One of the things astrology is most useful for is finding the inception chart for something: a new venture, starting a business, when to quit smoking, when to get married… every action has a birth chart of its own, and finding the optimum “birth chart” for it.
You’ll notice I said “optimum” and not “perfect.” Nothing in astrology (or anywhere else for that matter) is “perfect.” For example, given that we’ve been more or less under the effects of the Uranus-Pluto square for the last four years now, who wants to put off their new business or wedding ceremony for THAT long?
I took a genetics class once, covering a lot of the many, many things that can go wrong when people reproduce. The instructor was thoughtful enough to provide statistics with each disorder… Cri du Chat Syndrome, 1 in 50,000 births. Klinefelter’s Syndrome, 1 in 500 births. Turner’s Syndrome, 1 in 2,500 births. And so on. The funny thing is: if you added up all the numbers, you’d only get a grand total of two or three percent of all births where there was a genetic problem involved.
Nonetheless, no one walked out of that class convinced they could ever have a “normal” child. And yet, somehow… a large majority of babies turn out just fine.
Astrology, and keeping an eye on one’s transits and progressions, can be a little like that. It’s hard to find a perfect time to do anything, and quite often the things we do, plan on doing, or that simply happen to us just plain happen when they happen, and are quite outside of reasonable human control. Just because next Tuesday would be the perfect day to get married doesn’t mean you will get married next Tuesday. Or that anyone will be able to show up on a week day. Or, for that matter, that you’ll be able to find anyone who wants to marry you next Tuesday. Or that if you do, it’s someone you’ll still want to be married to next week, or next year, or next decade…
Besides, as I discovered: you need to factor in why you’re getting married and who you’re getting married to. Remind me of that next time, will you…?
Hey, remember when the Mayan Calendar ran out in December 2012 and the world ended? Or when that whole Blood Moon thing happened in 2014-2015 and the world ended? Or how about when the Y2K bug hit, and the world ended? Or that eclipse Nostradamus wrote about in 1999 hit, and the world ended? Or…
Yeah, you get the point. I’m pleased to report that I said none of these things would be The End, and I was right. So it’s with some annoyance that I report to you today that, with all the recent talk about Planet X in the news lately, one of the frankly dumbest of all the End Of The World stories is back in some circles.
The fictional planet Nibiru has made a comeback!
“Nibiru? Comeback?” you might say. “The miniskirt making a comeback, sure. But what the heck is ‘Nibiru’”?
First of all, if you have to ask… congratulations. It means you didn’t fall into the paranoid conspiratorial claptrap that was going around in 2012. In the event you come across the subject in future, here is why you shouldn’t panic.
According to Zecharia Sitchin, who claims to be an expert in Ancient Sumerian studies (but got his degree in Economic History), Nibiru is a giant planet, the size of Jupiter or larger, on an eccentric orbit that brings it into the inner Solar System about once every 3600 years or so. His decoding of ancient Sumerian and Mayan texts apparently confirm this. The story is that Nibiru will be returning soon… “soon” being “some time after the last failed prediction of its appearance.
Those ancient Sumerians and Mayans… they couldn’t hold their empires together, but apparently they were waaaay better astronomers than we are.
I’m not fluent in Mayan or Sumerian, so I have no place criticizing Sitchin’s archaeology. But others have, and not surprisingly it’s riddled with errors. But astronomy and astrophysics? Those are subjects I do know a little about. And I can tell you with great confidence that THERE ARE NO GIANT RAMPAGING PLANETS OUT THERE COMING TO EAT YOU. Honest. Allow me to explain…
Consider this: everything with mass in the universe has a gravitational field. The greater the mass, the stronger the field. That’s why apples fall to Earth, and why the Earth doesn’t fall towards apples. The Earth orbits the Sun. If the Earth were travelling faster, it would achieve “escape velocity”: the speed needed to fly away from the Sun and off into the Cosmos. If Earth were to slow down, it would fall into the Sun. Every planet in the solar system has a gravitational effect on every other planet, although (relative to the huge mass of the Sun) the pull that, say, Neptune has on Venus is pretty weak.
Put another way: when you were born, the mass of the obstetrician had slightly more influence on you than the planet Mars did… but slightly less than that of Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system.
