The single subject area I deal with the most when doing a reading for clients is relationships. Sure, family relationships and boss/co-worker relationships often come up, but there’s nothing like romance to send someone to consult with an astrologer.
One of the more common situations people become concerned with in their love lives is what I’ve come to think of as “age panic.” By this I don’t mean agonizing over wrinkles or grey hair (because who needs a relationship to worry about those?). Here’s how it usually goes:
CLIENT: I just don’t get it! He’s so nice, thoughtful, kind, intelligent, sexy… but I should run like hell!
ME: That’s funny, you two look pretty compatible.
CLIENT: We are… but he’s so young!
Over the years I’ve noticed more and more clients facing exactly this sort of situation, where a five year (or more) age gap makes the client nervous. The only thing that really surprises me that much is when the younger party is the female, as was once traditionally the case. For whatever reason, relationships with an age difference now seem to be much more common where the woman is the older of the two. Go figure.
A lot of women out there are worrying their relationships to death over an age gap. Once you’ve decided that something is a problem, it becomes more of a problem, whether it’s really a problem or not. If your boyfriend forgets your birthday, it’s because men are often thoughtless with that sort of thing. But if your much-younger boyfriend does the same thing… he’s an immature punk and you should know better.
When it comes to comparing two people in a relationship, astrologically, age itself isn’t a factor. If someone’s Ascendant is conjunct your Venus, you’re going to think that person is cute, whether he or she is an infant or elderly or anything in between.
Sometimes an age gap can even be beneficial in a relationship. A five year gap can lead to one person’s Saturn sextile the other’s. A nine or ten (or 18-20) year age difference can make for two Saturns that trine each other. A fourteen year gap can make for a Saturn opposition… something that makes most Western astrologers nervous, but ask any Vedic astrologer (the people who have been hooking up arranged marriages for the last thousand years, by the way) what he/she thinks of it.
Furthermore, if you have a Saturn-ruled 5th or 9th House, or Saturn in those houses in your birth chart… you might find an age difference in your love life entirely to your liking.
In other words… don’t back away from life.
Saturn isn’t the most romantic planet out there, but it can lend an incredible degree of support and durability to a relationship. And too often, good relationships fall apart for a lack of it.
I don’t know what to ascribe this trend towards “older-women” relationships to that I’ve seen in the last decade or so. Something in the water? An unanticipated effect of the blurring of gender roles? Beats me. All I know is that, when all is said and done, when there are difficulties in a relationship, the age gap itself is rarely the problem. Maturity can come at any age… and sometimes it doesn’t show up at all.
Or as you might put it to your potential future in-laws: “I’m not robbing the cradle, he/she’s robbing the grave…”
Astrology is a complex field — as complex as the human hearts and events that it concerns itself with. What I practice is called “Western Astrology” (as opposed to Vedic or Chinese or Mesoamerican) and it is so full of various techniques that, quite frankly, I doubt that many astrologers are familiar with or use all of them. Properly used, I’ve seen asteroids can add a great deal of psychological depth to a reading.
I have a strong aversion to using the asteroids, and I’ll tell you why. But first: if you are a fan of the asteroids and they work for you, bless you and namaste, et cetera. In order to avoid you becoming annoyed with me, you may want to instead watch this video of a woman channeling a dead squirrel doing a reading for a couple of opossums. Have fun and come back next time!
Okay. Are all the big asteroid fans out of the room? Great, I’ll continue. I hate the thought of offending anyone. And for the record? When I say “asteroids,” I include Chiron (which I admit has its uses), and the so-called Trans-Neptunian Objects (TNOs): that gaggle of Pluto-ish-sized objects like Quaoar and Sedna and Orcus and so on.
I have four objections to lending much credence to the asteroids in astrology. Three of them are largely philosophical, and one of them is purely practical. First, let’s look at the philosophical reasons.
