Knowing when the Moon Void of Course is happening is probably the handiest of all the common astrological techniques. Learn it, make it work for you, and save yourself tons of unnecessary aggravation!
(CLICK HERE for more on what The Void of Course Moon actually is, and what you can do about it — or rather, what you should avoid doing during that time. Looking for tips on handling those times when they happen? Click HERE.)
Thanks to the planets all being in the first 2/3rds of their respective Signs during the first week of June there will be an unusual cluster of particularly long and annoying Voids from the 1st to the 7th. Please address all your complaints to The Manufacturer.
Here’s your Moon Astrology forecast — along with some noteworthy astrological events for the month –for June 2015, set for Eastern Standard Time. The particularly long and painful Voids are marked with **
June 1, 2015 7:01 AM Moon Trine Venus V/C
June 1, 2015 2:39 PM Moon enters Sagittarius
(June 2: Full Moon in Sagittarius, square Neptune. Demanding and impulsive, meet reckless and confused! Woo hoo!)
June 3, 2015 1:59 AM Moon Trine Uranus V/C **
June 3, 2015 8:50 PM Moon enters Capricorn
June 5, 2015 6:54 AM Moon square Uranus V/C **
(Venus enters Leo. How’s my hair?)
June 6, 2015 1:02 AM Moon enters Aquarius
June 7, 2015 10:30 AM Moon sextile Uranus V/C **
June 8, 2015 4:16 AM Moon enters Pisces
June 9, 2015 2:08 PM Moon square Mars V/C
June 10, 2015 7:14 AM Moon enters Aries
June 11, 2015 7:43 PM Moon sextile Mars V/C
(Mercury retrograde ends. When things go wrong now, you’ll have to blame yourself instead.)
June 12, 2015 10:16 AM Moon enters Taurus
(Neptune goes retrograde. Go home Neptune, you’re drunk… er than usual.)
June 13, 2015 6:06 PM Moon square Jupiter V/C **
June 14, 2015 1:51 PM Moon enters Gemini
June 16, 2015 10:05 AM Sun conjunct Moon V/C
(New Moon in Gemini, conjunct Mars. Don’t just set your affirmations for the month ahead… set them with gusto!)
June 16, 2015 6:51 PM Moon enters Cancer
June 19, 2015 1:52 AM Moon Trine Saturn V/C
June 19, 2015 2:22 AM Moon enters Leo
June 21, 2015 12:09 PM Moon square Saturn V/C
June 21, 2015 12:59 PM Moon enters Virgo
June 24, 2015 1:12 AM Moon square Mars V/C
(Mars enters Cancer… and feels just as bad about it as you do.)
June 24, 2015 1:41 AM Moon enters Libra
June 25, 2015 7:22 PM Moon sextile Jupiter V/C **
June 26, 2015 1:57 PM Moon enters Scorpio
June 28, 2015 9:50 PM Moon conjunct Sat V/C
June 28, 2015 11:21 PM Moon enters Sagittarius
June 30, 2015 2:18 PM Moon Trine Jupiter V/C
July 1, 2015 5:11 AM Moon enters Capricorn
Lots of people have an interest in astrology, but not many people can actually read a birth chart. It’s one thing to read a breakdown of someone’s chart that tells you what the placements are and what they mean, but it’s quite another to actually just look at a birth chart and absorb what it’s telling you. Asking someone for driving directions to the nearest Dairy Queen is one thing, but knowing the address of the Dairy Queen and decoding how to get there from a road map is an entirely different mental skill set.
I’m currently teaching an online astrology course and here is one of the charts I will be using, so you can play along at home. Once you get the hang of it, it’s actually pretty easy.
First: here’s how I would list the components of Fred’s chart if I were writing a blog entry about it (No, this person’s name isn’t actually Fred. The identity of who this is will not be revealed until the end of the class. Don’t go trying to figure out who it is. Just go with it, okay?
Sun in Pisces, Moon in Leo, Sagittarius Rising
Mercury in Aquarius, Venus in Aries, Mars in Libra
Jupiter in Scorpio, Saturn in Pisces
Uranus in Aries, Neptune in Virgo, Pluto in Cancer
North Node in Capricorn, South Node in Cancer
A birth chart is basically just a stylized drawing of where things were in the sky when a person was born.
