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).
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.
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…
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).
Saturn square Neptune is the biggest astrological news of 2016. It will be in effect for most if not all of the year, and hits exact this June and November. Like any other major difficult aspect, it doesn’t guarantee doom for everyone, but for some of us it will be difficult, especially if you have major placements around 6-12 degrees of the Mutable Signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces). Even if you don’t, it’s certainly going to have an effect on the world in general, and likely on someone close to you.
As I have written here before, it’s hard to imagine two planets with more different agendas. Saturn wants your life to have structure and order and stability… or it will break your legs trying. Neptune wants you to dive deep into the spiritual side of life and embrace it… or possibly dive deeply into a drink or a drug or an ideology that ultimately won’t help at all.
The square aspect indicates a conflict that has no obvious resolution. Sure, if we were under the influence of Saturn trine Neptune, I could lay the “love and light” on thick and tell you that “all your dreams can true if you put in the work, hooray!” However, the square requires a lot more work and a lot more patience.
So how the heck does one manage this seeming no-win scenario? Well, there are two ways to do so. One is to simply keep in mind that if you are here and alive and reading these words right now (I’ll pause here for a second so you can check your pulse just to make sure)…
…then you’ve lived through aspects at least as difficult as The Great Saturn Neptune Square Of 2016.
Part of the way you can get through these times, other than to simply take it on the chin and struggle through, is to use your Mercury… in other words, your brain. Saturn has a way of making people frightened, but so (in a very different way) does Neptune. Frightened people don’t tend to make wise choices for themselves, and the more frightened you are, the less likely you are to find a proper solution for yourself.
Easier said than done? Maybe, but beware anyone or anything that offers you uniformly easy answers. You’ll have to put in the work (Saturn) and have the faith (Neptune) to think your way through.
Here are some examples of typical modern fears that are being fueled by Saturn square Neptune, and how you can use your Mercury to solve these dilemmas.
Saturn: “If I complain more, my mate will eventually stop doing X, which I hate.”
Neptune: “Maybe if I just show more compassion to my mate about X, he/she will come around to my way of seeing it.”
Mercury: “If X hasn’t stopped despite your efforts, is X a deal-breaker? If so, leave. If not, try a different tactic… or give up.”
Saturn: “If we take away all the guns no one would get shot!”
Neptune: “If everyone had a gun no one would get shot!”
Mercury: “Simple, slogan-like answers rarely solve complex problems. ”
Saturn: “If we just drop more bombs on the right people, we can end terrorism!”
Neptune: “Maybe if we just leave them alone the terrorists will stop hating us!”
Mercury: “Terrorism works because of the terror it induces. Your odds of dying from food poisoning are a lot higher. Put it in perspective.”
Saturn: “I never put time into that project I want to take up, because I suck.”
Neptune: “I’m sure one day I’ll get around to that project I want to take up.”
Yoda: “Do or do not. There is no ‘try.'”
This is a question that even fans of his have struggled to answer, perhaps without ever really admitting it to themselves. Of course he was a huge rock star, of course he was an actor, and of course he was a great showman. But there was always a quality about him that suggested he was an object of extraterrestrial origin. He wasn’t distant and unreachable: he was just always slightly to the left of where everyone else was, and his persona compelled you to step that way to see if you could get a little closer. Sometimes you could and sometimes not, and sometimes when you got there what you saw wasn’t what you were expecting at all, until he moved again and shimmered and became a new iteration of his own theme.
Now the show has ended, and there will be no encores. David Bowie has died in the shadow of a Pluto-laden New Moon on top of his Sun. It’s as if the Solar System itself conspired with him to make one last statement.
“I had to phone someone so I picked on you
Hey, that’s far out, so you heard him too!”
David Bowie was born January 8th 1947 at 9:00 AM, in Brixton. I have a hard time imagining what an astrologer of the time would have made of it, describing the birth chart of this new arrival to his mother, Peggy Jones. With a Sun-Mars conjunction in Capricorn in his 12th House, he was obviously a fighter of some sort, someone who would always be struggling with or towards something. This was most obvious as a child, when he got in a lot of fights… most notably in 1961 when a fight over a girl left his with a permanently damaged left eye, forever dilated more than the right eye (The Moon rules the left eye, and Bowie had Saturn and Pluto conjunct his Moon). That Moon-Saturn-Pluto aspect was opposite his Ascendant, and his showman’s charisma beamed through his Aquarius ascendant like an unexpected signal from Andromeda.
