Oh My Stars

Oh My Stars

Can These Pictures Of Adorable Baby Animals Help You Lose Weight Fast?

posted by Matthew Currie
beliefnet astrology matthew currie diabetes kitten

That’s fantastic! By all means, tell me more!

Would you like to lose weight as if by magic? Wouldn’t it be great to control your diabetes by adding more cupcakes to your diet? Would you love to save hundreds on car insurance with one quick phone call?  Yeah. Me too. Of course life almost never works out that way, and astrologically speaking, whenever something is just too good to be true (but we believe it anyway), we have Neptune to thank for that.

Ha!  See what I did there? Sorry about that. Neptune can promise a lot but doesn’t always deliver. Don’t get me wrong: Neptune packs a good buzz. Every time you suspend your disbelief in order to watch a show, you’re getting full value out of your Neptune. There’s always part of your brain that knows you’re just looking at actors who are playing at being people they really aren’t, speaking dialogue written by someone else, and being projected onto a screen in front of you and not really happening, right there and now. But like any good buzz, it can be carried too far.

On the other hand, without Neptune your life would be about as entertaining as the daily existence of the carpenter ant. Not only would your time here on Earth be all work and no play, you wouldn’t even be able to imagine what “play” could be like.

beliefnet astrology matthew currie dating otter

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Consider for a moment the path so many relationships follow. There is initial attraction and you can clearly see all the great things about the other person, and can easily dismiss or downplay the negatives. Those who stand outside of the relationship have a much clearer view of it. Your friends will all tell you that getting involved with a violently angry, married serial arsonist who enjoys firing off his shotgun at random intervals to liven up parties is a bad idea and likely won’t end well… but what do you care? You’re in LOVE!

 

***

 

Then eventually the reality kicks in, and you feel like you’ve returned from a three-month drunken bender. Everyone is looking at you like you’re a lunatic, and you can’t find your keys, your wallet, or your dignity.

 

***

 

It’s always easier to see someone else’s Neptune than one’s own… whether you’re shaking your head at someone’s delusional romance that will never work out, or baffled that someone could enjoy such and such a movie as much as they do (when it’s clearly stupid, with terrible acting and dialogue), or you’re simply trying to pick a laughing drunk up off your carpet before your Mom arrives. Even people who think they’re living perfectly logical and sensible lives are prone to self-delusion. Yes, James Randi, even you have a Neptune in your birth chart somewhere.

Then again, Neptune can inspire us. It can fill us with wonder. It can even save lives, giving us hope to go on when there’s no obvious hope on the horizon. Mercury may be the planet that remembers where the lifeboats are, but Neptune keeps your imagination fired up and keeps you sane while you wait for the rescue… otherwise, it might be just easier to jump overboard and end the whole thing. Sometimes that warm Neptunian buzz happens in a good cause, and despite the obstacles and potential craziness, you see it through, and it turns out to be A Good Thing after all. That’s the magic that keeps us getting involved with Life and with other Humans, despite the obvious risks. The human brain has receptors for chemical messages that help you think things through logically and react quickly to external stimuli… and it also has receptors for opioids and cannabinoids, so they must have their place too, somehow.

And besides… looking at the pictures I posted here could help you lose weight (by helping you think about cute baby animals rather than the pain of your exercise routine) or could help you control your diabetes (if you stare at them to keep yourself distracted from that extra cupcake) or save you hundreds on your car insurance (if you stay put and focus on them for entertainment instead of going street racing).,

If that isn’t good enough for you: my apologies. I lured you into reading this by playing into your dreams of a softer, easier and better life, and I should know better. I’m sorry.

beliefnet astrology matthew currie insurance kitten

Oh come on, admit it: you still love me.

Then again: if you were entertained for a minute or two, Neptune has done its job and we’re all better for it. And oh look at that otter OMG OMG OMG it’s so cute I’m going to scream!!

Astrology: A New Moon In Capricorn Helps You Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

posted by Matthew Currie
beliefnet astrology matthew currie new years hangover

Ugh… every year I swear I won’t get hammered on New Year’s Eve…

I’ve been going over the major astrological events of 2014, and boy… what a powerhouse of potential and peril. And furthermore, the first warning shot is fired on New Year’s Day.