Now: here is Fred’s chart, using Whole Sign houses. Don’t panic, I’ll talk you through it.
Go ahead and click on it… it gets bigger.
You may have noticed this looks a little different from the majority of charts you’ve seen online. That’s because I use Whole Sign Houses instead of Placidus these days. Yes, there’s a good reason for that, and if you buy me a couple of drinks sometime I’ll explain in glorious detail why that is. But if you insist, here’s the same chart using Placidus Houses.
Now ignore that and go back to the Whole Sign Chart — the first one. First of all, notice that on the outside ring all the symbols for the Signs are marked. The Signs always go in the same order that you see listed on Sun Sign forecast: Aries Taurus Gemini Cancer Leo Virgo Libra Scorpio Sagittarius Capricorn Aquarius and Pisces. I’m sorry but there doesn’t appear to be any kind of a decent mnemonic that makes memorizing that order easier that I know of. Anyone out there got one?
The Signs on the left side of the chart actually represents the Eastern horizon, where the Sun and Moon and everything else eventually rise. The Sign on the right side of the chart is the Western horizon where they all set. The reason birth charts are flipped around like that, whereas a road map has west on the left and east on the right, is that astrology was developed in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Northern Hemisphere, one has to look South in order to see the Zodiac, or the plane of the ecliptic as astronomers call it. It’s the relatively narrow band that the planets appear to travel through as they go across our sky. In other words, if you were standing outside looking at the sky when our friend here was born, you would see the Moon off on the right hand side of the sky.
Approaching the highest point on the zodiac / plane of the ecliptic (please note, not just “the highest point in the sky”) you would see you a bright little red dot. That’s the planet Mars.
The Earth turns under the sky a lot faster than the planets move across it. So it may be easier to think of the planets and stars as “turning around us” rather than “us turning under them.” From our perspective, the things in the sky move, but the chair we’re parked in while watching them doesn’t.
Fred was born in the middle of the night. You can tell because the symbol for the Sun is near the bottom of the chart – under the horizon. If you had been standing outside watching the sky for about 3 hours before Fred was born, you would have seen a little orange dot rise in the East, off to your left. That orange dot was Jupiter.
Now: what the heck is that mess of lines in the middle of some charts you see out there? Those are the aspects between the planets. Once you get used to reading a birth chart, they will help you pick out quickly what planet is square or trine or sextile or whatever to any other planets. The charts I’ve posted here us an aspect grid instead, and you’ll find that in the bottom left corner of the picture.
As important as the Sign placement of the planets in a birth chart is, the aspects between them are arguably even more important. This can get complex, but don’t panic: we’ll get to that next time I bring this subject back up. For now just sit back and absorb what I’ve said.
And hey: if you are lucky enough to be living in a place with a clear sky where you can see lots of stars at night, go find one of those places online that will generate a birth chart for you. Type in the current date time and place then go look outside, taking the chart with you. Me describing these things for you is one thing, but seeing it for yourself is quite another.
That, and people should just spend more time looking at the sky. It’s pretty awesome you know.
Will a rare planetary alignment generate an enormous earthquake on Earth on or about May 28th of this year at around 2300 hours UT?
There are two answers to that: a short one and a long one.
The short answer is: No. No, it almost certainly won’t. Now get back to work.
The long answer is: No. No it almost certainly wont. Now get back to work, but first here’s why you shouldn’t worry about it…
To start with: a little background. I have had an interest in astrology since childhood. But even before that I was fascinated with astronomy. I like to think that I can hold a fairly intelligent conversation on either subject. I can discuss the gravitational interactions of co-orbital bodies or the chemical composition of asteroids at least as well as the next guy — provided of course “the next guy” isn’t actually a professional astronomer. But I generally know my barycenter from my Lagrange Points, thank you very much.