If two bodies of sufficient mass pass close enough to each other, they will have an effect on each others orbits around the Sun. Many asteroids have had their orbits affected by the occasional (relatively) close brush with Jupiter: picking up speed and moving out into more distant, less circular orbits around the Sun as a result.
Even though Nibiru has such a long orbit, given the age of the Solar System (about 4.5 billion years), it would have passed by Earth (and all the other planets) about one and a quarter million times in the life of the Solar System. And yet despite all these close brushes with a giant planet, Mercury through Neptune remain in relatively stable, circular orbits. The odds of that being the case with a Nibiru whipping through the neighborhood that many times is comparable to the odds of making your first break in a game of pool by throwing a bowling ball onto the table… and having all the pool balls drift elegantly back into their original triangular configuration. Try it sometime… with someone else’s pool table, ideally.
Furthermore… you’d think that with something that big in our own Solar System, there would be some kind of observational clues… after all, we found Pluto, and it’s a tiny, insignificant little thing compared to Uranus and Neptune. Uranus, in turn, is much smaller than Nibiru allegedly is; and Uranus was discovered in the 1700s. As far as observational data for Nibiru: there was a misidentified sighting of a distant galaxy by the IRAS satellite in 1984 that has gotten a lot of coverage as being “Nibiru,” and the occasional misidentified sun dog.
Go ahead and be paranoid abut the Government all you want… but there’s no way NASA could hide it if the Earth’s orbit had been pulled out of shape by a passing planet any time in the last few billion years.
The primary reason all of this bothers me… other than it being a sign of how bad public education really is these days… is that there seem to be a lot of people out there exploiting the fear of Nibiru Doom for profit, or at least for clicks on their web site. And regardless of which religious tradition one follows, or which ancient texts on bases one’s beliefs on… most faiths agree that hoodwinking the gullible for profit is a bad thing. And I agree.
So: no need to panic. The only threat to the world is human nature itself.
Okay, in light of that… maybe you can panic a little.
In astrology, Mars is the planet that rules ambition and the sex drive. It’s also the planet in your birth chart that is most likely to show how you annoy people. Here’s a handy guide to how you probably come across on a bad day… or if you prefer, a guide to how to perfect your Annoyance Style… based on your Mars Sign. Take it either way you want, just don’t get mad at me for it.
Fire (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius): Aaaargh, I’m so angry I could scream! What did you think — oh, never mind. I’m over it now. What’s for lunch? What? TOFU?? Aaaargh, I’m so angry I could scream!
- Aries: …now give me five minutes to throw things around in the kitchen and I’ll get over it.
- Leo: …so hand me that megaphone, the neighborhood needs to hear about this!
- Sagittarius: …or I suppose I could just go get take-out. I’ll be back in six hours.
Earth (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn): There is a hidden order to the Universe — one that propels all things with a firm but hidden hand. You have violated that order, and I’m going to keep jabbing you with this stick until I think you’ve learned your lesson.
- Taurus: …then I’ll eat and/or drink to deal with my frustration. Wait right here: I’ll be back in a bit to blame my subsequent weight gain on you too.
- Virgo: …so here’s the Big Book Of Things You’ve Done Wrong. Please turn to page 147…
- Capricorn: …and that’s why it’s so cold in here. Specifically, because now I’m projecting my Icy Withdrawal Rays at you.
Air (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius): My boss is a jerk, my team lost in the playoffs, the cook mangled my lunch order — but they’re all out of town. So I’m going to scream at you for forgetting to take out the garbage.
- Gemini: …this reminds me of that time you did something similar to me. Let me tell you about that… again.
- Libra: …oh, it’s probably my fault. Yeah, my fault for letting you forget to take out the garbage! What was I thinking?
- Aquarius: …this is totally unacceptable, and — wait, what was I upset by again? Oh, right. Take out the garbage already!
Water (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces): You hurt my feelings! You hurt my feelings! You hurt my feelings! I’m going to keep screaming at you about it until you guess what it is exactly you did, because YOU HURT MY FEELINGS!
- Cancer: (two weeks later) …hey, remember that time YOU HURT MY FEELINGS? I sure do!
- Scorpio: …but hey, let’s not get hung up on that now. I’ll deal with you later. After all, you can’t stay awake forever, can you?
