpio: The Curse Of Ghost Chicken II – The Re-Cluckening

posted by Matthew Currie
beliefnet astrology matthew currie karma

Karma. Delicious, Southern-Fried Karma.

Saturn has turned retrograde, stopping at 23 degrees Scorpio and traveling all the way in reverse to 16 degrees Scorpio before moving forward again in July. Some claim retrograde planets are weaker in their overall effects, and others claim they are actually stronger. One thing most astrologers seem to agree on though is that right at the time of the Station — when a retrograde is beginning or ending — a planet takes on particular strength and/or significance. This can be unfortunate in Saturn’s case, because although the things Saturn rules are absolutely necessary, they are rarely “fun.”  Retrograde or not, one ignores Saturn at one’s peril. Saturn is a bit like the undertaker in an old Western movie: even when he’s not up to anything in particular, everyone gets the impression he’s secretly measuring them for a coffin.

A retrograde period gives us a chance to stop and think about things. In the case of Saturn, this can be a chance to stop and think about the things that are smacking us in the head. One thing is for sure: whether Saturn is retrograde or not, it has its effects. Saturn often represents the fulfillment of Karma. Often, that Karma is not the happy-fuzzy feel-good Karma we like to imagine happens all the time — “if I keep handing out my spare change to panhandlers I’ll win the lottery, because Karma” — it’s often more the old-school “why is this terrible crap happening to me?” style of Karma.

***

Imagine you are a character in one of those classic, mostly-terrible 80s horror movies, enjoying a long weekend of teen debauchery at Camp Missingpersons… except that the ensuing terrible deaths aren’t the more or less random choices of a scriptwriter who decided it would be cool to see someone get killed with a Garden Weasel. This horror movie was produced by PETA, and Camp Missingpersons is built over the remains of an old battery-cage factory chicken farm. Everyone will (at first) dismiss the haunting baaawwwwwwk baaawwwwwwk they hear outside at night as merely the wind in the trees… whoever heard of a vengeful ghost chicken, right? We haven’t got time for campfire tales of revenge, we want to party!

But like all decent horror movies, there is an element of Cosmic Justice to who gets offed, and how. Fortunately, unlike the teens at Camp Missingpersons, we have a chance to examine the symbolism of this twisted plot and are given a chance to escape the consequences, or at least face them bravely.

The specifics of this Saturn Retrograde depend on your individual birth chat, but there are certain general observations that can be made based on your age group.

If you were born between May 1950-October 1953 or July 1991-November 1993, Saturn will be square or conjunct your natal Pluto. You’re like that skeptical kid who laughs at ghost stories and silly superstitions, who dismisses that phantom baaawwwwwwk baaawwwwwwk as nonsense and insists that there’s “a perfectly good reason” why the other kids are going missing one at a time. You love your fried chicken and always thought chickens were stupid and deserved to die.

If you were born between August 1950-November 1953 or November 1992-April 1995, Saturn will be conjunct or square your natal Neptune.  You’re like the co-ed who just wants to have a good time and go with the flow, and who figures that a little midnight skinny-dipping will be perfectly safe, because, hey… skinny-dipping is awesome! You never once gave a second thought to the life your Three Piece with a Biscuit had before you ordered it.

If you were born between July 1952-August 1954 or October 1971-November 1973 or January 1992-March 1994 or June-December 1994, Saturn will be square or conjunct your Uranus. You’re like the cranky old groundskeeper who everyone suspects is behind it all, but you’re going to end up just as skewered as everyone else if you don’t lighten up a little and embrace the obvious, even if the obvious is kind of insane. You always laughed in the face of those hippie Animal Rights protestors.

If you were born between December 1954-November 1955 or October-December 1984 or May-October 1985, you are experiencing your Saturn Return. You are like the earnest kid who inherited Camp Missingpersons and figures that if he just tries hard enough, he can re-open the old place and be it’ll be a huge tourist attraction. You’ve got some good ideas, but you’ve also made some serious errors accounting for life’s harsh realities. Besides, a summer camp is way cooler than the battery-cage factory chicken farm your parents built on the same property.

And now… here’s the classic 80s horror punchline: this has all happened before. Saturn swept through those same degrees last November to January… and will happen again in July-November this year. You thought the horror was almost over, but you’re only in the middle of it right now!

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Questions about your birth chart, or astrology in general? Write me… I’ve got answers!

CLICK HERE to join the Oh My Stars Facebook Fan Page, and get exclusive content, a discount on a reading,additional material on each blog entry as it comes out, AND a free e-book!

Want to learn the mysteries of Vedic Astrology is an easy, fun way for one low price? Join VEDIC ASTROLOGY WITHOUT TEARS now for a free preview!

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