You may have noticed a few of your friends on Facebook in the last few days have been worked up into a lather over an upcoming “planetary alignment” that will allegedly set the stage for a whopping big earthquake in a few days. As with many science-y sounding panics, this started with a YouTube video of dubious factual content which has since gotten repeated and recycled and distorted even further until it reaches the point where it makes its faulty way into popular consciousness. Remember when the rogue planet Nibiru came and turned the Earth 90 degrees on its axis and wiped us all out? Yeah, neither do I.
Here is the YouTube video that started this big flap in the first place. If you want to play along at home, watch the video and read my notes and I will tell you what it gets wrong.
1:15 – Even the so-called “realistic view” used in this software grotesquely overplays the size of the planets and thus the relative distances between them. Remember that time Mars was nearly as big in the night sky as the Full Moon? Yeah, neither do I.
2:10 – Predicting things like “a major earthquake will happen within a few days of…” is kind of a sucker bet because “major earthquakes” happen all the time. I’ll return to this in a bit.
2:20 – The Mars-Mercury-Moon alignment. First of all, the alignment in question is entirely a matter of perspective. Set the right view angle on your software and you can draw a straight line between anything and anything else in the Solar System. That, and this particular alignment has happened literally thousands of times in the last few centuries alone without tripping off any major earthquakes. There are scientists who study these things you know, and they have considered the effects of planetary gravitation causing earthquakes, and they haven’t found any links. Did you know that? It’s true!
2:35 – This alignment “disturbed the Earth-Moon equilibrium.” Remember that gigantic high tide that day, or the Moon not being exactly where it was predicted to be down to a fraction of an inch? Yeah, neither do I.
I’m not going to do notes on the rest of the video because the whole thing is, frankly, a tribute to the power of choosing the right perspective, drawing lines between points that are not actually connected, and saying “that’s interesting.” At this point, my Inner Science Geek was responding like this… and this is a video you should watch:
The whole thing about “planetary alignments” does sound a bit like astrology, at least on the surface of it. Although I have seen some serious research using astrology to predict major earthquakes, I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t really understand it. I’m no expert. One thing I do know though is that anyone who claims to be a psychic ( or a “YouTube personality”) who tells you that “there will be a major earthquake within X number of days of…” is playing really very easy odds. There are in fact several million earthquakes in the world each year. Most of them are not detected because they’re very small or hit remote areas where no one is paying attention. The US Geological Service in the United States alone detects about 20,000 earthquake the year. That’s about 50 each day.
As for major earthquakes? Let’s say that Magnitude 5 or bigger constitutes “major.” In 2012, earth experienced over 1,500 such quakes. If we limit ourselves to the really big ones – that is, magnitude 6 or larger – there were still over a hundred of those in 2012. There were slightly over 200 in 2011, and 174 in 2010. There are 365 days in the year. Do the math and tell me how psychic you have to be to say “There will be a major earthquake around…”
So if you’re bored try this sometime: wait until 2 or 3 in the morning and call all your friends and tell them that you had a psychic flash that there will be a major earthquake somewhere in the next few days. Sit back and set your Google News Alert for earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater. Your friends will be calling you Nostradamus in no time flat – unless of course they do some research and understand a bit of simple math.
(And by the way: any skeptics out there reading this? Feel free to enjoy the delicious irony of an astrologer explaining planetary gravitational effects to the easily panicked. We astrologers may not be as dumb as you had hoped.)
Remember that Eclipse in August 1999 that Nostradamus said would be the end of the world? Remember Y2K? Remember the devastation caused by the planetary alignment of 05/05/ 2000? Yeah neither do I. The tail end of the 20th century was the Golden Age for apocalypses that failed to deliver.
And that “Four Blood Moons” thing so many were all worried (and that I wrote about here) last year? Yeah, so far — no end of the world. My apologies. Your ticket will not be refunded.
You’ll notice that I said at the beginning of the blog entry that there would almost certainly not be a major earthquake on March 28, which is what the current story making the rounds on Facebook would have you believe. I will admit that statistically it could happen, especially if I keep it vague about defining “major earthquake.”
Next time something like this comes up, remember a lesson many of us should have learned between 1998 and 2001: when in doubt, always bet against the end of the world. At worst you will only ever be wrong once.
In conclusion: Science!