Today in the early 21st Century we struggle to adapt to ideas like “gender fluid,” but since his fame in the early 1970s David Bowie was gender-fluid, stylistically-fluid, and something approaching species-fluid. That Sun-Mars conjunction, with Mars exalted in Capricorn, drove him to strange landscapes in the mind and we followed him, if only to see what the heck he was up to.
Perhaps that theoretical astrologer would have told Peggy that, with Uranus in the Fifth House and Venus on the Midheaven, her son would be prone to creating strange and shiny works of art, and that perhaps he’d even have some material success at it. Peggy might then say something like “what kind of works of art?” And if that astrologer were honest, he’d look at young David’s Neptune in Libra, aspecting six other planets and the Nodes in his birth chart… and that astrologer would probably be forced to say something like “God only knows. This child’s creative imagination is a lot better than mine.”
Who was David Bowie? He was The Starman. He was Ziggy Stardust. He was The Man Who Fell To Earth and The Thin White Duke and Jareth the Goblin King.
David Bowie was an artist.
(The following is a transcript of a recent conversation with my imaginary celebrity client George Lucas, creator of the Star Wars films. Unfortunately his side of the conversation didn’t record, but I’m hoping it can be spliced in later when I release the Special Edition of this blog with better effects.)
Hi George! It’s been a while since we’ve talked.
Really? Are you sure everything is going great with you? Remember, I’m your astrologer and I can see what transits you’re having.
Yeah, I know… you already made a gigantic fortune from Star Wars and then you sold the rights for four billion dollars. Of course you’re happy with that. But at the same time transiting Saturn is opposite your Uranus and transiting Jupiter is going to station square your Saturn. Those are difficult transits to be happy with. Even if I wasn’t your astrologer, I’ve read your comments about The Force Awakens, and —
Yeah, I know you didn’t say you hated it, but your praise was pretty, um, faint, and —
…And yes I know you had treatments for the next trilogy all written up and the new owners tossed them. That has to hurt, especially when you consider how much money the movie featuring none of your ideas and a bunch of characters you didn’t create is making even more money that your original films did.
That’s because the two planets ruling your career, Saturn and Uranus, are under such stress.
That’s right, I’m using Whole Sign Houses, George. I’m glad you read my article about that. So pretty much anything happening with your career and public life is going to be… well, kind of painful. And by the end of 2016 you’ll be having your Saturn Opposition, just in time for the release of “Star Wars: Rogue One,” which will probably stray from your vision a lot further.
No, it’s not my job to depress you. It’s my job to provide guidance. You see… there’s actually incredibly good news here for you too.
You see, transiting Pluto will be trine your Ascendant for the next three or four years, and that’s a huge opportunity to reinvent yourself. You already have all the material resources, but now the planets are right to make this the best time of your life! And let’s be honest here: we all could stand to reinvent ourselves sometimes, but not all of us will get that useful a transit for it.
Well, for example you could… okay, I’m going to be more blunt with you than I usually am with my clients, George, but it’s all said with love, okay? Thematically speaking, most if not all of your films have been about some combination of parental/authority issues and hot-rods.
Well, spaceships and airplanes are hot-rods, in a sense. And I don’t have to point out all the father issues in the Star Wars films, do I? In fact, you’ve even lived this scenario out and (in a sense) became the monster you railed against. Your creative control over the “prequel trilogy” meant you were surrounded entirely by sycophants, so that no criticism could reach your ears until it was too late and the critics tore them apart. And you stranded your actors in gigantic soulless green screen studios and gave them little or nothing to react to other than concept pictures of CGI effects that hadn’t been created yet. And your reliance on CGI is really just another version of your fondness for hot-rods… and machines in general. The only water in your chart is Mars in Cancer, which contributed to both your control issues and your fondness for machines… Mars rules machines in general. Did you know that?
And even with all that… you still created great, successful entertainment! In a lot of ways what you’re feeling about The Force Awakens is the same as what happens when a child grows up and turns out differently than what you had expected or hoped for. That’s not failure… that’s how life works. So I say: embrace what you’ve done for the world, take advantage of your circumstances and that Pluto transit, and do what makes you happy, whatever that may be.
You’re welcome, and I’m glad I could help. Now go be your best self and discover what else you can do for the world, or yourself, or whatever pleases you. You’ve earned it.
You’re welcome again. And please, whatever you do… no more Jar Jar, okay?