January 1st features a New Moon in Capricorn. New Moons are often a good time to plan out what you’re doing and what you want to achieve for the next month, and Capricorn has a reputation for being solid and dependable. This year, with the proper timing and effort, you might be able to extend that spirit throughout the year.

The exact New Moon happens at 6:14 AM on the East Coast/3:14 AM Pacific, so unless you’re partying pretty hard, I’m going to assume you will commence your resolution sometime later in the day. One of the main features of this New Moon is a square between The Sun, Moon, Mercury and Pluto  conjunct in Capricorn to the Mars in Libra-Uranus in Aries opposition.  Normally it’s the Full Moon that has the reputation for causing edginess and discord, but this New Moon could rival that for many of you. A lot of people have a Designated Driver on New Year’s: you might want to consider getting one for your mouth and your temper too. Alcohol, as you may have noticed, doesn’t always help with such things.

Of course, an “edge” can also be a good thing. New Year’s Resolutions can be the sort of thing where one merely pays lip service to the big changes that are needed but never really get addressed. Provided you don’t blow up, this New Moon’s energy could be just what you need to blast through your personal obstacles.

Just as every person has a birth chart based on the moment of birth, in theory so does every action. Picking out the right time and day to start a business or initiate a project is called Electional Astrology. Every time you start something new you can cast a birth chart for it, but it’s probably a good thing you don’t… in theory you could spend half the day in bed waiting for the right moment to commence things, then wait until the next day because the Moon is Void Of Course and thus something could go terribly wrong with breakfast.

Nonetheless, for important projects, it’s often worthwhile to wait until the right time to start things. Since we’re approaching New Year’s Day, and that’s traditionally the day when we all swear to start ____ more or to stop ____, picking the right time to start can improve you chances of success.

I’ll be having a look at your best timing for various common resolutions in a minute, but first, some general conditions:

-None of these are set to commence on exactly January 1st at midnight. Midnight on any day seems like a bad time to start any new venture, but on a day when everyone’s drinking and/or partying, and no one expects to show up the next day for work? Forget that. Starting a new project or breaking a habit is hard enough without having to start in the middle of the night when you’re in the middle of a party.

-To be precise about these things, ideally you should have a look at the transits to your individual birth chart as well as current conditions in their own right. Although I am basing my suggestions on House Placements for my location in New York City, these should apply to you in your local time. When in doubt, go with your gut for the exact timing.

-All of these resolutions are based on the list at USA.gov. Few people realize that one of the primary roles of the US Government is to help you stick to your New Year’s resolutions.  Also, please note none of the following resolutions are listed on the USA.gov web site: making Congress work, stopping all the spying on civilians and allies, ending secret drone attacks, fixing the minimum wage, or arresting the crooks who tanked the economy a few years ago. Thanks for all the help, USA.gov!

So, keeping all that in mind, here are some optimum times for you to start your new habit, new activity, or new life, based on your local time:

SUNRISE – ONE HOUR AFTER SUNRISE: Weight gain, changes to make your work routine happier, or changes to make yourself look better. Jupiter will be strongly aspected in the local 6th House, and Venus will be rising. And yes, I said weight gain.

TWO-FOUR HOURS AFTER SUNRISE: More sex and/or romance in your life. Jupiter moves into your local 5th House, which rules romance. Mars in the local 8th House at that time is usually pretty good for sex. In either case, you may want to recruit someone ahead of time to help with these things, ideally.

MID-DAY: Excellent for making long-term changes to your career and/or the whole issue of “what you’re doing with your life.” Also, not bad for making changes to a long-term relationship… specifically, getting out of one that has outlived its usefulness.

TWO – FOUR HOURS AFTER MID-DAY: Setting educational goals and/or making progress with the daily routines in your life, such as exercise or organization.

SUNSET: Improving a long-term relationship, or finding one.

THREE-FOUR HOURS AFTER SUNSET: Matters related to children or to just “having more fun” in general. Also, getting a grip on either emotional habits or addictions.