Last time, I looked at how John Nash’s most famous contribution to mathematics could help you deal with this week’s astrological transits. This time, I’d like to look more at the man himself. Born June 13 1928, 7:00 AM, Bluefield West Virgina, John was about as famous as mathematicians get. This is in large part due to the movie A Beautiful Mind, which chronicled (in fictionalized form) his struggle with schizophrenia. So let’s have a look at what made John unique.
First of all, Nash’s intelligence. We generally agree in Western Astrology that intelligence is largely a matter of Mercury and the Third House. Nash’s Third House (by Whole Signs) is Virgo, which is ruled by Mercury, and his Mercury is prominently placed in the First House, conjunct Pluto. Thus “piercing intellectual insights.”
(Here’s where those who use Placidus Houses and I part company. They’ll look at that Mercury/Pluto above the horizon and say “well, that’s the Twelfth House, so there’s the mental illness.” More on that in a bit).
Vedic Astrology places a certain emphasis on the role the Moon plays in consciousness that Western astrology tends to overlook, and as the Ascendant ruler, John’s Moon takes on added importance. John Nash’s Moon is in Aries, in the Tenth House, conjunct Mars. This means The Moon is conjunct the ruler of the Tenth (Mars) which is also in the Tenth, so that shows us that he would make a career using his brain.
As for John Nash’s schizophrenia? That’s tougher to spot, but perhaps not entirely for astrological reasons.
I took a couple of years of Psych in college, and one of the first things we learned is that mental illness is largely a matter of cultural definition. It seems that astrology is much better at predicting what a person will do or how they act or even what they look like than it is at predicting what’s actually going on inside a person’s mind. I can look at a birth chart and come up with general indicators of intelligence, but not tell how sane a person is by our standards. For example, were Mr. and Mrs. Einstein to bring me their baby boy’s birth chart, I would be able to look and quickly say he was a humanitarian, that he would travel, and that he wouldn’t be the world’s sharpest dresser. And yes I could tell he would be fairly intelligent. But I couldn’t tell you that he would be universally hailed as one of history’s greatest geniuses.
If a dozen clones of John Nash were born at the exact same place and time as he was, and you distributed those clones throughout various world cultures, all of them would be very smart guys. He would probably be a mathematician or scientist of some sort in many cultures. But some cultures would have locked him up, some would have made him a shaman, and some might have killed him for being demon possessed. Again: astrological there are some indicators of “mental imbalance”… but overall astrology has a much tougher time spotting serious mental illness than you might think.
Whether this is a limitation of astrology or a limitation of the culture we are in and its definitions of what “mental health” is, I leave to you.
One of the things that was really remarkable about John Nash is that he was able to overcome his mental illness largely through application of his intelligence. In his own words:
“After my return to the dream-like delusional hypotheses in the later 60s I became a person of delusionally influenced thinking but of relatively moderate behavior and thus tended to avoid hospitalization and the direct attention of psychiatrists… I began to intellectually reject some of the delusionally influenced lines of thinking which had been characteristic of my orientation. This began, most recognizably, with the rejection of politically oriented thinking as essentially a hopeless waste of intellectual effort.”
Think about THAT next time you’re arguing about politics with someone on Facebook.
As for the circumstances of John Nash and the death of him and his wife in a taxi accident in New Jersey, as I have written here previously… like it or not, yes astrology can provide definite indicators of risk. The calculations are long and difficult, but genuine indicators of periods of risk can be seen in the birth chart and in the transits. But as with so many things in life, there are no guarantees.
Gosh, you’d almost think there was some sort of Higher Power involved with these things, wouldn’t you?
Despite that, when it comes to the death of John Nash and his wife it is the most painfully simplistic of astrological explanations that stands out to me here. Mercury was retrograde. When Mercury is retrograde there often problems with short trips. John Nash and his wife didn’t have their seatbelts on.
That’s right: a man whose beautiful mind came up with concepts the changed the world didn’t think to put his seatbelt on when in the backseat of a cab, the way you normally would when driving a car. I don’t know what it is about taxis, but so many of us – myself included – tend to forget to buckle up when getting into a cab. And Mercury retrograde never helps with these things.
So let’s be safe out there okay?