1) Is this really useful?*
As astrologers have been doing for a long time now, I can do a complete reading covering all the important factors using just the nine regular planets (yeah, Pluto IS a planet, shut up!) and the classic techniques and aspects. In fact, you can do a pretty decent reading without Uranus Neptune and Pluto… ask any traditional Vedic astrologer. What’s more, sometimes I go by traditional rulerships (which ignored Uranus, Neptune and Pluto as House or Sign rulers), and if you’ve spent enough time reading my work (or buying me drinks) you’ll know I’m a huge fan of another “ancient astrology” notion… Whole Sign Houses.
So from my perspective, throwing in Chiron, Ceres, Pallas, Juno, Vesta, Eris, and so on can add layers of meaning, but as far as obvious predictive and observable results go, they’re more psychological than practical. As I sometimes tell my clients: “it’s my job to tell you when you’ll get hit by a truck. You can figure out how you feel about it.”*
2) Asteroids are for girls!*
The use of asteroids in astrology really got up and running in the 1970s and 1980s, even though the first asteroid discovered, Ceres, was found on January 1, 1801 (which I admit sounds significant). Chiron is associated with things like “holistic processes” and “psychotherapy” which were catching the public’s attention at the time, even though they had always existed in one form or another.
The four “biggest” asteroids (and those that get the most attention from astrologers) are Ceres, Pallas, Juno, and Vesta. You may have noticed that all the planets (except Venus) are named after males and that the Big Four asteroids are all named after female deities. That’s great, don’t get me wrong, but at the time many astrologers started using those asteroids because of their allegedly “feminine” nature.
Okay, so yes, the qualities they represent are traditionally considered “feminine.” But anyone who thinks that things like “intellect” or “aggression” or “structure” (Mercury, Mars and Saturn respectively) are primarily the domain of men needs to meet more women. The notion that some human qualities are specifically more “masculine” than “feminine” and that women somehow need their own planets to compensate always stuck me as an underestimation of women and their potential. Likewise, there is no reason men cannot partake of nurturing, wisdom, marriage, and self-sacrificial dedication (Ceres, Pallas, Juno, Vesta).
Besides: The Moon, Jupiter, and Neptune cover those qualities already, thank you very much.
The moment Pluto was discovered, astrologers didn’t fall all over themselves saying “Pluto represents death and transformation!” without doing some research and seeing how it actually works first. Yes, that’s kind of what the ancient god stood for, sort of… but it took a lot of research to determine that. Besides, the ancient story of Uranus has almost nothing to do with the modern astrological interpretation of that planet: which, given that Uranus rules rebellion and originality and general freakishness, makes perfect sense if you think about it.
Also: the TNO Makemake is from the mythos of Rapa Nui, about which we know very little, so how would you base an interpretation based on his mythology anyway? “Orcus” is simply another name for Pluto, and really… isn’t one of those enough already?
Finally, this is the best (to me) reason to not pay too much attention to asteroids. Here is the birth chart for Queen Elizabeth the Second, using just the traditional planets and angles. Hard enough to read, isn’t it?
Now, here’s the same chart with the location at her time of birth of every known asteroid out there — around 100 thousand of them out of an estimated 150 million.
*Yeah, I’m normally more sensitive than that. You know what I mean.
I (and many other commentators) out there have written about the Saturn-Neptune Square happening now, and how it is the source of many problems and obstacles and generally seems to be making a lot of things collapse. Saturn square Neptune naturally represents a time when hard work and order clash with belief and delusion, and neither side wins. This has a lot of truth to it, but I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s simply a matter of “Immovable object meets irresistible force, and no one wins” is overly simplistic. Any aspect, even one as troublesome as the square, represents a blending of two planetary energies. Sometimes that blend may not be any fun, but it’s still something that must be addressed… and with a little skill you can even make progress with it.
Consider the biggest political event of early 1972: the historic meeting between American President Richard M. Nixon and Chinese leader Mao Zedong, which happened during a Saturn-Neptune opposition… in fact, it began the day Saturn entered Gemini, the Sign opposite where Saturn is now. Both leaders were in some ways wildly successful, yet both had a huge body count. Yet somehow, some good came of the meeting between these two.
Warning: this video contains exactly one bad word, spoken in both Hunan Chinese and English. Nonetheless, it stands as a good example of the clash between Saturn and Neptune, both inwardly and outwardly. I can’t vouch for the absolute historical accuracy of the dialog, but if there’s one thing Neptune knows, it’s that a good story can tell you more truth than verified facts alone can.