- Pisces: …the world is built on pain! Look at this Facebook post about suffering animals. Look at that news story about sad children. No, wait… you hurt MY feelings!
Don’t panic… if it’s Western Astrology you want, I’ll be back to regular business next time. But if you’ve ever heard of Vedic Astrology (the kind of astrology traditionally practiced in India… and which I’ve written about before HERE), you’ve likely heard two things:
1) It’s really accurate
2) It’s ridiculously complex and hard to learn
Statement One is certainly true, and the more I learn it, the more amazing it becomes. As for Statement Two? Well… maybe. I admit it takes a lot more memorization than Western Astrology, and is a lot harder to bluff your way through with keywords and such. But in fact there are some things about Vedic Astrology that can actually be simpler than in Western Astrology: namely, aspects.
With Vedic astrology, there’s no need to worry about the difference between trines and squares and sextiles and quintiles and such, and which ones are “good” and which ones are “bad.”
Here’s Justin Bieber’s South Indian chart. (I’ve written about his chart before, HERE and HERE). In this kind of chart, Pisces is always in the top left hand corner, and the Signs go around clockwise.
Remember that the Vedic Zodiac is about 23 degrees off from the Western Zodiac, so even though Bieber has Sun in Pisces (in his Western Chart) it’s actually in Aquarius in the Vedic chart. Don’t sweat that for now.
Signs and Houses are basically the same thing. In the Vedic system, Justin Bieber’s Ascendant is at 5 degrees Scorpio, so the entire Sign of Scorpio is his First House (as is the case with Whole Sign Houses). The entire Sign of Sagittarius is his Second House, all of Capricorn is his Third House, and so on. Starting with the Ascendant in Scorpio, which is in the vicinity of the bottom left, we count around clockwise. So, that’s Mercury in his Third House.
A planet aspects the House that it is in, any planets in that same House, and it also aspects the opposite House, and any planets there. Easy! Here’s how it works with Bieber’s Mercury.
So, we find the Ascendant in the bottom-left area — Scorpio. We count around clockwise to Mercury and see it is in the Third House, which in his case is Capricorn. So we say that his Mercury aspects his Third House and the opposite House — The Ninth.
Now, let’s move on to the next House — the Fourth, which looks pretty packed.
The Fourth House, as you may know, rules the mother. Gosh I wonder if Justin’s Mom has been an influence? Anyway, there in the Fourth are his Sun, Venus, Mars, and Saturn. Since a planet aspects the House it is in, the opposite House, and any planets in those Houses, Justin has a Sun, Venus, Mars, Saturn conjunction. Yes, even though his Mars and Venus are 26 degrees apart, it’s still a conjunction, because they’re in the same House.
Now, let’s look at his Moon and Jupiter.
Since we start at the Ascendant and count around clockwise, his Moon and Jupiter are in his Twelfth House. And even though they are 20 degrees apart, they are conjunct. So, he has a Moon-Jupiter conjunction in the 12th House that aspects the Twelfth House and the Sixth House.
And hey, what about his Nodes, in the First and Seventh Houses? In Vedic astrology, the Nodes are said to “cast no rays,” meaning they don’t aspect anything other than the House the are in. Easy! Don’t worry, the Nodes are still important in Vedic Astrology… more important than in Western Astrology, to be exact.
Now if that’s all you learned, you’ve already got a good handle on how aspects work in Vedic astrology.
Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn also have special partial-strength aspects of their own that they cast above and beyond the ones mentioned above. Mars casts a 3/4 strength aspect four Signs and eight Signs from its natal placement:
…so Mars also casts a 3/4 aspect on his Seventh House and his South Node. Gosh, I wonder if there’s any relationship karma this guy’s gonna have to deal with?
Jupiter casts a 1/2 aspect on the Houses that are five and nine Signs/Houses from its natal placement:
Now we see how Jupiter takes on extra significance in The Beeb’s chart. With it aspecting all that stuff in the Fourth, luck — or entertainment — must be a big factor in his life somehow.
Finally, Saturn casts a 1/4 strength aspect four Houses/Signs and ten Houses/Signs from its natal placement.
Okay, there you have it — aspects! See how relatively painless that was? If not, give it time. Or contact me for a reading. Or just hang tight until next time and I’ll get back to your regularly-scheduled Western Astrology.