There you have it: your New Year’s Day is taken care of, and the rest of your year ought to be just fine. Well, at least that would be the case if it weren’t for the following 364 days…

 

Astrologers Doing Business In A Manger

posted by Matthew Currie

beliefnet astrology matthew currie three wise men(Sometimes you’ll see astrological services advertised with the legally-mandatory disclaimer of “For Entertainment Purposes Only. This is one of those rare times when I heartily embrace that statement. Merry Christmas! Also, CLICK HERE to check out my article on The Star Of Bethlehem…)

 

***

(Scene: The Nativity. Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar gather around the Christ Child. Mary and Joseph listen intently in the background.)

Balthazar: …my major concern with this birth chart is that it shows potential for conflict with authority figures. You might want to teach him to be a little more respectful of Caesar, just to be careful. At least publicly.

Caspar: Don’t be silly. He’s a revolutionary, and the world needs more of that. This Jupiter/Saturn configuration, though… could be liver trouble.

Melchior: That’s right. If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. (pauses to think) I hope someone uses that line in a song some day. Anyway… look at the stare on this kid! He probably has something we haven’t even heard of yet, right on the Ascendant.

Caspar: (chuckling) You and your undiscovered planets, Melchior. Seriously.

Balthazar: I think what we’re trying to say here , Mr. And Mrs… (Looks back and forth at Mary and Joseph, who do not respond, but simply smile as if they know something the astrologers don’t) …um, Carpenter, is that anyone born into this world has to cope with certain inherent limitations. And a birth chart is like a road map to all of life’s obstacles. And emotional issues!

Caspar: And medical problems! I’m worried about that liver of his… or injuries to the side in general. You might want to consider investing in some body armor for the little guy.

Balthazar: So you see, although it does appear that your boy here is in fact some sort of a really special person, the indications are of a shortish life span… like maybe 35 years tops. Yes, I know, that’s pretty good by current standards, but still it’s worrisome. And his life in general — it’s going to be a lot of  struggle. Like with authority figures.

Caspar: No real signs of wealth here either. And possible death by piercing or blood loss.

Balthazar: Caspar, quit jumping ahead to the medical stuff! Astrology is supposed to be about how you live your life, not being afraid of how you’ll die. (To Mary and Joseph) So we really recommend relocating the birth chart. You should consider a move to Gaul, or Cappadocia, or something. I hear the weather in Hispania is great!

Caspar: His relocated chart to Hispania puts Venus on the Ascendant. That could be good for his negotiating skills. He could put all his potential to good use, as a merchant or something. That would be a lot safer and wiser than making trouble with the Romans. Have you seen what they do to criminals? Still, I say he’s a rebel at heart. Those are excellent skills for starting one’s own Trade Guild or something. Now that I think about it, it’s probably better than being too much of a rebel.

Balthazar: Let’s not scare these nice people too much, Caspar. You make it sound like otherwise he’d stay here and start an uprising and go around kicking over the money changer’s tables in The Temple or something. (To Mary and Joseph) On the upside, his chart indicates he’ll be good in social situations and at working with groups, and perhaps even leading them. He has a certain philosophical bent to him too. He might grow up to be a rabbi leading a nice quiet study group or something.

(Balthazar and Caspar pause and notice Melchior, who has fallen silent, staring at the baby)

Caspar: Melchior, you’ve hardly said a word. By this point you’ve usually told the parents all about the baby’s future marriage and food allergies. What’s the problem?

Melchior: It’s just… this way this kid is looking at me. It’s like… it’s like He Knows Something that we don’t.

(Balthazar laughs uproariously. Caspar rolls his eyes.)

Caspar: Oh, here we go with your whole “Indigo Child” routine…

Balthazar: You’re such a cut-up, Melchior. We’re The Wise Men. We’re astrologers!

(Caspar leans in close to Melchior)

Caspar (whispering to Melchior): Besides, look around dude. The kid was born with the livestock. Everyone wants to think their baby is the Greatest Thing Ever… but this one is an obvious non-starter. No crib for a bed or anything!