“The real war is in us. History is a symptom of our disease.”
It’s hard to imagine two political leaders more Saturnian than Nixon and Mao. Both were Capricorns, both were strict authoritarians, and neither one appreciated dissent. Yet at the same time, the Neptunian qualities of idealism (and self-delusion) were there too. Although President Nixon was often inscrutable even to those closest to him, none doubted his desire to gain power and to be remembered well by history… even though his name is still synonymous with “lying and dishonor.” Chairman Mao claims to have been motivated by a great love for his country and people… despite being responsible for the deaths of many millions of them. Saturn rules discipline… and brute force. Neptune rules high-mindedness… and self-delusion.
In 1972 The United States was at indirect war with Communism in general, and China specifically, by attacking Vietnam. The Vietnam War wasn’t being particularly “won” by the United States, despite pouring a lot of bombs and blood and money into the matter. Nixon went to China seeking, among other things, a peaceful resolution to the matter. He came away with nothing new regarding Vietnam, but managed to open relations with China and further drive a wedge between China and the Soviet Union, thus helping to make one huge headache for America into two smaller and more manageable headaches. In turn, China got reduced tensions around Taiwan and a foot in the door to a future massive customer.
So, in many ways you could consider Nixon’s trip to visit his implacable foe a success, politically and otherwise. This of course didn’t end the Vietnam war (in fact Nixon only intensified the attacks, eventually dropping more tons of explosives on Vietnam than America dropped on Europe during World War Two… except without winning. Mao got a lot out of the deal too, although it didn’t stop him from killing a lot more of his own people before his death in 1976.
If you want to get anywhere in life, you need both the self-discipline of Saturn and the power of belief that comes from Neptune. You’d better get busy with that, because you know the future Nixons and Maos of the world are already hard at work on it. And you had better not use a difficult Saturn-Neptune aspect to keep you from it, because if even people like Richard Nixon and Mao Zedong can get some good out of it, why can’t we?
You’d be surprised the things you can do with astrology. Sure you can figure out a person’s personality, past and future, romantic or employment potential, and so on. But there is a subset of astrology called Electional Astrology that can be incredibly useful.
You see, if you want to plan a specific event, there are two factors you need to consider. First of all, you need to make sure yours transits (how the current positions planets are interacting with your birth chart) are good for what you want to achieve. But you also need to consider the positions of the planets for the event itself, as if your event was a “person” with it’s own birth chart.
There are plenty of rules to follow when it comes to picking out a proper place and time of birth for your event, whether it’s opening a business or starting a diet or taking a trip or getting married or whatever. Rather than list them all here, let’s have some fun with it and look at the things you should avoid, with a recent event that went very, very wrong.
Let’s say we’re talking about a press conference. Here are some things you should avoid.
-Never schedule your press conference when Neptune is rising. Neptune rising will tend to make an event not turn out as planned.
-Never schedule your press conference for an hour or so before the exact Full Moon, when things are likely to be a little odd or moody anyway… especially when both the Sun and Moon are square Neptune.
-Since the purpose of a press conference is to communicate, and Gemini is a Mercury-ruled Sign, scheduling your press conference for a day with Moon in Gemini is probably a good idea… unless that Moon is square the Ascendant, square Neptune, and opposite the Sun. Since the Moon’s placement is especially important for any event chart, that’s probably a recipe for failure. Also, avoid a day when the Moon’s ruler (Mercury in this case) is conjunct Saturn in a Sign where Mercury is debilitated (Sagittarius).
After you’ve taken those precautions, take a look at your own transits. Try to avoid having transiting Saturn conjunct your Venus or Neptune squaring it.
How do we know this? Because today at 1 PM in San Francisco… when all the circumstances were in effect… San Francisco 49ers quarterback Blaine Gabbert (born October 15th 1989, time unknown, Ballwin MO) held a press conference AND NO ONE OTHER THAN HIM SHOWED UP.
Better luck next time Blaine… and call your astrologer just to be sure, okay?