Balthazar: (To Mary and Joseph) Sorry folks, we have to move it along here. The Moon’s nearly at the Midheaven, and we have a party to work at Herod’s, and if we don’t get there soon all the good figs will be gone…

 

Ask An Astrologer: Can Astrology Spot Mental Illness?

posted by Matthew Currie

beliefnet astrology matthew currie mental healthBD writes: “How can your mental health be affected by your birth sign?  Can mental health problems be a life long problem for some as a result of their sign?”

The short answer is: “Well, kind of.”

At first, that may sound like a pretty inadequate answer for an art that has studied the Human Condition for thousands of years. Humans are a pretty complex lot, and billions of dollars each year are invested in things like treating depression (and the perpetual struggle with weight loss, while we’re at it) without clear-cut results in many cases, so the better answer to your question may be another question: What is mental health?

You may have heard of various studies showing that the time of year a person was born in can influence the chance of that person suffering from various mental illnesses. For example, being born between the Signs of Capricorn and Pisces seem to carry an increased risk of schizophrenia. Aries, Taurus, and Gemini seem to show an increased likelihood of anorexia. This is the sort of thing that gets astrologers understandably excited, but can’t be taken on their own to demonstrate an astrological significance. For example: in my experience, Sun square Uranus is one aspect that could be considered a warning sign for mental illness, but that’s dependent on more than just the Sun’s placement. Uranus keeps moving, and if Sun square Uranus were a risk factor, we would expect more Geminis and Sagittarians  born in the mid-sixties to be schizophrenic, and more Aries and Libras born in the mid-90s to be schizophrenic… and I’m not aware of any studies investigating this specific factor. (For the record, I’m a mid-60s Sagittarius myself, and I’m feeling fine, thank you).

A person’s mental state is the result of their entire birth chart, and the state of the Sun at birth can influence mental health… but so can other placements. I would expect Mercury to be strongly aspected (or paradoxically, totally unaspected) in someone with serious ADHD, Venus with narcissism and body image disorders, Mars with anger problems., and so on. A Jupiter aspect to the Ascendant can act as a general amplifier of behaviors, whatever they might be. Every planet contributes to your personality, so I suspect that no one planet can be “blamed” for mental illness.

Then of course there is the placement of the Moon in a birth chart. It is largely, I believe, the fact that Western Civilization is based in a Solar calendar that we overplay the significance of the Sun Sign. The Moon is at least as important to a person’s emotional comfort. If we were on a lunar calendar, we’d all be more aware of Moon Sign placements. That, and of course it’s no coincidence that “lunar” and “lunatic” come from the same root word in Latin.

There is a book out called Signs of Mental Illness: An Astrological and Psychiatric Breakthrough by Dr. Mitchell E. Gibson, a Harvard-trained MD, which claims to have somewhat cracked the code as far as spotting mental illness in a birth chart, but i confess I haven’t read his work.

So to a certain extent, yes, an astrologer who knows what he or she is doing can spot the potential for mental health issues. Despite all that: we might be better off asking ourselves what “mental health” (or the lack of it) actually IS, anyway. The so-called “Bible” of these things is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the latest version of which is DSM-5.  Every time a new edition of the DSM comes out, some illnesses are added and some are dropped. It was only a few decades ago when being gay was considered to be a mental disorder. Depending on which Edition you go by, you can or can’t be diagnosed Major Depression within 2 months of the death of a loved one — and where did they get that arbitrary number from anyway? Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder is now an Official Problem, whereas before it was just “really bad PMS,” and the standard treatment was to say something like “settle down there babe.”

In some ways, these changes reflect a refinement of our understanding of how the mind works… and sometimes it just feels like a change in fashion statement (culottes are OUT!).

As for whether or not the challenges presented by an individual’s birth chart will always be with that person: well… yes. You may have been born with a certain tendency to this or that, and you may always have to struggle with it. Fortunately, if there is any one single point to Astrology, it is this: if understanding how the cards work and what you’re holding in your hand can make you a better and more successful poker player, then understanding your own strengths and challenges as presented by the birth chart can do the same.

As Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously said in a decision about whether or not a certain film could legally be considered “obscene”: “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it…” Perhaps when it comes to what we consider “mentally healthy” or not, some of the same reasoning should apply.

 

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

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